The Widdershins

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Have you all seen this video of Lady Gaga on Stephen Colbert’s show? It’s gone viral. For the words about the Kavanaugh confirmation, start around 3 minutes in.

A bell rang deep within me when Gaga said that trauma changes the brain; that the brain puts the pain in a box and shuts it, so we can survive. I realized that, since the day Drumpf stole the Presidency, I have been living with the pain of that day, and that box, while shut, has had some leaks.

Since November 8, 2016, I have lost some of my sparkle, my joie de vivre. My writing has become more direct, more bland, more generic. Satire is impossible; nothing is more absurd than the fantasy world the Republicans are trying to force down our throats. The plays I used to write don’t come out any more, as I have trouble finding humor in almost anything.

My brain functions more slowly now…I struggle to form sentences quickly and speak smoothly, as I used to. I lose focus at work, because my full heart isn’t in it. I am more prone to depression, to tears, to anxiety.

I’m a natural extrovert; yet, I’ve become more retiring, more reluctant to meet new people. I’m afraid any new person I meet may have voted for the Mango Moron, and I just don’t want people like that in my life. I don’t want to speak to them; I don’t want to sympathize with them; I don’t want to hear their excuses for voting for a racist, misogynist, authoritarian thug.

I have been changed, while the box strained and bulged and the pain and sorrow leaked through.

When the story about Dr. Ford broke, that box opened for me. All the psychic trauma of the past two years came rushing out, along with the memories of my own experiences with threatening men and sexual harassment. Online, I read countless, horrifying stories of women and men, recounting their own #MeToo moments.

Yet as terrible as this was to go through, something unexpected happened after Kavanaugh was confirmed.

I felt better. No, not just better: I felt my brain start to work again. The pall over my emotions lifted. I suddenly realized what was wrong, and that clarity gave me the strength to deal with it.

I was changed again.

Make no mistake, we are living in dreadful times. Drumpf now says he won’t fire Rosenstein. Why should he? Rosenstein helped rig the sham FBI investigation that Flake and Collins used as an excuse to vote for Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh is the guy Trump thinks will fix any consequences of the Mueller investigation for him and his children. More than that – he will help get all of Drumpf’s dreadful, un-American initiatives past court challenges that have, so far, held them up. The Muslim ban. The transgender ban in the military. Family separation. Babies in jail. Overturning Roe v. Wade. Killing the Affordable Care Act. Deporting legal immigrants back to their “shithole countries.” Etc., etc., etc.

But there’s nothing we can do about that now. We all did everything we could, and we caused a lot of “good trouble,” as John Lewis called it. In the end, the Republicans narrowly managed to elevate their pet sociopath to the Supreme Court.

Now, we focus like lasers on getting out the vote on November 6th. Because if we can get control of Congress, impeachment will be on the table – not just for Drumpf, but for Kavanaugh.

I’m sharp, I’m feeling everything, and I’m ready to work hard for the #BlueTsunami.

How about you?

This is an open thread.

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

I must confess that watching the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testimonies left me feeling hopeless. I don’t know if I’ve felt this depressed since election night and inauguration. What we saw was such a horrific display of partisanship from Republicans, such naked thirst for power, such terrifying absence of decency, that I don’t know if we can ever truly recover from where we are now. And, frankly, the weak performance of Democrats against Kavanaugh revealed that we don’t have strong leadership. Yes, there may be flashes of it here and there, but in the second half of the day Democrats surrendered all control to Republicans. Lindsey Graham goes on a full frontal attack on Democrats and their only response was Cory Booker calling Graham his friend. Every Republican attacked Diane Feinstein. And Democrats remained silent. Democrats kept hammering on about the FBI investigation: important yes, but the point was made already and repeatedly, and anyone who mentioned it after Dick Durbin drew blood by getting Kavanaugh to fall speechless on the subject was wasting time. They let so many things fall through the cracks because they harped on that single issue. They also kept quoting Kavanaugh’s former roommate who said he saw Kavanaugh get very drunk many times: yes, we heard it and Kavanaugh dismissed that story pretty easily. Yet they kept returning to it Kavanaugh swatted them away just as easily each time. It was a waste of time.

Democrats should have pursued Rachel Mitchell’s questions about the July 1st party on Kavanaugh’s calendar – which perfectly matches Dr. Ford’s description of the party where she was assaulted, including the guest list and the timeframe where she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. The Republican prosecutor seemed to accidentally stumble on the actual date of the party where Ford was attacked! She had Kavanaugh read the first and last names of all his friends who were going to attend this party. The names match everyone Ford names, including the man Kavanaugh’s friends tried to pin the assault on (but who denied any involvement in a letter to the judiciary committee.) The date of the party – July 1st – also matches Ford’s story that she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. But because she wasn’t sure when the party was, knowing when Judge worked in the store would help. Well, Mike Judge wrote in his book that worked in that grocery store in August of that year. It matches perfectly the time-frame Ford laid out. A party Kavanaugh attended, the guest list of friends that matches Ford’s list of those present, and the 6 weeks before seeing the eye-witness in a store. Rachel Mitchell – intentionally or not (probably not) – laid this out for Democrats. Democrats did nothing with this information. As soon as Mitchell asked these questions about the July 1st party, Grassley called for a recess. They returned and Graham went for the Democrats’ jugular. Mitchell was not heard from again. Every Republican after that went for the same jugular. And Democrats did nothing. They didn’t fight back, they did not pursue the line of questioning that quite literally may reveal the date – on Kavanaugh’s own calendar – of the party where Ford was assaulted.  The hearings ended as a disaster for Democrats.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was astonishing. With strength and courage she arrived to tell the truth. And she did. What was striking about her answers is that she didn’t try to be right. She knew there were gaps in her story, she willingly acknowledged the limitations of memory. Contrast this with every Kavanaugh testimony: in his desire to be right and perfect, Kavanaugh lies. He lies easily and repeatedly. Republicans don’t care that Kavanaugh has committed perjury numerous times already. But we know that he has. And we know that Dr. Ford has not. This extraordinary woman has upended her entire life – the persecution of Dr. Ford will continue forever – because she wanted to do what is right. She faced the lions and went in. She did it for all of us. She said that her greatest fear is that she would do all this, put her family and herself through hell and it would not matter. She is probably right, that Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court. But her testimony matters. It matters to countless women and men who have been abused and who have been too afraid to speak up. People who have blamed themselves for the attacks. Christine Blasey Ford showed us that sometimes we must do what is right, even when we know it may not make the difference we seek in the moment. Dr. Ford and her courage do not exist in a vacuum. She has already changed the lives of countless victims of sexual abuse. May she take some comfort in that. And may we all hope to have that kind of courage.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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Gillian Flynn’s words echo and echo and echo inside my skull.

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

(Via Sarah Kendzior. I’ve said the same too, repeatedly, less efficiently.)

There’s Senator Orrin Hatch saying, “…consider who the judge is today – because that’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.”

“By any measure.” Any measure.

Kavanaugh has never shown any repentance or made any amends, but by any measure he’s in Hatch’s good books. Despite every indication of willingness to commit a crime so bad it’s right up there with murder. Technically, of course. It’s vanishingly unlikely to happen to Hatch. So Kavanaugh is a “good man.”

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

You wonder how the slavers could do what they did to black human beings two hundred years ago? This is how. They thought it was natural, normal, just how things were. They could think well of themselves with no trouble while they sold people. Those people were livestock. Just as people now consider themselves “good” while thinking that a little rape never hurt anyone. Not any real people. Slaveholders were Supreme Court Justices once. What could possibly be the objection to a rapist on the highest court in the land?

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

Crossposted from Acid Test

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The #MeToo movement blasted the door off Hollywood like a tsunami. The first villain to go down was Harvey Weinstein, the notoriously vicious and deranged producer who produced some extraordinary films. In his wake many others have fallen, some perhaps unfairly (Al Franken is still hotly debated on Twitter.) The last couple of weeks saw the fall of 2 big CBS figures: the president of the network Les Moonves and the 60 Minutes’ chief Jeff Fager.

After Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker discussed allegations against Fager, CBS journalist Jericka Duncan, preparing a report on the story, contacted Fager for comment. Fager wrote back via text:

If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me. Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.

Once head of CBS News learned of this message, Fager was fired.

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Former CBS president Les Moonves

The bigger fall at CBS, however, was its very president, Les Moonves. Moonves has been accused of not just harassment, but assault, forcing women to perform oral sex on him. And, of course, he ruined many careers. Moonves (who is married to CBS host Julie Chen) carried a vendetta against Janet Jackson because of the “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, and ordered MTV and VH1, as well as Viacom owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s music. The “disappearance” of Janet from much of the music scene over the past decade is now being largely attributed to this. Before Jackson, Moonves set his sights on Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of the hit show Designing Women. Bloodworth-Thomason wrote a searing article in The Hollywood Reporter describing her relationship with Moonves and how he ruined her career. One story is that high on the success of Designing Women, she wrote a pilot for a new series (actually she wrote many pilots, all of which Moonves rejected, including one with Bette Middler) and arranged a reading of the script with big names, including Ileana Douglas. At the reading, Moonves sat across from Bloodworth-Thomason and just stared at her:

Having been voted most popular in high school, I felt confident that I would be able to charm him. I was wrong. He sat and stared at me throughout the entire reading with eyes that were stunningly cold, as in, “You are so dead.” I had not experienced such a menacing look since Charles Manson tried to stare me down on a daily basis when I was a young reporter covering that trial. As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.

When Bloodworth-Thomason finally left CBS after Moonves rejected all of her writing, his last words to her were “Go fuck yourself.”

Remember too that Les Moonves said this about Donald Trump in 2016:

It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS… Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun… I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.

CBS Board of Directors – all men – tried their darnedest to save Les. Arnold Kopelson, who once upon a time won an Oscar for producing Platoon, said in a board meeting: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.” Another member fo the board, William Cohen (yes, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary in the 1990s) said: “We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our CEO, and there will be no change in his status.” These are the type of men who protect other men’s perversions. They are why people like Moonves and Weinstein, and there are so many others, have thrived and will continue to thrive.

One other note on Arnold Kopelson: after Kathy Griffin’s debacle with the fake Trump head, Kopelson wrote Griffin a letter telling her how to get her career back. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve read in a long time. He thinks he’s being helpful, but…

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Mr. Kopelson is no longer a member of the board of directors of CBS, incidentally.

Margaret Sullivan of Washington Post (and a former public editor of the NY Times, a position that paper got rid of) wrote a powerful column discussing the fact that the damage done by men like Moonves – and Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose – is incalculable. They have shaped our culture’s view of women for decades.

What if Mark Halperin, for instance, had not been a network commentator during the 2016 presidential campaign? (James Wolcott of Vanity Fair aptly described him as “a political kingmaker and narrative shaper” and “the most influential” of the men who were felled by sexual-misconduct allegations last year.)

What if Bill O’Reilly of Fox News hadn’t been the biggest cable TV star in the nation when a woman had a major-party presidential nomination for the first time?

[…]

A media figure doesn’t have to show up for a business meeting in an open bathrobe to do harm, though that strange practice has turned out to be something of a leitmotif.

He can help frame the coverage of a candidate’s supposedly disqualifying flaws. He can squelch a writer’s promising work. He can threaten an underling’s job if she doesn’t stay in line and remember who really runs the show around here.

All these little moments add up, though we’ll never know their full cost. Only that it’s very, very high.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is an open thread.

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Good morning Widdershins,

Another crazy week. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said that  Trump gets a “mulligan” for having an affair with Stormy Daniels. “All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,” Perkins said. Because Evangelicals no longer care about Presidents who have sex with porn stars while their wife is home with their newborn baby. It’s just a long list of things Evangelicals don’t care about anymore. Child molesters is another, as Roy Moore can attest. (Fun fact: Roy Moore has still not accepted the fact that he lost the election…) There is one thing Trump has done well: reveal the complete moral bankruptcy of the Evangelicals. Their acceptance of his immoral behaviors and the fact that they continue to support him through everything is everything we have ever needed to know about these charlatans. They want the Rapture, I know. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem helps in some way. But I never ever ever ever ever want to hear another Evangelical say anything about someone else’s morals. They are deplorable.

In one of my last posts I wrote about the deplorable Larry Nassar, the former USA Women’s Gymnastics medic who molested hundreds – literally, hundreds – of young girls. Nassar pleaded guilty. The judge presiding over his sentencing, Judge Rosemarie

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Judge Rosemarie Aquilina

Aquilina, allowed many of Nassar’s victims to deliver statements to the court and to Nassar. 156 women spoke. These 156 women are just the ones who were willing to come forward and speak in public. Imagine how many more victims we do not know. Aquilina sentenced Nassar to maximum of 175 years in prison. “I just signed your death warrant,” she said. She also read the letter Nassar wrote to her.

“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” Aquilina told Nassar.

So what do you think male reporters and pundits have to say about all this? Well, they are very angry at Judge Aquilina.

“Larry Nassar is clearly an evil man, but I don’t care for the judicial grandstanding and dunking on the convict from the bench,” wrote Matthew Yglesias. “I don’t think it inspires confidence in the rule of law for a judge to express a wish that she could hand down an unconstitutional punishment,” wrote Josh Barro. “Statements by the survivors have been extraordinary. A judge performing like this leaves me cold,” mused Jonathan Chait. There are many others like this, some (lesser known intellectuals) calling Aquilina “an attention whore.” It is deplorable to see people get angry at the judge who sentences an unapologetic rapist of over 150 young women to prison. But here we are.

We are also in a world where Chelsea Manning, who recently said she intends to run for the Senate in Maryland, attends an Alt-Right party. Titled “A Night for Freedom” the shindig was organized by Mike Cernovich, one of the biggest Alt-Right/White Supremacist personalities. Also in attendance were a who’s-who of White Supremacists, people like the former Bernie supporter Cassandra Fairbanks, Gavin McInnes, Jack Posobiec and Stefan Moleyneux. The usual topics were covered: Hillary is evil, MAGA, Hillary is evil, Obama is evil, Hillary is evil, Pizzagate, Hillary is evil, Muller is going down, Hillary is evil. Then McInnes waxed poetic about his love of fatherhood and encouraged the almost exclusively caucasian crowd to have lots of children. “Remember, one [child] is for losers. Two is for fags.” So on and so forth.

And there, in the middle of it all, is Chelsea Manning. When asked to explain why she was there Manning said she was protesting and doing research. I don’t know how Manning defines a protest. “Yes I literally shook hands with Chelsea Manning [tonight], the left is freaking out, it was not a big deal,” tweeted Cernovich. Fairbanks wrote that everyone loved Manning and if anybody had been rude to her she, Fairbanks, would have impaled them on her heels. And before Manning attended another Alt-Right party, where this happy photo was taken (included are Posobiec and Fairbanks.)

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So why does Chelsea Manning cavort with White Nationalists as she gears up for a Senate run?

What do you think Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Happy third week of 2018 Widdershins. It is less than 3 weeks of the year. Dump is about to celebrate 1 year in office. The rest of us will drink (more.) Or in my case eat more chocolate because it’s the only thing getting me through each day. But the good news is that Dump’s physician evaluated me and declared me 6’9” and a lean mean muscle machine nurtured by chocolate and sugar, burgers and fries.

Let’s put Dump aside for a minute (or 3 years) and I wanted to mention a story that has gotten very little coverage – and it really really should get a lot more considering the sheer scope of it.

Larry Nassar was a doctor with the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University. For decades he attended to female gymnasts. And he molested them. More than 150 – one hundred and fifty – women have come forward accusing Nassar of raping them when they were under his medical care when they were children. One victim, confronting Nassar at his sentencing, says she was 6 years old when he first abused her. Even someone with just passing interest in gymnastics and the Olympics would recognize some of Nassar’s victims: Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.

Also worth exploring is the subject of how Nassar was able to get away with this for decades. He didn’t get away with it alone. He had enablers. People who knew – colleagues – who looked the other way. ESPN has an article discussing some of Nassar’s enablers.

Remember when the Jerry Sandusky story broke? It was huge. As terrible as that was, this story of Larry Nassar is so much bigger and getting a fraction of the coverage. I wonder if there’s a reason?

In other horrifying news – what will today bring? Are Republicans really angry at Bannon for refusing to answer their questions after the White House instructed him not to? How hard are they going to huff and puff before they stop the charade? Is Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, really a Chinese spy trying to curry favors with the Dumps via Javanka? Did she have an affair with Tony Blair which ended his marriage? Did she marry Murdoch for love? Wall Street Journal broke the stories earlier this week, which is extremely meta! (OK, WSJ didn’t speculate whether Deng married Murdoch for love, that was me.)


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.1 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

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