A Poem for Hoping Against War:
The Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney died today. He was one of the last of a generation of poets whose fame exceeded the world of poetry or even literature. Even if you never heard of him, chances are that, if you have read it recently, you read his translation of Beowulf.

Back in 1991, Heaney published a version of Sophocles's play Philoctetes titled The Cure at Troy. It was a reaction to the conflict in Northern Ireland, still several years away from a peace settlement. In 1998, Robert Pinsky found that part of it resonated because of the war in Kosovo and, of course, the ever ongoing crises in the Middle East. Most recently, it was quoted, briefly, by Joe Biden at the funeral of a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing.

It's worth quoting again, at a bit more length, as we teeter into our next war and its tangle of possible outcomes:

Human beings suffer,
they torture one another,
they get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
can fully right a wrong
inflicted or endured.

The innocent in gaols
beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don't hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
double-take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
the outcry and the birth-cry
of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.


Man with a Distinct Lisp Questions the Masculinity of Another Man:
Have you heard GOP Senate candidate from New Jersey Steve Lonegan speak? He's got this very clear lisp, a clear issue with his sibilant sounds. In fact, if you heard Lonegan say, "Sibilant sounds," and you were inclined towards stereotyping people based on their voices, you'd wonder if Lonegan just came from a cocksucking contest where he was the winning jizz receptacle. For lack of a more direct way to say it, Lonegan sounds gay. Totally gay. Gayer than Barney Frank in a Speedo and a sailor's hat at a Provincetown Labor Day party. That gay.

In a recent interview, Lonegan was asked about his opponent Democrat Cory Booker's remark about his own sexuality. Booker had said regarding rumors that he is gay, "I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it.'" Coy, sure. And true, definitely. But certainly it tosses gasoline on the fire for people who care about that kind of thing.

And flaming proudly was Lonegan, who said of Booker and, indirectly, gay men in general, "It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure."

Then Lonegan added, "I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish." And he laid out this challenge: "I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish but we'll just compare the two."

Okay, let's compare. Cory Booker likes to keep his nails nice. Steve Lonegan likes to put a cylindrical object in his mouth and suck on it. Hmmm...

Here's a pro-tip: If you're gonna defend your supposed "masculinity" (which, you know, has nothing to do with whether or not a man is gay or straight), you probably don't want to do it quite that way. In other words, shut the fuck up. Lonegan is a proudly deranged ultra conservative, true, but he does have things to challenge Booker on when it comes to the mayor's record in Newark.

And another tip: If no one has questioned your sexuality, you should probably not try to assert just how straight you are. You just end up sounding...well, you know...


The Rude Pundit's Handy Talking Points for Dealing with Stupid Conservatives on Today's Anniversary:
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice which climaxed with Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering what is now known as his "I Have a Dream" speech. The power of the moment and the rhetoric is still incredible to watch and hear, as is the breathtaking radicalism of the speech, especially in its historic context.

However, something else will occur today, as it has been occurring over the last few years. Conservatives will attempt to claim MLK as one of their own, and they will write worthless bullshit to try to colonize King. For example, here's Jonah Goldberg: "King pleaded for the fulfillment of America's classically liberal revolution. At the core of that revolution was the concept of negative liberty -- being free from government-imposed oppression." Oh, so that's why King wanted the federal government to pass civil rights legislation that the federal government could enforce.

Luckily for you, the Rude Pundit has never forgotten just how bad-ass Martin Luther King actually was, and he has written over the years about how King would fuck up conservatives' shit. Now, as a handy guide when you scream at Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity on the radio today, here's links to all of those posts in one place, all filled with King's words:

1. Martin Luther King was against prayer in school and thought that Christianity meant that you had to help the poor.

2. Martin Luther King thought America's use of military power was immoral and that protesters loved their country.

3. This is not to mention that Martin Luther King thought that money spent on useless wars would be better spent on anti-poverty programs.

4. Unlike today's Democrats, Martin Luther King believed that radical activism, even at the risk of arrest, was more important than moderation and compromise. Principle over popularity.

5. Martin Luther King believed that a janitor was as important as a doctor and that the government had the duty to ensure that the janitor was taken care of as well as the doctor was, including a guaranteed wage, health care, and more.

6. Martin Luther King believed that the rich needed to pay their fair share to help lift people out of poverty. They should, you know, spread the wealth, especially through taxation.

7. And, after a change of heart, Martin Luther King did not believe in owning a gun.

You got it? Martin Luther King, Jr. was not conservative. And he is not your cuddly toy. He is not Marty, the Dream Bear. He was an openly socialistic, confrontational radical whose "I Have a Dream" speech asked for nothing less than a complete elimination of white privilege and the destruction of racial and economic hierarchies. As nutzoid right wingers call for the first black president's impeachment (which would leave a white man with pretty much the same beliefs in the office) and for overturning the Affordable Care Act, how are we doing with that?

Are you good to go?  Are you ready to fuck up a conservative's day? 'Cause, really, that's something that Martin Luther King would have loved you to do.


Studying War Some More

Studying War Some More:
It's really one of the most nauseating things the Rude Pundit has read in quite a while. In the late 1980s, the United States, then under the "leadership" of Saint Ronald Reagan, grand puppet figurehead that he was, shared intelligence with Saddam Hussein's regime so that Iraq could attack Iran with chemical weapons. This comes from CIA documents and interviews with officials. To quote the Foreign Policy article on this, "They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched." U.S. intelligence "was authorized to give the Iraqi intelligence services as much detailed information as was available about the deployments and movements of all Iranian combat units." Reagan himself came out of his Alzheimer's haze to sign off on doing so out of fear that Iran might gain an advantage in its war with Iraq. Again, all involved knew this meant that Iraq would use chemical weapons, and that even extended to their use in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

If we even begin to honestly grapple with what this means, we would have to rewrite the history of the last three decades of American history. First we'd have to drag Reagan's bones out of the ground and skull fuck him in front of weeping true believers. We'd have to halt our sentimental glorification of old, old George Bush, Sr., Reagan's vice, who used Iraq's threat of chemical weapon attacks on Kuwait as justification for the Persian Gulf War. And just think about every time George W. Bush invoked Saddam's use of sarin gas or other weapons. Those occurred, in part, because the United States helped it happen. And can we just throw Donald Rumsfeld into the middle of the ocean, just on principle? And toss Dick Cheney on top of him?

We are a nation that has been led by war criminals. Hell, they even worried a little bit about that in those CIA files.

Once again, once again, we're in the position of now Knowing For Sure what we knew but didn't have confirmed. We knew that, when Bush, Sr. threatened Iraq if it used chemical weapons, it was the height of hypocrisy. But we didn't Know. And, as ever, we won't change our history and we won't do anything about it.

Once again, once again, history proves that, when it comes to war, the doves are nearly always right and the hawks are nearly always wrong.

So we're poised, one more time, on that awful precipice, being told that we must intervene in a nation in order to punish its government for the use of chemical weapons. On Syria, we're told, the U.S. and its allies will launch three days of "targeted" strikes against the forces of Bashar al-Assad. No one believes that the strikes will really do anything to end the civil war there. The New York Times makes the bizarre case that President Obama better do something because he said he had drawn a red line on Syria. In other words, we need to kill a bunch of people so that Obama is as good as his word? This is a masturbatory exercise, at best. If we want to stop atrocities in the world, there's a hell of a lot more we could do than bomb the fuck out of another place.

Sadly, we have reached that point where the slavering war dogs are drooling at the prospect of this next pile of meat. And, no matter the consequences, they will not be denied.

And here's what should bug you, hawk or dove. Just a few brief years ago, Syria was a strange ally in the idiotic War on Terror, torturing people for us so that we could keep our hands free of direct blood spatters. What's going to come out in documents 25 years from now about our complicity in this current barbarism?

Don't worry, though. If there's one thing we do right in America, it's denialism.


Indian-American Says Everyone Should Act White Because MLK Would Want You To

Indian-American Says Everyone Should Act White Because MLK Would Want You To:
Whenever you watch a male politician suck his own dick, it's hard to avert your eyes. If it's a fat bastard like Newt Gingrich, there's something of a slapstick farce element to seeing if he can actually do more than a red-faced lollipop lick of tiny prick. But when he's a skinny, long-necked fuck, like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, it's fascinating to see how much he gets into deep-throating that cock. For Jindal can contort himself into a shape that defies description, something between a pretzel and crab, and he goes at himself like a Hoover set on deep pile. And there's one thing you learn watching Bobby Jindal blow himself: the man's a swallower.

Jindal, who has destroyed the education system of his state, takes pride in denying affordable health care to its uninsured, and is distinctly unpopular there, penned an editorial in Politico this weekend titled "The End of Race" as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. What does Jindal, a man who in just about every speech and TV appearance reminds us that he was born from immigrants in India (and does so in this editorial), believe about race in America? That "we still place far too much emphasis on our 'separateness,' our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc."

See, the problem isn't racism, per se, but race itself, on the hyphenate identities people have, like Indian-America. Jindal scribbles, "Here’s an idea: How about just 'Americans?' That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our 'separateness' is a step backward. Bring back the melting pot."

And MLK himself would agree with Gov. Jindal, according to Gov. Jindal: "We all remember learning in grade school about America as the great 'melting pot' — a concept that was completely compatible with Dr. King’s dream of every American being judged on the content of his character and not the color of his skin."

Man, conservatives fuckin' love that line from King's speech at the National Mall 50 years ago. They cling to it like a life raft in the sea of their own bullshit. Look, they can say, MLK said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." They use that to strip the radicalism out of King's rhetoric and say that he's just one of them, looking to erase race from the equation of daily life.

Which is, you know, not what King was saying at all. Here's one line from the Big Speech that upends any right-winger desperate attempt to co-opt King: "We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one." Have we gotten there yet?

But this isn't about King. It's about Bobby Jindal, who was born "Piyush," and who is disappointed in us, America: "When I look at America, I see a country that increasingly has lost its way in terms of morality. As a Christian, as I look at American culture over the past half century, I don’t like a lot of what I see. Divorce is through the roof, pornography is everywhere, sexual predators are on the loose and on the Internet, our abortion rate is higher than almost every First World country, vulgarity and profanity are mainstream and commonplace."

What the fuck does Bobby Jindal want? Because, see, that paragraph up there sounds like the righteous rant of a moral man. But it's actually a clusterfuck of hypocrisy and doubletalk. You wanna know why "our abortion rate" is higher? It's because those "First World" countries offer comprehensive sex education and access to contraception. It's because those "First World" countries do the truly Christian thing and offer universal health care and other support so that having a child isn't as huge a financial burden. And those "First World" countries that Jindal admires for their lower abortion rates aren't tight-assed about vulgarity and profanity and sexuality in the public sphere. Oh, and the rate of sex crimes has plummeted in the United States, despite higher reporting rates, probably at least partially because of easy access to pornography. But, no, really, making fact-free statements of Christian belief without actually taking Christian action is par for the course for conservative Christians such as Jindal (who, we should always remember, performed an exorcism on a woman because...oh, who the fuck knows...so let's say "because demons").

Jindal specifically places the blame for the ills, in part, on his belief that "people" come to "America" and refuse to get with the program: "You come to the United States and you become an American, regardless of your heritage, your ethnicity, your traditions, or your accent. But now we seem to act as if that melting pot is passé, an antiquated notion."

But the Governor, brown savior of the GOP that he is, doesn't say what "being American" is, and that's because the answer is too, well, gee, shit, racist to say: It means acting like middle class white people. Or, really, the fantasy image of those white people circa 1955 or so (which means no rights for blacks, but, hey, content of character, you know?).

This fantasy American never existed. This fantasy America never existed. That doesn't stop Jindal from saying that we should strive to live up to a fantasy. This delusional motherfucker thinks he's saying something profound when all he's doing is telling us to act like the people on TV when he was a kid. He says he honors his ethnic identity while still honoring his national one. But isn't the hope that one can express one's difference something that actually makes America "American"? That's a fantasy, too, that you can come here and try to be free and no one will tell you to act like someone else.

Jindal has contorted himself so much that, like much of the GOP, he would be able to shove his head up his own ass. But knowing his proclivity toward self-pleasuring, he'd probably just lick his own prostate.


The Research That Caused the Migraine

The Research That Caused the Migraine:
This morning, the Rude Pundit was plugging away, researching a piece on how, during the Watergate scandal, media figures went apeshit berserker over Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, seeing them as self-aggrandizing fame whores who'd blow an anonymous source in a corner if it'd get them one more front page scoop. He was working on this as a reaction to the deep well of animosity towards Guardian columnist/classified document depository Glenn Greenwald.

'Cause, see, history has proven Woodward and Bernstein's reporting, while just a piece of the overall story of the fall of Richard Nixon (something they themselves admitted in the book All the President's Men, which nobody actually reads since the film came out), was a valid and necessary exercise of a free press. Who cares if they made money on it? Who cares if they had huge-dick egos about breaking one of the biggest stories in, you know, American history? Christ, if Twitter and comments threads were around in the early 1970s, they'd've been vilified as assholes and liars. As it was, they were accused of that, of making up Deep Throat and more. But none of that changes the importance of their reporting, especially against an administration that had been openly contemptuous and criminally active towards the media.

The story ain't the messenger. It's the story. If you make it about the messenger, then you are ignoring the story, which is just what the subject of the story wants.

Oh, the Rude Pundit had good intentions. And then something in his brain popped, and, like an exploding bottle rocket, the migraine burst in stars all over his head. He vomited. He passed out, delirious, and awoke a little while ago wondering where the fuck the day had gone. So little drinking time left in the afternoon. Gotta take advantage of that empty stomach fast track to inebriation.

So he'll leave you with this quote, from Chet Huntley, he of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, which was NBC's evening news until 1970. He gave a speech in 1973 at the Montana Press Association's annual convention titled "A Disturbing Arrogance in the Press." In it, Huntley played the old sage taking the young whippersnappers to the woodshed for a good spanking with a switch. While disturbed a bit by Nixon's press attacks, he said, "In my opinion, there is an arrogance, a haughty smugness, a conceit running through too damned much of our journalism today." This attitude, he felt, got in the way of telling a fair and balanced story. Get off his lawn.

Would that more of our journalists were arrogant, smug, and conceited enough to believe they had a duty to go after the powerful instead of being merely arrogant, smug, and conceited because they have access to the powerful.

By the way, Nixon returned the favor when Huntley died in 1974, saying, "I have learned with sorrow of the death of Chet Huntley. One of America's earliest and finest television newsmen, he will be remembered as a pioneer in electronic reporting and as a true professional who tried to present the news fairly and objectively." In the midst of the Watergate investigation, that's pretty much the worst thing Nixon could have said about a journalist.


Thinning the Herd: Joe Arpaio's Cops and Militia Dolts Almost Kill Each Other

Thinning the Herd: Joe Arpaio's Cops and Militia Dolts Almost Kill Each Other:
Of all the shit-eating wannabe tough guys out there, few people can claim to have stepped up to the turd buffet to fill his plate as often as Arizona's Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County and noted child molester consorter. When he's not exploiting undocumented immigrants in order to burnish his reputation as the biggest asshole in America, he's suckling at the sour teat of conservative fame, the place where you're worshiped by worthless pissbag-toting Rascal riders and their morbidly obese children in the sidecar. And probably Sean Hannity.

Oh, sure, Sheriff Joe has had hisself a grand old time fluffing up the barely sentient cocks of the Minutemen and other militia groups who take it on themselves to "patrol" the U.S. border, looking for Messicans they can round up as trophies. And the Minutemen? They love ol' Sheriff Joe. They love him for bein' brave enough to say that President Obama ain't Uhmerkan. Gave him a fuckin' award a few years back for arrestin' undocumented workers and makin' 'em stay in tents and wear prison stripes and other shit that have nothing to do with helping anything but Sheriff Joe's ego. They love him because Sheriff Joe, he defends the 2nd Amendment, says he ain't no-how, no-way gonna confiscate people's guns, no matter what that prez'dent says, even though the prez'dent's never said anything about confiscating guns.

So it must have been something of a surprise when one of these armed assholes at the border, thinking some Messicans were about to jump him, pointed his gun and yelled orders at one of Arpaio's deputies. The pure comedy part? When the deputy identified himself, the Minuteman, who we'll call "Cooter," because fuck that guy, said, "You aren’t taking my weapons." Poor Cooter. He never had a chance. Of course they took his weapons. Of course they arrested Cooter.

And, of course, Sheriff Joe made a statement where he said his deputies could have put "30 rounds" in the guy and added, without a hint of his own complicity, that there will be chaos "if you’re going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands." It's like Jeffrey Dahmer saying that the latest Cleveland serial killer should cut it out.  Cooter, for his part, went full Zimmerman, saying that he was standing his ground. According to his statement, "[H]e had the right to point his rifle at the individual because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was occurring."

Now Cooter faces felony assault charges. And the Minutemen no longer have Sheriff Joe on their side. But the more important lesson here is for every barrel-fellating gun nut who thinks that he can defend himself from the evil government: you can't, Cooter. You just can't. In this case, the deputies of the man the militias thought was on their side disarmed the 2nd Amendment lover and threatened to kill him. Oh, Cooter, it's different facing armed authorities and not poor immigrants. And when you're cornered, you'll surrender without a fight.


This Place Exists (Last Vacation Post)

This Place Exists (Last Vacation Post):

It ain't CGI. It ain't even New Zealand. Just a drive away. And the Rude Pundit was there. Now, he is descending from on high to get back into the fight - a little bit tan, a whole lot more rested, and really anxious to sink his teeth into some asses.

Back with new stuff tomorrow.


Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #6: That Time Rush Limbaugh Laughed at the Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #6: That Time Rush Limbaugh Laughed at the Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Disaster:
(Note: Back Thursday, the Rude Pundit will bring the piss and vinegar to your polite soiree.)

So the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is leaking radioactive water by the ton. In his usual sage way, Rush Limbaugh told us a couple of years ago that any worry about it was just silly liberal talk. From March 2011:

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

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

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

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

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


Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #5: At Least Now They Use a Scalpel and Not a Shiv

Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #5: At Least Now They Use a Scalpel and Not a Shiv:
(Note: The Rude Pundit's still enjoying the ridiculously clean air of eastern Canada. Regular, all-new blogging will return on Thursday.)

The detention of Guardian reporter and columnist Glenn Greenwald's partner for questioning in London, as well as the search of Bolivia's president's airplane for Edward Snowden, seem like a more subtle, nuanced approach to intimidation by this administration (and its allies). That's as opposed to the previous administration, which used to go after enemies with all the subtlety of a hatchet-wielding psychopath. Let's take a trip down memory lane, back to March 2004...

Karl Rove's Sodomizin' Stormtroopers:
God, how the roads of Washington are littered with the anally-violated bodies of those who cross the Bush Administration and Karl Rove's Sodomizin' Stormtroopers. Dressed in black outfits, with black helmets and large black strap-ons, the Sodomizin' Stormtroopers are sent out, like flying monkeys, to ass-fuck anyone who dares question the word of George Bush and his minions. Ask former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, entrapped in an online chat with an "underage girl" and arrested at a diner, handed over to the SS, who roughly fucked the mainstream credibility out of him. Ask Paul O'Neill, who dared to say that Bush was a shallow, uninterested leader. Characterized as a kook who was unworthy of his Treasury Secretary position, Rove dispatched the SS to bend him over a stack of classified documents and fuck him until his ass bled and he cried that he would disappear. That'll teach him to cavort with Bono. The SS takes photos that they send to Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and others so that they can giggle at the bleeding sphincters of those who have met the fate of a Rovean rogering. Colin Powell is a tough bastard, still able to stand up after all the ass fuckings he's received. And now, oh, delicious rectum, they're at it again, going after Richard Clarke, who had the temerity of having fairly unimpeachable credibility in being in the inner circle of national security in the two decades prior to 9/11.

So, having seen the semen-stained asses of others, why would Richard Clarke write his book? Why would he say all the things he has said, about the monomaniacal heights of Rumslove's obsession with Iraq, about Condi's inexperience, about the unmitigated evil that is Dick Cheney, about the way in which the Republican's gleeful obsession with Clinton's cock was one of the essential reasons that 9/11 happened, about the way in which the President pressed him to connect 9/11 to Iraq despite all evidence to the contrary? On 60 Minutes, Clarke admitted that he knew the fate that awaited him. When he said, "I'm sure they'll launch their dogs on me," you could see in his eyes that he knew the Stormtroopers had already sanded the strap-ons for rough anal insertion. Leslie Stahl looked almost sympathetic when she asked if he should be loyal to the President and Clarke answered that he should proabably think about the safety of the country first.

Let's remember a couple of things here: when one takes an oath of office as a federal appointee, one is asked to uphold the Constitution, not the President: ''I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." Sure, it's idealistic to think that one won't back one's employer, but let's be clear here: a public official's first duty is to the Constitution and all that that implies. It ain't to be loyal to a particular president or party. It's why Clarke could be well-regarded in three administrations prior to this Bush.

And when pundits and administrators ask, "Why wait till now, when there's an election going on?" as they are doing consistently now, part of the answer is, "No, shit, he wants to sell books." But the other, rather interesting and more complex answer, is found is yesterday's piece of crap article by Judith Miller that was buried by the New York Times: the "manuscript was screened for classified information by White House lawyers before its publication." One might wonder how long such a screening takes, considering what happened with the Paul O'Neill. One could say that perhaps Clarke, sensitive to national security, wanted to make sure that he didn't disclose classified info, and, perhaps, that process of being careful to protect the nation and the Constitution, takes time. After all, he didn't leave the administration until a year ago. And maybe, just maybe, Clarke wrote the book for that very reason: he might have worked at the discretion of the President, but he owes his allegiance to the country, not the man, something Bush and his people forget at every turn of a lying word.

It doesn't really matter, though. Rove's SS is out in full force, denouncing Clarke, picking the location for the ass fucking so that it's as public as possible. Hell, wasn't it just so cute when Scott McClellan called Clarke's book "Dick Clarke's 'American Grandstand'"? God, those witty motherfuckers.

Whoever comes out next against the Bushkoviks better be careful: the SS can make it a short, effective ass fucking or a long, drawn out reaming. The Sodomizin' Stormtroopers are waitin' for the word from Rove on how to go after David Kay or Hans Blix, neither of whom was shilling for a book when they defied the will of Bush (yes, Blix has a book out now, but that's a recent development). Don't you worry, America. Rove's SS will make every thing grey all nice and black and white once again.


Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #4: Being Right and Wrong About Egypt

Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #4: Being Right and Wrong About Egypt:
Yeah, he's still in the land of free health care and ridiculously nice people, in a place so beautiful that it cracks your stony heart right open. So another rerun that is ludicrously still relevant.

Back in the heady days of early 2011, the Rude Pundit was cautiously optimistic about the coming revolution in Egypt. But realistic. He said, "In the end, there's gonna be either be an election, a vicious crackdown, or a coup." He didn't think there'd be all three.

Regarding Egypt:The Devil You Know Is Still the Devil:
Look, the Rude Pundit is not gonna play the part of every fucking commentator on every fucking news show on every fucking channel. He's not gonna sit here and pretend that he has anything more than a little bit of knowledge about what's going on in Egypt. He's not gonna quote the few pieces he's read in the last couple of days that would seem to indicate a depth of understanding he does not possess. Would that your Fox "news" Sundays or your Meet the Presseses roundtables o' awesome brains have such an ability for self-reflection and admission of shortcomings.

But since this is one of those situations that Everyone You Know has to have an opinion, the Rude Pundit'll make a stab at it:

You hear constantly discussion about What Might Happen if the protesters have their way and Mubarak steps down. You hear that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. You hear that he may be a bastard, but at least he's our bastard. That's realpolitick, you're told. That's the way the world operates, they say: sometimes you have to play hide the diplomatic salami in bed with dictators and tyrants. Oh, you're naive to believe otherwise. You don't get it.

Except for this simple question: has there ever been a case of the United States hopping in the sack with the anti-democratic forces in a nation that didn't end up causing us one big ass case of national syph? Because, see, the Rude Pundit's wracked his brain on this one, and he can't come up with a single one. Central America? Iraq? Iran? The Philippines? Various African nations? And, indeed, when some of the nations eventually threw off the shackles of the U.S.-supported dictatorship, they not only flourished, but they became strong allies of what was allegedly a more enlightened America, like, for instance, Chile. Or they became Iran. Or Iraq. Or Panama. You get the idea.

See, the people in the streets in Egypt aren't thinking about the stability that peace with Israel has brought their nation. They aren't thinking that Egypt is a strategic ally of the U.S. in the fight against terrorists. And why should they? Fuck all that when your government is so deeply corrupt that arrests, torture, and rape by the not-so-secret police are part of your daily life. When the president sells off public works for a fraction of their worth to businesses run by his sons. When elections are a sham to keep in power the very people who are ruining the nation. Jesus, corruption is so endemic that you'll fucking agree with a good chunk of an editorial from nutzoid conservative Human Events on crony capitalism in Egypt.

Yeah, it's understandable to an extent that the White House is playing this down the middle. At the very least, we can say that it doesn't seem like President Obama has sent in the CIA to fuck with the uprising. Or used the agents that are already there overseeing the rendition program where Egyptians got their hands dirty torturing our prisoners. But events shift the context of things, man. In the end, there's gonna be either be an election, a vicious crackdown, or a coup. And we better not be on the side of the devil again.


Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #3: Debt Despair from the Not-Too-Distant Past

Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #3: Debt Despair from the Not-Too-Distant Past:
The Rude Pundit is somewhere lost in the wilderness of Canada, screwing his head back on straight. So he's offering these ancient blog posts as a way of saying, "Everything old is new again." This one isn't too old, from July 5, 2011, on the Republicans forcing the U.S. to possibly default on our national debt. Since we're having that same threat again, why not say the same damn thing?  

Despair and Possible Redemption in the Ridiculous Debt Ceiling Debate:
In one of those "Oh, fuck, how do I open the column this time" moments of frustration and weakness, Eugene Robinson compares Republicans in Congress during this debt ceiling insanity to Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining and President Obama to Travis Bickle, Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver. Neither work, primarily because Bickle is a psychopath and who didn't want to put an axe in Shelley Duvall and that creepy "redrum" kid?

If you want your movie references for the current state of the debate, even an ordinary kidnapping situation doesn't work. No, these days, ya gotta go with your mad bombers. Like, say, Dennis Hopper in Speed. When he wasn't hooking up buses or elevators with explosives, Hopper's bad guy was holding Sandra Bullock or Jeff Daniels hostage with bombs and a trigger. His threat to Keanu Reeves was that he was gonna get what he wanted or he would blow up the hostage, along with himself and anyone else nearby. So since a debt default would fuck over most everyone in the United States (except, you know, people who have investments that bet against the country, like Eric Cantor), the GOP is saying, "Give us everything we want or we'll see you in Hell."

Here's the thing, the fucked-up, screaming-into-the-dark, tear your hair out aggravation about the debt ceiling "negotiations" (if by "negotiations," you mean, "An agreement where your lover ties you to a bed, fucks you whenever he wants, gets his friends to fuck you, shits on you, and castrates you, but at least you get to go on living"). It's the reason that the Rude Pundit has written very little about the current pounds-of-flesh demands being made by the Republicans in exchange for not plunging the nation into a depression:

Over here on the real left, where we apparently have had a dome of silence placed over us so that we can only echo back, we knew this was going to happen. Anyone paying attention knew that this was going to happen. No, that doesn't help anything now. Cassandra never caught a break after she told Apollo to go fuck himself. "I told you so" might have worked after the stimulus debate, after the health care debate, after the budget debate. But, like being with a man who refuses to do anything about his failed erections other than to look at his flaccid dick sadly and sigh and say, "Don't worry. Next time," at some point it's just worthless.

When shitty writer and shittier pundit Mark Halperin caught shit for saying that Obama was a "dick" to Republicans at his press conference last week, it was almost laughable. As the Rude Pundit has said many times before, if you say that motherfuckers fuck their mothers, you are merely stating fact. Christ, how great it would have been had Obama really been a dick, if he had said that they have no interest in anything other than winning elections, even if they wreck the economy and make you lose your job. Wait, that's not even that dickish. In fact, congressional Republicans are really and actually acting like such bags of cocks that it's impossible for anyone paying attention to not say they're dicks.

How ludicrous Halperin's assertion was became even clearer when the New York Times reported today that Obama is offering cuts in Medicare and Medicaid as another way to entice the GOP into accepting minimal ways to increase tax revenue (through loophole and deduction changes, not, heavens to Betsy, any raised taxes). Chances are that, by the time you read this, Mitch McConnell will have already declared it a trick and declined, Rand Paul will have threatened to stuff all the toilets in the Capitol with toilet paper, and John McCain will have said something stupid and irrelevant that everyone will report as if it's gospel.

Since one ought to offer something akin to advice (and "don't blink" seems to be au courant), the Rude Pundit believes that the White House should announce that it's directed the Office of Legal Counsel to explore whether or not the 14th Amendment obviates the need for this debate. That's called "negotiating." Giving the other side even more than what it wants and hoping they give you a grain of what you want is not.

Playing chicken is bullshit because we on the left know where that ends. We know who's got the twitchy eyes in the staring contest. What the President needs to do is say, "You know how we were playing this game in the legislative ballpark? We're moving it to the executive one, and you can shove all your budget cuts up your asses." If you want a game-changer, you gotta actually change the game.

Or, to bring it back to the movies, shoot the hostage.


Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #2: The Same People Saying the Same Shit About Immigration

Rude Pundit Vacation Rerun #2: The Same People Saying the Same Shit About Immigration:
(The Rude Pundit is on a much-deserved [according to him] vacation. So he's rerunning old blog posts that are strangely still relevant now. Today's is from April 11, 2006 and it's about Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin flipping the fuck out over even the weakest plan to bring sanity to our immigration policies. Oh, and the links might not work because they're old, man.)

The Crazed Right Tries To Deal With a Rising Tide:
Conservatives are going bugfuck nutzoid at the immigration protests yesterday. To read and/or watch the right wing punditry is to witness the bittersweet sight of a pack of rabid mongrels drowning in a flooded alleyway. Yeah, it's kind of painful to see them suffer, paws trying to desperately find solid ground, whines coming through their foaming mouths, but, you know, fuck 'em - all they did was rip up the garbage, chase the children, and spread disease.

Rush Limbaugh, a man who should be fed his own oxycontin-infused liposuctioned fat, offers us his insights on what people might be thinking when they see the protests: "'Look at all the yard work not being done. Look at all the bathrooms in Los Angeles not being cleaned today. Don't they have jobs?'" But Limbaugh is clever, like the guy who says, "I have a friend who's so fuckin' fat and stoned all the time that he can't get an erection to save his life or his relationship with a hot news anchoress. What d'ya suggest?" and you're thinkin', "Sure, yeah, your friend, huh?" See, Limbaugh says that "some of you say" the openly racist shit, as if, no, it's not him, he's only the voice of the people, if by "people," you mean "slavering monkeys for whom discourse is flinging their own shit outside their cages."

Limbaugh's also in a tizzy because, according to the bloated bloviator, Democrats not only see the protests as an opportunity for voters already here, but see amnesty as a means to "a permanent Democratic majority." Without even getting into the mind-blowing hypocrisy of a Republican, a supporter of Tom DeLay, decrying the tactics of a party for going for a permanent majority, let's just let the man twist in the wind himself: "You're looking at a demand for the recreation of the welfare state. You're looking at a marched demand, a protested demand, for the recreation of statism, big government socialism. You had people marching today basically for socialism...Hell's bells, folks, these people are being promised socialism. These people are promised they can vote, and they're being promised benefits. They're going to be able to suckle the giant teat of the federal pig, and that's what they know, and that's one of the reasons -- not all, but there's a good number of them that are coming for that reason. The electoral system is under assault here. The Democrats want to legalize felon voting. They want to now legalize the voting of illegals, voting rights for illegals." Goddamn, it must suck to have to fill three hours every day with the sound of your own madness. You just say shit, even if what you're saying Democrats want to do would require amending the U.S. Constitution without, you know, pointing that out.

In any sane nation, Rush Limbaugh would be a homeless junkie, shouting on street corners before he pissed himself again. If Rush Limbaugh was in a crack house, havin' those jittery rock comedowns, the shakes before the pipe, the other crackheads would be screaming at him to shut the fuck up or someone's gonna shove a cock in his mouth.

Which leads, quite naturally, to Michelle Malkin, who really does need to be caged like a rabid shih-tzu. Malkin has been doing the whole "lookie-here-who's-a-protestin'" thing, showing that in groups of hundreds of thousands of marchers, there's gonna be some fringe elements that Malkin's gonna use to discredit the entire movement. Oooh, look, some Larouche supporters, some Black Panthers, some Communistas, oh, my. Oh, no, someone's sayin' somethin' bad about poor ol' Lou Dobbs. You know, could someone introduce Malkin to a group of white white supremacists and see what they have to say to her Asian ass?

The most bizarre thing Malkin and Limbaugh both trotted out was the fact that Ted Kennedy spoke at the DC protest. Shocked, shocked they were that the man who co-wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee's original bill on immigration reform might actually have something to say on the subject. Read Kennedy's speech - it's rhetorically pretty mild, but energetic as hell.

Malkin, Limbaugh, and the rest have to discredit the protests. Because the water's risin' fast, and the last bits of debris are floatin' by, and all the diseased mongrels have to figure out what they're gonna cling to so they can ride it out or just plunge under the water.


What's Going On:
The Rude Pundit's brain is weary of politics. He's exhausted from the death that's been all around him (in the last month: one friend, one good friend, one wife of a friend). And, frankly, he's tired from hoping: hope that people will get better, hope that the beaver dam erected by Republicans against the flow of progress will be broken, hope...well, just hope.

No, he's not hitting the button on the big ejector seat. But the Rude Pundit is going to take the next ten days or so and write other shit, shit that's been rattling around his head and scribbled a bit hear and there. He's heading away into the wilderness of Nova Scotia - Cape Breton Island, to be exact - in America, Jr. up north to retreat, regroup, and relax, probably drink a great deal, hear some Celtic music, fuck a moose, whatever you do there.

So what's gonna happen here is that we're gonna have reruns during that time. The Rude Pundit's dug deep into the Archives of Sodomy Jokes Past to give you a series of posts that, for lack of wanting to come up with a better title, shall be called "What the Rude Pundit Said Back Then." It'll feature stuff said on these here pages years ago about issues that are still digging into us like a crazed tick.

Some of 'em will be like today, a kind of "It was bad when Bush did it" thing.

Enjoy. See you back here, bleary-eyed but ready to fuck some shit up, in late August. Stay away from the locked liquor cabinet but help yourself to the cheap stuff and the pot in the wooden vase.

Here's what the Rude Pundit wrote on May 15, 2006, about NSA surveillance of Americans' phone records (all the links are probably fucked up since, well, it's from the scary past):

Hand Over Your Phone Records For the Good of America:
Here's what the Rude Pundit wants to see: he wants Republican Senators Bill Frist, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions and more to have a press conference, big fuckin' press conference, with your CNNMSNBCFox in attendance, and he wants to see those sour-faced white men hold up some papers. Yeah, the Rude Pundit wants Bill Frist to announce, "These are our phone records for our home phones, our office phones, and our cell phones, personal and business. They contain every phone number called from those phones. We are handing them over, personally, to the White House, and we trust this administration to use these records fairly, with no fear of misuse now or in the future."

Then John Negroponte'll come out and Frist, Hastert, Kyl, Sessions, and others'll bow down and offer the papers to him as a tribute, a tithing, an oath of fealty, if you will. Negroponte, who looks like some unholy love child of Col. Klink and Robert Morley, will accept the phone records in the name of the nation and the President, and hand them off to Michael Hayden before asking, "Now, which one of you is gonna suck my herpes-ridden cock and which one is gonna lick my hemhorroidal ass?" for, indeed, true evil is diseased. At which point, the cameras will be turned off as Negroponte gives the Republican congressional leadership a bit of the Salvadoran nun treatment. Another proud moment for America.

The goddamnedest pathetic and funny sight this weekend was watching Republicans proudly state that they could give a shit less if an unchecked, secretive White House, at will, with no law or oversight, collected the phone records of millions of Americans so that they can justify the budget of the intelligence services for another Osama-less fiscal year. See, without offering any kind of tangible result from the program, we are supposed to believe that all the NSA is doing is looking for call patterns that'll prevent, oh, let's say, the ubiquitous dirty bomb from blowing up, because, you know, terrorists who are smart enough to acquire nuclear material and create that kind of weapon are too stupid to suspect they might oughta be careful about who they call. (Actually, that should be the mantra of many of these spying programs: "The NSA: We're Going After the Dumb Ones.")

Last week, Jon Kyl blew a gasket, declaring, "This is nuts" that we'd even dare to question the program, that it had been "leaked" to the press. Jeff Sessions ironically began, "Let's talk about this in a rational way" before screeching, "We are in a war with terrorism. There are people out there who want to kill us." But, hey, at least he's talkin' rationally. Then there were the Sunday news gabfests.

Over on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf "Behold My Regally Lupine Stubble" Blitzer, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley declared that he could not "confirm or deny the claims in the USA Today story." Which someone should have told Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, since one presumes he revealed classified information when he told Blitzer not an hour later, "I am one of the people who are briefed...I've known about the program." Frist then went on to say he's not only "comfortable" with it, but he's damn proud of it: "I am absolutely convinced that you, your family, our families are safer because of this particular program." Then he made this tortured claim: "And, as you know, the program is voluntary, the participants in that program." He's referring, of course, to the phone companies themselves, not to each individual American, most of whom would like to assume that, absent a warrant, they would not be monitored in any way by their government.

For Newt Gingrich, the problem ain't the program - oh, no, all those happy bloggy headlines about Gingrich seemingly opposing the administration, they were full of shit. As Newt told Tim "Behold My Engorged Cranium of Truth" Russert on Meet the Press, the problem's the spin, not the spying. When Russert reminded Gingrich that he had said that defending the program is "defending the indefensible," Gingrich put the smack down on that liberal talk: "Because they refuse to come out front and talk about it. As long as this stuff leaks out and then they’re on defense, then you get these kind of absurd magazine covers and then you’re going to have Senator Specter saying he’s going to threaten American companies." Then he frothed and declared that Americans want to be spied on to prevent another terrorist attack, and everyone should just shut the fuck up and trust the executive branch: "Nobody who’s not involved in terrorism should be at risk. Nobody who’s making normal phone calls should be at risk." After which, Gingrich got into a strange gargantuan head-butting contest with Russert, screaming, "I have the larger lobe, me, Newt Gingrich, fucker."

So, c'mon, Newt, and all good and loyal citizens: don't wait for your phone company. Hand over your call records to the National Security Agency. You heard Bill Frist: it's voluntary. You may ask why you should bother, since you are not a terrorist. But, really, that's not for you to decide, now, is it?


Politics and Pigs at the County Fair:

On Saturday, the Rude Pundit went to the Sussex County Fair in the Arkansas section of New Jersey, up in the north by northwest corn-covered part of the Garden State. We watched the turkey calling competition, which was disappointing for the number of people who just scratched wood or metal instead of making mouth noises (except for one extraordinary man who was, for all intents and purposes, half-turkey). No one yelled their "Gobble-gobble." It was very serious and judged and sanctioned by the turkey callers association, which is a thing. We looked at the prize-winning alpacas, goats, chickens, rabbits, and cows, and we gawked at the size of the sheep's enormous balls and scrotum. We ate pretzels and ice cream. We made merry, and we mocked many.

As we wandered those hay and dirt paths, the Rude Pundit saw a Winnebago painted with a bearded man hanging out with dinosaurs, proclaiming that it was the Genesis ark, the one Noah floated on the flood, not knowing where the fuck he was going or when the fuck he'd land. The ark was free to see. "Oh, I'm going in there," the Rude Pundit said, and he ran in. It was a weird collection of stuffed animals, two of every kind, and little grade-school posters saying how the Bible was right about all kinds of scientific stuff, like that the earth is a sphere, with references to verses (but not the actual quotes, since you could call "bullshit" on a passage that says "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth" demonstrating that the earth is round). He bailed before the exit because you had to head to a fenced-in area and scary proselytizers sat at a table, ready to hammer you with Jesus' love.

When we passed a tent for the Sussex County Tea Party, the Rude Pundit, who had just poked his head into the NRA tent but left, said, "Oh, I'm going in here." He walked in to see the anti-Obama and anti-Hillary bumper stickers and buttons. There were bizarre posters of the Founders and literature about how Obama is not really a leader. A man in a t-shirt with a picture of Paul Ryan on it, like a Leif Garrett shirt on a dreamy teenage girl in the 1970s, walked up to the Rude Pundit and asked if he could help. The Rude Pundit said he was just looking around. "Do you agree with the Tea Party?" the man asked, and the Rude Pundit instantly knew that this poor bastard's wife never got any foreplay before the fucking started.

"Maybe one or two things. Not much," the Rude Pundit answered honestly.

The teabagger brought up worries about NSA surveillance overreach, which the Rude Pundit agreed with. Strange bedfellows, you know: you get drunk or high enough, you never know who you'll end up next to. The Rude Pundit pointed out that surveillance started under Bush, but the teabagger dismissed the point because the Tea Party wasn't around then.

Then Teabag Jake (who knows what the fuck his name was and who cares?) said, "And what about the IRS? Doesn't it bother you that they're targeting Tea Party groups?"

"Well, they weren't just targeting the Tea Party. There were progressive-"

"The IRS was asking Tea Party members what books they read. They wanted book reports. Book reports. They wanted to know who they spoke to. Is that fair?"

"That's not actually true. I think that it's Congress's role to investigate this stuff. They did, and there's nothing wrong happening."

Teabag Jake said, "Congress. That's like asking the fox to guard the henhouse." The Rude Pundit wanted to point out that the analogy made no sense in this context, but fuck it - go on TJ. "The people need to get involved."

At this point, the Rude Pundit's tone turned from "Polite and wanting to engage" to "Wow, you are a dumb fuck" as he said, "That's why we elect representatives. To be our voice. If we don't like it, we can elect new representatives." He wanted to get TJ to agree, to corner him. C'mon, motherfucker, he wanted to say, you're wearing a fucking congressman on your tits.

TJ, though, had other ideas. "The Congress can't get anything done."

"That's because Republicans-" But it was futile, as such discussions are.

"You know that the states have rights," TJ explained. "Article 5 of the Constitution says that 3/5 of the states can call a convention to amend the Constitution. Don't you think that's a good idea?"

The Rude Pundit was at a crossroads. Did he engage and tell TJ how he was factually wrong? Did he say that he thought it would be a good idea, as Lawrence Lessig has proposed, to have such a convention to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of the politics? Did he tell TJ that he was barking mad?

Nah. He bailed. "I see someone waving for me to go." TJ tried to get him to come to a meeting. By that point, the Rude Pundit was out of the tent and back to his wandering.

When we passed the anti-choice organization's tent, with fetus dolls available to touch (although he doesn't know if they were giving them away, like at the North Dakota State Fair), the Rude Pundit wasn't inclined to engage. Besides, it was nearly time for the pig races, and, goddamn, if those little potbellied bacon-makers weren't adorable running around a little track and jumping into water.

Yeah, fairs are prime ground for political candidates to show they are one with the people. And, no, it wasn't exactly the Missouri State Fair's rodeo clown with Obama's face. But, with the Democratic Party hidden among the commercial booths and no progressive groups represented, not even an organization that wants to keep fracking waste out of the state, the blatant rightward tilt of the event was more full of shit than the pig pens.

Oh, yeah. That guy up there? That worried eagle was carved out of part of a tree by a chainsaw artist. The Rude Pundit would like to think that the eagle is concerned about a nation that is fine with the government being able to spy on it but is nervous about one that helps provide health care. More likely, though, is that the eagle is supposed to be thinking, "Wait, they elected a black man president? Twice?"

(Tip of the rude hat to reader RHS for the North Dakota story.)


Louisiana Tries to Kill Death Row Inmates the Natural Way:
Here's one you might not have heard about: So, at Angola, the state penitentiary nestled in the muggy taint of south Louisiana, death row inmates are kept in a cell block of tiers that don't have air conditioning or proper ventilation. They were built in 2006, one of the newest parts of Angola. The temperature gets to 90 to 110 degrees inside during the summer. The prisoners must stay in their cells 23 hours a day. Three inmates with health conditions that are exacerbated by heat filed a complaint, saying it violated their rights under the American With Disabilities Act, as well as being cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution. The trial, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections and the wardens as defendants, just wrapped up this week.

During the trial, it was revealed that officials at Angola tried to skew independent monitoring of the heat levels. "[P]rison officials installed window awnings and tried blasting the tiers’ outer walls with water cannons to attempt to lower the indoor temperatures" in direct violation of a court order. The appalled judge said that the prison was either a bunch of stumblefucks or they were deliberately tampering with evidence. Judge Brian Jackson is going to visit the tiers himself on Monday.

Essentially, the state of Louisiana is torturing its prisoners on death row. And the reaction, as you might expect, has been shrugged shoulders and mumbles of how the criminals are getting what they deserve. If you believe that, you are a fucking animal. (Frankly, if you support capital punishment, you're a fucking animal, but let's not get into that argument today.)

Because, see, let's introduce you to Damon Thibodaux. He was released from Angola's death row after 15 years last September when DNA evidence exonerated him. That means that Thibodaux, an innocent man, was forced to endure not only the hell that is Angola, the hell that is imprisonment in isolation, but the searing, visceral, physical hell of years of living in an oven. That's why you don't torture.

By the way, the cost for a person sentenced to death, from incarceration to execution, is in the tens of millions of dollars. The cost to install air conditioning on Angola's death row? Probably around $550,000.


Why Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly Are Cunts (Racism and Sexism Edition):
In her latest "column" (if by "column," you mean "the skidmarks of the unclean soul"), Ann Coulter defends Bill O'Reilly from Lawrence O'Donnell, which, if you think about it, is a little like Rodan defending Godzilla from a Tokyo tank attack (interesting, "Tokyo tank attack" is one of the Rude Pundit's favorite new sexual positions, involving an asshole, a speculum, two mutually masturbating Japanese men and...well, do the math). See, O'Reilly said, shortly after the verdict acquitting George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin despite the fact that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Marton, that single black mothers are to blame for violent crime by black youths.

Thus spaketh O'Reilly: "White people don't force black people to have babies out of wedlock. That's a personal decision -- a decision that has devastated millions of children and led to disaster both socially and economically. So raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that -- again, it is a personal decision." At this point, to say that Bill O'Reilly says something ignorant and racist is like saying that Bill O'Reilly took a breath. Oh, and O'Reilly also blames the entertainment industry for making thugs look glamorous, which is something they totally never did in the salad days of Jimmy Cagney flicks.

Never one to let a blatantly hateful statement go unsupported, Coulter praises O'Reilly for speaking truth. She gives a bunch of history and statistics about how Lyndon Johnson ruined everything, lines that are just cut and paste jobs from her latest book (no, really, self-plagiarism is how she "writes" "her" "columns" and gets paid for them). She scratches, "Liberals keep using the bad consequences of their policies as an argument for more of the same policies. Government subsidies to unwed mothers increase the illegitimacy rate, which in turn leads to poverty, criminal behavior and more illegitimacy. So Democrats reverse cause and effect to claim it's the poverty that causes illegitimacy and then demand more payments to unwed mothers."

And O'Reilly concludes, "The solution to the epidemic of violent crime in poor black neighborhoods is to actively discourage pregnancies out of marriage, to impose strict discipline in the public schools, including mandatory student uniforms, and to create a zero tolerance policy for gun and drug crimes imposing harsh mandatory prison time on the offenders." Of course, the notion of institutional and societal racism having an effect here is completely lost on these conservative cockbiters.

Now you may be sane and think, "These two stupid fuckers are missing something big. But I can't put my finger on it."

Coulter says, "We know poverty does not cause illegitimacy." That's an argument you can have with Coulter if you enjoy chasing your tail around a tree. But here's the deal: we do know what prevents illegitimacy - sex education, access to birth control, and abortion.

Follow the bouncing ball of blatant obviousness here: If we take Coulter and O'Reilly at their word, then what would make for lower crime rates? Fewer criminals, all those bastards born to those wretched black single moms. And what would ensure that fewer babies are born? Well, shit, start with honest sex education, the kind that O'Reilly and Coulter oppose. Move on to access to birth control - at school or at, you know, Planned Parenthood - which O'Reilly and Coulter oppose. And if all else fails, make sure that women with unwanted children can get safe abortions, which O'Reilly and Coulter oppose, paid for by Medicaid, which would cause O'Reilly and Coulter's heads to explode like so many melons under Gallagher's novelty sledgehammer.

It's a cruel calculus, for sure, but it's only so for playing on the nutzoid right-wingers' field. Shit, Coulter says the solution is to go back to a time when women were required to have husbands in order to qualify for welfare. So who is being crueler? (Answer: Coulter.)

Oh, by the way, you know the other effect that the sex-ed/birth control/abortion axis of access would have? Many, many empowered black women not held back by unwanted children, which probably would cause O'Reilly and Coulter to head to the Fox "news" panic room to wait out the horrors, balling madly and frantically until Coulter, like a female praying mantis, bites O'Reilly's head off.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Go Kamikaze on a Bottle of Cold Sake:

At the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, AirVenture, a week of airplane-related events that just wrapped up on that humorously named town, people cheered "Tora! Tora! Tora!", which was an "aerial reenactment of Pearl Harbor." That was last Friday. Of course, Pearl Harbor didn't happen until December, but that never stopped Midwestern yahoo fucktards from getting their war on. It might have been a Day That Shall Live in Infamy, 9/11 before 9/11 was cool, but, goddamn, them explosions are pretty, like flowers of fire.

In Japan yesterday, people marked the 68th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. They had a moment of silence, released doves, prayed, declared peace, and lit paper lanterns.

One imagines that people in Oshkosh might feel it's a missed opportunity for a really cool fake nuking they can photograph with their iPhones.
Late Post Today:
The Rude Pundit must confront the forces of Death. 

Back later with more redemptive rudeness.


Washington Post's Marc Thiessen: Here's Some Conservative Lies That'll Scare Idiots:
In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the logical frog-leaps of a former Bush toady"), torture supporter and former Jesse Helms staff member Marc Thiessen (who was so much more interesting in drag as a teen girl named "Tiffani Amber" on Saved by the Bell) says that because people don't trust President Obama because of the IRS "scandal," national security will be harmed because Congress might pass rules governing NSA surveillance.

And if your reaction to that groin-pulling twist of irrationality isn't "The fuck?" then you are an idiot.

Let's get past this really quickly. Let's just bend Thiessen over his desk and give him a fast fisting, one that he'll obviously enjoy and then hate himself for enjoying:

He writes that the terrorism threat that has caused us to go bugnuts in Africa and Asia came from NSA spying. "Yet the House of Representatives just nearly stripped the NSA of one of its most vital terrorist surveillance tools," he says. Except the problem is that the surveillance tool that Congress almost regulated (but didn't) is the collection of metadata, not the listening in on foreign calls, which is where the bomb-happy "chatter" came from. In other words, Congress would have done nothing to hinder this latest freakout.

Thiessen says, "Many Americans see the IRS scandal as emblematic of an increasingly lawless administration." Except, of course, that there was no IRS scandal, unless you go probing the gooey folds of the minds of deranged teabaggers and Darrell Issa.

He attacks Obama because "Congress refused to pass Obama’s Dream Act, so Obama issued an executive order directing immigration officers to no longer deport an entire class of illegal immigrants who came here as children, regardless of individual circumstances, and to give them work-authorization permits."

Yet the truth of the matter is almost completely different: "The executive order taking advantage of prosecutorial discretion in deportation cases will cover individuals brought to the United States through no fault of their own before the age of 16 who have lived in the U.S. at least five years and have no criminal record. They must also have earned a high school degree or served in the military, and still be under 30. Those who meet the criteria can get deportation proceedings (or the threat of same) deferred for two years and seek work permits."

That's not "regardless of individual circumstances." That's "only in specific cases."

And on and on it goes, with Thiessen dropping faux examples of Obama's "lawlessness" like so many turds from a cow's ass, such as Obama's recess appointments when the House refused to recess but wasn't actually meeting, as well as the kind of executive actions that Thiessen supported when George W. Bush was his employer. Somehow, this all connects back to how Americans distrust the government when it comes to spying on them and then that will make al-Qaeda gleeful.

Marc, Marcy, Tiffani, baby, listen. Let the Rude Pundit coo in your ear: It is possible, nay, probable, that people can hold two thoughts in their heads. Yes, yes, obviously the small-headed fuckers who read and believe you don't count. But we can actually think that there is no IRS scandal and that NSA data collection is a problem. We can think that Obama is being sane on immigration and paranoid on security.

But, obviously, you have a lot of lying to do, and, fortunately, the Washington Post's editorial page to do it on.


A Brief Note on a Death (A Follow-Up)

A Brief Note on a Death (A Follow-Up):
(This is about a situation I first described on June 19.)

I was bruised, bleeding, and soaked as I walked into New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia on Thursday's rainy afternoon. I headed up to the surgical ICU and saw Mary's exhausted sister and mother. They could barely speak. I offered my sympathy and asked when it was going to happen. "Saturday," her sister answered. They were just headed out to get coffee. "I'm glad you're here," Mary's sister said. "She'll be happy to have the company." She pointed out where to get the gloves and gown and then pushed her wheelchair-bound mother away. I looked at Mary in the bed and instantly wished that I hadn't come. But if I had stayed away, then I would have regretted not coming. Mary would have appreciated that: we had been in more than one situation at work where there was no good answer and no good outcome.

She did end up getting the liver transplant a few days after I wrote about Mary. What followed were weeks of ups and downs, as these things go. We weren't allowed to visit during that period. Her immune system had been weakened by years of battling Epstein-Barr, and she was susceptible to infections. Even her family could be with her for only a few minutes a day. She ended up needing two more operations. It wasn't that her body was rejecting the liver. It was that everything else that came along with her illnesses prevented her from benefiting from her acceptance of it. In the end, the last words from her family were that she had pneumonia and then a bacterial infection and that she was in a coma and that her brain was no longer functioning and then "Saturday." Since there was no longer any chance of her getting sick from us, we could visit. But only covered up because we might catch something from her.

The poet visited on Wednesday. She didn't believe the nurse who said that Mary was in a vegetative state. The poet talked to her, told her jokes, gave her a bracelet from her daughter, saw a tear come out of one of Mary's eyes. The poet insisted that Mary could hear, that Mary was listening. And she believed for a moment that a doctor had said there was hope. There wasn't. But she left glad that she had sat with Mary and, over email, encouraged several of us to go.

To say that Mary looked awful would be a vast understatement. She was a nightmare, a distorted image of herself. Gaunt from weeks without eating, her skin was an even deeper greenish yellow; her eyes were half open, fixed, sunken, surrounded by dark purple bruising, and coated with lubricant gel because she couldn't blink; her mouth hung limply open with a trach tube coming out. She was a vessel of air and fluids being pumped in, pumped out. She was a corpse being forced alive by machines.

I sat down and started talking because I couldn't think of anything else to do. I talked about a few things, I thanked her for helping me when she was the chair of the department, I told her that she would be missed, that I would miss her, and then I realized that I was talking to myself. I felt foolish, even a bit angry, unable to allow myself the thought that she could hear, knowing that people have to believe the things that get them through tragedy and that perhaps it's pessimistic of me to merely believe in what I can see. She wasn't there. I wasn't talking to her. And this sight of her was now going to compete with others when I remember her. I pulled off the gown and gloves, told her "Goodbye" and "Peace," and left.

On Saturday, the time of disconnection was 10:30 am. I received an email that "It shouldn't be long." I reloaded my email constantly for the next few hours until, about 2:30 pm, I got the simple message: "It is over." On Thursday, she will be buried.

There are very few people you can say this about, and, yes, even though, as I said in my last post about Mary, we were close, but not very close, she was a genuinely good person in a shitty world, the kind whose absence will be felt, who deserved far, far better than she got, dead at 42.

Last Thursday, when I walked out of the subway station at 168th Street to go to the hospital, thinking about what I was walking into, I didn't notice that the exit to the sidewalk had a step down. I tripped and fell forward, landing on my right knee and my hands. I used my hands to bounce off the sidewalk and twist around so that I came to rest on my back, on the wet concrete, rain falling down, mentally checking if anything was broken, wondering if I should take it as a sign to just turn around and leave, thinking how completely awful this day had become. People walked around me until a thin man came over to me and bent over. "Are you okay, man?" I asked him to grab my umbrella, which had flown out of my hands. He got it as I rose off the ground. He came back over and said, "I just wanna make sure: Are you okay?"

I stared at him for a moment and said, "I'm going to see a friend. She's dying."

He handed me the umbrella. I thanked him. "But are you okay?" he asked.

A couple of tears coming down, my knee throbbing, I said, "My friend is going to die" before limping towards the building.


Dear Russia: Thanks for Snowden; Now Go Fuck Yourself

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Ted Cruz Still Needs to Be Ditched:
Here's an anecdote that was related to the Rude Pundit: Freshmen at Princeton University are encouraged to take part in the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip, a six-day camping adventure with your fellow incoming students. When he was a young man from Texas, future senator Ted Cruz decided to go on this bonding experience. However, someone who was in the same group as him said that Cruz was such an unrepentant dickhead that several people on the trip discussed ditching him in the woods. Think about that: How do you become that dude? How big a prick do you have to be for Princeton students, some of the most privileged pricks in the country, to think, "Oh, fuck this guy. Let's leave him to the wolves"? And then for a couple of them to actually contemplate the possibility?

The answer, as has become amply clear to the nation at large and Republican Party in particular, is "exactly as big a prick as Ted Cruz is."

Because, at this point, with Senator Cruz polling at or near the top of the pack for the 2016 GOP nomination for president (2016 already, fer fuck's sake), with Cruz or reactions to Cruz (and stoned masturbator Rand Paul) dominating the media narrative about the Republican Party, with Cruz himself more or less calling his colleagues in his caucus a bunch of punks who would let Barack Obama fuck their prone asses if he wanted to, you can bet that Tom Coburn and Bob Corker are seriously talking about how to ditch Cruz in the ideological forest before he finally leads everyone off a cliff and onto sharp rocks below so vultures and cougars can devour them.

And why are Republicans, according to Cruz, "scared" and "defeatist" members of a "surrender caucus"? Because they won't take a mighty stand against the implementation of Obamacare by threatening to shut down the government unless President Obama agrees to shitcan the legislation.

Cruz says that Republicans need to turn the rhetoric around on who would be responsible for a government shutdown. They should say, "We’ve got to stand up and make the argument and win the argument that, ‘No, that’s not true. We have voted to fund the federal government. We want to fund the federal government. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government? Because he wants force Obamacare down people’s throats.'"

You got that? It's like a kidnapper saying to his hostage's family, "No, we have offered to free your son. We want to release your son. Why are you getting him killed by not paying the ransom?" Jesus, bastard that he is, at least in 1995 Newt Gingrich owned that he was causing the the government shutdown. At least he was willing to say, "Yeah, it's me shooting the hostage."

The Affordable Care Act is a law passed by a previous Congress. If you want to repeal it, then fuckin' get the votes to do it, with enough votes to override a veto. But if you want to know the pussy level of hardball that Cruz is playing, look at what else he said: "In order to win this fight, we need to get 41 Republicans in the Senate to make the same commitment."

That's how degraded the Senate has become. Triumph is merely being able to throw your body in the way while being bullied by some Texas yahoo with an inflated sense of self-worth.

Which, if you think about it, is how we got into this mess in the first place.