Telling The Next Guy

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This was one for the books today.


Obama tells Trump that he needs to stand up to Putin (i.e. don’t wimp out)!

Uh, who’s the guy who has been in office the last 8 years? 


An during those years, our standing and national security has suffered from disengagement and utter weakness at virtually every turn of the globe. 


– We let red lines be violated in Syria and watched our Ambassador murdered in Libya


– Russia expanded into Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, and now it’s looking to Cuba and Vietnam.


– China has been rapidly militarizing into the South China Sea and expanding it’s economic influence in Africa.


– We made the “worst deal in history” in Iran that allows them to eventually go nuclear!


North Korea continues to expand it’s nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile technology. 


– The Philippines told the President to “go to h*ll” and threatens to break from the U.S. militarily. 


– U.S. backed off support for democracy in Egypt after the military coup that overthrew Morsi


Venezuela expelled our top diplomat and 2 other embassy officials ratcheting up hostilities with the U.S. 


Cyberattacks have plagued the U.S. and we haven’t been able to defend ourselves. 


ISIS has demonstrated success and our strategy has not made them less dangerous and lethal. 


– After years of mounting terrorism, our leaders still refuse to even say the words, “radical Islam.”


I’m not sure why people are so tempted to give advice and preach to others, when they themselves have so many failings. 


I think it’s certainly okay to humbly share our experiences and lessons learned if we have any. 


But perhaps when you don’t have the best record on something, as they old saying goes, you should refrain from throwing large stones in your very fragile glass houses!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Are We Leading The World To The Brink

apocalypse

Thanks to some of the worst leadership in generations, we are bringing the world to the brink of disaster.



In 1991, at the end of the Cold War and with nuclear disarmament initiatives underway, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists rated us at 17 minutes to midnight (the best it’s ever been) on the famous Doomsday Clock that represents the countdown to global disaster. 


However by 2007, right before this administration, with far greater concerns of a nuclear terrorist attack, we were down to just 5 minutes to midnight.


And now in 2016, we are at a mere 3 minutes to midnight, and “the probability of global catastrophe is very high,” as “world leaders had failed to act!”


Moreover, with the current slate of candidates for Presidency both receiving negative ratings of about 60% from registered voters, there is obviously great consternation by the people of the U.S. as well as the rest of the world on the direction we are going in or lack thereof. 


Again today, flailing on the leadership front in Syria, almost 6 years into the war there, we are again “considering tougher options” after the “red lines” were eviscerated, plan B never went anywhere, and we acknowledged that “we have no good options” there, while Russia is bringing in the big guns!


In dangerous world situations, the wrong action by leadership can spark an escalation and lead to negative consequences, but no action, displaying uncertainty and weakness, or attempting a losing appeasement strategy can lead to an even more emboldened enemy and then the Doomsday Clock can strike midnight and we can all pretty much just say one last goodnight. 
😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

U.S. Shuts Eyes To Syria and Ukraine

stop

While we are willing to take in some refugees (true to “our values”), we are not willing to enforce “red lines” and stop the killing in Syria’s almost 6-year murderous civil war. 


Incredibly, there are 500,000 killed (including 50,000 children) and another 2,000,000 wounded in the fighting already


Also, there are 6,000,000 internally displaced and another 4,800,000 refugees outside Syria causing a humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region. 


Dictator Bashar Al Assad and most importantly, Russia seem unstoppable. 


Russia does not play by the West’s rules–they make the rules!


While we threaten to cut off diplomatic talks, Russia continues the heaviest bombing of the war with 1,900 bombs on Aleppo in the last week alone.


The UN cries foul with empty threats of war crimes on the atrocities being committed, but again no one is willing to stop Russia.


Moreover, Russia brings in yet more advanced weaponry and warns the U.S. not to try to stop them in Syria (sound familiar to the 2014 blitzkrieg in Crimea/Ukraine?). 


Again, we are unwilling to stop the bombardment of almost 300,000 civilians in Aleppo with aid convoys, hospitals, schools, and bakeries all grotesquely now being fair game.


Last week, I watched 60 Minutes on CBS about our nuclear bomber fleet, and the rising threat of nuclear war with Russia.


What was particularly scary is that U.S. military strategists are now concerned that the U.S. is “sociologically weaker” than our opponents.


In particular, they worry that as Russia continues to threaten first use of nukes to meet their strategic aims with “an evolved willingness to employ nuclear weapons in the course of a conflict,” they are counting on the U.S. to back down from any engagement or retaliation, because we would be so afraid of escalating with Russia, let alone using first. 


In other words, Russia does not consider the U.S. nuclear deterrent to be credible anymore–we are viewed as chicken and pushovers and Russia could simply “shock the Western powers into de-escalating.”


First Ukraine and now Syria, what country is safe from the “Great Bear”–will the Balkans be next or perhaps somewhere even more deadly to a broken NATO and a farce of a UN. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Government Turnaround

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So I took this photo of a handout being distributed at a major local university here in Washington, DC.


Sort of ironic for this sign that says:

“Big Government Sucks”


…to be handed out in the capital of the United States of America!


It would make sense that this negative notion of big government is connected to the low approval ratings of Congress (17%) and government services (64.4) provided.


People are seeing and sensing that big government is bad government when it is:


– Dictatorial, corrupt, and discriminatory. 


– Mired in fraud, waste, abuse, and coverups. 


– Self-serving for the politicians that are elected to serve the people. 


– When it is bureaucratic and ineffective. 


– When it is confused and without vision or plan for the country. 


– When it’s indecisive, makes bad decisions, or can’t successfully execute short- and long-term on it’s mission. 


– When it is lacking in basic values of democracy, freedom, and human rights for all. 


At the same time, big government can be great government, when it is a beacon of light for its citizens and for the nations of the earth. 


– When it protects us from dictators, demagogues, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, criminals, and all sorts of disasters.


– When it holds strong and cutting-edge the economy, prosperity, innovation, education, and competitive advantage of the nation. 


– When it safeguards and keeps sustainable the environment for future generations. 


– When it preserves and fortifies freedom, human rights, social equity, equality, and justice. 


– When it looks after the needy and less fortunate.


– When it lead the world in exploration, discovery, partnerships, and ultimately doing good for the people, the planet, and our future. 


Big government sucks when it goes wrong and then they start handing out these sad signs on our nation’s premier college campuses. 


This is a big problem to turnaround?  


But with smart, committed, and moral leadership it can be done! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Heads Down, Pants Down

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If you put your head down in the global sand, then eventually your pants are going to get pulled down too, and you are going to get royally scr*wed (or should I say scr*w things up). 


And that’s exactly what’s happening to the reputation of the U.S. here and abroad.


Domestically, another 3 terror attacks just over the weekend in New York , New Jersey, and Minnesota.


While overseas, a humanitarian aid convey is attacked in Syria destroying 18 trucks and killing 20 people, and this after being coordinated with Russia, in advance.


And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:

“We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats…right now, the [global] village is burning…we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames.”


He goes on as to the consequences of the apparent reluctance to lead:


– “Middle East is torn by war”


– “Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists”


– “Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine”


– “China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors”


– “Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack”


Oh, and I think he forget this one, but another WSJ piece captured it:


– “One year after Iran deal, Iran’s right’s violations and aggression continue [unabated]”


But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):

“By almost any traditional metric,–home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty–blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama’s first term.” 


This country cannot lead with it’s head down and it’s hands tied!


It’s way past time to pick our heads up high and buckle our belts and get back in the ring to fight with belief and determination for what is right for us and the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

State of U.S. Relationships

us-relationships

Here is the current state of a sampling of U.S. relationships with other countries around the world.


As the “superpower” and as a people who strongly value freedom, democracy, and human rights, as well as a people mainly of faith, we have the obligation to do good in this world. 


Also, we recognize our imperative to maintain strength and promote peace, prosperity, and betterment for all mankind.


We have some enormous challenges ahead, and we had better be up to it. 


There is a lot riding on this! 😉

 

(All opinions my own)


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Diplomacy Shirt

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I took this photo in the Metro, so I apologize for the poor lighting. 


But never-the-less, to me, this wins for best diplomacy shirt. 

“Respect All

Fear None”

In dealing with others at home and abroad, we must respect everyone. 


And this is not just paying lip service to others while really giving a tacit nod to derision and divisiveness.


Rather we need to have genuine respect for all people, cultures, religions, freedom and human rights. 


At the same time, we must fear no one. 


We need to carry a big stick, as my grandfather used to say.


That along with plenty of carrots (but used strategically and not wastefully) to positively influence the good in others. 


The point is that disengagement, appeasement, and weakness benefits no one. 


Rather, it encourages violence, destruction, and refugees, and global disorder. 


It’s time to stop fearing and running, and to make a firm stand for good and meaningful things that we really believe in.


We are not the police of the world, but we are smart, and good, and powerful, and will project and use that power wisely to ensure that good prevails over evil, always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shooting Blanks

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Like this joke gun, this unfortunately is our national standing as a paper tiger in the new world order.


Just this last week…


1) China: “To diminish the US,” our President is forced to disembark from the underbelly of Air Force One, because they wouldn’t give him mobile stairs, let alone a red carpet welcome, while they continue the illegal buildout in the South China Sea threatening freedom of navigation of the seas. 


2) Russia: Russia stares down our President and ignores 17 U.S. overtures to end the more than 5-year civil war in Syria that has cost over 400,000 lives, made 5 million refugees, and over 8 million more displaced, and let’s not even talk about Ukraine. 


3) Iran:  For the second time in as many weeks, Iran has sent numerous speedboats to harass U.S. Navy ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, and this after it was just disclosed that we sent 2 more plane loads of cash to Iran–3 in total for $1.7 billion to “leverage” another hostage release by Iran–and after we chased them on a deal to remove sanctions on their dangerous nuclear WMD development. 


4) North Korea: 3 more midrange ballistic missiles were fired from North Korea toward the Sea of Japan in a continuing escalation of hostilities there on top of prior long-range and submarine-based missile launches further threatening the U.S. 


5) Laos: Even in the traditionally friendly country of Laos, the President is snubbed by terrible name-calling and insults and is forced to cancel his meeting with their leader. 


6) Trade pacts:   Whether your looking east or west, both the Transatlantic Trade Deal (TTIP) and the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) are dead, while Brexit is a fait accompli, the setback to the world economy, trust, and collaboration is tangible. 


7) Terrorism: The “U.N. warns of growing Islamic terrorist threats” as more than 500 have been murdered in the last 6 months alone from Belgium to the U.S., and the threat growing from a more decentralized worldwide terrorist apparatus, as well as the potential employment of weapons of mass destruction


Whether with regards to other world powers or global alliances, our standing in world affairs in troubling at best and seriously threatened at worst.  


As long as we are shooting blanks of blue stardust, we will continue to lose credibility, respect, and the ability to effect positive change and influence in an increasingly dangerous world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Antisocial Social Club

Anti-Social

 

This guy was hilarious.


Pink hat.


Big round white sunglasses.


And a shirt that says:


“Antisocial Social Club”


Truly, if he was anymore antagonistic to the norms of society, he’d probably be unloading an AK47 into an unsuspecting innocent crowd somewhere.


Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, then again not really in this day and age of global terrorism where beheadings, suicide bombers, burning and stoning people alive, and child abductions and sex slaves are now the norms in certain outrageous societies. 


And if those are the norms in certain places, what in the world would be considered antisocial behavior there???


So a pink hat, big sunglasses, and an antisocial t-shirt in free America–that ain’t nothing anymore.


Antisocial with a big “Anti” now means death and apocalyptic destruction and global disorder.  


As to our weak politicians who can’t can stomach calling a mass phenomenon of psychotic antisocial personality disorder, antisocial–well you can judge what’s wrong with them for yourself. 


Why does it matter?


It matters only to those of you who have a moral compass to live by and who care about what normal even is–too bad our political elite are missing the substance of this. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Are We So Unconfident

Strong

So I took this photo today at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. 

“We are strong!

We are positive!

We will survive!” 


Does someone who says these things sound like they really believe it or far more likely, it is that they need to tell themselves these things, because they are really not feeling so confident after all?


What’s the unfortunate message behind these words?  


– We spend $610 billion on defense–more than the next 8 super nations combined–yet somehow we feel vulnerable and weak, especially with terrorism and a resurgent Russia and China


– We are so fortunate to live in freedom, democracy, seeming prosperity, and have everything to be positive and thankful about–yet 80% are dissatisfied and think we are heading in the wrong direction. 


– We are the world’s superpower of nations–with wealth, armaments, a seat on the UN security council, and more than 800 bases around 80 countries in the world–“more than any other people, nation, or empire in history,” yet most Americans think we’re faring poorly and that their children will be worse off than themselves!


How can so much security result in so much insecurity?  


The answer should be obvious.


When people don’t believe in the wisdom of their leaders, then no matter what they have or spend or where they are coming from, they are at risk of losing it all.


Poor leadership means corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, and absolute bad decision-making for this nation. 


We don’t believe we are strong, because we see other nations spending less on their defense, yet getting more in terms of security for the people.


People don’t feel positive, because they don’t see good decisions being made, progress toward a better future, and confidence in the future being shaped. 


Questions about our very survival are surfacing because:


– We have seen millions of jobs disappear to our competitors overseas


– Our national debt balloon to near catastrophic levels (and with no tangible benefit to average Joe citizen as everything from our education system to our roads and bridges are falling apart)


– Bankruptcy to the critical entitlement pillars of Social Security and Medicare are being regularly forewarned. 


– Corrupt politicians who are supposed to be looking after us and effectively governing us are instead doing terrible wrongs, yet they are endlessly allowed to be above the law. 


– There is non-stop global terrorism and a reluctance to even call it what it is let alone truly fight to win. 


– We face out of control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and yet remove sanction and release hundreds of billions of dollar to the largest state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses. 


– Open hostility to the U.S. is present as nations are doing what they want whether it terms of nuclear and ballistic missile development and testing in Iran and North Korea, using chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, annexing Crimea, buzzing U.S. planes and ships and conducting cyber war by Russia, and orchestrating a vast military build up in the South China Sea–and all without meaningful consequences.


So everyone repeat after me: 

“We are strong!

We are positive!

We will survive!” 

If you say it enough, you may actually start to believe it. 


Then again, if you start listening to your true inner feelings, you may start to see the vast political gimmickry being played out on you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)