11/30/2010

The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit talked about voluptuous Ukrainian women with Stephanie Miller. Obviously, it made everyone happy.

You can have the Rude Pundit nurse your Khadafy whenever you want by subscribing to his free podcast.

By the way, if you wanna hear the Rude Pundit guest host an hour of online radio, subbing for Danny Schechter on his News Dissector shot, you can check it out over at the Progressive Radio Network site. He's joined in the studio by the handsome and hilarious Jeff Kreisler, author of Get Rich Cheating.
Federal Wage Freeze: It's Like Tipping the Rich for Being Rich:
Let us not argue for a moment the economics of President Obama's proposed federal employee pay freeze, except to say that it's about as uselessly symbolic a gesture as giving a piece of fruit to a fat man. Instead, let us think for a moment about the utterly dumbfounding and worthless political nature of the act. Because the Republicans are like that fat guy, and they're gonna take that fruit and say, "That's great. Now give us the rest of the groceries 'cause we're fucking fat and hungry here."

There was something just sorrowfully pathetic about watching the President, in the midst of negotiating some kind of endgame on tax cuts and while trying to figure out how to extend unemployment benefits, decide to triangulate and unilaterally give in to one of the Republicans' demands. What the hell happens now? Does the White House think that John Boehner will all of a sudden understand that the President is serious about working with the GOP? John Boehner doesn't fucking care. Motherfucker just had a meeting with Randall Terry, a terrorist as much as any radical imam anywhere.

The freeze applies to the across-the-board increases in salaries of federal employees, amounting to about 1.4%. It's not enough, of course, for Republicans. It's never enough. Odd-looking Mormon Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Nevada said that "the proposal does not appear to curb step increases. If that is the case, this announcement is nothing more than a hollow press release. At the end of the day, this policy will serve only to frustrate current employees while doing nothing to curb our debts." You know what that means? There's a chart of salary steps within each federal pay grade. For Chaffetz, who, as a congressman, earns more than about 99% of federal employees, it's not enough to freeze cost of living pay increases. Nope. Even within an unchanged pay scale of the government, you cannot advance salary-wise. That means that the poor fucker who's making $23,296, at grade 3, step 3, to clean Chaffetz's piss off toilets at the Capitol not only won't get a pissant general raise, but he can't move up a step to $24,024. You may say, "Well, that's the nature of a freeze," but you're not wiping up after Jason Chaffetz.

But let us not neglect that the backdrop for the pay freeze is deciding whether or not federal tax cuts should expire on income over $250,000 (or $1,000,000) a year. Essentially what Obama is saying is that a shit mopper at the Capitol ought to make less money so that the Koch brothers can afford to make more ads about what a socialist fucker Barack Obama is.

Two million people are about to lose their unemployment checks. Wall Street execs are making more money than ever while attempting to have their taxes cut. That's about as clear a case for wealth redistribution as one can make, except, of course, is that the right wants it redistributed to the rich. What President Obama doesn't seem to get, or hasn't demonstrated that he gets, is that the Republicans don't fucking care about anything other than making Barack Obama pay for being Barack Obama.

And if this post seems incoherent, like sputtering without meaning, it's because the Rude Pundit doesn't get it, either. What he doesn't get is why the pay freeze? Why another capitulation? What does it achieve, other than alienating even more people? When Obama finally caves on tax cuts for the wealthy, it'll be like federal workers just gave a tip to rich people just because rich people are so fucking great because they're rich.

The thing about a line in the sand is that, the second the sand shifts, the line disappears, as if it was never there to begin with.

11/29/2010

The Most Hilarious Stuff So Far from the Wikileaks Documents:
So, yeah, today diplomats from the United States and elsewhere are having their not-so-secret secrets revealed by Wikileaks. It's an act known as an "Assange steamer," where a shitload of documents are dumped on government officials' chests and they can go fuck themselves with them. More than anything, so far, the cables and analyses confirm things we already knew or suspected, with a surprise or two (like everyone wants to bomb the fuck out of Iran). Most of the reaction seems to be the embarrassment for different nations in having their asses shown to the world. However, there's also a hilarious and racist side to the leaked cables.

For instance:

- Libyan President Muammar Qadhaffi (Kadafy, Khadafi, etc.) is monkeyfuck insane and likes white titties. According to one 2009 cable, he "appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing." Yep, he will not climb more than 35 stairs, so he has to stay on the first floor of any lodging. And he won't fly more than eight hours at a time.

Bonus points: "Qadhafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a 'voluptuous blonde.'" Apparently, Kolotnytska is his favorite of four Ukrainian nurses. Seriously, this is like something out of a 1950s Sinbad movie.

- A 1985 cable about dealing with Iranians pretty demonstrates why we've been doomed to failure there for decades. In a missive that sounds like it could have been written by Sir John Malcolm back in the early 19th century, "The Persian experience has been that nothing is permanent and it is commonly perceived that hostile forces abound. In such an environment each individual must be constantly alert for opportunities to protect himself against the malevolent forces that would otherwise be his undoing. He is obviously justified in using almost any means available to exploit such opportunities. This approach underlies the so-called 'bazaar mentality' so common among Persians, a mindset that often ignores longer term interests in favor of immediately obtainable advantages." See? We're not negotiating with the Iranians. We're haggling, like over the cost of one of their flying carpets. The wonderful racism and colonialist attitude continues throughout the entire cable.

- Another 1985 cable, this one from the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. about riots in the slums of England, rakes the British over the coals for its racist attitudes towards the rioters: "Dickens described the squalor, overcrowding and poverty in Britain's cities over a century ago. What has changed is that the people affected are increasingly likely to be members of minority groups." But David Copperfield wouldn't be surprised at the status of the poor: There was "an alienated third-world nation within Britain, an under-class of the deprived, the hopeless, and the dispossessed, in large part but by no means entirely made up of minorities."

Wait. That last part isn't hilarious. It's just sad. Because even as Ambassador Raymond Seitz was quite poignantly describing a fallen England, the Reagan administration was doubling down in its support for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's attacks on unions and welfare programs. Seitz, though, provides one of the only thoughtful and noble takes on international affairs amid a document dump that more often than not reveals craven self-interest, militarism, and paranoia.
Late Post Today: Booty call from MJ. Back later with more well-lubricated rudeness.

11/26/2010

Sorry, Gang: Sarah Palin Ain't Going Anywhere:
Look, sure, yeah, of course, of course, we should be able to fucking ignore Sarah Palin and her molesting P.E. teacher-looking husband ("I'm puttin' my hand on the floor under your chest to make sure you do your push-ups right, Cindy") and her Hills-Have-Eyes-esque brood of mutant children. But she ain't a Jurassic Park T-Rex. If you stand still, she ain't going away. And if she's gonna hate fuck the "lamestream" media constantly, we may as well get off on it, too.

We all know what's gonna happen: she's gonna believe the Wal-Mart shoppers and shut-ins and horny rednecks who tell her at her book signings to run for President. And she'll run and be an idiot on the issues and a cunt to everyone around her, and then she'll blame everyone else for ruining her chances when, in reality, in a rare moment of clarity, Republicans will vote for the another bugfuck insane candidate, the one who didn't say on her own reality show that she got millions of dollars to do that she thinks it sucks that people invade her privacy and that she's just regular people, like you and you over there, who must have a TV studio in your home so you can tell Sean Hannity what regular people think.

There's something almost laughably darling about Sarah Palin, Class Warrior. When Barbara Bush, the O.G. of political women bitch slappers, said of Palin, "I hope she'll stay" in Alaska, well, that dream's long gone, and, of course, Palin wasn't gonna take it. Like someone telling the head cheerleader that she might not be prom queen, Palin smacked back, "I don't think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods."

Think about that for just a second. Ask yourself what happens when any Democrat you can think of says something like it, about how the nation is most Americans versus old money. Oh, how the right wing media would explode with accusations of class war and socialism and MarxAlinskyAyers and other people with scary-sounding names that virtually no one who mentions them knows a goddamn thing about. But Palin? When she says it, it's just Sarah bein' Sarah, God love her First Dude-fellating mouth.

Nope, Palin ain't going away. We're stuck with her until 2012, at least. So let's just revel in her thin-skinned rapid response to any slight, insult, or sarcasm. Let's enjoy the notion of Karl Rove getting the chance to take her apart in the primaries like a cruel child with a bunch of flies whose wings need ripping. And let's all gather 'round the Facebook like in holidays of old and share in the undiminished stench of her fucktardery that she masks in a cheap perfume of Everychick wisdom.

Here she is answering critics who tittered when she mistakenly said, "North Korea" instead of "South Korea" on Glenn Beck's Radio Masturbatorium of Mystery and Imagination: "Unfortunately, it seems they couldn’t resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline." Sure, you could say, "She's right that it's a stupid story to jump on." Or you could say, "A short story on Huffington Post does not a 'major headline' make." Or you could just sit back and say, "Yeah, one more nudge and this crazy bitch is gonna go Norma Desmond on us."

By the way, in case you need a magical Black Friday laugh, the Taiwanese take on the Palins is like a hit of pure heroin. At about 1:16, you can learn how she wrote her latest "book," and it's as good an explanation as any.

11/25/2010

A Thanksgiving Poem from the Conquered:
"The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee" by N. Scott Momaday, who is Kiowa and Cherokee:

I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colors
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive

11/24/2010

Ted Rall and the Rude Pundit Talk Revolution, Part 3 (It's in Your American DNA):
"So let's plan a revolution," the Rude Pundit said to cartoonist and writer Ted Rall in the middle of a place that looked like you could plot to shoot an archduke. It was part of a conversation about Rall's book The Anti-American Manifesto, in which the author lays out a convincing case for the need for radical action from which a new (and not necessarily better) America can emerge. "How would we do it?"

He is not a leader, Rall said, but "what we need are parties, platforms, personalities who are going to lead us. I'm not that person. I'm writing the theoretical construct to allow us to have this conversation...I'm divisive and abrasive. There are people who are not like me and who are going to be able to start groups and parties." What Rall envisions is a multitude of groups offering different paths for where to take the country, with citizens actively joining movements. The idea here is not a bullshit third party working within a system that refuses to really acknowledge third parties. No, what's needed is for someone with a desire for a revolutionary conversion of the nation.

In other words, woe is the country that pretends it doesn't need leaders. There is no real movement without ideological and/or activist leaders, "someone who is bold enough to step forward and start a group and say, 'We hope you rally to us.' There's too many smart people who don't want to waste their entire lives under a broken system." But remember: this is just the beginning. The next steps involve attempting to work within existing frameworks, with perhaps a constitutional convention, although Rall believes that any attempt to do so would be crushed.
Yes, this could all go horribly wrong. "My instinct tells me that this thing [the United States] is unsustainable. That this thing is going down. And the ones who are poised to take it over are these right wing, Christian conservative, 700 Club lunatics. It's fundies who are going to take over. So that's a fear."

Revolutions often have very little violence, Rall explained. "It's not the main event of a revolution." Usually, it's just a brief period and then those in power get the message. And when does violence need to occur? "It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. One of the purposes of violence is to provoke an outsized reaction from your opponent." He pointed to al-Qaeda's acts on 9/11 to explain (not to offer a model): "If the U.S. had responded to 9/11 with soul searching, by wondering what we did to deserve it," we would have crushed radical Islam. Instead, "We fell into their trap better than they could have ever hoped for."

Other forms of violence may be more direct, Rall said. "Maybe there's some particularly atrocious criminal, like someone who just laid off 15,000 workers. Should that be allowed?" However, "You'd want to carry out enough violence, ideally property damage, that it would be enough to terrorize the powers that be, and not harm anyone."

Here's the question that the Rude Pundit has been grappling with this week as he's been writing these posts: Is this crazy? Or is it, you know, very American? Rall, who believes in the right to bear arms, doesn't want or encourage violence. His point is that it shouldn't be taken off the table as a tactic if (for him, "when") things really start to fall apart. That notion itself, of the nation tearing apart at the worn seams, is reinforced constantly, whether with the financial crisis of 2008 or the coming battle over raising the debt ceiling.

During our conversation, both of us kept coming back to the stereotype of the peace-loving liberal who just wants everyone to get along. Because that, along with the utter spinelessness of the Democrats in Washington, has defined the left for so long in this country, conservatives, who are willing to talk about rebelling against the federal government, treat any leftist threat as anti-American. The Tea Party has coopted revolution, and the right has successfully neutered progressivism; for Rall, that means there is no legitimate left in this country anymore. He says most mainstream liberals understand that revolution is necessary, but no one is willing to step up and say it because they still have to operate within our system. "Ideally, someone like an Al Gore would say that this system is broken and it has to be replaced. It can't be reformed."

As when he started this series on Monday, the Rude Pundit keeps coming back to recent history. In the civil rights movement, the eventual embrace of Martin Luther King, Jr. by many whites was specifically because the alternative was the threat of violence of the Black Panthers and other groups. When riots are occurring in the streets of cities around the country, when well-armed men and women are talking race war, it makes a fuck of a lot more sense to deal with the leader preaching non-violence. What if, though, the state and federal governments hadn't responded to King? What if civil rights hadn't advanced and been enforced? What conflagrations would have occurred? And could you have blamed them, those liberal armies of the past, for joining the battle? Or go back to the workers' movement of the early 20th century. It was a civil war. As we head into a Thanksgiving holiday where many workers still have the day off because of that movement, would you have wanted them not to have fought?

11/23/2010

Ted Rall and the Rude Pundit Talk Revolution, Part 2 (The Problem as It Stands):
"Unless you're in fucking total denial, you have to accept the fact the Democratic and Republican parties are unwilling and unable to talk about the real problems facing the country...If that's the system you've got, then why put up with it?" said Pulitzer-nominated cartoonist Ted Rall. You have to say "Pulitzer-nominated" or "American Library Association Best Book of the Year author" or some such shit whenever you're quoting someone who is truly radical because you want to demonstrate their mainstream credibility. Certainly, that street cred is what got Rall invited to MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show for his new book The Anti-American Manifesto.

Rall and the Rude Pundit met for a conversation in a loud restaurant in Manhattan last week to talk about one of the taboo subjects for liberals: the threat of leftist revolution in the United States with the possibility of violence built into it. Even though he's caught hell for his snarkily-titled book's stand on the need for such action, Rall ain't backing down. "If you are a fan of moderation, you have to have that threat," he said. If you're progressive, you have to be able to point to the radical leftists and communists and anarchists and say, 'Look, if you don't want to deal with us, you're gonna have to deal with them.' You can give us a higher minimum wage and security that we won't lose our jobs and stop paying your CEOs $80 million a year and you won't have to deal with them. Otherwise, one day, you're gonna end up hanging from a lamp post." The Rude Pundit commiserated, saying that he was only half-joking when he wrote that Bernie Madoff should have been set on fire on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange.

The thing is that the book itself doesn't say that any kind of revolution would inevitably lead to violence in the streets or even to a progressive government. What Rall does is lay out a case for how the American system of government and the social contract itself is broken, using for evidence everything from the use of torture to the health insurance clusterfuck to the ludicrously imbalanced punishment of the poor versus the treatment of rich criminals. He does it with rage, sarcasm, and heartbreaking story-telling.

"It's not a call for violent revolution. It's not a call for leftist revolution. It's a call for revolution," Rall explained. "I'm very well aware that there is a huge, possibly overwhelming majority of conservative people in this country. And it may well be that when we get rid of this broken down system, we may end up with some right wing, authoritarian state. So be it." As the Rude Pundit's said before, let's settle this shit: what kind of country are we? If we're the country that the right claims we are, or if we're the country of rights and liberty for all, whatever it is, let's settle it.

Rall says flat-out that he loves America, or at least a concept of America that we've gotten away from, and he wants to save the nation. "Right now, this country is kind of played out," he said. And we tried to figure out what was the last great thing the United States accomplished. When was the last great social action that the government was involved in? The civil rights movement? We bailed on the War on Poverty. What was the last great public works project? The Hoover Dam? The highway system, which is now falling into shabby disrepair? "We've duct-taped the entire country," he offered.

Rall went in another direction: "When's the last time we won a war? 1945? When's the last time we declared one? 1941?" He added, "When's the last time we had something for us? We don't do anything anymore. The only thing we do is rain bombs on Muslims...This system is a system of gangsters, like the Russian government. They don't follow their own Constitution as it is." With the abandonment of habeas corpus and due process when it's convenient under presidents of both parties, it's hard to argue. "Obama demonstrates that country is broken down."

The Rude Pundit mentioned how he thought the Tea Party, despite its destructive effect on the recent elections, showed that it's still possible for citizens to gather for a broad agenda in a way that actually accomplishes something. "You have to admire that they are angry, that they recognize that something's wrong. I have more in common with that attitude than I do with liberals who think everything's fine, everything will be hunky-dory if we just get Obama reelected," Rall said. "Where the Tea Party people go wrong is in who they blame... they blame the poor and illegal immigrants. I blame the rich and the corporations. But in terms of assessing the problem, we're on the same page. Now we have to have a discussion about who's really responsible."

Of course, the Tea Party is now merely a loony subsidiary of the Republican Party. As Rall said, they're "like little babies. They don't know how much they're being used by the GOP. It's like how liberals have been used by the Democrats. Liberals have been around the block a little longer." But let's not give the right too much credit: "The country's collapsing - if we don't step in and take control, they will, and they're a bunch of violent, highly armed assholes. So we have to stop them first."

Tomorrow: We plan a revolution. And where the Rude Pundit stands. All in the thrilling conclusion.

11/22/2010

Ted Rall and the Rude Pundit Talk Revolution, Part 1 (We've Been Here Before):
"[T]he shape and extent of whatever violence may come is not in the hands of people like
myself, but in the hands of the American people, who are at present among the most dishonorable and violent people in the world. I am merely trying to face certain blunt, human facts...People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned." That was not written or spoken by Osama bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nope.

That's from one of the most celebrated writers in American literature, James Baldwin. There's a good chance that in high school or college you read his short story "Sonny's Blues" or his 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. In 2004, Baldwin was honored with a stamp. In the press release announcing it, the U.S. Postal Service said, "His writings are a demonstration of his love for all of us."

They probably weren't thinking of those lines at the top, which come from his 1972 non-fiction book No Name in the Street, where he also said, "There will be bloody holding actions all over the world, for years to come: but the Western party is over, and the white man's sun has set. Period."

It used to be understood on the left, back in the 1960s and 1970s, that you talked about revolution, even if it involved violence as a last resort, in order to achieve leftist goals. But now such talk is seen as madness from liberals. Our goals are only to be accomplished through the niceties of the electoral process and the hope that some yahoo from Kentucky won't just block shit in order to be an asshole.

When cartoonist and writer Ted Rall, who has put his ass on the front line in Afghanistan in order to report on what's happening there, appeared on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show to discuss his new book The Anti-American Manifesto, what was most startling was that the host took Rall seriously because Rall makes a rational case for the possibility of violent revolution in the United States. Yes, if neocons can seemingly rationally talk about the good of bombing Iran and be treated as respected authorities on shit, then leftists can rationally discuss other kinds of violence. Of course, the interview pissed off people on the right. And, in a not-as-shocking-as-it-ought-to-be response, people who are ostensibly Democrats or liberals were shitting themselves over it, too (or just ignoring it).

"I think it's really funny coming from the right, who loves their guns, who says we're gonna kick their ass...all that John Wayne shit. God forbid anyone on the left should say it. Then they're all 'Kumbaya,'" Rall said when he and the Rude Pundit met at a very un-revolutionary bourgeois bistro on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (although it was French).

Tomorrow, the Rude Pundit will tell you a great deal more of the conversation, which veered from when violence becomes necessary to the reticence of the left to talk revolution to how the Tea Party might be onto something (just not what you think). For now, here's one more quote from Baldwin: "Whoever is part of whatever civilization helplessly loves some aspects of it, and some of the people in it. A person does not lightly elect to oppose his society."

11/19/2010

New Old Phone Number for Call-In to the Rude Pundit on the Online Radio:
888-874-4888. Listen at http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com.
Photos That Give the Rude Pundit a Small Bit of Hope for the Future (But Just a Small One):
Outside a University of California regents meeting in San Francisco, students protested, a few forcefully, a potential increase in tuition and fees.


In London, the largest student protest in decades occurred, with about 70,000 participants, in opposition to a tripling of fees for universities. All the media attention was given to the marchers who ended up storming the Conservative Party's headquarters, which probably made more of a point than the light-headed reports condemning the attack want to admit. Britain is bracing for more and more such actions.


In Italy, in about 100 different towns and cities, a couple of hundred thousand students and sympathizers marched to protest "cuts in educational funding, the firing of teachers and government's collaboration with businesses in educational reform." Some were teargassed by the police.


In Bulgaria, in Chile, student are beginning to react strongly, spontaneously, and, sometimes, violently to the failed economic policies of their nation's leaders being taken out on them. In other words, if the government wants to extort more cash out of young people, young people are gonna fuck some shit up. If you want change, you don't politely ask for it and hope the powerful will cooperate. You break down the walls of civil discourse and demand change.

Oh, by the way, in California, the UC Board of Regents went ahead yesterday and raised tuition and fees. There were no protesters. American students have a bit more to learn from their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. "'We're in the middle of midterms,' said UC Berkeley freshman Lesley Haddock, who was pepper-sprayed twice during Wednesday's melee and had her lip split open when she stood too close to an officer waving his baton." Tom Hayden was heard slapping his forehead.

11/18/2010

The Ghailani Verdict: You Can't Always Get What You Want:
The most telling comment on the conviction of terrorist suspect Ahmed Ghailani on 1 out of 286 charges against him came from the widow of one of the victims of one of the 1998 bombings that Ghailani helped cause. "I can’t help but feel that the evidence in the case would have been stronger had Ghailani been brought to trial when he was captured in 2004," said Susan Hirsch, whose husband was killed when a suicide bomber blew up the U.S. embassy in Tanzania. Ghailani was charged with murder and various conspiracies, including using WMDs. He was acquitted of everything but one charge of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and people.

What Hirsch is alluding to is the fact that Ghailani was indeed captured in 2004 by Pakistan and given to the United States. He was handed over to the CIA, which promptly transported him to one of its black sites where, for two years, he was interrogated and tortured. When they had squeezed him to the rind, Ghailani was transferred to our prison at Guantanamo Bay where he was held and interrogated and military commissioned for another three years. He was transferred to the U.S. to stand trial in 2009 in what was supposed to be a slam-dunk of a case. Of course, there was the whole problem of information gotten from the torture of Ghailani and others being inadmissible in court. He's never gonna be a free man. Ever. And he'll get at least 20 years for the crime he was convicted of by a jury, as per, you know, the Constitution.

As the right and the center predictably regurgitate the same old anti-American bullshit about how our justice system is made up of terrorist-coddling pussy judges, mongoloid juries, and traitorous lawyers whose sole purpose is to make sure that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed personally gets to knife the Palin daughters and only the military can try such monsters, it would do us well to remember, as we ever should, that had it not been for the Bush administration's abandonment of so many principles of American jurisprudence, Ghailani would have probably been convicted of some of the counts that would have allowed us to, oh, joyful vengeance, kill him. And, by the way, in March 2001, six months before Everything Changed, the Bush Justice Department indicted Ghailani as part of a larger indictment against al-Qaeda's leaders and members.

Yep, before Ghailani was elevated into one of the world's great villains, the bad-ass Bushies pretty much included him in the same way you include the assistant to the bagman for a mob boss in a mafia indictment. According to John Ashcroft's office, "On or about July 1998 [Ghailani and another co-conspirator] purchased a 1987 Nissan Atlas truck in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania" and "On or about late July and early August 1998 [Ghailani and other co-conspirators] loaded boxes of TNT, cylinder tanks, batteries, detonators, fertilizer, and sand bags in the back of the [Tanzanian embassy bombing] Truck." Bad shit, to be sure, and illegal. Ghailani was also allegedly a cook for Osama bin Laden. His lentil stew is said to be divine.

What made Ghailani into the Big Bad Wolf was what other tortured people said about him after Everything Changed. More accurately, more than likely someone who had been worked over at a black site was shown some photos and told to say some shit about the people in them. And there's only so many beatings and nut shocks and dog attacks one can take before one will identify anyone for anything. Thus, Ghailani was transformed.

Ms. Hirsch is right, though. If, as his lawyers protested, Ghailani had received a speedy trial, he would have long ago been put away or executed ('cause that just makes us feel so goddamn Uhmerkan). But, to reiterate, even after the Bush administration's detention program fucked the whole thing up, Ghailani's never gonna be a free man. He's either going to be sent to prison and/or held in our tropical gulag or some other place forever. That shit's a done deal. But that's not good enough. The hysterical in this country will not be pleased until each one of them is given an alleged terrorist to personally waterboard to death.

Sometimes it seems like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson's ghosts are just staring down mournfully from the top of the Washington Monument, wondering if they should just go tear up the very documents they wrote because, really, why have fucking bothered?

11/17/2010

The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show (and Announcement of More Treats):
So a couple of weeks ago, the Rude Pundit appeared on Danny Schechter's News Dissector online program on the Progressive Radio Network. Well, this Friday, the Rude Pundit'll be subbing for Schechter and hosting an entire hour at 1 p.m. ET. He'll be joined by writer/comedian/handsome man Jeff Kreisler, author of the book Get Rich Cheating. And he'll take your calls. So crank up the internet machines and chat with the Rude Pundit.

For a dose, here's this week's Stephanie Miller Show appearance. Notice how we chat like we're dancing as fast as we can:

Subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast. Carry it in your pocket and it'll seem like he's touching your junk.
A Junk Grab Too Far:
Well, welcome to the privacy party, motherfuckers. Come on in to the constitutional protections rave. What took you so long to get here? Oh, yeah. Holding people indefinitely without charges? Who the fuck cares. Wiretapping Americans without a warrant? Oh, blow us. Torturing confessions out of innocent people? Sometimes ya gotta spill a little blood to make security stew. Strangers looking at your little dicks for no reason other than you bought a plane ticket? Oh, shit, that's an outrage akin to raping Mother Theresa's corpse with her own femur.

Yep, all it took for some of the citizens of this country to actually make a stink about civil rights was a black president, a Democratic-controlled Department of Homeland Security, and the fear that barely-trained, underpaid airport security people will see what your Mama's tits look like in a government-ordered x-ray body scan. Or, even worse, that if you refuse having your dick or slit on display, you'll get an "enhanced pat down," as it's being called, just like the extra-special interrogation techniques used at Gitmo or a special new cereal, like corn flakes but now with nuts.

But, you may ask, what has changed about our attitude towards our safety that right wingers would all of a sudden get upset about the government treating us all like criminals and not citizens? Good god, don't you understand that you must have your taint fingered by a TSA agent because you might be keeping a derringer under your scrotum? You must allow your infant daughter to have her vagina probed because you might have bred her specifically to be a baby bomb. It's what al-Qaeda would do.

While the right wants to blame President Obama, Janet Napolitano, or, fer fuck's sake, George Soros for all of this, remember that the testing of body scanners at airports and the implementation of widespread use began during the Bush administration. Yep, something else we can conveniently forget about that bastard. The Rapiscan backscatters (a shitty name) were first put into use in 2005: "Homeland Security has not identified the airports that will test backscatters. More than a dozen have been selected to test various new technologies." The first tests were done in Orlando in 2002 (the machines had been used in England already). In fact, discussions of the use of body scanners at airports went back to October 2001, according to the Washington Post then. Yup - it was Bush who wanted to see some bush. The enhanced pat-down is a new procedure, but you can bet the study on how to do it began before Janet Napolitano stepped foot in the HSA office.

Of course, if something idiotic and vaguely related to sex is occurring, the repressed right is gonna get all fucktarded about it. Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (motto: "Yes, this organization actually exists") is afraid that the gays will get off on fondling people of the same sex: "The reality is, most traveling men would not want Barney Frank to pat them down at the airport security checkpoint...Neither would it be fair to assign Ellen DeGeneres to pat down female travelers." Yes, because women would much prefer to have Angelina Jolie finger their labia because that's not homoerotic at all. Seriously, is there any issue that the homophobic right can't contort to fit their demonizing agenda?

But topping the list of creepy shit is the creepy shithead himself, Rush Limbaugh. On his radio show yesterday, Limbaugh mused on what one might be able to tell from the x-rays: "Will these scans be able to tell whether or not a woman's had an abortion? And if so, will these naked body scans be able to tell how many?" He continued, "A woman has breast implants, will this be known? How large? Will we be able to tell if a woman has had an abortion or a few?"

Limbaugh would not let it go. He had a caller on the phone and asked, "Can you tell if anybody's had an abortion...if they've had breast implants?" When the woman said that you couldn't tell about the abortion, Limbaugh concluded the segment by saying, "Of course piercings you're gonna be able to see...If they find a metal object, did you say down there like a piercing, what are they gonna do? Well, I don't know, I'm not a trained agent. I don't know what I would do if I found a metal piercing on a scanner. I don't know what I would do." How filthy do you feel right now thinking about Rush Limbaugh looking at your clit post?

Oh, good Americans, if you submit and submit and submit to authority, authority is going to keep making you submit more. The point here is that we shouldn't have gotten to this point. We shouldn't have allowed them to think they could do this. Now, you can avoid taking JetBlue to visit your sister at Thanksgiving or you can submit. Again.

Tell you what, though. If the Rude Pundit is told to go through the scan when he flies next, he'll do it. But he'll make sure that the middle fingers on both of his hands are proudly pointing up. That won't be for the TSA personnel who are, indeed, just doing their jobs, most of them as best they can. It's for the policy makers. And it's for the rest of you assholes who got us here, terrorists all.

11/16/2010

James O'Keefe and Chris Christie: A Conglomeration of Motherfuckers:
So here's the simple story: Fake pimp and wannabe rapist James O'Keefe, he of the deceptive videos that took down ACORN, decided that he hadn't gotten over teachers being mean to him when he was a kid in New Jersey. Since he's unable to blame himself for being such a fuckbag, he took it out on the teachers. He and his merry band of fuckbags and spoogebuckets invaded the East Brunswick Hilton's bar in order to secretly video record teachers at a New Jersey Educators Association conference. What horrific things did he discover? That when they're not on the clock, adults drink and say stupid shit and make fun of their bosses. It's gotta be a scandal, no? No, but, hey, that's never stopped fuckbags from their acts of fuckbaggery.

One teacher, Alissa Ploshnick, thinking she was just having a few drinks with a guy who was interested in her and her career, mentioned a case where a teacher had called a student a "nigger" and wasn't fired because of tenure protections. Ploshnick was suspended and denied a raise because she said the word "nigger" out loud. In a presumptively private conversation that she had no idea was being recorded. The conference, by the way, was about the education of special needs kids. Oh, and Ploshnick once threw herself in front of a speeding van to protect the kids it was heading for. Oh, and O'Keefe himself stalked her to her home to try to confront her about what she had said.

Wait, wait. It gets even more absurd. With this information, O'Keefe's black lackey (hmm, there's a word for that, but the Rude Pundit can't remember it right now) called the superintendent of the Passaic County school system and posed as the parent of the child who was insulted. He wants to know how the teacher would be punished. The superintendent patiently informs the badgering lackey that tenure guarantees due process for the teacher followed by a probable reprimand, but not firing. Then, the lackey tells the superintendent that he'd rather move his child out of the class and "keep it quiet." At first, the superintendent is flummoxed by this, saying it won't solve the problem, but he agrees. O'Keefe says this indicates that the school system wants to cover-up racism by the teachers. Mission accomplished.

Wait, wait. It gets even more absurd. So basically, even with the supposed juiciest parts edited into a charmingly nauseating package, what you've got is teachers after hours fucking around and a school superintendent trying to help a parent. So of course, Governor Chris "Notorious B.I.G." Christie shakes his jowls about it because if there's one thing Christie hates more than a lack of pie, it's unions, especially those shitheads in the teachers' union who don't just bow down to his enormous Christiosity. "If you need an example of what I’ve been talking about for the last nine months — about how the teacher’s union leadership is out of touch with the people and out of control — go watch this video," said the gelatinous governor.

All we need is Fox "news" doing its 24/7 dance of mad glee, and the circle of life will be complete. Motherfuckers all, doing a jig on the sweat of the people who work to make life a little better for the rest of us, all because O'Keefe is such a little bitch who has no journalistic sense, only a desire to get back at people he hates. Someone should be there to face rape him every day of his life so he could know what a piece of shit he actually is.

You know, not to offer such a self-aggrandizing scandal-monger any shot at redemption, but here's something James O'Keefe once wrote while an asshole conservative student at Rutgers in 2003: "Thousands of innocent people are confined to desperately scavenging for a job to feed their children while the criminals who took their livelihood throw multi-million dollar parties at ski resorts." He was outraged at people like Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and other "vermin," as he put it, who dicked over their employees and stockholders and made billions. He wrote, "Of course, the general public doesn't seem to care. People focus more on Howard Dean's statement about 'southerners in their pick-up trucks' than on their hard-earned investment money being embezzled."

That James O'Keefe sounds like he could have been a hell of a reporter.

11/15/2010

Note to Democrats: Remember Where You Come From:
"This is the only place in American history where we used our Air Force to bomb our own people," the old woman said, gesturing at a ridge on Blair Mountain, West Virginia, puffing on a cigarette. "To protect the property of the coal barons." We ran into a group of elderly people who wanted to see the mountain before it was blown up. It's why we were there, too.

Where we were standing, more than 10,000 coal miners fought a battle with the hired thugs of the coal companies. The miners were marching to Logan in order to free union organizers and end martial law in Mingo County. The Sheriff of Logan County, in cahoots with the mine owners, decided that the miners would not make it to Mingo and would not succeed in unionizing. Sheriff Chafin was able to raise a force of around 3000 men because volunteers came from outside West Virginia to shoot the supposed communists. So volatile was the situation that Mother Jones herself urged the miners not to march. But for five days, the two sides fought on Blair Mountain, ending only when federal troops arrived to take the side of the coal companies. It was the largest battle on American soil other than the Civil War.

The woman wasn't entirely right. While the fairly new Army Air Corps had planes go out on reconnaissance missions, the bombs that were dropped on the miners from the air were homemade and came from private planes that the coal barons had hired. The miners turned back and the United Mine Workers Association lost its chance to unionize the southern coalfields of West Virginia for another 15 years. In fact, the union went from 50,000 members to 10,000 members, part of an ongoing effort to crush unions during the 1920s, under Republican presidents. Union membership did not climb until FDR came into office and the National Labor Relations Act was passed.

These days, the very real war against unions, where federal and state troops were often used to break up strikes against railroads, factories, and mines, is more or less forgotten, even though it occurred less than a century ago. Hell, we can't remember five years ago anymore. Why should that history matter?

It matters because there was a time, yes, distant, but not so distant, when to be a Democrat meant you fought for the cause of making the lives of the poor and disenfranchised better. And that "fighting" meant fighting; it meant being willing to take a bullet or a bomb if that's what was needed. Now we're not at that point by any stretch of the imagination. But when's the last time Democrats went on a crusade to help the poor? When is the last time the poor or the workers decided to fight for their rights (other than the right not to buy health insurance)? Now, it's all about the mythical middle class or about how much money rich people need in order to, maybe, perhaps, if we're nice and grovel, create a job or two.

If you wanted to measure how degraded the Democratic Party has become, simply compare what they once fought for, the poverty programs and civil rights, to what is being fought over now: whether or not to give a three-year tax cut to people making more than a quarter of a million bucks a year, something that the majority of the nation doesn't support. Meanwhile, most Democrats are going along with extending tax cuts to the middle class, even if the end result is gutting programs for the poor.

What the miners at Blair Mountain fought for were the rights to speak and to assemble. They wanted better work conditions and wages. Now, the descendants of those workers are brainwashed into thinking that tax breaks for millionaires will somehow make their lives better. If there is a soul left to be found in the Democratic Party, as our leaders compromise away every principle that once energized us, it is by returning to directly improving the lives of the poor in the nation.

A single marker is all that exists to show where thousands of Americans fought each other. After years of work, Blair Mountain was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2009, protecting it from the moutaintop removal that has torn up the gorgeous landscape of West Virginia. However, lawyers from the coal companies, including Massey Energy, made a case that landowners weren't properly notified and that some objected (including, surprisingly, dead ones). And Blair Mountain was delisted in December 2009.

Yes, the battle goes on to preserve the site, but chances are that Massey is going to dynamite the mountain to get to the coal there. It will erase for good a part of our American history, a part of our people's history, that was already forgotten, a history that ought to energize Democrats time and again, but instead it's just easier to desecrate the dead.

11/12/2010

Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Six-Pack of Four Loko:


There he is, looking like a fucking mime in an imaginary box of his own making. Or maybe he's doing jazz hands 'cause he just don't give a shit what you assholes think. He was speaking in Dayton on Veterans Day at the Air Force Museum. Referring to soldiers who go on high-risk missions, the man who couldn't even finish his time avoiding going to Vietnam said, "I was constantly amazed by their willingness to volunteer in the face of danger." That would be for missions in our wars of his choosing.

His re-emergence this week as a kind of backwards-ass book hawker ought to remind us all that the dangers we face now are ones we didn't volunteer for, but ones that he foisted upon us.

11/11/2010

The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
A big thanks to West Virginia State University and the students who didn't mind the phrase "hate fuck" being used in a classroom.

And here's this week's fun with Stephanie Miller:
DADT: Absurd from the Start:
Hey, kids, it's Veterans' Day, and what better way is there to celebrate than to fuck a soldier in the foxhole? Or at least that's the ongoing hilarious queer fear that's pervading the conversation over finally putting a bullet in the back of the skull of Don't Ask Don't Tell. The public and members of the military tell pollsters, in large majorities, either "Okey-dokey" or "Who gives a happy monkey fuck?" when asked if they think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed services. So, of course, it looks like Democrats are gonna cave to the last people in America who still think Sgt. Joey Sissypants is gonna get rapey in the barracks with his troops or conjuring a lip-licking bull dyke who stands in the women's shower and thinks, "Smorgasbord."

Since this historic day asks us to remember things what is historical, let's pause to look back at the 1993 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on President Bill Clinton's implementation of DADT. Sometimes it's like a Beckett play, sometimes it's like an Abbott and Costello routine. And several of the players are still in Congress (or, in the case of Indiana's Dan Coats, a-coming back). Here's John McCain, who has vowed to filibuster a defense spending bill if it contains DADT repeal (because, you know, apparently it's not treason anymore to block funding to the troops) speaking to Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and various generals, including Colin Powell (get a friend and read it like a comedy routine):

"McCain: If someone tells, someone who tells the commanding officer, that's not homosexual conduct. That's no reason to initiate an investigation. Yet Secretary Aspin just said that there is reason to do so.

Aspin: Senator, in the -- in the policy, conduct is defined as statements. Statement is a conduct in -- in the -- in the policy.

McCain: So -- so what you're saying is that in -- in -- but yet, being in a homosexual parade, marching in a gay rights rally in civilian clothes is not homosexual conduct.

Aspin: Because a person might be a heterosexual who's in favor of gay rights and attends the gay parade, yes.

McCain: If that person is dressed in -- in a -- bizarre clothing and under the banner of -- of some organization which advocates --

Aspin: No.

McCain: -- certain things, what does that mean?

Aspin: It depends under the circumstances. But the point is that a person should not be automatically barred from -- from attending a gay parade if they are -- if they're doing it in civilian clothes because a person who goes -- attends a gay parade is -- does not prove that they are homosexual just by attending the parade."

Yep. This is what the most deliberative body ever conceived in the history of deliberating deliberately actually discussed. Of course, McCain had to talk about cross-dressing:

"McCain: Well, how about, General Powell, if they went in transvestite clothing?

Powell: I think that would be something that I as a commander would find troubling and I would begin to wonder about that situation, but just the attendance solely at the parade --

McCain: This policy says marching in a gay rights rally in civilian clothes will not in and of themselves constitute credible evidence that would provide a basis for initiating an investigation.

Powell: I would still take a hard look at it to see whether the costuming that was used started to slop over the good browns of ordered discipline.

McCain: According to this regulation, you can't."

(The Rude Pundit's pretty sure that "good browns" is suppose to be "good grounds," but, for the sake of anal sex, let's go with the transcript.)

Oh, how about one more exchange between Sen. Carl Levin and Powell, only because it includes the word "rebuttable."

"Levin: We've talked about here that, if one announces that he or she is a homosexual, that he or she is engaged in illegal activities that are homosexual, but it is rebuttable. And we -- and you define in your policy homosexual activities as bodily -- sexual bodily contact with another person. Is that correct? Is that all your understanding? That in terms of --

Powell: It's an act.

Levin: -- homosexual activity in the policy --

Powell: An act. Homosexual act.

Levin: Yeah, right. That involves bodily contact with another person. Is that correct, General?

Powell: That's what the policy says."

You know what would honor veterans today? To treat soldiers like grown-ups.

11/10/2010

The Impossibility of Truly Changing the Paradigm (or the Revolution Will Not Be):
There's a great moment in the new play In the Wake by Lisa Kron. It's the aftermath of the 2004 election, and the main character, Ellen, an NPR-loving, Bush-hating, East Village-living liberal, is shocked when she hears that her close friend, Judy, a 50-something exile from small-town Kentucky who works in aid camps in places like Guinea, didn't vote.

Judy's reasoning is just a kick in the nuts: "I don’t want to participate in a system I don’t believe in. Voting is a false exercise. You know this. You’re the one who talks about how the system is skewed so that the votes in rich, white Republican districts are counted at much higher levels." Judy points out that the Constitution was established as a way to affirm the power of propertied white males: "The apparatus is working as it’s meant to work, to facilitate the self interests of wealthy men in power...The people at the top are the same people who’ve always been at the top. And the people who are at the bottom are the same people who’ve always been at the bottom." Ellen protests, insisting that evolution and change is possible. Judy's not having any of it: "Because you’re a middle-class person and you are served well by the system, so you have to believe that change is possible. It’s what American liberals do. Because what could you do otherwise? You’d have to give up your middle-class life or your ideals." And are you willing to do either?

See, the ultimate result of last week's election is that, despite the brief burp of hope in 2008, the system functioned as it was meant to function. And the left played its expected role. The gist of Dave Weigel's depressing recent piece in Slate on amnesia about George W. Bush in the midterms is that Americans are hamsters crawling through tubes too tight to allow us to turn around. Weigel writes about Bush, "He's just not thought of, period. The defining events of his presidency—the war on terror and the economic crisis—don't really belong to him, because Obama has presided over them, and the public doesn't register much of a change in how they're being handled." As much as Obama has accomplished, his signature achievements have been spun into failures, with even members of Congress who voted for them not defending them. And, on issue after issue, "Obama's presidency has had the trappings of conflict and the reality of continuation." One or two symbolic moments could have changed this perception, like closing Gitmo or halting Don't Ask Don't Tell, but those didn't happen.

Yet there seems to be this prescribed range of acceptable dissent on the left. To become impolite (or, you know, rude) about tactics and demands is to open oneself to attack. We saw this when Markos Moulitsas's book American Taliban came out. What Markos was writing about violent action and rhetoric on the right wasn't up for question. But, oh, our stars and garters, the title. So mean.

We see it again with the silence and/or condemnation of cartoonist and writer Ted Rall. In his new book, The Anti-American Manifesto, Rall calls for the left to wake up to the idea that the current system in America, as it has been perverted by the wealthy and powerful, needs to be changed. That actual revolution needs to occur and that, if necessary (an important distinction), the left needs to be ready if shit gets violent. If Rall had been writing this in the 1960s, he'd have seemed like a typical left-winger (when some of your favorite writers - Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and more - were calling for armed revolt). Indeed, Rall's goals are what the left is supposed to want: prosecution of the Wall Street criminals, an end to the wars, an expansion of funding to education and health care. Rall just takes it to another level of commitment. When he appeared on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show on Monday, he was given a fair hearing by Ratigan and affirmed his love of America. Of course, it all just pissed people off.

The outrage on the right over Rall and Moulitsas is to be expected. But from the left, the idea that such rhetoric "is not helpful" or some such shit is milquetoast cowering. Not helpful for what? For begging for scraps from the right-leaning table of moderation? Or it's just dismissed as paranoia that refuses to recognize what President Obama and the Democratic Congress got passed.

(For the record, the Rude Pundit has hung out with Ted Rall a couple of times. And, sorry, but he's not a douchebag. He's just a guy who passionately gives a damn about the country and is not afraid to go into the trenches to make his point.)

Right now, vaguely liberal views are being equated with Tea Party nutsiness. It's time to move the fuckin' goalposts to the left a bit. How that occurs is going to require more than just electing people who we hope and pray will be able to cobble together enough votes to achieve a watered down version of what we all know needs to be done. It's going to require a new way of thinking about how we approach politics and governance.

Lawrence Lessig has said that we need to call a constitutional convention to look at renegotiating the American contract (or scaring the shit out of our elected officials). That's pretty fucking extreme. Like Lessig, Rall is simply saying that something needs to occur in the wake of this unceasing flow down our dark river of decline and fall.

Note: The Rude Pundit will be talking to Rall next week. Audio will be posted here.

11/09/2010

A Few Random Observations Regarding the Re-Emergence of George W. Bush:
1. Really, W? One of the worst stories you have about your drinking is, as you told Matt Lauer, "So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And my brothers and sister are there. Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman, friend of Mother and Dad's, and I said to her out loud, 'What is sex like after 50?'" 'Cause that's a really pussy story. For the Rude Pundit, that'd be one of his more delightful drunken tales, an anecdote that would provoke more of an "Oh, you scamp" than utter horror, but maybe whilst canoodling with the Yankee scions at the Kennebunkport compound, that's what outrages people.

But, seriously, there's gotta be some dark shit in there, where you're eyeballs deep in a pile of Bolivian blow in some rathole motel in Nuevo Laredo, cutting yourself with the shattered remains of a bottle of Jack Daniels you just polished off, getting your asshole eaten out by an old Mexican whore while jacking off on a picture of your mom, screaming, "I got your pearl necklace, Mother, I got it right here." That's a fuckin' drinking story.

2. Speaking of your Moms, that story about the fetus in a jar, about how Bar miscarried when you were a teenager and showed you the remains? No matter how you frame it, it's some sick ass shit. You can say, "No question it that affected me, my philosophy that we should respect life," or about how it showed your mother trusted you, but maybe, just maybe, it's that kind of demented parenting that actually drove you to drink. Indeed, much of the book seems like you're still trying to please Mother and Pater.

What is it with these conservatives and their fetus fetish? Rick Santorum had his kids fondle their mom's miscarried fetus. And now we've got the Ball jar Bush baby. Yeah, it's a sad occasion. But what does it teach the kids except, oh, fuck, that's dead.

3. You say that a rapper dissing you was "one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency" and that you told your wife that it was the worst point of your time in office. For someone who pranced around saying that the American people and their "polls" can suck your balls, you have pretty thin skin when it comes to Kanye West. And in your book, as Lauer pointed out, you say regarding sending federal troops into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, "How's it going to look if a Republican President usurps the authority of a Democratic governor and declares an insurrection in a largely African American city?" You respond to Lauer with, "Yeah, it wouldn't have gone down. It would have just been like kerosene on a fire," that the troops might have gone into "what appeared to be a very violent situation."

Except, like everything else in your disgrace of a presidency, you were wrong. The Rude Pundit's pretty sure that the mostly black people who were stranded on the I-10 overpass or abandoned at the Superdome wouldn't have questioned whose helicopters were evacuating them. You're offended by the notion that Kanye West implied you're racist. Your defense is that violent black people wouldn't have been able to handle a conservative white man saving them. You know what? It probably just sounds better to go with what Kanye said.

4. You write about 9/11, "We were going to find out who did this, and kick their ass." How'd that work out?

5. Fuck you. Fuck your bullshit justifications. We were there. Some of us know what really happened. So fuck your impenetrable clusterfuck rationalizing, your tautology of excuses. You're pissed that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but you don't regret the war. You actually come across convinced of your lies, and now your former employees are out there making sure that you are remembered as the guy who took tough, decisive action when it was necessary. And even if that's true, taking action doesn't mean that you did the right thing. You can firmly say, "Here's the road we're traveling on." Doesn't mean that it ain't the road to the mine field and sodomy pit. The failure to admit that is the damnation we all have to deal with. But your lackeys want us all to just get over it and move on.

Yesterday, Dr. William Petit, whose family was tortured and murdered, spoke quite movingly to the media when one of the men who committed the crimes was sentenced to death. This man who has suffered more than any of us could imagine was asked about gaining closure through the sentence. Perhaps it's too soon to use his words as metaphor for something larger, but something Petit said sticks in the Rude Pundit's mind as he thinks about post-Bush America. He said, "[T]here's never closure. There's a hole, you know. The way I've imagined it straight through, it's a hole with jagged edges and over time the edges may smooth out a little bit, but the hole in your heart and the hole in your soul is still there. So there's never closure."

You can smooth those edges, W. The hole you left, though, well, we'll all be long gone before we see if it ever closes.
Fucked Up Post Date:
A bit of housecleaning: the Rude Pundit started yesterday's post on Friday. He fucked up by not changing the date of the post (since Blogger automatically puts the time one starts writing, not when one publishes).

So that post below, "Time for the Next Round of This Fight (Part 2: Beat Them at the Start)," was meant to be dated November 8. It has been corrected. Now, back to your regular schedule of rudeness.

11/08/2010

Time for the Next Round of This Fight (Part 2: Beat Them at the Start):
Last Thursday, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man whose upper lip might more properly be called the "taint" between his scrotal nose and asshole-like mouth, spoke at the Heritage Foundation (motto: "Fucking up your nice country with bullshit scholarship since 1973"), he pretty much gave a succinct summary of the Bizarro USA that conservatives have conceived of and propagated for the last two years. If there was anything in there that approached reality, it was McConnell's reassertion that Republicans' top goal is to prevent President Obama from having a second term. That's been their goal all along in the face of the titanic crises brought on by Republicans.

McConnell mourned the "Europeanization of America" and that "For the past two years, Democrat lawmakers chose to ignore the American people" as we have lurched towards an unwanted socialism. How does that square with what we might call, in the quaint terminology, "facts"? As Timothy Egan said in the New York Times on Wednesday, if you had invested $100,000 in the NASDAQ alone on Barack Obama's inauguration day, it would be worth $177,000 as of last Tuesday. No, that's not about jobs, that's not about Main Street, but it is a stark and vivid reminder that in order to support capitalism, one must make sure the capitalists make money, which they clearly have under the policies of the Obama administration.

But, as we learned over the last decade, facts are mere black household ants to Republicans, little nuisances that are pernicious, aggravated, and easily killed (even if they never go away). On Face the Nation yesterday, McConnell let one of those tiny bastards slip in when, pressed by Bob Schieffer (the Last Man Standing of the Old Guard of TV Journalists) about getting rid of earmarks, he said, "The problem is it doesn’t save any money...this debate doesn’t save any money which is why it’s kind of exasperating to some of us." Well, no shit, you swamp turtle-looking motherfucker. Welcome to the surface. Look around at the real world for a second before you slip back down into the murk and algae of the water. But don't worry: the rest of the caucus won't let something as socialistic as math get in the way of a good campaign ad.

Republicans are already showing their hand on their strategy to increase their congressional gains and try to win the presidency in 2012. One part of it is pretty obvious; the other is kind of fascinatingly perverse.

Rep. Eric Cantor, who has emerged as the creepy Peter Lorre of the Republican House takeover, told Chris Wallace on Fox "news" Sunday, "The chief executive, the president, is as responsible as any in terms of running this government. The president's got a responsibility as much or more so than Congress to make sure that we are continuing to function in a way that the people want." In other words, Cantor is already ascribing blame for any government shutdown, any face-off that comes down the pipe, to President Obama. It's really a pretty cuntish move, a way of lowering expectations, and it sets up the continuing campaign for 2012: "Look, Obama's in the way of us accomplishing...something or other that we really can't define."

Indeed, if you really read what these wannabe tough guys are saying, they are not about to change dick about the way government is run. Everything is vague or a hedged bet. They don't have any actual beliefs beyond cutting taxes. So Obama should take these pusillanimous fuckers head-on. The Bush tax cuts are done at the end of the year. Back in 2001, Eric Cantor voted for them to sunset. He voted for taxes to go up at the end of 2010. Any new tax cuts should be called what they properly would be: the Obama tax cuts. And the Presidenct should lay it on the line: tax cuts up to $250,000 or nothing. At that point, Republicans have to justify their support for the wealthiest 2%. They're trying to get Obama to own his agenda. So fucking own it.

(Two fine points here: 1. This has to be done during the lame duck session or the tax cuts expire, so, presumably, Democrats are still in charge and Eric Cantor's opinion on this is worth shit. 2. The Rude Pundit thinks all the tax cuts should expire, but politics is politics.)

Now, the perverse part of the anti-Obama equation: California's Darrell Issa, who will now chair the House Oversight Committee, has said that he is going to investigate all kinds of shit. But he's gonna be bipartisan about who he investigates: "When we look at the failures of Freddie [Mac] and Fannie [Mae], the Countrywide scandal, those all began during President Bush’s time. When we look at Mineral Management Service and the ultimate failure in the Gulf, that began years before." You got that? No. Well, let's let Issa clarify it: "I’m hoping to bridge the multiple administrations in as many places as possible."

Ain't that a motherfucking kick in the teeth? Issa says that he's gonna tie the Obama and Bush administration together. Put aside your sputtering outrage that Democrats were raked over the coals for even suggesting that maybe perhaps pretty they should oughta pretty please look into some of the Caligulan excesses of the Bush presidency. Instead, focus on this: Republicans are going to make Obama seem like a continuation of Bush. Spending is spending, right? They are going to make this White House responsible for the mistakes of the last one, the one that they all supported in lockstep for eight years. It is one of the most insidious strategies the Rude Pundit's seen, breathtakingly cynical and impressively destructive.

Democrats better get out in front on this in a big fucking hurry. They were cowed into silence by the GOP in 2010 and spent little time talking about how badly Bush fucked the world up, even if the public still blamed him. If the GOP gets away with this move, if Democrats can't even call the enemy by his name, they will allow themselves to be painted as mere accessories to Bush's spending spree and regulatory overthrow. Wrap your head around that fuckery.

11/05/2010

A Photo That Demonstrates How the Rude Pundit Feels About This Week:


"They are huge predatory frogs that sit and wait for animals to pass by. They are stimulated by movement and will lunge at pretty much anything that comes within range, including this unlucky mouse." Who is the frog? Breitbart? Bachmann? Boehner?

Oh, poor danger mouse. You never had a chance.

(Note: Yeah, yeah, the Rude Pundit promised Part 2 of how to go after the GOP. He'll have that on Monday, featuring Mitch McConnell, Darrell Issa, and more. But it's Friday after a long godforsaken week. Go smoke a joint, hug a child, or make sweet love to someone or yourself.)

11/04/2010

More Rudeness Than You Can Handle:
The Rude Pundit's gonna be on Danny Schechter's News Dissector on Friday at 1 p.m. You can listen online or the audio is posted later. In case you don't know, Schechter's an old school journalistic ass kicker.

And then the Rude Pundit will be live and uncensored on Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick on Tuesday, November 9 at 6:05 p.m. Again, it will be available for your podding goodness.

Finally, the Rude Pundit will be speaking in the theater at the Davis Fine Arts Building at West Virginia State University in Charleston on Thursday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m. It's a free talk/reading with a q&a. He will try to make at least two "Manchin" puns, probably involving balls.

(Note: And, of course, he'll be doing his regular Stephanie Miller Show gig on Monday at 9:30 a.m. First loves never die.)
Time for the Next Round of This Fight (Part 1: The Lame Duck Can Still Fly):
Fuck despair. The 2012 fight starts now. Time to learn from our mistakes, lick our wounds, change the sheets, clean up our mess, and get back in this quickly. Time's a-wastin' before the crazies arrive and attempt to shutdown the government, defund the health care bill, and wreck the economy. It's war. It has been a war. Act like it.

At his press conference, Barack Obama was too conciliatory, too willing to allow the lie-filled narrative of his supposed intransigence, the myth of his unwillingness to compromise, to exist. Look at what Bill Clinton said in 1994: "But to those who would use this election to turn us back, let me say this: I will do all in my power to keep anyone from jeopardizing this economic recovery by taking us back to the policies that failed us before...There is too much at stake for our children and our future to do anything else." It was a challenge to the new Congress, a shot over Gingrich's bow, and a reassurance to everyone who voted for him two years before that he didn't forget how he got there and that he was still there. Shit, Reagan essentially said, "Yeah, yeah, whatever, kiss my ass" when Republicans lost seats in the House in 1982.

What did Obama offer? "I’m not so na├»ve as to think that everybody will put politics aside until then, but I do hope to make progress on the very serious problems facing us right now. And that’s going to require all of us, including me, to work harder at building consensus." And, as we know, "building consensus" and "compromise" means "give Republicans everything they want and you get nothing." Meanwhile, John Boehner was telling the President to start sucking and don't neglect the balls.

So it's time to run the table during the lame duck session. Right now, conservatives are shitting themselves over what can happen during the next two months of the Congress-That-Has-Nothing-To-Lose, even making a idiotic video featuring some redneck asshole you might remember from some ad shooting a man in a duck costume, which has more resonances of Dick Cheney than actual hunting. They want the Democrats to pledge to just run out the clock and wait for the new Congress to act on anything. Because, you know, they'd act just as honorably. Oh, wait, that's right. The impeachment of Bill Clinton happened during a lame duck session. So, really, the proper response is, "No, you need to blow us, Boehner and McConnell."

Democrats need to find that backbone that keeps running away and understand that they actually can accomplish a number of things that will shore up the progressive base for the next couple of years. It's so fucking easy. Listen to Nancy Pelosi (no, really - she was on the right track the last two years; Reid and Obama had it wrong), and 2012 will be different. Pass a bunch of those bills that have come out of the House. Fuck some shit up before you're out. The worst thing that Democrats can do is to play nice until 2011, hoping that it will lay some kind of groundwork for cooperation and decency in the future. That's like thinking that if you leave a crack whore alone with your pants, she won't steal your wallet. And your pants.

1. The absolute easiest thing you can do: Get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Do this and all those gay votes that went away will come home, and the non-gay supporters will be able to point to a concrete promise kept.

2. There's gonna be tax cuts of some sort, even though there shouldn't be. Use reconciliation to pass middle class tax cuts. Leave the tax cuts for the wealthy for the new Congress so that the incoming House is put in the position of having to vote for rich people to get more money.

3. And attach everything else you want to the reconciliation tax bill: energy legislation, unemployment benefits extension, whatever. The rules allow it. The Republicans will howl like dogs who got kicked in the anus, but, again, again, again, Democrats need to treat Republicans like the dishonorable fuckers they are.

4. Pass the Disclose Act. The bullshit excuse Republicans used for opposing it was that it was an election year stunt. Okay, it's not an election anymore. Let's get a little of the anonymous corporate money out of the process. If the bill is filibustered, make them own it and answer for it for the next two years. (This is perhaps the most naively optimistic part of a generally naively optimistic post here.)

As the Rude Pundit writes this, Mitch McConnell, who, it should be noted, is the fucking minority leader, is talking as if he is in charge now, as if he runs the Senate. And why the fuck not, since he essentially did for the last couple of years? Use the next couple of months, dear, defeated Democrats, to walk away with some dignity and not allow yourselves to be whipped out of town by the rats and the bullies.

Tomorrow
: Defeat their 2012 strategy now.

11/03/2010

Regarding the Midterms, Part 1: Allow Yourself to Despair Today:
There's a line from a novel that's been haunting the Rude Pundit for the last couple of weeks. It's from Australian writer Richard Flanagan's incredible 2006 book, The Unknown Terrorist. The main character walks past a bunch of young males beating a beggar. They threaten anyone who attempts to stop them from doing so: "And behind her they kept on for a few minutes more, kicking him as if he were to blame for everything in that dirty, dead decade they were all condemned to live through, a sack of shit that had once been a man, in a place that once been a community, in a country that once been a society."

The overwhelming feeling that the Rude Pundit has this morning is utter disgust with a vast number of the people of his nation, this America, for they have demonstrated, once again, that they are selfish, vain, cruel buffoons who are scared by the wrong things and have decided that the best way to handle it is to say, "Fuck it," build isolated bunkers all over the nation, and tell everyone else to leave them the fuck alone. For what is the end result of the vaguely-conceived ideology that was affirmed last night? It is that each of us should have the right to squat in our shitpiles of ignorance, isolated from one another, coveting our precious money, fellating our guns and fucking ourselves against our 50-inch LED screens in our multi-mortgaged, soon-to-be foreclosed on hovels, and if the world outside our caves goes to hell, well, that's because people don't understand how wonderful it is to engorge your faces with poisoned food and asthmatically heave your chest through polluted air and travel on shattered roads and bridges while picking your unmedicated scabs in order to get to work at Wal-Mart for shit wages but at least there's a wall that keeps the Mexicans and the gays out because that's what pissy God and the screaming ghost of Samuel Adams would fucking want for us. Their ultimate goal is to dismantle society itself in favor of Darwinian anarchy. Thomas Hobbes in action, motherfuckers, the animalistic Yahoos gutting the evolved Houyhnhnms.

There will be time, there will time, yes, to sift through the wreckage of last night's Republican ass-kicking and look for pieces of wisdom. We know that they got here because they lied, as they always do, about what this president has accomplished, about how much he tried to work with the GOP, about how genuinely not-liberal Barack Obama is. We know that had the Citizens United decision not unleashed the floodgates of corporate cash, some of the losses might have been mitigated. We know that the shattered nature of contemporary media meant that many people got their news filtered through Rupert Murdoch's ass crack. But we also know that they made a decision: to win no matter what. If that meant giving up on things they supposedly believed (as John McCain did), so be it. If that meant putting up with the desires of a Tea Party composed of only Mad Hatters, so be it. If that meant breaking down the working of the federal government, so be it. Shit, making a bunch of poor suckers believe that tax breaks for the wealthy was good for everyone and that environmental and other regulation was bad was the easy part. The win was what mattered. It doesn't matter how much mud you're covered with as long as you put the ball in the end zone.

Here's all you need to know in two editorials from today:

Look at what noted nutzoid obstructionist Republican Jim DeMint wrote in the Wall Street Journal to welcome new Senators: "Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country—not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today." He may as well have titled it "A Love Letter to Rand."

And compare that to what punk-ass runaway Democrat Evan Bayh wrote in the New York Times: "We also overreached by focusing on health care rather than job creation during a severe recession...we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters...we must prove to moderates that Democrats can make tough choices." First off, can we stop saying that Obama focused on health care rather than jobs? The fucking stimulus passed (with almost everything that Republicans wanted in it) before work on health care got going. We had to wait to see if the stimulus worked, and it did help with jobs (it just wasn't big enough so it would appease the non-compromising pricks in the GOP). And, second, fuck you, Evan Bayh, who tucked his tail and his $10 million war chest between his legs and scampered away from the Senate like a whipped bitch on a rainy night.

We are heading for a dark, dark period. The Congress isn't going to get shit done as now everything will have to be approved by DeMint and Paul, even if the Senate is still in Democratic hands, or Harry Reid won't let the crazy shit passed in the House even come to a vote. There's going to be investigations of every bit of grime that Andrew Breitbart and Fox "news" can scrape from under the fingernails of even the lowliest members of the Obama administration. Impeachment will be on the table. Mike Pence, Darrell Issa, and Michele Bachmann will not be humble and cooperative with victory. They will be mad and drunk and ready for vengeance on the man who did nothing more than try to enact the will of the people who elected him by doing some of the very things he said he would do.

We the people abandoned Barack Obama yesterday. Hate what you will about him and about how he approached governing. The awful frustration of watching him compromise with a majority will seem like a happy vacation compared to what's coming. No, too many people who supported him in 2008 voted against him through their congressional races this year. And it was for the promise of a couple of extra bucks in their shrinking pay checks each week. Hope dies cheaply in this dirty, dead century.

Tomorrow
: Enough despair. Let's make a plan, motherfuckers.