Tomorrow we fly 6,000 miles east to Tel Aviv to visit our son, Mataan, who currently lives there and will, soon, be joining the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). For those of you reading this message in Israel, let’s make some plans. This also means for the next two weeks, these emails will be devoid of current commentary on hot topics since I pre-write them while on vacation. But for this week, I might be a bit long winded. There is lots to talk about…
To start, I am a proud and staunch progressive Democrat and I wish I could support our president with this Iran Deal, but after another week of analysis, I’m starting to lean away. There are some who feel that this is the only pathway to peace, but despite the complicated nuclear mumbo jumbo, the overall outcome could be far more simple yet far less peaceful. Iran was economically starved and socially isolated due to the sanctions. They needed this deal to ease their wallets and gain global status. Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, strongly believes in the destruction of Israel and death to her BFF, America. As he approved the deal he also continued his commitment and passions to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. This is not rhetoric but their true intent. With this deal, if he abides by it, Iran will be prevented from obtaining a Nuclear Bomb for the next 15 years in exchange for billions of dollars and international acceptance with sanctions relief. After 15 years, there is no mechanism in the deal to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb. At that time, Iran will be wealthy and won’t need to make another deal so, unless there is a regime change, they will still hate Israel and covet her destruction. Within the 15 years and as they acquire their wealth and prestige, they will continue to strengthen their support of dear friendsHamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Syria’s Assad and others. But not Daesh (self proclaimed Islamic State). They hate each other. They compete on opposite teams. Iran is Shia and Daesh is Sunni. Another factor is that most Israelis on the wide political spectrum (even the far left) are concerned with the agreement. The reason is that the deal is silent on Iran’s proxy terrorism which is aimed squarely at the Israeli population. Before the deal, Iran had less money to spend on terrorism, but after the deal, their bank accounts will increase and their efforts to strengthen Israel’s backyard foes, Hamas and Hezbollah will swell. It’s not only about the potential bomb in the future, its also about today’s ordinary Israeli life and the increased terrorism that will exist due to a financially flush Iran. Even the Administration accepts this fact as they are promising added military aid to strengthen Israel’s defense. Thanks, but how about diminishing the capability of their aggressors. The 60 day Congress count is on and after they vote, the Iranian Parliament is suppose to weigh in on their opinion as they too have the right to reject the deal, but most believe they got the sweeter end so a rejection on their side is unlikely.
Our neighbor to the north, Canada sees the true colors of the Iran Dear and plans to keep their sanctions tough and strong. Canada is torn between two good friends yet is clearly leaning toward her falafel favorite. But just because Canada doesn’t agree with the deal doesn’t mean we’ll abandon our friendship, just as those on both sides of this deal should continue to stick together on the wellbeing of Israel and other common concerns.
Fear of Destruction
This Sunday, July 26th, is our Jewish observance of Tisha B’Av. It is a Fast Day (no food or drink) that commemorates the destruction of our 1st and 2nd Temples which occurred about 656 years apart but coincidentally on the same Hebrew calendar date of Tisha (9th) day of the month of Av. As the Iran Deal is debated, some feel history could repeat itself with another attempted destruction of our “Temple” Israel but just as we’ve survived all past attempts we, too, will survive this one with continued hope (Tikvah) for Peace and security.
Destruction of a Soul
A combination of Mental Illness, Drugs/Alcohol, Islamic Martyrdom Brainwashing, hatred of the US and automatic weapon accessibility seems to be the cause and effect for the recent murder of 5 military men in Chattanooga last week. The terrorist killer chose his targets carefully which represented his “home” country and his disapproval of the war we are fighting. The victims were brave soldiers who risked their lives to protect us. Many had been on numerous tours of duty, many had received awards and Purple Hearts. They were sons, brothers, husbands and friends whose lives were senselessly cut short.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40
Navy Petty Officer Randall Scott Smith, 26
Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, 25
Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, 35
Lance Corporal Squire K. “Skip” Wells, 21
It seems everyday an innocent person loses their life due to a deadly police encounter.The most recent are Sandra Blandwho was found dead in her cell after a traffic arrest and Samuel Dubose who was shot on a Cincinnati street corner. They are added to a very long list of police brutality victims. But the one that boiled my blood is 17 year old Michiganer, Deven Guilford, who flashed his lights to indicate to the driver approaching him that his brights were on. That driver was a police officer and for the 3rd time that night he pulled over another driver who thought his lights were too bright. But this time it ended in Deven’s death by 7 gunshot wound and no punishment for the police officer. Warning, this video is frustrating to watch but it is a call to action:
Police officers, Firefighters and all civil servants are due appreciation and respect and most are good and decent people, but when bad apples kill and brute force dominates the public perception of the police, something must change. With videos everywhere, we are aware of abuses which hopefully will force more protections and training.
Kids in poverty
The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its survey of Children in poverty this week and sadly the percentages increased between 2008 and 2013. Remember, 2008 was our “great recession” and five years later should have produced more optimistic results for our poorest Americans. 22% or 16 million kids in 2013 lived in poverty. Though stats aren’t available for 2015 when our unemployment rate is down to 5.3 from 2013’s rate of 7.5, assumptions are hopeful that kids, today, are a bit better off. Mississippi had the highest rate at 34% while Alaska and North Dakota shared the lowest rate at 12%. We, in Michigan, were a bit above the average at 24%. Kudos to Michigan League for Public Policy and Gilda Jacobs on their efforts to combat Michigan’s poverty problem. Here is the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s interactive website on this topic:
After 5 decades, our Cuban Embassy in the US and ourAmerican Embassy in Cuba are back in business. The Diplomatic Therapy sessions guided by Pope Francis worked and hopes for a future prosperous relationship is on track. The Cuban flag was raised on Monday in DC and the US flag will be raised in Havana next month when John Kerry drops in for a visit. Issues that still need to be resolved are the Trade Embargo and Gitmo but Congress will need to provide their 2 cents.
Detroit Art World
An exciting Art Space is moving from Brooklyn, NY to Detroit, MI. Their loss; our gain. Galapagos
, a performance and cultural space that’s livened the city of Brooklyn for the past 20 years has chosen to move the whole kit and caboodle to Detroit. Why not… we have a great revitalization going on and warehouse space is cheap. http://www.galapagosdetroit.com/
From one financial crisis to another. As Detroit is on the mend after negotiating her way through a bankruptcy, her county, Wayne, is now facing the financial emergency road.http://tinyurl.com/o7tlxvh
The Guardian Building – Wayne Co. Cathedral of Finance
Class of 1978
Due to more financial rightsizing, my city of Farmington Hills plans to close my alma mata, Harrison High School, built in the 70s. Good Bye, Harrison Hawks, though I’ll still have my varied memories of High School days.
Nature Speaks, Let’s Listen
Nature has a message for us and she sounds very much likeJulia Roberts
. She’s not too happy with the way we’ve been caring for her and unless with change our damaging ways, Nature might be living on her own in the future. Check out this stunning video: http://natureisspeaking.org/mothernature.html
Amy and Chuck are 2nd cousins once removed. Of course I’m talking about the Schumers. We saw Amy’s movieTrainwreck last weekend and experienced some wonderfully intense belly laughs and of course Chuck will be at our home Aug. 18th (my shameless plug for you to attend the fundraiser). This will be a great opportunity to hear firsthand about the Iran Deal Senate debate Here is an interesting lightning round interview with the Senator.
Wishing you and your loved ones a
Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom,
Rest in peace multi-talented, award-winning singer, actor and human rights activist, Theodore Bikel (age 91). His credits include originating the broadway role of Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music and for portraying Tevye in Fiddler more than 2,000 times. He was one of the Newport Folk Festivalfounders and continued his social, political and Jewish activism throughout his life. His beginnings started on a Kibbutz in the pre-Israel era of 1924 which led him to perform at Tel Aviv’s premier theater, Habima in 1943. We had the great pleasure of meeting him and being awed by his musical talents last month when he sang with Peter Yarrow and David Broza at a NYC event. I found this video of him as a young (handsome, I might add) man singing a beautiful folk song, “My Side of the Mountain”.