Showing posts with label Accountability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Accountability. Show all posts

September 17, 2019

SAR -- A THIRD Round of Child Sexual Abuse Scandals

What a NON-surprise from SAR in Riverdale.

The Judaic Studies principal (grades 6-8), Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick has been arrested for "production of child pornography."

This after numerous child sexual abuse scandals in the Jewish community in Riverdale, and at SAR in particular!
  • Now for a third time in 2019, SAR's 2018-2019 newly appointed Middle School Principal of Judaic Studies is arrested for production of child pornography and SAR's principal is stunned at how this could be happening: "It is shocking to know that someone who we have trusted with our children has been accused of harming them. Despite the practices in place to protect our children, we are not immune to breaches such as the one that seems to have taken place at SAR."

Clearly there is a PATTERN OF BAD BEHAVIOR AND NEGLIGENCE here (i.e. like a repeat offender) and at a certain point, the patience and excuses completely runs out!

This latest sexual abuse debacle with Rabbi Skolnick (where was the vetting process on hiring him?) occurring AT THE VERY SAME TIME that SAR was conducting and publishing the results of it's earlier sex scandal with convicted sexual offender Stanley Rosenfeld and SAR's statement in their October 5, 2018 message releasing their report that:

Continuing our conversations with our students and faculty on preventing and addressing sexual abuse. In 2014, SAR implemented an Anti-Harassment Policy:www.saracademy.org/antiharassmentpolicy. Training is done annually for all staff as well as appropriate training for high school and middle school students as part of their advisory program. Emphasis of the training is on awareness and reporting of any potential abuse as well as setting appropriate parameters for student-staff interactions. We are fully committed to the safety of our students and to continuing to implement best practices in these areas.  

As anyone can see that the words by SAR are nothing but cheap and empty as demonstrated by the facts of their now THREE TIMES REPEATED sexual scandals as reported!

How SAR could be "shocked" after three times the same types of sexual abuse occurring under their watch should be a complete mystery to any reasonable, thinking human being with a soul.  

Where is the outrage by the Riverdale community and by the current board of directors of SAR?  And where is the REAL action by them to correct their now half century HISTORY of abuse against the children in their completely negligent care?

Of course, let us also not forget the other sexual scandal allegations in the same community at the Riverdale Jewish Center and the chorus of denials and lack of accountability that went on with their prior "Sauna Rabbi" of thirty years who finally stepped down in 2016. 

Would the Riverdale community and SAR in particular like to offer up any new denials today and provide any more cheap words about their Anti-Harassment policy and phony "commitment to the safety of our students"? 

Less than two-weeks before the Jewish New Year 5780, will SAR finally take RESPONSIBILITY for the abuse to their past students and REALLY do what it takes to protect its current and future children.
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July 20, 2019

Children's Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Children's Voices and Scars."

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are "destroyed" from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children--those that are still innocent and defenseless--are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:
  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don't be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can't as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 18, 2019

When People Can't Admit They're Wrong

So he's a story from the pool today...

I'm doing my laps minding my own business.

And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.

Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 

I'm doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:

- At his end of the pool 

- ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool

- With earplugs

- AND even underwater

And he goes on and on and on. 

Doesn't stop for even a breath of air. 

Now, in all the years swimming, I've never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.

BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.

I waited until he finished his call. 

And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 

I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 

I have to pass him on the way out. 

And I'm still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 

My head is still throbbing from his yelling.

I stop in front of his chair. 

Now he's pulled out a book and is trying to read. 

I say:
Excuse me.
He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 

I say again:
Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?

He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:
What's the problem?

So I say:
You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 

He's agitating now and he says:
Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn't hear well.  You get it?

So I say respectfully:
I am sorry that he doesn't hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 

Then he says:
So what--I don't care if everyone hears.

I try one more time.
Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim--do you at all care?

He still can't get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 
Well. I'll do whatever I want!

Now, I've had enough, and I say:
So basically you don't give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?

Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:
Next time he calls me, I'll take the conversation inside!

At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 

It took all that just to get him to say he'll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!

It's amazing--some people really just can't own up to when they are being a jerk.

But I was glad this guy finally came around--maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2019

We Can't Look Away



(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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May 22, 2019

Take Responsibility

I thought it was an interesting sign in the office.

Responsibility: At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start to be successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren't where you want to be, you will always be a failure.  - Erin Cummins


While I agree that we have to take responsibility for our lives and do the work hard to achieve success, at the same time, we obviously aren't in control of everything. 

We have to play the hand we're dealt in life and make the very best of it.  Whatever challenges that we have, they are there for us to learn from, grow from, and become better human beings from. 

Also, success means different things to different people--for some it's money, power and honer; for others it's physical fitness and dashing good looks; still some care more about travel, experiences, partying, and having a good time; and yet for others it's about G-d, family, country, and good deeds.

Whatever we want to achieve requires dedication and hard work from our end, but also a generous dose of prayer and good fortune for "the stars to align."  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2019

State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union...

But this morning, I still can't help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 

The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.

This didn't happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 

And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 

What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?

One lady said to a group of us last evening:
I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it's NO ONE currently in political office!

To which another gentleman replied:
It doesn't matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.

Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. ;-)
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December 20, 2018

Don't Get a Huge Hierarchy or a Big Fat Flat

So organizations are a funny thing.

Too hierarchical and you can get lost in the maze of corner offices.

Too flat, and there is no one to make a darn decision. 

Huge hierarchies can be costly and inefficient, but flat as a board organization are mob rule.

I think there has got to be a happy medium.

- One, where there is leadership, accountability, a reasonable span of control, and room for professional growth. 

- Two, where there is dignity and respect for everyone, and your tile and level doesn't make any difference in terms of having your voice heard and being able to make a difference. 

Hierarchies that reach to the pompous sky and flat organizations where all the air is let out and nothing can get done are those that need to be hailed away in a big menacing orange wheel lock.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 2, 2018

Triad of Determinants: Nature, Nurture, and Soul

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Nature, Nurture, and Soul."
We are not just what nature and nurture make us–but rather, there is a third leg of this triad of factors that make us who we are, and that third and most important element is that we each have a soul. The soul of each person guides us to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and sacred and impure, and to not just give in to our weaknesses, which each person has.

Hope you enjoy the article! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 16, 2018

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 

How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:

Credibility is about being "convincing and believable" and results from "expertise and experience."

Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person."


BRAVING

Boundaries - Have good boundaries--respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 

Reliability - Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.

Accountability - Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 

Vault - Keep information in confidence.

Integrity - Hold courage over comfort; choose what's right over what's fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 

Non-judgmental - Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 

Generosity - Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 

No offense to anyone...the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  "Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt--short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic." ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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March 9, 2018

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations

Here's how the typical bad scenario unfolds:

1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  

2. People start building their cases - listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.

3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 

4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.

Here's a better way to deal:

1. Problems begin with another person.  

2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person's perspective. 

3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems--so you nip it in the bud earlier--and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you've questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions--and you've looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and "co-create solutions."

4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 

The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn't truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 21, 2017

We're A Bunch Of Chemicals+

So it's pretty well known that we are a combination of nature and nurture. 

Nature is our genetics and our hormones--it's sort of the innate material that make up who we are. 

Nurture, of course, is all those external influencers, like parents, friends, teachers, religious figures, experiences, etc.--that shape us. 

In a way, it's hard to think of ourselves as a product of nature and nature, because that sort of removes our conscious free choice in the whole matter of who we are and what we do. 

For example, if someone is a raging lunatic, sociopath, serial killer, because they have a brain or hormonal defect and grew up in a broken and abusive home(s), then the question is, well how can you really or fully blame them for their actions--is it really their actions? 

Don't we have to ask ourselves how much control does a person have over themselves if they are physically and environmentally predisposed to be a certain way--even a very socially unacceptable and hurtful way?

This is where the courts and justice system come into play in looking at things such as whether the person is even competent to stand trial (e.g. the insanity defense) or are there mitigating circumstances to reduce the person's culpability.

I would imagine it is quite difficult to exactly judge the level of self control that a person is or should be able to exert given their individual set of nature and nurture.  

And even if the person isn't fully in control of themselves, does that help the victim or their families who are still left reeling from the harm and/or loss caused to them by the perpetrator?

Yet it is uncontested that people are driven by nature and nurture, and just in today's Wall Street Journal, there was a discussion of the influence of a person's hormone levels on their personality and behavior.

- Generally, more testosterone makes a person aggressive, while more estrogen makes them sensitive. 

- Similarly, dopamine makes people more energetic, while serotonin makes them more sociable. 

So there is nothing inherently "wrong" with you for being a certain way...that's your makeup, but you are responsible for how you manage yourself given what you've got.   

In other words, where you have lemons, you've got to make lemonade!

In a nutshell, we are truly a combination of our genetic makeup, a bunch of chemicals, some environmental molding, and the exertion of our willpower, faith, and belief in what's right and wrong. 

What happens when you mix these altogether, you get you and only you! ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to skeeze)
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November 9, 2017

Couple Arguing Loudly About Sex and Pregnancy On The DC Metro {Funny}



This couple is arguing loudly in front of everyone on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 

She claims the coming baby is his, and that he needs to take a paternity test. 

He says it's impossible that it's his because she's 3 months pregnant and they haven't had sex in 5 months!

This goes on and on in a most hilarious and boisterous way, and they even try and involve some of the innocent bystanders on the train. 

Always a show in this crazy town and it's not just the politics! ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 31, 2017

Stop Playing Politics With Our Security

Another terrorist attack in NYC, not far from the World Trade Center, now memorial!

Radical Islamist mows down pedestrians and bicycle riders in a bike lane along the West Side Highway. 

- 8 innocent people dead.

- Another dozen wounded. 

Now, the Mayor and pundits say, ah maybe we should've had barricades up there so someone with a darn truck couldn't do this. 

And better double up on security for the Halloween parade tonight and NYC Marathon on Sunday.

Well, as they say: 
"Better late than never!"

And so it is with our nation's borders.

As the President tries to erect a border wall and to restrict visas from countries that have not put in the necessary screening security, certain lawmakers and liberal judges keep blocking these actions. 

They don't want to discriminate against anyone, which I agree is a noble cause. 

However, as every news station was reporting again tonight, the terrorist in NY today was shouting in Arabic that G-d is great!

This was not an innocent vehicular accident. 

There ARE people out there that want to kill us and inflict serious harm on our country. 

To those people that continue to fight rational, reasonable security measures to protect our homeland and our citizens, I say to you:
You have blood on your hands!

And unfortunately, we can rest assured that our enemies are planning plenty more to come in their incessant attacks on the West (may G-d have mercy on us).

It is time for the people of this country to demand security...to insist on a border wall...to assert our right to restrict visas to those countries that won't ensure proper screening procedures. 

How long will we wait--how much blood will be spilled--before we stop playing politics with national and homeland security! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2017

Management Is A Privilege

So some people have this notion about management that is all wrong. 

- Management is not a right or entitlement.

- Management is a wonderful privilege!

The privilege comes with responsibility and is earned by knowing how to manage and treat your people right.

That means:

- Acting with integrity

- Treating people fairly, with dignity, and respect

- Showing you value them

- Helping to develop them

- And of course, achieving results together!

I heard it said well like this:
"If you don't treat people well 
you won't be a manager for long."
Again, it's a privilege, not a right, to manage and lead others. 

Those who abuse their privilege and people--it's like the cycle of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 4, 2017

Two-Faced Monsters

One of the scariest things with people are when they are two-faced. 

And no, we're not talking about people making funny faces or googly eyes.

My father use to joke:

"If that person was two-faced, they would never use that face {the one they are wearing now}!"

But many people really do have two-faces (and sometimes more).

- The seeming friend, but backstabber if they get the chance.

- The "goodie two-shoes," but what a real mischievous side to them.

- The "nice boy/girl," but what an unbelievable mean streak.

- The calm, quiet person, but what an explosive temper they really have. 

- The person who it seems "would never hurt a fly," but what an abuser and bully they are.

This is not about multiple personality disorder, but rather people who either are truly this AND that, or who "fake it to make it."

Many people do have multiple "normal" sides to their personality (like hardworking, but playful).

However, others more malevolently, use a cover up (and it's not mascara) to hide their inner bad natures/behaviors and demons.

These are the people that are really scary dudes (and dudettes). 

You see one thing on the surface (superficially), but beneath it is a type of molten lava ready to explode and do very bad things. 

Sure, everyone alternates between good and bad days, happy and sad, more loving or less, etc. 

But when people are fundamentally insincere phonies who are deceiving others until they can but strike and do bad things to them, then they are not just two-faced, but seriously f*cked up! 

This is all part of the fight in this world of good over evil--it goes on everyday with the monsters out there that are allowed to roam free and prey on others--perhaps some of afraid or even others are covering for them. 

How long can they keep up their heinous act?

Often way too long, until those good people of faith and conscience ask when will they be unmasked and held accountable--when will justice prevail. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2017

Another Nothing Burger

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)
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June 18, 2017

Paper Navy Tiger

We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?

In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.

The commercial vessel (yes it's bigger, but it's a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 

WTF!

How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship--how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it--was someone completely "asleep at the wheel?"

This is no joke!--this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 

What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine--surprise!

Doesn't a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 

How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can't even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 

Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation--and this country--DESERVE BETTER!

Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)
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June 16, 2017

It Takes A Village

I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.

It Takes A Village - No I don't mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!

2-Way Communication - Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn't build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people's active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.

Get Out Of The Way -  We (generally) don't need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. "Make managers manage and let managers manage" and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!

Things Change - While it's important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  "Disregard what's not working, and embrace what is." But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

This is our world of work--our village--and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2017

Who's In Your Corner?

So as the saying goes...

It's not what you know, but who you know!

Relationships, connections, and networks are critical for all of us to work together and get things done. 

And sure, it's good to have some reliable people in your corner who know you and can speak good about who you are, what you represent, and what you're doing.

However, let's face it, there are some people out there that take advantage and don't just have advocates, but rather protectors, and it's a way for those who may be unqualified, unsavory, and incompetent--as individual--to sustain themselves.

Frankly, some of these people should never be in their jobs and should never be a leader over anything or anybody--but they are enabled, because of who and not what they know or are able to do. 

Whether it's the Peter Principle or bullies and those without a working moral compass or sometimes it seems even a conscience, it can be very scary at times for what suffices as leadership in many organizations. 

Yes, of course, Thank G-d for the many good, well-meaning, and hardworking folks that make getting up in the morning as well as going into the office, worthwhile.

But for those that hide behind the skirts of others, so that they can get away with things that they should never ever be getting away with...well those are not fruitful relationships being maintained, but rather caustic ones that radiate concentric circles of toxicity to organizations, people, and mission. 

People know it when they see it--because it stinks from the stench of bad apples, bullying, disengagement, lack of accountability and ultimately failure. 

We desperately need each person to perform and to band together as an A-Team. 

However, sink or swim--as individuals, each person in their own based on their conscience and contribution without a phony mask of a protectorate accomplice. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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