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Would be just as horrifying.

When I was at the conference two weeks ago, I heard Condi Rice talk about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. She remained mostly non-partisan, but one critique she leveled at Biden was that she said he shouldn’t have called Putin a war criminal. She said she would have waited before making that strong statement.

I wonder how Condi feels about that position now?

We’ve been talking about what to call this ongoing immeasurable cruelty being perpetrated by Russia. The term “genocide” typically means that many more people have been killed than have been killed in Ukraine as of yet, so we’ve been wondering if that word applies. I think in this case, what’s being done is the intention of genocide. Zelenskyy said something like this.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of the the Russian federation, and this is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated,” Zelenskyy said through a translator, pointing out that the alleged atrocities are happening in “the Europe of the 21st century.”

If Putin had his way, does anyone doubt that he would wipe Ukrainians off the face of the earth? After all, Soviet Russia did it before. It was called the Holodomor, and it was a man-made famine that happened in 1932-1933, under Joseph Stalin.

The overlying causes for the famine are still disputed. Some scholars suggest that the man-made famine was a consequence of the economic problems associated with changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialisation.[26][27][28] There are also those who blame a systematic set of policies perpetrated by the Soviet government under Stalin designed to exterminate the Ukrainians.[11][56][25] According to Stephen Wheatcroft, the grain yield for the Soviet Union preceding the famine was a low harvest of between 55 and 60 million tons,[57]: xix–xxi  likely in part caused by damp weather and low traction power,[58] yet official statistics mistakenly reported a yield of 68.9 million tons.[59] Mark Tauger has suggested an even lower harvest of 45 million tons based on data from 40% of collective farms which has been criticized by other scholars.[59] While Wheatcroft rejects the genocide characterization of the famine, he states that “the grain collection campaign was associated with the reversal of the previous policy of Ukrainisation[60] and that “[Wheatcroft and his colleague’s] work has confirmed – if confirmation were needed – that the grain campaign in 1932/33 was unprecedentedly harsh and repressive.”[61] Historian Stephen G. Wheatcroft lists four problems Soviet authorities ignored that would hinder the advancement of agricultural technology and ultimately contributed to the famine:[61]

As the Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said tonight on MSNBC, “All those people who said ‘never again,’ they need to help us prevent ‘never again’ from happening.” She followed that statement with pleas for weapons and equipment to protect their skies, their people from being massacred.

Let’s hope we do something to stop this soon. My heart and soul are sickened by this slaughter.

Open thread as always…but I’ll leave you with some good news, because we really, really need it. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be our first Black, female Supreme Court Justice, and there’s nothing the QOP can do to stop it.

Hello Widdershins!

Can you believe it’s still March of 2022? This has been another year of nothing but shenanigans. It feels like we haven’t stopped falling off a cliff since 2016. Just when you think things won’t get crazier, they do. It’s like that old Russian saying: We thought we hit rock bottom. Then someone knocked from underneath.

Speaking of Russia: today in his powerful speech from Berlin, Joe Biden said that Putin can’t remain as leader of Russia. Naturally the media is now tripping over itself that Biden was calling for a regime change in Russia. Well duh. But he wasn’t really saying that, although we are all thinking it. Except Hungary’s mini dictator Viktor Orbán. He’s fine with everything as is. But everyone else knows that nothing will get better in Europe until Putin is gone. We don’t care where he goes, but he can’t stay there. I don’t know if he’s a madman or not, but people are finally realizing he’s not really that bright. His invasion of Ukraine was a clusterfuck from day 1. The estimates of dead Russian soldiers is as high as 15,000 (that’s the Ukrainian estimate; NATO’s estimate is a little lower, but still astronomical.) For reference: if the number is close to 15,000 dead Russian soldiers, that’s as many dead soldiers in 4 weeks as Russia lost in Afghanistan in 10 years of its disastrous occupation there. Putin clearly expected a) Zelenskyy would flee and that b) Ukrainians would welcome him with open arms. Neither thing happened. If Putin expected to win Ukrainians’ hearts and minds, he instead of killed decades of brotherly love between the two peoples. It’s not coming back. Ukraine now sees Russia on par with Nazis. And with good reason.

We also got some banana fireworks at the Senate confirmation hearings of Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson. She is likely going to be confirmed, but that didn’t stop Republicans (their brightest stars: Cruz, Graham, Hawley, Blackburn, Sasse, Cotton, Grassley!) from making asses of themselves, foaming at the mouth, and throwing QAnon at KBJ. They tried, they really tried, to break her down. She didn’t budge. Though I can’t even imagine how horrific those days of testimony were.

And speaking of horrific and foaming at the mouth: Ginni Thomas. WT actual F? We knew she was a rabid QAnon clown, and we knew she paid for some busses to take people to the insurrection on 1/6. But the 1/6 Commission released text messages between her and Mark Meadows in which she urged him to not allow Biden to become POTUS. Clarence Thomas, conveniently, got an infection just as the story broke. He spent a mysterious week at the hospital, nobody saying what actually he was sick with. He was probably sick with the case of Ginni Thomas. And let us never forget Thomas voted – the only justice to do so – to not allow 1/6 related text messages to be turned over to the 1/6 Commission. I mean, does anyone believe it was a coincidence that he voted to block release of those messages and we find out his wife was an active participant in all the texting? Well, Republicans don’t care. Even though Ginni Thomas is everything Republicans think Hillary Clinton is. There is no accountability for Republicans.

This is an open thread.

Shinners, I still believe Sinema and Manchin will do the right thing about the filibuster in the end, hopefully by Labor Day. After all, their re-elections depend on Democrats in their states being able to vote. But man, it is totally infuriating to see them dig in and act so idiotic about their Republican colleagues, who only got all those judges (including the Supreme Court justices) passed through because they amended the filibuster. Worshiping at the altar of bi-partisanship while the opposition Party has become fascist and traitorous, is nothing short of brain-dead. And I do credit Manchin and Sinema with, at least, the instinct to politically survive.

The frustration with these Senators is not only coming from progressives, liberals and Joe Biden. It’s coming from former GOP as well.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods urged Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) to agree to kill the filibuster or resign from office on Friday.

Sinema and Manchin have both faced heavy criticism for the opposition to eliminate or change the rule, which effectively requires most bills to have the support of 60 senators in a chamber that is currently split 50-50. Republicans used the rule for the first time in the Senate‘s current session last week to block the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the violent January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Woods, who served as Arizona’s Republican attorney general from 1991 to 1999, was a prominent backer of Sinema’s 2018 Senate campaign after switching parties during the same year. He now says that both Sinema and Manchin no longer belong in office if they remain unwilling to kill the filibuster in order to pass Democratic voting rights legislation.

“I do think that Sen. Sinema and every senator should support ending the filibuster for the voting rights bill,” Woods told HuffPost on Friday. “To keep the Jim Crow filibuster while losing some of these basic voting rights that are central to our democracy is preposterous.”

I know that Sinema and Manchin aren’t dumb, and I continue to hope this adherence to a racist and dangerous Senate rule is a clown show meant to impress their conservative voters in Arizona and West Virginia. But as Forrest Gump would say, Stupid is as Stupid Does. Right now, the stoopid – it burnssssss.

Feel free to post any songs that remind you of stupidity. Open thread, as always!

It seems that 99.9% of all political sex offenders are always Republicans, but the .01% of Democrats all seem to come from New York! I’m annoyed, pissed off and disappointed at how these New York Democratic men have been conducting themselves over the past several years. Governor Cuomo is only the latest example of Manhattan Men Behaving Badly (and frankly, I want him to wait out the investigation because something smells Al Franken-y about this one). Is there something in the water?!

2008 – Governor Eliot Spitzer, a rock star of the Party and seemingly headed for higher office, was caught using prostitutes – and didn’t hide the money trail so well either.

The investigation of Spitzer was initiated after North Fork Bank[1] reported suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as required by the Bank Secrecy Act, which was enhanced by Patriot Act provisions, enacted to combat terrorist activity such as money laundering.[2] Spitzer had at least seven liaisons with prostitutes from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000 for their services. Federal agents had him under surveillance twice in 2008.[3][4][5] According to published reports, investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years – first while he was attorney general, and later as governor.[6][7][8] Governor Spitzer, referred to as “Client 9” in an affidavit filed in US Federal Court,[9] arranged to meet at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on February 13, 2008 with a prostitute named “Kristen”. “Kristen” was later identified as 22-year-old Ashley Dupré.[10][11] She intended to travel from New York City for the planned tryst and Spitzer agreed in advance that he “would be paying for everything—train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini-bar or room service, travel time and hotel”.[12] After the meeting on February 13, 2008, Spitzer paid her $4,300 in cash.[13] The payment included $1,100 as a deposit with the agency toward future services.[14]

2011 – Next there was Democrat Anthony Weiner, an up-and-coming seven-term New York Representative whom MadamaB saw speak at a single-payer advocacy group meeting (he was terrific) – but alas, he couldn’t keep it in his pants either, and ended up several years later disgraced, divorced from Hillary’s BFF Huma Abedin, and registered as a sex offender. WTAF!

2018 – Now this one was ugly and mind-boggling. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (yes I voted for him!) was a long-time favorite in the Empire State. He had a history of advocacy for liberal causes, including the cause of protecting women from harassment and abuse.

In its first year in office, the Trump administration sought to scrap numerous Obama-era environmental regulations which Trump had often referred to as an impediment to business.[40] Saying, “Over and over again, the Trump administration has put the profits of multinational polluters over the health and well-being of everyday Americans,” Schneiderman filed over 50 lawsuits opposing Trump’s environmental revisions.[41]
In February 2018, Schneiderman brought a civil rights lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, alleging the company “repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination”. The lawsuit delayed the sale of The Weinstein Company with the Attorney General adding, “Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated.”[42][43]

When it came out that four women had accused Schneiderman of physical and emotional abuse, I really couldn’t believe it, but the women were credible and it was clear he had to resign.

Now in case you were noticing that all these men are Jewish, take heart! There’s a Christian on this list as well.

2021 – New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is caught up in yet another cosmic clusterf*ck. Is he corrupt and a sexual harasser? Is he the victim of a setup a la Al Franken? I don’t know, but frankly, I’m tired of hearing about all this sh*t from New York Democratic men.

Maybe try electing a woman now and then, eh Noo Yawk?

Tawk amongst yerselves!

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.

 


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