March 26, 2017

Taking It Back

So I was watching Baahubali, the highest grossing movie in India, ever. 

Enjoyed the Bollywood action and pageantry and am looking forward to the sequel coming out this week.

There was one line in the movie, spoken between swordsmen that stood out to me:

"Spoken words and spilled blood can never be taken back."

Mean and harsh word can cut like a knife and hurting someone with words or deeds, can never really be taken back. 

Sure, we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends.

But it's like once you let the genie out the bottle, you can never really put her and keep her back in. 

A veteran recently fought to have a VA hospital in Florida put the picture of the President up instead of the blank frame on the wall they had (some nonsensical notion of resistance indicating "not my president")--the veteran said about trying to right this wrong:
"It's like trying to put 5 pounds of baloney back in a bag that only holds 2 pounds."

People are doing bad things and saying bad these things these days that can't be just taken back. 

Family, friends, and colleagues--are fighting it out and splitting up.

Each side tells themselves and the other that their cause is right and noble.  

But how much of it is really just brainwashing, hyperbole, and politicking?

While our values as individuals and as a nation should never be put at stake, maybe we could get more done and better by working together than spilling blood--friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 25, 2017

A Nation Conquered By Politics

So Obamacare is failing with rates spiraling up out of control and choices narrowing for people that need good affordable healthcare. 

And the Ryancare replacement plan failed to garner enough votes and has been questioned by the alt-right as not going further enough to change things for the better. 

Blame the parliamentarian, blame each other, blame the Russians. 

Between the two sides of the aisle, there aren't enough centrists, and the parties won't work together on a solution to this or anything else apparently--hence the utter catastrophic deadlock and lack of progress in Washington going on for years now!

The democrats passed Obamacare along party lines without a single Republican.

And now Ryancare similarly had not a single Democrat. 

Resistance.  Resistance.  Resistance!

This is how polarized and ineffective our system of governing has become, when the two sides love their position and power more than they love the people of this great nation!

The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians didn't have to fire a single shot...they just continued to shame our ineffectiveness with bogus deals and aggressive posturing, fed us boatloads  of misinformation ("fake news") to agitate our already divided country, and then they left us to split asunder under of our democracy's own weight. 

As the Republicans point fingers and the Democrats gloat--there is a great refrain of La La La Koosh Koosh going on--and the Superpower U.S. is looking not only asleep, but also fat, stupid and sprawled out pathetic with no where to go but up from here. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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March 24, 2017

Locked Inside Your Own Body

So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is...physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 

Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history--from chains, cages, and dungeons--the most vile despots have placed people's bodies in desperate restraints. 

But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 

My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson's Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering...only death itself.

In another instance, a colleague's spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it's course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 

In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul--no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 

Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?

There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes--it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 

Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d's ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 23, 2017

Needed: A Giving Hand With Smart Border Security

While we should certainly help immigrant refugees and those in need, we also need to provide adequate vetting and border security for our people. 

This does not mean that all immigrants are bad or that we are mean or paranoid, bur rather that we need to take smart and measured precautions in the dangerous times we are living in.

Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other such brutal terrorist organizations have shown they mean murderous business, and they are vowing to strike at the hearts of America and the West.

So while we open our hearts, we can't close our eyes!

Safeguard America and the good decent people already here, and at the same time be merciful and giving to immigrants, but don't sacrifice one for the other. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with photos adapted from here and here and with attribution to the New York Times and Alan Silver)
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March 22, 2017

UN Is Plagued With JEWPHOBIA


IT'S AN EPIDEMIC AT THE UNITED NATIONS.

It's a most evil disease of the mind, body, and soul. 

And it's called--Jewphobia!

And it's taken many forms throughout history...

- Hateful Anti-Israel Resolutions

- Terrorism

- Wars

- Boycotts, Divestitures, and Sanctions

- Genocidal Holocaust

- Death Camps

- Crematoria

- Gas Chambers

- Forced Labor

- Human Medical Experiments

- Kristillnacht

- Iron Curtains

- Persecutions

- Pogroms

- Discrimination

- Blood Libels

- Torture Chambers

- Inquisition

- Expulsions

- Occupations

- Destruction of the Temple (2x)

- Plundering

- Masacres

- Sieges

- Infanticide

- Slavery

WHEN IS THE HATE AND JEWPHOBIA GOING TO STOP?

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with source background photo here)
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March 21, 2017

When Little Girls Are Not Princesses

Normally, little girls dream of and are treated as the beautiful princesses that they are. 

But not in Rockville, Maryland last Thursday, where a 14-year old, 9th grade girl was brutally raped by two immigrants (17- and 18-years old) in the bathroom of their high school. 

She was mercilessly raped multiple times "vaginally, orally, and sodomized."

One of the attackers had previously been detained at the border, but then released as per the lax standards of border security that were in place by the prior administration. 

It is incredible that as a superpower nation, we have not secured our own borders and our homeland. 

Unfortunately, there are many stories like this, and I personally know of a girl from the Bronx who was similarly raped in the stairwell of her school. 

Forget education or competitiveness, when we can't even provide a safe and secure school environment for our children. 

It is not a strength to let our enemies gain the upper hand, but rather a weakness of our national character--to let bleeding hearts undermine our security.

Sure, we must be empathetic and caring for all people, but this must come hand-in-hand with proper vetting and due precautions. 

Every child in the United deserves to be a princess and a prince, and no one here legally or illegally should be allowed to destroy that present or future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 20, 2017

Budget Cuts Conundrum

So I'm hearing two opposing themes about the proposed federal budget cuts:

1) It's horrible because we are cutting into the bone and this is going to really hurt a lot of important government programs.

2) It's great because we have been spending money that we don't really have, and we need to finally reign it in. 

Let's face it, we'll never get such drastic cuts across the civilian government unless this country goes into severe crisis mode--which never happens until it's too late and something terrible has happened. 

If we even got half the cuts being proposed--which most people don't seem to believe will even happen--that would be significant and painful itself. 

The truth of the matter is that we are facing enormous danger on both the national security and financial fronts!

- Militarily--Russia, China, Iran, North Korea pose huge threats including those involving weapons of mass destruction. 

- Financially--We have a serious national debt to the tune of $20 trillion, an annual trade deficit of half a trillion dollars, and social security and medicare trust funds that are going bankrupt. 

If we let these threats run their course, we will eventually have a crisis that will be truly nationally catastrophic. 

So what's it gonna be--guns or butter--or national bankruptcy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 19, 2017

Killer Bots--Massive and Nano

There are big deadly weapons to worry about, such as weapons of mass destruction that come on an ICBM or even in a suitcase bomb to frightening armies of massive killer robots.

And then there are small nanobot weapons to worry about--which don't sound like much, but they could be the ultimate killer machines.

About 10 nanometers make up the width of a human hair, so we are talking about microscopic or bug size weaponized drones. 

Nanobots can be manufactured or scarily can be self-replicating. 

They can fly alone or in massive swarms. 

They can surreptitiously enter/exit and carry out their missions virtually undetected. 

Whether surveillance or delivering a mini-nuke or a toxin.

Nanobots could function like a biological weapon killing millions--targeted or indiscriminately. 

Cambridge University forecasts a 5% chance that nanotech weapons could cause a human extinction level event by the year 2,100

Soon wars will not be fought by people any longer--by rather by robots and nanobots.

People are too fragile for fighting and war against ruggedized and militarized bots that are designed for one purpose only...to kill, kill, kill. 

Terminators are coming--from massive to nanoscale--and mere humans will be dogmeat to these killing machines.

Add in a cyber warfare component that will turn off 21st century civilization leaving us to fend as if we were back in the stone ages, and overpopulation is the last and funniest joke any of us will ever tell. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 18, 2017

The Greatest Failure of Leadership

So perhaps the most damaging trait of failed leadership is hubris.


When a leaders exhibits arrogance--bullies and degrades others, especially underlings--then that absolutely destroys the moral fiber of and the employee engagement in the organization.


No, it's not the salary and benefits, or recognition, or position title, or even the grandness of the mission of the organization itself--although they are all important--but rather, the key ingredient to employee satisfaction is the common sense fundamental of how we treat our people.


People rising or elevated in the organization frequently forget the humble beginnings from whence they and their families likely began.


They see their honor and fat pay check and power--and they start to perhaps think of themselves as (close to) G-d Almighty, Him/Herself.


But it is not their position that makes them in the image of G-d, but how they care for and treat others.


If they shepherd their flocks meekly and with empathy and kindness to all then they emulate G-d, the creator and sustainer.


But when it goes to their heads and they become fat and haughty with themselves and are above everyone and care not for the basic dignity and respect of each individual in their steward then G-d sees and G-d hears the cry of the oppressed, and the mighty will surely fall and hard.


As it says in Isaiah 13:11:

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.


Those who are blessed by G-d with position, money, and power--their challenge is to be gracious and giving with it. 


When they "laud it" over others and when they think that they are truly "all that"--rest assured that G-d does not let any tree grow or tower (of Babel) build into the Heavens themselves. 


Empathy, kindness, graciousness, and generosity--that is true leadership--and that is when employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity will bear the mark of the meek and the truly great person and leader. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 17, 2017

The Utterly Useless United Nations

The Unjust, bigoted and hate-filled UN once again falsely condemns democratic Israel calling her an Apartheid state, when to the contrary, she is the one under perpetual attack by war and terror by those who seek her utter destruction.

Of no surprise, the report was generated by an anti-Semitic Arab-led group at the UN.

The cursed authors of the hateful report are Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, along with their anti-Israel benefactors at the farcical United Nations.

The tiny-sized State of Israel (the size of New Jersey) is surrounded by radicalized enemies with more than 50 of their own countries yet that is not enough for them as they are obsessed with and seek the destruction of the one State of Israel.

The United Nations is comprised of 193 members, with the largest block being the 119 non-aligned members, of which 57 are made up of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Some have put it this way, "1 despot-1 vote!"

I am confidant that the biggest problem for the Anti-Semites in and out of the UN--aside from the formidable Israel Defense Forces (IDF)--is that Almighty G-d protects the Children of Israel.

As it says in Zechariah 12:3,

"On that day, when all the nations [the United Nations] of the earth are gathered against her [Israel], I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves."

So UNjust, evil, United Nations, enjoy your bias and hateful reports and resolutions, Israel will remain the Jewish Homeland, as promised by G-d over 3,000 years ago, and you will remain destined to rot in the you-know-where. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 16, 2017

Sexuality Sells Sometimes

So this was the entranceway to a store in Florida. 

As you can see, the center mannequin is set up sitting in not a very modest way for a lady. 

And worse, there is a little boy mannequin situated right next to her. 

It was funny to see people stop to look at this fake sexual scene.

But no amount of sexuality could sell the junk that the store was pushing. 

So strutting your stuff or showing a little skin--or in this case hard plastic--may get the customer's attention or even in the store.

However, it certainly doesn't close the deal, although something else here would be better off shut or as my mother-in-law says, "close your yap!" ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 15, 2017

When Life Has Meaning

What makes meaning in life?

Faith.

Family.

Friends.

Love.

Giving.

Integrity. 

Purpose.

Learning. 

Growth.

Struggle. 

Hope.

Meaning is crucial to personal happiness and wellbeing. 

Without meaning there is worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Seek meaning to prolong your life and make it a life truly worth living. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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March 14, 2017

Your Days Are Numbered

How low do some people go?


So far this year, there have been over 100 bomb threats to Jewish community centers, synagogues, and schools--threatening innocent men, women, and children.


In just three months, from the election through February 7, there have been over 1,300 hate incidents targeting a variety of religious and ethnic groups since the election--this is a 650% increase over "normal."


Thank G-d, nothing large-scale and serious has actually happened.


But hate is alive and well in the USA.


Already, there's been one arrest of a left-wing extremist.


You can be sure that more will follow!


Those evil people with bias, prejudice, and hate in their hearts and violence on their minds will see justice done.


It's a matter of time...


Unanimously 100 Senators have called for swift action.


We have some of the finest law enforcement in the entire world.


And with every hateful act, you are leaving a most wonderful forensic trail of evidence that will lead them right back to you.


It's one thing for people to disagree politically, religiously, socially or otherwise but it's another to be a racist and hater and seek to do bad.


You may be calling in bomb threats, but what's ticking is the clock on you...the countdown has begun until you're caught and then you'll be counting the years and decades locked securely behind bars, wasting away, and doing your hard time and penance for the crimes you have done and the evil you espouse.


With justice, may G-d hear it, see it, and let it be done. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 13, 2017

Know Before Whom You Stand

So this was one of those amazing types of photos--like a one in a million. 

It was taken in Synagogue in front of the aron (ark) where the Holy Torahs are kept.

On Sabbath and holidays, after services, devout people often go up to the doors of the ark to say a personal and silent prayer of devotion getting up close to the Torahs (G-d's sacred words to us). 

What you'll see here is that someone is dressed (for Purim) as Superwoman. 

The juxtaposition of Superwoman to the Holy ark is accentuated by the words above the ark, which translated from the Hebrew states:

"Know before whom you stand."

A cautionary note and reminder that before the ark, we are literally standing before the presence of G-d (and to conduct ourselves with the utmost respect and propriety)

So in this picture, we have Superwoman standing before G-d, the most super of them all!

When I think of how minuscule we as human beings are before our Maker, it is magnified for me that even the most super of human beings infinitely pales when standing in front of the majesty and omnipotence of our L-rd. 

Superman and Superwoman prostrate yourselves before Hashem, even as we all must do. ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal with compliments to Monique for the photo)
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March 12, 2017

Bull In A China Shop


For some reason everyone wants to face down the bull in the China Shop or on Wall Street. 

The bull is stubborn and when it gets angry, it charges and gores. 

So how heroic for the statue of little girl (below on International Women's Day) to be shown standing in front of him defiantly and not afraid. 

The truth probably is that we are all afraid in life. 

No one wants to get hurt or worse. 

The consequences of something really bad happening can be devastating loss--limb, body, mobility, property or even total person. 

And actually, the more we have in life, the more we have to (potentially) G-d forbid, lose. 

So when you have a spouse, children, a beautiful home, and a good job, that's when you get really, really afraid. 

Losing your precious loved ones and everything you've built with G-d's blessing and help can instantaneously be gone in the blink of an eye. 

Therefore, be careful before standing in front of a raging bull, you never know when you'll get walloped and bad. 

Bravery in the face of danger is noble and praiseworthy when doing true good and confronting evil, but just to be a big mouth or a know-it-all or to strut your stuff, you better forget about it--you've got a lot to lose and it doesn't take much for that bull to charge head on and do you a real big dirty! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and here with attribution to AP)
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March 11, 2017

Magen David's Got Purim Talent 2017






































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