Callin' 'Em Like We See 'Em:
Do you think Paul Wolfowitz was thinking about Evelyn Waugh's book Scoop when he opined before Congress that reporters in Iraq are whiny little pussies: "A lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors." In Scoop, a British nature reporter is mistakenly sent to cover an upcoming revolution in a mythical African country. He loathes being there so much that he does, indeed, sit at the cafe' and simply reports what he hears. Wolfowitz was bitch-slapped by the media into apologizing. See, Wolfman Paul has a problem with numbers - he was 200 short on the number of casualties back in April, he neglected to consider the 34 dead Iraq war journalists in his little pissing match with Congress.

One journalist/essayist who will never be accused of being afraid to travel is Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Badass motherfucker has balls of steel. Unlike so many of us nattering nabobs of the net, Kristof goes there. Check out his articles on the genocide in the Sudan. He met with Sudanese officials and entered the huts of starving people. Unlike Wolfman Paul, who is so smothered by military when he travels that he has a Special Ops unit assigned to him just to make sure he shits in comfort, Kristof gets down and dirty.

But in his latest column, Kristof shakes his finger at those who would call the President a "liar." Says Kristof, "I'm against the 'liar' label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding." He makes comparisons to those on the right who accused the Clintons of rape and murder, and to those on the left who dwell in "conspiracy" theories.

But Kristof ignores an enormous difference between the Clinton bashers and the Bush name-callers: one can factually prove Bush is a liar from Bush's own statements and actions. See, in order to be a murderer, one must murder another person. One might like to believe that one is being factually correct in one's opinion that someone is a murderer with no proof, but then one would be batshit insane, which, when that phrase comes up, we must turn to Ann Coulter, who on May 20 made the statement that: "I think [calling Clinton a scumbag] is factually correct." "Scumbag," colorful word though it may be, doesn't really have an objective definition, does it? Sure, you can call someone who cheats on his wife and fucks around with the help a "scumbag," but is one's bag not filled with scum if one makes one's living degrading others for fun and profit?

However, all one has to do to earn the label "liar" is to lie. It is, in this world of relativity, one of those few objective truths: if you lie, you are a liar. An example: the Rude Pundit was at a bar in Kentucky once. He had placed quarters on the pool table to indicate that he was going to play the next game of pool. No one was around at the time, no one showing interest in taking the pool table from the Rude Pundit and his Pundit Posse. However, a man walked over from the bar and put his quarters ahead of the Rude Pundit's. The Rude Pundit, politely, as is his way, pointed out that he had the next game. "Nuh-uh," the man intoned. "My dollar was there first." No, it wasn't, the Rude Pundit replied. "Are you calling me a 'liar'?" the man quizzed. As a matter of fact, yes, you're a liar, the Rude Pundit replied. This did not sit well with the man, who looked to his friends and said, "This fucker called me a 'liar.'" The Rude Pundit looked at the man's friends and said, "Your buddy's a motherfucking lying sack of shit, and if he doesn't take his shit-ridden quarters off this pool table, he's gonna get his lying ass kicked. And that's the truth." Oh, the posturing, the two of us, like a couple of roosters kicking up our own shit in the coop. Perhaps it would have been best to simply leave at that point, tell the liar not to worry about it, beat a hasty retreat because one shouldn't offend. However, the Rude Pundit preferred to stand and fight.

But that's because "liar" is so clear, so simple. Look at the word. Listen to it. It even has its raison d'etre in the word itself. Kristof would call Bush "overzealous and self-deluded" about Iraq, that Bush "stretched the truth" with "exaggerations." Why contort oneself so when the path is so clear? George W. Bush has lied with the intention of lying. These are demonstrable truths. Not hyperbole. And the "all politicians lie" defense is nonsense. A lie is stating something as a fact that is not a fact. Promising something that you can't deliver on is for, well, scumbags.

Oh, sure, those of us who go around saying that "George W. Bush is a barely sentient lapdog of the neocons who would fuck his own saggy-titted mother if he thought Jesus came to him in a vision and told him to do so," sure, we're a bit more hateful. But those who say he lies? That's like saying George Bush breathes air (albeit with his mouth open).