We Lose Because We Don't Just Lie Like the Right Does:
So the Rude Pundit was a-perusin' Ann Coulter's latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the dissonant squawks of a twitchy, mite-ridden cockatiel quickly losing its plumage") in which she compares the media's reaction to Oslo terrorist Anders Bervik to its treatment of Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, and this line jumped out at him: "Despite reports that Hasan shouted 'Allahu Akbar!' as he gunned down his fellow soldiers at a military medical facility in 2009, only one of seven [New York] Times articles on Hasan so much as mentioned that he was a Muslim." And she claims, "Of course, that story ran one year after Hasan's arrest."

Huh. That doesn't seem right, the Rude Pundit thought, considering how often he had heard and seen Hasan's religion referenced since the November 5, 2009 attack. So, using the magic of the Nexis machine, which Coulter often cites for her "research," as well as the Googling thingamabob, the Rude Pundit quickly found the following:

There was the November 6, 2009 article that says, flat out, that Hasan was Muslim, as in he wondered "if he could get out of the Army before his contract was up, because of the harassment he had received as a Muslim." The article also mentions the mosque he attended. That'd be the day after the shooting, not a year. There was the November 9, 2009 article that ties Hasan to Islamic extremism. That'd be four days after the attack, not a year. There was a January 16, 2010 article by Elizabeth Bumiller which repeatedly references Hasan's religious views (by name) as the reason he went off the deep end. That'd be about three months after the attacks, not a year. You get the idea. The Rude Pundit worked hard and couldn't find an article that did not, in some way, refer to Hasan as Muslim.

In other words, Ann Coulter wrote a complete and utter lie, but it is the lie that is the foundation of her entire column. And you can bet, like many other lies she's spewed out like Sean Hannity's semen under the desk in his office, she will repeat it endlessly and it will probably show up in a book (if it hasn't already).

But the point here is not, as it often is, about Ann Coulter's finely-honed batshittery. No, it's about what we are actually up against in the rhetorical battle over the soul of the nation.

They lie, this awful, destructive right wing. Often. And repeatedly. And they lie with such brazenness and bravado that it's as if lies are steel-toed boots kicking in the teeth of truth. How do you fight that? Because, from experience, the Rude Pundit can tell you that you can say the truth is the greatest fuck you'll ever have and most conservatives would say they'd rather just masturbate.

Another example: the Rude Pundit was driving at night down here in Red State America, and he found Dennis Miller's radio show while scanning through the stations. Miller has never actually been funny, even when he was presumptively a less paranoid libertarian, but at least he sounded smart. Now he's just pompous and dull. A caller starts talking about raising taxes on the wealthy and the caller says something like, "Obama doesn't say that he's not raising taxes on himself, he doesn't say that he doesn't make enough money to pay higher taxes. It's everyone else that has to."

What Miller should have done was to say, "Whoa, whoa, there, Cletard, at every speech and press conference about the debt ceiling, Obama has said that 'people like me' have to pay their fair share. That motherfucker's rich, so he wants to raise taxes on himself." See? It's the truth and it's the exact opposite of what Cletard believed.

No, instead Miller agreed with Cletard and then blathered on about how any money Obama has ever made has been from the government, how we have supported him his whole life, how he always got breaks from people like Rezko, blah, blah, blah, never mentioning that he was a best-selling author, no, just making him seem like another black guy on welfare who wants to steal from rich whitie.

We good liberals look at this nonsense, recoil at the lies, and think, "Well, of course, it's just isolated. Most people don't actually believe that."

But the thing is that many people do. Many people will take Ann Coulter's word on the Times's alleged denial of Hasan's faith. Many people will merely dutifully parrot Miller on how Obama is taxing other wealthy Americans.

This land has abandoned the supremacy of facts, even at a time when almost all facts are quite literally at our fingertips. No, it's too, too difficult to care when you can merely become another paying audience member at the puppet show, not giving a damn if the wooden toys are real or not.


John McCain Now Should Probably Talk to John McCain in 2010:
America's angriest leprechaun hulked out on the Senate floor yesterday. Yes, John McCain shook his sheleighly and chewed his thin pipe as he tore into the obstructionist new House members, reading from a Wall Street Journal editorial that called them "Tea Party hobbits" and said himself that their hopes for a balanced budget amendment in the next week are "foolish" and "bizarro. And maybe some people who have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that."

One can understand McCain's anger over the way that the ignorant teabaggers have taken over his nice Congress. It's too bad that the Tea Party candidates and the movement had so much support less than a year ago from allegedly mainstream Republicans who desperately wanted to appear ultraconservative, like, well, fuck, you know.

Here's McCain on Fox's Hannity on October 1, 2010: "I think that Tea Party movement in my state and all over this country is not only legitimate, they're going to be a powerful force in American politics for a long time to come. I want - they also want, by the way, for us to eliminate earmarking and they also, I think, want a balanced budget amendment in the Constitution. I think they also want secure borders. But I think they are a major factor and they are every - everyday citizens who have never been involved before."

Here's McCain on Good Morning America on October 19, 2010: "Americans are very angry. They're very, very angry. We all know that. That's reflected in the polls and the intensity of the voters. The Tea Partiers are a manifestation of that. And, obviously, they have struck a chord that is really a remarkable thing."

Here's McCain on Fox's One Sane Show with Shepherd Smith: "Republicans have got to come through and satisfy those -- this -- this outcry, this anger and frustration, that's being expressed. And, by the way, they're not frightened. That's being expressed by the Tea Parties and has galvanized this election...our Tea Partiers will understand that we can only do so much depending on what our majorities are, if we have it in both houses. But if we are having a good-faith effort, every day bringing up a spending cut, a repeal or replacement of the most onerous provisions of Obamacare, if we are carrying out that mandate, then I think that they're going to be happy." That last part, by the way, is adorable in its naivete.

You know, at least Dr. Frankenstein realized that he had created a monster and bore the guilt and responsibility for its destruction. John McCain used his fake maverick street cred to legitimize the Tea Party and give it aid and comfort and to help it run rampant through the village. Now he wants to grab a pitchfork and chase it down and pretend he's just a poor, ordinary townsperson. No, fuck that. McCain doesn't get to play phony maverick again.

He now smells this stinky fart he unleashed on the nation. And that motherfucker sure as hell dealt it.


In Brief: Pamela Geller Loses Her Fucking Mind (Even More):
Oh, dear, sweet Pam Geller, she of the botox face and yenta voice, an attention whore that makes other whores wonder if they should just quit, she who has spouted hatred in myriad creative ways, ways that'd make Goebbels' ghost go, "Scheisse, vish ve had thought of zat." Yes, now that some deranged Muslim hater in Norway has committed crimes as an attack on multiculturalism and cited Geller, among others, as his inspiration, Pamsy has lost her fucking mind so much that her hatemongering during the Park 51 stupidity seems like a gentle breeze of delusion.

For nothing makes someone with a persecution complex go nutsier than being actually deserving of persecution. Now that the media is questioning, finally, at least a bit, just what the effect is of nonstop lies and hatred from "extreme" right-wing websites (although, apparently, the only thing that distinguishes "extreme" from "mainstream" conservatism is just how many bullets are used), Geller is in full on cornered rat mode. Check some of this shit out:

In bringing up a bombing in Mumbai to compare media coverage, she says that Anders Brevik was "a psychopath (alone and belonging to no one, no group, just the twisted sickness of a legend in his own broken mind)." Her point? That the media never covers terror attacks committed by Muslims. Which would be true if it wasn't absolutely false.

You know what? The Rude Pundit ain't gonna waste any more space quoting Geller. You can read it for herself. Nearly every entry is a screechy defense of her brand of hatred. He'd call her "a cunt," but even that doesn't seem strong enough for the sub-Coulter nature of her writing.

Tell you what: we'll talk when someone shoots up a Young Republicans rally and says it's because he read a bunch of Michael Moore or Van Jones (who are not even remotely analogous to Geller, but, hey, that's because we on the American left generally don't call for the mass murder of millions of people).


The View From Across Oceans on Our Debt Ceiling Idiocy:
Hey, gang, at the end of what will be known as our waning salad days, let's check out what editorials from around the world are saying about our fucktarded debt ceiling debate (also known as "That Time the GOP Destroyed the World's Economy and Unleashed the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse") to see if we can learn anything by viewing ourselves through the eyes of others (here's a hint: we're pretty goddamned dumb):

From South Africa's Business Day, July 18:
"Deficit reduction will have to be achieved through a combination of higher taxes and reduced spending. The golden ratio between the two - the level of taxation and spending that both avoids stalling economic growth and minimises the effect on the poor - depends on the prevailing economic circumstances. The Republicans argue that spending cuts should account for 85% of the required savings, and tax increases just 15%, to achieve optimal deficit reduction. But this is significantly out of kilter with international best practice. In Britain, a ratio of 3:1 has been applied and has met with significant resistance. Even the austerity programmes imposed by the international community on Ireland and Greece do not come close to an 85%-15% split.

"The Republicans have themselves never imposed such harsh deficit reduction measures when in power. In fact, they have tended more towards higher taxes than towards spending cuts. Under Ronald Reagan, tax increases accounted for more than 75% of deficit reduction measures."

From the South China Morning Post, July 18: "The main stumbling block to raising the debt ceiling above US$14.29 trillion is in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where the tea party faction is demanding savage budget cuts and no new revenue, even from closing loopholes in tax law that was always intended to raise it. It has extended a bitter feud with the Democrats over government spending into rejection of every compromise entertained by other factions, including Obama's offer to slash the deficit by US$4 trillion over 10 years and trim 'untouchables' like Medicare and Medicaid."

From a Beijing newspaper (translated by the BBC), July 16, a genuine threat: "Analysts believe that Obama and Congress will 'definitely' reach an agreement [on raising the US debt ceiling] in the end, but they have dared to use their sovereign credit as a ball to kick around and dared to turn China, Japan, Germany and many other countries that have bought US Treasury bonds into hostages... As long as the 'relative decline' of the US economy is real, the decline of the US' dollar-centred financial hegemony will be unavoidable. This process ought to be gradual, and no-one wants it to come overnight. But it should not be averted."

The Irish Times on July 18, regarding "Cut, Cap, and Balance":
"The measure, which has no hope of passing in Congress, is populist political grandstanding by Republicans in the hope of regaining the initiative ahead of the presidentials. But the public is not impressed. Polls consistently show a majority favour higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to help reduce debt."

The Irish Times also made the contrast between the two American parties pretty damn stark:
"The difference between Democrats and Republicans, however intractable, remains remarkably simple. The latter, driven by hard-line Tea Party ideologues, insist that any deal on cutting the US deficit, a precondition for agreeing to raising the debt ceiling, can not include tax increases, and specifically not those on the wealthy proposed by President Obama. And the president will not countenance deep reductions in healthcare for the elderly."

That's about as clear as it gets: Republicans want to save money for the wealthy, Democrats want old people to have health care.

German magazine Der Spiegel goes through the opinions of commentators across Deutschland's political spectrum. Predictably, it goes from "What the fuck?" to "No, really, what the fuck?" And everyone knows who to blame.

For instance, Bild says, "The Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition."

Right-wing paper Die Welt says, "The influence of the Tea Party movement...cannot be overestimated...The movement sees traditional politics as corrupt and regards Washington as a den of iniquity..They see the other side as their enemy. Negotiations with the Democrats, whether it's about appointing a judge or the insolvency of the United States, are only successful if the enemy is defeated. Compromise, they feel, is a sign of weakness and cowardice."

Meanwhile, the leftish Süddeutsche Zeitung says much the same: "It's actually unimaginable. On August 2, the US could, for the first time in its history, become insolvent because the Republican majority in the House of Representatives refuses to raise the ceiling on the national debt."

See that? Left, right, and center in Germany know: This is about Republicans playing games, not Democrats clinging to sacred cows.

The other thing you get from reading around the world is a far, far more stark view of what happens upon default. "Armageddon" is vague and drama queeny. But, for instance, a column in The Times of India warns, "There is no company in the US that would be unaffected by a government default - and no bank or other financial institution that could provide a secure haven for savings. There would be a massive run into cash, on an order not seen since the Great Depression, with long lines of people at ATMs and teller windows withdrawing as much as possible. Private credit, moreover, would disappear from the US economic system, confronting the Federal Reserve with an unpleasant choice. Either it could step in and provide an enormous amount of credit directly to households and firms (much like Gosbank, the Soviet Union's central bank), or it could stand by idly while GDP falls 20-30 % - the magnitude of decline that we have seen in modern economies when credit suddenly dries up. With the private sector in free fall, consumption and investment would decline sharply."

So, yeah, you probably want to stock up on gas for your chainsaws and ammo for the rifles. Because Republicans are hastening our horrible demise, and unless Obama is willing to step up and have an old-fashioned gunfight at the Supreme Court corral, it's zombie hordes by Christmas.


Scenes from Our Unshared Sacrifices, Part 2 (Ceci n'est pas une tax):
So the Rude Pundit walked to his car one morning, which he knew was in a no-parking zone, but, since he lives in an impressively sketchy neighborhood, sometimes the cops don't give a damn until about 8 a.m. Still, and all, it's a gamble. And he knew the fee for losing the bet, around 40 bucks; however, it's better than driving around at 2 in the morning, hoping someone leaves a legal space. The Rude Pundit accepts that he's done wrong and pays the price. This one morning he went out and saw the ticket that said he had lost this time. He picked it up and glanced at the cost: $52. Bastards had jacked up the fine by about 25%. "Yeah," the Rude Pundit thought, "let's talk some more about who's paying for shit."

'Cause shit's gotta get paid for. You want cops? You want your potholes filled? You want your fires put out? Even if you subcontract the fuck out of all those jobs, until only mercenaries from Xe are blowing away local purse snatchers with AKs, shit's gotta get paid for. And if your state or your city says that there ain't no way they're gonna raise taxes on anyone or any entity, no matter how stuffed to the gills with cash they are, well, they're gonna come up with ways to get money. 'Cause shit's gotta get paid for.

So, for instance, in Glendale, California, which has an $18 million budget gap, the price for to get a license for your pet just went from $5.50-$27.50 to $15.50-$65. And it now costs $80 for a permit to take pictures at the local sports complex. It used to be free. By the way, the justification for the hikes is that fees haven't gone up in years. Or, in other words, they're at historic lows.

In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett has cut state programs and refused to tax natural gas drillers. So $1.1 billion was cut from education programs. At the same time, he's got a panel endorsing a plan to jack up drivers' license fees from $29.50 to $69.50 and vehicle registration from $36 to $98. It doubles the length of time between renewals, but since the fee is more than doubled, it's not a wash. This is to fill a $3.5 billion transportation funding hole. But, hey, at least it ain't a tax hike. You want roads, don't you, Pennsylvanians?

The list goes on. State park fees, traffic fines, birth certificate fees. And, as ever, it hits those who can afford it least. All to keep alive the chimera of "no new taxes," when, in effect, it's the same damn thing. It's a driving tax. It's a pet tax. It always was. It always will be.

Somebody's gonna get fucked. The only question is who. It's just easier to fuck the people who are already prone.

(Note: Hey, here's an idea: raise taxes on these little fuckers. Oh, and mayors actually have a good idea on how to fill some budget gaps that don't involve dicking people over.)


Nearing the Ends of DOMA and DADT:
Let's end another week of hastening our descent into the dustbin of empires on a positive note.

If you watch the video of Sen. Al Franken questioning Focus on the Family Senior Vice President Tom Minnery during a hearing on repealing the odious Defense of Marriage Act, you can pinpoint the moment that Minnery's soul is crushed. Franken called out the Christian conservative leader on a study that said children with two parents are better off health-wise than children with one. Minnery claimed this meant parents of different sexes, which is not what the study itself said (and which the study's author confirmed). There he was, Minnery, caught in either a lie (and lies make baby Jesus cry, so that can't end well) or willful ignorance. And he winced, as his soul imploded, right when the rat realized that he had been cornered and boxed up.

Of course, a rat being just a rat who needs to raise cash from other rats, Minnery later said that he would have told Franken that the study he was citing never mentioned the sex of the couples, so it was natural to assume same sex ones were just left out. Ooh, that sucks, doesn't it? When you leave an argument and think, "Oh, fuck, that's what I should have said." No second chances, man. Just convenient press releases later where one can rattle off all the coulda, shoulda, woulda one wants.

And with President Obama evolving to the point of supporting Dianne Feinstein's kill-DOMA bill, the inevitable is becoming more inevitabler.

Meanwhile, over at the Pentagon, things are about to get even more openly festive. Apparently, today, the Defense Department is going to certify that gay and lesbian Americans are allowed to die for their country without lying about who they are. If you'll remember, the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal was contingent on the Pentagon doing a study that said, "Umm, most everyone doesn't give a shit. And those that do are intolerant redneck assholes or closeted gays." So, with that done, let the cornhole in the foxhole begin.


Cartoons That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Choke an Aussie with Koala Kebabs and Kegs of Carlton:

That's a political cartoon from today's Times of London, a newspaper owned by News International, which is owned by News Corp, which is "run" by Rupert Murdoch (if by "run," you mean, "Go fuck yaselves, ya bloody galahs"). It is expressing a disgust and frustration with the amount of coverage given to the phone-hacking/police bribery/corporate influence scandal engulfing Great Britain. One could say that, sure, starving Africans are more important than the corrupt political, judicial, and media institutions of the United Kingdom. And one could certainly do so by using a caricature of the horrors afflicting the people of Somalia and other countries.

One could respond with outrage, with a knee-jerk accusation of racism, which the Murdoch brand indulges in with egregious regularity. One could say that, of course, the Times would want to deflect the story, much like the New York Post has buried the story, much like others in the Murdoch empire have rushed to defend the man who looks like a child-eating beast out of Pan's Labyrinth.

Instead, the Rude Pundit would respond with "I've had a bellyful of white assholes using images of hungry black people to manipulate public opinion, as if implying that those black people are being ignored when, in fact, the British government, with the approval of those very members of Parliament who are on the attack over the phone-hacking scandal, has tripled the amount of aid it has sent to Somalia just this year, even if much more needs to be done, while the white assholes at Murdoch's media outlets say that the money is going to pirates and terrorists and should be cut off, so probably cartoonists like Peter Brookes should go fuck themselves with their smug little poison pencils until they stab their prostates with the tip." Or, in other words, it's possible to take care of two things at once. The scandal can bring down Murdoch and the Prime Minister while the British government tries to help the starving.

Or, in otherer words, despite Murdoch's media's best efforts to make everyone believe the opposite, it ain't a black or white world.


The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Is Obama fucking it all up or playing multidimensional chess? The Rude Pundit and guest host John Fugelsang take different sides of the question.

Hack yourself into a subscription for the Rude Pundit's free podcast.
A Haiku For a Hectic Time Down Here in Red State America:
Rude nephew being
Born. Might post later today.
Murdochs suck pig balls.


A New Tax Pledge (Involving Grover Norquist's Balls):
Let us say, and why not, that the Rude Pundit created an organization, one of yer fancy 501c3's or some such shit, the kind of organization that could get lots of free-flowin' cash from his buddies and their corporations. And let us say, and, indeed, why not, since we are in the realm of theory, that our organization was called "Americans for Taxual Healing" or one of those idiotic names that obfuscates what we're really about. Let's say that we came up with a pledge, one that we wanted all members of Congress to sign, one that would liberate them, but one that demanded something from them.

The pledge could go something like this:

"I, _____, pledge to the taxpayers of the ____ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will: ONE, kick Grover Norquist in the balls whenever he is within kicking range; and TWO, freely vote my conscience on tax raises and cuts, dependent on the reality of economic circumstance, unshackled from bullshit pledges (except this one)."

Then, in this fantasy world we're concocting, whenever Grover Norquist walked up to a member of Congress to lobby them on his mad "never-ever, no-how, no-matter-what, you-better-not raise taxes" pledge, that member of Congress could say, "Sorry, Grover. Signed another pledge first," and kick him in the balls. As Norquist rolled around on the ground, holding his groin, he might at first wonder "Why? Why?" but then he would have to admit, "A pledge is a pledge." Yeah, that's putting the "action" into a PAC.

A self-aggrandizing dick with a dwarf's voice, Norquist told Chris Matthews on My Balls Are Hard last night, "What the pledge does is, it allows a candidate who wants to run for office to make a credible commitment to the American people that he or she won't raise taxes. Without the pledge, which is the same wording in all 50 states over the last quarter-century, a promise not to raise taxes is like any other political promise and means nothing." You got that? The word of politicians is worthless unless they sign one group's conservative loyalty oath. And if you're one of the over 250 House and Senate members who have done so, then Norquist believes that he owns your ass.

The qualities of the pledge to Americans for Taxual Healing are many. First of all, there's the sweet, sweet release that one can get when one feels one's foot connect with the soft sack between Grover Norquist's legs. There's the hilarious slow motion look of horror on Norquist's face as he thinks, "Not again" and "Oh, my balls." Then there's the extra skip in one's step as one heads onto the floor to vote in whatever way one wants.

And then ATH can hold each signer to the pledge. If we hear that Grover Norquist was able to freely come within, say, three feet of a Congress member's foot and walked away with his balls un-kicked, well, we'll run a primary candidate against that Congress member, someone willing to follow through with an assault on Norquist's nuts. Our goal is to make Norquist's testicles feel a sharp pain whenever he gets near the Capitol and thus drive him away.

Obviously, signing another pledge is the only way to get our leaders to do what we want. It's not like they have free will and can act of their own accord in loyalty to the Constitution and not Grover Norquist.


A Scene From Our Unshared Sacrifices:
The old lady at the pharmacy counter obviously wore an adult diaper. That tell-tale sharp urine scent half-masked by sweet-smelling chemicals emanated from her, and the Rude Pundit stood right behind her yesterday, waiting to pick up the pills that prevent him from going on a five-state killing spree. She was getting three prescriptions. The total was $6.00. This puzzled the old lady. She had never paid anything before, and even this seemingly small amount was obviously causing her consternation. The cashier checked with the pharmacist, who said that there had been a minor change to her plan, and now she had to pay a little for the scrips, a buck-fifty, three bucks. She apologized and put aside the couple of other things she was going to purchase to pay for the medicine.

The Rude Pundit didn't know if the change had been to Medicare or to a supplemental plan, but, either way, she was being asked to contribute more than she had before, which she did. He also thought of another story, one that he thinks about a great deal these days.

A few years back, the Rude Pundit was at dinner with a really, really, really rich friend - we're talking in the half-billion dollar range - and he reached for the bill when dinner had arrived. The friend put out her hand. The usual kind of argument ensued over who was going to pay. Finally, she said, "Look, I live like a princess. $100 to me is like 50 cents to you. Give me the bill." Now, the Rude Pundit could have been pissed off, he could have insisted as a point of pride on paying his fair share, he could have resented her wealth. Instead, he let it go, realizing that, at the end of the day, he was dining with someone for whom most of his notions of money were absolutely worthless. (By the way, she gives a ton of money to charities and good, liberal causes and works with at-risk kids, so, really, it's hard to get mad at her.)

At his press conference last Friday, President Obama said, "If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year more, or even if it’s not affecting current beneficiaries, somebody who’s 40 today 20 years from now is going to end up having to pay a little bit more. The least I can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more have to do something as well." It's probably the closest he's come to making an emotional, non-political case for higher taxes. But it still misses the point.

A drug benefit cut for an old lady in a diaper and a closed tax loophole on private jets are not balance. That six bucks cut into that woman's limited income in profound ways. To use the friend's equation in reverse (times ten), $6 is like $3000. And even that's not a big deal to the wealthy because you can bet that the woman is living paycheck to paycheck. The millionaire has shitloads of money that don't even count as taxable income.

Our savage economic inequality in this country is coming to a head. We talk about "spending cuts," as if what we're not really talking about is "making the poor pay more for stuff." We talk as if the services that are cut will be picked up by the aching states and cities. And we talk about nonsense like "shared sacrifice," as if that's the rational position in any of this. When the wealthy actually sacrifice something, we can talk about sharing.

At this point, any Americans earning above, say, to be generous, $500,000 a year who don't believe that they should be paying more in taxes are just goddamned greedy assholes who deserve a real Marxist revolution to take it all away. They have benefited from a country that generously gave them decades of low taxes in the hopes that they would help make this a better place. They fucked it up, and it's time to give back. If your parents supported you through college in order for you to get your MBA and get rich, then you take care of them if they go through hard times. You don't say, "Sorry, Mom, but how can I create jobs if I have to help you avoid losing your house?" Unless you do, in which case, you are a dick and deserve to be put up against the wall in the aforementioned revolution.

Back at the pharmacy, the old woman walked away from the counter, putting back the cheap socks and orange juice she was going to buy, leaving with her prescriptions, her sacrifice far from shared.


Live Whiskey-Blogging the President's News Conference 3: Dark of the Moon:
Holy shit, Barack Obama's third press conference in two weeks? The man's gonna make the Rude Pundit even more alcoholicky. Luckily, there's a new bottle of Bulleit on the coffee table, so we're good to go. What's Obama gonna do today? Is he gonna bring out Eric Cantor's head with his eyes impaled with his glasses? (All quotes pretty much guaranteed to be wrong, but right in spirit.)

10:58: He's early. That upturns all those racist assumptions about BPT. And, no, no Cantor head.

10:59: "This should have been taken care of earlier," he says. Like maybe back during the budget negotiations? Wonder if snarkiness would piss him off.

11:00: "We have a chance to do something big...balanced approach...cut defense...stabilize Medicare." Same old, same old.

11:01: Says he wants more revenue, that rich fucks like him can "afford to do a little bit more." Michele Bachmann heard cackling madly from Iowa.

11:02: "It is hard to do a big package." True that.

11:04: He wants the big deal, and he throws out that a majority of Republicans want rich fucks to pay more in taxes.

11:05: Every time Obama says that "everyone needs to set politics aside," Paul Ryan says he's playing politics.

11:06: Yeah, yeah, we get it, you're not afraid to piss off Democrats.

11:07: Jake ("That Ass") Tapper asks for a definite "entitlement reform," which means "cutting Medicare and Social Security."

11:08: Obama says he doesn't want to current old people to get their blood all het up over anything. But he will look at how he can dick over future old people (the rest of us).

11:09: Adds "I won't dick you over as much as the Republicans would."

11:10: Ooh, nice point, actually: If we're gonna ask old people to give more money for medical care, then why is it bad to ask millionaires to pay more in taxes?

11:11: Jesus Christ, who's the greasy-haired, bearded dumpling sitting there? He deserves a drink. Cheers, dude.

11:12: Asked about a "middle road" on a bill. Didn't we veer off the middle of the road weeks ago? Aren't we driving in the right lane and trying to avoid going onto the shoulder?

11:14: Shorter version of his answer: "Those House Republicans are fucking insane. Haven't you been paying attention?"

11:15: Wonder if he'll mention peas again. Peas and band-aids.

11:17: "I think about this like a layer cake," he says, yet he seems to be describing more of a Napoleon.

11:18: Chuckie T asking about "regrets." And Obama throws cold water on the whole rumble at the negotiating table story.

11:19: Obama's puzzled that Republicans vote against something they previously supported when he says he's for it. Umm, that's not really even a Jumble-level puzzle there. Hint: it's because they're cocks.

11:21: Obama: "80% of the American people support a balanced approach." And then says that "members of Congress are dug in" to their ideological positions. But Democrats would support the balanced approach. It's a precious few Democrats and every Republican.

11:23: Balanced budget amendment? Who the fuck needs that? "We need to be willing to take on our bases," Obama says. Again: the problem ain't the Democrats. Stop lumping everyone together.

11:24: We cut taxes without paying for them, he says. Should add, "But, yeah, fuck, I still agreed to renew them." He's got this microphone. He's got this chance to say that Republicans are wrong. But instead, he's saying repeatedly that it's both parties. It's like having a shoplifter and a serial killer in the same room and saying, "Everyone is equally evil."

11:26: Thinks McConnell plan is weak sauce. There's no real point there. Just wanted to use the phrase "weak sauce."

11:27: "Even after being here for two-and-a-half years, I still have hope." Oh, poor Scarlett O'Hara, the Tara you loved is gone. (In context, is that racist? It probably is.)

11:29: Asked about tone of debate. Obama says that he doesn't read the reviews.

11:31: Says "Most of the things that I've proposed for job growth are traditionally bipartisan. But Republicans are cocks. Have you met them? Total cocks."

11:33: The press wants him to slam the GOP. They're aching for it. Obama keeps putting his faith in "the American people." Has he met the American people? Total cocks.

11:34: Question: "Do Republicans actually give a shit what the majority of Americans think?" Answer: "Every decision in Bush's second term."

11:35: Wait, what? He's gonna ream Republicans on his desk? No, he was talking about paper.

11:36: Which progressives in Congress is Obama talking about? Do any of them have the power to stop a plan from going through? Would any liberal Senators do that? Straw Democrats do not need to be created.

11:37: And with his "win the future" bizarro catchphrase, he's out.


Republican Intransigence, as Revealed Through Republicans in Conservative Media:
Mad dog Representative Michele Bachmann, out of all the teabaggers in Congress, has a bigger microphone since she's running for president. So, of course, she gets lots of air time when she says that she won't vote to raise the debt ceiling. Or, as she modified her stance, "They'd have to cut an enormous amount, including they would have to defund Obamacare." She said this on Fox "news" (motto: "Dear God, don't let anyone have hacked phones over here").

This follows a pattern for most right-wingers, who do much of their posturing and politicking primarily in conservative media outlets. To wit:

Representative Mike Pence on Fox "news": "House Republicans believe that the pathway forward is to cut spending now more than a dollar for any increase in the debt ceiling; it means putting statutory caps on the books. And I believe that any increase in the debt ceiling should be contingent on sending a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states. So those are the conditions."

Representative Paul Broun on his bill to lower the debt ceiling by $1.3 trillion, in the National Review's The Corner (motto: "The ghost of William F. Buckley keeps trying to kill itself again every time he reads this"): To be realistic, we can’t lower the debt limit today, but if we set a deadline, the beginning of FY 2012, it would force politicians to make those decisions in the months to come." Fiscal year 2012 starts on October 1, 2011.

Representative Todd Akin, writing in Big Government (motto: "Andrew Breitbart is watching you"), brags that he's voted "no" on raising the debt ceiling the last seven times: "I believe that we should also pass a Constitutional amendment to cap the size of the federal government and tie it to a percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP)." Which, of course, means that the government can never pass a stimulus spending plan.

And this list could go on with more (almost exclusively) white dudes who have had enough of all this spendin'.

When President Obama finally told House Majority Leader that "Enough is enough" yesterday, it was partially over Republicans' refusal to deal fairly and realistically with what are proving to be worthless negotiations. It was also that Cantor is just a penis with glasses. Obama refused a short-term deal, but Cantor kept bringing it up, like the noodge that he is. So the President walked away rather than pimp-slap Cantor.

We can only hope that Obama's supposed declaration of "I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this" is true. We can only hope that it's the start of some new path for him, some utter abandonment of the bipartisan snipe hunt he's been on. Perhaps it's too late. Perhaps he's too far into the woods to find his way home.

But stupid optimism is what makes us American. And it's that stupidity that made so many Americans elect this actually dangerous group of people. There is no Forrest Gump-wisdom in the dimwitted. There's only the horrible consequences of their actions.


The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Ah, the fat jokes flew when the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller talked about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And the Rude Pundit justifies it with history.

You can beef up with the Rude Pundit's free podcast. Subscribe away.

Oh, and, hey, he's also in this new book, FIX America!, with Al Franken, Joan Walsh, and John Nichols.
The McConnell Debt Ceiling Cave Has a Bear Trap Inside It:
There's myriad ways to look at Mitch McConnell's Deal o' Last Resort that he proffered yesterday. All of them involve the phrase "Fuck it." There's "Fuck it. If Obama loves the debt ceiling so much, he can marry it." And there's "Fuck it. These crazy Tea Party motherfuckers aren't gonna be happy until we're all living in heavily-armed bomb shelters." And there's "Fuck it. I'm sick of negotiating." And on and on, all variations on "Just fuck it."

McConnell announced the plan after taking to the Senate floor to say, "Democrats suck monkey balls." He also said a bunch of nonsense about what he thinks "the American people" want without mentioning that one of the things we want, by a huge majority, is higher taxes on people making far more than most of us.

The McConnell plan goes something like this, according to really pissed-off conservatives: The Republicans in Congress will drop their pants and tell Obama he can fuck their asses if he wants. When he starts to fuck them, some of them will say, "No," but Obama will say, "Your lips say 'No,' but your legislative activities say, 'Yes'" and continue fucking. They'll try one more time to say, "No, really, c'mon, stop," but it won't be enough because everyone knows that this is just a Republican rape fantasy by the black man. The safe word is "override."

In Left World, while some have seen this as a cynical hate fuck of democracy, others have celebrated this as McConnell caving (just as those aforementioned right-wingers have exploded in anger over what they see as McConnell caving). They view it as an admission of failure, an understanding that the public is gonna blame the GOP if Social Security checks don't go out, the success of an epic bluff by the President on cutting entitlements, a demonstration that the rule of the teabaggers must be ended...you get the idea.

They're both right. And they're both wrong. It's possible for the McConnell exit strategy to be all those things and a trap for Democrats in Congress (not so much the President, who will be reelected against any of the numbskulls, lunatics, or bores the other side nominates). The proposal is really about Republicans holding onto the House and possibly gaining the Senate in 2012.

Look at this from the perspective of your average congressional Democrats. The President has the easy part: he just says every five months or so, "Hey, raise that shit." And it gets raised unless Congress stops him. So the Congress debates a "Resolution of Disapproval" for ten hours in each chamber. So, splitting it down the middle, that's ten hours of Democrats being forced to either back the President and say why they want more debt. Or saying that they disagree with the President and either voting to disapprove, and thus voting with Republicans, or explaining why they didn't vote to disapprove. Meanwhile, Republicans get to stay monolithic and clean in their message. And then it gets better on "Hey, raise that shit" parts 2 and 3, when Obama is forced to submit a list of unilateral fantasy cuts that tie Democrats into additional knots. And then, oh, fuck, yeah, that's why this is a big-ass bear trap and not a little badger one, Obama has to veto the resolution and there's another hour of debate.

Right now, GOP campaign ad writers are being fired because their work will be done for them. Just iMovie that shit and put it out on YouTube. Democrats better be ready to chew their legs off.

The Rude Pundit sees this as part and parcel of how McConnell and Boehner have governed. They take themselves out of the battle and merely stand on the sidelines, hurling Molotov cocktails while saying that their pathetic pyromania is leadership.

One other thing: because this doesn't just raise the debt ceiling $2.5 trillion in one fell swoop, it requires a certain amount of trust in the Republicans by the Obama administration. If they dick the President over, then we plunge once again into crisis. Those fuckers aren't worthy of that kind of trust. Why would you let the arsonists guard the gas stove?


Two Random Observations Regarding the News Corp Scandal(s):
1. News Corp is an American-based multinational corporation/Humboldt squid. News International is its British newspaper company. This ain't a British-only scandal. America is giving aid and comfort to the heads of a massive racketeering operation masked as a media conglomerate. And the executives of that conglomerate broke American laws. So if the Justice Department hasn't announced an investigation yet, it's either on the verge of doing so or is so cowed by the power of Fox "news," shitting itself in a corner for fear that Sean Hannity will say something mean, that it's worthless.

Rupert Murdoch's products in the United States have long been engaged in a one-sided war with the Obama administration. Now there's a justification for joining the fight, bringing all the power of the law to bear. It's a gift. Obama could crush Murdoch and make Bill O'Reilly have to beg CNN to let them blow Blitzer for quarters. The phone-hacking scandal is like God just handed the President a perfect, wet pussy and said, "No, it's okay. You can fuck it. Enjoy."

(Note: He won't fuck it.)

2. The Rude Pundit's initial and somewhat current reaction to the phone-hacking revelations, which members of Parliament and 10 Downing Street ignored when it was just famous people involved, probably because a good many of them liked hearing about who Sienna Miller was shagging (that's a British word, right?), was, "Huh. That's fucked-up, considering how much Murdoch's entities condemned Wikileaks, with some calling for Julian Assange to be killed. How is that any different in action than hacking into the phone and paying off cops to get the medical records and banking information of the then-Prime Minister? Is that not a national security issue?"

But the Rude Pundit has long believed that the citizens of a nation engage in behavior in roughly the same way that its government treats those citizens. So if, say, a government tortures people, then the people believe it's okay to torture. This is not to say that a good many people won't oppose those actions, but governments set the norm for a society. Technology and the way government uses technology also has an effect.

For instance, how many Americans actually give a happy monkey fuck about how much our own government is allowed to spy on us? Not a whole lot. But (and this may be a huge fuckin' leap, so let's hold hands and jump together) the rise of the U.S. surveillance state coincided with the rise of Facebook and other social media that ask us to voluntarily give up our privacy. Sure, we have control (except when Facebook just decides to across-the-board fuck with those controls). However, since we are constantly asked by the government to forego privacy and to allow pat-downs and spying and told that it's for the good of the nation to do so, it just seems like how we exist in this world. If we'd had a government that said, "No, we need to protect individuals from unwarranted intrusions. We need to protect privacy" and then shitcanned the Patriot Act, we might feel differently. Maybe, just maybe, in this leap we're making, people would have thought twice before tweeting every dingleberry of faux wisdom that is shat out of their brains.

Now, what the hell does this have to do with News Corp/News International/News of the World/phone-hacking/scum-sucking pigfuckers/Murdoch-gate?

In England, by one estimate, millions of cameras watch the citizens of the nation, with the police watching the monitors fed by those cameras. You step out in public in any city and chances are that your movements can be tracked from the second you leave the flat until you get to the pub and then back again. And you're probably being filmed inside the pub, too, by their security. In other words, the cops in the U.K. have made the case that the best way to keep the population under control is to spy on them, constantly, unendingly, in whatever way the cameras can catch you, wherever they can catch you. That's the legal stuff. That's what you know about, even if you can't always see the cameras. That's on top of the crazy post-9/11 shit. Gravy, man, not the meat.

It's not that big a leap to think that the media, especially the mad whores at the tabloids, would feel it is their responsibility, to their readers, to the corporations' shareholders, to their insane belief in what journalism exists for (apparently, to spy on the victims of child murderers), to hack into phones in order to get the best story possible. If the government doesn't believe in your right to walk your stroller with your baby in it down the fucking street without being recorded in case you are inclined to commit a crime with that baby, why should anyone else give a damn about your privacy?

In other words, the phone-hacking/cop-bribing scandal is the inevitable result of the merging of corporate profit-driven media, ultra-invasive technology, the competitive exhibitionism of social media, and governmental disregard of the rights of the citizens to exist outside a well-disguised prison that we helped to build.


Live Whiskey-Blogging the President's News Conference:
Obama, dude, a little more heads-up here. The Bulleit is down to only a third of a bottle left since the last press conference so soon ago. That should be enough whiskey to make it through this latest one. It's nearly lunch, so, hell, let's just down this straight up. Is Obama gonna come out and kick some ass? Is he gonna call the GOP cockmongers? Or is he gonna say, "Everyone's gotta sacrifice, cut Medicare, close tax loopholes, blah, blah, blah"? Oooh, let's see...together. (All quotes guaranteed to be wrong 'cause the Rude Pundit ain't a transcribing machine.)

11:14: He's here and ready for business.

11:15: Is Obama hanging Boehner out to dry by singling him out for praise? That's cold, man. Stiletto-slicing cold. And sweet.

11:16: Obama: "Hey, motherfuckers, you want a deal? Then, c'mon, bitches, let's deal, and not in your pussy way."

11:16: By the way, that doesn't mean the Rude Pundit agrees with the cuts.

11:17: "If each side takes a maximalist position...we can't get anything done." So, wait, not wanting cuts in Medicare is a "maximalist" position? Every other cut to things that the poor and middle class need are not part of the negotiating?

11:19: Sometimes it's funny to see him say things that demonstrate that he trusts the GOP to be rational about anything.

11:20: Question: "What is your plan if the Republicans continue to be total dickheads? And what about a short-term debt ceiling?"

11:21: Obama to GOP: "Put up or shut up, assholes. Oh, and by the way, fuck Grover Norquist. Closing tax loopholes ain't the same as raising taxes."

11:23: Mark Halperin must sitting at home, telling his stuffed animals "That Obama is such a dick."

11:25: Laugh line of the day: "I believe that Mitch McConnell is sincere."

11:26: Regarding the question about Americans not supporting raising the debt ceiling, essentially it's like asking, "Are Americans just stupid or totally fucking stupid?"

11:27: By the way, the answer to that question is "Totally fucking stupid."

11:28: Man, that whiskey is smoky and lush. One might say, "Delicious." Oh, and Obama just said that House Republicans are irresponsible douchebags.

11:30: Can't "do nothing" about Medicare, he says. Yeah, so how about raising taxes to make it sustainable? How about that?

11:31: We can only play on Budget Cut Stadium. Obama has ceded the Democrats' home field.

11:32: Finally, the real question: "Umm, 4 to 1 cuts to revenue ratio doesn't exactly seem like 'sharing.' What the fuck?"

11:33: Obama: "It ain't 'sharing.' Republicans are dicks. Democrats aren't. And the loudest pricks always win. What country have you been living in?"

11:36: Huffington Post's Sam Stein gets to ask a question? Holy fuck. Of course, he's not miked. That's because he's saving electricity.

11:37: Obama wants to provide money for the states. But House Republicans are...oh, hell, you know.

11:38: Just in case you don't: They're dicks. Word of the day: Dicks.

11:39: The biggest problem here is that he's not making a case for his broader ideology, whatever that might be. All he's doing is saying that he has to get shit through the House, acting as if they're partners instead of roadblocks. It's a diminished position, not one of strength. It's like telling someone who is figuring out how much to pay you, "Oh, I don't need much." Essentially, his position is that Republicans are right about everything except revenue increases. It's bullshit.

11:46: "Is John Boehner in control of his caucus?" There's so many jokes in that line that it's best just to let it sit there.

11:48: Obama says that "This recession has been hard on everyone." No, no, it hasn't. And it's time to make it harder on some of those who've cruised through it so that everyone can get some relief, so the people that he's "obsessed" with can be harmed a little less.

11:52: The takeaway: Is that a Boehner in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?


Everything You Need to Know About Your American Media in Three Stories (Updated):
1. From a transcript of Contemptuous Sneer of Justice with Nancy Grace on CNN's HLN (or, you know, "Headline News," or "exploitative trial coverage deluxe") on the day that Casey Anthony was found "not guilty" of killing her daughter:
"(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP [of the two-year old doing two-year old things])

"G. ANTHONY: A beautiful little girl who not only meant the world to me, but meant the world to my family. And so many of you that never got a chance to actually hug her.

"CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: Caylee is watching over all of us.


"GRACE: Let's stop and remember Marine Corporal Christopher Leon, 20, Lancaster, California, killed Iraq. Awarded Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, Combat Action Ribbon."

[Note: a photo of Leon was shown]

"Loved writing songs, hanging out with his niece Hannah, working out, eating healthy. Favorite meals, protein drinks, chicken, and salads. Favorite music, rap. With a big heart and a big smile, leaves behind grieving mother Kathy, grandmothers Rita and Sue.

"Christopher Leon, American hero.

"Thanks to our guests but our biggest thank you is to you for being with us. We will see you tomorrow night. We`ll be here, outside the Orlando courthouse, and the final chapter where in our own way we seek justice for Caylee."

The entire hour had been devoted to dissecting the verdict, but, hey, at least they squeezed in a dead soldier. That'd be after they mourned a girl who died three years ago and predicted what happens next for the woman who had been acquitted in a local, Florida trial that probably would have taken three days had it not been for the slavering vultures like Nancy Grace who humped Caylee Anthony's skeleton like it was made of ratings dildos and brought undue attention to it. But, hey, look: we honored a soldier for a second.

By the way, the Rude Pundit doesn't really know jackshit about the whole case and doesn't give a monkey fuck beyond the abstract "dead child make feel sad." But he happened to be in a bar that had Grace's show on the TVs, and he saw a photo of Caylee Anthony with words across it that read "Caylee would have been 6 on August 9...She would have loved swimming" and horseback riding, maybe, he can't remember exactly. Probably ice cream, too.

And the Rude Pundit thought, "Huh. How do you know that she wouldn't have been a horrible little bitch who hated doing anything and made everyone miserable?" See? You can make up fake futures, too.

2. According to the magical Nexis machine, in the past week, Fox "news" has mentioned, on air, the horrific scandal involving dead children, soldiers, and terrorism victims, and its parent company, News Corp a grand total of just once, on Bret Baier's comedy hour of alleged news, and just to say that Rupert Murdoch's son is shutting down the News of the World because its employees bribed cops and hacked into phones of dead kids. The story lasted about 30 seconds.

CNN has been all over the controversy, which has resulted in the arrest, among others, of a former official for David Cameron. MSNBC has at least spent a little time. But, as with most things, Fox viewers are blissfully unaware. (By the way, we're at the tip of the huge iceberg of awfulness involving one of the largest media companies in America and its CEO, who is, you know, a naturalized American. One would think that the American media would be all over this.)

Update: Apparently Fox "news" has been reporting today on the scandal. Looks like Murdoch gave Ailes the thumbs up. That's today. Prior to that, nearly nada.

3. There's this line from an NPR report on the debt ceiling debate: "[T]here was a palpable sense that a panic point had arrived and that both sides were preparing to take a path to a budget and debt-ceiling deal that would put them at odds, gently speaking, with their bases — from Republican Tea Partiers to Democrats in the MoveOn.org crowd."

Making MoveOn.org equal to the Tea Party is like making Martin Luther King equal to the KKK. Sometimes, really, the scales can't be balanced, no matter how hard you try.


Chris Christie Is Your Fat Fucking Future (A Post With a Bunch of Fat Jokes Because He's So Fucking Fat):
Republican Governor Chris Christie is a gelatinous globule of bile and bullshit that undulates across the weary floorboards of the New Jersey statehouse. A little over two weeks ago, he was hailed by the national press for getting the Democratic-controlled legislature to agree to hikes in state worker contributions on health care and pensions, as well as getting rid of collective bargaining rights on those issues. Last week, those same Democrats presented Christie with a $30.6 billion budget, which was $1 billion more than what the governor said he'd accept and what the state treasury said would make a balanced budget. Democrats also had included raising taxes on millionaires to add a half-billion in revenue. Of course, the Christie-beast, not liking the a la mode on that pie, was displeased.

So he line-item vetoed the shit out of it. He cut assistance to poor cities like Camden and Trenton by over 90% (no, really: from $149 million to $10 million). He cut $50 million to hire back laid-off cops and firefighters. He cut $55 million in college grants, which left less than he originally proposed. $8 million to AIDS-related programs, $9 million to women's health care (including Planned Parenthood), $9 million to mental health care, all, all cut. Essentially, Christie took the Democrats and their good will and sat on 'em, crushing them under the weight of his power. And his ass. Which is huge.

By the way, you know how making state workers give more money for health care and pensions is "shared sacrifice," essentially raising their taxes? Yeah, he vetoed the tax increase on the wealthy. By the way, you know how he cut all that money from programs for the poor? Yeah, he also added $150 million to funds for non-poverty-stricken school districts. You'll hear the governor tout how he raised the amount of money spent on education. That's only because he was under court order to do so, since he wanted to slash it last year. It's like a judge told Christie, "Eat a fucking salad, for fuck's sake, ya fat fuck," and now he's showing everyone the lettuce on his fork and bragging, "See? I'm eatin' salad." But nobody's gonna make him take a walk.

You wanna know just how cruel a man can be if he hasn't seen his own penis in decades? There's this child advocacy and welfare center called Wynona's House, inside a hospital in Newark. It's named for Wynona Lipman, the first African-American to serve in the New Jersey State Senate. Its mission is "to promote justice and healing of child victims of abuse and violence by coordinating investigative, prosecutorial, treatment, and prevention services." Seems like an objective good, no? One that is necessary and should be supported?

Christie line-item vetoed $537,000 or 75% of the state's funding to Wynona's House. Jowled the governor, "The reason, by the way, that I cut every one of these is we can’t afford it." By the way, again, the president of the organization says that its services save the state $1000 for every case it takes. Last year, it took 1000 cases. The cases, by the way, are abused children. You do the math.

As State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said, "We're not talking about political hacks here. We're not talking about pork spending. We're not talking about special interests. We're talking about abused children. We're talking about traumatized children. We're talking about protecting and healing the most innocent amongst us. Many of the governor's cuts are heartless, but this is inexplicable. This is sickening. The governor can wield the power of his office to be heartless, if he so chooses, but he should at least have the humanity not to be that way toward abused children."

Oh, one more thing: Christie's cuts, adjusted for inflation, now leave the state with a $600 million surplus.

So, really, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who is facing massive heat from unions for supporting Christie's aforementioned pension/health care/collective bargaining dicking over, was probably too mild when he said of the governor, "This is all about him being a bully and a punk." Sweeney also called him "a rotten bastard" and "a rotten prick," although, to be fair, if he was hungry enough, Christie would probably eat a rotten prick.

It's override time, of course, and some of these are no-brainers. But what Christie did, in no uncertain terms, and with every pun intended, was throw his weight around. He demonstrated that he's no pussy bipartisan compromiser. Oh, no. He proved that the big man is a big man, sticking it to the poor while sucking up to the rich.

And now Christie's on vacation. Two-weeks away with the family, and you know he went wherever his wife wanted. One thing about grotesquely fat, straight dudes: they are grateful as hell to whatever woman is willing to fuck them. Perhaps a cruise, where there's unlimited food at all hours of the day where Chris Christie, our 21st century icon of gluttony and greed, the massive moral black hole in the center of our obese body politick, can shovel food in his face. And maybe he'll choke on it.


New Rude Video: "You Support Gay Rights, Whether You Like It Or Not":
All video is from the 2011 Gay Pride Parade in New York City.

Think of this as a response to little pricks like the kid in California who murdered his classmate or to big pricks like just about any Republican these days.


Despair and Possible Redemption in the Ridiculous Debt Ceiling Debate:
In one of those "Oh, fuck, how do I open the column this time" moments of frustration and weakness, Eugene Robinson compares Republicans in Congress during this debt ceiling insanity to Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining and President Obama to Travis Bickle, Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver. Neither work, primarily because Bickle is a psychopath and who didn't want to put an axe in Shelley Duvall and that creepy "redrum" kid?

If you want your movie references for the current state of the debate, even an ordinary kidnapping situation doesn't work. No, these days, ya gotta go with your mad bombers. Like, say, Dennis Hopper in Speed. When he wasn't hooking up buses or elevators with explosives, Hopper's bad guy was holding Sandra Bullock or Jeff Daniels hostage with bombs and a trigger. His threat to Keanu Reeves was that he was gonna get what he wanted or he would blow up the hostage, along with himself and anyone else nearby. So since a debt default would fuck over most everyone in the United States (except, you know, people who have investments that bet against the country, like Eric Cantor), the GOP is saying, "Give us everything we want or we'll see you in Hell."

Here's the thing, the fucked-up, screaming-into-the-dark, tear your hair out aggravation about the debt ceiling "negotiations" (if by "negotiations," you mean, "An agreement where your lover ties you to a bed, fucks you whenever he wants, gets his friends to fuck you, shits on you, and castrates you, but at least you get to go on living"). It's the reason that the Rude Pundit has written very little about the current pounds-of-flesh demands being made by the Republicans in exchange for not plunging the nation into a depression:

Over here on the real left, where we apparently have had a dome of silence placed over us so that we can only echo back, we knew this was going to happen. Anyone paying attention knew that this was going to happen. No, that doesn't help anything now. Cassandra never caught a break after she told Apollo to go fuck himself. "I told you so" might have worked after the stimulus debate, after the health care debate, after the budget debate. But, like being with a man who refuses to do anything about his failed erections other than to look at his flaccid dick sadly and sigh and say, "Don't worry. Next time," at some point it's just worthless.

When shitty writer and shittier pundit Mark Halperin caught shit for saying that Obama was a "dick" to Republicans at his press conference last week, it was almost laughable. As the Rude Pundit has said many times before, if you say that motherfuckers fuck their mothers, you are merely stating fact. Christ, how great it would have been had Obama really been a dick, if he had said that they have no interest in anything other than winning elections, even if they wreck the economy and make you lose your job. Wait, that's not even that dickish. In fact, congressional Republicans are really and actually acting like such bags of cocks that it's impossible for anyone paying attention to not say they're dicks.

How ludicrous Halperin's assertion was became even clearer when the New York Times reported today that Obama is offering cuts in Medicare and Medicaid as another way to entice the GOP into accepting minimal ways to increase tax revenue (through loophole and deduction changes, not, heavens to Betsy, any raised taxes). Chances are that, by the time you read this, Mitch McConnell will have already declared it a trick and declined, Rand Paul will have threatened to stuff all the toilets in the Capitol with toilet paper, and John McCain will have said something stupid and irrelevant that everyone will report as if it's gospel.

Since one ought to offer something akin to advice (and "don't blink" seems to be au courant), the Rude Pundit believes that the White House should announce that it's directed the Office of Legal Counsel to explore whether or not the 14th Amendment obviates the need for this debate. That's called "negotiating." Giving the other side even more than what it wants and hoping they give you a grain of what you want is not.

Playing chicken is bullshit because we on the left know where that ends. We know who's got the twitchy eyes in the staring contest. What the President needs to do is say, "You know how we were playing this game in the legislative ballpark? We're moving it to the executive one, and you can shove all your budget cuts up your asses." If you want a game-changer, you gotta actually change the game.

Or, to bring it back to the movies, shoot the hostage.


James Madison Would Confuse Your Teabagger Cousin:
Whenever fine, fine members of the Tea Party (or some politicians who are trying to manipulate white, working-class Americans) want to get all states' rightsy or pretend they understand jackshit about the history of the nation's founding, they will often cite the Federalist Papers and especially James Madison, author of a chunk of those documents (which, lucky ducks that we are, Glenn Beck is translating into "modern" English). They want to reduce Madison to Johnny Limited Government, but they don't think through the implications of that beyond "me-no-like-taxes" and "I'd rather die than get health care from a black man."

But since you shall know people by their deeds, on this Independence Day, while your steaks are marinating and your beer is chilling and you're looking forward to shit blowing up over the skies of your town, here's a couple of actual decisions that Madison made while President that might just blow up the heads of your teabagger cousins when they come over to eat your meat.

Madison didn't think the federal government should build roads, so good-bye interstate highways. He vetoed a federal works bill in 1817, saying, "'The power to regulate commerce among the several States' can not include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress...If a general power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses, with the train of powers incident thereto, be not possessed by Congress, the assent of the States in the mode provided in the bill can not confer the power." Whenever teabag patriots cite this document, they keep the shit about a federal government constrained by the Constitution. They leave out that, followed through, there'd be no I-10.

But, sure, sure, in theory, if not in action, your cousin might say that the roads he drives on every morning and afternoon would have to go, but you know all that money that the federal government gives to "faith-based" organizations. You know how that's not supposed to impinge on the separation of church and state because only that asshole miscegenation-lover Thomas Jefferson actually believed in it? About that: Madison vetoed a bill that would have flat out established an Episcopal church in Alexandria, Virginia. His reasoning? "[T]he Bill exceeds the rightful authority, to which Governments are limited by the essential distinction between Civil and Religious functions, and violates, in particular, the Article of the Constitution of the United States which declares, that 'Congress shall make no law respecting a Religious establishment.'" That last part? Yeah, Madison wrote that shit.

He added that he was vetoing also "Because the Bill vests in the said incorporated Church, an authority to provide for the support of the poor, and the education of poor children of the same, an authority, which being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precedent for giving to religious Societies as such, a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty." Limited government means "limited" to Madison, not just "limited to the shit I care about."

So on this Fourth of July, suck on Madison's secular humanism, bitches.


Minnesota, Your State Sucks Because Your Government Shutdown:
Hey, look at these happy, happy motherfuckers with their ignorant, bullshit signs:

They're the College Republicans, and they were at the steps of the state capitol in Minnesota yesterday to blame Democrats, especially Governor Mark Dayton, for the shutdown of their state government over a budget impasse. They were, according to their own Twitter status (quoting the Minnesota Independent), "the only conservative representation on the steps of the Capitol." And they're just happy little children on picture day. Smile for Mom, kids. All ten of you.

Of course, as these things go, Dayton and the Democrats had agreed to almost everything that Republicans asked for. Remember: it's not that Democrats are necessarily bad negotiators. It's just that they are damned with having a conscience. So while Republicans generally don't give a fuck what destruction happens, Democrats do. It ain't the position of strength.

The Democrats wanted to raise taxes on the top 2% of Minnesota incomes. The GOP countered with laying off teachers and other state workers, and, hey, throw in that abortion restrictions bill the governor vetoed a couple of months ago. It's the equivalent of trying to buy a car, and the salesman says, "You're gonna pay the full retail price and I'm gonna bone your daughter. Deal?"

But, in a lesson that President Obama should pay attention to, Dayton told them to go fuck themselves. This was after he had offered to raise taxes only on people making over $1 million. The GOP said it was no-go. In his statement, Dayton said, "Will the Republicans insist that inequality continue, so that millionaires do not have to pay one dollar more in taxes? So far they have." So have a good Fourth of July, Minnesota, at your closed state parks. Way to go on electing a Republican legislature.

By the way...

This is the protest by two public workers' unions, the MAPE and AFSCME. Hundreds of people so far, with a bigger rally called for July 6. Unlike the douchebags from the College Republicans, these people's actual livelihoods are on the line. So maybe it ain't happy picture time for the yearbook.