The Widdershins

Hello Widdershins! What a week, what a week. The Mango Moron and his MAGAt enablers are facing the consequences of their grifting, criminality and seditious conspiracy. Not to mention a bit of old-fashioned nuclear espionage thrown in to season the pot!

Reflecting on the charges of financial fraud that were filed this week (and referred to two separate criminal courts), I remember various pundits discussing why Der Drumpfenfuhrer didn’t want to release his tax returns during his run for President. Criminality was high on the list, but I think Timothy O’Brien, journalist and author of TrumpNation, nailed it six years ago.

O’Brien was sued by IQ45 for allegedly misreporting the extent of his wealth in that 2005 book. Of course, Drumpf lost that lawsuit. Later on, the Trumpologist said this to Politico in May of 2016:

He sued me around a claim that by offering lower estimates of his net worth I had libeled him, so he opened himself up to discovery on all of his financials. So we got his tax returns, his bank records, everything.

He didn’t want to give over his tax returns, which we’re seeing now in the election. And there’s reasons, I think, he doesn’t want to give up his tax returns. It’s because you see what his income actually is in those returns…

Drumpf has always been a fake billionaire, a fake “boss” and a fake alpha male. It’s amazing how long it’s taken to get the truth out there; but whatever narrative the media tries to sell you about his running in 2024 (oh how they want the clicks and eyeballs!), he’s done. His main value proposition was that he was a successful businessman and mogul, and it was all a lie. Republicans will continue their trend of deserting him and seeking a new “success” to worship.

And speaking of fake news…this is the state of media today. There is a persistent rumor that Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has been deposed in a coup by the PLA (a military group) and is under house arrest. Is it true? No one can tell for sure, and the Twitter accounts pushing the narrative are mostly anonymous.

Is Putin pushing social media propaganda, taking revenge on the Chinese President for being critical of his insane invasion of Ukraine? A disturbing combination of China’s insular secrecy and the lack of social media controls on bot accounts has made it possible to push this rumor across the world for hours, possibly days, without any validation or accountability.

Don’t believe everything you read, Widdershins! Well, except here on TW, of course.

Open thread as always – here are some pretty birds to uplift your weekend.

Pooty Poop

It has been six long months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and – depending on who you ask – things are either exactly as Putin planned all along (Russians, Tucker), or Russia is on a verge of a military catastrophe (everyone else.) Over the past couple of weeks Ukraine has staged an offensive that has led Russian army to flee dozens of previously occupied towns and villages in the east. Their withdrawal was so hasty that they not only left behind tanks, stolen washing machines, and some of their own soldiers (who then had to flee on stolen bicycles), but also Russian teachers they brought in to begin teaching nothing but Russian curriculum to Ukrainian children. In the midst of all this, Putin has retreated to one of his homes in Sochi (more on that later), while some of his propagandists on TV continue to insist everything is going according to plan, and that if Russia really wanted to, they would take Kyiv in one day. Seems odd that Putin planned all along to bring his troops as close to Kyiv as Chernobyl (where they proceeded to radiate themselves after digging into polluted soil), and then retreat. And then retreat again. And again. And keep retreating, until they’re running back, leaving behind hard-won Ukrainian territories. Maybe that’s the genius of Putin, his 78 dimension chess is so complex none of us understand it. “We have them surrounded in their tanks,” Baghdad Bob once declared as Americans occupied Baghdad.

As hard as Putin’s most loyal propagandists (Solovyov, Simonyan) continue to insist Russia is winning its “special operation,” cracks are appearing on Russian TV. Some commentators are openly questioning what the hell went wrong, how officials managed to screw things up, how they overpromised glory and deliver humiliation. In this clip from Russian TV, many things are said that would have been unthinkable to speak out loud two weeks ago. But the one that struck me the most is the man who asks how Russia thought they could tell Ukraine they were not a real country, that their language does not exist, and then expect Ukraine to embrace them in return. Again, this is rhetoric that would be unthinkable on state television just two weeks ago. And the subdued responses to such criticisms from the more patriotic Russians is also extremely revealing because two weeks ago they would have screamed over any such words.

Meanwhile Putin cancelled a scheduled meeting with his military leaders and retreated to a vacation home in Sochi. A reporter for Kyiv Post added interesting information on what’s happening around Moscow and historical context:

And in St. Petersburg, some members of Parliament called for Putin to be prosecuted for treason. Their punishments so far have been possible dissolution of their districts and some fines. A few weeks ago it would have been arrest and prosecution.

Is there a coup happening? We won’t know until after it’s over. But it’s impossible to ignore the cracks in Putin’s wall.

She was right. Of course. Always.

As we head into Labor Day Weekend, I wanted to share President Biden’s speech with all the Widdershins. As the historian Michael Beschloss said afterwards, this moment echoes across time to two other Presidents who, like Biden, spoke on the eve of extraordinarily consequential elections that put America at a crossroads between democracy and ruin.

President Lincoln, before the election of 1860, gave a now-famous speech about slavery, contending that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” – that if America continued to embrace a system that was against the spirit of the Constitution, a system in which only some were free, we would lose our democracy. President Roosevelt, before the election of 1940, had to contend with American apologists for Hitler and Nazism, and clearly laid out what the future would be if we did not enter the war and stand up for democracy.

President Biden made this clarion call for democracy and against the MAGA movement at exactly the right time. Once again, our democracy stands on the brink of falling to an extreme minority who does not believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, the right to free and fair elections, or the peaceful transition of power. These Nazis, these fascists, these white supremacists, simply want to enshrine themselves as the rulers of America – and they don’t care how they do it.

In this speech, Joe Biden did what he doesn’t like to do – he made a clear division into “us” (patriotic Americans, no matter what party) and “them” – MAGA extremists who do not believe in our vision of America.

It’s about fricking time. As we know, Hillary was ahead of him by 7 years! But, better late than never, Joe.

Hello Widdershins!

Ever since You Know Who became POTUS all of our lives have been an endless whirlwind of news (usually bad) and events. We all hoped You Know Who leaving office would finally let us catch up on some sleep, but alas. The devastation left in is wake is ongoing. Besides the stolen top secret documents he was hiding in his basement (Republican say it’s ok, he is a former President and it’s perfectly safe… but do you remember where Hillary’s secure email server was??? That’s right, in a basement of a former President), anyway, Trump is just yelling non-stop against every government agency he remembers. FBI, IRS, I’m not sure he even knows the difference. At least we are seeing some progress from Merrick Garland. Some people point out that as a prosecutor Garland had a 100% conviction rate. Still, fingers crossed the DOJ not only continues its investigation, but they do it quickly because we have no idea what the midterms will bring, and certainly don’t know what 2024 will bring.

CNN has “fired” its Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter. They are cancelling the show. On one hand, Stelter was a both-side hack who allowed Republicans on the show to spew lies while asking about Hillary’s emails. On the other hand, the new chief of CNN basically thinks Stelter is too liberal for CNN. We should be worried about what this means not for Stelter, but for us because I think we will see CNN take a very noticeable right turn in the near future.

Russian fascist/neo-Nazi Alexander Dugin

And on the front of Russia’s war on Ukraine – an interesting development overnight. Alexander Dugin is a Russian professor who is a dedicated fascist and white supremacist/nationalist. For years he has been calling for the extermination of Ukrainians (and many others) in the name of Holy Mother Russia. He is something of a spiritual guide to Vladimir Putin. Though officially Dugin is not welcome in polite Russian society, like David Duke and Steve Bannon, Dugin enjoys the notoriety, inspires numerous psychopaths, and enjoys a winking relationship with the Kremlin. Well, last night it seems someone tried to assassinate him. His car was blown up, although at the time it was driven by his daughter Darya. Now, before one feels sorry for Darya, she is neo-Nazi/fascist nationalist as much as her father is. Though not as famous as her dad, she was a loyal follower of his teachings, holds rallies and delivers lectures to spread the Dugin gospel. Who tried to kill Dugin and killed Darya remains to be seen. It could literally have been done by anyone, including Ukraine and Russia. But Ukraine makes no sense here. If they wanted to take out a Russian propagandist deep in the heart of Russia and in a place where people like Putin have a home, Dugin wouldn’t be the first choice. Russian TV people like RT head Margarita Simonyan would have been my first choice. Any of the hosts on Russian TV would be a close second. It’s possible the bombing was carried out by the Kremlin/Putin. Frankly, it could have been carried out by Dugin himself. There was a lecture by Dugin in which he discussed how people having daughters was destroying Russia, and that it was time to start sacrificing some of them. It’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out.

This is an open thread.

Fresh thread, come and get it!

For discussion:

Criminal.

Investigation.

!!!!!!!

Biden illustration: REBUILD WITH BIDEN

Nice picture of our gal

Madam Vice President

Our President

It’s here: QUARANTINE BINGO!

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