Regarding Torture, Spying, and Our Enabling, Complicit Silence

So Politico does a story on the Guardian and the Washington Post winning the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the documents and files taken by former National Security Agency contract employee Edward Snowden that revealed the extent of the NSA's gathering of heaping piles of yummy data on each and every one of us who uses electronics for communication. The article's author, Dylan Byers, quotes people who are angry about Snowden's whistleblowing. One of those is quoted is John Yoo, described as "a former deputy assistant attorney general and author of the 2002 memos advising the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques." The Rude Pundit has described him as "a piece of shit." One description does not negate the other, and, indeed, they seem to work well together.

As you might imagine, Yoo was not exactly thrilled. He said, "I’m not surprised the Pulitzer committee gave The Washington Post a prize for pursuing a sensationalist story, even when the story is a disaster for its own country...I don’t think we need automatically read the prize as a vindication for Snowden’s crimes." Huh, the Rude Pundit thought, if there's a man who knows something about abiding crimes that cause a disaster for our country, it's John Yoo. He's a dude who charmingly believes that the President has the right to order torture, even of children, if the President deems it necessary to protect the security of the United States, and he still supports the very program that "damaged the United States' global reputation."

As more and more is revealed, like that above quote, from the still-classified Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation," or "torture" program, the likelihood is still that not only will no one ever be punished for, as one of the conclusions reads, "conditions of confinement for CIA detainees [that] were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers" and for outright lying to Congress, but that the entire episode will be tossed onto the shitpile of historical blindness. Except as pages in some book about this shameful age, it will never be confronted, never be grappled with, only repressed like a secret desire for snuff porn, for getting off on the disembowelment of young boys (known as "Cheneying").

Remember: all the awful things that you've heard about, all those "techniques," like waterboarding, stress positions, extreme heat and cold, placement into cramped spaces, that that's the shit that was done by the CIA. That's the shit that was approved by government lawyers like John Yo and Alberto Gonzales, the shit that has memos written about it, the shit that George W. Bush's torture apologists like Marc Thiessen desperately justify so they keep the demons that claw at their consciences at bay. It leaves out the black sites, where the CIA sent detainees to be tortured off the books, in Syria, in Poland, on an island owned by Great Britain, at a secret hidden compartment of Guantanamo Bay, with beatings and electric shock and the usual array of horrors.

Our silence as a nation has allowed so much to continue. There's the joke trials at the still-open Gitmo detention center, where the FBI turned a defense attorney into a secret informant, creating a situation that veers from tragedy to farce in prosecuting people who might actually be responsible for the 9/11 attacks. And, yes, there's the Snowden documents, which reveal the gratuitous paranoia, a national mental illness, that we are forced to exist with.

Ultimately, our failure to demand a reckoning merely enables the continuation of the abuses. Yes, Barack Obama ended the torture program, but, fuck, if no one's going to the Hague for it, what's to stop another president from starting it back up? Obama himself feels he has broad discretion to spy. What kind of precedent has been set here?

Except for a few dissenting voices, almost all of this has been met with a collective shrug and a "Meh, what are you gonna do?" Our mass silence is our complicity. And the feeling that we truly can't do anything about it even if we wanted to is the supreme victory by the powerful to render us powerless.


The Lesson of the Bundy/BLM Standoff: The Government Allowed the Armed Right-Wing Assholes to Live

What the Rude Pundit understands about the just-concluded stand-off between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher Cliven Bundy and his merry band of other ranchers, children, and militia members, most of them armed, can be summed up in two pictures:

That's the assorted fucknuts, paranoiacs, and numbskulls gathered to defend Bundy's cows and their right to graze on protected federal land. (Some of the cows had been taken by the feds and held in pens.) They're also defending Bundy's desire not to pay the $1 million in fines he's been assessed for his 20 years of flouting the law. Bundy's just a crazed hick asshole, but he's a crazed hick asshole who hasn't given a shit about the law, spending more time losing in court than maybe campaigning for politicians who might change the laws (which is the way things are supposed to work). The land was protected to prevent the extinction of some species and to keep the habitat stable for wild horses. Fuck that, though. Bundy's cows liked free grass.

Of course, who gives a shit when a district court in Nevada ruled against Bundy and for the government, saying, "The public interest is best served by having the federal lands managed without the presence of trespassing cattle on lands that are closed to grazing. The public interest is also best served by removal of trespassing cattle that cause harm to natural and cultural resources or pose a threat to the health and safety of members of the public who use the federal lands for recreation. The court finds that the public interest is negatively affected by Bundy's continuing trespass."

Of course, the fucknuts, paranoiacs, and numbskulls all thought that this was an unconstitutional land grab or tyranny or the beginning of rancher death camps or whatever stupid shit Alex Jones and/or the voices in their damaged brains are telling them. Whatever it is, it requires a Second Amendment solution to keep their property rights that are given to them by God through the Constitution, which is exactly like Moses's tablets and not written by humans at all. Christ, the Rude Pundit is exhausted by simpleminded cocksuckers who wield the Constitution as if they actually understand anything other than a couple of the items they think are about them, like an asshole at a party who says he can play guitar but just strums the one or two chords he kind of knows.

The stand-off came to an end when the fucknuts et al blocked an interstate highway and got set up for the big armed battle (with the charming strategy of letting unarmed women get shot first because they thought that would gain them sympathy). The feds decided, "Oh, fuck it. Nobody needs to die over this literal bullshit. Release the cows." Bundy's son, who had been tasered by federal officers for kicking one of their dogs, declared victory and said, "The people have the power when they unite. The war has just begun." As some on the right have declared, you can view this as an act of civil disobedience over what gets to eat the grass, which is kind of sad, really. Still, you can imagine there was much hooting and hollering in celebration.

Which leads to photo number two:

That's what's left behind after the military drone missile bombs the living fuck out of some place in a desolate landscape, much like Nevada. "The war," if it ever came to that, would be over in a millisecond. But, no, please, lock and load, nutzoids.

The message to Bundy and his followers is simple: you are being indulged, like a child who threw himself on the floor of the Walmart, screaming because he just had to have that WWE action figure. And, frankly, when you start blockading roads and fucking up the land and pretending like you are anything more than a greedy motherfucker who doesn't want to pay his debts, it's hard to find sympathy.


Florida GOP Congressman Ted Yoho: "Wow, I'm Dumb. Vote for Me"

At a town hall meeting in Gainesville, Florida (motto: "The ugly part of the Sunshine State"), good, faithful Congressman Ted Yoho proudly announced that he's a fucking idiot. Yoho was answering a question on whether or not the severe weather that has affected Florida, which, despite its beaches, bars, and boobs, has a robust agriculture industry, might be related to climate change and, if so, "are scientists right" about its causes.

Yoho responded, "I think there’s an agenda-driven science. I can read stuff that says that the information was skewed. It’s not right. I’m a guy that’s worked out in the weather since I was 16. I can tell there’s climate change. The cause? I’m not smart enough for that." On one level, it's good to know that Yoho trusts his senses when it comes to the existence of climate change. However, if one is not "smart enough" to understand something, perhaps one should rely on the advice of people who, oh, fuck, what do you call it, study it, like, you know, scientists. (Let's not even get into the idea that climatologists might have an agenda but oil companies apparently don't, according to Yoho's "logic." Or the fact that, in this day of internet rubes crapping out whatever they want, you read pretty much any "stuff" you want, from climate change denialism to slash fiction involving Harry Potter, Severus Snape, and a sexy black griffin with a huge cock.)

That was Yoho's response to a lot of questions: shit's just hard. "Our tax system is so complicated and convoluted," he told the crowd during his 90 minute confession of his mental disabilities. But, hell, he knows Obamacare is bad. Probably because the bill is so long.

Most stunning was his confession that he's unsure about the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Asked about by an African-American constituent, Yoho babbled, "Is it constitutional, the Civil Rights Act? I wish I could answer that 100 percent. I know a lot of things that were passed are not constitutional, but I know it’s the law of the land." It's too bad that the United States doesn't have a body that decides the constitutionality of the laws passed by Congress, like a court or something. For 50 years, we've lived under a law that might not even be legal.

Well, except for that unanimous 1964 Supreme Court decision that specifically said that the Civil Rights Act was constitutional. You excise Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States from the historical record, and you've got an argument. So Yoho would be right to be doubtful if he wasn't entirely wrong.

But wisdom rests, as it always does, with the electorate. Let's conclude with the words of Evelyn Suznovich, retired, who said of her representative to DC, "I’m glad that we have somebody in Congress (who) uses his brain...He’s a critical thinker, (who) thinks things out well." Well, for Florida, Yoho might be as smart as it gets. That chill you just felt is a dumbass tripping on your gravestone.

By the way, Yoho spoke at Kanapaha Middle School. "Kanapaha" is a word for houses made of palm leaves in the language of the Timucua Indians. Yeah, they're extinct now, thanks to the diseases that white Europeans brought to the New (to them) World. The missionaries were more successful in spreading infections than spreading the word of God. Yeah, between that and forcing the natives into slave-like labor, it was the perfect setting for Yoho to say that we shouldn't treat people of different races as equals.


White Supremacists Are More Dangerous Terrorists Than Al-Qaeda (Updated)

Let us not fuck around here with terms like "hate crime" and "mass murder." Let us not be careful where we tread for fear of offending the delicate sensibilities of stupid people. Let's just call the shooting spree at two Jewish centers that ended with three people killed in Overland Park, Kansas, yesterday what it is. Frazier Glenn Cross, the shooter, committed an act of terrorism. He is affiliated with terrorist groups who seek to use violence to overthrow the current government of the United States. And the only reason that anyone would hedge on that is because they don't want to piss off the Tea Party and other right-wing fucknuts who believe that, because they don't wear hoods and robes, they aren't as derangedly racist as the local Grand Wizard of the KKK.

Cross (who also, charmingly, went by the name "Glenn Miller" - make your own rusty trombone joke) was a known white supremacist and kind of a pussy, arrested and convicted on weapons charges before narcing out fellow racists to the FBI. He had once run for Senate in 2010 as a write-in candidate in Missouri, and he produced anti-Jewish and race-baiting radio commercials that the local stations were forced to run because federal law allows you to be as much of a dick in public as you can afford.

A trip into Cross's website is a descent into a white rabbit's asshole, all noise and shit. It is filled with crazed ranting about Jews controlling everything: "The Jew-controlled entertainment media have taken the lead in persuading a whole generation that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable way of life; that there is nothing at all wrong with White women dating or marrying Black men, or with White men marrying Asian women; that all races are inherently equal in ability and character—except that the character of the White race is suspect because of a history of oppressing other races; and that any effort by Whites at racial self-preservation is reprehensible." Wow, we've been busy.

When you look at Cross's list of "My Political Goals," with a little bit of language changed, it reads like a teabagger's bizarro, fevered wet dream, the kind where you end up realizing that you've fucked the stuffing out of your pillow, but at least you made it your bitch. In between the bullshit about giving whites "back" everything that non-whites have taken from them or segregating prisons or giving equal time on the air to crazy fuckers, there's things like "To initiate laws that will mandate that American company executives who have relocated their companies to foreign countries to take advantage of cheap labor, at the expense of American workers, will either return those companies to the continental United States, or else lose their American citizenships, permanently," the kind of stuff where you think, "Huh. This motherfucker blames everyone for his shitty job. Too bad he couldn't focus his energy on just the right people."

But mostly this dude saw Jews manipulating all other people for their advantage, turning gentile white men into "cowards." He admonishes whites, "Despise the Jew parasites! Not the bodies, minds, and souls that these Jew parasites attach themselves to and suck the life's blood from their unsuspecting victims, draining their sap, strength and very will to resist." And he calls for "defense" to restore whites to total power against the ZOG (the Zionist Occupational Government aka the ideology of "I fuck myself with my own fist"). He also talks about how proud he is of the thousands of people who are part of the organizations he supports and has joined.

You can see it on the Vanguard News Network, an online clearinghouse for white supremacists to vomit out loudly and proudly (under mostly fake names) the bile that they used to have to keep to themselves or their little group of cross-burners meeting in the basement. Yeah, VNN already has a page up with people praising Cross. The Rude Pundit tries to avoid reposting online comments because there's only so much his soul can take before it finally just says, "Yeah, fuck you, man. I'm outta here" and leaves him a hollowed out husk. You can read it for yourself.

But if you like that sort of thing, you can get your rocks off on the blog Endzog, which has a "Frazer Glenn Miller Jr Tribute" to face rape you with a 12-minute video. Oh, and the blogger says, "Many of us would say it was too early to go in and we should wait for them to more publically [sic] kick-off their race war first, but he made his decision and White nationalists should not second guess it." Yes, let's all defend this guy's right to buy a bunch of guns without a background check.

The point here is that, in the wake of this incident and the Sikh temple shooting in 2012, the FBI should be wrecking these domestic groups. Federal law enforcement agencies trawl the internet, seeking people who blink in the direction of jihad so the pathetic fucks can be infiltrated and set-up to look like they're actually gonna blow up a bridge or some such shit. If the shooter had been Frazeer al-Cross, we'd be talking about nothing but terrorism.

Right now, you're more likely to be mowed down by an ignorant fuck with a rifle and a head full of conspiracy theories than you are to die in a suicide bombing at your local mall. But because that ignorant fuck is part of the Republican base, conservatives lose their shit if you suggest that we need to do more about those terrorist organizations.

By the way, let's hope someone informs Cross that he killed only one Jew, being that not many people stand around with hooked noses, counting money, so it was hard to get the right targets. The other two were white Christians, a doctor and his 14 year-old grandson. Chances are, he'll dismiss that as Jew propaganda.

Update: Turns out that Cross killed only non-Jews. So he's a complete and utter fucking failure at the one thing that he attempted to do. He sucked so badly as a race warrior that they probably won't even let him into the prison neo-Nazi gangs. Well, except as designated senior citizen spooge receptacle.

(Tip o' the hat to rude reader JG. His full name will not be used because it sounds Jewy, so he might be part of the ZOG. Oh, and tip o' the hat to SL, who informed the Rude Pundit what ZOG means.)


Boehner's Benghazi Blues

Man, the GOP wanted Benghazi to be more than just another cocktease. To be sure, Benghazi was good at it, rubbing its scandal-tightened ass up against the GOP's groin until the GOP was aching with a desire to furiously fuck Benghazi. Goddamn, what a little slut Benghazi was, all whored out in a little skirt and see-through top with a red lacy bra under it. Just those lips, those tarted-up, red-lipsticked, dick-sucking lips, invited the GOP to get it up and get ready to stick it in. The GOP would watch Benghazi sashaying around, thong just visible, high-heeled. It's all the GOP could talk about, how it was gonna get to nail Benghazi's ass like it was an electromagnet and the GOP's dick was made of iron.

Alas, alas, though: Benghazi was an illusion, a fantasy concocted by a lonely GOP masturbating and weeping in a corner. Now, even its own friends are telling it that the time has come to give up the hope that the bitch-in-heat dream will come true.

Columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer smacked that hard-on down on Fox "news" this week: "Politically speaking, the administration has won. They ran out the clock...If we had had a select committee from the beginning, really had coherent hearings, unlike what we’ve had,which were disjointed hearings that let all things sort of slip away, we really would have been somewhere, we would have gotten to the bottom of this. But, as a political fact, this thing is done."

What Krauthammer doesn't mention is that, except for the drooling hordes of the Republican base, the kind of people who think Louis Gohmert is a legitimate choice as a legislator, no one in the country gave a happy monkey fuck about "What Really Happened in Benghazi." Most people think, "That was something that sucked. Excuse me. I gotta pay some bills."

The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon from California, declared as much yesterday: "I think I've pretty well been satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened and how quickly it dissipated, we probably couldn't have done more than we did." In other words, "Can my committee work on other shit now, please?"

Oh, but even though he won't appoint a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, House Speaker John Boehner wants you to know he's still gonna get to the bottom of it: "And when it comes to Benghazi, we’ve got four Americans who are dead, and their families deserve the truth about what happened. And the administration refuses to tell them the truth."

Yeah, that's the thing about a self-destructive fuck fantasy. Some skeevy, old onanists just can't help themselves. They're gonna keep thinking the fantasy will walk up to them and say, "Oh, take me" even when the dream has left the building, gotten in the car, and driven away.


Censorship Begets Censorship Begets Censorship...

Here's a couple of things the Rude Pundit read today that are bugging the shit out of him:

Over in South Carolina, some state legislators got all pissy when the University of South Carolina Upstate was gonna feature, at an LGBT studies event, a monologue play titled How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less (which sounds like the greatest TED talk ever). It's by Leigh Hendrix and performed under her stage name, Butchy McDyke. USC Upstate had already been punished by the legislature, having $17,142 cut from its budget (along with $50,000 for the College of Charleston) because the innocent freshman were asked to read a book about a gay and lesbian radio show.

This time, after getting their marching orders from a conservative website, three legislators threatened more budget cuts. Said Sen. Kevin Bryant (guess what party), "If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need." In a clear demonstration of why education in the humanities matters, another senator said the play was "recruitment" for college students to choose to be gay. Why should the state pay for such things? they demanded to know.

So the performance was cancelled because of freedom.

Over in Massachusetts, Brandeis University had planned to award writer and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree at the graduation ceremony. Ali is a controversial figure: she is unequivocally a supporter of rights for women and LGBT people. She is also unequivocally outspoken against the mistreatment of women around the world, including in Islamic nations and including Muslims in the United States and Europe. Ignoring her other stands (and that she is an atheist), she has been embraced by conservatives because she validates their Islamophobia, and, ignoring the work she has done on behalf of victims of genital mutilation and other violence, she has been attacked on the left for the same.

She said that "we are at war with Islam" and she has called the religion in which she was raised a "cult of death." What started as bloggers saying that Brandeis was wrong to honor her morphed into an online petition that got thousands of signatures, a letter signed by over 80 Brandeis faculty members, and excoriation from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, all calling on the invitation to be withdrawn. CAIR called her a "notorious Islamophobe," which is actually not a bad name for a rapper.

So the honorary degree was withdrawn because of freedom.

One thing you can bank on in this life is that you cannot go through the world without being offended. It ain't gonna happen. You're gonna go to a comedy show, and somebody is gonna say something that just hits you in the gut as wrong. You're gonna listen to the news or go on Twitter or read some blogs and someone is gonna say the exact shit that gets to you. Someone's gonna say a word, "cunt" or "nigger" or "fag," and someone is gonna get upset. Someone is going to give voice to beliefs that you find appalling. You will be offended, whether you're on the left or the right, whether you're an atheist or fundamentalist of one religion or another. If you exist in the world, you open yourself to offenses you need to deal with.

You know what else? You are gonna have to pay for shit that upsets you. The classroom where the Christian Prayer Circle for High School Virgins Who Are Hot for Jesus But No One Else meet for their weekly support group? You're paying for the electricity and heat. The drone missiles that are murdering people? You're paying. The public college that teaches a class in The Fucked Anus in Art and Literature? You're paying.

The Rude Pundit sees little difference between the outraged South Carolina lawmakers and the outraged Brandeis protesters. They are on the same side of the same filthy coin, which reads, "This person says things I don't like; therefore, no one should hear this person." You could add "Except for maybe in places and at times I approve." He finds such censorship of speech (and, please, don't fall back on the old "Well, we're not preventing them from speaking" canard - it's censorship) ludicrous across the ideological spectrum. You can't think the withdrawal of Hirsi Ali's invitation is okay, but South Carolina shouldn't pressure a college to cancel Butchy McDyke. That's laughable hypocrisy. That's saying it's wrong for one religion to be offended but okay for another one to be.

Of course, that means the Rude Pundit is offended. But he doesn't want people speaking out to shut up. He wants them to be heard, along with all the other voices. He wants more speech, more voices, more perspectives. You can see who shoots themselves in the foot only by giving them all the bullets they can handle.


Rep. Vance McAllister Should Probably Avoid Committing Adultery on Camera

Let's put the Tale o' the Kissing Congressman in context here: Chances are that this is a hit job on a politician that beat Eric Cantor's chosen candidate. And Vance McAllister, the representative who was caught on camera smashing his face against the face of a woman not his wife, was actually the saner of the two running (and remember: that's relative - it's like saying that Grown Ups is a better film than Grown Ups 2). McAllister thought that Louisiana should accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act because it would help people in poverty, which is especially high in the 5th District. He was declared to be the more "moderate" candidate, as opposed to Tea Party nutzoid Neil Riser. When McAllister won, no less an authority than Joe Scarborough declared that it was "pretty special stuff" to have a "pragmatic" Republican win.

McAllister's district is from dead central up to northeast Louisiana, with the towns of Alexandria and Monroe in there. It's around where Steel Magnolias was supposedly set. It's more or less an appendage of Mississippi culturally, economically, politically, racially, and just about every -ly you can think of. Oh, and the Duck Dynasty family is from up there, too.

Yeah, they made ads for McAllister. One of 'em even was McAllister's in-yer-black-face-Obama guest at the State of the Union. The Robertsons haven't issued any formal statement or nailed a dead duck to the congressman's office door, but one of the bearded bastards told McAllister that it was a private matter and should be handled that way. And that'd be all fine except, of course, McAllister had to go and bring God and faith and family into the special election he won just last November:

That's McAllister with his gray-haired wife and five precious angels around the breakfast counter, getting ready for Sunday churchin'.

You wanna make this extra sleazy? McAllister and the other woman's husband knew each other for years. They worked together in the oil fields. More fun? Both Heath Peacock and his wife contributed, separately, the maximum allowable by law, $5200, to McAllister's campaign. One of them got special access to the congressman. The other got his heart broken. Hardly seems fair. And the woman, Melissa Peacock, had a job at McAllister's local office, where they were filmed, and just resigned over the kiss.

To get back to the first point here, a pastor in Monroe said that one of McAllister's staff members leaked the security footage from the building. Preacher Danny Chance (seriously, the names in this thing are like something out of a Raymond Chandler book) remarked, "I just feel like there is a conspiracy to bring Vance down and destroy him. For someone on his staff to do that is wrong." Spurned staffer? Tea Party conspiracy? Someone took the footage and leaked it to the press. It ain't a stretch to think in such ways.

That press, by the way, is the bugfuck insane conservative publisher of the Ouachita Citizen newspaper, Sam Hanna, Jr. He's a got a brain full of teabags and writes like a Fox "news" spouting robot. Of the President, Hanna wrote that we can't "trust anything the Obama administration says or does. Think about it. Think about the IRS scandal. Benghazi. Fast and Furious. Russia. The 'red line' in Syria."

The Rude Pundit's no fan of McAllister's. More "moderate" though he may be, he still believes appalling things. He fucked up. He was nailing a friend's wife while he himself was married after telling everyone how much he loves himself some GodJesus. Certainly, what's good for Anthony Weiner oughta be good for McAllister. (Although, you know, it's Louisiana. You can fuck hookers while wearing a diaper and still get reelected.)

But this is about more than one weak man with a voice like a brain-damaged cow. It's an escalation of the GOP's internal war, where being 98% purely conservative ain't enough. This might be a grab-the-popcorn moment as the right tries to purge the party of its even slightly-less-doctrinaire members.