Google+ Followers

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It Is Not Good To Look In Your Friends Undies Drawers

   

From the NY Times.  Looks like our complacency with our relationship with our allies is catching up with us.  Our arrogance is so blatant it shames me.  We demand our interest take front stage on world affairs and don't care who we walk over to see that they do.  1984 mentality is growing day by day.  Just because we have the technology doesn't mean we have to use it.   It is looking like Edward J. Snowden did the citizenry a service in exposing a Government Agency gone wild tether than betrayed us.

Anger Growing Among U.S. Allies Over Surveillance
By Allison Smale

BERLIN — Leaders and citizens in Germany, one of America’s closest allies, simmered with barely contained fury on Thursday over reports that America intelligence had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, the latest diplomatic fallout from the documents harvested by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. 

Ms. Merkel herself angrily demanded assurances from President Obama that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap as soon as suspicions surfaced on Wednesday. Washington hastily pledged that her calls were not being monitored and would not be in future but conspicuously said nothing about the past. 

While the chancellor kept quiet before heading to Brussels for a European summit on Thursday, one of her closest allies, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, gave full voice to the shock expressed by politicians and citizens. 

“If that is true, what we hear, then that would be really bad,” Mr. de Maizière told ARD, Germany’s leading state television channel. America is Germany’s best friend, he noted, adding: “It really can’t work like this.” 

He suggested that there would be consequences. “We can’t simply go back to business as usual,” he said. 

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the leader of the Greens, shared the indignation, noting that America is a close ally but that normal business could not be conducted “if we go about suspecting one another.” 

Her consternation was mixed with an element of “we told you so.” The Greens had argued since the first disclosures last summer of mass American surveillance that Ms. Merkel needed to be more vigorous and not simply accept American assurances that no German laws had been broken. 

That was also a strong strand in online comments pouring into German media Web sites. 
Ms. Merkel’s angry call to President Obama was the second time in 48 hours – after a similar furor in France prompted Mr. Obama to call President François Hollande — that the president found himself on the phone with a close European ally to argue that continuing revelations of invasive U.S. intelligence gathering should not undermine decades of hard-won trans-Atlantic trust. 

Both episodes illustrated the diplomatic challenge to the United States posed by the cache of documents that Mr. Snowden handed to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. Last week, Mr. Greenwald concluded a deal with the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to build a new media platform that aims in part to publicize other revelations from the data Mr. Greenwald now possesses. 

The damage to core American relationships continues to mount. Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil postponed a state visit to the United States after Brazilian news media reports — fed by material from Mr. Greenwald — that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages from Ms. Rousseff, her aides and the state oil company, Petrobras. Recently, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which has said it has a stack of Snowden documents, suggested that United States intelligence had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico while he was still in office. 

Secretary of State John Kerry had barely landed in France on Monday when the newspaper Le Monde disclosed what it said was the mass surveillance of French citizens, as well as spying on French diplomats. Furious, the French summoned the United States ambassador, Charles H. Rivkin, and Mr. Hollande expressed “extreme reprobation” for the reported collection of 70 million digital communications from Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013. 

In a statement published online, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, disputed some aspects of Le Monde’s reporting, calling it misleading and inaccurate in unspecified ways. 

He did not address another report by Le Monde that monitoring by the United States had extended to “French diplomatic interests” at the United Nations and in Washington. Information garnered by the N.S.A. played a significant part in a United Nations vote on June 9, 2010, in favor of sanctions against Iran, Le Monde said. 

Two senior administration officials — from the State Department and the National Security Council — had arrived in Berlin only hours before the German government disclosed on Wednesday that it had received unspecified information that Ms. Merkel’s cellphone was under surveillance. 

If confirmed, that is “completely unacceptable,” said her spokesman, Steffen Seibert. The accusations followed Der Spiegel’s disclosures in June of widespread American surveillance of German communications, which struck an especially unsettling chord in a country scarred by the surveillance undertaken by Nazi and Communist governments in its past. 

Mr. Seibert quoted the chancellor, who was raised in Communist East Germany, as telling Mr. Obama that “between close friends and partners, which the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America have been for decades, there should be no such surveillance of the communications of a head of government.” 

“That would be a grave breach of trust,” Mr. Seibert quoted her as saying. “Such practices must cease immediately.” 

The government statement did not disclose the source or nature of its suspicions. But Der Spiegel said on its Web site that Ms. Merkel acted after it submitted a reporting inquiry to the government. “Apparently, after an examination by the Federal Intelligence Service and the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology, the government found sufficient plausible grounds to confront the U.S. government,” Der Spiegel wrote. 

ARD, Germany’s premier state television channel, said without naming its sources that the supposed monitoring had targeted Ms. Merkel’s official cellphone, not her private one. 
About an hour after the news broke in Berlin, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, appeared before news media in Washington, reporting the Obama-Merkel phone call and saying that “the president assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring, and will not monitor, the communications of the chancellor.” 

Mr. Obama pledged, as he had to Mr. Hollande, and to Mexico and Brazil, that intelligence operations were under scrutiny and that he was aware of the need to balance security against privacy. 

The first disclosures from Der Spiegel in June almost soured the long-planned meeting between Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel in her capital, which the president visited as a candidate in 2008, delivering a speech before an estimated 200,000 people. 
In June, there were far fewer, carefully screened and invited Germans and Americans on hand to hear Mr. Obama at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Berlin’s unity and freedom since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. 

Shortly beforehand, Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel stood side by side in her chancellery, fielding questions about American surveillance of foreigners’ phone and e-mail traffic. Pressed personally by Ms. Merkel, the president said that terrorist threats in Germany were among those foiled by intelligence operations around the world, and Ms. Merkel concurred. 
Senior intelligence officials have since made plain that cooperation between the United States and Germany in the field is essential to tracking what they view as potential terrorist threats. 

But if indeed American intelligence was listening to Ms. Merkel’s phone, or registering calls made and received, the trust between Berlin and Washington could be severely damaged. Since June, even senior officials in the German government have voiced more caution about cooperating with the United States and wondered in private about the extent to which any information gleaned was shared with, for example, business rivals of German companies. 
The German government said it had been assured that German laws were not broken, but the issue remains politically fragile. 

In July, Ms. Merkel joked with television interviewers who asked about the situation, “I know of no case where I was listened to.” 

At a separate news conference that month, she signaled on a more serious note that she understood the importance, for all Western allies, of collecting intelligence. But she also emphasized that German or European laws should not be violated. 

The alarm of Americans — and, indeed, their allies — after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was understandable, Ms. Merkel said then, but “the aim does not justify the means. Not everything which is technically doable should be done. The question of relative means must always be answered: What relation is there between the danger and the means we choose, also and especially with regard to preserving the basic rights contained in our Basic Law?”
Melissa Eddy contributed reporting from Berlin, Dan Bilefsky from Paris, and Jackie Calmes from Washington.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is Your Coworker a Jerk...or Just Mentally Ill?

Is Your Coworker a Jerk...or Just Mentally Ill?

 
 
Most Americans spend the bulk of their waking hours at work. Some say that Americans’ “best” hours are given to their employers. If workers like their jobs and/or workplace, they can accept that reality without a fight. Yet, when employees find themselves working with really difficult people, life at work can be extra trying or downright exasperating!
        
Why certain people are “really difficult” isn’t always clear. It’s true that some people are simply annoying or interpersonally inept. However, some difficult coworkers may be legitimately mentally ill and in need of professional intervention.

Consider that, according to the National Association of Mental Health, incidences of mental illness in the workplace are not uncommon. The NAMH reports that an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. For example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a mental illness that can be well managed when treated properly, occurs in 4% of American adults and mood disorders including Major Depression, Mania and Bi Polar Disorder occur in 9.5% of American adults, all of which can trigger undesirable behaviors in workers. Likewise, certain Personality Disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), can cause the sufferers to demonstrate symptoms remarkably similar to the personal traits of someone who is simply obnoxious.

Based on the statistics above, it’s not at all unlikely that at some point we may find ourselves working side by side with a person who is clinically mentally ill. Differentiating between clinical symptoms and personal traits can be tricky; only a licensed therapist or a medical doctor should be diagnosing mental illness. Recognizing the difference between people with legitimate Personality Disorders and people with chronic “Jerk-itis” is a bit tougher; you have to know what you’re looking for.
How can workers tell the difference between someone who needs mental help and a garden variety jerk?

ADHD
ADHD can cause sufferers to be irritable, careless, hyper, forgetful, disorganized, extremely talkative and distractible. A non-ADHD “jerk,” however, would not necessarily demonstrate all these symptoms simultaneously. She may talk your ear off when you need to get back to work. She may “forget” to do certain tasks because she’s lazy, rather than careless. She might keep her desk a mess because it doesn’t bother her to have it messy.

Mood Disorders
A mood-disordered individual with Major Depression, for example, may demonstrate excessive lethargy that is chronic and changes little from day to day. A non-Mood-Disordered jerk might just be a slacker and feign low-energy to get out of doing her fair share of work.

Borderline Personality Disorder
People with BPD struggle to maintain stable relationships, including relationships with coworkers. They vacillate between idealizing their coworkers and demonizing them. Borderlines are highly defensive and tend to demonize those who criticize them. Ultimately, they see themselves through the eyes of others and have a very weak sense of self, which facilitates the development of unstable relationships across all relationship sectors. Obnoxious coworkers don’t necessarily have unstable relationships in all realms of their lives. They may take more credit for accomplishments than they deserve; they may brag about their successes. But, once again, those things just make for obnoxious coworkers. It’s important to note that BPD affects a very small portion of the population (approximately 6% per the Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV) so bear in mind that your extremely annoying coworker may not be mentally ill.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A person with NPD is different from a coworker who is conceited and selfish. A clinically diagnosed narcissist knowingly exploits others for his own personal gain without remorse because he sees it as necessary to get what he wants. He is miserably unhappy when the spotlight is removed from him. He feels entitled to special treatment and is obsessed with his “wonderfulness.” A non-NPD jerk doesn’t exploit others without guilt or internal conflict. He would typically feel some remorse and shame for exploitive behavior and might even apologize. Narcissists rarely (i.e., never) apologize. A jerk can be fair. He may grumble about certain parameters, but he typically follows the rules. He may brag about himself but doesn’t go out of his way to elicit compliments from others, as would a narcissist. Furthermore, he is not devastated when excessive praise does not come his way. And NPD is fairly rare; only 6.2% of Americans are clinically diagnosed with the disorder as per the Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV.

It’s important to note that other medical problems can cause coworkers to behave in ways that are unusual and concerning or annoying and obnoxious. Brain tumors, head injuries, medication side-effects, hormonal imbalances, and stress can all trigger troublesome behaviors. So it’s important that employers and employees alike not jump to conclusions when suspecting a fellow worker is suffering from a mental illness. If, however, you suspect mental illness in a coworker, subordinate or supervisor, you need to determine if you can or want to handle the challenges presented when working with that person. Keep in mind the following:
  • A. If a coworker is the problem, it’s best to take suspicions to a supervisor rather than confronting the coworker directly.
  • B. If a subordinate is the cause of the workplace disturbance, deal with it directly but with sensitivity. Be observational in a non-confrontational way. For example, don’t say “You clearly have a personality disorder” say “I’ve noticed that your attitudes and behaviors change significantly from day to day and I’d like to talk to you about that privately.” Be relaxed when addressing the issue. If a supervisor is relaxed and approachable, suffering staffers are more likely to open up.
If the employee acknowledges that there is a problem, help him or her make a plan for recovery and/or symptom management. Talk about some job-related goals the employee can tackle once the disorder is under control. When a troubled employee has something to look forward to, he or she is more likely to follow through on getting necessary treatment.
  • C. If it’s a really difficult supervisor employees are working with, they may need to consider all their options, up to and including transferring, changing positions or leaving the company entirely.
One last thought workers may want to ponder: if one is currently sane but working in a crazy environment, it may only be a matter of time before he himself becomes mentally ill, or quite possibly, becomes a jerk! It’s better to face the problem head on than expect it to go away on its own because, without help, mental illness gets progressively worse over time. And of course, left unchecked, jerk-like behavior will continue to serve as an energy vacuum in your workplace.

Barbara Jaurequi, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Nationally Certified Master Addiction Counselor, speaks on a variety of personal and professional topics and is the author of A.C.E.S. – Adult-Child Entitlement Syndrome, available on Amazon and other online booksellers. A.C.E.S. teaches parents of adult-children how to compassionately launch their adult-children into the world of personal responsibility in a straight-forward step-by-step approach.

Taken from Government Executive  http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2013/10/your-coworker-jerkor-just-mentally-ill/72272/?oref=govexec_today_nl