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His felony convictions were tossed, so yes, he can own guns.


As one more affirmation that the National Rifle Association is both a gun lobby and a bastion of the Forever Culture War, the organization announced yesterday that its new president will be Oliver North, the former Reagan aide who's been living on wingnut welfare since he became synonymous with the Iran-Contra scandal. North's new job doesn't reflect any actual change at the NRA -- the president is largely a ceremonial position, while the real power remains with executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who isn't going anywhere. But as David A. Graham points out at The Atlantic, the choice of North is perfectly consistent with LaPierre's own strategy of dealing with controversy by ramping up the outrage and the sense that gun owners are constantly endangered. After all, in their own minds, they're the only ones who truly love freedom, but they're surrounded by dangerous liberals who want to take away their guns and their way of life.

Who better to fill the role of figurehead than Oliver North, whose entire post-Reagan career has involved coasting on the perception that the establishment done him wrong, when all he wanted to do was what's best for America? Oh, sure, he contrived a secret, illegal program inside Reagan's National Security Council to ignore an international arms embargo and sell weapons to Iran. Then he and his pals took the money from the arms sales and funneled it to the Contras, the guerrilla army trying to bring down the elected (but socialist, therefore evil) government of Nicaragua, in defiance of a law forbidding US aid to the rebels.

Sure, sure, North broke some dumb "laws," but that's not the point: The point is that he loved America and hated communism, and that made it all OK. If there were any real criminals in the story, it was the elected members of Congress who passed restrictions on funding the Contras in the first place, just because they didn't like the Contras "killing actual nuns." Just as the Sandinista government of Nicaragua was illegitimate, so were those dumb laws. North, testifying in his beautiful Marine uniform, looked like a great American hero and wasn't at all apologetic for ignoring a mere act of Congress that he knew in his heart, which settled the matter, was un-American, and North was a goddamned hero.

Let's not forget that some on the right are still sore that when the damned liberal enemies of Reagan exposed Iran-Contra, they also thwarted the far bigger plan North was pursuing with then-CIA director William Casey. They hoped to keep secret arms deals to embargoed nations going, to establish a permanent shadow intelligence agency that could do America's dirty work without liberal congressional meddling. There were to be important clandestine pro-American operations well beyond just funding the Contras:

As North described the plan, he and Casey would have used profits from the secret sale of U.S. arms to Iran to run an "off-the-shelf, self-sustaining, stand-alone entity that could perform certain activities" overseas. Unlike the CIA, the secret organization would not have to depend on Congress for its funds or notify lawmakers of its activities.

Yep. He literally tried to establish a Deep State that wouldn't be subject to any oversight from Congress or even the president -- North and Casey never bothered telling Reagan about their plans, to protect him, you know. Sadly, they were stopped before they could pull it off.

And yes, even that 1987 Los Angeles Times piece noted polling that suggested North was

winning in the battle for public support. His enormous success before the television cameras continued to bring in thousands of appreciative telegrams, a deluge of telephone calls to congressional offices and bouquets of flowers.

He was a loveable rogue, and what's a little shadow government if the guy who tried to set it up loves America? North rode the rightwing adulation into an attempt to run for the Senate, but at the time, the country hadn't gone full-goose crazy yet, so North had to settle for a lucrative career in radio talk and as a hero of the right, because he was such a compelling, patriotic victim. It makes perfect sense that the perpetually aggrieved NRA would choose him as its titular leader, because look at just how angry some old liberal blogger already is about what North did for America over thirty years ago -- this should really get under the skin of elitists who use words like "titular." (Heh, tits.)

Just look at the response from Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who issued a statement saying it's

downright baffling that they'd choose to install a walking lightning rod at the top of the organization [...] Oliver North's very name is synonymous with corruption and disgrace.

Well, yeah, to you, liberal gun-grabber lady. That just shows what you know. To NRA supporters, Ollie North is a victim of the liberal establishment, and he'll be a great voice in support of real American values. Never mind some casual law-breaking, they were bad laws, and don't you libs agree with Martin Luther King that bad laws don't have to be obeyed, huh? As NPR notes, when lifetime members of the NRA submit their ballots for the NRA board of directors, Oliver North has been the top vote-getter again and again. He really understands them.

As usual, The Onion makes the perfect case for why North and the NRA are a match made in rightwing heaven:

This is, after all, the rightwing world where a four-year-old who's learned to operate the mechanism of a bolt-action rifle and immediately go for the trigger is simply "adorable." This is, as the man says, America.

If you fail to see why that's the best thing in the world, you just don't know anything about parenting, guns, America, or freedom. Get ready for the bumper stickers saying "MY PRESIDENT IS OLIVER NORTH."

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[NPR / Atlantic / WaPo / LAT / The Onion]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Nancy Pelosi is making news again today after her weekly press conference, mostly because she said this about yesterday's nutbag performance from President Stable Genius:

[T]his time, another temper tantrum — again — I pray for the President Of The United States. I wish him and his family, his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

She prays for him. And she's just kind of suggesting that maybe the president is unwell, in his brain. She's being very subtle!

When Glenn Thrush asked afterward what kind of "intervention" she might be talking about, she suggested that Article 25 would be just fine.

But many folks out there right now are saying "BUT WHAT ABOUT INPEACH! They are not going to do an intervention, because the intervention is called INPEACH!" (They are taking her words very literally, it would seem.) Every other damn day lately, there is news about how "NANCY SAID INPEACH IS BAD" or "NANCY SAID TRUMP'S ACTIONS IS SELF-INPEACH-ATORY, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, NANCY!" and whatever else, we don't know, because we have muted all of Twitter until further notice. (Here is some news about the House Democrats' weekly meeting yesterday, most of which was about Democrats yelling INPEACH! while Nancy Pelosi gave them cold showers.)

Here's the thing:

In today's presser, Pelosi was clearer than ever about her feelings on impeachment -- she doesn't like it, and she'd really hate for the nation to get to a place where that's inevitable, she is just saying it would be truly terrible for them to have to do that -- but they might just be FORCED to go there. And wouldn't that be just terrible? Nancy Pelosi is praying about that just like she is praying for Trump, under a big oak tree that casts all the shade she threw at Donald Trump for her entire fucking presser.

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Happy Throwback Thursday! Remember Paul Manafort? He's still in jail, don't worry. But it looks like he might be getting some company soon from his old pal Stephen Calk, who just got indicted today by the Southern District of New York.

Calk was a simple CEO and COB at the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, but he had big dreams. He'd been an army pilot and a money guy, so he figured he was competent to be either Secretary of Treasury or Secretary of Army. He'd take Commerce or HUD, or even a cool ambassadorship to France, or the UK, or the UN -- he wasn't picky. Just any old position befitting a guy who is 100 percent going to be played by Michael McKean in the movie version of this nightmare.

Luckily Calk knew a guy on the inside. Sure that guy had recently been You're Fired from the Trump campaign for ratfucking the Ukrainian election, but Paul Manafort was still waving his bits all over Trumpland in the summer and fall of 2016, so Paul Manafort had the hookup that Calk needed. Luckily, Calk had what Manafort needed, which was MONEY. Manafort's fountain of untaxed cash had dried up since the Ukrainians gave his guy Viktor Yanukovych the boot, and he was in danger of losing multiple investment properties to foreclosure. So naturally Calk stepped up to the plate with $15 million in loans to keep the wolves at bay, because what are friends with more political ambition than scruple for, right?

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