The Widdershins

Archive for February 2012

The right shade of orange is very important

(Hey everyone…I thought it might be entertaining to read this old post from February of 2011 again, as we watch the Republican Party imploding right before our eyes. Enjoy!)

I often refer to the conservative takeover of the Republican Party as activism we lefty types would do well to emulate. However, there may be a limit to just how far the conservatives can go within that Party.  A genuine backlash is coming: a giant grunge match “to the pain” between the corporatists at the top of the Party and the anti-government/fundiegelical base at the bottom.

There are many indicators of the this growing rift between the elite GOP and the revolting base. One big one is that CPAC 2011 was not exactly a success with conservative activists, according to Fox News (and they would know!). This is remarkable because the convention is supposed to be given by, and for, conservatives.

WASHINGTON — If the mood at the Conservative Political Action Conference is any gauge, Republican presidential hopefuls have a lot of convincing to do in order to sway the base to their side.

(snip)

Some complained that the candidates with a sound policy vision had no “charisma.” Those with plenty of personality offered less in the way of substance, they said. Some were too far right, others weren’t conservative enough. Many said they’d prefer to “wait and see” before warming up to anyone in particular.

(snip)

Every prospective candidate who spoke over the past two days seemed to be trying very hard to tap into the Tea Party message, demonstrating the sustained influence of the movement which is relatively new to the CPAC scene. They all talked about fiscal conservatism rooted in constitutional principles and of limited government, about the founding fathers and much about Reagan.

“I think the Tea Party is going to have a very large impact,” said Watnick, who is a county Republican chair in Fresno, Calif., and a member of the Tea Party.

Allen suggested the Tea Party voters are also realists who are likely to be very discerning, and will want a candidate who “has that energy and creativity (of the Tea Party), but still has the best chance of being nominated, and elected.”

I’m just pausing here to let the description of Tea Party voters as “realists” who are “very discerning” sink in. These are the people who thought Christine O’Donnell, she who didn’t know about the separation of church and state being in the First Amendment, was a “realistic” nomination; same with Sharron Angle, who favored the reinstatment of Prohibition…IN LAS VEGAS.

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As you are aware, the United States military had one of those little oopsie moments in Afghanistan when they burned what they said were some older copies of the Quran (insert your own favorite spelling of the book).

It was not intentional.

The reason behind the burning according to the Associate Press was because:

Military sources told the Associated Press that books were removed from the library of a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages. Prisoners had been writing in the books as way of communicating.

Okay, I can see that.  The prisoners were sending cryptic messages to each other via their Holy Book.  The military authorities decide to remove the books and replace them.  The older ones needed to be disposed of.  How do you do that?  Well, when we have an old flag that is in disrepair and is no longer presentable to be flown, we take the flag and burn it in a dignified manner.  I’ll assume that is what the authorities at Bagram Air Base thought they were doing.  Well, we know how that turned out, don’t we? Did we commit a grave and serious offense?  Beats me.  For example, here are some suggestions on how to dispose of an old, torn or worn out Bible.

Now, until point I had no idea of how to dispose of a worn or torn Quran, but a search did lead me to this, and even here there seems to be some *wiggle-room* shall we say.

There are numerous schools of Islamic thinking and differences of opinion, but broadly speaking there are two preferable options.

Muslims are advised to wrap a worn and unusable copy of the Koran in cloth and to bury it in such a way that people do not walk over the place where the Koran is buried. That would be considered disrespectful.

The other option is to wrap the Koran and place it in a moving body of water, with some jurists advising that the Koran be tied to an object so that it sinks.

Where these two options are not available, some scholars do argue that Muslims can burn a Koran.

All of this that I’ve written leads up to the fact that because we did an *oopsie* President Obama issued an apology to Afghan Prez Karzai and said “sorry, we won’t do that again”.  And then all hell broke loose.

upset afghans

No, I don’t mean the Afghanis who were upset over this.  Nooooo….I mean the Republican presidential candidates are upset over the apology.  Lil Ricky in particular was *very* upset about this.  Said Lil Rick:

“There was nothing deliberately done wrong here,” Santorum said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”. “This was something that happened as a mistake. Killing Americans in uniform is not a mistake. It was something that deliberate.”

Lil Ricky

True enough Lil Rick, but generally when we do something inadvertently that’s a mistake, we tend to apologize.  If I come over to visit your house and I spill some wine on your carpet, I am going to profusely apologize and try to clean it up.  Likewise if I were to accidentally hit a golf ball through your window I would do the same and offer to pay for the window.

Presidential apologies for bad or unintentional things we have done are not something unusual.  For example:

  • Bill Clinton had to issue a mea culpa when we sort of accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.  Now of course it did not help that we were using out of date information.  Oops.
  • Dubya apologized for the way we treated some folk at Abu Ghraib prison.  Again, an oopsie moment.
  • Hell, even the Gipper signed legislation that issued an apology for the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II.  Ditto on the oopsie.
  • George H.W. Bush, ever the proper New Englander, issued another apology to Japanese-Americans in 1988, just to keep things tidy.

Really, I’m not overly concerned about the apology Obama made.  Now, I think it was overkill to send someone from DoD out to a mosque in Washington to issue another apology and the same goes for any other apologies that may have been made.  We made a mistake, oops, will not happen again.  Moreover, I absolutely promise that if we do something like this again, I will be totally upset about it and will gnash my teeth in public.

But only if Karzai stops wearing that bathrobe in public.

Karzai-bathrobe

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With all due respect to Flip Wilson and Steven King, I do not believe in the existence of “The Devil”.

Nor more than I do the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or the Boogieman.

An allegorical character created to strike fear into the hearts of the populace, Satan shares the stage with the likes of Valdemort and is nothing more than a handy invention to keep the faithful from going astray.

But for some he is real.  Take Rick Santorum for instance.  He sees the Devil lurking in every corner.  In fact, according to Rick, he has invaded the nation and is poised to take over the country unless he, Rick Santorum, puts a stop to it.  Someone has to I suppose, so why not Rick?

Rick stops just short of naming Barack Obama as the embodiment of this Fallen Angel. Thus far the Devil has invaded public schools, college universities, science, and Planned Parenthood.  The world, as seen from Rick’s pulpit, is in a struggle between “good and evil” with the Devil on one hand and the Baby Jesus on the other.  In other words, a genuine” all out war” is the necessary tool to combat those who reside in the camp of Satan versus those who stand with God.  Be prepared to take up arms, gather the troops, and fire up those weapons in advance to making the planet a Christian stronghold for the righteous!

Dangerous rhetoric to be sure but more disturbing is the surge of support Rick has managed to gain by speaking in delusional tongues. Declaring aloud the rantings of a madman, he has risen to the top of the current GOP nominees with an appeal that borders on lunacy.

The worry about Rick is that he is not a panderer.  Unlike Mitt and Newt who will say and do whatever is necessary to squeeze a vote out of the electorate, Rick Santorum says what he firmly believes.  And as the race continues, what he believes is fantastical.

This isn’t to say that there are not some” bad actors” at work.  You need go no further than the Wall Street bandits to recognize this much.  Much of what is going on today is the lack of accountability toward those who act outside the law – the Catholic Church itself is another example – but Rick fails to mention that in his sermons.

Rick Santorum has managed to slip away from the boundaries of commonsense by inserting his fundamentalist thinking into the political arena.  He believes that there should be no line drawn between the separation of church and state.  For someone running as the POTUS sworn to uphold the Constitution these are dangerous and frightening words. He has opened a path to a fascist and theocratical system that is terrifying if allowed to succeed.

I doubt that Rick Santorum will become the GOP nominee.  I doubt it but do not discount the possibility. In a nation of many uninformed voters there may be just enough of them who believe that “a Christian man of God” can lead us out of the wilderness of our own making.  Enough who see a “Christian warrior” take on the forces of evil much as the Germans saw in Hitler as the answer to return their national self esteem.

Eighty years later we are no more aware of the dangers of inflamed rhetoric, ideological thinking, or the fantasies of a lunatic focused on a path of destruction in order to realize his aims. Because that is where we are heading if this fool is allowed to succeed.

Welcome to the age of insanity in the year 2012.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. John 8:32
I dunno here. I’m either going to have to quit watching news shows altogether, or give up even the decaffeinated version of coffee. My head has been on a swivel all week long. Every time I turn on the television there’s something else going on.
The drums of war are beating loudly and clearly again. Darth Vader is making the rounds to (once again) assure us that, in no time flat, nuclear weapons will be sailing in our general direction, this time courtesy of Iran. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are concerned. All of the Republican candidates save Ron Paul, who is the only candidate with actual military experience albeit in a non-combatant role, are chiming in as well. Newt Gingrich says that our current President is “the most dangerous..ever.” Check this out from The Washington Post:

The former House Speaker was prattling on about how Obama has offered up the U. S. of A. on an altar to “radical Islamists.”
Across the planet today, the forces of religious repression are on the march and this administration has intellectually disarmed. It has morally disarmed. It is incapable of describing what threatens us.. . .
The president wants to unilaterally weaken the United States. He wants to cut the aid to Israel for its anti-ballistic missile defense. He refuses to take Iran seriously. We are in a world that is very dangerous. And I say this to those of you who represent the next generation because you’re going to bear the consequences. We are really at risk someday in your lifetime of losing an American city. . . .
So, defeating Barack Obama becomes, in fact, a duty of national security because the fact is that he is incapable of defending the United States.”

Further, he is most annoyed by the President’s apology to the Afghanis over the recent Koran burnings.  Indeed, Newt wants an apology from Hamid Kharzi:

Campaigning in Washington state, Gingrich said Afghan President Hamid Karzi owes the U.S. an apology for the shootings.

“There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period,” Gingrich said.

“And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care.”

Can you just imagine Newt if anyone, inadvertently or otherwise, flamed up a crate of Bibles?

In the meantime, Mitt Romney is being his dorky self.  He managed to point out that he has a classic Mustang (a birthday present) and a truck, and his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs”.  Just plain folks.  One of the talk show hosts said that Mitt would have been a terrific candidate in a silent movie, and that may well be the absolute truth.  No matter what he says or does, he just cannot seem to grasp that his audience is the people that he fired/laid off.  If he could just keep that in mind, it could be a whole different campaign.

Rick Santorum has been a busy, busy fellow.  I hardly know where to begin.  He has campaigned hard against birth control in this political incarnation (he was moderately pro-choice in the Nineties), and cites his daughter Isabella.  Bella has Trisomy 18, which is also known as Edward’s syndrome.  These children are born to older mothers, although many die in utero.  They rarely live past a year of age, as they have a host of problems with the heart, the kidneys and the lungs.  They have feeding problems and are the embodiment of special needs children.  Joe Klein was so moved by Santorum’s devotion to his little girl that he wrote an article about them entitled Rick Santorum’s Inconvenient Truths.  I cannot disagree – the little girl has been in a warm, loving home for three years, and will be cherished as long as she lives.  Somehow, though, Joe missed the point that most of us do not have the Santorum’s resources.  Their family income was well over a million dollars last year.  Plus, Karen Santorum is both an RN and a stay at home mom.  I would also hazard a guess that Mrs. S. is probably not doing all of her own housework, and that they have excellent health coverage.  I imagine that more women might choose to give birth to a special needs child should they not be working, caring for a family unassisted by household help, and without top-notch health coverage.

Flushed with that actually deserved attaboy, Rick went on the road in order to tout his belief against the separation of church and state.  Yep – you heard me.  The same guy that was ranting about government trying to tell the church what to do now says that there should be no separation, it’s about the totally free practice of religion with no governmental interference.  Confused?  Me, too:

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

He was referring to a 1960 speech by then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy on religion and governance, which Santorum said “makes me throw up.”

“Because the first line, first substantive line in the speech says, ‘I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “You bet that makes you throw up.”

Santorum said Kennedy “was trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you.”

Kennedy gave the speech during his campaign for presidency because of concerns about his Catholic faith. He assured the public, including concerned Protestant leaders, that he would not be “the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Santorum, who is Catholic, has made his faith and religion a tenet of his campaign, and promised he would do so as president, too.

He said Kennedy meant that “people of faith have no role in the public square.”

“This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion,” Santorum said.

Uh, actually that’s not at all what he meant, Rick, and I honestly doubt that you were old enough to remember watching the speech.  At the time, Catholicism was felt to be a far-out religion by much of the country.  Of course, if you keep this up, it may be so again.

Someone on MSNBC dug up a clip of a speech that Rick Santorum gave at Ave Maria University several years ago in which he effectively disenfranchised the majority of American Christians:

As far as Rick Santorum is concerned, mainstream Protestantism “is gone from the world of Christianity.” That’s what he told students at Florida’s Ave Maria University, founded by Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan, during a 2008 lecture.

The clip was unearthed by People for the American Way and played on Saturday’s “Up With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.

“We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic. But the Judeo-Christian ethic — sure the Catholics had some influence — but this was a Protestant country,” said Santorum. “And the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is a shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity.”

Take that, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Unitarians, Quakers, and the rest of the more traditionally orthodox  Christian churches.  You are officially under the bus with Democrats, Libertarians,Independents,humanists, practitioners of the dark art of contraception,  LGBT,  feminists, and anybody else that is not in lockstep with his beliefs.  You’ll grow to like it here.  It’s shady and cool and the company is downright pleasant.  The alternative is out THERE.  With HIM.  Give it some thought.

So there you have it, Widdershins.  Rick is totally free to practice his flavor of Catholicism , and everyone else can practice as he sees fit.  You betcha.  I’m willing to bet that the RNC is feeling a bit anxious right about now as they watch Obama’s poll numbers bounce sharply upwards, varying directly with Rick’s rhetoric. Further, how can they ever manage to steer towards the middle and capture Indies and Jacksonian Democrats?  At this rate, they’ll have to steer to the middle to wave at the ghost of George Corley Wallace.  Makes me wonder if they’ll just close the doors to the Tampa center and go out like the Branch Davidians.

This is an open thread.

Keyboards – they come in a number of styles ranging from the mighty pipe organ to a concertina.  Keyboards music is even more diverse, and their musicians even moreso.  Like many of my generation, I was “sent” to piano lessons.  I learned to love music and hate piano lessons.  My fingers to this day do not span an octave, and that is seriously limiting.  Nevertheless, I really enjoy the talents of a skilled musician and it really wasn’t easy to pare my list down.  As per usual, my taste is contemporary and I truly hope that DYB will bail me out in the classical genre.

(1) Elton John:  While not my favorite of his tunes, Border Song showcases his talent beautifully.

(2) Billy Joel:  He has some marvelous piano music, but none much better than in Prelude/ Angry Young Man.

(3) Thelonius Monk:  By and large, I am not a huge fan of jazz.  That said, his talent is unmistakable.  One of my sorority sister was deep into Monk, and always played You Are Too Beautiful after a bad break-up.  She had several of them, and I guess it grew on me.

(4) David Lanz:  A truly gifted musician.  Cristofori’s Dream is almost mystical.

(5) Peter Nero:  My mother really liked Peter Nero.  He does justice to one of my favorite Lettermen songs, When I Fall In Love. Sadly, I could not find a clip of this, so here’s my next favorite Theme From Summer of ’42

Bonus Pick:

You can’t really consider keyboards without giving a nod to the pipe organ.  Growing up Catholic afforded me the opportunity to hear some beautiful organ music.

The world’s biggest can be found at Macy’s in Philadelphia.  The second largest is in the chapel of the US Military Academy at West Point, and I’ve been treated to that one.  It boasts six manuals,466 rands, and a total of 23, 236 pipes.  Here’s an example of the sound, Trumpet Tune:

This is an open thread.  Enjoy, because we made it through another week.

I’m talking about women here.

We come in all shapes, sizes, color, and intellect. We don’t all think alike and our values may differ from one to another. Despite our differences we do share one thing in common:

Our bodies are designed as vessels. It is us – the better half – who ensures the propagation of the human race. Without that “special compartment” concealed within the folds of our anatomy, “life” would come to an abrupt halt.

For most women, that “specialness” comes with a warning. We do not want to be taken for granted. We prefer to decide for ourselves the number of children we are willing to bear, raise, nurture, and prepare to enter the world. The “hand that rocks the cradle” is not a machine. Like any machine it comes with an on and off switch and we reserve that right to “flip it” at any time we see fit.

What was once considered settled law, guaranteeing the right to privacy and the right to make fateful decisions based on that right alone, is now a political football that has become “the war on women”.

There is an idiot contingency out there who believe otherwise. These morons are focused on their interpretation of “free will” by denying it outright. Granting “personhood” to a zygote is the first step toward the elimination of freedom of choice. In this instance all women are grouped together as one.

In the first place, not all women come equipped with the “maternal instinct”. They prefer their own version of individuality. Believe it or not, there are many women who do not consider child bearing a top priority. My own daughter is one of them. She made up her mind a long time ago and stuck to it. She had other plans for living her own life and valued her own instincts for how she preferred to set her own course. And she has no regrets.

I’d like to think that my involvement in the Women’s Movement way back when – small as it was – allowed her to be her own person. To decide for herself without interference to be her own person.

My daughter in law has always wanted to be a mother. But she set boundaries. Two children, evenly spaced, was the goal she set and she also stuck to it. The joy for her is watching her daughters grow and mature and she is devoted to exposing them to all that life offers.

Each of these women share a commonality that may one day be unavailable to my granddaughters: the ability to construct a course that fits their purpose – the freedom to choose. That freedom is in jeopardy today as more and more state legislatures focus on the rights of the zygote over the role of women in a culture that continues to move backwards.

We are not all alike. We do not share the same values because we are who we are as individuals.  Force will not change that.  Freed from the bonds of servitude, women have strived to become who they were born to be.  Roe v Wade put an end to the “barefoot and pregnant” generations that came before us.

We will not go silently. We will not be fettered. We will not return to the “back alley” solution. 

We will be heard.

Let me first say that Chris Matthews has often shown a degree of brilliance in his writing.

A talented wordsmith, he has often sorted through some of the trash that passes for politics and puts a fine point on the meaningless apparatus commonly known as congress.

But having said that, it might be a good idea to examine Chris Matthews who has been awarded a daily forum to put forth his message that possibly influences those out there who rely on his take on things.

Having been raised Catholic in an Irish family, I can spot the chinks in his armor better than most.

Chris Matthews may never have been the schoolyard “bully” but he was likely the kid who held his books during a skirmish.  Never one to dirty his own hands or school uniform, Chris admired the “macho” of those who did.

You can see and hear it in the way he presents his arguments.  Chris was the type of Catholic school kid who “obeyed” the nuns who trained and molded young boys before passing them onto the Jesuits for further indoctrination.  Chris comes from that era.

Women were regarded as “homemakers”, expected to have those shirts and ties ironed in time for Sunday Mass where the whole family took their seats and attuned their ears for whatever “edicts” were being passed down from Rome via the parish priest.  The priest was a “god like” figure in those homes and women were the handmaidens, cast in the role of caregiver, relegated to a corner in the room where her interruptions went unheard.

This was evident when Chris battled against the campaign of Hillary Clinton suggestng that the only way she had risen to this level was due in large part to her husband’s infidelity. Saying aloud that she had only been elected to the Senate “out of pity”, Hillary was not to be taken seriously.

Instead Chris saved his praise for the likes of Obama, a man who had yet to prove one way or the other that he had the ability to lead.  It sent “tingles down the leg” of Chris Matthews that even found Keith Olbermann cringing in embarrassment.

Chris was pretty much in the camp of George W. Bush during the 2000 election recount.  Judging him to be more “macho” than “wonky” Gore, he had difficulty hiding his support of a dolt who could barely string an articulate sentence together which was ironic since this was his own area of expertise .

When Rudy Giuliani threw his hat into the ring Chris was beside himself with pleasure.  As Chris saw it, Giuliani with his 3 marriages and ties to corruption was a “real man”.  The fact that he was also raised Roman Catholic allowed Chris to offer another “pass” to an otherwise hideous human being who dated his third wife while still married to the second.

Chris’s ideology has no more been evident than the recent faux flap concerning the issue of contraception, abortion, and the Catholic Church.  Surrounding himself with liked minded Catholics like E.J. Dionne and Joan Walsh, Chris is more than happy to overlook the egregious behavior of the Catholic hierarchy when it came to charges of widespread pedophilia, and confer upon this body the “right to moral authority”.   In other words, in the world of Chris Matthews the Church and its administration can do no wrong.  Women should expect nothing more than to be “put in their proper place” by adhering to these men who regard them with contempt.

Chris may declare his “liberalism” using his time spent working for Tip O’Neil.  But it goes deeper than that.  Tip himself was the ultimate Irish Catholic politician from Boston, raised in the same church with the same rules and the same background that produced Chris Matthews.  “Liberal” to a point but beholden to the likes of Cardinal Cushing and Cardinal Law.

Congenial, but a tough cookie, Tip was for Chris all that he himself had ever dreamed of being.  A political success, powerful, and attached to the same ideology that resides within all Catholic raised men from a certain generation.  The “infallability” of Rome is what guides their thinking.

Chris has even managed to find something palatable in the efforts of Rick Santorum by crediting him with “holding true to his principles” without suggesting that this man is severely warped.  Because Rick is a Catholic, Chris is all too offer him a “pass” ignoring the fact that the man is a danger to women, their rights, and their healthcare.

I grew up surrounded by these men imbued with the belief that the clergy was to be revered, nuns to be obeyed, women nothing more than servants, equality to be sacrificed in the face of dogma.

“Real men” are the defenders of women.  Men who prefer equality to subservience.  Men who regard women as full partners.  This belief is far from the viewpoint of Chris Matthews who does – unfortunately – carry influence through a prism of misogyny that touches his audience.

Scratch his surface and you will discover a believer in that women must be “protected” from themselves.  That it is duty sanctioned by the Church and honored by men like him who cling to those teachings.  It is the “June Cleaver” approach to a woman’s place in society.   Deference.

Chris Matthews is indeed a “throwback” to an era when the Church held sway and dissent was restricted. It’s power lies within those who dare not question.  The Church will continue to flourish as long as they have apologists like Chris Matthews to plead the case.

All I ask is to be spared the thinking of Chris Matthews and those like him who agree.   It is neither “liberal” nor is it “fair”.


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.1 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

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IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

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