MEMBERS ONLY: The End of “Stephen Colbert” and the Beginning of Stephen Colbert

In a perfect world, The Colbert Report would’ve shamed Fox News Channel, and perhaps the other cable news outfits, off the air. For nine years, it has relentlessly and hilariously held a funhouse mirror up to the pasty white faces of the conservative entertainment complex, exposing it as the thoughtless, shallow and incredibly spoofable joke that it is. Normal human beings would’ve run for cover, frantically tweaking the embarrassing flaws and shallow delivery of the news that “Stephen Colbert,” the right-wing character played by Stephen Colbert, has highlighted so wickedly every night on Comedy Central.

Other than, perhaps, The Daily Show, there hasn’t been and likely will never be another half-hour that’s both consistently the smartest, funniest late night show on television while also achieving something that in lesser hands would never have endured this long much less remained relevant and hilarious for its entire run. Stephen Colbert invented a character that could’ve been perfectly successful as a sketch show feature on SNL, and which very few observers would never have guessed could enjoy the longevity of nine years, four nights per week, and a treasure chest of awards. That’s how rare Colbert’s talent is. No one else could have done what he did. It’s never happened in the history of television… CONTINUE READING

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Morning Awesome

Joni Mitchell – “River” (For Chez)

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No Hesitation

NoHestitation

Artist – John Branch

In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, Attorney General Eric Holder offered praise for professional athletes using their platform to raise awareness.

“As my son would point out, everybody copied him. Derrick Rose was the first one in the NBA to wear it.”

In the eyes of Holder’s 16-year-old son, Eric III, Rose ranks higher than the attorney general. “I think that’s a good thing,” Holder said. […]

“For them to get out there and to express in that way a social conscience, I think goes back to maybe people that these guys don’t even know or my son has a vague awareness of, to Jackie Robinson, who is seen as not only a great athlete, but as an involved, thinking, caring black man.

“And to have LeBron, Derrick Rose and others who wore those ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts, that shows a level of involvement. It shows a depth to them beyond just being great ballplayers.”

It’s a shame that he’s leaving office soon.

Meanwhile, I recommend reading Jessica Luther at Vice Sports on what the system looks like for victims of sexual assault on college campuses. The deck is stacked against victims in every conceivable way.

Programming note… I fully intended for today to be a full day but I woke up sick this morning and made it as long as I could. Now I’m going to collapse.

Posted in Open Thread | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Police Unions: Players Should Shut Up and Play Ball

AndrewHawkinsJustice

The shirt worn by wide receiver Andrew Hawkins of the Cleveland Browns before yesterday’s game has drawn the ire of the Cleveland Police Patrolman Union which, evidently, has no sense of shame.

It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Jeff Follman, the president of the Police Patrolman Union in Cleveland, said in a statement to Cleveland news station newsnet5. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”

He’s an athlete. He’s someone with no facts of the case whatsoever,” Follmer said later, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “He’s disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision.

The only thing the union president gets right is the “split-second decision” the officer who killed Tamir Rice made. Tamir rice, a 12-year old boy, was gunned down literally two seconds after officers arrived at the playground.

From where I’m sitting, the union’s dismissal of Hawkins as just “an athlete” who should stick to playing football is, for all intents and purposes, another way of calling him uppity.

At the very least, the union is saying that Hawkins and his fellow players should ignore the injustice of the world around them, a world that many of them grew up in, and simply entertain us each Sunday.

‘Play football and shut up’ is the message.

Between this and other, similar cases, I’m just about done with police unions.

Police unions in St Louis and New York City have also issued callous and dismissive statements that come very close to violating the First Amendment, demanding that players apologize for exercising their rights. In New York City, the union is even demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio be barred from attending funerals for police officers.

As you may recall, the Department of Justice released the findings of their Pattern or Practice investigation of the Cleveland Police Department last week and the report clearly showed the CPD is an embarrassment. The arrogance and audacity of the union’s statement so soon after the release of that report is amazing.

Don’t be surprised if I give no fucks the next time a police union finds itself the target of penny-pinching legislators. Why should anyone stand up for them after they show they have nothing but contempt for the people they supposedly serve? This sacred goose is cooked.

(photo: Getty)

Posted in Justice, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rove: Bush Knew All About Torture

bcs_bush_cheney_texas

Former President George W. Bush has been thrown under the bus again.

Dick Cheney told Fox News last week that Bush knew all about the “techniques” they used at CIA black sites. Former chief of staff Karl Rove was more specific on Fox News Sunday.

“He made the decision,” Rove said. “He was presented, I believe, 12 techniques, he authorized the use of 10 of them, including waterboarding.” […]

Rove argued the Senate report presents a misleading narrative of the CIA’s practices because investigators did not speak to senior Bush administration officials.

“It is illustrative of the problem of this report. They talked to no one,” he said.

Why should anyone talk to Rove?

The Bushies have made it clear that they do not believe what they did was torture, but they would do it again in a heart beat. What else is there to say?

They’re sociopaths.

The Senate torture report concluded that former President Bush was kept in the dark about much of the torture program, but Cheney and Rove have gone out of their way to make it clear that he knew all about it.

Posted in George W. Bush, Torture | Tagged | 8 Comments

The 11 Most Psychotic Things Dick Cheney Said About Torture on Meet the Press

Miraculously, Dick Cheney is still alive. He's still alive and still the former Bush administration's most visible and tenacious historical revisionist when it comes to the tactics it employed in the Global War on Terror. So, naturally, Cheney was thawed from his cryo-chamber and wheeled out by Mr. Smithers or who whoever the hell is responsible for keeping his flesh animated these days, for an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. I've watched nearly all of Cheney's television interviews over the years, and this one was probably his most psychotic appearance, chiefly because he was less guarded and less political than previous spots, highlighting how dreadfully cold and unapologetically malevolent he truly is. For the sake of posterity, and to make sure his backwards, immoral revisionism is squelched with full force, let's go through the worst of the worst quotes from Sunday.

1) Cheney: “We were very careful to stop short of torture.”

This is not unlike a sexual predator saying, “I beat her within an inch of her life, but I was very careful to stop short of rape.” So, what Cheney is saying here is that his enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) were almost torture, but not actual torture. Sorry, but almost torture is still a little torturous. In other words, we didn’t yank out any fingernails or employ the “Pear of Anguish” (that we know of), but forcing a detainee to stand on broken feet for hours if not days apparently “stops short” of torture. Okay. Cheney, John Yoo, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and the other administration architects of the EIT program somehow discovered a threshold between torture and almost torture — and it sounds like a completely random line. It didn’t quite look like Game of Thrones torture with flaying or rats or castration, so it wasn’t torture.

2) Cheney: “All of the techniques that were authorized by the president were in effect blessed by the Justice Department opinion that we could go forward with those [EITs] without in fact committing torture.”

Notice Cheney takes no responsibility for the decision, while hurling Bush and the DOJ under a bus. So much for the party of personal responsibility.

3) Chuck Todd described how Majid Khan was subjected to rectal feeding, then asked if this meets Cheney’s definition of torture. Cheney: “That does not meet the definition of what was used in the program.”

Astonishing. What he seems to be admitting here is that interrogators in fact engaged in something outside the mandates of the OLC definitions, and if so, then those interrogators went rogue and… committed torture? Most rational people would say “yes” that was torture. Not Cheney.

4) Chuck Todd asked Cheney again if the rectal feeding meets Cheney definition of torture, and Cheney reiterated, “It’s what 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11.”

It’s difficult to think of a greater example of cowardice, Cheney using the victims of 9/11 as human shields against accusations of criminal activity… CONTINUE READING

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Morning Awesome

Manhattan Transfer – “Happy Holidays”

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Subscribe to the After Party Podcast! $6 per Month or $2 per Download!

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PAY PER DOWNLOAD! Download this week’s show via our new Band Camp page. No subscription necessary. Only $2 per download! Major credit and debit cards accepted.

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This Week’s Pulse-Pounding Episode: “The Best Music of 2014″: Chez Presents the 12 Best Songs of 2014; Dave Grohl and Overexposure; Black Mirror is Genius; This Week’s The Newsroom Was the Worst Hour of TV All Year; and more.

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The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 12/11/14

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RELM_buttonGod Bless Those Mental Kids: Happy Birthday, Chez; New Audio from Conspiracy Theory Stooge Dan Bidondi; Bidondi and Those Mental Kids; Snowden Document on Angela Merkel Might Be Fake; The Torture Report; The Morality of War; Chuck C Johnson is Why We Need the Gatekeepers; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the BobCesca.com Amazon Link and The Bowen Law Group.

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There’s more political banter in the Bob & Chez Show After Party. If you’re not a member, download individual After Party podcasts for $2 each via our Band Camp page.

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Posted in Bob and Chez Show | 11 Comments

Landslide

TortureWorks

Artist – Tim Eagan

In other news, Jeb Bush apparently has a financial problem that Bloomberg is referring to as a “Mitt Romney problem.”

After reading this, I’d say that’s a perfect description.

Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign ­investors. In November the fund ­incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales­—a ­structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations.

Meanwhile, as of this writing Congress still hasn’t passed a continuing resolution and the federal government will shut down tonight if they don’t.

Programming note… I’ll be offline tomorrow for a family function. I’ll resume making bad jokes on Monday.

Posted in Elections, Open Thread, Torture | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pundits Defend America

Stephen Colbert gauges reactions to the torture report beginning with Eric Bolling and “amateur historian and brown-haired guy who’s not Steve Doocy or an historian” Brian Kilmeade.

I’m with Wolf Blitzer on this one. As journalists it is our sacred duty to face those in authority and ask ‘should we really know this?’

Perfection.

Posted in Comedy, Stephen Colbert, Torture | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Cheney: Bush Approved Torture, Knew the “Techniques”

OswaldCheney

If you believed the meme that George W. Bush was in the dark on torture and knew nothing about it, Darth Cheney himself made it clear during an interview with Fox News that the former president knew all about it.

via TPM

“Not true. Didn’t happen,” Cheney responded. “Read his book, he talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was in fact an integral part of the program, he had to approve it before we went forward with it.

Asked if there was ever a point where he knew more about the CIA’s activity than the President, Cheney said “I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program.

More specifically, he knew about the “techniques.”

I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques,” Cheney said. “There was no effort on our part to keep him from that.”

“The notion that the committee’s trying to peddle, that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren’t being told or the President wasn’t being told, is just a flat out lie,” he later added.

When Cheney said the Senate report was “full of crap,” he was not implying that we didn’t torture anyone. What he meant was the White House knew all about it.

It’s not clear why Cheney would correct the Senate committee report and make it explicitly clear that Bush was not kept in the dark and that he knew about the torture tactics they employed, but this is the first time I can recall that Cheney demonstrated that he did not want to be held singularly responsible for torture.

Previously, Cheney didn’t seem to have a problem with being seen as public enemy number one, even going so far as to say “So?” when asked about the disapproval of American voters, but now he appears to be slightly worried that the legacy of torture could belong to him alone.

Separately, the New York Times published a piece today which lays out the timeline and process that led to the creation of CIA’s so-called “black site” prisons and also made it clear that President Bush was in the loop the entire time.

On Feb. 7, 2002, Mr. Bush declared that the laws of war did not apply to Qaeda suspects. That decision opened the door for the C.I.A. to interrogate prisoners in previously unthinkable ways.

Still, the agency had not yet captured any high-level terrorists, and its detention program existed only on paper. That changed in March 2002, when Abu Zubaydah, a Qaeda logistics planner, was captured in Pakistan. […]

At his daily intelligence briefing on March 29, Mr. Bush reviewed a plan to open a secret C.I.A. prison in Thailand and send Mr. Zubaydah there. At the same meeting, according to the Senate report, Mr. Rumsfeld revived the idea of military detention by suggesting holding Mr. Zubaydah aboard a ship — a tactic that the Obama administration would endorse many years later. But Mr. Bush favored the C.I.A. plan.

George W. Bush made the call.

I doubt we’ll ever know the exact extent to which President Bush knew the gruesome details, but Dick Cheney has clearly signaled that if he’s going down, Bush is going down with him. It’s also possible the Senate report may have been too sympathetic or generous to the executive branch.

Behind all of this was the Bush Injustice Department which tailored legal opinions to justify the use of torture after the call to use torture had already been made.

It appears to me that if anyone could be prosecuted for this, it would be CIA middlemen who allegedly lied to their superiors or to the White House. But it’s not clear if they actually did lie or withhold information. It’s possible the White House, or at least Dick Cheney, knew every single horrible detail. Cheney implied as much during his interview with Fox News.

This country was run by monstrous liars, looters, racketeers, torturers and murderers for eight years. It’s amazing we survived.

Posted in George W. Bush, Torture | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Rick Perry 2016 is a Different Candidate, One Who Doesn’t Even Pretend to Have a High IQ

GovPerry

Rick Perry’s ‘I’m a different candidate’ tour continued during an interview with NBC in which he said running for president has nothing to do with being intelligent.

“Running for the presidency’s not an IQ test. It is a test of an individual’s resolve. It’s a test of an individual’s philosophy. It’s a test of an individual’s life’s experiences,” Perry said. He added that he probably has less “margin for error” after he couldn’t remember one of the federal agencies he said he’d ax during a debate in 2011. But “I think, over the course of the last two years, people realize that what they saw in 2011 is certainly not the person they’re looking at at 2013, 2014, 2015,” he said.

I’m not so sure. I don’t think “oops” is something you can forget. It was the Butt Fumble of presidential campaigns.

Insisting that a modicum of intelligence is not a requirement for running for president is certainly not going to help your image if you’re famous for derping on stage.

As far as life experience goes, that’s not exactly a bright spot for Perry, a man famous for hosting friends, family, and fellow lawmakers at his Texas hunting ground called Niggerhead.

Perry shrugged and said “we don’t grapple with that” when asked about income inequality, so philosophy also may not be one of his strengths.

Posted in Election 2016, Rick Perry | Tagged | 11 Comments

German Attorney General: Snowden Document on Merkel’s Bugged Phone is Fake

bcsap_snowden_figure

Germany’s top prosecutor began an investigation after documents released by international man of mystery Edward Snowden showed that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone was bugged by the NSA.

Attorney General Harald Range now says the document released by Snowden isn’t real.

via Reuters

Harald Range launched an official investigation in June, believing there was enough preliminary evidence to show unknown U.S. intelligence officers had tapped the phone, although there was not enough clarity on the issue to bring charges.

On Wednesday he said however, “the document presented in public as proof of an actual tapping of the mobile phone is not an authentic surveillance order by the NSA. It does not come from the NSA database.”

The first question that came to my mind was if the document isn’t real, where did it come from?

The next question that came to mind was if this document isn’t real, how many other documents released by Snowden are not real?

I’ll be fair and say finding no proof that the NSA spied on Merkel’s phone doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen, but if some of the documents released by Snowden aren’t real it raises a lot of questions.

How many members of the media and blosophere have been hoodwinked by fake documents?

Posted in NSA, Security | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Pain and Humiliation

Humiliation

Artist – Joel Pett

In other news, the Omnibus spending bill that would prevent a government shutdown might be falling apart due to the fact that it’s terrible. We could see a temporary resolution passed tomorrow that will continue current law until after the new year.

Meanwhile, the infamous Noah’s Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky will not receive a tax subsidy because it would violate the separation of church and state. Park organizers originally claimed their park would be open to everyone, but it was later revealed that the park would only employ true believers to sell cotton candy just as Raptor Jesus intended.

Posted in Government Shutdown, Open Thread, Torture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Unhinged History

DukeBrothers

As we all know, Advanced Placement U.S. History will make you want to join ISIS, so the Koch Brothers have an alternative curriculum that paints a very different picture.

Even though our sainted founders owned slaves and included slavery in the founding of the country, the Koch Brothers’ curriculum makes it clear that an asterisk should have been included when they said ‘all men are created equal.’

via TPM

“Some say that the Declaration’s authors didn’t mean to include everyone when they wrote ‘all men are created equal.’ They say that Jefferson and the Continental Congress just meant to include white men who owned property. But this is not true. Jefferson and the Continental Congress did not believe that there was a natural class of rulers, and they asserted that the colonists had the same right to rule themselves as the people of England,” an essay in the curriculum asserts.

“Slavery was an important economic and social institution in the United States,” the essay continues. “The Founders understood that they would have to tolerate slavery as part of a political compromise. They did not see a way to take further action against slavery in their lifetimes, though many freed their slaves after their deaths.”

It’s contradictory to assert that our founders did not believe in slavery or that some men are not equal while acknowledging that the founders owned slaves and codified it during the nation’s founding.

Slaves were not counted as whole human beings under the 3/5ths compromise, which necessarily designates white people as a “class of rulers,” and slaves were not counted as colonists. These are facts of historical record that the Koch Brothers curriculum attempts to white-wash.

Conservative critics of accurate history seem to think that we cannot appreciate the founding of our country while also acknowledging its faults. They don’t believe you can walk and chew gum at the same time because they cannot.

Acknowledging our faults is called “anti-American” by conservatives who seemingly believe that nothing short of sainthood is good enough for America.

I’m not even sure what to call that. It’s too ignorant to be snobby. It’s reverse elitism.

I also suspect they want you to believe the nation was perfect from the beginning to discourage you from questioning the status-quo today. Conservatives are adamantly opposed to the idea that the constitution is a living document that needs to evolve over time. For them, the Second Amendment is sacrosanct but the Fourteenth is questionable.

Posted in Education, History, Koch Brothers | Tagged | 10 Comments

Rick Perry 2016 is a Different Candidate, One Who Cares Even Less About the Poor Because Jesus

RickPerryMugshot

During an interview with the Washington Post, Rick Perry made the case that he is a different candidate today than the one who failed to name the third government agency he wanted to eliminate.

“Oops.”

This “substantially different, versed candidate,” as he refers to himself, doesn’t give two shits about income inequality because the bible says the poor are here to stay so why bother doing anything about it?

“Biblically, the poor are always going to be with us in some form or fashion,” he said. He cited statistics showing that since he took office in 2000, wages have increased among all four income quartiles. […]

Perry acknowledged that the richest Texans have experienced the greatest amount of earnings growth, but dismissed the notion that income inequality is a problem in the state, saying, “We don’t grapple with that here.”

Rick Perry 2016: We Don’t Grapple With That

Free Market Jesus didn’t lift a finger to help the poor because the poor were exactly where they’re suppose to be.

Posted in Election 2016, Rick Perry | Tagged | 16 Comments

House Bill to Avert Shutdown Will… Put High Sodium Back in School Lunches

Picard and Riker Facepalm

The fate of the “Crominbus” (yes that’s a stupid name, it’s a combination of continuing resolution + ominbus) spending bill is in doubt, but if it does pass House Republicans will have won an important, historical victory against the tyranny of Michelle Obama’s healthier school lunches.

The spending package includes provisions rolling back required reductions on sodium in school lunches, saying the rule should not be implemented “until the latest scientific research establishes the reduction is beneficial for children.”

The legislation also says states should be allowed to issue waivers to schools that could demonstrate “hardship” in implementing requirements for incorporating whole grains into the meals.

I can think of nothing more important than ensuring that the next generation of Americans is raised on a diet of high sodium. They can wash it down with soda.

Posted in Education, Food, Michelle Obama, Stupid Party, Super Stupid | Tagged | 10 Comments

Kansas: Here Come the Spending Cuts

Kansas

As predicted, Kansas Governor Brownback is going to make up for holes in the state budget by cutting spending, not by repealing or reducing his signature tax cuts.

via Reuters

(Reuters) – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Tuesday called for steep budget cuts and fund transfers to plug a $280 million hole in the state’s current budget.

The Republican governor ordered 4 percent in spending cuts as well as a steep $40.7 million reduction in state contributions to its public employees retirement system to save $78.5 million. The remaining $201.5 million would be tapped from several state funds subject to legislative approval.

These are the actions Brownback will take to fill holes in the current budget for the fiscal year, but this only the beginning of the state’s problems.

Brownback’s plan is to cut taxes each year between now and 2018 and current projections show that Kansas will fall short of its revenue goals by over $1 billion over the next two years alone. And it could be even worse than that.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says they do not plan to revisit the governor’s tax cuts and, if they hold true to that, the state can look forward to massive spending cuts every single year that his policy remains in place and beyond that.

Brownback is going to turn the state into an economic smoking crater.

Over the next two years Republican presidential hopefuls will propose that we adopt the Kansas model for all 50 states.

Posted in Economy, Taxes | Tagged , | 19 Comments

So?

CheneyTorture

In other news, the federal autopsy of Michael Brown conducted by the Justice Department concluded that his death was a homicide because of “injuries of the skull, brain and right chest” which were caused by close-range gunfire.

This could be relevant to the DOJ’s ongoing civil rights investigation.

Meanwhile, it’s currently Tuesday evening and the government will shut down on Thursday night if Congress does not pass a bill to keep the government running.

Posted in Government Shutdown, Open Thread, Torture | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment