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)

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)

What Does A Government Shutdown Feel Like

So its day 18 of the Federal government shutdown. 


The first couple of weeks wasn’t so bad, because it was the holidays and vacation time (“use or lose”), so I think most people didn’t miss work that much. 


Also, people got paid at the end of December, since the pay cycle is on a two week lag.  


For the first part of the shutdown, there is errands to run and things to catch up on–those things that you always wish you had the time for and well now you do. 


But by now, you’ve already done those errands and cleaned your house and car, shinned up your shoes, and even caught up on some reading. 


Then we also have the missed payroll coming at the end of the week. For those families that are on a single income, this is particularly hard, and even where one partner is working, still your income in cut in half. 


You can’t go out shopping like this!


You also can’t go anywhere–like away–because you need to be available to be back at work on a day’s notice–whether or not it looks like that day is ever coming or not!


Another concern for those that care about their work and getting things accomplished, is that work is like a moving train, and when there is momentum, things can get done–even at the “pace of government.”  But when you come to a full stop like this for an extended period of time, then it will definitely take some time to get everyone back on board the train and for it to get moving at a decent clip again.  Let’s face it, you can’t just turn people on and off like a light switch–you’re dealing with human beings with feelings, plans, and bills. 

Maybe the worst part about the shutdown is feeling like a pawn in the big boys and girls game of Washington Politics–even if you feel the border wall is important, which I certainly do, as federal employee, you still don’t want to feel like the sacrificial lamb. 


Why Congress and the President can’t compromise and give the $5 billion for the wall for something in return like immigration reform or even just give half and call it a day is really beyond my comprehension. 


Out of our $4.4 trillion a year federal budget, how does it make any sense to begrudge a couple of billion for a wall to bring order to the chaos at our southern border–can anyway say “caravan?” 


Let’s face it, drug smuggling, human trafficking, dangerous gangs and terrorists, and illegal crossings have no place in a civilized country, especially the United States of America.  


At some point, our politicians seem to have lost their passion for and dedication to what’s actually good for America and instead replaced it with identity politics and a sick insatiable greed for power, plain and simple. 


All sides need to be patriots and not political kingpins, and they need to give a little to get a little for the betterment of our country overall–maybe then we can move forward. 


And by the way, it would be great at some point to let us go back to work and do our jobs. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

America The Polarized

So on one hand, in American politics today you have this–Make America Great Again.

And those who support Trump and change.

On the other side, you have those that oppose and resist.

And those that blame and wash their hands from the dirty politics.

And many that think that the worst in politics already happened.

But our problems are large and eating this nation up alive–from Iran and North Korea to Jobs, Healthcare, Immigration, and more.

 

Our social safety net is fraying under a frightening and mounting national debt, and our national security needs are growing amid an endless array of real doomsday threats from WMD, EMPs, and Cyber Attacks.

 

What will it be America–blame, ridicule, resist, endless fighting or work to help and not hate. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Emperor Has No Clothes

No Clothes.jpeg

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)

The Divided States Of America

Divided States.JPEG

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)

Polarized = Broken!

Left Right United

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)

Crazy World Of Work

Crazy World.jpeg

This was a funny sign. 


“You don’t have to be crazy to work here.
We’ll train you.”


Isn’t that the truth too often. 


Work can frequently be like “Crazy World!” 


This is a place where there is a convergence of dysfunctional organizational culture, poor leadership, a lack of solid processes and sound planning, and plenty of wacky naysayers and obstructionists who together can bring the workplace to a virtual standstill or even a bitter downfall. 


Yeah, we will train you to do what?


– Follow some dusty and archaic, nonsensical policies that haven’t been updated in 20 years.


– Force you into a mold of robotic groupthinkers who have abandoned any notion of exploration, discovery, innovation, and constructive change. 


– Do the minimum to get their paychecks, while staying off the grid and out of trouble, rather than satisfy in serving the mission and delighting their customers. 


This is perhaps why leaders frequently tout their credentials in transforming organizations, yet we still see endless legacies mired in status quo and a lack of any real results and progress. 


Lots of people talk the talk, but very few walk the walk, and that’s because we’ve trained them so well to work here. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Answer Injustice With Justice

Justice

So what is amazing about government scandals is not that they happen, because of course, they do. 


But what is amazing is that the American public is frequently denied justice–whether committed under Democratic or Republican administrations.


Maybe this is because the Justice Department is headed by the Attorney General a political appointee of the President, rather than being independent.   


The President oversees all the government agencies in the Executive Branch of the government, including the Department of Justice (DOJ).


When any of the government agencies in the Executive Branch do something wrong, what should happen is that the Department of Justice (including the FBI) would investigate and bring the offenders to justice. 


But instead, a politically motivated President can direct a politicized Justice Department to stand down–and in a sense end up being the “Chief Obstructionist.”


Obviously every agency is headed by political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President and who further the administration’s vision, but Justice is unique. 


And if you follow the news, I am sure you can think of more than a few examples where Congress has gotten involved to investigate and even request action by DOJ, but yet nothing seems to happen. 


What is disappointing is that we would like to think that every leader is an icon of righteousness, integrity, and propriety, but instead partisan politics can get in the way, and the leader ends up protecting, whitewashing, or covering up the very wrongdoing that needs to be corrected.


The government system cannot work for the people and the country, if it cannot be accountable to them to do the right thing.


The President–no matter what political affiliation–must assure and be perceived as assuring that everyone under his/her watch is doing the right thing. 


And if and when they stray from serving the people of this country, it should be the President who leads the charge to make it right. 


We all would respect a leader that recognizes and course-corrects when things go astray and does it with integrity and justice–that makes a truly great Democracy.  😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Obstruction Or Progress At Last

Obstruction
We all hate people who are obstructionist to what we consider progress.



The problem is not everyone defines progress the same way.



Progress to one may be hugely regressive to someone else.



So when 47 senators sent a cautionary letter to Iran’s leadership this week about making a deal on nukes, which perhaps comes down to less now for more later…



– Some called it obstructionist to the negotiations and even a potential violation of the Logan Act.



– While others saw it as progress in bringing us back from the brink of a dangerous and (very) bad deal involving legitimizing weapons of mass destruction for a dangerous regime to all.



Two partisan sides to every story…and each side capitalizes on theirs.  



“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!”



But history inevitably tells the true story (or closer to it) based on the outcomes of action or inaction (aka acts of commission and omission).



With the tornado of spin from the pundits on news, news, and more news, someone reminded me of the adage:



“Liar, liar pants on fire” 



or 



“Don’t believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see.” 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)