The Widdershins

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The #MeToo movement blasted the door off Hollywood like a tsunami. The first villain to go down was Harvey Weinstein, the notoriously vicious and deranged producer who produced some extraordinary films. In his wake many others have fallen, some perhaps unfairly (Al Franken is still hotly debated on Twitter.) The last couple of weeks saw the fall of 2 big CBS figures: the president of the network Les Moonves and the 60 Minutes’ chief Jeff Fager.

After Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker discussed allegations against Fager, CBS journalist Jericka Duncan, preparing a report on the story, contacted Fager for comment. Fager wrote back via text:

If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me. Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.

Once head of CBS News learned of this message, Fager was fired.

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Former CBS president Les Moonves

The bigger fall at CBS, however, was its very president, Les Moonves. Moonves has been accused of not just harassment, but assault, forcing women to perform oral sex on him. And, of course, he ruined many careers. Moonves (who is married to CBS host Julie Chen) carried a vendetta against Janet Jackson because of the “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, and ordered MTV and VH1, as well as Viacom owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s music. The “disappearance” of Janet from much of the music scene over the past decade is now being largely attributed to this. Before Jackson, Moonves set his sights on Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of the hit show Designing Women. Bloodworth-Thomason wrote a searing article in The Hollywood Reporter describing her relationship with Moonves and how he ruined her career. One story is that high on the success of Designing Women, she wrote a pilot for a new series (actually she wrote many pilots, all of which Moonves rejected, including one with Bette Middler) and arranged a reading of the script with big names, including Ileana Douglas. At the reading, Moonves sat across from Bloodworth-Thomason and just stared at her:

Having been voted most popular in high school, I felt confident that I would be able to charm him. I was wrong. He sat and stared at me throughout the entire reading with eyes that were stunningly cold, as in, “You are so dead.” I had not experienced such a menacing look since Charles Manson tried to stare me down on a daily basis when I was a young reporter covering that trial. As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.

When Bloodworth-Thomason finally left CBS after Moonves rejected all of her writing, his last words to her were “Go fuck yourself.”

Remember too that Les Moonves said this about Donald Trump in 2016:

It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS… Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun… I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.

CBS Board of Directors – all men – tried their darnedest to save Les. Arnold Kopelson, who once upon a time won an Oscar for producing Platoon, said in a board meeting: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.” Another member fo the board, William Cohen (yes, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary in the 1990s) said: “We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our CEO, and there will be no change in his status.” These are the type of men who protect other men’s perversions. They are why people like Moonves and Weinstein, and there are so many others, have thrived and will continue to thrive.

One other note on Arnold Kopelson: after Kathy Griffin’s debacle with the fake Trump head, Kopelson wrote Griffin a letter telling her how to get her career back. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve read in a long time. He thinks he’s being helpful, but…

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Mr. Kopelson is no longer a member of the board of directors of CBS, incidentally.

Margaret Sullivan of Washington Post (and a former public editor of the NY Times, a position that paper got rid of) wrote a powerful column discussing the fact that the damage done by men like Moonves – and Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose – is incalculable. They have shaped our culture’s view of women for decades.

What if Mark Halperin, for instance, had not been a network commentator during the 2016 presidential campaign? (James Wolcott of Vanity Fair aptly described him as “a political kingmaker and narrative shaper” and “the most influential” of the men who were felled by sexual-misconduct allegations last year.)

What if Bill O’Reilly of Fox News hadn’t been the biggest cable TV star in the nation when a woman had a major-party presidential nomination for the first time?

[…]

A media figure doesn’t have to show up for a business meeting in an open bathrobe to do harm, though that strange practice has turned out to be something of a leitmotif.

He can help frame the coverage of a candidate’s supposedly disqualifying flaws. He can squelch a writer’s promising work. He can threaten an underling’s job if she doesn’t stay in line and remember who really runs the show around here.

All these little moments add up, though we’ll never know their full cost. Only that it’s very, very high.

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Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to be the 5th ultra-conservative judge on SCOTUS. That is 99.9999% guaranteed. Even though in newly leaked/released emails he dismissed the idea that Roe v. Wade was “settled law” – something Susan Collins said would determine her final vote. Well, today Susan Collins said she wasn’t worried about Kavanaugh’s private emails on the subject and she doesn’t see any contradiction in what Kavanaugh writes and what Collins claims she believes. Susan Collins is the latest fraud being pushed on the American public: that of a moderate Republican the media runs to every time there is a close vote. It was McCain until he fell ill. Every reporter rushed with baited breath to McCain to know how he would vote on a close-vote. Now they do it with Collins. Even though nothing in McCain’s voting history – and nothing in Collins’ – suggests that they are anything but right-wing ideologues. Susan Collins will fold and vote straight down the party line every time. Her “resistance” to the repeal of the ACA was performance art. She learned it from McCain. She then voted for the tax cut knowing it gutted the ACA. But her first vote was brilliant marketing, like McCain’s “maverick.” Now people keep hoping that Susan Collins votes Nay on Kavanaugh. Folks, Susan Collins approved Kavanaugh before Trump announced him. It’s one reason Trump announced and McConnell is rushing the nomination through. Because they know it’s in the bag.

The only solution going forward – assuming Democrats ever control Congress again – is trying to remove Kavanaugh from the court. A SCOTUS judge has ever been impeached and removed. But there’s a process that allows it. Let us hope Democrats try – if they ever have anything close to the numbers they need. Or at least let us hope they try to change the number of justices on the court and stack it with liberals. Republicans must be taught a lesson that their treachery – literally, treachery – will be punished. I fear that Democrats don’t have the guts for that though… Which only means Republicans will never stop playing dirty. I think that Michelle Obama’s “we go high” sentiment is sweet, but it’s outdated. It ignores history that taking the high road is for losers. We must burn the road down and kick Republicans into hell.

 

 

Happy Sunday Widdershins!

Let us put aside that rabid orange turd. Let us hear music that makes you happy. What songs give you joy? What tunes make you smile? What rhythms makes you tap your foot.

This is an open thread!

This is Madonna’s happiest and most perfect love song. Video directed by Herb Ritts.

The Hump

Posted on: August 23, 2018

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Wednesdays are known as hump-days. Those dreadful days we suffer through between the terrible Mondays and much-anticipated Fridays. Something about the past few days has felt like a hump of the Dump presidency. We’ve been making our way to the top of the mountain – is it downhill from here? Of course, it is impossible to really tell. I certainly can’t predict anything; I have been wrong before. But with Manafort’s 8 guilty verdicts (or 10 mistrial verdicts, as Faux News and The Federalist like to point out) and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas – and, more importantly, saying that the candidate for office told him to commit crimes, thus making Trump an unindicted co-conspirator – something feels different today. It’s not the actions of McConnell and Ryan. They are both trying to say as little as possible. Ryan’s office released a statement that they’re aware of Cohen’s plea, but need to see more information (LOL). So that hasn’t changed. Though the NY Times articles on how people in Ohio diners feel about these developments is still a few days away, I think we can safely assume they don’t care about any of it and Trump’s base remains very much intact. Orrin Hatch just told Jake Tapper that “I think [Trump] has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then.” So Republicans in Congress won’t change their tune.

But something changed in how Democrats in Congress speak about Dump. Many have come out very strongly, directly and explicitly accusing Trump and his administration of being a “criminal enterprise.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted very direct attacks on Republicans in general and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of language from her or most other Democrats. “The gross #CultureOfCorruption runs deep among Republicans in Washington,” – Pelosi tweeted. And then: “Michael Cohen. Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort. Chris Collins. Duncan Hunter. Vern Buchanan. Scott Pruitt and the Trump Administration. The Republican Party looks like a criminal enterprise.” This kind of directness has always been Republicans’ ammo and Democrats have largely tried being polite. We know how that’s worked out for us. It seems that Pelosi – and others – have finally smelled blood in the water and, thankfully, are not letting good blood go to waste.

Several people have now explicitly called Trump an illegitimate President. Democratic Senators have also now come out and said they will not even consider Kavenaugh for SCOTUS because Trump is an unindicted criminal and should not be allowed to appoint a SCOTUS judge. This is also different. Kamala Harris: “President Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator to a federal crime to influence an election for the office he now holds. He should not be allowed to name a Supreme Court Justice without resolving this accusation first.”

So something is different. Do you feel it? Or am I being too optimistic?

This is an open thread.

Blue Waves

Posted on: August 10, 2018

As I enter my 41st year on this planet I mostly regret that space travel isn’t possible yet. Nothingness.jpgBecause if it was I’d get the heck off this one. What a poopy show we are living through. While we know Hillary testified for 11 hours before Gowdy-Doody’s Benghazi panel, Dumpfuhrer has rejected Mueller’s latest request for testimony, via his attorney, serial adulterer and liar Ghouliani. Ghouliani also demanded that Mueller should end the investigation. Chances of that are on the low side. So Rethuglicans continue their diabolical plan to fire Mueller. Skippy Nunes revealed GOP’s plans in a private fund-raiser. (Politicians really need to stop being so candid in fundraisers…) In a tape leaked to Rachel Maddow, Nunes told the rich Rethuglican crowd that the reason they aren’t impeaching Rosenstein right now is that their priority is to confirm Kavanaugh; they can’t do both at the same time. Once Kavanaugh is confirmed, Rosenstein’s a goner. If Rosenstein’s a goner, so is Mueller. That’s GOP’s plan. Now we know and it makes the urgency to flip at least one house (the House) even greater. (In a fun tidbit, Adam Parkhomenko, the man who organizes the White House protests right now and who works for Hillary Clinton (as an aside within the aside, I’m surprised Parkhomenko’s connection to HRC hasn’t been blasting on every news channel and in every Dumpfuhrer tweet), anyway, Adam tweeted earlier today that he’s heard stories that there is something much bigger coming out soon about Nunes, bigger than these tapes. Something that will show that he is fully complicit in what’s happening with Trump. Adam did not expand on that and, to reiterate, it was something he heard about. Let us cross our fingers that it comes to pass…)

The one bright light on our horizon is that Hillary-backed candidates in special elections have been winning and Bernie’s have been losing. It also appears that in Michigan this past week the Democratic turnout was the highest ever. Maybe, just maybe, Democrats in Michigan have woken to the gravity of the situation and will also come out to vote in November. One interesting side-note to these last elections was the presence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Alexandria won a primary in Queens against a powerful Democrat, which the Alt-Left embraced with special vigor. Certainly she deserves credit for taking on a powerful multi-term Democrat. (Though I have to note that I lived in Queens for almost 15 years and I never heard of this guy until he lost…) The media also embraced Alexandria with numerous glowing profiles. She was invited to many shows ocasio_cortez_msnbc.jpgand podcasts  to offer her thoughts on the Revolution (!) and Bernie (she was a Bernie delegate, though he did not endorse her candidacy). She was called the new face of the Democratic party. She felt emboldened enough to attack Tammy Duckworth. And then she decided that she was important enough to go to states like Michigan, Kansas and Missouri to endorse and campaign for candidates running in primaries. She joined Bernie Sanders on this tour of endorsements. Her face appeared on posters next to Bernie and, as an afterthought, the candidate they were endorsing. Each of those candidates were the “anti-establishment” candidates, but some in the Bernie tradition. White men, some of whom didn’t even live in the districts they were running in, one of whom was a Republican 4 years ago and proudly nearly voted for Jill Stein in 2016. These are the natural allies, of course, for Bernie and Alexandria. And then most of them lost. All of Hillary’s candidates won. Alexandria tweeted congratulations to some of the winners and praised some of her favorite losing candidates, but she pointedly did not congratulate Sharice Davids, the lesbian Native-American candidate who kicked Alexandria candidate’s ass. All the losing must have confused Alexandria because just days ago she was still leading the Revolution with Bernie against the establishment, and the media said she was the face of the Democratic party. As soon as Bernie and Alexandria failed to deliver results, the media made a sharp turn. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s movement fails to deliver any stunners,” read a CNN headline. “Socialist pin-up Ocasio-Cortez sees four candidates FAIL,” read The Daily Mail in the UK. Suddenly Alexandria was a loser. The media does that. Alexandria fell for their bait and switch, and they pinned the losses on her – not Bernie. She thought a few glowing profiles meant she could leave Queens and still find herself relevant in Missouri. She took a wrong turn off Queens Blvd, let me tell you. People in Missouri really don’t give a shit what a lady from Queens thinks. Frankly, they don’t care what a white man from Vermont thinks either. Bernie will never learn this; it remains to be seen if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez ever humbles herself enough to realize that winning a single primary against a candidate who doesn’t even campaign does not make you a queen-maker across state lines. It doesn’t even make her a queen-maker across borough lines. How much success do you think she’d have endorsing in Staten Island? I wonder how she will react as a freshman representative in the House. There really is a powerful hierarchy. From what we’ve seen from Ocasio-Cortez so far she’s not into that. It’s a risky strategy. Let’s see how it works out for her.

Closing In

Posted on: July 27, 2018

Things are moving. Faster and faster. Say what you will about Bob Mueller, but his investigation is moving faster than anyone couple have expected. Republicans in Congress may try to interfere in his investigation – from Nunes to Paul Ryan himself – but it’s not stopping Mueller himself. Aside from the guilty pleas and plea bargains – and Manafort’s trial already under way – he has now seems to have flipped Trump’s personal lawyer, his fixer-upper of many years, Michael Cohen. Cohen has been cleaning up after Don for years; he knows where a lot of the bodies are buried, especially mistresses. It’s why I remain puzzled why Trump seems to have abandoned Cohen after Mueller raided Cohen’s offices and home. It seems to me that would have been the time Cohen needed to be reassured and protected. For some reason Trump decided Cohen wasn’t worth saving. I don’t know why… seems like he should have been one of Trump’s personal priorities. Feeling abandoned, Cohen embraced his new role as an “honest man.” He hired Lanny Davis to be his lawyer. Even Michael Avenatti considered representing him.

Among things Cohen has on Trump are tapes, many tapes of private conversations. And now Cohen says he is willing to testify that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting; he knew who was coming and the knew why. A lot rests on that meeting; it shows actual collusion. So far Trump maintains he had no idea it happened, even though his son, son in law and campaign manager thought enough of this meeting to attend it. Cohen says Trump knew. We know that Junior made phone calls to “blocked” numbers before the meeting and after it. And in the original statement written aboard Air Force One, Trump denied all involvement. That’s the one a Trump spokesman quit over, claiming he feared what they were committing obstruction of justice. That’s the one Hope Hicks said she’d make sure Junior was protected. All these things put together present a damning picture of Trump. He knew, of course he knew. There’s no way he did not know. So he asked Russians for help, he accepted their help and he has spent every waking moment since then trying to cover it all up.

As Trump sees the circle closing in, how will he react? Will he lash out? If he lashes out (of course he will lash out!), who will he attack? Iran? Mueller? Will he fire Mueller? His lackeys in Congress tried to impeach Rosenstein, though they have since abandoned their articles of impeachment. The impeachment, with Jim Jordan at the helm, led Nancy Pelosi to state in a press conference that perhaps Jordan was trying to deflect attention from what’s happening with him in Ohio. She threw that out there casually, as if the accusations against “Gym” Jordan were not very serious. It was a very clear threat. Pelosi will drag Jim Jordan. What will Trump do? What do you think, Widdershins?

Well, as Hillary Clinton tweeted, now we know. Some of us have known for a while that Trump was an actual traitor. Not hyperbole traitor, but an actual one in the sense that hetrump-putin-summit-crisis-time-magazine-cover1.jpg literally committed (and continues to commit) treason against his own country. But many others are just waking up right now, in a post-Helsinki press conference world and saying: “Wait, whaaaaaaat?” Samantha Bee did a great skit on how shocked everyone is and while Republicans aren’t really shocked – GOP is complicit and they don’t actually care – the most galling part is where members of the media say they’re shocked. Motherfuckers have been reporting the wrong news for about 4 years now. It’s really too bad Hillary didn’t lay out her case for Trump’s treason in an email because maybe then they’d have read it.

I don’t think Trump intends to commit treason. I think he just wants to be rich and powerful. That’s why he accepted Putin’s help. To make money. But he’s so stupid it never occurred to him his actions were treasonous. Never crossed his mind. And when it was brought up, he doubled down – because Trump would never not do that. He would never admit he fucked up, never accept responsibility and try to fix it. No, his cover-up is now of gargantuan proportions. NYTimes reported late yesterday that Trump was shown raw intelligence before the inauguration showing that Putin himself gave the green light for the campaign to infiltrate US elections. This means Trump has been covering up his crime with full knowledge of what he was doing since before he was inaugurated. Trump hasn’t been stumbling about in ignorance. No, he knew exactly what Putin did and he continues to this day to deny it. Trump attacks the intelligence community and the FBI, never Putin. He still, to this day, has not said one bad thing about Putin. At the presser, when he was asked if there was anything he would fault Russia for he responded with a direct criticism of the US instead. “We have been foolish.” What does Putin have on Trump? I don’t think it’s just a pee tape, at least not in the way Steele described in his dossier. If it’s a sex tape of some kind, it’s more than just hookers peeing on a bed. It may be Trump being peed on in the bed. Or it’s money. There’s a reason for why Trump has not released his tax returns. What the bloody hell is in those tax returns that he prostrates himself before Putin in front of TV cameras?

One other important point on the news that Trump was briefed with raw intelligence on what Putin did. The intelligence included information from a source very close to Putin. This is significant because normally a newspaper would have been asked to leave out details like that because it would put people in harm’s way. The fact that the Times published that info suggests that they know the source is already burned (and likely dead.) And to that point, Trump was shown this information two weeks before he was inaugurated. On January 27 reports started coming in raising red flags on surprise purges in Putin’s inner circle. All those Russians dropping like flies we were tracking in 2017? That started after Trump was shown the raw intelligence. And it wouldn’t be the last time the Trumps betrayed intel like that. Remember all those Saudi purges, which likely came from intelligence given to them by Jared Kushner.

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Also, let me mention the list of evidence Bob Mueller says he will present in court in the government’s case against Paul Manafort. The list includes about 30 emails and text messages and memos Tad Devine sent Paul Manafort through 2014, just a few months before he became chief strategist for Bernie Sanders. These communications are presented as evidence of crimes being committed. Think about that!

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Paul Manafort in the middle; Tad Devine to Manafort’s immediate right; and Konstantin Kilimnik – also under indictment by Mueller – is in the blue shirt on the left.

I wonder what new devilry Friday news dump will bring.


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Blog Archive

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.3 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

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