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What I’m Reading & Thinking about Today

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The Nature of Magick

Magick-workers know that magick is all about influencing probabilities.  Magick can’t make fireballs fly out of your fingers.  What it does is to influence situations which have yet to be fixed in stone so that they are more likely to manifest in a way that you consider favourable to your purpose.  It works by the principle of chaos theory; slight alterations of direction can have huge consequences.  String theory tells us that every decision that is made takes us into one possible reality out of several options.  Magick aims the rocket that will take us there.

Whether or not this happens because we are actually exerting our Wills to change reality, or whether this happens because magick focuses intent and makes us more likely to be make some targeted decisions than others, isn’t relevant.  The effect is relevant.  It’s the moment of choice that matters.

from The Magical Battle of Britain

If you could travel back in time and ask Dion Fortune one question, what would it be?

Picture found here

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Not While I’m in the Bar — Part 2

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James Comey’s excuse for releasing damaging (and, as later shown, false) information about Hillary Clinton just before the election, while continuing to keep secret damaging (and, as is now clear, true) information about Donald Trump boils down to his concern that the NY FBI office was militantly anti-Hillary and that, had Comey not released the information, the NY office likely would have leaked it.

Bullshit.

First, James Comey was the Director of the FBI.  It was his job to run the organization, to make sure that everyone under his command followed the rules, to step in and be pro-active when there were problems.  Heck, we expect that much from the manager at the local drugstore and the head of the cleaning crew that does your office each night.  Comey is correct that it was very clear that the NY office was doing its best to damage Hillary.  Long-silent Twitter accounts suddenly began tweeting out sections of ancient reports on Bill Clinton’s affairs.  Trump cronies such as Rudy Giuliani were pretty obviously getting fed information.  Comey says that he ordered an investigation.

That’s nice.

But his job didn’t stop there.  He had an obligation to be proactive, to get that office under control, and he completely failed.  Did he go up there, call an all-hands meeting, and read the riot act, complete with a discussion of what would happen to those caught engaging in inappropriate behavior?  Meet with the head of the office and make clear that s/he had a responsibility to bring the bad behavior to a halt?  Move some staff around to break up the cell of bad actors?  Order training concerning the illegality and impropriety of attempting to influence an election?  Call Giuliani and talk to him about what the possible punishments might be for his role in receiving FBI leaks?  Go public with his concerns about rogue actors in the NY office and warn Americans that an unfairly partisan game was afoot?

No.  Comey sat on his sanctimonious ass.

But it’s worse than that.  Comey showed his agents, months before the election, that it was OK to break the rules in order to injure Hillary.  After a long investigation into what were always bullshit issues about her use of a private email server, Comey was unable to recommend that Hillary be prosecuted.  In other words, he couldn’t make a case that she’d broken any laws.  FBI/DOJ procedure in that case calls for a simple announcement that there will be no prosecution.  It’s specifically against practice to do what Comey did — go ahead and scold the subject of the investigation for behavior that isn’t illegal.  But that’s exactly what Comey did to Hillary.  A simple, “There’s no basis for a prosecution; nothing here,” would have been too helpful to her.  So, instead, Comey broke the rules and gave a long lecture about how Clinton’s behavior didn’t break any rules but was still irresponsible.  His speech was designed to hurt her as much as possible, given that he couldn’t find any illegal behavior.

Well, as we all know, leaders lead by example.  And the example that Comey gave to the members of the FBI was that they didn’t have to follow procedure when it came to harming Hillary Clinton.

But it’s worse than that.  Comey realized that the NY FBI office would leak the information concerning Huma Abedin’s computer.  He apparently didn’t think he could control his own agents.  So he decided to announce the information himself.  Why?  Certainly not for the reasons he gives.  Comey said that if he hadn’t shared the information, Clinton would have been an “illegitimate” president from day one.  (Not sure what that even means nor how it squares with the DOJ’s policy against releasing damaging information just before an election.)  No real explanation for why the same concern wouldn’t apply to Trump.  And, if Comey’s out-of-control NY office was going to leak it, he didn’t need to.  Further, having the information come from Comey made it MORE damaging to Hillary than if it had simply come from some “unnamed source.”

So Comey’s actions make no sense and, even all this time later, he doesn’t have an explanation that holds water.  Shall I tell you why I think he did it?

He did it for the same reason he went out of his way to hurt Hillary as much as possible when he announced they couldn’t find a reason to prosecute her.  Comey may not consider himself a sexist, but his unconscious sexism really shows.  He may not have liked the idea of Trump as president, but powerful, ambitious women — Hillary, Loretta Lynch — really rub him the wrong way.  If Hillary was going to be president — and he admits that he expected her to win — then she needed to be taken down a peg.  Made to pay.  Taught a lesson.  Kept from getting too uppity.

James Comey will never need to kick his own ass if I’m in the bar.

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

The Magical Battle for America 4.15.18

I have been re-reading Dion Fortune’s letters from the magical battle of Britain and a biography of her written by Charles Fielding and Carr Collins.  What strikes me is the physical and spiritual devotion that she poured into this battle.

Of course, thousands and thousands of English men and women poured all that they had into Britain’s battle against the Nazis.  Poor English fishermen and women got into their tiny wooden boats and braved the waves over to Dunkirk to bring back as much of the existing English army as they could fit into their boats.  They mostly seemed to have done this without complaining, without making too big a deal of it, without expecting much reward.  Poor English mothers, in London, put their children onto trains, with their names and contact information safety-pinned to their sweaters, and hoped that other English mothers, out in the country where the bombs weren’t falling every night, would take their children in, feed them, tuck them into bed, read them a story.  And, indeed, English women in Cornwall, out on the Moors, in the wild places of Wales, found room in their homes for English children, to keep them safe from Nazi bombs.

So, today, our magical working is a bit different from other weeks.

On this New Moon in the beginning of Spring, I want to ask you to consider:  What that is precious to you are you willing to set free in order to keep it safe from the Nazis now in the White House?  What are you willing to take in, inconvenient though it may be, in order to keep it safe from the Nazis now in the White House?  Are we willing to sacrifice as much as Dion Fortune?  As much as a London mother, whose husband was somewhere in the RAF, pinning her name and address to her daughter’s warm sweater?  As much as a Geordie spinster, bringing two London children into her home, fluffing up the warm quilts for them?  As much as an English fisherman, setting out, as neither he nor his fathers had ever done, out of sight of the English coast, all the way to France?

 

 

 

Not If I’m in the Bar

They say that if you’re a carpenter who owns only a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I think there’s some value there.

I’ve spent most of my adult life as a lawyer.  One of the most difficult courses I took in law school — likely because it was one of the first and, thus, the one where I learned to “think like a lawyer” — was Torts.  And in Torts, there’s this wonderful invention of English law known as “proximate cause.”  Black’s Law Dictionary, the book that almost every law student receives as a gift upon being accepted to law school, defines  “proximate cause” as that “which in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.”  When you take a Torts exam, you get hypotheticals full of accidents that, for example, started when Actor A dashed naked across the street, and Actor B looked up from her cell phone and hit her brakes, and Actor C swerved onto the shoulder to miss A & B and wound up hitting Victim D.  And Actor C is the “proximate cause” of the injuries that Victim D sustained.  Yes, everyone else contributed, but, in the law, if we’re going to compensate Victim D, we look to the proximate cause of her injury, i.e, Actor C.

Proximate cause is my hammer and I submit that James Comey was the proximate cause of Donald Trump’s electoral victory.

Sure, there were other, intervening causes.  Patriarchy.  (In my family, there’s a joke that Nonna can relate ANY evil, up to and including the designated hitter rule, to Patriarchy. It’s not really a joke.  I really can.).  Sexism (both conscious and un-).  The way the media covered the campaign.  Russian interference up to and including (show me that I’m wrong) vote tampering in key states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  Racism.  Xenophobia.  A recurrent Nazi movement in the US and Europe.  Liberal blogger bros who hated the idea of a powerful women but couldn’t admit that to themselves or their readers.  Bernie Sanders’ refusal to admit that a woman beat him, his refusal to really endorse Hillary the way she endorsed Obama.  Voter suppression that even Obama didn’t face.

But Comey’s announcement — just 11 days before the election — that the FBI was reviewing more emails that could be pertinent to the FBI’s earlier investigation into Clinton’s private email server (which revealed no illegal acts on her part), and which the FBI had closed months earlier, was the proximate cause  of Clinton’s loss.  By the time, on Nov. 6, 2016, a mere 2 days before the presidential election, that Comey wrote a letter to lawmakers saying that the FBI’s previous decision not to recommend charges against Clinton over her emails would stand (i.e., that his recent charges were bullshit), it was too late.  Enough people had decided that Comey’s earlier announcement meant that Clinton was compromised, guilty, would spend her days as president fending off a serious federal investigation.  Comey, as my Torts professor would have said, “caused” the accident that turned America over to the corrupt bunch of Russian-owned thugs who currently, under Donald Trump, are raiding our treasures and trashing our norms.

Comey’s actions are even more inexcusable because, by announcing 11 days before the election, that the FBI was reviewing more Clinton emails, Comey violated FBI/DOJ procedure.

By interfering in the 2016 election, Comey clearly violated DOJ guidelines.

Robby Mook called the move “very curious.”

“Let’s just get all the information out there so that the rumors and the hypotheticals can be put to rest. And again, we’re hearing a lot of criticism now from former Justice Department officials, from former Clinton administration, former Bush administration, pointing out this is unprecedented,”  Mook said Oct. 30 on Meet the Press. “There are Justice Department policies against doing something like this so close to an election.”

Mook is right that the Justice Department — which oversees the FBI — not only explicitly prohibits employees from interfering with elections but urges employees avoid the appearance of interfering with elections.

In August 2008, President George W. Bush’s attorney general, Michael Mukasey, sent an internal memo entitled “election year sensitivities” to employees on the department’s policies on political activities. Part of it reads:

“Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”

Attorney General Eric Holder resent the memo in March 2012.

While the memos don’t discuss limitation of timing specifically, former U.S. attorneys have  alluded to an unwritten guideline about not filing cases or commenting on investigations in the 60 days before an election.

Citing the policy, several former prosecutors and department employees have aired concernsandcriticisms.

Two former deputy attorney generals under the Clinton and Bush administrations called Comey’s actions a departure from the department’s traditions and “real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit.”

Conservative Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a former prosecutor and New York county court judge, said Comey’s letter “disgraces and politicizes” the bureau.

“You know I support Donald Trump and want him to win, but whether it’s Hillary Clinton or anyone else, Comey’s actions violate not only longstanding Justice Department policy … but the most fundamental rules of fairness and impartiality,” Pirro said.

There’s a good reason why DOJ policy prohibits announcements of the sort that Comey made.  America made a value judgement at Her founding that it was more important to protect innocent people than it was to punish guilty people.  So, every accused person comes to court cloaked in the presumption that s/he is innocent until the state can prove that s/he is guilty.  The DOJ guidelines were put in place to prevent exactly the evil that Comey enacted — tainting a candidate, later shown to be innocent, with the kind of guilt that would cause her/him to lose the election.

But that’s exactly what Comey did, based upon the scantiest of evidence.

What is even more remarkable is that Comey made his announcement — that maybe Clinton’s aide had some emails on her computer — knowing ALL THE WHILE that Donald Trump was under serious investigation for being controlled by Vladimir Putin,  So, just to be clear, maybe Hillary’s aide had some emails on her server that were or weren’t subject to confidentiality concerns (it turns out, as Comey admitted just before the election, that they weren’t) and maybe Trump was a puppet of Vladimir Putin (as it turns out, he likely was).  But Comey only released information concerning Clinton and sat on the information concerning Trump.

So how on earth does Comey explain his behavior?

Well, in his book he says:

Former FBI Director James Comey offers an apology in his forthcoming book for not providing a better explanation of his decision to announce that he had reopened the probe into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server just days before the 2016 election.

“I have read she has felt anger toward me personally, and I’m sorry for that,” Comey writes of Clinton, according to ABC News. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t do a better job explaining to her and her supporters why I made the decisions I made.”

He adds that he assumed at the time that Clinton would win the election.

“Certainly not consciously, but I would be a fool to say it couldn’t have had an impact on me,” he wrote of the assumption, according to ABC News. “It is entirely possible my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”

You know, fuck that shit.

It was not his job to worry about Clinton (nor Trump), being an “illegitimate president.”  The DOJ guidelines TOLD him to shut his trap about both Clinton and Trump close to an election so that the presumption of guilt, which America rejects, could not influence the election,  Yet he chose to blab about Clinton (the woman) and stay quiet about Trump (the man).  The point of the DOJ guidelines was to protect candidates still assumed innocent — regardless of whether James Comey liked candidates with vaginas or not.  (And, it’s clear that he really, really, really doesn’t like powerful people with vaginas.  Whether they’re Hillary Clinton or Loretta Lynch, Jimmy just has a difficult time with the wimmens.)

So, fuck his apology.  I don’t care that he’s “sorry.”  He’ll never have to kick his own ass when I’m in the bar.

And, while we’re on the topic, fuck the liberal bros who met up w/ him afterwards and assured him that, as far as they are concerned, it’s all “bros before hoes.”

In Comey’s upcoming book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” Comey recounted the late November, 2016 meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.

“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability,” Obama said to Comey, according to the book. “I want you to know that nothing has happened in the last year to change my view.”

And,

 A teary-eyed Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) grabbed him by the hand afterward and said, “I know you. You were in an impossible position,” Comey writes.

Fuck Obama and fuck Schumer.  If there’s one thing women have learned in the past two years it is that “liberal” men DO NOT HAVE OUR BACK.

A few days ago, the granddaughter of an old friend was in town for training as a campaign aide.  I took her out for a hot meal and one of the first things she said to me was, “Most men are terrible.  They really are.”  And I had to tell her, “Yes, with some exceptions, they really are.”  That’s where we are, today, America.  Maybe women are only saying it to each other, over drinks with their grandmothers’ friends, but it’s where we are.  Men like Obama and Schumer are all “bros before hoes,” and we women know it.  We know that you mostly don’t have our backs, that you care more about Comey’s fee-fees than you do about standing with women.

That’s going to count in the months between now and 2020.

I have a hammer, I know proximate cause when I see it, and I do not accept James Comey’s “apology.

Fuck Comey, Obama, and Schumer.

 

What’s Your Wish List?

Wish_List_1

Can you feel it? The Blue Wave? It’s coming. Even Paul Ryan knows, and that dude is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. He’s cravenly (but I repeat myself) abandoned his caucus with nearly 7 months to go before the election.

And yes, we need to continue to donate and canvas and phone bank and write postcards and campaign like we’re 20 points behind.

But it’s also really important that we not get caught with our pants down.

My wish list includes:

  • Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico
  • Ending partisan gerrymandering
  • Overturning Citizens United
  • Restoring the Voting Rights Act
  • Adding more Representatives to the House so that a Representative in Wyoming or Rhode Island represents the same number of people as a Representative in Texas or California
  • Restoring voting rights to returning offenders (I’m actually not so sure they should lose them in the first place. The rural districts in which they’re incarcerated get to count them towards House apportionment. But they can’t vote? That smacks of some 3/5 Compromise bullshit.)

I’m not trying to permanently get rid of any persons or policies with which I disagree. I want to re-level the playing field for the clash of ideas, and may the best one emerge victorious. But that requires one person – one vote, legislators who are answerable to the voters, voters who choose their legislators (and not the other way around), and preventing a handful of billionaires from creating a bought and paid for political system. That’s what all that stuff I listed above is designed to do.

My point is that we have to do the prep work for these issues NOW. We can’t wait until the Democrats are next in power to be all: “Champagne’s drunk. Confetti’s cleaned up. Now what do we want to do?”

Nope – we have to start making plans right away. That means identifying the legal path – including standing and likely cases – to be able to make change at the Supreme Court. That means doing the legwork to be ready to admit DC and PR the second we have Congressional majorities (and no, neither requires a Constitutional amendment – check your history). That means supporting the work of people like the Rev. Demetrius Jifunza of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Write the policy NOW. Identify the cases NOW. Work the magic NOW.

In the meantime, in case you need a little inspiration:

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

Image found here.

Hail Flora

Spring finally arrived today in my little bit of the Magical MidAtlantic.  It’s wonderful.