Compelled by Truth

What is it that they say about the truth?

That it will “set you free?” Or, “Satyameva jayate,” it is only truth that wins? Or Daniel Webster’s “Nothing is so powerful as the truth?” Or that it is “out there,” somewhere?

I am beginning to hate the truth. Of a pandemic, a plague, a pox that has descended upon us all. It’s growth in those afflicted and lost is simply frightening.

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Covid-19 related deaths, national trajectories

If you’re thinking: “Oh, look, the curves are flattening,” please – think again…that’s far from the truth. The vertical scale is logarithmic; a straight line indicates exponential growth.

This has scared me enough to compile a 3-page summary information document in the dearly-held hope that it may help communities:

Covid19_community_info

I hope it helps you, my patient reader, and all to whom you forward it. (Please do so with abandon!)

The truth notwithstanding, I shall not leave you in a sombre mood. Here are creative thoughts from others pondering this virulent monster we face:

May TRUTH always be with, and keep you!

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The Truth is Overrated

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Truth and Division in Society

Neil, a student of mine, asked, “What happens to all the energy that is my thought when I die?”

Vanishes like dust in the wind was what came to mind. From dust, stardust, to dust.

But I couldn’t. Neil was young, too young, and the very young do not always comprehend (or do as they’re told).  No, he needed another answer, one that he could wrap his mind around.

“You transform into Energy. From one form to another. That’s an immutable Law of Nature.”

“So my thought energy becomes some other form? Thermal energy?”

“Yeah…there are so many forms, and we do not know or comprehend all of them yet.”

“Right, so I’ll continue to exist in another form?”

“Can’t say, Neil…forms of energy do not have to resemble each other. You know potential energy is not the same as kinetic energy.” We’d been reviewing his high-school Physics.

That calmed Neil’s curiosity. For that moment.

But I see another truth in the exchange. That truth itself may be overrated. The love of truth, that so many researchers and teachers believe in, and trust in, may itself be something that separates us and distances us from everyone. Is such separation, exclusion, desirable?

If you’ve read this far, you deserve to download, FREE this #PresidentsDay, my first work: http://goo.gl/FKUnCM

There’s much truth in that too!

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More Hard Truths

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The Republican Politics of Self-Serving Sycophancy

A Biblical admonishment, Mathew 7:5, goes, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eyeand then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Nowhere is that truer than in the America of today.

Take Domestic Violence, for instance. There is a zero-tolerance policy toward this bane of civil society, rightly so, perhaps. Men are arrested, prosecuted, and jailed indiscriminately under this decades-old regime. Lives and families are destroyed by both the malady and the implemented remedy: lock them all up.

But WHAT domestic violence? Just that which authorities can easily, readily, prosecute. Here’s where the State, in its quest for law and order, likely destroys harmony and peace in society.

And what of domestic violence of far greater harm, perpetrated by those vested with authority?

Police Brutality?
Institutionalized Racism?
Xenophobia, and Arbitrary Immigrant Detention?
Separation of Migrant Children?
Blockage of Gun Reforms?
White Nationalism?
Racial (White) Supremacy?
Unbridled Capitalism?

And what of demagoguery that feeds many of the above evils? How does the body politic address an elected leader who spews divisive rhetoric, fueling hate and xenophobia? How does America defend a man who invites hostile nations to corrupt our most sacred exercise in democracy, our election of leaders? How do Republicans continue to defend the indefensible, excuse the inexcusable, deny the undeniable?

Time, as Mathew admonished, for the representatives of America and all citizens of this nation, to cast the logs out of their eyes.

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Taking A Side

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Antithetical to American Values

“Stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest Gump

Let Estupido be his own witness. Here’s Jimmy Kimmel Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsBOWSjOLsE

Class v. ass…no?

Estupido was rage-tweeting today. 30 tweets in a half hour. Presidential indeed…this unmitigated narcissist is frightened beyond imagination – for the possibility of impeachment followed by conviction in the US Senate grows every day new witnesses to his nefarious actions come forward. And if convicted, and removed from the presidency, he is sure to be indicted on a range of offenses that he escapes indictment for at present due to highly dubious guidance that sitting presidents may not be indicted for crimes. Rage is all he can spew.

Time – high time – for all Americans to choose sides. Continue to be dazzled by his ill-gotten wealth and shocking lack of dignity and grace, or seek a president who truly personifies American values of equality, fairness, tolerance, and justice.

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Hard Truths in Domestic Violence

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Preaching to a captive audience

October 2019 is ‘Domestic Violence Awareness Month.’

A whole month has been set aside for contemplation of this bane of civilized society. Perhaps a realization that an hour-long class or a few such classes may not help us learn what domestic violence truly is. We need a whole month – to think about, discuss, and make changes in our thoughts and actions.

What exactly do folks, and the State, mean by domestic violence or DV? A glance at the activities planned, the marches made, or the articles penned suffices to paint an accurate picture. Men. It’s about how violent men are, how they destroy themselves, their relationships, and their families by being violent in the domestic arena. It’s about overindulgence in alcohol and drugs, about the rampant use of firearms…and ultimately, it’s about the deaths caused – and it is indeed women who often are victims of such overt violence.

BUT – are men the root cause, the ONLY cause, of domestic violence? Can women be violent too, in ways that men are simply unaware or incapable of? Are men just the dead horses beaten endlessly in the public parades about DV?

I think there are some very hard truths to face in addressing this plague in our societies… and I’ve bared my heart about it in ‘Humbling and Humility.’

Download the Kindle version FREE from Oct 1-3, read it, and if it touches you, leave me a review…

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While letting one’s own demons loose

You surely get what’s in the pictures included, yes?

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Independence Day

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A Despot in all but Title

What is your fondest memory of the 4th of July?

For me, a first-generation immigrant to the United States of America, it is a barbecue first. And fireworks, but I’ve detested them – ever since my dad educated me with “Hey look! There’s a $5 note burning. There’s a $10 note exploding in sparks and smoke. There’s a 20 shooting up into the sky, lost forever in a blaze of fire.” A barbecue stays with you, a pleasant memory, provided the sauces are good.

Now, older and with a more thoughtful bent of mind, it is the preamble to the original Declaration of Independence of the founding of this nation.

More specifically, it is these words: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a desire to reduce them under absolute despotism…” I am reminded that the forefathers fought resolutely against the subjugation of a population to the whims and dictates of any man – and that this is the day they declared their freedom from such tyranny. They did so in a document filled with the ideals that they hoped this nation, as one people, could grow into.

Neither they nor their union of colonies was perfect. Such perfection, they hoped, could be achieved through hard work and industry, and steadfast adherence to a Constitution and a system of governance they established with the founding of this nation. A union, freed from tyranny, founded as a nation of laws.

And this, exactly, is what is in grave peril at the moment. A demagogue, chosen by a mesmerized mob titillated by his racism, barefaced lies, bravado, and flouting of ethics and principles, now usurps every power of this co-equal system of governance unto himself. The rest of his innumerable offences are all in plain view…and those who disclose them are branded “enemies of the people.”

He demands – in stark contrast with the conduct and humility of so many before him – glorification by a Military Parade on this day. Tanks, he demands, and planes, soldiers, all marching in a show presided over by…himself. And he makes this a ticketed, paid, event for those who can pay. He forces hierarchy upon the people in a celebration for the people.

He is a showman and a conman…and he is the greatest peril for this nation.

What will the next Fourth of July bring?

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This is My Neighborhood!

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I never imagined that I’d go through an event like this of this past Friday. It brings Senator Martha McSally’s recent #MeToo revelations immediately to mind. While painful and disturbing, it can be useful: I can now guide my children, and the students I teach, employing this very personal experience. What’s recounted below isn’t meant to be read as a story as much as a detailed and factual narration. There will be more to come as this immigrant works with the local “Protect and Serve” folks…

On the 9th of March, 2019, I drove to an address, 1735 S Glenview, Mesa, AZ 85204, to pick up a shower caddy advertised as available on the social network Nextdoor. It was approximately 7:25 pm and the streets were dark as I drove on Baseline Road toward Mesa. Construction work had reduced lanes on Baseline Road to just one heading west, as I approached Glenview street, and I turned right into this street to get to the address less than an eighth of a mile ahead as my car GPS indicated. This side street was darker than the main road, and I strained to see house numbers as I drove at low speed along the neighborhood street.

I’d passed what appeared to be #1725 and was at #1711 when I noticed a pickup truck overtake me, turn around on the street, and stop at an angle in the middle of the road, boxing me in. Looking up, I saw a driver demanding that I roll down my window. At the same time, I’d noticed a man walking a dog along the street while looking at house numbers. Deciding NOT to engage with this belligerent driver, I slipped past the pickup truck, turned around in the street, and parked beside #1711. As I got down to ask the man walking his dog for directions, I noticed the large white pickup truck get off the middle of the road, move ahead, and park right in front of my vehicle. Once again, this driver seemed intent on preventing me from leaving without some sort of exchange with him.

I asked the Asian gentleman walking his dog for house #1735. As he answered me, I saw the driver of the large white pickup approach the both of us. As he reached us, before saying anything at all, he hit my right arm with his fist and yelled that I was driving too fast in this (his) neighborhood. Taken completely by surprise at his physical violence, I could only manage to say that his behavior was unacceptable and that it may need to be reported. He retorted, “Go ahead, call the cops, and we’ll discuss how you were driving in this neighborhood,” or something to that effect. The Asian gentleman stood frozen while all this transpired.

The belligerent driver from the large white pickup truck was Caucasian, of about 5′ 4” in height, almost a foot shorter than me at 6′ 3”. He sported very closely cropped dark hair and seemed of a rather slight build. I clearly outweighed him and could’ve readily defended myself, but the speed of his violence surprised me. My phone in hand, I again indicated that I’d need to call the police to report this altercation. As I fumbled with the camera “app” on my phone, I noticed him going around and snapping a picture of my car’s license plate. He came around behind me and very violently hit my hand and the phone I held, slamming it to the ground, and shocked me again. He effectively prevented my taking a picture of his license plate, and likely damaged the phone too. I hastened to pick my phone up to ensure it was still functional, while he threatened me with “If I ever see you in this neighborhood again, I’ll beat the shit out of you,” as he passed by me. The Asian gentleman walking his dog had retreated a short distance away, near my vehicle, as all this occurred in his presence.

With my phone’s condition unknown, I memorized his license plate: 8S8XX, an AZ Veteran license plate, white in the background. Having NOT made any eye contact with him, I noticed only that my attacker had on a dark shirt and possibly blue jeans. Verifying that my phone still worked, I saw that the attacker sped away while I called 911 and stayed on the line, reporting as many details as I could remember then until a couple of officers came by into the street. The officers took my statement and asked if I’d like to press charges, which I did. The officer demanded of the Asian gentleman, “You did not see anything, did you?” – while I listened dumbfounded. Upon the officer’s second such demand, the Asian man corroborated my version of events, especially that I had been physically attacked and hit by the pickup truck driver. I showed the officers scratches on my phone cover from the fall, thanked them for responding, thanked the Asian gentleman for his assistance, and walked on to #1735 a couple of houses down the same street.

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