EDITORIAL: Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

EDITORIAL: Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

The dark days of the Nazi control of Europe led to the death of millions.


Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

A Neighbor’s Nazi Experience

D. S. Mitchell

Martin Hartman is a tall slender man. His thinning white hair is brushed back, his jacket zipped against the winter wind, as he leans against his cane for support. There is a deep sadness in his eyes and a soberness in his demeanor. You can tell he has a story, and he wants to share it. Martin Hartman is my neighbor.

Martin was born in Holland in 1924. Prior to the Depression of the 1930’s, his family had owned a prosperous construction business. His family like many others had suffered during those economically depressed times, but by 1940, the 97-year-old said, the economy “had begun to turn around,” things were looking up he confirmed. The future looked promising.

There had been rumblings of war, but few took them seriously, after all WWI was a mere twenty two years in the past. No one could imagine the world once again plunging into conflict. The next few days would change his life and those of his friends and family forever. “I was 16. It was May 10, 1940. We heard bombing and saw planes. It was the German invasion, and the blitz was over in three days.” The squashing of Holland’s defenses was quick, but far from painless.

After the German invasion, they began barricading city blocks and then sweeping the apartments for young men to fill the military ranks due to troop loss. Hartman describes it, “Gradually Nazism crawled into Holland. Good people were killed, or sent to prison . . . Jews and ministers.”

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“No Whitewash At The White House”

By D. S. Mitchell

In 1973, Richard Nixon declared, “there can be no whitewash at the White House.” That was all theory, not reality.

Then And Now

After, protests and investigations, Nixon finally resigned, before impeachment.  I wonder if President Trump will resign?  It’s possible he will order military defense of his position.  Don’t laugh.  Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it can’t, or won’t.  Thank you Founding Fathers, for the Second Amendment.

In My Defense

In defense of myself, the information is coming so fast it is hard to make sense of it

In defense of myself, the information is coming in so fast it is hard to keep track of it all.

I started Calamity Politics because I wanted to express my  frustrations as to the direction I saw the country going.  It was necessary to keep from losing my frigging liberal mind. I try to focus on news and facts. I try to support my statements with at least two sources. With this post, there are so many sources I can’t count them all.  I’ve thrown all previous behaviors to the wind, and this post is from the gut, as the guys say.

I Had A Husband Once

I had a husband once.  He believed, “if you repeat a lie,  enough times, most people believe it.”  Or, at least believe, there must be something behind all the smoke. On the other hand, I am more of the, “You can fool all the people some of the time.  You can fool some of the people, part of the time,  but you can never fool all the people, all the time.”  I believe we are about to find out which theory holds water.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.  There’s a lot at stake here; 240 years of our constitutional democracy.

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Racism At The White House

Racism At The White House

D. S. Mitchell

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Those words were put to paper 240 plus years ago when the founding fathers joined together to form the United States of America, a democratic nation.

Several days ago, in Charlottesville, VA, torch carrying, chanting protesters identified variously as Neo-Nazi’s, KKK, skin heads or white supremacists, carrying AK47’s and baseball bats threatened the peacefulness of one of America’s most charming cities.

Twelve separate white supremacists groups from around the country gathered together in Charlottesville, VA last week in a stated effort to start a race war.  The particular event drawing them together last week end was the advertised removal of a commemorative statute sitting on public property celebrating Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The Confederacy consisted of eleven Southern states which seceded from the United States in 1860 in a failed effort to protect and sustain the disgusting custom of slavery.  The south an agrarian society was “perfectly” suited to slave ownership.

The remaining states, known as the Union rejected the secession effort and a four and a half year long war tore the country apart. Affects of the social schism, war atrocities and the failed reconstruction have left an ugly scar on the face of this nation.

As severe reaction to the Confederate loss of the Civil War, a practice of “separate but equal” was instituted throughout the south, effectively separating the races in all aspects of life, whether it was using the a public bathroom, eating at a lunch counter, drinking from a water fountain, or riding a city bus.

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Flag Day shootings

Flag Day Shootings

D. S. Mitchell

Calamity Politics is a political blog where we try to post relevant political news, tart commentary, engaging analysis, focusing on progressive opinions and speculations primarily written by me, Darlene Mitchell, a life long agitator and troublemaker.  Due to some recent health issues I have been silent for several days.  I’m doing fine, but I have a few tests and doctors visits in my near future.  So, enough on my medical condition, let’s get to what’s going on in the United States political news scene.

Flag Day, June 14, 2017, ironically is my son’s birthday and the birthday of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.  June 14, 2017 was also another day of gun violence in the United States.

In an upscale Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood, a well armed lone gunman, opened fire at a Republican baseball team practice, wounding 4. Three Capital Police officers, assigned to Majority House Whip Stephen Scalise returned gunfire, by witness accounts, saving multiple lives.  The legislators and aides had been practicing for the last several weeks for their up coming annual benefit game against the Democrats.

Within minutes, officers from local police departments converged on the site in response to numerous 911 calls.  The arriving officers immediately engaged the shooter. Two of  Scalise’s security detail, Capital Police officers, were wounded in the gunfire. Crystal Griner  was wounded in the ankle and another Capital Police officer, David Bailey was wounded in the leg. Bailey was treated and released, while Griner remained hospitalized for her injuries.

Representative Scalise was shot in the hip.  The rifle bullet tore through internal organs and left the Louisiana House Rep, near death.  Also critically wounded was Matt Mika. Mika was shot multiple times and was at last report on a respirator. Mika is a former congressional staffer, now working as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.

A staffer for Representative Roger Williams, Zachary Barth, was also shot and is hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.  Roger Williams (R. Tx) was also injured in the melee, spraining his ankle as he ran for cover from the hail of gunfire. Roger Williams, was treated and released on crutches.

The shooter has been identified as 66 year old, caucasian, James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.  Hodgkinson, a former home inspector, who had sold his business and allowed his Illinois contractor license to expire last November was identified by his Illinois driver’s license. His wife told reporters that “he sold everything and went to Washington, to work on taxes.”

Neighbors state that Hodgkinson has been visible in the Alexandria, Virginia up scale enclave for the last 4-5 months.  Hodgkinson, who was described as “quiet, but a bit gruff,” had been seen daily at the local YMCA, and appears to have been living in his white cargo van.

Hodgkinson’s motives are unclear. Multiple anti-Republican and anti-Trump postings were found on his Facebook page.  Posts condemning Clinton were also noted, however not to the extent of his rants and ravings on social media against the Republicans. Hodgkinson claimed to have worked for the Bernie Sander’s campaign, however Sander’s quickly came out denying any connection with the shooter after reviewing volunteer records from Illinois.

Additionally, the names of six Republican law makers along with their Capitol Hill office numbers were discovered among the shooter’s personal effects. And, at least one bystander reported the shooter asking, “Who’s playing, Republican or Democrat?”  Early information seems to support the theory that Hodgkinson may have been specifically targeting Republican office holders.

Statements from President Trump, and both Democratic and Republican leadership, stress a need for folks on both sides of the political argument to turn down the heated rhetoric and focus on getting the people’s work done.  It looked like a real Kumbayah moment for everybody. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor and spoke of a unified voice against violence.  I guess when gunshots are flying by your ear, it might be a ‘Pass Jesus in front of you moment’.

Grab hands; forget that we have had knives at each others throats for nearly a generation.  Since the time of the divisive, combative and disgraced former Speaker, Newt Gingrich, the tone has been hot and nasty. Very nasty.

Speaking of the divisive Mr. Gingrich he has been making the rounds of the cable news networks, working to gin up the right wing base with attacks against any and all “liberals,” “lefties,” and the “Democrats” specifically, because these groups are “inciting radical violence” against President Trump, and the GOP. Citing the Alexandria shooting on “liberals.”

The Republicans have sunk so low that a SuperPac promoting the Republican candidate for congress Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District is using attack ads against Democrat Jon Ossoff showing pictures of wounded Rep. Scalise being carried from the field alleging it to be a “liberal attack” against the Republican baseball team. Mind blowing.

Cynic that I am, I think any moderation in tone is a momentary thing.  It can’t and won’t be sustainable.  But, I’m willing to watch and comment along the way.

I must mention that firebrand musician Ted Nugent is calling for a cool down of the rhetoric. Thank you, Ted.

Lastly, I want to say that I am appalled at the second mass shooting on Flag Day, in San Francisco, where three people were killed and two wounded by a disgruntled UPS worker at a packaging center, where after shooting his co-workers, the gunmen turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.

At some point, we as a country need to decide if the killing of thousands of people in this country annually by gun violence is worth examining.


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Twitter And Me

Twitter And Me

D. S. Mitchell

I love Twitter. I hate Twitter. I love Twitter. I hate Twi….I know.  I sound a bit confused in my base emotions surrounding this global social sparring arena, and I am. 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”. There is something to be said about high adrenaline, at times, however it is usually like placing a pile of papers on a table and turning on a fan.  I forgot who said that, but I think it is applicable.

To all of the clear thinking, intelligent, brilliant folks that hope for a more tolerant and inclusive world, I love tossing tweets back and forth, and I love you all. So many caring and committed individuals wanting to do everything they can do, to advance the Progressive agenda.

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 chose to do that?  Hmmm. Good question.  Not all vicious attacks come from  paid Russian trolls, I have decided. Is it because the offender didn’t get any nookie last night, or did Mom yell at him,  did he get a bad grade, was he passed over for a promotion, did he have a fender bender?

Who, the Hell knows?  The angry emotions propelling those rapid little finger hits on the phone keys  subvert the medium itself, “I can’t see you. You can’t see me.  So, I will say something disgusting and revolting because there are no consequences for my actions”.  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.

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 that many of the folks in the cyber world are red faced, white knuckled, jaw grinding angry.

So, all I’m saying is that,  if someone is mad, they should be able to find enough self control, to re-channel that anger, turn it to energy and go run a couple 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, rather than attacking someone 5,000 miles away that you will never see.

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, be intelligent, and thoughtful in your comments.  People will listen.  People are ready for fresh and inspirational ideas and solutions.

Anyone can put a string of four letter words together, even me. But, I’m asking that we aim to be better than that.  We are all, in the end, just human beings trying to do the best we can in an uncertain world.

As such, we don’t always attain the level of goodness that we aspire to, but if there is no aspiration then there is no gain.  There  is no improvement or advancement.  If we are going to resort to base instincts, then I suggest we are still cavemen, but now we have technology as our club.

I listen to conservatives, all the time.   I don’t need to agree with them, but I try to listen until they begin attacking, or trying to spin their arguments BACK TWO DECADES to the actions of Bill Clinton’s scandal plagued presidency.

I find it truly offensive that someone who doesn’t even know me, resorts to calling me such vile names as, bi—, sl–, cu–, wh—, as—–.  I feel, that only people who really know me and have evidence to support those epithets, should be allowed to use them.  You know, what I mean.  Save those really nasty words for someone you know that can live up to them.

Twitter should be respected as a great social platform, where people can safely exchange ideas in a civilized manner. A good fight is one thing, but using an outhouse of vile, foul language to shut down the exchange of ideas is really inappropriate. I understand passion.  Passion comes from understanding your goals and developing a sensible plan to reach those goals.  As such, it is not achieved through angry vile rants to someone that has volunteered an opinion on a topic you oppose.

Some people are blaming the impulsive, out of control behavior displayed by the Trump White House, as the cause.  The theory is that “if Trump can do it, so can I” has taken over social media thinking, and on-street hostile behaviors.  I’m not sure I’m ready to jump on the back of that hypothesis.

I am however, ready to ask folks on social media to respect a couple of the basic original Twitter platform objectives of idea sharing and participation in live events, in a safe, albeit, abbreviated manner.  In my mind, it is almost like the old telegraph communications translated to cyber space.

I think sometimes 140 characters is too limiting, and maybe that fact leads to misunderstandings. I don’t know,  I just know that today I felt, I needed more than those 140 characters to express my feelings on this issue.

So, follow me on Twitter, and talk nice.

Calamity Politics prides itself in addressing relevant topics and hopefully opening a dialog for political discussion. The commentary usually consists of a daily, mildly caustic post.  The viewpoint is definitely progressive in nature.  Calamity Politics focuses primarily on the United States political scene.

Remember, if you are against the Republican agenda, or just against the Trump regime; step up and take action.  The action does not need to be earthshaking, but it needs to be done consistently. Write a letter, join a protest march, put a “resist” bumper sticker on your car, call the White House, run for office. Take some action.  It is the collection of many actions that brings success to a movement.


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Trump Wants to Keep Ethic Waivers Secret

Trump Wants To Keep Ethic Waivers Secret

D. S. Mitchell

Calamity Politics, a West Coast based progressive political blog, attempts to shine a light into the murky world of U.S. political dog fighting

I have been silent for a day or two while I did some archive updates and computer housekeeping. I added lots of new pictures. If you haven’t taken a look at the site for a while, I welcome you back and hope you take a few minutes to look at some of the old stories. As I was adding pictures I was surprised to note that most of the same issues that were shocking me six months ago are still shocking me, today.

Now that the house cleaning is complete I am back. My storytelling fingers have been itching to get back to covering the hot button current events of our day. This White House has dropped a shield around itself. There is not even a pretense of transparency. Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers have been hired by the Trump administration. In late January President Trump signed an executive order that “barred lobbyists and lawyers” hired as political appointees from participating in “particular” policy issues that involved former clients for two years. Trump of course, like previous presidents, reserved the right to “issue a waiver” to anyone he wanted to hire. This action is not new. What is new is that the Trump White House has been steadfastly refusing to release evidence of any such waivers, or acknowledgement of who waivers were granted to, or disclosure of any accompanying documents.

    1. Walter M. Shaub Jr., head of the Office Of Government Ethics has asked every federal agency for copies of all waivers and accompanying documentation issued by Trump be returned to his office no later than June 1, 2017. In response the White House challenged Shaub’s “legal authority” to demand such information. Mick Mulvaney, chief of the Office of Management and Budget requested more time to review “the scope of OGE authorities”, without specifying what those questions were.

In a statement provided to the NY Times, Mulvaney switched tactics, and accused Shaub of “playing politics” and attacked the “expansive scope and breathless timetable, demanded that we seek further guidance”. The reason for the “expansive” scope is because Trump has hired innumerable former lobbyists and industry lawyers for the administration, many of whom the administration has attempted to conceal from public scrutiny. For every minute the waivers are kept secret the Trump appointees are able to potentially advance their own financial interests.

A week after attempting to further stonewall the requests by the OGE, the White House announced it will comply with the OGE request and will publicly disclose all waivers that the White House has quietly given out since January that allow these former lobbyists to work in the administration. The White House position was drawing heavy fire from ethics watchdogs. These waivers are given on a case-by-case basis, and in effect, allow appointees to work on policies that may overlap with issues they worked on with former employers.

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Ethics, No Worries

Ethics, No Worries

D. S. Mitchell

Dog Ownership

It was 10:00 in the morning before the rain stopped.  My dog, Lily, had become quite irritated with me by this time. I had refused to endure a downpour to take her for her ritual 7:30 am walk and instead had pushed her butt out the door to do her business in the yard.  These are the kind of things that start slowly, and before you know it, the dog is in charge. I should probably resume reruns of The Dog Whisperer.

Just The Headlines

Political news and world news are sharing a lot of media space today.  Please, humor me dear reader, as I write a couple of paragraphs for the Calamity Politics blog site for each breaking story, rather than focus on a specific topic of political investigation and analysis.

1.) Bill O’Reilly: Settlements payments totaling $13,000,000 paid over a decade were exposed this week. Those payments, disguised with some bookkeeping trickery kept the payments secret from the public, the FCC and Fox shareholders. The revelation cost Bill O’Reilly his job. A Murdock spokesman announced that Bill O’Reilly had been fired.

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