Note to Mainstream News Media: You're Not Blogs and Everything Is Not Legitimate News:
Think back for a moment to 2004. That was the last chance we had to wrestle with whether or not President George W. Bush, up for reelection, had completed his minimal duties as a member of the Air National Guard in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was a story with a paper trail, credible people involved, and a presidency in the balance. The right dismissed the whole thing as a made-up controversy, a conspiracy theory by liberal losers, and, hey, what about John Kerry and those Swift Boat vets? Until the strange and mysterious forged documents showed up at CBS (the existence of which neither proved nor disproved anything about Bush, but it did discredit the story), the news media was actually discussing whether or not it was true. Republicans were apoplectic at this questioning of the President's military street cred.

The point here is not to revisit that issue. But can you think of another time in the reign of the Bush the Lesser that any other story that debased Bush got any traction in the media? The National Guard story was legitimate news. What if, though, CNN spent days examining Bush's cocaine use? Or the allegations that he forced a lover to get an abortion? Or that Laura Bush, as a teenager, intentionally killed an ex-boyfriend? We're talking about a media that, for the most part, wouldn't even look into whether or not Bush was legitimately elected in the first place or wouldn't investigate the administration's claims on Iraqi weapons prior to going into a war.

The Rude Pundit's not saying that the fringe stories, about coke, abortion, and murder, should have made Wolf Blitzer's radar. They shouldn't have. He's not commenting on whether or not those are true or false. However, to report them as more than an interesting blip is to legitimize them and to legitimize those making the allegations.

Let's push this further. What if CNN or MSNBC interviewed 9/11 truthers on a daily basis during the Bush administration? Even if the hosts scoffed at them, what if, on a semi-regular basis, someone who thought 9/11 was an inside job or that Flight 93 was shot down was allowed to comment on issues related to that day and allowed to say that the Bush administration destroyed the Twin Towers to bring down the nation in order to maintain power? You know what would have happened? Shit would have burned. Conservatives would have exploded with rage, Democratic politicians would have had to condemn the people who said it, and the news networks that gave the truthers time and investigated what they said would have faced boycotts and threats.

Which all leads to what we deal with today: why the fuck are we even hearing about things like whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States? It's not a real story. Why the fuck are there serious discussions on the news networks over whether or not the Obama administration's ultimate plan is to turn America into some kind of socialist dystopia? Or about whether or not Obama is like Hitler (a report that CNN actually did)? Or whether Obama wants to set up "death panels" to kill old people? Why are guests allowed on who believe these things? It ain't censorship to not give a platform to maniacs. This ain't just a complaint about Fox "news," although Fox is certainly Public Enemy Number 1 (and "public enemy" here means "enemy of the public") or your Limbaughs and Becks. It's that nothing is beyond the pale at this point. No longer is anything, on its face, too absurd or baseless to discuss. Stupid people believe stupid things, and there will always be opportunists there to exploit stupidity - politicians, pundits, news people.

As the right seeks to delegitimize the Obama presidency, as the media is willing to be complicit, as few brave Republicans are willing to call "bullshit," we are, as Thomas Friedman points out today, heading into truly dangerous territory. Sure, people have always called for the heads of their leaders, but they used to have to stand on street corners with cheap microphones and amps. Now, when they write that the military might have to overthrow Obama, it sits in a browser tab right next to the Washington Post, and most people can't tell the difference. We need arbiters with spines. The media were spineless arbiters during the Bush administration. Now they are spineless and filterless, political relativists, if you will, not willing to ignore what needs ignoring, not willing to condemn what needs condemning.

Someone's gonna get hurt. Hell, someone may already have over in Kentucky.

(Just to be clear: the Rude Pundit's no conspiracy theorist - he doesn't believe in ghosts, gods, or grassy knolls, and he thinks that 19 dudes with box cutters lucked out on September 11, 2001. Yeah, yeah, send your emails.)


Health Care, the Public, Abortion, and Money:
Here's a sickening number for the day: the budget for one year of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that'll probably be passed by the Senate today, is $128.2 billion. The cost of the most generous, most public optiony of the health care bills currently under consideration in the Congress is roughly $110 billion a year. That's deduced through simple math: $1.1 trillion divided by 10 years. It is, by the way, a lot less scary of a number than the ten-year one, and you gotta wonder why supporters don't use it. But, still, we're not going to blink at spending more on wars that are, at best, the indulgences of a fallen empire left over from its days of bloated arrogance.

Seriously, at this point, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become that gym membership you signed up for but never use, yet you can't get out of the contract, so you just keep paying the hundred bucks a month, waiting for it to go away. Except for that goddamn automatic renewal clause you didn't see.

This is not about the wars (although, you know, fuck the generals). And it's not totally about cost comparison (although the seeming difference in cost between the House bills and the Baucus bill is about $15 billion a year, the cost of a little over a month of the wars - again, division makes a difference in perspective). No, instead this is about the appalling way in which we're still debating aspects of health care reform.

There's plain facts in this nation. One of those is that abortion remains legal, despite the efforts of some states to regulate it to near-elimination, despite the efforts of individuals to intimidate or kill those involved in the procedure, despite the mewls of the religious that an invisible sky wizard is offended by it. It is still legal.

Yet, in this health care debate, it's not enough for anti-choice nutzoids that the federal government is banned from directly funding abortions. It's not enough that if any public option happens, abortions cannot be paid for by it. No, now anti-choicers want any insurance plan that is part of an "exchange" from which people can choose cannot have abortion coverage because people buying into those plans may be getting subsidies from the government to do so. Follow the bouncing ball to madness here: pro-choicers have already done financial contortions to please the anti-choicers, making it so any subsidies would not actually be used for abortions. But, see, that ain't good enough because, in the even more contorted logic of the conservative crazeratti, any money that's paid to insurers from the government frees up funds to pay for abortion.

Again, this is over a legal medical procedure that simply displeases a segment of the population. It's merely a back door way to outlaw abortions through a thousand cuts, it's another conservative assault on women, it's another hypocrisy in that the only time a business is regulated is to conform to some outdated notions of morality because it gets the yahoos out to vote. It is, ultimately, an argument over a pittance, and it's also another bullshit way to possibly derail reform.

How about this: ask how many people would rather that Iraq/Afghanistan budget go for health insurance for Americans. Then we're talking real money.

Today the fight in the Senate is over the public option. The abortion debate is coming. The landscape is strewn with mines set by the right. The only question is if Democrats are going to try to tiptoe around them or just bulldoze the shit out of them.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
Yes, Stephanie Miller did ask the Rude Pundit to describe "scrotal infusion" on live radio. And, yes, of course he did, as well as talk about terrorism, ACORN, and more, with copious use of the phrase "Fort Dix."

You can always subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast, if you want to hear about artificially inflated nutsacks while you're at the gym.

Also, for DC rude readers, the Rude Pundit's pal, Jeff Kreisler, is doing a show based on his kick-ass funny book Get Rich Cheating at the DC Arts Center in the ol' Adams-Morgan. Tickets available.
Updated With Ironic Info: For Conservatives, Being America Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry:
Oh, their stars and garters. Reading some of the reaction from right-wing pundits to President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations last week is like reading the diary of an adderall-popping high school cheerleader who delusionally thinks that her jock boyfriend is cheating on her. They're upset at what they see as the nearly traitorous act of Obama acknowledging that the United States fucked up in its relationship with the world during the previous, let's say, eight years or so. They see it as arrogantly associating the world's perception of America with the world's perception of him.

Here's Michael Gerson, wringing his hands with worry like a panic-attack-driven mental patient waiting for soup: "The thesis: pre-Obama America is a nation of many flaws and failures. The antithesis: The world responds with understandable but misguided prejudice. The synthesis: Me. Me, at all costs; me, in spite of all terrors; me, however long and hard the road may be. How great a world we all should see, if only all were more like...me." Obama is driven by narcissism, you see: "At the United Nations, Obama set out to denigrate American goodness so he can become our rescuer."

Over in the National Review (motto: "Thank God Buckley's dead so we can go bugnuts like the rest of the movement"), Jonah Goldberg moves from stupidly snide to snidely stupid in a few short sentences: "'For those who question the character and cause of my nation,' the president pronounced Wednesday, 'I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.' America is 233 years old. Some think that there are ample accomplishments speaking to our character and cause that predate Obama’s ascension to the presidency. Feh, Obama seems to be saying. Look instead to our new greatness, for we have elected a man like him!
Having anointed himself America’s vindicator and redeemer, Obama’s real purpose seems to be to become the leader not of the free world but, simply, the world."

Beyond the strange desire to have America of today judged by actions two centuries ago (did he judge French character in 2002 based on that country's revolution 200 years before?), Goldberg, a man who really should be forced to bathe his own vile mother, then veers into the most paranoid of conspiracy theorist fantasies. How dare Obama want the world to see things his way, how dare he ask the world to join his "cult of unity," as Goldberg puts it. Yeah, unity is for pussies. Build that completely unnecessary and worthless missile shield because we said we were gonna.

Exactly why was Obama doing some measure of saying, "Look, the last guy fucked it all up. Let's make it better, but you gotta get on board, too"? Fuck, who knows?

Maybe it was this speech by George W. Bush on September 20, 2001, where the man who was our president said to the world, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Maybe Bush still angry then, except that this is what he said on November 6, 2001: "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." Maybe it was that 2002 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, where he told the nations of the world that they would make the U.N. irrelevant if they didn't believe him on Iraq and agree to a resolution leading to war. The United States, through its face to the world, the President, told the world, "You will now only be judged by a simply choice." If you were, say, Austrian or Bolivian or Cambodian, you might think, "Umm, fuck you?"

What Obama, our new face to the world, also said was "After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and point fingers and stoke divisions. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anybody can do that." Like Gerson and Goldberg, anybodies if there ever were some.

: By the way, you know who was one of the people responsible for that September 20, 2001 speech? Who may have written the words that divided the world solely on the United States's terms, setting the attitude the Obama has had to overcome? Michael Gerson, once one of Bush's speechwriters, now just a douchebag pundit.


Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Last Day):
An accurate measure of the number of rude readers who got in the Marxist spirit would be in the neighborhood of an assload. In donations from a couple of bucks to c-notes, the love came in. Big damn thanks. If you wanna get in on that special feeling you can get when you buy the Rude Pundit a drink (and help him buy that new laptop), click on that button down there or the one on the side. After this, we shall not speak of the uprising again (until next year).

If you hate the PayPal, here's the Rude Pundit's snail mail address where you can send all manner of mailable material:
Lee Papa
P.O. Box 20071
New York, NY 10014

Oh, and tomorrow morning, the Rude Pundit continues his mad radio love affair with Stephanie Miller on her show at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT.


Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Day 6):
Oh, fuck, anyone got something that'll wash out a brain? The Rude Pundit just sat in Barnes and Noble for a while, reading Glenn Beck's latest "book." Sweet Jesus, what a $30 pile of crap with a rancid cherry on top. Incoherent, random, and pointless (no, really, the book just ends - with no final summary or point), just like Beck's show. The worst part? When the Rude Pundit picked up the book, a fat white guy walking by saw him, nodded, smiled, and waved the copy he was holding in his meaty paw, as if we were Beck butt buddies. Oh, and Beck justifies the 3/5 Compromise on counting slaves in the Constitution as a good thing.

Help the Rude Pundit get the whiskey he needs to wipe his memory clean (and buy a new laptop). The Rude Pundit's annual fundraiser is on. Click on that button down there or the one on the side, like dozens of people coast-to-coast and around the world have already done. Click like you're pretending to boil a frog to make some stupid point.

If you hate the PayPal, here's the Rude Pundit's snail mail address where you can send all manner of mailable material:
Lee Papa
P.O. Box 20071
New York, NY 10014
A Note on an Absence of Hysteria Regarding a Possible Terrorism Plot:
So there's this thing that you don't want to google called "scrotal infusion." (No, really, don't google it.) There's a couple of reasons why men will use a needle, a tube, and saline solution to inflate their nutsacks to cantaloupe-sized proportions. For some, it is a sexual thing, in the same way that a gerbil tickling one's prostate is. For others, it's a temporary way of making one look like one has huge-ass balls. (You googled it, didn't you? Told you.) Think about it: for a good couple of hours, a man with a tiny scrotum can look like he's sportin' grapefruits in his pants.

The Bush administration was, in many ways, one prolonged scrotal infusion. Those motherfuckers would do anything to make them look like they had the biggest balls in the room, no matter how much it was just cosmetic. How many times did we have to deal with Ashcroft, Ridge, or Chertoff making a statement to the press about whatever group of psychotics or losers or loudmouths they had rounded up in order to flog the latest "terror plot"? The Homeland Security website under Chertoff was overflowing with this fearmongering kind of shit. Shove the needle in and let the saline flow. Holy shit, what elephantine nuts. People with stones that gargantuan must be able to protect us, just by throwing their balls in the way.

So let's end this week on a semi-positive note amid the chaos of Iran, the clusterfuck of Afghanistan, and the petulance of Senate Finance Committee Republicans: When arrests were made in the seemingly way-closer-to-real terrorist plot involving Najibullah Zazi and others, there was no press conference involving Janet Napolitano or Eric Holder. (Holder did express his concerns for a 60 Minutes interview.) There was no federal trumpeting of some great and mighty effort to smash the terrorists who wanna kill us all. There were simply press releases about actions taken by the FBI and the Department of Justice. No "let's all go batshit paranoid" dramatics. The media takes care of that part, anyways.

To put it simply, if you're confident in the balls you have, you don't need to disguise them.


Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Day 5):
The Rude Pundit's annual fundraiser is on. Click on that button down there or the one on the side. Give to defray the costs of the Rude Pundit's new laptop, his travel, and his liquor, man, his sweet, sweet liquor.

If you hate the PayPal, here's the Rude Pundit's snail mail address where you can send all manner of mailable material:
Lee Papa
P.O. Box 20071
New York, NY 10014
Conservatives: You Can Break the Law If It Accomplishes Our Goals (Part 1):
Last night, the Rude Pundit tuned into Fox "news" host Bill O'Reilly's nightly round of self-fellatio, The O'Reilly Factor, and there was Representative Barney Frank, talking to O'Reilly about the banning of federal funding for ACORN programs. (ACORN, as you know, is the vilest, most evilest organization on the face of the earth ever to register voters, deadlier than al-Qaeda and more pimpalicious than Lil Wayne.) They got around to discussing the merry pimp and prostitute-disguised pranksters who secretly filmed and audiotaped ACORN employees. Seems that by doing so in Baltimore without consent or warrant, they violated state law. Frank, who supported halting ACORN funding, also supported an investigation into the other broken laws, even if he passed on commenting ACORN's civil suit against the filmmakers. O'Reilly, as is the way of a man concentrating on sucking his own dick, wouldn't let Frank make his point, and he constantly interrupted Frank to try to get the congressman to call the conservative activists "heroes" or some such shit.

Like O'Reilly, other conservatives have said that whatever "crime" might have been committed, it's nothing compared to what the tapes revealed (although it's unclear that any actual crime was being committed by ACORN's employees). This isn't about ACORN, though, which has more to do with how an organization might have lost its way. It's about how "conservative" used to stand for, you know, "conservative," which one might think means "people who break laws ought to answer for that." But apparently, it now stands for "the ends justify the means."

Take another example: the alleged "scandal" over whether or not Obama administration officials are using the National Endowment of the Arts to get artists to create things that promote the goals of the White House. (Read the transcript - only conspiracy-minded nutzoids and Obama haters could see it as anything but using art for public engagement, not for a specific point of view.) Problem is, again, that the jerk-off doing the recording of the conference call never got anyone's consent to do so, and that included a number of private individuals. See, that violates laws in several states involved in the call. Again, conservatives don't give a fuck that laws may have been broken. That's merely the disposable peel for the sweet pulp underneath that they can devour.

The problem, as Frank repeatedly tried to tell a condescendingly smirking O'Reilly, is that, whatever you think about the results of the law-breaking, laws were broken. And some may admire the man who kills the neighbor who molested the man's kids, the dude's still a murderer. You either enforce the laws of the land, change them, or just say, "Fuck it," and let's go back to street justice.

Let's remember that when civil rights protesters violated the law, they expected to be arrested and jailed. Their goal, though, was to end unfair laws. That ain't the case here. For O'Reilly, it's pick and choose. One imagines that if Andrea Mackris had released recordings of her boss's falafel-sporting harassment, he'd've countersued her "big boobs" off. But apparently, for many on the right, laws on things like privacy exist merely as impediments, a wall of bullshit, when they have an agenda to accomplish.

Tomorrow: Yes, this is also about CIA interrogators.


Updated with Shiny New Address: Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Day 4):
Today is Bruce Springsteen's birthday. The Rude Pundit's celebrating by listening to Nebraska and thinking, "Goddamnit, that's all horribly relevant now."

Oh, and, hey, the Rude Pundit's yearly fundraiser is on. Look at that archive list: six motherfuckin' years, and the stomach lining and liver are still working. Show the right-wing bastards that you know rude when you see it. Click on that button down there or the one on the side. Give to defray the costs of the Rude Pundit's new laptop, his travel, and his liquor, man, his sweet, sweet liquor.

Spectacular Update: If you hate the PayPal, here's the Rude Pundit's snail mail address where you can send checks, money orders, and all manner of mailable material:
Lee Papa
P.O. Box 20071
New York, NY 10014
What the Fuck Does Glenn Beck Believe, Why He's Dangerous to the Right, and 14 Ways for Him to Flame Out:
The Rude Pundit has to admit to being mildly obsessed with the destruction of Glenn Beck. It's not that Beck's some kind of right-wing demagogue. No, that's run-of-the-mill shit. It's not that he's so fully, incoherently wrong about everything he says. Anyone who would, as Beck did, put Che Guevara, Saul Alinsky and Woodrow Wilson together as roots of the end of America has no understanding of anything. Not even how to fucking breathe. No, what pisses the Rude Pundit off is a simple question: "What the fuck does he believe?" (It's the same question that plagues Glenn Greenwald.) The corollary questions are "What's his fucking goal?" and "What's the fucking goal of the tea bag movement?" Anyone got an answer?

Read the shit that's all over his 9-12 Project site, like the "9 Principles, 12 Values." It's like having a dwarf tap dance on your forehead without the momentary charm of the act. There's nothing in it except some vaguely nihilistic version of a kind of populism that he thinks springs from the elitist landowners who started this nation. The only conclusion is that he doesn't actually believe in anything except his own rightness. And that means he's either insane, a con man, or both. The Rude Pundit knows greedy frauds. And, crazy or not, Beck's one of 'em.

The reason Beck is, as Greenwald says, "a histrionic intellectual mess" is that there is a fundamental flaw at the center of the whole movement, the whole faux ideology that Beck has concocted around this conspiratorial mythos about Barack Obama and the government that is equal parts Dan Brown, Brigham Young, and Lyndon LaRouche: the natural end point of Beck's anti-(some)corporations, anti-Wall Street, anti-tax, sort-of-libertarian, sort-of-anarchist weepy ranting is real and genuine progressive populism. Yes, Beck is tapping into some sweeping discontent in this country, what the Rude Pundit has previously described as pent-up, misdirected rage at the Bush administration, and what he's harnessed and ridden like Slim Pickens on the bomb is the energy that comes with anger. And the fact that Democrats have ceded this fury, often expressed by the least articulate and stupidest among the mob, has led us to where we are with health care and taxation and myriad other issues.

But they have nowhere to go. The problem with the Beck followers is that all Beck offers them is some weirdo ideas about returning to some sort of state of nature, except with Jesus hanging out there, like Utah, one supposes. What they should be directed to do, like the poor back in the 1930s, is to demand more from their government, to demand a truly progressive tax system, to demand safety nets that function, to demand trust-busting and corporate oversight, to demand strong unions and programs that strengthen communities. If this was a century ago, the tea party protesters would be marching to let Andrew Carnegie treat his employees as he saw fit and to give more money to Rockefeller and Vanderbilt.

It's no wonder that others on the right are turning on Beck. He is their Frankenstein monster, created by Murdoch to conquer death, but with the brain of a maniac. He must be destroyed now before he kills again.

And the Rude Pundit wants to see Beck fall, hard, back to alcohol, coke. Found with a pile of kiddie porn while fucking a stump whore. Whatever. Cruel? Sure, but these are vicious times. In fact, for real fun, the Rude Pundit asked the Facebook rude friends for their ideas of how Beck will implode and collapse into himself, creating a black hole in Nutzoidland. Here's some of their responses:
-A web clip of him rehearsing his "crying" that ends with him saying "that oughta impress those white trash bastards"
-Video of him snorting amphetamine off of Pat Robertson’s genitals.
-Maybe O'Reilly will falafel him to death for not giving him the common courtesy of a reach-around
-Booze and a freakin' ripped hot dude that's hung like a donkey... just for the added irony
-Hemorrhoid rage
-His other wives come out of the dungeon, more pale and in need of more magic underwear
-Booze and Gannon
-Being discovered masturbating to a copy of Hellcats of the Navy while dressed in full nurse drag
-My guess is that he's a poorly, or untreated, bipolar. His undoing will be something like another suicide attempt or a naked climb up the side of a building.
-Glenn Beck is black?
-Obviously he kills himself and the right blame it on the left hate-machine
-My guess is a combination of gorilla tranquilizers, Japanese manga porn, necrophilia and beastiality
-oh, and possibly cannibalism


Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Day 3):
Damn, it's just day three, and people across these United States, Canada, and the UK have contributed to the rudeness (with special love to California). And you can, too. Toss some money into the new computer and too-much whiskey fund by clicking below. Or over on the side, if you're a rebel. Click that fucker like you're voting for Tom DeLay on Dancing With the Stars ('cause the Rude Pundit wants that fucker dancing until he has a stroke).

Note to those waiting for the P.O. Box: another charming effect of 9/11 - the need for two i.d.'s at the post office. Live and learn, man, live and learn.
Values Voter Summit or Joyful Conservative Fuck-Fest?:
By now you've seen this:

It's the ought-to-be-famous "Jesus loves cock rings" poster from the Abstinence Clearinghouse, angling for attention through doubletakes at the Family Research Council's (et al) Value Voters Summit this past weekend.

Of course, the abstinent people weren't the only ones bringing the sexy to repression of natural human urges. Between the cute little minx next to the table and the picture with Britney Spears practically ordering you to face fuck her, the Rude Pundit's penis was confused about the message here:

The most hilarious thing about a group of nutzoid right-wingers coming together to talk about "values" or some such shit is how the bubbling-below-the-surface desire to ball madly spews forth in the most unexpected ways. God, how the cell phones of the local manwhore pimps must have been vibrating all night this weekend with demands for gay booty calls from the Omni Shoreham. God, how tired housekeeping must have been cleaning up jizz-crispy pages of the Gideon Bible, the only proper way to wipe an evangelical dick after nailing the ass of an abstinence advocate.

The surging libidinal need made its way to the dais, too. In his speech, Representative Mike Pence of Indiana was more or less describing how much he wanted to blow Christ: "[N]othing can compare to the inexpressible joy I felt on a night in April in 1978 when I gave my life to Jesus Christ." And that Jesus is a demanding Master to his little submissives: "Well, like millions of Americans, I've been spending some time on my knees lately."

Most creepy was Pence's fetishization of America's youth, a masturbatory need so great that he had to rush back home to indulge it: "I got on the plane and flew home to Indiana, went out to the Henry Country Fairgrounds for a Boy Scout Jamboree on a cold Saturday morning just about a year ago, and I'll never forget it. You know the Boy Scout Jamboree situation. A bunch of little boys with their hair tousled, ties pulled to the side, one shirt tail out, standing in a row." The Rude Pundit doesn't know about you, but he probably couldn't describe a row of scouts in such...loving detail.

And the Congressman even admitted that Mrs. Pence knows the score: "[B]ehind every great man there is a woman rolling her eyes." She'd be rolling them nonstop if Mr. Pence bumped into this guy in way-deep denial:

But maybe she'd get lucky and her hubby would stop by this table first to talk to its lonely attendant:

One imagines that guy is texting an IM to the Congressional page dorm. Or the local scoutmaster.

(Photos from TPM.)


Updated to Include Today's Stephanie Miller Show: Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising (Day 2):
Yeah, it's been six years of ripe old bloggery, and the Rude Pundit's hosting his yearly send-me-money-bitches-a-thon. Why? Because you're all commies, and that's what you do. (Oh, and the Rude Pundit'll buy a new laptop and whiskey with the leftovers.)

Click on that damn button down there or on the side like it's a throbbing clit:

Tomorrow: a magical P.O. Box address for those who fear the PayPal.

And here's all the hot, wet sarcasm from today's Stephanie Miller Show:
Okay, Now It's McCarthyism:
Much spittle has been spread about how Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, and the advance guard of the new Red Scare are leading us down the road to a new round of McCarthyism. Beck's specious little rant a week or so ago comparing himself to Edward R. Murrow exposing McCarthy, but let's remember that Murrow may have brought down McCarthy, but McCarthy and those he drove to spasmodic paranoia about Communists were out to destroy as many careers as possible. That meant not only politicians and Hollywood lefty types, oh, no. Blacklisting and fear of possible blacklists were used against librarians, schoolteachers, and university professors.

And now, in this retro-era of the new communist witch hunt (based some fantasy version of communism that has little to do with real and actual communism), everything old is new again. The difference this time has to do with so many activities the government used to do on its own: the cause has been privatized. This is different than random cranky whores desperate for attention, like David Horowitz and his little book of fucktardery, The Professors, where he identifies the "101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," which is not unlike uncovering the deadliest prairie dogs on the plains.

No, now we have an honest-to-god, well-funded effort from a conservative organization, the Leadership Institute, a kind of school for assholes that claims to have trained Mitch McConnell, Grover Norquist, and other various and sundry right-wing spoogebuckets. The new effort of the Institute is CampusReform.org, which started this week. The Rude Pundit received a letter of invitation to join up from LI's founder, Morton Blackwell, which explained the goals of this "massive new website I have created at LI to combat leftist abuses and bias at our colleges and universities."

Mr. Blackwell wants the Rude Pundit to spread word of CampusReform.org to conservative students on college campuses: "CampusReform.org will dramatically increase the number of battles fought against leftist abuses on college campuses this year. And based on my long experience, I confidently predict conservative students will win most of those new battles as they identify, expose, and combat leftist abuses and bias." And how?

Why, through CRorg's easy-to-use narcing system. Sort of like RateMyProfessor for even bigger cunts and dickwads, a conservative student can go and whine about the mean old meanie leftist professor who gave poor little Sean or Ann a bad grade because they don't want to lick the waxy folds of Barack Obama's nutsack. It's big fun. Want some examples?

Here's what some little shithead named "wareagle01" said about Auburn University PoliSci Prof Jim Seroka: "Obvious leftist. Denigrates Republicans and conservatives in class. Cuts off criticism of Democrat politicians. Seems to be especially fond of any foreign TV shows that denigrate the US. Uses terms such as 'gun nuts' to describe 2nd amendment supporters and 'fascists' to describe conservatives." Oh, Mary, pull the panties out of your ass and move on.

Or here's what someone said about University of Tennessee Psych Prof Eric Sundstrom: "While Professor Sundstrom does a great job with teaching this class, he unfortunately allows his liberal biases to creep into dicussions. I took this class in the fall of 2003 and he regularly attacked President Bush and his foreign policy during discussions of organizational theory." You know, teaching by using examples is not a bad thing.

What's fascinating is that the site doesn't even realize the total fucking hypocrisy built into its effort. If you praise people for being conservative and denigrate them for being liberal, how is that, in any objective way, qualitatively better than the reverse? Oh, fuck, wait. That was an application of logic. Sorry.

But, hey, thanks for proving why tenure exists with this entry on Lehigh University's David Amidon: "Having gotten tenure when he was a young liberal, the administration could not remove him when he changed his positions and became an old conservative."


The "Holy-Crap-It's-Been-Six-Years" Rude Pundit Fundraiser:
Well over a million words, most of them his own, including coverage of two presidential elections, interviews with homeless people and famous ones, on-the-spot bloggery from Minneapolis during the Republican Convention and DC during the inauguration, a couple of stage shows, a regular weekly national radio appearance, podcasts, a growing Facebook community where commenters can go nuts, goddamn Twitter, and more: the Rude Pundit's just gettin' revved up, motherfuckers. And there's even bigger rude stuff coming in the not-so-distant future.

We're at the end of six years of being rude before it was cool, and every year at this auspicious time, the Rude Pundit celebrates the birthday of this not-so-humble blog by upending the cowboy hat and asking for you to fill it with your hard-earned spare change, yer Georges, Abes, Alexes, Andrews, Benjamins, etc. You get the idea. Money, you know? Donations.

Call this the Sixth Anniversary Rude Reader Socialist Uprising. Your donations will provide precious funds for a new laptop and enough whiskey to make it through the next year of Obama press conferences and major speeches. It'll make you feel like your Marxist overlords have redistributed your wealth. You can strike a blow for solidarity, comrades, by clicking on that PayPal button on the side there. Or right here:

(Tomorrow, the Rude Pundit will post a snail-mail address for PayPal haters.)

And, as has been the tradition here, let's open it up for reader questions. What do ya wanna know? What do you need advice on? What do you want a rude opinion about? The Rude Pundit will answer the best, weirdest, or most interesting ones over the next week. You know the address: rudepundit(at)yahoo(dot)com.

And, yes, your regular-scheduled bloggery will continue.

As will tomorrow morning's weekly breakfast in bed with Stephanie Miller at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT. There's room enough between the sheets for all of us.


Christy Hardin Smith Hangs It Up:
In a way more significant development than Irving Kristol taking a dirt nap at last, Firedoglake blogger Christy Hardin Smith is walking away from Left Blogsylvania to take care of her health. Her legal expertise and smart analysis of things like the trial of Scooter Libby and the hypocrisy of John McCain will be missed.

Wish her well as she lives with (or against) that goddamned awful disease, lupus.


In Brief: If You're Gonna Ban ACORN Funding, You Oughta Ban Catholic Charities Funding:
Some things are easy to put in perspective: We have a case in Albany, NY, where Catholic Charities funds were used as part of a settlement on a case of molestation by clergy. In Cleveland in 2002, at a Catholic Charities-supported child care center, five workers were arrested on charges of sexual abuse of children. The number of cases of molestation by workers, of the cloth or not, at Catholic Charities-run or -owned facilities could go on and on and on, as the abuse did for years.

In August of this year, Catholic Charities received a federal government contract for $100 million over five years to work with victims of natural disasters.

And the outrage is...where exactly?


Regarding Jimmy Carter: Was This Even Up For Discussion?:
Listen: when former President Jimmy Carter, from rural Georgia in the goddamned 1920s, says something is racist, he knows what the fuck he's talking about. Can you imagine the number of toothless crackers he grew up around? No, you can't. Don't even try. Because if you didn't grow up during a time when racism was seen as the way things were, where a white person who was polite to a black person was seen as a traitor to their race, where being a dirt poor white man meant that you had to find someone to beat up on and you sure as hell weren't gonna go after the rich white people actually keeping you down, where there were more lynchings of blacks than in any other state but Mississippi, you shut the fuck up and listen to the man. Because he knows from racist.

The people attacking Carter in their usual ginned-up, politically-motivated way know that the organized fanning of the flames of extremist positions within the Republican party stinks of anti-black and anti-Hispanic rhetoric and action. These days, white people, not just from the South, but often so, are so good at using code words to hide their racism that the ones who have deluded themselves into thinking that they're not racist all of a sudden act shocked when someone trots out the Obama monkey sock puppet.

This ain't new. The Rude Pundit knew people who worked for Jesse Helms, and they all said that, in private, Helms was one of the most despicable racists they ever heard. As much of a motherfucker as he was in public, that probably means that "nigger" was a noun, verb, and adjective to him. As mentioned here before, years ago, the Rude Pundit was at a David Duke rally when he was running for Senate in Louisiana, where Duke told a group of white people that "I'm just saying in public what we've been saying in the back rooms for years." The white people agreed. And wouldn't it be nice if they could say it in public.

Some coded racist terms have been adopted into the mainstream, like "inner-city." Others are being racialized because of the presence of Barack Obama. Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad wrote in the New York Times this past week about how "public option" has been turned into code for "giving shit to black people." Like "welfare" before it, helping the poor is so odious to conservative whites in this country because it helps non-whites, even if not helping the poor harms poor white people.

Now we've got the uproar over ACORN, another code word for "blacks." There's the strange outrage that the mainstream media (beyond Fox "news") isn't "covering" the "scandal" that a few stupid employees said something stupid on tape. This would be the same media that didn't do any actual investigation of the assertions that led the nation into a war. In what must be a harmonic convergence of viscous evil and vile circumstance, Greta Van Susteren had Karl Rove on her Fox "news" show last night to comment on the ACORN thing...deal...whatever the fuck it is. This would be the same Karl Rove who, while in the White House (in an appointed position that was way more powerful than any kind of czar), ordered the firing of David Iglesias as U.S. Attorney in New Mexico because Iglesias wouldn't go after ACORN for "voter fraud." Because, see, ACORN registered poor black people to vote. And they generally don't vote for Republicans. Last night, with the kind of mad hubris one usually sees only in tyrannical dictators having giant statues to themselves constructed by serfs and slaves, Rove used New Mexico as an example of the corruption of ACORN.

But let's go further here, maybe a little too far, but what the fuck? Let's go beyond "socialism," beyond "ACORN," to one of the roots of secret racialized language in America. One reason the right has been so successful in getting large segments of white people to dismiss progressive ideas that would benefit those very white people is because "liberal" was made by the right into a word that meant, among other things, "non-white." See, blacks are liberal, don't you know? And that naturally means "anti-white." And that means that those who support liberal ideas support ideas that prop up non-white people, which means that white people would have to suffer, in the deluded minds of racist white people.

The election of a black president, who embraced the word "liberal," both confirms their suspicions and undermines them in a way that they can't deal with. Indeed, right now they can't even allow Obama to accomplish what he wants to do because, if he's right and he succeeds, their entire worldview crumbles. Conservatives in power, who watched George W. Bush get nearly everything he wanted and it turned to shit, have staked their last chance at regaining power on making Obama into that nigger who wants to hurt the white people. Fuck him and his nigger-loving accomplices.

What Carter was reacting to, among other things, was the yell of "You lie" from Representative Joe Wilson at President Obama. That yell was the barbaric scream of impotence from an exiled warrior; implicit with it was that no black man was going to tell him how the world runs, especially when it comes to Hispanics. Jimmy Carter knows what he's seeing. He listened to it for most of his life. He knows stupid fucking rednecks wearing their suit jacket collars high when he sees 'em.

(And, hey, don't spout the same old horseshit about Jesse Helms or Joe Wilson being a nice guy. Bull Connor might've been a hell of a guy to have a beer with. But that didn't make him turn off the hoses or call off the dogs.)

Update: JR at Kos is on the same wavelength.


Moments from Yesterday's Brief Dance of the Damned:
From the floor "debate" over the resolution that Representative Joe Wilson not be given a pudding cup after his din-din unless he eats his peas:

Joe Wilson: "However, this action today will have done nothing for the taxpayers to rein in the growing cost and size of the Federal Government. It will not help more Americans secure jobs, promote better education, ensure retirement, or reform health insurance. It is the Democrat leadership, in their rush to pass a very bad government health care plan, that is bad medicine for America. It has muzzled the voices we represent and provoked partisanship. When we are done here today, we will not have taken any steps closer to helping more American families afford health insurance or helping small businesses create new jobs. "

Eric Cantor: "I don't understand how it is a priority that we are here on this particular resolution. The resolution, as has been pointed out, creates no job. The resolution does nothing to do anything to increase access to quality health care. The resolution does nothing to address the issues of national security. Plain and simple, this resolution does not reflect the priority of the American people." Cantor then went on to explain why he thought Barack Obama was lying.

Candice Miller: "The resolution that we are considering today will not create one job. It will not help one person get health care for their family. It will do nothing to allay the concerns of seniors who are worried about their Medicare. It will do nothing to get our economy moving again."

Mike Pence: "Last Wednesday was not a good day in the House, but today is worse. Today we see politics overwhelming this institution. The American people are tired."

Those were all Republicans, lamenting the time spent on ridiculous non-job-creating, non-health-care-solving, non-national security-improving resolutions.

Other resolutions discussed and voted on yesterday by the House of Representatives include:
Re-naming a post office in Iowa to the "Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office." That was co-sponsored by Republican Darrell Issa.

Recognition of and support for American Legion Day. Widely approved of by Republicans.

Recognition of an area of Missouri as "the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor," because it is, apparently, "the national center of the animal health industry based on the unmatched concentration of animal health and nutrition businesses and educational and research assets."

Now you can ask yourself if any of these things produce jobs, make the nation more secure, or do anything for health care for, you know, human beings. You could say this shit happens everyday in Congress. And you'd be right. But then you'd be accusing Congress of wasting time. And when such weighty matters are at hand, why would you bother punishing someone for a breach of the rules of the very body that is wasting time?


Why Glenn Beck Needs to Be Repeatedly Cock-Punched (9/12 Edition): Let us say, and why not, that you are a gay male (and if you are, then you know how it goes). You're in bed just after fucking this hot guy you've been wanting, this cut, six-packed stud who is not only a willing and happy cocksucker, but a gleeful bottom to your cheery top. You've told all your friends that you've been wanting to fuck this dude, so much so that they're sick of hearing about it. You keep working out, getting yourself into the shape where you think you're hot enough to approach him at the Chelsea bar where you both regularly drink. You do it and he's into it. You go back to your place, the clothes come off, he's going down on you, and you realize, somewhere between the inability to know what to do with the balls and the misplaced feeling he has that repeatedly nibbling the tip of your penis is the most erotic thing in the world, that he doesn't know what the fuck he's doing, that the image you had of him was totally wrong. You eventually come, sure, but that's through pure concentration and effort on your part. You offer to do him, but he can't even really get it up, and you end up just chafing his shaft for a bit with a pity hand job. He blames the meds he's on. The 'roids, the antidepressants. But you can fuck him in the ass and maybe that'll help get him off. You're laying there in bed later, he's thinking he's kind of awesome, and you're wondering what the fuck you're gonna say about this fantasy guy. You've built him up and built him up in your mind and your friends. You could be honest, but then what does that say about your judgment? No, you decide, as he gets dressed 'cause he wants to hit the 24-hour gym for a 3 a.m. iron pumping, you're gonna say it was awesome, that this guy was all kinds of fucktoy, a life-changing lay. So it is that Glenn Beck, mad provocateur and advertiser-less Fox "news" charity case, is desperately (and creepily) trying to push that his tiny legion of deranged, racist senior citizens, rednecks, and abused children as a kind of nation-changing movement. On his "show" yesterday (if by "show," you mean, "a shameless sham of self-aggrandizement and fraud that'd make P.T. Barnum say, 'Are you shitting me?'"), Beck flogged his great and mighty 9/12 Project and its hobble on Washington as the next wave of activism: "All I can say is 'wow.' The 9/12 rally happened this weekend and if there was any question on where America stands right now, I think images from Washington, D.C., on Saturday should help answer them." Those images would include President Obama in full African witch doctor gear and signs that said armed revolution was imminent. Then, in one of those statements that reek of the shit-scent of failure, Beck said, "Estimates on the crowd size range from London's Daily Mail report of over 1 million, all the way to the obligatory 'tens of thousands' lowball. Whatever the actual number, it doesn't matter — the turnout was absolutely astonishing." Well, no, the actual number does matter. Because a million is huge and 60,000 is less than the number of fans at a good-sized college football game. (And we know that a. the Daily Mail is a right-wing celebrity-smearing rag, and b. that the crowd was in the tens of thousands. The lesson? If you have to cite the Daily Mail to back you up, chances are that you are wrong.) After ticking off a list of the "accomplishments" of his "movement," like getting the government to "fire" ACORN from taking part in census information-gathering (yet we still give money to Blackwater, whose employees murdered people), Beck seeks to cast his almost entirely white conservative Republican followers as an attack on "corruption" in the American government, no matter what the party. In a line that would make Ralph Nader proud, Beck says, "Sooner or later people on both sides of the aisle will realize that this isn't about left vs. right or conservative vs. liberal. We're being played by Republicans and Democrats. The weasels in Washington are pitting us against each other because it's convenient for them. They don't care about you. They are playing the same old Washington games and to play the game you have to play ball." And then to prove it he uses a provision in one health care bill to shore up union pension plans in the wake of Wall Street's collapse last year as evidence that the government is working against the people. And his "corrupt" organizations are ACORN and the SEIU, which would seem bipartisan if it wasn't just an attack on Democrats. He ends with the kind of threat that could have come from the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. After talking about how he wants 56 people to help re-found the country, just like the number of founders he comes up with (which included, you know, slaveholders), he offers to members of Congress and others in DC, "We love a good redemption story. If you come clean — and I can't promise it will be easy, there will be some rough days ahead — but if you come out and start the work of re-founding America, you will have an army behind you. Don't be on the wrong side of history." There's vermin in this world that'd reject Glenn Beck if he wanted to join with their rat brigades or roach clusters. This charlatan has embraced the inarticulate rage of people who are rendered dumb by Beck and and Limbaugh Fox "news" (and who don't get that entities like ACORN and the SEIU are actually trying to help them), and he's going to ride this wave of fear and retardation like a one-legged surfer trying to prove a point. For the sake of his ratings, Beck's gotta make 'em think they're more important than they are, that what they believe (and that is truly hard to figure out for them and for us watching, aghast, at the whole thing) is better and more American than what other Americans believe, and that no matter how small and pathetic and weak a contingent of nuts they may be, that they are some kind of lunatic army, ready to fight for some fantasy America that they've been told once existed, but that never did. Bonus points: Beck often cites the title of the Le Monde article that translates to "We are all Americans" as an example of something we should remember about the way the world thought of the United States on 9/12/01. That editorial was actually published on September 13, 2001.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
The question of the day: will the Rude Pundit show up on right-wing websites for positing that mass murder would both raise the IQ of the nation and reduce Medicare costs? That and funny teabag signs, Joe Wilson mockery, and much more long-distance lust with Stephanie Miller.

(And if you haven't, you should subscribe to the Rude Pundit podcast either at Podbean or at iTunes.)
Scenes from a Protest:
A few photos tell the story:

One supposes that if you asked the sign carrier what he/she (can you tell?) meant by the Confederate flag, he/she (no, really, can you?) would say it means "state's rights," and that the "people" in the sign are "real Americans." Sometimes, the code is pretty damn easy to break. Good thing there weren't any black people there to see it.

The NRA gun festishists gathered there probably would also say that the threat of a tarring and feathering, a horribly violent act, is more metaphorical than actual. Just like the tea party doesn't actually involve the drinking of tea. (Tip o' the hat to rude reader Mark in Fairfax for the photo.)

And that rowdy, fat, old man protesting government-run health care is riding around on a scooter that was more than likely 80% paid for by Medicare. Probably that cane he's holding, too. The lesson? Irony is to the anti-health care protesters as calculus is to a gerbil.

The entire 9/12 march and rally was like the Special Olympics of protests. You wanted to say, "Good for you," and give them all certificates of participation. Actually, that's unfair. Considering the level of intellect and empathy at work in DC this weekend, a roomful of Downs Syndrome kids would have more compassion and genuine feeling than all of the 50,000 or so right-wing zealots, racists, idiots, and liars scootering and shuffling around the Capitol combined.

If, say, the entire gathering had been nerve gassed, the I.Q. of the United States would have gone up by ten points. Is that wrong to say? You know, though, considering how many people there were holding Obama-as-Hitler signs and saying, as one guy did on CNN, that the Obama administration is engaged in "Gestapo" tactics, perhaps it's good to offer a remark about what real Nazi thinking is.

Gassing a part of the population in order to purify the nation? That's Nazi. A government-operated health insurance program as part of a pool of options for those who can't afford private insurance? That's not so Nazi.


Mondays with Stephanie:
Tomorrow, the Rude Pundit will be back to his usual position on The Stephanie Miller Show: Monday morning at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT. He always loves being Stephanie's first of the week.

Tune in (or listen podcastingly later) to hear us laugh, cry, and laugh again at protesters, Joe "The 'You-Lie' Guy" Wilson, and other stuff.

Correction: An earlier version of this post called Joe Wilson by the name of a dear friend. To her, sincere apologies. Wilson? He can blow a weasel.


A Little Bit O' Linky Love on a Saturday (and a Request):
While a couple of ACORN employees falling for a conservative punking is certainly the most importantest story in the history of anything, the Rude Pundit prefers to spend a bit of his weekends ignoring such things and reading stuff about real-life miracles and wonders. To wit: check out this geeked-to-the-max interview with a rich dude who went into space at examiner.com.

By the way, if anyone is heading to the 9/12 festival o' crazy today in DC, be sure to send on reports and pics to the Rude Pundit. And remember: the old people who surround you today are merely death panel fodder tomorrow.

And, well, fuck, as long as we're all here and since the whole Stephanie Miller thing has brought a round of new readers to the Rude Pundit's place, all whining about "why no comments?" this is as good a time as any to say to all of them, "Comment free-for-alls are encouraged at the Rude Pundit's Facebook page. Go there and have fun fucking with, macking on, and abusing each other."


9/11 Wants to Fade Into Your Rainy Background:

9/11 is tired of the hole at Ground Zero. She doesn't get it. Every year, she goes to the site of the Twin Towers, only to gaze at the crazy quilt boondoggle of cement and steel and mesh and wire, the strangeness of absence, the seeming refusal of the space to sprout, progress, grow. She was promised a mighty, twisting building that would stand there as Manhattan's proud erection, poking out of the bottom of the island, thrusting through the skies, a tribute to the Viagra-induced capitalists and politicians who would show just how unfuckably big and hard they could be.

And every year that passes, to 9/11, the hole, however much it's glacially filled, simply looks like the national sphincter.

9/11 is glad this year that she can move among the gathered people without anyone really noticing her. She walks in the rain, past people who are too lost in their private mourning and leaders who do not fetishize her like a pair of high heel shoes or latex panties. She is grateful for the respite, however long it will last, however much Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney try to set up appointments with her to use worn-out dildos on her exhausted snatch. That game is played out. She sees a return to normalcy, in a way, even with the wars in her name still going on, but with people questioning them in more and more open ways. She sees the new president call for "service" on her day, not just rage and teeth-gnashing and pledges of vengeance. Yes, she thinks, yes, she just wants to fade. But the hole there, in front of her, won't let her.

In the end, maybe there just needs to be a hole, she thinks. Surely it would cost less to maintain. Maybe it just needs to be like the cigarette burn scars left on her legs by Karl Rove, healed over, but still there, still itching every now and then, still allowing her to never really forget who she once was, but showing her that time passes and contexts change, that you really can move on.