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There was a moment during the previous Trumpcare vote, when John McCain made his dramatic entrance and gave the melodramatic thumbs down, when Democrats spontaneously burst into applause. And minority leader Chuck Schumer angrily waved for them to stop, which was almost like someone hit the “mute” button. Schumer must have known that Trumpcare was not yet dead and gloating was premature. Sure enough, Trumpcare is back. And it is actually closer to passing now than it was back then. Lisa Murkowski, who with Susan Collins so resolutely stood against it then, is wavering now. It is impossible to read McCain’s intentions. His maverickness has always been an illusion. Will he waver until the last moment and deal Trumpcare another deathblow so he can bask in the glow of public praise? Or will he do his usually hyper-partisan right-wing thing and do what he has always done: vote right along party lines? Who can tell.

There’s a moment in Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” where she mentions that at the inauguration McCain came up to her and hugged her, and had the same horrified expression on his face that she had. I’m sure this happened, but I’ve always been fascinated by how politicians can do and say such awful things to one another – and then talk about each other’s integrity. McCain’s behavior towards Clinton has been vile for many years. From Benghazi and emails through the entire campaign. And yet, Hillary considers him a friend. I know this sort of thing has been the gold standard for bipartisanship (fight during the day, share dinner and drinks at night), but when so much it at stake, how do politicians separate their personal feelings? How do they compartmentalize watching people do horrible things and go grab a smoke after? How does one continue to respect a man like John McCain?

Speaking of vile and no respect: Bernie. Yesterday socalannie posted a tweet from Sasha Stone, founder of the entertainment website awardsdaily.com.

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That’s a perspective on Sanders and his Revolution I hadn’t appreciated until Stone articulated it. And suddenly, so much of it makes sense. Bernie is the alien from “Aliens,” a parasite with acid for blood that latches on to a host because it can’t survive on its own, and then eats its way out through the chest cavity. It lays eggs (Bernie’s loyal minions like Nina Turner and Susan Sarandon), who do their own damage by killing their own hosts. And the cycle continues. Of course Sanders’ revolution is against Democrats. He and his believers have dedicated more time to attacking Democrats than Republicans and Trump. And they are doing it by infiltrating the party and are now eating their way out. Sadly the Democratic party is allowing it. Last week Sanders managed to bully a lot of leading Democrats, like Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker and Kamala Harris into supporting his single payer plan, a plan each and everyone one of them knows has zero chance of passing. And a plan that they announced just as the newest version of Trumpcare, conceived by Lindsey Graham, began to dig its way out of the grave. Sanders convinced Democrats to take their eyes off the undead with the usual promises of magical unicorns. Even Bernie Bro Matty Yglesias tweeted that October 1 – the day after reconciliation of ACA repeal ends – would have been a better day to introduce single payer. Now it’s impossible to tell if ACA will survive. And no, contrary to what Bernie Bros maintain, death of ACA will not lead to single payer.

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On the plus side, NY Times’ Glenn Thrush announced he quit Twitter. Sayonara baby.

What’s your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Happy Saturday (and Sunday) Widdershins.

We have survived another week. This week was off to a rough start because Hillary Clinton’s book about the 2016 campaign, “What Happened,” was released and before its4c498a1fa3498d0d740dfb69e25bea87--american-life-time-magazine.jpg release virtually every pundit on TV and Twitter had a meltdown about it. How dare Hillary say anything? People have been talking about her publicly for 30 years, but at this point, they said, she needed to go away. But an odd thing happened as the week progressed: as people actually read the book, they found they liked it. Ok, so maybe not the usual pundits. Those have a case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome so strong that nothing would appease them. (No really: Slate wrote an article questioning why Hillary isn’t angrier… like really, this happened.) But the more reasonable types found themselves not unhappy. And Clinton gave a number of remarkable interviews, everyone from Vox (Ezra Klein) to Rachel Maddow to The View. Turns out what Hillary has to say is not only interesting, a lot of it is important. Like the discussion about Republicans potentially working their way to a Constitutional Convention. This needs to make bigger headlines.

So, we found ourselves lifted up by Hillary Clinton once again. She may not run for office, but she herself said that she is not retiring from public life and from politics. Things are too important and too dangerous to step away from.

So, like Hillary, we will continue to fight.

Our weekend fight: Trumpcare is back folks. It’s back, like a zombie that will not die. Republicans are trying to repeal the ACA again. This is not a drill and not a joke. Start telling your friends to call their Senators and Representatives again. It is important. It is happening. Start calling 202-224-3121.

And for our weekend musical theme, the theme is: Fight. Fight. Fight.

What’s on your mind Widdershins?

 

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Good morning Widdershins,

On Tuesday it finally happened. The book everyone had an opinion about, even though very few people had read it, finally came out. Hillary Clinton’s What Happened hit the bookshelves.

It is important to note that the overwhelming response from all The Usual Suspects on the cyber were predictably vile. Go Away! It’s too late! It’s too soon! Nobody cares! Bernie Would’ve Won! You’re destroying our perfect unity!!! The Chris Cillizza’s and Glenn Thrushes and Shaun Kings of the world all had twitter meltdowns bashing the book they had not read. They had only seen a few of the leaked pages, the one about Bernie (which Bernie had a fit about on Stephen Colbert), so did his minions like Nokimi Konst and Nina Turner. Matthew Yglesias declared the book an obvious money grab. Everybody’s main concern is that Hillary is dividing the Democratic party while Bernie is trying to save it. None of these things make sense here on Planet Earth. These people are really great at gas-lighting, they can give Trump a run for his money.

But as the publication came closer, something odd happened. A few reporters got early copies and were reading. Chris Hayes – a Bernie Bro – surprisingly tweeted that he was reading the book and it not what people expect. Dave Weigel of WaPo first tweeted “this book…it is good.” His review is here. NY Times’ Amy Chozick, 1/3 of the paper’s anti-Hillary axis, tweeted she likes the book a lot. And as the book came out and people really started to read it, the vitriol died down. Not disappear completely, but the temperature definitely dropped. Not a peep comment from Shaun King, though Cillizza is a snake, so he Cillizzas. Maggie has been mum.

The crowds for the book also were huge. In NYC the Barnes and Noble in Union Square Park had lines around the block to meet Hillary at the signing. Maggie Haberman tweeted about the lines and I can only imagine how her soul burned with rage. These interviews might be the first time Clinton supporters have actually been interviewed by the media! At some point during the day they said they were close to 1500 people at the signing. That’s a lot of people not caring about Hillary, some of whom camped out outside overnight.

I think it’s clear to anyone with an ounce of a brain: Hillary Clinton is not going away. Regardless of what Bernie and his Bros want. Hillary may not run for any office again, but she’s not giving up on politics and she thinks we are in more danger than may seem. In a Pod Save America podcast she told the hosts that Trump’s goal is to hold a constitutional convention, for which he needs 34 states. They are already at about 28, and they are packing the courts and States Attorney offices with loyalists. These people will do what Trump tells them. A reporter friend of mine (she works for Reuters) retweeted that Pod and drew a direct comparison to Venezuela and Turkey. That appears to be Trump’s agenda, with full support of the GOP, and full money backing by the likes of Mercers and Kochs, to turn America into some form of dictatorship because he doesn’t like not being in control.

The next few years are going to be interesting. “May you live in interesting times.” That Chinese curse has fallen on us all.

What’s on your mind? This is an open thread.

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Good morning Widdershins.

It’s Wednesday morning, so it must be “let’s pile on Hillary” day. As excerpts from her book are starting to leak, they are mobilizing the usual suspects within the media to tell us how much they detest her. At the center of the latest are, naturally, the Times Twins: super star political reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman. Thrush recently went on a massive twitter storm listing all the things Hillary did wrong to lose the election. Conspicuously absent from his list was an acknowledgement of multiple Harvard studies showing the media “gorged” on Clinton e-mails.

Back in December of 2016 the Shorenstein Center from Harvard studied the coverage of the television networks and major newspapers.

Clinton’s controversies got more attention than Trump’s (19 percent versus 15 percent) and were more focused,” noted study author Thomas E. Patterson. “Trump wallowed in a cascade of separate controversies. Clinton’s badgering had a laser-like focus. She was alleged to be scandal-prone. Clinton’s alleged scandals accounted for 16 percent of her coverage—four times the amount of press attention paid to Trump’s treatment of women and sixteen times the amount of news coverage given to Clinton’s most heavily covered policy position.

The recent Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard studied online coverage of the campaign and reached same conclusions.

“I think the fact that we get the same results as Shorenstein using significantly different methodologies yields a high degree of confidence,” Robert Faris, the center’s research director, tells the Erik Wemple Blog.

I would come to Haberman, Thrush and the rest’s defense on this particular issue though. The real fault in this lies with the editors of the newspapers. In the case of New York Times it’s executive editor Dean Baquet. Baquet is the one who decides what his reporters will investigate and what the headlines will read. So it’s Baquet who decided in 2016 that Hillary’s e-mails were the single most important story his paper would pursue. (Eric Lichtblau’s disastrous “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI sees no direct link to Russia” headline remains un-retracted and uncorrected.”) Baquet is a disgrace and he controls what topics Haberman and Thrush will pursue. But he does not control what Thrush and Haberman tweet.

Which brings me back to Clinton’s book. Hillary writes:

Jake Sullivan, my top policy advisor, told me it reminded him of a scene from the 1998 movie There’s Something About Mary. A deranged hitchhiker says he’s come up with a brilliant plan. Instead of the famous “eight-minute abs” exercise routine, he’s going to market “seven-minute abs.” It’s the same, just quicker. Then the driver, played by Ben Stiller, says, “Well, why not six-minute abs?” That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept proposing four-minute abs, or even no-minute abs. Magic abs!”

This passage brought out perhaps the most deranged tweet I have ever seen Maggie Haberman write.

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Note that Haberman is re-tweeting a Republican Bernie Bro, who worked on Jeb Bush’s campaign. Miller’s feed is filled with anti-Clinton sentiments.

The ethical and moral corruption of Haberman’s vision expressed in this tweet is breathtaking. I have never seen a tweet from Haberman about Donald Trump that approaches this level of insanity. I have been thinking about the media and their coverage of Clinton for a long time. And I’ve concluded that if one assumes true lack of politics (let’s pretend for a minute that Haberman, Thrush, Chris Cillizza and their ilk aren’t right-wing Republicans) – what is it that drives their Clinton Derangement Syndrome? I think it’s amorality. Not immorality, but amorality. There is a school of thought that journalists are supposed to tell a story, but not be a story. And that their stories should be impartial.

We long ago lost sight of “tell the story, don’t be the story” mantra. Perhaps it was the post-Watergate effect, where Woodward and Bernstein became superstars. This is what every reporter today craves: attention. Few of them seek the truth for truth’s own sake. Most of them seek invitations to cable news shows where they can dazzle us with their self-serving insight and wit. Their hunger for twitter followers devours their journalistic integrity.

And then there’s impartiality. Impartiality sounds great on paper, but it can not be achieved, like Utopia. It can not exist if you have morals. It does not exist in judges, it does not exist in politicians and it does not exist in journalists. Morals and ethics drive everything that we are because we are human. But lack of impartiality should never be confused with lack of honesty in the story, however. As Christiane Amanpour said in an important speech in November 2016:

I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

I believe in being truthful, not neutral.

This is where people like Haberman and Thrush and all the rest fail, and fail so painfully because it is the rest of humanity that pays the price. Supposed impartiality in their work actually demonstrates the absence of morals.

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What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Good morning Widdershins,

Hurricane Harvey has been a massive catastrophe. As I was writing this on Tuesday evening, a levee in a county south of Houston has breached. “NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! GET OUT NOW!!!” Brazoria County said on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Many trillions of gallons of water have fallen. The entire Texas National Guard has been deployed. Meanwhile president Dump and his wife (wearing 4” heels) went to visit and Dump wondered at the size of the crowd assembled. “What a crowd, what a turnout,” he declared in Corpus Cristi. Meanwhile Glenn Thrush of the New York Times declared that Dump “used the dulcet, reassuring and uplifting language of prior presidents” when speaking of the disaster, in an article with the headline: “Harvey Gives Trump A Chance to Reclaim Power to Unify.” I assume that’s when Dump wasn’t wearing his $40 hats his company sells while making appearances in Texas. The New York Times has reached peak dumpster fire in their apologia and legitimization of Dump. Just a few days ago their reporters (you know the ones) were screaming on twitter that everything is Hillary’s fault. (I’m sure I’m wrong about it being peak. Bigger dumpster fires are yet to come.) The only person at the Times with any sense of decency is Paul Krugman who sent out a series of tweets pointing out the media screwed up. Sadly the political desk at the Times, headed by Dean Baquet, doesn’t listen to Krugman.

Speaking of Dean Baquet, read this remarkable article about Baquet, the media, Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech, and Meredith McIver, who took responsibility for stealing Michelle Obama’s words. Is McIver an actual person? Who knows! Even though the Times, among others, wrote glowingly about her, nobody seems to have met this woman in at least 10 years. And Baquet thinks the reporter who asked to confirm that someone at the Times actually has met this woman is a “moron.”

…we really don’t know if Meredith McIver is real, alive, and well, or not — she may very well be. But I know the explanations from Team Trump for what happened at the time were completely ridiculous — one involved Sean Spicer and a My Little Pony box (please, Google it); I know that other people searching for Meredith have received anonymous threats; I know that a phone conversation I had with Meredith’s alleged ex-boyfriend, Stephen Palitz, led to far more questions than answers; I know that fake social media accounts for Meredith popped up immediatley after she accepted blame…and suddenly and inexplicably began communicating in Russian before disappearing again.

A few months ago, Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the NYTimes, fired the paper’s public editor. The public editor was originally hired after the paper’s disastrous coverage leading up to the Iraq War. Now Sulzberger declared the role was no longer necessary because the public would keep his reporters honest. On Tuesday evening Peter Daou, a former Clinton staffer who is very vocal in his defense of Clinton on twitter, announced he has now been blocked by 3 major Times reporters, including Thrush and Haberman. How does one keep reporters honest – when reporters block you?

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What’s on your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Good morning Widdershins!

Because of technical glitches which I can’t even understand – the comments closed in the previous thread. So here’s a very super duper quick post of no importance whatsoever, so we can keep commenting.

Aside from, you know, the awful hurricane in Texas (Ted Cruz and John Cornyn want federal aid…… let that sink in), Dump has pardoned the evil Joe Arpaio (so the media is falling over itself screaming “But Marc Rich!” because false equivalencies and “Clinton did it” is their natural state), Nazi Sebastian Gorka was “fired” from the White House (he claims he resigned) and last heard from, he was in talks with Breitbart to work there. Because, naturally.

What fresh hell will this weekend bring?

Discuss amongst yourself!

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Hello Widdershins,

We have survived another week without a nuclear apocalypse. Yay? Doesn’t mean another one won’t come tomorrow. The 45h Dump is escalating the war in Afghanistan (hey, remember when Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd wrote a whole column arguing that Dump was a “dove” and Hillary was the “hawk?” LOL yeah.) John McCain and Lady Graham couldn’t be happier about more war. And a twitter war broke out between the NYTimes Twins (Thrush and Haberman) and people with a brain, many of whom happened to be Clinton supporters, but not exclusively, after Thrush went on a sexist tirade listing all the things Hillary did wrong during the election. This is after a Harvard study showed that “her emails” was the single most covered story in the media, which perhaps was unwise of the media. But Times Twins found other reasons for the 2016 disaster, among them that Hillary flew home for dinner every night of the campaign (some have disputed that), that she spoke too much (he actually said that) during the campaign, waged a silly war on the media, and should have listened to people more, and that Huma Abedin should have fired. These are things Glenn Thrush tweeted and Haberman backed up, and then Jonathan Martin jumped in too. I’ll just leave the topic right there because I’m getting palpitations right now.

We are also learning that the DNC is having a hard time raising money. Liberal organizations are not having difficulties. Individual political campaigns, like Jon Ossoff’s for example, and organizations like ACLU. So liberals are giving away a lot of money – they’re just steering clear of the DNC. Perhaps, possibly, just maybe the reason is Bernie Sanders? The disastrous “Unity Tour” and endless screaming by Sanders proxies like Nina Turner, as well as DNC’s attempts to reach white people, at the expense of its actual base (women and people of color)  is not going to bring out the donations. And Sanders supporters are not going to start sending their $27 to the DNC. So Tom Perez has some decisions to make. Stick with Bernie and his Bros, and starve DNC of its base money, or throw Bernie into the trash where he belongs.

New Republic also notes that

“Obama and Clinton are both high-profile Democrats and neither have been helping the DNC raise much money,” Beckel said. There is a finite amount of resources, and it’s possible that Obama and Clinton are pulling the deep donor networks that they have cultivated away from the party itself. (Obama, however, has reportedly been privately advising Tom Perez.)

And in really fun news: there’s a state of war between Dump and McTurtle.

It seems that the President personally berated McConnell the last time they did talk, on August 9, repeating his complaints about the Senate and about the mild criticism its leader aimed at him. And the two pols have been carrying out a proxy war via Trump’s attacks on, and McConnell’s vigorous support for, Republican senators who have disrespected POTUS, notably Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who recently published a book that rejected Trump’s claim to be a legitimate conservative.

Per the failing NY Times, the Dump/McTurtle conversation on August 9th turned into a cursing shouting match. Lordy I hope there are tapes!

What’s on your mind Widdershins?


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

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She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

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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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