Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

The Kremlin Anex

Kremlin Annex logo

Did you know that there have been daily protests in front of the White House for the past 95 (going on 96, tonight) days, ever since TrumPutin’s shameful performance at the Helsinki Summit?

One of my friends is a volunteer and regular participant with the Kremlin Annex group, and I’m helping her get the word out, since the media coverage has been, shall we say, a bit LACKING?

If you’re angry about Russia interfering in our elections, if you’re upset by children’s separation from their parents, if you’re devastated that survivors have been silenced once more, then please join us at the #KremlinAnnex. A peaceful demonstration, the #KremlinAnnex protest happens every day in front of the White House from 7:30 pm-9 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm-7:30 pm on weekends.

  • If you can join us, please bring a friend! The more, the merrier! (and louder)
  • If you can’t join us, please spread the word on social media using the hashtag #KremlinAnnex.
  • You can also donate (through Act Blue) to help us keep the protests going.

#KremlinAnnex started spontaneously after the Helsinki summit and has continued for almost a hundred days, rain or shine. (We hope to be finished before it snows!)

Every night features local musicians such as EmmaG, AceOno, and SteelOSoul Music, and speeches by protest regulars, or guests like Kristen Mink, Patricia Okoumou, Michael Avenatti, and Alyssa Milano.

We’ve had a number of Special Event nights: a mariachi band cheered us all up, Rosie O’Donnell brought Broadway singers to entertain us, Kathy Griffin roasted the President, and recently, Sing Out Louise reimagined popular songs with a political twist. Many protesters go all out, with creative signs and costumes.

The mood might be joyous but the message is serious: Trump betrayed us at Helsinki. He’s the head of a kleptocratic government. We won’t stop protesting until he’s removed from office.

All are welcome. We’d love to see you there.

There has been a little media coverage, but not nearly the amount their work would merit:

And speaking of Rosie O’Donnell….

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Are You Ready to Be Strong?

Willow spell to activate all the slayers using the axe

Earlier this week a group of witches may have gathered on the dark moon to focus, concentrate, and channel women’s anger into action around the election that is coming up in 25 days. I’m not saying they did, or who they were, but they might have.

Those witches may have called upon their ancestors – both of blood and of spirit – and a variety of Goddesses who have something to be righteously pissed about. I’m not saying they did, or who they were, but they might have.

Those witches may have inscribed the symbol of Venus on black candles and charged those candles with sacred purpose in magical circle. I’m not saying they did, or who they were, but they might have.

Those witches may be burning those candles daily until the election, calling on and renewing the energy of that working each time. I’m not saying they are, or who they are, but they might be.

Those witches may be planning to bury the remnants of that spell in a desolate place, or cast it upon moving waters, on the morning of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, I’m not saying they will, or who they are, but they might.

During that hypothetical working that, rumor has it, took place on the night of the dark moon, one of those witches may have been inspired to read the final stanza of Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Young British Soldier:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

And that may have inspired one of the OTHER witches to talk about Willow Rosenberg as an avatar of women’s rage and women’s power.

Spoiler alerts below (although, come on, Buffy the Vampire Slayer HAS been off the air for 15 years, y’all)

Rage

In season 6, after Warren, leader of the red herring season Big Bad, the Legion of Dim, kills Willow’s lover Tara in a failed attempt to kill Buffy, Willow goes rogue, is revealed as the REAL season Big Bad, hunts Warren down, kills him by FLAYING HIM ALIVE using her supernatural powers, and nearly destroys the world. And the thing is, you almost want her to.

In every other season (except season 2), the Big Bad is, to quote Buffy:

And the thing is, I like my evil like I like my men – evil. You know, “straight up, black hat, tied to the train tracks, soon my electro-ray will destroy Metropolis,” bad.

Willow’s not. Her Big Badness is complex. She’s a powerful witch who, over the course of the season, has become a magical junkie and attempted recovery, a process that seems to be working until she’s provoked by an egregious act of evil perpetrated by a deeply misogynist man. Her “evil” comes from a place of righteous rage and an overwhelming desire for cleansing fire. She only, in the end, kills Warren, a clearly justified act, and because of that, she is able to be redeemed.

(And can we talk for just a second about how ground breaking it was to have an open lesbian couple with on-camera love scenes who matter of factly shared a bed in a show aimed at teenagers 15+ years ago? It was also network TV’s first long-term lesbian relationship. That’s pretty fucking rad, in both senses of that term.)

Power

In season 7, the Big Bad is really big, really bad, and possibly undefeatable – the First Evil, and its army of prehistoric uber-vamps. Minions of the First Evil swarm the globe, attempting to kill all the potential slayers. See, in every generation there is a chosen ONE. She ALONE will stand against the vampires the demons and the forces of darkness.

A new slayer is only called when the previous slayer dies in battle, usually fairly young. No more potentials = no more slayers. The line dies out. The First Evil wins.

The Scoobies realize what’s up, and Giles comes back from his self-imposed exile in the UK, bringing with him a bunch of the surviving potentials, whence they proceed to hole up in Buffy’s house, conveniently located near the Hellmouth, and try to figure out what to do.

Here, Buffy’s ongoing relationship with the first slayer and the mystical powers that created her deepens. She finally sees the misogynistic frame of slayer-dom: The male shamans forced this responsibility upon a young woman in Africa many, many generations ago (and the fact that it’s a metaphor for having raped this young woman is EXPLICIT). Men set up the rules that there can be only one. Because that first exploited young woman helps Buffy see the frame, she can now challenge it. And she does.

But in order for that to happen, Willow has to face her fear of losing control and being utterly destroyed by her magic. She does, and performs the spell (which involves a totally bad-ass axe) that breaks the men’s power and instantaneously activates EVERY SINGLE SLAYER IN THE WORLD.

Or as Buffy puts it in the speech that is the voice-over while it’s happening:

So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power…now? In every generation, one slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power will have the power, can stand up will stand up. Every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?

 

Who is your female avatar of rage? Of power? How will you call on her in the next 25 days to sharpen, focus, power, and direct your magic and your activism?

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

NB: Yes, I know we’ve all decided that anything by Joss Whedon is problematic because he cheated on his wife. Sorry not sorry, Still love Buffy.

NB: Yes, I know we’re all decided that Buffy in particular is problematic because there were no major characters of color. Oh – except Kendra. And Mr. Trick. Both of Giles’s love interests (although Robia LaMorte is almost definitely not actually Roma, but I’ve been unable to confirm or disprove). Forrest Gates. Principal Robin Wood (and his slayer mom). Who was – briefly – a love interest for Buffy. Several of the potentials in season seven. The first slayer Spike killed in China during the Boxer Rebellion. And, of course, the first slayer. And the shamans who made her.

But yes, none of the core Scoobies was black. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I think the only one who really could have been without creating blowback (the lesbian witches? the evil characters? the overtly sexualized bad-girl slayer? the terminally uncool comic relief?) was Cordelia Chase, the gorgeous, popular Queen Bee of Sunnydale High, and then I suspect they would’ve felt like they had to significantly dial back the bitchy in her character, which would’ve been a real shame. Although I would’ve loved to see Quentin Travers played by a black Brit.

 

Brett Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed

Brett Kavanaugh

But that was a done deal as of November 8, 2016.

Sadly, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was right – she blew up her life for nothing.

It doesn’t matter that Kavanaugh had $200,000 in gambling debts that were mysteriously paid by…someone, we don’t know who, to whom he now owes a REALLY BIG favor.

It doesn’t matter that he had a gambling problem in the first place.

It doesn’t matter that he had – and who knows, may still have (the FBI was prohibited from looking into it) – a drinking problem.

It doesn’t matter that he may yet find himself indicted for attempted rape (there’s no statute of limitations on that crime in Maryland, the state in which he committed the crime).

It doesn’t matter that he made a BLATANTLY partisan opening statement in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, thus annihilating any pretense that he’ll judge cases before him on their merits and the law.

It doesn’t matter that he screamed and raged and pouted and whined and cried in that same hearing, clearly demonstrating that he lacks the temperament and emotional maturity to serve on ANY bench at all, much less the highest court in the land.

It doesn’t matter that he CLEARLY lied under oath. Multiple times, about matters big and small.

It doesn’t matter that Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick blew up their lives, too.

It doesn’t matter that the Senate Democrats pulled rabbits out of every hat they could find to try to stop this.

It doesn’t matter that thousands of women shut down the Hart Senate office building yesterday, or that hundreds of them were arrested.

Because in the end, this comes down to one fact.

We ALL went into the 2016 election KNOWING that Mitch McConnell had irreparably politicized the Supreme Court and the nomination process, and a bunch of dumbasses voted like that didn’t matter.

You sat out the election. And the 2014 election. And the 2010 election. And your local and state elections.

You voted third party.

You wrote in St. Bernard of the Snows.

All we can do now is prepare for what comes next.

Step one: Take a solemn oath to whatever authority you believe in (God/dess, a religious book, the Constitution, your favorite tree, whatever) that you will never again not vote in an election. As a wise friend of mine says, an oath is a suspended curse you lay on yourself, so be warned, and do it anyway.

Two generations of women have lived our entire adulthoods secure in the knowledge of safe, legal abortion. That’s gone, and we’ll have to adapt ourselves and help our younger sisters, daughters, nieces, and granddaughters adapt to that reality.

(A few tips: Get yourself set up with a long-term method of birth control NOW. If you think you might be done having kids or might not want them in the first place, get sterilized NOW. Stock up on Plan B – properly stored, it’s good for at least three years – and condoms. Talk to older feminists about how the pre-Roe underground railroad of abortion care worked. You’re going to need that information. Set aside a few thousand dollars in case you – or someone you know – suddenly finds herself wanting to take a last minute trip to Canada or western Europe. Make sure you have a current passport.)

TrumPutin’s corruption is likely to go unchecked.

Bob Mueller and his team will turn up crimes by TrumPutin, and a 5-4 SCOTUS decision will protect him from being indicted.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance – and maybe even the IRS – will follow the trail laid by the New York Times and discover that TrumPutin owes hundreds of millions in back taxes and fines, and he’ll be protected from those civil suits as well in another 5-4 partisan decision.

Things are going to be pretty dark for a while.

Kavanaugh’s a conspiracy theorist – he supported the bullshit idiocy around Vince Foster’s suicide – and a bully – he was part of the team that threatened and intimidated the people involved in the Florida recount to the point that they stopped it, which cleared the way for another 5-4 utterly partisan SCOTUS decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh worked in the Bush White House during the “torture is great!” years, and we have no idea what role he played in that, because the GOP members of the Judiciary committee refused to get his records.

Kavanaugh picked justices Roberts and Alito.

SCOTUS will continue to erode the rights of workers and unions in favor of big corporations.

The NSA will get free reign on surveillance of American citizens.

The Consumer Financial Protection Board, one of the safeguards put in place to prevent a repeat of the 2007-2008 Great Recession and already somewhat defanged under TrumPutin, may cease to exist.

Receipts.

If, IF, the Dems can manage to take BOTH houses of Congress in November, and if, IF, they can then manage to impeach Kavanaugh, and if, IF, at his impeachment trial, he’s convicted, we might be able to stop this.

Oh, and NEXT time a bunch of women are PLEADING with you to remember that elections have consequences and do the right thing? You might want to listen to us.

[Edited to add: For those of you freaking out about Manchin’s yes vote on cloture, remember that “yes” on cloture is not “yes” on nomination. My guess is that he had permission from Schumer to do that in an attempt to save his seat. I’m betting it comes down to 50-50 (all Dems and Murkowski NO, all other Repubs YES and those of you counting on Sasse or Flake to do the right thing are like Charlie damn Brown and the damn foootball), with Pence as the tie-breaker. It’s just math, or actually, just counting.]

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Why Women Don’t Report

Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Yesterday, a clearly terrified Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified powerfully before the Judiciary Committee, providing highly credible and detailed evidence as to why Brett Kavanaugh should NOT be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Brett, in turn, raged and whined and cried and pouted during what was, let me remind you, a JOB INTERVIEW, not a criminal trial. Although he clearly believes himself to be entitled to a seat on the highest court in the land, he is, most assuredly, not. And, in fact, if this interview doesn’t turn out the way he wants, he’s not going to jail. He’s going back to serving on the DC Circuit Court. He’ll go back to his life as a rich, powerful, privileged, entitled white man who ONE TIME in his life actually had to face some consequences for his actions.

Were those consequences uprooting his entire life, moving across the country, and having to completely re-establish himself?

No.

Were those consequences a barrage of rape and death threats that required him to hire a 24 hour security detail?

No.

Were those consequences having to put his entire family in hiding?

No.

He just wouldn’t have gotten a lifetime appointment to one of the most powerful positions in our entire country. He’d be stuck at the second tier of massive power. Poor him.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ford has had to go through everything I just detailed. Professor Anita Hill did as well. So did Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian. So has pretty much every prominent feminist. And every woman who dared to speak out about the massive trauma virtually every single one of us has experienced.

Yeah, we’re all doing it to get famous. EYE ROLL.

Let’s go back to that whole “job interview” thing for a minute.

Obviously, if you believe Dr. Ford (as any sane, competent person would), Brett cannot be confirmed.

However, even if you don’t believe her or are unsure, Brett should not be confirmed.

One, after yesterday’s uncontrolled emotional outbursts, it seems clear that he lacks the temperament and emotional maturity to be a Justice. We can’t have someone who can’t control his emotions on the Supreme Court.

Two, he either is or at least was a serious alcoholic. That seems like a problem.

Three, we still don’t know who paid off his $200,000 gambling debts. Also, he had $200,000 in gambling debts to be paid off in the first place. Also seems like a problem.

Four, any Republican who isn’t currently being blackmailed by the Russians should surely be able to piece together that placing TWO men credibly accused of sex crimes on the Supreme Court is a TERRIBLE idea.

Finally, I am SURE there is at least one judge on the Federalist Society’s wish list who’s equally conservative and who doesn’t have the shadow of sex crimes FOR WHICH THEY COULD STILL BE PROSECUTED (there is no statute of limitations on sex crimes in Maryland) hanging over them. You know how I know this? Neil Gorsuch.

Senators Collins, Murkowski, Flake, Sasse, et. al.: I’ve just provided FIVE excellent cover stories for you to vote no. You’re welcome, and please attempt to demonstrate some level of character, OK?

There’s been so much hand wringing about “no man is safe!” in the past few weeks. It honestly makes me want to vomit.

To begin with, if no man you know is “safe,” perhaps you need a better class of friends.

But more importantly, would-be rapist Brett Kavanaugh WAS safe until he reached for the ultimate brass ring. Only then did Dr. Ford feel that the issue was important enough for her to destroy her own life to try to stop him. And that’s SUPER common. I never told on any of the boys who groped me in junior high. One, having been raised evangelical, I was taught it was my fault, that a 12-year old girl going through puberty who got groped was a big slutty slut who must’ve invited it. And two, I knew those boys, they were at least nominally my friends, and I didn’t want to get them in trouble. That’s the default for a lot of us. We know these boys and men, and we actually DON’T want to uproot their lives and our own.

And so we let things slide, we bury the trauma, we put our heads down and keep on keeping on. We learn that we can’t trust men, but we also can’t, unlike racial minorities, reasonably create safe spaces that exclude the people who want to hurt us, because they’re our fathers, our brothers, our lovers, our sons. We’re sleeping with the enemy, and there’s no way around it. We realize that we can’t trust institutions and authority to protect us. Because of that, most of us make the calculation that coming forward and seeking justice is pointless. The personal (and often professional) cost is much too high, and the chances of success are much too low.

Do I sound cynical? Defeatist?

As I’m writing this, Senator Jeff Flake, he of the passive-aggressive anti-Trump tweets and sad, sad speeches, who nonetheless votes in lockstep with everything TrumPutin wants, has announced that he’s a yes on Brett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

I think I’m a realist. And that is horrifically depressing.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Are You a Dirty Computer?

What is a dirty computer?

In Janelle Monáe’s fabulous album and accompanying “emotion picture” released this past spring, it’s a human mind that dares to have unsanctioned thoughts, a human person who dares to behave in ways that are authentic to her but transgressive to the world at large. It’s deeply intersectional, a clarion call for, as the Rolling Stone review notes, personal, sexual, political, and musical freedom.

At a time when so many forces in our country seem to be trying to Make America (More) Oppressive Again, whether that’s about being brown, or queer, or gender-fluid, or resisting the patriarchy or Christo-facism (aka evangelical faux morality), when they’re trying to drive us back to the worst vision of pre-civil rights movement, pre-women’s movement, pre-Roe, pre-sexual revolution, pre-gay liberation Eisenhower-era America, it seems really, really important to, to quote P Funk, “free your mind – and your ass will follow” to some divinely funky music.

Take 45 minutes this weekend and watch the full thing. And dance. Because that, too, is resistance.

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer [Emotion Picture] from optimist. on Vimeo.

Not for nothing, if they ARE going to do a Prince biopic, the ONLY person who’s qualified to play him is Janelle Monáe (Bruno Mars can kiss my ass).

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Working Political Magic

orange candle burning against a black background

I notice Hecate has not posted in a few days, and I’m guessing that it’s because she is deep into preparing for a gathering we’re both participating in this weekend on working political magic. She’ll be one of the presenters, and, serendipitously, although I’ll miss the very opening due to another commitment, I should arrive just before she begins.

She and I both spend a decent amount of time on this blog (and our Twitter accounts) encouraging Democrats/liberals/progressives/#TheResistance (whatever term you prefer) to take action in the “mundane” world and detailing ways to do that. Write postcards. Register voters. Get involved in your local Democratic party or Indivisible group. Volunteer with Swing Left. Phone bank. Find candidates you believe in and contribute to their campaigns. Canvass for them. That stuff is all REALLY, REALLY important, particularly in these final 52 days before the election.

It’s equally important that we continue to work in the magical realm.

Hecate and I and a small (but growing) group of witches have been working twice a month since well before the 2016 elections, towards things we want (like an end to gerrymandering, protection for democratic norms, the #BlueWave, for elected Democrats to get their acts together in advance so that when they are in power again they don’t waste ONE SECOND debating about what to do) on the full moons and to banish things we don’t want (like Muslim bans and children in cages and lying liars who lie and attempt to rape women on the Supreme Court) on the dark.

Our magical work supports our mundane work, and vice versa.

Some of the witches we approached to work magic with us turned us down. “Activist” type of magical working wasn’t for them – they wanted to stay in an “advocate” role and stay off the front lines. And that’s OK. Fighting at the barricades is not for everyone.

And maybe that’s you. Maybe you’ve been doing the weekly Magical Battles for America Hecate puts so much time and thought into. Maybe that feels too activist to you. Think about what you CAN do. Can you channel energy to tired volunteers heading out on ANOTHER rainy weekend here in the Mid-Atlantic to canvass in swing districts? Can you light a black candle and envision the Magical Battlers surrounded by a ring of protective fire? Can you call the ancestors in sacred circle and ask them to protect the more than 400 immigrant children who still haven’t been reunited with their parents? Or the Parkland teens?

Some would say that a witch who can’t hex can’t heal, and are willing to accept the consequences that come with that kind of magic. Some aren’t comfortable with that, or with those types of consequences. We need all types of fighters, those who are OK on the front lines and those who provide spiritual, emotional, and physical support for the front line troops. We’re all working towards the same goal.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

“Bring It” Indeed

Just when we thought the news cycle couldn’t speed up any faster:

Preview copies of Bob Woodward’s book Fear come out, and the media goes nuts because…he reports a bunch of stuff anyone paying the least bit of attention in the past three years already knew about TrumPutin. HOW ARE Y’ALL EVEN PRETENDING TO BE SURPRISED AT THIS POINT?

The anonymous Times op-ed comes out, same (and David Frum is excellent and succinct on why it’s a HUGE problem that this is being handled this way).

Republican rat fucking is already out of control, and the elections are still two months away. (Receipts and receipts and receipts.)

Oh – and more than 16 Puerto Ricans (who, let me remind you, are AMERICAN CITIZENS) died in Hurricane Maria. A lot more. Like 3000 more. Directly because of the utter incompetence of the TrumPutin administration.

500 undocumented immigrant children are STILL separated from their parents. And the TrumPutin administration just decide that those who’ve been lucky enough to be reunited can be detained together indefinitely.

Despite a shameful lack of media coverage, the #KremlinAnnex protests continue. 53 consecutive days and counting.

Kamala Harris leads the charge, with Cory Booker right behind her (and Mazie Hirono and Dick Durbin right behind him, and Diane Feinstein right behind them), on Democrats FINALLY understanding that you need to bring a KNIFE to a knife fight, not a kitten, a plate of cookies, or appeals to “normal order.”

We learn that Brett Kavanaugh is a lying liar who lies (even under oath) and parrots NRA and pro-forced-birth talking points like a good little shill. And somehow, incredibly, his confirmation for a lifetime appointment to an immensely powerful position might still happen.

(and if you want to see a MASTERFUL prosecutor at work, look no further)

And that’s all pretty much just this week. Jesus.

A bunch of us have been saying for the past few months that this may not, pace Winston Churchill, be the beginning of the end, but it appears to be the end of the beginning.

I’m going out on a limb and saying: I think this is the beginning of the end. Certainly for TrumPutin and perhaps for the entire complicit Republican party. (Yes, even you, Ben Sasse, with your ridiculous, passive-aggressive “But what could I possibly DOOOO????? Woe is me!!!!!” tweets. You’re a goddamn US Senator. Surely you can think of SOMETHING.)

And much like all extinction events, we’re seeing an explosion of energy and activity right before the crash.

I don’t know what to tell you other than:

  • Keep up the voter registering, phone banking, canvassing, postcard writing, and donating. Two months y’all.
  • Keep up your magical work – it’s working! But also check your wards.
  • Take your vitamins and eat your Wheaties. And get your flu shot. We need every member of The Resistance operating at peak effectiveness.
  • Hold on to your ass, because this ride is about to get seriously bumpy.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.