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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Building a good customer-brand relationship is astonishingly simple. It’s doing the work consistently over time that can be a challenge.
  • Keep your promise: Deliver quality products and services, on time and just as requested.
  • Be responsive: You probably spend a lot of time and money getting your name out there, but are you ready when people express interest? When they have a problem with what you’ve sold? Delays, poor communication and failing to solve the problem really irritate people and can eliminate business you’ve worked extremely hard to get.
  • Set limits: Many people think that customer service means you have to give people everything they want. Not true. You can tell people “I will be able to do this much, for this amount” and they will be fine with that. Problems arise mainly when you overpromise (or are unclear about the promise) and underdeliver.
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Originally posted to Quora by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Also posted to my other blog, All Things Brand. All opinions are the author's own. This is a personal account unrelated to and not sponsored by the author's employer or any other entity. Photo via Pixabay (Public Domain).

Monday, April 24, 2017


In memory of my Zayde, Rabbi Valentine Stroli, may he rest in peace.

I keep seeing his face, over and over
Smiling, beatific
In his midnight black caftan,
With smooth, wide satin lapels
A luxury that only surviving Chasidim would recognize.

Combat gear.

I see him in my dreams,
Sitting there so serenely on Shabbat
King of the heavy, polished wood table
With an indestructible table protector
Three inches worth of plastic
Carefully placed above the ivory embroidered tablecloth.

"Dossy,"
"Yes Zayde," I said

{Troubled, crying}

"Dossy,"
"Yes Zayde."

Hands to eye, I wiped away the tears.
It wasn't Shabbat anymore, but Sunday.

"I am listening."

"Devarim Sheyotzim Min Halev Nichnasim El Halev.
Do you still know what that means?"

"Words that come from the heart, go straight into the heart."

Feeling dumb, numb,
Confused and disorganized,
Aimless, constantly aimless.

"Yes, Zayde, I understand," I said, wanting to make him happy.

He withdrew $500 as if out of thin air.
Pressed it into my hand.
Five bills in American currency.
Swaying in unison.
Neatly, crisply folded.

"I was an officer in the Romanian army."

"It's OK, Zayde," I said, looking away.
"You don't have to say it again."

This was not to spare him, mind you.
It's just that I couldn't bear it.

"I worked for the government."

"I know."

"And they took us."

"Yes."

I tried to be strong --

"I hid as many of our Jews as I could."

"Zayde."

I wanted to comfort him, but there was no comfort to be had.

He made no effort to wipe his tears away, and neither did I.

"I will pay your tuition if you stay here," he said.

As I looked at his elderly, saintly face,
The weight of expectation broke me.

{There's always a price to pay.}

He saw that I flinched and the game was over.

"Whatever you do, graduate," he said.

"And wash 'Negel Vaser' in the morning."

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/. Public domain photo via Pixabay.
When the Romans tried to crush the Jews they did three things. First torture us into denying our faith. Second enslave the men. Third, sell the women for sex. See below.

<<After Rome crushed Judaea in the Jewish-Roman wars, many thousands of civilians were publicly tortured to death in failed attempts to make them deny their faith, many men were taken into slavery for use in forced labour (e.g. the Corinth canal), and many young women were taken into slavery and placed in brothels.>>

Why these 3 specifically? To deny any possibility of spirituality. 

Where there is no God except a man posing as one; and there is no work except what a master tells you to do; and there is no personal privacy, the soul is crushed like a flower cut off from its roots. Maybe from the outside it looks functional, but inside it is vacant.

Therefore, from a Jewish point of view, liberal feminist rants about "slut shaming" are misguided. They say that women should feel free to let it all hang out, because modesty is about "shame" and "victim blaming." The truth is that the feminist movement has bought into an alien Roman ideology, that sex ought to be disconnected from holiness. That such disconnection equals freedom.

Women have been duped by the feminist movement. A movement which took full advantage of them.
---

https://www.quora.com/Did-the-Romans-have-sex-slaves/answer/John-Bartram?share=b760a2ab&srid=us3O

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's been 6 months since I started campaigning on social media against #humantrafficking along with many other citizens. My goal was to help bring awareness of this plague to the mainstream. 

Thank God, this has happened, and so my personal campaign is over, although I will plan to share important news regularly. 

Five metrics of success: 

1) President Donald Trump made it a high priority of his administration from day one. The First Lady and Ivanka Trump are also actively involved.

2) Arrests are *way up* and they're getting high profile individuals in politics & law enforcement. 

3) The federal government is all over it, specifically DHS/ICE & the FBI. (USAID, State & HHS should also be mentioned).

4) The mainstream media is covering it heavily. Daily I see news on the major networks, not just blogs and independent media.

5) A major celebrity, Ashton Kutcher, testified before Congress about his foundation, which fights human trafficking through technology. And Kim Kardashian has announced that she was inspired by the movie Lion to learn more about this issue. 


Just like when I campaigned for President Trump, I was moved to fight this fight for a lot of reasons. I am excited about the next big project, as of now unknown.
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 By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

If I've learned anything over the years, it is that people -- given a choice -- will only work with other people they trust.

The same goes for buying things. I will visit the dollar store weekly. I will buy markers there, shampoo and foil pans and party supplies. I will not buy vitamins, hair dye or "what-a-bargain" iPhone AC adapters.

Speaking of the dollar store, my daughter and I watched a couple shoplift there the other day. It wasn't clear if they were poor, or if they just didn't have the patience to wait.

It may be that the store, being as it was in a "nice area," simply trusted its customers.

Trust is a hard thing to earn, and it's very easily lost. The funny thing is, you can't buy it the way you can buy a good designer.

Have I mentioned that my favorite new brand is water, only because of the package design?

Let's talk about the water for a second: I buy it expecting that there is no special quality about the stuff, despite what they write on the label.

That lack of trust -- it is a kind of trust as well: As long as you, the brand producer or the employer, do not betray me, we're good.

I think about this when I think about corporate communications.

There is always the tug of war.

On the one side there are those who would say as little as possible. They don't want to make promises, they don't want to create liability where before none existed.

On the other there are those who seek the closest possible relationship with the customer. They'll speak in the closest, most confessional tone, about the highlights and the screw-ups alike. Anything to bond the people behind the brand, with the people who consume it.

In the end there is no "one right way" to build trust with the customer. There isn't a magic formula to follow, or a set of five bullet points to always keep in mind.

For me, I begin with a question: Would my mother believe this?

I've used this simple "smell test" for over twenty years.

Never, never once, has it ever proven wrong.

And many times, I didn't listen.

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0. Public domain photo via Pixabay.





By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This case is especially chilling because we are looking at an outwardly successful couple, in the land of high-tech startups, and there is an audio recording of one of the beatings, and he's talking about fixing a website very calmly while calling her a bitch and proceeding to hit her over and over again as she begs him to stop. (Warning: very upsetting.)

As outlined by career blogger Penelope Trunk in her article on this story, here are 4 risk factors for abuse (bullets are quoted):
  • Socioeconomic pressures
  • Low self-esteem
  • Untreated mental health issues
  • A lack of appropriate coping skills
Read Neha Rastogi's Victim Impact Statement here.

How does a wife-beater get only 30 days in jail?

To help other victims, potential and actual, please share this information widely.
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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I had a friend who told me how to not get attacked in New York.

She was walking down the street once, at night, and a man started to follow her.

"I started hugging myself like I was crazy," she said.

"You did what?"

"Just hugging myself," she repeated. "Kind of like --" and with this she motioned with her hands "-- just bobbing, and swaying all over, talking to myself real loud, laughing."

"And did it work?"

"Of course it worked," she laughed. "Men are terrified of crazy women."

Don't know if that's true or not. But I do know that I hear the phrase "crazy woman" a lot, as in: "crazy woman boss," "crazy woman driver," "crazy mother," "crazy old lady," and so on. Pop culture is filled with stories of women being told "you're crazy" whether they're confronting a cheating boyfriend or standing up against systemic corruption and abuse.

I got to thinking about this topic today, as I saw a homeless woman on the street who looked about my age. She told me her story, and told me that she'd been homeless for years but spent her time in the public library. "I do everything I can to research my situation," she said. "I am well aware of the law."

She seemed like such an intelligent person, and it wasn't clear to me what had happened. "Is there any way you can go for some help? Can you go to a shelter?" I sat next to her on the sidewalk, sort of flailing, because I am the one percent and don't know what the hell I'm doing.

"The injustice, the injustice, the injustice," she kept on repeating. "Why can't I get some justice?"

I looked into her eyes, this woman who could have been me. "You're going to end up dead out here," I said, "and I am a total stranger and don't know anything, but why should let yourself you die out here, holding up a sign about injustice?"

We talked a bit more and she cried. Inside my heart I cried with her. Looking over at the corner, I saw people dressed nicely, having nice conversations.

"It's that time of the month," she said. "I can't even help myself out here on the street."

Her feet were so swollen they could not fit into her shoes, and one of the shoes was next to her feet while the other was on only partially.

Would a doctor say that she has mental illness? Based on the fact that she seemed out of touch with reality, probably. But then again, how does a person cope when they fall from the radar of society? When it's one thing after the other, and somehow, the system ejects you?

And what is "crazy," really? To many people, "crazy" seems to be a convenient term for "things I don't want to understand or deal with."
  • Homeless people.
  • Abused people.
  • People who have suffered from the corrupt.
  • Even themselves, when they have too much emotional pain.
We ought to be careful about throwing around this word. 

We should reserve it for clinical diagnoses.

Too many people need serious help, or they're pointing out serious issues.

Allowing them to be called "insane" deprives us of important information. And it takes away lives that could have easily been saved.

If you have time, check out this profile of a beloved Hollywood writer, who may have committed suicide due to depression.
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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own; this blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families has been publishing "Child Maltreatment" annually since 1992. The new edition, "Child Maltreatment 2015," is available in PDF, along with raw data tables by state. You can also access the older versions going back to 1995.

All of the following information is taken from this report and can be sourced back to it. (Note: Fiscal year 2015 means October 2014-September 2015.)

5 Significant Findings

  • The number of reports to Child Protective Services is trending upward. Yet, looking only at reports to CPS as a baseline, the actual percentage of victimized children is miniscule. This could mean that child abuse isn't happening all that much, or it could mean that it's underreported. More research is clearly needed.
  • People unrelated to the child who come into professional contact with the child are far more likely to report abuse than their relatives. Awareness campaigns should be targeted to them.
  • Infants are the most-victimized age group. More attention needs to be paid to their needs, since they cannot even speak, much less report what is happening to them.
  • Women are more likely to be reported as victimizers than men. We should not stereotype abusers by gender.
  • Neglect is by far the most prevalent form of abuse. Particularly since forms of abuse overlap, and sexual abuse is underreported, neglect can be viewed as an indicator of other kinds of abuse potentially occurring. We need not look for bruises or signs of sexual abuse.

Key Statistics

Victims

  • There was a 9% increase in the estimated number of children receiving an investigation or alternative response from CPS between 2011-2015, from 3,081,000 to 3,358,000.
  • Abut 20% of children reported to CPS were found to be victimized (683,000 out of 3.4 million) - slightly less than 1% of the overall national child population.
  • Infants aged 0-1 year were the most likely to be victimized (2.4% of general population).
  • 43.2% of victims were White, 23.6% were Hispanic and 21.4% were African-American.
  • About 75% of victims were neglected; 17% were physically abused; and 8.4% were sexually abused.
  • It is estimated that 1,670 children died of abuse and neglect; this is equivalent to 2.25 per 100,000 children nationally.

Perpetrators

  • About half a million perpetrators reported overall (522,476).
  • 83.4% were aged 18-44.
  • Slightly more than half were female (54.1%), 45% were male, and .9% were of unknown sex.
  • 48.7% were White, 20% were African-American and 19.5% were Hispanic.
  • 61.5% mistreated only one victim; 21.5% two victims; and 17% three or more.

Who Reported

Professionals who had contact with the alleged victims, not parents or other relatives, were the most likely to contact CPS.
  • 18.4% teachers
  • 18.3% anonymous and "unclassified"
  • 18.2% law enforcement
  • 18.2% friends, neighbors, relatives
  • 10.9% social services 

Technical Stuff

Definitions

Federal legislation defines child abuse and neglect as:
"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm." (p. viii) 
There are four types of behaviors that authorities are concerned about; they happen individually or together:
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological maltreatment
  • Sexual abuse

Methodology

Data for this report comes from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). The system collects information "submitted voluntarily" by all 50 states; Washington, DC; and Puerto Rico by their respective Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies.

Information is fed into NCANDS only from CPS reports that are referred for further action. Data includes:
  • Alleged and actual mistreatment
  • Response by CPS and services provided
  • Risk factors for child and caregivers
  • Perpetrator information
It should be noted that not all allegations deemed actionable lead to investigations; sometimes there is only alternative treatment, e.g. consultation with the family to offer assistance. Alternative treatment followups are included in this data. (p. viii-ix)

All Data Is Flawed

It should be noted that the quality of the data provided here depends on the reliability of CPS to provide it, and of the Administration for Children and Families to process it effectively. I'm not in a position to evaluate either, and so the content of the report is shared without comment as to its limitations.

If You Want To Do More With The Numbers

The government makes "restricted use files" of NCANDS data available at the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) at Cornell University. According to the report, help is available from this resource for researchers who want to conduct statistical analyses of the data. (I have not verified this.) The contact information provided is ndacan@cornell.edu or 607–255–7799.

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is posted in the author's personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Last year the Government Accountability Office issued “Public Relations Spending” (GAO-16-877R) in response to a request from the United States Senate Committee on the Budget. The purpose of the report was to "determine how much the federal government spends on public relations activities, including contracts and internal agency support, and identify the highest-spending agencies."

"Public relations internal agency support" is defined in the report as employees classified as "public affairs specialists" (GS-1035s). Right away we have a contradiction in terms, because a public affairs specialist, as opposed to a PR professional, gives you data, not "spin." The report offers this definition of a public affairs specialist:
“Public Affairs occupational series are responsible for administering, supervising, or performing work involved in establishing and maintaining communication between federal agencies and the public. Among other things, their work includes identifying communication needs and developing informational materials on agency policies, programs, services, and activities.” (p. 8)
The GAO categorizes legitimate communication activity as follows (p. 3, language is quoted):
  • Public education and awareness
  • Customer service
  • General information and recruitment
  • Compliance with laws and policies
The table below, taken from the report, offers specific examples from various agencies.

If they do nothing else, the government's communicators can and should explain to the 325 million people who live in the United States what exactly the government did with the $3.9 trillion it spent in FY2016. (To that end, out this very neat infographic from the Congressional Budget Office.)

It is not clear how many communicators the government has on hand. In FY2014, the federal government employed 5,086 public affairs specialists, representing .28% of all federal employees; 42% of them worked for the Department of Defense. (The GAO report only counted these employees.)

However, agencies employ many other communicators, including  agency leadership, "writer-editors," information technology specialists (web content), management & program analysts, "unclassified" personnel, and others, such as policy and technical subject matter experts.

It is also not clear how much the government is spending on contract personnel engaged in public affairs work. The GAO report notes that "federal obligations for advertising and public relations contracts have, on average, been close to $1 billion annually over the past decade."

With regard to reporting on contract spending, data quality is limited. GAO notes that these contracts "do not capture the full scope of these activities" because it is possible to issue relevant contracts under other categories.

Also, I am not aware of any database that specifically distinguishes between federal contract spending on personnel (e.g. a graphic designer), and federal contract spending on personnel-related-services (e.g. a billboard).

Finally, the GAO definition of “advertising/public relations” intermingles legitimate and questionable  spending, e.g. “communication," "image-building," "to inform or persuade."

Poor evaluative data quality (note: not the quality of government data) is the main reason reason why government messaging sucks, and the government has the lowest public trust  scores ever, despite all the good work being done and despite all the money being thrown at doing it. For both internal control and accountability purposes, you've got to clearly identify what you're trying to do, what the reason is, and how much you spent on each relevant aspect of the effort. And then ask an impartial third party, how well did that work?

Here is an example of a known best practice: the annual plain language "report card" scores agencies get. Here's another: the ongoing web analytics agencies collect. But there's a limitation, though: Are we talking about the right things in the first place? Could some, or much of our content be collapsed and integrated, to make it easier and more useful for the public to access?

Which brings up another conversation we should have: whether communication should be defined as inherently governmental work. And I believe it is, for the most part: the basic definition is work "so intimately related to the public interest as to require performance by Federal Government employees."

The reality is that the federal communicator must, to do a good job, be knowledgeable about the agency's operations and culture, and be dedicated to the mission. As well, they typically also have invaluable institutional knowledge and commitment, and a familiarity with stakeholders that cannot be easily duplicated. This is a federal communicator's brand.

A contractor's primary focus, as it should be, is the amount of money they can make.

The fact that most federal communication is outsourced, in my view, makes us vulnerable to the shortcomings of all commodity products. Even if technically workable, absent the added value provided by feds' unique knowledge and commitment, they quickly turn potentially good work wasteful, even counterproductive. In other words, in effect, the contractor is a robot, subject to whoever is paying the bill, and what agencies need are critically thinking personnel. The contracting relationship simply does not provide for that. And money wasted on expensive, ill-conceived projects (the client's fault, not the contractor's) contributes to the negative perception that government communication is money wasted on fluff.

That said -- I do believe contractors can be helpful, particularly where technical knowledge is lacking. But the government relies on them far too much. As an alternative, interagency consulting is a promising area for the government to explore. When you bring in a third party from within the government to assist, you get the benefit of expertise and an  objective point of view.

The bottom line is this: To do a good job at a thing, you have to be able to measure it. Then set goals, and then determine where your work is coming up short. Right now, we aren't measuring, and we aren't counting or measuring a dedicated communication staff or chain of command -- within or across agencies. The function is not managed as a unified whole.

As such, communication spending is ripe for waste and abuse.

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are my own. I don't represent my agency, any part of the federal government, the government as a whole, or any other individual or entity.
Updated 2:48 p.m. EST on April 11, 2017.
Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License
For more information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Measuring the Nature & Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego," authored by authored by Ami Carpenter and Jamie Gates and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, was released October 26, 2016. 

Here are some of their key findings:
  • 80% of sex trafficking "facilitators" (coercive or non-coercive) were gang-affiliated. (Note the limitations of a small sample size: 139 individuals in custody were interviewed; 46 were sex trafficking facilitators; 37 of those were gang-affiliated.)
  • Law enforcement were aware of only 15-20% of the approximately 9-12,000 victims of sex trafficking annually
  • Sex trafficking there generates an estimated $.8 billion annually, second only to drugs ($4.76 billion) 
  • On average, victims enter the sex trafficking system at age 15 and are frequently recruited out of school
  • Demand is widespread, and there is no specific “type” of client 
Interestingly, most facilitators said were more like partners than the stereotypical controlling figure we see on TV. However, they may not have felt comfortable revealing the truth, since by their very nature one of the categories here (the "organized trafficking group" or OTG") is by its very nature highly secretive (and, implicitly, deadly):
  • 67% said they were revenue-sharing “enforcers-contractors,” drivers who also provide security
  • 28% identified as “traditional” pimps, keeping most or all earnings, with a pimp’s “status” & “recognition” 
  • 4% were “vicious-violent” pimps, who “use extreme tactics of physical and psychological control to force high financial quotas.”
  • None admitted to OTG membership, but many were familiar with them. These groups are secret, run by a "small core group," multinational, and trade in adults and children alike.
Just like interviewees wouldn't admit being part of an OTG, they disavowed the use of brute force, even though 14-30% of victims reported experiencing pimp violence. 
  • Economic force: 74% said they took 50% or more of the sex worker’s money. The average pimp income was $670,625 per year. 
  • Psychological force: 57% used “social and emotional isolation, induced emotional exhaustion, and degradation, including humiliation, denial of the victim's power, and name-calling.”
  • Chemical force: 42% either forced or offered drugs.
  • Violence: Only 12% said used physical and sexual tactics. 
The pimps did admit to recruiting in schools, a fact that was confirmed by actual school employees:
  • 30% of pimps either witnessed or participated in recruitment at the schools.
  • 100% of employees at 20 high schools confirmed recruitment for sex traficking on campus.
  • 90% of the schools had actual cases of sex trafficking.
  • Staffers were aware of 84 gangs known to be actively recruiting in or near campus.
A wide-ranging, three-year study, this work is a model for evidence-based public policy because it is so rich with primary data, including direct interviews with gang members, school employees, law enforcement and victim service providers about this issue.  

We need more research like this, as well as large-sample-size quantitative studies, as the researcheres themselves notes.

More study is needed in order to understand the true scope and nature of sex trafficking, particularly the trafficking of children, in America.

We can't prosecute what we can't quantify.

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By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D.
Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License
For more information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/
Many of us, me included, are triggered by Shabbos and holidays like Passover; for whatever reason it brings back bad memories and we can't or won't go back there.

What exactly happened to me? I just don't know, and was trying to figure this out last night after watching an episode of the Israeli show "Prisoners of War." That (fictional) show, upon which "Homeland" is based, somehow gets me very upset every time.

The show portrays 2 Israeli soldiers who return from 17 years of captivity in Syria. The men try to get back to life, but at every step their minds are flooded by memories of the most extreme physical and psychological torture.

Nobody tortured me. Nobody did anything to me. And yet, things happened. And they weren't normal. I know this not from my own memory, which is largely blank, but from the very specific attitudes of very specific people. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is a generation of us, walking around, haunted.

Well beyond our specific homes and our specific parents there was a silent curse that hung over all of us. It is the curse of the ovens, of cattle cars, of laughing soldiers playing rape, of families stripped and starved and robbed and made to turn upon one another. It is an entire generation crying why...why me...why us. What did we do. Why did You abandon us.

Those were our grandparents, and we're in our forties now. Our parents did everything they could to apologize for being a burden. They took care of Bubbie and Zayde or Grandma and Grandpa or Oma and Opa and nobody could upset them. The Holocaust was never spoken of, it was the past and we were not to go back there. But they showed us movie after movie in school, silently screaming, look at what they did to us! Look at what they did!

There is no question that the survivors' children bore the burden. And they became sick from it, and they transmitted it to us. What should have been happy times, celebrating with family, instead became fraught with tension and worry and lies and shame. Because honestly, there were the ordinary problems, compounded by the trauma, and the fact that nobody - nobody - could break the code of silence.

I made myself a promise when I had kids. Because initially I did not set out to marry; I didn't want to pass on the trauma any further. But God has a way of making lessons out of our fears, and I did fall in love and we had children. The only thing I said to myself, over and over, was: "The sickness stops with them. It stops."

You realize as you get older that you never controlled anything. And when they grow up and leave, that point is really driven home.

"You're upset?" said my aunt, a long time ago. "Blame Hitler, that bastard. Look what he did to us."

At our small but heartfelt Seder tonight, I will be doing just that. I hate that evil man for what he did to my parents and my grandparents. I hate how he turned us into a group so fearful, we can't even stand on an orderly line for food, because we're terrified of starvation.

The truth is, I am not free. I feel it, I cry it, it is real at the cellular level. Whatever would have been me, was  melted down by what happened to my people.

Pesach, though, represents a chance to be reborn. Not bound to Hitler anymore. Not by hatred and not by decades of trauma.

To say, it's over. F--- Hitler. I will use every ounce of pain in my body to fight him. I will spend the rest of my life if I have to, fighting every single thing that he represents: hatred, dictatorship and the abuse of vulnerable people.

F--- you, Hitler.

We made it, thank God.

You lost.

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 By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License For more information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Here's a 10 minute Periscope on a matter which concerns me very much: we need better data on child sex trafficking.

Without good data, the public can easily become either hysterical or cynical about the nature and scope of this problem.

We don't want disinformation or misinformation. Witch hunts only hurt, they do not help.

Here's an example of a video that states there is no proven connection between Hasidic Jews and organized child sex trafficking, but visually makes the association nevertheless -- using a renowned Hasidic Jewish whistleblower's actions from about 5 years ago as an example.

In contrast, there is an excellent video by Paul Joseph Watson which shows the involvement of those at the highest levels of power in horrific child sex trafficking rings. Always a coverup, always an attempt to silence those who want to talk about it.

There is a protest against the lack of transparency about Anthony Weiner's hard drive, and the alleged evidence it contains, on April 7 at One Police Plaza in New York City.

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All opinions my own.
Here is the video; key points are below. The video is long (about 20 minutes) and somewhat rambling and repetitive at times, but there is some significant new information here.

Bottom line, if you read nothing else, is that both claim "pizzagate" is a "false flag" (distraction). The real story, they allege, is that the "Deep State" (rogue elements in the intelligence community) set people up to obtain seeming evidence of pedophilia, blackmail them and thus control their behavior.

  • Cernovich says broke the Susan Rice story so that he could share information he has about how elements in the intelligence community (the "Deep State") are using blackmail over supposed pedophilia to stop President Trump from governing.
  • "Security clearances are being jammed up," says Cernovich. "Trump can't get his people in" because "the people who are doing the security clearances don't want Trump supporters in because (they're) not into that kind of stuff" and can't be blackmailed and thus controlled as is the normal course of business.
  • A key point is that subjects of blackmail may not even be real pedophiles. 
    • "Tier One" targeting is when targets attend "swinger's clubs" of their own accord and are then pushed into more extreme behavior, until they're drugged and wake up next to a naked child. Photos are then used to control them. 
    • "Tier Two" is that they (the "Deep State") hire the security at conventions, like Comic-Con, and recruit second-tier, desperate-looking minors from there, and turn them into sex slaves.
  • Cernovich says he was told "you better never be alone," because that's when you'll get "roofied" and compromised. Jones states that he believes he was set up for this kind of scenario and escaped. 
  • Cernovich says the "pizzagate" story is a distraction - "a false flag run by Deep State" intended to keep people from focusing on the main story. Jones agrees.
  • Jones says that there is a "war" going on and Trump is against the pedophiles, and has even pledged to kill them.
  • Jones says (as we have heard frequently) that Russia is in effect a false narrative.
  • They briefly discuss how radical Islam plays into this scenario. They allege an alliance between them and the Deep State that is rooted in mutual acceptance of (and even promotion of) pedophilia.
  • Both Jones and Cernovich state that they are aware of being spied on (Cernovich specifically mentions a service interruption in his wifi). Jones states that CIA sources have said they can't come on anymore, because their lives "are being ruined." Both state that they are willing to go to court, if necessary. Both state that they will never give up. Cernovich states that he has provided for his family, just in case something happens to him (God forbid).
Reading the above, questions come to mind. Here are just a few:
  • Who in the intelligence community, exactly, is the "Deep State?" Can we be more specific about that term? Is it national, international, or what exactly is it and how can it be defined?
  • There appears to be some circular reasoning here. Trump is against pedophilia, so he wants to "drain the swamp." The swamp, in return, uses pedophilia that doesn't really exist otherwise, so as to continue engaging in illicit behavior.
  • How bad is organized child sex trafficking? Is the issue the trafficking itself primarily, or is it primarily that the Deep State kidnaps and controls relatively few children in order to control those in charge?
  • Where are the children coming from who are supposedly used in Deep State blackmail operations? 
  • Jones says that the Deep State is promoting the normalization of pedophilia. Why would they do that, if they want people to continue to be repulsed by it, so that it can be used as blackmail material?
  • If "pizzagate" is indeed a false flag, what is one to do with all the information that researchers have uncovered? What about the threats that have been leveled against researchers? Are we to believe this was all part of an elaborate psychological operation?
  • How has Alex Jones been broadcasting for so long, and seemingly revealed so much, without being taken down? Is he some sort of "controlled opposition?"


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All opinions my own.

Monday, April 3, 2017

So I was doing the food shopping as usual yesterday and checked Twitter, also as usual and "North Korea" is the #1 story, as in "President Trump says he will handle them on his own, if necessary."

The reactions were pretty predictable and mirrored mine: "He's going to get us all killed."

Around the same time someone shared a clip from the Bill Maher show where Maher basically tells Hillary to "stay in the woods" instead of running for political office again - e.g., you screwed it up and now it's somebody else's turn. What I loved about this clip was the diversity of views, in civil if spirited conversation with one another. I haven't seen such refreshing honesty on TV in some time.

Also this weekend, Mark Cuban also shared his views about President Trump and Russia on Twitter. And again, refreshingly honest, as he basically said - I don't think Trump did anything, on purpose, but as a businessman he isn't going to alienate the Russians, and neither would I.

Finally, this morning, I see a story (also here) from "alt-right" (read: independent) journalist Mike Cernovich about who leaked the wiretapping on our President to whom, why, and how.

I am heartened to see that America is waking up from its stupor. We are, however painfully, getting out of the drunken "fake outrage" over politically incorrect gender pronouns and into a state where Democrats, Republicans and Independents can talk to each other once again.

For we have a few very serious problems in this country, and we cannot solve them divided. Between terrorists, gangs from within and without, and human traffickers, we are approaching a kind of tipping point. 

Things may look calm on the outside, but in reality organized crime of every kind is a large and rapidly growing problem.

President Trump cannot do this alone, and he cannot do it while being constantly undermined.

Let's get together and help him.

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All opinions my own.












Sunday, April 2, 2017

This morning I watched a powerful video about the near death experience of a devout Christian man. He was told that the people would not listen, and that we are almost out of time.

Some people are caught up in religion. But according to Jewish prophecy, all will experience the Redemption together in the end, regardless of what faith label they wear.

The only requirement is faith. As it says in Isaiah 26:
"Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (Isaiah 26:2-4)
Those with faith will be spared in the time of the Redemption, but God will destroy the evildoers who deny His name -- utterly. 
"He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust." (Isaiah 26:5)
In that time, those who were abused, exploited, mistreated and shamed by the wealthy, powerful and arrogant will personally destroy the old system:
"Feet trample it down—the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor." (Isaiah 26:6)
When the End Times come, and the wicked say they're sorry (just to save their sorry skins), the prophet says we cannot have mercy on them. It's not true repentance:
"When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil, and do not regard the majesty of the Lord." (Isaiah 26:9-10)
Just the opposite: We must pray for the end of the wicked people, and the wicked systems they have built:
"Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them." (Isaiah 26:11-12)
The beginning of wisdom is to understand that God is really in charge -- not weapons, and not people. Only God is the One eternal power in this world:
"Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise...you wiped out all memory of them." (Isaiah 26:12-14)
Although each of us may have different duties (e.g. based on one's particular theology), Redemption involves the insight that the true nation of God includes all those who believe in Him, and operate out of faith:
"You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land." (Isaiah 26:15)
We acknowledge that we have not been good caretakers of the Earth so far:
"We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life." (Isaiah 26:18)
And we look forward to the day when all good people, people of faith, arise and serve God together:
"But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." (Isaiah 26:19)
God's anger at the wreck we have made of this world is great. He is going to bring a great and terrible punishment here. The prophet urges us to literally hide when we see this great anger unfold:
"Go, my people, enter your rooms, and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins." (Isaiah 26:20-21)
The screams of the victims, their anguish and their pain, are never forgotten by the Lord. With Redemption, the horrific agonies they have endured will be revealed for all to see.
"The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer." (Isaiah 26:21)
Maybe if we do our part to tell the truth, to share the truth, to spread awareness of reality, it will hasten putting the evildoers on trial.

And if we do that, perhaps we can avert the harsher version of the Final Judgment, bringing peace to the world in a positive, united, natural way.

Averting man-made and natural disasters that could, God forbid, mostly wipe out humanity.

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All opinions my own.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

We hear much about child sex trafficking in the news, for example that it is "the fastest-growing organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world" (FBI, 2011, citing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, accessed July 19, 2010), but for obvious reasons we rarely hear from confessed child sex traffickers themselves.

British investigative journalist Ross Kemp traveled to India in 2013, where he interviewed a human trafficker for his television show Extreme World. Kemp was tormented by the experience; called it one of his "most hellish moments." 

Here is a transcript of the segment:
Kemp (narrating): "After keeping us waiting for an hour, Mr. Khan emerges from the forest, and hee isn't quite what I was expecting. He started his career as the bait in a honeytrap, convincing young girls that he would marry them, and then quickly selling them off once he'd gotten them into the cities. He now has over 75 traffickers working for him, and is currently being investigated for over 25 different offenses, but he has never been tried for any of his crimes."
Kemp (questions go to interpreter, who then poses them to Khan): "I want to find out how many girls he's trafficked in the time that he's been a trafficker and how long has he actually been a trafficker."
Khan: "I've been trafficking for seven years."
Kemp: "How many?"
Khan: "I have trafficked three or four thousand, maybe more"
Kemp: "What would you look for to make the decision to traffic a particular person?"
Khan: "We go to poor communities, often Muslim or tribal, and look for real beauties. The girls are auctioned, and go up to the highest bidder."
Kemp: "How much does a girl go for when she's sold at auction?"
Khan: "A million taka (£8500 pounds) was the most I got."
Kemp: "We have been told by more than one source that you traffic girls as young as nine years old. Is that true?"
Khan: "Nine isn't true but I have sold girls of twelve."
Kemp: "If there's enough human cry created because they've gone missing, some girls return to the community, is that true?"
Khan: "No."
Kemp: "Okay, well we've been told that the reason you don't bring girls back is that you kill them. Is that true?"
Khan: "If the girls try to run away, or if there's any trouble, then the girls are killed and buried."
Kemp: "So you are saying that you do kill them, that they are killed."
Khan: "If our bribed police can't handle it, it goes to the CID, then we kill the girls."
Kemp: "So you kill girls. Do you have any idea how many?"
Khan: "We don't count them. About four or five hundred."
Kemp: "So he's saying that he's responsible for the death of at least 400 young girls."
Kemp: "There are people who are wondering why you would admit to me that you have been involved in, or have sanctioned the death of 400 young girls. Why would you tell me this and why would you tell the truth? Are you telling me the truth?"
Khan: "I'm telling you the truth."
Kemp: "So will you carry on killing young girls to save your own skin?"
Khan: "If I'm having problems I'll have to carry on killing."
Kemp: "Get him out of my sight, I'll kill him."

Interpeter: (says something inaudible)
Kemp: "As you can tell, we are both completely shocked, as I think are the crew. Um, we really have seen and heard some things, witnessed some things in the time we've been doing these films, but, we have it on reliable source, from more than one reliable source, that this man is what he says he is."
Interpreter: (Crying)
Kemp: "The shock has gone through everyone here. That someone could cold-bloodedly kill young girls to save his own skin, and says, it's either them or me, and that he's prepared to carry on killing. One of the most shocking things I've ever witnessed, and I'm sick. "
President Trump has issued two Presidential Proclamations and one Executive Order relating to child sexual abuse and trafficking since taking office in January 2017. 
Last December, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring January 2017 to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

Since 2000, three Federal laws have been enacted to combat human trafficking. These include the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000, reauthorized 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2013), which was intended as an integrated response; the The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, which focuses on the foster care system; and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (2015), which focuses on services for victims.

Many in the public (including me) are dissatisfied with current efforts to stop child sex trafficking.

Ex-Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer launched the nonprofit Veterans for Child Rescue in March 2017 to increase public awareness of child sex trafficking rings and save children currently in captivity.

There is a protest planned for April 17, 2017 in front of the New York Police Department's headquarters at One Police Plaza, organized by Neil Wolfe (@thelightworks on Twitter). This protest will focus on the demand that law enforcement release the evidence allegedly contained on Anthony Weiner's seized hard drive. I heard Wolfe make this statement and have seen mention on it on Twitter. However, a reliable public link to the details has not yet been published.
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All opinions my own.