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Snitches

Posted on: July 3, 2022

Former White House/Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson swearing in for testimony before House’s 1/6 Committee.

Hello Widdershins,

A big week of 1/6 Committee hearings: former senior aide for Mark Meadows – former Republican Representative (and Freedom Caucus chief) who became Trump’s chief of staff 2020-21 – threw something of a nuke into the proceedings. Cassidy Hutchinson was one of Meadows’ most trusted deputy. A former intern for the likes of Ted Cruz she catapulted into the highest echelons of Republican power. A former staffer for Paul Ryan tweeted that Meadows always insisted that Hutchinson be present in every meeting. They didn’t think much of it at the time, he noted. Up until just a few weeks ago Hutchinson was being represented by a lawyer who was taking orders from Meadows and Trump. But she suddenly fired that attorney and hired her own. The information she provided – privately and in the public hearing – made a real impact. We learned that Meadows texted Hutchinson the day before the public testimony, warning her not to go through with it. (That’s illegal!) Perhaps one of the most consequential parts of Hutchinson’s testimony was her revealing that Donald Trump insisted on going to the Capitol right after his rally, just as his MAGAts began their march and Proud Boys were already on the premises. According to Hutchinson – who said she was told by people directly involved – Trump lunged for the wheel of his car and tried to choke the Secret Service agent, insisting he be taken to the Capitol. While SS (always appreciated that acronym) first insisted no such thing happened, within 24 hrs other people came forward – including from the SS – saying that it did. And a grainy video and photos appeared showing things getting wild inside Trump’s car. That video is now being examined like the Zapruder film.

The main take-away from this information isn’t that Trump was throwing a hissy fit and choked his Secret Service agent (who, incidentally, remains loyal to Trump.) That’s absurd and salacious. But the important part of that story is why Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol, when you add the other known parts of the Insurrection. Trump continued to demand that Pence not certify the votes, and was pleased that Pence’s life was threatened. The Proud Boys had already arrived on the premises of the Capitol well ahead of the MAGAt rioters. The Proud Boys were organized. We know the Proud Boys were coordinating with Roger Stone, who was coordinating with Trump and Rudy Giuliani. We know that there are only a handful of unfortified windows in the Capitol and the Proud Boys knew exactly which ones. Why did Trump wanted to go to the Capitol so violently? Trump insisting to go the Capitol – combined with the other things – can only mean he intended to declare himself the winner of the election just as the votes were counted. The violence was the cover so he could declare martial law or something similar. Proud Boys were hunting for Pence and Pelosi. Just imagine the horrors if the rioters found them – and Trump arrived to declare himself the winner.

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!

This week is the end of Summer, at least officially. The funny thing is in Eastern Europe we’d never heard of a season ending in the middle of the month. We always considered Autumn began on September 1 (always first day of school.) Winter started December 1. Spring on March 1 and Summer on June 1st. I learned the hard way shortly after coming to the USA that this is not how Americans do it. On some exam in an ESL class the question was “When does Spring begin.” Naturally I said “March 1” and lost a point. Nobody had ever told me it was different here. I also never quite adjusted to Inches/Feet and Fahrenheit. It just makes more sense that water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100. And everything else falls in between. I still use a Celsius thermometer for body temperatures. And the metric measuring system just makes so much more sense! It was Ronald Reagan who decided to stick with the Imperial system in the US, wasn’t it? Well, the UK is about to reintroduce the Imperial system. To spite the European Union, I guess? This is Boris Johnson’s great new idea for Brexit… I just don’t know how many ways Boris Johnson can face-plant England. Of course, we had – and still have – You Know Who. So who are we to judge about face-planting.

Speaking of face-planting, the newest MAGAt rally was a bust. Nobody showed up. Now the complaints are “The media overreacted!” Or maybe in this instance the attention given to the plannings of the second rally scared away people like Ginni Thomas – wife of SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas – from renting buses to bring people to DC; something she did for 1/6. As did countless others.

Speaking of winter coming, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas appeared this past week in public and gave speeches on how completely non-political they are. After I stopped laughing I got scared because these people dominate SCOTUS and we are in a world of hurt with their upcoming rulings. The Texas abortion non-ruling is just a taste of what’s to come. The same person that wrote the Texas abortion law is currently petitioning SCOTUS to uphold the Mississippi abortion law and in the same brief argues SCOTUS must overturn the rulings that outlawed a ban on same-sex sex and that allowed gay marriage. The Christian Taliban is on a mission. We may soon be demanding our Democratic governors tell SCOTUS to enforce their laws if they can.

This is an open thread.

Rose-shaped galaxy (Hubble telescope)

Happy Weekend, Widdershins!

Biden’s economic strategy seems to be a banger. The jobs report says almost a million jobs were added in July. Of course Washington Post had this story as the 9th leading story of the day. Joe Manchin’s boat -where Lindsey Graham got Covid – was a bigger story than the economy adding almost a million jobs in a single month. The media continues to fail us.

Meghan McCain (did you know John McCain was her father????) has finally left The View. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar must be breathing a sigh of relief. Except I can’t even imagine what conservative moron they will choose to replace her. Doesn’t it seem like each conservative co-host has been worse than the one before? I think they’ll pick Kaleyigh McNinny or whatever the hell her name was. One of Trump’s big blond press secretary liars.

And Jeopardy is heading off a cliff. Their lengthy search for a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek is nearing its end and the recently hired Executive Producer is looking to hire himself. Literally, no joke. Mike Richards, the executive in question, is nearing final negotiations to hire himself. He used to be an Executive Producer of The Price is Right and his tenure was rife with lawsuits of sexual harassment and discrimination against the models. So this is going to go splendidly if the network goes through with this disaster. The Jeopardy brand will be permanently damaged.

How was your week?

This is an open thread!

Hey Widdershins

Consider this just something to give us a fresh, new post to, as I said, tide us over until the weekend post.

 

Infamous open thread.  Talk about anything.

 

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