The Widdershins

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I’m going to repeat something that every Widdershin already knows: There is no significant voter fraud in America.

The Brennan Center’s seminal report “The Truth About Voter Fraud” conclusively demonstrated most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless — and that of the few allegations remaining, most reveal election irregularities and other forms of election misconduct. And numerous other studies have reached the same conclusion. In a recent report, “Noncitizen Voting: The Missing Millions,” the Brennan Center debunked President Trump’s claim that millions improperly voted in the 2016 election.

Yet, the topic of voter fraud always seems to be at the tip of Republican tongues, whether they be mouth-breathing MAGAs or petulant white, male, wealthy underachievers outraged that uppity wimminz and minorities would dare to vote against them.

Here’s what Democrats should do every time a Republican shitbird starts talking about this long, long debunked fairy tale in which everyone loves him, he is married to June Cleaver, who vacuums in pearls and pumps, and no black people exist anywhere:

“It’s not voter fraud that’s the problem. It’s Republican election fraud.”

Then sit back and watch the exploding heads, because no. one. ever. calls. them. on. this.

Ever.

The way I see it, we have not had an honest federal election in this country since 2000, when Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes, but still did not become President, because, Florida. Remember Florida, where Dubya’s paid operatives stormed down there in their Brooks Brothers shirts and demonstrated against the recount? And a Republican Secretary of State and Republican Supreme Court colluded to ensure that Bush won even though his margin was 537 votes?

Once that snarling weasel and his psychopathic VP took office, all bets were off. Electronic voting machines with no paper trails that switched votes to Bush from Kerry; gerrymandering and massive voter suppression became their M.O. And let’s not forget the Republican-controlled Supreme Court, which gutted a critical portion of the Voting Rights Act, opening the door to election fraud that was previously illegal, but now could be considered to fall into a grey area.

Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), is a landmark[1] United States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Section 5, which requires certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices; and Section 4(b), which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to preclearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting.[2][3]

On June 25, 2013, the Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that Section 4(b) is unconstitutional because the coverage formula is based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states.[2][3] The Court did not strike down Section 5, but without Section 4(b), no jurisdiction will be subject to Section 5 preclearance unless Congress enacts a new coverage formula.[4]

Five years after the ruling, nearly a thousand polling places had been closed in the country, with many of the closed polling places in predominantly African-American counties. Research shows that the changing of voter locations and reduction in voting locations can reduce voter turnout.[5]

But even with all of the storied examples of Republican election fraud, all of which continued in 2018, our current pResident took it to a level never seen in American history when he conspired with a hostile foreign government to steal the Presidential election of 2016. Let’s face it, the Mango Moron did not win legitimately. Russia viciously attacked our election, influencing tens of millions of voters through fake news and bots on social media, hacking into Hillary’s and Podesta’s emails and leaking them for months, and invading voter databases, “not changing results.” Sure, if I were an evil tyrant roaming around voter databases for months uncaught, and I wanted one candidate to win, I absolutely would not change a thing!

So the Democrats should start talking about this, loudly and often. Perhaps some already are.

This is an open thread.

 

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We are less than a week away from the midterms. November 6, 2018 will be a red-letter day for America. History will be written with that day as the dividing line. What America was before 11/6/18 and what it will become after. It is impossible to really know what will happen. Predicting the outcome is an exercise in futility. We thought we knew what would happen on 11/8/16 and the electorate disappointed. Will the Blue Wave of the special elections become a tsunami of the midterms? Or will it subside and resemble only a small tide? Nobody can predict. Will people actually leave their homes and vote? Who knows. There are still an extraordinary amount of people who don’t plan to vote. New Yorker just had an article about some young people who don’t plan to vote because reasons. There are voters who still don’t feel inspired by anyone. And there are voters who just don’t think it’s a big deal. Will these people vote when it counts? Who knows… We can hope that someone, a friend, will make them see the light on the issue.

There is also the question of Trump voters: will they vote? Some argue that believing that everything on the news is Fake News makes them ignorant of the imminent blue wave. That may be true… but it’s also true that Trump and the entire GOP – now openly, proudly a party of Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes – are using every dirty trick in the book to steal the election: everything from purging voter rolls to shutting down voting stations so people can’t vote to sending out wrong voting information to leaving Democratic candidates off the ballot. We’ve seen all these things play out in real time and it terrifies me to say that I’ve seen very little reaction from Democrats. ACLU does what it can to file lawsuits, but the Democratic party leaders are mostly silent, letting the candidates – the vast majority of whom are new at this – find their own way. In North Dakota Republicans – after saying Native Americans must have IDs with an address they don’t have on reservations – are now rejecting ballots because the color of the ink is “wrong.” Election is being openly stolen in Georgia and the Democratic party – and the media – are looking at it as helpless spectators.

And we also don’t know what will happen on November 7th. Whether Democrats manage to win anything or if Republicans hold on to all of their power. What will Trump do? I think we can safely assume that if Democrats win the House – Trump will try to declare the election invalid. He is already floating ideas of rigging by Democrats. We know the GOP will back Trump 100%. What will Democrats do when that happens? I am not hopeful. If Republicans hold on to all of their power – things will go off the rails in a different way. GOP and Trump will declare a mandate and I really think that will be our last election. I am sorry to be this negative. I just want to make sure we are all prepared for November 7th. Because I think November 7th is going to be very bad, no matter how the vote goes.

Do you think I’m off my rocker?

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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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Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to be the 5th ultra-conservative judge on SCOTUS. That is 99.9999% guaranteed. Even though in newly leaked/released emails he dismissed the idea that Roe v. Wade was “settled law” – something Susan Collins said would determine her final vote. Well, today Susan Collins said she wasn’t worried about Kavanaugh’s private emails on the subject and she doesn’t see any contradiction in what Kavanaugh writes and what Collins claims she believes. Susan Collins is the latest fraud being pushed on the American public: that of a moderate Republican the media runs to every time there is a close vote. It was McCain until he fell ill. Every reporter rushed with baited breath to McCain to know how he would vote on a close-vote. Now they do it with Collins. Even though nothing in McCain’s voting history – and nothing in Collins’ – suggests that they are anything but right-wing ideologues. Susan Collins will fold and vote straight down the party line every time. Her “resistance” to the repeal of the ACA was performance art. She learned it from McCain. She then voted for the tax cut knowing it gutted the ACA. But her first vote was brilliant marketing, like McCain’s “maverick.” Now people keep hoping that Susan Collins votes Nay on Kavanaugh. Folks, Susan Collins approved Kavanaugh before Trump announced him. It’s one reason Trump announced and McConnell is rushing the nomination through. Because they know it’s in the bag.

The only solution going forward – assuming Democrats ever control Congress again – is trying to remove Kavanaugh from the court. A SCOTUS judge has ever been impeached and removed. But there’s a process that allows it. Let us hope Democrats try – if they ever have anything close to the numbers they need. Or at least let us hope they try to change the number of justices on the court and stack it with liberals. Republicans must be taught a lesson that their treachery – literally, treachery – will be punished. I fear that Democrats don’t have the guts for that though… Which only means Republicans will never stop playing dirty. I think that Michelle Obama’s “we go high” sentiment is sweet, but it’s outdated. It ignores history that taking the high road is for losers. We must burn the road down and kick Republicans into hell.

 

 

The Hump

Posted on: August 23, 2018

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Wednesdays are known as hump-days. Those dreadful days we suffer through between the terrible Mondays and much-anticipated Fridays. Something about the past few days has felt like a hump of the Dump presidency. We’ve been making our way to the top of the mountain – is it downhill from here? Of course, it is impossible to really tell. I certainly can’t predict anything; I have been wrong before. But with Manafort’s 8 guilty verdicts (or 10 mistrial verdicts, as Faux News and The Federalist like to point out) and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas – and, more importantly, saying that the candidate for office told him to commit crimes, thus making Trump an unindicted co-conspirator – something feels different today. It’s not the actions of McConnell and Ryan. They are both trying to say as little as possible. Ryan’s office released a statement that they’re aware of Cohen’s plea, but need to see more information (LOL). So that hasn’t changed. Though the NY Times articles on how people in Ohio diners feel about these developments is still a few days away, I think we can safely assume they don’t care about any of it and Trump’s base remains very much intact. Orrin Hatch just told Jake Tapper that “I think [Trump] has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then.” So Republicans in Congress won’t change their tune.

But something changed in how Democrats in Congress speak about Dump. Many have come out very strongly, directly and explicitly accusing Trump and his administration of being a “criminal enterprise.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted very direct attacks on Republicans in general and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of language from her or most other Democrats. “The gross #CultureOfCorruption runs deep among Republicans in Washington,” – Pelosi tweeted. And then: “Michael Cohen. Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort. Chris Collins. Duncan Hunter. Vern Buchanan. Scott Pruitt and the Trump Administration. The Republican Party looks like a criminal enterprise.” This kind of directness has always been Republicans’ ammo and Democrats have largely tried being polite. We know how that’s worked out for us. It seems that Pelosi – and others – have finally smelled blood in the water and, thankfully, are not letting good blood go to waste.

Several people have now explicitly called Trump an illegitimate President. Democratic Senators have also now come out and said they will not even consider Kavenaugh for SCOTUS because Trump is an unindicted criminal and should not be allowed to appoint a SCOTUS judge. This is also different. Kamala Harris: “President Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator to a federal crime to influence an election for the office he now holds. He should not be allowed to name a Supreme Court Justice without resolving this accusation first.”

So something is different. Do you feel it? Or am I being too optimistic?

This is an open thread.

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It’s a mess. All of it. The whole damned thing is a disaster. Dump nukes NATO, issues an executive order to fire some judges, nominates a hyper-partisan former Bill Clinton hunter and Bush White House torturer to be the new SCOTUS (which justice Kennedy might have used some unethical backchannel shenanigans to make happen), Roe is on the chopping block, etc. etc. I don’t need to make a full list, you already know. So where the bloody hell is the Democratic leadership? Chuck? Nancy? Bueller? I think we have all been asking this question for a long time. Why are the national Democratic leaders not leading protests and rallies to oppose Trump? Why is Maxine Waters the only member of Congress to seemingly be an avowed member of The Resistance? They may not have the votes to stop him and McConnell/Ryan – but why are they not making any noise to make it seem like they give a damn? It’s demoralizing, yes? I’ve been raging at them for some time, I know you have too. A few days ago The Hoarse Whisperer wrote an interesting thread on twitter that attempted to answer that question. And I think he made a very compelling argument for why Nancy and Chuck are not on TV every day screaming at Trump and McConnell and generally wreaking havoc, and why it may actually be the correct strategy.

The Hoarse Whisperer argued that by placing themselves in front of the camera as “leaders of the Resistance” Chuck and Nancy and Kamala, etc., will make every single election around the country about the Democratic leadership, not about the specific Democratic candidate, and that would be a disaster for Democrats. Imagine San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi every day on TV calling Trump a dumbass. One reason Democrats have managed to flip almost every special election, even in deep red states, is that although Republicans keep trying to tie Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Kamala Harris to each candidate, the “establishment” leaders of the party – by staying largely out of the way – allow each candidate to disown them and run on local issues…and then win. (Pelosi actually said recently that she doesn’t care if Democrats like Connor Lamb bashed her as long as they win their elections.) The public thinks their absence a sign of weakness or lack of determination to fight Trump. (It may actually be with Schumer, who is a wuss, but definitely not with Pelosi, who is a legislative warrior.) The public wants to see Pelosi storm the barricades because it will feel like she’s doing something even though legislatively there is nothing she can do at the moment. But in reality all Nancy Pelosi storming barricades would do is make each special election, in every red state, about Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal. So it’s not a sign of weakness; it is a strategy for Democratic party leaders to stay out of the way and let others be the faces of the Resistance. And the special elections results so far are evidence that the strategy is working.

What do you think about this? I actually was convinced by this argument.

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Another question: this photo of Melanie Trump is from Brussels. Does it look like she had kidney surgery?

And a bit of literature trivia: The Booker Prize is a prestigious British literary award, given each year to an English-language work of fiction published in the UK. To commemorate their 50th anniversary the Bookers decided to create a special award this year, to recognize the best novel out of its past 50 winners. It’s an impressive list made up of Salman Rushdie, William Golding, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood

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Michael Ondaatje

and many other writing geniuses. The judges narrowed the list down to 1 title from each decade and then they let the big words loving public vote on the ultimate winner. And the prize was given to….Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient.” I’m sorry to our friend Pat, a former member of our blog, who detested Anthony Minghella’s movie adaptation with every fiber of her body. It’s a shame because I consider it to be one of the top 10 best (English language) movies ever made. And Ondaatje’s novel – quite different from the movie in some key story points, but breathing the same fire in spirit – is truly a masterpiece of words. When I read it I would go back and re-read entire pages because of the beauty of Ondaatje’s language. It is poetry in prose. And the characters he created are magnificent and rich with life. From the title character, the “English” patient – a man who betrayed everything he believed in for a woman he loved; to the young nurse, Hana, who tries to give him comfort in his final days because he reminds her of her loved dead ones and she is desperate to hold on to her memories for as long as she can; to the young Indian sapper Kip, whose life is consumed with finding bombs to diffuse and if he misses one – he knows people will die. “He spends all day searching,” Hana says at one point, “and at night he only wants to be found.” One of the most beautiful passages in the book – read in its entirety in the movie – is from a journal the Patient’s beloved, Katharine, left behind in a cave where she died alone.

My darling, I’m waiting for you — how long is a day in the dark, or a week? The fire is gone now, and I’m horribly cold. I really ought to drag myself outside but then there would be the sun. . . I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings and on writing these words. We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in, like this wretched cave. I want all this marked in my body. We are the real countries, not the boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you will come and carry me out into the palace of winds. That’s all I’ve wanted — to walk in such a place with you, with friends, on earth without maps. The lamp is gone now, and I’m writing in the darkness.

So, the Mango Moron has nominated himself a Justice. Based on his writings, Justice Brett Kavanaugh is as conservative and Trumpy as any criminal traitor “President” on the verge of indictment could want. He has already gone on record against undocumented immigrants, against LEGAL abortion, against the Affordable Care Act and against the Consumer Financial Protection Board….and of course, has said he felt it would be disastrous for a President to be indicted.

What now? As DYB pointed out so eloquently, the Democrats have no procedural remedy to stop the confirmation of this asshole. Chuck Schumer cannot pull a Mitch McConnell and fakely claim that he is concerned about adding a justice at such close proximity to the election, even if he wanted to. (My point, that Drumpf is an illegitimate President, and shouldn’t get to nominate anyone because he did not legitimately win, is clearly not being embraced by anyone in power. SAD!)

As I write, protests are going on in front of the Supreme Court. People are truly fired up about this, and that’s great. I think calls and letters and showing up in front of Senators’ offices will be forthcoming, and will have an effect. But what will be the most effective, in my opinion, is this: Lobby the Ladies.

We cannot allow Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to hide behind a pretension that they “don’t know” whether or not Judge Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade. The Federalist Society List ONLY contains people who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin stated so eloquently,

It should not be more complicated than this: Voting for a nominee on the Trump list (either the original 20, or the wider 25) opens the door to the criminalization of abortion. Collins might break her pledge and vote to confirm one of these judges approved by Federalist Society. That is up to her. But she should fool no one that voting for one of these judges would not amount to reversing Roe. Oh, and the Federalist Society judge-pickers must be called to testify under oath, and all notes, documents and other materials relating to their selection process must be subpoenaed for review. I bet that’d be fascinating.

This, to me, is the key point. Every man and woman in the Senate who claims to be pro-choice should be told this over and over again: We ARE NOT FOOLED. We know that Kavanaugh was picked partially for his anti-choice beliefs and record. There should not be any pretension otherwise, and Susan and Lisa should be confronted with this reality by us, Democratic Senators and activists everywhere.

If ANYONE votes for this guy, they should know exactly what they’re getting: an ultra-conservative, corrupt justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As a special bonus, he will protect Drumpf if/when he is subpoenaed by Mueller. If this country were less screwed up, not a single Senator would even consider it. But these are desperate times. We must rise to them accordingly.

This is an open thread.


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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
2.1 years 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

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