2/12/2016

The Stupidest Moment of Last Night's Democratic Debate: Who Loves Obama More?

Last night, at the Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee, in the midst of a generic, oh-they're-a-little-different back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Senator was asked to name two leaders who would influence his foreign policy. A bit predictably, Sanders said FDR and, for wartime rallying of the nation, Churchill. This led to the stupidest fucking moment of the evening, and it was stupid for both candidates.

Sanders' response led Clinton to say, "[T]oday Senator Sanders said that President Obama failed the presidential leadership test. And this is not the first time that he has criticized President Obama. In the past he has called him weak. He has called him a disappointment... it is a -- the kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans. I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama."

The Rude Pundit's immediate response was "Fucking really?" Has Clinton heard what the Republicans have been saying about Obama? There's a vast scorched wasteland of difference between Sanders saying that he disagrees with Obama on issues like trade (and, in fact, he didn't call Obama either "weak" or "a disappointment") and the Republicans claiming that President Obama is consciously attempting to turn the United States into a half-Mexican/half-Muslim free health care-giving breeding ground for rapists and terrorist who will fuck, behead, and regulate out of existence white Christian people and their noble businesses while aborting babies and tossing them on the floor to die before heading out to blow up Israel and the local mall after taking your guns away so you can't be motherfucking Rambo and save the nation from the depredations of a President Clinton or Sanders.

So, you know, just calm that "Sanders doesn't love Obama as much as I do" shit.

After Clinton finished, Sanders answered Clinton with a variation on "I have a black friend" and then said, bizarrely, "Well, one of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate." What the fuck does that even mean? That Clinton should have known Obama was going to win and not run against him? That Clinton didn't think Obama should be president when they were opposing each other for the same job? It's a nonsensical reply because Clinton was attacking Sanders for what he said about President Obama, not an untested Senator Obama. It's like comparing apples and a record of presidential accomplishments.

For both candidates, though, it was a worthless moment, an attempt to pander to African American voters, and a couple of completely unnecessary slams. Obviously, either one of the two is going to carry on and build on much of what Obama has done (mostly for good, but also for bad - see: drone war) while the Republicans talk about taking health insurance away from millions of Americans and deporting children.  To say that it matters by what degree Clinton or Sanders support President Obama is to try nuance if you're gonna use a pistol or a rifle to go after the asshole with a sledgehammer.

By the way, writing this made the Rude Pundit wonder: In 2007-8, you could legitimately say that President Bush had done things that were undermining the security and finances of the nation. How did Democratic candidates attack him? Did they say that he is evil incarnate and anti-American? The worst attack he could find came from Hillary Clinton in an April 16, 2008 debate with Barack Obama (when, yes, she was running against him). Clinton said, "I wish the Republicans would apologize for the disaster of the Bush-Cheney years."

These days, if a Republican said that about Obama, he would be seen as restrained and weak in his criticism.

2/11/2016

Gitmo Is Still Wrecking Our American Soul (Part of the "Not Talking About Trump for One Fucking Day" Series)

(Note: The Rude Pundit has made the executive decision that if he spends every day reacting to whatever bullshit is coming out of the primary races, he will lose his goddamn mind and end up going on a 50-state killing spree. To prevent that, he will spend at least a couple of days a week not saying cruel things about Ted Cruz and not overexplaining how Democrats should calm the fuck down. In this way, he will stay superior to CNNMSNBCFox.)

Mohammed Bwazir was, by all accounts, a fuck-up from Yemen who stumbled his way from being a charity worker into becoming a soldier for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan for a brief period of time. Through a series of not-wacky misadventures, he ended up at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002, held without charge, after being detained months before by Afghani and then American forces. He was debriefed pretty quickly, and a military tribunal decided in 2007 to recommend him for release. No, he wasn't the best prisoner - he went on hunger strikes regularly - but he was considered a low threat and of low intelligence value (even if he was deemed a medium risk for returning to the front for the Taliban, probably because he had no other way to make a living). In other words, he didn't really know shit, and there was no reason he should be at Gitmo.

Nine years later, just a couple of weeks ago, Bwazir was about to go onto a plane that would take him away from his prison since 2002, and he balked literally at the entrance. He didn't want to go where the State Department was going to send him. He wanted to go to Saudi Arabia or Indonesia or someplace where he has relatives, not the unnamed country in southern Europe he was being relocated to. He was brought back to his cell, still in the shackles he was wearing as he approached the plane. It was the first time any detainee had gone through all the processing necessary to get out of Gitmo before bailing at the last minute.

The State Department's special envoy to Gitmo, Lee Wolosky, said that they might end up having to force some detainees to get on planes so they can clear out the prison. "We’re not a travel agency. We’re not here to fulfill every wish and desire of a resettlee," he told the Miami Herald. "They do not get to pick and choose where they go. In certain circumstances, a detainee would be forced on to an aircraft in order to complete a resettlement."

Roll that around in your head for a few seconds. The United States has kept detainees, of which there are currently 91, in a legal limbo, away from their lives, their families, everything, for nearly a decade and a half. Mohammed Bwazir gave officials all the information he had, according to their assessment: "Detainee is assessed to be substantially exploited. He has provided numerous and detailed reports on his story and timeline, to include available paramilitary training and front line locations and personnel." The only value he might have had was whether he knew any of the other detainees, in the hundreds by that 2008 assessment. Yet it was still recommended that he be released.

Bwazir cooperated. The Department of Defense said he could be released. And we didn't even try to release him until this year. We kept him in a black hole where at one point he wanted to commit suicide in order to protest his detention. But there is the State Department envoy saying, in essence, "Fuck this guy. He should be grateful we're not dropping him in the ocean covered in chum."

Bwazir's lawyer said, "He’s been in Guantánamo so long that he was terrified about going to a country other than one where he had family." While at Gitmo, he has received very little in the way of job training or anything. We took him when he was 21 or so and now we want to put him back in the world in his mid-30s after spending his adult life so far in a prison for no reason, for having his number come up on a roulette wheel of the damned.

And we tried to send him somewhere completely alien. We obviously expected him to treat us as liberators and thank us with flowers and candy.

2/10/2016

Note to Republican Voters Post-New Hampshire: Are You Really This Dumb?

Walking dick joke Donald Trump sailed easily to victory in the New Hampshire primary last night in the wake of a bizarro rally where he called Ted Cruz a "pussy." Yeah, yeah, it doesn't matter that he was repeating what a woman in the audience yelled. He chose to say it, he smirked and practically jacked off while he said it, and so, yeah, he called Cruz a "pussy."

Truth be told, Ted Cruz is more of a cunt and a prick and a huge asshole, but let's be clear as to why Trump degraded Cruz. It was because Cruz was iffy on whether or not he'd allow the torture of prisoners through waterboarding. To Trump, this was an outrage because, as he says so often while karate chopping the air with his stubby hands, ISIS beheads people - Christians, damnit. So the crowds cheer when Trump says he's going to allow waterboarding "and worse" (although he won't define what "worse" is because he doesn't want to tip his hand to the enemy). That's what makes you a "pussy" in Trumpworld: The barest desire to not be a savage animal. Even Ted "Carpet Bomb" Cruz doesn't make the cut.

The results of the New Hampshire primary were fucking frightening because 47% of the GOP voters chose the crazy candidates: Trump and Cruz. That's more than the next four establishment candidates combined. In Iowa, Trump and Cruz together got nearly 52% of the voters, which, obviously, is more than all the rest. Right now, polls in South Carolina have Trump and Cruz taking the votes of 55-56% of Republicans.

So the only question to those voters is simple: "How fucking dumb are you?" And the simple answer is: "We're really fucking dumb, man."

Look, it's easy to see the appeal of Trump to angry white people who have been stripped of power and, rather than blame other white people, want to blame immigrants and Muslims and that Negro in the White House. Dumb people believe that blatant shows of power are the only way power exists. So if we're not sending soldiers to kill the fuck out of foreigners, then we must be a bunch of, well, shit, pussies. Dumb people like to try to connect themselves with successful people, like the lickspittles who try to get into the popular kids' circle at prep school. Dumb people do this even if the successful person is a raging hemorrhoid of a human being. And dumb people don't care if they are lied to, repeatedly, if the lies confirm their irrational and unshakeable biases and hatreds. That's the secret to the right-wing media and it's the secret to Trump.

Look at his victory speech last night, said to a room of slobbering cattle who would bend over and drop their pants if Trump said he wanted to brand their asses with a giant "T." Trump just makes shit up as he goes. "We're going to rebuild our military. It's going to be so big, so strong, so powerful. Nobody is going to mess with us, believe me, nobody. Nobody," he said. Do you, Trump voter, really believe that terrorists are going to be intimidated by a big military? Yeah, sure, some ISIS member is gonna think, through the haze religious fervor and amphetamines, "Well, I'm supposed to shoot up that mall for Allah, but I don't know. President Trump has sure made the military huge." You probably do believe that because you are dumb.

Or when Trump said, "I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created." What the fuck does that even mean? And then he just went completely shit-tossing crazy: "Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. The number's probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent." At the height of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was 25%. He's just pulling numbers from various reports, like he clicked through a few links after googling "real unemployment rate." If 42% of workers were unemployed, we'd've already lined up people like Trump to shoot dead and turn into a terrible stew.

And then there was shit that represents a fundamental stupidity about how the world of politics is different from the world of business. Trump said, "We're going to beat China, Japan. We're going to beat Mexico at trade. We're going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis," he said. Motherfucker, those are some of our biggest trade partners. Are you gonna levy tariffs? They'll tariff the shit out of our goods and wreck the economy.

These aren't policy disagreements. These aren't ideological differences over the level of taxes on the wealthy, for instance. These are just layers of bullshit on top of layers of bullshit to create a parfait of bullshit.

But none of this matters to Trump voters. Because they're that dumb. And Trump's rise is a hilarious failure for a Republican Party that wanted to make its voters dumb enough to vote against their interests. Well, those motherfuckin' chickens are home to motherfuckin' roost.

The GOP is so lacking in anything like a legitimate moral center that the most immoral asshole in the room is going to be your standard bearer. Congratulations on nearly eight years of delegitimizing the presidency and several decades of saying that government itself is bad. You've finally gotten your perfect candidate.

2/09/2016

Wrestling with Race and Police Power in a Minor Case

The Rude Pundit has been wrestling with something in his brain since he first heard about it yesterday. Mocking Republicans and getting all worked up about Bernie and Hillary can wait until the New Hampshire results. We still have nine more months of that shit until we birth a new president. Instead, let's turn our attention to what seems, at first glance, like another incident of white police officers mistreating a black driver, in this case, a Princeton University professor, Imani Perry. The Rude Pundit wanted to call "bullshit" on Perry, but then his thinking brain started fucking with his animal brain.

Perry wrote about what was a genuinely scary moment: she was pulled over by the police in Princeton, New Jersey, for speeding and then arrested for what she initially said was "for a single parking ticket three years ago." She was handcuffed and put in the back of a squad car, not allowed to contact anyone until she got to the station, and handcuffed to a table while she was being processed in the station. She was also frisked by one of the arresting white male officers. She attributed her "mistreatment" to being black, adding in a Facebook post, "I cannot ever say definitively that this specific mistreatment was a result of race. But I can say that what I experienced was far more likely because my skin is a deep brown, my nose is round, and my hair is coily."

This here blog has been writing about the mistreatment of African Americans by the police when most of the Black Lives Matter protesters were still in elementary school. This here writer has been incredibly harsh on the police and their abuse of power. That doesn't mean that, as a white person, the Rude Pundit can't be called out as "racist" or anything else (he is called that on a regular basis). But when it comes to the way in which cops enact their authority on the bodies of black people, he has squarely allied himself with those African American victims. If you're so inclined, stick with him while he works a couple of things out here. If not, fuck it. Go read something else. Or call him "racist."

'Cause, see, the real reason Perry was arrested wasn't because of a parking ticket. It was because her driver's license was suspended. The law in New Jersey is pretty fucked up this way: if you don't pay even a single parking ticket, your license gets suspended. How do you know this is going to happen? You receive warnings if you don't pay your ticket, like this one:


You get two of those and then you get a letter telling you that your license was suspended. It's easy to overlook these in the stream of daily junk mail, but that's on you.

How does the Rude Pundit know about all this?

Because about 12 years ago, he was pulled over in a small, wealthy town in central New Jersey and arrested for having a suspended driver's license for an unpaid parking ticket. He was frisked on the side of the road, handcuffed and put into the back of a squad car, and handcuffed to a table while he was processed at the station. He couldn't contact anyone until he got to the station. Perry's right: it is fuckin' frightening. He was released when someone arrived to get him, never put in a cell (and neither was Perry), and got a court date. He went before a judge a month or so later, and the judge even looked at the Rude Pundit, baffled, and said, "This is for parking tickets?" To which the Rude Pundit gave a rueful nod. He paid his fine, got his license restored, and has made sure to pay his tickets. Lesson learned.

Perry is very clear that she is not comparing herself to Sandra Bland or other African American women who have died as a result of their treatment in police custody. But, she says, "I hope that this circle of attention will be part of a deeper reckoning with how and why police officers behave the way they do, especially towards those of us whose flesh is dark."

She believes that her "disproportionate policing and punishment" was due to her race. The Princeton police chief disagrees, saying that her treatment was appropriate and that, yes, she was arrested for a suspended license for two unpaid parking tickets. She received the same exact treatment that the Rude Pundit did for the exact same violation of the law. It's a stupid law, yes, and it needs to change, but there it is.

However...

As the Rude Pundit said, he is a white male. He can't even begin to imagine the fear of a black man or woman being arrested by white cops in this age of cases like Freddie Gray and Tanisha Anderson. How could Perry not wonder what might happen to her in the back of that squad car? Why wouldn't she feel panic? Why wouldn't she be outraged?

Yes, strictly by the law, Perry was in the wrong. But she lives, we all live, in this very wrong racial culture where an extra layer of extralegal repression exists. The department chief himself acknowledged this: "We are part of the larger law enforcement community in our current times in law enforcement. Therefore I understand how in this climate we can be perceived to be a microcosm of that." Mistrust is rampant.

In other words, it sucks for everyone in these situations. If we're not gonna do anything about that, then Perry has every reason in the world to be shaken up by what she went through, even if her arrest was legally justified, even if the police did absolutely everything right, even if you want to wave this off on the basis of "Princeton professor."

Perry is being attacked on right-wing websites and in the usual way on social media. But, then again, all of those writers and trolls think the cops did nothing wrong to Eric Garner. So fuck them where they type.

In this world, even when black and white people are treated equally, it is simply not equal.

2/08/2016

Jeb Bush and the Gentleman Politician Death Spiral (in a Single Photo)


The Rude Pundit loves that photo from this weekend in New Hampshire.  Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is holding South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as if it is a pieta for the death of an era as represented in the image of two late-middle-aged/elderly white men in an awkward embrace. This sublime moment comes as the nation is perhaps about to burn the Bush family's political hopes in the ground and salt the earth after. Then we can forget about Jeb and go back to pretending the Bush, Sr. was a decent president (he wasn't) and denying that George W. wrecked the nation's ass with his crazed gorilla fucking.

The picture up there shows an ending, one not coming fast enough, to the old power structure of a certain class of people who run for office, as if Graham and Bush are comforting each other as the glass explodes around them, the ballroom floods, and the motherfuckin' Titanic sinks one more time. "Oh, where are the gentleman of old?" that image wonders. "Whither have gone the grace notes in our foul symphony of politics?"

What you're really seeing in the screaming death yawp of the Jeb Bush campaign is the wrecking of a myth, that these men like G. Bush and Dole and McCain and even, yes, in 2000, W. Bush (the compassionate conservative, remember?) were paragons of moderation and judgment when, let's be honest, they were the same scumfuckers as the carnival barkers and mad dogs who are now tearing at J. Bush like alligators in the Everglades who snatch children who walk too close to the water.

The election for Bush was over the second that he let Donald Trump mount him and take him, like a lion on the grasslands. This was emphasized at the GOP debate this past weekend when Trump put a finger to his lips to shush Bush, and the son and brother of former terrible presidents shushed to let Trump speak. The audience booed, but the alpha dog had made his point.

Otherwise, the New Hampshire primary has become the latest sinkhole for the inevitable cratering of Bush. Sure, Graham was witty and charming campaigning for him. But by the time Bush was whining, "Please clap" to an audience after a lively-for-him rant about being decent and quiet and respectful as commander-in-chief, it was pretty much "Take Ol' Yeller out back" time for him.

Bush never got his "moment," that brief time in the sun when it looks as if the campaign is gonna go your way. Marco Rubio had it coming out of Iowa and then Chris Christie unhinged his jaw and devoured Rubio whole at the debate, which led to Christie's moment. Cruz, Fiorina, even Ben Carson had moments. Not Jeb. And he's angry about the whole fucking process, telling Politico about the eventual nominee, "I think of the surviving candidates, as you get closer to the point where it starts to matter a lot, I think there’s going to be a need to focus back to the point of rhetoric and how you say things. I think there’s going to be — there needs to be some discipline." Or, you know, sound more like him so he doesn't sound so dull.

By the way, this is the guy who kept a brain-dead woman alive for two years for his political gain. Let's never forget that from the supposedly sane candidate.

Meanwhile, Trump is gleefully pantsing Bush every chance he gets. It's almost ridiculous at this point, like the endgame of some long-held grudge. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida, which is where the infamous stopped recount happened in 2000, pretty much wrote Bush's political epitaph last week: "Bush is soft-spoken. He takes time to warm up when he speaks. And he is a gentleman."

The thing about gentlemen is that we know that, for many, it's a bullshit disguise that hides something ugly or perverse, like "Oh, he holds the door for the ladies but likes to beat his children and masturbate on his cat." Now, even though it's just as much a show as the "gentleman" persona, Republicans wants someone "real." As in "reality." Or, you know, "reality TV." The closest they've got is the actual reality TV star and the wannabe TV preacher. They will chew up and spit out the gentlemen all the time.

And, to be honest, because of the Terri Schiavo debacle and because of his support for all your basic, terrible conservative policies (even if he isn't a total cockknob about immigration), fuck Jeb and all the white, male gentlemen in their political graves.

2/05/2016

Believe It or Not: You Can Support Bernie and Not Despise Hillary (and Vice-Versa)

Let's be honest here about the presidency of either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. It doesn't matter which one is "pragmatic" or "progressive" or "progressive progressive" or "pragmatically progressive." It matters about as much as a flea fart in a tornado. Because, see, neither of them is getting shit past a Congress that has at least one house controlled by Republicans. Hillary Clinton ain't gonna wiggle her nose and cause the obstructionist fucknuts to all of a sudden "want to get things done." Bernie Sanders ain't gonna wave a magic staff and cause "revolution" to overtake the hearts of the very assholes who have done everything in their power to halt the moderate-left agenda of President Obama. The Republicans ain't gonna compromise with any Democrat in the White House. It ain't in their nature.

And let's be honest: Any argument over who is progressiver is just fucking dumb, no matter who started it. Obviously, compared to the hellbeasts running on the Republican side, both Sanders and Clinton are progressive. To fight over by what degree is a waste of time and energy. It's fucking dumb that Sanders brought it up. It's fucking dumb that Clinton didn't just say, "That's fucking dumb" and ignored it. (Conversely, any argument on the other side over who is conservativer is just as fucking dumb. Don't worry, fellas and lady, you're all just terrible human beings.)

The Rude Pundit is leaning towards Sanders in the primary because Sanders' views on shit more readily align with his. That's it. It's the simplest comparison in the world: "Who is most like me? Okay, they've got my vote." By saying that, the Rude Pundit will be accused of supporting a gun-loving freak who lives in a fantasy world, even if none of those things are remotely true. When he was leaning Clinton, he was accused of supporting a Wall Street shill who was just fuckin' skeevy, which, again, there is not a whole lot of proof for any of that. And if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, he will support her and vote for her because the Rude Pundit is not a fucking idiot. He has no problem voting for Clinton because the alternative is not to vote, which gives more support to a Republican, and fuck that noise with a sharpened chainsaw.

In the last week, the Rude Pundit has met at least five people who support various candidates (including, frighteningly enough, someone thinking hard about Trump). All of them said they couldn't vote for Clinton because:
1. "She just bothers me."
2. "There's something about her."
3. "She just seems like she's dirty."
4. "Blarg, garf, Trump." (shits self)
5. "You know she did something wrong."

Every single one of these voters is merely a tool of the Republican anti-Clinton machine which has worked tirelessly for over two decades to make sure that the name "Clinton" is tainted, even if there is no real reason for any of it. You want to know how to stop an asshole anti-Hillary Republican in their tracks? Ask them if they think Republicans would be investigating Benghazi or the email bullshit if Clinton wasn't running for president. The Rude Pundit asked a few, and all of them said, "No" or "Probably not." Well, there you fucking go.

That same feeling permeates the left: Something has to be bad about Hillary or why would we spend all this time talking about how bad she is? That's letting conservatives set the rules of engagement. To his credit, Sanders refuses to go down the road of criticizing her on the email fake scandal. But "Benghazi" is now in the lexicon with "Whitewater" as shorthand for "Scumbag Clintons." You can bet that if Hillary Clinton is elected, those motherfuckers will open impeachment hearings right after the inauguration because that's how vermin roll. You want to be a part of that, alleged progressive?

This is not to say that you can't find fault in things that Clinton or Sanders have done or voted on. Jesus Christ, they've both had long careers. Of course they're gonna do shit that pisses you off. While we're all handjobbing President Obama for the ACA signups and the unemployment rate, you still have to reconcile that with the TPP (or dismiss it and call anyone who mildly criticizes the president "racist" because you're just that special kind of asshole).

There are two fucking missions for whoever gets the Democratic nomination. First, prevent a Republican from getting into office. And we can argue until the cows come home, take a shit, and go to sleep about which polls prove which candidate can do that. But no matter what, you have to stop the Republicans from fucking this nation harder than Chris Christie on his wife's ass while she wears a Hillary mask on the back of her head.

And then the second mission is to take the Congress back, all of it, and it better be by a filibuster-proof majority. Otherwise, nothing is going to get done beyond executive orders and some foreign policy efforts.

Dispute each other, sweet BernieBots and HillaryBots (or Bernie Bros and Hillary...Harridans? What awful, sexist thing is it? It's all so goddamn stupid), but if you declare you despise the other candidate, you should ask who you're believing, especially when it comes to Clinton. You might be laying down in a bed of slime.

2/04/2016

Taking a Sick Day, Boss

Is it the Zika virus? The flu? A cold and he's just a pussy? Who knows? But the Rude Pundit feels like warmed over shit, and, frankly, he couldn't give a squirt of spider monkey jizz about the presidential candidates. (Other than "Fuck you with a donkey dildo, Marco Rubio, you Jesus-fellating gargoyle.")

Back later? Tomorrow? with more phlegmy rudeness.