According to the NRA, We're Screwed...Right Now

That ominous image up there is the cover of this month's NRA magazine. The magazine is called America's First Freedom, which, if it's referring to owning guns, is just wrong because of the word "second" in the Second Amendment. The article is "The Most Dangerous 700 Days America Has Ever Faced."

You might think, "Well, surely that's referring to a period of time right after we declared independence and fought the Revolutionary War." Or perhaps, "Oh, of course, it's an article about the most violent part of the Civil War." Or "Indeed, the time right after Pearl Harbor was quite trying for our nation." Maybe even "Gosh, I knew things were bad after 9/11, but I didn't realize it was the most dangerous time." Yes, yes, you might try each of those, but, fuck you, you unarmed traitor. That shit is happening now.

Those 700 days (give or take) encompass the last two years of President Barack Obama's term in office post-2014 midterms. Let the motherfucker with the combover of doom, Wayne LaPierre, lay it on the line for you: "If Obama and his allies succeed in their 'transformation' over the next two years, the America we know and love may cease to exist." Why? Because he's gonna take away the guns. The guns, goddamnit. Obama's coming after them, even though, as LaPierre admits, in the last six years, "the Second Amendment is the only freedom that has expanded while others have retreated."

Don't you get it? Obama's been playing the long game. He put on hold all his devious machinations to walk into your home and rip the rifle from you cold, dead hand. Sure, he's never actually talked about doing that or done anything at all other than suggest a few minor regulations that wouldn't affect the vast majority of gun owners. And, even though the NRA was sure that, right after his reelection, Obama was going to unleash the goons, no goons have appeared. But, one supposes, he was waiting until after he lost huge in the midterms. He has no more elections to worry about, they say. So, fuck it, let's get the gun melter going 24/7.

Of course, the whole thing is just a ploy to get you to send more hard-earned money to the NRA (motto: "LaPierre's Rogaine expenses are driving us into the ground"). It even gives you a pat on the back, faithful NRA members: "In the end, we're the only ones on which freedom can truly count." Which, if you think about the implications of the sentence, is a pretty fuckin' scary thing to say.

"Over the next 700 days, Barack Obama and his gun-hating, freedom-fearing, big-government allies can make profound, toxic, and permanent changes to our country," LaPierre concludes with absolutely no evidence at all (seriously, there's not one fact against Obama in the entire article).

But give the NRA your cash, you dumb yokels, you credulous hicks. It's not like you will actually take a few minutes to see who the liars are.


In Brief: No, Lindsey Graham, You Can't Marry Multiple Partners

Jesus Christ, the Rude Pundit is sick and tired of this lame fucking argument against same-sex marriage. It's been around for years and trotted every fucking time someone on the right needs to make some faux profound point about allowing two dudes or two chicks to marry. In its most recent form, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch to weigh in on the issue at her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

After pointing out that the nation has been "rasslin'" with this issue (make your own Lindsey Graham rasslin' joke), he said, "If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, it violates the constitution for a state to try to limit marriage between a man and a woman, that’s clearly the law of the land unless there’s a constitutional amendment to change it, what legal rationale will be in play that would prohibit polygamy?" Then he rephrased the question: "What’s the legal difference between a ban on same-sex marriage being unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional? Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the constitution and the other not?"

While Lynch punted on it, let the Rude Pundit tell you exactly and easily why it's a stupid-ass rhetorical device that doesn't deserve any rasslin' at all.

You tell people they have rights protected and guaranteed by the Constitution. The way that's supposed to work is that rights are for all adults (yes, there are narrow exceptions, but those have to do with actions that strip one of rights that one did actually have). Limitations on rights have to be for everyone or you are not equally applying the law, which you're supposed to do. If you allow two consenting adults to get married and receive benefits from the government for marriage, then you fucking need to let any two consenting adults get married. This is why courts have almost all said, "Yeah, you don't have any fucking reason to stop those two guys from gettin' hitched. So let 'em."

Now, as for polygamy (or bestiality or whatever other kink someone wants to throw in), the law is clear: No one can engage in it. A man can't marry two or more women; a woman can't marry two or more women; etc. It doesn't matter if the parties involved are gay or straight or bi. If you said that only left-handed people can have polygamous marriages and no one else could (not righties or the ambidextrous), then that'd be using the law to discriminate. Nobody can get polygamied (or whatever the word is).

That is equal application of the law. It's applied universally. You can't marry your dog. You can't marry a baby. You can't marry a toaster. Nobody can, legally.

Use that the next time some grandstanding drama queen wants to pretend she has something important to say.

Late Post Today

The Rude Pundit has a bunch of goons from O.G.R.E. he's got to take down.

Back later with more well-lubed rudeness.


Gov. Bobby Jindal Is Going to Destroy Louisiana's Higher Education System Rather Than Raise Taxes

Noted Muslim hater and a man whose Adam's apple looks like a ferret is trying to escape his neck, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, is an ambitious politician. It's likely he is going to run for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, a position whose reward will be to lose to Hillary Clinton in the general election. Because he is so ambitious, like an enthusiastic bichon frise attempting to fuck a Great Dane, he doesn't want to do anything to piss off Republican primary voters. Unfortunately for his state, that means not actually doing things that might make Louisiana less an exotic shithole only good for oil and the occasional New Orleans convention, like, say, by raising income taxes on the wealthy in order to prevent huge cuts to the state's colleges and universities, as well as its health care.

Yeah, you see, the state that lives by the price of a barrel of oil dies by the price of a barrel of oil. Says the state legislature's chief economist, "For every dollar the price of oil per barrel drops, Louisiana loses about $11 million in state revenue." So while the rest of us are giddy about paying below $2.00 for a gallon of gas and dicking over the climate some more, Louisiana is suffering mightily, with budget shortfall after budget shortfall. That means that higher education, already gutted since 2008 with over $600 million in cuts when the state was flush with oil cash, faces at least another $300 million in cuts in a single year, although it will probably be a great deal more. This will include one of the Jindal's own initiatives, the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, which directed funding to schools in areas where there was a demand for workers.

In other words, Louisiana's colleges and universities are fucked. Hard. How hard? Foam finger? Rubber dildo? Try cold and spiky steel, motherfuckers. There's gonna be at least a $1.4 billion hole in the budget. For schools, that means "massive layoffs," according to Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy (wait, really? ok...). The cuts would "gut our universities and community colleges like a fish," he continued, colorfully.

The president of one University of Louisiana campus said, "Some institutions would have a hard time surviving; others would survive, but be greatly diminished." Republican State Senator Conrad Appel, who chairs the Education Committe, said that he is hopeful the cuts won't be that bad, but "It's probably impossible to think we could sustain education as we know it today." Louisiana State University's president said that "many of Louisiana’s colleges would be forced to declare 'financial exigency,' the equivalent of campus bankruptcy." At LSU's main campus, the cuts would mean the school "would have to stop the hiring of more than 100 new faculty members and lay off another 200." And the ripple effects on the economy of Baton Rouge and the state would make that unlubed steel spike seem like a pleasant nooner in comparison to what comes next.

This is not to mention the cuts to the Department of Health and Hospitals: "Health care services had been told they would have to absorb a $250 million hit, which could balloon to more than twice that size because Louisiana would no longer be able to put up the dollars required to attract certain types of federal funding." Yeah, that actually translates to around $700 million, and the people that will be hit hardest will, of course, be people on Medicaid.

Some legislators have proposed rolling back tax breaks for businesses. Of course, Jindal has said that no way, no how will he do anything that even has a whiff of eau de tax hike. Currently, Louisiana has one of the lower tax burdens on income and businesses. It does, however, have one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, so it's totally cool to bleed the poors, the ones whose health care is about to be cut. But ask anyone else to step up? Oh, fuck that.

What is it with these governors who are breaking their states having such high profiles in the nation? Why would anyone vote for Chris Christie or Bobby Jindal when they have recklessly managed their own homes? If you were hiring someone at Burger King and you knew an applicant had burned down a McDonald's and given all the customers food poisoning, would you just say, "Oh, fuck it. I like his personality"? The only time we should be hearing about Jindal is how he's shut the fuck up about his principles and saved his state.

Fuckin' Jindal, though, is off giving speeches. He's in London, lecturing Muslims on how to act towards other Muslims and fantasizing about "no-go zones" in different cities. He's at a prayer rally, blathering about the need for a "spiritual revival" and how he became Christian because he saw a movie where Jesus was crucified (fuck that fucking book, man). After once saying that the Republicans shouldn't be "the stupid party," Jindal is counting on everyone else being completely dumb. And if they aren't already, he'll do what he can to make sure they are.


Political Correctness Is Not What You Think It Is

The Rude Pundit is going to talk about Jonathan Chait's article on political correctness and speech in New York magazine. It is an alternately fascinating and frustrating piece, but you should totally read it before reading commentary on it because that's what you fucking do if you don't wanna seem dumb when talking about something. So go do that...Done? Yeah, it's kind of long and makes the same point repeatedly, but pretty interesting. No? Well, maybe this will be.

Let's get a couple of things out of the way here: The Rude Pundit believes that you are not allowed to go through this life without being offended, probably on a daily basis. Of course, this comes from a white male; of course, this is a type of mansplaining (a term that Chait finds useless, but that the Rude Pundit thinks is hilariously accurate). So what? Read the white guy if you want, even at risk of being offended. Or click over to something else. That's how much power we both have right now in this discursive space.

The Rude Pundit thinks the notion of microaggressions is bullshit. Most are either blatantly offensive, which means "micro" diminishes them and how seriously they need to be dealt with, or they are meaningless. (Yeah, yeah, whitesplaining/mansplaining.) He thinks speech codes are oppressive and that it is almost always wrong to fire someone for what they write or what they speak because the rules are so arbitrary and change from place to place. He thinks that the way to assure that hate continues is to attempt to silence hatred and drive it underground. He wants it out in the open, where everyone can confront it and deal with it.

It's how you deal with offense on a personal basis that counts. The Rude Pundit despises Rush Limbaugh and finds much of what the anthropomorphic white balloon says offensive, so he has never bought a Snapple product because Limbaugh was key to making the brand popular when it first started. He had beer bottles thrown at him by dudes yelling, "Faggot" in the parking lot of the gay bar in Louisiana where he'd go dancing. He walked past the assholes and had a great time because fuck those repressed shitheels. And, when someone he despised came to speak at his campus, he always went to listen rather than protest because he wanted to see the other side for himself. (Of course, not being a woman or non-white, the Rude Pundit doesn't want to presume how he would handle the accretion of slights, insults, and bullshit. But he's also talking about something bigger than individual reactions.)

However, here's what the Rude Pundit puts on every syllabus for every class he teaches: "As we will be dealing with contemporary literature and subject matter, some of the text selections will contain potentially offensive and disturbing language, imagery, and subjects. Additionally, class discussions will involve controversial topics, including religion and politics. Should you have a problem with this sort of material, you should find another class." He was doing this long, long before "trigger warnings" became a thing because, frankly, it was just easier to be up front than deal with an upset student later in the semester. Honestly, though, college is a place where you should be offended, where your beliefs should be challenged, where you should have to defend and strengthen your viewpoint or abandon it. But you should also be dealt with fairly by others, especially professors.

Chait locates much of the debate over political correctness on college campuses (although we don't really use the term "politically correct" much anymore). And while the Rude Pundit agrees that many of the examples he cites are frustrating and, perhaps, oppressive, often the whole story has a great deal more to it. For instance, Chait cites one case: "UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many 'perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.'" The problem there is that the 2013 protest was over more than just grammar. Rather, the grammar incident (on its own, sorry, bullshit) was a camel back-breaker for graduate students.

Chait also leaves out that much of the debate over political correctness comes straight out of the war over multiculturalism in college curricula, especially in the general education courses that all students take. The opening up of education to include learning about many, many more people of color and women seems today a no-brainer. But in the late 1980s, it was explosive. Here, the Rude Pundit was clearly and always on the side of the multiculturalists - and he's been in the thick of the debate. He remembers looking an elderly Shakespeare scholar in the eyes during a discussion over changing course requirements and saying, "No, students don't need to take a Shakespeare course" as the old professor's face turned several shades of frightening red. The notion that there was one and only one Eurocentric way to become an educated person is now seen as ridiculous and outdated by most in academia, and, indeed, by most people outside who think about this stuff (yes, of course, there is a conservative guard that keeps a flame lit to the Dead White Male canon).

Inside and outside the college campus, one reason why people dig in and call out every instance of potential offense is that it's a way to have some power in a time when power is being consolidated by fewer and fewer members of society. You might not be able to vote some sexist asshole out of office because you can't afford a Super PAC, but if, say, Todd Akin says something about "legitimate rape," you can make his life a living hell, for good reason. Speech in this way is an equalizer. Hashtag advocacy may seem facile, but its potency cannot be denied. And if you have carved out a space where your voice matters, like the classroom or a Facebook group (one of which Chait describes), then you are going to defend that, sometimes even to excess. The solution would be more power in general going to a more diverse and larger group of people, in our politics, our business, our lives.

And you cannot leave out that much of what Chait sees as the upsurge in political correctness policing on the left has been instigated by the overwhelming tide of blatant, horrific, and threatening misogyny, racism, and homophobia on the internet. If you are a woman online who routinely is told how she is going to be raped and gutted because she dared to say she didn't like a video game, then you might be a little more attuned to where such sentiments spring from in your daily life. You might retrench as a reaction to the attacks and call out the hatred, and sometimes that will tilt to excess by its very nature.

Speech is a tricky damn thing. It's a dangerous thing, too, as the Charlie Hebdo staff learned. What offends you may be perfectly innocuous to someone else. Who gets to win that? The Rude Pundit thinks word-policing is offensive. You might think certain words are offensive. If you think it's okay to ban a play on campus because it might offend, say, Native Americans (as in one case Chait cites), are you cool with banning a movie because it offends Christians (which is something the Rude Pundit was involved in fighting)? If you think someone should get away with ripping up a graphic anti-abortion sign she took out of the hands of a protester because it triggered something in her, then are you cool with someone tearing down your pro-choice sign because that person was triggered by past events? Chait limits the circular firing squad of speech to the left, but it goes across all lines. And it gets back to the Rude Pundit's first point: You cannot go through this life without being offended. He'll add: And through being offended, we often learn.

The point is that both get to keep speaking. It's when silencing happens that everyone loses. How do you know who the real assholes are if they just keep it to themselves?

(Note: There's a lot of shit the Rude Pundit didn't cover in here. There will probably be updates. The best outright rejoinder to Chait comes from Angus Johnson.)


Blizzard Blogging: Sarah Palin Had to Be Totally High

As the Rude Pundit awaits the Snowpocalyptic Blizzkrieg (aka "Weather Channel Orgasm"), he figures this is the best time to approach some low-hanging fruit and just slap it right off the tree. Thankfully, such an easy target appeared like a bottle-brunette beacon when Sarah Palin spoke this past weekend at stupidly-named Iowa Freedom Summit. That sounds like an event where you get liberated from wheat or something, but it's actually a day of speeches by conservatives who want to suckle some teabags and get a blessing from nutzoid immigrant hater Rep. Steve King. Every 2016 loser from Donald Trump to Chris Christie gave a speech to the slavering white hordes who beg to be told their hatred and ignorance are virtues.

So, of course, the event climaxed with a speech from former Vice Presidential candidate and one-time demi-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. And it was a beautiful thing because, while the speech was a barely coherent blurble of half-assed aphorisms and self-aggrandizement early on, it became something akin to a Klonopin-induced stream of consciousness ramble once her teleprompter stopped working. It was postmodern poetry at its most experimental, and, frankly, it wouldn't have been surprising if Palin had just stood there and cawed like a crow for ten minutes.

Check out some of this:

About posting a photo of her son, Trig, standing on their family dog: "These pictures, it was just scandalous that I would show our big, strapping Lab letting my little boy use her as a stepping stool to get to reach the kitchen sink. I took a picture and said, 'This is what turning a stumbling block into a stepping stone is about.' Who would have thought it would have become a scandal? They just went loco. They went absolutely crazy. This rest of the tinderbox of the world, everything that is going on in it, this was the most outrageous thing that had happened. Barking their tired old death threats against us. Get in line, weasels."

She went on (no, really, and at this point, Palin has gotten more mileage out of exploiting the photo than PETA, the Humane Society, and dog fetishists combined), "Yeah, they are howling to the press, 'Cruelty to animals, Sarah Palin.' Which surprised me, considering what it does, what Joni Ernst does to the those hogs. Not to mention what the President admitted doing to those innocent puppies...The media crucified us." She's like Jesus, that Sarah.

The speech was filled with self-pitying fuckery. Palin gets her picture taken at a gun show with a sign that says, "Fuck Michael Moore," but "we have taken a lot of heat over the last two days" for the image. Look, if you're gonna be a media whore, it shouldn't be surprising when someone says you'd suck Hannity's cock dry if it meant five more minutes of airtime.

But that was actually in the realm of understandable. Then shit got weird. Talking about the 2016 campaign, Palin babbled, "It is war. It is war for the future of our country, for the sovereignty and solvency of the United States of America. The other side, the far left, they see a need for change. It is by offering real change, again. Coronation, rinse, replay. Clinton, rinse, repeat. These leftists promoting these 'Ready for' campaigns. Ready for Hillary. Well, these hopey-changey DC businesses disguised as grassroots, don't you wonder what the White House thinks of them out there, prancing around, squealing they are ready for someone else? They have to admit it even."

You think that was nonsense? You think that was incomprehensible? Oh, wait. As the gears in her tiny, fucked-up mind started to break down, Palin's synapses misfired and she lost the ability to complete a thought. On the national debt (maybe? who can tell?), she rambled on, "From debt, when you are in a hole, you don't want to be in the first thing they stop digging. I don't know what is wrong with the leaders in this country who understand we are in a hole we don't want to be in and they keep digging. From debt to energy, proving the inherent links between American-made energy and prosperity, and energy insecurity to solutions like the tax that we need, to stop this unhealthy obsession that we are hearing about, even on our side of the aisle, the subjective income gap we are supposed to be obsessed with. We don't have to be obsessed with it." Seriously, was Palin high? 'Cause if she wasn't totally high and fucked up, then she has brain damage or her mind has been pickled by too much beer and bear meat.

The most hilarious part of this is that conservatives are saying that the speech wasn't "serious" and that watching it was "painful." Joe Scarborough called it a "tragedy" that she had fallen so far, apparently not understanding the difference between tragedy and comedy.

Really, motherfuckers? This was the speech that made you decide Palin was not going to be president one day? 'Cause, see, the rest of us knew she was a fraud and a puffed-up idiot, a wannabe player, and a power-mad gorgon from the start. We didn't need this babbling cartoon character, this monster with a gaping maw, gorging on fame and attention like a snake on a rat, to blither through one more parade of faux folksiness, like Hee-Haw was her Critique of Pure Reason.

If this is truly the nadir of her bottomed out career, the point where even the rubes turn on her (and don't be so sure, rubes being rubes), then her political tombstone should be filled with all the times she mocked President Obama for his use of a teleprompter, like he wasn't capable of off-the-cuff speaking. You could say she should apologize, but that presumes she feels shame.


"I don't give a fuck it's your house": American Sniper's Failure

The Rude Pundit pushed aside as many preconceived notions as he could when he watched American Sniper, the Clint Eastwood-directed, Oscar-nominated film about Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who  chalked up the most kills of any sniper in the military during the Iraq war. As you may know, the film has become a political battlefield between some on the left who see it as glorifying the Iraq engagement and those on the right who see it as a celebration of the innate good of the American soldier.

And even while viewing it, the Rude Pundit thought the film had been treated unfairly by many of its critics. Sure, it offers few sympathetic Iraqis, but no one faulted Saving Private Ryan for not spending time with the nice Germans. As for the racist remarks by Bradley Cooper's Kyle and the other soldiers, well, sorry, if you want polite talk about the ostensible enemy, you probably shouldn't watch a war film. Also, Eastwood and writer Jason Hall weren't really under an obligation to hew closely to Kyle's story. It ain't a documentary.

So, really, truly, the Rude Pundit is coming at this from as open-minded a position as possible. (Does he have to list all his family members who are or were in the military?) And he thinks this:

American Sniper is a film about stupid people who were brainwashed into doing something stupid and it justifies their stupidity so that the stupid people watching can feel good about themselves. See, the one thing you can't separate out from the film is history. It tries to elide over history, but just because it isn't mentioned doesn't mean it isn't there. Because of that, the overwhelming feeling the Rude Pundit had was pity, not pride.

After a set-up where Kyle is about to shoot a child in Iraq, we get what can best be described as a psycho killer origin story. Kyle learns to hunt at an early age, something his father tells him he's good at. The father fills his sons with nonsense about their place in the pecking order of the universe. This hypermasculine bullshit plays out, as it does in Texas, with Kyle becoming a rodeo rider who joins the Navy to become a SEAL after he sees the U.S. embassy attacks in 1998. That leads to his brainwashing during his training (apparently, SEALs have to constantly be wet). In short order, he meets a woman, Taya, the World Trade Center attack happens, he gets married, and then he's sent to Iraq. We get no sense that the invasion of Iraq happened 18 months after 9/11. Then, boom, we're in Iraq and the tedious pattern of the film is set: shooting people in Iraq, coming home to weepy, concerned wife, rinse, repeat for four tours.

Ultimately, the film fails not because it doesn't present the Iraqis in a more complex way, but because it banks on our credulity. It treats us like we're fucking idiots who are willing to forget anything about the truth behind the invasion of Iraq. It counts on our fucking idiocy in order to convey its simplistic message that American soldiers are awesome and everyone else needs to shut the fuck up.

So we get scenes of Americans going house to house to find insurgents. They break down doors and rush in, grabbing anyone they can. When one Iraqi man protests that they are in his house, Kyle says, "I don't give a fuck it's your house." Then they berate and threaten the man until he gives up the name of a specific enemy torturer, "the Butcher." (Seriously, names in this film are dunderheaded. One soldier is, swear to Christ, "Biggles," like a fuckin' cat.) That family, the only "good" Iraqis we see, ends up having the father and a son brutally murdered. In another scene, the soldiers barge into an apartment and, more or less, take a family hostage so they can use the apartment for surveillance on some "Hajis." Of course, it turns out the father is hiding weapons. Of course, he ends up dead.

Through it all, all the people he shoots (and, truly, Bradley Cooper seems like he's acting in a different, much deeper film), all the scenes of him watching fellows soldiers get killed and wounded, all the psychological damage he does to his poor wife when he calls her during firefights, Kyle maintains a pathetic belief in the good of his mission and in the protection of his "brothers." It has an effect on him - he suffers from PTSD - but the film wants us to believe that it was necessary. So, in the end, American Sniper is the story of a dumb man who wrecked himself for a worthless cause and about all the young men (and it is all, mostly white, men in it) who were sacrificed for nothing.

It's not the film that tells us it's nothing. We know it was for nothing. We know that one of the great crimes of the new century is the invasion of Iraq for absolutely no rational, demonstrable reason. We know that all those "savages," as Kyle calls the Iraqis, that we killed were for nothing. We know that all those Americans who died lost their lives for nothing. Our military was protecting us from nothing. Our freedoms weren't at risk from Iraq.

And the lie many soldiers from Iraq cling to and the lie we tell ourselves, and the lie that so many have worked so hard to maintain, is that as long as we don't discuss that it was for nothing, as long as we pretend that the fact that soldiers fought when they were told to fight and, mostly, did so nobly, we don't have to face the truly gut-wrenching reality of our national complicity in the crime.

American Sniper
exists, then, to play to that lie, to silence anyone who would point it out. Shit, once Kyle goes to war, the movie is so devoid of any rationale for being in Iraq that no one mentions Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. Even George W. Bush isn't mentioned. The film fails, too, because all it's really saying is that, if you put some soldiers somewhere and tell them to do something, they will defend each other and do the job. The fact that the leaders of their country betrayed them in the most elemental way possible never enters the equation. So all we're left with is killing Iraqis because Iraqis are trying to kill us, fuck if we care whose house it is.

At some points, the Rude Pundit wondered if Eastwood was trying to frame it this way, but, when the credits roll, after Kyle's murder at the hands of a disturbed vet, we are treated to scenes of the motorcade heading to his funeral, the streets lined with people with signs and American flags.  No, then. We're supposed to feel proud that men like Kyle defend us.  We should instead feel intensely angry that they died in vain.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Fistful of Ketamine with a Six-Pack of Flying Fish

Those arms sticking out of that car belong to Leroy Tutt, who had been pulled over on December 30, 2014, for a traffic stop by two police officers in Bridgeton, New Jersey. That's Officer Roger Worley whose gun seems to be going off.

He wasn't shooting at Tutt, though. He was shooting at Jerame Reid, a passenger in the car who, at that moment, was being shot by Officer Braheme Days. It's hard to see, but Reid had just told Days, who kept screaming at him to not reach for anything, not even a phone, or he'll be "fucking dead," that he was "getting out and getting on the ground."

Again, it's a bit blurry, but Reid was unarmed and was putting his hands up as Days opened fire, followed by Worley shooting, too. They killed Reid. Days had previously arrested Reid for drug possession last year, and Reid served a 13-year sentence for shooting at a state trooper when he was a teenager. So Days was more than likely keyed up and ready for a violent confrontation. Days does say that he found a gun in the glove compartment.

The lawyer for Reid's family has requested that the Cumberland County prosecutor's office recuse itself from the investigation and to give it over to the state attorney general's office or another entity. Considering the outcomes of probes in Ferguson and Staten Island, it's a logical request. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that anything will happen.

Meanwhile, the Bridgeton Police Department is upset that the dashboard cam tape has been released. It released a statement calling it, in an unintentionally ironic way, "unprofessional and uncompassionate" to the family.

On its own, you could make a case that Reid shouldn't have gotten out of the car - although what he could have done to calm down Days, who was kind of hysterical the entire time, is questionable. But in the context of the last year or so of high-profile shootings of unarmed black men, it's finally just more of a disgusting pattern of police paranoia combined with a disregard for certain human, yes, lives.


The State of the Union Is "Shove Your Midterm Victory"

Prior to the release of the speech, you know that most Republicans were fantasizing about President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. They wanted him to hungrily gobble their cocks. They wanted that Negro on his knees, eagerly sucking off all the Republicans to show that he knows his place after the 2014 midterm elections. "He can even spit on my dick, if he wants," Lindsey Graham thought. How could Obama not acknowledge his masters after Democratic losses that wrested control of the Senate away from them? Unless he's the most arrogant, uppity sumbitch ever, it was obvious, they believed, that deep-throated hummers were required. Obama needed to ask them what they wanted. He needed to say that he'd do anything to please and pleasure them. Their flies were unzipped, pricks of many shapes and sizes, half-tumescent, ready for purchase in the President's mouth.

And then Obama sauntered out, slapped all the dicks like Moe with a bunch of Curlies, and told them to shove their fellatio dreams up their pathetic asses.

Look, almost nothing Obama proposed in his ambitious agenda is going to pass a Congress filled with more scoundrels, criminals, perverts, and rats than a pirate ship named "The Thieving Buggerer." Taxes aren't going to rise for the wealthy, even if it's through loophole-closing. Child care won't get funded. The minimum wage won't go up. And climate change? No. And Gitmo? Just forget it. For that matter, it doesn't matter that Obama didn't mention poverty, except in the most general sense. Because no matter what he proposed to help people in poverty, the Republican-controlled Congress was going to laugh in his face. And, let's be honest, a good many Democrats would be giggling, too. So the substance of the speech was fine, great, aspirational, and pretty damn safe.

What mattered was that Inspirational Barack made his triumphant reappearance, riding high on solid economic news and a health insurance program that is, so far, working as designed. This was exactly the opposite of the speech Republicans thought they deserved. They needed him chastened, ready to give in. Instead, they got the Obama who, in one of the great "No, you can blow me" moments in modern politics, after saying, "I have no more campaigns to run" to Republican cheers, could go off script to add, "I know because I won both of them." In that one moment, Obama told the truly arrogant motherfuckers, the Republicans who saunter around talking about their "mandate" when they ignored his, that he not only matters, but he wants to get shit done. Of course, they were upset because what else are they capable of doing?

And if the GOP won't do good, he will sure as shit stop them from doing bad. He threatened to veto bills twice: if there are Iran sanctions and if Congress tries to undo any of the accomplishments or executive orders he's made. "We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or re-fighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it." Obviously, Republicans spun this as Obama only wanting to veto everything.

Honestly, the most astonishing parts of the evening (other than babbling head of hair Joni Ernst oddly talking about how poor her family was because of Ronald Reagan) were the times when Republicans chose to sit on their hands and not join the cheering. Obama said, "[T]his Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work." Crickets chirped from the right because, what? They don't think women should get paid the same as men? And, most infuriating was the Republican quiet when he said, "Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year [as the Keystone XL pipeline], and make this country stronger for decades to come." During his next campaign, someone should run an ad with John Boehner sitting there still and silent when, in the district next to his in Ohio, a highway exit bridge collapsed just the day before. It's like Boehner is mired in the pile of shit that is conservative ideology, and it's hardened to where he couldn't move.

In the end, Obama was teeing things up for 2016. "Here's all this great shit we did," he proclaimed. "Now don't fuck it all up." He said that the nation has reached a baseline from which it can actually build and not just recover. Now, if, in 2016, Democrats run on the actual accomplishments and not the Republican fever fantasies of them, they can win. But Obama has to be careful. As the New York Times advised, "Resist his instinct to follow the false promise of compromise. Give-and-take is part of the legislative process, but trade-offs amounting to Republican legislative triumphs are unacceptable. Gridlock seems almost foreordained over the next two years. Mr. Obama should do nothing to confuse the voters as to where the responsibility lies." Maybe, just maybe, one or two GOP members thought about working with the President. And you can bet they were immediately threatened with a primary opponent.

Yes, Republicans were not happy that Obama didn't acknowledge their magnificent victory in 2014. Why should he? To be gracious? To be kind? Put it this way: Every time Obama has said he would work with Republicans, they have whined that he didn't work with them simply because he didn't adopt their position. You can't be gracious to motherfuckers. What you can do is what Obama did: Hold out your hand, but lead with your middle finger.

(Note: In the first paragraph, feel free to substitute "lollipop their clits" to include Republican women.)
(Note 2: Normal Obama caveats apply - drone murder is bad, unchecked surveillance is bad, etc.)


People Need to Stand Up to the Extremists Within and Without

We all know that the problem is the radicals, the extremists, and that most of the faithful do not have those kinds of ideas, do not want confrontation, just simply want to live their lives peacefully. But it's the fundamentalists who screw things up for everyone else, especially those who are willing to use violent rhetoric, if not actual violence, to defend what they think are attacks on their beliefs. It doesn't matter how wrong the extremists are in their interpretation of those beliefs; that's the nature of the delusions and blindness of fanaticism.

The radicals refuse to even entertain the idea that there is a moderate path. They shun and condemn those who would oppose their extreme vision of their ideology. The fanatics seek to convert or purge anyone who strays from the strictures of their militancy. We see this happen time and again, on small scale and large. And, obviously, the extremists are manipulated by more powerful people who benefit from the chaos and fear the extremists spread.

Sure, sure, most of the faithful prefer to play a part in society at large. They want to be part of the mainstream, and they are willing to compromise aspects of their beliefs in order to assimilate. We who stand outside, who do not believe, know the solution to the extremism. It must come from within as well as from us. That majority must speak up and stand up to members who want to pervert the true meaning of their beliefs.

Until then, though, the National Rifle Association will continue to bully and threaten anyone who would challenge its absolutist dogma on gun laws.

For instance, how shocking was it that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have allowed people with restraining orders on them the ability to buy guns. The NRA, of course, of course, supported the bill, saying that some people under restraining orders might not be involved in anything violent, like domestic abuse, and we wouldn't want to deny them the sweet, sweet protection of guns.

The gun "rights" extremists have so successfully transformed the identity of "gun owner" that, frankly, you can't talk to anyone who owns any kind of firearm without wondering if they're some kind of Second Amendment freak who thinks any minor regulations are just an attempt to strip them of the means of "defending" themselves. The truth of the matter, as we know, is that, by a wide majority, gun owners support simple restrictions, like universal background checks. Most gun owners just want to be left alone to do whatever kind of shooting they want or to have the fake comfort of a gun in the home. They don't want to march while carrying rifles, they don't want to confront politicians, and they're perfectly fine with gun control laws.

But the NRA, as a front for the gun industry (who really benefits from loose gun laws), will not have it. So the organization's leadership behaves as if any attempt to restrict must be destroyed and anyone who dares to criticize the sanctity of guns must be called out as a heretic or threat.

Perhaps Gov. Snyder's veto is the first step in some growing strength on the right to do what the majority of the nation wants. Snyder was actually endorsed by the NRA. See? Someone from the inside made an entirely rational move that is easily supported. Let's see how the NRA attempts to treat him as an apostate and cast him out.

This post began with a rather obvious analogy, between the way we talk about Islam and the way we talk about the NRA. You might say, "Well, isn't the goal to get rid of all guns?" Sure, and good luck with that. It ain't gonna happen. When someone says that "Islam is the problem," it solves exactly nothing. You're not gonna get rid of Islam or religion in general. Your argument is useless. Let's frame the discussion in useful ways.

That will take another post later this week.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Still Fuck Your Shit Up (2015 Edition)

It is always hilarious around this time of year, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when conservatives desperately try to co-opt King's legacy with columns and think pieces about how King would totally be with them, most of which contain worthless interpretations and contortions of his words, some of which contain outright lies. The craven bastards need King as a way of trying to prove that they can relate to African Americans. They need to neuter him and turn him into Happy Sparkle Martin, the Dream Pony.

As sure as shit, King's own words will bite right-wingers in their pompous asses every time. For instance, in a 1958 interview with Mike Wallace in the New York Post, King laid down some truth about the battle for rights in the nation. He very clearly wanted an activist court to overturn prejudicial laws, and he didn't give a good goddamn about who that upsets.

Wallace asked, "Can you conceive of Negroes and whites in America living together in harmony as one being human being with another without there being a real feeling deep down inside that this is so. I know a lot of people who pay lip service but when it comes down to the real thing, like sending your kid to school where there are Negroes, or like your son bringing home his Negro friend, then it becomes a different story. As long as this feeling exists, are you going to achieve anything?"

King responded, "I would hope that it can be achieved. So long as you have prejudiced attitudes and you have segregation in the country, you will have these attitudes all over, it touches the whole country. As we move through the transitions in the South, it is more intense in the South. I certainly feel that the problem can be solved if we meet it with moral strength. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Justice everywhere sheds light on the problem of injustice in other areas. Now we are in this period where you do have people who have doubts even in Northern communities. Even they have paid lip service to it. They are not committed to it absolutely."

Then King refused to apologize or back down by saying, "You are saying in substance that many people will go along and will accept this because it is the law of the land but really they don’t accept it because it is good? This is what I would call the distinction and between desegregation and integration. Desegregation breaks down the legal barriers and brings men together physically. In Montgomery, Alabama, the buses are desegregated but not integrated. Integration is a personal and intergroup feeling. We are moving through the process of desegregation which is a necessary step to integration. We cannot get to integration before going through the process of desegregation where you have to break down through legal means. I think most people think it is right to abide by certain laws—like traffic laws, etc. Men finally grow to the point of following these laws. In America we are moving through the period of desegregation and the physical barriers are being broken down—the legal barriers, that is. Naturally you will have this problem of people going on with this automatically because it is the law but once there they are brought together — you see, they hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other."

You got that? Martin Luther King's attitude was that nothing will progress if you wait for the fearful, prejudiced, oppressive people to decide it's ok. You could interpolate this onto the same-sex marriage debate, if you like, where conservatives (and even some liberals) wanted a gradual approach achieved through legislation. Fuck that. If you want to be treated fairly, you don't ask nicely twice. Once the barriers fall, people will get on board.

In response to the tension integration was causing in schools in Little Rock, Arkanas, King said, "I cannot conceive of a period of social transition without some tension. This is inevitable. Whenever you are moving from an old order to a new order, in the transition period, there is some tension. We seek to lessen the tension as much as possible but we don’t seek to due process in order to avoid tension. We have a choice in America to move toward the goal of justice in spite of the tension it will create or stop the process in an attempt to avoid tension while in reality we are tearing away the very core of our nation. This is the choice. The one we should choose? Allow the inevitable tension to arise. There can be no birth or growth without birth and growing pains. Whenever you confront the new, there is the recalcitrant of the old."

You can't say Martin Luther King is on your side and then attempt to turn back the clock on voting rights, on affirmative action, on racial progress, on economic justice. You can't say it and then believe that everyone should be patient while your side evolves enough to accept change. You can't support Martin Luther King without a willingness to fuck some shit up.


The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: The Thought That Just Went Through the Heads of GOP Presidential Candidates

So it has come to pass: The Supreme Court of these here United States has finally decided to take up a case that should decide once and for all if men can marry men and women can marry women. Will the highest court in the land let the nation fall into the sin that has destroyed such great states Iowa and Delaware? Or that hellhole of Minnesota? Oh, sure, but what about Kansas? Obviously, it's all the connubial sodomy and not the shitty tax policies that have brought the wrath of Godjeebus down on the gateway to Oz.

The Rude Pundit is pretty sure that, in offices and dens and bathrooms all around the nation, the potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination nearly all just thought the exact same thing:

"Jesus, God, please, motherfucker, let the court allow gays and lesbians to get married so I can just campaign on how wrong it is and not have to promise to do anything realistic about it. Yes, yes, I know, the nutcases will want me to say there should be a constitutional amendment, but that's not gonna happen. Please don't let this become the gay marriage election. I'd rather pierce my nipples with a slow power drill than have to go out every day and talk about how something that most Americans don't give a shit about is the most important thing in the history of ever. Please take this out of the equation or the base is gonna eat us alive and force us to be animals."

Of course, there are always outliers. Mitt Romney is probably wondering, "What are Jeb and Christie thinking? Whatever it is, I have to say something to the right of them. Now let me wipe my ass with these dollar bills." Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are getting sweaty at the possibility of making their audiences think about one ripped, bald leather stud getting a rim job from a horny, masturbating bear on the altar of the local cathedral just before they exchange cock rings before Jesus and everyone. Because, really, what the fuck else are they gonna talk about. Meanwhile, Ben Carson is trying to figure out what will most please the white people who give him so much money for the bullshit he says.

But you can bet that Bush, Christie, Rubio, Paul, Fiorina, Jindal, Perry, Walker, even Cruz all just want this fucking issue to go away. They are not idiots. They know that, in the general election, being anti-gay marriage is a non-starter at this point. Most people, especially the young 'uns, don't care if LGBT people can get married, but they think it's wrong to not allow it. The best thing that could happen for the GOP is for the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage throughout the land. Take it out of the equation. Or else it will devour the primaries. They'd break down into heated arguments over who hates the queers more, each candidate debasing him or herself more and more before the almighty base.

While that would be delightful to watch, the Rude Pundit would rather marriage equality and freedom for all.


While We Were Suising Charlie...

Yeah, we were having a great time, supporting Charlie Hebdo, maybe marching or at least tweeting about it, we were making very strange bedfellows with those gals and fellows up there. They're from the German anti-immigrant, anti-Islam Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (or Pegida, for German reasons). And that's from a rally on Monday in Dresden where 25,000 pro-Pegida marchers rallied as a response to the murders of the Charlie Hebdo staff, who, you know, were killed by Muslim extremists. The rally happened after politicians urged people not to march with Pegida. But march they did.

And this wasn't just wild-eyed skinheads and Nazi nostalgia-mongers: "The Pegida rally Monday drew all kinds of people, with businessmen and families marching down the streets of Dresden alongside known activists of the National Democratic Party, the far-right, allegedly neo-Nazi party that led similar marches in the 1990s." The last weekly rally drew 7,000. One earlier march had attracted 18,000 people.  Another is scheduled for Monday.

Pegida began just three months ago, and it has already attracted thousands of followers (yes, yes, we all know "who else attracted lots of German followers," ha-ha, shut the fuck up) with the philosophy of "You know all those Mooslems coming here? They scary." Or, as the group's Facebook page shouts, "As a society, we should give people the chance to integrate, but we should not allow ourselves to be Islamized thereby losing our freedom and democracy!" And they don't like to be called a certain dirty word: "It is clear that people will accuse us of being Nazis. But why should we make it easy for them rather than being clear about where we stand from the beginning: PATRIOTIC and not Nazi!"

A recent poll showed that "one in eight Germans would join an anti-Islamization march if it were organized in their home town" and that 29% "believed that Islam was having such a strong influence on life in Germany that the marches were justified." Let's put this in context: the Tea Party doesn't enjoy that much support in the United States, yet look at all the power it has here.

However, the group is not yet a political force, and it seems to be located mostly in Dresden, which was part of East Germany back in the day. There have been substantial counterprotests, with thousands of participants. Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured above in a hijab, has said the right things, proclaiming that "xenophobia, racism and extremism have no place in this country" and that Pegida is made up of "racists full of hatred." But she still has to deal with the 1.2 million immigrants who came into Germany last year, many of whom are refugees from conflict in places like Syria. Pegida has said it supports anyone who comes to the country from a war-torn region.

Still, it's hard not to be vaguely concerned when, on Monday, during the march, Khaled Idris Bahraya, 20 year-old Muslim refugee from the conflict in the Sudan, was stabbed to death near his apartment in Dresden. Three days before the murder, someone had drawn a swastika on the door where Bahraya lived with seven other asylum-seekers. A message with the symbol read, "We'll get you all."

Pegida members are aghast that they are being accused of having anything to do with the murder or with inspiring it in any way. Perhaps they can wear shirts on Monday that say, "Je suis Khaled."

(Note: The point here isn't that we shouldn't march or support free speech just because of who you might end up marching with. Hell, the Rude Pundit says that these racist Schweins have every right to spout their racism. This is more of an informative post: hey, while you were defending free speech in France, look what else was happening just down the road that will have an impact on what you're defending.)


Jolly New Jersey Governor Doesn't Give a Shit About New Jersey

(Note: The word "jolly" will be used to indicate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's still-substantial girth since phrases like "fat fucking piece of fat shit" have become frowned upon. "Jolly" shall now be the "urban" of obesity.)

So it was that jolly mobster Chris Christie stepped his jolly ass up to the podium and gave his State of the State of the State of New Jersey of the State Address to the gathered legislators and, more importantly, the gathered media who were there to see how deeply and with how much vigor Christie would suck the dick of his presidential aspirations. The quick answer was "Intensely."  In a speech that touched on a few things going on in New Jersey - help for addicts, the rescuing of Camden from complete abandonment - the most notable thing most citizens of New Jersey took away from it was "Who the fuck cares what some old fuckin' lady from Florida says about shit?"

Yes, Christie reminded everyone, he travels. Jolly motherfucker travels about 40% of his time, mostly to do business that has nothing to do with leading New Jersey. And what did he learn from his time wandering the highways and byways of luxury hotels and glorifying events? The peoples is anxious: "As I traveled the country over the last year, this anxiety was the most palpable emotion I saw and felt. I saw it on the streets of Chicago and felt it in the suburbs of Maryland. I heard it from farmers in Kansas and from teachers in Colorado. I felt it from veterans in Maine and from workers in Arkansas. But the wisest words came from an 82 year old woman in Florida. She grabbed my hand and asked me a simple, but powerful question: 'What’s happened to our country? We used to control events. Now events control us.'"

Hey, you jolly asshole, it's great that you can name states and let old ladies touch you. Now, what the fuck are you doing about pension shortfalls in Jersey? He mentioned it 9 times in his speech and said that solutions were needed and offered, by a rough count, not a single one, just like a great leader. But Chris Christie couldn't give a happy monkey fuck about New Jersey anymore except as the illusion of harmony and cooperation and success he wants to use to fake out the nation. Or bully them into voting for his bullshit.

"We are a nation beset by anxiety," he said. "It is understandable. Economic growth is low by post-war recovery standards. America’s leadership in the world is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency. During this time of uncertainty it seems our leaders in Washington would rather stoke division for their own political gain. And this culture of divisiveness and distrust has seeped into our communities and our neighborhoods." Chris Christie will ride in on a very strong horse to save America with his New Jersey magic: "I believe in a New Jersey renewal which can help lead to an American renewal both in every individual home and in homes around the world."

Which would be awesome, except, of course, that Chris Christie's New Jersey is a jolly fucking failure. New Jersey "is one of just three states that saw more people falling into poverty than rising above it." Take-home income dropped from 2010-2012 at all levels except those earning a million bucks or more. And jobs? Here's a hard fact to put in Christie's jolly face: "From August 2013 to August 2014, a revised report released Thursday showed the state added 6,700 jobs, amounting to 558 new jobs a month. It is so few that it would take 44 years to find positions in the state for New Jersey's 294,700 unemployed residents." And the state's bond rating was lowered multiple times to the second lowest in the nation, which means something bad that the Rude Pundit won't pretend to get.

And this is not to mention the shit that Christie won't mention. For instance, in the speech, he mentioned how some businesses are leaving New Jersey because of high taxes. His example: "New Jersey just lost Mercedes Benz USA to the state of Georgia. Mercedes, in New Jersey since the early 1970’s, is leaving for a very simple reason -- it costs less to do business in Georgia than it does in New Jersey. Don’t take my word for it -- the leaders of Mercedes said it themselves. Economic incentive laws help -- but lower taxes are better." Of course, Christie didn't give any ideas on how to lower taxes.

Still, awesomely logical, except that one of the other industries that has left Jersey is pharmaceuticals. Those companies didn't leave for the free money of Mississippi. They went up the road to Taxachusetts. Yeah, because Democratic Governor Deval Patrick created a fund to attract companies specifically interested in life sciences. Taxes are close to or the same in Massachusetts. It's just that the state gave a crap about the industry.

Christie didn't mention the excruciating slow recovery from Hurricane Sandy - he didn't mention the storm at all. The only time he mentioned Atlantic City was in a list of cities that'll get some help with addiction services, ignoring the multiple casino closings that are devastating the town. He didn't say a damn thing about Transportation Trust Fund, which "is virtually broke" and could sure use some tasty gas tax money. And that's on top of all the plans he didn't propose to try to help the state recover like the rest of the nation during the recovery.

In other words, the shorter version of the speech would have been "Fuck you, Jersey. Kiss my jolly ass as I waddle out of here."

New Jersey under Chris Christie sucks so hard that people are leaving the state in droves. If Christie becomes president, you better hope Canada is willing to welcome a bunch of Americans who didn't know what anxiety was until they were led by a jolly, incompetent, corrupt goon.


Conservatives Criticizing Obama for Not Going to Paris Are Full of Merde

Seriously, all the Republicans pretend angry at Obama for not going to march in France and are pretend supportive of the French in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks, go eat out the assholes of porcupines, you ludicrous fucks. First of all, you don't give a jolly rat shit about France. It's just an occasion to slam Muslims and show that you love Israel so much that even Israel says, "Whoa, back the fuck off. You're smothering me."

And how the fuck does the Rude Pundit know this is just a fuckin' joke, a little bit of political slap and tickle? Because Newt Gingrich had the fuckin' balls to call Barack Obama not going to France "cowardice." And then, in a smarmy little Facebook Q&A, Gingrich said, "France has not always been with us but they were decisively with us after 9/11 and we have been allies a long time. It is no accident that one of the two portraits in the united states house of representatives is a Frenchman, the marquess de Lafayette, the other is President Washington. That is how much we owed the French for helping us win our independence." (Sic all the errors - Gingrich apparently can't tell a Marquis from a Marquess, which explains a lot.)

This would be the same Newt Gingrich who, way back in 2012, in an accordion-scored ad titled, "The French Connection," found the link between Mitt Romney and John Kerry: Motherfuckers both speak French, like little bitches:

The Republicans drove John Kerry insane, an insanity that lasts to this day, with all the insinuations and accusations about his manhood and France or about his liberalism and eeevil French socialism. Or maybe that he's a snooty stereotype of a waiter or a cartoon skunk or something. Honestly, the Rude Pundit could never figure out why one would hate someone for having a connection to France once we got past the whole "Freedom Fries" bullshit just because France said, correctly, "Um, yeah, your Iraq War is fucking dumb." It was just a piece with the Great Stupiding of Our Nation at the hands of idiot Republicans and cowardly Democrats.

If Obama had gone to Paris, all the right-wing media would have talked about would have been if he had "disgraced" the nation by talking to the Palestinian president or by not rubbing Bibi's balls enough. Fox "news" dimwits and bullshit artists would have torn apart how he stood, who he stood next to, whose hands he shook, whether he gave too much love to Muslims, whether he did or didn't say anything about the murdered Jews, whether his clothes were proper enough, and it would have ended with them attacking him for going.

It was a fucking trap, either way, because the compulsive masturbators of the right would have been jacking it in one direction or another.

The other thing that's galling about this whole "debate"? It makes the tragedy there about us and our own derangement, like a bunch of selfish assholes.

(Note: Obama should have sent Biden, though. Just sayin'.)


Terrorists Must Be Dealt With (If They Attack Westerners)

Gay minstrel Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, was on some fuckin' Fox "news" show, and, fluttering frantically like he was a-gownin' up for a gentleman caller like Mr. Ashley Wilkes, declared that those Islamic extremist terrorists are gonna get us here in our little ol' homes if that womanly President Obama won't man up: "I have no idea why the president of the United States won't call this a religious war when the president of Egypt does. Our strategy to combat radical Islam is failing." (By the way, the president of Egypt didn't call it "a religious war.")

Yeah, apparently, Obama just wants to "run out the clock" and hand the problems, especially ISIS, to his successor, which is totally not what George W. Bush did with Iraq and Afghanistan. Graham said, "President Obama's strategy is not going to degrade or destroy [ISIS]. It's going to allow this conflict to go further and longer."

Graham pines for wounded American soldiers he can go caress back to health at Walter Reed, delicately placing their bandaged hands on his face, tears welling up in his eyes, whispering, "You will one day be able to touch me with your skin, Private. I just know you will." The numbers have gone down in the last couple of years, and there are precious few VA patients who don't have "Lindsey Graham skeeves me out" on their charts. While John McCain demands blood for some kind of hideous, karmic vengeance for his own torture, Graham is in it for the soft-lit moments, sitting with blinded warriors and reading to them from his well-worn copy of Walt Whitman, "Again we wander, we love, we separate again,/ Again he holds me by the hand, I must not go,/ I see him close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous." Who will listen to Graham if there are no more wounded?

On Hugh Hewitt's Radio Morgue last week, Graham was even more explicit in his desire for bloodied American flesh: "[T]o destroy ISIL, you’ve got to have an American ground component. Mosul is a city of a million people. Fallujah was a city of a hundred thousand. And the only way we liberated Fallujah from Al Qaeda in Iraq was about 99,000 Marines and American Army personnel. Mosul’s ten times larger. How can the Iraqi Army do it without some American help?" So, by the magic of math, it seems like he wants 990,000 soldiers to go into Mosul. Better get that draft going.

You know what's missing here in all this chest-thumping, Muslim-hating bullshit? That, while the Charlie Hebdo/Jewish grocery attack was awful, there's motherfucking atrocities and a possible genocide happening in Nigeria. Despite what Lindsey Graham and many warmongers want us to believe, a dozen people murdered and the occasional bomb in the West is not a goddamned war. It's organized crime that needs to be stopped (in Iraq, yes, it's a war).

Yeah, they're Islamic, Boko Haram, and they are fucking shit up in Nigeria, using some of those girls they kidnapped (remember them? Yeah, we forgot that whole "Bring back our girls" thing because...squirrel!) as suicide bombers. While CNN was focused on how spendiferous the march in France was (and it was), reports were coming in about horror after horror from Nigeria, including the mass murder of up to 2000 people in a single town, Baga, which is an "economic hub" on the border with Chad, right on Lake Chad. That death toll might not include all the people who drowned trying to swim for safety.

Yet in his parade of awfuls that aren't being dealt by President with in the way he wants them to be, Graham failed to mention anything about Nigeria. If French cartoonists matter, don't Nigerian citizens? It's a shame that Iraq is entrenched in what will be a years-long civil war and that there are no good options in Syria. But it sure appears that Nigeria has a group of Islamic militants who are now starting to metastasize into something that would seem to demand international reaction, no matter how corrupt the governments of Nigeria and Chad may be. (And, you know, c'mon, Iraq and Afghanistan ain't models of clean governance.)

In a soul-draining conversation yesterday, Chuck Todd did bring this up on Meet the (Approved) Press, and, shit you not, conservative fucknut Rich Lowry used the occasion to say, "[T]his is a reason why we have things like the NSA program." Others went on about corruption and radicalization and sectarian violence and no one, not a single person, said, "Yeah, maybe some anti-poverty support and education in a massive program rather than just random NGOs would help, too."

Well, in a few years, we can read in President Obama's memoir or hear in an interview about how he wished he had done more to help in Nigeria. 


David Brooks Only Enjoys the Farts of His Equals

Everyone loves the parties thrown at the home of New York Times columnist David Brooks. Having downsized from an opulent house to an opulent apartment in the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington, DC, Brooks delights in inviting over only the most intelligent of the intellgentsia, only the most cognizant of the cogniscenti, all of whom must have degrees Ivy League and careers as thinking thinkers. Then he has the caterers serve dinner, a menu he has chosen to his particular purposes: a vegetarian meal, sometimes South Asian, sometimes East African, exotic sections of exotic continents, lentils and kale and broccoli and apricots and brown rice, rich in sauces that are filled with yogurts and creams, and only champagne to drink.

Once the meal is complete, Brooks looks from face to face around the table, seeing the growing intestinal discomfort in his guests, and then, Brooks farts, loudly, elegantly, even, a rotund, bassoonish sound. He closes his eyes and smells the air, using his hand like a conductor to waft the odors towards his nose. At first, people look at him oddly. Brooks knows the answer to their questioning faces. "Everything that emanates from you is worthier than that which emanates from others," he declares grandly. "Allow yourself to fart. Your farts are, indeed, more valuable than the finest perfumes. They are sublime for they are considered and educated farts."

Slowly, one guest accepts this obvious truth and farts, laughing, tickled by this liberation. Others follow suit until all around the table wealthy people in fine garments are making a flatulent symphony. Their smells commingle, creating new and never-before-sniffed fragrances. "Yes, yes, fart more," Brooks, the master of the moment, commands among the anal oboes and rectal trombones and a chorus of inhalations and moans. More than anyone, he is delirious, as if the musky clouds have formed a magic carpet that allows him to float away.

Once, only once, a waiter on the side, watching this exhibition, shrugged his shoulders and let out a fart that was immediately heard as a flat note in the orchestra. Brooks turned and fired him on the spot for allowing his pedestrian gas to dare to rise with the redolence of the respectable. Luckily, the party wasn't ruined for guests moved quickly to the spot and farted prodigiously in order to dilute the invading scent.

Today, in his "column" (if by "column," you mean "word farts"), Brooks uses the murder of the cartoonists at the French publication Charlie Hebdo to delineate what separates "us" (the Brooksites) from the "them" (the twaddling satirists) in what are two of the most smugly elitist paragraphs you're gonna read:

"In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.

"Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct."

Yes, ahh, the delightful tang of the farts of your equals, those are all that should be smelled. Dare not breathe in the farts of the fools for they can only eat cotton candy and popcorn. They are just one level above racists.

We let the "wise and considerate scholars" who Brooks supports lead this country for a long, long time, using their "establishment organs" to penetrate our politics and economy.  They are far more foolish, far more ignorant, far less connected to reality than the satirists and the crude humorists who have to work in practice, not just theory. And let's remember that, for years, Brooks's party took its marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, who is not generally noted for either his wisdom, his consideration, or his scholarship. Also, his farts smell like cigars and Dominican boy semen.

What Brooks sets up is a world where those who get to be part of the discourse of power have to be approved by those who are already part of the discourse. What are the chances of that group allowing their air to be poisoned by the farts of the outsiders? It's an ideological daisy chain that most of us just get to watch. You can spend your time wondering where you can fit in or you can say, "Fuck that" and walk away.

One huge thing that Brooks misses is that it's often the "jesters" who are the initiators of change. See, you can build towers with your peas and potatoes at the kids' table. You have freedom to play.


Cartoons That Make the Point Succinctly

That tattoo on Jesus's pert little butt reads, "I love blasphemy." It was done in 2013 by Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Catherine Meurisse, who happened to be late for work yesterday and is alive today because of it while 10 of her co-workers and two police officers were horrifically gunned down by deranged zealots.

The Rude Pundit loves this little panel, which was also used for a conference on secularism. It's biting, damn funny, and confrontational. And, in the context of most of Charlie Hebdo's blasphemous cartoons, it's subtle. No, really - most of the cartoons are like getting bludgeoned with a frying pan. This one is more like a croquet mallet. That lack of subtlety goes for the Mohammed images, too. But not all of them.

One image of Mohammed that works well is this cover, which is an attack on Islamic extremism and the tactics of the Islamic State (or whatever the hell we're calling them now):

To take that as a degradation of Mohammed or Islam is to completely miss the not-even-hidden point (putting aside the opinions of those who believe Mohammed should never be shown in pictures). Hell, it says, "If Mohammed Returned" right there. Indeed, if anything, it is supportive of the vast majority of Muslims by saying that the faith is not represented by the murderers yelling for the deaths of infidels.

Jesus's ass is right. Comic blasphemy is fun as hell. The Rude Pundit constantly attacks Christianity, especially of the evangelical variety, because those are the people oppressing us in this country more than any Islamic extremists.

Next week, Charlie Hebdo will publish, on schedule. Said columnist Patrick Pelloux, "[W]e will do it anyway because stupidity will not win." Hopefully, Catherine Meurisse will not be too traumatized to join in what will no doubt be a sad and savage and in-your-face issue. Probably with lots of images of Mohammed, which will be seen by millions more people than would have ever seen it.

Due to that reason alone, you could argue that the three murderers did more to defile Mohammed and Islam than a dirty cartoon ever could.


In Brief: Conservatives Need to Be Careful How They Condemn the Paris Shooting

Before you get all smug and superior about how you, a brave Christian conservative, would never be so savage as to want violence to be done to satirists, not like those fuckin' Moo-Slims who are just fuckin' animals who fuck animals or whatever the fuck you think, before you go down that road, you need to accept what exactly the French magazine Charlie Hebdo was publishing that so enraged a trio of gunmen that they shot and killed a dozen people at Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris today.

'Cause, see, this wasn't just Mohammed's face made into a bomb, like that Danish magazine published a few years ago. Oh, no, no, no. Charlie Hebdo went all out in degrading Islam, like South Park on meth. Ask yourself how you think some Christians would react if a newspaper that was available on the streets of major cities had a cartoon of Jesus Christ - you know him, right? - naked on all fours with his asshole facing the reader, his balls and dripping cock dangling. Or Jesus lying nude on the ground with a camera pointed at his butt while he says, "My ass? And you love it, my ass?" Because, see, that's how Charlie Hebdo portrayed Mohammed.

It's vicious, childish, and funny (in that "Well, they did like Jerry Lewis" sort of French way). But if you, fine imaginary Christian reader, are condemning Muslims for a violent reaction to the cartoons, then you are saying, in essence, that you are totally cool with the aforementioned images of Christ. And you are saying, "Go ahead, American cartoonists, draw Jesus's dong and Mary's leaky titties and poor Joseph jacking off in the corner. It's not a problem."

For the record, the Rude Pundit believes that freedom of expression and, indeed, freedom of the press trumps your right to live without being offended. Charlie Hebdo, Bill Maher, even Ann goddamn Coulter can say whatever the fuck they want. If you disagree, you can go fuck yourself with a torah until you splooge on a statue of Shiva and wipe it up with an American flag. Or maybe offer a counterargument where the point isn't made with a gun, unlike the three shooting dickheads in Paris who just made life a little harder for Muslims in the West.

Update: As several of you pointed out, Charlie Hebdo has depicted Jesus in crude ways and no one was killed. Still, for those who want to believe Muslim extremists are far less civilized, let us not forget all the vandalism over "Piss Christ."

The point here, though, was less about violence and more about the limits of one's support of free expression. 

(Note: The Rude Pundit is still recovering from shoulder surgery. Most of this is typed with one hand while in an oxy haze.)


Minor Surgery

The Rude Pundit will make this fast, before the Percocet kicks in. He had shoulder surgery today to fix an old smuggling injury. 

Hopefully, he will be back in one-handed action tomorrow. 

Wait, that didn't sound right. Oh, wait, it totally did. 


Cop Protests and Protesting Cops

Believe it or not, it's possible to believe a couple of things at once. It's possible, for instance, to swear off tequila because of one wonderful and terrible evening in a Cuernavaca shack where you won a drinking contest but lost so very much afterward, yet you can still think it's great to drink straight liquor. It's possible to give up on fucking twenty year-olds because, god bless 'em, they mostly don't know who the Ramones are, yet not give up on fucking altogether. One is not mutually exclusive of the other.

Yet the argument used by people who are pissed off about protests by people who are pissed off at cops killing unarmed people goes something like "Yeah, you'd be screwed if there were no cops." What the fuck is that? How is that an argument? The Rude Pundit has been to protests, he's read tons of shit written by people upset with the cops, and not a single angry person has said, "Hey, you know what'd be cool as shit? Let's just get rid of the police and see how that plays out."

In other words, and, really, we're a fucking stupid society where this needs to be said, you can want  racist, violent cops prosecuted when they murder someone but still be glad that the cops are around when some dickhead tries to break into your apartment. In fact, when some dickhead tried to break into the Rude Pundit's apartment a couple of years ago, the cops and, later, the detectives he dealt with were polite, sympathetic, and helpful. Oh, and they caught the dickhead. Yeah, they found him from some video surveillance, knew who he was, followed him until he actually broke into a house, and then arrested him. The Rude Pundit can compliment those cops, he can be happy about how they did their jobs, and, watch this, he can still call out the motherfucker cops for fucking their mothers.

To state it as simply as possible, you can hate some cops and not hate the cops.

There will always be extremists in every ideology. So, sure, fucked-up, damaged people like Ismaaiyl Brinsley are out there. Tell you what, though. If we don't treat the Tea Party differently after the Las Vegas cop killings, let's stop acting like Brinsley is in any way representative of the justice and adherence to civil rights being sought by the post-Garner/post-Brown non-indictment marchers, even if those marchers include Al Sharpton.

Still, though, large numbers of New York City cops are acting like jerk-offs, turning their backs on their boss (and, yeah, Mayor Bill de Blasio is their boss whether they like it or not) and using funerals to protest like a bunch of "God Hates Fags" zealots. This sustained fit at de Blasio not giving the NYPD a reacharound in his remarks after the Garner decision is looking less like a free-speech exercise and more like the beginning of a coup.

Interestingly, one hilarious bit of protest, a slow down in ticketing and minor offense policing, has, if anything, made people aware of just how much bullshit fake policing they were forced to put up with as the cost of living in New York City. So...well done?

Let's put this in context: Imagine that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has outright called teachers and their union "thugs" and worse, was going to speak to at the funeral of a teacher who was murdered in her classroom. Imagine that the gathered teachers, prompted by the head of their union, turned their backs on Christie as he eulogized the educator. Can you feel that anxiety welling in you? Yeah, it's because you know that the right-wing media would have a rage-induced orgasm of hatred directed at the teachers. There would be calls for them to be fired. There would be non-stop discussion of their disrespect.

But it's cops, so we're just supposed to shut the fuck up and let them do what they want. No matter what they do.


These Adorable Haiku Will Melt Your Cold, Cold Heart

The Rude Pundit is burning off the last of 2014 with these remaining haiku from the over 100 he was sent by readers with ambitions for poetry greatness (or with a couple of spare minutes while taking a shit with their smartphones):

From runfastandwin at Hollywood Park (is that a horse-racing tip disguised as a name?):

Boss Cheney and George
love some wicked torture while
yanking each other.

From Benn in Vancouver (is the extra "n" a Canadian spelling?):

The last thing we hear
As we enter the abyss:
Eric Garner's breath

From Jeff in Alameda:

European probe
By landing on a comet
Brightened up my year

From Thomas in Wichita:

Kansas queers can wed
Brownback and pals flip their shit
Equality wins.

From Jack in Central Illinois:

Prevent birth control,
And pay your peeps shit wages.
Nice, Hobby Lobby.

From N in Texas:

From today’s headlines:
Toddler shoots mom in Walmart.
They grow up so fast.

From Sheila in Manassas (Heh. Man Ass.):

McDonnell likes bribes
But not women's equal rights.
Strange Christian logic.

From Linda in Chicago:

Benghazi,oh god,

And we're done. Farewell, 2014. Don't let the cops shoot you on the way out. Monday - a return to regular rudeness.