February 28, 2017

U.S. National Demise From Political and Media Extremism


When politics

When media becomes propaganda, this country is in serious trouble.

We are so busy telling each other what "the truth" is that nothing is getting done. 

While Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and radical Islamist terrorists increase in strength and bravado, we are fighting one another here at home.

As more people in the U.S. gravitate to the extremes--alt-left and alt-right--lines in sand are drawn between us, while the red lines defending our common interests are eviscerated. 

Self-destructing from within, while we outwardly spend $600 billion on defense--34% of that of the entire world!

No strategy or weapons can defend us, when fake news and alternate facts and hatred of one another is at our present-day core. 

Tearing us apart, the endless hateful calls of:

- "Not my President"

- "Resistance and persistence"

- "Love Trumps Hate"

- "Deplorables, Nazis, Communists!"

The political extremists and their media henchmen are leading the charge to America's downfall and possible doomsday. 

Unless we, the American people, can moderate and unify and love each other again.

We must before our enemies take advantage of our inner divisiveness and weakness.

If we don't come to our common senses, then we may very well pay a most heavy price in our persons, property, and freedom that we all so cherish and value. ;-)
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February 27, 2017

Courage To Do The Right Thing

So it takes courage to do the right thing. 

It's the easy way out to shut your eyes and overlook when things are wrong. 

Taking a stand and standing up for what's right often means fighting the good fight. 

But who wants to fight?

Everyone wants to live in peace and quiet. 

In fact, every day we pray repeatedly in the Amidah for peace

In the 19th prayer...
May it please you to bless your people Israel at all times and in every hour with your peace. Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses his people Israel with peace.

Then again after the prayer for thanks...
Bestow peace, goodness and blessing, life, graciousness, kindness and mercy, upon us and upon all Your people Israel...May it be favorable in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel, at all times and at every moment, with Your peace.
And yet a third time at the end...
He who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
What can be more desired than peace and wellness in our lives?

Yet, when we see corruption, wrongdoing, and evil, people are called on the confront it, and stand up for good. 

Because when evil prevails, there is no real peace in the world. 

Hence, the courageous and righteous are called on to stand up based on integrity, merit, and values, and to work to return a state of justice and peace. 

G-d watches to see to it that good ultimately prevails over evil. 

May He who makes peace, make peace for us and all Israel, and let us say Amen. ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2017

Thank You Chaplain Berning

I read about this amazing "Spiritual Communications Board" that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 

The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can't talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 

The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 

The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 

And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help... from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 

While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d's help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 

To heal, people don't just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 

The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)
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Entering The Oculus Rift Matrix

So this was my first time actually experiencing virtual reality. 

Using Oculus Rift and climbing this mountain...

I've got to say how incredibly fabulioso this was!

It is absolutely an immersive and real experience. 

When I looked over the side of the mountain and down at the water and "realized" how far up I was, I was freakin out. 

My feet were grabbing the floor like I was about to fall off the mountain and then I eventually did. 

This is the next big thing!

You can literally be anywhere and doing anything with this technology.  

The real world is not there. 

And now I believe more than ever, that just like we enter the virtual reality body and start to move around and interact in that make-believe world, so too our soul enters our human bodies and we are present in this material existence to experience the worldly wonders all around us. 

But like the virtual world, this earthly world is the playground for our earthly bodies are just a temporary vessel for us to face challenges, learn, and grow.

When the time is up, our souls depart our bodies and return to its maker, just like when the virtual reality game is over and we are back here. 

G-d is the greatest game-maker of them all, and we are copycats in every sense of the word. 

The body is the vessel, and the soul is the essence. ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2017

The Trouble With Our Security

So the problem with our security is that we value our openness more than we do our security.

And perhaps, we fear war more than we desire true peace. 

This was a photo from Summer 2015 when the Pope was in DC.

And despite a "massive" security apparatus set up to protect the Pope, the "largest security operation in U.S. history"...


Check out this photo of a colleague who was able to literally run up to the Fiat car where you can see the Pope waving from. 

Our security is full of holes--if this guy had a gun, molotov cocktail, or bomb then the top Christian leader in the world could've been taken out, just across the street from the U.S. State Department. 

As a democracy, we value openness and freedom to say what we want, do what we want, protest what we want, carry guns as we want, but when is open too open?

Again, whether it comes to cybersecurity or physical security, unless we start to get serious about what massive and large security really means, it is just a matter of time before something really terrible happens, G-d forbid. 

We've got to do a better job balancing security and openness. 

No one should be getting right up to the Pope's car like this!

No one should be smashing windows, burning cars, and attacking police and pedestrians in Washington, DC or anywhere.  

No one should be buzzing our battleships and jets!

No one should be hacking into our sensitive cyber systems, taking down and crippling them and stealing our secrets!

No one should be recruiting, plotting, and carrying out increasing and devastating terrorist attacks right under our noses in this country or elsewhere. 

No one should be using chemical weapons around our red lines in population centers or in airports!

No one (Iran, North Korea, Russia) should be developing, testing, and aiming nuclear ballistic missiles at the West!

War is a last resort, but this is not peace.

It is time to rethink our security posture...it is past time. ;-)

(Source Photo: A Colleague)
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February 24, 2017

The Trouble With Communication

So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.

There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.

Boy, this is a real conundrum.

The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can't see. 

And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can't hear. 

So neither are getting any messaging across. 

This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 

Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 

They don't really care to listen or understand the other person. 

It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 

Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. 

To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person--what's in it for me (WIIFM).

In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.

We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 23, 2017

No Smartphone, No Life

So we are utterly and helplessly dependent on our smartphones and mobile communications.

If our enemies strike our communications networks, we are as good as dead. 

Can you imagine the panic and chaos that would ensue?

Cut off from family, friends, and colleagues.

Unable to get unto the Internet!

No eCommerce. 

No online Banking. 

No social networking.

No easily and readily available information.

No online music, videos, or gaming.


No online (fake) news. 

As you see in the photo, under the smashed smartphone...it says, "Disaster"!

We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves. 

And we wouldn't know how to conduct ourselves by ourself. 

We are completely dependent on mobile communications and connectivity to each other.

Without, we wither and die. 

And G-d created the marvels of the Heaven and Earth in 6 days. 

But we have become so tethered and dependent on our technology, we are toast in just a split second. 

If we don't get serious about cybersecurity, and fast, there is going to be hell on Earth to pay. 

And not a single shot needs to be fired. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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February 22, 2017

Pardon Elor Azaria

This is an open letter to Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin.

And the purpose is to ask for the kind consideration of a pardon for Israeli Soldier, Elor Azaria. 

Elor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for killing a terrorist that had stabbed an Israeli soldier last year. 

The terrorist had already been incapacitated and lay on the road when Elor, just aged 19, fired the final shot to the terrorist's head. 

While I certainly don't condone excessive use of force, I think it is important to take into consideration the context of the times when this happened, which was virtual daily terrorist attacks, including stabbings, shootings, vehicle rammings, and homicide bombings across the country, and especially in and around the eternal capital, Jerusalem. 

No one knows how to fight terrorism better than Israel, which has suffered since it's founding in 1948 by enemies who have sought its destruction and throwing it's entire populace--dead or alive--into the Mediterranean Sea.

The IDF soldiers who defend the people and country are heroes not only to Israelis, but to all of us around the world who support the Holy Land, and especially the establishment of a homeland for Jews, 70 years after the Holocaust wiped out 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children. 

As Jewish people, we follow the Torah's commandments and pride ourselves on the adherence to the highest standards of morality, in all situations. 

Yet even as we cling to the strictest of moral compasses, G-d commands us to "utterly wipe out Amalek," and the oral law teaches us the general dictum that "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first."

The IDF is known as one of the most humane armies in the world, despite the circumstances where they are literally fighting for their existential survival every day.

While perhaps, we can sit in judgement and exclaim that Elor should not have taken that fateful shot that day, surely under the circumstances of the time, we can understand why he would want to fully neutralize the enemy, who very possibly could've been hiding explosives for a suicide bombing, which are common terrorist tactics that Israelis have suffered more than their share of.

Growing up, I remember many of the major Israeli wars as well as the Intifada, wars of attrition--and throughout, we around the world worried most anxiously, prayed to the L-rd for his mercy, and gave charity as the dead and wounded piled high to the point where basically every Israeli family has been personally and profoundly impacted. 

For a year now, Elor has suffered through the courts and the press and has also been demoted to a private...he has suffered enough in defense of his people. 

Yes even terrorists have rights, but we must remember that the victims must have more rights, and the IDF need to be given the benefit of the doubt in their self defense and the latitude to do their most difficult of jobs defending the people of the Promised Land and by extension all people of faith. 

If we don't defend the defenders, then in essence we are aiding the terrorists and those that seek our own destruction.

I ask for the sake of people all over the world under attack by the wave of global hate and terrorism that Elor be pardoned, so that we uphold the IDF in the highest esteem and with the utmost gratitude for protecting us from the true evil that targets and threatens all of us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2017

Naked Sitting

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

This "Big Man" is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.

Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.

In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 

What are we to do when we give in to weakness?

We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.

But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 
"Liebe Gott sieht alles" 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don't really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won't be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 20, 2017

Sephardic Concert



Sephardic Concert @ Magen David Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland. 

Great job by Rabbi Haim Ovadia and his team of musical mavens!

(Source Videos: Andy Blumenthal)
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G-d Bless Nikki Haley

What a gem this Nikki Haley is. 

One nation, the United States, speaking truth about the bias and hate of the UNJust, United Nations against the lone democracy in the Middle East, Israel. 

How refreshing to have clarity of foreign policy after 8 years of 

- Disastrous and secretive Iranian deals

- Bending over backwards for Radical Islamist terrorism

- Tension and military escalation with Russia, China, and North Korea

- Meltdown in Crimea, Syria, Yemen, Benghazi, and more

- Rise and proliferation of ISIS across the Middle East

- Weakening of the U.S. Military including our nuclear deterrent

- Shameful UN resolution 2334

All of these, which speaks volumes to the Obama years of foreign policy debacles, one on top of another. 

While the fake news, New York Times, again published utter nonsense about President Trump needing to clarify his foreign policy when nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump has made absolutely clear his support for Israel, Japan, UK, and other true friends and allies of America are crystal clear. 

The President has also made it clear that he will not tolerate bad behavior towards the United States from rogue terrorist nations like Iran and North Korea

Further, the President has made clear that he seeks better relations with Russia and at the same time a more robust NATO that can actually contributes to it's defense and has the muscle to show for it. 

Finally, we have a doctrine of peace through strength and the implementation that is backing it up. 

Anyone wonder why the New York Times isn't following, let alone reporting on the real news?  

And how different could this be than the obscurity and chaos of Obama's disappearing red lines all over the globe. ;-)
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Settle Down or Trade Up

So I always hear this question from people...


Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?


It's the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.

When it comes to any decision in life...choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner--how do you know when you are making the right decision?

Maybe you like or love what's in front of your eyes, but you still don't know 100% if there's something better out there for you.

Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let's face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?

There are trade-offs with every decision.

And it's a matter of what YOU can live with!

A guy may say, "I like this girl, but I'm not sure whether she's the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term."

Someone else says, "I'm studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology."

And yet a third person says, "I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else."

So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?

The dilemma is fateful because you don't want to lose what you have, but you also don't want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.

Listen, we're not prophets!

No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 

All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 

If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 

So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 

Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 

And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have--these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2017

Fake Media

So it's not supposed to be this way. 

While of course, there is a media bent, it's not supposed to be a downright bias--the media's job is to report the news, not take absolute sides. 


Yet these days, the alt-left media seems most hell bent on incessantly attacking the President and working to delegitimize him.

And the President is calling the news media, "the enemy of the American people."

Russ Limbaugh commented: "The media did not make Donald Trump and they can't destroy him."

It started with the election when biased media outlets "ordered employees to destroy Trump"and tried to convince Americans that he absolutely couldn't win

And only 4 weeks into the now Trump presidency, they are calling that "Congress should impeach Donald Trump."

What type of Democracy is this?

For eight years, Obama ruled and the media glowed bright with near endless praise--even when things went very wrong, the media played the Secret Service and took the bullet shielding Obama's every move.

Now with the Trump, the media is no longer the Praetorian Guard, but the the assassin in waiting--plotting and maneuvering for their chance to fire the fatal shot. 

Will it be Flynn, the Russians, the Islamic Terrorist immigration ban or something entirely else. 

The media has the people's ears...they can spread the news or seed gross and even malicious propaganda. 


While Trump wants to put America First, many media outlets are instead looking to put Trump out to his final pasture. 

When they are targeting the President in such a merciless and endless barrage of negativity and hate, can even President Trump survive? 

While the alt-left media--with funding by billionaire George Soros--kicks and punches away with every article and news segment, it's our democracy that is surely taking the power beating and dying the death of bias and overthrow. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 18, 2017

Sleepy Education USA

Education is fundamental to learning, development and preparation for career and life. 

We've always believed that if you invest in anything, invest in education!

However, despite initiatives like No Child Left Behind and Every Child Succeeds Act, scores in the fundamentals like reading, math, and science all lag behind other advanced industrialized nations.



However, the comparison is flawed because university rankings are based not on student academic performance, but rather on research performance, including things like journal articles published and Noble Prize winners. 

When academic proficiency is tested for American adults, the rankings again lag and are at best mediocre. 

While there are many dedicated and good teachers, still too many teachers and unions continue to fight testing and reform so that progress of our education system continues to fail our children and our nation.

We need to end education by memorization, and focus instead on hands-on learning (by doing), critical thinking and problem-solving.

Sleeping through a lecture may not mean a student is missing squat in the current failed education system. 

(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)

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February 17, 2017

The Success Iceberg

Thought this was really so true.

Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don't see.

The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 

Success really is an iceberg!

Don't be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath--plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.

Have a Shabbat Shalom!

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2017

That's One Scary Shot

Wow, this is one scary photo. 

Imagine coming downstairs and seeing this kids body laying on the floor like that. 

Looks like he's dead!

Would you freak out totally?

Call 911.

Get the emergency responders on the scene. 

Try to save his life. 

Thoughts race through your mind. 

Is he sick?  Was it an accident?  A crime scene?  Terrorism?  Is there an active shooter? 

Is he going to make it? 

Where is his family?

OMG, what if they lose him?

Well, it turns out this kids was just acting out and scaring his parents--and everyone else passing by.

Life is so full of surprises. 

You never know if it's the real thing or not.

But you have to be prepared for anything, anytime. 

This is a crazy world we live in. 

Thank G-d when it's just a false alarm and everything is okay. 

Unfortunately not every time is it all well that ends well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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February 15, 2017

Compromise Preferred


Sometimes we may feel that we are right and that's it.

Our inclination is perhaps to just do what we think and hold the line. 

But if we can take a step back and listen to the concerns of others then we can be the bigger for it. 

That sweet spot of compromise is where we keep both our integrity intact and still find a middle ground that's acceptable to the many. 

Compromise is better than just giving someone the proverbial finger and telling them where to go and how to get there. 

Strength is peace...and peace is strength.

When that doesn't work, then there still always the alternative for good to overcome evil in this world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 14, 2017

Not 4 Valentines Day

Valentines Day is the holiday of love. 

And this photo is not the message you want to see or expect today--of all days!

Anyway, they were selling this sleep mask at the mall.

One one side, it says "Ready"--yeah, a little forward, but problem welcome by most partners.

On the other side, it reads, "Not 2Nite"--gasps and disappointment for sure. 

What type of Valentines Day are you going to have?

Love is in the air, enjoy!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2017

Off The Charts

We all know people that seem to be conflict prone--they seem to have a tendency to get into it with others at work, socially, in the family, or wherever. 

Is it that they are abnormal or bad people?

Certainly many, if not most people, want to stand out in some fashion or form.

As the shirt says:
"Being normal is boring."
We all want to be a little different or special.

If we're the same as the other 7.5 billion people out there, it's hard to feel that our lives are truly meaningful. 

Yet, being different or abnormal can be a good thing or a bad thing. 

Usually, you can be distinct in your combination of attributes within 1-3 standard deviations around the mean (average) and still be in the range of normal. 

1, 2, and 3 standard deviations equate to 68%, 95%, and 99.7% of the values in a normal bell shaped curve. 

So you can be different and still be considered normal.

The problem usually arises when you are off the charts deviant--and then you become "abnormal." 

Is abnormal a bad thing?

Not necessarily, but generally extremes of anything can tend to become problems. 

For example, you can fall somewhere in between very generous and very thrifty, but when you go to the extremes of giving it all away or being a miser then that's usually considered problematic. 

Similarly, you can be curious or indifferent and either of those may be okay, but at the extremes, if you become intrusive or apathetic then that's a problem. 

So most of the people we deal with are normal in most senses of the word, although they may have traits that take them to the extreme and which can cause conflict or harm. 

Others may have many traits that are extreme and they have severe difficulty functioning at all with other people--they are seriously off the charts. 

Perhaps, that's where healthcare professionals come in to assist with things like psychotherapy and behavioral modification (or even medications) to help people.

Being completely average is boring, but being off the charts can be dangerous to others who try to be themselves yet also constructively and humanely go along and get along. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 12, 2017

Tznius Police

So there is an important concept in Judaism as well as other religions of modesty for the sexes. 

This means appropriately covering up in dress and acting modestly. 

In Hebrew, we call it Tznius!

As kids, I remember the kids used to sing, "Tznius, don't show you knee-ius."

It seems like these days, "everything goes," where extreme sexuality in public and showing off is the rage. 

But as I remember the older generation saying, "Maybe some things are better left to the imagination."

That doesn't mean we need to be a bunch of prudes--inhibit or prohibit people from being who they are. 

Freedom means everyone is allowed and has a fundamental right to self-expression. 

But also, people that want to show more restraint and modesty can do that too. 

Perhaps, sometimes things in our society can get a little too superficial, where like and love is only skin deep. 

We forget the inner person and the soul in lieu of momentary pleasures of the flesh. 

I don't think we need the tznius police to come out and tell us what to do, but rather that we need to be consider people inside and out for what and who they really are. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2017

Media Is Becoming The Biggest Loser

So this is an interesting poll from Emerson College:
"49% of U.S. voters believe that the Trump administration is truthful, while only 39% feel that way about the news media."

Growing up, I never thought or felt the media was biasing the news.

Frankly, it never would have occurred to me. 

Maybe, I was too innocent or naive. 

But I always thought the media's job was to "tell it the way it is."

The media's job, I understood was to be a honest broker, investigate, report, and tell all sides of the issues to help inform and educate. 

What people then did with that information was up to them. 

They would be free in a democracy to form their own opinions and see things that were presented to them through their experiences and sense of identity and justice.
But now, the world is upside down, and bias, bigotry, and prejudice is embedded in the media news itself. 

The same story on a deportation case today can be told by CNN as one of racism and cruelty to immigrants for deporting a mother of two who was "a threat to nobody" or by FOX news as one of enforcing the laws and security against an undocumented immigrant with a felony conviction for social security fraud. 

It depends what colored glasses your looking through and how you want to influence or control what the masses think and do about it. 

No wonder, people don't trust the media!

Not only were the projections based on garbage polling completely wrong in terms of who would win the election, but the reporting out of daily events is done through one-sided reporting, "alternative facts," and "fake news."

The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out, but it's the media that it getting the biggest black eye on honesty and credibility, and losing the fight for influence over the American people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 10, 2017

Overcoming Resistance To Change

So have you heard of the 20-50-30 Rule when it comes to change management?

20% of the people are open and friendly to change--they are your early adopters.

50% are fence sitters--and they hold a wait and see attitude. 

30% are resisters--these are the people that will be the roadblocks to change. 

_____

Total 100%

Some will resist openly and loudly.  Other will disguise their resistance in a politically correct way.  And finally some may work subversively to block change. 

The keys to overcoming the resistance is by working through the head, heart, and hands model, helping people to understand the following:

Head (Intellectual) - What is changing. 

Heart (Emotional) - Why it's changing (and what's in it for me--WIIFM).

Hands (Behavioral) - How is it changing.

This means changing the mindset, motivating people, and shaping behavior to effect change. 

Change and resistance to change are facts of life, but how we approach it can either mean failure or amazing transformation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2017

Drumbeats Of War

My bet is that we are looking at a semi-major international confrontation over the next few years. 

The bend over backwards for our enemies is over. 

Terrible and unenforceable deals are shameful history.

Cyberattacks and hacking will not be treated as the cost of doing business in the 21st century. 

Buzzing of our ships and planes won't be tolerated anymore.

Letting other nations take what they want in Georgia, Crimea, Syria, and the South China Sea is finished. 

Watching helplessly the nuclear proliferation and buildup of the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction by Iran and North Korea won't go unanswered.

Radical Islamic terrorism is not a dirty word anymore and we will bring the fight to the enemy in a bigger and more serious way. 

Our defense and that of our allies won't be treated lightly and we will not retreat in the face of evil. 

No one wants war, everyone wants peace, but unless we stop the aggression against us once and for all, the drumbeats of war will only get louder and more ominous. 

Set the boundaries and enforce them before the all the red lines are crossed and a real and highly dangerous confrontation becomes inevitable. 

Peace through strength is far preferable than war because of disengagement, weakness, and leadership from behind. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 8, 2017

Wardrobe Malfunction Or Stylish

So I got to personally witness a spectacular wardrobe malfunction today. 

It's not often in Washington, D.C. that we get to see someone in a bright blue suit jacket with flowers. 

Obviously, this is a pretty conservative dress town. 

Some might call it rather style boring or even nerdy. 

However, this brave guy went out on a limb and stood out like a sore DC thumbnail. 

Actually, I believe it's nice to add some color, flair, and style and light up the room and the faces. 

Too much gloominess and depression here at times. 

I was so excited when someone actually called me "Happy Tie!"

Then everyone took a turn showing off their colorful socks to each other.

It takes so little to turn a room of people joyful and laughing.

Honestly, we need more of this, and why not be a contributor to people's happiness and smiling?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2017

Emperor Has No Clothes

What happens when the emperor has no clothes?

That's when we get fake news and alternative facts. 

These days we don't know what to believe anymore because institutions and media have lost so much credibility with bias, prejudice, and trying to influence based on overtly selfish motives. 

The gloves have come off in the fight for supreme earthly might. 

Apparently, a lot of other clothes have come off too.

Now the influencers stand naked before us and we must judge for ourselves the truth of the matter. 

It funny-sad that in their utter nakedness, they bear no shame. 

They scream, and hissy fit, protest, rage, demean, threaten and commit violence.

Ear lobes are dangling as are the other parts and still there is no listening, negotiating, or compromise. 

Advancement is limited to obstruction, and progress is dead like a heap of dung.

The nation suffers the marks in the flesh of bitter fighting, while our competitive advantages are eroded. 


United we used to stand, and divided for a decade we are falling. 

We can dive into the pile of clothes and swim among them, but still we are sinking naked and stinking the lot like selfish bastards, indeed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2017

Smell The Roses

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 

These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, I can't believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 

We're part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 

Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world - illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 

Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 

While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life's many challenges. 

Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment--to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2017

Kiss One Another Day

So with all the divisiveness and hate in this country (and the world) lately...

I thought we need a day to celebrate, accept, and love each other.

Let's call it: 
National Kiss Day!

Liberals and Democrats - give each other a kiss.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims - give each other a kiss. 

Men and women - give each other a kiss. 

Straight and LGBTQ - give each other a kiss.

Old, middle age, and young - give each other a kiss. 

White, black, yellow, and brown - give each other a kiss. 

Races and nationalities of all kinds - give each other a kiss.

Those with and without illnesses and disabilities - give each other a kiss. 

We are all G-d's children, so it's time to stop the crazy hate and fighting.

Love each other, work together to advance the world for everyone, and give each other a big, fat, heartfelt kiss - and maybe we can make the day into a lifetime!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2017

Depends On Who You Ban


So the alt-left and media are all aghast at President Trump placing a temporary travel ban from 7 muslim-majority nations for national security reasons!

That's out of more than 50 majority Muslim nations in the world or less than 14%.

And these were the countries identified by the former President Obama as the "countries of concern" because of terrorism!

See the 7 nations (out of 50+) highlighted below:

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Brunei
Burkina Faso
Chad
Comoros
Djibouti
Egypt
Guinea
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq

Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Libya
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Mauritania
Mayotte
Morocco
Niger
Nigeria
Oman
Pakistan
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Somalia
Sudan
Syria

Tajikistan
The Gambia
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Western Sahara
Yemen

What is also unbelievably amazing is that 6 of these 7 Muslim nations with a temporary ban from President Trump, plus 10 more countries, for a total of 16 Muslim countries have a permanent ban placed on Israeli Jews!

Where is the alt-left and media outrage about this travel ban on Jews?

Oh, apparently for the alt-left, compassion, dignity, equality, and human rights don't apply to Jews today any more than they did during the Holocaust where 6,000,000 were left to die in a genocide at the brutal hands of the Nazi's.

To them, a permanent ban on Jews is apparently fine and national security of the United States who cares--that's what talking out of both sides of the mouth is all about.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Miraculous Mezuzah

So there is a Jewish commandment to put a mezuzah on your doorposts. 

Reminiscent of ancient times when Jews were slaves in Egypt and G-d told the Israelites to put the blood of the Paschal lamb on the doorpost.

When they did this and the Angel of Death killed the firstborn in each home of the taskmaster Egyptians--he passed over the doorposts of the Israelites that had the blood on it as commanded by G-d.

So too these days, the Mezuzah has the holy prayer of the Shema Yisrael on it:
"Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One".
And it is believed to be a symbol of G-d's divine protection for the home. 

This week in Synagogue, Rabbi Haim Ovadia told some miraculous stories about the Mezuzah from when he was the Rabbi in Bogota, Columbia.

He told of how the cartels would raid the buildings where the people in the community lived.  The cops would be told not to respond to the calls for help for at least an hour.  But what was a miracle was that apartments with the mezuzahs were not harmed. Later, the people found out that the cartels, thank G-d left them alone, because they didn't know what a mezuzah was and thought it was some sort of fancy alarm system!

Another story, was the boss who put mezuzahs on the offices at work, and what happened? The profitability of the business went up.  When they looked at why this happened, they realized that the boss would stop at the mezuzah to recite the Shema, and the workers thought the boss was there paying more attention to them and so productivity went way up. 

Finally, the last one was really funny.  They couldn't easily get mezuzahs in Bogota, so when they heard someone was coming from a trip to Israel, they asked him to bring 5 mezuzahs for the home. When it arrived, they opened it up, but lo and behold, the parchment with the prayer inside was missing from them.  When they asked what happened to it--the person said, I already know how to put up a mezuzah on the doorpost with 2 nails and a hammer, so what do I need the instructions inside it for!

G-d is glorious and the holiness that he bestows on us with his commandments is amazing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 3, 2017

The Divided States Of America

So the way the alt-left are fighting it out with President Trump...with violent protests, riots, marches, insults, beatings, fires, broken windows, and sheer contempt,  you'd think we were in a third world country under a brutal dictator, or worse.  

Gone is the respect, decency, compromise, and diplomacy among valid differences of opinion and points of view. 

Talking it out and working it out...forget about it. 

Aside from taking up arms, it's almost like this country is in a second civil war

The United States has become the divided states. 

Hitler, Nazis, Stalin, Commies!

California wants to secede (like Texas wanted to previously). 

Lawsuits against the President.

Screams, posters and groups of "Not my President."

Celebrities threatening to pack up and leave the country. 

Refusals to carry out the laws of the land. 

People joining the resistance and underground. 

Secret communications in agencies

Plotting and threats for a military overthrow of the Presidency

Calls for blowing up the White House.

Tweets calling for assassination and pics posted of what it would look like. 

Yet there are no death camps, no razor sharp wire, no attack dogs ripping the flesh off people, no forced labor, no death marches, no brutal beatings, no starvation of prisoners, no poison gas showers, no crematoria, no firing squads, no mass graves, no gruesome experiments on twins, no vicious assaults, no sexual abuse and rapes, no Star of David patches to be worn, no threats to exterminate. 

While of course, we need to ensure "Never Again" for all of us-- even the slightest inkling of it--is there really a bona-fide "again" or "inkling" here in the first place? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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