The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Open Thread’ Category

Happy Monday all! Our blithering idiot of a Presnit is off making an *ss of himself over yonder in those parts out there which are not ‘Murca. We’re so very proud, aren’t we?

While the Mango Meerkat bobbles along brainlessly, shedding havoc and treason like orange lint from his head, perhaps it’s now time for the media to admit something we always knew at TW: that the President is supposed to be…well, boring.

Our Hillary is inspiring, brilliant and and amazing, and would have been a great President – perhaps the greatest since FDR. What she isn’t, is a relentless tweeter of nonsense, a boundless gaffe machine, a man who loses his way on a one-way street. She also isn’t in Putin’s pocket, surrounded by sycophants, white supremacists and Children of the Corn. Despite decades of media creating faux scandals around Hillary, Our Girl has only ever been guilty of having a cheating husband, and a private email server.

But the headlines with Drumpf! The eyes, oh, the eyes on their shows and their newsprint and their podcasts and their Twitter accounts! They made so much money in the run-up to the election…so very, very much money. This is a great article from November 14, 2016 on how the media enabled and empowered him to rise.

In 1968 Roger Ailes, the future boss of Fox News, had a problem: how to get Richard Nixon on television without it being controlled and filtered by what he felt was a hostile media.

His solution was to create his own staged Nixon TV specials and offer them to TV stations. Forty-eight years later, CNN was effectively doing the same for Trump – free of charge.

The enthusiasm for Trump at CNN was simple: ratings. Jeff Zucker, the boss of CNN, is also the man who employed him to present The Apprentice when he worked at NBC.

Zucker, perhaps more than anyone else, turned Trump into a TV star.

Nope, there’s nothing to see here! These are not the droids you’re looking for.

And then they make this point:

The need for headlines that bring clicks and stories that get shared has changed everything. Dull, balanced articles (like this one) don’t provoke fury, laughter or much in the way of emotion.

Trump was simply more entertaining and generating more passion. In a news environment moving from a world of subscriptions and long-term appointments-to-view to the vagaries of clicks, friends’ recommendations and Facebook news streams, that makes him a winner.

I do disagree with that last sentence. The Donald has never been a winner. He managed to lose almost a billion dollars on casinos, which are basically like cash registers that are always full. He’s clearly an awful deal maker – so far he hasn’t done a single thing he’s said he was going to do. The arms deal with the Saudis, I’m sure, will turn out to be a disaster, just like the health care bill, “tax reform,” renegotiating NAFTA, and countless other campaign promises I don’t need to elaborate on here.

The media has a great deal of self-examination to do. It’s developed a clear preference for candidates who perpetually campaign and entertain; unfortunately, as we’ve seen, this type of candidate is singularly unsuited to governing. A yelling, lying, treasonous Cheeto in a bad wig does not have the gravitas, intelligence and temperament to do the hardest job in the world. This should have been the message the teevee and print media gave us. But instead, they equivalated this creature’s malfeasance and genuine danger to the Republic, with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while SOS…even though this was neither against the law, nor unprecedented, nor a threat to national security in itself. (It did give the Republicans a chance to investigate a Clinton, though – something they much prefer to the odious task of doing the people’s business.)

As the media continues to awaken, let’s hope that looking at Drumpf with a more objective eye will lead the media to start looking at themselves. Some are already doing so.

This is an open thread.

Yes dear Widdershins it seems we will once again visit the land of fibs, untruths and general mendacity.  I fear it will be a recurring theme for the foreseeable future as long as the man-child is in our midst.

So y’all know the drill.  I’ll put up a few musical clips following the theme and y’all can please add some of your own contributions in the comments.

(1) Flashpoint~Fear Factory  (“One last spark of dishonesty And that will be the death of me”)

(2) Napalm Factory~Mass Appeal Madness

(3) Rotten Sound~ Traitor
Stealing from your family/Destroying your security
Safety of our well-being/Torn by your dishonesty

(4) A Matter of Trust~Billy Joel

(5) Would I lie to you~Eurythmics

So there you go widdershins, volume what-number-is-this? of the Donald Trump lying songs tribute. Keep those lists handy as I feel we will be returning to this theme again.

Please share your contributions below.

May 19, 2092

It has finally happened. The last Trump supporter has died on the banks of the Licking River in the sleepy hamlet of Urethra Hollow, Kentucky. While he had long ago forgotten his name, town folk affectionately referred to him as Trumpameatus Johnson – TeeMeatus to his friends. TeeMeatus held the record for over 3 million interviews about his undying support of the 45th President. Mr. Johnson’s longevity is ironic given the relatively short tenure of the President who, next to William Henry Harrison at 31 days, served the shortest tenure.  

While the details will vary, I have little doubt some enterprising reporter will still be scouring the landscape for Trumpanzee supporters 75 years from now. The story will be the same as it is now, the support never wavered in the least.

Besides the fact that it bugs the crap out of me, why bring it up?  First, all the polling on this issue is worthless. The entire premise is wrong. As a pollster, you can’t ask someone, “Since you were stupid when you voted, do you now regret being stupid?” No one answers that question in the affirmative. There is great social desirability in seeing oneself as better than knuckle-draggingly ignorant.

The other reason I mention it is to introduce “motivated ignorance” – it is a real thing. It’s a process described as, “Avoiding facts inconvenient to our worldview isn’t just some passive, unconscious habit we engage in. We do it because we find these facts to be genuinely unpleasant.”

The studies conclude, “People on the left and right are motivated to avoid hearing from the other side for some of the same reasons: the anticipation of cognitive dissonance and the undermining of a fundamental need for a shared reality with other people.” This shared reality is tribal in nature and translates to a shared transactional truth.

This is true for about 60% of the people. It is true for both those on the right and left. It is just the way our brains work. Before you burn me at the stake for equivalency heresy, let me point out, as does the article, you can engage in confirmation bias and still be right. Better said, “You can feel like you are right before you have confirmed your righteousness with science.”

One reason I wanted to write about this was it seemed safe since it is impossible to stay ahead of the hourly “Breaking News” alerts on the latest Dolt-mania. The other reason was the death of Roger Ailes.

Roger Ailes was a loathsome creature. He terrorized not just the workplace for his atavistic hedonism, but he threatened the families and children of his perceived enemies.

Ailes did more to alienate, stagnate, and denigrate our political culture than any other individual in the last 75 years. He knew how to frighten, how to anger, and how to indict through innuendo left dangling for want of context. He had a talent and an appetite for destruction.

Ailes created a laboratory for “motivated ignorance” at Fox.  He perfected an atmosphere of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin called, “inverted totalitarianism”:

Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy. Citizens are encouraged to distrust their government and politicians; to concentrate upon their own interests; to begrudge their taxes; and to exchange active involvement for symbolic gratifications of patriotism, collective self-righteousness, and military prowess. Above all, depoliticization is promoted through society’s being enveloped in an atmosphere of collective fear and of individual powerlessness: fear of terrorists, loss of jobs, the uncertainties of pension plans, soaring health costs, and rising educational expenses.

We are living through a period of inverted totalitarianism. We can be certain those who labor under motivated ignorance will not know or even care what it is called. People like Ailes who profited from it, would never admit it. There are a couple of bright sides.  One: The philosophy surrounding this negativity is one of destruction. Like all forms of destruction it cannibalizes itself — eventually there is nothing left upon which for it to feed.

The other bright side: Ailes is off the battlefield as a contagion of motivated ignorance. Living through the Trumpian mess he bequeathed us is our retribution.  Coming out better on the other side is our legacy.

 

On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to remind everyone that “lie” is part of Joe Lieberman’s name. Here’s a short clip of him explaining himself:

 

What’s on your mind today?

 

Good Monday, all! Your friend MadamaB is all in a tizzie today because, well, BECAUSE! What the living f*ck is going on with the Mango Maniac and his cowardly, venal, morally vacant enablers? Der Drumpenfuhrer is wildly waving his tiny hands and firing everyone he can think of, including the man who was investigating his ties to Russia. His “Apprentice” itch apparently not scratched, according to the latest reports, the pResident is going to make his staff go through a major shakeup.

But tra la la, who cares? The Republicans have done a cost-benefit analysis, and they think they’re still better off with the Circus Peanut than anyone else that could replace him. Like an addict who can’t believe the vial is empty, the Paul Ryans of the world, and there are, sadly, many of them in Congress now, cannot believe that their long, LONG dream has ended. Oh, woe is they! Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security shall not, in fact, be transferred to the wealthiest of the wealthy by means of a devastating tax cut masquerading as a health care plan. The blowback at GOP town halls has been so universal and severe, that many of them refuse to show up. Did I mention they were cowardly? Why yes, I believe I did.

The problem, you see, is that there are more than a few grains of truth to the accusation that Washington politicos have forgotten about their constituents. They have grown used to power and have forgotten that we, the people, can fire them at our leisure. This is especially true of the Republican Party, which, through gerrymandering, purges of millions of Democrats from voter rolls, and mass hypnosis of terrified white people through church and rightwing media outlets, now expects all voters in certain states to routinely vote against their own interests. The Democratic Party’s Obama wing is also shamefully blasé about the needs of their voters (like wimminz! and bizarrely, people of color), but thankfully, there is diversity in our ranks, and not all Democrats follow that model. (You know who doesn’t, Widdershins.)

Shimmy Shimmy HRC!

So the Republicans are in deep, and rather desperate-sounding, denial about the Constitutional crisis the Rancid Cheeto has caused by, well, by being inaugurated! On Day 1, this corrupt cretin violated the Emoluments Clause and invited impeachment. Now, he’s all but daring Congress to do their worst. And so far, that’s what they’ve done, putting Party over Country all day, every day.

My fellow Widdershins, I feel that the time has come, once again, for a massive public outcry. Let’s make the Congress do what it should have done long ago: Throw Der Drumperer under the bus, and all of his Children of the Corn, white supremacists and mild-mannered liars named Pence and Priebus.

There is a new March coming on Saturday, June 3rd, called the March for Truth. It’s for us to go out and show that we believe Drumpf is a clear and present danger to our democratic norms, and he must go in order for our republic to survive.

Time to put our feet on the street again, all. Let’s show our Congresscritters that they have our support to remove this feces-throwing orangutan from office. And we DON’T want to wait till 2018, thank you very much.

This is an open thread.

A GOOD SUNDAY TO YOU WIDDERSHINS!

Fredster still has not felt like the muses have come around so once again let’s take a look at some of the odd, funny or strange things I’ve found out there on the internet.

Ways in which Amtrak should not emulate the Japanese

This one is kind of old but I had it in the bookmarks for strange/odd news.

So this “super-express train” was barrelling down the tracks the way those Japanese (and German and French and probably Italian) fast trains travel.  (Wish we had some of those)  And anyway a passenger on the train notices that a snake is wrapped around the armrest of a passenger seat (occupied) in front of him!

The train’s operator, JR Tokai, or Central Japan Railway Co., said the passenger sitting in the reserved seat was unaware that the snake was wrapped around his armrest for about 50 minutes until the person behind him saw it and notified a conductor.

Railway spokesman Atsuo Utano said the train crew made an announcement asking if anyone had lost a pet snake and informing passengers of an unscheduled stop, but nobody came forward.

The super-express train made a stop at Hamamatsu station about 25 minutes later, and railway police removed the snake and the train departed in about one minute, Utano said.

He said the train arrived in Hiroshima, its destination, on time.

Now…the snake was on that armrest for 50 minutes before another passenger noticed it? Then, the train people asked if someone had lost their snake?  And then finally, after another 25 minutes they stopped.  Uh..no people.  I would have been looking for that damned emergency rope thing you see on trains in the movies and yanking on it like crazy.  I have a rule about these things:  ∅ snakes on the train.

I could probably die happy too in this case

It’s actually a variation on a theme we’ve seen before.  But still, maybe I won’t even have to die for this to happen.

Corlis Gilchrist, 92, must have been a staunch Democrat.  And we know how staunch Democrats felt after last November, right?

Mr. Gilchrist’s obituary included this :

he was “a proud union member and took great pride in his work with Armstrong Tire, retiring after more than 40 years of service

And so his family did this for him:

…died peacefully this month after family members falsely told him the process to impeach President Donald Trump had begun “so that he could rest in peace.”

I would have lied to him too and secretly hope that it does happen…very soon.  And apparently some people were sooo worried back in November they decided on an early checkout:

Last year, a woman’s obituary published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch said Mary Anne Noland, 68, of Richmond, Virginia, decided to “pass” instead of vote in the November election.

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God,” the obituary read. Her husband said it was meant as a joke as a means for her family to continue her sense of humor.

Truth in advertising or delusions of grandeur?

Okay folks, I had to really think about adding this one, but it’s so preposterous I had to include it.

So once again in Florida (always in Florida!) a man is on trial for murder for choking his girlfriend to death.  But Richard Patterson has an explanation of how said choking occurred.  His defense attorney also wants Patterson to provide a visual to the jury.

Not Patterson

Richard Henry Patterson, 65, has admitted he choked his girlfriend, Francisca Marquinez, 60, to death on Oct. 28, 2015, but claims it happened accidentally during oral sex, The Sun Sentinel reported.

He’s now seeking a judge’s permission to show the jury his penis — to prove her death was a mistake.

Patterson’s attorney, Ken Padowitz, said his client’s member figures prominently in his “rough sex” defense, which hinges on the argument that Marquinez died accidentally, while engaging in consensual sexual activity.

Padowitz has enlisted expert witness and former Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Ronald Wright to testify that Marquinez’s death “is consistent with being accidentally sexually asphyxiated during oral sex,” the motion said.

He insists that a viewing of Patterson’s penis is integral to the jury understanding Wright’s argument.

Now I’m all in favor of a defendant using any means they can to put on a defense but…really?  Wouldn’t it be interesting if, instead of a large Bockwurst, Patterson had more of a vienna sausage and a large ego?  Oh and by the way I hope they convict the bastard.

* * * *

A couple of humorous You Tube Clips

This guy has been doing convenience story inventory for waay too long.

Yes it’s true – watch out for lightening.

* * * *

Okay that’s all I have Widdershins.  Take the conversation in any direction you wish.  And also, a Happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms out there!

 

 

One hundred thirteen days and the sun still peeked over the eastern horizon this morning. The way things are going, I’m not betting on where, or if, the sun will set.  Writing about current events during the Ides of Orange is like playing Jinga in a windstorm. Not the best idea.

It truly is impossible to try to summarize the news. Therefore, I’m not even going to try. What I am going to do is marry up my behavioral psychology and legal viewpoints to provide a wild guess on where we find ourselves on the 113th day.

First, a disclaimer: I am not going to opine or even guess about Dolt 45’s mental health.  I’m not qualified. What I can do is give you an idea of his behavioral patterns and why he does some of the things he does.

With that said, for recollection, you can go here for Crazy, Stupid, Hate and here for 604,800. The Orangutan makes this stuff so easy. To summarize, he gets every ounce of his self-esteem from the way others perceive him. He is emotionally fragile. Stress enhances that fragility. We are seeing all of these patterns play out.

Next, we need to disabuse ourselves of a few things. The sanctified Office of the Presidency means very little to Dolt 45. It is merely a means to an end. Where any normal human would be awestruck at the otherworldly honor of serving, the ambulatory Cremesicle deems himself entitled to the office.

What Dolt 45 holds dear is money. It is the measuring stick of his self-worth. It is his Superman’s cape. It is his reason for being.

Guys from the home office doing a grab and grin with their franchisee…

If you accept these jumping off points, the rest of this post will be easy to swallow. The Dolt is nervous about having his “fortune and things” taken from him. For the longest time, I have been convinced RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) would play a part in Dolt’s downfall.

It seems certified good guy, Sen. Ron Wyden is of a similar mind. Sen. Wyden has put a hold on a Treasury nominee until certain documents from the Treasury’s financial crimes unit are produced. Follow the money. In a related event, grand jury subpoenas have issued to associates of Michael Flynn for financial records.

This, to at least my way of looking at things, gives a pretty big incentive to fire Comey. Remember, Dolt and his quislings are political neophytes who have no more insight than the last drunk at the end of the bar.

A few words about Comey:  Zealots clad in self-righteousness have committed more injustices than all the despots in history. Comey is, and has always been, a self-righteous arsonist moonlighting as a firefighter.

Nate Silver has done some amazing work and the last installment was published last week. It is definitive. Comey cost Hillary the election. There is no other way to parse the numbers. In a biting indictment of the media, Nate asks a simple question, “Why is the media in denial about it?”

Another point is this: The Comey letter, after duplicate emails were parsed out, was about 12 emails – none of them new and 10 of them were from auto-syncing. That is the legacy of the self-righteous Jim Comey, but I digress.

Now that we know the financial motivation of Dolt 45 to protect his assets, why did he write the letter? It was a strange letter wasn’t it? All the language about Comey telling the Dolt on three occasions he was not a target of any investigation. All the talking heads have talked themselves into a lather about it. Here’s my answer.

Enter Don McGahn. The guy is White House Counsel. A few words about Mr. McGahn: He graduated from either a non-rated law school or the 143rd rated law school in the U.S. since through some mitosis process his law school split into two. Here’s another data point: McGahn was Tom DeLay’s ethics attorney. One final data point: McGahn also defended DeLay in some nasty business regarding Russian oil tycoons making illegal contributions. Ring a bell?

So Don McGahn is one to watch throughout these coming weeks. My bet, he’s not too bright, but for what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up in sleaze. So why would Dolt 45 put that strange language into the Comey termination letter?

To a legal mind like McGahn, he was building a defense to obstruction of justice, i.e., you can’t have intent to obstruct if you know you aren’t under investigation. It’s dumb, but it is the only plausible explanation from a legal standpoint. One clue: When you see Don McGahn’s name in any article look for a whole lot of stupid to follow.

That brings me full circle with all the actors. Dolt 45 made such a horrendous mistake by firing Comey and then lying about it. He’s torpedoed his press office. He’s torpedoed his own credibility. And his most achingly stupid move is crossing Comey. Remember, Comey is the guy whose reputation was built in a hospital room over the pained and protesting body of John Ashcroft by getting in the face of Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card.  Now who do you think leaked that little vignette?

There are no good guys here. There are only degrees of bad. Dolt 45 will resign. It won’t be dramatic. The incentive will be keeping his money. He has no shame so that is not even an inkling of a consideration. He knows he will be able to command headlines for the rest of his miserable life just like Nixon did. A good person to ask about that might be Henry Kissinger – oh yeah, didn’t he visit the White House this week?

So put on your orange-tinted glasses and watch Dr. Evil talk about his life.  Does he remind you of anyone?

What’s on your mind today?

 

The caption reads: History Repeats Itself – The Robber Barons Of the Middle Ages And The Robber Barons of Today

And there is a bigger copy of the image here

** so said Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

 

Good Tuesday Widdershins!

So have you ever heard that phrase or one similar that goes something like “I know a friend of a friend of…the police chief, the Mayor…” or someone else that implies the person knows the high muckety-mucks and that relationship can help…you.  That’s a pretty good description of an event that was held at the Ritz Carlton in Beijing this past weekend. The event was sponsored by the Kushner crime uh family.

The shindig was an “investment opportunity” for wealthy Chinese citizens to plunk a cool half million dollars into a Kushner luxury apartment complex in Jersey.  And it has the additional sweetener that by plunking down said $500k you can also apply for what’s known as an investor visa.   That program is called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Process.  I might refer to it as “grease the skids on getting entrance to the U.S.”.

And of course it was all on the up and up.  Of course.  And we know it was on the up and up because it included Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared’s sister.  And of course she was introduced just that way, as Jared’s sister.  And these people knew exactly who Jared Kushner is; the son-in-law of the President of the United States.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.  [me – I wonder if they ran that line past Col. Cornpone and Steve Bannon?  Those two might now want any of these yellow people getting into ‘Merica.]

Gawd, do these people, any of them, have any shame or is it all about the almighty dollar, regardless of what it looks like.

The event underscores the extent to which Kushner’s private business interests have the potential to collide with his powerful role as a top official in his father-in-law’s White House, particularly when it comes to China, where Kushner has become a crucial diplomatic channel between Beijing and the new administration.

While Kushner has reported divesting from elements of the family business, including the specific project that his sister pitched in Beijing, the session Saturday demonstrated that the company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration. Ethics laws prohibit government officials from profiting personally from their public-sector work.

Divest, my backside.  The family will be holding Jared’s share for after he leaves government, ya know…after the impeachment.

Still, it’s the image of what this implies.

Watchdogs and ethics experts on Saturday criticized the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner’s newfound proximity to power.

“It’s incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate,” said Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, who has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration. “They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa. . . . They’re [Chinese applicants] not going to take a chance. Of course they’re going to want to invest.”

And this particular type of visa has become very popular with the Chinese, especially as a way to get their money out of China.

Also, it has become a source of getting dubious investment dollars without really following through on what it was designed for.

The program was launched with the goal of securing investment and creating jobs. But instead, in recent years, many real estate developers have used the program as a source of cheap financing by using foreign investors, especially from China, for flashy projects in Manhattan and other city centers.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2015 found the EB-5 program carried a high risk of fraud, was rife with counterfeit documentation and had “no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners.”

In other words, a way to finance Trump and Kushner investments and real estate.

 

There’s much more at the link, so check it out when you can.

Lastly, real life issues came up with Prolix so I took today’s post.  I apologize for such an un-Prolix type of post.  It will make us appreciate all the more, the real deal when he has time to post again.  Of course this is an open thread.

 

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

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