The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Happy Tuesday, Widdershins. I hope Tax Day was not too hard on you all. Had we not sold our house this year and moved to California, we would have been screwed by the Republican middle-class tax increases. Next year we will have to watch our step!

Like most of you, I watched Game of Thrones (GOT) on Sunday. I thought it was terrific. I waited for it with a great deal of anticipation, and it did not disappoint. But it’s nothing compared to the anticipation I feel, waiting for The Mueller Report (TMR) this Thursday.

But MadamaB, I hear you saying, The Mueller Report is going to be edited by that slimy piece of elephant dung, William Barr. (I do not use the word “redacted,” as there is no legitimate reason to change a single letter of that report.) He’s going to make that report as meaningless as possible. Nothing actionable will come of it.

Well, if that’s true, then why are the Republicans preparing a 140-page “counter-report” (which is, by the way, NOT A THING)?

That’s a huge about-face from when Barr first released his summary of the Mueller memo.

When it was released last month, Trump administration officials and conservative backers celebrated the president’s exoneration and attacked reporters, Democrats, and members of the public who were vocal about the evidence suggesting the president colluded with Russia.

(snip)

But just days away from the redacted release of the actual report, White House officials are bracing for its findings and the president has once again renewed his attacks on the legitimacy of the investigation.

Drumpf has been tweeting like a lunatic. Sarah Sanders just called Democrats dumb on TeeVee. Kellyanne Conjob has been saying something, I have no idea what (she just sounds like a droning, whining baby to me). Ghouliani has been looking like this whenever the report is mentioned:

So, yeah. I think there is going to be enough in the report to make the Mango Moron look really, really, REALLY guilty. And I am also quite sure that sooner or later (my money’s on “sooner”), the entire report will come out, either through Democratic subpoenas, or through Mueller’s testimony to Congress, or through leaks.

This is the beginning of the end of the disgusting sham of the Trump government and the Republican Reign of Error.

This is an open thread.

 


Hoo boy, it’s going to be quite a news week even for this Dumpster Fire of an Administration. Here are just a few of the things going on:

  • Drumpf, having received his marching orders from Pooty-Poot, is off to North Korea to further weaken American democracy abroad. #PutinsPuppet
  • House Democrats, seizing the day, are forcing McTurtle to hold a vote on the House Resolution to cancel the fake National Emergency the Mango Moron declared. It may even have the votes to pass the Senate. Whoops! Will the Orange Crusher have to issue his first veto? Even more importantly, will he be able to spell it?
  • House Democrats are also holding a hearing on the global rise of authoritarianism and its danger to the liberal democratic values that have been keeping us out of a third World War since the 1950s. I’m sure it’s just a coinky-dink that it’s happening while Der Drumpfenfuhrer is off playing footsie with Lavrov and “Little Rocket Man.”
  • Manafort’s and Butina’s court cases are proceeding apace, not very well for them.
  • Robert Mueller’s report may come soon, but it’s very likely that Barr (who was picked for this very reason) will not provide an accurate summary to We the People. Democrats are prepared to subpoena Mueller if they are not satisfied with what they see.

And yet…the biggest news, in my opinion, is the testimony of Michael Cohen, who will be speaking both behind closed doors and publicly on Capitol Hill this week. Three days of Cohen, who literally knows everything bad Drumpf ever did, and Democrats hearing it and being able to take action! That is something amazing indeed.

Now it’s true that Cohen has this small issue with credibility, since he’s pleaded guilty to lying to Congress already. No worries, though. Apparently, Mikey has receipts.

“I’m told Cohen has been prepping with this for a long time, and he knows he’s got credibility issues, so he’s coming with documents,” Dilanian said, “and he’s got very detailed, sordid and, what (attorney) Lanny Davis has described as chilling stories of what how the president conducts himself behind closed doors.”

“We shouldn’t underestimate how powerful seeing a Trump insider who has been with Donald Trump for more than 10 years telling these stories before the glare of the television lights,” he added.

In today’s world, where the news cycle has shortened to 60-minute intervals and we’re all dizzy and dispirited from trying to keep up, it’s hard to predict what will land on Trump, the most Teflon-coated criminal President since Ronny Raygun. Somehow I think, though, that what Cohen says will be the last straw for many Republicans, and they won’t come back to the fold once they jump off the TrumpTanic.

I guess we’ll see, Widdershins.

This is an open thread.

Well hello there, Widdershins. Apologies for the long absence, and thanks to DYB and Fredster for keeping our posts going!

Am I the only one who heard about the New York Times’ report about the FBI investigation into Drumpf being a #RussianAsset last Friday and, far from being shocked or excited, could only ask, “And?”

As I have posted and commented repeatedly, there is no innocent explanation for what has happened in full view of the American people. None, zero, nada mucho. No other candidate has ever had contact with a hostile foreign government during an election; it has previously been unthinkable because all of our other candidates for President have been loyal to America. I mean, duh! That’s the lowest possible threshold to meet when running for a country’s Presidency! The Mango Moron, by contrast, is up to about 100 known contacts, folks. One. Hun. Dred. And it’s only now that the Times report came out (most likely based on leaks by Democrats, as House testimony from 2017 was quoted) that the media is starting to come around to a common sense point of view.

What took them so long?

Let’s do a bit of a thought exercise, shall we? Imagine the 2016 election is reset, and the feces-throwing baboon doesn’t run. Instead of the Dicktater, we have a typically odious Republican nominee (like Ted Cruz) and Hillary Clinton is running against him. At the same time it’s becoming known that Russia is interfering in the election on her behalf, the FBI suddenly discovers that Our Girl had just ONE contact with ONE Russian during the 2016 campaign.

It would have been extremely suspicious, of course. Republicans and Democrats alike would have had meltdowns, and the media would have (rightfully) tried and convicted her of corruption and treason prior to the election. (We all know they spent every day hammering her for a faux national security scandal, so what would they have done with a real one?!) If this imagined contact were known before the nomination were decided, there is not a chance in hell she would have become the nominee. If she had become the nominee before the imagined contact were discovered, she would assuredly have lost the election, and the Democrats would be a disgraced Party for decades to come. “Democrats in disarray,” a constant Beltway narrative no matter what the circumstances actually are, would be playing on every channel. The follow-up questions would have been obvious. How could they have allowed this to happen? Who else in the Party knew, and when did they know it? How far into the Democratic Party has Russia reached?

Now let’s come back to reality. Up till now, despite mounds of publicly available evidence that Russians, Trump and the GOP are all hand in glove, der Drumpfenfuhrer has been given the benefit of the doubt to a degree that I, as a human being with a functioning brain, simply cannot understand. Trump admitted to obstruction of justice to Lester Holt on national TeeVee, I have always believed; and according to the story, the FBI thought so too.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

Where has the media been? Why are they still inching up to the real questions that need to be asked…what did the GOP know about Trump’s being a #RussianAsset, and when did they know it?

Maybe because they already know the answer?

As the indispensable journalist Sarah Kendzior wrote in December of 2017, the GOP is not going to get electoral power from their support of the Siberian Candidate. Yet Lindsey Graham has become one of his strongest supporters. Why?

Given that some of Graham’s worst fears about Trump’s Kremlin ties and mental state have been legitimized, what accounts for the senator’s changed attitude toward the president? There are a variety of possible rationales available for conjecture, many of which apply to the GOP at large. Opportunism may play a role, as Graham complies with Trump in order to pursue right-wing extremist economic policies and war. Blackmail may also be an issue, given that Graham has admitted his email was hacked, as was the RNC’s, by Russia. Trump has derided and threatened members of Congress and private citizens, and it’s not a stretch to imagine him unleashing his fire– publicly or privately–on Graham.

Opportunism. Blackmail. Intimidation. Those are three good reasons. But what about corruption? The New Republic had the right take on this in May of 2017. Yes, they knew and they let it happen. They did. not. care.

The basic nature of the [Russian] pro-Trump subversion effort was known to GOP leaders before the parties’ conventions last year: The above conversation took place on June 15 [2016]. Several weeks after the GOP officially nominated Trump in mid-July, in a secure setting with Obama administration officials and other members who receive classified briefings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to politicize any effort on the part of the government to reveal that Russian intelligence was intervening in the election to help Trump. “According to several officials,” the Post reported, “McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

Despite Ryan’s clear awareness of the truth, we can infer that he sided with McConnell, tacitly or otherwise, because the Obama administration backed down in the face of McConnell’s threat. An official government assessment that Russia was helping Trump in the election didn’t reach the public until after the election, as Trump was transitioning to the presidency.

So where has the rest of the media been? Even after the massive trouncing at the mid-terms, the media has failed to pronounce the doom and disgrace of the GOP as a Party. “GOP in disarray” is not a narrative I hear or see. Steve Bannon, somehow, continues to escape all blame and scrutiny; the latest major stories on him are from a year ago. How is he not as guilty as Manafort? And although this has not been noted anywhere other than Twitter, there is evidence that Mueller is looking into the media as part of his investigation. For example: Faux News has not tweeted since 11/8/18. Seriously. Isn’t this big news?

As the inevitable downfall of Drumpf draws near, I hope the impending Mueller report includes some insight into why the media has been so reluctant to call out Drumpf for his treason, and the GOP for their knowledge of treason.

We deserve and need the truth about what has happened to the right-wing half of our two-party system. And one of the pieces of the puzzle is, what did the media know, when did they know it, and why are they still so unwilling to admit the truth?

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

Good Weekend Widdershins!

 

H/t to Uppity Woman’s blog for the idea for this post.  Thanks Upps!

That color above is red:  rage red, jealous red, angry red. You see, tRump had his nose rubbed into it at the G20 meeting in Argentina. Vladimir Putin just gave Donald (I’ve been hurt) tRump his back while he eagerly gave MBS a hearty hand grab at the meeting.  Was that a congratulations on the idea of bringing a bone saw to the Turkey meeting with Khashoggi?   tRump can’t do such things because we have a constitution, and laws and all that stuff.

Donald feels spurned.  He feels jilted.  Look at that picture at the top; he’s so all alone. He remembers the good days.

So let’s look at some songs about love gone bad. Jilted luvahs so-to-speak.  There’s a ton of songs out there about that.

(1) Another Lonely Night~Adam Lambert

(2) You’re No Good~Linda Ronstadt

(3) Tears Dry On Their Own~Amy Winehouse

(4) Don’t You Remember~Adele

(5) Kerosene~Miranda Lambert

(6) Bust Your Windows (Out Your Car)~Jazmine Sullivan

(7) You’re Breakin’ My Heart~Harry Nilsson

There ya go Widdershins, seven songs of love gone bad.  Feel free to add some of your own in the comments.

Open thread of course

 

 

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Happy Thursday Widdershins,

The week is almost over. What madness will be included on the Friday night news dump? Who will Trump fire? Will he launch nuclear missiles at Stormy Daniels’ house? Will he accept Vladimir Putin’s marriage proposal?

Speaking of Trump and Putin: in retaliation against Russia for poisoning people in England with deadly nerve agents Trump responded by expelling 60 diplomats and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. Am I the only one who wonders who cares about all these diplomat expulsions? Does Putin really give a crap? He will replace those 60 with another 60. [Edit: As pointed out by Fredster, the expelled diplomats won’t be replaced.] Maybe once upon a time expelling of diplomats was a serious slap in the face, but after Putin interfered in our elections, invaded allies (Ukraine), gassed thousands of civilians in Syria, and poisoned dissidents in England – is the expulsion of diplomats really going to hurt his feelings? It’s 2018 folks. That’s not a punishment.

Speaking of Putin murdering people in foreign countries. Christopher Steele didn’t just compile a dossier on Trump’s sexual fetishes and collusion to steal elections. He also compiled a dossier on the death of Russia’s former media Czar and founder of RT, Mikhail Lesin. Lesin was found dead in his Washington DC hotel room on November 5, 2015.

The coroner determined that he had died from blunt force injuries to the head and had also sustained blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, upper extremities, and lower extremities. After an 11-month investigation, a federal prosecutor announced in late 2016 that Lesin died alone in his room due to a series of drunken falls “after days of excessive consumption of alcohol.” His death was ruled an “accident,” with the coroner adding acute alcohol intoxication as a contributing cause of death, and prosecutors closed the case.

This is something that has been discussed before: Lesin’s accidental death by flailing about his room so much that he sustained “blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, upper

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Putin and Mikhail Lesin

extremities, and lower extremities” sounded ridiculous. But the government said there was nothing further to investigate. We now learn that Steele asserts in his dossier (which the FBI neither confirms nor denies it possesses) that obviously that’s preposterous. The man was murdered by enforcers working for an oligarch close to Putin and that they were instructed to only beat Lesin, but they really got into it and beat him to death instead. According to the BuzzFeed article linked to above, FBI had information from three other sources, independent of Steele, corroborating that Lesin was murdered by the same oligarch Steele named. So why did Obama’s Justice Department rule that the man died accidentally by falling a lot and falling really hard in his hotel room? These are questions that would be interesting to get answers to some day.

Remember last year BuzzFeed wrote an article called “From Russia With Blood” that detailed the suspicious deaths of 14 Russians and Brits in the UK, all of which UK ruled accidental or suicides, including the scientist who identified the substance that killed Alexander Litvinenko (polonium flavored tea): Dr. Matthew Puncher was stabbed and slashed repeatedly with two different knives. His death was ruled a suicide by Scotland Yard. UK authorities refused to reopen any of the cases until earlier this month when Russians tried to kill former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a deadly nerve agent. After an outcry and Parliament demanding that the previous deaths be looked into once more, authorities have agreed to take another look. Don’t we all feel safer already?

This is an open thread.

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On Tuesday the 13th Democrats managed to flip another deep red seat. PA-18 was one of the most gerrymandered districts in the state. It’s one of the reasons PA Supreme Court ruled the state’s maps unconstitutional. For all intents and purposes, PA-18 as we know it – and as it was voted on Tuesday – no longer exists. But the special election ran on the old map. It’s a place Trump won by 20 points. Trump came to campaign for the Republican running there, holding one of his signature racist, sexist, xenophobic Nurnberg-style rallies. Democrats won the election, however. It came close, proving once again that every vote counts. But Conor Lamb pulled it off with just a few hundred votes. As someone pointed out, even if Lamb lost by a few hundred votes, Republicans would have lost 20 points ago. But, in a desperate attempt to spin their loss, Republicans have said all kinds of Republicany things. They declared that the Republican was a terrible candidate anyway. (They’re all terrible when they lose, yes?) They declared that PA is a race Democrats couldn’t replicate anywhere else (hello Alabama and dozens of deep red seats Democrats have flipped.) Finally they declared that Conor Lamb was really just a Republican, so that’s why he won. Conor Lamb, a former Marine and former federal prosecutor, is pro-choice, pro-union, pro-ACA, pro-trade, pro-immigrant, pro-gay rights. He’s wobbly on gun control (isn’t opposed to it, but essentially seems to have a “states’ rights” stance on it.) And he did say he wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for House Leader. It’s this latter point that Republicans (and Bernie’s alt-left) jumped on especially, but they also spent millions of dollars in the state trying to tie Lamb to Pelosi. The alt-left is demanding Pelosi resign because Lamb won. They also demanded she resign because Osoff lost. We’ll just have to get used to the fact that they really want Pelosi to reign, for all reasons. It’s all noise, however. Lamb’s win proves that a 20 point Trump win can turn into a loss. Someone pointed out Devin Nunes is in an 8 point Trump win area. The possibilities are endless. We can all collectively cross out fingers, toes and whatever we can – and start praying if we are the praying kind – that this blue wave continues to build. It’s still a long time between now and November midterms. We must not fuck it up. But the momentum is on our side. (We just have to survive Trump’s insanity and Putin’s increasing boldness.)

Meanwhile let’s keep an eye on Putin. After Putin poisoned a former spy and his daughter with a very deadly chemical in England, Prime Minister Teresa May is kicking out a bunch of Russian diplomats and suspending high level talks between the two countries. That doesn’t sound very serious to me. Does anyone think Putin is concerned about some diplomats getting kicked out or that UK canceled Sergei Lavrov’s visit? The problem is the Brits are very attached to Russian money being invested in the UK. The weakness of May’s response so far, and the taunting by the Russians, does not bode well for anyone. And with UK rejecting the European Union via Brexit, it’s unlikely that the UK can get much of the EU on board with major sanctions or anything. US stands apart from all of them now too. Putin is winning the war agains the US, UK and Europe.

Good Monday, all. I hope you had a very good holiday, and for those Widdershins on the DL, I hope you continue to mend!

My Thanksgiving was very nice. My family, my husband and I had a lot of political discussions, which were passionate, but not nasty. It helps that we’re all on the same side: we’re pro-democracy, anti-Russian cyber-attacks. We’re pro-truth, anti-lie. We’re pro-feminism, anti-sexual predation. We’re pro-racial equality, anti-Nazism. We’re pro-economic fairness, anti-plutocracy.

In this day and age, those positions make us Democrats.

To our everlasting disgust and fear, Republicans have embraced the contrary positions by:

  • Taking no action to shore up our democratic institutions to protect against, or prevent, the next attack by Putin;
  • Allowing continual lying by their President and his corrupt cabal;
  • Refusing to stand up to the self-confessed sexual predator in the White House;
  • Lying supine while the Mango Moron struggled and failed to condemn Nazis and promoted alt-right memes and whacko conspiracy theory websites; and
  • Attempting to eviscerate healthcare and pass tax cuts aimed to create the plutocracy Paul Ryan has wet-dreamed over since he was just a spark in Ayn Rand’s eye. Oh, won’t their billionaire donors be proud!

While my family, we Widdershins and tens of millions of others are in the majority in embracing the only acceptable sides of these arguments, the media doesn’t seem so sure who’s right. Witness the universally panned, seen-through-cheesecloth profile of the nice, approachable “Nazi next door” in the New York Times. What in the world could have possessed the editor to approve a piece like this? Well, he says:

We regret the degree to which [bolding mine] the piece offended so many readers. We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story. What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them. That’s what the story, however imperfectly, tried to do.

“The degree to which?” That means they knew the story would be offensive, but went with it anyway. And honestly, have you all read the story? A seventh-grader could have hit the salient points harder. Here are a few things the reporter could have written:

Nazism is evil. Holocaust denial is evil. Hating people because of their skin color or religion is evil. Pay attention, white people: Your nice-looking, Midwestern neighbor who likes Seinfeld could be a neo-Nazi. This is the movement that led to the Holocaust, and we can’t let it flourish in America.

See, that’s not difficult. Why didn’t the Times close with something like that? Because they calculated that writing the article ambiguously, generated a lot more hits than an unambiguous article would have. They were probably correct. And they will do it again, and again. All publicity is good publicity, right?

Unfortunately now that the media has seen what Trump and the unapologetically racist, misogynistic, homophobic, plutocratic Republicans can do for their bottom line, they will be devoted to chasing hits instead of telling the truth. We knew this before, but the extent to which they’ll go for profits seems now to be endless, and that’s important to state. We can’t rely on the Times to get even Nazism right. We can’t trust Beltway journalists to push back against the cavalcade of lies the Republicans tell to move the discussion off their push to turn the United States into a plutocracy and disguise their real agenda. We can’t trust them to put anything in context, and those who do are the exception, not the rule.

Just look at this travesty in Newsweek, in which the reporter uncritically repeats Drumpf’s flabbergasting claim that the Access Hollywood tape is fake. The source of the article is a New York Times (surprise!) article by Maggie Haberman (double surprise!) which is actually about the Manhattan Meerkat’s support of Roy Moore, and only mentions that ridiculousness in passing. But Newsweek blows it up into its own story, gives the lie heft and visibility. It got me to click; that’s what it was meant to do.

The point of all this is not to say “oh well, time to go back to bed and hope Mueller has indicted Drumpf when we wake up,” but rather to emphasize that we need to continue to support those who are committed to telling the truth and fighting for what used to be American ideals, but are now recognizable as only Democratic ones.

So I’d like to make this a thing, unironically: For the holidays this year, I am donating to various Resistance causes in my friends’ and families’ names, and those donations will be their gifts. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it this year, more than ever.

What will you do to support truth-tellers in the coming weeks, Widdershins?

This is an open thread.


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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
21 months 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

Awrite! Here’s your damned wall

Dems are coming for ya