The Easy Way or The Hard Way

Duelign Pistols.jpeg

So I like this quote by Carl von Clausewitz:

“War is an extension of politics by other means.”


There is diplomacy and then there is war!


– Diplomacy is soft power–talking, persuading, negotiating, and compromise. 


– War is hard power–fighting/combat using kinetic or cyber-based means.


When diplomacy fails, then war is what’s left to compel the enemy to come around to your way of thinking and do your will. 


As they say, there’s the easy way or the hard way–that’s the dual before the duel.


Either way it gets to resolution. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

DISGRACEFUL United Airlines

To all decent human being out there…


Think twice about United Airlines. 


They overbooked a flight and then forcibly removed passengers that had paid for their seats. 


What right does anyone have to sell something that they in essence don’t have to sell?


And then treating their passengers like animals, smashing them and busting their lips, and dragging from from seats they paid for!


These passengers just wanted to go home. 


On top of it, the joke of a CEO of United Airlines, Mr. Oscar Munoz, defended this abhorrent violence against his paying passengers stating:

“Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose [not that he regrets that they oversold seats and then beat the sh*t of this passenger], I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to do above and beyond to ensure we fly right [this is what he “commends” and consider going “above and beyond” and doing what’s “right”–what a complete moral disgrace!].”


While Mr. Munoz had a heart transplant last year, apparently he truly has no heart at all–these are subhuman actions whose defense can only be considered to be the vacuum of any decency or morality in the leadership of United Airlines. 

If no passengers took their offer of $400 or even $1,000 to get bumped, then let them offer $10,000 or more–whatever the market price is to get the seat–but they have NO MORAL RIGHT to force this passenger out of a seat he legitimately paid for and was already sitting in. 


Either United Airlines should immediately apologize and extraordinarily compensate this harmed passenger, promise never to do this again, and fire their corrupt CEO or the public should boycott this disgraceful airline.


Where is the Federal Aviation Administration? 


Where is the board of directors of United Airlines?


Where is justice for this passenger and protection for airline customers?


Please G-d, justice will be done. 😉

Did You Know You’re A Sinner

sin-jpeg

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:

“Sin Awareness Day”


Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I–and everyone else–are sinners!


Innocently, I ask, “Well, what have I done?”


The missionary answers with a stern face, “I’m sure you have lied!”


I said, “I don’t think so,” but then to play alone, I smirked and said, “Well what if I did?”


He answers and says, “You’ll need to repent!”


Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that’s right in line with where I’m going anyway…


The guy continues–of course–to try to enlist me to his “savior” that he believes can save us from all our sins. 


I challenged and said, “Well, how about Moses?”


He roars back, “Moses?!!!” and starts railing on about “convert, convert, convert.” 


Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 


And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 


Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:

“Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not.”


Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 


In that I am definitely a believer!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Forcing Kids Backfires Big Time

Kids

Fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times today on how the stress we are putting on our kids is making them sick. 


With testing of High school students showing incredibly alarming rates of mental illness:


– 54% with moderate to severe depression.


– 80%+ with moderate to severe anxiety.


And 94% of college counseling directors “seeing rising numbers of students with severe psychological problems.”


Even pediatricians are reporting 5-, 6-, and 7-year olds coming in for migraines and ulcers!


Another teacher said with all this, “We’re sitting on a ticking time bomb.”


Under the pressure to get into great schools and get a foot in the door in excellent careers and attain high-paying jobs, we are making our kids work longer school days, do more homework, take more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and achieve, achieve, achieve. 


We’ve taken away normal play time–the fun out of life growing up–and the imagination, exploration, and discovery away from kids just being kids. 


The paradox is that “the pressure cooker is hurting, not helping, our kid’s prospect for success.”


Especially for parents who themselves grew up poor or lacking, maybe they are trying to do the “right thing”and give their kids more than they had and a “better life.”


But maybe even the best intentions to mold children to be what we want them to be, or think they should or could be, is misplaced.

 

If only we could all take a little (or BIG) chill pill…you can’t force success–with forcing you get the opposite results.


Back off people–instead of pushing and endless disciplining–how about we listen to the children, guide them, show unconditional love, and be excellent examples–show them integrity, a strong work ethic, along with an appreciation for work-life balance, then perhaps we will get not only the success of the next generation that we all need, but also happier, better adjusted, and healthier children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Might Does Not Make Right

Do Right
I heard from someone the other day…



“Do what is right–the others be damned!”



And this is right on the money.



You should always follow the dictates of your conscience.



Do not worry about pressure from others or what others will do that you cannot control. 



My dad (A”H) used to say:



“YOU do what is right–YOU be the example!”



He was my example, and I will always follow in his footsteps. 😉



(Source photo: here with attribution to cursedthing)

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)

The Nature of Envy and Ambition

Throne

I watched a really good movie the other day called “The Violin.”

It was about a civil war in a South American country where freedom fighters are vastly outnumbered and outgunned and an old violinist tries to smuggle weapons and ammunition to his people in his violin case. 

At one point in the movie, their village in overrun by the army, and the boy’s mother and sister are killed. 

The little boy asks the grandfather to explain the horrible life events that have befallen them to him and the grandfather tells how G-d created the world with good people as well as people the are envious and ambitious and those people sought to take everything away from the others–no matter how much they accumulated, they wanted more.

I thought about this with respect to a quote I had learned in Yeshiva that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”–that those who have unbridled power and ability, will use it without limitation and in wrong and harmful ways to others, because they can.

Envy and ambition and power–can be used for good–when people see others succeed and are motivated to work hard and do their best too. 

But when people become blindly consumed with it for its own sake–they can’t stand anyone having more than them or even having anything–they think they should just as well have it all–then they will not just work hard to achieve it, but they will act out against others to unjustly take what they want and as much as they want. 

My father always taught me never to be jeoulous of anyone. He told me that if you knew what really went on in their lives–what their basket [of good and bad] was–you wouldn’t trade places with them in a million years. 

And I believe he was right. Often when I know someone only superficially and their life looks so grand and “perfect,” it is tempting to think they have it all or even just better, but then when you get to know their life challenges–sickness, abuse, death, loneliness, and other hardships–you realize how things could always be a lot worse and how truly lucky you are. 

Of course, there will there always be people who are superficial, materialistic, and can’t control their urge for power and things–and they will try to take more than their fair due and by force if necessary. In the end, will it bring them real fulfillment and happiness, the answer is obvious. 

I believe it was my Oma (grandmother), a survivor of The Holocaust, who used to say “count your blessings”–she was right. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)