Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Snort Ketamine Off a Dead Walrus's Tusk:

That's the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, with her arm on a big-ass bear carcass (yeah, yeah, "skin") behind her. She's appearing on TLC's American Chopper to talk motorcycles and, well, fuck, what else, snowmobiles. "We love those motor sports," she tells the chopper dudes. And despite the chopper guys' shop being close to both Woodstock and New York City, she proclaims them to have "that patriotism in you that people just so respect." Guess it's a little pocket of real America amid the hippies and leftists.

Mostly, though, the Rude Pundit wants to leave you with the image of Todd being balls deep in a down-on-all-fours Sarah on top of that hairy bear corpse while Trig sits in his baby swing with "Born to Be Wild" playing in the background. Happy Thursdays.


Live Whiskey-Blogging President Obama's News Conference:
Frankly, the Rude Pundit doesn't give a happy monkeyfuck about what day this is in the President's presidency. Of course, of course, there's significance to round numbers and such shit. But, you know, it ain't like there's jackshit we can do if we don't like what's happening. Barack Obama ain't a bottle of wine that you sip and send back. But, hey, like a sickeningly in-love couple giving gifts on their one-month dating anniversary, we're gonna celebrate.

So it's out with the whiskey, Evan Williams, straight up, in a tumbler, and on with the swineflu/ArlenSpecter/passedbudget/tortureprosecutin' show. All quotes pretty much guaranteed to be inaccurate.

8:01 - And away we go.

8:02 - He calls it "H1N1," not "swine flu," thus proving how he's actually Muslim. If this was Bush, he'd be telling us to shoot on sight anyone who was coughing.

8:04 - Obama states the obvious: stop being such stupid motherfuckers about money, you poor bastards.

8:05 - You know what bugs Republicans? Not that he reads a teleprompter, but that he reads the shit out of that teleprompter. Remember: the last guy couldn't even read it without seeming like a smiling special needs kid who spelled "cat" correctly.

8:08 - Sweet Jennifer Loven asks about quarantining and closing borders. Expect AP article on how Obama was too cool about the coming pandemic and how he needs to bug the fuck out, shit himself, and tell everyone we're fucked.

8:10 - Oooh, Obama thanked the 2005 Republicans on how the avian flu was dealt with and added, "Suck my bipartisanship."

8:11 - The Rude Pundit guesses that he shouldn't have coughed on those schoolkids today.

8:12 - Detroit News reporter asks about the auto industry. Wow, way to be predictable, Deb Price. Obama says how we're going to delay the inevitable this time.

8:15 - Does Chuck Todd dye his goatee? And doesn't Helen Thomas look fetching in burgundy?

8:16 - Jake Tapper brings the waterboard noise. Obama answers the question by calling waterboarding torture once again. But he evades on whether or not the Bush administration committed crimes.

8:17 - "We could have gotten this information in other ways," he says. Sean Hannity's forehead explodes.

8:18 - Yeah, Churchill didn't torture, but he sure deliberately bombed the fuck out of civilians in Germany (as did Germany with Britain).

8:20 - Obama smacks down Dick Cheney by questioning again how we might have gotten info from detainees without drowning them.

8:22 - "I am absolutely convinced that the best way I can do that [keep America secure] is to not take shortcuts that undermine who we are" and he's not seen any information that would contradict that. Dick Cheney's pacemaker pulses harder.

8:23 - Oh, sweet Chuck Todd, you lucky gnome, you, way to join the President in geeking out over foreign policy, specifically Pakistan.

8:24 - Interesting point: all of a sudden, Pakistan doesn't seem to be giving as much of a shit about India.

8:26 - Some bald dude from Reuters asks about withdrawal from Iraq. Obama is so comfortingly boring. That sounds idiotic, but after eight years of a scowling drunk glaring at us and yelling, "Eeevil" like a senile gypsy in a 1930s film, it's just nice to hear that the President is more concerned about the minutiae of policy. We're just getting used to it still.

8:28 - Chip Reid, a man who actually allows other people to call him, "Chip," asks about Specter.

8:29 - Obama gives mad props to Specter and says that the man is free at last. And, whoa, he says that he understands the Senators serve different constituencies and have different needs. It's basic shit, but, again, again, again, it's just nice to hear the President say that Congress is a co-equal branch.

8:32 - He bitch slaps the Republican idea of bipartisanship.

8:34 - Ed Henry asks about the Freedom of Choice Act (supporting abortion rights). Obama offers the same answer he's given before about his pro-choice position.

8:37 - Ed Zeleny of the New York Times asks what has surprised, troubled, enchanted, and humbled Obama. The Rude Pundit's betting on the following: that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln is real, that it's not as friendly to black people as one would hope, that it glows like a full moon, and that it's got a gigantic cock. Let's see what he says...

8:39 - No. Goddamnit. Refill.

8:41 - Tequila makes the Rude Pundit an angry drunk. It's like a bar fight in a shot glass. Good, deep whiskey works a different nerve. It's more of a massage than a slap.

8:43 - Immigration reform question (from an Hispanic reporter - no, really). Another repeat of his same position on this, mentioning members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, and how he likes to pat John McCain on his wee little head on this issue.

8:46 - Still, his mention of raids on work places is encouraging in a very profound way, demonstrating a real sympathy for the workers and a willingness to place the blame with exploitative employers.

8:49 - Asked about the African American community and unemployment, Obama is willing to say that racial inequality causes economic disparity and, thus, the rece/depression is hitting them harder.

8:50 - Michael Scherer of Time asks about secrecy. Obama gives a good dodge by saying that he wants to change shit, but that his administration had to respond quickly to ongoing cases. It's as if the concept of "continuance" doesn't exist.

8:52 - Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal asks about the government's ownership of car companies and Wall Street firms (no, really). Obama says he wants to keep the economy running and use the ownership leverage to push the fucktards who got us into this mess to fix it.

8:57 - Gives a list of the shit that he's gotta deal with as a way of saying, "Jesus, are you fuckin' kidding me," and he's out.

And it's over. Once again, he was the President, man, the guy who knows his shit, keeps his cool, and will not be fucked with. There was some bob and weave, sure, on accusing the previous administration of crimes on torture, but there's very little the man's gonna give away until he's ready. The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll say it again: Obama plays rope-a-dope. That's his game. Sit back and watch who's the dopes next time.
Arlen Specter, Tuesday Morning, First Light:
Arlen Specter woke up Tuesday morning early with his right cheek stuck to the rug in his Senate office. After he got his bearings and saw where he was, he remembered that the glue was actually Mitch McConnell's jizz. He still had the taste of the Minority Leader's bourbon-infused cock in his mouth. Peeling his face off the rug, Specter saw that his pants were around his ankles. Goddamnit, he can't believe he allowed Jim DeMint to fuck him again. He looked around his trashed office: the cum-stained TV where Michael Steele had jacked off to watching himself on CNN, the award he had just received for getting more funding to the National Institutes of Health - now shit-smeared from John Cornyn using it on his own ass.

How many mornings had started like this since 2004? How many times had he sat with Olympia Snowe over coffee, holding her hand as she wept about how she couldn't get the smell of James Inhofe's sweaty taint off her upper lip? Too many to count, god, too many to count. John McCain told him to keep the door barricaded, that some evenings they'll give up and go away. But even that didn't work all the time, so why ruin the molding.

He yanked up his baggy slacks and went over to his desk. He looked over the polls again. 20 points. No one makes up 20 points. In a fucking primary. He thought about the last time, 2004, about how the Club for Growth called for his "scalp," how the right-to-life fuckheads actually protested his rallies, how he couldn't get the endorsements of old friends because they loved the ideology more than the party, how he begged and scraped and compromised so many fucking things, how he's in the process of doing it again. Oh, my party, he thought, oh, my sweet party, how you have strayed.

He headed into the bathroom to wash the crusted semen off his face. He was so tired of blowing McConnell. He had given too much of his life, his nearly cancer-shortened life, to his nation to dare to be judged by people who would toss teabags into rivers, who think that gay marriage is the gateway to the apocalypse. Everything that was once great to him about being a Republican had been degraded and defiled.

He looked in the mirror. There, he saw on his forehead, written in marker by Charles Grassley's demented hand, the phrase "Fuck My Face." He scrubbed himself clean, thinking as he raked the washcloth harder and harder on himself, "Fuck them. Fuck. Them." And then, as he dried, "I can be a man again, goddamnit."

He walked out and picked up the phone.


Some Conservatives Discover Their Morality on Torture:
We like to think everyone has a line, some imagined border that their sensibilities will not cross, no matter how depraved they may be. You can be a scabby-dicked masturbator in semen-stained boxers who watches the most fucked up porn, where morbidly obese women are getting fucked by the foot stumps of multiple amputees, where dudes with shaved heads and balls are double sodomizing the ass and face of another guy suspended from the ceiling by hooks pierced through his back, where a midget uses his head to penetrate an elephant's pussy. But someone sends the aforementioned masturbator a link to some kiddie porn, and he'll recoil in utter revulsion. It crossed his line. Everything else has at least the sheen of consent, even if no one asked the elephant.

Some conservatives have actually gotten queasy with the release of the torture memos and the Senate Armed Services Committee report on the same. Maggie Gallagher, who has lived for years now off the lucre she makes from her hatred of gay marriage, once praised the illegal data mining that Bush's NSA did: "When exposed to information about efforts like this by President Bush, I am not outraged. I'm deeply grateful. And worried now about who might die now that The New York Times has published this information." Now, in the National Review Online (motto: "Is anyone still reading this shit beyond bloggers who need something to argue with?"), Gallagher writes, "I personally believe torture is wrong. We shouldn't do it. Even if it means me, my husband, and my two sons get blown up. Seriously, if I had to choose I'd say: Death is common to us all; torture is a choice." It's as impassioned an anti-torture statement as anyone on the Left has made.

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker, who pissed off conservatives mightily by saying that Sarah Palin was as worthless as a four day-old skinned moose carcass, yet who just recently wrote against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, is also having the moral dry heaves over torture: "We're either a rule-of-law nation -- or we're not. We can't invent definitions of torture for one type of person that wouldn't be acceptable for another, no matter how much we may despise or distrust him." That could come from a Bob Herbert column.

Finally, there's something they can't abide, their personal lines. Here are the small spaces where the entire ideology of the right, even now in its death throes, can be subverted. It's like a gap in a wood floor where you can shove a crowbar and pry it open to reveal the rotting corpses below. Sure, it ain't many who are realizing just what they've aided and abetted for the last decade, but, like the potentially spreading virus out there now, it's gotta start somewhere.

And now with Arlen Specter switching parties to save his political ass, there's a chance for a pandemic of Republican abandonment.


In Brief: How to Have Fun with the Coming Pandemic (Updated to Prove the Point):
Hey, kids, swine flu's got you down? Then do what the Rude Pundit does: when life gives you a virus, make virusade. You can use the swine flu outbreak to totally fuck with the nutzoid right and help along their delusional, conspiratorial fantasies about Barack Obama and the federal government. Shit, maybe we can get 'em to the point where they barricade themselves in caves, armed to the teeth, daring the feds to find them. Over at places like Free Republic, they're startin' to get monkeyfuck crazy about the whats and whys. Michelle Malkin has broken out her red, white, and blue 10-inch vibrator that pumps her kooz to the strains of Ted Nugent's "Wango Tango" in order to write how the virus makes the country need "to get serious" about stronger borders more than ever. Here's a few spreadable rumors to egg 'em on:

1. The CIA manufactured the virus to distract from Obama's plans for turning this into a socialist nation. It was released in Mexico because it would look less suspicious and easily spread into the United States.

2. The public health emergency declared by the administration is an excuse to set presidential directive NSPD 51 into effect, thus creating martial law and allowing the military and FEMA to take over the country.

3. And that strange, fenced-in warehouse-like structure you see going up on the side of the highway as you drive to work? Oh, fuck, that's gonna start as a quarantine center, but eventually, get this, it's gonna be a FEMA concentration camp for enemies of the Obama-led state. He is the devil, you know.

4. Check out the first states where swine flu has appeared: New York, California, Texas, Ohio, and Kansas. If you draw a circle around them, that's an "O" and it stands for "Obama."

5. George Soros once dated a woman named Tammy Flugh. He had the virus released so that he could hear her name endlessly.

6. Barack Obama is wagging the dog to distract us from...no, wait, that's not him. Or...nope. Well, it's wagging the motherfucking dog because while we're not looking, he'll burn his birth certificate or some such shit.

You can add your own. Surely there will be more, and they will be just as backwards-ass stupid and unhelpful.

: You thought the Rude Pundit was just joking? Quote from the president of the Concerned Women for America: "Some people think that declaring a state of emergency about the flu was a political thing to push the Sebelius nomination through."
Late Post Today:
Back in a bit with "How to Have Fun with the Coming Pandemic."


A Long Quote to End Torture Week 2009 (Probably Just the First of Many):
Here's an interesting section from a 2005 book:
"A central characteristic [of Stalinism] was torture. It was applied on a huge scale to produce a totally false picture of terrorism, sabotage, and espionage.

"Even the ostensibly nonphysical methods used in 1936 are described by victims as both mentally and physically devastating. One man arrested briefly told me that the comparatively mild-sounding stoika, when a prisoner was kept standing against a wall for days, was hardly bearable. Torture is, one might say, a worse crime against humanity than killing...

"What has now emerged most strongly is the effort, the sheer mass of documentation, that went into the structure of lies. The interrogations and confrontations often produced tomes of paperwork, employing a large staff of interrogators and secretaries, with page after page of ever more complicated falsehood. The whole regime was, indeed, based on what Pasternak called 'the inhuman power of the lie,' but the sheer mass of false detail is astounding. And in some important cases, we know that Stalin himself read the 'protocols'...

"Another oddity, which one might have thought detracted from the credibility of the accusations, was that the victims were often accused of engaging in espionage for four - or more - different countries. These large-scale attributions of terrorism and treason were, of course, reflected in the great public trials, and in the immense propaganda barrage put out not only in Russia but on a world scale.

"And accompanying the assault on imaginary enemies was the parallel uproar about imaginary triumphs."

That's from page 119 of The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History by Robert Conquest. Robert Conquest was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, when this book came out, by George W. Bush, who had signed off on using the stoika and other similar methods on our captives. Back in the day, Margaret Thatcher consulted with Conquest. He is a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. He believes that the American left ignored or excused the violent excesses of the Soviet Union. He also writes limericks.

We need to redefine this debate into who supports America and who is anti-American. And that answer is obvious.


Torture and the Permanent Republican Majority:
There's many things that become apparent reading even a chunk of the Senate Armed Services Committee report on how we became an America that figures out exactly how much slapping constitutes a violation of the law. There's been much reported already, like how the planning for "enhanced interrogation" (a term that ought to be tossed onto the historical scrapheap with "compassionate conservative" and Joe Lieberman) began in December 2001, about how, like every thug cop that's ever fucked-up a bust or every electrode-bearing South American or Eastern European dictator that wanted to crush that rebellion, they tried to torture information that just didn't exist out of detainees - on the mythical Iraq/al-Qaeda connection, about just how ultimately worthless the whole thing was. As we delve deeper and deeper in it, surely we will tease more mundane awfulness out of the details.

But what doesn't come through immediately is the answer to a simple question: why? Why did the Bush administration commit and allow (and encourage, if not force others to commit) what are, seemingly without a doubt, treaty-busting crimes? Because, see, you read something like footnote 10 on page 2 and you come across this line: "According to Gonzales, the 'positive' consequences of setting aside the Third Geneva Convention include 'preserving flexibility' and 'substantially reduc[ing] the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act,'" and you realize that, whatever the motivation of the people involved, they didn't care. And they didn't care for a simple reason to answer that simple question: the Bush administration thought it was the beginning of an ascendant Republican reign and that they'd never be investigated.

Look back at when all this shit went down. Karl Rove and others were talking about a permanent Republican majority. So, rather than go whole hog with blow torches and pliers, the Office of Legal Counsel pushed methods as far as they could go. In other words, as long as they could say, at the end of the day, that there was a line they would not cross, a Republican Congress wouldn't do jackshit to stop them. As John "I Teach Students" Yoo wrote in his March 14, 2003 memo, criminal laws would not apply to certain interrogations and the Justice Department could not therefore prosecute the interrogators. Again, you only say that if you think you're going to control the Justice Department for time immemorial.

The name "Karl Rove" doesn't appear in the report. But his greasy fingerprints are all over this. This was war as a political operation. Taken as a whole, all that happened here is one big cover-up, like an old porn star after ten plastic surgeries. In other words, in the real world, what we call all the memos, all the discussions of how far torture could go, is another simple word: "alibi."


In Brief: Reign of the Teabaggers in Warren County, Ohio:
Warren County, Ohio won't be getting new buses. The county commissioners rejected the over $350,000 from the federal stimulus package to upgrade their public transportation. Said commissioner Mike Kilburn, in a line straight out of an Onion article, "I’ll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama’s filthy money."

The money was "specifically for transit improvements in rural areas to improve transportation for disabled people, seniors and others needing access to health care and educational opportunities." Of course, in a sign of compassion, Kilburn said, "I'm tired of paying for people who don't have." And then he waved to everyone around him to come watch him skull fuck a live puppy.

Oh, by the way, it's not that Warren County, a solidly Republican stronghold, is against all federal money. No, you'd be mistaken. Another commissioner, David Young, made it clear that some of that filthy money would be lovingly laundered in Warren County: "[I]t should be on big projects like highway improvements. We might not like deficit spending, but at least we could live with it if the funds were being used for those things. To use it for vans? That's crazy."

But, hey, at least they took a stand.

(Note: The Rude Pundit is wading through the Senate Intelligence Committee's 232-page declassified report on torture. He'll offer some tidbits tomorrow.)
Late Post Today:
JJJ needs those photos now. Back later with more luscious rudeness.


Pardon Them: A Proposition (With Many Caveats) Regarding Torture (Updated):
Come on - let's play a game: Let us believe, and why not, the President when he says that no one at the CIA will be prosecuted for the torture that received the Good Bushkeeping seal of approval. And let us take it further: let's say that the likelihood of actual criminal charges being brought by the Justice Department against John Yoo, Steven Bradbury, or Jay Bybee is small to nil. And, of course, there's virtually no chance that the actions of the Bush/Cheney/Gonzales axis of perversity will ever be fully revealed in our lifetimes.

Presume all of this for a moment. Put aside what you desire, like a lover who has gotten an emergency text just before laying your partner, to contemplate the very reality of the situation. To go after the Bush administration, the torturers and their enablers, in any way, shape, or form, risks war with the Republican party at this point. And until 2010, when (the Rude Pundit's predicting this here), barring any Congressional scandals, Democrats will own the Senate, too, Republican opposition is a reality. Meanwhile, here in the Leftyburg, we're screaming and waving our hands for something to be done to these bastards. What's Obama to do?

Again, this is a game, a little word play, some Truth or Dare just to get your clothes off, Battleship. Nothing serious. Just a bit of fun with our beliefs.

So, assuming all of this, there's one simple solution for the Obama administration: Pardon them. All of 'em. Everyone involved. As many by name as he can, up to and including Bush. A pardon for any crimes having to do with the treatment of detainees.

Follow the ball of logic that's bouncing around the room like a tweaking meth head who can't figure out how to open the lock on the bathroom stall: As the Bush administration was wheezing its last horrible, phlegmy breaths, a good deal of the pardon talk, when not centered on Scooter Libby, was about whether or not Bush would pardon those involved in torturing detainees. But he didn't. Because pardoning them would be tantamount to admitting that a crime had been done. And Bush wasn't going to admit error at the very end of his agonizingly epic delusion of a presidency.

But context is everything, no? Keeping within the game that we're playing, with what Obama has said, with what Republicans want, with what people who give a shit about the law want, with the fact that two-thirds of the public want an investigation into torture, a pardon now becomes a trial, conviction, and sentence all at once. Because, you see, Bush was right: you can only pardon someone for a crime if a crime has been committed.

Outrageous, you might shout if Obama actually signed the pardons. And you wouldn't be wrong. But look at what the possibilities are:

Obama could issue a conditional pardon, one that requires the recipients to testify fully, under oath, about the whats, whys, and whos of the torture programs. We could have Patrick Leahy's truth and reconciliation committee up and running.

Those who accept any kind of pardon would be tacitly admitting that they committed crimes. They could be compelled to testify even without the conditions being placed on the pardon. Those pardoned would carry that mark with them the rest of their lives. Yeah, it's not the same as being waterboarded, but within the context of a no-prosecution promise, it's something. And it doesn't preclude other extralegal punishments, like disbarment, for instance.

And if, say, some of those named were to reject the pardons, then you have political cover for any investigations and prosecutions. Hey, they were offered pardons. Now, let's spin that roulette wheel of justice.

Like the Rude Pundit said, this is a game or maybe a political trick. It ain't what he wants. He would like to see John Yoo metaphorically strung up by his ballsack and batted around like a pinata. He'd like Alberto Gonzales to have to decide whether or not to join the Muslim prison gang or the Latin Kings to stop all the ass raping. He'd like George Bush to be dragged out screaming, like William Macy in Fargo, yowling into the expansive nothing of the Texas landscape that he didn't do anything wrong, the moment he moves from pathetic to disgusting.

Update: Regarding what several readers have said about how a pardon would still allow Spain, for instance, to proceed, as well as have an admission of guilt as evidence, well, you know, signing the memos is pretty much an admission of guilt. And, whether or not they're pardoned, Spain (or another international court) would still consider charges against the torturers.

Regarding what Barack Obama just said, that he's "open" to investigation and prosecution of some officials, well, let's hope so.


In Brief: Ummm, How Is This a Bad Thing?:

So U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President (and Sausage) Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas. And Republicans have gotten the vapors over it.

On the CNN, Senator John Ensign opined, "When you're talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you're seeing joking around with. And I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez. This is -- you know, this is a person along the lines with Fidel Castro and the types of dictatorship that he has down there in Venezuela and the anti-Americanism that he has been spreading around the world is not somebody the president of the United States should be seen as having, you know, kind of friendly relations with."

The line-up has been numbingly expected. Newt Gingrich, Dana Perino, Bill Bennett, all outraged, outraged, that Obama's DNA mixed for a brief moment with Chavez's.

Sean Hannity waxed incoherently on Friday, "[H]ere it is, Barack Obama shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. And we remember, what, two years ago, you know, this is the same guy going to the United Nations calling the United States evil, how President Bush had spoken the day before and the stench and the sulphur smell still stood there, and I'm thinking, you know, I'm looking at Barack Obama, and there's a lot he obviously doesn't like about this country, he doesn't seem to like our economic system, our superpower status, doesn't seem to like our history, doesn't seem to like our underlying law."

Okay. So, like, if Obama was caught giving Chavez a hand job under the conference table, if Obama had been seen in the cloak room having seven minutes in heaven with Chavez, if Obama had been getting a reacharound while Chavez was giving him a Venezuelan pipeline treatment in his ass, we might, and that's "might," have something to talk about.

But allowing Hugo Chavez to have a photo opp that he can hang in his office back in Caracas? That he can hand out as souvenirs? How, in any fucking way, shape, or form, does that weaken us? We no longer live in the era of thuggish arrogance from America. Don't they understand that?

They really have nothing to talk about. The Rude Pundit's said it before and he'll keep saying. Every word that comes out of their mouths now stinks of such rank hypocrisy that they may as well be brushing their teeth with bullshit.


Various Ways to Enjoy More Rudeness:
So, okay, fine, the Rude Pundit now has a Twitter feed. No promises on frequency of updates, but it will become a place where brief, random rudeness can be posted. And, no, he won't be saying shit like "I just saw Anne Hathaway eating a knish" (although that's a more erotic image than it ought to be) or even "Hey, fucker who cut me off on the Gowanus, suck it." But there might be a thing or two about movies, music, and other shit, as well as politics.

And, interestingly, the Rude Pundit's Facebook status update has become a default comments thread. Hey, people are having fun, so have at.

This ain't copping out or giving in to trends (well, it is, but still). It's a way to spread the rude message far and wide.


A Dozen Random Thoughts Upon Reading the Released Torture Memos:
The Rude Pundit scribbled these while reading all four of the newly declassified torture technique memos:
1. This is all such cuntish ass covering. Almost comically legalistic, they repeat the phrase "you have informed us," so that there's a circle jerk of putting the blame elsewhere. Yes, the Justice Department approved shit, but it was based on what they were told, which, from the CIA's perspective, was that everything was hunky-fuckin'-dory and it all worked without harming anyone.

2. Bush's Office of Legal Counsel approved techniques only in strangely specific detail, like face slapping with a certain placement of fingers. Did anyone ever turn someone in for slapping a detainee in the wrong way? It's all useless and barbaric.

3. Just because you change the definition for yourself, it doesn't meant the definition's been changed.

4. In what realm does slamming someone against a wall 20 or 30 times not constitute an intent to cause extreme pain? Just because you say you're only doing it to shock and alarm someone doesn't make it so. The same could be said about slamming some guy's nuts in a book.

5. In what realm does putting someone in, more or less, a closed coffin for 18 hours a day not constitute an intent to cause severe mental pain? And who's keeping the time so that the detainee is only in there for 8 hours at a stretch?

6. From page 40 of one May 10, 2005 memo: "[W]e conclude that the authorized use of sleep deprivation by adequately trained interrogators...could not reasonably be considered specifically intended to cause severe mental pain or suffering."

7. From page 112 of Volume 1 of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago: "Sleeplessness was a great form of torture: it left no visible marks and could not provide grounds for complaint even if an inspection-something unheard of anyway-were to strike on the morrow."

8. The repetitious nature of the memos, reiterating the same things are a-okay, means that people in the CIA and elsewhere were shitting themselves over possible prosecution and wanted to be reassured that their asses were covered if they, for instance, "accidentally" caused severe mental or physical pain while doing a "combination" of techniques (the subject of the 20-page May 10, 2005 memo). Of course Barack Obama had to tell the CIA that their agents would not be prosecuted. He'd've faced a revolt, even though the people doing this knew it was wrong. Otherwise, they wouldn't have kept looking for that ass cover. Now, can we use those vicious bastards to turn on Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and the other Bush administration pukes and not let the Spanish do the goddamned job we should be doing ourselves?

9. No, fuckers on the right, this ain't as bad Saddam Hussein or Torquemada, but it's just a few degrees from what Reagan used to condemn the Soviet Union for (while, you know, supporting far worse in Central America). But what else it ain't is us, America. Or at least an ideal of what we're supposed to represent. Page 36 of the May 30, 2005 memo lists all the horrible things done to prisoners in other countries, like Pakistan and Egypt as a way of mitigating the CIA's techniques. Yeah, slitting the throat of your victim after you've raped them is worse than stopping after the rape. But, you know, you still did the rape.

10. Everything happens in steps and degrees in this life. You tell someone it's okay to strip someone naked, slap them around, deprive them of sleep, throw cold water on them, and waterboard them, at what point do you get to how much electricity can be applied without "severe" pain?

11. Steven Bradbury's sign-off of "Please let us know if we may be of further assistance" ought to be tattooed on his ass in prison.

12. Chant this: Someone needs to pay, someone needs to pay, someone needs to pay.


The Tea Parties: So That Happened:
Yesterday, thousands of poor and middle-class people were manipulated into helping rich people keep more of their money. It's sort of like going to a Yankees game, but without the souvenirs.

The Rude Pundit thinks it's generally a good thing when large groups of people come together for a cause, and, agree or disagree with the cause, getting people in the habit of protesting is ultimately positive for the nation. It gives us a more European feel, where citizens tend to actually give a shit about what their government is doing. Would that many of the people holding up signs yesterday had respected our antiwar marches back in 2003 and 2004, but, hey, water under a bridge built of bones, you know.

What is stunning is that yesterday's Tea Party protests were based on a demonstrable, factual lie. It wasn't about interpreting something or opinions. No, what people were protesting was actually a falsehood. They were played for suckers while they thought they were saving democracy. It was a bait and switch, man, a con game that was more dishonest than sidewalk three-card monte.

The whole day was filled with Fox-fanned falsehoods, starting with the whole acronym the protests adopted after "teabag" became the subject of mucho deserved mocking. "Taxed Enough Already" presupposes that taxes will be raised. And it seems that the tea partyers simply think that Barack Obama is lying to them when he says that the taxes for the vast, vast majority of Americans are lower under his plan. (On his radio show, Alan Colmes was screaming at callers who kept insisting that Obama was raising taxes for everyone.) The protests were against some fantasy administration, a sandwich of fascism on a socialism bun covered in a secret sauce of tyranny. It's like prayer: you can't really prove that it matters, but, hey, someone told you it was a good idea to do it, so down on your knees you go.

But it's not just the concept of being "taxed enough" that was a chimera. The Fox "news" hosts built the day around a fantasy America, as if we were all in a 1950s elementary school history class being force-fed the long-disproved myths of the nation.

Take, for instance, this one that Taste of Texas restaurant owner Nina Hendee told Glenn "Twitchy" Beck while they were standing outside the Alamo in San Antonio: "The night before the Alamo fell, [Col. William B.] Travis gathered his men in this courtyard, took out his saber right there, and this is where the line in the sand came from. He drew -- history says -- he drew the line in the sand right here and said, 'If you'll will stand with me and fight with me, you may die with me, come and cross this line with me,' and they did." Beck returned to that "line in the sand" again and again in his broadcast yesterday, as when he yammered, "I have a feeling something big is starting with the tea parties and I think the line is being drawn in the sand once again."

Except, you know, Travis didn't draw a line in the sand at the Alamo. He was kind of a dick, too. And let's not even get into why the Alamo was there in the first place.

Later, on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren's Nose Job, Beck echoed himself: "Everybody's always heard, you know, draw a line in the sand. This is where it happened. They drew a line in the sand and said, Enough is enough." Which is a misreading based on a lie. Even if the line story was true, the soldiers knew they were gonna die.

Compound this with the near-constant, unrelenting gang rape of the Founders by Fox and the tea partyers. Sean Hannity had on the creepy fuckin' Thomas Paine actor and, really, they may as well skull-fucked the real Paine's bones, each taking a hole so Hannity and the old guy could rub their cocks against each other. Said faux Paine, "My name is Thomas Paine. In 1776, I wrote, 'The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.' Now, my fellow Americans, it's your moment to change the course of history. On this night in Atlanta, Georgia, citizen Sean Hannity and the rest of an aroused nation will hear from you as we the people once again declare our independence." Of course, Paine was advocating for war with Great Britain. Yeah, "Common Sense" even lays out the military strategy and the postwar economic situation. Oh, and he was also specifically advocating for the unity of the colonies, not really for any kind of states' rights. But, sure, yeah, he did write that thing about the sun.

How goddamned simple-minded this whole tea party thing was. How divorced from reality. What a waste of time, of energy, of paper and ink. All it succeeded in doing was propping up some egos, giving understandably frustrated people a place to misdirect their anger, and allowing there to be an hour of TV that featured Ted Nugent, Penn Jillette, and Janine Turner, like Hell's Tonight Show.

One last thing: Unless Joe the Plumber starts snakin' some fuckin' pipes, he has to drop the title.


Extremism as Defined by the Right:
Last night on his Fox "news" program, Bill O'Reilly, a man who wants to shove a falafel up Glenn Beck's ass, went the full nutzoid on Rosa Brooks. Now, you may sanely ask, "Who the fuck is that?" She's a (now former) Los Angeles Times columnist and Georgetown law professor who has taken a position as an advisor to the undersecretary of defense policy. Now, you may sanely ask, "Who the fuck fucking cares?" But you are not Bill O'Reilly (unless you are, in which case the Rude Pundit would like to take this opportunity to say, "Really, dude? Really?").

O'Reilly, after sputtering over the fact that Spain is looking into charging ex-Bush administration officials with crimes against humanity, decides to go for some bizarro moral equivalency by dragging Brooks out of the behind-the-scenes advisory position to make her a new poster child for what he sees as far left extremism. He tosses in a few quotes from Brooks's columns where she says that torture is bad and people should be punished for it, even if they're government officials. And, horror of horrors, O'Reilly says she was a "special counsel to George Soros's Open Society Institute," which, in O'Reillyzania, is akin to being Satan's pitchfork sharpener.

Here's how the man bottom lines Brooks's new position: "And now she has access to America's defense secrets at the Pentagon. Again, what the deuce is going on? This is madness...A confirmed far left radical is now operating within the Pentagon." Later, in a discussion with some who-the-fuck-cares Heritage Foundation stooge, he adds, "[T]his woman is as far as left as you can get...And I think they're doing it -- I think she's a spy for elements of the Obama administration. They're putting her in the Pentagon so she can report back to them what Gates and the other people are doing. There's no other reason on earth that this woman who teaches at Georgetown and this and that should be in that position. She's a nut."

So there you go. There's where conservatives draw the line on liberal extremism. By the way, if O'Reilly's people had decided to read just a little more of Brooks's work, like in her position as a law professor, they'd have discovered she's a moderately left wing scholar who calls for sanity and rationality in America's policies in the era of terrorism. Look at her article on the Geneva Conventions, where she cautions both sides of the argument about the applicability of the conventions to terrorism detainees: "Acknowledging that the Bush Administration's read of the Geneva Conventions is not implausible does not require agreement with the Administration's policies. It is entirely possible to accept that the Geneva Conventions don't apply to terrorist suspects, but still consider the Administration's detention and interrogation policies both morally bankrupt and strategically foolish." In the same article, she even chides those on the left who see terrorism as a law enforcement matter for having a "head-in-the-sand quality." Oh, fuck. Not nuance. Makes brain hurt.

Meanwhile, conservatives have gone to paranoiac paradise because the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that said something so patently obvious about right wing extremism that they may as well have put out a white paper announcing, "Oral sex feels great, and ice cream is tasty, especially with pie." What caused Joe Scarborough to sneeringly say that the Obama administration is waging a "war on veterans"? What made Newt Gingrich wind himself by frantically thumb tweeting that the DHS is "smearing veterans and conservatives"? What forced Michelle Malkin to put away the ivory dildo long enough to type that the report was a "piece of crap" and a "sweeping indictment of conservatives"?

It said that when people lose their jobs and homes, they might be easily convinced that immigrants and the black president are to blame, especially if they think he's gonna take their guns and put them in FEMA concentration camps. And they might think about doing stupid shit, like, you know, blowing up a federal building or something. Oh, and because extremist groups, like militias and white supremacists, might try to convince veterans to join up to exploit their skills because, you know, it's that or homelessness, joblessness, and suicide for way, way too many of them.

As the report says, "Prominent anti-government conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty." Or, in other words, duh. However, for conservatives, this report, which is just a heads up for law enforcement, shows that the White House has it out for them, which is convenient on a day when Fox "news" is trying to prove it's still valid by getting a few people out to stand around with signs and teabags.

The threat assessment also points out that it's the solitary nuts who just need a nudge that pose the greatest danger: The DHS "has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts." Does it really need to be pointed out that the most destructive act of domestic terrorism was committed by a right-wing extremist Army veteran? Makes brain hurt...

So there's your conservative movement's consistency: a slightly liberal law professor is a nut who has no business in the Defense Department, but right wing nuts are representative of conservatives. Jesus. All they've got left are the rubes pathetically tossing tea.


A Few More Notes Regarding the Tea Party Protests:
1. This doesn't seem quite right: The "Teabag Obama" blog offers "Proper Teabagging Instructions." And there's about ten things wrong there.

2. The same blog, which is just a damned funny read, says, helpfully and with no sense of irony, "Teabagging is for everyone." The Rude Pundit agrees. Sweet Jesus, he agrees.

3. The list of suggested signs for the events contains this call to violence: "Tea Party Today: Tar and Feathers Tomorrow."

4. Some of the truly awesome signs that have actually been held at various anti-tax protests:

Did someone ask that old white lady if George Bush also supported "unconstitutional, anti-Christ, socialism, federal deficit spending programs"?

Ah, fuck this. Fuck the puns and the mocking. It's just too fucking depressing. Somewhere, Karl Marx is laughing his bearded ass off. Because what is this but classic exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie? It's a bunch of rich fucks, beginning with that tool Rick Santelli on CNBC and ending with the slavering profitmongers at Fox "news," making the poor idiots, who are desperate from fear of or actual job loss and heath insurance loss and home loss, do their bidding. Look at the people attending. Bedraggled Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin wannabes, clinging to the image of those who create the illusion of the working class without the work or the class. Ignorance is such bliss, man.

This movement's gonna die a horribly gruesome death. It really is just the last hideous gasps of a kind of right wing populism that's got nothing to do with actual populism and everything to do with a desperate scrabbling to preserve the status quo for the wealthy. It's ideological endgame, motherfuckers, and the checkmate ain't gonna be pretty.


"A Storm Is Gathering" vs. "The Gathering Storm":
Lizz Winstead and the crazed comics at Shoot the Messenger have come up with a response to the deeply insane anti-gay marriage ad, "The Gathering Storm." The ad itself is a seeming self-parody, where we learn the evil done to poor straights by gays wanting rights (it comes down to: "I can't discriminate without consequences anymore").

Which one is funnier, the real or the parody? Both are quite disturbing, but Shoot the Messenger wins points because the troupe gathered on Easter Sunday to film this. Just like what Zombie Jesus would do.

Check it out at STM's website.
Glenn Beck in Teabag Heaven:
Glenn Beck settles down to finally sleep. It had been a long day, an exhausting one, promoting his 9/12 Project, imploring people to protest the modest tax increase on the wealthy by joining in the April 15 tea parties all around the nation, calling for active but polite revolution, walking that high wire that he knows he's on as the leader of a burgeoning faux movement, balancing precariously between being a demagogic violent cult leader and a blustering buffoon, with people around him willing his fall to one side or the other or some merger of the two. Yes, after a day of that, Glenn Beck returned home for his night time routine: he smoked a little crystal meth, beat his kids for telling him not to beat them again, tied up his wife on the bed, shoved an enema up his ass and took a shit on her before jacking off in her hair, weepingly apologized while he untied her, downed a few Ambien, and headed to his office to watch burn victim porn until he could stagger over to the couch and collapse at last. It's the little things that get him through the days.

His dream is so very joyous. It is already Wednesday, and Beck senses that he's in Boston, surrounded by his followers, some merrily dressed in 18th century costumes, big titted women in bustiers and giant skirts, men with little pony tails or in white powder wigs and long coats, some imitating the founders - dressed as Thomas Paine or Ben Franklin - and others, an entire crowd, old and young, fat and skinny, holding signs praising Beck, demanding more teabags for justice, and there's Bill O'Reilly and Bill Hemmer and Sean Hannity, winking at him, telling him that it's okay that he's the star now. There's a giant banner that reads: "Teabagging for America." It had to be teabags. They're easier to carry than loose tea.

Humbled, a few tears coming down his face, he hoists a teabag into the air. It's Celestial Seasonings chamomile because, to Beck, in his dream there's something almost intolerably effete, no, faggy about it. Everyone, even the Fox people, raise their teabags. At the end of the wharf, where the original Boston Tea Party site is still being refurbished, Beck faces the water and says, "This is for you, Mister President. We teabag you in the name of the citizens of the United States," and he casts his teabag into the harbor. He turns back, ready to watch the others do the same, but when he sees the crowd again, a very, very different scene is laid out before him.

Instead of the proud 9/12ers, Glenn Beck sees dozens and dozens of people on their knees. Standing over them are ludicrously dressed men, in leather bondage gear, in perverse variations of button-down coats and breeches. There's obvious cross-dressers standing there. And all of them, every man standing, has his balls out. Not just out, but in the slurping mouths of the men and women on their knees in front of them. There's Neil Cavuto, with John Hancock's nuts bobbing in and out of his agape, lapping facehole, jacking himself off. O'Reilly's trying to tell Paul Revere how to put his balls in, but the old silversmith keeps shoving them in to shut O'Reilly up. There's Greta Van Susteren, bouncing up and down on a propped up dildo, sucking the twin orbs of a man in Betsy Ross drag. "Oh, God," Beck thinks, "oh, dear God, this is not what I meant at all." Crying now, he falls to his knees, yelling, "Please, stop the teabagging."

The sobbing Beck feels something rubbing on the top of his head and hears a voice saying, "Yef, yef, yef." Beck turns around, leans back, and sees a man in Revolutionary War-era garb with a large nose and short wig with his ballsack in his hand. He says, "Aye, Beck, your pointy hair feelf wonderful on my tefticlef. Thefe are the timef that try men'f foulf, you know."

The look, the use of "f" for "s." It dawns on Beck. "Thomas Paine?" The man bows, his nutsack swinging in front of Beck's face.

Paine gestures to his cold balls. "Fir, thif if a teabag party, if it not? Then thefe bagf are for you, fir."

"But, no, I can't..." Beck looks over and sees Sean Hannity fairly gobbling the balls of Benjamin Franklin. Catching him staring, Hannity gives Beck a thumbs up and goes back to work denuding Franklin's balls. Beck understands: this is what he has to do to make America safe.

So he gets his knees in a comfortable position and grimly, slowly, begins to lick Thomas Paine's balls. And, strangely, Beck discovers it's kind of fun, with Paine's hard cock rubbing the side of his face. Yes, yes, Glenn Beck decides that he likes teabagging. He likes the feel of patriot balls in his mouth. By god, he really loves balls. And he can feel himself getting an erection. This is great. A totally new sensation. And when Paine grabs him by his hair to make him slow his slobbering down a bit, Beck almost comes without touching himself. Indeed, this is a party now. A real teabag party. When one is concentrating on pleasuring a man's nuts, one forgets all about taxes. The only cause is seeing how hot you can get those boys.

Beck's alarm goes off. He thinks for a moment about the comfort of having a mouthful of balls. He twitches a little, having to keep the meth desire in check for the day, and decides to get moving. Reality is reality, after all, and he's got a whole nation waiting for his orders.


Photos That Allow the Rude Pundit to Go Into the Weekend With a Totally Appropriate Smirk on His Face:

That's former president George W. Bush tossing an autographed ball to a fan below the announcer's booth at Monday's Texas Rangers game. The point here is not "tee-hee, look at what Bush is doing now" because, you know, he did this kind of shit all the time when he was actually president.

The point here is that nearly everyone in their seats is looking forward, at the game, and not backward, at the man.


They've Lost Their Fucking Minds, Part 7 (Gay Marriage Edition):
One of the funnier running gags in the evangelicals’ endless comedy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Rapture, a farce in fifty acts, is the use of quotation marks around the word “marriage.” As in: “Vermont Becomes 4th State to Legalize Homosexual ‘Marriage.’” See if you get this joke, ‘cause it’s a riot: apparently, if you put it in quotation marks, it’s just a so-called marriage, not a real one, no matter what any court or legislature says. Ah, the sweet justice of snarkily-used punctuation.

These are dark times indeed for we members of the Family Research Council’s Super-Duper Prayer Team. The Rude Pundit joined the Super-Duper Prayer Team a couple of years ago under a nom de rude, and every week, he receives his pray jobs, a list of shit what is wrong that needs some holy intervention. Needless to say, at this point, things have gotten positively Job-like for a good prayer warrior. Some of us might even go late New Testament and ask why we have been forsaken.

Oh, come down from your cross already, says the suspiciously French-named Rev. Pierre Bynum, the National Prayer Director of the FRC, which is sort of like being Glenn Beck's spit-mopper. “The purpose of the weekly Prayer Targets is to facilitate ‘prayers of agreement’ that bear upon important national matters. When we pray over these Targets together, whether alone or in a prayer group of any size, we join the power not of just one or two, but of thousands of prayer warriors.”

You get that? It’s not that we expect our prayers to be answered. We just wanna be part of a big, prayer circle jerk.

So what do we pray about shit what’s already occurred? In the case of the Vermont legislature overriding the governor’s veto and allowing gay marriage (look, gang, no quotes), well, we’re pretty much gonna give the fuck up: “Give consolation, strength and courage to pro-family believers in Vermont. May other states take warning and secure marriage against usurpation by determined homosexual activists and judicial and legislative activists!” Now, you might think with a really big God on our side, we’d be able to pray up some smitin’ or levelin’ or at least a plague of scabies. Hell, couldn’t our really big God just snap his invisible fingers and make it all different. But remember: we’re not praying for God to change things. We’re not so results-oriented anymore.

Unless, you know, there’s still hope for something to change. Like in Iowa, where gay marriage will be legal until at least 2011, when a fantasy state constitutional amendment might take effect. Or in New Hampshire, where the same-sex marriage bill is currently awaiting passage in the Senate. There’s still an oh-so teetering chance, so let us pray, motherfucker, let us fucking pray: “May God move upon the New Hampshire Senate and Governor to do His will, which scripture makes absolutely clear, is not homosexual ‘marriage!’”

If the Rude Pundit could sit down with his fellow prayer warriors, he’d look ‘em straight in the eye and say, “PWs of the SDPT, it’s time to give it up on gay marriage. We lost. And frankly, we’re starting to look a little pathetic and clingy because the issue has brought us so much joy and power over the years.”

And he’d gently explain that history doesn’t go backwards. When you try to turn back the clock, you end up tearing the fabric of time and creating chaos. Like, you know, the Bush administration did.

Dear, sweet praying folk, it’s time to figure out a new reason to hate gay people. Perhaps we could go with how much better their lawns look than ours.


A Rational Nation When It Comes to Guns Would Think This a Problem:
Are you fucking kidding?

On Tuesday, Clarence Douglas Phillips shot and killed his girlfriend near Raleigh, North Carolina. He then shot and killed a detective and wounded another cop in the shootout that followed. He died of gunshot wounds later.

On Tuesday, Kevin Garner shot and killed his wife, daughter, sister, and nephew, set his house on fire and then killed himself in Priceville, Alabama. It was the third mass shooting in Alabama in the past month.

Today, outside of Los Angeles, an Asian gunman opened fire at a Korean Christian retreat, killing one person and wounding three. It was at least the seventh multiple shooting in the United States in the past week.

Are we really that goddamn gone, daddy, gone? Things come in clusters, yes, but there's a difference between a statistical anomaly and a collective shift in behavior. Yesterday, on CNN, the Rude Pundit heard some shitty little puke named Michael Guzman of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus argue for, well, the ability of students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. He actually said, "The debate is why do we set the odds in favor of the criminal who doesn't follow the law, who doesn't follow the rules? There's a reason that we should allow law abiding citizens to defend themselves."

The fact that Guzman was not making a dry, subtle joke is evidence enough that yes, we really are that gone.

More later. The Rude Pundit is sick and tired. Physically. Sure, sure, physically. (And, no, this ain't gonna become a gun violence-centered blog.)


A Message From the Left to Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, et al: Blow Us:

And you, too, Dick Cheney. Suck it. Hard.

(Tip o' the rude hat to The Whole American Hog for the photo.)
New Polls Reveal That Republicans Are Worthless Bags of Douche:
Sure, sure, you could look at the Pew Research Center poll that shows President Barack Obama has an 88% approval rating among Democrats and 27% among Republicans and go all apeshit like the Guardian's Ed Pilkington, who writes, "Barack Obama's promise to overcome partisan political divisions and reunite the United States has so far failed to materialize" (spelling Americanized because the Guardian Anglicized the last word in Pew Research Center to "Centre," which is just annoyingly colonialist). Yep, you could do that, essentially blaming Obama. Or you could add in a third number in the poll that Pilkington ignores: independents give Obama a 57% approval rating, which is higher than for any president at the same time in his administration since Ronald Reagan.

You could also look at a New York Times/CBS News poll that had Obama's approval rating overall at 66%, up a few points since February, and approval for Republicans at 31%, "the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in New York Times/CBS News polls." Yeah, it's down a few points. Approval for Democrats? 56%.

By the way, other festive shit in that NYT/CBS polls includes:
2% of respondents who think that Barack Obama's administration is to blame for the state of the economy. 33% blame George W. Bush's. 21% blame Wall Street.

63% trust Obama on his decisions on the economy. 20% trust Republicans in Congress. 61% trust Obama on his decisions on national security. 27% trust Republicans in Congress.

57% think that the Democratic Party is more concerned with their lives, compared to 22% who think the same about the Republican Party (which is also the lowest number for them in 25 years).

And 74% think that raising taxes on people making over 250 grand a year is a "good idea," with 65% thinking that the tax code needs to be changed so that middle and lower class people pay less taxes while the wealthy pay more.

Let's toss in a demographic view or two so no one can say this poll is just horribly skewed for one or another reason: 43% said they voted for Obama, 25% for McCain, 24% didn't vote. 23% consider themselves Republican, 39% Democrat, and 30% independent, with 23% calling themselves liberal, 39% moderate, and 31% conservative.

In other words, a charitable reading of this poll and the Pew poll is that Americans are actually pretty goddamn unified on one thing: they support the President. A less charitable reading is that Americans think that Republicans are fucking worthless piles of shit. But that's a unifying belief, too. Indeed, if you were casting around for who to blame for the failure of the dinner party, you'd be utterly wrong to say it's the guy who set the table. Nope. It's the fault of the invited guests who decided to blow it off.

A final note here: apparently the vast majority of Americans are socialist by the nutzoid right wing's degraded standards for that appellation. It's gonna be a mighty lonely revolution for 'em.


In Brief: Massacre-o-rama in April in America:
So the Rude Pundit just wants to get this past weekend right:

Jiverly Wong shot and killed 13 people and himself in Binghamton, New York. He had recently lost his job in November 2008 when his plant shut down, and he was tired of being mocked for his poor English. His two handguns were perfectly legal.

Richard Poplawski shot and killed three police officers before being arrested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He legally owned an assault weapon and two handguns, despite being booted from the Marines for being too violent. He was afraid, said a friend, that the Obama administration would take his guns. He had been laid off from his job at a glass factory.

James Harrison shot and killed his five children and himself in Graham, Washington. He used a rifle. He was afraid his wife was going to leave him.

In all three states, you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. It's harder in New York; it's easier in Washington.

Conservatives are running scared because the left is seeing a connection, especially with Poplawski, between the violent, apocalyptic rhetoric of the right.

Jesus Christ, nut up, right wingers. You can't say that we're heading towards revolution and that gun laws are harming America, but, hey, we don't want violence. No, you can't walk around naked with a raging hard-on, but then say you don't wanna fuck something. There's times when you don't get to decide what your words actually mean; there's times when others take your words and actions to logical conclusions whether you meant it or not. Toss in a depr/recession and a touch of crazy and, well, boom. So at least admit that you squirted a little lighter fluid onto the fire.

But, hey, at least they pried Wong's gun from his cold, dead hands.


Glenn Beck Puts Barack Obama in a Nazi Uniform in His Magazine:
At this point, we all know that Fox "news" host Glenn Beck is like a hundred pounds of crazy shit shoved in a fifty-pound bag. You get that by watching two minutes of his show, where he throws around words like "socialist" and "fascist" without having the least understanding of what they mean. Really, it's like listening to a 911 call from a brain damaged shut-in who can't figure out the can opener. And that the toaster won't stop screaming at him.

A visit to his website yields a whole new level of bugfuckery. Watch the recent video he posted titled "Sarah Palin Bikini Video," where he chastises people for searching for cheesecake photos and videos of the conservative dream date. Beck snorts and stomps that such things don't exist (except, dear right-wing masturbators, a shot of Palin in shorts conveniently sucking a straw), twitching like the weasels in his mind just took another bite of his medulla oblongata. Seriously, if the Rude Pundit was approached by someone acting like that in a bar, he'd break a beer bottle over the fucker's head and declare that he had saved everyone's life.

Even more festive is the fact that Beck is the "Editor-in-Chief" of a magazine, Glenn Beck's Fusion, an amalgam of shit available for free elsewhere by people like Bernard "Man, This Nutzoid Conservative Thing Is Making Me Shitloads of Money" Goldberg and Ron Paul. And little factoids, really, about where you can eat big piles of food (most ripped off from the TV show Man vs. Food). The Rude Pundit sucked it up and purchased the latest as a download.

This month's issue has a delightful cover. Titled "Springtime for Bailouts," it's a mock-up of a photo from The Producers where the chorus line of Nazis performs "Springtime for Hitler." Check out part of it:

In case you can't make it out, that's Alan Greenspan in the dress, Ben Bernanke in the gold suit, and Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Chistopher Dodd, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama dressed as Nazis and saluting. The Rude Pundit can't figure out the armband symbol. Again, this is the April 2009 issue of Glenn Beck's Fusion.

In case that didn't quite sink in, look at the close-up:

The punchline is that there's no actual article in the issue about the bailout or how these people are like Nazis. And the Rude Pundit hasn't figured out how the cultural reference, to the show that was supposed to fail but became a hit in The Producers, makes any sense in the context. No, the only conclusion here is that Beck saw this as the only way to put the President and others in Nazi outfits with plausible deniability that that's what he was doing. And this is on top of his mad discussion of Obama's budget while playing a newsreel of Nazi parades behind him on his Fox show.

The point here is not that Beck is not allowed to do this. The point here is that all's fair in rhetorical devices. How batshit did the right go when any blog commenter made a mild comparison between the Bush administration and Nazis? But now it's cool for a mainstream TV host to just photoshop Barack Obama in a Nazi uniform? What's good for the goose, motherfuckers, what's good for the goose.

In other words, Fox "news," one of your hosts approved this and made its publication possible, even proudly displaying it in an ad for the magazine. Do you think that perhaps an O'Reilly producer should hunt him down and demand an explanation?

Update: Rude reader RM has helpfully pointed out that the symbol on the armband is that of the Federal Reserve seal. Ahhh, yeah, now it all makes perfect sense.


A Failure of Imagination:
If nothing else, you gotta almost admire Republicans for sticking to what they know. It's almost touchingly pathetic. The budget proposal put forth by Republicans is like watching a middle-aged married couple that's long since given up on fucking because of the kids, the bills, the jobs, the mortgage, the declining retirement investments, the increasing waistline, and the drugs they take just so they can get up in the morning without killing themselves. You look at them and think, "C'mon, go crazy. Rip off your clothes and ball each other like spider monkeys on ecstasy. Sweet Jesus, give him a blow job. For fuck's sake, go down on her like her pussy's made of candy." And if it's all too, too far gone, you wanna say, "Get some fucking balls and set each other free before you just end up sneaking around and fucking the babysitter or the neighbor's husband, before you destroy yourselves." But mostly, you just gotta shake your head and think, "There but for the grace of God (or Allah or Buddha or whoever or nobody) go I."

The fact that Republican Congressman Paul Ryan can say, "Our budget does not raise taxes, and makes permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax laws. In fact, we cut taxes and reform the tax system" and that spending should be frozen or cut and he does it without killing himself shortly after is probably a sign that he has no soul and that we should all be very afraid. By the way, those "tax laws" used to be known as the "Bush tax cuts." As Ryan himself writes in the Wall Street Journal (motto: "Proudly enabling the destruction of civilization"), "In the recent past, the Republican Party failed to offer the nation an inspiring vision and a concrete plan to tackle our problems with innovative and principled solutions." Why not say his name? Do you think we forgot about him already? In other words, Bush fucked it up with our help, but, hey, you can trust us to fix it. What's that definition of insanity?

(Bonus points: Ryan voted for the Medicare prescription drug boondoggle. Bonuser points: In the editorial, Ryan says, "We hope the administration and Democratic leaders in Congress do not distort and preach fear about our Republican plan" just a few paragraphs after saying that Obama's plan would "debase our currency and reduce the living standards of the American people.")

There's a couple of things that Republicans (and, really, most Democrats, including the President) need to realize about the public right now. First off, we want some fuckin' blood. It's time to purge some motherfuckers, time to fuck up the lives of some rich bastards. Back when Enron crumbled, the only thing that stopped riots in the streets of Houston was the fact that Ken Lay was being chased like a plague rat. Firing the CEO of GM was a start. Now, as a condition of bailouts, there needs to be more public pantsing of other top execs (not low-level lackeys) in all the collapsing industries that are dragging us down into the big suck they've created. If we can frog walk a couple of 'em, all the better. Everyone from Joes that are real plumbers to Mary Janes that stock the shelves at Wal-Mart know that if you fuck up, you get fired. So it should be for Wall Street, so it should be for GM and Chrysler. You wanna restore some faith in the American economy? Consequences for actions are easy steps to take.

The other thing is that Americans, for the most part, are ready for something transformatively new, some new idea, some theory that tells us where we came from and where we're gonna go and how we might get there. Everything the administration is doing right now seems like so many pieces held together by scotch tape, chewing gum, and a prayer. While people trust Obama in an almost surreal way, the President's got to offer a controlling concept to his plans. If he has one beyond, "Holy fuck, we gotta do something," he has yet to articulate it.

For instance, what is to be done about Detroit, eh? At what point do we actually give up on the old paradigms and say, "Fine, you fucked one of the old manufacturing stalwarts of America. Now it's time to move on"? When do we take the billions being loaned and given away and instead invest it in job retraining, housing or housing assistance, maybe even actual jobs? That would be a moment of reckoning, of admitting that we are willing to move beyond rescuing what cannot be saved and into a new form for our economic relationship with each other and with the world. If you need to call it "socialism," then fine.

(This doesn't even get us into the opportunity on health care, the cost of which is, as you may know, one of the strongest chains holding back small businesses from fulfilling the entrepreneurial spirit Republicans seem so fucking proud of.)

There's a great line in the 1995 play Slavs! by Tony Kushner. It's when the world's oldest Bolshevik, speaking in 1985 about the coming collapse of the Soviet Union, says, "Change? Yes, we must change, only show me the Theory, and I will be at the barricades, show me the book of the next Beautiful Theory, and I promise you these blind eyes will see again, just to read it, to devour that text. Show me the word that will reorder the world, or else keep silent." The Rude Pundit quotes this not to condemn Obama's ideas (or to support the USSR), but to ask for the ideology beyond the notions of "change" that excited us and got us here.

With their budget, Republicans demonstrated that they have abandoned any hope beyond holding place until what they foresee as the inevitable collapse of the nation under Obama. The President ran on making us understand that the ground was crumbling under our feet. Now he needs to show us not how to fill in the holes, but how to create a new foundation.


In Brief: Fox "news" Stalks and Ambushes Professor:
This morning on Fox and Friends, the morning show the Fox "news" network, host and resident cumbucket Steve Doocy had on "news" producer Griff Jenkins, a guy who should be beaten like a wild dog just for having the first name "Griff," to show his latest "reporting." Seems like someone discovered that a much-used American history textbook by Columbia Professor and Provost Alan Brinkley dared to not say that 3000 people died on September 11, 2001, and that it might contain (quel horreur) mildly outdated information. One might imagine there's actual news to cover out there, but if you're at Fox, you are the motherfuckin' news.

Any rational reporter might email Brinkley. Not Griff, who stalked after Brinkley like a rabid raccoon running after a particularly tasty-looking garbage truck. He followed Brinkley from the streets to a campus building. Brinkley refused to speak at all after saying he wouldn't comment. Jenkins, who you know makes all the one-legged tranny whores call him "the Griffster" before they use dildos on his asshole, kept pointing at the book, outraged - outraged, goddamnit - that Brinkley would dare dis the dead in volume 2 of The Unfinished Nation.

Why, on page 549, talking about 9/11, here's what this obviously traitorous motherfucker infects our children with: "Americans responded to the tragedies with acts of courage and generosity, large and small, and with a sense of national unity and commitment that seemed, at least for a time, like the unity and commitment at the start of World War II." Then the bastard talks about "the firefighters and rescue workers" who risked their lives and the many who died on 9/11. The old commie seditionist praises the volunteer efforts from around the nation and world, as well as the money donated to charity. He mentions how people had "open and unembarrassed displays of patriotism and national pride." But, true, he doesn't mention that specifically that 3000 people died.

In other words, as ever with the Fox stalker bullshit, there's no damn story except "Boy, isn't it funny when people look like they're running from reporters?" It's a punk ass tactic to create an aura of evil where none exists, or the opposite of a meeting with Roger Ailes. Here's some advice: if a Fox "news" person is ever in your face, curse nonstop into the microphone, talking about all the ways you think he or she should be fucked. Talk about cocks and cunts. Make it so that, if they even try to use it, it's nothing but nonstop beeps.

By the way, the Rude Pundit's been a big fan of Alan Brinkley's work for years now. An even-handed, analytical guy like him shouldn't be treated like Bill Ayers on a bender (and, of course, neither should Bill Ayers).