The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump

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It will be here sooner than we think. Trump announcing his pick to replace Justice “I really don’t care, do you?” Kennedy on the Supreme Court. McConnell says he wants to schedule hearings in September. I suspect the process will be quick. McConnell wants this victory as much as Trump does. The ongoing degradation of America and a functioning government by Mitch McConnell is, well, ongoing and will keep going until he’s all dead. There’s nothing really Democrats can do to stop him. There are no secret rules that they can whip out. Josh Marshall published a letter he received outlining the danger of Trump’s pick, dangers outside of Roe v. Wade and whatever other established laws Republicans want to kill. The danger is Mueller’s investigation. I’ll just link to the article and you should read it in its entirety (it’s not very long.)

I think the only two options Democrats have going forward are 1) change the number of justice on the Court and pack it with liberals and 2) impeach and remove the justices Trump appointed because an illegitimate and criminal President should not appoint anyone. Of course chances of Democrats doing that are about negative 100%. They are always civil to Republicans. (Far more civil to Republicans than they are to fellow Democrats.) So what does it mean for the future? Does anyone know a really good psychic??

MadamaB is busy with her move (post move actually), work and is also sick! So this is an open thread (as always.)

 

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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…

Speechless

Posted on: June 21, 2018

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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.

Too much news

Posted on: May 17, 2018

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May 16 may have been one of the nuttier news days of the Dump administration. It was like the evening news dump, but all day long. And I was working with my boss in the room, so didn’t have much time to see it or absorb it until I got home. So this is an attempt to summarize some of the biggest developments – for my own sake and everyone else’s.

Dump called immigrants “animals.”

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

This is deep and dark, and an escalation of his own rhetoric attacking immigrants. Such dehumanization of a group of people (and you know Trump is not talking about Swedes) has a long and terrible history. Nazis called Jews “vermin” and the Tutsi in Rwanda were called “cockroaches” before they were mass murdered. What is also concerning is that apparently none of the evening news shows discussed this statement by Trump. Because of everything else happening a statement this alarming didn’t even warrant coverage.

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti has been teasing and baiting Cohen for days with seemingly deep knowledge about his money dealings and the question has been what does Avenatti know and how does he know it. New Yorker provided the answer that the whistleblower leaked the info out of concern after seeing that a government database was missing some records and this person feared a cover-up in progress.

The documents this law enforcement official allegedly could not find are not easily misplaced bureaucratic paperwork. Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are reports that banks and other financial institutions file if they have an inkling that someone might be engaging in money laundering or another illicit activity. They are filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which maintains a database for government and law enforcement officials. A suspicious activity report is not proof of any crime, just a red flag, and can help authorities establish patterns.

This sounds suspicious indeed but – let’s not overreact just yet. A few respectable people on twitter – Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare blog and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa argued that a) the documents “disappearing” can be for legitimate reasons (removed because of a secret investigation, for example) and b) even if the documents are missing, those are not the only copies. The banks that filed the SARs will have their own records, and there are records of the original transactions as well. So in order to successfully erase Cohen’s activities there are many databases that have to be erased. So if there is anything of interest, Mueller either already has it or can get it from the banks. (Probably already has it.)

There was also the the NY Times non-apology buried in the middle of a long article about their infamous story clearing Trump of any wrongdoing just before the election. We all knew the story was a lie when the Times Lichtlbau Timespublished it. And more importantly, they knew it was nonsense. They interviewed Harry Reid for the story – and then threw out his entire interview, choosing to clear Trump right there in the headline. While openly blasting and speculating about emails on the front page. In their non-apology they blamed the FBI for misleading them. I have no doubt their sources in the FBI misled them, but they had other sources of correct information, which they chose to ignore. I won’t get into the rehash of all that again, it makes my blood boil. But it’s worth noting that more than 18 months after the story was published and executive editor Dean Baquet has been defending it the whole time – they finally acknowledge that they did it wrong. And they accepted no responsibility for doing it wrong. They blamed the FBI. So after all this, fuck you NY Times and Dean Baquet. (BTW, the article itself reinforces the fact that Comey and FBI ratfucked us all by blasting Hillary’s emails and hiding the Trump investigation. They watched as Trump colluded with the Russians to throw an election and did nothing to stop it. Curses on Comey and whoever else in the FBI (yes, including Wray) did this. May they burn in hell.)

The Senate released transcript of Junior’s – and others’ – testimonies and they’re a doozy. Junior is a moron and everything he says reinforces the fact that they met with the Russians to get dirt on Hillary. And instead got an earful on the Magnitsky act. Apparently Kushypoop was livid at lack of dirt offered in the meeting, per testimony of Rob Goldstone:

After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?” Goldstone recalled of the meeting according to hearing transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more.

Kushner presented a completely different picture of the meeting, of course; one where he was barely paying attention and left early. Sure Kushypoop, sure.

One really fascinating tidbit from Junior’s testimony are mysterious phone calls he made, but says does not remember. Daily Beast summarizes the events nicely and here’s a timeline I compiled from their article:

  • June 6, 2016 Rob Goldstone emails Don Junior with an offer “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” via well-connected Russian lawyer and Junior should talk to music producer Emin Agalarov to schedule an appointment.
  • Minutes after speaking to Agalarov, Junior places a 4-minute call to a blocked number.
  • Minutes after that, Junior calls Agalarov again and sets up the meeting for June 9.
  • Junior immediately places an 11-minute call to a blocked number.
  • June 8, 2016 Donald Trump says at a rally that the following week he will give a “major speech” where “we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”
  • June 9, 2016 Junior, Manafort and Kushner meet with Veselnitskaya and others where Junior asks Veselnitskaya: “So can you show us how does this money go to Hillary?” And when she drones on about Magnitsky Act, Kushner gets angry.
  • After the meeting ended, Junior placed a 3-minute call to a blocked number.
  • Trump’s speech on the Clintons never happened.
  • Junior says he does not remember who he called on any of those occasions.
  • Corey Lewandowski has said that at the time of these meetings Donald Trump used a blocked phone number at his home.

This is an open thread.

 

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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.

gado.jpgSaturday Night Massacre is really a 2016-2020 Massacre in Trump years. It’s better for the ratings. The latest victim of our slow motion descent into chaos is National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster. He was one of Trump’s beloved Generals. His predecessor in the post was Michael Flynn. Flynn is trying not to get locked up and McMaster is probably looking to get his 4 stars and retire ASAP. Stories are that Trump thought McMaster was too serious and talked too much. That must have been especially galling, to talk more than Trump. What is Trump supposed to do when a National Security Advisor talks too much? Listen? LOL. McMaster’s replacement – who needs no confirmation from the Senate – is John Bolton. Dubya first put Bolton in power as a U.N. ambassador, even though Bolton detests the U.N. So never forget that no matter how bad Trump is, Dubya was awful, awful, awful. And it’s only fitting that Bolton get a fancy new job the week we celebrate the anniversary of the Iraq War! It’s a nice present to one of the architects of that catastrophe.

Speaking of great ratings being delivered by Trump: Jeff Zucker, head of CNN, had some harsh things to say about Fox News.

“What has happened to that network in the last 18 months, especially the last year, is that it has just turned itself into state-run TV,” Zucker said. “TASS has nothing on them,” he said in reference to the Russian news agency.

[…]

Zucker said that Fox has “a handful of good journalists but they get lost in the propaganda machine.”

“The idea that they are a news channel is really not accurate at all,” he said.

This is all hilarious because Jeff Zucker made a choice during the election: he chose to elevate and normalize Trump and everything Trump stands for. Hours of uninterrupted and unchallenged speeches by Trump aired live on CNN for months. And everybody missed the Russian story and, now we learn, Cambridge Analytica story; because of “her mails.” It’s not an exaggeration to say that Zucker is one big reason we have Trump. But that kind of self-awareness does not exist in the media. To date not a single reporter* has stepped forward and said: “Maybe her emails were less important than Trump/Russia.” Not only has no reporter done that much self-reflection, many have dug in and insist that they did nothing wrong. Some pick fights on twitter with anyone who even suggests that they might have spent too much time on unworthy subjects. Ken Vogel of the NY Times, who wrote extensively about the Clinton Foundation, and has tweeted extensively practically foaming at the mouth with rage that the Foundation is a sinister money laundering scheme, tweeted that Cambridge Analytica story is overblown. That the company is harmless. That’s the state of modern journalism.

*The only reporters who have made the point that the media covered the wrong story were already saying it in 2016. People like Soledad O’Brien, Josh Marshal, Charles Pierce and David Corn. I would give 1/2 point to Matthew Yglesias, but only 1/2 point because his Clinton Derangement Syndrome is otherwise rabid.

A final word about Facebook: the story of Cambridge Analytica harvesting profiles and data of 50,000,000 Facebook users is only beginning to hit the front pages. For most of us it’s not a new story. The name of that company has been discussed for a a couple of years and Hillary Clinton talked about it publicly as far back as Spring of last year. At the time she was trashed by every pundit and reporter for refusing to take enough (all) blame for her loss and instead blaming everyone else. Once again, however, we see that Clinton was ahead of everyone else. What she was saying wasn’t so much blame-shifting as warning. Warning that there are layers to the treachery that are still to be uncovered and explored. But the very smart people in the media let their CDS get in the way. That will never change, of course. If Hillary had won the electoral college in addition to theRelated image popular vote she would have been buried under countless Republican investigations (no doubt she would already have been impeached.) Jason Chaffetz would still be in Congress and Trey Gowdy wouldn’t be resigning either. HRC’s administration would have been testifying on something every day of the week and the media would still be blasting her emails on the front page, in addition to some new scandal Alex Jones made up. She would also have been crushed by Democrats, who are incapable of standing by their own. (Trump really did manage to build a wall: a wall of Republicans protecting his every sin.) The Left would have been screaming that Hillary hasn’t given them a unicorn yet and the Right would have been screaming that she is taking away their rocket launchers. Trump would be starting his own media empire accusing HRC of stealing his election and whipping up right-wing paranoia of astronomical proportions. (Ok, the last part happened anyway.) HRC’s life is far more peaceful not being in the White House. Except I know that Hillary Clinton wishes she was saving us from the Apocalypse, even if it burned her first.

This is an open thread.

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Happy third week of 2018 Widdershins. It is less than 3 weeks of the year. Dump is about to celebrate 1 year in office. The rest of us will drink (more.) Or in my case eat more chocolate because it’s the only thing getting me through each day. But the good news is that Dump’s physician evaluated me and declared me 6’9” and a lean mean muscle machine nurtured by chocolate and sugar, burgers and fries.

Let’s put Dump aside for a minute (or 3 years) and I wanted to mention a story that has gotten very little coverage – and it really really should get a lot more considering the sheer scope of it.

Larry Nassar was a doctor with the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University. For decades he attended to female gymnasts. And he molested them. More than 150 – one hundred and fifty – women have come forward accusing Nassar of raping them when they were under his medical care when they were children. One victim, confronting Nassar at his sentencing, says she was 6 years old when he first abused her. Even someone with just passing interest in gymnastics and the Olympics would recognize some of Nassar’s victims: Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.

Also worth exploring is the subject of how Nassar was able to get away with this for decades. He didn’t get away with it alone. He had enablers. People who knew – colleagues – who looked the other way. ESPN has an article discussing some of Nassar’s enablers.

Remember when the Jerry Sandusky story broke? It was huge. As terrible as that was, this story of Larry Nassar is so much bigger and getting a fraction of the coverage. I wonder if there’s a reason?

In other horrifying news – what will today bring? Are Republicans really angry at Bannon for refusing to answer their questions after the White House instructed him not to? How hard are they going to huff and puff before they stop the charade? Is Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, really a Chinese spy trying to curry favors with the Dumps via Javanka? Did she have an affair with Tony Blair which ended his marriage? Did she marry Murdoch for love? Wall Street Journal broke the stories earlier this week, which is extremely meta! (OK, WSJ didn’t speculate whether Deng married Murdoch for love, that was me.)


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Blog Archive

July 2018
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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.5 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

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