Fucked New Orleans, Four Years On in Purgatory:
If you knew New Orleans before Katrina and then go visit since the storm, you know the feeling. No matter where you are in the city, it doesn't feel quite right. You don't have to be in the Lower 9th Ward, the poorest area of the city where rubble and moldy, abandoned houses still dominate the neighborhood, dotted as it is with the occasional home that's been restored. No, you can be in the untouched Garden District or the French Quarter, and there's a weight in the air, beyond the stifling humidity and the stale stench of being between a big ass lake and a big ass river. You've felt it if you're a visitor. Imagine if you're a resident. The people the Rude Pundit knows in New Orleans are unanimous in their assessment of their hometown in 2009: "It's better, but..."

And that's what the Rude Pundit thought when he was in New Orleans back in July. The brutal heat of this goddamned summer had inflicted a gray haze over the city like a sheet made of an old man's pubic hair. Everywhere he went, there was a pervasive sense of rot, of the aching entropy of unfulfilled promises, of the imminence of collapse, and of the tenuous, halting steps forward. It is a space of overwhelming insecurity, like being in a ward of people with severe germophobia and only one sink. And the Rude Pundit stayed in the "good areas" this time, since his time was short and his visit was packed.

People still talk about doing things as if they are existing in opposition to some unnamed entity. Going out to dinner is treated as a kind of triumph, a "fuck you" to forces that want to stop you from doing so. Moving back to the city after leaving is like winning a marathon. Rebuilding a home that was wrecked? Fireworks and blow jobs, man, fireworks and blow jobs. The Rude Pundit felt like he was staying with people who had been abandoned as children.

And why not, huh? 36% of the city's housing is unoccupied. Only one new school has been built. Rents have gone up 40% since Katrina. Sure, unemployment is low compared to the rest of the country, but the jobs are shit temporary and low-paid positions, Louisiana being one of those charming "right-to-work" states. And the unemployment rate has jumped nearly 3% in a year. Crime is still high, murders too frequent. The sewer system is still held together by duct tape and hope.

The new administration has only on this anniversary begun to take notice of New Orleans (or the entire Gulf Coast). President Obama has promised to visit New Orleans, which he should have done before he went to any of the other health care town halls around the country, considering the still fucked up state of the city's hospital system. He has promised to streamline the bureaucracy that has slowed recovery. And now that a report has demonstrated that the Army Corps of Engineers wasted $430 million on worthless flood control pumps (another little fuck-you from the Bush administration's bungling of everything to do with Katrina), Obama has knocked the Corps down a peg by putting in an oversight panel that'll coordinate recovery efforts. "It's about time" doesn't even scratch the surface of the rage that ought to be there.

Remember: to acknowledge the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is not to remember the damage done by a storm. It is to remember the damage done by us to ourselves. It was decades of incompetence, fraud, and cruelty of governments and contractors that have left New Orleans, truly, no better off than it was four years ago. The place feels different because to be there is to realize that all the things you hoped would protect you and the city have failed, and that to be there, especially during hurricane season, is to understand that it could so easily happen again when it shouldn't and when it shouldn't have in the first place.

Of course it's better. Anything is better than flood and abandonment and chaos. And of course the city feels different than before. Purgatory's always better than Hell.


On Monday...Whoa, Wait, Who the Hell Is in the Bed?:
Hello, handsome stranger. The Rude Pundit will be on The Stephanie Miller Show tomorrow with guest host Hal Sparks. Different time just for this week because guys fool around later in the morning: 10:30 ET/7:30 PT. Listen on yer radios or over the web machine.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Ban "Hurricane" as a Drink Name (Part of the "Fucked New Orleans" Series):

As the fourth anniversary of the destruction of large swaths of the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina approaches, it'd be easy to post pictures of the rubble and rot that still remain in places like the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Instead, that's a picture of the trailer that houses the firefighters of the Lower 9th. The firehouse has not been rebuilt since the storm.

There's been promises, made a year ago, with the outside hope that something might be there sometime in 2010, with Engine 22 and Engine 39 combined into a single station. Katrina wrecked 22 out of 33 firehouses in the city. About half of those have been rebuilt, including Engine 38, which serves the wealthy area of uptown New Orleans.

Although that's unfair to say because even those have been rebuilt primarily due to the efforts of volunteers and private donations. As the head of the NO firefighters said this week, "Federal, state and local government failed us." Government officials say FEMA dollars are part of the equation, although that's a pathetic statement. A great deal of credit, though, goes to actor Denis Leary's foundation, which has done more to assist the firehouses of New Orleans than any government entity.

And while that's a credit to Leary and to all the volunteers, it is another of the utter disgraces in this fucked city's too-long battle to return to normalcy. And it begs the question of what could happen if there were government entities that could take care of this, not just with subcontracting the work out to profiteering bloodsuckers who would slice their mother's throats if it let them have the winning bid, but with actually hiring the people to do it. In other words, unlike those who scream that government is the problem, the lack of it is not the answer.


Ted Kennedy: There Went a Man:
Finally, we must take a measure of the man. Not the person, or the legislator, or the family member. No, the man. Ted Kennedy was more of a man's man than any of the brush-clearing, hick-talking, pick-up driving politicians who overcompensate again and again by faking it. No, Kennedy demonstrated, through all the ups and downs, again and again what a real man is. It is a type of masculinity that we rarely see anymore because it is a fearlessness that few are allowed to embrace.

Put aside the money for a moment. Wealth makes life easier but it does not make one happy and it is not a measure of character. Don't you think that Kennedy would have given away his whole fortune to have his brothers back?

For a man does not shy away from the tragedies of his life. When John was assassinated, Kennedy took up the cause of the civil rights movement as his first major action in the Senate. When Bobby was killed, he began to push even harder against the Vietnam War. When his 12 year-old son, Ted, Jr., had to have a leg amputated to prevent the cancer there from spreading in 1973, Kennedy threw himself into the cause of rights for people with disabilities as much as his sister, Eunice, had, a crusade that would last the rest of his life.

A man fucks up again and again, but he owns his mistakes and learns from them. Ted Kennedy wore his flaws openly in his personal life. Some of it was the price of juvenile overindulgence (even as an adult) and some of it was just stupidity. The question is less about fucking up, but how a man reacts to it. He was kicked out of Harvard for cheating on an exam, so he joined the military (although he would achieve none of the glory of John and Joe, Jr.). When the Chappaquiddick incident happened, he nutted up and told the voters to decide on his fate. He was a hard-drinking son of a bitch who screwed around on his first wife, a Dean Martin-like punchline to jokes about alcoholism and a tabloid laughingstock. During that period, among other things, he was getting funding cut off to Chile because of Pinochet's barbarism, pushing legislation to help political refugees, getting sanctions imposed on apartheid-era South Africa, negotiating with Gorbachev on nuclear missiles, stopping Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination, and strengthening the Civil Rights Act. What did you do on your years-long bender? He paid, too, with his presidential ambitions dashed. And when he was slugging 'em back like a frat boy with his nephews on a night that ended with William Kennedy Smith arrested on an accusation of rape, Kennedy made another public reckoning about who he was as a man in a speech in October 1991. And despite all he had accomplished before, he grew up, finally, understanding that to be a man one must become a man.

A man works to help those who need help. A real man is a liberal because a real man is unafraid of change and progress and difference. Let us come back to the money. The Kennedy family has always seen wealth as a privilege, a burden, and an opportunity to do good for others. Yes, it is easier to support charities and to have the time to work for various causes. But Kennedy made it his role in government to level the playing field. Where do you wanna go with this? Other than his work that climaxed with the Americans With Disabilities Act, other than his support for civil rights legislation going back to the 1964 act, we could talk about the Ryan White CARE Act, which gave funds to cities hardest hit by the AIDS crisis; we could talk about his intense support for the rights of workers through raising the minimum wage and supporting union goals; we could talk about his work for housing, for education, for women and children, for the Family and Medical Leave Act. We could talk about how he opposed the Iraq War, how he was working to provide educational opportunities to kids in Muslim countries, how he helped end the war in Northern Ireland. We could talk about how he believed, his entire career, that health care for everyone was a right, not a privilege, with COBRA and S-CHIP having been accomplished because of him. He was an unabashed, proud liberal whose full-throated speeches roared in defense of the whole ideology against the ignorance of those who would keep progress from being achieved.

A man is willing to embrace his enemies. Yesterday, Ron Reagan, Jr. had his mother on his radio show to talk about how much the Reagans loved Ted Kennedy. Kennedy and Nancy Reagan were allies on stem cell research funding, but the former first lady talked about how she and her husband were dear friends with Kennedy. Kennedy worked with Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, both George Bushes, and anyone he could to accomplish his goals. That's called politics. Compromise was a willingness for both sides to move. When George W. Bush dicked him over on No Child Left Behind funding, Kennedy had to know that a tide had shifted in a way that was going to make the entire process of legislating more rancorous and difficult. The political nature of the nation was moving into entrenchment, which was not how Ted Kennedy functioned.

A man knows how to die. A man understands that the end comes and doesn't desperately cling to every millisecond of life that medical science can squeeze out of him. No, a man dies with his family, in a place he loves, having done much, knowing that there was much still to be done, but accepting that there's only so much one can live.


A Message on Ted Kennedy to Conservatives Who Hated Him (Mostly Profanity-Free for the Kiddies):
Let's just get this right:

Do you like your state and not the federal government controlling the curriculum of your kids' schools? Thank Ted Kennedy.

Do you like being able to vote starting at age 18? Thank Ted Kennedy.

Do you think low-income people should get help with heating their homes in the winter? Thank the man.

Do you think the federal government should fund cancer research? Yep.

Do you believe that Meals on Wheels is a good thing? Ditto.

Does your daughter (or you, if you're female) like playing soccer or basketball or softball at school? That'd be because of Ted Kennedy.

Do you think that disabled people should be able to go to school? Have access to buildings? Not be discriminated against for housing and loads of other things? Kennedy, big time.

You like your cheap airfares? You know the answer.

You think people on welfare oughta get jobs? So did Kennedy.

You think mental institutions should treat people humanely? Yeah, so did your new friend, Ted Kennedy.

You believe that the Defense Department should provide child care for the kids of soldiers? Kennedy did.

You think a woman shouldn't lose her job if she gets pregnant? You think 100,000 more cops on the street's a good idea? You think poor kids should have health care? You think soldiers in Iraq should have the proper armor? Just tick those things off the list. Some of them would have been accomplished without him; many would not have been.

You agreed with Ted Kennedy far, far more than you want to think you did, dear conservatives. Still, go ahead and dance your mad jigs on his still-warm corpse. Why not? We on the left certainly did when Jerry Falwell, Strom Thurmond, and Jesse Helms kicked. Hell, one asshole blogger even celebrated the death of Ann Coulter's father. But know that you dance in ignorance. Ask Orrin Hatch.

But, of course, you want to address the far more pressing issue of whether or not Ted Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne back at Chappaquiddick all those decades ago, no matter what the investigations said. There's only a couple of things to say about that: The glib response is, "Yeah, and Thomas Jefferson nailed his slaves. What's your point?" More directly, Kennedy asked the people of Massachusetts if they wanted him to quit. They did not. The rest of the nation may have not wanted him as president, but for Massachusetts, Chappaquiddick quickly became a settled issue and distant history. That's all that mattered to keep him in the Senate, just like Louisiana will have to judge whether or not a prostitute-lovin' David Vitter should go back. That's democracy, gang, like it or not.

And Ted Kennedy did more for real, actual democracy than almost anyone else in our entire history as a nation.

More on that tomorrow in a real tribute.

(By the way, perhaps we now know why Barack Obama was trying to get health care reform done quickly.)


A Few Random Observations Regarding the Newest Torture Report:
1. It didn't work. That's what needs to be hammered home again and again. No matter how much Dick Cheney wants to insist it did, it didn't fucking work. How does the Rude Pundit know this? Two reasons:

A. If there was a single, demonstrable instance of a correlation between threatening to power drill the nutsack of Abu al-Fuckingbadguywithamoustache and the prevention of a terrorist attack, that shit would be a new book in the right-wing Bible. It'd be the trump card for every conservative bag of fuck on every news show, in every Bush administration self-justification memoir; it'd be tattooed on John Woo's sneering lip and on Alberto Gonzales's dick. Instead, all we get is the assertion that torture worked by the people whose asses' freedom depends on it.

i. It ought to be noted that even if torture "worked," it's still illegal.

B. Even the CIA reports that Cheney wanted declassified show jackshit about the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

2. If you threaten to kill a man's kids or to rape his mother in front of him and you believe that he believes you'll do it, you have ceased to represent any ideas that are better or stronger or more moral than the man you are threatening. In other words, is this how things work in a shining city on a hill?

3. Considering your country has bombed the living fuck out of villages in a man's country, killing children, there's no reason for him to doubt that you'd kill his kids and rape his mother. Which means he'll tell you anything to prevent that from happening, especially if what he's telling you is what you want to hear.

4. Truly, really, and, c'mon, can we finally, at last, all just call this "torture"? When is pressing a prisoner's carotid artery until they almost passed out and then doing it again not torture? What about scrubbing someone with an abrasive brush? Is it only torture if it rises to the level of WWSD (What Would Saddam Do)?

5. What the fuck's in the huge redacted sections? Compared to what we know, what are those other shoes and when will they drop? (We know some of it from Jane Mayer and Ron Suskind, but there's always more, there's always more.)

6. The Rude Pundit really has to stop watching the smugfest that is Morning Joe. Today, he heard Joe "A Dead Staffer Is an Office Accessory" Scarborough and the rest of the Joe Tools talking endlessly about the political ramifications of Attorney General Eric Holder pursuing prosecutions against the CIA operatives involved. They were worried about the morale at the CIA. They were confused as to why Holder wouldn't hold off until after the health care reform debate was ended. They couldn't understand why Obama wouldn't step in to slow down or stop the investigation. They were surprised that Holder would use the same report dismissed by Michael Mukasey's Justice Department. It was unreal, like being at a party where the entertainment is some ball-gagged dude getting his anus licked by a German shepherd and you say to another guest, "Oh, hey, that reminds me, I brought a 7 layer dip and nacho chips. How did you like it?"

In other words, there was no mention at all that, in our American name, someone took out a power drill and threatened to use it on a restrained prisoner. Sorry, motherfuckers on the right, but however evil that prisoner was, what was done was evil, too. Evil may have gradations, but it's still fucking evil. And, because it needs to be said as often as possible, the kick in the ass is it didn't make us any safer at all. The kick in the nuts is that no one has been punished or charged with any crime for doing it. Also not mentioned: prosecuting people with actual authority, like the aforementioned Vice President.

But to the Morning Joe pissants, that's not nearly as important as whether or not they should have rolled this out in August or waited until January.

7. Galileo recanted his scientific work when he was shown the implements of torture by the Catholic inquisitors. One imagines there was something like a drill there, too.

8. The Rude Pundit knows that many of those interrogated enhancedly are probably awful fuckers who would gut him the second they had a chance. So?


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
The Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller discuss penises, foot-fucking, and Underdog:
Redemption for the "Don't Taze Me, Bro" Guy:
You remember it, right? University of Florida student Andrew Meyer waited in line to speak at a John Kerry forum in Gainesville in September 2007. When he got up to the microphone, he spoke even though questioning at his mike had been cut off, brandishing a copy of the Greg Palast book, Armed Madhouse (a work that ought to be the historical epitaph of the Bush administration). He tried to articulate a question about whether the 2004 election was stolen and about impeachment. As the crowd tried to shout him down and cops surrounded him, he lost focus and threw in a question about whether Kerry was in the Yale Skull and Bones Society with Bush. Kerry said all along that he was willing to listen and answer the questions. The cops and event organizers didn't care. And the rest was YouTube and taser history. He was arrested for resisting arrest and disturbing the peace.

On September 18, 2007, on his Fox "news" show, Bill O'Reilly said, "It's not pleasant, but that idiot, he wanted this to happen. He wanted the cops to do it. He wanted to disrupt the forum. And to me, I think he should be prosecuted...Well, what about disrupting the peace? You know, this is what -- look, the guy goes in there. He's totally inappropriate in every way, Jeanine [Pirro]. There isn't one appropriate thing the man did. He wants to disrupt the forum. Security has an obligation not to allow the forum to be disrupted."

Sean Hannity offered on September 20, "This guy disrupted the event. He disturbed the peace." On CNN Headline, Glenn Beck mocked his shouts of pain. To be sure, many conservatives were also outraged at the police, including Michael "The New Yorker Says I'm Human Now" Savage.

Meyer, who was being deliberately provocative, later issued an apology and the charges were dropped. What he was asking, though, was not from an extreme leftist point of view (except the Skull and Bones shit, perhaps).

Today, as Beck and the rest can't praise the town hall protesters enough, members of Congress are forced to respond to people shouting that they are supporting Nazi policies or are going to euthanize the elderly, things that have absolutely no grounding in anything we might refer to as "reality." No one has been removed by the law for yelling out of turn and taking focus away from the people at the microphones. The Rude Pundit witnessed this even at the mostly polite town hall he attended; at one point, a man in the crowd was yelling back at Congressman Steven Rothman, and Rothman broke the established protocol of the event to address what he said. It barely needs to be said that conservative pundits are not condemning any of these people as disruptive nutcases. No, these are good Americans who have the right to free speech.

The Rude Pundit doesn't give a fuck about Andrew Meyer, the person. He's kind of a douchebag, even if we agree on a few things. But someone owes Meyer a goddamn public apology. Because if one of these "Tree of Liberty" t-shirt-wearing and NRA hat-sporting idiot motherfuckers was dragged out of the room while screaming about Obama as Hitler and then tazed multiple times to calm him down, you can bet there would be a fucking riot. You can bet that some of those dickless retards stroking their sidearms like substitute cocks would be locked and loaded, thinking it was go time.

By the way, courageous man that he is, O'Reilly also said this that same evening: "I won't go to colleges anymore. I mean, I used to go and give speeches at colleges. I very rarely do that anymore because guys like this, we saw it at Columbia, all right, they are so crazy. And they are there to disrupt the proceedings."


Mondays with the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller:
The Rude Pundit must go back to long-distance seduction on the radio tomorrow during his weekly stint on The Stephanie Miller Show at 9:30 am ET/6:30 PT.

If you can't listen locally, take one last staycation before stay-work-dom starts by checking out stations from destinations far, far away.

As ever, you can subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast, so you can spend ten minutes in heaven while stuck in traffic.


Tom Ridge Wants to Keep You Secure:
When the wooden horse was being delivered, all the Trojans were exultant, save one: "Cassandra cried, and curs'd th' unhappy hour;/ Foretold our fate; but, by the god's decree,/ All heard, and none believ'd the prophecy." Oh, how Cassandra must have suffered. Imagine: she could see it all, the deaths of everyone, even herself, but because she refused to fuck Apollo, she was damned with the gift of prophecy, of being right but never being heeded. Think about that hell for a moment. Think about seeing the destruction of your city before it happens and then having to live through the actuality of it. Think about telling everyone you love that it is going to happen and then being ignored. All because a simpering god didn't get his rocks off. Eventually, Cassandra got used to it, though. By the end of her life, she merely accepted her fate.

As one of the millions of Cassandras in this America during the Bush administration, the Rude Pundit's initial reaction to the revelation by Tom "Duct and Cover" Ridge that when he was the first Grand Poobah of Homeland Security, the Bush White House wanted him to raise the terrorist threat level as the 2004 election approached was an eye roll. More or less, it was, "Oh, really? Who would've thought that? That's right. Everybody." And as usual when some former Bush official comes clean, he felt the bile poison his throat as he thought, "Thanks, cocksucker, for waiting. Now go back to sucking cock, you scabby-kneed whore."

That's far from hyperbole, because unlike, say, Paul O'Neill and Scott McLellan, who confessed for big advances and their souls, Tom Ridge's book is not really a tell-all. Oh, no, it's merely part of a larger manifesto, The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...and How We Can Be Safe Again, a book that presumes to scare the fuck out of us so that corporations and governments and even your college campus can hire firms like, oh, hey, Ridge Global, whose President and CEO is...oh, you fucking know already.

So it wasn't important enough for Tom Ridge to tell Americans that the White House was going to scare them into doubling down on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. No, that didn't matter, like it didn't matter to Colin Powell or any of dozens of craven cunts who polluted the nation. It didn't matter to Tom Ridge that he could have ended the presidency of someone who actually wanted to lie to us that we were on the verge of attack in order to maintain power. That's actual evil, motherfuckers. Ridge didn't resign until February 2005, distant enough from the election so that the Bush administration could fully consolidate its power (until God, tired of waiting for an honorable person to turn on the White House, decided to fuck that up in August of that year).

But a couple of years out, with a consulting firm to run, oh, fuck, yeah, Ridge is gonna make himself seem honorable. No, the threat level wasn't raised in 2004, but Ridge didn't see the effort to raise it as reason enough to try to stop Bush. In other words, Ridge wants you to hire him to plan and provide security even though he was too much of a pathetic wad of fuck to do anything but protest behind the scenes when Karl Rove needed higher poll numbers for Bush.

The motto for his business ought to be: "Tom Ridge: a man who'll negotiate with terrorists."

Poor Cassandra. For her trouble, she got raped by Ajax, made into Agamemnon's concubine, and murdered by Clytemnestra. And if Tom Ridge had been there, all of those things would still have happened.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
For just about an hour today, the Rude Pundit had the deeply erotic pleasure of being in a New York City studio, alone, with Stephanie Miller. What went on under the table, away from the mikes, he'll never tell. But here's an excerpt from the show:
Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Start Using His Old Minolta Handcrank Camera:

That's President Barack Obama there, made to look like Yasser Arafat, thus demonstrating that Photoshop is available to any right wing tool anywhere, in this case Israel, don't you know, from a Monday protest. Man, between Hitler and Arafat, that Obama must be licking his chops to get the gold in Rahm Emanuel's teeth.


More Radio Rudeness on Thursday:
The Rude Pundit will be in the studio with Stephanie Miller tomorrow morning at 11 Eastern/8 Pacific. He'll be there for the full hour of her radio show or until they're both so spent and sweaty that they have to stop.

And New York City can listen live, too.
Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck Talk About...Nothing:
It's always awkward when you're in a room with some people, and one man starts to jack off another man, especially if you're not invited to join in. You could get up and leave when one dude unzips the other dude's pants and, with no effort to hide anything, grabs his cock and starts yanking away like a frantic dairy farmer whose milking machines just broke down. It'd be the rational thing to do. But sometimes, you just stare, like you're at the movies, even though you know the plot and that it's got a happy ending. There's something mesmerizing, after all, about such unabashed pleasuring.

So it was that, on his Fox "news" show last night, Bill O'Reilly featured an "interview" with fellow Fox-er Glenn Beck (if by "interview," you mean...well, see above). O'Reilly billed it as "Glenn Beck answers his critics." Oh, goody, one might think, can't wait to see the mutual crazy society at play. Yet what followed was the equivalent of a female baboon raising its hot haunches so it could be fucked by Rupert Murdoch. And it was every bit as informative as watching an aged Australian fuck a monkey. You come away from that experience thinking, "Huh. So that's how you fuck a monkey. Or maybe that's just how they do it Down Under."

Here's a sample where O'Reilly asks Beck about his time working at CNN Headline News. Get a friend and read it like a play:
O'REILLY: So you'd walk in the newsroom, people would hate you?

BECK: Yes, I was walking in the newsroom one time, and a lady said to me, one of the journalists there, she looked up and she went, "Ugh." And I...

O'REILLY: But they do that here.

BECK: Not to me. It's just you. But they -- I said, "That's not necessary." And she said, "Oh, you expect it." And I said, "I do, and isn't that sad?"

O'REILLY: So did that inhibit you, and you weren't as flamboyant over there because of these pinheads mocking you?

BECK: No, I think the reason why I wasn't as flamboyant -- I mean, I think I'm the same person.

O'REILLY: Not on the air, though.

BECK: You don't think so?

O'REILLY: No. You were much more low key over there. It's like the full moon came out when you got to Fox.

So Fox made Beck amp up the nutsy. Later, O'Reilly offered this nugget: "[W]hen you go on and you do your thing, there is an equal part serious and there's an equal part theater. Some people use that against you." Beck, to his credit, did not argue the point, although he did say later, " I think people think that I'm just -- oh, well, he's just a silly clown or whatever...I'm not. I'm a genuinely thoughtful person. I just know how to package things in an entertaining way."

The most compelling aspect of the whole affair was the delicious All About Eve tension of seeing O'Reilly's Bette Davis trying to put the ratings usurping Beck/Anne Baxter in his place while acting all chummy:
O'REILLY: On the air a very good personality. Off the air you're a little boring. But on the air very good personality.

BECK: I think this is hostile atmosphere here.

O'REILLY: All right. No, it's not. Come on. We're your friends here.

BECK: This is my friend.

Beck, a man who routinely "entertains" his audience with images of killing liberals, talked about his fears for his own security. So the whole affair was something less than "answering his critics" and more of a "whine-fest for a pair of demonic ratings whores who will one day be forced into an eternal razor-wire cage match in Hell."

The most depressing part of the segment was that O'Reilly wouldn't let the younger host come. He'd pump that Beck-meat until it was about to explode and then stop just short, only to start pumping again. You could see how badly Beck just wanted to blow his load, but O'Reilly's yanked a few dicks in his day. He wouldn't let this pissant upstart spray Mormon spunk all over his primetime show.


What'll We Do About the Town Hall Screamers? Part 3: What'll We Do About Us?:
The push for health care reform needs to be presented as a civil rights movement.

That's the bottom line, but let's put it at the top here: in the arguments about public options and co-ops and whatever, the left, in Congress and elsewhere, has allowed the right to control the language of the debate. And instead of arguing morality and greater good, this has all been about economics. People don't understand economics. They don't get the idea of exchanges. It's complicated shit written by and for the people who do get it. The people in this country only think that some money they thought they had is being given to people who don't have it. So it had better be fuckin' worthwhile. Make it into the difference between being for a right and against a right. And that means taking all the risks that accompany the granting of a civil right.

At this point, we could continue to go over the myriad ways that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have screwed this up like Jerry Lewis in a movie where he's asked to build a nuclear bomb. For instance, by leaving single payer off the table from the beginning, the left side of the discussion was already the center, so the proposals could only be made more and more conservative. It's not even worth dredging up how liberals in general have been unable to frame this debate for fifteen years, with Republicans (and dirty dog Democrats) putting the kibosh on it in 1994 and then us all going through the Bush nightmare. We can't do a damn thing to make up for it, and one day, we'll have time to look at it and learn from our mistakes.

God, the lies conservatives spout when it comes to the perceived evils of giving people rights. During a good chunk of the 20th century, we were told such convenient myths about desegregation like property values would decline if black people moved into a neighborhood (a lie created by real estate agents looking to artificially deflate and then re-inflate the worth of homes), not to mention the horrors of interracial sex (which one supposes came true for racists with the rise of Barack Obama), rampant black crime in whites' nice suburbs, and so very much more.

There's not a nickel's worth of difference between the mobs of white people shouting at black children walking into a newly-integrated school and the people standing up and shouting at members of Congress at town halls. And they have to be fought in much the same way, which means the government needs to ignore them.

What happens when it leaves the realm of economics is you can start throwing bullshit, emotional rhetorical devices around. 47 million? That's more than the number of African Americans. It's over ten times as many Native Americans, like five times the number of Asians. Would you want to deny health care to your IT guys? See, that's a bullshit argument but it offers perspective. Perfect for this atmosphere.

We've lost the chance to really organize and mobilize because we actually thought that, with Democrats in a super-duper majority and Obama saying that there had to be a public option, we were good. Sure, we wanted single payer, but, hey, this is a step on the road, you know? Without the public option, we're confused. Is it good to have a couple of new laws that protect people? Or is it too little? Which way do we step? Now, with little time left before this debate comes to an end, there's no way to appeal to reason anymore. It doesn't work. The death-panel-look-it's-socialism gang has demonstrated that clearly. We don't have to lie. But we need to take it out of political theory and sell it as something courageous: we who want health care for all are good, brave people. The ones who don't are cowardly and bad. Do you want to be courageous or afraid?

And, as with the civil rights movement, which eventually had a majority of Americans supporting it (although 1959 poll said that 53% of Americans thought that the Brown v. Board of Education decision was more trouble than it was worth), Obama and the Democrats are gonna have to do this just because it's the right thing to do and it just needs to be done. Sometimes leaders just need to lead. Eventually, when the world doesn't collapse and Granny isn't killed by euthanizing government goons and Sarah Palin's Down's syndrome kid is doing fine and no one is told they have to wait for years to get that wart removed, most people will shrug and go about their business, ready to bitch like teenage girls jealous that their classmate Madison never gets a pimple.

Mostly, though, there's only one real solution: Democrats have to have the guts to tell Republicans that they're no longer part of the process. They have not negotiated in good faith and they're not gonna vote for shit, no matter how watered down. It's gotta be "Fuck off, fuckers" and bar the door and pass what needs passing.

And if any of this even remotely happens, the Rude Pundit will be as shocked and delighted as if he just won an evening of group sex with the cast of Mad Men, which, conveniently enough for this whole post, takes place during the era when everyone did have to learn to just deal with it when it came to civil rights.

(Note: This is all in the realm of theory, with full knowledge that unlike, say, Mississippi in 1962, no one's getting killed [yet] over the health care debate.)


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
The Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller talk town halls, Democratic cowardice, and more, the licentious frisson continuing between them:
Town Hall Meeting, Fairview, NJ, August 14, 2009:
The newspaper reporter said, with a slight grimace, "This is my sixth one of these," referring to town hall meetings with Democratic Congressman Steve Rothman of the 9th District in northern New Jersey. He held ten in a single week. She told the Rude Pundit that each one had gotten progressively more boring, and that she blamed the temperature of the locations. "The first one was at a senior center, where it was hot and overcrowded and people who had differing opinions were rubbing against each other." The next night, in Rutherford, there was a slightly less agitated crowd because it was in an auditorium. The Rothman people learned to move to large, very air-conditioned spaces, so cooler temperatures meant cooler heads. Still, she commented, these were nothing like the town halls you see on the news.

And neither was this one. Sure, it was the middle of a weekday, and, sure, the crowd was about 85% elderly people, but, while there was some yelling (more on that in a moment), Rothman kept it all under control with a tightly formatted question and answer session. Indeed, the Democratic Party should be putting Rothman out there on talk shows because he offered some of the best, clearest explanations on the public option and on the Democratic health care proposals that the Rude Pundit's heard. And this tough Jewish bastard wouldn't take shit from anyone. When people tried to go batshit on him, he shut those idiots down in a heartbeat.

But there was a whole lot of stupid in a small space. The Rude Pundit was confronted two or three times about why he was recording the proceedings. The question on nearly every Medicare-loving senior's mind was whether or not Barack Obama was going to bury them alive and dance on their graves. No matter how many times Rothman patiently told some septuagenarian that "the government is not going to harm a hair on your head," the next one got up to insist that the government would have to "ration" health care. Somewhere, Sarah Palin felt a tingle of delight in her clit over what she had set in motion.

The Rude Pundit, meanwhile, had flashbacks to childhood Hanukkahs, where old relatives would yell about the kasha varnishka being too hot. More accurately, it was like going to visit the grandparents with the promise of a toy fire engine, but getting fondled by Grandpa in the tub instead. The psychic scars will never heal, and, fuck, how it makes one feel overwhelming despair.

And so it went, with useless question after useless question, democracy in action, motherfuckers, and the TV cameras there didn't focus on the vast majority of people calmly asking the useless questions. Nope, instead, one news crew was egging on the loudest, crankiest old man yelling out of turn, prompting Rothman, at one point, to threaten to eject them all. And attracting the most attention was a younger woman with no arms or legs who had a legitimate point, that it shouldn't cost more than (sometimes much more than) $10,000 for an electric wheelchair. But you know it wasn't the articulate, interesting question that got cameras focused on her and microphones shoved in her face. It was the freak factor, no less so than the people who broke protocol to yell out.

The biggest uproar was reserved for the one or two people who dared to get up and support the President and a public option or (heresy) single payer health care (which, to his credit, Rothman flat-out said he supported but that there is "no will" in the Congress for it to happen). So it went like this: a man was called on and said that Nancy Pelosi said he was un-American and that was wrong. He was applauded. A woman was called on and said that she's distressed that people were spouting lies about any health care plans and that she backs Obama. She was booed (with a smattering of applause). And then someone asked what about the unborn. And then someone asked about all the illegal immigrants filling our emergency rooms (although why anyone would want millions of sick illegals picking our produce is beyond the Rude Pundit).

After two hours of this, mostly boring and repetitive, it was over. And, with few exceptions, the Rude Pundit never hated old people more (yeah, yeah, he'll be old some day, and if he's fucking up the nation for everyone else, he hopes people will hate him, too). It's Bergen County, New Jersey. He's pretty sure that some of those people who were comparing Obama to Hitler survived or were related to survivors of the Holocaust. Someone needs to tell them that, back in the day, it didn't go Public Health Insurance Option, followed by Kristallnacht. Could we please get a few of the rational members of the tribe out there to represent?

This is a bullshit movement. Oh, sure, there's real emotions and real people, but it's a limp cock being strenuously fluffed by a media on its knees for the right wing of this country. It's a bullshit movement because it's based on bullshit. It's impossible to have a rational discussion when your opponent is merely throwing lies at you. This is not a fair fight because the people running the discussion at this point, the media, are allowing it to be so. It's like we agreed to play baseball and an opposing player ran onto the field with a football, spiked, yelled "Touchdown," and the umpires said, "We'll allow it. Six points. Who's up to bat?"

Jesus, why don't we just try to lie better? Say that public health insurance will let people grow bigger tits and dicks and hair where they want it and smooth skin where they don't want hair? That'll it'll make you feel orgasms all the way to your eyelids? That you can shit gold? Then let's get people to show up at town halls with signs saying, "Why don't Republicans want us to shit gold?" so that Republicans will be forced to waste their time saying, repeatedly, "You won't be able to shit gold."

The sad, sad part of this, especially if it's true that the White House is backing away from a public option, is that it's absolutely a failure of the nation at large and of the left in particular. Stupid people need to be led, and if it ain't by us, it'll be by the right. There's not a person, left or right, who left that Fairview meeting feeling that Rothman was a failure. In fact, everyone complimented him because he might have actually soothed them for a little while.

Until, you know, they turn on Fox "news" and hear Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck tell them to be afraid again.

Tomorrow: A way to go forward?

(For a more polite take on the meeting, see khin at Daily Kos. To hear the most wonderful description you'll hear from a senior citizen of what an asshole John McCain is, check out the Rude Pundit's podcast of the event.)


Weekend Audio Bonus: The Rude Pundit Goes to a Town Hall Meeting:
Listen in as the Rude Pundit is given advice on who he should watch on the news, is told how to treat the Lyndon LaRouche d-bags, and hears people shout down an old woman at a town hall meeting with Democratic Congressman Steve Rothman in Fairview, New Jersey, on Friday, August 14:

Remember: you can download podcasts of rude audio at Podbean or on yer iTunes. When you listen, try to not touch yourself while driving.

And tomorrow is Monday, which means it's the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller waking up together in the morning to have their weekly pillow talk. Check out The Stephanie Miller Show at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT.


Special Saturday Photo from Crazy People (Town Hall Edition):

So, like, the Lyndon LaRouche people have a mixed message. On one side of their table they have the photo you've seen of President Obama with Hitler's mustache. On the front of their table outside the Fairview, New Jersey town hall meeting (and on the cover of the booklet they were handing out) is this photo of Obama standing next to a delighted Hitler while surrounded by smiling Nazis, who just look overjoyed that a black man is in their presence, as Nazis would.

So, wait, is Obama Hitler? But if he is, how can he delight the Fuerher? Or maybe this is the incident where he stole the mustache. Ah. That makes sense. About as much sense as the fucking photo.


The Rude Pundit Went to a Town Hall Meeting:
And he'll tell you all about it on Monday.

Audio up later this weekend, including the woman who told him, "You should watch Glenn Beck every now and then."
What'll We Do About the Town Hall Screamers? Part 2: The More Things Change...:
"Sometimes they are referred to as the 'radical Right.' But the fact is that there is nothing radical about them. They offer no novel solutions to the problems that plague them; indeed, they offer no solutions at all. They are immensely discontented with things as they are and furiously impatient with almost everyone in public office who can in any way be held responsible for their frustrations. But it cannot be said that they hold any clearly stated objectives or have any specific program either in common or individuals. They are fundamentally and temperamentally 'aginners.' And perhaps the commonest characteristic among them is anger. They can fairly be called, if nothing else, the Rampageous Right."

That's from Alan Barth, writing in the New York Times Magazine on November 26, 1961, talking about, among other things, the rise in conservative activist anger about discussions of starting Medicare. Barth continued that to this group of right wingers, "socialism is an epithet applied indiscriminately to almost any form of collective endeavor. Thus, any governmentally operated insurance program to provide medical care for the elderly is denounced as Socialist." To them, welfare and "even the progressive income tax are all looked upon as satanically inspired deviations from capitalism." Also driving this anger were groups like the John Birch Society (which still exists) talking about Communist infiltration into the civil rights movement and the Democratic Party, a trifecta of a conspiracy theory. Barth mentions how well-funded the groups were by wealthy donors and corporations.

And here's one more tidbit: "Most frenetic of the fanatics is the group calling itself the Minutemen...They have actually organized themselves into armed bands of civilian guerrillas." President John F. Kennedy didn't say he understood how they felt. He mocked such extremism for being idiotic.

If you can, read the whole article. So many of Barth's observations hold true for today.

Of course, like most of us, Barth was a bit too optimistic in his conclusions: "Genuine conservatives devoted to the nation's traditions, values and institutions will be reluctant to identify themselves with the extremists or to make common cause with them." He saw them losing power. And then Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964, and they never looked back.

The Rude Pundit promised a solution today to the town hall phenomenon, but, frankly, he needs to see it for himself. So he's off to Fairview, New Jersey to witness it. This is for Democratic Congressman Steve Rothman, who has faced down crying, yelling people already. Back later with a report and hopefully some audio.


What'll We Do About the Town Hall Screamers? Part 1: The Missed Opportunity:
One of the major miscalculations of the Obama administration so far has been a misread of just how fucked-up a good chunk of the nation was after his election. Of course, of course, fear of a black president takes care of some of it. But let's not limit our discussion to that. Because at the end of the Bush era, there was this sense in the nation that something, unnameable but intensely present, was wrong with the country. For many of us, the answer was simple: the Bush administration had fundamentally changed the governance of this country and it had exponentially compounded the nexus between corporations and the government. In other words, the Bush era was focused on disempowering the population in order to consolidate its own power. To put it another way, it's like getting an invitation to watch an orgy through a screen window.

Let's be honest (and, yes, this is one of those overgeneralized, "look at the yokels," elitist statments, so, sure, exceptions exist): there's large swaths of the United States that are filled with lost people, people who have been broken down by wondering whether they're gonna lose or have lost their jobs (and health insurance) as jobs go overseas and employment ranks shrink, people who feel an anger out there that is, yes, yes, soothed by guns and religion, the former that promises them instant power, the latter that promises them happiness everlasting if they do what they're told God wants. They are deluded by those who soothe their anger, the people on talk radio or Fox "news" who say in an endless loop, "It's not your fault, it's not your fault, it's this person or that person, immigrants, gays, liberal activists, attack them." Toss into this mix the natural progression of personal problems like divorce or illness, toss in the shitty education most of them have, and shake, motherfuckers, shake. It's fucking scary to live now, and not even for the reasons they've been told by Sean Hannity.

You ever walked in a room and it just felt like you had to get the fuck out of there, now, for no reason you could explain, but it just felt that way? Now imagine the door was locked behind you. You could panic and try to break the door down. Or you could figure out what's bugging you out. One is easy. One takes work. The rage being expressed at the town hall meetings is the inarticulate belching forth of this irrational fear. It is the attempt to beat down the door and escape when escape isn't possible.

For one thing, Republicans don't do well when they're out of power, especially after an extended period of being in power. Ask Jimmy Carter. Ask Bill Clinton. Democrats try to figure out a way to make it work when there's a Republican president. Republicans just try to figure out how to fuck shit up when the executive's a Democrat. These approaches do not go together.

Let's give a little credit here: people are showing up to yell and rant at town hall meetings mostly of their own volition. No one's paying them or anything to do it. They don't really have anything to say, but they're venting. It's public masturbation. We just gotta make sure it doesn't get to rape. And let's give credit to the ever-Machiavellian Republicans, who have taken advantage of this anger like hate-fucking frat boys on spring break. So much of this anger is misdirected; it should be on the Bush administration, but the people expressing it don't have the self-awareness to see that and they couldn't do it anyways; it'd be like smacking their fathers. Besides, it much easier to blame Nancy Pelosi. Still, anger has to come out. The question is how and for what reason and what's the best way to misdirect that anger for your own purposes.

Now, follow the bouncing ball: Another miscalculation by the Obama administration was in not seeing the political value of investigating and prosecuting Bush administration officials, including Dick Cheney. See, having the Justice Department under Eric Holder threatening to arrest and drag off the ex-VP and others would have been the perfect shiny object for the right wing. Who has time (or as much time) to argue about whether or not Obama wants to kill Granny if he's wanting to jail Alberto Gonzales? Let people protest and let Rush Limbaugh pop like a diseased pimple over it while Glenn Beck weeps that he's next. Hey, Obama has no control, really, if Justice wants to go ahead, right? And think of what it would have forced Republicans to do: state whether or not they support the actions of the Bush administration, the presidency they dare not speak of because it reminds people of what they're actually angry about. Yes, such action against the Bush White House would have been a distraction, but in a good way. The other thing it would have done is to ameliorate the rage of much of the nation, the gnawing sense that "they got away with it."

Sure, sure, this idea presumes a number of almost blindly optimistic scenarios, that Obama would have had the sense to abandon bipartisanship as soon as he had his Senate 60, that Democrats would have had to stand together on some goals.

Ah, but that moment has passed. Now we have to wonder what to do now about this summer fad of shouting down anyone who thinks the country needs to change and progress. More on that tomorrow.


Umm, Townhall Protesters? Jefferson Was Actually Talking About Your Blood, Too:
So, like, for a long time, as a threat to people in power, protesters trot out this line from Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants." It's been tossed back and forth between the left and right like a football at recess at the special school, although most often it's proudly displayed by the yahoos in some extreme right wing nutzoid movements, be it militias or the townhall idiots. And it'd be a poignant quote, one that gets us back to our roots as a revolutionary society. Except that Jefferson was actually talking about the blood of ignorant people who rise up in arms against the American government, too. In fact, it was mostly their blood.

The entire letter makes this clear, and, as with so many things properly understood in relation to the Founders, it is stunningly prescient. Jefferson was talking to John Adams' son-in-law about Shays' Rebellion, a truly fascinating episode in the early history of the nation, pre-Constitution, but post-Revolution, where rural Massachusetts citizens rose up against the state's government over issues of taxes and debt. They were crushed, of course, and many of the politicians of the time were all a-twitter with how this was an attack on liberty and how the rebels should be put to death.

And while he could be something of a drama queen in his rhetoric - well, really, they all could be (it's the effect of long-term wig-wearing) - Jefferson's essential message in his letter was, more or less, "Chill. Stupid people will act stupidly." Or, as he put it, "I say nothing of its motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty."

See, Jefferson was forgiving the dumb, saying it was better to have idiots uprising than to have no civic engagement at all. But we have to understand that they're dumb and that the dumber they are, the more they will rage in their dumbness. Prior to the famous quote, Jefferson wrote, "We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?"

Putting aside Jefferson's ease with people getting killed (and the fact that he wasn't even in the nation at the time; he was in Paris), it's pretty easy to conclude that President Obama's strategy of not condemning the protesters while trying to get the facts out there is far more Jeffersonian than the inflammatory rhetoric of any pundit or politician who pushes the protests.

So that dickless, punk-ass piece of prison-rape bait who brought a gun to Obama's New Hampshire townhall while carrying a sign that said, "It is time to water the tree of liberty"? Do you think he was thinking his blood was gonna be in the watering can? As for the farmers of Shays' Rebellion, most of them begged for clemency from the government they wanted to bring down (and almost all received it), so, you know, their blood wasn't really required.

Jefferson concluded with advice for those of us in Left Blogsylvania and those in the media fascinated by the whole townhall screamer phenomena: "Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order." In other words, this is easily contained and don't get too bent out of shape.

Of course, just because he said it doesn't mean Thomas Jefferson is right about everything.

More on that soon.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Encourage Sterilization as Part of Health Reform:

Chances are that 6 year-old Alexandra Tripari knows about as much about socialism as her seemingly 'roid-engorged father, Anthony. The Rude Pundit hopes her daddy buys her ice cream for her enthusiastic protesting. She's earned it.

Notice the bumper sticker on the poster at the bottom. It reads: "Obamacare: Bend Over & Cough." Between the sucking and the bending over, it seems that anti-health reform protesters have something else on their minds.

(By the way, Glenn Beck, the title's not meant to provide you with a new crazoid attack.)
Late Post Today:
Real life interfering with blogginess. Back in a bit to satiate your rude desires.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
The Rude Pundit does Madame Stephanie's weekly bidding, talking about townhall jerks and more.
Fuck You, Sarah Palin, Just...Fuck You:
Sometimes, there's something delicious about offering a simple, sublime "fuck you" as a rejoinder to rank idiocy. In her Facebook "statement" on the health care reform debate, Palin protests that "we’re saying not just no, but hell no!" before launching into bizarro world, in her much-quoted: "And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." (By the way, has anyone pointed out how pathetic it is for a supposedly "major" political figure to make a "statement" through Facebook?)

The only possible response? "Hey, quitter, fuck you." And, then, as if to demonstrate said "fuck you," the Rude Pundit offers the following:

From the Columbus, Ohio TV station WBNS, here's a story about Margaret Druko, a woman with a four and a half year-old child with Down's Syndrome. Druko had to quit her job because child care centers wouldn't take her daughter. The only insurance she could get was for catastrophic care at $5000 a month. "Margaret said insurance companies told her Emily was considered a death risk. Without health insurance Margaret couldn't afford to pay for Emily to continue with her physical and occupational therapy. The Druko's go without medication for themselves because it's just too costly." The final fuck-you-Sarah? That story is from two weeks before Palin made her statement.

Or, in other words, ex-Governor, the death panel is there. It's called "the profit margin." Indeed, if the Grukos were a bit poorer, they'd qualify for government-run health care. Which would ensure that their daughter gets the care she needs. Denial of private insurance coverage because of Down's syndrome is unsurprisingly common. That's called "rationing."

Or, in otherer words, ex-Governor, now that you're out of a job, and by the time your COBRA runs out, and you're applying for new health insurance policies, Trig better hope that pre-existing conditions clauses or excessive risk denials don't bite his mom on her lying ass.


If It's Monday, It's Stephanie Time:
The Rude Pundit continues his radio assault during his weekly stint on The Stephanie Miller Show at 9:30 am ET/6:30 PT.

If you can't do it locally, pretend you're on an audio vacation and listen to The Stephanie Miller Show online at a San Francisco station or other destinations far, far away.

As ever, you can subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast, so you can giggle and get a little aroused on the way to work.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Never Do Jaeger Shots Again:

Sweet Sean Hannick, you pimplefaced protester with your sign that reads, "When people fear government, it's tyranny; when government fears people, it's liberty," how does it feel to be a useful tool of megacorporations and the people who profit off fear you didn't know you had until they told you that you did?

There were demonstrators with signs on both sides of the health care reform debate on the sidewalks as Nancy Pelosi visited, with other members of the Colorado congressional delegation, the Stout Street Clinic in Denver. The clinic, by the way, is for homeless people. Pelosi was there to talk about funding for the clinic that has been open for 25 years, offering free services like immunization for children. Rush Limbaugh yesterday compared Pelosi to a Nazi, a discussion he justified because Pelosi dared to say swastikas were being displayed by anti-Obama protesters. How one proves that one's side of an argument doesn't compare Democrats to Nazis by comparing Democrats to Nazis is beyond the pay grade of the Rude Pundit.

But there you are, Sean Hannick, and this child whose parent should probably put down the sign in order to apply more sunscreen:

It's gotta be a proud day all around when you are yelling that giving homeless people health insurance would amount to socialism and/or tyranny in front of the one place that gives them health care.

Bonus sign for its unmitigated awesomeness:

That handmade one reads: "Obamacare is a death sentence for seniors; stop the communists in Washington." No swastika, but it does have what appears to be a hammer and sickle on it.


Why Does Conservative Spoogebucket Kevin McCullough Admit That He's a Screamer?:
There are days you wake up, hungover, angry at the sun for rising, angry at the clouds for blocking the sun, and out of coffee. An irrational man would want to kick a small animal, the dog or the cat or, if possible, because they're so annoyingly cute, a marmoset. With no marmosets available, and with a modicum of rationality still available, the Rude Pundit, on mornings such as these, turns to his nemesis, Kevin McCullough, allegedly nationally-syndicated columnist (although there's no trace on Google searching of any actual newspapers that carry his work); host of, no shit, Xtreme Radio (the "X" apparently means Jesus or, at least, the thing he was nailed to) with the Christ-loving Baldwin, whichever one that is; and author of books that tell you how to act like a good Xian man, a man's man who worships a nearly naked dude on a cross. And McCullough's writing reveals, to the Rude Pundit's thinking, the filled-to-bursting desires for gay love. Actually, to be clear, look at the dude's picture: that's a man who wants cock, lots of cock, so much cock that he wants a cocktopus to wrap its cocktacles around him and penetrate every orifice. But instead of fulfilling his true identity and being the kind of man he should be, McCullough is given to bursts of projected rage at the supposedly decadent left. It's like Elmer Fudd in leather.

In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "conspiracy-mongering for the townhall feces tossers"), McCullough flogs the newest lie about how Obama is gonna have conservatives castrated. See, on the White House blog, the following is posted: "There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."

It seems innocuous enough. If you get an email that says, as this one does, "Health care will be denied based on age. 500 Billion will be cut from Seniors healthcare. The only way for that to happen is to drastically cut health care, the oldest and the sickest will be cut first. Paying for your own care will not be an option" (sic on all the errors), you could send it to the White House and probably get a nice form letter telling you the myriad ways that it's a lie. There's not a single thing the White House asks for that tells you to report anyone's name, unlike some funded programs of, say, the previous administration (Operation TIPS?). Besides, if you'll remember, one of the great qualities of the Obama campaign was its ability to respond quickly to lies and misinformation. So why not do it now, when lives are at stake, not just delegates?

Right Blogsylvania is exploding about this like ants whose hill just got stomped by a little kid's shoe. And McCullough is right there with them, scampering to get their dirt back into place: "Pardon me for asking such an obvious question, but what concern is it to the President or his administration if private citizens have disagreements, discussions, and dissections of his proposed take over of the health care industry? Last I checked I had the constitutional right to do so. But now he wishes to turn one citizen against another?" Again, what's in the request that has that? It's actually asking citizens to partner with the administration. It's actually asking people to unify about an issue, not divide by getting names of people. Answering misinformation instead of bulldozing over opposition? Understanding how the internet can spread lies quickly? How not quaint.

But that's not how McCullough sees it. Indeed, the title of his piece, "Welcome to Gestapo-care," tells you everything this drama queen is after, whipping up the masses to greater, more violent fervor. And he's not afraid to lie about it, either: "When President George W. Bush was being stalked by Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink on a daily basis, over a genuine issue of national security--the war on terror--he met with Sheehan, acknowledged her pain, and wished her well, all while respectfully disagreeing with her over the policy." There's about ten things wrong with that sentence, starting with his fucked-up timeline. (By the way, Code Pink fucks with Democrats about as often as they do Republicans.)

Finally, the Rude Pundit has a particular fondness for attacking McCullough because the poor bastard is such a wannabe - he desperately wants to be a Beck or Hannity, a silverback instead of a marmoset. You can smell the rancid flop sweat in every word he writes. You can hear the squeaking panic that the years are passing and no one really gives a shit about what he has to say. He ends with a rallying call, presented as written:
"So what should our response be?
"Greater demands for free speech...
"Louder volumes at Townhall meetings...
"Bigger belligerence the tighter they squeeze...
"In short, when free speech is threatened, screeching screams of volition are the only thing preventing the mandated, manhandled, chokehold of silence.
"So go ahead... report me... I will shout louder!"

Oh, fuck, Kevster. "Bigger"? "Tighter"? "Manhandled"? Hell, "man[-]dated" and "choke[-]hold"? Really? Dude, get a copy of Black Inches magazine and a hotel room, and work it out. Just remember: when you start to feel light-headed, undo the belt around your neck. The Rude Pundit would hate to lose such bounty.

(Tip o' the hat to rude reader Chris C. for the nutzoid email forward.)


Yes, We Do Want to Kill You, Old People:
Alright, alright, you caught us and, boy, our faces are as red as the blood on our hands. No, no, it's okay for us to come clean. Stop shouting at the Rude Pundit to shut up. We need to admit to the right that, ultimately, one of our greatest goals with health care reform is to kill old people. Goddamn, that felt good to say. The Rude Pundit thinks he's gonna put on his Angel o' Death suit right now and head to the local state-run nursing home to "consult" about end-of-life issues with the patients. By the end of the day, betcha tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare bucks will be saved. Oh, yeah, the Rude Pundit wants to watch as millions of senior citizens are forced to lay in warehouse dorms, moaning in pain until they shit themselves to death. Fuck, oh, god, the thought of the sounds and the smell gets liberals hard and wet. We'll watch through one-way glass and have orgies, climaxing when a buzzer sounds to indicate one more government burden has agreed to die or be killed. Then an Obama-approved nurse will bring us the corpse so that we can throw it on the floor and continue our fucking on top of the bodies. It is our way.

So, yep, when Pat Buchanan queries in his latest column, titled, no, really, "Time to Go, Grampa" (a title that makes it seem like Gramps is an incontinent pet on his way to the vet), "[I]s not the logical purpose of paying doctors for house calls to the terminally ill, whose medical costs are killing Medicare, to suggest a pleasant and early exit from a pain-filled and costly life?" what can we answer but "Pills or shotgun?" Of course, Buchanan takes all this to its inevitable outcome: "Hitler’s Third Reich, marrying Social Darwinism to Aryan racial supremacy, carried the concepts to their logical if horrible conclusion." But who are we to argue when it's so patently clear that a discussion about a living will is just cover for our nefarious, pseudo-Logan's Run dystopianism.

And, yep, Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council (motto: "If babies weren't aborted, Tony Perkins wouldn't have a salary") is right when he exposes, "The bottom line is that health care rationing isn't coming--it's here. And until euthanasia is specifically prohibited in the legislation, the only thing that should be humanely killed is the plan to encourage it." The legislation doesn't prohibit prescriptions for blow jobs and fingerfucks by dedicated professionals, either, and that's legal in Nevada. So it must include it. Fuck, we thought of everything.

Fred "God, I Got Old Fast" Thompson tries to cover for his right-wing allies, accusing "Democratic strategists" of creating the whole euthanasia controversy: "It does seem that the words attributed to unnamed conservative culprits are fairly mild compared to the hysteria coming out of left-wing Web sites and blogs." (Note to Thompson: The Rude Pundit just named a couple of them. And one of 'em compares health care legislation to the Holocaust.) Putting on his rational hat, Thompson says, "So is this a conspiracy to kill off granny? No. Will seniors be forced to make decisions they don't want to make? No. But will 'practitioners' be encouraged to have end-of-life discussions that include when it might be best for patients to allow their life to end earlier than it has to? Of course. And seniors have a right to be satisfied that there is not, at the heart of this process, undo consideration given to cost-cutting."

But, sweet, bejowled character actor, you're wrong. This is a conspiracy to kill off granny. Indeed, let the word go out to townhalls everywhere: if you bring granny or gramps to the doctor once this bill becomes law, they will be given Obama's "care." In fact, the Rude Pundit encourages the grandkids of Buchanan and Thompson to make sure their grandparents get the best "care" government-run insurance can provide.


Time to Join the Fight Against the Right-Wing Townhall Uprisings?:
Is this really the way you guys wanna play this? Is this the way it's gonna go down? You're sending to townhall meetings of members of Congress a bunch of frightened people with misdirected rage, no real understanding of the issues surrounding even their own health care, and little articulation of their point of view other than "Government bad" to shout down officials, the discursive equivalent of howler monkey yawps across the rainforest. And you're doing it with the imprimatur of the Minority Leader. And with the applause of the right-wing media, who, rather than appear at a townhall to lead the charge like in honorable days of old, are like modern generals, staring at their computer screens and smiling at action they foment.

(By the way, a note to Michelle Malkin: the action of loudmouths trying to shut up everyone else ain't a counterinsurgency. You're using that word to make it seem like you're defending the mainstream. Obama and the Democrats were legally elected in part to implement universal health care coverage. Attempting to stop a lawful government from enacting the will of the majority through intimidation, threats, and fear is, at best, an insurgency, and, at worst, terrorism.)

Can you imagine the cries of "quel horreur" and the fainting gestures of the Fox "news" hosts with dainty constitutions if liberals had coordinated the disruption of meetings of members of Congress in order to oppose a policy of the Bush administration? Oh, wait, we don't really have to stretch that far since any effort, large or meager, to halt the march to war in Iraq was not treated like the free speech acts of citizens to question their government. Nope, we were portrayed as traitors. And we didn't get the support of the Democratic leadership. Is this jealousy that the right gets away with shit we can't? Fucking A, it is.

So the Rude Pundit's of two minds about this strain of reactionary civil disobedience. There's that free speech advocate part of him that's thinking, "Hey, cool, at least people are participating and voicing themselves, and, in general, that's a good thing." But then there's the other hand.

That's the part that says it's time to stop acting like pussies in all of this. Sweet fucking Jesus, we sit by and act like the motherfuckers who protest family planning clinics are just innocuous diversions until some doctor gets killed. We didn't fucking shut down the assholes that barged into the recount in Florida. We take it and take it and take it and then simply sigh that our protests amount to so little, and the whole storyline is stolen from us and run by the compromisers, shills, and punks.

So there's the part of the Rude Pundit's mind that says it's time to show these motherfuckers how it's done, to join the fucking fight. Maybe get some stone-cold WTO protesters to fuck up a few Republican townhalls. When Lloyd Doggett was being shouted down in his district, where were the good Austin hippies to counterprotest? Where, in general, are all of us that fucking fought for Obama to be elected? Step the fuck up.

Tell you what: the Rude Pundit's gonna put up or shut up. He'll go to a few townhalls up here in the wicked Northeast. He'll bring his recorder. And if any assholes try to manipulate the proceedings by thinking they can shout loudest, well, the Rude Pundit's feeling confrontational. No violence. That's for idiots. Just a promise to make sure that liars are called out and motherfuckers are accused of fucking their mothers.

Let's open this up. Who's got ideas - real ones, not fantasy ones - about how to be an actual counterinsurgency?

Update: Apparently, organization, politeness, and a heavy police presence can also work.