The Eyes Give It Away

Have you ever noticed that eye contact gives it away. 


Even for the best poker-faced folks out there–the eyes are the conduit to the soul. 


Here’s how it works:


– When someone is plotting to do you harm, they avoid looking you in the eye.


Why?


They are afraid, they are going to give themselves and their evil intentions away. 


And so they attempt to hide their evil intentions behind closed eyelids, turned heads, and avoided gazes. 


They think by avoiding eye contact, you won’t be able to read them–seeing into their eyes and their malevolent thinking and planning.

Probably also even the worst of them may actually feel a little guilty (somewhere in there is a soul even if it’s mucked up in dirt, corruption, and absolute sin). 


– Yet the opposite is true when someone is executing their evil plans–attacking you and wanting to severely hurt you or worse. 


Then, they look you straight in the face and in the eyes.  


They are staring intently and honing in for the kill. 


And in their wide open eyes, rage and evil burns, as they raise their voice and their clenched fists. 


Seeking to execute their plots, their eyes come at you, tracking you, targeting you, and attempting to shoot/hit you first and hard. 


When evil is there–the eyes are the giveaway–and the person’s soul burns dark and deep. 


But remember, G-d–the King of Kings–is forever light and He will chase the darkness away. 


The L-rd executes darkness.


The L-rd will blind the haughty.


The L-rd will render a mighty justice.


The L-rd will save his faithful. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Sexual Acting Out

There is now a seemingly endless slate of sexual harassment allegations against some of the biggest shots from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. 


From the longest-serving Congressmen to the biggest star of morning television news, it seems that no one is sacrosanct.


Is it just that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”?


Or maybe it’s more broadly to be stated, as the Rabbi noted on Shabbat, that: 

“G-d created man perfectly imperfect!”

Men and women are created with sexual urges to procreate, bond emotionally and physically, and enjoy each other. 


Men tend to be the stronger than women and are able to have children into old age, and perhaps, it can be said, have the bigger “urge to merge.


Sure, there are women who are normally sexually active, and also those who are perhaps hypersexual (nympomaniac, “cougars,” etc.) and who commit sexual abuse too.


In fact, it was interesting that Wikipedia actually breaks rape down into 4 gender on gender categories:


– Rape of females by males

– Rape of females by females

– Rape of males by females

– Rape of males by males


Issues with physical intimacy and sexual harassment and violence span both sexes, however, it is also clear that:

“Rape affects women disproportionately, with the majority of people convicted being men.”


In the U.S., the statistics show gross levels of sexual violence to women:


– 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime (vs 1 in 71 men).


– 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female.


Also, particularly disturbing is the number of girls and boys targeted:


– 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18. 


What type of society have we created, where women and children are not generally safe?


It’s interesting to me in Judaism that there is a recognition of sexual impulse, and that some Hasidim actually wear a “gartel” belt when praying to physically and spiritually separate the upper half of the body with the head and heart, from the lower half with the more animal instincts.


In short, the head and heart need to control the animal part of people. 


Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be happening in so many cases. 


Stunned from the outpouring of sexual allegations nearly everyday now, I said to my wife: 

“What is wrong with these people? They have it all: position, power, and wealth; and yet, they throw it all away –including their integrity and reputations–for a five minute lay in the hay!”


Is the animal instinct too strong for the person to control? That just isn’t going to cut it.


As a functioning society, it’s got be completely unacceptable for people to act out sexually or otherwise violently hurt their neighbors. 


It’s time for social reform and for the animals to be controlled by the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Are The Working Class

So I like to speak with people about their lives.


Today at breakfast, there was a gentlemen working the egg bar making omelettes for people.


Recognizing him, I said “You’ve been here a number of years?”


He responds, “Yeah, but I want to leave here!”


I was sort of taken aback at his bluntness, and inquired further, “Why, is everything okay?”


He goes, “Not really. They’ll only give me work 6 to 7 hours a day, and I can’t make a living on 32 hours a week!”


I asked innocently, “Do you have a second job or something?”


He says, “No, this is it,” and proceeded to make the next person’s omelette.


Feeling sort of shitty bad for him…


Another lady who works the tables says to us: “I won’t be seeing you.”


I ask, “Why–are you off the next few days?”


She says, “No, I don’t come back until next Saturday–I only work the weekends here, and somewhere else on weekdays.”


Wondering about this, I say: “So you work 7 days a week?”


She answers, “Yes, year-round!”


After we said goodbye until next time, I looked at my wife grimacing that this women has to work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, just to earn a basic living.


I’ll tell you the system is broken.


Shareholders and corporate chieftains squeeze profits and earnings per share out of their companies while the workers can barely get by.


The workers are not part of the companies they labor for–they are merely hired hands who will be replaced in a moment by another minimum wage worker if they but open their mouths to protest one word.


Slavery did not end in building the Great Pyramids of Egypt or in the plantations of the South–the average worker is still just a slave.


Employee engagement and development and “Human Capital” are terms organizations use to make themselves and their workers believe that there is real caring and unity going on.


But we know the truth by how people are treated with harshness, disrespect, disdain, and even abuse–sexual and otherwise!


Yeah, are you really valued or are you a wage slave showered with empty platitudes of unity and caring.


Real leadership is genuine compassion, empathy, and helping people both inside and outside the organization–not just a guise, disguise, mask for making just another dollar cracking the whip on the backs of the underclass.


All people are important.


All people deserve a living wage.


All people are entitled to work with dignity and respect.


All people need to be apart of a system that is fair and equitable.


Care for your brothers and sisters for one day you will be called before them in the court of Heaven and they will speak the final truth to power. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Long Arm Of The Law

This bird was hilarious running into and out of the ocean waves. 


Over and over again, it’s little puttering feet running toward and then just escaping the water rushing to the shore. 


In a way, I thought that I’d like to be as playful and happy as this little bird running and having fun in the water. 


But when I showed the video to my wife, she got a different message from it. 


She said, “you can’t outrun the long arm of the law!”


The (jail)bird runs towards trouble, but then running away, the waves of justice invariably catch up with it. 


I think with all the scandals in the news again lately from Hollywood to Washington D.C., we are all sort of stunned by the famous and hugely successful people who are now being caught up in inappropriate sex scandals and all sorts of abuse of women and men!


It’s wrong that these people use their wealth, fame, and power to hurt other people, period. 


There are no excuses, no lapses of judgement, especially when it seems to happen over and over again to the same people. 


Put your “package” back in your pants, and behave like upright human beings and not like a bunch of wild animals.


Yes, perhaps it’s one thing to be playful like the birds in the ocean waves, but it’s another to be part of the list of scumbags–if true as accused–like Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Al Franken, John Conyers, and more. 


You can pay off the women with jobs and settlements, but you can’t escape the rushing water of ultimate judgement for your unbridled play and tarnished souls. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Screwing The American Worker

Minimum Wage.jpeg

So someone came to me today complaining that their company was messing with them. 


The employee was earning above minimum wage after several years in their line of work


And now their company wants to cut their salary claiming tight budgets. 


But get this:


– Instead of speaking with the employee, they send the employee a text message telling them they are going to cut their salary, and when the employee tries to call them, they don’t even pick up the phone or call back. 


– The company decides unilaterally that they will cut the employee salary by $1.50 an hour or a whopping 12.5% to this person!


– And this company is going to actually pay the employee below minimum wage!


Apparently, this company hires a lot of immigrants who don’t know the law and are only here for a short time, so this company disgustingly “gets away with it!”


But this employee is an American citizen and he is rightfully furious–as we all should be.


So Montgomery County, Maryland–a very liberal county–just raised the minimum wage to $11.50 effective July 1. 


Do you know what that comes out to at 40 hours per week–less than $24,000 annually.


That’s less than the poverty level for a typical family of four. 


Imagine what this person has left after taxes and carfare to get to work–not much!


I have gotten to know this person and they are a good, decent, hardworking human being, and they have suffered in their lifetime–why do they need to be treated like this and forced to earn even LESS THAN minimum wage. 


They are worried that if they say anything then they will be even worse off–they don’t want to be seen as trouble. 


How many times does this or a similar situation happen to innocent workers where they are mistreated, taken advantage of, abused, harassed, or even worse–but because they need the job and the money they are afraid to say or do anything to protect themselves.


We are the United States of America–one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth–is this how we treat our citizens?


People deserve to work and earn a decent days pay for a honest days work–a genuine living wage!


They also deserve core worker benefits like health care and a decent retirement. 


And they should be able to do their work free from workplace harassment and abuse. 


There must be not only fundamental laws that protect people, but also the enforcement mechanisms to make it really work. 


This gets to the heart of America–do we still have one? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dirty Laundry Usually Doesn’t Get Aired

Airing Dirty Laundry.jpeg

The way to fix problems is to first identify and acknowledge them.


Only then can you focus on them, commit to them, really address them, and make things better.


The BIG problem though is fear. 


Usually dirty laundry doesn’t get so easily aired. 


Generally, people don’t want trouble. 

“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”

And who wants to be the one to get hammered flat and for of all things, doing the right thing?


We don’t encourage transparency.


And we certainly don’t reward transparency. 


As I once overheard:

“Uh, you better keep it in the family!”

So things get kept in the family, and the big burly husband is a drunkard bum and the wife is abused and the kids are abused, and the sh*t goes on. 


Shhh…


Open door policies, hotlines, and other mechanisms are helpful, but don’t go far enough. 


Bosses need to ask point blank and with full and honest assurance of confidentiality and non-attribution or retribution:

“Tell me what’s really going on here.”

When there is smoke, there is fire, and where there is skunk stink, there is skunk.


The only way to know the truth and make a difference is to get to the truth.


In life, is anyone willing to “do the dirty” and finally get to clean? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The REAL Problem Is NOT Healthcare

Healthcare.jpeg

Why can’t all the really smart people in this country solve the healthcare crisis?


The democrats tried and it didn’t work out to well. 


And now the republicans are trying and sort of the same thing so far.


Is it politics?


Sure, that is what it can easily look like. 


One side wants to give more to these folks and less to someone else, and the other side vice versa.


But I don’t think that is the truth!


Wouldn’t we all like to give health coverage to every single man, woman, and child in this country!


Seriously…doesn’t everyone have a heart and soul somewhere in there.


And we all know and/or fear what it’s like to be at risk, without proper coverage, and without the medical care and medicine that can be lifesaving!


So here’s the real problem folks:


It’s not healthcare, nor any of the other social or national security issues we face–whether the military, space exploration, environmental concerns, jobs, or anything else. 


This is what it is…


It’s called the national debt, which stands art $20,000,000,000,000


And that doesn’t even include ANOTHER 127,000,0000,000,000 of unfunded liabilities for things like social security and medicare etc. 


This is a nation that collectively doesn’t save–it spends–and it spends not only it’s current purse, but it’s future one too!


In fact, total U.S Household wealth in aggregate of $90,000,000,000 is eclipsed by our overall national debt!


True, this doesn’t include trillions of dollars of other significant business or national assets, but it does point to the overall severity of our highly-leveraged financial position.


So where does this leave us?


We can’t really solve healthcare or any of our other problems–if we are BROKE, busted, and a debtor nation. 


Yes, it takes money to invest, and money to pay for solutions for now and for the future. 


But how can you possibly solve anything, if your pockets are not only empty but have a big f*ckin’ hole in them. 


So folks, the lousy decisions of the past and present are coming back to haunt us. 


It’s a tidal wave, a tsunami of debt–of unbelievable corruption and kicking the can down the road–of fraud, waste, and abuse–of shortsightedness and lack of real leadership–and the time is coming to pay the piper!


If you think the political infighting–liberal and conservatives–tea party and progressives–alt left and alt right–socialists and dictators–is bad now?


But unfortunately, unsolvable problems lead to accusations and recriminations–finger-pointing all around–calls for impeachment–calls to let the other party or some independent lead us out of this mess.


Do you think being in such a challenging situation could also lead us to make rash and stupid mistakes or even go to war? 


In the end, how do you lead us out of a dead-end caused by generations of recklessness with our country’s finances?


Some say perhaps we can grow ourselves out of the debt–maybe we need to go back to school and all get our MBAs and start the whole messed up story all over again?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)