I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

Search This Blog

Thursday, August 31, 2017


This morning I did a short, 5-minute broadcast on Periscope addressing the issue of corruption.

My father texted me afterward to inform me that the broadcast had been cut off in midstream.

The broadcast was prompted by two recent developments that concern me deeply, because they are nothing less than manifestations of corruption covered up by the institutions we depend on for justice:
  • The denial of a FOIA request to see the records on the Hillary Clinton investigation.
  • The dismissal of the DNC fraud lawsuit.

In my broadcast I urged people to fight back against corruption by getting an education, preferably an advanced education. An advanced education allows you to not only learn specific subject matter, but also — and perhaps more importantly — to think critically and communicate clearly.

I urged people to get a law degree, because the law is written and taught in such a way that it perpetuates a power gulf between the elite few who go to law school, and the rest of the people who can’t understand what the law actually says or how it affects their lives.

If you have a law degree, and your intentions are pure, you can fight for justice armed with the tools of the justice system.

There is no need to be an extremist.

Using the tools of the system, against those who would pervert it, is revolution enough.

____

Posted by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. on August 21, 2017. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released to the public domain. Screenshot by the author.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



Author’s note: This is a work of fiction.

“I’m not touching it,” he said. “I’m just not. Don’t go on and on about it.”

“But we have to. It’s a huge controversy.”

“No. Absolutely not. Never.”

“Why not?” I asked, knowing the answer in advance.

“Because we report to Headquarters. And they said no. Don’t you get it? The subject is third rail.”

“But if it’s third rail, then that is precisely what we should be talking about.”

“Oh my God. You’re fired! Get out of here!”

“You can’t fire me again. You’ve fired me fifty times already.”

“Just go back to your office, Dannielle. Really!”

“Fine.”

And then, suddenly, I swiveled.

“Then what is the point of communicating anything about anything?”

His face had turned very, very red.

“Because nobody actually even asked about that!”

And then, to himself, “Geez!”

I should have turned back and retreated. But something in me said: No.

“We are, right now, a headline.”

“Not us. We’re not the headline. No, we are not.”

“Yes, absolutely we are. We are, along with five other agencies that all touch the same problem.”

“Dannielle, I do not run five agencies.”

“We’ve had interagency task forces before. They work. Let’s make one.”

“Is there a crisis I hadn’t heard about? Because nobody is picking up the Bat Phone.”

“Yes, in fact, there is, Sir. The crisis is that people don’t trust the government.”

“Not my problem. I don’t need to be on the cover of The Washington Post.”

“Sir, I have spoken to reporters in the past. The more you clue them in, the more you provide information to the public, the more favorable their coverage of you, because they see you have nothing to hide.”

“Not my problem.”

“Sir, you have to alleviate the public’s concerns.”

“No, actually I don’t.”

“What does that mean?”

“What I have to do is answer to my chain of command. Stepping outside of that chain, to create a problem that does not currently exist, violates every known principle of government communication.”

“Fine.”

“Dannielle.”

“What?”

“You’re an excellent writer, but you’re fired again. Go take a walk around the block, and don’t come back to my office today.”

I had to restrain myself from shouting.

___

Posted August 29, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain. Public domain photo by Geralt via Pixabay.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The below list is based on this article: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/28/trump-shuklin-veterans-obama-holdover-242047

BLUF: Nobody's perfect, but the praise Secretary Shulkin is receiving for his work is instructive. This is an attempt to deconstruct an article that appeared in the news and extract some key lessons.

Theme I. LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT

1. Keep your eye on the prize -- serving the Veteran

2. Work with everyone equally

3. Stay in your lane

4. Understand that your job is to make tough calls and take bold risks at times

Theme II. STRATEGY

5. Offer more choices while building up internal capacity

6. Focus on "core" priority services, defocus on services easily available elsewhere at low cost

7. Cut the red tape

Theme III. CUSTOMER FOCUS

8. Orient your actions toward regaining the customer's trust

9. Organize services around the human beings being served, not vice versa

Theme IV. COMMUNICATION

10. Be honest, open and direct

11. Make yourself available to answer questions

12. Offer regular transparency reports -- such as waiting times, reports on positions of employees dismissed

__________

 By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.
It is time to shift the definition of "Jewish community." Many if not most are single, divorced and/or widowed. Serve their needs!
The institutions have not evolved to match the reality.

Example 1--Community Shabbos dinner should be standard. A woman in town said to me, "I am single, my Friday night meal is frozen yogurt and matza ball soup from a can." Why does she have to wait for an invitation...this is what Shul is for.

Example 2--Single parents. Nobody can afford tuition, solo mom or dad especially. Need homeschooling solutions that keep kids in the frum culture without sacrificing secular quality education. This is a must!

Example 3--Singles. Being single is not a disease. People who are solo are simply living. They want to meet people without being treated with pressure. Like a piece of beef. Make community events for EVERYONE. Build a house for poor people. Make food for the poor. Oh wait did I say poverty???

Example 4--MOST JEWS ARE NOT RICH. The cost of kosher meat is exorbitant. We need to teach each other to live within our means. Cooking, small business skills, no cost weekend activities, etc. The days of mommy and daddy paying for two car garage homes and Yeshiva are over.

Example 5--Elderly and widowed or divorced. Alone. Somebody needs to be checking on our most vulnerable populations. Personal financial security, healthy eating, someone to talk to. We can't leave it to the local Jewish Federation social workers. These people are our parents. Our sisters and brothers. Us.

Seriously: I am just so sick and tired of the superior "us vs. them" mentality. There is no "in" group anymore. Nobody can afford the financial or emotional pressure of trying to keep up with the Joneses either religiously or in any other competition. And I really feel the revolution has to start by dealing with the reality of how people live right now.
__________
By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.

Saturday, August 26, 2017



This is a short clip of my Zayde, a"h, Rabbi Shmuel Stroli, talking about an experience he had in Romania during the Holocaust.

A fierce patriot, he served in the Romanian military, but was jailed for being a Jew.

And had to apologize for his very existence.
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Let's face it, work is work.

No matter who you are, getting things done will cost you time, hard work and persistence.

A very well-known person, who was once my boss, responded this way when I complained about doing "menial" work:

"Most of life consists of rolling up your sleeves."

I kept in touch with her and many years later learned that she endured and overcame not one brain tumor but two.

That former boss is my mentor not because she is brilliant, which she is, but because she taught me to have a good attitude.

Unfortunately in the government--just like outside it--some people will always look at life negatively.

To them, it's more realistic to be angry, depressed, and hopeless.

"Why kid yourself?" they say. "If you don't expect anything, you'll never be disappointed."

Over the course of my career I have worked with people who just did not value me.

No matter how hard I tried to make them do so, it just did not work.

But somehow, a strange thing happened.

The more negative they got, the more they dug their heels in, the more I reacted with good cheer.

Believe me this wasn't being a smartass.

It was more like a mode of survival.

Confronted with misery, my brain switched into cheerleader mode.

Until one day somebody asked me, straight out:

"What are you so happy about? Seriously, are you high?"

Since that time I've worked with lots of other people.

Some of them utterly miserable, some of them incredibly positive.

Most are a mix of the two.

You know how you spend your time, sometimes, thinking about how you failed at a thing, and how you could have done better?

It has always bothered me that I could not turn those particular people around.

But the consolation prize is to know that there is an inner life raft.

Your attitude in life absolutely determines your reality.

If you decide that you will take a lesson from every single thing in life, then nothing and no one will ever be able to truly drag you down.

__________

All opinions my own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain. Photo via Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My beautiful country the United States of America. A Nation sowed with the blood of those who died, the tears of those who lost their loved ones. 

I hear their screams of anguish in my heart.

And as I watch the hate-fueled violence happening again in Boston today, my feelings turn into fury. For I know it is the corrupt among us who feed off this civil war, a war they create and manipulate. 

It is a war which has no logical reason and no logical end. 

They want good Americans to fight and die. To distract us from the money they've stolen from our bank accounts, mortgaging our future and compromising our National security. 

They hide behind smoke and mirrors -- nice words.  But the truth is, they spend their lives hiding, in fancy suites on high floors and huge, gated mansions. 

They pretend to be on our side, but their actions show they are not.

For good leaders promote peace, security and prosperity for the people. All the people. No exceptions. 

Last I heard, John Lennon, JFK and MLK--all of them nonviolent revolutionaries for peace--met the same end.

There is a price tag on the American flag. Some people have sold out our Nation. 

It's time we unite, and refuse all the offers to hate. 
We must restore order. 

We must get Democracy back.

__________

 By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.

They are marketers, and they are way ahead of you.

The question is, what's the game plan after they get what they want?

After they convince you that we have the "craziest, most racist, most sexist, most out-of-control leader/dictator the world has ever seen."

What then?

They're de-monetizing and labeling the independent media: "racists, Russia colluders, alt-right, White Nationalists, neo-Nazis, tinfoil hate fake news..."

Firing and doxing the citizens who dare to speak out, online or IRL. Anywhere.

Tearing down our National monuments - not lawfully, not democratically, not by real consensus. No, they work in violent mobs, with black hoods and flags and baseball bats.

Who adapted this wartime propaganda poster such that a sword is pointed at the heart of our lawfully elected President?

Think about it.

Was Donald J. Trump ever targeted for such personal attacks before this election?

Or was he wildly admired as a philanthropic, brilliant, patriotic billionaire, who knew how to work the system to win?

Think about it. He's working for us now.

So really, what's their agenda?
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.

Friday, August 18, 2017



Look, I write this blog not as an expert on generations in the workplace but rather as a sociologist, supervisor, college instructor and mom — with nearly fifteen years of experience in government.

First let me say that Millennials and Gen Z are different. I don’t mean to disrespect either by lumping the one in with the other.

I’m also not ignoring the oversimplifications that inevitably come into play when you try to write a post like this.

But I do think it’s important — for society in general, and for government institutions in particular — to share an observation about how these two generations handle rules.
Millennials, born 1977–1994: They want clear and detailed instructions and they want to know exactly what success looks like.
Generation Z, born 1995–2012: They have no patience for detailed rules and prefer the shortest path from Point A to Point B at all times.

For both, handheld technology (e.g. a smartphone that serves to connect and inform) is critical to own, use and be connected to — at all times.

Of course, our social institutions are not organized to communicate with these two generations in the preferred manner.

As such, Millennials often find “adulting” procedures confusing and tedious, whereas Generation Z also finds them tedious, and may miss information as a result.

The Millennial wants to know the steps involved from Point A to Point B, but frequently finds that the people in charge cannot provide them reliably.

Meanwhile, Generation Z prefers to navigate complexity through a series of texts and screenshots.

Like all of us, these generational cohorts find it extraordinarily challenging to navigate the overwhelming amount of information they receive.

Like all of us, they just don’t know what to do with all this data, all the time.

Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen Xers — each of whom had a great deal more independence growing up — Millennials and Gen Z were born and bred on supervision.

Lots and lots of rules, in addition to a sea of information.

Close supervision. A tangled knot of tightly bound rules.

Omnipresent social networks, beckoning to know where you are and who you’re with, at all times.

It’s a spiderweb, totally suffocating.

But we need the youth of America to be engaged. In particular, we need the teens and twenty-somethings to be motivated, educated, and in possession of a clear and workable path forward.

That engagement, of course, is deeply interrelated with the participation of young people in the workings of democracy.

As such, we need to un-complicate things.

We need to help Millennials and Gen Z cut through all the clutter and engage.

Because for both of these generations, there is a very real risk of them taking on maladaptive lifestyles, a path that maybe feels like “forward” but in fact is two steps back.

One glaring example of this is ideological extremism. At least at the beginning, it’s easier than having to deal with all the confusing pressures of life.

In America, losing your freedom is the worst political fate of all.

But it’s the path so many young people are choosing.

Just close your mind and hang out with your tribe.

Even if you end up taking the very narrowest of walks.

Off a pier so short it seems almost nonexistent.
_________________

Posted August 18, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions my own. This blog is hereby released by the author into the public domain. Public domain photo by StockSnap via Pixabay.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Everyone can't do something.

Here's my list. (And I note it's just partial.)

1. I can't recognize you in the elevator, even if I know you, because I'm usually lost in my own world.

2. I can't remember what you tell me verbally. I need to write it down.

3. I can't tolerate a lot of noise, or crowds, or smells. Even good ones.

4. I can't remember names. Like if you tell me your name, you'll have to repeat it at least ten times.

5. I can't follow inflation, deflation, or currency conversion, and I never remember which mark is "greater than" or "less than" in an equation.

Before you go off and feel sorry for me, here are some things I feel pretty confident about:

1. I can sit in a coffee shop for eight hours at a time. No problem!

2. I can read Tweets, retweet Tweets, and Tweet some more myself. For hours.

3. I can binge-watch any and all movies, television shows, and music videos produced between 1980-1988.

4. I can get outraged about injustice. Any of it. All of it. I get fired up.

5. I can wear any of my 15 different pairs of black pants, any day of the week -- and always feel well-dressed doing it.

Now that is a somewhat humorous list of quirks, right?

But it's also very true.

My point is, all of us, we all have "something." Good, bad or indifferent -- they're what makes you, you.

The question is, how do you frame that wondrous picture that's your personal "selfie"?

Consider a parallel: the word "old."

Does biological age exist? Yes, of course it does.

Yet there are some people whose minds, and bodies, never seem to follow the laws of time.

Marathon runners.

Artists.

Novelists.

Incredibly, somehow, ageless.

Please don't think I am insensitive. I don't mean to be, not at all, to the limitations that are life-afflicting, and against which so many people struggle for even the most basic level of fair and equal treatment.


What I'm trying to say, maybe incapably, is that all of us are frail in some ways. Some of us more than others.

And much of it, maybe most of it, on the inside -- where others can never tell.

But I have come to see, over many years, that it's those very limitations which make us beautiful.

The crack is what lets in the light.

What I'm trying to say, today, after a day when my own personal limits just chewed me up and spit me out, is this:

Embrace yourself as you are. Today, without any judgments.

In an angry, violent, shouting world, this is the beginning of healing.
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What are the statistics, if any, on the number of Hollywood child stars used and abused by “the industry?”
One journalist who worked in Hollywood, Thomas Wictor, says that sex with children in Hollywood — not just in private, but actually in front of “audiences” — is a police-protected open secret.






Skipping ahead a few Tweets, to save you the trouble of scrolling.


Skipping one more Tweet.

Child sex trafficking in Hollywood.
Molesting child stars.
“Nothing to see here; move on.” Right?
It’s part of American culture.
It’s how things are done for fame, power and money.
____________
Originally posted August 3, 2017 to Medium.com by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the authors’ own. Cover photo: Google screenshot.
I can feel it in the tepid, sticky air.

I sense it in the formerly robust discussions that have long since gone silent.

I can smell it when I watch White House press briefings on YouTube.

And it’s obviously all over Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere online.

We have entered a new civil war.

The “resistance” is not just a movement in name.

There are people, very extreme, and very opposed to President Trump.

Their aim is not to question him.

They want to block him at every turn.

They want him out of office.

Preferably, now.

They will use false accusations of collusion with Russia.

They will oppose legislation they would normally support.

They will weaponize the media to create a firestorm where none really exists.

And they are ruthless.

A Nation watches as the President we elected, lawfully, seems helpless in the face of open sedition.

I watch with fear, trying to keep my faith, as the democracy I love is at risk.

__________

Posted August 4, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released into the public domain.
“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” — Deuteronomy 16:20 (New International Version of the Bible translation)
It seems sort of sad that one has to begin an article about justice by quoting from the Bible about the commandment to pursue justice.

Nevertheless we seem to have reached a fairly low point in American history when even an objective statement of the facts has become a partisan exercise.

I have been following the Seth Rich case for a few months now. I’ll admit I have a bias here, in that I am outraged about the flagrant lack of justice (and that is putting it very mildly) in matters related to the Clintons and their colleagues at the Democratic National Committee.

(As of today, you can actually take bets on whether they’ll file federal criminal charges against Hillary Clinton this year; right now the odds are against it.)

At the same time, even a cursory comparison of the reported facts in this case as versus the results of independent research show that we are not getting a true critical investigative review of the facts from the mainstream media.

One could argue, in fact, that the mainstream media’s bias against President Trump and for Hillary Clinton, Democrats, and extreme leftism in general is part of the reason why they so stubbornly refuse to cover this case in full. And why they insist that anyone who does do so, is being (take your pick): partisan, cruel to the family, insane, or stupid.

So, since we don’t have all day to do this, let’s be simple about it and compare two articles:

Mainstream

The first was written by Benjamin Freed and appears in the August 2, 2017 edition of Washingtonian.com, which is about as mainstream as it gets in DC. In it, he lays out the also-very-mainstream Washington Post version of fact: “I Watched a Lobbyist Reenact Seth Rich’s Death. It Was a Live Production of Fake News.”

It seems important to note that Mr. Freed is as mainstream as the publication he works for; his credentials include serving as editor of DCist and writing for “BuzzFeed, Slate, Washington City Paper, the New Republic, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine.”

A Note Regarding The Washington Post As A Potential Source Of Fake News

Any article that refers to the Washington Post as a source is problematic, of course, and this point must be made in any article referring to any such article.

The problem is that Jeff Bezos, who owns the paper, is also the CEO and major stakeholder of Amazon, which has the CIA as a significant client.

In a January 3, 2014 article for The Huffington Post, “Why the Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous,” Norman Solomon put it well:
"American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain. A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos — who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder. The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million 'cloud' computing deal with the CIA. The situation is unprecedented. But in an email exchange early this month, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told me that the newspaper doesn’t need to routinely inform readers of the CIA-Amazon-Bezos ties when reporting on the CIA. He wrote that such in-story acknowledgment would be 'far outside the norm of disclosures about potential conflicts of interest at media organizations.'"

Independent

In any case, the other article that will be mentioned here is from an independent researcher, Andrew Joseph, who posted it at the independent platform Steemit on June 10, 2017. The title of the article is: “Yes, The DNC Had Seth Rich Murdered. Here Is How I Know.”

Mr. Joseph is so non-mainstream that I can’t find any other articles he’s written.

But he has assembled an array of facts that in my view significantly challenge the sheep-like repetition of so-called “known facts” offered by Mr. Freed.

Let’s contrast the mainstream version with the independent version, as exemplified by these two articles.

What Happened?

The mainstream version of the story, in brief, is that Seth Rich was a relatively unimportant DNC staffer who took a job with the Clinton campaign.

He stayed late at a bar — very late, till 1:30 — and walked around the streets late at night making phone calls. What should have been a 40 minute walk turned into a nearly 3 hour one, and he got shot at 4:19 a.m.; he was almost home.

The street was relatively dark, anyway, but even darker than normal because of a flooding-related project that caused the existing lights to go out frequently. Rich lived in an area where armed robberies were on the rise; he had bruises when the police got there. The police view his death as the result of an armed robbery, and say there are no witnesses.

Why The Mainstream Calls The Seth Rich Investigation A Conspiracy Theory

It’s obvious, they say: The Russians were the Wikileaks source, not this low-level staffer who just happened to work for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and who was preparing to move to New York and work for the Clinton campaign.

With not un-subtle glee, the mainstream media furthers the narrative that President Trump himself “pushed” Fox News to publish a “now-discredited story claiming evidence of communication between Rich and WikiLeaks.”

The Mainstream Media’s View Of Independent Investigators

The Washingtonian article, again citing the (riddled-with-conflict-of-interest) Washington Post, relates that Rich’s family “has pleaded with Hannity, Gingrich, and others to stop their theorizing.” Regarding a recent attempt to reenact the crime, the article quotes Rich’s brother, Aaron: “I can’t come up with the right words but gross and disgusting.”

Key Points From The Alternative Version, Which You Should ReallyRead In Full, So I Won’t Quote Too Liberally From It


(Of course, the fact that I cite this one article should not in any way be construed as indicative that a limited number of people have been involved in this independent investigation. The most notable among them is Matt Crouch at America First Media.)
  • The DNC did not give their server to the FBI.
  • The independent company the DNC hired said that the Russians did it.
  • The government based its assessment on this company’s report.
  • Evidence can be falsified.
  • Nothing was taken from Rich.
  • If Rich was the leaker, the DNC had motive to have him killed in retaliation for what he did.
  • Multiple sources have suggested it was Rich: “Assange, Guccifer 2.0, (Craig) Murray, and (Kim) Dotcom.”
  • John Podesta’s email of February 22, 2015, published by Wikileaks, has him saying: “I’m definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker.”


  • Why didn’t the police speak to the bar staff?
  • Where is the camera footage, as there are many cameras in the area?
  • Why wasn’t the police officers’ body camera footage released?
  • Where is the DNA evidence if there was a struggle with the attackers?
  • Why was the autopsy withheld from investigators?
  • Why was the Freedom of Information Act request denied?
  • Why is there “a report from an alleged hospital staff member (who) claims Rich was stable and expected to recover?”
  • Why did the DNC hire a crisis management consultant to represent the family? Why did the family need representing?
  • Why did the head of the DC police quit her job shortly after his murder, and make this statement: “The city’s justice system is broken beyond repair.”?
Reading all of this — what do you think?

________

Posted August 5, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. The author hereby releases this post into the public domain. 



I am proud to call Sophia — Dr. Sophia Marjanovic — my friend.

Sophia holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology. She is also a protester who educates the public about the dangers posed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a recent interview, she explained why:
“My tribe had an oil boom in the 1980s. Ever since I can remember, water has come out of the faucet red, yellow, orange and smelling of petroleum and having oil droplets on top of it. The number-one killer of our women is cancer."
You may have seen my friend in the news.

There was that time she crashed a hearing, with other protesters, to call on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to oppose Administration policies which may harm women. In her words:
“I am concerned that under the Trump administration, women will be treated badly and you’re not going to stand up for us.”
Sophia is not an ideologue. She will openly criticize her own political partywhen it falls short of its ideals. In an interview with The Atlantic, she said:
“The Democratic Party wants our votes, but they don’t listen to our voices.”
I like honest people.

Sophia is honest — brutally so.

She has come forward with her own personal pain as a survivor of rape and sexual assault. (It should be noted, of course, that we are hearing only one side of the story; yes, false rape accusations exist, but they are exceedingly rare. I believe Sophia.)

Her message was aimed at other Native Americans struggling with victimization: Don’t fall into the trap of substance abuse. In her words:
“Unfortunately, I was sexually abused as a child, I was raped as an adult and I have faced many challenges that have lead me to feel unsafe….
“Regardless of either of those agitating experiences, I NEVER TURNED TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE OF ANY KIND (sic)….Instead of allowing the forces to win in crushing my spirit, I figured out how to survive by seeking out people, mainly Lakota uncles, mothers and grandmothers, to guide and protect me.”
Unfortunately, Sophia has also been forced to come forward with another private struggle, one which nearly destroyed her. Now afraid that she will become the victim of an extrajudicial killing, Sophia has taken to social media to tell her story of domestic violence, police misconduct, and retaliation.

She has not seen her young son since December 2015, and lives in fear for her life.

For my friend Sophia, the pain never goes away. In her own words, she is caught in the Bermuda Triangle of a vengeful ex-spouse, police brutality, and family court corruption.

Sophia and I met in synagogue last year.

She and I had a falling out over the election, because we were on different sides of the aisle.

Eventually we got over it.

And I learned that in addition to everything else she does, and despite her inability to get her own son back — even for a custody visit — Sophia has become a court watcher.

It’s hard for me to watch my friend suffer so much. So I asked her what I could do to help. Apparently others have as well.

In typical Sophia style, she responded by letting us help in a way that helps others, too — by working on the passage of a House Concurrent Resolution 72, which aims to improve the functioning of family courts through a combination of, among other things:
  • Congressional hearings on the current practices of family courts with an eye toward improving outcomes in custody cases.
  • Enhanced standards for the introduction of evidence and expert testimony.
  • Court compensation for expert testimony, presumably to prevent the wealthier parent from having an unfair advantage in the case.
So if you want to help Sophia — and other parents — regain the visitation and/or custody they deserve, here’s what she is asking you to do:
“Make an appointment with your US Congressional representative during their August recess and ask them to support House Concurrent Resolution 72. Please make that appointment today and inbox me to let me know when you are meeting with your representative.”
For some reason I do not understand, my friend Sophia has lived a life pockmarked with suffering.

It is the cruelest of brutalities that she cannot gain access even to see her son.

What is wrong with our system of justice?

Will anyone be there for Sophia?

____

Posted August 10, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released to the public domain.

The Situation

A long time ago, in a company somewhere far away, the CIO decided to buy a certain kind of software.

The program would replace a legacy system. One that was reliable, if clunky and sometimes slow.

A small but powerful faction hated the idea altogether. And every time the subject came up, they would shout the concept down. "Who needs this? We're used to what we have!!!"

But in meetings too low-level for the executives to attend, other voices could be heard. Complaining loudly and often. "Everybody else uses this already! What the heck is taking us so freaking long???"

The Choice

The CIO decided to implement the software, but wasn't sure how to introduce it. 

So the head of communications provided her with two choices.

Implementation Plan Option #1: "Don't Ask So Many Questions"

  1. Send an email to all employees, informing them of the update.
  2. Push the software to all computers on the network.
  3. Prompt employees on boot-up to take an automated training course, then certify completion upon passing a quiz.
  4. Establish that employees can contact the general help desk if they have problems using the software.
  5. Stop communicating.

Implementation Plan Option #2: "Offer An Explanation"

  1. Establish a Clear Priority: Send a communication to employees emphasizing the general need to improve quality while conserving resources. 
  2. Add Numbers to the Goal: Provide a relevant estimated savings for them, e.g. "when this is done, you can use the time savings on administrative work to engage in training"
  3. Strategy: Explain how the new technology will be implemented, e.g. allowing a small group of employee volunteers to pilot test it for three months. Train these "super users" to conduct regular learning clinics both one-on-one and in group sessions. After that, continue growing the user support base until the community of employees is teaching itself how to use the software and how to take advantage of workarounds, tips and tricks. Plan for a full rollout over approximately two years.
  4. Action: Implement the plan. Make technical support easily and widely available. Recognize and reward the "super users," and provide small tips and progress reports regularly. Establish a feedback line for bugs and complaints, and allow other users to respond to them.
  5. Audit: Have a third party within the organization serve as "referee" after the short-term trial period, reviewing results and providing preliminary results to review. Incorporate those results into the longer-term action plan. Have a third party, internal or external, also review the result of the initiative in two years, to determine if additional adjustments need to be made. 

Questions For You

  • Which of these approaches should the CIO adopt? Why?
  • If you wanted to persuade your organization to adopt a more collaborative style, how might you do that?
  • And vice versa, if you think your organization needs to be more structured and hierarchical, how would you do that as well?

No Conclusions?

I wrote this post as a reflection on something we often forget.

Number one, no matter what you're doing, having a plan in advance is important.

And number two, when you conceive that plan, remember there is always more than one "right way."

__

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sharing a theoretical "best practice" organizational chart I developed & shared with the Federal Communicators Network. What's new?
  1. Open data is its own "line of business" 
  2. Operations ensures accountability 
  3. Communications establishes a dedicated in-house creative shop, saving money 
  4. Stakeholder relations is its own category and adds employees as a stakeholder 
  5. Customer service adds an ombudsman function and reconceives the executive secretariat as part of this grouping. 
 An overall change is to enhance the function to maximize effectiveness in managing the flow of information. 
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.
The world we live in is soaked in brutality. Paradoxically it is this very evil that prompts people to seek out "shortcuts," ways they can get to power quickly and profitably. One of these is occult practices. 

The "dark arts" are as old as time, and to an extent they work. That's what makes them so tempting. Recognizing this, God warns the Jews again and again to stay far away from them, and their practitioners:
"You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying." (Leviticus 19:26) 
"Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:31) 
"As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people." (Leviticus 20:6) 
"Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.'" (Leviticus 20:27) 
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer; or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead." Deuteronomy (18:10-11) 
"Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists." (1 Samuel 28:3) 
"But as for you, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers who speak to you, saying, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon.'" (Jeremiah 27:9) 
"For they prophesy a lie to you in order to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out and you will perish." (Jeremiah 27:10)
Who are the practitioners of the "dark arts" in today's times?

I believe they are the people some call "globalists," a.k.a. those who seek a "new world order."

Really we are talking about people who hate God.

They hate the concept of God. 

Because they don't want God to have the power--they want the power.

They want others to serve them.

Their role model (the being they "worship"), of course, is the Devil, who says: "You can have it all - what do you need Him for?"

It is against this backdrop that we can understand the horrific practices associated with child sex trafficking and ritual abuse. 

For people who engage in this type of crime, organized child sex trafficking is perhaps the epitome of their arrogance.

By taking the innocence and even the life of a child in the most warped and bloody and sadistic of ways, they seek to show their power.

By doing so, concealing their crimes, and thumbing their noses at the rest of us, they "prove" that God is meaningless and even "helpless."

Of course--although this is extremely, extremely hard to process--if you believe in God, then you believe He allows bad things to happen in order to give people a meaningful sense of choice.

I used to like astrology a lot. Sometimes I got a free tarot reading online. I've even visited psychics and palm readers.

Not anymore.

I pray only to the One Above.

Intensely and often.
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain. Bible verses via Biblehub.com. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

You see, I got you to click.
Because if the headline had been:
“Maybe There Is An Ideological Echo Chamber At Google After All”
You would have ignored me as just another “contard.”
(In case you were wondering, that word stands for “conservative retard,” a phrase which I picked up just today on Facebook. Funny how liberals, the most tolerant of people, turn absolutely hateful when you disagree with them on principle. So much for caring about people with disabilities.)
And if the headline had been:
“A Disturbing Trend In American Civil Discourse Is That We Cannot Critically Examine Ideas Which Disturb Us Because Of Pervasive Extremism Including Radical Leftist Bias”
…it definitely wouldn’t have gotten any clicks. Too complicated.
I knew you would click on this headline because it’s the same type of phrasing offered by Gizmodo:
And they’ve got 886,000 views as of this writing.
The renowned organizational development researcher Chris Argyris diagnosed the health of a company in part by its ability to critically reflect.
Companies that immediately jumped from impression to conclusion are dysfunctional. On the other hand, organizations which are able to question their own assumptions — what Argyris called “double-loop learning” — are less so.
The problem with getting groups to consider their own biases, wrote Argyris, is that those biases tend to be below the level of consciousness in the first place. This is why any small step forward is so significant. In his words:
“It is not easy to create organizations capable of double loop learning, but it can be done. Even with minimal awareness the results are encouraging.”
The Google memo is important not just for its content, but also for what we learn from the discourse surrounding its publication.
Given that the United States is hyper-partisanright now, it seems much more important for us to step back and reflect about our tendency toward hotheadedness.
Here are some quotes from the internal memo, reprinted in full at Gizmodo. I remain hopeful that we as a society will consider these key points, and not be swayed by the hysteria surrounding them.
  1. “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.”
  2. “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.”
  3. “Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.”
  4. “This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.”
  5. “The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology. Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression. Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression.”
  6. “Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”
  7. “At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.”
  8. “I’m not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are ‘just.’ I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes.”
  9. “When a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and whiner.”
  10. “Treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).”
As to the content of the memo, one line of thinking I would like to know more about is the complex relationship between body and culture. The well-studied field of evolutionary biology studies the impact of such things as reproductive differences on gender psychology. But are girls’ genes affected by transgenderational trauma caused by their mothers’ suffering from rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment?
Similarly: Does culture, at least to some extent, shape biology? For as we know, bias persists against girls who study science. And sexual harassment against women in the tech industry is a rampant problem, universally recognized.
Another line of thinking I’d like to see considered is the impact on females of the pressure to be and do it all. There was an article just the other day about all-time-high suicide rates among teen girls: Could the pressure on girls to be hyper-pretty and hyper-muscular and hyper-achievers and hyper-geeks be having an impact?
Studies of anxiety show that when you yell at people, it impairs their ability to think.
Let’s stop yelling at each other.
Time to calm down and use our brains.
_____
Posted August 7, 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal. This post is released into the public domain. Public domain photo by geralt via Pixabay.
__________

By Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This blog is hereby released into the public domain.