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Hello Widdershins!

Ever since You Know Who became POTUS all of our lives have been an endless whirlwind of news (usually bad) and events. We all hoped You Know Who leaving office would finally let us catch up on some sleep, but alas. The devastation left in is wake is ongoing. Besides the stolen top secret documents he was hiding in his basement (Republican say it’s ok, he is a former President and it’s perfectly safe… but do you remember where Hillary’s secure email server was??? That’s right, in a basement of a former President), anyway, Trump is just yelling non-stop against every government agency he remembers. FBI, IRS, I’m not sure he even knows the difference. At least we are seeing some progress from Merrick Garland. Some people point out that as a prosecutor Garland had a 100% conviction rate. Still, fingers crossed the DOJ not only continues its investigation, but they do it quickly because we have no idea what the midterms will bring, and certainly don’t know what 2024 will bring.

CNN has “fired” its Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter. They are cancelling the show. On one hand, Stelter was a both-side hack who allowed Republicans on the show to spew lies while asking about Hillary’s emails. On the other hand, the new chief of CNN basically thinks Stelter is too liberal for CNN. We should be worried about what this means not for Stelter, but for us because I think we will see CNN take a very noticeable right turn in the near future.

Russian fascist/neo-Nazi Alexander Dugin

And on the front of Russia’s war on Ukraine – an interesting development overnight. Alexander Dugin is a Russian professor who is a dedicated fascist and white supremacist/nationalist. For years he has been calling for the extermination of Ukrainians (and many others) in the name of Holy Mother Russia. He is something of a spiritual guide to Vladimir Putin. Though officially Dugin is not welcome in polite Russian society, like David Duke and Steve Bannon, Dugin enjoys the notoriety, inspires numerous psychopaths, and enjoys a winking relationship with the Kremlin. Well, last night it seems someone tried to assassinate him. His car was blown up, although at the time it was driven by his daughter Darya. Now, before one feels sorry for Darya, she is neo-Nazi/fascist nationalist as much as her father is. Though not as famous as her dad, she was a loyal follower of his teachings, holds rallies and delivers lectures to spread the Dugin gospel. Who tried to kill Dugin and killed Darya remains to be seen. It could literally have been done by anyone, including Ukraine and Russia. But Ukraine makes no sense here. If they wanted to take out a Russian propagandist deep in the heart of Russia and in a place where people like Putin have a home, Dugin wouldn’t be the first choice. Russian TV people like RT head Margarita Simonyan would have been my first choice. Any of the hosts on Russian TV would be a close second. It’s possible the bombing was carried out by the Kremlin/Putin. Frankly, it could have been carried out by Dugin himself. There was a lecture by Dugin in which he discussed how people having daughters was destroying Russia, and that it was time to start sacrificing some of them. It’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out.

This is an open thread.

Happy Hump Day Widdershins!

We are approaching middle of March – and it’s hard to believe the insurrection was this year. So were Jewish Space Lasers. It’s remarkable how time can both fly and drag at the same time. Is there a word for that phenomenon?

Meanwhile the biggest story around is Major Biden. The poor rescue German Shepherd was in the news all day Tuesday. It was the lead story everywhere, journalists kept tweeting, several questions were asked of WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki who remarked at one point “Another dog question.” Although to be fair to the White House press corps, they also asked when the Bidens would be getting a cat. That’s hard-hitting journalism, it’s why we should be grateful to have the first amendment! At the end of the day the vicious mauling perpetrated by Major was a nip that did not break skin and the agent involved carried on with their duties without pause. But a Washington Post reporter, Annie Linskey, did ask Jen Psaki if Major would be euthanized. The answer was “Are you insane?” No that’s not what Jen Psaki said, but it’s what I would have said if I was WH Press Secretary.

The press is also really mad that Biden has not yet held a press conference since becoming POTUS. Remember they were obsessed with Hillary not having press conferences either. The fact is that Biden (as did Hillary) speaks to the press all the time and has given multiple sit-down interviews, plus a town hall on CNN. But the press doesn’t think the public asks important questions, like “Will Major be euthanized?” The press has their finger on the pulse of America and America must know about euthanizing Major. Also note that CNN and MSNBC have stopped carrying WH Press Briefings live. (Not enough lying by the Press Secretary, I guess. They carried every He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named’s WH briefing live.)

Everyone widely agrees that the HBO series “Veep” was a remarkable accurate representation of an administration and DC. And I always remember that one of its least likable and most scummy characters was a reporter.

This is an open thread.

Despite the pants-pooper-in-Chief’s increasingly desperate proclamations of victory and ever-more-ludicrous suits over ballots in non-existent counties in Michigan (really!), it looks like the inevitable is starting to sink in: Good won, evil lost. Even Billy Barr admits it. Soon, very soon, the country will be run by competent, caring, intelligent and experienced leaders who will make it their mission to start setting things right.

A large part of setting things right will, of course, be dealing with the enormous public health disaster Drumpf and his band of grifting monsters have unleashed upon us, as well as the massive toll it has taken on the American people, our incomes, our families, our housing situations and our collective physical and mental health. This Herculean task will certainly occupy much of the Democrats’ time. But I believe they can, as Nancy famously said, walk and chew gum at the same time. It is my fervent hope that there will be time for another task as well: the abnormalization of almost everything that has happened over the last four years.

We have been gaslit into accepting things we never should have had to accept. The media, as we have frequently discussed here at TW, has been complicit in the gaslighting, refusing to call out Drumpf’s lies until Covid-19 broke out. They have never collectively called for his resignation despite his being impeached for obstruction of justice and bribery and breaking every written and unwritten rule about Presidential conduct. By contrast, when Bill Clinton was unjustly impeached over lying about an affair he never should have been asked about, more than 100 newspapers demanded he resign.

The media camouflaged the unacceptable in discussions of process and meaningless horserace outcomes and bothsidesism to the nth degree. They shrugged their shoulders when Drumpf, Ivanka and Jared were all found to be using multiple unsecured communication methods (personal phones, emails and WhatsApp) to conduct White House business, yet #ButHerEmails was the worst national security scandal ever. They ignored the weird orb ceremony in Saudi Arabia and let Jared off the hook despite the obvious connection between his visit to MBS and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. They failed as a whole to pursue any of Drumpf’s numerous and obvious crimes before and after the 2016 election, and when a few journalists courageously uncovered one, the mainstream media let it drop with no follow-up and no consequences for him and his cronies. Hell, what happened in plain sight was mindboggling enough. Imagine if Hillary or Biden or Harris had a hair dye emergency on national TeeVee like Rudy and were caught with their hands down their pants in a ludicrous gotcha operation with known prankster Sacha Baron Cohen. Those pictures would be on the front pages of every newspaper in the country 24-7. Rudy got away with it, completely, as do all the Rethugs who have been enabling this proto-fascist regime since Day 1.

What the Biden-Harris Administration has to do is abnormalize the abnormal. Some of this, I believe, should be done with new laws. For example, I (like many I’m sure!) have been wondering how aggressively the Biden Administration will dig into the massive amount of criming that took place during the Mango Moron’s Reign of Error.  You know what Biden said about this?

“I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Biden told Holt. “There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level — there’s nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that.”

Well how about that – he’s right! That’s abnormalization.

For decades now, Presidents have rarely spoken to their Attorney Generals because it was recognized that those conversations could be considered a conflict of interest. There was a wall between POTUS and the USAG that needed to stay there. We’ve seen the results when that wall is breached, and heaven forbid we get another Rethug President in four years – that person will feel free to breach it again, with even scarier results.

So abnormalization of the way Drumpf ran the Justice Department as his own private protection racket is one high priority item. While PE Biden is re-establishing the correct norms, I think this particular abnormalization is a good candidate for a new law as well – one establishing the absolute independence of the DOJ and making the political corruption of any of its departments or personnel a felony crime.

There are other abnormalizations that should be made into laws, in my opinion:

  1. Refusing a Congressional subpoena should be a crime punishable by at least a year in jail;
  2. Presidents should be prohibited by law from running a business, or profiting from their office during their terms;
  3. Candidates should be prohibited by law from running for President if they do not release their medical records and tax returns;
  4. Social media and any network using the public airwaves, should be prohibited from sharing false or misleading information, with each instance being heavily fined; and
  5. Speech that incites or promises violence (like the MAGAt death threats and calls for beheading) should be criminalized and punishable with jail time. There have already been attempted pipe bombings, shootings, murders, and a foiled kidnapping plot because of the hate-filled rhetoric embraced and promulgated by the wingnuts in this country.

Well, that’s my first pass at a list of abnormalizations I’d like to see. What about you?

Open thread as always.

 

Cuz we’re all hippy,pinko,commie fags

Good Weekend Widdershins!

 

So there’s another blog that I follow, Louisiana Voice, written by Tom Aswell.  Tom has had a varied career.  He’s been a journalist, sports journalist, an employee of the state of Louisiana and some others.

 

Tom freely admits that until fairly recently he’s been a Republican.  I have no idea if he was always a Republican, a “Reagan Democrat” or what.  However, two things changed him:  eight years of Bobby Jindal in the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge, and the current occupant of the White House.  Now I don’t know if Tom’s a “Democratic”now or if he just moved into that every growing category of Independent.

Nevertheless he said he recently got this from a friend and he shared it on his blog.  As he said, reading it he couldn’t see anything anyone with a brain could disagree with.  And I agree with him.  So that being said I thought I would share it here for your thoughts, critiques, and opinions.

Not every liberal is the same, The majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines, though there are those who would eagerly but unfairly paint us with a much broader brush:

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
  3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
  5. I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
  1. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
  2. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; “compulsory” prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize “my” right to live according to “my” beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose Biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine.
  3. I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the “same” rights as you.
  4. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc.).
  5. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. It just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
  1. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
  2. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
  3. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine).
  4. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles, I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
  5. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
  6. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work,should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.”

I believe I got everything in there.  Had some issues with the formatting.

So there ya go.  Interestingly Tom got a couple of over-the-top comments along the lines of “what happened to you?” I can say he wasn’t a Hillary supporter in 2016 so I have no idea who he supported.  But ya know:  baby steps right?

Open thread of course.

 

You know the old Chinese proverb: “What a year this week has been!” Actually, I don’t think it’s a Chinese proverb, but whoever coined that term should be famous. Kanye West has gone full MAGA (again. It should be noted he went MAGA before the election, then partially defrosted, then visited Dump in the Inferno Tower right after the election.)  Dump had a bizarre meltdown on Fox and Friends show, yelling things that Michael Avenatti probably found very useful. Even the drones who host that show were staring at the camera with stunned expressions.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 7.47.17 PM.png

They were stunned

But nothing could compare to the bizarre media meltdown caused by Amy Chozick’s new book, “Chasing Hillary.” Chozick has been following Clinton for two campaigns, 2008 and 2016. From what observers say about their relationship – and indeed that’s how it comes across in her book – Chozick has a pathological need to be loved by Hillary. Hillary seems puzzled by this desperate creature with mommy issues. When Hillary does not deliver the love Chozick seeks – Amy lashes out. Chozick spent months pouring over stolen WikiLeaks emails. She poured over “Bannon Cash” too, the first person at the Times to get her hands on that Nazi-funded propaganda. And Chozick wrote, article after article, about Hillary, Clinton Foundation, Uranium, you name it. That is how Amy Chozick made her career; she is in a long and proud history of media people who have made their careers exploiting – chasing – the Clintons.

20-chozick-hillary-clinton.w710.h473.jpg

Hillary Clinton with Amy Chozick in 2008

There is one Clinton, however, Amy isn’t going to be able to catch: Chelsea. Perhaps freed by the knowledge that her mom is no longer running for officer, Chelsea has been a bit freer the before to speak up. It starts with what Chozick wrote about Chelsea in her book, including the very first sentence which describes how Chelsea popped open a bottle of champagne on election night. That didn’t happen and Chelsea decided to tell Chozick so. It seems that, in fact, Chelsea was alone with her husband pumping breast milk when Chozick claims she was popping open champagne. Chelsea tweeted at Chozick, pointing out the mistake and expressing disappointment that Chozick never reached out to her to fact-check. That seems to be standard practice: either the author of the book or the hired fact-checker should check facts, which includes reaching out to the people being discussed. Chelsea claimed that Chozick never did this. Though Chozick did not respond to Chelsea’s message, in the NY Times excerpt of the book they updated the text to say that sources told Chozick that Chelsea was popping open a bottle of champagne. Chelsea repeated that her sources are wrong and reiterated that she was never contacted by anyone to confirm such details. Chelsea wrote all this in the most polite way possible: hello, please, thank you and have a nice day! Chozick remained silent. But she didn’t need to say anything. Her colleagues rode into action. Katy Tur jumped in:

The man fact checking @amychozick’s book is the same one who fact checked mine. The same one who is so nit picky that he called Delta to confirm flight times. I would bet on Chozick here, not @ChelseaClinton.

It’s unclear why Tur placed her bet on Chozick and all but call Chelsea a liar. Tur wouldn’t be familiar with Chozick’s actions and the fact that the fact-checker was so meticulous (she thinks) with her book doesn’t mean he was that meticulous with someone else’s. Chelsea wasn’t having it and she answered Tur. “Hi Katy! Neither Amy nor her fact checker reached out to me or my office at any point, about anything. I care about facts as I believe you do too.” Tur backed off: “Fair point. I can only vouch for my own experience.” Except, of course, she didn’t – she bet on Chozick.

Heer Jeet, writer at The New Republic, called the situation Chelsea’s “quarrel” with Amy and pointed out these “feuds get handed down from one generation to the next. Clintons & Times have been fighting since early 1990s.” Chelsea responded: “Hi Jeet! I don’t think asking someone in a work purporting to be nonfiction and fact checked, to not tell fictions and to factcheck is a ‘quarrel.’ How would you correct someone who told falsehoods about you? Thanks for any & all advice!” Jeet, like Tur, backed off. “I think you are absolutely justified to ask for factual corrections…”

It wasn’t just the champagne. Chozick also claims that Chelsea got her straightened with keratin. Chelsea said she’s never used keratin and this was another mistake in the book she’d like fixed. A Yahoo White House correspondent, Hunter Walker, blasted Clinton supporters for getting out of control, blasted Chelsea for “impugning” Amy Chozick, that it was really a matter of she said/she said, that why would people believe Chelsea over Chozick and he capped his twitter storm with:

And, as we point out Trump’s assaults on the fourth estate, it must be said that, albeit to a lesser degree, the Clintons have also tried to undermine the press when it suited them. Sad!

There’s a lot to unpack there. Surely Chelsea knows her hair routine better than Chozick. And Chozick – who has still not engaged with Chelsea in conversation – has also not denied not contacting Chelsea to factcheck. Chelsea addressed Hunter:

Hi again Hunter! Amy isn’t disputing that neither she nor her fact checker ever contacted me or my office. I think facts are important and hope you do too.

Hunter, like Heer and Tur before him, changed his tone. “I think it would be a pretty bad breach of standard practice if she made no attempt to reach out to you.” Yah, no shit Sherlock. That has been the point the whole time. And yet, how they love to attack the Clintons. It’s reflexive, it’s pathological, it’s a disease. There’s also a great deal of reporters forming a wall around one of their own, like cops protect dirty cops. Heer, Tur, Walker – and there were many others (CNN’s Brian Stelter was “Liking” tweets that blasted Chelsea) – have no facts and no horse in this race. And yet, they can’t help but attack a Clinton. Chozick appeared with Andrea Mitchell who called Chelsea a troll. Chozick then went on NPR and Brian Lehrer laughed at the controversy. Chozick then went on to read an excerpt from the book: the hair excerpt. Chozick then said she knows Chelsea’s hair dresser very well, which suggests she’s digging in and the hair-dresser is her source.

But Chelsea isn’t surrendering. It’s time the Clintons stopped giving a fuck and hopefully Chelsea’s insistence that her questions be answered is a sign of that. When a minor reporter attacked Chelsea and then blocked her, Chelsea wrote that she has not blocked anyone on Twitter. Christine Teigen respond: “Wait YOU HAVE NO ONE BLOCKED??? HOW ON EARTH? I have over….10,000 I’d say. Maybe 50,000. Lol.” Chelsea wrote the following response – it’s heartbreaking:

As a kid, I paid attention to what Rush Limbaugh said (he called me a dog when I was 12) & read tabloid headlines in line at the grocery store (apparently I threw myself off a roof? also at 12). I’ve always preferred knowing what’s being said, even with my alien sibling (at 13)

Teigen kindly responded: “[…] there are no words for how amazing you are and how much I (and so many others) love and respect you!!”

All this madness reminded me of a tweet from a year ago I have not been able to forget. It has festered:

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 1.30.53 AM.png

Politico writer Annie Karni didn’t even want Chelsea to smile on the cover of a magazine. That’s how deranged these people are. And if you follow the responses Chelsea received for her answer – well, never read the comments.

 


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