Third Party & Independents Archives

Julia Salazar's Crazed & Desperate Story Telling - Part 1

Tablet magazine - the online “unorthodox” site that delves into all sorts of subjects, often but hardly exclusively, from a left-wing and Jewish perspective - has a couple of stories out that offer an unsettling contrast on America and the construction of narratives.

They revolve around Julia Salazar, who is running as candidate for New York's State Senate, and the story of black Cohens in America.

As far as Salazar is concerned, she has a rather interesting perspective on her own life story, as revealed in Yair Rosenberg's piece at Tablet. Born in Miami to a Colombian father and a mother from New Jersey, she claims to be:

  • An immigrant who has experienced the harsh realities of arriving apparently poor and desperate and having to adapt to life in Miami.
  • A partly Jewish woman whose father was from a family whose ancestors had been Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Spain.

Her family, her mother and especially her brother, beg to differ. She was definitely born in Miami, raised a Catholic in a nice neighborhood, was a pro-Israel evangelical around the time she entered Columbia University, and then at university in New York she reportedly began to become obsessed with the Jewish faith and now identifies as a left-wing anti-Zionist radical with Jewish roots. Needless to say, she's running for the Democratic Socialist Party and (at least for now) has Ocasio-Cortez's support along with other key players from the hard-left wing of the Democratic Party.

But Salazar's construction of self-identifying narratives goes further than that. She was arrested for impersonating a family friend who she had once house-sat for, in order to try and access her bank accounts online. This occurred back in 2011 with Kai Hernandez the family friend, who at that time was the wife of baseball star Keith Hernandez. Salazar was eventually not charged as she was unable to access the accounts and the evidence from a series of phone calls was deemed insufficient to produce a conviction, so the case was dropped.

Salazar couldn't let the charges go, however. She sued an ailing Kai Hernandez for defamation a few years later, arguing that Hernandez deliberately imitated her in the recorded phone calls, and had pretended not to know her own security questions, all in order to sully Salazar's good name and reputation. That's how Rosenberg got the facts of the case which would have basically been destroyed after 5 years by the municipality in South Florida had it not been for Salazar's lawsuit. Which she won as Hernandez was not in physical or financial shape to continue the battle and let her insurance company settle with Salazar. An annoyingly familiar outcome in the world of nuisance lawsuits.

So, this is creepy stuff, by all appearances. You'd think this would sink Salazar's campaign, right? Probably not.

In Real Clear Politics, Kalev Leetaru laments how self-learning algorithms are now reaching the sophistication and low-cost necessary to allow almost anyone to edit a live video stream on their phone as they film a politician or celebrity speaking, and to create an alternative reality in order to discredit the speaker. So-called Deep Fakes are becoming a frightening possibility, but it's also the social and cultural context in which they occur that allow them to be weaponized so easily. As Leetaru writes:

When MSNBC host Joy Reid was confronted earlier this year with a series of homophobic remarks she made a decade ago on her personal blog, one might assume she would have faced discipline or even termination. Instead, by attacking the third-party archives of her blog that had preserved the now-deleted posts and claiming that either the archives or her blog had somehow been hacked and that the statements were falsely attributed to her, she was able to change the narrative just long enough that by the time the entries were confirmed to be hers, the outcry had died down and the network took no action.

In a world of Fake News and Deep Fakes technology, in which reality is philosophically deemed entirely a matter of perspective and therefore relative, you not only choose your own reality. If someone else attacks your chosen reality all you need to do is counter-attack the competing perspective with sufficient outrage and scorn in order to create sufficient doubt and thus undermine the threatening narrative. And that's a doubly effective strategy in a highly partisan environment.

As I've said, no matter what evidence emerges after all the investigations and counter-investigations on Trump's team and possible collusion with Russia are done, a significant percentage of people on either side of the debate will maintain their opinions and will pick and choose the evidence to support their views. And that's true of just about any policy or issue you can think of nowadays.

That's a tragedy because America's history is one of blending and sharing and creating something new, even in times of cruelty and injustice.

In Part 2 we'll look at a fascinating subset of some of those real, historical narratives that make up America's history, and how Julia Salazar was likely tempted to plunder their truths to try and re-create herself for political gain.

Posted by AllardK at September 11, 2018 2:00 PM
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The censoring of ideas, the mob rule, the fake news, it isn’t America. Those who agree with that must stand up to those who don’t. We can’t sit on the sidelines like spectators at Bull Run and then wonder why we’re being persecuted.

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