The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category

Good Monday, all. Today, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon, a very rare event indeed. Even rarer, it seems, is what has been going on since the horrible terrorist attack in Charlottesville: people are starting to talk about the real reason people voted for Drumpf, the true secret of his appeal.

Two years too late.

Roxane Gay wrote this painful editorial in the New York Times last week. I think she speaks for a lot of us, not just here at TW, but all over America.

A week ago, in Charlottesville, Virginia, white men assembled to rage for a world long lost – one where their mediocrity was good enough. These were men emboldened by a President who shares their odious beliefs.

I’ve watched in horror as they’ve been energized by his campaign and his presidency. It’s possible that hate like this would have been on the rise anyway, given eight years of the Obama presidency and, animus towards Hillary Clinton. But now we don’t have hate on the fringe; we have it reinforced in the White House…

…Back in November, pundits began attributing Mr. Trump’s win to “economic anxiety,” because they were unwilling to face the blatant racism that fueled his popularity. Look where that thinking has brought us. Everyone who says, “This is not America” or “This is not us” is being willfully ignorant of both the past and the present. We all need to acknowledge that yes, this is indeed us, the very worst of us…

Roxane’s eloquent anguish resonates so strongly with me. When that evil orange turd “won” the election, I felt as though the entire country had lost its mind. Instead of electing the first woman President, who would lead us where we need to go so badly, Drumpf voters had embraced a sexually twisted, misogynistic, racist monster because they didn’t care what he would do to this country, as long as he made them feel good about themselves. His language of hate and fear was like poisoned music, a siren’s song telling them that at last, at last, they could blame someone else for their useless and bitter lives. Drumpf made it clear to white men that it really IS women and people of color and Jews and LGBT who are responsible for your pain and suffering, and not only that, it’s good and right for you to think it, and say it, and shout it out loud. Who could resist such a validation? And as a result, instead of the world we all knew would arise with Hillary’s Presidency, a world where #LoveTrumpsHate, a new, awful world seemed to arise.

But was it really that new? No. It had only been hiding, lurking like a tumor, inside of the Republican base. And it’s at the heart of all of their policies, for the past few decades. As Russ Feingold wrote this weekend,

The lesson from Charlottesville is not how dangerous the neo-Nazis are. It is the unmasking of the Republican party leadership. In the wake of last weekend’s horror and tragedy, let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration and the expulsion of immigrants…

Words mean nothing if the Republican agenda doesn’t change. Governors and state legislatures were so quick to embrace people of color in order to avoid the impression, they too share Trump’s supreme affinity for the white race. But if they don’t stand up for them they are not indirectly, but directly enabling the agenda of those same racists that Republican members were so quick to condemn via Twitter.

Gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement are all aimed at one outcome: a voting class that is predominantly white, and in turn majority Republican.

This is the hard truth that we don’t want to face. We all have Republican friends, relatives and colleagues. We’d like to think that they vote Republican because they want lower taxes and “small government,” whatever the hell that means. Unfortunately, though, those reasons can no longer be used to mask the hatred that hides in the heart of the GOP. It’s become a heart of darkness, and anyone who votes Republican now, shows that they have darkness in their hearts as well.

As Drumpf retreats further and further from a country whose people are loudly protesting what he stands for, vastly outnumbering the Neo-Nazis in Boston by tens of thousands, there is beginning to be a wide recognition that he cannot last much longer as President of the United States. But when he goes, and takes all the nightmare Cabinet members and Javanka with him, and probably takes Pence down too..what then? Are we going to pretend he never happened, that he was a terrible aberration, and that the “real” Republicans never wanted him in the first place?

I am quite sure the media, addicted to equivalency as they are, will try to smooth this horrorshow over and make it seem as though the Republican Party temporarily lost its mind to der Drumpfenfuhrer, but is now sane. We cannot let them do it. We must continue to hold them responsible and accountable for what they’ve done to our democratic institutions and the mental and moral health of our country.

We’ve done really well after a blow that could have crushed us, Widdershins. Together, the Resistance has halted the destruction of ACA, the tax cuts for the wealthy and the infrastructure whatever that, I’m sure, would have done nothing but shovel more money into billionaires’ pockets. But we won’t be finished until we have dragged the racists and misogynists, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century.

I think we can do it, don’t you?

This is an open thread. Enjoy the “oldie” but goodie below.

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Good Monday Widdershins!

Our blogmistress had some real life issues come up so I’m covering here at sort of the last minute.  Because of that and not having a lot of time this is mainly going to be a link dump post.

From this WaPo piece, it seems like the “ugly American” tourist is making a resurgence.  Only this tourist was in Germany and thought it would be cute to do a Nazi salute.  Color him clueless since he seemed not to know that the salute is a crime in Germany and he got busted-literally.  Someone saw him do it and beat the crap out of him.

An American tourist gave the Nazi salute in Germany — so a stranger beat him up, police say

* * * *

Peter Cvjetanovic would like you to know that he’s really, really not a racist mkay.  No, seriously.

You can read that HERE. By the way he’s also a precious 20 years old.  Whatcha wanna bet he’s still on mom and dad’s health insurance?

 

* * * *

There is a new hashtag that is going viral, #ThisIsNotUS and you can check out a HuffPost article on it.

* * * *

From Business Insider here is an article with some background info, on the hit and run driver in Charlottesville, James Fields, again a 20 year old.

* * * *

David Frum in The Atlantic says it’s time for Republicans to “leap from the boat” that is the S.S. Trump. And I thought they were all so comfortable there.

* * * *

The occupant of the White House, appeared to be his usual clueless self when he made his statement after the events in Charlottesville happened and it took his staff making the rounds of the news shows the following day to attempt some damage control.

* * * *

The last link I have for you today is to an article about the photographer who captured the image of the car slamming into the counter-protesters.  That was his last day working for the newspaper.

 

Welp, that’s all I have for you today.  Hope you check out the links.  Of course this is an open thread.

 

 

Good Monday, all. Today is the first day of the last few months of Donald Trump’s Presidency. After all, he’s brought in a general to be his Chief of Staff, same as Nixon, and the conservo-rats are deserting his sinking ship. As the spectacular failure of the Wealth Transfer Bill made clear, the Senate can defy the Rancid Cheeto without any real consequences…and, the Rancid Cheeto is going to be no help to their agenda whatsoever. What will happen now? I don’t know, but while we wait for the next giant flameout, I thought we could spend some time connecting the dots.

The ongoing fight between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the Party is not about re-living the primaries, despite what the Bernie Bots would say on Twitter. It’s about looking to the future and figuring out the way forward for the Democrats. It IS important to have both the message, and the messaging, correct, so people know they’re not just voting against something, but FOR a positive vision of America.

In order to make this happen, we have to make sure that all Americans understand the connection between a racist, sexist and xenophobic campaign, and a country going in the wrong direction. From the Bernie cultists, and unfortunately from some members of the DNC, we hear that we need to appeal to the white working-class male voter with a strong economic message. The problem with this is, that it’s no different from the Republican approach.

Yes, you heard me right.

Make America Great Again is a white-people-only slogan, based on bringing the Fake 50s back to the US – a decade of great prosperity and segregation. Coal jobs, union jobs, they would be coming back under him – and all those “bad hombres” who have been taking those jobs away would be sent back to Mexico. He added to his racist cred by announcing that Mexicans are rapists, outing himself as a sexual predator, and being endorsed by white supremacists and having Steve Bannon as his senior campaign adviser. White people claimed they didn’t care, because all of these “identity politics” didn’t matter. But “identity politics” were really what energized all those white people to come out and vote for him. Nothing else mattered so much as race to the Trump voter.

And what happened when Drumpf came into office? He started advocating for policies to do exactly what he promised. Mass deportations. Known racist Jeff Sessions at the helm of the Justice department. True to his misogynistic ways, pushes to defund Planned Parenthood. Trying to overturn the freedoms and rights Obama granted to LGBTQ. And all his promises about bringing coal jobs back? Yeah, not so much.

What would happen if Democrats really decided to chase the white male vote, and decried “identity politics” as unimportant?  What message are they sending to everyone who isn’t white and male, who, not so coincidentally, votes Democratic? With all of these white men jockeying to run for the Presidency, two of them in their 70s, I find it very hard to believe that they will prioritize any of the things that matter to me…just as Barack Obama, who ran on misogyny, didn’t prioritize gender equality.

What we project matters. What we say matters. And visuals, they matter. And I am personally so very, very tired and sick of hearing and seeing “f*ck you” from the Democratic Party, a Party still, shamefully, disproportionately white and male. This is why Bernie Sanders held absolutely no appeal to me. He and his followers routinely dismissed the things I cared about, and mansplained that we were all too dumb to understand #TheBernout’s greatness and vast superiority over HRC. And of course, if we protested, we were playing “identity politics.” Well, yes. We want an equal seat at the table, and we’re tired of asking nicely.

So the Resistance you’re counting on to save your sorry butts and stop the evil Republican agenda, and vote for you in 2018? We’re women. And you won’t ignore us any more.

We’re awake now, and we’re paying attention.

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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Over the weekend I edited a short fundraising video for organizations that help victims of human trafficking. These are all religious institutions and the women interviewed were all nuns. One from NYC, one from London, and one from Mombasa, Kenya.

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry in the world, only behind drug trafficking. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in profit – at the expense of human lives. And it is also the fastest growing “industry” in the world today. In 2012 it was estimated that as many as 20.9 million people around the world were victims of human trafficking. Imagine what those numbers are in 2017. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation (including sexual slavery), forced labor, organ harvesting. The International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency) last compiled their statistics in 2012. Some excerpts:

90% are forced to labor for private economies or corporations

22% are in forced sexual exploitation

55% are women and girls & 45% are men and boys

26% are under the age of 18

Sister Jane Kimathi, from Mombasa, speaks of victims as young as 4 years old, forced into prostitution. Many, she says, come to their safe houses unable to speak because of the trauma. Some stay with the Sisters for as long as two years, as they try to rehabilitate them and find new homes. While their order is Catholic, they welcome all victims and their prayer room is nondenominational. She mentioned that Mombasa is a popular tourist destination. But the “tourist destination” designation is people who come there specifically searching for young children to abuse. Because of the many conflicts in Africa, the number of refugees spikes the numbers of slaves. They are people looking for ways to support their families. Nobody is looking for glamour or prestige in the sex trade, Sister Kimathi says. “It’s poverty and desperation.” Some of the children were sold by their parents into slavery. Some are orphans and some are runaways who were promised happiness by relatives, who then exploited them.

It’s a story the Sister from New York, Joan Dawber, picks up on. Sister Joan runs safe houses in Queens. She described one woman’s story: She came to New York to be a student, sponsored byp1562069350-3 an extended family. When she arrived, the family forced her to become their slave. She never attended school. She was forced to take care of the family, including raising their young children. She was forced to eat off the floor. Not just having her plate on the floor, she didn’t have a plate. Whatever food she was allowed to eat was put on the floor. If she was hungry and snuck any food out of the fridge, she was punished. She was her family’s slave in Queens, NY for five years. Her salvation came in the form of a neighbor who suspected something odd based on the young woman’s behavior in public. She tried to speak to her repeatedly, ask her how she is, only to have the young woman run away. Eventually the neighbor gave the woman a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers for the police and safe shelters. The young woman finally found courage to escape, using the cell phone to call for help. She has since finished school and lives in New York.

Sister Dawber points out that human trafficking exists in every state of the USA. It is not an issue that only happens out there somewhere. It exists all around us. It could be the waitress in a restaurant, or a manicurist at the nail salon. They could be of any age and any race. It can be almost impossible to know that this person ringing up our groceries is indentured to someone.

Sister Lynda Dearlove runs a safe house in London. Their organization primarily helps prostitutes. The interesting thing is that their mission isn’t strictly to “rescue” the women from prostitution. It is to offer them a safe home and counseling when in need. Many only come to sister-lynda-dearlovespend the night, take a shower and eat. Some then return to the streets. The Sisters there never force anyone to stay. Many women have been coming to them for years for a night or two of peace. The Sisters hope that by offering women a shelter and offering them counseling they can help them enable themselves. Sister Dearlove passionately says that the can not force anyone to do anything. The best they can do is show the women that there is hope and they need to find it for themselves. Maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. “They are valued and they are loved, and if anything happens to them we want them to know that we will miss them.” She says that people blame women for becoming prostitutes and that it is one of the biggest challenges we as a society face: The need to understand that if any of these women choose prostitution it is only because they are fleeing abuse, or drugs, or so many other possible traumas. Many are trying to support families and stay alive. They must never be judged or condemned, she says. They must be offered hope.

Note: Sister Dearlove was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

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

Paging the White House Physician!

I’m sure tRump has completely blown a gasket.  Of course the tweets will probably wait until late at night or early in the a.m.

To quote our Prolix:

 

With due deliberation and a judicious nature, the 9th Circuit whacked Donnie’s little peepee. Hard.

 

So here’s a new post.

 

Discuss

 

Oh my, oh my. What a Super Bowl, what a Week 2 of the Worst Presidency Ever. The atrocities are too many to document, which is why I’ve added a link to the sidebar where you can find them yourself. And, US Uncut is keeping track of the victories against the Drumpf agenda, which are also starting to pile up.

I have to say that this year’s Super Bowl commercials had a very, VERY anti-Trump and pro-Hillary message. This one in particular, from Audi, made me teary. Is it a coincidence that the girl is a blonde? I think not.

And it’s not just people in the streets and courageous judges who are fighting the Mango Meerkat. It’s businesses, too – in particular, the IT sector, which relies  heavily on talent from all areas of the world. And hey, what about those Democrats? Chuck has been everywhere. After Drumpf declined to criticize Pooty-Poot for murdering journalists and dissidents, Pelosi has called for an investigation into the Cheeto’s Russian connections. It’s about freaking time! Meanwhile, civic-minded states and cities are preparing for big legal fights against the Muslim ban. (I refuse to call it a “travel ban.” There’s a religious test, for heaven’s sake!) And the ACLU has received tens of millions in unprecedented donations.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing is the defection of two moderate Republican Senators (Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski). In response to thousands of calls and letters from their constituents, they refused to vote yes on Betsy DeVos, one of the least qualified of all of the feces-throwing orangutan’s horrific Cabinet nominees. Sadly, she’ll probably get confirmed anyway…but remember, it’s only Week 2, and there are already signs of abandoning ship. Even McTurtle is starting to try to put distance between himself and POTUS.

My feeling about this nightmare in the White House is that it’s just too late for Trump to succeed. Had he come in after Al-Qaeda attacked on 9/11, he might have had a chance. But Bush did his damage, and we have at least partially recovered. America has elected and re-elected an African-American president with a Muslim-ish name; we’ve seen a beloved sports figure celebrated for coming out as transgender; we’ve legalized same-sex marriage and seen millions of women march in solidarity across the country and the world. We’ve moved on. Trump is the least popular President since the tracking started, and he’s going down, down, down.

Somehow, some way, I have faith that we will get rid of this existential threat to our democracy and our planet. I can’t tell you how, and if I did, I’d probably be wrong. But I think it will happen, and sooner rather than later.

This is an open thread.

 

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

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She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

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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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