Conservatives to the Poor and Elderly: Suck on Our Deficit:
1. Take It. Take the Whole Deficit, Bitches:
On the Fox "news" show Cashin' In, the hosts and a guest were aghast this week that the Congressional Budget Office reported that 40% of Americans paid no income taxes in 2007. Said that hour's random blonde hostette, "[D]id we just find a way to solve America's debt crisis, do you think?"

Later, after the frighteningly simian-looking guest spitter spat that taxes on the rich are "tyranny," the show's random brunette with blonde highlights called for the repeal of the Earned Income Tax Credit: "You want to get rid of the stuff at the top? You get rid of the stuff at the bottom. That is the -- it is wrong. Nobody pays tax because of that."

The blonde and the brunette were competing to see which one would get to hand job Roger Ailes and which one had to finger his asshole. It was a tie. So everybody won.

(Note: The blonde and especially the brunette are not, in fact, idiots. They are people who actually know shit. That's the scary part.)

2. Yeah, You Know You Love Sucking On Our Deficit:
House Minority Leader and melanoma spokesperson John Boehner, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, declared, "We're all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected." He called for the retirement age to be raised to 70 and for wealthier retirees to get little or no Social Security, although he declined to call it "means testing," even though that's exactly what it is. Republicans have been wanting to do this for a couple of decades now because it would make wealthy retirees put more money in private investments in order to make up for the loss of Social Security income, thus pleasuring the banks and such.

Why do we need to look at how to cut money for old people? Because, Boehner said, we need to be able to pay for the wars. Well, duh.

Oh, and in the same interview, Boehner said he wanted to roll back planned reductions in Medicare. Somehow, the irony of this didn't dawn on Boehner.

(Note: John Boehner actually is an idiot. And if the Republicans win back the House, he'll be just two heartbeats away from the presidency. That's the scary part.)

(Note: If Democrats were as scuzzy as Republicans, they'd say that Boehner is forcing the elderly to work. "Senior slavery," perhaps?)

3. C'mon, Swallow That Shit:
Meanwhile, House Republicans yesterday blocked a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. And in the Senate, Republicans put a hold on a bill to help homeless veterans. Republicans don't want to add any more spending to the deficit, they say.

Meanwhile, they're trying to figure out how to extend the Bush tax cuts, set to expire in January. Should the GOP win the House, you can bet that Boehner will try to cut Social Security by making people work until they're 70 while continuing to cut taxes on the rich. Hey, deficits matter, conservatives tell us. Spending matters to them. Except, you know, when it doesn't.


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Dead Byrd:
The Rude Pundit will leave it to West Virginians to work out now-dead Senator Robert Byrd's complicated legacy with their state, filled with the so-called "pork" that brought West Virginia into the 20th century in its roads and classrooms and industries, as well as with Byrd's support of coal companies over environmental concerns. He also won't go on about Byrd's KKK past or his late-career role as an eloquent last-man-standing against the Bush administration's mad march to war in Iraq.

As many of the encomiums to Byrd will tell you, the Senator believed in the primacy of the Congress in the governing of the country. He was, as many noted during the recent health care debate, the one who knew the rules and how to abide by them. He saw the constitutional role of the legislative branch as the representatives of the populace, and thus they had to be independent of the executive branch. They had to simply think for themselves. Part of Byrd's railing against George W. Bush was that he felt the Congress was abdicating its role as a check on presidential power. Indeed, for most of the Bush II presidency, Byrd watched aghast and expressed revulsion at the Republicans simply bending over for the White House so Karl Rove could have easy access to their asses.

One could make an argument (and the Rude Pundit has) that the first year of Barack Obama's presidency was an attempt to get Congress, and the Senate in particular, to return to its role as an independent branch of government. Neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush spent time in Congress. Hell, neither of them was elected to any legislative body, so of course they privileged the executive over all. But Obama did legislate, in Illinois and in the Senate. One could argue that the effort, a chance for Congress to redeem itself and operate outside overt White House influence, was doomed to failure from the start and that the theory fell to pieces during the health care debate, when Democrats panicked because Obama was so hands-off. In other words, like Byrd did, Obama wanted Congress to act like the goddamn Congress, like a majority of the members were elected to do a job. It must have sickened Byrd to no end to watch Republicans abuse the filibuster. It must have sickened him even more to know that nothing could be done unless Republicans suddenly became honorable partners or the rules were changed.

During the cretinous rush to impeach Bill Clinton, Robert Byrd believed that the President had indeed lied under oath. He thought any discussion of the facts was idiocy. But he had other concerns, as he said on the Senate floor on September 9, 1998:

"The president's situation and the Congress' and the media's and the public's all consuming obsession with it has contributed to a loss of focus on and attention to many aspects of our national life that have far-reaching consequences. And we shall see a continuation of that loss of focus when and if the time ever comes that we have to vote on an impeachment resolution. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of foreign policy.

"In the few snippets of newspaper and news shows, which attempt to turn our attention from our unfortunate domestic travails and focus instead on events overseas, you can see the troubling signs of a long and difficult winter ahead.

"In the Balkans, the Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army has reportedly rounded up ethnic Albanian men and boys of fighting age in the province of Kosovo, labeling them all terrorists. This action bears the bloody stains of earlier Serbian ethnic cleansing in neighboring Bosnia. That event really led to a massive intervention by NATO. What action, if any, should the United States take? I fear that our lack of attention may allow the situation to get even further out of hand.

"In Iraq, troubling questions have been raised about an unwillingness to deal with continued Iraqi intransigence over weapons inspections. Russia's economy, and indeed, her very government appear on the verge of dissolution. North Korea has launched a long-range missile right over our ally Japan. In China and elsewhere, many tens of thousands of people face the coming winter hungry and homeless as a result of floods and fires and droughts. And not least, acts of terrorism against U.S. embassies and interests continue to threaten.

"All of these unhappy circumstances will challenge the U.S. economy and U.S. leadership. It ill behooves us all to become so enmeshed in the current web of scandal that we ignore or obscure our opportunities to deal with these serious challenges before they escalate into full-blown crises. We cannot continue to swirl in this miasma of misery if we are to judiciously carry out our duties as the representatives of the people."

The Congress had a job to do. Republicans wanted to stop everything else for a meaningless act of hubris and power-grabbing. Robert Byrd, disgusted at the White House, but more disgusted by his colleagues, just wanted to do the work of the people. And, voting to acquit, he warned in his statement at Clinton's impeachment trial of the poison that afflicts our nation:

"[H]atred is an ugly thing. It can seize the psyche and twist sound reasoning. I have seen it unleashed in all its mindless fury too many times in my own life. In a charged political atmosphere, it can destroy all in its path with the blind fury of a whirlwind. I hear its ominous rumble and see its destructive funnel on the horizon in our land today. I fear for our nation if its turbulent winds are not calmed and its storm clouds somehow dispersed."

Byrd hoped the nation would come together to heal. He hoped that "we can, together, crush the seeds of ugliness and enmity which have taken root in the sacred soil of our republic, and, instead, sow new respect for honestly differing views, bipartisanship, and simple kindness towards each other." And in words that ring true today as they did at the disgraceful end of the previous century, Byrd said, "We have much important work to do. And, in truth, it is long past time for us to move on."


Behold the Evil Face of Contemporary Conservatism:

So the Rude Pundit's been doing a lot of thinking after seeing Toy Story 3 (possibly because it's the only mainstream film this summer that's been worth a damn so far). (Oh, yeah, spoiler alert, but not much.) At first he thought of the character up there, Lots-O'-Huggin Bear, as Dick Cheney, with the toddler room of the Sunnyside Daycare as a Guantanamo prison camp substitute. That's not bad as analogies go. There's torture. There's cells. There's forced confessions.

However, when the Rude Pundit saw that Republicans (and Democrat Ben Nelson, a man who always looks as if he just finished masturbating to kiddie war porn) had filibustered a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans, even after Democrats did the usual dance of adding in tax breaks Republicans wanted, even after the total the bill would have added to the deficit would have been $3 billion a year (that $30 billion figure you've been hearing is spread over a decade), he began to think differently about the Pixar film.

Ultimately, Lotso (as he's called) represents the genial yet ultimately sinister and power-mad face of the Republican Party and, indeed, contemporary conservatism. Promising a happier day for all cast-off toys and fooling them into trusting him, Lotso has a true goal to repress large numbers of the toys in order to maintain control and comfort for himself and those that he deems worthy. Hell, he even talks like Haley Barbour or any number of good ol' boys. The unworthy toys, consigned to the toddler room (as opposed to the older kids' room), are told that they can work their way to success and pleasure, even though the system is rigged for them to fail and stay in their harsh, awful jobs.

The Rude Pundit's not going to beat this to death because, hell, it's Friday, and, in the end, sometimes it's best to enjoy a cartoon as a cartoon. But, without giving too much away, Toy Story 3 is, to this blogger's despairing mind, about mourning for an idyllic America, about the destruction of that illusion, and, most movingly (no, really), about the path forward, which can only be achieved if we acknowledge that times have changed and if new paradigms of existence are embraced. But that only happens in the movies.


Release the Petraeus:
Did you see that? No, seriously, did you fucking see it? Because it was insane, man. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, walked into GOP headquarters yesterday and, like some kind of unholy combination of ninja and recluse spider, he fucking stabbed the shit out of 2012 Republican presidential hope with a poisoned stiletto and left it on the ground to foam at the mouth and die. Then he sliced its balls off. And that was after he had presented the dildo of civilian control of the military to General Stanley McChrystal and said, "Lick it." It's a new version of falling on one's sword.

By firing the idiot general and replacing him with General David Petraeus, the golden sun around which almost all of DC revolves, Obama effectively neutered any criticism of his actions because the Petraeus is beloved by Republicans in a way that's so disturbingly deep that it could best be described as "codependent" or "stalking" (and this love seems to be one of the only things the GOP isn't fickle about). It provides continuity for the "mission" in Afghanistan (more on that in a sec). And Obama has more or less taken out the man who was probably the only hope Republicans had for taking back the White House in 2012. No, the Petraeus hadn't announced; you can sure as hell bet he was being courted as hard as a hot Dixie debutante at the Sons of the Confederacy cotillion. Who the hell do they have now? Palin? They'd have a better chance running a grilled cheese sandwich.

Of course, it seems now as if Obama said to Petraeus, "Okay, motherfucker, this is your strategy. Make it work." And what a strategy it is, that counterinsurgency, or COIN. As Michael Hastings describes it in a less-quoted passage from his Rolling Stone article/hari-kari, "COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve."

In other words, our great and mighty plan for winning the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq) is to simply stay long enough until the civilians are so sick of us, they just say, "Okay, fuck, whatever you want." Petraeus does realize he's dealing with people who harbor grudges for centuries, right? Considering the amount of time it's gonna take to bring about peace using COIN, we may as well say that the plan is, "We're gonna get a bunch of young, pretty, white Americans to go in and start dating the locals. They'll start fucking them and, soon, the locals will have half-American babies; the American chicks will have half-Pashtun kids, whatever, as long as they're raised loving the USA. We'll just keep the fucking going until, in, like three or four generations, we've pretty much completely changed the complexion of the entire population and bred a nation that's our ally." Hey, look: the Rude Pundit can be a general, too.

The lesson here? Don't say stupid shit about your boss in public. Unless you realize your job sucks and you want to get fired...


In Brief: Things That Matter More Than Gen. McChrystal's Drunken Contempt of the President:
No matter what President Obama does to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the reckless bastard should be fired. That was juvenile nonsense in the Rolling Stone article - name-calling and backroom nutslapping. It's surprising that McChrystal didn't order his aides to perform a sketch where one of them in blackface and gag ears had to give blow jobs to all the white-faced ones.

But if there's one good thing to come from the exposure of this hubris-filled failure of a general, it's that, for a few minutes, people are giving a shit about Afghanistan. So there's a little more going on than Stan thinking someone's a wimp:

1. We're funding the Taliban: "A criminal investigation has begun into allegations that the US may be unintentionally financing the Afghan Taliban through logistics contracts in the country. According to a US military document, as much as $4m per week in US taxpayers' money could be ending up in the hands of the Taliban...The payments reportedly reach the Taliban through a $2.1bn Pentagon contract to transport food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan."

2. There's gonna be a surge on the surge: "The report comes as the U.S. military is deploying an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan this summer in an effort to quell a rebounding insurgency."

3. Ten NATO troops were killed.

4. The Taliban continues to attack Pakistan. "Afghan Taliban says it has captured dozens of Pakistani soldiers following an attack on their checkpoint during a cross-border raid."

When we decide to actually act on getting the fuck out of Afghanistan as it becomes the madhouse it is going to become no matter what we do, then we can give a damn who's a wimp and who has balls.
The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Stephanie Miller offered to press her body against the Rude Pundit for the entire day. The Rude Pundit eagerly agreed. Oh, and the issues of the day were discussed:

Enjoy the Rude Pundit draped around your brain by subscribing to the rude podcast.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Kick Radar in the Nuts While Wasted on Soju:

No, that's not the newest giant monster in a movie by the director of The Host, although the similarities are striking. That's former President (really) George W. Bush, and he was speaking to 60,000 people at a prayer ceremony in Seoul on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War which, you know, hasn't officially ended yet.

Bush praised U.S. troops in South Korea and said that the nation was "a shining example of the power of freedom and faith." Some Christian groups were a little less than pleased that Bush was chosen to represent their faith: "It is just nonsense to bring to the Korean War prayer meeting the former US President Bush, who started the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have him give testimony." They added, "No, really, there's Christians out there who haven't started wars who could've talked. Just don't get the molesty kind."

This angered the Bush Giant, who ate a thousand peaceful pilgrims and decimated the kimchi warehouses of Busan. He was last seen stomping off the coast towards Jeju Island to hump Hallasan volcano because, according to the former president, "it's hot and wet, like pussy," before drifting to sleep.


Rahm Emanuel Makes It About Ideology Again:
The Rude Pundit hadn't paid much attention to the Sunday blabfests yesterday because, even if it has its charms when you're participating, a circle jerk is just weird and depressing to watch, especially on a weekly basis. But then, in one of her standard blurps of incoherency, Sarah Palin tweeted from "her" Blackberry, "RahmEmanuel= as shallow/narrowminded/political/irresponsible as they come,to falsely claim Barton's BP comment is 'GOP philosophy'Rahm,u lie". The Rude Pundit's first reaction, after breaking out the decoder ring and setting it on "fucktard" (it's right after "Enigma"), was "Vicodin's a helluva drug." But then he wondered what President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the subject of such recent disdain out here in the hinterlands of Left Blogsylvania, had said.

Apparently, an unfed Rahm Emanuel is a worthless and/or destructive being (as in his unending willingness to compromise during the health care debate). However, you give him the raw meat of campaign mode, and that motherfucker becomes the nasty wolverine you want on your side. To those paying attention (like the aforementioned former demi-Governor of Alaska), on This Week with Placeholder Jake Tapper, Emanuel offered more for Democrats to battle for than any administration official has in months.

First, he got the administration's back on its role in the BP oil spill response: "BP originally was going to do one relief well. We forced them to do a second relief well. They weren't going to do that." Did you know that? Because that should be towards the top of any response to criticism of the President on the underwater black gold geyser.

But when Tapper asked about Texas Rep. Joe Barton's offer to suck Tony Hayward's CEO dick while fingering his own own asshole, Emanuel showed just how to use a carving knife: "It's dangerous for the American people, because while the ranking Republican would have oversight into the energy industry, and if the Republicans were the majority, would have actually the gavel and the chairmanship. That's not a political gaffe, those were prepared remarks. That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see."

So Sarah Palin's thong was already twisted when Emanuel started offering up pieces of the GOP for devouring, as when he said, "The approach here expressed and supported by other voices in the Republican Party, sees the aggrieved party as BP, not the American -- not the fishermen and the communities down there affected. And that would the governing philosophy. And I think what Joe Barton did is remind the American people, in case they've forgotten, this is how the Republicans would govern."

And, as if to prove Emanuel right (and contrary to the desperate backtracking that Palin and Mitch McConnell and other craven Republicans are doing on Barton), here's crying California Rep. Darrell "Are the cameras on?" Issa on what he'd do with subpoena power in a House of Representatives run by Republicans: "I won't use it to have corporate America live in fear that we're going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing." You got that? Issa's saying that the White House is the enemy that needs to be attacked, not corporations that pollute and steal and kill.

Emanuel is testing a strategy here, laying out a case that ideology matters. If this is the battle line for the midterms, it's got possibilities. It ain't politicizing the oil spill - it's politicizing the Republicans' response to it. Not bad at all. When that snarling bastard Emanuel gets his teeth in something, he's gonna take chunks out of it.

(Tip o' the rude hat to Oliver Willis for the Issa link.)


Memo to Republicans: Don't Write BP a Check You Can't Cash:
First off, let's put this in context: $20 billion over a few years ("$3 billion this summer and $2 billion in the fall, followed by $1.25 billion per quarter until the $20 billion figure is reached," according to MSNBC) ain't gonna wreck a company that made over $6 billion in profit in the first quarter of this year. In fact, it'll barely dent BP. So anyone crying for BP is a capitalist tool. You can bet that even the BP board room ain't crying for BP at this point. They've covered their asses for the time being. Fuck, the stock went up yesterday. At this writing, it's up again today. That's while it still can't stop the goddamned leak. And don't be naive: Barack Obama didn't threaten BP. He asked, "How can we do this so you're not fucked, but you pay the bills? We got it? Good. Now go to Congress and take your lumps."

But, hey, Republicans, tea baggers, and other right wing spoogebuckets, if this is how you wanna play this game, if you wanna call the escrow account a "shakedown" of BP, if you want to give sympathy for the devil, bring it on, motherfuckers. 'Cause when soon-to-be-divorced (certain patterns being fixed and unchangeable) Rush Limbaugh said of the fund, "It is all about extortion by threat of legal hell. And it's redistribution. Where is this money going to go?" he pulled back the sheets and told BP that America should play bottom tonight. You think America wants its ass fucked this time, no matter how lubed up it may be?

Beyond Tony Hayward making British bumbling about for answers, Hugh Grant style, forever odious, and beyond Rep. Joe Barton actually demonstrating how to suck his own cock but being a spitter and not a swallower, the GOP has offered absolute, concrete evidence of just who they give a fuck about: international corporations over American states, shareholders around the world over American fishermen, oil over wetlands and wildlife.

So go ahead, GOP. Keep on with your oh-so-clever "Chicago-style shakedown" bullshit. Keep on with the new fearmongering, that BP will go bankrupt and drag away more jobs. Keep on with the obeisance to your corporate masters. You'll look like those dying, crude-coated fish on the beach, desperately jawing the air for water.

And if Democrats can't turn this into right-wing crushing ads, then they should just lay down next to 'em.


Now That You've Asked, Why the Hell Doesn't God Do Anything About the Oil Spill?:
Really, one of the only questions left regarding the BP oil spill has to be "Why the fuck doesn't God get off his lazy ass and do something about it?" God's just sittin' around, eatin' Cheetos, trippin' balls, gettin' handjobbed by Marilyn Monroe while watchin' the World Cup, wonderin' what side he should take each game, and, hey, babe, could you use your other hand to pass that beer? Apparently, that holy sack of shit can't even take a second to pinch the oil well and seal it off.

Because if God was paying attention, then the Super Duper Prayer Team wouldn't have been called to rouse the invisible sky wizard into action. The Rude Pundit joined the Super Duper Prayer Team of the Family Research Council (motto: "Occasionally, something distracts us from gays and abortion"), and every week he receives his prayerection orders, telling him for what he's gotta drop on his knees and work that Christ crank. This week, it's oil, motherfuckers:

"Something must be done now to reduce the oil escape, waste and damage, but a television broadcast from the oval office [sic] won't get the job done. Even more important, are we listening? The troubles we face in America are all listed in Deuteronomy 28, where God promised Moses that such would happen to peoples and nations that disobey Him." Wait a second. Deuteronomy 28 is some badass shit, OT style. Is the FRC saying that we were asking for an oil leak?

The prayer target letter continues, "Do Americans, even Christians, see the hand of God in the extraordinary 'judgments' we see today? Do we recognize that Big Government cannot solve our problems but can make them worse? Will we turn our eyes God-ward and cry out to Him who is our nation's only hope?"

That's right. The Family Research Council believes that Godjeebus wants the people of the Gulf of Mexico, most of whom are churchgoing Catholics and Baptists, to suffer because "Big Government" is bad. Man, God, just stay on your couch and do nothing, 'cause you're a dick.

But, still, alas, yes, being a member of the SDPT carries its burdens. And we must pray, "May God graciously intervene to stop the gushing oil and limit the damage! May our President humbly seek God for guidance and may those who can help be released to do so." So God caused the spill to teach us a lesson, but we need to pray that he'll stop it. Yes, God is like a mob boss who can keep burning down your businesses unless you pony up what's due to him.

Of course, the President did say that "we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day." And see how much good it did? Now oil is probably leaking even faster, coming through cracks in the sea floor. Hallelujah. God is...No, not "good." Apathetic at best? Bitchy at worst?


The Rude Pundit on Tuesday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Oh, the Rude Pundit was ridden hard and put away wet at Bonnaroo, and he sounded like it while jumping into the middle of the case of Stephanie v. Mooks, regarding Obama and the oil leak:

You can get your weekly rude dose of audio by subscribing to the free podcast. It's free and poddy.
Obama's Oil Spill Speech: Us and Them:
Who the fuck was Obama talking to last night? Because he said that he was going to outline "what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf," as well as, referring to the possible future, "It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now." Obama may as well have said, "you people" in reference to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Could someone tell the President that they've got TVs down there? And that, like many Americans, they were tuned to him speaking? 'Cause, see, if they're "our neighbors," that means he wasn't speaking to them. It means that "they" aren't "us." It means that it's something distanced, something different, an Other, in the political discourse. It's goddamned patronizing.

Here's a hint to Barack Obama's speechwriters: in the future, go with "fellow Americans" or just "we" and "us." Mexico is our neighbor on the Gulf (not "in the Gulf"), not other Americans. It's our Gulf coast states. It's our waters and economy. It's us, man, not them.

The President's big Oval Office speech was a bullshit pile of news updates, vague promises, and toothless threats. Look, we know that Obama wants the leak to stop. We know that the government is doing a lot of shit to make that happen, we know that the oil and tar and dead things need to be cleaned up, we know that BP is on the hook, we know that shit is fucked up for fishing fleets and shrimpers. We know that he has limitations on what exactly he can do.

But the man said, "Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny." And he's right. So tell us what to do. Lead us. That's what we want; it's what we've wanted all along, not an especially skilled anchor informing us that oil spills are bad. "As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment," he said. So fucking seize it.

Obama's cautious approach to governance made him speak in generalities with little vision for the future. He could have said he was wrong about further drilling. He could have laid out a path that said, "Here's where we are. Here's where we want to be. Here's how we get to this new place." And he could have called on all of us to help. Jesus Christ, how about one mention of conservation (beyond having "conservationists" on one of the endless stream of panels studying shit)? How about saying that it's time, once again, for American drivers to give up their big-ass SUVs? How about enlisting us in the fight, or making it into a fight for our survival? "It's wind energy or The Road, motherfuckers. Which do you choose?"

But he didn't. Instead, he said that there is a future, "Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there." No vision, but it is better for the children, he assured us.

Yeah. Somebody better inform the neighbors.

(Tip o' the hat for the observation on Obama's use of "neighbors" to a rude reader from Louisiana, Kevin A., who also added, "This is the progressive movement's Bush moment -- the moment where they can no longer deny their guy is in over his head. Tonight was Bush in Jackson Square...We are so, so fucked." He has a right to his despair.)


High School Valedictorian Who Wants to Cure Cancer, Go Home:
So this guy, Eric Balderas, a college student who was valedictorian of his high school class, no, even better, a Harvard University student, no, wait, even betterer, a Harvard University student majoring in molecular and cellular biology who wants to cure cancer, was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was four years old by his mother. The twist, of course, is that they've been living here illegally for the last 15 years. So Balderas was stopped by airport security last week before boarding a flight from San Antonio, where he was visiting his mom, to Boston, where he is, as mentioned before, studying to one day cure cancer.

This kid's a better human being than at least 90% of the people who get to be Americans, so of course he faces deportation to Mexico because we are a stupid, fearful, racist nation, and it's what we do. Bill O'Reilly will lose his fucking mind if an illegal drinks and drives, but you never hear about people like Balderas, just trying to negotiate a medieval immigration system and do well in this country. Unlike nearly every other undocumented immigrant, Balderas has Harvard behind him, so there might actually be a happy ending, god bless the plutocracy.

Meanwhile, Arizona, continuing in its quest to force white people to keep up their own damn lawns, is considering a bill that would deny citizenship to so-called "anchor babies." An anchor baby is a child born to an illegal immigrant mother on American soil. Our pesky Constitution says those kids are automatically citizens. But, because the state's cruel and idiotic, Arizona doesn't need no stinking 14th Amendment, even though it would seem like the decision as to who is and who is not a citizen of, you know, the nation would be decided at a federal level. Apparently, states' rights extends to disregarding the laws of the land.

If Balderas is deported and he goes to a Mexican university to finish his studies, the Rude Pundit hopes he comes up with a cure for cancer and his patent says that it can never be sold or used in the United States. When someone asks Balderas why he would deny the nation just to the norte a miracle drug, Balderas could say, "Because fuck them."


Trying to Get Back to Planet Earth:
In trying to catch up with the news he missed while he was in a Bonnaroo haze of mud, heat, music, and what-drug-is-that?-Well-okay for the last four days, the Rude Pundit saw that the oil was still leaking in the Gulf, which prompted the douchiest headline he's seen in a while: "Whither the dead bird, tar ball and oily boom?" The answer to MSNBC on that would be "Shut the fuck up, you pompous cockknobs, and just give us the story."

Mostly, though, the news of the nation and the world left the Rude Pundit with one observation: "Wait, you mean I can't show porn to a nineteen year-old? That'll seriously change my Thursday night plans."

Honestly, though, at this point, having just awakened in a real and actual bed, the Rude Pundit isn't even sure where he is, let alone who is dicking over who and when the fuck did Oklahoma become a lake?

Back tomorrow with regular rudeness.


New Rude at Bonnaroo:
The second installment of "The Day of the Roo" is up over at Rude at Bonnaroo. The zombies must be stopped.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Run for City Council:

You can bet taxes are going to go down with Matt Swallows.


Rude at Bonnaroo Returns:
The first installment of this year's Rude at Bonnaroo, "Day of the Roo," is up and ready for reading. Scroll down for previous tales of zombie nightmares and hippie music.
The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
The Rude Pundit is taking a mulligan today because he is sleeping in the middle of a fucking field at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and Blanche Lincoln can go fuck herself on her own. You can follow his exploits over at the Rude at Bonnaroo blog.

However, since all of the anti-BP stuff pretty much stays the same, here's this week's Rude Pundit appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show:


Memo to Sarah Palin: A President (or Governor) Is Not a CEO:
Could someone please hold a flip phone up to Sarah Palin and get her saying something like, "We use Trig as a door stop"? No, really, could someone get this nouveau riche redneck twat on camera talking about how she'd never shop at Wal-Mart 'cause she might get some trailer trash tears on her? 'Cause the idea that she is "a force" in the American political discourse is like coming across a tribe in the jungle that worships a monkey head.

In her latest Facebook posting (which is exactly where Thomas Paine would write Common Sense today so he could only reach people who "like" him), Palin takes Barack Obama to task for not having spoken to BP CEO Tony Hayward directly: "The current administration may be unaware that it’s the President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify what BP reports." She says that she was "a CEO" when she was governor of Alaska.

Now, while Palin may look at the words "chief executive" in reference to a governor or president and think it's the same thing as "Chief Executive Officer" in a corporation, it's that very analogy that has fucked us over. The government ain't a company. The president ain't a CEO. Palin is either an idiot, Chauncey Gardner with tits, or an unconscionable, self-aggrandizing moose-fucker.

See, a CEO's job is to make money for the corporation. That's it. Shit like laws and taxes and safety are impediments that must be dealt with on the way to making money. A CEO has to be a greedy bastard, a cuntish conqueror who doesn't give a fuck what has to be done to get more money. The second you say that the President of the United States is on an equivalent level with a CEO is the second you reveal that you don't know fuck-all about government and you degrade the presidency. The logical leap to President-as-CEO is a callous manipulation of the expectations of the governed, and it turns citizens into selfish shareholders.

Obama call Tony Hayward to get answers from him? Fucking why? Obama answered that well enough himself: "I have not spoken to him directly. Here's the reason. Because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm interested in actions." Palin's response to this? "Mr. President: with all due respect, you have to get involved, sir." What Palin is demanding is that the CEO of BP be elevated to world leader status. And, with no respect because none is due, she is the kind of oil pipe-sucking whore who would see it that way. Of course, it also completely erases all the involvement Obama has had, short of texting Tony Hayward with "hell of a spill lol".

One last thing: that Sarah Palin would invoke her two-and-a-half year stint as governor of Alaska as her "executive experience" is fucking pathetic, like a first-time tourist attempting to give directions to the locals.


Rush's Wedding, Helen Thomas, and What We've Lost:
To so many reporters and pundits, it's just a fucking game. You learn this from things like Karl Rove's autobiography, where he talks about how chummy he got with news people on the campaign trail (or, even better, from Matt Taibbi's book, Spanking the Donkey). You see it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, when the gathered press bathe and put on airs and pretend to be one with the powerful, laughing at jokes about missing WMDs or Predator drone attacks, cackling at Rove rapping and dancing.

One thing that has stuck in the Rude Pundit's craw since this weekend is the guest list at Rush Limbaugh's wedding. No, not that Elton John sang, which is whoredom of an almost envious level. It's that Democratic adviser and talking bald head James Carville went. Now, you could argue that, well, of course, Carville went, considering that his wife, Mary Matalin, is a prominent Republican consultant and pundit, and he ought to accompany his wife. Except that Carville and Limbaugh have, on the air, viciously attacked each other. Except that Limbaugh's mission for the 1990s was to destroy Carville's one-time friend and boss, Bill Clinton. Except that Carville and Limbaugh have presented themselves as having diametrically opposed views on shit that really matters, like who is responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf that pushed Carville to go off like a rabid weasel. Except that the other guests were ones who Carville routinely, disgustedly dismisses, like the aforementioned Rove or Clarence Thomas or Sean Hannity.

It's not that it's surprising. The insider circle jerk is expected. But, goddamnit, you don't get to sit there on CNN and rage about the right wing media's destructive influence on the nation and then go out drinking with them and bringing them wedding gifts. (Note: Fucking and marrying them? The ways of the cock and cunt are a whole other conversation.) Because then you are a fraud, a carnival clown, a con man. Because to believe you is to confuse the fictional role with the performer, even if the words you say are about reality.

Which gets us, in a not-so-roundabout way, to Helen Thomas.

Look, Helen Thomas had to lose her job (or retire) as a White House correspondent after saying that Jews in Israel should "go home" to Poland or Germany. If she had merely been a columnist or Pat Buchanan, it would have been part of the territory to say such things. This doesn't excuse the racism and hatred of Beck, Limbaugh, ad infinitum; it's to say that one has to have principles that one believes in. And if you'd want Fox "news" reporter Major Garrett to lose his place in the White House press corps if he said, on camera, that Barack Obama should go back to Kenya, then you have to believe that Thomas deserves the same fate.

It's sad, though. It's really, genuinely pathetic, and not just in an "oh-fuck-that-old-lady-broke-her-hip" kind of way. And not just because, for many people, Thomas will be remembered for this, that she fucked the goat.

It's sad because Helen Thomas wasn't playing a fucking game. She wasn't merely acting like she was challenging the presidents she covered. She didn't give a fuck who she was going at:

Nixon, in 1970: "Mr. President, a question about Vietnam. Our recent air strikes have raised speculation that our policy of not bombing North Vietnam may be undergoing a subtle change. What is our policy?"

Ford, in 1974: "Throughout your Vice Presidency, you said that you didn't believe that former President Nixon had ever committed an impeachable offense. Is that still your belief, or do you believe that his acceptance of a pardon implies his guilt or is an admission of guilt?

Reagan, in 1986: "Mr. President, your decision to tear up the SALT treaty by the end of the year has caused great consternation among the allies, among members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, among others who fear that you are creating a more dangerous world. My question is, is this decision irreversible?"

Clinton, in 1994: "President Clinton, do you agree that there should be a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights and Lebanon -- Syrian troops from Lebanon to make a real peace in the Middle East?" (At least she was consistent.)

Of course, this is not to mention her brutal questioning of George W. Bush and his press secretaries, or, indeed, of President Obama and Robert Gibbs, but, of course, the right had already turned her into Grandpa Simpson, easily ignored as that crazy lady we're nice enough to let sit there, a role she never allowed to take her over.

Precious few reporters these days are willing to go after our leaders, face to face, for fear of losing access to them. Helen Thomas never gave a shit about that. She paved the way for many female journalists. And, sure, she could play the DC game (Clinton would regularly joke about her at the correspondents' dinner), but she never lost sight that her job was as a reporter and to make presidents understand that the media is supposed to be an unacknowledged check on the government, no matter who is in office.


On the Oil Spill, "Make It Right" Is Meaningless:
Could BP (or everyone else) stop pretending like there is any way to "make this right." There's no way to make it right. Ever. Tony Hayward could go door to door along the Gulf Coast, giving blow jobs and eating pussy until his jaw is distended and his belly is bloated, and BP wouldn't even have gotten started on making it right. You can't. What's going to happen over the next couple of months is going to upend industries, towns, states, and cultures. Make it right? How about just shutting the fuck up and working?

This is all a fatuous PR game played by BP that, until the last couple of days, the administration has played along with. Hell, Admiral Thad Allen parroted the BP line until a week ago. The amount of oil being leaked, the seeming early success of the top kill, the very images themselves from the deep - it's all been media manipulation to buy BP stock a little more time.

See, when we say we want President Obama to "do something," it's not that we think he personally knows how to stop the oil. What we want him to do is to say, flatly, "Stop listening to BP. They have given you no reason to trust them." He could continue, "They are liars and thieves and murderers who willfully ignored safety and put profit ahead of the lives of their workers. To them, the ocean's only as good as what's under its floor." It ain't about PR then. It's about demonstrating that the government is in control. Add into that assuring that the media is being given free access to the spill. Let us know that we're not being controlled by an oil company. It's about treating BP like the criminal enterprise it is. Finally, Obama has shoved BP aside as the information source, for the most part; we still have to hear their overly optimistic estimates about what percentage of oil is being captured when we still don't even really know how much oil is being released.

But this is also a political game, and Democrats need to be playing it more forcefully. Republicans who don't want to lift liability caps on oil companies should be portrayed as traitors to the working people of America. Rep. Charlie Melancon, whose chances at taking BP abettor and Pampers enthusiast David Vitter's seat have increased exponentially, said yesterday, "I don't care if it's a dictator, a king, a democracy, I can't imagine [another country] allowing any oil company to go out and do wily-nilly what was done in the Gulf of Mexico and is being done to the United States and this state." And, in a line that should be the retort to any member of Congress who says a raised or eliminated liability cap will drive small oil companies out of the deep water drilling business, Melancon said, "If you can't afford to play in the deep water, you shouldn't be out there."

It's slash and burn time, man. Take 'em down. Like Haley Barbour, Mississippi's governor who has said media coverage is scaring away the tourists while his state's beaches remain mostly oil-free? Tell 'em to eat some fish from Waveland. Or maybe he thinks the kids'll have fun chasing the greased pelicans in Biloxi.

"Make it right" is a bullshit phrase. Ask anyone whose lover fucked another man and then promised to make it right. Ask anyone who owed money to a drug dealer but said he'd make it right. There's uncorrectable wrongs in this life. Make it better? Maybe. Right? You're delusional.


Back to Bonnaroo and More:
The Rude Pundit will be teaching guerrilla theatre again this year as part of the Academy at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. If you're there, stoned, muddy, and/or naked (or not), come by and say a hearty "Nice to fuckin' meet ya" or take the damn class. So he's on his way to Red State America once again.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed money so far to the new NYC Fringe Festival play, Heterosexuals. If you're still interested, you can toss some coin into the hat right here:

Donate $50 and get a free ticket for you or give it to a friend who lives in the Big Baked Apple.

By the way, heading to Bonnaroo means a new Rude at Bonnaroo tale. This one will be called, ominously and predictably, "Day of the Roo."


Breitbart's Whore, James O'Keefe, Goes to Lousiana Again:
Goddamn, wannabe gotcha journalist James O'Keefe must know how to suck a dick. Way more hooker than pimp, O'Keefe must be able to lap Andrew Breitbart's mighty two-incher into a magnificent two-and-a-half inch erection and just go to town. The best part is that he's such an enthusiastic cock gobbler. O'Keefe rings up the Big Government blogger (and, really, that's what Breitbart is, nothing more, nothing less) and begs for another dose of Breitbart chowder. Seriously, this skeevy, ugly fucker could give porn stars lessons.

O'Keefe, whose entire career consists of a racist attack on an organization through a creatively edited video and an arrest for being a shitty actor, is now after the Census Bureau for paying people for a few extra minutes a day. O'Keefe had an undercover man with a camera, in this case Shaughn Adeleye, infiltrate a census office to discover the horrible truth that you can't handle.

As for the "scandal," there is a level of nitpicking here that'd make a hungry bonobo proud. It's as if O'Keefe is doing a report on restaurants that put the forks in the wrong order. But if you're gonna be a obsessive-compulsive perfectionist justice fighter, you better be perfect in how you present your story.

First off, get right at least the minimal fucking facts you're showing. Adeleye quotes one worker as saying, "As long as you don’t have any major felonies or your fingerprints don’t come back as jack the ripper, you’ll be fine." What census employee Billy actually says is, "The only concern that you need to have is that if your fingerprints were to go through and you come back as Jack the Ripper, you got a problem." Minor discrepancy, no? But it's enough to change the intent of the sentence. It's just sloppy, sloppy work, and that type of "error" happens throughout the story.

And a note to young people manipulating their footage to fit a sinister narrative where there is none: try to keep your computer's arrow cursor out of the video, like at minute 4:07. It just proves how much you're bending the plot.

What comes through in this story is that Shaughan Adeleye is an annoying, neurotic freak, the kind of paranoid employee who the supervisor must cringe at having to speak with. Sadly, though, in the course of working/filming 17-20 hours at the census bureau, all Adeleye was able to get was roughly 5 minutes of footage. It ends with a supposedly evil conversation where most of what is said is "unintelligible." In other words, there's so little going on that's even minutely scandalous that they have to use footage that is essentially unusable.

Oh, and the video is padded with scenes of Adeleye, O'Keefe hisself, and other overprivileged douchebags acting douchebaggy to hip-hop music. The Rude Pundit is not making that up.

Let's face it: there's waste in government, as there is in any job, especially office-related work. Three and a half hours in a week? Fuck, you can bet the average cubicle jockey spends at least that much time on solitaire or forwarding YouTube fail clips. Of course, we don't know what the truth is because James O'Keefe is a fucking glory-seeking liar who probably measures shit by how much coed tail he gets when he appears on Fox "news." The video is as doctored as Heidi Montag. (High five, anyone? High five?)

One other observation: this video was taken in Lafayette, Louisiana. It is O'Keefe's second piece about the census, the first taking place in New Jersey. It's also his second attack on Louisiana. Within a mile or so of the U.S. Census Bureau is BP America's field operations office in Lafayette. There's probably better uses of everyone's time and even tiny abilities.

But such truly noble things are not what Breitbart demands. Like many conservatives, Breitbart is attempting to discredit the census because of fears that urbanization will tilt the balance of representation, among other things. But, oh, O'Keefe. The finest kind of cum whore is the kind who'll do anything for a chance to show how much he loves a cock. And O'Keefe ain't about to give up such bounty for anything like "journalism."


Five Other Things George W. Bush Would Do Again (and a Brief Note Regarding Sarah Palin):
Former President (no, really) George W. Bush spoke last night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he said, "Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I'd do it again to save lives." He did not follow up with how it saved lives. However, not reported was the list of other things Bush said he would do all over again.

1. "Yeah, I choked on that pretzel. And I'd eat it again to stop it from choking other people."

2. "Yeah, I knew the invasion of Iraq was gonna be a clusterfuck. But I'd do it again because I got Saddam's gun and that's cool."

3. "Yeah, I let Dick Cheney run the joint. But I'd do it again because, trust me, you didn't want me decidin' shit."

4. "Yeah, we screwed up after Katrina. But I'd do it again because, truth be told, I don't care about black people."

5. "Yeah, I did snort a whole bunch of cocaine before coming out here. But I'd do it again because it's really awesome blow."

A Brief Note Regarding Sarah Palin's Opinion of Environmentalists:
So the woman who quit as governor of Alaska blames environmentalists for the BP oil rig/well disaster. In another of "her" endless Facebook postings, she rambles nonsensically for a while about how opposing oil drilling somehow forces companies to drill for oil. (No, really, could someone point out to her that we don't want deep water drilling either?) She notes that Alaska is still available to fuck up and wonders why we don't just go ahead and fuck it up already. She connects the dots like a particularly spastic second grader on how less domestic production means more reliance on foreign oil and how "Some of these countries don’t like America." See? It's a choo-choo train.

But the money shot that she ejaculates right in your face is the end: "Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives." Now, beyond the whole "radical radicalism" redundancy, what the fuck does this dimwit who masturbates with a caribou-antler dildo mean by "your true motives"? Conservation? Real development of alternative energy sources? Is that the insidious motive?

More likely, Palin has put on her traitor goggles and has equated devotion to oil companies with devotion to country.


Republicans Show How Much They Care:
So just to get this straight, Republicans, 'cause Jesus Christ knows your views shouldn't be misrepresented: with the unstoppable Gulf oil gusher poisoning everything in the sea and destroying the economies of probably four states at minimum, with Israel gettin' all raid-on-Entebbe with a ship that was trying to get food and medicine to starving people in Gaza, with Afghanistan becoming the war that it was always gonna become, with the need for jobs programs and housing programs and training programs in this country, with immigration, climate change, civil rights for gays, and more needing work and leadership and legislation, with all that shit plus whatever the fuck's going on with the European economy, some of you guys think that President Obama should be impeached because a guy was offered a job to not run for office.

That's like surfing a tsunami while it's going through a village and drowning schoolyards full of children. That's like turning to your wife while the house burns down and saying, "Gimme a blow job 'cause I love the way you look in firelight."

California Republican and weepy, greedy, power-hungry bitch-boy Rep. Darrell Issa, a man destined to be a prison twink, is pushing that very notion. Issa believes that, because the White House has admitted that Rahm Emanuel asked Bill Clinton to offer a job to Rep. Joe Sestak if he'd clear the way for Arlen Specter to get the Democratic nomination for the Senate in Pennsylvania, the government should come to a screeching halt while Obama is investigated, impeached, and tried. Because why? Because that's what's first on everyone's mind right now?

As Joe Conason points out, this ain't something to be taken lightly. These fuckers play for keeps, damn the consequences on the route to taking back power. The entire affair, playing nonstop on Fox "news," has been elevated to "Obama's Watergate," thanks to Issa, who never misses a chance to demonstrate his extraordinary ability to fellate himself on live television. He's so good at it that Sean Hannity got jealous, bent over, and said, "Hey, look, I can actually get my tongue to my own anus."

Fine, if we're gonna get out the hyperbole machine, let's do something a little more appropriate: the Gulf oil spill is not Obama's Katrina. No, it's his 9/11: a sudden, explosive event that hit in the first part of the presidency and revealed to the nation a threat that crosses party lines. Now, howzabout DC Republicans get off their bullshit propaganda machine for a little while and saddle up to help? Howzabout the media do what they demanded of Democrats after 9/11 and tell Republicans to put aside "partisan bickering" for the "good of the nation"? Maybe a little help instead of mindless slash and burn?

Oh, wait. Don't forget that we're dealing with Republicans. The fact that the majority of the country doesn't give a rat's fuck about the Sestak nonsense doesn't matter. All that matters is that, at all costs, even at the cost of the country itself, they try to bring down the president. Again.


A New Play by the Rude Pundit and More (Including Today's Stephanie Miller Show):
Big things are afoot at rude central.
1. There's a Rude Pundit book coming. More on that soon.

2. A new play written and directed by the Rude Pundit will be performed at the New York International Fringe Festival in August 2010. It's a real play called Heterosexuals, and here's the blurb: "A man and a woman enter an apartment and make sexual small talk. Then the woman invites the man to touch her. And we’re off into a brutal, obscene comedy about how much we just want to fuck."

So there's a little fundraising going on to support the show - money for registration, advertising, and sets. Here's the deal: contribute down there or over on the side...

For every donation of $50, you get one ticket for the show. Just make sure your email address is included in the donation form. And any donation amount is not just acceptable; it's awesome. (No, tickets don't cost $50. But it's sort of like how you get a $20 subscription to The New Yorker or some damn book when you give $8000 to NPR.)

Back in 2005, the Rude Pundit's one-man show sold out before it opened. Here's a chance to make sure you have your seat for this brand new play.

3. The Rude Pundit was interviewed for a profile in the New Orleans weekly paper Gambit. Thanks to Kevin Allman for the cool article.

4. On today's Stephanie Miller Show, the Rude Pundit declared a robot war:

5. You really want to subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast because he'll be back at the Bonnaroo Music Festival this year and recording the strange goings-on.
Another Graveyard from Memorial Day:

Patrick Shay owns a seafood business and a house on Grand Isle. On Memorial Day, he and a couple of other people set up rows of crosses not to remember the troops but "In Memory of all that is lost courtesy of BP and our Federal Government," as a large sign on his yard read. That cross says, "Marsh Grass." Others say, "Oysters" or "Dolphins." You get the idea.

"We gotta keep our wits about us and this is my way of doing it," Shay said. "This is for Louisiana...We're frustrated, we're scared and this is our way of fighting back and letting everyone know what's at stake here."

As Bob Herbert writes in today's New York Times, you may as well put America's sense of self on one of those crosses. For there is an utter helplessness in the face of the Gulf oil spill/leak/future greasy hurricane surge.

You see, you can (and you should) complain about the Obama administration's response, about what measures that are real and for show it should take. You can (and you should) condemn BP and protest and boycott. You can (and you should) rail in that "we told you so" way that the left has every right to use.

But none of it will stop the goddamn oil from flowing. And it ain't gonna stop for another two months. Those crosses will probably be black before it's over. We have become a nation that doesn't know how to deal with lost causes.