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[This piece originally appeared in Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/micah-xavier-johnson-assassin_us_578936ede4b08608d3347fa8?section=] In the days after Micah Xavier Johnson’s mass shooting in Dallas, The Drudge Report took to calling him simply, and in outsized font, Micah X. Though it was the most transparent of the attempts to tie Johnson to black militancy and/or the Black Lives Matter movement, it was only the most extreme expression of a widespread phenomenon. It was also dead wrong. After the shooting spree that lasted for several hours, Johnson was mortally wounded by a robot wielding an explosive. His final act was to write a note in blood ― “RB”. The desire to tie him to a black nationalist movement is so strong that there’s been serious speculation that he was trying to write “RBG,” which stands for “red, black and green,” the colors of the Pan-African flag. But in looking for meaning in the message, the media has missed the…

In his first few days in office Trump and several members of his team attacked the media for underestimating the size of the crowd that attended the Inauguration. Trump argued that, “I turn on the networks, and they show an empty field. I’m like, wait a minute. I made a speech. I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people.” This could have been labeled just another off-the-cuff remark that has endeared Trump to political-incorrectness-fundamentalists, but later that day the baton was passed to his Press Secretary Sean Spicer who expanded on Trump’s argument claiming that, not only had Trump’s crowds and viewership been larger than the media reported, but that it had been “the largest crowd ever to witness an Inauguration”. Ever. The largest crowd ever. With her eye on the finish line, Trump’s Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway took the baton and…

[This article originally appeared on Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fuckery-donald-trump-lies_us_588126a8e4b096b4a230a23f?fx74o5hg6bf6tuik9] In his 1987 comedy film, “Raw,” Eddie Murphy jokes about an argument with fellow comedian Bill Cosby about Murphy’s use of profanity. According to Murphy, Cosby’s son Ennis watched Murphy’s stand-up special and told his dad of Murphy’s foul language. Ennis was a fan; Cosby was not. Being an elder statesman in business, Cosby called Murphy to express his outrage at Murphy’s cursing ― what Cosby called, in Murphy’s elaborate recounting of it, “filth, flarn, filth, flarn filth!” Eddie Murphy was offended. He had managed to “put some jokes between the curses” he argued. No audience would pay for a “curse show,” where a comedian walks out on stage, drops some profanity, grabs his crotch, then collects a check. To focus on Murphy’s foul language was to miss his command of the craft and the relationship a comedian cultivates with the audience, he…

[This article originally appeared on Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-nazi-propaganda-coordinate_us_58583b6fe4b08debb78a7d5c] On election night, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews had a revelation. Matthews, with a pained expression, began to piece together the basis for Hillary Clinton’s pending defeat. She had failed to communicate a tough position on illegal immigration. She had supported bad trade deals. She had not renounced all of the “stupid wars.” Her presidential rival, Donald Trump, on the other hand, had waged what Matthews called a “legitimate” campaign on these issues, a claim that seemed to stretch the bounds of legitimacy, but Matthews was not alone. In the following days and weeks, others would make similar claims implying a victory that, weeks before, had been impossible was actually inevitable ― and liberalism was largely to blame. People magazine put Trump on its cover in November, a month after one of its journalists, Natasha Stoynoff, accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2005.…

Wednesday night Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062, a controversial bill that was supposedly intended to protect the religious freedoms of businesses and individuals who might out of ‘sincere belief’ need to discriminate against gay patrons or gay weddings. The bill had all of the markings of a political stunt. It was big, vague, ill-conceived and promised to solve a problem that only exists at the margins while at the same time creating a myriad of new problems. The governor had vetoed a similar bill in 2012, so why did the Arizona legislature bother? A closer look at the sponsors of the bill and the political climate on the right – past and present – offers some possible answers. A peculiar thing happens when you Google the sponsors of SB 1062 – Reps Nancy Barto, Bob Worsley and Steve Yarbrough. Once you wade through the blistering attacks and criticism by…

When my son was about one and a half he would occasionally walk over to the bookshelf, toss all of the books from the bottom shelf onto the floor, then put them back (in no particular order of course). Once he had put the books back, he’d scream ‘yay!’, applaud himself, then run over for a celebratory ‘high five!’. He had solved a problem that he had created and I of course went along with it high-fiving and congratulating him, but it did occur to me that I might be creating a monster – or a politician. The controversy over gay marriage has been aggravated by the Democratic Party’s unwillingness to take a principled position and stick to it. So, laws like the Defense of Marriage Act pass with Democrat support. Prop 8 passes with Democrat silence. And now that public opinion has shifted in favor of gay marriage, Democrats…

In the weeks and months following President Obama’s reelection, Republicans will struggle to rebrand and redefine themselves for the electorate.  A few have already come forward with prescriptions for the future. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana argues that the GOP must stop being the ‘stupid party’ and craft a message for all Americans. John Boehner expressed a willingness to consider revenue increases, though not yet tax increases, and spoke of Obamacare as the ‘law of the land’. Sean Hannity made a passionate plea on behalf of illegal immigrants the day after the election, suggesting that those who have been here for years and broken no laws – aside from being here illegally – should be put on the path to citizenship. As much as these efforts to moderate or modernize the GOP make sense, they will be unsuccessful because they risk revealing the big lie that keeps many poor, working…

As the post-election euphoria wears off, many of President Obama’s supporters – myself among them – ponder his future and that of the conservative movement. Conservatives seem to be moving through the various stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – though not necessarily in that order, leading many of my more optimistic and level-headed friends to suggest that it is now time for President Obama to work with moderate conservatives to get things done. This point of view reminds me of the story of St. James Davis and his pet chimp Moe. St. James and his wife LaDonna raised their chimpanzee Moe from a baby like a son. He learned to eat with a fork. Speak some sign language. Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He could nod ‘yes’ or shake his head ‘no’. He played with toys and occasionally wore a dinner jacket and trousers…

The Voter ID debate demands that one acknowledge the obvious, but then advance the absurd. Of course voter fraud occurs. Lyndon Johnson stole his first election back in 1948. Kennedy pulled some funny business in 1960 in Chicago. Dead people vote. Felons vote. People vote more than once on occasion. Sure. It happens, but to justify spending  hundreds of millions of dollars on Voter ID implementation one would need to prove that Voter ID fraud is so pervasive that the integrity of the democratic process is in danger, which appears to not be the case. Investigations in Colorado and Florida revealed that about .001% of voters committed fraud. In North Carolina the number was even lower .0002%. To nab Colorado’s 35 fraudulent voters would cost the state (or feds depending on whose footing the bill) six million dollars or $171K per violator. To give some perspective, leprosy occurs in about…

Working in NYC means riding public transportation and occasionally having a crazy person strike up a conversation about mind control serum in the water, Jewish cabals, or gay conspiracies involving probes of one kind or another. I can never be sure if the individual is serious or joking or more importantly armed or unarmed, so I usually nod, say something like ‘That’s wild’, then get off at the next stop or switch train cars, because there is no way to talk to a crazy person without yourself seeming crazy. Our nation’s history is not without nefarious conspiracies like Iran-Contra, Watergate, the Tuskegee Experiment; gross violations of citizens’ rights like Presidents Lincoln and Wilson’s suspension of habeas corpus and free press; and sociopaths masquerading as elected officials like… well fill in the blank. However, whether we have been in the throes of a national crisis or in an era of relative…