The Widdershins

Here and There

Posted on: December 7, 2016

white-houseA few of random thoughts for the week, my fellow Widdershins.

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding in Washington DC. My friend, Mike, served for 5 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked his way to Captain before leaving service. He came out of the closet to his friends in the army shortly before leaving and before DADT was repealed.  (His husband used to work in a publicity firm in DC that serves politicians. Because everybody needs good PR.) They took Trump’s election very personally, especially as a gay couple. But it was encouraging to have the military chaplain, who presided over the ceremony, acknowledge how difficult life for gay men and women is in the military and how much he hopes things get better.

I was seated at the table with some of my friend’s former military brothers and sisters, all straight. My direct neighbor was one very Southern redneck from Texas.  I, the East coast elite, looked at him with suspicion at first. But as he cheered the grooms’ first dance I was reminded of a story another friend once told me about Spike Lee. That friend was a manager of a movie theater in Harlem and they held premieres of several Spike Lee movies. At one premiere a fight broke out in the audience. Lee came up to my friend afterwards and apologized for the fight, though he had nothing to do with it. My friend responded: “Oh it’s fine, we were expecting it so we were prepared.” Lee responded: “You shouldn’t have expected it and it shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry it happened.” Lessons learned about assumptions, so I shouldn’t have made any about this large Southern military man and what he thinks about gay people and their marriages.


Speaking of gay, Madonna was just named Billboard Magazine’s woman of the year. I love Madonna, not just in that back-handed “Well she’s proved her mettle for 30 years and she’s got a few big hits” sort of way. I genuinely love her music, she’s written some of the most infectious and important pop songs of the last 30 years.  She’s charted more No. 1 hits than any other artist in Billboard’s history. Her tours have earned $1.3 billion, the most of any female artist.  So it’s not just shock values, she has proven her musical chops for 30 years.  I also admire her determination. This is one woman who refused to bake cookies.  One may not like her music or respect her approach to fame, but it’s hard to argue she’s more famous than Jesus’s mother at this point.  That’s quite the feat.  She’s paved the way for many women in the entertainment industry. Now, as a 58 year old, she’s still pushing boundaries. About a year ago she posted a photo to Instragram with hairy armpits. Internet broke. People were very upset. Mind you, she caused controversy with hairy armpits in the 1980’s too and maybe the fact that people were still angry about it is why it was important for her post the photo. The Billboard interview that accompanies the Woman of the Year headline, by the actress Elizabeth Banks, touches on a few interesting topics. Madonna hosted a rally for Hillary Clinton in Washington Square Park in NYC the night before the election. She says since the election she’s felt like “someone died.” And she was disappointed by how many women voted for Trump.

Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.

Madonna is also asked about ageism in the entertainment industry and America. One thing people constantly tell Madonna now is she should stop flaunting her boobs or hairy armpits because she’s an old woman. One way to dismiss her is to call her “irrelevant.” Nobody says that about Mick Jagger. And they were telling Madonna to not flaunt her boobs when she was in her 20’s too.

Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo [DiCaprio] is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.


lincoln-memorialAnd speaking of Washington DC, above is a photo we took at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

And one of the places we visited was the Holocaust Museum. The subject of the Holocaust is one I’ve read about a fair amount in the past. Nazi atrocities have always fascinated me so I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject because I keep trying to understand how ordinary people could such awful things. I highly recommend Richard Rhodes’ “Masters of Death,” for example, about the Einsatzgruppen, an elite group of SS soldiers who followed the German army into Eastern Europe and exterminated, virtually by hand, about 1.5 million people as the German Army advanced into the Soviet Union in 1941.  It was the first step of Hitler’s Final Solution. So the images and the stories at the museum are something I have been reading about and studying for some time. But having everything assembled in one place and in such a thorough fashion is very heavy. Two places at the exhibit were particularly haunting. At the end of the Final Solution section the hundreds of shoes in a pile are hair-raising. But the most emotional moment, unexpectedly so, was walking through a train car used to deport Jews to Dachau. You walk in, you stop for a moment inside – and it just takes your breath away. You can hear the voices still echoing inside the walls.

In the first part of the exhibit, about Hitler’s rise to power, it’s really difficult to not see the ascendancy of Trump and its parallels to Hitler. I know, you’re not supposed to compare people to Hitler. But sometimes you can and you should. Hitler rose in power in part because nobody believed he would do any of the horrible things he said he would do. His ideas and philosophies were not new to anyone. He articulated them in his book and he spoke about them at length as he rose to power, before he was appointed to be the Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler challenged Hindenburg for Presidency in 1932. The vote was close and they had to have a run-off, one week of campaigning. Hindenburg delivered one radio address. Hitler rented a plane from Lufthansa and spent the week flying around Germany, holding rallies in 22 cities in one week. The public was electrified, he made headlines of every newspaper. Hindenburg, a very well-known figure, won the run-off. But Hitler, the master rally-holder, became a big enough thorn in Hindenburg’s side that he appointed Hitler to be Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg’s allies convinced the aging President that Hitler could be controlled from the inside and that appointing him would be harmless. We know the rest.


As Germany’s Left shattered because nobody could agree on a common adversary, and a certain wing of the Left didn’t think everyone else was pure enough to support – Hitler, who promised the frustrated Germans that he would make Germany relevant again – quickly consolidated his power. He then did exactly what he said he would do. In one documentary shown at the museum, a female reporter returning from Germany held a press-conference on a boat. (Sadly I did not jot down her name and have not been successful at locating this press-conference online. I couldn’t even narrow down the name of the reporter.) But she said explicitly that she observed that the Nazis had started doing in Germany exactly what they all along said they were going to do, so maybe America and the world should start taking them seriously.

I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. I’m just saying…

One thing I really liked in the exhibit is that the final section is dedicated to many individuals who fought against the Nazis and helped Jews during the Holocaust.  There are many names and photographs, and brief summaries of how they helped.  None of them are as famous as Oscar Schindler.  But how amazing that someone remembers their individual stories, ordinary men and women of different ages, backgrounds, professions and religions, who risked their own lives to save others.

I kept checking for their death dates and was glad to see that many of them did survive the war and lived long lives.  Though not all.


Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christoph Probst in summer 1942

A few college students formed a small group The White Rose. Consisting of students from University of Munich that included siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst,  Alex Schmorell, another Scholl sibling Inge and a philosophy professor Kurt Huber.  The students were in their early 20’s.  Between June 1942 and February 1943 they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazis and their mass murders of Jews, some of which the members of The White Rose hand witnessed first-hand at home and at the front.  Soon they were all arrested and executed.  Hans Scholl’s final words were: “Long live Freedom!”

Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into a rallying activism against Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. Their actions were mostly dismissed, until after the war when their efforts were eventually praised by the German consciousness.



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



60 Responses to "Here and There"

Here is Piers Morgan on Madonna earlier today, which proves her every point.

DYB, great post and I’m glad your friends had a wonderful wedding with good friends around them. I must say I totally agree on Madonna. She is an amazing artist and what I have found most amazing is the way she can reinvent herself — that is brilliance.

My visit to the Holocaust Museum took me weeks to get over. It hollowed me out emotionally. I couldn’t get my head around it and just like you, I heard the voices on the train car. There’s no telling what I missed because I was misty-eyed most of the time.

Thought this tweet fits:


DYB, much happiness to your friends in their married life! And good story about not judging by appearances.

As for comparisons — Hitler had his own pattern of evil, but the politicians and movements of hate and tyranny all have common characteristics.

Great and thoughtful post DYB. Should I make it to the District again, the Holocaust Museum is a place I would definitely visit, painful as it might be.

Don’t worry about comparing tRump to Hitler as I’m sure many have thought about that. It crossed my mind to wonder if he’s the antichrist?

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

And I forgot to add congrats to your friends!! 💗


Something to consider for the young lads for Christmas (I wish I had had one) 😱

If there was any doubt, there is no such thing as “Trumpism” — it is just fascist conservatism on steroids swilling Red Bull. So much for Ivanka and Al “Lockbox – won’t fight for the Presidency” Gore.

If I were a polar bear, I would be praying Elon Musk would take me to Mars. Goodbye Paris Agreement.

On his Linked In page, Scott Pruitt, OK attorney general, boasts of being “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

[Trump has vowed to kill the Clean Power Plan. Here’s how he might — and might not — succeed]

After he was elected attorney general in 2010, Pruitt established a “Federalism Unit” to “more effectively combat unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach by federal agencies, boards and offices,” according to his online bio.

And he has gone on to challenge the administration not just over the environment but over a host of other areas. He joined other Republican attorneys general in a lawsuit over Obama’s immigration policies. He has also sued the administration over the Affordable Care Act, saying the healthcare mandate on religious employers to provide coverage including contraception was unconstitutional. He has sued over the Dodd-Frank financial reform too.

@9> It’s totally bonkers, what he is doing. A woman who doesn’t believe public education is education secretary, a man who doesn’t believe in global warming is the EPA head. It’s bonkers. Bonkers!

@9 & 10: And what rough beast…

Too delicious!


@Fredster, I’ve had lines from Yeat’s Second Coming appearing in my mind for weeks now, since 11/8.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed…

and, from To A Friend Whose Work has Come to Nothing:

“…how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours” eyes?

Ooops, I think I left an end italics off somewhere.

Eichenwald is even more hard-hitting than ever!

@13: It looks okay Luna. But with this theme blockquotes and italics look the same except for the indentation in the blockquotes.

And lest we forget the anniversary today:

@12> OMG! Hahahaha.

@15> He’s definitely not pulling any punches.

I just watched NBC’s live performance of “Hairspray,” and all I can say to the trumpsters is “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”

@20: Oh hell, I forgot that was on. 😦

DYB, excellent post! I’m too beat to make an intelligent comment about anything (haha! like I could if I was full of energy!), but I also enjoyed the tweets and the Pearl Harbor pictures. Hope you’re all having as good of a week as possible. I feel like we’re in Lord of the Rings territory.

Good post DYB. I also love Madonna. I got into a spat online with a friend griping about her public dislike of Trump. I suggested that Madonna has a right to have an opinion and she just happens to have a public voice to air it. The conversation went nowhere, even though I remained civil.
@22 So can you help me find Lothlorien? I am so sorry about the Pruitt appt. When Are the Trumpies going to realize that he is appointing the very worse and not the best people? I still don’t see any alarm on the faces of the people I work with. And you guys, my brother-in-law worked for both Devon and Chesapeake here in Ok. He was an engineer, made a 6 figure salary AND received a bonus every year equivalent to his salary. The same one, married to my sister, who was alarmed when I stood up and said I was voting for Hillary AND tried to give me the Bay Buchannan trash book on her. Yep. I live in OK around those fine Republicans and am related to some of them.

And this is a must read:”Please understand that I am not mad at you because Clinton lost. I am totally unconcerned that you and I have different ‘politics.’ And I don’t think less of you because you voted one way and I another. No, I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled person while addressing a crowd and still supported him. I think less of you because you saw a candidate spout clear racism day after day and still backed him. I think less of you because you heard him advocate for war crimes and still thought he should be given the reins of government. I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman’s worth to where she landed on a scale of 1 to 10 and still got on board. I think less of you because you stood by silently while he labeled Mexicans as criminals and Muslims as terrorists.

“It wasn’t your politics I found repulsive. No, it was your willingness to support someone who spouts racism, sexism, and cruelty almost every time he opens his mouth. You sided with a bully when it should have mattered most, and that is something I will never be able to forget.

“So in response to your post-election expression of hope, no, you and I won’t be ‘coming together to move forward.’ Obviously, the president-elect disgusts me; but it is the fact that he doesn’t disgust you that will stick with me long after the election.”

@24 – My aunt sent me that letter. It’s really on point.

DYB, wonderful post.

When Drumpf was selected as “Person of the Year,” the first thing I thought was “so was Hitler.” It’s not a compliment.

I had dinner with a couple of colleagues last night. One was thinking Drumpf ain’t so bad, and the other, while he voted for Hillary, wants to have hope. It was a respectful conversation, but I thought, you know, it’s not that people aren’t seeing what Drumpf is, it’s that they want to have hope that it won’t be so bad. They think the Rethugs in Congress will save them. I want to hope.that’s true too. But honestly, a lot of those people.agree with his domestic agenda.

I also said I will never give him a chance. If I had to pick one reason, he’s already told me what he will do to my sisters all over the country. I can never give that a chance.

@24, I love that! Will let you know if I find Rivendell or Lothlorien.

MB, well said. I will never forgive trump for anything, never cut him any slack. Even after his ugly ass is booted from the presidency. His greed, vanity, and selfishness has ruined everything about life in this country.

@24, Contrask, what a marvelous statement! My feelings exactly.

Let me just say, I will give Drumpf and the Republicans a chance. I will give them just as much of a chance as they gave Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid. Obama had not put his hand on the Bible before their strategy to say no and basically break Washington had taken shape.

So yeah, I’ll give him a chance, but that window closed about 8 years ago. Dems have to fight and quit the nice guy, “walk on me until I can’t take it any more” approach to politics.

What good does it do to call balls and strikes when the other team doesn’t even play by the rules! These people have shown us who they are. We should believe them.

@28> Totally agreed. Republicans have completely changed the rules of the game, but Democrats continue to play by the rules that don’t exist anymore. Democrats need to start fighting back instead of just beating back the Republicans. It’s not working.

Also, problem with “give Trump a chance” is that sometimes after you give them a chance – it’s already too late. And we have been hearing him talk for a long time, we know what he has said. Palmieri discusses the whole “don’t take him literally” approach in her WaPo piece and it’s problematic. Yes we should take him seriously because if we don’t, it might be too late. He tweets nonsense about Boeing and they lose $4,000,000,000. Talk about taking him literally.

RIP Greg Lake. God this year blows.

No – not Greg Lake! C’est La Vie – I will never forget seeing ELP in concert with the back up band, Journey

John Glenn has died also

I know we usually do this on weekends, but we need some mid-week mind nourishment. This is how I feel lately:

Was just going to add R.I.P. John Glenn, true American Hero.

@34: Perfectly fine to do so annie.

And if you want some more uplifting news, life expectancy in the U.S.went down last year.

For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year — a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.

Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death.

I love that song, thanks Annie

He’s baaaaack. And thank God or Goddess for it.

@39, me too. Why don’t they just go for it? It seems as though they’re putting too much importance on being graceful losers. I don’t get it. We’re on the precipice of the decline of the United States (goes with @37). I think history will judge the Clintons (& Obama too incidentally) much better if they pull out all the stops and fight.

@38, my pleasure!

@40, brilliant post. Glad he came back.

@41: Yeah what the hell. If the shoe was on the other foot the Repubs would do it!

@39 – Let’s write her/tweet at her! Come on. No one wants this. We may lose our country COMPLETELY. And again, what the f*ck are Democrats doing. Put country over party, you spineless jerks!

I heard on MSNBC tonight that some Congresscritters are skipping the inauguration. How self-righteous of you. What did you do to stop this from happening? Do I hear the sound of crickets?!

@44: Interesting about skipping the inauguration. What a courageous stand. NOT! 👺

Me too – but maybe this will help, if we all get one:

@46: 😂 😂 😂

@46, chuckle, but everyone here already has built-in #tRump bullshit decoders!

@48: Correct. It’s built into our DNA.

I’m watching the repeat of Maddow right now. She had an early announcement about the results of a PPP poll and it was just incredible. I can’t even begin to go into the poll results but let’s just say I totally believe what this article has to say.

@50, good article. Sigh. So much for thinking we need to do more teaching of critical-thinking skills. The wingnuts may be capable of it, but they just don’t want to use critical thinking! No doubt because if they did, they’d see all the holes in their reasoning.

You can lead a rightwinger to truth, but you sure can’t make him/her believe it.

So, back to searching for spinal growth factors.

Instead of skipping the Inauguration, how about blocking the Drumpf before he gets into office?

@51: From the article: “thinking is not my idea of fun.”

Nah, much more fun to watch Alex Jones and Faux News.

@51 & 54, quite fortuitously, the thesis of my post in the morning.

@55: Oh… sounds like something to look forward to!

@50 I was watching Maddow and almost posted . Jaw dropping. But hell they can rake Hillary over the coals for the lies they create about her and people scream lock her up.

@57: Weren’t the poll results of the Trumpeters just incredible? I sat here slack-jawed contrask.

I was reading a piece by Charles Pierce and he always mentions the great stet of OK in his “laboratories of democracy” article.

I’ll have to read that later. Have you seen that Trump is trying to shut down the Woman’s March?

@53> OMG.

Back to Madonna, her speech at Billboard was very powerful.

“You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men. And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin.”

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December 2016
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Take the kids to work? NO!

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