6/30/2014

Random Observations on the Hobby Lobby Decision

1. Everything you really need to know about the decision made a five-man majority on the Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is in this paragraph on page 46 of Justice Samuel "Is my wife crying again?" Alito's opinion: "In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance- coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage require- ments, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them."

In other words, the Supreme Court's majority was too punkass to do anything other than prevent women from having their insurance pay for contraception at roughly 90% of American corporations. However, the implication of its decision is, more or less, "Fuck, yeah, go crazy, you nutzoid religious freaks." (Oh, and they will. Floodgates open, motherfuckers.) The majority refused to say that because attacking women and icky women parts is totally cool. But immunizations? Shit, that means we might get diseases.

It even goes against the logic that the Court used to make its decision. As an example, Alito cites a case where a store with devout Jewish owners who closed on Saturday and wanted to open on Sunday, which, at the time, Pennsylvania law did not allow. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the justices used to rule for Hobby Lobby and the rest, that store would have been able to open. So if that's cool, why do the justices even attempt to say that their decision can't be extended to other things? It's a fuckin' lie. Just go for it, assholes.

1a. The RFRA was a bullshit piece of legislation passed in a heated panic after the Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that it was fine to deny unemployment benefits to two Native Americans fired after they "ingested peyote" as part of a religious tribal ritual. Writing for the majority in the case, Antonin Scalia said ruling for the two men "would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind." Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, it's accurate.

In other words, one can assume now, they weren't Christians. And Antonin Scalia, who voted with the majority for Hobby Lobby, is a repulsive hypocrite. (Read the Smith decision. It's nauseating in contrast to today's.)

2. Probably the most breathtaking aspect of the majority's opinion is how it just doesn't give two shits about women. Alito's decision doesn't take into account, even for a line or two, how a ruling for "religious liberty" is a ruling against women, dismissing that notion outright, in fact. This is all about making sure that butthurt Christians can do what their specific sect believes will please an invisible sky wizard, which includes, for some, making sure that women have those goddamn babies. The majority just ignores that there's real women with real lives who this decision really affects.

It's up to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her dissent to bring the noise, spending the first part demonstrating that this whole thing is about women and their bodies and their value as more than just baby carriers (Christ, are we really still talking about this? What the fuck is wrong with us?) and that contraception is used for more than stopping baby-making. Ginsburg notes, for instance, "the disproportionate burden women carried for comprehensive health services and the adverse health consequences of excluding contraception from preventive care available to employees without cost sharing." Obviously, though, making sure that rich people don't offend their great googly-moogly in the clouds is more important.

3. This is not just a victory for religious intolerance. It's also a victory for faith and politics over science. "The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients," writes Alito. Well, fuck what your religion tells you about medicine. The contraceptive methods do not cause abortions. In fact, they would lower the rate of abortions if people would stop being such blind believers in the bullshit their religious leaders shoot into their brains with a cross-shaped hypodermic. The earth revolves around the sun, and your fucking pope ain't gonna change that.

Alito says that it would obviously be a "severe burden" because "If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions." And that might be worth arguing if the belief wasn't based on a complete mountain of garbage, most of which has come from conservative political groups whose existence is predicated on tricking the shit-eating yahoos into thinking that "birth control" equals "abortion."

Waxing romantically about the plaintiffs, Alito writes, "Norman and Elizabeth Hahn and their three sons are devout members of the Mennonite Church, a Christian denomination. The Mennonite Church opposes abortion and believes that '[t]he fetus in its earliest stages . . . shares humanity with those who conceived it.'" Except now we're not arguing over whether life begins at conception. We're arguing over what "conception" is. You see, children, you aren't born just because a tiny sperm wants to makes sweet love with a big ol' egg. Oh, no. You need ovulation. You need implantation. That is, those lovers gotta have a uterus bed to lay in or nothing's happening. No pregnancy. Again, that shit's science. (And it's how pregnancy and conception are defined under federal law.)

You prevent ovulation, like the morning-after pill does, you prevent pregnancy. You prevent pregnancy, and you prevent abortion.

3. Substitute the word "Muslim" for "Christian" and see if it bugs you even a little, dear ignorant Jesus lovers. "The owners...have sincere Muslim beliefs" or "David and Barbara Green and their three children are Muslims who own and operate two family businesses." Or how about: "Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose commits the Greens to '[h]onoring Allah in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Quran-based principles'"? Maybe: "The businesses refuse to engage in profitable transactions that facilitate or promote alcohol use; they contribute profits to Muslim organizations; and they buy hundreds of full-page newspaper ads inviting people to say, 'Allahu akbar'"?

You're cool with that? Fuck you, you're lying.

4. The only positive way to read this decision is that the Court has opened the door for a justification for universal health care. The government can pay for this, the majority said, and we don't have problem with it. Says Alito, "The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections."

Of course, don't worry. If that ever came before this court, they'd find a way to shut it down and then call it "justice."

(Note: This was updated to reflect what Plan B actually does. One of the IUDs in the Hobby Lobby quartet may prevent implantation if used as emergency contraception.)

6/27/2014

Antonin Scalia Now Thinks Parts of the Constitution Are Anachronisms (Just the Ones That Bug Him)

The Rude Pundit was reading the Supreme Court's decision in NLRB v. Canning (also known as the "Sure, Congress, go ahead and be dicks to the President about recess appointments" case) because that's what he does rather than listen to what every blathering idiot with a blog says. He was well into Judge Antonin "Eyebrows of Eternal Condemnation" Scalia's concurrence with the majority when he came across something that made him think, "What the fuck did I just read from Tony Originalist?"

Discussing the issue of adjournments and recess appointments, Scalia discussed the clause of the Constitution that allows them, in Article II, section 2, and he was getting deep into the self-created weeds of the meaning of the word "recess" when he wrote, "The rise of intra-session adjournments has occurred in tandem with the development of modern forms of communication and transportation that mean the Senate 'is always avail­able' to consider nominations, even when its Members are temporarily dispersed for an intra-session break." Now, it's one thing to say that constitutional protections extend to modern technology, as in the smart phone case, but it's quite another to say that the Constitution is trumped by technology.

Scalia went to say that "The Recess Appointments Clause therefore is, or rather, should be, an anachro­nism," and then he quoted Justice Kagan with “essentially an historic relic, something whose original purpose has disappeared," adding his own, "The need it was designed to fill no longer exists, and its only remaining use is the ignoble one of enabling the President to circumvent the Senate’s role in the appoint­ment process."

Now, Scalia believes that the clause means that appointments can only be made for positions that become open during a recess, which the majority of justices do not. He would curtail it much further than the five justices in the main opinion. So he said, "That does not justify 'read[ing] it out of the Constitution” and, contra the majority, I would not do so; but neither would I distort the Clause’s original meaning, as the majority does, to ensure a prominent role for the recess-appointment power in an era when its influ­ence is far more pernicious than beneficial."

But, still, Scalia, who wants to cast the bones of James Madison to divine the meaning of the Constitution, said, really, that a part of the document is "an anachronism," a "relic," rendered so by  changes in technology, culture, and society.

The vast, complete, almost mindboggling hypocrisy of Scalia here is something he would snort at apathetically because he is just a pathetic tool of the right, a bully and a cockknob, a symbol of the intersection between knowing corruption of the law and the bloated, ever-expanding demands of a conservative, corporate state. On the other hand, what the Rude Pundit thought upon reading that section was "Hey, fucko, if technology renders the Recess Appointments Clause a relic, why don't advances in weaponry affect the Second Amendment? Why isn't that a fuckin' anachronism, a musket-based law forced into an AR-15 world?" All through his majority opinion in the Heller decision in 2008, Scalia fist fucks the language of the Second Amendment to force it to still be valid.

Interestingly, later in his concurrence in Canning, Scalia says what could, with little change, refer to the Second Amendment: "It is inconceivable that the Framers would have left the cir­cumstances in which the President could exercise such a significant and potentially dangerous power so utterly indeterminate."

Yeah, it's inconceivable that the Framers would have wanted a 50-round magazine and a fuckin' arsenal in every home, too. It's pretty clear who the relic and anachronism is around the Supreme Court.

6/26/2014

You Wanna Keep Harassing Women at Clinics? Then Let's Play


Look at that church. Isn't it a pretty little church? It's St. Mary's Church in Grafton, Massachusetts. It's freakin' idyllic, no? It's also deeply invested in anti-abortion actions. The congregation participated in 40 Days for Life, an action during Lent that 17,000 churches around the world took part in, with another 40 Days planned for September 24 to November 2.

The St. Mary's churchgoers headed over to Worcester to protest at a Planned Parenthood and to "sidewalk counsel" women there. "[I]s it worth it to stand out in the wind and rain and cold to pray in front of Planned Parenthood?" the church's website asks. And, for them, it was. They convinced one woman to not get an abortion. You can see the baby. It's like a taste of something that will keep them addicted to protesting. A crack baby, if you will. No doubt the church will be supporting the baby and the mother until the baby is an adult. No doubt.

Come September, and maybe even before, the parishioners will be harassing every woman who goes to the Planned Parenthood, even those just going for pap smears and help getting pregnant. And they will no doubt be joined by the anti-abortion radicals, the fetus picture carriers, the screamers, the hysterics who shame women.

"Is it really necessary to be out on the sidewalk instead of praying at home?" St. Mary's wants to know. Look up at that picture again. What do you see in front of St. Mary's? That's a nice, wide, very public sidewalk. The parking lot is across the street, so most of the people attending church services on, say, a nice summer Sunday will have to walk that sidewalk, a sidewalk just like the one outside Planned Parenthood in Worcester. A sidewalk like the one that Eleanor McCullen "gently" counsels women from outside a Planned Parenthood in Boston.

A not-gentle anti-abortion protester shot up a clinic in Brookline in 1994. In 2007, Massachusetts passed a law that created a 35-foot buffer zone around clinics in order to allow for a woman to be able to enter a Planned Parenthood without having people screaming and spitting in her face. And, yes, it prevented the gentle counselors from gently using their complete lack of medical or psychological expertise to advise women not to have abortions. So McCullen sued because Catholic Jesus wants her to save the babies and, quietly, shhh, shame women into changing their minds. And, today, the Supreme Court, in a fairly tepid opinion, overturned the law and said, "Sorry, but in order to protect the slut-whisperers, we have to allow the potentially violent crazies closer contact with you and the staff of the clinics. Use other laws to protect them, if you can." (They can't.)

Now, we can argue over whether or not the idea of "buffer zones" violates the First Amendment and if they are ever right, whether at clinics or conventions or the miles you have to stand away from the Supreme Court, but one thing we can perhaps agree on: If this is the motherfucking law of the land now, what's good for the motherfuckin' goose is good for the motherfuckin' gander.

So let's get out there, every goddamn Sunday, and head to the churches that send their lunatic Jesus-fellaters out to try to shut down Planned Parenthoods, and stand on their sidewalks, just like the one up there outside St. Mary's in Grafton, and let's make churchgoing a living fuckin' hell for 'em. Let's bodily block the access to the walkways that lead to the church. Let's bring signs that have pictures of women who were killed by illegal abortions. Let's go up to them and try to convince them to convert or go atheist, following them until we are on church property and have to stop. Let's block the street by walking back and forth in the crosswalk. Let's force the churchgoers to need escorts to even get inside.

Shit, let's plaster the telephone poles with photos of the priests and church leaders, their addresses, their phone numbers. Let's tell them as they pass, "We know where you live." Let's film everyone going into the church and post those on a website. Hey, it's a public fuckin' sidewalk, man. Let's scream at them about how they're terrible people, how they support raping children, how they have given money to help silence victims. Can't you hear their silent screams? Can't you? Fuck, yeah.

Going to church is a choice, no? Let's make sure they regret that fuckin' choice, however legal it may be for them to make it. Then let's see how quickly they're begging for buffer zones.

6/25/2014

Results That Clearly Demonstrate That Republicans Can Go Fuck Themselves

A poll came out yesterday that says, "Hey, guess what, limbless Iraq war vets? We think the whole fuckin' thing was a waste of time now. But enjoy those fancy artificial legs. And VA wait times." You can read the poll results, which say that 71% of Americans say the war wasn't "worth it," and think, smugly that they're goddamn right, just like you were since 2003. And, in fact, the Rude Pundit will say that now:

"You're goddamn right it wasn't worth it. Where were you motherfuckers back in 2003?"

However, that's a bit unfair. After a brief flirtation with approving of the worthless war, Democrats haven't polled in the affirmative above 40% since 2004 when asked if the nation should have stuck its bombing ass into Iraq. Indeed, the numbers themselves never go above the mid-40s since 2003 and they plunge to the 30s and never recover since 2005, conveniently for the Bush presidency. In fact, war approval overall was always middling at best.

But let's lay the blame for the Iraq "war" squarely where it belongs: on the Republicans. Sure, some Democratic lawmakers voted to give Bush the ability to go to war and some liberal hawks in the military jacked it to fake WMD reports. Democratic voters, though, are another animal altogether. They were consistent with their opposition, with weasel-eyed independents not far behind. It was Republicans who enjoyed having their blood orgies under the spouting arteries of dying Americans and Iraqis. Their approval stayed consistently in the 70s, sometimes bumping uglies with the 80 percent mark, just balling away, madly, like the smell of gunpowder and gore was an aphrodisiac that makes you fuck harder and longer, the Spanish fly of the deranged cult of eternal war. The only reason support for the war lingered as high as the 40-49% range for so long was because an overwhelming number of Republicans supported staying in and fighting the useless fight.

You own the Iraq war, GOP. "Everyone" didn't support it. You supported it in huge numbers. You can blame a few cowardly Democratic Senators, but this isn't on us outside the beltway. Our hands, while filthy for many reasons, are pretty clean on this. Yours, on the other hand, are permanently dyed by the blood of the dead and wounded.

Even now, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that a plurality of Republicans think the Iraq "war" was worth the lives and money: 46% to 44%. You got that? According to this poll, nearly half of Republicans still think like America's most petulant pixie, John McCain. And the only thing you can say to those people is simple.

Go fuck yourselves. However you wanna do it. Use a dildo, use a cucumber, use the fucking bed post, use your shotgun, but go fuck yourselves. That shit goes double for the vast numbers of Republicans who supported the war for years and now think it was a bad idea. Seriously, use a fuckin' ramrod on your assholes.

While we're at it, let's tell all the Mississippians who voted for Chris McDaniel to go fuck themselves with a magnolia tree branch until they shit all over the Confederate flag. Nearly 185,000 voters, including most of the southeastern part of the state, chose the racist, conspiracy-mongering, Confederacy-loving teabagger because he was to right of the far right fucknut who was already in the Senate.

Mississippi has given us as clear a demonstration as you could want that the Tea Party is just a bunch of white supremacists crossed with Christian extremists, a bunch of inbred fucking lunatics who are going to blow up the Republican Party.

In other words, Republicans have just begun to fuck themselves.

6/24/2014

The Drone Murder Memo: Your Puny Laws Say Nothing That Can Stop Us (Corrected)

From what we know of how it happened, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was in a convoy, moving from one hiding place in Yemen to another. From what we know, al-Awlaki was quite good at spouting jihadist rhetoric and inspiring people to join the fight. He may or may not have been in on the planning of attacks. Evidence of that has never been allowed to be seen beyond the highest levels of security clearance. We do know that on September 30, 2011, his hand was not on a bomb trigger, he was not on the phone ordering an attack, and he was not wearing an explosive vest. We do know that he was killed by missiles released from American drones, as was another American jihadi with him. We do know that he had never stood trial for his crimes. We do know that he was not killed on a battlefield, per se, unless the entire world is a battlefield.

And we know that a Justice Department memo offering the legal justification for this action exists. It was released yesterday, in a much-redacted form, in answer to lawsuits demanding a little bit of sunshine in the Obama administration's dank caves of the legal netherworld where our war on terrorists and terrorist associates is waged.

There's much that's disturbing and downright weird throughout the shoulder-brush of an afterthought the memo is. For instance, there's the use of an 1897 definition of murder from a British law book, where we're told that "Murder is when a man of sound memory, and of the age of discretion, unlawfully killeth within any county of the realm any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the king's peace." The use of the word "killeth" is the least disconcerting aspect of that sentence.

A great deal of the first part of the memo is taken up not with al-Awlaki, but with justifying the use of murderous force within the law. One of the focal points is Title 18 of the U.S. criminal code, especially Section 1119 "Foreign murder of United States nationals." The Justice Department's legal office also wrestled with the notion of the "public authority justification." That's the exception to the law that says if you're a cop, you can kill a guy who pulls a gun on you or is about to kill someone right then and there.

Now here's the awesome part of the memo, the part that essentially comes up with a way to tell the president, the CIA, the military, whoever, "If it feels good, do it." See, according to the legal minds of the Justice Department, if Congress didn't say you couldn't do it, you can do it. That's not an oversimplification. Check it out, from page 17:

"We believe the touchstone for the analysis of whether section 1119 incorporate not only justifications generally, but also the public authority justification in particular, is the legislative intent underlying this criminal statute. We conclude that the statute should be read to exclude from its prohibitory scope killings that are encompassed by traditional justifications, which include the public authority justification. There are no indications that Congress had a contrary intention...Nor is there anything in the text of legislative history of section 1119 itself to suggest that Congress intended to abrogate or otherwise affect the availability under that statute of this traditional justification for killings."

So unless Congress had said, "Oh, and by the way, don't use drone missiles to make a bloody paste out of Americans overseas," it's all good. If Congress had wanted to stop us, it would have.

That's some chilling shit, right there.

It just gets worse as it goes on to come up with any way to mollify people who might think, "Um, this is creepy." For instance, the Rude Pundit's just a poor urban blogger, not some fancy Harvard Law grad trying to make execution by fiat legal, but when the memo cites cases from the Kafkaesque detainee courts at Guantanamo Bay to support the decision, he thinks we have crossed the line from pathetic to skeevy. And then we start to get to all the redactions.

But isn't that just the way this whole thing has been run? From Bush to Obama, we have been told that we can't handle the truth or we don't deserve the truth. Obama supporters think those of us on the left should support him, that he's smart and therefore we should trust him (no, really, people actually say that).

How can we support or oppose a justification if we don't even know fully what it is? Sure, we can piecemeal attack it, like here. But if the answer to anything we want to protest is "You don't know the full story," well, it's just kind of a dickish way to treat your citizens, no matter who you are.

(Correction: An earlier version said that al-Awlaki's teenaged son was killed with him. This was wrong and was deleted. We proudly Hellfired his ass a month later.)

6/23/2014

A Few Notes on Our Continuing Gun Derangement

A week or so ago, the Rude Pundit was contacted by a self-identified gun owner and a supporter of Open Carry Texas. He called himself ex-military and retired law enforcement and, indeed, the Rude Pundit believed him. His tone was respectful and questioning,and the Rude Pundit answered him in the same way. In fact, through a few exchanges, they approached something of a dialogue.

What prompted the initial email from, oh, hell, let's call him "Jasper," was the Rude Pundit's assertion that the open display of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in places where one might not normally see such things (like restaurants or downtown) is merely the desire of the gun owner to show his penis off. Jasper disagreed. His guns were not penis substitutes. They were guns.

And then he offered this: "Texas makes the carry of a handgun illegal without a very expensive handgun license. By open carrying long guns, our only option, we are sending a message to Austin: 'You don't like to see long guns on the streets? Fine. We don't like it either - too heavy, too awkward. Legalize carry of handguns and the long guns will go away.' The legislature has been 'talking' about legalizing the carry of handguns for about 10 years. This is our way to hold their feet to the fire."

Now, the Rude Pundit hadn't heard that discussed, not even in the column by the head of OCT that he mocked that set Jasper off (although CJ Grisham did talk about it in a longer version of the piece). And when he thought about what Jasper wrote, the Rude Pundit said to a friend, "Well, that's a reasoning I can at least respect. I think they're wrong and hope they fail miserably, but at least it's got something more to it than a pathological exhibitionism for some kind of perverse gratification." Or words to that effect. He might have said, "Instead of showing off their dicks like crazed five year-old boys." Sure, it's a bit of a public pout by carrying around the long guns, but, hey, so's a sit-in.

Of course, truth being what it is, that argument is, at best, worthless and, at worst, a bullshit lie. Every argument for the good of open carrying a weapon is bullshit. It doesn't affect crime. It doesn't deter a goddamned thing. In fact, what Open Carry Texas wants is "unrestricted open carry." That is, "It’s not just the right to openly carry a pistol but also the right to do it without any training, screening or permit." OCT calls that "constitutional carry" because what the fuck do you know about the Second Amendment, pussy?

So, sorry, Jasper. The Rude Pundit is left with his initial assessment: it's about dicks, dicks, and cocks. The Freudian message here is clearly a kind of arrested growth, with gun owners stuck in toddlerhood, where they are compelled to display their penises as a way of asserting masculinity, a narcissistic exercise. But, since just showing off your dick at the mall is illegal, a gun merely steps in as a rigid substitute. And as for the women who open carry, like a group at a Texas Target last week? Ever heard of "penis envy"?

The whole open carry thing has gone off the rails. In Medina, Ohio, there was a "march" this weekend for Open Carry, and it went something like this:


That's fine parenting there, shirtless guy who needs more sunscreen.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, a man open carried into a library because that state barely restricts where you can bring a gun. In Georgia, a new gun law is so confusing that people aren't sure where they can carry their penises...sorry, guns, but you sure as hell can't ask someone for a permit because that'd be a violation of their rights.

There's a near-psychotic attachment people have to their guns, which is a sad commentary on where we are as a people here in the United States. But we've been through that tangled thicket of conflicted emotions before.

Instead, the Rude Pundit wants to ask a question of the people who bankroll the pro-gun movement, like the sinisterly wealthy Koch brothers, who give ass-tons of money to the NRA: Do you, as a rich person, really think it's smart to keep supporting policies that promote income inequality while at the same time fostering a belief in guns as the solution to Americans' problems? Have you really thought this through?

6/20/2014

Regarding Racism and Redskins


That's a picture of one of the biggest stars in American history, Bing Crosby, in the 1942 film Holiday Inn. In case you think otherwise, Crosby was a white man wearing blackface in this scene, a celebration of Lincoln's birthday where Crosby and others, some in blackface, some black (and still in blackface), sing the praises of "Abraham." Holiday Inn was a hit, and it was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for "White Christmas" (yes, it is ironic). It is a beloved classic, something that plays around Christmas and, often, the "Abraham" scene is cut out.

The funny thing about this is that in 1942, very, very few white people would have thought twice about Crosby acting like a black man. In fact, it was still seen as a mighty fine form of entertainment. It was acceptable. It was the way things were. Casual, quotidian racism was everywhere; it was a part of the American cultural landscape as much as it was part of the American sociopolitical landscape.

Advertising was filled with unsubtle racist caricatures. Tom and Jerry cartoons, into the 1950s, featured a Mammy who was constantly reacting to Tom's behavior. Aunt Jemima? Uncle Ben? Rastus, the Cream of Wheat chef? This shit was America, inescapable, insidious, and ubiquitous.

Times change, good people of the USA. Aunt Jemima got a makeover. Tom and Jerry was redubbed. We warn people when something awful from the past is going to be shown. And General Electric doesn't advertise its products like this:


You don't hear much from anyone about how much they miss having smiling, chicken-eating boy in their advertisements. Very few people are wistful for do-rag wearing Aunt Jemima (except in a kitschy way). Oh, sure, sure, when the change first happened, you heard idiots talk about "tradition" and "oversensitivity" and some such shit. But now who cares? Gone and good riddance.

So it must be with the Washington Redskins. We are long, long past the time when the name and logo should have been changed. To believe otherwise is to stand with the blackface performers and the Aunt Jemima originalists. "Redskin" is an insult, purely and simply. That this is even a debate is ludicrous, and, frankly, it speaks to the fact that Native Americans lack even minimal power in the nation.

This is one of those "controversies" that the Rude Pundit simply doesn't understand. You're a business. Your name pisses people off. You fucking change it, especially when representatives of the group you're offending say things like, "We have to be careful about making another human being a mascot of anything...We’re no one’s mascot.” You change it because, if you don't, your business will suffer. Or, fuck it, you can go down with the ship.

And after you've changed your name, Washington football team front office, which you know you're going to do and are just fucking around with people to sell more of your shitty merch before it's all history, maybe you could get around to getting rid of this Robert Griffin III mask:

6/19/2014

Sens. McCain and Graham Say Exactly What You Think They'd Say on Iraq

Even before President Obama spoke today and gave us, at best, an El Salvador scenario, at worst, Vietnam, America's most constipated leprechaun, Sen. John McCain, and the laciest belle at the cotillion, Sen. Lindsey Graham, spoke out about taking action to help Iraq. On the Senate floor, the manboob buddies attacked the Obama administration for allowing Iraq, which the United States definitely transformed into a paradise of sweet hookahs, ripe dates, and wet pussy, to become the raging hellhole of sectarian violence it is now.

McCain said the problem was that Obama didn't want to leave 16,000 troops behind. No, really: "[T]he size of a potential U.S. force presence kept ‘cascading’ down from upwards of 16,000 to an eventual low of less than 3,000."  For McCain, the ideal number of American soldiers to leave in Iraq was 10-15,000, and pretty much just make sure there's that many troops there forever. In one of the most blindly optimistic statements or outright delusions, McCain said, "[A] residual U.S. troop presence could have assisted Iraqi forces in their continued fight against al Qaeda. It could have provided a platform for greater diplomatic engagement and intelligence cooperation with our Iraqi partners."

Or maybe they'd've just had giant red, white, and blue targets painted on them, huh?

Today, McCain went even further down the yellow brick road of war: "[N]o one that I know wants to send combat troops on the ground, but airstrikes are an important factor, psychologically and many other ways, and that may require some forward air controllers and some special forces." Indeed, nothing could benefit the United States more than taking a side in the Sunni/Shi'ite conflict. It wouldn't piss off the other side at all. Oh, and we'll have to bomb Syria, too, and no way, no how would that be misinterpreted either.

Like conjoined twins who share a colon, McCain is joining with Graham in shitting out the same turds. The senator from South Carolina said yesterday that "American air power is part of diplomacy. That may sound counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense to me," which is not unlike saying that drinking gin and tonics after sunset makes sense to him. Lord knows it's supposed to be a daylight cocktail, but don't tell him he can't sip one into the night.

Graham continued, "Diplomacy cannot succeed unless you change the momentum on the battlefield. But when you drop a bomb, you need to have a game plan beyond the bomb falling, and that would be a regional conversation." So let's see if we understand this: we drop some bombs and then say, 'Ya'll handle this now.'" Isn't that exactly what the fuck we just did?

In other words, all we have is babbling nonsense from McCain, Graham, and, yes, Obama on the impossibility of doing anything good in a terrible situation of our own creation. Iraq is a nude Frankenstein's monster, running around with its detachable dong feeling the breeze. You're not gonna get him to put on some pants now.

6/18/2014

Father and Daughter Cheney Can Go Suck a Dick

Let's state this as plainly as possible: The Iraq "war" was a complete and total waste. It was completely and totally worthless. The United States and the rest of the world would be in better shape if Saddam Hussein were still in power. Every life lost was for nothing. Every limb, every scar was for nothing. Every veteran who faces the unending nightmare of PTSD does so for nothing. Let's just stop fucking pretending anything else. Let's grow up a little and face that fact. Let's look the families of the dead in the eyes and tell them the truth.

The invasion of Iraq was the heaving fuck of a bloated superpower dragging its gut over to pump away because it could. And most everyone just went along with it, applauding each "victory" like it was the motherfucking Battle of Gettysburg. All that's left behind is the giant cosmic fucking joke that is a United States made weaker by wasting trillions of dollars on the mad ego trip of acid-blinded utopians and an Iraq that is exploding like a bottle of soda shaken by a paint mixer and uncapped by a gun.

And we need to bring former Vice President Dick Cheney before those families and have him tell the truth: "We did it for the dollars. We went to war with Iraq because war profiteering was the easiest goddamn way to enrich already rich people, like my friends at Halliburton. It was robbery and we named it 'patriotism.' It was extortion and we called it 'honor.'" Then, we should let the families do what they want. Maybe they'd let him go. Maybe they'd tear him limb from hideous limb. Maybe they'd rip out his machine heart and fuck the hole left behind, jizzing into his sternum.

If nothing else, it would stop him from co-signing an editorial from him and his heinous daughter-beast, Liz, like the one that ran in the Wall Street Journal today. In it, Cheney and Cheney pretty much say that President Obama is an America-hating cocksucker who wants our enemies to win and who is too stupid to understand jackshit about the real world, the world that Cheney (Dick) understands is full of threats without understanding that they are threats he created.

Here, in one paragraph, is enough rage fuel to keep your house running for months: "Our president doesn't seem to [care]. Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America."

The first thing that comes to mind is "Golfing? Really, you fucking piece of frog shit and its daughter? You are criticizing a president for golfing?" But what the paragraph is really saying is that Obama doesn't care if the United States is attacked by "terrorists."

And then: "Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch. Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch." Dick Cheney bears no blame for the "decline" of America, oh, no. Not the vice president of an administration that wrecked the economy.

The Rude Pundit imagines Dick Cheney dictating this to Liz Cheney, his fingers too slickened by the viscous goo that comprises what we might call his skin, a gelatinous semi-human form that doesn't so much as move as undulate, that doesn't so much as eat as absorb, so that one can place, say, a kitten or a Pakistani child on his globular stomach and it will be digested immediately, without chewing, without swallowing. Liz Cheney, meanwhile, secretly turns the egg vibrator in her snatch up to "WMD," and she can barely pound out the words her father slurps out for need of crying out in orgasmic glee.

The two of them actually have the audacity to speak out and call Obama's policy toward Iraq "willfully blind," as if Obama is deliberately attempting to undermine some great and mighty victory in Iraq. That's as much living in a fantasy as those who say, "Well, at least we got rid of Saddam."

That Dick Cheney is still alive is a demonstration that either there is no God or that God said, "Fuck it" and walked away a long time ago.

6/17/2014

The Proper Way to Interview the Old/New Iraq War Hawks

If the Rude Pundit were the host of the great and mighty Meet the Press, the wheezving old man of the Sunday morning gabfests that pretend to serious talk about political shit that actually matters to the actual lives of actual people, and he had as a guest the former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the man who pushed and pushed for the U.S. to invade Iraq back in the day, he might ask, as host David Gregory did, "[W]hat do you do then, as a policy matter now to stop this?"

"This" is the expanding civil war between the Shi'ites and Sunnis, with an insouciant flavor of Kurd peeking through. You know, that thing that was going to happen the moment the U.S. military left Iraq, no matter how lowd.. That thing that all of us were predicting.

So he might ask the question, but Wolfowitz would immediately get punched in the nuts by the Rude Pundit because that's what you do.

It'd be a pattern for pretty much every talk show.

Weekly Standard editor and man who is wrong about everything, William Kristol, might be able to say, as he did on Morning Starbucks with Joe this morning, "Is this an acceptable outcome for the 4,500 Americans soldiers who died in Iraq or the 2,000 who died in Afghanistan?" But then he'd get punched in the nuts.

Richard Perle, who, with Wolfowitz, helped push the Bush administration into war, was on the public radio show The Takeaway this morning, blathering about  how he was right about toppling Saddam Hussein and then everyone else fucked the whole thing up. Host John Hockenberry engaged Perle in a conversation when, frankly, he should have been punched in the nuts.

All of 'em. Every singe goddamned one. Paul Bremer. Just pound the shit out of their nutsacks so that every time they even think of commenting on the sectarian violence in Iraq, they get a pain that makes them need to shit themselves instead of the pain. It's the only way to guarantee that they'll shut the fuck up about the need to go back to Iraq.

6/16/2014

Bobby Jindal: Fetus and Jesus Lover and Hypocritical Motherfucker


That's Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal handing a copy of a law he just signed to the legislators who sponsored it. The law "requires that a physician performing an abortion have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is not more than 30 miles from where the abortion is performed." It is called the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, and it's not a stretch to read that as saying that the law ensures that more women will get unsafe abortions since the bill will force all but one clinic that performs abortions to close.

By the way, Jindal signed the bill into law at the First Baptist Church of West Monroe, which is in an area of northeast Louisiana that might be politely referred to as "filthy with backwards ass country fucks." You got that? Signing an anti-abortion bill at a Baptist church? Jindal had to have gotten bingo on his Pandering Dickwad card.

That was on Thursday. On Saturday, Jindal was speaking before Iowa Republicans (motto: "Our disproportionate influence over who becomes the president ought to be outlawed"). There, the elected official who just signed a law at a church told the slavering hordes, "I’m here to tell you one of the most important fights we have is to stand up for our First Amendment religious liberty rights...What President Obama doesn’t seem to understand is … the United States of America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America."

Okay, wait. This goes from cynical lying to farce. Because, see, Jindal signed two bills at that Baptist church that fine day last week. The other bill says that "no individual or organization that performs elective abortion or its affiliates may provide instruction or materials in public elementary and secondary schools or in charter schools that receive state funding."

So the conclusion we can draw is that the First Amendment rights of Christians are sacrosanct, but the First Amendment rights (which includes, you know, speech) are bullshit for anyone who is even affiliated with abortion providing.

And that's today's lesson in "Go fuck yourself with a crucifix, Bobby Jindal."

6/13/2014

Photos That Beg for a Bullshit Interpretation


The Rude Pundit is on his nearly annual Adderall and whiskey-fueled, ear-wrecking mud roll, also known as the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Yesterday, he snapped this photo, and, looking at it in the sober light of a new morning he ruefully thought, "Huh. Enormous storm clouds swallowing a double rainbow while a zombie hand crushes the earth. That pretty well describes the nation and the world at this point."

Then he thought of the hand as belonging to a reanimated Ronald Reagan, and it made even more sense. 

It didn't rain. Take from that whatever you'd like. 

6/12/2014

The Bottomless Iraq Sinkhole

Do you feel it? Do you have that sense of vertigo and nausea, all the way from gut to your 'nads? As you hear the names chiming in the news like a roll call of shame - Mosul, Tikrit, Kirkuk - a chant of our national doom?

The breakdown of Iraq is something that anyone with any sense knew was inevitable once we removed Saddam Hussein, the bottom peg of the Jenga game that is that nation. We predicted civil war and, goddamnit, it was gonna happen. There was no policy that was going to maintain order in that fucked-beyond-fucked country except for eternal occupation by the United States - oh, sorry - coalition of the willing or whatever the fuck we called it. Once more, Barack Obama's presidency is swallowed and squandered by the devastated landscape George W. Bush left behind.

Obama is already getting the blame for the uprisings, the Sunni on Shiite violence, the radical Kurds taking what they always wanted (aided by average, everyday Kurds). It's like blaming your current lover for the herpes you got from some dude ten years ago because he's there and why the fuck not direct your rage at someone who is convenient instead of yourself and your own stupid decisions.

Eventually, and you can bet on this, another talking point is going to come around. It's something the Rude Pundit wrote about a long time ago, so, hey, here it is, from February 27, 2006, a gentle reminder that those of us who opposed the war were smarter and more prescient thinking than anyone who supported it. It's titled "Pre-Emptive Blogging: Talking Points For a Coming Attack From the Right" and it goes like this:

"As Iraq spirals into a shitstorm of violence and vengeance, even as some Sunnis and some Shiites try desperately to avert a direct, overwhelming hit by said shitstorm, at some point soon, some right wing bag of douche is going to proclaim that liberals are 'happy' or 'thrilled' by a civil war in Iraq. Liberals can be accused of enabling terrorists by using the dwindling "freedom of speech" we're allowed, and it's a pretty small rhetorical leap from saying the left wants American soldiers to die (which the right has done) to saying the left loves us some civil war. Yes, liberals will be viciously insulted (defamed, even) by conservative commentators, bloggers, Freeper frothers, as if somewhere, in an oh-so-hip underground club, liberals are gathered in an orgy of celebration over the infinite bloodletting in Iraq, chanting gleefully, 'Told you so, told you so, told you so' as they toast with cosmos and down sushi...

"So let's just say it up front here: over here in Liberalburg, we weren't happy when Ronald Reagan was cozying up to Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s. We weren't happy that the United States was backing a brutal, murderous, raping thug, giving him weapons and such. We weren't happy with the first Persian Gulf War. We weren't happy with sanctions that decimated the poorest people in Iraq. We weren't happy that the President wouldn't allow weapons inspectors to finish their work.

"We weren't happy with this war to start with, saying, for instance, that a civil war was the inevitable outcome. We're not happy to be proven right. We're not happy, simply, when people are dying for no good cause, with no good outcome on the horizon, and no good way out. Frankly, oh, dear, sweet right wing, on the whole, we'd've rather been wrong and had tens of thousands of people not killed, tens of thousands of America soldiers not wounded. We'd've eaten the crow and, trust us, wonderful, fair right wing, you'd've shoved our faces in the plate of that black bird.

"But since we were right, maybe, just maybe, someone oughta pay a political price for being so goddamned wrong. Instead, though, the right's gonna try to turn it around and blame the left and those who 'didn't support the war' for its failure. Which would, for all intents and purposes, finally seal the deal on Vietnam redux.

"Somewhere, Saddam Hussein is shaking his head, the only one who, really, and for all the wrong reasons, has the right to say, 'Told you so.'"

There is no joy here, no schadefreude. Just sorrow for the dead and displaced, just the pain that all Cassandras feel constantly.

6/11/2014

What's Real: Walmart Loves the Duck Dynasty Guys

You gotta recognize reality if you're gonna understand what's going on in this country. Oh, we can live in our liberal enclaves, our Brooklyns, our Austins, our Ashevilles. We can exist in blog world, constantly reifying our positions with each other, like an endless human centipede of unrecognized righteousness. But here's the deal, oh, sweet lefty motherfuckers out there (and, let's be honest - many of you know this already because you're surrounded by it): When you walk into a Walmart in the middle of Tennessee, this is what you will see:


Yes, our bugaboos, the Duck Dynasty fellers, bedeck cards and gift bags and wrapping paper. Why? Because they and everything they represent are fucking beloved, probably even more since we all kicked up a fuss about Johnny Beardface or whatever the fuck his name is saying mean things about the gays. You can try to explain that the whole thing is a lie, that they are rich pukes who really just wanna play golf and make money off the poors. But the Walmart shoppers won't give a damn. That's a reality we need to understand if we're going to make inroads with people who need things like expanded Medicaid.

Then you turn a corner, and you see this:


And that shit's just terrifying. But at least, for now, they are unarmed.

6/10/2014

The Truth About Open Carry (A Revision)

(Note: The Rude Pundit took it upon himself to subtly revise an editorial by Open Carry Texas’s CJ Grisham to reflect what Grisham is really talking about. See if you can spot the differences.)

After my false arrest last year while hiking with my son near Temple, I was awoken to the fact that Texas isn’t as penis friendly as its reputation suggests. I started Open Penis Carry Texas to spread this message after being inspired by the overwhelming support my case brought me.

I never realized, however, how difficult this fight would become or how low the penis control lobby would go. I also never anticipated the kind of friendly ejaculation we would come under.

As part of our mission, we have worked hard to remove the stigma of penises in society. Beginning at a young age, our children are inundated with educational propaganda proclaiming that penises are bad. Night after night, the media furthers this narrative by sensationalizing the worst aspects of humanity. The entertainment industry relies on hype and inaccurate stereotypes of penis owners. The penis control lobby engages in emotional brainwashing to further its attempts at castrating the American people. Research has shown that open penis carry deters crime, which is why we believe it so important.

As with any newly formed group, we’ve had our growing pains...We’ve learned that with great success comes even greater opposition.

Enter Moms Demand Action for Penis Sense in America and its media surrogates, which lie, distort, and manipulate their way to the heart of their base and sunshine patriot penis owners. At a demonstration in Fort Worth in which we carried long cocks into a Jack in the Box, no employees hid in a freezer or called 911...After an event in the Dallas area, we sought and received permission from the manager of a local Chipotle to sit down and eat. Contrary to reports, no one in the restaurant was frightened or alarmed by the presence of our peckers; in fact, we had two uniformed police officers in our 10-member group. We haven’t been to Target with penises since January...

A few weeks ago, before the National Dick Association issued a statement that called our efforts “weird” and “not neighborly,” we had stopped carrying long cocks into businesses -- even though we had been given approval to enter in nearly every instance...We will gladly continue patronizing those stores but will not be taking our penises.

The pro-prick elitists who believe our rights are subject to licensing and should be hidden from society quickly joined the penis control extremists in a chorus of dissent. Nearly every email we got from so-called defenders of the Second Amendment demanded that we hide our penises because “they scare people” or that we are hurting “the cause”...

If the NDA is serious about getting open penis carry passed in Texas, we will work with them, but not for them. The NDA doesn’t hold the patent or copyright on penis rights...

We will continue fighting in our own way to make Texas the 45th state to legalize the right to carry dicks openly and 31st state to do so without a license.

6/09/2014

Takin' It Down a Notch for a Few Days (and Today's Stephanie Miller Show Segment)

The Rude Pundit is heading out for a few days here. While there will be posts, some of them may just be abstract photos from being face down in a puddle.

Meanwhile, here's today's appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show, where the Rude Pundit suggests an appropriate response to some stupid shit Rand Paul said:

Photos That Complicate the Whole Vegas Shooter Narrative

So the Rude Pundit was a-perusin' Las Vegas cop and Walmart shopper killer Jerad Miller's Facebook page, which is what we do now, obviously. Miller and his wife, Amanda, who understood privacy settings on Facebook a little better than her husband, went full tea-rrorist, shooting two cops dead at a CiCi's pizza before continuing their murder spree of the places of the damned by heading to Walmart, where Amanda Miller killed a good guy with a gun (so that makes him a dead guy with a gun). Then the couple killed themselves.

The crazy-ass details pouring out are practically a lefty wet-dream of right-wing fucknuts, clinging to their conspiracy theories and guns. They covered the dead cops and their shitty pizza with a Gadsden flag (you know, the "Don't Tread on Me" bullshit that the Tea Party sports everywhere). They had a swastika-emblazoned manifesto they left behind (um, they did realize that the Nazis were all about centralized government control, right?). They said they were starting a "revolution" by killing the two officers, both of whom were family men.

And more: before Vegas, they lived in Lafayette, Indiana, which, if you've ever been there, is a boring, flat, shithole enlivened only by Purdue and meth. Amanda was into needlepoint and Hobby Lobby. Jerad had multiple arrests on his record, and he was all about the chem trails and government control, and he posted on InfoWars (motto: "Jackbooted thugs are knocking on your door now. Shoot! Shoot!") about cop-killing. They dressed up as the Joker and Harley Quinn. In some photos, Amanda is wearing a Batman shirt, so they played both sides of that fictional world.

They had spent time helping Cliven Bundy and his merry band of fee-defying cockknobs. They belonged to a bunch of Facebook groups that are filled with lies, liars, and paranoiacs, everything from Freedomworks to Drudge to Operation American Spring, that group of millions of people who totally took over the government back in May.

And they loved guns and wanted everyone to have access to the weapons that the police had.

That's where the narrative gets just a bit messy. 'Cause, see, here's what the Rude Pundit found a little further down the rabbit's asshole of Jerad Miller's Facebook page:


Huh. In today's New York Times, there's an article about the increasing militarization of local police forces all over the country. "During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft," it reads. That includes mine-resistant vehicles meant for patrolling Kandahar, as well as, well, shit, black helicopters and drones. The use of SWAT teams for stupid shit has increased, too, because you've got all this fancy crap and, fuck, yeah, it's gotta be go time at some point.

Yeah, it turns out that Jerad and Amanda Miller had the same fears of government overreach, specifically by the police, that many on the left have. It turns out that it's not just us wacky progressives who think that the heavy-handedness of law enforcement is turning us into subjects, not citizens. We just happen to keep hoping that voting can change things, not guns. Perhaps we're naive.

Of course, this in no way means that he was "liberal" by any stretch of the word. He was an anti-government, gun-huffing, crazy motherfucker, a scary Skeeter-lookin' son of a bitch who was also pro-marijuana legalization because, hell, everyone is now. He was Rand Paul without the money.

And they were both libertarian terrorists who were filled with terrorist rantings on terrorist websites led by people who seek to activate terrorists, white, domestic terrorists, from whom we have far more to fear than from anyone who prays to Allah.

The irony here is that many of the people who have no problem with the arming of the police have no problem with the arming of the citzenry. Wait, that's not irony. That's slaughter-in-waiting.

6/06/2014

Grappling with Edward Snowden, Part 2: We Are Not What We Once Were

"The potential for abuse is horrifying," the commission member told reporters. "With records compiled on all people almost from the day they're born, it could be like Big Brother."

He was worried, damn worried, about what corporations and the federal government might do with all this information. "Anybody," he said of what can be done with the data out there, "can find out where a person travels, his medical history, what books he reads, who he associates with, what courses he takes in school, his sexual preferences." Ominously, he added, "And with enough of that data, you can pretty much determine the very nature and substance of a person." He meant this as a bad thing, as something, indeed, "horrifying."

Those quotes are from David Linowes, an economist and professor who had a long involvement in issues of privacy and the government. Linowes was talking back in 1977 about what the Privacy Protection Study Committee he chaired had come to understand: the more Americans had their data computerized, the more the risk to their privacy. The committee had been set up by the Privacy Act of 1974, passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal and, well, Nixon in general, and they had been working on a report and recommendations for two years.

What struck the Rude Pundit when he stumbled across this article was, first, the alarmist headline:


Reading the story, though, he was taken back to those pre-Facebook/MySpace/whatever days, when one actually, honestly gave a shit about one's privacy, back when you didn't want everyone you ever met and their friends and their friends' friends' to know every detail about your life. He thought about how, yes, this was real, how the very notion that the government and megacorporations would own your data was some kind of deeply offensive insult to what made us Americans. But maybe you needed a Soviet Union to understand what that actually means.

On this week's one-year anniversary of Edward Snowden's revelation of the extent of the information gathering (and let's stop calling it "intelligence" - it's information, it's data) by the NSA, perhaps it would be good to remember that we got here because of the concerted effort of the government, the culture, and corporate America, where Google can tailor your online experience to only show you what its algorithms think you want to see, where you freely reveal intimate details about your whereabouts and habits, where a spy agency can collect information on every phone call and email you make.

We've gotten to the point where perfectly liberal people can say they have no problem with the gathering of metadata. Back in 1977, Linowes' committee made recommendations, like requiring companies to destroy data after a certain period of time so that it could not be combed through.  The suggestions weren't as sweeping as some wanted and virtually none were enacted. They targeted mostly the banking and insurance industries, which, if you think about it, was pretty prescient.

It's fascinating to think now that there was a time, not very long ago, when we thought our lives should be our own. It's sadly unironic that we didn't do anything to protect ourselves.

6/05/2014

In Brief: Time Magazine Really Shouldn't Go Down This Road


That's really a question, Time (motto: "Instant Nostalgia")? Was Bowe Bergdahl worthy of being swapped for five Taliban detainees? Or maybe was it "worth it" to make a deal to get an American soldier home? And it's a question that lots and lots of people are asking, since, in the worst case, six other soldiers died on patrols that included looking for Bowe Bergdahl. But if we're gonna go down the big ol' "what if" highway, if we're gonna ask if something that's already done was worth the cost of doing it, well, shit, if we're gonna play, let's play:

Was the Afghanistan War worth the loss of 2300 Americans, countless wounded, thousand of dead Afghanis, and hundreds of billions of dollars?

Was the creation of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay worth the number of people who may have died because terrorists used Gitmo as a recruiting tool?

Was it worth arming the Mujahideen back in the late 1970s and early 1980s so that their existence could lead to the formation of the Taliban (which was both part of and a reaction to the Mujahideen)?

Was it worth electing Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, both of whom supported the Mujahideen?

See, when you get into fucked-up existential questions like who is worth what, you can't act like that worth is to be judged in a vacuum. Bowe Bergdahl's captivity was the result of decades of bullshit American foreign policy. (Hell, if you want, you could go back to British imperialism in the land that would become Afghanistan.)

Yeah, great, Time, let's put a price on a human life, by all means. Let's talk about "greater good" and utilitarian approaches to war. Or maybe we could acknowledge that such ideas are worthless when your are talking about a worthless venture in this worthless time.

6/04/2014

The NRA Apologizes…or Something

Yesterday, the NRA apologized for saying, "Suck my dick, you faggot" to the gun-brandishing members of Open Carry Texas. The NRA's top lobbyist, Chris Cox, went on NRA radio to say how sorry he was for his terrible words.

Said Cox, "I said the most hurtful word I could think of at that moment and, you know, I didn't mean this in the sense of the word...I didn't mean it in a homophobic way. And I think that doesn't matter, you know? How you mean things doesn't matter. Words have weight and meaning and the word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say and hear words like that...My heart's broken and I genuinely am deeply sorry to anyone who's been affected by that term in their life. I'm sorry and I don't deserve or expect your forgiveness, but what I'll ask is that at home, if you're watching this, and you're a young person especially, if someone says something that hurts you or angers you, use me as an example of what not to do and don't respond with hatred or anger, because you're just adding more ugliness into the world and again, I'm just so sorry."

Oh, wait. That was actor Jonah Hill on The Tonight Show last night, demonstrating sincere regret for his outburst at a scumsucking bit of worm shit (see? there are other words you can use, Jonah) who followed him around all day, baiting Hill and snapping photos. What Hill did was say he was sorry to the people who needed to hear his mea culpa, and he stood up like a mensch and did so.

Cox, on the other hand, apologized for the NRA issuing a statement that it's "downright weird" that some gun owners want to carry their loaded semi-automatic rifles openly into restaurants, even those that have small children around. The statement, which is still on the NRA's website, also said, "To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary." (The statement also attacks the possibility of smart gun technology being required by state governments, so the NRA was never gonna be your new boyfriend.)

The NRA ended its statement hopefully, saying the organization "certainly does not support bans…on carrying firearms in public, including in restaurants. We think people are intelligent enough to resolve these issues in a reasonable way for themselves," which means the NRA has never actually met its members. Because, see, what those members who belong to Open Carry Texas did was cut up their NRA membership cards and declare, no shit, that "If they do not retract their disgusting and disrespectful comments, OCT will have no choice but to withdraw its full support of the NRA and establish relationships with other gun rights organizations that fight for ALL gun rights, instead of just paying them lip service the way the NRA appears to be doing."

Now, the NRA could have said, "Are you fucking pathetic fucknuts that stupid? You understand how bad you're making the rest of us look?" Jesus, it could have started a hashtag: #notallgunowners. It could have taken a stand and stood by its own assertion that "It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates."

Nope. Motherfuckers caved like a soda can under an elephant's foot. It was a piece of "commentary," Cox said, not NRA policy (even though it's unsigned and starts, "Here at NRA, we are big fans of responsible behavior").

And, in one of the great pussy statements of all time, Cox said, "The National Rifle Association unapologetically and unflinchingly supports the right of self-defense and what that means is that our members and our supporters have a right to carry a firearm in any place they have a legal right to be. If that means open carry, we support open carry. If it means concealed carry, it means concealed carry. So unequivocally we support open carry, we've been the leader of open carry efforts across this country, the leader in opposing efforts to curtail the ability to carry firearms, and that's something we're proud of and we do every day for our members." Go nuts, assholes, go fuckin' nuts. Head out to the Beef Trough or whatever family restaurant with your guns out like your fly is unzipped.

Needless to say, Open Carry Texas was thrilled. On its Facebook page, it said, "Open Carry Texas would like to both thank and applaud Chris Cox and the National Rifle Association for clarification on their stance of open carry. We remain confident that the NRA will aid with legislative support, to help in getting an open carry bill both drafted, and passed in the 2015 legislative session. With or without support of the NRA, our mission is unchanged: to legalize open carry of modern handguns in Texas and to continue to educate and train Texans in regard to safely carrying firearms openly."

Yeah, that's a helluva goal there. A life well spent.

And, once again, the NRA fails to apologize to the people to whom they owe a never-ending stream of apologies.

6/03/2014

A Few Questions to Those Questioning the Prisoner Exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

The Rude Pundit's gotta be honest: he can't wrap his head around this one. Oh, sure, sure, he can figure out why conservatives would go bugfuck insane over things like Benghazi (dead Americans), Obamacare (living poor Americans), and abortion (freedom for women). They're dead damn wrong on them and they're wasting everyone's time and money, but there seems to be at least a tincture of logic. Fuck, he can even figure out the brain-damaged logic behind yahoos open-carrying their weapons (in a time of extreme disempowerment of the average person, that person attempts to cling to the accoutrements of power in any way he/she can).

But the idea that something is wrong with negotiating the release of an American soldier held prisoner by the Taliban is just utterly bizarre. Like "Stop beating your head with that fish, Skeeter" weird. It's left the Rude Pundit with a few questions for anyone who thinks there was something hinky about the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for a quintet of bearded losers.

1. Were we supposed to just leave him there, even with a deal on the table? That's the not-so-subtle implication from so many of the Bergdahl truthers, who believe he deserted and may have worked with his captors. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said, "It's one thing to trade terrorists for a real POW, someone who was taken on the battlefield fighting honorably for our country. It's another thing to trade away 5 high-ranking terrorists to someone who walked away." Considering Kristol's record for being wrong about every fucking thing, it more than likely means that Bergdahl ought to be awarded a medal for bravery.

2. Isn't Bergdahl entitled to a trial for any charges of desertion or collaboration? Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said of the allegations against Bergdahl, "Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty," but, he asserted, "the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity." Yes, it would have been easier just to drone murder the shit out of Bergdahl, but, hey, he's white, and so far that has been a decent way to avoid missile death. But Bergdahl can still be courtmartialed. You need look no further than another shitty war for proof: Marine Pfc. Robert Garwood was held in Vietnam until 1979. When he was released, he was charged with desertion and aiding the enemy, and he was convicted, despite an insanity plea. (Side note: Garwood's guilt being questioned by a TV-movie caused a certain senator from Arizona to go apeshit on the Senate floor in 1993.)

3. So if we left Bergdahl in Afghanistan because some people are absolutely convinced of his guilt, doesn't that mean he's being sentenced without trial? The Rude Pundit can't figure out this mania on the right to convict people without ever even charging them with a crime. Leaving Bergdahl behind would have set the precedent that we judge, without knowing the truth, who is worthy of being released. How reassuring that would be to soldiers.

4. Isn't it a huge bowlful of hypocrisy stew for Republicans to become whiny titty babies over President Obama finessing the law when the Bush administration fucking redefined things like "torture" and "duties as commander-in-chief" to get around niceties like congressional approval and oversight? Breitbart.com has gone full nutzoid on the Bergdahl release, questioning Obama's actions, quoting Queen Dink herself, Sarah Palin, on the matter.

5. And what's with the Wag-the-Dog shit about the VA scandal? This is another game the right plays with Democratic presidents: every action is done only to distract from what they see as worse shit. Clinton bombed a place where he thought Osama bin Laden was. The GOP said it was just meant to distract from the Blow Job That Coated the World. Now, Obama is supposed to have started a whole new controversy to divert attention from the problems at the VA. Obviously, Republicans are used to leaders who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Or, you know, watch TV and eat a pretzel.

At some point, doesn't it get exhausting, Republicans? Doesn't it get tiresome to have to attack everything, no matter how seemingly goddamn positive? Is there nothing you have to talk about that isn't merely saying "No" to every "Yes"? Are you that devoid of purpose? Because that'd be some hang-yourself-existential-crisis shit right there. By all means, go ahead and here's a rope.

6/02/2014

Regarding Republicans and the Exchanged Taliban Members (Virgin Version)

(Note: Several people said they wanted to pass on the info from this here post without the sexy stuff in the original post. Fine. Here ya go.)

When the Rude Pundit first read about the exchange of five members of the Taliban who had been detained at the prison at Guantanamo Bay for the only American soldier prisoner of war in Afghanistan and then he heard how Republicans were upset at the deal because the released detainees might attack Americans again, he wondered what the Gitmo detainees had been through. That's not to diminish the five years that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl endured as a POW (a real, actual POW, not a "detainee," whatever that BS word means in terms of being a prisoner during a war).

Ted Cruz was all concerned about how the soldiers who captured the Taliban members might feel about the exchange: "Can you imagine what [Bergdahl] would say to his fallen comrades who lost their lives to stop these people who were responsible, either directly or indirectly, for threatening or taking U.S. civilian lives." Yes, their feelings matter. Except, of course, that no Americans died capturing them. Yeah, see, Mullah Norullah Noori turned himself in. Mohammed Nabi Omari was tricked into being arrested at an airport. Khirullah Khairkwha was captured by Pakistani forces when he was trying to negotiate a surrender. He was transferred to American custody. Mullah Mohammad Fazl surrendered to U.S. forces. Abdul Haq Wasiq said he could provide the U.S. with Taliban leader Mullah Omar's location, but he was arrested by the U.S. So Cruz can go screw himself with his sympathy for our troops.

By no stretch of the imagination are these former Gitmo residents good people. They are violent jackasses. But they were violent jackasses who were part of an army of the then-government of Afghanistan, whether we liked that government or not. And they have been held, without charge, without trial, for 12-13 years. They were tortured (or interrogated in an enhanced way, if that's the lie you tell yourself). At least one, Fazl, is wanted by the United Nations for war crimes, but we haven't allowed him to be charged and tried on that allegation.

John McCain lost his mind, as usual, on Nation, Face Bob Schieffer, in what was the oldest hour of television perhaps ever. Said Sen. McCain, with all the subtlety of the end of last night's Game of Thrones, "It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to reenter the fight, and they are big, high level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands." Those "thousands" were Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. So let's get these guys before the Hague for some war crimes proseuctions, right? And you can be sure that the North Vietnamese thought McCain was responsible for many, many deaths, too, but they let him go after five-and-a-half years as a POW.

That's why nations have the Geneva Conventions. Because this is complicated. But we just had to ignore those agreements because we faced a threat that no one had ever faced before in the history of ever and no one ever had it as bad as us. So we have cursed ourselves with Guantanamo Bay, a greater cause of terrorism and anti-Americanism than a 1000 released Taliban fighters

Do a thought experiment. Change Obama to Bush. Change Republicans criticizing the President to Democrats. Now, ask yourself: How many variations on the word "vagina" would Dick Cheney be using to condemn Democrats as hating the troops if they don't want to bring our prisoners home.

Regarding Republicans and the Exchanged Taliban Members: It's Too Easy to Be Outraged

Things are never as simple as they seem. A vagina, for example, is not merely a hole into which one can thrust a penis or penis-shaped object, vibrating or sedentary. There are all kinds of nuances around a vagina, various nerves that need to be stimulated, ways in which one can manipulate the labia and clitoris, the placement of fingers or tongue or lips prior to the introduction of whatever may be used as a phallus. The crudest straight men (and, yes, almost exclusively straight men) miss out on so much because they believe that what one gets out fucking is, in the most literal sense, what one puts into it. That man can claim that he did, indeed, fuck a hole, and if that's all he wants, well, missionary accomplished. It's easier that way, no? It's so much easier to merely worry about the thrusting and the quick squirt than worrying about all that tiresome playing and teasing? But, see, if you believe that the world is not just about you, if you believe that the act of sex with a woman is really about attempting to understand a whole other being, well, hell, man, you have to reckon with the fact that this reality around us is a whole lot more complex than most people even want it to be.

When the Rude Pundit first read about the exchange of five members of the Taliban who had been detained at the prison at Guantanamo Bay for the only American soldier prisoner of war in Afghanistan and then he heard how Republicans were upset at the deal because the released detainees might attack Americans again, he wondered what the Gitmo detainees had been through. That's not to diminish the five years that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl endured as a POW (a real, actual POW, not a "detainee," whatever that bullshit term means in terms of being a prisoner during a war).

Ted Cruz was all concerned about how the soldiers who captured the Taliban members might feel about the exchange: "Can you imagine what [Bergdahl] would say to his fallen comrades who lost their lives to stop these people who were responsible, either directly or indirectly, for threatening or taking U.S. civilian lives." Yes, their feelings matter. Except, of course, that no Americans died capturing them. Yeah, see, Mullah Norullah Noori turned himself in. Mohammed Nabi Omari was tricked into being arrested at an airport. Khirullah Khairkwha was captured by Pakistani forces when he was trying to negotiate a surrender. He was transferred to American custody. Mullah Mohammad Fazl surrendered to U.S. forces. Abdul Haq Wasiq said he could provide the U.S. with Taliban leader Mullah Omar's location, but he was arrested by the U.S. So Cruz can go fuck himself with his sympathy for our troops.

By no stretch of the imagination are these former Gitmo residents good people. They are violent assholes. But they were violent assholes who were part of an army of the then-government of Afghanistan, whether we liked that government or not. And they have been held, without charge, without trial, for 12-13 years. They were tortured (or interrogated in an enhanced way, if that's the lie you tell yourself). At least one, Fazl, is wanted by the United Nations for war crimes, but we haven't allowed him to be charged and tried on that allegation.

John McCain lost his shit, as usual, on Nation, Face Bob Schieffer, in what was the oldest hour of television perhaps ever. Said Sen. McCain, with all the subtlety of the end of last night's Game of Thrones, "It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to reenter the fight, and they are big, high level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands." Those "thousands" were Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. So let's get these guys before the Hague for some war crimes proseuctions, right? And you can be sure that the North Vietnamese thought McCain was responsible for many, many deaths, too, but they let him the fuck go after five-and-a-half years as a POW.

That's why nations have the Geneva Conventions. Because this shit is complicated. But we just had to ignore those agreements because we faced a threat that no one had ever faced before in the history of ever and no one ever had it as bad as us. So we have cursed ourselves with Guantanamo Bay, a greater cause of terrorism and anti-Americanism than a 1000 released Taliban fighters

Do a thought experiment. Change Obama to Bush. Change Republicans criticizing the President to Democrats. Now, ask yourself: How many variations on the word "vagina" would Dick Cheney be using to condemn Democrats as hating the troops if they don't want to bring our prisoners home.