The Widdershins

The liberals made my life miserable for 43 years. And I’m going to make their lives miserable for 43 years.

Clarence Thomas to his clerks in 1993

This is the petty schmuck who has led the charge to make all the people he hates – women, LGBTQ+, and non-Christofascists in general – into property of the State. I say “the State” because the federal government, in the person of six ideologues who never should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, has removed basic privacy protections from all of us.

The State has decided that only women who live in blue states will have rights to their own bodies. In essence, when one person is denied the guarantee of freedom, it opens up the precedent that everyone can be denied the guarantee of freedom. Thomas and the five ChristoClowns have decided that no one has rights to their own bodies except white, straight, Christian men. (I think Clarence Thomas counts himself as white – that’s the only explanation for his buying in to this anti-American bullsh*t.)

As Quixote pointed out in comments, this is the re-establishment of slavery; but Slavery 2.0 casts a much wider net than the original. Friday’s decision removed basic human rights from 166 million women and girls. And each of those women and girls has many people that love her and will grieve her pain along with her. So when she is raped and has to bear her rapist’s child, or dies in childbirth, or dies from an ectopic pregnancy, or lives in poverty and misery because she can’t afford a child, this suffering doesn’t just impact her. It impacts everyone around her.

The horrors that will spread from this decision are unimaginable, and I think we are all incredulous that no one could see it coming in 2016. Young white people in particular should have come out in droves to vote for Hillary, but no. They couldn’t be bothered because “both parties are the same” and “Bernie woulda won.” Do y’all get it now, Gen Z and Millennials? You’re the ones who will actually be impacted by this. I’m going to be 55 this year and can no longer get pregnant, which oddly, makes me feel guilty that I won’t be directly miserable along with so many others. (Jewish guilt is rough.)

For those who say this will only impact women of color, and wealthy white women in red states will be fine because they can travel to other states, I think they’re in for a surprise. The Christofascists have thought of that loophole. They want to test women for pregnancy before allowing them to travel out of state. And, they want to criminalize miscarriages. Sounds like Slavery 1.0, doesn’t it? Will they be sending bounty hunters to capture runaway pregnant women if they cross the border “illegally” to states where they’re not considered property?

Based on the wave of protests that started on Friday and will likely continue, as well as the vast majority of Americans who disagree with SCOTUS, this terrible decision will drive enormous turnout in 2022 and the Democrats will increase their majorities in the House and Senate. (This doesn’t even count the impact the J6 hearings have had on the QOP – but that’s for another post. That will also be quite significant.) Nevertheless, I agree with Quixote, DYB and other Widdershins that every Democrat running for office in 2022 needs to be on message as to what they are going to do to fix this. I’d like to hear them say three things: 1) I will vote to amend the filibuster to make progress on legislation the Republicans are blocking; 2) I will vote to expand the Supreme Court and 3) I will vote “yes” on the Women’s Health Protection Act. None of these things can happen without two more Senate Democrats to nullify Manchinema’s inconsistent insistence on keeping the filibuster sacrosanct sometimes, whatever whatever.

The QOP has massively overstepped both their power and their mandate. They may be celebrating now, but they will be crying in November, and for decades to come. And Clarence Thomas, you will be f*cking miserable for the rest of your disgusting, pathetic life.

Shchedryk

Posted on: June 17, 2022

Hello Widdershins,

The 1/6 Commission continues to hold hearings, revealing more and more details about how much planning Trump and Friends were doing to overthrow the US Government. 99.999999% of Republican went along with Trump’s plan. And they are all continuing to support him now. The notable exceptions you can count on maybe two hands. The coup is ongoing.

Also ongoing is the war in Ukraine. Putin continues offensives in parts of the country, even as other regions – including the capitol Kyiv – have seemingly resumed their normal lives. How odd to live a normal life in Kyiv while war rages not far away. Germany, France, and Italy continue to enable Putin by calling for Europe and US to not humiliate Putin. They continue to veto providing certain weapons to Ukraine. They continue to cast doubt on Ukraine being able to join the EU. This week the three leaders of these nations finally came to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy. But someone called this image of Emmanuel Macron embracing Volodymyr Zelenskyy “Judas’ Kiss.” That may be what Zelenskyy is thinking.

French President Emmanuel Macron embracing Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Mykola Leontovych

The ancient Ukrainian folk chant Shchedryk (based on a simple 4 note pattern, which people used to believe had magical properties) about a swallow that flew into a house on New Year (before Christianity came to Ukraine, New Year was in April), sang about all the good things the family had achieved, and promised to return the following New Year/Spring. The word “shchedry” actually means “generous.” After Christianity came to Ukraine, New Year moved to January and the chant became associated with the Feast of Epiphany, which took place on January 18th – what is called “The Old New Year” – which was New Year on the Julian calendar. Ukrainians called this the “Shchedry vechir,” or “Generous Evening.” (All other things aside: that’s how old Ukraine is, in spite of what Putin likes to believe when he discusses Russian history.) Back to Shchedryk: in 1904 the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) composed a song based on this ancient 4-note motif, for a cappella choir, though the song was not premiered until 1916. On January 21-22, 1921, Leontovych was visiting his parents for the Eastern Orthodox Feast of Nativity in the town of Tulchyn. A man asked the family to stay with them for the night because he had nowhere else to go. They agreed and he shared the room with Leontovych. In the morning the man – who turned out to be a Chekist (Soviet secret service agent) Afanasy Grishchenko – shot Leontovych, who bled to death from the wounds. Later that year, in October 1921, the Ukrainian National Chorus performed Leontovych’s Shchedryk in a concert at Carnegie Hall. Among those present was the American composer Peter Wilhousky – who was so struck by the work that he replaced the ancient Ukrainian text with completely unrelated English words, eventually copyrighted them, and today the composition is known in the West as the Christmas carol “Carol of the Bells.” While Leontovych is revered in Ukraine (in his own time, the French called him the Ukrainian Bach), in the West he is forgotten and and no one even knows he composed one of our most frequently performed songs. Here it is then: as composed by Leontovych in 1904, using the ancient 4-note motif, with its original ancient Ukrainian text.

Copyright 2021, Getty Images

Widdershins, with a week like this coming up, I hope you’re getting your rest, eating your gluten-free Wheaties with dairy-free milk, and planning to employ whatever strategy de-stresses you.

This week, we have the January 6th hearings continued. Unfortunately, these are not televised during primetime, but that’s why we have the magic of DVR – and pundits to summarize them for us if we miss them. Here’s the schedule so far:

  • Monday at 10 a.m.: Drumpf’s disinformation plan to spread the Big Lie despite knowing he lost (this proves intent)
  • Wednesday at 10 a.m.: The resignation threats of senior officials
  • Thursday at 1 p.m.: The pressure campaign against Pence
  • No dates yet set: Future hearings will cover Trump’s efforts to goad state legislators and election officials into changing their election results and draw direct lines to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack,

I think it’s very interesting that the future dates haven’t been set. I have two guesses about this: 1) Actions by the DOJ may dictate those dates (for example, if the DOJ needs people the Committee is trying to subpoena or compel to testify); and/or 2) The Committee is gauging the effectiveness of the hearings in changing the narrative around Drumpf, both from the media and from voters. Both of these could be wrong, of course.

There are many other things happening now as well – the imminent destruction of Roe v. Wade, the strange details of Kavanaugh’s stalker, the continuing war of aggression against Ukraine – and I, for one, have been quite tense about everything. Adding to my stress is my Jewish guilt (oy!). I feel guilty that if Roe v. Wade gets overturned I’ll probably be okay, because I’m past my childbearing years. I should be suffering more, I tell you!

My advice to get us through all of this insanity: Lean into thankfulness for what we have in this life. And, let’s be proud of ourselves for the goodness we’ve managed to create. Yes, many of us are both marginalized and privileged – it’s just part of who we are in this crazy old world. We are complex, beautiful tapestries, and I’m grateful for each and every one of you.

Happy hump day Widdershins!

The January 6 commission is about to hold public hearings to show some of the mountains of evidence they have collected with about 1,000 interviews and many thousands of documents. One “news” network has decided not to air it. We all know which one. They need to protect themselves, I suppose, since we know some of their highest rated prime time hosts were active participants in the attempted coup. They are also trying to protect their audience from the truth. Meanwhile, as we know, they held countless hours of hearings about Benghazi. But an attempt to overthrow the US government is not big enough news for them.

“The committee will present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power,” the panel said.

– CNN

The hearings begin tomorrow. Will they make any difference? I’m trying to be optimistic…

As our dear Fredster used to say, I’ve “Gone Fishin'” for a while. I’m at the beach in SoCal, where it is currently “June Gloom” every day. (Annie knows what I’m talking about!) So far my swimsuit and I have not been seen together, and I’m not sure we will be. But still, the time away from work has been very special.

The news has been a mix of good and bad…the good: yesterday, all three Rethugs who refused to rig the Georgia election for Drumpf won their primary elections. The bad: Marjorie Traitor Greene won her primary election. And of course, Texas continues its freefall into dystopia under Greg Abbott’s “leadership,” as 19 children, two teachers and a grandmother were murdered yesterday by a mentally ill 18-year-old who (cuz Texas) was able to purchase body armor and an automatic weapon without the most rudimentary check or balance.

My position on guns is, most people don’t need them and shouldn’t have them. The whole “hunting” thing is absurd. If you are truly a hunter, you need a rifle, not an automatic weapon or a handgun, and how many people these days are really out hunting for their supper? I believe we should take peoples’ guns away. Due to decades of deregulation from state and federal Republicans, the situation in this country has become completely untenable. Guns have proliferated beyond any reasonable interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. People cannot go anywhere in public, and kids cannot go to school, without a low-level hum of terror through their veins. Nowhere is safe.

If I had my way, this would be the way we would handle guns in America.

I know these are strong statements, but there is a lot of grim data to back them up. Here are a few lowlights from the Gun Violence Archive for 2022 (yes, this is just for this year):

Number of mass shootings: 214
Number of people killed and injured in mass shootings: 1154
State where the most mass shootings occurred (21 this year): Texas

But of course, this is just another public safety hazard we are expected to endure in this country, along with the latest wave of COVID, because Republican voters anesthetized by Faux News and Sinclair Broadcasting are voting for people who are literally killing them. They’re sleepwalking into their own deaths, and taking the rest of the country with them.

All I can say is, vote. Vote Democratic in every election, even if it’s for dogcatcher. If everyone who can vote comes out to vote (this includes the young ‘uns), Republicans will never win another election. Let’s hope people finally do what they need to do in 2022. Otherwise, this is going to be how we handle each and every horrible, preventable tragedy.

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