Prayers Against Pot and Peace

Prayers Against Pot and Peace:
1. So this week, the Rude Pundit received his weekly epistle o' prayeritus from the extra-nutzoid Christian organization, the Family Research Council (motto: "Opposing Everything Fun Since the Reagan Era Crapped Us Out"). The Rude Pundit belongs to the FRC's Super-Duper Prayer Team, joining under a secret nom de rude some years ago, and each week, his inbox is engorged by the perturbations of the holy what needs praying over. Usually it's abortion, gays, and gays doing abortions, but this time, something new was in the mix: a devil weed.

Yep, we had to pray to stop the legalization of pot, as the kids call it. "Marijuana" to godly folk like us. Why? Because, see, "while alcohol may be used in moderation, marijuana is always used to 'get stoned,' i.e., to alter the state of mind and dull the senses and judgment." Glory be, you smoke one "joint," i.e., marijuana cigarette, and the next thing you know, you're on your knees in the bus station bathroom, giving blumpkins to hobos for meth. But a little drinky-poo now and then is groovy, man.

So we gotta tell Jesus hisself, "May the American people come to their senses to reject this trend and reverse it!" And to offer us support, as usual, the FRC gives the SDPT verses from the Good Book to offer succor and guidance. Like Isaiah 5:11, which says, "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!" Although, huh, that seems to be about alcohol. Well, surely, in another suggested verse, Isaiah 5:22, we'll get the anti-drug kicks: "Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink." Huh. Maybe it's just Isaiah, that drunk plowshare-beating asshole. What about another book, like, umm, Ephesians, yeah, 5:18: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

Far be it from just a humble SDPT member to question the interpretation of God's word, but, according to the Bible, it sure seems like we oughta be ditching the liquor and smoking more weed.

2. Of course, Jews can be assholes, too. As in:

Those are hardline Israelis, a couple thousand of them, praying that God himself, not the Christians' puny God, Jr., intervenes to stop the evil American Secretary of State, John Kerry, from succeeding in putting together a framework for peace talks between Israel and Palestine. And because these are Old Testament-believing motherfuckers, we're not talking love and awakening. Oh, no. They want "God to strike fear in the hearts of those who might cause harm to the land of Israel."

Man, you wanna talk about some people who need to smoke a bowl and chill.


How Corrupt Is Chris Christie? (Hint: Very)

How Corrupt Is Chris Christie? (Hint: Very):
The Rude Pundit was trying to describe to a pal one way to think about the reactions now to Chris Christie's brand of politics. "You remember how, when we were kids, bullying wasn't an issue for cops and courts, but something we had to work out on the playground? If you could kick a bully's ass, you were fine. But if you couldn't, you were weak somehow. It didn't matter that kids were getting psychologically abused, called 'faggot,' beaten up, or degraded. It was just bullying. It was just something we all had to deal with. But now, we know that bullying is violence. And victims of bullies realized they were routinely assaulted with most everyone thinking there was nothing wrong with it. Once we understood it was wrong, it was just fucking wrong." The Rude Pundit probably wasn't quite that articulate, but the friend got the point.

See, there's so much of what people are accusing New Jersey Governor Christie of doing that you could dismiss it was just politics. Except he fucked the goat on the George Washington Bridge lane blockage. You wanna pressure mayors into doing favors for your political cronies? Well, who doesn't do that? You wanna give your brother the inside track that leads to a hugely profitable real estate deal? Hey, jobs were created, right? It's not as if the New Jersey news media wasn't looking at this stuff before. No one gave a shit, even though they should have, until David Wildstein, a man who looks like he enjoys strangle porn, got a boner for dicking over Fort Lee. Then, of course, we look back and say, "Well, hell, all of that other stuff is messed-up, too." Yeah, once you fuck a goat, dear readers, you can bet that your friends will question everything you've ever done, as well they should, as well they should.

And thus the floodgates are open (pretty close to quite literally when it comes to Hoboken). In the last day or so, we've learned that Christie made sure that a town barely affected by Superstorm Sandy got $6 million of recovery money to help build a senior center and housing project. The Democratic mayor of Belleville then endorsed Christie's reelection. Christie himself pushed for the diversion of funds to a pre-Sandy project that had nothing to do with housing Sandy victims. The Newark Star-Ledger has accused Christie of using the Sandy cash as a "slush fund."

Then there's WNYC's Matt Katz, who has torn into this story like a wild dog on a bison corpse. He reported today about the amount of stonewalling and secrecy the Christie administration has used to prevent reporters, organizations, and citizens from finding out things like how much various trips Christie has taken have cost the state. In clear violation of open records laws and putting a lie to Christie's own pledge of transparency, the governor's office has either refused to release information or released severely redacted documents, like the invoices for a contractor were secret cables from undercover spies.

If you want to know exactly where this is going, here's a hint from the New York Times article yesterday about Christie's political operation: "[W]hen [Christie] wanted to discuss something with lawmakers, he texted them himself. (He told one top legislator that he had learned from his experience as United States attorney not to email; texts were harder to trace.)"

You got that, right? Christie wants to prevent his discussions from becoming part of the public record. And his previous job didn't teach him to avoid corruption, just how to hide it better.

But it goes further: "Since his days as the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey, many people said, [Christie] preferred to use his cellphone or to meet, rather than to communicate by email or conference call." The only reason you do things without leaving a trail is that you are afraid of people finding you at the end of it.

We're past the drip, drip, drip part of things now for Chris Christie. The spigot's open, and, chances are, we'll be filling our cups for a good, long time.


The State of the Union Is We Need to Accept That We're Down to Two Branches of Government

The State of the Union Is We Need to Accept That We're Down to Two Branches of Government:
A few random observations on last night's big speech:

1. No less than half a dozen times did President Obama call for Democrats and Republicans to work or do something "together," as in "[L]et's see where else we can make progress together." And every time, the Rude Pundit thought, "Why bother?" There is an illusion that the President obviously doesn't believe anymore, but it is a lie that he clings to in his speeches, that somehow, somewhere down the line, Republicans will awaken to realize that the way they've been governing for the last five years in Washington is wrong and they're going to be willing to compromise and move more of his agenda items forward.

It's like a version of gay conversion therapy. No, Pastor Closeted, you're not gonna pray the gay away from someone. It's in their DNA. Sally's still gonna love the pussy. So it is with Obama and Republicans. It's as if he thinks that if he keeps saying, even half-heartedly, that people can work together, Republicans will just say, "Oh, right, we can choose to do that." They can't. Steve King and Ted Cruz ain't about to convert.

2. But, as always with Obama's speeches, no matter how much he reaches out, the GOP merely finds what he has to say tyrannical, fascistic, socialistic, mean, antagonistic, or plain wrong. The response will always be "We invite the President to work with us." So it was beyond predictable that, when Obama said, more or less, "Okay, fuck it. I'm doing what I can on my own," Republicans would go monkeyfuck insane. This madness was put most succinctly by Rep. Joe "That Mule-Fucking Yokel Who Yelled, 'You Lie' That One Time" Wilson, who offered, regarding President Obama saying he would use executive orders to accomplish some of his goals, "He calls on us to work together, then he threatens to act unilaterally? It just doesn’t fit." Which proves that Joe Wilson is dumber than a bucket of hair and can't hold two thoughts in his head. If you have to build a house by a certain time and you have a bunch of materials that allows you get started, you're not going to wait for the rest of the crew to begin.

3. The missed opportunity, as David Corn put it, is that Obama plainly refused to say that he is taking executive action only because Republicans in Congress won't do shit. Obama always blamed Congress in general, as in, "You don't have to wait for Congress to act," governors, on the minimum wage, or "As Congress decides what it's going to do," he's going to do some things on pre-K education. The one time he did call out Republicans was on the one part of the speech with some swagger, where he was describing the good of the Affordable Care Act. "[L]et's not have another 40- something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans," he said.

But Obama seems to think that the American people connected the dots, that all of us realize that those were Republicans votes, plain and simple. When he asked Congress to extend unemployment benefits, why not say that Republicans prevented them from passing? When he asked Congress for a minimum wage hike, why not say that House Republicans unanimously voted against it? On item after item, from immigration reform to jobs, it's not the Congress as a whole who has blocked action. It's Republicans. What does he lose by calling them out? Why not tell everyone that the motherfuckers are the ones who fucked their mothers?

4. Obama was saying, in essence, that we are down to two branches of government. We've lost the legislative branch. And that's a goddamn shame, really. It's rendered itself useless for anything but passing a budget and making sure we don't default on our debt. Otherwise, it's best to ignore it so it doesn't do any more harm. No matter how hard we clap, the bipartisan fairy ain't gonna magically come back to life.

5. Even more depressingly, Obama's need to bypass Congress to get shit accomplished has led him to, in essence, deputize the private sector. Multiple times throughout the speech, the President said he was calling on or had made deals with large corporations to take some action. He wants them to lead by example and by donation to things that Congress won't fund, like Apple, Sprint, and Verizon giving money as "a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years [to high-speed internet], without adding a dime to the deficit." And how much advertising will be part of this?

6. Yes, it was great that President Obama talked about a number of liberal issues, like equal pay for women and closing Gitmo. But, every time, all the Rude Pundit could think was "Why not tell the American people that Republicans won't pass expanded gun background checks, even though 90% of us support it?" But, you know, see #4.

7. By the way, the end of the boring-ass GOP response was downright creepy. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers concluded with the prayer that "with the guidance of God, we may prove worthy of His blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." You got that? We better please our mad god in order to earn his good graces. If Rodgers had been Muslim, the right would have exploded in a hategasm. (Oh, and she also said, "[W]e hope the President will join us in a year of real action.")

And this is who Obama refused to take on last night? If he wanted, if he put his heart into it, he could destroy them with one hand tied behind his back. Or maybe this is the longest game of rope-a-dope in history.


If You're Not Blaming the GOP for the Crappy State of the Union, You're Lying

If You're Not Blaming the GOP for the Crappy State of the Union, You're Lying:
So the Rude Pundit was a-listenin' to the NPR yesterday morning because he's smart like that. And he heard DC Grand Dame Cokie Roberts pontificate on the state of President Obama on the day before tonight's importantest speech ever, the State O' the Union. The President's presidency is in trouble, Roberts said. "An ABC/Washington Post poll yesterday, only 37 percent of the respondents said they had confidence in the president to make the right decisions for the country. Now, that's very low. It's better than either the Democrats in Congress at 27 percent or the Republicans at 19 percent. But he's the decider, as George W. Bush used to say, so it's a rough number for him," she explained.

And she gave us the ol' historical background, about how once upon a time in the distant past, 72% of people thought Obama cared about them, but now less than half do. Roberts threw down some knowledge: "[A]ll those numbers are significant because it means it makes it hard to convince people in Congress to go along with you if the American people don't seem to be going along with you, which is part of the reason why the president is taking about executive action - using his pen and his phone and going around the Congress."

As with so much of the pre-State of the Union backseat driving going on in this heady hours leading up to the big moment, the Rude Pundit thought, "Huh. Seems to be leaving out a bit of context here." Because, really, there's a big fucking, well, elephant in the room here: The President has faced what is, factually, by the numbers, unprecedented obstructionism by Republicans to not just his nominees to the judiciary and executive branch, but in his legislative agenda, including the hundreds of bills passed by the House when it was held by Democrats. It needs to be said again and again: We never got to see what an Obama presidency would be like because Republicans decided that there wouldn't be an Obama presidency.

One great experiment of the Obama administration, so far, was to attempt to reel the imperial presidency back in (yeah, we're leaving surveillance off the table here). It was to try to get Congress to do its fucking job. But Republicans changed the rules of the game on Obama. If they had been playing baseball, they'd have said, "Okay, we demand four outs, five strikes, and no foul balls, just for us." And Obama would have said, "Sure. Now can we play?" And they would have said, "And you have to play without shoes and gloves." And Obama would have said, "Sure. Can we start the game?" And they would have said, "And each of us gets to fuck your wife in the ass on the pitcher's mound while you watch." And when Obama said, "No, that's bullshit," they'd've said, "Why don't you want to play baseball?"

The shame is that Obama didn't say, early in his first term, "Fuck off. I'm heading to the batting cages." Now that he's announced he's finally going to use executive authority more broadly, and he's used it less than any president in the last century, the GOP is whining that Obama is doing something unconstitutional. These would be the same Republicans who lapped up President Bush's executive orders and signing statements like jizz-gobblers at a jack-off-a-thon.

Everyone is offering their useless suggestions for "What the President Should Say Tonight." So let the Rude Pundit play Fantasy SOTU. What Obama oughta say to the United States is "Vote these Republican motherfuckers out of here. They have hurt the nation and will continue to do so. You know the deal. You reelected me to get shit done. That ain't gonna happen until these assholes who keep hurting the poor and hungry are fuckin' gone. It's up to you, America. 2014 could be the year you make this a sane country again. You gotta put a hurt on the GOP. Let's hurt them until Ted Cruz is begging to kiss my black ass."


Okay, Tom Perkins, We Were Planning a Kristallnacht on the Rich

Okay, Tom Perkins, We Were Planning a Kristallnacht on the Rich:
Yeah, you caught us, Tom Perkins, you old billionaire bourgeois piggie venture capitalist. You wrote to the Wall Street Journal to complain about how San Franciscans protest Google providing busing for its employees, rising real estate prices, and Danielle Steel (no, really, that's what you said), and you said, "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?" Well, fuck, you just nailed that shit. And when you wrote, "I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich,'" you couldn't be more right if you had been in on the planning of our 1% Kristallnacht.

And now, not only are we not calling it off, but we're moving up the date. Oh, yeah. The Rude Pundit's been in touch with the rest of the progressive radicals itching to smash some glass. We are ready to go to all the well-guarded compounds of the superwealthy or their corporate offices and just break shit. It'll be exactly like Kristallnacht, when, in November 1938, rioters in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with a wink from the Third Reich, went all ape scheisse on Jewish property, on synagogues, businesses, cemeteries, and homes.

Man, breaking into Sheldon Adelson's enormous mansion, setting it on fire, trying to get into his panic room so we can make him kneel out front to watch it burn is exactly like when a mob destroyed an orphanage in Dinslaken, Germany. It's gonna feel awesome to act like the Nazis who got hear "The frightened and fearful cries of the children resound[ing] through the building." We hope Adelson cries out just as frightened and fearfully.

We'll go to the ass-end of no-fucking-where Arkansas and Texas to go after some Waltons and a Koch or two and the Simmonses. We'll be in mobs all over this here United States, just to punish success.  We'll head over to William Dore's joint and tear it apart. Same with Peter Thiel and others. We won't be takers. We'll be breakers, tee-hee, just like the Nazis who shattered windows of stores and synagogues. Yeah, Tommy P., we'll destroy property, maybe even Fox "news" headquarters, and then, when we're done, we'll tell you to fix it all up. And that might take a day or two because, you know, you're super fucking rich and will still be super fucking rich after the glass is swept up, unlike the Jews whose lives were completely destroyed by German violence that led to the Holocaust.

We won't tell you when we're starting, Perkins. But, since we're taking our cues from Kristallnacht, we'll get to it just as soon as we kick all the rich people of Polish descent out of the United States and then one of you will have to assassinate one of our leaders (c'mon, you're itching to anyways). Then, just as soon as the Fuhrer tells us all to start marching, we'll Kristallnacht the fuck out of you.

Or, maybe, you could just stop being such assholes about a slight hike in the marginal tax rate and maybe support an end to anonymous SuperPAC donations. Oh, and let people bitch about Danielle Steel. Have you seen the size of that stupid hedge around her property?

Late Post Today

Late Post Today:
Plans for 1% Kristallnacht are taking a good chunk of the day.

Back later with more purging rudeness. 


Ten Other Relatives Mike Huckabee Wants Women to Avoid

Ten Other Relatives Mike Huckabee Wants Women to Avoid:
In his truly weird remarks yesterday, former governor and current talk show host and purveyor of creepy-ass history videos Mike Huckabee said, more or less, that Republicans want to give women more freedom by not paying for contraception because Democrats think women fuck a lot and need contraception provided by the government. Or something. Read the remarks, and you try to figure out what the hell he was saying. But he did use the word "libido," which was disconcerting because it's almost impossible to think of Huckabee all sweaty and horny after a night of praying and tea, telling Mrs. Huckabee to get off her panties 'cause the Mike train is gonna come into the station. (And then having to explain to his wife that the "train" is his penis and the "station" is her vagina and "come" is his cum.)

Even more hilariously, Huckabee called the contraception-giving government "Uncle Sugar," which, as some have pointed out, sounds like either a pimp, a minstrel show character, or a child-molesting clown. That part of Huckabee's speech to the Republican National Committee (motto: "Please, for chrissake, Jeb, run") at its winter meeting went like this: "[T]he Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing or them a prescription each month for birth control." Actually, maybe Uncle Sugar is the best he could come up with for a drug dealer's name, like it was out of an episode of Kojak.

Of course, there's a whole bunch of relatives Huckabee will be warning women about in future speeches and fundraising letters:

1. Grandpa Orgasm

2. Aunt Single Mom

3. Cousin Chester

4. Big Mama Food Stamps

5. Brother Condom

6. Stepfather Obamacare

7. Sister Choice

8. Anderson Cooper

9. Stem Cell, Junior

10. Daughter Sex Education


Our Neverending Abortion War: The Obscene Horror Show Playing Out in Texas

Our Neverending Abortion War: The Obscene Horror Show Playing Out in Texas:
Before we get to the awful battle Erick Munoz has fought against a hospital in Forth Worth to take his dead wife off the machines that keep her alive as an incubator for a fetus, you have to understand how Texas is crazier than a weasel orgy when it comes to women's health and abortion rights. And we're not even talking about its cruel and sadly not unusual law passed last year that creates ludicrous blockades to women's access to abortion.

Back in 2005, the Texas legislature, in its infinite lack of wisdom, started shifting millions of dollars from legitimate family planning clinics - places that provided free or affordable health care to women, including many women who want to get pregnant. It's the "planning" part that pisses off conservatives. They started giving money to "crisis pregnancy centers." You know, those places where people with absolutely no medical training beyond what they read in a pamphlet convince women that abortion is an abomination up there with murder and gay sex and Obamacare.

Yeah, all that cash flowing in allowed for the creation of the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which is an umbrella for the primarily Christian-associated or -run facilities. What do these places do? Give pregnant women some stuff. Tell 'em not to abort. Counsel them a little about life choices. And refer them to places that do something real, like medical testing.

For instance, there's the Gabriel Project, run out of various Catholic churches in Texas. Who does the counseling there? Trained therapists? Social workers? Want a third guess? Angels. No, really, it's Angels. As the website says, "Regularly scheduled Angel Trainings are held on a Saturday every other month at a host parish within the diocese. Through the years, more than 500 'angels' have been trained to assist pregnant women." You can also be a "Sidewalk Angel," and that's pretty much exactly what you imagine.

To add a kick in the vagina to all of this, in 2011, the Texas legislature slashed funds to family planning clinics in the mad "defund Planned Parenthood" rush but raised the amount given to the anti-choice centers. You got that? The legislators took money away from science and gave it to hoodoo worshippers.

The damage to women, especially poor, rural women, in the Lone Star state ought to be embarrassing to anyone existing in the 21st century. But, then again, some Texans keep electing Louis Gohmert, a shit-for-brains who couldn't find his ass if someone was pointing at it and saying, "Dude, that's your ass," so shame isn't real high on their list of emotions.

In a really roundabout way, this gets us to the gut-wrenching case of Marlise Munoz, who was brain dead 8 weeks ago and whose entire family, wanted to honor her wishes by taking her off life-support. Except that she's pregnant, and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, obviously piss-scared of government sanctions and probably of Sidewalk Angels, decided to follow Texas law that says that if a patient is pregnant, she can't be taken off life support.

Erick Munoz and Marlise's parents are suing to allow her to die, with the case hinging on whether the law is intended for women who are brain dead or whether it can be applied to keeping a fetus alive inside a dead woman. This is what you're forced to do because of the fetus worship in Texas and too many other states. This is an argument we're having in 2013.

You want it to get worse? There's no happy ending here. There's no bouncing baby that gets cut out of Marlise Munoz before she is discarded like a fleshy candy wrapper. No, there's a "distinctly abnormal" fetus growing in her. A statement from the family's lawyer described lower extremities so malformed that you can't tell what the sex of the fetus is. "The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [water on the brain]," it goes on. "It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body." So if a baby is born, it will live an awful, short, painful life and then die.

This is the monstrous nature of the anti-choice forces in this country. It is better to take money away from doctors to give to churches. It is better to force women to have to endure hardship or give themselves medical procedures than to treat them with compassion. It is better to ensure, as Marlise Munoz's family attorney says, that a fetus "is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on" than to care about the living who really care about the dead.


The Arguments Against Christie Accuser Dawn Zimmer Are Bullshit

The Arguments Against Christie Accuser Dawn Zimmer Are Bullshit:
When it comes to the accusations, made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his administration, the stupidest motherfuckers in the mainstream media are asking the same questions: Why didn't she come forward earlier? Why did she praise Christie even after she had her supposedly strong-arming conversation with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno? And, hey, what about all the money Hoboken got and/or why does Hoboken need to get more than other places in a small pot? The hecklers are led by small-faced Starbucks spokesjerk Joe Scarborough and his dimwitted, dull ward, Mika Brzzzzezzzinski, who readily, gleefully admit that they are Christie's friends and media accomplices. So let's take these one at a time, shall we?

1. "Why didn't Zimmer come forward earlier?" If you have to ask that question, you are either a liar or a dumb fuck. Pre-Bridgegate, no one could lay a glove on Christie. Here's a governor who wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on a special election for Senate two weeks before the general election because he didn't want Cory Booker voters at the polls for the gubernatorial race.  Christie wanted to  run up the score (a goal that Christie admitted to at his Bridgegate press conference). That's a fuckin' scandal right there, especially when you're cutting things like education. But that got no traction.

Now, Zimmer's the mayor of a town of 50,000 people, many of them well-paid professionals on really expensive property. Because she was relatively new to the political game when she became mayor, she had had little reason to dislike Christie. And, hey, Christie hadn't dicked over Hoboken. But she was desperately trying to get funds for Hoboken, which was fucked like a cat in heat by Superstorm Sandy, to try to make sure it didn't get walloped as badly by the next storm. When Guadagno made her implicit threat over the Rockefeller Group development deal, there was still no way she was going to out Christie as a corrupt bully trying to enrich his friends. That's the frustration to the point of tears that comes out in her personal journal entries. (And let's not leave out that Zimmer herself was in a reelection battle at this point, too. Perhaps that was occupying her time and effort.)

Scarborough made a big deal about how Zimmer wouldn't accuse Christie of anything while his approval was at 60%. No shit. Zimmer still needed Christie for many things, not just the Sandy funds. In a government filled with his cronies and dupes, she had no chance. She'd have been dismissed outright, especially by a media that couldn't get enough of kissing Christie's pimpled ass.

But the George Washington Bridge scandal was an opening, and she took it. Christie dropped his hands, and she jabbed. Obviously, it was a political calculation. As a mayor trying to do good by her constituents, she had to figure that this might be the best chance to get Hoboken the funding it needs. And if it took down the asshole who tried to intimidate her, well, so much the better.

2. "If she thought he was corrupt, why did Zimmer praise Christie?" is mostly answered above. But since it's a couple of tweets that every Christie water carrier points to, let's give those the right context, shall we?

The first tweet from Zimmer, at the bottom, was a response to a tweet about her refusal to endorse the governor. The second tweet was a clarification. Both sent on the same day, they really don't paint a picture of someone who goes out of her way to praise someone. Instead, they are political ass-covering, a desire not to piss off a bully. But, again, she was running for mayor in the only area in the state where Christie didn't have majority support. It was a tightrope walk. But it's important to point out that, without the initial tweet about her, Zimmer would not have praised Christie at all.

3. As for the money that Hoboken got, the $70 million figure that the Christie administration has thrown around is almost all from individual and business flood insurance claims and have nothing to do with help for flood mitigation. Now, yes, there was no way that Hoboken was gonna get the $100 million it asked for out of a federal pot of $300 million, only $25 million of which was designated to go to municipalities (something else that ought to be looked at, since Christie spent nearly that much on tourism ads starring Chris Christie). Zimmer even acknowledges that.

Let's put this in a little more context. On the Jersey Shore, the government has spent millions of dollars on easements to get land from property owners in order to construct protective dunes. (And Christie has moved to eminent domain in order to dick over the people he hasn't dicked over yet.) This is not to mention the cost of the dunes themselves.

Is it irrational for one of the most damaged cities, a popular weekend and tourist destination, in New Jersey to expect the same kind of treatment? And a governor can always ask for more money from the federal government.

4. The question for people who don't believe Zimmer: What's the mayor's motivation in doing this? If she's lying, she's completely discredited and her political career is over. And since she's talked to the U.S. Attorney's office, she could even face criminal charges. So what's the motivation, if not to help her town and take out a corrupt public official?

5. As for Chris Christie? Here's a story, a parable, if you will, to end this post:

The Rude Pundit once knew a male prostitute who had left the business. For the fuck of it, let's call him "Clyde." Sometimes, when he was drunk or high, Clyde'd tell everyone stories of his time as a decently-paid escort. They were not glamorous gigolo shit, even though he wasn't street meat. They were disgusting, debasing experiences. One that stuck with all of us in that group was a tale of a regular client of Clyde's. The john was a well-known lawyer who was morbidly, hideously obese with a gut that might now be called Fordesque. In order to suck the john's dick, Clyde would have to position himself on his knees with the john's sweaty stomach resting on his head. It's an image the Rude Pundit has used before in this here blog. But there was one other thing about the lawyer. He was grateful that Clyde was willing to do it and do it well. The lawyer's wife wouldn't even try, and so he paid Clyde a lot extra. However, he was angry at all the escorts who either refused or tried and failed. He wanted to get them fired from the escort service. He wanted to lash out at anyone who didn't pleasure him the way he wanted to be pleasured. Clyde was just glad he was on the john's good side, which was kneeling at his fleshy altar, although, Clyde said, if there was ever a client he wanted to expose, it was this bastard.

(Note: Due to some confusion, the Rude Pundit wants to be clear: the john is not Chris Christie. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a parable. It would be news.)


Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Will Kick Christie's Ass

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Will Kick Christie's Ass:
The Rude Pundit buys Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's story of the threat of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie withholding Sandy relief money because she wouldn't push through a development project he wanted. He buys it not just because he thinks Chris Christie is a walking example of a politician engorged to popping with power, like a particularly ambitious tick, but because he knows Dawn Zimmer.

Oh, yeah, the Rude Pundit lived in that fair, drunk, crowded hamlet for a couple of years. This was well before Zimmer became mayor. And, while he isn't a friend by any stretch of that word, he would call himself an acquaintance, and he has had numerous conversations with her at various gatherings. He has met her husband and her kids. The last chat of any depth occurred as she was beginning her first run for mayor against Peter Cammarano, the choice of the Hoboken Democratic machine. The Rude Pundit remembers telling Zimmer how brave she was to try to break the stranglehold that old Hoboken had on the town's government.

See, Hoboken is made up partly of old school families, the Irish and Italians who lived there for years. They resent the new Hobokenites, the young professionals who moved there for cheap rent, an easy commute, and loads and loads of bars. Those young professionals ended up mating and starting families, transforming the town (although it still is filthy with Wall Street scum). Zimmer's run for mayor was seen as a way to get the town to move beyond its usual crony politics and into a new era. And, really, in the campaign, one of her biggest issues was parks - getting more park space for the families of Hoboken, which is actually relevant to her reaction to the Rockefeller Group's development desires.

Hell, the Rude Pundit was legit friends with one of Zimmer's campaign advisers, and he helped hand out fliers for her campaign one day (don't read too much into that - it was just something he did to help move things along so he could hit a bar with the adviser).

You might know the rest of the story by now. Cammarano won, barely. He was almost immediately arrested during a housecleaning sting of corrupt Jersey politicians who were fake-bribed to push development projects forward. And Zimmer, then City Council President, became mayor, which was affirmed by a special election in November 2009, the same time that Chris Christie became governor.

So the Rude Pundit's observed her up close and personally. He hasn't said more than a few words to Zimmer at various times since she became mayor, but she was reelected last year, on the same date as Christie's reelection. Her constituents genuinely like her, especially after her passionate advocacy for Hoboken after Superstorm Sandy drowned the place, with water in the streets for days and whole sections of the city were dark for months.

Here's what the Rude Pundit believes about Dawn Zimmer: She is as compassionate and honest as they come in the sordid world of Jersey politics. She is really friggin' smart, scary smart, so she would not have told her story unless she thought through the consequences, especially of talking to the U.S. Attorney. And she is tough. You don't know what she took on to win mayor in Hoboken. We're talking an entrenched political culture that thought it could destroy her, and she went right at them and, eventually, won. The old machine is fading fast, dying off and moving on. Zimmer kicked its ass. Christie underestimated her and thought he could roll over her. Instead, she's put on her ass-kicking shoes again.

And here's what the Rude Pundit thinks happened in that Shop-Rite parking lot on May 13, 2013: Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno more than likely took Zimmer aside to talk to her about her requests for a big piece of Sandy aid. Guadagno probably thought she was having a friendly conversation about The Way Things Work. Zimmer had to move the Rockefeller Group project forward in order to get Christie's blessing on the Sandy cash. Guadagno probably thought she was doing Zimmer a favor, schooling someone who perhaps was unclear on how the back scratching worked. You get that sense when Zimmer says Guadagno told her, "I know it’s not right – these things should not be connected – but they are."

Yesterday, Guadagno spoke out like she had been betrayed by an old pal. Of course her intent wasn't to threaten. Having sniffed Christie's farts for all these years, she believes that this is what's normal. But Zimmer's reaction is that of an honest politician. (It's probably why everyone around Christie is so shocked that people care about the George Washington Bridge scandal.)

By the way, one thing that needs to be added here is that Zimmer has insisted she didn't oppose the Rockefeller Group development. She just wanted to follow the laws and rules of Hoboken and the state. It seems the same cannot be said of Christie and Guadagno.

Tomorrow: "But...but...why didn't she come forward before?" The rude answer to that.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Still Fuck Your Shit Up ("Loving Your Enemies" Edition)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Still Fuck Your Shit Up ("Loving Your Enemies" Edition):
One of Martin Luther King's more famous non-"Dream" speeches is titled, "Loving Your Enemies." Originally delivered on November 17, 1957 at the Dexter Avenue Church in Montgomery, Alabama, the sermon shows King clearly tying the philosophy of nonviolence to Christian doctrine. King would deliver the sermon multiple times, but there is a revision that is even more ballsy than the first version. He preached it on March 7, 1961 at the Central Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan.

Between the last part of 1957 and the first part of 1961, King had been through a hell of a lot. He had been stabbed in the chest and nearly killed by a paranoid woman at a book signing in Harlem. He went to India to visit Gandhi's family and grave, speaking with students and politicians. He went on trial for tax fraud and was acquitted by the all-white jury. He gave up his pulpit in order to work full-time for the civil rights movement. That movement had grown even larger, with the lunch counter sit-ins, including one in Atlanta where King was arrested. And a cross was burned on the lawn of his Atlanta home.

Martin Luther King would fuck your shit up because, after all of that, he was still able to give the "Loving Your Enemies" speech. And, in 1961, it included this extra section, not usually in the popular versions of the sermon:

"[We] must learn to say to those reactionaries who have blocked the road to progress: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And so put us in jail, and we will go in with humble smiles on our faces, still loving you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that we are not fit morally, culturally, and otherwise for integration. And we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hours, and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And one day we will win our freedom, but not only will we win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process. And our victory will be a double victory. This seems to me the only answer and the only way to make our nation a new nation and our world a new world. Love is the absolute power."

This would become part of his sermons and speeches for the next few years, and, even as other civil rights organizations disagreed with him, sometimes violently, even as he was constantly arrested and threatened, he would continue to make nonviolent resistance the cornerstone of the movement.

When people try to pigeonhole King, when they try to use him to score cheap political points on the left and, especially, on the right, they forget that they themselves would be hard, hard pressed to live up to his radical example.


Note to Conservatives and the Media: Most of Us Still Don't Give a Shit About Benghazi

Note to Conservatives and the Media: Most of Us Still Don't Give a Shit About Benghazi:
It's getting sad, really. There's Lindsey Graham, in a familiar position, on his knees in front of Benghazi, whose got his pants down. Graham is desperately trying to get Benghazi hard, just sucking and jerking, trying to get Benghazi's flaccid cock to have some lift off. Over in the corner, Hillary Clinton's Presidential Ambition is getting bored. Sure, the Right-Wing Conspiracy locked her in this room with Benghazi, promising that he'll fuck HCPA in the ass at some point, but there's been nothing, even after months and months and months of one conservative lawmaker or pundit coming in here, with Darrell Issa massaging Benghazi's balls, Sean Hannity offering vigorous analingus and a prostate fingering, and Marco Rubio showing him Libyan porn (which Ted Cruz ended up jacking off to). The best Benghazi's managed is a half-hearted barely-semi-erection back at the end of 2012. Now Lindsey Graham has told everyone to step aside, and he's gonna show how you get a dick throbbing. HCPA just rolls her eyes, biding her time.

Dear, sweet Republicans and Fox "news," truly, really, speaking for the vast majority of the nation that doesn't watch Bill O'Reilly after dinner or listen to Rush Limbaugh while driving or have Glenn Beck on in the background while boning a blow-up doll, we don't give a happy monkey fuck about Benghazi. Beyond "Man, that was a bad thing that happened. Let's try to stop it from happening again," there is nothing there. No cover-up. No one had any heads up. There were a few tragic errors in judgment on security that, had they not been made, might have prevented shit from going south. That's it. If you read the actual Senate intelligence Committee report, what comes through is the dude who fucked up a great deal on boosting security was Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the attack on the consulate. He was asked repeatedly if he needed more military in Benghazi, and he declined. Sorry if that fucks up the fun narrative, but truth will do that every time.

Desperately trying to damage Hillary Clinton pre-2016, especially now that Macy's balloon Chris Christie has been punctured, conservatives are out in force, trying to pin the blame for the attack on Clinton, even though the report does nothing of the sort. Besides the completely nonsensical comparison between Christie's bridge problem and Benghazi, we have every other Republican with presidential ambitions jumping in to try to show their conspiracy-theory cred to the nutzoids in the base. Rubio promised more hearings. The always-high Rand Paul slurred something incomprehensible. Ted Cruz said obvious Ted Cruz-like shit.

Look, unless you've got evidence of a deliberate cover-up, unless you've got video of Hillary Clinton personally slitting Stevens' throat while Barack Obama fucks his ass as al-Qaeda militants ululate and fire their rifles into the air in praise, the vast majority of us in the United States, the ones who aren't the delusional GOP primary voters, simply don't care.

But, hell, that never stopped the GOP before.


Man Who Shot Movie Theater Texter Is Using "Stand Your Ground" Defense Because Of Course He Is

Man Who Shot Movie Theater Texter Is Using "Stand Your Ground" Defense Because Of Course He Is:
So, yeah, ha, ha, we'd all like to shoot the dumbasses who text in the dark of the movie theater, so it's easy, at first blush, to call 68-year old retired cop Curtis Reeves, Jr. "America's Greatest Hero" for gunning the shit out of Chad Oulson in Florida because the 43-year old apparently thought his convenience was more important than the enjoyment of the rest of the audience. Then you hear that this was during the previews, not during the showing of jingoistic war porn, Lone Survivor (because, again, of course that was the film they were seeing).

Then you hear that Reeves had already complained to the management about Oulson and then confronted Oulson when the younger man asked him if he had complained. And then Oulson threw his popcorn at Reeves. And then Reeves shot Oulson and his wife. Yeah, texting during a movie is bullshit. But this is about about how unsafe we are under the reign of concealed carry laws, which means that there is an implied threat everywhere you go, not about what inconsiderate dicks do in the dark. Being a douche is not a crime punishable by death.

Now, it being Florida and Florida being ground zero for the lie that is the Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to kill the fuck out of someone if he or she feels threatened, Reeves has indicated that he is going to claim the kind of ex post facto, pre-crime mindreading that forms the legal basis for the application of Stand Your Ground. That's also known as "getting away with murder."

See, Oulson beaning Reeves with popcorn meets the legal definition of assault. Reeves said he feared getting attacked. However, you shouldn't be allowed to fire a bullet into the chest of someone using popcorn as a weapon. But this is America, motherfucker. And that means we get to have lawyers actually say things like "[I]t becomes more complicated if Reeves considered it to be one step in an escalating response from Oulson. If he feared that Oulson would next come over the seats and physically attack him — and if Reeves felt he wouldn't be able to handle an attack from a younger man — jurors might consider deadly force reasonable."

What did big, threatening, strapping young Chad Oulson look like that a former cop thought he couldn't take? Surely, this was a muscular biker type, probably with tattoos and a do-rag, and his wife was some tramp-stamped meth whore. Who wouldn't be threatened by...what?

Oh. And he had a toddler daughter? And his wife loved him so much that she tried to block the shot, injuring her hand in the process?

So what happened is that a psychotic old pussy had a gun and a grudge against the world. Reeves was itching to shoot someone, and Oulson just got to be the one who finally took the bullet. The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll say it until you pry this keyboard from his cold, dead fingers: Only cops, cowards, and criminals carry concealed weapons. If you're not a cop (retired doesn't count), you're one of the other two.

The Pasco County Sheriff's department doesn't think that Reeves can claim Stand Your Ground as a defense. Surely, he could have walked away after taking popcorn in the kisser. But the point of Stand Your Ground is that you don't have to walk away, right? Even if you're the one who's wrong, you are allowed to just shoot someone rather than suck it up and walk away, like a fucking grown-up should in nearly every situation.

Don't worry, though. It's Florida. A jury of Reeves' peers will no doubt make the sensible decision, as they always do in these cases.


Freedom Industries Pisses on West Virginia While It's Down

Freedom Industries Pisses on West Virginia While It's Down:
Let us say, and why not, that it's the end of a bar fight and you've lost. You're laying in the garbage and filth in the alley next to the bar, the laughs of the dudes who just ganged up and stomped your pathetic ass into the concrete echoing off the walls. Goddamn, it hurts like a son of a bitch. While you don't think you'll die, you sure as shit know that something is broken. Maybe a rib from where you got sucker-kicked by that one fat fuck buddy of the guy you had the actual beef with. Maybe your own knuckles from the few licks you did get in before you were tackled. Maybe your nose from the head butt from the asshole who called you stupid names and you were too drunk just to walk away. You're laying there, gathering yourself, wondering if your phone is around or is someone who was watching is calling an ambulance. And then a stray dog pads up and lifts its leg to take a piss on you.

So it was that the douchiest-named company ever, Freedom Industries, pumped all of the stored chemical, the one that seeped into the Elk River, out of the facility upstream from Charleston, West Virginia. It took 17 tanker trucks and the order of the state's Department of Environmental Protection (which, despite all appearances, seems to actually exist) to get it all out. The trucks went 17 miles up the road to the town of Nitro, which is still on the river, to the Par Industrial Park, the home of Freedom subsidiary Poca Blending. And, upon inspection, the state DEP "issued five notices of violation, or NOVs, alleging improper storage of materials that could contaminate groundwater, failure to follow a DEP-issued stormwater permit, [and] failure to provide required pollution discharge monitoring reports."

And it cited Freedom for not having proper "secondary containment" at Poca for chemical leaks like the one that got into the Elk River. You got that? The place near the river where they sent the chemicals that had leaked into the river was in just as sorry-ass shape as the first place. An inspection report said, "Secondary containment within the facility was deteriorated or non-existent..The plan indicates that the building itself acts a secondary containment, but holes exist at floor level in the building's walls." Yes, it is shocking. Well, not the shape of the facility, but that an actual inspection occurred.

So far about a third or so of the affected people have been told to flush out their water pipes and then start drinking the tap again. Here's the map as of a few hours ago:

It pretty clearly shows that the rural areas of the region are going to be the last to get the high sign to start flushing their systems. And that's pretty clearly where the dirt-poorest people live, the West Virginians whose lives were significantly disrupted long-term by the more and more ironically-named Freedom Industries. Those would be the people who, in the 21st century in the United States, have to walk up to a local spring with containers in order to get water, people who couldn't even afford to get into fights at Wal-Mart over the bottled stuff.

By the way, the chemical that was spilled, MCMH, isn't really very dangerous, not compared to the coal slurry everywhere, filled with chemicals that clean the coal from the destructive strip-mining in Appalachia. And if that gets into the water in a significant amount, if a dam that's holding back a small lake of slurry water at Brushy Fork breaks, well, then all the bottled water in the world ain't gonna save people from dying.

Nitro just got the word that it can start flushing its water. Of course, that's from last week's contamination. The town still smells like sweet licorice.


Dickish Things, Big and Small, in the New Federal Budget Agreement

Dickish Things, Big and Small, in the New Federal Budget Agreement:
So House and Senate negotiators came up with an omnibus budget that will prevent the nation from looking out at a field of land mines and saying, "Hey, that looks like fun," for at least another year or two. House Republicans come away from the deal without any of their larger goals of, as they like to put it, "fucking shit up but good." No, they have to put the defunding Obamacare boner back in their pants and sit around with blue balls until Fantasy President Ted Cruz jacks them off.

But, hey, buck up there, sad conservatives. You still got a number of totally dickish things into the budget. For instance:

1. No, you didn't get new anti-choice regulations. But you did get to get to cut Title X family planning funding by $10 million because nothing says you care about fetuses like slashing money for poor women to get some of the only health care they might receive. And nothing says you want to end abortions like making sure fewer women have access to contraception. Oh, and a bonus $5 million is going to abstinence education programs that are complete and utter bullshit.

2. No, you didn't get to defund the Affordable Care Act. But you did cut $1 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund because evil Kathleen Sebelius might use it for Obamacare, and you got a $10 million cut to the Independent Payment Advisory Board of the ACA. That'd be the "death panels" that aren't actually death panels.

3. More fun stuff: The budget specifically prohibits any funds to be used to transfer prisoners from the worthless money pit and torture chamber known as the prison at Guantanamo Bay because the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, except, you know, when you need it to.

4. For pure churlish cuntery, you can't beat this provision: "A prohibition on funding for the Administration’s onerous 'light bulb' standard, which prevents incandescent bulbs from being manufactured or sold, despite a continued public desire for these products." The Rude Pundit isn't sure why the House Appropriations Committee report had to put "light bulb" in quotation marks. Does doing so make energy efficient bulbs fictional or "so-called"? In fact, the budget agreement proudly cuts the EPA by $143 million and prevents funds from being used on several greenhouse gas-reducing regulations. Guess the recent cold weather justified fucking the environment some more.

5. The GOP got to make a paranoid conspiracy into policy by preventing the closure of the State Department's chancery in Vatican City. The evil Obama - no, wait Bush administration wanted to save money by merging it with the embassy in Rome, which is pretty close to the Vatican, if the Rude Pundit's rudimentary ability to look at a fuckin' map is correct.

6. Apparently, Benghazi means shit except as a political bludgeon because the House GOP got a quarter-billion dollar cut in embassy security, maintenance, and construction. Oh, and no funds to UNESCO because fuck those kids.

Yes, yes, there's all kinds of dick moves here. No funding for President Obama's pre-K proposals. A freeze on the salary of the Vice-President and "senior political appointees." And shove your high-speed rail dreams up your ass.

But don't worry. About half of all the appropriations goes to defense spending. Contractors ain't gonna pay themselves.

Conservatives can go home and rest easy that they made life a little harder for women, the poor, the disempowered, and anyone who likes drinking water and breathing. All in a day's work.


A West Virginia Friend Talks to the Rude Pundit

A West Virginia Friend Talks to the Rude Pundit:
"The difference this time," said the Rude Pundit's old friend in Charleston, West Virginia, "is that it wasn't just poor people who were affected." She was referring to the chemical spill into the Elks River, just a mile and a half upstream from the water treatment plant for 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley, including the state capital of Charleston. "It was rich people. It was politicians," she continued. "I guarantee that when some legislator's wife couldn't bathe the kids, there was hell to pay." She's right, of course. The rural residents of West Virginia have had to deal endlessly with water filled with chemical leaks, run-off from coal processing, and general disgustingness, like mass fish kills caused by the aforementioned things. You just rarely heard about them because, you know, they're dirt poor and who the fuck cares because they're lucky to live in America.

Still, when you live in Charleston, you get used to a certain amount of poison. You get used to there always being some kind of odor. It's one of the things the Rude Pundit noticed when he visited there a few years ago. The friend said, "This time it was different. I smelled it when I first got up in the morning and it got powerful strong later on." She's a professor, by the way, with a PhD.

There's a whole lot of anger to go around. For instance, the storage facility that held the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (calm down there, tweakers. Different meth) did not have to be inspected by regulators for leaks because you don't want too many rules holding back the liberty of capitalists, man. It hasn't been inspected since 1991 because West Virginia law requires inspections only for chemical production facilities, not chemical storage joints. If that makes no sense to you, you hate the job creators.

And, for instance, the dude-bros who own the fucking retardedly-named "Freedom Industries" are fucking assholes and fucking criminals. The company, as it exists now, is only two weeks old. Yeah, three other companies merged at the end of 2013 to become the FI that we all know and love. Oh, and there's a chance that the storage facility was completely automated. So not only was it uninspected, but it was completely absent any human beings that might have smelled something funny. (Yeah, you still have to take off your shoes at an airport, but most of our chemical storage places are unguarded.)

To its credit, West Virginia American Water, which was a victim, surely, but has worked mightily to make it better (the Rude Pundit's friend said that she was "kind of proud" at how quickly the locals came up with a way to test for the chemical - yeah, there was no way to test for it before), kept the public well-informed, as did the governor. The fuckwits at Freedom? The president, a cockknob named Gary Southern, tried to end a press conference by saying that he had had "an extremely hard day." He was practically tackled by reporters and continued to bumblefuck his way through answers.

But, as the Rude Pundit's friend kept saying, this is really about people. She said, "The first night, we drove around, pretty much to Kentucky, before we found bottled water." We joked about bathing in San Pellegrino because we're bourgeois pigs. Then we talked about all the schools and the restaurants being closed. She continued, "People here are already living on the edge. Can you imagine what happens when they're not gonna get a paycheck they're counting on? Most people don't have a couple hundred dollars to just make it through until this ends." Of course, the downside of being constantly beaten down, as the poor of West Virginia have learned, is that "people here just figure this is another thing they have to pull together and get through" rather than blame the people who deserve the blame - the politicians from the statehouse to the Congress, the corporations big and small who are squeezing that beautiful landscape until it is just a dry sponge or a balled-up napkin.

The water will be flowing again soon. The flushing out of the system has begun. So, no doubt, will the effort to sweep it all under the muck-covered rug. Although, like after the BP spill, someone's gonna have to pay people and businesses for all the money that was lost.

The one upside to the whole mess? "On the day we got word that we shouldn't cook with the water, I had already made some butternut squash soup," said the Rude Pundit's friend. "It was a really delicious batch. Next time I cook it, I'm gonna use some star anise because the licorice taste of the water gave the soup this great flavor." Now that's a glass half-full view. Well, half-full with toxic water.


Hey, Anti-Choicers: By Your Own Logic, You're Paying for Abortions in Israel

Hey, Anti-Choicers: By Your Own Logic, You're Paying for Abortions in Israel:
You might have heard over the Christian holiday season that the great and noble and never-wrong-no-matter-what nation of Israel decided to pay for all abortions approved by a government medical council (of two doctors and a social worker, one of which must be a woman) for all women between the ages of 20 and 40. They can get those abortions for any reason: health, financial, inconvenience to a marriage.

Toss that around in your noggin for a moment. One of the things that gets anti-choice and/or evangelical nutbags all frothing at the mouth is the idea that a single penny of government money might, in some minuscule way, be used to make abortion more accessible. Right now, a House committee is considering the stupidly-named "No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act." You may as well name your committee "The He-Man Woman Haters Club," Rep. Trent Franks. The purpose of the bill is to say that Affordable Care Act funds cannot be used on any insurance plan that includes abortion coverage, even if that coverage has to be purchased as a separate rider and no Obamacare subsidies are used on it, because apparently saving money in one place makes buying abortion coverage easier. (While we're focused on just this aspect of it, it's actually a pretty savage piece of legislation.)

This is how the anti-choice right frames part of the abortion debate. It's also used in the backwards "religious liberty" cases where, like, those fuckin' asshole nuns don't want to even sign a paper that excludes them from needing to provide contraception coverage because somehow Satan will burn off their fingers. (Note: as far as the Rude Pundit knows, this is the only way the nuns are fuckin' assholes. They do run a nursing home, so, you know, kudos.) It's what's at stake in the Hobby Lobby case against Obamacare. They have their religion shoved up their asses, so they shouldn't have to spend a single penny making sure their employees don't have babies (which cost a hell of a lot more than a morning after pill). In other words, you should have to insert their Jesus-shaped dildo if you work for them.

Which brings us back to Israel, the land that has to be Jewy and free for the Messiah to come back and rapture the shit out of us, something evangelicals, the vast majority of whom are anti-choice, want to happen because...umm...orgies in Heaven? Dunno. Anyways...

Currently, the United States provides about $3 billion a year to Israel in foreign aid. By anti-choicers' "logic," that aid, which is made up of U.S. tax dollars provided by you and Ted Cruz and the heads of every anti-choice group, frees up Israel to pay for elective abortions. You got it? You are helping pay for abortions for Israel, for a policy supported by Bibi Netanyahu and the Knesset. Sure, there's laws that prevent any money being used for abortions, but that's the rule for Obamacare, too.

Oh, wait. There's this, too, in Israel: "Women also do not need the consent of any male, including the father of the child, nor do minors need the consent of parents or guardians. Israeli medical coverage offers an array of free testing for genetic and congenital birth defects" which can lead to more abortions.

The Rude Pundit is totally cool with that. It's a sane and sound public policy. It treats women as subjects, able to make decisions on their own, and not objects, merely to be acted upon. Is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council cool with it? Others? Who knows? They've clammed up or made milquetoast statements about working to end abortion in Israel.

But this isn't about Israel's policy. It's about your money, American money, Lindsey Graham and Steve King. It's a good thing that "logic" to conservatives is like a third nipple on a man: totally unnecessary and pretty ugly.


Random Observations on Chris Christie's Epically Long Press Conference

Random Observations on Chris Christie's Epically Long Press Conference:
1. Just for shits and giggles, let's take Christie at his word at his press conference answering questions about his staff's involvement in limiting access to the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey. Let's believe everything he said (even though he said he had just heard about the scandal at 8:50 the previous morning and insisted twice that he had lost sleep over two nights which, unless he's living some kind of Groundhog's Day, isn't possible unless he knew that something was going to break, in which case his whole press conference was a lie, but, still, let's pretend, shall we?).

Even looking at what he said in the most generous light possible, what we're left with is a governor who, by his own admission, has surrounded himself with people who are dishonest, who prefers to remain ignorant about problems, who is more concerned with personal betrayal and hurt feelings than public consequences, and who is out of touch with the day-to-day operations of his own government. In other words, he's all bluster and no substance, an incompetent boob. In otherer words, he reached under his gut, took out his tiny penis, and fucked himself in front of the press. In otherest words, the round man waved bye-bye to the Oval Office.

2. But what he said was actually a pretty disturbing portrait of rampant narcissism, as is Christie's way. There was Christie presenting himself as the poor fool, the victim of a lying woman (with its underlying implication of "C'mon, everyone. Bitches be crazy"). He said of Bridget Kelley, "I've terminated her employment because she lied to me." And for no other reason. That's fucked up right there. The sin wasn't mucking up the traffic of the busiest bridge in the United States for some phantom political game. It wasn't delaying ambulances, police, and school buses. No, it was that she lied to Sultan Christie.

Is that too far? Look at the transcript. No less than a half dozen times does Christie refer to Kelly's "lies." And Christie said he didn't ask Kelly why she conspired with David Wildstein to screw the entry lanes to the GWB from Fort Lee because she might be called to testify before a legislative committee? No, fuck that. Again, taking him at his word, you don't ask because you don't want to know.

3. Advice to Chris Christie: When there's ample video evidence, recorded proudly by your own staff, of you being a bully, don't say, "I am not a bully."

4. Advice to Chris Christie, Part 2: Stop giving civics lessons in your press conferences. Yeah, we fuckin' get it. "Politics ain't bean bag" or however the fuck you wanna put it. Really, fucko? We delicate pussies would have never figured that out without you informing us. Oh, and without watching TV news once during our lives.

5. Advice to Chris Christie, Part 3: Yeah, you may have 65,000 state employees. But you don't have that many in your own office. So just stop equating your deputy chief of staff with the poor schlub inputting mailed-in tax forms in some basement office in Newark. You know what Kelly's job was. Or see #1.

6. Advice to Chris Christie, Part 4: In general, stop pretending you don't know people. Port Authority official Wildstein? Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee? Dude, Sokolich backed you on a couple of things. He's one of those Democrats you always tout as making you so glori-fucking-fied bipartisan. There's a photo of you with him. He was elected and reelected at the same time as you. You look like the liar you are when you say such things.

7. And what the fuck exactly is the atmosphere in the governor's office if your minions feel free to do such fuckery?

8. What the Rude Pundit didn't hear amid the apologies and the "Buck stops with me, but, you know, I was lied to, but, sure, the buck stops with me, even though, hey, I was lied to" was Christie saying that anyone should be investigated for possible criminal charges, like misuse of government funds, for starters. We already know what David Wildstein will do under oath: take the Fifth so he doesn't, well, shit, incriminate himself. Someone's gonna be offered immunity and a deal, which leads to...

9. Yesterday, the Rude Pundit said what he thought happened to make the bridge debacle possible. But he's calling "bullshit" on the whole press conference. He's calling "bullshit" on Christie's whole internal investigation, which looks like it'll have the same momentum as OJ Simpson looking for the "real" killers. It was an act of political preservation, delivered with braggadocio and pomposity ("Look how good I am at apologizing"). As such, it'll fool the idiots and the simpering reporters who laughed at Christie's exasperated jokes.

But, somewhere not so very far away, Hillary Clinton just started shifting strategy to how she'll defeat Rand Paul in the general.


Adios, Chris Christie. Don't Let the Toll Gate Hit You On the Way Out

Adios, Chris Christie. Don't Let the Toll Gate Hit You On the Way Out:
Here's how it probably went down:

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie heard that Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich wasn't going to endorse him for reelection as governor in 2013, the first thing he did was swallow the piece of calzone that he was chewing as Christie is always testing just how far the stomach band will stretch. Then he got pissed. "That fucker," he probably said to his napkin-holding aides, "should be kissing my pimpled ass endlessly for shitcanning the Trans-Hudson tunnel." That would be the new passenger train tunnel in Secaucus that would have alleviated a great deal of the traffic on the Hudson River crossings, especially the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, the cost of which Christie totally lied about in order to justify its cancellation. Less traffic means less traffic tickets in places like Fort Lee, where the GWB, as we sometimes call it up here, sits on the Jersey side. Less traffic means less people stopping in the stores of Fort Lee. A new tunnel means less money going to Fort Lee from the Port Authority, which operates the tunnels and bridges, because a pizza pie only slices so many ways.

An endorsement from a strong Democratic mayor would have been the icing on the presidential ambition cake. There was never any doubt Christie would win against Democrat Barbara Buono. And there really wasn't any doubt that he would win in Fort Lee and Bergen County. But girth never lies: Christie wanted more than he needed. "Sokolich owes me. Big time," Christie probably said. "Someone should teach the cocksucker a lesson."

Now that may have been all Christie had to say to send his aides into action. Whatever happened next may have just been implied, a wink to get creative on Sokolich's ass. Or he may very well have said, "Let's block some lanes heading to the GWB on the first day of school and see how he likes that." However it happened, however two of the three local lanes leading to the toll booths on the GWB from Fort Lee got blocked, it was a waste of time, slowed commutes down by hours, and fucked up traffic for days.

And now we know for sure that one of Christie's closest aides, the almost-comically specific named Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote an email to David Wildstein, a crony at the Port Authority, with the almost-comically thuggish command, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein responded, "Got it." That means a plan was in place to punish Sokolich and the schoolchildren of North Jersey because Wildstein knew exactly what to do.

Notice two things in that exchange. First, they were writing from their personal email accounts. That means they thought they could keep it secret. Second, the date is August 13. School wasn't starting until three weeks later. That means they targeted a time when it would dick over the most people in the most abusive way possible.

Other fun highlights in the documents that Wildstein turned over ahead of an appearance before the legislative committee investigating what can legitimately be called "Bridgegate" include Kelly texting Wildstein while standing in line at a wake, Wildstein mocking a pleading Mayor Sokolich with "Is it wrong that I am smiling?", Sokolich wanting to know what's up because he doesn't want to believe the lane closures are a "punishment" but can come up with no other reason, Kelly dismissing the kids stuck on school buses with "They are the children of Buono voters" (which was dead wrong), Wildstein threatening to retaliate against the New York Port Authority for opening the lanes on their own, and a worried Wildstein emailing with a former Christie deputy (and current state GOP chair) Bill Stepien where Stepien calls Sokolich an "idiot."

There's some argument going on about how badly this affects Christie's presidential chances. While we'll know more after tomorrow, the Rude Pundit is currently in the "fucked to death" camp. Christie lied when he said that no one in his office was aware of what was going on. The best he's got there is a plea of ignorance, although, you know, it totally fits with Christie the Fat Bully image.

More importantly, Christie is already seen as anything from suspicious to traitorous by the conservative nutzoid wing of the Republican Party. One thing about the Tea Party is that they despise when some centralized authority tries to control them. That goes for the president and the states, but it also goes for governors and towns. When Rand Paul runs his first ad about Christie, it'll include Bridgegate and it'll include this fun little time bomb: Christie's threat to use eminent domain to take beachfront property in order to build dunes on the Jersey Shore. You wanna tell the teabaggers you don't care about their property rights because of environmental issues? Good fuckin' luck with that.

Of course, the other not-so-secret secret up here is that Chris Christie is a shitty governor, not the undulating savior of the GOP. He is a narcissistic blob, all about the aggrandizement of Chris Christie, everyone else be damned. He got reelected in a landslide party because of Sandy and partly because the Democratic Party surrendered the governor's race and all but abandoned Barbara Buono.

Christie is a rage-filled, vengeance-seeking caricature of a politician from a school so old that it's laughable to think that someone so Boss Tweed-esque could still exist. Imagine Hillary Clinton putting out an ad about schoolkids stuck on buses and sick people stuck in ambulances. It's over.

So are we done with this mad hippo? Can we finally shoot him with tranq darts and ship him to his inevitable Fox "news" show?


Australia Would Like You To Shove Your Climate Change Denial Right Up Your Ignorant Arse

Australia Would Like You To Shove Your Climate Change Denial Up Your Ignorant Arse:
Hey, wow, look at that. It's cold outside in the United States. So cold that if you haven't dried properly after showering and getting dressed, your scrotum will freeze to your thigh. Yeah, it's really fucking cold, as it will be for another day. What that means in the grand scheme of things is that everyone you know will write something clever on Twitter, like "Polar vortex? I thought that was Sarah Palin's vagina;" they'll get on Instagram and post photos of ice doing icy things; and another bunch of fucknuts take to Facebook to declare that the fact that they had to wear longjohns is proof that "global warming" is a hoax or some such shit.

You can't do anything about the first two groups. But that last one? Tell 'em that it's called "global" because it means the entire motherfucking globe. And then tell 'em to suck on a kangaroo's sweaty dong:

Most Americans need to be told that that's Australia and that the temperatures listed there are in Celsius. That means the 50 degrees C is 122 degrees here. Temperature, not heat index or whatever they wanna make up to make it seem hotter or colder. It's so fucking hot in Australia that they had to come up with new colors for the map. It's so fucking hot in Australia that you can't use your iPhone. Because it's too fucking hot.

2013 was the hottest year on record, kicking the ass of the old record, which was 20-fucking-12. Not only that, but the temperatures in Australia are hotter than have ever been recorded there. And unlike our punk-ass two days of arctic cold here, the heat wave in Australia, especially in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, has lasted since December 27. That's two weeks of heat that'll singe off a koala's dick. (First person who makes a "shrimp on the barbie" joke gets a punch in the goolies.)

This is not to mention the fires everywhere. And the dead bats. It's pretty much Armageddon down under.

So today, when your co-worker or your aunt tries to tell you about how stupid climate change is or forwards you some ludicrous denialist email from World Net Daily or whatever, send 'em some wallaby jerky and tell 'em they didn't even use an oven to make it. Then maybe explain that a single weather event demonstrates nothing. But years of heat are a pattern. And patterns...you know what? Fuck it. Just throw some hot water on them and ask them if they feel better now.

(Note: This could also have been about Argentina.)


Frank Luntz Gives a Blow Job

Frank Luntz Gives a Blow Job:
Republican strategist and linguistic manipulator Frank Luntz was still sad as he sat across from the Rude Pundit in a suite at the Soho House in New York City. As Luntz revealed in an interview with Slate's Molly Ball, he, the master of political sloganeering and road-tester of phrases like "death tax," the man who got filthy rich by making the vicious savagery of right-wing policies sound like they were wisdom from Grandpa instead of decadent exploitations of fear and ignorance by his even wealthier benefactors, thinks politics has made people too divided.

And he blames the most obvious person. No, you cruel bastards. Not himself, but the true enemy, Barack Obama. Frank Luntz, the man who had ruined the electorate and set them at each other's throats, said that "Obama had ruined the electorate, set them at each other's throats, and there was no way to turn back." He described the rabble as beyond his ability to twist them. Of American voters, the man who imposed opinions on the nation said, "They want to impose their opinions rather than express them...And they're picking up their leads from here in Washington."

He looked doughy and sloe-eyed at the Rude Pundit, exhaustedly slurring, "The people are thinking now. They are not being told what to think. They want...stuff. They want...I don't know how to put it."

"A return on their investment?" the Rude Pundit offered.

"That's a polite way of putting it," Luntz responded. "I'd say they were 'takers.'"

"Of course you would."

Luntz repeated what he had told Ball, "You should not expect a handout...You should not even expect a safety net. When my house burns down, I should not go to the government to rebuild it. I should have the savings, and if I don't, my neighbors should pitch in for me, because I would do that for them."

"Neighbors don't invest in each other, Frankie. They pay taxes. They invest in Uncle Sam. And sometimes they need to cash that in," said the Rude Pundit. "What the hell is government except an organized way for a state or city or even a nation of neighbors to pitch in?"

"Fuck you." Luntz began to weep, big, heaving weeps that jostled his shoulders and made his man-boobs jiggle. "It's all lost."

The Rude Pundit stood up and put his finger on Luntz's chin. "You know what'll make you feel better? Lemme put my dick in your mouth."

Luntz did not turn away, but he looked concerned. "What...that's just for you."

"No, it's what you need."

"I'm not saying 'no.' I just don't follow."

The Rude Pundit sighed at having to explain the obvious. "Look, Frankie boy, you're used to using that mouth of your to satiate the animal urges of conservatives. Some piggish Republican wants to cut food stamps so that he can lower taxes on rich fucks. You tell him to start calling the U.S. a 'Food Stamp Nation' and shame the needy. When they want to cut or privatize Medicare or Social Security, you say, 'Strengthen and save.' They put out their hard dicks and you go down on 'em until they feel good. You're a cocksucker, my friend, and a gleeful swallower. What other purpose do you have in this world. So?" The Rude Pundit gestured down. "If you're good at something, why stop?"

Luntz took a moment, of course. A man who has plummeted so far in his own estimation has to realize who he is at some point. The Rude Pundit thought he saw a hint of a smile on Frank Luntz's face as he reached for the zipper.

Yeah, Frank Luntz, who owns two mansions and has an apartment in New York City, who has a million dollar sneaker collection, may be having an existential crisis, but he can still suck a dick like a Hoover set on deep pile. The guy'll be just fine.