Posted in Uncategorized at 7:26 pm by Administrator

you used to slip into my room and lie with me
in the dark. you would hold me,
and i would fall into you, effortlessly,
the way a tiny thought settles upon a sea
of forgetfulness, with barely a ripple.

you used to touch me, and we would dance
without movement or words,
a swaying, a lightness, and perhaps
a heaviness too, the heaviness
of leaving, but barely a sadness.

lately, you do not come to me at all.
there is only the restless creep
upon a terrain that offers no form
or forgiveness. there is only
sleeplessness, and barely a comfort,

and finding you at long last
after the pills, and the drinking,
and the anguishing over the hours,
is joyless. it is as if you have tired of me
and yet here i lie with you, barely a dream.



priorities and distractions

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:57 pm by Administrator

there is so much going on in the news and in the world at large that lots of people are getting overwhelmed. my patients in particular are succumbing to anxiety and depression in ways that i’ve never observed before. i call it the obsession about covid disorder (OCD). they’re asking me all kinds of questions about the outlook, the biology of vaccines, and the value of vitamins. what they’re not asking me is what they should do about their thanksgiving plans. and that’s the crux of the matter really. it doesn’t matter what you know if it doesn’t change the way you behave.

my friend josh schiffer wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Seattle Times this week, and it’s an earnest plea to the people to do the basic things that can protect themselves and their loved ones. it’s simple stuff, and it’s evidence-based. and as the basic as the message is, it just can’t be reiterated enough because people aren’t doing these things. they’re not wearing masks in public. they’re not avoiding indoor social gatherings. they’re deliberately putting themselves in harm’s way. and then they’re bringing the virus to the people they live with. and this is why, ten months into our american experience of covid, we are dying of this virus at a higher rate than ever before.

matt stafford’s wife took an online beating for decrying the michigan mask mandate. it was a well-deserved thrashing. gavin newsome had to apologize for being involved in a large indoor gathering of unmasked individuals. i saw the photos, and i’m sure a lot of suffering californians did. that’s inexcusable. it’s hypocrisy of the very worst kind.

from my perspective, the people who are spreading this virus and plaguing the nation in this delicate and difficult season aren’t getting infected at work. they’re getting infected at social gatherings that they willingly engage in. they’re taking off masks, sitting down at tables, and eating, talking, and laughing together. they’re putting their respiratory droplets directly into other people’s nares and mouths. then they’re going home to their children, spouses, and parents, and they’re putting infected droplets into the eyes, nostrils, and mouths of the people they love. it’s social gatherings and it’s close contact in homes that are disproportionately driving this pandemic. americans know this; but they’re unwilling to change the way that they live. i predicted this obstinacy back in february, and i predicted we’d have a much worse experience of this pandemic accordingly. and of course i’m predicting, as any reasonable person should, that things are going to get much, much worse over the next 8 weeks.

don’t sit down at thanksgiving with anyone you don’t live with every day. stop going out with friends. stop killing people with irresponsible behavior. take the goddamn virus seriously!


the Eagles are my dharma

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:30 pm by Administrator

i haven’t written much about the eagles lately because they have been every bit what i’ve expected them to be. coach pederson can’t explain why the team is struggling. eagles talk radio hosts can’t stop talking about how stunned they are by the team’s underachievement. the players aren’t letting on much, but there are signs that some finger pointing is happening behind the scenes.

but none of what’s happening this season is surprising to me at all. i predicted a 6-10 season, and the way things are going right now i believe we’ll finish the year 6-9-1 and out of the playoff picture. i also predicted a loss to the giants this year, and frankly i think that they’re a better team with stronger prospects. i don’t relay this to gloat; it’s just a shrug. my suggestion to fans is to stop complaining about a team that wasn’t built to succeed. face the truth: the team is past its prime, poorly coached, and incapable of transcending the inherent flaws of its most important player, carson wentz.

looking back at the 2020 draft, there was a way for the eagles to make themselves a winner this year. i think it’s obvious now that drafting justin jefferson in the 1st round and taking linebacker logan wilson in the 2nd would have put the eagles in a vastly different situation at the halfway mark of the season. regarding jefferson, it’s not just that his talent is showing up on the field at the nfl level; it’s that his movement and ball skills out of the slot position would have made him a superior safety blanket for a quarterback in carson wentz that absolutely needs to lock onto a receiver he trusts. if carson were throwing to jefferson all day, we still wouldn’t be anything close to an elite offense, but for sure carson’s completion percentage and our 3rd down stats would be looking a hell of a lot better than they are right now.

taking logan wilson in the 2nd would have helped us simply because he wouldn’t have been on the receiving end of wentz’s interception in our miserable game against the bungles. beyond that, it’s already clear that wilson is more capable than most of the linebackers we’ve put on the field this year, and even schwartz’s sloppy approach to coaching probably wouldn’t have prevented wilson from showing off his considerable pass rush and coverage capabilities.

do i regret then that we took reagor and hurts when we did? not really, i’ll say. i liked our 2020 draft a lot at the time, and i still do. reagor’s a deep field baller and will shine when he plays with a QB that likes him. i’ve already mouthed off enough about how much i loved the hurts pick, and i stand by that sentiment. while it’s impossible to compare hurts to russell wilson, it is not a stretch to compare our 2nd round draft selection of hurts to the seahawks’ 3rd round steal of wilson. hurts is a potential starter in the NFL, and even before he took the field i liked him better than wentz. i continue to look at hurts as our future starter in philadelphia, and i’d absolutely be willing to roll with him right now. in fact, i would definitely recommend sitting wentz for the rest of the season and giving hurts a chance to run our offense, for two main reasons. first, we have to see what we have in hurts. second, we have to see what we have in doug pederson. dp has never coached a good offense featuring carson wentz, and we need to know right now whether this is a wentz problem or a pederson problem. putting hurts on the field may be the only way for pederson to keep his job, because there’s no doubt in my mind that the wentz-pederson partnership is just going to continue to be a disaster for both men’s careers.

i can’t emphasize this enough. it’s time for pederson to sit wentz and put jalen hurts behind center. it’s good for jalen; it’s potentially a lifeline for doug; and it’s definitely good for the franchise. quite possibly it’s good for wentz too, because he continues to put himself at risk of a career-ending injury with his total lack of pocket awareness and his undying commitment to undermining himself and his offensive line.

embrace this, eagles fans. the eagles are dharma: truth about all life, wrapped around the lives of a few young men pursuing fortune and fleeting glory. for years they broke our hearts before they brought us inexplicable, unpredictable, and utterly magical joy. we did not deserve the decades of pain, but we certainly didn’t deserve the fantastical championship run of 2017 that made us the envy of sports fans everywhere. yes, there is the grind of hanging in there with a team that can’t put two and two together on any given sunday; but there is the paradox of discovering that even in sport, there is insight into everlasting truth. the eagles have given us pain and pleasure in equal parts. i savor both, because they inform each other, and because they both reflect our capacity for suffering and the very nature of enlightenment itself


the macro

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:45 pm by Administrator

i’ll admit that i voted for biden because i was opposed to trump the man. his rhetoric particularly about immigration and police violence rankled me to no end. and i have been distressed to see his impact on the supreme court, given my personal and strong views about LGBTQ rights, universal healthcare, DACA, and a woman’s right to choose.

but i didn’t necessarily vote for biden because i agreed with the Democratic party’s view of the world. there are aspects of the broader platform that resonate with me—moving toward zero emissions, for instance—but there are other aspects of it that concern me. the fundamental question is this: do higher taxes and more stringent regulations for america’s big businesses help or hurt the country’s long-term economic prospects? in particular, does the nationalization of american industry promise a sustainable improvement in the quality of life for america’s people?

i’m not an economist, but i gather that even economists are confused by the macro picture right now. there is a strong camp of financial and economic professionals that ardently believe that america’s spiraling debt and devolving currency are its two biggest challenges right now. the path to sustainability will require a massive deleveraging, inflation, and some kind of reset of the global financial system. where there appears to be disagreement is in addressing what sort of a reset we are in for. the gold bugs believe that we will return to a gold-backed currency. the bitcoin advocates believe that digital currency is the future. others point to a fundamental realignment of international partnerships. and still others believe that the dollar will remain the world’s reserve currency and perhaps even strengthen in the coming age.

thanks to lyn alden and ray dalio, i’ve begun to find footing in a paradigm of sorts. what really strikes me as an important aspect of this whole discourse is what exactly drives america’s rapidly rising national debt. firstly, we wouldn’t have a debt trajectory of this nature if the government’s tax revenues exceeded its domestic debt obligations; but the fact of the matter is that america’s domestic debt obligations dramatically exceed its annual tax revenues—and they have for decades. of great concern here, several of these domestic debt obligations are quite predictably on the rise and cannot be reasonably contained. these include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and pensions for federal and state employees. purely on the basis of demographic shifts alone, the costs attributable to these pots cannot be reduced, let alone fixed. it would be one thing if america’s economy were growing at the rate of an emerging economy; but the debt to GDP ratio has steadily risen to its all-time high because america’s “overhead” is out of control. to put it simply, the business of america is not sustainable.

if that were the entire story, then america would have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago. a sovereign debt default would have been inevitable, and the world would have to call in its debt by leveraging an international police force (i.e. the IMF) to impose austerity on the U.S., as it has done with other nations like South Korea. but of course america has never been forced into this position because of its steady stream of international creditors, who have helped the U.S. maintain steadily increasing budget deficits by endlessly purchasing american debt, in the form of US treasuries. why are foreign governments and international entities willing to do this? because america’s military power, its strategic alliances, and perhaps most importantly its insatiable consumer market for foreign goods have supported its position at the very center of this global financial system, thus placing it above accountability. the U.S. has never struggled to raise capital to service its spiraling internal debt obligations because it can maintain the value of the dollar by fiat. to the rest of the world, american debt is a sure thing, because the world cannot afford a devalued reserve currency. but to america’s insiders, american debt is what peter schiff defines as a ponzi scheme.

to put it another way, the U.S. has never had an interest in what any reasonable business would describe as fiscal accountability. america has been chronically uninterested in controlling its rising internal debt obligations related to the costs of healthcare and sustaining an aging populace because these are politically difficult problems that cannot be fixed without substantial sacrifices. its influence and leverage over other nations has allowed it to finance its virtually unsustainable costs of living by relying on a steady stream of foreign capital. that’s empire, in a word. and it thrives and persists in this manner until doubts arise about america’s ability to maintain dominion over the global markets. and of course those doubts are rising now, because america’s economy and in particular its avidly consuming middle class no longer appear to be the unassailable bulwark of decades past. the declining velocity of american money suggests what everyone most fears and what no one wants to talk about: that the baby boomers who fueled the world’s economic expansion are being replaced by millennials who cannot bear the weight of empire. the whole house of cards is poised for a collapse.

if i had to recommend a path for the united states based entirely on the necessity of maintaining its current hegemony over the global economy, there’s no doubt in my mind that a green new deal platform wouldn’t be my solution. the U.S. needs a super-massive stimulus package aimed at sustaining medium-large sized businesses and keeping the workforce actively engaged and spending money. it needs to keep corporate taxes very low, deregulate industry, and reengage in international trade alliances that keep markets open for american goods and services. and it needs to be militarily and politically engaged across the globe, to counter chinese and russian influence and ensure that the U.S. remains a primary broker in international trade. rather than embracing trump’s anti-globalization america-first approach, the U.S. needs very much to lean into globalization and interventionism, as the dominance of the dollar overseas is what finances america’s decadent costs of living here at home.

but all that is moot if one takes a step back and recognizes that the status quo really is ultimately unsustainable given that the very premise of american empire is unsustainable. america’s net negative international position (so elegantly described by lyn alden) is a sign of vulnerability, if not outright sickness. if america were run responsibly by a stable executive leadership and a highly invested board of directors, then undoubtedly the focus would shift from pie-in-the-sky international fundraising to internal efficiency and cost-control. there is a way for the U.S. to remain at the center of the global economy, but that way relies on the nation’s ability to innovate, to manufacture, and to export ideas, materials, and goods—not simply on the nation’s ability to consume without restraint. the time for tough political decisions is rapidly approaching. we do need to cut social security benefits. we do need to force efficiency into the healthcare system by controlling labor costs and pharmaceutical prices. and we do need to raise the age of retirement to mitigate the impact of the boomer retirement wave. this isn’t outright austerity, but it is a massive series of changes that we must lean into in order to balance the budget, prevent insolvency, and preserve a financially viable future.

personally, i don’t believe that we’re on track to do any of these things in the next five years, because we don’t have a visionary leadership that’s addressing the impending crisis for what it is. the solution i’m describing contains elements that are embraced by one party but not the other and also elements that are entirely eschewed by both parties. at some point we will have to graduate from a grid-locked legislature and align strongly around the pressing priorities that absolutely have to be put into law. that is either going to require an outright economic depression or a coup; one way or the other, we’re waiting for a disaster



Posted in Uncategorized at 10:36 pm by Administrator

i’m very emotional today. the emotions are sharp, intense, and evocative, and as i have been unaccustomed to strong emotions since beginning my path into meditation more than two and a half years ago, this experience of life feels very unusual and even threatening.

i have my excuses for losing control. for one thing, i’ve been sleep-deprived all week because of the election-related news. for another, the loss of a 21 year old colleague to covid just two weeks ago has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone at my company. and lastly, it’s my 16th wedding anniversary today. my wife and i have been arguing all night and most of today about capitalism, private schools, and the future of this country, and it is so fitting that this is happening on our special day because our marriage has truly revolutionized the way i see the world. i’m proud to say that my wife has changed me for the better, and even when we disagree i can see the seed of further change that is being planted.

the tough thing about being mindful is that you lose that poignant and intoxicating pleasure in victory. back when i used to play fantasy sports and video games, back when i used to gamble and bet on sports events, back when every conversation about politics and religion was a chance for me to beat down a person of lesser intellect, i rode the highs and lows of winning and losing at life. today, with these emotions, i’m remembering now what that life used to feel like. and because i can hold that version of me without judgment and without fear, i recognize that it was a difficult decision indeed to move from avarice to awareness. i don’t mean to imply that avarice is an immoral thing or that awareness is a morally superior state of mind. avarice is neutral; it’s a very human thing. but awareness is equally human—and perhaps causes less suffering for the world. i chose awareness, and thus i lost an important part of myself. as the apostle paul might say, i died to myself. that avaricious man that i was is only a part of me now, a product of feeling and of pain, and now that i hold him in this way, he is no longer my identity.

understanding this, i can say now that joe biden’s imminent victory is not my victory, nor is it a victory for all the good guys of the world. it is a thing that i cannot understand or place value upon. it is like the sudden awakening of the flower, or the random falling of a tree. surely i placed my vote with confidence, but even then i was not committing all of the world to the thrall of one man’s faith or convictions. perhaps this election really does matter, but does it matter more than the birth of a child who just came into the world at a hospital nearby—or the death of a person who breathed his last breath while i was just reading the news? all of these moments are equally powerful, and to privilege some at the expense of others is to subscribe to an idea of what we are. in mindfulness, i resist that. i resist the idea of important moments, of important lives, of pivotal movements. in my own way, i push for equality among people by asserting the equality of all of our disparate and living moments. my egoic self sought to bring special importance to political proceedings that i could not be present with except by force of imagination. but really, i suffered, and i gave that suffering to the people that were present with me.

do black lives matter? do all lives matter? can america be great? can it great again? what is a nation, and what is its future? these are questions we rush to answer, but these are questions that cannot be understood except by force of imagination. today, i hold my emotions in the palm of my hand, and like jewels glinting in the light, they feel cooler to the touch than i might have expected. they are so small, so hard, and so unmoving. in fact, they do not breathe or live at all. and then i observe the hand, the hand that is attached to the rest of my body, and then i sense the body, within which i have made a home. and to see that i live in a body reminds me that i am not the body. i am the consciousness, and the jewels in my hand are just stones no different from the pebbles on the street, no more worthy of attention or love than anything that the cosmos have produced out of light and heat and the basic particles of matter.

emotions, when they become cool and hard and small in the palm of a hand, are as lovely as they are lifeless. they fall through my fingers and become the earth that i trod upon, as i step forward into the world


contemplating victory

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:22 pm by Administrator

we’re probably 12 hours away from an official victory, but i think it’s fairly obvious now that biden’s got this one in the bag. now that michigan’s results are finalized, biden only needs to mop up in nevada, which seems probable. i think he’ll edge past 270 by taking pennsylvania, as all the remaining votes are mail-in ballots, and as he only needs to take 66% of these 960,000+ ballots (versus the 78% rate that he’s averaging on mail-in ballots in PA) to take the state.

frankly though, i want biden to win with exactly 270. i want trump to feel the al gore misery. i want trump supporters everywhere to feel the bitterness of an excruciatingly close loss. i want them to anguish for days, weeks, and even years over what might have been. i want them to feel that kind of pain, because they deserve that kind of pain. because, let’s face it here, trump supporters across the nation chose to align themselves with a philandering, dishonest, misogynistic, racist, and ultimately disgraceful man, and for those who saw his first term unravel and yet still chose to stand by him, i wish a special kind of agony. they deserve the worst kind of loss—a drawn-out, contested, and heart-wrenching craving for those 2 electoral votes that would have made all the difference. trump will fume, sue, and agitate against law and order, and those of us who have the stomach to watch his inevitable melt-down might actually enjoy the experience. it’s fun to dunk on a loser.

i don’t know what to think of my country. i’m tempted to think that all the people who showed up and voted for him even after all of his undignified behavior are simply idiots or maybe even bad people themselves. i’m tempted to think that even if they are not overtly racist, they’re callous to the suffering of people of color and thus absent of any real moral compass. i’m tempted to think that anyone who voted for trump in 2020 should be tattooed on the face, branded for life, and maybe even deported from this country because they’re degenerate human beings. i’m tempted to think all of these things today, because underneath the mindfulness and the efforts at a balanced perspective, i am at the end of it all just an egoic and tribal man with opinions and an axe to grind. i do so love to punish my enemies, especially when i know in my heart of hearts that they are evil.

but if i take a living breath and step out of the bubble of my heated consciousness, i know that there is a broader truth about the politics of our time. the fact of the matter is that people voted for trump for reasons as human and as valid as my own reasons for voting for biden. i know that as galling as social injustice is for the Left, bureaucratic authoritarianism and snide intellectualism are equally as offensive to the Right. the democratic platform in the present day resides on the idea that all american citizens are inescapably responsible for contributing to the cause of social equality, at the expense of personal autonomy and freedoms, even when it is evident to them that the government wastes or misuses the wealth of the common people. that is a tough sell to individuals who are working too hard to keep up with the ever-evolving ideals of rich and overeducated elitists who spend their time in universities and urban centers trying to dictate to others how to properly think and behave.

when i step out of my bubble and really make myself present with people—people like my father, who was racist in his own way but really just wanted to spend his life getting out of the shackles of race—i recognize that there isn’t so much that separates me from a lot of people who voted for trump. i actually love this country. i admire its constitution. i uphold the right to bear arms, in order to empower the citizenry against the inevitable tyranny of its own government. and i believe that the best version of america is the one in which government is small and stays out of the lives of ordinary people. in the best version of america, people get as far ahead as their abilities will take them; and there’s a flat tax rate on everyone, so that those who succeed are not punished for their success. i absolutely believe in these things.

perhaps the one thing that separates me from others who share these core beliefs is that our history and ongoing practice of cruelty to one another—systematic cruelty, in the form of broken schools, inaccessible healthcare, barbaric policing, legalized discrimination against gay people, and the oppressive manipulation of women with unwanted pregnancies—weighs more heavily on my mind than my natural inclination to minimize government. we live in an era in which the problems that face people can’t be addressed or corrected without a fair-minded and highly engaged government that is willing to face up to its history of pervasive wrongdoings. the solutions to these moral injustices do require our collective efforts, our collective commitment, and our collective sacrifices. but if we pull together and reverse this tide of cruelty, then we might forge a nation that is worthy of our sacrifices—a nation in which our children and grandchildren do not need to fight with others in order to survive.

the democratic platform is not perfect, and joe biden will not be a perfect leader. frankly, i’m waiting for mayor pete to get his turn. but i am more optimistic today than i was yesterday, because i believe that joe biden is better equipped to help america heal from its many chronic and bleeding wounds. and as i write these things, i realize that i do not despise donald trump as much as i reject the thing in me that might otherwise align with him. there is a dream of america, but that dream has never been real, and it will never have a chance unless we face ourselves, reconcile, and grow together as a people


what comes next

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:51 pm by Administrator

we all anchor to our biases, and this week we will anchor all the more tightly, as we face all the political and social drama that is likely to come out of this week’s election.

here is what i expect in the times ahead.

first, i am expecting a blue sweep of congress and the white house. i am fully expecting it. i think that biden’s margins will be so sizable that the outcome will be called outright on tuesday night. there may be glitches, hacks, and calls for recounts in contested counties, but it will be clear that biden will have all the necessary votes regardless of the shenanigans. it will be so decisive in fact that trump will have no choice but to recognize just how unpopular he has become.

second, trump will go out with a bang. he’s a vindictive man, and he’ll make sure america feels his pain on the way out. it will be unexpected, out of character, and perhaps ironically the right thing, but after losing the election decisively, trump will call for a national lock-down. that will put many governors in a difficult position, particularly republican governors in southern states who will want to maintain an undercover reopening despite rising case counts and flooded hospitals. trump won’t enforce the lock-down mandate, and as a result there will be widely divergent state responses in late november and december, leading to widely divergent results in controlling local incidence rates.

the lockdown will obviously trigger a massive sell-off in the markets, ensuring that biden will inherit a nation solidly in the throes of a double-dip recession. that will obviously push the pause button on any tax hikes he was considering imposing in his first year. i’m predicting that the corporate tax rate hike may not even happen in his first term.

the transition of power will be generally peaceful here in the US, but it will be greeted with much consternation overseas, particularly by the israelis who will no longer have america’s support in waging its proxy war with iran. i’m expecting iran and israel to rapidly approach a climax point in their hostilities very early in 2021, once it becomes clear that the U.S. will not be in a position to arbitrate the conflict. that of course is going to have a ripple effect on the entire region, as russia, yemen, syria, and saudi arabia will all be immediately involved in the event of an iran-israel conflict. it will be a very frightening time in the region, and oil prices can be expected to spike to nearly unprecedented levels.

though these calamitous developments will force biden into a cautious position early in his first term, the spike in oil prices will be a strong tailwind in his efforts to push an eco-friendly agenda on carbon emissions. ordinarily that would spell major opportunities for china, but i expect biden to double down on trump’s anti-china stance, forcing the two countries to divide and conquer the NEV market through competing industries. higher costs of production, higher energy prices, and inflationary policies by the Fed will cause consumer price inflation to escalate rapidly through 2021 and into ‘22. that is when we will begin to see social unrest rise across the nation, as persistently high unemployment couples with a spiraling cost of living to birth not only a new populist movement but also a resetting of the global monetary system.

2022 will not be an auspicious year for the incumbent senators, but as class 3 of the senate is predominantly republican, the effect of collective unrest will be a strengthening of the democratic majority in the senate. that will pave the way for transformational legislation in the second half of biden’s term, as the “green new deal” becomes the democratic platform for a pathway out of america’s second great depression. 2022 through 2024 may actually be one of the most legislatively transformational eras in american history, as the biden administration takes steps to ensure a full transition to new energy technologies, a total nationalization of healthcare, and price controls on key industries.


the thing about self-sacrifice

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:24 am by Administrator

i’ve been re-reading william osler’s quotables, from the book i got at my graduation from the osler residency.

he talks a lot about self-sacrifice. the physician should not think about himself. the physician should be consumed in his work. he should be committed to the lives of others.

and i realize now, almost 20 years later, that he said the one thing that only a white man could: that a worthy life is the one of great learning and privilege henceforth dedicated to a self-denying service to the suffering. it is the kind of thing that only a privileged white man can preach, in the mold of what so many privileged white men have taught about the moral responsibilities of mankind. the mission. the calling. the burden.

who else speaks in this way? do poor people speak like this? do people of color speak in this way? it sounds lofty and wonderful; but because it is the thing that only a powerful and learned white man could say, it is the very essence of privilege. i know it now, in a way i have not known it before. the reason that my profession so enrages me is that it is steeped in white privilege. i have known from the very beginning, since my first days in the classroom listening to old white men pass on the wisdom of their days. but i know it better now, because i am among them. our cruelty is the cruelty of all colonizers. we deign to serve because it is our privilege to do so. but we are not commonfolk. it is the ultimate hypocrisy of our kind.

you were the best of us, the essence of us, and the worst of us. your religion is the reason that all the world pivots on a cycle of cruelty. it is racism. it is. and few will call it, but i will