Showing posts with label Divisiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Divisiveness. Show all posts

December 16, 2018

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn't any one religion.  

When I asked more about this, she said:
The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).

Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 

The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 

Here are some of the take-a-ways:

- We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 



- Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.

- Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity--"I hate your stupid face!"



- But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 



- Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 

- We all have our own "facts":  My facts vs. Your Facts. 

- We attribute good that happens to us as being because of "us," but bad that happens to us because of "them."

- Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate--and:

- We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

- Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts


- Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 13, 2017

Derangement Of Conscience

Watching the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists march in Charlottesville, VA yesterday made me sick.

They represent the worst of what human beings have to offer--hate, bigotry, and violence. 

The event was culminated when a car driven by one of these hate-mongers apparently intentionally slammed into a crowd of anti-protester and killed a 32-year old woman  and injured 19 others--what a sick, sick soul!

This miserable event just 2 days shy of 2-months from when Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and 4 others were shot at a baseball field in Alexandria, VA by another nut job from the alt-left. 

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said it right when he stated on national TV last evening:
"The hate and division must stop, and it must stop right now."

But as we face large, looming enemies on the international scene -- like dangerous Axis of Evil, North Korea and Iran -- with weapons of mass destruction aimed at our shores and cities, all we can do is hate and fight internally.

What is wrong with this country now -- when so many seem to have abandoned personal integrity and national unity -- and shoot verbally and physically at each other instead of at the real enemies that seek to lay waste to our beloved homeland of the free and the brave?

Soon the missiles will reign down and the hate will smelter in the derangement of conscience. 

(Source Photo: Twitter)
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July 21, 2017

Killer Organizational Sharks

There are sharks out there. 

And it's not just in the oceans. 

There are plenty in your organizations. 

They make for lots of dysfunction and conflict. 

The organizational sharks see themselves as the bigger and more important fish in the sea. 

They look for weakness in others---they smell blood and when they do, they usually follow it to the kill!

These sharks are the types of people that attack their colleagues when they should be assisting them. 

Not only do they lack respect for others, but instead see them as the enemy and eat them as prey, when instead, they need to be chewing up the outside competition.

It's an attitude of us versus them misplaced within the organization, rather than external-facing. 

These organizational sharks could be in leadership positions, in which case, their attitudes filter down infecting the rest of their staffs. 

Instead of unity, cohesion, and working together to get the mission and job down, the sharks are selfishly worrying about and working to build their own power base. 

It's a dysfunctional culture that allows these sharks to exist and swarm in their organizational waters. 

Sharks for some reason fail to see that their boats are hitched to everyone else in the organization, and that all the organizational boats rise together or fill with polluted water and sink to the bottom.

As leaders, we need to focus and agree on supporting each other to achieve the success of all. 

Even sharks should learn to be nice and play together with all the other fish in the organizational sea. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 25, 2017

A Nation Conquered By Politics

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

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

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

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

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

And now Ryancare similarly had not a single Democrat. 

Resistance.  Resistance.  Resistance!

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

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

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

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2017

Polarized and Not Going To Take It Anymore

So they say about Washington politics, "if you're not on offense, then you're on defense."

In the polarized mood of the nation, this has never been more true. 

The alt-left and alt-right are stronger than ever and pointing fingers and fists at one another. 

Each side, the ultra -liberals and -conservatives are duking it out over who is is going on the offensive today.

Only to be outmaneuvered the very next day and be placed back on the defensive. 

Who communicated with the Russians today?

Who used their private email today?

Who committed perjury and lied under oath today?

Who was offensive and even violent at rallies and protests today? 

And on and on...

You're either on offense or your stuck on defense!

And the more polarized and hateful of each other this nation has become, including in the media, the more the outrageous the accusations and the more alternate facts and fake news. 

But what I learned today is that this doesn't just apply to politics.

Religion is another prime source for discrimination and hate of your fellow man. 

I remember learning that over history, more people have died in wars in the name of religion than for any other reason.

So too today, the "crazy-hard line" ultra religious and the "throw-it-all away" irreligious are just as polarized. 

The religious mock the irreligious as self-haters and atheists and the irreligious make fun of the rightwing religious as abusive and robotic.

Moreover, any disagreement results in insults and loathing over who is morally superior.

Of course, everyone cites sources and authorities to show why their position is the correct one and everyone else is wrong about religion and G-d. 

Attack, defend, attack, defend. 

No wonder nothing is getting constructively done.

No wonder children are confused. 

No wonder those around us laugh at our seeming inability to come together, all as G-d's wonderful creatures. 

Who will be on the attack today and who will be on defense. 

If only we could have a panini instead of all this anger, hate, extremism, and rejectionist bias toward our fellow man. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 3, 2017

The UNITED States of America

Continuing the theme of unity...

I really liked this amazing American flag.

Instead of stars, it has the abbreviations for all 50 states.

Imagine what we can accomplish if we all learn to love each other and band together again.

And know for sure what will happen it this hate and infighting continues.

Unfortunately, there seems to be selfish forces of corruption and evil at play.

Put the country first.

By all means disagree and constructively criticize.

Influence things for the good.

Work together and solve problems.

And let's try to be the UNITED States once again!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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 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 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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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)

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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)
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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)
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December 29, 2016

Temper Tantrums Don't Make Peace

The latest salvos of U.S. anger, frustration, and temper tantrums are not helpful to achieving peace in the world. 

We are not dealing with children and should not treat foreign countries and leaders "with disdain and disrespect" or with bias, hate, and underling anti-Semitism. 

Nor should we get on our soapbox high and mighty and "lecture" others, especially when we ourselves have been grossly deficient and derelict. 

Over the last 8 years:

We let 500,000 Syrians be massacred, including the very rebels that we were supposedly supporting, and allowed many to be killed with prohibited chemical weapons (violating our definitive "red line")!

We let Ukraine be attacked and Crimea be stolen!

We let Russian nuclear-capable weapons be stationed on the border of NATO.

We let millions of refugees stream across the Middle East and world homeless and helpless. 

We let the world's #1 sponsor of terrorism, Iran, become a licensed nuclear power, extend their Caliphate across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen--while swarming and buzzing our ships and taking our sailors hostage and humiliating them. 

We let North Korea advance it's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

We let China build and militarize the South China Sea and threaten freedom of navigation of the seas, and let them steal our drone in International waters. 

We let our ambassador to Libya and his associates be murdered.

We let the President of the Philippines call our President a "son of a whore."

We let ISIS rampage and murder across the globe in countless terror attacks, while we called them "workplace violence" and traffic accidents.

We let divisiveness seep into and poison our own cities, communities, people, and even against law enforcement, and politicized everything stagnating our our country and making us fall further behind in the world from education to life expectancy. 

We abandoned those seeking democracy, freedom, and human rights from the Green Revolution in Iran to the Arab Spring across the Middle East. 

And the list goes shamefully on and on.

But what's possibly even worse is that while we failed the world over, we are arrogant and nasty to others betraying our friend and allies in one-sided resolutions that ignore the scrounge of terrorism, deadly attacks, Anti-Semitism as well as with horrible deals with Iran that threaten their very existence. 

While we continue to sit in America, on land forcibly and violently taken from the Native American Indians, having brutally enslaved for hundreds of years African Americans, abused women and treated them as lessor in role, voting, and dignity, interned Japanese Americans and twice dropped the Atom Bomb on civilian cities, what right do we have to lecture anyone?

Yes, we dole out billions to nations around the world, for what we want whether in terms of allies, voting blocks, military cooperation, intelligence, or because of religious convictions, but that does not give us the right to arrogantly and bulling tell others or try to force them how to live in their neighborhoods and with the threats facing their people. 

While we did nothing, we spoke a great deal trying in vain to force our will on others, and the failures that abound are a reflection of just that leadership from behind, hypocrisy, and hubris. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 27, 2016

Planning For The End Of The World

I have never heard so much about the coming of the end of the world, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, and World War III as I am hearing these days...

The world seems to truly be going mad. 

And that MAD is as in CRAZY and as in Mutually Assured Destruction. 

- 25 years after the end of the Cold War, we are back in a nuclear arms race with Russia!

- Despite being our largest trading and economic partner, we are now going head-to-head confronting China over trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea! 

- While setting some near-term constraints, we have in effect solidified Iran's getting the nuclear bomb!

- As North Korea continues developing and testing nukes and ballistic missiles, we have no answers for how to deal with them!

Not only have we failed to contain the many threats we face, but also in many or most cases, we have made them worse.

- The Middle East has gone from the promise of an Arab Spring to instead raging in flames and becoming the modern-day killing fields

Even as ISIS becomes more dangerous despite having less territory, they are likely eclipsed by Iran's global terror expansion as a threat to the world order

- The refugee crisis has meant that ISIS terrorists have infiltrated our borders and are now living among us ready to strike at will. 

- There is a real documented threat of a terrorist attack using radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons of mass destruction

- The European Union is falling apart and it's future is unknown. 

Increasing border attacks and escalating tensions are creating a risk of a dangerous Indian-Pakistani War

Obama has alienated our allies, reduced our stature among the nations, and destabilized the world

- While people are arguing over the state of hopelessness since the election or from before it, either way, there is huge divisiveness in America. 

Gun ownership is soaring and people are stockpiling ammo

Videos have emerged from people in near-death experiences claiming to have vividly seen the coming World War III and the prelude to the coming of the messiah. 

- There is even widespread recognition by our space experts that we are woefully unprepared for an errant asteroid or comet hitting the Earth

Clergy is warning and encouraging us to repent and do good deeds to merit G-d saving us from the coming cataclysm, whatever it ends up being.

I am certainly not a forecaster of doom and gloom, but always try to remain hopeful and encourage everyone to do their best to improve the world.

But I also must reflect on the voices of anger, frustration, and exasperation around the world that are growing ever louder and scarier daily...the latest with Obama's betrayal of Israel at the United Nations Security Council.  

What comes next politically may very well determine whether the end is near or the future gets bright again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 20, 2016

Just Cut It Out

What a way to handle global leadership...all you have to say is,  just "Cut it out!" and your job is done. 

- Cyber attacking the U.S. democratic election, invasion of Crimea, and encroaching on NATO with nuclear capable missiles...just cut it out! 

- Vast destruction of Aleppo including hospitals, schools, and markets, killings, refugees, and humanitarian crisis, and the dangerous use of chemical weapons on civilians...just cut it out!

- China stealing our drone and militarizing the South China Sea...just cut it out!

- North Korea testing advanced nukes and ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe and America and threatening to use them...just cut it out!

- Iran taking our sailors captive, humiliating them, buzzing our warships, and violating the nuclear arms deal...just cut it out!

- Abandoning our friends and allies and befriending our enemies sworn to kill us and not even being able to say the words, "Radical Islamist"...just cut it out!

- Spiraling divisiveness, rioting in our inner cities, and cycles of racial and police violence...just cut it out!

- An unsustainable Obamacare with double digit rising rates and decreasing insurance choices (many localities with only 1)...just cut it out!

- Doubling of the U.S. national debt by another $10 trillion and enacting regulations that are strangling business...just cut it out!

- Endless ISIS and other terrorist attacks (yesterday on Berlin, Zurich, Turkey and more) and calls it "workplace violence" or a traffic accident...just cut it out!

Anyone who says that now "We're feeling what not having hope feels like," truly must be referring to where we come from and not where we are going.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 7, 2016

The Most Important Word Is AND

So as divisiveness continues to plague us. the option for acceptance, love, and coexistence is falling out of the favor and by the wayside. 

Division and conflict has been accentuated by the ugliness of the most recent election and representative political divide, economic and gender inequality, inner city violence, racial and religious tensions, worldwide terrorism, and global conflict from Syria to the South China Sea. 

This has even infiltrated the functioning of our government, social institutions, and free media big time, where vetting, negotiation and compromise, critical thinking, and fair, balanced, and investigative journalism have been largely jettisoned. 

There is no place anymore to go hide from bias, bigotry, and hate. 

But as the wise proverb goes things truly are not just black and white, but there are loads of grey everywhere

Many people are not good or evil, left or right, blessed or cursed.

Instead, most people are a mixture of this AND that. 

How much of the complex mix of different elements is what makes up the integrity and life of the individual, group, and organization we are dealing with.

But what's important is that you really can't just stereotype people, ideas, or actions as simply good or bad because in reality, they aren't.  

Each person and position has elements of good and bad in them...nothing and nobody in life is perfect. 

You take the good and the bad in everything from relationships to policy decisions. 

So it is certainly possible and even probable to be conflicted and confused about what we see and hear--and not only because of the bias and prejudice in how it is presented or portrayed, but rather because things are not just simple, one or the other propositions, but rather a combination of things we approve of and disapprove of. 

Our brains can have lots of trouble dealing with this complexity, because we are wired in terms of survival of the fittest, and that often means choosing a action based on split-second categorizing of people and things as friend or foe. 

As the mere shadow of the person or idea is upon us, we are asked to respond--do we run or fight it or do we lovingly embrace it as it overtakes us. 

Choose wrong and you can be badly hurt or even dead. 

But we are forced to make these quick and bold choices without always having the luxury of time, the patience, or wherewithal to stop and recognize that things and people are a combination of things we like and agree with and others that we dislike and vehemently oppose. 

If we could just keep in mind that most things are not just good or bad, right or wrong, but good AND bad, right AND wrong, then we can make more astute and fine-tuned designations of what we think something really is and isn't and how to handle it, live with it, and faithfully coexist with it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 29, 2016

A Failed Presidency?

Every day we are reminded about the dysfunctional state of our national affairs.

The dictum of the Hippocratic Oath of" first do no harm" that medical students are taught is the very minimum expectation, but has even this been met?

The Promise vs. The Delivery

1) Promised reset with Russia - Delivered a resurgent Russia in Ukraine, Syria, the Baltics, cybersecurity, and more.

2) Promised red lines in Syria - Delivered more than 5-year and counting deadly civil war with chemical weapons, more than 500,000 dead, and millions wounded, displaced, and fleeing as refugees.

3) Promised end of war in Iraq and Afghanistan - Delivered continued troops and war in both with not an end in sight. 

4) Promised good deal with a moderating Iran - Delivered bad deal with continued aggressive Iran violating the agreement and on the path to reaching nuclear weapons.

5) Promised easing of ties with an opening of Cuba - Delivered one-sided deal and a continued hard-line communist Cuba abusing political opponents and human rights.

6) Promised defeat of ISIS terrorism - Delivered continued ISIS global terror (and it's not workplace violence).

7) Promised closing of GITMO - Delivered GIMTO still open for business with dozens of dangerous terrorists. 

8) Promised a more unified America - Delivered a more divisive nation with raging inner city violence and civilian and police shootings.

9) Promised Obamacare affordable health insurance - Delivered unsustainable double digit premium growth and pending repeal and replacement.

10) Promised Dodd-Frank improved accountability financial reform - Delivered burdensome highly-regulated financial system stifling banking and lending leading to either significant scale back or complete repeal and replacement. 

11) Promised peace in the Middle East--Delivered a barrage of missiles, terror tunnels, shootings, stabbings, vehicular attacks, and arson for our friend and ally, Israel.

12) Promised government transparency to the American people - Delivered obscurity to the "media echo chamber" and devastating political email scandal and Benghazi fiasco. 

13) Promised fiscal and budgetary responsibility via Sequestration - Delivered a doubling of the national debt in 8 years to 20 trillion dollars! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via USA Today)

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November 23, 2016

The Political Spectrum

(Click to Enlarge Graphic)

Even though the election is over...divisiveness in America is as high as ever, if not at all time highs.

We're seeing it hurtfully in terms of bias, bigotry, and hate all around us:

- Protests, outright hostility, and violence (some sponsored) between left and right.

- Murders of police officers and African Americans betwixt the rise of Black Lives Matter.

- Calls for justice to "Lock her up" and defiant calls of "Not my President!"

- Labeling of people as bigots and racists amidst calls to "Make America Great Again."

- Conspiracy theories of links with Russia juxtaposed with Wikileaks of collusion against Bernie Sanders

- Powerful political machines, operatives, media handlers, fundraising, advertising, and big data to "get out the vote" for your candidate. 

- The blue wall falling in the election as working-class whites abandoned the party they felt abandoned them.

- Gender glass ceilings, pay differentials, and inequality going up against the hope of a first female President of the United States. 

- Growing income and wealth inequality of the elites and trade imbalances with other nations amidst Occupy Wall Street and a nostalgia to return our manufacturing, jobs, and main street to America. 

Divisiveness of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, wealth and more are showing up in the positioning of people along the broad political spectrum. 

This spectrum spans from ultimate control and dictatorship to outright chaos and anarchy, and with lots of options in between. 

So where do you fall on the political spectrum yesterday, today, and how about tomorrow? ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2016

Getting Past The Political Blame Game

Really liked this Japanese bowl and cup set--so cute. 

The head is the bowl, and the cup which holds all the water and has the handle is the body. 


The head is much bigger than the body, like people's egos are bigger than their sense of responsibility. 

Today, I read again about some leaders blaming others for the world problems:

"Obama said Trump's election and the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU were spawned by world leaders' mishandling of globalization."

Note, he blames these unspecified "world leaders," with no attribution or responsibility to himself

To be clear, he is resolute that his policies and way of governing had no impact on the rise of President-elect Trump, his diametric opposite!

This is similar to Hillary Clinton blaming her election loss on the FBI Director investigating her, and not taking responsibility for her own lengthy history of scandals.

Again on Sunday, the New York Times blamed the gender-based, glass ceiling on Hillary's defeat, rather than acknowledging the impact of the "corruption ceiling" that may have prevented her winning. 

And there is a long pattern of this blaming in politics whether for gridlock, the deficit, healthcare, divisiveness, violence in inner cities, terrorism, improprieties, distrust of government, and more. 

In the extreme, some leaders even blamed the U.S. people themselves for the suffering caused by radical Islamic terrorism!

Even in the recent election, some blamed their own constituents for insulting and ruining their legacy if they don't go out and vote for his DNC hand-picked successor. 

Yet despite the endless blame game, Obama attacked Trump for whining and blaming rigged elections, saying that this demonstrated a lack of leadership or toughness to be president. 

But at the same time, he takes credit for everything good that happens: for ending Iraq war, for killing Bin Laden, for saving the world economy, for reforming our schools, for "stamping out" Ebola, for $2 gas, and even for the success of Fox news!

How wonderful (NOT) is this philosophy and practice of leadership:

If something good happens, you take the credit; If something bad happens, you blame someone else. 

That's a very big head on top of that very narrow body. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 12, 2016

New York Times' Credibility Is In The Toilet

Now that the election is over, a lot of people are saying that the media and polls failed us

They predicted one thing, but were completely wrong. 

However, it wasn't only their predictions of a sweeping Trump loss that were incorrect, but also that their biased, schlock journalism was professionally and ethically wrong!

Over and over again, I read the harshest of criticisms of Donald Trump, especially from the New York Times--endless rantings about him week after week:

From Nicholas Kristof:

- Trump's actions are heinous

- Trump is a misogynist and sexual predator

- Trump is a charlatan

- Trump is a crackpot

- Trump is a shallow egoist who uses people

- Trump is for pariahs like ISIS, North Korea, and KKK

- Trump is mean

- Trump is a liar

- Trump is a racist

From Frank Bruni: 

Trump rants

Trump makes corrosive conspiracy theories

Trump is sickening

Trump and his people are pathetic

Trump is a narcissist

Trump is irredeemably sexually perverse

Trump is crude

Trump is unfit

Trump is unpatriotic

Trump is hot-tempered 

Does the New York Times really call this journalism, and do they expect people to pay for this one-sided nonsense?

It used to be we could go to an esteemed newspaper like the New York Times and get real investigative journalism, and a real analytical and balanced approach to issues--we could learn something and be better off for it. 

But unfortunately it seems that the New York Times became exactly what it feared the most--it became biased, bigoted, and hateful. 

The articles over and over again were full of shameful name-calling, insinuations, and coaxing people that they needed to vote for one candidate over another. 

It wasn't just an endorsement before the election, it was a barrage of months of superficial and venomous, hate-filled spew and characterizations by liberal journalists against a conservative party candidate--irrespective of what his true capabilities were and hope that he could bring to reinvigorate this nation. 

Of course, candidates should always be condemned for any bias or stupid things they may explicitly or implicitly do or say, but that is an opportunity to set the record and candidate straight, not unilaterally take them out back and shoot them, while giving the other candidate a free ride on corruption, collusion, and lies. 

Over time, people saw right through it, and it became clear that the media was absolutely biased, divisive, and trying to fix the election results for one candidate

The damage to the credibility of the media is done, and before readers renew their next subscriptions, they need to vote with their wallets with the same internal deliberation and soul searching as for their candidate. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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