“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Archive for January, 2016
So proud to be a Mexican-American entrepreneur, and I never take that for granted.
This video about my cousin Emmanuel’s cinematography literally moved me to tears. The humanity within every one of his shots, the fragility and beauty these convey about our human condition and the world we inhabit are so humbling, so poetic, so powerful. Emmanuel, aka “Chivo”, has won two Oscars thus far and just got nominated for a third. He turns movies into the most emotive art. His imagery moves and stirs one’s soul as if watching the most beautiful sunset. And he has the ability to turn a banal breath into an enigmatic contemplation of sorrow and pain.
When we were little, I remember noticing him as he contemplated and photographed an army of ants on a wall as my other cousins wrestled one another. If you pay attention when you watch the movie, you will capture a shot he took of warring ants that says so much, particularly knowing of Emmanuel’s artistic journey, where everything is captivating and wondrous.I also remember as a kid how he would always show a noble spirit, protecting my sister when others were teasing her, and inviting me to be part of his sports team when I was starting to feel sad because other kids wouldn’t pick me (yes, I was a kind of clumsy soccer player). It is amazing to see how this little kid grew to be such an epic observer of nature and such a wizard of light.
There are three processes taking place in Israel that, if not reversed by 2025, will end this country’s life as a modern Jewish democracy.
One process is taking place on the hills. In 1975 there were a few thousand settlers in Judea and Samaria. In 1995 there were around 120,000. Today there are 400,000. Over the past four decades, the Gush Emunim settlement movement has achieved a complete and total victory over Israeli officialdom. First it established facts on the ground, then it got those facts officially recognized, and then it tripled, quadrupled and quintupled them using state resources.
The result is a toxic demographic-political omelet which will be very hard to turn back into the egg mix from which it came. If the number of residents in Judea and Samaria reach 600,000, 700,000 or 800,000 by 2025, it will no longer be possible to divide the land, and Israel will become a binational state. Whether this binational state is no longer Jewish or no longer a democracy, the Zionist enterprise will have met its end.
The second process is taking place in people’s hearts and minds. In 1975, Aharon Barak was appointed attorney general. The appointment of the young, brilliant, independent legal professor to this elevated position indicated that Israel was becoming a genuine liberal democracy. The years of David Ben-Gurion’s statism were followed by the years of human dignity, human rights, and the building of strong, independent democratic institutions. For three decades Israel knew a relative golden age of ever-strengthening rule of law, expanded freedom of expression and the establishment of a truly free society.
President Barack Obama – Just Tell Him You’re the President – Episode – Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry SeinfeldPublished under Funnies, United States Jan 04, 2016
This is a fantastic piece that combines classy comedy along with actual insights in to the life of our President, and the politics, fame, and global issues that surround him. President Obama is outstanding.
Better late than never: time to assertively choke off all financing from terrorist groups like HezbollahPublished under Lebanon, Middle East, United States Jan 04, 2016
Legislation making its way through the US Congressional process is finally addressing financing of Hezbollah. The US Government is finally targeting banks, individuals and institutions that fund and do business with terrorist groups and their proxies, including incendiary stations like Al Manar. It is important to double down on this track, so funders of terror will know there will be consequences to their impunity. As the below article indicates, impact is beginning to be felt. Hezbollah has over decades built a global funding network that traffics in drugs and contraband from Latin America to the US. It is high time that those networks be targeted also.
Times of Israel: Hezbollah Said Mired in Financial Crisis, by Times of Israel Staff and Agencies
A Lebanese banking delegation is reportedly heading to the US next month after Washington said it would impose sanctions on terror group Hezbollah, which is said to be mired in financial crisis.
The US House of Representatives voted unanimously on December 16 to impose tough new sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
According to Lebanese media reports, a team representing the Association of Banks in Lebanon will head to New York and Washington to discuss the new proposed guidelines with Treasury and State Department officials.
Sources linked to the delegation told the Lebanese An Nahar daily “the sector has no problem with the US authorities which are closely following up on Lebanon’s commitment to international laws and adherence to them, but that these commitments must be re-confirmed after the issuance of the said law,” according to a translation by the Naharnet website.
The reports said the Iran-backed Hezbollah is facing financial difficulties, and failed to pay November and December salaries to its officials.
The bill targeting the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist organization by Washington and Israel, passed the Senate last month. It now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature.
The legislation also targets Hezbollah’s television channel Al-Manar by aiming to cut the broadcast of satellite operators that air the channel’s programming.
The House adopted the measure 422 to 0, following a unanimous vote in the Senate on November 17.
Obama will sign the legislation, a senior administration official told AFP, adding that the administration has worked with Congress for years “to intensify the pressure against the Hezbollah terrorist organization.”
The new rules direct the president to prescribe punishing regulations against financial institutions that conduct transactions with Hezbollah or otherwise launder funds for the organization.
It also requires the administration to present to Congress a series of reports highlighting the group’s narcotics trafficking, transnational crime and operations of international groups linked to Hezbollah, especially in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The administration will list those particular countries that support Hezbollah, or in which the group maintains a key logistical base.
“Hezbollah has had to cast a wide net because most Lebanese banks have not wanted to do business with them,” a congressional expert on the legislation told AFP.
With participants in Hezbollah’s global networks “in our cross-hairs, they should be worried,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce told lawmakers Wednesday ahead of the vote.
“There is no question that Hezbollah is stronger than ever,” said congresswoman Jackie Walorski, who described the group as a dangerous enemy to Israel and one that has amassed more than 150,000 rockets and missiles and gained hardened battlefield experience in Syria.