Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.
It’s not. But so said Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s senior advisor with an office on the 2nd floor of the White House (because he doesn’t like stairs), and the first woman to run a winning Presidential campaign. She is also the person who invented the phrase “alternative facts” and the Bowling Green Massacre. (Also fun fact: Conway’s husband, George T. Conway III, is a litigation partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, whose previous notable alumni include Glenn Greenwald.)
Conway’s rise to power and fame has been long and steady. She first gained prominence as a right-wing blond pundit in the 1990s, along with Laura Ingraham and Barbara Olson. Over the years she has worked for Newt Gingrich and Todd “Legitimate Rape” Aikin. In 2016 she endorsed Ted Cruz for President and campaigned for him and against Donald Trump. Her numerous media appearances blasting Trump blasted her into election year stratosphere, so much so that when Cruz folded his wings, Conway was brought to the Trump campaign by the very scary Mercer family. (Mercers are just like the Kochs, but 100% more evil. They own Breitbart, among many other notable acts of devilry.) Once at the helm of Trump’s campaign, Conway really began to shine. Her dizzying feats of triangulation, circular talk and topic avoidance, became an Olympic sport. And it’s really not too crazy to say that she is a yuge reason Trump managed to “win.” She helped humanize him. Somehow, for a very long time, people managed to see Conway as a human herself, even SNL (where she is played by Kate McKinnon) always portrayed her as a good person stuck in an impossible situation working for an awful man, but not knowing how to stop him. (Same fantasies still exist about Ivanka Trump and Melania, contrary to all existing evidence.) That is patent nonsense, of course. Conway knew exactly what she was doing and helped give the world Trump. She is not a victim.
But everything that goes up must come down. And Conway is on her way down. Her TV appearances have dwindled because nobody wants to book her. She was temporary banned from CNN. She has been permanently (?) banned from Morning Schmoe. Shep Smith on Fox openly mocks her. (“…senior adviser Kellyanne Conway — who we don’t quote much anymore because, well, history”). Each time she gives a major interview she invents a crazy story (Bowling Green Massacre and spying microwaves are most notable over the past few weeks.) She also got a fair amount of… shall we call it “alternative feedback” to a photo of her sitting on the couch in the Oval Office with her feet up while surrounded by a large group of black men. Granted, she was prepping to take a photograph and that was one way to do it. (One way, not the only way). But when you combine all the nonsense, Conway really does seem to be coming undone and unhinged.
In a February piece in the New York Times, Erin Gloria Ryan, summarized her growing dislike for Conway, which to her centers on Conway’s faux feminism.
Once she took the reins of Donald Trump’s campaign, though, she went from smooth to slippery. She’d hammer Hillary Clinton for talking too much about gender and duck behind her femininity in the face of legitimate criticism. If she succeeded, it was because she was Kellyanne. If she failed, it was because she was a woman.
As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women.
Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.
In different, lighter and more empowering news: it took 188 years for Fanny Mendelssohn to get some recognition she deserves, but better late than never. Fanny was the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, one of the great Romantic composers, who – among many great works of music – gave us the Wedding March. In 1829 he is said to have written a piano sonata. The manuscript, which was discovered in the 20th century, was autographed “F Mendelssohn” and the assumption was that it was Felix’s. But in 2010 a Duke graduate student proved that “F” was Fanny, not Felix, and last week the work was finally performed with Fanny’s name attached as composer. We actually know that Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. It was unusual for women to openly composer and publish, so Felix arranged to have a handful of her works published under his name. In 1842, when visiting Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, the Queen told Felix that she intended to sing one of his songs for him. Felix confessed that the song was actually composed by his sister. Fanny died in 1847 and is buried in Berlin.
Good Sunday Widdershins!
Happy Sunday to you Widdershins. Alas, I believe the muse has left me. She has flown the coop. Said adios. She left no farewell note nor a forwarding address. SAD!
After umpteen “light” posts I believe I have gone through the gamut, when considering politics and since November the election of the Orange one. I have done music or movie posts on:
- Outrage – done that
- Rage – been there
- Anger – way too much
- Vengeance – is nice to think about but not too often
- Revenge – See vengence
- And so forth
I feel as if I’ve gone to the well and it’s a duster this time. Sooo, I’ve gathered a collection of political cartoons for us to take a gander at and perhaps get a sad chuckle at them. Enjoy.***
*** I saw this statement in a Charles Pierce article and maybe I’m getting there too:
At some point, I guess, you just have to walk away. Not forever, and not for long. But, sooner or later, you have to arrange one morning where you wake up and deliberately decide not to find out how the country has lost its mind overnight. I’m getting to that point, I have to tell you
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Of course this is a totally open thread.
Good (?) Monday Widdershins
Due to mb being very, very busy with real life and stuff I’m putting this post up to move things along and to provide us with some further topics of discussion.
His orangeness has decided to give D.o.D. a 10% increase in its budget because, you know, there’s never enough money to hand out to Lockheed Martin, Boeing Aerospace, Raytheon, General Dynamics and the like.
President Trump will propose a federal budget that dramatically increases defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, according to an administration official.
The proposal represents a massive increase in federal spending related to national security, while other priorities, especially foreign aid, will see significant reductions.
Yeah because foreign aid is such a large part of the federal budget.
How much of the federal budget goes to foreign aid?
What’s your best guess? 10 percent? 20 percent? 1 percent?
If you’re like most Americans, you probably guessed wrong.
In December, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled 1,505 people. Only 1 in 20 knew the right answer: less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent estimated that 26 percent went toward assisting other countries.
What’s more, our ignorance colors the way we think about foreign spending. Fifty-six percent of the poll respondents thought the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid. Once they were told that the U.S. spends less than 1 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid, only 28 percent still thought the nation was overspending.
Going back to the WaPo piece:
“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said. “We can do so much more with the money we spend.”
The White House did not specify how Trump’s budget would address mandatory spending or taxes, promising that those details would come later. The vast majority of federal spending comes from programs Trump can’t touch with his budget. Social Security costs were approximately $910 billion last year, and Medicare costs outpaced defense spending with a total cost of $588 billion in 2016. Medicaid, interest payments on existing debt, and miscellaneous costs made up an additional $1.2 trillion combined.
Ah the old familiar “do more with less” axiom. Generally it meant that shit just piled up and got backlogged as agencies tried to prioritize the elements of their mission.
More fallout from the alt-right/neo nazis?
Jewish facilities around the nation were rocked by yet another wave of bomb threats Monday, forcing evacuations in at least 12 states.
At least 20 Jewish community centers and day schools in Alabama, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia and Delaware received threatening phone calls, The Huffington Post has confirmed.
This is the fifth wave of threats JCCs have received since the start of the new year.
I just don’t understand it. What is the point in threatening children? You want to discuss terrorism Donnie, try the home-grown version.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that sometimes Jewish community centers and day schools are either “co-located” or near each other. “It is deeply troubling to see that these anti-Semites are expanding their scope to target a broader section of the Jewish community,” Greenblatt said. “These JCCs often house preschools and elder care programs and they often house after-school activities for teenagers.”
There have now been more than 160 bomb threats made to over 60 Jewish community centers since January.
There’s much more at the HuffPo link including a graphic of the number of threats against JCCs.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (the turd) is already hard at work doing what he does best: turning back civil rights to the “golden era” say around 1850 or so.
The Department of Justice is reversing the federal government’s position in an important voting rights case, involving a Texas voter ID law. The switch was not unexpected following the election of Donald Trump and confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Both Trump and Sessions claim voter fraud is a major problem and have backed voter ID laws.
DOJ says it will file a motion later Monday asking a federal court to dismiss the department’s earlier claim that the ID law was enacted with the intention of discriminating against minority voters. That claim was made by the Obama administration as part of a broader legal challenge to the law, which is among the strictest in the nation.
I wish I had Adobe Photoshop or something similar so I could put Col. Cornpone’s face on a garden gnome since that’s about what he reminds me of.
In a written statement, Gerry Hebert of the Campaign Legal Center, which represents some of the plaintiffs, said, “I am appalled and disgusted that DOJ would abandon their claims, that they have advocated for the last six years, that TX’s photo ID law was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose.”
A federal appeals court last year agreed that the law had a discriminatory impact, but asked the lower court to reconsider its findings that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent.
A few other news items in my RSS feed:
Yeah because 20 million people now having health care…SAD!
Alrighty folks. This was literally thrown together in about twenty to thirty minutes so ignore any typos, bad grammar or anything else that reflects a general sloppiness on the part of the writer.
Of course it’s an open thread.
Good (?) weekend Widdershins
What happened yesterday (and I’m writing ahead of time on Wed.) is a travesty and I believe portends a
future for our country that may shake it to its roots and possibly put an end to the American “experiment”. America has elected, and now inaugurated: a liar, a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his bills, a charlatan, a sexist of the first order, and possibly a traitor to the nation. Further, the electorate has chosen to give him control of the legislative branch and with that will also give him the opportunity to turn the Supreme Court decidedly to the right.
Friends, dark times are indeed ahead of us. The House and Senate could not wait a even a minute to start the repeal and unwinding of Obamacare. Nevermind that this could truly be a death knell for individuals (like moi!) who have depended on the exchange to get health insurance. tRump and the Repubtards on the Hill have no concern for those of us in that situation. Further, once Obamacare is completely done away with, our congress critter will be able to once again get their health insurance through the Federal Employees plans. So ask them how much they’ll care if you or I have to get health insurance through a high risk pool.
So this weekend I have no happy, sad, regretful, vengeful or any other types of songs or movies. Instead I’ve got some amusing things I’ve seen across the internet that might give you a little chuckle or two. And I’ll dedicate these to the Frederick County MD social media coordinator who got fired for correcting a student’s misspellings in a tweet.
5. And that is probably why they invented Febreze with Gain scent.
Widdershins, that’s all I have this weekend. Add your thoughts below if you wish. Naturally it’s an open thread.
Breaking news out of Washington is something that’s been discussed before the election (like HRC during a debate, and Harry Reid in a letter he wrote to Comey asking him to explain if there are ties between Trump and Putin.) But with the exception of David Korn and Kurt Eichenwald nobody paid attention. Until now. Why now? Who knows. Maybe Trump just pissed off the CIA too much and they leaked more than is normal. Or maybe CNN wanted to crawl to number 1 spot by publishing the story first, unleashing the flood of what Trump would call “yellow journalism” from everyone else. Now it’s everywhere, the media is treating it like watergate. Twitter is the best though because you don’t need more than 140 characters to discuss the PEEOTUS’ sexual fetishes. Trump and his team have been astonishingly quiet about this. Trump did tweet somethings about FALSE NEWS (capitals not mine). Of course it’s a trap he’s boxed himself into with years of “People say so there must be something to it” mongering. Whether it’s Obama’s birtherism or HRC’s supposed Alzheimer’s. “People say…” His followers have said we live in a world that no longer has such a thing as facts. WikiLeaks takes on a whole new meaning (Assange has already stepped out to defend Trump) and Glenn Greenwald made his name publishing things without sourcing, so here we are. You live by fake news, you die by fake news. I’ve heard people say somewhere on the internet that Greenwald is a pedophile. I don’t have this info myself, it’s just something people say. But besides Trump’s salacious sex stuff, there are issues of greater concern, of course. However, it’s the sexual stuff that will keep the story in the news. Too bad the CIA didn’t e-mail these documents to HRC or John Podesta. Then maybe we would have been reading it about November 8th. But now it’s too late.
We are slouching towards Bethlehem. January 20th approaches and who knows what will come after that. We know Trump is basically a Russian spy and the US has lost the Cold War. But some people are still trying to tar and feather HRC for losing the electoral college. Chief among them is Bernie Sanders. Many are still feeling the bern. I’ve always been told that if a bern lasts more than 4 hours to contact a medical professional. But there is no cure for their rash. Instead of looking towards the Trump/Putin/Pence Presidency, Sanders has been taking a victory lap since November 9th trying to convince everyone that he would have won against Trump.
First, to quote someone famous, at this point what difference does it make? Second, Sanders’ claims are strictly anecdotal anyway. Unless someone has a time machine stashed away and we try the election over again with Sanders, the hypothesis is completely rhetorical. But if we must speculate, in my humble opinion, Sanders would have lost and lost bigly. He would have split the angry white men vote in the rust belt with Trump. (These white supremacists would have voted for a self-described Socialist Jew from Vermont? Are you nuts???) And Sanders would not have brought out the rest of the non-white coalition HRC was able to bring to the polls and win the popular vote by almost
3,000,000. He didn’t bring them out in the primaries and he wouldn’t have brought them out in the general. This is why Bernie’s unending “All White Men In The Rust Belt Matter and Democrats Should Love Them More” tour is so tiresome and unecessary. And as the white Independent Senator from the white state of Vermont continues to slam Democrats for not loving white people enough, I wonder what the non-white Democrats who voted for HRC think about being considered chopped liver, because once again they are told that they are not enough and that white people matter more. I think Democrats will face disaster if they follow Sanders’ line of thinking. Not only will they not get those white people from the rust belt to vote for them later, but they will lose a good number of non-whites who support them and HRC in 2016. Democrats’ solution to the 2016 disaster and the loss of a small football stadium worth of white voters in a few states should be surgical, not a nuke at the entire strategy because HRC’s strategy actually worked. She won by 3,000,000 votes across the nation and I fear that by appointing Sanders as their white people outreach ambassador – an ambassador who insists on using his bully pulpit to continue fighting the 2016 Democratic primaries – they will alienate the strong coalition of non-whites HRC built in 2016.
Speaking of Sanders still fighting the 2016 primary battle – like the South continues to fight the Civil War after all these years – why does Sanders refuse to acknowledge that HRC won the popular vote by almost 3,000,000 souls? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him state this fact. It’s kind an important one. Sanders’ refusal to acknowledge it is similar to his refusal to discuss how terrible caucuses are when he bashes closed primaries for the Democratic nomination. It’s just so convenient for his self-aggrandizing narrative to ignore the popular vote vs. electoral college problem, just as it is inconvenient for him to discuss how terribly undemocratic caucuses are – because he won the caucuses. Sanders is intellectually dishonest. As Drumpf is about to be sworn in as President, Sanders and his Bros continue to wage war against Democrats, not Drumpf. It’s almost as if they don’t know who their actual enemy is…
Speaking of enemies – on Sunday January 8th I attended a “What Do We Do About Drumpf?” meeting in NYC organized by NYC Councilman Corey Johnson. Johnson is something of a hero to the LGBTQ community in NYC because he’s a young, openly gay politician. His life story includes being a popular captain of his high school football team when he came out of the closet in 2000; the story made it as far as the New York Times. His teammates didn’t kick him off the team. Since November 8 he has been organizing these monthly meetings for members of the community to meet and discuss what we are going to do about Drumpf. Last month he had NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio as speaker. On Sunday he had NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. So he’s getting heavy hitters involved, though at this point nobody has any idea about what to do about anything.
Schneiderman’s presentation was fascinating. He discussed the fact that Republicans have managed to take over the country at the local levels because for many years Democrats just didn’t think local elections were that important.
The GOP now controls 69 of 99 legislative chambers across America. They hold nearly two-thirds of the governors’ mansions. And, in 25 states, they have complete control of the government, including both executive and legislative branches. This gives Republicans control of the rules that govern voting and the reapportionment of legislative and congressional districts.
The big takeaway from 2016 is that, despite the public supporting many Democratic positions on policy, Republicans are now reaping the benefits of their 30-year organizing strategy, supported by dozens of mega-wealthy donors. As someone who has recruited and fundraised for state candidates, I know that while Democrats have been great at raising money for presidential candidates, Republicans have an overwhelming advantage as you move down-ballot.
Schneiderman spoke of his own experience trying to raise money for local Senators and Representatives and being dismissed by donors. Result after 30 years of neglect is that Republicans have a whole lot of privileges, which includes gerrymandering. If we thought (and I thought so too) that gerrymandering is something that only happens in red states – we were all a bit stunned to see these maps:
I mean….What In The Actual Fuck?! This is New York City folks.
Big problem New York state faces is that even though Democrats won majority of the votes – a handful of Democrats have chosen to back Republicans to run the NY Senate. They call themselves the Independent Democratic Conference and they have put Republicans in charge. What do they get out of it? Well, they get leadership positions as payment! Yay, Democracy. (Tony Avella of the 11th District, for example, chairs the – I kid you not – Ethics Committee). One wonderful fella, Simcha Felder of District 17 of Brooklyn (with a largely Hasidic and Russian Jewish population), actually ran as both a Democrat and a Republican. He explicitly said he’ll caucus with whomever gives him the better deal. I suppose we should at least praise him for being honest about his lack of principles. Another wonderful Democrat, Marisol Alcantara, of District 31, was a Bernie Sanders delegate. People swear she’s super nice and liberal. But after the Democratic state party didn’t back her candidacy in the primaries she threw her lot with the Independent Democratic Conference, which gave her cash for her campaign, which she won by about 1% over a Democratic challenger, and now she backs Republicans to control NY Senate. Isn’t she wonderful? One woman at the meeting on Sunday stood up to defend her. She said she knows Alcantara personally and Ms. Alcantara is a “magnificent human being” who didn’t get money from the Democrats and “she really wanted to win” so “she did what she had to.” And there ladies and gentlemen, is all we need to know about Ms. Alcantara. “She wanted to win” and “did what she had to.”
The suggestion on what to do about people like Felder and Alcantara (the Independent Democratic Conference has 7 Democrats who caucus with Republicans), is that we need to get in touch with them and make them – shame them to – do what we need them to do. People also noted that we need to be constantly keeping Chuck Schumer in check to make sure he does the right thing. One gentleman said he and about 100 other people protested outside of Schumer’s apartment earlier in the day. He was home but refused to come out and meet them. And this reminded me of the moment in one of the Presidential debates when HRC discussed how Drumpf was bringing cheap steel from China to build his hotels, instead of getting American steel. And Drumpf responded: “Make me stop; pass laws to make me stop.” So this is what we have come to. We shudder at Drumpf saying “make me do the right thing,” but let’s get honest about this: Democrats insist on the same thing. We are supposed to make Schumer and Alcantara do the right thing. Aren’t they supposed to be on our side? Why don’t they just, you know, do the right thing? Corey Johnson pointed out at the meeting on Sunday that when the redistricting in NY was done – Democrats signed off on it. If they had rejected it, courts would have drawn the district lines. But Democrats worked out deals with Republicans to allow these travesties. Just like Obama knew about Drumpf’s ties to Russia – and just let it all slide, along with Mitch McConnell and the rest of them. How is it that members of our own party sell their souls to the devil and then look at us and say: “Make me do the right thing?” The answer might lie with the nice lady at the meeting who said: “She really wanted to win and she did what she had to do.”
Our Prolix is still feeling pretty awful so no posts from him.
I thought I would peruse the political cartoons to give us a laugh or two. Gawd only knows we’ll need it later on.
And speaking of chuckles:
So what’s on your minds today shinners?