The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Civil Liberties’ Category

Good Monday, all. As happens every weekend, we’ve been treated to a cavalcade of terrible and not-so-terrible news. Here are some numbers that have struck me lately.

The way the media reports on how people feel about gun control makes it seem that everyone in America is totin’ and shootin’. This statistic, multiply sourced, contradicts that perception – and it’s staggering.

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Proportion of people who own half of the country’s guns, according to an unpublished Harvard/Northeastern University survey result summary. Anchoring this group are America’s gun super-owners – an estimated 7.7 million Americans who own between eight and 140 guns.

Let that sink in. 7.7 million Americans own between eight and 140 guns. Who in the f*cking f*ck needs 140 guns? And how could we require Sudafed to be registered and tracked, but not guns?!

After the horror in Las Vegas, the NRA is still desperately fighting against any suggestion that there’s something wrong with our gun laws. Our national insanity on gun regulation has long been a threat to all of our personal safety, and it’s getting exponentially worse. Any one of us could be going to a mall, to school, to church or temple or mosque, to the movies, or to a concert – and any one of us could be shot and killed for no reason. Your “Second Amendment right” does not overrule my right to conduct a peaceful and law-abiding life without fear of being gunned down by a terrorist or a madman.

This is why I have zero patience for any argument against gun regulation. It’s just dumb. I refuse to accept that 4 gun deaths a day – A DAY – is inevitable. We must change this, and soon. Yes, a gun registry is required. And yes, the number of guns per person should be SEVERELY limited. One per person is MORE THAN ENOUGH. If I were President, I would g*dd*mn well take people’s guns away, and I don’t care if I’d have to send in tanks to make it happen. 140 guns? Oh hell to the no. You can have one, and NOT an automatic or semi-automatic. A hand gun, or a rifle. Take your pick.

This is Reason #8,782,495 that I will never be President, of course.

Here are some more numbers that may make us feel a bit better.

We learned this weekend that der Drumpfenfuhrer is very, very unpopular. He’s hit an all-time low, and I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere but down from here, because he’s started to lose his base.

Few Americans believe that President Trump understands their needs and problems, and most would not describe him as honest, level-headed, or a strong leader, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Nineteen percent of Americans say President Trump understands the needs and problems of people like them extremely or very well, 17 percent say moderately well, and 64 percent say he understands their needs and problems not very well or not well at all.

Twenty-six percent believe President Trump is a strong leader, 23 percent view him as honest, and 16 percent say he is level-headed. Republicans are most likely to use each of these terms to describe the president.

[snip]

While 67 percent of Republicans still approve of the job the president is doing, support among Republicans has decreased significantly since March when 80 percent of Republicans expressed approval. (bolding mine) Twenty-eight percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats say they approve of Trump’s handling of his job. Among Democrats, this also represents a decline since March when 11 percent said they approved.

You know the Republicans in Congress are watching these numbers, and none with more glee than Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who, having decided to retire from the sh*tshow his Party has become, is absolutely DONE with pretending to respect the Marmalade Moron. Corker is out and about, talking about how he’s worried our pResident will start World War III just to get back at Obama, or because his daddy didn’t love him, or whatever insanity caused Drumpf to become the narcissistic dickwad he is today. Here’s the interesting part – the Senator purported to speak for the entire Republican caucus.

All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Come on, fellas and ladies. Step right up and take the baton from Bobby C. It’s time to throw that orangutan under the bus. The 25th Amendment will do just fine till Mueller comes and makes a clean sweep.

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

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We are going to be stuck with Donald Dump for the foreseeable future. Republicans will not impeach him. Nothing he can do will force them to abandon him. Even as the country tries to absorb Dump Jr’s e-mails confirming he met with a Russian lawyer with government connections to get dirt on Hillary Clinton – GOP collectively yawns. Mitch McConnell says he has no comment. Paul Ryan is MIA. John McCain is concerned and Lady Graham is disturbed. That’s as bad as the recriminations got. (Bernie Sanders, by the way, says we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The strongest response came from Moe Scarborough who announced he’s leaving GOP to become an independent. Which is nice, but who cares?) The right-wing media has closed ranks around Dump and his abominations. Collusion with the Russians isn’t so bad, Breitbart and Fox have declared. Besides, shouldn’t Hillary Clinton be prosecuted, Sean Hannity asks?

The best response so far came from a surprising source: Trey Gowdy-Doody.

Someone needs to get everyone in a room and say, from the time you saw ‘Dr. Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single contact with Russia,” Gowdy said, referring to the 1965 movie.

But Gowdy-Doody says he will investigate nothing via his House committee; he’s leaving it all to Bob Mueller.

Vice President Pence’s courageous response via his spokesperson was:

The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda, which is what the American people sent us here to do. […] The Vice President was not aware of the meeting. He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.

“Before he joined the ticket.” That’s Pence trying to have it both ways. Standing by Trump’s agenda and “Hey, don’t look at me, I just work here!” in case the story has legs. But considering each new story feels like the one that breaks the camel’s back and then it doesn’t… we shouldn’t expect this new story to be any different. Dump is here to stay. If he is to go, it can only be accomplished if Democrats take both House and Senate in 2018 (unlikely), and then the 2020 elections. Until then… we must fasten our seat-belts and get comfortable. The ride will continue to be bumpy.

Which brings me back to Mike Pence’s statement. “The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda.” What is this agenda? What is the future that Republicans want? It’s all bad. All bad. Mitch McConnell has postponed Senate’s August recess by two weeks, hoping to cobble a coalition that passes their healthcare abomination. Hopefully The Resistance continues the push-back and enough Rethugs are afraid enough of their constituents to vote Nay.

There is another story that came out last week from El Salvador that should chill all our spines because this is essentially the future Republicans want in the US too.

This week a court in El Salvador sentenced 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz following her conviction for aggravated homicide.

Hernandez says she became pregnant after being raped in the small community where she lived, according to her trial statements. She says she did not report the attack out of fear and did not realize she was pregnant.

In April 2016, Hernandez said, she felt strong abdominal pains and lost consciousness in the bathroom. She was taken to a hospital and treated for vaginal bleeding from an out-of-hospital delivery, but there was no newborn.

Authorities opened an investigation and later found the fetus. She was initially charged with having caused in abortion, which is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. The charge was later changed to aggravated homicide.

Hernandez said she did not know she had miscarried. She has been in prison since the incident.

GOP’s assault on women’s right to control their own bodies is decades old. They started fighting abortion rights the minute SCOTUS ruled on Roe v. Wade. They have never la-fg-c1-el-salvador-women-20150415wavered, they turned the issue into perhaps the single biggest cultural wedge issue in the country. And over decades they have chipped away at abortion rights bit by bit by bit. They have been great at branding (GOP always is), controlling the debate, redefining terms (“partial birth abortion,” for example) and seeing abortion rights erode. With Trump and Pence in the White House, and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, abortion rights are as much at risk as anything else right now. We should look at El Salvador, where abortions under all circumstances – no exceptions – is illegal, as the future we might have in the US. In El Salvador judges rule abortions and miscarriages as homicide and sentence women to decades in prison. World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe/illegal abortions. This is an issue we must remain vigilant about because we know Pence has it in his sight.

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You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

So wrote Chuck Palahniuk in his 1996 novel “Fight Club,” later adapted into a popular film by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham-Carter. Palahniuk proudly claimed that he coined the phrase “snowflake” to describe libtards, but – alas – Palahniuk is not a beautiful and unique snowflake, and his claims that he invented the insult are alternative facts. It’s a little hard to figure out Palahniuk’s politics. He has a  bit of a Milo Snuffleupagus vibe going. He likes to yell, shock and act like a jerk.  Palahniuk, who is gay, also approved the use of “snowflake” to describe liberals. And yet, the characters of “Fight Club” who resemble what one day would become the alt-right (angry, violent white men who wreak havoc upon the world and commit acts of terrorism) aren’t heroes. And it’s main character is literally a schizophrenic with multiple personalities.

In any case, whatever Palahniuk’s personal feelings on liberals and snowflakes, the term is very old. It has been traced as far back as 1860s to describe white people who opposed abolition of slavery. The alt-right’s embrace of it – and liberals’ attempts to claim it as ironic – has been an interesting fight over words. Who thought that the age of Trump would usher in a war over language.

And who would have thought that Shakespeare would be reestablished as politically relevant 400 years after his death. “Julius Caesar,” written in 1599, humanizes a despot, showing that assassinations of leaders – even the bad ones – is a terrible idea. Portraying Caesar as a contemporary is hardly a new tradition. They did it in 1930s’s Germany, and more recently on our own shores Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been portrayed as Caesar. But it’s the Trump version in NYC’s Central Park that has incensed Trumpkins. Multiple performances have now been interrupted by the alt-right and I suspect this will continue for the duration of the production’s run.

How triggered Trumpkins are by a 400 year old play. They accuse the liberal elitists who read Shakespeare of inciting violence by showing Caesar being assassinated. And then they accuse the same liberal elitists of being snowflakes. It’s a little difficult to square the two off. I don’t know what to wear to be a snowflake terrorist!

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Leon Trotsky

(This quote is frequently attributed to Bertolt Brecht, but actually appears to be by Trotsky!)

Art has been making people angry for as long as people have been creating art. The Pussy Riotpower of art to heighten emotions – every emotion imaginable – is unparalleled. And its ability to inspire social change is undisputed. Pierre Beaumarchais‘ Figaro trilogy was banned in France and Austria in the decade before the French Revolution. Dmitri Shostakovich‘s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District” nearly got him executed, and he was on the brink of arrest by Stalin almost his entire life. The Nazis murdered more artists than one can count and created entire categories of degenerate art, which included everything from the film “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to the music of Kurt Weill. We have seen the Fearless Girl on Wall Street – bravely facing off the charging bull – attacked and disfigured. What are they afraid of? (One line of attack on the Fearless Girl, created by Kristen Virbal, is that it was commissioned by an investment management firm, which makes it not art. These people are ironically unaware of quite literally the entire history of art…) In our own times perhaps no act of political art has been more feared than the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot. Arrested, imprisoned, beaten by Putin and his followers: yet they persist. Perhaps in America political artists are fortunate to not be targets of government-led violence. It is imperative that we never allow it to happen.

Warning: this video by Pussy Riot is graphic.

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As I sat down to write Wednesday morning’s post on Tuesday night, I realized by the time it published it would already be out of date. The dizzying speed with which Bannon and Trump are trashing our democracy is impossible to process and stay up to speed on. In just 10 days they’ve managed to create multiple constitutional criseses [sic]. Aside from the original sin of conflict of interest we don’t know the full extent of because Trump has not and will not release his tax returns (WikiLeaks says they plan to find them and release them… the irony of that can not be avoided, to paraphrase Angus King’s comment to steinJames Coffey at a Senate hearing after Comey said he does not comment on ongoing investigations when asked about FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in our elections). But since then Trump/Bannon’s multiple executive orders, that anathema he and other Republicans screamed at Obama about for 8 years, have created nothing but chaos in our system. The biggest one, of course, was the refugee executive order. Throwing people’s lives into chaos by refusing previously vetted refugees into the country, but also by refusing people with green cards into the country, they revealed – well, it’s hard to tell. Incompetence or malice? Perhaps a combination of the two. Bannon and another Trump aide Stephen Miller wrote the executive order and forced it to be signed without consulting with any other agency, or even Congressional Republicans. Though Congressional aides helped write it….without telling their bosses. That is a big deal. I wish I could see the expression on McTurtle’s face when he learned of his aides secrecy. It would be funny if the secrecy also wasn’t terrifying.Senate Luncheons

To add to the chaos, Border Patrol defied a judge’s ruling that people detained be allowed to see a lawyer. That is a very big deal as well. We now have the judicial branch being openly defied by the administration and part of its security force. Federal Marshalls would have to go in and force Border Patrol to follow court’s orders. Imagine how that would play out. Because I can’t.

Which brings me to this: for many months now Democrats have been waiting and begging Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to save us from Trump. Throughout the insanity of the campaign Ryan and McConnell became almost sane. But in truth they were just sane compared to Trump and that’s not a fair comparison. In fact, Ryan and McConnell are fucking scum. We have been waiting for them and the Republican Party to come in and paul-ryansave us all from Trump. That didn’t happen during the election. The Republican Party never turned on Trump, no matter how awful he became. Even John McCain (when will be get used to the fact that the war hero died when McCain ran for President?) didn’t fully turn against him. McCain just refused to talk about him, which isn’t the same thing. So no, McCain and Lady Graham won’t save us either. The endless articles being written about how Trump will alienate Republicans enough that they will turn on him are as tiresome as the endless articles about what white men want. It’s nonsense. Nothing Trump does will ever make the Republican establishment turn on him and impeach him. Nothing. McConnell and Ryan are not biting their tongues. They are not cowards who just need a little bit of encouragement and courage. They are not spineless – they are soulless. They want everything Trump is doing. They might be annoyed at some of his methods. But they want what Trump wants. That’s the truth we have to face.trump-nixon

So where does that leave us? I honestly have no idea. I’m sorry for the downer post. I’m sure the comments that follow over the next couple of days will fill us with even more dread as Bannon/Trump continue their destruction of America and the world around us. I do fear, however, that Trump’s Presidency will not end peacefully. I don’t know how big the violence will be or who it will be directed against, but I think that is the only way this can end.

Please tell me that I’m wrong!

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As the horrific 2016 drags itself to a miserable close, and since the day the electors put You-Know-Who You-Know-Where, I’ve been trying to cheer myself up with more cheerful topics. Like assassinations. I kid, of course.

On Monday, as our country was committing ritual hara-kiri, a horrific assassination took place at an art gallery in Turkey. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot as he delivered a speech, with an Associated Press photographer there to capture every horrific moment. These photos will probably win awards. Perhaps they should. The assassin, who was killed, was shouting “Remember Syria! Remember Aleppo!” Long-term fallout from these events are impossible to predict. Turkey is quickly transitioning from a Democracy into a dictatorship. Russia is a dictatorship. The USA is experimenting. And Europe is at a crossroads with England exiting stage Right. It’s unlikely the assassin’s

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Mohammed Bouazizi

purported concern for Syria and Aleppo, which Russians have been annihilating, will get much sympathy from the public at large. In general it is a terrible idea to commit murder while feigning concern for anyone. A better route for this miserable man may have been a public suicide. Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, starting uprisings and revolutions in Tunisia and then a wider Arab Spring.

 

Perhaps the most famous case to be made against all assassinations is the murder of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in Serbia on June 28, 1914. Who thought the death of such a minor person would lead to the deadliest war up to then and millions of deaths.

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Anna Politkovskaya

 
Many great people fell to assassinations throughout history of the world. Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anna Politkovskaya. The list is long, dark and full of terror. I think we all agree that there are better ways to make political statements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.

Let us sleep now . . .”

From “Strange Meeting” by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Which brings me to a question: what do we do to make political statements in a post-Drumpf world? I ask for very practical reasons. Some of my friends and I really want to do something over the next 4 years. Besides donating to worthy causes that will combat You-Know-Who, what else can we do? We had a meeting last week and decided we will join some local long-standing organizations that fight for political change. But that seems sort of hollow.  What ideas do you all have for us Widdershins? We are all in NYC. One of us an insufferable Bernie Bro. But we must learn to live with that – he did vote for HRC, though he is very angry that she wasn’t as perfect as Bernie. In any case, we discussed the presence of the vile Peter King as a Representative from NY. He’s an institution at this point and hails form the conservative Long Island. It would feel so so good to kick him out. We will definitely support whoever runs against him, but chances of unseating him are slim. What else do you all recommend? Locally and nationally.

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

Madonna singing “Imagine” at a HRC rally in Washington Square Park on November 7, 2016.

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Let’s face it, it’s not as if The Media has ever really been entirely a responsible being. Yellow Journalism has always existed and often some of it has been controlled by the rotten likes of William Randolph Hearst. But today’s public trust of The Media (“Lamestream!” and otherwise) is down to 32%. This is down from its highest rating of 72% in 1976. Frankly, I’m surprised the current number is as high as 32%. We have watched The Media descend into a bloody feeding frenzy of click-bait headlines (BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation) and ratings-grabbing reality TV style programming. Everything on CNN is BREAKING NEWS! All the time!!!!!! Even when all they’re showing is a bear that broke into some lady’s fridge and ate all her fish or a Trump rally without any editing or commentary. BREAKING NEWS! I suppose it’s possible that at any moment the bear will start singing “Hallelujah!” and Trump will say something reasonable, which would indeed be Breaking News!  Alas, the headlines often turn out to be false (no, half of those Clinton met did not give money to Clinton Foundation) and the coverage lacking in integrity (Trump never did say anything reasonable), and all we have is a broken news media to show for it.

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While HRC’s relationship with the media is known to be controversial, it’s Trump’s relationship with the media that they should have been worried about. They allowed themselves get locked up in pens at Trump’s rallies, listened to Trump taunt them from the stage, especially female reporters (NBC’s Katy Tur received multiple public shellackings and at one point needed Secret Service to escort her to her car from a rally because she no longer felt safe from Trump’s supporters,) got physically assaulted at Trump rallies and heard Trump’s constant threats that he will sue one media outlet or another for coverage he doesn’t like by expanding libel laws. But all they worried about were Hillary Clinton’s press conferences. This was big big news for weeks, yuuuge news.  Even though Clinton always travelled with the full press pool and spoke to them daily and gave individual interviews, they were really worried about press conferences.  It was Breaking News for weeks! Well, fast forward and Trump hasn’t held a press conference since July. And he dodges the press pool altogether as President-Elect (vomit) when he wants to because, well, why wouldn’t he! The Media is annoyed now. Maybe Trump doesn’t like them as much as they thought? SAD!

Trump’s two years worth of attacks on the press and their integrity should have given them a clue that perhaps Trump was not their friend. But they only seem to have gotten a clue when the President-Elect (barf) invited them to an off-the-record meeting at Isengard Trump Tower. The brightest stars of TV news came out. George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer were there, and there’s David Muir and Charlie Rose! And look, it’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt! And head of CNN Jeff Zucker, the man who was head of NBC when Trump started firing people for ratings. They ran to this thing like it was an orgy.  And then it turned into an execution. “It was like a fucking firing squad!” was how one person inside characterized it.  (There’s shooting at both orgies and executions, so I can see how everybody got their signals mixed.)

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Does my suit match the gold decor?

Trump apparently said: “’We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” This is all allegedly because the meeting was off-the-record. So The Media isn’t commenting. But you can bet your pattootie Trump’s people were the ones who leaked this to the NY Post within minutes. The headlines from Breitbart and Drudge were appropriately gleeful. “Baghdad Kellyanne” Conway, everybody’s favorite contrarian, argued things weren’t as intense as all that. “… no he did not explode in anger. He’s the president-elect. He won … winning solves a lot of problems. Winning makes a lot of statements.” (Yes, yes it does Baghdad Kellyanne. Lots of statements have been made, though I wonder what Baghdad Kellyanne thinks the statements are when HRC is winning the popular vote by 2,000,000 and counting. What statement does that make Baghdad Kellyanne? Kellyanne? Bueller?)

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Just 3 best buds hanging out, nothing to see here, ok bye!

I wonder what the hallowed names of TV news like Rose, Blitzer and Holt think when the President-Elect (vomit) of the United States calls them liars to their face when they’ve tried to use every word except “liar” when covering Drumpf’s lies.When Trump tells Zucker in person “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed.” What does Zucker, who employed journalist-assaulting Corey Lewandowski as a commentator while Lewandowski remained on Trump’s payroll, what does Zucker think? (He doesn’t think anything of it, actually). Did Zucker know Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway were still working together throughout the campaign? Conway tweeted a photo of herself, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and Lewandowski, 4 days before the election with the tag: “Team Work.” Hmm…. Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. What does Jeffrey think? I think we have two options. Either Zucker is an idiot or he knows exactly what is happening and is ok with it because CNN is making big boatloads of money off their Trump coverage. About a billion dollars worth. CBS head honcho Les Moonves said: “”It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS…The money’s rolling in and this is fun.”  I hope everybody is having as much fun as Zucker and Moonves!

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Donny Drumpf and CNN’s Jeff Zucker, just a coupla buds LOLing

So with our illustrious TV news anchors and executives executed neutered by the President-Elect (vomit) – what do we have left? I’d say we can expect nothing from the boob tube, it has truly been boobified beyond repair, Lamestream to infinity. I’m afraid print journalism is our only hope. The NY Times, so flawed in so many ways (it’s hard to like a newspaper that continued to employ Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd… though they also still employ Paul Krugman.) Anyway, the Times also met with Drumpf, but they insisted that the meeting be on-the-record. Drumpf, still fresh off the TV Media massacre of 2016, attacked the “failing NY Times” on Twitter, cancelled the meeting, then re-scheduled it again. All in a matter of hours. Classic Trump! (Does anyone else think he’ll order the launch of a nuke, then change his mind? Will he change it quickly enough to cancel the nuke? Can a nuke be cancelled after it’s been launched? Stay tuned, it will be covered on Breaking News!) Then when Drumpf finally met with the failing NY Times, he said: “I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.” He then called them “a jewel.” (Charles Blow was having none of it.  He refused to attend the meeting with Drumpf and then wrote in an op-ed: “You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.”  Anybody care to guess what Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd thinks?) I wonder if the Times meeting being recorded had anything to do with Drumpf’s fawning tone vs. the off-the-record TV luminaries meeting where he told them all to just go ahead and die? All I know is Drumpf is already up to #7 of this handy “Despots and the Media” Guide. He’s already making his own videos, bypassing the media altogether. Kind of like those videos Osama bin Laden used to make. In the meantime I can’t wait for Trump’s next Tweet about the failing NY Times. It will be tremendous.

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# 1 – 7:  Done

Christiane Amanpour, accepting the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at the Committee To Protect Journalists ceremony, delivered a blistering speech directed at fellow journalists. She had a lot of great things to say about The Media, its failures in the 2016 election, and what it must do to redeem itself.

So I feel that right now we face an existential crisis. A real threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, I genuinely believe that we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation and a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril….

Never equate victim and aggressor. Never create a false moral or factual equivalence. Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that, you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight, especially hard, right now, for the truth, because this is a world where the Oxford English dictionary just last week announced its word for 2016, and that is, ‘post-truth’.

What’s on your mind Widdershins?  Do you love The Media as much as it loves you?  This is an open thread.

Good Monday, Widdershins.  Hopefully, this post will be more coherent than I currently feel.  There’s still much familial turmoil, but should I be able to hang on for a mere 25 more days, I can lay that burden down and move on with my life.  In the meantime, know that I am still around and will be back eventually.  For today, I am filling in while Mad enjoys a well-earned vacay.

The news cycle has been fascinating of late.  Gay rights got a major boost, fair housing was not dashed upon the rocks of SCOTUS, and Obamacare subsidies were upheld.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that yet another mass shooting has taken place, this time with a white shooter slaughtering 9 African-American church members after joining them in prayer and bible study.  The fallout has been swift and sure.  The fallout is still coming, but is it covering what it should be covering, or is it displaced?

To my way of thinking, the fallout is displaced.  At this moment, the fallout is burying the Battle Flag, aka “the” Confederate Flag.  Battle Flags were and are specific to the various armies of the Confederate forces:  the square one was used by Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the rectangular flag was used by Beauregard’s Army of the Tennessee.  The Army of the Trans-Mississppi has a blue field, a red saltire and white stars.  The saltire is lifted from the flag of Scotland, as most of the original officers (Lee, Johnson, Jackson, Johnstone, Stuart, etc.) were of Scottish descent.

The Battle Flag is as roundly criticized by some as is revered by others, but it is as much a historic flag as is the Gadsen Flag, as Confederate soldiers were accorded the status of American veterans in the post-war period.  They received government pensions, and they are buried in VA cemeteries. Their headstones are easy to spot, as the tympanum comes to a point rather than being rounded.  Here is the statute:

 Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.

I am a Southerner, and a descendant of a Confederate soldier, and on this basis I understand the attachment to the flag.  I am also half Scottish and half Irish, and understand how loathsome a flag can be – both sides of my family shudder when they see the Union Jack, as neither side was well-treated by the “bloody Brits”.  Do I, and everyone else of my ilk, have the right to demand that the flag of the UK be banned due to their long and bloodied history against my people?  I don’t think so.  In fact, it is my considered belief that banning any symbol is absolutely un-American, and a violation of the First Amendment.  Should the Battle Flag be displayed on public property?  I’m not certain about that, but let’s just say that if indeed Confederate  veterans are American veterans, should they not have the right to be honored on public property with the flag under which they fought? If not, then move the whole shebang to private property, but understand that this violates the spirit of an act of Congress.

The war has been over for 150 years.  It’s way past time for North-South reconciliation.  It’s way past time to understand one another’s sensibilities. It’s way past time to stop judging eighteenth and nineteenth century men by twenty first century standards. It’s way past time for us to understand that slavery was an American problem, not a Southern problem, and I am cheered by the efforts of the Boston Globe and Brown University to bring these facts to light.  It’s way past time to stop name-calling and get on with the business at hand, which is the simple fact that too many weapons are finding their way into the hands of people with mental illnesses.  There was no Confederate Flag at Sandy Hook.  There was no Confederate Flag in the theater in Aurora,  Just young men with serious psychiatric disorders, and we can add Dylan Roof to that list.

This is an open thread.


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Blog Archive

November 2017
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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

***Disaster Donations***

Quick links for donations.

Donations for our furry, and other critter friends:

Texas SPCA Donate Page

Houston TX SPCA Donation Page

Red Rover Group

For the Virgin Islands (Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands)
CFVI.net

All Hands Disaster Relief:
https://www.hands.org/

Puerto Rico’s First Lady’s organization:
http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

Americares (provides medical/health support)
http://www.americares.org/en/

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
3.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

PHONE CONTACT INFO FOR THE DNC:

202-863-8000

TELL PEREZ AND ELLISON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAZILE NUT!

Storify version of E. Rogers HVF explanation

Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones