Washington Democracy

Nice photo of the Capitol, the Reflecting Pool, and the Botanical Gardens.


Even in cold January in Washington, DC, it is a mighty impressive sight. 


Some of the most important lessons for me:


Democracy never ceases as long as the people rule, freedom is protected, and human rights is respected.


Those in power have an even greater responsibility to ensure they do the right thing and maintain the utmost integrity.  


We have a lot to live up to!


Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and MLK holiday.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Social Media Totalitarianism

The Chinese government has the most brilliant as well as frightening use and control of social media. 


I am not just talking about blocking Internet sites and free information flow. 


They actually have mastered the use of social media for tracking and rewarding or punishing citizen behavior.


Their social credit system rates people’s behavior online for everything they do!


Similar to likes and dislikes, you are either labeled a “model citizen” sought after for jobs and good housing or you can be an “enemy of the state” treated as a social outcast who can’t even leave the country anymore. 


Everything about you is now based on what you are rated (whether true or not)!


Now in China the government has added a snitching tool/app where people are encouraged through a points system that offers rewards like store discounts, coupons for coffee, taxis, and music streaming, in order to get them to report covertly on their neighbors–are their fellow citizens fighting, is there mental illness, are people cheating on their taxes, etc. 


You’re being surveilled not just by the grid system, where every 300 households are watched and checked-in on by a “grid manager,” but you are subject to daily intrusion by anyone that wants to report on you. 


Communication to “Big Brother” is way overvalued, while privacy and respect of the people are no longer important values or concerns. 


Instead of a Security Operations Center to monitor and command response to life-threatening catastrophes and emergencies, now there is a “Social Governance Integrated Command Center” to display video and biometric surveillance from throughout the country as well as to show what are the “moods” and which “issues” are trending. 


Talking about having a finger on the pulse of what’s going on…


I say this is all brilliant and malign, because social media which can be a tool for connecting people and for the free flow of information and progress is instead used for near ultimate control and enslavement of the masses–both their minds and their behaviors. 


People should not be treated as servants of the state and subjected to ever-encroaching social media surveillance and control that is not carefully balanced directly to absolutely necessary national security. 


Rather the state and its levers of people’s supreme power should be subject to the wants and needs of its people who must freely decide on their collective futures and maintaining human rights. 


Totalitarianism by police state, imprisonment, torture and “re-education” is now unfortunately facilitated by social media monitoring,  and credits system where truly you are watched by Big Brother in the flesh and in the bytes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Summer Shoes

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Summer is generally a sunny and happy time of year. 


People throw off the thick winter coats and  heavy boots and wear some nice sandals.


I saw this one lady wearing these happy, colorful sandals on the Metro. 


I’d expect to see these more in Florida or California than in stodgy Washington, D.C. 


They were pretty awesome–trendy, stylish, even comfortable looking. 


Fashion is self-expression and freedom.


It’s also artistic and a reflection of our culture and our desires. 


We need more color, more chance, more futurism from our fashion.


The clothes can shape not only our bodies, but the times we live in. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tiny Houses Old Style

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Recently, we visited the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Maryland. 


It simulates the route and challenges that runaway slaves had to face in seeking their freedom. 


While I am certain that the suffering endured was in no way captured here, I thought it was still beneficial to have people sensitized and thinking about these horrible historical events around slavery.


Aside from the hiking trail, there were these amazing tiny houses from the 1800’s.


The wood cabins and stone houses were so cute, but also so inviting. 


If I had to live in a Tiny House, these looked sort of incredibly charming. 


HGTV tiny living spaces–like the one we saw last night that had only 200 feet and was really awkward–have nothing on these tiny gems. 


The matching tiny trees were also a very nice effect. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Remember and Cry

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Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem–on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart–in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 


Tisha B’Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 


We remember and cry on Tisha B’Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 


It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
‘Sing to us from the song of Zion’
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 

If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness

We as a people have been through so much…servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide…thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder–yet, Israel Doth Live!


As the L-rd promised the Jews–after exile would come redemption, and so it is!


For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple–please G-d in our days soon.


From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany–we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold “from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River.” (Exodus 23:31) 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hate Proliferates

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I was really surprised to see this sign for White Supremacists right in front of our nation’s Capitol like this. 


Identity Evropa is yet another hate group–this one focuses on people of European ancestry and their website claims, “We are the future.”


But whether you come from Europe or Asia, the Middle East or Africa, America or the moon, aren’t we all just people at the end of the day.


Who cares whether your black or white or yellow or brown, or what religion you practice, or your gender, or sexual orientation, or whether you lean left or right. 


At the end of the day, are we all not flesh, do we all not bleed, have we all not hopes and fears, do we all not answer to the one G-d Above. 


Hate proliferates from our farm belts to our inner cities, from our universities to our board rooms, from the gazillionaire to the guy who has to shovel shit for a living, from our nasty national politics to the United Nations, there is plenty of hate and bias and bigotry to go around. 


Look to the Heavens, cry a bitter tear, your hatred is your self-destruction. 


You will pray with an evil and hate-filled heart and none will answer you. 


The living G-d of Hosts who created us and loves all his children will not stand idly as hate and supremacy of one over another presides. 


The chains of our affliction, the bullet to the back of the head, the noose and the death camps, the whip, the gas, and the ovens, the hunger, the sick experiments, and the slave labor.


Only G-d is supreme over all and those that seek an advantage on the backs of their brethren will find themselves a fiery hell to contend with. 


From just a little gnat to a growing tumor–that is all that it takes to bring justice and re-level the supremacy playing field and teach who is the King of Kings and there is no other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Baiting With North Korea and Taiwan

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OMG, I can’t listen to this politically correct nonsense for the masses on North Korean anymore. 


Yes, North Korea is a nuclear threat and they are ramping up the ante. 


And we are still technically at war with the North Koreans. 


But all the in-the-box ideas for stopping the North Korean threat is wasting everyone’s time and efforts. 


Today in the Wall Street Journal, we had everything from telling China that we’ll recognize the Axis of evil North Korean regime and sign a peace treaty with them in return for limiting the North Korean missile program and having inspections (because those worked so well in the past or with Iran) or we put the “squeeze” on China by threatening to remove their 328,547 Chinese students from American universities. 


Listen, it’s time to face facts:


China will not give up support for North Korea against us, until we would agree to give up support for Taiwan against them. 


Is that really so hard to understand?


No China will not be sanctioned by us or threatened by us economically or militarily–they are a superpower in their own right!


And we cannot expect to ask or force China to stop supporting North Korea, just because we don’t like it–in fact, that is exactly the point. 


We don’t like it, and that’s what China wants in order to push us out of supporting an independent and democratic Taiwan.


So now we are at the root of the choice here for America.


Either America is willing to negotiate with China for real and in effect compromise our values for democracy and freedom in the world or we can deal with North Korea on our own. 


And dealing with North Korea on our own–without destroying much of South Korea and even Japan in the process–probably means just one (or two) big bangs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)