Assange, A Rat

Apparently, people will protest anything.


Here they are protesting against the extradition of Julian Assange of Wikileaks.


Assange allegedly published loads of classified documents stolen from this country.


That is NOT journalism or freedom of speech.


It is spreading stolen materials, endangering the nation, and maybe even espionage!


Freedom of speech is calling out a possible rat when we see one and having him brought to face justice. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wash Hands, Don’t Touch Face

Everyone seems to be talking and concerned about the coronavirus.


Today, one of the people that clean the office told me to be careful and said:

Wash hands.  Don’t touch face!


Someone also questioned where fundamentally did this new killer virus come from:

Is this new virus really from eating exotic animals like they say or is it really something that escaped from a Chinese biological laboratory?

Since we are dealing with an origin of the virus that is from a Communist county that represses freedom of information, the Wall Street Journal raised doubts about the information we are getting:

As the outbreak was already under way, the local government did what Communist governments always do: cover up…[and even] China’s president cannot trust the information he is getting. The lack of trust mean he must make decisions in the dark. No institution can function effectively this way.


With coronavirus more contagious than even SARS or MERS, perhaps the most important immediate questions is how far and deep will it spread?


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud.”

We were walking to synagogue today for Shabbat services, and were taken aback when out of the window of a speeding car someone yelled, “Heil Hitler!”…While I value all the freedoms we have in this country, including the freedom of speech (especially as I am a writer), I am concerned that if the anti-Semitism can’t be addressed through law enforcement action when it’s at the verbal stage of offense then what does that leave—it has to escalate to violence for the police to be able to take action against the haters and perpetrators?


Just as it is illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre and cause danger to the public, I believe that shouting vile hatred and incitement should be illegal for the same reasons. We don’t need to be able to punish people for thought crimes, but we do need to be able to protect people from hate-mongers who are openly leading up to violent expressions of their deep-seated Jew hatred, by identifying hate speech as a bona fide illegal and punishable crime.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Love The Flags

israel-flag

So while we were in Florida, we went into one of the many art galleries. 


And on the wall was this painting of the Israeli Flag with the Star of David and inside was a beautiful red heart. 


Out of curiosity, I inquired how much this was and the lady says, “Oh, that is $55,000!”


While we were impressed with the painting of the Israeli flag and what it represents as one of America’s greatest allies and friends, we must’ve looked really puzzled at the price, because the lady goes, “Well, of course it’s worth it!  It’s by Peter Max, the most famous artist in the world.”


My wife and I nodded and left the store, and immediately were asking each other why every gallery says with a straight face that the artist that they represent is the “most famous in the world.”


Anyway, at the same time this was going on we were following in the news about the controversy with people burning the American flag and the question of whether this is just an expression of free speech or something more that should be prohibited as disrespectful and unpatriotic or even traitorous to the country. 


In that respect, the flag that represents our values, beliefs, and patriotism is valuable beyond pure artistic sense or money, it is who we are and what we love. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Please G-d In The Workplace

Lookign To Heaven.jpeg

So here is a true story that happened to me at work.


You know how you put on your “out of office message” in Microsoft Outlook when on leave…


Well, I was responsible and did just that. 


My message was typical informing people that I was out, when I plan to return, and who to contact about urgent matters in my (brief) absence. 


But something astonishing happened then…


I actually got a reply to my out of office message from an executive scolding me about it–imagine this being how government time is spent. 


Yes and dun da da dum…here was my big offense to this senior executive, in my out of office message, I simply used the words “Please G-d,” as in:


“I am out of the office and plan to return, please G-d, on [such and such day and date].”


The message I received back in my inbox:


“I’m not sure what the ‘please G+d’ reference means. It’s a bit confusing. You may want to delete it.”


OMG, I was being admonished in the federal government for using the words “Please G-d” in my out of office message–for simply respecting and recognizing Him/Her. 


– What is confusing about “Please G-d”?


– And how can anyone ask that I delete G-d from my message or in any way from my life???


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states under religious discrimination and harassment that:

 “Harassment, can include, for example offensive remarks about a person’s beliefs or religious practices.”

 

Further, “the law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employees religious beliefs and practices,” barring an undue burden. 


What burden to the government was there in me saying, “please G-d.”


And why did I get back a mocking message spelling it this way, “G+d,” which I read as being a cross in the middle, mocking me as someone of Jewish belief.


Understand that I write the word G-d with a hyphen, because I was taught out of respect not to spell out ( or even say) G-d’s name in vain, which is the 3rd commandment in the biblical Ten Commandments.


The executive’s comments to me were not only extremely rude, offensive, and discriminatory, but also illegal.


It is outrageous that this type of behavior should be allowed to go on in 21st century America, let alone in the federal government itself that writes and enforces the law of the land–the land of the free and the home of the brave–read it, it’s in our national anthem and our constitution. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If Terror Fits

If The Shoe Fits.jpeg

There is the old saying that “If the shoe fits, wear it” or as this holiday shopping sign says, “Buy it!


I know everyone has their personal filters through which they see the world–many of these come from family, friends, community, teachers, religion, personal experiences, or even innate personality. 


One thing that I think many people are struggling with these days with politics is what possible filters are guiding many concerning policies of our country resulting in:


– The tepid response to terror attacks on this country as well as in Paris, London, and Jerusalem. 

– The clamping down on free speech in the wake of terror.

– The lax immigration checks on refugees.

– The dangerous spread of ISIS after the withdrawal from Iraq.

– The disappearing red line in Syria.

– The emboldening Iranian nuke deal.

– The bias perceived against friend and ally, Israel.

– The unbriddled Russian resurgence

– The lumbering pivot to address Chinese militarization.


We are living in chaotic world times, and we need strong hands on the rudder to safeguard the people and future of the country–for that we need to understand where politics and politicians are coming from that may be leading to either sound or compromised decisions and the resulting return and risk to the fate of us all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)