The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Democratic Values’ Category


Good Monday, all. There’s a lot going on, and most of it not good, as usual, these days. The new bootlicker Drumpf has hired to represent him on teevee is typical of all his stooges: narcissistic, greedy (h/t Prolix!), and intimately tied to Russia. He’s dangling lots of fake news in front of the cable news media, and they’re all lapping it up. Drumpf still doesn’t believe Russia attacked our elections!! (Of course he does, idiots. He and his campaign helped make it happen.) He’s looking into pardoning himself!! (Of course he is. That doesn’t mean he’ll do it, for heaven’s sake. He knows he’s going to get caught, and is looking for ways to evade the consequences, just the way he always does.)

Meanwhile, some Democrats are buying into stupidity of their own. Such as, “Hillary lost ‘the Obama coalition’ to Drumpf!!! ZOMG we have to chase those 70,000 switchers in swing states with a strong economic message!” Do old white guys like Chuck Schumer never get tired of mansplaining to women?

Apparently the fact that Nate Silver, expert pollster, agrees with Hillary’s analysis of why she lost, has failed to penetrate. And, apparently the fact that the Resistance is female, and the base of the Democratic Party is female AND of color, is immaterial to Chuck and his fellow mansplainers.

Someone please tell me this: how is it a good strategy to target only a few white men by focusing on an economic message that is proven to be irrelevant, and ignore the giant mass of women that is active, energized and ready to vote, and run, as Democrats?

Like this woman.

In Prince William County, Hala Ayala is hoping to bring her values of empowerment for women and equality for all to Richmond, and at the same time, send home one of Virginia’s leading anti-choice, anti-immigrant delegates.

Ayala has long been involved in local politics. She volunteered for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. And in 2014, she helped revive the National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in her community, becoming its president.

Now THAT is the Obama coalition, you jack*sasses!

The Democrats would be much, much better off energizing its base with a sharper version of Hillary’s message, than losing its principles by trying to gain the voters who want to go back to the fake 50’s in their heads.

Hala Ayala is doing something. And we should too. Forget the Democratic Establishment. The more we Do Something, the more they will get the message.

So let’s go to marches. Let’s form groups. Let’s donate to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Let’s call our Senators and attend Town Halls.

It’s all working. Let’s stick with it!

This is an open thread.

 

 

No Shame

Posted on: June 28, 2017

Fall of the Berlin Wall - 20th anniversary - Reception at Bellevue Palace
The most common accusation made against Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign – as well as the entire Democratic party today – is that they have no message. This absence of a message is, they argue, what forced the “working class” (they frequently forget to say “white”) into the arms of Trump. This is blatantly preposterous. There is a difference between “message” and “messaging.” To say Hillary Clinton had no message beyond “Trump is bad,” when she provided detailed policy papers for virtually every subject likely to face an American President, is insane. To say that Trump, who offered no solutions to any problem, had some sort of message beyond “crooked Hillary” is equally insane. Trump’s campaign may have been good at messaging: Make America Great Again. But that is not a message. It’s a slogan devoid of any actual meaning. Clinton and the Democrats had detailed messages. But details are boring. And so CNN aired Trump rallies live, without commentary, and in their entirety because “Make America Great Again” requires no effort to process. It’s goes through your body like rotten fish. Discussing Clinton’s detailed policy, however, was boring. And so they didn’t discuss it. They discussed her e-mails. The Nightly News shows – ABC/CBS/NBC – dedicated x 3 time to “her e-mails” than to all policy combined. But they continue to accuse Clinton and Democrats of not having a message beyond “Trump is bad.”

In fact: “Trump is bad” is actually a pretty good message. If anyone still doesn’t understand why, then they are beyond all hope. But “they have no message” has reverberated still. Bashing Jon Ossoff’s GA campaign pundits and Bernie Bros have been screaming that Democrats still have no message beyond “Trump is bad” 7 months after the election. As Nate Silver and WaPo’s Dave Weigel have pointed out, however, Ossoff never actually discussed Trump. This laziness of the pundits – and obvious intellectual dishonesty of Bernie Bros – is in large part why we have ended up with 45.

The other reason is Democrats’ frequently lack of courage to stand by their candidates and causes. How many times we have seen someone say something nice about Clinton by first saying: “I know she’s very problematic but…” There have been a million variations on this theme, very recently Ezra Klein’s column “In (Partial) Defense of Hillary Clinton.” He starts the column with the following words:

I’m going to do something unpopular now. I’m going to defend Hillary Clinton.

You know what Ezra: go fuck yourself with the horse you rode in on. Even at the height of the election countless Democrats – the ones who were going to vote for Clinton – began their praise of her by saying “I know she’s problematic…” Stop. This. Bullshit. If you don’t have the courage to stand by your candidate, then you are not helping. You are part of the “messaging” problem. It was the same with Ossoff in GA. We are seeing it with Democrats in general. Democrat voters just can’t help flagellating themselves. “I mean, I know D’s aren’t perfect but…” No. Stop. This won’t inspire confidence in anyone to embrace Democrats and our values. Republicans never do this. This is where the “message” vs. “messaging” becomes to clear. Democrats have a great message. But messaging could be improved by just saying: “You know what. We’re pretty fucking awesome because A, B and C.” I tell people I voted for Hillary Clinton not because she was the lesser of two evils (how’s that for an endorsement?). I voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a fantastic candidate. And I’m a Democrat because Democrats have the superior platform. Look at all these policy papers that aim to protect women, children, immigrants, LGBTQ, all minorities. Democratic party is the superior party. I don’t qualify that statement with anything. I am not ashamed to say it loud and clear. That is the message and that should be our messaging: clear, unequivocal and without shame.

 

Good Monday, all. After the unveiling of the horrible Republican “Wealth Transfer Disguised as Health Care” bill, the Democrats had a prime opportunity to boldly, proudly declare what they stood for instead. In California, the state that went so overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the State Senate and House were on the verge of passing a single-payer health care bill. What a strong statement this would have been…except that one key Democrat is not on board.

Advocates of the single-payer healthcare proposal which has been steadily advancing through the California legislature were voicing outrage and disappointment on Saturday after Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat, announced he was pulling the bill from further consideration this year.

Known as the Healthy California Act, or SB 562, the measure had already passed the state Senate and was making its way through the lower chamber when Rendon said Friday it was being shelved by the Assembly Rules Committee, which he chairs, “until further notice.”

This is a huge disappointment, not just to perpetual loser Bernie Sanders (he has yet to back a candidate or a cause that succeeds), but to me personally. I was extremely upset by Barack Obama’s failure to embrace single payer at a time when his approval rating was 80%, and he had a Democratic Congress ready to say “how high?” when he said “jump.” But then, I never had much hope that he was actually the progressive others expected he was. That’s why I never wanted him in the first place.

Now, after 8 years of Obama’s weak and feckless attempts at post-partisanship, including his fatally indecisive handling of the Russian attacks on our democratic institutions, Democrats have watered themselves down so much that they have no more message or credibility with the middle class. As we know, income inequality continued to increase on Obama’s watch. The only prominent national Democrat left who has a good record on these matters is Hillary, which is why, despite all of the monumental obstacles put in her way, she won 3 million more votes than Drumpf.

The Democrats have a dilemma now. They embraced Obama as their Messiah, and he has led them down a winding and ultimately ruinous political pathway, where his desire to be loved by everyone eclipsed his duties to represent the Democratic platform and principles. Strong and wrong is always better than weak and, somewhat partially, right. The Republicans know this truth, and they’ve made hay out of it for decades. Why, why, WHY won’t the Democrats counter the Republicans with a strong message and branding?

Is it because they know that in order to get their ideas implemented, they will have to start regulating businesses again, and step back to the days of the New Deal? Is it because they will have to turn away from Obama’s love of Reagan, and back towards their true mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and this would make some of their corporate donors rather uncomfortable?

The choice is not easy. If Democrats step away from Obama’s blurry vision of himself as President and “transformative” leader of the Party, they step away from the last Democratic two-term President since Bill Clinton. If they try to stay on his path, which Jon Ossoff did in Georgia, over-performing in a Republican district but not winning, I fear that Democrats will not ever get past the rather effective blockers the Republican Party have put in place: gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the aid of a hostile foreign power. And then, of course, there’s the endless, exhausting distraction of Bernie Sanders and his non-ideological brogressives, the flip side of the Drumpf cultists, who want the Party to be remade in the Image Of Bernie. No thanks, folks – worshiping mediocre men is so 2008. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

So I hope people call and write Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and tell him to get with the program. I hope people start seeing that strong and right is much, much more effective than strong and wrong. And I hope that the Democrats will be infused with new blood in 2018, candidates who are effective communicators and understand what they are supposed to stand for. Like Randy Brice, perhaps.

Let’s all make our representatives hear our voices, loudly and often. Because every day the Republican vision is allowed to permeate and obsess the media without an alternate vision from Democrats, that’s another day the Republicans win. And we can’t afford to let them do it any more.

This is an open thread.

Our Fearless Leaders…

THE SCENE: A conference room at the DNC’s Washington headquarters. It’s clear that a long meeting is in progress, from the various soda cans and coffee mugs on the table, scribbles and diagrams on the whiteboard, and the generally exhausted and disheveled air of the 6 participants. At the head of the table is TOM PEREZ, the newly-elected head of the Democratic National Committee. Sitting to his right is KEITH ELLISON, his second-in-command. There are four other people around the table: BERNIE SANDERS, loser of the Democratic Primary by 4 million votes; BILL MAHER, mansplainer extraordinaire; CHUCK SCHUMER, head of the Senate Democrats; and The One, former President BARACK OBAMA. There are, of course, no women present. 

As the curtain rises, we see PEREZ and ELLISON in earnest and quiet discussion. SANDERS’ head is down and his eyes are closed; gentle snores issue from his nose. SCHUMER is gazing raptly into OBAMA’s eyes, while MAHER is on the phone, pacing, at the other end of the table. PEREZ and ELLISON decide to bring the group back in.

PEREZ: Guys, hey! (The men in the room reluctantly begin to shift into “pay attention” mode.) I know it’s been a long day so far. But I think we’ve made real progress. Let’s take a look at the whiteboard one more time. Keith, can you give Bernie a nudge?

ELLISON (checking his watch): Yeah, I guess it’s still light outside. (goes over and gently shakes SANDERS, who unelegantly snorts awake.)

SANDERS: Oh! Sorry about that. I must have napped for a minute there.

OBAMA (muttering) More like the past 90 minutes, man. (SCHUMER snickers.)

MAHER (on the phone): Crap. I’ve gotta go, Ann. Of course I’ll have you on my show again. I don’t care how conservative you are; you’re my kind of woman. (Hangs up) Sorry about that. It’s hard for me to say no to a hot blonde, even if she talks a lot of sh*t sometimes. Am I right?

(SANDERS is the only one who laughs.)

PEREZ (into the awkward silence): Uh. Right! So, to recap: we want to rebuild the Democratic Party to prepare for 2018 and beyond. We can’t just focus on the Presidency every four years. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place!

OBAMA: Hey!

SCHUMER (smoothing it over): Sorry, Mr. President, but you have to agree that we should have spent more money and time building up Congress, the governorships and state legislatures. Now look what’s happened! The lunatics are running the asylum, and we don’t even have the option to impeach the schmuck squatting in the Oval Office to get his d*mn kids and that Breitbart wacko out of there. I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World!

SANDERS (standing up): I couldn’t agree more, Chuck. If it weren’t for that d*mn woman losing the election, we would be in the catbird seat right now. Thankfully you guys took over from that idiot Schultz, so we can take the Party back from the millionaires and billionaires! (sits down, self-satisfied)

(OBAMA rolls his eyes.)

MAHER (snarkily): Catbird seat?! How old ARE you?! (goes back to his phone and stops paying attention)

SCHUMER (politely): Uh, Bernie, that wasn’t actually what I said. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. And I think it would be just terrific if you would stop obsessing about the primaries now. You know that 4 million more Democrats voted for Hillary. There was no rigging, except what the Russians did for Trump!

OBAMA: That’s right, Chuck. I knew those Russians were up to no good! But it shouldn’t have mattered. They should have come out for her the way they came out for me. (shaking his head) D*mn! I can’t believe my inspirational speeches didn’t work.

PEREZ (muttering): You mean those condescending lectures? Yeah, shocking.

ELLISON: (standing up and going to a whiteboard that turns around) Guys, guys! Come on now. We’re all on the same side, trying to do the same thing. Right? Let’s focus on beating the Republicans in 2018! Take a look at my strategy. I think we can all agree it’s a winner!

(ELLISON dramatically turns the whiteboard around. There is a picture of two people: one woman and one man. The man has unexpectedly sprouted a cartoon p*nis, and the woman has grown very large cartoon breasts.)

MAHER (grinning): Hey, Keith baby. I improved on it a bit.

PEREZ: Oh my God. (puts head in hands)

ELLISON (furiously erasing the offending bits): Bill, what are you even doing here? You’re not a politician. I don’t even know if you’re a Democrat!

MAHER: (standing up) Yeah? Well I figured you’ve got Bernie here, and he’s no Democrat. So what the f*ck, why shouldn’t I weigh in? After all, I know why you liberals always lose – it’s because you focus on the wrong things, like political correctness, instead of appealing to normal people like me.

SANDERS: YEAH!

OBAMA (finally a bit exercised): Oh – you mean we should cater to arrogant white guys who think they’re all that? I was President of the United States, you jackass. Have a little respect!

THE MEN GO SILENT, CHASTENED.

MAHER: Mr. President, I apologize. I got a bit carried away. It’s been a long day. (smarmily) Keith, why don’t we get back to your whiteboard. I promise I won’t touch it again.

ELLISON (not at all mollified, but willing to play along): All right. I cleaned up Bill’s mess, and here we are. These, gentlemen, are our new targeted Democratic voters.

First, we have Brenda. Brenda is an affluent white woman in the suburbs, who usually votes Republican. Our message? We feel your pain. You don’t want to think about the environment, or foreign policy, or how your vote affects people less fortunate than yourself. You just want lower taxes and an easy life for you and your family. And Brenda, you deserve it!

SANDERS (interrupting): Uh, Keith, I’m sure that’s not the message you want to send to Brenda. Don’t you want to talk to her about millionaires and billionaires taking over the country?

OBAMA: (interrupting): Nah, she’s a woman. Talk to her about taking care of her children!

SCHUMER (interrupting): What about abortion? Why can’t we talk to her about that? That’s the main issue for all women.

MAHER (interrupting): Women care about only one thing – a big schlong and a nice house. Why do you think I get so much action? (pointing) Hung like a horse, my friends.

(The meeting dissolves into chaos and yelling.)

PEREZ (commandingly): STOP! (The chaos calms.) Team, this is a mess. I forget, why are we targeting affluent white women again? And the man, isn’t he white too?

ELLISON (sheepishly): Uh, yes, Tom, yes he is. But remember, white people swung the election to that creep. We’ve got to get them to vote for us so we don’t lose again in 2018!

SANDERS: Yeah!

ELLISON (gaining confidence): I mean, look over here at the map of the United States. Come on, everyone, gather round the other whiteboard!

(Everyone gets up and dutifully looks at the whiteboard.)

SANDERS: Wow, is that Vermont? Huh. I thought it was bigger.

OBAMA (sarcastically): We know, Bernie.

ELLISON (clearing his throat): Ahem! Right. So look where the Democrats have all their support…in the East, West and some areas of the South. There’s very little in the middle of the country. That’s where we have to focus our efforts!

(The group murmurs in agreement, except PEREZ, who is scratching his head.)

PEREZ: So, uh…not to be a party pooper here, but…what about our base? African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc.? Shouldn’t we focus on turning them out rather than trying to convert people who never vote Democratic? And what about making sure people can vote in 2018? I heard that voter participation dropped 2-3 percentage points because of all those restrictive voting laws in those middle of the country states. If that hadn’t happened, plus all the Russian hacking and the Comey letter, Hillary would have won in a landslide!

SANDERS (getting red in the face): Oh please. She’s a loser! You should all listen to me. I would have won! It would have been YUGE!

ELLISON: I agree with Bernie. She only won by 3 million votes, and that’s mostly because of California. Who cares? It’s the middle of the country that counts.

SCHUMER: Wait a minute. What about New York? The greatest state in the nation!

(The room starts to get contentious again.)

OBAMA: Hey, hey, everyone. Look, it’s clear that we have some differences of opinion, but I’m confident we can work it all out. The notion that somehow Republicans could win in 2018 is patently absurd. Let’s all reconvene tomorrow, when we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, and look at everything with fresh eyes. Okay?

(The men mutter and shake hands reluctantly as OBAMA ushers them out. PEREZ lingers behind and takes out his phone.)

PEREZ (quietly, making sure no one is around): Hello, Hillary? It’s me, Tom. (pauses) It was rough today. We really need you back. These guys have no clue! Obama does nothing but talk about himself. Maher makes dirty jokes and snarks. Bernie just yells “millionaires and billionaires” and says you’re a loser, then falls asleep.

(A hearty laugh issues from the phone.)

PEREZ: (chuckling) Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. Meanwhile, Chuck is too afraid of making enemies to stand up to the others, even though he knows they’re on the wrong track. And Ellison backs whatever Bernie says. It’s a disaster!

(PEREZ pauses for a long moment as CLINTON talks.)

PEREZ: Really? You think it’s time you came out of the woods? Tell me more…

The lights dim and fade out as PEREZ listens to CLINTON.

THE END…?

Overheard at the Widdershin water cooler this week – we are fed up with: (A) Anthropological stories about down-on-their-luck rural Trump voters; (B) Blind hypocrisy by Republicans; and (C) Craven, cowardly, chicken-hearted Democrats.

No can of Pepsi delivered by a Kardashian will cure these ills, but if you can tolerate the next 600 words, what’s say we start a conversation about it?

Everyone and their dog have written about the poor rural Trump voter. You’d think they are forgotten indigenous tribes being described by Sir Stanley as he plundered the jungles of Appalachia looking for Livingstone. The money-shot quotes are as cheap and unrevealing as assisted living porn.

Capturing a chronically ill Trump voter is crazy good copy, but it does nothing to explain the highest truth of political science: Humans are complex creatures.

Stories about individual voting patterns are useless. They are not actionable. People may vote on God, guns, or gays. They may vote based upon what they divine from chicken entrails. Who knows? You can’t divorce someone from their experiential data. You can try to expand it by education, but you can’t bleach an imprinted brain.

For instance, we can accurately say 2 out of 3 of these woebegone Trump voters believe “discrimination has become just as large a problem for white people as it has for blacks and other minorities.” We can also accurately say such a belief is highly correlated to bigotry and racism, but that doesn’t mean everyone who voted for Trump is a racist.

Keeping two competing truisms in one brain at the same time is impossible for many people. It can result in exploding heads, but realizing such complexity is just the beginning of trying to understand voting patterns.

I live amongst Trump voters. My county went 80% for Trump. They aren’t all unemployed ignorant hillbilly coal miners. While some are, if you asked the vast majority, they believe the “liberal media” portrays them that way. There is no chance of starting a conversation around those two data points.

Likewise, I catch myself in perpetual agony over Republican hypocrisy until I remind myself, “Those who ride high horses are always above hypocrisy.”

For instance, there is no Republican guilt over 78 filibusters in the first five years of the Obama administration compared to only 68 in the entire previous history of the country.

The most recent act of hypocrisy doesn’t even seem to register. During the Obama years, almost 100 Republican members of Congress threatened impeachment if he dared attack Syria. Then Dolt 45 chucks $80 Million in cruise missiles closing an abandoned airfield for about twelve hours and it is time for ticker tape and Mt. Rushmore sculpting. Obama was excoriated for following the Constitution and Dolt 45 basks in his glistening orangey-ness.

Which leads us to the feckless Democrats who always seem to find a chicken-hearted way to react? The Gorsuch debacle is a prime example.

Utah acne cream model and Senator Mike Lee implied that Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are wild-eyed liberals. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth, but this, like so many other issues, demonstrates how unanswered hyperbole sets the narrative.

Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have been so far to the right you can’t even see the center from where they are perched. Proof of this: Justice Kennedy is the swing vote and he’s one of the most conservative justices in the history of the court.

Mitch McConnell has broken the Senate in an ultimate power play after denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing or a vote. Such an act will rank up there in all time political slime, but he did it because he could.

Democrats have made it easy for Republicans to beat them like rented mules. There is no punishment for a Manchin or Heitkamp other than the broken legs they get from jumping to the Republican side on issues. There is no punishment for a non-Democrat to waltz into a Democratic primary and harm the eventual nominee.

Because of this behavior voters see one party as definitive and the other as milquetoast. Republicans take incredibly asinine positions, but they stake out ground for their voters and never look back. Democrats bathe everything in lukewarm timidity. As my old boss once told me, “In politics if you try to get away with being half-assed, you aren’t even good at being an ass.” I wish more Democrats understood that.

This brings us full circle – when it comes to voters, you can’t replace catnip with broccoli and expect the same result. Democrats are coming to understand that, but the understanding is being driven by the grassroots. We need to keep it up. Call congressional offices. Write letters. It makes a difference.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

 

The-Handmaids-Tale-book

On Monday night the Politico reporter Gabriel Debenedetti tweeted: “We’ve got Biden, Clinton & Kasich already. Any other 2x presidential candidates planning to make a return to the political scene this month?” Then a few hours later: “The answer to this question, apparently, was Mitt Romney.” I responded: “It’s funny because only Clinton has been told repeatedly to shut up.”

In fact, after months of taunting “So where is Hillary?” and “Why isn’t Hillary doing something?” as soon as Clinton did emerge to deliver a couple of  speeches – the same people descended on her yelling “Shut up!” From Bill Maher to Donald Trump to Matthew Yglesias to Shaun King to every Bernie Bro on the planet, they declared that Hillary Clinton must shut up. Clinton Derangement Syndrome transcends party loyalty, race, age and even gender.

Hillary isn’t the only Clinton to inspire the chants of “Shut up!” Chelsea Clinton has also been told repeatedly, by many of the same people, to stop tweeting and expressing opinions and writing children’s books. Alyssa Rosenberg of Washington Post wrote an entire column telling Chelsea that it’s in her own best interests “to disappear.” Thank you so much Alyssa for your concern.

1807

Susan Bordo of University of Kentucky, is publishing a book titled: “The destruction of Hillary Clinton: sexism, Sanders and the millennial feminists.” The Guardian published an excerpt from the book. It is powerful and painful to read:

As I watched Sanders enchant the crowds, it was something of a deja vu experience to see a charismatic male politician on stage telling women which issues are and aren’t progressive. Cultural histories of the 60s rarely acknowledge what a sexist decade it was. We imagine that breaking through the suburban 50s fantasy meant that old-fashioned gender roles and attitudes had been discarded. Far from it.

In fact, in many ways the decade was more male-centric than the 50s; it just privileged a different sort of male. Those men loved having us as uninhibited sexual partners and helpers in their political protests, but they never let us forget who was in charge of creating the platforms or who belonged in the political spotlight.

[…]

[The media and pundits] described [Sanders] as “heart” and [Clinton] as “head” – a bitter irony for those of us familiar with the long history of philosophical, religious, and medical diatribes disqualifying women from leadership positions on the basis of our less-disciplined emotions. He was seen as authentic in his progressivism while she was pushed to the left by political expediency – as though a lifetime of fighting for equality and children’s rights meant nothing. He was the champion of the working class (conveniently ignoring that black and white women were members, and that their issues were also working class issues), but her longstanding commitments to universal health care, child care, paid sick leave, racial justice, the repeal of the Hyde amendment, and narrowing the wage gap between working men and women apparently evaporated because she’d accepted well-paid invitations to speak at Goldman Sachs.

It was a week in which Joseph Biden once again declared that Clinton was a weak candidate and that he would have won if he chose to run. Bernie Sanders continued his Democrat-and-Hillary-bashing tour (now in its 2nd year), declaring that Trump voters aren’t racist and misogynistic and not deplorable. And he would have won too. Biden, of course, is two time Presidential nominee who dropped out of races early in the primaries because nobody took him seriously. He has also always been a gaffe machine, saying unseemly things which somehow became endearing when he was VP, but calling Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” nearly sank his 2008 campaign before he even started it. Biden also wrote the much maligned Crime Bill that Hillary gets excoriated for. (No, she didn’t call black people “super predators.” She was specifically talking about drug dealers only.) And Bernie Sanders voted for the crime bill. But, of course, Hillary has always been seen as the problematic candidate.

Bill Maher’s comments to Clinton on April 31st were not the only astounding moments on that episode. Guest Neera Tanden, President of Center for American Progress who was an informal advisor to Clinton’s campaign, complained about Bill O’Reilly’s racist 27-neera-tanden-clinton.w710.h473.2xcomments about Maxine Waters and Sean Spicer telling April Ryan not to shake her head. Maher and Rich Santorum angrily told Tanden that she needs to get over it, there is nothing racist or sexist in those comments, and the Democratic party lost the election because Liberals are humorless and get offended at the most insane things. Santorum declared he never gets offended by anything, which Maher agreed with. There are many things wrong with these words. But let’s just discuss the preposterous idea that conservatives don’t get worked up over bullshit. Even if we just stick with the subject of hair, something serial rapist O’Reilly thinks is funny on black women, both Maher and Santorum conveniently forgot that just a few weeks ago Samantha Bee had to apologize to some asshole with Nazi hair at C-PAC because, it turns out, he has cancer. Of course cancer has never been known to cause Nazi hair, and when his diagnosis was brought to Bee’s attention, the show apologized, edited the young Nazi out of their piece and donated money to his cancer treatment. After all this Fox News still had the young Nazi on the air to tell everyone that none of these things Bee’s show had done for him were enough.

After Tanden’s painful appearance on Real Time, where Conservative and whatever Maher considers himself, white men lectured a woman of color that racism and sexism were just in her head, Tanden tweeted:

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.34.55 PM

As can be very clearly seen, Tanden was specifically addressing a poll that 86% of current anti-Trump activists are female.

Her tweet prompted the following response:

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.36.51 PM

Harry Shearer isn’t just a twitter troll. Shearer is the creator of “The Simpsons.” He also co-wrote and co-starred in “This Is Spinal Tap” and used to write for Saturday Night Live. This is a liberal, educated, Hollywood elite man. And his response is galling. When countless people jumped in to explain that a) Tanden said nothing about race and b) majority of women voted for Clinton, Shearer proceeded to argue for many tweets that women weren’t actually as upset as Tanden thinks. Countless peopled tried to make him understand the racism and misogyny of his response, but Shearer persisted with snark. Tanden later remarked: “In the course of 24 hours, I’ve had a few famous liberal men explain women’s legit feelings to me. Interesting times.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.08.44 AM

Update: on Wednesday night Carl Reiner tweeted the following 2 messages:

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I leave you with this heartbreaking portrait of Hillary Clinton by Ruby Cramer of Buzzfeed from January 2016. “In the early days of her husband’s administration, Hillary Clinton tried to start a national conversation about basic human decency, only to be mocked.”

But no, heartbreak and sadness we can fight. Let’s turn it into anger and action. The message Hillary and Hillary supporters should be sending out:  to anyone who tells her – or us – to shut up comes courtesy of, who else, the woman who has been pissing off multiple Popes and Marie Le Pen for decades. It can only be  Madonna. In this live performance in 2015 she’s joined by a drag queen who was featured on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

“You might say that I’m an unapologetic bitch.

But sometimes, you know, I gotta call it like it is.”

You know, you never really knew how much your selfish bullshit cost me.
Well fuck you!”

 

Good Monday, Widdershins. I hope you had a good International Women’s Day. I saw quite a few women wearing red at my client site last week in honor of “A Day without a Woman.” It was inspirational. I think there are several more actions planned from the organizers of the Women’s March, so stay tuned!

Now to the title of my post. This comes from some research I’ve been doing on the human brain, and the way it works to keep us alive and protect us from threats. This won’t be a super-science-y piece – more of a meditation on the state our country is in, and how it’s possible for sub-human cretins like Drumpf, Bannon and their minions to win even one vote, much less 60-odd million.

As I’m sure many of you know better than I, there are older, more primitive parts of our brains that only exist to make sure we quickly and instinctively respond to threats. From an evolutionary perspective, these parts of the brains are extremely important. They initiate the “fight or flight” response, which actually also includes a “freeze” as well, giving us microseconds to decide either to go to war, or to retreat.

After millions of years of evolution, we actually developed the capability to process these responses and evaluate them. Ah, the frontal lobe! Human beings develop this part of the brain in young adulthood. At least, some human beings do.

…It organizes responses to complex problems, plans steps to an objective, searches memory for relevant experience, adapts strategies to accommodate new data, guides behavior with verbal skills and houses working memory. Its orbitofrontal circuit manages emotional impulses in socially appropriate ways for productive behaviors including empathy, altruism, interpretation of facial expressions. Stroke in this area typically releases foul language and fatuous behavior patterns [bolding mine].

My argument today is that Drumpf and his supporters have either not developed their frontal lobes, or they have developed them, but are unable to use them. Their amygdalae are in charge, causing them to respond unthinkingly to perceived threats without the calming influence of the orbitofrontal circuit. This inability to counter the constant screaming of “Danger, Will Robinson!” makes them extremely susceptible to manipulation by other like-minded people, who deeply understand the constant state of anxiety in which these primitive brains exist.

In other words…they are stupid. And because they’re stupid, they’re evil.

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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

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The team we’re on

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

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That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed