The Widdershins


Posted on: June 24, 2014

A good Tuesday afternoon my Widdershin friends.

Having no inclination whatsoever to ever attend a cockfighting match, I have the feeling that’s what I’ve been Cockfightingwitnessing in the political sphere of late. I know you are thinking, “Did old Prolix accompany Maureen Dowd out to Colorado and chow down, like she did, on consumable cannabis all baked-up in a brownie the size of an edible hubcap?” The answer to that question, “Of course I didn’t because I would never travel with anyone for whom my endearing pet name would have to be Dowdy.”

But stick with me for a moment on this comparison. There is something to be learned from cockfighting and the sorry state of political discourse. For instance, while one is an epic death battle between two animals in an arena for the pure enjoyment of bloodthirsty wild-eyed fanatics, the other one is about two roosters trying to kill one another. Dissimilar, I think not.

A great example of the finer points of political cockfighting happened just last Friday when John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner for about six months, testified before the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. By all accounts, Mr. Koskinen seems to be a fine man with an impeccable reputation for honesty and fairness with a stellar pedigree chock-full of success at every stage of his long career.

John KoskinenIt didn’t take long for that reputation to be shredded and left bleeding on the hearing room floor. The hearing’s raison d’etre was Benghazi Fast and Furious Obamacare birth certificates the IRS whole-cloth scandal around Tea Party groups (as well as never mentioned liberal groups) being delayed in receiving their 501(c)(4) designations in order for us, the American taxpayer, through tax exemptions to subsidize their nefarious campaign activities.

The inquisitor showing the most plumage last Friday was none other than Paul Ryan whose widow’s brow was engorged to the point of being a discernibly turgid cockscomb. Mr. Ryan was cocksure the IRS was covering up the loss of emails from Ms. Lois Lerner, the former head of the charitable organizations division of the IRS.

Without belaboring the intricacies of email, this is a synopsis from whence the blood lust sprang: Ms. Lerner’s emails between January 2009 and April 2011 disappeared. Went poof. Her computer crashed on June 13, 2011. Per procedure, the IRS only kept tape back-ups for six months.

The Tea Party’s cockamamie theory is that these missing emails prove what they have been trying so desperately to have us believe all along — Barack Obama is a socialist gay-married Muslim Kenyan who is the Genghis Khan of the 21st Century. That is if Genghis Khan was a socialistic gay-married Muslim Kenyan.

To be plausible, the Tea Party theory needs one thing — a way back machine. While time travel is only possible in the Ms. Lernercock-a-doodle-doo world of Tea Party dyspeptics, the time machine is necessary for Ms. Lerner since her computer crashed on June 13, 2011 — sixteen days before she even knew about any problems in the Cincinnati field office where the “scandal” was supposed to take place.

What’s more, Ms. Lerner contemporaneously tried to get her email messages restored by the IRS technology staff. In addition, when the requests for emails were made by Congressional staffers in 2012, the tape backups only contained six month’s worth of backed-up emails and therefore outside the pertinent period.

In order to be responsive to these Congressional cocks-of-the-walk, the IRS then searched through every other IRS employee’s email to retrieve any addressed to or from Ms. Lerner. This painstaking search led to an electronic treasure trove of 24,000 emails promptly turned over to the Committee. This wasn’t enough for the Tea Partiers because none of the emails said what they should have said — that Barack Obama was sitting in the Oval Office plotting with Lois Lerner to keep Tea Party PACs from getting their 501(c)(4) designations within days, if not hours, after the filing of their applications.

For those who are uninitiated to this level of cockalorum, let me break this down. Simply put, the Tea Party is upset because they didn’t get their designations fast enough.

Never mind they all got their designations. Never mind there were just as many liberal groups asked for additional information and delayed. Never mind the average wait time for such a designation is in excess of 14 months. Never mind that the Tea Party groups, if they were convinced of their legitimacy, could have begun fundraising under the auspices of a 501(c)(4) group the day they filed their applications. Never mind there are other tax-exempt provisions under which the Tea Party could have applied, but those provisions inconveniently don’t provide for the anonymity of contributors.

So this whole grand earth-rattling scandal rests on the exact same intellectual acuity of a two and a half-year old boy who walks by an eye level candy display at the grocery store — “I want it now! Now, now, now! No matter what you say, I want it now!”

Paul RyanThe cockshies of the actual debate went like this:

Mr. Ryan, his voice rising, “You don’t have the emails…Hard drives crashed…You learned about this months ago…You just told us…I don’t believe you.”

Mr. Koskinen, maintaining a measured tone replied that in his long career, “That’s the first time anybody has said they do not believe me.”

As Koskinen tried to continue, Mr. Ryan stopped him, “I don’t believe you.”

After a series of interruptions, Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the panel, said, “Will you let him answer the question?”

“I didn’t ask him a question, “ Mr. Ryan snapped.

“Yes, you did,” Mr. Levin replied.

There you have it, the enlighten sartorial discourse in the land of Cockaigne, the fabled land of idleness. All right, it might not be Cockaigne, but it sure seems like something you would hear in Wingnutistan, not the U.S. Congress.

There is one last point I find entertainingly incongruent about this whole matter. The Tea-publican view on I smell a ratgovernment for time everlasting has been that government can’t do anything right — government could and would screw-up a two car funeral. In this case though, in order to make their tantrum delirium even remotely plausible, here’s what has to be true:

First, Lois Lerner had to be clairvoyant because she had to crash her computer before she knew there was a problem. Second, through an intricate web of thousands of government employees working like a fine Swiss watch, Lois Lerner has been able to pull off a monstrous cover-up. And third, all of this Herculean effort was over perfectly legal and legitimate inquiries in the IRS review process to delay, not deny mind you, merely delay the granting of favorable tax status.

Farfetched? Yes! Some might even say it is a story so full of cock-a-hoop contrivances it is too twisted even for the outer reaches of South Wingnutistan, but so far this political cockfighting still has a home in the U.S. Congress.

This is an open thread.



7 Responses to "Cockfighting…"

through an intricate web of thousands of government employees working like a fine Swiss watch

And we know the likelihood of that happening. 😆

@1, as likely as Paul Ryan really being upset and emotionally invested in this issue beyond grandstanding for the Tea-publicans.

I suppose that no Repub has experienced electrical equipment failure since Nixon?

@3: ROTFL!!

@2: I’ll give Paul Ryan credit for bad acting. Tee-hee!

Did I ever think I’d say, Thank, God, Thad Cochran won?
Not in a million.

@Sue: Isn’t that incredible! Of course the Dem in the general won’t have a prayer but Cochran is better than the alternative.

Fantastic post! Thanks Prolix! I hadn’t paid any attention to this scandal, so love getting to read about it in such a funny post.

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