Another win against Cancel Culture…

Item 10 magically disappeared off the Agenda

Score – Venky:2, Woke Mob:0

Win against Cancel Culture!

Score – Venky:1, Woke Mob:0

Attack on free speech by Cancel Culture

After over a year when I did not have the time or inclination to write in my blog, finally I have an issue which has provided me the motivation.  So here it goes…

I moved to the City of Coppell from Fremont, California in July 2002 to take up a job in this area and then bought a house in this City later that year.

After living in this lovely City for a few years, I thought I should volunteer my time and give back to this City in some manner.

Around the year 2005 (if memory serves me right), I came to know about several Boards in the City where one could serve as a volunteer.  One of the Boards that sounded interesting was the Conduct Review Board as it was supposed to look into any malfeasance by City personnel from the Mayor downwards.  So I applied to be on this Board, got appointed and was then sworn-in at a public function at City Hall.

At the time I joined this Board, I thought the Board would meet every few months to deal with any issues that were brought to the attention of this Board.

This Board position expires every 2 years and one needs to reapply to be reappointed.  I did that every 2 years since I first joined and got routinely reappointed and sworn-in each time except for one 2 year period many years ago where I forgot to apply and so I was not on the Board during that period.

In effect, I have been a member of this Board for some 14 years.

During this period this Board NEVER met even once presumably because not a SINGLE City personnel had ever engaged in any misconduct or malfeasance.  The only thing I had to do was to reapply and attend a function to get sworn-in every couple of years to continue to be on this Board.

After about a decade, I found the fact that no issue ever coming before this Board so astonishing that I recall remarking once at a function to the then Mayor Karen Hunt: “Either Coppell City personnel are so clean that they never do anything wrong – or they are so clever that they never get caught when they do anything wrong!”. 

As usual, I re-applied this year to continue on this Board and got reappointed without any interview.  Unfortunately, I missed attending the swearing-in ceremony (which I had never missed in the past) due to some last-minute conflict and was sworn-in a few days later in a private ceremony (pictured above).

I was expecting that this will be another uneventful 2 years of do-nothing time vis-à-vis this Board till, to my great surprise, I learned a few days ago that my membership of this Board became the subject of a controversy.

To provide the context to this controversy, I have to refer to another aspect of my life.

Sometime in 2010-11, I was contacted by the then President of the Coppell Republican Club, David Bittermann.  He was apparently impressed with a presentation I had made to the Coppell City Council sometime earlier and invited to join the Board of this organization as the VP of Programs.  I accepted the invitation and then over the years conducted forums for candidates running for the Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals, Coppell City Council, Texas House of Representatives and US Congress (among other things).  I was even invited to attend the State Republican Party Convention which I did and, in the process, met some of the bigwigs in the Republican party, both State and National level leaders.  Later I became President of the same club but sometime in 2013-14, I resigned due to both a difference of opinion with other Board members as well as lack of time as I had to deal with some personal matters due to which I decided to attend law school.  During my tenure at the Coppell Republican Club, I used to manage their Facebook group.  On my departure from this club, I started my own Facebook group in September 2014 which I initially called Coppell Opinions and later renamed it to Coppell Global Public Square (CGPS).

Most of the people who came to know me during my tenure at the Coppell Republican Club joined this new group at my invitation.  This included Mayors (including the current Mayor, Wes Mays, who was a member right from the outset some 7 years ago, who I endorsed in this group after he visited me in my home when he was running for election this year, but recently left the group possibly due to the current controversy, a spineless, CYA, action in my opinion), City Council members, judges, lawyers and many other highly reputable individuals. 

I was clear from the outset that this would be a non-partisan group and all viewpoints stated intelligently, however controversial, would be entertained.  There would be no room for political correctness.  Further, this group would definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea and if someone who joined did not like reading the posts, he/she could easily leave.

Most importantly, this was a PRIVATE group, meaning no one outside of the group could read any of the posts and anyone doing so by joining this group was doing so by his or her own CHOICE.  The best analogy I could use to describe this group – it is like someone choosing to come into my house because they believed I had something worthwhile to say and then either staying (if they liked what they heard) or leaving (if they did not like what they heard).  IN NO EVENT WOULD I ALLOW ANYONE TO COME INTO MY HOUSE/GROUP AND TELL ME WHAT I COULD OR COULD NOT SAY AND IF YOU DID SO YOU WOULD BE SUMMARILY EJECTED FROM MY HOUSE/GROUP.

Having said that, the only entity that had any say on what I could or could not post was Facebook itself.  So none of the 10,000 odd posts that can be currently found in the group are in in violation of any Facebook guideline.

See this link for a more detailed description of this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1488932914712931

Now we come to the controversy.

A woman by the name of Amelia Anderson (see: https://www.facebook.com/amelia.anderson.75) has recently filed a Code of Conduct complaint against me stating there in essence “Mr. Venkatraman has a public record of making racist, homophobic and misogynistic statements in writing” and attaching to her complaint some 15 screenshots from the CGPS group (which would constitute around 0.15% of the 10,000 odd posts I have made in this group since its inception).

On doing some investigation, I learned that she was the wife of Robert Anderson (see: https://www.facebook.com/robert.anderson.12935) who recently ran to become Mayor of Coppell and was soundly defeated.

Finally, my response to this complaint.

In the over 7 years that this PRIVATE group has been in existence, I have made around 10,000 posts (as stated above) on pretty much every topic under the sun.  Friends have communicated to me that they enjoyed reading my posts since they found my posts to be refreshing, fearless, unfiltered, politically incorrect, telling it like it is, not holding back on anything, etc. More importantly, they told me that they agreed with most of my posts and that I was saying things in writing that they were too afraid to say in the current environment where everyone has to watch what they say due to the fear of being CANCELLED. So much so they were too nervous even to “like” anything I posted in the group leave alone comment or post themselves in the group.  In recent months they warned me that one day the “woke mob” (which has nowadays taken upon itself to decide what one can or cannot say) will come after me and try to CANCEL me as well.  I had told them that I would not be intimidated by anyone and I did not come to this country, which prides itself on allowing everyone FREE SPEECH, over 37 years ago only to allow some crazy nutjobs to cow me down and tell me what I can or cannot say in my own PRIVATE group.

Now it appears that the woke mob is targeting me and the spearhead of this woke mob is this woman who is either clueless and does not know that I am on a Board that has never met in 16 years, I have not been paid a penny to be on this Board and so it makes little difference to me whether I am on this Board or not and hence she is engaging in a futile exercise in trying to get me removed from this Board – or she is shilling for her husband  who may continue to harbor some political ambitions and this complaint could be part of some grand strategy by him.

In any event, whatever, the motivation of this nitwit might be, she is clearly an embodiment of the CANCEL CULTURE of this time and so, as a matter of principle and with the support of friends who want me to take on this CANCEL CULTURE, I am NOT going to step aside even from this inconsequential role as a member of the Conduct Review Board without a fight.

So gird your loins and be prepared for combat, you woke folks…

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Trump’s defeat – my take…

It has been a while since I blogged and Trump’s defeat spurred me to write this piece.
 
My take – Trump’s refusal to accept obvious facts caused his downfall.
 
Starting with the 2016 election itself which he won due to getting the narrowest of margins in 3 states. Rather than thanking his lucky stars and working to enlarge his voter base for the 2020 elections, he drank his own Kool-Aid and repeatedly boasted about having had a massive win in the election.
 
Similarly, rather than just accepting that the crowd for his inauguration was smaller than Obama’s (something that mattered little) he went on and on about how he had the larger crowd (and made others do the same on his behalf).
 
If he had just accepted the facts and worked on improving his situation rather than living in make-believe land and making enemies all over the place (including those who he had praised to the skies while hiring them and then called all kinds of names while firing them), he could have had a massive win in 2020. Instead, he has ended up losing in murky circumstances where nearly 50% of the voters still picked him despite his nutty shenanigans.
 
Sad story of what might have been…

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Letter to my alienated daughter #9

My loving faithful daughter apologizes to her elementary school staff for speaking the truth…

Dear Sakshi,

in December 2012 you made a fateful video that brought your video producing “career” to an abrupt end.  Below is the video she posted on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-wbwR209Pk&feature=youtu.be

But oops – there is no video – because it got “censored”.  And why did that happen?  In that video (posted in a Youtube account controlled by your mother), you had depicted one of your elementary school teachers (without naming either school or teachers) as crazy enough to have mood swings and verbally abuse the children and another teacher putting her feet on the children and twisting their arms during PE class.

You caved in to the pressure (despite my total support, telling you to stand your ground) and wrote a letter of apology to all and sundry (see your apology email and my email to you about it above) and the video was taken down.  And, as I feared, you did not make another video – and you budding video “career” came to an abrupt end.

Now you are in journalism school and the Chief-Editor of your college newspaper. I know you get pressures from all quarters from people who have a problem with what you publish or don’t publish in your paper. And it does appear that you are standing up well to those trying to twist your arm.

It does seem to me that you learned your lesson from what transpired with the video and that you do NOT have to apologize for speaking the truth to power.

And I believe, whether you acknowledge it or not, that I contributed to you growing a spine since the fiasco with the self-censored YouTube video so that you no longer cave in to pressure. In the process whether or like it or not, people who know both of us see you as a piece of the old block!

Hopefully, one day, your eyes will open and you will be able to see from where you got the qualities that make you so successful today.

Best wishes.

Venky Venkatraman
B.Tech, MBA, JD

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Letter to my alienated daughter #8

I bought this house in 2002 because my loving faithful daughter told me when we were moving from CA to TX that she wanted an upstairs-downstairs house!

I bought this house in 2002 because my loving faithful daughter told me when we were moving from CA to TX that she wanted an upstairs-downstairs house!

Dear Sakshi,

In 2001, when you were just 3 years old, and I had decided to move from California to Texas to take up a new job, you said “Dad – my friend here has an upstairs-downstairs house. I want to also have an upstairs-downstairs house. Can you get me one?”.

Since I could refuse you nothing from the time you were first born and looked at me with your beautiful brown eyes, I immediately said “Of course, I will get you one konthey (baby)”.

So I told the realtors in Dallas not to bother to even show me any house that did not have “upstairs-downstairs”. Eventually, I zeroed in on this house with 2 stories.

At least from my end, I have some very fond memories (bolstered by thousands of pictures and hundreds of hours of video) of you and your sister growing up in this house. So it was really painful to me (and it still pains me till today) when you made it appear during your testimony in court that nothing good ever happened to you when you were with me in this house. (A more competent lawyer would have torn your testimony apart for being so extreme and absolute in your statements but that is another story).

Under the circumstances, I can be reconciled with the fact that you and I may never have a relationship again and move on with my life ONLY when I am able to find out what is the rationale based on which you have completely rejected me.

Per Dr. Richard Warshak an authority on Parental Alienation regarding a parent who alienates a child from another parent:

“Through persistent bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations, overlooking positives, and drum-beating negatives, they manipulate their children to reject the other parent in the same way a politician paints a unfavorable picture to alienate voters from the opponent.”

At this time, I believe your mother engaged in this type of behavior. As long as I believe that is what happened to you, you can rest assured that your mother will pay a steep price for destroying your relationship with me. On the other hand, if it is some other reason that has ripped us apart, it might be in the best interest of everyone involved that you let me know what exactly happened (from your perspective) that turned my “loving faithful daughter” into somebody I cannot recognize anymore.

I assure you that I will leave no stone unturned to figure out what happened to the girl who used to be the apple of my eye and the light of my life, however long it takes.

Hopefully, one day, sooner rather than later, you will let me know “What happened?” and bring an end to this quest.

Best wishes.

Venky Venkatraman
B.Tech, MBA, JD



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Letter to my alienated daughter #7

Cute comment on my blog by my loving faithful daughter when she was just 13 – weaponized by her in court 3 years later!

Dear Sakshi,

In November 2012 I wrote a blog (see:
http://venkyvenkatraman.com/2019/04/letter-to-my-alienated-daughter-7/ ) after being part of a jury as if I was actually addressing you and your sister. You were smart enough even then, when just 13 years old, to write a nice comment which was even appreciated by the now CISD Superintendent, Brad Hunt (see above).

Then just 3 years later, you used what I wrote in my blog and what I might have told you in private (don’t recall ever telling you that a jury panel was “12 idiots picked off the street”, though) to effectively weaponize that against me in court (see above), along with your testimony that followed, to pretty much torpedo my quest to bring you and your sister back home.

Clearly, that ingenious idea was entirely yours as neither your mom nor her lawyer would have known about this blog from 3 years ago and what I may or may not have said to you in private.

Now that another 3 years have gone by since your testimony, do you have any regrets about doing this? If you do, then I will forgive you as you were just as a (precocious) child who did not understand the long term ramifications of what you were doing. On the other hand, if you have no regrets even now at age 20 for what you did when you were still 16, then I can only say, Beware of Karma. One fine day, someone who was close to you and to whom you confided private matters, will spill those confidences (even distorted) in open court causing you great embarrassment and consternation. And that person could even be your own child! And on that day you will remember and regret what you did in November 2015.

As always, I am waiting for your eyes to open and if and when that day comes, if I am still alive and kicking, I will welcome you back with open arms.

Best wishes.

Venky Venkatraman
B.Tech, MBA, JD

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Letter to my alienated daughter #6

Once upon a time my loving faithful daughter used to apologize when she made a mistake!

Dear Sakshi,

Couple of days ago, I read this article in your paper about the movie made on the terrorist attack on the Taj Hotel in Bombay https://nyunews.com/arts/film/2019/03/25/anupam-kher-hotel-mumbai-dev-patel-bollywood-armie-hammer/

Brought me back memories of the visit that we made to this hotel the year after this attack and the fact that we had a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants.  You might remember that they had preserved some signs of the attack as a memorial.

I believe that the places that I took you along as a child helped in developing the person that you are today.  My goal then was that you should have a global outlook, knowing about things outside of your little world in Coppell.

If you are able to get out of the fog of alienation that appears to cloud your thinking nowadays, you should be able to see that your father played at least some part (besides giving you your genes!) in getting you where you are today.

Maybe the day will come one day when “your eyes will be opened” to that fact.

Best wishes.

Venky Venkatraman
B.Tech, MBA, JD

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Letter to my alienated daughter #5

My loving faithful daughter made this in kindergarten!

Dear Sakshi,

I had sent you this communication when you took on your new role:

I made this comment on your post and it never got published.  And there are no other comments either.  One way you can ensure that people pay less and less attention to your paper is if you ignore and disrespect your readers or don’t interact at all with them.  If you are really looking for ways to revive people’s interest in journalism and journalists, keep that in mind.

P.S.  In the event you would prefer such feedback be sent to you privately, just me know and I will be happy to do so.

Congrats on your new position and best wishes for a successful tenure as Editor-in-Chief!

With respect to your question “Would people even care if our industry quietly faded into nothing?” my response is in this era of “fake news” and spin, people are yearning for reporting which is unbiased and covers a story from all angles. Rarely do we see that nowadays with the so-called journalists wanting to add their spin to every story they write. So if your paper under your leadership provides unvarnished facts such that people begin to trust in your reporting, you and your paper will thrive. On the other hand, if you cherry pick facts to reach some predetermined conclusions, then eventually people will see through it and your readership will dwindle to just the hard-core ideologues who agree with your point of view.

So give this some thought – and to show that you do actually care for other points of view, I hope you will publish this comment.

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Letter to my alienated daughter #4


My loving faithful daughter while in elementary school…

Dear Sakshi,

Today at the gym I ran into an old friend after a long time who asked me “How is Sakshi?”.

For a moment I thought of answering “truthfully”, “I have not seen her in almost 2 years.  She says she has no relationship with me. So I have no idea”.

Instead I chose to respond “She is doing great. She is in NYU and she is already the Editor-in-Chief of her college newspaper.  I am very proud of her”.

Lesson to you as a soon-to-be journalist – so-called “truth” can be used as a weapon by selectively revealing some information but not disclosing other relevant information.

Hope you will keep that in mind while talking or writing about me and our “relationship” (or lack thereof, according to you).

Best wishes.

Venky Venkatraman

B.Tech, MBA, JD

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