Branding Israel

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Israel Rebranded.”

For decades, Palestinians terrorists have inflicted on Israelis: stabbings, shootings, vehicular rammings, suicide bombings, terror tunnels, missile attacks, and more. But aside from this overt, violent war of attrition, the Palestinians are simultaneously waging a full-blown “marketing war” against Israel for world opinion. In this war of words and propaganda, the Palestinians get rebranded and so does Israel.

Have faith in the redemption and stand up and speak out against the falsehoods and fake news, so that Israel can have its rightful place among nations and also be a “light unto the nations.”  😉

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A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame

This story continues to fascinate me. 


China’s social credit system started in 2015. 


China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as “information collectors” (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing–good and bad. 


Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 


If you do good things in Chinese society–helping people, cleaning up, being honest–you get points added. 


If you do bad things in China–fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest–you get points deducted. 


Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble–and can get blacklisted!


A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 


But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts–it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 


While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of “Big Brother”!


On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn’t that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?


Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?


It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.


Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people’s knickers is another. 


This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. 😉

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


– More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful…we have to address loneliness,” says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 


Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  


Truly, no man is an island!


Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.


Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 


Alone we die–together we live. 


It’s not just power in numbers, it’s life itself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can’t Eat The Elephant

So there is a popular saying:


“You can’t eat the elephant in one bite.”


The idea is that you need to break things down in little pieces to get them down. 


If you try to eat the elephant in one bite, I assume that your mouth would easily split in half and your face would literally explode. 


Similarly with projects, if you try to get to the nirvana end state in one fell swoop , the project explodes with complexity and risk, and you will fail miserably.


Thus, managing requirements and phasing them in chunks is critical to projects’ succeeding. 


Sure, customers want to get the Promised Land immediately–where the projects have all the “bells and whistles”–but you don’t want to sacrifice getting the train on the tracks for the accouterments either. 

Think big, but act small–little by little, one step at a time, you can actually eat an elephant. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Dark Side

Thought this was a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal’s Review Section called, “The Dark Triad and The Evolution of Jerks.”


Antisocial Personality Disorder is where people exhibit three primary symptoms:


1) Narcissism – Excessive focus on oneself.

2) Machiavellianism – Manipulating others for one’s own gain.

3) Psychopathy – Overall disregard for others, including impaired empathy and remorse


Together, these 3 traits make up “The Dark Triad” or perhaps they  come across as being from the dark side, because of how badly they can treat others. 


Studies have shown that these three traits are positively correlated with one another, and that more than 10% of the population has these. 


In reading a little more online at WebMD, I learned that the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is that while they share similar traits, a psychopath typically acts as if they have no conscience, while a sociopath acts with a weak conscience. 


“At worst, they’re cold, calculating killers,” while at the less extreme, they may be okay with hurting others to get what they want. 


– Moreover, while psychopaths are more cold-hearted and calculating,” sociopaths are “hot-headed” and “act without thinking how others will be affected.”


Another study found that people with these traits often “experienced low-quality or irregular parental care.” Thus a harsh or unstable childhood may cause these symptoms. 


Whether these people come from the dark side, are going to the dark side, or just are scary and hurtful, it is important to be able to recognize who you may be dealing with.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Blind Eye and A Wink

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The UNjust United Nations.”

This week the United Nations failed to pass a General Assembly resolution designating Hamas a terrorist organization, despite Hamas being designated as such by the United States for 25 years already. What the United States knows intrinsically and based on the day-to-day terror activities of Hamas, the corrupt and anti-Semitic United Nations fails to acknowledge or, perhaps worse yet, condones.

Certainly, the UN is not living up to its charter to maintain peace and security and uphold human rights…with the UN, it’s just the opposite! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nice Coat!

Just wanted to share this awesome coat by Paris designer, Yves Saint Laurent. 


The colors are so standout, and the plushness is amazing from head to toe…beautiful.


The label is a little fuzzy, but I think the original price on this was over $30,000!


And even at deep discount it’s close to 10 grand!


I wonder if it’s real fur?  😉


Shabbat Shalom!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)