November 12, 2018

Beautiful Peaceful Picture For Veterans Day

Just wanted to share this beautiful, peaceful picture for Veterans Day.

Let there be no war anymore!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2018

Stretch Goals That Break The Band

So I learned some important lesson about stretch goals. 

You want to have stretch goals because they make your strive to do and be your best. 

When you have to stretch yourself above your normal then you can take yourself to whole new levels of performance and achievement. 

However, if the stretch goals are ridiculously unachievable than you simply set yourself up for frustration and failure. 

Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 

But too often they are DUMB goals: Directed by others, Unachievable, Made to fail, and Based on false assumptions. 

For example, if someone tells you to jump off that bridge into the whitewater beneath because they assume that somehow you can spread you bare arms and fly--guess what is going to happen to you?

Goals can help you get to new heights of accomplishment in life or they can pull you down in false condemnation and despair. 

Like in fighting the good fight...be careful when you are sent to the front lines in trench warfare with heavily dug fortifications, machine guns and artillery placements aimed your way and yelled at with no rational strategy to "Advance!"

The only place that is going to take you is to an early grave. 

Instead, fight smart and take the hill when the hill is takable--you save a lot more lives that way and you actually take that hill! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2018

Democrats and Democracy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Democrats and Democracy--Could It Be Again?"
The polarization, opposition, racism, and hatred is despicable and seems to only be getting worse. Two more people came to me today after synagogue to tell me they are “resigning” from the democratic party. We all used to love the Democratic Party and what it stood for, especially as Jews, who know the endless and murderous barbs of discrimination and anti-Semitism. What has happened? What once stood for freedom, respect, and dignity for all has turned upside down and inside out. All I hear now is hate, hate, and more hate.

Whichever political party and leadership can do what's right for the nation and adhere to civil rights, human rights, and doing what's right--that's the one for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2018

A Half Truth

So everyone is always playing with the truth. 

They don't want people to really know the truth, but they don't want to call it a real lie.

Hence the saying:
"It's just a white lie!"

A white lie is usually taken as in "pure" or "righteous"--in other words, there is a good reason (like to prevent someone from getting hurt) for lying, . 

Yes, sure there is (LOL).

Sometimes people lie to themselves:
"What you don't know can't harm you!"

Most often, people tell what they call half truths.

This is commonly referred to as:
"Beating around the bush!"

However, don't tell anyone:
A half truth is a lie!

And just like beating around the bush arouses the birds to fly and get caught in a net--that's what telling half truths do too. 

Why is it so hard to tell the whole truth, because that would make most people look pretty bad. 

If people only knew.

But someday, of course, they will. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2018

Think Back, Think Forward

So yesterday I attended a colleagues's leadership program graduation. 

There were about 20 people in the graduating class. 

One thing that I liked was that when they called up each person to shake hands and get their diplomas, each graduate was given the opportunity to say a few words. 

It was amazing to me how 20 people could give a thank you, what I learned, and what I will do with it speech in 20 completely different ways. 

20 people, 20 personalities, 20 ways of thinking and saying something. 

We really are all the similar to and different from one anther at the same time!

I remember one graduate in particular.

He talked about how the leadership program challenged him, and he said:
It made me think back, and it made me think forward. 

I loved that!

This is really what learning is all about. 

Reflecting back and using that to think forward--how to apply it, how to shape it, and how to innovate from it.

Thinking forward starts with thinking back to where we came from and all the lessons learned in our lives. 

It all starts at the beginning and it goes forward from there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 7, 2018

Bills, Health, and Purpose

So I wanted to share some wisdom from one of my best friends. 

He was telling me about some of life's stresses at work, home, etc., and he said even though every looks forward to retirement "one day," the problems don't go away. 

He mentioned some examples of people he knows that retired relatively young and with a pension.

Nevertheless, he said:
They still worry about bills, about health, and mostly about purpose!

And even though they don't have the day-to-day grind in the office, he said:
Their own stress is as real to them as mine is to me.

I couldn't help reflecting on his words and thinking how smart this was. 

No one has it all!

Everyone is this world has fears, worries, and problems. 

And you know what?  It's okay.  

Life is about us confronting what seems unconfrontable and becoming better human beings because we did. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 6, 2018

Training Them To Be Like Us

So I saw this in the supermarket. 

This kid was pushing the shopping cart with groceries in it. 

And a little sign at the top that says:
Customer in Training

His mom is nearby with the big shopping cart full of even more groceries. 

It's interesting how we teach our kids to be just like us and at the same time to be not like us. 

They emulate some things and they reject others.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

But no two apples are the same either. 

Teaching is an important component of parenting and schooling. 

We need to impart important lessons from the past, so children don't have to recreate the wheel in the present and future. 

But spitting out little clones is not helpful to innovation and the engine of "what's next." 

Sometimes, I envision that there is a really big war--maybe World War III--nukes are used and all our bits and bytes are wiped out, and we are thrown back to the Stone Age. 

All the teaching is evaporated in the vapor of the blasts.

All that's left in what's in the soul of the remaining. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 5, 2018

Election Day Dead of 2018

This just seemed so perfect for election day this year. 

With the country torn asunder between left and right. 

We are the grateful dead of the U.S. of A. 

- Our political system is stymied and our representatives are only self-minded. 

The integrity of our founding fathers has vanished and last century's great national hope has languished. 

Cause the liberals hate the conservatives. 

And the conservatives hate the liberals. 

All of my folks hate all of your folks, and everyone blames the Jews.  

- The Constitution has become malarkey, and the Bill of Rights now makes people snarky. 

Polarization and they're a lyin', fake news and no one is even tryin'.

It's either my way or the highway, and everyone else can go to h*ll. 

- Throw a fit and curse your neighbor, chase the opposition to the wayward. 

Know that threats and violence are better than silence, and resistance means persistence. 

How could this have even happened, and you're all on the wrong side of history. 

- Are we making things great, and they're only about hate. 

Or are they racist deplorables, and we're the self-righteous ennobles. 

From the economy to trade wars, and from immigration to healthcare. 

Why is it that we can't listen, negotiate, compromise, and play fair. 

- I don't know why we're even having an election.

When we only want to defeat the opposition. 

Cause the Democrats hate the Republicans.

And the Republicans hate the Democrats. 

All of the Obamanicks hate the Trumpeans, and vice versa is certainly true too. 

- It's up to everyone to put the country first and stop the bickering and the hate. 

Practice patriotism and nationalism, tear down the walls so progress does not stall. 

No one is all right and no one is all wrong, instead we've got to come together and just let everyone belong. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 4, 2018

Problems Are Earthly

This was a saying that I really liked. 
"G-d is greater than you problem"

- Problems may seem like the end.

But G-d is the root of all BEGINNINGS!

- Problems may be overwhelming. 

But G-d is your HEAVENLY FATHER AND MOTHER!

- Problems may be big.

But G-d is INFINITE!

- Problems may be tough.

But G-d is ALL POWERFUL!

- Problems may be challenging.

But G-d has all the ANSWERS!

- Don't let your problems get you down. 

See the bigger picture. 

Know you are not alone in the universe. 

Have faith that everything is in G-d's hands and will be alright. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2018

Appreciate The Good

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Seeing the Good in Life."
After synagogue services today, we sat at the Kiddish with a lovely couple, and the lady took the opportunity to go around the table and ask each person: “What good thing happened to you this week?” I really appreciated the idea of focusing on the good and the miracles we live through every day rather than the bad things. It was interesting though that people seemed to have trouble saying something really positive from their week. In truth, they seemed more enveloped in the problems of the times rather than the opportunities that each day brings.
But truly, there are so many good things that we can appreciate each and every day, and that inspires faith and hope for many more good things to come. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2018

At The Border: Immigration Or War

So it's interesting how this whole immigration crisis is playing out in real life and simultaneously on TV. 

In real life, we have a caravan of thousands of people marching from Central America (Honduras and Guatemala) to the U.S. border seeking asylum, mostly for economic reasons. 

On TV, we have the Last Ship Season 5, where South and Central America are at war with the U.S., "no longer willing to sit at the children's table of international politics," and they are coming to the U.S. to fight.

In the U.S. today, there are over 40 million people that were born in another country.  Of these, there are over 12 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. (55% from Mexico), and we know that we need immigration reform.  

In the truest sense, we are almost all of us immigrants to this country, with ourselves or our families coming over at one time or another, and we are grateful for the generosity and open doors that allowed us to come here and make a good life.

Of course, we want to pay it forward and give others the same asylum and opportunity that we had and which they as human beings deserve. 

Yet, the country continues to debate the mix of compassion and giving to the oppressed and needy versus the merit principles for bringing in needed skills, talents, and investment, and how many is the "right" number to allow in at any one time.

In real life, we are beefing up border agents, building a wall, and calling in the military to halt the illegal flow of immigrants, so that we can channel immigrates through a process and vetting that leads to legal and safe immigration to this country

On TV, we are fighting in the air, on land, and at sea an alliance of countries from the south and central that want to take over the U.S., and we are also holding our own and holding them back.

In both cases, we need to have and maintain borders to be a sovereign country, to protect our country, and to ensure that caravans of illegal immigrants or foreign troops are not crossing the border and doing harm. 

It's high time for true immigration reform that is compassionate yet principled, but overrunning the border isn't an option that is practical or fair.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2018

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 

I hate going to the hospital--who doesn't?

But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 

I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 

This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 

Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:
This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  

Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we'll saw your leg off!

I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor--I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.

He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn't want to get caught under their knife. 

So that's certainly some apprehension going in to this. 

The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 

But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn't have any, so the lady asks for "proof of homelessness."

I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.

They wouldn't do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  

I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 

While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don't get that need it, and pray that we as a "caring society" will do better. 

Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 30, 2018

Beautiful Flowers

I just wanted to share these beautiful flowers. 

The colors and shapes are so amazing. 

It's like you can see G-d's amazing hand in creating these so intricately, delicately and with so much brilliance. 

There is comfort in His work and the life He has given.

I am grateful for each day to serve His purpose. 

Hope you enjoy the gorgeous flowers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 29, 2018

Talking The Bullet

So I learned many valuable lessons when I worked at the U.S. Secret Service--I loved it there!

But one of the lessons that sticks out it that sometimes you have to take a bullet for the President!

This lesson stayed with me and I believe it applies to a lot of other situations in life as well.

Sometimes you take one for the 

- Team

- Cause

- Relationship  

It's easy to say you are going to preserve you self by "dodging a bullet," but often it's really just the opposite that is needed. 

If you take the bullet, you are putting yourself subordinate to a larger cause and what is really important. 

Taking one to safeguard the President of the United States is definitely a larger cause. 

But also your team, the success of an important cause or project, precious relationships that have been built over time--these can all mean more than taking even a significant hit. 

This doesn't mean to be stupid, become anyone's punching bag or just take people's sh*t for nothing. 

Rather what it does mean is that you can suck it up sometimes--when the ends justify the means--and jump in front of that bullet to preserve something bigger and more important than just yourself. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2018

Shooting At You

As I heard recently in a movie:

"When someone is shooting at you, you know their intentions."

Sounds simple right?

But often the person throwing shots your way may be couching their real intentions and telling you:

"Ah, it's nothing."

Some may try and rip you off, and tell you: 

"It's just business!"

Others punching you like a punching bag tell you:

"You need to get a thicker skin!"

People f*cking with your head ask you:

"Aren't you being a little paranoid?"

Yet others blame the victim calling you out for any sign of weakness"

"Why are you so pathetic? Crybaby!"

The truth of the matter is when people shoot you, take potshots at you, or otherwise physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse you, there is usually some evil sleight of hand and tongue at play.

People that are good people--don't abuse you!

There is no guise or beguiling when people are being truthful and when they truly care about other people. 

When they shoot at you, yes you know their intentions.

Stop pretending they didn't mean it. Stop accepting empty promises that they won't do it again. Stop listening to hollow refrains of sorry. 

People can be selfish and evil beasts that rip others apart because they will benefit from it or simply because they can or want to.

- Pain and suffering of other human beings is what they relish and feed on like blood is to a vampire. 

Good people--do good to others. 

- They want to give to others and see others flourish--they know G-d and understand the real purpose of life. 

When they shoot you, you know their intentions. 

Sure you can shoot back and sometimes you have no choice, but the best way to win is to be that good person.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2018

Shooting at The Tree of Life

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Devastation at The Tree of Life Shooting."
No, this is certainly not the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden--this murderous scene was certainly no Eden! On this Shabbat there is not life in that holy house of worship, but another familiar Jewish massacre from a gunman screaming, "All the Jews need to die!"
Let us be strong together and hope for the full redemption when peace and brotherhood will soon prevail. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2018

A Window and A Mirror

Thought this was a wonderful story on our perspectives in life. 

And how money can corrupt our vision of what is truly important. 

This is the story:

A rich man became ill. 

He looked out the window and saw his old friend who was a poor man. 

The rich, sick man invited the poor man, his friend into his house.

After talking awhile, the rich man asked the poor man to tell him what he sees. 

The poor man told the rich man to go over to the window and asked:
What do you see?

The rich man said:
I see men, women and children in the street. 

Then the poor man took the rich man over the mirror and asked him:
Now what do you see?

The rich man taken aback for a moment, said:
I see myself.

The poor man says:
Ah, that is the difference. Both the window and the mirror are both made out of glass. But when you look into them, you see different things. The window is just plain glass.  But the mirror is glass covered in silver. When we look through just the glass, we see others!  But when we look through the glass tainted with a coating of silver (i.e. money), we only see ourselves.

Wow! Think about it a moment. Shabbat Shalom!  ;-)

(Story adapted from Bishvil Ha-Ivrit)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 25, 2018

It's Not Really Yours

You can't live without money, but you can't just live for money. 

Didn't someone say, "Money is the root of all evil."

Of course, it's not money itself that is bad, but the greed for it, and the use and hoarding of it for selfish purposes. 

On this topic, my daughter sent me this interesting story:
One business tycoon in China passed away. 
His widow, was left with $1.9 billion in the bank, and married his chauffeur.
His chauffeur said: "All the while, I thought I was working for my boss... it is only now, that I realize that my boss was all the time, working for me!"
We can have all the money in the world, but it's never really ours. 

It all belongs to G-d, as does our entire life. 

He decides what we have or don't have (any longer). 

We need to realize that life is ephemeral and all material things are given to us just for the time being. 

We should be generous with whatever bounty that G-d has given to us, because in the end that is all that is truly lasting. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2018

Herd Mentality

What do herds do?

First there are big mouths and groupthink.

Then there is chasing each others tails.

This could lead to literally going off a cliff. 

Typically, like wolves, they hunt viciously in packs.

When they are stalked, they run scared leaving the weakest to serve as prey. 

When hunted, they are separated and slaughtered. 

Sometimes they stampede and can run over anything in their path.

Occasionally, they even devour their own young to keep the herd fed. 

Herds serve a survival function in nature, but when the herd is dumb, as if often the case, they die off and are left extinct. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2018

The Value of Pain

Three notables on the value of pain:

1) Pain is a warning of dangerous threats and helps safeguard us.

2) Pain that doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

3) Pain lets you know you ain't dead yet.

Then again, nothing wrong with a little pain relief. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 21, 2018

Awesome "Am Echad" by Ari Goldwag



When I am for myself
And you are not with me
What am I when I am separate?
For I am a Jew
I do not go alone
Just with you, my friend, hand in hand
One nation, one song
Come my brother and give me your hand
And we will rejoice and dance together
As one person, with one heart
I don't want want to be alone,
Just forever brothers sitting together
To be a family
Is the secret of joy
For everything is better together
And we sing
All Israel are friends
We won't give up on anyone
If we can successfully love
And sing 'how pleasant..'
The Moshiach will come soon
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Wine Makes Me Smile

What a great labeling of this bottle of wine. 

Just a big simple smiley face on it!

After I saw this bottle in the store, I just had to take a picture and also look this up on the internet. 

It's part of the "SMILE" wine campaign from Lindeman's Wines.

Apparently each limited edition bottle reminds you of something that we have to smile about: "family get-togethers," "discovering new places," and "randoms acts of kindness."

Wow, I love this idea.  

Wine makes you smile, but so do these wonderful things in life. 

And it's not just showing/associating the product with something positive (like beer and soda commercials always do), but it's making the product itself smile at you!

I think this is a really smart marketing campaign.

Also, the cute smiley face on the bottle would make this the life of the party. 

Great job Lindemans--I'm smiling. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 20, 2018

Shabbat Shalom and Good Luck On The Jackpot

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Shabbat Shalom and Good luck on The Jackpot."
So the Mega Millions jackpot is up to an astonishing $1.6B! This is the largest lottery in U.S. history. Instantly you become one of the richest people in the world. At the kiddush after shul today, it didn't take long for the conversation to hit on the upcoming lottery drawing. 
Read about it--it was funny! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 19, 2018

Parking Lot Full of Ideas

So conducting large meetings is not often easy. 

People have their own concepts as to where they'd like the discussion to go.

Yes, agendas help keep the meeting focused. 

And a good facilitator enforces meeting discipline. 

Some people think that any deviation from the agenda is like taken a sudden left turn or driving off the cliff. 

But you don't want to throw away the baby with the bath water. 

It's important to jot down good ideas or follow up questions that come out in the discussion even when they are not immediately relevant. 

That's where the "Parking Lot" comes into play. 

A flip chart or whiteboard to capture the important thoughts for follow up afterwards. 

While parking lots are needed to take certain things off the table immediately in order to focus on accomplishing the meeting's objectives, they are not junk yards for people's input. 

Instead, they are a place to park the stray thoughts and then to actively follow up on these after. 

No question is a dumb one, and no idea isn't worth considering. 

Parking lots can be full of these and they should be parked and then taken for a spin around the neighborhood.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2018

Memory Comes In 3's

So it seems like the human mind can fundamentally only remember things in threes.

Whether it's a joke about serving 3 meals: Frozen, Microwave, and Take-out. 

Or Even washing your hair: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. 

How about what to do when there is an:

Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight

Fire: Stop, Drop, Roll

Earthquake: Drop, Cover, Hold On

G-d forbid there should be 4 or more steps to do something, and mankind would be beyond his/her mental limitations and at a virtual standstill. 

So read, remember, and use this appropriately--that's the 3 things to do now with this post. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2018

Trump's Uncanny Ability To Call A Horse A Horse

So President Trump has an uncanny ability to call something what it is and literally brand it that way. 

After Stormy Daniels lost a recent lawsuit against Trump, he called her "Horseface."

Not a nice term about people and things he doesn't like.

But you know what when I looked at her, I could see what he saw.

And you know what, she will go down in the history books as Horseface. 

Similarly, with many other brands Trump has bestowed on others:

"Crooked Hillary (Clinton)"

"Failing New York Times"

"Crazy Joe (Biden)"

"Criminal Enterprise (Clinton Foundation)"

"Save Your Energy Rex (Tillerson)"

"Countries That Rip Us Off (NATO)"

"Worst Deal Ever (Iran Nuclear Deal)"

"Losers, Thugs (Islamic State)"

"Fake News (CNN)"

"Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren)"

"Cryin Chuck (Schumer)"

"Will Make America Weak Again (Nancy Pelosi)"

"Crazy Rants (Maxine Waters)"

"Rocket Man (Kim Jong-Un)"

"Doing Many Bad Things Behind Our Back (Iran)"

Again, I'm not condoning name-calling of any kind.

And words certainly do hurt. 

However, Trump does seem to see things that are like, "Oh yeah!"

And once, he coins a term, it sticks!

Not that it's right, but he has a genius to brand people and things.  

What he sees and what he calls it, just like a branding iron, will stick with them forever. 

Why?  Because a horse is a horse, especially once it gets called out. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 16, 2018

Paul Allen And Steve Jobs - Both Left Us Early!


Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft died yesterday, Oct. 15, 2018.

His untimely death reminded me of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Microsoft who died Oct. 5, 2011.

Allen co-founder Microsoft in 1975 and Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976

Allen was 65 and Jobs was just 56 at time of death.

Both were pioneers in the IT Revolution.

Both died of cancer.

Both dropped out of college.

Both accumulated $20B of wealth in today's money.

Both own(ed) 2 sports teams (Jobs posthumously)

Both were huge philanthropists in terms of what they left the world: money in Allen's case and many innovations in Job's.

Both have been in Time's 100 Most Influential People.

Both died an early death--sadly too young!

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 15, 2018

The United Nations At Work For You!


In case you wondered why the United Nations is always so full of sh*t?

- When the U.N. is done aimlessly sitting around watching on the sidelines while weapons of mass destruction proliferate, millions are being killed, maimed or made into refugees, and genocide and war crimes are occurring...

- When the U.N. is done elevating dictators, sponsors of terrorism, and human rights abusers...

- When the U.N. is done denigrating and making endless anti-Semitic resolutions against the democratic and Holy Land of Israel...

- When the U.N. is done laughing at the President of the United States and his accomplishments...

This is what the UNjust United Nations spends our valuable time and dollars on. 

This photo of a U.N. garbage truck say it all.

Perhaps, this is the only thing that the U.N. is actually good at!

(Thank you to a good friend for forwarding this photo to me)
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October 14, 2018

Dreaming of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Dream of Zion."
To flourish in the land of milk and honey.
To celebrate the Shabbat and holidays as in the days of old.
To revere the bravery and heroism of the defenders of Israel.
To live and worship as a Jew without discrimination, racism, and hatred.
To fulfill the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Hope you enjoy and we can all one day live the dream! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2018

10-Steps To Common Sense Defense


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 12, 2018

Why Isn't The U.S. Keeping Up Militarily?


The United States is ranked as the most powerful country in the world:



But the U.S. spends more than the next 7-8 countries COMBINED!(See below chart from Forbes 2016)


In fact, military spending is more than half of all U.S. federal discretionary spending. 

So the question is why are we spending so much more than everybody else, is the United States getting its money's worth, and most importantly are we able to defend ourselves? 

The U.S. defense budget is going up and has been approved at $717B for 2019. 

All the other 28 NATO countries together spend less than half ($296B) as much as the U.S. alone. 

If you add NATO spending as a complement to the U.S. then the total spend on our mutual defense approaches $1 trillion!

Russia ($69B) China ($146B), North Korea ($6B), and Iran's ($16B) military spending in total pales in comparison at just $237B.

NATO as a whole is outspending Russia + China + North Korea + Iran by a factor of 4 times yet these countries are still considered major threats to us!

Despite all the truly incredible brave, hard working, and excellent men and women that serve with distinction in our military, 

Therefore, again why is it that the U.S. is spending more on what others seem to get for cheaper?  Is there significant fraud, waste, and abuse in the system?  Are we as a rich capitalistic nation simply getting fat, lazy, and stupid?  

Notwithstanding the outsized spending by the United States, incredibly from today's Wall Street Journal, there is another article about our inability to defend ourselves:
"These are admissions that the U.S. cannot proportionally and equally defend itself in space, cyber, and response to tactical and nuclear weapons except through the threat of escalation and intrusion into other domains."
Some poignant examples given:

- Our stationary land-based nuclear missiles are no match for Russia and China's mobile-based ICBMs.

- Our ten busiest U.S. ports do not have an adequate defense against an underwater nuclear missile launch.

China and Russia variously are beating us out in:
  • Quantum Communications
  • Anti-Satellite Weapons
  • Directed Energy 
  • Hypersonics 

In fact, it was just reported that China conducted its 8th hypersonic test of a plane--with this one said to capable of Mach 10--and that it is capable of carrying nukes! 

Further, our carrier group fleet and land forces are at risk with respect to Russia and China's hypersonic weapons.

Of course, EMP weapons can fry our electrical grid and a large cyber attack could disable our critical infrastructure.

Let's not even talk bioweapons--think Black Plague from the Middle Ages that wiped out 30-60% of Europe. 

Yes, some of these are asymmetric warfare, but why are we still thinking and fighting so kinetic and conventionally. 

If we are fighting the wars of yesteryear instead of the battles of today and the threats of tomorrow then what good is our military investments and assets.

To become a more capable fighting force that is less vulnerable, more capable of defending this country, and making better use of our large investment dollars here are 10-steps we need to take to transform our military; we need to transition as follows:

  1. From static land-based nuclear missiles to a fully mobile platform.
  2. From vulnerable fleets of large ships and planes to "unstoppable" swarms of miniaturized lethal drones. 
  3. From a preponderance of earth-based kinetic weapons to space-based energy directed weapons. 
  4. From having to generally choose between speed or power to using the power of speed as an "unstoppable" force of nature. 
  5. From projecting a time and space bound visible presence to a persistent invisible existence.
  6. From attempting to defend limited points of presence to establishing a "impenetrable" umbrella shield of multi-layered defenses.
  7. From reactively identifying and stopping cyber threats to proactively hunting and destroying them. 
  8. From knee-jerk instinctive putting of human lives in harm's way to matter-of-factly sending milbots (military robots) to the front lines. 
  9. From relying on the heroics and genius of individual human brainpower to harnessing in realtime "the collective" augmented by artificial intelligence into a hive.
  10. From relying on escalation of a "bigger, badder gun" to being able to fight capably in every battle arena, win in each and dominate holistically. 

Over $700B per year should buy us a lot of defense, hopefully in the future we can really use it to defend ourselves. ;-)
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October 11, 2018

Blood Libels Unabated

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "The Jews Control It."

Unfortunately, the anti-Semites continue their refrain of "The Jews control the world" from Wall Street to Main Street to K Street.

But what they are completely missing are the true secrets of Jewish creativity and thought.

I hope you will read the article to learn about Jewish values and our faith. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 9, 2018

Anyone Have A Question About This Car?

Yeah, all I can say...
Anyone have a question about this car?

I am pretty sure this car is owned by Matthew Lesko, "The Question Mark Guy."

Lesko was in a number of commercials and infomercials about asking him how to get free information and grant money from the government. 

He dresses and drives in question marks, and I've seen him a number of times around town. Frankly, it's sort of hard to miss this guy!

His self promotion sort of makes you wonder, if you had to choose just one symbol to wear everywhere to represent you to the world--it could be a punctuation mark or anything else--what would that look like?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 8, 2018

Columbus Day Apple Picking @Larriland Farms, MD





 


 

Thank you G-d for the beautiful day today.

We got to celebrate Columbus Day and the discovery of this great nation with a day off. 

H-o-l-i-da-y!

We spent some time apple picking at Larriland Farms in Maryland.

They also had a Broccoli picking and a gorgeous field of sunflowers.  

It was a little warm today (up to 90 degrees), but it was nice to be outside and together. 

I am so grateful for every moment and for the delicious apples we brought home. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2018

Shame As An Effective Motivator

This last week protesters against Justice Kavanaugh came up against Senator Manchin (D. WV) in a head on confrontation. 

He was being interviewed by the media. 

But the protesters drowned him out with chants of "Shame" and "Shame on you!"

Similar to the series Game Of Thrones, where the evil Queen Cersis must "Take the walk of shame" for sleeping with and having a child with her own brother. 

She must walk through the city with all the people yelling "Shame" at her, spitting on her, throwing rotten vegetables at her, etc. 

There is no place to hide. 

Her hair has been shorn off. 

Her clothes have been stripped from her. 

Without her clothes and pretense, she is naked, but she is also naked because her soul is bearing her sin before everybody.

This week life imitated art and the protesters stood in judgment over Senator Manchin's decision to vote yes for and support Kavanaugh.

He was surrounded by shame. 

It was not meant to be politic, respectful, or open any sort of dialogue, but simply to tear the Senator down and humiliate him for his decision. 

I could imagine how he must feel being surrounded by all these people telling him he was a disgrace and that should be completely ashamed of himself. 

There seemed no one left to strand up for him, defend him, and let him save face. 

I am not saying his decision was right or wrong, just that when seemingly everybody passes judgment on you as evil and a disgrace, there is no where to hide or anyone to defend himself in this mob lynching. 

I imagine that this feeling of shame is sort of what happens when we die and we must face everyone we dealt favorably and unfavorably with.  

For those who we wronged, the chant of shame echoes through G-d's heavenly court. 

There is no place to hide as we must now pay the piper for each and every thing we did or didn't do.  

Our deeds are no longer hidden, but exposed for everyone to see. 

We cannot pretend to be good when we were not.

The veil and pretense of righteousness disintegrates.

We are exposed for who we really are. 

Our true selves and our sins are there in full sight and for which we must bear out our ultimate shame. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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