Vetting The Refugees–Do You Think It’ll Work?

Spy.JPEG

So not that anyone was so thrilled with the Syria and Iraq refugee idea post 9/11 to begin with…


But now 31 States have come straight out refusing to take these refugees post the terror attack that happened just last week in Paris–where at least one of the terrorists was...


Guess what?


That’s right!  A fake refugee from Syria


But what about the “intensive vetting process” that is being promised for these 10,000 refugees?


Well what can be more intensive than the vetting that the American government does on employees working for highly sensitive agencies like the CIA, FBI, and NSA? 


So how has that worked out?


Probably not too bad, but the problem is that no vetting no matter how thorough is foolproof, hence major spies have infiltrated these organizations for years or even decades and caused immense harm to national security:


Robert Hanssen (former FBI–spied for the Soviets for 21 years)


Aldrich Ames (31-year veteran of the CIA, compromised 2nd largest number of CIA agents after Robert Hanssen)


Edward Snowden (leaked classified information from the NSA on our surveillance programs)


The point is that no matter how well we vet 10,000 or more refugees from Iraq and Syria, with ISIS vowing “to strike America at its center in Washington”–there certainly can be some errors in the screening and final adjudication process.


Again no vetting process is perfect–especially when the refugees themselves are admitting that fake ideas are being given out to them like candy in a candy store. 


So that’s the dilemma we now face:


HEART–do what our heart tells us to and help people in need by taking in the refugees.


OR 


HEAD–follow our heads not risking another one or more potentially devastating terror attacks on the U.S. homeland. 


The choice is heartbreaking or headache producing! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

Mask

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns–that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 


Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 


People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 


Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 


It’s a fake out–but perception is (often) reality. 


Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it’s a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 


Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.


Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones–because the parents put themselves first. 


It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 


People are human, weak, fallible–and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 


But that doesn’t mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be–more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 


This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement–the day when we shed all our phony masks–and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.


Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off–we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  


On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 


In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are–based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.


A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are–naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions–good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Taking The Spin Off Things

Spin

Ok, so here is what I learned over the years about communication…


Question everything, believe nothing (except in G-d).


It’s not just that a lot of people out there are full of sh*t–yes, that is true too. 


But also that many powerful people are experts at manipulation and spin. 


Take just some recent some examples:


– We didn’t just give America and Israel-hating “suicidal, apocalypse-seeking” Iran a clear path to the bomb and in just half a generations’ time (along with hundreds of billions to continue funding global terror and a lifting of the weapons and ballistic missile embargo), instead we have a “comprehensive long term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”


– With the hackers who not only showed how to take wireless control of a moving Jeep Cherokee, but also released information on how to do it, they didn’t put another tool in the toolkit of the cyber attackers and terrorists out there, instead “they are bringing atttention to an issue auto makers have for too long ignored.


Could go on and on to issue after issue…


The point is that from a young age we are primed to respect, listen, and automatically believe figures of authority and experts–when our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders or a policeman or fireman says something, we naturally believe them, who they are, and in them. 


This is what politicians and executives and other people in power prey on–that we will believe them over everyone else or any other facts to the contrary. They have the title, the uniform, the badge, or whatever, and so they must be good, honest, and trustworthy.


However, good parents and teachers make sure to tell children not just to take people or what they say at face value. For example, if someone comes to the door and says they are delivering a package, don’t just open the door.  Look through the peephole, ask for identification, or have them come with a neighbor, etc. 


I remember in the very first movie of “Death Wish” with Charles Bronson, where his wife and daughter answer the door expecting a simple delivery from the supermarket that they were just at and instead they get a brutal gang that murders the wife and rapes the daughter. 


Similarly, in cases where women get pulled over, attacked, and raped by someone with flashing lights, siren, and even a fake uniform/badge–even as you believe you are obeying the law, others are taking advantage and fooling you.


As comforting as our beliefs are and perhaps even that we just want to believe–things often are not as they appear or what we want or expect them to be–what goes on behind the scenes and the spin that comes out in front are designed to intoxicate the masses. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kristian Niemi)

Hair Drying Contraption

Hair Dryer
Took this photo at the Salon of this hair drying contraption.



The arms actually moves up and down in this crazy arc over a person’s head…like butterfly wings flapping away drying from all positions and surfaces of your head.



Looks quite unnecessary, except that it probably makes the customer feel uh so special…having this unique machine working their hair all over (who the heck would have one of these at home). 



Maybe it hovers off the ground and does little whirlies too!



In life, it is up to us to be discerning–what is necessary and real and what is just bluffery and showbusiness. 



Yes, there is no business like show business and alien space hairdryers–that fits right in. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Games Organizations Play

split
So HP, under Meg Whitman, is breaking up into a PC/printing
company and an enterprise products and services firm.

Um…well of course it’s the right thing to do to focus each and release the
great value of these two companies.
Only, just a few years ago, under Carly Fiorina, HP a
printer and enterprise products company combined with Compaq, a PC company, in
order to gain the size and clout to succeed in the ever-competitive technology
marketplace.
The B.S. of corporate America—everything and the opposite–to
try and do something, almost anything, to try and raise the share prices of those
strategically stalled companies.
From Meg Whitman, CEO of HP:
– October 2011–“Together we are stronger!”
– Then today, 3 years later–“Being nimble is the only path
to winning.”
Yeah, whatever.
Merge, split—wash, rinse, repeat…fool the fools.
HP is still HP—especially compared to Apple, Amazon, Google,
and even now Lenovo. 😉
 
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Angie Harms)

Be, Be Yourself

Be, Be Yourself

I thought this was a cute sign in the elevator at Safeway.

“Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Why they put this up in a supermarket, I don’t really know.

Anyway, gotta hate phonies, kiss-ups, and B.S. artists–in the store or out.

My wife’s grandfather used to say, “What comes from the heart, goes to the heart”–I really like that!

An ounce of sincerity is worth more than a ton of faking it–even if you’re a good fake. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have You Been Voluntold?

Have You Been Voluntold?

Voluntold, it’s a funny word.

A combination of volunteer and told, to do something.

I couldn’t believe that this word is actually in the dictionary and means:

“When one has been volunteered for something by another person. Often against their wishes and desires.” (Reference: Unwords)

“The exact opposite of volunteering. Always used in reference to an unpleasant task to which you have been assigned by your boss.”(Reference: Urban Dictionary)

I’ve seen this used when the boss asks for volunteers for a task or special project. If no one volunteers, then the boss volunteers someone–telling them to do it. They have been voluntold!

One time, I remember a very tense meeting where a boss was presenting his vision for the organization, but at the same time putting down the status quo and everyone in it.

As one point, he asks for a volunteer to help with driving his vision forward (note: no one had bought into it), and no one volunteers.

The boss ask for a volunteer once, twice, and three times at the meeting as the tension rises.

Finally, a hand goes up and someone accepts the task.

He is the bosses new favorite and is told publicly at the meeting that he will be rewarded for “stepping up.”

The truth is he didn’t really step up, but rather succumbed to the pressure to do it.

Another victim of being voluntold.

In the end, he really didn’t perform much of what he volunteered for–not a surprise, since he never bought into it to begin with.

Sometimes, we do have to ask people to do things, but it shouldn’t be by force or undue pressure.

A leader builds his vision with his team–not for his team–and they move forward together to achieve their unified goals and objectives.

Telling someone to do something, and pretending that they are really volunteering fools no one and achieves nothing accept maybe calling out some pretend accomplishments to go with the pretend volunteers. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Andrew Huff)