What's Going On:
The Rude Pundit's brain is weary of politics. He's exhausted from the death that's been all around him (in the last month: one friend, one good friend, one wife of a friend). And, frankly, he's tired from hoping: hope that people will get better, hope that the beaver dam erected by Republicans against the flow of progress will be broken, hope...well, just hope.

No, he's not hitting the button on the big ejector seat. But the Rude Pundit is going to take the next ten days or so and write other shit, shit that's been rattling around his head and scribbled a bit hear and there. He's heading away into the wilderness of Nova Scotia - Cape Breton Island, to be exact - in America, Jr. up north to retreat, regroup, and relax, probably drink a great deal, hear some Celtic music, fuck a moose, whatever you do there.

So what's gonna happen here is that we're gonna have reruns during that time. The Rude Pundit's dug deep into the Archives of Sodomy Jokes Past to give you a series of posts that, for lack of wanting to come up with a better title, shall be called "What the Rude Pundit Said Back Then." It'll feature stuff said on these here pages years ago about issues that are still digging into us like a crazed tick.

Some of 'em will be like today, a kind of "It was bad when Bush did it" thing.

Enjoy. See you back here, bleary-eyed but ready to fuck some shit up, in late August. Stay away from the locked liquor cabinet but help yourself to the cheap stuff and the pot in the wooden vase.

Here's what the Rude Pundit wrote on May 15, 2006, about NSA surveillance of Americans' phone records (all the links are probably fucked up since, well, it's from the scary past):

Hand Over Your Phone Records For the Good of America:
Here's what the Rude Pundit wants to see: he wants Republican Senators Bill Frist, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions and more to have a press conference, big fuckin' press conference, with your CNNMSNBCFox in attendance, and he wants to see those sour-faced white men hold up some papers. Yeah, the Rude Pundit wants Bill Frist to announce, "These are our phone records for our home phones, our office phones, and our cell phones, personal and business. They contain every phone number called from those phones. We are handing them over, personally, to the White House, and we trust this administration to use these records fairly, with no fear of misuse now or in the future."

Then John Negroponte'll come out and Frist, Hastert, Kyl, Sessions, and others'll bow down and offer the papers to him as a tribute, a tithing, an oath of fealty, if you will. Negroponte, who looks like some unholy love child of Col. Klink and Robert Morley, will accept the phone records in the name of the nation and the President, and hand them off to Michael Hayden before asking, "Now, which one of you is gonna suck my herpes-ridden cock and which one is gonna lick my hemhorroidal ass?" for, indeed, true evil is diseased. At which point, the cameras will be turned off as Negroponte gives the Republican congressional leadership a bit of the Salvadoran nun treatment. Another proud moment for America.

The goddamnedest pathetic and funny sight this weekend was watching Republicans proudly state that they could give a shit less if an unchecked, secretive White House, at will, with no law or oversight, collected the phone records of millions of Americans so that they can justify the budget of the intelligence services for another Osama-less fiscal year. See, without offering any kind of tangible result from the program, we are supposed to believe that all the NSA is doing is looking for call patterns that'll prevent, oh, let's say, the ubiquitous dirty bomb from blowing up, because, you know, terrorists who are smart enough to acquire nuclear material and create that kind of weapon are too stupid to suspect they might oughta be careful about who they call. (Actually, that should be the mantra of many of these spying programs: "The NSA: We're Going After the Dumb Ones.")

Last week, Jon Kyl blew a gasket, declaring, "This is nuts" that we'd even dare to question the program, that it had been "leaked" to the press. Jeff Sessions ironically began, "Let's talk about this in a rational way" before screeching, "We are in a war with terrorism. There are people out there who want to kill us." But, hey, at least he's talkin' rationally. Then there were the Sunday news gabfests.

Over on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf "Behold My Regally Lupine Stubble" Blitzer, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley declared that he could not "confirm or deny the claims in the USA Today story." Which someone should have told Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, since one presumes he revealed classified information when he told Blitzer not an hour later, "I am one of the people who are briefed...I've known about the program." Frist then went on to say he's not only "comfortable" with it, but he's damn proud of it: "I am absolutely convinced that you, your family, our families are safer because of this particular program." Then he made this tortured claim: "And, as you know, the program is voluntary, the participants in that program." He's referring, of course, to the phone companies themselves, not to each individual American, most of whom would like to assume that, absent a warrant, they would not be monitored in any way by their government.

For Newt Gingrich, the problem ain't the program - oh, no, all those happy bloggy headlines about Gingrich seemingly opposing the administration, they were full of shit. As Newt told Tim "Behold My Engorged Cranium of Truth" Russert on Meet the Press, the problem's the spin, not the spying. When Russert reminded Gingrich that he had said that defending the program is "defending the indefensible," Gingrich put the smack down on that liberal talk: "Because they refuse to come out front and talk about it. As long as this stuff leaks out and then they’re on defense, then you get these kind of absurd magazine covers and then you’re going to have Senator Specter saying he’s going to threaten American companies." Then he frothed and declared that Americans want to be spied on to prevent another terrorist attack, and everyone should just shut the fuck up and trust the executive branch: "Nobody who’s not involved in terrorism should be at risk. Nobody who’s making normal phone calls should be at risk." After which, Gingrich got into a strange gargantuan head-butting contest with Russert, screaming, "I have the larger lobe, me, Newt Gingrich, fucker."

So, c'mon, Newt, and all good and loyal citizens: don't wait for your phone company. Hand over your call records to the National Security Agency. You heard Bill Frist: it's voluntary. You may ask why you should bother, since you are not a terrorist. But, really, that's not for you to decide, now, is it?