A Tale of Two Nations and Their Future Teachers:
A few years ago, the Rude Pundit was an English professor at a not bad, not great Midwestern university. Many of his students wanted to go on to be elementary and high school English teachers. He remembers distinctly one student, call her "Jenny" because that's not her name. Jenny was not bright. Her papers in this lit course were filled with errors and sentences so incoherent that they made Sarah Palin seem like Judith Butler.

A senior, she was shocked that her writing was so bad. The Rude Pundit asked her how other professors had not brought this to her attention, and she said she had always done well enough, getting by with Bs and Cs. Instead of thinking that she needed help, she insisted that the Rude Pundit was grading her too harshly. You'll just have to take his word for it that he was not. When she revised her papers, she made as many errors. When she took tests, she wrote answers that were not in any way connected to the questions or a realistic notion of comprehension.

However, she was in her last semester of school before she went into student teaching, which was the last step before she achieved her dream of becoming a full-time elementary school teacher. When the Rude Pundit learned that, he was appalled. He had taught mediocre education students before, but this was beyond the pale. The idea that she would be teaching children how to write actually sickened him. He spoke to other professors about her, and they all said the same thing, which could be reduced to, "Yeah, but what are you gonna do?"

The Rude Pundit flunked her because that was the grade she earned. She angrily confronted him about how he was delaying her becoming a teacher because she would have to take the course again. He replied, "You have no business being a teacher until you learn how to write." She took the course again with another professor, who passed her. Right now she is teaching 5th graders. He knows many other excellent schoolteachers who would find her reprehensible.

Flash forward a year later. The Rude Pundit is overseas in Denmark. He's been brought there to teach interactive political theatre workshops at a couple of colleges or "seminariums." The seminariums he visited were devoted to teaching teachers how to teach. There are eighteen such schools in Denmark, and they train new teachers, who must already have degrees from colleges, and offer in-service additional training to established teachers. In other words, you better be good or you're not teaching the children of Denmark. And why do people do it? Because Denmark values teaching, paying the people who do it well, keeping schools in good shape, and more.

The students the Rude Pundit taught there were not special in terms of the seminariums. But they were incredible. They asked him questions about U.S. involvement in the wars. They developed and performed pieces about torture and sexual harassment and school policies without any prompting. They questioned, constantly, everything about power and authority. And they wrote English better than most of his students back home. He wanted these students to be teachers. Any one of them would have been excellent in the classroom.

This compare/contrast essay was prompted by an editorial in today's Washington Post by Matt Miller. In a thoughtful, ambitious piece, Miller avoids blanket condemnation of teachers' unions and instead focuses on a part of the puzzle that doesn't get as much attention: the actual way in which America gets teachers. Miller offers the shocking heresy that "The top performing school systems in the world have strong teachers unions at the heart of their education establishment." The difference is that "[t]he chief educational strategy of top-performing nations such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea is to recruit talent from the top third of the academic cohort into the teaching profession and to train them in selective, prestigious institutions to succeed on the job."

What Miller proposes is a radical alteration in the way the United States approaches the profession of teaching, which he and Paul Kihn offered last year. And it has nothing to do with bullshit bandages like charter schools, school choice, and privatization. No, in fact, it's quite the opposite. It's to treat education like the foundation of a strong society that it actually is:

"What about starting salaries of $65,000 rising to $150,000 for teachers (and more for principals)? And federally funded 'West Points' of teaching and principal training to model for the nation how it can be done? And new federal cash for poor districts now doomed by our 19th-century system of local school finance, so they can compete in regional labor markets for the talent that today gravitates to higher-paying suburbs? And shrinking today’s 15,000 unwieldy, archaic local school districts (where we’re also an international outlier) to, say, a more manageable 60 — one in each state plus 10 big urban districts?"

Miller and Kihn put the cost at $30 billion a year. Or roughly 4.5% of the current military budget. Which means it'll never happen. And we will continue to try to cobble together our education system through bits and pieces and budget cuts and private companies instead of actually behaving as if it matters.


Of Kill Lists, Drones, and Presidents:
Let us say, and why not, that the President of the United States, under the authority vested in him by what his lawyers believe the Constitution and the Supreme Court have said, decided to start a program of targeted robot raping. Yes, whenever the CIA or some other intelligence-gathering agency said it had found a no-good, dirty Moo-slim terrorist, President Barack Obama could order in a fleet of metal men with giant Steely Dan dildos on the front to go in and fuck the shit out of the assholes of anyone so identified, a rape-list, if you will. Let us say, and, indeed, why not, that in order to keep all things equal, anyone who happened to be in close proximity to the presumed terrorist could then also get his or her asshole reamed by robococks. And if it happened that there were children playing in the yard while the filthy terrorist scum and their associates were getting ass raped, the children would get ass raped, too. Because robots don't know. Unless they're programmed for it, they don't understand screaming and pleading and cries of innocence. No, all they know is that there's an asshole that needs to be filled repeatedly with a thrusting steel dong. Would we Americans care? Would we care that Moo-slim kiddies are getting their anuses ripped by our soulless automaton warriors, paid for by our tax dollars, every slam another penny out of your pocket? Would that be enough? Or would it have to be worse? Would the robots have to rape them, tear out their insides, set the whole place on fire, and then piss salt on the ashy ground so that nothing may ever grow again?

See, the Rude Pundit knows that right now he's supposed to be making oh-so-delightful Donald Trump jokes or comparing something Mitt Romney did to that face-eating drug zombie in Miami, but the idea that the President has a list of people that can be killed by drone attacks just sticks in his craw, like a particularly thick phlegm globule that he can't hock up. Sure, sure, the Rude Pundit should be dutifully lining up and defending the policy of the Obama administration. If Obama had said to Congress, "Okay, fuckers, since you're not gonna let me close Gitmo and hold prisoners in the United States, this blood is on your hands," then the whole sending missiles into other countries to bomb a house might have some context, at least.

Without getting all Glenn Greenwald on this (which would be redundant, since Greenwald has already gotten all Greenwald), one aspect of the big story in the New York Times yesterday that is galling is how, essentially, Obama lost his shit after the Underwear Bomber's crotch of caliphate expansion burned up on that plane heading to Detroit. It enraged Obama. "After that, as president, it seemed like he felt in his gut the threat to the United States," says one counterterrorism expert in the article. And the President moved to expand the drone program to Yemen, making it as bomberrific as Pakistan. We expected reason in the face of danger, not Obama hulking out and figuring out how to blow stuff up real good without going into full-on war mode.

Right now, Obama has placed himself and his judgment as the ultimate arbiter of who can and will have the fuck target-bombed out of them, with collateral damage being hidden or written off as guilt-by-association and thus counted as more terrorists killed. The whole program is based on a belief that Obama is doing good, with a list that has included and more than likely still includes American citizens, who, the White House has declared, got their "due process" when people talked about whether or not to kill them.

Forget for a moment the idea that we're just outright murdering people in foreign countries. Forget for a moment that if, say, China decided to send a drone to take out Chen Guangcheng in New York City, we'd be hypocritical pricks for having a problem with that (not that it would stop us). Forget that. The reason to be angry, very angry about the drone program is right there. A unilateral, unchecked power over the life and death of individual, everyday people now rests with the President. And we're supposed to be fine with it because it's Obama, and, boy, trust him because he's so fucking smart. But even if you do, would you trust President Romney to rain robot doom in a rational way? Or President Christie? Or President Jeb Bush? Or some unknown who isn't as smart and good and wise and Nobel Peace Prize-winning as the current kill list decider?


Chris Hayes and Heroes:
Nearly every time the Rude Pundit goes to the theatre, no matter how small the venue or awful the show, the audience seems to give the performers a standing ovation at the end. Like others, he feels it's almost heartening when an audience doesn't leap to its feet in rapturous applause. Or, more likely, when one or two people stand up and the trickle effect of adoration peer pressure gets to everyone else and we just fucking stand. It seems far more self-congratulatory, not a sincere act of appreciation, as if we're saying, "Yes, yes, we were smart enough to have paid money to see this show," the tautology of audience adulation.

This need to inflate every effort into some cataclysmic, tweet-worthy, Facebook-update validated experience is blown up more on television. On a show like Food TV's Chopped, the editing and music make mild criticisms of chef's dishes into climactic judgments on the very existence of the contestants. So, for instance, Beardy Douchebag the Judge says to Desperately Sweaty the Young Chef that his flambeed horse snouts with a white chocolate foam and panda tear glaze on a bed of Swiss-red-whatever-fucking chard is a bit too salty. It's accompanied by dark, thumping music and a quick close-up of Sweaty sweating. Extrapolate this out to shows about making fucking balloon animals or negotiating over the price of a human skull, and it seems like everyone is involved in some intense, life-transforming activity when, really, they're just doing their fucking jobs. But, again, it's a way of validating us, the viewers, that we have a dramatic stake in this, that we are not just watching some asshole who builds motorcycles for a living build a motorcycle, but that we are watching artisans waging a war against the elements and each other.

The Rude Pundit has always had a problem with the word "hero" to describe anyone who happens to be in a certain job. Sure, it's brave as hell to be a cop or a firefighter or an EMT. But it's a certain kind of person who deserves to be called "hero." He'd say that, at the very least, that person would have to do something, you know, heroic. Just showing up for your job doesn't rate that. Even the firefighters who died on 9/11 when the Twin Towers collapsed. The FDNYers were courageous as anyone could be. But if all you did was run into a building that fell on you and killed you, you're not a hero. You're a brave man who died on his way to being a hero, perhaps, but not quite getting there.

So it was that this past Sunday, Memorial Day's eve, just before we honor the dead with the Indianapolis 500, MSNBC host and Nation writer Chris Hayes said on his weekend show, Up with Chris Hayes, "It is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the word 'hero.' Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word 'hero'? I feel uncomfortable with the word 'hero' because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. And I obviously don't want to desecrate or disrespect the memory of anyone that has fallen. Obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is tremendous heroism. You know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that's problematic, but maybe I'm wrong about that."

Is this that difficult to understand? You die shooting up children in a village in Vietnam, you perhaps don't deserve to be called a hero. And to call you one not only degrades true heroism, but it also validates the war in a way that it doesn't deserve validation. As Hayes points out, that's not to take away valor and courage and all that shit that goes along with soldiers. But if you're a dude in supply and you get killed because your truck crashed outside Baghdad, how does that turn you from pencil pusher to hero? And why should you get the same accolades as the guy who walked up to a nest of Nazis and died blowing it up so that his fellow soldiers could get off the beach?

The attacks on Chris Hayes from the right are as predictable as they are tiresome. Various blogging suckers of cock and Ann Coulter piled on, with the end result being that Hayes issued a written apology. By the way, these same suckers of cock and Ann Coulter had no problem attacking wounded veterans John Kerry and Max Cleland and denying they were heroes. Because fuck you; they don't need to support all the troops when they don't want to.

Hayes's apology is actually a sly "kiss my ass" if you read it correctly. As he writes, he was trying to deal with how most Americans have a disconnect with the very real conflict in Afghanistan and that we "assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues." And Memorial Day sales. Don't forget the sales. Got some sweet shorts for cheap this weekend thanks to our brave men and women in uniform.

The Rude Pundit has some skin in this game. He has a nephew who is flying Apaches in Afghanistan right now. He's doing some of the most dangerous work that can be done during an utterly worthless war. But unless the nephew does something heroic, like land the Apache during a firefight to pick up soldiers, he won't call him a "hero." He'll call him "a good soldier."

Very few plays deserve standing ovations. Even fewer people have intense drama in their everyday jobs. Not every child deserves a trophy for just showing up and playing a game. And not every soldier is a hero just because they died on or near a battlefield.


A Poem for Memorial Day:
From Rob Densmore, who was in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy from 2004 through 2007, and later returned as a freelance journalist, a bitter, angry poem titled "A Taste of Afghanistan":

City sand has its own taste
Not the country’s dust,
But darker.
It’s stronger – bitter parts
Under infantry foot.
Under 500 years going and coming.
Kipling’s finest up and over –
Through the pass,
Through the places where soldiers stood
In stolid white snow.
Cemeteries in the pass where Alexander’s own
Fell on the square rocks.
Paved with smoothed over river rock,
This open grave – white, bare.

Kabul sand polishes everyone’s edges.
Tajiks sharp on the cusp
And Northern Alliance coming down
Hard in the fray.
They all want each other’s throats.
Their wives lost in the fight –
Save for pointed heels and
Gold bangled over fine red henna.

Eastern sand and southern sand,
Pakistan sand crooked as broken teeth,
Herati sand pure and rising to the top.
Nothing mixes and there is no space in between.
If God loved this place he doesn’t now.
If He breathed in the brass bullet casings
And the diesel air and spiteful prayers.
A place for lust and dirty children
And the things night can hide.

What things grown men can hide-
In the dark corners of their own children’s rooms.
In the big shadows of a capital with no master and no disciple.
No scope for all things to come together
The sand and the dust and the dirt that makes things grow-
When it is left alone.

But we’ve put our fingers in it
And the stirring and stamping won’t leave
Much for the growing.
Dust bowls and cyclone air will take the rest.
Every village is filled with it now –
Dust from our bombs and inside our APCs.
Dirt scrubbed from our rifle actions
And ground into our sweaty palms like Mississippi silt.

And still nothing grows.
I’ve taken a knee in seventeen villages –
On street corners and broken down roundabouts,
On highways and in shattered homes.
On helo pads and plywood chapel steps,
On the backs of dead men-
And screaming vile women.

They will, all of them, bend or break –
It is either them or me.
It’s either winning or losing
And putting in its place
What does not belong,
Sand of a different taste and hue
That cannot tell me it is sorry.


This S.E. Cupp Thing:
Among many women and more than a few sympathetic men on the left and right, there's been mucho outrage over Hustler magazine depicting New York Daily News columnist and Ann Coulter 2.0 (devolved version) S.E. Cupp with a dick in her mouth. The title of this oh-so-scathing satire is the oh-so-subtle "What Would S.E. Cupp Look Like with a Dick in her Mouth?" And there's the photoshopped image of said Cupp with said dick in said mouth.

This has led to an expected rush of condemnation against Hustler, whose classy May issue contains, according to the cover, coverage of the Fukushima meltdown and World War II "Japanese Sex Pix," which are perfect for your Memorial Day viewing pleasure, and whose website's front page includes at least a dozen women with dicks in various orifices. Much of that condemnation has come from liberal feminists, and it has led right wing writers to trot out the usual suspects in attacking all "liberal" misogyny. So we get to hear about Bill Maher again. And Keith Olbermann.

The Rude Pundit isn't going to get into it except to say that, yes, it's a sexist attack, of course, and, of course, commentators of all political stripes cross lines to make crude and denigrating insults towards women, and those lines are often blurry. One blogger on the right muddied the waters further by pointing out another incident, where the female former head of the AFL-CIO in South Carolina smashed a Gov. Nikki Haley pinata. Is that "misogyny," as she says?

Instead of wading through what has been waded through, let's read S.E. Cupp's opinion on the Violence Against Women Act, which she gave on MSNBC last week. Asked by host Alex Wagner about it, Cupp said, "If I came to you and I said, 'I have this new piece of legislation, and I'm going to call it the Stealing From Men Act,' you'd say, 'That's preposterous. Stealing from men is a crime in all 50 states.' So is violence against women. [It's] a crime in all 50 states...It's redundant. Violence against men and women is already a crime." Which pretty much means she didn't read past the title of the act.

She also wrote in the Daily News last month regarding the gender gap hitting Republicans, "[I]f only women would do their homework, they’d see that Republican policies of lower taxes and smaller government are better for women because they’re better for everyone. Smaller government gives women more choices, more mobility, more empowerment. I don’t know where women went wrong. Republican economic policies of self-reliance should be right up their alley. Instead, it appears as if they really just want to be taken care of. Is this the legacy of feminism?"

See, there's loads of reasons to condemn Cupp that have nothing at all to do with her sex. She's an idiot who advocates for appalling policies that are detrimental to feminism and to women in general. Gotta say: that's a fuck of a lot more offensive. And a dick in her mouth won't change a thing about it.


A Radical Proposition: Let's Take the Word "Conservative" From Them:
"What the hell happened?" a friend of the Rude Pundit asked last night over large deli sandwiches. "Can you explain what the hell happened to the South?" The friend was a born and bred Southerner, with deep roots in Tennessee, and he didn't understand what insanity had taken over to cause things to slip so seemingly far backwards in cultural, social, and political progress. The Rude Pundit dated it from the Reagan era, when the Gipper allowed the evangelical nutzoids a place at the table of power, as well as the number of Southern Democrats who switched to Republican in that awful time, the seeding period of our destruction. No matter the cause, we agreed that a strain of poisonous, revolutionary regression had occurred in too many places in the South.

Between thinking about that meat-rich conversation and the number of self-proclaimed conservatives who now are breaking with what is the mainstream of the political right in America, exemplified in Salon today by former Reaganite and National Review/Weekly Standard writer Michael Fumento, the Rude Pundit came to a conclusion: we on the left have become the conservatives. In the same way that liberalism post-Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill paved the way for 20th-century conservatism, perhaps we need to say that the expansion of government in the 1940s, the results of the upheavals of the 1960s and the gains of liberalism through the 1970s are what America is now. They are now under fire 40 or 50 years later and need to be, in the truly precise meaning of the word, conserved.

For what has been the thrust of the right since the 1980s, with more success in the last ten years, but to reverse everything going back to, at least, the New Deal (with some wishing to go back to some pre-Wilson bizarro land of handlebar mustaches and corsets). At some point, the way a government interacts with its citizens becomes the standard. Any attempt to alter that social contract is a radical action.

The simplest example: Social Security has been the law of the land since 1935. If you change its most basic component, shifting money paid into the program from the government to private accounts, you have radically changed something that has been part of Americans' lives. You can say that you are doing so for your own notions of good, but you cannot, in any way, claim that you are being conservative.

It's not just that conservatives aren't really conservative anymore. This is not merely a semantic battle. The word "conservative" is used as a cudgel against anyone vaguely moderate, let alone "progressive." And while the Rude Pundit believes that in many ways, it has been hijacked and transformed, really, when you look at the battles going on, it's we on the left who have become the conservatives.

How so? Let's toss a few logs on this fire:
1. The radical use of the filibuster by Republicans in the Senate, as opposed to its rare, important use previously..
2. The constant rolling back of longstanding reproductive rights for women, including abortion and contraception coverage.
3. Climate change denial, which is a radical attack on the quite conservative scientific community.
4. Budgets that deeply cut social programs that have been successful in keeping society from descending into chaos (like food stamps and education).
5. The shifting of many government programs and projects to the private, for-profit sector. See the prison system and the current movement towards ending public, government-run schools in any traditional sense, not to mention virtually any construction done by government.
6. The shifting of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class and poor.

Hell, we could even say that on culture war things like gay marriage, it's we on the left who believe in the sanctity of the act of marriage, but let's not take away all our radical impulses.

What's conservative about what Republicans are trying to do, hell, have done to the nation?

So the radical proposition is this: Some politicians and media figures need to start calling Democratic efforts to just maintain the federal government's role in, you know, running the nation and assisting the less fortunate and supporting civil rights "conservative." When some Republican talks about privatizing Social Security or shutting down the Department of Education, Anderson Cooper should then turn to a Democrat and say, "What's the conservative position on this?"

It's not a small thing. Linguistic tricks can reframe debates in ways that draw new attention to what is truly radical and what is truly American.

(Note: Yes, many Democrats have been complicit along the way, especially in the area of privacy and judicial rights, but the heavier burden must be borne by Republicans.)


A President Romney's Policies Would Make Him and His Son Even Richer:
Let us return to a minor manufactured controversy from the huge factory of Made-Up Shit What Right Wingers Need to Believe About President Obama. Back in August 2011, the President's uncle - his estranged father's half-brother, to be more precise - was arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts. An illegal immigrant, he was held by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement but was later released, pending a hearing on his deportation.

This was completely legal, yet absolutely outrageous, according to some Republicans. Representative Lamar Smith of Texas blamed changes in immigration policy under Obama and spittled that the President's "illegal immigrant uncle might be one of the first illegal immigrants to benefit from it. President Obama’s uncle is a test case for why this new policy is a threat to the American people."

Was Onyango Obama treated differently because of his relationship to the president? No doubt. Did changes in immigration law help him? Possibly. But not much. He still faces that deportation hearing, which could take years because he applied for amnesty. And he did get his driver's license back because, well, that's the law in Massachusetts and the deal that the man cut with prosecutors.

But this isn't really about immigration or Uncle Onyango. No, what this is really about is presidential candidate Mitt Romney and at least one of his sons, Taggart, who goes by "Tagg" because otherwise it's proof that his parents were too fucking stupid not to give him a name that rhymes with "fart."

See, Tagg Romney is a founding partner in Solamere Capital, described in Businessweek as "a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in buyout, turnaround, growth equity, distressed, credit, and venture capital investments." It was started with $10 million dollars from Mitt Romney. It now has a $250 million private equity fund whose holdings the Rude Pundit could not find. More than likely, it involves doing the same shit that dear old dad did at Bain.

Should hell freeze over, pigs fly, and Mitt Romney becomes president, the very policies that he is campaigning on, the very policies that he has said he would enact, would enrich the coffers of private equity firms. Like Solamere Capital. And the pockets of its partners, like Tagg Romney. Repealing even the weak sauce that is Dodd-Frank, as Romney promises to do, makes donors from private equity open their wallets like the pussy lips of the sultan's best-kept concubine.

Why is this not an issue? Are we immune now to such outright corruption in our post-Bush/Cheney oil orgy? Do we simply expect our politicians to make themselves and their friends richer and merely hope that there's some collateral benefit for the rest of us poor fuckers who don't have access to the pot of gold?

By the way, as long as the Obama administration is hitting Romney on Bain Capital for deals that are, yes, quite legal, and, yes, quite immoral, they should be hitting him hard on the fact that Romney still makes money from the investing that Bain does. Yeah, his retirement deal included a percentage of future profits from his firm. When Bain guts a company now, a bell rings and Mitt Romney buys another car elevator.

So Mitt Romney has a direct financial stake in the slippery rules that govern the slimy world of investment capital. And, as president, he would make sure that the viscous slug trail of cash kept flowing to his friends, his family, and himself.

Who on the right would call out that nepotistic act?


Karl Rove Plays "Basketball": An Interpretation:
So pudge-headed wrecking ball Karl Rove and his organization/SuperPAC/money-vacuuming hate machine that keeps Karl Rove rich, Crossroads GPS, are hitting the airwaves with a big buy of a new ad that has one writer at the New York Times jizzing so hard it's like he was fucking an asshole of lubricated gold. It's "a deeply researched, delicately worded story of a struggling family" that is "striking" and is so, so creative because it's walking a high-wire by selling "a hard truth wrapped in soft packaging: even though the headlines might be looking good now, the American dream is still in tatters."

Then you watch the ad, and you think, "Really?"

Titled "Basketball," the video opens with white kids playing the eponymous game. Message? "White kids can shoot hoops, too, black president." Then young mom watching in her nice suburban home transforms into old mom whose loser kids are unemployed, living at home, and still outside, messing up the driveway. Dad, presumably, is dead or couldn't stand to be around his failed offspring. Overprotective old mom even makes sandwiches for her stunted adult children.

And who is to blame? That fucking President Obama, you know. Yeah, as old mom says, "I supported President Obama because he spoke so beautifully. He promised change. But things changed for the worse." Then headlines float out about how the economy blows, even though a couple of those are from 2009, when Obama's policies either hadn't yet or had just started working.

"Obama started spending like our credit cards have no limit," which, you know, an American Express card doesn't, but still. And his health care bill? Oh, fuck that shit. Even though, you know, there's a good chance that her slacker loin-sprouts are suckling on that Obamacare teat.

"I had so many hopes," old mom says, probably meaning that she totally fucked up in giving her kids an upper middle class lifestyle, without worry or struggle, so they have no skills that are usable in the real world beyond mindlessly wasting their days playing b-ball. Jesus, Johnny and Janie Loserson can't even look at a jobs website without each other. The codependency of this family on each other is frightening to behold.

By the way, they apparently paid for college with student loans that they have to pay back. You know who backed those loans? You know who expanded loan programs? Just sayin'. Anyways...

Old mom ends sitting around a table, talking to her 20something son and daughter who are still fucking wearing basketball-playing clothes, since no one will play with them since all of their friends apparently have jobs, while old mom tells us to tell President Obama to "Cut the job killing debt and support the New Majority Agenda." And go to their goddamned website.

And that's really just a way of getting people over to the Crossroads GPS website, where you can read the usual Republican template of shit what we tried under Rove's boss, the Bush that's been Brazilianed off our historical groins (but like all such bushes, it always grows back).

Yes, another brilliant ad from Rove and the dude who made the Willie Horton nightmare, assuring "independents" that white bourgeois victimhood is in the forefront of their pathetic minds.


"Journalist" Wife of Romney Adviser Says Obama Is Condescending to Women:
So failed former CNN anchoress, Campbell Brown, writes in yesterday's New York Times that President Obama was being oh-so patronizing to women in his commencement address at Barnard College and in his campaign. And she actually says, "The Republican primaries probably did turn some women away." That's like saying that herpes sores probably prevented someone from getting laid. No, the sores are disgusting. No fucking for you.

Mostly, though, Brown is so wrong in so many ways that it makes sense that she married Dan Senor, who works for Mitt Romney's soon-to-be failed campaign for president. Senor was one of the worst Bush administration liars about "progress" in Iraq during the first couple of years of the war. Seriously, he could have been standing there with IED-blown soldier guts spattering his flak jacket, and he'd have said how splendiferous it was going. And his forehead is disturbingly huge.

So Brown can say with a straight face that Obama was being a condescending fuck when he said at Barnard, "I am convinced you are tougher" and "things will get better — they always do." Then Brown cites statistics about the number of recent college grads who are out of work - which is a whole lot. But the thing is that Obama didn't act like a cheerleader. What he said before those lines was "[A]s young people, in many ways you have it even tougher than we did. This recession has been more brutal, the job losses steeper. Politics seems nastier. Congress more gridlocked than ever. Some folks in the financial world have not exactly been model corporate citizens." Pretty honest. In the end, though, it was a goddamn graduation speech. Was he supposed to follow that up with, "Soooo, you're fucked"?

But beyond context being a wicked bitch, Brown attacks the Obama campaign for its "Life of Julia" interactive web feature (it's not an "ad," as Brown calls it, except that it's part of the Obama for President website). It's "a silly and embarrassing caricature based on the assumption that women look to government at every meaningful phase of their lives for help," Brown says. Yes, it must be a vile tracing of all the ways that you welfare moms and single gals can get free government birth control and abortions and food stamps and vagina checks. Except that when you actually read it, what it's really saying is "Hey, look at all the passive ways that government affects you every day of your lives and, oh, by the way, here's how Republicans want to take it away." Public schools, Medicare, health insurance up to age 26, all shit that ought to not be controversial. It's not about relying on government. Government is just there. Maybe you want to get rid of loan subsidies to help start small businesses, which is the only thing listed that is above and beyond trying to stay alive and get an education. It's not "an overwhelming factor in their daily existence."

No, no, this is Obama treating women like little objects that need to be coddled, unlike the hardy Brown women who face down hardship with nothing more than families to offer them soup and a clean bed. There's the cousin "started a small company with a little savings, renovating houses. A single mom, she saved enough to buy a home and provide child care for her son. When the economy went belly up, so did her company. She was forced to sell her home and move in with her parents. She has found another job, but doesn’t make enough to move out." Oh, no government involved there. Just good ol' family. But you just wanna call "Bullshit" on that tale (and another one). Because either Cousin Brown's family is super wealthy or the child is getting health care from CHIP.

"Most women don’t want to be patted on the head or treated as wards of the state," Brown concludes. They just want a fair chance because the economy matters most to them. In "The Life of Julia," one of the pats on the head/ward of the state things mentioned is "Because of steps like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Julia is one of millions of women across the country who knows she'll always be able to stand up for her right to equal pay."

Yeah, fuck that paternalistic bastard.


Oh, No, What Ever Will Happen If All the White Peoples Are Gone?:
1. A report by the Census Bureau, released this week, confirms what most Americans pretty much figured: non-white births are now outpacing white births. While the demographic tanning of the United States has slowed of late (thanks to a shitty economy causing a standstill in Mexican immigration), we're on a track to be a significantly darker country by, say 2040-2050. Even though, you know, no one group of non-whites will approach the number of white people.

2. Reliable, plump racist Pat Buchanan declared, in the wake of the Census Bureau findings, "White America is a dying tribe." And one of the worst effects of this death of whiteness? Because they've been such mensches about immigrants, Buchanan says, the Republican Party has "probably ensured its impending departure from history." Apparently, it's because stupid Hispanics don't understand how good the GOP is for them.

3. Across the nation, the number of white supremacist and militia groups is rising, quickly, in reaction to the expected shift in demographics, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Of course, the election of the first black president pretty much pressed the accelerator on such a boom in hate back in 2008.

4. In the last couple of weeks:
        a. At least 13 members of a white supremacist group, the American Front, were arrested in Florida for planning various attacks in hopes of starting a race war. They were training with weapons they had stockpiled. Unlike nearly every supposed radical Islamic plot to blow something up, the FBI was not the instigator of the group's activities. Rest assured, though, that, according to one suspect's mother, they were not a racist hate group. However, as she said, like her son, "I don't like illegals and I don't like these troublesome blacks."
       b. Joseph Benjamin Thomas is not facing terrorism charges, despite telling an undercover FBI agent that he was "a domestic terrorist." Thomas was arrested for planning to attack the Mexican consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota, among other race-based violence. He hoped his actions would "stir debate" about immigration ahead of the 2012 election.
       c. Let us not forget J.T. Ready, who killed his girlfriend, her daughter, and her granddaughter in Arizona before shooting himself. Ready was a neo-Nazi, and while the crimes weren't racially motivated, his derangement and love of big guns certainly didn't help.

Conclusion: This morning, walking back from getting coffee, the Rude Pundit crossed paths with Fat Hispanic Man Who Stands on the Corner All Day and Not-As-Fat Hispanic Woman Standing Next to Her Car. The woman's child, seated in the car, was staring at the man. "What are you looking at?" the man asked the 4 year-old boy.

His mom jumped in, "He ain't lookin' at nothin' 'cause he a punk."

And just for a split second, a gnawing anger nudged the Rude Pundit's brain. He briefly, disturbingly ascribed it to some latent racist impulse until he walked past the Fat White Boy Playing Hooky. The kid was smoking dope at 9 a.m. "What you lookin' at?" he asked the Rude Pundit.

Relieved that fuckers are fuckers, no matter what the color, he ignored the kid and headed home.


The Re-Niggering of Barack Obama (2012 Version):
You know what comes through most in the proposal for a SuperPAC ad attacking the President, titled "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good," is just how fucking pathetic billionaire Joe Ricketts is. Here he is, founder of TD Ameritrade, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, and the biggest bison meat seller in the goddamn world, and he can't get over the fact that President Obama had a preacher who said mean things about America.

So he gets a pair of spoogebuckets who worked for the really, really successful campaign of Jon Huntsman to come up with a way to take Obama apart because "the metrosexual black Abe Lincoln has emerged as a hyper-partisan, hyper-liberal, elitist politician with more than a bit of the trimmer in him." First off, it's pretty friggin' hypocritical to call someone "elitist" while at the same time using a British term for "hypocrite" (unless "trimmer" means, what? Pimp? One who trims?).

While they admit that people still "like" the President, they want to sow doubt about his abilities and about who he is. See, apparently, this brain trust, which couldn't make Jon Huntsman electable with three hot daughters hanging off his dick, has decided to "reach into [the independent voter's] gut to dramatically reconfirm and increase the unease he has over Obama's incompetence" and other shit. And how do these rich cockmongers wish to do it? As the "advertising plan" says, "Enter the Reverend Wright."

Yes, yes, that's right. It's time to drag out Angry Black Preacher, Mr. Goddamn America himself, and tell everyone what John McCain was too much of a pussy to say: How can you trust a nigger who hangs out with niggers like this? Or, as they put it in cock-speak: "It's a phenomenally powerful argument that's never been properly exploited."

Do you think it's racist that they try to make you feel weird about Obama by running an ad that has video of Wright saying his infamous line twice in a row (which is in their storyboard)?

Oh, they've covered that: "The instant response liberals give to any attack is to deem the attack as racist." To mitigate this response they're gonna focus group the shit out of it and get black business leaders involved. And they're not at all racist in saying, "include an extremely literate, conservative African American in our spokesman group." Luckily, there's a literate black guy available, although who knows how they found one. It's race traitor Larry Elder, who will be paid $25,000 for two weeks work. That would be for all his literacy.

The campaign is not just about Wright, but it uses Wright as the explanation for why they say that the President has failed. See, he could never have succeeded in the first place because, well, because he's not the right kind of black man. The script reads, "He was taught for years that America WAS the problem, so how could he ever believe that America was the solution?"

As for black Lincoln himself, the storyboard uses a photo of him described as "looking slick and cocky." Jesus, just say, "Uppity." It's what you mean. Or when they describe Obama as "bowing, begging, kneeling, and apologizing for America," how is that not a Stepin Fetchit image? They have to do this because, at the end of the day, no matter how many supposedly rational policy charges they make against the President, all they really have to run against is the niggered image of Obama from a funnyhouse mirror that they created.

This is what we have to look forward to from the SuperPAC campaign ahead. It's gonna be so fucking brutal that it'll make 2004 look like a polite kerfuffle. Tell you what, though: If this ad ever gets made, and if it's effective in turning people against the President, this country is lost beyond lost.


Tennessee: Where Stop and Frisk Meets Extortion by Cop:
Here's one you might not have heard before:

In Tennessee (state motto: "As Bugfuck Crazy as Arizona But with Humidity"), back in January, New Jersey insurance adjuster George Reby was driving towards a conference in Nashville. He had $22,000 in cash with him. He was pulled over for speeding, and when the cop questioned him, Reby made one mistake, according to the affidavit of Putman County Officer Larry Bates. Bates asked Reby if he had pot or coke in the car. Reby said he did not. And then he said he had never been arrested. Turns out he had been arrested twenty years before for cocaine possession, but found not guilty. That part didn't matter. He did tell Bates about the cash when the officer asked him. And Reby consented to a vehicle search. So Bates brought in a K-9 unit named Fonzie, and Fonzie picked up the scent of something, some drug residue on the money perhaps, but no drugs were found.

Bates checked the GPS in the car, which was set for a small airport nearby. Reby said he was picking someone up and head to the conference. Bates checked Reby's text messages on his cell phone and didn't like what some of them said, although drugs were not mentioned. Bates said in his affidavit that each thing he discovered heightened his suspicions that Reby was involved in selling drugs and that "common people do not carry this much currency." Bates asked Reby if he had bank accounts, and Reby said he did. As Bates later told a Nashville Channel 5 reporter, "The safest place to put your money if it's legitimate is in a bank account. He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it's safer."

It's good to know that a police officer understands how banks work.

So Bates took the money and the cell phone under Tennessee's property forfeiture laws. Why? On the paperwork, Bates checked off the box that says that the officer believes he/she has "probable cause" that the property would be used "in exchange for a controlled substance." Besides, the money was being kept rolled up in a tool bag under the seat. Kind of hinky, no?

"But it's not illegal to carry cash," Channel 5 said.

"No, it's not illegal to carry cash," Bates said. "Again, it's what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

Channel 5 noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn't prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted. However, Reby did hand over the cash voluntarily. He did not make Bates find it.

Oh, one thing: Bates admitted to a news reporter that Redy told him that the money was to purchase a car. Bates chose to leave that out of his report. Why? "I don't know," said Officer Bates.

Reby provided the cops with documentation that he was buying a car. Also, it turns out that Reby really was picking up someone who was registered, with Reby, for the conference, which was also real. Reby really needed the Nashville airport. Reby just asked the GPS to find area airports. He had just received a text that the friend's flight had arrived.

Fun story, no? In Tennessee, the local cops around the state have been seizing large sums of cash from drivers for some time. Why? Because it's a gamble. Should the cash actually be from a drug dealer, chances are that the person is not going to ask for it back and the locality gets to keep it. Tennessee law "requires the person whose money was taken to post a $350 bond before an appeal can be heard. Also, 'failure to request a hearing in a timely manner will result in your losing your interest in the above property.'" The hearing itself is ex parte, which means that only the cop's side of the story is heard. Even if an appeal is filed, it can take a couple of years to get the cash back. It's a hella cool scam.

One local attorney, who is the chair of the local Tea Party, has had two clients in these kinds of cases where "police agreed to drop the cases in exchange for a cut of the money -- $1,000 in one case, $2,000 in another. In both cases, that was less than what they might have paid in attorney fees." He calls it "extortion."

Once Channel 5 got involved, Reby got his cash back this month. But, just to put an insouciant glaze of dickishness on the whole thing, they made him go back to Tennessee for the check.

A final piece: the Tennessee Legislature had a chance to set up an investigative committee on such activities by the police, but the bill died when the legislative session ended (but not before the "gateway sexual activity" bill passed).

If you believe that "Stop and Frisk" by the cops in New York City has worked to reduce crime, you are acceding to the power of a police state. And chances are that you belong to a population that is not subject to the whims of the NYPD.

But, at some point, once you remove the checks of due process and evidence and real probable cause, whether it's walking around the Bronx or going through airport security or protesting in Chicago or speeding across Tennessee, it will come around to bite you on the ass. And maybe take your cash, which ought to be enough to get even the most hardened, baton-fellating, cop-loving right winger into a froth.

(Note: Channel 5 has done yeoman's work on the subject of police abuse of forfeiture laws, even winning a DuPont award for its investigations. It's worth checking out to see what real TV journalism looks like.)


In Brief: It Ain't Just What Romney Did at Bain; It's What He Didn't Do, Too:
If the Rude Pundit were writing ads to attempt to destroy Mitt Romney's credibility as a man who shits out jobs like they're turds made of gold, he'd probably want to quote Romney himself. So here's a couple of lines from early in Romney's 2007 book, Turnaround, about his role as CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

After describing what Bain Capital did in buying "underperforming companies," Romney says on page 16, "I never actually ran one of our investments; that was left to management." You got that? Romney himself says that he never personally went into, say, Staples or Sealy or Domino's or Wesley Jessen, and did anything. He ran the company, Bain Capital, yes, but he wasn't involved in, you know, creating jobs anywhere but at Bain.

Is that too far? Can't you come back and say, "Well, you know, that's just a bullshit, out-of-context line. It's not like it's some 'capital v. labor' thing." And the Rude Pundit will say, "Page 18."

'Cause, see, here's what Romney says he said to Frank Joklik, the CEO of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, while on a 1998 ski vacation, when Joklik spoke to Romney about taking over the SLOC job: "He said that he thought project management skills were the most critical...I protested, 'I don't have any project management experience.'"

See, as the Obama campaign and its SuperPAC tear into the Bain jugular, which is as Rovean as it gets by going right at your opponent's perceived strength and turning it into a weakness (see "Truth, Swift Boat Veterans for" in the index of campaign horrors perpetrated on Democrats), they need to remember that not only was Bain Capital itself an entity that destroyed some companies in the name of investor profits, but that Mitt Romney couldn't even bother to get his hands dirty.

He wasn't a vulture capitalist. He was a pussy capitalist. It's like having your friends hold down a gay classmate while you cut his hair. No, wait. It's like paying someone to do the cutting while you watch and jack off at the sight.

Again, unfair? Jesus, let's go back to the book. As the good Governor himself says, "[Joklik] looked at me and saw someone who had never engineered or constructed anything in his entire life."

That's about as good a measure of a man as you could find.


A Few Photos to Get the Week Off to a Rollicking Start:
1. This guy thinks that employers should have the right to fire employees for being gay:

Just to be clear on this: This guy right here, the Republican one in that picture, thinks that it's okay to fire gay people.

2. This is what GST Steel looks like in the wake of a takeover by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. Note the amount of steel and steel products being produced by the workers:

The Obama campaign has gone after Romney's lie of a business record with a Rovean savagery that's kind of boner-causing. More on that later this week.

3. Oh, and for your viewing pleasure, here's a sculpture of dead Osama bin Laden currently on display at the Havana Biennial:

It's called "He" because art is fun, no?
Late Post Today:
Catra is being a total bitch. Time to break out the Sword of Protection and kick her kitty ass.

Back later with more randy rudeness.


Mitt Romney: Always the Bully:
The Rude Pundit didn't think he'd spend so much of his time writing about dressage, the "sport" in which horses are "trained" (read that as, "have the shit beaten out of them") to prance around like they're walking through fields of, well, horseshit for the delight of people who like that sort of thing.

But there, at the end of the Washington Post article about Mitt Romney's jolly sadism towards prep school classmates, is the tale of John Lauber, the boy who Romney tortured most by cutting off his long hair. Turns out that Lauber was gay, that the long hair did mean what Romney and his fellow savages probably thought it meant. And then there's this: Lauber ended up "taking dressage lessons in England and touring with the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion riders." Let that hang in your brain for a moment or two.

As with many things about Mitt Romney, it's hardly a surprise to learn that he was one of those pampered nancy boys who, because he wouldn't drink or ball like crazy because he'd get raped by the ghost of Brigham Young or however the fuck they threaten Mormon kids, took out his young adult hormonal rage on others around him through "pranks." So he treated a nearly blind teacher like the man was Mr. Magoo, tricking him into walking into a door for the giggling approval of the other prep school bitch boys. Romney was a joker, don't you know?

Sure, sure, there's shit that Romney did that can be chalked up to stupid teenager behavior. But at least two of the acts detailed by the Post would be considered felonies. There's the hair-cutting incident, where scared, closeted, hippie-haired John Lauber, "his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help" as he was tackled and held down by a group of classmates, while "Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors." Romney can't even claim he was drunk or on drugs. He just did it.

Then there's when Romney disguised himself as a cop to harass some fellow students: "Romney flashed a police siren and, bearing a fake badge and cap, approached two friends and their dates parked on a dark country road...Candy Porter, a Kingswood boarder from a small town in Ohio, had a strict 11 p.m. curfew. As Romney and his Cranbrook pals played out the joke, pretending to be shocked over empty bourbon bottles in the trunk, Porter thought of the dorm mothers waiting at the door and the threat of expulsion. 'I just remember being like a deer in headlights,' she said. 'I just remember being terrified.'" Ha-ha. Too bad they didn't have YouTube in the 1960s.

You gotta wonder, though. There's a kind of omerta among boarding school students, like a frat not talking about hazing, so if the multiple sources for the Post article were willing to talk so freely about what a bucket of shit Romney was in school, they must hate him, like on a personal, visceral level. Maybe it's because Romney was, even then, an out of touch elitist who judged those around him by their wealth, as several of the former students note.

The Rude Pundit spoke to his Cheater and the Rude co-host, Jeff Kreisler, who attended Exeter. He said about Romney, "I'm a prep school Ivy League prick and that guy pisses me off...He's the guy who would be home for a break and crashes Dad's car and instead of getting in trouble, he gets a new car. He's the guy that everybody would wish had a horrible tragedy that money and power couldn't save him from just so he could struggle." Romney did have a bad car accident in France when he was 19 where he nearly died. Probably he wanted to buy Citroen and put it out of business in revenge.

As far as "pranks" went at Exeter, Jeff continued,  "There was this one kid. He was in my dorm. He was an entitled prick. We cut out magazine letters and made a fake ransom note and put it on the bulletin board saying, 'You're going down.' We had a dorm meeting about it. This other rich asshole, he had like 400 CDs. So we rearranged his CDs and cases. It was a dick move. But we gave him shit,  and then we helped him put all of it back in order."

See, for Jeff, "The things that we did showed that the entitled ones could be brought off their high horse. I was never involved in picking on anyone for a weakness." And if someone did go too far? They got expelled. Of course, at Cranbrook, just outside Detroit, what was the chance they were going to boot out the governor's son?

So what does this have to do with the current Mitt Romney? Would you want to be judged by the idiotic things you did in high school? Of course not. But if the right can bring up President Obama's youth in Indonesia as something that makes him un-American, then the left gets to bring up Romney's cruelty as proof that he's a sociopathic dickhead. And, for that matter, it does matter because Mitt Romney has skated through his life with a fake veneer of compassion when he's always been a heartless son of bitch who didn't care about picking on the weak and the isolated. Someone show us a story where Romney stood up to someone more powerful than he was. No, the bullying continued, at Bain Capital, as governor. Fuck that guy. If the Rude Pundit had a time machine, he'd jump in and head over to Cranbrook, 1965, and kick Romney's pussy ass all over the well-manicured grounds of the joint. The best revenge against him is to deny him what he desires most in the world, the presidency.

By the way, Lauber died in 2004. The assault in high school had to have had an effect on him. But, man, what a "vagabond life" he had. After he abandoned the Lipizzaners, "he received his embalmer’s license, worked as a chef aboard big freighters and fishing trawlers, and cooked for civilian contractors during the war in Bosnia and then, a decade later, in Iraq." His story sounds amazing, touching, heartbreaking, exciting. Romney's? Not so much.

Well, at least the NRA can take comfort that Romney's always had a thing for guns:

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like. And that's the look a bell tower sniper gives just before opening fire on the school below. Let's not allow America to be that school.


One Battle Won, One Battle Lost on the Way to V-Gay Day:
No shit that it was a political calculation. In one of the most ignorant, backwards-ass editorials you'll read on the subject, the conservative roach swatter known as the National Review (motto: "Consistently against civil rights since before the Mulatto president was born") opined against President Barack Obama's statement that "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." Said "the Editors" (which really just means an intern being flogged by Jonah Goldberg before he jacks off at his desk to pictures of his mom, or, as it's called at their office, "Firing a Derbyshire"), Obama's "dishonesty is not merely a matter of pretending that he has truly changed his mind about marriage, rather than about the politics of marriage."

Of course it was political. The nation, as whole, has shifted towards supporting gay marriage. Actually, let's be a little more cynical about this. The Rude Pundit believes that when you see a poll that says, as a recent Pew one does, "65 percent of college-educated white women and 68 percent of whites under 30 backed the idea," what you're really seeing is that large swaths of the population just don't give a jolly rat shit about who's marrying who. The Rude Pundit talks on a regular basis to voters under 30 and to college-educated white women. You know what most of them say about gay marriage? "I don't care. If you wanna get married, get married. Now, pass the bowl."

What happened in North Carolina and has happened in 30 other states to their constitutions is less about a national feeling against allowing gays and lesbians to fuck connubially than a feeling among most straight Americans of "who the fuck cares?"

In North Carolina, where Amendment 1 passed, saying that no way, no how are gays gonna be able to be happy and, oh, all of you living in sin can go fuck yourselves, too, the turnout was 34% of registered voters (for comparison, 70% voted in the presidential election in 2008). So that's 61% of 34%, which, by the Rude Pundit's awesome ability to use a calculator, means about 21% of registered voters in North Carolina voted to ban everything but man-on-woman marriage. (Suck it, Nate Silver.)

And when you break it down by county, the ones with the highest turnout are the dirt-poor rural ones where, you can bet, every Jesus-licking church was busing the seniors and mountain inbreds to the polls. Mitchell County in far western NC, where the county seat is the town of Analrape, the turnout was over 50%. In Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is, the turnout was 28%. Because for the most part, straight people don't give a fuck if gays get married.

So what are the lessons of the last 36 hours or so in the unstoppable march of rights?
1. The next step for gay marriage activists is to figure out a way to harness the power of the apathy of large swaths of the straight population. Get them to the polls. The best way to do this? Ask: Who do you wanna stand with? Americans who just want the same rights as everyone else who happen to be the people who create a lot of the entertainment you love? Or this guy:

2. If the Rude Pundit was running some organization trying to get big money out of politics, he'd be attempting get some gay-haters on his side today. Because you can sure as shit bet that President Obama knew damn well that, with 1 out of 6 of his big money donors being from the GLBT community, he better give something back.

However it happened, though, it's pretty crazy cool to have the President say, "Okay, fine, get married, mazel tov."

As a political calculation, it diminishes Mitt Romney in ways that make him seem nearly microscopic in moral stature. It drives a wedge between Romney and moderates. And, whatever differences we have with the President, and there are many, it energizes progressives enough to be willing to get in the game again.

As a message, it is a seismic shift in American identity. No, it doesn't change anything in the short term. But as a symbolic gesture, it's like the first time a dude you're crushing on invites you back to his place for a beer and a blow job. Ah, refreshing and satisfying, with real, genuine hope for the future.


Dick Lugar Gets an Indiana Teabagging:
Let's face it: Richard Lugar's heart wasn't in it. As soon as he was gonna get teabagged, he knew that he would go through the motions, but, if after over 30 years of service to Indiana, he had to pretend to give a damn about the opinions of the racists and cretins of his state, of which there are many, then he might as well just throw in the towel. He might as well coast through the race just to get to the end. Which he pretty much did.

In April 2008, in a speech he gave when he received an award for ethics in government, Senator Lugar pretty much read his own epitaph. The focus of his talk was "bipartisanship." Of course, the backdrop for this was the 2006 reaming Democrats gave Republicans in Congress, as well as the probable election of a Democrat to the White House. So, you know, it ain't as if he wasn't being somewhat self-interested, cravenly justifying his own diminished power. Still, the speech is fascinating for how utterly naive it is, how out of touch with the reality of Bush-era politics (which seem like salad days compared to post-Bush) he was, how very old school it was, like the fact that he took his job seriously enough to work with Teddy Kennedy and Sen. Barack Obama to accomplish things and to live in Virginia, something that Richard Mourdock used against him in yesterday's Republican primary.

Here's Lugar: "Too often bipartisanship is misrepresented as the byproduct of moderate political views or the willingness to strike deals. We should be clear that bipartisanship is not centrism, and it is more than just compromise. It is a way of approaching one’s duties as a public servant that requires self-reflection, discipline of study, and faith in the good will of others." Lugar then accurately pegged the breakdown of bipartisanship as coming from the last decade (beginning, perhaps, with the grandstanding impeachment of Bill Clinton) and from the proliferation of information sources that offer up "news" with perspective as part of it.

He ended the speech with a list of questions he believed a thoughtful budding politician should ask him or herself to avoid "partisanship." Really, it's just hilarious, considering that Republicans have abandoned any pretense that they will accept anything other than total power and capitulation:

"Do you accept that members of the other party love their country and are people of good will, and do you avoid portraying them as unpatriotic?

"Do you believe that members of the opposing party can frequently contribute to good policy and do you make an attempt to include them in early deliberations?

"Do you seek out opportunities to work with leaders of the other party?

"Even as you participate in partisan debates, is your first impulse a sober reflection on what is good for the country?

"Do you study an issue in depth with an open mind and do you avoid an overreliance on your party’s orthodox positions and arguments?"

Now, here's the Indiana GOP Senate nominee: "I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view."

It's not that Lugar was noble. Far from it. It's that he was practical. He believed that government ought to get shit done. And for that Mourdock was able to portray him as an Obama-loving carpetbagger. Never mind that Lugar voted with Republicans 92% of the time. Never mind that that placed him ahead of good conservatives like Roy Blunt and Jim DeMint in loyalty. (Yes, that probably means some bills weren't conservative enough for those cocktards.)

Oh, Republicans. Your monster continues to rampage, nearly unabated. You thought you could contain the inarticulate rage you unleashed against the President. Instead, you have allowed the lab experiment free, and it's just a matter of time before it gets around to destroying its creators.


The Washington Post's Michael Gerson Thinks Obama Needs to Be Nice:
It's always sad when a motherfucker doesn't even realize he's fucking his mother. Think about pitiful Oedipus, the ur- in the scenario, fucking his mom when he only thought he was bagging a hot queen. At least he had the good sense, once he realized he was a motherfucker, to rip out his eyes and wander the wilderness. Such tragic nobility is thin in this craven age of ours. There's a particular kind of motherfucker, who, like Oedipus, is maybe deluded into thinking that he is not somebody who looks at mothers and thinks, "Yep, I'm gonna fuck 'em." Pretty much the entire Bush the Stupider administration falls into that category. Can you listen to John Yoo without thinking, "Oh, fuck you, motherfucker"? And that motherfucker is so cold, he will brush you off his shoulder.

Today's motherfucker is Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson. As one of George W. Bush's speechwriters for over five years, Gerson is responsible for penning lines that got us into the Iraq war, like that whole bullshit about a smoking gun becoming a mushroom cloud. Yep, Gerson made the lies palatable and focus grouped and made sure that the scared idiots in this country wanted blood. The pathetic part of it is that Gerson seems to have believed in his own propaganda. That's a willfully blind motherfucker who'd make Oedipus say, "Damn."

In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the dried dog shit that's left on your shoe after you think you've scraped it clean"), Gerson joins the "oh-my-stars-and-garters" crowd in decrying how mean that ol' meanie President Obama is being while campaigning for reelection.

"The brand of the Obama reelection campaign, so far, is ruthlessness," he writes. What has the man who has been accused of being a foreign-born, America-hating communist who wants to take away everyone's guns and round up people to be put in concentration camps (and that ain't even getting into the overt racism) said to give Gerson the vapors? "It has accused Mitt Romney of being soft on Osama bin Laden. It has singled out some Romney donors by name for public attack. Romney, we are informed, enjoys shipping jobs abroad, which is 'just what you’d expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account.' Obama has accused Republican congressional opponents of social Darwinism and indifference to autistic children."

Well, fuck, at least Obama's ruthlessness is about things that we might consider "real" and not the fantasies of paranoid oxycontin addicts masturbating into their microphones.

Indeed, Gerson misunderstands Obama in the way most conservatives do. "[T]he Obama brand once consisted mainly of inspiration," he says. The right needs to impose this narrative on Obama. See, now they want Obama to be seen as once having been Hopey the Change Negro who has now been transformed into Blackie the Panther. Hopey would have never used Osama bin Laden's death in an ad. Don't we all miss Hopey? Don't we all hate Blackie? (Note: Out here in reality, we know that he's neither.)

For what is Gerson lamenting when he writes, "Obama’s talent for inspiration was the single most interesting thing about him as a politician. Without that aspiration, what is left of his appeal?" Is he bemoaning the loss of something that he so desperately loved?

Oh, wait, here's Gerson on October 15, 2008: "During the financial crisis Obama has contributed nothing of note or consequence. His only recent accomplishment has been to say questionable things in the debates -- attacking Republicans and capitalism for a credit meltdown that congressional Democrats helped to cause, blaming America for Iran's nuclear ambitions, talking piously about genocide prevention when his own early Iraq policies might have resulted in genocide -- all while sounding supremely reassuring and presidential."

Or perhaps the column from September 17, 2008, which says that the Obama who wanted to unify the nation in his early speeches "is no longer in the race" because of his attacks on McCain, which suggests that Hopey was gone a long time ago. Because people like Gerson helped create a GOP that killed him. But that won't prevent them from beating up the ghost of hope.

One last note on Gerson's sad little scribbles. He writes about two Obamas: "There is the Hyde Park Obama, lecturing on constitutional law, quoting Reinhold Niebuhr and transcending old political divisions. There is also the South Side Obama, who rose in Chicago politics by doing what it takes."

Can someone tell this bespectacled motherfucker that Hyde Park is on the south side of Chicago? And that perhaps that difference isn't as strict as he needs it to be?


Biden, Bin Laden, Obama, Osama:
Okay, one more piece of ancient history that all of a sudden seems rhetorically relevant. It's a 1980 commercial from the Reagan/Bush campaign and a group of traitorous bastards named "Democrats for Reagan." It's one that Karl Rove could have written. Amid predictable images of chanting, evil Iranians, a B-movie announcer intones, "In a copyrighted story in the New York Times on October 27th, William Safire wrote: 'The smoothest of Iran's diplomatic criminals was shown on American television this weekend, warning American voters that they had better not elect Ronald Reagan. Ayatollah Khomeini and his men prefer a weak and manageable U.S. president, and have decided to do everything in their power to determine our election result.' A reminder from Democrats for Reagan."

Safire also wrote, a week later, "I like to think that voters will it as they see it, Carter or Reagan or Anderson, unmanipulated by the religious fanatic who hates us all." That bit of wisdom never made it into an ad.

The Rude Pundit brings this up because of this moment on Meet the Press with David Gregory's Bowl-Cut yesterday. Interviewing Vice President Joe Biden, who was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee several times, Gregory asked, "There was a bizarre moment this week with the release of these letters from Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was hiding. And at one point he, he talks about his desire to kill President Obama , leaving you in power because he concluded you'd be, quote, 'totally unprepared to lead.' How, how did that sit with you? I mean, you had to come across that."

The actual quote from a Osama letters (subtitle: "An Extraordinary Correspondence") is about concentrating attacks on visiting American officials. "They are not to target visits by US Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman)Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrook. The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus. The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis." You got that? One way to spin this is that bin Laden feared President Obama. Another way would be to use this whenever anyone says that Obama is a secret Mooo-slim.

To his credit, Biden answered diplomatically. He didn't look at Gregory and say, "Are you fucking serious? I'm supposed to answer a dead terrorist's opinion of me? Here's how that sits with me: Blow me. No, not bin Laden, but you, David. Blow me."

This is of a piece with the swift boating of the President being undertaken by outside groups, who are attacking Obama for using the death of Osama bin Laden as a demonstration of his foreign policy successes and abilities. Gregory, quoting the ever-reliable New York Post, asked Biden, "Was all of this together in effect his 'Mission Accomplished' moment?" Again, Biden could have grabbed Gregory by his tie and gritted his teeth in that Biden way and said, "Listen, motherfucker. Here's the difference: we actually accomplished the mission." But, alas, he did not.

You can be assured that if bin Laden was still free, Republicans would have been running nonstop ads about how Obama hadn't captured him and how bin Laden was plotting right now to shoot down your airplanes and make your women wear burqas. But that strategy is out the window, so all they can do is go with this bullshit "spiking the ball" thing.

Hey, you know who else spiked the ball? Ike. Yep, in his reelection campaign in 1956, President Eisenhower used his ending the Korean War as a reason to vote for him. That ad asked, among other things, "Can we dismiss the man who has kept us at peace, and take a chance on a man untried and inexperienced in international negotiations and world problems? What do you say? Are you willing to bet everything you love and hold dear that [Adlai] Stevenson can also keep us out of war? Are you that sure of it?" How is that Republican strategy any different than Obama asking what Romney would have done?

There you go, Obama campaign. Ike's got your back. Oh, and you know where the ad begins? At a football game. Where there's end zones. Where one...
Late Post Today:
Looks like it's finally time for that Goober fan page the Rude Pundit has been working on to go live on Facebook.

Back later with more Southern-fried rudeness.


A Day of Hateful Prayer Around America:
Goddamnit, the Rude Pundit totally missed the National Day o' Prayer yesterday. Why did no one inform him of it? Fuckity von Fuckington, how could he have known? The only mention on the TV that he could find was on Fox "news" program The Five (aka "The Inbred Cousin of The View"), when, at the end, one of the who-the-fuck-cares-who-it-was panelists mentioned it. Otherwise, nada. Radio silence, man.

Oh, now that doesn't meant that around the good ol' U.S. of motherfuckin' A. there wasn't the usual sticky orgy of God-love. When some random preacher says, "You gots to be prayin'," hands are goin' in the air because, really, what the fuck else do people have to believe in anymore?

In Gaston County, North Carolina, with its awesomely named county seat, Gastonia, four dozen prayifyin' peoples gathered at the courthouse, and, just like Jesus would have wanted, they prayed for the passage of Amendment 1, which prevents icky queers in icky love from getting married for forever in North Carolina. As Pastor Kevin Kellough of the trying-too-hard-named Church of the New Testament of the Firstborn put it, "We are ready and equipped as the persons and the sons of God to stand in the gap and make up the hedge, for there is ungodliness trying to redefine marriage." By the way, you gotta love "persons and sons of God." It's like Pastor Kevin forgot about women. Make of that what you will.

In Coshocton, Ohio, about 200 people got out in the steamy spring to get their pray on. Carol Lawrence, co-pastor of Shepherd's Christian Assembly (Who the fuck comes up with these names? It's like they roll dice with Jesus-sounding words on 'em and whatever random combination comes up, they use it) said, "Our country was based on Christian values, no matter what anybody says." And then her next sentence really was "It was founded with religious freedom." And then two sentences later, she really said, "I'm glad our leaders here in Coshocton will participate and are accepting of Christian beliefs in our community." Yes, the oppressed Christians of Coschocton finally got some recognition. The 50 churches for 11,000 people certainly operate underground for fear of Obama's Muslim stormtroopers coming in to squash it and paste beards on the men and staple veils on the women.

As for the President, well, Texas Governor Rick Perry has got you covered. "Let's pray for our president, for his wisdom," he said to "Amens" in Austin. "I pray that God pierces his heart." Is there ever a wrong time to imply violence? No, there isn't. And Perry hoped that Obama would "truly understand God's will to protect innocent life. I pray for his true understanding of God's will for this country."

The President had issued the customary proclamation of the National Day of Prayer, honoring soldiers, asking for special dispensations for the poor and sick. But he had to screw the pooch by saying, non-denominationally, "I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time."

Shh. You know who he didn't mention in it? God (except in a pansy "in the year of our Lord" way). Oh, that'll come back to bite him in the ass. In the name of religious freedom, you know.


Kicking Gingrich While He's Down Because Why the Fuck Not?:
And so it was that on May 2, 2012, one of the most disgusting, spitting pustules in the vile recent history of the diseased American body politick finally decided that he had had enough of people despising him in public. Yes, Newt Gingrich realized that his quest for the presidency was so quixotic that Sancho Panza would have just stabbed himself in the heart to avoid it.

So, like the complete debased cocksucker that he is, the kind of bloated, herpes-ridden old dude you find in the bathrooms of shitty bars, begging you through the glory hole in the stall wall to let him blow you just so he can feel something akin to being wanted, Gingrich of course ended his campaign with a head-slappingly self-aggrandizing piece of delusional stream of consciousness that seemed more like the rantings of someone who had had acid slipped into his Metamucil.

Seriously, check out this line, which comes after a long tangent on how awesome it'd be to mine asteroids and travel in space and how the nation oughta support that shit: "I happen to think that's a better future than methamphetamine and cocaine, and I'm going to argue for a romantic American future of doing things that matter that get to the human spirit." There's your choices, America: moon colonies or crack. What do you choose, you pathetic, Obama/socialism-loving losers?

Like he was trying to become the yam queen of the country farm festival, Gingrich explained his whole life's purpose: "This August, it will be 54 years that I have worked essentially on three things. One, what does America need to do to be free, safe and prosperous? Two, how would you explain that to the American people so they gave you permission to do what is needed? And three, how would you implement the change if the American people gave you permission?"

Which means, essentially, that two out of three of his goals involve how amazing it would be to be a leader and the first one is bullshit since his political accomplishments actually led to the rightward swing of the Congress, which has led quite conspicuously to less freedom and prosperity. So that means that he has failed miserably at his entire adult life, which, if you think about it, is pretty patently obvious.

And then he talked about his shitty movies and a children's book character: "Callista and I have done seven documentaries. She's entered the author phase of trying to lead and educate with Sweet Land of Liberty, in which Ellis the Elephant introduces 4-to-8-year-olds to American history in an effort to fill the vacuum left by all too many modern educators." Read that as: "Please buy our shit. Callista won't let me pretend she's me while I fuck her ass if I have to close the credit line at Tiffany's."

When he started the speech, he thanked fucking everyone, including billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who, as Gingrich proudly said, "single-handedly came pretty close to matching Romney's super PAC." Bought and paid for by a single man, motherfuckers. It's like he's the Michelangelo of politics, with his Medicis paying him to paint a Sistine Chapel from pigments made of shit.

Then there was this one, which said everything you needed to know about his campaign: "I also want to thank Herman Cain, who was tremendous in campaigning for us, particularly on Super Tuesday; and Michael Reagan who campaigned for us, and I think communicated pretty clearly the relationship we had with his dad; and then Todd Palin, who also worked very, very hard."

A failed candidate, a talk radio host, and Sarah Palin's husband? A triumvirate of idiot grifters, two of whom we'd never know about if it wasn't for their horrible relatives. How much more clearly can it be demonstrated that Newt Gingrich's entire reason for entering the race was to squeeze every dollar out of his followers, that it was all a scam, hell's book tour, an excuse to fondle zoo animals?

And how telling that, even with the con in play, he still ends up $4.3 million in debt? How bankrupt does a man have to be before you realize just how bankrupt he is?

Now Newt Gingrich can waddle off to the great junkheap of history, all of his great ideas cast aside, wasting the final years of his worthless life calling out to phantom moon colonies, cursing the people who brought him down, wondering how a man who once reigned like a gluttonous king can die as a punchline of his own making.