The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category


I’m going to repeat something that every Widdershin already knows: There is no significant voter fraud in America.

The Brennan Center’s seminal report “The Truth About Voter Fraud” conclusively demonstrated most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless — and that of the few allegations remaining, most reveal election irregularities and other forms of election misconduct. And numerous other studies have reached the same conclusion. In a recent report, “Noncitizen Voting: The Missing Millions,” the Brennan Center debunked President Trump’s claim that millions improperly voted in the 2016 election.

Yet, the topic of voter fraud always seems to be at the tip of Republican tongues, whether they be mouth-breathing MAGAs or petulant white, male, wealthy underachievers outraged that uppity wimminz and minorities would dare to vote against them.

Here’s what Democrats should do every time a Republican shitbird starts talking about this long, long debunked fairy tale in which everyone loves him, he is married to June Cleaver, who vacuums in pearls and pumps, and no black people exist anywhere:

“It’s not voter fraud that’s the problem. It’s Republican election fraud.”

Then sit back and watch the exploding heads, because no. one. ever. calls. them. on. this.

Ever.

The way I see it, we have not had an honest federal election in this country since 2000, when Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes, but still did not become President, because, Florida. Remember Florida, where Dubya’s paid operatives stormed down there in their Brooks Brothers shirts and demonstrated against the recount? And a Republican Secretary of State and Republican Supreme Court colluded to ensure that Bush won even though his margin was 537 votes?

Once that snarling weasel and his psychopathic VP took office, all bets were off. Electronic voting machines with no paper trails that switched votes to Bush from Kerry; gerrymandering and massive voter suppression became their M.O. And let’s not forget the Republican-controlled Supreme Court, which gutted a critical portion of the Voting Rights Act, opening the door to election fraud that was previously illegal, but now could be considered to fall into a grey area.

Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), is a landmark[1] United States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Section 5, which requires certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices; and Section 4(b), which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to preclearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting.[2][3]

On June 25, 2013, the Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that Section 4(b) is unconstitutional because the coverage formula is based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states.[2][3] The Court did not strike down Section 5, but without Section 4(b), no jurisdiction will be subject to Section 5 preclearance unless Congress enacts a new coverage formula.[4]

Five years after the ruling, nearly a thousand polling places had been closed in the country, with many of the closed polling places in predominantly African-American counties. Research shows that the changing of voter locations and reduction in voting locations can reduce voter turnout.[5]

But even with all of the storied examples of Republican election fraud, all of which continued in 2018, our current pResident took it to a level never seen in American history when he conspired with a hostile foreign government to steal the Presidential election of 2016. Let’s face it, the Mango Moron did not win legitimately. Russia viciously attacked our election, influencing tens of millions of voters through fake news and bots on social media, hacking into Hillary’s and Podesta’s emails and leaking them for months, and invading voter databases, “not changing results.” Sure, if I were an evil tyrant roaming around voter databases for months uncaught, and I wanted one candidate to win, I absolutely would not change a thing!

So the Democrats should start talking about this, loudly and often. Perhaps some already are.

This is an open thread.

 

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We are less than a week away from the midterms. November 6, 2018 will be a red-letter day for America. History will be written with that day as the dividing line. What America was before 11/6/18 and what it will become after. It is impossible to really know what will happen. Predicting the outcome is an exercise in futility. We thought we knew what would happen on 11/8/16 and the electorate disappointed. Will the Blue Wave of the special elections become a tsunami of the midterms? Or will it subside and resemble only a small tide? Nobody can predict. Will people actually leave their homes and vote? Who knows. There are still an extraordinary amount of people who don’t plan to vote. New Yorker just had an article about some young people who don’t plan to vote because reasons. There are voters who still don’t feel inspired by anyone. And there are voters who just don’t think it’s a big deal. Will these people vote when it counts? Who knows… We can hope that someone, a friend, will make them see the light on the issue.

There is also the question of Trump voters: will they vote? Some argue that believing that everything on the news is Fake News makes them ignorant of the imminent blue wave. That may be true… but it’s also true that Trump and the entire GOP – now openly, proudly a party of Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes – are using every dirty trick in the book to steal the election: everything from purging voter rolls to shutting down voting stations so people can’t vote to sending out wrong voting information to leaving Democratic candidates off the ballot. We’ve seen all these things play out in real time and it terrifies me to say that I’ve seen very little reaction from Democrats. ACLU does what it can to file lawsuits, but the Democratic party leaders are mostly silent, letting the candidates – the vast majority of whom are new at this – find their own way. In North Dakota Republicans – after saying Native Americans must have IDs with an address they don’t have on reservations – are now rejecting ballots because the color of the ink is “wrong.” Election is being openly stolen in Georgia and the Democratic party – and the media – are looking at it as helpless spectators.

And we also don’t know what will happen on November 7th. Whether Democrats manage to win anything or if Republicans hold on to all of their power. What will Trump do? I think we can safely assume that if Democrats win the House – Trump will try to declare the election invalid. He is already floating ideas of rigging by Democrats. We know the GOP will back Trump 100%. What will Democrats do when that happens? I am not hopeful. If Republicans hold on to all of their power – things will go off the rails in a different way. GOP and Trump will declare a mandate and I really think that will be our last election. I am sorry to be this negative. I just want to make sure we are all prepared for November 7th. Because I think November 7th is going to be very bad, no matter how the vote goes.

Do you think I’m off my rocker?

Upstairs Lounge3

N O T E:

In conjunction with Pride Month I thought I would repost this piece I did sometime back.  I’m doing it after reading this article on nola.com

Note:  some of the links from the original piece may not still work

 

Monday marked the 40th anniversary of a terrible tragedy in New Orleans; the arson fire at the Upstairs Lounge in the French Quarter.  Twenty-eight men died at the scene of the fire, one died on the way to the hospital and three died later from their wounds so a total of 32 people died as a result of this arson.  All but one were men.

This post is going to have a lot of quotes pasted in so I hope you don’t mind that.  But the story needs to be told outside of nola and some of you might consider it a history lesson, while some of us lived through the times.

Essentially, here’s the story.  The Upstairs Lounge was a gay bar in the French Quarter.  This was 1973.  A lot of people (hell most people) were not out back then.  The French Quarter itself was different back then.  If you’ve been there, it wasn’t the elegant (Royal Street and its antique stores) touristy area it is now.  Rather, think in terms of what you saw if you saw the movie A Streetcar Named Desire.  It was a rundown area, filled with, as one person said, “thieves and queers”.  Many times, gay men carried fake i.d.s to the bars, not so much to prove they were over the age of 18 (the drinking age in La at the time), but in case there was a bust at the gay bar, so their real names would not be printed in the paper.

According to Frank Perez, a writer for Ambush magazine in New Orleans,

“The way things were at the time was really pretty bad. Raids of gay bars were very high and discrimination was profound,” Perez said.

A description of the Upstairs Lounge was given this way:

In 1973, the gay and lesbian scene in New Orleans was still largely underground, and patrons remember the UpStairs Lounge as not just any bar, but as a gay community hangout where locals could gather without fear of social persecution.

Songs were sung around a piano, “nellydramas” were performed with the help of local playwrights, and couples competed in tricycle races, according to former 9th Ward resident Johnny Townsend, the author of “Let the Faggots Burn: The UpStairs Lounge Fire,” a comprehensive retelling of the events of that night in 1973.

The walls of the French Quarter watering hole were covered with flocked wallpaper, adorned with memorabilia including an iconic Cosmopolitan magazine spread of Burt Reynolds lying naked on a bearskin rug.

To get into the bar, you had to ring a buzzer at the entrance on the ground level and then after you were let in, you went upstairs to the bar.  The gist of the story of the arson is this:  A local hustler and regular Rodger Nunez, had been thrown out of the bar and it was said that he remarked, “I’m gonna burn y’all out.”.  (Note: Nunez committed suicide the next year and an acquaintance of his said that when he was drunk he confessed to setting the fire but denied it when he sobered up)  The fire was determined to be arson but no one was ever arrested or convicted of the crime.

That night:

about 60 people held court at the French Quarter bar. A weekly “beer bust” had just ended, a jukebox was blaring near the entrance and people were gathered around the bar’s piano, where two men took turns banging away on the keys, as patrons joined in and sang along to “United We Stand”.

An incessant buzzing at the bar’s door, however, got the attention of bartender Buddy Rasmussen, who eventually asked 47-year-old Luther Boggs to go answer it. The buzzer was located at the street level where another door entered onto Iberville Street. Upon pushing open the lounge door, Boggs was met with a wall of fire that had been building in the stairway, causing flames to explode into the bar, instantly setting the whole place ablaze.

Rasmussen, an Air Force veteran, was able to lead about 20 people to safety through a rear door near the stage, which led out onto the roof of the building.

Read the rest of this entry »

The good part is the Irish referendum to repeal their forced pregnancy 8th amendment. Marvelous photos of people converging to vote (they don’t have absentee ballots, I guess??). #HomeToVote. The hashtag is worth reading on the twitter machine, but have a box of tissues handy. The wonderful women and men of Ireland buried, just plain obliterated, the bigots who think women are a cheaper version of artificial wombs, who refuse to see that women are human beings.

+ – + – +

The appalling, horrible, devastating, dire, harrowing, terrifying part is the US government forcibly separating mothers and fathers and children. Some of the children are just a year old. One. year. old. And some have been handed over to somebody, anybody. Some unaccompanied minors given to human traffickers.

Earlier on my blog I had a post about the USA’s continued slide into depravity.

Burned mosque in Victoria, Texas. January 2017. (Bob Daemmrich)

But bad as a hate crime is against a symbol of religion, a hate crime against living, breathing children is even worse.

The sad thing is I think all of us screaming about the atrociousness of it are missing the point.

It’s not like they (the Bully in Chief, his administration, ICE, etc.) didn’t realize the suffering they would cause. It’s not like us pointing it out is going to lead to a big “D’OH!” moment and they’ll quit it.

The suffering is the point. That’s the worst of it. This is fully intentional.

The point is to stop immigration. And I can see where it could slow it way down. If the choice is murder by a local drug gang or losing your children to traffickers, I could see deciding to take a chance on avoiding the murderers. And then the monsters running the US will crow about how well their crimes of state worked.

I just … this has to stop … I wish I knew how. Yes, November. But November is not now. It has to stop now. It has to. It won’t.

Crossposted from Acid Test

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hello Widdershins! It’s been almost a year since many of us marched, in the largest protest in American history, to show our solidarity with women across the nation. The inauguration of this cruel, bigoted and misogynistic President brought out people who had never marched before – even my 75-year-old father! Martin Luther King Jr. would have been proud of us.

That terrible, yet fortifying and loving day spawned the resilient, organized and powerful movement called #TheResistance. I don’t think any of us knew it would be as widespread and passionate as it is. On social media, in the streets, with calls and emails and signed petitions, we are now, and for the foreseeable future, making our voices heard. Hear us roar!

In these days, when we have “human error” causing Hawaiians to fear for their lives while the President golfs and tweets about his press coverage; when the racism of the leader of the free world causes more and more damage every day; when the Republicans lie shamelessly and continuously to protect their political futures and (I think) their dirty, dirty money; well…it’s hard to believe that we are living through it and somehow, hanging on to our sanity. So let’s take a look at the various ways #TheResistance is still alive, well, and thriving.

Here are a couple of photos from our very own Contrask, who protested last weekend. Amazing!

Yesterday, hundreds of Haitians protested near Mar-A-Lago, explaining to Drumpf (as he golfed on MLK Day) that Haiti “is not a Shithole.” (Still incredulous. I’ll never get over what he said.)

And oh my! What terrible reviews Trump properties are suddenly getting on Yelp!

It didn’t take long for people offended by President Trump’s remark that African nations were “shithole countries” to turn the insult back around on his family-owned company’s properties. The Yelp page for the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue has been swamped since Thursday afternoon with one-star reviews calling the 263-room luxury hotel a “shithole.”

“It’s a shithole. The owner is a racist senile old man. Don’t waste your money. #shithole,” reads one review. Another tells readers, “But I hear you can get incredible ‘service’ if you bring in your own Russian hookers to give you the ‘golden treatment.’”

Speaking of Shithole activism: I think this is my favorite.

There are Women’s March Anniversary protests set up for this weekend. Get out there and march if you can!

This is an open thread.


Good Monday, all. We have certainly had some very good news this past week. The amazing victory of Doug Jones in Alabama took us all by surprise…and for once, it was a happy surprise! Roy Moore’s refusal to concede is both embarrassing and ridiculous, and makes both him and the Republican Party look worse (if such a thing is even possible). It won’t get him anywhere except the loony bin, which, frankly, is where he has belonged for a long time.

As DYB pointed out on Saturday, Senator-Elect Jones ran as an unabashed liberal on social issues, with the requisite full-throated support for a woman’s right to choose. It’s important to note this actual fact, as I’ve been hearing an alarming amount of noise from white men in the media who don’t seem to feel Jones had the winning strategy.

“Why can’t Democrats allow some room for pro-lifers in the Party?” bemoaned well-known sexist jackass “Tingly Leg” Chris Matthews last week. “I mean, most people are against late-term abortions. It would make such a difference in red states.” (I can’t seem to find this video – sorry folks, maybe someone else can?) Now, let me get this straight…a 70-year-old white Catholic man is advising Democrats to throw women’s rights under the bus, even after it has been demonstrated time and again that women have been critical to the special election sweeps since 2016? This was before Jones’ victory, I admit…but if moderate white Republican women didn’t go over to Jones, he wouldn’t have won. Do you really think they were worried about abortion when they went to the voting booth? Somehow I think they were more worried about their teenage daughters running into Moore in the mall!

If only Matthews were the only one pushing this crap. But alas, he’s not. White male, and now-former Republican Joe Scarborough jumped on the train that same week. Surrounding Democratic 2020 candidate John Delaney (yes, I know, who?) with an all-conservative, almost all-male audience (the sole female being Peggy Noonan), white male Delaney was mercilessly quizzed about his Catholicism and how he feels about abortion. Delaney said he feels that pro-life Democrats should “join the big tent” as long as they support the other planks of the platform, like “economic values.” Really, John, really? And how will women gain economic equality if Democrats don’t consider their rights as human rights? Or are we really supposed to accept the idiotic Sandersian myth that a $15/hr. minimum wage will magically erase the institutionalized racism and misogyny that keep women and people of color from earning their fair share of the dollar?

I’m going to bang on an old drum here: Democrats have not done right by their female supporters in decades. They never pushed through the ERA when they had the chance. When they had their first viable female candidate for the Presidency in 2008, the National Party decided Obama was more “historic,” and demonstrably rigged the nomination for him. Perhaps this innate knowledge that we are an afterthought for most Dems, is why so many of my white sisters vote Republican? Certainly after the debacle of 2008, many of us frustrated women (and the men who support us) re-registered as Independents, but came back to the fold when the Tea Party rose up and took the Republicans on the final leg of their long trip to CrazyTown.

After the Democratic Party once again allowed a sexist man to run a misogynistic campaign against Hillary in 2016, contributing to her electoral defeat, women started getting a lot smarter. They stopped passively expecting the Party to help them, and decided to take it over for themselves. The leadership of the Party should have noticed this by now. Women are running for office in unbelievable numbers, and winning, and are the backbone of the Resistance which helped defeat the overturn of the Affordable Care Act and fueled the anti-Trump furor across America. Yet, if my Maryland brother John Delaney is any indication, it’s clear that the Democratic Party still cannot get over its encrusted and myopic focus on its…male members. (Wink.)

I admit I have just started to fully understand my privilege as a white female living in a blue state. There is not a chance in hell that a pro-death Democrat will beat a pro-choice one here. And in fact, I couldn’t care less what people think privately, as long as they don’t vote to curtail a woman’s right to choose in any way. But should we really invite this kind of ambiguity into the Party, when so many women have lost access to not just abortion, but any form of pre-natal care at all? And when our maternal mortality rate has gone up so much, we’re now the only developed country where it’s increasing?

This excellent Slate article explains why we’re going backwards instead of forwards in the area of women’s health. There are three reasons: poverty, lack of access to health care, and regressive contraception and abortion policies. All of these issues disproportionately affect African-American women, who die in childbirth at 3 times the rate of white women, and 98% of whom voted for Doug Jones, a pro-choice Democrat.

I hope we’re seeing the connection here.

I’m not going to threaten to leave the Party. I’m over that; as I’ve said a few times now, I’ll vote for an artichoke if it has a D next to it. Our democracy depends on wresting power from the wanna-be Fascist in the White House, and the cowardly, corrupt Republicans who are enabling his blatant dismantling of our sacred rule of law.

But I will say this. If the Democrats do not get their sh*t together and start respecting women’s rights as much as they respect that cranky old Socialist’s annoying rants, they will most assuredly hear from me. And I suspect millions of my sisters and brothers will do the same.

This is an open thread.

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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.


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Blog Archive

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

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