MAGAts vs. The Prince of Darkness

In John Carpenter’s classic movie, The Prince of Darkness,  a demonic spirit is contained in

princeofdarkness-main

a bottle in a church.  As it strives to escape, and bring about the end-times, it emits psychic waves that grow in power.  Initially it attracts a crowd of the mentally weak on the margins of society, that take to clustering around the church, staring and waiting for instructions.  As its power grows, it is able to wreck havoc by controlling more normal people, who commit escalating acts of violence as, under the control of the demonic spirit, they endeavor to summon the Prince of Darkness to Earth.

Similarly, the Mangled Orange Hell-beast’s unveiled calls for violence influence those on the weak-minded or crazy on the margins of society, starting with pummeling protesters at rallies, moving into shooting at or running over counter-protesters at white supremacy rallies, and now sending explosive devices to liberal politicians and journalists libeled and vilified by Trump and the Right Wing Wurlitzer of Doom.

After the attack by Omar Mateen on the gay club in Orlando in 2016, I had a discussion with a reactionary on the subject.  “Omar,” he maintained, “is an agent radicalized by Isis, recruited by their propaganda and driven to acts of violence per their agenda.”  When I asked him about other terror attacks (e.g. Dylann Roof‘s murder of an African American bible study group) he was quick to dismiss them as ‘deranged loners, not part of any organized threat to America.’

Curious in the wake of the latest bomb mailings (but before the perp was revealed) I reached out to him for his opinion.  “Ridiculous,” he stated, “clearly a false flag operation.  The timing is just too good for the Democrats, on the eve of the election, and who would be so stupid as to send dud devices to folks like Clinton or Soros who obviously have their mail screened?”

Who indeed?

cesar-sayoc-rally

 

 

 

A Cunning Plan…

cunning-plan-weaselBloody Prince Salman’s plan to kill a pesky journalist was foolproof!  Lure him into a Saudi consulate, bring in a team to dispatch him quickly, disburse his body parts and send in a cleaning crew.  The news story would be “Journalist Mysteriously Disappears” which would vanish instantly in the news cycle.  There was only one spanner in the works…the Turkish government had the consulate bugged.

His fiance was the first to notice that Khashoggi went into the consulate, but never came out.  No problem for Salman, Khashoggi was “not in the consulate nor in Saudi custody.”

“We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises,” he said. “The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them. We have nothing to hide.”

Unsatisfied with the response, and for reasons of their own, the Turkish government endeavored to prod Salman’s memory by mentioning that they had audio tapes of Khashoggi being brutally tortured within the consulate, along with choice quotes from the consul, the killers and the doctor with the bonesaw.  They claimed, somewhat disingenuously, that they had obtained this incriminating bit of audio from a live stream broadcast from Khashoggi’s Apple Watch, which apparently had some magical features such as the ability to record conversations taking place in other rooms!

Salman and team spent the next several days staying quiet while feverishly searching for a plausible cover story, until Mango Mussolini suggested that if there was a murder, it was done by “rogue killers.”  Salman’s dad, picking up on the hint, pushed Salman aside and soon announced that Khashoggi was in fact killed, as the result of a “quarrel and brawl,” then quickly rounded up the fall-guys usual suspects  18 suspected rogue killers for an investigation.  Completely 100% not pre-meditated by Bloody Prince Salman!

Except today, video of a Khashoggi “body double” has emerged, showing another Saudi who entered the consulate dressed one way, and left the consulate wearing Khashoggi’s clothing and a fake beard.  In a tribute to Khashoggi, they cast Mustafa al-Madani who while being strikingly similar in appearance, sports a more generous crop of dark hair than the more coif-impaired victim.

“The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

Update: Salman called Khashoggi in the embassy moments before he was killed. An offer too good to refuse?  Also that day the consulate called Salman 4 times, and

Update, 10/23/18: …and now they may have found Khashoggi’s dismembered body in the garden of the consulate.

Not with a bang, but a whimper?

The stakes are high for the November election, not just for stopping the Republiclowns reactionary agenda, but even in learning what Mueller has uncovered.  As Darren Samuelsohn notes in Politico:

Mueller…must notify his Justice Department supervisor — currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — on his budgeting needs and all “significant events” made by his office, including indictments, guilty pleas and subpoenas.

When Mueller is finished, he must turn in a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” — essentially why he chose to bring charges against some people but not others. His reasoning, according to veterans of such investigations, could be as simple as “there wasn’t enough evidence” to support a winning court case.

Then, it will be up to DOJ leaders to make the politically turbo-charged decision of whether to make Mueller’s report public.

He notes that in previous investigations, one or more years transpired before reports were complete.  Bottom line, it will be up to a Democratic majority in the House to conduct a public investigation for us to see all the evidence.

The End Times are Upon Us

PatRobertson2-sawTelevangelist and fundamentalist christian holy man Pat Robertson has an unexpected advice on US Policy regarding the recent torture and brutal dismemberment of US Resident and journalist Khashoggi: ”

“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people are key allies…we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly. You’ve got one journalist — who knows? Was it an interrogation? Was he assassinated? Were there rogue elements? Who did it?…You’ve got $100 billion worth of arms sales…we cannot alienate our biggest player in the Middle East”

Leafing through my tattered copy of the new testament, I only found references to Jesus healing and feeding people, driving out demons, loving neighbors and telling people to ‘turn the other cheek.’  I was also surprised to see Pat quoting Mango Mussolini’s lie about the $100B arms deal, as the ten commandments monuments that wing nut politicians are so fond of putting in state houses have an inconvenient clause related to bearing ‘false witness.’  Perhaps Pat has some hitherto unknown apocryphal gospel that lays out Jesus’ foreign policy (“Thou shalt not sanction a nation when there are jobs at stake”)?

Sadly, it isn’t just Robertson that grabbed a bonesaw to defend Prince Salman.  The Right Wing Media Wurlitzer immediately sprang to action, launching a smear campaign to paint Khashoggi as some sort of terrorist mastermind linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The talking points have been taken up by numerous prayer-group loving GOP politicians around the US.

Of course unlike Pat’s interpretation, all these events do appear to be in the bible, specifically the book of revelations:

And when (God) had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.  And I looked, and behold a fat orange blob: and his name that sat on him was Dotard, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with bonesaws, and with arms deals, and to incarcerate children, to giveth the fruit of the land to the rich and to fornicate with the whore of Babylon.

Startlingly accurate prophecy!  It goes on to talk about the rise of false prophets that worship the Orange Beast and “deceive many people.”

orangehellbeast

Fortunately, the book has a happy ending:

And the Orange Beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The Siegfried State of the Union

trumpsinging The vote to release of the House Intelligence Committee’s “secret” memo (and the vote to suppress Dem committee members’ minority report. The pressure on, resignation of, and subsequent humiliation of FBI Deputy Director McCabe, and the GOP and right wing media echo chamber’s FBI/Secret Society/Conspiracy Du Jour smearing of Mueller, while Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors marches forward to a steady drumbeat….it feels operatic.  Will Trump stay ‘on script’ tonight, dutifully reading the teleprompter to media acclaim of his presidential and dignified address, or will we get the shrieking Valkyrie, calling doom upon his enemies?

More likely, given the low bar he (and his spiritual predecessor Bush) established,  he will mumble incoherently through a journeyman address, then go crazy tomorrow in the AM and tweet doom upon his enemies from the toilet.

Sadly, we’re still suffering through the Seigfried stage of the Ring Cycle, with the protagonist seemingly unstoppable, and we still have a ways to go before we watch his downfall in the Gotterdammerung, following the 2018 elections, victory of the Dems and subsequent impeachment hearings.

 

Weapons of Mass Murder

170813002022-34-charlottesville-white-nationalist-protest-0812-exlarge-169A popular false equivalence floated by guns nuts after every mass murder is that “X {shovels, kitchen knives, pipe wrenches, etc} can also be used to kill,” followed by the straw man “so are you saying that we must also ban X?”

This  begs the question “What is the best weapon of mass murder?”  If we are talking sheer numbers of victims, then everybody thinks Airplane and 9/11!  2,606 killed at the World Trade Center!  Clear winner, right?  Well you must consider that there were 2 planes involved, one per tower.  If we take a single airplane strike on the North Tower there were 1,402 direct victims.  But the attack required 5 terrorists, so the effective number of victims per terrorist is 280.

Bombs? Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 with a single truck bomb, fewer than the airplane reaping, although he did manage to injure an additional 600 people.

Cars & Trucks?  In 2016 Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove into a crowd in Nice, France and killed 86 (injuring 458).

Guns?  Stephen Paddock is the current leading mass killer, murdering 59 people (and injuring 527) with his legal semi-automatic rifles converted with legal bumper fire kits to full-automatic.  In line with runner-up Omar Mateen who killed 49 (and injured 58) at a nightclub in Florida in 2016.

Knives?  Not so common in gun-friendly U.S., but we have Satoshi Uematsu in Japan in 2016 who murdered 19 (and injured 25)…but keep in mind that he was stabbing disabled people.  More realistic is the recent attack in China where 10 people killed 29 (and injured 130) at a train station – the effective number of victims per killer is 3.

Shovels, pipe-wrenches, candlesticks, etc?  Seems like people have killed somebody with just about anything at one time or another…but I couldn’t find any evidence of massacres using ‘found objects’…perhaps because these things aren’t specifically designed to kill a lot of people.

In terms of price/performance, the airplane attacks were about $192/victim, McVeigh’s bomb was $30/victim, the rental truck $6/victim, and Paddock’s gun massacre $102/victim, knives $10/victim.

Post 9/11 security has made another commercial plane suicide attack unlikely, and the cost and planning are unrealistic for the lone-wolf killer.  The truck-bombing provides low cost with a high murder rate, but requires careful planning and execution to avoid ending up on a watch-list and foiled by Homeland Security.  The truck attack offers the best price performance with a significant mass-murder effect, very little planning, simple execution and limited skills required – the clear weapon of choice.  The gun attack was surprising pricey in comparison and requires basic shooting skills, but  doesn’t require much in the way of planning.

And found objects?  Pure wing-nut bullshit.

 

 

 

 

 

The Appalling Ignorance of Conservatives

facepalm_estatuaWonder why little aid is flowing to Puerto Rico in spite of the most devastating hurricane in its history?

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll conducted in March found that fewer than half of Americans (47%) believe that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth.  They are.

Instead, 30% of the people surveyed thought residents of the island are citizens of Puerto Rico. Another 21% just didn’t know where the people of Puerto Rico belong.

Probably the same dumbshit 30% that believes in creationism, denies human activity as the cause of current climate change, and approve of Trump.

 

Cartoon Patriotism of the Conservatives

c05e10accafdd608f315434b0111b489--god-jesus-jesus-christWhat do these things have in common? NFL players ‘bending the knee’ during the national anthem to protest treatment of African Americans.  Removal of Confederate statues from public areas.  Black Lives Matter.  Muslims in America.

Simple – they cause wing nut outrage.  Throw in temper tantrums from the past over happy holidays coffee cups, flag burning, taking down Confederate flags from state capitals, not wearing flag lapel pins, transgender bathrooms for kids, etc.   Strange outbursts over seemingly petty issues – a conundrum to the educated liberal?

The key is rather banal.  The wing nut world view is a 2-dimensional comic book, formed in elementary school, before the introduction of critical thinking, where God, America, Soldiers and Football are all conflated.  Don’t look for any depth …the wing nut is fixated on the symbology and ritual behavior, the perspective of the 10 year old in Sunday School.

Theirs is a religion without theology, a patriotism without civics, opinions without consequence.  The crimes, or sins for them rest not in liberalism, but in disrespecting their sacred symbols and rituals – killing their sacred cows, so to speak.  And they react like any extremist religious group whose symbols are disrespected – by lashing out angrily and sometimes violently.

 

Is a special counsel for Trump-Russia really the best option??

(*tap, tap… is this thing still on?*)

As shown by the lack of posts from me here since Inauguration Day, I’ve had a hard time finding anything useful to say about the unprecedented dishonesty, unprecedented corruption, and unprecedented incompetence of the Trump administration.  There’s plenty of folks with bigger megaphones to decry the wrongness of their latest specific missteps, and the sheer unpredictability of Trump’s whims made it difficult to take a longer view.

But I’ve finally found a point where I dissent from the progressive consensus, so it feels like I should weigh in.  In the justified firestorm of outrage after Jim Comey’s firing as FBI director, the central demand among Democrats in Congress — and progressives in general — has been for the naming of a special prosecutor (or, to be technically accurate, a special counsel) to take control of the FBI’s investigation of connections between Russia and President Trump’s election campaign.

Being sufficiently old to remember previous investigations of Republican presidents, though, I wonder if that’s really the best thing to demand.  First of all, calling for a special counsel seems like an all-or-nothing bet on exactly who is named to do the job. If a loyal GOP hack whose highest priority is to neuter the investigation is picked (as happened when Joseph DiGenova was named to investigate the first Bush administration’s 1992 search for dirt on Bill Clinton), the pressure and demands will have backfired completely.

The independence and capability of the special counsel who is named will depend almost completely on the integrity of the person doing the picking — in this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was either complicit in or exploited by the process of Comey’s firing.  And if Rosenstein has enough of a conscience and a spine to appoint a genuinely aggressive special counsel, why not simply let Rosenstein continue to oversee the existing FBI investigation?

Even in the best-case scenarios, special counsels going after GOP presidents have led to often-delayed investigations and meager results.  Patrick Fitzgerald was named in December 2003 to find out who leaked Valerie Plame’s covert CIA identity; it took almost two years to indict Scooter Libby, and another year and a half to get a conviction… which was promptly wiped away by George W. Bush’s commutation of the sentence before Scooter had served a single day.  Similarly, the Iran-Contra probe by Lawrence Walsh dragged on for six years, and had its key convictions overturned on appeal and remaining prosecutions erased by G.H.W. Bush’s Xmas eve pardons (bit of a family tradition there, eh?).

Is that really the route we want the Trump-Russia investigation to take?

I’m all in favor of pressure tactics to force an independent probe, but I think perhaps we should be pushing for a genuinely bipartisan congressional investigation, as well as whatever can be done to shield the existing FBI probe(s) from Trumpian influence.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert about all of the alternative processes (including those I just mentioned), but it seems to me that the goal is to get as much information irrevocably out in public as soon as possible — and the hard lesson of experience seems to be that special counsels don’t provide this result.