The Health Care Debate: Abortion as the Last Arrow:
So during the endless discussion over what was going to be part of the health care reform bill coming out of the House of Representatives, some Blue Dog Democrats voiced their fear that hard-earned cash money from them or their constituents might be used to pay for eeeevil abortions in any public health insurance exchange. So Representative Lois Capps, Democrat from California, proposed an amendment in committee. That amendment said, in so many words, "Okay, fuckers, you're so worried about a totally legal medical procedure? How about this: the only way the public health insurance option can pay for an abortion with federal funds is under the ways allowed by the backwards-ass Hyde Amendment from way back when. That means the usual trio: rape, incest, mother's life in danger. And, just to make sure your precious tax dollars, which you have no problem being used for killing civilians in wars, don't in any way, shape, or form go for abortions, we'll set it up so that the public option and the private insurance companies in the big-ass exchange can't use any federal money for abortions, only the premiums paid in by individual members. So, in other words, not a single federal dollar will pay for an un-Hyde abortion. Good?"

The amendment passed the Energy and Commerce Committee and was included in the final bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced yesterday. And it does, indeed, explicitly ban federal funds from being used for abortions, except as the Hyde Amendment allows.

So, of course, the pro-lifers all over the political map have declared that the bill is "mandating abortion services."

See, the way that these anti-choice conservatives see it, even if no federal tax dollars are ever used for abortion, the simple fact that any of the plans in the exchange cover abortion means that federal funds would be used for, say, colds and cancer and paper clips, thus evilly freeing up other money to be used for abortions. Or, as an amendment pro-life Democrats, led by Michigan's Bart Stupak, are demanding be voted on in the House says, no federal funds may be used "to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion" except in cases of the trio mentioned above. And that goes even if one plan out of, say, a dozen in the exchange covers abortion.

You got that? Even though tax money can't be used for abortions, the right is gonna say it's being used indirectly for abortions, thus it's being used for abortions. It's like saying that if you and your buddy go to a strip club and he decides to get a lap dance, his girlfriend says it's your fault he came home with sticky pants.

In the next week, this is where the battle is gonna be. Sure, a lot is gonna be made about the price tag, but that'll fade, as will the stupidity over the actual, physical size of the bill. But, you know, we're an idiotic nation that has a juvenile discomfort with women's bodies and the rights that we can't seem to understand are settled law.


In Brief: A Couple of More Notes Regarding Obama's Visit to Dover Air Force Base:
1. The comment page over at the Fox "news" website is actually fairly interesting on this subject and way more nuanced than you'd stereotype it as being. (Thanks to rude reader Richard X for the tip.) Of course, much douchebaggery is to come, no doubt.

2. Still, the only criticism out there so far is over whether or not this was a photo op. Of course it was. But the problem with those who are saying so is that they don't understand what for. It ain't a traditional one. C'mon - there's no way this becomes the basis for any fundraising or campaign for Obama or any Democrat. No, it serves a different purpose:

In the days before announcing his approach on the Afghan conflict, Barack Obama is demonstrating that he owns this "war" now. And that the caskets are being filled on his watch.

Or, to put it simply, the images of Obama at Dover show a young president nutting up to all responsibilities he has been given. That's called, you know, leadership.

3. And, in doing so, Obama is also reminding all of us that the "war" is not an abstraction. There's a cost. And how much more are we willing to pay for what seems like only a return in coffins.
Photos That Remind You Why:

The Rude Pundit can't wait to hear how conservative nutzoids spin as something terrible President Barack Obama's visit to Dover Air Force Base to salute the dead soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

'Cause they will. 'Cause that's what they do. This, however, is what the President does.


The "War" In Afghanistan Is Over:
Okay, enough. We've tolerated this "war" in Afghanistan long enough. Both of the conflicts started by the Bush administration were the arrogant indulgences of a bloated, louche empire in decline. Like wealthy, young Victorian Brits who went off for a couple of years to Africa or India for an adventure among the brown people, this white colonial expedition is nothing more than a pathetic projection of putative power, and, like those Brits, some of whom made fortunes exploiting the lands and others who returned horribly scarred and dismembered, it's time to admit we're spread too thin and that if we haven't failed yet, failure, however long deferred, is merely the inevitable outcome of a mission that was doomed from day one.

Bush fucked it up from the start in making it a "war." He tossed a bunch of goals into a big muck pit instead of doing shit one thing at a time. What should have started as an international criminal pursuit of those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, followed by any military action, if necessary, began as "bomb the fuck out of 'em." Here's the thing: you bomb the fuck out of people who are used to having the fuck bombed out of them then your fucking bombs aren't really going to do much of anything.

But we indulged, on the left, on the right, no, not everyone, but most of us, because of a very human desire for revenge. What that "most" didn't recognize was how irrational it was. And when the invasion of Iraq happened, Afghanistan became that white noise in the background, and we had another, more comfortable target to use as evidence of the irrationality of the previous American regime.

Afghanistan long ago stopped being the "good war," if it ever was, in comparison to Iraq. It's barely a "war" at all. A war is an army fighting an army. The Taliban is a bunch of vaguely organized zealots who make the Vietcong look like the Redcoats. And the United States is merely in the middle of a long and violent internal conflict there, as former Foreign Service Officer Matthew Hoh said upon resigning over the "war." In other words, we are no longer there to pursue al-Qaeda, which is everywhere, including in the United States and Europe; we are invaders propping up a corrupt system we like over the corrupt one we don't. (Which is pretty much par for the course for American foreign policy.) Besides, Afghanistan isn't really a country. It's turf for competing drug gangs. It's time for some in the government and the public to stop thinking that it's like Japan or Germany. Fuck, at this point, Vietnam would be an improvement.

That means President Obama needs to smack down General Stanley McChrystal and his request for tens of thousands of new troops, which might have done something eight years ago. You don't get do-overs. You get to do and then be done. Frankly, it's disgusting to even entertain the idea that a surge would succeed in anything. As the recent bombing in Iraq demonstrated, if fuckin' people wanna fight, if fuckin' people have been fighting forever, they're gonna fight, no matter how long they have to wait to do it. We can keep building thicker walls with the bodies of our soldiers and their citizens, but those will be breached.

The right dithers over whether or not President Obama is dithering, forgetting that George W. Bush took four weeks to decide how to go after the people who attacked us in 2001, and the casualties mount in Afghanistan. Here in the United States, we keep talking about whether or not we can afford health care for all (or funds for education or job programs or infrastructure). Hearing people talk about raising the bet on the "war" is like listening to your bankrupt brother justify why he should pay his cable bill before he buys healthy meals for his kids.

We're not the nation we were in 2001. We are a shadow of that country. We have been chastened. We haven't been defeated. We have defeated ourselves. It's time to admit it, withdraw, and start to heal within.


Hey, There's a Senate Health Care Bill That Doesn't Suck:
In the scheme of things, on the already rigged-to-the-right playing field that we were given, Senator Harry Reid's announcement yesterday that the Senate version of the health care reform bill will contain a public option, with the stupid-states-can-bail opt-out clause, was actually a victory of sorts for the left. Sure, sure, the whole public option debate is about a moderately conservative approach to getting insurance to the uninsured. But, at this point in the degraded American health care system, we could very well have had a bill that said the insurance companies couldn't walk into hospital rooms, shoot patients in the head, and fuck the bullet hole in front of their families. Of course, had such a bill been offered, progressives would be told to suck it up, that it's reform, that at least fewer people would have their head wounds fucked by insurers and isn't that an improvement?

So, relative to the terms of the debate, this is one small, sweet success for the left in the Democratic Party. It's an in-yer-fookin-gob moment to the teabaggers, their faux movement, and their remora-like politicians and media figures. They've been marginalized and shoved out of the debate for the time being.

Of course, for some, as with any perceived victory by liberals, it's just weakness and pandering on the part of Congressional supporters. In a pathetically sad column, Dana Milbank goes after Harry Reid, saying that his announcement of the bill is more about propping up his re-election bid than about doing the right thing. Milbank writes, "As Democratic aides described it, the moment had less to do with health-care policy than with Nevada politics -- and one vulnerable senator's justifiable fear of liberal anger."

Earlier in the column, Milbank says, "For Reid, it was an admission of the formidable power of liberal interest groups." For Milbank, the only path was bipartisanship. In a September column, he described Max Baucus as "one of the last serious men in town" while chiding Republicans for not supporting the Baucus "no public option" bill. Milbank does not note in his current bit of Washington Post dribble that Baucus seems to approve of Reid's move, even if it means bye-bye, Olympia Snowe. Milbank would rather go with the cynical spin than hold two thoughts in his head at once, that maybe it's both the best plan to go forward and a boost to Reid's chances in 2010.

There's a notion implicit in what Milbank is saying, beyond his clinging to the bipartisan ghost, that, if liberal groups support what Reid said, it will fail. Milbank mocks Reid for not being sure if he has the votes to pass the legislation. It presupposes something else: that liberals are wrong. It's what much of the media always presupposes, that if liberals want something, it must be against the interests of the country because it's not "moderate" (which really means "conservative"). Somebody's power was gonna be asserted in the bill - left, right, corporate. You just want to raise your hand and say, "Umm, can you tell us what we on the left were wrong about in the last decade or so? No, really, what have you got?" All Milbank has is snide, oh-so-insider-y insinuation and worthless failure-mongering.

The other reason that Reid said he had a bill done is because shit needs to move forward. The clock's running out on the Congress. So next up: the House bill and then the clusterfuck. Because the bill's gonna be swarmed with members of Congress proposing amendments like starving locusts discovering a field of tasty wheat. Look for a vicious fight over abortion because it's the last thing the right's got to reanimate its zombie hordes.

Still, for a moment here, and against the sayers of nay, like Milbank (not to mention the insanitoid rantings from the actual right wing), we can be satisfied that progressives didn't roll over, that we stood strong, and that we were able to push that fucking boulder of health care reform forward. The question remaining is whether we're Hercules or Sisyphus.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
Yes, the Rude Pundit did say that Olympia Snowe had "mad fellatio skillz" on national radio. The discussion of the subject between the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller is merely a pretext, of course, a groin-throbbing dance of projected lust.

You can, you know, subscribe to the Rude Pundit podcast. You've made it one of the top political podcasts on PodBean. Can we stop saying "pod" now?
President Obama Needs to Deny Olympia Snowe:
"Olympia Snowe knows how to suck a dick," Max Baucus must have told President Barack Obama at some point during a meeting in September as Sheldon Whitehouse nodded knowingly. "She'll do down on you like a Hoover set on deep pile."

"And she does not neglect the balls," Kent Conrad probably offered in support of Baucus's assertion.

Ben Nelson must have slowly suggested to the President, "She'll totally blow you. She said so. But, you know, you have to give her what she wants."

Armed with this information about Senator Snowe's prowess at fellatio and the promise of its use on his penis, Obama surely made a decision on how to approach the health care debate: stay committed to the process of reform, but behind the scenes make sure that Snowe gets what she wants. Indeed, whenever it seemed like the path might stray from Snowe's trigger to an actual public option on health insurance, one could assume that Snowe called Obama to say something like, "I just bought knee pads and mint Chapstick," which would more than likely send chills down to Obama's loins in anticipation of the mythical mouth-mounting of Olympia.

Really, and, c'mon, the promise of a blow job is as good a reason as any for the Obama White House's continuing attempts to keep the Maine Republican on the health care reform train in order to please the chimeric beast of bipartisanship. Because if you were the President with insurmountable majorities in both houses of Congress, wouldn't you just say, "Here's what I want"?

Instead, in reaction to rumors that Obama was discouraging any public option approach that is not the Snowe trigger, we get this punk ass statement of shit-that-changes-nothing from the White House. "President Obama made clear that he supports the public option," says Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "That continues to be the President's position."

However, the very next paragraph seems to be from some different piece. Because the logical thing for the White House to say is something like "The President wants the final bill to contain a robust public option." But, no. Instead, it's this bullshit that could be about any bill being hammered out in the Senate: "Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate. President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate."

What the fuck does that even mean? It says nothing. What's the measure of effectiveness? What is success? There is absolutely no connection between that paragraph and the one preceding it that says Obama is all about the public option. What prevents the White House from saying he wants it?

Sure, you can make the argument that having Snowe on board gives conservative Democrats a way to cover their asses in supporting health care reform. But that's worthless with the news that the idea of allowing states to opt out of participating in a federal government-run health insurance program is what the Seante bill will contain.

Remember: 60 votes in the Senate is about cloture on debate. It is avoiding a filibuster. A Senator can vote to end debate but vote against the actual bill (as Democrats did all the time during the Republican majority in the Bush administration).

Which gets us back to Olympia Snowe's skills as a cockgobbler. If Obama doesn't explicitly support the Senate or House bills, each with some version of a real public option and not the worthless trigger, then you'll know he values political face-fucking over promises.


Monday Morning Means the Rude Pundit on The Stephanie Miller Show (and a Quick Thanks):
Every Monday at 9:30 am ET/6:30 am PT, the Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller get a room together. Well, a radio studio, actually. And, you know, most times, she's in Los Angeles while he's in NYC. But it's like being in a room with Stephanie Miller and two other guys. Okay, just fucking listen.

A quick note: This is a special thanks to those who sent snail mail love from as far away as Australia during last month's fundraiser to that address on the side. It was like when the Rude Grandma would send care packages, although the letters usually smelled like peppermint schnapps.


Photos That Make Christian Conservative Brains Short Out:

Yes, the photo, of Barack Obama becoming the first American president to publicly celebrate the Hindu holiday of Diwali, is about a week old, but the reaction to it from the nutzoid right wing is as steamy fresh as a new cow pie in a Vermont meadow on an October morning.

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit received his weekly prayer job orders from the Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team. The Rude Pundit signed up for the Super-Duper Prayer Team under a nom de rude, and every Wednesday, he gets a list o' crap what needs the prayin'. This week, amidst a whole buncha prayers about stopping the homosexuals from making America friendly to, you know, homosexuals, there was this shocking news from the aptly-named Newsweek: "As the ethereal sounds of a Hindu priest's chanting of this Sanskrit prayer from ancient Hindu scripture filled the East Room, President Obama lit the ceremonial White House diya --and he used this Sanskrit word for lamp ... Never before had a sitting U.S. President personally celebrated the Diwali holiday..."

Aw, motherfuck. And here we thought he was Muslim. This is gonna require some prayer. And here's what the Super-Duper Prayer Team was told to intone to the right god: "May God open the eyes of our President and the American people to understand the cost of diminishing the God of our Fathers and our nation's Christian heritage, while honoring foreign gods and promoting other religions and rituals. May God protect us from confusion to come if our leaders begin to promote a pantheon of gods."

Now, you might think, "Umm, wasn't Jesus from, like, the Middle East? Doesn't that make him, like, a 'foreign god'?" Sorry, there, gal or dude with your little thinkin' head. "God" is an American God, motherfuckers, and he is Christian, whether he likes it or not.

As usual with our prayerturbation orders, we're given a bunch of bible verses to inspire us. Here, among the usual Ten Commandments and shit, we get 1 Kings 2-11. That describes how King Solomon was led astray from Big American God by several of his women. See, the very verses mentioned tell us, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. How the hell are we supposed to get past that to even think about praying?

For other fun, there's also this snark from the Washington Times: "America's minority religions certainly are getting a nice reception at the White House these days." And plenty of blogs and forums lost their shit over the lighting of a lamp.

This is not an endorsement of such things. Indeed, there should be no public ceremonies of any faith at the White House. But it's always a wonder what sets off the right, from the smallest gestures. You know who liked it? India. You know who organized it? Kal Penn. Goddamn, is there nothing Kumar can't do?


Why Ann Coulter Is a Cunt, Part 45,307 (with a Note on Fox "news" Biases):
You know how you know you've become completely and utterly irrelevant as a writer? When you're still arguing a twenty year-old point. For in her latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "a neo-Norma Desmond's diary of utter madness"), Ann Coulter re-re-re-re-argues the Willie Horton ad from the Bush the Less Stupid vs. Dukakis campaign of 1988. Why? Because Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews said it first. No, seriously, Coulter, who is at this point just a twig-shaped dildo specially designed to fit Sean Hannity's ass, spends half her weekly column on her spin on the "facts" of the Horton case only because Olbermann and Matthews mentioned it in passing while discussing Fox "news" and its anti-Obama bias.

The Rude Pundit won't waste time and space to dispute Coulter's ranting except to say this: At this point, twenty years on, at least be honest about it. Coulter says, "The Bush campaign commercial about Dukakis' furlough program never showed a picture of Horton. In fact, the actors playing 'criminals' passing through a revolving door in the ad were all white" (screeching emphasis is all Ann). The problem is that when people say, "Willie Horton ad," as Olbermann and Matthews did, they're not referring to the Bush campaign's revolving door ad, which doesn't mention Willie Horton. No, they're more than likely referring to the Willie Horton ad, the ad that's about Willie Horton, that features two pictures of Willie Horton. (If she were a real writer or if her syndicate gave a shit about anything but the meager bit of cash she still brings them, it's really the kind of factual error that demands a correction.)

But it's pathetic, really, truly, in a "Look at the rabbits, Lenny" kind of way, how now, with Ted Kennedy dead and the Chappaquiddick arrows gone, Coulter's quiver of reference points is getting emptier and emptier. All she's really got left is passive aggressive Bill Clinton sex remarks. Reading her columns these days, now that she's been out-batshitted by Glenn Beck and out-babed by Sarah Palin, is not unlike listening to a toothless meth addicted woman at a bar tell you how hot she used to be and won't you please let her suck your dick for a dollar.

Coulter was ostensibly writing about how Fox "news" is not really biased against the Obama administration. She says, "The Obama administration has attacked Fox News in order to prevent government corruption stories broken on Fox from bleeding into the other media, which are all-consumed with daily updates on Levi Johnston's Playgirl spread and Carrie Prejean's breast implants." It's almost depressingly obvious to say that, according to Nexis, while CNN actually did have stories air repeatedly (mostly the same report) on those topics, MSNBC and Fox had the same amount on Johnston, and Fox had more stories than MSNBC on Prejean's tits.

Regarding this whole kerfuffle over whether the White House saying that Fox "news" isn't really a news outlet, but a propaganda wing of the Republican Party, was this up for discussion? Considering what whiny little bitches Fox people have been about the whole thing, it's pretty damn hilarious that what the Obama administration ended up revealing is not that the President has thin skin. No, it showed that Fox and its hosts and reporters and, by extension, Rupert Murdoch are faux bullies: one little nudge and these pussies go running around telling everyone that they were pushed down.

By the way, the fucking strangest thing in Coulter's column? This description of Daily Kos's founder: "Frito Bandito-accented Markos Moulitsas." Not even remotely true. Criticize away on Markos. Hell, have at it as racist as you like, if that's your thing. But at least pretend like you're actually listening. Oh, wait, that's right. Facts are to Ann Coulter as coyote piss is to deer.


Pat Buchanan Hearts the Oath Keepers, Does Not Heart Black People:
While one should not advocate kicking an old man in the nuts, neither should one advocate not kicking an old man in the nuts. Especially when that old man is Pat Buchanan. For surely, some great, karmic justice would be fulfilled if somebody walked onto the set during one of the 28 hours a day Buchanan's on as an analyst on MSNBC and used a steel-toed boot to just swiftly kick his pendulous balls into his gelatinous gut, if only to hear him cry out as he curled onto the floor and vomited.

Why does a sad, racist, self-aggrandizing abettor of criminals get to spout off constantly and then get treated like some beloved elder statesman or a charming curmudgeon with candy in his pockets? The man wrote speeches for Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon. For that reason alone, this prideful Catholic bastard will get to live an eternity in Hell inside a shit smoker. He has, throughout his career, been a Nazi apologist. And while the left delighted in his isolationist stand against the Iraq War, that also means he's anti-immigrant and myriad other things not so fucking delightful. Plus, if he hadn't been on the fucking ballot in Florida during his filthy, hateful, egotistical presidential run, we wouldn't have had George W. Bush to kick us in our collective American taint.

Now, once again, Buchanan has written a column where he says, more or less, America would be a dandy place if all these niggers and immigrants weren't fucking it up for us white people. Talking about the new strain of radical "activism" (meaning: shouting) in "white working-class voters," Buchanan boils it all down: "In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates." You got to give it to the Nazi bastard - he blames everyone for keeping the man down.

And Buchanan seems to indicate that Fox "news" has got their blood all hetted up: "They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on – then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship." The solution there might be to stop watching cable TV, but, hey, then they'd have to talk to their families and they're only good for punchin'.

Of course, if you're gonna play Texas Drag 'Em, you may as well go all in: "Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama." Buchanan concludes, "America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right." Somewhere in Oklahoma, a Kiowa dude is slapping his head and wishing he'd thought of that.

Buchanan's new role models for super-great Americanism are the Oath Keepers. It's a new group started by ex-military people who are organizing citizens under an ultra-paranoid version of what might happen in the future. They're like teabag protesters on steroids. It's sort of like when you're watching a gay rights parade and the leather contingent comes walking by. Hell, the Oath Keepers have even hooked up with the 9/12ers for an upcoming cotillion.

And these Oath Keepers have come up with a whole big list o' shit what they will not do, "Orders We Will Not Obey." Most of it is just stuff you nod and say, "Sure," like talking to a child who says, "When the evil monster comes out from under my bed, I'm gonna kill it with my laser gun." What are you gonna do? Argue that the kid should use the crossbow instead? So when the big boss Oath Keeper, Stewart Rhodes, who is keepin' oaths more hardcore than anyone else, writes, "We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps," one can only say, "Will it get you out of the house so you can get some fresh air on weekends? Then have at."

But what Buchanan is supporting is actually a group that claims to be there to defend the Constitution no matter what while seeming to forget shit like, oh, the Supreme Court, which the Constitution says decides what the Constitution means. And while Buchanan may write, "[T]he reflexive reaction of the mainstream media will likely be that these are militia types, driven to irrationality because America has a black president," well, the Oath Keepers are a bunch of armed people from the military and law enforcement who believe in a paranoid vision of America's future who have organized during the beginning of the administration of the first black president. The mainstream media's not exactly making a big damn leap there.

The Oath Keepers vow, "We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union." And if it ever comes to a case where Texas, say, goes nutsier, and the Supreme Court declares that this radical interpretation of the 10th Amendment is wrong, which part of the Constitution will they keep an oath to?

Pat Buchanan loves a bunch of armed crazy people fellating their guns and hoping for go time. How much less credible could this jowly fucker get?


Britney Spears Has No Problem With Interracial Relationships:

You may ask, and well you should, "What the fuck?" The fuck is that that's Britney Spears up there kissing some handsome black dude named Columbus Short, a name you can forget now. Britney, bitch, is from Kentwood, Louisiana, where her family still lives. Which is in Tangipahoa Parish. Which is where Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell refused to sign a marriage license for white Beth Humphrey and black Terence McKay. About which Bardwell said, "I'm not a racist." He marries black couples, he says. He worries about possible interracial children because, one may assume, they blacken up the gene pool and might trick white people into thinking they're just extra tan.

To their credit, Senator Mary Landrieu, a white Democrat, and Governor Bobby Jindal, a not-white Republican, have condemned Bardwell and called on him to be fired. And if they wanted to get married, Bardwell would so not allow it.

But, shit, isn't Bardwell just doing what pharmacists and others have been allowed to do? State legislatures have legalized "freedom of conscience" for some medical professionals. If your man behind the counter at your town's only Walgreen's can say he won't fill your birth control prescription because if Jesus wants a whore to get pregnant, that fuckin' whore is gettin' pregnant, then Bardwell ought to be able to keep his job. Oh, right. Because that's what his fucking job is. Just like any medical professionals who want the right to refuse to treat someone or fill a prescription that they don't like, if you signed up to do a job, you do the job. If you don't like it, go into another career.

The Rude Pundit's been drunk many times in Tangipahoa Parish. There's great food there, but, shit, it's Louisiana. Places that don't serve great food get justifiably burned to the ground. Hammond is a shitty small city with a decent state college and a crappy mall that mostly serves as a piss stop along I-12. The town of Independence has a wacky Italian festival every year. Ponchatoula is fucking charming. Mostly, the races live together just fine in happy isolation from each other. You get shitfaced in some bar in tiny, rural craphole towns like Roseland or Amite, places, like Kentwood, with majority black populations, and you'll hear every complaint about black people you ever thought whites could make. But talking shit mostly stays in the beer puddles on the tables. Racists talk a good game, but they're almost all cowardly fuckers who won't ever act.

There were at least 24 recorded lynchings of black men in this parish with a relatively small population between 1879 and 1917. Lafayette Parish, which has always had roughly twice the number of people, had 4. Not something to be proud of, just a point of comparison. Kentwood, Britney's hometown, had a major Confederate army recruiting and training center. The history's there. What lies under the surface has a zombie-like way of returning to engorge once again.

The near unanimity of condemnation of Bardwell has been encouraging. Tangipahoa Parish has been "inundated" with calls of protest. Another Justice of the Peace in the parish, Terri Crosby, had mixed-race grandparents. She finds what happened an anomaly, saying to CNN, "I could never believe that this area is racist, no. I think that this is the most fair, loving people." She married the (now) McKays.

By the way, at least into the 1980s, if you were 1/32 black (which means back five generations, some white slave owner raped a slave in your family), you were considered black under Louisiana law. They like their white people lily.

In other words, this is just a fucking mess. But at least we've reached a point where, when some backwards ass country fuck of an official drawls shit like, "It's kind of hard to apologize for something that really, truly down in your heart, you don't feel like you've done wrong," as Bardwell has said, and others try to defend him by saying he's not racist (best line: Bardwell said that he's allowed black people to use his bathroom), most people line up to say it's wrong. Now, will they have the guts to actually fire him before he does this again, especially since he's done it before and he obviously has some fucked principle he's operating under?

As for Britney Spears, well, she almost married a dude from Afghanistan. So maybe the people of her home parish can take comfort in her forward thinking about fucking non-white guys. She speaks for all of us when she sings, "I have no chains around me, baby, can't you see?/ I could be anything you dream of but I gotta feel free." Truer words, homegirl, truer words.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
Oh, how the flu gives some women a sexy cigarette-and-whiskey gravel to their voices. But even through the Debra Winger hue of Stephanie Miller's words, she and the Rude Pundit talk about the magic of gays in the military and just why Rush Limbaugh is still alive.

As ever, you can subscribe to the Rude Pundit podcast and pass it on to friends so you can pop their rude cherries.
Fuckin' Balloon Boy, Motherfuckers:
Man, all the Rude Pundit wants to hear about is Balloon Boy. He wants Balloon Boy confessing or vomiting on an endless loop, an entire fucking network devoted to every fucked second in Balloon Boy's next few weeks. Nothing but motherfucking Balloon Boy. He wants to see footage from other shows that demonstrate what a little shithead or innocent victim of mean ol' parents Balloon Boy might be now that we know he's not Dead-on-the-Ground Boy. He wants body language analysts, legal experts, balloonists (is that the right fucking word?), all talking about Balloon Boy because what we learned the last few days is that nothing is more important than Balloon Boy.

He wants to know every fucking delicious tidbit about Balloon Boy's Fucked-Up Dad. Yeah, it's all of our business that Balloon Boy's Fucked-Up Dad is so fucked-up, to discover every YouTube video of him saying and doing stupid, fucked-up things in his desperate cry for attention, of his desire for a reality show called something like We Love Heene. Shit, yeah. Let's talk about the charges that might maybe be filed against him, let's get child abuse experts to tell us how putting a Balloon Boy in a box in the attic is so wrong when we all know that Balloon Boys should be soaring far above us all in their mighty silver balloons. (Although even the Rude Pundit's gotta admit: it's just brilliantly hilarious that Balloon Boy's Fucked-Up Dad might end up getting publicity for the greatest loony conspiracy theory out there, that the world is controlled by Reptilians, who are lizard-like aliens from the constellation Draco. No, really, people believe this shit, including, apparently, BBFUD.)

And now that they spent days on the tale of Balloon Boy and his distinct lack of riding in a balloon, the Rude Pundit wants the media to self-analyze whether or not they gave too much coverage to Balloon Boy. It's so worthwhile when they do that. Yes, he loves hearing Howie Kurtz ask mournfully, "[S]houldn't we be embarrassed that we've been sucked into this vortex?" not five minutes after saying, "I certainly don't think it was overplayed." Man, he can't wait for more of CNN patting itself on the back for getting Balloon Boy to confess to Wolf Blitzer. He can't wait for the rest of the media to be outraged at BBFUD for lying to them. How dare he? How dare the cops pretend not to be on to something? Who do they take the great and mighty media for? Ratings whores who go down on spectacle like it's a rich man's cock?

The Rude Pundit is anxiously looking forward to all the opinion pieces and acts of bloggery about what the saga of Balloon Boy and his fucked-up family tells us about this degraded society, where people with no discernible reason to be alive have television series about them. Oh, how they'll mourn how far we've fallen and how Balloon Boy's Fucked-Up Father and Fucked-Up Mother are just the natural endgame of our obsessive glory-seeking. Goddamn, how they'll mention Jon and Kate. It'll be awesome. After that, here come the Balloon-Boy-as-metaphor pieces. Writing about Obama's foreign policy? Health care debate? Fuckin' A, those can all have Balloon Boy images in 'em.

Hell, yeah. Balloon Boy, motherfuckers, is our new measure of a nation. And when we're done with Balloon Boy, let's get back to the real news, like who dicked over Rush Limbaugh's dreams of co-owning a shitty football team and why you shouldn't get the flu shot (mostly because it'll leave more for the rest of us).

And when you get a chance, watch Balloon Boy's boyless balloon floating around the Colorado sky. Turn off the sound and put on some French accordion music. You'll have the perfect sequel to The Red Balloon.


If It's Monday Morning, It's Stephanie Time:
Back at his usual time, the Rude Pundit will be rolling in the autumn hay with Stephanie Miller on her radio show at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT. It'll be like waiting for the Great Pumpkin with some sailors.


Cal Thomas Say That Gays Will Redecorate the Military:
When Cal Thomas is not miserably jacking off on his Michele Bachmann action figure, which he finds strangely less fulfilling than masturbating on his Sarah Palin rag doll, he's penning columns where the searing repression of his libido bursts forward in an effulgent spray of nonsense, lies, and unspoken desire. In his latest, "Don't ask, don't tell, and don't legitimize," Thomas, whose picture, really, and, c'mon, looks like a gayer Paul Lynde with a bad dye job, flails about in a strange attempt to justify legal discrimination against gays in the military.

Thomas writes, "That many heterosexuals find homosexual behavior immoral and not conducive to unit cohesion is of no concern to the social wrecking crew," which refers to, well, anyone who thinks that discrimination against gays and lesbians is wrong; we're social engineers, mad political scientists, and our goal? To make the military more fabulous. As Thomas says, "What gay activists apparently don't care about is the effect reshaping the military in their image would have on our ability to fight and defend the country." Just how will gays and lesbians "reshape" the military? Does he think Carson Kressley will be on 24-hour call?

After appearing to offer a seemingly rational discussion for a few paragraphs, where Thomas essentially says, "Let's leave it up to the majority which minorities should have rights," he can't hold back the open loathing: "The gays in the military and gay marriage issues are part of a broader attempt by liberals to restructure society. Social activists despise biblical morality (which heterosexuals could use a little more of, too), traditional values that have been proven to work when tried, and numerous other cultural mores. This is not an opinion." Which would be true, except that it is an opinion because, you know, "biblical morality" is more than just who you fuck and how and also "morality" is never made up of facts.

Thomas concludes with an odd position. Obama's election should not "be seen as an invitation to give blanket approval to homosexuality, considered by some to be against the best interests of the people who practice it, as well as the nations that accept it." Now, the Rude Pundit's not the global anthropologist that Thomas apparently is, but in the category of "nations that accept homosexuality" on the basis of military service or marriage/civil unions would be, you know, a good chunk of Europe and South America, as well as Canada, Israel, Japan, Australia, and lots of other hell holes that are being dragged under by the degradation of the scourge of the gay. "Nations that don't accept homosexuality" would be mostly like Uganda, Saudi Arabia, the Dominican Republic, North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, and Azerbaijan, places that Thomas apparently believes it would be in the "best interests" of the United States to imitate.

The Thomas column is just one of those nonsensical rants that have no basis in anything we might call "reality," and the fact that so many people in this country actually believe such bullshit just calls attention once more to what a juvenile fucking place this America still is. For these kinds of leaps of logic are what you see in children attempting to explain why clouds are what happens because giant sky dragons sneeze, no, really, it's sky dragons and you can't see them.

Every once in a while, one of these children meets a grown-up, as in the beautiful moment that happened in a California courtroom this week. In a hearing on the challenge to that state's Proposition 8 (which outlawed gay marriage), Judge Vaughan Walker asked the attorney for the Prop 8 people a simple question. Charles Cooper stated that marriage exists for people to have babies. Vaughan queried, "What is the harm to the procreation purpose you outlined of allowing same-sex couples to get married?" And, in one of the great hominah-hominah moments in the history of jurisprudence, Cooper responded, "My answer is, I don't know. I don't know," and then, from inside his coffin, he heard a hammer hitting a nail.

Back at his office, slapping his Michele Bachmann action figure because "You know you want me to," Cal Thomas contemplates the shape of the plastic head on the plastic body. He gets up, locks his door, closes the shades, and takes out the hand cream. Not for himself, no, for Michele. He douses the doll in it, drops his pants, and slowly at first, but soon more vigorously, works the doll into his sphincter. He gasps, thrusting, realizing what he's been denying himself, calling, "No, Michele, no," pledging to keep doing her bidding if she visits his asshole regularly.


Queerness and the American Media: Comedy and Tragedy:
One of the more bitter, awful ironies of the last week is that there appears to be more news coverage of the gay-bashing beating of Jack Price in Queens, New York, than of the gay rights march on Washington, DC. One supposes that the DC event wasn't quite the cross-dressing, nipple-ring-licking festival of flamboyancy that usually prompts media reports on GLBT protests. But the brutality of the assault on Jack Price in the middle of a street by two walking puddles of dog vomit? That shit's on video, man, and it can be replayed endlessly. (Of course, the coverage is still not much, comparatively, since it isn't even mentioned on Drudge.)

Let's layer the irony here, too. Remember a couple of weeks ago when Derrion Albert, the black honor student in Chicago, was beaten to death by ganged-up pigfuckers and it was caught on video? Remember the outcry over it, the reflection on the horror of youth violence, the quick reaction of the White House, which sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Chi-town to say it was a "wake-up call"? Yeah, that was cool. If you were to hold your breath for White House reaction and action to the Price attack, your eyes would be bursting out of your head from the effort.

And you remember when that white kid was beaten by a couple of black kids on a school bus in St. Louis and it was caught on video? Remember how the usual suspects of right wing fucktardery jumped on the story as a way of gleefully demonstrating that black people were gettin' uppity in the wake of Barack Obama's election? Remember how they apologized profusely when it came out that the beating wasn't racially motivated in any way and was a stupid argument over a bus seat? Oh, wait. That last part didn't happen at all. Why ruin a good racist point with the facts? Do you think any of them will blame anti-gay rhetoric from the right for Jack Price's pain? Again, it's best just to keep breathing. So far, in conservative nutzoidville, there's been more outrage over Rush Limbaugh not being able to buy the St. Louis Rams.

Daniel Rodriguez and Daniel Aleman pounded the fuck out of Price. (Sure, sure, allegedly.) It was a punk ass beatdown. Price was on the ground and they kept punching, kicking, and slapping him. From the moment they bumped into him at a deli, the two men in their 20s taunted the skinny 49 year-old Price with anti-gay slurs. When they were seemingly done with him, one of them handed bleeding, jaw-broken, internal organ-wounded Price back his wallet, which had fallen out earlier in the beating, and then smacked him again. The Rude Pundit will go out on a limb here and say that the whole thing happened because one Daniel wanted to fuck the other Daniel and couldn't stand feeling that urge. Aleman's in Riker's right now. You fill in the blanks. The Rude Pundit's thinking the dude's now a bottom with some forced shit-eating for laughs.

Between the DC protest and the Price assault, we see how the mainstream news media presents the GLBT community to us: freaks or victims. Those are narratives that conform to some comforting version of queerness that most Americans can digest, as if gays and lesbians exist, still, after all these years of activism, for laughs or pity. Or they're just invisible. And it says something about how small and petty a nation we are that we're even still talking about such things as equal rights for gays.

More on that tomorrow.


Fun Facts About Great and Achieving Republicans (A Corrective to GOP.com's Historical Whitewash):
The cool thing about the people discussed at the shiny new nickel of a site, GOP.com, is that if you tell only part of the story, you can make anyone seem just awesome. You may have already heard about the absurdity of citing Jackie Robinson as a Republican "hero." Well, the whole damn site is filled with historical myopia. To wit:

Samuel Curtis, cited at GOP.com for writing the Pacific Railway Act while an Iowa congressman, was also a general in the Union army. He sent the following message in a telegram in 1864 to Colonel John Chivington, who was fighting Native Americans in Colorado: "I want no peace till the Indians suffer more...No peace must be made without my directions." This led directly to the Sand Creek Massacre of a large group of Cheyenne. (Fun side note: Chivington loved to give lectures where he showed off the dozens of scalps he collected.)

The first African-American senator was indeed Hiram Revels (serving from 1870-1871), who was indeed a Republican from Mississippi, who did, in fact, after seeing that the Mississippi Republican party was rank with corruption, end up supporting Democrats in 1875 and was even appointed president of Alcorn College by the Democratic governor.

Samuel Pomeroy was a senator from Kansas from 1861-1873 who GOP.com mentions for having written the bill that established Yellowstone National Park. Mark Twain saw him as a quintessentially corrupt politician and based a character in The Gilded Age on Pomeroy. Pomeroy was accused of and once arrested for bribing a voter and corruption in one of the more sordid ethical scandals in Senate history.

John Langston, a representative from Virginia, 1890-1891, was a black Republican who was opposed by white Republicans in his state (to be sure, Democrats were total dicks about him, too).

Senator Everett Dirksen was a big supporter of civil rights. He was also a supporter of the Vietnam War through three presidents.

This doesn't even get into the absurdity of judging contemporary Republicans by the standards of the Radical Republicans of the 19th century. John Langston, for instance, wouldn't be seen with today's Republicans. Oh, and J. Ellen Foster? She was majorly for Prohibition. It's why she went Republican.


No, Really. Does Anyone Actually Understand the Health Care Debate?:
The horse's head of a report delivered by the American Health Insurance Providers to the beds of sleeping senators is quite a document, not just because of what it threatens, but because of what it admits. The deeply-fucked numbers that have been getting the most publicity are interesting in that they are based on some fantasy worst-case scenario where only bad shit happens with health care reform and that are pretty much the polar opposite of the CBO report. It's sort of like if you're taken to the a movie you're not interested in seeing and instead of just thinking that you might not have a good time, you enter the auditorium believing that you'll get beaten to death by popcorn-fisted floor monsters.

However, there's a few figures a little further in the AHIP report that are just fascinating. For instance, you read: "Premiums in the large group market for family coverage will increase from average of about $13,900 in 2010 to approximately $23,500 in 2019 in the absence of reform and $26,200 if these reforms become law." And you might, at first, think, "Well, certainly that's not good. For with reform, the premium would be $2700 higher." Of course, that's ignoring that AHIP is fucking admitting that insurance companies are gonna jack up premiums nearly 60% in 9 years in almost every market - non-group, small group, or large group. In other words, left to their own devices, the nation's health insurers admit they're gonna ass rape us. They just wanna make sure we understand that if reform passes, they'll also fuck our faces with their filthy dicks.

AHIP is pissed off because they find the Baucus bill's individual mandate that everyone needs to buy health insurance doesn't penalize people as much or quickly enough, and, in fact, could be low enough so that it's cheaper for people to just pay the penalty instead of buying insurance that, as previously mentioned, is gonna be 60% more expensive in a few years. See, the insurers' thought they were assured by negotiators in the White House and Senate that millions of more people would be buying their policies, whether with their own or the government's (our) money, which would mean...oh, fucking hell. That's not even getting to the indexing of fines or the tax on Cadillac plans. Confused? Seems like a clusterfuck of such epic proportions that there's no fucking way you are going to understand any of this? No shit. The Rude Pundit just wrote that, and it seems like it's not only opposed to common sense, but it's where common sense goes to vomit and die.

Because the natural response to any of the insurance companies' threats is "Wow, there's an industry that needs the government to step in." And thus the circle is complete.

The Rude Pundit has tried to come up with a rational reason why the public option is still even being debated and is not the centerpiece of the bill. He can't do it. By AHIP's own admission, they have to be stopped or they'll kill again. The report is a taunt, a thug-level threat, terrorism, if you will. With no government alternative to corporate health insurance, it's like asking captured bank robbers if they'd mind not robbing banks anymore. When they say, "Yes, we mind," you ask if they'd stop shooting hostages. And when they say, "We'll think about it," you thank them for accepting their punishment so gracefully and release them.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show (and a Leather-Related Note):
Alas, below is only the first ten minutes or so of the Rude Pundit's hour-long nearly-nooner with Stephanie Miller on her radio show today. So while you get to hear them talk about the Nobel Prize and Michael Moore, you miss the discussion of how gay Arabic translators in the military would just make al-Qaeda warnings sound festive and what is a sexual idiosyncrasy.

By the way, you can always subscribe to the rude podcast.

Finally, Stephanie Miller and the Rude Pundit are discussed in the latest issue of Lavender, the GLBT magazine of Minnesota. The column is called "Leather Life" by Steve Lenius, and the Rude Pundit couldn't be prouder.
For Columbus Day: Indians Say You Can Shove Your Apology:

That's an editorial cartoon from Indian Country Today by Marty Two Bulls, typifying a "yeah, hey, really, no" response from much of the Indian community to the Senate's passage of an apology to Native Americans for, you know, all that shit like genocide, treaty-breaking, etcetera, etcetera. The wording of it is, more or less, "Our bad." To demonstrate how seriously they took the effort to say America's sorry, the measure, sponsored by Democrat Byron Dorgan and Republican Sam Brownback, was passed as an amendment to a defense appropriations bill. The resolution passed the Senate last year, but failed to be signed into law. Now it looks like it's finally gonna make it through. Hey, look: bipartisanship when there's no consequences.

You should totally read the Native American Apology Resolution just for the line: "Whereas despite the wrongs committed against Native Peoples by the United States, Native Peoples have remained committed to the protection of this great land, as evidenced by the fact that, on a per capita basis, more Native Peoples have served in the United States Armed Forces and placed themselves in harm's way in defense of the United States in every major military conflict than any other ethnic group." It may as well say, "And thanks for the mascots, too."

While some Indian groups and others find it to be a step in the right direction, it's not inappropriate to say that in many quarters of Indian America, the resolution, which explicitly denies reparations or claims against the United States for, you know, genocide, treaty-breaking, etcetera, etcetera, has been met with, "Hey, fuck you. Howzabout some fuckin' help instead?" Like Kevin Abourezk, a Lakota journalist, who writes, "Each year, we watch the health, safety and education of our children erode like the sandy banks of a raging river. But rather than improved health care or justice programs, Native people get this: an apology from the Senate." To their credit, South Dakota Senators Tim Johnson, a Democrat, and John Thune, a Republican, said that this was a nice, if empty, start, and that more needs to be done for Indian communities.

Like maybe doing something about, for instance, this from Amnesty International regarding crime on America's reservations: "One in three women will be raped in her lifetime. Half the reported murders and 72% of child sex crimes are never prosecuted. Ninety percent of sexual assaults on native women are committed by men from the dominant ethnic groups." You may as well toss in a jump in the youth suicide rate, a rise in gang activities on the reservation, and unending domestic abuse of native women.

Umm, sorry?


The Rude Pundit Live in the Studio With Stephanie Miller:
Instead of his usual time, the Rude Pundit will be live for the hour on The Stephanie Miller Show Monday morning at 11 ET/8 PT. Hey, that means New York City can listen in, too. Join them on Columbus Day as they get lost trying to find a new trade route of love. (And Tim Robbins is supposed to call in, too.)


The Necessity of Michael Moore, Part 3:
For the Rude Pundit, no matter how well-informed he fancies himself, there's always an "oh, shit" moment in a Michael Moore film. Before the rise of Blogsylvania and our information overload, his early works are loaded with them. If you saw Roger and Me twenty years ago, you sat there slack-jawed, wondering what fucking country he was talking about while knowing that he was talking about ours.

America has always been his subject, and there are few people who have loved this country as much as Michael Moore. But while most Americans love this nation as if it's their hometown football team, he loves it like you love your child. That means that, while he may be ready with the praise, he is ready to scold it and correct it and try to make it better as it grows. For what else do we want for our children than for them to be confident, happy, and secure adults?

And that's why when, in Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore reveals the 2006 Citigroup memo that was sent to its top investors, openly discussing the world as a "plutonomy," being run by the wealthiest one-percent, the Rude Pundit felt a sinking in his gut, not because it was a real surprise, but because it was like seeing your parents fucking. The memo also details the threats to the power of the plutonomy, like labor unrest or elections, that are being monitored by Citigroup, in case those materialize to harm the wealthy. The game is rigged, motherfuckers, and the rules say that you don't even get a turn.

It's those moments when you realize why we need Michael Moore. There's few people out there who, despite the ridicule and attacks, can stand up and tell us what we don't want to hear and who can still command an audience that will listen. For those who haven't seen it because you think it's just the same old Moore tactics, you should know that, despite what you see in the previews, there's very few of those typical wonderfully uncomfortable moments where Moore confronts people in power. And the ones that are in there are purely, intentionally symbolic; they exist to point out just how much we are outsiders to our own economy, how it truly is us versus them. There is no cathartic trip to Cuba.

Instead, Moore layers stories of people being displaced from their homes, of the "Dead Peasant" life insurance policies, of the pay of airline pilots, with American history, squarely placing the blame for the greed that has led the nation to this current moment of crisis at the feet of the Reagan administration, which, truly, is where it belongs. The shit that Moore finds is sometimes stunning, as in the much-written-about footage of Franklin Roosevelt calling for a second Bill of Rights that would guarantee that all Americans are treated fairly by the economic system, with health care, housing, and fair wages.

See, FDR and the Founders understood and Moore understands that nations need to change and evolve according to the circumstances of the world and the needs of the population, that great transformations are inextricably linked to growth and progress, and that the powerful need to occasionally be slapped down. When you hear the tea bag protesters lament that "this is not the America I know" or that they "want America back," what you are really hearing are the mad bleatings of people who don't actually love the nation. They love their shit and are afraid they won't be able to buy more shit or that someone will take their shit, even though it's more than likely that the shit was bought on credit. It's stubborn and childish. To love America is to know that it has to grow up.

Capitalism: A Love Story is Moore's least hopeful film. Indeed, despite the fact that people in the audience applauded at the end, the Rude Pundit left the movie theatre feeling more despair than usual for a Thursday night. It wasn't because the few stories of people triumphing over corporations seemed like complete anomalies. It wasn't because he thought that Moore was a bit too optimistic about Barack Obama. And the way Moore brought religion into the mix made a strong case for faith and the role of Christianity in America, one that could wrestle it away from the evangelicals' bullshit.

No, the Rude Pundit felt despair because he honestly didn't know what to do anymore. Moore's film is an indictment of our complacency about and acquiescence to the unacknowledged accretion of power in a few hands beyond, in many ways, what dictators, tyrants, and conquerors dreamed, beyond what Carnegie and Morgan might have ever thought possible. To bottom line it in a nuts and bolts sense, if, after giving banks hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars at once on the threat that they might go bankrupt, we are actually still arguing over whether or not we can afford a small fraction of that per year for a government-run health insurance plan, then who the fuck are we?

Moore ends the film on a moment of activism. He's putting crime scene tape around AIG and Citibank and Wall Street. But he's doing it alone while people in the street just look on like he's crazy.

(Part 1 of this series was about Fahrenheit 9/11. Part 2 was about Sicko.)
A Brief Note Regarding the Nobel Peace Prize:
Well, why the fuck not? Now let's see who is the first conservative asshole who says this makes Obama the new Jimmy Carter.

Back in a bit with a look at Michael Moore's new movie.


Karl Rove Is Always Lurking in the Background:
Karl Rove has had it. "These microdicked dogfuckers don't know what the fuck they're doing," he says as he clicks through news stories on his computer in his basement, staring at the glowing screen. The very fact that there's still a chance that the Democratic president will get a decent health care bill out of Congress is proof enough for Rove that the Republicans are so very lost without him. The dead male hooker handcuffed to the radiator in the corner doesn't really care, but, as far as Rove's concerned, Ahmad or whatever the fuck he called himself, is a fine sounding board. "They let the lunatics and evangelicals take over," he says, practically spitting at images of Glenn Beck and Betsy McCaughey. "You never let them take over. You tell 'em you'll take care of it and just shut the fuck up."

Rove knows: if the truly, clinically insane right-wing nutzoids take over a movement from the mere sociopaths like himself, then, like a ball gag tied too tightly on an Iranian manwhore, it'll just choke the whole thing, ruin a perfectly good evening, and be a waste of money. "Oh, wait," Rove says to the corpse behind him, "that's just you...Akbar, was it?" He shrugs and continues, "Soon, the whole movement becomes identified with the crazies and that just fuckin' turns off everyone else - the independents, the media, a fuckin' lot of our own. Stupid fuckers."

He's seen the signs, shit that never would have gone down if he were still on the Hill with the power he once wielded like a rhino with a chainsaw horn. He'd've had Lindsey Graham's kneecaps shattered. He'd've made sure that Beck was caught balls deep in a mule's ass. Unity, motherfuckers, that's what's important. He destroyed John McCain. Olympia Snowe would have received black roses in the mail by now. This ain't rocket science.

"But now the pigs have all gotten out of the sty," Rove barks, licking his chops. They're still pigs, but they're running crazy, looking for cooler mud and better slops. "They need me, Rahim, they need me more than they know."

It's just so easy to make Democrats show their haunches, ready to be fucked. He reads his most recent Wall Street Journal column to the choke chain-wearing body, where he uses the grimmest possible polls to try to demonstrate that Democrats will lose power if they pass health care reform. "You see? You let 'em get that knot in their stomach, that feeling they're gonna shit themselves if they take a risk, even if the absolute reverse is the truth. That's called fear. And fear makes you freeze. And nothing gets done." Set the terms of the battle, Rove knows, create plausible lies first. Add in shit like "death panels" and "socialism" after the doubt's been sowed, not before. "That's the closing argument, not the opener - the icing, not the fucking cake," he says just before clicking over to some necrophilia websites for ideas.

He contemplates his penis for a moment. "Impotent," he smirks. "Just goddamned impotent now." He doesn't really regret the prostitute's inability to breathe through hard rubber. He probably wouldn't have been able to get it up anyway. He hasn't had a genuine, full hard-on since his leather slave escaped back in 2006. For years, Rove kept his leather slave in the basement of the White House, where he got regularly fucked, whipped, and beaten by Rove and other conservatives. Rove feels an ache, remembering standing between Gerald Ford's gold-plated gas pump and Franklin Pierce's blood-spattered bundle of Kansas wheat, receiving a loving blow job from the leather slave. So he knows now what he needs to do.

"Sorry, Youssef, but there's only one ass for me," he thinks. He stands up, puts on pants, and gets Steely Ann, his spiked dildo with Coulter's face on it. And he says, as much a warning as a promise, "Time to get that fucker back and make him my bitch again."


Scenes from the Landscape of a Long War, as Viewed from a Distance:
Meanwhile, over there:
In three weeks in September, there were 42 attacks on humanitarian aid groups in Afghanistan, many of them with improvised explosive devices, according to the Afghanistan Non-Governmental Safety Organization, twice as many as last year.

Afghan Ambassador Said Jawad said that his country needed at least 20,000 more troops to help train Afghani troops. There are currently 87,000 of those after eight years. Jawad said they need 250,000 more.

This is not to mention that "A rocket fired by insurgents in Ghazni province, south of Afghanistan, hit a bus killing two persons and injuring 25 others on Wednesday, a statement of Interior Ministry said." "Two bomb blasts in the south and east Afghanistan left five persons including two Taliban fighters dead on Wednesday." "US-led forces in Afghanistan say they have killed more than 100 members of [the] Taliban in [the] northeast of the conflict-torn country over a period of 48 hours." "American and Afghan troops swept through forested mountains in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing 40 militant fighters in a hunt for insurgents responsible for one of the war's deadliest attacks on U.S. troops."

Oh, and by the way, "Two heroin labs were destroyed, from which 306 kg opium were seized and burnt over the past three days in separate operations in northern Badakhshan province...Some 90 tons of poppy seeds, 1,800 kg of opium and 35 tons of ammonium nitrate, which are used for making explosive materials, were found in an operation in Kajaki district of country's poppy growing province Helmand of southern Afghanistan on Oct. 5...One ton of hashish, 10 tons of chemicals for making explosive and weapons were confiscated and a compound, where has been used by militants for making roadside bombs, were destroyed in Garmsir district of Helmand on Oct. 4."

In the U.K., on this eighth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, ostensibly to get Osama bin Laden, 56% of people polled oppose the war. However, in the U.S., 65% said that it's cool that Americans continue to die in Afghanistan for at least another 1-2 years if it will "eliminate the threat of terrorists operating in Afghanistan." Only 49% said that America would be successful in stopping the Taliban.

President Barack Obama has indicated, during his walk in the desert of deliberations, that he will not draw down in Afghanistan in order to concentrate on, you know, finding terrorists, the so-called "Biden option." Indeed, it seems now that the decision everyone is waiting on is how many additional troops he's going to send. Obama pooh-poohed the idea that he was thinking of "doubling down" on Afghanistan as a straw-man argument. But what else would you call it? "Escalation" would probably do. It seems the corrective that Obama may offer to the Bush strategy of ignoring Afghanistan until it was too late is to rewind the clock back to the start of the war and do what some believe we should have done when we were so righteously and innocently seeking vengeance in 2001. But it ain't 2001 anymore.

The Boston Globe columnist and author James Carroll has long been one of the most brutal critics of the war in Afghanistan, even back when such talk was heresy for much of the left - we had to support Afghanistan because it was the good war, in contrast to the bad one in Iraq. He wrote on September 14:

"We broke Iraq and Afghanistan, and now they own us. The main effect of our intervention in both places is that endemic conflicts (which predate our presence) are now being fought with unimaginably more lethal firepower. Especially dangerous is the Taliban’s transformation by its war with America from a crackpot cult with local reach into a mythic resistance force drawing ever wider support." The only thing the Rude Pundit would add is that we're also in the middle of a war between rival drug lords, too, and that ain't ever gonna go well.

This isn't Vietnam. The casualty count was much higher back then. And, wrong-headed as it was strategically to fight in this way, the war in Afghanistan did start with a provocation. But is anyone really convinced anymore that another ten years of battle in Afghanistan will make us one millimeter more secure? And could we maybe think about moving an anti-war movement offline and into the streets?

In Purcellville, Virginia, they learned that hometown boy Stephan Mace was killed. His body was returned yesterday, with five others, to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. And their deaths made us safer how?


Does Anyone Actually Understand the Health Care Debate?:
Okay, let's see if we can get this straight:

There's the "public option," the worst-branded good idea since solar power, which is a federal government-run not-for-profit health insurance program that would be there as a way to force for-profit insurance companies to rein in costs and not be such dickheads because it would be part of an "exchange," a menu of various kinds of health insurances competing for your (or your company's) health insurance dollars, all private except for the federal government-run one, depending on how many accessories you want or can afford on your policy; however, as a way to water it down for insurance company lobbyists and their pet members of Congress, as well as for idiots who don't actually get how any of this works, the people who could get a public option would be those who can't get health insurance through their work, either because it's not offered or because they don't work, and small businesses, who routinely get dicked over by insurance companies because they are, as mentioned before, such dickheads. And people who can't afford jack shit would get reduced cost or free public option insurance, just like school lunches. But wait...

That's too socialist for conservative Democrats, who wouldn't know a socialist if Karl Marx bit them on the ass and yelled, "Lose your chains"(and let's not even talk about Republicans [yet] because they're not part of the equation), so instead of a really stupidly-named "public option," they might would maybe perhaps be willing to talk about possibly having health care cooperatives, which would be privately-run and based on premiums after getting seed money from the federal government, but they'd be non-profit, which would possibly maybe, in an ideal world, provide the competition that supposedly would eventually drive down costs if and when things get going in a few years if maybe the co-ops are allowed to negotiate lower fees for services, unless the drug companies and others get in the way. But wait...

That's all a bit too centralized for some conservative Democrats, who, really, need to have primary candidates run against them, so instead they are thinking about giving states the money to run their own versions of the aforementioned shittily-labeled public option or the previously discussed co-op or some Frankensteinian combination of those and other things cobbled together that would be "experiments" in creating competition for the dickhead insurance companies and, in an ideal world, could maybe possibly lower costs in the long run if the experiments are successful, but, hey, at least then Idaho or New Hampshire would only have itself to blame and not the Congress if it turns out they made things worse. But wait...

That's all a bit too cart-before-the-horse for some conservative Democrats and the one and only Republican Senator, Olympia Snowe, who might maybe be willing to vote for some kind of health care bill if perhaps it possibly maybe has something in it that covers her ass with fellow Republicans but still gives her the semi-compassionate street cred with her allegedly independent-thinking constituents who mostly just want the previously mentioned poorly-marketed public option. So they've come up with this idea of a "trigger," which means that if the insurance companies, who are, as mentioned before, dickheads, all of a sudden think there might one day perhaps be some kind of public option, they might consider being marginally less dickish about things like pre-existing conditions and cutting sick people off and jacking up premiums, which does more than anything else to harm the bottom line of all American businesses except the insurance companies, and thus, in concept, in an ideal world, the dickhead insurance companies, who have proven so trustworthy in the past, will rein in their costs, and if they don't, then, after a few years, oh, boy, they better watch out because, depending on how Congress words it, they could face a federal public option or co-op or 50 state-run versions of those previously mentioned and described potential possibilities if any trigger is actually pulled, because any Congress after this one can merely unload the gun.

Is that about right? Are they just fucking with us?

The only real question remaining before any of this convoluted, alienating nonsense is passed is if Democrats will realize that the majority of the people in this country want a straightforward government-run health plan, a, yes, "public option." (What they really want is nationalized health care, but, shhh, Obama says we're not allowed to bring that up.) The electoral implications are simple: if a bill with any kind of watered-down, bullshit public option is passed, be it a trigger or state-run or co-ops, Republicans will attack it as socialism and government intervention in blah, blah, blah. It could be a slightly lower cost on aspirin, and conservatives will make it seem like Josef Stalin is shooting Grandma and tossing her in a mass grave. That's what August and everything after should have taught us.

So why not just pass the real thing?


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show:
The Rude Pundit and Stephanie Miller met in dark alleys where they whispered sweet nothings about Alan Grayson and spat on the sidewalk to damn Roman Polanski and Rush Limbaugh. And then they made sweet, sweet love. Polanski and Limbaugh, that is.

By the way, you can always subscribe to the Rude Pundit podcast. That way, people on the train will wonder what you're giggling about.
Photos and Quotes That Only Confirm That Atheism Equals Sanity:

No, that bunch of Muslims is not finally worshiping one of their own. It's actually from the Friday, September 25 "Day of Islamic Unity," where somewhere between 1000 and 8000 Muslims gathered on Capitol Hill to pray and hear speakers on America and Islam. Let's let Fox "news" describe the event: "The crowd in attendance on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building was comprised predominantly of people of color and men, with females seated separately." After the prayers, one speaker "urged all Muslims to 'God bless America' and avoid the 'trap' of hating anyone, particularly Christians and Jews."

Of course, there were conservative Christian protesters, some handing out pamphlets that yelled, "Abortion is Murder!! Homosexuality is Sin! Islam is a Lie!" If the pamphlet shovers took a second to ask anyone there, they'd discover that many of the praying, scary brown people agreed with them on two out of three of the expressed sentiments.

The Rude Pundit's Super-Duper Prayer Team got into the mix of things, too. The Rude Pundit joined the Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team a few years ago under a nom de rude, and each week he receives his prayerphyxiation orders from the Prayer Team's captain of, well, prayer. Last Wednesday, he was informed of the SDPT's activities in DC: "Perhaps a thousand Christian evangelists and prayer warriors were on site and posted at Metro stops around the city hoping to reach thousands of Muslim visitors with Bibles, gospel tracts, and DVDs." You got that? A thousand Jesus-fluffers were trying to convert a couple of thousand Mohammed-fellatilists. It's like King Kong versus Godzilla.

Oh, and then there's the actual prayer the SDPT was supposed to fall on its knees and intone: "Praise God! May widespread Christian prayer continue to restrain militant Islam and the radicalization of peaceful practitioners. May vital Christianity preempt the spread of Islam by the sharing of the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who have been blinded by the 'god of this age.'"

This is followed by suggested bible verses that are supposed to send us scurrying to our handy New American editions to read what God hisself had to say about our extreme action prayers. In this case, it's shit like Psalm 96 or Isaiah 44, the "only one God" or "no god above our God" stuff, the kind of thing where, if you replaced "God" with "Packers," you'd have a perfectly good football chant.

You look at this nonsense, this derangement masked as rational thought or behavior: one group praying to their invisible sky wizard while another group is proclaiming that their invisible sky wizard is sooo much cooler than the first group's invisible sky wizard. If they were talking about centaurs or fairies, we'd lock all of them the hell up. And, as Barack Obama tries to figure out what the fuck to do about the Taliban mowing down Americans in Afghanistan, you gotta think, "We're just fucked."