The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Donald Trump’ Category

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I have been a sick Widdershin, my fellow Widdershins. Summer colds are the worst, and you can’t turn the AC off because it’s too hot and humid. So the cycle of cold, dry air at home and office vs. smack-you-in-the-face heat and humidity outside. There’s only so much a body can take.

Plus, a couple of days ago MadamaB asked how long it has been. I can inform you that we just passed the 84th anniversary of Donald Dump becoming president. Ok, it’s only been 6 months, but I think we’ve all aged 84 years, give or take. So my post will be a bit more rambly than usual. Blame it on the fever and, of course, Dump.

One story that caught my eye this week is the shooting of an Australian woman named Justine Diamond by a police officer in Minneapolis. Diamond called 911 to report a possible assault and was somehow shot and killed herself. She was shot through the door of the police car as she was leaning over to speak to the officers. Both cops were wearing body cameras, but they did not turn them on. Another fatal cop shooting in a long string of fatal cop shootings. One would expect the usual reaction: Right-wing forming a protective wall around the cop. Cops can do no wrong. Except this case was different. The victim was a blonde caucasian. The cop: a black Muslim. Imagine the reactions from the alt-right…

In an interview with Ari Melber on MSNBC, Bernie Sanders was asked a question he was clearly not expecting to be asked.

“Did you know then that this might have been part of [the Kremlin’s] design?” MSNBC reporter Ari Melber asked Sanders Wednesday. “To leak these emails precisely so that there would be more riffs in the Democratic Party?”

“Well of course we knew that,” Sanders replied. “Of course we knew that they were trying to cause divisiveness within the Democratic Party,” the senator continued. “That’s no great secret.”

This should, of course, be a bigger story. Sanders admitting that he knew he was acting as a Kremlin-puppet is a big deal. But in our current endless news cycle of endless breaking stories it got somewhat lost. By now if you ask a Bernie Bros about it, they’ll tell you they never even heard of such a thing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is going forward with its investigation of Russian interference into our election. How it’s going is hard to tell. Chuck Grassley is the chairman and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw a Russian. But they have scheduled an open hearing (with Bob Mueller’s permission) to question Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort. (Also to be questioned is Bill Browder, the man who hired tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to look into missing money…the rest is the Magnitsky Act seemingly at the center of Putin’s anger at the West.) The most interesting part of the letter the Judiciary Committee sent to Junior and Manafort, asking them to preserve all communications with people like Carter Page and Sergei Lavrov and that ambassador nobody remembers and Alfa Bank… is the inclusion of Dr. Jill Stein.

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Stein is right there between Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. Let the fireworks begin. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Wed, July 26th.

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 »

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We are going to be stuck with Donald Dump for the foreseeable future. Republicans will not impeach him. Nothing he can do will force them to abandon him. Even as the country tries to absorb Dump Jr’s e-mails confirming he met with a Russian lawyer with government connections to get dirt on Hillary Clinton – GOP collectively yawns. Mitch McConnell says he has no comment. Paul Ryan is MIA. John McCain is concerned and Lady Graham is disturbed. That’s as bad as the recriminations got. (Bernie Sanders, by the way, says we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The strongest response came from Moe Scarborough who announced he’s leaving GOP to become an independent. Which is nice, but who cares?) The right-wing media has closed ranks around Dump and his abominations. Collusion with the Russians isn’t so bad, Breitbart and Fox have declared. Besides, shouldn’t Hillary Clinton be prosecuted, Sean Hannity asks?

The best response so far came from a surprising source: Trey Gowdy-Doody.

Someone needs to get everyone in a room and say, from the time you saw ‘Dr. Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single contact with Russia,” Gowdy said, referring to the 1965 movie.

But Gowdy-Doody says he will investigate nothing via his House committee; he’s leaving it all to Bob Mueller.

Vice President Pence’s courageous response via his spokesperson was:

The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda, which is what the American people sent us here to do. […] The Vice President was not aware of the meeting. He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.

“Before he joined the ticket.” That’s Pence trying to have it both ways. Standing by Trump’s agenda and “Hey, don’t look at me, I just work here!” in case the story has legs. But considering each new story feels like the one that breaks the camel’s back and then it doesn’t… we shouldn’t expect this new story to be any different. Dump is here to stay. If he is to go, it can only be accomplished if Democrats take both House and Senate in 2018 (unlikely), and then the 2020 elections. Until then… we must fasten our seat-belts and get comfortable. The ride will continue to be bumpy.

Which brings me back to Mike Pence’s statement. “The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda.” What is this agenda? What is the future that Republicans want? It’s all bad. All bad. Mitch McConnell has postponed Senate’s August recess by two weeks, hoping to cobble a coalition that passes their healthcare abomination. Hopefully The Resistance continues the push-back and enough Rethugs are afraid enough of their constituents to vote Nay.

There is another story that came out last week from El Salvador that should chill all our spines because this is essentially the future Republicans want in the US too.

This week a court in El Salvador sentenced 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz following her conviction for aggravated homicide.

Hernandez says she became pregnant after being raped in the small community where she lived, according to her trial statements. She says she did not report the attack out of fear and did not realize she was pregnant.

In April 2016, Hernandez said, she felt strong abdominal pains and lost consciousness in the bathroom. She was taken to a hospital and treated for vaginal bleeding from an out-of-hospital delivery, but there was no newborn.

Authorities opened an investigation and later found the fetus. She was initially charged with having caused in abortion, which is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. The charge was later changed to aggravated homicide.

Hernandez said she did not know she had miscarried. She has been in prison since the incident.

GOP’s assault on women’s right to control their own bodies is decades old. They started fighting abortion rights the minute SCOTUS ruled on Roe v. Wade. They have never la-fg-c1-el-salvador-women-20150415wavered, they turned the issue into perhaps the single biggest cultural wedge issue in the country. And over decades they have chipped away at abortion rights bit by bit by bit. They have been great at branding (GOP always is), controlling the debate, redefining terms (“partial birth abortion,” for example) and seeing abortion rights erode. With Trump and Pence in the White House, and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, abortion rights are as much at risk as anything else right now. We should look at El Salvador, where abortions under all circumstances – no exceptions – is illegal, as the future we might have in the US. In El Salvador judges rule abortions and miscarriages as homicide and sentence women to decades in prison. World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe/illegal abortions. This is an issue we must remain vigilant about because we know Pence has it in his sight.

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You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

So wrote Chuck Palahniuk in his 1996 novel “Fight Club,” later adapted into a popular film by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham-Carter. Palahniuk proudly claimed that he coined the phrase “snowflake” to describe libtards, but – alas – Palahniuk is not a beautiful and unique snowflake, and his claims that he invented the insult are alternative facts. It’s a little hard to figure out Palahniuk’s politics. He has a  bit of a Milo Snuffleupagus vibe going. He likes to yell, shock and act like a jerk.  Palahniuk, who is gay, also approved the use of “snowflake” to describe liberals. And yet, the characters of “Fight Club” who resemble what one day would become the alt-right (angry, violent white men who wreak havoc upon the world and commit acts of terrorism) aren’t heroes. And it’s main character is literally a schizophrenic with multiple personalities.

In any case, whatever Palahniuk’s personal feelings on liberals and snowflakes, the term is very old. It has been traced as far back as 1860s to describe white people who opposed abolition of slavery. The alt-right’s embrace of it – and liberals’ attempts to claim it as ironic – has been an interesting fight over words. Who thought that the age of Trump would usher in a war over language.

And who would have thought that Shakespeare would be reestablished as politically relevant 400 years after his death. “Julius Caesar,” written in 1599, humanizes a despot, showing that assassinations of leaders – even the bad ones – is a terrible idea. Portraying Caesar as a contemporary is hardly a new tradition. They did it in 1930s’s Germany, and more recently on our own shores Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been portrayed as Caesar. But it’s the Trump version in NYC’s Central Park that has incensed Trumpkins. Multiple performances have now been interrupted by the alt-right and I suspect this will continue for the duration of the production’s run.

How triggered Trumpkins are by a 400 year old play. They accuse the liberal elitists who read Shakespeare of inciting violence by showing Caesar being assassinated. And then they accuse the same liberal elitists of being snowflakes. It’s a little difficult to square the two off. I don’t know what to wear to be a snowflake terrorist!

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Leon Trotsky

(This quote is frequently attributed to Bertolt Brecht, but actually appears to be by Trotsky!)

Art has been making people angry for as long as people have been creating art. The Pussy Riotpower of art to heighten emotions – every emotion imaginable – is unparalleled. And its ability to inspire social change is undisputed. Pierre Beaumarchais‘ Figaro trilogy was banned in France and Austria in the decade before the French Revolution. Dmitri Shostakovich‘s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District” nearly got him executed, and he was on the brink of arrest by Stalin almost his entire life. The Nazis murdered more artists than one can count and created entire categories of degenerate art, which included everything from the film “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to the music of Kurt Weill. We have seen the Fearless Girl on Wall Street – bravely facing off the charging bull – attacked and disfigured. What are they afraid of? (One line of attack on the Fearless Girl, created by Kristen Virbal, is that it was commissioned by an investment management firm, which makes it not art. These people are ironically unaware of quite literally the entire history of art…) In our own times perhaps no act of political art has been more feared than the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot. Arrested, imprisoned, beaten by Putin and his followers: yet they persist. Perhaps in America political artists are fortunate to not be targets of government-led violence. It is imperative that we never allow it to happen.

Warning: this video by Pussy Riot is graphic.

Good Monday, all! For those who are dads, I hope you had a really nice day yesterday.

Throughout his entire life, Donald Trump has had the ability to get whatever he wants by ordering people around. He was born rich, managed to stay rich through corruption and the kind of reptilian charisma that plays well on teevee, and ran his own company with a small, mostly familial and familial-adjacent staff. He has never, ever had to work for anyone else.

And now he does. And we, the people, his employers, are not happy with his job performance.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has Drumpf’s approval rating at 38.7%. In his first few, horrifying months as Resident, Der Drumpfenfuhrer has spawned a surprisingly durable and peaceful resistance movement. The Women’s March was so overwhelmingly huge and widespread throughout America, that people realized they do have power in this country. And they’ve started voting in a way that doesn’t bode well for Republicans.

Since Jan. 20, Democrats have won 12 special legislative elections, and Republicans have won 11.3 But because so many special elections take place in safe districts, win-loss records can only tell you so much. Instead, you’re better off comparing their final results to the district’s baseline partisanship, which FiveThirtyEight measures using a weighted average of the last two presidential election results4 as calculated by Daily Kos.5 And in the 15 special legislative elections to pit at least one Democrat against at least one Republican,6 12 have seen a net swing toward the Democrats.

I’m writing this before Georgia’s special election, and I don’t know if Jon Ossoff will win or not. I will say this, though, for him to even come close would be a great result in that district. And the fact that the Republicans are spending soooooooo much money to keep the seat means that even seats they used to think were safe, aren’t any more.

But it’s not just voting that’s showing that the governed aren’t consenting. It’s the state governors and federal judges, resisting against the Muslim ban (no, it’s not a travel ban, folks, it’s a religious ban targeted at travelers) and the cruel “sanctuary city” defunding, and the monumental stupidity of trying to “re-negotiate” the Paris Accords and not acknowledging climate change. It’s Joe and Jane America, coming to town halls they never cared about before this year, and speaking out against the Republican agenda, which has never been more unpopular. And according to Rebecca Solnit of The Guardian, the power lies with us. I urge you to read the whole thing; here is an inspiring excerpt.

…This activism needs to be sustained, and it needs to be strategic. It needs to address voting rights, and midterm elections, and it needs to remember all the powers and possibilities that lie in activism beyond electoral politics as well. So far so good.

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard told me that they don’t have to try to recruit or inform people anymore, that they can’t “answer the phones fast enough”; that people are showing up ready to try to change the world. She said everything groups like hers have been doing for decades “was all practice for this moment”.

People like to predict the future, often a dismal future, but the future is not written. It is ours to write. In this moment of utter turmoil, civil society must be the counter to a rogue administration, one whose victory is a surprise equaled by its myriad defeats ever since.

A crisis, says one dictionary, is “the point in the progress of a disease when a change takes place which is decisive of recovery or death; also, any marked or sudden change of symptoms, etc.” This crisis could be the death or the recovery of a more democratic, more inclusive, more generous America. Where we go from here is up to us.

I choose Option B.

This is an open thread.

 

 

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I think we can all safely assume that the depths to which the Republican party will sink to prop up Trump is a bottomless pit. There are still, believe it or not, those who think that the next big thing that happens will be the moment the GOP will turn on Trump. But we have all collectively been expecting the next big thing for almost two years. It did not come before the GOP primaries, it did not come during the GOP primaries, Trump did not pivot after securing the election, Trump did not pivot as the 2016 race heated up, Trump did not change after he “won,” he did not change after beings worn in, the GOP did not turn on him after his 100 days and they will not turn on him after he nukes California. If I am wrong about this, Tucker Carlson will eat my shoes. I say that because I am not a betting man and I have no desire to eat my shoes, but Carlson should have shoes shoved down his throat every day he breathes.

GOP did not turn on Trump after he fired Comey. Instead, they have gone after Comey. In 170517175257-03-robert-mueller-file-large-169recent days Trump has indicated via carefully leaked stories (which he then denies…) that he is considering firing Robert Muller. If anyone thought this would turn the GOP against him – LOL. Newt Gingrich has already began an assault on Muller. The most recent news (sorry, it’s by Haberman and Thrush, the Times Twins) is that Trump thought leaking the story that he’s considering firing Muller would make Muller more likely to exonerate Trump because, in Trump’s twisted head, Muller is desperate to keep his job.

The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also declined to offer his support for Mr. Mueller during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This is, of course, patently bananas. I doubt Muller cares about this job beyond conducting an investigation. Perhaps Trump thinks Muller is another one of his dim-witted White House monkeys like Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, people who are – for reasons that defy comprehension – so desperate to hold on to their jobs that they debase themselves each and every day.

On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.

“…the blessing that you’ve given us…” This was the former head of the RNC groveling before Trump and the entire cabinet and 1494875127256many cameras, dragging his pathetic broken body across a bed of nails and fire to lick the athlete’s foot fungus off Trump’s feet. Sean Spicer, his eyes hollow, hideous black bags under them, skin bloodless like a vampire, screams at the press The President has made it very clear that… each and every day. (Except the days he is replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders (I never fail to marvel at the glory of her name; God really does have a sense of humor), who is as haughty with the press as Spicer is hysterical. Huckabee Sanders yells at them too, but hers is a thinly veiled Fuck you, you numb nuts ratfucking pigs sort of contempt. The White House press deserves both.)

What it is the GOP at large wants to accomplish I’m not entirely certain. Yes, I know they want to repeal the ACA (chances of this have increased by a lot), and lower taxes on rich people and take grandma’s social security away. But it seems to me the long-term damage done to their party is irreparable. The Republican who stands up and leads the chant of “Impeach Trump!” is likely to be glorified in the future. Everyone else will be forgotten in infamy as a blob of GOP scum. If we ever thought John McCain would lead a Republican resistance, McCain never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to stand on actual principles instead of talking about them. After an embarrassing partisan display (but her e-mails) and humiliating mental collapse while questioning Comey, we now also learn Cindy McCain will work for Trump in the State Department.  But then again, I have been wrong before and if I am wrong about any of this again, I will let let Tucker Carlson eat my shoes.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind Widdershins?

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In light of You-Know-Who’s election to the White House we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in Democrats registering to run for office. This is true particularly of women. Enraged by how Dump and the media treated Hillary Clinton, women are ready to fight back. One of the brightest stars of those already running was Kim Weaver for Iowa 4th Congressional District. That’s the seat currently held by one of the most vile people in America, racist/misogynistic/homophobic scum-pig Steve King. The district covers 39 counties, including Ames, Fort Dodge and Sioux City. Weaver’s campaign was getting a lot of attention on social media. Then suddenly, on June 3rd, Weaver dropped out of the race. This was a surprising development. But Weaver’s announcement was more shocking still.

Over the last several weeks, I have been evaluating personal circumstances along with the political climate regarding this campaign. After much deliberation, I have determined that the best decision for me is to withdraw my candidacy for the U.S. House race in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

One consideration has been raised again by recent events at my home. Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.

But there is actually more to Weaver dropping out of the campaign than death threats. As reported by Shareblue writer Matthew Chapman on Twitter, Weaver also revealed that Republicans conspired to punish her as a civil servant. Weaver works at the Iowa Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an agency that investigates problems in nursing homes. This year the Iowa General Assembly cut funding to this agency. Weaver’s supervisor relayed a message to her from a state legislator that the cuts were intended to punish her for challenging King. This placed the agency and its other employees in danger.

The Republican has become the mob, but without an honor code. They feel untouchable. And let’s face it, they have been. McConnell has bullied Democrats into obedience for 8 years. As we learn more and more about Russian hacking of our elections (the newest documents leaked to The Intercept raise the stakes significantly… I won’t link to The Intercept just like I won’t link to Breitbart), but as we learn more and more about how much Russia did to steal the election for Trump, we must remember that one of the things that stopped Obama from announcing what they already knew in the summer of 2016 was Mitch McConnell telling him to keep his mouth shut. And Obama kept his mouth shut. This is the sort of behavior that inspires Iowa legislature to punish anyone having the gall to run against Steve fucking King. When and how will this stop?

As a side note, after Weaver announced she was leaving the race, she received a phone call from Hillary Clinton. Weaver tweeted: “She was very sweet and wanted me to know she was thinking about me.”

On an unrelated note, Newsweek reports that last year Bernie Sanders made $1,000,000.  We already know he owns 3 homes and Jane Sanders is under FBI investigation for shenanigans at Burlington College. These are the socialists from Vermont who were 2016 election’s original sin. I don’t think any of us have problems with Bernie making money. We just have a problem with Sanders being hypocrite who doesn’t want anyone else to make money.

Do you know who else makes money – as a special speaker? Cornell West. That paragon 1000wof… I don’t even know. What the hell is he a paragon of? He certainly thought Hillary was corrupt for giving speeches and he didn’t want Obama making any money speaking post-White House either. And here’s Dr. West, making money…speaking.  West earned $25,000 to speak at Coastal Carolina University. One might argue that $25,000 pales in comparison to what Clinton and Obama earned. But one would also argue that Dr. West is a far less significant figure than either Clinton or Obama. And the real kicker to West’s speaking fees is…

The records obtained by the newspaper revealed something about CCU’s priciest orator: West did not want the public to know how much he was paid for his Sept. 16 keynote address.

[…]

The speaking contract included a confidentiality clause.

And there you have it folks. The honorable Bernie Sanders and Dr. Cornell West, mere mortals who like new things; just like everyone else after all.

After the May 22nd attack on young women leaving Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, Grande vowed to hold a benefit concert for the families impacted by the attack. On June 4th she did (before the concert she visited survivors of the blast in hospitals.) She managed to convince several of her friends who were available to sing with her. Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, Pharrell Williams, and others. There was a roughness to the concert, obviously not a lot of rehearsal took place. But that made it all the more real. Here Grande sings with Miley Cyrus a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

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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