End of the Year Haiku 2009: The Readers Haiku, Too:
Poems to cap off the year from rude readers around the world (with minor edits, if needed). This first group seems obsessed with a certain figure:

From Daphne C. in Springfield, Illinois:
man, did the year stink
of right-wing intransigence
and Palin worship

From Andy C.:
Sarah going rogue.
What is the world coming to?
McCain gnashes teeth.

From Kelly W.:
Sarah Palin quits,
Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack,
Ducks speak for us all.

From Brad A.:
Sarah Palin loves
to teabag Todd’s big ball sack.
McCain’s dick goes limp.

From Jim L.:
Tea Baggers demand
Give us birth certificate.
Ranting red-faced sheep

From Jan T.:
I am not a dwarf
Nor an Atlanta housewife.
No reality show for me!

From Mona P.:
Oh, How this year blew.
If Limbaugh kicks the bucket
It will have blown less.

From Mari L.:
A decade of fear
Cannot be washed away with
One bucket of hope.

Drinks a-waitin'. More tomorrow.
End of the Year Haiku 2009:
Like a night out alone at a titty bar, what began with hope ended with sticky sadness and an overwhelming sense of failure. And what better way to express it than with a haiku or two.

Chilled glee on the Mall,
One more chance for redemption;
America froze

As If You Didn't Know

Did it surprise you?
Republicans are assholes
Clenched like babies' fists.

The Loss
Barack Obama
Needed Ted Kennedy like
A fish needs the sea

New Justice
A strong Latina
Will kick your ass even if
you're named "Scalia."

The Cult
Glenn Beck's dervish whirl
Mesmerized maniac minds
To scream at phantoms


Wall Street execs said,
"Thanks for the cash of the poor.
Now suck our bonus"

Circuses Without Bread

No job, no health care,
We click the TV to see
Who thinks they can dance.

More later, including rude reader submissions. Send yours to "rudepundit[at]yahoo.com" and the bestest ones will be posted today and tomorrow.


Haiku Time, Motherfuckers:
The Rude Pundit ends each year with the delicate restraint of haiku, the little 5/7/5 syllable poems that we were forced to write in high school and usually ended up being about farts.

And he opens it up for rude readers 'round the world to send in haiku about the dozen months past, putting the best up for all to enjoy.

Send your creations, along with how you want your name to be listed, to "rudepundit[at]yahoo.com" and vent, briefly.
Our Destruction Seeds Sown: A Final "Fuck-Off" to This Awful Decade (Part 3):
Shit, we got a lot of ground to cover here. And the Rude Pundit's running out of steam as quickly as the Aughts are ending. Let's make these fast. (Check out Part 1 and Part 2.)

Part 3: The Extent of the Awfulness Is Clear:
1. Fuck off, Roger Ailes. After allowing George W. Bush's cousin to call the 2000 election for his relative on Fox "news," after destroying television news as we used to know it, after infecting the airwaves with the herpes sores known as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, not to mention E.D. Hill (remember her?) and her increasingly less-evolved blonde clones, the tumor-shaped Ailes capped the decade by foisting on us all Glenn Beck, a man who will one day lead a group of brain dead followers down to Guyana.

2. Fuck off, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The man with the smallest penis in the non-Western world, a Holocaust denier who cavalierly kills his own people, refuses to allow inspections of his nuclear facilities, and keeps his wife entombed in a head-to-toe veil. And this pussy's not even really in charge of Iran. (Note: Why not Osama bin Laden? Too obvious, but, sure, he can fuck off, too.)

3. Fuck off, Bernie Madoff. The Rude Pundit is against capital punishment, but Madoff should have been set on fire on the steps of New York Stock Exchange. (Concomitant fuck-off: Alan Greenspan, et al.)

4. Fuck off, Republicans in Congress. You spent most of the decade sucking the syphilitic cocks of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, turning yourselves into accessories to the crimes that have wrecked the country, and now you actually have the balls to think you're right in roadblocking even minor corrections in our self-destructive course? (Concomitant fuck-off: every pundit who supported the Iraq "war" and who mocked the idea that the housing bubble would burst.)

5. Fuck off, God, Allah, Death, or whoever or nobody. In the last ten years, you took out out just about every single living writer who influenced the Rude Pundit: Arthur Miller, Molly Ivins, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Pryor, Hunter S. Thompson, Spaulding Gray. And then you wasted his favorite city with a combination of Hurricane Katrina and a refusal to smite the incompetent assholes who helped wreck it. Yeah, fuck you hard.

Jesus, this has gotten too depressing. There's more to say, always, about just how greedy and stupid and selfish a people we Americans are under the guise of "liberty," a word so few of us understand. But let's end on a positive note, eh?

Things That Brought the Rude Pundit Unrestrained Joy in 2009:
1. The film Fantastic Mr. Fox, a mostly plot-free wandering about in a world where every animal is a clever talker. And the HBO show Bored to Death, a mostly plot-free wandering about in a New York City where every human is a clever talker.

2. The fried chicken at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, Tennessee. In an ugly strip mall in a shitty area of town, the Rude Pundit asked the woman behind the counter if she thought he should order "medium" heat, not just "mild" (it goes up to "super hot"). She looked at him and said, "You can handle it." It was like biting electricity, juicy electricity.

3. Lady Gaga's performances at the MTV Video Music Awards and at the American Music Awards. Bleeding and hanging like a corpse at the end of a song? Singing in a nude unitard while sitting at a flaming piano and smashing champagne bottles on the edge? That shit's art, Madonna crossed with Diamanda Galas.

4. The book Wanting by Richard Flanagan. Cathartic sorrow in a novel about Charles Dickens, Sir John Franklin, and the way desire engulfs us.

5. Public Enemy performing the entire It Takes a Nation of Millions... album live at midnight in a crowded tent at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Sure, at Bonnaroo, Bruce Springsteen turning the E Street Band into a jam band was amazing, and Dirty Projectors were a blast. But the Rude Pundit just didn't expect PE to be so goddamn tight and for the songs, from the end of the Reagan presidency, to be so goddamn relevant.

There. Now breathe the end of this decade. And get ready for the next one.


Our Destruction Seeds Sown: A Final "Fuck Off" to This Awful Decade (Part 2):
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit specifically cited unfeeling machines that are sucking the lifeforce out of human beings as one of the primary reasons we leave the first decade of the millenium as isolated, soulless zombies clinging Gollum-like to our precious material goods while hawking ourselves in public like each of us is publicist, pimp, and whore rolled into one.

Today, the Rude Pundit gives fuck-off's to a few of the people who have done the heavy lifting in creating an America (and, in some cases, a world) that is stuck in a speeding semi with its brakes out, heading for that lake up ahead.

(Note: These must be people who have or had real power to affect our daily lives whether we pay attention or not. So there will be no cutesy "Simon Cowell" or "Kanye West" references. Also, today the Rude Pundit's concentrating on American politics.)

Part 2: These White Men Are Gonna Get Us All Killed:
1. Fuck off, Al Gore. If you wanted to pinpoint a single reason that this decade has sucked the hair off monkey balls, you would have to pick the moment that Al Gore decided to be a pussy and give up on the 2000 election. In what should have been a slamdunk of an election, Gore ran away from the Clinton legacy and into a tight race with an inbred Mongoloid. It's not just his stupid-ass decision to want a recount in isolated places in Florida instead of the whole state or his legal team's stupid-ass argument before an already-tilted Supreme Court. It's that if he had wanted and asked, the power was within a single Senator to stop the certification of an election he knew was fucked. It was as if Gore didn't want to inconvenience anyone at that moment, thus maintaining a Democratic pattern that exists to this day. Sure, he's done a great deal of good in "raising awareness" as a glorified spokesmodel for global warming. But do you see any major action occurring to, shit, stop global warming? You know how you could have actually accomplished some of those green goals, Al? By being fucking president.

2. Fuck off, Joe Lieberman. Thanks, Joe Lieberman, for elevating Ingrate to a level of consciousness on the way to Dick Nirvana. You were a shitty running mate, a presidential candidate whose only qualifications were a nation-sized ego and a desire to bomb the shit out of any place that winked at Israel, and a backstabbing motherfucker to the party that got you in office in the first place. You lost a legitimately fought primary challenge in 2006 and you decided it would be better to tell Democratic voters to go fuck themselves. And then, even though Barack Obama campaigned for you in that 2006 primary, you supported John McCain for President, even speaking at the Republican convention. And after Obama made sure you retained your Homeland Security chair, you decided the best way to repay him would be to fuck up his agenda and give Republicans more power than you would dare to give Democrats. The most aggravating part? You seem blissfully unaware of what a scabby cocksucker you really are.

3. Fuck off, George H. W. Bush. Goofy and disconnected a motherfucker though he may be, as shitty a president as he was, no one ever thought Bush, Sr. was stupid. But his failure to publicly call out his son for essentially wrecking the meager legacy he had left behind assured the Iraq "war" would happen. Sound harsh, expecting a father to turn on a son? Bullshit. He was the fucking president once. And he decided to put family over country. He has blood on his hands without even being in office.

4. Fuck off, Rudy Giuliani. A ghoulish, greedy bastard who should have been whipped into the streets like a rabid cur after 9/11. Instead, in the greatest non-Bush manipulation of the event, Giuliani parlayed the attack on his city into a fucking bonanza. And it seemed like every mainstream pundit went along with it: why wouldn't you want the man who presided over the degradation of his fire and police communication systems, thus leading to hundreds of potentially avoidable deaths, to be your president? Why wouldn't you trust the judgment of the man who put his emergency command center in the very building attacked once before and who recommended a sub-bouncer thug like Bernard Kerik to head up the federal department charged with securing the homeland? The final insult is that he profits mightily off the security consulting firm he runs, which is a little like John Wayne Gacy running a daycare center.

5-500ish. Fuck-off, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and every member of his administration. If you don't know why, then fuck off yourself.

Tomorrow: A few more people who can kiss our asses at the end of the Aughts.

Correction: Stupid fuck-up earlier calling Gore "a Senator." That's been changed because it was a stupid fuck-up. (Hat tip for Steve L.)


Our Destruction Seeds Sown: A Final "Fuck Off" to This Awful Decade (Part 1):
Wearing a natty suit with a purple shirt, the Rude Pundit spent New Year's Eve 1999 in a fading Masonic temple in downtown New Orleans among thousands of people, most of them on ecstasy, writhing to Galactic's mad funk, dancing like an ancient tribe at the edge of a cliff that they never thought would crumble. Yes, we had the potential Y2K apocalypse imprinted on our cultural consciousness, but only the paranoid took that seriously, and if the world was going to end, well, a Masonic temple wasn't a bad place to be. But, Christ, however anxiety-ridden we might have been, we were hopeful and tweaking on joy.

This year, the Rude Pundit will ring out the decade in a dilapidated blues shack in the middle of nowhere. He will be wearing a torn Obama shirt and black jeans and boots. There will be liquor-fueled, desperate dancing, like we're escaping from tumbling rocks destroying our village. We have fallen so far in ten years. Maybe it's the nature of getting older: because every decade past is one closer to death, it seems worse than the ones before.

No. Fuck that. The 2000s sucked so hard that it's created a vacuum that will end up ripping us to shreds if we don't reverse course. Today, tomorrow, and maybe Wednesday, the Rude Pundit will offer his final fuck-off's to the Aughts, a bullshit decade where, in almost every instance, we collectively allowed ourselves to become idiots. Let's start light...

Part 1: The Machines Own Us
For every good use of the technology that now controls every aspect of our lives, there's thousands of ways it is destroying us.

1. Fuck off, cell phones. Sure, sure, in case of an emergency, blah, blah, blah. And if you are waiting on an emergency phone call, don't go to the fucking movies. You are not important enough to need to get your phone calls immediately. Here's how you know if you're important enough: Are you a doctor? Are you the President? If you answered "no" to both of those questions, you are not so important. Mostly, though, cell phones guarantee that you never have to communicate with someone you don't know. As connected as you think you are, it is actually isolating, alienating, and limiting.

2. Fuck off, texting and instant messaging. Congratulations. You're a product of a shitty education system that failed to make you understand how to put together a rational sentence or even use a comma, and now you're going to completely abandon all pretext of being able to spell, punctuate, or have a thought that can't be expressed in a series of random letters. ROFLMAO, motherfuckers. It's the destruction of language as we know it.

3. Fuck off, iPods (and their ilk). To ride on public transportation or walk city streets is to venture among soulless beings who stare at nothing with dead eyes as they listen to an unending stream of music on something that is soon going to be small enough to just be injected under your skin. One day, when the disconnect of the population is complete, we will pinpoint the invention of the iPod as the moment that we killed public engagement with the cudgel of constant entertainment.

4. Fuck off, Twitter and Facebook. Hey, who needs the government setting up all kinds of surveillance when so many people are willing to announce where the fuck they are and what they fuck they're doing at any given moment. Twitter, Facebook, and, to a lesser extent, MySpace have created a world of exhibitionists who are willing to let strangers look at pictures of their children and where people attempt to be profound in less words than it takes to order a meal at McDonald's. They've created the illusion of "friendship" where none actually exists, thus devaluing what real friendship is. If a click is all it takes to "defriend" people, they weren't friends. It led to this moment for the Rude Pundit: "Oh, really, person I haven't seen since third grade, your cat brought you a dead mouse and gave it to you as a gift? How fascinating." He wanted to write, "Fuck you and your cat. May the zombie mouse eat your brains" and then he realized how pathetic it was to even be tempted to comment on a status update about a goddamn cat owned by a virtual version of someone he hadn't seen in 25 years. And then he just felt sad.

5. Fuck off, internet porn. It mainstreamed porn and somehow made it more degrading than it actually was. It wrecked relationships and jobs. And it fucked up porn. Like overused CGI in films, you can see anything you want. If anyone with a webcam can film two legless Russian women fucking each other with their wooden legs while getting shit on by a donkey that's getting blown by an albino tranny, well...wait, what are we talking about?

Yes, yes, we are ever-evolving creatures, and technology transforms us. This past decade, as isolated as television made us once, the promise of technology has amped that up and simply made us selfish, self-involved pricks who demand immediate responses. It's affected us in profound ways, the full extent of which are only becoming clearer as it becomes ubiquitous in every aspect of our daily lives. The Rude Pundit doesn't say there's no good. There's good uses for everything we've created that will one day kill us all.

Tomorrow: Fuck-off people of the decade.

(Note: The Rude Pundit uses all of the above. You either join the collective or you will be eliminated.)


Does Three Years Make It a Christmas Tradition?:
The Rude Pundit doesn't know what the hell you're doing here. But, like Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and shirtless Grandma shocking the neighbors, some things are a tradition around the rude house. Reruns are good for the soul. Like this blast from 2004, updated last year:

Xmas - And, lo, a small teddy bear will lead them:
In the days before Christmas, the Rude Pundit roamed his neighborhood, looking at the displays in the charming stores and corner markets. There he saw the agony of so many dichotomous feelings about this holiday. One window had a kneeling, praying Santa next to a baby Jesus in the manger. Santa's hat was off. He was balding. Another display had the jolly old fat man landing his sleigh and reindeer on the roof of the manger. Surprisingly, neither Mary nor Joseph seemed rattled by the noise, although a camel was looking upward, as if asking, "What the fuck?" The Rude Pundit loved that camel.

Ah, sweet camel, what the fuck, indeed. Christ and commerce, Alleluia. The Savior has been born and he thanks you for your presents. Santa showing that he'll even honor the king of the Jews in the land of Islam. There's no telling what it means (and don't get all up in the Rude Pundit's face about St. Nicholas). Except this: we want to embrace both things, good deconstructionists that we are: Santa, who soothes our greed,and Jesus, who promises us peace. Either way, we want them both to tell us we're good people, nice people. And, of course, guilt-ridden Christians want to make sure that Santa toes the party line, you know.

For the holiday, here's a few of the Rude Pundit's favorite Nativity sets:

The Moosetivity (there better be a lot of damn hay in that manger)

The Boyd's Bears Nativity (because baby Jesus isn't cute enough as a human)
The Native American Nativity (complete with real feathers, 'cause, you know, the Indians benefited so much from the birth of Christ)
This is not to mention the Cativity, the Dogtivity, the Barntivity, and the various Beartivities, all available unironically for your Christmas consumption.


Christmas Cards That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Yell, "Ho, Ho, Ho, Motherfucker" as He Cock Punches Glenn Beck:

So that's a Christmas card you can buy from Glenn Beck's online store o' Beckiness. The description reads, "Don't even think about sending your friends Christmas cards. Or Hanukkah cards. Or cards for any one of your other intolerant, hate-filled holidays. The only option this holiday season is RamaHanuKwanzMas cards."

See, it's funny because it lumps every seasonal holiday together. By giving it, you're saying, "Oh, look how absurd people are with their bizarre, wacky beliefs that are different from my religion's celebration of an invisible sky wizard knocking up some virgin teenager." Or you could just give your friends a head butt. It's about the same thing.

Note: Also available on t-shirts, so you can publicly announce, "Yes, Glenn Beck's ballsack does taste like eggnog and shame."


A Few Random Thoughts Regarding the Tone of Debate in the Senate:
1. Mostly, whenever Mika Brzezinski starts scolding people on Morning Starbucks with Joe, the Rude Pundit just thinks, "Oh, you need a spanking." (Note: it's the same thought he has whenever he sees a raging Shepherd Smith.) But in the last few days, Brzezinksi and the rest of the baristas have been tut-tutting their clicking tongues at the behavior of Senators while debating health care reform, lamenting the "tone" and the lack of comity, as if debating life and death ought to involve gentle caresses and well-timed reacharounds.

Fuck that. It's actually during this Republican-forced march to the inevitable passage of the Senate bill that the members of that body have taken off their civilized masks and gotten into some shit, which is what should have been happening all along. The jolly air of Victorian politesse has stymied the very real passions at play here.

2. Drunk Max Baucus is kind of awesome. Check out the video of Montana's Max Baucus losing his shit at Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi over the destructive obstructionism of Republicans. Baucus is a man who spent way too much fucking time in a small room, smelling Chuck Grassley's corn farts, and while the Rude Pundit has absolutely no proof that Baucus is drunk while making this speech, Baucus is drunk while making this speech. Watch it and see the self-loathing of the corrupted soul on display, the lashing out of someone compromised and debased by the very forces he encouraged, the desire for some kind of redemption, all from inside a bottle of Scotch.

It's like one of those family moments when a guy slugs back whiskey at a wake until he's wobbly and then tells everyone how dead Uncle Irving repeatedly fondled neighborhood children and then threatened to kill them if they said anything. You just think, "Hey, that's great, dude. Too bad you didn't say anything when Irving was alive. Maybe we could have done something about it."

3. Whoremongers and adulterers on the Republican side are drama queens. Diapered hooker patron David Vitter and mistress briber John Ensign got their balls in knot during debate last night. Vitter, as befits a man who gets off on infantilization, was endlessly in awe of the size of the bill, repeating that it is now 2,733 pages. Instead of one big one, Vitter wants five little ones, each only 1/100th the length and girth of the Democrats' bill. Of course he does.

And John Ensign went all constitutional, in an argument dismissed a long time ago, but pressing forward, he said, "What happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I guess Americans can only have them if they comply with this new bill and buy a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum health insurance program. America's Founders and subsequent generations fought dearly for the freedoms we have today.

"I question the appropriateness of this bill and specifically the constitutionality of this individual mandate. Is it really constitutional for this body to tell all Americans they must buy health insurance coverage? If so, what is next? What personal liberty or property will Congress seek to take away from Americans next? Will we consider legislation in the future requiring every American to buy a car, to buy a house, or to do something else the Federal Government wants?"

By the way, beyond the obvious jokes about a member of Congress taking another man's wife, John Ensign was a huge supporter of a flag burning amendment in 2006, which would have enshrined in the Constitution what private citizens can do with their personal property.

And the Sisyphean struggle to achieve mediocrity continues.

4. To return to Morning Joe, Bernie Sanders continues to kick ass.


Harry Reid and the Sad Facts of American Compromises:
For two minutes, the Rude Pundit listened to Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas talk about the "back room deals" and "pay-offs" that got the straggling members of the Democratic caucus to go along with the compromise of the compromise of the compromise of the already-compromised-from-the-start health care reform bill. And then within another minute, he found this on Cornyn's Senate website, which says that Cornyn "Helped create a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit for Seniors: Senator Cornyn was a strong supporter of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act, which, for the first time, provided Medicare beneficiaries with a prescription drug benefit and expanded health plan options."

And then it took less than another minute to find out some of what it cost to get that 2003 bill passed, with the vote of Cornyn, the proud conservative with a voice that sounds like he's been kicked in the taint by a nervous mule he was standing behind.

To pass the Medicare Prescription Drug bill, there was the $25 billion "rural package," which profited hospitals in southern and western states, with "rural" meaning cities like Corpus Christi, Texas, with a quarter million people. Hell, Chuck Grassley got $151 million for hospitals in Iowa. That's $151 million just for the hospitals, not for, say, a natural disaster fucking up the state's infrastructure. So compare that with the uproar over the $300 million that Democrat Mary Landrieu secured for Katrina-buggered Louisiana in exchange for her vote on 2009's health care reform.

The Bush administration also got $900 million put into the bill essentially so that the White House could reward the districts of loyal Republicans with hospital funds. You wanna talk about bribes? Here's some motherfucking bribes: "Among them were two hospitals in the Texas district of Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a member of the conference committee on the Medicare bill. Ten hospitals in Connecticut, home of US Representative Nancy Johnson, another Republican member of the conference committee, also benefited. Pennsylvania, represented by Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican who had crusaded for health care money, had 13 institutions in the victory column."

By the way, Democrats got their states paid, too. Max Baucus of Montana and Kent Conrad of South Dakota got funds for their states' hospitals, as did Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Harry Reid of Nevada. What did Republicans get for these (to put it politely) fund allocations? All of those Democrats voted for cloture on the conference report. All but Reid voted for the bill.

Let's not forget America's great wilderness welfare state. As an aide to Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski said, "They were counting votes, and the Alaska delegation was pretty set on it." Which meant that Alaska got $53 million over two years for that state's doctors. Goddamn, they must miss Ted Stevens.

While giving money to rural hospitals generally ought to be a good thing, you can be sure that what the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act did, beyond rewarding pharmaceutical companies for being total dickheads, was enrich corporate, for-profit hospital chains. Bitches gots to get paid. And John Cornyn had no problem with it then.

So, now, with the current Senate Health Care Reform bill, where, for instance, Michelle Malkin is screeching about bribes in that brain-damaged ferret way she has, Harry Reid is absolutely right when he says, dismissively, "There are a hundred senators here, and I don’t know if there is a senator who doesn’t have something in this bill that is important to them, and if they don’t have something in it important to them, then that doesn’t speak well of them." Or, in other words, "Suck my balls."

Sure, sure, this is a ludicrous system, where one nutzoid's "bribe" is another Congress member's bread and butter, where every compromise comes down to dollars (or abortion, but that's for another discussion), where compromise in DC simply seems like the art of sacrificing on the left until almost nothing we hold dear remains. Yet it behooves us to remember that we are a nation founded on the most heartbreaking compromise in our history. The Constitution almost didn't come into being, and therefore the United States itself, until abolition of slavery was compromised away, until the horror was actually put into the document.

Why bring this up? For one of those hyperbolic comparisons that blogs are mocked for (even if the breathless rhetoric coming from the GOP and Michael Steele puts bloggery to shame)? No. It's that every compromise, even the most vicious, must leave the lingering question, which will not be answered here: is it better than the alternative, which is failure?


Does Conservative Spoogebucket Kevin McCullough Actually Know Any Black People?:
Pity poor Kevin McCullough. McCullough is an alleged columnist (although can anyone come up with a newspaper that carries him? A Penny Saver? Windshield flyer?), the co-host with a vestigial Baldwin of a weekly satellite radio show, a Fox "news" semi-regular, and a man whose vicious words and hate speech reveal a never-satiated urge for cock, so many cocks spewing so much jizz on him that you could stick him to a giant envelope and mail him to Fire Island on the Fourth of July. Truly, this man needs some cock.

McCullough is the sweaty, skinny, balding white guy in movies who thinks that all these people not like him are fucking up the neighborhood, Bernhard Goetz with a blog instead of a gun. He has never shied away from using racist language to attack Barack Obama. In his latest column (if by "column," you mean, "a mad pining for double anal penetration while ball-gagged with chained nipple clamps"), McCullough may as well be putting on blackface and saying of Obama, "That crazy nigga's gonna cap yo cracker ass."

Titled (really) "Hope and Change, Gangsta Style," McCullough's column purports to reveal how the Obama administration is using thuggish Chicago-style politics to get its failure of an agenda accomplished. If that makes absolutely no sense, then you're paying attention. The column ends with this remark about Obama not being able to deal with being President: "Unfortunately when someone from Chicago's south side gets that emotionally backed up it usually ends with flying bullets and someone's brother lying dead in a pool of their own blood." Yes, around Hyde Park, it's always "Contract killa, murder for the scrilla." You know, McCullough could have gone with the safe Al Capone reference instead of black-on-black violence, but, hell, you can't be a motherfucker if you don't fuck some mothers.

This comes after McCullough repeats the lie about Obama threatening to close a strategically-necessary airbase in Nebraska in order to get Ben Nelson's vote on health care reform, spouting in outrage, "President Obama was going to put a bullet in the operations of our national security simply to score a point, serve a little vengeance, and punish with a little payback." And then he instantly discredits himself by adding, "We know this from a memo that was leaked." Well, actually, the original liar said he got the info from a Senate aide, not a memo. Besides, everyone involved has denied the story except The Weekly Standard writer who created it (or was punked).

That's just generic fucktardery. However, "racist" is McCullough's default position with Obama (and all black people). He goes there constantly. In a recent blog post, he wrote, "Part of the great thing about the equality of every man, woman, and child in America is the opportunity to succeed or to fail. And to do so irrespective of race. Finally we have the African American equivalent of Jimmuh Cahteh in the oval office, and it is a scary day indeed..." Parse that shit. And that's on top of last week's column comparing Tiger Woods and Barack Obama, who would seemingly only have one thing in common. Goddamn that animal nature of the half-breed Negro.

At night, when he's all alone, his crusted picture of Mike Huckabee safely stored away, Kevin McCullough sits back and dreams, dreams, dreams away, thinking about the sensations of being the rocking horse moving back and forth with Obama behind him and Tiger ahead.


Let's Not Forget That There Are Republicans to Hate, Too:
If the Rude Pundit was in some Karl Rove-like capacity advising the White House, he would right now be telling President Obama to have the Justice Department start investigating the crimes of the Bush administration, with an eye to prosecutions beginning sometime in 2010. Because amidst our vastly justified Lieberman-hating and Obama-doubting and with rending ourselves asunder on the left, we cannot forget that one of the major reasons that we are at this point in the health care reform debate, with a bill that seems to do as much harm as good (and that's the generous take), is that Republicans simply refused to engage in the process (beyond begging Olympia Snowe for her vote). It was far more entertaining for them to watch the Democrats eat their tail.

During the 2004 negotiations over the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, Democrats were engaged every step of the way. They had the votes to simply filibuster and kill it. But they didn't. Hell, it was Ted Kennedy who got 35 Democrats to vote for the bill because "he insisted that once prescription drug coverage was a reality, a future Congress could extend and improve it." How's that working out? Kennedy also thought that it could be fixed in conference committee, not realizing that behind closed doors, Republicans would eventually dick him over, aided and abetted by Big Pharma's own Democrats, Max Baucus and John Breaux. But Democrats never just disengaged, as Republicans almost unanimously did on this process.

To indulge in disgusted crowing for a moment, here's what the Rude Pundit wrote back in February, back in the days of new and shiny hope, in calling for the Obama administration to have inquiries into the Iraq War, among other things: "[T]here's gotta be consequences for people's actions or there's gonna be chaos...when the Obama administration was sending out signals that it would be willing to forgo serious inquiries into who-authorized-what as it relates to the various -gates from the previous administration, that was an olive branch to Republicans, a way of saying, 'You give us some shit we need, we won't spank you for being accomplices to crimes' (by the way, Democrats don't get away clean on this). It was, in terms of the DC circle jerk of power, a pretty fuckin' big concession. Republicans took that olive branch, broke it, shit on it, and flung it back at the White House."

See, the Rude Pundit believed then, and still believes now, that it would force Republicans to have to choose whether or not to back the Bush administration. Because as angry as people are with Obama, that pales in comparison to how much they continue to loathe Bush and Cheney. If you think shit's bad now, wait until Summer 2010. The country's gonna be ripped apart because Republicans will taste blood. You wanna unify the people who think the Tea Party screamers are crazy? Remind them of why we're so fucked in the first place.

And that's the point. Right now, the public hasn't been told to blame anyone, so they're going to blame the people in power. If not, the greatest failure of the Obama administration will end up being in not pursuing prosecutions of Bush administration officials and Wall Street executives. What the White House will have sown its own doom with the public because, at the end of the day, it says that no one is accountable for what has happened to the economy and, indeed, our national soul. Go after Bush and company and you say, "You can't destroy the country and just get to go on with your lives." And point out that many of the Republicans now opposing this President were willing accomplices to the previous one. Fuck, Republicans leap any time an Obama official mentions Bush, talking about the "blame game." Well, you know, if someone burned down your house and you happen to mention the arsonist who lit the match, as you try to rebuild from the ashes, it seems kind of justified.

This doesn't solve the problem with the health care reform bill and with the Democrats. The Rude Pundit remains agnostic at this point, thinking, as Katrina Vanden Heuvel said on Morning Starbucks with Joe today, that it might be best to let the thing go to conference and keep pressure on (although his gut says kill the bill).

And, indeed, if the Rude Pundit were in a Karl Rove-like position, he would be dropping quotes for Barack Obama to read - a little less Gandhi, a little more Machiavelli; a little less Martin Luther King, a little more Malcolm X.


This Is What a Liberal Sounds Like: A Few More Pieces of Bernie Sanders' Speech Yesterday:
You've heard the beginning of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' old-fashioned, passionate, actually liberal speech on the Senate floor yesterday after being fucked over hard by Oklahoma Republican Tom "Pay That Man Whose Wife You Nailed, Ensign" Coburn. By forcing a reading of Sanders' entire 767-page amendment to the health care reform bill, Coburn claimed he was just making sure that every Senator knew what was in it. But what Coburn was doing was making sure that single-payer insurance was never discussed by the full Senate. Why the hell not, you know? It's not like President Obama wanted it brought up.

A righteously pissed-off Sanders, who actually looks like he would fit right in at Independence Hall back in the day, made a one-man stand for actual progressive politics, withdrew the amendment saying, "Why is it that we need an entirely new approach for health care in this country? The answer is pretty obvious. Our current system, dominated by profit-making insurance companies, simply does not work. Yes, we have to confess, it does work for the insurance companies that make huge profits and provide their CEOs with extravagant compensation packages. Yes, it does work--and we saw how well it worked right here on the floor yesterday--for the pharmaceutical industry which year after year leads almost every other industry in profit while charging the American people by far--not even close--the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

"So it works for the insurance companies. It works for the drug companies. It works for the medical equipment suppliers and the many other companies who are making billions of dollars off of our health care system. But it is not working for--in fact, it is a disaster for--ordinary Americans."

By the way, dear tea partygoers, that's what a fucking liberal sounds like. A motherfucking liberal hates corporate America and wants to see it severely regulated and taxed, if not destroyed. A motherfucking liberal thinks that government works for the people, not the corporations. And that if you leave a vacuum of needs that has to be filled by a private company, that need will be subjugated to the profit margins of the private company, and that shit will destroy the country. Nearly everyone you accuse of being socialist or even leftist is a moderate or conservative. They're just not fucking nutzoid, like you.

Sanders ended by saying, "This country is in the midst of a horrendous health care crisis. We all know that. We can tinker with the system. We can come up with a 2,000-page bill which does this, that, and the other thing. But at the end of the day, if we are going to do what virtually every other country on Earth does--provide comprehensive, universal health care in a cost-effective way, one that does not bankrupt our government or bankrupt individuals--if we are going to do that, we are going to have to take on the private insurance companies and tell them very clearly that they are no longer needed. Thanks for your service. We don't need you anymore.

"A Medicare-for-all program is the way to go. I know it is not going to pass today. I know we do not have the votes. I know the insurance company and the drug lobbyists will fight us to the death. But, mark my words, Madam President, the day will come when this country will do the right thing. On that day, we will pass a Medicare-for-all single-payer system."

We have lost the courage again to do really big things in this nation that don't involve blowing shit up and killing people, things that actually affect people on a day-to-day basis and make their lives easier. Our government only does things within a narrow sliver of possibility, pressed in by corporate money, lies, and fear.


What Would Jesus Lie About? (Health Care Reform Edition):
In another one of those orgasm-inducing moments that's becoming regular now that he's in the Senate, Al Franken bitch-slapped Republican John Thune all over the Senate floor, to the point where Thune actually walked out. What was the dastardly Minnesotan bludgeoning the poor South Dakotan over? Franken wanted Thune to stop lying about when benefits start in the health care reform legislation. Or, as Franken put it, "[W]e are entitled to our own opinions; we’re not entitled to our own facts." And facts, as we are well aware, have a suspiciously liberal bias. Thune was later seen curled up and crying in the cloak room, whimpering, "I'm no bitch," while furiously licking his own anus.

But actual facts don't matter if you can tell a lie with a straight face and pretend it's the truth, which is how the conservative body politic and its obedient media chihuahuas function. One might expect better of people who proclaim that they are taking their marching orders directly from God, or Jesus, whichever, or both, depending on if they're feeling Judeo-Christian or just plain Christian on a particular issue.

However, if you're the Family Research Council (motto: "Lazarus and the lepers did just fine without Obamacare"), your Christian beliefs are no barrier to spinning lies out of the pain of others. An ardent opponent of health care reform, ostensibly over abortion, but mostly because they're dicks, the FRC posts a "Fact-a-Day" about that issue. One of its most recent "facts" addresses the financial burden that states may face from expanded Medicaid coverage, using New York as an example. It's actually a legitimate concern, one worthy of discussion, and if the FRC had left it there, they would have a point. But remember, they're dicks. Lying dicks.

The FRC says, "New York State has one of the most liberal Medicaid policies in the United States, and in these tough economic times, they're saving money by rationing care for women in the state seeking cancer screenings." The post links to an article that talks about women being turned away from free mammograms and pap smears in 20 states due to the overwhelming numbers of women without health insurance. Thus states like New York have been forced to, yes, ration the free screenings. It's another awful consequence of our barbaric medical system. God, one might think upon reading the FRC's statement, if a place with liberal Medicaid policies can't provide for women, then by extension any government insurance must fail."

The thing is that if the women had Medicaid, they'd be able to get screenings because they wouldn't have to go to free screenings. They'd have health insurance in the form of, well, fuck, Medicaid. In fact (yes, fact), a recent study said, according to another article's headline, "Medicaid coverage no barrier to mammography access." The poor women in the FRC-cited article don't qualify for Medicaid, which is only for the poorest of the poor. In New York, that means your income has to be no higher than $8,462 a year, if you're single.

In other words, the exact opposite of what the Family Research Council asserted is the factual truth. It's kind of like when Jesus said, "Psych," after the Sermon on the Mount and then told the poor to suck it.


Joe Lieberman, You Can Choke on the Bones of Jacqueline Kelly as They're Crammed Down Your Throat:
Jacqueline Kelly died yesterday in Jersey City, New Jersey, of ovarian cancer. She also had emphysema. She was 61 years-old, a woman who was a stay-at-home mom to her six kids and a supportive wife for 44 years to John Kelly. John, 68, worked for fifty years as a truck driver and was old enough to get on Medicare when he retired. His wife could not, since she was 61.

She was told she didn't qualify for Social Security disability benefits because she had never "worked." They didn't qualify for welfare assistance or Medicaid because John's pension checks were too high. So, instead, most of the money went to paying for Jacqueline's medical expenses, as much as they could, until it became a choice of chemotherapy or food. As John put it, "I worked all my life. She's being penalized for staying home and taking care of her kids." Kelly died because of a lack of health insurance, pure and simple, cause and effect.

Think about that: John and Jacqueline Kelly were like apple pie, they fit so perfectly into the mold of ideal Americans that conservatives propagate. John was able to support his family doing a job that he stayed dedicated to. Jacqueline chose to stay at home and raise a large family. This is also death by sexism in that we live in a nation where full-time motherhood is not valued as a job and never has been. The myth of the American dream is always, always revealed as the lie it always was, and those who continue to foist it upon us are the ones least willing to make it be true. Where were all the alleged Christians, who are now so ready to kill health reform legislation? Where was the charity that's supposed to take care of such things? There was some, but not enough to get her the medical care that might have saved her.

You know who stepped up to help the Kelly family? Professional wrestlers. Yeah, Total Mayhem Pro Wrestling held a fundraiser for Jacqueline about a week ago, raising $4000 for medical expenses. That money will now be used for a funeral.

Pulls at your heartstrings, no? Really gets that lump in your throat going, this story of love and failure? Jacqueline Kelly was one of millions of Americans who would have qualified for help in just about any of the health care reform measures that actually seek to insure people. She'd have qualified for the public option. She'd have qualified for Medicare buy-in. In almost any other country in the developed world, and even in some in the undeveloped part, her care would not have even been an issue.

We are overwhelmed, yes, by tale upon tale of the sadness and horror brought on by this country's willful neglect of its citizens because we need to please some mad god of capitalism. And because we need to soothe the vanity of politicians, like Joe Lieberman.

We focus our rage on Lieberman out here in Left Blogsylvania not just because he is the kind of man who sucks his own cock in public and then grins, his semen-slicked teeth shining in the klieg lights, to the delight of Aetna and Wellpoint executives just before they shove his ass full of cash and tell him he can have it after he shits it back out. That would be enough. But it's that Lieberman actually takes pleasure in dicking over the Democratic caucus. Motherfucker said he supported the Medicare buy-in and then bailed? What kind of fuckery is that? That's just doing shit for the sake of doing shit. He's Shylock with less motivation. And that just makes us wanna go Berlusconi on his face. (Rhetorically, of course. Of course.)

But, if only to take a little power away from Lieberman, let's spread some blame around here for what is now a fairly worthless bill that is absent any control over insurance companies for jacking up prices in the wake of any new regulations. There's, of course, the Republicans, who never once negotiated in good faith (or bad faith, for that matter). There's Harry Reid, who took reconciliation off the table, thus shaking empty the compromise toolbox that had been dumped out when single payer wasn't even discussed. And there's the President, who demonstrated that if you are unwilling to say specifically what you want, then you will get nothing. Goddamnit, if Barack Obama had said he wouldn't sign a bill without a public option, if members of Congress knew he had their backs, his supporters would have rallied around the cause in a way that would have had the teabaggers grabbing their sacks in fear. He didn't, and you can't have a movement based on a vague hope that something might perhaps get done.

There's a couple of paths left now: revive reconciliation and/or try to salvage a bill that can be spun as a first step in a longer battle. The former is almost a must, because Lieberman has given anti-health care reform forces a boner for the final fucking. It might be a chance to get at least the Medicare buy-in or go back to the public option. The latter is close to surrender and is disgusting to contemplate, but there we are.

Lieberman's gotta be punished, or they gotta get rid of Reid. There's gotta be consequences for Lieberman. He's gotta lose his Homeland Security committee chair, maybe even be ejected from the caucus. He's gotta be publicly defiled. If there was any kind of justice right now, Lieberman should be locked in a glass room with the ghost of Lyndon Johnson. Motherfucker would be on his knees after five minutes, begging to give LBJ a rim job for mercy's sake.

Or, instead, Lieberman should be forced to eat the body of Jacqueline Kelly. He should have to taste her diseased organs and mutated cells. He should have to stare at her dead face as he ingests her faded skin and deteriorated muscle. And if he can't do it on his own, he should have her bones shoved down his throat until he fucking gags. Then maybe he'll understand that we're not talking about abstract numbers of people dying. We're talking about real corpses.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
After much discussion of Stephanie Miller's sexy wounded eye, the Rude Pundit suggested that Joe Lieberman should receive a shit swirlie and that climate scientists can be pricks to each other.

Subscribe to the Rude Pundit podcast and you can carry the rudeness in your warm, moist pocket.
Ben Nelson Is a Hypocrite on Abortion Funding:
Follow the bouncing ball here: So, on Saturday, the GOP, as is their dipshit way, was gonna filibuster an omnibus spending bill that would keep most of the government functioning and give budget increases to many a department. The Democrats, hanging fairly tight and with a couple of Republicans siding with them, needed one final vote to get to the magical sixty, thus invoking cloture, thus leading to a vote on the committee report of the appropriations bill (the committee report being, in short, the version of the bill hammered out by Senate and House negotiators and already passed by the House). Of course, it all came down to Joe Lieberman. Why? Because nothing tickles Liberman's scrotum quite so much as the assertion of whatever vanity-driven power he holds.

And, oh, how delighted Lierberman was. It being Saturday and the sabbath and Hannukah, and Lieberman being an Orthodox-flavored Jew, Glory Whore Joe walked the three miles from his Georgetown synagogue to enter the Senate chamber wearing a bright orange scarf and a shit-eating grin to cast the vote that led to cloture. No horse available? No carriage? Well, fuck it. The next day, on Sunday, and, with apparently no Amish senators needing the day away from motorized devil-machines, the conference report passed, which means that everything but defense now has a budget.

But this ain't about Lieberman. That fucker can wait his turn. No, let's instead talk about Ben Nelson, Democratic Senator of Nebraska. He voted for cloture and for the bill. Hey, that's awesome. Good on him. That was on Saturday. But you may know Ben Nelson most recently from the Nelson-Hatch Amendment to the health care reform bill, which would have tightened restrictions on abortion funding, which is not funded at all by could be by implication of other spending not on abortion. Or some such shit. The amendment failed. Nelson, in response, said of the bill, "This makes it very hard for me to support it."

Yesterday, on CBS's Face Bob Schieffer's Corpse, Nelson reiterated that, even with the new negotiations on Medicare, "I still have the unique issue of abortion...I can’t support the bill with the -- the abortion language that’s there." So Ben Nelson has a moral stand that he's taking. Agree or disagree with him, no matter how much good a bill may do for millions of people, there's a bottom line for him, and that's not a single penny even remotely spent on even telling women that abortion exists. Well, disagree as one might, it's honorable to stick to one's guns.

Oh, wait. No, sorry. That's wrong. There's no honor here. See, because Ben Nelson voted for the aforementioned omnibus spending bill. That bill, H.R. 3288, also approved the budget for the District of Columbia. There used to be all kinds of restrictions on how the city of DC could use its money because a chunk of its budget comes from the Congress and because it's always great that a Senator from, say, Alabama can have sway over such things. But, lookie here, there's actually a major lifting of spending restrictions in that bill, including striking out language that said "That amounts provided to said projects under such title shall not be expended for abortions" and "that all pregnancy counseling shall be nondirective." Also struck out: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act [will] provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or provide referrals for abortions." This is not to mention the cutting of "None of the funds appropriated in this Act, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are appropriated in this Act, shall be expended for any abortion." In fact, all restrictions on public funding for abortions in DC, restrictions that used to be there, have been struck out.

Or, in other words, Ben Nelson, who is threatening to shitcan the entire health reform bill over even indirect abortion funding, voted to allow direct funding of abortions. It wasn't hidden - ant-abortion forces had pointed it out. And even Democrat Bart Stupak over in the House stuck to his Jesus guns and voted against the bill.

So what's the difference? Does Ben Nelson hate the fetuses of Washington, DC? Well, the Rude Pundit doesn't know that one way or the other. But he does know that the omnibus spending bill, which would have passed even if Nelson had been a good but soldier and voted for cloture but then against the conference report, doesn't have anything in there that might affect the profits of the health insurance industry.

Unlike, say, any health care reform bill that includes even a nod to a public option or government spending on health insurance. And since Ben Nelson sucks the scabby cock of the insurance industry as its bought and paid for bitch for three election cycles now to the tune of $2 million, when Aetna wants to come on his face, Aetna comes on his face.

Or, in otherer words, there is no real principle at work here, no morality, just typical political expedience to pleasure whoever needs pleasuring at the moment.


Weekend Revving Treats:
Here's a few minutes of the Rude Pundit's hour with Stephanie Miller this week. There's precious few people he'd rather be locked in a small room with. Except the wet dream is spoiled by too much Glenn Beck talk.
And you can, and should, subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast so you can enjoy your rudeness in your energy-efficient automatic motor vehicles.

Oh, and extra rudeness over at the National Journal's year-end poll of bloggers. The Rude Pundit calls Sarah Palin "the Paris Hilton of the Republican Party."
Sarah Palin, James Inhofe, and the Rest: Meet Christopher Clavius, Copernicus Denier:
You cannot imagine the shitstorm Nicholas Copernicus started when he stated that the sun was the center of the universe with planets revolving around it. All of a sudden, holy fuck, not only was the Earth no longer the big astronomical cheese, but the fuckin' terra firma was moving. Copernicus, using heathen scientific observation, transformed everything. It meant that theology, physics, and, well, astronomy, as well as the general psychology of people who actually gave a shit one way or the other had to be reconfigured. Or you had to say that Copernicus was a fucking asshat and cling desperately to your flaccid Ptolemy.

Now you may be familiar with metal-nosed Tycho Brahe, a bad motherfucker who kicked mucho celestial ass and taught Johannes Kepler, but who could not make the leap to total heliocentrism, although he tried to reconcile Copernicus and geocentrism in a clusterfuck of intersecting orbits. But you may not know Christopher Clavius, the mathematician and astronomer who worked on the Gregorian calendar and who spent much of his later life denying Copernicus and those bastard heliocentrists.

Clavius clung to the fixed Earth-centered universe, coming up with seemingly logical ways to tell Copernicans they could go fuck themselves with their observations and explanations. One of Clavius's goes like this: the earth couldn't be rotating because buildings would collapse and water would swirl and tip in vessels. "For the same reason, a stone or arrow projected straight upward with great force would not fall back to the same place, just as we see happen on a swiftly moving ship," Clavius wrote in the 16th century. Physics would catch up to heliocentrism. But you can bet that people who found it more convenient to their maintenance of power (the Catholic Church, for instance) paraded out Clavius as gospel.

Actually, Clavius used scripture to back up his beliefs, along with such choice nuggets as saying that the Earth stays the center of the universe because "of its heaviness. It rests always in the lowest place, farthest from the heavens, namely the center of the cosmos, and once there, it cannot be displaced naturally." Absurd, no? But Aristotle and others said it was so; therefore, it was so.

The point here is not to mock poor Christopher Clavius for being a Jesuit tool for his German religious overlords. But one imagines that if at the time, with the wealth of the church behind him, had there been an internet and Fox "news" and a compliant media who believe that facts are mutable, Clavius would have been cited repeatedly in order to smack down that asshole Copernicus for daring to fuck with our sense of our place in the universe. And the uneducated masses, not knowing anything more than what the church told them, would have mostly agreed, "Fuck that Copernicus. What does he know?" We would still be arguing over it now, calling out Copernicus-deniers.

The Rude Pundit thought of Clavius when he read Sarah Palin's idiotic editorial in the Washington Post and then saw that she was daring to take on Al Gore over climate change. Truly, while he is not threatened possible sanction by a powerful church, it is sad to see Gore have to answer constant questions on whether or not climate change is real, to have to address every conspiracy theory that comes up, to have to talk to people as if an observed, confirmed fact is not such.

Clavius never completely gave up on geocentrism. But Galileo visited him in 1611, just before his death, and allowed him to use the telescope. Observing for himself such things as the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter, Clavius realized that what he believed about the order of the universe could not stand up to such scrutiny, and one of the last things he wrote was, "Since things are thus, astronomers ought to consider how the celestial orbs may be arranged in order to save these phenomena."

Clavius died the next year. Imagine Clavius in that moment, knowing his time was passed; knowing that everything he defended, all those centuries, all those theories, was now up for grabs; knowing - he had to - that he was wrong. The Rude Pundit would like to believe that we live among people who have the capacity for such enlightenment, but he fears that we are in an age where unbelief is, to rephrase, too convenient for truth.


From Oslo, Barack Obama Wasn't Talking to You:
Let's put aside for a moment whatever misgivings we may have about the bullshit war we're fighting in Afghanistan and its nonsensical escalation (oops - tipped the hand there). In fact, put aside whatever personal animosity or disappointment you may or may not be feeling as health care reform gets watered down, gay rights gets thrown under the bus, and real banking regulation seems like a distant dream. Put aside, especially you, dear, sweet conservatives, any anger you may have about why President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; he had nothing to do with it, and he was about as confused as anyone. Let us all just take a breath and for a moment, outside of the blinding contexts in which we all exist, take a look at the speech Obama just delivered in Norway.

To put it simply, Barack Obama wasn't talking to you. He wasn't even talking to Europe, really. No, he was speaking to history, offering a philosophical and not dispassionate assertion of American leadership in the world, a reasoning behind his war policies, a defense of the "just war" doctrine, and a plan for future peace. It wasn't a stemwinder, a breathtaking oratory cum sermon. It was a speech, from an intellectual president to intellectuals, and it was so fucking smart. Have we gone so far down the dumbing-down highway that we can no longer see the importance of hearing a rational man grapple with the conflict between realism and idealism? Have we been so numbed by the cowboy presidency of George W. Bush, along with a steady diet of reality-TV hysterics and high-fructose corn syrup-infused food products, that we're no longer capable of understanding anything except in relation to how it makes us feel? Of course, that doesn't mean we have to blankly agree, but there's meat to chew on, not just the gristle of catchphrases and threats.

Check out a few lines: "Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity."

That is arrogant shit, right there, similar to what he said in his Afghanistan speech. But it is honestly arrogant. There's so much you can argue with - that every nation that gets into a war claims it is "just," the fact that the United States was reluctant to get into World War II in Europe, the necessity of U.S. involvement in Korea, the foot-dragging on doing anything in the Balkans (which didn't meet the criteria of Colin Powell's doctrine), and whether or not we're "imposing our will" on Iraq and Afghanistan. But is the underlying premise false? (And, frankly, conservatives ought to latch onto this entire speech; Obama does more to reform the image of Republicans than a thousand Sarah Palins.)

Here's how you know the way things have changed. In his September 14, 2001 speech at a prayer service for 9/11 victims, George W. Bush said that America's "responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil." And today, Barack Obama, in contrast, offered a less utopian view of the future: "We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes."

In the second half of the speech, Obama laid out his ideas for he called "a just peace." Elimination of nuclear weapons, support of human rights, and social development, good, clear liberal goals all, are the basis of this peace. And what he did in this section was to subtly curve the speech towards America as equal partner with other nations, not as arrogant spreader of wealth and democracy. Indeed, the sense of this part was that America ain't what it once was, and it needs to work with the rest of the world: "[I]n a world in which threats are more diffuse, and missions more complex, America cannot act alone. This is true in Afghanistan. This is true in failed states like Somalia, where terrorism and piracy is joined by famine and human suffering. And sadly, it will continue to be true in unstable regions for years to come." For most of the rest of the speech, America is barely mentioned at all, and, after exhortations of the need for the simplicity of love in the world, inspired by Martin Luther King, among others, Obama ended with the word "Earth."

One of the attacks on liberalism is that it's too eggheaded, too concerned with seeing all sides of an issue, with all that fucking nuance. And no doubt, even as the Rude Pundit types this, others are leaping at the speech as "dull" or lacking emotion. They're missing the point. The President articulated a vision of the future, tempered by acknowledgment of our reality. Essentially, Obama went to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to accept the accolade, and, instead, he asked the world to help him earn it.


Limbaugh Doctored Jesse Jackson Quote to Make It Look Like Jackson Opposes Obama:
So on his radio show yesterday, prior to asserting that he understood "the black frame of mind" and that black people were "feeling abandoned" in part because of "Tiger Woods' choice of females," Rush Limbaugh was trying to show that African Americans are turning against President Barack Obama by playing a clip of Rev. Jesse Jackson from The Tavis Smiey Show. Limbaugh said Smiley's question was, "Some think the blame Bush rhetoric no longer applies that Obama used successfully in the campaign."

Here's the transcript of Jackson's response, as presented by Limbaugh: "He essentially owns more and more. When Bush left office there were 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. We're now going to a hundred thousand, so we kind of own the Afghanistan mission. We bailed out the banks. We kind of own a plan now where you have more foreclosures than you do have modifications. We're losing jobs by the droves. Unemployment levels are disastrously high. We are the canary in the mine. We're on the front side of its pain and the backside of its prosperity. Urban America is black, but Appalachia basically is white. We must not be seen as marginal America."

Limbaugh then uses Jackson as a leaping off point to the supposed outrage of black Americans, saying, "How is that Hoax and Change working for you? They're all livid. I mean they thought there was going to be an exact 180 degree economic reversal and it's done nothing but get bad for everybody."

And Limbaugh might have a point, except that he's lying about Jackson. The audio of the clip is pretty smoothly done, but the Jackson quote is a Frankenstein's monster, strung together from edited pieces of two separate answers.

Smiley's question was: "There are some who believe that the blame Bush rhetoric that worked so well for the Obama team during the campaign no longer applies, on the economy, on the war -- he owns it now. You agree with that?"

Jackson's response was far more nuanced and actually blamed the Bush administration for putting the nation in its precarious position:
"Well, there's a continuity, but he essentially owns more and more. Bush left office with 30,000 troops in Afghanistan; we're now going to 100,000. So we kind of own the Afghanistan mission, for example. When Bush came in we were losing houses, foreclosures were outdistancing modifications.

"Now we bailed out the banks without linking to bailing out homeowners, and so we kind of own it planned out where you have more foreclosures than you have modifications. You own a situation where we're losing jobs by the droves without some plan to stop the hemorrhage and some kind of plan for economic reconstruction.

"The burden is upon us now. I think that there is still the awesome high hope for this president. It's early on. But you must judge him early on by the priorities and the priorities first with the bailout, the banks with no linkage to bailing out domestic America. Now the priorities shifted to bailing out Afghanistan and the healthcare plan. In the meantime, within these cities, the unemployment levels are disastrously high. Forty-nine million Americans are food-underserved. They're omitting meals or skipping meals, so to speak.

"So we need a real focus on domestic, urban poverty plan of the likes of a Lyndon Johnson. We need a domestic, urban poverty plan."

What the entire answer gives us is not a black leader angry at Obama, but a cautiously optimistic man who is hoping that the causes he worked on for his entire life won't be ignored again, as they were in the Bush administration.

The rest of the Limbaugh version, from "We are the canary in the mine" on, is from an entirely different question, where Jackson also said of jobs programs, "So when we cry out for help and we say putting America back to work, it affects everybody." In other words, it's a concern for all poor people, not just blacks, but blacks happen to be disproportionately poor.

After informing his audience about how he understands the emotional state of black people, Limbaugh offers another Jackson quote from the interview, also pasted together with chewing gum and lies. Smiley asks about how Jackson can "push back" against Obama when 90 percent of black people "love this president?"

Here's the Limbaugh version of the answer: "They also love to keep their houses and they also love their jobs. So the issue is about policy. It's not about our appreciation of the impact of this presidency. We found through the attorney generals that these major banks profiled blacks and Latinos. They circumvented community reinvestment laws. As opposed to getting a bailout, they should be facing the courts for breaking the law. On the black and brown side is where the water came in the boat. But the water didn't stop. It kept on coming, the water kept coming across. A rising tide will not lift those boats stuck at the bottom that have holes in them."

And now the actual quote (this is long, but you need it to know just how much Limbaugh tricks his audience): "And for all the right reasons. They'd also love to keep their houses, and they also love jobs. They also love some way to reduce student loan rates that are now driving us out of schools. It's issues about policy. It's not about our appreciation of the impact of his presidency; it's not about that at all. I think the quicker we get to the issue of direction and not complexion, then we can begin to focus on what do we need.

"We need targeted jobs now, for the unemployment, for all of us. Forty-nine million Americans who are food-underserved need a food-directed program now. As for the patterns of race discrimination, we've found through the attorney generals that these major banks target and profile Blacks and Latinos are still enclustered. That they've violated the laws, they've violated -- they've circumvented fair lending laws, they circumvented community reinvestment laws. As opposed to getting a bailout, they should be facing the courts for breaking the law.

"So really, the first step we need is the attorney general's role. If he would just step in to enforce the law, that is to stop -- to enforce the EEOC, to enforce contract compliance, to enforce affirmative action, to punish those who break the law, if he would just -- that would stop the hemorrhaging bottom-up. And that is the concern now, that unless we stop the patterns of discrimination, then we all lose.

"Put it this way, Tavis. On the Black and Brown side is where the water came in the boat. That was vulnerable spot. But the water didn't stop there, it kept on coming. In other words, what the lawsuits show is that a Black or Brown making $100,000 got a subprime, high-cost loan, and a White making $50,000 got a low-cost prime loan. That was discrimination.

"So on the front end, the banks profited from the loan not being enforced. The water kept coming until it affects -- because if my house goes in foreclosure, your house loses value. So now four and a half million homes lost to foreclosure, 20 million underwater. The water kept coming across. Now it's gone up to prime loans, and then credit cards, and then real estate.

"So the water that's now sinking the whole ship came in at the bottom, so if we would have, if you will, the Bobby Kennedy type aggressiveness, which -- and Holder is capable of that, I might add. We need the law -- if we just have the law enforced it's a big step, because for eight years, the law was not enforced.

Limbaugh is not just taking Jackson out of context. He's rewriting Jackson's words without saying at any point that he is selectively stringing together sentences in order to fit a narrative. Is that slander? And the narrative Limbaugh is trying to enforce is not only that Obama is losing black support because of some notion of betrayal, but that Jackson is not concerned with poverty, just race. Every reference to fighting poverty has been eliminated by Limbaugh.

Limbaugh concludes, "So there's trouble in paradise out there. The Reverend Jackson, his anger is pretty muted here but he's pretty mad." That may be true, but for his listeners, Jackson's real anger is misrepresented. Or, in other words, as ever, Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat liar.


Hey, EPA, Good to See You; It's Been a While:
Believe it or not, kids, there was a time when the Environmental Protection Agency existed as an agency to protect the environment. Obviously, as a government entity, it was subject to the inevitable compromises and political turbulence that goes with getting a budget from Congress. But, you know, you could count on the EPA to generally kick some corporate ass every once in a while on shit like air pollution, water pollution, hazardous waste, wetlands degradation, and more. If you were a kid in the 1970s, you might have even seen the EPA as one of the more noble efforts of the government, the good guys, the ones who thought you should maybe grow up without shit streaming into your rivers, chemicals in your air, medical waste on your beaches, and an extra arm on your brother.

Started by Nixon, the agency was almost crushed by Reagan, as he slashed its budget and gutted regulations (and Republicans misused Superfund dollars). As bad as that was, at least some actions occurred. If you want to know just how little the EPA did during the reign of Bush the Dumber, look at the EPA's own timeline of accomplishments by decade. Even in the 1980s, the agency was still working to get rid of toxic shit in the environment. But then you look at the 2000s (which only goes up to 2006), and you see that the entire decade was spent shuffling papers, crumbling under White House pressure, and rotating in new heads.

Once the American cultural focus shifted from the sickness and death caused by pollution to climate change (and global warming), the Bush administration was able to make the idiotic doubts about science a reason to once again chain the EPA in the attic and leave it a quivering, frustrated mess, filling the mid-level ranks with pro-corporate toadies and doing, basically, jackshit for fear of angering a craven Cheney in his mad pursuit of all oil, all the time, no matter whose air it fucks up. As the New York Times put it in December of 2008, "One original initiative in eight years, saved at the bell."

This week, then, it was almost heartwarming in a retro way to welcome the EPA back to the business of, you know, environmental protection. The agency ruled yesterday that "greenhouse gases posed a danger to human health and the environment." The finding gives the Obama administration, through the EPA, the power to regulate and that "if lawmakers do not act to control greenhouse gas pollution it will use its rule-making power to do so." The power for the administration to do so is backed up by a Supreme Court decision from 2007, although, you know, there will be more lawsuits against any rules that are proposed.

In a crystal fucking clear conclusion, the EPA "finds that the combined greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of these key greenhouse gases and hence to the threat of climate change." Got that? Humans cause greenhouse gases. The report was open for public comment for several months before this final one was issued. Through that process, Republicans in Congress have tried (and will continue to try) to discredit the entire study. Bags of dick James Sensenbrenner and Darrell Issa and others tried to insinuate that the EPA has a "desire to promote an environmental agenda dominated by extreme special interest groups."

But if you read deeply into the report, there's some awesome kicks in the nutsacks to climate change deniers. In a response to commenters about the "lack of consensus" on human contribution to global warming, the report notes, "the strength of the science is not determined by petitions or lists of names; rather it is determined by the detailed examination of the fully body of literature."

And in reference to a Senate minority report that attacked the science of climate change, the EPA responds, "Though the declarations, petitions, and letters referred to by commenters demonstrate the existence of dissenting viewpoints, they do not represent the viewpoints of the overwhelming majority of the active climate science research community nor provide legitimate scientific evidence to substantiate the alternative points of view presented." In layman's terms, "Goddamn, you are all such fucktards and losers."

So welcome back, EPA. And to the many Americans didn't even realize they were missing you, let's hope this is the start of a great reignited love affair.


Wake Up World with Lizz Winstead Tomorrow Night in NYC:
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, and the hard-working and hilarious crew of comics (like Jeff Kreisler and Baron Vaughan) from Shoot the Messenger present the Wake Up World Christmas Special on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at the Bleecker Street Theatre at 45 Bleecker in New York City.

No, the Rude Pundit isn't involved this time. But after the sketch funny, Lizz will be talking with Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor and Publisher and one of the Rude Pundit's favorite lefty writers.
Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Freebase Metamucil:

That's Senator John McCain, America's Most Prickish Leprechaun, gettin' his blood all angered up because he was debating health care reform this past Saturday. And what got Johnny Maverick all arms aflailing, teeth-a-barin' mad? Oh, he latched onto the Obama administration's skeevy backroom deals with big pharma to leave drug prices mostly untouched in any reform turd that might squeeze through the tight sphincter of the Senate. In other times, his Republican colleagues would have been all over supporting such deals (and making them), but not when there's opposin' to do by the opposition.

In that dwarfish passive-aggressive voice of his, McCain said, "I don't know what the deal was, but we will find out, just like the deals that were cut with all of these other organizations," attempting to pimp-slap Max Baucus while being cheered on by Judd Gregg, Bob Corker, and the other mouth pissers of the minority. Really, watching this "debate" is like trying to figure out whether to root for Godzilla or King Kong. Ultimately, shit's just gonna end up crushed.

Perhaps forgetting the way that the Senate was run by K-Street lackeys just over a year ago, McCain observed, "This place is full of lobbyists. I can't walk through the hallway without bumping into one of their lobbyists." This is not to mention McCain going into full dickbag mode when Baucus was attempting to answer him: "If the Senator keeps interrupting, he is violating the rules of the Senate. I thought he would have learned 'em by now."

The Republicans were allotted 45 minutes for this part of the "debate" (it was over some damn Republican amendment or other that ultimately failed). And to show you how serious McCain and the minority takes the whole thing, McCain wrapped up by saying, "It has been a great time. We are going to do it again, a lot, between now and the time the vote is forced, and the American people are on our side."

Yep, it's big fun, delaying and delaying as the bill is watered down and watered down, until finally there's nothing left in there for anyone to support except that something should have been done.


A Birthday Treat For You:
The podcast server that had been fucking things up is fixed, so here's this week's Stephanie Miller Show appearance, with John Fugelsang and the lovable producer Chris Lavoie, just in time for the Rude Pundit's birthday, which arrived just in time to cure the post-Beck hangover.

And get yer rude to go: sign up for the Rude Pundit's podcast, one of the top-five political podcasts on Podbean. Pod.