Note from a Hometown, Part 2: LGBT Studies and the Congressman:
Here's another interesting story from the Rude Pundit's hometown. Hang in there until the end for the twist.

So you might have seen that Republican (and teabagger) Rep. Jeff Landry from Lafayette, Louisiana, is in a bit of a snit over a program at University of Louisiana at, well, Lafayette. It's a school of roughly 18,000 students, and, in fact, is the Rude Pundit's alma mater. In what was at the time an uncontroversial move a month ago, the sociology department added a minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender studies. ULL became the first university in the state to offer LGBT studies, major or minor. And, just to be clear, "the LGBT minor did not require budgetary allocations or divert resources from other areas."

Landry, who is locked in a reelection battle with a much-better financed and slightly less-crazed Republican, wrote a letter to the president of ULL, telling him to get rid of the minor because "it fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer." What the economic benefit of religious studies, another program at ULL, might be is not addressed by Landry.

Now, obviously, this led to the usual uprising of nonsensical responses from the public in the local paper and eminently rational pushback from most students and faculty, with UL President Joseph Savoie pointing out that 200 other colleges and universities in the United States offer such programs and haven't turned into flaming pits of Gomorrah. Of course, there's always professors like William Simon, who has made his future LGBT students in his engineering courses feel totally comfortable with his letter to the editor where he says, really, "Students do not need courses on how to become better-educated in these types of deviant behavior."

We could leave this alone except for one extraordinary twist in the story you might not have heard. That would be the part with Nicholas Landry, who happens to be Rep. Landry's brother. And he happens to be gay. And he happens to have taken to Facebook to offer a comment:

"In reference to your recent quest to remove the LGBT minor from the UL curriculum, I want to state my opposition publicly. Ignorance is not education. Your constituents, heterosexual and homosexual alike, have made huge inroads in working towards equality in our community. By embracing diversity and acknowledging our differences, we gain understanding. Understanding is education."

Jeff's response? A change of heart? An attempt at understanding or even reconsider? Nope. It's exactly what you'd expect: ""To my brother. I am sorry we disagree, but we still love and pray for you."

And thus Nicholas Landry, an event planner in New Orleans, demonstrated that he is the far worthier sibling to be in Congress.


Notes from a Hometown, Part 1: Your Tax Dollars at Work for God:
The Rude Pundit is on one of his bi-yearly visitations to his hometown, Lafayette, Louisiana. Louisiana, in case you didn't know, is run by the weak-chinned Bobby Jindal, who leaves the state so often to keep Mitt Romney's balls dry that, for a while, he just stopped notifying the Lieutenant Governor, which is in complete violation of the state constitution. But constitutions big or small never stopped Jindal, who is called "Gov. Voucher" by the local independent newsweekly, conveniently named The Independent, for his embrace of education-by-voucher, which will go huge in the next year and shift a shit ton of cash from public schools to private schools.

This upcoming school year, in Lafayette Parish (that's what they call counties here because of, you know, church shit),  $1.6 million in public school funds will instead go to five religious schools: Lafayette Christian Academy, John Paul the Great Academy, Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Holy Family Christian School and Gethsemane Christian Academy.

And lest you think that this is a use of public funds to promote a particular religion, JP the G's headmaster, Kevin Roberts, will put you at ease. "We are selective, selective on both religious grounds, someone has to be Catholic or Catholic friendly to come to the school," Roberts said, "and be able to handle the academic rigor." And his school will get about 300,000 public education dollars to be selective on the basis of religion. Replace "Catholic" with "Muslim" and you will see legislators' heads explode in confusion.

Bonus fun fact: Johnny P to the G hadn't even secured a campus until a month ago. But once the word went out that the academy was in danger of losing the land it was supposed to purchase, and Pope-loving dollars flowed in. "This school has become the cause célèbre for Roman Catholics around the country," said Roberts, who really should shut the fuck up, considering the lawsuits that have been filed against the state's voucher program, saying that it violates the separation between church and state.

Bonuser fun fact: Most of the schools participating in the voucher program are "small, Christian schools — evangelical mostly along with a fair number of Roman Catholic schools — tiny operations with fewer than 100 students," some of which have raised their tuition in anticipation of the state cash.

Bonusest fun fact: The voucher-validated schools do not have to have board-certified teachers, accept special needs students, or have updated technology. Or teach evolution. Because we wouldn't want to encroach on religious freedom, now, would we?

Essentially, you could open up the Oh-Fuck-These-Nails-Hurt Bloody Palms of Jesus Academy for the Flagellation of Children, and, as long as you meet a few basic requirements, you could get thousands of dollars from your neighbors to teach whatever perverted version of history and science and math you could want. (Sample test question for 2nd grade: "If you're reading a verse in Book 12 of Deuteronomy and you need to read a verse in Book 4, how many books would you have to go back?")


Photos That Make...Oh, Just Fuck You, Mitt Romney:

You know, the Rude Pundit could have been an actual superhero, flying around and saving people and defeating villains, like the Trader, a Wall Street executive who was bitten by a vampire squid and now sucks the funds out of the pockets of poor people with fanged tentacles of doom, and if someone had come to him and said, "Hey, we want your approval to sell these pins with a cartoon version of your face on them," he'd have said, "Go fuck yourself."

The pins, as you might or might not know, are from the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, or, as it might as well be known, "That Time Mitt Romney Held Up the Luge Track with His Bare Hands." They were made in China, blah, blah, blah, globalization bad 'cept when it's good.

What the Rude Pundit wants to focus on is the fact that someone came into Romney's office suite overlooking the Fountain of Brigham Young's Face or the Museum of Joseph Smith's Turds or whatever the fuck they have in Salt Lake City. And that toady said something like, "Umm, Mr. Romney, remember how you said you wanted pins made with a caricature of your face that emphasized your manly chin? We've got the mock-up of those."

And then Romney - who would really later be governor of Massachusetts and now really thinks he might become president - of the United States, no, really, hilarious, right? - looked at those pieces of self-aggrandizing shit and said, "Well, golly, those are great. Mormons everywhere...I mean, Americans will want to shell out their hard-earned money for jewelry with the mug of a glorified administrator on them with stoned-smiling anthropomorphic critters partying and talking to me there, too. Put them into production. On the cheap, though, over in China, so we can maximize profit. God bless Mormons...I mean, America...I mean, me."


Romney to America: Wow, You Guys Were a Bunch of Idiots in 2008:
Candidate Bill Clinton was no wilting flower when he attacked the incumbent president, George H.W. Bush, in 1992. "George Bush, if you won’t use our power to help America, step aside. I will," Clinton said to obvious cheers when he accepted the Democratic nomination at the party's convention. "Our country has fallen so far so fast that just a few months ago the Japanese prime minister actually said he felt sympathy for the United States. Sympathy. When I am your President, the rest of the world will not look down on us with pity but up to us with respect again." It was a brutal assault, tying Bush to "a failed economic theory" that helped special interests (read: rich people and corporations) and produced few jobs.

As vicious as Clinton could be, the one thing he never did was say or imply that Bush wasn't a real American, that he didn't believe in America. No, Clinton said that Bush had an economic and political philosophy that rendered the patrician president incapable of helping the plebeians. We gave Reagan and Bush a dozen years to get it right, but they failed. (And, yes, sainted Reagan used to be open to attack.)

Bush was a desperate motherfucker, and he went after Clinton for taking part in demonstrations in England, as well as for visiting the Soviet Union in 1969. Clinton was an anti-American hippie, this narrative went, and unfit to lead the country.

Yesterday, on some Fox Business show no one watches but wonks who masturbate to the Dow, Mitt Romney said about President Barack Obama, "It’s a very strange and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy." This is the continuation of an attack that Romney and his surrogates have been making, that Obama is "foreign" and, bizarrely, not "Anglo-Saxon" (or, you know, white) enough. It plays to the birther crazies and to the plain racists.

What strikes the Rude Pundit is just how insulting Romney's argument is to the majority of Americans. Here's how Clinton described Bush's ideology: "What is President Bush's theory about what's good about the economy? That the Government would mess up a one-car parade, and you can't trust anybody in politics or Government. So the answer to our economic problems is to make taxes lower on corporations and high-income individuals, and get out of the way and let the market do the rest." And then Clinton said that it failed. It's simple enough. Bush promised you he would do some things, he was voted in on that basis, he tried them, they failed or reality didn't allow them to happen, and so it's time to move on.

But Romney's argument is this: you, that big majority of the American people who supported and, sometimes, loved the Barack Obama of 2008 were complete and total fools who got conned by this slick foreigner who tricked you by presenting himself as American when it was all bullshit. And you fell for it, you fucking idiots.

There you go, people who supported Obama who are now leaning towards or supporting the GOP.  In 2008, you weren't wisely rejecting the very policies that Romney now advocates. You were just the marks of a socialist con artist. Vote for Romney because he thinks you're stupid.


Similarities Noted:
(As suggested by a tweet from comic Jim Norton)

(Note: The Rude Pundit's traveling today on United fuck-you Airlines. So, yeah, this is all you get.)


When Is Michele Bachmann Not on a Witch Hunt?:
So when the dynamic duo of Republican fucktardery, Representatives Michele Bachmann and Louis Gohmert, work together on an issue, they create a deep and powerful void of ignorance, a black hole where imbecilic thought is actually dangerous. Gohmert and four other paranoid, delusional nincompoops signed onto Bachmann's letter calling for an investigation of State Department employee and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, among others, to see if the Legion of Evil (aka "the Muslim Brotherhood," who are worse than Hitler and Bill Ayers combined) had infiltrated the highest high ranks of our blessed government. It's the kind of McCarthy-esque witch hunt that made the tortured ghost of Joseph McCarthy look up from his daily regimen of spiked demon cock anal violations in Hell and nod appreciatively before saying, "Okay, tear up my rectum again, fellas."

What the fuck is it with Bachmann? She has spent her career blaming someone else for what she perceives as the failings of society. What would make her think that Muslims are secretly shitting shariah all over our beautiful democratic carpet? That we haven't invaded Iran yet? That Barack Obama is president?

But, hell, just go back a couple of years, and you've got Bachmann in 2008 calling for the media to "take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" See, the problem wasn't secret Muslims, per se, back then. It was socialists who might want to "change" America.

And then go back to 2005. When Bachmann was a state representative, she co-sponsored legislation to codify the odious David Horowitz's odious Academic Bill of Rights, which meant to silence liberal college professors from expressing their liberal beliefs because those filthy liberals were turning their students into filthy liberals. Or some such shit. It failed, as Bachmann always does when she starts listening to the voices in her head.

There's always somebody out there who is fucking things up for Bachmann. Liberal educators, socialist members of Congress, Muslims, all the stealth anti-American Americans who simply won't let Bachmann's view of America come to its fullest fruition. Perhaps the good idiots of Bachmann's district, who keep sending her back to Congress, ought to consider that their representative is the one who has America wrong.


An Older Aurora Story Might Help Us Understand the Current One:
Here's another Aurora, Colorado story that at first seems to have nothing to do with the horrific massacre/terrorist act at Theater 9 in the first minutes of Friday:

Aurora resident Jamshid Muhtorov was arrested on January 23, 2012 for providing material support to terrorists. The FBI started spying on Muhtorov because he had begun to frequent a website run by the Islamic Jihad Union, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organization. They have, in fact, done some bad shit. Not against the United States, but still, bad shit. But this isn't about the IJU. Let's focus on Muhtorov. It seems he used a few words that triggered alarm with the FBI, including "wedding." That's code that was used by previous terrorists to mean that something was being planned. By February 2011, the FBI was eavesdropping on Muhtorov's phone calls and tracking his movements, online and off. They heard a phone call where he told his daughter he would never see her again on earth. In January, he was en route to Istanbul, Turkey, when he was arrested on a layover in Chicago.

When you read the affidavit, you can see that the FBI had Muhtorov completely under surveillance, from his emails to the websites he visited to his phone calls to his activities at work. The material support for terrorism was himself, his body, his life. "Agents allege Muhtorov planned to travel overseas to fight on behalf of the IJU. No attacks appear to have been planned in the U.S." He faces 15 years in prison and a quarter million in fines.

Now, again, this isn't about the activities of the IJU. It's not really about Jamshid Muhtorov. It's about the fact that Muhtorov and others like him are arrested without having committed any crimes other than those that are limitations on the First Amendment. Should one be free to cruise jihad websites without being spied on? Should one be allowed to write to those websites? Should one be allowed to even go so far as to seem as if one is planning violence? And where is the line between free speech and crime? Criminalized speech seems like par for the post-9/11 course, and it happens with barely a peep from members of Congress who are not Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul. Indeed, the very act that allows such surveillance and criminalizes much activity is called "Patriot."

While we argue all the time about what limitations on speech and press, the freedoms of which are laid out in the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights are "reasonable," short of things like bazookas and missile launchers and certain explosives, we're not allowed to talk about reasonable limitations on the 2nd Amendment.

The idea that the crazed James Holmes was able to purchase 6000 rounds of ammunition online, legally, without triggering any kind of alarm bells is obscene. But, for the most part, law enforcement officials at every level are barred by state and federal laws from investigating almost any suspicious gun activity. Indeed, there's very little that is even allowed to be called "suspicious." That's how successful the NRA has been in strong-arming our legislators. Guns are more sacred than speech.

We're not talking here about a ban on assault weapons and high capacity gun clips (even though a sane nation wouldn't have to because a sane nation would have banned them a long time ago). We're talking about what is more dangerous to Americans and more deserving of our monitoring resources: some jerkoff who knows how to google "jihad"? Or someone who has purchased an AR-15, big ass clip, and 6000 bullets?

In the abstract, putting the massacre aside for a moment, who do you fear more?


Where's the Coupon, Mitt? (And This Week's Stephanie Miller Show Appearance):
Yesterday, under a secret nom de rude, the Rude Pundit became a MyMitt member over at the Romney website. Why? Because he was promised a motherfuckin' coupon, as in "Sign Up and Get a Coupon." In no place did it indicate what one might get a coupon for, but, shit, it's a motherfuckin' coupon, and times are rough.

Now he gets all the Romney spam he can eat, but no goddamn coupon. Where's the coupon, Mitt? What's it for? Cool faux-hippie Romney gear? Or a latte'? Fuckers. Romney probably doesn't even know what a coupon is. Probably thinks it's some mane accessory for a prancing horse.

Hey, the Rude Pundit's at the beach right now, getting his melanoma on, so enjoy his appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show this past Monday:


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Smoke a Bowl While Eating Snails:

What the fuck is this? Well, obviously, it's a t-shirt from the campaign of Mitt Romney, part of their "Vintage" collection of shit what you can buy to shill for the Republican.

But, really, and c'mon, what the fuck? Is Romney engineering a leveraged buyout of our memories of the 1960s? Because the Rude Pundit's pretty sure that Mitt Romney never met a hippie he didn't bully, spit on, or mock. And now, here, in a t-shirt and other campaign detritus, the man who spent a chunk of the late 1960s living in a castle in France while trying to get the frogs to believe in American Jesus is co-opting the style of things like the Woodstock poster in order to seem slightly more iPad and slightly less Commodore 64.

The Romney campaign, at this point, is a machine that runs on bullshit fumes. The grim governor has spent the last few days lying about something President Obama said. When Obama said, "if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen," well, fuck, all you gotta do is go back a few words to see that the pronoun "that" is referring to "roads and bridges." As in "Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that." As in exactly what Romney himself has said.

Romney, though, and the scum-lickers at Fox "news" have been using that lie as lube to jack off in the faces of the electorate, just yanking it and yowling for everyone to watch 'em do it. They're so proud that they have something to distract from Bain and the tax returns.

Speaking of that, the lovely Queen Ann Romney, in a lovely moment of noblesse oblige, deigned to inform us, "We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life." Now Queen Ann was obviously referring to members of the media there - she was talking to Good Morning America host Robin Roberts - but, oh, how easy it is to interpret that as "all of us." And then how very, very simple it would be to take that to mean that they place themselves above us (as if that's not patently evident). And run an ad that shows Queen Ann saying that with "'You people?' Doesn't she mean 'We the people'?" written over her face. Isn't this fun? [Note: There is some dispute as to whether or not Ann Romney said "you people." Listening to the actual piece, it's hard to distinguish a "you" before people. But, still and all, fuck her.]

As for misinterpreting shit, now that the Rude Pundit takes a look at that t-shirt logo, huh. You remove the name and you're left with a bird that looks suspiciously like a yin and yang symbol. Tao much, Mitt? Is it a secret message to the Chinese that America will be willing to transform itself to suit our future overlords? With no evidence at all, we can say, "Absolutely."


In 1994, Mitt Romney Called for Ted Kennedy to Release All His Tax Returns:
And thus, the circle of life is complete:
From the Hotline, April 15, 1994, quoting a Boston Globe article from April 14, 1994:
"With the tax-filing deadline looming," businessman Mitt Romney (R) challenged Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) to "disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has 'nothing to hide,'" but businessman [and primary challenger] John Lakian (R) "called Romney's move 'bush league.'" 

Romney: "It's time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes."   

Romney"said he would disclose his own state and federal taxes for the last three years 'on the very day that Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny.'"  Kennedy aides "said ... they could not immediately respond to the Romney challenge."  Kennedy "does not release federal disclosure forms every year, but those have only ranges for income and investments.  The forms indicate he receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in income from blind trusts and other family wealth."  Romney "chided Kennedy for never releasing his state or federal taxes in the 32 years he has served in the Senate." 

Maybe it only counts for state races, not national ones, no?

Update: CNN and the Washington Post had this a couple of days ago, but it's gotten surprisingly little play. 

Update 2: Debating Kennedy in 1994, Romney complained that he wanted to talk about the issues when Kennedy aired ads about Bain.  Man, he won't ever talk about Bain unless it's unmitigated praise for it.

Update 3 (This is getting positively Greenwaldian): In 2002, Romney flip-flopped on the need to see the taxes of his opponent. He said that he was wrong and that now he values privacy.


Rush Limbaugh Shows That Obama Hates America by Hating America Himself:
Heaving, wheezing pustule Rush Limbaugh knew that he needed to get himself good and primed for his rantings yesterday. Sweating after downing a Quizno's steak sandwich with horseradish/oxycontin spread on it, he could feel the lethargy setting in as he read over his notes for the next segment. Oh, this would be a good one, one that the slavering shut-ins, elderly, and truckers that comprise his audience would be repeating over and over to their friends and relatives, something that'd make the heads of those faggots over at Media Matters explode. Yeah, he could work himself into a hard-on, but that was too much work these days and it just exhausted him. Instead, he went with his most extreme plan, one that he saves for special occasions, when he knows that his energy must match the crazed rantings he was about to impart to the ether. He dropped his pants, reached under his gut, felt around for a moment or two, and then his meaty hoof grasped his tiny nutsack. He leaned back and maneuvered so that the peanut-sized scrotum was, more or less, resting on the table in front of him. "Are we about to come out of break?" he asked into the microphone to the giggling producer, who loves it when Limbaugh lays out his testicles, while the weary engineer sighed and nodded. As the music began, Limbaugh picked up the keyboard of the computer in front of him and slammed it down repeatedly on his balls. Screeching in pain, he did it until he could feel he was about to vomit then fell back into his chair and went live, ready to destroy anything in his path.

Yeah, Limbaugh was in rare form yesterday. You should listen to his much-played clip where he said, really, that Barack Obama "hates this country." That's also the title of the segment on his website, so, no, there's no hedging or lack of context going on here. Why does the President hate the country he leads? Because he thinks that when the government builds roads and stuff, it helps people. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Limbaugh played the bit of Elizabeth Warren saying, "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own." Then he followed it with the actually out-of-context quote from a speech Obama gave last week in Virginia. Here it is in its entirety:

"[L]ook, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

Bizarrely, confusingly, Limbaugh added, "Yeah, well, you know who really invented the Internet? It was the military. It was a DOD project, and Obama hates that." A sane, thinking person might wonder, "Umm, then why would Obama mention it as a government accomplishment if he hates it?" But then you would not be in Limbaugh's demographic.

For Limbaugh, and for Fox "news" and other right-wing spooge-buckets, this is pretty much a call to socialist arms.

Except, of course, for what the President said after the soundbite ends on all of these shows. The very next thing he says is, "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."

Man, he must really hate that the Defense Department invented the internet to mention it so much. You know what the context for this was? Was it a Marxist takeover of the homes of the wealthy and their property divided among the poorest in each town? Was it the Ayers/Dohrn reeducation of Limbaugh listeners and Fox "news" viewers, most of whom would have to be taken out on forklifts through holes cut in their walls? Was it a radical diet program that would limit the number of Dorito Tacos one can eat in one sitting?

No. It was a call to raise the marginal tax rate on the wealthy by 4%.

Now, we liberals, we might say that calling for a slight increase in taxes for the richest 2% of Americans "socialism" and "America hating," or, as Limbaugh put it, an idea coming from "A radical ideologue, a ruthless politician who despises the country and the way it was founded and the way in which it became great," is "fucking insane."

But what do we know? See, the other part of Limbaugh's rant was a psychoanalysis of liberals. You want to hear a man talk to a mirror and pretend it's someone else? Check this out - it's about as epically, awesomely delusional as Limbaugh gets:

"If you're an average liberal, you're sitting out there knowing that your life doesn't matter. If you're an average liberal, you're in desperate, vain search for meaning in your life because you know you don't have any. And everybody wants their lives to matter. Why are liberals so susceptible to running around and buying cheap little cars they think can 'save the planet'? 'Cause liberals come to 'em and say, 'You know what? You've destroyed the planet, but you can redeem yourself. You can save the planet!'

"Well, if you're sitting out there and you want your life to matter and it doesn't, and somebody comes along and tells you, 'You can save the planet; all you gotta do is drive a Prius,' well, there you are in the showroom in five minutes trying to make a deal 'cause you want to matter. Everybody wants to matter. So here come Obama, here comes Elizabeth Warren, and they try to tell you, 'Yeah, you know all you people sitting around in your underwear watching television all day? You actually made this happen!'"

And then he spit toothpaste into his face in the mirror.

Where do you wanna start? That you have to put on pants to go to the Toyota dealership? That a Prius ain't cheap and that one reason to buy it is to save money on gas?

Nah, that engages in an argument with a hippo, who will just look at you and then either charge or go on standing in muddy water, chomping roots. Instead, let's go with this: the desperation of conservatives at this point to defeat Barack Obama is reaching a fever pitch and they know they're not gonna do it with Romney. So instead, it's time to inflict as much damage as possible, to sink the ship because they don't like the captain. And why not, since they've already bribed the officers for a seat on the lifeboat.

Now, the Rude Pundit's pretty sure that doesn't fall into the "love your country" category.

(Update: In the "Wow, That Didn't Take Long" Department:  Now the Romney campaign is saying that Obama needs to "learn how to be an American." Torpedoes away.)


What Mitt Is Hiding: Rich Dicks Act Like Rich Dicks:
The Rude Pundit's father deeply hated rich people. A great deal of it was just outright class resentment. What would you expect from a man who had to go to work as a kid to support his mother after his own father died and who was in street gangs in Brooklyn in the 1950s? But there was something else that led to the Rude Father's animosity: he hated that the wealthy got to play by rules that weren't available to the rest of us, rules that they made up for themselves. Rude Dad never made the leap to wanting to upturn the system that allowed that to happen, but he knew the game was rigged, and, as a man who was once a minor league player for the St. Louis Cardinals (yes, he led an interesting life), it galled the hell out of him.

But he was American, so you know what galled him even more? That he'd never be one of them.

Here's the deal on the whole battle over when Mitt Romney retired from Bain and over his refusal to release any tax returns other than 2010 and, eventually, 2011: Of course he's hiding shit. The question is whether that shit is illegal or just, in a general sense, immoral, even sinful, if you believe in that sort of thing, with unchecked avariciousness at the core of nearly every decision Romney made at Bain.

What we're seeing in the ludicrous scramble to justify Romney's retirement date and his lack of disclosure of his tax returns is that Romney doesn't want to let the rest of the nation know exactly how sweet the deals are for the wealthy. He doesn't want the curtain opened.

Here's the Boston Herald, May 29, 2002: "Romney 'raked in well over $500,000 last year through seven different companies, and served in unpaid roles in another seven.' Most of that income 'poured in through spin-offs of Romney's venture firm, Bain Capital.' Romney 'retains ownership stake in 36 companies, including many Bain variants.'" And that's on top of the $100,000 he earned while on a leave of absence, but still the CEO at Bain. You got that? So not taking a salary to run the Olympics (while in Mormon central) wasn't exactly a sacrifice, you know?

As far as the contracts and other legal documents go, the ones that were written in 2002, he did, you know, retroactively retire. That meant that the benefits were, you know, retroactive. So on top of the $100,000 salary and other Bain income, he got whatever was in his diamond-encrusted golden parachute. In other words, he got paid twice for not working. In otherer words, motherfucker got paid, in a way that is only available to rich dicks.

The problem that Romney faces, in the retirement date and in the tax returns, is that the GOP nominee exists in an isolated world of rich fuckers in the business world who understand what they're doing and what they're talking about, but the rest of us don't. We don't speak that language. And if you explain it to us, our reaction is "What the fuck? Really?" The tax code isn't written the way it is just to dick over the average working person. It's written that way so that accountants can proctologically probe the law for crevices of loopholes where they can let the rich keep more money.

To put it another way, can you tell the person next to you what actually happened at Goldman Sachs in simple terms? Fuck, no. What you can say is that "A bunch of rich cockmongers got richer by fucking over everyone else."

Here's how Romney explained his work on the board of Staples, which is one of Bain's well-discussed successes: "Actually, Staples, at that point, was an investment by Bain Capital. Bain Capital had already sold its shares or distributed its shares in Staples. And so my involvement with Staples was entirely on a personal basis. I continued to be involved with the firm, but it was as a fiduciary for Staples, not as a representative of Bain Capital, because Bain Capital had no further interest in Staples at that point." What the fuck? No, seriously, what the fuck?

See, it's not that Romney has done anything wrong in his taxes (as for the SEC shit, who knows?). It's that he used every benefit that's available, every shelter, every overseas account, every deduction. Remember Bill Clinton and his used underwear for charity? Yeah, now multiply that by Switzerland.

You can explain it all away as merely working within the law. But it sure as shit makes for an awesome commercial against you, like "Firms," the orgasm-inducing Obama ad that features singing Mitt. You need a cigarette and a towel after it because it's like getting your nipples pinched while your prostate is massaged. The point of the ad is that Romney can say he loves America, but only as an image, not when it counts.

(And one of the things that's gotta be in the tax documents is exactly how many millions of dollars Romney donated to the Mormon church. No, the Obama campaign won't do anything with that, but you can bet that it'd make the evangelical base even more queasy.)


When Do We Stop Talking About Climate Change as a Theory?:
This is what Morse Reservoir in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, looks like right now:

This is what it's supposed to look like:

The drought afflicting the United States has caused 1000 counties in 26 states to be declared disaster areas, including 55 of Indiana's 92 counties. It's a water emergency there, with sprinklers not allowed for watering and warnings of grass fires.

The corn crop is screwed. Hay bales are spontaneously combusting. No rain is expected for the next week, at least.

Rational meteorologists understand that this is the new normal. A rational nation, a rational world might actually do something about it.

By the way, at least President Obama's campaign website says he wants to do something about the climate change and the environment. Mitt Romney offers that he "will make every effort to safeguard the environment, but he will be mindful at every step of also protecting the jobs of American workers." Which probably doesn't mean "saving the earth so that there's a place where Americans can work."


Random, Queasy Observations While Reading the Freeh Report on Penn State's Crimes Against Children:
1. Pathetic footnote: "John McQueary advised his son [former assistant coach Mike McQueary] to report the matter to Paterno, and neither McQueary nor his boss advised him to immediately call the police."

2. Pathetic statement: "No record or communication indicates that McQueary or Paterno made any effort to determine the identity of the child in the shower or whether the child had been harmed."

3. Penn State officials were more concerned with the fact that Jerry Sandusky was raping children in their showers than with the fact that Jerry Sandusky was raping children. Over and over, what people tell Sandusky and discuss amongst themselves is for him to stop using the team's showers. It's lawsuits, not child-fucking, that worried the administrators.

4. And another pathetic statement: "Again, at no time did [PSU President Graham] Spanier, [former VP for finance Gary] Schultz, Paterno or [former athletic director Tim] Curley try to identify the child or whether the child had suffered any harm. By advising Sandusky, rather than the authorities, they exposed the victim to additional harm because only Sandusky knew the child victim's identity at the time." These were adults, people with careers and families, who, like idiot teenagers who watch too much TV, decided to leave the police out of the picture and play Law and Order: SVU.

5. When Sandusky offered to tell Curley the name of the child, Curley declined to hear it. He merely informed Sandusky not to bring kids to the apparently sacred showers of the Nittany Lions. So Curley wanted to not have any obligation to find out about the boy.

6. Regarding enforcement of the polite suggestion: "At the preliminary hearing Curley agreed that there was 'no practical way to to enforce [Sandusky] not bringing children onto campus' after he was warned not to do so. There is no indication that Spanier, Schultz, Paterno, or Curley had any other discussions about any other enforceable actions that could have been taken to safeguard the children." One would presume that arrest might have done something for the safety of Jerry's kids, but that doesn't seem to have even been a seriously considered option.

7. Oh, wait: "Spanier told the Special Investigative Council that he did not do anything to prevent Sandusky from using Penn State facilities, nor did instruct anyone else to do so." See the problem was that, since Sandusky had not been charged with a crime, they couldn't take away his keys because they feared Sandusky would then sue Penn State. No, really.

What intrigues the Rude Pundit is how, on a bizarre level, the cover-up of the crimes committed by Sandusky, a conspiracy to protect a pedophile, is another reflection of our American culture where the privileged are allowed to get away with it, financial crimes, war crimes, child rape. This time, the victims were actually, eventually heard and the authorities actually, eventually acted. That it took over a decade to stop Jerry Sandusky bespeaks a failure of so many things, human and institutional, but, sadly, the one thing it is not is surprising.

Frankly, the corpse of Joe Paterno should be displayed naked in the quad until the stupid goddamned glasses rot off his fucking face.

(All this appalling shit is taken from the report itself.)


In Brief: Context, Like Booing, Sucks for Mitt Romney:
Today, Mitt Romney, in his boo-licious speech to the NAACP today, which may have well have been titled, "See, Sheldon? Told You What They're Like," quoted Martin Luther King because, well, hell, that's what you do when you're talking to the NAACP and you've got shit to say. In this case, he quoted King quoting a white man, so it was a wash: "'Without dependence on God,' as Dr. King said, 'our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest night. Unless his spirit pervades our lives, we find only what G. K. Chesterton called "cures that don't cure, blessings that don’t bless, and solutions that don’t solve."'"

That's from a sermon by King called "The Man Who Was a Fool." It involves a story that King would use several times, about a rich man who Jesus called a "fool." As King preached, "The rich man was a fool because he permitted the ends for which he lived to become confused with the means by which he lived. The economic structure of his life absorbed his destiny."

The whole piece is full of delicious irony. Like "The rich man was a fool because he failed to realize his dependence on others. His soliloquy contains approximately sixty words, yet 'I' and 'my' occur twelve times. He has said 'I' and 'my' so often that he had lost the capacity to say 'we' and 'our.' A victim of the cancerous disease of egotism, he failed to realize that wealth always comes as a result of the commonwealth. He talked as though he could plough the fields and build the barns alone. He failed to realize that he was an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead had contributed. When an individual or a nation overlooks this interdependence, we find a tragic foolishness." Amen.

Right after the quote of a quote that Romney used to thrust and parry with the hooting hottentots, King actually said, "Unfortunately, the rich man did not realize this. He, like many men of the twentieth century, became so involved in big affairs and small trivialities that he forgot God."

The rich man is spiritually dead, King said, for he forgot that "Rich in goods and material resources, our standards of success are almost inextricably bound to the lust for acquisition." Yeah, Romney, King of Bain Capital, would have made MLK vomit without stopping.

Of course Romney ignored the real meaning of King, who is just another useful black tool for Romney to break out when needed.
Really Late Post Today, So Have a Snack:
The Rude Pundit has a thing to go to, so here's Monday's adventures with Stephanie Miller:

Back mucho later with a touch of luscious rudeness.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down Moonshine While Reading Marx:

Yes, that is real. A lobbying firm whose mission is to make sure that health care businesses make shitloads of money is hosting a real party for...well, who the fuck cares? You can bet no actual white trash will be there.

You gotta hope that they serve moonshine and squirrel jerky and play games like Banjo Hero and Who Wants to Rape Ned Beatty's Ass?

Hee-haw. Of course, instead, it'll be rich people in poor people drag, laughing at their good bad taste, toasting each other with fine scotch and wine, dancing to LMFAO, their rags shaking in mockery of the people who need health care the most.


Mitt Romney at the Beach:
At what point in yesterday's bacchanalia on the beach did Mitt Romney think things had might have gone too far? Held at the ocean-kissing home of billionaire David Koch, it was a $50,000 a head fundraiser for the ostensible Republican nominee for president. Really, one well-placed drone attack and the moral balance of the world would have instantly improved significantly.

Romney had already been at fundraisers at the homes of Ron Perelman and Clifford Sobel. The Hamptons are lovely and filled with mega-rich people who a truly just God would drag under the sand and suffocate slowly. And yesterday was sunny, perfect for a day of multiple Mitt galas.

At Koch's joint, Romney's lips were already chapped because of all the moneyed dick and clit he had engorged in the first two gatherings. He turned to Ann, who smiled and knew her job for the rest of the evening. God, it was an awful spectacle. Ann Romney was handed around like a blow-up doll during hazing time at a frat house filled with pledges. Mitt watched, loyal husband, as the financiers and corporate CEOs and executives took turns, sometimes two or three at a time, and Ann graciously, even lady-like, took it all, all the pricks and twats, all the fingers and tongues, all the juices and jizz, like a fountain in reverse. If Mitt didn't know better, he'd think that Ann enjoyed it. When the hosts, David and Charles Koch, were done tag-team fisting her, they said they had a surprise, one that they knew Mitt would go along with. When they brought out the horse, Mitt didn't even feel queasy. How else would he earn enough filthy lucre to surpass the vaunted Obama fundraising machine? He winked at Ann and, oh, a splendid time was had by all. Especially the horse.

Of course, there was no alcohol or caffeine. You have to draw the line somewhere.

There's only one way to endure all the shit that out-of-touch wealthy people believe and say. No, really, when you are in a room with someone who said, as one woman did from the passenger seat of her Range Rover, "I don't think the common person is getting it...Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. We've got the message...But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact," you are under an ethical obligation to throw champagne in her face and leave. If you don't, if, in fact, you court these motherfuckers in their demented goals - more wealth, the subverting of U.S. security for Israel's, more wealth - then you must have no soul. You must enjoy their company. You must be one of them and share their beliefs.

Oh, how these rich cocks and cunts loved it when Barack Obama was their novelty toy, but when it turned out that he wasn't the perfect lawn jockey for them, doing one or two things that displeased them, they replaced him as if he was a statue that had been broken by a drunkenly-driven Bentley.


What Mitt Romney May as Well Have Said at Today's "News" Conference:
And so it was that Mitt Romney, the blithering, doltish, bourgeois cockknob who is the presumptive Republican nominee for the most highest, powerfullest power position in the entirety of the globular Earth, held a "news" conference today to dance a grotesque jig on the somewhat sad jobs report released today.

Said Romney, "In the case of President Obama, this is not a monthly statistic or even a yearly statistic. We've looked at now almost four years of policies that have not gotten America working again." What he was really saying was, "Those Republican bags of shit in the Senate have blocked just about anything President Obama has wanted to do to help the economy."

On a break from riding bitch with his wife driving the jet ski, Romney offered, "Millions and millions of families are struggling and suffering because the president's policies have not worked for them." Which translates to: "No, seriously, any time President Obama has wanted to do something to improve the jobs situation, Republican motherfuckers have taken the legislation and wiped their asses with it. Then they handed it back to the White House saying, 'Enjoy the stink of our shit stain.' And if he protested, they whined, 'Obama won't play nice with us.'"

In a moment when he wasn't improvising a poor haiku about the lemony taste of lemonade, Romney talked about his splendiferous 59-point plan o' job market stimulation: "I have put out 59 steps for how I would get the economy going, and I don't think I have seen any from the president that show what he's planning on doing. I laid out my 59 steps. Take a look at them, I think you'll find them very specific." Of course, Obama's jobs plan would be the piece of legislation that Republicans won't even vote on. But, no, really, Romney's campaign PDF is far more of an actual plan, if by "plan," you mean, "forced face fucking." (The Rude Pundit's read it. It pretty much says, "Undo everything done by Obama and put back in the Bush era policies that dicked us over in the first place," except it goes on for 87 pages.)

Standing in a hardware store, no doubt to buy implements to torture more dogs, Romney stated, "My plan calls for action that will get America working again and create good jobs in the near term and long term." He may as well have said, "Really, if Obama is reelected, Republicans are such fucking assholes that they would just spend the next four years cock blocking any effort that looks like it might work just because they could. Elect me and, even though my plan would tank the economy further for everyone but me and my rich cocksucker friends, shit will get passed." And then he went off to jet ski some more, which for some reason is totally not elitist like wind-surfing.


Suck on the Rude Pundit's Patriotic Photo:

After a good few hours of drinking at a dark-paneled-walled, relatively well-air-conditioned bar in Hoboken, NJ, the Rude Pundit and company toddled down the fetid streets for the best view of the fireworks over the Hudson River at an outdoor spot that he'll never tell you about. On the way, he received a text from a friend in Dallas, who found himself outside in the hundred degree heat, awaiting fireworks, but forced to sit through a Smashmouth concert. He said it was "irony." The Rude Pundit told him he had confused "irony" with "insanity."

We couldn't hear the music that accompanies the fireworks, the songs patriotic and partying that gave the explosions its choreography. The Rude Pundit's partner said, "I wonder if Morgan Freeman is narrating on TV."

In the worst Morgan Freeman voice you've ever heard, the Rude Pundit said, "America: 236 years old today. But she still looks pretty good for her age" before being shut up. When someone mused about what music was playing, he started singing Smashmouth songs. He was shut down again before he could get through the chorus of "All-Star."

No music was necessary, though. The fireworks show said it all. Especially in this election season, so many people try so damn hard to show how they love their country more than thou. Whether it's wearing colonial drag or carrying signs about some amendment or other they don't actually understand or doing some stupid shit and saying that it's a celebration of "Free Speech," something or other that ends up alienating someone else, or maybe it's some friggin' politician telling us how much they really, really wanna hump the Declaration of Independence, god, sometimes it's okay to just chill the fuck out. Relax and understand that merely being here, in this country, working, like so many of us, to do things to make it better, or at least not making it worse, not making a big, flaming deal out of it, is enough. You don't need music to back up the fireworks. It's fireworks, fer chrissake. Why do they need enhancement?

There we were, across from the big city, the sky aflame, and there it was, effortless, not forced, patriotism, not trying to demonstrate how much we loved Uhmerka with speeches and flags and other accessories, merely enjoying the stinking air, the loud noises echoing off the buildings behind us, the people of different races and classes, the crowd's oohs, the applause for unseen manipulators of our pleasure on what should be our national day of sweaty commiseration with the triumphs and pains of our past, not hating each other for a little while.


A Few Words from One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence:
Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania is an unsung founder who would confound most people of various political persuasions today. He opposed slavery and capital punishment, and he believed that religion and a belief in God were foundations for the new nation. He wrote the first American textbook on psychiatry, and he held fast to the good of bleeding people to get rid of infections, even when the practice had been discredited. Like many of the founders, he was filled with contradictions.

In a speech given in Philadelphia in January 1787, he addressed a couple of points that the Tea Party and many conservatives still flog to this day: the nature of power and the meaning of statehood. If you read these words, dear, demented teabaggers, remember that when Benjamin Rush wore a tri-corner hat, it wasn't to play act a fantasy of revolution. He put his real and actual ass on the line for liberty.

"There are two errors or prejudices on the subject of government in America, which lead to the most dangerous consequences.

"It is often said, that 'the sovereign and all other power is seated in the people.' This idea is unhappily expressed. It should be— 'all the power is derived from the people.' They possess it only on the days of their elections. After this, it is the property of their rulers, nor can they exercise or resume it, unless it is abused. It is of importance to circulate this idea, as it leads to order and good government.

"The people of America have mistaken the meaning of the word sovereignty: hence each state pretends to be sovereign. In Europe, it is applied only to those states which possess the power of making war and peace—of forming treaties, and the like. As this power belongs only to congress, they are the only sovereign power in the united states.

"We commit a similar mistake in our ideas of the word independent. No individual state, as such, has any claim to independence. She is independent only in a union with her sister states in congress."


Rep. Joe Walsh Is a Total Cockhead:
In attacking his Democratic opponent - Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee, multi-decorated war veteran - Republican Representative Joe "Deadbeat Dad" Walsh really did say, "Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, 'Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!' He didn’t want to do it, wouldn’t do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That’s what’s so noble about our heroes. Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about." Good job, there, Illinois 8th. Walsh is one of the most worthless pieces of GOP shit in a turd pile that goes up to the sky.

Sure, Walsh, who never served in the military (and was, in fact, a community organizer early in his career) is being justifiably excoriated for being a total cockhead. But what fucking John McCain is Walsh talking about? Because, whatever myth Walsh has been fed, the John McCain who ran for president in 2008 mentioned his military service every chance he got. In fact, you pretty much couldn't get him to shut up about it:

"When I left the Navy and entered public life, I enlisted as a foot soldier in the political revolution [Reagan] began." - Victory speech after Florida primary, January 29, 2008.

"I was still a naval officer then." - Speech to CPAC, February 7, 2008.

"In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well." - Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, March 26, 2008 (that line would show up again and again).

"No one hates war more than the veteran who feels most plainly the loss of a veteran." - Interview with Katie Couric, July 22, 2008.

"On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam."- John McCain's acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, September 4, 2008.

"I'm an old Navy pilot, and I know when a crisis calls for all hands on deck." - Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, September 25, 2008.

"A war that I was in, where we had an Army, that it wasn't through any fault of their own, but they were defeated. And I know how hard it is for that -- for an Army and a military to recover from that." - First presidential debate, September 26, 2008.

"I have acted responsibly throughout my military career." - Second presidential debate, October 7, 2008.

"I've been fighting for this country since I was 17 years-old and I have the scars to prove it." - Stump speech, October 21, 2008.

You know what a real hero doesn't do? Attack the honorable service of a veteran. But, then again, that's just the kind of skeevy shit you expect when a Republican goes up against a man or woman who can kick their asses, with or without legs.


Reality Vs. Blindness on Climate Change:
Here's a story that didn't get much play from late last week: Cracks developed in the walls of a pretty new subway station in lower Manhattan. Shitty construction, yes, always, welcome to the world of corrupt contracting and subcontracting and sub-subcontracting on the taxpayer's dime. But there's another reason that the CEO of Metropolitan Transit Authority says that leaks are visible at the South Ferry station, completed in 2009: "[W]hat's also happening is that the water table is rising."

Did you catch that? The guy in charge of the MTA states, as fact, that rising sea levels are responsible, in part, for the leaks in walls of the subway because, apparently, the original 2005 plans didn't take into account that New York Harbor would be a bit deeper in the coming years. Why do you think the water level has risen? Extra tourist urine? Cloverfield monster? Yeah, it's because of climate change. Because one of the most disastrous effects of climate change is rising sea levels, just like that bastard Al Gore told us so long ago. And here is a top official telling us that global warming is fucking with the infrastructure of New York City.

Then there's Washington, DC meteorologist Doug Kammerer, who, in the midst of the destructive storm blast this weekend, said, flatly, "If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this." "This" is the intense heat, the sudden megastorms, the weather in general. Kammerer said, "I really believe that, I really think that this is because — maybe we would have seen 101, maybe we would have seen 102, but not 104."

Maybe you're like the Rude Pundit and you've got friends who are still without power in the DC area or in West Virginia or elsewhere. But you, like many of them, believe without a doubt that the earth is warming, and, holy shit, when are we gonna do something about it? And there's a good chance that most of your conservative friends believe it, including the members of Congress.

But the thing is that, no matter how much John Boehner's withered nutsack sticks to his upper thigh and no matter how much Mitch McConnell sweats into his giant ass crack, they are going to do exactly nothing. They have many masters to serve, in the oil and coal industries, among others, and they are going to stick their heads in the sand and pretend it ain't real, which, if you think about it, is pretty much the GOP way these days. Don't want to believe that health care reform is legit? Then fuck it. Pretend it doesn't exist.

Of course, then, it's left to the Executive Branch, with an assist from the courts, to do something when nothing is the only option on the table. Check this out from an ass-kicking of a decision at the DC U.S. Court of Appeals in favor of the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, a unanimous verdict against states and industry groups who tried to halt the EPA:

"EPA simply did here what it and other decision-makers often must do to make a science-based judgment: it sought out and reviewed existing scientific evidence to determine whether a particular finding was warranted. It makes no difference that much of the scientific evidence in large part consisted of 'syntheses' of individual studies and research. Even individual studies and research papers often synthesize past work in an area and then build upon it. This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question."

Like the CEO of the MTA, like Doug Kammerer, like you and many of your moist and red-faced friends, you know that science is science and one can run and hide, but eventually the skies will fall and the walls will collapse and no amount of one's denial will stop one from drowning.