The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘pandemic’ Category

I can hardly believe it, but it’s Thanksgiving next week, Widdershins! I hope you’re all going to take some time to relax. Two viruses – the pandemic and the Republican virus of vaccine and mask resistance – have cast a pall over holiday gatherings this year. The pandemic is the one affecting Thanksgiving for me. I am thankful that my family is all vaxxed, AND, that I am seeing my aunt and uncle from Baltimore for the first time since the Rona reared its ugly head. We’ll still need to get negative PCR tests before we can go inside my brother’s house for Turkey and Tofurkey Day (my sister-in-law is vegetarian), but it’s worth it to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Despite the wretched Rittenhouse verdict, we had a lot to be thankful for this week. President Biden signed the BIF and Speaker Pelosi got the Build Back Better bill signed in the House. Now, the bill goes to the Senate, but thanks to the reconciliation process, only Democrats need to vote for it. Despite Manchinema saying they’ll wait for the CBO report to say how they vote, the report is coming soon, and I don’t think they’ll make a lot of trouble after what happened in New Jersey and Virginia. Oh, and remember how McConnell insisted a couple of months ago that he would absolutely, totally, NOT vote yes on raising the debt ceiling on December 15? Looks like he and Chuck are talking about it now. Something tells me Chuck will get what he wants.

I hope you all will indulge me as I take a minute to marvel at what the Democrats have accomplished so far. The Party has had full control of the federal government only since February 3, 2021, when Schumer and McConnell agreed on power-sharing in the Senate. Given that metric, it’s been nine and a half months.

We have been so traumatized and terrified by the hostile maladministration of Rethugs that we are not used to any good news coming from government sources. I believe this trauma, in combination with our blatantly fascist media, are what’s preventing us from appreciating the revolutionary nature of this time in our political history. There has not been a truly significant investment in the 99% since the Affordable Care Act – and even that was weak sauce compared to what’s being passed now. I can only compare the current furious activity to the New Deal, without the racism of that legislation. And Democrats are doing it all with a majority of 1 vote – the revolutionary, first Black and Asian woman Vice President Kamala Harris. (PRESIDENT Kamala Harris for a few hours this week! Incredible!)

I have often said that the job of President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. 350 million souls, so many of them suffering due to social and economic inequality; and the rest of the world, looking to Biden for leadership, aid and partnership – with a few countries trying to destroy him and America from the inside. Imagine coming into that job after almost 27 years of Rethug destruction, plus a global pandemic that has been botched almost beyond repair, with a forever war to end in Afghanistan and an ongoing attempted coup added in for good measure!

Leaders talented enough to take on this job successfully need two traits in combination. One is, the ability to communicate a shared purpose that people can believe in; and the other is the ability to build the right team to drive it forward.

I think Pelosi and Schumer have been able to wrangle the Democrats into passing these historic bills not just because they too are very talented leaders (they certainly are!), but also because Biden has convinced Congressional Dems that his purpose is the right one. (This doesn’t count the Squad, of course, but they’re DINOs.) His purpose to me is quite simple: let’s join the 21st century so China and Russia don’t destroy us. He’s looking ahead strategically and seeing how many of our people are mired in poverty, illness and incarceration without access to the Internet, child care, education and healthcare. This state of the Union makes us less competitive on the world stage, holding us back from making progress on difficult problems like climate change and clean energy. Every initiative Biden has put forward has been consistent with this purpose; whether it’s the American Rescue Plan, which included an increased Child Tax Credit that has already cut child poverty by 50%; or the BIF, which includes billions for clean water and renewable energy; or the Build Back Better Act, which in its current form regulates the cost of child care, provides four weeks of paid parental and sick leave for all American workers, provides free universal pre-K for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and boosts Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, as well as containing $500 billion to address climate change. Women’s rights are far from forgotten – the latest annual budget proposal drops the Hyde Amendment for the first time since 1976, as well as the less-known Weldon Amendment that works in tandem with it, and includes historic amounts of funding for Title X and access to abortion. And let’s not forget the executive orders he’s signed to mandate vaccines in workplaces through OSHA, and block the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For more details, this poster on Twitter always has receipts.

Biden’s ability to build a stellar team is on display all day, every day. From our marvelous VP Kamala Harris, who (despite getting the Hillary treatment from the media) is succeeding on multiple fronts, to his diverse and talented Cabinet, Chief of Staff and Press Secretary, all of his team are on point, on message and doing what needs to be done.

There is plenty of bad that’s going on in this world, but today, I’m thankful for what the Democrats have done for the American people. And today and every day, I’m thankful for all of you Widdershins who have kept me going through good times and bad, for lo, these many years.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Open thread as always.

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.

 

Good weekend Widdershins

We interrupt your normal musical weekend for breaking news

As “they” say, the chickens have come home to roost.  Trump and Melanie were diagnosed with the rona.  The announcement came at around 1:00 this morning and by the late afternoon apparently symptoms had progressed to the point that he was medivacked on Marine 1 to Bethesda Military hospital this afternoon.  It appears at this time that Hope Hicks was the “superspreader”.  The number of people who have tested positively has grown exponentially which makes sense in a White House that frowned on wearing masks.

Among the people who have tested positive positive:

  • President Donald Trump
  • First lady Melania Trump
  • White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
  • Three White House reporters
  • One White House staffer
  • The Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame University (Jenkins was at the White House Saturday, when Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame for 15 years before Trump nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.)

 

Other tidbits:

  • Pence and “mother” tested negatively (for now?) He’s been jumping up and down shouting “I’m ready, I’m ready” but so far Trump has not turned over the keys to the kingdom, at least not yet.
  • Supposedly Trump was “spooked” when he got the rona diagnosis.
  • There has not been a meeting with the Gang of Eight from Congress to update them on the situation although I believe that would be a normal procedure.
  • Trump received a “full dose” of an experimental antibody cocktail under “compassionate use” criteria.

In the good news category, Joe and Jill Biden tested negatively for the virus, and I am very happy to hear that.

Take the conversation wherever you wish but including gossip is good and cheap gossip is even better.

Infamous open thread.

Happy long weekend Widdershins

So Memorial Day is officially on the 25th, Monday.  In many parts of the country it was also previously known as Decoration Day and is a day to honor and mourn those who were in the military and lost their lives while serving in the armed forces.  You can kind of see that in the image above.

I’m sure there will be many among us who will indeed go to lay wreaths or flowers at the graves of those they have known who died while “serving”.  Of course since the day officially falls on Monday there will be plenty of time on Friday and Saturday to get in their barbecues and other normal celebrations for the weekend.  Exactly how those celebrations occur remains to be seen but if tRump had his way it would be full speed ahead and damn the virus.

However this year let’s think of some other dead we could say died because of their country.  Let’s go ahead, round up, and say the one hundred thousand who have died from or due to complications of covid-19.  We should honor these souls because it is all too possible that we could have had fewer deaths from the virus if our incompetent President* been able or willing to get his shit together instead of blaming everyone else.  And when I refer to those souls I mean the patients, first responders, and all of the health care workers who lost their lives among many others.. Sorry tRump there will be something else to add to that asterisk after your name in the history books:  impeached and failed the country.

Charles Ives: Decoration Day

Open thread and be safe.

Happy (?) weekend Widdershins

So as you can see from the top, we’ll call this one cabin fever weekend.  It really was one today because with several rounds of severe thunderstorms I really couldn’t even get out to do a bit of walking.  Bubba would not even come when it was dinner time and I had a nice Popeyes chicken breast that I tore apart for him.  So it’s back in the fridge and I’ll try later today (since it’s now Sunday).

For the scientifically inclined Widdershins, thinking of you Luna and Quixote, I saw this site mentioned on Maddow’s show.  It’s called the Covid-19 compiler. When you go to the first page you see a map of the entire U.S.  It allows you to hover over a particular county in each state to get info on the number of cases.  You can also look at demographic data and that allows you to drill down a bit further. Further, if you click on “Insights” it will give you a host of topics they have researched.  I looked it over a couple of times but honestly I just did not want to get even more depressed over this mess.

On to some music.

The following are just a couple of things I heard on the all music classical dealio on cable.  They sounded nice at the time so I jotted down the info for the pieces.

* * *

* * *

You may recognize this from Amadeus

* * *

* * * *

Okay shinners that’s all I got but just remember:

Take the discussion wherever you wish.

 

 


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