The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Yes, we did talk about the hurricane. And Rick Perry, who is like a hayseed hurricane.

Jesus, just subscribe to the podcast already, and you can get your Cheater and the Rude fix.
Eric Cantor Used to Love Him Some FEMA Money:
Oh, hey, look, here's Virginia Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, who thinks that any additional money requested to help people in the wake of Hurricane Irene be matched by more cuts in gutted government programs, in 2007, praising the Federal Emergency Management Agency for giving money to help his district rebuild after a 2006 tropical storm: "I am pleased to see that FEMA has come to the aid of the residents of the City of Richmond. I am committed to continuing to work with Mayor Wilder to assist the victims of Battery Park and residents of the City of Richmond." By the way, that's from a press release from Cantor's office that isn't available on the Majority Leader's website anymore. By the way, those funds came from an emergency supplemental funding act.

Of course, initially, after Ernesto flooded parts of the state, FEMA had denied federal aid to the area, with the agency saying the federal government didn't need to spend money because the storm "didn't overwhelm the state and local capacity to help these people." Virginia officials were outraged that FEMA wouldn't spend money on it. They couldn't just help themselves. Cantor lashed out; he "called FEMA's evaluation subjective and unfair. 'The whole incentive system is just upside down,' he said," according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch on September 30, 2006.

Back in 2004, Cantor was downright proud at his ability to secure funding for his local office of emergency management through FEMA. He got a $400,000 grant to help out with first responders there. Of course, then it was all about protecting from the terrorists, and, in a press release from his office that is no longer available anywhere but Nexis, Cantor crowed, "It is imperative that cities like Richmond have enough funding to ensure first responders can continue to efficiently coordinate preparations in the case of a mass medical emergency. This funding will help sustain and enhance the capabilities of the Richmond Regional MMRS to coordinate resources for an effective regional response to a possible terrorist attack."

And in 2002, as we continue on this little journey, Cantor announced that the Chesterfield, VA, fire department had received over $350,000 from FEMA to improve its emergency response. Isn't that what's referred to these days as "pork"?

Not mentioned in all the times that Cantor got funding for Virginia for disasters and for disaster prep is cutting anything else in the federal budget in order to pay for, say, repairing homes in Richmond or making sure that firefighters had equipment and training. Not then, not even when, in 2004, he was Deputy Majority Whip and the House suspended the rules and passed, on a voice vote, an emergency supplemental appropriations bill for hurricane relief. And in 2003, when one of those adorable emergency supplementals for the wars was passed, it included funding for relief for victims of Hurricane Isabel. From Cantor? Not a word about cutting in other areas.

Now you could argue that during those comparatively flush times of the early Bush administration, when deficits didn't matter, when the GOP pretended there was cash to toss around like a crazed little boy in a candy store on allowance day, Cantor was just doing the right thing for his district while the money was there. But what makes it even more hilarious now that the bespectacled douchebag has his semi-pompadour all a-flutter over offsetting any additional disaster relief funds with budget cuts elsewhere is that, in 2004, he voted against an amendment to do just that. And, of course, in 2007, when he appealed for FEMA funds for his district, the United States was well into recession living.

Apparently, all it takes for one to abandon one's human decency is a Democratic president, a healthy infusion of PAC cash, and the attention of wild-eyed fanatics from the Tea Party. And Cantor sucks those last two teats like a starving piglet.


Stories Not Mentioned in Dick Cheney's New Memoir:
1. During sex with Lynne, he has his own version of autoerotic asphyxiation. As she's fucking away on top of him, just before he orgasms, she pulls the battery out of his artificial heart. It's a huge turn-on, the beeping alarm, the unstable fluttering "heartbeat," like some kind of rusted steampunk villain. If the timing is right, and it rarely is, just as the last blood is flowing through his arteries, Cheney will come in waves.

Once, just recently, Lynne was startled by daughter Liz walking in on her parents to check to see if a document should go in the shredder or the "fuck you, fuckers" blackmail safe. Madame Cheney dropped the battery, which led to an awkward scene of Liz and her nude mom scrambling to find it and shove it back into the power pack of very naked Dick as he sprayed them both with spooge. Instead of "Thank you," the post-coital former vice president looked at his sticky wife and child and said, "Shoulda left it out for just a few more seconds. Woulda been the best load I've blown in ages."

2. When he was just a child, his father was home on leave from the military. He was delighted when Dad and his soldier buddies would have cookouts and play games with him. Upon receiving a pony ride on the back of one of the men, Young Dick declared to himself, "I will do everything in my power for the rest of my life to avoid being in the military, yet I will make sure that I am in a position where soldiers will do my bidding, no matter how ridiculous or destructive."

3. At a party at the White House during the Ford administration, he got into a drunken brawl with the CIA Director's coked-up son over who was going to decide on the next 8-track on the stereo. Cheney broke a vase over the man's head, yelling, "Mantovani, you bastard," and was kicking his skull repeatedly until Ford tackled Cheney and suggested that he should run for Congress. The CIA Director's son was hospitalized for weeks. It has been suggested secretly that the man never recovered from the brain damage he received during the beating, as revealed by his serial failure at every career he ever attempted.

4. The real reason he voted against the creation of Martin Luther King Day? He hates black people. (See criticism of Powell, Colin, and Rice, Condoleezza.)

5. Best thing about his job at Halliburton? All the Iraqi children he could bone, sent personally by Saddam Hussein. Best thing about being Vice President? Making sure that Saddam was silenced.

6. Sometimes, in the darkest part of the darkest nights in Wyoming, when there's no moon and clouds have blocked off the stars and Milky Way from the eye's view, Dick Cheney gets contemplative. Some men might reflect on the evil that they took part in; they might think about their errors, their overreactions, their failures; they might regret blithe and active cruelties; men who have been destructive might ponder how they may spend their remaining days trying to compensate for the wreckage.

Not Dick Cheney. No, in those dark times, he thinks about all the things he didn't get to do: bombing Syria and Iran, the sweet smell of burnt flesh that would have been left behind; the men and women and children that weren't waterboarded in order to get them gasping lies that might contain the smallest particle of truth about threats small and large; the places on earth that he didn't get to despoil with oil drilling in order to drive up profits for freedom, sweet American crude freedom.

Of course, he has his photos. And when he's feeling down about all he didn't accomplish he takes out his stack of photos, the only sound the purring of his heart pump, and he looks over the pictures of the detainees tortured in the black ops sites, the burnt testicles, the bloodied faces and assholes, the bruised feet and torsos. He smiles his stroke victim smirk as he reaches into his pants to begin masturbating, one hand on his battery, ready to do right for himself what no one else could have done.


Fucked New Orleans: A Sixth Anniversary Post:
When you hear idiots who aren't drowning in the Catskills or watching their towns get washed away in Vermont debate over whether or not government officials and the media overreacted to Hurricane Irene, you have to wonder if they would have been happier if a couple of thousand people had died and lower Manhattan had become Katrina-ville. Of course it was overstated. Of course they screamed and called it "ferocious" when it turned out to not be that bad. How else do you get heard over the cacophony of bullshit that passes for information these days? How else do you get through to the numbskulls who think that something that might kill them is just an opportunity to record a sub-Jackass fail video?

As bad as Irene's effects continue to be, you could detect the disappointment in the news anchors and reporters as they realized that it's only podunk towns in the mountains and not New York City that'd be fucked up (except for Staten Island, but that never counts as real NYC), that they wouldn't have the opportunity to ride boats through Ground Zero so close to the anniversary of 9/11, that the story wouldn't have the synchronized beauty of wreaking havoc on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

For, yes, yes, it is that time of year, the end of August, and fewer and fewer people are recognizing it, when we remember that six years ago, Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the natural disaster on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain and Mississippi, the human-made disaster of New Orleans. And, despite most outward appearances, still, after all this time, after mayors and governors and presidents Democratic and Republican, after celebrities moved there to help, after the cultural scene is more vibrant than perhaps ever, New Orleans is still, still so very, very fucked.

About six weeks ago, the Rude Pundit spent a lovely couple of days in New Orleans, drinking hard, eating hard, roaming the streets, staying in an extra lovely inn in the Bywater with an even more lovely partner, the romance of the place washing over us as we existed for that short period in the reconstructed blocks and mostly untouched spaces of the dark and sticky and magical city.

The thing about the Bywater, which, if you head west, is next to the Fauborg, which is next to the French Quarter, is that if you head east and jump a canal, you are in the Lower Ninth Ward. It's that close to the revived places. And when the Rude Pundit visited the Lower Ninth back in December of 2010, he saw this:

That's a dead dog in the middle of what was once a street lined with houses. It was a big dog, and it had been there a while: the skin was decaying, and, on the dog's head, it was pulled tight, revealing the teeth and skull. You got that? In the middle of a street, in the middle of a major city, less than a half mile from the tourist areas, no one gave a fuck about moving the goddamned dog's corpse. And those fields of weeds covered the foundations and remnants of houses. Some day, someone is going to excavate that area and wonder what civilization abandoned it.

But New Orleans isn't fucked because it has left its poor neighborhoods to go fallow (even if some FEMA money was just secured to possibly help). No, it's fucked because the very levees that failed are still pieces of shit. Yep, on a five point Roman numeral scale, with V the best and I the worst, the supposedly more secure levees got a II. And that's from the Army Corps of Engineers using its own scale, the same people who thought they were fine in the first place.

You add to that the corruption and incompetence that has gone into building a new hydraulic pump system, not to mention rising sea levels (which the Corps knows it needs to take into account and will happen no matter how much climate change deniers say it won't), and, no matter how much spackle they put on the holes to make it pretty for the tourists and the hipsters, no matter how much daily life seems "normal," unless the government is willing to truly commit in a way that goes beyond enriching subcontractors, yes, New Orleans will be fucked.

(Note: The Rude Pundit's Almanack contains a bunch of pictures from that December trip.)


Hurricane Housecleaning: Thanks You's and More:
Yeah, yeah, most of you are not under a hurricane warning. Bully for you, smug fuckers. The Rude Pundit's half a bottle of tequila into the storm. And he realized he forgot to thank his way cool guest bloggers from his vacation.

So big time thanks to Jeff Kreisler, PFC Margheriti, and Miandering for their great work.

Meanwhile, for your hurricane or not-hurricane weekend pleasure, here's the latest episode of Cheater and the Rude with the aforementioned Jeff Kreisler and the always-mentioned Rude Pundit on the Progressive Radio Network:

Subscribe to this shit. It's free.

Follow this shit on Twitter.

Oh, yeah, there's also this upcoming appearance at the Words and Music Festival in New Orleans in November (on a panel with Roy Blount, Jr.). More details to come.

And, fuck, if you haven't, buy the Rude Pundit's book at OR Books or Amazon.


A Guide for New Yorkers Experiencing Their First Hurricane:
The Rude Pundit has been through five hurricanes that he can remember, like one insane night escaping Houston as Alicia was bearing down on the city in 1983, driving for six hours as the storm hit each town just after we made it through. And Alicia did a shitload of damage (including messing up the downtown hotel we had just abandoned). Growing up in Louisiana and Florida, you laugh at tropical storms and treat hurricanes with respect, listening to the hype and rolling your eyes because it's rarely as awful as they threaten it will be.

So he feels like he can offer some advice to New Yorkers who are filling their shopping carts with canned tuna and toilet paper:

1. If you're told to evacuate, evacuate. You think they're doing so for the joy of a gigantic traffic jam? Get the fuck out.

2. It is not cool or extreme to stand outside during the storm. Weather people do it because they get paid. The world is divided between people who got murdered by falling tree limbs and flying debris while "yee-haw"-ing at the sky and the rest of us.

3. Floods are not ironically filthy fun pools. They are foul, garbage-filled, shit-containing rivers of poison. But it's cute to watch the rats drown. Ditto hobos.

4. Candlelight for romance is awesome. Candlelight for reading sucks hard.

5. Days without power do not add up to a good time for all. You might think it'll be just like camping. You might think you'll just wanna do coke and fuck your boyfriend all the time. You might hope for some family bonding time over board games. That's good for a day. By the second day without power in August, you will despise everyone you ever loved. You will contemplate killing the stinky sweatballs who occupy your studio apartment. By the third day, you'll sit still, pissing yourself, hoping for the sweet kiss of death, thinking that you're such a pussy because your ancestors could do this just fine.

6. If you decide to loot, go for small items. You just look stupid trying to carry a TV through the water.

7. In the aftermath, all the shit and debris and dead rats that were in the flood will be in the street. Make sure you drive or walk on it to grind it down to the patina of dirt that covers everything anyways.

8. The upside: new stories to tell at the beer gardens and wine bars for the next couple of years. And it's way better than your dumbass earthquake tale.


Someone Should Smack Marco Rubio with a History Stick:
So yesterday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was speaking at the Reagan Library (motto: "What? No pudding?") and he said a truly ignorant, stupid fucking thing about Social Security, Medicare, and other safety net programs: "These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job."

You gotta love the fantasy America that Republicans conjure all the time, where the little people live decent lives, helping one another, sharing cups of sugar and loaning each other a few bucks when little Tommy breaks his leg in a bicycle accident; where you could save your money in a little local bank where you knew the tellers and the president and know that the money would be there, security, yes, but private, not social, which is also in the word "socialism." Ahh, fantasy America is quite a place. Who wouldn't want to live there?

Of course, real America is filled with unscrupulous cocksucker capitalists who would stab your children in their eyes to take their money. It's one reason we have recessions and, oh, hell, a Great Depression that destroyed the pleasant little nest eggs that all those little people saved in their little banks so they could help their little neighbors and their little selves. That'd be why we have safety nets. Because people are people, and everyone is not on board with the whole "compassion" thing.

Oh, and Ronald Reagan? Bastard loved him some Social Security (after initially thinking he could dismantle it). Here he is in 1983, understanding history in a way Rubio never could, after signing the act that raised taxes, brought federal workers into the system, and added tens of billions of dollars to its coffers: "It was nearly 50 years ago when, under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American people reached a great turning point, setting up the Social Security system. F.D.R. spoke then of an era of startling industrial changes that tended more and more to make life insecure. It was his belief that the system can furnish only a base upon which each one of our citizens may build his individual security through his own individual efforts. Today we reaffirm Franklin Roosevelt's commitment that Social Security must always provide a secure and stable base so that older Americans may live in dignity."

You got that? Saint Ronnie raised taxes to save Social Security. And he taxed the benefits of the wealthy because that's what you do if you're not a totally dumb, pandering, ape-faced motherfucker like Rubio. Instead, Rubio thinks that the people of the past were numbskulls who willingly gave up their right to privately help themselves and others and that an insidious government set up these corrupting programs in order to weaken the public so as to make the populace dependent on it. It's the mad endgame of anti-Washington rhetoric. And it's factually wrong. Which means it's just wrong. Which means that anyone who takes what Rubio said seriously is objectively wrong. Which means there aren't two sides to this story. There's one: the actual events of history, not the convenient lie of fantasy.

Bonus points: Rubio's speech inspired what is surely one of the most vile posts ever over at the National Review Online's "The Corner" (motto: "A good 90% of what we write is vile; most of the rest is about our pop culture boners").

Note: The Rude Pundit always feels disgusting after he writes something that includes even mild praise for Reagan, who set us on this path of doom. But that's how filthy our discourse has become. You have to give credit to a cannibal serial killer when he doesn't eat all of his victims.


Things None of Us Need to Give a Shit About (Republican Presidential Nomination Edition):
Time away from bloggery can be clarifying for one's brain. And time away from home, out in the natural world, away from the myriad bullshit that passes for "news," can kick you in the head. The Rude Pundit just spent the last two weeks whitewater rafting and hiking in Colorado and just relaxing by a lake in the Cascades in Washington. And, even if he wasn't completely disconnected, he felt distanced from it all. Now, he's been looking over the news websites and briefly watching the news networks and taking in all the coverage of the presidential campaign and he came to the conclusion: who the fuck cares?

1. Who the fuck cares whether or not Sarah Palin is running for president? It's over. She's done. All it would mean is that she's trying to suck the last drops of cash out of PalinCorp before that pipe goes dry and she and her inbred hillbilly family live out the rest of their lives as a horrible reality show before Todd commits suicide.

2. Who the fuck cares what kind of backwards ass country shitkicker stuff Rick Perry says? He's a dumbass hick from the barren wastelands of west Texas. Of course he's gonna say stupid shit. It's what he's hardwired to do. And because we've fetishized dumbass hicks in this country as having some kind of wisdom, people lap it up like dogs on cat turds. No, he's an idiot. He needs to be treated like an idiot. And anyone who supports him needs to be dunce-capped and beaten in the streets.

3. Who the fuck cares about demented, uber-Christian, Jesus ball-licking Michele Bachmann? Just...who the fuck cares?

The entire Republican nomination has already devolved into bullshit like who hates evolution and who wants to take health care away from old people, who loves Jesus and who really, really loves Jesus. The whole degrading affair is less an absurd circus than a version of "The Aristocrats" that ends up with all of us covered in blood and piss.

Could we just get to the Mitt Romney nomination already?

Note: Yes, Ron Paul exists.


Vacation Photos That Say All You Need to Know About Contemporary America:

The Rude Pundit gave the warrior in Seattle a fiver. Whether it went for crack or shotgun shells, the zombies will win.


Guest Blogging: miandering

Be afraid. Be goddamned fucking afraid.

I was very flattered when the Rude One invited me to be a guest blogger in his absence—me, who’s not even a “real” blogger and, when she does blog, it’s about
her travels in Southeast Asia, not politics in the U.S. (I usually confine my political rants to Facebook.) So flattered, in fact, that I had to accept. And by Saturday, boy, was I glad I did, as I felt a major Michele Bachmann rant coming on. So apologies, Rude, for not writing about my glamorous life working in New York City's nonprofit sector, and thanks for the opportunity. Here goes.

Just when we’d finally stopped tearing our hair out over the fact that Sarah Palin could actually be a presidential candidate, into her Ferragamos (though apparently not without suffering for it) steps Michele Bachmann. Not just, as less than 5,000 Iowans have now ensured, a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination, but a leading contender.

I usually think of myself as a cynic. A cynic who believes that approximately half the American populace is insane. And yet . . . and yet . . . every once in a while they still manage to surprise me. They did it in 2004 (though that was not so much a surprise as a heartwrenchingly depressing dose of reality). They did it in 2008 when Sarah Palin was not immediately laughed off as the most ridiculous vice presidential candidate in history. And now, yet again, I realize I’ve underestimated the stupidity of the American populace. Because as much as I chided friends on Facebook for being “amazed” that Bachmann won in Iowa and “in disbelief” that she wants to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (I mean, come on. This would be the mildest of the anti-gay legislation she’d put on the table, I assure you.), wasn’t there something inside me that was, still, in 2011, utterly incredulous that this was actually happening? That part of my gut whose immediate reaction was “Really? Really? Has it really come to this?”

Bachmann’s ascension and candidacy are terrifying for a multitude of reasons, some of which are outlined in this week’s
New Yorker profile by Ryan Lizza. I encourage you to read every last cringe-inducing word about her “education” (read “religious indoctrination”) at the hands of some of the country’s most radical—and slavery-condoning—“theologians.” You know, the kind who write things like When people curse their parents, it is clearly a capital crime (Exodus 21:17). The son or daughter is under the lawful jurisdiction of the family. The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death. Because, of course, we're pro-life. The kind of people who, like Bachmann, get their law degrees at Oral Roberts University, whose founding twin goals were to equip our students with the ability to bring God's healing power to reconcile individuals and to restore community wholeness and to restore law to its historic roots in the Bible. If you want, you can delve even deeper into the nitty gritty fanaticity (yes, I just coined that) of the aptly-named Dominionists by reading the words of the son of one of said theologians himself.

But I digress. What's got me particularly riled today is actually the effect of Bachmann's candidacy on women and our future as one-half of this country.

You see, good feminist that I am, I judge women exactly the same as I judge men. Hillary, Sarah, Michele—you don’t score extra points with me just because you’ve got a vagina. It’s infinitely more significant to me that you are a (choose one) lying manipulative hack / raging idiot / certifiably lunatic religious fanatic. So when I first heard, back in May, that New Jersey
high school sophomore Amy Myers had challenged Michele Bachmann to a “Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics,” I thought “Good for her! This woman’s knowledge and interpretation of American history are just embarrassing. She totally needs to be taken down. And by a teenager. Go, girl!”

What had not yet occurred to me, however, was the impact the kinds of things Bachmann was saying could have, and was already having, on young people—specifically on their views of women leaders.

In her letter to Bachmann, Myers wrote: “As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.”

Now, that is one eloquent teenager. Who is, unfortunately, dead on. It hit me hardest when, in
a subsequent interview, Myers characterized Bachmann’s frequent misstatements as an embarrassment to all women with political ambitions, making it harder for them to be taken seriously in politics. It took until the 19th amendment for women to be able to vote, and now it seems like the most famous women in politics are kind of jokes, she is quoted as saying.

It seems like at school there's always a separation between what people think men can do and what women can do, Myers said. If a girl says she wants to go into politics, people say 'Oh yeah, like Michele Bachmann?'

When I read that, it just about broke my heart.

Really? Really? Has it really come to this?

Is this really where we are at now in this country? Have we come this far to have our hard-won accomplishments (meager though they often may seem) nullified by fucktards just because those fucktards are women? Just because there are enough other fucktards around to vote them into public office?

And all this is without even mentioning her frightening stance on the truly critical issues affecting women's rights in this country
which is of course dictated by her religious beliefs. Who was made out of whose rib? Who was given dominion over the earth and all the other living creatures on it? You got it, ladies.

I’m not sure how much worse it has to get before the sane people in this country realize we’re in fucking serious trouble and whatever you think you’re doing to fight against it, well, it ain’t bloody good enough, now, is it?

I don't have an answer to this, and I consider myself even more jaded than the Rude One, whose response, when I asked him if he'd recommend reading
Winner Take All Politics, was: “At this point, I don't know if I can read more depressing shit topped with a few encouraging words about organizing.”

So, yeah. I'm not going to do that. I find it hard to believe it would be possible to organize our way out of the mess this country is in. A lot of us had hope in 2008. (And I say hope, not crazy-ass expectations that Obama was the second coming and was going to fix all the fucked-up shit and everything would be better forever. Please.) Where's that hope now? Hope has left the building, motherfuckers. And more and more, I’m starting to think we sane folks should just leave the goddamned country and watch the crumbling of this empire from afar instead of continuing to clutch our front-row-seat tickets to the apocalypse in our sweaty little paws.


Guest Blogging: Saving Private Ryan?:
(This is from PFC Margheriti -not his real name- an active duty soldier.)

Yeah, Tom Hanks did get him home, and then Ryan got to go to the cemetery and reflect on the war. Legit, right? I guess they said "cut" before Ryan got into his car and drove home, daydreaming of steering his vehicle into oncoming traffic. The idea that Hollywood's portrayal of the U.S. military is dead-on is pretty much common knowledge amongst the American public, and we know that the mythical hero who can level a building full of Iraqis is completely justified to do so because he eats MREs and has to masturbate in a port-a-potty. But who am I to criticize? Oh, that's right; I'm a soldier, too!

My recruiter forged his smile while he fed me everything I wanted to know about the U.S. Army: "Free college! Steady paycheck! Getting your head sawed off on YouTube!" I guess by "career" he meant only if you don't die fighting the civilian being paid to endlessly throw rocks and grenades at your convoy. With this career, you'll be left feeling skull-fucked on a daily basis by flashbacks of seeing that brown civilian kid take a .50 caliber round to the face. That subsequent nagging urge in your guts to go on a homicidal rampage. One recruiter called me and based his entire campaign to enroll me based on the fact that I'd get into Disneyland for free. How did he know that I always wanted to hug Mickey Mouse with blood all over my hands? Yes, PTSD is very real, and anyone related to a service member will tell you that their soldier was not the same after coming home, but they won't tell you that he wakes up at night running around looking for his M16 that isn't there, while tactically clearing the living room of insurgents.

Practically every non-commissioned officer has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan more than once, and probably got their rank from deploying, thus our direct supervisors are normally specialists who fell ass-backwards into their spiffy sergeant rank, and they subsequently make it their personal mission to assert and flaunt their new-found power at any given time of day because of what they've "seen" or "done." It isn't like 20 years ago when you had to have top physical fitness scores and 36/40 targets during rifle qualification, and spend roughly half a decade as a lower-enlisted soldier first. There are some very good leaders in the military who actually give a shit about their soldiers, but many people are fucked in the head by this point. I respect soldiers, their sacrifices for their families, and every mother, father, and child who is left asking, "Why is my soldier dead?" It is that question that has led me to turn my back on the military and the pseudo-conquest of "protecting the country."

I said my goodbyes to my family and was picked up and flown to Fort Knox, Kentucky for Basic Combat Training. It's as one would assume it would be: getting your head shaved, vaccinations, basic issue of uniforms and gear - the works. Drill Sergeants. The apex of military discipline, complete with personality disorders. The fuckers simply love watching you work out; and, since they can't kick your head into the dirt during pushup hour anymore, they find fun and imaginative ways of getting their dick hard that doesn't include violence: having you salute wildlife in front of the chow hall, and then having 30 seconds to eat as opposed to 3 minutes; being given a time limit after the Drill Sergeant spray-paints a grouping of small rocks. Your mission: to turn over each and every rock so that he cannot see any more spray paint. One of them based his mood off of the latest pep talk from his even-less-emotionally-stable superior, mixed in with whatever PTSD-related issue was happening back at home. Be all you can be, now with alcoholism!

My best sense of camaraderie in the military was in basic training, because we were all there for one purpose: to graduate and get the fuck home. Serving the country wasn't even in the equation. It was you, your buddies, and your weapon, and you never went anywhere without those. It was not this epic undertaking of duty; it was a shit-ton of running, shooting, and barracks inspections. And, at the end, you get about 4 hours with your family before moving on to train in your occupational specialty. Afterwards, I went to my appointed unit where we eventually received our warning order to prepare for war, about 9 months away. We all went home and told our families what could be happening, where we could be going, as we don't know anything until just before it happens. A soldier could be ordered to Kandahar, Afghanistan and end up being told that he or she will be going to Iraq 2 months before leaving. (Props to women for wearing a uniform; female soldiers have generally been very proficient soldiers. And sex between soldiers in Afghanistan? Fuck yeah, it happens all the time. Normally in a unit there is at least a 2 to 1 ratio of male soldiers to female soldiers, if not even higher, so there will be the females who act professionally, the closeted lesbians, and the married or single females who want to fuck the shit out of you. And with the males, practically all of them cheat - so think of that the next time your husband changes duty station to a stripper's bacteria-ridden anus that he met off-post.) Deployment weighed heavily in our minds, but we tried to distract ourselves, as we're taught to block out all emotion and continue on.

The fact is, we do appreciate all the respect, handshake, hugs, and thank-yous, but we're just regular people with everyday problems. We're all there to either make money, or to go to college. The only ones who are there to "serve their country" are the high-ranking officers and long-term sergeants who have been in so long that the military is all they know anymore. I may be completely different than my fellow soldiers, either because I no longer agree with what we're doing anymore, or the fact that I'm writing this as a resolute declaration to myself that I am not like them, and never was. During boot camp, they played us many videos of footage recorded in Iraq or Afghanistan. The first was a video of a soldier lying on the floor of a dusty desert house. His head was wrapped in white cloth except for his orifices, and men were talking in their native dialect in the background. I immediately knew where it was going and I didn't want to watch it, but we had to sit there. A frail, underfed native approached the bound form of our comrade and lifted him to rest on his knees. He drew a long knife and tilted the soldier's head close to the camera, hovered over the figure who knew that he was about to die, and then sawed the man's head off his shoulders. There was screaming and blood was everywhere. And then his killer set his head on top of his body and laughed. How the fuck did this guy meet his fate? I felt so much rage I could have gone to war that moment and dealt fire and death to everyone responsible for the mutilation.

We then watched several videos of the Taliban insurgency being shot down and blown to smithereens, and we found ourselves laughing. Laughing. Like the guy who just cut a man's head off. We may as well have done it ourselves and shit down his neck for good measure because, in that moment, we were no longer the guys that our families hugged and cried on. We were the instinctual killers we were trained to be, without fear, pity, or remorse. I thought about every time someone talked about killing like it was supposed to be fun.

The exploits of the Taliban include things like strapping bombs to mentally challenged people and blowing them up at our gates, or paying a child to shoot at our convoy, which ends with the kid getting his brains blown out, courtesy of the red white, and blue. Other ways they have fucked with us is shooting at us from a schoolyard over kids' heads, because we can't fire at schools or churches, though mosques were assaulted at the beginning of OIF to pursue insurgents. That obviously ended quickly, and also the case of the Air Force gunner who opened fire at a mob of little black blobs of people fleeing from a building. Nobody could prove that they weren't insurgents, so we ass-raped some civilians with Lady Liberty's torch and called it "progress." This sort of killing isn't new to us; ever wonder why we never see many Native Americans?

In the time I trained for deployment, I took a look at how other military factions saw war. The Japanese believed that it was glorious to die in battle in service to a deity; they've since been renamed "Right Wing." Religion is its own animal - not my thing. "God is so great, I push all my guilt on him and I don't have to feel responsible about a thing! And, the best part is, he made a magical land that we float up to when we die as long as we rally to take away civil rights!" Wasn't this kind of thing started in a time when it was okay to fuck the underage and enslave the poor to the government, when most people were delusional due to mental illness and disease? Oh wait, that's 2011. Most soldiers don't know a damn thing about politics, myself included, but I'll call it like I see it. We're just not exposed to as much politics on Army bases, We constantly talk about Army, Army, Army, and that's it. I don't doubt that any soldier who reads this will either be laughing his ass off or breaking his laptop by the third paragraph, because it's a hard reality to accept that there is no winning this war. We'll never completely eliminate every terrorist; but, if we did, what would be next? Killing their kids? They already have more than a few reasons to hate us, all they've known their whole lives is war. And, yeah, maybe their dad did plant bombs on the side of the road, but that was their dad, not ours, and he may not have done those things out of hatred, the same way some soldiers don't go to war out of hatred, but to just put some food on the table.

Not every person over there is a monster. What is left of the Taliban is a broken, bankrupt circle of extremists who could never hurt you, or your family in the USA; it's just not possible. They have no resources other than what they can get from a hardware store, household chemicals, and whatever weapons they have stashed under the dirt we walk on over there. Ammonium nitrate is easy to make in the convenience of one's own kitchen, and it's one of the Taliban's favorite weapons because it's cheap. Other examples include pressure-plate activated charges designed specifically for certain vehicles, meaning they've tested them to know exactly what weight they need for the wires to touch completing the connection, and it's designed to detonate on our vehicles rather than lighter, civilian vehicles. They used to fire mortar shells into our bases but they'd be retaliated upon afterwards, so they would fill the mortar tube with ice and drop the mortar on top. The ice melts, and by the time to round gets down to the firing pin, the insurgent is long gone. They've lived in poverty their whole lives while people in the USA went to McDonald's then drove to Burger King because their kids wanted a slice of pie to go with their burger doused in thousand island dressing. I once met a kid from India and he said to me, "My dad said that Americans eat fried Snickers bars, is that true?" Not even I knew we had deep fried candy bars until I looked it up, but some kid from around the world knows about it. People in the unemployment line sure as hell don't think it's fair that they're losing everything they have while Iraq is being rebuilt. We can go help every other country who will destroy itself in civil war whether we're there or not, but we can't give our kids a decent education.

I used to be scared by the prospect of getting out of the military, but I realized that everything I've been taught about being a warrior would be completely contradicted by participating in this pointless endeavor. Honor, to me, is protecting the people you love, not blindly throwing myself into a mine-ridden wasteland. I'd have been more than happy to liberate a Jew and bring him to Hitler's corpse so he could piss on him; hell, I'd even hold his dick for him, but this? We're not fighting soldiers anymore. We see them now as enemies because we are told they're our enemies, and I can't be a part of that. If a foreign power was kicking in the doors of our homes looking for bomb labs and searching our families' personal belongings, we would fight back. What "honor" or "heroism" is there in shooting an opponent wearing no ballistic armor from the turret of an armored truck with a .50 cal machine gun? And, according to the Geneva Conventions, we are not allowed to shoot people with that weapon, but we are allowed to shoot at their equipment - as in the AK47 in their hands. Even civilians carry AKs there; practically everyone in Afghanistan has one, so I guess it can't be that inhumane to blow someone in half. That guy won't ever look at spaghetti the same way again.

I am a warrior. I will protect my fellow countrymen from legitimate danger. We have more to fear from ourselves; we may not have AK47s or IEDs, but we, as a country, carry a concealed weapon called stupidity. Nobody is perfect, but that doesn't mean we can't be good people. I don't need to be in the Army to be a good man. I'm not by any means a hippie, but I love my life, and I love the people in my life too much to have them question why I'm not around. That's my reason for getting out, and I don't really give a shit if anyone disagrees; and, if they're so fucking righteous, then throw on a brain bucket and march their ass down to a recruiter for Disneyland tickets.


Guest Blogger: Kreisler On "Work"

Oh, great. I'm first? I get all the "this guy sucks" comments* until everyone realizes Lee's engaging in some selfish socio-politico-bloggero experiment to prove the axiom that "absence makes the heart grow Ruder."

Well, fuck that guy.

He wants me to write about work? Work? WTF do I know about work? What is work? Seriously, how's it defined in America? How's that definition changing? Who's helping or hurting the cause? Is asking a series of questions to readers selectively inclined to agree with my worldview "work?" What do you think?

So, me.** As a Slash - comedian/author/speaker/editor/producer/radio-talky-talker/actor/crotch adjuster - I don't really have a "job," but I'd venture that the freelancers amongst us tend work a more that those with traditional jobs. Can't avoid taking work home with you if you work from home, #IfYouKnowWhatIMean***

The truth is, most of my work time isn't doing work, it's administrating work. This is what's so hard about a freelance, project-based career. I just want to work, I want someone to give me a meager check and say, "Do what you do." I don't want to spend 90% of my time convincing people I'm worth that check, waiting for it in the mail, then making them replace it with cash because there is no Bank of Northern GetARealJobYouHippyStan.

This is what makes the idiotic political battles over the economy so infuriating to me. We're missing the point.

Ours is an economy that needs to support the flexible, project-based worker, because that's what we've got left. Brick and mortar industries don't last generations anymore. If they're lucky, some product will have a 5-7 year shelf life - think Palm Pilots, Priuses, the word "artisanal."**** We're careening towards what some call the "free-agent economy." And the need to support that shift and that free agent worker - with stuff like broadband, high speed rail, education that focuses on thinking not facts, health-fking-care - should be a focus of our economic policy. But it's not.

Ya see, I still believe America's strength is in our brains, despite evidence to the contrary. Our ability to think, to take chances, to adapt both individually and in the aggregate. Our ability to Innovate. To see problems others wouldn't dare confront and find creative solutions: Separation of Powers, Kitty Hawk, the Egg McMuffin.*****

In order to find these solutions, to take these leaps, to Innovate, we must have the support system to do so. We must be able to take chances, there must be something to, if not catch us when we fall, at least cushion the blow. But that's not the economy we have right now, nor what we're building. Right now, the innovators can only be those with their own support system, their own safety net (said the guy with the fall-back law degree). That's why, right now, this free agent economy is only for white collar, professional work. Everyone else is too scared by 10% unemployment and health care costs and outsourcing and college tuition and Hudson River tolls and cell phone bills and Charlie Sheen to take a chance.

So, yet again, I question/mock/hate the self-applied "pro-business" label of the "pro-business" Right and what they've done to us. An empowered, innovative, engaged workforce helps business. Modern infrastructure helps business. Public goods - education, fire fighters, national defense, lower crime, clean water - help business. Business should be in partnership with, not ownership of, the workforce.

But the Right doesn't want this. They want a drone workforce***** until it is not just cheaper, but easier, to farm it all out overseas, which is where they're keeping their profits anyway. For stuff that has to be made here, we'll have a workforce with so few rights, such limited skills, so little flexibility that they'll beg for the paltry wages, negative benefits, and 25 hour work days they're gracious enough to offer. And if they keep pumping us full of crap and demonizing efforts to get healthy and to learn and to engage politically then they won't even need to build moats around their gated communities, we'll be too exhausted, diabetic and scared by the physics of battering rams to storm the ramparts.

Innovation? They'll decide what to innovate based upon their bottom line, and you'll make it and buy it and promote it on your t-shirt.

This is where the Right has taken our economic dialogue. We're arguing over how to maintain a dying industrial model, rather than how to forge a new one. And that sucks.

Look, Universe knows, I don't want every industry turned into the hellscape of showbiz, where talent, skill, and hard work have little bearing on advancement and potential is routinely wasted,******* but it would be nice if our economy focused on tapping the true potential of the American worker, based upon a collective embrace of our long-term interests and an honest understanding of the evolving definition of "work."


* If Rude had the balls to allow comments.

** I was supposed to write about making it as a lawyer turned comic, but, again, fuck that guy. And by that guy, I sorta mean me (one Native American teardrop).

*** These will be my last words just before Lee stabs me.

**** Please die soon.

***** You know what industry really gets the real potential of the American worker? Finance. Why do you think they're making all the money? They understand what Americans do best is innovate, and they milk that. The brain drain isn't overseas, it's into finance: Our greatest minds don't cure cancer or end hunger or create hydroelectricsolarwindbeeffart energy technologies…. but ways to make money by moving money around, skimming 2% off the top.

****** As for Rick Perry creating jobs which are a) minimum wage or less, b) energy industry based, and c) at the expense of education, investment, and health insurance, I'll just say this: I miss Molly Ivins. (Also: Fuck that guy).

******* Whoops. "Bitter" does-not-equal "rude."

Jeff Kreisler wants you to buy his book and hire him to write or perform for your political group, corporate function, or sexy nurse party.

Vacation Time Means Guest Blogger Time:
Every year the Rude Pundit takes a week away from the exigencies and exhaustion of daily bloggery. But he would never just leave you all alone, so this year he's got a line-up of way-cool guests all writing about working and not working, employment and unemployment, and whatever else creeps into their minds.

The co-host of Cheater and the Rude, Jeff Kreisler, comedian and author of Get Rich Cheating, will toss in about trying to survive as an artist with a law degree.

Mentioned by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, G.I. Jew himself, Benari Poulten, a stand-up comic when not in uniform, will write from his post in Afghanistan.

More coming, including another active duty soldier, a non-profit employee, and an EMT.

It's work week here at the Rude Pundit's joint.

And he's heading off to vacation. Back next Wednesday. Just make sure you feed the fish. The pot is in the carved-out volume of Kafka on the second shelf down. The vodka's in the freezer. Don't touch the good whiskey. Have a good time.


A Quick One Before Vacation: Fareed Zakaria Thinks Liberals Want Speeches:
This has stuck in the Rude Pundit's craw since Sunday, when author and CNN host Fareed Zakaria, on his show Fareed Zakaria Is Sick of Your Bullshit, took liberals to task for some kind of magical thinking about President Obama. Using a June New Republic column by Jonathan Chait as the basis for his tut-tut-tutting, Zakaria scoffed, "[T]here is a recurring liberal fantasy that if only the president of the United States would give a stirring speech, he would sweep the country along with the sheer power of his poetry and enact his agenda." And then he defends Obama as a centrist who has gotten what he wanted (the facts of which were almost immediately disputed by Paul Krugman on the same show).

It's always good to have a reminder that Zakaria is not another liberal plaything; he's not just Hadji to Jon Stewart's Johnny Quest. In addition to having the most intelligent and consistently compelling Sunday gabfest, Zakaria is, like Andrew Sullivan, a reformed conservative, someone who watched the GOP go nutzoid and say, "Whoa, those bastards are crazy," and aligned with a left-center in America that is more like traditional (non-teabagging) conservatism. And he supported the Iraq War.

It's the reductionism of Zakaria's attack that is most aggravating. Of course, people write fantasy speeches. Chait chides Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore for doing so. And if that's all they ever did, it'd be worth mockery. But we're not idiots and we're not children. As Donna Brazile pointed out on CNN's website, Obama has powerful tools that he is simply not using to achieve what he seems to say his goals are.

We know that Republicans are the real villains here. We know that conservative and/or fearful Democrats cower at the feet of the Fox "news" watching voters and go along with Republicans. Obama apologists cite FDR working with Republicans, as Zakaria does, but he was willing to call the Republicans out. He was more than willing to say that assholes are assholes and, hey, aren't these guys assholes?

We don't want Michael Douglas in The American President. We want Harry Truman. We've got Barack Obama. And while compromise may be necessary in order to achieve anything, when the compromises end up doing more harm than good or in watering down whatever goals you may have had to begin with, well, then dissatisfied liberals aren't the ones living in a fantasy.

Later today: "What? The Rude Pundit on vacation? Whatever shall we do?" Fear not. The list of cool and interesting guest bloggers (including two active soldiers) coming up.


Giving the People What They Want: Ten Things Regarding Corn Dogs and Bachmanns:
Oh, the Rude Pundit had good intentions for the day. He was going to write a defense of liberal discontent with President Obama. Or he was going to write an attack on Texas Governor and newly-announced presidential candidate Rick Perry. But this weekend, one thing electrified rude readers more than anything else: Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachmann's cocksucking face as she deep-throated a corn dog at the state fair. Yes, she did. She gobbled that meat stick like a roped-up Sasha Grey getting mouth-fucked.

Here's some things the Rude Pundit believes Minnesota's non-quitter was thinking as she went down on some carny dong:

1. "Oh, God, it's been so long."
2. "This tastes better than Sean Hannity."
3. "Wait, you mean it's just a hot dog?"
4. "I can take a bigger one than Rick Perry."
5. "This won't look bad at all."

Of course, if there's tube meat available, Bachmann's not-at-all-gay, anti-gay, gay-curing husband Marcus will be close by. He got a corn dog facial, too, with the congresswoman making him take it, take it all. Look at him:

Obviously he was thinking:

1. "Pray it away, pray it away, pray it away..."
2. "Well, if I just put the tip in, it won't look like I like it."
3. "Is it okay if I touch it, just a little, with my fingers gently caressing the smooth shaft before it hits my tongue and fills my mouth, oh, god, oh, Jesus, this feels amazing...no, no, stop it, bad thoughts. I'll have to whip myself later."
4. "Maybe if I show that I think it's yucky, people will stop talking."
5. "Oh, Michele, it's just...you."

Update: The profile view of the event does Bachmann no favors.

Tomorrow: back to weightier matters. And later this week: The Rude Pundit starts his yearly vacation, with great guest bloggers steppin' in to do the deed.


A Brief Observation on Last Night's Republican Fisticuffs (in Haiku Form):
Bachmann roughly fucked
Pawlenty with a large red,
white, and blue spiked cross.

(One other note: when Ron Paul is the sanest man in the room, you've got a hell of a lot of problems in your choice of candidates, GOP.)

(One other note: Please, people with Ron Paul hard-ons, don't write to say how the Rude Pundit's an idiot for not wanting to get with the Paul love.)

(One other other note: Mitt Romney is scary.)


God Does Not Want Rick Perry to Run for President:
Essentially, God has said a big, giant "Fuck you, fucker" to Texas Governor Rick Perry, despite his desperate attempts to Eddie Haskell his way into the Lord's favor. Yeah, Perry did use the office of the governor to call for prayer back in April to end the epic drought there. And just this last weekend, he was the hostess with the mostest at "The Response," his grand prayer meeting in Houston. As described by the Family Research Council (motto: "If our leader, Tony Perkins, isn't on TV at least once a week, Baby Jesus cries"), "The event was marked by the obvious sincerity of the participants, the unmistakable presence of God, and a sense of God's pleasure in the first Solemn Assembly of its kind in modern American history." Or, in other words, they just made up a bunch of shit.

Evidence shows quite the opposite. For all the praymaking being made in the Lone Star State seems to have added up to a big goddamned zero. And here's the easiest way to demonstrate it:

That drought prayer? Yeah, well, ask Big Spring how that's worked out. The drought is so severe that the West Texas town is "is considering recycling toilet water for its 27,000 residents." Now, you'd think that, for God to so forsake a place that they have to drink poopwater to survive, the town must be an atheist-devil-worshiping hellscape. Oh, it's a hellscape (drought, you know). But, in a totally unfair use of Google maps, we can say with certainty that there's approximately a fuckload of churches in Big Spring. And you can be pretty damn certain that they don't let the gays marry.

So is God just fucking with Texas? Why has his dry wrath forced Big Springers to drink pee?

There can be only one answer: God is furious that Gov. Rick Perry is probably going to run for president. And since just smiting the shit out of Perry is too easy, God decided to play Let's-Make-Texas-Into-Somalia. Ain't God a tricky bastard?

See, the desiccated land of Texas represents the empty soul of the Republican Party. And how soulless would Rick Perry have to be to abandon his state during one of the worst events in its entire history (and that's including the business ventures of George W. Bush)? No, there's not a fuck of a lot that Perry can do about the drought. But there's a Palin-like self-glorification going on when you tell the yokels who voted for you that you're too busy to deal with their pain.

Yeah, the Rude Pundit can't wait for pictures of Rick Perry downing champagne at a fundraiser with the Koch brothers juxtaposed with the churchgoing sewage drinkers of Big Spring.


Travel Day (But Enjoy the Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show):
Ohh, Delta Airlines, do not treat us like shit today. Goin' out West (where the wind blows tall). So the Rude Pundit will try to post later.

For now, enjoy the dulcet tones of the Rude Pundit arguing with Stephanie Miller about President Obama's performance in the post-debt deal landscape.


President Obama's Imaginary Friend:
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit wrote that President Barack Obama was suffering from delusional thinking when it came to dealing with the GOP. Then, as if to prove the him correct, Obama spoke shortly after the Rude Pundit scribbled his bloggy meanderings, and the President doubled down on the delusional as a way of supposedly calming the panicky markets and populace. At some point, one must wonder who the hell Obama is talking to. Because the "most-reasonable-guy-in-the-room-c'mon-independents-love-me" train was blown off the tracks by the depraved mad bombers in the GOP.

Seriously, check this out. Obama said, "Making these reforms doesn’t require any radical steps. What it does require is common sense and compromise. There are plenty of good ideas about how to achieve long-term deficit reduction that doesn’t hamper economic growth right now. Republicans and Democrats on the bipartisan fiscal commission that I set up put forth good proposals. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate’s Gang of Six came up with some good proposals. John Boehner and I came up with some good proposals when we came close to agreeing on a grand bargain."

It's as if Obama has created this imaginary friend called "Mr. Nice the Elephant," and he's so happy to have Mr. Nice the Elephant around to play with that he just wants everyone to know about Mr. Nice the Elephant. He may as well have said, "Mr. Nice the Elephant and I come up with great ideas all the time. We should all have a pal as terrific as Mr. Nice the Elephant. Isn't that true, Mr. Nice? He says it's true. You just can't hear him, but I can."

Mr. Nice the Elephant is fuckin' awesome. He'll sit down at a table with you and tell you how grand a bargain you can come up with. He'll tell you not to worry about all those meanie rogue elephants out there. Mr. Nice will take care of them. He'll teach 'em all to be nice, like him, Mr. Nice the Elephant.

Obama continued, "So it’s not a lack of plans or policies that’s the problem here. It’s a lack of political will in Washington. It’s the insistence on drawing lines in the sand, a refusal to put what’s best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology. And that’s what we need to change. I realize that after what we just went through, there’s some skepticism that Republicans and Democrats on the so-called super committee, this joint committee that’s been set up, will be able to reach a compromise, but my hope is that Friday’s news will give us a renewed sense of urgency."

It's as if nearly all of us are watching Jim DeMint and Rand Paul and Eric Cantor and Michele Bachmann and other nutzoids raping Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty and skull-fucking Ted Kennedy's dead head with Ronald Reagan's femur and calling that compromise. And we're all yelling, "Hey, could someone stop them from doing all that? It's really bad." And then Obama says to us, "Well, guess Uncle Sam shouldn't have bent over to pick up that beard soap in the shower. It's his problem because he thinks getting ass-raped is bad. Why is he drawing a line in the sand over the fucking of his anus? Gosh, Mr. Nice, that's not very nice of Uncle Sam."

The Democratic point of view is so degraded right now in the country that people keep telling the Rude Pundit, "But..but...the majority of Democrats support the debt deal." That's because Democrats actually understood that if you didn't raise the debt ceiling, the zombie recession would have risen even more viciously hungry. That's because, if we take John Boehner at his word that he got 98% of what he wanted, Democrats are happy they got 2% and Republicans are angry that they negotiated 2% away.

Here's the question the Rude Pundit would like to ask this President who keeps on attempting to appear post-partisan, who refuses to lay the dead bald eagle at the feet of the people with the gun: "Would you have been elected if you had run as a Republican? No? Then maybe you should lead like you need to defeat the fuckers who want to defeat you."

(Note: That last part presumes a level of hope and bravado that may not be possible at this moment.)


The Delusion Delusion:

At this point, in what seems to be our American endgame, we are a nation that is overrun with delusional thinking. Tyler Perry's "The Response"...wait, no...Texas Governor Rick Perry's "The Response" rally, where 30,000 people gathered in Houston to get more exercise than most of them have had all year just with the arm lifts, is merely the most obvious evidence of an affliction that is plaguing the United States.

The thing about the rally and all the photos you've seen of random participants exultingly raising their hands in the air, as if God is on a stage and they can maybe get him to brush his fingers on theirs, is that it's such utter bullshit. No, no, not just the notion that if there was an invisible sky wizard who gave a goddamn about Texas, he'd at least make it fuckin' rain. It's bullshit because a good many of those screaming, singing, arm-waving prayerturbators are just showing the fuck off. Yeah, they see their neighbor a-worshippin' like someone just goosed 'em with a crucifix and they're thinkin', "Oh, fuck that. I can show how much I really love Jeeeezus." And so they start a-yelpin' and a-hollerin' like particularly enthusiastic porno twink with a giant cock in front of him. It's all for the crowd, not the Lord.

But they are filthy with a delusion that somehow what they are doing matters in any way other than to make them think that they did something that matters. It is the delusion that follows the delusion.

Like, for instance, the entire economic approach of Republicans. We know, for a fact, that tax cuts and spending cuts during an economic downturn don't work. There is hard evidence of it. But the delusion seems to be that if we just tighten our belts (well, as long as we don't have private jets), if we all just suffer for a while (especially if you're old), then everything will be okay for future generations. Or something like that. Whatever you want to say about the S&P debt downgrade, the point of the rating agency was to degrade the nation for buying into specific Republican delusions.

We could live with the Republican delusions if the President wasn't operating under a delusion of his own: no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, he keeps believing (or at least acting as if) the GOP negotiates in good faith. He doesn't treat them like delusional idiots. He treats them like honest partners. The clearest explanation of how this delusion has failed the nation comes from Drew Westen's mucho-debated New York Times commentary on why the Obama presidency isn't working as we thought it would: he should have understood that after the 2008 election "the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement."

Or, as the National Review says in a vicious attack blaming Obama for the debt crisis (which is like saying that a one-armed janitor with a worn-out mop is responsible for the pipes bursting), "Though Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives from 2008–10, and therefore could have forced through any budget they saw fit, they left the nation with no budget at all." Yes, Republicans were cocks the whole time, but Obama negotiated with them and with the craven and frightened Democrats like Ben Nelson who didn't know what the fuck to do with power. He didn't need to negotiate from an already-compromised position (like during the health care reform debate). He chose to.

Now, as both these delusions combine, we have to ask which side is going to wake up. 'Cause fuckin' one them has to or we're done.

The one hope is this photo:

Yep, that's a fuck ton of empty seats behind that deeply American Jesus-fellatrix. There may have been 30,000 people there, but the place fits 70,000. And it was damn well air-conditioned in the hundred degree heat. In other words, the delusional are merely the preening loudest, not the most.

The true delusion delusion is that we don't think we can do anything about it. No, let's go further. It's that we know we can do something about it, but we just choose not to. And that's delusion tilting into voices-in-the-head (or TV) fantasy.