ADD Friday:
It's Friday and the Rude Pundit has a couple of stories from the mail to share. First, in answer to a question sent by reader Steve about why there's no comment page (Steve added, in that oh-so-fucking-cute high school girl on the IM way, "I'm sure it would be kewl"), the Rude Pundit fucking hates the comment pages of other blogs, where everyone adds a pithy little message or long ass rant. Fuck that. In fact, the Rude Pundit would like to think that his refusal to have a comments page has inspired other to blog on.

Like Jeff, who started the Figure 1 blog. Here's a continuation of his story of gloom on the Bush Superhighway of Economic Doom:
'It's amazing how many misperceptions there are about unemployment "benefits". One of my own co-workers asked me, "You'll be getting 80% of your salary, so why do you care?" Uh, not even close. In Kentucky (yes, where I live), benefits are capped at $365 a week. And yes, that equates to about $9.13 an hour, for the math challenged. Here's the kicker: not everyone filing for unemployment will receive that amount. As a matter of fact, I would guess that the majority of folks in Kentucky filing for unemployment benefits will make less. This is because the benefit amount is based on some lunatic formula that was developed by a wing-nut with an acute hallucinogen affliction. Basically, it's a tiny percentage of what you made over the last 4 quarters, multiplied by some number and then added to the odds of the 3rd horse in the 5th race on the last weekend of Keeneland. So, seeing repugnicans defend their decision to not extend benefits past 26 weeks is offensive, to say the least. Next they'll be claiming we drive Cadillacs and are bilking the system. Hell, they retread everyting and everyone else, so I guess it's time for that little gem of wisdom to reappear too.'

Finally, the tearjerker that brings us full circle this week: a pro-choice story from the way Catholically-named Mary Scott O'Connor and her blog at Daily Kos:
'When I think about the struggle for reproductive freedom in America and the world, I tend to take it personally.

'I have had one and a half abortions; the first was complete, initiated by me. The second was a partial miscarriage that the doctors in my home town were legally constrained against finishing because of that town's restrictions against abortion. Technically, you see, it was still viable, The best advice they could give me was to go home and let nature take
its course. I was forced to drive 400 miles south to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the Planned Parenthood clinic where I had the
first abortion six years earlier at the age of 19.

'At 19, I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was in a horrible relationship with a man who had been a teacher's assistant in one of my classes. (That is a whole other story, which I will not belabour here.) We practiced safe sex not so much because of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases but precisely because we
didn't want to procreate. It didn't take and I got pregnant.

'I was, to say the least, not thrilled. Nor was he. He was adamantly opposed to my having a baby. As it happened, so was I. Still, I called my mother - mostly for the love and support I mistakenly hoped she would give me. My mother raised me as a pro-choice feminist, but had since rejected those beliefs in favour of her recent decision to join the Faith
Reformed Christian Church. She proceeded to beg, cajole, berate and castigate me, her final argument being, "That's my grandchild you're killing." I will never forget those words.

'I went to Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor. First they confirmed what I already knew, with a pregnancy test. Then I received counseling. The woman made very sure that it was my decision, that I hadn't been coerced by my boyfriend or anyone else, that I was aware of the other options. They were not acceptable options to me. I knew I would never be able to have a baby and give it up, and I knew I was in no shape (psychologically, financially, emotionally) to be a mother.

'We were broke. The procedure cost $400. The anesthesia was optional, for another $150. We didn't have it, so I was given a couple Valiums. It was the most physically painful experience I have ever had (and that includes an extremely complicated and excruciating pregnancy and birth a decade later). The doctor was male; sadly, he was not terribly sympathetic. He scolded me for screaming. He told me it couldn't possibly be as bad as I was saying it was. At one point I felt a pain so sharp that my right leg kicked out and the stirrup flew across the room and hit the wall behind the doctor. My boyfriend, who was with me during the procedure, broke into sobs watching me go through it. Afterward, it took me several days to recover physically. Emotionally, I was shaky -- but mostly because it had been a painful and distinctly shameful experience. My mother's words, the doctor's impatience and a childhood in Catholic schools conspired against my better instincts and coaxed me into being ashamed; ashamed of being female, ashamed of being sexual, ashamed of failing to adequately protect against pregnancy, ashamed of choosing an abortion and my "selfish" desire not to be a mother.

'At 19, I had not yet fully come into the raging alcoholism and drug addiction that was to be most of my twenties, but it was already there. I have often imagined what a horror show of a mother I would have made, what a devastating life I would have given a child in those nine years it took me to get sober.

'I have never regretted anything about the choice I made, except for the lack of anesthesia.'

Back Monday.


Scroll down for the entry on Vietnam, but stay and enjoy all the rudeness.
A Monarchy of Dullards:
What do we make not necessarily of the cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, but of the Bush administration's insistence on the divinity of presidents, for if the President doesn't have to answer to the Congress or the Courts, then he can only answer to God, who doesn't seem to really give a shit at this point. Some of the things Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement told the Supreme Court yesterday reflect a doctrine of absolute power that seems so completely at odds with ideas of democracy and rule by citizens that it can only be called "motherfucking disturbing." Here's some greatest hits: Clement told the Court that the President wouldn't allow torture, although couldn't demonstrate how that would be assured. Clement said he did not know how long the citizens would be detained, that there was no end-date. Clement called habeas corpus and due process "judicial micromanaging."

One wonders if those who were kept in Soviet-era Gulags would have thought it "judicial micromanaging" if they were allowed a hearing. One wonders if nuns and aid workers kept in torture chambers in Guatemala would have thought it "judicial micromanaging" if they had been able to speak to an attorney. One wonders if the victims of the "rape rooms" and interrogation spaces in Iraq would have thought it "judicial micromanaging" if a fair and open court was allowed to decide if their treatment was right. And in each of these cases, the controlling authority, be it the unquestioned leader or party, believed that it was jailing its own citizens who were threats to the stability of their countries.

For all we know, Padilla and Hamdi could be the most brutal motherfuckers the world has ever seen. Or they could be innocents who are regularly given shocks to the nuts to make them talk. It doesn't matter. They're citizens of this country, and even Jeffrey Dahmer had a trial. But, as said before, this is less about them than it is about all of us.

Americans are, for the most part, idiots. We are so blissfully unaware of our past except in little bits of cultural seepage that we are fucking doomed. And the worst part about this is that the ignorance is of just about everything that makes this country, well, American. See, Americans were never led by a monarchy and, unlike every other country that has, we have no understanding of what it means to have a leader whose decisions are final. It is willful ignorance. We behave towards the President, who is, supposedly, a citizen just like the rest of us, as if he is a king. It's almost as if we burn with desire to be ruled, like we're a nation of submissives waiting for the big leather-clad dom to whip us clean and tell us how to live. Problem is - we don't know what it's like to be ruled in that way. Oh, sure, the idea of the caress of the whip is fine and dandy, but once it leaves a welt, then all the fun and games are over.

The Bush Administration behaves in a way that is contrary to anything that the country was founded upon. Remember: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, Hancock, and the rest knew what it was like to live under the rule of a single man, and, so, in rebelling against that rule, they were doing things selfish and altruistic. The selfish part, as in all things in history, had to do with being able to control one's own financial world. The unselfish part was setting up a nation that allowed for the Congress, President, and Courts to be able to put the smackdown on each other. That's why it's called a goddamn "balance" of powers. And if all else failed, they built in one failsafe - the election system (albeit one tilted towards their financial interests, but still . . .).

The Bushkoviks react with righteous indignation that anyone would question their motives or actions, be it the Democrats in Congress bloacking judges or the courts asking if the President should have the right to hold a citizen completely incommunicado from anyone but interrogators for as long as he wants. Part of the indignation comes with having business people in the executive branch: government is not a business - it's a negotiation. But the other part comes from its deep desire to extend dictatorial power as far as it can. And we haven't even seen how far that'll stretch into the elections. For if there's anything other nations have learned about monarchies and dictatorships it's that they'll keep extending and extending until they invade every part of our lives.


It's Not Like Vietnam, Unless It Is:
Let's be clear here. As the Rude Pundit has said before, George W. Bush is a pussy, a punk. In prison, he'd be everyone's favorite bitch because of how he'd cry just before getting fucked. How do we know this for sure? Two reasons, one old and one new. The old one is this: on his application for the Air National Guard in 1968, Bush specifically checked "Do Not Volunteer" in the box asking about "overseas duty." So, coward that he was, Bush, like so many other cowards before him, supported a war he was unwilling to fight, even if he had the chance. The new reason for the punkification of George W. Bush? Because, like every bully or mob boss before him, he hides behind his lackeys. Dick Cheney and others out there attacking on the military front. Karen "I Could Not Look Any More Like a Lesbian Unless I Was Picking Muff Hair Out of My Teeth" Hughes attacking the pro-choice march on Washington, equating pro-choice Americans with al-Qaeda. And it's not to even get into the way the Bushkoviks sent out the flying monkeys against Richard Clarke. And Bush? Just hides and smirks and studies his lines for his meeting with the 9/11 Commission. And gives speeches on fuck-all he knows nothing about, like broadband taxation, acting like he's above it all when, in reality, this is a cesspool of his own shit. (Brief pause here: over a hundred Americans dead in Iraq this month over oil, and Bush is on the road talking about givin' over a billion dollars in research for hydrogen fuel? Sometimes you just gotta shake your head until your neck snaps.)

But, of all things, they had to attack Kerry on his military record and his support of defense. So Kerry and others are now busily spanking the President's ass. It's something all spoiled rich kids need to have happen every once in a while. A good yank down the knickers in front of the class bare ass-smacking. Kerry has ditched his reticence on criticizing Bush's military record now and then, saying on Hardball last night that, essentially, Bush is a duty-abandoning little liar who doesn't give a good goddamn about the people in the military. Wesley Clark takes the riding crop to Bush's lotioned cheeks in a New York Times editorial today, pimpslapping the Republican slime machine (which is a phrase that should be used copiously) and givin' props to Kerry.

Meanwhile, the retro-cool nuevo Vietnam keeps gettin' closer and closer to going over the edge into complete oblivion. The Marines are ready to flatten Fallujah. Najaf is just seconds away from being all-out chaos, and the wonderful little uprising that'll explode when that happens will make for a great movie in a couple of years. It's just super that a new generation is starting to get to understand what it's like to see dead Americans shipped back to the U.S. like so many bins of flag-covered cargo.

You wanna know why Vietnam is a campaign issue? It's because of the children. There's a wonderful line from a Simpsons episode a few years back when Lisa talks about Gen Xers and Bart says, "We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little." Now the children will know what it means to know people who were sent overseas to fight for who the fuck knows what, only to be killed. And once Najaf and Fallujah blow up, it's just a matter of time before the soldiers who have been kept there for far, far too long tours of duty begin to crack and start raping the women and cutting off the ears of the "enemy." And maybe someone will be brave enough to come back from the 'Raq (as we should start calling it) and witness to us about the horrors we perpetrated in the name of "democracy." Man, then we'll get that crazy 'Nam feeling again back in the U.S. A., and all its attendant homelessness, suicide, alcoholism, and disillusionment with a government that lied to its young people about more than intern kooz.

At least Lyndon Johnson had the good sense to walk away from the Presidency when he realized how badly he had fucked it up. From a 1998 essay by Doris Kearns Goodwin on the last real Texan in the White House: "By July 1965 it was clear that he either had to escalate our commitment or gradually withdraw. He decided, of course, to escalate, to commit hundreds of thousands of troops and millions of dollars . . . keeping from Congress and the public the very pessimistic estimates about how much time and manpower it would take to win the war. . . [H]e didn't trust the American people or the Congress to support him if the full scope of the war were understood. . . Of course, a leader cannot break trust. It's a disastrous decision in any institution, but particularly when lives are at risk. In his speeches Johnson kept promising that there was light at the end of the tunnel -- a promise that proved fatal when he was unable to keep his word. The public was not prepared for the long and difficult war that emerged, and Johnson's credibility was destroyed. . . In the end, his greatest enemy was not his political or military adversaries, but his own arrogance." No, no. We're not in a new Vietnam. We're in the eternal spiral of failing to learn from history.


Winning Hearts and Minds:
Damn, all this Vietnam war shit is just soooo retro-cool. It's sooo much like 1992 all over again, when one candidate didn't serve and avoided the draft, and the other, who did (albeit in a "cleaner" war), who criticized his competitor for abandoning service. But, hold on, there, little cowboys and cowgirls, seems like the reverse is happening this time: now the ones who didn't serve in war or avoided the draft are criticizing the one who did because, what?, he didn't serve to their liking? It, like, sooo retro-cool, 'cause, like, we get to go back about 35 years and act like hippies are still roaming the streets, waiting to be beaten by Chicago cops and shot by Ohio National Guard troops.

So Dick "You Heard My Name" Cheney, gets up before Westminster College in Missouri to question John Kerry's commitment to defense and national security because he didn't support huge military buildups at a time that it was unnecessary. Even worse, vile GOP scumfuckers in the House attacked Kerry for his statements opposing the war after he got back. Hey, here's a response: "Because of people like Kerry, the Vietnam War ended. If you oppose Kerry, you supported the killing of more Americans in a war most Americans knew was useless and meaningless." And then there's the stupid fucking hullabaloo about Kerry throwing away his "medals" or "ribbons," trotting out a 1971 interview where a young, angry Kerry used "medals" as shorthand for all of his honors. In what universe is that an issue and the purging of George Bush's drunk driving record and his refusal to say if he snorted coke in the 1970s not? Do you want a President who took a prinicipled stand or a former dope-addict-now-addicted-to-Jesus know-nothing?

For his part, Kerry, who had stayed away from Bush's lack of evidence that he completed his lightweight, rich-daddy gotten duty in the Air National Guard in Alabama, finally called Bush out on it. He did the political equivalent of a bitchslapping, when you take your prison bitch, grab him by his neck, slam him against the wall, and smack him back and forth across his face for dissin' you. What fuckin' universe are the Republicans living in? If you're gonna attack Kerry, don't do it on the weakest point of your candidate.

Later today: Vietnam is soo cool.


The Penis and the Damage Done:
On the once-mediocre, now piece-of-shit "news" magazine 20/20 this Friday, there's gonna be a baby auction, just like at Sotheby's, except the currency is pity. In one of those "You've got to be fuckin' kiddin' me" moments that are so exquisitely painful, Barbara "Goddamn, There's Not Enough Oxycontin In the World To Dull the Pain of My Existence" Walters is going to host a baby-giveaway: seems there's a pregnant 16 year-old who wants to give up the baby to a "deserving" couple. In the course of the episode, we'll meet five desperate couples who will vie for our and this knocked-up teenager's affections, and then we'll see who gets the baby. Goddamn, do you think this could be a whole new weekly series? Who Wants a Newborn? Maybe we could arrange for daring contests, like cleanest diaper change or most lactaste-a-licious breasts (with the Iron Chef panel judging the taste of the moms' teat juice). Yep, we sure do honor "life" in this country.

'Cause, you know, the hypocrisy of the "pro-life" movement knows few bounds, especially when it comes to politicians who nuzzle at the nipple of the fundamentalist dugs. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment passed, named for one of the most viperous, verminous weasel-fuckers in the history of the Congress, Henry Hyde of Illinois (we know him and love him for attacking Clinton's morality without revealing he had had a "youthful" affair when he was in his forties), cutting off federal funds for abortions for low-income women. Meanwhile, the Republicans continue their vicious attack on low-income women, insufficiently funding child care or Medicaid. Let's put it in historical context, one that rears its ugly, ugly head to this day: you can't reasonably decry "welfare moms" who take money from the government if the government won't pay for abortions to prevent said moms from becoming moms. Let's use Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule: you broke it, you bought it. You want women to bring to term all their pregnancies? You better motherfucking (literally) provide some motherfucking money. Check out this fact sheet from last month from the Center for Law and Social Policy, which discusses, among other things, the criminally under-funded state block grants for child care. Want a rude project for the future? How about this: since 1976, how have low income birth rates been affected by the Hyde Amendment? How many kids who may have been aborted have ended up on welfare rolls? It's not a way to attack the poor - it's a way to get the right to put the fuck up or shut the fuck up.

Twelve years ago, the Rude Pundit marched in Washington. He threw tennis balls on the White House lawn to protest the fact that President Bush the Elder was vacationing instead of taking seriously the words and actions of half-a-million of his citizens. And, in so many ways, that march was one of the myriad indications that Bush I was on his way out the door. When a President hides his head in the sand from reality, that President is no longer useful.

Now, another Bush, another march, this one 800,000 strong, filled with women and men who had had enough of being told for the last decade that to be a feminist is to be a "feminazi." Sure, there was the usual queasy equivocating: the Rude Pundit is going to punch the next person who says, "I don't support abortion, but I support a woman's right to choose." Name a single person who is going around saying, "Abort all your babies." And it's usually a man who says this sort of thing, as if the man is just tolerating the right to choose, patronizing those silly women and their fecund uteruses. If you ever hear anyone say "I don't support . . .", tell that person to shut the fuck up. And if it's a man, kick him in his no longer useful penis.

Otherwise, let's say this about the march (which the Rude Pundit said twelve years ago): Welcome to democracy, President Bush. Welcome to freedom of speech. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.


Wrappin' It All In a Nice, Warped Package:
The Rude Pundit may be stupid, but doesn't it seem that it's perhaps more controversial not to show war dead during a war than to show them? Isn't repressed memory something that is psychologically damaging? And, you know, it ain't as if we're seeing the gaping, gut-oozing wounds that roadside bombs and bullets cause. It's flag-draped caskets. Aren't these the boys and girls we're supposed to be so proud of that they gave their lives for their "country"? Aren't we all allowed to mourn and honor the loss for the valiant cause of protecting . . . the Iraqis . . . from . . . us?

And the Rude Pundit may be stupid again, but doesn't the concept of sovereignty seem to imply that a nation rules itself? Without interference? And if a country can't make laws without the approval of another country, doesn't that seem to imply that there is no sovereignty at all? Fuck, the Bushkoviks wanna give rights to a fetus so that the mother can't interfere with the fetus's right to live. Shouldn't that same logic (or illogic) extend to nations? 'Cause it sure seems like the U.S. can abort the Iraqi "government" any time it seems fit.

And the Rude Pundit may be stupid, but he knows an impeachable offense or ten when he sees them. Readers want to put the pussy into the scandal (see Tuesday's entry). RJ says, "According to the Buzzflash headline news site, at a dinner attended by some New York Times dignitaries, CondoLIEzza Rice was discussing issues and reportedly said, 'As I was saying to my husband--' before she backed off and continued, 'I mean, President Bush.' And when she and George went in their disguises to Air Force One to do the little Thanksgiving holiday photo-op last year, George said of their baseball-bum clothing, 'We looked just like any normal couple.' There ya have it--Bob Woodward, investigate that! Impeachment proceedings will begin immediately if not sooner should a stained blue dress be found." Most of the suggestions on the pussy front involved the pussy of the National Security Adviser, so, so dry and dusty until the President speaks sweet nothings about "invasion" and "insurgents." Then, oh, sweet lubrication, she can head back to the quarters and bullwhip her own thighs red until orgasm purges those thoughts away.

Back Monday.


Why No Impeachment, Part 3: Business As Usual:
So there's that "scandal" put to bed - not only was Kerry a decorated and honored hero in Vietnam, but he's also credited with 20 kills. What the fuck could the right have been thinking, attempting to call Kerry on the mat about his service in the military? Did they think his records would reveal that he had raped children on the Mekong and shot their parents to shut them up? All that's happened is, once again, Bush's pansy-ass running from the Guard was contrasted with Kerry's time in the shit. Tough sonuvabitch even asked to be sent to 'Nam, so all those little right wing bitches better step back before they wanna go mano a mano with Kerry on military service. It's like comparing a semi-hot chick who loves to fuck with a hot chick who's frigid -- one may look better, but who would you rather bobbing on your crank at the end of the evening?

Will you hear anyone who criticized Kerry for not getting hurt bad enough to be called a "hero" now apologize? Fuck, no. Why? Because, for all the talk that the Bush Administration never says it made a mistake, so it goes for the Republican party (and their lackeys in the media). The modus operandi is to make an accusation and never, ever admit you were wrong about it, even when the evidence bites you in the ass and screams, "You're wrong." Look at Bill "Hello Kitty" Frist - motherfucker gets up on the Senate floor and essentially accuses Richard Clarke of perjury before the 9/11 Commission. Man, how the Tennessee pharmaceutical empire leader railed against Clarke, saying that his classified briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee should be released to demonstrate what a self-serving, lying fucker Clarke is. Problem was, of course, Frist was wrong. Clarke saw Frist's bluff and raised him, saying declassify everything. And, last week, Pat Roberts, Chair of said committee, contradicted Frist, saying, no, sorry, Clarke didn't lie to the 9/11 Commission.

Did Frist do an Emily Latella "Never mind" before hanging his head in shame? Fuck no. Frist bored forward with all the other accusations he made, backing off of the one that might leave him open for a lawsuit for slander. Frist's spokesman said that Frist heard that Clarke's "tone" was different before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Yeah, and maybe his legs were crossed too. Maybe he had to take a shit that day and wanted to wait until after his testimony so it could be a really good, long, orgasmic, purging, cleansing shit.

The point here is this: while some Democrats have come out and said they regret their votes for the war in Iraq, admitting they were mislead and were wrong, Republicans have refused to admit a mistake. They won't do it. It's a lack of spines, sure. They have hitched their wagons to the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld star, and if that star falls, they go down with it. And that means that if, in any way, shape or form, they open investigations into misappropriation of funds or lies about WMDs (beyond the show investigations ongoing and to come), they will have to face the wrath of DeLay or Rove. As an astute reader points out: "the money [for campaigns] is all funnelled through the National Republican Congressional Committee rather than the individual state party orgs. This castrates the members of the House who now answer not to their constituents many, varied needs, wants, hates, desires, but only to DeLay and ultimately W." Ahh, one can always follow the money. While the Rude Pundit isn't sure "all" the money goes through the NRCC, it provides a fuckuva lot of support. (And the Rude Pundit is not naive - he knows the Democrats do the same, but with far less expectation of discipline.)

So, sorry, gang. Sorry to all those sending out all those useless Internet petitions crying for impeachment, impeachment, impeachment. It ain't gonna happen. The public needs pussy to understand it, the Republicans are queasy half-worms who won't defy their leaders, and "sorry" seems to be the hardest word for them. No one's gonna stand up to the Bushkoviks until the polls shift dramatically against them, and they realize it's time to cut and run. But we're not optimistic.

At the end of the day, if he's re-elected, Bush better fuckin' pray that the Senate stays Republican. (And if they keep pulling shit like running a conservative against Arlen Specter because he doesn't toe the line on every issue, the question could be moot.) 'Cause if not, karma's a vicious bitch. She's gonna have a payback holiday on Bush's backside. At that point, Bush'll be inviting terrorists to come into the U.S. to blow shit up trying to save his sorry criminal ass.

Tomorrow: your letters on pussy, polls, and the Presidency.


Why No Impeachment, Part 2: Republicans Are Cocksuckers:
Let's be straight here -- if the best shot that Republicans can take at Kerry right now is that he wasn't injured badly enough to deserve a Purple Heart, then they may as well put the ropes around their necks and get ready to be twistin' in the wind. Why did Kerry wait to release all the records (which, unlike Bush's "released" records, do actually clear up any questions)? Hell, who knows. Maybe because he got a Purple Heart for gettin' hit in the ass. But, and, c'mon, his ass was actually on the line. Unlike a certain Commander-in-Chief, whose ass was nowhere near a military base for an "unknown" reason.

So, really, Kerry getting a Purple Heart for a "minor" combat injury is pretty small change compared to, let's say, purging the Pentagon website of information that indicates you knew you were going to war two months before you actually said you knew you were. Or the aforementioned $700 million in diverted funds that probably violated the Constitution. But oaths, be they for the Texas National Guard or for the presidency, are for chumps.

Which, of course, gets us around to the question at hand: what they fuck? Why no impeachment? Today's answer is simple: because Republicans in Congress are bottoms to the ass-fucking they continuously get from the White House. And they love it. They're bent over their desks and ready with the Astroglide when they look on their PDAs to see they have an appointment with Rove or Cheney. There's not a single honorable one of them, not one who could look the electorate in the eye and say, "I believe the White House is doing the right thing on issue x or war y." Because they'd have to betray the shame in their eyes, the shame every prison bitch has ever known upon being released: "Do I say that I sucked cock on a regular basis in order to save myself from being shivved?"

During the Clinton impeachment "scandal," Democrats were willing to stand up to the White House. When some Democrats felt the White House was pressuring them to vote against impeachment, not only did they go public, Robert Byrd delivered a rebuke on the Senate floor: "I would suggest by way of friendly advice to the White House: Don't tamper with this jury. Don't tamper with this jury." (If you want a festive flashback to the outrage, the pure unadulterated hate, of the Republicans during that hallowed time 6 years ago, check out this CNN article.) Now, essentially, the majority of those anti-Clinton Democrats were pussies who feared for their own re-elections, but, still, and all, they were willing to defy a popular president.

During Watergate, honorable Republicans were outraged at the abuse of power emanating from the White House. Moderate Republicans broke ranks and began to side with Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, including William Cohen, who would become Clinton's Secretary of State. Eventually, even some conservative Republicans decided that Nixon had committed crimes worthy of impeachment.

But now, oh, now. Sure, the press gets in a tizzy, swooning whenever a "maverick" like John McCain speaks against Bush (although, let's be honest, McCain is just a conservative Republican who still believes in conservative values, like conservation and political independence from corporate influence). Or if Richard Lugar declares that there's no exit strategy in Iraq. For the most part, Republicans are silent or muted in their criticism of the policies of a president whose ideology is about as coherent as his syntax. Fuck, House members are so whipped into fear by Tom DeLay that they may as well tell their constituents that they're voting for DeLay, Inc, not a private citizen.

So why? Why? Is it just the shame in having sucked so much cock? In getting raped repeatedly behind the heavy, closed doors of their offices, from whence their whimpers of mercy cannot be heard? Or are they truly spineless?

More tomorrow.


Why No Impeachment, Part 1: If It Doesn't Involve Pussy, It Must Not Be a Scandal:
If we are to believe George Bush (via Bob Woodward), Americans are basically stupid fuckers who would rather be led around like submissives on a thin chain at a leather club than to actually have to think for themselves. According to Woodward on 60 Minutes, Bush "chastised me at one point because I said people were concerned about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. And he said, ‘Well you travel in elite circles.’ I think he feels there is an intellectual world and he's indicated he's not a part of it … the fancy pants intellectual world. What he calls the elite." A rational person might be slightly self-reflective about disparaging the "elite" when that person attended Yale and Harvard (not on scholarship, one can be assured), but then again "elite" is apparently in reference to those who paid attention in class. And, then again, when dealing with Bush, we can be assured that we are not dealing in a rational realm.

Bush may be irrational, but he is a political animal. And he has an understanding here that goes beyond a simple dissing of the world of reasoned thought. What he's actually saying to Woodward is that if Americans can't grasp something in their guts, we just don't give a shit. Thinking is hard. Bush knows this first hand.

What he's saying, and it's what he campaigned on last time, is that Americans only care about blood and pussy. And it ain't a scandal if it doesn't involve pussy. Why? Because pussy is easy to think about. We can nod and say, "Bill Clinton lied under oath and therefore he deserved impeachment." But that's the intellectual approach. The way most of America understood Clinton was in terms of pussy: Clinton loved pussy, ergo Clinton was a disgrace.

So the intellectual elite (which, let's be honest, despite Bush's attempt to portray us as faggy demi-men and lesbians who hate Jesus and hug trees while living in crowded cities and fuck each other with abandon using condoms inscribed with quotes from Proust, we're really just the people who are actually paying attention) flails around, agonizing over the fact that the crimes of the Bush Administration eclipse anything Clinton might have done. Even though it's reductive as hell, check out Eric Alterman's scorecard of Clinton lies vs. Bush lies. But the rest of America, who have been bludgeoned by the media, the economy, and the environment into complacency, just goes to Wal-Mart and wonders about pussy.

Violation of the Constitution by using $700 million appropriated to Afghanistan to prepare for war with Iraq? No pussy. Lying to Congress, the American people, and the United Nations about the reasons and timetable for war? No pussy. No WMD? No pussy. Don't believe the Rude Pundit? Check out the recent polls that show Bush more solidly leading Kerry and still enjoying approval that should be in negative numbers. Jesus, you realize that Watergate would have been boring to contemporary Americans? Watergate was fucking complicated - it wasn't just about a break-in, which it's been boiled down to, like Richard Nixon entered Ellsberg's shrink's office a la Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

So, somehow, somewhere, we need to get pussy into this story, 'cause blood alone ain't working. Howzabout this: start a rumor, something like Bush likes to make Condi watch him jack off to images of Iraqi women wearing burqas on their upper bodies, but nothing below the waist, with their brown-skinned legs spread wide open, pussies exposed to Allah and the world. Say that Condi has kept a spooge-stained jacket, but she gets off on watching Bush jack off, but Bush is a selfish masturbator - whenever wet Condi tries to fingerfuck herself, Bush orders her to halt or he'll brand her with his "presidential seal." We can say that the photos are being taken by a special elite porn operation paid for by military budget. Just to make it extra sweet, we can say that Bush believes Jesus wants him to fondle himself to orgasm before the high-definition flat screen pictures of Sunni snatch.

At that point, even the aisles of Wal-Mart, the cheap seats at NASCAR events, the bars that only serve Bud and, of course, Coors, might murmur at the whiff of scandal.


Sick Monday:
Long road trip. Too much Woodward overload. Back tomorrow.


Fearful Friday:
The Rude Pundit is still reeling from the Tuesday press conference. For some reason, in the pit of his gut, the Rude Pundit is actually frightened. It ain't funny when the commander of the "most powerful army the world has ever known" reveals himself to be out of touch with reality. It's not a joke any more. There is no concrete reason left for the invasion of Iraq that has anything to do with "security." Most likely, Bush will go down in long-term history as having ordered mass murder. And if we re-elect him (or, more accurately, elect and not install him), we're just accomplices. And anyone who still supports the invasion (not the troops, dumbass motherfuckers) is simply someone who believes America should be able to murder at will. Like the Rude Pundit said, scary. Not funny at all. If you haven't read it yet, check out William Saletan's Slate article on the press conference. It'll give you that great nauseated feeling that we have checked into the nutzoid hotel and we can never leave. Maybe Bob Woodward's new book will make up for his previous kneepad-using blow job on Bush. It seems like it's gonna be really fun reading.

What is funny in a scary way is the suggestion by reader John how relevant the 1956 Robert Aldrich movie Attack is at this point in our war: "Basically it's about an incompetent and cowardly officer who gets put in charge of an infantry company for political reasons relating to his daddy. Sometimes you even feel sorry for the guy, because he's like a little kid stuck in a grownup's body, but in the end his actions cost a lot of lives and his own men kill him in revulsion. It made me feel a weird mix of pity and outrage, so it stuck in my memory. All of Bush's recent speeches make me feel like I'm watching it again." Throw in the fact that it's about a National Guard Troop, and you've got your weekend viewing. (Personally, the Rude Pundit likes the idea of cabinet meetings between Rumsfeld and Powell being more like Aldrich's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, with, of course, Rumsfeld as Bette Davis and Powell as Joan Crawford.)

As long as we're on the pop culture kick, check out the 2002 book Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey. It's about a privileged incompetent boob lieutenant governor of Florida who, just before his gubernatorial election campaign kicks in, he has to fulfill military duty he skipped out on. The experience of war in Bosnia changes the boob into a man of the people, much to the chagrin of his keepers, and he heads out on the road in an RV to get to know the state he's governing. It's actually hilarious, and by the time the election comes around, when people are "hanging chads in effigy," you're into a savage, kick-you-in-nuts farce. (The book is more of a kick if you've read Dorsey's other books because of the appearance of a character from previous novels, but it's not necessary.)

Also feeling savage is Rae Ann, who writes, without the impediment of capital letters: "every time i hear the ultimate bullshit fake president say something i feel my blood pressure rise. on easter when he so generously offered a couple of words in response to the reaction of the declassified pdb, he said that there was talk in the pdb of possible highjackings, but NOT of highjacking a plane in order to slam in into a building. correct me if i'm missing something, but what the fuck? a traditional highjacking isn't something to try and prevent?? . . . i can't wait to hear about the hundreds of terrorist attacks that have been foiled since implementing the patriot act."

Back to scary: Vibrate sends a link to this page on Janet Ashcroft and her Pentecostal evangelizing ways. On America's Future, she opines, "I’d like to see the American people have an ongoing, long-term realization of the need for the values that we have reembraced since September 11. It’s a terrible thing when God has to jerk us up short and say, 'Remember what this is all about.' I hope that this country can set itself up and set up a mechanism so that we don’t forget those events and that we remember that God is in control and that we owe our first allegiance to Him. I pray we continue to serve Him, because when we do, we will be blessed." Isn't it lovely that the Attorney General's wife thinks that 9/11 was God's wake-up call to return us to Christian "values"? That's why all those Muslims were involved. And why those Jews died. And all those apparently sinful Christians, especially the poor fuckers in the service industry. If that's the God of these people, then the Rude Pundit will stick with his little statue of Lenny Bruce and worship accordingly.

Back Monday.


Your Conservatives - Oh, So Fucking Funny:
Example #1:
Why Ann Coulter Is Still a Cunt, Part 8 of an Endless Series:
Because in her latest "column," she accurately quotes John Lehman of the 9/11 Commission -- "It was the policy (before 9-11) and I believe remains the policy today to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory"-- and then pretends as if the word "secondary" doesn't even exist, using the line to rail against the "liberal" media for not reporting this "startling" revelation. Like every NRA member who subsitutes a large pistol for his tiny dick and ignores the whole "well-regulated militia" part of the Second Amendment, Coulter, a creature who gets more vile and disgusting as she begins to head down the long road of the ravages of aging and too-much plastic surgery until she's shunned by those who finally can no longer be mesmerized by her long legs and perky titties, seems to believe that indefinite detention of Arabs at airports is a good thing. Lehman fucking said "secondary," goddamnit. That seems to indicate some "primary" questioning occurred, questioning that, one assumes doesn't fall under any rules of discrimination (even though, of course, it is regularly abusive). The Rude Pundit won't justify the rest of Coulter's column, which is an attack on commission member Jamie Gorelick for having written a memo that, in 1995, advocated a policy of separating counterintelligence and criminal investigations. Coulter, who uses her PDA to schedule which Republican cock she's going to suck each 15 minutes of the day, rails against Gorelick while Dick Cheney's Halliburton salary gets no play at all. Cunt.

Example #2--
Why Bill O'Reilly Should Be Sodomized With a Microphone, Part 9 of an Endless Series:
Because he's charging up to $250 to see him speak at the arena-sized Office Depot Center, and he's calling it a "small, intimate theater setting" when the cheap seats are "upper level" for $46.50. And that's so fucking pathetically ballsy that he deserves to be thrown to the poor of Levittown to be divided for meat grilled over open flames from garbage barrels.

Example #3 --
You haven't lived until you've heard Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonse Jackson read Green Eggs and Ham.


One or Two Other Things:
Did Bush look like he was going to leap off the podium and rip the shit out of the reporter who asked why Bush and Cheney needed to appear together before the 9/11 commission? Bush gave another non-answer, "Because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting," which is the answer to the question "Why are you appearing before the commission?" Unfortunately, the reporter pressed Bush to answer the actual question, and Bush repeated his answer.

Bush's basic answer was "I know what I'm doing - you shut the fuck up." And that was noticeable in a little gesture of his: whenever Bush mentioned "America" (or, to be more precise, "Uhmerka"), he pointed to himself. L'etat, c'est moi?
And Then the Monkey Smokes a Cigarette and Bats Away the Flies:
Maybe one way to look at Bush's performance last night is this: it was a brilliant example of postmodernism in action. Look at the method: A merging of low and high culture, a pastiche of dissolute phrases that added up to incomprehensibility but sounded like they had content, and a nod to hip-hop in the way that Bush brilliantly sampled himself over and over in his rhymez ("oceans won't protect us," "America is more secure," and on and on). God, it was like watching some clip show of hilarious moments.

What the fuck was that last night? The easiest analogy is it was like watching the retarded kid in the corner of the classroom work his darndest to pass the final so he could advance with his classmates. Oh, it's so cute to watch the retarded kid sweat, sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth to indicate intensity. The retarded kid tries so hard, and he's so proud of himself when he gets something right.

But, really, and, c'mon, what the fuck was that? Maybe it was just the image of a man so lacking in self-reflection that he can't even bring himself to admit he made a mistake. And the press gave him chance after chance to remake himself into the warrior who learns from his errors. Goddamn, all we want out here is an acknowledgement from our leader that we fucked it up and we're gonna do better. Not this macho nonsense. Remember: our contemporary heroes all have doubts about what they're doing. The film warriors we adore are reluctant ones. Not giddy with the possibility of violence.

The only way it could have been more embarassing was if he had actually shit himself in the moment when he was asked, "After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have learned from it?" The long pauses, the frantic attempt to joke (although making the frightening admission that it seems that reporters submit their questions in writing in advance of the press conference), the refusal to answer the question (or any question, for that matter), it all bespoke an ego run amok, caught offguard, unable to move from the glare of the spotlight. When Bush said, "I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet," we have some right to wonder, "Gee, if this is how he reacts to a question at a press conference, how does he react when he has to make a real decision or offer an opinion on policy? Or does he?" In other words, if we can't trust you to answer a question with something more than "I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have," then we have the right to question if we can trust you in sending troops to war.

Fuck it. More later.
Masturbating Monkey Man:
For seventeen alarming minutes last night, a shocked nation watched as George W. Bush jacked off on camera. We've all been there - walkin' through the zoo, past the iguana terrarium, past the bear "environment," to the monkey cage, where, inconveniently for the sensibilities of the children and uncomfortably for the grown-ups who didn't believe that erect chimps were so damn huge, the monkeys are masturbating. Usually it's a pretty quick process, monkey fantasies generally not interrupted by thoughts of bills or Wal-Mart moms in spandex. Monkey fantasies are probably pretty much fucking the shit out of some other monkey in the cage. The monkey looks intense, furrows his oversized brow, and just yanks at that red son of a bitch until he comes, yowling in delight over his ability to shoot pearl jam all over the gathered crowd. Oh, sure, some are shocked, some act like the monkey scored a touchdown, but, either way, they're standing there, gleaming with steamy hot monkey jizz.

And so it goes for the press and the people of the United States.

Fuck it - analysis later today.


The Domino Theory:
Oh, those goddamn dominoes - the thing about them is that if you line 'em all up, in curves, over bridges, on and on like some bizarre stunt for the geeks who love the Guiness Book of World Records, then you gotta push the first one and watch the rest do their click-a-click run as they tumble over, making leaps over chasms, falling in rows of two or three, turning so that they fall as one picture but then reveal another, clattering to a final rest, and all the neat rows you've laid out so carefully, are, in the blink of an eye, just a big mess on the floor you've left for others to clean up.

And so it seems that dominoes are beginning to fall. With the release of the expurgated August 6, 2001, President's Daily Briefing (which apparently could have been titled, "Look, You Stupid Motherfuckers, We're Going To Be Attacked So Fucking Do Something About It. Damn, Bitch, Does Bin Laden Have To Bite You On the Ass Before You Act?" and the President and his people would still be saying that there was nothing in there to warn them that we're going to be attacked), any aura of "war president," any aura of the common sense good ol' boy leader, any aura of having a government run by "grown-ups" has been blown out of the water. No, there probably wasn't anything that the Bushkoviks in and of themselves could have done to stop 9/11 - it was the violent result of years of ego, ignorance, and arrogance in the intelligence community.

But, you know what? They could have at least fucking tried. And more and more, it's become apparent that they didn't even fucking try. Clinton tried. A President Gore would have kept trying (although the Republican Congress would have hounded him every step of the way by saying that he was distracting from stealing the election - do not fucking kid yourself about that - you wanna know one of the major reasons 9/11 happened? Try the impeachment witch trial). But Bush was too stupid, Ashcroft too obsessed with porn and prostitutes, Rumsfeld and Cheney too into getting Saddam in order for any of them to pay attention to Richard Clarke, the FBI, Sandy Berger and others who were screaming, "Bin Laden" like a crowd of painted football fans at a Packers game. And Condi? It's become starkly apparent that her main qualification for being National Security Adviser is that she is a black woman. And Powell? He was a bone thrown to those who didn't want the administration full of ideologues bent on world domination. Oh, yeah, and he's black. Affirmative action in action, baby.

Generously, the history of Bush's first eight months in office will read like the story of blind people who tried to make a movie - good intentions, shitty outcome, wasted time and money. The fact that the media hasn't driven a stake into the heart of this administration is tragic.

Tonight's gonna be a helluva test to see if the press has turned a corner in its Rovean fealty and obeisance, when Bush holds his third prime time press conference of his presidency. Back from the ranch and ready for action, Bush will face reporters. Expect the repetition of the same phrases endlessly, the refusal to answer questions directly, and a pre-planned list of questioners. If the gathered reporters follow the rules set down by Rove, Card, and their cronies, and no one asks follow-ups or demands a straight answer, then, fuck it, we may as well watch reruns of America's Funniest Videos for all the effect it will have on the discourse of this nation. (God, let someone ask him why he needs Dick Cheney to appear with him before the 9/11 Commission.)

But here's a vague sign of something: the headline today in the New York Times is "Bush Sees Need For Reorganizing U.S. Intelligence," but in print the sub-headline is "No Specific Plan Offered," which is, of course, like buying a ranch in 1999 in order to look like you're a cowboy. It's a sub that undercuts the seemingly firm leadership of the headline.

The PDB is the pushing of the first domino. Oh, how we're waiting to hear the magnificent click of the rest.


"Just Tell Me What To Sign, Radar":
In the end, after all the violence and mayhem, perhaps the most disgusting image last week was George Bush, visiting Fort Hood because it was convenient to his vacation ranch in Crawford, TX, saying, "It was a tough week last week." He added, "And my prayers and thoughts are with those who pay the ultimate price for our security" before returning to the luxury of the ranch to entertain visitors. Perhaps it belabors the point, made many, many places, to say that while the Marines were fighting against the people they're supposed to have liberated, Bush was playing. On Thursday, Bush was hosting a get-together at the ranch of hunting and fishing donors, including the NRA and Ducks Unlimited. The U.S. military was busy that day in Iraq, battling two of the three ethnic groups as "Iraq descended into bloody chaos."

Friday was a glorious day in Crawford, prime bass fishing weather, and, you know, when the smallmouth beckon, a leader of the "free" world must answer, so Bush tossed his line into the drink next to a cable TV fishing show host. The Marines began house-to-house searching in Fallujah for insurgents, a sadly futile exercise, since, well, everyone knew that they were surrounded by insurgents. Oh, and those Japanese citizens were kidnapped and threatened to be burned alive. The Japanese PM was, as far as we can tell, at work that day.

Oh, sure, he got "updates" and had "videoconferences" throughout the week and weekend (when he wasn't at the ranch, he was campaigning). Hell, he even cut the fishing short to take care of the nasty business of presidentin'.

At some point here, doesn't it seem even remotely logical that Bush is the least necessary president in generations? He's spent 233 days at the ranch. And, as previously noted, 40% of his presidency at his various retreats. That doesn't even count all the campaign appearances and faux "official appearances" which were really campaign stops. It means that no one gives a good goddamn whether he's there or not. Hell, even Col. Henry Blake on MASH, the fictional leader most analogous to Bush in his apprehension of the duties of the position, occasionally was really in charge instead of being granted the illusion of control.


Alright, One or Two Quick Observations Here:
One - If the John Kerry campaign doesn't jump on this Washington Post story on how Bush has spent 40% of his presidency on vacation, then they're idiots. How about this ad: George Bush, Part-Time President? Or, taking a cue from the Center for American Progress, point out how, with troops dying an awful clip in Iraq, Bush decided it was time for Spring Break (for chrissake, he really is going fishing and shit).

Or two - How come on everything having to do with science, like, say, global warming and the failure of abstinence only programs, the Bush Administration says they need more study and that things are inconclusive? And, yet, as we know, in Iraq, too much time for things like, oh, say, inspections, which is kind of like scientific research, was bad and we could just leap to some conclusions? What was a worse threat to America a year ago - Iraq or the weather?


A Not-So-Good Friday:
It's Good Friday now, Easter soon, and then, as the Rude Pundit says about his cock most Sundays about 2 a.m. to whoever he's picked up in a bar, "He is risen."

And speaking of getting nailed, Howard Stern was officially "fired" from 6 Clear Channel stations after the FCC fined Clear Channel almost half a mill for something broadcast a year ago. Nothing like the pace of bureaucracy. Clear Channel, known to most music lovers as "that fuck-faced corporate entity that deserves to be firebombed like an orphanage in Dresden for ruining the already horrific music business, whose executives deserve nothing less than to be strapped to that burning tower at the last Woodstock where they could beg Jimi Hendrix for forgiveness as their hideous demonic souls were dragged to a screaming hell," is already in more hot water over its monopolistic practices (man, a real Republican like Teddy Roosevelt would have shoved an anti-trust suit so far up Clear Channel's asses by now that the Mays family would be bleeding the ink through their eyes). Stern, in reruns this week, offered a fairly muted response on his website, but one looks forward to Monday morning.

When he does come back, Stern will hopefully mention that John Ashcroft, a man so full of hate and bile that his pancreas rebelled against him, is now targeting adult pornography in his effort to remake America in the image of the, what? 1950s, when one had to watch 8 mm porn projected on a basement screen. The 1910s? When one had to look at a nickelodeon to see a good rim job? "Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains," and one wonders what Bill Bennett would do after a long night of playing the slots if there was no spank-o-vision in his suite at the Venetian. Remember: this ain't kiddie porn, gang, so, as Stern is trying to do, it's time to rally all those fuckin' couch yahoos who love the scramble porn and also love kickin' Iraqi ass and ask them: do you want to live in a country that tells you what you can jack off to?

You know, the Founders of this country, including Benjamin Franklin, a man known to enjoy hookers by the dozen, were pretty smart about the whole Bill of Rights. Even if Antonin Scalia sees it as a document that deserves to be used like so many hemorrhoid pads on his carbuncle-covered ass, it wasn't meant to protect people from things - it was meant to protect those who say and do things that make others uncomfortable. We'd say "rights of the minority," except one can pretty much assume that the majority of the country could give a damn less if Stern talks about anal sex or if Daddy's in the den beating off to "Hot Barely Legal Latinas With Distended Sphincters."

Happy Easter, motherfuckers. Back Monday.


Don't Believe the Hype:
Let's be clear - and the Rude Pundit writes this as she is speaking - house negro and National Security "Adviser" Condoleeza Rice is revealing nothing to the 9/11 Commission. Unless all of a sudden she fears the claws of Beelzebub tearing her from her chair and dragging her down to hell to be sodomized repeatedly with uranium-tipped pitchforks, she's gonna stick to a script that she helped write. But right now she's so Ally McBeal-skinny that she could hardly fit a soul in her body, so chances are slim that she's gonna crack. And, really, is there anything she can say that would all of a sudden make the Bush administration, lost in Iraq like characters in a Paul Bowles story, look competent and effective pre-9/11? Prior to that day, the American public knew that a bunch of bumblefucks just took office - the terrorist attacks just unleashed the evil and violence that lurks just underneath slapstick. (Imagine an episode of the Three Stooges where the blows hurt, bruise, and cut. What happened to the happy-go-lucky serial assaulters we knew and loved?)

And we already know that the Bush administration was dismissive of all things Clinton. Gary Hart, he of the commission that pretty much said "Al-Qaeda is going to attack us. Soon," fucking begged Condi to take the threat seriously. Sandy Berger, outgoing National Security Adviser, told the Bushkoviks that they were gonna have to deal with Al-Qaeda one way or another. (By the way, for a laugh, there's some link fuck-up on the MSNBC site, and when you click on Berger's name in the 9/11 box to see his testimony, you get a picture of camel jockeys. And, no, that's not a cute and ironic racist statement - the picture is of actual camel jockeys. Perhaps some veiled statement about Berger?)

What's really fascinating here is the absolute hysterical pitch of hype around Condi's testimony, as if she's walkin' down from the mount with a couple of tablets. As if she's Goering at Nuremberg. The broadcast networks, which didn't see fit to interrupt the soaps with any of the other witnesses, are playing Condi in full. Last night, all the news channels were hyping Condi - what might she say? What won't she say? What's Joan Rivers gonna say about her ensemble? It was beautiful, because it guaranteed some kind of audience for Condi when she maintains her polite stonewalling, her refusal to take any responsibility, and her slave-like support for Bush's failed policies.

If there's any doubt about that, here's a line from her opening statement: "Since [9/11], America has been at war and under President Bush's leadership, we will remain at war until the terrorist threat to our nation has ended." It's the Bush campaign slogan writ large: perpetual war. And, more disgustingly, it is using the time at the microphone to advance the campaign of her boss - a free commercial, if you will. Or perhaps a stark choice: Rice said under Bush we will remain at war. Is the converse true? That we won't remain at war under Kerry? Doesn't seem like much of a choice, does it? But she's busy clashing with the Democrats, but not giving any ground, and being pandered to by the Republicans, and the whole commission process has become a sorry, sorry sight.

But the testimony goes on and on. It'll never end. There's no real answers from this White House, only spin, only impressions, only context, not content. Condi says she didn't see the documents that said planes might be used to attack the U.S. Condi says there was nothing that could have stopped the attacks. Let's say this: the Bush Administration did fuck up in its purge of all things Clinton, all priorities of the prior presidency. And it fucked up when it tried to prevent the commission's creation. And it fucked up when it opposed the commission's extension. And it fucked up when it tried to prevent Condi's testimony. And it's fucking up when it says the President and Vice President will appear together. And when you fuck up that many times, you are either covering something up or you're incompetent. Either way, you shouldn't be re-elected. Either way, it casts a pall on anything the President says about 9/11, and he says it constantly, like a mantra, and maybe, just maybe, we can return to Chuck D, who we opened with, and start our own chant back to Bush and Condi and everyone else, "9-11 is a joke. 9-11 is a joke."


So, Like, We're Just Eatin' Cake Here?:
A quick one here - just a few questions: Do you think when the mob was eviscerating the American contractors in Fallujah that the President Tivo'd the event so he wouldn't miss a second of the NCAA tournament? Do you think that his enemies quake in their shoes when they see him in his faux cowboy outfit on the ranch, declaring from his vacation home that U.S. resolve is "unshakeable"? Do you think that the President should be in video conference contact with his security team from his vacation home while soldiers are dying at an alarming clip (scroll down)? Do you think the families of the dead are comforted by the fact that Bush is "mourning the lives" lost in the comfort of his Crawford estate? Do you think he should maybe skip a fundraiser or two in order to command, being, you know, the Commander-in-Chief and all? Is there a point where maybe, just maybe, as we see Bush at photo-op after photo-op, at campaign dinner after campaign dinner, at vacation after vacation, that we should ask, "What the fuck are we paying this guy for?"

Ya know, in many other countries, England, for example, the royalty takes no role in the affairs of state other than to make speeches. Oh, sure, every year, the Queen gets up before Parliament and gives a kind of "State of the Kingdom" speech, and everyone is expected to react with awe at the grandeur and respect at her willingness to grace the common political process with her presence. But, really, and c'mon, how much does the Queen know about the vicissitudes of daily life in the U.K.? When one has people in costumes bring one the gold-plated Depends upon a purple, veiled pillow, can one really say one is in touch? Ahh, but the British, they love their royalty, they love the gossip, they love the pomp, and they honor the Queen. But they don't listen to a word she says. Because she can't do jack shit about anything.

And so it now seems, endlessly, with our Tourist-in-Chief, who seemingly has all the time in the world to fulfill the ceremonial duties, to be the front man, to, in essence, be the main publicist for the ideology that guides his administration. But like every child of the rich before him, he never has to work a day in his life.


America -- We're Gonna Shove Freedom Up Your Ass:
What the fuck does it mean to "hate freedom" or "hate free societies"? Those phrases pop up every friggin' chance the President can mention them, almost as often as he mentions September 11, 2001. (Bush must be the kind of father who, every time the twins say they're going out for the night, he reminds them of the time they got so stoned/drunk, they puked on the Secret Service guy. Man, one day, Jenna's gonna snap.) Whether he's speaking in "public" at a community college, or giving a verbal hand job to the Pioneers, or speaking to reporters about how he was too stupid to do anything about 9/11 (the Rude Pundit's got yer "intelligence failures" hangin'), Bush insists that terrorists and the Iraqis (who, in his coke-killed mind, are one and the same) "hate freedom." This might be an odd thing to say when one runs the country whose armed forces are trying to tell the Iraqis what freedom is. In other words, you can be free . . . but only if you decide to be like us.

It's a slippery slope. 'Cause usually, in his prepared remarks, Bush follows up his comments on freedom-hatin' with a line like this: "Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person in this world." Problem there is, you know, and, c'mon, Bush is just pushin' the Jesus thing. And anyone who doesn't ride on the Jesus train can only feel a chill when it rides into the station. It's always the problem whenever you try to get God or the Almighty or the Big Muckety-Muck or whatever to justify your beliefs: don't shove your stinkin' god in our faces. And, even worse, Bush's almighty ain't the almighty of Sadr or Sistani, so, really, why should they give a rat's ass what Bush's god thinks?

And let's not even get into the hypocrisy of Bush's line, said today talking to another "public" audience, "We love freedom." Not when the ACLU has to sue to stop the government from keeping a secret "no-fly" list. Not when the government is pandering to big energy by loosening restrictions on mercury in the environment. And on and on.

If we oppose Bush and his beshitting of this country and Iraq, do we also "hate freedom"? Or, like "liberal," "life," and "family," are we allowing the right to hijack the language once again and make freedom another word for losing everything?


Welcome To the Occupation:
The Rude Pundit had this friend, no longer a friend for various reasons, including the Rude Pundit's propensity for rudeness. Let's call the ex-friend "Mac." Mac was a fun guy, sarcastic, prank-playing, loved the rock and the roll. The problem was that Mac belonged to some intensely fundamentalist Christian religion who had Jesus shoved so far up their asses that they didn't have a church. They'd meet at Mac's house and get in a circle and chant and talk in tongues. The Rude Pundit once accidentally arrived early one Sunday at Mac's house and saw this ritual, and it was a scarring experience not unlike walking in on one's grandparents doing a 69. How do you talk to a friend once you've seen him laying on the ground, convulsing with the Holy Spirit? It's like hearing Patrick Stewart take a long, moaning shit in a stall next to you and then watching him act Shakespeare.

Mac and his family believed that the end of days was coming, that the Beast was about to return to Earth and take away all the water and food. To prepare for that, Mac's father had filled the backroom with boxes and boxes of dehydrated food and bottled water. Enough to last, Mac said, a couple of years until the battle with the beast was done. This was pre-"Left Behind." This was during the Reagan years. And it's not that Mac's family was rich - no, far from it. But who needs money if one believes the Beast is just around the corner?

The Rude Pundit is reminded of Mac and the Beast-proof banquet whenever he sees George Bush and his administration clinging, desperately, to the June 30 handover of power to the Iraqi Governing Council (led, no doubt, by charming Chalabi, that lying thief). This despite the fact that even Republican Senators are doubting the wisdom of that. And so we go about our occupation, squelching dissent just like every occupying force in the history of empires. We label anyone who opposes us "radical," even though if the majority of a country is "radical," then, really, radical is not the appropriate word.

The problem with the ideology behind the occupation seems to be the fear that right wingers have had whenever reality confronts their ideology: root causes are what drives people to crime, to violence, to rebellion, to war. For the Sunnis, the American occupation took away most of their jobs since they were associated with the Baathist Party of Saddam Hussein. Ask some low-level clerk working for the Department of Agriculture how he would feel if a new administration came in and fired him because he had been hired by the previous administration. For the Shi'ites, they're tasting power after years of Saddam and U.S. enforced U.N. sanctions. Of course there's rebellion. Of course there's conflagration all over the country. The Beast is what's released, not what arrives.

Mac's house burned down not long after he showed me the cases of dried meat. The bottles exploded, the food helped fan the flames. No cause was ever found, although the insurance people thought that Mac's father might have set it intentionally because of a failing business. The Beast arrived, and no amount of planning prepared Mac and his family for its wrath.


Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With a Microphone, Part 7 of an Unending Series:
We all know that O'Reilly is a shrill shill for the right; we all know that every night he lifts his sperm-smeared face out of Rupert Murdoch's lap to that the Aussie fascist can give him marching orders for the next day. But over the last week, O'Reilly has taken it upon himself to crusade against Richard Clarke with a viciousness that is not unakin to a leopard downing a gazelle and parading around with the gazelle's intestines for all the other leopards to see. His first "Talking Points Memo," right after Clarke testified, spun enough doubt into O'Reilly's attitude toward Clarke that it put a lie to O'Reilly's conclusion, "We will try to feed you simple information so you can decide as always."

It's an interesting sentence in so many pathetic ways that it's hard to know where to begin. To "feed" people information means that you are taking an active role in giving them what you suppose they need to know. "Simple information" seems to denote that complexities, like Clarke could be angry and be correct, are antithetical to the simplicity of the simpletons who watch your simple pronouncements. In other words, O'Reilly may as well have concluded his Mar. 23 monologue with, "Richard Clarke: eeevil," leaning into the camera, making mesmer eyes.

But O'Reilly was just getting warmed up. On Mar. 24, O'Reilly opened with a declaration that the "truth is very simple" and labelled everything that might be a nuance "political and boring." (O'Reilly's simple truth was that Clinton and Bush didn't do enough to stop 9/11. Sometimes watching O'Reilly can be like spending time in a class of third graders.) Mar. 25 was when the hounds were unleashed by Fox, when Fox got the okay from the White House to reveal Clarke as the anonymous source of a background briefing in order to attempt to "discredit" him. O'Reilly was drooling blood as he pronounced, "The other thing that makes us suspicious about Clarke is that his publisher has not booked him on 'The Factor.' " Again: third graders. Dickie won't come to my house and play, so Dickie must be a mean boy.

This week, after dissing Bob Kerrey for dissing Fox for dissing Clarke, after skewing poll numbers that said 2/3 of the public had not changed its opinion of Bush (which means, for all intents and purposes, if you thought Bush was a son of a bitch, both literally and figuratively, before Clarke's revelations, you really weren't going to switch sides), O'Reilly may as well have stood on top of his desk and dropped his pants, taking a huge dump on Clarke's book as he swept Clarke away from our memories by declaring him a "footnote" to O'Reilly and now "put to bed this evening."

Do you ever think Bill O'Reilly looks in the mirror at his splotchy face, lined with hatred and evil (and not a little racism), perhaps a bit sad at his ennobling of those who degrade the rest of us, and wonders if hell is real? And do you think he wonders if every day on the air, on tv, radio, in print, he turns his personal flame up just a tick higher? Nah.

Quick additional note:
Apparently Janeane Garofalo's Majority Report radio show on Air America, which O'Reilly dismissed this week as a fraud, will regularly feature political bloggers. Contact the producers and tell 'em you'd like 'em to interview the Rude Pundit. Try "my2cents@airamericaradio.com".

Back Monday.


What a Life Is Worth These Days:
So there it was, front fuckin' page of the New York Times, the slaughtered, mutilated, burnt, and hanging bodies of the American civilians, security detail, they were, just hangin' on a bridge like so many barbecued pigs. And all around danced the jubilant Iraqis, who know a photo op when they see one. After all, they learned from the Americans and their Iraqi lackeys in the toppling of the Saddam statue (which was attended by about a dozen or so people flown in for the picture). It's interesting that the press has felt so giddy and free to show the gory images after a war in which the TV screens and newspapers were, for the most part, barren of images of injured and dead soldiers and Iraqis (except for that armless kid). It's depressing that these are the images we see, that we are not allowed to see the funerals, the caskets being unloaded, the ironic "honor" of dying for a worthless cause, a lie. But perhaps the bridge picture also shows, in a truly ratings-driven way, how the press has shifted in its approach to presenting the occupation.

A life ain't worth a whole lot in Iraq these days. If you're a soldier or a civilian there, you're just more fodder for hate. God, shouldn't Dick Cheney be forced to have his cell lined with these images so that day in and day out, for the rest of his pacemaker-shortened life, he has to face this horror show? Sure, sure, the Rude Pundit knows, he knows that this is a small group of Iraqis, but the thing about small isolated groups who act is that in order to do so so brazenly, there's gotta be a helluva lot of people who think what the small group is doing is right. Just ask the lynchers in the American south about fifty years ago. Hate has to be enabled.

And life ain't worth much in Uhmerka either, unless you're a preborn human. Then, goddamn, and motherfuck, you're getting the rights you so desperately need. In an "elaborate ceremony," the President signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, where if you kill a pregnant woman, you get charged with two murders. That fetus, by the way, can be in any stage of development, from a few cells to kickin'. By the way, one of the festive provisions of the bill is that no intention is necessary: you don't even have to know the woman's pregnant, or, by extension, a woman who drinks heavily and is unaware she's pregnant and does harm to the fetus may be held accountable. Remember: this ain't just about executing Scott Peterson twice. Ain't that great? It's about time that the government, which could actually give a shit less about protecting the rights of everyone not living inside a uterus (which would exclude the President), now has set the ground work for outlawing abortion. The National Right to Life Coalition has conveniently set up a way to interview family members of dead fetuses, including wonderfully sick ass pictures of dead "babies." Hell, the site even tells you how to download and save the loving image of exploitation of the dead.

And isn't that the point here? How we exploit the dead for our selfish motives? Hung carcasses on a bridge, dead fetuses in their mothers' arms. And a President who talks of a "culture of life" while he creates policy after policy guaranteed to produce more and more dead.