The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Well, as Hillary Clinton tweeted, now we know. Some of us have known for a while that Trump was an actual traitor. Not hyperbole traitor, but an actual one in the sense that hetrump-putin-summit-crisis-time-magazine-cover1.jpg literally committed (and continues to commit) treason against his own country. But many others are just waking up right now, in a post-Helsinki press conference world and saying: “Wait, whaaaaaaat?” Samantha Bee did a great skit on how shocked everyone is and while Republicans aren’t really shocked – GOP is complicit and they don’t actually care – the most galling part is where members of the media say they’re shocked. Motherfuckers have been reporting the wrong news for about 4 years now. It’s really too bad Hillary didn’t lay out her case for Trump’s treason in an email because maybe then they’d have read it.

I don’t think Trump intends to commit treason. I think he just wants to be rich and powerful. That’s why he accepted Putin’s help. To make money. But he’s so stupid it never occurred to him his actions were treasonous. Never crossed his mind. And when it was brought up, he doubled down – because Trump would never not do that. He would never admit he fucked up, never accept responsibility and try to fix it. No, his cover-up is now of gargantuan proportions. NYTimes reported late yesterday that Trump was shown raw intelligence before the inauguration showing that Putin himself gave the green light for the campaign to infiltrate US elections. This means Trump has been covering up his crime with full knowledge of what he was doing since before he was inaugurated. Trump hasn’t been stumbling about in ignorance. No, he knew exactly what Putin did and he continues to this day to deny it. Trump attacks the intelligence community and the FBI, never Putin. He still, to this day, has not said one bad thing about Putin. At the presser, when he was asked if there was anything he would fault Russia for he responded with a direct criticism of the US instead. “We have been foolish.” What does Putin have on Trump? I don’t think it’s just a pee tape, at least not in the way Steele described in his dossier. If it’s a sex tape of some kind, it’s more than just hookers peeing on a bed. It may be Trump being peed on in the bed. Or it’s money. There’s a reason for why Trump has not released his tax returns. What the bloody hell is in those tax returns that he prostrates himself before Putin in front of TV cameras?

One other important point on the news that Trump was briefed with raw intelligence on what Putin did. The intelligence included information from a source very close to Putin. This is significant because normally a newspaper would have been asked to leave out details like that because it would put people in harm’s way. The fact that the Times published that info suggests that they know the source is already burned (and likely dead.) And to that point, Trump was shown this information two weeks before he was inaugurated. On January 27 reports started coming in raising red flags on surprise purges in Putin’s inner circle. All those Russians dropping like flies we were tracking in 2017? That started after Trump was shown the raw intelligence. And it wouldn’t be the last time the Trumps betrayed intel like that. Remember all those Saudi purges, which likely came from intelligence given to them by Jared Kushner.

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Also, let me mention the list of evidence Bob Mueller says he will present in court in the government’s case against Paul Manafort. The list includes about 30 emails and text messages and memos Tad Devine sent Paul Manafort through 2014, just a few months before he became chief strategist for Bernie Sanders. These communications are presented as evidence of crimes being committed. Think about that!

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Paul Manafort in the middle; Tad Devine to Manafort’s immediate right; and Konstantin Kilimnik – also under indictment by Mueller – is in the blue shirt on the left.

I wonder what new devilry Friday news dump will bring.

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Good Wednesday Widdershins!

 

 

(NOTE:  It’s difficult as hell to write a post a few days ahead and attempt to have the topic be timely.  Ya just can’t keep up with this stuff)

Our madamab is once again traveling and as they say on the teevee “on assignment” so I’m stepping here to lend a hand.

In some of my online readings a few days ago I stumbled upon this piece in Politico which, as the saying goes, left me gobsmacked.  In essence the piece says that according to a poll conducted by Monmouth University, more than three fourths of the respondents contacted said they believe that the “major news outlets” report “fake news”.  Heavens-to-Betsy!  I am so sick of hearing that phrase fake news.

From the Politico piece concerning the poll respondents said:

they believe that major traditional television and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday, marking a sharp increase in distrust of those news organizations from a year ago, when 63 percent registered concerns about the spread of misinformation.

And further, of those folks:

31 percent said they believe those media outlets spread “fake news” regularly, and 46 percent said it happens occasionally.

And guess what?  It’s not just the Trumpsters and Repubs who believe this about fake news.  From Monmouth:

The belief that major media outlets disseminate fake news at least occasionally has increased among every partisan group over the past year, including Republicans (89% up from 79% in

2017), independents (82% up from 66%), and Democrats (61% up from 43%). In addition to the fact that a clear majority of Democrats now believe that traditional media outlets report fake news at least occasionally, the poll also finds that a majority of Republicans (53%) feel this happens on a regular basis (up from 37% in 2017).

I also found this information from Monmouth interesting:

Attention has also focused on the role of social media platforms in the propagation of fake news. Nearly 9-in-10 Americans (87%) believe that outside groups are trying to plant fake news stories on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. More than two-thirds (71%) say this is a serious problem – including 81% of Republicans, 69% of independents, and 67% of Democrats.

I found that number of Repubs interesting since we all know now that a good bit of that fake news was generated to benefit the Repubs and the talking yam in particular.  So I wonder if those Repubs who were polled know that yes there’s fake news because their supporters, backers and dark money sources were responsible for it?  Perhaps not and it’s just typical Republican paranoia because the Monmouth piece also said:

[Note: the interviews for this poll were conducted prior to recent stories about Cambridge Analytica’s data mining of Facebook user profiles, which, while not directly a “fake news” issue, is related to the topic.]

So there’s that, I guess.

But further, what the hell even is “fake news”?  Margaret Sullivan from Wapo attempts to answer that.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Sullivan contends (and I agree with her) that the original idea of “fake news” has been twisted and turned around from its original meaning.

I’ve been arguing for more than a year that the term should be shunned because its original meaning — that is, fabricated stories intended to fool you — has been so purposely blurred and tainted.

Sullivan explains the difference (and btw, I think that some of the “fake news” stories can also fall into the category of clickbait ).

Are we talking about factual journalism that a politician doesn’t like (for example, The Washington Post’s reporting on the sexual misconduct of former Alabama judge Roy Moore, which his wife labeled “fake news”)? Or about flat-out lies such as “the pope has endorsed Donald Trump” that circulated on social media during the presidential campaign?

Altogether, this poll is not good news for the Fourth Estate.  Let’s face it, the number of folks out there who fall into the category of Republican and paranoid is large.  As the image at the top says, ignorance can be educated and crazy (paranoid) medicated, but that damned stupid…nope ya can’t fix that.

Open thread of course and also what’s on your minds today?

About the video below:  Just because there’s a sign that reads “live music” doesn’t necessarily mean live music = good music. 

 

 

Good (?) Sunday/Monday Widdershins

So this post won’t be a light-hearted affair.  Rather, I’ll be sharing some sad songs, songs about death and loss.

We saw a tragic incident in FL Wednesday of this week when seventeen young people had their lives snuffed out by a “loner” or a guy who “acted weird”.  Nikolas Cruz had been receiving counseling or some other form of mental health treatment but stopped going to the appointments.  We’ll never know if this could have been averted had he continued his appointments.  One thing we do know is that it’s time for another ban on any and all assault weapons.  We simply do not need to have AR15s or AK47s on the street.

(1) Modest Mouse~Ocean Breathes Salty

(2) Eric Clapton~Tears In Heaven

(3) Frank Turner~Long Live The Queen

(4) Warren Zevon~Keep Me In Your Heart

(5) Radiohead~Videotape

(6) The Beatles~Let It Be

(7) Mozart Requiem~Lacrimosa

 

Requiescat in pace

Open thread.

 

Good Sunday and Monday Widdershins!

Saturday January 20th 2018 showed us that the Women’s March of 2017 was not just a one shot deal of protest mainly against Donald J. tRump.  Once again women turned out by the hundreds of thousands in New York, Los Angeles, Oklahoma and even across the globe in Canada, the UK, Japan, Italy and other countries. Further, on the 21st of January there was a huge rally in Las Vegas with the theme of Power to the Polls with the goal of registering one million new voters ahead of the mid-term elections in November.

Also, the #metoo movement is staying strong, with the latest news concerning Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn being accused of sexual harassment of dozens of women. Despite Wynn’s denials the story must have legs because Wynn has resigned as RNC Finance Chair.

So with these successes in mind, let’s take a look once again at songs dealing with womens empowerment.  While we’ve visited this type of songs before, it’s always great to take a look at them again.

(1) Beyoncé~Run the World (girls)

(2) Demi Lovato~Confident

(3) Aretha Franklin~R-e-s-p-e-c-t

(4) Meghan Trainor~NO

(5) Joan Jett~Bad Reputation

(6) Lady Gaga~Born This Way

(7) Reba McEntire~I’m A Survivor

So there ya go Widdershins – seven songs about surviving and empowering.  I know that you will have others that you’ll add in the comments below.  Open thread of course.

 

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Good morning Widdershins,

2017 is quickly approaching its end. Remember when in 2016 we were all really upset because all the celebrities were dying? Well, I wish we could go back to 2016 again. To hell with the celebrities. But alas, suffer forward we must. What fresh hell 2018 will bring, only time will tell.

Over the past couple of days a few interesting developments. After I’m not sure what number accusation of groping, Al Franken is likely to announce his resignation from the Senate today. Already several of his Democratic colleagues (including Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Claire McCaskill and Chuck Schumer) have called for him to step aside.  (Somewhere Jeff Sessions is ironing his sheets and doing a square dance.) This comes on the heels of John Conyers being forced to resign. Now, the charges against Conyers and Franken are not the same. (And Conyers appears to be more senile than your average Senator to boot.) Conyers finally said he’ll leave, but he’s not happy and he’s endorsed a family member to take his place. That’s not how that’s supposed to work, but we are living in the age of Trump where Ivanka and Jared are senior White House advisors, so why not let someone from the Conyers family take over?

Problem is Conyers is not leaving quietly. The Congressional Black Caucus is angry too. They think Conyers was treated differently. Certainly as a Democrat he has. Blake Fahrenthold is still in Congress. And Trump is in the White House. And Roy Moore will probably end up in the Senate. But Conyers must go. And now so does Franken. At this point I’m still not convinced Franken should be forced to resign. (There’s also the case of the NJ Senator Bob Menendez, who was on trial for corruption… That’s a whole other kettle of fish.) Main part of my hesitation for any Democrat to resign is…it achieves nothing except make some Democrats feel good about themselves. And that’s fine: principles, higher ground, moral superiority, blah blah. Republicans don’t care. None of this matters to them. They have managed to change the narrative from Roy Moore to Franken and Conyers. Democrats are leaving, Republicans are going in. Nothing matters. Do Democrats need to stop acting morally superior? I think there’s a case to be made for that. Enough with playing by the rules! Bring a bazooka to a knife fight! Alas…plastic utensils to a nuclear war it is. And Republicans will win every fight because they just don’t care.

In a media madness moment, consider this:Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 11.39.30 PM.png

Chozick is a New York Times reporter. She covered Hillary’s campaign and she is now writing a book. (Of course she is. The list of people who have made money off of the Clintons is long and deplorable.) The article spends an obscene (so normal by NY Times standards) amount of time talking about Hillary Clinton. So Chozick is highlighting how Harvey Weinstein is Hillary’s fault. When people called Chozick out on this, she came back with: “Who said it was Hillary’s fault? More like a stunning # of men accused of bad behavior.” Sure sure Amy. While trying to point out how many bad men there are she naturally could only express herself via Hillary. The Clinton Derangement Syndrome is as strong as it ever was in the NY Times. I am glad to no longer have a subscription.

Happy (?) Weekend Widdershins!

[NOTE: never liking to waste anything I decided not to waste
this post from last weekend because – why not?]

 

 

As I said in the comments on DYB’s post I’m not going to do a musical or movie post this weekend for a couple of reasons.  Once again I’m at a loss for a theme for a musical post and second, I have some bookmarks I want to use before they go too stale.

New Blood in B’ham politics

You may have heard that the city of Birmingham (AL) elected a new mayor this past week.  He is a young black man, Randall Woodfin, who is 36, making him one of the youngest people to be elected as mayor since 1893.  He defeated the incumbent, William Bell, who has been mayor since 2010.  While I’m almost always in favor of new blood in politics, especially when there’s an entrenched incumbent with all of the baggage that goes with that, I was surprised at who wants to help claim credit for the win.

(Bernie) Sanders recorded a robo-call that went out Monday night, telling voters identified as loyal progressives that Woodfin would fight for “Medicare for All” and racial justice…

Really?  The newly-elected mayor of a medium sized southern city is going to fight for Medicare for all?  How?  Please explain exactly how that will work Bernie.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Two other Sanders backed candidates in other states fared well Tuesday night. State Auditor Tim Keller won 39 percent of the vote in the first round of the Albuquerque’s mayoral race, 16 points ahead of his nearest Republican challenger. And in Los Angeles, Sanders campaign veteran Wendy Carrillo led in the first round of a race for an open seat in the state assembly, with 21 percent of the vote.

Congratulations to Mayor-Elect @WoodfinForBham for running a great grassroots and winning campaign. I look forward to working with him,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted.

You get back to me Bernie on how that’s gonna work out, mkay?

And then there’s this from Politico:

Bernie backers give Dem incumbents a pass in 2018
You can read the Politico piece at the link

 

That’s good to know because we really don’t need Sanders or Nina Turner to start stirring shit up and holding candidates to some type of “purity” test.  From HuffPo:

Turner was interviewed by Collier Meyerson and askedHow will Our Revolution relate to the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, that kind of establishment that so many activists and politicians, including you, have frequently criticized?” Her response was I don’t think it is our job nor our obligation to fit in. It’s their job to fit in with us.”  (bolding mine)That mirrors how Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has handled his entire political career. It is also why he has few real accomplishments to his name after over forty years in office.

Again from HuffPo:

It may behoove Ms. Turner to take a few moments on this July 4th to reread our constitution and realize to make progress on her goals may require some compromise. That is how the founding fathers set up our government. It doesn’t mean compromising your principles, it does mean working steadily toward your goals.

So we can all kiss and make up?

And finally I have a link to a Charles Pierce piece that basically says everyone from the 2016 Democratic primaries needs to get over the butt-hurt (I’ll add “at least for now”) and not waste the potential opportunities we have in 2018.

If the Democratic Party weren’t so terminally bumfuzzled, and if many of its activists could get over the wounds their delicate fee-fees suffered during the 2016 presidential primaries, the party could see a great advantage in coordinating efforts between the formal party apparatus and what could be described as the progressive shock troops that carried Woodfin to victory in Birmingham.

Okay, I can go along with that.  And I can also go along with this:

…if you can believe it, the Democratic National Committee seems to be slightly baffled about what to do as regards the race for the open U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. The Democratic candidate is Douglas Jones, the former U.S. Attorney who sent to prison the last of the terrorists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. The Republican candidate is a lawless theocratic nutball named Roy Moore, who lost his job as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice because of flagrant judicial misconduct.

It would seem to the casual observer that people generally should realize it to be their patriotic duty to keep Moore out of the Senate for the good of the country. However, as reported by The Daily Beast, the Democratic Party apparatus can’t even decide if it should go all in for Jones.

I’ll leave it to you, Widdershins, to go read the quote or the full Beast article.  I do not want to be responsible for y’all pounding your laptops, tablets, phones or whatever into oblivion when you read it.  I’ll just say this to the DNC, DSCC or whomever:  Get your asses down to Alabama NOW.  Get going with a massive GOTV operation.  You have a chance here – not everyone (despite my personal beliefs) in Alabama is batshit crazy.  I believe folks here want a legitimate, realistic Democratic candidate they can vote for; one that will let them assuage their consciences for not voting for the guy with the “R” behind his name.

Open thread as always.

 

 

 

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It’s been quite the week (quite the 2 years, really.) Of course, the horrific massacre in Las Vegas has taken up the bulk of the news coverage since Sunday night. The murderer seemed to have planned things out quite extensively, including setting up cameras around the hotel and feeding the signal to his tablet, so he could see what was happening outside of the room and knew when the cops were coming. Needless to say, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson dedicated a fair amount of his show on Monday night discussing…Hillary Clinton. Clinton tweeted about the need for gun-laws and the NRA’s death grip on the Senate, so naturally, it had to be addressed. Wait until Fox News finds out Hillary isn’t running in 2020.

But a few other important stories came out over the past few days that I wanted to mention so we don’t forget them.

Because irony committed suicide a million times over the past year, we learned that Javanka had a 3rd (third) private email account on a private server. They forgot to mention this third one to the Senate, like they forgot to mention the other two.

The emails — which include nonpublic travel documents, internal schedules and some official White House materials —were in many cases sent from Ivanka Trump, her assistant Bridges Lamar and others who work with the couple in the White House. The emails to the third account were largely sent from White House accounts but occasionally came from other private accounts.

Then there’s, of course, the issue of several cabinet officials taking private planes for personal business. Tim Price already resigned over it, but he’s not the only one. Scott Pruitt, the evil EPA chief determined to destroy the environment, did lots of flying, as did Steve Mnuchin.

For lunch on April 26, Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, dined with top executives from Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest coal-burning electric utilities, at Equinox, a white-tablecloth favorite of Washington power brokers.

That evening, it was on to BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, for a meal with the board of directors of Alliance Resource Partners, a coal-mining giant whose chief executive donated nearly $2 million to help elect President Trump.

Before those two agenda items, Mr. Pruitt met privately with top executivesand lobbyists from General Motors to talk about their request to block an Obama administration move to curb emissions that contribute to climate change.

There are many more Pruitt meetings with agencies he is supposed to oversee. All while flying on the tax-payer’s private jet dime.

In rather stunning news, the US voted against a UN resolution condemning the execution of LGBTQ people, among others.

[UN resolution] called for the death penalty to be banned “as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations”, as well as criticising its use on minors, mentally ill people and pregnant women.

Of the 47 countries on the Human Rights Council, 27 voted in favour while 13 states voted against.

The United States voted against the motion, alongside Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Cuba, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya all abstained.

And let us cross our fingers, toes, legs, arms, anything we can, about the SCOTUS case dealing with gerrymandering in Wisconsin: Gill vs. Whitford. Though Democrats have won more votes in Wisconsin for the past 8 years, through extensive gerrymandering Republicans (evil Governor Scott Walker) have arranged so that Republicans control all levels of government in the state. That case is now before SCOTUS. After the briefings today, it is obvious that the court is divided along ideological lines. That’s why Gorsuch will be such a catastrophe for our country for generations to come. (Fuck you Bernie, Jill Stein, Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson, etc.) The swing vote will be Kennedy, and observers seemed to think he might have been leaning against Wisconsin. He only asked questions of state officials defending gerrymandering.

“Suppose the court…decided that this is a First Amendment issue, not an equal protection issue. Would that change the calculus?” Kennedy asked as the court debated the legality of the Wisconsin plan. A three-judge panel ruled that the GOP-led legislature tilted the table so sharply against Democrats that it ran afoul of the Constitution.

Kennedy also seemed irked when a lawyer for GOP legislators in Wisconsin would not immediately say whether a state law that explicitly stated a policy to harm either Democrats or Republicans would be illegal.

“If the state has a law or constitutional amendment that’s saying all legitimate factors must be used in a way to favor party X or party Y, is that lawful?” he asked attorney Erin Murphy, adding later: “I’d like the answer to the question.”

Murphy eventually conceded that such a law would be unconstitutional, a concession that seemed to open the door to the idea that a redistricting plan that was hopelessly skewed but contained no explicit partisan goal would also be suspect.

Even John McCain (in a joint statement with Sheldon Whitehouse) said he hopes SCOTUS will rule against Wisconsin. And at the briefing, there was a moment between Gorsuch and the notorious RBG.

The court’s newcomer, Justice Neil Gorsuch, said he worried that states would not know what standard they’re supposed to meet without “having every district subject to litigation.” He compared the tests courts were considering to a steak rub.

“What’s this court supposed to do? A pinch of this and a pinch of that?” he asked.

Gorsuch also seemed to irritate Ginsburg when he suggested that maybe the Supreme Court shouldn’t be intruding on how a state draws lines for state offices. “Where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines?

Moments later, Ginsburg shot back that the court’s been doing just that for years. “Where did one-person, one-vote come from?” she said.

I am not a religious man, but as somebody once said, “Let us pray.”

Of course I must end with Madonna. Fun fact: the solo guitar on this song is played by the uncredited Prince. Madonna and Prince recorded a duet for the “Like a Prayer” album called Love Song. But Prince also played guitar on three additional songs on the album, though his name was not (at his own request) included in the credits at the time: the title track, Keep It Together and Act of Contrition. Once Eric Clapton was asked what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist in the world. He replied: “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”


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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
2.5 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

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