Showing posts with label Punishment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Punishment. Show all posts

October 2, 2019

Who's Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 

Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 

Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.

Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:
Gedaliah didn't fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.

I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 

Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur--fasting and atonement. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 1, 2019

The Photo Every Man Fears

This was quite an interesting picture to put in the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

That is one mighty large scissors that lady is holding.  

Uh, she looks a little commando-ish with the jump suit, cap, and sunglasses. 

Is she ready for war or for punishing some bad men?  

I don't believe there is a man out there that isn't spooked by this lady.  

My *** hurts just looking at this. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2018

Shame As An Effective Motivator

This last week protesters against Justice Kavanaugh came up against Senator Manchin (D. WV) in a head on confrontation. 

He was being interviewed by the media. 

But the protesters drowned him out with chants of "Shame" and "Shame on you!"

Similar to the series Game Of Thrones, where the evil Queen Cersis must "Take the walk of shame" for sleeping with and having a child with her own brother. 

She must walk through the city with all the people yelling "Shame" at her, spitting on her, throwing rotten vegetables at her, etc. 

There is no place to hide. 

Her hair has been shorn off. 

Her clothes have been stripped from her. 

Without her clothes and pretense, she is naked, but she is also naked because her soul is bearing her sin before everybody.

This week life imitated art and the protesters stood in judgment over Senator Manchin's decision to vote yes for and support Kavanaugh.

He was surrounded by shame. 

It was not meant to be politic, respectful, or open any sort of dialogue, but simply to tear the Senator down and humiliate him for his decision. 

I could imagine how he must feel being surrounded by all these people telling him he was a disgrace and that should be completely ashamed of himself. 

There seemed no one left to strand up for him, defend him, and let him save face. 

I am not saying his decision was right or wrong, just that when seemingly everybody passes judgment on you as evil and a disgrace, there is no where to hide or anyone to defend himself in this mob lynching. 

I imagine that this feeling of shame is sort of what happens when we die and we must face everyone we dealt favorably and unfavorably with.  

For those who we wronged, the chant of shame echoes through G-d's heavenly court. 

There is no place to hide as we must now pay the piper for each and every thing we did or didn't do.  

Our deeds are no longer hidden, but exposed for everyone to see. 

We cannot pretend to be good when we were not.

The veil and pretense of righteousness disintegrates.

We are exposed for who we really are. 

Our true selves and our sins are there in full sight and for which we must bear out our ultimate shame. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2018

An Arrogant Model Who Defiles The Holy Temple

Please see my new article, Naked Before G-d, in The Times of Israel. 
"In such a G-dly place [as the Kotel], where we are all spiritually naked for our actions before our Maker, [Belgian model,] Ms. Papen displayed not soul, but her haughty flesh."

And like the Sotah in the bible, who drinks of "the bitter waters" for defiling the sanctity of her marriage, Ms. Papen will most certainly come to see the consequences for her defilement of the most sacred place of Judaism. 

I wouldn't want to be her, seriously! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 3, 2018

The Blessings and The Curses

L-rd, Bless your loving children. 

And do swift justice to the wicked that seek their destruction. 

Bless those that stand guard at your heavenly and earthly gates. 

Curse those evil ones that make a mockery of your lofty kingship. 

Bless the humble and faithful to you and your laws.

Curse those that stand in arrogance and spread hate and vileness before you. 

Bless those that bless you and seek to do good. 

Curse those that curse you and do harm to your creations. 

Bless the righteous people with all that is good. 

Curse the wicked and tear them asunder so that they are utterly destroyed. 

L-rd, please hear your lowly servant and bring the ultimate redemption to your people. 

And verily discomfort, smite and throw to the depths of punishment and exile the cursed wicked. 

None can stand before you in their shame and disgrace. 

Do it for your name's sake; do it for your children's sake, do it for your justice's sake, do it to make things right in your beautiful and perfect world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2018

They Really Think They Deserve It

Sometimes I come across people with enormous wealth and power. 

Many wield it like they own it and deserve it. 

I wonder sometimes with billions of other people in the world without adequate food, water, plumbing, medicine, or a solid roof over the heads, how the mighty can think they are above it all. 

Do they look around--do they see anyone else but themselves?

They seem drunk with themselves and what they have--and very overconfident.

Worshipping self and all the honor and materialistic success--they forget where it comes from and what they are supposed to be doing with it to help others. 

Yet, G-d and His angels can strike in but a split second. 

Those that are high and mighty can be brought low and those that are in the depths of despair can be uplifted. 

But at the will of G-d Almighty.

At the top, people may erroneously think and come to believe that they are smarter or more deserving--and so what's theirs is theirs for the taking and keeping. 

They think "To hell" with everyone else--they are the little people. 

Perhaps, they even come to enjoy squashing them underfoot.

They really believe and savor the power and even think it's forever. 

Yet the wheel of life turns and often abruptly--illness, accidents, misfortune...it comes seemingly from nowhere when G-d breaths justice. 

How silly of the powerful and wealthy to think they are the untouchable and the forever mighty. 

G-d sees the good and the bad in the people--and ultimately, there is no escape from the King of Kings. 

Wealth and power are earthly and fleeting, but the will of G-d is all that endures. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 15, 2018

Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.

This is what they told me:

"When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness."

Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!

So while I really don't know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 

Yes, there is no light--there is only darkness. 

Yes, there is no Heaven.

But I don't believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 

Instead, what I believe is that you "Go back to GO and you do not collect $200."

In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 

Since you didn't complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission...you go back to the beginning. 

You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 

Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 

Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 

So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 

I don't know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I've already done. 

It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 

How is that for frustrating--working just to redo what you already did. 

Perhaps that is quite the measured "punishment" for those who end their life prematurely--before G-d says it's time. 

While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again--I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 

I assume it's nice to live again, but it's got to be a value-add life--not just a do-over!

So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life--it's probably not a purely rational moment in time--I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 

Because, suicide isn't game over, but rather the game begins all over--from the beginning again. ;-)

(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go--I am sure that is perfectly okay). 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 9, 2017

A Holocaust Bar Mitzvah

So there was a bar mitzvah in synagogue today. 

It was very memorable, I think not only for the young man and his family, but for many of the congregants--and frankly, it brought me to tears.

The family was from the Israeli embassy, and they did something that I had never seen before. 

When the father got up with his wife and son at the pulpit to speak, he didn't talk about how great his son was.

Instead he spoke about a young boy from the Holocaust who never made it to his bar-mitzvah.

The father told of the just 12-year old that lived in Europe and was murdered by the Nazis in the Jewish genocide that killed 6,000,000!

The father presented a certificate from the Remember Us program with the name and information of the murdered boy to his son. 

The message of this father and Israeli official on his son's bar-mitzvah was very clear--Never again!

Never again--the hate, prejudice, discrimination, and murder of Jews just because they are Jews.

The people that were murdered by the evil Nazis and other hating bigots throughout history showed no mercy towards G-d's creatures--in fact, quite the contrary--they relished in the absolute torture and killing of each and every one.

Never again, is not just a phrase, but it is a determination and a commitment to be a "light unto nations" not to forget how some can fall under the evil influence and not to allow it to happen again that people engage in the most outrageous and vile atrocities against their fellow man. 

Unfortunately these days, hate and bigotry comes in many colors, races, genders, orientations, and affiliations--and the haters may often pretend--like the Nazis did as the "Aryan Nation"--that they are superior, better, and even righteous in their (evil) cause. 

However, we have to know better--we have to be able to discern good from evil--raise up good over evil--and fight for good to win against evil. 

It is not just a single battle, but a long intergenerational war, and one that will be won.

G-d Almighty will most assuredly see to it that those who hate on and perform the vilest of deeds against their fellow man, they will end up paying the ultimate price not only with their rotting flesh, but with the eternal burning of their sickening souls. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team--HEART)
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May 22, 2017

Duck The Bullet

So I learned that there are at least 2 things to be mindful of when it comes to a firing squad:

1. Never get between a man and his firing squad -- sometimes, the judgment has already been passed, the victim blindfolded and tied, the trigger(s) already pulled back and the victim is too far gone to save.  Don't step in front of the bullet!

2. When it is a circular firing squad, rise above it! -- when people are engaged in self-destructive, internal disputes, recriminations, and taking pot shots at each other,  you need to either duck or rise above the fray and be the bigger man/woman.

Shooting the messenger, the interventionist, or each other just leaves a lot of spilt blood.
  
Save yourself and stay focused and determined to fight for the issue, when others are simply determined to take someone out back and put the bullet through their head. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 4, 2017

Time For The Cruise Missiles

It is high time to stop being bystanders while our military is forced to stand mostly idle in the face of the heinous crimes against humanity occurring in Syria over the last 6 years and half a million dead! 

Today, at least 70 people, including 10 children were killed in a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

In 2013, Syria killed at least 1,500 in what was the unbelievable fiasco of Obama's disappearing red line on the use of such weapons of mass destruction. 

Unfortunately, we can ill afford to tolerate the irresponsible use of these dangerous weapons--chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear.

President Trump needs to show strength where Obama showed only weakness. 

It is high time to light up the cruise missiles into the heart of Damascus--goodbye Presidential Palace and then some. 

Aside from redrawing the solid red line against WMD and punish the Assad regime's criminal activity, we will also put Iran and North Korea on notice not to underestimate or mess with us. 

We must act, before the nuclear ICBMs and suitcases rain into American cities. 

Now is the time to correct the mistakes of the past and reset our national security for the future by restoring the peace through strength. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 9, 2017

Who Are The Real Animals

So if you want to know who are the real animals in this world...

It's people!

If you can stomach it, watch this graphic video of elephant taming

The elephant is caged, chained, poked, prodded, beaten, spiked in all the sensitive areas. 

It is tortured and left with festering sores and then made to do sickening slave labor. 

While animals generally kill for food, people abuse, torture and kill for profit and maniacal enjoyment. 

Sometimes, we wonder why G-d punishes the world. 

But look at how the world behaves. 

Is there no heart or soul in some people? 

G-d forgive us for our sins and evil inclinations, and have mercy, and make your people better than this, much better. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2016

Why Would ANYONE Close Gitmo?

So over and over again, we read about the desire and promise by some to close Guantanamo Bay ("Gitmo")--the prison for terrorists against the U.S. 

What are the reasons given and do they make any sense?

1) It's costly--Yeah, it's costly to house prisoners, especially incredibly dangerous ones like terrorists who commit mass murder like in 9/11, but what is the cost of letting them go free, especially when the known recidivism rate of the released detainees is close to 29%!

2) It inspires other terrorists--Really, since when does imprisoning bad apples inspire other bad apples. Isn't one of the well-recognized and intended purposes of incarceration is to dissuade and deter bad behavior, as well as to rehabilitate. Even according to those who question the effectivenss of the deterrent capability of prison, studies show that it should be used to "incapacitate offendors (particularly, those of a chronic, higer risk nature)." In other words, we need to take and keep the terrorists off the battlefield!

Can an argument be made to bring the terrorists into prisons on American soil? Sure, but it makes a lot more common sense not to bring terrorists into the American heartland and risk further violence and danger to our citizens from known terrorists and their jihadist associates. 

Additionally, after 9/11 and the loss of almost 3,000 people, our brave U.S. serviceman and women spent a lot of time and hard work and risked their own lives to capture these dangerous terrorists...why would we want to release the terrorists endangering our military and our citizens all over again (especially when the threat has not abated--see below)?

Has the threat of terrorism gone away that we can say the war on terror is over and so let's send the terrorists home (the question itself almost sounds ludicrous for anyone living in the age of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, and more)?  Well, according to the RAND research experts, "there has been an INCREASE in the number of Salafi-Jihadist groups, fighters, and attacks." 

And after the recent attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, the downing of the Russia airliner, and many other terror strikes, it is no surpurse that "Americans name terrorism as the No. 1 U.S. problem."

Perhaps, this helps us understand why Congress is blocking the closing of Gitmo, and why none of us should be able to understand why violent, dangerous terrorist detainees are continuing to be released to hurt U.S. citizens again.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to JBrazito)
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December 5, 2014

Let Me Out Of Here

I took this photo in Las Olas. 

This statue of a women in a crate, peering out, is so eerie and awesome to me. 

Reminds me so much of Medieval times when people were punished by being locked up and confined in cages or very narrow prison spaces. 

Talk about claustrophobia?

Anyway, not sure if she is being shipped out or ready to be displayed, but either way, this lady wants out, I am sure. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 4, 2014

Stop Sexual Assault

Saw this poster coming off the Metro today in Washington D.C. 

"It's on all of us to stop sexual assault."

It reminded me of this article I read in the DailyMail about this father of a 14-year girl in India that was raped in her home by a medical supply salesman. 

The young girl was raped and impregnated by a 45-year old man who boasted that he was "too well-connected" to ever be prosecuted. 

After some time passed, the father invited the rapist to dinner!

The rapist came. 

The father overcame the rapist, and repeatedly burned the man's genitals with hot thongs.

The rapist died.

This one rapist will certainly not be doing this again. 

While blatant violation of the law and vigilantism is not okay, the poster is right that we need to "stop sexual assault."

Statistics in this country are that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted before they graduate. 

Unacceptable!

Laws protecting women (and men) from sexual assault need to be strengthened, penalties stiffened, and we all need to be on the lookout for inappropriate behavior and speedily report this to law enforcement.

And no one should be above the law and basic morality. 

"It's on us."  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 23, 2014

Not Just Business


This was a funny sign on the parking meter.

"All May Park. All Must Pay."

Another way of saying this is like at the dry cleaners, "No tickee, no shirtee!"

This reminded me of a conversation that I was having with some colleagues about whether individuals or organizations can be evil?

(Note: True story, but I've embellished for the sake of demonstration.)

One colleague said, "Individuals are not bad, but people in groups definitely [often] turn bad!"

Another said, "No individuals can be bad, really bad--think of Hitler and so many others who have murdered, tortured, raped, enslaved, and impoverished--it's the individuals that can and do turn an organizational culture bad."

A third person replied that, "Indeed, it can be the other way around as well, where bad organizations make or encourage it's people to do the wrong things--whether for profits, power, or punishment."

Then someone blurted out, "Well, business is business, right?" In other words, it's okay to do something wrong because everyone does it in business--that's the name of the game and what you have to do to compete and survive!

Then I said sort of annoyed at what the last person said, "Business is not business--that is our test to be G-dly, moral, and ethical in all our dealings [in our personal and professional lives]!"

Of course, we don't always succeed--no one does/we are not angels--but we have to try every time, learn and grow and become better people. 

If you do wrong, you will pay--whether in this world or the next. ;-)
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May 8, 2014

Free Behind Bars

Fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about going to mock prison to get away from the stresses of life.

Ok, so you know your working too hard, when your only escape is to lock yourself up and throw away the key for a few days. 

In South Korea, where they work 18% more than on average (2090 hours per year vs. 1765)--their is a great need to get away from it all.

There where life satisfaction rates a 4.3 out of 10, which is 34% lower than the average (of 6.6), putting yourself in prison is a quality of life thing. 

A two-night stay in the makeshift prison for extreme relaxation costs $146--and there you can meditate to your hearts delight. 

You can also attend "spiritual classes" and participate in "healing plays."

Normally smartphones wouldn't be allowed, but people freak out without them, so they get to check them once a day while on the inside. 

Being locked behind bars is a punishment in most places, but here its time to think, reflect, and get back to yourself--most of all you don't have to go to work on those days. 

It's funny, but one of the hardest things is generally for people just to stop and think--really stop and think--it's much easier to drown ourselves in endless activity and never have to deal with what's going on inside.

When we stop to let our thoughts catch up, to deal with our anxieties and fears, to confront ourselves and all the mistakes we make, and to let ourselves feel what can be an tidal wave of pent up feelings--that is a freedom that few can bear to make. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 15, 2013

Driving Away With It

This last week was another week for gross social injustice. 

As it has now been widely reported, a wealthy drunken teen stole 2 cases of beer and then plowed into a stranded motorist and 3 bystanders who were trying to help--and killed them all.

The teen was 3x over the alcohol limit!

What an irony: 3 people stop to help a stranger in need and they are killed by someone who cares nothing for human life.

And the flagrant injustice of it all is that the kid was let off on 5 years probation and will attend a $450,000 a year private school rather than going to prison. 

On the news this week, they interviewed the husband and father of 2 of the dead, killed by this teen. He is broken. 

The defense teen argued "Affluenza" -- like a disease, the kid should be let off the hook because...he is unbelievably wealthy and therefore was not given proper parental supervision--in effect, he is a victim of having too much--too many things, too much opportunity, but too little parenting as well. 

I guess I never realized that justice meant if you had too much you could murder 4 people and walk!

While others that have too little--education, jobs, money, 2-parent families, and so on--must take the rap and go away for their crimes.

Too much--you can buy your way free.

Too little--you get sent up the river without a paddle. 

Wouldn't you think it should be the other way around--if you have more, then more is expected of you.  While if you have less, your challenges are greater and so we take into account extenuating circumstances?

But no, money talks, and the guilty walks. 

It is a shame on our society--and what we inappropriately call a justice system.

Whether the money buys you a top-rated defense attorney, paying off some officials or jurors, or provide alternatives to the the same punishment and rehabilitation that others must face, there is no denying that money influences the outcome.

Sort of reminds me of the infamous O.J. trial--another travesty of justice. How many more? 

Funny, how art imitates life and life imitates art--in Season 2 of Homeland, the son of the V.P. drinks and drives and also kills someone and gets off with nothing but a slap on the wrist. 

You see it's not whether you're black or white or yellow or whatever, it's plain hard !!power!! and $$cash$$. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 14, 2013

The Backlash Against Performance Reviews

So there is big backlash against employee performance reviews. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek declares the annual performance review to be "worthless."

The performance review ritual is traced back to the 1930's with Harvard Business School Professor, Elton Mayo, who found that productivity and satisfaction of workers improved when they were measured and paid attention to. This was referred to as the Hawthorne Effect because the study was conducted at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric outside Chicago.

Later in the 1950's, the Performance Rating Act institutionalized mandated performance reviews for federal workers, 

But studies in the last 2 decades have found employees (42%) dissatisfied with the process and even HR managers (58%) disliking the system. 

Clinical Psychologist, Aubrey Daniels, call the process "sadistic!"

The annual reviews are disliked for many reasons including the process being:

1) Arbitrary, subjective, and personality-driven rather than objective, meaningful, and performance-based.

2) Feedback that is too little and too late, instead of real-time when good or bad performance behavior occurs.  

3) A power tool that managers use in a "culture of domination" as opposed to something that really helps employees improve. 

4) Something used to punish people and build a case against employees to "get rid of you" rather than to reward and recognize them. 

At the same time, this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft and other companies are getting rid of forced employee rankings.

The ranking system was developed by General Electric in the 1980's under Jack Welch and has been referred to as ""Stack Rankings," "Forced Rankings" and "Rank and Yank." 

Under this system, employees are ranked on a scale--with a certain percentage of employees (at GE 10% and Microsoft 5%, for example) ranked in the lowest level.  

The lowest ranked employees then are either let go or marginalized as underperformers getting no bonuses, equity awards, or promotions. 

"At least 30% of Fortune 500 companies continue to rank employees along a curve."

Microsoft is dumping the annual quantitative ranking and replacing it with more frequent qualitative evaluations. 

UCLA Professor, Samuel Colbert, says this is long overdue for a yanking at companies and managers' jobs is "not to evaluate," but rather "to make everyone a five."

While this certainly sounds very nice and kumbaya-ish, it also seems to reflect the poor job that managers have done in appraising employees fairly and working with them to give them a genuine chance to learn and improve, before pulling the rating/ranking trigger that can kill employees career prospects. 

A bad evaluation not only marginalizes an employee at their current position, but it limits their ability to find something else.

Perhaps, this is where the qualitative aspect really comes into play in terms of having frank, but honest discussions with employees on what they are doing well and where they can do better, and how they can get the training and experience they need. 

It's really when an employee just doesn't want to improve, pull their weight, and is undermining the mission and the team that performance action needs to be taken. 

I don't think we can ever do without performance reviews, but we can certainly do them better in terms of providing constructive feedback rather than destructive criticism and using this to drive bona-fide continuous improvement as opposed to employee derision. 

This is possible where there are participants willing to listen to a fair critique and work together on getting to the next level professionally and for the good of the organization. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Mediocre2010)
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November 2, 2013

Exposing Rape

On the Metro in Washington, D.C. there is a sign that warns people about sexual harassment. 

In the crowded rush hour trains, people can take advantage and try something.

But the advertisement reminds people that if they do the wrong thing, they are the ones who will be exposed--and punished. 

This is in contrast to a story today in the Wall Street Journal about a gang rape of a 16 year-old girl in Kenya. 

She was attacked in June--while walking home from her grandfather's funeral!

Six men ambushed her, took turns raping her, and then threw her unconscious body in a toilet pit--as if to say that she was just a thing for their sexual satisfaction and nothing but a proverbial piece of sh*t herself (excuse the directness here). 

But to make matters worse, the horrific act was not punished, but mocked. 

The rapists were "told to pay for some pain medicine for the girl and mow the grass at the police station"--I am feeling sick again!

I write this blog for this victim and for women everywhere to try to do my little part to expose the continued injustices against them--from inequality and unsafe conditions in the workplace to sexual harassment and rape in society. 

Perhaps, if we all expose the injustices, we can finally make it unacceptable and rub it out of existence evermore. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 31, 2013

Should Or Shouldn't The U.S. Attack Syria

As the hour approaches for a punishing U.S. attack on Syria, here are some thought on why or why not to do it:

Reasons Not To Attack Syria:

War-weary--The U.S. has been fighting back since 9/11 2001, how much more blood and treasure should we spend in a war that has brought limited results with over 5K dead and over 50K wounded Americans and costing almost $1.5 trillion dollars so far. 

World policeman--No country alone, including the U.S. can be the policeman for the world. We cannot get involved in every war and skirmish: we can't afford it; it is a distraction from our full slate of pressing domestic issues, and we ourselves are not perfect. 

International Discord--Russia and China, two other U.N. Security Council members are not on board with us in punishing Syria for use of chemical weapons or for ending the conflict there. Even the U.K backed out of the operation. 

Potential backlash--Syria, Hezbollah, or Iran may lash out at American interests, including neighboring Israel, embassies/posts worldwide, oil infrastructure, and more. 

Limited strike, limited benefits--With all the media and lack of secrecy on this operation, the Syrians have had the notice and time to vacate suspected target attack sites and move critical equipment out. Also, we have already ruled out attacking the chemical weapons themselves due to fear of collateral damage. Plus, we have already said that we are not going to try and unseat Assad or end the fighting. So will hitting some empty buildings in a civil war that has already been going for more than 2 years have anything but symbolic impact? 

Reasons To Attack Syria:

Morality--We can't stand idly by while Assad indiscriminately is killing civilians (including women and children). 

Norms of War--We must send a message that use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is horrific and a precedent that is unacceptable. 

Red Line--We drew a red line and now we must adhere to it; our words and deeds must be consistent or else we lose credibility. 

Punish bad behavior--The Syrian civil war has cost over 100,000 lives so far and displaced millions, torturing and executing civilians and using chemical weapons is bad nation state behavior and must be punished to mete out justice, as a deterrent, as a rehabilitative action, and to reimpose some equality back in the fight.

Protect Ourselves--Being clear and sending a global message that use of WMD is unacceptable helps in the end to protect us from being victims of such a dastardly deed as well. It is in our own national self-interest.

Axis of Evil--Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are working together to spread Anti-American and Anti-Israel hatred, terrorism, and to develop WMD (including Nukes) to threaten us and establish a greater stranglehold on the Middle-East as well as Europe. This is a war that is not desired by us, but one that has been thrust upon us by adversaries seeking our destruction. 

Closing Thoughts:

If we do it, then we should do it right.  

"Sending a message," in Syria rather than fighting to win something strategically meaningful and tangible continues to leave us vulnerable and just having to fight another day.

We can't straddle issues of morality, norms of war, and defense of our nation and way of life--either take out Assad, end the bloodshed, and establish a peaceful, democratic government or what is the point?

Obviously, there are arguments to be made on either side. 

But what is frustrating is that making a decision after we've concluded wrongdoing, and doing something positive is seeming to take too long, and strong leadership is required to bring resolution and greater good. 

Moreover, we need to look at the greater threat picture, so while sending Tomahawk missiles to Syria for their chemical weapons use, what about doing a full stopover in Iran with some Bunker Busters to put an end to their menacing and blatantly genocidal nuclear WMD program.

Wishy washy isn't going to make us any righter or safer, definitive results-oriented action can. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to zennie62)


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