Messages and the Messenger:
Let's play catch up here on a couple of things:
Compare and contrast the interviews in the last couple of weeks by the BBC of Bill Clinton and by Ireland's RTE of George W. Bush. The right wing was giddy with the idea that Clinton went into a "rage" at the Beeb's David Dimbleby (one of those oh-so-fey British names that just makes you think all British men are pussies, soccer riots notwithstanding) because Dimbleby kept pressing the former President on the Lewinsky hummer. Clinton actually lectured Dimbleby on the press taking responsibility for its actions: "Look, you made a decision to allocate your time in a certain way, you should take responsibility for that, you should say 'yes, I care much more about this than whether the Bosnian people were saved and whether he brought a million home from Kosovo'" But most of the media didn't report what Clinton said, reporting instead about how a BBC exec was ejaculating all over the ratings potential of the broadcast. Sure, Clinton might have been pissed, but he did not back down. He went toe to toe with Dimbleby and kicked him in the nuts to calm Dimbleby's Lewinsky erection so the interview could move on to other things.

Unlike, say, Bush, who looked like a babbling fool in the face of RTE's Carole Coleman, who dared to ask follow-up questions, dared to make Bush answer a question rather than stick to his script. Looking like such a scared little pussy he might as well have been named "Dimbleby," Bush kept clawing for air like a sack of kittens sinking in a river: "Let me finish please. Let me answer your question and then you'll follow up," Bush told Coleman, not seeming to understand that in most countries, politicians don't tell reporters how to do their jobs. Bush's people were incensed, incensed, damn it, so they lodged a complaint with the Irish Embassy because Coleman was dissin' their man. In fact, the Irish, who do seem to understand what it means to be citizens of a democracy, were pissed off at how Bush treated their reporter. But it must have come as one helluva surprise to Europeans, who protested the war by the millions, that, according to Bush, "most of Europe supported the decision in Iraq."

And as for that stupid fucking piece of shit Bush/Cheney campaign video of Democratic rage that counterpoints images of Hitler with John Kerry, it's fuckin' hilarious. It's like that moment in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors where Allen makes a documentary biography of TV producer Alan Alda, towards whom Woody has a blind hatred. Allen's film shows Alda's character raging at an underling and transposes that with Hitler at a rally. The Bush campaign's video is just as funny for a couple of reasons. First, it's just so over the top it might as well have been made by a couple of chimps with a camera and an AVID. Second, the words that are used to represent the "rage" of Democrats are not all that rageful, when compared with, say, the Vice-President telling Pat Leahy to "Go fuck yourself." In fact, they sound kind of rational. There's no hatred of America here. There's anger at Bush. Check out the script. If Dick Gephardt saying "The President is a miserable failure" is the best they could do to exemplify the hate of those opposed to Bush, then, shit, no wonder they needed Hitler to pad the thing.

See, it's a video for dumb people. Hitler was mean, ergo Democrats are mean. Now, none of the Democrats in the video have, to our knowledge, sent millions of people to their slaughter or, say, started a war of aggression against a nation that posed no threat to it, like Hitler or . . . well, let's not go there, shall we?


Big Tony's Mojo and Uncle Tom's Dissent:
The Rude Pundit is not going to get all happy and dance a little jig of celebration just because the Supreme Court affirmed that, in fact, this is the United States of America, that we, in fact, have a constitution and rule of law, and that, most assuredly, the President is not a king. Sure, it's nice to have wrongs righted, but, ultimately, Sandra Day O'Connor's opinion in the Hamdi case, eloquently and, one imagines, more than a little angrily written, simply says that citizens have the right to be told why they've been "detained" and have the right to contest that in court. Let us sigh in relief at this point, because, really, and let's face it, the weaselly cocksuckers in the Bush administration will try to find a way to keep Hamdi's case from being heard. They may fail, but they will surely try. All in all, it's also a nice kick in the ass to the vile Ted Olson, the Solicitor General on his way out.

Getting much less attention is Big Tony Scalia's scathing dissent (and is Big Tony even anything less than scathing? It's as if he saves all his phlegm to spit at his clerks as they scramble to write his words), joined by Justice Stevens. Scalia actually believes that the majority does not go far enough in its opinion that Hamdi is entitled to contest his detention and have legal counsel. For once being the strict constructionist his allies claim he is, Scalia says, "Hamdi is entitled to a habeas decree requiring his release unless (1) criminal proceedings are promptly brought, or (2) Congress has suspended the writ of habeas corpus." Scalia sees the majority as eroding constitutional rights by giving too much credence to the Bush administration's argument that wartime provides the executive with the power to detain citizens without charge. Scalia sees this not as the right of the executive or judicial branches: "If civil rights are to be curtailed during wartime, it must be done openly and democratically, as the Constitution requires, rather than by silent erosion through an opinion of this Court." Damn, isn't it confusing when a rabid conservative actually acts like a conservative and not just rabid? Damn, don't you hate it when you find yourself agreeing with someone you ordinarily despise?

Better then to avert one's gaze from Big Tony and over to Uncle Tom. Once again, proving that no Negro is as loyal as a house Negro (see Condi, Colin, etc.), Clarence Thomas, in the lone vote against the majority opinion, does what so many slaves have done for time immemorial: he embraces the way of his master. His dissent is a frightening look at the abiding deference to power that is the hallmark of the servant beaten down to believe that he has no opinions of his own or, to put it simply, he is not worthy: "The plurality utterly fails to account for the Government's compelling interests and for our own institutional inability to weigh competing concerns correctly." As for the reasons behind the executive's decision to name Hamdi an "enemy combatant," Thomas opines, "We lack the capacity and responsibility to second-guess this determination." Massa's always right, as Thomas bows and scrapes, "Undeniably, Hamdi has been deprived of a serious interest, one actually protected by the Due Process Clause. Against this, however, is the Government's overriding interest in protecting the Nation."

Goddamn, maybe someday Uncle Thomas will be pulled over in some little town in Southwest Virginia for driving while black, and then let him understand once again what unfettered government power is like. Called the "youngest, cruelest justice" in the past, Thomas once again shows America that cruelty means placing the powerful above the people, just like the slave that used to inform massa when a rebellion was going to happen on the plantation.


Pimps Up, Ho's Down:
Let's say, and, really, why not, there's a pimp - let's give him a pimpilicious name like "The Delicious W" - and this pimp is big time. He's got himself a passel of whores who like nothing better than making The DW happy - and there's a couple of ways to keep the DW happy: bringin' down the benjamins and suckin' the DW's dick. It's really an either/or proposition - if the benjamins are runnin' dry, then you better break out the knee pads and the chapstick. But the DW, he's not stupid. He knows that he's got to make his ho's think they can make up their own minds, so the DW declares that his bitches can make some decisions for themselves: they can turn down tricks with 400 pound cripples who have to rest their guts on the whore's head while getting head, they can choose the hours that they work (within reason), they can take the rest of the night off after some john gets off givin' them a bruised cooz and a black eye, they can pick out clothes on their own. Basic shit that makes the DW's bitches think they're all independent, when, really, all the other hookers in the city know that the DW's bitches may pretend they're free, in the end, they are who they are: the DW's bitches.

And so it is that today, appropriately, in a secret location, with few witnesses, cowering in shadows, limited "sovereignty" was transferred to the Iraqi "government." The official reason for doing the "transfer" two days early was to thwart "terrorists" who might try to disrupt a larger ceremony. And what a sovereignty it is. CNN was the only one of the three cable news networks (a term that loosely applies to Fox) that had the nuts to run in its annoying bottom scroll that the Iraqi interim government is barred from making any "long-term" plans, nor does it have control over the 140,000 U.S. troops there. Add to that the raft of new laws that Paul Bremer imposed on the new "government" just before handing over the keys to the armor-lined Hummer, the near-complete reliance on the U.S. for cash, baby, and no control over the American contractors who run virtually all the reconstruction projects, and you've got yourself quite the dancing marionettes over there.

If there was any sign about the impotence of this government, this weekend interim Prime Minister Allawi said that it was possible that elections, "scheduled" for January, may be postponed due to continuing violence, at least for a couple of months. The U.S. quickly put the smackdown on Allawi, and now he's toeing that January line, which seems about as firm, as, say, June 30 for the handover. And it's so cute when Allwai says his Iraqistone Cops are gonna provide security.

But, hey, once martial law is imposed, what does it matter to the citizens of Iraq who their pimp is, be it Saddam, Bush, Bremer, or Allawi? As long as Iraq can be paraded around like a painted whore of democratic possibility, what does it matter that behind the make-up and sexual promise is a real, sad, overwhelmed, abused person?


Dick Rising:
A quick update on "Fuck-gate" (see below): Cheney tonight on Fox "news" said he wasn't sorry he told Patrick Leahy to "go fuck yourself," that, in fact, he "felt better" after he had done so. See, Leahy was dissin' the rep of the Vice-Prez, and Cheney decided to call out Leahy. There you have it: from the Vice-President of the land - it's okay to tell someone who aggravates you, "Go fuck yourself." Children, you may tell that to your teachers. Executives, you may say that to Larry down the hall, you know, the guy who took credit for your project. Civility is for pussies, Cheney has said. Welcome to the era of the rudeness.
Fucking Oneself:
Here's the scene: Dick Cheney slithers into the Senate chamber for the yearly class photo, and he gets into a slap fight with Patrick Leahy because Leahy, like other Democrats and rational citizens, believes that Halliburton is a slimy, scum-fucking war profiteering company who would melt old people into a viscous goo in a giant pot if they believed it would make oil. Cheney, his pacemaker turned on high so that he would get color in his face, confronts Leahy, and Leahy remarks that Republicans "had accused Democrats of being anti-Catholic because they are opposed to some of President Bush’s anti-abortion judges." To which Cheney, the picture of decorum, responds, with all the power of the second highest office in the land, "Go fuck yourself."

Oh, sweet freedom, Leahy might have thought at that moment, finally given permission to fuck himself. He could beat a hasty retreat from the Senate floor and head up to his office. "Hold my calls," he might shout as he disappeared into his office. There, he could take out his custom made leather nutsack cozy and tie it tightly around his scrotum as he propped his favorite eight inch anal vibrator, the one he calls "Mount Olympia" after his lust object, the Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe . Oh, won't you come over to the light side, you Republican wench, Leahy might have cried as he slowly, deliciously backed himself into the inviting quiver of the vibrator.

Of course, there's also reports that Cheney said, "Fuck you" or "Fuck off." Do you think Leahy was tempted to grab Cheney by his tie and say, "No, fuck you, you sick, twisted shell of a human being; fuck you, you demi-man, you cunt, you little pussy, sitting in your basement and jacking off to war plans about which you know jackshit, Mister 'I got every deferrment short of chopping my own leg off' Vice President. No, really, fuck you, you lying sack of shit, contorted like a circus dwarf by the weight of your evil, by the horror that this administration is falling down around you like so many Gomorrahs filled with depraved beastial sodomite pig fuckers. Fuck me? No, no, fuck you, and get the fuck out of my sight before I shove my cock in that crooked, stroke victim mouth of yours and fuck your face until you declare my dick is a nuclear missle, that my balls are a mobile weapons lab, until you cry that my cum is a chemical weapon."

Or maybe Leahy just stared at Cheney and shook his head, safe in the knowledge that powerful people lash out only when they are cornered and worn down by the weight of all their lies and the evil that they do.

And every time Bush and Cheney appear in public now, they are constantly defensive. The corner's getting tighter and tighter. And, Lord, how they have fucked themselves.


Iraq - the Good News Edition - Written in George W. Bush's Native Language:
Yee-haa, let's hunt us down some good news on I-raq on a day when, once again, we're reminded that the whole mission has been as successful as a hamster tryin' to swaller a bear. Now, we know that if we're trawlin' around fer good news 'bout I-raq and the I-raqis, we can't rely on that lib-rul media.

So let's go straight to Fox News. Bill O'Reilly's always tellin' us that all we hear from the rest of the "elite" media is "Abu Gurob." Aww, shee-it, right there on the front page is nothin' but bad news, just a big ol' buncha car bommins and people dyin'. Maybe that's how they have to pander. Let's just take us a look a little deeper on the website. Why, here's an article about all the brave contractors who wanna head over to the Middle East to make themselves a little hard-earned scratch. Guess it's better to risk your head for the same work that if you did in the U.S.A., you'd earn less than half of what you get fer doin' it in I-raq. Otherwise, though, nope, nothin', no good I-raq news. It's as depressin' as fuckin' yer favorite sow and she don't seem to enjoy it no more.

The news page on the Department of Defense oughta be a treasure trove of soldiers givin' out candy to little children. Here we go when we open the magic box: Regis Philbin comfortin' the wounded, lots more ways in which I-raqis'll be runnin' I-raq, even with over 100,000 foreign soldiers patrollin' that the government has no control over, but, shee-it, I-raqi instructors are gonna teach I-raqi armed forces now, and a report on how a leader of the Kurds says everythin' is really, really goin' good, really, like "These soldiers are helping renovate schools and so on, and very, very little of that is reported." Yep, buildin' schools is what Uhmerka is all about. Buildin' schools is like the blood drives all those fine UT fraternities do between keggers. And the new prez-dent of I-raq says that the U.S. found a weapon of mass destruction, Saddam hisself. "He was a weapon of mass destruction by himself," said Ghazi al-Yawer (it's a mouthful, Lord knows). Al-Yawer is madder than an Aggie fan after losin' the Cotton Bowl to Notre Dame (if such a thin' could happen) about the way the media reports on I-raq: "New Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer explained his belief that 90 percent of what's happening in Iraq is good news, and 10 percent in bad. 'The media is magnifying the 10 percent, ignoring the 90 percent,' Yawer said. He said the scandal surrounding detainee abuses at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison is a perfect example. The issue is clearer to people like him who have lived in the United States and understand American values, he said. 'I know this is outrageous to the American public (and) to the American administration as much as it is outrageous to the Iraqis,' Yawer said. But, he added, regular Iraqis 'have been breastfed hatred to the United States and Great Britain for 45 years.'"

Yessirreeebob, good news, all around, even as the bombs go off, even as the U.S. destroys homes with all the precision of an elephant stompin' a grape. 'Cause, ya see, all we hear about is Laci Peterson, but how many pregnant women weren't murdered that day? How many hotel employees weren't allegedly raped by sports stars? How many children didn't Michael Jackson allegedly molest? It's all about perspective, you know.


The Big Squirm:
A long time ago, the Rude Pundit worked at Sears, when Sears actually meant something to people and was not the mall's Wal-Mart. He worked in the Credit/Customer Service department where his duties consisted of taking people's applications for credit cards to buy major appliances, dealing with complaints, and taking in small appliances for repairs. His supervisor, an older woman who had clawed her way to a managerial position during the bad old days of pure sexism, taught him the ways of equivocation. One never, it seems, actually promises anything. One can provide conditional language, which, more often than not is comforting to those who hear it.

So, to whit, when a customer brought in a lawnmower to be repaired, we would say, "I expect it to be ready on Thursday," which, in good faith, was a true statement, although often it wasn't ready until next Tuesday. When someone applied for credit to buy a washer/dryer, the salesperson would look over the application and tell the customer, "This should be no problem," and then when the credit was declined, the salesperson could blame someone else because, to him/her, it wasn't a problem. It was a scarring experience, this life at Sears. To this day, the Rude Pundit finds himself in situations where he uses the squirm words: "I think I love you," "I expect I'll call you tomorrow," and "You shouldn't get pregnant from that position." At Sears, it was our mantra; we all intoned "probably," "ought," "should," "expect," and many other positive sounding conditional words, words that would provide comfort to people and, God and the ghost of Roebuck willing, would come true.

That is the way of the business world. You never really say anything in a definite way. Take a look at this from Business Week online. It's an analysis of Cisco Systems as a potential stock buy. Notice that the whole thing is predicated on things that aren't really promised, but only sound so: "We project revenue growth . . . We expect revenue momentum to accelerate . . .We think that enterprise revenues have already shown signs of an emerging recovery." And then the writer recommends purchase of said stock, offering a few late-in-the-game caveats and, of course, fine print: "This report is for information purposes and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security." The world of investment is, as we all know, a kind of gamble, a wish, and those who advise are aware of this fact. But language is everything: if you buy Cisco and all the expectations come true, you will have faith. If you buy and it tanks, well, damn that Cisco, it didn't meet expectations, and, well, shit, we did imply it might not. And, you know, this specialized kind of flim-flam is all well and good when you are dealing with money (even when taken to its egregious ends at Enron).

But it's something else entirely when you take the ways of business and apply them to the life and death decisions of government. And that's what's going on now. See, the Bush administration believes that the whole Abu Ghraib torture scandal is about words: when Bush said yesterday, "We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture," he was simply talking about the words surrounding torture, not the actual action of torture. And when he issued a letter saying that he had "the authority" to ignore law and treaty for interrogations and he "decline[d] to use that authority," he added, "at this time," a wonderful conditional, since "at this time" means "in this moment" or "right now." Language, you see, can abbrogate your complicity in the actions of others.

So it is with this administration of business men, CEOs, and the like. They understand the unique hucksterism of deceptive language, the room to squirm. Like the al-Qaeda/Iraq connection: the squirm is that "we never said." And, of course, legalistically, it is true. And when Cheney adds about Mohammed Atta in Prague, "We've never been able to confirm or to knock it down," well, one guesses that the absence of presence doesn't mean the presence of absence or something Rumsfeldian like that. Damn, one bets that Cheney could get John Muir to dig an oil well in the redwoods.

But that's all about language, again and again and again. It is not about the nude innocent prisoner waiting to be sodomized. It is not about the mounting U.S. dead, deaths which are pushed further and further from the front pages as they become so much background noise to the proliferation of meaningless words. We believe what comforts us - that is the achievement of deception.

Oh, and fuck Sears.


Briefly Forgotten, Briefly Mentioned:
If you haven't seen last night's Daily Show With Jon Stewart, do try to catch it or Tivo it or have your manservant tape it today at 7 p.m. (Eastern - the rest of you can do the fuckin' math). Stewart gives himself the "moderate" cred by dissing Clinton up front, but then he rips into Cheney (even daring to say that he "lies"). However, in the interview segment, Stewart talks to Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard "writer" and author of The Connection, which has the bad timing to be a book that purports to give the "truth" on the close relationship between Osama and Saddam (based, mostly, on that stupid, discredited Weekly Standard article fed to them by Douglas Feith).

Just sit back and watch as Stewart tears the guts out of the whole war rationale by asking a simple question: If we're sending people to die in a war, shouldn't the standard of proof be more than "we're not sure if we're right"? And watch Hayes simply grin and try to enjoy his brief moment in the eclipsing sun.
Why Ann Coulter Is Still a Cunt, Part 37:
Oh, shit, Ann Coulter wants to fuck Ronnie's corpse. She wants to drag him out of his California resting place, prop up his dick like a tomato vine, tying it to a stick, and fuck, fuck, fuck away until she's bleeding, screaming with pain and orgasm, and she can say, "Look, Gipper, my blood is now a part of you for eternity. Dontcha just love me, Gipper?" And if she has to, she'll break his bones so she can move his arm to gently pull aside her sweaty blonde locks, as if the 40th President is telling her, "There you go again, Ann." Oh, how Coulter will smile, weak from her still bleeding pussy. She wants to rub that hand all over her, take the thumb and forefinger to pinch her cold nipples. God, how she'll shiver, how she'll shake, how she'll sob that she didn't get him in his last days so he could plant his seed into her fallow womb.

It's because of that whore Nancy, you know. Or at least Coulter seems to think so in her latest "column" where she attacks Nancy Reagan for her support of federal funding for stem cell research. But, then again, Coulter says, "Someone persuaded poor, dear Nancy Reagan that research on human embryos might have saved her Ronnie from Alzheimer's. Now the rest of us are supposed to shut up because the wife of America's greatest president (oh, save your breath, girls!) supports stem-cell research . . . She'd probably support harvesting full-grown, living humans if it would bring back Ronnie."

Now the Rude Pundit is no fan of Nancy Reagan, and he loves a good catfight. And, in fact, Coulter makes a point (oh, save your breath, girls) when she takes moderate commentators (she calls them "liberal," but, really, no) to task for lionizing Reagan for "reaching out" to Democrats. Coulter even offers examples that, in another context, could come from a left-wing commentary on el Gippo.

But let us not drag out Ronnie's corpse to smack around one last time. Let us instead talk about Ann Coulter, single, praising Jesus whenever she gets her Dom to whip her into breathy ecstasy. And her presumption that she has any idea of what the relationship between two people is in private - a presumption about the Clintons that provides extra stink to the pile of shit that is her first "book." And her patronizing attitude towards Nancy Reagan, who was a tough bitch before Ann Coulter ever masturbated with her Joe McCarthy dildo, is rife with sexism and ageism, patting the "poor, dear", little old lady on the head and telling her to not be manipulated by those nasty liberals (much like Rush "E-Mail Me at Phatphallus77 For Heavy Love" Limbaugh did earlier).

Maybe Nancy just makes Coulter think about her own mortality, her own imminent descent into the withering effects of age, when maybe spider-veined legs won't get booked on so many talk shows, when one too many facelifts leaves her the emotionless, cold, hate-spewing automaton that she aspires to be.


Nancy Reagan Will Have Your Balls on a Platter:
Of all the mistakes the Bush political machine has made lately, starting with trying to campaign on a non-existent record to attempting to smear John Kerry's Vietnam record, the one that may come back to haunt them worse than any other is the dissing of Nancy Reagan in the wake of her husband's funeral. And, even worse, Bush sent his bitch out to do his bidding, making the first response to the former first lady come from Laura Bush, one of the most powerless first ladies in history.

It wasn't even the fact that Bush didn't change "his mind" on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. It was the patriarchal tone of the remarks, from Laura backin' her man, to the pat-on-the-head "we know better than you" words of Scott "The Claws of Satan Are Already Tearing At My Soul" McClellan: "The president doesn't believe we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life." Which is really a cover-our-asses line because the converse can easily be argued: "Destroying a potential 'life' for the greater good of saving lives." The NIH says they're not true embryos, anyway, but, you know, that's science and we slept through biology because of all those, um, Bible studies. And, hey, isn't it time to scrub that website?

See, it'd be a moral and logical consistency for the Bush administration to support embryonic stem cell research. And logical consistency ain't a hallmark of this President. Here's the President back in the heady days before 9/11, when he couldn't talk about killin' people: "It lies at a difficult moral intersection, juxtaposing the need to protect life in all its phases with the prospect of saving and improving life in all its stages." The "it" in that sentence is, of course, stem cell research, about which we were assured constantly that the President was grappling with. But, you know, it could just as easily have been about Iraq, could it not? If, you know, the President had grappled with the moral implications of preemptive war.

In other words, it's not okay to fund research that might benefit millions of people because the foundation of that research is an unimplanted, frozen, lab-created embryo that will be disposed of anyway. However, it is okay to send thousands of Americans to die and to kill untold thousands of Iraqis in an "experiment" that might benefit millions of people. Now, ask yourself: What is more likely to happen - that we'll find out embryonic stem cells are, in fact, the keys to solving Parkinson's and other diseases, or that democracy will bloom in Iraq?

Do not fuck with Nancy Reagan. It's a simple truism of D.C. Some say the reason the flowers in the Rose Garden bloom so bright red is because of all the eviscerated bodies Nancy buried there. James Watt ground up into a fine fertilizer, ironically enough. Nancy's got the AARP on her side, she's got science on her side, and she has the horrible cries of late stage Ronnie, screaming at the ghosts of disappeared Salvadorans, echoing in her head.


And Now the Screaming Starts:
Dick Cheney needs to be gang raped by released Abu Ghraib prisoners and fucked so hard that the pacemaker actually leaps out of his mouth in a brief moment when it's not filled with Sunni cock. Motherfucker is like a plague rat cornered in 17th century London, snarling out with all he's got so he can prevent his own drowning.

Here's the whole goddamn paragraph from Staff Statement 15 of the 9/11 Commission:
"Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

Now, let's nuts and bolts this: Osama hated Saddam. At one point, he even supported the Kurds in overthrowing Saddam (and had he done so, would Osama have been our ally?). Osama met with an Iraqi official, asking for some shit, but Iraq blew him off. There may have been more "contacts," which, for fuck's sake, in the middle of the Afghan mountains, could have meant smoke signals. Osama's people say no relationship. And the report is very fucking clear in that last sentence. What else is clear is that this paragraph is not fucking about September 11, 2001. It is about the wider relationship claimed by the Bush administration.

But, oh, goddamn Dick Cheney, like a pit bull with a little boy's arm in his mouth, ain't lettin' this go. You've all read about the Monday speech in Florida where Cheney said, "[Saddam]had long-established ties with al-Qaida." Now Cheney, in all his oozy malevolence, is sliming up the works by saying that the adminstration never said that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and that "lazy" reporters made that assertion. However, as pointed out above, the paragraph from the staff report isn't about 9/11.

It is in the context of the 9/11 commission, but if context is everything, let's cut to the video tape of Bush:
From the State of the Union, January 2003: "Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained."
When announcing an end to "major combat" in Iraq aboard the aircraft carrier Lincoln: "We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th -- the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got."

This list go on and on, with speeches by the President and Vice-President where they say "September 11" and "Iraq" within a line or two of each other. And here's the deal: if you're gonna call Iraq the "central front" in the "war on terror," and you say that that war was declared on 9/11, well, you know, you don't have to be a "lazy" reporter, or even a Fox "news" reporter, to connect the big, giant dots the adminstration has laid out. Inference by proxy is a wonderful thing to whip up war fever, is it not?

But why argue when the President of our nation says, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." See? It is so because it is so. Like religion. Like faith. We don't need to see God to know his presence, right? And you believe in God, don't you?

As for this whole "Putin says he warned the U.S. that Saddam wanted to attack the U.S." thing, c'mon. If that was true and verified by our own government, Condi, Colin, George, Dick, Rumslove, and Elaine fuckin' Chao would have been on every fuckin' talk show from Meet the Press to Wake-Up, Billings, screaming it from the rooftops. And as for Cheney's claim that he "probably" knows more about the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection than the 9/11 commission, then he should put up or shut up.

The thing about plague rats is they always found a way to escape and infect more. And the plague years will be upon us once again.


Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With a Microphone, Part 45:
Because O'Reilly, Fox "news" "host," and Rupert Murdoch's spooge bucket, has decided that Michael Moore's publicity junket for Fahrenheit 9/11 is really about Bill O'Reilly. After admitting that he left the film after just an hour (although others say he left much earlier), O'Reilly even dares to offer a movie review: "The film is pretty much what you would expect, President Bush and his administration are a satanic cult and we live in a police state. The movie was a little slow for me, fairly predictable." It's rather like O'Reilly attempting to fuck his wife and when he loses his erection before he ever penetrates her, his wife says, "He was humping me like a desperate puppy looking for a place to shove his red rocket. If he had finished, it would have been more of the same baby slaps, only stickier."

O'Reilly is as angry as a sorority girl discovering the bar is out of Jagermeister about Moore, saying that people who love Moore's film would love Nazis. Of course, people, including the Fox news commentator, who stayed for the whole film tend to find it completely unlike the slow-moving screed O'Reilly describes. Or maybe Roger Friedman is about wake up to find a kangaroo's head in his bed.

Note: We will return tomorrow to round out our Incredible Shrinking President series. Adware and spyware have ripped through the Rude Pundit's computer like Sherman on a bender.


The Incredible Shrinking President, Part 2: Squirrel Brains:
Sometimes you're driving down a country road in mid-autumn, a time the Rude Pundit likes to refer to as "Suicidal Squirrel Season," the time of year when the squirrels are getting their winter mojos going in a mad search for nuts and acorns to store for winter. And the squirrels, having little tiny brains, dash across roads haphazardly, crazy little legs a-pumping, hoping to avoid cars, cars that inevitably swerve or screech to avoid the prospect of squirrel guts on the tires. But squirrels are stupid little fuckers, and on more than one occasion the Rude Pundit has heard the heart-sickening "thump" of a squirrel running into the car. Looking back in the rear-view, all you could see was the damn squirrel, head obviously half crushed, fruitlessly spinning in circles, trying, for the love of squirrel-god, to get across the road. You can feel pity, watching the St. Vitus's dance of desperation, but you know there's nothing to be done. That was just one fucking stupid squirrel.

Our shrinking President is engaged in the dance now, but it's too far now, too late. His brain has shrunk to squirrel-size, and it's been crushed. If Capitol Hill Blue is to be believed, Bush is now a Nixonian paranoiac with "increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings." And the new book Bush on the Couch is suprisingly not about deeply fulfilling man-love with a studly Secret Service agent ("Oh, yeah, Mr. President, if I'd take a bullet for you, I'd certainly take your thrusting lust-bone"), but it's actually a psychoanalytical look at the "mind" of the President, and Justin Frank discovers it ain't a pretty sight. Beyond the dyslexia (noted by Christopher Hitchens, among others) and ADHD, Frank tracks Bush's "rigid and simplistic thought patterns, paranoia, and megalomania." Throw in the alcohol abuse, and, well, really, we're all pretty much fucked.

In other words, in the most generous assessment, our President is quite likely batshit insane. But, really, why leave it to the outside experts when we have the man's own words and interactions with reporters. Here he is attempting to explain how un-complicated the Medicare discount drug cards are to seniors in Missouri: "So there's different cards, is what I'm telling you, to meet your needs. And I understand, for some, that's going to be -- it's going to be complicated, and some people just don't want their lives complicated. And -- but you've got to know there's help. And just because it may seem complicated, that's not a good -- I think people should not use that as an excuse to participate." Fuck, by that logic, we should all learn brain surgery because, you know, it may be complicated, but don't use that as an excuse not to learn brain surgery. Bush concluded this appearance with a mention about national security, which many in the audience, palsied hands shaking, took to mean as a threat that if they didn't use the discount cards, their diaper-covered asses were on the next plane to Gitmo.

Yesterday, the shrinking brain was on display in a joint appearance with much-abused Afghan "President" Hamid Karzai. Bush, reacting to reporters actually wanting to ask questions, had the following to say in his interchanges: Trying to weasel out of talking to reporters by using Karzai as an excuse, Bush asked his guest, "Do you want to run the table, or do you want to go eat lunch?" Much to Bush's chagrin, Karzai loved the image of Bush floundering like a homeless junkie waking up in jail. So let's "run the table": "How many questions? One question apiece. If we're going to stand out here in 100-degree temperature, let's just have one question . . .You can pass your question on to some other person, and I might call on them. I'm not so sure I'm going to be so international this press conference . . . No, you've asked your question . . . Look, it's very hot out here, we've got a President from a -- a respectful President here. Why don't you just ask one question, i f you don't mind? I don't mean to be telling you how to do your business. All right, I'll answer both . . . I'm getting distracted over here, there seems to be some noise." And perhaps, stomach-churningly, that noise was coming from his own mind, the echo of thoughts around a brain pan with a brain that's slipping and sliding around inside.

Look, this isn't just about "Bush-isms" or mangled syntax or "Bush doesn't do well off-the-cuff" or those kinds of cutesy shit. It's about a leader who cannot articulate his own policies. It's about a leader so insecure in his own power that he lashes out at the press to present some kind of image of control. The reality, the stark, clear reality we are all presented with is this: he has no control. He is out of control. And like so many mad leaders before him, he is leading us down the path of his madness.

Sometimes, when that squirrel is swirling around in its death throes, the kindest thing to do is throw the car in reverse and put that little, stupid son of a bitch out of its misery. So it was when Bush turned to Karzai and said, "Lunch awaits us." To which Karzai said, "Lunch awaits us, indeed."

Fahrenheit 9/11 Will Be Here Soon:
And Swami Uptown (aka Jesse Kornbluth) was at the screening in New York this week. Check out the Swami's review to cream your jeans in anticipation.


The Incredible Shrinking President, Part 1: Size Matters:
So yesterday the Rude Pundit did his laundry. And in that fine urban laundromat, the Rude Pundit was alone with the Chinese immigrant and Nuyorican women who work there. The television was tuned to CNN, where the "news" network paused in its Scott Peterson trial coverage to show the unveiling of the portraits of Bill and Hillary Clinton. George W. Bush spoke, earnestly, kindly, even transcendantly (in the context of Bush's politics), about the Clintons, but it was a typical "performance" by "compassionate" George - trying too hard, awkwardly pausing and smirking. We folded laundry, transferred things to dryers, and occasionally paused and watched. Then Bill Clinton began to speak, and all three of us stopped, almost at the same time, and turned to the television above the change machine and saw this man with such a command of self and words and such a knowledge of audience and humanity, someone funny, wise, and comforting. When he was finished, the Rude Pundit said, "Remember when we had a President?" The Nuyorican woman laughed, the Chinese woman nodded, and we may as well have all sighed in lust over Clinton, remembering a time when our President stood tall when he spoke, spine straight, not hunched over like a French bellringer.

Our President, and, no matter what, Bush is our President, is shrinking before our eyes. Even those who once believed he was a mighty, mighty man are now watching him get smaller and smaller and smaller. It's really no fault of his own. He was never a large man to begin with. Through tricks of the camera and historical circumstance, he came to seem so much bigger, a giant to our mere mortal sized. Now, though, not only has he returned to his original height - he is shrinking into nothingness.

It happened first to individual body parts: his cock was the first thing to shrink. Oh, god, what a gigantic cock the man had a year ago. Jesus, when he was in that fuckin' flight suit, he could barely stand straight because of the weight of his humongous phallus. And his fuckin' speech that day, where his cock was batting against his right knee ('cause that's the direction his cock curves, radically), all full of balls and bluster: "With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent." His Secret Service detail had to give him wide berth for fear of being bumped by his enormous erect penis.

But what rises must eventually fall. Icarus learned this. The tower builders at Babel learned this. And so, constantly, painfully smacked with the paddles of mounting casualties, insurgencies, and lack of WMDs, how that Presidential putz shrank, first to its former size of "do I need to try male 'enhancement' or not" dubious inches, to, now, its near inverted lack of length, girth, or width. Here's how you know a President's cock has shrunk to the size of an infant's thumb: "I can't remember if I've seen the memo or not . . .I haven't met the Prime Minister yet, but he sounds like a very strong, courageous individual . . .let me remind everybody about Saddam Hussein, just in case we all forget. There were mass graves under his leadership. There were torture chambers." All statements, all, from one press conference, at the G-8 summit last week. Someone call a surgeon to remove his balls from his body cavity.

So watching Clinton and Bush yesterday for the Rude Pundit must have been like conservatives watching Bush in Reagan's shadow last week. What a small petty man, we all thought. What a ridiculous shadow of the office that he holds. And, to be clear, it is an "office" that is his only for a temporary period. Which is why it's extra petty and small when the White House website, which one would assume ought to be devoted to the "Presidency" and not the "President," contains the text of President Bush's speech at the unveiling of the Clintons' portraits, but not the text of the former president's remarks. And God only knows what psychological damage would be done by including the text of Bush's father's words at Reagan's funeral. Because even next to the smallest of men, this current Bush keeps shrinking.

More on the shrinking brain, the shrinking heart, and the shrinking arms tomorrow.


The Way of the Weasel: How many kinds of "oh, shit" went through George W. Bush's head this morning while he was listening to Bill Clinton speak at the unveiling of the Clintons' portraits? We will talk tomorrow about the incredible shrinking president, but suffice to say, in one sentence, seemingly tossed off and devoid of politics, Clinton destroyed Bush's entire tenure in office: Clinton talked about politics as a "noble" pursuit and he hoped for a time when politicians could get back to talking about "right and wrong" instead of "good and bad." Oh, but all the right would like us to remember about Clinton is the word parsing and the blowjobs. But one thing that the Bush administration reminds us over and over and over again is it's all about the legalities and nuance of language. See, as long as you're not technically lying, then you're in the clear. Even the mainstream press is on board this time, as they note that when Bush "answered" questions at the end of the G-8 summit on the old slave plantation in Georgia, he avoided one quite conspicuously. Bush was asked several times about the Justice Department memo regarding torture, which said that torture may be justified and here's how we can weasel out of the Geneva Convention and, oh, by the way, here's some ways you can torture people. Each time, Bush answered "that anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations." When pushed, Bush, as usual became as snippy as a chihuahua with a hard-on and only a doberman to fuck: "The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We're a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions out of -- from me to the government." As the Washington Post, MSNBC, and others have noted, this doesn't answer any questions about the legality of torture because, as the memo states, there might be weasel room on whether or not U.S. law allows torture or whether the President has any obligation to the law, which, after listening to John Ashcroft, no, we're not comforted at all. It is the way of the weasel, the uncomfortable collision between "ethics," "morality," "truth," and "law." In other words, Jack might get caught being given a blow job by Ted but Jack can claim he's not "gay" because Jack did not actually place his cock in Ted's mouth. Ted, in fact and action, took the cock and shoved it into his mouth. Thus, Jack's dick was placed in the mouth for him. And, thus, the sucking began to happen. And, really, what chance did Jack have at that point except to roll back his eyes and enjoy the fellating. And, really, at that point, ignoring the brush of Ted's chin scruff against his balls, did it really matter if Jack was getting blown by a man or woman? Oh, the ways of the weasel are legion. See, we may hear "imminent" in every word the President said about Iraq's threat, but, ahh, sweet weasel, he never actually said "imminent." Hell, the frightening truth is, everything offers weasel room in our universe of legalistic relativity, even the President's oath of office. That reads: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If a President violates this oath, why, then, ideally, he (or some future she) is impeached. But the weasel room is there and the implications are really terrifying: perhaps Bush is doing his job "to the best of [his] ability." Now there's something no court in the country could argue with. Always, always the powerful seek the solace of the weasel room. Reagan, Clinton, every CEO you can think of. But when it comes to things like torture and life and death, goddamnit, it shouldn't matter not a whit what the definition of "is" is.


A Fitting Memorial:
The Rude Pundit wants Ray Charles on the fifty-dollar bill. Fuck Ulysses S. Grant, that drunk old son of a bitch. Put Ray Charles on the fifty. The Rude Pundit wants a gigantic Ray Charles sculpted into the side of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Blow up that goddamn celebration of racism there; send Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jeff Davis tumbling into the piles of rock and dust of forgotteness. Instead, carve Ray Charles, at his piano, smiling, smiling, smiling. The Rude Pundit wants a street in every town named after Ray Charles - and not just some piece of crap road that runs through the shitty section of town. A real fuckin' thoroughfare so every goddamn time people drive on it, they can think, "It's ironic that Ray Charles couldn't drive on this road." Yeah, we can't stop there, either. We want some Ray Charles buildings - big fuckin' buildings where people work and live and fuck and kill each other and play music, too. Lots of 'em, stacks of fuckin' Ray Charles buildings. And statues, huge fuckin' statues, each of him at his piano, in parks, town squares, state capitols. Surrounded by gardens, great huge gardens of intensely fragrant flowers because, you know, Ray Charles couldn't see the flowers, but he sure as shit could smell them. Yeah, that's right. Gardens will be our living memorials to Ray Charles. Let's tear the image of Jesus off the crucifixes in churches and let's replace it with Ray Charles. Ray Charles hangin' on a cross, crown o' thorns on his head. He died for our sins, he is man, he is god. The original Raylettes will be our saints; we'll have holidays on each of their birthdays. And every Saturday night we can head to our churches and bow down and worship and wish, to the centers of our very souls, that Ray Charles will look down from heaven and bless our meager efforts.

Then, when all of that is done, maybe, just maybe, we'll create a legacy worthy of Ray Charles.


Of Beetles and Men:
Let us pause for a moment and think about the confused flour beetle. Left to its own devices, the confused flour beetle will survive on flour and by cannibalizing its own kind. The benefits of cannibalization are many for the confused flour beetle. Primary among them is the assurance of survival of the species. As entomologists have discovered, if there is no cannibalism among the confused flour beetles, then they proliferate exponentially, to the point where there is no way for the colony to survive on the food supply at hand – usually a nice bag of flour. So sustainability being instinctual, the confused flour beetle, having no access to contraception, simply eats other confused flour beetles. Call it eugenics by proxy, if you want. Or self-Darwinism. Either way, the idea is eat or be eaten. Eat each other or risk extinction. It’s a brutal, but somehow logical, world that the confused flour beetle inhabits.

Yesterday, the Republican-run House Appropriations Subcommittee denied a Bush administration request for tens of millions of dollars to fund “research” into low-yield and “bunker-buster” nuclear weapons. The fear was, it seems, that such “small” nuclear weapons (although still six times more powerful than the Hiroshima A-Bomb, that pussy firecracker) would make their use more likely. Last month, the Republican-run House International Relations Committee blocked a Bush administration plan to loosen restrictions on what weapons systems Britain and Australia may buy from the U.S. Briefly returning to his Dr. Jekyll state, the usually evil Henry Hyde signed off on the committee’s report which stated the Bushkovik proposal “seems unhinged from U.S. counterterrorism and nonproliferation policy.”

The confused flour beetle, which is very similar in look and behavior to the red flour beetle, would clearly understand what’s going on.

(Just a short one today, as Blogger has been down all fuckin’ morning. But, hey, as we remember the Gipper, have a read of his testimony before the House Un-Americans Activities Committee in 1947 when, as President of the Screen Actors’ Guild, Reagan outed as Communist members of his own union. And check out this ultra-paranoid speech from 1957. Ya gotta give a guy props for consistency.)


Now, Where Were We Before We Were Interrupted?:
Do you think there was a moment in Abu Ghraib or any number of prisons in Iraq when some Iraqi male, stripped nude and forced into a line, hunched over so that he was staring at the asshole of the man in front of him while armed Americans stood around and laughed, thought, "What the fuck?" Beyond the cultural degradation of being nude in front of others, especially women, beyond the psychological torture, do you think it ever crossed the minds of the prisoners, many already believing that Americans are a defiled people, just a plaintive, "What the fuck? Why do they want us naked? Why do must I stare into my neighbor's asshole? What, exactly, is this accomplishing?" Then, of course, this theoretical Iraqi male would go right back to fearing for his life and thinking, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." (And this doesn't even get into whatever horrible revelations leak out about the treatment of women and children.)

You see, there's a huge difference between theory and practice. The theory says, "The United States has signed treaties to prevent torture, 'cause, like, we don't want our soldiers tortured. But what if we really, really, really want to torture people? How can we get around those inconvenient treaties?" Theory asks, "How can we commit war crimes without being held accountable?" Theory demands that there be a theoretical justification for torture, and theory always falls back on the old saws of "national security" and "preventing terrorist attacks." Theory says, "Executive privilege will be our cover." Covering their asses while exposing the asses of others - the modus operandi of the Bush administration.

Ah, but practice. Practice turns theory into action, you know. One can theorize that the passed out cheerleader on our bed is "not saying 'no'" while you fuck her and turn her around and fuck her again. However, in practice, you are committing rape. Unfortunately, practice when it comes to Iraqi prisoners involved lots of nasty things, as we now know, like real and actual murder, real and actual rape, real and actual torture of real and actual bodies, most of them innocent. Theory is clean. Practice is messy. Maybe President Bush and others in his administration thought that the U.S. could enact a kinder, gentler version of torture. Maybe they believed in such degrees. Maybe they believed they were superior to other torturous regimes throughout history. Perhaps. But that's more theory, is it not? And shouldn't we judge the actions of people, not their thoughts or intentions?

And the intention that is becoming horrifyingly clear is that the Constitution of this country is seen as an impediment to the Bush administration enactment of its theory. The "rule of law" is merely a pretense, so many paper towels to wipe the shit off the shoes of power. The truly insidious part of all the "memos" coming out right now is that they lay out how to weasel out of prosecution for everyone involved. For instance, no one could be held accountable, the lawyers argue, "if military personnel believed that they were acting on orders from superiors." Ahh, sweet Nuremberg, haunting this administration more than D-Day, more than the forgetful ghost of Ronald Reagan, bumping into walls at the White House. How the bodies of the hanged Nazis danced in the breeze.

But let's follow the bouncing ball of logic here: What other "laws" might be set aside because Bush has "the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security"? Perhaps he might set aside prostitution laws because a tense President is an ineffective President? Just a hand job for freedom? Or maybe, say, laws governing elections can be set aside. We are, after all, living in an unending "national emergency" where our "security" is more important than any onerous dictates of "law" and "order" and "democracy."

If you get a chance, check out Joe Biden's passionate attack on Ashcroft and the administration's arrogance about "international law." Biden's got a kid whose ass is on the line. The rest of us are just bent over, staring into the asshole, that puckered eye, of America.


Reagan's Corpse:
Oh, what fun it is to play with Reagan's corpse, play with Reagan's corpse. What joy to hook his limbs up to wires and jolt them with electricity as they stiffen, vibrate, and flop around. How gleeful can we be when tie strings on him and make him goose step around for us. Condoleeza Rice loves to play with Reagan's corpse, putting it on her lap so she can be its ventriloquist, her hand deep up Reagan's embalmed ass, manipulating his mouth, and she gets Reagan's corpse to say that her Georgie-Pie is so much like Reagan: "President Bush is inspired by [Reagan's] kind of plainspokenness, about that willingness to tell the truth, about the willingness to be unabashedly clear about the universality of the values of liberty and freedom."

The campaign of George W. Bush is angling to get Reagan's corpse mummified and placed on permanent display in the Capitol so everyone can push a button and make Reagan dance a little Irish jig. Hell, they'll even put glass eyes in that give an extra twinkle in the flash of cameras. Says Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman, "Just like President Reagan, President George W. Bush speaks with moral clarity about the enemies of freedom. Both men had the wisdom to recognize that peace comes from strength." And, then, disturbingly, Mehlman refers to Reagan (and Bush II) in the present tense, "Both are optimists, who believe that the best days are tomorrow if we make the right decisions today." Ah, yes, Reagan's corpse believes so many things that are good and right about America.

And, oh, oh, how many right wing pundits and "thinkers" can't get enough of Reagan's corpse, demanding that Reagan's dead dick be made permanently erect so they can go fuck themselves with Reagan's corpse. The National Review's Rich Lowry wants to rip off Reagan's arms to beat the shit out of John Kerry, saying "It is no accident that Kerry opposed Reagan's policies in terms he uses to criticize Bush now." He's joined by the Weekly Standard, which wants to use Reagan's legs to kick Kerry's ass. Rush Limbaugh wants Reagan's balls on a lollipop stick that he can lick over and over; Limbaugh sees no difference in the "fight" against "communism" and the "fight" against "terrorism." Sean Hannity wants Reagan's head in his lap so he can pretend the 40th President is blowing him; scroll down to the bottom of his homepage to see Reagan's corpse in action. Laura Ingraham wants just a couple of fingers she can use as a Reagan dildo as she imagines what the Gipper would have done in all manner of crises, like 9/11 (although one imagines Reagan's reaction to 9/11 wouldn't have been much different had he been President - shitting himself and gurgling for pudding).

Man, oh, man, we can't get enough of Reagan's corpse, whole and in pieces. We are a nation that lives in the shadow of Reagan's corpse.


Dead President:
This is not going to be one of the many "let’s-be-kind-to-the-dead-Alzheimer’s-ridden-wrinkled-guy" panegyrics the "liberal" media has been trotting out for the last day and a half. This is not an attempt to find a silver lining in the ruination, the waste lain by the presidency of Reagan. We will not be saying that "Reagan loved dogs." No, this is nothing like that. This is going to be a "rip that saggy-necked cocksucker out of his coffin and skullfuck him until his eyes roll out into the street" kind of thing.

Ronald Reagan was the worst kind of evil, the kind that wears the mask of goodness and morality. He was like the affable grandfather who loved molesting his grandkids. Oh, how Grandpa smiled when he fondled us. Damn, how we didn't mind the finger-fuckings, how we didn’t care how many psychic scars Grandpa left us with as long as Grandpa smiled at us, said he loved us, and gave us candy to keep us quiet. But, Jesus Christ, how we must live with those barely repressed wounds, the damage that afflicts every step we take.

This country, this world will never get over the destruction wrought by this man. Practically every awful thing going on in this country can be traced, in one way or another, to Reagan. Soldiers are dying in Iraq right now because of this man, because of his insane support for dictators, for turning a blind eye to genocide and madness. A decade behind in AIDS research? The power of the religious right in making public policy? The war on feminism? We're just scratchin' the surface of the repeated rapings of this country by Reagan's re-defining conservatism to the right, which dragged the rest of the nation, the rest of the political spectrum with it. He made liberal a dirty word. He opened the regulatory books for industries to rewrite them in their image. He presided over the other greatest intelligence failure, when we "missed" the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union. And we're not even talkin' yet about Iran-Contra, the second part of the Republican trifecta of massive abuse of power (Watergate being first, and the Iraq war being third). Reagan was a goddamned cancer, but he could sell it, like an old time preacher, with a twinkle in his eye and a promise of greater days tomorrow; he was like a suave Greek pimp who will sell you a syphilitic Turkish whore - sure, you'll get your rocks off, but, oh, how you'll pay, motherfucker, oh, how you'll pay.

Let’s focus in on one thing: poverty. Reagan shifted the conversation on poverty, as he did with so many things, away from economics and the vicissitudes of capitalism and towards a 19th century notion of morality. The poor were, in Reagan’s view, more easily tempted into immorality. They were "welfare queens" who exploited the good-heartedness of the government and the populace in general. Indeed, the whole debate about welfare never escaped from Reagan's enormous racist lie of the welfare queen because it was a story that comforted so many middle class white people, allowed them to abandon any pretense of wanting to correct past wrongs.

Let's narrow even further, to one bill. In his first budget, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Reagan stripped away the ability of the working poor to transition off welfare, taking 100% of their income out of their welfare payments. Previously, the standard had been the 30 and a third rule – subtract the first $30 and 1/3 of income in order to wean the working poor off the government teat. The OBRA cut food stamps, Medicaid, and child care. It reduced or eliminated spending on prenatal, maternal, and child health care, school lunch programs, and day care, as well as eliminating Aid to Families with Dependent Children for some families. Sixty percent of cuts in federal entitlements were on programs to poor: AFDC was cut by $1 billion, Medicaid by $500 million, and food stamps by $700 million, erasing 875,000 people from the food stamp program. Because of these cuts, a working poor family of three had less income than one who stayed on AFDC. Much of this was directed at women, where Reagan sought to roll back the feminist movement through governmental tough love. "There you go, bitches, wallow in the filth of my philosophy," he was saying.

Here’s the evil part: this was done to offset huge tax cuts. Here’s the extra evil part: the tough love didn’t work. More people ended up on welfare (not cruelly disappeared from the welfare rolls as under Clinton’s welfare "reform"). The cuts for fiscal 1982, which totaled $35.2 billion, also affected disability benefits, subsidized housing, unemployment insurance, student loans, Pell grants, impacted areas aid, medical education, sewer grants, postal subsidies, trade adjustment assistance, small business loans, mass transit systems, highway funds, and more. Much of the spending was shifted to the states, as if that was somehow a greater good. The end result was to put a stake in the heart of the War on Poverty, effectively negating the role of the poor in national politics, who couldn't mobilize if they had to work two or three jobs in order to put food on the table, shifting so much of the social concerns of the government to the middle class. Welfare rolls grew while unemployment fell. And the seeds of the distance between rich and poor were sowed, and their vines bear fruit each year after.

Remember: this is one bill. One action. At the beginning of his presidency. With nearly eight years to go. Eight years where he smiled at us, regaling us with "common people" stories that comforted us amid the inferno.

Did he know what he was doing? Was Reagan a puppet? Of course he was, and by the end of his presidency, when he had descended into Woodrow Wilson-like levels of uselessness, he was merely a wax dummy. But if one surrounds oneself with cruel and evil people, if one listens to their counsel and signs off on their ideology, then, puppet or not, one is part and parcel of the evil that they do. He dumbed down the Presidency by making his ignorance into an asset; without him, there would be no George W. Bush for we could not begin to think that so slouching a human would be the person we say represents us all. Reagan made us think that this is what the presidency is: a summation of men (and women) and their ideology, not a man unto himself.

The final fuckin' joke is that because Reagan got to disappear into the clouds of his diseased brain, functioning only as a conveyer between tubes that fed him and tubes that removed his piss (with the shit-ridden diaper thrown in for good effect), he never had to see what he had done. He never got to look down from that shining city on a hill, the bullshit chimera of a nation that would never exist, and see the shards of the shattered country he left behind.

Or maybe, gasping his last, the Alzheimer's clouds parted and Reagan had a moment of clarity, a moment when he at last grasped the enormity of his blithe cruelty; maybe he understood the stunning, horrible, Christ-forsaken abandonment of the poor, the weak, the beaten down, the tossing aside of every "ideal" of uplifting the people in his maniacal pursuits of putting down the lid on the piss-stained toilet of Soviet communism and of tearing the condom off the cock of capitalism so that it infects us all with "free trade." When Lee Atwater, mentor to Karl Rove and one of the gurus of Reagan and then Bush I's campaigns, was dying of brain cancer, he had such an epiphany about the world he helped to create. He called the umitigated greed of the Reagan/Bush era a "spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul." Would that we all get such Kurtzian moments of realizing the horror.

Reagan's dead. Fuck him. Fuck Nancy. Fuck the 1980s. Fuck all the tributes that are going on for the next week while his putrid corpse criss-crosses the nation he helped desiccate. Christ, put that fucker in a hole and let's get on with it, with the neverending work of righting the legion of wrongs he did to us all, a legacy rife with its Rumsfelds, Cheneys, and Bushes.

And when Reagan’s finally quivering in the cold, cold ground, waiting for demons to tear his soul into bite-sized pieces so he can feel thousands of hells at once, the Rude Pundit will dance, dance, dance, grotesquely, madly, on the still shifting dirt of his grave.


You Are/Are Not America:
Look, if you're reading this, you're connected, man. You are hooked up, bitch. You know the score. You pride yourself in knowing the ins and outs, motherfucker, the who's and the why's and the occasional how. You follow stories, even if you have to read the Guardian to get the whole deal. You scoff at the notion of a liberal bias in the media. You may or may not show up in NYC to protest in September, but, certainly, the thought has crossed your mind, just like it did to go to the March on Washington back in April before you decided you couldn't - you don't like the toilets on long bus rides and crowds make you nervous, you may have thought. And you may very well be sittin' there, listenin' the hurricane of shit whirling around D.C. with the Chalabi case and Tenet's resignation. You may even spend a minute or two, or more, trying to figure out what's what, how the two are connected, if they are, why Tenet resigned now, how much of a lying motherfucker Chalabi is. And you look around and wonder why the President and his entire administration haven't been forced to run bare-ass naked down Pennsylvania Avenue while the raucous mobs pelt them with rotten fruit until their degraded asses are forced out of the Capitol.

And what you think is true. It is so goddamn true. Jesus, it's hard to exhale some mornings in this America when you're one of Bush's "elite," in that you have made yourself pay attention when all around you are politicians and media people with huge whistles, waving you past, saying, "Nothing to see here, nothing at all." You have forced yourself to look at the dismembered limbs at the scene of the crime, the crushed and decapitated bodies in the wreckage, slowing your car down while everyone behind you honks. And once the images are in your head, they're not going away. Once something has been thought, says Dostoevsky, it cannot be unthought.

However, for the rest of us, the rest of this America, this nation where our "pride" in individualism means we can't have real community, we are selfish sons of bitches. See, we have to deal with the wallet, the gas tank, and on and on (schools, health care, you know the list). And for us, Chalabi and Tenet are too fucking complicated, and we have been beaten down to the point where we don't wanna figure it out. It's easier to just wait and see what the government says about it and worry about getting a day off our second jobs so we can see our kids play Little League.

We should scream. God, we should scream to everyone about the lies, the cover-ups, the crimes, so many crimes that it makes John Gotti look like Alfalfa stealing from the old guy's apple cart. Maybe we won't have to scream for long. Something is shaking loose. Not to get all Buffalo Springfield on you, but something's happening here, something's shakin' loose from the trees of scandal. Maybe there's just an accumulation of disgusting detail of how we've been snookered. More probably, it'll be something like the Plame affair, which seems more than ever to reach into the tastefully decorated Oval Office. Then the story will get cut and dried, good and evil, the terms that Bush prefers to the ever-shifting grays of the world, and we'll all understand, and it'll be what we talk about at our third shift non-union jobs, our church pancake breakfasts, our own America, redefined by this just started hurricane season.

Back Monday.


America's Newest Hostages:
A hostage crisis is always messy, no matter which way it turns out. The thugs that hold them hostage are, in essence, creating a human barrier between themselves and the authorities. Better a sixty year-old bank manager takes an AK-47 barrage than a robber, you know? Or better a few battalions of twenty year-olds face the Iraqi roulette than the leaders of this country have to admit they've fucked up. See, when the Army first announced its "stop-loss" program, oh, how a hue and cry went up. Now that the "Stop Loss/Stop Movement" program has been expanded, maybe it's time to say that the military must be ready to gut Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and leave their still alive bodies in the middle of the desert for the buzzards and starving children to feed on.

The "stop-loss" program is fairly self-explanatory. How do we "stop" the "loss" of troops whose tours of duty are over? It's simple: we don't let the whiny bitches come home. And we sell it by saying it's good for the "cohesion" of the troops on the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, not that we have to do this because no one wants to fight this war because no one knows what the fuck we're fighting for. And thus you have the hostage drama being played out, with the Bushkoviks as the the masked kidnappers, threatening, "Support our war or we're gonna get these soldiers shot." Which leads to the question: who's gonna take the place of the hostages? You? No, you're not. 'Cause you either don't support the war or you do and you're just a little punk ass waiting to be smacked, Patton-style.

And, really, and, c'mon, we all know that our Bush would have been first on George S.'s list to feel the sweet, stinging caress of the old bastard general's leather glove. Especially when Patton heard Bush's speech at the Air Force Academy, where our President decided to take a gigantic shit on the memory of the veterans of World War II by daring to compare his Iraq adventure of choice to WWII. It's so easy, one guesses, because both dictators had moustaches and because the U.S. was attacked. Except for the persnickety detail that the moustachioed dictator this time didn't attack us or our allies. Oh, and the niggling little fact that Japan was, like, a nation, with borders and shit, not a bunch of fundamentalists strung out on ideology, spread across the face of the globe, not an amorphous, nebulous eeeevil. Nope, there'll be no nukin' this time (one hopes). Yeah, there's that and the whole being welcomed as liberators with flowers and candies back in the "Good" War.

Another major difference between the War on Terror and WWII is that, back in the day, young men crowded the recruiting offices to sign up to fight. Now, Rumsfeld may as well be standing at the airfields of Persia with a submachine gun and ski mask, screaming, "Any of you motherfuckers tries to leave, I'll execute every last motherfucking one of you."
A Little Now, More Later:
Duty calls this morning, so the Rude Pundit will return this late this afternoon with "Americans Held Hostage." But while you're here, enjoy the musty smell of the archives. Bring a date, look at the documents, see the myriad times the Rude Pundit's been right and wrong. But pick up your condoms and beer cans when you're done. The Rude Pundit is not your fuckin' maid.


Bush Has No Faith in America(ns):
Let's be straight here about Jose' Padilla, the alleged al-Qaeda operative and alleged wanna-be dirty bomber (and "alleged" is the only word that is accurate, since absolutely no proof has been offered to demonstrate or refute the government's allegations). The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if, as a declassified Pentagon report says, Padilla was part of a plot to "identify three high-rise apartment buildings that used natural gas, rent two apartments in each building, seal all the openings, turn on the gas and set timers to detonate the buildings simultaneously." (Of course, one can thank the Pentagon for the how-to primer on easy, widespread terrorism.) The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if Padilla was planning to use duct tape to tie together a thousand Christian and Jewish babies and slowly drown them in the Potomac. The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if Padilla was planning to insert Ecstasy into the nation's Geritol supply so that America's elderly could fuck themselves to death while listening to Deep House music. The Rude Pundit doesn't fucking care if Padilla was planning to walk right up to Billy Graham and shoot him three times in the back of the skull and fuck his corpse in front of sobbing schoolchildren. It doesn't fucking matter. It's a simple rule: prove it. In a court of law. With evidence. And against a defense. Why? Because we live in the United States. And that's the way we do things here.

Conversely, let's be straight here about President Bush's faith-based intiative, which is a way to funnel money to religious groups that do "community service." In a speech yesterday, Bush talked about how church groups are helping "Veronica" from Liberia, "Elijah" from the Sudan, and others, some from America, even, but the Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit about these stories. The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if the Order of Decrepit Nuns Who Look Like Mother Theresa needs money in order to maintain their Orphanage of Brown-Skinned Refugee Children Who Look Cute When They Say, "I Love America." The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if Massachusetts Wiccans for a Free World is applying for funds to educate the children of poor gay couples who just got married. The Rude Pundit doesn't give a good goddamn if Jesus, Allah, and Buddha read the Torah and decided they could bring motherfucking peace on earth if they only had a federal grant to do so. It doesn't fucking matter. It's a simple principle: the federal government should not give money to churches. Period. There is no wiggle room here; it ain't like prayer at a football game, where one could argue free speech. We're talking tax dollars going directly to church groups. And that, in the most fundamental sense, violates the separation between church and state. Simple rule: No tax dollars to churches. Why? Because we live in the United States. And that's the way we do things here.

See, the Bush administration and its supporters don't like the United States. They fear the idea of liberty, real and actual liberty, not simply freedom based on wallet-width. If you believe Jose' Padilla, an American citizen, ought to be held without charge or access to a real defense, then you simply have no faith in the American legal system. Oh, sure, we can say, "We're at war," but with whom? Terror? In the War on Drugs, do we lock up with no due process every junkie? (And the comparison is apt: it is as backward-ass ludicrous to declare War on Terror as it is to declare War on Drugs.) And if you believe the only way to achieve social good is to give tax money to groups that mix religion with their services, then you have no faith in this country and its principles. (And that's not even to get into the hypocrisy of those who support faith-based initiatives, yet say you can't solve problems by "throwing money" at them.) It's religious welfare, of course, and it is establishment of religion. And it's especially egregious to express interest in giving money to churches when you are talking about gutting the government's own social programs.

In other words, George Bush and his minions demonstrate, over and over, that what they are after is not a "return" of the United States to anything that existed in the past. It is the transformation of the country into something else. And whatever that something else is - theocracy, more rigid autocracy - it ain't the United States. It's another country, one most of us did not sign up to live in.


Why the Gun Matters:
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit discussed Bush's war trophy, Saddam Hussein's pistol, and the seeming panoply of laws, local and federal, that Bush appeared to be breaking by keeping the pistol (scroll down for a look at those laws). He keeps it in the study off the side of the Oval Office where Bill Clinton used to get hummers from Monica Lewinsky, so, really, it oughta be called the Presidential Cock Room by now. What's the big fuckin' deal, you may be wondering, about the goddamn gun? We all know that Bush is barbaric. So who cares if he has the gun.

The problem with the gun is this: it ain't about the fuckin' gun. Well, it is, and it isn't. It is in the way that Bush gets a war trophy for a war that's a disaster, as if he is a soldier, when if a Marine took a pistol from the enemy as a trophy, he'd be prosecuted. And it's about the gun in that it just seems one step removed from the behavior of tribes in Conan the Barbarian or something, where the head of the conquered king is displayed for all to ooh and aah over, for all to believe that the one who has the trophy is the true and bloodlust-filled warrior, when, in reality, this trophy-keeper, this Bush, is just a pussy in a blue tie.

But it ain't the gun. Just like Clinton's impeachment wasn't about lying under oath. It wasn't even about Clinton placing his johnson in the jowls of a jelly-bellied Jewess. Clinton's impeachment was about ideology, motherfuckers; it's alway about ideology, you know. It was a constitutional coup and you fuckin' know it. It was about power, who could use it best to their ends, who could stay within the "boundaries" of "law" in order to achieve those ends. And, motherfuck and son of a bitch, if the Republicans didn't play the game almost to the hilt, except they couldn't achieve the final step, which was getting rid of Clinton, so free to their uptightness, so loved to their power by fear.

The gun, though, tells us so much more about the man. See, Saddamn's pistol and the fact that Bush kept it and didn't turn it over to, say, the Smithsonian, means that he thinks of himself as the warrior king (he did say as much when he called himself a "war president"). If keeping the gun is about, as he said, his pride in the troops, then why not put it on display where we can all feel that pride? But it ain't good enough for Bush. That gun is power - it is a fetish he can rub so that he can know that he's better than the father.

And the fact that he is probably flouting so many laws by keeping the gun is just part and parcel of the sense of privilege and noblesse oblige that the entire Bush administration feels is their right. It means so goddamn much about how free they feel to lie without any sense of consequences, like Bush daring to speak about the "great sacrifices" of dead and wounded soldiers when he's looking to cut hundreds of millions from veteran's benefits. Like feeling free to lie with impunity about the record of his opponent. And he can keep using phrases like "full sovereignty" while at the same time saying that the Iraqis won't have any control over U.S. troops. Getting angry about the friggin' pistol is getting angry at an ideology that places so little premium on human life over the achievement of an agenda.

Saddam's gun is a little thing, like a penis, in the scheme of history. But, as the Rude Pundit has said many, many times, context is everything. If one is so filled with hubris that one believes one is above all laws, then hubris is one's tragic flaw. And the hubristic will fall, like so, so many before, like emperors, like dictators, like presidents.