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Dear Diary,

Today I watched in disbelief as pundits and reporters I respect started tearing Nancy Pelosi apart for her statement about impeachment. Here’s an amazing Twitter conversation between the brilliant security expert Malcolm Nance, and the indispensable journalist Sarah Kendzior:

Diary, I could not believe my eyes. These smart, liberal people are attacking the woman who finally tore the House out of the Rethuglicans’ hands, who helped mastermind the biggest Blue Wave in history, and who has repeatedly faced down Donald Trump and made him cry like a toddler who’s dropped his ice cream cone. Malcolm Nance hasn’t done that. Sarah Kendzior hasn’t done that. In fact, I haven’t seen anyone do that since Our Girl kicked his ass in 2016.

And the way they’re attacking her! Let’s start with my friend Malcolm.

“What is wrong with the Speaker Pelosi Congress….”

If only! I am pretty sure that if Nancy were in charge of the whole Congress, impeachment would have happened on Day 1. But she’s not, Malcolm. She’s the Speaker of the House. The part of Congress that has not acted for two fucking years is the Senate. Why not call them the Mitch McConnell Congress?! Can you not figure out who the problem is here?

Let’s keep going:

“Nothing is criminal anymore? Trump can do or say like a dictator as he pleases? All his crimes are OK even if you see them?”

And Kendzior wrote,

“…Pelosi has proclaimed him above the law.”

Diary, when did Nancy say any of these things?

Say it with me, Diary: Impeachment is a political process. It is NOT a legal process. Apparently this point is lost on Malcolm, as is the makeup of the Congress, NOT (sadly) owned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Contrary to his and Kendzior’s impassioned tweets, Pelosi has nothing to do with whether or not Donald Trump is charged with the multitude of crimes that he has no doubt committed. She has no power over the criminal justice system. She isn’t Bob Mueller or a prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.  All she can do is start impeachment proceedings, which will no doubt fail in the rotten-to-the-core Republican Senate.

With impeachment, every Republican in the country will be up in arms and screaming “Fake impeachment!” “Bullsh*t!” “Democrats kill babies and hate Jews!” (Okay, that last one is happening now.) Do we really want to make that happen before 2020? Politically speaking, we can reap much more fruit by investigating and getting the results of the Mueller Report published to all Americans, and we might pick off a lot more #MAGAs in the meantime.

Oh, dearest Diary, please don’t get me wrong. I really, really want the Mango Moron impeached, more than almost anything else these days. But if the woman who has brought this piece of sh*t to his knees and taken back the House despite gerrymandering and other egregious examples of Republican Election Fraud, says she is against impeachment, well, the last thing I’m going to do is attack her.

Instead, I’m going to defend her to my last breath, and focus my wrath on the Republicans who refuse to do their Constitutional duty and hold him accountable. They are the ones who have enabled his corruption to take hold, and they will face the consequences at the ballot box in 2020.

Who’s with me?

This is an open thread.

 

 

Good day Widdershins!

Is it a good day?  Well, certainly better than some we’ve had lately.

mb is having sinus issues so I’m taking a crack at doing the activist post.

I wasn’t going to get involved in the madness today on the streets of nola; been there done that.  I watched a bunch of the stuff on tv so that’s good enough for me. I had done the French Quarter thing one time.  A few of us gathered our pennies together and rented a room in the Quarter for Mardi Gras.  However, the crowds were so large they sorta pushed you in the direction they were going.  I was trying to get off of Bourbon Street to get to the hotel where we had the room.  When it got to that point I had had enough.

So moving on to the news…

Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee just gave Donald tRump a big Mardi Gras surprise and it wasn’t a king cake.

The congressman sent document requests to around 81 individuals and entities.  The list was varied and interesting; he requested docs from the FBI!

Among the giftees of Nadler’s requests:

  • Donald Trump Jr.
  • Eric Trump (alas no Ivanka)
  • (they went to) Jared
  • Trump Campaign
  • Trump Organization
  • Trump Transition
  • Paul Manafort
  • Roger Stone
  • Yadda yadda

As the chairman said:

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the requests issued to 81 individuals and entities would help the committee probe three main topics: obstruction of justice, including the potential interference by the president into criminal investigations; public corruption, including violations of the emoluments clause; and abuses of power, including attacks on the free press, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

And isn’t it interesting that those items/categories could lay the ground for impeachment charges against tRump.  Quell Surprise!

Nadler was also wicked smart in that the documents requested had already been submitted to the Special Counsel or other organizations so there’s no claiming executive privilege by tRump or the White House.

Aides to the committee said that they had intentionally limited their initial requests to material already provided to other congressional committees or federal investigators to ensure substantial compliance.

 

Said the chairman:

Mr. Nadler was explicit on Monday in saying that the House was no longer content to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and would delve into many of the same issues, but with a different standard of evidence not wedded to a criminal indictment.

“We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement. “This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts. That is exactly what we intend to do.”

So what are your thoughts Widdershins?  I say Laissez les bons temps rouler!

 

Open thread of course.

 


Hoo boy, it’s going to be quite a news week even for this Dumpster Fire of an Administration. Here are just a few of the things going on:

  • Drumpf, having received his marching orders from Pooty-Poot, is off to North Korea to further weaken American democracy abroad. #PutinsPuppet
  • House Democrats, seizing the day, are forcing McTurtle to hold a vote on the House Resolution to cancel the fake National Emergency the Mango Moron declared. It may even have the votes to pass the Senate. Whoops! Will the Orange Crusher have to issue his first veto? Even more importantly, will he be able to spell it?
  • House Democrats are also holding a hearing on the global rise of authoritarianism and its danger to the liberal democratic values that have been keeping us out of a third World War since the 1950s. I’m sure it’s just a coinky-dink that it’s happening while Der Drumpfenfuhrer is off playing footsie with Lavrov and “Little Rocket Man.”
  • Manafort’s and Butina’s court cases are proceeding apace, not very well for them.
  • Robert Mueller’s report may come soon, but it’s very likely that Barr (who was picked for this very reason) will not provide an accurate summary to We the People. Democrats are prepared to subpoena Mueller if they are not satisfied with what they see.

And yet…the biggest news, in my opinion, is the testimony of Michael Cohen, who will be speaking both behind closed doors and publicly on Capitol Hill this week. Three days of Cohen, who literally knows everything bad Drumpf ever did, and Democrats hearing it and being able to take action! That is something amazing indeed.

Now it’s true that Cohen has this small issue with credibility, since he’s pleaded guilty to lying to Congress already. No worries, though. Apparently, Mikey has receipts.

“I’m told Cohen has been prepping with this for a long time, and he knows he’s got credibility issues, so he’s coming with documents,” Dilanian said, “and he’s got very detailed, sordid and, what (attorney) Lanny Davis has described as chilling stories of what how the president conducts himself behind closed doors.”

“We shouldn’t underestimate how powerful seeing a Trump insider who has been with Donald Trump for more than 10 years telling these stories before the glare of the television lights,” he added.

In today’s world, where the news cycle has shortened to 60-minute intervals and we’re all dizzy and dispirited from trying to keep up, it’s hard to predict what will land on Trump, the most Teflon-coated criminal President since Ronny Raygun. Somehow I think, though, that what Cohen says will be the last straw for many Republicans, and they won’t come back to the fold once they jump off the TrumpTanic.

I guess we’ll see, Widdershins.

This is an open thread.

Merry Christmas Widdershins! Haven’t done one of these in a while – I hope you enjoy it.

THE SCENE: Christmas Morning at the McConnell mansion in Kentucky. MITCH MCCONNELL, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, is lounging in his four-poster bed, dressed in Trump gold pajamas (100% polyester!) with the Trump logo on his chest. His wife, ELAINE CHAO, is lounging next to him. Her pajamas match, of course.

MCCONNELL (stretching comfortably): What a great night’s sleep! (to ELAINE) You know, I was a bit worried I might get three, um, “visitors” overnight. Well, Merry Christmas to us!

There’s a knock at the bedroom door.

MCCONNELL: Come in, honey!

SENATE AIDE #1 enters. She is young, blonde and Fox News friendly.

MCCONNELL (startled): Oh! I thought you were one of my daughters. Uh, how’s it going, uh…Maggie?

(Her name is Mary.)

MARY (deferentially): It’s Mary, sir.

(ELAINE, frustrated, lightly smacks MCCONNELL on the arm.)

MCCONNELL: Ahem, yes, of course, Mary. How can I help you? And a Merry Christmas to you, my dear.

MARY: Merry Christmas, sir. Sir, I wanted to let you know that I’ve just received word. The Washington Post has another scoop. It’s…it’s bad, sir.

ELAINE: Oh no. What has that orange idiot done now?

(MARY is shocked, then giggles a bit))

MCCONNELL (repressively): ELAINE!

ELAINE (repentant): Sorry, darlin’. I forgot we weren’t alone. (to Mary) Go ahead, dear.

MARY: Well, um, it looks like he made fun of a child. See right here? He said that at 7 years old, it’s “marginal” to believe in Santa Claus.

ELAINE (muttering to herself): Jesus f*cking Christ.

MCCONNELL: Elaine! (to Mary) Thanks for telling us, uh, Marjorie. Now scoot along. Go have some eggnog or something.

MARY (rolling her eyes a bit): Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

(Mary exits, closing the door)

ELAINE (sitting up in bed): For heaven’s sake, Mitch. That f*cking moron can’t even talk to a child properly! Why don’t you do something already? I’m almost embarrassed to be a Republican these days.

MCCONNELL: (placatingly) Now, Elaine, I know it’s hard to take sometimes.

(He gets out of bed, pacing…the audience can see his Trump slippers)

MCCONNELL: But look – LOOK at all the power we have! And money…soooooo much money. That tax cut was very, very good to us. So what if the guy tweets every once in a while. We are still in great shape. It’s never been a better time to be a Republican!

(There’s another knock at the door.)

MCCONNELL: Come in, honey!

(SENATE AIDE #2 enters. She is interchangeable with Mary, but is wearing a different color mini-skirt.)

MCCONNELL: Darn it, when will Porter get here? (to AIDE #2) Uh, excuse me, sweetheart. Merry Christmas! What can we do for you?

SENATE AIDE #2:  Sir, the AFP is reporting that Erdogan has invited President Trump to Turkey. It sure looks like he and the President are doing some kind of deal together, especially since Turkey is moving into Syria already. There’s also a lot of negative press about the General Mattis thing. I’ve checked the latest Presidential approval ratings, and they are, um, not good. 39%!

(ELAINE screams into a pillow) 

MCCONNELL: ELAINE! (to SENATE AIDE #2) Uh, thanks, my dear. There’s some mulled wine in the kitchen, please help yourself!

SENATE AIDE #2 (puzzled by the lack of reaction): Uh, yes sir. Thank you, sir. Merry Christmas!

(SENATE AIDE #2 exits, closing the door.)

ELAINE (picking up where they left off, crossing to MCCONNELL): “It’s a great time to be a Republican?” Are you serious? All those Never Trumpers are having a field day! That Jonah Goldberg, ooh, I could smack him. Even the MAGA morons are starting to wake up. And the liberals, well – clearly they feel vindicated. (sarcastically) You DID notice the 2018 election, didn’t you? Did you see how many seats the Democrats gained in the House? That Pelosi woman —

MCCONNELL (interrupting superstitiously): She Who Must Not Be Named?

(ELAINE and MCCONNELL spit three times through their fingers)

ELAINE (continuing): ANYWAY, Ms. P is going to come after you with everything she’s got. That Elijah Cummings has already sent over 50 letters about various new investigations he’s planning on opening. You think Trump can survive all of this? Why are you still sticking by him?

(Another knock at the door.)

MCCONNELL and ELAINE (exasperated): Come in!

(SENATE AIDE #3 enters. Yes, she is interchangeable with Mary and #2, wearing yet another color mini-skirt.)

ELAINE (frazzled): What is it, Monica? Oh, Merry Christmas, dear.

MONICA: Merry Christmas, ma’am, sir. I’m sorry to disturb you, but it looks like another child has died in U.S. custody. (pointedly) That makes two.

MCCONNELL (showing the first signs of distress): Oh my goodness. That’s very bad indeed. Uh – what happened, do we know? (eagerly) Can we blame the Democrats?

MONICA (dubiously): Well sir, it’s not clear yet. If there’s a particular border patrol agent who’s responsible, I suppose we could find out how he voted in 2018?

MCCONNELL (wagging his finger): And 2016! If he voted for Hillary, we’re home free. (more cheerfully) Thanks, darlin’! Go stand under the mistletoe in the great room, maybe you’ll get lucky! (smacks her on the ass)

MONICA (shocked, rubbing her ass): Uh, thank you? (exits quickly, closing the door)

(ELAINE glares at MCCONNELL, shaking her head.)

MCCONNELL (dismissively): Oh whatever, she loved it. Now, where were we?

ELAINE (sighing): Mitch, honey. (taking his hand) Let’s not fight. Just please tell me, for once and for all, what is going on? I am ready to quit tomorrow. Just say the word. This is the worst job I’ve ever had! I don’t even think Trump knows my name. He keeps calling me “my Chinese friend.” “Where’s my Chinese friend?” he asks me. I’m from Taiwan, for heaven’s sake!

MCCONNELL (coming to a decision): Elaine, I’m gonna come clean. The Russians gave me a lot of money to back that orangutan. I’m just not going to go against them, okay? That Putin is no joke. He kills people! Besides which, we can keep the Democrats in check with our increased majority in the Senate. They’ll never get the votes to impeach him. We can stay on the Trump train and finally privatize Social Security and Medicare. Imagine, all the money pouring in! And, he’ll get re-elected in 2020. Our Russian friends will take care of that!

(ELAINE shakes her head in disbelief.)

(MCCONNELL’S phone dings. He reads it, then throws it across the room.)

MCCONNELL: No, no, no!

ELAINE (concerned): What is it now?

MCCONNELL: MUELLER!

(ELAINE and MCONNELL spit through their fingers again)

MCCONNELL (pacing): Hannity tells me that Mr. M has got me – ME! on his Christmas list. He’s going to  find out about my special friendship with Russia! (realization slowly dawning) Oh my Lord. Who’s going to protect me? Trump will throw me under the bus faster than you can say “Michael Cohen!” He’s never liked me, never! And Pence, he’s useless. He’s going to get indicted before summer comes.

ELAINE (taking him by the shoulders): Mitch, look at me. (he looks up, in deep distress) You cannot go to jail. You hear me? Daddy would be furious! (commandingly) You know what you have to do.

(ELAINE hands him her phone. MCCONNELL slowly takes it and dials.)

MCCONNELL: Hello? Special Counsel’s office? Yes, Merry Christmas to you too (ELAINE puts her hand on his shoulder). This is Majority Leader McConnell. I’d like to speak to the Special Counsel, please…

(LIGHTS OUT.)

THE END

 

Okay folks, let’s continue mb’s excellent Tuesday post covering the election.

While we did well in taking back the House we know that much work lies ahead.

Open thread of course.

Tags:

Have you all seen this video of Lady Gaga on Stephen Colbert’s show? It’s gone viral. For the words about the Kavanaugh confirmation, start around 3 minutes in.

A bell rang deep within me when Gaga said that trauma changes the brain; that the brain puts the pain in a box and shuts it, so we can survive. I realized that, since the day Drumpf stole the Presidency, I have been living with the pain of that day, and that box, while shut, has had some leaks.

Since November 8, 2016, I have lost some of my sparkle, my joie de vivre. My writing has become more direct, more bland, more generic. Satire is impossible; nothing is more absurd than the fantasy world the Republicans are trying to force down our throats. The plays I used to write don’t come out any more, as I have trouble finding humor in almost anything.

My brain functions more slowly now…I struggle to form sentences quickly and speak smoothly, as I used to. I lose focus at work, because my full heart isn’t in it. I am more prone to depression, to tears, to anxiety.

I’m a natural extrovert; yet, I’ve become more retiring, more reluctant to meet new people. I’m afraid any new person I meet may have voted for the Mango Moron, and I just don’t want people like that in my life. I don’t want to speak to them; I don’t want to sympathize with them; I don’t want to hear their excuses for voting for a racist, misogynist, authoritarian thug.

I have been changed, while the box strained and bulged and the pain and sorrow leaked through.

When the story about Dr. Ford broke, that box opened for me. All the psychic trauma of the past two years came rushing out, along with the memories of my own experiences with threatening men and sexual harassment. Online, I read countless, horrifying stories of women and men, recounting their own #MeToo moments.

Yet as terrible as this was to go through, something unexpected happened after Kavanaugh was confirmed.

I felt better. No, not just better: I felt my brain start to work again. The pall over my emotions lifted. I suddenly realized what was wrong, and that clarity gave me the strength to deal with it.

I was changed again.

Make no mistake, we are living in dreadful times. Drumpf now says he won’t fire Rosenstein. Why should he? Rosenstein helped rig the sham FBI investigation that Flake and Collins used as an excuse to vote for Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh is the guy Trump thinks will fix any consequences of the Mueller investigation for him and his children. More than that – he will help get all of Drumpf’s dreadful, un-American initiatives past court challenges that have, so far, held them up. The Muslim ban. The transgender ban in the military. Family separation. Babies in jail. Overturning Roe v. Wade. Killing the Affordable Care Act. Deporting legal immigrants back to their “shithole countries.” Etc., etc., etc.

But there’s nothing we can do about that now. We all did everything we could, and we caused a lot of “good trouble,” as John Lewis called it. In the end, the Republicans narrowly managed to elevate their pet sociopath to the Supreme Court.

Now, we focus like lasers on getting out the vote on November 6th. Because if we can get control of Congress, impeachment will be on the table – not just for Drumpf, but for Kavanaugh.

I’m sharp, I’m feeling everything, and I’m ready to work hard for the #BlueTsunami.

How about you?

This is an open thread.

Getty Images photo Ford.jpg

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

I must confess that watching the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testimonies left me feeling hopeless. I don’t know if I’ve felt this depressed since election night and inauguration. What we saw was such a horrific display of partisanship from Republicans, such naked thirst for power, such terrifying absence of decency, that I don’t know if we can ever truly recover from where we are now. And, frankly, the weak performance of Democrats against Kavanaugh revealed that we don’t have strong leadership. Yes, there may be flashes of it here and there, but in the second half of the day Democrats surrendered all control to Republicans. Lindsey Graham goes on a full frontal attack on Democrats and their only response was Cory Booker calling Graham his friend. Every Republican attacked Diane Feinstein. And Democrats remained silent. Democrats kept hammering on about the FBI investigation: important yes, but the point was made already and repeatedly, and anyone who mentioned it after Dick Durbin drew blood by getting Kavanaugh to fall speechless on the subject was wasting time. They let so many things fall through the cracks because they harped on that single issue. They also kept quoting Kavanaugh’s former roommate who said he saw Kavanaugh get very drunk many times: yes, we heard it and Kavanaugh dismissed that story pretty easily. Yet they kept returning to it Kavanaugh swatted them away just as easily each time. It was a waste of time.

Democrats should have pursued Rachel Mitchell’s questions about the July 1st party on Kavanaugh’s calendar – which perfectly matches Dr. Ford’s description of the party where she was assaulted, including the guest list and the timeframe where she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. The Republican prosecutor seemed to accidentally stumble on the actual date of the party where Ford was attacked! She had Kavanaugh read the first and last names of all his friends who were going to attend this party. The names match everyone Ford names, including the man Kavanaugh’s friends tried to pin the assault on (but who denied any involvement in a letter to the judiciary committee.) The date of the party – July 1st – also matches Ford’s story that she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. But because she wasn’t sure when the party was, knowing when Judge worked in the store would help. Well, Mike Judge wrote in his book that worked in that grocery store in August of that year. It matches perfectly the time-frame Ford laid out. A party Kavanaugh attended, the guest list of friends that matches Ford’s list of those present, and the 6 weeks before seeing the eye-witness in a store. Rachel Mitchell – intentionally or not (probably not) – laid this out for Democrats. Democrats did nothing with this information. As soon as Mitchell asked these questions about the July 1st party, Grassley called for a recess. They returned and Graham went for the Democrats’ jugular. Mitchell was not heard from again. Every Republican after that went for the same jugular. And Democrats did nothing. They didn’t fight back, they did not pursue the line of questioning that quite literally may reveal the date – on Kavanaugh’s own calendar – of the party where Ford was assaulted.  The hearings ended as a disaster for Democrats.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was astonishing. With strength and courage she arrived to tell the truth. And she did. What was striking about her answers is that she didn’t try to be right. She knew there were gaps in her story, she willingly acknowledged the limitations of memory. Contrast this with every Kavanaugh testimony: in his desire to be right and perfect, Kavanaugh lies. He lies easily and repeatedly. Republicans don’t care that Kavanaugh has committed perjury numerous times already. But we know that he has. And we know that Dr. Ford has not. This extraordinary woman has upended her entire life – the persecution of Dr. Ford will continue forever – because she wanted to do what is right. She faced the lions and went in. She did it for all of us. She said that her greatest fear is that she would do all this, put her family and herself through hell and it would not matter. She is probably right, that Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court. But her testimony matters. It matters to countless women and men who have been abused and who have been too afraid to speak up. People who have blamed themselves for the attacks. Christine Blasey Ford showed us that sometimes we must do what is right, even when we know it may not make the difference we seek in the moment. Dr. Ford and her courage do not exist in a vacuum. She has already changed the lives of countless victims of sexual abuse. May she take some comfort in that. And may we all hope to have that kind of courage.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

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B-I-N-G-O!

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Dems are coming for ya