2019

Reevaluating & Revolutionizing

Here’s a Huffington Post headline of August 31st. that blew me away! “Over 40 people Have Been Arrested as Potential Mass Shooters Since El Paso.” This is only in One Month! Think about how many we would have been mourning had the FBI not nabbed those criminals, most of whom were teenage boys, men, as well as a few young women. Horrors! And we still haven’t done anything to curb this deadly epidemic! What the hell are we thinking? However, I also know that most of the roughly 35,000 agents, detectives, lawyers, scientists etc. working at the FBI are doing their work in the 56 field offices of this nation every single day and hour with diligence and professional conduct. This is good news! Their successful cases, especially lately, prove this and reaffirm that the law has to apply equally for rich and poor, black and white, powerful and powerless for there to be the badly needed trust in the justice of our laws – one that has been badly shaken in recent years, especially.

These days there are more people than ever wondering how it is that the United States of America, especially since the sixties, has managed to screw up itself and the world to this abominable dimension. There are books, documentaries, films, magazine and online articles, speakers, organizations, coalitions, movements all analyzing and dissecting the Politicians and Events that have brought us up to this heinous point where we are at war with the world and amongst ourselves. How can it be that this Democratic Republic that landed a Man on the Moon, enacted Civil Rights, marched for Women’s Liberation, upheld its core Values of Equality and Freedom for All could have also caused a horrific war in Vietnam, expanded its Military Power all across the Globe, started wars in the Middle East that have ravaged the region and are still doing so, and is now in the process of upending every civilized and civilizing rule, regulation and law that the whole world looked up to us for, and, of late, does not do so anymore, even though the jute sacks stuffed with dollars make their way periodically to all the corrupt puppets we call our “allies” as they enrich themselves and their cronies and oppress their people all the more! And what a corrupt, and corrupting, foreign policy this is! We have sunk so very low in the eyes of even the most backwards and immoral of nations! Tragic and sad!

The Presidential Candidates of the Democratic Party have been presenting us with challenges and policy ideas which are pointing us in the right direction of where it is that they envision we should take this nation. Marianne Williamson’s recent inspirational and pragmatic book: A Politics of Love summarizes concisely and precisely why she and all the contenders agree that it is time for the Government of the United States to start addressing the well-being of All its citizens rather than the greed and corruption of its corporations, its entrenched political class and its runaway capitalism – a formula that has proven over decades that it is not working, that it cannot work and that, historically, it has never worked anywhere else either. It is time for Reevaluating and Revolutionizing the defunct methods which have not served our citizens, the country, or the world and which are domestically, as well as internationally dangerous. And, every day, there are more and more people realizing this sad truth. Where will it all go? Will it be merely a tempest in a campaigning teacup, or will it gather steam and steer us all above Party lines and towards safer, more inclusive, less vindictive and less troubled shores that the majority of this country are yearning for?

Most of us realize that there have been many scientists, investigative journalists, writers and gurus warning us for decades that we are at the eleventh hour. They have been sounding the alarms mainly regarding two issues: nuclear annihilation and environmental catastrophe. They knew, before any of us, that greed, arrogance and ignorance could trigger the nuclear button; that corruption and avarice could ignore our ailing planet while we were all being lulled by promises, empty talk and expedient policies such that we ignored all those sirens going off in our own backyard. No one has done this better than our President who, on the same day that sixteen-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg with her dire Climate Change message sailed into the New York Harbor, was gutting the EPA regulations even more than he already has by scrapping a rule that reduced the dangerous methane levels being released into the environment, thus totally disregarding the climate threat that this posed and which he has called a hoax! Disgusting!

But Change can, and does, happen when the will of the people to survive in harmony with the environment, and with dignity, justice and equality for all becomes a clarion bell! There are signs of this everywhere I look, which raises my spirits and gives me reason to hope that perhaps, just maybe, we can, at this eleventh hour in our planet’s and country’s life, reverse course and begin the healing process.

My daughter has been my Muse for today’s post. She has pointed out some terrific happenings that reinforced my sense that things could change. Here are some of those:

A new organization in Fairfax County, Virginia that goes by the name: Mothers Out Front is rallying support for the entire school system to upgrade its fleet from toxic diesel buses to zero-emissions electric buses beginning with a test bus in 2020 and completing the transition by 2024. That is a fantastic undertaking and, hopefully, will span the nation!

Profs and Pints (they have a Facebook page) brings college faculty members into bars, cafes, company offices and other venues to share their professional knowledge for a small fee. This endeavor could be inspirational, transformative and edifying. Another fantastic idea for raising awareness!

“Fashionopolis” is a new book by Dana Thomas that should make every female concerned about the environment to open her closet and feel abashed! We all have way much too much! According to Dana, Americans sent 14 million tons of clothing to landfills in 2018. Think of that! And it is all because of “the production of trendy, inexpensive garments in vast amounts at lightning speed in subcontracted factories . . . a dirty, unscrupulous business that exploited humans and Earth alike . . . is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all industrial pollution annually and releases 10 percent of the carbon emissions.” The author continues: “Buy less clothing, and buy as responsibly as possible . . . seek sweatshop-free labor . . . fix clothes that start wearing out.” We should all contribute our part to healing the environment rather than continuing on the egoistical path of a damaging and avaricious consumerism that we have been high on for decades. This, too, is good news if we all apply it, as we should.

Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, have been hounded, smeared and maligned by our government for Whistleblowing and hacking/publishing our war scandals and crimes for years. However, they, as most Whistleblowers, are courageous people exposing terrible shenanigans that governments and corporations continue assaulting us with on a daily basis. Recently, a second-year heroic graduate, Arwa Mboya, published a guest column in MIT’s student newspaper which exposed the sleazy Jeffrey Epstein contributions to the institution. Following that daring Whistleblowing, the Media Lab Director, Joi Ito had to resign, especially when the disclosures came to be known that MIT had concealed the fact of Epstein’s contributions and kept his name anonymous so no one would find out and scandalize them. Groveling for monetary donations, from anyone, anywhere has become a trademark of our venerated institutions as the College Admissions Scandals proved. Preposterous! However, in government, as well as in corporations, more and more Whistleblowers are emerging and exposing the endemic corruption without whining about how they will “lose their job.” They believe that the public good is more important than their job security. That, too, is fantastic!

Yes, incremental and small changes occurring here and there and everywhere will definitely contribute to our Reevaluating and Revolutionizing ourselves, our own home environment and the world’s environment. This is all good and more reason to be optimistic despite all the tragic stories continuing to happen across our miserable world! All fingers crossed!

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2019

Summering and Simmering!

What would one of summer’s most pleasant events be for me without a trip to New York and one to Rehoboth Beach? I left all the brouhaha going on so noisily and menacingly in the nation’s capital, as well as around the world, to gaze at the serene-looking vastness of the ocean which never fails to humble me. What am I, what are we all, but a speck on a planet that is threateningly simmering in every sense of the word? Nevertheless, walking around the lovely town of Rehoboth, or on the streets of New York City uplifts and energizes me, and makes me wonder how to reconcile the beautiful diversity of these two locations with the divisiveness and rancor going on in our nation? Which of these two starkly different atmospheres is the real one, and which is the one being rammed down our throats for wicked reasons?

New York was nostalgia as I stayed with my cousin – our mothers were sisters – in the home that my aunt and uncle had built thirty years ago and where we had all gathered on multiple occasions across the years. We remembered them, we recalled funny incidents and somber moments, we recounted parts of the family history that we both shared from our early years in Jerusalem, to our first stop in Cairo after the Palestinian catastrophe, and to how my mother, my aunt, their two other sisters, brother and parents found themselves strewn across the globe, living and raising their families far away from each other, always wondering how and why this injustice had happened, and why it still is?

The train ride from my cousin’s home to New York City’s Grand Central Station was delightful, as was the majestic city itself, always bustling, always energetic. I peer at all the different faces, the white and the colored, the established New Yorkers and the newer immigrants, their different places of origin spanning the globe, their varying religions, sexual orientations, political persuasions, the issues that drive them, the ones that infuriate them and I know that although this is where Donald Trump lived, this city has nothing to do with him and his divisive efforts to fracture the harmony that thrives on these streets. The human beings walking, talking, eating, working, and surviving here are a slap in the face to any conversation addressing white supremacy. White? Superior? Oh, no! Not here!

It is the same on the streets of Rehoboth. Black, white, brown, gay, straight, multi-racial gorgeous children, mingling, interacting, smiling at each other, seemingly unaware that just a few hours away, in the nation’s corridors of corrupt power, there are those working hard every day to pass legislation that is slowly stripping us of any democratic and equalizing laws in order to consolidate power in the hands of the few. However, the people I see here tacitly assure me that such efforts cannot, and will not, succeed. Those days are past and gone. The future is not what a few white men decide, but it is the will of the beautiful diverse crowds mingling and interacting on these streets that defy any efforts to divide and fracture them. They might like some of the things Trump says and does – I do, too – but they realize that overall he does not represent them. A lifelong Republican tells me: My vote in 2020 will be for any Democrat. Never Trump. I think that many people, white and colored, who voted for him in 2016 share the same sentiment.

Four hundred years ago, in August of 1619, the first ships with their cargo of chained black slaves arrived to the shores of Virginia. And, 400 years later, black people in this country are still being discriminated against and hounded by an ingrained colonist system fighting for its miserable life. However, those children of the slaves of yore are today aware of the bigotry that has kept them downtrodden for all those centuries. They have organized themselves; they know their rights; they correctly demand an equal place at the table. No, this is not colonist America. That was the past and it will not be allowed to continue, for again I say, nothing unites us maligned humans more than when we are being discriminated against no matter where we came from, no matter our different religions, or any other differentiating characteristics.

It is also absolutely outrageous that the Trump Administration now calls Jews who vote for the Democratic Party disloyal? How is that not racist? Not criminal even? Throwing American Jews under the bigoted Trump bus and using them in this offensive manner is pure evil, not only to Jews but to me and to so many other non-Jewish people. By the same token, conflicting people of the Jewish faith with Israeli Government policies is plain wrong. The schizophrenic Trump administration in its granting Bibi and the Israeli Government a carte blanche to go rampaging, meddling, interfering, killing and creating more chaos in the Middle East is evil. We have recently learned, from US officials nonetheless, that Israel has been conducting air strikes on its presumed enemies in Iraq, Syria and on Palestinians and Hezbollah in Lebanon because they are so-called Iranian-backed militias. Is this another ploy by Bibi and his reelection plots? However, while it is good for US officials to be owning up to that now, I wonder what had blinded them for all those decades? What blinded the MSM? It’s the same old story: picking and choosing the issues that they decide are worthy has become an obnoxious and racist trademark.

The weather at the beach was hot, but not as hot as it is in the Brazilian rainforest – in Bolivia and in Alaska as well –  the lungs of the world as Macron aptly said. The Brazilian President is a malicious person, a colonist who has no regard for indigenous people, or for the environment, nor for democratic values. Meanwhile, at the G7 meeting they addressed this matter, as well they should, mainly because the ensuing results of these fires threaten the world’s economies amongst other issues. During one of the televised G7 meetings, Boris Johnson summed up pretty well the ulterior motives of the West when he said that Britain had profited royally from free trade for two hundred years. What that means, of course, is that the Western World has reaped immense fortunes from “the colonies” that they have been usurping for centuries. and that every meeting of Western Nations seeks to consolidate and expand on these gains at the expense of millions. Injustice personified!

Yes, it is summer and millions of people took their summer vacations on beaches and elsewhere, most of them oblivious to the simmering, sizzling winds that threaten to engulf us all in their maelstrom. However, the opposing winds of Resistance on all forms of injustice are gathering speed, and they have now arrived to the point of no return, especially during this chaotic Trump Presidency. It is a glimmer of hope in a sea of injustice!