The Widdershins

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Good Tuesday, Widdershins! Today is a bellwether day because last night, Rachel Maddow finally stopped using the word “inexplicably” and used Occam’s Razor instead.

In her opening segment, Rachel was highlighting the fact that Drumpf has a very large number of weak, “acting” cabinet secretaries and vacant deputy positions that haven’t been filled. She then noted that this framework for governing concentrates power in the hands of the President. “There’s a particular type of government that works this way,” she said. “It starts with an ‘a.'”

Indeed! Welcome to the autocracy party, Rachel. It’s quite scary to admit what the end goal of Putin’s Puppet is; kudos for starting to wrap your head around it.

The autocratic end game, however, cannot be won merely by eviscerating critical government agencies like the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the EPA and so many others. What will really set the tone for declaring Trump King Forever is a determination that he is above the law. And from where I sit, he’s trying his best to make that determination happen. Let me count just a few ways:

  1. The tax returns. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal, has demanded Drumpf’s tax returns. The Mango Moron has refused, which is illegal. The deadline for turning them over to the Ways and Means Committee is Wednesday, April 10. If this goes to court, will he get a favorable ruling?
  2. The family separation policy. One of the most Nazi-like policies this evil Administration has ever set in place, family separation was ruled illegal last year. But now, Drumpf is clearing house at DHS, firing Kirstjen Nielsen and others, and to try and find people who will impose the policy despite its illegality. He may have found at least one.

    Though he may not be installed immediately, the Trump administration is likely to find a way to make sure [Kevin] McAleenan will step in for Nielsen on an acting basis, even if it means firing Grady. NBC News reports that McAleenan “has not ruled out” family separation as an option, and that he would consider allowing parents to bring their children with them into long-term detention as an alternative.

    What happens if McAleenan does try to go ahead with family separation despite the judge’s orders? Who will tell him he can’t?

  3. The Fake National Emergency. When Der Drumpfenfuhrer declared a fake national emergency at the border and started appropriating funds for his ridiculous wall, the Democrats sued him.

    Trump declared a national emergency in February to shift federal funds toward construction of the border wall after Congress refused to provide him with the amount he requested.The initial standoff resulted in a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

    The complaint was filed one day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that the House would sue the president to block Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border.

    “The Congress has a solemn responsibility to defend its exclusive constitutional responsibilities, and protect our system of checks and balances,” Pelosi said of the lawsuit in a statement Friday. “The very integrity of our democratic institutions are at stake. We will not let the President trample over the Constitution.”

These are just three examples. Bottom line is, a Constitutional crisis could result from any of these. If the pResident decides to just brazen it out and declare he is above the law, will the Senate stand up to him? Or will they continue to demonstrate their moral decrepitude and lack of interest in our core democratic principles, and help him establish an autocracy in America?

I think we’d all better start stretching our leg muscles and ensuring we’ve got comfortable shoes. While I hope we won’t need to, we must prepare to march to prevent Orange Caligula from consolidating enough power to destroy our country for the foreseeable future. Our activism may be the only thing standing between us and the “a” word.

This is an open thread.

Well, it looks like Barr is doing the job Drumpf hired him to do. He is whitewashing and weaseling and trying like hell to protect the criminal and his cabal currently sh*tting all over American democracy. His four-page summary left much to be desired, and quoted not a single full sentence from the Mueller Report. And the Democrats are determined to get the full story.

The Democratic chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, Financial Services, Ways and Means, and Foreign Affairs committees have written a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting that he submit the full Mueller report to Congress by April 2.

What they’re saying: “Your four page summary of the Special Counsel’s review is not sufficient for Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, to perform [our oversight activities]. The release of the full report and the underlying evidence and documents is urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution … To the extent that you believe applicable law limits your ability to comply, we urge you to begin the process of consultation with us immediately in order to establish shared parameters for resolving those issues without delay.”

So that’s one thing the Democrats are doing. But it’s clearly not enough, so I would like to pose this question to all of you Widdershins out there:

What [Else] Should Democrats Do?

I think there are a number of avenues they can pursue.

  1. Subpoena Robert Mueller. The DOJ might block it, but “what are they trying to hide” is a powerful question.
  2. Turn their focus to other matters. There’s an interesting argument at the link…and, I just read that now that Barr is in charge of the DOJ, all of a sudden they’re cool to overturn the entire ACA. Seriously! This is truly horrendous, and it’s happening right now, when no one is paying attention.

    The Trump administration wants the federal courts to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, an escalation of its legal assault against the health care law.

    The Justice Department said in a brief filed on Monday that the administration supports a recent district court decision that invalidated all of Obamacare. So it is now the official position of President Trump’s administration that all of the ACA — the private insurance markets that cover 15 million Americans, the Medicaid expansion that covers another 15 million, and the protections for people with preexisting conditions and other regulations — should be nullified.

    When combined with Trump’s endorsement of the various Republican legislative plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and other regulatory actions pursued by his subordinates, the Trump administration’s clear, consistent and unequivocal position is that millions of people should lose their health insurance and that people should not be protected from discrimination based on their medical history.

  3. Continue to investigate. In the absence of any real insight into what Mueller found, the Democrats seem to be committed to continuing to probe the most corrupt administration in history.
  4. Something else. Any other options you can all think of!

What do you think, Widdershins?

This is an open thread.

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.

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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
20 months 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

Awrite! Here’s your damned wall

Dems are coming for ya