The Rude Pundit on This Week's Stephanie Miller Show:
This week, the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller talked history, abortion, and a dude without a face.

As ever, if you subscribe to the Rude Pundit's podcast, you can get automatic updates to yer iTunes of episodes of Cheater and the Rude, the Rude Pundit's ever-evolving internet radio concern with Jeff Kreisler, as well as all the Stephanie Miller festivities.
Birtherism and Your Lying Media (Part 2):
On Monday's edition of The O'Reilly Factor (tagline: "Once this is over, it's time for your pills"), Fox "news" host and conjurer of oceanic mysteries Bill O'Reilly said of the massive budget cut protests in London this past weekend, "[S]ocialist protests broke out over the weekend. About 250,000 far-left malcontents demonstrated around Trafalgar Square, protesting 130 billion in British spending cuts. Perhaps 200 were arrested as they broke into stores and caused all kinds of trouble. Dozens injured. A number of police officers, as well. Millions of dollars in damage. Once again, the world sees what the far left wants: to impose chaos. There you go."

That's a couple of sentences so loaded with bullshit that it could fertilize fields of crops. It's not because O'Reilly just declared the "teachers, nurses, firefighters, public sector workers, students, [and] pensioners" who marched as "far-left" for not wanting their health care, pensions, and other government services radically cut back. Generally, extremists don't say things so politely, like, "They shouldn't be taking money from public services. What have we done to deserve this? Yes, they are making vicious cuts. That's why I'm marching, to let them know this is wrong," as a 53 year-old schoolteacher told a reporter.

And, yeah, violence did occur in the night after the march was done. But O'Reilly goes the extra mile to smear everyone involved. You know who didn't think it was a bunch of malcontents imposing chaos? Scotland Yard. Yeah, a British police commander said that the march by the Trade Union Congress "has been going well. We have had more than a quarter of a million people with hardly any problems." The policing minister declared that the violence was the work of "a small minority of individuals" in the midst of a peaceful protest. But if you watched Fox "news," you thought that hordes of Bolsheviks and Hottentots were ruining the royal wedding. Seriously, though, a quarter million (or more) people rioting would generally be considered a revolution. That ain't what happened.

This is the degraded nature of our political rhetoric. It's not enough to say that 250,000 people marched and that they were mostly peaceful, but wrong. No, you gotta go further and outright lie about the actions of the vast majority of protesters (as several London papers did) or just ignore it altogether (as the American media mostly did).

In so many ways, this is the strategy behind the birther movement. See, for many on the right, it's not enough to disagree with President. It's not enough to oppose his policies. He has to be delegitimized. (To his credit, O'Reilly dismisses birtherism outright.)

What ought to be happening is that anyone who entertains the notion that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii or that he gave up his American citizenship (as the more evolved birthers are saying) should never be taken seriously again, by anyone. It should immediately disqualify you from being part of the public discourse. And that includes John Boehner and any other elected official who won't state unequivocally that Obama is a natural-born American, end of story. Birthers should be treated the way 9/11 truthers have been treated: as idiot conspiracy theorists who need to come up with new hobbies.

Remember: during the reign of George W. Bush, we weren't allowed to question anything about how he became president? Then, there was real room for doubt (and, you know, the fact that Gore actually won Florida). If you believed that his election was a lie, you were told to "Get over it." And, mostly, the left did and concentrated on trying to get Democrats elected to slow the American train from going off the cliff. Shit, it wasn't even a real issue in 2004, when it could have actually done some good.

But now we have serious candidates for the Republican nomination to lose to Barack Obama either embracing some aspects of birtherism or speaking in weasel ways, like Tim "Weasel Eyes" Pawlenty did when asked about Obama's birth certificate by Sean Hannity on Fox "news." Said Pawlenty, "[T]he news reports from CNN and others have said they've seen the birth certificate." Further, Pawlenty added that, if you think otherwise, "You got to either believe that they didn't and they're lying or there is something else going on." Then he just said that there were more important things to talk about. He left just enough equivocation that he could still live up to his role in the John McCain school of obsequiously begging for teabagger votes.

Something's seriously fucked beyond fucked when, in order to be considered at having a real shot at winning Republican primaries, you gotta not just go nutzoid anti-choice and anti-gay (which is stupid enough), but you gotta at least leave the door open for genuine madness in order to appease the inmates at the asylum.

Tomorrow: So what? (And that will hopefully be the last time the Rude Pundit ever writes about birthers.)


If You Are a Birther, You Are a Racist; Therefore, Donald Trump Is a Racist:
Let's just for a moment play in the fantasy world of the birthers, or, more appropriately, the junior KKK. Birthers have pinned their hopes of lynching Barack Obama on proving that the President is not a natural-born American citizen and thus disqualified from holding his current office. Depending on the intensity of your birtherism, you might also believe there's some conspiracy involving Obama's mother having a three-way with Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright in Kenya or some such shit. (Truly, that last statement is not nearly as crazy as some of this gets.)

But let's play around with their hopes and dreams because birthers will insist that, really, all they want is to make sure the Constitution is upheld and that we're not being led by a false idol who will bring about a Muslim-atheist-gay apocalypse with a secret Commie sauce on top. And that they're not racist at all.

So let us say, and why not, that the vast conspiracy to protect the true identity of Barack Obama crumbles and, holy shit, it's revealed that the birth certificate is a fraud and that Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia. What happens next? Joe Biden becomes president. And pretty much the exact same policies stay in place and the exact same battles will occur over all the same issues. Nothing would change except Obama wouldn't be there. We can keep goofing off here: birthers believe that, if Obama is not constitutionally allowed to be president, it would automatically invalidate every single bill or order that he's signed. No health care reform. No bailout. Of course, the Supreme Court would probably say, "Whoa, let's not descend into anarchy." (Well, one hopes they would.) And nothing would change. Or if you wanna fantasize further, if this had come out during the election, Hillary Clinton would be president. You see how stupid this all is? No, not you, you fucktard birthers. But everyone else who just rolled their eyes and/or got queasy reading this paragraph.

Honestly, the only rational explanation as to why this hasn't died is that it's the "intelligent design" of racism. Evangelicals want science classes to teach that the earth was shit out by some invisible sky wizard who then made people out of mud. But when creationism got slapped down by the courts, they renamed it "intelligent design" and had the fight all over again. With Obama, you can't be taken seriously if you say you "just don't like a nigger president" (except by your mule-raping relatives), but you can say that you don't believe that Obama was really born in America. However, since very little would change policy-wise if you're right, then the only reason to think that you're right and everyone else is involved in massive cover-up is that you are a fucking racist bag of shit.

Why does this matter? Why spend time on this? Just because empty-headed, braying publicity whore Donald Trump decided the best way to keep his ego in the news is by embracing it? No, fuck that clown. Fuck him hard. But now that Fox "news" has decided to go full birther and members of Congress are not smacking this down, there's something even more insidious going on.

More on that later.


Grappling With the Libyan "Intervention":
Goddamn, how the Rude Pundit really, really wants to get on board with the whole Libyan totally-not-a-war intervention. No, he'd love to be standing there, waving his mighty fist o' liberal rage and saying, "Fuck you, Qaddafi/Ghaddafi/Kadaffy," and proudly admirin' how much we're a-savin' the rebels. As someone who back in the day was pretty much screaming, "What the fuck, Clinton?" back in the day with Bosnia and Rwanda, you'd think the Rude Pundit would wanna jump with glee at the humanitarian purpose that the no-fly zone has, as the halting of what might Gaddafi himself said would be a slaughter.

But he can't. 'Cause there's just some shit here that's gnawing at him, preventing that war hard-on. He remembers having this feeling back when the United States invaded Afghanistan, but he was able to put it aside for a couple of months while we were presumptively going to find and arrest/kill/corpse-photo Osama bin Laden. Now, though, with Libya, even though good liberals everywhere tell him that this is a good thing, this has a purpose, even though the President articulated what sounded like a decent case for decency, he can't jump on the train.

See, President Obama lost the Rude Pundit last night when, during his address to the nation, he said of the mad colonel, "He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents" and "In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day." Yep, that's true, and it sucks and makes him a vile, evil fucker who truly deserves to live out eternity in a hell where he's chained to a table and has plastic surgery performed on him endlessly without anesthetic. The thing is that he did that shit and more, but, back before the revolt in Libya, the Obama administration was taking steps towards arms sales with Gaddafi (in the wake of George W. Bush making nice with Libya).

In March 2009, the American ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, told the Financial Times, "The new military relationship would begin with training programs, followed by the sale of non-lethal weaponry." Then "at some point, if both sides want it...we would hope that [the sale of lethal weapons] would be a culmination of our military relationship." At the same time, a Defense Department spokesperson said, "We will consider Libyan requests for defense equipment that enables them to build capabilities in areas that serve our mutual interest." Man, Lockheed-Martin must have been worried about the Iraq war winding down.

Now, of course, things do change over the course of a couple of years. But what doesn't change is the past. And, in 2009, the very Gaddafi that the Obama administration was hoping to have defense equipment-trading sex with, ending with a lethal weapon sales orgasm, is the same Gaddafi who strung up and murdered his own people. So what fucking galls the Rude Pundit now is that, prior to the current war (and, fuck you, it's a war - we didn't all sit down and tell Libya how its actions make us feel), all that other shit that Gaddafi did was going to be forgotten about and the same President Obama who spoke so forcefully against the Libyan leader was going to see if we could get to a place where we sell him weapons.

Oh, good pro-war liberals, how the Rude Pundit knows that the exigencies of foreign policy make strange and awful bedfellows. And, indeed, if nothing else, we could spin the war as at least preventing American arms sales to Gaddafi. So, no, on its own, the fact that we were going to be just fine with arming the murdering, terrorizing, rights-denying dictator does not alone mean we shouldn't now protect tens of thousands of people.

Last night, Obama said, in response to criticism, "It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right." And the Rude Pundit agrees that, in the abstract, we should act, as we should have in the Congo and the Sudan, as we should in the Ivory Coast. That's in an abstract America. In the abstract, President Obama wrote in his book The Audacity of Hope, "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?" Apparently, as president, the concrete reality is different for him.

But another reality is that we are not the swaggering fuckers we once were. Eight years of the Bush presidency and a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have left us diminished as a nation in ways that are only now becoming clear. And, in so many ways, behaving like we are that mythic nation is pathetic, like Britney Spears attempting to do her old dance moves.

Does that mean we not act? Yeah. Yeah, mostly, it does. And next time people lose their unemployment, have their houses foreclosed upon, and their food stamps cut, you ask them if saving the people of Libya was more important than putting food on their table. You ask them if they understand that the money is always there to fire missiles but not to give their kids a decent public education or their parents a decent retirement.

But, as the Rude Pundit said, this ain't easy and he's still wrestling. We do watch people get slaughtered all the time and do nothing. We're doing it right now in Yemen. And the only compelling case that President Obama made is that he wanted to make sure that fragile, new Tunisia and Egypt had a chance without a flood of refugees.

Right now, though, it seems as if we just bought Libya. Once we say we're there to prevent the massacre, then we can't ever leave until there's no chance that the massacre's gonna happen (and if NATO is there, we're there). And, in laying out conditions for U.S. action in the future, it sure seems like President Obama just wrote a check to the world. Let's hope we don't have to keep cashing it.


In Brief: Three Things the Rude Pundit Thought He'd Be Able to Avoid Writing About:
1. Birtherism. The Rude Pundit has avoided spending a whole lot of time with the ludicrous debate over whether or not Barack Obama is a "natural-born American." But because people who call themselves journalists (and Fox "news") indulge this bullshit, the idea lives on. Here's how this should have gone in every news report dismissing it: Crazy people say X. Here's actual, physical proof that X is wrong. Therefore, crazy people are crazy. If you give credence to X despite the actual, physical proof, you are crazy (or a manipulative fuckwad who'll do anything to stay in the headlines), no matter how much money you trick people into believing you have. Next subject?

2. Michele Bachmann, Actual Presidential Candidate. Are you fucking kidding? No, really, are you fucking kidding?

3. Defunding Planned Parenthood. Goddamnit, didn't we finish this debate back in the 1980s? So the GOP plan to get the economy going again is to try to shut down businesses engaged in legal activities and thus put thousands of people out of work? Now that's quality leadership. 'Cause if we're gonna stop funding shit that conflicts with our morality, the Rude Pundit's got a long damn list of weapons manufacturers and oil companies that he'd like to prevent from getting our tax dollars.

A semi-mature populace should be in an uproar about any one of these. The fact that we're dealing with all three should be enough to cause street riots. And having them as part of a debate about the direction of the nation is enough to make the Rude Pundit want to suck down some water from a reactor in Japan.
Late Post Today:
What? Princess Peach was taken by balloon ship to another castle? Fuck.

Back later with more palliative rudeness.


Weekend Self-Promotion Spree (featuring the latest Cheater and the Rude):
You know how you're hearing about Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Haley Barbour running for president and you just want a handy guide to tell your conservative relatives what total bags of fuck those guys are?

Well, The Rude Pundit's Almanack has got you covered, with amazing charts that give you fun facts about potential 2012 Republican candidates that'll totally fuck up your Passover or Easter visit home. It's available at OR Books in paperback or e-book form (ready for your Kindle or iPad - fancy, eh?).

Already gotten the book and gobbled it all up like a gay Kansas farm boy on his first visit to the Castro? Then join the Almanack's page over at the Facebook and post your review or read what others have written. You can also check out some of the awesomely disturbing artwork in the book by Jennifer Kimball. Plus, OR Books promises special treats for FBers.

Finally, the new episode of Cheater and the Rude is ready for your ear consumption. Jeff Kreisler beats a dead horse and the Rude Pundit describes Sarah Palin fucking John McCain. Let that sink into your brains for a bit.

New episodes every Thursday at 8 p.m. on Progressive Radio Network. Downloads available at the Rude Pundit's podcast page.


A Few Thoughts on Unions and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire:
There's no need here to go over the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire on the day of its centennial. It was, in ways figurative and literal, like 9/11 for the American labor movement, a moment when the enemies of the masses were shown in all their cruelty and viciousness. But let's remember a few other things about how intractable the evils of industry were (and are).

Four months before Triangle burned, in November 1910, a building in Newark, New Jersey, containing factories for lamps, boxes, and undergarments, went up in flames. The fourth floor, where the garment factory employed mostly women, had inadequate fire escapes and, of course, locked doors. Twenty-five women died, six from fire and 19 from leaping out of the building. An article written shortly after hopefully stated, "The factory workers' only chance of protection lies in carefully drawn legislation enforced by an adequate number of inspectors appointed by civil service. This terrible and useless sacrifice of life in Newark will not have been altogether in vain if it stirs employers throughout the country to the point of establishing fire drills in their manufactories." Of course, it didn't lead to much of anything, even in New Jersey law, which relieved the building's owner and the factory's management of any liability.

Thus we got the fire at the Triangle Waist Company across the Hudson River.

We like to romanticize what came after the ineluctable nightmare that the mostly young women experienced a hundred years ago. Yes, there was a surge in the membership of International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (and other unions), and, yes, worker safety legislation was eventually passed, as were laws governing wages.

But let's not forget that in the 1920s, under the Harding and Coolidge administrations, and, indeed, until the Wagner Act was passed in 1935, unionism was under assault in the United States, with membership declining for over a decade from its 1920 high.

Before getting too wonky here, though, let's return to the anniversary. In a May 1911 article in Life and Labor magazine, writer Martha Bensley Bruere described the aftermath of the fire:

"Well, the fire is over, the girls are dead, and as I write, the procession in honor of the unidentified dead is moving by under my windows. Now what is going to be done about it?

"Harris and Blanck, the Triangle Company, have offered to pay one week's wages to the families of the dead girls--as though it were summer and they are giving them a vacation! Three days after the fire they inserted in the trade papers this notice:

"'NOTICE, THE TRIANGLE WAIST CO. beg to notify their customers that they are in good working order. HEADQUARTERS now at 9-11 University Place.'

"The day after they were installed in their new quarters, the Building Department of New York City discovered that 9-11 University Place was not even fireproof, and that the firm had already blocked the exit to the one fire escape by two rows of sewing machines.

"And still as I write the mourning procession moves past in the rain. For two hours they have been going steadily by and the end is not yet in sight. There have been no carriages, no imposing marshals on horseback; just thousands and thousands of working men and women carrying the banners of their trades through the long three-mile tramp in the rain. Never have I seen a military pageant or triumphant ovation so impressive; for it is not because 146 workers were killed in the Triangle shop-not altogether. It is because every year there are 50,000 working men and women killed in the United States-136 a day; almost as many as happened to be killed together on the 25th of March; and because slowly, very slowly, it is dawning on these thousands on thousands that such things do not have to be!

"It is four hours later and the last of the procession has just passed."

You get that? The owners of the factory merely set up a new shop and committed the same crimes, as if the deaths hadn't happened. They must have believed they could just act with impunity, that worker life was cheap and replaceable, that their profits were more important than obeying even simplest humane rules. They blocked the fire escape again. Christ.

It's one thing for capitalism to be amoral. It's another for it to be immoral. While that immorality may not be so brazen nowadays, it is there in every cutback made by profitable companies, it is there in every job shipped overseas, it is there in every denial of health care for employees, it is there in every CEO's bonus check. That's why we have unions. That's why, despite the best efforts of the right to destroy them, gut regulation, and trust the immoral corporations again, we need them just as much they did back in 1911.


Your State Sucks Because Your Governor and Legislators Are Dicks:
Yes, even with the eternal dickishness of Republican legislative behavior when it comes to abortion, which is their favoritest issue, even with the totally dickish campaign to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights, GOP governors and their lackey co-conspirators in the legislatures have found new and exciting and unusual ways to be complete wads of dick. We're talking here about spending time on shit that's absolutely worthless except as a way of announcing, "Holy Christ, we're a bunch of dicks."

For instance, up in Maine, Governor Paul LePage (a.k.a. "The Guy From Teabagville") has ordered the removal of a 2008 mural in the Maine Department of Labor building because it depicts the history of labor in the state of Maine. So it's just inappropriate. Yep, it's got cobblers, child workers, and women mill workers. It's got images of workers voting to be in unions, organizing, and marching on Labor Day. It shows women strikers, Frances Perkins, FDR's Labor Secretary, who was from Maine, and women working in factories during WWII. Finally, it has an image from a 1986 strike in the state and one that represents the passing on of the legacy of laborers.

This pissed off someone who faxed LePage, "In studying the mural I also observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses." It was signed, in the spirit of open democracy, "A Secret Admirer." Because, see, apparently the Department of Labor is only supposed to exist to support corporations and business owners. Despite, you know, the name of the fucking department.

Said LePage, "I'm trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally, neutrally and on balance." Of course, there being way more employees than employers, like, everywhere doesn't matter. It would have been easier if LePage had just said, "C'mon, everyone. I'm a big fucking dick. How else would I act?" And then to prove it, LePage also wants the names of all the Department of Labor's conference rooms changed because one's named for Perkins and another is named for Cesar Chavez. You can pretty much bet that, if he had the power to do so, the Edmund Muskie Federal Building would be renamed the Suck LePage's Balls Building.

Over in Ohio, which is in competition right now for America's dickiest state, the Senate there just voted to ban mention of federal stimulus funds on signs that mark construction done with federal stimulus funds. And that's fine and dandy: the Obama administration does not require such labeling of how your tax dollars are being spent to improve your roads and bridges. Of course, they also voted to allow advertising on state road signs. Classy all around.

GOP Governor John Kasich will sign the bill because he's all about the privatizing. He wants to divert funds from state liquor sales to a private not-for-profit organization called "JobsOhio," which will take the place of the state-run job recruitment office. Oh, the chairman of JobsOhio will be Governor Kasich. The money from state liquor sales, about $200 million a year, will essentially become a slush fund for Kasich. The Republican reasoning behind the elimination of the stimulus signs was that they were merely an advertisement for the successes of the Democrats. That was just too above-board a way to show job creation. It's much easier (and way more dickish) to bribe your rich friends under the table.

The fun part? You elected these dickheads, good citizens of these states, and now you've got huge buyer regret. Here's a tip: don't elect teabaggers or Fox "news" commentators.


A Tale for the One-Year Anniversary of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Affordable Care Act:
So Dallas Wiens was working when it happened in 2008. He was standing in a cherry picker, painting a Fort Worth church. That detail seems kind of important, considering. His head hit a high-voltage power line, and it pretty much incinerated his entire face off. A series of miraculous operations got Wiens to a point where he had skin on his face, but no nose or lips. He went blind in one eye, and a skin graft covered the other eye. He pretty quickly started seeking out how to go about getting a face transplant just so, as he says, he could smile and feel his now 4 year-old daughter's touch on his face. Also, so he doesn't look so godawfully disfigured (let's be brutally honest here).

Now here's where we veer into the lesson: Medicaid paid for his hospital care and other expenses until his disability payments got too high for him to qualify. His parents set up a fund to take contributions for the incredibly expensive operation and recovery (not to mention the six months of being in Boston for treatment). But in two years, the guy who had his face burned off while painting a church did not collect enough money for the operation from people who might, you know, follow the teachings of one church or another (or, truly, from any of us).

And that might be the end of the story, except for one thing. See, the president when Wiens got injured was George W. Bush, and George W. Bush couldn't have given a jolly rat fuck about anyone's medical care unless it involved bizarre pharmaceutical donuts. However, Barack Obama became president, and that situation changed.

Now, you can say what you want about the Affordable Care Act on its one-year anniversary, which happens to be today, and virtually all of your criticism from the left would be correct. It is a massive giveaway to private insurance companies. It doesn't do enough to rein in costs. It doesn't guarantee 100% of Americans will be covered. And on and on, in so very many ways a massive disappointment (and not, as the nutzoid conservatives would have you believe, a government takeover of anything or a violation of the Constitution).

But here's the deal: Dallas Wiens got a face transplant because of it, not because good, conservative, church-going folk stepped up and had cookie sales, not because the myriad organizations that have "family" in their name gave a goddamn. No, Wiens received the first full face transplant in U.S. history because of the government. The operation itself was paid for by a grant from the Defense Department, which is looking for ways to help soldiers who get horrible scars from combat. And the $1300-$2000 a month in drugs that he will need to take for the rest of his life to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant will be paid for by his father's insurance. That's because Wiens is 25. And that inhuman law mockingly called "Obamacare" raised the age that a child can stay on a parent's insurance to 26. Wiens will turn 26 in May. In June, again, because of changes in the law, he will qualify for Medicare as a disabled person.

Yeah, the left should be trying to improve the act, constantly, until we actually get universal health care (or "single payer," if you want). And, of course, the douchebag right, led by d-bag kings John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, will continue their Neanderthal drumbeat of repeal because, really, they have nothing else to talk about except how to harm and repress people (how's that jobs bill coming, eh, motherfuckers?).

But at the end of the day, there's a fuck of a lot of people, in cases not nearly as extreme as Dallas Wiens, who have been helped. It's at least a baby step on the road to a compassionate, sane future. Would that we take more instead of veering off the path as quickly as possible.


The Neverending War on Women's Rights:
One awesomely idiotic thing that conservatives in state legislatures do is pass bills "just in case shit happens." When it comes to abortion, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of batshit. Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and other states have passed laws that outlaw abortion in the event of the overturning of Roe v. Wade or the Rapture, whichever happens first.

Now, in Arizona (state motto: "It ain't crazy 'less it's Arizona crazy"), the state's House and Senate have passed separate versions of bills that outlaw abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus or parents. There's no evidence that such things happen in Arizona (although you can bet that more than a few white legislators are gonna think twice when their daughters get knocked up after they bang their gardeners). Said Representative Don Shooter of Yuma (no, really), "It's a way to pre-empt what's happening in China and India" (no, really). Well, cool. After China takes us over, there won't be forced abortions in Flagstaff.

Another fun part of the bill, which would charge doctors with a felony, is subsection C: "The father of the unborn child who is married to the mother at the time she receives a sex-selection or race-selection abortion, or, if the mother has not attained eighteen years of age at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the unborn child, may bring a civil action on behalf of the unborn child to obtain appropriate relief with respect to a violation of subsection A of this section. The court may award reasonable attorney fees as part of the costs in an action brought pursuant to this subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, 'appropriate relief' includes monetary damages for all injuries, whether psychological, physical or financial, including loss of companionship and support, resulting from the violation of subsection A of this section." Grandparents suing on behalf of an aborted fetus because of "loss of companionship"? But what if the fetus would have grown up to be a total dick?

The Arizona of the Northern Plains, South Dakota, also passed an incredibly punitive anti-choice bill today. This one was signed into law by the governor, and it would force a woman who wants an abortion to wait three days after seeing a doctor to get the operation. Also, women would have to meet with someone who would try to convince her not to, which seems an awful lot like imprisonment and brainwashing.

The insidious side of elevating the fetus above the woman it occupies goes beyond the attempt to end all availability of abortions. There's an ongoing effort to shame women, to enforce a psychological perspective on them that they are supposed to have regrets, that they are supposed to have second and third thoughts, that they are supposed to be fucked up by having an abortion. It's a patronizing patriarchal stance that serves to reinforce an image of weakness, hysteria, and dependency on women. Fucking hell, it's the same fight, over and over and over, decade after decade after decade.

Last year, probable boring presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty (campaign slogan: "You can't spell 'Pawlenty' without 'Y-A-W-N'"), when he was the asshole governor of Minnesota, proclaimed April "Abortion Recovery Month." In other words, if you had an abortion, you had to have suffered a trauma. That's a myth. As is the myth that drove the South Dakota bill, that the vast majority of women are coerced into having an abortion. But what better way to disempower women than by making them into victims.

Especially when it's the Republicans running amok in the state legislatures that are the victimizers.


Awful Photos That Pretty Much Mean the Same Thing as Something Else Just Awful:

The picture is from the destroyed city of Ishinomaki, Japan. The Rude Pundit figures that the image of Lady Liberty among the lifeless ruins is more of a metaphorical way of showing the recently revealed photos of American soldiers posing with corpses of Afghan civilians that they murdered "for sport."

'Cause when you're nearly a decade into a war that was probably worthless at least five or six years ago, what the hell else is your army "kill team" gonna do? Win hearts and minds? That's pussy shit and it ain't what the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was about. Since there's not enough Taliban or al-Qaeda to justify tens of thousands of soldiers, well, these motherfuckin' M14s are just going to waste. Let's improvise, man.

Yes, a dozen of the soldiers have been arrested and are on trial. And, yes, the United States has apologized (now that it's become public). And there's even bonus points, since one of the accused killers is from Sarah Palin's precious Wasilla, Alaska, where apparently the town's name is Inuit for "fucktard."

When someone wants to argue with the Rude Pundit about our current intervention in Libya, in addition to the money spent, in addition to issues regarding our loss of moral authority (such as it was pre-Bush), in addition to the terrible toll on civilians, he thinks about the soldiers, sent to fight for vague goals that have little to nothing to do with defending the nation. If we were the nation we once were, sometime ago, if we had truly restored our standing in the world, then this Libya venture might seem noble. Instead...well, just refer back to the picture.

(Note: here's three of the photos. You don't want to look at them, but since few sources have linked to them, the Rude Pundit supposes he will. But don't click. It will not make your life better one little bit.)
Late Post Today:
The Rude Pundit's gotta go take down Psycho Mantis, so he'll be back later with more dewy rudeness.

And while you're waiting, you can "Like" The Rude Pundit's Almanack Facebook page, where you can post your reviews and receive info on upcoming book-related events. It's like a party where everyone wants to hear your stories.


Cheater and the Rude from March 17, 2011:
In this week's episode, the Rude Pundit does a fair Rush Limbaugh imitation and gives his recipe for human jerky. Also, Jeff Kreisler schools us all in post-earthquake economics. Plus, we listen to that UCLA student complain about "hordes of Asians" at the library.

You can get Cheater and the Rude and The Rude Pundit's Stephanie Miller Show appearances jacked into your listening device by subscribing to the Rude Pundit's podcast.

And you can listen every Thursday at 8 p.m. for a new episode of Cheater and the Rude on Progressive Radio Network.


Conservative Family Research Council Says Gay Marriage Is as Bad as the Earthquake/Tsunami:
Oh, how we members of the Super-Duper Prayer Team awaited our orders of praytardation on the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis/giant honey badger attacks. The Rude Pundit joined the Super-Duper Prayer Team of the nutzoid evangelical Family Research Council (motto: "If a woman wanted to abort a gay fetus, our heads would explode") under a nom de rude a few years ago, and, for his trouble, once a week he receives an email that tells him how he needs to kneel before the Lord and offer humble but enthusiastic praybagging for the ills what afflict this great nation o' ours. We're told our "Prayer Targets," the crosshairs of our prayplantation, and given the words and bible verses to support our inability to pray on our own. Surely, surely, the wreckage of lives and property in Japan would offer us a chance, a prayportunity, to show just how much a love loaf we can pinch out.

And then, like every Wednesday (except when we get it on Thursday), the missive arrived, and it started out enthusiastically enough: "Our hearts go out to the people of Japan in the aftermath of such incalculable devastation and untold suffering. I am sure you will join me in praying for rescue and relief efforts as well as for the efforts to share the Good News of Jesus Christ." Fuck, yeah, man. Time to break out the knee pads and...whoa, what was that at the end there? So, umm, we're supposed to take advantage of the aching Japanese people and convert them? That seems a bit...skeevy.

It continued, no, really, "The Lord Jesus used a tragedy and a disaster to point people to the need to cry out to God in repentance (Luke 13:1-5). Devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear threats, massive hurricanes, revolutions, wars, terrorism, mass murders, uncontrollable borders, epidemic drugs, abortion, bankrupt nations, family breakdown, societal disorder, union mobs, abandonment of natural sexuality and the God-given institution of marriage: previous generations would have understood all of these to be signs, warnings and temporal judgments from Almighty God -- instructive not only to those immediately affected, but to all of us. Unless we repent, we will all likewise perish, just as Jesus proclaimed."

And then the email asked us to pray that people pay attention to some stupid fucking event or other for which the FRC is hoping to con money out of people. (By the way, check out the figure on the event's poster. That dude's yanking and sucking a big ol' dick.)

There you go. According to the FRC, gay marriage is the same threat as a tsunami, and if we don't repent, then the FRC's version of God, a pissy bastard jonesing for a fight, will judge the shit out of you. What an asshole. Fuck that God. This is the organized religion version of standing on a corner with a poorly-scrawled sign warning of the coming apocalypse. And it's just fucking weird, too, because there ain't jackshit Jesus ever said that would have anything to do with illegal immigrants ("uncontrollable borders"). And the Rude Pundit's pretty sure that the Bible has little to say about collective bargaining rights. Apparently, omens come cheap in these spiritually dessicated times.

You can bet that if you asked the survivors in Rikuzen-Takata if they would rather let lesbians marry or have their city be stomped into mud, they'd ask if they could be bridesmaids. And if you wouldn't, then you deserve a good smiting to teach you how to prioritize better.


Rich People Are Eating You:
Sometimes you know the game is fixed. Sometimes you walk into a smoky room in the back of some bar and you look at everyone around the card table and you realize that there's no way you're gonna win. It ain't just that you're outskilled. Oh, no, on a level playing field, you might stand a chance. But you get a lay of the land: you know that at least one of the fuckers is holding pocket aces and kings; you can see that a couple of 'em have worked out signals so that they can keep each other up on who's got what; you know that the chick with her tits nearly free of her wifebeater shirt is gonna distract you while she palms a chip or two of yours. Oh, yeah. The ground here is full of snake holes and molehills and your shoes are tied together. Still, you figure, you're here. You can't really leave now that you've promised to toss your cash into the pot. You just hope that you can hold your own and maybe break even.

For what are we to make of two recent reports that reveal just how very fucked almost all of us are other than that the fix is in (even more blatantly than it usually is)? In one, we learn that, as we emerge from the worstest of worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, the number of millionaires in the United States rose by 8% last year, the second year of growth after a big plunge in 2008. (Which means, truly, if you are very wealthy, voting against Democrats is actually bad for your overall worth.)

And then there's this: Profit margins at non-financial S&P 500 companies "will climb to 8.9 percent in 2011, the highest level in at least 18 years." You got that? Wait, it gets better: "CEOs are spending more on shareholders after stockpiling cash since 2008 when the financial crisis eliminated profits." Pop quiz: What word is missing there? In the entire article, there's no mention of "jobs." That's because, as Paul Krugman points out, corporations at this point don't give a fuck about you and your lack of employment. You're "being written off," says Krugman.

You aren't even a factor anymore. And why would you need to be? The wealthy have recovered quite nicely from the recession. Shareholders in corporations are reaping profits. Rich Americans are so secure at this point in feeding off the misery of the rest of the population that there's no point in even trying to hide their actions. The legislation that's being passed by Republicans in state governments in stripping away the last vestiges of worker rights is just codifying what has already occurred: the marginalization of the American worker, or, to put it another way, the destruction of the American worker and the elevation of the American consumer, dependent on banks and cobbled together incomes to merely pay the interest on the shit that's been purchased. If it's your home, you get to pay until the wealthy can just take it away and then re-sell it to another soon-to-be failed consumer lost in a clusterfuck of financial regulations and outright fraud.

You want more evidence that you are on the menu for the rich? A study of Minnesota's income tax burden shows that the bottom 90% of income earners pay 12.3% in state and local taxes. The top 10% of earners? They pay 10.3%. In other words, you pay 20% more taxes if you are not wealthy. If we on the left were allowed to engage in class warfare, we might say that that's "regressive" and needs to be corrected.

To return to that image that started this post, your odds in that poker game are far, far better than your odds in facing down the vicious American economy. Let's put it this way: right now, things are so tilted against you that it's like playing a poker game with acid thrown in your eyes while the players get dealt only face card and aces while you're getting punched in the nose repeatedly and the guy with the biggest dick is fucking your spouse in front of you and it'll never be your deal and you just hope you can get out of it alive.


Why Rush Limbaugh Ought To Be Force-Fed His Own Liposuctioned Fat (Nuclear Edition):
Voracious hogbeast Rush Limbaugh has been a-jigglin' his jowls in utter delight at the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Oh, ho, oh, ho, what fun it's been to mock tree-huggers for thinking that multiple nuclear reactors leaking radiation into the atmosphere and water might cause some to reflect on the safety of currently-revered nuclear power plants. He blares his soundbites of commentators on TV asking about the "worst-case scenario," and then he derides them for overreacting to the crisis.

This would be the same man who said just this past Friday that the modest health care reform bill needs to be repealed or "the country as we know it is over." You got that? Worrying about the possibility of nuclear meltdown at damaged reactors where the rods are exposed? That's the ludicrous liberal media hyping something for ratings. Limbaugh saying that America is done if a legally passed law is implemented? He's a fuckin' prophet, man. It's sort of like saying that doctor-shopping for oxycontin scrips is just great, but pot is wrong. Pot ain't gonna kill ya, man.

Of course, according to Limbaugh, liberals and the media are just beggin' for a disaster in Japan. Referring to CNN, Limbaugh gargled, "They want the nuclear meltdown. They want the Japanese syndrome, if you will." (By the way, if there was a "Japanese syndrome," it'd just melt through to the ocean somewhere off Argentina.) And, like any good conservative, Limbaugh laughed at the victims for not wanting to trash their country even further. ABC's Diane Sawyer went to a shelter to show how the survivors were recycling their garbage, not just tossing it on the heap, which is apparently what Limbaugh wanted, so it'd be like the piles of Twinkies wrappers, cum-sticky tissues, empty moisturizer tubes, cigar ashes, and pill bottles that fill the side of his studio chair and floor of his bedroom.

Limbaugh reacted with madness in its bugfuckingest form: "The Japanese have done so much to save the planet...They've given us the Prius. Even now, refugees are still recycling their garbage, and yet, Gaia levels 'em. Just wipes 'em out. She wipes out their nuclear plants, all kinds of radiation...What is Gaia trying to tell us here? What is the mother of environmentalism trying to say with this hit?"

At night, the world muted to his ears, Rush Limbaugh watches the coverage of the earthquake damage and the burgeoning nuclear crisis. On the bed, he keeps a big book of photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki; victims with horrible burns are such a turn-on. He's shoving a vibrator into his prostate, one that he calls "Little Boy." He'd've named it "Fat Man," but that seemed redundant. Yes, American triumphalism and mastery of the atom, all mixed together, and he's smacking his dick, hoping that he'll blow a mushroom cloud and not just a dribble of atoms.


The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Oh, what fun the Rude Pundit had on the radio with Stephanie Miller, laughing at Newt Gingrich, sighing for Wisconsin, recoiling at Peter King.

Remember: subscribe to the Rude Pundit's free podcast, and you can automatically download this and new episodes of the Progressive Radio Network's Cheater and the Rude show straight into your iTunes and your heart.
Conservative Media Research Center Actually Praises NPR (Sometimes):
As many a commentator has noted, what is often called "liberal" in the media is just real journalism. Real journalists don't assume that the powerful are correct, no matter who is in power. Real journalism calls a demonstrable fact a demonstrable fact and a demonstrable lie a demonstrable lie. That's what "objectivity" is supposed to be about, not "balance." Balance is the lie that every issue has multiple sides that deserve equal consideration. People who understand media understand this. People who want the media to merely comfort their biases don't care.

Especially open to attack are those media outlets that are seen as intellectual or elitist because, apparently, long attention spans are only for fucking commies. For instance, The New Yorker magazine featured an article last year by Jane Mayer that revealed how the Koch brothers spend millions and millions of dollars funding conservative causes. If you're a liberal, that reporting demonstrated that what you believe about the monolithic right is true. However, last week, The New Yorker featured another massive article, this time on the clean-up operation of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This time, the article challenges many liberal assumptions about the competence of everyone involved, as well as the role of BP and the long-term impact on the environment. In other words, if the article is right, many of us on the left (and right) were wrong. But that's because journalism shouldn't make us comfortable all the time. Sometimes the facts support your opinion. Sometimes the facts force you to modify or change it. That's called using your brain.

And it's also what a thinking, informed citizen ought to be doing. Otherwise, you only get propaganda, no matter what side you're on. (This is not about false equation. The Rude Pundit will argue to the death that the liberal shows on MSNBC are more reality-based and fair than nearly the entire day of Fox "news," which is merely a fascist brainwashing outlet.)

The attacks on the perceived bias at National Public Radio have less to do with any real agenda by NPR to attack the right (even if sometimes their commentators do so) than it does with the fact that NPR actually reports on real shit and it has reporters around the world who understand the places and people where conflicts and events occur. As Media Matters showed, even many conservative commentators find NPR to be "fair," and that includes its coverage of the crazy-ass Tea Party.

One of NPR's staunchest critics has been the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell's bugfuck insane news nanny that goes berserker whenever an NPR report has five words more on the supposedly liberal side of an issue than the conservative or if it doesn't toe a particularly puritan moral line. The MRC's "research" was cited just this week by totally straight columnist Cal "Yes, My Photo Looks Like I'm Watching You Masturbate" Thomas to attack NPR.

Except, oh, shit, wait a second. Here's a list of stuff what the Rude Pundit got from the MRC that praises NPR for covering issues and events that the rest of the media ignores or gets wrong (in the MRC's estimation):

From the MRC's Business and Media Institute, October 15, 2009, in an article titled, "NPR to Stations: 'Avoid' Saying '46 Million Americans' Are Uninsured": "While many in the news media continue to inflate and exaggerate the number of uninsured Americans, National Public Radio is making a change." The article then says that NPR is clarifying an "error" in reporting the number of uninsured (by saying "people" and not "Americans"), unlike most other media outlets.

From the MRC's Business and Media Institute, November 14, 2007, in an article titled, "NPR: The Economy Is Surviving $100 Oil": "National Public Radio’s Morning Edition was one of few outlets to report that the cost of $100 oil hasn’t had the effect on the economy that many people expected." (Indeed, MRC praised the entire NPR series on the oil industry as being fair and reporting on aspects of profits and pricing that others had not. Or, in other words, the reports would not have given aid and comfort to latte-sipping tree-huggers.)

In a July 20, 2009 BiasAlert, the MRC noted that an NPR blog was one of the only media outlets to note the 40th anniversary of the Ted Kennedy/Chappaquiddick incident, even though the blog post provoked hate mail.

In other anniversary news, there's this March 2010 article where the MRC notes that NPR was one of the only outlets to mark the centennial of the Boy Scouts and it didn't get all caught up with that silly homophobia, noting that "listeners were incensed that NPR didn't mention the organization's policy on homosexuals."

Frankly, take out constant criticism of NPR reporter Nina Totenberg and the pre-heroically fired Juan Williams, and the MRC's argument that NPR has a liberal bias comes down to declaring repeatedly that NPR has a liberal bias.

But, hey, Douchbag Rape Scene Designer James O'Keefe edited a video that made an executive look bad. So who cares if the truth is pretty much exactly the opposite? De-fund that shit. Indeed, you know what would have saved us from this whole bullshit argument? If NPR or any major news outlet had done some real journalism prior to the usual insta-purge.
This Week's Cheater and the Rude Show:
(Bumped up because of a screwed-up audio link. Corrected now.)
Hey, look, it's the first episode of Cheater and the Rude, the Rude Pundit's new online radio show and podcast from the Progressive Radio Network. It co-stars the lovable Jeff Kreisler, author of Get Rich Cheating.

It's over the internets, so the Rude Pundit gets to say things like "fucksaw." Which he does. Also, discussions of Wisconsin, a Crazy-Off between Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, and so much more. Listen in every Thursday at 8 p.m. on PRN.

All your listening desires can be fulfilled by subscribing to the Rude Pundit's podcast.


So This Also Happened This Past Weekend:

Now, let's not take away from the sheer enormity of the earthquake and tsunami that has wrecked northern Japan. Obviously, it's a story with implications for this nation. But one would imagine that a 24-hour news channel might allow for a bit of coverage of other news. And if you had watched CNN this weekend, you might have heard a top of the hour mention of the Saturday rally in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, here it is, from Sunday:

"A homecoming this weekend in Wisconsin for 14 Democratic senators who fled the state to block a vote on a bill cutting public workers' union rights. They were greeted by cheering crowds at the state capitol. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the controversial bill last week without the Democrats by taking out its spending provisions." Those "cheering crowds" numbered at around 100,000.

It was given the same weight as Rep. Michele Bachmann's basic ignorance of Schoolhouse Rock history.

Still, it was better than MSNBC, which didn't pause its weekend of Lockup episodes for any of the big news stories. Apparently, shivs, sodomy, and toilet hooch are more important than massive deaths or massive marches. Prisoners over people, so very American, you know. It doesn't have to bleed to lead. It's just blood all the time.

For the last month, the mainstream media ignored many of the important details of the story of Wisconsin's cross-eyed governor's repeal of collective bargaining rights. But it's sadly par for the course. If ten teabaggers farted in the same place last year, there was wall-to-wall coverage of the velocity and odor. Of course, the Tea Party stooges are merely doing the bidding of their very wealthy and corporate chain yankers, so there's a stake in making them appear mainstream. Teabaggers are begging to be left alone in selfish disempowerment. The protests in Wisconsin (and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Iowa) are about the rights of individuals to fight together for fairness and equality. The 100,000 people in Madison marched in a genuine protest against a tangible wrong, not an incomprehensible yawp against wrongly perceived and non-existent ills. It's a fine line. No, wait. It's a broad gulf between the two.

There's bad timing, for sure. And Japan's double-whammy should have made everyone stop giving a happy monkey fuck about media whores like Charlie Sheen and Sarah Palin. But, surely, CNN could have cut away a few times from the endless repetition of tsunami videos to focus on a political rally that was larger than any event the destructive teabaggers ever managed to cobble together. Surely, the roiling American Midwest is worthy of attention, too.
Late Post Today:
Looks like there's a Mothra, a Godzilla, and a random Gamera that need to be taken care of. Back later with more loquacious rudness.


Extremism, Peter King, and Joe Doherty, IRA Soldier:
Whether or not you believed in the cause, for the British government, the Irish Republican Army was a terrorist organization that committed terrorist acts. Indeed, any group of "freedom fighters" that uses violence to, you know, harm people and, you know, terrorize others would be, in any context, a terrorist organization. Here's the FBI's definition of "terrorism": "The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Yep, the IRA counts.

The thing about terrorists is that there's ones you support and there's ones you don't. You may be all for the rights of the Palestinians, but when some non-Israeli from Gaza commits violence against Israel, that's terrorism. In Libya, you can sure as hell bet that the Gaddafi regime considers the violence against it terrorism. They are merely the terrorists we in the United States happen to like. Yes, terrorists can become an army in a war against a corrupt government or an occupying power. But they're still terrorists until they take over. Like, you know, the colonists who fought the American Revolution.

Joe Doherty was not an innocent caught in a web of lies when he became one of the IRA's most-celebrated terrorists. He was convicted in abstentia in 1981 of the murder of a British soldier. He and three other IRA members took over a house in Belfast, locking the occupants in back room, which is generally known as "kidnapping." They intended to ambush a convoy of soliders and shoot at them with M60s from the upper floors of the house. But the soldiers got wind of the plan, and special forces went into the house. In the shoot-out that occurred, one officer was killed. Doherty escaped from jail during his trial and tried to seek refuge in the United States, but, after a nearly decade-long legal battle, during which he was imprisoned here, he was sent back to Northern Ireland to serve his sentence.

Interesting thing about Joe Doherty is that his direct treatment by the British is what radicalized him. Under the 1922 Special Powers Act for Northern Ireland, which granted the British military to arrest and hold anyone without trial, he was kept for months on a prison ship and then an internment camp. Mostly, he was picked up because of the people he associated with in his Belfast neighborhood. As much or as little as he supported the IRA prior to his detention, he went into the Active Service Unit afterward. In his 20s, he was interrogated and tortured by British soldiers for seven days before being imprisoned again. The British were bastards about Northern Ireland. Things like indefinite detention and torture, though, tend to make people angry towards their captors, as we well, well know.

The issue here is not to re-argue the extradition fight over Joe Doherty. The convicted murderer was in prison until 1998, and he now works helping youths in trouble and ex-convicts. When the Reagan and the Bush I administrations were trying to get Doherty extradited, the man who had gunned down a British officer had the backing of over a hundred members of Congress and a large fan base in the American public and media.

He had the backing of Nassau County Comptroller Peter King, who in 1992 said of the decision to send Doherty home, "It's a disgrace, an absolute disgrace...The Bush Administration has really turned its back on America's tradition of being a sanctuary for political refugees. They've allowed their interests with the British Foreign Office to impede justice." In 1988, so outraged was King about Attorney General Edwin Meese's refusal to negotiate on extradition, he said, "[Meese] might as well have been on the payroll of the British foreign office." As has been well-documented at this point, now-Representative Peter King had a long history of supporting the IRA. Some of that support, like speaking at pro-IRA-rallies, would have ended his career if he had been talking to, say, Americans for al-Qaeda or something. But, ah, yes, we do pick and choose our terrorists.

So while King can hold his hearings on Muslim extremism, as is his right as chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and he can talk all he wants about Muslims recruiting terrorists right here in the United States, well, we already know that Americans can support terrorists with all their heart, to the point where they want kidnappers and killers to go free, because Peter King did so.


Rude Audio News:
So tonight is the debut of the new online radio show, Cheater and the Rude, featuring comic and author Jeff Kreisler and the Rude Pundit in hopefully hilarious conversation about the news o' the week. We'll be live at 8 p.m. on the Progressive Radio Network. Listen in or check out the pod version.

Oh, and here's this week's appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show, which also featured the very handsome Hal Sparks:

You can get all your rude podcast needs by subscribing to, you know, the Rude Pundit's podcast.
A Few Observations Regarding Last Evening's Events in Wisconsin:
1. Here's one reason why the whole debate over public employee unions and collective bargaining rights matters: The Rude Pundit's got friends in low places. Specifically, the Rude Pundit's got several friends in low-level positions in local and state governments in the South, in right-to-work states (which means, in case you don't know, "you can work as long as you don't join a union or until you look at your boss funny"). They work in jobs that have nothing to do with politics other than the fact that they are government workers. They are pencil pushers, researcher poins, and office monkeys. Some of them have been in their jobs for a couple of decades.

Yet every four years, when elections come around and the official who runs whatever department these friends are in is running for a new term, they sweat bullets. Because should their elected boss lose, a new boss can come in and fire anyone he or she wants without cause and without any recourse for someone who has done a job well for 10 or 20 years. Or, in other words, the newly-elected official can fire an employee with heavy seniority in order to give his/her nephew a job, and there is not a goddamned thing the employee can do about it.

You know where this doesn't occur? In states where the public employees have union contracts that offer them protections gained through collective bargaining.

Now, in a brief moment of reflection, ask yourself, dear, sick-minded conservatives who don't understand anything about labor/management relations: what is going to make public employees - your courthouse workers, your state tax office staff, your firefighters - more political in their jobs? To feel free to do the job they were hired to do? Or to feel as if they need to please the agenda of someone who can drop them at a whim? (And if your answer is, "Well, why should public employees be special? I can be fired from my job at Almagamated Douchebags if I don't follow my boss's political agenda no matter how good I am," then you should probably unionize yourself.)

By the way, these friends get shitty salaries, in addition to the quadrennial diarrhea. You know why they stay at the jobs? The benefits make up for it. But, hey, let's take that away, too.

2. It's time to fuck shit up in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in fact, all over the United States. In England, public employees are planning a June general strike over a coming plan to jack up the retirement age by 6 years and to cut benefits while raising the amount of the workers' contribution. The trade unions expect over a million workers to join in.

In Wisconsin last night, the fuckbag Republicans in the state Senate came up with a possibly illegal way to bypass a vote that required the on-the-run Democrats to be present, and they stripped away almost all the collective bargaining rights of state workers. How? By removing the collective bargaining part of the "budget repair" bill and voting on it separately, thus saying that it wasn't a fiscal matter needing a quorum. Or, in other words, the motherfuckers fucked the workers' mothers. Fucked 'em hard.

In Michigan, the legislature is about to pass a bill that will allow state-appointed emergency financial managers to take over cash-strapped cities and, if necessary, "cancel employee contracts, fire administrators or declare bankruptcy." Union contract with a teacher? Canceled by the governor's appointee. Legally-elected mayor and city council? Tossed out on the word of one person. That's a golden ticket of motherfuckery, man.

Imagine for one second what would have happened if Democratic-majorities in state legislatures passed bills that allowed a governor to disband local governments. Imagine the imbecilic grunts of "fascism" and "socialism" and "zoroastrianism" or whatever the hell teabaggers are shouting about. As for what happened in Wisconsin, all you have to do is look at what happened when Democrats in the U.S. Senate used budget reconciliation to pass health care reform legislation, a maneuver that Republicans had used numerous times in recent years. Fox "news" practically sold pitchforks and torches. The fucking capital in Madison would have been burned to the ground.

In Wisconsin, it's getting crazy, with the statehouse literally being stormed by a mob of protesters last night and with arrests of protesters going on today. Governor Walker (dubbed a "cross-eyed Kock-sucker" by a gleefully untethered Keith Olbermann) will sign his political death warrant when he approves the bill, as he'll be recalled next year without a doubt. And this weekend in Madison, it's gonna be flat-out nuts.

As it fucking well should be. With so many Republicans in DC talking about a government shutdown as if it's some kind of moral stand against spending, we, the people (we're still here, you know), ought to be talking recalls against Republicans around the country, if not a general strike. The strike's already in the mix for strategies in Wisconsin, except that the bill itself makes it possible for the governor to declare a state of emergency and fire any state worker (see #1).

Republicans have declared war on the unions, backed by so much money that you could bathe in it. Let's come up with a war plan to fight back. Let's have at least a fraction of the balls that the original union organizers had back in the day or that British workers have today.

3. Where the fuck is the President? Where the fuck is the President? Where the fuck is the President?


In Brief: Newt Gingrich Will Fuck You With His Passion for America:
When David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (motto: "It's not news unless we've nailed it") asked bloated serial adulterer and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich about his "personal issues as it relates to the past" not "in the way that everybody else has asked about it," Brody was referring to Gingrich fucking around on his cancer-ridden first wife with the woman who became his second wife and then fucking around on her when she got MS with the woman who became his third wife.

What's Gingrich's explanation to the listening and watching Christianites? He just loves this country so fucking much: "There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate." That's right. He wasn't driven by a desire to stick his tiny penis into strange vaginas and jiggle around there for a little while. No, he was forced to fuck around on his wives because he just loved America so much. Why didn't John Edwards think of that? Oh, and God has forgiven Newt for it, so, you know, you can go fuck yourself with your condemnation.

Gingrich is probably going to run for the Republican nomination for president because, really, at this point in his post-disgraceful resignation career, what the fuck else is he gonna do? Get a job? He describes how people view the president-person in the creepiest way possible: "You want to be able to look into them and understand, do they share my values? Do they know what I’m frightened of? Do they have answers that are real? Are they stable; are they capable of doing something? It’s one thing to be an advisor. It’s another thing to be a doer." Doer? He barely knew 'er. (High five, anyone?)

Also, did you know that Newt's got an opinion on Judeo-Christian society? Fuck, yeah, he does. "In a sense, our Judeo-Christian civilization is under attack from two fronts. On one front, you have a secular, atheist, elitism. And on the other front, you have radical Islamists. And both groups would like to eliminate our civilization if they could. For different reasons, but with equal passion."

By "passion," of course, he means that secular, elitist atheists and radical Muslims want to make sweet love with Judeo-Christians. It's what you do when you're all passionate about something, as Gingrich would know.
Late Post Today:
Solomon Grundy's banging on the door of an orphanage, so the Rude Pundit's gotta put out that fire. Back later with more insouciant rudeness.


Gitmo Trials Are So Much Better Now Than Before:

Let's go through the pre-presidential history here with quotes from the man himself:

September 29, 2006, from a Washington Post article on the passage of the Military Commissions Act: "'There will be 30-second attack ads and negative mail pieces, and we will be called everything from cut-and-run quitters to Defeatocrats, to people who care more about the rights of terrorists than the protection of Americans,' predicted Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). 'While I know all of this, I'm still disappointed, and I'm still ashamed, because what we're doing here today -- a debate over the fundamental human rights of the accused -- should be bigger than politics.'"

From a speech on August 1, 2007: "There has been only one conviction at Guantanamo. It was for a guilty plea on material support for terrorism. The sentence was 9 months. There has not been one conviction of a terrorist act. I have faith in America's courts, and I have faith in our JAGs. As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.

From a July 13, 2008 New York Times article on the Supreme Court's Boumediene decision that detainees have habeas corpus rights: "'I voted against the Military Commissions Act because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the court, once again, rejecting the administration's extreme legal position."

And on and on, with the White House halting the military tribunals in January 2009 while it reviewed the process, and leading, of course, to yesterday's Executive Order that restarts military commissions with a couple of different (and not insignificant) rules. It's really kinder, gentler indefinite detentions, or periodic reviews without periodic waterboarding. Geneva Convention protections are in place now. Whatever you want to call it, there's still gonna be half-baked trials at Gitmo, just with a tart glaze of hope and change.

It's hard to pinpoint the most depressing aspect of this story. It could be that, despite the administration's claims to the contrary, Gitmo ain't closing any time soon or late. It could be that the political climate is so degraded that the cowardly Congress has blocked just about every other path to justice for detainees. It could be that President Obama has decided that the debate is not bigger than politics.

The Rude Pundit's gonna go with this, though: The Executive Order opens, "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force of September 2001 (AUMF)..." Yep, the same broad authority claimed by George W. Bush under AUMF is now being claimed by Barack Obama. The question, then, is that if Obama is going to go with the whole imperial presidency thing, why not use it for different goals?


A Note to Rich People: You Should Probably Be Thinking Ahead Right About Now:
If the Rude Pundit were a really, really rich motherfucker, like in the several hundred million and above club, he'd call a meeting of all his fellow really, really rich motherfuckers and he'd tell 'em that we've crossed a line, and, unless we want our houses burned down, our assets confiscated, our dogs raped, and our children killed like they were the brood of the Tsar, we better stop acting like such greedy pricks and demand that the people we all own in the government stop licking our taints clean for a little while and start acting like we're regular Americans, not First Class Black Card Americans.

The really, really rich Rude Pundit would point out that the filthy masses are getting all squirrely about collective bargaining rights and budget cuts on programs for the poor and middle class in order to pay for our tax cuts and the failure to prosecute a single person for shitcanning the economy. He'd then inform everyone that once the income gap gets more fully into the rhetorical mix, well, we really, really rich motherfuckers would be fucked and a half.

Yeah, the Rude Pundit would say, we've overplayed our hand. It's time, he'd say, it's long, long past time, he'd implore, for our taxes to be raised, that, let's stop being dickheads about it, we could afford a 20 or 30% hike in our income taxes, that we in the top 1% of income earners would still take home more than our fair share, 15% of the total income in the nation instead of the current 20%. He'd tell them we need to beg Congress and the state legislatures to hike taxes and use that money on things like education and food and health care and goddamned poison control hotlines.

And he'd sigh and tell 'em that we have to give up a few of the Wall Streeters to prison sentences. The gods of hedge fund mismanagement demand a sacrifice so that the people on pensions are appeased. Maybe a Lloyd Blankfein or a Stephen Schwarzman. And the bonuses? Kiss those fuckers good-bye.

Oh, sure, sure, there'd be a hell of an uproar. Idiots like David Koch would point out all the good works they do for, say, cancer research. Hell, he gave almost as much money to set up a cancer institute as he did to elect Republicans. A few others would say that they can just pick up and fly away to another country, to the UAE or some damn island. But the Rude Pundit would say that they're bluffing and that no place is safe right now.

"You understand how this ends?" the Rude Pundit would ask, slapping Kenneth Langone in the face. "You understand that it might take a few years, but at some point it's all gonna blow up?" He'd point to history, again and again, that oligarchies crumble, are ripped apart, are subjected to savage retribution. No, he'd cry out, we need to be proactive here. Give a little now and save a lot later. "The only thing we can hope is that it isn't too late or we're too fucking bloated and dumb to do it."