The Year In Haiku (iv):
(The final words on 2004, this fucked-up scrotum gnasher of a year.)

Four more years of George
Will pass slow as thick sewage
Down mid-Penn Ave. Ciao.
The Year In Haiku (iii):

To be gay, married,
And American: Worse than
O'Reilly's loofah?
The Year In Haiku (ii):
(The Rude Pundit continues with haiku to punctuate the end of this ridiculous year.)

Swift boat "heroes" sail
Fast on Fox-driven airwaves.
Mekong was gentler.
The Year In Haiku (i):
(Throughout the day, the Rude Pundit will be posting haiku in remembrance of this awful year.)

All rotting corpses
Smell the same, in Fallujah,
Darfur, or Aceh.


A Brief Observation On Bush's Brief Statement:
Here's how President Bush's ended his brief meeting with reporters yesterday at the Crawford Ranch, which began with his statement that he feels really, really bad about the whole tsunami tragedy. Some eunuch ball licker from the gathered reporters asked Bush if he had any New Year's resolutions. A compassionate man at that point might have said something about resolving to help the countries through this crisis. A wise man may have said he was going to reach out more to others who are across the political aisle. There's a million things he could have said. Instead, he decided to take a giant shit on the statement of sympathy he had just given: "I'll let you know. Already gave you a hint on one, which is my waistline. I'm trying to set an example."

So that's how the whole thing ended. The eyes of the world were on this appearance by our fearless leader, his absence the last 72 hours having been conspicuous in the way that the absence of a lost dog might make one feel whenever you look at the uneaten food in the dog bowl. And how does he end this little showing? By saying, "I've gotten fat." So, fuck you, all you millions of starving Sri Lankans, Indonesians, and others. The fattened President feels your pain. And, hey, take a hint from Georgie: he's settin' an example- a few days without food'll improve that waistline problem in no time.

On a different note of fattened Americans and the tsunami, thank fucking Christ that "Nike has no reports of casualties among its staff or those of its overseas suppliers and no news of major damage to facilities" in Indonesia. Nike expects only a "minimal impact" on its operations, 'cause, you know, if you don't give a shit if you pay your sweatshop workers a living wage, then why would you give a flying fuck if they have to travel to work over the rotting corpses of their friends and relatives. (Rude nod to reader Cynthia for the heads up - she also mentions that Fox "News" has already done a story on Nike interests in the region.)

Oh, and the Phuket Starbucks was damaged.

Yeah, Bush may want us to watch our waistlines, but when it comes to the bottom line? No silly natural disaster of unimaginable proportions and horror can ever get in its way.


Disasters Big and Small:
Maybe if someone informed the President that resorts filled with rich people were involved in the tsunami disaster, he'd be paying more attention. 'Cause, you know, c'mon, this ain't like the Bam earthquake in Iran a year ago, when it was the usual array of screaming vaguely brown people we're used to seeing and shaking our heads at. There were Americans and Europeans involved, and India, proud supplier of talent to outsourcers everywhere, including, as we all know, the Republican Party. Yeah, yeah, Indonesia has its little terrorism problems, but, you know, it also has resorts, filled with Aussies, and they love us, or, you know, their PM does. And, generally, where there's rich people involved, Bush is right out there in front.

But if there's one thing we all know about George Bush, even before Michael Moore made it starkly clear, is that the motherfucker clings to his vacation time like, say, a father holding a child clinged to a palm tree in the Maldives. Sure, sure, we're gonna see him today, when he holds a "teleconference" and makes a "brief appearance" from the ranch, but this is, as all things in this arrogant President's schedule, done grudgingly, only in response to the hue and cry of people who, in this case, wonder why Bush can't take a break from brush clearing and, really, "thinking" to say, in person, "Damn, bitches. This shit sucks for you." When a reporter suggested that "the actual question is whether the people of Asia and those who are suffering from all of this, whether there would be any benefit from seeing and hearing from him directly," Trent Duffy, subbing for Scott McClellan in the spread of lies and misinformation, assured us that the President had "sent letters" of condolence. Howzabout some flowers with that, huh? But we know, from another press gaggle, that Bush is "monitoring" the situation overseas by watching Fox.

Besides, as Duffy added, the President receives a morning briefing, and, in addition, he's "continuing to think about the Inauguration and the State of the Union speech; he's clearing some brush this morning; I think he has some friends coming in either today or tomorrow that he enjoys hosting; he's doing some biking and exercising as he normally does, taking walks with the First Lady; and thinking about what he wants to accomplish in the second term." Now, the Rude Pundit doesn't know about you, but "thinking" seems like a euphemism for "napping." Or "taking a dump." Or "jacking off."

On Monday, the Rude Pundit wondered how long until terrorism was somehow tied to the tsunami. Thanks to a heads up from reader Rosamond, the answer is, well, Monday, when a reporter asked Duffy, "Is there any anti-terrorism component to this? Is the administration concerned about -- that the terrorists might take advantage of the situation?" The proper answer might have been, "Deb, shut the fuck up." Instead, Duffy assured us, "we wouldn't get into any classified types of information, but the American people can rest assured that no matter what happens in the world, that the government will be doing everything it can to protect the American people from terrorism."

God, it's always about us, isn't it? And our insecurities? It's like when you're dating a man who wants you to bandage his stubbed toe when you should be tending to your dying mother.

Meanwhile, the sea keeps vomiting up the dead. The bodies will yield disease. And this long holiday season of suffering goes on.


Even More Tales of the Christ Weary:
When the Rude Pundit started this series, little did he know the nerve he had touched. From across the Christian spectrum, men and women have written in about how fucked up they've been by the righteous who evangelize in the name of false preaching. From molesting priests to families driven mad with Jesus love to the condemning of souls and actions, the endless abuse is, well, fuck, kind of un-Christ-like, you know. The Rude Pundit will deal later to using Jesus against the Bush administration and maybe pick up a vote or two for Dems in the process. But for now, here, once again, on a Rude Pundit travel day to the deep, dark red states, are the stories (with no vouching for truthfulness and with minimal editing):

From KD in New York: My cousin, a self-described New York Humanist Jew, and his wife (Southern, but generally an atheist, raising her kids with more Jewish traditions than Christian) lived in Mobile, Alabama for several years.  Their very young son, Abraham, attempted to play with the girl next door, the daughter of some sort of minister.  The little girl told him she couldn't play because her daddy said that Abe was damned.  In early public elementary school, Abe was repeatedly derided and told by his classmates that he was going to Hell for being a Jew.  My cousin and his wife went in for a meeting with the teacher to discuss this travesty.  The teacher showed up -- knowing what the meeting was about -- in a t-shirt that read, "Jesus Loves All the Children."  When my cousins made very clear what the kids had been saying to their son, the teacher replied, "Well, you wouldn't want them to lie to him, would you?"  I guess Jesus loves all the children, except for the Jews, etc.  Shortly after, they moved to Connecticut.

From Baskar in India: I am from India, and live in New Delhi. Back in 1994, I had just joined college, pursuing a BA History degree. My college was St. Stephens' College, which is still regarded as the Yale of India. It was set up by missionaries in 1884, and they have a big quota for Christian students. I of course got admission on merit, not being a Christian (my folks are Hindu). So what happened was this. I was in my room in the hostel on a Saturday, listening to old Kurt Cobain's Nirvana Unplugged album. This white dude knocks and comes in. He's one of those young missionaries, and he parks his ass and starts sprouting the usual missionary bullshit. Itry hard to look as disinterested as I can, but they're pros, these guys. The most hilarious part is when he checks out my Nirvana tape, and one of the song titles- "Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam"- really gets his goat. "Now this is not true. The Lord DOES want you!" He exclaims. He then dishes into his tote bag and takes out a cassette full of Jesus-y songs, asking me to buy (yeah, buy) it. I tell him I'll take it, but that I got no cash on me. He says that ain't a problem, that I can mail him a cheque later. So what I did, I sold the tape to a classmate who was really into Jesus, and bought a couple of packs of cigarrettes with it. Then I got back to Cobain.

From Tomi: My cousin's wife has above average intelligence and yet will argue that the creation myth is factually true. My sister-in-law has refused to send my nephews to school and has been home "schooling". The eldest one is bright (although he has swallowed all of the silly dogma so far) so he's managed to learn to read and write and has recently entered the public school system at the high school level. The younger two, however, are not so lucky. "Jay" is about 13 now. He was paralyzed in a tragic car accident at the age of four so he can't walk. He can't read or write either, and neither can his younger brother. Both of them also have speech difficulties, which have not been addressed, although they would've been had they been in public school. Their mother fears that the secular school system is evil even though she never personally had any bad experiences there.

When I was in junior high, I befriended a new girl who had moved to Southern California from Texas. My mother's second husband had recently left us to be with another woman. I had two younger brothers and a half-brother who was only about
one or two. This girl told me that if my baby brother died he would go to hell for my mother's "sins."

From JE: My story is set in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a small fundamentalist offshoot of the main Presbyterian Church.  My grandparents were members of a rural Arkansas church, and I was taken to a revival there sometime in the mid 1950's.  The preacher told a story about a little boy accidentally being run over by his mother.  The Lord, he explained, put the little boy under the wheels to "bring the mother back to God."

Keep the stories coming to rudepundit@yahoo.com.

Check the archives for previous posts of the Christ Weary.


A Few Things Briefly But Rudely Noted:
So, like, how long until the Bush administration in some way ties Indonesian terrorists to the tsunamis that devastated that region of the world?

How long before Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson say it's God's revenge, like Noah's flood, washing those motherfuckin' non-Christians out to sea, leaving behind the ones who will be crying to convert to the faith of those who send relief supplies?

How come the rising death tolls look like we're watching the Dow on a good day on Wall Street? By the way, fuck CNN and MSNBC and Fox "News" and every other American media outlet, so fucking entranced by the higher and higher numbers. Watching the scroll and the updates on the three "news" nets, in between the "year in review" oh-boy-we-get-to-show-Janet-Jackson's-pixilated-titty programs and the constant hawking of merchandise available at cut rates in after-Christmas sales from desperate stores hoping to break even with expectations, was something not unakin to watching your Uncle Geoffrey rape a small dog in between giving you presents under the tree. Better stick with the BBC on this one, with its array of eyewitness accounts.

How come it only took a day or two before Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta called for an investigation into this weekend's flying fiasco in order to find out how it could have been avoided but it took nearly a year for the President to agree to an investigation of 9/11?

How do the assholes sitting next to the Rude Pundit at this pretentious fucking coffee house expect to win even a school board election with their condescending attitude towards "red staters"? According to the jerk-off in the Anne Klein jacket, certain non-English films are "red state foreign films," meaning, one assumes, that the films are "easy to comprehend." Oh, then jerk-off does a cutesy imitation of a Southerner, saying, "I saw that foreign film. I are cultured." And, goddamn, his asshole friends are tittering up a storm at his cleverness. The Rude Pundit, most of whose friends and family reside in red states and who has spent a goodly portion of his life in this mythical place devoid of culture, who saw Godard films in packed theatres in fine Southern cities, needs to go. He's gotta grab this motherfucker and drag him into the bathroom and teach him some manners. Deliverance-style.
Briefly But Rudely Noted:
"And it's hard work. I understand how hard it is . . . You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm's way . . . We've done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years." -- Republican President George Bush in the Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004, on various aspects of his job.

"I hate the words 'hard work.' You know something? It is all bogus. Hard work is being in a coal mine or something like that. This is interesting work." -- Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the December 30, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone, in answer to the question "Is [being governor] harder work than you thought?"

More this afternoon.


Xmas - And, lo, a small teddy bear will lead them:
In the days before Christmas, the Rude Pundit roamed his neighborhood, looking at the displays in the charming stores and corner markets. There he saw the agony of so many dichotomous feelings about this holiday. One window had a kneeling, praying Santa next to a baby Jesus in the manger. Santa's hat was off. He was balding. Another display had the jolly old fat man landing his sleigh and reindeer on the roof of the manger. Surprisingly, neither Mary nor Joseph seemed rattled by the noise, although a camel was looking upward, as if asking, "What the fuck?" The Rude Pundit loved that camel.

Ah, sweet camel, what the fuck, indeed. Christ and commerce, Alleluia. The Savior has been born and he thanks you for your presents. Santa showing that he'll even honor the king of the Jews in the land of Islam. There's no telling what it means (and don't get all up in the Rude Pundit's face about St. Nicholas). Except this: we want to embrace both things, good deconstructionists that we are: Santa, who soothes our greed,and Jesus, who promises us peace. Either way, we want them both to tell us we're good people, nice people. And, of course, guilt-ridden Christians want to make sure that Santa toes the party line, you know.

For the holiday, here's a few of the Rude Pundit's favorite Nativity sets:
The Polar Bear Nativity (the manger reads, "Alaska")
The Teddy Bear Nativity (because baby Jesus isn't cute enough as a human)
The Mice Nativity
The Native American Nativity (complete with teepee instead of manger and a Mohawk king, 'cause, you know, the Indians benefited so much from the birth of Christ)
This is not to mention the Cativity, the Dogtivity, the Chickentivity, the Safaritivity, and the Forestivity, all available unironically for your Christmas consumption.

Back Monday with commentary on torture of another kind. And Tuesday, with more tales of the Christ weary.


Donald Rumsfeld Needs a Hug:
Donald Rumsfeld is a sad, sad man. How do we know? He said so yesterday at a Pentagon briefing, next to Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Richard Myers, in an attempt to get Santa to move him from the Naughty list to the Nice one: "I am truly saddened by the thought that anyone could have the impression that I or others here are doing anything other than working urgently to see that the lives of the fighting men and women are protected and are cared for in every way humanly possible." Poor Donald Rumsfeld. Having to bear the burden of the big ol' war on his arthritic shoulders. How could we? Are we not ashamed as Americans to want to beat up this old man?

Look at the picture of him. It doesn't look like he's eating right. His clothes fit him awkwardly. Look through the spectacles and see the recessing eyes of a man who deeply feels the pain of loss. Oh, sure, sure, one might criticize Rumsfeld for having used a machine to sign letters telling families that little Jesse and Janey ain't comin' home for Christmas, but when you are as sensitive a man as Rumsfeld, how could you handle that? Tears smear ink, you know. But Rumsfeld will sign them now, yes, yes, he will, because those thinning arms must support our demands, our whims, of a Secretary of Defense able to chill his heart so he can sign away life after life after life.

Rumsfeld doesn't know when it will end, he says. Not even after the much vaunted elections. He said, "I think looking for a peaceful Iraq after the elections would be a mistake." Oh, but Rumsfeld will be there, we know. He'll be there after the next Mosul. How it must hurt Rumsfeld to know that a suicide bomber can get inside so very easily. Or maybe he just sighs, sad in his terrible knowledge of what is inevitable. Poor, poor Rumsfeld. He needs a hug.

Maybe he can get one from Dick Myers, standing so loyally next to him, all pretty in his military uniform, bringing it all home by making the following bizarro statement: "This attack, of course, is the responsibility of insurgents, the same insurgents who attacked on 9/11." You may think that Myers is saying that poor Sunnis, afraid of Americans and the Shi'a, coordinated and committed the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. You may think that Myers is saying that the Saudi terrorists were actually Americans who were rising up against their very own government. But then you would think that you understand Dick, and really, can anyone make sense of what Myers said? Perhaps he's not the best candidate to give Rumsfeld a hug.

Maybe he can get one over at Walter Reed hospital, from an armless soldier, driven mad by his memories of a war about which he has to wonder, endlessly, why he fought, why he was there, why he had to leave those hugging arms behind.

Chances are Rumsfeld will have to go home and turn on video of the first month of war, a fire in the hearth, a cognac on the side table, embracing himself, trying to keep warm in the cold, lonely end of year darkness, hugging his body so hard, the sad man who so badly wanted the war.

Thomas Pynchon's epic, absurdist, great big "fuck you" of a novel, Gravity's Rainbow ends with a startling image: we, all of us, the readers of the very book we are holding, are seated in a movie theatre and we're waiting as a rocket, with a young man bound inside, is flying towards our cinema to destroy us all. The book concludes before that rocket completes its journey, but we know that the rocket will fall. It is the nature of gravity.

It's the way the Rude Pundit's been feeling lately, like we're all in this giant movie cineplex, and we're watching some shitty film, and the thing is, we know - hell, we knew from the previews, how the movie's gonna end. And we just keep checkin' our watches, wondering if we could please stop wasting our time and get to the ending already. But above our heads a rocket is at the peak of its arc. It must return to earth. What rises must, indeed, fall.


Putting the "Oh, You Gotta Be Fuckin' Kidding Me" Back In Christmas:
Let us imagine, and why not, that over in Iraq, some of the members of the "legislature" and some of their intellectuals declared that Iraq is a Shi'a country, and if the Kurds and Sunnis don't like it, they can go fuck themselves. The Shi'a religious hierarchy can't understand the bizarro lack of intercessionary figures between the Sunni and God. Don't we all get this shit from the same Koran? In fact, all public displays will include big, huge representations of Shi'a emblems of Ramadan and other holy days. Right there: a big fuckin' Ali, the First Caliph. Sure, sure, we can throw in the token Kurdish and Sunni symbolism, maybe some little tiny reps of the other three Caliphs or of Imam Shaf'i, but motherfuckers better understand: it's a Shi'a country. Get used to it or tell it to the Turks.

Would we living in the big mess tent of America be more than a little worried about the implications of such statements? Even if it wasn't the policy of the Allawi "administration," wouldn't we think, "Oh, this is going to go badly," the slippery slope to Shi'a based laws, the inclusion of Shi'a references in governmental declarations, even a demonizing of those who think you should keep your religious beliefs out of the public space. Maybe then, oh, sweet Iraqi Freedom, an ethnic cleansing of those motherfuckin' Kurds, finally, at last, especially the totally screwed-up ones all into the Sufiism. What the fuck's up with that?

This whole bullshit uproar about "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" and oh-my-fucking-God-they're-not-lettin'-the-public-schoolchildren-dress-up-like-baby-Jesus is a worthless subject for discussion. No one's banning Christmas, the fake date of the storybook character Jesus's birth (chances are the little dude was born in spring or summer - depends on who you ask). If African-Americans want to create a holiday called "Kwanzaa," who the fuck cares? No one's walkin' into your house and takin' down your Christmas tree with the crucified Jesus nailed to the top and putting up a multicolored fruit basket. No one's tellin' you to say "Happy Holidays" to your family. It's just that when, say, a business that deals with people who are, well, shit, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, Zoroastrian, or whatever says, "Happy Holidays," it's saying, "I awkwardly shoehorn this phrase into a greeting because I respect diversity."

But a couple of things ought to be noted here. One is the whole thing smacks of a strange guilt complex from the people who can't afford the usual orgy of presents. Sales are down this year, and one can imagine parents at the local Wal-Mart thinking, as they put back the Tickle-My-Balls-Elmo doll on the shelf, "You know, Christmas isn't about the presents. It's about the birth of Jesus. And, hey, didn't the ACLU just take down the nativity scene outside our kid's school?" Get it? When you can't buy your way out of your misery, you gotta take it out on something.

Bill O'Reilly (who ought to be sodomized with a candy cane) is on to something when he belches forth, "This Christmas battle really stunned the secular forces," but it's not for the reasons he's thinking. It's not because we "secular forces" are taken aback at the ferocity of the defense of Christmas. If you tell a chimp not to throw its feces at you, the chimp is still gonna toss that shit. It's what chimps do. No, the "you gotta be fuckin' kidding me" response from the Left has more to do with the fact that, once again, the right has taken something insignificant, blown it up to something huge, and used it as a distraction from the shit that really matters. Social security "privatization"? Too complicated. Muslims and Jews who don't like Christmas? That's a Crusade we can have an Inquisition about. That speaks to the deep seated xenophobia of so many people, so flamed into rage by the right (like O'Reilly, who now has appointed himself the spokesman for the actions of Jesus when he proclaims that, because of the "attacks" on his birthday, "Somewhere Jesus is weeping." The Rude Pundit gets the feeling that if Jesus is weeping, it's probably watching the cars getting loaded with boxes at the valet parking at a Nordstrom's somewhere).

Tell you what: howzabout a deal with the goodly, godly Christians who can't celebrate without a public display of their dogma? A trade: you keep your Jesus out of the schools and the legislatures, and you can erect the biggest goddamn nativity on the lawn in front of City Hall, every city hall. Complete with fuckin' camels, man, big fuckin' camels dumpin' great huge piles of camel shit on the filthy wool of the bedraggled sheep. You can nail a baby to a cross and display it in some gigantic manger, get a token black person to be one of the kings to acknowledge where all this shit actually went down. You can have that motherfucker up for the entire month, with "Mary" and "Joseph" forced to stay out there, live with the fuckin' donkeys, man. Yeah, you keep your Jesus away from the kids and away from the Congress, and you can show everyone how big your fuckin' savior is.

(Information on Islamic sects from Global Security.)


Man Date - A Poem by George W. Bush:
(All taken from Bush's own words at his press conference yesterday.)

1. Dear Vladimir
I'm optimistic about achieving results, Vladimir.
I will submit and maintain strict discipline, Vladimir.
I intend to keep it that way.
We will provide every tool
We have tools at our disposal, a variety of tools.
We have joint efforts.
Let us keep our commitment a sustained effort.
Because we acted, I will give you a decisive blow in Slovenia.
If we disagree with decisions, we can do so
In a friendly and positive way, Vladimir.
Vladimir, we have got a good personal relationship.
We are two people who've grown to appreciate
Each other and respect each other.
It's a lot less painful to act now
Than if we wait. Otherwise, it will
Make everybody else jealous,
And I don't want that to happen.

2. Negotiating With Myself
Polls go up. Polls go down.
You want to get me to negotiate with myself in public
Polls go up. Polls go down.
I will negotiate at the appropriate time.
Polls go up. Polls go down.
They will want me to start playing my hand.
Polls go up. Polls go down.
I'm not going to negotiate with myself.
I'm not going to negotiate with myself.
Polls go up. Polls go down.
I will try to explain how without negotiating with myself.
Polls go up. Polls go down.
I issued.

3. Regarding Rumsfeld
I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart.
I've seen his eyes when we talk about the dangers, the youngsters.
He's a caring fellow.
Beneath that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is
A good human being who cares deeply.
When I asked the Secretary,
I was very pleased when he said, "Yes."
He understands the nature of the forces
And where forces are when the heat gets on.

I said to him, "I will continue to push,
You're painfully aware. You had to suffer.
I'm passionate on it. But we have sent messages.
We've sanctioned ourselves.
People are coming. Yet we will continue to
Work the issue hard." His is a vital issue.
He took that on and absorbed it in the spirit
In which it was offered,
The spirit of two people who've grown to
Appreciate each other and respect each other.
But we have to make it easier to enforce our borders.

4. Postscript
I was trying to be really brilliant.
But I'm under no illusions.
I'm not doing a very good job.


A Very Nixon Christmas:
(William Safire and Maureen Dowd indulged fantasy scenarios in their most recent columns. Why not join them?)
Safire is in the kitchen, late, late at night, having put to bed his latest editorial, one of his last for the Times. In this one, Safire, using Philip Roth's latest novel as a jumping off point, envisioned the scenario of a fantasy George W. Bush having opinions of his own, able to stand up to the neocons, and refusing to go to war in Iraq. This single act, of course, leads to Saddam Hussein's ascent to unparalleled power in the Middle East, with a complicit UN behind him. Oh, ho, ho, we dodged that bullet, Safire thinks, searching for the last of the Hannukah brisket in the back of the fridge. When he closes the fridge door, he notices that the room is still cold. He turns to the counter and jumps, for a moment, as he sees the ghost of his old boss, Richard Nixon. "How ya doin', ya short-cocked kike?" Nixon asks.

"Hi, Dick," Safire says. He's old. He's seen many, many ghosts in his time. And Nixon's been a regular visitor of late.

"Goddamn, that was a fine, fine fucking editorial you wrote today," Nixon says, proud that his former speechwriter has succeeded where so many from his administration failed.

Safire says, "Actually, it's technically a column. An editorial is generally done by an editor. I'm a columnist."

Nixon rolls his eyes, "Look, Bill, if you correct my fuckin' language one more cocksuckin' time, I'll feed your balls to Satan's bichon frise."

"Satan has a bichon frise? I'd've thought pit bulls or something."

"Everyone in Hell has a bichon frise. Little fuckers shit and shed, it's all they goddamn do."

"Brisket?" Safire offers.

"Got any bacon?" Nixon cracks himself up. Safire shakes his head. He's used to the charm of Nixon's Jew-hating humor. He knows that Nixon's heart is good, despite the judgment of eternity. Nixon continues, "Holy fuckin' crap, what an amazing column today. That kind of disinformation I couldn't buy in my time. Least I couldn't get away with it. Fuckin' Cronkite, fuckin' Murrow, fuckin' Huntley, fuckin' Brinkley, fuckin' Woodward--"

"What are you talking about?" Safire interrupts, slicing the brisket and eating it with his fingers. "I don't contaminate the columns with disinformation."

"Ah, you Hebe bastard, you were always thinkin' you were pure. It's why we tapped your phone. C'mon, the lines about Iraq 'harboring' terrorists? Sure, the fuckin' Kurds were always linked up with al-Qaeda, but, remember, America loved 'em because Saddam gave 'em the gas. So, sure, sure, terrorists were within the borders of Iraq, but nowhere near Saddam. They were cavortin' under our protection. And ending with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz as heroes? Fuckin' genius. Oh, and that line about Condoleeza Rice, that sweet brown pussy, nice and thin, like Pat after the cancer operations, sayin' that 'Saddam seeks awful weapons'? Holy shit, that's some fine revisionism. You know Rice said that there were real and actual weapons, not a desire to seek or some such bullshit. It'd be like sayin' that Joe McCarthy was worried about Communism as an ideology, not actual Communists."

Safire winces. "Really, 'Communism' in the form you're referring to is not an 'ideology,' but, rather, an economic and political system that--"

"Oh, that's it, Bill," Nixon growls. "Every goddamn time I visit you, you Jew bastard, you gotta trot out the Strunk and White. That's it. I'm gonna fuck you now." And the ghost of Richard Nixon slams William Safire down on Safire's kitchen counter, Safire wide-eyed, brisket slice dangling out of his mouth, as Nixon goes to town, his cold cock thrusting away as Safire, at first shocked, eases into it, remembering the good old days back in the Oval Office, with an uncomfortable Kissinger looking on whenever Nixon went into one of his sodomizing rages, telling Henry that this is how he wanted to enter Cambodia before tearing down Pat Buchanan's pants. Or Safire's (Safire was usually Laos).

His stomach bouncing on the counter as Nixon grunts behind him, Safire thinks about his recent work in the Times, and this current administration, filled with men who rose to prominence on the coattails of the Nixonian will to power that he, Safire, helped usher in. And as Nixon grabs his ghost balls and screams in orgasm, Safire thinks, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Gettin' a Lugaring:
Contemplate the statement by Richard Lugar (remember - some consider him one of the rational, "moderate" Republicans) on yesterday's Meet the Press regarding whether or not Donald Rumsfeld should be fired: "He should be held accountable, and he should stay in office." By that fucked-up logic, no one should ever be fired for anything as long as they're "held accountable." Molesting priests should lead the flock. A postal worker who shoots his fellow employees should still deliver the mail. A goddamn Wendy's employee who burns down the restaurant by accident because she thought she knew how to work the fuckin' fryer should be simply reassigned to the drink machine at the next Wendy's. See? As long as there's some bandage of "accountability," there's nothin' to worry about. Didn't we used to call losing one's job "accountability"?

Ahh, but that's just the corporate culture taking over fully in DC. See, as long as no one's caught doing anything illegal (and the key word there is "caught") then you just keep promoting the incompetent. To fire makes the CEO or area supervisor or whoever seem weak. Like, if Dan in accounting fucked up the projected sales figures but you, as VP of sales, signed off on Dan's fuck-up, you can't reveal Dan's error because it implicates you. But to promote? Why, then you're rewarding the incompetent for something good, right? 'Cause, like, why would you promote someone who is an utter boob? And thus Dan gets the corner office and a fun new title. So, really, and, c'mon, unless Rumsfeld is caught balls deep in the face of a limbless Iraqi child in a Baghdad hospital while Marines block the doctors and nurses from pulling Rumsfeld away before he chokes the child to death, we're going to hear over and over from the White House about how "spectacular" a job Rumsfeld is doing.

Of course, the White House rewarding of incompetence that comes to mind most readily is the whole Soviet-style awarding of the Medal of Freedom to George Tenet, Paul Bremer, and Tommy Franks, the See No, Hear No, and Speak No Evil of the Iraq War. Oh, sure, lots of Left Blogsylvania and even some "mainstream" media members were pissed about the obvious bullshit nature of the use of "the nation's highest civilian award" in such a blatant assertion of the goodness and rightness of the Bush policies in Iraq. But, c'mon, Bush has previously "honored" Irving Kristol the same year as Nelson fuckin' Mandela. He's given it to Charlton Heston, Arnold Palmer, and neocon Norman Podhoretz. Sure, sure, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to popes and peacemakers and great doctors and artists, but Bush has made sure it's just another circle jerk in the name of shoring up the base.


Further Tales of the Christ Weary:
It just seems appropriate that as we edge closer and closer to the false date of the birth of Jesus that we spend more time with the weary among us. And, Lord, sweet, sweet Lord, how the people are sick of having whacked-out interpretations of the Christ myth shoved down their throats and up their asses. A few weeks ago the Rude Pundit asked you to send your own tales of the creedal and the damage done, and you have continued to respond, crying out (or sighing out) in agony to evangelicals, "We get it, we get it - you love you some Jesus - now step the fuck back." Of course, they won't. While next week the Rude Pundit will deal with the whole victimization of Christmas nonsense, it's worth mentioning that in Oklahoma, the citizens of one country voted down a bond issue that would have built a new elementary school because the goodly, godly people were pissed that the Superintendent of schools took a nativity scene out of a grade school Christmas pageant. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord at the ballot box, even if it fucketh things up for the children. Here's more of your stories, sea to shining sea (and, as ever, there's some minor editing and no vouching for the truth of the letters):

From Paul in Washington: I grew up in a Jewish household in New Jersey. At the age of 10, my parents split and my mother had to get a live-in babysitter named Sandy G. to watch us, a rather nasty bitch who claimed to be a born again Christian. One day after Hebrew school, I mentioned to Sandy that we had learned about Hitler, the Holocaust and the Nazis, and she went ape shit. She started screaming at me that the Nazis were not that bad, that she was German and that the Jews killed hundreds of Christians. It was such an incredible statement that it took me a few moments to realize that she was dead serious. Shook the hell out of me, I was only 12 years old and came across my first real case of anti-Semitism from a fanatic who regularly attend church every Sunday and professed to be a born again Christian.

From Sean: I was hitchhiking across the state of Alaska in March a number of years ago trying to get back to Oregon from the Kenai peninsula. It was about 20 below zero and I was on the side of a dirt highway in the absolute middle of nowhere late one night. I had been dropped off there by a guy in a pickup truck who was turning off the highway at some fork or other. I started to get really cold and started to wonder how long it would take me to die out there. There was some light a mile or so off, so I started to walk towards it. Turned out it was a gas station and it was still open. I made it there and the guy said that I could sleep in the garage of the station till the following morning under an oil smeared ruck sack, but only IF I would accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

From Loretta: Born and raised Southern Baptist. True story. Dad was a lifer in the Navy, so we moved every year or two while I was growing up. Spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At church with my grandmother one Sunday when I was 8 (I was 8, remember? And completely bought this bullshit at the time), the preacher began to speak about the recent "passing" of one congregant's husband. According to the preacher, and everyone in the congregation, "John" was one of the most stand-up guys to ever live. Salt-of-the-earth. The preacher talked for 15 minutes, extolling the virtues of John, give you the shirt off his back, first to help out someone in trouble, etc. The kicker? He was doomed to spend eternity in hell because he wasn't "saved." His wife, HIS WIFE, and the entire congregation just sat there nodding along, like this was obvious. I was only 8 and I knew there was something fucked about this line of belief.

From an anonymous red stater: I grew up in an Italian, Catholic family. My great-grandparents were immigrants from Sicily. My family is pretty much made up of Louisiana,uneducated, white-trash. Because the Southern Baptist religion is so prevalent there, when many of my relatives grew up, they switched to that church. I must admit that they weren't so obnoxious as Catholics. It's the switch to Southern Baptist that has changed them, made them cruel, even. For example, one of my young cousins was raped, and two other relatives said she deserved it because she dressed like a whore, and that's an affront to God. "Nigger" and "Faggot" are common epithets heard at family gatherings. . .

Because we were Catholic, my parents had more children than they could afford, but still sent us to Catholic school, and struggled to pay the outrageous tuition. We went without many essentials, just so they could pay for that damn school. Of course at Catholic school we had the predatory, molesting priest to deal with. He liked boys, so I was "safe," except when it came to the corporal punishment. I swear to god, some of those nuns got off on paddling. And the verbal abuse was as bad as the physical.

The priest who molested young boys was finally sent away when parents began complaining, but the Church allowed him to return to give the baccalaureate address for the graduating seniors. I don't know why. I was mortified to see him, to learn that he was still able to even BE a priest. I thought of the children I'd known that he'd harmed. I wonder how they're doing now . . .

I attended Catholic school until the 10th grade, and finally convinced my parents to let me go to public school. When the principal learned of this, she called me into the office and told me many horror stories about the drugs, violence, and sexual
harrassment that take place in public schools. I thought of unwed mothers forced to leave St. Vincent's. Of the child-molesting Priests. Of the alcohol poisoning of the Priest at Christ the King. Of the bruising of my backside at Sacred Heart. But I couldn't laugh because of the seething hatred.

From Merl: Upon the death of my 10 year old brother, a Baptist preacher told me I needed to get saved right away so I wouldn't join him in hell. He was not born again. Fuck, he was 10 years old. Barely born for the first time.

From Frank: My brother, sister and I were introduced to born-again Christianity in our youth. My brother embraced more than just faith in Christ, however, and structured his entire life (and later, that of his family) to suit the evangelical Christian worldview. From birth his three sons, my nephews, were indocrinated in many of the more absurd (though purportedly harmless) aspects of that worldview: the boys were largely home-schooled, taught that evolution was baloney, prohibited from watching The Wizard of Oz or Fantasia (witchcraft, see?). Tragicomically, while spending time with my sister on vacation, the boys asked her to remove a box of Count Chocula cereal from the home to protect them from demons.

Where did it all lead? This year, thirty-five years down the road from its roots in Bible studies and prayer meetings and seemingly innocuous Young Life sing-a-longs, their twisted, repressed, demented and hypocritical "faith" has left my brother and his family shattered:

The eldest boy is avoiding his family and living "in sin" with his girlfriend. (My sister in-law, still brain-deep in cult denial, refuses to believe he's sexually active.) His story is a relief, because...

His youngest brother is in jail in Virginia, awaiting trial for armed robbery. It turns out he's been dealing drugs from their home since the age of 10. His circumstance would strain most families; but the real tradgedy is the price paid by the middle child, my favorite nephew, one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have known. He's dead.

A brilliant thinker, but depressed and completely socially withdrawn, torn by the failure of his parent's marriage grown bitter, unable to reconcile the parent-sponsored dogma that without God life is meaningless from his growing certainty that he'd been lied to, that there WAS no such god, and unable to live with the contradiction, obliterated himself this earlier this year.

He ran--literally, on foot, ran--headlong into a freight train. He was weary of the life his parents had given him.

I am not weary of Christ. I am weary of so-called Christianity. It is insanity.

Send your stories: rudepundit@yahoo.com.


Bernard Kerik Is a Fuckwad:
Goddamn, that must've been some hot fucking: Bernard Kerik, Police Commissioner of New York City, and Judith Regan, whore of bookdom, balling like crazed weasels in that $6000 a month condo in lower Manahttan, the fin-de-siecle glow of the still burning rubble of the twin towers turning one of the bedrooms a tawdry red. Aw, shit, how goddamn sizzling it must've been, with the odor of burnt corpses and free-floating asbestos in the air, nothing compared to the musk of Kerik's balls tea-bagged in Regan's mouth, Kerik's bare ass pressed against the window that faced the Pit where his officers scoured the ruins for body parts they could send off in a baggie so some family could have something to bury. Maybe Kerik came, ejaculating all over Regan's tits, just as some cop or firefighter picked up a tooth. And the best part? That the married Kerik was also cheating on his mistress, a corrections officer. Man, you can't make that shit up.

Bernard Kerik is a motherfucking thug, a lump of steaming shit who got where he is from tough guy looks, a G. Gordon Liddy moustache, and an oath of fealty to that other wad of fuck, Rudy Giuliani (who hopefully has been forever tarnished). And it's all, all falling out now. All the dirty connections, the acceptance of unreported cash "gifts" (didn't we used to call that a "bribe," "extortion," or at least "graft"?), and more, so much more, going back to his time "cleaning up" Riker's Island. Let's not forget about the ties to Taser, so enriched by selling to the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. And Kerik claimed a "nanny" problem? Man, that's like a syphilitic hooker with crabs and genital warts telling you she can't fuck you because she has a cracked fingernail.

Back in October 2003, when Kerik was just back from his time in Iraq (time which may have just been an excuse to stay away while his house was being renovated - really), Bush couldn't praise Kerik enough: apparently, in just three months, "Because of his leadership, his knowledge and his experience, he was able to stand up a police force in Baghdad in a very quick period of time. I think he told me opened up 37 different precinct stations -- 35 different precinct stations. They activated and trained 35,000 Iraqi police force." And look at the difference it's made in the last year in Iraq. When Kerik spoke, oh, how pissy he was with the media and the sayers of nay: "Well, try to stand up 35 police stations in New York City. It would take you about 11 years, depending on who is in the city council. It takes a while. You only have 24 hours in a day. But they have made tremendous progress." He shook his finger at those who thought David Kay's report on the lack of WMDs was significant: "There was one weapon of mass destruction -- he's no longer in power." And then, the money quote, bringin' it on home to 9/11: "I understand, probably more than anyone, what a threat Iraq was and the people that threatened Iraq was. I was beneath the towers on September 11th when they fell. And I -- again, I just -- I want to thank the President for the honor in allowing me to go there, because I lost 23 people. I wear this -- this memorial band for the 23 I lost."

It must have been so devastating for Kerik to take off that memorial band when he was stripping off his clothes so he could fuck Regan or Jeanette Pinero in that apartment that was originally donated so that rescuers might have a resting place while digging up bodies. How carefully he must have placed that band on the bedside table before he shoved his penis in his book editor's ass. When Kerik said, as he did when he was nominated to head the DHS, "There isn't a day that has passed since the morning of September 11th that I haven't thought of the sacrifices of those heroes and the losses we all suffered," do you think that thinking was done on the way to the apartment to fuck one of his former employees? The rescue effort was a noisy one. One can imagine that the music in the apartment was turned up loud so Kerik and Pinero wouldn't be interrupted by the sounds of the cranes and bulldozers. Maybe they didn't even change the sheets. Maybe it was even more exciting to fuck on the same sheets that stunk of the sweat of those working in the fallen buildings, some of them Kerik's own men, sifting for bits and pieces of their dead comrades for whom Kerik so grimly wore that band.

Somewhere, Andy Sipowicz is sneering in disgust.

And what of our President, mighty leader that he is. How he just wanted some of that tough guy glow, his own fuckin' J. Edgar Hoover, a man unafraid of using homicide detectives to search for his mistress's missing cell phone. How the White House just wanted to continue to bask in that 9/11 glow, like the pumping asses of Kerik and Regan in that apartment. Oh, my, some pundits say, how could the White House vetting process have missed anything that a solid Lexis-Nexis search would have picked up. But that misses the point.

It's not that Bush's vetting failed or that Alberto Gonzales is an incompetent piece of shit. The point here is that they just didn't care. The Bush administration thought it could do whatever it wanted in the wake of the election and that nobody would fucking care. And the other point is that it doesn't matter. Bush could have a cabinet made up of deaf-mute quadriplegics who shit themselves on a regular basis, and they'd be as effective as whoever Bush appoints. But the Kerik nomination, among so many other things, lays bare the arrogance and contempt the Bush administration feels for the American public. We just happened to catch this one. How many others get by us?


The Dead Zone:
Let's follow the bouncing ball of logic here: George W. Bush was Governor of Texas from 1995-2000. While he was Governor, 152 people were executed in his prisons. This week, the Death Penalty Information Center put out a press release about the continuing decline in the national rate of executions since 2001. In 1999, when he announced he was running for President, Bush had Texas execute 35 prisoners. In 2000, while in full campaign mode, Bush allowed 40 executions. So, with simple math, we can conclude that nearly half of his executions occurred while he was running for President. In 2001, with Bush safely esconced in the White House, Texas only executed 17 prisoners. It bounced back up to 33 in 2002, when Governor Rick Perry was up for re-election, but it has since dropped into the low 20s.

Conclusions? That Texas prisoners are safer because Bush left Texas? That they're fucked in election years? Either way, since Bush is no longer governor, executions have been on a downward slide. Come up with your own conclusion. (Man, it's a good thing Jesus wants so many people lethally injected, because otherwise we might think that clemency is a form of Christian charity.)
Late Posting Today:
Come back this afternoon, like around 1 p.m., for "On Daisy Chains and Economic Conferences."


Wise Sages, All (With a Side Note On Why Ann Coulter Remains a Cunt):
Of course, after National Guardsman Thomas Wilson (of Knoxville, TN) queried Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the need for the proper armor for vehicles, the right wing media was stumbling all over itself to spin the story in favor of the Bush administration. Even before Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts was revealed to have "worked with" Wilson on the question, the bumblefuck apologists that masquerade as pundits were making excuses and frothing forth spittily on the subject.

Over on Fox "News," the December 9 "All Star Panel" took a break from the massive Fox effort of trying to convince us that the U.N. Oil-For-Food "scandal" is soooo fuckin' important to weigh in on Wilson's Rumsfelding. Fred Barnes, a man who must have stock in Chapstick for all the blow jobs he gives to conservative politicians, opined that the problem isn't as bad as all that - the real problem is that National Guard members and Reservists are whiny pussies: "It was surprising, at least to me, that these guys would have spoken out, as they did so critically at a public event where the secretary of Defense was. But they were National Guardsmen and Reservists. And a lot of them are unhappy with extended duty there . . .When I was in Iraq, the one thing among other things that I did there was talk to a lot of actual regular Army soldiers in the field in Iraq. And I was amazed. They were not the types -- they knew what the mission was, they were there to complete the mission that's why they joined the Army. And they were not the types complaining about armor or anything else." Barnes then scoffed at the notion that Donald Rumsfeld's misconceptions about the military were not at fault: "To blame this problem on the reorganization or the re-invention of the military that Don Rumsfeld wants, I think is not correct." Then Barnes took out a nearly empty tube of Chapstick to get his lips nice and lubricated to head over to the Pentagon. (Meanwhile, the frighteningly over-made-up visage of Charles Krauthammer claimed that Rumsfeld's remark about being blown up in a tank was "sort of a light-hearted answer." Oh, my, how the delighted titters of soldiers must have floated throughout the hall. And Mort Kondracke blamed Bill Clinton for the "production" problems. Really. He blamed Clinton.)

Over on CNN, Bob "The Toady" Novak also chimed in that this was a problem with bitch-ass hick Reserve members: "Reservists are not happy. The Tennessee reservists, they're not happy being there. I don't think you'd get that kind of a reaction from the regulars." This myth, that the bad-ass regular army motherfuckers wouldn't punk out like this, is belied by the fact that, back in September, a Washington army squad was bitching about the hillbilly armor. Novak is a worm of a man, a craven, desperate-to-be-loved, power mad stenographer who uses information like a caveman uses a club.

A couple of days later, when it came out that Pitts had helped Wilson articulate the question, there wasn't enough blame to go around. But, in that cute "gay people are my neighbors" way of conservatives, even while criticizing the asking of the question, they all admitted that the question was legit as a way to cover their asses. While calling the question legit but "creepy," Ann Coulter, a woman for whom the word "creepy" was invented, used the occasion to hand job Sean Hannity while clawing the haunted face of Alan Colmes, saying, "I would say I find it a little silly disputing whether or not the troops have enough armor from the people who were just supporting the guy who didn't was for more military spending." You see where this is going? Now, because on one vote, John Kerry disagreed with the way that the President was recklessly spending America into oblivion and thus voted against the bill the President wanted, if you voted for John Kerry, you have no business being outraged about the lack of protection for the troops. Sean Hannity jumped on this point, eating out Coulter's sphincter (watching to make sure her ass bones don't poke his eyes out) and bitch slapping Fox "Analyst" Kristen Johnson, saying, "You have no moral authority, anybody on your side, at all, to raise this issue about -- more specifically, because you guys just voted for a guy who voted against every major weapons system that now comprises our current military."

Is there any goddamned self-awareness on the right? Let's get this straight: you vote for John Kerry, who, despite Hannity's lies, voted for every major weapons system that now comprises our current military, and you have no "moral authority" to "lecture" about "what we ought to be giving the military." But if you voted for Bush, who lied about and was blatantly wrong about the reasons for the war, the reasons the soldiers have to even worry about their armor and equipment, and you have all the moral authority in the world? Does voting for the guy who opposed the 9/11 commission mean you lack the moral authority to talk about the commission's recommendations? Does voting for the guy who didn't want a Department of Homeland Security mean you have no moral authority to talk about the failed appointment of a petty thug to head that department? Hannity and Coulter, both horrid jizzbags for the Bush administration, are like people we used to lock in rubber rooms, screaming at phantoms, blaming everything they can fantasize for their ills except themselves.

Around and around the story spins, like a carousel where you can ride the tiger or the pony. Coulter and Novak both talked about how soldiers always complain, in all wars (which, in Novak's case, actually contradicts his own statement that this was merely a malcontent Reservist). The "blame the production" spin was blown out of the water pretty quickly when the company that makes the armor said it could easily speed up production, if it had been fucking asked to by the Pentagon. We all, all, all know who is to blame. And it ain't Clinton and it ain't Kerry or his voters. Sure, it's Rumsfeld - his head should have been on a pike outside the White House a couple of years ago. The problem, of course, is that there's no way to hold anyone accountable anymore. And if your "experts," all, all good sage bitches, are merely quiescent vessels and apologists, then we are, as you know, fucked.

But not as fucked as the soldiers. Not as fucked as the Guard and Reserve members.


A Semi Without a Driver:
Does anyone in the fuckin' press corps have access to Google? 'Cause, within, like, two minutes of searching, here's two stories from a couple of months before National Guardsman Thomas Wilson asked Donald Rumsfeld about the need for armor on the vehicles the soldiers were about to drive into Iraq: From Stephanie Heinatz, an embedded reporter at the Hampton Roads, Virginia Daily Press comes this September 26 story about the Army's 7th Transportation Group from Fort Eustis. They're based in Kuwait, but they do the ultra-dangerous equipment transportation runs into Iraq. Heinatz describes various ways in which the troops try to reinforce their "thin-skinned" vehicles, like putting sandbags on the floors to absorb explosions and welding thicker metal onto the doors. "The Army calls it 'locally made, bolt-on armor.' Soldiers call it 'hillbilly' armor," Heinatz writes. "'The Army's not doing their job to protect their kids if they are finding things to armor themselves,' said Col. Donald Olson, site manager for the Humvee armoring shop."

The other story is from October 21, in the Seattle Times. Hal Bernton writes about a Washington National Guard transportation unit and the soldiers' concern about lack of armor and their reliance on hillbilly armor. The article says that fully armoring all the Humvees will take "until at least March," which, if one uses other predictions about Iraq as a measure, means something like April 2010. The rest of the article is the typical pathetic bullshit, with quotes from "angry" but "flustered" politicians, a mother whose son was killed in an unarmored vehicle, and more.

When Rumsfeld responded with his glib remarks about "physics" and how that soldier could die even if he was in an armored vehicle, the Secretary of Defense may as well have said, "You fucking little hick-ass pussy, lemme tell you something: the only reason you have a tooth in your mouth is because of the Guard, you backwards ass bitch. So don't you yokel-slur out some kind of accusatory question at me. And, hey, diggin' through trash heaps, isn't that what you inbred motherfuckers do out in rural Georgia? Shit, you oughta be proud that Uncle goddamn Sam thinks your cracker dick is worthy of gettin' blown off. Otherwise, you'd be squatting in a ditch back home, picking chiggers out of your armpit hair. You question me? You listen, you insignificant zit, you IED fodder, you piece of shit, you'll only get a proper burial if you fuckin' get to die for your great nation - otherwise, it's the creek for you. Now, General, get up here and tell these soldiers that everything is just fuckin' fine while I ream your ass. Drop them pretty khaki drawers and bend over."

And the national press, who we'll deal with tomorrow, originally acted like it had just discovered the lack-of-armor story, when, in reality, it had been a minor detail in many, many stories about the debacle of Iraq, that semi without a driver, careening towards the precipice. And, as the two Googled stories show, the whole hillbilly armor fuck-up was known before the election. But apparently, it wasn't worthy of discussion when Dan Rather was busy believing forged memos.

But, now, oh, sweet mercies, it seems that a reporter fed the armor question to Wilson. And there, tomorrow, we shall pick up our sad tale with how fuckin' giddy Fox News, among others, was.

Update: Readers John and Matt remind us that 60 Minutes did a report on the hillbilly armor problem as part of a larger piece on a lack of material support for troops in the war zone. Of course, this was broadcast on October 31, two days before the election and post-Rather/memo kerfuffle, so, really, no one paid attention. And why bother unless it comes up at a soldiers' Q&A with the Secretary of Defense?


More Tales of the Christ Weary:
The Rude Pundit asked for you to send in your stories of harassment, victimization, and general annoyance at the hands of Christian fundamentalists, and, apparently, far, far too many of you have been fucked with by the righteous. From schools to homes to night clubs, from sea to shining sea, the mad rantings of the evangelicals have pushed us to this: we're tired of it, motherfuckers, oh, so weary. Ah, the evangelical will say, though, his/her eyes spinnin' like roulette wheels, when you're weary, that's when you can let Christ in and be born again. Here's just a sampling of tales of those who remain once-born (again, with minor editing and no vouching for the truth of the stories):

From TJ, one of the most stunning stories: My mom was "born-again" when I was about 5 or 6. From then until I managed to escape, my life was a living hell. I've been dragged to every wacko denomination out there in her quest for the meaning of it all. The worst was by far the Southern Baptist phase, which coincidentally hit at puberty for me. I guess the best memory is of her locking me out of the house and screaming "Jezebel!" at me over and over in hysterical fashion until one of the neighbors took pity and brought me over to sleep on their couch. Reason? I was late getting home from work. Of course, it wouldn't surprise you to know that I got pregnant at 18, and had two kids by the time I was 20. Because contraception and abortion are evil, ya know? When I got pregnant the first time, she locked me in the house for days until I agreed not to give up the kid for adoption or have an abortion. She promised that she would take care of my child and I would never have to worry about it. What a dumbass I was--after he was born, she made it clear that this was God's punishment for having sex, and I would have to drop out of school and work. I went into a tailspin after that, and it wasn't easy to pull myself out of it. The damage she did to my life is immeasurable.

From Beth: I was raised Baptist, and there are three moments that stand out in my mind as marking the religion for the psycho bullshit that it is:

1) Our Sunday school teacher held up a china teacup and asked us all to admire its beauty. After we all agreed with her that it was quite lovely, she turned it to show the inside, which had been covered with dirt or something. "This is what your soul looks like if you haven't accepted Jesus," she intoned. "Although you may be lovely on the outside, inside you are filthy and unclean."

2) At Vacation Bible School we were told a missionary story about a young boy who made some error according to his heathen religion, and the heathen priest punished him by hammering nails into the soles of his shoes and making him walk a long ways to the heathen temple. The story went on in exquisite detail about how the nails dug into his flesh, shredding his feet and causing him agonizing pain. As he trailed blood and tears he was taken in by kindly missionaries who bound his feet gently and explained that THEIR God would NEVER be so mean. It was the most graphic and traumatizing story-- just sick. Who thinks that is an okay story to tell young kids?

3) When my teacher explained that only the saved go to heaven, I asked what would happen to people who had never heard of Jesus, like isolated Amazon Indians or Africans or something like that. "EVERYONE has had a chance to hear of Jesus," she said, and even is that is true now, which I doubt, it certainly doesn't seem likely to have been true years and years ago, so were there generations of people all over the globe, billions and billions, going to hell just because they hadn't heard these cheery Baptist stories? Even when I was just out of kindergarten that sounded pretty unreasonable of any sort of decent God.

From Phil in Kentucky: My incipient crisis of faith was initiated at the age of 5 when my playmates and I were caught red-handed staring upward at 6 year-old bad-girl Vernita (she was a cusser), standing on a tree-limb and pissing for our astonishment. One of us, Clarkie, was run over the next day by his father's Dr. Pepper truck. This was interpreted as God's revenge for his transgression. The surviving six 5 year-olds were forced, as punishment, to serve as his pallbearers. Having no feelings at that age, other than what I was told to feel, it took me many years to resolve my guilt and my sincere efforts to find redemption for my evil nature.

From Rafael in Puerto Rico: Someone wrote this message in one of the walls of my Humanities department: "Jesus says: Evangelize!!"

Kids at my college were not short in imagination so somebody wrote this underneath it: "Jesus says: Vandalize??"

From Melissa: I grew up in a rural town in central Georgia and was taken to a Baptist church most likely the first Sunday after I was born. I was in that church for 19 years of my life. During that time, two ministers of music hit on me. Both were married. The first one happened when I was 16. I was very shy and had very low self-esteem, so I was flattered when he began showing me attention and kissing me. Of course, now I realize I was being molested to a degree. The second time, I was 19. This minister of music was also chairman of the deacons. He never touched me, but the things he said to me had extreme sexual undertones. I even went to the pastor about it, not intending for him to tell this man. I just wanted to talk with somebody. Of course, he tells the deacon, and I'm threatened with a slander suit. Sexual scandal isn't just reserved for the Catholic church. It's everywhere.

From Erin: I grew up in southwest Michigan, in a small town of about 3,500 God-fearing white Christians. My parents were leftover hippies who wanted their kids to have some land to run around and play on, and although they did their best to show us that there was a world outside our sick and sordid little town, I still haven't forgiven them for making me spend my childhood there. It was painful and damaging in a way that will stick with me forever.

In my hometown:
-- the school board yanked our comprehensive sex-ed curriculum and replaced it with "values"-based, Jesus-babble, non-information
-- my first classmate to bear a child did so in 8th grade (and was the hit of the cafeteria when she brought the kid into school during lunch hour)
-- by the time I graduated high school, 20% of the girls in my class had at least one child or were pregnant
-- in 10th grade, I politely and repeatedly asked my Econ teacher to please stop a) preaching about God, and b) telling gay jokes in class, as I thought both were inappropriate. (Needless to say, I was labeled a hell-bound dyke for the rest of my high-school career)
-- and this one is recent: my 18-year-old brother, who took a job at a video store to help earn college money, was making banal small-talk with a frequent customer, who happened to be male. Later, the store manager gave him a hellfire-and-brimstone lecture about the sinfulness of homosexuality, and threatened that his "homo-curious" behavior would not be welcome in the store. My brother -- showing remarkable chutzpah for a kid his age, I think -- told this asshole to take his shitty video shack and shove it, and walked out the door. My brother tells me that the store, "Family Video," has just a spectacular selection of porn, and is, in fact, the only video store in town that offers such selections.

I hated growing up with such hypocritical, hateful, stupid, spiritually bankrupt people. My ideas of spirituality involve a thoughtfulness, a degree of introspection, a value on the greater good, a premium on logic and kindness, and a generosity of spirit that was completely absent in that town. I think about all the potentially good kids who fester in environments like these, who lack the resources to develop critical-thinking skills and to ultimately get the hell out, and I am
at once furious and completely bereft. What do we do?

Continue to send your stories to rudepundit@yahoo.com.


A Circus of Faith (Part of the Christ Weary series):
Here's what the Rude Pundit wants hangin' in every courthouse, in every statehouse, in every outhouse in Uhmerka: a big, bloody, flesh-stripped, weeping Mel Gibson-approved Jesus, nailed to that motherfuckin' cross. He wants it to be there next to the flag in the IRS offices, in the Homeland Security offices, every fuckin' public building, every school, everywhere. It'll be mandated: flag, portrait of Bush, bleedin' Jesus, yowling in pain 'cause those fuckin' nails hurt, motherfucker. That way, every time someone walks into a government building, oh, that person'll know the score: this is a Christian nation, asshole, get used to it. (And the Rude Pundit thinks we should just drop the charade of Judeo-Christian - it's the rhetorical equivalent of "Clarence Thomas is a conservative black man.")

Goddamnit, it feels like the eighties all over. Didn't we go through this before with Ronald Reagan? Didn't we have to listen to the blathering of madmen and their bitches about the need for faith in American life? Didn't we have to see the quivering jowls of Jerry Falwell flappin' at us from our TVs back then? How many fuckin' times are we gonna have this fight? The difference is that the Christian right has gotten better at disguising their intent through secular-sounding language - in a sense, using the tools of legalese to promote a religious agenda.

For instance, the whole battle over the display of the Ten Commandments is such a bullshit bait and switch. In the original case, before the Supreme Court, stupid fuckers in backward ass counties in Kentucky tried to hide the Ten Commandments in a display of real, actual historical documents that mentioned "God" in one way or another, like the Mayflower Compact or the Declaration of Independence. The argument is that the Ten Commandments forms one of the bases for the American legal system, but the display also equates it with an historical document, and unless Indiana Jones has finally come back from Egypt with the Ark of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments are part of a book of faith. (And America's strange lack of laws about worshipping other gods or honoring ma and pa would seem to put a lie to the notion of the Moses tabs bein' all that important.) As the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put it, "When distilled to their essence, the courthouse displays demonstrate that Defendants intend to convey the bald assertion that the Ten Commandments formed the foundation of American legal tradition," an assertion which is, simply, utter, stinky, lying bullshit.

Ah, but now the Bush administration has urged the Supreme Court to allow the display of the Ten Commandments on government property. And on tour, like Destiny's Child and Usher, is the Alabama Supreme Court great, huge rock monument of the Ten Commandments. Private schools are bringing the children to see the giant marble chunk, maybe fondle it like a fetish. And, in case anyone wants to argue that it's not a bunch of deluded idiots involved in this display, check out the homepage of Dixie Rising, one of the sponsoring organizations for the Ten Commandments info for the Southern Party of Georgia. It's lyncherrific. Let's not bet that there's large numbers of Jews linin' up to see the Ten Commandments monument on its flatbed truck of love.

The Ten Commandments debate is such a small, small part of the larger picture here. There's the sad, overcovered public school teacher in California who used his classroom to evangelize to his students, covering it up with "lessons" on the American colonists and Founders. His handout contained quotes from "Great Leaders" on the Bible. Oh, terribly interesting lesson, one might think. Sure, sure, one might be troubled with the inclusion of Rutherford B. Hayes and Herbert Hoover, like maybe teacher Stephen Williams is grasping at straws in the "Great" category. But perhaps more troubling is the last Great Leader after a list of presidents: Jesus Christ. Again, again, again - the conflation of the fundamentalist belief in the historic truth of the Bible with actual history. (This was the story that made the rounds as "The Declaration of Independence Banned From School." Remember a well-told lie . . .)

Let's be clear here, shall we? There are two primary reasons that "God" is mentioned so much in documents by the Founders of this country: one is convention - it's just what you fuckin' did. It's like saying, "Dear Electric Company," when, in reality, the electric company ain't that "dear" to you. The other reason is that the Founders knew they had to use propaganda in order to appeal to the yahoos living in glorified cabins in the woods of New Hampshire: if you invoke "God," then stupid people will think you're legit. The "Creator," whether "God" or "Jesus," is the shiny trinket that distracts the children so the adults can do their work. Whatever Ben Franklin may have believed about deities great and small, he knew that the masses had to be placated so that they could go about the work of building a fuckin' nation. When Thomas Paine, the rudest of the Founders, decided to wreck notions of a public religion in The Age of Reason, he sent the manuscript to Franklin. A bespectacled whoremonger, Franklin understood the average new American, and he warned Paine not to publish the book: "Think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security." Franklin feared the unrestrained public; they needed religion as a distraction in order to avoid savagery. (Oh, how Thomas Paine was abandoned by the Founders after the book was published, who, like good politicians, all scrambled to show how "Christian" they were by condemning Paine.)

Ahhhh, now we get to some truth. You see, the Bush administration can pay all the lip service it wants to "Christian" goals and fundamentalist propaganda. But it's all a circus, man. Sure, sure, it's destructive, as with all the data about the failure and misinformation of abstinence-only programs. But faith is the big top we're all invited in to watch and yell and scream about. It was the great distraction of the election. It's the wink-wink, unspoken justification for the war. Meanwhile, if clowns like Falwell do their funny dance for our amusement, if we get too distracted by the high-wire artists who push for the Ten Commandments displays, we won't notice the world burning outside the tent.

Tomorrow: More of your tales of Christ weariness.


Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With a Menorah:
You know, when Bill O'Reilly, Fox "News" broadcaster and a man for whom one falafel in the hand is worth two in the bush, told one of his radio callers, in essence, "If you don't like Christmas, Jewey McKikenose, then maybe you oughta head to Israel and spin your dreidel in the sand," the Rude Pundit wondered what O'Reilly would tell, say, an atheist who finds the whole let's-give-Jesus-a-helluva-bris treatment a bit over the top. Would he tell the Hindu guy down the street to head back to India? Would he tell the Buddhist woman at the local Super Shanghai Buffet to get back to Mongolia? Would he tell the atheist to go to the moon? Where would that atheist, that Buddhist, that Hindi be safe from the marauding Christ lovers in the mall with their multi-colored light nativities a-twinklin' on their lawns? All the poor self-proclaimed Jew on the phone with O'Reilly said was that, as a Jew, he felt pressured by the Christapalooza of Christmas, which really only is a guilt trip distraction from the passion of the shopping. And, you know, the whole deal only became a holiday in 1876 because of pressure from businesses benefiting from the growing orgy of tree decorating and goose-killing.

When O'Reilly declared that "overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus," all the Rude Pundit could wonder is where the fuck's Plato's holiday? Or Kierkegaard's? Or perhaps John Locke's, considering his influence on, say, the actual creation of the country? And on Christmas, when people are heading to work at Wal-Mart and Denny's and all the other places that stay open so that Bill O'Reilly can have a merry Christmas, we'll all be thankful that even more overwhelmingly, in this America, cash, not Christ, is king. Is that insulting enough to O'Reilly's "majority"?

(And someone please fucking tell O'Reilly that a menorah has eight, not seven, candles - nine, if you count the middle. Oh, and add that gift-giving is a little bonus for Hanukkah, not its raison d'etre.)

Just a brief one today as Clark Kent duties beckon. Back tomorrow with a longer entry on more fun with the Religious Right. On Friday, more tales of the Christ weary.


Donald Rumsfeld's Secret Desk Drawer:
Donald Rumsfeld keeps the mummified cocks of dead male American soldiers in a special drawer in his desk, one only he has the key to. He tells himself that it's a tribute, all of these cocks sliced off at the moment of the death rattle erection, hard and firm and well-preserved, just like America, just like him. It's one reason why the bodies of dead soldiers arrive sealed in caskets, never to be opened again. It's because of the secret order from the Defense Secretary: when a male soldier dies, take the hard cock and send it to the Special Officer of Cock Mummification so that Rumsfeld may be presented, every week, with a bag full of dead soldier's dicks. The word has been spread among the troops, the wounded and dying men who make a bed of the streets of Baghdad, of Mosul, of a thousand cities whose names we shouldn't need to know, but must, unceasingly, be able to recite: it is an honor to have your cock laying in Rumsfeld's drawer. Rumsfeld is proud of his drawer: it's a vision of a perfect world, all races, all creeds, all sizes, all together in a pile, 1100 or so of them.

Dear, dear Donald - he is as multifaceted as his cock collection. Sometimes he speaks obvious truths that sound like nuggets of wisdom. As he told reporters on his plane to Kuwait yesterday, on his way to attend the inauguration of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, "You put up a poorly equipped police force against a well-equipped Iraqi insurgent force and you’ve got a mismatch, as you would with any military." So true, so true, and that poorly equipped police force must be backed up by American soldiers, don't you know. When he was asked what mistakes he might have made in the past as he was about to embark on his second term as Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld said he had two (the same ones he's admitted in interview after interview as the newly reannointed cabinet member): the size of the insurgency, about which he said, "But I don’t think anyone would say that the intelligence left anyone with the impression that you’d be in the degree of insurgency you’re in today and resistance on the part of a mixture of Baathists and pro-dictatorship, pro-Saddam people, mixed in with some foreign terrorists and extremists." Of course, the State Department had warned of this, but maybe they're not "intelligence" in Rumsfeld's world.

The other was, of course, the WMDs, but not in the way you might imagine: "One [mistake] is the fact that one of the basis for going into Iraq that the administration articulated was the conviction that they had weapons of mass destruction which would be findable and that is, of course, why our forces put on chemical suits all the way up from Kuwait into Baghdad everyday because everybody believed that to be the case. And at the moment, that has not turned out to be the case. It may later, but at least at the moment it hasn’t." Again, something he's repeated: the belief that weapons haven't been found only "at the moment," with the underlying conviction that they will be found.

Rumsfeld is a fount of philosophy, a veritable encyclopedia of rationale. On deaths in Iraq of Americans and Iraqis, he said, "People are killed by the hundreds every year in every major city in the world, but they’re not on television for some reason," which means he hasn't been paying attention to the local news in every major city (if it bleeds, it leads, motherfucker, if it bleeds, it leads). On those, like, say, John McCain and just about every retired general, who would say that more troops are needed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rumsfeld opined, "A fixation with sheer numbers, it strikes me as a 20th century phenomenon more than it is the 21st century phenomenon." And Rumsfeld flew on, meeting troops in Afghanistan, shaking their hands, sizing up their cocks for his collection.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile, the 1000th soldier was killed in action; meanwhile, in the last gasps of dissent in the CIA, the agency issued two reports about how desperately awful the situation is in Iraq; meanwhile, a pathetic attempt at truth-seeking is going on in a lawsuit filed in Germany against Rumsfeld and others for the horrors of Abu Ghraib; meanwhile, if you go to the press release section of the DOD website, all you see is a list of doom, release after release after release officially reporting another dead soldier, another cock to line the drawer.

But here's the real secret of Donald Rumsfeld's drawer of dead dicks and the reason why he declined when he was offered the first vagina of a dead female soldier. At night, when everyone but the guards and the late shift analysts have gone home, Rumsfeld goes into his office and locks the door. He tells his Secret Service agent not to let anyone knock. Then he lowers the lights and drops his pants. He opens the drawer and drags his hand through, fingering them to tell which one feels right for the evening. Sometimes he digs down deep, to cocks that have been there for over a year, and he pulls one out, feels its heft and shape, and then sits on the floor, pulling his achy legs back, and starts to fuck himself with that dead soldier's cock. Getting it in good and deep, watching his own dick get semi-hard as he shoves that dead American dildo in and out, telling himself, "Oh, yeah, oh, shit, these are the spoils of war" before dribbling a weak release of semen onto the carpet emblazoned with the insignia of whatever branch of the military he happens to be sitting on, naked below the waist, spent from fucking himself to deep pleasure.
Late Post:
Back this afternoon with "Rumsfeld's Hidden Desk Drawer." What's in it? You'll have to return to find out. Back around 2.


Torturing White People:
Let us say, and why not, that in 1995, after the Oklahoma City Bombing, the United States government decided to use any means necessary to break up and destroy any radical terrorist cells in the nation. Maybe we could even pretend that Timothy McVeigh wasn't captured. (The Murrah Federal Building attack was so stunning, so horrific that when 9/11 happened, several people who had no access to PDBs about Bin Laden asked the Rude Pundit if he thought it was the work of the same type of white supremacist terrorism. "No," the Rude Pundit answered, having seen the planes driven into the Towers on CNN. "White Americans don't plan suicide attacks. Too much ego.")

Let's say that the government declared "war on domestic terror" and the military, working with local law enforcement, went into compounds and farms in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, to South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, and mass arrested anyone who was linked to Aryan Nations or White Aryan Resistance or name your favorite "stupid fucking backward ass losers who blame everyone but the white people who actually have power" organization. And in this sweep of short-haired white males and the white women who enable them, the local cops decided to pick up everyone who's ever looked at them crossways. Farmers, janitors, motorcycle gangs, all swept up and sent to the newly established prison at Guantanamo Bay. And maybe some of 'em were just thrown into prisons in South Dakota, Idaho, etc., etc., Packed 'em in there. Shaving the heads would be a quick task for most of 'em.

You get where this is going, this "fun with analogies" tale. We get pictures of all these suspected terrorists, white people one and all, with electrodes on their nuts. We get Red Cross reports about the way in which these evil white motherfuckers are subjected to routine humiliation, psychological torture, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, the usual shit. The government would justify it by saying they have to do everything they can to prevent another Oklahoma City. They're our own citizens and aren't subject to the Geneva Conventions, the administration would say. They come up with legal justifications in the form of memos. When they're ordered to give the terror suspects hearings on their charges, the government sets up kangaroo military tribunals. As the Rude Pundit said, by this point, you get the fucking analogy, right? (And he's strived to divorce this from any politics - this ain't about "What Clinton couldn't do that Bush is allowed to do" or any such bullshit.)

Do you think, for a second, that if reports were that large groups of non-French white people were being routinely subjected to torture at the hands of our government (and, let's be perfectly clear, anything the government does is in our name; therefore, this is you doing it, too), that if photos of bloodied, battered, leashed, sodomized, dog-bitten, nude white people had "surfaced" that we would ignore it? That we'd just sit back and relax at the notion that the good and godly government knows what it's doing when it comes to torturing the white terrorists who, after all, blew up the Murrah Federal Building? That the media would give scant attention to the white people who are being deprived sleep in order to force them to give information about shit they know nothing about? That we'd look at those pictures of pyramids of naked white asses, shinin' in the flash of the camera lens, and think, "Fuck them, they killed children"? (The sad, sad, stomach-churning truth is that so many of us wouldn't care, we'd think they must deserve it, we'd "trust" the government.)

Here's what's going on: you know all those movies, like Lethal Weapon, Rambo, etc., etc., where the American hero is chained like a dog while men in uniforms, usually either with Russian accents or Middle Eastern or Asian skin, approach said American hero and tell him, "Tell us what you know," and when the American hero says he doesn't know anything, they beat him, or threaten to rape his wife, or turn on the electricity, or thrown water on him to wake him up, or whatever. You know the films. They're calculated to make you wanna see that torturing motherfucker get the worst possible death. Yeah - drop kick 'em on the spiked fence. That'll teach 'em to torture Bruce Willis. Well, reverse it, motherfuckers. Change the context.

'Cause what's going on right now is the opposite. The people chained up are Middle Eastern. The uniformed young men walking into the room are American. Now, do you think maybe the Middle Easterners who learn of this shit don't want the worst possible death for those who perpetrate the torture? And if you can abide this torture, if you don't give a shit about what's being done in your name, then you deserve whatever America you are allowed to have, not whatever America you can make.

Christ Weary Update:
So far, over 100 tales of abuse at the hands and words of the faithful have arrived. Keep the stories coming of your confrontations with the religious right. Send 'em to: rudepundit@yahoo.com.