The Widdershins

fight-club-3

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

So wrote Chuck Palahniuk in his 1996 novel “Fight Club,” later adapted into a popular film by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham-Carter. Palahniuk proudly claimed that he coined the phrase “snowflake” to describe libtards, but – alas – Palahniuk is not a beautiful and unique snowflake, and his claims that he invented the insult are alternative facts. It’s a little hard to figure out Palahniuk’s politics. He has a  bit of a Milo Snuffleupagus vibe going. He likes to yell, shock and act like a jerk.  Palahniuk, who is gay, also approved the use of “snowflake” to describe liberals. And yet, the characters of “Fight Club” who resemble what one day would become the alt-right (angry, violent white men who wreak havoc upon the world and commit acts of terrorism) aren’t heroes. And it’s main character is literally a schizophrenic with multiple personalities.

In any case, whatever Palahniuk’s personal feelings on liberals and snowflakes, the term is very old. It has been traced as far back as 1860s to describe white people who opposed abolition of slavery. The alt-right’s embrace of it – and liberals’ attempts to claim it as ironic – has been an interesting fight over words. Who thought that the age of Trump would usher in a war over language.

And who would have thought that Shakespeare would be reestablished as politically relevant 400 years after his death. “Julius Caesar,” written in 1599, humanizes a despot, showing that assassinations of leaders – even the bad ones – is a terrible idea. Portraying Caesar as a contemporary is hardly a new tradition. They did it in 1930s’s Germany, and more recently on our own shores Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been portrayed as Caesar. But it’s the Trump version in NYC’s Central Park that has incensed Trumpkins. Multiple performances have now been interrupted by the alt-right and I suspect this will continue for the duration of the production’s run.

How triggered Trumpkins are by a 400 year old play. They accuse the liberal elitists who read Shakespeare of inciting violence by showing Caesar being assassinated. And then they accuse the same liberal elitists of being snowflakes. It’s a little difficult to square the two off. I don’t know what to wear to be a snowflake terrorist!

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Leon Trotsky

(This quote is frequently attributed to Bertolt Brecht, but actually appears to be by Trotsky!)

Art has been making people angry for as long as people have been creating art. The Pussy Riotpower of art to heighten emotions – every emotion imaginable – is unparalleled. And its ability to inspire social change is undisputed. Pierre Beaumarchais‘ Figaro trilogy was banned in France and Austria in the decade before the French Revolution. Dmitri Shostakovich‘s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District” nearly got him executed, and he was on the brink of arrest by Stalin almost his entire life. The Nazis murdered more artists than one can count and created entire categories of degenerate art, which included everything from the film “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to the music of Kurt Weill. We have seen the Fearless Girl on Wall Street – bravely facing off the charging bull – attacked and disfigured. What are they afraid of? (One line of attack on the Fearless Girl, created by Kristen Virbal, is that it was commissioned by an investment management firm, which makes it not art. These people are ironically unaware of quite literally the entire history of art…) In our own times perhaps no act of political art has been more feared than the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot. Arrested, imprisoned, beaten by Putin and his followers: yet they persist. Perhaps in America political artists are fortunate to not be targets of government-led violence. It is imperative that we never allow it to happen.

Warning: this video by Pussy Riot is graphic.

Good Monday, all! For those who are dads, I hope you had a really nice day yesterday.

Throughout his entire life, Donald Trump has had the ability to get whatever he wants by ordering people around. He was born rich, managed to stay rich through corruption and the kind of reptilian charisma that plays well on teevee, and ran his own company with a small, mostly familial and familial-adjacent staff. He has never, ever had to work for anyone else.

And now he does. And we, the people, his employers, are not happy with his job performance.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has Drumpf’s approval rating at 38.7%. In his first few, horrifying months as Resident, Der Drumpfenfuhrer has spawned a surprisingly durable and peaceful resistance movement. The Women’s March was so overwhelmingly huge and widespread throughout America, that people realized they do have power in this country. And they’ve started voting in a way that doesn’t bode well for Republicans.

Since Jan. 20, Democrats have won 12 special legislative elections, and Republicans have won 11.3 But because so many special elections take place in safe districts, win-loss records can only tell you so much. Instead, you’re better off comparing their final results to the district’s baseline partisanship, which FiveThirtyEight measures using a weighted average of the last two presidential election results4 as calculated by Daily Kos.5 And in the 15 special legislative elections to pit at least one Democrat against at least one Republican,6 12 have seen a net swing toward the Democrats.

I’m writing this before Georgia’s special election, and I don’t know if Jon Ossoff will win or not. I will say this, though, for him to even come close would be a great result in that district. And the fact that the Republicans are spending soooooooo much money to keep the seat means that even seats they used to think were safe, aren’t any more.

But it’s not just voting that’s showing that the governed aren’t consenting. It’s the state governors and federal judges, resisting against the Muslim ban (no, it’s not a travel ban, folks, it’s a religious ban targeted at travelers) and the cruel “sanctuary city” defunding, and the monumental stupidity of trying to “re-negotiate” the Paris Accords and not acknowledging climate change. It’s Joe and Jane America, coming to town halls they never cared about before this year, and speaking out against the Republican agenda, which has never been more unpopular. And according to Rebecca Solnit of The Guardian, the power lies with us. I urge you to read the whole thing; here is an inspiring excerpt.

…This activism needs to be sustained, and it needs to be strategic. It needs to address voting rights, and midterm elections, and it needs to remember all the powers and possibilities that lie in activism beyond electoral politics as well. So far so good.

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard told me that they don’t have to try to recruit or inform people anymore, that they can’t “answer the phones fast enough”; that people are showing up ready to try to change the world. She said everything groups like hers have been doing for decades “was all practice for this moment”.

People like to predict the future, often a dismal future, but the future is not written. It is ours to write. In this moment of utter turmoil, civil society must be the counter to a rogue administration, one whose victory is a surprise equaled by its myriad defeats ever since.

A crisis, says one dictionary, is “the point in the progress of a disease when a change takes place which is decisive of recovery or death; also, any marked or sudden change of symptoms, etc.” This crisis could be the death or the recovery of a more democratic, more inclusive, more generous America. Where we go from here is up to us.

I choose Option B.

This is an open thread.

 

 

A Good Weekend To You Widdershins!

Oh my, what a week we’ve had and it’s only Thursday of the previous week as I wrote this.  From Trump’s tweets about his Executive Order actually being a travel ban to the excitement Thursday of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before a Senate committee.  And as I said, it’s only Thursday.  Who knows what’s going to happen on Friday, with Friday being a major news day the last few weeks.  So as our dear chat used to say, we need a palate cleanser to give us a break from the latest events.

When you fall down you pick yourself right back up and then sue

It’s the great American pastime, to sue someone (just ask the Prez). So David Waugaman felt as though it was his right to do so.

It seems that David was enjoying an evening at the Ziggy’s Hotel bar and enjoyed himself so much that he drunkenly fell off his bar stool.  David believed this was the fault of the owners of the bar so he sued them.

In the lawsuit, Waugaman contends that bartenders continued to serve him alcohol, including shots of liquor, though he was visibly drunk during his four-hour visit to the bar June 24.

“As a result of Ziggy’s serving the plaintiff alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated that he became so intoxicated that he fell off the bar stool and injured his right shoulder, requiring an operation on the shoulder with loss of use and limitations from the accident date to an indefinite period of time with some permanent disability to his right shoulder and arm,” according to the lawsuit.

Tavern owners James W. Sigwait and Genevieve Everett could not be reached for comment.

Waugaman’s attorney said that his client’s injuries were actually worse than that.

Waugaman’s lawyer, Jon Lewis of Greensburg, said in the lawsuit that in addition to the shoulder injury, his client lost consciousness, suffered acute alcohol poisoning and suffered pain, post-traumatic anxiety reaction and other, unnamed injuries.

Waugaman contends the tavern staff was reckless, careless and negligent and seeks damages in excess of $30,000 to pay his medical expenses and for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress.

Mr. Lewis the attorney puts all the blame on the tavern owners.

“They kept giving him drinks. You’re not supposed to feed people so much booze they fall off a bar stool,” Lewis said.

Well how else are you going to see whether they’ve had enough?  They fall down it’s time to cut them off.

He wanted that beer real bad

Another boozy encounter but this time in Ohio.

Robert Mason wanted another beer really bad.  He wanted that beer so badly that he drove into the convenience store at 1:00 a.m. on a Sunday wearing nothing from the waist down.

Robert Mason, 45, was wearing nothing from the waist down when he crashed his Dodge Challenger into SDM Food Market on Hilliard Boulevard around 1am on Sunday.

Rocky River Police Chief Kelly Stillman said Mason was driving about 40mph when he drove right into the middle of the store causing the clerk to be trapped under debris.

After crashing into the store Mason got out of his Challenger and said he needed a beer.  He then proceeded to barricade himself into a beer cooler and told the police to shoot him but the cops just used a stun gun on him.  And yes, Mr. Mason had an excuse for his actions.

[Police Chief] Stillman said that Mason was suffering from issues related to his service in the military and as an officer with the Federal Protective Service. (Yikes!)

And y’all thought Bambi was so cute

Well this one might change your mind.

Forensic scientists do a lot of things.  And they do a lot of strange things.  Like, for instance putting dead people out in the woods to see how their bodies decompose and to see who might come by for a snack.  They have done this before and the locations are sometimes called body farms.

Known as “body farms,” some research facilities study how human remains decompose in the open air, including which animals interact with the corpse.

Okay so they want to see just who might come by for a quick meat-and-three in the woods.  But these scientists at a facility in San Marco Tx. got a big surprise.

In a study published this week in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, researchers highlighted their finding: Ungulates, too, will partake in human flesh, if it’s available.

White-tailed deer are considered herbivores and subsist on a diet of readily available plants, including twigs, fruits, nuts, alfalfa, and the occasional fungi.

This is the first time scientists have observed deer eating human flesh, though they have been known to turn carnivorous in the past, eating fish, dead rabbits, and even live birds.

See what I mean about Bambi now?  But the scientists being scientists, say they found out something else too.

While this finding sheds light on deer behavior, forensic scientists are also heralding the study as useful for cases in which a body has long been decomposing. If scientists can identify the teeth marks of deer and other ungulates on human bones, it will help in new cases and could clear up confusion in older crime scenes, where only carnivorous scavengers were thought to chew on human bones.

Bambi cute?  Nah, just looking for some ribs.

We’ll wind up our excursion in,where else,Florida because…Florida.

We know cops have a sometimes hard and difficult job.  But this? Seriously?

Darrell Harbin and his girlfriend captured a swan chasing an Orlando police officer at Lake Eola.

In the video that Harbin posted on Twitter, the swan briskly goes after the officer, who circles a black truck. At one point, the officer also pulls out his camera, records the incident and jogs away when the swan became more aggressive.

Harbin told Channel 9 that he and his girlfriend were out for a run when they witnessed the playful encounter.

Orlando police also tweeted Harbin’s video and told the swan to leave the officer alone.

Another officer can be heard laughing in the video as he recorded his partner being chased by the swan.

“We can’t overstate the hazards our officers face on the job,” OPD said in a tweet.

And this last one I’m going to just paste in because Flordia.

Meet Buford Carroll.

The 30-year-old Floridian was arrested Saturday evening after a 911 caller reported that the driver of a Dodge Diplomat was “swerving all over the road” and possibly drunk. The complainant noted that the driver was “wearing a hat, no shirt, and had tattoos.”

When a sheriff’s deputy subsequently found the Dodge in a hotel parking lot, Carroll “was now wearing a white shirt with a hot pink bra underneath,” according to an arrest affidavit. Carroll, the deputy reported, “smelled of an alcoholic beverage.”

Carroll, seen above, was arrested for driving the Dodge with license plates assigned to another vehicle, a misdemeanor. He was also improperly driving on a restricted license, a fact that Carroll’s girlfriend said he was aware. Asked why Carroll would do this, the woman replied, “‘Cause he’s a dumbass!

Carroll was booked into the Indian River county lockup, from which he was released after posting $500 bond. Jailers prepared an inventory of Carroll’s 20 tattoos, which include “Statue of Liberty holding a gun,” the phrase “Life of a Struggler,” and one back tattoo that corrections officers were “unable to describe.”

The arrest affidavit does not address why Carroll was wearing a hot pink bra.

Last, this cute long-haired doxy gets a salon style treatment.

 

 

What’s on your minds today Widdershins?

 

 

 

Let’s review the last twelve hours shall we? Cuba policy dramatically curtailed. Four thousand Afghanistan troop increase. Program for parents of Dreamers formally rescinded by Homeland Security.

So where should our analysis begin? 1874 might be a good starting point.

That just happens to be where three very inquisitive and industrious German economists began their research. From there they studied 140 years of advanced economies and what happened after severe economic downturns. They published their findings last October.

Why am I babbling about this? Understanding what gives rise to something oftentimes tells you what precedes the fall. Our German magi concluded Dolt 45 was most likely inevitable.

Their study finds that after a severe depression or “great recession,” voters skew hard right. Voters want someone to bring stability. Blame is cast on minorities and foreigners. The “other” is cast as the cause of the upheaval.

Here’s the real kicker. Under such circumstances, far­-right parties increase their vote share by 30% in such circumstances. The orange rejectamenta was preordained.

A little side note here: What Hillary accomplished by winning the popular vote is all the more impressive against this backdrop.

Here’s where it gets interesting. First comes Brexit, then Dolt 45’s election, an election in Austria, and a funny thing happened. The orange, runny discharge started talking and people started listening. It seems as if Dolt 45 has peed on the far right tilt. In fact, Nate Silver finds:

The beneficiaries of the right-wing decline have variously been politicians on the left (such as Austria’s Van der Bellen2), the center-left (such as France’s Emmanuel Macron) and the center-right (such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democratic Union has rebounded in polls). But there’s been another pattern in who gains or loses support: The warmer a candidate’s relationship with Trump, the worse he or she has tended to do.

Who says the umber inveigler couldn’t bring people together?

It is against this background that I ran into this bit of fascinating research from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. Without getting all “statistical,” the researcher used a technique that enabled her to drill down on the Dolt’s support. She found five unique types of Dolt voters.

 

Her research is interesting. I won’t wade in too deeply, but the key findings are:

  • This analysis finds five unique clusters of Trump voters: American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%)
  • There is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Many voted with enthusiasm for Trump while others held their noses and voted against Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump voters hold very different views on a wide variety of issues including immigration, race, American identity, moral traditionalism, trade, and economics.
  • Four issues distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and views about and Muslim immigration.

It is this last finding where I want to shine some light. Of the four issues distinguishing Dolt voters from non-Dolt voters, three of them are the traditional opinions our German researchers warned about expecting after a severe economic catastrophe.

The fourth issue?  Attitudes toward Hillary. Dolt’s voters are motivated by Hillary hate. Folks, this is where it gets interesting.  The core of Dolt’s base, the American Preservationists and the Anti-Elites, are voters, who about half of them had a positive view of Hillary in 2012. After four years of Benghazipalooza and emailgasms, those attitudes reversed resulting in their votes for Dolt last November.

My point is a simple one. Dolt’s entire presidency rests on sustaining Hillary hate. As his poll numbers dwindle, the mercurial House of Representatives where Articles of Impeachment are generated will watch the all-powerful Republican base monkeys. If they start exiting the Trump Train, it will be a stampede.

One thing we know about Hillary. If she isn’t actively campaigning she is obscenely popular. I would suggest there’s an inverse relationship between the distance from November 8th and Hillary’s unfavorables. Better put, Hillary will be more popular by the day. This will be especially true with a group of voters already predisposed to like her.

There’s one thing of which I’m absolutely sure. Dolt is not smart enough to understand this. This has greasy smudges of Bannon’s mitts all over it.

So there is a method to Dolt’s madness when he tweets his Hillary hate. He’s tweeting like his administration depends on it. It does.

What’s on your mind today?

 

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I think we can all safely assume that the depths to which the Republican party will sink to prop up Trump is a bottomless pit. There are still, believe it or not, those who think that the next big thing that happens will be the moment the GOP will turn on Trump. But we have all collectively been expecting the next big thing for almost two years. It did not come before the GOP primaries, it did not come during the GOP primaries, Trump did not pivot after securing the election, Trump did not pivot as the 2016 race heated up, Trump did not change after he “won,” he did not change after beings worn in, the GOP did not turn on him after his 100 days and they will not turn on him after he nukes California. If I am wrong about this, Tucker Carlson will eat my shoes. I say that because I am not a betting man and I have no desire to eat my shoes, but Carlson should have shoes shoved down his throat every day he breathes.

GOP did not turn on Trump after he fired Comey. Instead, they have gone after Comey. In 170517175257-03-robert-mueller-file-large-169recent days Trump has indicated via carefully leaked stories (which he then denies…) that he is considering firing Robert Muller. If anyone thought this would turn the GOP against him – LOL. Newt Gingrich has already began an assault on Muller. The most recent news (sorry, it’s by Haberman and Thrush, the Times Twins) is that Trump thought leaking the story that he’s considering firing Muller would make Muller more likely to exonerate Trump because, in Trump’s twisted head, Muller is desperate to keep his job.

The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also declined to offer his support for Mr. Mueller during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This is, of course, patently bananas. I doubt Muller cares about this job beyond conducting an investigation. Perhaps Trump thinks Muller is another one of his dim-witted White House monkeys like Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, people who are – for reasons that defy comprehension – so desperate to hold on to their jobs that they debase themselves each and every day.

On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.

“…the blessing that you’ve given us…” This was the former head of the RNC groveling before Trump and the entire cabinet and 1494875127256many cameras, dragging his pathetic broken body across a bed of nails and fire to lick the athlete’s foot fungus off Trump’s feet. Sean Spicer, his eyes hollow, hideous black bags under them, skin bloodless like a vampire, screams at the press The President has made it very clear that… each and every day. (Except the days he is replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders (I never fail to marvel at the glory of her name; God really does have a sense of humor), who is as haughty with the press as Spicer is hysterical. Huckabee Sanders yells at them too, but hers is a thinly veiled Fuck you, you numb nuts ratfucking pigs sort of contempt. The White House press deserves both.)

What it is the GOP at large wants to accomplish I’m not entirely certain. Yes, I know they want to repeal the ACA (chances of this have increased by a lot), and lower taxes on rich people and take grandma’s social security away. But it seems to me the long-term damage done to their party is irreparable. The Republican who stands up and leads the chant of “Impeach Trump!” is likely to be glorified in the future. Everyone else will be forgotten in infamy as a blob of GOP scum. If we ever thought John McCain would lead a Republican resistance, McCain never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to stand on actual principles instead of talking about them. After an embarrassing partisan display (but her e-mails) and humiliating mental collapse while questioning Comey, we now also learn Cindy McCain will work for Trump in the State Department.  But then again, I have been wrong before and if I am wrong about any of this again, I will let let Tucker Carlson eat my shoes.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind Widdershins?

The god couple…

Have you ever saved a fortune from a fortune cookie? I have. Why on earth would a person save a little wad of paper tucked into a baked concoction of egg whites, flour, and sugar? It makes no sense other than it might make you feel good or coincidentally validate some action or behavior in retrospect.

That’s what former FBI Director and Lurch body double, Jim Comey must have been thinking last week. Through all the “mildly nauseous” episodes and the “aw shucks Lordy” moments, it felt like “Long Tall Comey” was feeling almost zestful at the little cookies directed toward the ambulatory orange rind.

It rang true when Comey justified his memo writing by saying he did it because, “The nature of the person.  I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

What didn’t ring true was the triggering of his Hillary madness based upon Loretta Lynch asking if anyone minded calling the exercise a “matter” as opposed to an “investigation”. Really St. Jim? Was that the real trigger for all your madness and criticism of Hillary? Or was it perhaps just political cover?

When I put the pile of crap about the “nature of the orange person” in one hand and the mouse turd of calling something a “matter” versus an “investigation” in the other, one feels considerably weightier than the other.

But therein lies the rub. They might just both be true. Could be. I don’t feel they are both true, but I don’t know for certain. What I do know is that according to my values hierarchy, calling someone a liar who at his core is a dishonest and untrustworthy is a big deal.

Another off-pissing aspect was the credibility competition between Comey and Dolt 45. Invariably the male pundits trivialized the credibility contest as they do with sexual harassment claims. Instead of the insulting “he said, she said,” they dumbed it down to “he said, he said.”

Wrong. It was really “Trump said or tweeted and Comey swore under penalties of perjury.” Trump is an inveterate liar. He doesn’t mind being called a liar. It is a prerequisite for New York real estate development. It is what he does, has done, and will continue to do until his vermilion verisimilitude is relocated to the ninth circle of hell.

Just as Comey’s representations draw conflicted credibility responses due to confirmation bias, there are certain things about this entire sordid affair that only have one side. For instance, if Dolt 45 didn’t know better than to ask Comey to let the “Flynn thing go,” he must have had a series of memory numbing strokes since he asked Attorney General Granny Sessions and dead-eyed Douchner to leave the room.

And here’s something no one has offered to explain: For the past eighteen months, you couldn’t throw an empty vodka bottle anywhere near the Trump campaign without hitting a Russian. Flynn, Manafort, Page, Stone, Seb Gorka, Boris Epshteyn, Sessions, Douchner, Russian spymasters, Russian bankers, plus Boris and Natasha chasing Moose and Squirrel. Even Doltalot’s new lawyer has all sorts of Russian connections. No one has offered the first explanation of why the mango meerkat campaign suffers from an epidemic of Putinophilia.

Like Greyhounds chasing imaginary prey, everyone is going to be running in circles sniffing out obstruction of justice claims. Two points: (1) Obstruction doesn’t have to be successful to be illegal; and (2) Obstruction is always in the eye of the beholder and Republicans are unlikely to ever see it.

The challenge for us, who believe science-based solutions should underpin progressive policy, as we say it around these parts, is to keep our daubers up. We have eighteen months before the midterms and perhaps at least that long before we see the first reports from Special Counsel Mueller’s band of merry marauders. He does seem to be interested in money laundering and financial fraud.

While Russians don’t have fortune cookies, if they had fortune blinis, they might contain this old Russian adage: От тюрьмы и от сумы не зарекайся. Translated – Don’t denounce prison or poverty. It means anyone can lose all their money or be thrown in jail, no matter how they live or behave.

We can only hope for such a good fortune.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

SINCE THE ODD/STRANGE THING DIDN’T APPEAR TO GO OVER WELL HERE’S A BRAND NEW POST TO TAKE WHEREVER YOU WISH

 

 

 

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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!