The Widdershins

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We thought we hit rock bottom and then someone knocked from underneath.

This is an old Russian expression, appropriately Russian. After more than 2 years of Trump dominating headlines and causing outrage everywhere he went – he launched his Presidential bid by declaring that all Mexicans were rapists and murderers – it’s shocking to me that I can still be shocked. But on Tuesday I found myself shocked when right-wing Republicans began attacking survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Leading the charge was the demented rancid garbage subhuman demon Dinesh D’Souza.

CNN’s pro-Trump pundit, and former Republican Congressthug from Georgia Jack Kingston, started floating the theory that the kids speaking out were actually actors and they were coached by Democrats to attack Trump. Gateway Pundit, which has White House press credentials, joined the fray. Bill O’Reilly began questioning why anyone listens to the kids anyway. Others began attacking the kids on twitter directly for being liars and fake, and someone started blaming Soros. Donald Junior began liking tweets that were attacking the kids. Florida state representative Shawn Harris’ Deputy Secretary Benjamin Kelly began emailing journalists claiming that the kids being interviewed don’t even go to the school where the massacre happened. When asked for proof he emailed links to conspiracy youtube videos where people claim these are crises actors and not students. Remember Sandy Hook? Same accusations were spread about the victims there by the likes of Alex Jones. Now this entered the mainstream. Harris – after twitter erupted in outrage at Kelly – soon announced that he fired him. But not before he voted in Florida assembly not to advance a bill to ban assault weapons, with some of the Parkland kids in the gallery. This is what D’Souza found so funny. The blowback against convicted felon D’Souza was so severe that even CPAC announced they were canceling this appearance there. (Last year it was Milo Snuffleapaganus’ appearance they cancelled after he defended child rape.)

Speaking of CPAC, did you see the list of speakers this year? It has gone full on KKK/White nationalist/European fascist. Speakers include Marion Le Pen – the more radical niece of Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farrage, Sean Hannity, “Sheriff” David Clarke, Judge Jeanine Piro, Ted Cruz, Dump and Pence, John Bolton, Wayne La Pierre, Dana Loesch, Sebastian Gorka. And Gary Johnson. Yes, Gary Johnson will be speaking at CPAC among all those other Republican luminaries. (Again, D’Souza’s appearance was cancelled on Tue after his tweets attacking Parkland kids.)

This is the Republican party in February of 2018. We are in Hell.

 

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It is February 15 and we have already had 18 school shootings in the US in 2018. That’s just the school shootings. School shootings are so common and ordinary at this point that NBC didn’t even bother to cut from their Olympic coverage of curling on Wednesday when a former student of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida opened fire, killing 17 people. The first modern school shooting in America was Columbine on April 20, 1999. (I very highly recommend the book “Columbine” by Dave Cullen. It’s a difficult read, but essential. If you got your Columbine news from the news – everything you know about Columbine is wrong.) Coni Sanders, daughter of slain Columbine teacher Dave Sanders, said on CNN earlier that “The world stopped for Columbine.” It also stopped for Sandy Hook. But these were all temporary pauses. We barely slowed down for all the others. As the British commentator Dan Hodges tweeted in 2015: “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.” So it will be again. Thoughts and prayers is the only thing GOP – and some Democrats (and Bernie) – will ever offer. NRA’s behavior follows a similar pattern each time a shooting like this happens: they go silent for a couple of days, and then just go on acting as if nothing happened. And collectively we let them. We will only rise again the next time there’s a shooting. Then we will give up again until the next one.

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Thoughts and prayers is all GOP has been offering so far. Marco Rubio said no one should rush to judgment. Trump tweeted condolences; apparently his aides encouraged him to make a statement, but he passed. It’s just as well. I can’t imagine his statement would have offered comfort to anyone. And that’s depressing too. We actually don’t want our President* to make a statement about a mass killing of children because we’re afraid of what he’d say.

New York Daily News put together some numbers and facts in response to members of the GOP tweeting their thoughts and prayers. It’s worth a read.

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Personally I think we need to take people’s guns away. Republicans spent 8 years trembling that Obama was going to, but that was absurd, obviously. Well, I think it’s time. It’s time for a politician to step forward and call for a repeal or at the very least, a very serious rethinking of the 2nd Amendment. The gun used in Florida yesterday was the same gun used in Las Vegas and in Sandy Hook. And those semi-automatic guns do not belong in homes of every Joe Schmoes in every town of the country. It’s preposterous. Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a gun like that. And even if they had – so what. It’s a document written hundreds of years ago. In many ways it is an astonishing document, but things change and lives change and standards change. And that document needs to grow with the times. And the times are the 2nd Amendment to go. Repel/replace if you will. Down with the 2nd Amendment!!!!!

What do you think Widdershins? Is it possible? Or will space travel to Mars come before gun control?

This is an open thread Widdershins.

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Happy Sunday Widdershins!

The last couple of days we talked about support animals and therapy animals: seems like therapy animals have become all the rage. Once upon a time it was dogs we used for emotional support. Now people have gotten attached to hamsters, peacocks, rabbits, lizards, etc. I suppose whatever one finds comfort it can be your support… who is anyone to judge. Except I’m totally judging anyone with a support anaconda, cockroach or goldfish.

I personally find a lot of comfort in music. Music is my real emotional supporter. Music is the most universal language of all. It transcends millennia, languages and borders. (Alcohol does too, but music is arguably healthier.) So – what are some of your emotional support musical artists? Are there performers or songs you go to when you are stressed? We are all stressed these days. What music gets you through the day?

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As always, news is flying faster than the speed of light, which means we’re in some sort of black hole now. There’s the White House secretary who beat his two ex-wives. John Kelly really likes this guy. (Kelly called Porter “a man of true integrity.”) Porter never got full security clearance because of his documented domestic violence history, but the media missed it because Hillary didn’t get any emails about it, I guess. (Also, Hope Hicks is dating this guy…) Nancy Pelosi spoke for more than 8 hours on the House floor, showcasing struggles of Dreamers. Elon Musk sent a rocket into space and that was cool, though don’t forget Musk is also a union busting bastard. But – I think there’s a big big big  story that is getting very little play in the media that should actually be front page of every newspaper and leading story of ever newscast: the shenanigans in Pennsylvania and its Supreme Court ruling that Republican maps are unconstitutional and must be redrawn.

The maps are so bad and the state Supreme Court ruling, apparently, so reasonable that  Samuel bloody Alito refused to even send the case to the rest of SCOTUS to consider. He simply rejected GOP’s appeal, letting state ruling stand: the maps must be redrawn in time for 2018 elections of the courts will redraw the maps themselves. In normal times a SCOTUS ruling (or refusal to rule) is the last word. But we live in Trump times and so Pennsylvania GOP refuses to do as told by SCOTUS. Instead they’ve decided they want to impeach the justices.

State Rep. Cris Dush circulated a letter to House colleagues Monday urging the ouster of five justices who ruled that the legislature must redraw Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered maps.
“The five Justices who signed this order that blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution, engaged in misbehavior in office,” a memo from Dush read. “Each is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office and disqualification to hold any office or trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”

Here is why I think this is the most important story right now: these actions and threats by GOP in Pennsylvania are a trial balloon for national GOP on how far they can push to rig elections. By refusing to follow the orders of a state Supreme Court and SCOTUS, and by threatening to impeach state Supreme Court justices, they are engaging in behavior similar to other countries that are in free-fall towards dictatorships. Just a few days ago in Maldives their Supreme Court justices were arrested after ruling that opposition leaders who were previously taken into custody must be freed. In a country of laws, where the courts are intended to interpret current laws, laws must be followed and SCOTUS has the last word on them. In this case one of the most conservative justices of SCOTUS did not side with the GOP. And yet the GOP is escalating the situation by trying to force judges to do their bidding. This is dangerous. And I think national GOP is watching it very carefully because when they can’t win elections legitimately we know GOP will do so via any means necessary. Subversion of democracy includes a system of courts that do the bidding of politicians and Pennsylvania GOP is trying to force the courts to do what they want. This should bring the people of Pennsylvania into the streets. Because if Pennsylvania GOP manages to defy the courts and get away with it – it will set national GOP on course to do the same across the country. We are walking into a banana republic scenario step by step by step. These actions by GOP in PA is another step. This should be big news everywhere. Unfortunately it’s not getting any traction from the media.

What do you think Widdershins? Am I overreacting or is there real danger in this situation?

Hello Widdershins,

January is finally over. I’m really not happy with the new calendar where January is 249 days long. The good news is February is much shorter. According to the new Trump Calendar February will only run 188 days.

And what a January it has been! The last day of the month went out with a kaboom, just

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Devin Nunes

to make sure we appreciated it. Representative Devin Nunes is … what the hell is he doing? Does anybody know? He recused himself from the Trump/Russian investigation many months ago after his bizarre behavior of running around Washington DC in the middle of the night, jumping into random cars and disappearing for hours, only to reemerge in front of the White House telling the media he discovered something shocking which he was about to the White House to tell them about. But it’s top secret. We then found out his late night top secret mission was at the White House, so he went to the White House in the middle of the night via secret cars, learned something from the White House and the next day went to the White House to inform the White House that he learned something top secret. And so he recused himself. But LOL, not really. He’s been not just getting access to top secret materials in the Trump/Russia House investigation – which he is not supposed to receive because he recused – but he has been organizing a House GOP revolt against the FBI and the Justice Department using those top secret documents he’s not supposed to have access to. Now there’s a memo which everyone is freaking out over. When Nunes was asked if he has been coordinating the writing and releasing of the memo with the White House he said he wasn’t sure. Errrrrrr. Then Adam Schiff discovers that Nunes made alterations to the memo without telling anyone. Oh and then Schiff found out that in secret Nunes and House GOP have started an investigation into the FBI. So that’s happening and what in the world is happening? The consensus among twitter scholars (no, some of them are actual lawyers, not just twayers) is that Nunes is digging a gargantuan hole for himself and is so blatantly obstructing justice that he will go to prison. This, of course, assumes that Republicans believe in the rule of law and it is becoming increasingly clear that they do not. Trump was right about one thing: he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave and not only would he not lose any voters, the NY Times would accuse Hillary Clinton of shooting someone on 5th Ave.

Though it all Paul Ryan says he has full confidence in Devin Nunes. Which makes Paul time-paulryan-5-gthmb.jpgRyan not just complicit in enabling Trump, it makes him an active participant in an attempt to discredit the chief law enforcement agency of the US. Nunes is a nobody, but that is an astounding legacy for the Speaker of the House. And as Jonathan Chait reminds us, it is Paul Ryan who blocked the release of Trump’s tax returns. And nobody in the media really asks him about that.

That may be because the media is busy investigating Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. You all know about the latest scandal uncovered by NY Times’ Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick (both of whom are writing their own books about Hillary and the 2016 campaign). Clinton posted a very lengthy response explaining her decision and pointing out that by not firing Glenn Thrush, NY Times did in 2017 what she, Clinton, is criticized for doing in 2008. Shit hits the fan as the media goes into epileptic seizures. How dare Clinton not crawl on all fours apologizing and criticize the NY Times. All the usual suspects have thoughts. Today a NY Times Rome bureau chief attacked Chelsea Clinton on Twitter for saying she was proud of her mother. Because this is the most important story of our day.

It is not Devin Nunes’ war with the FBI and it’s not the latest revelation that Hope Hicks  – a woman who went from being a model to a senior role in the White House after

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Hope Hicks

working for Ivanka – declared Junior’s emails about Trump Tower meeting with the Russians would never see the light of day. If Hicks declared that she intended to destroy evidence, that’s bad. Mark Corallo was member of Trump’s media team and he resigned from the administration – one of the very few people who have done so – because he feared they were obstructing justice. He is now a witness testifying to Mueller that Hicks said she’d make sure the Junior emails never saw the light of day, Hicks is denying it, and everyone thinks she needs a very good lawyer. Including Steve Bannon. The Times thinks they broke this story, but actually Michael Wolff broke the story in his book “Fire and Fury,” which many – notably NY Times folks – spent many days blasting as lies and hearsay. Well, Wolff wrote that Hicks said what NY Times now confirms she says and Steve Bannon yelled at her that she was dumb as a rock and he – Bannon – would call her father (!) and tell him she needs a lawyer. That’s actually sort of sweet of Bannon. But how did this story drop in the Times after being ignored in Wolff’s book? Are NY Times reporters scouring the book for good leads and following up on them? Or did someone leak it? Is FBI sending Trump a message by taking a shot at his beloved second daughter/lover? Or is Trump leaking this because throwing Hicks under the bus might save Junior? If he’s trying to save Junior, that’s kind of sweet too! See, Bannon and Trump aren’t all bad, just mostly bad!

Trey Benghazi Gowdy Doody has said he will not seek reelection. He is too upset with partisanship in Washington DC. He said that with a straight face. And Zeus did not throw a bolt a lighting at his head.

So that was all yesterday. Oh, also, the entire USA Gymnastics board did resign, as demanded by the Olympic Committee. They waited until the last day of the deadline to do it, because they are super classy.

January was fun! What will February bring us? Any predictions?

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Good morning Widdershins,

Another crazy week. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said that  Trump gets a “mulligan” for having an affair with Stormy Daniels. “All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,” Perkins said. Because Evangelicals no longer care about Presidents who have sex with porn stars while their wife is home with their newborn baby. It’s just a long list of things Evangelicals don’t care about anymore. Child molesters is another, as Roy Moore can attest. (Fun fact: Roy Moore has still not accepted the fact that he lost the election…) There is one thing Trump has done well: reveal the complete moral bankruptcy of the Evangelicals. Their acceptance of his immoral behaviors and the fact that they continue to support him through everything is everything we have ever needed to know about these charlatans. They want the Rapture, I know. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem helps in some way. But I never ever ever ever ever want to hear another Evangelical say anything about someone else’s morals. They are deplorable.

In one of my last posts I wrote about the deplorable Larry Nassar, the former USA Women’s Gymnastics medic who molested hundreds – literally, hundreds – of young girls. Nassar pleaded guilty. The judge presiding over his sentencing, Judge Rosemarie

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Judge Rosemarie Aquilina

Aquilina, allowed many of Nassar’s victims to deliver statements to the court and to Nassar. 156 women spoke. These 156 women are just the ones who were willing to come forward and speak in public. Imagine how many more victims we do not know. Aquilina sentenced Nassar to maximum of 175 years in prison. “I just signed your death warrant,” she said. She also read the letter Nassar wrote to her.

“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” Aquilina told Nassar.

So what do you think male reporters and pundits have to say about all this? Well, they are very angry at Judge Aquilina.

“Larry Nassar is clearly an evil man, but I don’t care for the judicial grandstanding and dunking on the convict from the bench,” wrote Matthew Yglesias. “I don’t think it inspires confidence in the rule of law for a judge to express a wish that she could hand down an unconstitutional punishment,” wrote Josh Barro. “Statements by the survivors have been extraordinary. A judge performing like this leaves me cold,” mused Jonathan Chait. There are many others like this, some (lesser known intellectuals) calling Aquilina “an attention whore.” It is deplorable to see people get angry at the judge who sentences an unapologetic rapist of over 150 young women to prison. But here we are.

We are also in a world where Chelsea Manning, who recently said she intends to run for the Senate in Maryland, attends an Alt-Right party. Titled “A Night for Freedom” the shindig was organized by Mike Cernovich, one of the biggest Alt-Right/White Supremacist personalities. Also in attendance were a who’s-who of White Supremacists, people like the former Bernie supporter Cassandra Fairbanks, Gavin McInnes, Jack Posobiec and Stefan Moleyneux. The usual topics were covered: Hillary is evil, MAGA, Hillary is evil, Obama is evil, Hillary is evil, Pizzagate, Hillary is evil, Muller is going down, Hillary is evil. Then McInnes waxed poetic about his love of fatherhood and encouraged the almost exclusively caucasian crowd to have lots of children. “Remember, one [child] is for losers. Two is for fags.” So on and so forth.

And there, in the middle of it all, is Chelsea Manning. When asked to explain why she was there Manning said she was protesting and doing research. I don’t know how Manning defines a protest. “Yes I literally shook hands with Chelsea Manning [tonight], the left is freaking out, it was not a big deal,” tweeted Cernovich. Fairbanks wrote that everyone loved Manning and if anybody had been rude to her she, Fairbanks, would have impaled them on her heels. And before Manning attended another Alt-Right party, where this happy photo was taken (included are Posobiec and Fairbanks.)

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So why does Chelsea Manning cavort with White Nationalists as she gears up for a Senate run?

What do you think Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Happy third week of 2018 Widdershins. It is less than 3 weeks of the year. Dump is about to celebrate 1 year in office. The rest of us will drink (more.) Or in my case eat more chocolate because it’s the only thing getting me through each day. But the good news is that Dump’s physician evaluated me and declared me 6’9” and a lean mean muscle machine nurtured by chocolate and sugar, burgers and fries.

Let’s put Dump aside for a minute (or 3 years) and I wanted to mention a story that has gotten very little coverage – and it really really should get a lot more considering the sheer scope of it.

Larry Nassar was a doctor with the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University. For decades he attended to female gymnasts. And he molested them. More than 150 – one hundred and fifty – women have come forward accusing Nassar of raping them when they were under his medical care when they were children. One victim, confronting Nassar at his sentencing, says she was 6 years old when he first abused her. Even someone with just passing interest in gymnastics and the Olympics would recognize some of Nassar’s victims: Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.

Also worth exploring is the subject of how Nassar was able to get away with this for decades. He didn’t get away with it alone. He had enablers. People who knew – colleagues – who looked the other way. ESPN has an article discussing some of Nassar’s enablers.

Remember when the Jerry Sandusky story broke? It was huge. As terrible as that was, this story of Larry Nassar is so much bigger and getting a fraction of the coverage. I wonder if there’s a reason?

In other horrifying news – what will today bring? Are Republicans really angry at Bannon for refusing to answer their questions after the White House instructed him not to? How hard are they going to huff and puff before they stop the charade? Is Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, really a Chinese spy trying to curry favors with the Dumps via Javanka? Did she have an affair with Tony Blair which ended his marriage? Did she marry Murdoch for love? Wall Street Journal broke the stories earlier this week, which is extremely meta! (OK, WSJ didn’t speculate whether Deng married Murdoch for love, that was me.)


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

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“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.9 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

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TELL PEREZ AND ELLISON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAZILE NUT!

Storify version of E. Rogers HVF explanation

Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones

tRump wants one of these

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

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