Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

July 5, 2020

Targeting Israel: A Distraction From Real Threats

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Targeting Israel: A Distraction From Real Threats."
While the world unfortunately focuses again on Israel (a state the size of New Jersey), they continue to unfortunately be asleep at the wheel when Russia invaded Crimea and annexed it from a sovereign country of Ukraine in 2014, and again now in 2020 as China is taking critical steps that restrict freedom and human rights in Hong Kong.

The question is why we are constantly being diverted to blame and attack Israel and to not look at the real threats to world peace? Yet again, it’s another modern-day blood libel! While the superpowers play Risk with the world order, we should not be fooled by others trying to tell Israel what to do. Nothing should stop Israel from annexing the 30% of the West Bank under the Middle East Peace Plan that is vital to their lasting peace and security. Today is July 4th and the U.S. and Israel stand united in their commitment to that future.


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 12, 2020

Defunding The Police Is STUPID!

So the progressive, alt-left have gone off the rails again with more nutty radical proposals. 

This time to defund or dismantle the police!

While I am completely against corruption, racism, and police brutality, it is a BIG and STUPID mistake to hyper-generalize from some bad actors to the overwhelming number of good people that serve in law enforcement, who put their lives on the line to protect us everyday. 

As with the health workers that protect us from Coronavirus and other horrible illnesses, so too with our police, we should be grateful for their protection and that they ensure some semblance of law and order and security in our society!

Yes the bad apples should be weeded out and punished, absolutely!

Also, after the latest incident with George Floyd, certainly reform is needed in terms of training and additional protections for the public. 

But going alt-left crazy with proposals to defund and disband the police is completely over-the-top, irresponsible and destructive. 

Hopefully, all the "normal" people out there will see the progressive folly for what it is and support the police in doing their critical mission, while also holding them accountable to do it with the integrity that they must.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2020

We Just Magically Found $2,000,000,000,000

It's amazing how we can magically find $2 trillion for a Coronavirus "Rescue Plan."

This after we already wasted over $6.4 trillion (and thousands of our dead and wounded) through 2017 in unexplainable and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no known or lasting benefits to this country (while archenemy, Iran continues their pursuit of nukes unabated). 

And for decades, we haven't been able to find money for:

- Decent healthcare for all Americans.

- Ensuring our national security, including adequate planning and disaster preparedness for things like Coronavirus, cybersecurity, WMDs, EMPs, and for critical infrastructure protection. 

- Repairing our aging roads, bridges, and infrastructure

- Fixing our broken public education system.

- Helping our countless of homeless and needy lying the streets of our nation. 

- Restoring our space program to get a man on the moon again or put another shuttle into space. 

When politics are in play, there is plenty of money to go around. 

But when the nation needs proper care and feeding, there are no adults in the room. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2020

Stop The Coronavirus, Please!

It's been a few exhausting weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has gone public. 

First case in China in November.

Now as a Pandemic in 126 countries!

Over 132,000 confirmed cases, so far .

And around 5,000 deaths 🕱.

The numbers are projected to climb/////.

With Dr. Faucci of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warning that it will "get worse before it gets better."

Everything is closing down from our work facilities to Cruises, Broadway, and Disney.

Of course, we need the government (at all levels), health professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to get their acts together with an effective response strategy. 

Also, this is a wake up call for better preparedness for all sorts of natural and man made disasters that are awaiting. 

Today it's a virus (natural or biowarfare) and tomorrow it'll be a devastating cyber attack that we are woefully unprepared for. 

No more playing politics, half measures, and waiting for the next shoe to drop (Spanish Flu, Pearl Harbor, 9/11).

The rest of us need to do our "prepping" parts and to say a prayer or two and keep going. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2020

Corruptocrats

I heard this new term that I thought was worth sharing:
Corruptocrats

Refers to corrupt politicians. 

Couldn't believe it's actually in the dictionary. 

Not all of them are, obviously. 

Could it be a whole "political party" too? lol

If only everyone was pure of heart and intention. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, and note that no disrespect intended to anyone)
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November 12, 2019

Spider Man D.C.

This so reminded me of...
Spider Man, Spider Man, Does Whatever A Spider Can.

Veterans Day must be a great day to get your windows washed. 

Or to spin a web of intricate proportions in D.C. politics. 

Either way aside from the windows, what of significance is actually getting resolved in our partisan capital?

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2019

Righting Wrongs To Sephardim

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Righting Wrongs To Sephardim."
The initial waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882 were driven by the persecution and pogroms, and later the Holocaust, in Europe. Thus, Israeli society initially built up their institutions and power centers around these Ashkenazi pioneers. Immediately after 1948, when Sephardic refugees were expelled from the Arab countries en masse, Israel was overwhelmed with as immigration influx that virtually doubled the Jewish population in Israel in the first three years of its existence. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Sephardim were relegated to a substandard housing and economic situation, which then persisted for many decades.
In Jewish society, however, there is no room for ethnic discrimination and inequality, and the formation of a Sephardic political party in 1984 was a crucial milestone in Jewish social and economic justice. For almost 30 years, Shas was led by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi and spiritual leader, and Shas has remained one of Israel's top political parties.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 17, 2019

Wrong and Wrong

I thought this was a funny saying that my friend told me. 
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong!

He said that he actually liked it so much that he got a sign with it and put it in his office. 

As they say, "Two wrongs don't make right."

If you think something is wrong, hold your ground--otherwise no one will be right. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 12, 2019

Daylight Saving Time S*cks

Daylight saving time makes NO sense. 

It does NOT save us a lot of energy as designed. 

Call it the wrong assumptions or bad science.

The law requiring daylight saving--switching the clocks ("Fall Back" and "Spring Forward") is archaic and needs to be repealed. 

We're messing with people's sleep cycles and their health. 

People waking up groggy all over the country, feeling crappy during the day, and losing much needed productivity.  

How about we repeal this stupid law NOW and not waste any more time on the squabbling politics of the day?  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 10, 2019

The Not So Civil Service

At one time, it was considered a great honor to work for the Federal government, and people fought for the jobs and to take the civil service exam. 

The Civil Service was not only a term, but also a reality filled with honor, dedication, and devotion to one's country. 

Working for the Federal government meant interesting and exciting work opportunities not only defending our great nation, but in making it just and prosperous, and literally a beacon of freedom for the world. 

While no one became rich working for the government, you could make a stable living, build tenure over your service, and finally receive a pension upon retirement. 

Over the course of almost 20-years of my federal career, I have had the opportunity to serve in positions that I only could have dreamed about as a child, and to feel such pride in serving. 

But it seems like times have taken a turn for the worse either willfully or through neglect:

- From Capitol Hill to the Executive Department, we see the extremus of polarization and endless obstacles to getting anything done.  

- With each change in administration, aside from a change of leadership and direction at the top of each Department, the workforce is seemingly accused of subversion for the other side and turned on itself. 

- Just recently, we've seen the longest federal government shutdown lasting 35 days and with hundreds of thousands of Federal workers required to work without pay at the time. 

- We have also seen many years of pay freezes--with not even a meager cost of living adjustment (COLA), while the overall economy is booming!

- The pay for grades at the upper levels are hitting up against the Congressional limits with multiple pay steps being the same pay and no increase for career advancement or growth of responsibilities. 

- Employees have been forced to endure the A-76 outsourcings, threats of disbanding entire agencies, demands to reduce the size of government, and hiring freezes even while serving a larger population requiring ever more services. 

- There have been limitations on the power of employee unions, and an ongoing series of tightening of benefits from CERS to FERS and continuing thereafter requiring greater employee contributions and what feels like ever less benefit payouts. 

- Staff are threatened with firing in a short(er) period of time for making a small number of mistakes to a host of "conduct" issues that may or may not be true, and may at times be the outcome of poor leadership rather than problematic employees.

- The system for employment grievances and judging these has gone without a quorum for the longest period on the books and the backlog of cases continues to build. 

While no system is perfect, and there are bad apples on every side, there clearly seems to be a devolution of the federal service, and what this means for governing and for our defense and prosperity is yet to be fully felt. 

For me, serving the Federal government has been one of the greatest honors and has been many of the best years of my life. My wish is for others going forward to have a positive and productive experience as well. 

Perhaps with an appreciation and true respect for the millions of good men and women that serve our country--from the front lines to the back offices--we can once again create a system that is equitable, fair, and just and that inspires the world-class results we needs for our nation and our people. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2019

Impotency of our Democracy


The U.S. democracy is severely broken. 

We are supposed to be "one out of many," but instead we are many out of one.

There is a tearing at our nation's fabric. 

Resistance.  Obstruction.  Polarization.  Gridlock.  Shutdown.  Identity Politics.  Hating on each other.  Can't get anything done. 

Legislatively we're at an impasse.

It's not just the border wall...

- No full year (let alone multi-year) budgets for all Federal agencies.

- No Healthcare Fix

- No Immigration Reform

- No Education (STEM) Improvement

- No USA Infrastructure Bill 

- We are losing our edge to a resurgent Russia and a China taking world stage militarily and economically. 

Executive Branch has its hands tied. 

Special Counsels.  Congressional Inquiries.  Judicial injunctions.  Media Lynchings.

Alone.  Thwarted.  Unable to lead or act. 

Presidential hand tied by mommy Pelosi and Daddy Schumer.

State of the Union cancelled. 

Presidency is compromised in the eyes of every national competitor and demagogue in the world. 

Without a strong leadership reestablished and permitted to act, we are running a very strong risk of losing our superpower status and becoming just another has-been nation.

Don't think it can't happen.  

The three branches of the government should be working together and helping each other to strengthen our nation's survival, prosperity, and success.

If we don't stop the madness, then we will implode and it won't be a pretty or a happy day for anyone--Democrats or Republicans. 

Last chance for E. Pluribus Unum.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2019

Compromise = Winning

So this shutdown has really been an education in political dysfunction, bickering, and childish behavior. 

But when President Trump yesterday went on the air and provided a compromise solution whereby he gets funding for a 200 mile border wall/barrier and the Democrats get money for humanitarian relief at the border, high-tech sensors, and years of protection for 700,000 children that came to this country illegally (DACA) and another 300,000 for immigrants from designated countries that prevent their sage return (TPS)--it seems like everybody would come out a winner!

That's negotiation.  That's compromise.  That's diplomacy.  

When President Trump did this, I thought he really won the day, especially when the Democrats rejected his proposals and offered nothing in return or as an alternative. 

Even if the other side disagrees with the solution, they can and should offer what their version of a compromise/agreement would be and so on between the parties--this way, they can negotiate until both sides get to the magical compromise that everyone can agree to and live with. 

What I learned from this is that regardless of your political leanings, the side that shows flexibility and compromise and the desire to get something done, is the side that wins the argument, period. 

Those that want it all or are simply obstructionist and haters are the big losers in the debate. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2019

Trump Vs. Pelosi -- The Citizens Lose

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, majorly dissed President Trump by attempting to cancel his State of the Union address for Tuesday, January 29 citing lack of resources to secure the National Special Security Event (NSSE) due to the government shutdown. 

In turn, CNN applauded Pelosi for having:
- Just pulled a major power move on Donald Trump's State of the Union

Today, President Trump reciprocated by refusing to provide military aircraft for Pelosi's trip aboard citing the same shutdown. 

In this case, The Guardian condemns President Trump stating that he:
- Escalates shutdown row by cancelling Pelosi trip
I am not taking sides (seriously), but just can't help but notice the incredible bias in the "Fake News" that we are all being fed in the massive media "echo chamber." 

Again, Pelosi cancels Trump and its reported on as she did a great thing, while when Trump responds and cancels Pelosi, then that is reported on as he is escalating the situation. 

Something is very wrong in this country--regardless of which politicians and parties you love or hate and whether you agree with a border wall or not--shouldn't we get news that is honest and even-handed. 

The system is broken and we are the masses that are being controlled in our thinking and our voting.  

This is not democracy--it is social control and b*llsh*t brainwashing! ;-)
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January 14, 2019

Unbridled Government Spending

I liked this notion from Margaret Thatcher:
The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. 

And from the Wall Street Journal:
The problem with resisting socialism is that until the money runs out free-spending progressive politics are remarkably seductive. 

In other words, we love to spend what appears as "free" government money--more and more entitlements, bigger and bigger government...basically, we can't resist the candy in the candy store.

But the problem is that the money eventually runs out and by then we have gone too far and are left eating our own flesh. 

 Why can't we spend our precious money and scarce resources prudently and also save wisely for a rainy day--why do we have to act like pigs in the poke?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2019

Border Security - The Facts

So in this longest of U.S. government shutdowns, one thing that is missing from the debate are an articulation of the facts. 

All I hear day-in and -out is that President Trump wants to build a wall or barrier on the Southern border because there is a crisis. And the Democrats in turn say it's not necessary, it's a waste of money, and even that it's immoral, and that they will resist Trump!

But this is not a reasoned debate!

Who cares who wants what and who hates who in politics.

We need to be presented with a solid communication of facts, figures, and why should we support a position or not. 

Yes, an endorsement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is helpful, but the opposition can just claim partisan politics. 

So here are some simple facts to inform the discussion:

Gun Trafficking:
- Over 253,000 guns annually cross the border from the U.S. to Mexico.

Drug Trafficking:
- Cartels send $64,000,000,000 of drugs annually from Mexico to U.S. 

Human Trafficking:
Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the U.S. 

Gang Members:
Almost 6,000 gang members in 2018 were deported by ICE.

Illegal Immigrants:
- The U.S. and Customer and Border Protection apprehended more than 500,000 illegals trying to enter in 2008, and there are between 12 to 22 million illegals in the U.S, today

Looking at these numbers, I am not sure how anyone can say that the current border situation is secure--it isn't. 

So whatever we are doing with agents, sensors, surveillance, intelligence, inspection, and interdiction --no matter how good it is--it is not enough. 

Certainly a request for Border Wall funding for $5 billion out of a $4.4 trillion dollar budget and placing barriers on hundreds of miles out of a 2,000 mile border, does not seem at all extreme!

While I do not like to be on a government shutdown, I certainly don't see why this can't be resolved with some reasoned border security funding that includes among the other security measures, a wall/barrier. 

A strategically-placed border barrier only stands to reason in a layered defense/system of systems approach to security. 

For some of those that don't want the wall, and only want votes from a broken immigration system, this is a fight for power, rather than a genuine argument on how to help secure the country. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 9, 2019

Government Shutdown or Middle East Peace

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Government Shutdown or Middle East Peace."
"It is day 19 of this p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d Federal Government Shutdown. Having plenty of time on my hands today, I am debating which is actually easier to solve--the government shutdown or peace in the Middle East."

We may have to wait for the Messiah for both of these to be peaceful resolved. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 5, 2019

Cannibal Soup

Two funny things came to mind about eating dinner.

The first was a joke my dad always told which was something like:
We had our mother-in-law for dinner...and boy was she good!  LOL
The second was something I heard recently about power and politics, which was:
If you're not at the table then you on the menu!
Ah, you better have a seat (and welcome voice) at the table or else you may find yourself part of the next batch of beef stew coming out of the kitchen. 

Two new ways for us to think of dinner time.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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November 10, 2018

Democrats and Democracy

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

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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 5, 2018

Election Day Dead of 2018

This just seemed so perfect for election day this year. 

With the country torn asunder between left and right. 

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

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

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

Cause the liberals hate the conservatives. 

And the conservatives hate the liberals. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When we only want to defeat the opposition. 

Cause the Democrats hate the Republicans.

And the Republicans hate the Democrats. 

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

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

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

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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 6, 2018

The DIVIDED States of America

Our nation is increasingly polarized with little to no tolerance of others wants, thinking, or actions. 

- First under Obama.

- Then with the election between Hillary and Trump.

- And now over Judge Kavanaugh.

The result has been some of the worst behaviors seen since the Civil War--with not only disrespect, restrictions on freedom of expression, but even threats and actual violence!

This nation is no longer the UNITED States, but much more like the DIVIDED States. 

And that just plays into our enemies hands and could lead us to eventually lose our very democracy to totalitarianism, dictatorship, and tyranny.  

So now may be a good time to review for yourself how many biases are driving your thought processes and behaviors and creating dangerous fundamentalists and extremists all around us instead of thoughtful dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. 

Here are 20 biases that may be affecting you more than you realize:

- Do you overestimate the importance of the information you have or feel good about (Anchoring,  Availability, and Choice-Supportive Biases)?

- Do you seek out and perceive information that simply validates your preconceptions (Information,
Confirmation, and Selective Perception Bias)? 

- Do you overemphasize information that is more recent or recognizable (Recency and Salience Biases)?

- Are you ignoring information that doesn't "fit your script" (Ostrich Effect/Omission and Conservatism Bias)?

- Are you tied up in the groupthink of your peers (Bandwagon Effect)?

- Do you see patterns in random events or conspiracies that don't exist (Clustering Illusion)?

- Are you overconfident in your thought process and conclusions (Overconfidence Bias)?

- Do you tend to overvalue the usefulness or success of something, but not recognize its limitations or failures (Pro-Innovation and Survivorship Bias)?

- Do you fail to take risks because you prefer certainty (Zero-Risk Bias)? 

- Does your thinking something will happen actually cause it to happen (Placebo Effect)? 

- Do you use the ends to justify the means (Outcome Bias)?

- Do you judge people by their race, class, gender, religion, sexual preferences, or national origin (Stereotyping)?

- Do you fail to recognize your own biases (Blind-Spot Bias)?

Perhaps if more people would open their minds to information and engage in genuine thinking and critical thinking, rather than a lot of fake news and hype, we would be a far better and stronger nation. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Business Insider)
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