5/29/2015

(Not So) Wild Conjecture About What Dennis Hastert Did That Was Worth Blackmailing Him Over

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the corpulent cocksucker who gave us the Patriot Act and the unwritten rule that a majority of the majority must support something in order for it to even come to a vote and who shepherded through the worst of George W. Bush's America-wrecking agenda, was indicted yesterday on the relatively benign charges of not reporting certain financial transactions properly and of lying to the FBI about what those transactions were for. However, as the indictment reveals, Hastert was using the money, $3.5 million, to pay off someone for their silence on something. In other words, he was being blackmailed.

What was worth blackmailing Hastert over isn't named. But the indictment itself begins, beguilingly, with facts that are "material to this indictment." The first of those material items is "From approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant John Dennis Hastert was a high school teacher and [wrestling] coach in Yorkville, Illinois." The presumptive blackmailer, Individual A (for now), is from Yorkville, Illinois.

According to the documents, "In or about 2010, Individual A met with defendant John Dennis Hastert multiple times. During at least one of the meetings, Individual A and defendant discussed past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier." Several times, the indictment refers to an effort by Hastert "to cover up his past misconduct."

Of course, barring further information, the first thing that pops into one's mind is "He totally fucked some kid." Or "He totally fondled some kid." Or "He totally had some kid fuck him." Or "He totally jacked off while some kid watched him." Or "He totally fucked some kid's dog." Or "He totally watched some kid shower and told him to jack off." Or "He totally was fingering his own asshole while making some kid fuck a dog."

As the Rude Pundit was writing this, the Los Angeles Times came out with a story quoting a source saying, "It's about sex" during Hastert's time at the high school. So now we just need to see what flavor of harmful sex it was.

The only truly funny thing about what looks to be another sad, sordid tale is how utterly shocked Hastert's former colleagues are, the lying shits. They called him "Coach" for a friendly nickname that now sounds skeevy and sinister. He was supposed to be the clean guy in the wake of foulness that was Gingrich. Hastert was Bush's bottom for six years, until Democrats took back the House. It makes sense, in its way, that the allegedly honorable heart of the Republican destruction of the nation belonged to someone who was dark and depraved.

(By the way, not for nothing, but blackmail is a crime, too, even if the blackmailer was sexually abused by the blackmailed person. Can we assume that Hastert's recipient will be arrested?)

5/28/2015

Other Things That Are "Cool" If You're Not Forced to Do Them (Scott Walker Edition)

The conservative media is all upset because, they claim, everyone is just simply misquoting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. While on Dana Loesch's radio show (motto: "Who the fuck let Dana Loesch on my Pep Boys waiting room radio?"), Walker was talking about "gotcha" media moments when, unprompted, he veered into abortion laws:

"I'll give you an example. I'm pro-life, I've passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they're pro-life or not, I find people all the time who'll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids' ultrasound and how excited they are, so that's a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It's just a cool thing out there. We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would, would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child."

That's the full quote. Now, Politico and other places went with "Scott Walker says forced ultrasounds are 'cool.'" That's obviously not what he was saying, as Glenn Beck's Blazing Ass huffed and puffed.

And they're right. Walker wasn't saying that the law itself was cool. However, what Walker was really saying is far more sinister. Or fucking dumb. It's hard to tell with Walker, a man who looks like he's just spread peanut butter on his balls and sat down in the puppy pen. The future Republican presidential candidate was actually saying, "Ultrasounds are cool. Why wouldn't everyone want one, even if the state is forcing you to do it?"

Actually, there are a lot of things that are cool when you volunteer to do them that aren't all that cool when it's against your will. For example:

1. Sex with someone you just met.

2. Sewing clothes and selling them.

3. Taking drugs with other people around.

4. Growing fruits and vegetables. Harvesting them.

5. Having children.

It's all about context. Not context for whatever bullshit Walker is spouting about, but context for every new cruelty Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans want to inflict on women who want to have an abortion.

5/27/2015

Times Writer Is Stupid, Says Democrats Have Gone Too Far Left

Oh, listen, dear, sweet American children. Come and gather close to the Rude Pundit while he explains a little recent history that, like so much of our history, is being revised by conservatives like mad Stalinists scrubbing Soviet classroom lessons of any mention of Trotsky. The latest, but certainly not the last, salvo is an op-ed in the New York Times by Peter Wehner, whose bio may as well read, "Republican ballsack washer." He was in the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations, becoming one of W's speechwriters. He also advised Mitt Romney's doomed 2012 presidential campaign. So he has tasted the testes of many a powerful Republican who wanted to dip their nutbuckets in Wehner's well.

Wehner's column (if by "column," you mean, "a list of bullshit talking points you'll hear every goddamned Fox 'news' commentator parrot for the next 18 months") posits that the problem of political stasis in the United States isn't that the Republican Party has been taken over by the deranged, the cruel, and the ignorant. No, sir: "[I]n the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right." And Wehner uses the presidency of Bill Clinton to demonstrate his point.

Kids, you may think of Bill Clinton as that creepy old dude who once got a blow job in the Oval Office and who Republicans despised so much that they tried to get him booted out of office. You might have heard that Clinton was a wild and woolly liberal who jizzed all over the nation when he wasn't snorting coke off the bouncy titties of Daisy Mae or some other trailer park maiden. But did you know that Clinton was actually a "centrist Democrat" who "governed as one as well"? That's what Wehner tells us. He's correct, but he's totally rewriting not just the history of Republicans now, but Republicans then, who wanted the Clintons both exiled for their fantasy crimes.

Wehner gets to these conclusions through lies and obfuscation or, you know, the GOP way: "One of the crowning legislative achievements under Mr. Clinton was welfare reform. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, loosened welfare-to-work requirements. Mr. Obama is more liberal than Mr. Clinton was on gay rights, religious liberties, abortion rights, drug legalization and climate change." And on the economy, "Mr. Clinton lowered the capital-gains tax rate; Mr. Obama has proposed raising it. Mr. Clinton cut spending and produced a surplus. Under Mr. Obama, spending and the deficit reached record levels."

Does the Rude Pundit have to go through all of this? Does he have to explain that times change in two decades? Does he have to say that Al Gore, Clinton's Vice President, was Mr. Climate Change? Does he need to explain that one of the reasons that Clinton went further right was because he was chastened by the defeat of his health care reform proposal, which had far more government control over the market than the Affordable Care Act does and was thus more "liberal," that Democrats were routed in 1994 and Clinton decided that the only way to get anything done was to give in on some Republican ideas? That any Democrat on a national level who dared to appear liberal was going to be tarred with Jimmy Carter and then feathered with Walter Mondale so many Democrats tried to be tough bastards to the poor and disenfranchised?

Or maybe, just maybe, it's important to note that when Bill Clinton cut the capital gains tax rate in 1997, it was part of a negotiation with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, the leaders of a Republican Congress. And one of the things that Republicans compromised on was a reduction in military spending, a definite liberal goal in the post-Soviet era. Oh, and the deal also established the Children's Health Insurance Program, which brought health care to five million children, paid for by the government. And many conservatives hated the budget deal, tax cuts and all, precisely because it spent some money and didn't cut taxes enough.

Clinton was working with Republicans who were willing to bargain. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, and even Bill Clinton says some of what he did was too conservative, like mandatory sentencing. Gingrich and Lott may have been motherfuckers, but they were motherfuckers who wanted to legislate. Rich people got to keep money and kids got insurance. That's the way this shit is supposed to work.

Instead of recognizing that, Wehner is happy to just shit on Obama and call it insight: "The Democratic Party, then, has moved steadily to the left since the Clinton presidency. In fact, since his re-election, Mr. Obama’s inner progressive has been liberated...Other examples are his executive action granting temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, his claim that gay marriage is a constitutional right, and his veto of legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline." Which is fine, if you ignore all the very un-liberal things Obama has done when it comes to drones and surveillance, and if you ignore all the things Obama has done that Republicans used to support, like the Dream Act and the Massachusetts model of health insurance, that they abandoned as they veered into nutsy conservative-ville.

As for Clinton, Wehner says, "Mr. Clinton acted on a lesson Democrats learned the hard way, and moved his party more to the center on fiscal policy, welfare, crime, the culture and foreign policy." And that's totally true if you ignore all the liberal shit that Clinton did.

Of course, it might have been more fair to compare Democrats not named Clinton or Obama, since the vicissitudes of the presidency are different than those of a member of Congress or a governor. That 1997 budget deal? Yeah, three-quarters of the Democrats in the House, led by Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, were against it. It passed primarily with Republican votes.

But, no, really, go on about how Democrats have become more liberal.

That is the lesson for today. History will fuck up your nice little propagandistic statement every time.

5/26/2015

Conservative Silence on Ireland Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage (Updated)

After Ireland voted by a feckin' landslide to legalize same-sex marriage, the Rude Pundit thought, "Huh. Now that a nation that eats Eucharist wafers and shits family has said that they don't give a damn if two men marry, I wonder what our doyennes of morality will have to say." And, for the most part, the response is...not a goddamn thing.

If anyone was going to stroke out over it, you'd think that Bill Donahue of the Catholic League - hell, Bill Donahue is the Catholic League - would be everywhere condemning the living fuck out of the Irish. Except he hasn't. That corn kernel-toothed motherfucker can't wait to send out his press releases of the damned on anything slightly Catholicish. Charlie Hebdo artist leaving his job? Donahue is practically dancing on the graves of Renald Luzier's dead colleagues. Today, Marco Rubio said some fucking thing and Donahue was praising the shit out of it. The Irish referendum was last Friday. Oh, angry old bastard, where is your rage?

It's really kind of remarkable how much the right is just ignoring the vote so far. Maybe they're regrouping? Trying to figure out how to wrestle with this without offending the large number of religious people who did vote "Yes"? Perhaps they don't want to go down the rabbit hole of Irish anger at the Catholic church for, you know, fucking children and abusing women?

On Shakey the Deaf Clown's Masturbatorium of Hate, Rush Limbaugh said not a word today, even though he regularly uses his bully pulpit to bully people over LGBT rights. The blog Redstate, led by Jesus's sandal huffer, Erick "Erick" Erickson, has not peeped a peep. Other than some Twitter hate, and saying there's hate on Twitter is like saying, "We breathe air," the nets and waves are blissfully free of attacks, not even a good "oh, they were drunk when they voted" bit of stereotyping.

Of course, it's not totally silent. The National Organization for Marriage (motto: "One man, one woman, like God intended except for all the polygamy in the Bible") said, "This is a reflection on the increasingly secularized nature of Ireland, together with the utter abandonment of principle by every political party in the nation, all of whom endorsed the referendum. This, combined with intense harassment of any group or individual who spoke out in opposition to the referendum, made it difficult for opponents." You know, when groups that harass LGBT people complain about harassment, you gotta almost laugh at the lack of self-reflection.

And the Vatican weighed in today, with Cardinal Pietro Parolin exclaiming, "I believe that we are talking here not just about a defeat for Christian principles but also about a defeat for humanity." A bit drama queeny, but pretty much what you'd expect for a church that's grappling with its outdated beliefs in a world that, more and more, tells it to go fuck itself. That's a sin, by the way.

Surely, this silence will not last. Surely, the hate machine will churn out its incoherent blatherings as a kind of crude response, the cavemen telling the evolved humans how much God hates them for walking upright.

Update: Rude reader Greg M. pointed out that the National Review has yet to chime in about the Irish marriage vote, with not even a word from their array of angry bloggery practitioners.

5/25/2015

A Poem for Memorial Day

The War After the War
by Debora Greger

for Greg Greger

I

Where were the neighbors? Out of town?
In my pajamas, I sat at my father’s feet
in front of their squat, myopic television,
the first in our neighborhood.

On a screen the size of a salad plate,
toy airplanes droned over quilted fields.
Bouquets of jellyfish fell: parachutes abloom,
gray toy soldiers drifting together, drifting apart—

the way families do, but I didn’t know that yet.
I was six or seven. The tv was an aquarium:
steely fish fell from the belly of a plane,
then burst into flame when they hit bottom.

A dollhouse surrendered a wall, the way such houses do.
Furniture hung onto wallpaper for dear life.
Down in the crumble of what had been a street,
women tore brick from brick, filling a baby carriage.


II

What was my young father,
just a few years back from that war,
looking for? The farm boy from Nebraska
he’d been before he’d seen Dachau?

Next door, my brother and sister fought
the Battle of Bedtime, bath by bath.
Next door, in the living room,
a two-tone cowboy lay where he fell,
too bowlegged to stand. Where was his horse?
And the Indian who’d come apart at the waist—
where were his legs to be found?
A fireman, licorice-red from helmet to boot,

a coil of white rope slung over his arm
like a mint Lifesaver, tried to help.
A few inches of ladder crawled under a cushion,
looking for crumbs. Between the sag of couch

and the slump of rocker, past a pickle-green soldier,
a plastic foxhole, cocoa brown, dug itself
into the rug of no man’s land
and waited to trip my mother.


III

Am I the oldest one here? In the theater,
the air of expectation soured by mouse and mold—
in the dark, a constellation of postage stamps:
the screens of cell phones glow.

And then we were in Algiers, we were in Marseille.
On foot, we fell in behind a ragged file
of North African infantry. Farther north
than they’d ever been, we trudged

straight into the arms of the enemy:
winter, 1944. Why did the French want to live in France,
the youngest wondered while they hid,
waiting capture by the cold.

They relieved a dead German soldier
of greatcoat and boots. Village by muddy village,
they stole, shadow to shadow, trying to last
until the Americans arrived—

as if, just out of range of the lens,
the open trucks of my father’s unit
would rumble over the rutted horizon.
Good with a rifle, a farsighted farm boy

made company clerk because he’d learned to type
in high school—how young he would look,
not half my age, and no one to tell him
he’ll survive those months in Europe,

he’ll be spared the Pacific by Hiroshima.
Fifty years from then, one evening,
from the drawer where he kept
the tv remote, next to his flint-knapping tools,

he’d take out a small gray notebook
and show his eldest daughter
how, in pencil, in tiny hurried script,
he kept the names of those who died around him.

5/22/2015

Things That Are Even Creepier Now That We Know Josh Duggar Molested Minors

How many times do we have to go through this before we understand that the entire industry built around supposedly good Christian families who condemn the rest of us is like a balsa wood dildo? You can enjoy the pleasure for a little while, but that fucker is gonna snap off inside you. Now we have Joshua Duggar, eldest son of Jim Bob Duggar, part of the now-canceled 19 Kids and Counting clan on TLC, which used to stand for "The Learning Channel," but now pretty much means "Totally Lying Criminals." In a joke that is barely worth writing, it was InTouch magazine that discovered that Duggar fondled kids when he was a teenager. We don't know the ages of the girls whose breasts and genitals he fingered, but we know it wasn't consensual. And we know that the Duggar family hid it for at least a year.

Josh Duggar was the executive director of the nutzoid evangelical Family Research Council's Action division, which meant that he was out there in public, meeting politicians and speaking against allowing same-sex couples to marry, among other issues.

Of course, one of the things that such revelations force us to do is to place Duggar's life in another context (see early Bill Cosby routines and writings for how that works). And it makes a lot of what he did creepy - no, creepier - than hell.

1. The Twitter hashtag "#theyfeelpain," which Duggar promoted to lobby for an anti-abortion bill:


2. This quote, which puts a frightening spin on the past:


3. The name of the event "ProLifeCon," which seems more appropriate than ever since Josh Duggar spoke multiple times.

4. This tweet, which begins with what now seems like a reason to call the cops:


5. Let's just face it: Going through Duggar's bizarrely still-available Twitter feed is a parade of horrors, from the "He is risen" proclamations to "Got milk?" to "Once God shows us His will -- we must obey Him instantly and fully! #TotalSurrender."

The point here is not merely schadenfreude for the fall of another family values hypocrite. Christ, we could build bridges with all their bones at this point.

No, the reason this is relevant to our political discourse is because of how many craven politicians and anti-women, anti-LGBT groups hitched their wagons to the Duggars' star. "These people are a real family," we're told. "This is who you should want to be." It's always a lie because it has to be. But so many people believe the lie or weave its web so that it appears to be real. Yet webs can always be destroyed by plucking one strand.

The FRC (motto: "A safe haven for criminals and closet cases") issued a tentative statement that was careful not to condemn Duggar, who had made the FRC a shit-ton of cash: "Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years." And there's the defense: Oh, he was a dumb, horny teenager.

And, hey, at least he didn't want to marry a dude.

5/21/2015

In Brief: Louisiana's Rape Problem Is Also a Cop Problem

"You performed oral sex on him the night before. So the thing is this: What motive would he have to put a date rape drug in your drink?"

That's what East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jacques Jackson told Lyndsi Lambert. Lambert had asked the police officer why he didn't take a urine sample or do a toxicology test on her blood to determine whether or not she had been drugged the night she said she was raped. The New Orleans Times-Picayune is publishing a series of stories by Diana Samuels about Lambert's case, and it will make you feel skeevy.

That quote up top from Jackson is from a recording Lambert made of her October 15, 2014 interaction with the cop when she was following up to see what he was doing to arrest the man she accused of rape. Unlike other fucked-up things Jackson said while initially interviewing Lambert at Woman's Hospital of Baton Rouge on September 26, this is not Lambert relating what Jackson said. It's Jackson. It's a cop telling a possible rape victim that she couldn't have been raped. You can hear the recording at the newspaper's website.

Lambert angrily tells Jackson that she gave him a motive in their first meeting: "She said she had told the [alleged rapist] after the one time they had sexual intercourse, about a week and a half before the alleged rape, that the sex wasn't good."

On the recording, Jackson argues, "You didn't tell me that." The report that Jackson filed on the case on September 27 reads, "She indicated that a possible motive...was because he was upset that she told him that he was not good in bed."

Let's put aside whether or not the rape took place. Ask yourself: Should Lambert have been treated like this? Should she have been accused, as she was, of lying because she had exchanged sexy texts with the man? Should it have taken five months to test her blood for potential drugs that would have impaired Lambert? And, really, what the fuck is wrong with Louisiana?

As columnist Jarvis DeBerry points out, to say that this was a case of police doing their jobs in the course of an investigation is bullshit at best, insidious at worst: "If police routinely did their jobs, we wouldn't have seen the story last year about five New Orleans police officers who failed to even write reports for 86 percent of the almost 1,300 sexual assault or child-abuse calls they were assigned.

Lambert says that, in the hospital that first day, she broke down crying while talking to Jackson. "Are you done? Can we move on?" she says Jackson asked her. Obviously, that's what the cops around Baton Rouge want to do.

Check out the series so far. Tomorrow, Samuels writes about how arrests for rapes have declined in East Baton Rouge parish. It wouldn't be wrong to wonder if it's because women know how they'll be treated by the cops.