The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

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It has been 189 years since You Know Who became president*. There seems to finally be some sort of progress in the Bob Mueller investigation: the Michael Cohen indictments suggest some serious hanky panky and directly implicate Trump. Mueller wouldn’t have mentioned any of that – and Cohen wouldn’t be pleading guilty – if there wasn’t some serious evidence. It is also safe to assume that Mueller didn’t show his entire hand in those filings. But we have no idea what Mueller has or doesn’t have. More importantly – we can’t predict what will happen when he finally reveals the information. We can presume the entire GOP will stand behind Trump. Just look at how they are reacting to the revelations that Trump used campaign money to pay off porn stars:

Orrin Hatch: “I don’t think he was involved in crimes, but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime und the current laws; if you want to you can blow it way out of proportion, you can do a lot of things… President Trump before he became President, that’s another world. Since he’s become President this economy has charged ahead… And I think we ought to judge him on that basis, other than trying to drum up things from the past that may or may not be true.”

Chuck Grassley: “They based it on what a liar says, so it hurts the credibility of it.”

John Kennedy: “Well, let me say this about Mister Cohen: Jesus loves him, but everybody else thinks he’s an idiot. I think most Americans think he’s a sleazoid grifter. I can’t imagine basing any kind of prosecution on the word of Mister Cohen. Do I support violations of the campaign finance act if that indeed happened? Of course not. But the President says it was a private transaction, and it would appear to me that the only evidence is coming from Mister Cohen, whose credibility can be questioned. Duh.”

Do you remember how Hatch and Grassley opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair that came to light during an investigation into a 1970’s land deal? Oh wait a minute, they wanted Bill Clinton impeached and removed from office… Their inconsistency seems odd! But it does tell us that GOP will never ever ever ever turn on Trump. I keep seeing pundits claim that some miraculous event will finally make GOP turn: it’s been 3 years of that and we have seen zero cracks in the facade. The GOP will never turn on Trump. Ever. It’s not because he’s blackmailing them. It’s because they fully support everything he does and stands for. They want more of that. They will support a more extreme candidate next. I remember at CPAC shortly after the election, Kellyanne Conway declared from the stage that when CPAC ends, the GOP will be Trump’s party: she was right about that. GOP and Trump crawled out of the same womb.

One issue that is not only far from being resolved, we have seen no attempt to even try to figure out what happened, is the issue of FBI NY office and the role they played in the 2016 election. Charles Pierce points to a section of Comey’s most recent testimony to the House where he finally explicitly states that the reason he decided to go public with his letter was the leaking of the FBI NY office and his inability to stop them.

“I was concerned that there appeared to be in the media a number of stories that might have been based on communications reporters or nonreporters like Rudy Giuliani were having with people in the New York field office. In particular, in I want to say mid October, maybe a little bit later, Mr. Giuliani was making statements that appeared to be based on his knowledge of workings inside the FBI New York. And then my recollection is there were other stories that were in the same ballpark that gave me a general concern that we may have a leak problem — unauthorized disclosure problem out of New York, and so I asked that it be investigated.”

In a previous testimony I recall Comey said there was an attempt to look into his matter when he was still FBI director, but that investigation seems to have died. Certainly no news has come out that references it in any way. I am surprised (not really!) that no media outlet has pursued this story in any meaningful way. There is a Pulitzer out there for an investigative journalist that digs into this; it doesn’t appear as if anyone is interested though.

This is an open thread!

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

I must confess that watching the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testimonies left me feeling hopeless. I don’t know if I’ve felt this depressed since election night and inauguration. What we saw was such a horrific display of partisanship from Republicans, such naked thirst for power, such terrifying absence of decency, that I don’t know if we can ever truly recover from where we are now. And, frankly, the weak performance of Democrats against Kavanaugh revealed that we don’t have strong leadership. Yes, there may be flashes of it here and there, but in the second half of the day Democrats surrendered all control to Republicans. Lindsey Graham goes on a full frontal attack on Democrats and their only response was Cory Booker calling Graham his friend. Every Republican attacked Diane Feinstein. And Democrats remained silent. Democrats kept hammering on about the FBI investigation: important yes, but the point was made already and repeatedly, and anyone who mentioned it after Dick Durbin drew blood by getting Kavanaugh to fall speechless on the subject was wasting time. They let so many things fall through the cracks because they harped on that single issue. They also kept quoting Kavanaugh’s former roommate who said he saw Kavanaugh get very drunk many times: yes, we heard it and Kavanaugh dismissed that story pretty easily. Yet they kept returning to it Kavanaugh swatted them away just as easily each time. It was a waste of time.

Democrats should have pursued Rachel Mitchell’s questions about the July 1st party on Kavanaugh’s calendar – which perfectly matches Dr. Ford’s description of the party where she was assaulted, including the guest list and the timeframe where she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. The Republican prosecutor seemed to accidentally stumble on the actual date of the party where Ford was attacked! She had Kavanaugh read the first and last names of all his friends who were going to attend this party. The names match everyone Ford names, including the man Kavanaugh’s friends tried to pin the assault on (but who denied any involvement in a letter to the judiciary committee.) The date of the party – July 1st – also matches Ford’s story that she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. But because she wasn’t sure when the party was, knowing when Judge worked in the store would help. Well, Mike Judge wrote in his book that worked in that grocery store in August of that year. It matches perfectly the time-frame Ford laid out. A party Kavanaugh attended, the guest list of friends that matches Ford’s list of those present, and the 6 weeks before seeing the eye-witness in a store. Rachel Mitchell – intentionally or not (probably not) – laid this out for Democrats. Democrats did nothing with this information. As soon as Mitchell asked these questions about the July 1st party, Grassley called for a recess. They returned and Graham went for the Democrats’ jugular. Mitchell was not heard from again. Every Republican after that went for the same jugular. And Democrats did nothing. They didn’t fight back, they did not pursue the line of questioning that quite literally may reveal the date – on Kavanaugh’s own calendar – of the party where Ford was assaulted.  The hearings ended as a disaster for Democrats.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was astonishing. With strength and courage she arrived to tell the truth. And she did. What was striking about her answers is that she didn’t try to be right. She knew there were gaps in her story, she willingly acknowledged the limitations of memory. Contrast this with every Kavanaugh testimony: in his desire to be right and perfect, Kavanaugh lies. He lies easily and repeatedly. Republicans don’t care that Kavanaugh has committed perjury numerous times already. But we know that he has. And we know that Dr. Ford has not. This extraordinary woman has upended her entire life – the persecution of Dr. Ford will continue forever – because she wanted to do what is right. She faced the lions and went in. She did it for all of us. She said that her greatest fear is that she would do all this, put her family and herself through hell and it would not matter. She is probably right, that Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court. But her testimony matters. It matters to countless women and men who have been abused and who have been too afraid to speak up. People who have blamed themselves for the attacks. Christine Blasey Ford showed us that sometimes we must do what is right, even when we know it may not make the difference we seek in the moment. Dr. Ford and her courage do not exist in a vacuum. She has already changed the lives of countless victims of sexual abuse. May she take some comfort in that. And may we all hope to have that kind of courage.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to be the 5th ultra-conservative judge on SCOTUS. That is 99.9999% guaranteed. Even though in newly leaked/released emails he dismissed the idea that Roe v. Wade was “settled law” – something Susan Collins said would determine her final vote. Well, today Susan Collins said she wasn’t worried about Kavanaugh’s private emails on the subject and she doesn’t see any contradiction in what Kavanaugh writes and what Collins claims she believes. Susan Collins is the latest fraud being pushed on the American public: that of a moderate Republican the media runs to every time there is a close vote. It was McCain until he fell ill. Every reporter rushed with baited breath to McCain to know how he would vote on a close-vote. Now they do it with Collins. Even though nothing in McCain’s voting history – and nothing in Collins’ – suggests that they are anything but right-wing ideologues. Susan Collins will fold and vote straight down the party line every time. Her “resistance” to the repeal of the ACA was performance art. She learned it from McCain. She then voted for the tax cut knowing it gutted the ACA. But her first vote was brilliant marketing, like McCain’s “maverick.” Now people keep hoping that Susan Collins votes Nay on Kavanaugh. Folks, Susan Collins approved Kavanaugh before Trump announced him. It’s one reason Trump announced and McConnell is rushing the nomination through. Because they know it’s in the bag.

The only solution going forward – assuming Democrats ever control Congress again – is trying to remove Kavanaugh from the court. A SCOTUS judge has ever been impeached and removed. But there’s a process that allows it. Let us hope Democrats try – if they ever have anything close to the numbers they need. Or at least let us hope they try to change the number of justices on the court and stack it with liberals. Republicans must be taught a lesson that their treachery – literally, treachery – will be punished. I fear that Democrats don’t have the guts for that though… Which only means Republicans will never stop playing dirty. I think that Michelle Obama’s “we go high” sentiment is sweet, but it’s outdated. It ignores history that taking the high road is for losers. We must burn the road down and kick Republicans into hell.

 

 

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 was a bad day. A very bad day. A shitty fucking day. I can’t even begin to process the news about Justice Kennedy’s resignation. And yet – why are we surprised? We knew he was ready to go. Supreme Court vacancies were on the ballot in 2016. We talked about it. Hillary Clinton talked about it. Some of us considered that to be a really big deal. And others did not. Others dismissed our concerns as hysterics and fear mongering. We all know who they were: Bernie and Jill Stein voters. I know some of them personally. I got yelled at repeatedly for fear mongering. Funny enough, I got yelled at yesterday on Facebook for the same thing. A former colleague I haven’t seen in about 10 years declared that I was toxic by posting so much negative news, that no doubt I thrive on all the bad stuff and he was unfollowing me because I was making him anxious. He then sent me a private message reiterating his position. I told him to fuck off and then blocked him. It’s interesting to see this come full circle.

Some smart people with big platforms really thought Trump wasn’t going to be that bad.

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Lizza and Hayes were far from alone from holding those positions. And I’m yet to see any person in the media come out and say: “You know what? I was actually wrong, I fucked up, holy shit, I’m sorry.” Not one. Each and every person either defends their position (see the entire NY Times political desk, plus…well, everyone everywhere actually.) Those that don’t defend their positions pretend they never held them (like Chris Hayes; he doesn’t think Trumps left of Hillary on anything, but he doesn’t acknowledge entertaining that thought in the past.)

I am worried about the fallout from this. McConnell has already said he wants to vote on this in early autumn. Remember he earlier cancelled August recess. (Question to ponder: did McTurtle know about Kennedy’s retirement and cancel the August recess for this reason?) I’m worried about what Democrats will and will not do about it. Truthfully, there’s nothing they can do. There are no hidden levers of power they are not pulling. They are sitting ducks. But I hope at the very least they make a stink of such intensity that people will talk about it in history books. That’s what we need, it’s what the electoral wants. I’m not convinced Schumer and Pelosi understand that. Certainly Schumer has shown himself to be too weak and accommodating in these Trump times to inspire any confidence. Pelosi is a better fighter, but both she and Schumer just threw Maxine Waters under the bus because of “civility.” That tells me we have a lot to worry about. Since our Democrat leaders still consider “civility” to be so important, do we really expect that they will wreak havoc in Congress? They can’t block McConnell – but it doesn’t mean they must roll over and be civil about it. We are living through time of pure, raw political power. Republicans made that. Somehow Democrats still haven’t recognized this reality.

One reporter tweeted that he ran around Congress trying to get Republicans to comment on their desire to overturn Roe v. Wade with the new Justice and he said not one Republican would talk about it. Each one downplayed the significance of Roe v. Wade, if they agreed to discuss it at all. This is clearly coordinated. Republicans will vote to confirm whatever right wing nut job Trump nominates because they want to fulfill their lifelong dream of overturning Roe v. Wade. But they don’t want to talk about it. Our last hope rests on Collins and Murkowski. Collins said she supports Roe v. Wade and considers it settled law, but she has lied to us on ACA before. Murkowski also says she supports Roe v. Wade, but it’s only one of many considerations. So, our last hope is most likely fool’s hope.

Our last last hope is that if Democrats ever retake control of Congress and the Presidency, they might increase the number of justices to re-balance the court. They should do this. I’m afraid that they will not. We will just live with what we have for generations. And everything is on the table: from Roe. v. Wade to gay marriage to Trump prosecution. Where we go from here…

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I suppose there are many games of 3D chess one can play, but I often wonder what kind of game Democrats are playing. As the country continues to spiral out of control with full cooperation of the Republican party (Mitch McConnell will not allow a vote on a bipartisan bill to protect Bob Mueller’s investigation), and the institutions are taking on more and more water, virtually all Resistance to Electoral College Baboon has been grassroots driven. (Real grassroots, not astroturfed like the Tea Party 10 years ago. Kochs literally paid for the Tea Party; Soros has not cut any checks.) So while the public is engaging in resistance, organizing massive marches and voting in special elections to kick Dumpists out (in Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke is within margin of error against Rafael Cruz), I have seen so very little Resistance from our elected officials. If we have one name politician leader it may be Maxine Waters. Maybe add Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff. (Not counting HRC because she is a private citizen.) But almost everyone else is very careful not to rock any boats. Mark Warner told Democrats that if Rosenstein is fired they shouldn’t do anything.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, told a group of Democratic colleagues on Wednesday that they should adhere to a one- or two-day cooling-off period if Trump fires Rosenstein, according to three congressional sources. Rosenstein met Thursday with Trump amid reportsthat the White House is preparing an effort to undermine the deputy attorney general’s credibility.

“The first 24 to 48 hours, if and when that happens, we should stay calm; we should do our best to reach out across the aisle and talk to our colleagues and say, ‘Seriously, we cannot allow this to happen.’ Just don’t go immediately to DEFCON-1,” said a member of Congress who attended the meeting but asked for anonymity to discuss it candidly. “We should not say anything—let the dust settle for a minute. What I took from it is it’s better to build a coalition across the aisle than just to come out guns a-blazing saying, ‘We’ve got to impeach him now.’”

I don’t know what Mark Warner is smoking, but it’s almost like he has been in a coma for the last 20 years and hasn’t seen Republican behavior going back to Newt Gingrich. “Cooling-off period” is something Democrats have been doing for a long long time and look where it’s got us. And Warner he is far from alone. Chuck Schumer went to Kentucky to yuck it up with Mitch McConnell because:

“Actually, the Senate is a pretty collegial place. We don’t dislike each other,” McConnell said. “We have to work together.”

The problem with this is Schumer goes to yuck it up with McConnell while McConnell has virtually single-handedly destroyed the Senate and bipartisanship. But “we don’t dislike each other.” Actually I’d say Republicans have shown nothing but contempt for Democrats for about 20 years and Democrats continue to yuck it up as if we were all just playing a friendly game of Charades. The word “impeachment” has not entered elected Democrats’ lexicon. Many Democrats actually fear that impeaching Trump would just make Republicans really mad and will mean Republicans will try to impeach the next Democrat president. It’s as if none of these people know that Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about infidelity, Republicans spent 8 years trying to impeach Obama, and that President Hillary would have been impeached by March 2016. Meanwhile Republican Pres commits treason, profits off presidency – and “Let’s not overreact because we don’t want to make Republicans mad.” I am so so so disappointed and angry at our political leaders. There are actually no leaders. The Democratic base is angry and afraid of the insanity coming out of DC. And Democratic officials are Treebearding their voters to death. I don’t know what kind of rose-colored glasses they are wearing, but they truly don’t seem to recognize the seriousness of situation we are in, and they are not recognizing the anger of their voters. They think they can harness the grassroots led anger to win at the polls, but they may find themselves consumed by the fire, just like Republicans got scalded by the Tea Party in 2009 and beyond.

 

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. 

 

33750_463348759760_4746600_nWe are slouching towards some kind of reckoning. The past 48 hrs have seen some notable activity by Bob Mueller. He revealed, in filings to counter Paul Manafort’s attempt to have charges against him dismissed, that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has given him the necessary permission to investigate Manafort’s collusion with the Russians. And if Manafort colluded – so did Trump. What that means in the long run is unclear. Mueller can’t impeach Trump and he can’t prosecute him. Mueller says he will write a report outlining his findings about Trump and Rosenstein will have discretion on what to do with the report. He has to provide both the chairs of the intelligence committees and the ranking members with the report – this is good news because ranking Democrats (certainly people like Schiff) won’t let the report disappear into the night (wanna bet Nunes will try?) But this doesn’t change the fact that Mueller has no power over Trump himself. And the current GOP will do nothing to control Trump. A blue wave in the midterms will be essential. Democrats may be able to impeach Trump, but removing him from office – requiring 2/3 of the Senate support – will probably fail even with Democrats in charge. There are simply no Republicans who would vote to remove Trump. So where does that leave us? I don’t know…

It leaves us with evil men like Mitch McConnell. McConnell just bragged to Kentucky Today that refusing to hold nominations hearings on Merrick Garland “was the most consequential decision I’ve made in my entire public career.” He is proud of this. It gets worse though. He is also very proud of keeping Obama from appointing judges to the lower courts.

McConnell cited the subsequent wave of Trump-nominated judges as a lasting legacy. Recounting a conversation with the White House counsel soon after Trump’s election to Kentucky Today, McConnell said he suggested Trump nominate young judges.

 “I said ‘we’ve got a chance to transform the country in a very significant way for the next generation if we can get our act together,’” McConnell said. 

If ever you feel like giving up from exhaustion – think about Mitch McConnell being proud of these things. And then go out and vote to erase Mitch McConnell and his cabal from our consciousness.

And now for some laughs:


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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
2.1 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

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

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