Cory Booker: A Candidate Close-Up

Cory Booker: A Candidate Close-Up

by Amaya Oswald and D.S. Mitchell

Introduction to Cory Booker

Senator Cory Booker waves to crowd during a polical rally

Senator Cory Booker waves to crowd during a political rally

As of February 1st, 2019, Cory Booker is officially running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. As of March 20, 2019, he now makes up one of sixteen Democrats running. And there are at least 2-3 other hopefuls still on the sidelines, including former Vice President, Joe Biden.

Middle Class Cory

Cory Anthony Booker was born in 1969, in Washington, D.C. His parents were among the first black executives hired at IBM. Cory grew up in a strong middle class home in Harrington Park, New Jersey. His family was religious. It is easy to imagine. Sometimes when he is giving a stump speech you can almost feel the revival coming on. All we need is a little foot stomping to make it happen.

Education

Booker earned both his bachelor's and his master's degrees at Stanford

Booker earned both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees at Stanford.

Cory Booker seems to be a bit of an overachiever in my eyes.  Cory was a damn good student and a damn good athlete. He was good enough in football to be named to the 1986 USA Today ALL-USA High School Team.  He continued to play football and was a tight end for Stanford. Even in this more competitive environment Cory was named to the PAC-10 Academic Team. Additionally he found time to be elected class president, at least once.  He earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Sociology. He got a Rhodes Scholar appointment and received an Honors Degree in U.S. History. And he topped all that off with a Juris Doctorate in 1997, from Yale Law School. WOW. That deserves some respect.

Stunt Man

Cory Booker went on a 10 day hunger strike to draw attention to Newark's drug issues

Cory Booker went on 10 day hunger strike to draw attention to Newark’s drug issues.

All wrapped up in top student, top athlete, top candidate there is a bit of a stunt man and carnival barker. Cory Booker in 1998 won a seat on the Newark, N.J. Municipal Council.  While he was councilman he went on a 10 day hunger strike and set up a tent in a crime infested neighborhood to highlight the city’s drug problem .

Mayor of Newark

He tried for the mayor position in 2002, but lost. He tried again in 2006 and won becoming the 36th Mayor in Newark’s history. While Mayor, Booker would often go out with ‘first responders’ to answer calls. On one occasion he ran into a burning building and brought out a woman suffering from smoke inhalation. On another occasion he responded to a senior citizen’s home and proceeded to shovel the man’s sidewalk.  And who could forget when the mayor discovered a freezing dog. A hands-on activist, Booker literally protested Newark’s urban development plan. Are these actions based on genuine human concern, or just attention seeking behavior? I imagine, at least a little of both.

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Serial Killer Saudi Prince: The Death of Jamal Khashoggi

"His

Serial Killer Saudi Prince: The Death of Jamal Khashoggi

By Michael Leonard Douglas and D.S. Mitchell

Who was He?

Khashoggi was a prominent reporter and appeared on many western news programs.

Khashoggi was a prominent reporter and appeared on many western news programs.

Probably one of the most talked about stories of 2018 was that of  Jamal Khashoggi. His story is one tragedy that no one saw coming. At the age of 59, Jamal Khashoggi was a well-known Washington Post journalist. His career spanned more than 35 years, back to the 1980’s.

Early Years

Shadowy arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi was Jamal's uncle

Shadowy arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi was Jamal’s uncle.

Jamal Khashoggi was born on 10/13/1958 in Medina, Saudi Arabia. He was born to a well-connected Saudi family. Jamal was the nephew of notorious Iran-Contra arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi who had an estimated wealth in 1984 of over $4B US. His first cousin, Dodi Fayed made headlines in 1997 when he was romantically linked to Princess Diana. Fayed and Diana were both killed in a car accident in Paris that same year. Jamal Khashoggi’s grandfather had been the personal physician to King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Education 

Khashoggi came to Indiana State for his higher education

Khashoggi came to Indiana State for his higher education.

Khashoggi attended elementary and high school in Saudi Arabia. He came to the United States for his college education and went to Indiana State University, graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He married his first wife while in college and they later would have four children. Two of the children are American citizens.

Attitudes Change

Jamal Khashoggi smiles for the camera

Jamal Khashoggi smiles for the camera

Khashoggi had once been sympathetic to Islamist movements. He had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  He said when asked, “Yes, I joined the MB when I was at University like everyone else.” He described it as “an exercise of democracy in the Muslim world”. In fact, his work was first noticed internationally when he wrote multiple articles on  Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

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The Eternity of Now: Beto 20XX

Beto O'Rourke in another nameless Pueblo in the heart of Texas

Beto O’Rourke in another nameless Pueblo in the heart of Texas. Will he run? Won’t he?

COMMENT:

The Eternity of Now: Beto 20xx

By Ross Turner

The Eternity of Now: Beto 20xx

beto climbs aboard his skateboard and hits the parking lot for a night ride.

Beto climbs aboard his skateboard and hits the parking lot for a night ride.

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Beto O’Rourke’s commitment to eventually make a decision about whether to run for President.  The three-time House Representative has been touring through the Southwest like a tumbleweed and has displayed an equally impressive sense of direction.  Will he run?  Won’t he?  Only one man knows.  He has yet to be found.

Political  Rock Star

Today, the winds of chance have carried the political rock star to another dusty, nameless pueblo in the heart of Texas.  Arriving on his unicycle with a small but zealous flock of supporters and reporters, O’Rourke stopped to speak with Calamity Politics.

O’Rourke Stops to Comment

"Beto is right for the country in this moment," said a supporter.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” Beto said.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” remarked O’Rourke, fidgeting with a lightly-nibbled corn dog gifted by the local ranchers. “It’s a big decision.  A lot of other candidates have declared, but I have to do what’s right for the country and my family,” he said, accidentally dropping the corn dog and watching it roll under the wheel of a passing horse carriage. “Well, (laughs), that can happen too,” mused the candidate-candidate.

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Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu was a Captain in the elite commando group, Sayeret Matkal.

Benjamin Netanyahu was a Captain in the elite commando group Sayeret Matkal.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

By Michael Leonard Douglas and D.S. Mitchell

History Books

Benjamin Netanyahu has presented himself as the smartest and strongest leader in Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu sees himself as Israel’s best great hope.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s has dreams of going down in the history books as a brilliant, charismatic and heroic leader, shaped by a lifetime of war and domestic conflict. In fact, many in Israel and the United States don’t remember anyone but Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister.

Arrogance and Corruption

But, sadly, like so many other men of prominence Benjamin Netanyahu has succumbed to arrogance, corruption and greed.  Familiar human  failings. None the less sad for a man who has dominated the Israeli military-political sphere for multiple decades. For years, Netanyahu has portrayed himself as the single person who is smart enough, and strong enough to keep Israel safe.

Threats of Indictment

Netanyahu is a shrewd and wily politician

Netanyahu is a shrewd and wily politician facing indictment.

Currently Benjamin Netanyahu is facing possible indictment for money laundering, fraud, bribery, and breach of trust in three separate ongoing criminal cases. This is only the most recent of several attempts to indict Netanyahu for political corruption. The first threats at indictment and trial occurred in 1993 and again in 1997 without action.

Israeli Witch hunt

Now in 2019 on the eve of another election the Israeli Attorney General is threatening Netanyahu once again with indictment and potential incarceration. Netanyahu is a shrewd and experienced politician who has weathered numerous scandals.  He claims he is the victim of a “witch hunt” concocted by his political opponents.

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OPINION: Fear To Criticize Israel

Separating the country of Israel from Judaism must be done

Separating the country of Israel from Judaism is important if we expect meaningful conversations

OPINION: Fear To Criticize Israel

By David Shadrick and D.S. Mitchell

Lawrence Tribe said in a 3/10/19 tweet: “I’m Jewish. So were my parents. My cousins were born and live in Israel. But every fiber of my being rejects Netanyahu’s ugly embrace of second-class status for non-Jewish citizens, including Palestinians. MY people do not believe in oppressing or dispossessing others. Period.”

The Furor

Ilhan Omar has become a lightening rod for political debate

Ilhan Omar has become a lightening rod for political debate

I’m writing this post in response to the current furor around recent remarks made by Representative Ilhan Omar.  I read her remarks.  Omar’s remarks were clearly directed at U. S. Congresspersons who rubber stamp votes in favor of Israel.  All the power of the right-wing political machine are labeling Omar’s comments as  anti-semitic. In addition to her recent tweets, the moral righteousness of the Republican party is attacking previous videos where she pointedly asked similar questions.

Two Sides Of Their Mouths

I am amazed that Republican has the gall to call out anyone as racist or bigotted.

I am still amazed that Republican alt-right has the gall to call out anyone for racist comments.

With all the anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and anti-POC rhetoric coming from the right, I was amazed to see the uproar from the Republicans.  Seriously, I mean seriously. I wonder how anyone from that side dares even open their mouths? Who are these hypocrites that now raise up on their hind legs and call for a fellow congressperson’s head and her ouster from the House?  Trump is already peppering his speech and tweets with attacks against Omar and the Democrats as “Jew haters.” Remember, this is the same guy who identified the Charlottesville Jew haters who rallied with torches “really fine people.”

Don’t Like To Hear It 

Israeli PM Netanyahu has perpetrated human rights violations

Israeli PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Israel under “Bibi” Netanyahu is no place for the non-Jew. So, upfront the United States is in support of an oppressive regime dehumanizing and disenfranchising the Palestinians on the West Bank and participating in an illegal land grab. The United States does a great deal of business with Israel and have been the spine of Israel for decades. It is the unwavering support of the United States, that allows Israel to wear big-boy pants and swagger around the Middle East.

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“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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