The Widdershins

What have we learned…

Posted on: July 14, 2017

What a week! Everyone is struggling to explain what is happening. I’ve heard the pundits say it is where “greed meets incompetence” or “malevolence meets the sewer” or any number of unsatisfying descriptors.

It might be an intersection or a confluence, but I prefer the Swindon “magic roundabout”. It is seven traffic circles in one. Here’s an explanation:

So in the Dolt 45 turd-o-matic roundabout, we have greed meeting incompetence meeting malevolence meeting dirty tricks meeting incoherence meeting indifference meeting amorality. It is the non-compunction junction since there are no qualms about any loathsome behavior.

Then last night it became apparent these idiots have sat on these emails for three weeks – emails saying “Clinton-Russia” in the subject line – and yet, they had no plan for dealing with them I was reminded of Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers movie. Burn After Reading celebrated a bunch of incompetents who thought they were genius; when in reality, none of them should have been in public without a Mommy’s Helper leash.

Like a hummingbird during mating season, the excuses have been everywhere all at once. Of course the paragon of square-headedness, Sean Hannity, the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, quickly got to the essence of it all with a demand to investigate Hillary’s emails.

There are bright spots though. People like Russ Douthat ate a big heaping helping of crow:

The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low.

You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If this was a tease in the review of a sitcom, the next part would be prefaced with, “hilarity ensued.” Having known about these emails for a month, the crack P.R. Team decided to fabricate a story for release last Saturday that morphed into another story on Sunday that again morphed into another story on Monday, and yet again changed for Tuesday. Honest folks don’t have to lie – repeatedly.

The ambulatory carrot stain has dumbed down normal. Of the top ten recounted in the article, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. It’s not normal for the presumptive nominee’s son to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claims she has dirt compiled by Russian governmental forces who want to see your guy win.
  2. It’s not normal for the President to sign off on a public cover-up of that meeting when confronted with the facts.
  3. It’s not normal for the President to hold a Cabinet meeting that consists of his staff gushing over him.
  4. It’s not normal for the President to obsess about cable-news coverage of himself, yell at White House televisions, and instantly react to stories before checking the specifics.

But this is normal for this White House and the person illegitimately occupying the Oval Office. What is not normal is the speed at which Special Counsel Mueller is forging ahead. Mueller learned valuable lessons prosecuting Enron, its executives, and related organizations. He will not be daunted by these halfwits and morons.

In thinking about the week, here are my takeaways:

  1. No matter what happened with the hacked emails, the Russian activities, or the various conspiracies, but for the Comey letter on October 28th, Hillary would now be President.
  2. The Mercer family is battling a $6.0 Billion tax bill. They have also bankrolled Milo, pollster Kellyanne Conjob, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, their data mining firm. Someone had to identify and target promising precincts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and transmit that information to the Russian bot controllers. There is an electronic trail and the NSA probably already has it.
  3. If only Obama had demonstrated the courage to ignore McTurtle’s obstruction last summer and forge ahead with the warning of Russian interference, Obama would have been proved correct and vindicated by the email saving his legacy and the country from the orange plague.
  4. The tightly choreographed kabuki of the G20, starring Pootie, Lavrov, and Dolt was nothing more than a performance for good old Rexxon. If you are Rexxon, how would you feel being played for the fool on a world stage? Watch for a resignation.

Here’s the last scene from Burn After Reading. They ask a good question. If we learn not to let this happen again by making the name Trump synonymous with Benedict Arnold or genital herpes, we will have learned something of value.


What’s on your mind today?



133 Responses to "What have we learned…"


@1, contrask, I love it!


You are such an inspiration Prolix, lol!
So, here is a background article on the newly revealed Akhmetshin in the meeting

OMG, there was a Soviet spy – a literal spy – in that meeting? Jesus H. Christ take the wheel!!!!!!!!!!

I forgot all about “Burn After Reading!” I do remember I really liked it when I saw it years ago and I think it’s now on my re-watch list. The scene with John Malkovich is hilarious; I’m gonna repost it because it basically is all of us right now.

And important point: none of this would have worked if Comey didn’t think he was Jesus. He should be more than mildly nauseous. He should be suffering from cholera right now.

Ebola is too good for Comey.

My summary of this Akhmentshin guy. (Only addendum is: Magnitsky family lawyer was thrown off 4th floor balcony in Russian back in May. He survived…)

@9 DYB – thanks for the summary. And Prolix, all the what-ifs from your post. Yeah
Bangs head against wall screaming “we are so f*cked”

Interesting thought:

LA Times notes briefly that Veselnitskaya claims she can neither read nor write English. I find that very hard to believe…

@13, Hope that is a huge disincentive. The Berniebots I spoke with at my caucus didn’t seem phased by any info on his Senate votes, or said “It couldn’t be — there must be some explanation.” You can’t fix stupid Or take the blindfold off someone who’s tied it on her/himself.

@11m Hah, Putin there via conference call — I made a snark comment about that over at SkyDancing earlier this morning before I came here and read that! Wouldn’t be surprised if he was listening in or at least got a recording sent to him of the meeting.

@18, that’s horrible! Now the people who spoke up against Trump’s plan will be harassed and likely threatened by Trumpists. This was either incompetence or callousness or both.

I do worry about this sort of thing happening if I add my name/info to an online form.

Much of a contrast here to buy Ivanka’s stuff made in 3rd-world sweatshops?

Break from politics here. Nature is marvelous.

@6, D, I almost rewatched the entire movie to find those clips. I remembered the “Russians” clip, but it took me forever and a Tuesday to find it. LOL

@10, Contrask, I hate to be such a Dougie Downer, but about the best moments we can conjure right now involve leg irons and perp walks. Not exactly the things Hallmark usually markets. LOL

@6 & 7, a new board game — Comey Illnesses. You roll the dice, spin the wheel and you can buy little vials of mystery illness to sprinkle in his Wheaties.

Please discount this because you know I have this penchant for details and facts, so there’s that, but Diaper Don and Sarah Huckabuck Flanders talk about the subject of the meeting was “adoptions”. The trouble with that story is pretty simple. It was Russia that stopped the adoptions, we had nothing to do with the decision. We passed the Magnitsky Act and the RUSSIANS enacted the adoption prohibition in response. So if Natalia and Boris Badniov wanted to affect adoptions, perhaps they should have started at home closer to the big Red Square.

@30, oh rational thinking! Stop that — it’ll spoil all their excuses.

This is the equivalent of having AA meetings at Hooters because of the celery and ranch dressing sides.


@30 Prolix> I’ll take that even further. Putin stopped adoptions as retaliation for the Magnitsky Act. That was literally his payback. So discussing the lifting of adoption ban is a discussion about lifting of the Magnitsky Act. So even if it’s true that they discussed adoptions – it’s also true that they discussed lifting sanctions. Can’t have one without the other.

@32 — subtitle: The Godliness of Greed.

@33, oops. Let’s see, would that be another Putin henchman, or would it be Bannon or Sessions? Next week we’ll hear it’s all of them.

Meanwhile, the Republicans still want Kushner to keep his security clearance. They might as well hand the whole government over to Putin.

Mueller, hurry the fck up.

I saw a survey on Twitter — I don’t feel like searching for it.

There were almost a thousand responses so far. Of those 1,000 responses, 75% said, “They too had been at the meeting.”

@33, the Russian Matryoshka doll that is this affair has as many layers as a fat onion.


@40, that is a big effing deal. Jamie Gorelick is the consummate D.C. insider attorney. She’s not going to do anything that would jeopardize her career and firm. She’s also under an affirmative ethical obligation to recuse herself if she comes to know there is an actual crime committed after having consulted with his client. The Magic 8 ball is saying to the Kush, “The signs are not favorable.”

@39, LOL!

Wow – lots happening today! I have to catch up! You would never know it from FOX. I had to endure it at the gym (pats self on back) because 1 other person working out was admiring the bimbo reporters’ lovely eyes. She was talking about healthcare and how Dems sure aren’t going to lift a finger to help. That does seem like a big deal with Jared’s lawyer.

@42, interesting background info about Gorelick (I’m totally in the dark about who’s who in law anywhere). So there’s at least one legal person working for Trump who understands ethical obligations. It does surprise me, considering how everyone else involved doesn’t care.

This just popped up in my TL:

@46, …aren’t going to lift a finger to help Rethugs steal health insurance.

Very interesting op-ed in WaPo from an Intelligence pro on the significance of the Junior/Kushner/Manafort/Russians meeting, even if no significant dirt was shared at the time.

“From the Russian perspective, the fact that Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting would have been the first promising sign. That veteran political operative Paul Manafort and senior adviser Jared Kushner showed up with him would have furthered the impression that there was strong interest in Russian assistance (and vulnerability to compromise) on the part of the campaign. But, according to standard espionage tradecraft, the most notable achievement of this encounter lay in the campaign’s failure to report it to the appropriate U.S. authorities — as Russia would have known when there was no immediate, dramatic increase in U.S. counterintelligence scrutiny of its election-related operations.”

@50 They live in another world, Luna.

@42, 47, & 48, I had to change my comment because I thought Jamie was a man from previous comments instead of a woman. Her taking a secondary role on cleaning up the security clearance issue does say that she wants away from this train wreck. Kush should have kept her.

Congratulations to James Comey! This is the havoc that he has wreaked. Asshole.


Great post Prolix!! Great blogging for all. Not able to post much yet, but have tried to stay in the round-about loop as much as I can.

Even the Fox trogs have run out of excuses.


@56, thanks Shadow. Hope your trip was a great one.

Prolix, I only knew Jamie Gorelick was a woman because I remember the controversy when she was hired by Jared and Ivanka. I guess Gorelick has been very well known and respected in Democratic circles and a lot of people were stunned and upset that she took a job in Trump’s White House. She argued that she was just being a lawyer… which I guess one could take in a good or a bad way.

@54 GAgal> Yep, Comey couldn’t keep it in his pants and now here we are.

@56> Hi Shadowfax!

Oh Chuck.




I’ll be back later. Just want to add the meme that contrask found.

It seems so obvious and yet…

@65 – I made that one, lol 🙂 But the picture came from someone who is creative with photoshop

Didn’t we say we should start the rumor that Smith wasn’t suicide & it was the Rethugs who did it? Too late,

Jake Tapper is tweeting that there were “at least 8” people at the meeting. LOL. Guys, it was basically standing room only.

@68 contrask> Darn! Too late. I’m tempted to reply to this guy with: “For all you know, Hillary is just getting started.”

Contrask, I take it your new picture is your new fur baby? Adorable! I love Corgis.

@68, I glanced at the comments and shuddered, but there was one calling us “Demoncrats.” LOL! If I was a demon, there’s a few people I’d be harassing now.

Hi, Shadow! After I came back from being out in the backcountry during 4th July weekend, I saw you were traveling and might have been up in my area. Anywhere close to Puget Sound area? It’d have been great to connect up. Maybe some other time.

Yes – my corgi Luna Tic Fringe – she is a mess!

@74: Luna Tic Fringe look precious! Adorable!

Fredster, dachshund?

@76: I don’t think so. Just a generic dog emoji.

Look under animals and nature here:

@73, Luna I just got back from PS myself and would love to hook up next time (and watch you spin!). This time I was swamped helping with a nephews wedding. It went well, and I’m happy I was asked to help, but it dominated my few days there and I didn’t have time to go anywhere.

Fredster, I think Contrask was asking about Chloe. 🙂

@79: Oops! In that case yes my gravatar is Chloe the doxie. My fur baby crossed over the Rainbow Bridge about 4 years ago.

@74, Contrask, your pup is Luna Tic Fringe Crazy Cute! And that coquettish over the shoulder pose — doesn’t get better than that.

@78, I’d love that too! You can learn to spin.

Helping at a relative’s wedding — oh my. That could be crazy-making. Hope all went off OK.

How old is Luna Tic Fringe now?

Fredster, aww Chloe! Have you considered getting another doggy?

You may have to magnify your screen to read this letter, but there is no more definitive statement than McTurtle’s insurance Cruz Control bill is “unworkable” and “will lead to millions more without coverage.” This is from none other than the insurance industry.


@84: Oh yes DYB, definitely. However I’m kind of restricted in my location right now. But I do plan to have another fur baby when I can.

Ah… you don’t say?

@85: I tried looking for a pdf of the letter but can’t find one. Grrrr…

@87: quelle surprise

Some interesting questions for Berniturd about Russia and what he knew, when he knew it, and what took him 5 weeks to come around.

Watching Joy this morning, a man (didn’t get his name) said that the reason Congress rethugs are not concerned with Russian interference is because the Russians also influenced the congressional races in 2016 and they know it. That this conspiracy extends to Congress as well and they should all go down. Has anyone read or heard more on this or is it just wishful thinking?

@91, just one example: That’s from before the inauguration, and it’s the NYT which is reporting on other people’s work which I’m pretty sure I saw even before the election. So, yup, the hacking and collusion was up and down the line. The “joke” about “haha Rohrabacher is paid by Putin” in the closed Repub meeting is one of those it’s-funny-because-it’s-true “jokes.”

@92: Thanks Quixote, no one else on the panel said a word after his statement.

Prolix. is there a quantity limitation on Prez pardons?

Love Adam Schiff!

@91 & @92 I thought I saw that Georgia was definitely hacked before the special election. This isn’t the article I remembered, but mentions they suspected foul play. I am amazed Oklahoma got 2 Dems elected this week. Amazed because it’s Oklahoma & because I’ve wondered if a Dem can ever win again.

@98: Awww, how cute.

@98 – that really is cute! I was horse sitting for a friend & got to turn mama & baby out for the 1st time. She went straight to the fence to show baby off the the gawking mares in the other pasture. Animals are proud mamas too.
@83 NW Luna – she is 12 weeks old – picture taken a day or so ago

@102 – good find! A whole bunch of people who never paid attention to him thought Bernie was something new. My husband, who has paid attention for years, tried to tell people.

@103 – I hope the bill dies. I’m calling Lankford this week.

The McCain situation is interesting. And ironic. In addition to @105 I also liked this one:

@90, very interesting post, thanks Prolix! Almost as good as yours!

Cats @ 91, I was afraid of that. Good god, is there any way out of this mess?

Good tweets about McCain.

73 NW Luna
Anywhere close to Puget Sound area?

Yup, sorry we couldn’t connect this time…I would love to meet you. Part of my family live in Tacoma…but they were driving me around a lot so I could see more of the area. Water everywhere…really difficult for me to ever know where I was. In the Bay Area, water is west, mountains are East. 😉 If the weather there was more like CA, I would move up there…but 2 or 3 months of sunshine a year would make me a very cranky woman. 😉

Darn, SoCal was up in WA too? What a party we could have had…

I also really like Adam Schiff, someone honest and logical is a breath of fresh air these days.

58 | Prolix

Thanks, it was a good one. Just a big gathering of family I haven’t seen in almost 5 years, lots of fun, food and laughs. I feel a little more sane now.

You know what I keep thinking about regarding Bernie? If he hadn’t pulled all his bullshit after he knew he had lost and generally helped the whole cluster cofeve that caused Hillary (and downticket) to lose, he could be sitting on some powerful committees now. Quite possibly the chair. He cut off his nose to spite his face. But, he just wants to blame the Dems.

This is for contrask’s pup, for the state of OUR Whitehouse and just cause I love this song.

Howdie DYB, missed you guys!

Just think of all the health care plans McCain can chose from. Obamacare, Medicare or VA. I wonder which he’s using. In each case, they are taxpayer funded – for him.

98 | DYB

OMG, that’s the cutest ferret I’ve ever seen. So sweet, looks like the new Mama wants help with her babies.

They can’t afford to vote on the RumpCare bill until McCain recovers from surgery.

The score on the new bill is supposed to come out Mon. or Tues…the numbers will suck and McCain can take his time recovering on his ‘Congressional’ healthcare plan, first class. Oh yeah, and isn’t he one of those old dudes that married up with his last wife?

@93, sorry to be so slow in responding Cats, but real life got in the way today. Your question was about Presidential pardons and are there limitations?

The short answer is “no, there are virtually no limits to the Presidential power to pardon.” There is no limit as to number. The pardon may be granted at any point in the process after the crime has been committed. The only real limitation is that the crime must be “against the United States,” meaning that it has to be a federal offense. The pardon does not cure state crimes or torts (civil cases). A pardon is not operative in an impeachment setting. So even if a President pardon him/herself from the underlying crime, it would not absolve him/her from being impeached through the political process.

The question of self-pardoning is an open question. It came up in 1974, but nothing beyond general discussion occurred. Inevitably, that question would find itself before the Supremes.

So the umber biopsy could get out his crayola marker and pardon the whole rats’ nest of vermin that surrounds him with reckless abandon and no one could stop him.

@91 & 92, the effect of the “fake news” through news feeds salted by the bots was voter suppression of Hillary’s votes, ergo, Democratic leaning voters. By the very nature of the voter suppression, they affected the Congressional races. Combine that with what bald “Spot” Walker did in Wiscottsen, what was happening in PA with voter IDs, and the outright disenfranchising in MI and the Russians had eager co-conspirators.

@103 About McCain.

McCain underwent surgery in Phoenix on Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. “On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week,” said McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo. A statement from the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said the senator is resting at home “in good condition” and that “the surgery went very well.”

Above the left eye is not eye surgery. Remember when McCain was a little whacky at the hearing – was it Comey’s? Remember when Hillary fell as SOS and they treated her for a blood clot, was prescribed blood thinner and she had to wear corrective glasses and people went crazy? We won’t hear that kinda of shit with him because we don’t do that.

Speaking of which, I’m thinking Steve Scalise is more injured than they are saying. Although I don’t know why they wouldn’t. But I have a feeling he may retire.

@107, thanks Annie, I’m blushing.

@110, great Shadow. I’m glad you had a good time. The down time is always good to recharge with the family.

@104: contrask from what I’ve seen of Lankford I don’t think the concerns of his constituents is at the top of his list.

Similarly I saw Frankencassidy say the other day that giving states the option to offer less or more on health care was the way to go. He said “his” state, La. would “obviously” go for less. I thought to myself “oh not while John Bel Edwards is governor”. He would veto anything like that if the lege tried to pass it. He seemed pleased with that statement. Also he purports to be a doctor.

@119, he had a craniotomy for a blood clot of a little over 2 inches. That couldn’t have been planned the way they are acting. Something smells quite unkosher about the whole deal. The way McTurtle jumped on this delaying the vote indicates he is expecting to hold the 50 votes after the CBO lowers the boom. With the delay, the CBO might have the time to score the dastardly Cruz control amendment. They do not want to have the Cruz travesty scored before the vote.

@123, have y’all seen that even the bill itself doesn’t consider the Cruz policies to be insurance? In other words, if you buy one of the cut rate policies empowered by the Cruz amendment, come down with something more serious than a cold, it isn’t covered under your policy, you can’t sign up for one of the ACA policies for 6 months. In other words, you are excluded under the bill itself for 6 months even if you have bought one of the useless Cruz amendment policies.

It is a train wreck in slow motion.

New Poll: Nearly 6 months into office, President Trump’s approval rating drops to 36 percent

Dolt 45’s standing with the American people has deteriorated since the spring, buffeted by perceptions of a decline in U.S. leadership abroad, that his agenda at home is stalled and by an unpopular Republican health-care bill, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

His overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent in April. His disapproval has risen five points to 58 percent. Overall, 48 percent say they “disapprove strongly” of Trump’s performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only in the second term of George W. Bush.

Almost half of all Americans (48 percent) see the country’s leadership in the world as weaker since Trump was inaugurated, compared with 27 percent who say it is stronger.

@119: But the piece didn’t say eye surgery GAgal. It did say above the eye but maybe it was above the eye in the orbital socket?

As to Scalise, who knows? He’s had all of those surgeries and they have cited infection. I’m sure the intestine got perfed and that was going to be an issue in and of itself. I can say that if he does step down the votes of the La. 1st will elect someone very much like him.

@126, the piece I read said the blood clot was pressing against his brain.

From USA Today on McCain:

Mayo Clinic surgeons took out the 5-centimeter blood clot during “a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision,” according to a Mayo Clinic Hospital statement released by McCain’s office. The surgery followed a routine yearly physical. Tissue pathology reports are pending, it said.

A craniotomy involves a surgical opening into the skull.

“The senator is resting comfortably at home and is in good condition. His Mayo Clinic doctors report that the surgery went ‘very well’ and he is in good spirits,” the Mayo Clinic statement said. “Once the pathology information is available, further care will be discussed between doctors and the family. In the meantime, his Mayo Clinic care team will not be conducting interviews.”

@127: Oh I’m sure you’re probably right. I didn’t see anything that had any specificity.

Why are taxpayers paying for criminal defense lawyers? If the Rethugs weren’t busy taking health care away from 24 million people, I bet they would be right on that.


Dump is also paying Junior’s legal bills and has been for some time. Which is odd because Junior doesn’t have an official WH role.

The better question is why Hillary isn’t our President. And why isn’t Chelsea first daughter again?

Why can’t Emmanuel Macron be our president? American citizens watching Donald Trump’s visit to Paris must have wondered how we got the wrong guy. Macron seemed so smart, so charming. The fact that he didn’t father any children would not normally be a big selling point, but right now we are yearning for a president with no offspring.

No, we’re not.

Most excellent new post upstairs.

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