Showing posts with label Wrong Direction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wrong Direction. Show all posts

May 6, 2019

Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

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

November 22, 2016

Good IT Gone Bad

So over and over again, good IT goes bad in a flawed decision-making process. 

Even with the best laid plans and governance processes in place, somehow decisions get politicized, go bad, and projects fail. 

Here are some of the popular reasons why this happens:

1) Someone has something to prove - Often their is a person incoming to power who wants to show off what they can do. Instead of focusing on what is best for the organization's mission and people, they put themselves first. IT becomes not a tool for efficiency and effectiveness, but rather as some project rushed through for someone's resume and narcissist career progression. Time to add another notch on your IT belt!

2) Someone used it, saw it, or heard of it someplace else - So why follow a structured decision-making and vetting process for new technology, when Joe Schmoe already has the answer of what we can use and what we should do. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe used the technology in another place and for another reason, but that's what he knows and instantaneously, he's the maven, subject matter expert. Or maybe, Joe Schmoe attended a vendor conference or read a trade mag on the airplane and now he is guess what, the all-knowing on the topic. Get ready to pull out your wallets to pay for the wrong thing for your needs and organization, but it's okay becuase Joe Schmoe assured you it's great!

3) Someone wants to use technology like a Swiss army utility knife - Let's just buy this amazing tool; it can slice, dice, chop, mince, or Julienne; actually there is nothing this IT tool can't do. Buy it and use it for all your technology projects and needs. Why buy specialized tools, when you can have one that does everything--it will be your data warehouse, cloud provider, handle all your transactions, and be your artificial intelligence all in one.  Don't worry about the complexity, integration, training, support or how good it does any specific thing--just trust us!

In general, it shouldn't be so easy for leadership to get sold and fooled by the wrong people with the wrong agendas. Yet, these things seem to take off like a speeding locomotive, and if anyone tries to step in front of it, career splat for some unfortunate well-meaning character!

Some leaders and organizations only seem to learn by making the same IT mistakes again and again--it's costly to their mission and to their stakeholders, but someone is making out like a bandit and it's on their dime. ;-)

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

November 18, 2016

Telling The Next Guy

This was one for the books today.

Obama tells Trump that he needs to stand up to Putin (i.e. don't wimp out)!

Uh, who's the guy who has been in office the last 8 years? 

An during those years, our standing and national security has suffered from disengagement and utter weakness at virtually every turn of the globe. 

- We let red lines be violated in Syria and watched our Ambassador murdered in Libya

- Russia expanded into Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, and now it's looking to Cuba and Vietnam.

- China has been rapidly militarizing into the South China Sea and expanding it's economic influence in Africa.

- We made the "worst deal in history" in Iran that allows them to eventually go nuclear!

- North Korea continues to expand it's nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile technology. 

- The Philippines told the President to "go to h*ll" and threatens to break from the U.S. militarily. 

- U.S. backed off support for democracy in Egypt after the military coup that overthrew Morsi

- Venezuela expelled our top diplomat and 2 other embassy officials ratcheting up hostilities with the U.S. 

- Cyberattacks have plagued the U.S. and we haven't been able to defend ourselves. 

- ISIS has demonstrated success and our strategy has not made them less dangerous and lethal. 

- After years of mounting terrorism, our leaders still refuse to even say the words, "radical Islam."

I'm not sure why people are so tempted to give advice and preach to others, when they themselves have so many failings. 

I think it's certainly okay to humbly share our experiences and lessons learned if we have any. 

But perhaps when you don't have the best record on something, as they old saying goes, you should refrain from throwing large stones in your very fragile glass houses!

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

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 29, 2016

To BE Corruption FREE

Amazing, they were advertising this in downtown Washington, D.C.:
"A Government Free of Corruption"

Wouldn't this just be completely miraculous!

WE HAVE A DREAM:

- No lies and spin

- No deception and manipulation

- No public and private faces

- No collusion and cheating

- No hidden agendas and backroom dealings

- No hate, bias, and divisiveness

- No denigrating, name-calling, and character assassination

- No bribery and pay to play

- No intimidation, payback, and shadow government

- No self entitlement and self enrichment

- No fraud, waste, and abuse

Imagine instead, if integrity was the essence of good leadership.

Today, in synagogue, the weekly Torah portion was Genesis--where as we all know, G-d created the heavens and the earth. 

Genesis 1:2 "Now the earth was chaos and void" (in Hebrew "tohu va-bohu").

The bar-mitzvah boy, in his speech, joked about how his first 13-years of life growing up was very much tohu va-bohu (chaos), but he was hopeful that with his wonderful parents guiding him, he would get on track and pay more attention to his schoolwork, all the details, and not rush through things. 

I thought to myself, there are probably a lot of people even in their 30s, 40, and 50's whose life was still tohu va-bohu, but that doesn't mean we can't emulate G-d and still create something wonderful from all the chaos, right? 

Similarly in the tohu va-bohu chaos of Washington politics, where nearly 80% of the electorate believe that we are going in the wrong direction, it's not too late to continue make something great that we can all be proud of.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peggy Noonan described a recent focus group led by Democratic pollster, Peter Hart, where all 12 voters (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) unanimously and sadly agreed that "America was off track." 

In fact, one person wisely intimated that things seemed to go off track with 9/11 and "never quite recovered."  Unfortunately, more than the World Trade Center came down in America that fateful day. 

But it's not the first time in history that things have been tohu va-bohu, and perhaps it's okay...that why G-d teaches us things can change for the better...order and sense and progress can be made to rise from all the chaos.

The good news is still out there, "And G-d said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

October 28, 2016

One Mean Election

Three cheers for one of the worst elections ever.

American politics sinking to new lows.

This poster yesterday plastered all over Washington D.C. 

"Bully Culprit"

Denigrating, bashing, hurting, and humiliating other people whether we like them or not is wrong. 

- What happened to agreeing to disagree?

- What happened to being civil and mannered?

- What happened to "when they go low, we go high"?  

Power is such a motivator. 

Greed, according to the Buddhists is one of the "three poisons," along with ignorance and hate. 

These lead to evil and suffering and prevent the attainment of enlightenment. 

Desire and wanting something so much that you will do anything for it, thinking you deserve it, and being overconfident that you will get are a weakness of character and leadership. 

Yesterday, Putin said about our election hysteria, "Is America some kind of banana republic?

Is this really the type of darkness (and not light) to the world we want to show ourselves as.

We are continuing to go in the wrong direction and away from enlightenment and good--especially when there is so much work for us to still be done. ;-)

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

October 4, 2016

Are We Leading The World To The Brink

Thanks to some of the worst leadership in generations, we are bringing the world to the brink of disaster.










In 1991, at the end of the Cold War and with nuclear disarmament initiatives underway, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists rated us at 17 minutes to midnight (the best it's ever been) on the famous Doomsday Clock that represents the countdown to global disaster. 


However by 2007, right before this administration, with far greater concerns of a nuclear terrorist attack, we were down to just 5 minutes to midnight.

And now in 2016, we are at a mere 3 minutes to midnight, and "the probability of global catastrophe is very high," as "world leaders had failed to act!"


Moreover, with the current slate of candidates for Presidency both receiving negative ratings of about 60% from registered voters, there is obviously great consternation by the people of the U.S. as well as the rest of the world on the direction we are going in or lack thereof. 


Again today, flailing on the leadership front in Syria, almost 6 years into the war there, we are again "considering tougher options" after the "red lines" were eviscerated, plan B never went anywhere, and we acknowledged that "we have no good options" there, while Russia is bringing in the big guns!


In dangerous world situations, the wrong action by leadership can spark an escalation and lead to negative consequences, but no action, displaying uncertainty and weakness, or attempting a losing appeasement strategy can lead to an even more emboldened enemy and then the Doomsday Clock can strike midnight and we can all pretty much just say one last goodnight. 
;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

September 30, 2016

One Nasty Election

This is one nasty election. 

Forget about getting any real answers to questions of the economy, national security, healthcare, education, the environment, and so on. 

No, instead we have candidates down in the dirty disparaging each other, fighting about what they said about the former Miss Universe and the like. 

This is beyond utterly ridiculous!

While integrity and character of the utmost importance in choosing our elected officials and leaders, I think we need to differentiate between the life of reality television and an election. 

The level of smear campaign, pulling out all the stops, seems to have never been greater. 

The greed and lust for power has taken over all sensibilities, and the people of this country see it and are disgusted by it. 

And to the rest of world, we must look like a complete bunch of imbeciles here.

Power has infected and corrupted our leaders and system putting them above the people and nation they govern rather than for them. 

As to whether there is the slightest genuine concern for the welfare and future of the citizens of this great country--that is a complete roar of utter laughter and despair. ;-)

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

September 29, 2016

USA Surrendering The Internet

So here we go again, we cut off the hand (and arm) despite the face.

We are recklessly giving up control of the Internet, specifically of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Domain Names Servers (including all the DNS root zones like .com, .net, .gov, etc.) that handle all the addressing of our Internet traffic.

Despite repeated cautions from many in industry, academia, and government not to do this, we are moving ahead anyway with tomorrow being the transition date!

Why would we give away anything, let alone control over the awesome technological power of the Internet that we depend on in some way for virtually every activity we do these days?

Aside from non-explanations of "fulfilling historic promises" to cede control (i.e surrender the Internet out of fear that other countries will challenge us and set up their own alternate DNS's) and nonsensical talk of "protecting Internet freedom" by giving it away to authoritarian regimes and despots--there seems to be no REAL reason to do this drastic action that weakens our country and puts our technology, commerce, critical infrastructure, and national security at risk!

Rather than defend the Internet that the USA invented (specifically DARPA), here we go again in fear and weakness going in the wrong direction--surrendering and giving up control of the web.

If you love the Internet and recognize how important this asset is to us, then like an FCC Commissioner said this week, you should be worried about what the h*ck we are doing to the freedom (vice censorship) of the Internet and to ourselves . ;-)

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

September 27, 2016

Left or Right?

This sign from yesterday reminded me of the debates last night. 

Arguments, attacks, and counterpunchs between the candidates (and the parties they represent).

But in the end, the sign is pointing us in the wrong direction anyway. 

While we keep hitting each other up for getting and maintaining the awesome scepter of American power, our competitors on the international stage are moving on with their personal and national agendas, and we are in seemingly perpetual gridlock. 

The big problems that we face are not going away, and declaring who is the winner of the showtime debates, daily rallies, and witty sound bites, may feel good from the standpoint of whether our candidate is winning or not, but frankly is not solving any of our problems either.

A good fight is spectacular to watch, but we can be our own worst enemies as we are lost in shallow policy and rhetoric debates amidst leadership confusion, indecision, and (un)popularity contests, and even the winner may take home nothing but the rights to hoist another upside down sign.

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

September 23, 2016

Big Government Turnaround

So I took this photo of a handout being distributed at a major local university here in Washington, DC.

Sort of ironic for this sign that says:
"Big Government Sucks"

...to be handed out in the capital of the United States of America!

It would make sense that this negative notion of big government is connected to the low approval ratings of Congress (17%) and government services (64.4) provided.

People are seeing and sensing that big government is bad government when it is:

- Dictatorial, corrupt, and discriminatory. 

- Mired in fraud, waste, abuse, and coverups. 

- Self-serving for the politicians that are elected to serve the people. 

- When it is bureaucratic and ineffective. 

- When it is confused and without vision or plan for the country. 

- When it's indecisive, makes bad decisions, or can't successfully execute short- and long-term on it's mission. 

- When it is lacking in basic values of democracy, freedom, and human rights for all. 

At the same time, big government can be great government, when it is a beacon of light for its citizens and for the nations of the earth. 

- When it protects us from dictators, demagogues, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, criminals, and all sorts of disasters.

- When it holds strong and cutting-edge the economy, prosperity, innovation, education, and competitive advantage of the nation. 

- When it safeguards and keeps sustainable the environment for future generations. 

- When it preserves and fortifies freedom, human rights, social equity, equality, and justice. 

- When it looks after the needy and less fortunate.

- When it lead the world in exploration, discovery, partnerships, and ultimately doing good for the people, the planet, and our future. 

Big government sucks when it goes wrong and then they start handing out these sad signs on our nation's premier college campuses. 

This is a big problem to turnaround?  

But with smart, committed, and moral leadership, it can be done! ;-)

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

September 21, 2016

Heads Down, Pants Down

If you put your head down in the global sand, then eventually your pants are going to get pulled down too, and you are going to get royally scr*wed (or should I say scr*w things up). 

And that's exactly what's happening to the reputation of the U.S. here and abroad.

Domestically, another 3 terror attacks just over the weekend in New York , New Jersey, and Minnesota.

While overseas, a humanitarian aid convey is attacked in Syria destroying 18 trucks and killing 20 people, and this after being coordinated with Russia, in advance.

And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:
"We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats...right now, the [global] village is burning...we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames."

He goes on as to the consequences of the apparent reluctance to lead:

- "Middle East is torn by war"

- "Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists"

- "Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine"

- "China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors"

- "Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack"

Oh, and I think he forget this one, but another WSJ piece captured it:

- "One year after Iran deal, Iran's right's violations and aggression continue [unabated]"

But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):
"By almost any traditional metric,--home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty--blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama's first term." 

This country cannot lead with it's head down and it's hands tied!

It's way past time to pick our heads up high and buckle our belts and get back in the ring to fight with belief and determination for what is right for us and the world. ;-)

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

September 16, 2016

State Of U.S. Relationships

(Click To Enlarge Graphic)

Here is the current state of a sampling of U.S. relationships with other countries around the world.


As the "superpower" and as a people who strongly value freedom, democracy, and human rights, as well as a people mainly of faith, we have the obligation to do good in this world. 

Also, we recognize our imperative to maintain strength and promote peace, prosperity, and betterment for all mankind.

We have some enormous challenges ahead, and we had better be up to it. 

There is a lot riding on this! ;-)

(All opinions my own)

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

September 12, 2016

Cough, Concussion, Coverup, Conspiracy


We never want anyone to be sick, and of course sincerely wish everyone well.

But we are at a critical juncture for America and 330 million people here as well as those in the rest of the world looking to us for global leadership: 

First it was needing help up the stairs.

Then it was exhaustion

Then it was threats to reporters for saying she was low on energy

Then it was a conspiracy

Then it was a cough.

Then it was allergies

Then it was overheated and dehydration

Then it was fainting

Then it was a belatedly-announced (from Friday) pneumonia.

Then she's "feeling great...and it's a wonderful day in New York."

Then it's time to cancel her campaign trip to California

When the story keeps changing for doctoring Hillary, and the campaign avoids the emergency room and transparency...is there something for America to be concerned about when it comes to our Presidency.

Are desperate times calling for some to commit to desperate national lies?  ;-)

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

September 11, 2016

Exceptions To Every Rule

Fair or not, some of us have to live by the rules and others do not. 

As in all history, we have a class society--there are:

- The kings and the commoners. 

- The lords and the vassals and serfs. 

- The elites and the commoners. 

- The majority and the minorities. 

- The rich and the poor. 

- The haves and the have nots.

Or any other number of variations of this.

Recently, with Hillary Clinton and her multitude of scandals, there was some shock that even in modern-day America, she was able to get off scot-free.

And in this great democracy of ours, it was understood to shut up, or else, for not toeing the line. 

The message to everyone was clear: while "the little guy" is made to pay the price for mediocrity, there are some people that will always be above the law!

It was funny-sad, because we don't want to believe that anyone can really escape from justice--that it can be beaten--although at times, we just have to acknowledge that justice may have to wait and come in the next world from the true Master of All. 

Today, coming out of my building, a dog from a neighbor started jumping (playfully) on my leg and barking--it was sort of hard to get out of there. 

The problem with this scenario was that my building doesn't allow dogs.  

So out of curiosity, I stopped someone in the building and asked innocently, "I thought dogs are prohibited in this building?"

"Oh yes." they answer, but seeing this lady with the active dog, they continue, "That lady has an exception from the board!"

We sort of all looked at each other, because this was not a service dog or anything like that, and it obviously seemed unfair that for her there was one set of rules, and for everyone else, another. 

Yes, there is an exception to every rule...some people can basically do what they want by virtue of their power and money or by who or what they know (i.e. can anyone say lots of skeletons in the closets).  

So while the little guy gets locked in stocks and pillories and the key thrown away for maybe the littlest of misdeeds, others are the exception to the rule--and may even become the Commander In Chief.  ;-)

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

September 7, 2016

Shooting Blanks

Like this joke gun, this unfortunately is our national standing as a paper tiger in the new world order.

Just this last week...

1) China: "To diminish the US," our President is forced to disembark from the underbelly of Air Force One, because they wouldn't give him mobile stairs, let alone a red carpet welcome, while they continue the illegal buildout in the South China Sea threatening freedom of navigation of the seas. 

2) Russia: Russia stares down our President and ignores 17 U.S. overtures to end the more than 5-year civil war in Syria that has cost over 400,000 lives, made 5 million refugees, and over 8 million more displaced, and let's not even talk about Ukraine. 

3) Iran:  For the second time in as many weeks, Iran has sent numerous speedboats to harass U.S. Navy ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, and this after it was just disclosed that we sent 2 more plane loads of cash to Iran--3 in total for $1.7 billion to "leverage" another hostage release by Iran--and after we chased them on a deal to remove sanctions on their dangerous nuclear WMD development. 

4) North Korea: 3 more midrange ballistic missiles were fired from North Korea toward the Sea of Japan in a continuing escalation of hostilities there on top of prior long-range and submarine-based missile launches further threatening the U.S. 

5) Laos: Even in the traditionally friendly country of Laos, the President is snubbed by terrible name-calling and insults and is forced to cancel his meeting with their leader. 

6) Trade pacts:   Whether your looking east or west, both the Transatlantic Trade Deal (TTIP) and the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) are dead, while Brexit is a fait accompli, the setback to the world economy, trust, and collaboration is tangible. 

7) Terrorism: The "U.N. warns of growing Islamic terrorist threats" as more than 500 have been murdered in the last 6 months alone from Belgium to the U.S., and the threat growing from a more decentralized worldwide terrorist apparatus, as well as the potential employment of weapons of mass destruction

Whether with regards to other world powers or global alliances, our standing in world affairs in troubling at best and seriously threatened at worst.  

As long as we are shooting blanks of blue stardust, we will continue to lose credibility, respect, and the ability to effect positive change and influence in an increasingly dangerous world. ;-)

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

September 2, 2016

Polarized = Broken!

As a country, we need to be very concerned at how ridiculously polarized things have gotten. 

It is one thing for right and left to disagree, but still practicably negotiate, compromise, and forge a united and decided path forward.

And it is quite another for the polarization to become so deep-rooted that it becomes obstructionist to our national security and progress. 

Unfortunately, we are beyond the point where large portions of the governing of this country has become fundamentally go nowhere and do nothing

Whether from immigration control to closing Gitmo, from reducing the national debt to tax reform and robust economic growth, from funding the fight against the Zika virus to developing a meaningful space exploration and colonization program, from controlling the proliferation and dangers of weapons of mass destruction to sensible policies on gun rights/control, we are deep in political gridlock. 

The result is lots of executive orders and regulations, but little significant lasting legislation, abiding decisions, or national momentum in any particular direction. 

Our red lines are erased and our finish lines are grossly undefined--we are becoming a nation aimless, adrift, and without directed and meaningful goals.  

Further, in the process of mental, emotional, and global disengagement, we have alienated our friends and embraced our foes and confused everyone in between. 

Moreover, our inconsistency and weakness has made us less safe and emboldened the resurgence and militarization of deadly adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, Iran as well as radical Islamist terrorism

As a nation, we cannot be ruled by spectrum divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans, between races, between genders, between socio-economic classes, between religions, and between the public and the police.  

There are two critical things we need to bridge the huge divide that is engulfing us: 

One is strong leadership with the integrity that can be respected and followed by everyone on all sides of every aisle.

Two is focused commitment to our underlying values of democracy, freedom, human rights, entrepreneurship and innovation.  

When we have leadership that unites rather than divides, and we maintain our good and fundamental identity then once again, we will be able to go forward together towards peace and prosperity for not only ourselves, but ultimately the progress and good of the world. ;-)

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

August 28, 2016

Preppers Preparing

A very interesting article in the Washington Post on the prepper movement.

People are concerned about the inaction, misdirection, and chaos of where things are going, and they are preparing for a potential post-apocalyptic America and world.


Grave worries seem to be coming from a multitude of concerns whether about an eventual bursting of the bubble of our national debt and the downfall of our economy and associated good jobs, an outbreak of ebola or a deadly influenza, a dirty bomb by Iran or North Korea, a cyber attack or EMP that takes out our critical infrastructure including electricity and anything with computer circuits, or a devastating natural disaster, many of which are considered "overdue."


The preppers are moving to the American Redoubt (pacific northwest--Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon.


They are buying and building defensible homes (bunkers and "fortresses"), stockpiling food, weapons, and ammunition, and preparing for life off the grid with water sources, solar farms, and secure storage.


While survivalists have always existed, the numbers of concerned, disaffected, and generally disgruntled citizens seems be growing exponentially along with prepper network shows, books, blogs, websites, and sales of survival gear.


Many people seem to either feel insecure, fearful, uncertain, or that we are simply going in the wrong direction, and that it is only a matter of time until there is some sort of major earth shattering, society destabilizing disaster, and not everyone will survive.


So from home shelters to luxury underground bunkers, preppers are putting their money and efforts where their mouths are, and are preparing for potentially the worst.


If as all agree that an important part of the government's job is to ensure the national security of the country, and protect life, liberty, and property, then something seems to be going very wrong that many people are feeling so insecure and unprotected physically and in terms of their human rights.


From corruption to divisiveness, dependency, and dirty dealing, communication and trust between government and the governed is being needlessly undermined.


Why can't we get some decent leaders with a solid moral compass, and a real plan to bring us back from forever walking the brink to a nation of strength and unity, prosperity and health, and a superpower not only today, but for the future, once again. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

August 21, 2016

Why Are We So Unconfident?

So I took this photo today at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. 


"We are strong!
We are positive!
We will survive!" 

Does someone who says these things sound like they really believe it or far more likely, it is that they need to tell themselves these things, because they are really not feeling so confident after all?

What's the unfortunate message behind these words?  

- We spend $610 billion on defense--more than the next 8 super nations combined--yet somehow we feel vulnerable and weak, especially with terrorism and a resurgent Russia and China

- We are so fortunate to live in freedom, democracy, seeming prosperity, and have everything to be positive and thankful about--yet 80% are dissatisfied and think we are heading in the wrong direction. 

- We are the world's superpower of nations--with wealth, armaments, a seat on the UN security council, and more than 800 bases around 80 countries in the world--"more than any other people, nation, or empire in history," yet most Americans think we're faring poorly and that their children will be worse off than themselves!

How can so much security result in so much insecurity?  

The answer should be obvious.

When people don't believe in the wisdom of their leaders, then no matter what they have or spend or where they are coming from, they are at risk of losing it all.

Poor leadership means corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, and absolute bad decision-making for this nation. 

We don't believe we are strong, because we see other nations spending less on their defense, yet getting more in terms of security for the people.

People don't feel positive, because they don't see good decisions being made, progress toward a better future, and confidence in the future being shaped. 

Questions about our very survival are surfacing because:

- We have seen millions of jobs disappear to our competitors overseas

- Our national debt balloon to near catastrophic levels (and with no tangible benefit to average Joe citizen as everything from our education system to our roads and bridges are falling apart)

- Bankruptcy to the critical entitlement pillars of Social Security and Medicare are being regularly forewarned. 

- Corrupt politicians who are supposed to be looking after us and effectively governing us are instead doing terrible wrongs, yet they are endlessly allowed to be above the law. 

- There is non-stop global terrorism and a reluctance to even call it what it is let alone truly fight to win. 

- We face out of control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and yet remove sanction and release hundreds of billions of dollar to the largest state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses. 

- Open hostility to the U.S. is present as nations are doing what they want whether it terms of nuclear and ballistic missile development and testing in Iran and North Korea, using chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, annexing Crimea, buzzing U.S. planes and ships and conducting cyber war by Russia, and orchestrating a vast military build up in the South China Sea--and all without meaningful consequences.

So everyone repeat after me: 


"We are strong!
We are positive!
We will survive!" 

If you say it enough, you may actually start to believe it. 

Then again, if you start listening to your true inner feelings, you may start to see the vast political gimmickry being played out on you. ;-)

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

August 14, 2016

Deserving To Be President

I took this photo this morning of this guy in a shirt that says, "Good deeds eventually are rewarded."


My question is whether the corollary is true, and are bad deeds eventually punished?


Watching this horrible election play out, this shirt helped me to figure out what was bothering me about the alleged crookedness of one or more candidates. 

And it's not just that they seem to have done corrupt things, because there are a lot of bad people out there that have done really terrible things.


Rather no matter what horrible things the candidates do, they don't seem to get punished for it, but rather they bask in more money, more fame, more honor, and now potentially the highest office of the land, the very President of the United States itself. 


Do people like this who are allegedly involved in the following types of activities deserve to win the election (and rule over almost 320 million Americans)?
  • Rigs the election and commits voter fraud against Bernie Sanders
  • Colludes and conspires with the DNC 
  • Money launders millions, if not billions, of dollars through a "charitable" foundation
  • Uses political office for personal benefit and conducts ethical violations with "pay to play" donors and cronyism between the public and private sectors
  • Manipulates the media "echo chamber" 
  • Gets off child rapists and laughs about it
  • Keeps secret servers and destroys email
  • Lies and commits perjury
  • Recklessly handles and endangers national security
  • Doesn't enforce "red lines" against regimes using weapons of mass destruction
  • Embraces and makes bogus deals with our sworn enemy, Iran (the #1 state sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses worldwide)
  • Leads from behind in world events in the face of dangerous regimes
  • Wastes our nations blood and treasure in the premature retreat from Iraq
  • Sows rapid violence, refugees, and crises worldwide
  • Oversees the weakest U.S. economic recovery in history and a doubling our national debt to $20 trillion
  • Takes this nation in the wrong direction with an 80% dissatisfaction rate
  • Enables racial divisiveness and the shooting of police officers in the U.S. 
  • Has dozens of opposition members show up in murder-suicides? 

If G-d ultimately rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked, then should such candidates be promoted to the be the leader of the free world?

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