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Good morning Vietnam! I mean, Widdershins.

The big bomb of the week (more like a nuke) was Dianne Feinstein releasing the transcript of the complete Fusion GPS testimony to Congress. The owner of Fusion, Glenn Simpson, asked for it to be released because he thought Republicans were leaking incomplete and inaccurate information about what he said. Committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, refused to release it citing an on-going investigation. The on-going investigation included Grassley and Lindsey Graham sending a recommendation to the Justice Department that Christopher Steele, who did the research for the infamous Steele Dossier (which just celebrated 1 year anniversary since being published by BuzzFeed, who were accused by “journalists” like Chuck “Underprepared” Todd of publishing smut and lies), be investigated and prosecuted. These actions by Grassley and Graham made Feinstein’s decision essential.

On March 15, 2017 Grassley and Feinstein emerged from a meeting with the FBI director and they looked shaken. They heard something that terrified them. But the terror they experienced did not come from the same place. They are not afraid of the same thing. Grassley, one can conclude from his actions, heard something that put the fear of the goddess into him. What is Grassley guilty of that he has done all that he could to stifle the investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia, and then to flat out sabotage it last week? When he (and Lindsey Graham – another Rethuglican who has become a full on Trump sycophant) sent the recommendation to the Justice Department to prosecute Steele, they did so without consulting the other Democrats on the committee. So earlier this week Dianne Feinstein took Grassley’s playbook and shoved it up his rear end.

A note about Feinstein: she’s been around the block once or twice. I’ve expressed some concerns about her myself, we all have, probably. She didn’t do something fast enough or didn’t say something strong enough. I think those criticisms are all fair. But her going full Godfather Christening montage on GOP and Trump was proof of ovaries of steel. (She released the transcript while sitting in a meeting with Dump and getting him to say he wants DACA. Multitasking.) This is something that a more junior Senator would never have had the courage to do. So while we might get angry at long-serving members of Congress – and there is a lot to be said for term limits – there’s also no denying that in the current political climate throwing out senior members of Congress would be a horrific idea. Again, what Feinstein did without flinching could not have been done by a more junior member of Congress. Seniority matters now.

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Of all the things Fusion GPS testimony revealed – which terrified Grassley and Co. – another important revelation was that Christopher Steele told the NY Times about some of his findings two weeks before their infamous “FBI session no clear link to Russia” headline. That article stopped Steele from cooperating with the FBI. This article, which at the time was widely seen as  smacking down Clinton’s assertions that Trump was a Russian puppet, was also a smackdown at other reporters who were writing about Trump and Russia. Same day Times cleared Trump, the very same day, Franklin Foer wrote about odd communications between servers at Trump Tower and Russian Alfa Bank. The very same day David Corn wrote about a mysterious Dossier he was shown that nobody dared discuss out loud. That very same day New York Times gave Donald Trump a boost by publicly clearing him of colluding with Russia. We should remember this always.

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Good morning Widdershins,

There’s a storm coming, so I hope anyone being effected is prepared and staying warm! I think it’s supposed to come to NYC as well, but honestly, since I’m working from home I’m not too concerned. Although my dog might not enjoy blistering walks (he likes snow.)

Speaking of storms, category 6 Hurricane Bannon hit the Dump White House yesterday. Excerpts from a new book by Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury,” were published in The New Yorker. (The book is already #1 on Amazon’s best seller list.) Whether or not it’s true (and there are reasons to question Michael Wolff’s often imaginative imagination) isn’t even relevant. I’m sure some of the stories are true and others are true in part. And it’s not the stories themselves that matter, it’s the fact that Steve Bannon told some of them them, Michael Wolff put them in a book, and Donald Dump thought they were true enough to release a blistering attack on Bannon (on official White House letterhead via Sarah Huckleberry), calling Bannon insane. Don Junior activated his attack mode and called Bannon a lying, backstabbing ingrate on Twitter.

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Rebekah Mercer

Rebekah Mercer, the former actress (whose credits include “Xena: Warrior Princess) and evil billionaire who has been funding Bannon’s Breitbart and the Dump campaign has, supposedly, severed all ties with Bannon. Which part of all this is not living up to Mercer’s expectations, I don’t know. I suppose she may have expected loyalty from a man she gave so much money to. Perhaps she expected honor among thieves? Dump doesn’t have any; he has destroyed more people than one can count. But it will be interesting to see what happens in this angry divorce between Bannon and Dump. So much of their followers are the same people: alt-right, white supremacists. Arguably they were Bannon’s first. He gifted them to Dump. Now they will have to choose sides. It’s a real pickle they find themselves in… Who do you think they will choose?

 

And what does the GOP think about all this? Well, Mitch McConnell’s official Twitter feed posted this creepy gif:

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Draw your own conclusions. Everybody else has been strangely quiet. (But we can imagine their responses. For example, when asked about Dump’s tweet threatening nuclear annihilation, Susan Collins said … “I’m going to vote” as she stormed away to vote on something. Bob Corker laughed and said he hadn’t seen the tweet, but Trump will be Trump. LOL.) So as a Civil War breaks out in the GOP – what do we think Widdershins? What is Bannon doing? We know his real desire is to destroy everything. So are his opening shots at Trump a surprise? He built Dump and he will destroy him. What will Dump do in response? He’s certainly going to do something… What will McTurtle do besides grin? Is this war good or bad for the GOP? And how will Democrats screw everything up?

I know only one thing: in 2020 Bannon will endorse Bernie Sanders for President. Mark my words.

 

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Good morning Widdershins.

This week has been rough. On Tuesday and Wednesday Republicans passed the Money Redistribution Act. Not a single Democrat voted for this travesty that will gut whatever is left of the American middle-class. But Republican centrists, those honorable people likeSusan-collins-e1465230869154.jpg Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – heroines of the ACA repeal fiasco – showed once again that when it really comes down to it, they are as dishonorable as every other Republican. Both sold out the American public for a handful of dollars; actually, when I say a handful I mean a huge handful for themselves and their corporate overlords. Susan Collins, when told that McConnell would not honor his promise to her about the ACA mandate, lashed out at the media:

“I believe that the coverage has been unbelievably sexist, and I cannot believe that the press would have treated another senator with 20 years of experience as they have treated me,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “They’ve ignored everything that I’ve gotten and written story after story about how I’m duped. How am I duped when all your amendments get accepted?”

A certain female former Senator, Secretary of State and almost President might laugh at Collins’ self-pity. The GOP tax bill for all intents and purposes repeals ACA. Collins voted to repeal it after claiming she wouldn’t. Because McConnell promised her something he has no intention of delivering. If she truly thought he would – she may not look it, but Susan Collins was born yesterday.

In other news, the New York Times continued to demonstrate why they are – as I like to say – the rotting corpse of a once great news organization. Just a few short weeks ago they suspended their star White House reporter Glenn Thrush after stories came out that multiple women were accusing him of harassment and assault. On Wednesday Dean Baquet announced that Thrush would be back at the paper, just not covering the White House.

“While we believe that Glenn has acted offensively, we have decided that he does not deserve to be fired,” Baquet said in a statement. He said Thrush will receive “training designed to improve his workplace conduct,” and that Thrush is undergoing counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation on his own.

This is galling, especially when you consider that the Times previously wrote op-eds calling on Al Franken to resign. (Which he did and just announced that he will be gone atmaxresdefault.jpg the end of the year.) Thrush, one of the star male reporters who helped craft the narrative in 2016 that Hillary Clinton was unlikable and not trustworthy, was proven to be a misogynist. Perhaps considering the Times’ coverage, especially Baquet’s political coverage, one should not be surprised. But appalled and disgusted, yes. Or as Brianna Wu tweeted:

Dear . The issue with Glenn Thrush isn’t that he behaved “offensively.” It’s that he got drunk, sexually assaulted women he worked with, and then DESTROYED THEIR PROFESSIONAL REPUTATIONS with colleagues to cover his ass. How can you keep that in your newsroom?!

Perhaps more than any other paper, the New York Times has been responsible for normalization of Trump and White Supremacy, and the destruction of Hillary Clinton. If anyone still has a subscription to it, I urge them to cancel it. (Also worth noting Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, announced his retirement from the paper effective December 14th. His place as the head of the paper was taken his son, A.G. Sulzberger. Because, well, of course.)

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Happy weekend Widdershins!

This week has been a cray-cray rollercoaster. Dump continues to Dump, but we did get further confirmation that everything he touches dies. He has not been good for the GOP. And I don’t just mean that he has corrupted them (in fact, we all know Dump didn’t corrupt them. This is how they’ve been for a long time. Dump is a symptom, not the cause of the infection.) He is bad for the GOP because he is causing “minority flight.” It’s like white flight, but the reverse: non-white people are fleeing. Except by fleeing I mean running to the polls. We have witnessed stunning upsets in elections all over the country, locally Democrats are taking government seats previously occupied by Republicans in deep red places like Oklahoma. And nationally we have seen two stunning upsets for the GOP: Virginia and Alabama. Democrats actually won a US Senate seat in Alabama. And Doug Jones didn’t do it by running as a conservative Democrat. That has been one of the remarkable features of his campaign. He didn’t waffle on choice or gay marriage. He didn’t run by blasting Pelosi or Schumer. So by Alabama standard Doug Jones is a far-left nut job. Except he won the election anyway. He won because black women (and black men) came out in higher than expected numbers and voted. Even though GOP tried their darnedest to stop them. Many irregularities were reported all day. And still, they came out to vote. White men and white women chose the accused pedophile. But it didn’t matter: non-white voters came out to vote. They have lived for a year under the horror of Dump. And this is what happens when Democrats bring out their base to vote: Democrats win. If Democrats managed to win a seat in Alabama, every state should be in play in 2018.

The fact that Roy Moore refuses to concede the race is irrelevant. He will have to exit the stage regardless. There are speculations that Bannon’s reputation is greatly damaged because he went all in on Moore – as did Dump. And Moore losing is a humiliating defeat for Bannon and Dump. So let us imagine for a minute that this is the beginning of their grand exit off the stage too.

Omarosa is existing too. Actually she was escorted out.

So many exits this week. Let’s wish some of these people good riddance.

 

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2017 (which is almost over) will be remembered for many things. I can’t think of any good things. I’d be willing to take all the celebrity deaths in 2016 over what we’re living with now. But time travel is not an option.

One part of this year that has sent shockwaves through all of our collective lives is the slew of allegations (and confessions) about sexual assault and harassment done by powerful men in professional settings over decades. The first brick to fall was Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abusing Hollywood actresses. He is now joined in infamy by Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., New Republic president Hamilton Fish, journalist Mark Halperin, New York Times’ Glenn Thrush, Charlie Rose, film producer and director Brett Ratner, director James Toback, actor Casey Affleck, and his brother Ben too. This list is not at all up to date and it will grow longer. (I didn’t even mention Trump or Roy Moore…)

In some ways the most interesting names on that list, to me anyway, are the reporters. People like Fish, Halperin, Thrush and Rose (I’m sure that list will expand.) It is important to remember that these men, in their positions of extraordinary power and influence, helped set the narrative for the 2016 election. They helped paint Hillary Clinton as unlikable and untrustworthy. Not just in 2016, but long before that. How does one process the revelations about them with the filter of misogyny turned on? Because certainly their misogyny – which is no longer an abstract accusation, but now something very concrete and definitive – helped drive their coverage of the first female nominee for a major party. We had complaints about the coverage of Clinton and the election before. But now our complaints have something very tangible attached to them. These men, who do not respect women (at best, hate women at worst) helped paint Clinton as an untrustworthy, lazy, unlikable shill.

There is another aspect of this topic that I think is worth discussing. The wave of accusations was long-coming. But – there are risks involved. The tag “Believe women” carries a risk with it. Because not all accusations are true. This isn’t to bring up the irrelevant statistics about false accusations (which have historically been statistically insignificant.) It’s just to point out that we now live in highly polarized and divisive times. And some people will take a positive – believe women – and weaponize it. We may have seen some of that in the accusations against Al Franken. As a liberal Senator he has been the number one enemy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That marked him. A day before accusations against him were publicly made, Roger Stone said that Franken’s time was coming soon. How did Stone know this? We know Franken’s accuser is a Trump supporter and some of her accusations about Franken harassing her on a 2006 USO tour have come under question. Is it fair to question her when liberals have said “believe women” until now? Does it reveal a bias? Or is it a necessary realization that “believe women” can and maybe has already been weaponized by the unscrupulous Right? Franken – if he survives the allegations – is damaged. (Another accusation was made against Franken by the NY Post on behalf of Arianna Huffington, claiming Franken grabbed her inappropriately in 2000 during the taping of the Bill Maher show. Huffington eventually responded defending Franken, saying she was not assaulted by Franken and the accusations printed by the Post were false. “I think I’m a better judge of how I felt in that satirical photo shoot with Al Franken than the recollections of an anonymous bystander,” she wrote. But that’s too late. I’m now seeing references to Franken as having multiple accusations made against him.) Perhaps we need to revise “believe women” to “take women seriously.” Accept the accusations and investigate. See where the investigation takes you.

Another – slightly different – example on Tuesday was The Hollywood Reporter story about the Pixar/Disney executive John Lasseter. Lasseter has been responsible to a very large degree for the animated masterpieces that have come out of Pixar over the years and he directed “Toy Story.” Lasseter has stepped away from Pixar after the allegations were made public. But in their article THR said the actress and writer Rashida Jones left “Toy Story 4” project (which she was helping write) because of Lasseter’s unwanted advances. By attaching a famous woman’s name to the story they made it travel so much further. The problem is that Rashida Jones’ statement (written with her writing partner) about why she left the project say THR was wrong. Nothing sexual in nature drove her away.

The break neck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible and, in fact, counterproductive for the people who do want to tell their stories. In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue.

They go on to say they left over creative and philosophical differences with Pixar. So whatever Lasseter’s behavior with other women, by throwing Jones into the mix, THR has also weaponized the sexual assault accusations and done a disservice to the actual victims. As reporters rush to find out more dirt, more and more mistakes (malicious or not) will be made. And there is a trip-wire to the whole cause, because once mistakes start happening the entire movement is at risk of crashing down.

It’s a day of the week that ends with “ay,” so it must be Hillary Derangement Syndrome day. On Tuesday night Washington Post fired off a nuke into the political media with a shocking story called: “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier.” This sent the internet reeling with indignation. About half of the political press forgot that this information is about a year old. Let’s travel back in time to October 31, 2016 when the very first article about the Steele Dossier was written by David Corn of Mother Jones. In it Corn noted that the Dossier was originally commissioned by a Trump opponent (probably Jeb!) But after the GOP imploded and Trump became the nominee, they abandoned it, to be picked up by Democrats. In January 2017 both CNN and New York Times specifically mentioned that the Democrats had connections to the Clinton campaign and the DNC. So almost a year later, WaPo identified the Democrat (lawyer Mark Elias.) That’s the bombshell. I hope your bomb shelters are fully stocked folks.

So what reporter had the hottest take of all on this HUGE story? I’ll give you one guess. You’re right!Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 9.19.49 PM.png

Please note here Haberman’s use of the word “lie.” Lie! Infamously, this is a word the press will not use when describing Donald Trump or any member of his cabinet. Twitter user Patrick Karlsson put together a stunning thread of Haberman’s past tweets refusing to use the word “lie”about Trump. Over and over and over. It’s worth checking out here if you want to get very angry. “Untruths,” “falsehoods,” “inaccurate narrative,” etc. are the words Haberman has chosen when discussing Trump. Never “lie.” Not even once.

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Some members of the press did react with surprise at the surprise. Joy Reid tweeted: “Only the American media could make a scandal out of opposition research.” Michael Weiss: “OK, people, let’s cut the shit. Trump dossier was commissioned by the team of a *Republican* candidate (not hard to guess which one either).” Josh Marshall: “The Big WaPo Story & Why Everyone Needs to Thank Marc Elias.” Chris Hayes: “Ah yes. We’ve now entered the “Real Russia Scandal” phase.” NPR’s David Folkenflik: “Better headline for valid WaPo story: Trump oppo research dossier funded first by anon GOP foe and then by HRC/Dems.”

But the damage is done, once again. As Joy Reid also said: Who paid for the Steele dossier is the new “but her emails.”

Also worth noting: Sarah Huckabee Sanders retweeted Haberman’s sanctimonious tweet.

Also, Fox before the WaPo story.

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This is an open thread.

In Brief

Posted on: October 18, 2017

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Hello Widdershins,

My apologies for being an absentee poster. I run out of hours in the day and have no computer at work. Only a very weak signal on my iPhone. But I’m sure the news keeps everyone busy. I’ll be back to my regular schedule in a week!

The worst thing I read all day is Dump’s awful phone call to the widow of slain U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson. After ignoring the 4 American soldiers killed in Niger for weeks (he golfed though), he finally brought himself to call a family. And he told the pregnant Myeshia Johnson: “He knew what he signed up for.” There truly is no end to Trump’s depravity. But we should read the names of the 4 soldiers killed and a hold a moment of silence because our president doesn’t care.

From one kind of depraved to a very different kind of depraved, the story of Harvey Weinstein is continuing to reverberate in the entertainment industry. There are now at least 47 women who have accused Weinstein of harassing or assaulting them. Of the well-known actresses the most recent story comes from Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister on the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.” The story, of course, is bigger than Weinstein. The singer/actress Björk, who has starred in only one movie, critically acclaimed “Dancer in the Dark,” wrote a letter in which she referenced being abused by a Danish director. Since she only appeared in one film and that film was made by a Dane, the unnamed director is Lars von Trier. Von Trier makes controversial films (I personally detest each and every one of them). In 2011 he stunned the Cannes Film Festival when he announced during a press conference:

“I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”

Molly Ringwald has also said she’s had “plenty of Harveys of my own.” She says she was first assaulted when she was 13. Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16. And America Ferrera said that she remembers the first time she was assaulted was when she was 9.

On Monday I went out to grab a Starbucks while at work. Crossing the street on 49th St and Park Avenue (a short distance from Grand Central station), I saw an SUV almost run over a young woman. He was backing up against his light and not paying attention. He side-swiped this woman (she was not breaking any laws), and only reason he didn’t actually run her over was because she jumped out of the way in time. So she started yelling to him to watch it, he hit her with his car. This man, big man, in his late 40’s, looked out of the window and said: “Oh did I hit you? Let me see. Where? In the back? Show me. Turn around baby, let me see you from the back.” As she began to turn to show him…she froze. I think all the witnesses did. It became obvious he was literally trying to see her ass. He was sexually harassing woman in the middle of the street that he just literally hit with his car… You could see her face changing as she realized what was happening and that dumbass grinned at her. It was truly breathtaking.

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To make you feel maybe 1% better about all this insanity – there is the story of the immortal Carrie Fisher. After being told by a friend, screenwriter Heather Robinson, that a studio executive sexually assaulted her, Carrie Fisher took matters into her own hands. She personally delivered to the executive a Tiffany box. Inside the box – a cow tongue. And a note: “If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box.”

And finally, if you follow reporters on social media you may have noticed that a few voices have been oddly missing for several days. New York Times voices. The normally rambunctious Maggie Haberman has been MIA. Glenn Thrush quit twitter altogether. And then we found out why. The bosses have slapped down their on-line behavior. Dean Baquet (a man who has a lot to answer for as far as the 2016 coverage) announced new social media rules for his reporters. And poor Maggie and Glenn, their entire gig is up. The stuff they are best at – snide condescension and sarcasm are discouraged. I think these rules broke Maggie.

So what’s on your mind Widdershins?


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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

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Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
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Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones

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