The Widdershins

Archive for April 2017

Where to start? That’s the question that has bogged me down since the election. As DYB was saying the other day, by the time you write a post, a whole new world of crazy has opened and the insanity has moved on to lunacy. I can’t keep up. So, I decided if I’m going to lend a hand around here, at least until I get back into the swing of things, I’m going to have to leave it to the comment section to keep us up on the latest. I’d rather be lazy than crazy.

C4-I5AoXUAECgM5Speaking of lunacy, I thought I’d share with you a few Letters To the Editor from my hometown newspaper over the last few months. Right after the election, there was letter after letter calling for prayers for our New Leader. Since I like to try to analyze these people, (that might be my problem, right there) I started thinking. If Hillary had won would they have written that same letter? I think not. In fact, some of them came across to me as “Oh my God, he won. PRAY people, PRAY! PRAY as if your life depends on it!”. At least in my mind. Then a lady writes this simple message:

In response to the letters to the editor, “We Have Moved On” and “We Got God’s Attention”:

The writers of these letters seem to think that their prayers have been answered. I ask them to pray now to give President-Elect Donald Trump the wisdom he needs to keep the people of this country safe, free from prejudice and free to choose their own way of life and worship or not to worship.

Oops. Did a “real” Christian slip in there? Atheist? I don’t know, but no one responded. After all, what could they say? Pretty smart. That’s the way to do it. Phrase it just so, and what are they gonna do?

Here’s another that no one responded to. I didn’t even try to analyze this. Yes, I spent five minutes reading about Baal (I get the golden calf) and no, I did not look up the scripture. (No offense meant to anyone) But after reading the title “God is not dead”, I was not expecting this:

Donald J Trump could have become America’s Baal, bursting onto the scene espousing his knowledge of everything. Trump’s ability to spew bluster laced with blatant lies enabled him to exercise mind control over a segment of the electorate that was angry and grossly uniformed. For others to judge their reactions would be a fool’s folly.

Thinking historically, the children of Israel danced around their golden calf. Nov. 8, millions of Americans chanted Trump’s name, endorsing and celebrating racism, hatred, bigotry, violence, lies, misogyny, ableism and the bilking of hard-earned money from countless victim’s of one man’s avarice. Their nations rejected intelligence, education and science  – the truly major things that help make America great. The rest of the world looked on in disbelief.

True Christians fell into despair while the Still Small Voice reassuringly whispered that there were millions that day who refused to bow their knee to Baal. God is not dead! The path can be found back in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Huh. Takes all kinds, I guess. There’s just one other letter, of the religious sort, that I will have to paraphrase, but I remember it well. He was responding to this letter: (shortened a bit)

What do I say to my severely-disabled grandson that our new president thinks its okay to mock and ridicule his condition and that of others like him who struggle to live life in dignity? What do I say to my beautiful granddaughter when her new president speaks openly about it being okay to treat women in a demeaning, vulgar and threatening manner? How do I explain to my Sunday school kids that our new president thinks himself above the Creator – boasting of never having to ask God’s forgiveness for anything he said and done? How can I feel secure in voicing my beliefs when he has openly encouraged his supporters to physically attack those who oppose him?

For that heartfelt letter, he got this back (paraphrased ’cause I didn’t save it). “You tell your grandson, granddaughter and Sunday School kids to THANK GOD everyday that that criminal Godless liberal Hillary Clinton lost!”

Now you would think this stuff would make me mad. Actually it makes me LMAO. But now I’m having a sad. All those were from November and December. And now, nothing. Silence. I mean sure, way back in January there was this: (my bold)original

I have begun to wonder if Democrats will ever get over losing. I just witnessed a goodbye ceremony between the out-going POTUS and the out-going VP that eclipsed all other expressions of grief. Barack Hussein Obama presented Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I must confess that I do not have a clue what that is.

I have never seen such fawning and pandering outside of the Democratic media. Barack Hussein Obama was proclaimed as a great president by glaze-eyed followers and likewise was Biden. Everyone, especially reporters, were engulfed in tears. It was truly a life altering experience for those who bought it.

I am always incredulous about the amount of drivel that lockstep Democrats are willing to swallow. All it takes is the willingness to accept anything that is told to them as fact, much like sheep. As a Democrat, you certainly would not want to be guilty of attempting an original thought.

What of BHO now, you might ask? I have an idea. First, he will rejoin Jeremiah Wright’s church. Making that good impression is no longer important. He will then seek out photo ops and mingle with his Hollywood cronies. Talk shows, anything to feed his ego.

He is the slickest politician I have ever seen. He can graduate from our finest schools, still claim racism, cry on demand, change his dialect and has been known to break out in song if needed.

In closing, after I watched a tearful Biden follow-up on the “View”, a show featuring a babbling group of clueless female Democrats, I resorted to Tylenol. Will it ever end?

Yeah, dude. That’s what we keep asking, too. Only it’s going to take a whole lot more than Tylenol. Tylenol won’t cure your stupid. Now the guy is off the radar. There is an occasional letter from another guy-all crammed into one- about political correctness, climate change is a hoax and keep your kids as dumb as possible. Better yet, homeschool them and don’t even teach them to spell C-O-L-L-E-G-E.

There were a couple of folks convinced that the votes of every head of cattle in Wyoming baf59b214d180f40466f43c5ca46e3ceb3b8c420e6d87589c7acdfd93d1ae303was more important than actual people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. I think they believe only flamboyant gay men live in Queens. I guess now that they don’t have Obama and Hillary to hate anymore, they must feel so lost. People have been trying to goad them out to no avail:

Yet another installment of right wing nut radio land and their toxic garbage with the sole purpose of dividing this country. To them, America is a terrible country under a Democrat, and a great one under a Republican, no matter how good or bad the country is being run.

[snip]

Now we have lyin’ Donald Trump a reality show/con artist using the same old GOP handbook from the Bush era. They want to go back to that? No thanks. Trump is a pathological liar with some major issues. I’ve never seen a person so full of it in my life. God help us all.

Some man wrote a beautiful referral for Betsey DeVos. He had grown up with her and her family in Michigan and they are fine, upstanding citizens. She will make a great Secretary of Education. (Wonder if he’s heard from Erik lately? Maybe a Christmas card?) He got a response from a woman who always make me smile when I see her name. She is hell on our local politicians, too.

When do know beyond a doubt that your elected officials are not working for their constituents? When they vote “yes” to appoint a person to head the Department of Education who spent her adult life and enormous wealth to block public education in her home state of Michigan.

Betsey DeVos has no degrees in education, has never attended a public school and has spent millions (Amyway fortune) on legislation to make charter schools, vouchers and “for-profit schools” non-regulated. Her effort took money away from the public education system.

Mrs. DeVos comes from a religious sect that believes parents should be responsible for their children’s education. Few parents today have the skills or resources to properly educate a child for 12 years in preparation for the 21st century.

My four great-grandchildren need public schools. I signed petitions, wrote letters, called my people. So how did the vote go? Democrats voted against and all but two Republicans for her. The GOP keeps claiming they are the party of Lincoln-this man who studied by candlelight and was kept warm by a fireplace which he most likely had to stoke, would be appalled.

Why is it there are billions and billions of dollars to buy votes from our elected officials, but putting some of that money to the education of our children now and for the future isn’t even in the playbook? Why did our elected officials vote against their own community and children?

The Republican party is an exclusive members-only club and if you have the money, you are in! If not “work harder, make more and then you can be like us!”

Mrs. DeVos will dismantle what has taken 50 years to establish. This was a vote by Republicans against our social order, aside from the fact that they have “dead souls” toward children.

Ooouch! ‘dead souls’ toward children. I love this woman. I don’t know her, but I love her. Now, you would think that would provoke a reaction, but no. All silent on the home front. This was in February. There has not been a single “Atta Boy” letter about Trump and company. No mention of his name. Not even when an occasional lib’rul writes about his EOs polluting our environment. No one is willing to stand up for him.

That’s what it was all about. After the black man termed out, they weren’t gonna let THAT damn woman tell them what to do. Nothing else matters anymore. They can kick back, fat and happy and grin from ear to ear while it all burns down around them. Their work is done.

Open thread. What’s going on in the “real” world?

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A good Friday to you Widdershins!

With Prolix’s laptop giving up the ghost on him and tin cans and string not working well for internet connectivity, Fredster here is going to do a post in his absence.  Prolix has been kind enough to take a post or two for me, so reciprocating is fine with me.  But as one of the tags to the post says, “Not Prolix”, so don’t hold me to that standard…puhleeze!

In some of my readings around the internet I found articles that I thought were interesting and so I bookmarked them for future reference.  I think that will work out just fine today.  This isn’t exactly current events, nor earth shattering, but something I found interesting and perhaps you will also.

* * * *

The topic I want to cover is from Bloomberg Busisnessweek and concerns the auto manufacturing  and auto parts manufacturing companies that have come to some of the southern states and in this case to Alabama.  The piece is subtitled “Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs“.  And that is about right.

Bama’s experiences with the auto manufacturing business began when the state was able to entice Mercedes Benz to build an assembly plant near Tuscaloosa Alabama.  “In 1997…That gleaming M-Class SUV was historic. Alabama, the nation’s fifth-poorest state, had wagered a quarter-billion dollars in tax breaks and other public giveaways to land the first major Mercedes factory outside Germany.”  I don’t know this personally but I’m sure the employees at that plant have decent wages and working conditions because: German company.  And after that initial company, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai opened their own assembly plants in Bama.  The car assembly plants opened in other southern states too; Tennessee and Georgia as examples.  And one reason the plants came was because most of these states are right-to-work states.  U.A.W. ?  Nah, we don’t need no stinkin’ unions here.  And after the car assembly plants, the parts suppliers started opening up in the state.

The parts supplier companies are usually foreign-owned and supply the parts for the assembly plants.  And though the companies may both be from South Korea, there’s no love lost between them.  The assembly plants have contracts with the parts plants and have very fixed quotas on how many widgets for a car those plants must make or they’ll be penalized.  So those suppliers take chances and cut corners, and the corners usually involve worker safety.

Take the case of Regina Elsea.  She had great plans, was going to attend Auburn University with desires to be a pediatrician.  But love called in the form of her kindergarten sweetheart who was a stocker at a local Walmart.  Regina dropped out of school so they both could work to get a place of their own.  She got a job at the Ajin plant which made parts for Hyundai and Kia cars.  Regina was working 12-hour shifts 7 days a week in an effort to go from temporary paying $8.75/hr. to full time permanent with a raise to $10.50/hr.   Here’s what happened to Regina one day:

On June 18, Elsea was working the day shift when a computer flashed “Stud Fault” on Robot 23. Bolts often got stuck in that machine, which mounted pillars for sideview mirrors onto dashboard frames. Elsea was at the adjacent workstation when the assembly line stopped. Her team called maintenance to clear the fault, but no one showed up.

[snip]

After several minutes, Elsea grabbed a tool—on the video it looks like a screwdriver—and entered the screened-off area around the robot to clear the fault herself. Whatever she did to Robot 23, it surged back to life, crushing Elsea against a steel dashboard frame and impaling her upper body with a pair of welding tips. A co-worker hit the line’s emergency shut-off. Elsea was trapped in the machine—hunched over, eyes open, conscious but speechless.

(No one knew how to release the robot)

A team leader raced to get a maintenance worker in the break room.  But the maintenance worker worked in a different part of the plant and wasn’t familiar with this equipment.

When emergency crews arrived several minutes later, Elsea was still stuck. The rescue workers finally did what Elsea had failed to do: locked out the machine’s emergency power switch so it couldn’t reenergize again—a basic precaution that all factory workers are supposed to take before troubleshooting any industrial robot. Ajin, according to OSHA, had never given the workers their own safety locks and training on how to use them, as required by federal law. Ajin is contesting that finding.

An ambulance took Regina to a local hospital and then to a trauma center in Birmingham where she died the next day.  Regina’s mom says she still hasn’t heard a word from Ajin’s owners or senior executives. They sent a single artificial flower to her funeral.

Regina’s isn’t the only horror story involving these supplier companies where the goal is “meet the quota or we lose money or we’ll be penalized”.  Some more examples:

  • A man had worked a 12 hour shift but was summoned to work on a metal press  The press had not been working well all day.  A hole puncher didn’t deploy and then it did…at the wrong time – on his finger. “I saw my meat sticking out of the bottom of my glove,” he says.
  • In 2015, a 33-year-old maintenance worker was engulfed in flames at Nakanishi Manufacturing Corp.’s bearing plant in Winterville, Ga.—after four previous fires in the factory’s dust-collection system.
  • A man working at a plant supplying parts for Mercedes Benz was working cleaning ventilation ducts over dipping pools of acid used to anodize the parts. There were no handrails, gangways or cables. He was working one day cleaning the ducts and “His hands slipped, and he tumbled backward into a vat of sulfuric and phosphoric acid 4 feet deep.”

OSHA (under Obama) began noticing this and cracking down:

The agency cited one year, 2010, when workers in Alabama parts plants had a 50 percent higher rate of illness and injury than the U.S. auto parts industry as a whole. That gap has narrowed, but the incidence of traumatic injuries in Alabama’s auto parts plants remains 9 percent higher than in Michigan’s and 8 percent higher than in Ohio’s. In 2015 the chances of losing a finger or limb in an Alabama parts factory was double the amputation risk nationally for the industry, 65 percent higher than in Michigan and 33 percent above the rate in Ohio.

From David Michaels who headed OSHA under President Obama:

“The supply chain isn’t going just to Bangladesh. It’s going to Alabama and Georgia,” says David Michaels, who ran OSHA for the last seven years of the Obama administration. Safety at the Southern car factories themselves is generally good, he says. The situation is much worse at parts suppliers, where workers earn about 70¢ for every dollar earned by auto parts workers in Michigan, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Many plants in the North are unionized; only a few are in the South.)

Michaels in a meeting with the car companies themselves said to them:

“I gave them a very strong message: ‘This brings shame on your reputation. American consumers are not going to want to buy cars stained with the blood of American workers,’ ”

Summing all of this up:

When Trump suits and ties are made in Mexico and when Ivanka’s clothes are made in sweat shops in Asia, do we really believe that any of these situations are going to improve?  MAGA indeed.

* * * *

Okay Widdershins I hope this wasn’t too boring or snooze-worthy.  And also I violated Prolix’s 800 word rule by about 400 extra words.  Yikes!  Please take the conservation in any direction you wish.

 

82_Damage_Control

Many people in the media continue to scream that the Democratic Party establishment needs to be purged. I think the media needs to be purged. Get the old, tainted blood out, replace with something new. The media’s behavior during the 2016 election was a catastrophe. The e-mails, the server, the speeches. Trump as an unhinged, uninformed, potentially treasonous idiot? They ain’t got time for that.

The recent release of that book, “Fucked” by Fucktard and Fuckface (again, I may have misspelled their names), was supposed to humiliate the Clinton campaign by publishing unsubstantiated gossip about infighting and incompetence. The pundits took the book one step further: they loudly declared it wasn’t so much the campaign, but Hillary Clinton herself who is solely responsible for everything. The blowback to these claims on the cyber has been pretty severe. The likes of Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Chris Cillizza, etc. etc., received enormous pushback from social media posters, getting Haberman down into the dirt with repeated defensive responses. If you feel compelled to respond that many times to strangers on the internet, something ain’t right.

Many of the “facts” presented in the book have also been also been challenged by members of the Clinton campaign. Things as obvious as the book’s claim that the Clinton campaign did no polling in the final two weeks of the election. Several former HFA staffers said that was patently false. If the writers couldn’t check something so simple, what else didn’t they bother checking? The book has mostly vanished from view within just a few days; the writers have been forced to hawk it to willing listeners on Fox. SAD.

In another example of insanity, Glenn Thrush, in response to news that Breitbart wants White House press credentials, declared on Twitter the following:

-Thrus on Breitbart

Yes, you read that right. Thrush just declared Breitbart a “legit news outlet.” I wonder which of the following Breitbart headlines Thrush thinks are “legit news.”

Breitbart Headlines

And then there were the Twitter events of Monday, April 24. It started with a Tweet from Matty Yglesias of Vox, a Bernie Bros with Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Yglesias has attacked Chelsea Clinton many times previously (on March 18 he tweeted: “Stop trying to make Chelsea happen”), so this random comment wasn’t in and of itself unusual.

Yglesias original

Chelsea Clinton responded to Yglesias that, in fact, she was not running for any office. If you thought that would be the end of that, you are woefully mistaken. What followed was an hours long orgy of several mainstream media (male) pundits and journalists attacking Chelsea Clinton. Chris Cillizza of CNN and Aaron Blake of WaPo jumped in. Josh Barro accused ex-Clinton staffers who came to Chelsea’s defense of working for her. Nick Merrill, who was Hillary’s press secretary, responded: “1) Because we know Chelsea, and find that your rants bear no resemblance to reality. 2) Because you’re really annoying and it grates on us.” Ben Jacobs of The Guardian got into an argument with Neera Tanden, who told him to knock it off. “You’re better than this,” Tanden wrote. “Nope, I’m not” Jacobs responded. Chelsea again reiterated she wasn’t running for any office, which – she noted – apparently had to be stated twice in one day. The pundits continued their assault. Byron Tau of Wall Street Journal led the attacks with comments like: “Chelsea Clinton, a scion of a wealthy and powerful political family, is cooperating on friendly profiles and launching a book tour.” (Someone pointed out that Tau’s Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch and his scions (male) and they try and do influence politics across the globe.) Tau then exchanged cutesy messages with Politico’s Marc Caputo about how funny accusations of misogyny were. Chelsea responded again:

“Goodness gracious! I’ve no plans. How much clearer can I be (since you ask for clarity)*

*Apparently twice a day reminder was optimistic.”

Late in the evening I collected screen captures of the various messages directed at Clinton and, tagging all the reporters, tweeted: “Tonight @AaronBlake @ByronTau @CillizzaCNN @jbarro @mattyglesias @Bencjacobs @MarcACaputo engaged in rape fantasy orgy after a woman said NO.” This prompted Caputo to add me to his “Assholes” list. I must say, that and Glenn Greenwald blocking me have so far been my two greatest twitter accomplishments.

About 12 hours after the Great Chelsea Clinton War of April 2017, Ivanka Trump went to Germany as a Trump representative at a women’s conference. There she shared a stage with, among others, Angela Merkel. When Trump said that her father was a great champion of women’s rights, the women in the audience hissed and booed. Chris Cillizza wrote a lengthy article decrying such attacks on Ivanka.

You can hate Donald Trump’s views on and treatment of women – and lots of people do! But, to expect Ivanka Trump to publicly condemn her father or his record on women’s issues is a bridge too far. It’s impossible for us to know what Ivanka Trump does (or doesn’t do) to influence her father’s views behind the scenes. And, because of that – and the fact that she is his daughter! – booing her for defending her dad is poor form.

Sarah Lerner, a feminist writer, noted: “Ivanka reinforces white male dominance & Chelsea challenges it. That’s why these dudes go after the latter.” She also wrote a brilliant summary of how the media treats Chelsea vs. Ivanka. A Tale of Two First Daughters.

In our current political climate, where there is a distinct possibility that our president may be beholden to a foreign power, it is almost unfathomable that Chelsea Clinton would appear more threatening than Ivanka Trump, a corrupt accomplice to her father’s fascist, grifting regime. But when one (former) president’s daughter actively challenges white male dominance while the other upholds it, the result is altogether unsurprising: Tear down the former at all costs, let the latter pass go and collect $200.

-Ivanka boss

Our Fearless Leaders…

THE SCENE: A conference room at the DNC’s Washington headquarters. It’s clear that a long meeting is in progress, from the various soda cans and coffee mugs on the table, scribbles and diagrams on the whiteboard, and the generally exhausted and disheveled air of the 6 participants. At the head of the table is TOM PEREZ, the newly-elected head of the Democratic National Committee. Sitting to his right is KEITH ELLISON, his second-in-command. There are four other people around the table: BERNIE SANDERS, loser of the Democratic Primary by 4 million votes; BILL MAHER, mansplainer extraordinaire; CHUCK SCHUMER, head of the Senate Democrats; and The One, former President BARACK OBAMA. There are, of course, no women present. 

As the curtain rises, we see PEREZ and ELLISON in earnest and quiet discussion. SANDERS’ head is down and his eyes are closed; gentle snores issue from his nose. SCHUMER is gazing raptly into OBAMA’s eyes, while MAHER is on the phone, pacing, at the other end of the table. PEREZ and ELLISON decide to bring the group back in.

PEREZ: Guys, hey! (The men in the room reluctantly begin to shift into “pay attention” mode.) I know it’s been a long day so far. But I think we’ve made real progress. Let’s take a look at the whiteboard one more time. Keith, can you give Bernie a nudge?

ELLISON (checking his watch): Yeah, I guess it’s still light outside. (goes over and gently shakes SANDERS, who unelegantly snorts awake.)

SANDERS: Oh! Sorry about that. I must have napped for a minute there.

OBAMA (muttering) More like the past 90 minutes, man. (SCHUMER snickers.)

MAHER (on the phone): Crap. I’ve gotta go, Ann. Of course I’ll have you on my show again. I don’t care how conservative you are; you’re my kind of woman. (Hangs up) Sorry about that. It’s hard for me to say no to a hot blonde, even if she talks a lot of sh*t sometimes. Am I right?

(SANDERS is the only one who laughs.)

PEREZ (into the awkward silence): Uh. Right! So, to recap: we want to rebuild the Democratic Party to prepare for 2018 and beyond. We can’t just focus on the Presidency every four years. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place!

OBAMA: Hey!

SCHUMER (smoothing it over): Sorry, Mr. President, but you have to agree that we should have spent more money and time building up Congress, the governorships and state legislatures. Now look what’s happened! The lunatics are running the asylum, and we don’t even have the option to impeach the schmuck squatting in the Oval Office to get his d*mn kids and that Breitbart wacko out of there. I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World!

SANDERS (standing up): I couldn’t agree more, Chuck. If it weren’t for that d*mn woman losing the election, we would be in the catbird seat right now. Thankfully you guys took over from that idiot Schultz, so we can take the Party back from the millionaires and billionaires! (sits down, self-satisfied)

(OBAMA rolls his eyes.)

MAHER (snarkily): Catbird seat?! How old ARE you?! (goes back to his phone and stops paying attention)

SCHUMER (politely): Uh, Bernie, that wasn’t actually what I said. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. And I think it would be just terrific if you would stop obsessing about the primaries now. You know that 4 million more Democrats voted for Hillary. There was no rigging, except what the Russians did for Trump!

OBAMA: That’s right, Chuck. I knew those Russians were up to no good! But it shouldn’t have mattered. They should have come out for her the way they came out for me. (shaking his head) D*mn! I can’t believe my inspirational speeches didn’t work.

PEREZ (muttering): You mean those condescending lectures? Yeah, shocking.

ELLISON: (standing up and going to a whiteboard that turns around) Guys, guys! Come on now. We’re all on the same side, trying to do the same thing. Right? Let’s focus on beating the Republicans in 2018! Take a look at my strategy. I think we can all agree it’s a winner!

(ELLISON dramatically turns the whiteboard around. There is a picture of two people: one woman and one man. The man has unexpectedly sprouted a cartoon p*nis, and the woman has grown very large cartoon breasts.)

MAHER (grinning): Hey, Keith baby. I improved on it a bit.

PEREZ: Oh my God. (puts head in hands)

ELLISON (furiously erasing the offending bits): Bill, what are you even doing here? You’re not a politician. I don’t even know if you’re a Democrat!

MAHER: (standing up) Yeah? Well I figured you’ve got Bernie here, and he’s no Democrat. So what the f*ck, why shouldn’t I weigh in? After all, I know why you liberals always lose – it’s because you focus on the wrong things, like political correctness, instead of appealing to normal people like me.

SANDERS: YEAH!

OBAMA (finally a bit exercised): Oh – you mean we should cater to arrogant white guys who think they’re all that? I was President of the United States, you jackass. Have a little respect!

THE MEN GO SILENT, CHASTENED.

MAHER: Mr. President, I apologize. I got a bit carried away. It’s been a long day. (smarmily) Keith, why don’t we get back to your whiteboard. I promise I won’t touch it again.

ELLISON (not at all mollified, but willing to play along): All right. I cleaned up Bill’s mess, and here we are. These, gentlemen, are our new targeted Democratic voters.

First, we have Brenda. Brenda is an affluent white woman in the suburbs, who usually votes Republican. Our message? We feel your pain. You don’t want to think about the environment, or foreign policy, or how your vote affects people less fortunate than yourself. You just want lower taxes and an easy life for you and your family. And Brenda, you deserve it!

SANDERS (interrupting): Uh, Keith, I’m sure that’s not the message you want to send to Brenda. Don’t you want to talk to her about millionaires and billionaires taking over the country?

OBAMA: (interrupting): Nah, she’s a woman. Talk to her about taking care of her children!

SCHUMER (interrupting): What about abortion? Why can’t we talk to her about that? That’s the main issue for all women.

MAHER (interrupting): Women care about only one thing – a big schlong and a nice house. Why do you think I get so much action? (pointing) Hung like a horse, my friends.

(The meeting dissolves into chaos and yelling.)

PEREZ (commandingly): STOP! (The chaos calms.) Team, this is a mess. I forget, why are we targeting affluent white women again? And the man, isn’t he white too?

ELLISON (sheepishly): Uh, yes, Tom, yes he is. But remember, white people swung the election to that creep. We’ve got to get them to vote for us so we don’t lose again in 2018!

SANDERS: Yeah!

ELLISON (gaining confidence): I mean, look over here at the map of the United States. Come on, everyone, gather round the other whiteboard!

(Everyone gets up and dutifully looks at the whiteboard.)

SANDERS: Wow, is that Vermont? Huh. I thought it was bigger.

OBAMA (sarcastically): We know, Bernie.

ELLISON (clearing his throat): Ahem! Right. So look where the Democrats have all their support…in the East, West and some areas of the South. There’s very little in the middle of the country. That’s where we have to focus our efforts!

(The group murmurs in agreement, except PEREZ, who is scratching his head.)

PEREZ: So, uh…not to be a party pooper here, but…what about our base? African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc.? Shouldn’t we focus on turning them out rather than trying to convert people who never vote Democratic? And what about making sure people can vote in 2018? I heard that voter participation dropped 2-3 percentage points because of all those restrictive voting laws in those middle of the country states. If that hadn’t happened, plus all the Russian hacking and the Comey letter, Hillary would have won in a landslide!

SANDERS (getting red in the face): Oh please. She’s a loser! You should all listen to me. I would have won! It would have been YUGE!

ELLISON: I agree with Bernie. She only won by 3 million votes, and that’s mostly because of California. Who cares? It’s the middle of the country that counts.

SCHUMER: Wait a minute. What about New York? The greatest state in the nation!

(The room starts to get contentious again.)

OBAMA: Hey, hey, everyone. Look, it’s clear that we have some differences of opinion, but I’m confident we can work it all out. The notion that somehow Republicans could win in 2018 is patently absurd. Let’s all reconvene tomorrow, when we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, and look at everything with fresh eyes. Okay?

(The men mutter and shake hands reluctantly as OBAMA ushers them out. PEREZ lingers behind and takes out his phone.)

PEREZ (quietly, making sure no one is around): Hello, Hillary? It’s me, Tom. (pauses) It was rough today. We really need you back. These guys have no clue! Obama does nothing but talk about himself. Maher makes dirty jokes and snarks. Bernie just yells “millionaires and billionaires” and says you’re a loser, then falls asleep.

(A hearty laugh issues from the phone.)

PEREZ: (chuckling) Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. Meanwhile, Chuck is too afraid of making enemies to stand up to the others, even though he knows they’re on the wrong track. And Ellison backs whatever Bernie says. It’s a disaster!

(PEREZ pauses for a long moment as CLINTON talks.)

PEREZ: Really? You think it’s time you came out of the woods? Tell me more…

The lights dim and fade out as PEREZ listens to CLINTON.

THE END…?

It’s Sunday. Another weekend down, another week coming up. Fredster will resume his Sunday activities next week, I am filling in today. Let’s try to unwind our exhausted brains before we hurl ourselves into a new week of insanity.

As everybody (?) knows, I’m something of a movie buff. I studied film in college and currently work as an editor in television. I thought we would spend this Sunday combining movies and music with some of our favorite movie music! It could be orchestral melodies or songs from musicals. Whatever your hearts desire. It just has to either come from a movie or have been featured prominently in a movie.

Here are a few of my favorite things to get things started (I have sooooooo many):

 

Operator:  Hello, this is the Spitefulness Hotline for Inhumane Troglodytes, S.H.I.T., how may I help you?

Caller:  I just called because I’m scared.  Really scared.

Operator:  Why are you scared?

Caller:  I’m a Republican and I’m having doubts.

Operator:  Doubts about what?

Caller:  Doubts that we are running out of ways to actually hurt people.  The only thing that helps me is drinking. Drinking a lot. Well, and the cocaine. That seems to help.  Then there’s the sex with my congressional staff.  Then there’s the sex with the spouses of my congressional staff.  And occasionally there’s the sex with their kids, but…

Operator:  Okay, I get it.  You’re just an average god-fearing, family values Republican trying to make a difference by delivering spitefulness to those hateful hordes back home.

Caller:  You are incredibly perceptive.

Trump ties: For the man who ate everything…

Operator:  Thank you.  I used to work as a Planned Parenthood protester.  I could spot those pregos at 50 paces.  Everyone said, “If pigs had a nose for truffles, I had a snout for amniotic fluid.”  Now, what seems to be the problem today?

Caller:  I’m just worried and depressed.  What if we can’t come up with new ways to hurt people?  I mean how else are we going to hypnotize the bloodthirsty Tea Party types?  What are we going to rant and rave about?  What if Ann Coulter couldn’t buy that cheeseburger she needs?  And how is it fair that Ailes and O’Reilly only got $65 Million?

Operator:  Is this the first time you’ve felt this way?

Caller:  No.  I had a bad case of the sads when we softened up on Civil Rights and the lunch counter thing.  And that Bush prescription drug plan!  Don’t get me started.  The only thing that kept me going during the Bush years was bombing some brown people.  Now those were some good times.

Operator:  That’s why we’re here.  If you are feeling charitable or bighearted, we are here to put the Freon back in your veins.  Why’d you want to S.H.I.T. talk today?

Caller:   It’s like what happens when you are coming down off a really good coke high.  You know no matter how good it gets, it won’t get any better than nose sledding through that pure white snow.  I mean really.  How does it get any better than charging cancer patients $142,000 more a year for piss poor insurance coverage?  How’s it gonna get better than hitting minimum wage working mothers with $17,000 more a year just because they might have a kid at some point?  If we don’t have that to look forward to, is life worth living?  Can you feel me bro?

Operator:  I can feel ya.

Trump’s Wimminz Advisory Council…

Caller:  I mean we made sure mentally ill people could get guns.  We finally got more mercury back where it belongs – in our air and water.  We even said, in our out-loud voices, that cutting Meals on Wheels was the compassionate thing to do.  Does it get any better than that?  Amirite?

Operator:  Have you tried talking with anyone else about these feelings?

Caller:  Well, we have cheerleading sessions down in the basement of the Capitol.  After we sacrifice some goats, the anime-eyed granny starver gets up and promises to take Medicare away, but he’s just talkin’.  Daddy won’t deliver.

Operator:  How do you know?

Caller:  He’s actually going to give the old folks vouchers.  Vouchers, I tell you.  Like grocery stores won’t take vouchers for cat food?  Of course they will.

Operator:  There are always wars.  Think about that.  Those young Bernbrained bros are about to get a camo-clothing allowance.  That’s something to look forward to.

Caller:  I know, but how many times can you watch chemical weapons and still get that cold fuzzy feeling?  I love the smell of Sarin in the morning.

Operator:  Do you have a family?

Trump: Bigger is more better — right?

Caller:  No, I ICE’d ‘em last year.  Had them deported. It was just a little early Christmas present I gave myself.

Operator:  Hey listen, like all good conservative think tanks we run an intellectual support group for those who might be feeling a little too altruistic and not getting their venom on.

Caller:  Really, what’s it called?

Operator:  S.H.I.T. for Brains.  Can we count on you?

Caller:  You bet.

Operator:  We like to keep anonymous data on our callers for statistical purposes.  We have a few questions.  Just exactly how white are you?

Caller:   I was the centerfold for Cracker Quarterly.

Operator:  What sign were you born under?

Caller:  Tuscaloosa 12 miles.

Operator:  Who has been your greatest influence?

Caller:  Porn stars.

Operator:  Why?

S.H.I.T. for Brains Board Meeting…

Caller:  On camera, no one changes positions faster.

Operator:  That’s all I need.  Thanks for calling.  Spread S.H.I.T. around.

Caller:  I feel better.  Here’s a little virtual fist bump just like the one Kush, ever so gently but firmly, gave me as we reached for the same Egyptian 1,500 thread count sheets.

End of recording.

What’s on your mind today?

 

A few weeks ago Dump’s chief cheerleader Kellyanne Conjob said that journalists’ Twitter feeds “are a hot mess.” The obvious irony of her remark can’t be avoided, of Silence-Deafens1course. But like a broken clock, for a person who talks as much as she does, she’s bound to say something true and that might have been her one true statement. Journalists’ Twiter feeds are a hot fucking mess. I’ve been following a few, and see many more re-tweeted. And the problem with legitimate reporters having Twitter feeds is that their commentary turns them into pundits. Maggie Haberman (everything is Clinton’s fault all the time), Katy Tur (after SOTU Dump became President with Capital P) and Jake Tapper (everything is Clinton’s fault) constantly engage commenters, defending their own opinions. I don’t particularly care that they have anti-Clinton opinions, but any opinion they so openly express and defend makes them no different than Jeffrey Lord. Of course we can’t expect reporters not to have opinions. But airing them as they all do brings into question their reporting. Bill O’Reilly mixes news and opinion into one telecast. Is it really so different when Maggie Haberman files a Clinton story in the NY Times and then writes on Twitter that Clinton is obviously at fault for not pushing Trump/Russia story harder during the election? The line between Haberman and O’Reilly blurs.

The latest onslaught of Hillary bashing comes from publication of a new book called “Clusterfuck” by Fuckface Fucktard and Fuckity Fuckass. I might have gotten the name of the book wrong and misspelled the names of the authors. But it’s something like that. The book is the first in what will surely be many years of autopsies of Clinton’s campaign. The gist of it is that it’s all Clinton’s fault, and mostly Robby Mook’s fault. (Nobody was allowed to speak to Hillary except via Huma and Mook is a “professional political assassin”.) The sources are, of course, largely anonymous. And the content isn’t really surprising.

What is also not surprising are the reviews. I know a graph I posted last week showed that Washington Post’s anti-Hillary coverage was only second to Fox’s, but somehow New York Times’ has always carried much more weight. (And I wonder if Chris Cillizza’s Clinton Derangement Syndrome skewed WaPo coverage overall. He is truly demented and has transferred his psychosis to his new job at CNN. More on Cillizza below.)

Michiko Kakutani reviewed the book in New York Times:

“Shattered” underscores Clinton’s difficulty in articulating a rationale for her campaign (other than that she was not Donald Trump.) And it suggests that a tendency to value loyalty over competence resulted in a lumbering, bureaucratic operation in which staff members were reluctant to speak truth to power, and competing tribes sowed “confusion, angst and infighting.”

Kakutani has a long history of reviewing both Clintons’ books and it’s not a good history. Compare to Steven Ginsberg review in Washington Post:

Does it really matter who was pissy at whom in Brooklyn when we still don’t know what role the Russians played in the election or why FBI Director James Comey publicly announced a reopening of the e-mail investigation in late October? Those questions are largely left unexplored here, other than as targets of Clinton’s post-election ire.

I also liked this paragraph from Ginsberg:

Much of the post-election analysis has criticized Clinton and her campaign for focusing on “reach” states such as North Carolina instead of putting more resources in the upper Midwest. That view is both echoed and called into question in “Shattered,” which depicts a vexing Goldilocks-style problem for Clinton across the region.

In Wisconsin, she didn’t show up enough. In Michigan, local organizers thought it was best that she stayed away. In Pennsylvania, she campaigned as aggressively as anywhere in the nation. In all three, she lost by less than 1 percent of the vote. So what should she have done?

Charles Pierce wrote a great takedown of New York Times’ Clinton problem. It’s worth reading in its entirety. Pierce reaches back to William Safire and Whitewater, the source of Times’ Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Several other reporters and writers also pointed to the nonsense of the book’s premise and the subsequent flogging of Clinton.

Dave Weigel of WaPo tweeted: “Obviously Clinton screwed up by forcing every cable channel to play Trump speeches live for a year.”

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo: “Remember: Every losing campaign was run by idiots. Every winning campaign by geniuses. Rinse, repeat.”

Greg Sargent of The Plum Line: “Weird how people who cite Nate Silver constantly suddenly don’t ever cite his conclusion about Comey impact.”

And, of course, Paul Krugman: “When journos who hyped e-mail pseudo-scandal pile on over HRC campaign errors, it’s partly CYA over their own role n Trump disaster.”

I do wish Krugman would walk over to Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush and smack them.

A note about Cillizza. His Clinton hate is truly one of the most rabid among the media. I try to think of someone who might match it at the moment and really, I can’t think of anyone who’s not, say, Rush Limbaugh. After his latest “It’s all Hillary’s fault” article from today, an Unworthy writer Parker Malloy put together a collage of some of Cillizza’s articles from WaPo on Clinton. (The handle in the images reads CillizzaCNN, but that’s because he’s changed it to his current job; the old username from WaPo days was not archived separately.)

 

If you want to know what real, fearless journalism looks like, read the story of Elena

Elena_Milashina_IWOC_award_2013

Elena Milashina

Milashina from Novaya Gazeta.  Milashina is the reporter who told the world about the kidnapping and torture of gay men in Chechnya, reports that put her life in danger. Novaya Gazeta is the same newspaper Anna Politkovskaya worked for. Politkovskaya reported a lot on Putin’s actions in Chechnya. She was murdered.

Another example of courageous reporting, also from Russia, is in this Jim Rutenberg report.

It’s important American journalists pay attention to these stories. Because Trump wants to be like Putin. And if Trump becomes Putin, he’ll go after journalists first.

 


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