OPINION: America, Time To Wake UP

OPINION: America, Time To Wake Up

The U.S. claims it is more entitled to greatness than other nations.

OPINION: America, Time To Wake Up

By I.B. Freely and D. S. Mitchell

Myths

A recent crock of bullshit that has been pedaled is that the U.S. joined the Allies in WWII because of the holocaust. America entering WWII had nothing to do with the holocaust. Almost no one knew what was going on at the time, including several levels of the German government itself.  The only reason America joined, two years after the war started, I might add, was because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The American Imagination

The vast majority of fighting by American personnel was in the South Pacific in its war against Japan.  Of the 16 million men and women who served in the U. S. military during WWII, only 2 million went to Europe. For some peculiar reason the war against the Nazis in their snazzy uniforms has taken on a supersized place in the American self-image. I will remind folks it would have been hard to kill Hitler from Guam. Not that it matters much.

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

*Celebrating Black History Month

**At the close of Black History Month let’s take a look at ourselves and our country. DSM/Calamity**

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

By Wes & Anna Hessel

 

A Black Mark Not On Our History

As Black History Month comes to a close, we must actively insure that the true history of Black Americans is told. All of it. The dark and the glorious. How this story ends will be a predictor of how our nation embraces our black brothers and moves forward.  We all recall as children eating peanut butter spread on crackers as we learned about George Washington Carver, but no other significant Black history was ever taught, at least any school I ever attended. African-American history remains mostly hidden and not taught in schools.

Inventors and Heroes

It is not a significant part of any school curriculums and it should be.  An accurate depiction of the history and culture of African-Americans must become part of American history classes.  Teaching a truthful history lends respect to those activities could over a generation change core attitudes. The history of blacks in America is our history, some dark and tragic, some brilliant and glorious. It is time we as a country accept that not all history worth being written down and taught was that of  white men.   The poem that became the lyrics of our National Anthem was written by an attorney who had little or no respect for Black people.   We now must educate about the atrocities of slavery and the important roles Blacks have played and continue to play in our history and our future.

Nothing New

Various peoples of Africa were brought to the “New World” as slaves, bought, sold, and treated like the property they were considered to be, not the persons of rich culture and tradition they had been.  The “first” African slaves brought to what is now the United States is typically thought to be a load of captives from what is now Angola, sold to Jamestown Governor George Yeardley and Abraham Piersey, the colony’s trade head, for food, near the end of August 1619.

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Doug Emhoff A First Class Second Gentleman

**Calamity Politics thought we should tell the real life story of Doug Emhoff and VP Kamala Harris for Valentine’s Day.

The new VP and her Second Gentleman have a great love story

Doug Emhoff:

Our First Second Gentleman is First Class

By Anna Hessel

 Second to None

The United States of America has its first ever Second Gentleman. Apparently that is the official title of the spouse of the first female Vice President, the fabulous Kamala Harris. Douglas Craig Emhoff is an accomplished entertainment attorney in his own right. Another ground breaker, Doug happens to be the first Jewish spouse of an American VP.  Mr. Emhoff has stepped into his new defining role with ease, grace, and enthusiasm.  His dignified and quiet demeanor, enthusiastic support of his wife, distinguished good looks, and resplendent normalcy make him the ideal individual to become the first Second Gentleman.

Lawful Beginnings

Born in New York on October 13th, 1964. The 56-year-old Emhoff married Kamala Devi Harris in 2014, Their birthdays are only a week apart.  He spent his high school days at Agoura and Cedar Ridge. He attended the University of Southern California and California State University – Northridge.  He continued his education and graduated from USC Gould School of Law.

A Career of His Own

Doug has enjoyed a successful legal career as a partner and litigator with the law firm of DLA Piper, working from their District of Columbia and state of California locations. He specializes in intellectual property and entertainment law.   As an attorney, Mr. Emhoff’s achievements include defending a former well-known Olympic and NFL athlete in a civil suit instigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  He also represented those holding the rights to a well-recognized character of animation in trademark and copyright infringement.

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OPINION: Propaganda and Intentions

OPINION: Propaganda and Intentions

propaganda is misused by governments to effect people's opinion and actions

OPINION: Propaganda and Intentions

By Trevor K. McNeil

As bad as they seem?

Meanings can be tricky. Some words taking on cultural coloring, in no way reflecting the actual meaning. One of the main examples is the notion of stereotypes. Generally, a neutral term for observable trends it has come to be used interchangeably with prejudice or racism, only one of which is actually bad. It might seem strange because of how it is now used, but prejudice isn’t inherently negative. All it really means, going to the Latin root, is to pre-judge. Pre-judging something negatively is what people now mean when they used the term. Completely ignoring the fact that it is just as possible to pre-judge someone or something positively.

And Now To Politics

The way this all relates to politics, aside from the fact that language is generally how people understand the world, and very much informs our world-view, is that there is a word in the political arena that has been both misused and misunderstood almost from its inception. Propaganda, like post-modernism, is probably not what you think. Used by the political set, in one way or another, going back to Ancient Greece, propaganda is the use of information mediums to advance a particular political agenda or world-view. This can be done in a particularly bias or intentionally misinforming way, as seen in China and  Russia, but such is not an inherent element. A bug rather than a feature, one might say.

Misuse and Lies

It is just such misuses and lies, particularly perpetrated by the Russians in the form of agitprop, that has led to the sullied reputation propaganda now has. In reality, everything from pamphlets for political candidates, to campaign ads, as well as certain types of billboards, books and even songs, plays and movies, count as propaganda.

Burn It Down

The main thing that determines whether something is propaganda comes down to the intention of the creator. Whether said propaganda is considered good or bad, is almost entirely left to one’s own distinction. A notorious case of conflict in meaning came with the film V For Vendetta. Based in the graphic novel of the same name by British author Alan Moore, the film set off a minor fire-storm both the left and the right saying it was hate-filled propaganda against their own side. Which is ironic, because the ethos of the original book, somewhat lost in the film, is apolitical. The work is still propaganda but of a much different sort. Rather than advancing a particular political ideal, it largely transcends politics, instead going into the realms of moral philosophy. The basic message of both the book and the film is one of autonomy.

Bringing It Down To Earth

Seeing governments as little more as methods to organize. It is individuals who are truly important. A sentiment most clearly shown in the line: “people shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” The government in both the book and the film is presented as fascist, but the general idea is that any government, of any description that gets above its station needs to be brought back down to earth.

In The Mirror Darkly

A case in which intention was presumed, came with the hit series Black Mirror. Premiering on British television in 2011 many, critics and viewers alike, presumed creator Charlie Brooker, known for his style of ‘satirical pessimism’ was an ardent Luddite. Assuming the show’s damning take on information technology to be a Boomer raging against the technology they don’t understand. Never mind that Brooker was 40 during the first season. There was an idea behind the darkness to be sure but one far from what was assumed. Brooker has gone on record saying he has no problem with technology.

Black Mirror

The horror elements in Black Mirror derive entirely from human causes. Basically people using what could be elevating technology to ruin their lives. The title is indicative of this. Brooker noticed that if you turn of a smartphone or tablet the screen becomes reflective, creating a black mirror. A darkened reflection of one’s true self. So, while there are certainly ideas and world-views at play in Black Mirror, they are so subtly present that most people missed it. Making it at most failed propaganda, rather than the anti-technology screed most assumed. Putting a different spin on the show and the incorrect use of the idea of propaganda itself.

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2018/10/29/on-line-bullying/

OPINION: First Ladies of Style

OPINION: First Ladies Of Style

The First Lady is a style inspiration in the United States and around the world.

 

*Anna Hessel loves fashion. Anna wanted to write about our incredible array of fashionable and not so fashionable First Ladies. Her first article for the new year focuses on this cavalcade of stylish women. The incoming Biden-Harris administration is going to make history. The first woman Vice President Kamala Harris is an empowering image of the most diverse presidential administration in history.  2021 is going to be in part about breaking the glass ceiling. Go Team Biden-Harris. Enjoy. DSM

 

First Ladies of Style

By Anna Hessel

First in Style

For centuries, American women have looked to our presidents’ wives for style inspiration.  Of course, now we also have a female VP, Kamala Harris, with a unique look all of her own.  Dolley Payne Todd Madison is considered to be the first of the First Ladies, even though Martha Washington and Abigail Adams preceded her – they were then just called, “the President’s wife”.  She served as a hostess for Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, along with his daughter Martha.  Jefferson’s wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson passed away before he took office.  She is said to have been physically weakened by the bodily strain of numerous pregnancies.  Mr. Jefferson, at his wife’s request, never remarried.  Dolley Madison was an enormous help to him during his presidency.

Dolley In

She easily stepped into the First Lady role when her husband James Madison was elected president, serving from 1809 to 1817.  Dolley, a former Quaker, was thrilled to finally be able to wear high fashion attire.  Her inaugural gown of buff velvet worn with pearl bracelets was loved by the press of the time, securing her place in fashion history.  Mrs. Madison had a penchant for turbans and French style.  She was known for always carrying a book and having a colorful tropical bird as a beloved pet.  Dolley defined so many of the roles of the First Lady and White House conventions, including the State Dinner and the Easter Egg hunt.  A blue-eyed beauty, she has also been credited with introducing ice cream to the ‘President’s Mansion.’

Lincoln Togs

Although most historical records refer to her as Mary Todd Lincoln, she did not use her maiden name “Todd” after she married Abraham.  Rumor has it the Lincoln’s wedding cake was still warm when they cut it.  At 5’ 2”, Mrs. Lincoln was a petite powerhouse of style, preferring to wear flowers on her clothing and in her hair.  She was said to have once forced a former beau to wear a circle of flowers that she was fashioning upon his head for a walk around the square.  Mary was a stunningly beautiful and genteel First Lady from 1861-1865. She however was frequently criticized for buying and wearing extravagantly expensive ball gowns during the Civil War.

Taft And Teddy

From March 4th, 1909, to March 4th, 1913, Hellen Herron Taft served as First Lady.  Educated at the University of Cincinnati, Mrs. Taft stylishly wore tall floral brimmed hats, elegant gowns with frothy and billowing wraps, and even carried a fan.  She was followed by the first Mrs. Roosevelt, Edith, the second wife of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, for whom “Teddy bears” were named.  The adorable bears  were dubbed by a Brooklyn candy shop owner, with Roosevelt’s permission, in honor of an incident during a famous hunting trip the President took in 1902.  “Teddy” had refused to shoot a bear that hunting guides had corralled and tied to a tree.  While Teddy was running about the backwoods in hunting duds Edith delighted the fashion conscious women of the country with large hats and lots of lace.

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Sam The Sham And The Pharoahs “Wooly Bully”

Sam the Sham And The Pharoahs

“Wooly Bully”

By D. S. Mitchell

Watching The Mailbox

My husband and I were married in 1965. My husband and I waited nervously every day expecting to find a draft notice in the mailbox at any time. He was in his junior year in college and did not want to disrupt his education. In those days there was a military draft and young men all over the country were being drafted. My husband and I were mentally preparing ourselves for that day we knew would come, and he would be sent to Vietnam. The United States had “advisors” in the country for at least a decade by that time. The Vietnam War was escalating in SE Asia, and the Cold War was growing hotter by the day.

Deployment

The rhetoric of the politicians described Vietnam as a domino piece and if it fell so would the rest of Asia. LBJ was president and he had been increasing the American presence in SE Asia dramatically. By the end of 1966 we had a young son, and my husband had finished his bachelor’s degree. After many long and tortured conversations he volunteered for the Air Force and deployed to the huge air base at Da Nang, South Vietnam. The year that he went to Vietnam “Wooly Bully” was screaming from every radio in America, and the American soldier took it to South Vietnam.

Protests Increase

There were major protests across the United States by 1968. LBJ sensing the country had turned against his conduct of the war announced he would not seek re-election. Richard Nixon said he had a plan to end the war. As Americans would see that was all a lie. And the anti-war protests grew. Seeing the people fill the streets outside the White House brought back those days vividly. Americans protest when American politics do not meet the needs and desires of the American people. When Trevor K. McNeil suggested “Wooly Bully” as the Calamity Politic’s Jukebox choice of the day, I said, “hell, yeah”. Here it comes, ready or not, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, in the long version of “Wooly Bully”.

Wooly Bully” by novelty rock ‘n’ roll band Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs came out in 1965. “Wooly Bully” was written by the band’s frontman, Domingo “Sam” Samudio.” It’s all about the beat.

Guilt By Association

Guilt By Association

By Trevor K. McNeil

A Little Bit of History Repeating

History is more of a cycle than a straight line. Those who have looked at it closely recognize trends have a tendency to repeat. Themes and progress ebb and flow in the oceans of time. Sadly, there are some areas where the water is darker than others. One such dark spot in the ocean of time is the anti-Chinese sentiment in North America.

An Ill Wind

One of the more damaging aspects of coronavirus, aside from the death toll, is the misinformation being spread about it. One being the Anti-Chinese sentiment, fostered and fueled by President Trump and his surrogates. Attempting to redirect blame from his colossal mismanagement of the pandemic response Trump continues his attacks on China. Our boneheaded and close to illiterate president regularly promotes the idea that the virus “came from China.”

Historical Reference

Did it spread through China first? Yes. Do we know for a fact that it is where the virus originated? Hell no. In fact, the Chinese point an angry finger to the United States military. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is new and poorly understood. The prevailing theory is that the original carrier was a bat. I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but bats fly. Over a fair bit of distance. As a historical reminder the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic did not originate in Spain, but rather Kansas and was spread by American soldiers.  Not that it matters anyway. The country of origin not nearly as important as how to stop the spread of SARS CoV-2 and cure the disease among those who contract it.

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Lessons From History

Lessons From History

By Trevor K. McNeil

The Blink Of An Eye

Appeals to history are a common theme, particularly is modern American politics. Which is quite odd, because post-Columbian America actually has so little history. 1776 might sound like a long time ago, but there are nations in the world, where 240 years is a mere hiccup in time. China has a written history that goes back over 3,000 years. The Scots and the Germans were having border conflicts 2,000 years ago with the Roman Empire.

Historical Revisionism

Trump’s pronoucements that America is having the greatest whatever “in the history of the world” is dubious at best, and laughable at worst. France literally has toilets that are older than post-contact America. References to America’s long and glorious past, only one of these arguably being the case, is a sterling example of historical revisionism in the service of nationalist propaganda.

Sweet Land of Liberty

America’s founding was all about liberty. A term that can, and has changed radically with time and context. From a historical perspective liberty referred specifically and exclusively to the nationalist movements of the time. The term “nationalist” itself referring to someone who supported a geographical region becoming an independent nation. Exemplified today by the Scottish National Party and Bloc Québécois. George Washington, went from rebel to president. *He was the last American leader to represent such “nationalism.” It was this context in which Patrick Henry uttered the immortal “give me liberty or give me death.” Later echoed by Mel Gibson paraphrasing 13th century Scottish separatist Sir William Wallace in Braveheart. Showing just how far back such sentiments really go.

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Bad Guys With Guns

Bad Guys With Guns

By Trevor K. McNeil

Gun Culture

America has a gun culture. More than any other country, Americans love their guns. The only other place in the democratic world that has as many guns in civilian hands is Northern Ireland. Most of those weapons, are imported from the United States. Intended for use by the Emerald Isle’s alphabet soup of republican and anti-republican paramilitaries. ‘Republican’ in this case meaning to join the Republic of Ireland. Not that having more guns than an urban war-zone puts most Americans off.

Rallying Anthem

America’s gun love is so strong it has led to a willful ignorance seen in few other cultures. John Lennon wrote a satirical song, directly mocking American gun culture titled Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Weirdly, that scoffing rebuke of the gun culture has been adopted by America’s horrifically powerful pro-gun lobby. An instance of sick irony rivaled only by the embracing of Tomorrow Belong’s To Me, a song from the famously anti-Nazi musical, Cabaret, by the American far-right as their rallying anthem.

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James Madison

James Madison is called the Father Of The Constitution

James Madison:

Father Of The Constitution

D. S. Mitchell

Fourth President of the United States

James Madison stood 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed only 100 pounds, as a grown man. He had a sickly childhood. Although medically undetermined, his condition bore a resemblance to epilepsy. Due to his soft speech he was often difficult to hear and understand. Despite his physical limitations, Madison became the fourth president of the United States. During his two term tenure he led America through the War of 1812. The War of 1812 was America’s first war as an independent nation. Madison’s actions during the war established the  fledgling country as a force on the world stage.

“Father” of the Constitution

James Madison co-wrote the U.S. Constitution. So many of Madison’s ideas were incorporated into the Constitution that he is credited as being the “father” of the Constitution. He was a man of great intellect and accomplishment. His  life was characterized by hard work and humility. He was born March 16, 1751. Madison like all men was not perfect. But, it is important to remember he dedicated the entirety of  his life to the service to his country and it’s people.

Ground Breaking Political Philosophy

Madison is recognized as the Father of the Constitution

The U. S. Constitution.

To muster support for the new Constitution, Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, co-wrote 85 letters to the public. These public letters explained the political philosophy underpinning the new Constitution. The papers in effect  defended each of its provisions. These public letters are known as “The Federalist Papers”. Without the “Federalist Papers” the Constitution would never have been ratified. Today, these documents are recognized as some of the most important declarations of political philosophy ever written.

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