4/29/2016

Are All Trump Supporters Fucking Dumb? An Investigative Series (Part 1)

You can read a truckload of shit theorizing about Donald Trump's seemingly impossible rise to become the inevitable Republican nominee for president. Some of them are anti-Trump and fantasize about a contested convention in Cleveland in July. That ain't gonna happen. Some are just Ol' Yellers, standing in line, waiting for the sweet kiss of a bullet to put down their diseased party. That would be anti-Trump conservatives like the New York Times's David Brooks, who really wrote that he's going to spend less time in "the bourgeois strata" and will spend more leaping "across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country." Well, bully for you, Dr. Livingstone. Give the hottentots of Alabama our regards.

Then you get Trump-lovin' opinionators like Wayne Allan Root, who, writing for Fox "news," says that the real reason "people" support Trump is President Obama has made the economy suck. Let WA-Root explain it all for you: "I understand that President Obama has wrecked the U.S. economy. We are in an economic disaster. And it can get worse. Much worse. If someone who thinks just like Obama is elected, we could slide into economic Armageddon." Now you may look at that and think, "Huh. I didn't realize that creating millions of new jobs overwhelmingly in the private sector and cutting the unemployment rate in half brought us to the precipice of the End Times," but fuck you. You don't understand Economics with a capital motherfuckin' E like WA-Root, who is hisself a bidnessman who has him some bidnesses.

You could write days and days of bloggery disputing all the nonsense in WA-Root's anxiously masturbated scribblings. For instance, he dribbles, "Republicans are the private sector. We own our own small businesses. Or we work for private sector businesses. Or we’re independent contractors -- real estate brokers, stockbrokers, car salesman, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, etc." Just the first sentence there: "Republicans are the private sector." Republicans control both houses of Congress, have total control over the legislatures and governorships of 23 states, and share in control of 20. Republicans are actually the goddamn government for most of the nation. To deny that is to dwell in myopic madness and a miasma of meaninglessness. Or support Trump. Pretty much the same things.

Then WA-Root drops this truth barrel bomb: "We know Obama, Hillary and the mainstream media are lying about 'economic recovery.' There is no recovery. We have been living in an 8-year-long Obama Great Depression. Yes, those living in New York (Wall Street), San Francisco (Silicon Valley) and Washington, D.C. (government jobs and contracts) are fat and happy. But everywhere else in-between, the people are in severe trouble." Which would be totally true if it wasn't factually false. 'Cause, see, in the real world, the states that have recovered from the Great Recession most are the ones in-between, like Texas, Colorado, Utah, Michigan, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and more. Yeah, California did damn well and New York made it out okay, but the area around DC has had mediocre growth. Shit, that's leaving out North Dakota, which boomed because of fracking but is now going bust because of it.

You gotta read the rest of it. You'll pause every now and then and wonder, "Is he writing from some fucking wormhole that has made him fall into an alternate dimension? 'Cause this sure as shit ain't the country where we're all living now"

WA-Root's point here is that people like him understand that "only a capitalist billionaire businessman can possibly turn this nightmare around." So he believes that Trump has the support he has gotten because of an emphasis on financial issues, on relieving us of the economic "nightmare" under Obama. And to believe that, you either have to be willfully blind or so filled with lies and bullshit that your eyes smell like a rancher's boots.

By the time WA-Root gets to asserting that many Democrats "are in school, or college, or broke and jobless living in mommy and daddy’s basement eating Doritos, while watching Jerry Springer," you realize that the only way you can vote for Trump is to delude yourself. Sure, as long as you can ignore the millions of Trump worshippers who love him for his racism and xenophobia, you can rely on a series of vague insults that sound good but offer nothing but comfort for the hateful.

Really, WA-Root? The economy? Motherfucker, you yourself give away the game when you say, "Sure, Trump has failed but he came back bigger and better than ever, each and every time." Trump failed during the reigns of both Bushes (one of his corporate bankruptcies was in 2009, but the filing started in 2008). He "came back bigger and better than ever" during Democratic presidencies, Clinton and Obama.

Score for Trump voter WA-Root: "Fucking Dumb."

4/28/2016

L.A. Quickie: Donald Trump Demands Copious Blow Jobs

To(Note: The Rude Pundit is on a plane, about to leave Los Angeles, so this will be brief.)

In his speech yesterday, Donald Trump, who is, really, pretty much the Republican nominee for president, told the world, "In a Trump administration, you can all suck America's balls. In fact, if you don't suck our balls, you're dead to us. Except for Israel. Gimme that circumcised dick to fellate better than Obama ever could."

Actually, that was more articulate than Trump was. We're so fucked.

4/27/2016

L.A. Quickie: The "Woman's Card" Is Utter Bullshit

(Note: The Rude Pundit is on his last full day in Los Angeles, so posts are short. He'll be heading back to the welcoming arms of the East Coast tomorrow. You can hear him in the morning on The Stephanie Miller Show.)

Noted sexist Donald Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of "playing the woman's card" in the election. Last night, after his Cruz-crushing victories in five states, he jerksplained, "Well, I think the only card she has is the woman's card. She has nothing else going. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she would get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she has got going is the woman's card."

Think about that for a second. Or don't. Because, see, Hillary Clinton happens to be a woman. And if talking about women's experiences and her own life is playing some vaguely-defined card, then you're saying that a woman isn't allowed to view the world and politics from the perspective she's gonna have whether you like it or not. What you're saying is that only the male's (or, more precisely, the white male, since we could add "race card" to this) point of view is the valid one. In fancy scholar-speak, we call that "hegemony."

Clinton herself addressed it, saying, in essence, "Suck it, cockface": "Now, the other day Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, 'woman card.' Well, if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman's card, then deal me in." When a male Democrat talks about abortion rights or other issues, he's not accused of playing the woman's card. So what's the only thing there that's different about Clinton?

Yeah, she's a fuckin' woman. It ain't only her card. She owns the fucking deck. Let's stop this bullshit argument that because someone running doesn't see the country with a penis in her way, it's somehow a lesser perspective. And maybe someone should point out to Trump that a lot of people are voting for him because of his sex.

Trump is devaluing Clinton because she's a woman. Let's call that "playing the dick card."

4/26/2016

L.A. Quickie: Washington Post's Marc Thiessen Is Hard for an Obamacare "Death Spiral"

(Note: The Rude Pundit continues his Los Angeles adventure. He taco'd the fuck out of this town yesterday. Today, whiskey.)

The Washington Post's Marc Thiessen writes in his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "The fatuous gargles of a drowning plutocracy") that President Barack Obama has just completely fucked-up this beautiful, un-fucked nation that was left to him in 2009. Well, actually, torture apologist Thiessen doesn't mention the Bush-that-shall-not-be-named; instead, he chooses to compare Obama to the Sainted One: "Reagan defeated Soviet communism and left us a safer world; Obama presided over the rise and metastasis of the Islamic State and left us a far more dangerous one."

Not only is he comparing apples and turtles, Thiessen is leaving out a crucial couple of steps there in getting to the Islamic State, like, well, shit, the Iraq "war" that his former boss started. But, you know, that's Republicans these days, acting like the reign of George the Dumber didn't happen or have any effect on the nation. In their telling of history, we went straight from the shining glory of Reagan to the shit-wallow of Obama.

Thiessen's main point is to flog the conservative talking point that the insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act are in a "death spiral" because insurance companies are not making as much money now that sick people have insurance. More precisely, it's that once companies like United Health bail on the exchanges, those sick people will be covered by, horrors, a Medicaid HMO. Thiessen helpfully points out, "Without enough healthy people in the exchanges to pay for the sick ones, taxpayers will be stuck with more and more of the costs over time — a situation that is unsustainable in the long run."

Which would be scary, except for one thing: the sick people signed up first. Now more of the healthier ones, the ones who don't want to pay the (admittedly low) penalty are getting insurance. Yeah, "the evidence shows that with the passing of each month, new enrollees have been coming from healthier and healthier stock. If these trends continue, the price of premiums should soon settle into much more affordable territory, and the rise in premiums from year to year should become much less significant."

Of course, there are fixes that could make the Affordable Care Act work better. A hike in the penalty, for instance, would drive more people to the exchanges. But that would require Congress to stop being such dicks about Obamacare and actually, you know, fix it, like Democrats did with Bush, Jr.'s Medicare prescription drug plan that most of the Democrats in the House opposed.

Just remember, though. It's easier to elide over history, it's easier to forget, and it's easier to complain about something that can be fixed than to actually do something.

4/25/2016

L.A. Quickie: Kasich and Cruz Come Together to Form a Megazord of Fail

(Note: The Rude Pundit is in Los Angeles for a few days this week. So blogging will be light and quick, like his liaisons on the Left Coast. You can hear him each morning through Thursday on The Stephanie Miller Show, which probably needs to update his bio.)

In a display of too-little-too-late-ism that ranks up there with "Flowers from a cheating husband," John Kasich and Ted Cruz have agreed on a kind of alliance of fuckery, a Megazord of fail, if you will. Said a spokesturd for Cruz, "To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico."

Meanwhile, John Kasich's campaign said something that no one gives a shit about.

That's the grand strategy. It's like fouling your opponent in basketball at the end of a game in an often vain attempt to eke out enough points to win. Or when a soccer player rolls around on the ground like he's been ass-raped by a gorilla after he's really been barely touched.

In other words, give it up, Cruz and Kasich. This whole thing is over. You can pretend there's gonna be an open convention and there will be some mighty fight to the death. But it's too late. The pooch has been screwed.

And after Trump wrecks both of them in Pennsylvania and mocks them relentlessly for this strategy (which he's already doing), it's gonna be pathetic watching those campaigns limp around until they finally have the sense to just lay down and fade away.

4/22/2016

Donald Trump Has Fooled the Rubes But Doesn't Understand the Rubes

At some point, the monster is always going to turn against its creator. The creator will be revealed to have flaws that make him less a soaring god and more an earthbound man, and those human frailties will repel and anger the monster, who must then take out its anger by attempting to kill the creator. And, if it succeeds, sometimes the monster will eat him, too, for good measure.

So when Donald Trump's new campaign chief Paul Manafort met with Republican National Committee members, he assured them that his candidate, currently leading in the race for the party's nomination for president, was just fucking with everyone when it came to all the racist, sexist, and violent rhetoric he's been spouting. Manafort said of Trump, "When he's sitting in a room, he's talking business, he's talking politics in a private room, it's a different persona...When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose."

He continued, "He [Trump] gets it...the part that he's been playing is evolving into the part that now you've been expecting, but he wasn't ready for because he had to first feed the first phase." He also said that "The negatives will come down, the image is going to change."

You got that, right? Donald Trump was using a persona to project an image. We could pretty reasonably call that "acting," as in "playing a part." As in "lying." Or maybe, just maybe, he wasn't playing the part before and now he is going to fake it. Either way, there is a group that he's conning. And con men are known to get run out of town on a rail or beaten like rabid curs into the muddy streets.

See, Trump built his campaign on getting American rubes - your lottery players, your Kardashian viewers, your Olive Garden diners - to become the monster made of misdirected anger that he unleashed to fuck up the political world. That was phase one. If he veers toward moderation in the general, if he tones down the heated words, the very things that fed and fostered the monster, those rubes ain't gonna go along for the ride. The thing about a monster is you gotta keep that fucker fed or it's gonna devour you.

Trump's game has always been to con the yahoos. That was evident with Trump University or any one of the ventures that carry his name. And he's always had a blockade of lawyers to keep the rubes at bay. Now, though, he's going for a grand con, and he's playing with the emotions of a pretty unstable segment of the population. When this new "persona," this image projection he's shifting to, this phase two, displeases the rubes, he'll have nowhere to hide except to run away into one of his lairs of wealth.

And we'll all have to clean up the wreckage the monster leaves behind.

4/21/2016

Dead Prince

When I was so very much younger, back in Lafayette, Louisiana, around 1980 or so, I'd occasionally see flyers up in town advertising Prince concerts in the clubs and halls in what was, as white people called it, "the black part of town." Something intrigued the hell out of me about that shirtless, skinny dude in bikini underwear, staring out with those just-finished-masturbating-and-now-ready-for-you eyes. So I headed over to New Generation records and got Dirty Mind, and before "When You Were Mine" even ended, my adolescent mind was blown wide open. My parents threw it out when they found it. I had discovered true love on vinyl.

"Little Red Corvette" was the first song I listened to non-stop, the first Prince song I told others that they had to hear. Sure, you could get sick of "1999" or mock it (although it's got one of the funkiest grooves in music), but the slow thigh-thrust of the synths at the beginning of "Little Red Corvette" hit something deep and primal. After that, we'd talk about how crazy sexual Prince was, with songs like "Jack U Off" and its gender-neutral use of that phrase, and the winking subversiveness of "Sister," calculated to fuck with the tight-assed crowd. Sample lyric: "My sister never made love to anyone else but me/She's the reason for my, uh, sexuality." That's hilarious, and if you didn't know that, the joke was you.

In July 1984, I went with my pal Tony to see Purple Rain at the Northgate Cinema on the day it opened. We knew then, like we all know now, that it's a terrible movie. It's sexist and overwrought. It's badly acted by just about everyone, and anyone with any sense would have rather hung out with Morris Day than Prince's dour "The Kid." None of that mattered one bit because when the music started, when Prince grabbed his guitar like it was a python-length dick and tore into it, all the other bullshit in the movie melted away. And by the time you got to the guitar solo at the end of "Let's Go Crazy," the lines between musical genres was obliterated. For good, for most of us watching it.

Prince was one of my musical mainstays for most of my life. Even before I was into Bruce Springsteen or Elvis Costello or John Coltrane, I was into Prince. He was my gateway to so much other music, like Parliament and Sly and the Family Stone. But, perhaps more importantly to a young brain being raised in the deep south, Prince said, without being coy about it, that it was okay to want to fuck. In fact, fucking is the supreme, even transcendent act of human existence. And he wasn't centering that desire in men alone, like so many other artists. He wanted women to get off in every possible way. The song "Come" is an ode to pussy-eating, encouraging women to want to fuck, too. In Reagan's America, that shit was practically treasonous. If you were old enough to fuck in the 1980s, at some point, you either fucked to Prince songs or with Prince's music in the back of your mind, controlling the rhythm of your sex.

Because of his celebration of the body and its fluids, Prince's music became a target of the 1980s music censorship movement, whose leaders found "Darling Nikki" to be obscene because Nikki is "masturbating with a magazine." Shit, that's not even the dirtiest part. Those humping synthesizers are doing nasty things to each other, and then the guitar joins in to fuck them all into oblivion as Prince screams in orgasm. (And you gotta love that after "Darling Nikki" on the Purple Rain album is a backwards segment, mocking the conservative obsession with hidden Satanic messages with a very Christian one. Prince was occasionally scary religious.)

One of my favorite things about Prince is how political he could be in his lyrics. The liberatory aspect of the sexuality and the gender-bending in his dress and in his songs was clear. But he could get even more explicit in songs like "Annie Christian" ("Annie Christian wanted to be a big star/So she moved to Atlanta and she bought a blue car/She killed black children, and what's fair is fair/ If u try and say u're crazy, everybody say electric chair/Electric chair") and "Ronnie Talk to Russia." And "Sign o' the Times" is a stark look at an apocalyptic America as the millennium approaches, all while boogying into inevitable oblivion.

This could go on. I could tell you about the Prince cover band at my senior prom, one of those quintessential 1980s moments that you wouldn't believe if it was in a movie. I could go on about how much I played and dug into his post-Purple Rain work, like Around the World in a Day and The Black Album and Musicology. Or maybe I could piss and moan about how I had a ticket to see Prince in 1985, but a freak ice storm in Louisiana blocked me from getting there. Or maybe this could examine how he was aging gracefully, with his guitar playing evolving from incredible to otherworldly. Or I could describe the friend of mine who broke down in tears when I told her the news today.

Instead, let's end with this: in 2009, I went with a few friends to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for a screening of Purple Rain. A band was on stage, leading the large audience in a singalong to the music. Everyone laughed ironically at the excesses of the film's era, the crazy hair, the martial-style clothes, the terrible treatment of Appollonia, the cringe-worthy dialogue, all of it. Oh, we sang stupid and danced goofy on that hot August night as the sun set behind the screen. But when the song "Purple Rain" started, something shifted in the crowd. Night had finally fallen, and all of a sudden, our distance and sarcasm fell away, too, and we were all singing our hearts and guts out, a mixed-race audience at a free show, unafraid to let our emotions blare. We swayed to the guitar and oohed with Prince at the end of it, bursting into applause. And then, purged of the sadness and pain of our daily lives, we twirled and shook to "I Would Die 4 U." It's what you're supposed to do, you know.

We mourn today. Tonight, maybe tomorrow, we dance, we fuck, we rave un2 the joy fantastic.

Artist Mourning

Working on something about Prince. It's taking a while. This one hurts. Election fuckery can wait for a day.

Back later with some purple rude.

4/20/2016

Fellow Sanders Voters: Remember That Bernie Has Benefited From Closed Caucuses

Again, the Rude Pundit has to state, for the record, that he threw his lot in with Bernie Sanders. But, for chrissake, get yer facts together, Bernie voters, or you just sound like you're crazy.

For instance, we love touting the many victories Sanders has and then we turn around and get all angry about how New York held a closed primary - that is, only registered Democrats could vote in it. So, sorry, independents, but go fuck yourselves. This has upset the Sanders side because they think that their candidate would have won an open primary in New York (and that's kind of a big leap).

But that whole discussion is undermined by your very support for Sanders and his victories elsewhere. Because, see, many of the states Sanders has won have held caucuses, not primaries. And those fuckers are almost always meant only for the party faithful. It's their fuckin' rules.

Colorado. where Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by 19 points? Closed caucus for voting. Anyone could watch, if that's your thing. But only registered Democrats could vote.

Wyoming, where Sanders won with 56% to 44% for Clinton? Closed.

Another big Sanders state, Kansas, was closed, as was its Sanders-loving neighbor, Nebraska.

Washington, where Sanders wiped the floor with Clinton? Closed. (You must publicly attest you are a registered Democrat to participate.)

Maine, where Sanders blew out Clinton? Closed.  Same with Alaska and Hawaii.

Minnesota's rules are fun: You gotta say that you've voted for a Democrat before and intend to vote for a Democrat coming up, but you don't have to be a registered Democrat. You can be thrown out if someone calls you a liar.

In other caucuses Sanders won, Utah was open and Idaho was open but you couldn't also vote in the Republican primary.

While Sanders won the open primaries in Vermont, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin, you could make a strong argument that much of the momentum of his campaign comes from closed caucuses for Democrats only and not from the mythical independent voters. You could also make the case that Clinton has captured those independents because of all the open primaries she's won (Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and more). Sorry, but results are results.

So while Sanders himself has every right to be angry about the bullshit failures that led to voter registrations being changed or purged across New York City, as we all should be, and, sure, he can be pissed that you had to register as a Democrat back in October in order to vote in the primary yesterday, it's pretty goddamned hypocritical for Bernie or any of his supporters to be upset about whether or not a delegate-awarding contest is closed.

You could argue that Sanders has a point when he says that, if the state is paying for the election, everyone should be able to vote, but, c'mon, by that logic, everyone in a state should be allowed to vote out of their districts when the state is paying for the elections. And when Sanders says it's wrong that "3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary," it's pretty fucking disingenuous and does harm to a nominating process that he agreed to be part of by running as a Democrat, despite not having been a Democrat.

And, you know, the Rude Pundit doesn't have a problem with a political party, which is an organization that provides support for candidates, saying, "Fuck you. You don't belong, so you don't vote." He does a have a problem with a system that allows for only two political parties to have a virtual lock on every goddamned election.

Hopefully, though, Sanders and we, his voters, can use what we've learned about this broken nominating clusterfuck and try to come up with a less stupid, more inclusive way to get to the general election.

4/19/2016

If You Give a Shit Where Someone Takes a Shit, You're Full of Shit

Today, an appeals court in Virginia said, in essence, "The fuck are you wasting our time for? Go shit where you want." The ruling says that a transgender boy can take a dump in his high school men's room, and that five states, including motherfuckin' North Carolina, have to allow the same.

The decision itself is like a primer on how this situation gets so fucked up. In consultation with the parents, the school in Virginia was totally cool with Gavin Grimm using the boy's room. He was getting hormone therapy, identified as male, and, really, fuck it, piss wherever you want. He "used this restroom without incident for about seven weeks. [Grimm]’s use of the boys’ restroom, however, excited the interest of others in the community, some of whom contacted the Gloucester County School Board (the Board) seeking to bar [Grimm] from continuing to use the boys’ restroom." Do you get it? The kids just didn't fucking care. But someone told a parent and then everything went batshit.

There was a school board meeting which went about as well as expected. "Many of the speakers displayed hostility to [Grimm], including by referring pointedly to him as a 'young lady.' Others claimed that permitting [Grimm] to use the boys’ restroom would violate the privacy of other students and would lead to sexual assault in restrooms. One commenter suggested that if the proposed policy [of forcing students to shit in the bathroom of the sex they were born with] were not adopted, non-transgender boys would come to school wearing dresses in order to gain access to the girls’ restrooms."

Putting aside the charming notion that every transgender person is automatically suspected to be a rapist in waiting, what's actually true is that the girls didn't want Grimm peeing in their bathroom because they saw him as he was: as a transgender male or, you know, a boy. And having a boy pissing in the girls' room made the girls uncomfortable. That ended up stigmatizing Grimm, causing him not to piss at school except when he could get to the single stall in the nurse's room, causing him to get multiple urinary tract infections.

The dumbfuckery involved in this whole dispute leads to this discussion of teenage genital exposure, in a concurring opinion by one of the judges: "Moreover, students’ unintentional exposure of their genitals to others using the restroom has already been largely, if not entirely, remedied by the alterations to the school’s restrooms already undertaken by the Board. To the extent that a student simply objects to using the restroom in the presence of a transgender student even where there is no possibility that either student’s genitals will be exposed, all students have access to the single-stall restrooms."

You got that? It's kind of a brilliant solution. If you have a problem pissing in a urinal with a transgender student present, that's on you, not the trans kid. So you go piss in the private john. But, frankly, if you're waving your dong around in the boy's room, you're probably the problem. And if you're checking out the dongs while they're pissing, well, you probably have some introspection you need to take care of that has nothing to do with your gender and everything to do with your shortcomings.

Oh, conservatives have their underwear in a wedgie about this whole thing, as if it's some cataclysmic fight to cling to precious gender identity (when, really, one of the things that transgender identity does is, to an extent, reify gender constructions, which ought to appeal to conservatives. [Sorry. That's the post-structuralist professor speaking. Back to the rudeness]). Over on Real Clear Politics, idiot writer Heather Wilhelm writes idiotically, "Bathroom law opponents 'are crusading against a tiny minority that poses no real threat,' Jillian T. Weiss, a transgender rights lawyer and activist, wrote in Wednesday’s USA Today. In a way, she’s correct: Demonizing transgender people is unfair in any light. But Weiss also misses the bigger picture behind the bathroom brouhaha. It’s not a fight against people. It’s a fight about reality, and whether the government can dictate a certain version of it. Ultimately, it’s a fight about freedom of thought."

Really? It's not just about shitting where you feel comfortable? It's not about people going into a bathroom stall and locking it so they can drop a deuce in peace? No, says Wilhelm, it's about the guvmint getting all up in yore bidness: "If the government agrees that trans men and women can access the bathrooms of their choice, they are officially validating the view that gender is no more than what you feel or believe it to be."

Except that gender dysphoria is not just a "feeling," like, "Oh, today I shall have ice cream for lunch just to be a bit naughty" or a belief like, "Man, I just love Ariana Grande, but I can't say why." It's a gut-level, traumatic condition that does deep psychological harm in the form of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts and actions. So how about not belittling those who have that condition, just as a start?

Luckily, as North Carolina is learning, many, many more people do believe in a "Shit where you want" ethos. And that's the future, a crazy world where you can drop your pants or hike your skirt in a bathroom and no one cares if you've got the right junk in order to be allowed to pinch out that loaf.

4/18/2016

And Yet: Second Thoughts on Supporting Bernie Over Hillary

Some honest wrestling in the brain right here:

Let us say, and why not, that you are someone who supports affirmative action. Indeed, if you read this here bit of bloggery and don't support it, then many a day, you must grit your teeth and roll your eyes at the bleeding heartedness of the whole damn thing. And let us say, and, indeed, why not, that you don't support affirmative action only as a way to right past wrongs. Sure, yeah, non-whites, non-straights, non-males got a shit deal for a long, long time in our Land of the Free, and mostly they still do. But, being an open-eyed, open-minded sort, you see another good in affirmative action. You know that diversity - of races, genders, religions, and numbers of piercings - in and of itself is a great thing. We know from, like, science that diversity promotes better thinking, better workplaces and schools, and better all-around humans.

Shit doesn't change unless change happens, you know. What was once exotic becomes mundane. When President Obama was first elected, it was as if, truly, something had permanently altered in the political landscape (and hardened the assholes into chafed, tightly-puckered assholes about race). Now, for a generation of voters coming of age, the thought of a black man as president is no longer an impossibility. For a good chunk of their lives, it's just the way shit is. And ain't that a beautiful thing? Isn't that all you could ask for? When Cory Booker or Deval Patrick run for president, far fewer people will give a shit that they're not white. (To be sure, many will, both for and against them. This is a gradual process, but it starts somewhere.)

On Friday, the Rude Pundit offered the reasons why he is supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary. Since then, he's been hit with a ton of shit about how wrong he is. Some of it is thoughtful, in the "Hey, what about the gun stuff? Or what about Bernie's vote for the CFMA, which helped bring on the sub-prime mortgage crisis?" category. Some of it is not so thoughtful, in the "you're a fucking asshole and I hope you die" camp. It's all well and good, and the former gives the Rude Pundit something to think about while the latter makes him just wish the whole fucking election thing were over already. (Full disclosure: He really wishes the whole fucking election thing was over most of the time.) He can shake off the valid points and the insults. But one thing sticks in his craw about supporting Sanders over Hillary Clinton, and that's the affirmative action part.

We have a chance to elect the first woman president in American history, a Democrat, and, frankly, that's not something to be taken lightly.

It's rather appalling that the United States, which is presumptuous enough to think of itself as the banner waver for women's rights, hasn't had a woman lead it when fucking India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other places that are not exactly bastions of feminism already have.

When he floated this idea on the Twitter outrage grinder, the Rude Pundit received tons of variations on "Yes, but not this woman," Hillary Clinton. He gets it, but when, as some did, you compare Clinton to Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorina, you're just a fucking idiot who'll say anything to make whatever bullshit point you think you're making. And if you think that Elizabeth Warren, who is more liberal than Sanders, is coming in to save the day (and, Jesus, some days he wishes she would), you don't get Americans, most of whom aren't on the Twitter outrage grinder and don't give a fuck that Grizzly Bear and Dead Projectors played Sanders's rallies.

In other words, no, you shouldn't support Clinton solely because of her sex. However, affirmative action is supposed to say that, most things being equal, and maybe making a few allowances, you should go for the applicant who adds to your organization's diversity. This is not to mention what we risk losing if we go on feeling the Bern (which, for fuck's sake, is such goddamned dumb slogan, like Sanders is a bladder infection); we risk letting Republicans nominate and elect the first woman president. You don't like this woman? You can be guaranteed that you really won't like that woman.

In otherer words, the Rude Pundit has this fucking gnawing feeling in the back of his skull that he can't shake. In 2008, it was easier to support Barack Obama over Clinton because you could say that you were supporting the black guy and, hey, it's about time to have a non-white in the White House. Sure, you can say that Sanders would be the first Jewish president, but, you know, he's still an old white dude and we can elect the first woman president. Maybe, in and of itself, that's just a net good for our country.

In otherest words, we have the chance to do something truly historic. In that case, maybe we need to let up on the anti-Hillary booing and the dollar-tossing and the chants against her. Maybe we need to make sure she's elected. Maybe, good liberals that we are, we should give a shit about that.

This is all a bit incoherent, some mental masturbation. Honestly, the Rude Pundit might not know what he does until he's in the voting booth and facing the choice. Fuck.

4/15/2016

What You Don't Know About Hillary Clinton Can Hurt You, Part 3: The Balance Sheet

Last night's debate in Brooklyn was utterly and completely useless. It told us nothing new, and no one stumbled bad enough or soared high enough to make a difference. The Democratic audience was as boorish and annoying as any Republican debate crowd. When the 1994 crime bill was brought up, Hillary Clinton was asked if it was a mistake that she supported it (she was First Lady and could not vote on it) while Bernie Sanders was never fully asked about the fact that he really, actually voted for it. The bill didn't become law because Hillary Clinton advocated for it. It became law because members of Congress voted for it and the president signed it. So, really, the effects of the bill are more on Sanders than on Clinton. She is not completely innocent here, but a little perspective is always necessary.

But the crime bill is an interesting case. Because, see, it is of a piece of a kind of liberal self-loathing that started under Reagan and didn't end until Barack Obama was elected. Oh, gather round, dear millennials, come over to the campfire and listen to the Rude Pundit spin a tale or two.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the worst thing a politician could be called was "liberal." Saint Ronnie Reagan made liberalism into the enemy of real America, and the people bought into it. "Liberal Democrats" became a pejorative, used any time any Democrat proposed anything that smacked of government interference in "freedom," which is defined as "shit conservatives like." It worked so well that many Democrats began running away from liberalism for fear that they might be tarred with the foul epithet. That's how we got the sight of Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis riding around in a goddamned tank in the 1988 election. You don't want to appear like a punk-ass, bleeding heart liberal? Show how tough you are. Go shoot some shit up.

For Democrats, defensiveness about liberalism became the default setting. Sure, sure, your Ted Kennedy or your Barbara Mikulski could get away with being openly left-wing. But, especially if you wanted a national profile, you had to hedge on your ideology and demonstrate that you could be as tough and mean and violent as a Republican. And that meant you had to do some things that showed that brute strength and also showed that you weren't beholden to liberal interests. Remember, too, that we were still in thrall to the Cold War mentality, so "liberal" equalled "commie" to many people.

After 12 years of Reagan and Bush, Sr., Bill Clinton was elected president. Now Clinton was always aware of the need to not seem too liberal, as his near-psychotic support for capital punishment showed. Clinton's presidency was marked by what has been praised as his "triangulation" on Republican issues, especially when he had to deal with a Republican-led Congress for most of his terms. That meant that he would take up a conservative goal, like welfare reform, and make it his own, adding in a few progressive elements here and there. You could call it "compromise," if you like, except compromise usually entails a more even split in what each side gets. Otherwise, it's just "surrender." Many of us called it "abandonment." (The Rude Pundit stood in a voting booth in a church in Indiana in 1996 for several minutes, wondering if he could pull the lever for Clinton because of welfare reform. He did, for the sake of Supreme Court nominees, always the endgame of any discussion on whether or not to vote. Of course, Clinton didn't get a chance to nominate anyone in his second term.)

What does this have to do with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? In the first part of this series, the Rude Pundit dismissed outright the various made-up scandals that have given Clinton this undeserved aura of shadiness. That just doesn't fucking matter because it's all lies with a good publicist. And there is no reason in the world to give a frantic rodent fuck about what she did or didn't say in her speeches to Goldman Sachs. It's another fake-out that Sanders is annoyingly using to dent Clinton. And, at this point, how many fucking politicians aren't beholden to one well-funded group or another? If Hillary does Wall Street's bidding, Sanders has certainly backed off anything radical against the NRA.

The second part of this series looked at Clinton's blatant exploitation of unwarranted fears of the effects of violence and sex in video games. And that's where the rubber hits the road for this blogging voter. It's not because of video games, per se, but it's because, like her husband and like so many Democrats before and even now, she chose to demonstrate that she has conservative street-cred in the most convenient of situations.

This is where her support for the 1994 crime bill comes into play. She chose to become a strong advocate for it because she and Bill were using the threat of gangs, crack, and super-predators to show that they can be tough and right-wing, too (and were unafraid of offending African Americans). It's there in her 2002 speech supporting the Iraq war. She said, "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001." She was almost totally wrong, except for the 9/11 stuff. But it sure sounded hawkish as hell.

The Rude Pundit's discomfort with Hillary Clinton is not because she's flip-flopped on some things. It's not because she's got skeletons in her closet. Christ, Clinton's closet is must be swept clean at this point. No, it's the political expediency that bugs the shit out of him. It's the selling out of liberal goals in order to appeal to people who wouldn't vote for her anyways.

And you can argue that Clinton has done so very much for women and for the dispossessed around the world. You can do that, quite successfully. But then someone could easily counter that Clinton's vote in support of the Iraq war undid a huge amount of the good she has done. It's that inability to connect women's rights and human rights to the cataclysm of the wars and conflicts she advocates for, that great harm has been done to families because of the 1994 crime bill she supported. That balance sheet, finally, is the reason the Rude Pundit can't support her in the primary.

(Obligatory note: Yes, he will support her in the general if she's the nominee because the Rude Pundit isn't a self-righteous prick.)

4/14/2016

In Brief: Republicans: Solving Problems That Don't Exist

How much fucking time and money have Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures wasted on problems that just don't exist?

For instance, Republicans scream constantly about voter fraud, as if every election is fraught with endless fuckery with absentee ballots and identity theft and dead people rising up to vote for their zombie overlords. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, in response to a slam from President Obama, "The fact is voter fraud is rampant--and in Texas, unlike some other states and unlike some other leaders, we are committed to cracking down on voter fraud." Except, of course, the actual fact is that voter fraud is about as rare as a lightning strike directly to the balls. Since 2002, there have been 85 prosecutions of voter fraud cases (not all were convicted). From 2000-2014, there were 72 million votes in statewide elections. By the Rude Pundit's awesome ability to use a calculator, no fucking voter fraud worth giving a fuck about occurred in Texas.

Over in Kansas (motto: "No wants to think they're in Kansas anymore"), Secretary of State and man-most-deserving-of-lightning-hitting-his-nutsack Kris Kobach is pursuing and prosecuting voter fraudsters after the mad, mad state legislature and bugfuck insane governor gave him the authority to do so. He's up to a total of six prosecutions, with one dismissed, one plea deal, and, really, fuck-all to show for it. But he'll proclaim that a mighty blow for democracy was struck when 60something year-old Steven Gaedtke was fined $500 for filling out his wife's absentee ballot. Sucking all the cocks around, Kobach actually said, "That doesn’t look like a mistake...One of the principal reasons of exercising this prosecutorial authority is letting people know they won’t get away with it." That sound you heard is a self-loathing paralegal hanging himself in the conference room of the Kansas Secretary of State's office, surrounded by absentee ballots he was comparing.

Meanwhile, over in Arizona, in Maricopa County, where embarrassment to the human race Sheriff Joe Arpaio jacks off to dead Mexican porn, actual voter fraud took place. Oh, it's not the glamorous case of a man filling out an absentee ballot. Instead, it's that the county, which has a large Latino and Native American population, opened only 60 polling sites instead of the usual 200 during the state's primary last month. That's despite the fact that the state of Arizona would reimburse the county for the cost of the election, no matter how many polling places there were. It meant hours-long waits to vote, fucked up registration records, and more, which disenfranchised primarily non-white voters.

Maybe the majority Republican legislature can do something about that - an issue that affected thousands of the state's residents. Or maybe instead the leaders there can sue for things like forcing people to prove their citizenship to register to vote in federal elections, a move that the Secretary of State said is "important because voter fraud is a significant problem in Arizona." Yeah, the 21 cases of voter fraud since 2005 are certainly more worthy of action than the scores of people who waited in the desert sun for a chance to feel the Bern.

Gee, the only reason to not act on that would be if you didn't want people to vote.

4/13/2016

Hillary Clinton and Video Games: A Cautionary Tale (Part 2 of What You Don't Know About Hillary Clinton Can Hurt You)

Back in the dark ages of the 1990s, a certain hysteria was sweeping the land. Pre-internet, before your children could watch people slice off parts of themselves and have sex with them on YouTube, some parents' groups were falling on their fainting couches over violence and a little bit of sex in video games. This came after the fainting over dirty words in songs. When she was First Lady, and running for Senate from New York, Hillary Clinton took up the cause of stopping the kiddies from seeing digital breasts and blood.

In December 1999, campaigning in more conservative areas of Long Island, Clinton spoke out against the manufacturers of video games and called for uniform ratings across media, hinting that if it wasn't done voluntarily, she would introduce legislation for that if she became senator. She talked about visiting a video arcade: "It's a very revealing and sobering experience." As for games at home, "I couldn't help but be upset when I read about the two boys from Columbine being obsessed with the game Doom."

Her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, using a report from the Federal Trade Commission that said that media companies, including video game makers, targeted young people in their advertising of content with violence, went out on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton in September of 2000: "President Clinton, making a rare appearance with Hillary Rodham Clinton to support her Senate candidacy in New York at the Jewish Community Center in New Rochelle, condemned the abuses cited in the report. The Clintons suggested they would support government restraints if the industry did not curb advertising aimed at underage audiences."

While a senator in 2005, Hillary Clinton became outraged because the 2004 game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a mini-game involving "graphic" sex. This is known as the "Hot Coffee" mod to the game, and if a badly-animated cartoon guy nailing a cartoon woman is your thing, you can watch videos of it. Clinton asked the FTC to investigate Rockstar games to see if this was intentional (it was), saying, "I hear from parents all the time about the frustration they feel as they try to pass their own values onto their children in a world where this type of material is readily accessible."

In a statement on her formal letter to the FTC, Clinton went further: "The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it’s making the difficult job of being a parent even harder...I am announcing these measures today because I believe that the ability of our children to access pornographic and outrageously violent material on video games rated for adults is spiraling out of control."

The measures she was calling for included legislation to "prohibit the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors and put in place a $5000 penalty for those who violate the law." In December 2005, along with Senators Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh, Clinton announced she was sponsoring a bill, the Family Entertainment Protection Act, that included the fine and community service to the on-site manager of any business that sold or rented "a Mature, Adults-Only, or Ratings Pending game to a person who is younger than seventeen." It also imposed ratings system oversight so that the government could judge whether or not games were being marked "Adults-Only" correctly.

The bill failed to even make it out of committee, thanks to pressure from the video game industry, as well as free speech advocates who called it government censorship. Oh, and the fact that any of the connections that Clinton was making between violence and video games was utter nonsense.

The point here is not that Hillary Clinton attacked video games, although if the Rude Pundit were a gamer, it would give him pause. The reason for bringing this up deserves some context, especially for the kids reading this blog, and it connects very clearly with the 1994 crime bill that has gotten so much attention lately.

And that, sweet readers, is for Part 3.

4/12/2016

Oh, Shut the Fuck Up, John Kasich

Ah, John Kasich, you who are supposed to be the calm, reasonable substitute for the savage Trump and the viperous Cruz. You and your aw-schucks demeanor and golly-gee-whizzos attitude toward being allowed in the big ol' game after coming from little ol' Ohio (the seventh largest state by population in the country, with a shit-ton of cities), goddamn, you are such a scum-licking pigfucker it's a wonder someone isn't assigned to punch you in your smug cunt-face at least once every single day. Just shut the fuck up already.

Looking like everyone's slightly confused, slightly unkempt uncle who no one would ever accuse of molesting his nieces despite the fact that he's totally molesting his nieces, Kasich spoke at the Women's National Republican Club (motto: "Stockholm syndrome is alive and well") to say that he offers the only path for decency for the GOP. Republicans have a choice. There's Path A, "the path that exploits anger, encourages resentment, turns fear into hatred and divides people. This path solves nothing, demeans our history, weakens our country and cheapens each of us. It has but one beneficiary and that is to the politician who speaks of it." That's one motherfucking terrible choice. What's the other?

"The other path is the one America has been down before. It is well trod, it is at times steep, but it is solid," Kasich explained. Yeah, that boring ol' path is where "America's supposed decline becomes its finest hour, because we came together to say 'no' to those who would prey on our human weakness and instead chose leadership that serves, helping us look up, not down."

Them's mighty fancy words for a man who has never seen an abortion restriction or defunding bill he hasn't loved, a man so full of right-wing jizz on education policy that he's helped destroy the school systems of Ohio, a man who hates unions, loves lower taxes for the rich, and is generally a total dickhead to anyone who crosses him. Motherfuckin' John Kasich is, as he told the womenfolk of Manhattan about others, "the path to darkness."

If you ever wanted to scream, "Shut the fuck up" to a sitting governor, check out his interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News, where Kasich's just vomiting up cornpone: "Oh, I mean, my dad was a mailman. I mean, come on. I'm just a kid from McKees Rocks. I mean, being governor, I've accepted that. In New York City? Me? Running for President. It's hard to believe." Put aside for a second that McKees Rocks isn't some little village in the middle of a wheat field. It's a fucking suburb of Pittsburgh. No, the son of a mailman was once a Fox "news" regular and show host (of the bullshit-named Heartland), living large in New York City. He's a fucking liar. The whole thing is a goddamned lie.

And the rest of the interview involves Kasich saying that he doesn't "know the numbers" so many times, it's a wonder he can even count.

So shut the fuck up, John Kasich. Shove the whole faux country boy act up your ass and choke on your rationally-voiced irrationality.

4/11/2016

Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Jug of Baijiu


Look at that picture. It's lovely, isn't it? Look at that child holding forth a white rose, amid thousands of people in Taipei, Taiwan. Surely, this is a call for peace and understanding. Perhaps a plea to mainland China to calmly solve the dispute over the South China Sea. Oh, little one, we can only hope for your sake...wait...what's that? Oh. Shit.

Yeah, that's a fucking pro-death penalty rally there. The rose-sporting people want the Taiwanese government to stone cold murder motherfuckers because of a nationwide bloodlust stirred up over the admittedly horrific murder of a child. They are supporting capital punishment because of some talk of abolishing it, to which that little boy is saying, "Oh, fuck, no. You gotta kill some bitches."

In case you were wondering whether other countries could be as barbaric as we are in the United States, here's one parent: "Taiwan is not safe, so death sentences are needed to deter crimes and they should be carried out. I hope this will make our society safer for all children." Over 83% of Taiwan's citizens oppose getting rid of the death penalty. Amnesty International has said that the government there has carried out multiple executions in order to quell the people's thirst for vengeance.

Hey, it's good to know that other countries not only support state-sponsored killing of citizens, but get their children involved, too. They can learn, like the United States has, that you can execute innocent people and no one will give a shit because the illusion of safety is more important than the reality of brutality. A nation that says violence can solve its problems is a nation damned to endless violence. Enjoy the party, kids.

4/08/2016

What You Don't Know About Hillary Clinton Can Hurt You, Part 1:

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit was talking to a millennial dude who will be voting in his first presidential election this year. He sure hates Donald Trump, but he doesn't like Hillary Clinton because "she's so shady." That's one of those things that trigger a gut-level reaction in the Rude Pundit because it's a belief that's based on a heaping mountain of horseshit. So he went off on the millennial.

"No," the Rude Pundit snapped, "that's completely fucking wrong. The only reason you think Clinton is shady is because 25 years of conservative media shoved it down your throat. She's been accused and accused and investigated and investigated and guess what? Not a goddamn thing has ever come of it. It's all shit made up to damage her. If you keep saying over and over that someone did something wrong, did something wrong, did something wrong, but you never prove it, then you're just an asshole."

As Henry Louis Gates more politely put it in the New Yorker, "[F]or all we know, Hillary Clinton may be guilty of everything she’s accused of and more. You might say the point is that we don’t know. And it’s in those dark gaps in our knowledge that the political unconscious makes itself felt: you can’t tell a gun from a cigarette by the smoke alone. Which inference you prefer depends on which story you prefer—assuming you’ve been given one."

By the way, Gates wrote that twenty fucking years ago. The article is titled "Hating Hillary," and it's fascinating to reread it now in the context of an election in the middle of our third decade of thinking that Clinton must be dirty from some scandal and worthy of hate.

And this is not about her donors or her paid speeches or whatever, although the way we think about those things are colored by one of the most successful right-wing smear campaigns ever. No, this is the Hillary Scandal Industrial Complex, the nexus of Filegate-Whitewater-Travelgate-Benghazi-EmailServerGate and more, all fantasies conjured by conservatives in order to punish her for the sin of being a First Lady who tried to get health care reform passed and didn't shut the fuck up and order drapes for the president's bedroom.

You think that's oversimplifying it? Then you didn't fucking live through it in the 1990s. You didn't watch as men in both parties tore themselves to pieces over what they viewed as Clinton's lack of decorum, her failure to merely be an adornment for her husband (see the reaction to Eleanor Roosevelt for this level of intense hatred). The scorn that Michelle Obama gets for just saying that American fat fucks should exercise a little and stop eating piles of shit is horrible, and its racist elements are disgusting, but, to be sure, it doesn't come near the level of Hillary Clinton because no one could write an article titled "Hating Michelle" and have it be about anything more than a bunch of cranky yahoos.

This was universal. "Hillary-hating has become one of those national pastimes which unite the √©lite and the lumpen. Serious accusations have, of course, been leveled against the President’s wife, but it’s usually what people think of her that determines the credence and the weight they give to the accusations, rather than the reverse," Gates wrote.

Clinton herself in 1996 offered a prescient explanation of the why she was a target for such animosity: "I believe that we’re going through a significant transition—economically, politically, culturally, socially, in gender relations, all kinds of ways—and so someone as visible as I am is going to get a lot of attention. I think if the spotlight were turned on many of my friends in their own private lives somebody could make out of it what they would: ‘My goodness, she didn’t take her husband’s name,’ or ‘She’s the one who travels while her husband stays home and takes care of the children,’ or ‘She has a very traditional role—does that mean that she’s sold out her education?’ There could be questions like that raised about nearly every American woman I know."

What pissed people off about Clinton is something that still pisses them off. Sometimes, she just sickens of all the bullshit and she lets you know. In the early 1990s, when it was still unusual to see a male candidate's wife as anything other than supportive arm candy, Clinton wasn't afraid to step in it, like with her famous remark about working instead of staying home and baking chocolate chip cookies (which led to the degrading act of publishing her cookie recipe to show sexist traditionalists that they needn't be scared of the big, bad lawyer lady).

The Rude Pundit has one other theory for why conservatives have kept up their hatred of Clinton. See, when Bill's affairs started to be known beyond Arkansas, during the 1992 campaign, she famously stuck by him. That enraged the right because they hoped the feminist governor's wife would dump him and do in Clinton's pursuit of the White House. The fact that she never threw Bill under the bus when, really, who could have blamed her, undid damage to Bill every time a new sex scandal erupted. So it exacerbated their hatred because the right could never bring Hillary Clinton to heel, even when they thought her own beliefs would make her do what they wanted.

You have to understand that history in order to understand Clinton. Read the Gates article. It's all there, twenty years ago: her hatred of the press, the small circle of confidantes, the warmth that people say she has on a personal level, all the accusations of Machiavellian manipulation, and, especially, the so-called scandals that never became scandals.

"So," the Rude Pundit said to the millennial, "it's just being dumb and ill-informed to not vote for Hillary because of fake scandals. However, there are lots of reasons not to vote for her that have nothing to do with that."

And that is where we will pick up in part 2.

4/07/2016

You Are a Soldier in a "Sexual War Against Christianity"

As a member of the Super-Duper Prayer Team of the nutzoid evangelical Family Research Council (motto: "Praying the gays stay so we can get paid"), the Rude Pundit is regularly informed of events occurring right under his nose that he had no idea about. For instance, did you know that a bunch of fucknut legislators in subhuman states like Mississippi and North Carolina aren't just passing hate-filled anti-LGBT discrimination disguised as laws? Oh, no. They are soldiers, motherfuckers, those fucknuts, soldiers in a "sexual war against Christianity." It's on, people, and you better pick a side.

The Rude Pundit joined the Super-Duper Prayer Team ages ago under a nom de rude, and, every week, he receives his praynalingus orders on what for and why to implore the Lord Jeeezus for guidance and grace in these sinful times. Mostly it's just about whores having abortions and queers doing queer shit. But Jeeezus is there for all of us when we're on our knees, placing his strong hand on the back of our heads to make sure we pray hard enough so we can receive every drop of his blessings. Don't you even try to stop your supplications until he's ready for you to stop.

This week, the SDPT got word that we had a victory in the sexy war down in Mississippi, which, unlike those pussies in Indiana and their weak-ass "Religious Freedom Reformation Act," didn't cave to the LGBT soldiers of Satan and passed the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act." Listen: "The rage focused against state RFRA’s and Government Non-Discrimination Acts (GNDAs) coupled with aggressive efforts to implement pro-LGBT 'Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity' laws (SOGI’s – also called bathroom bills) has reached new heights of insanity. The entry of big business in support of the LGBT activist crowd has multiplied the pressure and intimidation that our elected officials face."

Don't you get it? It's a fuckin' war, fuckos, the shit, the big muddy. You gotta fight for your right not to let people potty. Up is down, down is up, the gays are discriminating against the godly folk: "Many of the intolerant 'tolerance' crowd of moneyed activists behind this movement are the true discriminators who want nothing less than to replace the moral foundation of our nation. Theirs is an assault against Christianity and Christians in particular" by saying that people should be allowed to shit in the public restroom where they feel their gender identity belongs. Surely, Jeeezus wouldn't allow that. Surely, Christ-man hisself would tell transgender people that whoever is without sin shall drop the first turd.

So we gotta pray because we are the Prayer Team: "May pastors teach their flocks about the realities of the war being waged upon them. May they enlist Christian citizens to do their part to protect their children and grandchildren from becoming victims of SOGI laws. May every state legislature and Congress pass effective laws, replacing ineffective laws with ones that truly protect the religious liberty for all Americans." Man, sometimes these prayers get damned specific. But it's for all of us because aren't we, each and every one of us, children and grandchildren? Do we not want to piss without worrying that a fake transgender person is going to rape us in the Hardee's ladies room, despite the fact that that's never happened? Well, it fuckin' might.

As always, the SDPT is provided with Bible verses to help us with our praying, like, in this case, Proverbs 29 Verse 2: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn" (King James version forever). Of course, two verses later, it says, "The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it," which is funny when you consider that a big fuckin' "Donate" button sits over the page.

And then, in Verse 7, "The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it," which seems like maybe you should spend a little more fuckin' time worrying about the poor than whether your oversensitive God actually gives a shit where someone takes a dump.

4/06/2016

What If the Democratic Candidates Were Republican and Other Unsafe Thoughts

There are a few things that have been bugging the Rude Pundit lately. The first is this feeling about the Democratic candidates. But wait a second...

Before we go any further here, since this is where our political discourse is right now, nothing said here means that the Rude Pundit won't vote for either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton because to vote for the Republican is nation-destroying insanity and to not vote at all is a bullshit bourgeois indulgence that you can go fuck yourself with. Are we good? Fuck it if we're not...

This feeling. Frankly, the Rude Pundit doesn't like either Sanders or Clinton. He can't explain it. He thinks they'd both be perfectly fine company for a beer, so it's not personal. But maybe he just got used to elections where he felt passionately in favor of a candidate, even, yes, John Kerry. Oh, sure, it's easy to feel passionately opposed to Republicans. They make that shit easy. Start an unnecessary war. Choose a rank idiot as your running mate. Be Donald Trump. It's so easy to oppose and it's so much harder to support.

One test that's useful in any situation is the "What if it was a Republican that did this thing that a Democrat has done?" Oh, sure, we'd like to believe that if, say, a Republican president had gotten a blow job in the Oval Office from an intern and then lied under oath about it, we'd think that his impeachment was as much a bullshit exercise as it was for Bill Clinton. We hope that Democratic members of Congress wouldn't have lost their minds the same way that Republicans did then. (And, let's be honest, some Democrats jumped on the impeachment bandwagon gleefully.)

This ain't about policies as much as it's about ethics and competence. So he wonders shit like whether would he give a happy monkey fuck about Hillary Clinton's email server if she were a Republican. He's inclined to give himself the benefit of the doubt on this one because, really, you have to be pretty hard up to get shit on someone if that's where you make your stand. Perhaps. But what about Republican candidates who are financed by big corporate donors? This is one slippery motherfucker of a slope.

But sometimes it's an even more complicated call. Take, for instance, Bernie Sanders's interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News, a paper that is openly hostile to Trump. The Rude Pundit has written about Trump's objectively stupid chat with the Washington Post's editors. Now we have Sanders being attacked for what some are calling a "disaster" showing that Clinton's opponent in the primaries is "out of his depth."

When you read the transcript or listen to the audio, sure, you can focus in on the "Shit Bernie Oughta Know Backwards and Forwards," like whether laws were broken by Wall Street executives that the Attorney General for a President Sanders might prosecute them for: "I suspect that there are. Yes...Do I have them in front of me, now, legal statutes? No, I don't. But if I would...yeah, that's what I believe, yes. When a company pays a $5 billion fine for doing something that's illegal, yeah, I think we can bring charges against the executives." Dude, this is your issue. If you don't know the laws that were broken, why the fuck are you saying they were broken? That's a slam-dunk question that shouldn't have even caused him to pause.

Or you can focus on his considerably naive answer about the use of drone murder to wage what we might colloquially call "war." Said Bernie, "What I do know is that drones are a modern weapon. When used effectively, when taking out ISIS or terrorist leaders, that's pretty impressive. When bombing wedding parties of innocent people and killing dozens of them, that is, needless to say, not effective and enormously counterproductive. So whatever the mechanism, whoever is in control of that policy, it has to be refined so that we are killing the people we want to kill and not innocent collateral damage." Dude, the people running the drone program have refined it and have decided that collateral damage (kids at a wedding, for instance) is the price of what we might colloquially call "security." How do you eliminate it? Say you'll only kill suspected terrorists when they're alone? Good luck.

It's true, really true, that if a Republican were handling questions like this, the Rude Pundit would say all kinds of shit about how incompetent or dumb or callous that Republican is. To be sure, Sanders is not trafficking in Trump-level nonsense. He doesn't, for example, bring up his hand size or how he's doing in the polls. But Sanders is vague and then dismissive and petulant when he's called on his vagueness. In a single word, he seems old. And that's something this voter has to wrestle with.

There are other moments in the interview when Sanders isn't so vague, like when he talks about grassroots activism and the minimum wage and the way the economy is "rigged" against the middle and working classes. These are his rallying points, the shit that gets the crowds behind him, the "he's talking about me" stuff. It's great and all, but where is the mastery of detail that backs up the rhetoric?

And that is where the divergence is between the expectations of Republicans and Democrats of their candidates. Republicans like Trump and Cruz, and going back to Romney, McCain, and Bush, are dismissive of the idea of explaining how things get done. They just will through pixie magic and forceful personality. Trump has given so few specifics that all his plans boil down to "Donald Trump gets deals done. Believe me." And many do, too many do.

So when Sanders says that he'll be able to get things through Congress because he'll lead people in rising up to demand shit of Congress, well, that's great and we'll see in 2018, but how the fuck does that work in 2017?

Maybe the question isn't then "What if we looked at Democrats like they were Republicans?" but the more frightening "What if we held Democratic candidates to the same low standards as Republicans hold their candidates?"

The Sanders interview isn't a disaster. He'll recover. He'll have huge rallies in the Northeast. But he needs to ready for tough questions, as does Clinton, because Democrats need to demand that those be answered.

4/05/2016

Back in the US of Trump

After a long journey in England, the Rude Pundit has returned to the United States of Trump. He uses that turn of phrase because, really, the whole world pretty much believes it right now and will until the DT disappears into the miasma of reality TV and conning rich and poor rubes alike.

Regular bloggery to return tomorrow. Just one or two observations on the UK that don't involve their generally shitty coffee (didn't you guys conquer like half the countries that grow the fuckin' beans?):

1. Over on the east side of London, in the very Muslim area there, where the call to prayer rang out from several mosques and the only clothing stores all sold outfits we associate with Islamic people, the Rude Pundit did not find any "no-go zones" or whatever else conservatives like to say. He found friendly folks who were willing to direct him and chat about life in America. In a Pakistani restaurant, he did see the male waitstaff treat the women workers like children, either yelling at them where to go or explaining how to do things as if speaking to an idiot. He has never seen that type of shitty public treatment of women by Muslim men in the United States.

2. In Liverpool, taken on a Beatles tour (because, really, why the fuck not?), the guide paused in the middle of talking about the sights on Penny Lane to point out that the fire station mentioned in the song was now closed due to austerity measures by the conservative government. He criticized David Cameron and the Parliament for going too far, calling their decisions "stupid and short-sighted." Everyone on the Magical Mystery Tour bus applauded him. John Lennon may well have been proud.

3. The lack of dog shit on the sidewalks, in every neighborhood, in every town, was goddamned extraordinary.

4/04/2016

Taking the Day Off, Boss

This is the Rude Pundit's last evening in England and that means he's probably already drunk and has misplaced his pants.

Back tomorrow with Virgin Airlines-induced rudeness.

4/01/2016

Quickie: Desperate Dipshits Attempt to Deny Rights to Americans Because Fucking

Oh, sweet Mississippi dipshits, how loathsome and stereotypical you are, wallowing in your muddy ditches, shitting in your beds, pissing in your wells, breeding with your cousins, allowing people to claim religion as an excuse for bigotry against people who don't fuck the way you want them to fuck. It's all part of the package of being from Mississippi, a state the Rude Pundit fondly remembers as "that fuckin' place that smells like horseshit and vomit on the way to the beaches of Florida."

House Bill 1523, which passed the state's House and now the Senate and, after it's reconciled, will be signed by Mississippi's drawling dipshit governor, is one of several "religious freedom" bills that have been lied into existence in the south. The thing legalizes discrimination by any "religious organization" in hiring and housing, along with marrying, the gays. And it declares, no shit, that, goddamnit, if you don't want to bake a gay cake, you don't have to. Or provide lesbian flowers. Or bisexual photography. Or transgender disc jockey services. It gets pretty fuckin' specific.

When it comes to transgender people, you can pretty be as much of a dickhole as you like as long as you're claiming that God-Jeebus or Moses or Allah or Cthulu or who-the-fuck-ever told you it's icky and wrong. Actually, the whole bill is one long detour into repression and hatred. If you're a state employee and want to call someone a "fag" on your own time on Facebook, then you're protected now because obviously you have the religious freedom to say it. (Check out that part that starts on line 97.)

If your God has time to waste worrying about whether or not two lady-people are getting hitched, you have a God that needs to get off His Fat Ass and worry about real shit, like maybe the horrific poverty in Mississippi.