Nitpicking To Death

It’s funny some people go straight for the kill when they don’t like something. 


Others may nitpick you to death. 


Always! looking for something to henpeck at.


It comes out as you’re stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.


Why can’t you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?


If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!


But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing–guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.


Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  


Or as the old saying goes, “Who died and made you G-d?”


It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.


Instead of tearing down, let’s focus on the big picture and what success looks like.


How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?


Customer service doesn’t mean personal servitude. 


There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 


Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Another Nothing Burger

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So I’ve noticed that not only in politics–but in life–people are want to throw around a lot of nothing burgers.


This happens when they make vague accusations–incriminating people or groups–but without substantiating what they are saying. 


It’s a way of bullying, discriminating, and hating on others. 


Creating doubt about your victim–keep saying those derogatory, demeaning, and hateful stories–it tarnishes the other person’s image, reputation, and credibility.


Creating an endless aura of fallibility on the other person’s part. 


Here, we go…they screwed up again!


It’s death by a thousand cuts of insults, pot shots, and sucker punches.

It’s a definite form of verbal and emotional abuse and violence. 


Sometimes, there may be something to it–in which case the party that screwed up should take responsibility, correct their mistakes, and commit to sincerely doing better in the future. 


But often, there is nothing there!


And the false accusations are merely a way to cover up (management) incompetency or bias by the accusers themselves. 


It’s a great way to dominate the conversation, but really the people making the stink are simply acting out–and not too flattering as the whiners and complainers.


They point fingers at others, but there are three fingers pointing back at themselves!


Why?


Because it’s another nothing burger meant to deceive, discredit, and retard and take the focus off their own meatless patties!  


Where’s the beef?


The liars and deceivers and propagandists are using you for their own means.


Another nothing burger in the oven and it ain’t kosher! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can Take The Man From Washington

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Wow, it just seems like there is no getting away from Washington, D.C. politics!


Even here in beautiful Florida, I ran into this caricature of former President Obama in some street art downtown.  


Man, isn’t it enough that he empowered the Axis of Evil Iran and North Korea; left Syria and Ukraine to rot in bloody civil war and to kneel beneath the will of the Russians; ignored the Sino military buildout in the South China Sea, was lax on radical Islamists, ISIS, and global terrorism; abandoned America’s allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the gulf nations; and let’s not forget that he literally doubled our national debt to $20 trillion!


What was once an admirable Democratic party is still reeling today from the embrace of leadership from behind, disengagement, weakness, and blatant anti-Semitism. 


Like Forrest Gump says, life is not a bowl of cherries or box of chocolates, especially when failed leaders do the wrong things and hurt the country and their party. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Our Assets Are Compromised

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So in the games that nations play, spy games is #1 on the hit parade.


Of course, it’s about using information to get a strategic advantage. 


It runs the gamut from pure espionage in terms of stealing state secrets and intellectual property to conducting stealthy subversive acts to undermine enemies and competitors. 


Whatever spies do, it’s all about compromising assets…whether they be human, information, or critical infrastructure. 


From turning patriots into traitors, words into info warfare, or critical infrastructure in trojan horses ready to im/explode…whatever leads to getting the upper-hand or advantage. 


What one nation comes to rely on for their sustainment and survival is instead exploited and turned against them like a trojan horse or modern-day malware.


And with people, using money, sex, ideology, compromising material (Kompromat), or threats against loved ones–it’s simply about appealing to either opportunism or extortion. 


So truly defense means protecting not only what before one’s eyes, but also what in the rear and at the flanks. 


When the over 21 million personnel records and background investigations where stolen from OPM on virtually all federal employees (civilian, military, and intelligence personnel) a door was left open and the demon is still hiding and waiting to cross the threshold, infiltrate, exfiltrate, and compromise. 


As an society that meaningfully values an open and transparent democracy, we can perhaps too easily become lured or lax to common sense safeguards and vigilance, but that does not excuse negligence, incompetence or stupidity.


Rich people and countries around the world can unknowingly falter by becoming overly comfortable and full of themselves…to the point where many don’t fully care about their jobs or their country, as they sit in their mansions, designer clothes, and with busting bellies.


From the need to vastly improve our competencies in cyberwarfare to defending ourselves from a tidel wave of global terrorism to upgrading the U.S. nuclear triad against resurgent superpowers and dangerous rogue dictators, we have let our guard down to compromise. 


Is expelling 35 Russian diplomats an effective strategy against their technical attempts to subvert our free and democratic elections or does it just underscore how vulnerable we continue to be?


When as a country and with our leadership, we decide to get serious rather than stay scared and war weary then we will not only stand firm again, but fight against weakness and compromise of ourselves. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

The Pundits Know Sh*t

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If you haven’t seen any of the many videos flying around about everyone who said “Trump will never be president,” then you should.


Presumably, these were people in the know–senior politicians and statesmen, experts galore including scientists and professors, news media, talk show hosts, comedians, and Hollywood stars.


Virtually none could even imagine him winning as they “promised” and “guaranteed” it and even swore they would leave the country otherwise.


But as we all now know, they were completely wrong and misguided. 


Similarly, in a book review today in the Wall Street Journal of “Public Intellectuals,” the big mouth know-it-alls out there or what my friend’s father used to call “intellectual idiots” failed to predict all the black swan events.


From the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11, the Internet bubble and recession of 2001 to the mortgage meltdown and financial collapse of 2008, from the Arab Spring to Brexit…the pundits are all left looking like schmendricks!


Whether this is caused by personal biases, shortsightedness, herd mentality, or incompetence, the educated intellectuals just don’t seem to be able to see around that next bend anymore than the rest of us. 


Moreover, because of their walled-off elite status, they are functioning and talking through loud speakers from their ivory towers rather than from the real man’s world of everyday hardships and challenges. 


As I often tell one of my esteemed colleagues, it’s not how often or how loud you say something, but how sincere it is. 


The pundits typically miss it (although they seem so smart when talking with 20-20 hindsight about what happened and why), and as contrarians already know, it typically pays to do the opposite of what the so-called experts tell you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

U.S. Shuts Eyes To Syria and Ukraine

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While we are willing to take in some refugees (true to “our values”), we are not willing to enforce “red lines” and stop the killing in Syria’s almost 6-year murderous civil war. 


Incredibly, there are 500,000 killed (including 50,000 children) and another 2,000,000 wounded in the fighting already


Also, there are 6,000,000 internally displaced and another 4,800,000 refugees outside Syria causing a humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region. 


Dictator Bashar Al Assad and most importantly, Russia seem unstoppable. 


Russia does not play by the West’s rules–they make the rules!


While we threaten to cut off diplomatic talks, Russia continues the heaviest bombing of the war with 1,900 bombs on Aleppo in the last week alone.


The UN cries foul with empty threats of war crimes on the atrocities being committed, but again no one is willing to stop Russia.


Moreover, Russia brings in yet more advanced weaponry and warns the U.S. not to try to stop them in Syria (sound familiar to the 2014 blitzkrieg in Crimea/Ukraine?). 


Again, we are unwilling to stop the bombardment of almost 300,000 civilians in Aleppo with aid convoys, hospitals, schools, and bakeries all grotesquely now being fair game.


Last week, I watched 60 Minutes on CBS about our nuclear bomber fleet, and the rising threat of nuclear war with Russia.


What was particularly scary is that U.S. military strategists are now concerned that the U.S. is “sociologically weaker” than our opponents.


In particular, they worry that as Russia continues to threaten first use of nukes to meet their strategic aims with “an evolved willingness to employ nuclear weapons in the course of a conflict,” they are counting on the U.S. to back down from any engagement or retaliation, because we would be so afraid of escalating with Russia, let alone using first. 


In other words, Russia does not consider the U.S. nuclear deterrent to be credible anymore–we are viewed as chicken and pushovers and Russia could simply “shock the Western powers into de-escalating.”


First Ukraine and now Syria, what country is safe from the “Great Bear”–will the Balkans be next or perhaps somewhere even more deadly to a broken NATO and a farce of a UN. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Broken Mirror Reflections D.C.

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So I took this photo of a smashed mirror hanging out of a corner trash can in downtown D.C.

Half is reflecting the garbage in the can and half is reflecting the buildings and trees outside. 

Such a metaphor for the society we live in these days. 

Where we are broken, and society is broken, and certainly lots of government is broken. 

And the shards of glass reflect on the both the garbage of what has piled up inside us and the system, but also the possibilities on the outside for development, growth, and change. 

The broken mirror with the sharp glass shards is dangerous, but perhaps by seeing the mess we are in, we can finally step up and do something to fix it. 

No more circling the wagons, infighting or deflecting from the issues; no more blaming the past or demonizing the opposition; no more excuses for stagnation, incompetence, or impotence; no more whitewashing and red tape; no more firefighting, shoddy quick fixes or waiting for another break/fix; no more whirlwind spin around the dazed and confused; no more sugar-coating, backpedaling, or dressing up or down the facts; no more playing politics or deceiving ourselves and others–is that even possible any longer?

Instead, we change to a model of acknowledging that which is broken and teaming together to fix it–doing something positive, and constructive for ourselves and the world–oh, fix it Dear Henry, please fix it.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)