The Widdershins

Lead By Not Leading?

Posted on: July 12, 2018


It’s a mess. All of it. The whole damned thing is a disaster. Dump nukes NATO, issues an executive order to fire some judges, nominates a hyper-partisan former Bill Clinton hunter and Bush White House torturer to be the new SCOTUS (which justice Kennedy might have used some unethical backchannel shenanigans to make happen), Roe is on the chopping block, etc. etc. I don’t need to make a full list, you already know. So where the bloody hell is the Democratic leadership? Chuck? Nancy? Bueller? I think we have all been asking this question for a long time. Why are the national Democratic leaders not leading protests and rallies to oppose Trump? Why is Maxine Waters the only member of Congress to seemingly be an avowed member of The Resistance? They may not have the votes to stop him and McConnell/Ryan – but why are they not making any noise to make it seem like they give a damn? It’s demoralizing, yes? I’ve been raging at them for some time, I know you have too. A few days ago The Hoarse Whisperer wrote an interesting thread on twitter that attempted to answer that question. And I think he made a very compelling argument for why Nancy and Chuck are not on TV every day screaming at Trump and McConnell and generally wreaking havoc, and why it may actually be the correct strategy.

The Hoarse Whisperer argued that by placing themselves in front of the camera as “leaders of the Resistance” Chuck and Nancy and Kamala, etc., will make every single election around the country about the Democratic leadership, not about the specific Democratic candidate, and that would be a disaster for Democrats. Imagine San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi every day on TV calling Trump a dumbass. One reason Democrats have managed to flip almost every special election, even in deep red states, is that although Republicans keep trying to tie Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Kamala Harris to each candidate, the “establishment” leaders of the party – by staying largely out of the way – allow each candidate to disown them and run on local issues…and then win. (Pelosi actually said recently that she doesn’t care if Democrats like Connor Lamb bashed her as long as they win their elections.) The public thinks their absence a sign of weakness or lack of determination to fight Trump. (It may actually be with Schumer, who is a wuss, but definitely not with Pelosi, who is a legislative warrior.) The public wants to see Pelosi storm the barricades because it will feel like she’s doing something even though legislatively there is nothing she can do at the moment. But in reality all Nancy Pelosi storming barricades would do is make each special election, in every red state, about Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal. So it’s not a sign of weakness; it is a strategy for Democratic party leaders to stay out of the way and let others be the faces of the Resistance. And the special elections results so far are evidence that the strategy is working.

What do you think about this? I actually was convinced by this argument.

f-melania-a-20180713-870x601 3.02.30 AM.jpg

Another question: this photo of Melanie Trump is from Brussels. Does it look like she had kidney surgery?

And a bit of literature trivia: The Booker Prize is a prestigious British literary award, given each year to an English-language work of fiction published in the UK. To commemorate their 50th anniversary the Bookers decided to create a special award this year, to recognize the best novel out of its past 50 winners. It’s an impressive list made up of Salman Rushdie, William Golding, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood


Michael Ondaatje

and many other writing geniuses. The judges narrowed the list down to 1 title from each decade and then they let the big words loving public vote on the ultimate winner. And the prize was given to….Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient.” I’m sorry to our friend Pat, a former member of our blog, who detested Anthony Minghella’s movie adaptation with every fiber of her body. It’s a shame because I consider it to be one of the top 10 best (English language) movies ever made. And Ondaatje’s novel – quite different from the movie in some key story points, but breathing the same fire in spirit – is truly a masterpiece of words. When I read it I would go back and re-read entire pages because of the beauty of Ondaatje’s language. It is poetry in prose. And the characters he created are magnificent and rich with life. From the title character, the “English” patient – a man who betrayed everything he believed in for a woman he loved; to the young nurse, Hana, who tries to give him comfort in his final days because he reminds her of her loved dead ones and she is desperate to hold on to her memories for as long as she can; to the young Indian sapper Kip, whose life is consumed with finding bombs to diffuse and if he misses one – he knows people will die. “He spends all day searching,” Hana says at one point, “and at night he only wants to be found.” One of the most beautiful passages in the book – read in its entirety in the movie – is from a journal the Patient’s beloved, Katharine, left behind in a cave where she died alone.

My darling, I’m waiting for you — how long is a day in the dark, or a week? The fire is gone now, and I’m horribly cold. I really ought to drag myself outside but then there would be the sun. . . I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings and on writing these words. We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in, like this wretched cave. I want all this marked in my body. We are the real countries, not the boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you will come and carry me out into the palace of winds. That’s all I’ve wanted — to walk in such a place with you, with friends, on earth without maps. The lamp is gone now, and I’m writing in the darkness.

90 Responses to "Lead By Not Leading?"

Is anyone watching the Strzok hearing?

Great post DYB.

Living in CA I know that Pelosi and Feinstein are warriors and they have both wanted Hillary in the WhiteHouse so they could retire, but now, even past 80, they have not given up, and are working their asses off.

The rethugs always need women to kick around, normally Hillary is their red meat they throw to their mindless klans’men’, but hating women in general, keeping them pregnant and in the kitchen is all they care about. Oh yes, when they pump out a few mini me’s and add a few years and pounds, they trade them in for a twenty-something girl.

God, I HATE, HATE these men that are following the fat slob, sex offender, crook in the Oval.

Yipes, my blood pressure goes up just thinking about all this shit.

@1> contrask, no, what is happening with it? It’s remarkable to me how much Strzok had to do with Hillary’s email investigation and how big of a role he played in Comey’s letter. And now the man Strzok helped elect is gunning for him. Is this Karma?

@2 Shadowfax> Don’t let the blood pressure go up! It’s not worth your health. The entire Rethug party is scum. The whole thing, all of it. Susan Collins and Murkowski will vote Yes on Kavanaugh. The facade of “moderate” is a lie, just like McCain’s “maverick” was.

Stormy was performing at a strip club in Ohio last night, touched guys with her boobs and got arrested.

Some ‘no touching’ law in Ohio.

4 Absolutely, DYB.

The whole election with rethugs and Russian interference made Rump’s ‘win’ a total sham, and now he is pissing on everyone’s bed.

@3 DYB Strzok is owning them. Goodlatte and Gowdy are idiots

The hearing that is going on right now, Nadler is on fire!!! Good for him.

Yes – he was great!. Hope we get the transcripts for yesterday’s

@8> LOL Gowdy looks…I can’t even tell. I’m actually shocked he did not interrupt him; typically that’s something they would absolutely do. To be lectured by a witness that way. I guess maybe give Gowdy credit for letting Strzok speak like he does without interrupting.

The republicans are all fools. All they have is trumped up bias and Hillary’s emails

But I will say about Strzok’s statement that personal beliefs never influenced his professional behavior: I call BS. It is not possible. We are human beings. We are ruled by our emotions. There is not a human being on this planet, not even a psychopath, who is not ruled by emotions. As professionals we may keep our personal beliefs in check most of the time. But never all the time and those personal beliefs and emotions can manifest themselves in many ways. It doesn’t have to be as seemingly corrupt as NY FBI’s behavior. There are subtle ways that can have huge repercussions. As an editor of television, while I am always looking to tell the best story there is just no way that personal feelings about the subject will not effect *how* I tell that story, or even what story I choose to tell. If I don’t like someone, there is a very high probability that I will do something to create the narrative that fits my personal beliefs. If I don’t like someone, I may include that statement from them they may regret. And if I like someone, I will likely try to protect them by removing that statement they might regret from the narrative. These are little, subtle ways we let our emotions rule that can have lasting impact. It’s why reporters like the entire NY Times political desk decided “her emails” was the most important story of 2016. (That’s not even subtle. Their CDS is in full swing and their professionalism did not keep their personal beliefs in check.) Strzok’s hatred of Hillary Clinton would have certainly impacted his decisions. GOP is pushing the narrative that Strzok wanted to destroy Trump and that’s preposterous: Strzok hated Clinton, not Trump.

@14 True about the bias. But Strzok is showing his professionalism well and these idiot GOP are showing there partisanship. All the Dem. who have spoken are more knowledgeable and articulate. GOP is truly in a bad way, not attracting quality people.

Why is Maxine Waters the only member of Congress to seemingly be an avowed member of The Resistance?

I would add Schiff and Lieu and (my Rep!) Jayapal, and doubtless many more. One big problem is the MSM’s coverage — or lack thereof.

@19 “like me a lot” Haha, is that why he’s going to London? Oh, wait…

Oh boy… Even Brit Hume tweeted that Gohmert made Strzok sympathetic with this shenanigan.

Couple of new items over on the right sidebar.

Love the pics, Fredster, and the post, D! The argument makes a lot of sense. Damn it.

Oh, and I still hate the English Patient. Sorry, not sorry. 😁

The problem with pointing out the GOPers rank hypocrisy is that their intention was never to be fine honest public servants. The hypocrisy is not an accident. They’re not going to go “D’Oh! I’ve been lying! These are lies!” (With apologies to Gary Larson’s cows who find out that what they’ve been eating all this time is grass.)

The Repubs, pols or rand and file, do or say whatever gets them power. Perfectly consistent, and none of them see a problem with that. It’s a feature not a bug.

(I know everybody here knows that. Just blowing off steam.)

@31: It’s a feature not a bug.


You make some great points D. By not having Pelosi or the others front and center these candidates out in the various districts don’t have to worry about being tied to her, Schumer or anyone else.

Thanks for the love for “The English Patient,” the novel, the movie and the soundtrack-all superb.

DYB, very interesting post! Good points made in Hoarse Whisperer’s thread. And love the passage you quote from the English Patient.

Between watching a good part of the hearing yesterday I had to keep up with my facebook feed as my school had a former football player & popular kid drown in a local lake (2 former student we’ve lost to tragedies this summer). So, I clicked on the feed of a teacher & she has posted “Trey Gowdy for President!” which just makes my head reel.

@DYB I do see the strategy with Chuck and Nancy keeping low profile. I am worried, though, that I’m not seeing strong candidates potentially lining up for 2020. Maybe I’m impatient, and we do have to see how Nov. goes. Everything hinges on that.

33 DYB

Hey @TGowdySC, please share the last 7 years of your texts and emails … want to ensure you did not have any negative opinions of Hillary while you were investigating her.


Oh Contrask! So sorry. What a terrible thing.

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Guess he hasn’t had access to hair dye in the pen.

Just before Dumpty meets with his Putin –

Mueller indicts 12 Russian military officers for DNC Hacking, hacked election board, spied on DNC chairman…more.


Money that Jill Stein raised to recount votes in 2016 swing states is being used by her campaign to pay for legal bills stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election.

In June, The Daily Beast reported that the the U.S. Green Party candidate’s campaign, which raised $7.3 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had in 2017 stopped disclosing its monthly spending with the Federal Election Commission. Later that month, the Jill Stein for President committee filed a slew of reports that reveal spending on lawyers who are not trying to get inside any voting machines.

At the end of May 2018, according to the most recent FEC filing, the Stein campaign paid the “Partnership for Civil Justice” $66,441.60; that is on top of a $31,536 payment made in January, and more than the Stein campaign had in cash on hand by November 2016.

@49, So that’s where all that “recount” money went to!

Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians lands at a really awkward moment for Trump

Trump is gearing up for a meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This indictment could force his hand on something he has seemed loath to do: confront Putin about election interference.

Anyone want to bet he’ll actually confront Putin? Didn’t think so.

I think it is best for Pelosi and all to stay out of these races. Look what happened here with the Jon Ossoff special election. It got ‘nationalized’ and neither Pelosi or Schumer came with in 500 miles of Ossoff. The media is just as bad, constantly asking these new Dem candidates if they will vote for Pelosi as speaker. Do you ever hear them ask Republican candidates if they will support McConnell or Ryan? I don’t.

I’m glad we have some “The English Patient” non-haters!!! Yay!

These indictments today are big. For a few reasons:

1) It establishes that GRU’s operations to hack into DNC started the same day Trump asked Putin to find Hillary’s emails.

2) It establishes clearly that WikiLeaks was coordinating with the Russians to publish these stolen emails. Assange can no longer deny that he didn’t know where they came from. Mueller has records of WikiLeaks asking GRU for Democratic emails.

3) It establishes that WikiLeaks published emails stolen by the Russians – which US media pored over for months and published on their front pages. Today a lot of reporters trying to justify their behavior: but the fact remains that US media published stolen material, stolen by a foreign adversary with the intention of affecting American election.
– this was not unknown at the time either. Joy Reid, for example, refused to discuss any emails on her program because she knew they were stolen. Nobody else did that. They knew, they didn’t care, now they try to excuse it as “we are journalists.” They are complicit.

4) Indictment mentions – but does not name – a Congressional candidate who asked for stolen materials to use against an opponent. Now the guessing game begins of who this Congressional candidate is.(Worth noting Paul Ryan used stolen emails in his advertisements.)

Alas, the Queen may not be able to kneel.

Yay! Congrats to my favorite author, M. Ondaatje. “The English Patient” showcased his poetry in prose…amazing writing skills.

Favorites of mine by him:
“In the Skin of a Lion”… you feel the life of immigrants in Americas (based inToronto) in early 1900’s.

“Running in the Family”…a memoir that is laugh out loud funny & heartbreaking.

I was really proud of Rosenstein at the press. He made a call for patriots to come together. I see no sign of it yet.

Also I saw mentions on twitter the GOP were happy with Lisa Page’s testimony today. I think we have a lot more crap to go through.

53 DYB

Who said the German’s aren’t funny?

55 Fredster

Watch him make it back and GOLD.

Oops, BLACK and Gold.

Good Charles Pierce piece here. A sample:

Ignorance will be pleaded. The candidate, lobbyist, journalist, and person close to the Trump campaign will argue that they thought they were dealing with that 400-pound guy in New Jersey. It’s too late now to start believing those protestations. There was enough out there about the ratfcking in the middle of the summer of 2016 to make anyone who cared to look suspicious of being handed anything by hackers, and this includes WikiLeaks, which has had its halo knocked into the Bay of Fundy for good and all by this indictment. Too many people didn’t care, because Trump couldn’t ever win, and because it had been open season on Hillary Rodham Clinton for 25 years, and, boy, was that ever fun!

And a little more:

There’s so much more coming. You can feel the hoofbeats of the horseman and the baying of the hounds behind every syllable of this indictment. My guess is that Mueller’s not going to move on anyone in the United States until very late in the game. He’s given all those folks a look at just a piece of what he’s got. That’s got to have their knees watery. And, because this is 2018, and everything is awful and strange, the president* this conspiracy helped to install is meeting, one on one, with the architect of it all, the Tsar of all the ratfckers, tomorrow. Everyone should be so very proud.

@56- and not only that, but in the same speech, trump stated that the “media would take care of the rest” which, as you state, they clearly did. I remember at the time of the speech, confronted with criticism, trump just said he was kidding- it was just a joke.

@53 Sara> I read “In the Skin of a Lion” as well. Stunning work. For years there were talks of a movie adaptations, but it has not yet materialized.

@72 Fredster> I like Pierce’s opening paragraph:

Goddamn them all.

Goddamn the hackers. Goddamn the journalists who laundered the pilfered material. Goddamn any of them who treated Roger Stone as a source, or as a cute prankster, instead of the nasty vandal he’s always been. Goddamn the pundits who chortled over the pilfered material. Goddamn the politicians who profited from the hacking. Goddamn the politicians who minimized the hacking. Goddamn the politicians who still stonewall about the hacking. Goddamn the “activists” who ranted about “McCarthyism” when anybody pointed out that the 2016 presidential election had been poisoned from afar. Goddamn them all as traitors, if not to the American nation, then to everything that ever made that nation worth the bother.

@77: I was trying to leave a little bit for folks to read there, but yeah that was great.

Re Mueller investigation: There’s so much smoke there’s got to be a fire somewhere. I am afraid that if all we ever hear is that there are “no Americans named in the indictments, no evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and no evidence that the vote totals have been affected by the hacking”, it’s just not going to be good enough to help affect the midterms in the democrats’ favor.

74 Too damn funny 🙂

This thread – what Kurt thinks the GOP are afraid of in the Mueller investigation

Fredster @73 said;

My guess is that Mueller’s not going to move on anyone in the United States until very late in the game.

I wish to hell he’d hurry up. I’ll believe it when I see it.

@87 Fredster> Those are amazing!

Fredster, I love the Trump toilet brush image on the sidebar. If I had that – and used it whenever he said or did something stupid or horrible – my toilet would be sparkly. (and that says a lot coming from someone with Crohns)


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