The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘2016 Election’ Category

The liberals made my life miserable for 43 years. And I’m going to make their lives miserable for 43 years.

Clarence Thomas to his clerks in 1993

This is the petty schmuck who has led the charge to make all the people he hates – women, LGBTQ+, and non-Christofascists in general – into property of the State. I say “the State” because the federal government, in the person of six ideologues who never should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, has removed basic privacy protections from all of us.

The State has decided that only women who live in blue states will have rights to their own bodies. In essence, when one person is denied the guarantee of freedom, it opens up the precedent that everyone can be denied the guarantee of freedom. Thomas and the five ChristoClowns have decided that no one has rights to their own bodies except white, straight, Christian men. (I think Clarence Thomas counts himself as white – that’s the only explanation for his buying in to this anti-American bullsh*t.)

As Quixote pointed out in comments, this is the re-establishment of slavery; but Slavery 2.0 casts a much wider net than the original. Friday’s decision removed basic human rights from 166 million women and girls. And each of those women and girls has many people that love her and will grieve her pain along with her. So when she is raped and has to bear her rapist’s child, or dies in childbirth, or dies from an ectopic pregnancy, or lives in poverty and misery because she can’t afford a child, this suffering doesn’t just impact her. It impacts everyone around her.

The horrors that will spread from this decision are unimaginable, and I think we are all incredulous that no one could see it coming in 2016. Young white people in particular should have come out in droves to vote for Hillary, but no. They couldn’t be bothered because “both parties are the same” and “Bernie woulda won.” Do y’all get it now, Gen Z and Millennials? You’re the ones who will actually be impacted by this. I’m going to be 55 this year and can no longer get pregnant, which oddly, makes me feel guilty that I won’t be directly miserable along with so many others. (Jewish guilt is rough.)

For those who say this will only impact women of color, and wealthy white women in red states will be fine because they can travel to other states, I think they’re in for a surprise. The Christofascists have thought of that loophole. They want to test women for pregnancy before allowing them to travel out of state. And, they want to criminalize miscarriages. Sounds like Slavery 1.0, doesn’t it? Will they be sending bounty hunters to capture runaway pregnant women if they cross the border “illegally” to states where they’re not considered property?

Based on the wave of protests that started on Friday and will likely continue, as well as the vast majority of Americans who disagree with SCOTUS, this terrible decision will drive enormous turnout in 2022 and the Democrats will increase their majorities in the House and Senate. (This doesn’t even count the impact the J6 hearings have had on the QOP – but that’s for another post. That will also be quite significant.) Nevertheless, I agree with Quixote, DYB and other Widdershins that every Democrat running for office in 2022 needs to be on message as to what they are going to do to fix this. I’d like to hear them say three things: 1) I will vote to amend the filibuster to make progress on legislation the Republicans are blocking; 2) I will vote to expand the Supreme Court and 3) I will vote “yes” on the Women’s Health Protection Act. None of these things can happen without two more Senate Democrats to nullify Manchinema’s inconsistent insistence on keeping the filibuster sacrosanct sometimes, whatever whatever.

The QOP has massively overstepped both their power and their mandate. They may be celebrating now, but they will be crying in November, and for decades to come. And Clarence Thomas, you will be f*cking miserable for the rest of your disgusting, pathetic life.

An empty-headed, cultist mess

…”in a single term, the Supreme Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement. And as someone who has worked on every single one of these issues for decades, I see this as a make-or-break moment. If you care about the fairness of elections, the future of unions, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, you should care about who wins the presidency and appoints the next Supreme Court justices.”

Hillary Clinton, March 28, 2016, Madison, Wisconsin

In a speech that was largely ignored, in a state where Hillary was said to not have campaigned, Our Girl laid out the consequences of a Drumpf victory to life in America. She did this repeatedly throughout her campaign, and when she was not ignored, was viciously attacked by BernieBots for it. They said she was trying to scare them into voting for her.

Well, here we are. But to be fair, the Court has been declining since the Obama years, when it gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and in 2010, ruled that corporations were indeed people in Citizens United (a case against Hillary Clinton, which people often forget). There’s a question as to whether Hillary, had she won in the Electoral College, would have been able to nominate any Supreme Court Justices at all. After all, the Republicans had the Senate until 2020 – and McTurtle and other Senators stated that they would be happy to keep the Court at 4-4 till they got a Republican President to nominate justices that were more to their liking.

So the question is, with the Court now dominated by right-wing extremists willing to overturn settled law in the country to impose a theocratic nightmare on its citizens, how much power should we give this retrograde, anti-democratic institution?

As a country, we have been noticing how partisan and unreliable the Court has become. In October, the Court’s approval rating plummeted to 40%; and in another poll, around 35% of Americans (across the political spectrum) agreed with statements about either abolishing it altogether, or restricting it from ruling on certain issues.

I am not in favor of abolishing it or restricting it, as overall, we need that branch of the Federal Government to provide balance; but I do feel we should limit its malign influence on our daily lives by shoring up the rights of Americans in Congress. Democrats are working on this right now. Legislation to protect voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering and block elections from being overturned by state legislators has passed the House and is being worked on in the Senate. And, there is legislation in the House and Senate to protect women’s right to control their own reproductive destiny, removing Hyde from the federal budget to allow the federal government to subsidize women’s health for the first time since the 1970s.

For now, activism to get the Democrats in the Senate to move forward on both of these core issues seems to be the way to go. Until we figure out how to balance out the Court again, either expanding it or impeaching justices like Thomas (who supported the 1/6 insurrection) and Kavanaugh (who has more skeletons in his closet than a freshman anatomy class) and replacing them with real Supremes, we need to make sure they can’t re-shape this country into a dystopian nightmare.

Open thread, as always.

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.

 


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