A Personal Report from the #Pedogate March

This is me. 

Today I attended the first part of the #Pedogate / #Pizzagate march. 

Here is my poster.

I chose to focus on human trafficking (#humantrafficking), the broader problem. Others are focused on the underreported and unexplained phenomenon of missing African American girls in Washington, D.C. (#missingdcgirls)

The march organizers took a middle course, emphasizing community concerns that law enforcement is dragging its feet about investigating child sex trafficking by influential people connected to Washington, D.C. elites. (The term "elites" covers anyone with money, political power and influence.)

The social media icons used to advertise the march used the hashtags #pizzagate and #pedogate. This has been made fun of repeatedly in coverage by The Washington Post and others who repeatedly suggest that concerned citizens are victims of a conspiracy theory "which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor."

In fact, the term "pizza" refers to two things. 
  • Number one, leaked emails that have never been contested with respect to their validity. Those emails contained references to pizza that do not appear to have anything to do with pizza. 
  • Number two, graphic sexualized images of pizza and children that appeared on the public social media accounts of a pizza shop proprietor. (I leave it to the reader to Google these images.)
It is noteworthy that the Department of Homeland Security released a video for human trafficking month (January 2017) showing a minor being trafficked outside a pizza parlor. The symbolism was hard to ignore.

In any case, I was at the march as it began and documented some of the goings on. 

The most noteworthy thing, to me, was the focus on children rather than on a particular person or place accused of wrongdoing. It was clear that the event organizers (as you can see from the poster behind me) seek their safety. The poster contained three demands, as explained by event organizer Neil Wolfe:
  • Release the children being held captive
  • Surrender to law enforcement
  • Beg for mercy
Wolfe stated that he planned to organize a protest in front of the NYPD, which reportedly has incriminating evidence from Anthony Weiner, to demand that they release it.

We know that organized sex trafficking of children by people at all levels of power is real.

The second thing that stood out was the emphasis on prayer. I saw two people praying as they stood on the podium. This video shows researcher David Seaman, there to give a speech on the topic, praying for our Nation to have the strength to deal with this issue, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to heal. (He, too, previously has shared his experience of being targeted for covering this issue on numerous occasions; here is just one example.) 

As far as the people who attended the event, I can only speak about a few. 
  • Speakers: I was there for the introductory remarks, mentioned above. During researcher David Seaman's speech he talked about someone who was filming him at the event, and everyone got distracted by the interchange.
  • Journalists: When I was there it seemed like there were as many cameras as protesters. There seemed to be people filming the event and asking questions in a genuine way.
  • Attendees: I spoke with a woman who was outraged that John Podesta had not been arrested. She said that this cause was very much a matter of "light against the darkness."
  • Passers-by: A woman from South Africa asked me what the protest was about.
I did not get the impression that people attending were "crazy." Rather, they seemed sincerely concerned about kids. If anything, observing conversations, it was clear that they were self-educated, and trying to get some official information. This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly share: Let's get the facts.

Getting an official investigation going, without citizen investigators having to do the work, was the entire purpose of the protest.

It is not acceptable to tell young Black girls to "stay home" to avoid getting kidnapped and trafficked.

I left at around 11:30.

All opinions my own. Photo of myself, and video, by me. 

Today I Saw The Bomb Squad

Went out for lunch and the area is covered in police cars. I see them gathered around one person who has "Bomb Squad" written on the back of his jacket. Briefly I consider, is it my turn to die today? (God forbid) Then I proceed forward, march on, just be normal.

In the park there is a guy trying to look homeless, but he is obviously not homeless, and I wonder at the fact that I may have just seen my first spy going "undercover."

Forward, forward, forward. I get my usual falafel wrap, and sit down to eat in silence, scanning the news headlines on my phone.

There is a story about the DC police telling kids they should "stay home" if they don't want to get trafficked.

I stare at that headline in disbelief, and share it without any comment. What can one possibly say?

And on.

I go to Starbucks and sit down to write, to contemplate, to stare at the people coming through this great city. All of them different, all the time.

I think to myself about what the Rebbe (z"l) told me, so many years ago. You have to live your life in great joy, not in misery.

He was right: It's going to end anyway. Like that line this week in "The Walking Dead" -- "you think you have forever to life your life, and then you don't."

May God bless us with the wisdom to stop tearing each other apart, and start solving problems that really matter.

All opinions my own.

Should I Add My Beer-Focused Instagram Account To My LinkedIn profile?

This is my response to a question originally posed on Quora.

The answer, like lawyers tend to say, is: “It depends.”

Not knowing what you do for a living, let’s assume that your LinkedIn profile is typical, meaning that it reflects the image of a corporate professional.

Would your boss, or a prospective employer, think badly of you for promoting your passion for beer?

Traditional product branding says that you should focus on your unique selling proposition fairly single-mindedly. Your goal is to create a space in the customer’s mind dedicated to your brand so that when they want to purchase something like it, they shortcut all alternatives and go straight to you.

So from a product branding point of view, putting a personal beer account on your professional profile is distracting. It tells an employer that you’re not totally focused on the encyclopedic and ever-evolving knowledge, skills and abilities required to do your valuable type of job.

However, people are not products, and applying the product branding model to an actual human being in the employment marketplace is problematic.

In the real world, people want to work with other people who are “normal,” meaning human, relatable, and interesting. And so (presuming that the rest of your employment profile looks solid) I think an employer would be highly likely to value your personal passion on a topic of interest to many.

Frankly it’s also reassuring to know what people are into on their personal time, given the number of absolute and total freaks that appear to populate our planet.

Some personal branding advisors might question the fact that your passion involves alcohol. However, I think beer (and wine) live in that zone we would call “moderate,” and is therefore not a problem.

If you crafted that beer at home, it would be even better, but that kind of wizardry is not a requirement.

As you said, it goes without saying that drunk vacation photos don’t belong on an Instagram you connect to your LinkedIn account.

Frankly I don’t think it’s a good idea to take drunk vacation photos in the first place.

All that said, I don’t believe most people should connect their Instagram accounts to their LinkedIn profiles. This is because for the vast majority of people, such accounts contain photos of personal interest. Unless your personal brand hinges on being a “personality,” such photos distract from your professional accomplishments.

Frankly, they also make you seem lacking in judgment. I know this may be a controversial statement in a world where people wear jeans and flip-flops to the office. But I am one of those people who believes that there should be a distinction between your professional and personal self, most of the time.

Some people don’t really get that, and they will post links to every single social media account they have, as though some economy were gained by sharing them.


The bottom line is this: If your Instagram account, or other social media account, reflects something worth sharing professionally — then post it.

Otherwise, it’s better for your income to keep the two separate. Even the other account is public, and it is possible for any interested party to find out what you do in your spare time.
All opinions my own. Public domain photo by Pexels via Pixabay.

An Open Letter to President Trump: Time To Drain The Swamp

Dear Mr. President:

Here is what I see, from my little window on the world.

There is an organized plot to overthrow you. This is not "discourse," or reasoned opposition, or even the typical dirty tricks we've come to expect in the political sphere. Rather, the sedition is like a thin, gray, watery, poisonous smoke: We're coughing from the chemicals, but the source remains elusive.

You see that DC is full of corruption. In response you have surrounded yourself with your closest family. I have to tell you, Sir, that as much as I like Ivanka and Jared Kushner, it makes me nervous how much you rely on them to do our most sensitive work.

FOX News has become your personal media outlet. Some say that they are "controlled opposition," too, but it's obvious that you have no safe haven with the others. Still and all, it's distressing how you seem to pick and choose "friendlies." I think you could find another media outlet, or even a citizen journalist or two, that would be tough but fair.

Speaking of media: I find myself wishing that you had more impartial and intellectual spokespeople. Your positions make a lot of common sense, but also resonate academically. This city is full of very smart, experienced and willing people. There are enough communicators with "street smarts" on your team; it is time to bring in the policy wonks, and to put them front and center.

One thing I'd like to see your team address is this: Are we still a democracy? Or are we living the boiling frog theory, where every day sees Americans desensitized just a bit more to the loss of our liberties? In just a short time, we've come to take it for granted that we have little or no privacy; that we don't understand the laws that govern us; and that due to national security concerns, we have very little hope of actually knowing what's going on. 

I think you have accomplished a lot, Mr. President. Jobs, healthcare, taxes -- these are things people are concerned about. And you get it.

But the corruption at the top is a wound that will not stop festering. It's like when a person has cancer, God forbid, and the disease is metastasizing rapidly. If you don't act quick enough, the bad cells go so far into the system that there is no way to cut them out.

I may be totally wrong about this. But it looks to me like you have a very narrow window of time before the cancer cells overtake you. There are just too many of them lined up. 

Mr. President, you seem to have good instincts, and I know that you have dealt with many, many bad people over the course of your life. I don't doubt that you have plans, and solid ones.

But something tells me that something's going wrong. And so as a citizen I urge you to make "draining the swamp" your #1 priority in office. 

You cannot ally yourself with alligators.

It is time to show, for once and for all, that corruption will not be tolerated. And not to allow people with questionable integrity to hold public office.

Mr. President, you have a reputation for being tough. So please, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

It is time to shed the pretense, make arrests, and commence with trials. Followed by appropriate civil and criminal penalties.

I pray for you, and for our great Nation, every single day.

Very respectfully,

Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D.


All opinions my own. Photo by tacofleur via Pixabay (Public Domain).

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