What is justice? πŸ™

Fair play and justice have always been of high significance for me whether it be sports, politics, business, education, law or in other walks of life. In times when folks with money and power push the envelope on what is considered legal/acceptable, get away with it and are admired for that and repeat offenders are treated like folk heroes πŸ‘Ž expecting fair play and justice not realistic always I realize. Basic honesty and decency should not be too much to expect though. I like watching shows like “Dateline”, “20/20”, “48 Hours” to see how the investigative and judicial process works. The most heartening shows are those that feature investigators’ dogged pursuit of truth by collecting evidence and pursuing leads assiduously, lawyers arguing the case based on evidence bringing closure to affected families and reinforcing belief that the wheel of justice does move even if at times very slowly πŸ‘. The most heartbreaking shows are those where closure for affected families means just holding on to memories of victims or to objects associated with the victim/s like a pendant, sweater or a glove due to lack of physical body. 😒

It’s fascinating to look at the process and the players involved in the pursuit of justice. In criminal justice system the guilt of the accused is to be proved beyond any reasonable doubt. The reason is to minimize the possibility of accused person getting punished if he/she is actually innocent. I have wondered how some of the people involved in the process approach their work. Let’s consider a few

1) Cops/Investigators: They should have an open during the course of investigation while collecting evidence and following all promising leads. Does their training and experience help them keep their biases and emotions aside and check out all leads, especially if they have a suspect with the motive and means to commit the crime? Does the desire to take quick action against perpetrator/s come in the way of doing a thorough investigation?

2) Prosecution team: In trying to build case against the accused would they prefer to ignore any and all evidence that may not fit their case? Would they simply go ahead with their case and have the defense team poke holes in their argument/case?

3) Defense team: Is the only objective for defense to create reasonable doubt about the accused’ involvement? Would the defense team ask the accused to reveal everything relevant to the case to defense even if some of the facts may be detrimental to the accused’ cause OR would defense team clearly mention to the accused not to reveal any facts that may harm them (The defense team could then possibly claim no knowledge if unpleasant facts are unearthed by prosecution?). If there are multiple eyewitnesses to a crime and there is no doubt about guilt of the accused does defense lawyer’s training force them to still fight for a less stiff sentence by arguing temporary insanity for the client even if it’s not really true?

4) Jury: For serious crimes verdict is required to be unanimous. The jurors are likely to be from different backgrounds with different temperaments. Would aggressive juror/s bully and try to force other jurors (with different point of view) to agree with them? (If that does happen that would be like social media groups where a few attention-seeking and overly aggressive folks push their own agenda while ignoring or isolating those who disagree even if it’s for valid reason/s 😑)

5) Judge: Potential jurors are vetted for their biases before they are selected for jury duty to ensure their bias would not cloud their judgment. Is there a similar process in place before a case is assigned to a judge? For example, assume a judge is an avid biker and the case involves a hit-and-run involving the death of a biker. Would the judge subconsciously sustain or overrule objections based on their own likes and sympathies?

There are also instances in criminal cases where the defendant may make “Alford plea” which amounts to a guilty plea by defendant in criminal court but does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. Generally this happens when defendant thinks prosecution has made their case strongly and as a result jury is likely to return a guilty verdict. Alfrod plea appears like a compromise and a neither here nor there kind of deal (A civil case equivalent would be defendant settling the case without admission of guilt and have NDAs signed to prevent any further discussion of the case).

Is the meaning of justice different based on the role of a person in a trial? For a prosecution lawyer is “Guilty” verdict = justice? Likewise does “Not Guilty” verdict mean justice for defense lawyer? Should justice mean victim’s family and friends and the accused’ family and friends knowing the full truth?

The question that keeps haunting me is “What is justice?”πŸ™

WhatsApp: Delete for Everyone πŸ˜§

WhatsApp introduced a ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature few years ago which allowed a person who posted a message to delete it. That feature is useful as it allows the person who posted the message to delete it if it’s posted in the wrong group or if it was meant for one or few members of the group and not for the entire group. Few months ago it appears WhatsApp extended ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature for WhatsApp Group Admins too (I discovered the feature by accident as I had been added as an Admin to a group which I either was not aware of or had forgotten). The feature in itself is not a bad thing. However, the way it’s been implemented is problematic IMHO.πŸ‘ŽWhy do I think so? There are multiple reasons
1) ‘Delete for Everyone’ is the first option when you choose to delete. I don’t know about others but I prefer to delete bigger files like audio, video clips after I am done hearing/viewing to clear space in my phone if I don’t feel the need to retain those files for future use. Would have preferred ‘Delete for Me’ as the first delete option instead
2) If ‘Delete for Everyone’ is chosen the deletion is done silently without confirmation or allowing the Admin to enter text for explanation. 😠 So, there is neither an option to confirm or cancel if ‘Delete for Everyone’ is chosen by mistake nor is there an option to enter text for deletion reason if intent is indeed to delete for everyone
3) To make matters worse it seems all other members of the group get notification that a group Admin has deleted a message while the person who deleted the message is left none the wiser if deletion was done my mistake. 😑This is a recipe for sowing discord or discontent in groups. I can imagine either getting angry reaction from other group members or getting a “silent snub” if a group Admin deletes a post by mistake. πŸ€”
To me it appears the same code that was developed to allow a person to delete his/her own post has been reused without much thought that the context is different if a different person deletes it for entire group πŸ‘Ž
Bottom line: When organizations try to METAmorph to either gain an early mover advantage or to stay relevant they sometimes spread their resources thin and end up not paying attention to detail πŸ™

Looking back, looking ahead πŸ™

Today is the last day of 2021. Right time to look back, look ahead.
Put simply 2021 has been an extraordinary year!
A year in which
β€’ Good and bad were engaged in a constant battle
β€’ Many lives were saved, many lives were lost
β€’ Prosperity soared and paucity increased
β€’ The bright lights of democracy were threatened by inimical forces
β€’ We witnessed courage and cowardice in plenty
β€’ Truth tried to emerge while misinformation exploded
β€’ Olympian heights were reached along with plumbing of depths
β€’ Welcome jabs were followed by unwelcome jabbing
β€’ Lessons were learned hard and quickly forgotten
β€’ There was a lot gained and a lot lost
β€’ Hope and fear seemed to be juxtaposed

It has been a year to reevaluate priorities and relationships, both personal and professional, for many including yours truly. Will be interesting to see how historians view 2021. When 2021 and 2022 meet I hope the intersection is at love. πŸ₯° Hey, even the number 2022 has a good feel to it! Like beautiful swans together, one followed by two! Humanity needs to transition from a world of pain, loss and grief to one that abounds in love. My optimism is tempered by reality and reality is tinged with optimism. πŸ™

Sayonara 2021! Welcome 2022! πŸ‘

Greek tragedy?

Alpha, Beta, Gamma
Delta, Lambda, Kappa
Zeta, Eta, Theta
Random Greek alphabets?
Or name of Greek fraternities?
Or basics to learning the classics?
Could be any of the above
Yet these are names WHO appears to love
For coronavirus variants on the move!
A recent variant labeled Omicron
Sounds like combination of Ominous and Cron
Has the feel of a ticking time bomb;
Are humans stuck in a loop
Of never-ending alphabet soup
Or will we find the will to regroup?
For starters, to put the public at ease
Stop using wave to describe outbreaks of the disease
For waves do not cease! πŸ™

PrezEl Corp Audited Results

PrezEl Corp audited results for the years 2016 and 2020 have been published. According to information available to the public at this time the results for the two years compare as follows:
1) For the year 2016, total revenue from core business was ~ $62.9 million. After announcement of results PrezEl Corp stock experienced a bump despite a loss of ~ $2.8 million. This was attributed to the better than expected revenue and mention about steps to cut down expenses in the earnings call. Per PrezEl management the full benefit of the measures would be visible in the years ahead with profit being forecast from 2020 onwards
2) For the year 2020, total revenue from core business was ~ $74.2 million. Per guidance in earlier earnings call/s, profit was expected for the year 2020. Even though revenue increased ~ $11.3 million from 2016, losses widened to ~ $7 million instead. This was attributed to unexpected adverse market conditions by PrezEl management. PrezEl stock slumped after the announcement of 2020 result as the market was disappointed by PrezEl management inability to adapt to changing market conditions. The company had projected profit as recently as the 3Q earnings call just a few months earlier.
Substitute the above fictional PrezEl Corp with Presidential Election. Total revenue represent the actual total votes cast for Republican Party Presidential candidate and Total expense represent the actual total votes cast for Democratic Party Presidential candidate, for the years 2016 and 2020. It’s clear as day Republican Party has been hemorrhaging votes to the benefit of Democratic Party. Gain of 11.3 million votes in 2020 is illusory as it masks the greater shift in support to Democratic Party in 2020. It’s the equivalent of brick-and-mortar stores seeing more foot traffic but still losing shoppers to online retailers. With no available evidence of widespread fraud there was no chance to boost other income (line item# 5) to totally offset the difference. If at least a few of the party leaders had forcefully stated, publicly and firmly, to stop the baseless election fraud allegations even as late as last weekend the mess that was witnessed in US Capitol earlier this week could have been avoided. The question then becomes why were they either silent or supporting the effort? Based on what we have seen over the past few years fear of career destruction trumped the acceptance of reality, I can think of no other explanation πŸ™

The year 2020

It’s the final weekend of 2020. Boy oh boy, the year of COVID has been incredible. This is the year we all learned to value some of the things below that may be taken for granted during good times
1) Food
2) Home
3) Togetherness
4) Privacy
5) Work
6) Health
7) Vote
At the start of the year if that was the prediction of what we would learn the consensus reaction would have been “Deal!”. Little did we know learning the value for many would come from loss of food security/home/job/health/life of a family member or through forced separation/forced time together at home or with the risk of their vote not counting. 😒
2020 has not been real, it’s been surreal. Nothing illustrates this better than long lines of people outside food banks contrasting with booming fortunes of a few at the same time. Misery and prosperity coexisting together. Yes, that’s how it’s been.
Even 20/20 now sounds like a dystopian vision, not perfect vision.With all the pain and general misery the year is coming to an end with hopes of glimmer. πŸ‘All the folks in their lab coats, the scientists, doctors and nurses have been simply magnificent. πŸ‘Œ
People have been generous donating their time, money and food to those in need. This time of crisis has brought out the best in many. πŸ‘
Hopefully 2021 will witness humans reaching Olympian heights in their achievements and at the same time it’s a safer and gentler world.
Three qualities, with all their connotations, will be needed most for that:
Hope, Faith, Resolve πŸ™

Triumph and tribulation of Barack Obama

The past week witnessed the return of the 44th POTUS Barack Obama to the campaign trail to canvass support for former VP Joe Biden. As usual Obama was eloquent, infusing empathy with logic and facts in making a case for Biden. Hearing him speak it was clear why people voted for him twice for the POTUS post. The citizens appreciate when they are respected, detect sincerity and feel a candidate seeking office listens to them, has proper plans for governing and explain how their lives will change for the better if elected to office. All of those qualities were in ample evidence when Obama made his case for Biden. Yesterday he also mixed humor while taking a jab at the current POTUS at a drive-in rally in South Florida. His words about the current POTUS “He likes to act tough and talk tough. He thinks scowling and being mean is tough. But when ’60 Minutes’ and Lesley Stahl are too tough for you, you ain’t all that tough.” Ouch, that must have hurt!

As a non-partisan voter let me summarize my impressions of Obama Presidency. Elected in the wake of the Great Recession he was dealt a bad hand to begin with. In addition when speaking to a few folks I sensed disrespect when they derisively referred to his community service prior to his becoming a Senator and then President. When I heard those arguments my thoughts were “Here I am, seeing the whole country runs on volunteering work by citizens, parents in schools, folks donating their time, money and effort in building homes and other ways for improvement of communities and to hear people slighting community service was like insulting all people who were in those efforts”. Birtherism, raised repeatedly and fanned by the current POTUS was a constant refrain heard during those years. Let’s examine how President performed during his eight years as POTUS.

The election of Obama as POTUS. under the circumstances he was first elected, was a triumph of hope over despair, of new possibilities in terms of approach, healing touch and the knowledge that comes with being the first of a kind in blazing new trails. His attending two Ivy schools of repute were proof of a scholarly mind and residing in other parts of the world growing up also brought in awareness, experience and respect for other cultures too. In terms of achievements the economy rebounded, unemployment reduced and the Affordable Care Act was passed to make health insurance available to more citizens. Osama Bin Laden was also finally traced out and eliminated after many unsuccessful attempts by previous administrations. Collaboration with other countries also increased for issues of global importance like climate change. One very noticeable aspect of those times was of Obama consciously refraining from using his race for electoral gains. The Obamas always came across as decent folks and many people could relate to them as they went about their life as normally as possible like other working parents with young children. This feeling was reinforced recently in the documentary “The Way I See It” which featured pictures and videos by the official White House photographer (and currently Madison, WI resident! πŸ‘) Pete Souza.

On the debit side of the ledger the economic recovery during this period was not very fast, wages did not rise much and people with health insurance offered by employers saw quite a bit of rise in their insurance premiums, copay etc. Could have been due to distribution of increased costs of covering people with pre-existing conditions being spread to all people with health insurance. It’s my guess and I am likening it to home insurance cost rising for all people residing in areas hit by floods or hurricane etc even if only a few people actually got affected by those events (I must add that I have heard praise of Obamacare from some folks I know for making it possible and affordable to buy health insurance for their old parents. Likewise even people with the means to buy health insurance and with kids born with a medical condition have praised Obamacare. People with serious or terminal illnesses too have been grateful). Another area where results fell short was in the rise of ISIS as troop levels were drawn down in Iraq. I interpret it as a case of noble intentions not working out well and possibly not reassessed.

After ~ 4 years of constant criticism from the current POTUS and the almost obsessive desire to undo everything that was initiated or established in place it’s understandable why Obama would choose to speak out at this time. The tribulations of hearing his name dragged through mud non-stop must have snapped his resolve to stay away from commenting or responding to constant criticisms and insults.

Final analysis: Obama Presidency had all the potential of being transformational (bi-racial parents, excellent education, empathy, relative youth, new ideas etc) but fell short in that aspect. Not for lack of trying though. Most times Congress just seemed to lack desire to overcome partisanship in working with the President for the greater good. Me thinks the nation was ready to elect but not quite ready to fully accept the President and that is sad πŸ˜’πŸ™