The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘2016 Election’ Category

It’s hard to imagine two attorneys who have been more harmful to the United States of America than Rudy “New York’s Nosferatu” Giuliani and Faux News’ Victoria Toensing. Between the two of them, they have helped Republicans perpetrate numerous and deadly crimes against this country.

Let’s start with Rudy. As we have talked about for years at TW, Rudy was THE CAUSE of the terrible fallout of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Countless first responders died on that day, and became ill and died later, because he moved the city’s Disaster Response Center out of Brooklyn and into the WTC. He, of course, did this because he wanted to be closer to his mistress when he was doing the serious business of Mayorin’. And since then, this goo-oozing sycophant has done nothing but dive head down into the muck of wingnuttery and just keep swimming. He’s been the mover and shaker behind so much evil:

The faux Hunter Biden story (now being used to justify his FBI-raided apartment)

The Big Lie that Drumpf won in 2021

Weird Hillary lies about 9/11

Corrupt Ukraine lobbying

Collusion with Russia in 2019 and 2020

Four Seasons Total Landscaping (okay, that one was just funny)

Yes, Rudy is a well-known and well-recognized goon for the Republican Crime Syndicate. But Victoria Toensing – she’s flown a bit more under the radar. Here are some of her (and her husband’s!) greatest hits. (Wonder what hubby’s up to these days?)

You might not know them well, but without Toensing and diGenova, the most outlandish theories might not have found their way into the ether. Toensing’s client and longtime friend John Solomon is the one who spread the rumor that Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, hated Trump; so-called “documentary evidence” of Joe Biden firing a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect his son had emerged in a case that both Toensing and diGenova are working on; and the couple have also alluded to the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine — and not Russia — that meddled in the 2016 election by seeking to help Hillary Clinton. Often lording over the whole spectacle, in their telling, was Soros — the billionaire who has become a bogeyman for the right. (The line that he is seeking to run Ukraine, for one, could have come straight out of the mouth of Vladimir Putin.)

[snip]

Toensing and diGenova fortified their conservative bonafides throughout the Bush and Obama years, with Toensing particularly active. She penned op-eds in favor of the Patriot Act and in defense of the reporter who outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. She lobbied for the MEK, a violent fringe Iranian group, just as Giuliani has, as it sought to get off the US list of terrorist groups. She represented “whistleblowers” in the Benghazi hearings who accused Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, of refusing to let them testify, as well as an informant who claimed to have information that Clinton had orchestrated the sale of part of Uranium One to a Russian company in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation (she didn’t). She picked up Erik Prince as a client and took part in numerous Judicial Watch panels devoted to the subject of Clinton’s missing emails. As the Trump era approached, both Toensing and diGenova found themselves more and more on Fox News, regulars on Sean Hannity (another Toensing and diGenova client) and Lou Dobbs.

I’ll tell you, I am absolutely over the moon that these two traitorous morons are finally getting investigated by the FBI, now overseen at DOJ by the brilliant and most importantly, honest, Merrick Garland. Now all the crimes they were committing in plain sight will be thoroughly investigated.

Let’s have the last Drumpf attorney who was investigated by the FBI, Michael Cohen, give the last word.

Open thread, as always.

In political science and popular discourse,[1] the horseshoe theory asserts that the far-left and the far-right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, analogous to the way that the opposite ends of a horseshoe are close together. 

Wikipedia

Many of us have, from time to time, observed a striking similarity between far-left supporters of Bernie Sanders and far-right supporters of Donald Trump. Lately, though, Bernie has been on-message and sticking to the Biden-Schumer script. The full MAGA insanity and violence have been on graphic display since 1/6 and beyond. Although I’ve seen a few fake lefties like Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Knight show their true MAGA colors, I had somewhat relaxed my vigilance on the Bernie – Justice Democrats front.

But then I saw this article about Bernie Sanders supporters who went full QAnon, and it makes some really good points about Bernie’s tactics being extremely similar to Drumpf’s – leading both of their cultish followers down a dangerous path.

Just like Trump hardliners did not come up with the idea of election fraud on their own, neither did Sanders diehards create the equally preposterous idea of a rigged primary spontaneously. Bernie Sanders’s rhetoric was directly responsible for his supporters believing in the 2016 Democratic primary version of the big lie.

Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton was relentless, brutal, and radicalizing. He demonized the party apparatus from the start, running a scorched earth campaign against the “establishment.” Sanders framed his opposition as the enemy. He repeatedly framed Hillary Clinton as a corrupt politician for having given speeches and made some money as corruption as a private citizen. Clinton’s widespread support among Democratic elected officials – whose support Clinton had worked for decades to earn – was framed as elites conspiring to keep out an insurgent, akin to Trump’s perceived enemies at the ‘deep state.’ Bernie Sanders told his supporters that that collusion among elites and not Hillary Clinton’s 4-million vote margin over him, was the reason the primary was ‘taken away’ from them.

In an interview with Don Lemon, Bernie supporter “Lenka” said she was already angry at Democrats for taking away Bernie’s “victory” unfairly. Bernie’s rhetoric and tactics were aggressive and unrelenting – doing anything and everything, including trying to convince superdelegates to vote against the electors in the states (sound familiar?) to dislodge Our Girl from the candidacy. With Bernie’s Big Lie of a stolen and rigged election continuously echoing in her ears, “Lenka” was primed and ready to believe the worst about Hillary Clinton and anyone who would support her. And it was very easy to find welcoming arms online to pull her further and further into QAnon hell.

In discussing her descent into madness, “Lenka” called out films like “The Social Dilemma” that enlightened her as to the algorithms that drive people into communities of unreality without any online resources to get themselves out. The film describes “how social media’s design is meant to nurture an addiction, manipulate its use in politics, and spread conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and aiding groups such as flat-earthers.”

With so much out there that can make us crazy, on both the left and the right, I’m so glad to be amongst my sane Widdershin community. Stuck in the middle, down the center of the country – that’s just where we like it.

Tawk amongst yerselves!

Despite the pants-pooper-in-Chief’s increasingly desperate proclamations of victory and ever-more-ludicrous suits over ballots in non-existent counties in Michigan (really!), it looks like the inevitable is starting to sink in: Good won, evil lost. Even Billy Barr admits it. Soon, very soon, the country will be run by competent, caring, intelligent and experienced leaders who will make it their mission to start setting things right.

A large part of setting things right will, of course, be dealing with the enormous public health disaster Drumpf and his band of grifting monsters have unleashed upon us, as well as the massive toll it has taken on the American people, our incomes, our families, our housing situations and our collective physical and mental health. This Herculean task will certainly occupy much of the Democrats’ time. But I believe they can, as Nancy famously said, walk and chew gum at the same time. It is my fervent hope that there will be time for another task as well: the abnormalization of almost everything that has happened over the last four years.

We have been gaslit into accepting things we never should have had to accept. The media, as we have frequently discussed here at TW, has been complicit in the gaslighting, refusing to call out Drumpf’s lies until Covid-19 broke out. They have never collectively called for his resignation despite his being impeached for obstruction of justice and bribery and breaking every written and unwritten rule about Presidential conduct. By contrast, when Bill Clinton was unjustly impeached over lying about an affair he never should have been asked about, more than 100 newspapers demanded he resign.

The media camouflaged the unacceptable in discussions of process and meaningless horserace outcomes and bothsidesism to the nth degree. They shrugged their shoulders when Drumpf, Ivanka and Jared were all found to be using multiple unsecured communication methods (personal phones, emails and WhatsApp) to conduct White House business, yet #ButHerEmails was the worst national security scandal ever. They ignored the weird orb ceremony in Saudi Arabia and let Jared off the hook despite the obvious connection between his visit to MBS and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. They failed as a whole to pursue any of Drumpf’s numerous and obvious crimes before and after the 2016 election, and when a few journalists courageously uncovered one, the mainstream media let it drop with no follow-up and no consequences for him and his cronies. Hell, what happened in plain sight was mindboggling enough. Imagine if Hillary or Biden or Harris had a hair dye emergency on national TeeVee like Rudy and were caught with their hands down their pants in a ludicrous gotcha operation with known prankster Sacha Baron Cohen. Those pictures would be on the front pages of every newspaper in the country 24-7. Rudy got away with it, completely, as do all the Rethugs who have been enabling this proto-fascist regime since Day 1.

What the Biden-Harris Administration has to do is abnormalize the abnormal. Some of this, I believe, should be done with new laws. For example, I (like many I’m sure!) have been wondering how aggressively the Biden Administration will dig into the massive amount of criming that took place during the Mango Moron’s Reign of Error.  You know what Biden said about this?

“I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Biden told Holt. “There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level — there’s nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that.”

Well how about that – he’s right! That’s abnormalization.

For decades now, Presidents have rarely spoken to their Attorney Generals because it was recognized that those conversations could be considered a conflict of interest. There was a wall between POTUS and the USAG that needed to stay there. We’ve seen the results when that wall is breached, and heaven forbid we get another Rethug President in four years – that person will feel free to breach it again, with even scarier results.

So abnormalization of the way Drumpf ran the Justice Department as his own private protection racket is one high priority item. While PE Biden is re-establishing the correct norms, I think this particular abnormalization is a good candidate for a new law as well – one establishing the absolute independence of the DOJ and making the political corruption of any of its departments or personnel a felony crime.

There are other abnormalizations that should be made into laws, in my opinion:

  1. Refusing a Congressional subpoena should be a crime punishable by at least a year in jail;
  2. Presidents should be prohibited by law from running a business, or profiting from their office during their terms;
  3. Candidates should be prohibited by law from running for President if they do not release their medical records and tax returns;
  4. Social media and any network using the public airwaves, should be prohibited from sharing false or misleading information, with each instance being heavily fined; and
  5. Speech that incites or promises violence (like the MAGAt death threats and calls for beheading) should be criminalized and punishable with jail time. There have already been attempted pipe bombings, shootings, murders, and a foiled kidnapping plot because of the hate-filled rhetoric embraced and promulgated by the wingnuts in this country.

Well, that’s my first pass at a list of abnormalizations I’d like to see. What about you?

Open thread as always.

 

Well, dear Shinners, it’s almost here. The day we will finally kick the GOP out of Congress and the White House.

It has been a dreadful and horrible four years. Things we never could have imagined happened. Drumpf stole the election and got away with it, robbing us of the President we deserved and voted for, Our Girl, Hillary Clinton. We saved the Affordable Care Act, but lost John McCain. Our heroes John Lewis and RBG left us when we needed them most. Notre Dame burned. We almost got into a war with Iran. Robert Mueller fizzled and no one investigated the Mango Moron’s financial ties to Russia. Patriotic public servants were forced to resign. We deserted the Kurds and allowed Russia to pay the Taliban to assassinate our soldiers. We jailed legal migrant families  and separated them from each other at the border, then pretended we didn’t know how to reunite them when the country rose up in horror. The Presidency turned into a pay-to-play money machine. Rudy Giuliani became a puppet of Putin. Three totally unqualified and disgusting Supreme Court Justices were appointed to the Supreme Court. We gave young migrant women in custody involuntary hysterectomies and tracked their menstrual cycles. And of course, the pandemic, which Drumpf actually knew about as early as January but f*cked up in the most spectacular way possible because, GRIFT.

But there have been moments of goodness as well. The elections of 2017, 2018 and 2019, in which Democrats gained more and more ground in states we had no business winning. Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House once again. #MeToo. The Women’s March and BLM. The Parkland kids and their activism. The massive waves of early voting, including record turnout for young voters and black seniors. The #trumpregrets. The Lincoln Project and Republicans for Trump.

And above all, you, dear Shinners, have helped keep me sane (well, as sane as I ever am). Thank you so much for being here with me, Fredster, DYB, GAGal and Quixote. I have no idea how I would have made it without you!

Let’s bring it home.

This is an open thread.

So the Mango Moron, the only pResident ever to brag about “acing” a cognitive impairment test, is trying to smear Joe Biden as not all there, mentally speaking. He’s made big ad buys with this messaging in swing states, and his campaign keeps doubling down on the “strategy.”

This isn’t going over well with the most reliable group of voters: people over 65. Turns out leaving older people to die in nursing homes of Covid-19, trying to take health care away from the survivors, then smearing them as unfit to serve as President are somehow not winning strategies. Who knew?

More troubling for the president, Biden has moved ahead among voters 65 or older in several national surveys, including a significant 14-point advantage in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, helping propel him to double-digit leads nationally. Trump won seniors by 7 percentage points in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls, with white senior voters a key part of his coalition. 

“It can certainly backfire among senior voters, and it’s not something you want to do when you’re already starting to lose their votes,” said Todd Belt, professor and political management program director at George Washington University. “We’ve seen a big shift in the over-65 population moving towards Biden. This isn’t a really good strategy to win them back.”

This isn’t the only voting block Drumpf is losing massively. Ex-Republican strategist Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post that, basically, everybody hates Donald. All the voters who helped Drumpf get close enough to steal the election in 2016 are running to Biden in droves. And now the polls are showing double-digit leads all over the map.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking, “How are we going to screw this up? Because we always do.” I know, I know. I have thoughts like that too. But sadly, I think the only way we could have “screwed it up” was to nominate another woman. Unfortunately, this country is so godd*mn misogynistic that they elected a sexual predator, money launderer and traitor rather than voting for THAT WOMAN.

And what really hurts is that Democrats wouldn’t vote for her either. Wouldn’t stand up for her when she was smeared by Bernie for six months in 2016, wouldn’t help her fight against the blizzard of negative press, wouldn’t amplify her message as Drumpf got $2 Billion in free advertising from NBC and other “news” outlets. They claim it was all because Hillary was [fill in horrible misogynistic trope here], but in reality, there is no woman they would vote for. When push came to shove, they wouldn’t have pulled the lever for Elizabeth, Kamala, Kirsten or Amy. And we can’t count on them, ever, to do it.

So thankfully, we have a 77-year-old white man as our nominee. His color, age and gender allow all those Democrats and previously Republican voters to feel “safe” voting for him. Heaven forbid we should ever elect a woman who actually MAKES US SAFE when crises hit. Because those Republican voters felt “safer” voting for Drumpf, a sociopathic predator, than voting for Hillary – a Secretary of State, First Lady of Arkansas and FLOTUS, attorney, and mother (and grandmother).

Well, here we are.

 


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