8/22/2014

There Are Other Kinds of Violence Against African Americans


Check that out. That's an idyllic little town setting, isn't it? All crops and and trees and nicely manicured lawns and is that a diner? Just lovely. It's what the Tennessee Valley Authority promised Uniontown, Alabama, would happen when the local landfill, run by a company called Arrowhead, agreed to take the toxic coal ash from the largest coal ash spill ever in the United States. That happened up the road in Harriman, Tennessee, in 2008, and it just fucked things up for the white, middle-class people in that suburb of Knoxville. So they made a deal to tote the shit down the road, to Uniontown, which is almost 90% black.

Yes, it's that blatant.

And guess what? Things didn't turn out as the TVA promised. 'Cause missing from that pleasant scene is all the "headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting...Nosebleeds, sore throats, skin rashes, asthma especially in children, and inflamed sinuses," and the potential for an increase in cancer and lung disease. As for the corn field there, "once vibrant and fertile vegetable gardens that fed their families for generations are now barren, and fruit trees are dotted with deformed and withered fruit."

That's because the landfill wasn't treating coal ash, which contains arsenic, mercury, and lots of nasty shit, as a toxic substance. Arsenic was found in a creek near the landfill, which also takes in garbage from 33 states. For only the 8th time since 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency's Civil Rights Office has begun an investigation of the treatment of the mostly black citizens of Uniontown. The EPA started this week by interviewing residents. A report is expected in December.

By the way, the EPA was called in when the state agency tasked with protecting the citizens refused to even hear their case.

While we grapple with police violence against African Americans, we cannot ignore the more subtle violence committed by the disempowerment caused by poverty, a situation that leads people to be forced to live across the street from:


8/21/2014

Video of St. Louis Police Shooting a Man Is Way Fucked Up (Corrected)

The Rude Pundit ain't gonna pretend to be a cop. He ain't gonna pretend to know what it's like to constantly have to see the worst of humanity behaving in the worst ways possible. And he sure as shit ain't gonna pretend to know what it'd be like to be a cop in any place close to Ferguson, Missouri, these days.

But the video of the police shooting of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis? Well, that's some fucked up shit right there. Watch the whole 6 minute thing if you've got six minutes to take from watching every manner of celebrity and politician and friend waste tubs of water and ice in order for charity.

You'll hear the guy with the cell phone giggling as he follows Powell, who was apparently acting erratically and had just shoplifted a couple of energy drinks. You'll see the cops pull up in the distance and jump out of their car with their guns pointed at Powell, who shouts, "Shoot me" while waving what close-up of the video shows is a fairly small steak knife. And while initial reports said that the police said that Powell was 2-3 feet away from the cops, you can see here, in the very second the cops started shooting, it's a bit more than that:


Another thing that shocks the man filming is the speed with which the cops didn't just shoot Powell dead, but shot him nine times. Within seconds of pulling up and getting out, Powell is down, falling forward, off the ledge, landing 2-3 feet from the police officers. So there.

The police will tell you that there was no guarantee that a taser would have worked. They will tell you that they are allowed, if someone is threatening with 20 feet, to shoot to kill. They will tell you that shooting to kill is the only way to assure the officers are safe.

But here's the problem you ought to have with this: Isn't it the job of the police to make sure the public is safe? Until the cops arrived, Powell was a weirdo who stole some shit. But he hadn't threatened anyone. And, as the video clearly shows, Powell was near no one when the police car pulled up. The officers didn't try to talk to him. They didn't back away and give him some space to calm down. Powell even moved from being right near the police to up on the lawn, a bit further away.

Put aside your heroic thoughts that you might have tased Powell or shot him in the leg. Are police in the United States or, at the very least, St. Louis, trained to merely execute someone than to perform the more complicated task of trying to talk them down? Was the first cop just too fucking nervous from everything he had seen in Ferguson so he thought that this was it, that it was go time for the race war? Did they take into account that there were people around who might have gotten caught by a bullet that missed or went through Powell? The cops put handcuffs on Powell after he was on the ground, presumably dead. Was that to make the shooting seem more legit?

And look at what happens after the shooting. The shocked camera guy immediately falls into obeying every cop who shows up (although he bravely does not stop filming). They push people back further and further, to where cell phones cannot film what is happening to the body, making sure what happens next is out of view, from what we've seen so far. How much room do they need to investigate or is it just to ensure the safest cover-up?

Something stinks here. The only question is how far into the trash we'll have to plunge to find its source.

(Correction: An early report said there were a dozen shots. That's been corrected to nine, which is still ludicrous bullshit.)

8/20/2014

The Difference Between the Left and the Right (Rick Perry Edition)

Blithering idiot Gov. Rick "These Poindexter Glasses Sure Make Me Look Smarter Than I Am, Buddy" Perry was indicted for abuse of power for line-item vetoing the budget of the state's public integrity office because...you know, really, who the fuck cares, right? It's a veto. If he was doing something so outrageous, then his toady legislature should be able to override it, no? And if not, then if the public gives a flying fuck, it would vote in new legislators or something. Fuck if anyone knows how democracy works anymore, especially in Texas.

Anyways, the easy thing to do for liberals and Democrats would have been to pile on, to jump on the felony charges (which included the smarmiest mug shot this side of Tom DeLay's gap teeth) and ride Perry with all the vigor of a Bushwick leather stud breaking in a Westchester twink. Yeah, it'd be really nice to just say, "Yeah, fuck that guy. Whatever he gets, he deserves."

But we're not like that. Oh, no. We have a conscience, goddamnit. We believe in right and wrong (real and actual right and wrong, not fake shit like Benghazi or IRS scandals or Oval Office blow jobs). And fuck if we don't say it: This Perry indictment is kind of nonsense. Sure, some Democrats have used it as a horsewhip to maim Perry's ass. But that's different from a full-on blitz.

'Cause, see, if Perry were a Democrat, every goddamn Republican would have been on every goddamn cable news gabfest, all repeating the roundelay of condemnation. There would have been calls for investigations, special prosecutors, anal probes, and blood samples. Darrell Issa would have already subpoenaed everyone who ever knew Perry. It would have become the newest way that the GOP would have raised money.

How do we know? Because, despite a Republican-led House Intelligence Committee report saying that the Obama administration did not do a goddamn thing wrong on the Benghazi attack, the House GOP's website says that the "investigation" by the "select committee" is going to get to the true truth, not the bullshit truth its own committee got to that wasn't the truth they wanted.

Over here in Leftville, we give a damn about things like reality. And we call "bullshit" when we see it. Over there? "Truth" is an ephemeral concept, so much dust, so much noise.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, should Republicans win a majority there, Mitch McConnell is already planning on how he will shut down the government if President Obama doesn't  accede to all their demands. Man, while we're arresting fuckwads and suing people, can we get congressional Republicans for malpractice?

8/19/2014

Limbaugh: Ferguson, Like Everything Else Everywhere, Is Obama's Fault

Bloated, saggy-titted doom gorgon Rush Limbaugh was talking to a caller to his radio spoogeatorium about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson getting involved in the racial strife in Ferguson, Missouri. After predictably blasting Sharpton in the most predictably specious way (by saying some rumor that he even admitted was probably not true), Limbaugh made a logical leap that'd make Maureen Dowd say, "Oh, fucking come on. You can't do that."

Blurbled Rush, "[T]his is the Democrat Party, folks. The president of the United States is in charge of what's happened here. I think it is time for everybody to come to grips with a simple reality. I don't care what scandal you name -- Benghazi, Fast and Furious, take your pick, IRS - has anybody involved in any of these scandals been fired? Not a single person." Yes, somehow the diet of steak, cigars, cognac, Twinkies, oxy, and Dominican child semen got to Limbaugh's brain and caused it to overload. That's how he decided that the riots in Ferguson are Barack Obama's fault and are part and parcel of a clusterfuck of every fake scandal conservatives have been humping like a horny hobo with a dead horse.

But Limbaugh wasn't done fucking that corpse. Check out this almost breathtaking leap into the mouth of madness: "This is about wiping out the Republican Party. This is about wiping out the Libertarians. This is about wiping out anybody who opposes Obama. Every bit of this. This isn't Al Sharpton. This isn't Jesse Jackson. They're just tag-alongs now. This is Obama and Holder. But all of this is Barack Obama. Every event, every detail, every occurrence is Obama. And the end result is the end and absence of any opposition. So that's what Ferguson's all about, like all the rest of this has been about."

An average person, spouting this shit, declaring that Obama is all, Obama is eveything, Obama is the alpha, the omega, and every Greek letter in between, would rightly be dragged off screaming to scrawl manifestos in his own shit in a concrete room. How Ferguson is about eliminating the Republican Party is something that Limbaugh doesn't say, but, motherfuckers, it's so obviously true that you shouldn't need it explained. It's Obama, after all. Obama, bitches.

If you ever for a moment doubted that Rush Limbaugh was a dangerous cockhead, a puppetmaster who would delight in causing real and actual violence, here's the context he gives for Obama's maniacal drive for absolute power: "By the way, that's not just Obama. That's been the left. They are power mad. They are statists. You think there was opposition to the Soviet Union? You think Mao Tse-tung had opposition, the Gang of Eight, what happened to them, including Madam Mao? Slit throat, adios, see you, sayonara. I mean, they don't put up with it."

Now, what the fuck is a listener supposed to do with that bullshit? If you believe Rush, you believe that the president is turning the nation into the Soviet Union and will murder anyone who gets in his way. What are you supposed to do to stop it? 'Cause elections won't matter, right? It's an inferential call to violence. And Limbaugh would get off on that more than on a fistful of Viagra and a room of tied-up Salvadoran adolescent immigrants.

Obama, to Limbaugh, is a goddamn wizard of manipulation. See, Obama is appearing disinterested in leading and taking lots of vacations (two things that are totally up for argument) because he's faking us all out. Let Rush explain: "How do you get away with [eliminating all opposition] while everybody's looking? You go on vacation all the time. You act like you're opposed to what's going on. You act like you don't even care...Obama is front and center pulling every string, directing every movement of his administration. He is calling every shot. And, remember, a lot of them he doesn't have to verbalize." Ahh, with a wave of his hand, a wink, a nod, a junk-grab, he can signal that it's time to let Americans die in consulates.

Strangely, despite this massive amount of power that Obama uses with razor-sharp precision, Rush Limbaugh is allowed to go on the air and announce these theories without being silenced or murdered. Unless...Limbaugh himself is a tool of the Obama administration, making people believe they understand the truth when, in reality, it's...what? oh, hell, let's say lizard people.

Late Post Today

You know that you're more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist?

Yeah, suck on that for a while.

Back later with more mind-expanding rudeness.

8/18/2014

In Brief: A Thought Experiment on Ferguson

Let us say, and why not, that starting last week, large groups of armed black men and women blockaded the roads to their neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri. Let us say, and, indeed, why not, that those armed African-Americans said that they were sick and tired of being bullied by the government in the form of the police, with the killing of Michael Brown being the last straw, the one that broke the motherfuckin' camel's back.

And maybe they would declare that they were engaged in an act of civil disobedience against government overreach, that they had the right to walk the streets without being constantly subject to government interference in their daily lives. Perhaps the leaders of the protest would declare that God told them to stand up to the authorities. Perhaps they'd even say that they don't recognize the legitimacy of the police force. Perhaps they'd demand a restoration of government welfare programs that have been cut. Perhaps African-Americans from other cities would show up, armed, to join the Ferguson residents in defiance.

Then, let's say, and, remember, we're still in the realm of fantasy here, just having fun, you know, that a group of law enforcement officers, maybe cops, maybe state troopers, showed up with their armed vehicles and pointed their guns at the protesters. And then the protesters pointed all their guns back, declaring that they were willing to die, that they were making a stand and no one was going to get them to end it or take away their guns.

What would happen? Would law enforcement back down? Would they drive their BearCats back to the station? Would they lower their weapons and leave? Would senators stand with the Ferguson rebels? Would Fox "news" invite them on to praise their attack on a government gone mad?

Or would the cops just fucking waste them because they aren't white ranchers like Cliven Bundy, wanting free shit from the government? Hell, look what the cops are doing now and the Ferguson protesters have done nothing remotely as violent or threatening as the Bundy ranch assholes.

As for the Tea Party and the NRA, all those brave people who stand for "freedom" have pretty much scattered like fleas on an itchy dog and run when it comes time to oppose actual violence, not just playing cowboy. Freedom ain't free, but it sure is white.

8/15/2014

Conservatives Admit That Having Too Many Arms Causes Violence

One of the few hilarious things that has happened in the wake of the violence in and around the shooting of Michael Brown has been the parade of right-wingers declaring that, oh, their stars and garters, the militarization of the police in this country might be a problem. In an editorial in Time magazine this week (motto: "Yes, fer chrissake, we're still a magazine. Stop asking us already"), conservative hero-of-the-moment and a man who always looks like he wants to sell cannabis gummi bears to 3rd graders, Rand Paul, made the case that, gee whizzers, it's a problem that the neighborhood police get up in soldier drag and drive around in vehicles and with weapons that are associated with killing children in Gaza.

Said Senator Paul, "There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response." And he quotes other right-wingnoids who agree with him, like some fuckin' Cato Institute stooge, who offers, "Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors?"

Following up on this fashion faux-pas is Kevin Williamson at the National Review (motto: "Skull-fucking the actual skull of William F. Buckley on a daily basis"). He writes, "Police in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas, occasionally go about their business in army-green armored vehicles and uniforms with woodland camouflage patterns, in spite of the fact that God never saw fit to put a tree within a hundred miles of there." And it's just so fugly, right, Kevin, the way it clashes with the .50 caliber rifles?

In a shockingly mostly sympathetic column, RedState's Erick "Erick" Erickson says that "since September 11, 2001, many police departments in the country have turned themselves into mini-militaries. It used to be just a SWAT team ready to take on bad guys. More and more the police are suiting up to contain and control the population they are supposed to serve." The result is a heightened threat of violence that breeds distrust in the population.

Paul and Erickson, among others, believe that the placing of armored vehicles, high-powered assault weapons, and, yes, camouflage is part of a big federal government plot to take away our rights or some such shit. It's probably Obama's fault somehow, even though it was Bush who started this push to turn our cops into armies.

But they are also pointing out something very plain: if you allow someone to have the crazy shit, they are going to use the crazy shit. So, of course, the first opportunity they had, the cops in Ferguson were gonna get out the sniper rifles and armored vehicles. This is the the same argument that gun control advocates use. If you let dumbass motherfuckers have stupid-big guns and magazines, dumbass motherfuckers are gonna want to use 'em.

Welcome to the party, bitches. Don't worry. Right now there are a lot of small city police chiefs saying, "Hey, why punish us? We use our military equipment and arms responsibly."

8/14/2014

Let's Be Clear About Michael Brown

Here's a nice picture for your Thursday night:

This is the desperate attempt by Matt Drudge to show that Michael Brown, who was shot down, unarmed, and, from multiple witness accounts, with his hands up and moving away from a police car in Ferguson, Missouri, was some kind of thug. How him flipping off the camera (in a jokey, "I'm-just-scratching" way) accomplishes this only the terrier-fucking Drudge would know. Drudge and other shit-eaters of the right just have to gangsta Brown up in order to protect the power of the cop-soldiers who, until tonight, were acting like total, deranged, over-armed, roided-up cockholes with protesters, reporters, and people at home in Ferguson.

And to what end do Drudge and the cop's water carriers need to show this? To say that it was okay to gun the 18 year-old down?

Let's be fucking clear about Michael Brown:

It doesn't matter if he was the biggest drug dealer in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

It doesn't matter if he was the baddest gangsta in the Ferguson 'hood.

It doesn't matter if he was the biggest pimp in the state.

It doesn't matter if he had committed robberies or purse snatchings.

It doesn't matter how many gang signs he flashed with his hands.

It doesn't matter if he said, "Fuck tha police" every chance he got.

It doesn't matter if he flipped off cops or grabbed his junk while looking at them.

None of that justifies being gunned down by a police officer. None of it.

Of course, Michael Brown wasn't any of the above.

What does matter is what the cop did and what the cops have done and will do. You can bet that the officer who shot Brown didn't ask if he was a future college student. He was just another nigger, indistinguishable from the niggers around him, and that was enough.

Late Post Today, But, Hey, Take a Survey - For Science!

The Rude Pundit is making sure that this much-abused body is in fine working order. He'll be back later with more therapeutic rudeness.

But while you're waiting: The Rude Pundit was contacted by a researcher at Stony Brook who asked him to reach out to rude readers to take a survey about one's beliefs. She flattered him about his bloggery and teased him by saying, "We recently had an onslaught of conservatives complete the survey and are looking for liberals to round out the sample."

Well, fuck those conservatives. This is for science, motherfuckers:

"My name is Julie Wronski and my colleagues and I are conducting an online survey about people’s personal characteristics and beliefs, and how people are able to read emotions in other peoples’ eyes. The study is brief and interesting, and should help us understand how individuals think about other people and American society more generally. In our current political climate, I think developing an understanding of how people relate to one another is critical for America to thrive. I hope you will take a few minutes to participate.

"The survey can be accessed by using the following link. We ask you to please do not discuss your participation in the study for the next few weeks, as to not influence other participants: https://stonybrookuniversity.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0VQZPHEYplprmv3

"The research team is based at Stony Brook University. Questions about participation or results of the study can be directed to Julie Wronski at julie.wronski@stonybrook.edu."