The Vatican City Shuffle

 Posted by on February 12, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Feb 122013

Mouse over the pic to pinch the next pope.

VATICAN CITY, ROME, ITALY —  The Pope’s Ruby Slippers hadn’t even gathered a bit of dust before funny hats started being tossed into the ring for next pope.  In a move that has the religious world’s tongues a wagging, Pope What’s His Name is resigning his infallibleness.  While in some cases the new papal wanna-bes are shocking, all of them are considered extreme long shots, since for starters some of then aren’t Catholic, and none of them happen to be Cardinals, a prerequisite for pope-dom.

That has not stopped an unseemly scramble for the Pope’s purse strings, and the political world was shocked when three— count’em, three— noxious Republicans made public their intentions within hours of each other.  South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham announced in a late Friday news dump that he would be seeking the papal throne and its ermine-trimmed gowns.  Needless to say that Tea Party primary was looking uglier all the time.  But the Associated Press had barely caught its balance when the SnowBilly Grifter launched a Friday night, three hour Twitter Fail Whale when she, or someone like her tweeted:

Palin's Pope TweetSarah “Don’t Retreat— Reload!” Palin wants to get in the Pope’s robes

Sarah Palin‘s interest in the papal position is not at all surprising, really, when you consider the enormous wardrobe and travel perks, and the 110 acre Vatican City— the smallest state in the world— may be more scalable to the ex-governor’s skill set than was mighty Alaska.  Still.  As a past and practiced Voodoo Evangelical, it’s hard to imagine those geriatric Cardinals would want Screech bitchin’ at’em  24/7.

Next beast out of the chute was converted Catholic and serial adulterer, Newton Leroy GingrichGingrich has never had a good grip on reality, but this self-indulgent foray to rule the quaint walled enclave in the middle of Rome is every bit as far beyond his grasp as Moon Base 1,  not to mention it has serious lifelong therapy written all over it.  Dump him now, Calista, while he still has income.

And speaking of income, one of the highest paid actors in the world, Nicholas Cage, astonished one or two Hollywood-types with his cavalier announcement today, saying: “Hey come on, I’m half Italian, and this “Peter” guy, who had the original church key, right? he wasn’t even half Italian, and I’m already a Catholic, and despite what the scurvy critics say, I can act and I’m not broke anymore, oh and I love costumes, castles, and expensive real estate.  Let’s do this, Cardinals—  pick me.  Ciao.”

After having run through most of his A list sponsors, Rush Limbaugh may be looking for a new gig, too, says his publicist, Howard Levey.  “Rushbo has grown, um, restless;  he’s tired of the chair all day, he’s got his eye on the Pope-mobile.”  Hyeah.  Lardass Limbaugh has “grown,” alright— too big for any chair.  Time for the stomach staples, windbag.

Not all the papal wannabes are corporeal. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee is certainly a household name in America, but snooty Italians, incensed over the very notion of “heat and serve,” were rioting in the streets twenty minutes after ConAgra Foods threw Boy-Ar-Dee’s toque blanche into the ring.  “Boy-Ar-Dee” is stupid English for Boiardi, a hard working Italian immigrant who built a pasta empire back when Americans would eat anything out of a can.  In a written press release, Boiardi reportedly said, “I love a the church. I like a very much to wave on the admirers, and Ima already used to wearing the silly hats.”

Father Guido Sarducci, surprise— also Italian— clearly has a more compelling case than the others for becoming the Pope, having long been affiliated with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, sometimes called “The Vatican Enquirer.”  During a sparsely attended press conference at Luiggi’s Trattoria, the chain-smoking cleric was quick to insist to the press that his frequent clashes with his alter ego, “Pope Maurice,” as well as his 1981 arrest at the Vatican for “impersonating a priest,” should in no way diminish his chances to make the pontiff’s responsibilities his own.  He pointed out that many priests who had actually been ordained were also very guilty of “impersonating a priest.”

Sarducci concluded with this: “You know, if I could a just talk to his Holiness, Pope Benedict, just one single question, you know, I would ask him, I would say, “Your Holiness, if you could a be any animal in the world, what a would you be?”

Considered to be the most powerful wizard in the world by countless children, Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is described by his creator, Joanne K. Rowling, as the “epitome of goodness.”  She says Dumbledore speaks for her, as he “knows pretty much everything” about the (Harry Potter) universe.  And he already wears robes.  But more than anything else, Dumbledore believes in the good in everyone, and is said to have a deep capacity for love, frequently reminding Harry and his pals that love is the greatest magic of all.

Last and decidedly least, the perennially dickish Satan, is holding forth in Times Square, “The Crossroads of the World,” and insisting to anyone who will listen that the position was always his, and should be returned to him at once.  He spent the day passing out autographed stills of himself dressed as the pope;  the once powerful rebel had a small but captivated crowd of goth kids and metal punks gathered around him, until they scattered into the night when police showed up and ticketed him for smoking.  Not cigarettes, but, you know— his self.

So.  As the Cardinals pack for the Vatican, a crazy group of eight have each launched themselves on the misadventure of a lifetime, with a remarkable payoff if they should somehow succeed: becoming infallible, because, Doctrine!

Oh, and remember:

Groucho Got a Secret Word

Getting Real About Gun Safety

 Posted by on January 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Jan 162013

According to the NRA ad above, President Obama is just another “elitist hypocrite” for accepting Secret Service protection for his daughters.


And this on the heels of a new first person shooter phone app called “NRA Shooting Range.” It features coffin shaped targets using a virtual semi-automatic pistol that , for an extra 99 cents, can be upgraded to a MK11 sniper rifle. It is being marketed to an age appropriate audience of wanna be killers; that is, from four year olds to adults.


As I type this, President Obama is on my teevee announcing the results of Vice President Joe Biden‘s commission on how to limit the carnage with a combination of proposed congressional legislation and 23 new executive orders. Naturally, this has the wingnuts up in arms (literally), including a threat of impeachment from Texas Representative Steve Stockman, who compares Obama to Saddam Hussein.

There is, of course, much more to this current gun nut craziness than meets the eye, beyond the role that groups like the NRA play as marketing shills for the billion dollar munitions industry. Cognitive science, narratology, evolutionary psychology, identity politics, and ongoing wingnut propaganda all play a role, which I hope to address in a future post.

Meanwhile, a debate that has long been held hostage by “gun enthusiasts” has begun in earnest, and is already producing policy changes that can make society a bit safer. President Obama has decided to spend a significant amount of his political capital in realizing that goal. It remains to be seen whether there is enough courage on Capitol Hill to match his commitment to turn the public’s outrage over the massacre of first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School into the first sane restrictions on gun control in a generation.

We conclude with this totally vile performance by Rush Limbaugh mimicking the pleas of children to make their world a little safer, which he and Fux News characterize as “human shields” used by the Obama Administration to promote its fascist agenda. Or something like that.

Insane Repugs We Have Known

 Posted by on December 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM
Dec 292012

Inhofe Bobble HeadJames Mountain Inhofe may not be the craziest tool currently in the Repug Shed, but he’ll serve as a fitting representative bobble-head for the whole lot of them in our year-end retrospective of some of the more insane Repugs we’ve enjoyed pillorying in 2012.

 The new year always bring fresh opportunities for renewal and success, but 2013 is also virtually guaranteed to bring US another year’s worth of shockingly insane shenanigans by actually elected Repuglicants, wannabe elected Reptilicans, along with the usual dung-cart load of Right Wing media pundicks and professional bloviators.  The clock is ticking down, so let’s not waste another minute.  Here in no particular order, of course, are some of our favorite insane Repugs, depicted in our favorite way:

McGrahamPerennial top-tear favorites, Miss Lindsey Graham, and still animated corpse, John McCain

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds;
our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

DullDuoThere’s no denying we dodged a very expensive corporate fusillade when we voted to throw this flaccid duo on the dung heap of political effluvia.

The [politicians] of today think deeply instead of clearly.
One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”
Nikola Tesla

The Leader BonerNo, that’s not a carrot.  John Boehner was, until recently, the undisputed leader of all that wreaks crazy on the Hill. But times are changing, and an eight inch proboscis doesn’t carry the weight it once did, especially with the elephantine Tea Bag trunks that are wagging today.

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

Mitch McDumpty sat on the wall,
Mitch McDumpty did nothing at all.
All the GOP asses— all the GOP men—
Did nothing to help the people again.

 Newt LIARNewton Leroy Gingrich would have been the most insane Philanderer-in-Chief evah, in Washington, or Moon Base 1.


Jan "Crypt Bitch" BrewerJan Brewer ran unopposed for our unofficial but heart-felt finger-wagging award as the Rudest Bitch in Government.  Rudest Bitch Not in Government was a three-way tie between Mr. Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Pam Geller.

While we’re talking bitches:

hannity usaSean Hannity, another perennial fave, makes our list every year as “The Transparently Stupid Guy Who Tries The Hardest Not To Appear Transparently Stupid.”

The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity’s mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O’Reilly says has been illogical. You go up and down the schedule and it’s insanity over there. The number of lies, perpetuated, promoted by Fox News is just shameful and it hurts everybody. ”
—David Shuster

Go little doggiesSean and Bill gitty-up;  no, those are toy guns.


FUX Newz StoogesThe Three Fux Stooges

Bachmann's Tea Party SausageWe admit to heart palpitations over the closeness of Michele Bachmann’s last race;  cuz we need one totally insane person in the Congress just so we never let up on our efforts to, well, get all the insane people out of Congress.

 ”The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
—Marcus Aurelius

tRump DumpNobody moves the insane in the membrane goalposts farther or faster than Donald tRump, who just cancelled construction on his insane, literally underwater, 24 million dollar boondoggle “catering hall.”

We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.”
Carl Bernstein

 Limbaugh, you treasonous fuckstick. Instant karma's gonna get you.W.T.F.

Prisoner RoveKarl you ignorant slut. You look perfect in prison orange.

In America, the criminally insane rule and the rest of us, or the vast majority of the rest of us, either do not care, do not know, or are distracted and properly brainwashed into acquiescence.”
Kurt Nimmo

Hucka-Chick-FiletHucka-Chickabee is off the diet and on the crazy train again with his insane comments over the Newtown massacre.  His dependability as a nut job is often staggering, but now it’s also caused by his gross tonnage.

 Presi-Queen Palin and her CourtResplendent in her make-believe Presi-Queen victory dress over First Runner-up Loser Carrie What’s-her-name and Second Runner-up Loser Willard Romney, Sarah wore an elegant strapless gown with a fitted ruched bodice accented with gorgeous lace piquewadeens¹ and hand-beaded details;  the silk and taffeta fabric was spun exclusively for Mrs Palin by 100% American Evangelical silk worms.  Romney’s dress, on the other hand, was valued at over $14 million dollars, and was custom made on Planet Kolob from pure unrefined evil.

There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
—Frank Zappa

I’m already feeling a disturbance in the Force, so Ima stop here.

Best Wishes for a fabulous and progressively great new year, see you there.
Power to the People.  Live in Light and Love.




¹ Yeah we make shit up.


 Posted by on December 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Dec 012012

A sobbing Speaker and other leaders of the Republican party, some with paper bags over their heads in silent protest, seemed disturbingly unaware that the banner they placed behind themselves was a scathing indictment of their failure to face the reality that Republican obstructionism has not only been responsible for their recent disastrous election results, but also for their intransigent refusal to realize they no longer call the shots.


WASHINGTON D.C. —  Standing before a colorful banner declaring “FAILURE “R” US,” House Speaker John Boehner (Reptile-Ohio) sobbed uncontrollably as he declared that his fellow Republicans were nowhere near dealing with the approaching fiscal flatulence Congress passed in January. Fighting back more tears, the GOP crybaby insisted the widely divergent positions “of both sides” were not just posturing and negotiating points, but represented a genuine and intentional refusal on their part to do things any other way but theirs.

The so-called “fiscal cliff” starts when the Bush-era tax cuts expire and the government starts making automatic spending cuts mandated in last year’s debt ceiling deal.  Economists have warned if both the tax hikes and budget cuts take effect, the nation could slide back into recession.

Lashing out at President Barack Obama for insisting on restoring a reasonable tax rate on their beloved corporate overlords, Speaker Boehner blamed the president for putting the best interests of the American people over the best interests of the Republican Party.

“There’s a stalemate. Let’s not kid ourselves,” Boehner said, dabbing his eyes with a neatly folded, lavender handkerchief. “I’m not trying to make this more difficult;  it comes naturally.  But if you’ve watched me over the last three weeks, you’ve noticed I’m very guarded in what I have to say, because I, well, I drink a lot of scotch— which like most people— makes me cry.  After a few sobs, he continued:  “I don’t want to make it any harder for me, or president what’s-his-name, or members of either party to be able to find the common ground that suits our party’s needs.  But where we disagree, well, screw that, and screw you.”

He then blamed the White House for offering the same deal it started with right after the election, in total disregard for what the Republicans are demanding.  President Obama suggested $1.6 trillion in tax revenue would be needed to go along with appropriate Medicare cuts.  “The White House spent three weeks pushing their selfish proposal… It was not a serious proposal.  It had nothing in it that we’re demanding.  And so right now we’re almost nowhere, and it’s all his fault.”  More tears.

Boehner also insisted he had taken a risk by even talking to the president in public, since the de facto fathead of the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, had instructed them to walk out on any negotiations.  “We’re willing to put what we think is best for the way we insist the economy be run on the table, pure and simple,” Boehner said;  “If the other party doesn’t like it, then we’re willing to take our ball and go home.”

President Obama struck a more naive tone, saying, “I believe both parties can and will work together in the coming weeks to get a fair deal done.  But, you know, in Washington, nothing’s easy,” he continued.  “Can they stop whining long enough about not getting their way, to do what they must?

“Look, there are two things that can happen.  We can work together and get this done for the American people. Or.  If the Republicans continue their childish tantrum, and Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their income taxes automatically go up on January 1st.  And every family in America will know exactly who’s responsible for whacking middle class taxpayers with an average $2,000 tax increase, because Republicans still think they hold all the cards, still think they can behave like little shits, and still think they’ll get everything they want under the tree on Christmas.  That’s not going to happen.”

Failure:  it’s what’s for Christmas.







Cognitive Dissonance & The Unskewed Polls

 Posted by on September 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Sep 302012

Limbaugh just before his head explodes in a fit of cognitive dissonance 

“Never get high on your own supply.”Notorious Big.

When the polls started turning up for Obama and the down ticket  Dems after the DNC convention, the GOPers dismissed it as a “sugar high.”  Some high octane sugar, that.  Obama now leads in all nine swing states, each outside the margin of error. Worse for Team Romney, the internals showed a double digit drop in the number of people saying the country is on the wrong track.  Obama’s favorability ratings have now risen to the crucial 50% level.  Romney’s pick of Paul “Voucherize Medicare” Ryan to be his Veep has hurt him in the crucial senior demographic.  And Obama now leads on the question of who is the better candidate to improve the economy, formerly Romney’s greatest strength.  While the post-convention bounce could have been explained away as a short term effect, the political impact of the leaked 47% vid has unmistakably bent the arc of the campaign towards Obama and the Dems,  leaving the Rethugs flailing around for a new narrative spin.

Enter one Dean Chambers, an obscure right wing blogger who claims to have scientifically “unskewed” the polls by eliminating a presumed oversampling of the number of Democratic respondents. Presto change-o —  Romney actually enjoys a substantial lead. (For an analysis of why Chambers’ methodology sucks,  see this article from TPM, featuring a critique from the former champion of GOP leaning pollsters, Scott Rassmussen himself.) Citing what is rapidly becoming known as the “Poll Truthers” movement, ThinkProgress  reports that:

Rush Limbaugh also outlined the pollster conspiracy on his radio show: “They’re all Democrats. They’re all liberals. They just have different jobs. The polls are the replacement refs. They see certain things. They don’t see other things. They don’t call certain things, and other things go by. In this case, what they’re trying to do is exactly what they’ve done in your case: frustrate you, make you pull your hair out, say, what the hell’s happening to the country? They want you thinking the country’s lost. They want you thinking your side’s lost. They want you thinking it’s over for what you believe. And that makes you stay home and not vote. That’s what they’re hoping.”

Limbaugh, while doing his best to rally his troops, is thus planting the seeds of a post-election narrative that blames the liberal media and their co-conspirators in the pollster business. Jason Linkins and Elyse Siegel over at HuffPo write that there is a longer term goal, with a clever Catch-22 hook:

So you should look at “Unskewed Polls” as less of a strategic effort to get Romney elected, and more of a long-game effort to mount a war against pollsters once the election is over.  (They will magically have a case, no matter which way the election turns out:  if Obama wins, pollsters are in the tank;  if Romney wins, pollsters are terrible and wrong about everything.)

I would offer a third possibility:  that the Rethugs  are seeding a post-election rationale to be employed after they steal the election:  “See, there was polling precedent that showed Romney was winning all along.”  I’m not ready to abandon that possibility just yet, given their track record in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.  (See, e.g., former DNC communications spokeswoman and current MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney‘s repeated warnings about same.)  But for now I am more intrigued by Billmon‘s analysis over at the Big Orange titled, “Skewed polls and the paranoid style” (the latter phrase being an homage to Douglas Hoffsteader‘s 1964 classic essay, “The Paranoid Style”).

The most striking feature of the current right-wing obsession with “skewed polls” is that it combines two of modern conservatism’s most pronounced tendencies:  A complete rejection of empirical reality, and a deep conviction that said reality is in fact a conspiratorial plot by the enemies of America (a.k.a. the liberals) to poison public opinion— to win through deception what they cannot achieve openly.  Memories of the right’s insistence that all was going well with the bloody occupation of Iraq are hard to avoid— likewise the manufactured “debate” over the causes and consequences of global climate change, the imaginary role of ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act in the subprime mortgage meltdown, and just about every other instance in which conservative ideology has had to come face to face with the cold, hard facts of life.  In each case, the knee-jerk conservative response to inconvenient (and unfriendly) truths has been to mimic Adam Savage’s line from Mythbusters:  “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”  Except Adam was being ironic.  They are not.

The “complete rejection of empirical” reality and substituting a different one was, of course, enshrined in the political universe when a Bushian political operative, widely believed to be Karl Rove, told author Ron Suskind:

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.  And while you’re studying that reality— judiciously, as you will— we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”[2]

Writer and blogger Julian Sanchez describes this cognitive mindset as “epistemic closure”:

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal?  Well, they disagree with the conservative media!)  This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile. Think of the complete panic China’s rulers feel about any breaks in their Internet firewall:  The more successfully external sources of information have been excluded to date, the more unpredictable the effects of a breach become.  Internal criticism is then especially problematic, because it threatens the hermetic seal.  It’s not just that any particular criticism might have to be taken seriously coming from a fellow conservative.  Rather, it’s that anything that breaks down the tacit equivalence between “critic of conservatives and “wicked liberal smear artist” undermines the effectiveness of the entire information filter.  If disagreement is not in itself evidence of malign intent or moral degeneracy, people start feeling an obligation to engage it sincerely— maybe even when it comes from the New York Times.  And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation.  A more intellectually secure conservatism would welcome this, because it wouldn’t need to define itself primarily in terms of its rejection of an alien enemy.

h/t Chris Hayes.

Billmon again:

There simply is no getting around the fact that the mentality of the modern grassroots conservative movement is in almost all particulars the spitting image of a 20th century totalitarian political party— an “epistemically closed” loop of self-reference and self-delusion.  In other words:  a cult.  The upshot is that one of America’s two main political parties has managed to turn itself into the proverbial insane asylum run by the inmates. . .  But for most sane (or at least semi-sane) people, there comes a point where you realize you’ve lost the thread and have to back up a bit— and maybe enter rehab.  But epistemic cults have no such corrective mechanisms.  They never go in reverse, never question their own assumptions, and most of all never ever admit error.  Their belief systems are too fragile.  Break the gestalt, even in one place, and the entire edifice may come crashing down.  Which may explain why totalitarian cults that actually achieve unchallenged state power usually end up astonishing the world not just with their barbarity, but with the sheer zaniness of their thinking.  They can’t stop themselves from taking their obsessions to the ultimate extreme.

Or as The Urantia Book might put it:

But life will become a burden of existence unless you learn how to fail gracefully.  There is an art in defeat which noble souls always acquire;  you must know how to lose cheerfully;  you must be fearless of disappointment.  Never hesitate to admit failure. Make no attempt to hide failure under deceptive smiles and beaming optimism. It sounds well always to claim success, but the end results are appalling.  Such a technique leads directly to the creation of a world of unreality and to the inevitable crash of ultimate disillusionment.


The Bloviator’s Time Machine (Update)

 Posted by on July 20, 2012 at 6:06 AM
Jul 202012

The Bloviator travels through time unlocking Obama’s secrets¹

There were a couple of dramatic developments this week concerning two of the more diabolical Barack Obama time travel conspiracies.

The first concerns  the infamous Birther Conspiracy, designed to put a Kenyan born socialist in the White House, promulgated by the likes of the loony Orly Tate, Donald Trump, World Net Daily, and Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It goes something like this: After deciding to become US president and world dictator, foreign born Barack Hussein Obama travelled back in time and planted a fake birth certificate in an Oahu hospital, simultaneously planting fake birth announcements in two Hawaiian newspapers to satisfy the constitutional requirement of citizenship.

The second conspiracy theory, revealed just this week by The Great Bloviator himself, is designed to keep Obama in the Oval Office for another four years. (Failure to prevent another Obama term will enable him to cancel the Second Amendment and makes himself Muslim dictator for life. Just ask the NRA.) This latter conspiracy concerns—wait for it— the villain in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, and Mitt Romney‘s Bain Capital.

As the Birthers were the pioneers of this crazy party,  we’ll let them go first.  Sheriff Joe , who likes to humiliate his prisoners by making them wear pink underwear, and who has never seen a Latino that he didn’t want to profile), ten months ago launched his own investigation after the Birther’s original time travel theory fizzled. Commissioning his own investigative unit he dubbed “The Cold Case Posse”  they went to Hawaii to uncover Obama’s deep, dark secret.  Well, the Posse has completed its work and this week announced the astonishing results.

TPM has the details:

For months, the sheriff has been promoting the fringe conspiracy theory of birtherism, which claims Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake and therefore he is ineligible to be president. But Arpaio took it to a grand scale with his latest stunt, promising to reveal “shocking” information about the document.

What he and his “investigator” ultimately presented, however, was something less than shocking. They spun new webs of the conspiracy, alleging secret codes were hidden in the birth certificate and claiming they found an elderly witness who could decipher the cryptography. It was the latest tweak to a theory that has long been debunked but remains kept alive by small pockets of conservative activists and writers…

Mike Zullo, Arpaio’s volunteer “cold case” investigator…told the crowd of local journalists that he and the sheriff had been threatened and were possibly in danger for uncovering the information. He said Arpaio personally assigned an armed deputy to tag along with him on a trip to Hawaii in May to protect him from potential threats. Zullo showed photos of Hawaiian police cars that he said were sent to intimidate them as they sleuthed around the islands looking for clues.

“It’s time for this charade to stop,” Zullo said. He claimed a grand a coverup was afoot. “This is a real long time to be looking into something…Eventually something’s gotta give.”

We heartily agree. And being so agreeable, don’t we deserve a hit of that potent pakololo they’ve been smoking?

But even as one conspiracy theory door closes another window opens. Enter The Great Bloviator, who on his radio show this week seems to have engaged in a little time traveling of his own. His target: The Dark Knight Rises, a soon to be summer blockbuster created by the dreaded liberal Hollywood elite.

Batman’s latest antagonist is an arch villain named “Bane.” Notwithstanding that Bane made his first appearance in a 1993 Batman DC comic book (literally breaking Batman’s back in the Knightfall stories), and then in Joel Schumaker‘s 1997 film Batman and Robin, that didn’t stop Limpbot from firing up his personalized  time machine (outfitted with super duper heavy duty shocks) to pull back the veil on this brewing, election year conspiracy.

Bane by Brian Bolland from Batman: Gotham Knights #34 (November 2002).

 Media Matters has the transcript:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie … Dark Knight Rises... Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there’s now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?


And there’s now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters. It’s going to have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd. And they’re going to hear “Bane” in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie –”Oh yeah, I know who that is.” There are some people who think it will work…”

But not his ever clever army of appropriately named Dittoheads. Continuing:

RUSH LIMBAUGH  Others think — “You’re really underestimating the American people who think that will work.”

(Herein lies a key element of El Limpbot’s propaganda technique: Create a powerful liberal strawman; tear it down;  encourage his followers to vicariously share in that takedown; then reward them by, in this case,  granting them the contrasting, honorific title of  “others”, as in ‘other than those stupid, unpatriotic, socialistic  liberal fucks.’)

The very next day, Limpbot had to walk back his remarks, saying he got more flack over his Bane/Bain conspiracy theory than he did when he called Susan Fluke a “slut.”

Sidebar: Proving that Fux News takes its marching orders from the titular  head (ugh) of the GOP, its business news reporter Dennis Kneale, after analyzing some of the commercial aspects of the film, concluded his segment by asking:

‘Is it mere coincidence that the name of the villain is “Bane”, spelled differently than “Bain Consulting’ and ‘Bain Capital?’ Hmmm…”

Time will tell whether either one of these novel conspiracy theories will surpass the Kennedy Assassination’Magical Single Bullet Theory, authored by former Pennsylvania Senator and GOP turncoat  Arlen Specter.

In the competition for the title of King of Teh Crazy, Rush Limbaugh has some stiff competition, from the likes of Glenn Beck, to name but one But for now, he’s definitely in the running.

UPDATE: It appears that Mr. Limbaugh might be on to something after all, as this clip from the movie posted by Conan O’Brien reveals.



¹ Original by Daniel Cardle; Lard-ass addition by T_P_K

Chairman Issa Is A Asshole

 Posted by on June 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM
Jun 272012


 Four days after the 2010 election, Issa declared he would hold hundreds of hearings over the next two years: ”I want seven bleedings hearings a week,  times 40 weeks.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner has scheduled a vote tomorrow for the purpose of issuing a Congressional contempt citation against the sitting Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

This unprecedented action was originated by the Rethuglican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa, pursuant to that committee’s investigation of a botched sting operation code named Operation Fast and Furious by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency. (F&F’s purpose can be summarized as: Let’s sell a bunch of automatic weapons to middle men for Mexican drug lords and track them. Gee, what could go wrong with that?)

F&F had its origin in a similar sting operation begun during the George W. Bush Administration, code named Operation Wide Receiver. The details of Wide Receiver remain murky as Issa has refused to allow testimony on it, despite the fact that it accounted for three of the four “gun walking” incidents that ultimately led to ATF agent’s Brian Terry’s tragic death from one of the smuggled guns. Is Issa’s obstruction due, at least in part, to the fact that it was holdover attorneys from the Bush Administration that ran all four ops? Talk about trying to control the narrative.

At issue in the contempt action are private communications between the Justice Department staff that occurred AFTER Terry’s death, communications that clearly fall under long established protections of executive privilege. Justice claims that everything relevant to the actual operation, up to the day of the killing, has already been turned over. explains:

The vote is arguably a partisan witch hunt, but it’s also a long time coming and a rare big win for Issa, who entered his chairmanship with an extremely ambitious agenda that has largely fizzled.

Leading up to and following the 2010 elections, Issa was giddy at the chance of going toe-to-toe with Obama, whom he called “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times” in an interview with Rush Limbaugh in October of that year. A month later, he walked back the claim. “If I had to do it over again, I’d have parsed my words a little more carefully,” Issa told CNN’s Situation Room. “Do I think the president is personally corrupt? No. I should never have implied that.”

That big bravado followed by small payoff would prove typical of Issa’s chairmanship. Four days after the 2010 election, Issa declared he would hold hundreds of hearings over the next two years: “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks.” That works out to 280 hearings a year. For some context, when Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman chaired the same committee under George W. Bush, he held 203 oversight hearings over two years. In the January he was sworn in, Issa unveiled a long hit list of upcoming investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to the FDA, to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. He even promised to investigate George W. Bush. “I’m going to be investigating a president of my own party, because many of the issues we’re working on began [with] President Bush or even before, and haven’t been solved,” he told MSNBC. “The enemy is the bureaucracy, not necessarily the current occupant of the White House.”

Right. Barely 24 hours after admitting on Fox News last weekend he had no proof of White House involvement in the alleged F&F cover up, Issa fired off a letter to the White House intimating just that. Guess getting his ass chewed by the NRA and the Tea Party faction of the GOP transcends any sense of hypocrisy that might flitter across his devious little mind.

In spite of all the above,  the Administration has, over the last 24 hours, offered additional disclosures in a order to reach a resolution. Good luck with that. Might as well offer Dracula ketchup instead of blood.

Jealously watching all the free media time Issa has garnered for being just such a dick, Willard Mitt Romney decided to enter the fray, seeing Issa’s hypocrisy bet, and raising.

Via Think Progress:

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul attacked the Obama administration’s executive privilege claim last Wednesday in a statement, saying “President Obama’s pledge to run the most open and transparent administration in history has turned out to be just another broken promise.”

But as Congress sought to compel President George W. Bush’s administration to allow Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to cooperate with an investigation into the U.S. Attorney’s scandal, Romney could not have been more forceful in his support for the executive privilege claim. Asked by a conservative radio show how whether he agreed with President Bush’s decision to simply ignore the subpoenas, Romney said:

“Yeah, he’s got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That’s just part of preserving the powers of the presidency… He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege.”

The Bush administration asserted “deliberative process privilege” in that case — the same privilege being cited here for the Department of Justice “Fast and Furious” documents.

Other Rethugs couldn’t resist adding their own excremental comments. Failed presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry, for example, calls the White House decision “worse than Watergate.” A meme regurgitated over and by the crack(ed) crew at Fux News, memorialized in a mash up titled The Wrath of Cons by Jon Stewart and crew.

But the real kicker is the framing by the NRA that Fast and Furious is really a secret plot by the Obama Administration to reimpose an assault weapons ban. Issa dutifully picked up that paranoid theory, saying:

“Could it be that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so. And [the administration] hasn’t come up with an explanation that would cause any of us not to agree.”

Apparently with the NRA involved, a small number of Democrats are believed to be ready to vote tomorrow with the Rethugs to hold Holder in contempt. Further proof of who really runs Congress these days.

Yet to be heard from (at least publicly) is the testimony of the agents involved. They may yet prove to be the dispositve factor in this whole sick mess. And blow up the whole right wing NRA conspiracy theory in the process.

Stephen offers his own summary of the “conspiracy” below.


BREAKING NEWS: Okay, Fortune Magazine has just published a detailed investigative piece by Katherine Eban that alters the previous narrative described above, citing those very ATF agents.

Via Media Matters:

As right-wing media cheer on a partisan Republican effort to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt with regard to Congress’ inquiry into the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, Fortune magazine has released a stunning investigation which concludes that ATF “never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels” in that case.

Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Boy, does that change the campaign picture. Now Obama has something substantial to counter the expected Romney Fast and Furious ads.

However, I don’t think it will change the math in the House vote tomorrow among the NRA cowed Dems. When the NRA announces that they are going to “score” a vote, as they are doing here, facts and truth play second fiddle.