Non ducor duco…

The death of DMX wasn’t caused by an inability to deliver his words, his message. He was, fortunately, able to have the opportunity to do that and the world is better for it. But, too many young rappers never get that opportunity in the music industry.

Tendencies to fall prey to the toxic masculinity of proving how tough they are catches them in a spider’s web of guns, drugs, violence and sometimes crime and murder. Sometimes, it’s their own murder.

The world of Hip Hop and Rap has given us a plethora of artistic wonders but what we actually get to hear and what actually is pushed by the industry is only a fraction, a tiny fraction of a world of truly gifted poets and auteurs, who aren’t seen as marketable by an industry only concerned with scraping dollar-sized slices of their flesh into their coffers but if you’re an artist that has climbed that mountain and achieved success, you have my respect and I congratulate you for that.

However…

The list of Hip Hop artists slain because they were caught up in the bullshit of fame, fortune and machismo is miles long. Since 1987, that we know of, only 17 were aged 30 or above. From Tupac to Pop Smoke to Nipsey Hussle, the murder game amongst Hip Hop and Rap stars is a young person’s mouse trap. In fact, in 2015, the website The Conversation did a study that showed 51.5% of American Hip Hop musicians’ deaths are from homicide. [1]

NameDate of deathAge at deathCause of death
Scott La RockAugust 27, 198725Shot and killed
Paul CJuly 17, 198924Shot and killed
D-Boy RodriguezOctober 6, 199022Shot and killed
CharizmaDecember 16, 199320Shot and killed
StretchNovember 30, 199527Shot and killed
SeagramJuly 31, 199626Shot and killed
Tupac ShakurSeptember 13, 199625Shot and killed
Yaki KadafiNovember 10, 199619Shot and killed
The Notorious B.I.G.March 9, 199724Shot and killed
Fat PatFebruary 3, 199827Shot and killed
Big LFebruary 15, 199924Shot and killed
Freaky TahMarch 28, 199927Shot and killed
BugzMay 21, 199921Shot and run over
DJ Uncle AlSeptember 10, 200132Shot and killed
Jam Master JayOctober 30, 200237Shot and killed
SabotageJanuary 24, 200329Shot and killed
CamoflaugeMay 19, 200321Shot and killed
Half a MillOctober 24, 200330Shot and killed
Soulja SlimNovember 26, 200326Shot and killed
Mac DreNovember 1, 200434Shot and killed
Blade IcewoodApril 19, 200528Shot and killed
ProofApril 11, 200632Shot and killed
Big HawkMay 1, 200636Shot and killed
VL MikeApril 20, 200832Shot and killed
DollaMay 18, 200921Shot and killed
LeleJuly 1, 201023Shot and killed
Magnolia ShortyDecember 20, 201028Shot and killed
Bad News BrownFebruary 11, 201133Beaten and shot
Adán ZapataJune 1, 201221Shot and killed
Lil PhatJune 7, 201219Shot and killed
MC DalesteJuly 7, 201320Shot and killed
Pavlos FyssasSeptember 18, 201334Stabbed to death
DepzmanSeptember 21, 201318Stabbed to death
Doe BDecember 28, 201322Shot and killed
The JackaFebruary 2, 201537Shot and killed
FlabbaMarch 9, 201537Stabbed to death
Chinx DrugzMay 17, 201531Shot and killed
Bankroll FreshMarch 4, 201628Shot and killed
3-2November 10, 201644Shot and killed
XXXTentacionJune 18, 201820Shot and killed
Jimmy WopoJune 18, 201821Shot and killed
Smoke DawgJune 30, 201821Shot and killed
Young GreatnessOctober 29, 201834Shot and killed
FeisJanuary 1, 201932Shot and killed
Kevin FretJanuary 10, 201925Shot and killed
Nipsey HussleMarch 31, 201933Shot and killed
Pop SmokeFebruary 19, 202020Shot and killed
HueyJune 25, 202031Shot and killed
King VonNovember 6, 202026Shot and killed
Credit: Wikipedia

Now, I’m perfectly aware that gang violence, diss tracks, beef and murders aren’t going to just vanish but all of these artists are all equally talented and this list is just a very small sample size of lyricists that have been cut down in what, at its core, is the pursuit of expression, getting their message out to others and connecting with others who have experienced what they have experienced or to enlighten and educate the ones who have not.

Of course, there are individuals who just rhyme words and desire to make bank and garner millions of views and followers but fuck them, I’m not talking about them.

In and of itself, sex, drugs and violence in lyrical, spoken word or prose are fine. They’re forms of expression but when you introduce direction to those words, such as so-and-so is a bitch or I’m gonna put so-and-so in a coffin, that expression becomes a threat. This is targeting and targeting is okay too but it’s how you cultivate it. Saying “I hate Trump!” or “Fuck Trump!” is much, much different than attaching a violent act to it.

And…

Directional expression is also fine…again, when done in a vague, general way that still allows the writer to express their emotions but does not target an individual or group of individuals. Creative Writing is tricky sometimes but the majority of these artists put a deep amount of thought and effort and critical thinking into their works and sadly, one of the best ways, aside from social media, to fire those verbal bullets is through song and a song on YouTube or Spotify is going to go viral much faster and blow up much larger than a tweet or an Instagram diss.

But, what if there were an outlet, a way for these young writers to express themselves and have that message delivered to an audience, albeit a smaller audience than the music industry provides, not with censorship but with guidance, advice and a choice. A choice to take the lazy route, targeting someone with violent threats, or, the more intellectual route, finding a way to deliver those negative feelings in a manner that maintains their intensity but doesn’t lead to incitement and retaliation or…murder.

It can be done…and I want to do it. I want to at least try.

I want to start a business.

A publishing company.

I only used the music industry and Hip Hop as an example and stepping stone to a much larger idea. I want to sign as many young, aspiring artists, and, I’ll be honest up front, I want to sign young people who are in situations and environments that you hear about all too often these days. Poverty, hunger, a lack of employment access, substandard educational opportunities, an absence of mental healthcare, police harassment, violence, drugs, sex, teenage pregnancy and yes, crime.

The youth of our nation…the disenfranchised, the abandoned, the ignored, the used and abused. And it doesn’t matter what race, gender or genre either. I’m not interested in offering opportunities to young people with access to money or privilege either because, and, I’m not singling out any section of society but you know who you are and if you’re remotely wealthy and are a shade on the color spectrum that is treated far better than others, you have access. You have the ability. You already have opportunities.

I’m looking for young men and women that have none of those things. That have a voice that needs to be heard, that no one will listen to. That have no way to express themselves emotionally without fear. That have no direction or guidance, life skills or how to construct and further develop, to hone their creative and artistic abilities. I want to take their art, whether it be poetry, photography, painting, graffiti, I want to show them that there are multiple roads of expression and I want to put books of their words, their thoughts and their images in the hands of others.

I want to give them an opportunity to speak their minds, share their ups, down and experiences but most of all, I want to amplify their voices and existence. I want to, even if on a small scale, help change what is a bleak and hopeless outlook into possibility.

And with the right funding, the rewards are endless. From scholarships, an appropriate amount of money for their work, healthcare, educational, employment, childcare, help for their loved ones and other benefits and opportunities.

Opportunities for expression are a core concept but providing pathways to hope, self-sufficiency and a better way of life for these kids is the ultimate goal. To show them that an industry that makes a fortune off of their art, while they continue to suffer and die for it is not the only route from Point A to Point B. That dollar signs and designer clothes are just an interstate where velocity and youth are a deadly combination.

And for every artist out there that the “scene” deems irrelevant or a has-been. No. I want and need them too. To be mentors, role models, guides. To take these young people’s minds on the scenic pathways and avenues, so they can see life as it develops. To appreciate the moment, the details and to see the unseen. Not a blur of chemicals and excess.

It’s also about tangibility and reflection. Being able to physically hold a book full of your artwork and knowing that others out their are being inspired by it, that it is being appreciated and revered shows a person worth.

And that’s the penultimate goal; to show the disenfranchised youth of a repressive and oppressive society that they are worth it.

All the Corridors…

The human brain is a marvel biologically. We can dissect it, scan it, test it and even communicate with it but the one thing we cannot do is truly see past the surface of it. It’s this massive warehouse with no windows or exits. Much like a roach motel, things check in but, often, they never check out.

Inside this complex and paradoxical organ is an intricate and disorienting labyrinth of hallways and corridors, lined with identical doors. Doors that are bolted and locked, having no descriptive indications as to what is inside. The human psyche has the skeleton key to each and every door and most of the time, it takes some grand epiphany to realize that we can unlock any of them whenever we want, should we choose to but the psyche operates not as something that holds you hostage but rather as something that holds the contents of those rooms hostage from you.

Now, I’ve had psychiatrists, counselors, social workers and psychologists tell me of the necessity of unlocking all of those rooms and taking inventory but I’m not going to advise anyone reading this to do that. It’s not a good idea. Because, if you imagine a haunted house and behind every locked door could be a demon, ghost or ghoul, you wouldn’t just let them all out at once. Much like in Ghostbusters when that prick forced them to release all of the spirits they had trapped. Wasn’t a good idea…

Plenty of my locked rooms have things from my past locked inside for a reason. Like the deaths of beloved pets, friends and other horrid events like being raped by my ex-wife. I’m perfectly aware that those memories and events are locked away and it doesn’t mean I haven’t dealt with them or processed them at least a little over the years but they’re locked in there because I do not want them running loose in my conscious headspace. I know where they are and I know that they’re not able to cause a mutiny.

I also had the realization that, after unlocking one of those doors, that some things need to stay imprisoned. I know the details and remember the pain well enough that it still sometimes feels real. I just don’t need to have a chat with those particular demons. Some people might though and if you do, you have to be prepared to relive some things, to think about events that scarred you mentally, physically and/or both.

If you’re not ready, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest in a thong.

My goal, yes, is to help people, to be a pillar of hope and strength if they need one and I failed to realize that a graphicly detailed horror story doesn’t help people relate. Instead, the goriness of those details has a tendency to shut people down because, and I still believe this, we’re caring and compassionate creatures and we don’t want to know each minute, microscopic facet of an atrocity. Simply knowing it happened in a general sense is enough to engage a person to the point of being empathetic.

After all, the reason we watch and enjoy horror movies/novels is because once the credits roll, we know it’s over. It’s fictional and we can rationalize that away into conversational fodder and it’s really interesting to me how we can spend hours, whether it be a YouTube video, a podcast or a lengthy article actually talking and discussing movies that are fiction but we can’t seem to have a real, meaningful conversation about topics like racism, rape and religion without it breaking down into an argument or judgemental bitterness.

The one thing that bonds and connects us as sentient beings is communication of thoughts, feelings and ideas and somewhere along the dirt road of time, that became almost taboo. No society claiming to be enlightened and highly evolved can make such a claim when it grossly toxifies education, science, reading, expression and most of all…communication.

You see and hear it all the time in relationships and marriages. “We just stopped talking to one another.” or “We just grew apart.”

How??

No. You didn’t just stop talking to one another, someone, maybe both of you stopped listening and it all starts when you stop caring about what purse your girlfriend/wife bought or how much fun your boyfriend/husband had at the football game. Sure, it’s not something you’re interested in but it is to them. Ignoring them or dismissing their interests, no matter how boring is the start of disassociation. Pretty soon, you don’t care about their interests and soon after that, you don’t care what they say at all.

I’m not a marriage counselor. But, this is exactly how my former marriage began to fall apart. She stopped listening to the little things, then the big things and then she didn’t care what I said whatsoever and that built up a lot of resentment and hurt my feelings terribly because I no longer felt like my voice was important or that it mattered. It doesn’t take five seconds to listen and say “Cool!” or “I’m happy you had fun!”. It takes the same amount of energy to ask, unsolicited: “How are you feeling?”

If you aren’t happy or content being single, you won’t be happy in a relationship or marriage.

Happiness comes from within…

Days Came Where I Cried for Them…

His Mom is always going to want to know the truth but I’ve learned that knowing and not knowing are both equally but yet differently painful. There is no win-win or win-lose, just lose-lose. And she can’t be a complete idiot either. He has a reckless and violent criminal record. Deep down, she already knows the truth and denial and grief can be mindfucks.

This guy’s shit goes back years, 21 years, probably right around around the time he became a legal adult. His juvie record is more than likely a mile long too. It’s who he is. I don’t have the capacity anymore to sit around and try to connect the dots as to why they’re pieces of shit or why they’re fucked up in the head. Some people just are. There’s no fixing him. He’s not broken. He was either born this way or manufactured this way. He wasn’t normal, nice, kind, loving and law-abiding and then someone or something slammed into him and he came out walking with a limp. No, this is his normal. This is, from my experience, most likely a learned behavior or mindset. Liars lie, cheaters cheat and abusers abuse.

Alcohol seems to be a theme in his life but that’s his fire to put out and he chooses not to. There’s at least two, maybe three times he’s been sued for back child support and lost which means he ain’t paying for his kids. He doesn’t pay any infractions and civil penalties either and he buys alcohol for kids. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, cutting all of them off is an understatement. You need to amputate that entire part of your past and present because it only spells gangrenous and septic infection for your future.

It would break my heart to see her pay her dues, right her wrongs, rebuild her life for her and her child only to end up in a safe house out there or even worse, an obituary.

I’ve seen five of those obituaries. I’ll never be able to un-see or unread them either because I knew these women. I sat and talked with them, laughed with them and cried with them.

And then those days came where I cried for them.

I think about them every day. How they’re kids are doing. A few ended up in Human Services custody. I try to block out my anger at the system that absolutely failed them, that left them waiting in a cold office room to talk to an officer for so long they gave up and left, for the Detectives that didn’t think a referral for External Service was necessary when External Service Protection is what saved them once already!

Yeah! I’m the one that pissed in your precious fucking Yeezies, Darnell!!

And how would your second wife feel about you keeping all of that porn in your locker, by the way?? Buy a padlock, you lazy fucking scumbag.

I went to three of the funerals. Two women’s bodies were never even claimed. It should have given me some solace or peace of mind knowing that I was one of just a handful of people that gave a shit about them. That drove them miles and miles away from their homes, armed and ready to die for them, when the system that took an oath to refused…and to their families, we were the only ones that truly protected them.

88% of the women we help in this region are Black. You want to know how many of those Black women are actually taken seriously by the cops? By our firm’s accounting? About 8%. 7.83% to be precise.

Where I’m at, to the system, Black lives, they sure as shit don’t matter. Not like they do to me. I will always be an ally.

And as I finished that sentence, a text message, our On-Call. Another referral and it’s barely Sunday. Time to get dressed and put on my emotional armor and do it all over again…

Because it’s what we do…

Dunning-Kruger Effect…

Dunning-Kruger Effect


The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.

Understanding the Dunning-Kruger Effect
The concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect is based on a 1999 paper by Cornell University psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. The pair tested participants on their logic, grammar, and sense of humor, and found that those who performed in the bottom quartile rated their skills far above average. For example, those in the 12th percentile self-rated their expertise to be, on average, in the 62nd percentile. The researchers attributed the trend to a problem of metacognition—the ability to analyze one’s own thoughts or performance. “Those with limited knowledge in a domain suffer the ability to realize it,” they wrote.

What causes the Dunning-Kruger effect?
Confidence is so highly prized that many people would rather pretend to be smart or skilled than risk looking
inadequate and losing face. Even smart people can be affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect because having
intelligence isn’t the same thing as learning and developing a specific skill. Many individuals mistakenly
believe that their experience and skills in one particular area are transferable to another.

Why do people fail to recognize their own incompetence?
Many people would describe themselves as above average in intelligence, humor, and a variety of skills. They
can’t accurately judge their own competence, because they lack metacognition, or the ability to step back and
examine oneself objectively. In fact, those who are the least skilled are also the most likely to overestimate their abilities.

What is the double curse of the Dunning-Kruger effect?
The Dunning-Kruger effect results in what’s known as a “double curse:” Not only do people perform poorly, but they are not self-aware enough to judge themselves accurately—and are thus unlikely to learn and grow.

What is the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect?
If the Dunning-Kruger effect is being overconfident in one’s knowledge or performance, its polar opposite is imposter syndrome or the feeling that one is undeserving of success. People who have imposter syndrome are plagued by self-doubts and constantly feel like frauds who will be unmasked any second.

Who Is Impacted by the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
The Dunning-Kruger effect has been found in domains ranging from logical reasoning to emotional intelligence, financial knowledge, and firearm safety. And the effect isn’t spotted only among incompetent individuals; most people have weak points where the bias can take hold. It also applies to people with a seemingly solid knowledge base: Individuals rating as high as the 80th percentile for a skill have still been found to overestimate their ability to some degree.

This tendency may occur because gaining a small amount of knowledge in an area about which one was previously ignorant can make people feel as though they’re suddenly virtual experts. Only after continuing to explore a topic do they realize how extensive it is and how much they still have to master.

Why do people think they know more than they do?
One type of overconfidence, called overprecision, occurs when someone is exaggeratedly certain that their answers are correct. These individuals may seem highly competent and persuasive due to their apparent confidence. They are often driven by a desire for status and power and the need to appear smarter than the people around them.

Why do people overestimate their confidence?
Overestimation, another kind of overconfidence, refers to the discrepancy between someone’s skills and their perception of those skills. People who overestimate themselves frequently engage in wishful thinking with harmful consequences. If someone overestimates their capabilities, they may take dangerous risks and overextend themselves beyond their limits, like an athlete pushing themselves to the point of injury.

Why do some people believe they are better than others?
Anytime someone believes they are more skilled or knowledgeable than others, they are engaging in overplacement. This form of overconfidence can lead a person to take unnecessary risks (e.g., drive unsafely) because they believe they possess superior skills. Overplacement occurs most frequently in people with low abilities who lack the competence to judge their skill level accurately; it is associated with an egocentric perspective and narcissism.

How to Avoid the Dunning-Kruger Effect
To avoid falling prey to the Dunning-Kruger effect, people can honestly and routinely question their knowledge base and the conclusions they draw, rather than blindly accepting them. As David Dunning proposes, people can be their own devil’s advocates, by challenging themselves to probe how they might possibly be wrong.

Individuals could also escape the trap by seeking others whose expertise can help cover their own blind spots, such as turning to a colleague or friend for advice or constructive criticism. Continuing to study a specific subject will also bring one’s capacity into a clearer focus.

Do I have the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
Ask yourself: Have you ever heard similar criticisms from different people in your life and ignored or discounted them? You may have experienced the Dunning-Kruger effect. Take a look at those areas in your life where you feel 100 percent confident. Acknowledge the possibility that you might not always be right, and you might need to acquire knowledge or practice more.

How do you fix the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
Question what you know and pay attention to those who have different viewpoints. Seek feedback from people you can trust who you know are highly skilled in your area of interest. Be open to constructive criticism and resist the impulse to become defensive. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t. Make it a priority to continue learning and growing.

Do smart people underestimate themselves?
Yes. Paradoxically, for many people, the more domain expertise they acquire,  the less confidence they have. Experts have greater metacognition on their particular subject (they know what they don’t know, so to speak), and are able to see complexities that a person with only a little knowledge in that area would overlook. As a result, they tend to be more aware of any knowledge gaps or weaknesses they may have.

1/12/2021
Dunning-Kruger Effect | Psychology Today
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dunning-kruger-effect

Yes, Donald. You’re Very Special. But We Hate you. Now Go Away!

And President Trump had stern words for the mob: “We love you. You’re very special. Go home.”

But you must understand: They were upset. But upset about what??

How couldn’t they be? Trump’s long-ago boast that “when you’re a star, they let you do it” has dangled over everything that followed. His presidency has been a harrowing survey of the things that are possible if nobody stops you. The norms he eroded, from his unreleased tax returns to his insults to his firings by tweet, his phone calls, his impeachable offenses — it is amazing, after all, what you can do, if no one bothers to get in your way. And now, here was democracy, standing athwart the will of Trump and his people.

So when Trump urged these disciples to march on Congress, they did.

This story is not unrelated to the American dream: a story about who deserves things simply by virtue of who they are, and who doesn’t; who is instantly presumed to be a true countryman, who will be told to go back to a place they never came from. It is a story about who gets to go where, who gets to exist safely in public, and who is only there on sufferance. It is a story about who gets to be real.

It is not a surprise that Trump has thrilled white nationalists and white supremacists, Proud Boys and xenophobes and misogynists, those to whom being more real than others is so important. It is not a surprise that after Charlottesville, Trump was keen to see “very fine people” on both sides. He has always known whom he was addressing. “You’re strong, you’re smarter … you’re the real people,” he told his crowd Wednesday. “You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down this nation.”

He has been dividing the country into us and them for as long as he has been in public. For them, a full-page ad calling for the death penalty. For us — go ahead and grab them by the pussy. His pitch has always been that some things belong to you not because you have earned them but because you did not have to earn them. They are your birthright, and to be denied them is an affront: Supreme Court seats, the presumption of innocence, deference from police officers, the presidency itself.

“We’re gonna walk down, and I’ll be there with you, Trump told his rally-goers seriously but not literally; he boarded his motorcade and returned to the White House. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

And when you’re real, they let you do it. You can be a grown, bearded man, brandishing bear spray, and a place ordinarily bristling with metal detectors and guards simply opens to you. A senator raises his fist in support. “We’ve just got to let them do their thing now,” one officer told the New York Times.

But if you are not lucky enough to be the real one in the story, then what you see is different. The Trump era is also the story of being menaced with guns and told you weren’t actually being menaced with guns — you were seeing people exercising freedom; you were watching a cheery band of patriots come to see their government at work. They were domestic, in the most vibrant militia tradition of the Founding Fathers, nothing like terrorists. This was their right, if a little rowdy. Everyone calling it a coup, or a mob, or an insurrection was hysterical. Proud Boys will be little boys, after all.

It is the story of a president seeing all this and turning to the people who wreaked this havoc and telling them, “We love you. You’re very special.”

The message echoes down the frescoed corridors: Never forget, for a second, what we can do to you, if no one stops us. Well, the giant pumpkin and “The Base”, also translated literally in Arabic to…wait for it…”Al-Qaeda. But, America did stop him by loudly and vehemently giving him the literal and figurative finger on November 3rd and then again on January 5th when Democrats gave Republicans the boot from their throne in the Senate and we will keep doing it because America has what the Autocratic GOP doesn’t: integrity, honesty, compassion and one hell of a will to never give up…

Twitter Enables Violence and They Can Kiss…My…Ass.

I’ve all but bailed on Twitter. They’re complicit in hate speech & an enabler of seditious rhetoric. Not to mention hypocritical assholes. Everyone pretty much knows Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is an emotionless sociopathic dildo but Twitter’s Jack Dorsey likes to keep his sociopathy and greed for the almighty dollar concealed in the shadows but make no mistake about it, he’s just as big of a dildo as Zuckerberg…

I’m off to Mastodon & my own website, where I can say innocuous drivel w/o Twitter suspending me for nothing or for who I follow and interact with. Twitter has now suspended me twice for using the following two terms: “Hoochie Hoodrat” and “White Trash”. They have yet to explain how either, which were not directed at anyone personally, violated their “Hateful Conduct” policy. Why haven’t they? Because neither are hateful conduct or speech. In fact, Twitter’s algorithm takes into account who you follow, who follows you and how you interact with them. Yes, if they say something hateful, YOU could be punished for that as well. Guilt By Association is a totally fucking bullshit policy that even most REAL Law Enforcement agencies don’t subscribe to. And CNN’s Kara Alaimo, who I love to pieces, agrees. This is a MUST READ!

Twitter can’t undo Trump’s damage now

Opinion by Kara Alaimo
Updated 9:55 PM ET, Wed January 6, 2021

(CNN) – On Wednesday, rioters stormed the US Capitol after they were encouraged by President Donald Trump to engage in “wild” protests while Congress counted the electoral votes certifying that Joe Biden won the presidency. Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called their actions, which included breaking windows, invading the House and Senate floors and other violent behavior, a “coup attempt.”

Besides President Trump himself, a portion of the responsibility for this attack on our democracy also rests on the shoulders of Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, and to a lesser extent, on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives whose platforms have allowed Trump and his allies and supporters to spread malicious untruths about the 2020 election. With the horrifying images of a Capitol under siege still glowing on most of our screens and amid pressure from groups like the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and Free Press, it comes as little surprise that on Wednesday, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all took action on Trump’s posts. Facebook and YouTube both removed Trump’s video addressing supporters earlier Wednesday, in which he urged them to go home but reiterated his debunked claims about election fraud. Twitter initially restricted retweets and disabled likes and replies to the video, but later removed it along with several other tweets. Then for the first time, Twitter locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and said it might be banned altogether — which stopped short of a call from the NAACP president, issued through a spokesperson, to ban his account entirely.

All of these actions come too late. One reason that things got so out of hand in the first place is because Twitter didn’t shut Trump’s account down sooner. I warned even before Trump took office that the way he won the 2016 presidential election was largely by sharing information that was untrue on Twitter. The platform, of course, allowed Trump to bypass the traditional media, which would have fact checked him, and make claims that were patently false. Trump continued to do this throughout his presidency. And because no one was willing to shut him down (@jack, I’m looking at you), he only became more emboldened.

Social networks should have held Trump to the same standards as other users from the start. The first few times he shared mistruths or used abusive language, his posts should have been immediately removed and he should have been issued warnings. If he then continued to share misinformation or hate, his accounts should have been permanently suspended. If this had happened, our Capitol might never have come under siege.

But because he wasn’t held to account, Trump’s claims grew more dangerous over time. According to The Washington Post’s fact checkers, Trump initially made an average of 12 false claims per day, so it took him 827 days in office to reach 10,000 false claims. But it took him just 440 days more to reach 20,000 false claims — an average of 23 per day.

In addition to lying more as he realized he could get away with it, he also began to use more abusive language. As Helio Fred Garcia wrote in his 2020 book “Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It,” “over time, the frequency and intensity of Trump’s language (on social media as well as in speeches and with the media) changed. Without anyone or anything to stop it … he became more aggressive and his language more directly incendiary when discrediting his political rivals.” And, predictably, Garcia noted, after Trump insulted members of different groups, hate crimes against them spiked. So, let’s be clear: This is not the first time he has incited violence.

Of course, many of Trump’s tweets violated the rules Twitter applies to other users. But when Twitter was asked why it allowed Trump to tweet, for example, veiled death threats against North Korea’s leader and foreign minister in 2017, the platform said he enjoys an exemption for being “newsworthy.” As I argued back then, no one should be allowed to abuse Twitter’s platform, no matter how powerful they are.

Yet, because he enjoyed this impunity, Trump was able to build a base on Twitter that actually believes his mistruths. Now, the problem is that we have a huge number of citizens who falsely think the election was stolen and stormed the Capitol as a result.

In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, DC, we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules,” Twitter said on Wednesday. If Wednesday’s events show us anything, it’s that this kind of approach is antiquated at best and dangerously naïve at worst. It’s too little, too late. While shuttering Trump’s Twitter account now would make it too late to alter today’s disturbing threat to democracy, we still need to prevent this from happening again anywhere. Being a world leader should not exempt anyone from being required to follow the community standards that apply to other Twitter users. No one should use the platform to spread hate and misinformation. Jack Dorsey should change this policy today.

Facebook, for its part, called the rioting a “disgrace,” but also declined on Tuesday to shutter Trump’s account. That’s also a mistake. In a televised address, President-elect Biden called on Trump to go on television and shut down the protesters — a sentiment that was echoed by many others on Twitter, including Alyssa Farah, his former communications director. The problem is that these calls, however well intentioned, reinvested Trump with too much power, signaling that a single statement from him could end the insurrection. Get our free weekly newsletter

It’s true that Trump probably did have the power to end this faster and more bloodlessly with a single tweet or address than was possible through any other channel. But our democracy can’t hinge on the claims of a single person who lies and incites violence. We have to be stronger than this. We need institutions that keep us safe and ensure a peaceful transfer of power — including the Congress, which clearly needs better security. And we need social networks that don’t spread hate and lies. While all eyes have been on Trump this afternoon, they should also turn to Jack Dorsey, who holds extraordinary power to help prevent future attacks on our democracy. In the long term, it’s social media platforms who have to make the next move.
https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/opinions/trump-twitter-failure-capitol-violence-alaimo/index.html

The Temper Comet…

The Temper Comet
10.22.2019

Five trails, hydrogen, feel the panic,
hear the static, lost the gloves,
see the dismantle…

Seat belted, double knotted, close my eyes,
envision the landing, jolt of violent,
it starts to shatter.

Metal screeching, crepitating, feel like retching,
grip the handles, crack wide open, watch the
blood drip down!

Tailspin, fire in the engines, starts the tumble,
cartwheel fledge, think back years reminisce,
17, no control, suicidal, almost left the edge!

But promises, of better tomorrows, opened windows,
there was no sorrow, through the grater, tred the
razor, God never said he was my navigator!

Now 40, 64 missions flown, one difference, 17 was me
40 is who’s at home, wife and mother, two first-class
daughters, placing flowers upon my stones!

Fingers stuck together, smear the tear and blood,
before I can’t remember. Never mind the Taker,
Soon we’ll all be vapor, close my eyes and cry,
I’ts okay, it’s fine, I’m alright, ready to meet
my maker!

Impact, visor’s cracked, look for Cap, nothing left
but his digestive tract. Unbuckle, fall to dirt,
Pitch black with stars, hypnotic, as a matter of
fact.

“Could have been worse.” I say to myself.
As I sit down all alone.
Hours go by, just now gazing upward.
Had to prove it to myself.

And I’m the only one!
Just one out of the three!
Shouting “Why oh why?!
Why is it me??

And these stars seem to have, a comforting mind
of their own.
As they cloak and they swaddle me.
Impossible to fight about.

And slumber has come about…

…to be continued.

AphasiA©

Bastardland…

First of all, a lot of people have the impression that I’m just a ranting, negative asshole and while I do rant and rave and I am a negative person sometime, I still have feelings. Hard to believe, I know but they exist behind this manure encrusted façade.

So, recently, when I had a now ex-friend hurt me, I did what I normally do with hurt feelings and negative energy. I wrote it out. And thanks to her, I’ve been writing…a lot. I believe that sometimes writing a letter to someone you have an issue with, whether they read it, understand it or not helps the person feeling that way tremendously.

Think of it as therapy…

I’ve been hurting people a lot lately also. I’m consciously aware of that. Whether it be with words or denials of attention and acknowledgement. But only the ones who have consistently hurt me. I’ve undergone this transformation, a sort of reverse catabolism if you will. I began to see things, faults, red flags etc. more acutely and was able, unlike years gone by, to act on them and make the needed changes.

I look back at the last four years as an “openly anguished period” in my life. A period where I was open emotionally and mentally, especially to other people. Unfortunately, this period clouded my judgment and vision and it allowed certain undesirables to infiltrate my daily life, ultimately hurting me.

I refer to these people as “parasitic humans” much akin to leeches, sucking the blood, the life and the spirit from me. I had to find a way to cut their hooks out of my skin. It was time for me to make a choice, to not take it anymore, to stop being used and abused. To get up and pick off the blood-suckers. One by one.

I’ve been disappointing people a lot lately because I’ve been hurting a lot lately. My decisions to remove people from my life, even if they are selfish parasites is something that I am struggling with greatly and I have grown a little despondent and maybe a little depressed by some of them. Kind of like an addiction and now I’ve gone cold turkey.

-But-

The choice to remove some of these people was necessary. Whether the “connection” was just gone or whether they did something to get on my bad side, it just needed to happen. Was a matter of pulling the trigger.

Looking back at a couple of these relationships, it is painfully obvious as to how fast they were in a tail spin, how rapidly they had become stale, stagnant and a one way street. It hurts when your feelings were more than just “pals”. With more than just one person. Especially when those feelings were never reciprocated by either of them and they were the basis of my initial reasoning.

There is only so much rejection and dejection a person can mentally handle before that person cracks and has to remove the person hurting them from their lives. My way is being a prick. It usually works. I don’t know. It was so much easier when I was closed off, unfeeling and cold-blooded and I desire very much so to return to my comfort level of being. I’m a lone wolf by Nature. I do have a wolfpack and they love, care and worry about me but I like to roam, be solitary.

But I’m still having a hard time with moving ahead, staying focused and not looking back or down. It used to be so easy for me. What happened? It was almost like the people that I knew and who knew me, that deserved it recognized this metamorphosis happening. They took a stand, told me they were on my side, with me all the way. They made a choice to stick with me, no matter what. No. They showed me they wanted it.

The other half…they either were oblivious or like a couple I’ve met…they blew it off, laughed at me, scoffed and dismissed me…and now…they’re on the outside looking in. Watch out for those “friends” that wield daggers; because you never know when one of them might wind up in your spine. This comes down to
human nature. My life’s motto when it comes to humans: “Trust no one. Believe nothing and question everything.”…

To the people that decided I was worth it?

I say thank you…

The Amalgam…

What happens when the upper classes, the elite…these empowered people lose the ability to control their control?

We have all of these written rules, these agendas and these laws and all we strive to be are dolls, marionettes…tools. Living by someone else’s unwritten rules. You juxtapose that with the insane, the imbalanced, the unstable, the rebels and the point becomes quite clear.

It’s simple.

In the beginning, there was disorder amongst harmonious evolution. A slow and methodical creep towards a gradual desire to know everything and we have failed to know anything.

It’s not…it’s not about being crazy. No. It’s about what’s acceptable and…unacceptable. I mean, look at us. This uncivilized assemblage of partial, biased one-dimensional automatons fretting over our utility bills and our mortgages and oh God; our species. No. Our species is a lost cause. Let it go. Kick back and watch it all fade.

Just what is mania and madness?? “It shall be so. Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.” decreed Shakespeare but I’m not mad. I’m bored. I mean where…where are all the riots? Where is the anarchy? The revolt? I mean, are you not outraged? Angry the slightest?

You know, people used to passionately and fervently believe in things. Remember those days? You’ve got this…this so-called “President” defiling the Constitution every time he sneezes and what do people do? Nothing. They whine and complain. You get an opportunity to change things and what do they do? Nothing. They whine and complain while people go hungry, can’t find jobs, can’t afford clothes and watch their homes seized by a corrupt and crooked government and that’s if their homes haven’t burned to ash from the rampant wildfires or been blown to splinters from this year’s nightmarishly epic Hurricane Season and what do they do? Nothing.

We, we watch innocent animals and plants go extinct, some in the name of some convoluted investment in the safety and well-being of the food and agriculture industry…an industry that can’t even keep tomatoes safe and that poisons babies with “approved” chemicals and what do they do? Nothing. They overfish the waters, poach, torture, maim and kill in the name of whichever God is trending that week and no one does anything.

Bare Minimum Mammals…

Where is the anger, the disdain? Where is the animosity and the uprising? Where are the masses of people that tweet and post about oppression? Now we’re all living the same hell our ancestors did during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic days.

All of those fallen soldiers for a country and society that has become weak and pitiful. Where outrage over extreme acts of violence, racism and injustice are momentary solar flares of the soul by the virtuous, caught on a cell phone camera and what’s worst…99% of these men and women evolve into hashtags rather than statuesque effigies of change and a cultural/societal shift toward equivalence and human decency.

Chaos.

There is nothing wrong with chaos. Because I realized that sometimes chaos can create the necessary amount of revolt and destabilization needed to correct course, to force the hand of the “Powers That Be” and to knock down that titanic steel first domino but, the majority are infected with lethargy and apathy…and they don’t even know it. Slaves to the system, to the drug.

I’m reminded of a brilliant quip from a book: “You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.”

“On the verge of the next great Civil War” a close personal friend once told me. Is what he foretold coming true?

We need more people who are unafraid to rattle the cages of the slave masters or George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Botham Jean, Michelle Cusseaux, Tanisha Anderson, Andre Hill, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and the ever-growing list of unarmed Black Americans enduring this abuse, torment and nauseatingly needless bullshit persecution, that means they suffered and died for nothing and we, as a civilized, ethical and humane sentient collective must extinguish this hatred like a brush fire, before it becomes an inferno that devours everything. Ask ancient Rome how that turned out.

This is our responsibility, our burden and our duty to stand up, stand strong and show generations following us that there is a better way and that racism, prejudice and bigotry can be defeated and driven into the bowels of an ocean’s abyss, because (for some strange reason), I believe we as a civilization are not too far gone, we’re not beyond help or the point of no return and as our nation’s leaders are AWOL or have abdicated their elected duties…it’s up to us now.

The Blood Pump…

“She walks in beauty like the night of cloudless chimes and starry skies; and all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellowed to that tender light which heaven to gaudy day denies.” – Lord Byron, Don Juan (canto I, st. 61).

Someone should seriously invest in the creation of a drug that remedies this chemical imbalance.

There is something sinister about the way our minds and our hearts both secretly yet not-so-secretly plot to destroy our psyches from within. The mind, knowing rationality, logic, reason and reality can see and comprehend what we cannot have, while the heart pollutes us with feelings and emotions, skipping a beat at her mere presence and consistently and constantly reminding us that they are just out of our reach.

And how do I continue to deny myself these unrequited feelings that will certainly lead to my self-destruction, my doom and my downfall?

Why the heart holds such a grudge against my mind is beyond my realm of acceptance and comprehension and perhaps I am truly and ultimately hopeless and damned! Condemned to torture myself with these suppressed notions and visions and desires.

No. I do not like this, I scream into the mirror hanging on my bathroom wall and it screams back: “But you need this!”, it screams back…