The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Trump/Russia’ Category

Hello Widdershins!

Ever since You Know Who became POTUS all of our lives have been an endless whirlwind of news (usually bad) and events. We all hoped You Know Who leaving office would finally let us catch up on some sleep, but alas. The devastation left in is wake is ongoing. Besides the stolen top secret documents he was hiding in his basement (Republican say it’s ok, he is a former President and it’s perfectly safe… but do you remember where Hillary’s secure email server was??? That’s right, in a basement of a former President), anyway, Trump is just yelling non-stop against every government agency he remembers. FBI, IRS, I’m not sure he even knows the difference. At least we are seeing some progress from Merrick Garland. Some people point out that as a prosecutor Garland had a 100% conviction rate. Still, fingers crossed the DOJ not only continues its investigation, but they do it quickly because we have no idea what the midterms will bring, and certainly don’t know what 2024 will bring.

CNN has “fired” its Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter. They are cancelling the show. On one hand, Stelter was a both-side hack who allowed Republicans on the show to spew lies while asking about Hillary’s emails. On the other hand, the new chief of CNN basically thinks Stelter is too liberal for CNN. We should be worried about what this means not for Stelter, but for us because I think we will see CNN take a very noticeable right turn in the near future.

Russian fascist/neo-Nazi Alexander Dugin

And on the front of Russia’s war on Ukraine – an interesting development overnight. Alexander Dugin is a Russian professor who is a dedicated fascist and white supremacist/nationalist. For years he has been calling for the extermination of Ukrainians (and many others) in the name of Holy Mother Russia. He is something of a spiritual guide to Vladimir Putin. Though officially Dugin is not welcome in polite Russian society, like David Duke and Steve Bannon, Dugin enjoys the notoriety, inspires numerous psychopaths, and enjoys a winking relationship with the Kremlin. Well, last night it seems someone tried to assassinate him. His car was blown up, although at the time it was driven by his daughter Darya. Now, before one feels sorry for Darya, she is neo-Nazi/fascist nationalist as much as her father is. Though not as famous as her dad, she was a loyal follower of his teachings, holds rallies and delivers lectures to spread the Dugin gospel. Who tried to kill Dugin and killed Darya remains to be seen. It could literally have been done by anyone, including Ukraine and Russia. But Ukraine makes no sense here. If they wanted to take out a Russian propagandist deep in the heart of Russia and in a place where people like Putin have a home, Dugin wouldn’t be the first choice. Russian TV people like RT head Margarita Simonyan would have been my first choice. Any of the hosts on Russian TV would be a close second. It’s possible the bombing was carried out by the Kremlin/Putin. Frankly, it could have been carried out by Dugin himself. There was a lecture by Dugin in which he discussed how people having daughters was destroying Russia, and that it was time to start sacrificing some of them. It’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out.

This is an open thread.

Shchedryk

Posted on: June 17, 2022

Hello Widdershins,

The 1/6 Commission continues to hold hearings, revealing more and more details about how much planning Trump and Friends were doing to overthrow the US Government. 99.999999% of Republican went along with Trump’s plan. And they are all continuing to support him now. The notable exceptions you can count on maybe two hands. The coup is ongoing.

Also ongoing is the war in Ukraine. Putin continues offensives in parts of the country, even as other regions – including the capitol Kyiv – have seemingly resumed their normal lives. How odd to live a normal life in Kyiv while war rages not far away. Germany, France, and Italy continue to enable Putin by calling for Europe and US to not humiliate Putin. They continue to veto providing certain weapons to Ukraine. They continue to cast doubt on Ukraine being able to join the EU. This week the three leaders of these nations finally came to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy. But someone called this image of Emmanuel Macron embracing Volodymyr Zelenskyy “Judas’ Kiss.” That may be what Zelenskyy is thinking.

French President Emmanuel Macron embracing Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Mykola Leontovych

The ancient Ukrainian folk chant Shchedryk (based on a simple 4 note pattern, which people used to believe had magical properties) about a swallow that flew into a house on New Year (before Christianity came to Ukraine, New Year was in April), sang about all the good things the family had achieved, and promised to return the following New Year/Spring. The word “shchedry” actually means “generous.” After Christianity came to Ukraine, New Year moved to January and the chant became associated with the Feast of Epiphany, which took place on January 18th – what is called “The Old New Year” – which was New Year on the Julian calendar. Ukrainians called this the “Shchedry vechir,” or “Generous Evening.” (All other things aside: that’s how old Ukraine is, in spite of what Putin likes to believe when he discusses Russian history.) Back to Shchedryk: in 1904 the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) composed a song based on this ancient 4-note motif, for a cappella choir, though the song was not premiered until 1916. On January 21-22, 1921, Leontovych was visiting his parents for the Eastern Orthodox Feast of Nativity in the town of Tulchyn. A man asked the family to stay with them for the night because he had nowhere else to go. They agreed and he shared the room with Leontovych. In the morning the man – who turned out to be a Chekist (Soviet secret service agent) Afanasy Grishchenko – shot Leontovych, who bled to death from the wounds. Later that year, in October 1921, the Ukrainian National Chorus performed Leontovych’s Shchedryk in a concert at Carnegie Hall. Among those present was the American composer Peter Wilhousky – who was so struck by the work that he replaced the ancient Ukrainian text with completely unrelated English words, eventually copyrighted them, and today the composition is known in the West as the Christmas carol “Carol of the Bells.” While Leontovych is revered in Ukraine (in his own time, the French called him the Ukrainian Bach), in the West he is forgotten and and no one even knows he composed one of our most frequently performed songs. Here it is then: as composed by Leontovych in 1904, using the ancient 4-note motif, with its original ancient Ukrainian text.

Hello Widdershins! What a week, again. There is a real chance that Putin is going to start a version of World War 3 in Europe. He hasn’t yet, but he’s wanted to be Tsar of a new Russian empire for decades. I don’t know what will persuade him from trying it now that he has close to 200,000 troops ready to go. Will sanctions be enough? Only if they block him from financing his war, I think.

Meanwhile, I cannot thank Democratic voters enough that we removed Putin’s puppet from power. The Mango Moron and his disgusting spawn have been subpoenaed in New York because of their financial shenanigans with the Trump Organization. Apparently the “lawyer” (I use the term loosely) is advising his clients to take the 5th, because, well, they’re guilty. Now, in a criminal case, taking the 5th isn’t supposed to be seen as an admission of guilt, but they’ve been subpoenaed in a civil case. That’s a different story. And just because there’s a concurrent criminal case going on doesn’t let Drumpf and kids off the hook – in fact, it just makes their situation worse.

What’s clear is that the confluence of circumstances puts Trump somewhat between a rock and a hard place. Given the concurrent criminal and civil investigations, it seems rather obvious he would plead the Fifth (notwithstanding his past commentary on such things) to avoid divulging potentially revealing information that could be used against him in the former case. Indeed, defendants often concede in such cases that an indictment is imminent so the civil case can be delayed. But declining to testify in a civil case can hurt his cause there — even beyond the mere perception that he’s being evasive.

As Max Kennerly put it, pleading the Fifth in a federal civil case “is never helpful, is rarely harmless, and is typically very damaging.”

Meanwhile, the story about Drumpf and his tendency to eat, flush and steal official presidential records continues to worsen. The NARA confirmed this week that the 15 boxes they recovered from Mar-A-Lago did, in fact, contain classified documents. Oh, and the information about his children and other Presidential advisors using private email and phones to hide their criminality resurfaced in this context. Yeah, we knew about that for years, media – you all let that die on the vine because it was never, ever about Her Emails. It was about Her.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Hillary these days. I’m more and more convinced the media didn’t want her because she would have ruined their business model. What I mean by that is, she has known about the vast right-wing conspiracy for decades now. She knows how Faux News operates and Rupert Murdoch’s ties to Russia. She knows about dark money. And one of the things she said she would do is focus on overturning Citizens United (which she could have done if she had appointed those three justices instead of TFG). Imagine the impact that would have on financing for Faux and other right-wing news outlets like pro-Russia OAN, which was until recently hosted on AT&T networks and was started by AT&T in 2013. And if Citizens United were overturned, and money could be traced back to Russia and other hostile foreign actors, who knows what other media outlets and figures might be outed – not all of them right-wing? AT&T owns CNN, by the way. Just saying.

These are my thoughts on a foggy Sunday morning on the West Coast. Hope everyone is safe and healthy , and for heaven’s sake, don’t take off your masks yet no matter what. We’re not out of the woods yet with BA2.

Yesterday, the most dangerous man in America testified before the House. Drumpf’s (or Putin’s, or whomever’s) right-wing populist agenda is being magnified and empowered by his actions; Drumpf’s criminal money-laundering and grift are being protected thereby. During his testimony, he lied, he obfuscated, and he pretended he didn’t read Drumpf’s tweets. It was a disgusting, oily, arrogant performance by the most evil man ever to become Attorney General.

Here are a few highlights.

Rep. Jerry Nadler condemned him for delivering campaign video to Drumpf via the jackbooted thugs teargassing moms in Portland and invading other Democratic cities (like NYC! Stay safe DYB!).

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee attacked Barr for not believing in systemic racism.

And here’s Rep. Eric Swalwell putting together a legal tour-de-force about the commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence, with a great explainer by Brian Tyler Cohen afterwards. Enjoy this – I don’t think Barr did.

After the latest horrific display of the Attorney General’s manifest unfitness to be hired by anyone more ethical than Better Call Saul, I personally have only one question:

When will this skid mark on the underwear of justice be dis-Barred?!

Tawk amongst yerselves!

Or we could have had a President who was not trustworthy on national security.

Carl Bernstein for CNN:

One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as ‘abominations’ so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President.

Yup, that Hillary sure was dangerous, with her private email server that never got hacked and her three emails that were classified retroactively.

The insidious effect of the conversations comes from Trump’s tone, his raging outbursts at allies while fawning over authoritarian strongmen, his ignorance of history and lack of preparation as much as it does from the troubling substance, according to the sources. While in office, then- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed worry to subordinates that Trump’s telephone discussions were undermining the coherent conduct of foreign relations and American objectives around the globe, one of CNN’s sources said. And in recent weeks, former chief of staff Kelly has mentioned the damaging impact of the President’s calls on US national security to several individuals in private.

It’s a great thing that we have such a terrific negotiator with Drumpf in charge. Four outstanding years as Secretary of State clearly taught Hillary nothing about relating to people. Besides, der Drumpfenfuhrer has all the best words.

Next to Erdogan, no foreign leader initiated more calls with Trump than Macron, the sources said, with the French President often trying to convince Trump to change course on environmental and security policy matters — including climate change and US withdrawal from the Iranian multilateral nuclear accord.

Macron usually got “nowhere” on substantive matters, while Trump became irritated at the French President’s stream of requests and subjected him to self-serving harangues and lectures that were described by one source as personalized verbal “whippings,” especially about France and other countries not meeting NATO spending targets, their liberal immigration policies or their trade imbalances with the US.

But his most vicious attacks, said the sources, were aimed at women heads of state. In conversations with both May and Merkel, the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as “near-sadistic” by one of the sources and confirmed by others. “Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her ‘stupid,’ and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians … He’s toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with.”

I feel so much safer knowing that big, strong man is in charge, instead of that female who, let’s face it, does possess a vajayjay – a sure sign of untrustworthiness, especially when trying to deal with foreign adversaries.

In his phone exchanges with Putin, the sources reported, the President talked mostly about himself, frequently in over-the-top, self-aggrandizing terms: touting his “unprecedented” success in building the US economy; asserting in derisive language how much smarter and “stronger” he is than “the imbeciles” and “weaklings” who came before him in the presidency (especially Obama); reveling in his experience running the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, and obsequiously courting Putin’s admiration and approval. Putin “just outplays” him, said a high-level administration official — comparing the Russian leader to a chess grandmaster and Trump to an occasional player of checkers. While Putin “destabilizes the West,” said this source, the President of the United States “sits there and thinks he can build himself up enough as a businessman and tough guy that Putin will respect him.” (At times, the Putin-Trump conversations sounded like “two guys in a steam bath,” a source added.)

There’s so much more to read, and I recommend you do so. But honestly, Widdershins, I’m done.

Tawk amongst yerselves!


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