Just Shut Up, Mr. President

There are indeed, in the present corruption of mankind, many incitements to forsake truth: the need of palliating our own faults and the convenience of imposing on the ignorance or credulity of others so frequently occur; so many immediate evils are

Samuel Johnson

Under normal circumstances, I abhor rude behavior. But these are anything but normal circumstances.

The one consistent aspect of American Democracy, one that many nations seek to emulate, is our peaceful transfer of power after an election. In every election, there are winners and losers, but this is not a sports contest.

Winning is not the only thing.

After an election, for the Presidency in particular, a candidate should shed his political persona, release his particular partisan label, and transition from a Democrat or Republican to an American President.

With the defeat of an incumbent, this peaceful transition and metamorphosis to the Presidency are even more critical. But Mr. Trump is anything but tradition or honor-bound.

 Since the inception of his candidacy for his first term, Mr. Trump raged about invisible forces arrayed against him. He claimed that there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election without one scintilla of evidence and blamed it for his loss of the popular vote.

He even formed a commission to root out this fraud. After a year of tilting at windmills, this commission found nothing.

Now, on the cusp of defeat, facing an even larger percentage of the popular vote against him and the imminent loss in the Electoral College, Mr. Trump spews more of the same vitriol and lies. He rants about voter fraud, demands the stopping of vote counting (at least where he’s ahead, although the number is dwindling), threatens to use “his” Supreme Court, and pours fuel on the flames of falsehoods and lies.

It would seem the hope to see him seize his ultimate moment, take this opportunity to untarnish his place in history, demonstrate some sense of honor and respect for the sanctity of the office and the election process, is too much to ask.

When people like me speak, few people listen. Even those with broad public personas rarely garner much attention. But when a President speaks, the entire world listens.

When countries worldwide, who once saw the stability of our government transition as a symbol of hope, see a President unhinged and out of touch with reality, it causes great consternation.

The German Foreign Minister had this to say about the situation.

“America is more than a one-man show. Anyone who continues to pour oil on the fire in a situation like this is acting irresponsibly. Now is the time to keep a cool head until an independently determined result is available.”

Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of usurping free elections, and one of our strongest allies, has reason to be concerned for the American Government’s vitality.

When an American President speaks, particularly in crisis times, the world could take most of what they said at face value. The world imbues the Presidency with credibility. But, with this President, such credibility has long ago evaporated.

By prattling on making claims of widespread voter fraud, by misconstruing the counting of mail-in ballots as “newly discovered,” by inciting the raw passions of those of his followers too ignorant or disinclined to look for the truth, Mr. Trump is committing a crime.

new york statue of liberty usa monument
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He is inciting to riot those Americans who support him and see no need to respect the process. He is inciting violence and discord, which could tear this country apart. He is on the verge of causing significant damage to a country he claimed he would make great again.

When the final count was done in 2016, we accepted Mr. Trump as the President. While I may have found little he did as President of any real value, I never questioned the process’s legitimacy. It is the Electoral College that selects the President. While the popular vote is something worth noting, it is merely a footnote to the decision.

Mr. Trump should just let the process proceed. Suppose he, or his supporters, find any reliable evidence of voter fraud or other apparent violations of the law. In that case, he should bring it to the American people and present it to the courts.

Until then, for sake of this country and the continuity of this American experiment, I beg you.

Please just shut up, Mr. President.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

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EVERY VOTE COUNTS

“Elections belong to the people.”  

Abraham Lincoln

Just like the adage, better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man go to jail, better to accept the slight risk of voter fraud than to disenfranchise one legal voter.

It could not be simpler under the law, under any rational analysis, or under common sense…

You keep counting until every single vote is counted and accept the results. That is the foundation of our democracy.

To choose not to assert your right to vote, regardless of any rationalization to the contrary, is nothing less than an act of treason to your country.

Author

And to those who sat by the sidelines and choose not to vote, such an act is not only unpatriotic, it is a deliberate attack on those who gave their lives for the right.

To choose not to assert your right to vote, regardless of any rationalization to the contrary, is nothing less than an act of treason to your country.

Whatever the final results are, this election should cause us to re-examine the process of voting and insure that future elections be characterized by efficiency and higher confidence in the process.

Presidential Treason: Nixon and the War in Vietnam

When one considers the risk/benefit of a free press and becomes concerned that a fully unrestricted press poses a danger to the safety and security of the country, I would suggest reading this article about the length some will go to get elected, and how a free press is critical to protecting America’s integrity.

When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/06/nixon-vietnam-candidate-conspired-with-foreign-power-win-election-215461

During the run-up to the 1968 election, Richard Nixon, in a foreshadowing of Watergate, did something in secret that is so horrendous as to defy credulity.

In what became known as the Chennault Affair—“named for Anna Chennault, the Republican doyenne and fundraiser who became Nixon’s back channel to the South Vietnamese government and lingered as a diplomatic and political whodunit for decades afterward.” (taken from the above article)—Nixon used this surrogate to persuade the South Vietnamese to delay reaching any agreement on ending the war on the promise that Nixon, if elected, would give them better terms.

This matter did not become public knowledge until 2007 with the release of previously restricted documents in Nixon’s Presidential Library.

Perhaps, if someone had the integrity and sense of honor to leak this information to the press, a quicker, less costly end to the war might have been achieved.

By 1967, the war had taken more than 20,000 American lives, wounded hundreds of thousands, and torn American society apart. But for the sake of winning an election—by preventing Johnson’s feverish efforts to negotiate an end to the war and extract American troops giving the Democrats a boost in their election prospects—Nixon sabotaged the negotiations.

The end result?

Six more years of war. More than 38000 additional combat deaths and hundred of thousands more wounded. American lives shattered, POWs languishing for five more years, and a country torn apart by anti-war violence.

This same President willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of an election victory would further sully the office with the Watergate scandal in securing another election.

Another episode which may have never come to light but for the sake of a deputy director of the FBI, a man of integrity known as Deep Throat, some enterprising reporters, and the Washington Post, a newspaper willing to fulfill its obligation as a free and independent press.

Sadly, at the cost of America’s most precious resource, the men and women willing to serve their country, this other Nixon episode never saw the light of day in time to do anything. Perhaps now it can serve as a reminder of the need to protect a free press.

Like the Pentagon Papers published by the New York Times detailing the American military consensus that the Vietnam war was unwinnable, which turned even more against the war by unveiling the truth, perhaps an exposé of Nixon’s treasonous behavior by an enterprising publisher might have saved thousands of American lives.

It is those drawn to the power of the Presidency that need bear the most scrutiny of a free press. Secrets sometimes save lives, more often they needlessly waste them.

That alone is a strong enough reason to ensure the preservation and sanctity of a free press.

And if you haven’t yet….GO VOTE!

Vote 2020 | Auburn Examiner
Your Right Your Duty Your Country

EVERY VOTE MATTERS

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

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An Inviolate Freedom of the Press: If We Can Keep It

Original intent is an issue often argued in matters regarding the Constitution. Usually it is in regards to the Second Amendment. But today we face a more serious challenge.

One that strikes at the very heart of our freedom; Governmental intrusion on Freedom of the Press and misunderstanding the faith of the founding fathers in the ability and obligation of the public to be trusted with the power of a free press.

What was their intent with Freedom of the Press and how does it apply in the world of instant, continuous news cycle and social media networks? Therein lies the brilliance of their genius, it still applies without any modification or caution.

One of the most powerful forces propelling the success of our form of capitalism is the free market. If there is a need, someone will fill it. When Congress, under the pretext of seeking fairness and impartiality in the press, deigns to intervene in what a media outlet publishes or withholds, it should give us all pause.

Congress often finds ways to intervene in matters best left to individual choices and when they do the results are almost always disastrous. In their attempt at forcing the hand of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others on what they should publish or restrict, they’re are setting the groundwork for Big Brother control of the press and social media.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et.al., are not government agencies. They can, and should, be able to make their own determination on what they allow or deny on their sites. Let the market decide if it will support such policies, not the partisan, agenda-driven politics of ambitious members of Congress,

I wonder if Congress would be holding hearing on forcing social media to post recipes for bombs and manifestos calling for their use on the Capitol? Likewise, they have no business making any determination or inquiries absent clear violations of the law. And even then it is a matter for the FBI or local authorities.

That some media outlets lean one way or the other is irrelevant. Nor should the choices of what to publish or what to eliminate, except in the most extreme of circumstances, ever be the concern of the Government.

I think the founding fathers were clear in their intent that government has no place in regulating the press. We as a people value more an unrestricted press than any perceived harm such freedom may pose. Secrets are never more important than what they may seek to protect, no matter how well intentioned.

George Washington Quote on Freedom of Speech Print

That one social media site chooses, for whatever reason, to restrict certain items from their site in no way prevents some other site from filling that need. Such questions are best left to the market demand.

But it does raise issues of credibility, verification of material, and trustworthiness of sources. In the matter of the Hunter Biden laptop, a prudent publisher might rightfully be concerned with spreading unverified allegations. And such decisions should be left to the publisher themselves and the demand of the market. Another site might see an obligation to present such material and let those who see it decide.

In either case, the government should have no say.

Once the government starts to determine what you must publish, it is a short jump to their telling you what you cannot publish. And therein lies great danger.

And to those who fail to see the danger in any government interference with freedom of the press, history offers a valuable lesson. Here’s a most applicable warning from someone who understood well the need to eliminate such freedom and went on to do so;

“It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.”
― Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

But this freedom of the press, like the other rights guaranteed by the Constitution, comes with responsibilities. Just like one cannot yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater, one must educate oneself to recognize the elements of truth or the veil of lies often hidden within published material.

Let’s take, for example, satire. That someone is so ignorant or blind as to fail to recognize satire does not render the publication of such material unlawful, nor should it trigger governmental intrusion.

Jonathan Swift, in his A Modest Proposal, suggested using the children of the poor as a source of food for the wealthy and income for the destitute as a satirical criticism of the wretched state of many of his fellow Irishman. Just because some might fail to see the satire doesn’t justify government prohibiting it’s publication. Particularly when the criticism was directed at the government.

The founding fathers put absolute faith in the ability of the American people to recognize the truth from the lies. They believed literate Americans, who were almost exclusively white and male, could be trusted.

We’ve become more inclusive, a good thing, and better educated, also a good thing, but I wonder if we would instill the same confidence in the founding fathers. It would seem many, if not most, of our fellow Americans are blinded by confirmation bias, incapable of seeking a balanced perspective.

And that may well be our demise.

Once the government starts to determine what you must publish, it is a short jump to their telling you what you cannot publish. And therein lies great danger.

Author

The intent of the founding fathers cannot be expressed better than in their own words…

I am… for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.

Thomas Jefferson

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison

As unbalanced parties of every description can never tolerate a free inquiry of any kind, when employed against themselves, the license, and even the most temperate freedom of the press, soon excite resentment and revenge.

John Adams

The freedom of the press should be inviolate.

John Quincy Adams

Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.

Thomas Jefferson

This last quote by Jefferson is the most insightful, and illustrative, of all. When the founding fathers spoke of freedom of the press they were addressing its necessity to Americans who could understand, evaluate, and measure the words they read, and the importance of making sure all had the capabilities to do so.

While Jefferson, and many others of his generation, would have denied such literacy to blacks, both slave and free, and women, I believe, were they among us today, they would champion literacy for all. Jefferson and the others trusted the public to be deliberate in their reading and to separate the sensational and provocative falsehoods from the truth.

This required some level of education, some level beyond mere literacy, rising to the level of reason and intelligence. Such understanding arises only when one is able and willing to look at issues from all perspectives.

The courts have also recognized the primacy of a free and unfettered press.

Without a free press there can be no free society. That is axiomatic. However, freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society. The scope and nature of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of the press are to be viewed and applied in that light.

Felix Frankfurter

Many distinguished lawyers also argue the necessity for protecting such freedoms from all attempts to silence or limit them.

We don’t have an Official Secrets Act in the United States, as other countries do. Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.

Alan Dershowitz

With this powerful history of support for a free and unencumbered press comes our responsibility to defend such freedom.

We should never accept, carte blanche, assertions in print, online, or in any other media format simply because they concord with our opinions or beliefs. It is incumbent on us all to recognize it is the diversity of our opinions and perspectives that make us great and to endeavor to understand opposing positions.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

Evelyn Beatrice Hall in The Friends of Voltaire (often misattributed to Voltaire himself)

We should never sit idly by while Congress, for questionable partisan motivations, moves in any way, shape, or form to limit the media or insist on any control over the content thereof.

No one side has all the right answers and the only way to insure all perspectives are expressed is through a free press protected from any governmental intrusion.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

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A Letter to My Soon to Arrive Grandchild

Dear FNU (First Name Undecided, I’ll fill it in later)

How are you? I assume at some point in utero—your current address—you’ll gain the ability to hear voices. No doubt you’ll start eavesdropping on our conversations.

I hope nothing you hear gives you pause. You’ll learn that people often say things that are best ignored; even fewer things worth remembering. It is one of the realities you’ll come to understand in the future. At the moment, your future is all in front of you. You have no idea how lucky you are for that.

When you do arrive, I’ll read this letter to you in one of those familiar voices and start you on that path of learning.

We have much to talk about, places to go, things to eat. It would be helpful if you could learn the skills of walking and talking as soon as possible. No pressure here, just the anxious anticipation of an exuberant grandfather-in-waiting.

Soon enough, in the blink of an eye to those of us waiting for your arrival, you’ll be learning to drive and seeking your independence. They’ll probably assign me the task of teaching you to drive; I’ll be the one closest to my expiration date and the best choice for an acceptable loss.

No worries, I love scaring people on the road.

Don’t worry about words you don’t yet understand. In the beginning, they’ll all be unfamiliar. One of the things I most look forward to is reading to you and showing you the magical power of words.

All you need to know are twenty-six letters and some punctuation, and the rest will follow. But there’s no rush, I’ll help you along the way.

“Can’t you give me brains?” asked the Scarecrow.

“You don’t need them. You are learning something every day. A baby has brains, but it doesn’t know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.” 

L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I know in the world you will soon be born to, the idea of watching a movie like the Wizard of Oz at a certain time of the year will seem odd. But indulge me if you would. I’d love to plan a day, once a year, where you and I and whoever else wants to join us watch the movie. It would mean so much to me and I would love it if we could do that.

You can learn all you need to know about life from that movie. How it is important to learn and think. How it is important to have the courage to face your fears. How there is truly no place like home. And, most of all, how we are “not judged by how much we love, but by how much we are loved by others.” You are off to a great start in that category.

We also have to watch the Three Stooges. I want you to a have a solid foundation in fine culture. Maybe some Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, for added good measure.

There are a few other things I’d love you to understand right away. Learn to laugh at yourself and with others. If you can learn not to take yourself too seriously, and find the humor in things, you’ll live a happy life.

Always tell the truth, even when it seems hard. Sometimes this can be a little difficult. Something like this probably won’t happen for a while, but if someone asks you how they look, and they look like an overstuffed pillow wearing a wrinkled shower curtain, don’t say that.

Just smile and nod. Honesty is the best policy, but discretion is a powerful ally.

There is so much I want to tell you. So much I want you to see. So many things to experience that I hope we have enough time. That’s one of the tough things you have to learn. We don’t live forever, so we have to live while we have time. See, I promise to always tell you the truth about the world, even if it is unpleasant.

Things won’t always go your way. You won’t always win. You won’t always be the best at everything you do, and the truth is you might be the worst. That doesn’t matter. Trying to do your best, even if it turns into a disaster, does matter.

Learn from your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to make them. If you’ve adopted a policy of honesty, and always accept responsibility for your actions, no matter what happens you’ll get through it.  Someday, when you’re old enough to understand, I tell you some dumb things I did learning this lesson the hard way.

Just trust me on this one, you’ll come to thank me for it once you’ve experienced life for a while.

I know this may be premature, but I wonder if you’d like to learn to play guitar? I did when I was young, and it has given me years of pleasure. If guitar is not your preference, perhaps piano, or cello. I always wanted to play the cello, the music it makes can bring tears to your eyes.

That’s another thing I’ll have to teach you. There are different kinds of tears. There are the tears when something makes you sad, or, in your case since it may be a while before you talk, tears to get our attention when you’re hungry or uncomfortable because you deposited some alien colored substance in your diaper.

And there are tears of joy and love, like the ones in my eyes as I write this.

I’ll explain it all.

And don’t worry if it’s not a cello, or guitar, or piano you want to learn. I will be happy to have a drum set delivered to your house for you to entertain your mother and father. Trust me, they will love it.

 It would give me such pleasure to do this for you, and them.

Speaking of diapers, that’s something else I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to see the look on your father’s face the first time he has to change your Salvador Dali-looking diaper deposit. I’ll take pictures. Don’t worry about who this Dali guy is and why he paints in diapers. You’ll hear more about Salvador Dali, he’s one of your mother’s favorites.

There are a few rules I need you to learn. The first, and most important, rule is treat everyone the way you would want them to treat you. But, if they choose to act in a cruel or impolite way toward you or others, ignore them if you can but be willing to stand up to them if you must.

You will meet some people who are mean and angry and act like bullies. If you or someone else you are with are confronted by such behavior, stand up for the right thing even if you’re afraid.  You might lose a fight, it may hurt for a while, but running away because you’re afraid will hurt for a much longer time.

Open doors for people. Common courtesy is one of the most important characteristics of a good person. Be polite, say please and thank you, and be willing share.

Be a dreamer. Use your imagination. “Hold fast to your dreams, for as you dream so shall you become.” Someone once told me those words and it has served me well. 

Look for things in clouds. Walk barefoot in the grass, or on a beach. Hike mountains, walk trails, go out among nature and appreciate your place in it.

Learn all you can about the latest in technology but never let it replace the wonders of the unconnected world. While sending an instant message to the other side of the earth is cool, standing in the woods watching a bear cub learning from its mother is better.

Learn to cook, to appreciate the efforts behind a good meal. Help with the dishes. Be mindful of your bounty and share with those less fortunate.

Learn about the planets, the stars, the constellations, the galaxies. In my lifetime, humans went from the surface of the earth to the surface of the moon. In your lifetime, people will likely stand on Mars. Go if that’s where your heart leads you, or stay here and watch others go, but embrace these moments of history.

Never be afraid to follow your dreams or let anyone dissuade you from them.

I know I’ve said a lot of things in this letter. You may be a bit overwhelmed with all the getting used to breathing on your own, all the new sounds and sights, and all the people trying to hold you and speaking gibberish (another cool word I’ll explain,) so let’s do this instead. You just let me know when you’re ready to learn things, I’ll be waiting to get started.

Until then, when you’re ready, you just come on into the world and remind us all of the wonder of seeing things for the first time.

All the things I want to show you will have their moment. We won’t know until I am just a memory how much we got to do, but hold on to these words and, when I am no longer here, you can remember them with a smile. I will always be a part of you even when I’ve gone on to the next journey.

I am glad you are soon to be part of our lives, and I hope I can make your world just a little bit brighter.

With love,

Your soon to be grandfather, Joe Broadmeadow (that’s my grownup name, but I’ll let you decide what you’d like to call me.)

P.S. While I wait for your arrival, I’ll start picking out drum sets…

The Dangers of Certainty

One of the most problematic aspects of discourse in politics today is the certainty people cling to in their positions and their insistence that any evidence to the contrary be absolute.

“The greater part of mankind are naturally apt to be affirmative and dogmatical in their opinions; and while they…have no idea of any counterpoising argument, they throw themselves precipitately into the principles, to which they are inclined; not have they any indulgence for those who entertain opposite sentiments. To hesitate or balance perplexes their understanding, checks their passion, and suspends their action. They are, therefore, impatient to escape from a state, which to them is so uneasy; and they think, that they can never remove themselves far enough from it, by the violence of their affirmations and obstinacy of their belief. But could such dogmatical reasoners become sensible of the strange infirmities of human understanding, even in its most perfect state…such a reflection would naturally inspire them with more modesty and reserve, and diminish their fond opinion of themselves, and their prejudice against antagonists.”

David Hume
TOP 21 CERTAINTY IN LIFE QUOTES | A-Z Quotes

This is never more clear than in the discussion over climate change. When those who would deny Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference (DAI) and the acceleration of climate change are presented with the fact that 97% of peer-reviewed studies show clear evidence of human-caused damage to the environment in excess of natural phenomenon, they point to the 3% of studies which refute such causes and claim uncertainty.

The problem lies in the misunderstanding of scientific certainty. In his book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, Phillip Goff writes,

“Conspiracy theories thrive in an environment in which certainty is expected, because this expectation sets up a demand that can never be met. When one realizes that little if anything is known with certainty, even whether one’s feet exist, one becomes more comfortable with probabilities that fall short of 100 percent. If you start from the idea that there is a core of scientific knowledge that is known with 100 percent certainty, then something accepted by,”only” 97 percent of scientists can seem too uncertain to warrant real commitment. But the skeptical philosopher knows that if she were to wait for certainty, she would never form a meaningful relationship for fear of befriending a philosophical zombie. To properly understand the human situation is to appreciate that less than certainty can be enough to trust, to engage. Indeed, a threshold of much less than certainty is very often enough to demand belief and practical engagement.”

Goff, Philip. Galileo’s Error (p. 152). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The one certainty in the world is there is no certainty. Some theories and concepts are the most likely given the known set of facts. When assessing the risk of either inaction or measures contrary to these assertions, they are never the wisest course to take.

Galileo’s famous experiment on the speed with which objects of different weight fall at the same rate absent other forces (or in a vacuum to be technical) is a case where experiment showed “common sense” to be wrong.

Thus it is with many of the differences in politics and civil (or in some cases, uncivil) discourse today. What may seem likely, or common sense, often flies in the face of the evidence no matter that there is some uncertainty.

I am confident the earth will continue to rotate on its axis and orbit the sun for the remainder of my life, but I cannot be certain it will. The evidence of planetary mechanics demonstrates that orbits decay over time. Someday the Earth will no longer orbit the sun. When, I am not certain but think it likely it will happen someday.

I don’t doubt the evidence and analysis of astrophysicists, even if I may not fully understand it, because it contains an element of uncertainty. Like Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation, absent a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, is often the best choice.

But it is not certain.

Conspiracy theories thrive in an environment in which certainty is expected, because this expectation sets up a demand that can never be met.

Goff, Philip. Galileo’s Error

The fact that many Americans embrace conspiracy theories like QAnon, Black Helicopters, New World Order, the Illuminati, Free Masonry is a symptom of the infection of certainty.

They are certain these things are true because they are not 100% disproven. Bertrand Russell once argued the burden of proof should fall on the one making the assertion. This is because one cannot prove some things wrong. He wrote that if he were to assert that a teapot, too small to be seen by telescopes, orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because the assertion could not be proven wrong.

That something is not 100% provable does not render it useless to consider. Nor does the opposite apply; something that cannot be disproven does not make it factual.

People make choices every day that are uncertain. They choose to drive on highways where fatal accidents can happen. They swim in the ocean, where they are no longer the top tier in the food chain. They engage in activities with risk because they evaluate the risk and take action to mitigate it.

When presented with evidence of Dangerous Anthropic Interference approaching 97%, is the wisest course of action to ignore this because of a 3% chance it is wrong?

The only thing an expectation of certainty will do is cause us to do nothing, which will almost certainly cause us irreparable harm.

Are you so certain that you are willing to risk humanity’s future on such an unrealistic expectation?

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Leaves That Are Green

This time of the year, when even on a warm sunny day the first hint of winter chill swirls in the air, the leaves draw our attention with their kaleidoscope of colors.

I find it amusing how we notice leaves at just two moments in their life cycle; when they first emerge as a harbinger of Spring and when they twirl in the windy eddies of the Fall. Their yellows and reds and multi-colored spectrum are a message from nature, if we’ve a mind to listen.

We are all like leaves, with our own shapes, sizes, and colors. An oak tree in New England may differ slightly from an oak tree in southern California, but it is still an oak and still a tree. Often we focus on the differences rather than that which makes us all human.

Colors of Life

One might use leaves as a simile for what it is to be human. Through the unveiling of hidden colors in Fall, nature reveals the infinite variety of hues of humanity that are contained in all of us.

And so it is with people. We see the only differences and forget the commonality of humanity. This symmetry of leaves, and the symmetry within all humans, is not the fearful one of Blake’s The Tyger.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Tyger, William Blake

Yet, it is from the same hand of nature, wondrous and magical, that paints with an imagination far beyond that of us mere mortals. Though we are surrounded by leaves all summer, except for the brief moment at the dawn of Spring, we hardly take notice.

Then, as if to draw our attention to the fragility of life and to remind us of the infinite variety within it, the leaves change. The colors emerge, they bring a moment of wonder to our eyes, the colors burst forth, then, as Paul Simon wrote,

…And the leaves that are green turn to brown
And they whither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand

Leaves That Are Green, by Paul Simon

Those swirling leaves that we often curse as we rake them, scrape them from our shoes, and sweep them from our floors are trying to tell us something. Life is not permanent; within every plain green leaf—and within every human being—lies the infinite colors of life if we take a moment to look for it before it is too late.

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This Shall Not Stand!

There are some things one has to learn to tolerate. And there are some things one has to learn to accept. But there comes a time when a situation is so repulsive, so offensive, so demeaning to common decency it upsets the balance of the universe, then one has to draw a line in the sand and shout for the world to hear,

This Shall Not Stand!

I came across this news story the other day and it it inflamed my sense of moral outrage.

Charlie Brown holiday specials move to Apple TV+, ending long runs on CBS, ABC

HOW CAN THIS BE?  America is in the midst of the most divisive election in our history. We find ourselves at a point in time when the very fiber of America’s reason for being is undergoing the most challenging test in our history since the first shots were fired during the revolution.

If ever there was a time when we needed the simple joys of Schroeder playing the Charlie Brown theme song or Snoopy and all dancing in wild abandon or the simple, heartfelt story told by Linus of the tale of a birth in a manger that would change the world or a lovelorn Charlie Brown hoping for a Christmas Card from the love of his young life or the search for the true meaning of Christmas in a spindly sad little tree, it is now.

How can this be? How can the very basis of Christmas spirit-the spirit of giving to those we love and to the whole world—can be denied a new generation or to those who have loved these shows for decades? How can they take one of our most joyful memories and turn it into a commodity?

I stood silent when they stopped showing the Wizard of Oz once a year, but no more!

If you’ve no time to take a stand on anything, never raised your voices against injustice, or stood silent while they stole our most simple, yet valuable, pleasures, now is the time to rise up. Or you will lose something you can never regain.

NO CHARLIE BROWN, NO PEACE

NO CHARLIE BROWN, NO PEACE

NO CHARLIE BROWN, NO PEACE

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

The Gordian Knot of Being a Cop

The recent incident involving, by most estimates, 100 to 300 ATV vehicles raising havoc on the streets of Providence serves to illustrate the almost impossible situation facing Police Officers today. When presented with a clear and dangerously unlawful situation, officers are expected by some to turn a blind eye and by others to possess some superhuman ability to end such behavior without physical force.

Then, almost immediately, the specter of race is injected into the conversation simply because a police officer was involved with a situation involving a person of color.

I defy most people to provide an accurate description of someone speeding by on an ATV amid uncounted others. The color of their skin is the last consideration at the moment, diving for your life might be the first.

The police are not a force unto themselves. They represent us on the street, and we rightfully expect them to act under the law.  Those who would standby and do nothing in the face of unlawful behavior do not deserve the honor of wearing the badge.

But with that said, we can reasonably expect them to act judiciously with the discretion we empower them to exercise. Yet, the critics swarm out of their holes and rage about injustice absent one scintilla of evidence when they do.

What gets lost in all the ranting and raving by those who have twisted Black Lives Matter’s righteous cause into a carte blanch excuse for criminal and threatening behavior is there are two as yet untold stories here.

Those who would standby and do nothing in the face of unlawful behavior do not deserve the honor of wearing the badge.

The officer will have to explain his actions. If they are found to violate the law or be contrary to department policy, the officer will face the consequences.  I have the utmost faith in Colonel Clemens and the Providence Police to provide a full and complete report to this effect.

And any of the individuals who may be identified in committing criminal acts or motor vehicle violations, including the young man injured in the incident, need to face their responsibilities as well.

The NAACP was quick to characterize this as a racially motivated incident caused by the police. They fail to recognize their own disingenuousness in a rush to judgment. 

The very thing they accuse officers of doing—assuming that because someone is black, they are guilty of a crime—seems to be acceptable behavior. If an officer acts, it must be wrong. There is no need to wait for the whole truth to come out.

While I certainly hope the young man recovers from his injuries, they do not excuse his actions or behavior. One cannot throw yourself in front of a moving train, then blame the train when it doesn’t stop.

Pride, Integrity, Guts

An Apology Long Overdue

I have this memory of a Cumberland High School English class in 1972 where the teacher—whose name I do not recall, but was likely just a few years older than the students— in an effort to be “cool,” asked about our thoughts on the lyrics to the song Thick as a Brick performed by Jethro Tull and written by Ian Anderson.

Instead of forcing us to embrace just the classics of literature, she tried to open our eyes with a more contemporary approach.

I recall only one moment, but it has stuck with me all these years. When asked what I thought about the line, “your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick,” my answer was quick and without the least bit of thoughtfulness. 

I said, “it rhymes and fits the music.”

I can still see the disappointment in her eyes. To this day, I don’t know if the disappointment was with me and my callous response or with herself for not being able to reach us on our level..

Still, it has bothered me since.

I now realize many of the songs I grew up listening to carry more than pleasurable rhythms; they contain a wisdom that escaped me at the moment, all to my diminution. Hindsight being crystal clear, I’d like to apologize to that teacher. Better late than never.

Back then, I was often a shining example of “thick as a brick.”

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.
My words but a whisper – your deafness a SHOUT.
I may make you feel but I can’t make you think.
Your sperm’s in the gutter – your love’s in the sink.
So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.
And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away in
the tidal destruction
the moral melee.
The elastic retreat rings the close of play as the last wave uncovers
the newfangled way.
But your new shoes are worn at the heels and
your suntan does rapidly peel and
your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

Thick as a Brick by Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson’s brilliant writing contained more gems that may have escaped me at the moment, but have since revealed themselves. Over the years, I have struggled with the simplistic, if well-intentioned, indoctrination in the Catholic Faith of my youth.  As I expand my appreciation for the almost infinite varieties of religious tenets, I’ve also come to see how they are more similar than different. This similarity precludes any of them from exclusivity with the truth.

The demands of a god for devotion and worship. The claims of physics-defying miracles occurring always absent any independent method of verification except eyewitnesses, the least reliable form of evidence. The almost exclusive male dominance of the hierarchy. The gender-specific rules for what to wear, how to worship, and who can lead a congregation.

Once again, Anderson’s writing offers some answers. In the lyrics of Wind-Up, Anderson wrote,

I don’t believe you:
You had the whole damn thing all wrong
He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays
Well, you can excommunicate me
On my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines
How’d you dare tell me
That I’m my Father’s son
When that was just an accident of birth
I’d rather look around me
Compose a better song
‘Cause that’s the honest measure of my worth

Wind-Up by Ian Anderson

While most people are sincere in embracing their religion, even if they are somewhat less than consistent in its practice, they seem to miss the point that their faith was indeed “an accident of birth.” If that were not the case, we would offer our children an opportunity to learn about all religions and let them, “Compose a better song, ‘Cause that’s the honest measure of my worth.”

But that’s not what we do. Some have compared religion to a virus. One is exposed and develops the illness, then spreads it to others in proximity.  Some find this comparison offensive because they see malicious intent.  But nothing could be further from the truth. We have all unintentionally infected others with germs, not through intentional acts but through regular daily interaction.

No different than how religions are spread. While some convert from one religion to another, that happens when they are inoculated from the feverish philosophy of one religion by the vaccine of another.

Religion has its place in humanity. But when one religion is pitted against another, or integrated into government’s secular operation, the potential for religious orchestrated pogroms rises.

In this country, many would claim we are a Judeo-Christian based society with no room for Islam, Buddhism, or any other “foreign” religion. Some would argue we don’t need to include the Judeo part because Christianity is the one true faith.  The Catholic faith doctrine is more specific; if you are not baptized, confirmed, and fully committed to Catholicism, you cannot enter heaven.

This seems a bit presumptuous in light of the 4000-plus religions that have claimed to be the only truth at one time or another.

Anderson wrote it, and that teacher put it out there for me to see all those years ago. I just chose to close my mind to the possibilities—something I see in those who refuse to accept other religions’ equal validity.

All those years ago and the disappointment on that teacher’s face still lurks in my memory. I have no idea if she is even still around. But I wanted her to know the seed she planted finally germinated and broke through the brick of my ignorance.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.