The Widdershins

Courtesy of Michael Avenatti on Twitter

When fighting evil, the shortest, most powerful words are the most effective.

Like this.

Dear media: You epically failed to hold Drumpf accountable for his racism, starting in 2011 when he began building his cult with the bogus birther bullshit. You equivalated this fascist, raping, grifting traitor with the brilliant and kind woman who deserved to be President more than anyone in this country, the woman Americans WANTED to be President, because, #ButHerVagina.

You do not get to scold us now because we are doing your job, and much more effectively than you. No sir, and no ma’am.

You are kindly invited to go fuck yourselves with rusty chainsaws.

This is an open thread.

Advertisements

Upstairs Lounge3

N O T E:

In conjunction with Pride Month I thought I would repost this piece I did sometime back.  I’m doing it after reading this article on nola.com

Note:  some of the links from the original piece may not still work

 

Monday marked the 40th anniversary of a terrible tragedy in New Orleans; the arson fire at the Upstairs Lounge in the French Quarter.  Twenty-eight men died at the scene of the fire, one died on the way to the hospital and three died later from their wounds so a total of 32 people died as a result of this arson.  All but one were men.

This post is going to have a lot of quotes pasted in so I hope you don’t mind that.  But the story needs to be told outside of nola and some of you might consider it a history lesson, while some of us lived through the times.

Essentially, here’s the story.  The Upstairs Lounge was a gay bar in the French Quarter.  This was 1973.  A lot of people (hell most people) were not out back then.  The French Quarter itself was different back then.  If you’ve been there, it wasn’t the elegant (Royal Street and its antique stores) touristy area it is now.  Rather, think in terms of what you saw if you saw the movie A Streetcar Named Desire.  It was a rundown area, filled with, as one person said, “thieves and queers”.  Many times, gay men carried fake i.d.s to the bars, not so much to prove they were over the age of 18 (the drinking age in La at the time), but in case there was a bust at the gay bar, so their real names would not be printed in the paper.

According to Frank Perez, a writer for Ambush magazine in New Orleans,

“The way things were at the time was really pretty bad. Raids of gay bars were very high and discrimination was profound,” Perez said.

A description of the Upstairs Lounge was given this way:

In 1973, the gay and lesbian scene in New Orleans was still largely underground, and patrons remember the UpStairs Lounge as not just any bar, but as a gay community hangout where locals could gather without fear of social persecution.

Songs were sung around a piano, “nellydramas” were performed with the help of local playwrights, and couples competed in tricycle races, according to former 9th Ward resident Johnny Townsend, the author of “Let the Faggots Burn: The UpStairs Lounge Fire,” a comprehensive retelling of the events of that night in 1973.

The walls of the French Quarter watering hole were covered with flocked wallpaper, adorned with memorabilia including an iconic Cosmopolitan magazine spread of Burt Reynolds lying naked on a bearskin rug.

To get into the bar, you had to ring a buzzer at the entrance on the ground level and then after you were let in, you went upstairs to the bar.  The gist of the story of the arson is this:  A local hustler and regular Rodger Nunez, had been thrown out of the bar and it was said that he remarked, “I’m gonna burn y’all out.”.  (Note: Nunez committed suicide the next year and an acquaintance of his said that when he was drunk he confessed to setting the fire but denied it when he sobered up)  The fire was determined to be arson but no one was ever arrested or convicted of the crime.

That night:

about 60 people held court at the French Quarter bar. A weekly “beer bust” had just ended, a jukebox was blaring near the entrance and people were gathered around the bar’s piano, where two men took turns banging away on the keys, as patrons joined in and sang along to “United We Stand”.

An incessant buzzing at the bar’s door, however, got the attention of bartender Buddy Rasmussen, who eventually asked 47-year-old Luther Boggs to go answer it. The buzzer was located at the street level where another door entered onto Iberville Street. Upon pushing open the lounge door, Boggs was met with a wall of fire that had been building in the stairway, causing flames to explode into the bar, instantly setting the whole place ablaze.

Rasmussen, an Air Force veteran, was able to lead about 20 people to safety through a rear door near the stage, which led out onto the roof of the building.

Read the rest of this entry »

Speechless

Posted on: June 21, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 2.40.11 AM.png

I have spent the last 2 days thinking about what the subject of my weekly post here would be. Honestly – I’m just at a loss for words. The revelations about the concentration camps Donald Trump is building for children – including babies – just kind of takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. Over the last couple of years, as we have watched Trump rise, many of us began comparing him to the Nazis, seeing parallels between his rise to power and Hitler’s. There are many who really believe in Godwin’s law that comparisons to Hitler are inevitable and once you compare someone to Hitler you’ve lost the argument. Except we’ve now jumped the shark and even Mike Godwin himself has cancelled his own law. “By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you,” he tweeted in August 2017. I don’t think you need to have millions of people burn in ovens before you say: “You know, maybe it’s not too early to call them Nazis.” As awful as Trump has been, I just was not ready for “concentration camps for babies” awful. Though it should be noted Hillary Clinton warned us about that too: in one of the debates she said Trump intended to take children away from their parents. But who would believe such a thing was possible! All the pundits who laughed at Hillary, called her “over prepared,” and openly shilled for Trump are now dismayed that Trump would do such a thing. Well, she tried to tell you. When Hillary said “I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse” – perhaps the hyperbole wasn’t that big.

So here we are, with baby concentration camps courtesy of Donald Trump. Kirstjen Nielsen, who was at the center of Dubya’s catastrophic Katrina response, has thrown herself into this with body and soul. Trump will wrap this disaster around her neck and throw her overboard soon. She will be the latest casualty of Trump’s magical ability to grind people and their reputations into dust. People like Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, General MacMaster, Rex Tillerson, James Comey, etc. etc. Don’t feel bad for them. Each and every one was a willing participant in this charade. So it will be with Kirstjen Nielsen when Trump blames her for everything and fires her. The disgraced secretary who had no idea most people in Sweden were white will crawl away licking her wounds and not peep a bad word against Trump. And let her crawl away all the way into hell. I am not a religious man, but times like these make me hope there is, in fact, a God who damns evildoers to hell. Because that’s where people like Donald Trump and Kirstjen Nielsen belong: in the fires of hell, for all eternity, amen.

From New York Magazine, 06/18/18

[Note: There is a national day of protest against family separation on June 30th. Here’s the info.]

Hello from the West Coast, Widdershins! The good news is that Mr. MadamaB and I have managed to lug ourselves here successfully; the bad news is, our furniture hasn’t. We are drumming our fingers in a hotel waiting for the truck to be loaded and driven across country…and we just found out our delivery date is later than expected, so, shelling out more money than we wanted to. And, my first work day is Friday. SIGH. All part of the process, I guess.

While I have been fully preoccupied with all the logistics of The Big Move, our national Dumpster fire has been raging on the topic of the Mango Moron’s policy of ripping children from their parents at the border, and never returning them. (Yes, never, unless something changes.)

This has been a story that has stuck, like the Russia treason, the Stormy Daniels/Michael Cohen obstruction disaster, and Hillary Clinton’s Twitter vindication over her emails being nothing but an actual witch hunt. There is so much bad out there, it’s hard to know what will capture the country’s attention. I’m glad it has, and I believe this is worthy of our focus for two reasons:

  1. Because it’s such a strong signal that the Party of Drumpf truly is following the Nazi playbook by putting people it considers racially inferior into concentration camps; and
  2. Because it’s kids, FFS.

Now it’s hard out there for a Democrat, when you are the minority party and your opposing party is bought out/compromised by Russia and/or billionaire plutocrats like Sheldon Adelson, Paul Ryan’s master. For far too long, Democrats have been trying to work the old, pre-2000 Bush v. Gore, bi-partisan way. They have been trying to work with people of conscience in the GOP to make policy that benefits Americans. Unfortunately, they are only now just starting to realize that these Republicans have no consciences any more, and that Democrats need to work against them, not with them, in order to make progress.

What’s a Senator or Representative to do to show We the People that they truly care about this issue?

Well, how about not letting business as usual proceed, as the Republicans make a mockery of everything the Constitution stands for? Such as, due process, for example?

Today, the Democrats and female activists disrupted the 9,871,297,432th Republican hearing on Hillary Clinton’s emails. Yes, they actually roused themselves to protest during the hearing, and here’s what happened.

With the sound of a young child crying in the background, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, broke from traditional protocol and started reading from a statement, saying “these children are not animals.” His Republican colleagues tried to shout over him “Out of order!”

Nadler’s comments at the hearing, which was meant to be about the FBI’s handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails, were followed by protests from the audience, as women with young children stood and shouted “Families belong together!” before they were escorted out by the Capitol Police.

There are many people who suggest that Democrats just walk out of Congress and stop honoring this illegitimate pResident and the Party that enables him and his many crimes against the Constitution. I don’t agree with this, although I understand it, because I feel once the Democrats aren’t there, the Republicans will have no constraints whatsoever. They will complete the evisceration of the New Deal and the destruction of our status as the leader of the Free World in record time. The plutocrats and Russians will take over, and we will no longer recognize our country.

I support these tactics by the Democrats; they garner attention and get our message out there, without handing even more power to the GOP. I hope that Pelosi and Schumer are planning a similar disruption every single time the Republicans hold a hearing. It doesn’t matter what the hearing is about at this point; we must, finally, be done giving the Thugs the benefit of the doubt. We need to finally start calling the other side evil and be done with it.

BECAUSE THEY ARE.

This is an open thread.

Good Weekend Widdershins

So to continue on the theme of last weekend’s post of some favorite tunes (and also because I don’t have the foggiest idea of what to write [and that’s because I’ve probably been doing this too long] ) I’ve decided to share some more of my favorite songs from a long time ago and probably in another galaxy.

So away we go.

(1) Janis Joplin~Me and Bobby McGee

(2) Eagles~Lyin’ Eyes

(3) Janis (again) Mercedes Benz

(4) Boston~More Than A Feeling

(5) Eagles~Hotel California

(6) E L P (Emerson Lake and Palmer) Lucky Man

(7) The Moody Blues~Tuesday Afternoon

* * * * *

Okay shinners, a few more of my faves.  Feel free to share some of your own in the comments.

Or not.

Open thread.

 

Everything I’m about to say is that obvious. Rights are rules that benefit everyone the same way and make life easier. All the rest — privileges, abuse, crimes — don’t work that way. Considering how simple it is, I’m convinced that when people pretend not to get it, it’s because they don’t want to. That implies talking about it isn’t very useful. The problem lies deeper. But since I don’t know how to fix the actual problem, I’ll talk about it anyway.

Planting seeds

First a few definitions. Rights, the way I’ll be using the word, are based on a given concept of fairness. In a grim development, “fair” is losing its meaning through overuse as every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and especially Donald, uses it to whine about not getting their own way. For the purposes of this discussion, I have to ask you to forget all the abuse of the word and pretend it could actually mean something.

Fairness intuitively means equal treatment, but there are problems with that definition when context is willfully ignored. If a nonexistent equality of circumstances is assumed, then in no time the magnificent impartiality of the law allows rich and poor alike to buy their own fast internet. Willful ignorance always leads to bad consequences, so keeping in mind that context is an integral factor of fairness, let’s look at equal treatment specifically.

The simplest definition of equality is the absence of double standards. What is allowed or punished for P is the same for Q. It’s not a rigid list allowing only specific things. It’s the equal application of general rules to specific situations as they arise.

For instance, let’s say you wanted to keep email secure. You could tell everyone, equally, that they must have their correspondence on a specific IBM server running a specific operating system and use two-factor authentication. But then Person A, let’s call her Amanda, uses a Hewlett Packard server, which is not the one specified. Bad, even though everything is still secure. Person B, on the other hand, let’s call him Egbert, uses the right setup, but has an automated script accessible to anyone to avoid the authentication bother. The specifics are all fine, he’s just added a layer that’s not in the book, so he’s good, even though nothing is secure. Everybody’s immediate reaction to that is, well, that’s stupid. That’s what I mean when I say the specifics of the particular situation are not the point.

Even less fairness can be achieved if Amanda is punished for incorrect email handling, while Egbert keeps his work on AOL and nobody cares. Equal treatment requires the relative distance of each from the goal of security to be judged and for the punishment to be proportional to that distance. That would be equal application of the rule, without double standards.

Keeping the avoidance of double standards firmly in mind, the distinction between rights and not-rights is easy.

Rights are those things we can do which do not curtail anyone else’s ability to do the same thing. They require no double standards, no inequality. My freedom to speak does not limit yours. My need to be free of physical harm doesn’t change your life in any way. My intention to marry someone doesn’t affect your ability to get married. None of those limits others’ abilities to have the same benefits or protections. Those are rights. I’ll go into some examples in a bit.

Privileges, on the other hand, depend on an asymmetry of power. If they’re applied to everyone equally they lead to absurdity in a couple of steps. The asymmetry can come from subtle social privilege or not so subtle economic or military force, but whatever the source, it’s used to allow some actions that would cause impossible situations if everyone did them.

For instance, if you insist on a right to make others live according to your religion, then, since it’s a right, I can equally insist that you live according to mine. But my religion is to kill all members of your religion. (That’s not just an impossible thought experiment. Both Christianity and Islam have clauses, best ignored, about holy war against heathens.) We’ve reached an absurd situation in exactly one step. There’s no way to resolve it on the basis of rights. One side has to have more power to force compliance from the other.

The crowning irony is that nobody has freedom of religion in that system since at any moment others could grab enough power to impose their will instead. Rights impose limits but allow more freedom than a complete free-for-all.

Violence is another easy example. It’s sometimes necessary to stop criminals or invaders, and yet if everyone had license to kill it would be impossible to have any kind of a society. Even the top banana, the last one standing, would soon die. That’s why the state is given a monopoly on the use of force, because some force is necessary but it cannot be a right. Freelance gun nuts are incompatible with having a life, as we’re finding out in the U. S. of A.

Another current example is vaccination. If it’s not voluntary, it’s taking away a person’s control over their own body, which is a very bad idea. There’s no way to apply that loss equally to everyone, and it has to be based on mere power to force compliance. On the other hand, an unvaccinated person can spread preventable disease, which is another kind of attack on a person. Given that spreading disease is a hugely bigger harm than a vaccination, that’s one case where it’s appropriate for the state to enforce compliance.

(Medically, voluntary compliance is much more effective. But purely as a matter of rights, there is no right to spread disease. Vaccination is a good example of how seamlessly rights come to mean what-I-think-is-good-for-me rather than what is good for everyone. We’re all susceptible to it, not just corporate executives and Donalds. Another tangent: obviously, if vaccines caused neurological problems that would be a major harm and change the balance of rights. But they do not. Vaccines do not cause autism. The links are a scientific article and a pdf that list many studies showing no connection and including millions of people. And on the other side is the one Wakefield study which did say there was a connection. That was based on 12 patients, with no controls in the experimental sense, and which turned out to be fraudulent. Developmental neurological issues do happen, unfortunately, but not due to vaccines. Disbelieving the mountain of evidence on vaccines is somewhere between rejecting evolution and rejecting the reality of climate change.)

Rights, unlike the previous examples, involve those actions which can be done by everyone equally. That has an important corollary. Once they’re applied in a way not available to everyone, they’re no longer rights. They’re the abuse of one or another kind of privilege.

Consider, for instance, free speech. It’s mainly interpreted as a right not to be silenced, and that is important. But our bigger problem now is being drowned out. With ads and clickbait shouting at us 24/7, what we need is a complementary right to silence. (Some of my thinking on that and the following issues here.) If we could all broadcast all the time, there would be no point trying to communicate at all. It’s a less bloody version of of the murder free-for-all. Nobody is heard, not even the person shouting.

Another current perversion of the right to free speech is spewing hate speech. The confusion between the two is in the process of destroying democracy, but we’re petrified to do anything about it in case it opens the door to government control over what can be said. That’s not an idle fear. Look at how quickly every resistance to people in power was labelled terrorism, whether it had any of the hallmarks of terrorism or not. Look at how quickly the Donald started labelling everything he didn’t like “fake news.” If he had a hope of shutting it down, he would. It is very important not to go down that road.

But it’s equally important to preserve democracy, which depends on free speech. Somehow, the right to free expression has to be limited to communication and has to exclude hate. I think we could make a start by improving the definition of what constitutes speech. At its essence, it’s about communicating something. Sharing ideas is a fundamentally different process than bamboozling or hurting people. Communication can be universal, hatred cannot be (in a functioning society). It ought to be possible to draw a more accurate line between them.

It’s interesting in this context that the people who use hate speech seem to know quite well what they’re doing, even if they won’t usually admit it. I’ll never forget when Steve Bannon left the White House to return to Breitbart where he’d once again be free to spout anything. “I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” he said. Speech as a weapon should be no more protected than knives can be used to “communicate.”

If we could wrap our minds around the rights of the situation, we could stop getting sidetracked into thinking punching Nazis will get us anywhere except down the spiralling hole where violence always leads. If we have a right to punch them because we think they’re bad people, they have the same right to punch us because they think we’re bad people. Might makes right is not the route to a fun life. Instead, understanding rights means we know the solution is to figure out the definition of hate speech and then to shut the poison down.

One last example of how not to twist free speech is the policing of discussions of trans issues. Part of the trans activist community feels that transwomen must be considered women in all respects, not just socially but also when biology is in conflict with that categorization. (There is no noticeable equivalent pressure on behalf of transmen, i.e. people born female.) To do other than that is considered transphobic which has such a severe impact on transwomen it can lead some to suicide. Therefore any discussion that does not accept those assumptions is lethal hate speech and must be stopped.

That thinking requires an obvious double standard. We can’t all be on the edge of suicide and demanding from others that they do everything our way or they’re guilty of pushing us into it. Nobody would be able to do anything if emotional blackmail was a legitimate tactic to shut people down.

Transpeople, men and women, do suffer violence, but as with most violence, it is committed by men. (For instance, globally 96% of homicides are committed by men p.95.) Assault and murder are already illegal. They’re also in a different class than speech one doesn’t like. Free speech definitely covers unpopular topics. Trying to police women, for instance discussing pregnancy, by using emotional blackmail because men are committing crimes is very much an illegitimate suppression of speech that should be free.

As the free speech examples show, distinguishing between rights and their abuse gets into some gray areas. But just because there are murky zones doesn’t mean we have to give up on the clear ones. When there is actual doubt, by all means let’s give that area the benefit of the doubt. When it’s pretty clear that something is nothing but trash talk, we should stop protecting it and throw it out.

I’ve tried to show how it’s possible to distinguish rights from privilege by seeing whether the action in question can be done by everyone equally. When not, people aren’t demanding their rights. They’re demanding special treatment. The title isn’t totally facetious. Rights are like a dance where everyone follows the same rules to everyone’s benefit.

Crossposted from Acid Test

Good Weekend Widdershins!

This post will have to last us a few days, oh say, maybe until Thursday.  As MB told us she has her house sold and will be making her move to the Left Coast.  I am keeping fingers crossed that I will be making a similar move to the Gulf Coast soon. (Ha!  Just in time for hurricane season)

You will recall that a few days ago I played the Randy Newman song Louisiana 1927.

I had been listening to that song on YouTube and somehow, in some convoluted manner also ended up listening to Edith Piaf and then to Irma Thomas, a Nola singer who is known as the New Orleans Queen of Soul.

The Piaf…now that brought back some memories.  Memories of sitting around in a college dorm room listening to her, smoking cigarettes and trying to act like French or Parisian sophisticates.  LOL

So, I’m going to put in some Piaf songs and a couple that Irma is well known for.

Do y’all have any favorite songs you still like to listen to?  If so, please include them here.  All types and genres are welcomed.

(1) La Vie En Rose

(2) Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

(3) Milord (one of my favorites)

(4) Mon Dieu

(5) L’Accordeoniste (I don’t think anything could sound more French than this)

*** Ms Thomas***

Now this first song, Irma used to sing this at The Country Club a **very** gay spot prior to Katrina.  Once when she sang this there was some drunken queen who had broken up with a boyfriend who shouted out “Sing it gurl!  You been through this and you know what it feels like”. This is also considered her “theme” song.

(6) Irma Thomas ~ It’s Raining

(7) Irma Thomas ~ Breakaway

(8) Irma Thomas  ~ Time Is On My Side (also covered by the Rolling Stones)

Okie doke shinners, that’s it for me.  Please feel free to add your contributions below.

Open thread of course.

 

 

Tags: , ,

Keep Up

Atrocities Documented:

What the F*ck Just Happened?!

Victories Won:

Your Victories Against Drumpf!

Wanna Be A Widdershin?

Send us a sample post at:

widdershinssubmissions at gmail dot com

Our Frontpagers

I’m ready. Are you?

Comments

GAgal on Run For Cover!
NW Luna on Run For Cover!
NW Luna on Run For Cover!
madamab on Run For Cover!
NW Luna on Run For Cover!

Blog Archive

July 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

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?

Advertisements