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This clip explains where we are. The media – print, television, e-media, Twitter, you name it – are galloping off at breakneck warp speed on a contrived snipe hunt. Dolt 45 is setting the media agenda and the networks, led by accountants sporting green eyeshades, are more than happy to oblige.

But for today’s installment of prolixous prognostication, I’d like to keep the “external initial dampner” engaged and take a slower, more nuanced view of the deconstruction of democracy.

Trump on his way to latest dumpster fire…

The media chases squirrels because there are squirrels to chase. They are genetically predisposed to chase squirrels. What is vastly more important are the issues affecting real people’s lives. These issues will rid us of the toxic orange fungus faster than media posses chasing shape-shifting political squirrels.

Just look at where we are – somewhere between 22 million and 32 million people losing health care. Deductibles exploding to $13,000 for someone making $26,000 a year. No longer requiring banks to adequately capitalize. Allowing credit card companies to reinstitute modern forms of indentured servitude. Companies polluting without consequence. Record corporate profits without ze-effing-ro paid in taxes. Give the poor $40 in tax cuts and the ultra rich $940,000. Halting lawsuits of those who have been cheated, maimed, or killed by those more powerful. In short, restructuring policy to resemble the golden gilded age of robber barons.

Who would profit? The Mercers of Breitbart, Kellyanne Conjob, and Steve “Pickled” Bannon fame are fighting a tax bill of $6.0 Billion. Where I come from that’s plenty of money to incentivize Cambridge Analytica and its data mining operation to target angry white guys in the Midwest to vote for someone with the intellect of orange toe jam. Or how about the half-trillion dollar oil deal between Russia and Exxon? Something more redistributive perhaps? How about a trillion dollars being wrenched from the poorest Americans so the wealthiest can wallow in obscene tax cuts? If that doesn’t conjure enough grotesque fuckery, try thinking about two-thirds of the nursing home elderly being turned out on the streets because of draconian cuts to Medicaid.

I tend to see the similarities in people and not the differences, but for the life of me, I can’t see much difference between McTurtle and Mr. Burns — both cartoonish greedmeisters.

You will hear OMB Dick(head) Mulvaney or HHS Tom “insider trader” Price talk about “sustainability through reordering priorities”. There is no reordering of priorities. There has been and will continue to be only one priority of the Republican Party. It is greed. Greed first, last, and always. There is nothing else to understand about the GOP platform – it’s the “Greed Only Party”!

Let’s depart from the usual analysis. Calling the modern Republican Party greedy and ending there is like saying water continues to be wet. Why would someone place a price tag on their soul?

Why are people greedy? Psychologically and unsurprisingly, greed goes hand-in-hand with narcissism.

Both narcissism and greed have their roots in profound self-doubt. Narcissism is self-aggrandizement of the emotional kind, while greed is self-aggrandizement of the materialistic kind.

Narcissism and greed have other aspects in common. They both arise as disorders in people who, in their unconscious mind, are aligned with the conviction that they’re lacking in importance, significance, or value. Such people have difficulty feeling or accessing their own essential value. Instead, a deep negative sense of “self” contaminates their emotional life, and they resonate or identify with this inner default position.

Here’s the kicker. You don’t have to be wealthy to be greedy. Greed is an aspirational characteristic of the Horatio Alger set. You can be thread-bare, broke, and still be greedy. According to one study, the feeling of grandiose entitlement has grown since the 1980s. Who would have thought that Raygun would usher in a “me first” generation?

What does this mean for the country? This “I’ve got mine, sorry about your luck” philosophy means there is no interdependence among the classes unless it is to fight the wars of economic convenience. Put another way, if you can helicopter to work, you don’t need roads traveled by the little people.

A common refrain by Republicans is that our country is weakened by the moochers and the hangers-on, you know, the lazy people. Here’s something to stick up the arse of the next person who says that to you.

By large measure, the wealthy behave less ethically than those of modest means. In reality, the lazy takers are the tax avoiders who are getting away with $2.2 Trillion without having to work for it. They are simply avoiding taxes and sticking it into their pockets. The entire social safety net for children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor costs us $370 Billion or six times less than the tax avoiding takers.

One last thought about narcissism and greed:

Narcissists deny or cover up inner truth by believing, as they shower themselves in self-admiration, that they truly want admiration from others. Greedy individuals, meanwhile, believe they really want to feel value and worthiness, yet they go chasing after an illusion of value—materialistic self-aggrandizement—that can only deepen self-alienation.

The greedy are unhappy, angry people. Their souls are empty chasms where self-worth should be. Here’s the not so hidden truth – Dolt 45 isn’t an aberration. That orange blob of disgust and perpetual ego masturbation is the perfect Republican totem. His need for self-esteem and validation are symbolic of the Republican Party.

Big hat, no cattle…

The Republicans have been designing the perfect ticket for almost forty years. Unfortunately for the country with help from the Russians, this banausic, predacious, crowd of angry greedy wannabes got their perfect ticket and punched it.

Sorry this isn’t the good stuff Fredster usually posts on the weekend. Please don’t let my self-indulgence deter you. Post anything you might desire – videos, strange weird news, self-preservation meditations, whatever you want – it is free range at the Widdershin’s.

Have a great weekend.

 

This cartoon is from 2014.

Good Monday, all! I was just in the Caribbean without WiFi for 10 days and let me tell you, it was bliss. But alas, Drumpf is still Presnit despite all my most fervent, daiquiri-induced prayers to the Beach Goddess. So it’s time to fire up the Interwebz, put on my big-girl pants and ask this very important question:

How long has Russia been in control of the Republican Party’s agenda?

I realize that what I am saying has not yet been proven. (The operative word, pardon the pun, being “yet.”) But the circumstantial evidence is starting to become, at least in my mind, too overwhelming to ignore.

Let’s just take a minute to ponder the “coincidence” of every single person on Drumpf’s team having a Russian connection.  Every. Single. Person. Rationally speaking, how is this possible? Remember, in 2015, the Mango Meerkat was nothing more than a sleazy, self-important television personality who decided to run for President. He didn’t have a lot of contacts in the Republican Party, since he wasn’t actually a Republican. So what did he do? He surrounded himself with a mix of family, veteran Goopers and white supremacists, all of whom he realized he needs in order to steal the election in 2016. And amahzingly, there isn’t one that is free of ties to Russia.

Seriously.

I’m not just talking about his family – those connections can be explained by the fact that Drumpf is in bed with Russian kleptocrats, and his sons and daughter are all active participants in his corrupt business practices. I’m talking about the Republicans who, from Day 1, came along for the ride in the Orange Klown Kar. Roger Stone. Paul Manafort. New York’s Nosferatu, Rudy Giuliani. Henry Kissinger, for f*ck’s sake. Why? What could this babbling, Tweeting, empty-headed egomaniac have to offer them? Didn’t they have any principles, people wondered. Had they all gone crazy?

Well yes, they have principles. It’s just that these principles just happen to be the same as those of Vladimir Putin. To whom they are all so coincidentally connected.

Read the rest of this entry »

What a week! Everyone is struggling to explain what is happening. I’ve heard the pundits say it is where “greed meets incompetence” or “malevolence meets the sewer” or any number of unsatisfying descriptors.

It might be an intersection or a confluence, but I prefer the Swindon “magic roundabout”. It is seven traffic circles in one. Here’s an explanation:

So in the Dolt 45 turd-o-matic roundabout, we have greed meeting incompetence meeting malevolence meeting dirty tricks meeting incoherence meeting indifference meeting amorality. It is the non-compunction junction since there are no qualms about any loathsome behavior.

Then last night it became apparent these idiots have sat on these emails for three weeks – emails saying “Clinton-Russia” in the subject line – and yet, they had no plan for dealing with them I was reminded of Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers movie. Burn After Reading celebrated a bunch of incompetents who thought they were genius; when in reality, none of them should have been in public without a Mommy’s Helper leash.

Like a hummingbird during mating season, the excuses have been everywhere all at once. Of course the paragon of square-headedness, Sean Hannity, the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, quickly got to the essence of it all with a demand to investigate Hillary’s emails.

There are bright spots though. People like Russ Douthat ate a big heaping helping of crow:

The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low.

You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If this was a tease in the review of a sitcom, the next part would be prefaced with, “hilarity ensued.” Having known about these emails for a month, the crack P.R. Team decided to fabricate a story for release last Saturday that morphed into another story on Sunday that again morphed into another story on Monday, and yet again changed for Tuesday. Honest folks don’t have to lie – repeatedly.

The ambulatory carrot stain has dumbed down normal. Of the top ten recounted in the article, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. It’s not normal for the presumptive nominee’s son to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claims she has dirt compiled by Russian governmental forces who want to see your guy win.
  2. It’s not normal for the President to sign off on a public cover-up of that meeting when confronted with the facts.
  3. It’s not normal for the President to hold a Cabinet meeting that consists of his staff gushing over him.
  4. It’s not normal for the President to obsess about cable-news coverage of himself, yell at White House televisions, and instantly react to stories before checking the specifics.

But this is normal for this White House and the person illegitimately occupying the Oval Office. What is not normal is the speed at which Special Counsel Mueller is forging ahead. Mueller learned valuable lessons prosecuting Enron, its executives, and related organizations. He will not be daunted by these halfwits and morons.

In thinking about the week, here are my takeaways:

  1. No matter what happened with the hacked emails, the Russian activities, or the various conspiracies, but for the Comey letter on October 28th, Hillary would now be President.
  2. The Mercer family is battling a $6.0 Billion tax bill. They have also bankrolled Milo, pollster Kellyanne Conjob, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, their data mining firm. Someone had to identify and target promising precincts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and transmit that information to the Russian bot controllers. There is an electronic trail and the NSA probably already has it.
  3. If only Obama had demonstrated the courage to ignore McTurtle’s obstruction last summer and forge ahead with the warning of Russian interference, Obama would have been proved correct and vindicated by the email saving his legacy and the country from the orange plague.
  4. The tightly choreographed kabuki of the G20, starring Pootie, Lavrov, and Dolt was nothing more than a performance for good old Rexxon. If you are Rexxon, how would you feel being played for the fool on a world stage? Watch for a resignation.

Here’s the last scene from Burn After Reading. They ask a good question. If we learn not to let this happen again by making the name Trump synonymous with Benedict Arnold or genital herpes, we will have learned something of value.

 

What’s on your mind today?

 

Good Tuesday Widdershins!

Yes, things are so bizarre, so out of the box, so batshit crazy that I thought we could take a look at how some of the cartoonists are seeing things.  Well that and to give us a new post since the Sunday thing was getting very long.

 

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And the best for last:

Okay Widdershins, wide open thread and post for y’all to take wherever you want.

 

Today’s the day for which we’ve been waiting — the Pootie Poot and Dolt show. It’s the day when Dolt 45 finally meets his old friend and “stable mate” Vlad for a face-to-rind howdy do. The usual cable news meth addicts are on pins and needles, but me, not so much – I’m feeling a big lotta meh.

Here’s why.

First, let’s get the disclaimers out-of-the-way. I’m not opining one way or another about Dolt’s mental health. I am going to offer a few thoughts on how he will behave during his precious Vlad time. So far the clamorous Yam’s characteristic behaviors have been five-by-five in their signal clarity. There have been no surprises.

Second, a quick refresher as to what motivates Dolt’s predominate behaviors. He operates from his ego drives of Significance and Competition. His Significance means he gets every ounce of his self-worth from the way others see him. His Competition means he’s always counting and comparing – “his huge is hugest, his awesomeness is awesomest, his intelligence is intelligenciest.”

Most importantly, Dolt is emotionally fragile. Criticism is unacceptable. He bruises easier than a 90-year old banana on blood thinners.

Next, let’s look at the architecture of the meeting. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said the agenda for the meeting is whatever the Mango-in-Chief wants to talk about. Therefore, Vlad has seen fit to set the agenda for the meeting. Mark that as a win for the Red Team.

Here’s the other pre-meeting blunder everyone seems to be overlooking. The meeting will have six attendees – Dolt, Vlad, Tillerson, Sergei Lavrov, and two interpreters. So minus the two functionary interpreters, there are four attendees – of those four, three of them know exactly what Russia and the Trump campaign did last summer.

Rexxon is going to be the fourth wheel on a double date where there’s an active three-way happening right in front of him. Dolt 45 will not raise the issue of Russia interference because: (1) His courage is so low you’d have to eat earthworms to find it; and (2) There’s no need to talk about something everyone, except poor Rexxon, already knows.

No matter what happens in the meeting between Dolt and Vlad, Vlad has already won. He wants Russia to be seen as an equal to the United States. The meeting itself is a victory. A “happy happy joy joy” joint statement of a good meeting is a win for Russia. At the very least, Vlad is going to get a joint readout saying the two had a good discussion of world issues. Such a readout translates to Russia being the equal of the United States.

If I’m able to shed any light on what happens today, it is this: Why is Dolt 45 so fascinated with Vlad? It isn’t the accepted pundit wisdom of, “Putin is a strong man leader.”  No, being driven by Competition, the Mango-in-Chief must have someone with whom to compare himself. Vlad is that comparison. In other words, if you are going to carve up the world, it is useless unless you have someone to compare yourself. Vlad serves that role in Dolt’s ever increasing amyloid riddled brain.

I’ve known dozens of people like Dolt 45. I’ve interviewed them, counseled them, and on occasion consoled them. They are some of God’s strangest creatures. Dolt 45 sees Putin as the leader of the “unfree world” to his leadership of the free world. Given that Dolt’s world view was formed in the 1970-80s this flawed elementary version is cemented in the psyche of Dolt.

Vlad is going to use this fact. He’s going to flatter Dolt and commiserate about their common enemies of the media and “deep state” institutionalists. He’s going to talk about how dismal Obama was as a leader. After the Saudis projected Dolt’s orangeness on the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh and the Poles busing adoring crowds to hear him read a speech, there is no doubt everyone now realizes the way to Dolt’s KFC-clogged heart is flattery on top of a little more flattery.

Of this we can be sure, if someone who is so motivated by Competition is not on high alert for this meeting, there is something else at play. In other words, if Dolt isn’t trying to “out-handshake” Putin from the get-go, there’s something else a’shakin’. So if the meeting is a big old nothing burger with fries, it will tell us plenty. Without a doubt, there are two people in this meeting who know to the last ruble how much Russian mafia money found its way into Trump developments. Neither of them will have to mention it because they both know the other knows they know it.

What do you know today?

 

 

Warning:  Be prepared to hate this post. How do I know? Because I hate myself for writing it.

Let’s back up a bit. Even before DYB’s brilliant post this week, I planned on writing about messaging. Here’s where the hate peeks in – for science respecting, policy loving “libruls”, digging deep for understanding is the mother’s milk of informed, dispassionate inquiry. I’m about to advocate something striking at the soul of that mantra – overly generalized statements aimed at evoking an emotional response.

Democrats are horrible at messaging. We are great at policy. We suck at capturing the voter’s imagination and allowing it to soar. Rethuglicans, courtesy of Frank Luntz’s rich fertilizer, are quite good at it. Think death panels, but with some truth behind it.

What blasphemy causes this change in my love of policy nuance? Simple. Democrats are whistling past the graveyard while Rethuglicans continue to foist the unmanageable brokenness of the health care and pharmaceutical industries back at Obama. Attitudes have no chameleon characteristics, they don’t change themselves.

Through adept Rethuglican messaging, Obamacare is now shorthand for every conceivable health care problem. Democrats did nothing to combat it. Now Democrats have an opportunity to change the debate. Without wading into the psychology of it, why aren’t Democrats messaging like this:

  • The ACA was nicknamed Obamacare because President Obama and Democrats cared about people. This President and Congress don’t care about people. It isn’t Trumpcare, its TrumpDontCare.
  • Since laws are supposed to fix inequities, in Republican-world it must be equitable to take away health care from 22 million people so a million rich people can get a tax break.
  • When you turn a Trillion Dollars worth of health care into tax cuts someone is going to have to come up with the difference or do without a Trillion Dollars in health care.
  • If you haven’t heard about a ban on a Dow pesticide linked to harming babies’ brains, don’t worry, there is no ban. Likewise, there’s no proven link between Dow contributing a million dollars to the Trump inaugural and Scott Pruitt meeting with the Dow CEO prior to nixing the ban.
  • Forget Kim Jong Un, the most dangerous man in the world is Mitch McConnell with $200 Billion to buy votes to hurt 22 million poor Americans.
  • If the Rethuglicans have their way, by 2036 if you need a nursing home bed, you better not out live your savings.

Essentially six statements with none of the juicy wonkiness we love around here, but lots of emotional punch to energize and anger. Why someone isn’t messaging this emotion is beyond me. Perhaps if the opportunistic wannabes so focused on climbing over Nancy Pelosi spent more time thinking about the Party instead of themselves, such messaging might have a chance.

Politically a wedge must be driven between der Trumpenfuhrer and the pitchfork/torch wielding Rethug base. Otherwise, chances for taking the House in 2018 and impeachment are severely diminished to the point of impossibility. The most potent antidote for this mad Trumpkin affection is convincing these hordes the clamorous Yam doesn’t care about them and their plight. The beauty of it is simple: He doesn’t.

This health care debate could reinvigorate the Democratic New Deal covenant. What is apparent is that the liberal caricature of conservatism isn’t a caricature at all. It is reality. This admission against interest is courtesy of Marc Thiessen, a Dubya speechwriter now writing for the Washington Post’s op-ed page:

Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible.

If Republicans want to confirm every liberal caricature of conservatism in a single piece of legislation, they could do no better than vote on the GOP bill in its current form.

But at what point do we admit that this isn’t the liberal caricature of conservatism? It’s just … conservatism.

 

What is so aggravating is forfeiting stimulating intellectual discourse for bumper-stickerisms. While offensive to the very core of my being, if it will rid us of the orange pariah eroding the dignity of the United States, I can live with it. What we have going for us is the truth, TrumpDontCare.

What’s on your mind today?

h/t Quixote for TrumpDontCare.

Filmishmish is an Arabic term meaning “in the time of the apricots” or “when the apricots bloom”, which is something akin to the English phrase “when pigs fly.” It seems as if we Progressive Democrats live in the time of apricots. We are filmishmish flotsam.

Let’s review where we are. With the Republican Party skulking behind closed doors cooking up the greatest transfer of wealth in human history from the poorest, oldest, and sickest to the richest Americans, what are Democrats doing?

Like zombies in the express lane of the lobotomy clinic drive-thru, one set of Democrats are shuffling around mumbling about a special election in a Republican +20 district in Georgia. While another set of self-serving insurrectionists are trying to depose Nancy Pelosi. Yet another set is second-guessing and flirting with Trumpian populism masquerading as BernieBroism. And not to be forgotten, we have the Alt-Left cross-pollinating with the Alt-Right, thereby erasing any semblance of a difference.

Here’s the deal – the loss in Georgia wasn’t the end of the world. Losing sucks. I hate losing, but a win in Georgia would have been the equivalent of a sugar high to a diabetic – dangerous and injurious to our long-term health.

Let’s break it down. First and foremost, Democrats, while losing, are over-performing in these special elections. There is a good piece by Dave Wasserman, no Democratic fluffer, in the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. The report centers on the Partisan Voter Index which measures each district by the spreads in the last two presidential races relative to the nation as a whole.

The Voter Index for the five special elections this year equates to over-performance by the Democrats of 8 points. If Democrats were to over-perform in the 2018 mid-terms at that rate, the Democrats would pick up 80 seats.

Eighty seats!

Realistically, that isn’t going to happen since incumbents are going to be more firmly entrenched than special election nominees, but Democrats are in a strong position in 2018. In fact, we are in a much stronger position than Republicans were in 2010 or 2014.

Democrats allowed the Georgia “expectations game” to froth up into a bad case of hydrophobia. The political consultants sold a bill of goods. There was plenty of money to support the wrong conclusions. The truth no one wanted to believe was this: Hillary was the high water mark for Democrats in the district. Surprise! Hillary was a good candidate. Hillary lost the district by 1½% and a presidential race is always of higher concern than a congressional contest.

That is not to say Ossoff was a bad candidate, but he looked like he just asked his daddy to borrow the car for an after school math club meeting. He didn’t live in the district allowing him to be “otherized” as “not one of us”. Catnip to the tribal instincts of the district.

This brings us to the next major point – tribalism. The base of the Republican Party is full-blown tribalistic and ethnocentric. As such they are enthralled by authoritarianism. Dolt 45 scratches that itch.

Here is a piece of long journalism on tribal epistemology. The frightening aspect of tribalism is that truth is no longer operative. There is no fact outside what is good for the tribe. Hypocrisy is suspended. It is no longer offensive if it furthers the tribal cause. The world exists in terms of “us” versus “them”. The “others” threaten the tribe. It is not enough to defeat the “others,” they must be annihilated.

When you overlay the Republican tribal mentality against the failures of Dolt 45 and his merry band of henchmen, a monumental case of counter-intuitive logic appears like Stonehenge out of the mist.

The tangelo wearing a kangaroo stretch scrotum continues to hold his base because he hasn’t done anything yet. He’s signed some fancy press statements about thinking about doing things, but he has not yet done anything. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Not until the dissonance occurs between promises and actions will the tribe fall out of like with his Orangeness. For instance, let’s say twenty million people lose health care so that one million rich people can get a tax cut. That is liable to cause more than a little economic angst to creep into the tribal zeitgeist. So much for economic populism.

This is why the Georgia loss is a positive development. Anything that builds confidence for an agenda that has no constituency is blowing smoke up the all too receptive sphincter of the orange biopsy. Likewise, Custer didn’t lose sleep over worrying about overconfidence.

Folks, Dolt 45 hasn’t yet been presidenting for six months. He’s supremely talented at turning everything he touches to crap, but even he needs the time to do it in world-class fashion. Perhaps the season of Filmishmish is upon us, but no pigs fly before their time.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

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