The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Democratic Values’ Category

Shinners, I still believe Sinema and Manchin will do the right thing about the filibuster in the end, hopefully by Labor Day. After all, their re-elections depend on Democrats in their states being able to vote. But man, it is totally infuriating to see them dig in and act so idiotic about their Republican colleagues, who only got all those judges (including the Supreme Court justices) passed through because they amended the filibuster. Worshiping at the altar of bi-partisanship while the opposition Party has become fascist and traitorous, is nothing short of brain-dead. And I do credit Manchin and Sinema with, at least, the instinct to politically survive.

The frustration with these Senators is not only coming from progressives, liberals and Joe Biden. It’s coming from former GOP as well.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods urged Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) to agree to kill the filibuster or resign from office on Friday.

Sinema and Manchin have both faced heavy criticism for the opposition to eliminate or change the rule, which effectively requires most bills to have the support of 60 senators in a chamber that is currently split 50-50. Republicans used the rule for the first time in the Senate‘s current session last week to block the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the violent January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Woods, who served as Arizona’s Republican attorney general from 1991 to 1999, was a prominent backer of Sinema’s 2018 Senate campaign after switching parties during the same year. He now says that both Sinema and Manchin no longer belong in office if they remain unwilling to kill the filibuster in order to pass Democratic voting rights legislation.

“I do think that Sen. Sinema and every senator should support ending the filibuster for the voting rights bill,” Woods told HuffPost on Friday. “To keep the Jim Crow filibuster while losing some of these basic voting rights that are central to our democracy is preposterous.”

I know that Sinema and Manchin aren’t dumb, and I continue to hope this adherence to a racist and dangerous Senate rule is a clown show meant to impress their conservative voters in Arizona and West Virginia. But as Forrest Gump would say, Stupid is as Stupid Does. Right now, the stoopid – it burnssssss.

Feel free to post any songs that remind you of stupidity. Open thread, as always!

Shinners, I am a curious person. I like finding out all the five W’s and H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) to learn more about a subject of interest. Like birds – I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about them.

But damn, when your educational system prevents you from even knowing what you don’t know…neither curiosity nor all the will in the world will help.

I was never taught about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school. I guess whomever wrote the textbooks knew how much negative perception would go along with that knowledge – the deep-seated racism in this country, the pure evil of that mass murder, and the reality that would tarnish America’s well-crafted egalitarian image. It was only in the past year (I think it was on Rachel Maddow’s show?) that the veil of my ignorance was lifted. And for the first time, an American President has addressed it, on the shameful and tragic anniversary of its occurrence. Biden made a historic speech, in which his trademark empathy was on full display. But as we’ve started to see with Biden and Harris, words are just the beginning. And now, Biden is looking to begin to address some of the racial disparities that have been kept in public policy and hidden away from public view.

The Tulsa massacre has only recently entered the national discourse — and the presidential visit put an even brighter spotlight on the event.

Biden, who was joined by Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge and senior advisers Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond, also announced new measures he said could help narrow the wealth gap between races and reinvest in underserved communities by expanding access to homeownership and small-business ownership.

The White House said the administration will take steps to address disparities that result in Black-owned homes being appraised at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes owned by white residents as well as issue new federal rules to fight housing discrimination. The administration is also setting a goal of increasing the share of federal contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2026, funneling an estimated additional $100 billion to such businesses over the five-year period, according to the White House.

It is shocking to think that Black prosperity in Tulsa could have been extinguished so quickly. 30 blocks of “Black Wall Street” were destroyed, up to 300 Black Tulsans were killed, and the Greenwood area has never recovered, 100 years later. White people just couldn’t handle the fact that Black people clearly aren’t inferior – when they have equal opportunity, they are able to prosper – and so they made up some excuse about a black man stepping on a white woman’s foot to justify their murderous hatred. But really, they just wanted to stop Black Americans from prospering, and scare them into leaving all the money for white people.

The attempted coup on January 6th was the same type of rage. White men (mostly) are in a panic that when those uppity wimminz (especially Black women) gain power, their power diminishes; thus they decided to scream and attack and kill. Just as on that day in 1921 in Tulsa, no one got arrested on the scene, and it took national attention and a new Justice Department leader to really get the investigations moving. Republicans have begun to gaslight and try to wipe the horrific event from everyone’s minds.

I sure hope they don’t succeed.

Interesting how we haven’t heard much about Governor Andrew Cuomo lately, isn’t it? Let’s check in on that scandal.

‘Strange and inappropriate’: Flood victim says Cuomo came onto her in her home

Sherry Vill said that after she was introduced to the New York governor in her home in 2017, he leaned over and kissed her cheeks in a “highly sexual manner” and told her, “That’s what Italians do.”

Uhhhhh….that IS WHAT ITALIANS DO! And French people, and Spanish people, and sometimes British people as well. There are other episodes of alleged over-enthusiastic kissing that Cuomo has admitted to and apologized for, and one woman says he groped her (although her story changes frequently). Overall it’s “meh” so far.

So that’s the Democratic side.

How are our Republican friends doing? Let’s check in with those paragons of virtue, all het up about how Cuomo needs to resign.

So there’s Matt Gaetz, who recently leaked that he might not run for re-election and was considering a job at Newsmax. This was news for a hot second, until it was revealed that he’s actually defending himself against charges that he’s committed statutory rape. And while being a sexual criminal seems to be one of the qualifications his future employer looks for, it tends to be at least mildly frowned-upon by Congress.

Sounding shaken, Gaetz told Axios that for weeks, he and his father been working with the FBI in the Northern District of Florida on the extortion case. Gaetz said his lawyers were informed by the Justice Department that, “I was not a target but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women.” 

Asked what the charges could relate to, Gaetz said: “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”

Oh, but it is, Matt. It’s called sex trafficking. And you’re in big trouble, because you’re linked to an even sleazier, more criminal Republican named Joel Greenberg.

The probe of Gaetz reportedly stemmed from the investigation of Greenberg, who faces a slew of charges including sex trafficking of a child. He is currently slated to stand trial in June.

The Times report noted that many details of the Gaetz probe remain unclear, including how the congressman allegedly met the girl. The encounters allegedly occurred about two years ago and the investigation began in the final months of the Trump administration under then-Attorney General William P. Barr, the report said.

What is even more horrifying is that Gaetz, Greenberg and Roger Stone were all photographed kibbitzing together in Florida. The common denominator between all these criminals is – you guessed it – The Former Guy. And The Former Guy was involved with Epstein, who was a known pedophile and sex trafficker.

Do we see a pattern here?

Here is a long list of Republican sexual criminals. The link goes to “Part 16” of 23. Of the 25 repugnant sociopaths listed in Part 16, about 50% were involved in pedophilia and/or sex trafficking. This seems like something someone should cover, don’tcha think? Maybe something someone should trace back to that inexplicable rise of Drumpf through the Republican Party and how people who were so very Never T suddenly became his bestest pals? (cough cough Lindsey Graham cough cough)

But you know, Cuomo kissed someone on the cheek.

Open thread as always.

So many shootings in our country, Widdershins. So very, very many. And up until now, thanks to the moral bankruptcy and death worship of the Rethuglican Party, we have done nothing about it.

“In addition to a moment of silence, I would like to ask for a moment of action,” said Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and the chairman of the committee. “A moment of real caring. A moment when we don’t allow others to do what we need to do. Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders. What are we doing?”

Even before the recent shootings, Democrats had already begun advancing stricter gun control measures that face long odds in the 50-50 Senate. House Democrats passed two bills this month aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks for gun buyers, by applying them to all gun buyers and extending the time the F.B.I. has to vet those flagged by the national instant check system.

Let me just stress that universal background checks have the support of 84% of the American public. and an assault weapons ban had 67% support in 2019. So this is quite a lot of bipartisan support from our citizens. Yet because of Republican death cultists in Colorado, the assault weapons ban Boulder tried to impose was blocked ten days before the mass shooting.

The city of Boulder, Colo., barred assault weapons in 2018 as a way to prevent mass shootings like the one that killed 17 at a high school in Parkland., Fla., earlier that year.

But 10 days after that ban was blocked in court this month, the city was rocked by its own tragedy: Ten people were killed at a supermarket Monday after a gunman opened fire, law enforcement officials said.

In announcing the arrest Tuesday of the suspected 21-year-old gunman — who has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree — investigators determined that the suspect had purchased a Ruger AR-556 pistol on March 16, according to the arrest affidavit.

Between the Republican death cultists who refuse to mandate masks and created a Covid-19 crisis of monstrous proportions, and the Republican death cultists who would rather see us slaughtered as we go to school, to houses of worship and to shop for food than to control access to weapons of mass destruction, we Americans have been in Republican crosshairs for decades. And all they do when innocents are murdered in cold blood by domestic terrorists is mouth the once-magic words, “thoughts and prayers.”

It’s a wonder any of us have survived. But we have, and we managed to take control of the government for a brief shining moment. I know we can do better.

We must do better.

Open thread as always.

Before I begin, Widdershins, I want to thank you for your patience. I know we have not been doing our usual posts recently. I hope more people will step up, as Fredster suggested, since there are now just two of us doing the writing (and thank heaven for DYB)! If you want to be added to the roster, feel free to DM me on Twitter or write me at madamab at gmail dot com.

After less than two months of the Biden-Harris presidency (and yes I said that deliberately), there’s an unfamiliar feeling that has started to settle over me.

It’s called peace. And it’s wonderful.

No more being surrounded by insanity, gaslighting and fascism all day, every day, from everywhere. That was taken care of by social media companies after 1/6, when they removed Der Drumpfenfuhrer from every social media platform. The difference was immediately, starkly noticeable.

Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Donald Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.

The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter.

Yes, the noise died down quite a lot when #TheFormerGuy was silenced. But that alone doesn’t give me peace. No, what gives me peace is that day after day, night after night, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democrats in Congress and the Cabinet, and so many amazing volunteers, organizers and candidates throughout every state in the Union are working hard to make things better. We don’t just want things not to get worse – we want them to IMPROVE significantly. Turns out, if you elect Democrats, even with a razor-thin majority, that’s exactly the mission they will take on.

Hey Chuck! Nice job on that ARP. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Yes, it turns out that what this nation needed was a rare combination of empathy, experience, inclusivity and – not to put too fine a point on it – money. I think the American people, especially those who insisted that the answer to lifting people out of poverty was TOTALLY NOT CASH, are going to see how incredibly effective it is when the government gives suffering people a helping hand – especially when the government was a huge part of their suffering.

I used to wonder why people who leaned to the right were so against the government spending money to help the poor and middle class. Now I know; it’s not a devotion to some version of deficit hawkism – it’s Raygun’s welfare queen trope write large. Heaven forbid – money could actually go to Black people if we’re not careful! My stars, I can see Senator Graham clutching his pearls right now!

Well, Lady Lindsey might be using his couch to faint because the gummint is actually HELPING people instead of stealing their money and giving it to gross, fat, old, rich, white Republicans – but me? I’m lying on my couch in happy bliss. Because the people running the United States now are true public servants who are working hard, every day, to Build us Back Better. And isn’t that a wonderful feeling?

Open thread as always.


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“The” Book

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