January 23, 2017

Guns Are American

So we can argue who exactly should be allowed to have guns in America.

But we can't argue that the 2nd Amendment generally guarantees people the right "to keep and bear arms."

Sure background checks are an important safety and security check to ensure we aren't putting guns in the hands of criminals, terrorists, abusers, or mentally incompetent individuals. 

At the same time, people should be able to responsibly own and use them for hobby or self-defense. 

Some guns are even a work of art and not just a killing machine. 

Pictured here is an American Joe with etchings of USA and wings representing freedom and of course, the painting of the American flag for strength and patriotism. 

Not quite the golden AK-47 that Saddam Hussein sported, but nevertheless a beautiful and deadly .45 caliber one. 

With over 300 million guns in the USA, there is just about one for everyone. 

In America, there is a grand tradition of the Old West, but it's also important to balance that with responsibility and safety. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 22, 2017

Not A Newspaper, But Rather A Hatepaper

Many are raising concerns about media bias and censorship in this most polarizing of times for our nation. 

Media like the New York Times that many used to look up to is endlessly going after the President of the United States and has become a hateful disgrace for its bias, hyperbole, and rancor. 

No longer a respectful investigative and informative newspaper, it's now become a bona fide one-sided, bigoted, hatepaper.

Sure, media is going to represent the views of its owners, but today's New York Times is what happens when hate and party politics become it's sole purpose for being. 

When people and media are balanced, fair, and rational, they present good and bad--both sides of the argument. 

When they are biased and hateful and simply a tool for power elite propaganda and mind control then this is what you get...the New York Times Sunday Review Section--here's a list of their articles today:
- The Commander in Chief Who Buried Humility
- How to Listen to Donald Trump Every Day for Years
- Why Would We Need To March?
- Racial Progress, Then Racist Progress
- Under The Big Top (Apparently the circus [Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey] couldn't compete against a Trump presidency)
- Sheer Dispair
- The America We Lost When Trump Won
- Placing a Bet on the New President (I've Been hearing he's surrounding himself with swampy people)
- The Tempting of the Media (The traps for the press in the Trump era)
- Why I Cannot Fall in Line Behind Trump
Yes, our freedom and democracy is under attack by bias and bigotry, but perhaps you need to look closer at the supposedly mainstream newspapers that you are reading for the true hateful filled columns that they have come to represent.  

May G-d save this republic from not only corrupt politicians, but also a media that is in some cases no better, and perhaps as in this case, maybe even worse. 

Who are the deplorables when the windows of innocents are being smashed, the cars being burnt, threats of bombing the White House are broadcast, and the hate-mongering media keeps bashing and bashing and bashing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Thought this was so cool...

One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President's last-minute hand-written edits on it):

It reads: 
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  
The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." 
Harry Truman 
Approved May 14, 1948"
 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution--culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews--to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d's promise in the Bible:
Genesis 15:18: 
"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Deuteronomy 30:3 
"Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
We are living through historic times!

Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building...how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 

Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel...I couldn't have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.

As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 

I hope and pray every day for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 21, 2017

Mystical 613 - Inauguration




So we are continuing to see the mystical, holy 613--the number of commandments in the Torah (Bible). 

- From the number of views on my LinkedIn Profile, 613, in the last 90 days.

 - To the tag the laundromat put on my dry cleaning, 60013.

- And to the caption, Day 61 - 1:31 PM, on the latest episode of the tv show, Alone, on the History channel. 

For those of you of faith...there are no coincidences--every leaf that falls from the tree is only at the will of the One Above. 

As I watched the inauguration of President Trump yesterday, it was inspiring that he featured the most number of religious leaders (6) at any inauguration.

And Trump, the President and billionaire himself, said that the military protects us, and law enforcement protects us, but the greatest protection is from G-d!

Further, I was amazed that one of the clergy that spoke at the inauguration was Rabbi Marvin Hier--the head of LA's Simon Wiesenthal Center (that memorializes the Holocaust/Jewish Genocide that occurred just more than 70 years ago). 

It was a true moment of awe, when Rabbi Marvin Hier said joyfully in front of the whole world (including the anti-Semitic United Nations and former President Obama with their evil resolutions against the Holy Land):

"Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs...[and] by the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill."

Perhaps, just perhaps...we are really entering the time of the redemption--when G-d will shine his light on his people and there will be peace, health, and prosperity for all the righteous of the world. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 20, 2017

Find Your Government Representatives, EASY

Wanted to share this useful tool...it's call My Reps

And you can find out YOUR county, state, and federal government elected officials.

All you do is type in your zip code. 

Get the names, address, telephone numbers, and even some emails for contacting your representatives about the issues you care about. 

This is what democracy is all about. 

Your officials represent you and they need to hear from you--let your voice be heard!

Great little app from the Center for Technology and Civic Life...thank you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via My Reps website)
Share/Save/Bookmark

Congrats @POTUS








May G-d bless the United States of America and our true friends and allies!

It doesn't matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, Black or White, Jew or Christian, Male or Female--we need to unite and move this country forward and be great again!

Strength, Security, Health, Economy, Jobs, Education, Environment, Space, Jobs, Freedom, and Human Rights.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Fox News)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 19, 2017

Take One--Even The Table

It's so nice when people give things away for free.

Here someone made a table of throw-a-ways and invited people to take what they wanted. 

But there was one catch...
FREE STUFF
Please Take What You Like
Please don't take the table
Gee, I guess there are people out there that would really take the table or the kitchen sink, as they say. 

We have to remind people where the red lines are.

If only our last President has remembered our nation's red lines rather than let 500,000 be slaughtered in Syria (and with chemical weapons) and our ambassador murdered in Benghazi. 

But as he said as he commuted the sentence for Chelsea Manning who stole 750,000 pages (including classified information) from the government, "justice was served"--this after only 7 years of a 35-year sentence--just 20%--that's justice for our exiting President. 

Chelsea Manning took what he liked and the table too!

And we're the laughing stock of the world again as we let the theft of classified documents leave the country to Wikileaks, but that goes right along with his letting hundreds of terrorists out of GITMO with 30% returning to terrorism

We're full of free give-a-ways aren't we--even when we're being robbed blind--what's his approval rating again?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 18, 2017

What's With All The Finger-pointing

Have you ever seen someone point fingers at the next guy/gal (a classmate, neighbor, co-worker, or even family and friends)?

It's the blame game, the one-upmanship, the I'm golden and your mud way of doing business--can you really push that knife in any further?

And whatever finger your pointing, frankly it might as well be your middle finger in terms of the message you are sending. 

The old saying is that when you point fingers at others, there are three fingers pointing back at you--try it with your hand now and see what I mean.

Getting the job done--means working collaboratively and cohesively--we all contribute from our unique perspectives and skills sets. 

It's synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, rather than I think I'll take all the darn credit--hey, I really do deserve it (in my own mind anyway)! 

Really, it's not who did what to whom, but who helped whom and giving credit amply all around.

Ultimately, when we work together, we are strong, and when we point fingers at each other, it's because we are weak, and we are weakening our relationships and the organization. 

The only time to point a finger, for real, is when you are gesturing to the Heaven, where all blessings come and from whom we are all created in His image. 

Otherwise, keep your fingers to yourself unless your fixing something that's broke. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 17, 2017

Twitter BESTS Facebook

Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain't seen nothing yet:

- Unadulterated News & Messaging 
Twitter is where you can hear it from the President's mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What's even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan...that is some unbelievable access we now have. 

- Speed of Information To Market
Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what's happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 

- Our Very Social Identity
Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  

- It's Populism As A Movement
Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what's really important to them. 

- Operating On A Global Open Platform 
Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you've got to be "friends" to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it's open and on Twitter. 

- Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence
Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous "What I had for lunch today" tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 

Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. ;-)

(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter's prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 16, 2017

Lies, Injustice, and the New "(Un)American Way"

Superman and all the American heroes have been so great because they represented the fight of good over evil.

And...with the principles always of "Truth and Justice."

We were proud to be Americans because we were a free democracy and we fought for freedom and human rights everywhere. 

Truth and justice in the world meant something; it meant everything to us. 

It was part of our Judeo-Christian faith and who were were as people and as a nation. 

We defeated colonial rule, slavery, Hitler, Communism, and even put a man on the moon while heralding in suffrage and equal rights irrespective of color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and more. 

The truth was sought out no matter where it was to be found, and justice needed be done to satisfy the courts below and the Heaven above. 

But it seems that a lot has changed, hasn't it?

Right is no longer right, but rather politics makes right. 

From smear campaigns, secret dossiers, exaggerations and fairy tales to name-calling, hate speech, cyber attacks, and marketing and branding to undo the opposition. 

From secret email servers, foundation pay-to-play, and pizzagate to claims of Russian campaign ties. 

From a Snowden surveillance state to stolen questions from election debates. 

From abstention at hateful, bigoted UN resolutions to deals with terrorist Iranian mullahs.

From honors at the White House for Army deserter Bergdahl to injustices meted out against the opposition party by unscrupulous political appointees. 

From fake news to the abandonment of investigative journalism with now one-sided bias and trash talking journalists and even SNL "comedians."

From the reversal of dry-foot wet-foot immigration for Cubans (what ever happened to helping refugees in need and danger?) to watching 500,000 dead in Syria from the sidelines of violated red lines. 

From a purge of 36,000 after a Turkey coup to the rise of competing ISIS and Iranian terror caliphates across Asia and the Middle East. 

From nukes on NATO's borders to Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of Georgia and from China's buildout in the South China Sea and threatening of its neighbors and freedom of navigation of the seas to North Korea developing and tests ballistic missiles and nukes. 

From shootings of African Americans to "revenge killings" against police officers and the demise of inner-city America with skyrocketing crime and the long misery of poverty and homelessness.

From decrepit U.S. infrastructure, jobs going overseas, a widening trade deficit, and an overwhelming national debt. 

From rose-colored glasses, half-baked statistics, and selling bogus ideas to the "media echo chamber."

From abandonment of allies and friends to embracing terrorist murders and the inability to say "radical Islamist."

From campaigning from within the White House on the taxpayer dime to attacking Bernie Sanders for his faith to steer the primary to Hillary. 

From secret meetings on airplanes with the Attorney General while in the middle of an investigation to lies about videos being the cause of an attack on our Benghazi mission and the murder of an American Ambassador. 

From prosecuting some for mishandling government classified information to letting others go who were "grossly negligent" endangering national security.

From divisiveness and "resistance" to creating an inability to get anything done. 

From sit-ins and walk-outs and from disrespectful "peaceful" demonstrations to violent protests, and from loose-mouths to paid operatives to disrupt lawful campaign rallies. 

From "Not my president" to how dare anyone question the legitimacy of our elections. 

From breaking glass ceilings to creating new barriers between peoples and races across the spectrum. 

From broken healthcare to bankrupt social security, and from failing education to trailing life expectancy. 

From a decrepit nuclear triad "deterrent" to a weakening of the global order, including Brexit. 

From terrorism and war to genocide, refugees, and human rights violations. 

So as lies and corruption run rampant and we are aghast with mouths open wide at how far things can fall...we recognize when power itself becomes the end rather than the means, and wielding it becomes more important than any truth and any justice, and that is fundamentally how totally unAmerican things have become, indeed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 15, 2017

If This Then That (IFTTT), A Futurists Blessing

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a simple, but absolutely fundamental programming principle.

It is also the basis for futurist-thinking such as war-gaming and strategic planning.  For example, if North Korea put's a nuke on the launch pad with the targeting at the U.S., then we will do kaboom!

IFTTT is also an app and is used in algorithms such as with Twitter, so when Trump or other famous and powerful people say something on the global social media stage, Wall Street's high-speed, high-frequency trading desks are at the front of the line to respond to market-moving news.

So powerful is IFTTT, you could almost predict the election results from it (the outrageously biased media may want to open their tarnished rose-colored glasses and try it).  For example, if you take for granted, forget or neglect working class America, then the great "blue wall" tumbles. 

IFTTT also works in politics of all sorts. If you abandon friends and allies and embrace terrorist enemies, then the world order is turned on it's head and the Middle East and beyond burns and rages in turmoil. Similarly, if you are biased between people, races, and political parties, then you polarize the country and create divisiveness and hate and obstruct even the possibility of virtually any progress. 

So you really don't have to have a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall for the results of profoundly good moves and the display of stupidity galore. 

One final IFTTT before the major transition of power this week: if you talk big, but don't really deliver results (or you deliver lots of bad stuff), then you get seen for being all poetry and no prose, and your legacy goes bye bye. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 14, 2017

Our Assets Are Compromised

So in the games that nations play, spy games is #1 on the hit parade.

Of course, it's about using information to get a strategic advantage. 

It runs the gamut from pure espionage in terms of stealing state secrets and intellectual property to conducting stealthy subversive acts to undermine enemies and competitors. 

Whatever spies do, it's all about compromising assets...whether they be human, information, or critical infrastructure. 

From turning patriots into traitors, words into info warfare, or critical infrastructure in trojan horses ready to im/explode...whatever leads to getting the upper-hand or advantage. 

What one nation comes to rely on for their sustainment and survival is instead exploited and turned against them like a trojan horse or modern-day malware.

And with people, using money, sex, ideology, compromising material (Kompromat), or threats against loved ones--it's simply about appealing to either opportunism or extortion. 

So truly defense means protecting not only what before one's eyes, but also what in the rear and at the flanks. 

When the over 21 million personnel records and background investigations where stolen from OPM on virtually all federal employees (civilian, military, and intelligence personnel) a door was left open and the demon is still hiding and waiting to cross the threshold, infiltrate, exfiltrate, and compromise. 

As an society that meaningfully values an open and transparent democracy, we can perhaps too easily become lured or lax to common sense safeguards and vigilance, but that does not excuse negligence, incompetence or stupidity.

Rich people and countries around the world can unknowingly falter by becoming overly comfortable and full of themselves...to the point where many don't fully care about their jobs or their country, as they sit in their mansions, designer clothes, and with busting bellies.

From the need to vastly improve our competencies in cyberwarfare to defending ourselves from a tidel wave of global terrorism to upgrading the U.S. nuclear triad against resurgent superpowers and dangerous rogue dictators, we have let our guard down to compromise. 

Is expelling 35 Russian diplomats an effective strategy against their technical attempts to subvert our free and democratic elections or does it just underscore how vulnerable we continue to be?

When as a country and with our leadership, we decide to get serious rather than stay scared and war weary then we will not only stand firm again, but fight against weakness and compromise of ourselves. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 13, 2017

New Beginnings

New beginnings this week at HHS.

This is the view from HQs. 

Grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Thank you G-d. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 12, 2017

Wonderful Thank You


This is one of the most beautiful thank you songs that I have ever heard.

This was played for a departing leader with beautiful photos of all the good and caring work that they did over many years.

The passion, commitment, and tenacity were evident through out, and even though I hadn't known this person for long, it brought tears to my ears.

What certain people can accomplish with their lives--helping others, making a better world. 

What we can accomplish through kindness, caring, selflessness, generosity, and tenderness. 

It's the definition of inspirational--that we can live a life where the "thank you" is really and totally besides the whole point. 

Live life and live it well! ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 11, 2017

Standing With Our Ally, Israel



Everyone knows we need to stand with Israel, our ally and friend, and the Holy Land!

Enjoy the video by Diamond and Silk!
Share/Save/Bookmark

Bombs But No Strategy

So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.

The bad news is two-fold:

First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 

Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 

So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!

Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.

But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!

That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn't even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people. 

And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013

--That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!

At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.

How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win--what's the strategy here? Is there one? 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 10, 2017

Whose Throat Do You Choke

So this was an interesting term that I heard about getting people to take responsibility for their actions.

"Whose throat do I choke for this?"

Sounds a little severe, no?

I think this is partially an adverse reaction to "analysis paralysis" and "death by committee" -- where no decisions can ever get made. 

And organizations where lack of accountability runs rampant and it's more about finger pointing at each other, rather than owning up to your responsibilities, decisions, and actions.

So with dysfunctional  organizations, the pendulum swings aimlessly being no accountability and the ultimate chopping block. 

But choking off the life blood of our human capital certainly isn't conducive to innovation, exploration, and discovery or to productivity, employee morale and retention.

So when it's simple human error with our best effort and no bad intentions, how about we say a simple "Who done it this time," do a post-action, figure out the valuable lessons learned, and resolve how we do better going forward. 

No throats or heads necessary (most of time). :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 9, 2017

Getting Valuable Performance Feedback

So here are three simple questions to ask your boss that can help you get valuable performance feedback and advance yourself and your career:

1) What am I doing that you want me to keep doing?

2) What am I doing that you want to me quit doing?

3) What am I not doing that you'd like me to start doing? 

There you have it in a nutshell--you can partner with your boss to improve yourself and get ahead. 

Just three easy questions gets you a lot of good information. 

The hardest part is getting up the nerve to ask and then being willing to really listen to what's said. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 8, 2017

In Memory of Shir, Yael, Erez, and Shira

Like the truck rammings in Paris and in Germany, four more 4 young people were murdered today in Jerusalem by a terrorist truck ramming a crowd.

This is the result of radical Islamist terrorism that the Obama administration can't even utter...and which unfortunately has resulted in the loss of so many innocent lives. 


As the Obama administration defends terrorism as "workplace violence" and traffic accidents, they condemn our friend and ally, Israel--the Holy Land.

Nor can we say that the Obama administration stood by and did nothing as the world descended into chaos...no, instead, they actively released the terrorists from GITMO, let Crimea be overrun by Russia, let China militarize the South China Sea, made a disastrous deal with Iran that legitimizes their attaining the nuclear bomb, watched as North Korea tested nuke after nuke and missile after missile, and ignored the overrunning of their "red line" as 500,000 were slaughtered in Syria and refugees streamed across Europe.

What a disgraceful legacy for the Obama administration--Anti-Israel hate and Anti-Semitism, and leadership from behind as the dark forces of terrorism and war engulf the Middle East and Western civilization, and the clock ticks down to midnight. ;-)

(Source Photo: Stand With Us)

Share/Save/Bookmark

Robotics Help The Paralyzed Stand And Regain Mobility


Some of the best work being done in robots to help disabled people is from Dr. Amit Goffer of the Technion University in Israel. 

ReWalk is a robotic battery-powered exoskeleton with motorized legs and hips that enable paraplegics to walk, turn, and even climb and descend stairs again--and is FDA cleared as of 2014. 

And UPnRIDE is a wheeled auto-balancing robotic device that enables quadriplegics to stand and be mobile. 

The inventor, Dr. Goffer, is himself paralyzed from the waist down due to an accident 20-years ago.

This has inspired him to create these absolutely amazing robotic devices to assist all disabled people who are wheelchair bound. 

Approximately 1% of the people are wheelchair bound that's 70 million

And surely, many more especially in the developing world need wheelchairs and don't have them.

So these amazing robotic devices have the incredible capacity to help so many people stand and regain their mobility and dignity again. 

These are nothing short of miraculous and a new beginning for so many people suffering from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, palsy, strokes and more

Being able to stand again is not only psychology healthy and helpful for mobility, but it may aid in preventing secondary conditions that wheelchair-bound people can suffer, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, loss of lean mass and difficulty with bowel and urinary functions.

ReWalk has also received approval for coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for those qualifying and with spinal cord injuries. 

Hopefully, this is just the beginning for helping people around the world. Mobility is life! ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to The Times of Israel)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 7, 2017

G-d Bless Senator Ted Cruz



@SenTedCruz Thank you for the beautiful speech supporting our friend and ally, Israel, and condemning the anti-Israel hate and anti-Semitism from the biased United Nations and the Obama administration. 
Share/Save/Bookmark

Enter With A HANDSHAKE & Leave With A HUG

So after almost 6 years at the U.S. Department of State, I am moving forward in my career to a very exciting role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

As I look back, I have fond memories of the wonderful high-performance division I was part of and the many amazing achievements we had together, and what our Deputy Assistant Secretary called, the "A Team."

But one thing today is sticking out in my mind and it's this image.
"Enter with a handshake and leave with a hug."

On the first days, when I arrived it was all formality and firm welcome handshakes.

We don't really know you and you don't really know us, but we're embarking on this journey together, and where it takes us no one really knows, BUT we wish you the best of luck--now go out and do great things!

Then on the last days, as I was preparing to leave, the formal handshakes were long gone and instead they were replaced with warm heartfelt hugs (and some special emotional words and cards). 

I was no longer a mystery of a person, with just my reputation, coming in to do G-d knows what. 

Now, I was a human being that had a genuine history with them, formed relationships with many, had faced challenges together, and had touched not only minds, but also it was apparent, hearts. 

I will not forget the special people, nor the many times shared, our accomplishments as an organization, and how we grew. 

I am moving forward not only with their tight hugs to more handshakes anew, but also to once again hopefully grow heart-to-heart with people, as further relationships are formed and we make, please G-d, amazing new progress together--for the mission and for the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 6, 2017

G-d Bless House Speaker Ryan



I just wanted to thank (and bless) House Speaker Ryan for calling out the Israel-hate and anti-Semitism of the Obama administration.


"I am still stunned by what happened last month. This government—our government—abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most...We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv. We were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. And we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction. And in every one of those instances, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to get these things done. That’s because our historic alliance with Israel transcends party labels and partisan bickering...It’s time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the UN. It's time to rebuild our partnership with Israel and reaffirm our commitment to her security. And it's time to show all of our allies that, regardless of the shameful events of last month, the United States remains a force for good."

The House of Representatives voted overwhelming (342-80) to condemn the crooked, lopsided UN resolution against our friend and ally, Israel--in which the Obama administration shamefully let pass. And the Senate is anticipated to also condemn it. 

As Speaker Ryan and the many good, decent member of Congress who support Israel reiterated yesterday, "the United States [is and must] remain a force for good."

This is a historic battle and we can shape world events, as guided by G-d, and help good to defeat evil. ;-)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 5, 2017

Undergoing A Spiritual Awakening


My wife sent me this beautiful photo about spiritual awakenings. 

She found it on a new age blog, but I really thought it was great. 

As I contemplated this, I felt like I was reaching some truths.

Because when we are released from the constraints of the purely physical and material world, we can elevate ourselves to an expanded realm of both perception and inner peace.

So here is what the essence of a spiritual awakening is to me:


Hope you like this and I would welcome others' thoughts on this.

Happy and peaceful new year to all.

Andy

(Source Graphic on Spiritual Awakening: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 4, 2017

Our Lives Matter

I thought this saying by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was very profound. 

"The day you were born is the day G-d decided that the world could not exist without you."

We all need to know that our lives have a purpose and meaning.

...that it's not all in vain that we live and toil.

There are many such notions tied to this:

- Jewish blood is not cheap.

- Black lives matter and Blue lives matter.

But the question is why do our lives matter? 

Kurt Vonnegut has an interesting piece on this:

"In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness. And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely. "Everything must have a purpose?" asked God. "Certainly," said man. "Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God. And He went away.”  
So the answer is that we bring purpose to life. 

In what we learn, and do, and how we grow...this is our purpose. 

For each of us, it's different.

G-d created us in "His cosmic loneliness" to think on this and make meaning from the lives that he so graciously granted to us. 

Now we must go and do something positive with it.

Because G-d decided the day you were born that "the world could not exist without you." ;-)

(Source Photo: Forwarded to me by Michelle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 3, 2017

The Trump Twitter Genius

President-elect Trump is a Twitter genius!

At 70-years old, he has managed to use a millennial social media tool to take on the world, and despite opponents questioning of his temperament, so far he has unequivocally won with it. 

Using Twitter, Trump defeated candidates from Cruz to Clinton in running for president of the United States and at a fraction the cost.

Using Twitter, Trump has shaped not only policy discussion, but national sentiments around healthcare, over-regulation, tax reform, and even updating our critical nuclear deterrent capability. 

Using Twitter, Trump has strengthened alliances and friendships with nation and states from Israel to Taiwan and decreased escalating tensions with Russia. 

Using Twitter, Trump has put competitors and adversaries on notice about bad behavior from China to North Korea.

Using Twitter, Trump is setting the stage for correcting economic problems and imbalances from unfair trade practices to shipping jobs overseas.

Using Twitter, Trump gets around media bias and messages and connects directly with the people of the world. 

Of course, it is critical to vet important communications and ensure they are accomplishing the goal, but this needs to be weighed with the ability to reach out and get the message out quickly and effectively to the masses...and it's a most fascinating and delicate balance that needs to be achieved. 

So far though, we are no longer working at the speed of government, but at the speed of the Internet. 

This is an incredible awakening in politics, but also for everyone on the incredible power of social media tools to communicate directly, unvarnished, and with impact, and no one has done it better than Donald Trump. 

The mastery of social media will continue to depend on messaging with speed, significance, and effect balanced with the vigilance as to exactly when to hit that crucial send button to the Twitterverse and the world. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 2, 2017

Can You Do No Right?

Do you ever feel like you can do no right?

That whatever you do or choose, you are opening yourself up to criticism by others or more importantly from yourself.

That's because in life every moment is a choice and each selection of what you do with your time and efforts means by definition that you are not doing something else important then.

- Take the mother or father who chooses to spend time raising their children, but then are not focused as much on their career.

- Take the student who is working really hard on getting those good grades and SAT scores, but then are not doing as much or well with extracurricular activities like sports or socializing. 

- Take the spiritual or religious person or clergy who chooses to focuses their life studying and performing holy speech and deeds but not so much other earthly and material matters. 

- Take the athlete who works out and eats right focusing on toning and honing their body and physical skills but doesn't spend as much time and effort on intellectual interests or more standard career pursuits. 

- Take the extrovert who focuses on building and maintaining relationships and networks--family, friends, community, colleagues, others--but are not putting the same time and attention to enhancing their other knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

So you say, but why can't we just do everything we're supposed to do, and simply balance?

Well, that is what we all try to do in our own way, but still each time and every moment you are doing one thing, you are not at that moment doing something else or being somewhere else. 

So that causes tension, perhaps a tug-of-war within ourselves, stress, and even guilt. 

The impact is that we often run from one thing to another or we get distracted in what we are doing--"Honey can you answer the phone?"

Some classic examples are when we race home from the office to pick the kids up from school or while playing with sweet little Johny or Suzie, the phone rings and and we have to pick up that call from the boss at work. 

As they say, you can't be--physically or mentally--in two places at the same time!

Hence, now the movement for mindfulness, being in the moment and focused.

But as the demands in life forever ask more of us--even amidst ever greater technology and automation to assist us--somehow we can never do enough because of course, the bar gets raised for ourselves and the competition gets tougher from those who make choices to focus on specific areas that we are not as much. 

So say that you are splitting your time between work and family, but someone else is single or doesn't have kids and they are full in with work, staying late, going in weekends, getting those extra credentials, and just putting in every extra effort there...well, how do you think you will stack up?

Yes, some of us recognize the importance of work-life balance and even focusing incrementally across the many important areas of our life: physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.

Never-the-less every moment, in a time- and space-bound world, we are forced to choose this or that. 

There is no one right answer for everyone!

And every choice in every moment is the opportunity for you to criticize yourself or for others to criticize you that you weren't paying attention, focused, doing your best, etc.

But who cares--it's our life to live and we can live it as we want?

True, however as inevitably important things or relationships break down or fail, have mistakes or errors, or aren't going as we would ultimately want or dream they should--we ask ourselves, could we have done things differently or somehow managed our time, efforts, and focus better.

(Source Photo: Online Advertisement provided by Dannielle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 1, 2017

2017 Year Of The Customer

So here's a resolution for all of us for 2017...

How about this year be the year of the customer!

- Where we care more about doing a good job for someone than we do about what time we get off from work.

- Where we talk to and treat customers with respect, dignity, and ultimately to solve their needs, rather than it escalating to a yelling match and oh, did I accidentally hang up the phone on you?

- Where we make the customer feel good about dealing with us and our organization, rather than wanting to beg for a supervisor or cyanide please!

- Where the customer isn't lied to, manipulated, and taken advantage of just so someone can make another quick buck!

- Where the quality and value is #1 and it's not just a shinny veneer on a car that accelerates on it's own and with fake emissions test results or smartphone batteries that light up on fire and explode

- Where we don't cross-sell and up-sell customers, like phony bank accounts or other things they don't want, need, and never asked for just to make our sales quotas, and accrue the fine bonuses and stock options that go with them. 

- Where we don't oversell the capability of a product, like fraudulent blood testing devices and medical results, and instead deliver what's really doable and as promised. 

- Where there's no error in the charge to the customer or it's in the customer's favor, rather than always an overcharge in the seller's favor, and the price from the beginning is fair and reasonable and not hiked up 400% like on critical medicine that people's lives depend on. 

- Where items arrive on time and work the first time, rather than having delays, making excuses, and causing endless customer returns of defective items or those that didn't fit, look, or work as advertised. 

- Where the customer is happy to come back to and where they feel trust in the people, products, and services offered--not another Home Shopping Network or QVC shoddy experience of "It slices, it dices...the only tears you'll shed are tears of joy!"

- Where we solve genuine customer needs or problems and not just "build it and they will come."

- Where rather than a pure what's in it for me (WIIFM) mentality, we suspend our self-interest and greed for the moment and we do for others, because it's not just a job and we actually have a work ethic and care about what we do. 

- Where we delight! and wow!, rather than disengage and disappoint, and we put the customer first, and like first responders, we run to help and not run away. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 31, 2016

Nourishment For The Soul

So the Rabbi , a Kabbalist of mystical Torah interpretation, told my wife to concentrate on 3 commandments.

1) Shabbat
2) Kosher
3) Going to Synagogue

Today, we had a little delay and almost didn't make it to synagogue, but my wife said, "Remember what the Kabbalist said about going every week," so we went even though we were a little late. 

We went to a conservative synagogue today called, B'nai Israel, in Rockville - it was our second time there. 

The services there are so orchestrated down to the tiniest of details...you could tell that a lot of thought, planning, and effort goes into every service. 

I was really impressed at how meticulous they were for example: 

- Explaining everything and even handing out the sources to their Shabbat speech

- Having everyone ready for their part of the service whether leading the prayers, reading the Torah, or making the blessings over the wine and bread (which was already on a cart on the bimah--alter)

- Including a women who read the weekly Torah portion, children who led some of the prayers, an elderly lady who spoke about upcoming events for the Seniors group, and they even sang Hanukah songs in everything from Ladino to Yiddish.  

At the end of the service, we spoke briefly to the Rabbi and thanked him for such a "perfect service," and my wife commented how he had such a cool radio voice when he leads the congregation (and he really does..like JM (jewish music) in the AM).

After service, I told my wife how happy I was that we made it to synagogue, that is was like nourishment to my spirit and soul for the week.

We have to feed ourselves physically as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course spiritually.  

Like the fingers on our hand...we need them all to hold unto life itself. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark