The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump

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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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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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Good morning Widdershins,

There’s a storm coming, so I hope anyone being effected is prepared and staying warm! I think it’s supposed to come to NYC as well, but honestly, since I’m working from home I’m not too concerned. Although my dog might not enjoy blistering walks (he likes snow.)

Speaking of storms, category 6 Hurricane Bannon hit the Dump White House yesterday. Excerpts from a new book by Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury,” were published in The New Yorker. (The book is already #1 on Amazon’s best seller list.) Whether or not it’s true (and there are reasons to question Michael Wolff’s often imaginative imagination) isn’t even relevant. I’m sure some of the stories are true and others are true in part. And it’s not the stories themselves that matter, it’s the fact that Steve Bannon told some of them them, Michael Wolff put them in a book, and Donald Dump thought they were true enough to release a blistering attack on Bannon (on official White House letterhead via Sarah Huckleberry), calling Bannon insane. Don Junior activated his attack mode and called Bannon a lying, backstabbing ingrate on Twitter.

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Rebekah Mercer

Rebekah Mercer, the former actress (whose credits include “Xena: Warrior Princess) and evil billionaire who has been funding Bannon’s Breitbart and the Dump campaign has, supposedly, severed all ties with Bannon. Which part of all this is not living up to Mercer’s expectations, I don’t know. I suppose she may have expected loyalty from a man she gave so much money to. Perhaps she expected honor among thieves? Dump doesn’t have any; he has destroyed more people than one can count. But it will be interesting to see what happens in this angry divorce between Bannon and Dump. So much of their followers are the same people: alt-right, white supremacists. Arguably they were Bannon’s first. He gifted them to Dump. Now they will have to choose sides. It’s a real pickle they find themselves in… Who do you think they will choose?

 

And what does the GOP think about all this? Well, Mitch McConnell’s official Twitter feed posted this creepy gif:

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Draw your own conclusions. Everybody else has been strangely quiet. (But we can imagine their responses. For example, when asked about Dump’s tweet threatening nuclear annihilation, Susan Collins said … “I’m going to vote” as she stormed away to vote on something. Bob Corker laughed and said he hadn’t seen the tweet, but Trump will be Trump. LOL.) So as a Civil War breaks out in the GOP – what do we think Widdershins? What is Bannon doing? We know his real desire is to destroy everything. So are his opening shots at Trump a surprise? He built Dump and he will destroy him. What will Dump do in response? He’s certainly going to do something… What will McTurtle do besides grin? Is this war good or bad for the GOP? And how will Democrats screw everything up?

I know only one thing: in 2020 Bannon will endorse Bernie Sanders for President. Mark my words.

 

Boooooo

Posted on: November 1, 2017

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Good morning Widdershins,

It’s the day after Halloween and we’d be greedy if we asked for a bigger treat than the indictment of Dump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, his protege and some coffee-fetching intern named George Papadopoulos. No, not this poor guy who has the exactScreen Shot 2017-10-31 at 8.29.52 PM.png same name. Fortunately this guy was in Greece visiting his mother when the other Papadopoulos was announced as having plea-bargained his way into Bob Mueller’s good graces and, who knows, maybe even has been wearing a wire since July, the date he agreed to start cooperating. 6 days ago the bad Papadopoulos was in London (he posted a picture himself). What was he doing in London? Obviously Mueller allowed him to leave. We’ll have to wait to find out if he was on a secret mission. I can’t imagine he’d be on a sight-seeing tour at a time like this.

We also found out that Paul Manafort used “Bond007” as his computer password. Because that’s funny.

Now can we talk about Bernie for a minute? I know this isn’t anything new to us, but he did go on Seth Meyers on Monday night and said something dumb and very much in keeping wit his entire platform, which is further proof of why he’s a loathsome creature.

I mean, I think we’ve got to work in two ways,” Sanders answered. “Number one, we have got to take on Trump’s attacks against the environment, against women, against Latinos and blacks and people in the gay community, we’ve got to fight back every day on those issues. But equally important, or more important: We have got to focus on bread-and-butter issues that mean so much to ordinary Americans.”

Sanders said those “ordinary Americans” are “not staying up every day worrying about Russia’s interference in our election.” Instead, he said, “They’re wondering how they’re going to send their kids to college” or “how they’re going to be able to pay the rent” or “whether they can afford health care.”

This on the heels on his appearance with NYC Mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio in a subway station where his MetroCard worked on the 1st try and Bernie took a swipe at Hillary’s incident where the MetroCard didn’t work. As a regular NYC subway rider I can tell you the card often doesn’t work on the first try. Bernie got lucky and his first thought was taking a swipe at HRC. Because that’s where she lives, rent free. In Bernie’s and Trump’s heads.

BTW when asked what she would dress as on Halloween, Clinton replied “Maybe as a President.”

Oh my goodness. They couldn’t. They wouldn’t.

Well, maybe they would. Those Republican f*ckers Graham and Cassidy are setting their sights on the ACA, and this time they’re really trying to remove it completely. Who actually wants this to happen – the 200 people who came to the “Less is M.O.A.R” rally?

“This bill is far more radical [than previous repeal bills] in that it envisions going back to the pre-ACA world, where the federal government wasn’t in the business of helping low-income adults or moderate-income people without employer coverage get health insurance at all,” Aviva Aron-Dine, senior fellow at the center, told HuffPost. “Compared to pre-ACA, there would be some extra state grant money floating around ― but it would have virtually no requirements attached to it at all and, since the funding wouldn’t adjust based on enrollment or costs, it would be hard for even well-intentioned states to use it to create an individual entitlement to coverage or help.”

Oh, and the bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and do so right away ― destabilizing insurance markets and causing premiums to rise right away, according to official projections [bolding mine].

Even though the actual defunding doesn’t start till 2020, the negative impacts will start immediately. Because, GOOPers are in charge and neener neener, they like screwing over poor people just for sh*ts and giggles.

Does this craptastic mess really have a chance to pass? No one is sure. After all, I don’t see why Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins would budge from their previous positions, and Rand Paul, who won’t be satisfied until the only entities collecting government aid are corporations, has also said he feels it’s Obamacare Lite. Um, sure, Rand. Maybe there’s a brain somewhere underneath that Brillo pad you call a hairstyle, although so far I’ve seen no evidence thereof. But you just go on with your crayzee self and help us prevent a massive humanitarian disaster for all the wrong reasons, mmmmkay?

I think we still need to call, write, tweet, and go to town halls. We must make absolutely sure the GOP knows we will NOT accept the removal of health care from tens of millions of people.  If you need to find a town hall near you, here’s a nifty site that will help.

Oh – and if you haven’t seen this, it’s reason #1,875,643 to institute the 25th Amendment. Is this hideous creature really our President? Good f*cking Christ.

This is an open thread.

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As I have written many times, often writing posts in the Trump-age feels like an exercise in futility because by the time they are posted they are already out of date. I fear this post will be the same… so we must stay on top of latest news via the comments!

What we know: FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with Rosenstein writing the explanation. (Rosenstein had previously been viewed as an honest man. He was confirmed just a few weeks ago to the Justice Deparment with a 94-6 vote in the Senate. But as Philippe Reines pointed out, if Rosenstein was an honest man he would have answered Trump and Sessions’ demand that Comey be fired with: “No, I refuse.” Instead, he wrote his own epitaph as a coward.) The administrations explanation for firing Comey is: it’s Hillary’s fault. Also, her e-mails.

I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.

This is, of course, laughable on its face and no one can take this explanation seriously except maybe Fox News, which suddenly shows great concern for how Comey treated poor Hillary Clinton. Even Roger Stone (!) expressed regret: “What Comey did to Hillary was disgraceful. I’m glad Trump fired him over it,” he said to Alex Pfeiffer. We know, of course, the firing had nothing to do with Clinton. It is about the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election.

Comey

James Comey has been an enigma for a long time. His press conference announcing that his agency would not recommend charges against Clinton over use of a private e-mail server, while blasting her in such a public manner, seemed inexplicable. Some stories later suggested Comey wanted to reveal information about Russian interference in our election in the summer of 2016, but was stopped by Obama. Then Comey refused to sign on to other agencies’ announcement of this info in the Fall of 2016 because it was too close to the election and he didn’t wish to interfere. But his Letter just days before the election, announcing discovery of new e-mails on the computer of Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s husband, did precisely what he claimed earlier he didn’t wish to do: he changed the outcome of an election. What a bizarre story arc for a man who once rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop the Bush/Cheney administration from spying on Americans. None of it made sense. Until last week when Comey testified before the Senate. Finally the fog lifted.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

In the end, this long term public servant fell for the oldest tragic flaw, the one Greeks wrote plays about: Hubris. Comey just thinks of himself as the last honest man in America. Our own Prolix has written a few times that Comey isn’t corrupt, he is Righteous and his own belief in his Righteousness is where things can get murky. It’s true that his Righteousness is why I think ultimately he could have been trusted with the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. But his zealotry came with unintended – even by him – consequences: the election of Donald Trump as President. In an honest desire to be seen as non-partisan Comey managed to ruin the reputation of his favorite agency. With his fear of being taken to task by Republicans, who would smear him and the FBI if he did not tell them about the Abedin e-mails, Comey compromised himself as an honest broker of truth. He misassigned the concepts of “bad” and “catastrophic.” He thought not telling Congress about the e-mails would be catastrophic. In fact, not telling Republicans and becoming the target of their wrath would have been bad. Affecting the outcome of a Presidential election was catastrophic.

-Joy Reid Sally Yates comment

(There were also the grave issues that in his testimony to the Senate Comey gave inaccurate information about Abedin’s e-mails, falsely claiming “tens and thousands” of messages had been sent by her to her husband’s computer. It took 6 days, and prodding from ProPublica and Washington Post, for the FBI to issue a correction. The same day Comey was fired. Trump had his bodyguard Keith Schiller deliver the firing letter to the FBI headquarters, but they didn’t realize Comey was not in the office. Comey was delivering a speech and learned he was fired when the news popped up on the screen behind him.)

-COmey fired Petri

This brings us to the present. What does Comey’s firing mean in the larger scheme of things? Many Clinton aides have expressed concern, not joy, at the developments. That Clinton aides, who dislike Comey as much as anyone, are concerned about the firing speaks volumes about the Clinton candidacy and the people who supported her. We are more concerned about the Republic than petty revenge. Because what does Comey’s firing mean for the Russia/Trump investigation and the future of the Republic? It is impossible to know just yet. Some high profile Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have lined up behind Trump. Collins told Judy Woodruff: “Well, the president didn’t fire the entire FBI.” Graham said: “I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” This is worrisome because it shows a continued support for the insupportable Trump, his administration and his policies. The good news is that some others Republicans have expressed concerns. (And not just the Nixon Library tweeting an objection to people calling Trump’s behavior “Nixonian.”)

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John McCain tweeted that “Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia’s interference in 2016 election.” Tea Partier Justin Amash tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into Trump/Russia, wrote:

I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.

Other notable Republicans who have expressed concern about Comey’s firing are James Lankford of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Senate Judiciary Committee member Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

I think we are at a cross-roads. What happens next is what history books will say about all of us. Will the firing of Comey bring about Trump’s downfall? Or will Republicans close ranks and save him, kill the investigation… and damn us all to a banana republic?

-History joke


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Blog Archive

April 2018
M T W T F S S
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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

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
2.8 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Perfect Name For Him h/t Daily News

Scary a.f.

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