Peace Through Strength

conflict-management

So this is what I’ve learned about conflict management…


Obviously, we are better off without conflict and to simply all get along–that’s the ideal!


Now unfortunately, in real life there may be situations where we may have fundamental differences of opinions and goals, and at times these may seriously clash. 


What’s good for you, may be bad for me (or vice versa)…that’s called a win-lose situation. 


And when we don’t see eye to eye and can’t get along, then either we can try to work it out and that’s where diplomacy comes in or at other times, we may have no choice but to take up arms and go to war.


Our first choice is diplomacy. Here, we sit down to listen and try genuinely to understand each other, and have empathy on others…life is not easy for anyone. 


Still we need to mesh what others want with what we need for our own wellbeing and progress, and that’s where negotiation, compromise, and de-escalation come into play. 


Best case scenario, we come up with a win-win situation, where we can both walk away from the table with a respectable enough amount of what we each want and our egos still intact, so that that we can all go our merry ways and pursue our lives and live within our values and amidst security.  


However, in some cases, some may be so unreasonable, intractable, and their actions so aggressive, egregious, and dangerous as to threaten, harm, and violate the lives of others, that it’s intolerable for it to continue any longer.


What’s left when we can’t put up and shut up, and when talk is exhausted, is to fight for what we believe in, for who we are, and for our right to live and prosper. 


Once, twice, three times and you’re out of time and luck–we are seriously headed for a clash of persons and/or civilizations. 


Peace is better won without firing a shot, but when it’s time to pull out the guns, they better be damn big and deadly ones. 


That is called peace through strength…where we have the guts and means to back up our position with force, if necessary. 


None of this bullshit of bringing a knife to a gunfight; instead, when we have no choice but to fight, we fight to win and everything is on the table. 


Peace is the preference, but if war is the only answer, then the other side may have unleashed hell, and that is what they will get from peace through strength delivered! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Content Filtering – Should We Restrain Ourselves?

think-before-speak

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 


He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage–road rage, email rage, etc.–and you can’t let your rage dictate your actions. 


People can certainly get under your skin–just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.


But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.


The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 


The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he’s supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)


Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling–that husbands and wives should drink this “special water” that they hold in their mouth–this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can’t say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 


The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 


And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 


When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that–it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 


She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, “93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media.”


I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, “write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic].”


Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful–“locker room banter”–maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren’t listening. 


Realistically, we can’t and shouldn’t have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do–there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 


But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Heads Down, Pants Down

Head Down.jpeg.JPG

If you put your head down in the global sand, then eventually your pants are going to get pulled down too, and you are going to get royally scr*wed (or should I say scr*w things up). 


And that’s exactly what’s happening to the reputation of the U.S. here and abroad.


Domestically, another 3 terror attacks just over the weekend in New York , New Jersey, and Minnesota.


While overseas, a humanitarian aid convey is attacked in Syria destroying 18 trucks and killing 20 people, and this after being coordinated with Russia, in advance.


And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:

“We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats…right now, the [global] village is burning…we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames.”


He goes on as to the consequences of the apparent reluctance to lead:


– “Middle East is torn by war”


– “Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists”


– “Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine”


– “China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors”


– “Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack”


Oh, and I think he forget this one, but another WSJ piece captured it:


– “One year after Iran deal, Iran’s right’s violations and aggression continue [unabated]”


But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):

“By almost any traditional metric,–home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty–blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama’s first term.” 


This country cannot lead with it’s head down and it’s hands tied!


It’s way past time to pick our heads up high and buckle our belts and get back in the ring to fight with belief and determination for what is right for us and the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Violation Of Home And Person

Followed

So I took this photo of a newscast recently about women being followed into their homes and attacked. 


What can be more frightening and violating?


A home is one’s castle and sanctuary–that is where we go for shelter, safety, and unconditional love. 


When the the home space is violated, then fear and panic ensue as all bets are off to what can happen to everything one loves and holds dear.


Think of basically any scene where the ancient city walls are being broached by a marauding army, and you’ll immediately see men, women, and children running and screaming, but alas the city burns and the people are doomed at the hand of their invaders. 


Similarly, when people are followed or suffer a home invasion–their privacy and security is violated to the core–and they easily become victims of theft, rape, and assault. 


I remember when growing up in New York how one local neighborhood kid was followed home one day by a gang, and they started beating him in front of his home until some neighbors came and chased the attackers away. 


But it didn’t end there, because this kid was vulnerable for months afterward, not knowing if and when the attackers would return for more. 


It’s like when people threaten someone and say, “I know where you live!”


That puts the fear of G-d into people, because it’s not only themselves, but their home and family at mortal risk–and not knowing when or how it may happen…people can just piss their pants. 


The opposite is true as well, people tend to be big shots and aggressive when they feel they are anonymous–when their faces are covered by masks, and they have no identifiable insignias–you don’t know who they are or where they are from. 


With anonymity, people feel they can do what they want without fear of reprisal. 


But someone who can be identified, they better behave themselves, because they can be found afterwards and “made to pay” for the bad things they did. 


Ultimately, peace comes from having both safety in the home and the serenity of mind that comes with not having to look over your shoulder all the time. 


Everyone should be able to feel safe in their homes and neighborhood, and the attacker be caught, killed, or damned. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

10 Reasons In Just 1 Week To Fear Government Breakdown

Chaos

When I saw this in the store, I knew it was a true sign of the times, as they say. 


When the government that is supposed to sustain order and usher in social and economic progress is dysfunctional and broken, instead we have:


“Chaos, Panic, [and] Disorder”


Here’s some news highlights from just this last week:


SPREADING BASE OF WORLDWIDE TERRORISM


1) ISIS murdered 137 and wounded over 300 in suicide bombings at mosques in Yemen.


2) Al Qaeda / Islamic State killed 23 mostly European tourists and injured over 50 at attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia.


3) Iraq’s battle to take back Tikrit from ISIS slows as ISIS continues to hold territory in Iraq and Syria larger than many countries–this after the last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011. 


AGGRESSIVE POWER AND LAND GRABS:


4) Russia annexes South Ossetia from Georgia, just a year after annexing Crimea from Ukraine.


5) China starts up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with support from key European Countries as well as Australia and South Korea, challenging American dominance via the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–this shortly after China surpasses America as the world largest economy.


PROLIFERATION OF WMD:


6) Iran says “Nuclear deal within reach,” while their neighbors in the Middle East shutter and warn of impending nuclear arms race.


FORESAKING STALWART ALLIES AND MIDDLE EAST PEACE:


7) The Administration threatens to back United Nations against Israel, imposing a 2 state solution rather than a negotiated peace and security for the region. 


ECONOMIC MESS:


8) U.S. economic forecast by the Fed was downgraded to just 2.5%, despite years of near-zero interest rates that were supposed to spark growth, but instead has simply driven stocks into overdrive and set us up for another bursting of the financial bubble


HEALTHCARE SHAMBLES:


9) Upcoming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare could see 8 million people lose subsidies and ultimately their health insurance coverage.


ENVORNMENTAL CRISIS:


10) 2014 as the hottest year on record and 13 of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century so far, this as even Chinese officials acknowledge looming fallout ahead in terms of climate change and disasters


If this is just one (more) week with the current breakdown of government,  those causing it all, as the sign states, can proclaim:


“My Work Here Is [Almost] Done.”
 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Men
Just want to recognize all the wonderful women who have touched my life:



My beautiful wife and daughters.



Also my beloved mother and grandmothers A’H.



As well as friends and colleagues. 



I still remember the saying I used to hear growing up that girls are “sugar and spice and everything nice!”



In the bible, women are men’s “ezer kenegdo” literally translated as helpmates, and figuratively as companions. 



There is a nice Jewish teaching that the word “kenegdo” has a double meaning that if a man is good then the women stands as his aide, but if he is bad that she stands against him–so men have to merit the love and kindness of their wives, and not just expect it, dutifully. 



An interesting article written by Melvin Konner in the Wall Street Journal says that with women taking over more and more leadership roles in the workplace and in politics, the world will be a better place!



What served men well in a hunter-gather society–the male testosterone-driven biology–prepares men well for physical aggression, reproduction, and dominance, but also leads to overreaction to small threats, exaggerated violence, and recklessness that has brought “war, corruption, and scandal.”



However, in the current information technology society that we now live in, men’s physical strength and prowess is largely obsolete replaced by machines, robots, and drones. And women’s emancipation and rise to positions of power has led to situations where saner heads and compromise prevail, and as Senator Susan Collins (Maine) said:



“While male colleagues cross their arms and sulked, women crossed the aisles with phone calls, emails, and social media.”



From my experience, women can actually be the fiercer gender (testosterone or not), and a wise man does not mess with them! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

First We Must Live

First We Must Live

I liked this advertisement for the movie sequel to the 300 coming out this week.

Anyway, for this scary-looking dude, “War is in my blood”–that’s who he is and these days, it seems like he is not alone in this crazy and violent world.

Some people are like that…they always like to fight, be oppositional, or just be difficult.

My belief is more like Ecclesiastes–that there is a time and place for everything…”a time for war and a time for peace.”

Around the globe, there seems to be plenty of fighting, slaughter, and tensions going on…from Damascus to Kiev, from Iran to Venezuela, from Sudan to the South China Sea, and more.

I heard what I thought was a good saying on the Game Of Thrones Season 3 (which by the way is totally excellent), it went like this:

“If we die, we die, but first we will live.”

Let’s hope and pray for more peaceful, stable, and pleasant times.

There is yet much to live for. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

On Friends and Enemies

On Friends and Enemies

Over the weekend, I read/heard two great quotes about the nature of friends and enemies:

1) The first was from Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal where she reminds us of a political rule that “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.” Really this applies in all of life, a few real friends may last over an entire lifetime, but most others are transient, such as in school, at work, or in a community, but when you leave that place or circumstance, the friendships often do not persist. However, enemies seem to last forever, where people never forget when they feel they’ve been wronged and these people may actually seek each other out and even join forces to get their contemplated revenge. The fight is not always fair or just, but people’s feelings when they think they’ve been wronged, hang in the air, like the stench of decaying carcasses. Something to beware of.

2) The second was from a martial arts movie called Ninja 2 where one of the characters says to a martial arts expert, whose wife was brutally murdered, “The man who seeks revenge should dig two graves.” Upon which, the martial artist wittingly responds, “They’ll need to dig a lot more than that,” and in the movie, the Ninja exacted his revenge on the drug lord and his gang for the murder they committed.

My impressions are that we should try to be good people and have a broad positive influence in the world. With some people, we will find true friendship–and very often, there is an almost unexplainable chemistry to this, where it just clicks–and it’s as if we’ve known this person not only in this lifetime, but in prior lifetimes as well. In other cases, the friendships are more temporal based on shared circumstance, camaraderie, or even an alliance or sorts, and these really are not sustained when one or both parties move on. And that’s okay, not every friendship is deep and forever.

In terms of enemies, you know it when you have it. Again, chemistry may play a role or one person may have indeed wronged the other. Sometimes, people can learn from making a mistake, they can apologize, commit to do better in the future, and there can be forgiveness. In other circumstances, the blood between people is bad and won’t get better, because there is scarcity, misunderstanding, bias, or even blind hatred. In these cases, it often seems as if no amount of communication, negotiation, or bending over backwards will resolve it. You can try–it’s always worth a try–but be prepared to circle the wagons and defend yourself, if all else fails.

Finally, a wrongful act can be so brutal and egregious that at times it seems that only a “joust to the death” will do, but revenge in the end, does not bring anybody back or undue the harm done. Yes, when justice is done, the world seems somehow righted and the fallen can be released from their painful throes and go on in peace, and maybe the evil aggressor will be prevented from hurting others in the future. In the end, the smell of peace is the sweetest of all, when we can live and let live. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Posture Matters

Posture Matters

So the military got it right when they teach their cadets to stand tall “at attention.”

“Chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in.”

The Wall Street Journal (21 August 2013) says that “posture can determine who’s a hero, [and] who’s a wimp.”

Research has shown that striking a power pose raises testosterone levels that is associated with feelings of strength, superiority, social dominance, (and even aggression at elevated levels) and lowers cortisol levels and stress.

Power poses or even just practicing these have been linked with better performance, including interviewing and SAT scores.

Body language or non-verbal communication such as standing erect, leaning forward, placing hands firmly on the table, can project power, presence, confidence, and calmness.

It all ties together where saying the right thing is augmented and synergized by looking the right way, and doing the right thing. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Official U.S. Navy Imagery)