The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

Good Monday, all. Today, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon, a very rare event indeed. Even rarer, it seems, is what has been going on since the horrible terrorist attack in Charlottesville: people are starting to talk about the real reason people voted for Drumpf, the true secret of his appeal.

Two years too late.

Roxane Gay wrote this painful editorial in the New York Times last week. I think she speaks for a lot of us, not just here at TW, but all over America.

A week ago, in Charlottesville, Virginia, white men assembled to rage for a world long lost – one where their mediocrity was good enough. These were men emboldened by a President who shares their odious beliefs.

I’ve watched in horror as they’ve been energized by his campaign and his presidency. It’s possible that hate like this would have been on the rise anyway, given eight years of the Obama presidency and, animus towards Hillary Clinton. But now we don’t have hate on the fringe; we have it reinforced in the White House…

…Back in November, pundits began attributing Mr. Trump’s win to “economic anxiety,” because they were unwilling to face the blatant racism that fueled his popularity. Look where that thinking has brought us. Everyone who says, “This is not America” or “This is not us” is being willfully ignorant of both the past and the present. We all need to acknowledge that yes, this is indeed us, the very worst of us…

Roxane’s eloquent anguish resonates so strongly with me. When that evil orange turd “won” the election, I felt as though the entire country had lost its mind. Instead of electing the first woman President, who would lead us where we need to go so badly, Drumpf voters had embraced a sexually twisted, misogynistic, racist monster because they didn’t care what he would do to this country, as long as he made them feel good about themselves. His language of hate and fear was like poisoned music, a siren’s song telling them that at last, at last, they could blame someone else for their useless and bitter lives. Drumpf made it clear to white men that it really IS women and people of color and Jews and LGBT who are responsible for your pain and suffering, and not only that, it’s good and right for you to think it, and say it, and shout it out loud. Who could resist such a validation? And as a result, instead of the world we all knew would arise with Hillary’s Presidency, a world where #LoveTrumpsHate, a new, awful world seemed to arise.

But was it really that new? No. It had only been hiding, lurking like a tumor, inside of the Republican base. And it’s at the heart of all of their policies, for the past few decades. As Russ Feingold wrote this weekend,

The lesson from Charlottesville is not how dangerous the neo-Nazis are. It is the unmasking of the Republican party leadership. In the wake of last weekend’s horror and tragedy, let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration and the expulsion of immigrants…

Words mean nothing if the Republican agenda doesn’t change. Governors and state legislatures were so quick to embrace people of color in order to avoid the impression, they too share Trump’s supreme affinity for the white race. But if they don’t stand up for them they are not indirectly, but directly enabling the agenda of those same racists that Republican members were so quick to condemn via Twitter.

Gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement are all aimed at one outcome: a voting class that is predominantly white, and in turn majority Republican.

This is the hard truth that we don’t want to face. We all have Republican friends, relatives and colleagues. We’d like to think that they vote Republican because they want lower taxes and “small government,” whatever the hell that means. Unfortunately, though, those reasons can no longer be used to mask the hatred that hides in the heart of the GOP. It’s become a heart of darkness, and anyone who votes Republican now, shows that they have darkness in their hearts as well.

As Drumpf retreats further and further from a country whose people are loudly protesting what he stands for, vastly outnumbering the Neo-Nazis in Boston by tens of thousands, there is beginning to be a wide recognition that he cannot last much longer as President of the United States. But when he goes, and takes all the nightmare Cabinet members and Javanka with him, and probably takes Pence down too..what then? Are we going to pretend he never happened, that he was a terrible aberration, and that the “real” Republicans never wanted him in the first place?

I am quite sure the media, addicted to equivalency as they are, will try to smooth this horrorshow over and make it seem as though the Republican Party temporarily lost its mind to der Drumpfenfuhrer, but is now sane. We cannot let them do it. We must continue to hold them responsible and accountable for what they’ve done to our democratic institutions and the mental and moral health of our country.

We’ve done really well after a blow that could have crushed us, Widdershins. Together, the Resistance has halted the destruction of ACA, the tax cuts for the wealthy and the infrastructure whatever that, I’m sure, would have done nothing but shovel more money into billionaires’ pockets. But we won’t be finished until we have dragged the racists and misogynists, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century.

I think we can do it, don’t you?

This is an open thread. Enjoy the “oldie” but goodie below.

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Good Monday Widdershins!

Our blogmistress had some real life issues come up so I’m covering here at sort of the last minute.  Because of that and not having a lot of time this is mainly going to be a link dump post.

From this WaPo piece, it seems like the “ugly American” tourist is making a resurgence.  Only this tourist was in Germany and thought it would be cute to do a Nazi salute.  Color him clueless since he seemed not to know that the salute is a crime in Germany and he got busted-literally.  Someone saw him do it and beat the crap out of him.

An American tourist gave the Nazi salute in Germany — so a stranger beat him up, police say

* * * *

Peter Cvjetanovic would like you to know that he’s really, really not a racist mkay.  No, seriously.

You can read that HERE. By the way he’s also a precious 20 years old.  Whatcha wanna bet he’s still on mom and dad’s health insurance?

 

* * * *

There is a new hashtag that is going viral, #ThisIsNotUS and you can check out a HuffPost article on it.

* * * *

From Business Insider here is an article with some background info, on the hit and run driver in Charlottesville, James Fields, again a 20 year old.

* * * *

David Frum in The Atlantic says it’s time for Republicans to “leap from the boat” that is the S.S. Trump. And I thought they were all so comfortable there.

* * * *

The occupant of the White House, appeared to be his usual clueless self when he made his statement after the events in Charlottesville happened and it took his staff making the rounds of the news shows the following day to attempt some damage control.

* * * *

The last link I have for you today is to an article about the photographer who captured the image of the car slamming into the counter-protesters.  That was his last day working for the newspaper.

 

Welp, that’s all I have for you today.  Hope you check out the links.  Of course this is an open thread.

 

 

Hello Widdershins, and a very good Tuesday to all of you. Today I want to make a statement about women and the Democratic Party.

We’re reclaiming our time.

Maxine Waters Doesn’t Take Your Crap, Bro

As we know, the “election” of Drumpf was a devastating blow to those of us who knew, just knew, that this time we’d get the President we wanted and deserved. Obama set off red flags in 2008 with his sexism and lack of qualifications, and we hated the obvious push to hand him the nomination by rigging the DNC rules to favor caucuses. So we declared “Party Unity My *ss,” and the Obots swarmed and won. In 2016, when it should have been obvious that Hillary would run unopposed, that narcissistic, lazy sh*thead Bernie Sanders decided to start a Party of One…and the Obots swarmed, newly reborn as Bernie Bros/brogressives. This time, they lost, and lost YUGE. It was surely, finally time for Hillary!

But it wasn’t. Bernie had done a lot of damage to her reputation, and that, along with so many other factors, doomed her to lose once again. And as if that weren’t enough, the Democratic Party is still cosseting and kowtowing to the man who lost the primary by 4 million votes, AND who will not even show the most basic respect of declaring himself a Democrat. His followers are primarying Democratic candidates instead of supporting them, and creating ridiculous smear campaigns against any Democrat who doesn’t fit the Bernie mold. You know what that means: white, male, sexist and self-righteous.

Look what they’re doing to Kamala Harris, whose voting record is the second most progressive in the Senate. (Bernie is not even in the top 10. Surprise!)

Cosmopolitan goes so far as to say, “Leave Kamala Harris Alone,” pointing out in no uncertain terms:

Kamala Harris doesn’t have a Bernie Sanders problem. The so-called “Sanders Left” has a black-woman problem. In fact, the entire left has a black-woman problem. On May 25, a group of black women wrote an open letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez requesting that he meet with black women politicians and policy makers. The letter noted that the 115th Congress has “20 Black women—the largest number in history” and reminded Perez that in 2008 and 2012, black women were the party’s most loyal voting bloc. The DNC refused to even give black women an official response to the letter. I say this, because I want to be clear that the DNC is no friend to black women. However, if 2016 is any indicator, the vast majority of black women rejected the Sanders solution as a model for the kind of left politics that meets their needs.

Let me be clear: Bernie Sanders and his sexist brogressives will NEVER stop demonizing women, no matter what color they are. Look what venerated feminist blogger Melissa McEwan of Shakesville posted today. Everyone knows she is a progressive – but OMG she supported Hillary!!!11111!!! so she must NOT BE!

“Sanders Democrats” don’t own the left.

For thirteen years, I’ve been occupying this space, advocating for progressive policy and social justice. I support universal healthcare and a basic guaranteed income. I am pro-choice, anti-death penalty, a prison abolitionist, and advocate for vast criminal justice reform. I strongly reject privatization schemes and strongly support free public education. I am an intersectional feminist; an anti-racist; a fierce defender of LGBTQ rights; an advocate for dismantling the rape culture; a disabled survivor; a fat activist; a Democratic critic and a Democratic supporter.

Those are not conservative positions. They are not even centrist positions.

They are leftist positions.

And I have spent the last thirteen years of my life being mercilessly inundated with gross harassment for taking those positions.

RECLAIM YOUR TIME, MELISSA!!! What the hell have the Keyboard Kommandoes of Bernie’s non-existent ‘revolution’ sacrificed for their position? How dare they abuse and disdain women who have been working for many years for liberal causes, just because they favored Hillary over #TheBernout?

So now, finally, more and more women are getting it. The Democrats won’t give us our time unless we stand up and demand it. Women must have a voice in the Democratic Party, and we want candidates that represent us. This means, tell ENORMOUS LOSER Bernie Sanders to go sit in a corner and rename a post office. That’s all he’s ever been good for.

And for us, let’s find a group to join and start promoting and registering women in the Democratic Party. There are a lot of them out there, including Hillary’s PAC. I joined this one on Monday.

Hey, DNC: We’re no longer asking. We’re telling.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

Good Monday, all. Today is the first day of the last few months of Donald Trump’s Presidency. After all, he’s brought in a general to be his Chief of Staff, same as Nixon, and the conservo-rats are deserting his sinking ship. As the spectacular failure of the Wealth Transfer Bill made clear, the Senate can defy the Rancid Cheeto without any real consequences…and, the Rancid Cheeto is going to be no help to their agenda whatsoever. What will happen now? I don’t know, but while we wait for the next giant flameout, I thought we could spend some time connecting the dots.

The ongoing fight between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the Party is not about re-living the primaries, despite what the Bernie Bots would say on Twitter. It’s about looking to the future and figuring out the way forward for the Democrats. It IS important to have both the message, and the messaging, correct, so people know they’re not just voting against something, but FOR a positive vision of America.

In order to make this happen, we have to make sure that all Americans understand the connection between a racist, sexist and xenophobic campaign, and a country going in the wrong direction. From the Bernie cultists, and unfortunately from some members of the DNC, we hear that we need to appeal to the white working-class male voter with a strong economic message. The problem with this is, that it’s no different from the Republican approach.

Yes, you heard me right.

Make America Great Again is a white-people-only slogan, based on bringing the Fake 50s back to the US – a decade of great prosperity and segregation. Coal jobs, union jobs, they would be coming back under him – and all those “bad hombres” who have been taking those jobs away would be sent back to Mexico. He added to his racist cred by announcing that Mexicans are rapists, outing himself as a sexual predator, and being endorsed by white supremacists and having Steve Bannon as his senior campaign adviser. White people claimed they didn’t care, because all of these “identity politics” didn’t matter. But “identity politics” were really what energized all those white people to come out and vote for him. Nothing else mattered so much as race to the Trump voter.

And what happened when Drumpf came into office? He started advocating for policies to do exactly what he promised. Mass deportations. Known racist Jeff Sessions at the helm of the Justice department. True to his misogynistic ways, pushes to defund Planned Parenthood. Trying to overturn the freedoms and rights Obama granted to LGBTQ. And all his promises about bringing coal jobs back? Yeah, not so much.

What would happen if Democrats really decided to chase the white male vote, and decried “identity politics” as unimportant?  What message are they sending to everyone who isn’t white and male, who, not so coincidentally, votes Democratic? With all of these white men jockeying to run for the Presidency, two of them in their 70s, I find it very hard to believe that they will prioritize any of the things that matter to me…just as Barack Obama, who ran on misogyny, didn’t prioritize gender equality.

What we project matters. What we say matters. And visuals, they matter. And I am personally so very, very tired and sick of hearing and seeing “f*ck you” from the Democratic Party, a Party still, shamefully, disproportionately white and male. This is why Bernie Sanders held absolutely no appeal to me. He and his followers routinely dismissed the things I cared about, and mansplained that we were all too dumb to understand #TheBernout’s greatness and vast superiority over HRC. And of course, if we protested, we were playing “identity politics.” Well, yes. We want an equal seat at the table, and we’re tired of asking nicely.

So the Resistance you’re counting on to save your sorry butts and stop the evil Republican agenda, and vote for you in 2018? We’re women. And you won’t ignore us any more.

We’re awake now, and we’re paying attention.

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.

 

fight-club-3

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.

43d507b68

Eudocia Tomas Pulido (“Lola”), ages 18 and 82

Hello Widdershins,

This will be a short post today! In part because I would like you to take some time and instead of reading my nonsense, read a feature story in The Atlantic instead.

In March I wrote a post here discussing human trafficking.  When we talk about slavery too many of us think of by-gone eras. But slavery exists today and not just in far-off lands. It exists right here in the United States, perhaps involving our next-door neighbors. Nearly 21,000,000 human beings today are victims of human trafficking.

One of the stories I recounted in my post, told by Sister Joan Dawber, who runs a safe-house for victims of human trafficking in NYC, involved a young woman from Africa who came to NYC by family with the promise of going to school. Instead the family enslaved her for 5 years. She escaped eventually with the help of a suspicious neighbor. But how many do not escape?

In the harrowing and heart-breaking story published in The Atlantic, called My Family’s Slave by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Alex Tizon, Tizon describes his family’s slave – gifted to his mother by his grandfather. The woman they called Lola served the family for 56 years, right here in the United States. She cooked and cleaned for the family, she raised the children. She was not kept in physical shackles. And yet – she remained their slave. Tizon’s shocking realization as he got older than his parents kept the woman who raised him and his siblings as a slave is heart-breaking. Lola’s story is not unique and it needs to be told. (In a sad addendum, Tizon died suddenly on March 23, 2017 at the age of 57.)

Mom would come home and upbraid Lola for not cleaning the house well enough or for forgetting to bring in the mail. “Didn’t I tell you I want the letters here when I come home?” she would say in Tagalog, her voice venomous. “It’s not hard naman! An idiot could remember.” Then my father would arrive and take his turn. When Dad raised his voice, everyone in the house shrank. Sometimes my parents would team up until Lola broke down crying, almost as though that was their goal.

It confused me: My parents were good to my siblings and me, and we loved them. But they’d be affectionate to us kids one moment and vile to Lola the next. I was 11 or 12 when I began to see Lola’s situation clearly. By then Arthur, eight years my senior, had been seething for a long time. He was the one who introduced the word slave into my understanding of what Lola was. Before he said it I’d thought of her as just an unfortunate member of the household. I hated when my parents yelled at her, but it hadn’t occurred to me that they—and the whole arrangement—could be immoral.

“Do you know anybody treated the way she’s treated?,” Arthur said. “Who lives the way she lives?” He summed up Lola’s reality: Wasn’t paid. Toiled every day. Was tongue-lashed for sitting too long or falling asleep too early. Was struck for talking back. Wore hand-me-downs. Ate scraps and leftovers by herself in the kitchen. Rarely left the house. Had no friends or hobbies outside the family. Had no private quarters. (Her designated place to sleep in each house we lived in was always whatever was left—a couch or storage area or corner in my sisters’ bedroom. She often slept among piles of laundry.)

 

This is an open thread.


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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!

Right-click the pic for more info

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

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

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