STOP Human Trafficking

So we watched the movie “Sold.”


It was about this young Nepalese girl (maybe age 12) who was sold into a horrible brothel in Kolkata, India.


She fought to keep from getting raped, but eventually they drugged her and tied her hands to the bedpost–where the evil bastards had their way with this child. 


She and the other young girls in the brothel were raped about 10 times every evening to “repay their debts.”


The horror these children go through taken, beaten, drugged, and raped over and over again. 


It’s unthinkable and the lowest grotesqueness of people who could possibly treat children this way. 


Finally, the young girl does manage to escape to Hope House (a rescue shelter for the human trafficking victims) and with the information she provides, the police are able to raid the brothel and rescue the other children. 


The movie tells how their are 5.5 million children around the world that are being sex trafficked–and I would presume that the real number is unfortunately much higher!


I can only imagine how G-d must cry heavenly tears for these poor children.


It is incredibly hard to understand that in some areas of the world poverty is so bad that some desperate families actually feel they have to resort to selling their children to survive.


In other cases, the children are preyed on and simply disappear.


Children who should be playing with toys are instead forced to be sexual play things. 


Innocent children who should be treated with love and care are instead treated as animals for the sick and cruel physical pleasures of others. 


Have mercy on these children—save these children from wherever they are bound and held–give them back their freedom and their dignity. 


If ever there was a cause for people to rally around–surely, saving these children from sexual abuse and trafficking is one that all can agree is at the crux of our very humanity and mankind’s soul. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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It’s Not (Always) Easy

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Sometimes, we see people–especially on social media these days–and they look “all that!”–so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything–so it seems (superficially). 


But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:


– Family

– Health

– Finances

– Work

– School

– Conflict

– Spiritual


Like Helen Keller said: 

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”


I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate–and he was right!


What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way…unfortunately, it’s part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we’re here. 


In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  


Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us–although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.


It’s not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 


It’s certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 


But it’s a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that–life is not easy–and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Locked Inside Your Own Body

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So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is…physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 


Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history–from chains, cages, and dungeons–the most vile despots have placed people’s bodies in desperate restraints. 


But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 


My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson’s Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering…only death itself.


In another instance, a colleague’s spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it’s course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 


In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul–no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 


Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?


There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes–it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 


Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d’s ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

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Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information).

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper.

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products–they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files–it’s great for bread and butter tasks–nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser.

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in.

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon–but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Suicide Office To-Dos

Suicide

So at times, organizations send out notices to their staff with self help suggestions or organizational resources that are available.


One such case is for suicide prevention. 


For example, if you are thinking about suicide, perhaps you should contract the employee assistance program.


It’s a good idea to reach out to employees when the messaging is done in a way that makes employees feel they are genuinely cared about and needed, and substantial help is available to them.


People contemplating suicide are in a desperate state of mind and proper handling is nothing less than a life or death situation.


Going to the extreme to make a point for a moment, office reminders about suicide prevention should never be selfish or cavalier, such as:


– Remember to turn the lights out.


– Set your out of office message on.


– Have you done a knowledge transfer to ensure a smooth transition?


If employees are coming away feeling like the organization is just sending out a form message or treating their feelings and situation lightly or in their own interests (such as to remove/reduce liability) that is apt to make things worse and not better.


Please treat employees with genuine dignity, respect, caring, and humanity, and offer them substantive help when they need it.


There are families depending on them and they love and need them. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jason Kuffer)

Wanting It Too Much

Data

It’s funny how we all dream about something…


Money, honor, success, large families, health, beauty, popularity, big houses, fancy cars, exciting vacations, and so on. 


Some people even dream of technology and big data, and wanting to either come up with “the next big thing” or simply have all the answers to everything. 


In the election session now, Saturday Night Live (SNL) frequently makes fun of some candidates at how much they desperately want to be president. 


I wonder though between the connection of wanting something so much and actually getting it. 


Does wanting it…led you to actually get it. 


OR


Perhaps, it actually can push it further away. 


One women who I was talking with told me that the more you want something, the less likely you are to get it, period.


You want it too much (you’re greedy, narcissistic, or think you are somehow ultimately deserving and the world just owes it to you)!


The universe just won’t let you have it when you are desperate for it. 


You have to be ready for it…cool with it…and most importantly, at peace with yourself, and then you can get where you want to be. 


There is something that rings so true about that. 


Desperation and success do not make good bedfellows. 


In fact, the more you know somebody wants something, isn’t that just such a huge turn-off (you start questioning their motives and everything) and in a way you want to recoil and not give it to them. 


Sure, knowing what you want helps. 


Hard work helps. 


But being okay with whatever G-d decides for you is critical. 


You can’t go with your head through the door!


G-d will either open or close the path to you…and all the kings horses and all the kings men won’t make the difference in the end. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is This A Partner For WMD Peace?

Everyone was speculating why Iran was building a 202 meter long life-size replica of a Nimitz Class U.S. Aircraft Carrier in the Persian Gulf.


Well today (as we are hear of “progress” with Iranian nuclear talks), we got our answer, as the Iranian military took the opportunity and blew the mock U.S. aircraft carrier to smithereens!



The commander of Iran’s Navy stated: “The Americans, and the entire world, knows that the American Navy is one of our targets and it will take us 50 seconds to destroy every US warship.”


At the same time, Iran is mulling over the purchase of a powerful anti-aircraft missile system from Russia.


So now Iran is going toward an agreement for a possible lifting of western financial sanctions and a 10-year nuke capability, and we are trusting them that it is for peaceful purposes?


Many of our major Middle East allies are concerned including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and more, and so much so that an Iranian nuke capability may “spark a nuclear arms race.”


Hmm…why the desperation for a deal with “Axis of Evil,” Iran amidst ongoing hostility and threats from Iran towards “The Great Satan,” America, and all the express concerns of our longtime friends and allies? 


Now we won’t just have deadly terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS to contend with across the region, but also a nuclear armed Iran–amidst regular threats to sink the U.S. Navy and annihilate Israel (and just 70 years after the Holocaust killed 6 million Jewish men, women, and children!).  


What have we learned about appeasement of dangerous foes and the unimaginable risks to millions of innocent lives around the world? 😉