Sad Mitt Romney Looks Sad (and Other Funny Moments from Yesterday):
Oh, pity poor, sad Mitt Romney. Look at him there, looking all sad, in front of the Capitol. How very, very sad and small he seems. Could he be sadder? For, indeed, with the constitutionality of Obamacare upheld, he no longer has an argument he can make. The Supreme Court, in a bipartisan decision (yes, bipartisan), said there can be a national health care plan. Yes, yes, he'll call for repeal, he'll sneer about raised taxes, but, at the end of the day, Sad Mitt Romney can only sadly admit that his greatest accomplishment as a single-term governor was making Massachusetts into a testing ground for the Obama health care plan, a plan that a big majority of Massachusetts residents really, really like. And Sad Mitt Romney is allowed only to be sad about it.

But, hey, buck up there, fella. You're rakin' in the dough. You'll get a little bump in the polls. And it'll all be okay until the first time you actually have to debate President Obama and he thanks you for your health care plan. Let's hope Obama smiles and gives you a thumbs up, too.

Hey, at least Romney didn't go the ignorance is bliss route of others.

The insane Rand Paul, a man who always looks as if he just masturbated on a woman in a bear suit, really did say, "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so." To which one can only respond, "Umm, actually...oh, never mind." Apparently, just because a man is a senator does not mean he understands basic civics.

Between lying about the size of the "tax increase" (which is mostly the penalty that will be paid by the roughly 4-6% of idiots who don't buy health insurance) and spewing more bullshit per hour than most bulls actually defecate in a month, Rush Limbaugh went all apocalyptic: "Between the Arizona and Obamacare decisions, America is a very different concept than it was just a week ago... The Constitution's under assault, and so is every individual living here under assault." Oh, Mary, calm down.

Here's what's gonna happen with the Affordable Care Act: Nothing other than what was intended. The law will continue to take effect. People will start to realize, "Holy shit, this isn't the end of days," and they'll get those weird moles checked, the ones they got from standing outdoors in their teabagger costumes without sunscreen for all those protests. Obama will be reelected. If Republicans keep the House, they'll try to defund it. They'll try to repeal it. It won't happen. And by the end of 2014, when millions of people are actually helped, it won't even be an issue anymore.

Blind optimism? No. Just a belief that most Americans are gonna now be sick and tired of this debate. Unlike the screechy assholes of the right, most Americans recognize that the fight's over. Let's just move on. That's the great and sad thing about us. We can stop giving a shit on the turn of a dime.


Random Observations Regarding Today's Supreme Court Decision Upholding the Affordable Care Act:
1. Can we all just shut the fuck up for a little while now and actually do the work of getting health care to people? Is that too much to ask? What's that, Speaker of the House John Boehner? Oh, sorry, forgot that your ass is so filled with Koch cock that it's pumping your brain stem. And Eric Cantor? You're just a little, bespectacled bitch boy.

2. The right-wing reaction has run from sad to hysterical. Sad comes from Red State's Erick "Erick" Erickson, who was strangely muted, saying, "It’s a big win for the President and a bad day for freedom. But we can deal with it. It is not the end of the world, the republic, or freedom." Hysterical? Where do you wanna go? Tucker Carlson's Internet Timewaster, which declared, "Congratulations, Americans: The government owns your bodies." Or that weather vane of batshittery, Sarah Palin, who tweeted, really, "Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies" (surely, someone else punctuated that for her).

3. The easiest "Shut-the-fuck-up" you can say is, yes, of course, John Roberts, it was always a tax. But right-wing nutbags have made it so that you can't even utter the word "tax" without Fox "news" going on the war path and Grover Norquist threatening to find some obeisant twat to primary you. So, fuck, sure, call it a "penalty" or a "fee" or whatever. The majority on the court merely said, simply, if it's money the government is charging you to pay for programs, it's a fucking tax. And, yes, it's the most rational basis for the decision. Essentially, the majority told supporters of the ACA to stop acting like scared children. Nut up and call a duck a "duck."

4. Hey, Anthony Kennedy, hope you have nightmares where you're sodomized by the barbed dick of a demon William Rehnquist in hell.

5. Gotta say: It's a little disappointing that Antonin Scalia didn't write a spittle-flecked dissent.

6. And while this doesn't get Roberts off the hook for a lot of vile shit, it does look as if the young Chief Justice decided that he wasn't going all in with deranged Scalia (and his vestigial tail, Thomas). By creating a way that the law could stand, one might hope that Roberts simply tilted towards progress, finally, at last. You can bet that some Republican will be calling for his impeachment soon.

7. Mostly, though, a big "suck it" to everyone who thought that our Constitution was such a narrowly-devised document that the federal government couldn't at least attempt to do big things anymore. No, the ACA ain't perfect by any stretch. It's still a giant giveaway to a disgusting industry, but, if nothing else, it makes things just a little more humane. It's a start. And while the GOP thinks this is the beginning of a battle to repeal it, they're wrong. It's the start of a battle to make it better.


Dickish Statements You Might Not Have Heard from Justice Scalia's Dissent on the Arizona Immigration Law Decision:
Here's how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia must compose one of his epically dickish dissents: He gathers his clerks, all male, in his chambers. He has them strip nude and personally greases each one down with oil from his family's ancient olive orchards in Sicily. Then he has them wrestle in one naked, slick, writhing pile while he lifts his robe and jacks off, cock head pointed towards the heaving mass of man flesh. When he comes, who ever first gets spooged on is chosen and that lucky clerk gets to sit alone, unclothed, shivering, lubed, while Scalia, hand still slippery with oil and semen, jacks him off while angrily dictating his latest haymaker to the pussies on the court who like things like "rights." If the clerk is lucky, he won't ejaculate because, hard or soft, Scalia's gonna keep on yankin' him, punching his balls if necessary, until the opinion is done.

In Arizona v. United States, Scalia's dissent from the majority on the three sections of the immigration law it overturned is a masterpiece of vituperation, a Picasso of aggression, a Beethoven of bitterness, and a Goya of grotesquely contorted logic. You might have heard about charming sections like his use of pro-slavery laws as a way of justifying a state's control of its own borders, but there's so much in his dissent that is dickish in that ripe Scalia way that, really, you should read the whole thing in order to get the full thrust of it down your throat. Barring that, here's a few more examples:

- "Four years ago, for example, the Government importuned us to interfere with thoroughly constitutional state judicial procedures in the criminal trial of foreign nationals because the international community, and even an opinion of the International Court of Justice, disapproved them. See Medellin v. Texas, 552 U. S. 491 (2008). We rejected that request, as we should reject the Executive’s invocation of foreign-affairs considerations here. Though it may upset foreign powers—and even when the Federal Government desperately wants to avoid upsetting foreign powers—the States have the right to protect their borders against foreign nationals, just as they have the right to execute foreign nationals for murder." Yes, the Medellin decision, which gave Texas the right to violate international agreements on prisoners, that model of restraint, in a death penalty case. One of the great things about Scalia is that he is fuckin' gleeful to execute the fuck out of people, no matter what, innocence, rights-denial, whatever. Kill 'em all. Christ, you can practically hear Scalia cackling at the sound of the death chamber door closing.

- "Arizona is entitled to arrest them and at least bring them to federal officials’ attention, which is all that [part of the Arizona law] necessarily entails. (In my view, the State can go further than this, and punish them for their unlawful entry and presence in Arizona.)" One might imagine that, in Scalia's deranged old mind, shooting's too good for 'em.

- "What I do fear—and what Arizona and the States that support it fear—is that 'federal policies' of nonenforcement will leave the States helpless before those evil effects of illegal immigration that the Court’s opinion dutifully recites in its prologue...but leaves unremedied in its disposition." Seriously, you can imagine Scalia like Mermaid Man on Spongebob, yelling, "Eeeevil" at everyone outside Home Depot.

- "The Court opinion’s looming specter of inutterable horror—'[i]f [the immigration law] of the Arizona statute were valid, every State could give itself independent authority to prosecute federal registration violations,'-seems to me not so horrible and even less looming. But there has come to pass, and is with us today, the specter that Arizona and the States that support it predicted: A Federal Government that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States’ borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude." Yes, the federal government that has deported more illegal immigrants than any other in history isn't enforcing shit. Man, the Koch Brothers really get their money's worth with Scalia.

- "[Arizona's] citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy." - Somehow, California and Texas, with higher rates of illegal immigrants, don't feel the need to go bugfuck insane, but, hey, Arizona's just tougher. Or just panicky little bitches.

- "Thousands of Arizona’s estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants—including not just children but men and women under 30—are now assured immunity from enforcement, and will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for employment." - See the Koch Brothers reference above. Add Roger Ailes.

Man, can't wait until tomorrow's health care law decision.


David Brooks Should Not Be Allowed to Listen to Bruce Springsteen:
Today, in his "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the blithering faux-intellectualism of a regular-guy-wannabe who has less insight than a dump taken by Larry the Cable Guy"), New York Times writer David Brooks gets a shitload of things wrong about Bruce Springsteen and just ignores everything else, like Chris Christie has to in order to undulate to Springsteen. To wit:

1. "Springsteen crowds in the U.S. are hitting their AARP years, or deep into them." Having seen Springsteen in Nashville, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and in Newark (just a couple of months ago), the Rude Pundit can report that a huge number of young people were in the audience. In fact, if anything, Springsteen's fans have gotten younger than they were in the early 2000s.

2. "[S]ome friends and I threw financial sanity to the winds and went to follow him around Spain and France." David Brooks is rich. He lives in a house worth nearly $4 million. Fuck him and his friends.

3. Responding to fans in Madrid, Spain, singing "Born in the U.S.A." Brooks writes, "Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, they were not born in the U.S.A.?" Did it occur to Brooks that this is a patently idiotic question? When Eminem fans sing "I'm the real Shady," does it occur to them that, in fact, they are not the real Slim Shady? Seriously, who does Brooks blow to get to keep writing this shit? 'Cause that man must be able to suck a dick.

Then Brooks swings, unbelievably, into a discussion of just why European fans might like Springsteen and his descriptions of New Jersey (leaving out that the rest of the nation that's included in the songs, like "Youngstown," which the band did at the very Madrid show that the financially strapped Brooks and his poor friends scraped together enough cash to see). Brooks gets all psychological, with, no, really, a discussion of how "structured mental communities that help us understand the wider world."

What Brooks doesn't discuss, even a little bit, is that, unlike many other American rockers, Springsteen gives a specifically working class (indeed, Marxist) vision of a society that keeps the regular guy and gal down. You think that might appeal to the rioting youth of Europe? You think that poor, bankrupt Spaniards might get something out of that?

Brooks completely divorces Springsteen's economic critique from the music, and thus is purely a dilettante, the kind of shitty fan who loves to rock out and pretend he's into it, but refuses to get down and dirty with the real anger and resentment buried beneath the rhythms and guitars.

The Boss didn't ignore anything. In Madrid, Springsteen told the 60,000 fans, in Spanish, "There are people who have lost their job and their homes. I know that the bad times are here even worse. Our heart is with you. We must send this message to all those who are fighting in Spain."

That might have had more to do with the cheering, singing enthusiasm of the crowd than David Brooks' dime store psychoanalysis.


Depressingly Hypocritical Quotes from One of Today's Supreme Court Decisions:
These come from the quite sane 5-4 decision that declares that life without parole for people under 18 who commit murder is cruel and unusual punishment and is banned by the 8th Amendment:

1. Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, quoting himself in a previous decision: "[T]he Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause was originally understood as prohibiting torturous methods of punishment—specifically methods akin to those that had been considered cruel and unusual at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted." Thomas asserts this a couple of times in his dissent (joined, of course, by Scalia). It's what conservatives like to call "originalism." You got it, right? It's only for shit that was done "at the time." Which means that when it comes to other decisions, you should only consider what was available at the time. Unless, you know, it's the 2nd Amendment. Then the Bill o' Rights scribblers were totally talking about guns that can shoot a bazillion bullets in a couple of seconds and not just the single shot muskets available then.

2. Samuel Alito, in his dissent, responding to the majority's belief that society is getting more humane, "Is it true that our society is inexorably evolving in the direction of greater and greater decency? Who says so, and how did this particular philosophy of history find its way into our fundamental law? And in any event, aren’t elected representatives more likely than unaccountable judges to reflect changing societal standards?" Let's put aside for a moment the Fox "news"-approved phrase "unaccountable judges." Instead, let's quote Alito, in his sole dissent on the case upholding the Westboro Baptist Church's right to be motherfuckers at funerals: "A plaintiff must also establish that the defendant’s conduct was 'so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,'" which Alito believed the "God Hates Fags" gang had. Whose decency? Which unaccountable judge's? Alito never asked that in 2011.

3. John Roberts, in his dissent, says that "we display our usual respect for elected officials" in most decisions. Of course, that didn't prevent the overturning of Montana's ban on corporate funding of elections (or portions of Arizona's illegal immigrant law). And let's see how that respect goes on Thursday, when the health care law decision is made. Mostly, it's just a ridiculous, completely worthless statement of deference where none really exists.


Mitt Romney's Immigration Speech Sounded Like He Was Talking to Children:
Is the Rude Pundit the only one who noticed this? That, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials yesterday, his tone and words were the same as if he had been lecturing grade school children? No, seriously, if you're Latino/a, you gotta think that Romney thought everyone there only understood basic English and couldn't get their bean-filled brains around complicated concepts. Because why would you talk like this to adults? Do you think this is what Romney sounds like when he's hijacking the fate of another corporation? For example:

1. "Today, I'm asking you the join me, because while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal." So let's share the ball?

2. "Everybody likes free stuff, but there is no free stuff when government has to pay and it has to tax the American people or when it borrows from future generations." Seriously, is this shit from a Yo Gabba Gabba script? "Who likes free stuff? We like free stuff!"

3. "Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof." Elmo likes when mommy and daddy are living together...

The infantilization of his Latino audience went on like that.

Between that and the insulting "If you're willing to die for a country that you're not a citizen of, you might just get a green card" approach to changes in immigration law, as well as his continued refusal to say whether or not he'd overturn Obama's directive on young undocumented people in the United States ("Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long- term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure," which is dandy, but doesn't really answer the question - oh, and it wasn't an executive order), it was another bullshit pile of lies and half-statements that add up to what is becoming a uniquely Romney-esque approach to campaigning: give them nothing and they have nothing to use against you.

(Bonus points: He compared Obama's first term to Reagan's, leaving out that Reagan raised taxes in 1982 and 1983.)

(Bonuser points: He repeated the Republican talking point that Obama did nothing about immigration reform until his directive last week, leaving out the fact that the DREAM Act was passed by the House in 2010 and blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate, despite having the support of a majority of Senators.)


Your Daily Example of Republican Fuckery:
So used to be that North Carolina, like many states, had a eugenics program. That is, under a misguided belief that you could breed out the bad, the damaged, the feeble, people were sterilized, sometimes for things like being a rude kid at school (which means that Bart Simpson would have lost his nuts) or liking to fuck around. Thing is that most places stopped the practice when they understood, oh, shit, this is the kind of thing that Hitler believed.

Not North Carolina, though. Nope, "it actually ramped up its program after the war. Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina forcibly sterilized about 7,600 people whom the state deemed 'feeble-minded' or otherwise undesirable. Many were poor black women." Since it ain't something from the distant, distant past, some of the actual victims, not their families or descendants, but the sterilized people themselves are still alive. Keep that in mind: we're not talking reparations for slavery.

So, in an example of decency, after a few years of activism and negotiations, with a formal apology issued in 2002, the Democratic Governor and the Republican House Speaker had come up with compensation for the victims. $50,000 each, with $10 million budgeted for the purpose. It ain't perfect, but it's something.

Enter the Senate Republicans, who said to the victims, "Fuck your pain." Yep, they blocked the effort and the compensation fund failed to be included in the state budget. Said one proud North Carolina Republican, who no doubt sounds like he's gargling balls "You just can't rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country...I'm so sorry it happened, but throwing money don't change it, don't make it go away. It still happened." You see, like everywhere else, the budget sucks in North Carolina, and they just don't have the money, you know. And you wouldn't want to raise taxes to pay 77 year-old Willis Lynch, who was sterilized at age 14, for the suffering the state caused him. As another GOP spoogebucket really did say, "A great wrong was done, but we didn’t do it."

And there's everything you need to know about the Republican Party. "Shit happened, but so what? People were victimized, but why should we care? That was nearly forty years ago." The dementia in refusing to look backward, refusing to make up for the mistakes of the past, whether it's the Bush tax cuts or the lies that got us into war or the lies that got us into this financial crisis, makes us damned to repeat.

Indeed, what is Mitt Romney's entire campaign based on but a refusal to discuss the past, his own or his party's?


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Wonder What Jamie Dimon Ate After His Congressional Hearing:

That cowboy-hat-topped, overalls sporting, bearded white man who is rolling a cart with a sack of potatoes on it is named, ironically enough, considering our current presidential campaign situation, Joseph Smith. And he can't afford food.

Over the course of a couple of hours yesterday, the mobile food truck of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier of New York delivered groceries to 100 families in the town of Deposit. It used to be a big logging area, and then, in the early 20th century, a couple of publishing houses were employing people there. Now, nearly 20% of the people live below the poverty line.

The Mobile Food Pantry will be making deliveries all over the region, even in the college town of Binghamton. It will never, ever have even a tenth of a percent of the money JP Morgan lost to help the thousands of people the food bank serves.


In Brief: Scott Brown Is Kind of a Pussy:
(Note: Where the hell did this day go?)
So noted naked man and recent moderate Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown had agreed to debate professional ass-kicker and totally not-much Cherokee Democrat Elizabeth Warren at the Edward Kennedy Institute of the United States Senate. The candidates had been invited by Vicki Kennedy, widow of the man himself.

Except he had a couple of conditions because Scott Brown is a pussy with a pick-up. First, Ms. Kennedy could not endorse any candidate in the race because the institute is supposed to be nonpartisan and if a Kennedy does the unexpected and endorses a Democrat, it's totally not fair.

Oh, and Brown said, "[W]hile we accept Tom Brokaw as a moderator, we prefer debates with local media sponsors, not out-of-state cable networks with a reputation for political advocacy." Or, in other words, "Fuck MSNBC," which was supposed to host the debate. Because Roger Ailes always stayed out of the races whose debates his network sponsors.

Kennedy responded with a well-mannered version of "Suck on my freedom of speech, asshole," saying that she wouldn't remain neutral, and Brown told the institute that he's out. In bitch speak, his campaign said, "[W]e regret that we cannot accept a debate invitation from someone who plans to endorse Scott Brown’s opponent."

Or, truly, Scott Brown is just a pussy who was looking for an excuse to not have his face used as a mop by Elizabeth Warren.


Mitt Romney Touches Things:

It was a day of miracles, Father's Day 2012, for Mitt Romney on his campaign bus tour (motto: "We're rolling over the United States"). He went to the magical store of Wawa in Quakerstown, Pennsylvania, which is in America, goddamnit. Real America. Not the fake America of New York or California, where they vote for black Muslims from Hawaii, which is just a town in Kenya. If you've never been, a Wawa is a convenience store that sells sandwiches. You know the truck stops with Subways in 'em? Yeah, that's pretty much Wawa except a little cleaner.

But, by gum, Mitt Romney was gonna show he was a man o' the people and that he can join them in their sneeze-guard covered condiment bars o' normalcy. See, Romney had ordered his hoagie on the Wawa touch screen ordering system, which Wawa installed in 2001 in order to catch up to local competition, Sheetz, which had had the touch screen hoagie ordering system already. A motherfucker doesn't need to talk to a person to get his ham and cheese on a roll.

The touch screen was fuckin' fantastic, according to Romney, who had to tell the crowd about it at a rally later, "You press a little touchtone key pad… You touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier, and there's your sandwich. It's amazing!" Romney probably loved it because it meant that someone got fired. Christ, no one tell him about ATMs.

The miracle of the touch screen is actually the miracle of the free market, gosh darnit: "It was a technology, he said, that had been fostered by competition—competition he said the federal government lacks in delivering its services to Americans. He said the government's lack of competition and bureaucracy was hurting the United States in keeping jobs that are moving to other countries."

Who wants to be the first person to tell Mitt Romney that touch screens were developed from government funding of projects by engineers at the University of Kentucky and the University of Illinois and the University of Delaware, and that's just in the U.S.? Yep, if it wasn't for those innovations and innovators, backed by government entities like the NSF, Romney would have had to speak to a human being to order his meatball hoagie with pickles (seriously, that's fucked up).


The New Immigration Policy: Election Year Compassion Is Still Compassion (Updated):
The Rude Pundit is awaiting the arrival of Defcon Fucktard in the right's reaction to the new Obama administration directive that the Department of Homeland Security no longer deport young illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, which means nearly a million people will no longer face persecution and will have a chance to stay and work and go to school legally. Defcon Fucktard is the second highest level of outrage. Conservative reactions to anything Democrats do range from Defcon Batshit all the way up to Defcon Lewinsky.

There's some expected statements: Republican Representative Lamar Smith gave what will be the standard GOP line, that the White House abrogated the "rule of law." He actually says, "How can the Administration justify allowing illegal immigrants to work in the U.S. when millions of Americans are unemployed?" as if Janet Napolitano is personally hiring every young immigrant to pick crops in Michelle Obama's organic garden of enforced communist healthiness. You'll hear a lot of this, how the President should have worked with the Congress, as if that's even remotely possible with this batch of incompetents and motherfuckers. Watch for a lawsuit and the same bastards and bitches who let George W. Bush merrily do whatever the fuck he wanted to their yearning congressional assholes will now cry, "Constitutional crisis."

However, you can find the occasional sane conservative. Here from, of all places, the ultra-Christian Focus on the Family is Tom Minnery making the immigration case in a strangely, well, Christian way: "Pastors who minister to Hispanic congregations tell us that breadwinners here without legal status would be more likely to face the music, had they only this assurance: that they wouldn’t be immediately arrested and deported, leaving their families destitute." That's a serious "Holy shit, I agree with this asshole" statement.

In other words, the mainstream media is going to try to fan the flames to fill some time and give its panels o' pundacity something to talk about. Right Blogsylvania will have its usual hategasm. But, at the end of the day, most people, real people, are gonna look at this and think, "Well, shit, sure."

Yes, it's a cynical election year pander for El Vote-o Latino. But that doesn't make it bad policy. It's the DREAM Act lite, and, as such it makes the United States a far more compassionate country. Another way to think about it is this: President Obama just changed the week's narrative on his campaign. It totally fucks with the Romney campaign's focus on the economy.

Yesterday, a Romney bus tried to disrupt Obama's speech in Cleveland by honking like the braying ass its candidate is. As Romney heads off on a magic bus trip through several states, this is the Obama campaign's "Fuck you and have a great time, Mitt. Guess what everyone's gonna ask you about now, motherfucker? Oh, and shove your horn up your ass."

Update: The shorter version of President Obama's statement today is "Congress can go fuck itself with its filibuster. Somebody's gotta get shit done." Oh, and imagine the convulsion of revulsion that would have vomited out of the press during the Bush administration if a liberal reporter had interrupted the President while he was making a statement. Strip that bastard's credentials and never let him near the White House again.


Mitt Romey's Post Obamacare Plan: Nothing:
So here's what Mitt Romney's own goddamn website says the one-term governor of Massachusetts will do for Americans' health insurance needs upon election, right after he repeals the dreaded Obamacare, the cost-saving, sick-person-helping monster that ate America's soul:

1. Give Medicaid as a block grant to states (who can obviously just be trusted to do the right thing).
2. "Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage" (which means less oversight and more dicking people over)
3. "Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies" (which is absolutely meaningless- "Ensuring flexibility" is pretty much the same thing as "almost meeting someone who'll fuck you")
4. "Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment" (ditto)
5. "Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution" (which has nothing to do with providing anyone with health care and everything about covering the asses of insurance companies)

It goes on a bit, with such awesomeness as "Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage" (thus doing jackshit for anyone who can't get insurance), capping malpractice punitive damages, and promoting...oh, who the fuck knows. But to "promote" is, as everything in this useless pile of nothing is, worthless.Worse than worthless because health care becomes a clusterfuck of state policies with, all tolled, will probably come in at more than the awful 2400 pages conservatives can't get over.

This is Romney in a nutshell: an empty suit who uses the deliberate obfuscation of business speak to make it seem like he's accomplishing something when, in reality, he's merely tearing down something for the sake of tearing it down. Like he did with Bain Capital. Like he did with Massachusetts.


Mitt Romney Is a Lying, Worthless Sack of Scum (Part 1 of a New Series):
One of the first things Mitt Romney did when he became governor of Massachusetts in 2003 was to cut the fuck out of education. He'd have cut more, but the state senate limited the amount he could have cut to some of the poorer school districts. Indeed, his budget cuts forced towns like Fall River, for instance, to cut firefighters, cops, and, yes, teachers, not to mention teen pregnancy programs, after school programs, and more.

In other words, when Romney claims, as he did, "That's a very strange accusation. Of course teachers, and firemen, and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters, or policemen. So obviously that is completely absurd," well, it not only didn't answer the question about whether or not he wants to get rid of those workers. It ignores the fact that he already did when given an opportunity to make a decision on whether or not to do so. For instance, budget cuts left the town of Pembroke, MA, with 17 fewer teachers and a half a dozen other educators in its public schools. That's in a town of under 18,000.

Across the state, the cities and towns faced losses of a few hundred thousand to a couple of million dollars in education funding during the budget "balancing" mania of Romney in 2003 and 2004, with teachers laid off and schools closed across Massachusetts. By 2005, the high school dropout rate was the highest it had been in a decade and a half.

Oh, wait, is it okay to talk about Romney's record as governor? Or are we supposed to avoid that, too, like his record at Bain Capital, because we'd have to say what a worthless fuck he was and that's just mean?


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Smoke Meth and Down a Six Pack of Bell's:

This happened yesterday in the United States. In Michigan. Birmingham, Michigan, to be exact. See, Michigan has an "open carry" law on firearms. This 18-year-old high school kid in need of attention walked along the streets of the town sporting an M-1 rifle on his back. He created something of a ruckus, being a teenager with a sniper gun in the middle of the downtown, and the cops ended up charging him with disturbing the peace and other misdemeanors. Bonus points: he was arrested because the police asked for his i.d. to see if he was old enough to carry a gun. He refused to give it or proof that he owned the rifle. You got that, you idiots who love police power? If he wasn't committing any crimes, why should he not cooperate? Oh, wait. Because it's got to do with guns, not immigration or drugs. Oh, wait. It's because it's a white person being hassled, even though that white person is doing something that, legal or not, must have looked completely fucking nuts.

So, of course, of course, the pussies with pistols and maniacs with machine guns had to get out in the streets 'cause otherwise the ghost of James Madison would cry or some such shit. Although you gotta wonder if Duck Lips and Douche Face up front there would march to defend someone's First Amendment rights (well, probably if it had to do with religious freedom for Christians) or if they'd join a march in support of habeas corpus rights for Gitmo prisoners. And you can't help but wonder what the people of Birmingham, 91% white, would have done had it been a bunch of AK-toting African Americans openly carrying in the streets.

There you go: America 2012. We have large numbers of citizens who think it's cool to wander the downtowns of our cities sporting weapons of mass murder.


Back in the Machine:
After a weekend spent getting his groove on at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee - best things in no particular order: EMA, The Roots, White Denim, Radiohead, Marc Maron (doing storytelling/stand-up), Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the Joy Formidable, and the blow-you-away film Beasts of the Southern Wild (yeah, the fest is more than just hippie shit) - the Rude Pundit is back and catching up on the doings of the world outside of his tent.

Back soon with more filth-encrusted rudeness.


Going Off the Grid, But First a Touch of Ray Bradbury:
Yeah, yeah, he went kind of batshit at the end there with the right wing politics, but, as much as any writer in his adolescence, Ray Bradbury made the Rude Pundit want to write. Bradbury died yesterday.

And before he goes off the grid for a couple of days at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, he'll leave you with this from Dandelion Wine, Bradbury's look at a small town that is as quietly devastating and filled with yearning as Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.

In the book, Leo Auffmann builds a Happiness Machine, a box that you sit inside and it gives you all kinds of experiences. It lets you go to Paris. It lets you dance with imaginary people. It lets you see things and hear things and even smell things that are supposed to make you happy. When his son, Saul, and wife, Lena, try it out, they end up in tears, not happy at all, really. When a confused Leo asks why, Lena explains that to experience all those things in a machine is depressing because she'll never experience them for real. And that they'll just want to keep going back to the machine, and get bored with reality, and it will make them sadder and sadder until "we will be no fit family to you."

Read it. In a book. Not here.

So the Rude Pundit is going off the grid. No post tomorrow. No tweets. No "Rude at Bonnaroo" this year. He's going to simply enjoy the experience of this festival, this time each year that he genuinely loves with people who are some of the best he's ever known. No machine to imitate happiness. Just the real kind.

If you're at Bonnaroo, come by the Academy tent when the "Occupy the Stage" workshop is going on, once each day. Otherwise, you'll find the Rude Pundit dancing sweaty in tents and fields, under the sun, under the stars, in the air, the very real air, filled with the scents of very real people.


A Few Brief Observations on the Wisconsin Recall Failure:
1. It was a failure. By nearly any measure (other than the mostly symbolic state senate victory), the recall election of Scott Walker was an abject failure. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, who tries to sell a narrative of "one step at a time" or "we unified people in the effort," is trying to convince you that it's okay to nail the whore with the mouth sores. It is a lie to say anything other than "It was a failure."

2. Accepting our failures does not mean that we cannot learn from them. For, yes, yes, the lessons are clear and they ought to be mighty kicks in the head to the Democratic Party.

3. For one, shitloads of money will win. We knew this, but we still clung to the perverse notion that unified people can overcome shitloads of money. The fact that Walker and Republican interests outspent Tom Barrett nearly 10 to 1, with 70% of the pro-Walker funding coming from people like Karl Rove and the Koch brothers is just another clear example that the Citizens United decision was merely a pretext for rich conservatives to flood the zone with cash. It can work on our side - remember, Barack Obama kicked John McCain's ass with fundraising. But the world is different now, and wealthy Democrats will have to construct a machine that's stronger than the bulldozer of the right.

4. Democrats can't unify worth shit. No, it's not that the President needed to campaign in Wisconsin, but howzabout Biden? Howzabout someone with some authority behind them that's not David Axel-fucking-rod? Howzabout spending a little time educating the many people in Wisconsin who didn't sign the recall petition as to why the recall was a good thing, since exit polls showed that most badger-humpers didn't want it in the first place? Jesus, howzabout a small demonstration that the union vote shouldn't be taken for granted?

5. We have to nut up and go after them with a savagery that would make a tiger shark shit itself. How bad does it have to be? You might have read about or seen Barrett condemning Walker for a particularly harsh ad. Did you check out the actual ad about crime in Milwaukee? A blurred photo of a dead two year-old? That's some terrible shit. And it didn't appall people enough to turn against Walker. No, it worked. So we have to be at least that brutal. And don't be a pussy and say that we shouldn't stoop to their tactics. You use the tactics that succeed or you lose.

6. But, really, at the end of the day, it all comes down to shitloads of money.


Wisconsin: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?:

You gotta love that picture. It's got Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barret on line in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, waiting with what appear to be average people (or clever working class-looking plants) to vote in the recall election of Governor Scott "Inbred Eyes" Walker.

The question in the title of this post is simple and infuriating: If Scott Walker wins, what it will show is that democracy can be bought. And while we idealize our political system as being the image above, a Walker victory will demonstrate, quite clearly, that it is something perversely different.

(Travel day - heading to Tennessee for the yearly trek to the Bonnaroo Music Festival.)


Two Steaming Heaps of Shitty Advice from Assholes:
1. Democratic "strategist" (if by "strategy," you mean, "Pathway to losing every fucking election for every presidential candidate you've ever provided a strategy for, and, yes, that includes Al Gore, who should have blown Goober out of the water and never have had to worry about the Florida fuck-ups") Bob Shrum told the still-moving head of Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that President Obama shouldn't campaign on his record: "I don't think the president could win because the truth of the matter is, he may have created over 4.3 million jobs; he may have saved General Motors, but the country is still not back to where it needs to be. So this needs to be a choice election. People have to have that choice, and if they have the choice, I think the president's going to be fine." And instead, Obama should campaign on how much Bain Capital sucks.

This is the Shrum paradigm. Al Gore didn't say shit about many of the things he had accomplished with Bill Clinton because he had been advised, by Shrum, among others, that Clinton was polling poison post-impeachment, which was as big a misreading of the public's apathy over the Blow-Job That Caused 9/11 as could be. John Kerry didn't talk about most of his legislative accomplishments, like, you know, going after banking practices that could drive the economy into another depression, and that was on the advice of...fuck, you know.

So, really, the lesson here is: Do the opposite of what this sad sack loser tells you.

2. The Rude Pundit could barely get past the title of Marc Thiessen's latest Washington Post abortion room wastebasket of a column: "Vice President Scott Walker?" See, apparently, President Obama is scared of Scott Walker because...oh, who the fuck cares when there's impeccable logic like this going: "Walker is leading Barrett 52 to 45 percent — virtually the same margin by which Obama is leading Mitt Romney. That means there are a significant number of independents in Wisconsin who support both Scott Walker and Barack Obama." There could also be a significant number of Republicans in Wisconsin who aren't bugnuts crazy who like Obama. There could also be a significant number of people who are against the idea of a recall. But, no, really, make your stupid point.

"Walker is now a national political figure who has at his disposal a well-oiled political operation that could help Romney-Walker win not only in Wisconsin but across the United States," Thiessen's curettage of a column continues. Certainly, it electrify the union vote, like, everywhere in America, but, hey, if you can't take electoral advice from the man who thinks "torture" is just another word for "interrogation," who can you trust?


Alas, John Edwards:

Some quotes from 18th-century Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards that apply to former Senator, former presidential candidate, formerly beloved man, current adulterer extraordinaire John Edwards:

1. From "Humiliation": "A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble broken-hearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires. Their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable, and full of glory, is a humble broken-hearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit; and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behavior."

2. From "Directions for Judging of Persons' Experiences": "See to it...That they be convinced both of sins of heart and life: that their pretenses of sense of sin of heart be not without reflection on their wicked practice; and also that they are not only convinced of sin of practice, but sin of heart. And in both, that what troubles 'em be those things wherein their wretchedness has really chiefly consisted."

3. From the same: "See to it...Whether, when they tell of their experiences, it is not with such an air that you as it were feel that they expect to be admired and applauded, and [whether they] won't be disappointed if they fail of discerning in you something of that nature; and shocked and displeased if they discover the contrary."

4. From "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God": "[T]hey are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down."

Back in 2005, the Rude Pundit loved John Edwards in a slavering, ball-licking way because, unlike so many others in the Democratic Party, he was willing to reach beyond the middle class and down into the lower reaches of our economic caste system to say that the lives and opinions of the most destitute Americans are worthy of our consideration and are necessary for democracy to function as it's supposed to.

His fall, due to the usual reasons, too much hubris, too much listening to his dick over his brain, our bizarrely Puritan desire to punish people for cheating on their wives, hopefully isn't the end of him or a discredit to his causes. Shit, in the current political context, having lived through a Gingrich resurgence for a little while, it would almost have to be Edwards' choice not to have a next act.

And who's to say that many of us, sinners all (although the Rude Pundit thinks he'll be able to die without saying he fucked around on a cancer-ridden spouse), wouldn't follow him again.