In Brief: The Murder of Anwar al-Awlaki Stinks (Updated):
Sometimes there's cases where the liberal rubber hits reality road and you gotta decide whether your beliefs are beliefs or just conveniences based on circumstances and filled with holes. See, if you believe in due process, if you believe in innocent until proven guilty, if you believe in trials, if you believe in the Constitution, then you have to believe that all of us have those rights. And that includes presumptive terrorists, like Anwar al-Awlaki, whose death by U.S. drone attack is being danced over by the supposed upholders of the very laws his murder violates. This time, no matter what, it doesn't pass the smell test. It doesn't pass the basic "What if Bush did it" test. It's bullshit.

Let's just put this in plain language: An American citizen was killed by the United States because of his speech. And, no, it wasn't Glenn Beck (although by the standards used here, it could have been).

1. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American because he was born in the United States. He was raised in the United States until he was 7. He was college-educated in the United States, including two graduate degrees. He was an imam at a mosque in the United States. And MSNBC is one of the few places willing to call him an "American" and not just "U.S. born." He had dual citizenship in the U.S. and Yemen. He has as much right to be called American as Rick Perry.

2. As far as "justifying" his murder by drone attack, he has never been charged with killing anyone or in plotting to kill anyone or even treason by the United States. His crime was "inspiring" people to criminal actions, or, you know, speaking. He was just a mouthpiece with a good internet connection, and even if you think that's awful and deserves punishment, he was one of us and deserves the same protections as you do (yeah, he does).

4. "Viewed as a spiritual mentor, Awlaki is neither a senior Islamic cleric nor the leader of AQAP, which is headed by Nasser al-Wuhayshi. Eloquent in English and Arabic, Awlaki encouraged attacks on the US and was seen as a leader who could draw in more al-Qaeda recruits from Western countries."

5. Even by that standard, Yemen sentenced him, in abstentia, to ten years in prison for the crime of "inciting" a murder. If someone strangles Michael Moore, would we blow the shit out of Glenn Beck's house?

6. Unless the world is a battlefield, he was not killed in any goddamn war. He was killed by a missile targeting him specifically in a place where no battle was occurring.

7. And if you believe that the president, any president, should have that power over Americans, then you have no right to call the president a "tyrant" on anything else.

8. And if you believe that the president, any president, should have that power over Americans, then you have no right to call yourself "liberal."

(Note: A couple of clarifications added: that al-Awlaki's never been charged with any crimes by the United States and that he did not live here for part of his early life. That does not change the fact that we killed an American without a trial, even for treason.)


ACORNing Planned Parenthood (Another Battle in Our Neverending Abortion War):
As ever, we should look to animals to explain our destructive human behavior. There's one of those cool nature snuff videos that involves an anaconda. The gigantic fucking snake is hungry and, holy shit, look over there at the edge of the river: it's a happy family of capybaras. The capybara is just about the most adorable cross between a rat and a schnauzer that you're ever gonna see. Seriously, it's one cute motherfucker and it just wants to be left alone to prance with other capybaras and eat weeds. The anaconda, though, is a relentless prick. It stealthily stalks the furry prey through the water and mud until the freaked mammals start to run. Then the anaconda grabs one capybara and just squeezes the shit out of it. It wraps its massive body around and kills the fuck out of the capybara. And then, well, what the hell do you think? It's an anaconda. It swallows the capybara whole and, for all practical purposes, sits there engorged until it's time to kill the fuck out of something else. All that's left of the cute capybara is bony snake shit.

If you think about it, it's like the Republicans' approach to destroying entities it deems "bad." ACORN? Stalked, squeezed, swallowed, with "community organizing" and "voter registration drives" becoming shorthand for "evil." Teachers' unions? The stalking is done, the squeezing has begun. The same could be said for the right's war on Planned Parenthood. The women's health organization has become the freshest prey in the water, and, since it's the easiest way to appease their evangelical minions, Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood and abortion rights with a hunger that'd make the anaconda say, "C'mon, guys, don't be pigs. One capybara at a time."

So Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida (motto: "Come for our beaches; run from our GOP"), chair of some goddamned subcommittee, is launching an investigation of PPFA to make absolutely, positively certain that not a penny of your precious Afghan-killing, oil-corporation-subsidizing tax dollars is being used on a single drop of antibacterial soap in a space where abortions are performed. This fine use of your taxpayer dollars is occurring despite the fact that Planned Parenthood has to be audited yearly to ensure the very thing that Stearns has put on his Encyclopedia Brown hat over.

On and on this attack on women's rights continues, with the ACORN-ing of Planned Parenthood and beyond. Virginia just joined Kansas in requiring clinics where abortions occur (including just drug-induced ones) adhere to strict standards generally meant for places where brain surgery happens. The Virginia regulations are particularly odious because they allow state investigators to "enter a clinic to inspect at any time without notice to examine patient medical records, gather a list of current patients, and interview patients on site." You got that? Think about that standard existing for any other medical procedure. Like, say, vasectomies, which are invasive procedures often done in non-hospital settings: "Pardon me, sir, you just got your balls sliced. Can I ask you if you feel depressed now with that ice pack on your groin?"

It's absurd, and it's the stealth destruction of abortion access in this country. Right now, only 13% of the counties in America have abortion providers (and the number is declining rapidly). Right now, state after state, like Ohio and South Dakota, has come up with ways to cut off access to a legal medical procedure. Right now, Mississippi and other states are trying to have "personhood" amendments put in their state constitutions as a way of ending all legal abortions.

Yes, the economy sucks. Yes, there needs to be jobs programs. Yes, corporate money needs to be chased out of the political system. All that is true. But as we seek more rights and justice, we need to be sure we don't forget the rights that we thought we had won. Ask ACORN, which for years brought minority voters into the political process and worked to get poor people housing. Swallowed. Shit out. Now voting rights in general are under attack.

Planned Parenthood is in the squeeze. And that goddamned anaconda ain't gonna stop until the last breath is taken.


The Conclusion of the Rude Pundit's 8th Anniversary Marathon Beg:
Today is the day. Eight years ago, this blog began with a simple mission: Make fun of conservatives by degrading them with lots of dirty words and bodily function imagery. Yet, for some reason, others also find this a worthy place to spend time and money. For that, he thanks his readers (and podcast and Stephanie Miller Show listeners and YouTube viewers and Twitter followers and Facebookers), and he reminds you that he's still collecting cash in order to buy that shiny new MacBook Pro he's got his eye on, as well as stock up on decent vodka.

You can spread you wallet cheeks wide here:

Or click over on the side. Credit cards are accepted (wow, how do you say that without feeling douchey?).

The Rude Pundit offered to answer questions this week, and he's gotten a number of really interesting ones, not just "Why don't you allow comments?" (To which the Rude Pundit can only say, "Have you ever read the comment threads on blogs?")

More to the point, Garry in Nashville asks, "Why do you think the South is always so eager to swallow the GOP's BS? Is it because of the GOP's 'starve the lazy/immigrants/niggers' philosophy, or is it due to some sort of inherent self-hatred, or is it just plain, old-fashioned perpetual hillbilly ignorance? Do the vast legions of hillbillies on disability not realize that cutting Social Security will cut off their checks?"

God and guns and racism, Garry. The conservative Christianity of a great deal of the white South has so fucked with the heads of people that it's gonna take generations to breed that out, if ever. So, yeah, it's genuine ignorance (which is propagated by the shitty schools in so many of the states). There's genuine progressive pockets in the South, in, say, West Virginia and North Carolina, and not just in urban areas or college towns. Here's the conundrum, though: if you're a coal miner, for instance, you may want your union protected, but you also want to keep mining, even removing mountaintops, to keep your job, and Democratic policies on labor and the environment can complicate things, even if, more often than not, they might benefit the workers overall. (By the way, the Rude Pundit's lived in Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee. For years of his life. He knows from the South.)

Mark from California writes, "I spend a lot of time networking at the local chambers of commerce looking for business. A lot of these small business owners spend their time crying about taxes, Obama, healthcare, regulations, and a bunch of other shit that are not the real reasons that their businesses are down the shitter the last few years. What would be a good response for me to give these retards who consistently vote against their own self interest and do not even realize it?"

Hmm. How about: "How would a national health care plan ease your burden?" Or take the Elizabeth Warren approach: "Would you like to pave the roads leading to your business?"

Lisa from Toronto wants to know "You and Mark Russell of the Public Theater [in New York], uncanny resemblance or twins separated at birth?" Whoa, weird. But, hey, if you could get the Rude Pundit a meeting with him, he'd love to talk about doing something at the Under the Radar Festival. (By the way, speaking of New York theatre, the Rude Pundit's always thought he had an uncomfortable resemblance to actor Michael Chernus.)

And Lorraine from upstate New York writes, "Even knowing what you know, do you have hope that things will change? Or, if we can, should we just get the hell out of this country?"

Honestly, really, if you can afford to get the hell out, go to Canada. But the Rude Pundit will stay here and fight until the bitter end. Because he's a stupid-ass American, filled with as much idiot optimism as an explorer standing on the edge of a Massachusetts beach in the 17th-century while getting infected with diseases he never knew existed.

Okay, let's get out before this gets too long and self-indulgent. Perhaps more questions answered this weekend, so toss some into the pot. But, as ever, more rudeness tomorrow.
What Matters: A Contrast in Two Photos:

That's the Republican Party's jolly dream date, Gov. Chris Christie, before he gave his "electrifying" speech with nods to "bipartisanship" at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum of Lies. Of course, that'd be true if by "electrifying," you mean, "A boring series of the typical conservative bullshit that almost any non-Rick Scott GOP governor could give," and if by "bipartisan," you mean, "He ragged on Obama and bragged about how he lied and bullied state Democratic leaders to agree to his hostage demands."

(Note: The Rude Pundit deliberately chose this picture of Christie seated next to Nancy Reagan, Oliver Hardy to her emaciated Stan Laurel, because it obviates the need to make any fat jokes.)

Apparently, whether or not the New Jersey governor runs for president is the most important thing going on in the country. Yep, a wealthy man being courted by other wealthy men and women to try to win an election in order to protect the wealth of the wealthy. In other words, pretty much everything these crazy-ass hippies are protesting down here:

That's an image from the Occupy Wall Street march on Saturday, where 80 people were arrested. Why? Because it was a real goddamn protest, one with 1000 people, and not one that had the blessing of the NYPD, not one sanctioned by the government with all the correct permits. A potential uprising by citizens that doesn't involve tri-corner hats? A violent response by the police? Nah, who cares. It was treated by most of the media as the silly game of overprivileged whiners with nothing better to do with their time, not as something genuine by people who give a shit about their nation.

Of course, Christie's cocktease of Republican donors is more important, according to the mainstream press. Of course, the actions of the Wall Street protesters are to be ignored while, for instance, an idiotic racist stunt at UC Berkeley gets on-the-scene reports. Because remember, good American liberals, nearly anything you actually do (short of a Wisconsin-like state shutdown) matters exponentially less than even the overwrought inaction of a single conservative.


The Rude Pundit's 8th Anniversary Robbing of the Readers Continues:
Tomorrow, this unfair and imbalanced blog turns a big 8 years old. And to celebrate, the Rude Pundit's throwin' hisself a little party. He's making his once-every-coupla-years polite request for money in order to get a shiny new laptop and a few more bottles of Bulleit whiskey and Casa Noble tequila. You can click this button right here

or the one on the side over there. And just know that your donation is going to fund more rudeness with a hint of liver damage.

Or, if you're somebody who likes to get "things" for her or his "cash," feel free to purchase even more copies of The Rude Pundit's Almanack.

Also, the Rude Pundit's a-takin' questions and answerin' some of em. Like reader Neil, who misses Karl Rove's leather slave. (Recent readers should probably Google that, but not at work.) Well, Neil, Karl Rove's leather slave misses you. He misses your tender kisses up and down his body, with your extra tonguing on his taint. He misses your flowers and chocolates and the way that you'd go ass-to-ass with a double-sided dildo. It was romantic. You should call him, Neil, and you should run to him.

Along these lines, several readers have asked a variation of "What's the deal? You gay, bi, straight, what?" To which the Rude Pundit can only respond that he enjoys the pleasures of all sorts of orifices, most of them connected to human beings, and so should we all.

You can send your sexy questions to rudepundit_at_yahoo.com. More to be revealed tomorrow.

Oh, and one last thing: The Rude Pundit will be appearing at Words and Music 2011, a literary and, well, music conference in New Orleans. He'll be on a panel on internet stuff on Friday, November 11, and he'll be on a humor panel with Roy Blount, Jr. Saturday, November 12, as well as drinking all over the French Quarter for the weekend. He's gonna try to set up another non-conference gig while he's in the Crescent City.
Accept It, GOP: Mitt Romney Is All You've Got:
There's one part of the Rick-Perry-sucks-at-debatin' story that's been left out: it wasn't just that Perry may as well have been on stage blowing goats for how appalling he was. That's the easy headline. No, the truth is that Mitt Romney kicked Perry's ass all over the Orlando Convention Center last week. When he first announced he was running, pundits across the spectrum expected Perry to just saunter into the GOP saloon, order whiskey, shoot the piano player, down the shot, and take the whore upstairs, all before the doors had stopped swinging.

But at the Fox "news"/Google (really?) debate in batshit insane central Florida, it was the Harvard-educated milk drinker who told Perry that he didn't like his pretty girl hair and then wiped the floor with him.

Inasmuch as one can enjoy these truly painful events, where a bunch of buffoons and opportunists try to out-cruel each other while an audience of subhuman yahoos yawp at every savage bleat and hoot when someone dares to offer a vaguely compassionate sentiment as the moderators solemnly pretend that any of the belching and farting from the candidates is worth our time, a couple of the Romney retorts were awesome just because they smacked down that cowboy hard-on that's been fucking the nation.

For instance, when Perry tried to say that Romney supported President Obama's Race to the Top education legislation, Romney just smiled and said, "Nice try" and then "I'm not sure exactly what he's saying," which, by that point, we could all agree with. And later, when Perry attempted to tie Romney to the federal health care reform law, Romney responded, "I don't think he knows what he was talking about." Then Romney hogtied the Texas governor, took Perry's book, Fed Up!, and shoved it up Perry's ass, which, not unexpectedly, Perry found himself enjoying, especially as the ropes cut into his wrists and ankles, the Republicans' power bottom loving the reaming.

Look, dear GOP: Mitt Romney will be your nominee and, truly, there is nothing you can do about it. You can go through this whole charade. You can get Sarah Palin in on the party. Chris Christie ain't gonna run no matter how much money or pie you dangle in front of him because, while he may be despicable, he's smart: he knows that he's got a far better chance of winning in 2016. So there is no savior for you. There is no genuine hope on the horizon. You are stuck with the boring Mormon who is desperately trying for crazy conservative street cred by beating up on the cowboy. Sorry to tell you all, but this year is about Romney finally buying the nomination and then losing to Obama. End of story. (Note: Unless Republican efforts to steal the election through limiting voter access succeed.)

And why is that? Obviously, because the Republican Party is fucking insane right now. Yes, both Democrats and Republicans are beholden to their corporate masters, but the Republican is being pulled apart by the Tea Party nutzoids, who just won't shut the fuck up and go away. Obama is finally exploiting their madness to ask what direction you want the country to go in, and he's just getting warmed up. It's a pretty basic question: "Do you wanna be with the people who dress in colonial drag and carry around illiterate signs? No, didn't think so. But Mitt sure does." Game over. (Note: Local insanity is far more likely to succeed than national insanity, so the nutzoids could win more congressional seats.)

Let's put it this way, as we should when we want to see how devolved the GOP has become: as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan vastly expanded abortion access in his state, signed into law the largest state tax increase in U.S. history, and nearly doubled the size of his government. That Republican would be hooted off the stage and run out of town. But that didn't stop the candidates from evoking his mythical name again and again.


The Rude Pundit's 8th Anniversary Blatant Cash Plea Continues: Oh, man. On Wednesday, this blog turns 8 years old. Eight years of more fellatio and ass reaming, with occasional forays into cunnilingus and ol'-fashioned missionary position, than you can shake a stick at, should you be into stick-shaking. So the Rude Pundit's lookin' to upgrade the laptop to one of those fancy new thingamajigs with a bigger screen and stuff. And maybe a bottle or two of good whiskey, the lube that keeps the rude gears running. Thus, the every-once-in-a-while fundraiser that's occurring this week. So toss some spare change into the PayPal bowl or click on the button over there on the side. But remember the cardinal rule: only if you won't suffer from starvation or dehydration for doing it. Oh, and if you think paying money for something you don't even get the joy of stealing is dumb, buy The Rude Pundit's Almanack. It's filled with stuff you can't find on the blog, including poems, stories, and artwork that'll sear your very soul. You can get it from OR Books or Amazon. No, the Rude Pundit won't directly get your cash, but, hey, let's do it to piss off Glenn Beck. Also, it being an anniversary, the Rude Pundit is taking questions from readers. Ask whatever you want. He'll answer whatever he wants. What do you wanna know? Favorite movies? Favorite Republicans? Favorite brand of tequila? Send it to rudepundit_at_yahoo.com. And here's an anniversary treat: Since some of you have asked just what the hell else the Rude Pundit has written, here's an entirely true (and non-political) story from about a decade ago. It's called "A Rapist," and it was published by Andrei Codrescu's online journal.
The Rude Pundit at the Occupy Wall Street Encampment:
A new rude video for your bloggy pleasure (featuring a special guest appearance by comic/activist Lee Camp):

This takes place in the calm before the storm, before the police went all batshit this past weekend and pepper spraying protesters for no goddamn reason and arresting anyone who dared to actually get civilly disobedient.


The Rude Pundit's 8th Anniversary Wallet Grab Continues:
Yep, next Wednesday marks eight - count 'em on the Archive list: 8 - years of sodomy jokes, liberal ranting, and sweet, gentle lovemaking with readers. And, as is the way of many a blog, the Rude Pundit's asking you to spread the labial folds of your wallets or purses and toss some change into the tip jar so he can update the equipment and restock the bar (but, as he said yesterday, only if you can afford it - no guilt, no hard-sell here).

So you can contribute at PayPal or by clicking that button over there on the side.

Rich people can think of it as getting used to how much more they might have to pay in taxes.

And the Rude Pundit's taking your questions. He's gotten a few good ones so far. No silly ones yet. No profane ones. Have you all gotten serious in your old age? He'll answer some of 'em next week, so keep on emailing rudepundit_at_yahoo.com.

Oh, and he'll toss a couple of video treats your way, too. Whee. It's a party, and he's already drunk.
Among the Filthy Hippies Naively Trying to Change the World:

It would be very easy, very easy indeed, to be nothing but cynical about the Occupy Wall Street protest occurring now in Lower Manhattan. So let's get all that out of our system: Yes, it's a core of about 100-150 people who are camped. Yes, they are fairly filthy fucking hippies (although rain has kept them relatively decent-smelling). Yes, they are using cell phones and laptops and other equipment that was manufactured and marketed by the very corporations they are protesting. Yes, every stereotype was there, including crazy painted people, slacker kids looking for a scene, communist speakers (who the crowd up there was listening to), and this girl right here:

She was singing "Who'll Stop the Rain," not as an ironic weather-related tune, but as it was intended by John Fogerty: a call to action, not faux activism or happy thoughts. The old man there was transfixed by the young woman. And she sang as passionately to him alone as if she were on a stage with a thousand fans screaming her name. It was the raw honesty of this moment that drained the cynicism away from the Rude Pundit last night as he visited the encampment within a block of the former Ground Zero to see what exactly was going on.

Here's what he saw: a group of mostly young people talking to each other, playing music, and listening to speakers; police stationed all around the perimeter of Zuccotti Park (which is a cement square with some flower beds on Liberty Street), with barricades up along the sides to contain the protesters, with a mobile tower set up so the cops (and who knows who else) could monitor the entire scene at all times; several volunteers with red crosses taped on their shirts to indicate they could offer medical assistance; a food station set up so any supplies could be shared; and hundreds of cardboard signs on the ground as an instant museum of their efforts.

The Rude Pundit was actually surprised at how much the signs and the speakers stayed on message regarding corporate power in America. Yes, there were a few "Save Troy Davis" posters, but that's to be expected. No "Free Mumia." No pro-drug legalization or pro-Palestine signs.

Listening for a moment to the speakers (who mostly just encouraged the group that what they were doing had meaning, although one got them to remember the phone number of the NYPD so they could lodge complaints about the protesters who had been arrested), talking to a couple of the people who had slept out there, and seeing the high spirits of those who ought to be downtrodden and exhausted, the Rude Pundit thought that revolutions have become infernos with even smaller sparks. What begins as an idea in a coffee house or a bar becomes a small action becomes a larger action becomes a movement becomes an engine of genuine change.

Of course the whole effort is naive and utopian, all very Paris Commune. But the Rude Pundit wants his hippies out there raging against the machine. He's sick of online activism taking the place of feet on the ground activism. Remember: the protests in Madrid didn't occur on the internet. They might have been planned there, but who gives a shit? Twitter is just a fancy version of flyers pasted on fences. Change doesn't occur because you have a clever Tumblr.

The protesters are there for now. Their numbers will no doubt swell on the weekend. They hopefully have some action planned for then in order to convince people to continue to join them. The Rude Pundit will go back. And even if (well, let's be real: when) this effort fails, think of it as a learning experience for future protests, practice for a fire that's look for the right amount of tinder.

(On Monday, I'll have a video of the evening up.)


The Rude Pundit's 8th Anniversary Money-Taking Spectacular:
Yes, yes, yes, next week marks 8 years of rude bloggery. That means the Rude Pundit is roughly 725 in human years. And that means that it's time for one of his every once in a while fundraisers so he can buy a fancy new computer. Or a few more bottles of bourbon. "Whoa, there, motherfucker," you may say. "It's a pseudo-recession. How the hell do you have the gall to ask for cash from us?"

That's an excellent question. And he'll answer in a couple of ways:
1. Only donate money to the PayPal account if you can afford it. Seriously. If it's a choice between your medication or tossing some coin this blog's way, get your medication. And share that.

2. If you think paying money for something that's free is just goddamn stupid, buy The Rude Pundit's Almanack. It's filled with stuff you can't find on the blog. And 95% is still relevant. That's a sweet percentage for a political book. You can get it from OR Books or Amazon. No, the Rude Pundit won't directly get your cash, but, hey, it's all for the cause of making conservatives sad. And don't you wanna do that?

Also, it being an anniversary, the Rude Pundit will entertain questions from readers. Ask whatever you want. He'll answer whatever he wants. What do you wanna know? Blog stuff? More political shit? Personal shit? Pop culture shit? Fashion tips? Send it to rudepundit_at_yahoo.com.

And you can contribute at PayPal or by clicking that button over there on the side.

Over 25,000,000 pageloads. Over 1.5 million words, almost all of them by a single person. Sweet Jesus. He needs the whiskey now.
Last Week's Cheater and the Rude:
Oh, sure, you could subscribe at the Rude Pundit's podcast to hear about how to rub your balls on Wolf Blitzer's beard, as well as how to talk about crazy ass Michele Bachmann. Or you could listen here:
Random Thoughts Regarding the Murder of Troy Davis:
1. In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick asks, "Will the Troy Davis case be the one that finally turns America against the death penalty?" and she concludes with the "faint hope" that it might. Here's the actual answer: oh, fuck no. See, we are a bloodthirsty nation that actually prides itself in being bloodthirsty. America exists now in a perpetual state of arrested development, stuck in a savage teenagehood: narcissistic, emotional, easily roused to uncontrollable bursts of violence, and filled with hate towards anyone who thinks differently. Just as we can be at war (do you remember that? We're at war still. Surprising, no?) with few visible consequences to the vast majority of Americans, we just don't give a fuck if a couple of innocent dudes are offed, as long as it's not our innocent family members and as long as we can keep offing the presumptively guilty ones, and don't even bother with trying to say that offing people is fucked up. That's the talk of pussies and losers. We're in the savage end days of empire, motherfuckers. Compassion is what gets you beaten down for the pennies in your pockets.

2. Let us not discuss the morality of the death penalty for a moment here. Let us talk about Troy Davis, executed last night despite witnesses recanting their testimony (which was the primary evidence against him), without asserting his innocence. Let us merely discuss doubt. Let us assume that it is primarily conservatives who support capital punishment. Let us narrow it even further and say that if you don't believe in climate change or evolution, you are probably someone who believes that government has a right to execute a convicted murderer. Now, let us address that presumptive person (who we might name "Rick Perry," but let's not get that specific).

Despite the fact that nearly every scientist on earth sees evolution as a fact and despite the fact that nearly every scientist on earth believes that climate change is occurring, you cling to the tiniest shards of doubt, believing that disproved studies are actually the pins that puncture what you think is the easily popped balloon of big science. Yet chances are that you don't give a goddamn about the multiple, actual doubts that exist in a case like Troy Davis's. No, you are content to allow a man to die because where you see strength in your doubt when it comes to some things, you see doubt as weakness and ill-resolve here.

And, you know, you're kind of a dick, too. Probably racist. That helps.

3. So, yeah, we're not getting rid of the death penalty. We're a killy nation. We like it. We get off on it, jacking it to the countdown of doom clocks, fingering ourselves as we hear the executions announced. Oh, shit, why can't they be televised so it can become our motherfuckin' porn? It's better than Asian paraplegic nipple torture and ball stomping.

Not to attempt to civilize something that is, by its nature, completely uncivilized, but we live in a scientifically advanced time. If we're going to do this totally devolved, barbaric act, could we at least have a rule or two? Like howzabout no one can be offed unless there's proof on video? Or that DNA tests have been done to redundancy? And that there's a confession? And that the trial wasn't tainted by racism or incompetent lawyers? Can we at least smack down our snuff hard-ons long enough to only do it if we are so abso-fucking-lutely sure that the only arguments left are that capital punishment is the violent vestige of a cruel earlier time we are too arrogant to leave behind and accomplishes nothing and costs a shitload? Can we at least, at the very least, only kill people in our name if it's such a slamdunk that even the person being murdered by the state could say, "Well, fuck me, at least you dotted all the i's"?

4. By the way, if you oppose the death penalty, that means you opposed the execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer, who dragged James Byrd to death in a 1998 hate crime. Yeah, it's hard to actually have beliefs that aren't convenient to the moment. The Rude Pundit is completely opposed to capital punishment. That makes him more Christian than any slavering yahoo calling on an eye for an eye. And he's an atheist.

5. Officer Mark MacPhail's mother believes that Davis's execution was justice for her son's murder. She had no doubt, despite there being no DNA or video evidence. In Mississippi, the family of James Anderson, a black man who was randomly beaten by white teenagers and then run over by a truck belonging to one of them in June, opposes the death penalty for Anderson's murderers, despite the crime being filmed by a surveillance camera.

Make of it all what you will.

6. This is who we are right now, America: the country that doesn't care about guilt or innocence. We fight wars based on lies, we imprison people without charges, we torture and murder the innocent. How's it feel to be that country?


Hypocritical, Cruel, and Buffoonish Responses from the GOP on Obama's Tax Plan:
So let's be sure we're absolutely clear here: when President Obama talks about raising revenue by having the wealthy pay their fair share, he is not talking about passing a single tax increase on individuals. What he is talking about is limiting certain kinds of deductions, closing loopholes, and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on people making over a million bucks a year. That's it. Yes, tax rates do return to a higher level on the very wealthy because the Bush tax cuts were allegedly designed to be temporary, enacted in flush times, but supposedly with a sunset just in case times were rough again. In other words, it was the model of "kick the ball down the road" legislating.

But to say that President Obama wants Congress to pass higher taxes is a lie. In fact, what he wants Congress to do is make the Bush-era tax cuts on the poor-to-merely wealthy permanent. If Congress doesn't do that, and Obama doesn't cave again on it, all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and the revenue crisis is over.

Of course, none of this is preventing the scumsucking pig fellaters of Congress from laying into the very moderate plan Obama proposed. Let's check out what the most heinous motherfuckers are saying.

Why, here's Rep. Joe Walsh, who takes European vacations with his girlfriend while avoiding his child support payments: "The President is in over his head and just isn't serious about helping American businesses create jobs." You know who else is in other their heads? Rep. Joe Walsh, who owes over $100,000 to his ex-wife to take care of his children. Most hilariously, Walsh says, "I would encourage the Warren Buffett types, who want to pay more in taxes, to write as large a check as they want to the federal treasury. Nothing is stopping them." You know who else should write a check that doesn't come from his campaign funds? Nothing says "motherfucker" like fucking over the mother of your kids.

Louisiana Senator and whore lover David Vitter said, "The president's plan is a grab bag of tax hikes in the middle of a recession, pure and simple." Like a large plastic bag where you can put an adult diaper? (Actually, the Rude Pundit wishes for the sake of easy jokes that Vitter had said what Rep. Jeff Landry said: "My beef is taking any money from any American at a time when our government is wasting money - not just wasting money but throwing it down the toilet." Beef? Toilet? That would have been comedy gold, baby.)

From the immoral to the imbecilic, it went. The usual suspects said the usual things. Rep. Joe "You lie" Wilson of South Carolina barked, "I'm just shocked at the level of tax increases. It's clearly just an effort to grow big government."

Unpack that statement, if your brain can wrap around it. Remember: there will be no "tax increases." The only thing that's happening is that a "temporary" tax cut might end and some other shit may going away. It's like saying that when your Groupon offer expires, it's a price increase on your sushi dinner. No, dick. You're just not getting it cheaper.

Of course, some "tax increases" are different than others. 'Cause, see, the payroll tax cut that Obama got as part of the extension of the Bush tax cuts is also sunsetting. That's a tax hike, no? No, you prole. The GOP is treating that cash for the middle class like it's a hooker with a sign that says, "Get hep-c here." Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions really did say, "If your debt is this large, I think you've gotta be very careful about adding debt." And Rep. Paul Ryan declared that the tax cut "didn't work."

Amazing how quickly they become agnostics when it comes to helping anyone but the rich.


Stupid Things Being Said About President Obama's Tax Plan and Why They're Stupid Stupidity:
Let's get one thing straight about what President Obama said yesterday about raising revenue as part of a deficit reduction plan that he submitted to the joint committee from Congress that's going to tell us all how much dog food we have to eat in order to survive the economic apocalypse: He did not just say, "Rich people pay more." What he did say was that he will "veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share." You got that? You can change Medicare, he said, but the rich and the huge have to pay more, too.

If that's class warfare, as the GOP is howling, or warfare of any kind, it's like saying that the United States began World War II by telling the Nazis, "Okay, you can have Europe. But America is off limits." Or it's like getting a divorce and agreeing to give up the house, but you get to keep the cat and one of your kidneys. In other words, it's the least he could do, but in our turd-filled litter box of political discourse, to propose what amounts to less than what Reagan asked of the wealthy and big corporations is progressive. (By the way, you don't get the litter box with the cat.)

Indeed, if anything, the motherfuckin' tea leaves are aligning towards actual class warfare in this country, as poll after poll show that a large majority of Americans think, "Well, shit, yeah, rich people can pay more. So why the fuck don't they?" If we're not back in a recession yet, but 60% or more of people believe that the wealthy should pay as much as they were paying in 2000. If Congress cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without making millionaires pay more, then they may as well get the stormtroopers ready for the actual unemployed and starving class warriors to kick some ass. Rich people like Warren Buffet and Bill Clinton understand this. Rich assholes like the dicksack from Congress who said that he's only got a few hundred thousand dollars left to feed his family think they can convince the teabag yahoos to take to the front lines for them.

But none of this pierces the veil of stupid and greedy that modern conservatives live under. For example:

-On CNN's Morning Attempt to Stay Relevant today, a viewer emailed in one of the GOP's anti-tax talking points, which was read on the air: "All I know is, if I made a million dollars a year and the fed was already taking $400,000 of it, I would be ticked. Where is the incentive for these people to make more money just to have it taken away?" So "Jody" believes that someone who makes a million dollars, when given an opportunity to make more, is going to say, "Oh, fuck it. I'll just have to pay part of it in the higher tax rate." Has any millionaire ever said that ever?

-In one of the whiniest columns the Rude Pundit's ever read, David Brooks writes in the New York Times that he's personally offended and hurt that President Obama proposed something that could be used as fodder for a campaign for, you know, President. Of course, he spouts outright bullshit: "[Obama] claimed we can afford future Medicare costs if we raise taxes on the rich." While it'd be awesome if Obama said that, sadly, as detailed above, it ain't what he said. But Brooks is pouty. "I'm a sap," he says repeatedly, like a pimply-faced high schooler whose date dumped him at the homecoming dance. Someone get Brooks a tit to suckle.

Seriously, it's easily one of the worst things the Rude Pundit's read in the Times in the last few years, and that includes William Kristol's stint there. Brooks actually says, "We’re not going to simplify the tax code, but by God Obama’s going to raise taxes on rich people who give to charity! We’ve got to do something to reduce the awful philanthropy surplus plaguing this country!" Those exclamation points are his. First of all, do we actually have rich people giving so much to charity that they'd say, "Oh, screw the cancer sufferers and the poor kids and the opera. I gotta pay a slightly higher marginal tax rate on my income above a million bucks and a bit more on my capital gains"? Second of all, fuck this guy.

- Oh, and fuck this fat bastard, too. Mark Penn, who is more to blame for Hillary Clinton's failed candidacy than anyone, also scolds Obama for not "bringing the country together rather than dividing it through class warfare." Blaming Obama for dividing the country is like charging a rape victim with assault because the rapist got a black eye during the rape. Or blaming pie for Mark Penn's enormous girth.

Tomorrow: The GOP freaks out. For good reason.


And on Monday, the Rude Pundit Had Writer's Block:
Yes, there is a great deal to talk about out there. In fact, tomorrow, the Rude Pundit will deal with President Obama's new proposal to wage class warfare, which undoubtedly means that we'll see hedge fund managers hanging from lamp posts and their property divided among the poor while the bodies of Goldman Sachs executives are tossed to the homeless to be used for meat in Bushville stews cooked up around in homeless camps around the nation.

Surely, you may say, there's the Republican candidates, the Pennsylvania electoral vote rigging, whatever the fuck the Solyndra thing is (yeah, yeah, but what it really is), Jose Padilla's sentence being overturned, war, war, and more war. But you know what? The Rude Pundit's got nothing. It's rare, true, but it happens, when the ability to articulate anything beyond "This bad. He mean" is absent and ignorance reigns (or, to coin a word, he's feeling "teabaggish").

He did have something this morning, on The Stephanie Miller Show:

But the Rude Pundit doesn't want to lie to you, and he doesn't want to crap something out for the sake of the crapping. The day has worn away. Work has been work. And the country turns on, tearing itself in two like mad Rumpelstiltskin being called by his proper name.
Late Post Today:
The Rude Pundit's gotta stock up on supplies for the class warfare. Back in a bit with more succulent rudeness.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Put Scorpions in Republicans' Pants:

Yep, that's what's left of a block of homes after the wildfires in Texas ripped through Bastrop a little over a week ago. In Washington, DC, despite extra disaster funding having passed the Senate, the bespectacled goblin known as Eric Cantor is holding it up in the House.

And despite Gov. Rick Perry saying that he wants all but two counties in Texas declared federal disaster areas and that "I full well expect the federal government to come in to do their part" (which is just another way of saying, "My anti-Washington rhetoric is jim dandy until a drought wrecks the fuck out of my state and we can't afford to take care of it ourselves, like when I cut firefighers' budgets. Y'all see that?"), both Texas senators and some Republican representatives say that no more money should go to FEMA unless "offsets" can be found elsewhere.

As one Republican congressman jawed, "I strongly maintain that our government must stop spending money we simply do not have, and equal cuts and offsets in our budget should be made to provide federal relief to those facing the devastation of this horrific natural disaster."

Or perhaps Texans can just wallow in the dust and ash of their disintegrating state, comforted in knowing they didn't cost Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty and Exxon one more penny. But at least their ideology stayed pure.


The US Day of Rage Takes a Trip Into Right-Wing Conspiracy Land:
The Rude Pundit was a-perusin' the latest missive from the Super-Duper Prayer Team of the nutzoid Christian Family Research Council (motto: "The all-powerful Zombie Ghost Jesus will never get here if we're nice to the Palestinians"), and he came across something that made him quizzical or, more precisely, made him exclaim, "What the fuck is that?" The Rude Pundit joined the Super-Duper Prayer Team a few years ago under a nom de rude, and, every Wednesday, he receives his "Prayer Targets," a list of shit what we gotta get on our knees and work that prayer knob over until it blows a load of grace in our faces.

Here's what the FRC said about the Day of Rage: "The mainstream media has avoided the story but bloggers left and right are abuzz with news about this emerging, radical, leftwing movement that will debut this Saturday. The '60's-style protest is targeting Wall Street, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin as well as Israel with future protests planned elsewhere." Now, this blogger left likes to consider himself up on stuff that's going down, especially if there's gonna be a big-ass 60s-style protest (which has to mean ass and grass or maybe just some free Ben and Jerry's) in his backyard.

Oh, and it sounds ominous: "The group's website declares its intentions as peaceful, but it uses warfare language and reports say its leaders have been trained in violent tactics that match that rhetoric. The events threaten to play out like the recent violent protests in Great Britain. Movement leaders have close ties to the founders of ACORN and leaders of major U.S. unions. A closer look reveals that the movement's goal is far more than a socialistic protest against capitalism, but is a genuine effort to disrupt the markets, do real economic damage, and bring down the United States." Great googly-moogly, that does sound fun.

So the Rude Pundit toddled off to the linked website to find out how he could have missed out on what's become all the rage (fuck, yeah, he just made that joke). And there he was greeted by Marlo Thomas.

No, seriously, the America-destroying motherfuckers who want to fuck Wall Street bankers with Karl Marx's femur say that their theme song is "Free to Be...You and Me" from the 1974 TV special Marlo Thomas and Friends. That, along with the 5400 people who "liked" the Day of Rage on Facebook, surely guarantees that world markets will be brought to their knees and that Seattle Starbucks windows will be shattered again.

Now, this is not to criticize Marlo Thomas or those who may end up protesting on September 17 (although it might have been more effective to "occupy" Wall Street on a weekday). The goal of the multiple protests is admirable: to call for "free and fair elections" in the United States, untainted by corporate and special interest money, among other things. Transformational movements have begun with far fewer people involved. So, you know, go team.

No, what's fascinating is the way that even some fairly innocuous progressive action is called out as insidious, traitorous, and, of course, socialistic. The SDPT email points us to rabid mouthfrother Michelle Malkin, who aligns the Day of Rage with an interesting action by 400 union longshoremen in Washington (which deserves its own discussion). As a way of showing how vicious and awful the union members are, she includes a video of their action, which shows a dozen people milling around near a train track with a bunch of cops watching them. And nothing happens, but it looks like it was a nice day, so there's that. It was probably evil, though.

What we're seeing is the beginning of another trip into the conservative megaphone where relatively minor stories are blown up as a way of discrediting anything that isn't sucking capitalist cock. Sure, as the FRC points out, the mainstream media is ignoring the Day of Rage. For the right, it blows because they want to hate on some liberals and yell, "Bill Ayers" and "ACORN" and "SEIU," all the code words for hatred of Uhmerka, the shorthand of the imbecilic grunting that passes for discourse.

The Rude Pundit wishes that the event, which is billed throughout as peaceful (and, c'mon, Marlo Thomas?), was receiving coverage so that there could be some motherfuckin' masses raging.


The Embarrassment of the Poverty Rate:

That woman standing there by that shitty house and beat-up truck on the dirt road in Mississippi leading to whatever polluting plant is behind her probably doesn't give a goddamn about what Ben Bernanke has said at any point in his life. She probably doesn't give a goddamn about whether or not certain kinds of income are taxed as capital gains. She more than likely gives a damn about feeding those kids. She more than likely gives a damn about keeping them and herself healthy. She more than likely wants them to have a future, probably one beyond mud and filth.

She won't be able to. Not in the rest of her life. Because as we talk endlessly about the economy of this country, we are leaving a huge chunk of the population out. And now, with the release of 2010 census data, we know that the chunk is getting larger. In one of the most depressing bits of news in the unending string of ever more depressing news in this ever more depressing time, the rate of poverty in the United States has leaped by over 2 million people in the last year to 15.1% or 46.2 million people, with median income dropping, too. On average, Americans make 7% less now than they did in 1997.

But wait, photo-woman. Because it gets even worse for you. See, you're a black woman, so that means your poverty rate is 25.6%. And if you're head of the household? Well, 40.7% of those women live in poverty. Oh, and the kids? They're screwed, too, with nearly 40% living in poverty now.

You got that? 4 out of 10 African American kids live in poverty. Did you notice the "American" part of that identity? If you're Republican, probably not.

This is easy to get outraged about, as are all the stats and all the realities about being dirt poor in America (which is not all cell phones and Cadillacs and cable TVs, despite what moral scumfuckers like Rand Paul and others say). It's easy to say that 22% of children living in poverty is enough to make us all sick.

But the Rude Pundit is just embarrassed. It's like seeing your dad so drunk that he pisses his pants. "Aw, c'mon," you wanna say to the bartender who called you. "Do I gotta claim him?" But you do. And you can either clean him up so that he can do it again, or you can make the fucker get some help. Or you can just move to Canada. He won't find you there.

Not only is the Rude Pundit embarrassed for the nation as a whole, but he's even more embarrassed for the Democratic Party. See, you know what the photo woman also gives a damn about? That she has Medicare and Social Security. If Democrats can't make a case on those issues (no matter what stupidity the Obama administration is tossing around about it) to the people it matters to most, then why bother even existing?

Simply put, there's a fuck of a lot more poor people in this country than rich ones. And they get to vote, too, despite the best efforts of Republicans, and they get the same number of votes per person as the wealthy. The Rude Pundit's said it before and will say it again: If the Democrats wanted to shake up the electoral landscape, they'd throw trucks of money at a movement to get the poor to the voting booths. They'd create jobs programs and housing programs and more real and actual liberal stuff, and when someone brought up tax breaks, they'd have a press conference from a shack in FuckYerCousin, Tennessee, to ask why.

If, you know, Democrats still gave a damn about the poor.

(Note: The Rude Pundit realizes that he is engaging in a bit of willful projection in describing the woman in the photo as noble and struggling. She might be a total asshole who beats the kids, starves them, and leaves them in the shit shack to go hang out with her rich friends at the club.)

(Update: Rude reader Paul informs us that it is not, in fact, a poison factory behind her, but it is a grain elevator. So, obviously, her life is now a bed of hydrangeas.)


GOP Debate: Compassion Is for Losers:
For a moment, forget about the candidates from last night's Republican debate in Tampa, Florida (state motto: "America's petri dish of batshittery"). They're a bunch of cheap circus clowns, the kind that didn't quite make it to Ringling or Cirque de Soleil, desperately juggling and honking horns to please the small audiences at their ratty tents, trying not to scare the children with their horrific and seedy antics. No, instead think for a moment about the audience at the Tea Party event hosted by CNN.

This was a group of Americans cheering for an American who chose not to have health insurance to die. Because, as Ron Paul said, "That's what freedom is all about." Paul was a bit more tactful than the audience about the hypothetical healthy 30-year old who gets sick, and even Paul backtracked a bit when he said, "[T]he churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals," which is sort of what we have now for the uninsured and it makes medical costs go up for everyone, which is one reason why health care reform was passed, which they all despise as "Obamacare," so, really, the best way to save money is to let sick people die because, really, giving a shit about your fellow human is, in Paul's words, "welfarism and socialism."

(Bonus points for this Paul quote: "[W]e should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to practice what they want." Faith-healing and leeches for everyone.)

Do you get it now? Do you get the obscene cruelty of the fucktarded teabaggers that have been so ennobled by the obsequious media? At any moment where one of the candidates showed compassion for anything but a fetus, the audience booed. Ask Rick Perry, who was jeered when he defended allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Texas colleges by saying, "I'm proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, you go be on the government dole."

Perry, who got the love of the crowd at the last debate for having murdered 234 prisoners, was confused by the whole thing. Mostly because he's just a fucking idiot, but also because he did something good and he was excoriated for it, like his requirement that schoolgirls get the HPV vaccine. An NBC reporter tweeted today that Perry was "'taken aback' by cheers last nite for death of hypothetical uninsured man. 'We're the party of life'" he said.

If you've gotten too cruel for Rick Perry, then you're entering the territory of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family.

On it went, with each candidate trying to out-bastard the other. Repeal Obamacare? Fuck that. Let's just off some motherfuckers. Reform Social Security? Fuck that. They were fucking traitors in the 1930s (no, really, Perry pretty much said that). Oh, and by the way, fuck you, Rick Perry, for taking donations from Merck, but it's totally tits that Honeywell gave big money to Bachmann.

Oh, how it turned them on, the teabaggers, who were fondling themselves whenever one of their talking points was parroted, getting all het up when Ron Paul didn't suck Israel's cock for their pleasure, hooting like the baboons they are for a nation where shit-tossing is a virtue and community is the same as communist.


Who the Fuck Is Buddy Roemer?:
When The Daily Show featured an interview with Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, you can be sure that a whole bunch of people looked up from their bongs and said, “Who the fuck is this guy?” Who the fuck that guy is happens to be one of the sad, tragic tales of late 20th century American politics (but do not pity the man for, indeed, he is very rich).

Buddy Roemer was a Democrat who was elected governor of Louisiana in 1987 after being a four-term member of Congress, getting 33% in an open primary, beating the blatantly corrupt former governor Edwin Edwards by 5 points. There should have been a runoff, but because he wanted to dick over Roemer (and was going to lose), Edwards conceded before the election, and Roemer became governor. Now, anyone will tell you, Louisiana politics in the 1980s (and early 1990s) was just fucking weird, filled with good ol' boy Huey Long wannabe Democrats (in both man o’ the people cred and/or graft-receiving whoredom) and moderate Republicans (who knew they had to appeal to the majority Democrats to have any chance), all covered in a sauce of Catholic morality, infused with Southern Baptist bible-thumpin’ spice. And fried in oil. Always oil. Roemer was not supposed to win. Edwards and/or one of the very cronies that he had supported and was running should have.

So Roemer gets to Baton Rouge, and, because he’s the anti-Edwards, he wants to be fiscally responsible and not batshit crazy on Moral Majority issues. He came into a state with a $1.3 billion deficit. He pissed off the Edwards Democrats, who were desperately afraid of losing their gravy train, he pissed off his own supporters by bravely vetoing an anti-abortion bill that would have outlawed it in cases of rape and incest, he pissed off everyone in the state by proposing tax hikes so that Louisiana would not be so beholden to the massive fluctuations in oil prices (the proposal went to voters, who rejected it in 1989, thus making him a lame duck nearly immediately in his term) and by opposing a lottery, which he saw as a tax on the poor. Basically, by trying to be honorable and trying to solve problems and doing it as an outsider and renegade Roemer ended up alienating just about everyone you could think of.

And then he switched parties. Yeah, enticed by entreaties from the administration of Bush I, and believing, as so many did post-Persian Gulf “war,” that Republicans were going to cruise to victories in 1992, and fearful that his own chances of even getting the Democratic nomination were slim to none, Roemer jumped to the GOP, thus pissing off all but a few die-hard followers. And he assured that the 1991 gubernatorial race would be a runoff between the vile Edwards and viler KKK grand wizard David Duke. Oh, and the Louisiana Republican Party dicked him over, too.

He isn’t an idiot, Roemer. Sure, sure, you could make a case that his improbable victory from last place to the governor’s mansion could happen again. And he is, after all, just a politician, a Republican one, who wants to overhaul Medicare, among other conservative positions. But he’s got one thing over every other Republican running, except for the mad Ron Paul: he thinks that accepting tons of corporate cash corrupts a candidate. And he wants to talk about that. But the GOP is not letting him into the debates, where he might make a headline or get a cheer or two for his ideas.

Yeah, he was a governor twenty years ago, but he was a governor. He’s got as much executive experience as and more elected position experience (and more business experience) than Mitt Romney. Shit, they let Rick Santorum debate, and he's got as much a chance of getting elected as, well, Rick Santorum. (We’ll give Republicans a pass on letting Herman Cain debate. Excluding the right-wing black guy would just look...unseemly.)

Or maybe we should look at Buddy Roemer as a cautionary tale. See, Roemer came to office promising to change the way the filthy, broke Louisiana government worked. But, for the people in the state, old habits die hard. And for the Edwards machine, and everyone who profited from it, there was no way they were going to let him enact policies that might make the big ride on the oil dime end. In the end, he limped away from the governorship. He tried one more time, in 1995, to run for governor, but he was outflanked on the right by a conservative who preached the social issues that Roemer just didn't give a shit about.

But imagine, for a moment, not that he's president, but just that he's allowed to debate, that he's treated like a former elected official, with more right to be there than half the people on the stage, that Republicans believed in dignity and decorum. Imagine that he brings up how he refuses to take PAC money and will not take any donations more than $100. Imagine how Mitt Romney would have to answer that. Or Rick Perry. Or Michele Bachmann. Like so many of Roemer's crusades, though, it will end in failure. He wanted to save Louisiana from itself. He couldn't. He wants to save the nation from the corruption of money. He won't. He's just an almost honorable man among a pride of motherfuckers.

Instead, the Republicans will just continue on, wondering whether to vote crazy or craven.


A Poem from 9/11/01:
At the end of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the Rude Pundit scribbled down a poem. Written after the exhaustion of that frantic, yet achingly elongated day when we still didn't know who was alive or dead, it was just an attempt to capture the heightened state of shock around him, the sense that we were at the beginning of a dark time, and the belief, simple, naive, but true, that we should record what we felt, in case someone asks, even if words, as they so often do, fail. The poem doesn't have a title:

This is the time. This is the time
When we cannot create metaphors – we are
Beyond metaphor. It is only in the literal, objective

(if that is possible) truth (if that exists) that we can
Find comfort. In cold fact – not in the warmth of
Like this and as that. The machinery of metaphor
Has been broken, had its cogs jammed and its rotors
Stripped and its belts cut.

"In an instant two buildings that were there simply
were not there," a friend emailed today. "If you look at the south end
of the island, all you see is ruin, smoke, and a vast,
choking emptiness. Somewhere in that big empty
thousands of people lie, some alive, some dead, some
hoping for one or the other."

I have been watching the television news for hours
– it is a numbing activity –
on the screen, framed, abstracted, dissonant, the
commentators attempting some sense of order, some
sense of sense, something to lean on for support
against the chaos. I watched the buildings fall,
collapse, crumple into themselves, a resignation. I
saw the second plane plunge and vanish into the side.

I can’t forget the picture of the person (man? woman?)
leaping from the top of one the buildings. You know
what happens when a person falls from that height?
It’s not the clean body outline that you see in the
movies. The body explodes, like the planes against
the buildings. I can’t get that picture out of my
head tonight. I want to create a poem about the
falling body, but all I can think about is the choice
– fire or falling? And what would I have chosen?
(Probably fire, but I might have taken the dive.) How
would I describe that body striking the ground?
Leaving a flower imprint behind? A water balloon?
Nothing, no, nothing seems to fit.


What is this like, my students ask me? Give us
something we can compare our feelings to, let us know
we’re not alone. I’m sorry, I want to tell them. I
really am. I can't tell you what to feel. I can't
tell you what I feel. This is yours to do with what
you will. Remember the date. 9-11. 9-11. That’s
all. That’s all. Like you'd remember the date your
grandmother died. But instead I don't say a word. I
allow the room to be filled by my inarticulate sounds, by
my inability.

There’s a saying I once heard: The worst of us
Will outlast the best of us. I’m not sure about
Philosophy right now, epistemology or logic.
But I know this: In Brooklyn, three miles away,
Paper fluttered down like dying birds. Three blocks
From the explosion, near a man running away, a black leather
Shoe landed, a reminder for that man to turn around, look
Back, even though it means, understand, that you
Must remain in the underworld, even though it might
Turn you into a pillar of salt. I’d turn around. I’d
Want to know.


President Obama Asks Us to Get It Up Again:
Ask any man. We've all been there. It's about four in the morning and you've been fucking the night away, having had your first, second, or third orgasm, you've gone down until your lips are chapped, you've fingered holes until your knuckles have cramped. But the woman you're with is just so damn hot and wants more. It might have been the ecstasy or the tequila, but you sweated that out a couple of hours ago. "C'mon, baby, you can do it one more time," she implores in the humid dark on the soaked sheets, getting you to feel how wet she still is. Oh, sweet Jesus, you wanna do it again, you wanna get it up as you try to work that weary cock to one last hard on but knowing that, no matter how much kneading and pleading, you just can't get anything more than a noble half-stiffie that wouldn't penetrate jell-o. You end up pissed at yourself and a little sad that your best wasn't enough to satisfy your lover.

That's pretty much how the Rude Pundit felt at the end of last night's jobs speech by President Barack Obama. There was so much woody-causing material, so many times Obama kicked the Republicans right in the teabags, so many passages expressing his frustration with the dysfunctional nature of our present politics. "This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math," he said, referring to the choice of cutting teachers or ending tax breaks for the wealthy. "In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own -- that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America," he chastised, going directly at the more extreme rhetoric of the right. It felt good, it felt like the fucking at the beginning of the night, and it made you want more.

The actual proposals contained more cuts and tax breaks than spending, but, at the very least (and we've degraded to this point), Obama made the case that infrastructure projects need to be the primary generator of jobs and income at this point (and that income would be spent, which would generate jobs in the private sector, and the circle of life continues). That, along with his ideas about regulation and relief for homeowners, provided a pointed defense, once again, of the role that government has to play in people's lives. As for the economics of the policies, well, wiser commentators than this one have weighed in positively.

But there's that exhaustion, you know? That knowledge of what's happened in the last two and a half years, that no matter how much Obama's words and his actual energy and palpable anger during the speech made the Rude Pundit want to back him, he just questioned, "Why?" Perhaps, as his podcast co-host Jeff Kreisler said last night, we're searching the speech for turds of hope to polish into gold. How much of it will be passed by the bastard Republicans? How many of the progressive goals will be negotiated away? And what cuts and changes for the Medi's did Obama mean?

The one hope is that, for a moment, despite the hooting from the usual round of right-wing yahoos, some Republicans, like John Boehner, who is probably thinking, "This speakership will be a waste of fucking time if I don't accomplish anything," are giving Obama's plan some consideration and not outright condemnation. Perhaps they're reading their polls. Perhaps they've heard their constituents. Perhaps they want to seem reasonable before gutting him going into 2012. Perhaps it's 9/11 weekend and they don't wanna act like unpatriotic cock monkeys, but 9/12 is right around the corner.

Who knows. Maybe, sometime around 4:30 a.m., that cock'll rise up. Maybe it's time to stretch the finger muscles, drink some water to lube up the tongue. Maybe we can all get off one more time before November 2012.


Random Observations About Last Night's Republican Debate:
1. The moment of the NBC/Politico Rick Perry Debutante Ball last night that made the Rude Pundit say, "Fuck it" and take out the bong to fade into a sweet, smoky haze was towards the end, when Perry mentioned his execution record. 234 dead people. At least one of them innocent of the crime. And the audience applauded. Nay, cheered. All the good white people of Simi Valley, California, where the officers who beat the fuck out of Rodney King were acquitted by a jury of, sad but true, their peers, yeah, they love them some old-fashioned justice.

2. Texas is apparently a goddamn paradise of clean air with good-paying and plentiful jobs done by well-educated and healthy citizens who don't want or need insurance, with secure borders and justice for murderers and not a scorched hellscape of filthy air and water wrecked by profit-sucking corporations who vomit dirt into the sky, shitty minimum wage work done by poor, sick people whose kids are made stupid and pregnant. The Rude Pundit would rather suck a bear's cock than live in Texas. But, yes, they do kill murderers there.

3. The RoboRomney 2012 is a way better model than the RoboRomney 2008. They've made improvements in its ability to express emotion and to think on its feet. Of course, he's still just so fucking creepy, with his immoveable hair and forehead of doom. They haven't been able to quite get to "human" yet. Still, he's the only candidate that seems like a rational choice. But when the only thing one has to do to seem like the serious candidate is not say you're gonna wreck or eliminate Social Security, the bar is pretty friggin' low.

4. Goodbye, Michele Bachmann. It was fun. We'll all miss your batshit eyes and your inability to understand even the simplest facts of American history (which, by the way, would mean that, if you were an immigrant, by your own standards, you wouldn't be allowed in this country).

5. Ditto the rest.

5. Yes, Ron Paul was there.


Today's Republicans vs. the United States, Part 3 (A Recent History Lesson):
One of the Rude Pundit's fondest moviegoing memories involves a trip to see the delightful Holocaust comedy Life Is Beautiful with the family of his dating partner back then. When the lights came up in the packed theater, where we could only get seats on the front row, he looked down at the family, parents, brother, sister-in-law, and they were all crying. They looked over at the dry face of the Rude Pundit, and the sister-in-law spoke for them all when she asked if he didn't just love it. A wiser man might have shut up at that moment, or just nodded, acting as if he was too choked up to talk. The Rude Pundit, though, said slowly, "Are you serious? That was utter...crap." And thus a rupture was created that led quickly to the end of the relationship (and, you know, fuck them for having shitty taste in movies).

In the post-9/11 fog that coated this nation like semen sprayed out of the phallic Twin Towers nearly a decade ago, one of the more disconcerting moments for the Rude Pundit came on the morning of September 21, 2001. The night before, President George W. Bush had addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation about the attacks, and the media and, indeed, nearly everyone the Rude Pundit talked to was rapturous about it. He was boggled. No, Bush didn't shit himself and sound like an idiot, but he wondered if people just liked the beat and didn't care about the lyrics.

Because something stuck in his craw. As a country, like the nation after Pearl Harbor, we were awaiting our marching orders. What could we do as an enraged citizenry with all the energy we had? Christ, it's America - what couldn't we do, if we had wanted? We were ready to work, to sacrifice, to fight, something. Instead, we got this (and bear with the long quote, but read now, after all this time, it's kind of stunning):

"Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat. I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith. I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions...

"The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it. I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle. I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today. And, finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform, and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead."

Amazing, isn't it? Hug, stay calm, listen to the authorities, shop, and pray. And the vague notion of "uphold the values" of the country. In other words, your participation is not needed, only your acquiescence. In otherer words, stay out of our way and you won't get hurt. "He didn't unify us," the Rude Pundit said. "What if I don't pray and don't wanna shop? Then what the fuck do I do?"

So rather than put our shoulders to the wheel, we put our asses in the sofas. Meanwhile, in a story that has been told many times over the last ten years, Republicans, aided and abetted by cowed Democrats, worked systematically to dismantle everything that they could, from workers' rights to tax cuts to life to liberty to the pursuit of whatever increasingly meager happiness could be squeezed out of this America like a dry turd in an unsatisfactory shit. "With us or with the terrorists" wasn't just about the nations of the world. Republicans made that into a decision each of us was forced to make on a daily basis, as policy after policy was thrown at us. Separate and conquer. An old, old strategy.

You wanna break down the differences between conservatives and liberals now? When conservatives rally, like the teabaggers, the message is "Leave us alone." When liberals do so, like in 2008, the message is "Let's work together."

Republicans succeeded in wrecking the United States post-9/11 because, except for a brief moment in the last presidential election, they convinced Americans that unity was for losers, pansies, cheaters, and teat-suckers. And by saying that the efforts of the government were so distant from the people, they finally got we the people to accept that we were no longer what government was based on. We finally became its subjects.

Extra fun historical note: From FDR's speech "The Great Arsenal of Democracy," on December 29, 1940, during the build-up to war: "As the government is determined to protect the rights of the workers, so the nation has a right to expect that the men who man the machines will discharge their full responsibilities to the urgent needs of defense. The worker possesses the same human dignity and is entitled to the same security of position as the engineer or the manager or the owner." Fucking traitor.