“Mr. Trump is a racist, a con-man and a cheat”

Michael Cohen testifies before the House Oversight Committee

Michael Cohen testifies before House Oversight Committee. Chairman Elijah Cummings steered 7 hours of testimony.

MICHAEL COHEN: “Mr. Trump is a racist, a con-man and a cheat”

By D. S. Mitchell

It Was Jaw Dropping

Michael Cohen had his time in front of the American people today and it was jaw dropping. He came to Capital Hill to testify before the House Oversight Committee chaired by the Honorable Elijah Cummings. Cohen started his testimony with the provocative statement, “Mr. Trump is a racist, a con-man, and a cheat”. He went on to implicate President Donald Trump in bank fraud, election fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion, lying, suborning perjury and more. I could hardly tear myself away from the testimony to grab a fresh cup of coffee. Cohen was captivating. For close to seven hours Mr. Cohen gave testimony that lit the hair of viewers on fire. At the end of his testimony I finally closed my mouth and uttered a hushed, “Wow”.

A Web of Lies

Trump is a man of lies and corruption

Trump is a common criminal says Mr. Cohen.

There were moments when I truly empathized with Mr. Cohen. He said, he like most of us, is complex. Cohen admitted he was mesmerized by the heady world of Donald Trump. He was quickly swept into the Trump web of lies and misdeeds. A world where lies are twisted and manipulated for Trump’s advantage. A world where Trump uses code to give instructions. I could see it happening. The normalizing of criminal activity, they were all wearing suits and ties. Right? Nothing they were doing was that bad, was it? Now everything looks different. Now he realizes he was under the spell of Mr. Trump and he did a variety of illegal things that benefited only Mr. Trump. In the end the normalizing of those white-collar crimes and blind loyalty to a criminal kingpin have taken Michael Cohen to a guilty plea and a three-year sentence in federal prison.

Racketeering and Corruption

I have watched the GOP sink into a swamp of corruption over the last several years. Michael Cohen accused the Republican members of the committee of having fallen into the Trump quagmire. And it does seem as if at least two of Trump’s attack dogs in Congress, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan seem to have become entangled in the Trump web of racketeering and corruption.

White Knuckled Attacks

Elijah Cummings is a powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee

Elijah Cummings powerful chair of the House Oversight Committee invited Cohen to testify.

Otherwise, why all the red-faced screaming and white knuckled paper waving attacks against Mr. Cohen personally? It looked bad. The Republicans on the Oversight Committee did themselves no favors by their ugly display today. Despite the outrage and the effort to stop the hearing with objection after objection, Chairman Cummings steered the hearing to a mind-blowing conclusion.  At least two news commentators took noted that no congressman defended Trump, or spoke to his sterling character.

On Speaker Phone

Do I think Cohen would have had his conversion if the FBI had not raided his offices and home and seized incriminating evidence?  It wasn’t until Jesus was passed in front of his face that Cohen had his Damascus moment. My ears perked up as Michael Cohen described a call that Trump received from Roger Stone. Cohen’s disclosure described Roger Stone, on speaker phone with Trump. During the conversation Stone allegedly told Donald Trump that Wikileaks was about to release an email dump. Cohen’s testimony brings us closer to evidence that Donald Trump was aware of the upcoming email release of stolen DNC emails. Is it proof that Donald Trump was in co-ordination with their release. No, but it smells really bad for Stone and Trump.

Back In Time

After hearing the Michael Cohen testimony tying Trump and Stone to Wikileaks prior to the email release I thought www.calamitypolitics.com should dig around the YouTube treasure chest and find some of those old Roger Stone tapes from InfoWars say, and show them again. The following is actually from a CNN segment related to Stone bragging about his insider information and his “dinner with Assange”. I’m sure it will bring back memories.  Please note that Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Roger Stone have issued precisely worded denials of Mr. Cohen’s depiction of events.

COMMENT & OPINION: 21 Savage’s Deportation Is Not Just Racist, It’s Religious Bigotry

COMMENT & OPINION: 21 Savage’s Deportation is Not Just Racist, it’s Religious Bigotry

By Quinton Reed

Friendly Reminder

Our nation is a nation of immigrants. We stole land from the indigenous peoples hundreds of years ago and made it ours. Why? The Separatists in the United Kingdom sought religious freedom from the Church of England.

Skip Forward

Statue of separatist William Bradford

Statue of Puritan Separatist William Bradford who claimed Plymouth

Under the leadership of William Bradford, the Puritan Separatists made a pilgrimage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower. The party landed in the ‘new world’ where they established a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is a familiar story. Without admission that they claimed land which was not theirs to claim. We are taught that the theft was a thing of greatness.  American schools, from elementary through high school perpetuate that base lie. Yet, here we are in 2019, attempting to wall off our borders. Take the case of 21 Savage.

A Little More History

 Sheyaa Bin Abraham Joseph, better known as 21 Savage, is a 26-year-old rapper, songwriter, and record producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. On February 3rd, 2019, Abraham Joseph’s vehicle was pulled over and he was arrested by ICE (The U.S. Immigrations and Custom’s Enforcement) due to his and his passengers’ involvement in aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Gang Act. After his arrest, ICE revealed that Abraham Joseph was an unlawful occupant of the United States, due to an expired visa.

Bridging the Gap

ICE arrested 21 Savage on gang charges and revealed he was illegally in the United States

ICE arrested 21 Savage on gang charges and revealed he was illegally in the United States.

At first glance, 21 Savage’s arrest seems textbook; an immigrant of color with a markedly un-European name is arrested due to suspected gang activity and is found to have  overstaying his welcome. However, the details of 21 Savage’s case are more complicated than a simple case of ICE-saves-the-day-from-outsiders-once-again.

First of all

ICE and Abraham-Joseph’s legal team can’t agree on simple facts. ICE claims he emigrated at or around the age of fourteen, while the legal team insists he emigrated at the age of seven. ICE claims he has a previous conviction, and the legal team says he does not.

Childhood Visa

Savage shown here with his gorgeous mom came with her to the United States as a young child.

21 Savage shown here with his gorgeous mom came with her to the United States as a young child.

It is not as if Abraham-Joseph has made no attempt to legalize his stay in the United States. His Mother entered the United States with an H-2 visa, an employment visa for service industries. 21 Savage entered with an H-4, which is essentially the derivative of the H-2 visa for a child.

Georgia is Unwelcoming

Alex Spiro, a well-known celebrity lawyer claims that when Savage’s visa expired, he application for a U visa (a visa to protect victims of crime and their families) in 2014 and again in 2017, and–whether this is true or not–it isn’t at all unbelievable, given that Georgia is among the worst states for immigrants seeking citizenship; the denial of asylum is 95% percent where the national average is between 45-50%. Furthermore, 21 Savage may be eligible for bond, based on the statements of his attorneys, meaning he was detained without bond despite potential eligibility.

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HANLON’S RAZOR: Cutting Through the Hype

President Trump is unwelcome in many areas of the world

President Trump is unwelcome in many areas of the world as demonstrated by this protest in London

HANLON’S RAZOR: CUTTING THROUGH THE HYPE

T.K. McNeil

A “culture war” by American definition implies a conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal. It is most obvious when urban and rural American values come into clear conflict.

Origins

Little is known about the originator of Hanlon’s Razor, Robert J. Hanlon. To the point that it came to be thought that it might have been a misspelling of the famous science fiction author Robert J. Heinlein. Although this similarity proved to be purely coincidental. Originally composed as an entry for a writing contest based on the largely satirical “Murphy’s Law”. An axiom which states that anything that can go wrong invariably will. Though, Hanlon’s philosophy is generally more optimistic. Showing a modicum of faith in human nature. Attributing seeming misconduct to human frailty and incompetence rather than inherent cruelty.

Hanlon’s Razor

Much of the rhetoric based on gross exaggerations may not be  intentional manipulations of the truth. Hanlon’s Razor states, A truth most clearly expressed in the political aphorism known as Hanlon’s Razor.  Hanlon’s Razor states, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” Or as former British press secretary Bernard Ingham rephrased it: “Cock-up (screw up) before conspiracy.”

Hope In Odd Places

When you consider Hanlon’s Razor, today’s politics do not have to be this way. Politics have become objectively more fraught but largely based on a false premise. That the opposition, as defined by those who disagree, are acting with malice. It is difficult to believe otherwise, given the violence involved. Though violence, even fatal violence, does not always come from a place of malice. Violence can be enacted out of a sense of righteousness and even positive intention. Especially when enacted against a perceived enemy.

Cold Civil War

FDR described himself as a liberal Democrat

FDR described himself as a liberal Democrat

America is in the throws of a Culture War. Since we don’t apply Hanlon’s Razor, polling statistics show a gap between Democrats and Republicans unseen since the American Civil War. Slowly moving ever further  away from the deceptively bipartisan past beginning in the 1920-1930’s.

Conservative Democrats and Liberal Republicans

It was a time when “conservative Democrat” and “liberal Republican” were generally understood and popularly used terms.  The “conservative Democrat” was most often from the south in pre-1965 politics. Self-defined liberal Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his 1933 “New Deal” put together an unlikely coalition, by today’s standards, that of southern whites, labor unions, minorities, and liberal/intellectuals.  Hanlon’s Razor allowed different viewpoints to come together during a decade of national tumult.

Things Get Ugly

Newt Gingrich was instrumental in blowing up bi-partisanism

Newt Gingrich was instrumental in blowing up bi-partisanism

After the Civil Rights legislation of the mid 1960’s the assumption became that the opposition was giving away the farm.  Due to the rise of the civil rights movement, southern white voting block broke to the Republicans in the manifestation of the GOP’s “southern plan”.  Instead of Hanlon’s Razor assuming that some of the transitional legislation was unintentionally flawed, the people assumed that America no longer cared.

It Gets Uglier

But it wasn’t until the 1990’s when any remaining gentility in American politics died, sending Hanlon’s Razor out the window.  Republican’s “Contract with America” declared war on anything liberal, focused on less regulation, tax cuts, term limits, and balanced budgets.

Actual Malice

The move toward the right was led by chaos creator extraordinaire, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  Before his retirement, Newt was sanctioned by the House of Representatives. He was fined $300,000 for election fraud and ethics violations. He left the House in 1999.  However, Hanlon’s Razor took a blow because sometimes it really is malice.

Violence Increase

Heather Hyer died in Charlottesville, VA protest

Heather Hyer died in Charlottesville, VA protest

A protester at a Milo Yiannopoulos event in Seattle was shot in the stomach, surviving only because of immediate medical attention and extensive surgery. Then there was the wide-spread civil disobedience in Berkeley and several potentially fatal bludgeoning attacks with a bike-lock. 2018 was not much better.  All of these situations assume malice rather than the Hanlon’s Razor’s assumption that these events were never planned to incite violence.

Some One Died

We need to apply Hanlon’s Razor now before things get out of hand. While there is not yet open combat, there have been fatalities, beginning with the death of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017.

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Social Communication: “I Love Twitter, I Hate Twitter”

 

It's all about sharing and social communication. Right?

It’s all about sharing & social communication. Right? Or, is it a mud wrestling match without winners?

SOCIAL COMMUNICATION: I Love Twitter, I Hate Twitter

By D.S. Mitchell

Social Communication 

Computers and cell phones keep us socially connected

PC’s & cell phones keep us socially connected

I love Twitter. I hate Twitter. Love Twitter. Hate Twi….I know. If I sound a bit confused in my base emotions surrounding this global social sparring arena, I am.

Bad Relationships

My relationship with the Twitter platform reminds me of a couple bad relationships I’ve had in my life. I hate you, I love you, I apparently, “love to hate you”.  When things are going great, heaven couldn’t be closer. However, when going sour, I would rather be at the collision of two planets.

Twitter Effects

I am sure social communication in the 21st century effects many of us the same way. There is something to be said about raging high adrenaline brought about by a nasty Tweet from Twitter, however it is usually like placing a pile of important documents on a table and turning on a fan.  I forgot who said that, but I think it is applicable.

The Caring

To all the clear thinking, intelligent, brilliant folks that hope for a more tolerant and inclusive world, that I have met “thru” Twitter I am so grateful for our friendship. I love tossing tweets back and forth with you, and I love you all. There are so many caring and committed people wanting to do everything they can do, to advance the Progressive agenda.

Spread of Belief

Using social media, using a variety of social platforms as well as Twitter to spread their heartfelt beliefs is the future of Progressivism. It is amazing how the Resistance formed within hours of Trump’s election and it has been primarily fueled by social media. Seventy per cent of us know that there is a better way for government to relate to its citizens than the current administration. Our goal is to use social communication to create a better life for the citizens of our country and the world.

Russian Trolls

I love Twitter, I hate Twitter, I love Twitter, I hate...

Not all vicious attacks come from Russian trolls

The ‘I hate’ side of me, comes out when somebody in the audience decides to suddenly join in by launching a vile attack.  Why would someone choose to do that?  Hmmm. Good question.

Other Sources

Not all vicious attacks come from paid Russian trolls, I have decided. Many such Twitter ambushes are led by probably semi-normal human beings. The first thought is that the assailant is a natural-born bully. But that explanation, of course, does not cover the majority of cursing Grand Dads.

So What Is It?

Is it because the offender didn’t get any nookie last night, or did Mom yell at him, was he passed over for a promotion, did he have a fender bender, did his wife just leave him, or has he, or in some cases, she been drinking the orange Kool Aid?

Hard To Know

Many times it’s hard to know. I mean seriously, how can I tell? Leaving me often wondering what my best response should be. Each condition would demand a different response if I were in the same room and knew the underlying motives it wouldn’t be a media experience, it would be a one to one social experience.

The Words We Speak

Our words are our legacy? Maybe, maybe not.

Are our words are our legacy? Maybe, maybe not.

Who, the Hell knows?  Are the angry emotions propelling those rapid little finger hits on the phone keys  subverting the medium itself. Or, is it the deep intent of the medium creators, to stimulate backroom brawls.   The very fact that I can’t see you, so you can’t see me, is powerful spinach for the online Popeye’s. So, you or I will say something disgusting and revolting because there are no consequences for our actions.

Our Excuses

Maybe it’s just a response to our over regulated world that makes up yell at each other on Twitter. Whatever excuse we come up with for ourselves that excuse makes no sense if you are a person with a moral compass.  Each of us are the words we speak, our words are our legacy. That sounds good, but how can we live by that?

Eye To Eye

It’s easier to be thoughtless and insulting, when an individual doesn’t have to look an opponent in the eye. I can tell by the tone of the tweets when things begin to go off the rails. Many of the folks in the cyber world are capitalizing every word in their response to me.  I know at that moment someone, somewhere, on this rocky world are red-faced, white knuckled, and jaw grinding angry.

Always Be Nice?

Am I responsible for a calming, soothing approach toward an individual brandishing a sword and armed with an explosive device? Sometimes, the grandma in me wants to just sit down next to the person and put my arm around them and say something warm and fuzzy.

Baking or Boxing

Sadly, my grandma’ing experience is limited, but my brawler DNA is well-toned and fired-up most of the time. So, I intentionally take a break and bake a cake, or paint a picture. My intentions are good, if not all my Twitter responses.

Get It Out

Try dog walking, or volunteering.

Try dog walking, or volunteering.

All I’m saying is that,  if someone is angry, they should be able to find enough self-control, to re-channel that rage, turn it to energy and go run a couple of miles, go for a swim, clean out the garage, wax the floors, do the laundry, walk the dog, VOLUNTEER. Get that unhealthy anger out, through exercise and accomplishment, and not attacking someone 5,000 miles away that you will never see. And I promise to do the same, EXCEPT when related to Donald Trump. Quite honestly, in the case of Trump, I refuse to make any such promise.

Play Fair, No Need To Bully

Being a bully, whether at work, on the playground, or on the web, is just ugly.  It’s inexcusable. It is disgusting and it needs to stop. If you are angry and you want to increase the value of your argument, speak intelligently by knowing your facts, not just going with the last Facebook post you read. Be thoughtful in your comments, there is in most cases, two sides to every story.  People will listen.  People are ready for fresh and inspirational ideas and solutions. Make your social communication time count.

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Government Censorship: Trump Threats To Censor SNL Threatens Us All

OPINION:

Trump’s Threats To Censor SNL Threatens Us All

By David L. Shadrick

Trump’s Legacy

Trump's attacks on SNL are dangerous.

Trump’s attacks on SNL are dangerous to our democracy. Stop government censorship.

It has been my position to let things unfold as they will and allow history to be the final judge of the Donald Trump legacy. I find it hard to criticize the splinter in his eye with the log in my own bulging out so obviously.  However, the suggestion by Trump, that Saturday Night Live scripts should be subjected to government censorship because they are “lobbying efforts” by the Democratic Party has to be addressed. He has gone too far.

Satire as Tradition

The idea that anyone who disagrees with Trump’s position must be silenced is so anti-American that I feel I must  speak out.  Satire should never be the target of government censorship, it is a tradition of protest as old as government itself.

Bits and Pieces

Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by insiders close to Saudi Crown Prince MBS

Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by insiders close to Saudi’s Crown Prince MBS

Trump spends more time attacking the press and the media than he does the world’s worst autocrats; men known to kill and torture reporters and citizens alike. In fact, recently a Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi, was lured by Saudi Arabian officials into  a Turkish embassy where he was attacked and sawed into disposable pieces while alive, and distributed all across Turkey. If it’s okay to kill a reporter, how far are we away for killing a comedian?

My Complaint

What I’m complaining about here isn’t Trump’s politics, it’s the idea that a leader should never have to listen to criticism.  No president, conservative or liberal, should have any say in what comedians do to exercise their free speech. Yes, Trump’s attacks on Alec Baldwin are childish and moronic. But Trump has learned to weaponize his attacks and since he has become president he brandishes the power of the presidency with unrestrained hate and anger. Trump’s constant incendiary rhetoric against the media and the press are doing real damage to the country. Now his attacks are creating a new threat, government censorship of a comedy show.

Trump is a Crybaby

Dana Carvey was a memorable George H.W. Bush. Bush even invited the comedian to the White House

Dana Carvey was a memorable George H.W. Bush. Bush even invited the comedian to the White House

The threats and tantrums coming from President Trump over an SNL skit prove he can’t take a joke.  This isn’t a Conservative phenomenon, it’s a Trump thing.  Both Bushes loved the lampooning, the elder Bush even invited Dana Carvey to the White House, specifically to make fun of him!  Only Trump feels he should use government censorship to stop the mean kids from teasing him.

Only The Good

Trump now wants to pressure and censor networks into saying only good things about him.  Using Presidential power to threaten free speech and practice government censorship because you are thinned thin skin is unsettling. It is just part of a long pattern of attacks on the press by Trump. His twitter attacks against the media as the “enemy of the people” and propagators of “fake news” is dangerous.

Political Leaning

If the government censors SNL then theoretically the government should censor FoxNews

If government censors SNL then theoretically the government should censor FoxNews

I just wonder if Donald Trump understands how government censorship could affect FOX News.  If SNL can’t promote Liberal views it follows that FOX can’t promote Conservative views.  It doesn’t matter how you lean politically, everyone has the First Amendment to the Constitution to protect expression of their opinion, no matter how stupid or funny.  In reverse, everyone has the right to respond to stupidity.

A Wall Across The Border Of Criticism

To President Trump everything is an attack.  If the message doesn’t follow the Trump line, an overblown and inappropriate response is all Trump seems to have as a plan.   That plan of attack includes use of government censorship.

The Influence of Roy Cohn

Roy Cohn eulogy

Roy Cohn eulogy

The strategy was one advanced by old Trump ally and personal attorney, Roy Cohn. Cohn was a nasty, vile, attack dog  of an attorney. For twenty years Cohn was That Trump’s chief hatchet man. Cohn’s motto was “attack, counter attack, and never apologize”. This philosophy would include government censorship and might work for a pugnacious casino owner, but as president of the United States it is a failed strategy.

Just Spell My Name Right

Another Cohn fundamental belief embraced by Trump to this day is the belief that all publicity is good. Put those beliefs together, and we have potential dynamite. It is all about the moment. Of course, Trump’s overblown and inappropriate response is Roy Cohn theatrics at its best. Threaten  potential government censorship enough times loudly enough and he is likely to garner loud support from his hypnotized supporters.

Grow A Pair!

If you don't like what you are watching; change the channel stupid!

If you don’t like what you are watching; change the channel, stupid!

Finally, grow up, Donny!  If you don’t want to hear negative comments you shouldn’t look for them.  Don’t watch SNL. It is not required. If you don’t want to have your feelings hurt, don’t watch the show. But, if you decide to watch, laugh and learn. If you don’t like what the New York Times writes, don’t read it. It’s time for you to man up, grow some grapefruits and leave your threats of government censorship in the back of your head instead of the tip of your tongue, or your tiny twitter fingers.

 

OPINION: Anti-Intellectualism in the Trumpian Era

OPINION: Anti-Intellectualism in the Trumpian Era

by Amaya Oswald

Isaac Asimov was a Russian born writer who immigrated to the United States in 1923.

Isaac Asimov was a Russian born writer who immigrated to the United States in 1923 as a child.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti- intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” — Isaac Asimov

A Cult Of Ignorance

In this country, we have free speech and the common belief that we are all entitled to our own opinions — a phrase I am sure you have heard many times. We use free speech as a defensive rebuttal when someone poses the question, “Why do you think America is the best country in the world?” and we voice our uneducated opinions because we have the right to. Free speech and embracing opinions is undoubtedly what makes America great, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something about how we are conditioned to believe all opinions are valid that has also made room for “a cult of ignorance.”

Fake News

"Fake News" "Enemy of the people" are go to phrases for Trump

“Fake News” “Enemy of the people” are “go to” phrases for Trump.

Anti-intellectualism is most prominently bred into present day American politics through Fake News. Donald Trump coined the term to reference factual news reporting that he doesn’t agree with, and as the term became more popular, the concept has been normalized. It is more commonplace than ever to disengage with opinion pieces or news stories that you don’t like, claim all kinds of facts, statistics, and journalism as incorrect, and disregard factual information when forming opinions. In this way, Donald Trump has popularized anti-intellectualism.

Arrogant Beliefs vs. Democratic Behavior

The idea that my opinion is always valid, even when I have few facts to back it up is what spurs America’s embrace of anti-intellectualism, and it’s embarrassing. According to Issac Asimov, we’ve falsely notarized democracy to mean my ignorant vote is just as good as your fact-based vote, and he’s right: that is simply arrogant, not democratic. In America, we protect anti-intellectuals and people who spread real falsehoods through opinions by saying, it’s just what he believes. Some Trump Lovers have even committed hate crimes (such as, The Pittsburg Synagogue Massacre) bred from anti-intellectualism. Trump supporters hold the arrogant position of what I think is the absolute answer and no one else’s opinion is worth considering. The President displays the same behavior — even though you made a smart point, you are wrong because I am right, and what I believe is always right.

Selective Anti-Intellectualism

By being selective, Trump pushes his own agenda

By being selective, Trump pushes his own agenda.

Of course, wanting to win an argument is not the same as anti-intellectualism, ignorance, or arrogance. It is important to be confident and persuasive; but to never actively consider someone else’s viewpoint is a problem. For example, Trump constantly rejects statistical evidence that doesn’t fit into his ideas. One statistic he quotes often is the economy’s improvement since he took office, which is true — at least it was before the shut down. However, if someone mentions his approval rating, he will attempt to degrade its legitimacy, despite the rating being factually true in the closest way that statistics provides. This is a key example of how our president has selective anti-intellectualism, which could be even worse than typical anti-intellectualism. By being selective, Trump pushes his own agenda more forcefully, rejecting the truths of the opposing party and comforting those who follow him.

Normalizing Extreme Beliefs

Jamali Maddix "Hate Thy Neighbor" docuseries asks questions about hate

Jamali Maddix “Hate Thy Neighbor” docuseries asks questions about hate

For two decades, we as a country were moving to cautious speech when in public. We had become increasingly politically correct in our language. Over the last two years that trend has taken a reverse course. People with more extreme beliefs have been increasingly vocal about their beliefs as anti-intellectualism strengthens its roots in this country. Alt-right extremists have felt protected by the President’s beliefs. In Jamali Maddix’s docuseries Hate Thy Neighbor, a “national socialist” in the film remarked that he felt Trump had made him feel as though he could be more open about his anti-Semitic views.

Democracy is About Considering Other Viewpoints

Stuck in their own beliefs and belief systems, these white neo-nazis sport swastikas, burn Jewish books, and report that “there should be another genocide.” (“America’s Far White,” Hate Thy Neighbor. Viceland. January 23, 2017. Television.) If the national socialists showed in Jamali Maddix’s docuseries had considered a different viewpoint or wanted to openly learn about other perspectives, their beliefs would certainly have changed at least a little. When Maddix asks a father of two white children if he would have loved his children if he had had them with his previous half-Indian wife, a woman he had loved before he became invested in “white nationalism,” this is clear. “I’m not speechless over that… I’m just trying to digest it,” he said. “I’d like to think no matter what color, what origin of a child, I’d have their back.” (“America’s Far White,” Hate Thy Neighbor. Viceland. January 23, 2017. Television.)

Stop For A Moment

Adolf Hitles is white supremacist's hero

Hitler is white supremacist’s hero

A racist, xenophobic white nationalist who salutes Hitler every day had actually considered for a moment what Maddix was asking, subsequently changing his thought process slightly. By talking to another person with a different viewpoint, he let himself think openly enough to perceive something in a different way than he had before — through a lens of love, rather than hatred.

Political Intellectualism

So, what is intellectualism? Being open to learn and think in a different way; being more empathetic to other people’s situations and lives; considering ideas outside your realms.

Regression Is A Part of Progression

Over the past few years, it may have seemed as though America is regressing more than we are progressing. However, I don’t think I believe this. Instead, I believe in what President Obama said in a speech a few years ago: sometimes things progress a lot and then go back a little just before progressing a lot more. The regression we see today is necessary for growth, and while it is clear that we have had a spike in anti-intellectualism these past few years, there has always been a strain of anti-intellectualism throughout America’s history. Fake news and the rejection of both facts and opinions against our own viewpoints have always been here. It is only 2016 that brought it to the surface.

COMMENT and OPINION: It Was NOT A Crosshairs

The image next to Amy Berman Jackson's head looks more like a Wiccan symbol

The image next to Amy Berman Jackson’s head looks more like a Wiccan symbol

I saw Roger Stone was slammed by federal judge Amy Jackson today. Stone now is under a very restrictive gag order in regards to his criminal case. I saw, like the rest of the world the text and the photo Stone posted. Totally inappropriate and as usual, pushing the envelope. His post referred to the Mueller probe as a “deep state” war against president Donald J. Trump. Roger Stone obviously relishes the razor’s edge. However with that said, I am getting really f-ing sick of people in the media referring to the images behind and beside judge Amy Berman Jackson’s head in the Instagram image sent by Roger Stone as a “crosshairs”.

For starters the positioning of the “crosshairs” would mean the shooter would miss; but mostly because it is a Wiccan symbol [see graph: top right]. I am not speaking to the Stone case or to Stone himself or his motives, he probably thought it was a cross-hairs and was too ignorant to know the difference but the fact is that it is not. Context matters and while cross-hairs could be construed as a threat a symbol that are not cross-hairs, even if they look like them, set well aside from a potential target is not threatening in any way. CNN wants it to be a threat so they are acting like it is. Just had to say it. T.K. McNeil 2/21/19