8/31/2015

Taking Donald Trump Seriously (Or Not)

Okay, fine, so we're supposed to pretend to take Donald Trump seriously and continue to indulge this fantasy so narcissistic that Kanye West has called him to take that shit down a notch. Well, then, let's do it. Let's say that Trump actually has proposals worthy of consideration beyond "Are you fucking kidding?" If you go to his website and click on "issues," there is still only one: immigration reform. That's it.

And if you read it, you'll see that Trump fully believes (or doesn't - it's hard to tell what shit he actually believes and what shit is just expediency for the moment) that "solving" the problem of undocumented workers will solve pretty much every other problem in the country, from terrorism to poverty. It's so fuckin' miraculous that no one ever thought before to scapegoat one group and order their purging. It cures all that ails a nation, no?

Beyond actual, seriously-stated proposals like that we should economically sanction and diplomatically isolate Mexico until that nation pays for a 2000 mile border wall, what's most fascinating are the links to articles that make up the "research" that's gone into the plan. No less than half a dozen times, Trump cites the conservative news port-a-potty, Breitbart, which means either he's paying good money in exchange for blow jobs and clicks or he just doesn't give a shit what his sources are.

'Cause, see, for example, Trump offers the kind of proposal makes stupid people smile stupidly because they think it's common sense: "Use the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States." And he links to two Breitbart articles. For "high crime neighborhoods," he sends us not to crime statistics or even a report of criminality. No, we get to click over to an article that is a summary of a caller to Laura Ingraham's radio ear bleeder. No shit, it's a woman claming to be black and living in Baltimore who says she wants asylum from crime in her neighborhood, which may well be true, except if you're passing it off as news, you motherfucking confirm that it is a real person with a real opinion and not some fucknut who wants to hear their bullshit on the radio. But for a presidential candidate to use that as a demonstration of the effects of high crime rates is laughably absurd, if we still had the capacity to find all this absurd anymore.

On it goes. Another link is to a Breitbart article that is, shit you not, a reprint of an abstract of a study, along with the first paragraph of the introduction. In other words, the article's "writer" didn't even bother to read the fucking study about how immigrant workers affect native workers in the United States. One other frightening thing comes out of looking at Trump's "research." Most of these articles are about the effects of documented and undocumented workers. In other words, it's not just an attack on "illegals." It's an attack on immigrants coming here and taking our jobs or some such fucked-up lie.

This isn't an indictment of Breitbart. If you go to the circus, expect to see heaps of elephant dung. But it is an indictment of Trump, who doesn't give a fuck who his "experts" are. You been on TV saying shit Trump likes? You're hired. Who the fuck cares if you're associated with white supremacists. And it's an indictment of the knuckle-dragging yahoos and racist opportunists who see in Trump their idiot god who says what they really want said.

Sure, sure, we can pretend that these are serious proposals. But if we do, we have to seriously contend with the hatred from which they spring and the hatred that they provoke. We have to seriously understand that a large contingent of the Republican Party is no longer hiding its racist anger. Instead, it's out in the open. We thought that would make it less frightening, if we could see its face and hear its awful words.

It doesn't.

8/28/2015

Not a Katrina Anniversary Post

"I don't wanna write about that. I'm tired of thinking about it," said one of the Rude Pundit's New Orleans friends when he asked the woman to post on this here blog about the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that caused the levees in New Orleans to break, allowing cataclysmic, murderous floods to ravage that place and many others. "Why does it matter that it's been ten years? Every day is another anniversary." Her family had lost three or four houses between all the members. She lived a damn nightmare.

He reached out to another buddy, an old friend, a writer and photographer, who responded, "I'm just keeping my head low and not following it at all. It makes me crazy." He meant that it depressed the hell out of him, and it was hard to blame him. He had been chased out of his home by the storm and came back to help rebuild the town.

The Rude Pundit tried several times this week to write something, but he found that he couldn't articulate what he was feeling. New Orleans isn't back to its old self. That doesn't exist anymore. What does exist is, to a large extent, "New Orleans," a pretty authentic imitation of the place, but just off enough that, if you knew it before, you know it's far, far different. The town is still one of his favorite places in the whole country, the whole world, so maybe when you love something so truly, so tragically, it becomes hard to catalog the good and bad ways it has healed after a near-death experience.

He's going to try again to come up with something worth saying, something about remembering how a Republican administration let the city drown and rot, about how it ripped the bandage of race relations off and we're dealing with the bleeding to this day, about how it demonstrated that neglect of infrastructure is a crime, about how the culture is still amazing but missing so many elements that made it whole, about how the school "miracle" is, to a large extent, smoke and mirrors, about how poverty has become far worse while property values skyrocket. Maybe he'll be able to articulate something. Or maybe he'll just pass on this one.

Or perhaps he'll wait until he returns to New Orleans in December, as he generally does, as he did December 2005, when the Rude Pundit and the Rude Brother took a drive through the circles of Hell, from the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain through St. Bernard Parish and into the Lower Ninth Ward, to see the destruction first hand.

You can read those posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. There are many, many photos, interviews, and on-the-ground reporting, including a view of the barge that ended up beached in the middle of the Lower Ninth.

Back then, he wrote, "The resurrection of New Orleans seems as if it's calculated to create a Disneyfied version of itself, where only the parts that matter to outsiders are developed, those that can be made into simulacra of the real thing." For a great deal of the city, that is true. And for many, certainly for outsiders, that is good enough. It might be time to let the old city go and grapple with what comes next.

8/27/2015

Bobby Jindal to Obama: Don't Politicize the Katrina Anniversary Unless It's Politics We Like

Sometimes, it's the easiest thing in the world to figure out just how dumb a person is. For instance, here are two sentences from a letter from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the world saddest animated giraffe, to President Barack Obama regarding Obama's visit to New Orleans today to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Jindal didn't want Obama to mention climate change:

"While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianians.

"I would ask you to respect this important time of remembrance by not inserting the divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism."

Can you wrap your head around that without it exploding? After attacking the President politically, Jindal asks Obama not to bring up something "political." You got that? Put aside for a moment that bringing up something that pretty much every scientist accepts as fact isn't exactly "political," how the hell do you take two completely contradictory sides without getting whiplash? It's like Jindal sucker punched Obama and then said, "I ask you not to throw punches because that'd be mean." That's not just dumb. It's pathologically, insistently stupid.

Jindal continues, "Furthermore, the people of Louisiana have already agreed upon a pragmatic and bipartisan approach to preventing and mitigating the damage of future weather systems." Yeah, sure (although the usefulness of that plan has far less support than the reality of climate change), but who exactly is financing all the plans? It sure as shit ain't broke-ass Louisiana. Oh, right, it's funded by the billions of dollars that came from the federal government.

In other words, who the fuck cares what Bobby Jindal wants said?

Towards the end of his letter, which is about as a effective as a flea fart in a hurricane, Jindal smirks, "Partisan politics from Washington, D.C. are unwelcome in Louisiana at the best of times. This week it would be met with nothing but derision."

Huh. Before his speech today, Obama had given an interview to WWL-TV where he said, "We can build great levees. We can restore wetlands. But ultimately, what we also have to do is make sure that we don't continue to see ocean levels rise, oceans getting warmer, storms getting stronger." And yet all the people at his speech didn't react with derision, unless hugs and tears are now an indication of contempt.

That's because the people of New Orleans know better than Bobby Jindal what the deal is. They know that without any real action on climate change, the city is fucked beyond fucked, and all the mitigation and restoration plans will mean jackshit. Yeah, that mighty plan Jindal touted was based on "low-balled" estimates of the effects of climate change when the what's really predicted to happen is that shit's gonna get drowned by, perhaps, 2062. Says one scientist, what we do about carbon emissions in the next 30 years "will determine whether New Orleans is inhabitable during the 22nd Century."

But let's not taint the whole memorial with politics. It'd be unseemly.

8/26/2015

Not Giving a Shit About the Clinton Email "Scandal"

There's a sentence from a Los Angeles Times column titled, "Why Clinton's email problem won't go away" that's so ironic and so galling that it ought to be put on a poster in every media outlet. Here it is: "It's difficult to avoid the suspicion that Clinton, after the scandals that rocked her husband's presidency during the 1990s, simply did not want to leave behind a paper trail (or e-trail)."

Context is everything, dear children, and the writer, John Schindler (a dick pic-sending right wing assmunch), is leaving out a huge part of the story. See, all those "scandals," Travelgate and Filegate and Whitewater, were utter bullshit. They were worthless wastes of time and money by Republicans (and cowardly Democrats), and their only purpose was to isolate, degrade, and destroy the presidency of Bill Clinton, that hick punk who thought he could just saunter in and lead the nation. If they also took down his bitch wife who thought she was smart enough to solve the health care crisis, all the better. If not them, then any collateral damage of their friends and associates was just dandy.

The only thing that approached an actual, real "scandal" was Clinton lying under oath about getting blowjobs and cigar-banging an intern in the Oval Office. That came out of the Whitewater investigation and it had jackshit to do with the presumably shady land deal in Arkansas. The entire impeachment saga was because of a tangential question and, ultimately, it was the same giant trash pile that every other fake "scandal" was.

While most of the public didn't give a single fuck about the Clinton scandals, the Republican base and the party's donors loved it. They gobbled it down like it was jizz from Jesus's own dick. And conservatives across the country pretended that the United States was being victimized by the immoral bimbo fucker and his castrating spouse. God, how they made bank on it all, how evangelicals lied openly about the sinful, adulterous, murdering, raping, drug-using Clintons. It was a goddamned carnival of molesting clowns and shiv-wielding carnies. And press outlets just jumped on the rickety scandal roller coaster because the GOP had bitch-slapped them into believing the "liberal media" canard. "We'll show you how we're not liberals," they announced. "Please, tell us more about missing Rose Law Firm documents and we'll act as if the fate of the entire motherfucking republic depends on it."

We have been a pathetic fucking country for a very long time.

Which gets us to the scandal du jour, the inevitable digging up of something, anything, to sew onto Hillary Clinton's clothes. The scarlet "B" for Benghazi wasn't holding. But, oh, happy fortune, the bullshit investigation yielded the info on the private email server, and the Clinton Industrial Complex went back into high gear. Let's get the "E" out there.

When the Rude Pundit first heard of the private email server issue, his initial thought was "Oh, c'mon" because he knew what was coming. But the one part that's been left out of the story of why Clinton used the home server (which was not fucking against the law) for her State Department emails when she was Secretary of State is the complicity of the Republican Party and the media in making Clinton so paranoid that she felt she had to do so.

Of course, she was going to do anything to keep her communications out of the public eye. Of course, she was going to make life complicated for any congressional investigations. Why the fuck wouldn't she? What the hell did she get the first time around? A discussion about her husband's dick on the floor of the House of Representatives. An accusation that she had a friend murdered. Why wouldn't she just say, "Go fuck yourselves"? In fact, she should have said that at the beginning of this. She should have said, "Well, no shit I used my own server."

Frankly, Hillary Clinton's pretty goddamn fearless to be putting herself through what was going to be an inevitable slog through the GOP fake scandal swamp.

Note: None of this excuses Clinton if she committed any real crimes (and not just violating the "spirit" of the law, which everyone does every day in many, many ways without being dragged through piles of dog shit for it). But, so far, sorry, she hasn't. Offering unsatisfactory explanations for one's actions is not illegal.

8/25/2015

Oh, Shut the Fuck Up, Roger Ailes

Throbbing anthropomorphic hemorrhoid Roger Ailes, Fox "news" chair, stepped up like a sweaty ogre in Galahad's tight armor to defend his woman, sneermistress Megyn Kelly, from the snotty tweets of the walking wart, Donald Trump. "Apologize!" the hemorrhoid demanded of the wart. "Stop saying mean things about our good and noble and true journalette." The girlfolk need a champion. They can't be expected to risk mussing their hair, Ailes believes.

"Suck it," replied the wart. "Suck my bald balls and lick my tasty taint." We shall have to see which pustule will win this war. Either way, we end up sticky and vomiting.

You know, though, for running a network that spends a decent percentage of spring covering the "horrors" of Spring Break in Florida as an excuse to show abs and tits, Ailes is mighty uppity about the respectability of his "news" hosts.

Fox "news" can dish it out - attempting to undermine, attack, and smear every so-called "liberal" media figure. But it can't take it.

Mostly, Roger Ailes should just shut the fuck up. He should shut the fuck up because the odious Megyn Kelly can probably handle Trump herself. Frankly, Ailes's defense of her is far more sexist than anything Trump has said. And he should shut the fuck up because everyone knows that his outrage is merely fodder for more ratings. What's better than Trump snarling at Fox? Fox snarling back. Everyone gets the coverage then.

Kelly is the Fox woman of the moment. When he's done with her, Ailes can sit, pantsless, behind his desk and buzz his secretary to order, "Bring me another blonde. This one's gone slack."

8/24/2015

What Country Are GOP Candidates Talking About?

Listening to the Republicans running for president, you'd think that we live in a blight-ridden hellscape filled with Mexican rapists taking our jobs by shooting us all to death while breeding anchor babies, crazy Muslims trying to behead Christians on street corners while atheist liberals applaud their devotion to their culture, and tyrannical Hillary Clinton flouting email rules while personally murdering Americans in Benghazi with Planned Parenthood fetus parts, not to mention the Iranian nukes ready to rain down on us at any second (or ten years from now, whichever comes first), China dragging us into the sea of financial ruin while loaning us more money, families falling to pieces because Mom says she's always been a man and the kids are on Obamacare, and the military ready to take away everyone's guns before forcing us all to give up our coal and gas-burning ways to please the so-called "scientists" who think they're so smart. And it's all because that asshole Barack Obama is too weak, like that fucking pussy Jimmy Carter, because he refuses to bomb the shit out of any countries that fuck with us.

There's Jeb Bush, who is haunted by Islamic extremism (and Donald Trump), telling us, "The reality is that radical Islam has been spreading like a pandemic – across the Middle East, throughout Africa and to parts of Asia, even in the nations of the West, finding recruits in Europe and the United States...Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the President and Secretary Clinton – the storied ‘team of rivals’ – took office? So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers." (He didn't mention his brother at all in this speech, by the way. And George Bush is pretty much the reason we have ISIS in the first place.)

There's Ted Cruz screeching in that cartoon parrot voice of his at a "Rally for Religious Liberty" in Des Moines, "There is a war on faith in America today, in our lifetime. Did we ever imagine that in the land of the free and home of the brave, we would be witnessing our government persecute its citizens for their faith?...You have endured the pain, endured the attacks, endured the hatred, that precisely put you where you are here today...You want to know what this election is about? We’re one justice away from the Supreme Court saying every image of God shall be torn down.”

There's Ben Carson, talking about the use of missiles to blow up shit along the border with Mexico: "[I]t's possible that a drone could be used to destroy the caves that are utilized to hide people. Those need to be gotten rid of...Those caves are very evident. And I hope you have some of the sheriffs in. They can show you the pictures. They can show you what is going on there. We are not getting support from the federal government to deal with these people. They're being outgunned. You know, 56 percent of that border is not under our control."

Fuckin' caves? We gotta worry about caves filled with Mexicans now? (He probably meant "tunnel," but then you're getting caught up in "words" having "meaning," as Carson might complain.)

This could go on. Hell, any speech by any candidate, Trump or Christie, Huckabee or Jimmy Ballsucker or whoever the fuck else is running. They all paint a picture of a nation that is teetering, just barely hanging on, before falling into an abyss.

Shit's gonna kill us. Shit's gonna get to us somehow and kill us. That much is sure. But chances are that you will die a thousand times from weather caused by climate change or unsafe food or environmental poisons or guns you own yourself than you will be affected in any way by ISIS or Mexican rapists. But the GOP won't talk about that. They won't talk about the real denial of rights, like the treatment of African Americans by law enforcement or the militarization of the police or sentencing laws or detention of immigrants, including the dreaded Mexicans (most of whom are not, in fact, interested in raping Donald Trump), people who suffer far more than a baker who won't bake a gay cake.

The Republicans will talk endlessly about this fake America. Because if they talk about the real one, they'll have to confront the real problems, not the made-up shit that pinches the anger and rage nerve in their Neanderthal voters.

8/21/2015

Shaun King and the Need to Discredit Black Lives Matter

Anyone who comes from south Louisiana knew the truth immediately (if they were being honest): Of course, Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is bi-racial. Of course, he could claim that he's black. The Rude Pundit grew up around Creoles of color in his city on the bayous. Every day, at school, at the mall, in restaurants, in bars, he saw people who looked like King: light-skinned (frankly, the white Cajun shrimpers had darker skin from baking in the sun), but with hair that looked, for lack of a better word, "black." Hell, one of his close friends had the same short buzzcut and pencil mustache that King sports. When the right had a blogasm over allegations that King was lying about his race, about his life story, the Rude Pundit is sure that many, many people in Louisiana thought, like him, "The fuck? Dude's black."

It's always pathetic when a parade of assholes attacks someone online, whether for being a woman who says women should be treated equally or for shooting a lion. It's doubly so when those assholes base their attack on lies, propagated by the pestilent fucknuts who run Breitbart, the Daily Caller, and the Blaze. Snopes has as good a summary of the whole circle jerk of fake allegations and unsourced rumors against King. It's a sad litany of nonsense.

King's eloquent response to his critics that reveals his parentage ought to put it to rest. It won't, though. Angry mobs are not noted for its ability to be reasoned with. Breitbart is already out with a story claiming that King actually confirms their allegations. That's not worth a head-slap. It's worth beating your head against a wall until you're unconscious from the assault of stupidity.

Obviously, this isn't about King. It's a way to discredit King's personal cause, police brutality against African Americans, and to destroy Black Lives Matter, which is having a real impact on the civil rights conversation in our endless presidential campaign season. It's the conservative way: make people associate an organization with something awful, even if that awful thing is completely false, and you can more easily wreck something you don't like, especially when that awful thing goes into the mainstream press. See what happened to ACORN? See what's happening to Planned Parenthood? Now Black Lives Matter is in the right-wing shit-flinging path.

Because, see, as Republicans are forced to respond to Black Lives Matter, the organization is validated as a real force, and that means its issues will have to be discussed. And once its issues are discussed, then solutions will have to be proposed (whether or not those solutions occur).

But the other reason Black Lives Matter needs to be squelched and silenced by the right is much simpler, much more mathematical. See, without Barack Obama running, Republicans must figure that the black vote would go down, which gives the GOP a better shot nationally. If Black Lives Matter keeps its momentum, that could easily carry into the general election next year and bring out black voters, which spells pretty quick doom for Republicans.

Yeah, the right could instead attempt to address the very real issues of violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity for African Americans. But it's just easier to try to silence them.