In Brief: Many Police Do Not Just Shoot Unarmed People Who Are Resisting or Attacking Them

Just a quick list of things that cops do when they're not shooting unarmed people who threaten them:

1. From New York, about a week ago: "A Southold Town police officer reportedly used pepper spray and a Taser to subdue a Greenport man who was allegedly drunk and attacked the officer Monday."

2. From Minnesota, in October: "In response to his resisting officers, Johnson 'was sprayed with department-issue chemical irritants and forced outside.'" That's Tom Johnson, backup defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, a notably large person.

3. From Massachusetts, in July: "Pepper spray had no effect on the suspect [who was on PCP and attacking officers] and it ultimately took numerous police officers and four sets of strung together handcuffs and leg shackles to get the man under control."

4. Finally, most poignantly, from Missouri, in September: "As the officer began to cuff the man, Turnbough reportedly turned and attacked him, tackling him to the ground and placing him in a choke hold." Another officer maced Jeffrey Turnbough, who had told police that he had a knife on him.

This list is endless. Not one of these men died attacking or resisting a cop, even though shooting them would have been faster and less painful for the cops being hit and strangled. In fact, most cops, when confronted with an unarmed, violent person, use mace and/or a Taser (since most police officers don't care if they're uncomfortable) and/or wait for backup.

Darren Wilson was scared. Scared people make stupid decisions that endanger others. Scared cops, apparently, get away with their stupid decisions. 

(Note: Remember that Wilson said he didn't want to mace Michael Brown when Brown was supposedly attacking him up close. But when they were out in the open, with distance between them? Why not? Why shoot instead of mace?)


A Thanksgiving Prayer from the Conquered

The Paiute Medicine Song

Now all my singing Dreams are gone,
But none knows where they have fled
Nor by what trails they have left me.
Return, O Dreams of my heart,
And sing in the Summer twilight,
By the creek and the almond thicket
And the field that is bordered with lupins!

Now is my refuge to seek
In the hollow of friendly shoulders,
Since the singing is stopped in my pulse
And the earth and the sky refuse me;
Now must I hold by the eyes of a friend
When the high white stars are unfriendly.

Over-sweet is the refuge for trusting;
Return and sing, O my Dreams,
In the dewy and palpitant pastures,
Till the love of living awakes
And the strength of the hills to uphold me.

(If you want a more contemporary piece, the poem "American Towns" by Laura Da', a member of the Eastern Shawnee tribe, will remind you that we wiped away a people, but the names they gave places remain.)


In Brief: Something Else That's Wrong with Darren Wilson's Story of the Shooting of Michael Brown

There is one aspect of Officer Darren Wilson's actions in his confrontation with Michael Brown that hasn't received much attention, but it has been bugging the shit out of the Rude Pundit. By his own admission, Wilson got out of his car and chased Brown, who he knew was unarmed. Wilson said that he fired several shots when Brown supposedly turned and charged him. By his own admission, Wilson missed Brown with some of the shots. Then he fired again, another series of shots, some of which missed and some of which hit Brown, killing him. "I don't know how many I shot," Wilson told the grand jury, "I just know I shot it." We can hope that "it" means the gun and not Brown.

This all took place in the middle of the day at the Canfield Green Apartments, a public housing project in Ferguson that has far, far more than its fair share of crime and poverty. Wilson killed Brown on August 9, a little after noon. It was a summer day; school didn't start until August 25. So in the middle of a housing project, with apartments and people all around, Officer Darren Wilson made the tactical decision to fire wildly at an unarmed man who was posing no threat to anyone except him.

As many have said, Wilson could have gotten back in his SUV and awaited backup. But, no matter what you think happened, we know that Wilson decided the best course of action was to fire ten bullets, no matter who might get hurt. We also know that some of those shots hit the apartment buildings around Wilson and Brown. And we know that Wilson is pretty damn lucky he didn't hurt or kill anyone else while he was firing his gun over and over.

So the conclusion here is that Darren Wilson just didn't give a damn who might be collateral damage, not in a neighborhood that Wilson called "antipolice." Fuck those people, right? Surely, though, cops are trained on how to use their guns in situations where innocent people might be around. Certainly, they are told that in occupied, residential areas, you should shoot only if there are absolutely no other options. Of course, cops must be told that the safety of the public is their primary concern, not their own safety in the heat of a moment against an unarmed man.

Or maybe not. Maybe cops are told that they are the law and that's that, especially in places like Canfield Green or Oakmont or Northwinds, and that enforcement of the law is the only objective, lives and safety of others be damned.

To the Rude Pundit, everything you need to know about Darren Wilson is in his own version of that moment, whether he's describing it accurately or not. Someone should ask him, "Did you think for one second about the other people who you might end up shooting? Did you even think they were people?" Or perhaps "Would you have shot like that in your own neighborhood?"


The Obligatory Blog Post About Michael Brown

This is the obligatory blog post about the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department on any charges related to his shooting of Michael Brown. It is obligatory because the author feels he has to write about it for himself, not for anyone else.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author rages about the injustice of the grand jury's decision. He expresses sympathy for the rioters without saying that he himself has never been in a riot. The author gives some sociology of the act of rioting as justifiable protest. He questions the decision to make the announcement at night. He quotes terrible things conservatives said about the decision and the protests after, just as a way to make you, the reader, angrier. However, the author adds that he has more sympathy for Michael Brown's family and friends because, of course, he does.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author demonstrates that he has spent time reading the testimony given to the grand jury. He points out inconsistencies that appear damning, like that Wilson told a detective that he didn't grab for his mace because he couldn't get to it, but Wilson told the grand jury that he didn't go for his mace because he was afraid it would spray back at him. The author talks about the dehumanizing way that Wilson described Michael Brown, as a "demon" or "grunting," how Michael Brown's size was brought up numerous times, as if the 6'4" 210 lb. Wilson was facing a giant. The author wonders how Wilson could have gone through the thinking he claims he did while he says he was being beaten by Michael Brown. The author bemoans the potential for cops to lie, giving examples of when it has happened before. He informs you that the best way to figure out who is lying is through a trial, not a grand jury proceeding.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author expands his focus to include many different subjects, like the statistics on grand jury indictments in cases where the police have shot someone versus the statistics on crimes in general. He delves into other cases as points of comparison, like Eric Garner or Kajieme Powell, both killed by cops. The author then quotes Wilson's testimony on how the neighborhood where he shot Michael Brown is "antipolice," and asks if the police are killing people, why would it not be anti?

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author talks about racism in the United States, how the unbridled id of the internet allows it to flame like the cars burnt last night in Ferguson. He brings up Fox "news" as an example of the mainstreaming of hate, and then he transitions to the other news networks, demonstrating how their anticipation of the violence that would follow a failure to indict was a kind of bloodsport for ratings. The author gives cursory comments on how President Obama's words last night could have been much stronger.

The obligatory blog post about Michael Brown ends with a call to action and a call to fight. Against what or against whom, the author fails to note.

The author publishes the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown. He posts it with a heavy heart, although he is unsure why, a feeling of impotence overwhelming him. Later on he realizes that it's because, no matter how much he sympathizes with the protesters and with the Browns, he, being white, will never know what they feel. He knows he will never understand what it is like to look at the police and wonder if they are going to make him a target. He will never know that fear, the fear that Michael Brown no doubt had in the back of his mind, followed by the useless yet constant belief that if you resist, if you don't submit to their power, if you fight back, you might win, even though, time and again, we are shown that you won't.


Republicans Can't Give Up the Benghazi Lust

You can't unfuck yourself. Once you've fucked, you can't go back. You can claim you are a virgin, sure. You can even make some kind of magical pledge to your god, who has nothing better to do than wave his wand, like the Wizard of Oz, and say, "There. You're unfucked." But you know the truth: you've fucked and been fucked. So the best thing you can say is that it was a mistake and hope everyone moves on. Or you could just claim that, despite all evidence to the contrary, you remain unfucked and always have been.

Republicans can't unfuck themselves on how they've used the events of September 11, 2012 at the United States's temporary mission facility in Benghazi, Libya. They have crowed endlessly about how the deaths of four Americans is the product of incompetence, a cover-up, or outright evil. They have come up with conspiracies about why then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice dared to use talking points that were based on incomplete intelligence when she spoke to Sunday talk shows in the aftermath of the attacks. Republicans have been fucking Benghazi for over two years. It hets up the blood of the base over how that nigra president personally ordered the murder of our Libyan ambassador or something. And it makes Hillary Clinton look like she's some kind of America-hating supervillain.

Except report after report has said the whole thing is bullshit, a political game. But, in the wake of the latest report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at least we know the rules of the game. They're something like, "Never give up. Never surrender." Truly, with seven reports now saying pretty much the exact same thing - no cover-up, no intelligence failure, nothing beyond a few preventive security fuck-ups that will be corrected - Benghazi is like climate change for Republicans. No matter how many facts are proven, the true believers will never say that reality is real.

This one, released Friday, was an actual bipartisan effort, led by Republicans and the committee's chair, Mike Rogers. You know how everyone supposedly wants a golden age of hand-holding in accomplishing something in DC? This report is it. And it's blissfully clear in taking on all the bullshit that has been flogged by Benghazi-bungling believers. There was no stand down order, no denial of air support, no intelligence failures because there was no intelligence of a specific attack. "The CIA received all military support that was available," it says on page 23. No officers were forced to stay silent or polygraphed. No super-secret CIA activities, including a "no" to Rand Paul's allegation that the CIA was using Libya to ship arms to Syria.

The worst things you can say are that the State Department should have provided more security (always a solid hindsight conclusion) and that the intelligence was such a clusterfuck right after that anyone speaking about the incident was going to get shit wrong. Was Susan Rice supposed to say, "No comment" on the attack? The report says, "In fact, intelligence assessments continue to evolve to this day, and investigations into the motivations of the individual attackers are still ongoing." You got that? We still don't know everything. And, to remind you, that's in a bipartisan report from a committee with a majority of Republicans.

So, of course, in his individual statement on his own committee's report, Mike Rogers keeps the conspiracies going, especially as they relate to Susan Rice and the State Department because, well, as you can read above, you can't unfuck yourself. So he blames the Obama administration for not providing enough security (the budget for which was cut by the Republicans in Congress) and for having a "failed" foreign policy (although you might want to check the scorecard on dead Americans in Libya with Reagan). Sure, Rogers says, all that shit we said you did is demonstrably false, as my committee's report shows, but, fuck it, "there is responsibility for the tragedy," which somehow involves telling David Gregory what you were told happened.

The report prompted the Senate's prettiest debutante, Lindsey Graham, to go full Scarlett on CNN yesterday. Calling the report "full of crap" and "garbage" and "a lousy job" by the House committee, he said that everyone is being lied to by the CIA, that people were told to stand down, and that Susan Rice and those talking points are the gravest threat to the nation since the Great Taffeta Shortage of 1985. Graham added (and if you believe certain things about Graham's personal life, you will be delighted), "If the things I'm saying about this episode fail to bear fruit, it will blow up in my face. But I know Benghazi pretty well. And I can tell you that the people who have been looking at Benghazi in a stovepipe fashion have not come up with what I think is a reasonable explanation for all the shenanigans and the lack of being prepared on 9/11."

Don't worry, dear, sweet Graham and all the conspiracy theorists. There is still another report to come from the House Select Committee on Benghazi. You don't have to worry about unfucking yourselves until that one clears the Obama administration, too.


Things That Wouldn't and Won't Happen in the Wake of President Obama's Immigration Action

Last night, President Barack Obama announced a compassionate, legitimate executive action for undocumented immigrants in the United States. Predictably, as happens when any politician acts to take care of the poor and disempowered, Republicans lost their fucking minds or were just lost and confused, predicting all sorts of doom for the future for Obama. Please, bitches. Stop being such obvious liars.

1. Republicans were never going to pass immigration reform. It wasn't going to happen. They had a chance to pass the Senate bill, which had megabucks for "border security," but House Speaker John Boehner, fearing the base of his party, wasn't ever going to vote on it, nor a future bill unless it's a bullshit, worthless one.

2. On NPR yesterday, Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, made all kinds of possible threats. Again, fucking please. Cole said that Republicans, when they run the Senate, might not approve of any of Obama's nominees for anything. Motherfucker, Republicans blocked most of that when they were the minority. What do you think was gonna happen now? They were never gonna approve shit.

3. South Carolina's Jeff Duncan said that the Republicans could force Obama to veto spending bills (and somehow convince people that Obama shutdown the government). If immigration was not an issue, Republicans would threaten a shutdown over something else. It's not your regular tactic.

4. Texas Senator John Cornyn said that Obama "poisoned the well" for cooperation. Man, you bastards poured arsenic into that thing in 2009.  Stop acting like your best buddy betrayed you. Stop acting like, if Obama hadn't done this, it was gonna be two years of grab-ass and giggles between the President and Congress.

5. As far as what won't happen, the House might impeach Obama, sure. But they won't get him out of office. You're not gonna arrest him, and you're not gonna successfully sue him. What the GOP is gonna do is figure out how the hell to save face with Latinos while keeping the crazies who vote in the primaries satisfied. So that probably means huffing and puffing and not doing a goddamn thing.

6. By the way, as far as prosecutorial discretion goes, most Republicans sure weren't upset when the Justice Department didn't pursue charges against Wall Street investors and bankers who nearly tanked the economy. That was fucking amnesty. This is a simple, humane act. It's not being dicks, something the right just can't imagine.


Who Cares How Much You Love Bill Cosby?: An Exorcism

If the Rude Pundit could write a letter to anyone who still defends Bill Cosby, it would go like this:

"Dear Friends of Cosby,

"In my apartment somewhere are two scratched up, worn out copies of two of Bill Cosby's earliest comedy albums, Bill Cosby...Right! and Why Is There Air?, purchased when they first came out by my father. When I was a kid, I listened to those endlessly. I could still to this day recite large chunks of 'Hofstra,' Cosby's routine about the weak men from his school, Temple, being destroyed by the big, dangerous men from Hofstra on the football field. Cosby's comedy, not his generic TV shows, not his crappy movies, his comedy was as influential in the development of my humor - no, my thinking - as any person who I didn't call 'Dad' or 'Mom.'

"Fuck Cosby. Fuck him hard.

"I know you want to defend him. I know you want to join with Whoopi Goldberg or Rush Limbaugh or any of the people who are begging that their beloved Cos, their Fat Albert progenitor, their surrogate TV father not be a serial rapist. Who gives a shit about your feelings? Who gives a shit about mine? The only people who matter here are Cosby and his alleged victims, now numbering at least 15, all with disgustingly similar stories, the MO of someone who knew exactly what he was doing.

"You say you can't possibly think about him in that way? That, for some reason, he might not be capable? Let me give you another way to think about the man:

"Bill Cosby invited your mother back to his room. It's possible. Many of these allegations are from a generation or two ago. Bill Cosby invited your mother back to his room at a hotel and, because, hell, this was Bill Cosby, your mother went. In his room, Bill Cosby offered your mother a drink. Your mother said, 'Sure,' and Bill Cosby mixed something at his bar while your mother sat down on the couch. Bill Cosby handed your mother the drink, which she thanked him for. While Bill Cosby watched, your mother downed the drink. Then your mother passed out in front of Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby picked your mother up and put her in the bed. Bill Cosby undressed your mother. Your mother woke up and tried to tell him to stop, but she was too drugged to do much more than weakly resist. Bill Cosby held your mother down, pulled down his pants, took his erect cock, and fucked her, even as she told him not to. Bill Cosby got off on that, on the struggle. When he was done, Bill Cosby pulled his pants on and left your mother naked on the bed with Bill Cosby's semen dripping between her legs. When she got up and left, your mother, who was very young at the time, who was living in the 1960s or 1970s, when many rapes were treated like they were part of a sexy game or what sluts deserved (times haven't changed that much), decided that there was no way she could possibly accuse the great Bill Cosby of having raped her.

"If you read that, I want that every time you think of Bill Cosby, you think of your mother being fucked by him. I want you to think about what your mother would have thought as she realized what was happening. I want you to think about your mother grappling with the actions and with the consequences. I want you to think about it because, if even one of these women is telling the truth - and, you know, one or two, maybe not, but 15? C'mon - that's what Bill Cosby did.

"Yes, you can make the argument that someone is innocent until proven guilty. And, legally, that's true. But we're not in court. And you can either believe that fifteen women are deranged liars or that Bill Cosby is a rapist. You can either believe that these allegations, which were first made over a decade ago and were mostly forgotten, are true or you can believe that fifteen women want to defame America's Pudding-Pop-pushing, Kids-Say-the-Darndest-Things hosting, sweater-wearing uber-Dad, who had to bury his own murdered son, for kicks and a bit of cash.  Who you choose says something about you, not the women.

"At this point, Cosby's got only a few options left. He could sue someone. Perhaps the women. Perhaps Hannibal Buress. If everyone is lying, he needs to sue someone. Celebrities do that all the time when someone tells lies about them. The easiest thing would be for him to go away. For good. You'll be okay without him. You didn't even know he was still around until the last few months. Unless there is someone more recent, he won't be prosecuted. Bill Cosby could just go away.

"And, yeah, he would have gotten away with it, for so very many fucked-up reasons. But the one that's making you who defend Cosby queasy is the one that those of us who say, 'Fuck Bill Cosby' already had to deal with. It's because you feel complicit. You watched him as it happened. You loved him as it happened. You laughed at his jokes as it happened. You bought his Kodak film, his sweets, his books, his recordings. God, it sucks for you, doesn't it? Fuck you.

"Chances are Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. That's a tragedy. Not for you. Not for Bill Cosby. Not for comedy. Not for America. But for the women he raped."

"Most sincerely,

"The Rude Pundit"


Republican Ethics: Teach Someone to Fish, Then Fuck 'Em

It's really one of the dumbest, most meaningless things anyone can say and other dumbasses will think it profound: "Give someone a fish, and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime." What the fuck? How is this still a thing people say? Because, see, as the Rude Pundit has explained before, how is that poor bastard going to fish without a fishing pole, a line, perhaps a net, and, in most places, a license? Are you sure that this newly-minted fisherman is living near a body of water that has edible fish? And, while he's getting all that shit straight, what the fuck is he gonna eat? The knowledge you gave him? You're just setting someone up to starve to death, but you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, "Goddamn, I'm a good person 'cause I taught a dude to fish."

The asshole who repeated the parable of the damned is Governor Mike Pence of the stinking hellscape of Indiana. Pence was speaking to Fox "news" special needs hire, Brian Kilmeade, whose form of mental disability makes him lick the assholes of the cruelest Republicans while spitting his shit-flecked saliva at anyone who has compassion for the poor.

See, Pence wants to reinstate work requirements for childless, able-bodied food stamp recipients that had been waived during the recession. Now that everything is so hunky-dory with job hiring in Indiana, according to Pence, it's time to put the work rules back into place and kick up to 65,000 freeloaders off the dole. Never mind that some areas have recovered more than others. Never mind that job training programs - you know, teaching someone to fish - are in limited supply. Never mind that, nationally, there's 2 people for every job available. Never mind the number of people who aren't in the unemployment figures who because they gave up looking for work.

(By the way, shouldn't Pence and other governors refusing to extend the waiver be thanking President Obama for the economy improving to the point that they can feel free to do so? Huh. Funny how that works.)

If this isn't dickish enough, Pence offered this non-angling explanation for the good he's doing: "I’m someone that believes there’s nothing more ennobling to a person than a job...And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependents at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success." He's a mensch, that Pence. He wants to ennoble you by starving you unless you get a job. If you're someone in Gary, Indiana, and you have to beg for scraps from your neighbors because the city itself doesn't have enough jobs, you will be ennobled. Oh, and if you make more than $15,170 at this job? Fuck you. You get dick in food stamps. Eat shit and go ennoble yourself.

The issue here is not just the employment rules for recipients of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It's the continued abject cruelty of conservative ideology. Cutting people off food stamps? Wanting to eliminate the minimum wage? Motherfuckers, we tried all this. We have a fuckload of evidence that the cruel approach fails. It's called "Almost All of Human History." What happens when that childless, able-bodied person can't eat? She'll go to charities that are already stretched thin. She might beg. She might lose her home paying for food so that she can have the strength to look for a job. This is not overstatement. This is what has happened and what will happen.

Tell you what, welfare reform lovers. If the government steps up and gives jobs to people who can't find ones in the private sector, you can go right ahead. Let's invest in some big damn infrastructure projects that need workers. Pence says he wants to teach people to fish. Well, paying them to fish for all of us seems awfully fucking fair.

Oh, right. Government employees don't "produce" anything.  Well, some definitely produce bullshit.


Random Observations on the Push to a Vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline

1. Fuck you, Canada. (Or maybe just certain areas of Alberta.)

2. Someone at The Daily Caller (motto: "Twisting news stories like they're bowties under Tucker Carlson's fifth chin"), Michael Bastard or something, must have thought he was oh-so-very-clever for writing this: "Environmentalists argue that Keystone will harm the environment and contribute to global warming. So they bundled up to withstand the frigid blast of Arctic weather and protest against Democrats who have pledged to vote in favor of legislation approving the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline." Oh, dude, fuckin' burn. You made those protesters and their "science" look totally gay. You were able to ignore that we just finished the hottest October on record and focus in on a single couple of days of admittedly weird-ass weather to fuck some shit up, bro. You can have an evening with the office blow-up doll all to yourself as a reward. Treat her nasty. Who are we kidding? Of course you will.

3. In his continuing effort to show that he can still go to the Cato Institute Christmas Party, New York Times columnist David Brooks says so many demonstrably false, naive, or shitty things in today's "column" (if by "column," you mean, "A deep huff of a bottle containing Reagan's filthy underwear") that it's impossible to know where to start. Is it that he uses the debate over the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as a way to bash Barack Obama for being too "partisan" while ignoring the incredibly partisan bludgeoning done by Republicans with the pipeline in the election two weeks ago? Or maybe it's this quote: "The economic impact isn’t huge, but at least there’d be a $5.3 billion infrastructure project"? No, it's not a fucking infrastructure project. It's a pipeline for TransCanada's tar sands oil from Alberta. It'll be paid for by the company, not the American taxpayers, so it's not for the public. It'll create a total of 35-50 permanent jobs. It might poison an aquifer. It is most definitely not infrastructure, generally defined as "shit we need," not "shit a big-ass corporation needs to squirt out a few more drops of profit." So, yeah, Brooks can sit on this pipeline and rotate.

4. Everyone doing political calculations on this is wrong. Its passage would not save Mary Landrieu in Louisiana because, symbolic though it might be, it ain't gonna do shit for Louisiana and Landrieu is done. The GOP in Congress wouldn't take Obama's support as a sign of cooperation. They'd just crow how they defeated the President. Oh, and it won't lower gas prices one fucking cent. So what's the point?

5. There is an argument to be made that goes like this: "Oh, fuck it. It's not gonna add much to climate change anyway. Use it as a bargaining chip for something else." An even more cynical version might be: "Oh, fuck it. We're fucked already on the climate. What does it matter?" It's easy to fall into those moral dead zones. Instead, the Rude Pundit thinks, "How about giving a win to the people who are trying to save the fucking earth, huh? How about giving them a boost, a way of saying that we actually do give a happy monkey fuck what happens to the globe?" This ain't just a climate change argument. There's very real and present danger to the water supply that irrigates huge swaths of farmland and provides the drinking water for the Sioux Indians in South Dakota.

6. One more argument for blocking its passage: Fuck the GOP on this. They have made "Keystone XL" some kind of imbecile's shorthand for "Obama hates oil," which Obama quite clearly does not. So fuck them, along with Canada.

7. One twist: What if Obama agreed to the pipeline in a bill that also reduced carbon emissions in an enforceable way? How much does this mean to you, Republican motherfuckers? Yeah, thought so. David Brooks would end up shoving his head so far up his own ass to justify Republican refusal to bargain that he'd be able to eat his own heart.

Helping Out Jessica's Family

Many of you were moved by the story of Jessica, my former student who died this weekend, to ask where you can donate money help her family pay her debts and for her funeral.

Her brother has set up a Go Fund Me page for her. He tells a fuller story of his sister's life and gives more details about what happened at the end, including why the page is even necessary.

Her story is an object lesson in how the inhumanity of our politics affects actual humans.

Don't worry. Later today, I'll return to your regularly scheduled rudeness. But, in this case, you don't need obscenities to say something is obscene.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show

"It was a roller coaster of emotions," said the Rude Pundit's pal about today's weekly talk orgy with Stephanie Miller on her radio/internet show. So cry, laugh, and let your nipples get hard:

Oh, and the Rude Pundit is giving serious thought to the audiotour idea. Listen in to find out what that means.

A Letter from a Dead Woman

On Friday, I told you about Jessica, my former student who was dying. She had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had spread to her uterus. The treatment came late because it was just in the last year that she had health insurance for the first time in her adult life. She smoked, so that no doubt contributed to her condition, but many people smoke and many of them do not die at 43 of lung cancer because they couldn't see a doctor until it was too late. Jessica passed away yesterday afternoon.

I bring up Jessica again not to merely update you about her end. Last week, one of her closest friends sent me an email that Jessica had written in June 2010. It offers a picture of what it's like to be working paycheck to paycheck and not able to get medical care until it's too late, as well as the long-term cost of even doing that. You want to know just how cruel this nation can be towards the working poor? Let's hear from Jessica, who was writing to explain why she would not be able to attend her friend's wedding:

"As it turns out, my body made my decision for me, and I am taking it as a sign of hope and rejuvenation. I am fine now, but last week I had a sore throat. I didn't think much of it, since there weren't any accompanying symptoms (except exhaustion, which I'm used to). So I drank tea and used echinacea drops, etc. and slept a lot. Monday, I lost my voice and called out from my night shift to rest. That night it became difficult to swallow, and the nodes in my neck became enlarged and very hard, very quickly. Tuesday morning I went to my doctor and she sent me immediately to the Emergency Room. Turns out I had an abscessed strep infection that pushed my uvula into a position that blocked my airwaves. Very scary. They treated me with steroid & antibiotic drip and, thank God, it worked because they were preparing me for emergency surgery to drain the abscess, which I hear is not a fun procedure. I was discharged last night around midnight, and aced my follow-up appointment today with flying colors.

"I have energy and am not in any pain or discomfort, and my fever broke last night. However, I was put on home-rest until Monday, which means I will have missed a good 55 hours of work, total. Sometimes we have to be at our lowest in order to push past certain hurdles, and, while missing work will be an additional hardship, I am actually looking forward to the time to take care of other essential needs in my life, so its a mixed blessing. I have a positive outlook and am grateful that I received such good care in the hospital; although, as sick as I was I was rather horrified that there were so many sick people and very few beds, or rooms to put them in. I was in a chair in the hallway for a few hours before they got me a cubby/room and that was only after a team of doctors flipped shit because my (beautiful) attending doctor demanded that I receive immediate attention & I started to pass out a little.

"I became a teaching tool as the Head of the ED brought by another group of attending doctors & triage nurses so they knew what to freaking look for--right in the hallway, as people groaning & carrying oxygen tanks, were crammed everywhere! I also had a whipper-snapper of a young, pregnant triage nurse who pushed me through because another gum-snapping beauty would've kept me in the waiting room. Actually, I give all the ED personnel a lot of credit. They were bombarded, and they see all sorts of stuff, including the underbelly of human existence. A sore throat doesn't sound like an emergency when you're filling out a chart. But, those snap decisions are really the difference between life & death in many cases & even though it was hard to speak, never-mind advocate for immediate attention, I showed them the paper saying my doctor sent me, etc. I thought I was being 'dramatic' when I pointed to the paper that said, 'blocked airway' and said, 'Yeah, I think that means difficulty breathing!' Scary stuff. But, as I am fine now, I'm remaining positive and thinking of it all as a blessing.

"Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend your wedding, and I am very sad...

"Please do not feel obligated to respond point by point. I type fast and re-reading this, the only point I want you to take from this is: Everything will be much better soon! No worries! We can discuss the deteriorating state of healthcare in our once great nation at a much later date and fulfill my desire for drama to be kept onstage at a later, but hopefully sooner date. Until then, I am going to scope out your FB page. I can't remember if you set up one of those 'bride blogs' so I can see pictures of your dress, and flowers, etc. Oooooh! Have fun sweetheart!"

I was talking to my pal Neil about Jess on Friday. Neither of us has ever gone without health insurance. We said we couldn't imagine what it must be like, to know you're sick, to know you probably need help, but having to make a calculated decision to let yourself suffer and hope it doesn't get worse because missing work and going to the hospital would screw up your income? That's just alien to me. It's not, even now, for too many Americans.

On TV, recently re-elected Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin actually said of his decision not to allow Medicaid expansion in his state, "Why is more people on Medicaid a good thing? I’d rather find a way, particularly for able-bodied adults without children, I’d like to find a way to get them into the workforce. I think ideologically, that’s a better approach, not just as a conservative, but as an American. Have more people live the American dream if they’re not dependent on the American government."

Jessica was an able-bodied adult without children who worked, at times, two jobs to pay the bills. This was after she had been an able-bodied adult without children who had worked full-time and gone to college full-time. It's great that you want to "get them into the workforce" through some kind of conservative magic, I suppose, although I'm also not sure what your definition of "workforce" is. But how about making sure that those adults stay able-bodied so they might enjoy the imaginary fruits of your mythical workforce? Because, Gov. Walker, your version of things is this: "If you stay healthy, one day we might be able to make it possible for you to have a job that might have health insurance." Walker should have Jessica's cancer shoved down his vile throat.

Conservatives always say that liberals want people to be "dependent" on the government. That's one of their favorite arguments for getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. I thought that, at least in theory, the government is us. It is the means through which we take care of each other; you can think of it as the contractor who makes all those programs we might want to make our lives possible. See, the difference is that liberals want us to depend on us; conservatives want people to depend on them or their corporate masters. We want to make a government that responds to the needs of people. They want to keep people on their knees and convince them they're walking upright. If you really give a damn that people might "live the American dream," you might give them the tools to do so and not just toss them like feathers into the capitalist winds.

The part of Jessica's email that hits hardest is her unending optimism. She always believed things were going to get better, that a corner had been turned, that this job interview would be the one. She spent the last two years of her life living that optimistic, almost never cynical view of the world. She was helping the homeless and the sick. She wanted to give back, even though the world had never given her anything other than the many friends she made along the way.

So we'll be there at her funeral to talk about how sad it all is, how helpless we all were. Are.


A Note to the Politicians Who Helped Kill Jessica

By the time you read this, Jessica will probably be dead, but until then, I will try to write about her in the present tense. She is a former student of mine who returned to college after years away, so she got my Gilligan's Island references in my classes. She is an utterly jubilant presence, a large woman who is a fount of joy, loving most everything she did at school and tolerating with great humor those things she did not. I directed her in several plays, and she is as brave a student actor as I've ever worked with, going from broad farce to gut-wrenching drama to the lead in a romantic comedy. Jessica's mere presence made all the typically college-aged students feel safe - not so much in a motherly way, but as a big sister who had her younger siblings' backs.

If any of them needed help, Jessica was there. To this day, she is still close with many of them. Her Facebook page is filled not just with brief expressions of sorrow and hurt, but post after post of long tributes and notes about how heartbroken people are. Hundreds of them. Few people are as deserving. After Sandy devastated parts of Staten Island, she volunteered to give out food and clothing. Eventually, she got a full-time job with one agency that assists people who are homeless and hungry. It was then that she finally got health insurance for the first time in her adult life, despite having worked since she was able.

"Unfortunately by the time she was diagnosed, it was already far too late to do anything," her brother wrote yesterday about the cancer that is in her lungs and uterus. The tumors in her lungs were so big that chemotherapy couldn't shrink them so they could address other issues. Her fever reached 108. That's not a typo. Her kidneys failed. She has been on life support for over a week now. Her brother said, plainly, "Jessica will not be making a recovery from her illness." It is an awful end for someone in her early 40s who, after more than a decade of drifting, had created a good life for herself, a life that would have been spent helping the poverty-stricken and those with HIV/AIDS.

For the years that Jessica was a regular presence in my life, I often told her that she needed to see a doctor for one thing or another. She laughed it off, saying that she couldn't afford to, that she'll just take something over-the-counter. Once, when she was injured, the bills put her in a financial hole that took her a long, long time to climb out of.

I've gone on about Jessica because, even though I had only seen her a couple of times in the last few years, the whole thing is heartbreaking. But this is supposed to be a note to politicians, especially those who want to see the Supreme Court overturn the subsidies to people in the federal exchange and wreck the Affordable Care Act, if they can't do it in Congress. Why is this addressed to them even though Jessica has health insurance through her job?

Because this cancer has been growing in her for a few years and she never had a physical and never got diagnosed until now, when it's too late. The Republican members of the House and Senate, the Republican presidents in her lifetime, they are mostly responsible for that. Jessica made just enough money as a single person to be over the Medicaid threshold prior to 2013, when the ACA expansion happened in New York. It's almost funny: she was determined not to have to rely on anyone to live on her own, but if she had quit working and gone on Medicaid, she might not be on the verge of death.

As a country, we should be ashamed of that. We should be shaming every governor or legislature that refuses to expand Medicaid. We should be shaming every politician who wants to undo Obamacare, which is still not enough to cover everyone. Each and everyone of them, for Jessica's entire life, has their craven, pandering hands on the plug that will be pulled. Their years of inaction came to this moment.

This is a story that we hear time and time again in the United States. Someone dies because they didn't have health insurance. I'd ask to imagine it, but most of you reading this probably don't have to conjure a fake victim. You probably know someone in your own lives. The Affordable Care Act is a noble, if flawed, attempt to do some good for people who need it. You should either be leaving it alone or making it universal, not attempting to end it. It's truly this simple: If you believe that some people should not be able to afford to get regular medical care, if you think that's ok or a built-in part of a capitalistic system, then you are a terrible human being, and, if Christianity is where your faith rests, you are a damned hypocrite who knows nothing about Christ.

There's a final, sad, cruel part here: Jessica's brother has asked that, in lieu of flowers and gifts, we donate to help take care of the expenses that haven't been covered by health insurance and for her funeral: "If you are willing and able, there will be a donation box at the funeral home, and an address will be provided for anyone who would like to send a donation. Nothing is expected, but anything donated would be greatly appreciated." Our tribute to Jessica will be to help her family pay the bills.

Jessica might find that funny. If she were able, she might give that laugh that everyone loves. And she'd understand how horribly American it is.


Shut the Fuck Up, George W. Bush

Fuck you, George W. Bush. Go suck on some hairy rhino balls so that your mouth is so full of sack that you can't breathe, let alone talk. And fuck you to all the media outlets treating Bush like a long-lost beloved uncle who has finally come back from exploring the Congo with his Hottentot manservants. Any interview with the former president should begin with "Shut the fuck up, you fucking America-wrecking imbecile" and end with "Why won't you shut the fuck up, you fucking torturing, murdering, war criminal motherfucker?"

Bush has been just about everywhere promoting his book on his fucking asshole father who everyone loves now because he's old and jumps out of planes and shit, but who was a shitty president who bobbed on Reagan's knob until he lost his own personality. Here's W. on NPR when asked if his mission in Iraq was as clear as his father's during the Persian Gulf War: "Yes. I think in many ways it was. It was more complex because this decision was made in a post-9/11 world. In other words, the removal of Saddam from Kuwait was definitely in our national interest. But it didn't necessarily mean that the United States's homeland would be threatened or not threatened depending upon his actions. In our case, the 9/11 attacks changed the strategic equation for the United States, and we had to deal with threats before they fully materialized."

Wait. Yes, it was as clear as Dad's but it wasn't because it was more "complex"? Ah, there's that old logic. And, motherfucker, you are the fucking godfather of the post-9/11 world. And, motherfucker, are you still tying Saddam Hussein to 9/11? In less than 5 minutes, Bush mentions 9/11 four times. It's all he's got. So shut the fuck up already.

And then there's the softballs, like on Face Bob Schieffer's Face, Nation, when Schieffer's face asked Bush if politics has gotten "meaner." Bush actually said, "People were held to account for what they said. In other words, there was a pushback. Now there's just so much stuff out there--flotsam out there that people say what they feel like saying without any consequences." And Schieffer did not arthritically rise out of his chair and bitch slap Bush, screaming, "Motherfucker, that cocksucker Karl Rove ran your campaigns. You fucking made it meaner. Rove was never held accountable, even for outing a fucking CIA agent whose husband pissed him off. He should be skull fucked by bears. Shut the fuck up."

Let's not even talk about his Today show appearance, which should cause the set to be burned and the ground salted.

Why are we doing this? Why is Bush allowed to go anywhere without crowds pelting his car with shit and rotten tomatoes and eggs? Why aren't there riots at his book signings, demanding his arrest for crimes against humanity? Why hasn't he been run so far out of any town that he has to live in an underground bunker so that the angry masses don't tear him limb from limb? Are we that brain-damaged a nation that we've forgotten? Are we that delusional that we can't just say, endlessly, "Shut the fuck up," and mean that we never want to hear from him again until we all jubilantly join hands and do a crazy jig on his grave?

Oh, and, fuck you, W., you didn't write a fuckin' book.

Late Post Today

Trying to figure out another word for "feminist" that means the same thing. Flummoxed and confused. Fuck you, Time magazine.

Back in a bit with some amnesty-licious rudeness.


The Deep Empty in the Heart of the Republican Victory

The vacuous tautology at the center of the Republican victory last week is most fully, if unintentionally, explained by Bush leg humper and Washington Post scrawler Marc Thiessen. In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "A simulacrum of a parody of a satire of a farce of an opinion, covered in shit"), Thiessen focuses in on the Republican winning wave in state legislatures and governors' mansions: "A conservative revolution has been taking place in the American heartland. And that revolution will have lasting consequences in a number of areas."

What's the fuck's the proof of this conservative revolution, Tiffani...sorry, Marc? That states in that mythical heartland passed minimum wage hikes by enormous margins? That two out of three states defeated anti-abortion measures? What exactly is the proof other than 20% or so of voters voted for them?

Thiessen explains, "Instead of fighting over fiscal cliffs, sequesters and debt limits, [GOP state governments] are focused on improving education, reforming government, lowering taxes, fixing entitlements, caring for the poor, reducing dependency and creating jobs and opportunities for the unemployed." And as for evidence of this, Thiessen offers exactly nothing. Not a goddamn program. Not a goddamn specific state that's improved. Not a goddamn idea that has worked. Where would he go? The heart of the heart of the heartland, Kansas, is a clusterfuck of failure, with cuts to education and all those things that do provide "caring for the poor" because of insane tax cuts.

By the way, when the fuck did conservatives start thinking that government should care for the poor? By taking away their food stamps and housing programs and slashing public education? That's like saying that hockey fans really care about the injuries to players on the opposing team. Or like saying that a murderer cares enough to cause you the most pain before he finishes you off.

National Republicans "should take a page from the GOP playbook in states and champion a positive, hopeful reform agenda," Thiessen writes. Yes, let's check in on the positive, hopeful reform agenda in the heartland where the revolution has occurred. In some states, the hopeful, positive Republicans are figuring out how to chop up their states into smaller districts so that they can divide the electoral college votes, which must prove how dedicated they are to unity. In Tennessee, Republicans are using the just-passed Amendment 1 to come up with more hope-instilling abortion regulations. In Michigan, several Republican legislators are positively making moves to keep same-sex marriage illegal and even to criminalize being gay. In Texas, one positive legislator wants to allow businesses to be able to discriminate against LGBT people. In Missouri, they're pretty much fully erect to pass tax cuts over Gov. Jay Nixon's head, thanks to a stupid constitutional amendment the stupid Show-Me-Your-Ass state voters stupidly...sorry, hopefully voted for. In New Jersey and Ohio, they'll get to continue the shitty job creation rate with hope and no programs.

No, Thiessen gives us nothing to hold onto. And that was the tale of the 2014 election. The message was "Republicans are; Democrats aren't." You, being a wise reader of this wise, if rude, blog, might ask, "The fuck? Are what, motherfucker?" And the answer is like koan for the imbecilic: "Republicans are because they are." It doesn't matter what they might or might not do. Fuck, we can take care of what we really want in ballot measures (although, really, you can't). All that matters is that Republicans are and Democrats aren't.

There is no fucking mandate for Republicans. There is only sheer force over timidity. There is only bludgeoning people with bullshit. And it will have "lasting consequences," as Thiessen threatens. The fuckery that will be done by state legislatures in the next couple of years will demonstrate that the deep empty in the heart of their agendas is a void that sucks us all in.


The Gay Greatest Generation Vets and How to Honor Them

Even at 92, you can bet that Lt. Rupert "Twink" Starr could kick your ass. Sent over to Europe in 1944, he was helping the fight the Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans. "Starr survived a series of harrowing travails as a POW, including eight days in a boxcar jammed far beyond capacity with other prisoners and forced marches in subzero weather." Yeah, Starr is a motherfuckin' part of the greatest part of the so-called "Greatest Generation." And Twink loves cock. He's a knobgobbler who was together with his interior designer partner, Allan Wingfield, in Ohio for over 50 years.

Starr's story is all over the place this Veterans' Day because, frankly, it's a suck-on-this to everyone who ever opposed having gay men and women in the military. "This old dandy took on Hitler," it says. "What the fuck did you do in your 20s? Tailgate?" And, yeah, his nickname really is "Twink."

Gay vets from World War II will kick your prejudices right in the nutsack. It proves that everything homophobes believe is wrong because if the decorated soldiers who went toe-to-toe with the Germans and the Japanese were bonesmokers, what other false gods do you worship?

Last year, two vets, a 95 year-old WWII vet and a 67 year-old Vietnam vet, both dudes, made news when they got married at a veterans' senior living home in California. While a couple of the cranky old bastards were upset, they had their ceremony without event. Said one anti, "I just know that it’s against my faith and my religion, but as Americans they have a right to do what they want to do." Yup, old hater, yup.

So these LGBT Great Ones are still fighting. Earlier this year, Robina Asti, who, when she was Robert Astley, flew combat missions for the Navy in World War II before transitioning in the 1970s, won her deceased husband's survivor benefits from Social Security. That we're still having these movie-of-the-week battles in the 21st century is shameful to all of us.

Maybe, just maybe, while every politician is spending the day spouting encomiums to the once-warriors, young and old, talking about their bravery, talking about their service, talking especially about the ones still alive from the "Greatest Generation," maybe they could pass the Restore Honor to Service Members Act that has languished for over a year. Maybe we can do something for the 114,000 veterans who were dishonorably discharged for just being themselves. Maybe we can shut the fuck up for a few minutes and put our laws where our filthy mouths are.


The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show

This morning, the Rude Pundit was in full froth holding forth about the midterms with Stephanie Miller on her eponymous radio show.

Check it out:

The New Narrative, Part 1: Government Makes Capitalism Possible

After last week's eviscerating election, the Rude Pundit offered that one of the biggest problems is that Democrats not only ran away from President Obama and, in some cases, from being Democrats (which is something Democrats do all the time). It's that Democrats have failed to offer voters a story, a narrative, something they can hang their hats on and say, "Yeah, this is where I want to spend some time." So unceasingly focusing on tiny slices of the population to just hopefully barely nudge the numbers into the "Win" column, Democrats mostly ignored the larger population who needed to be inspired to vote.

Republicans had their story: "Barack Obama is destroying the nation. If you believe that, then you must believe that Democratic Candidate X is going to aid and abet in the nation's destruction. Therefore, you must vote for Republican Z." That's compelling. Your vote becomes the means through which the nation is saved, even if it means voting in the people who had very nearly actually destroyed the country a scant 6 years ago, even if it means voting against what you really want, even if the basic premise of the story is false. It's compelling, and that's what matters.

Democrats can and must create a better narrative. It can't just be a list of what Barack Obama has accomplished to prove that Republicans are liars. That's got no legs, and it's just playing defense. What's needed is a story that demonstrates the good of Democratic domestic policy.

Right now, in Louisiana, the Rude Pundit's long-left home state, Senator Mary Landrieu is in a run-off with "mainstream" Republican Bill Cassidy. Landrieu is widely expected to lose, and why not? Landrieu keeps running away from President Obama, as if somehow not appearing on a stage with him nullifies Cassidy's strategy of tying Landrieu to Obama. Cassidy has agreed to one debate before the December election, adding that he'll agree to one more debate each time Landrieu "barnstorms the state with Barack Obama."

Landrieu's assuredly losing strategy is two-pronged: She is attacking Cassidy as someone without all the clout that she has (although how that is as relevant in a Republican-run Senate is left unsaid). And she is going around the state to remind people of how much she has done for Louisianians (which really means, "for the oil industry"). Even in this typical strategy, Landrieu is doing it wrong. Why not tie Cassidy to viscerally unpopular Governor Bobby Jindal? No wonder the Democratic National Committee has pulled ad buys on Landrieu, knowing that she's a long-shot. The potent combination of racism and general stupidity pretty much assure a loss.

The impending loss of one of the last Democratic Senate seats in the South is the perfect opportunity to try something different. Why not? What is there to lose that hasn't already been lost? Let the Rude Pundit tell you a new story, an American story, a Louisiana story:

The Rude Sister and her family have health insurance because of Obamacare. They got it on the federal exchange because Louisiana is run by jerks. Because they have health insurance because of Obamacare, they have been able to do several things. First and foremost, they were able to give up the expensive COBRA policy they had been under since the Rude Sister had been mergered out of her job. Her husband was underemployed at a small office that wasn't required to provide health insurance. Having health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, voted for exclusively by Democrats in the Senate, the Rude Brother-in-Law was able to start his own small consulting business, and it has been so successful that he may be in the position to hire people within the next year. They are white, they have two kids, they go to church, and they own a home. They are attempting to achieve the American dream: to be successful within the capitalist system. They are as American as Americans are stereotyped to be (except the Rude Sister couldn't bake an apple pie to save her life).

There's your narrative. Just a little bit of government, in the form of a subsidy for health insurance, is enough to possibly end up creating jobs. Isn't that the goal? To make the American dream possible? What the Rude Sister and family are doing is what everyone in the United States hope to do. They wouldn't be doing it without Obamacare, without the Democrats voting for it.

It's that simple. It's that direct. You tell the story of how government works, not how it fails, not how it harms. How it works. How it helps. How it's supposed to be there for the citizens of the nation.

This is the beginning of the new narrative. It's not saying, "Republicans say these bad things. Here are good things." It's not a call for revolution. It's not saying that some people are evil (although some very much are). It's implying, "Do you want to squash the dreams of these American Americans or do you want them to flourish?" It's asking, "Who are you?" and "Who are we?" That's what voting answers. Right now, we're a pretty terrible lot. Maybe we can use the new narrative to make us less awful.


Shorter David Brooks: "Hitler Liked Dogs"

Sometimes, the Rude Pundit doesn't know what parts of a David Brooks "column" (if by "column," you mean, "a gleeful hammering of small mammals") deserve response. For instance, his latest for the New York Times offers a smorgasbord of Brooksian Brooksishness. You could pick one point of "The Governing Party" and use it to tear down the entire piece, leaving Brooks quivering, sweating, and shitting himself while he slowly cleans his glasses.

Take, for example, the thesis of the damn thing. Boiled down, it's "Republicans won a whole bunch on Tuesday because they didn't run those crazy fuckers; instead, they ran these respectable fuckers." See, apparently, according to Brooks, the GOP went mainstream this time, avoiding the embarrassment of voting for the deformed mutants from their basement. He takes us through these upstanding individuals, like "David Perdue, who was elected senator in Georgia, was senior vice president for Asian operations for the Sara Lee Corporation. He moved to Haggar Clothing before becoming C.E.O., successively, of Reebok, Pillowtex and Dollar General."

Now, you might think, "Hey, that's awesome. But what the fuck does he believe?" And Brooks might answer, "What kind of socialist scumlicker are you for asking that? David Perdue is a mighty capitalist who loves capitalism. That should be enough. And don't you fuckin' dare bring up how he destroyed Pillowtex."

You might look it up for yourself, and you'd discover, within about ten seconds on the mighty Google machine, that David Perdue is a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Obamacare, anti-immigration reform, pro-business (duh) Republican. In other words, he's pretty much like Louie Gohmert with a Master's degree in Operation Research. (Note: Gohmert's got a law degree. No, really. They hand those things out like Halloween Smarties.)

The column goes on like that. Biographies are devoid of anything but career mentions or that one new governor donated to the Red Cross. You half expect to see Brooks write, "Henry Ford may have been a union-crushing, antisemitic bastard man, but he build a helluva car."

Two things, though. First, this from Brooks: "The new senator from Oklahoma, James Lankford, got a divinity degree and ran Falls Creek, the nation’s largest Christian camp." Lankford says he's a "servant of God." The Rude Pundit is pretty sure that if a candidate ran the nation's largest Muslim camp who said he was Allah's servant, it would count against said candidate. And how the fuck is that any proof that someone is mainstream? But he's from Oklahoma and they just reelected Inhofe, so fuck it.

Lastly, though, you can occasionally boil down a David Brooks column to one reference that just makes you wanna punch the screen. Talking about new Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, Brooks effuses that Cotton "graduated from Harvard before working at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, serving in the Army and going off to McKinsey." The smarter among us can figure out that Gibson, et al is a law firm. But he just plops "McKinsey" in there, like we should just know that it's a corporate consulting firm. And if we had ever heard of McKinsey and Company, it's because two of its directors were convicted for insider trading, and that would have been while Cotton was employed there.

But this is Brooks's world. And you should know this, you simpering prole. In fact, he praises McKinsey as an example of one of the "pillars of American society."

So what Brooks is really saying is that these are the same fuckers as they ever were. They're just fuckers who Brooks might actually see at the restaurants he frequents, and so they are good men all.


Right-Wing Media Wants Obama to Surrender to Election Results, Unlike What It Asked of GOP in 2012

Let's face it: Yesterday, President Barack Obama could have invited John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to his press conference, announced that he received the message from the election, got on his knees in front of the Speaker and the incoming Majority Leader, unzipped their flies, took out their dicks, and sucked them and jacked them off, and all the right-wing media would have talked about is how arrogant he was not to let them fuck his ass. "Is Obama's asshole too good for cock?" they would have tweeted mightily. "Obama didn't lick their balls, so that must indicate he is anti-Tea Party," others would have conspiracy theorized. And, honestly, this ain't that far from what they really said.

It was a "surly stew of delusions and insults," according to some fuckin' writer at Redstate that's not Erick "Erick" Erickson, although he flipped the fuck out on Twitter over "petulant man child" Obama. So it was all over Right Blogsylvania. But even Chris Matthews on MSNBIrrelevant said he found Obama to be overreaching. Why? Because Obama said he is going to do things, using executive power if he has to. Oh, and that he believes in different things. Mostly, it's because he didn't surrender and say, "Fine. Here's my anus. Go to town."

Now, ordinarily, this would be time to trot out quotes from the press conference that demonstrate that  Obama mostly talked about finding areas of common ground with the GOP. It's be easy: "Let’s compare notes in terms of what I’m looking at and what they’re looking at, and let’s get started on those things where we agree. Even if we don’t agree 100 percent, let’s get started on those things where we agree 70, 80, 90 percent." There's a ton of that shit in the press conference. But that pierces the delusion that Obama is the uppity Negro who won't sit in the back of the bus while the white folks drive.

Instead of begging you to listen to Obama, instead of convincing you that, even now, he should have been more arrogant, he should have just said, "Kiss my ass and try to stop me," instead of wasting your time with that, let's do this. Here's Erick "Erick" Erickson right after the 2012 election, when Democrats had a goof night: "So what should Republicans do? Fight on. Don’t listen to those who say we must moderate, we must abandon values, we must abandon principles, etc. They are wrong. We must reach out, but that does not mean surrender." Does that sound like capitulation? Does that sound like giving in to the will of the voters? No. It's "Fuck the majority of Americans. Fuck them hard."

In fact, a group of activists signed a letter to congressional Republicans urging them not to cooperate with the reelected President and the Democrats: "Their entire leftist agenda opposes the principles on which you ran and the principles of the millions of people who elected Republicans to Congress. And now we count on you to stop them. Nobody else can stop them but you. You have the power, if you will use it."

There was not a second in 2012 when the people who are now calling Obama a jerk expressed any sentiment about Republicans working with the twice-elected president. It didn't matter that he won majorities of the nation twice. There were Republicans who voted otherwise. They mattered. Everyone else didn't. So Republicans didn't do shit to work with the White House. And now they're upset because Obama might not play nice with them? If you don't understand where Obama is coming from, that's your brain damage, man.

Mitch McConnell had a press conference yesterday, too. He was conciliatory, as a seasoned politician would be in victory. The only difference between McConnell and Obama was that McConnell was lying every time he moved his barely-existing lips. They're not gonna work with Obama. They're gonna keep doing the same shit they've been doing, just with a majority instead of a filibustering minority.

After McConnell spoke, media commenters across the intellectual spectrum, from NPR to Fox "news," talked about how we might move past gridlock now. It's as if someone kicked them in the head so they'd forget who the fuck locked it up for the last four years.

(Side note: Props to Erickson. He predicted in 2012 that Obama's base wouldn't vote in 2014 and it would be a runaway for Republicans. The Rude Pundit may disagree with Erickson totally, he may despise Erickson as a human being, but he will admit when someone is right.)


Random Observations on a Reaming: That'll Teach That Negro to Be President

1. Here's everything you need to know about the 2014 midterms in a single anecdote: Last week, as he's mentioned, the Rude Pundit convinced the Rude Brother to vote for the Democrat, Mary Landrieu, in the Louisiana Senate race. The Rude Brother has long been Republican, but he is also for raising taxes on the wealthy, doesn't care about gay marriage, thinks abortion should be safe and legal, and agrees that humans contribute to climate change, among other beliefs. By just about any measure of politics, the Rude Brother is moderate-left, a Democrat. When the conversation ended, RB had said he would vote for Landrieu.

Cut to Election Day morning. The Rude Pundit received a text from RB: "And, in the end, the kid couldn't pull the trigger for Mary." A little later, he got another message: "It felt dirty voting for Landrieu." RB went with Bill Cassidy, the Republican, who believes the opposite of everything RB believes in. In fact, Bill Cassidy will try to take health insurance away from our Rude Sister and her family. RB had said he has no problems with Obamacare. Well, he does now.

There you have election 2014. A voter goes into the booth believing the world should be a certain way and then pushes the buttons for the candidates who will do everything they can to stop the world from being that way.

2. And that was the pattern just about everywhere for the night. Citizens in Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all hiked their state's minimum wage by huge margins while still voting in the Republican for Senate and/or governor. In Alaska, the minimum wage hike passed and Republican Dan Sullivan is leading incumbent Mark Begich. In Colorado, the voters defeated a personhood amendment while voting in for senator a goddamn guy who sponsored a federal version of the thing. Fucking Kentucky fuckers are happy pigs in the Obamacare mud, but, fuck you, Alison Grimes. Kentuckians want the cockknob who wanted them to stay sick and toothless.

And this isn't just in what you consider red or reddish states. In fucking Illinois, voters said "yes" to raising the minimum wage, a constitutional amendment for the right to vote, a higher tax on millionaires to fund schools, and a birth control mandate for insurance plans. They elected the Republican for governor, and he opposes at least two of those measures - the tax and the minimum wage (Bruce Rauner has said he wasn't going to get involved in "social issues" like birth control).

It's not just inconsistency. It's fucking insanity and impossible to reconcile, except to say, as Michael Tomasky did, that it's easier to support progressive goals at the local level because the White House nigger doesn't support them. If the nigger wants it, you gotta be against it. Nobody wants that nigger around. How dare that nigger be our president? How the fuck did that happen? (Yeah, racism is to blame for the way the electorate has so virulently turned against President Obama. But we've been saying this since at least 2010. Mary Landrieu is right, but you get raked over the coals for speaking it aloud.)

3. Shut the fuck up if you're writing some think piece about how Republicans will work with President Obama now. Shut the fuck up if you're writing about how Republicans will have to govern now. Shut the fuck up if you're writing blindly optimistic fantasy fiction about all the amazing things Obama will do now that he's unshackled completely from Congress. Just shut the fuck up.

Here's what's gonna happen, as sure as you're reading this. Republicans ran on one simple message: We will do nothing. Oh, sure, they made a big deal about repealing the Affordable Care Act or whatever, but that ain't happening until Obama is gone. So they will do nothing. It's the easiest fucking goal to reach, almost beautiful in its sinister simplicity. Republicans in the Senate are going to block any nominee for anything. Legislation was never going to pass, even if they lost the Senate. So they will vote for an agenda that has no way of getting past Obama's veto. They will vote to overturn the vetoes and fail. They will hold useless hearings on useless topics like Benghazi and, oh, fuck, why not, Ebola. They will subpoena the White House endlessly, which will slow the work of the Executive Branch. There will be talk of impeachment, but that won't go anywhere because it would be doing something, which is not part of the GOP ethos now.

And people will praise them for being brave because courage comes cheap in this decadent age, wallowing in the slippery afterbirth of what the nation did last night. People will praise them, as they already are, for "moderating," when moderation is just a mask made of flesh that they put on to disguise the true horror heaving breath underneath.

4. The bottom line is this: People like Democratic ideas. They don't like Democrats. That's all. You can blame many things: useless consultants, failure to defend Obama's policies, failure by Obama to demonstrate how he has done good things for the vast majority of Americans, shitty DNC leadership, the Republicans ginning up fear in the last couple of weeks, failure to inspire young people and non-whites to get to the polls, on and on. But the Rude Pundit just gets back to what the Rude Brother said, that "it felt dirty" to vote for a Democrat. How do you overcome that?

You want this to end happily and hopefully. You need someone to tell you it's not that bad. You are desperate for columns and blog posts that relieve what ails you, whether it's nausea, rage, or, most likely, disgusted exhaustion. This isn't going to do it. There needs to be some big time soul-searching. Hillary Clinton and 2016 ain't the cure because, well, shit, after that is 2018 (and Clinton is problematic, but that's another riff for another time). We have to accept the obvious ignorance of the voting public. Mostly, people are stupid yahoos, hunched naked in ditches, picking at nits, looking for a shiny object they can worship. 

Democrats have to make that object. We have create a new narrative. Not a counter-narrative as a response to Republicans, but a narrative that Republicans must respond to. And we have to be willing to stick with that narrative, not abandon it like a hot boyfriend after one fuck, as happened after the 2008 election.

The Rude Pundit has said before, and he'll say again and again: We have to stop acting like the visiting team in our own country.


More People Need to Vote: A Fantasy

The Rude Pundit went to his nearly empty polling place at 8:30 this morning. In and out in two minutes. The most important thing he felt he was voting for was school board because some candidates are assholes about teacher tenure and some are not. Once again, he voted with a weariness about the campaign, about the inevitable outcome, the hope of 2008 crushed out of him by the cumbersome weight of ads, analysis, and prediction, the pontificating pollsters, the partisan pundits, all of it just squeezing the life out of the act of deciding what direction that nation will head for the next year or two, before the 2016 campaign is under way and all anyone does is what's necessary to appeal to whatever base because, truly, except in rare cases, that's who votes.

In the last ten midterms, the turnout has not passed 40%. In fact, if today, 41% of voters go to the polls, that will be some kind of crazy midterm miracle. If that doesn't fucking depress you, then you probably either don't give a shit or you've given up on voting mattering, which means you're depressed for other reasons.

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit wrote about how the media has broken our will to vote. And it made him wonder: when is the last time the news networks tried to educate us on how to vote? Like actually walked us through the steps on voting?

So he went to the magical Google machine and, in his quick research, discovered that CNN has Anderson Cooper teaching you how to vote...for "CNN's Hero of the Year" (the shrimp po'boy, always the shrimp po'boy). He learned how to vote for performers on The Voice and every other dancing, singing, acrobatic, self-fellating show. Some local newscasts did talk about real voting, as did some newspapers.

The Rude Pundit had a fantasy, one that didn't involve three tan twenty-somethings, a large bottle of lotion, some mezcal, and a Slip 'n Slide with 10-inch dildos at the end. He had a fantasy that CNN, MSNBC, hell, even Fox "news" spent a good bit of time explaining to people that voting was important. In the most non-partisan, so-called "objective" way possible, all would work together to get the rate of turnout up to 66%, two-thirds, which hasn't been seen in the modern era, even in the tightest of presidential elections.

They could air reports on how you vote in each state, each step of the way, from registration to polling place. Changes in the law could be dealt with absent of criticism, even, no matter how repressive or juvenile they might be. Different communities could be featured. Here's how you vote if you're an old black woman in Kentucky. Here's how you do it if you're Hispanic in Texas. And, hey, white college student, here's how you do it. Civic engagement is never not a good thing, right?

Anderson Cooper, Shepherd Smith, or Alex Wagner could talk up how it's your duty as an American to vote. Is that controversial? Don't worry - Bill O'Reilly or Rachel Maddow can advocate for different candidates or against jerk-offs that they see. But the ultimate goal is to vote. Make it a fuckin' crusade. 66%. Two-thirds. One of out of three of your lazy, apathetic, and/or overworked asses can stay home. Who cares who wins? As long as 66% vote so we can look at our elections, especially our midterms, and say, "Well, I don't like that bastard, but at least he won fair and square." Instead, now, a candidate can win a six-year Senate term with less than 20% of registered voters in their favor.

Of course, of course, of course, this will be met with mighty resistance, especially on the right. More people at the polls will mean more non-whites will vote because, demographically speaking, fewer non-whites vote than whites, by at least 17 points. The battle by conservatives will be fought on two fronts: to get more whites to the polls and to suppress the minority vote, much the same battle that's being fought now. The difference would be that, with voter turnout made into a national issue by the major news networks, attempts to hinder voting will be seen for what they are. The Rude Pundit could throw into the mix a push to make Election Day a national holiday or to move it to a Saturday, for fuck's sake.

Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. It's a fantasy, after all, on a November Tuesday before so few Americans vote to harm so many others.


Job Well-Done, Media: The Destruction of the Vote

The Rude Pundit is not going to predict whether or not the Republican Party will take over the Senate on Tuesday (or after run-offs in Georgia and Louisiana). His head says, "Of course." His gut says, "No way." Both have been egregiously wrong before when not in sync, as a mad cocaine and tequila weekend in San Francisco 10 years ago showed him. What he does know is that the speculation about whether or not the Republicans would win back the Senate began about five seconds after the 2012 election results were in. He knows that the drumming of the media since then has been that the takeover would happen, that Republicans would win back a majority, that the wretched worm-that-walks, Mitch McConnell, would become the majority leader.

Here's America's Greatest Poin, Nate Silver, prognosticating in February 2013 like we didn't just finish an election three months earlier: "Summing up the possibilities across all 35 Senate races yields a net gain of four to five seats for Republicans, just short of the six they would need to win back the majority. However, the margin of error on the calculation is very high at this early stage." So, of course, everyone took the story to be "Republicans Might Win the Senate." (This is not to mention Silver's November 16, 2012 column, "Democrats Unlikely to Regain House in 2014," which sits somewhere between "Fer chrissake" and "No duh.") By July 2013, the New York Times's David Firestone was already bemoaning what would happen when Republicans take over the Senate.

So that's what we've heard, on an endless loop, for 18 months: Republicans will win the Senate in 2014. It's a psychic beatdown by the mainstream media, let alone insane right-wing radio babblers and Fox "news." We're left with a disgust with the whole process, like someone telling you that Bruce Willis is dead in The Sixth Sense before you see the movie. All you've got then is a half-assed story of a mopey kid. (Oh, spoiler alert.)

The cycle of our elections has become a masochistic exercise, a perversion of whatever "democracy" is supposed to be. God help you poor bastards in states with tight races, where you must be seeing ads with a density and repetitiousness that'd break Alex in A Clockwork Orange quicker than a stream of violence. All you wanna do is sit down for an evening of NCIS: Poughkeepsie or wherever it is now, and you're inundated with a barrage of messages and images, telling you how horrible one candidate is, how awful the other is, how one will take your guns, how one will abort your 5 year-old, how one will get us all terror-murdered, how one will let Muslims dance on your entrails. This isn't democracy. It's an endurance test. And you can bet the ads aren't going anywhere because that's gravy to the meat of the local and national channels.

You combine the disgust with the whole flagellation-by-campaign-commercials with the endless news that the Senate is lost with being told that everything is going to hell (when, really, really, it's actually pretty damn good out there right now) and with voting restrictions in several states that are, quite humorously, affecting Republican and Democratic candidates (right now, Rick Scott sure wishes there were a few more days of early voting), and there's no reason not to throw up your hands and wonder if you should bother. We cannot sustain this. It is as if every election becomes a battle over who can cause the most PTSD to the general population, so scarred by the images and words that they'll vote for anyone to make it stop. Or just stay home and cover their eyes and ears and ignorantly hope that no one does anything to impact their day-to-day existence.

Congratulations, media. You've reduced hope from transformation of the nation to the whimper of "Leave me alone, please." When we parse this election out, there will be time to blame the Democratic Party for its failings. But it will not be theirs alone. It will be all of ours.

Elections should be more like sports seasons. We go through it for a few months and it's over, and only the die-hard fans follow the machinations of what goes on during the off-season. For most fans of losing teams, there's a sense of "Thank Christ that's over until next year." In the Times today (now that Nate Silver doesn't work there anymore, it's safe for people to speak out without fearing his wrath), an op-ed by a Duke professor and student calls for an end to the midterms: "[T]he two-year cycle isn’t just unnecessary; it’s harmful to American politics. The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president," often one that was just elected two years before after a long campaign. That's messed up.

We are defeating ourselves, constantly at the midterms. It's a calculated effect that both parties count on. And, yes, it keeps getting worse and worse. How the hell do we try to make this better? How do we attempt to reinvigorate the act of voting in the midterms as more important than a Facebook quiz? Or can we?