Monday, February 27, 2006


I find this offensive. Not because I'm Jewish (I suspect that if I were I would be really pissed off) but because it thrusts out into the public discourse a provocative concept. Imagine this sign out in front of a Mosque:

In many ways this is like Ann Coulter. Because we have freedom of speech doesn't mean that it is wise to say anything, particularly if one is trying to be provocative, particularly when people may be offended in their personal, inner beliefs by the statement. Of course Christians would like to convert all the Jews to their religion. Moslems for many years did not seek conversions. Even after they did accept conversions it was nowhere near as compulsory as, say, the Spanish forcing the Indians into Christianity in Mexico and South America. (see Karen Armstrong's history of Islam.)

I would make the argument that what we are seeing in the Middle East at the present time (the disintegration of Iraq, Hamas, Afghanistan) may be due partly to the fact that Muslims have been tolerant of other religions whereas Christians have always felt that the 'heathen' needed converting. Thus, Muslims are insular and, due to their origins, basically tribal. Christians in the end run wind up a melting pot as in America.

But the basic ideas and concepts of Christianity and Islam have not changed since very early in their development. These ideas are so deeply ingrained in the populace that the concepts that Bush's cronies are trying to foist on a Muslim populace may be very alien to the hard wiring of their society. How do you have a democracy where the women have vastly different status than that of men?

One begins to wonder if people like Coulter and that other idiot David Horowitz (see the snark in full bloom on this at Jesus' General, 25 February) really offend us only for their own agrandizement. It could not be for any serious reason.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Stripper and the Court

Oh, My:
Supreme Court to Weigh In on Anna Nicole Smith's Inheritance Case
By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 28, 2005; Page C03

Playboy Playmate of the Year. Reality TV Star. National Enquirer columnist. And now, to these titles, Anna Nicole Smith can add another: Supreme Court litigant.
I am so amazed. We get two new Supreme Court Justices and the first thing they do is hear a trash case. Sitting on the docket, or at least should be sitting on the docket are:
1. Bush's violation of the Fourth Amendment in spying on Americans.
2. Torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
3. Cheney's claim that he has the right to divulge secret information when that is clearly the perogative of the President.
4. South Dakota.
5. Lying to the American people and dragging us into a War in Iraq on false pretences.
6. Scooter. Need I say more?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

James Madison's Bad Dream

This from one of the two most important documents ever written:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
And this from Bill Moyers:
Watching these people work is a study of the inner circle at the top of American politics. The journalist Sidney Blumenthal, writing on, reminds us of the relationship between the Armstrong dynasty and the Bush family and its retainers. Armstrong's father invested in Rove's political consulting firm that managed George W. Bush's election as governor of Texas and as president. Her mother, Anne Armstrong, is a longtime Republican activist and donor. Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board after her tenure as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Ford, whose chief of staff was a young Dick Cheney. Anne Armstrong served on the board of directors of Halliburton that hired Cheney to run the company. Her daughter, Katherine Armstrong, host of the hunting party, was once a lobbyist for the powerful Houston law firm founded by the family of James A. Baker III, who was chief of staff to Reagan, Secretary of State under the first George Bush, and the man designated by the Bush family to make sure the younger Bush was named President in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. According to Blumenthal, one of her more recent lobbying jobs was with a large construction firm with contracts in Iraq.

It is a Dick Cheney world out there - a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests.
(emphasis added)
We have to face it, we have an aristocracy in America. We have a nobility. We have a president who is in the White House because his father was there. We have a president whose administration approved a deal with the United Arab Emirates with whom his brother is working a multimillion dollar contract. We have a corrupt legislative brance (c.f. Abramoff). We have a Supreme Court that is now dominated by idealogues from this privileged class. One that almost assuredly will overturn Roe vs. Wade which is supported by the majority of the American People.

We are in deep trouble.

(read the whole Bill Moyers, it is excellent. Tip of the hat to ALS)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Level of Discourse

Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh claim that they are entertainment, but they frequently wish to be taken for serious commentators. Coulter, to follow up on her CPAC speech where she spoke of "ragheads," gave a speech at Indiana University:
Coulter raised some controversy in her speech when she said that Democrats don't want democracy to succeed in Iraq. She said, "They don't think the little brown boys could handle democracy," to which students responded, "We don't tolerate racism here. Go back to Germany."
I blogged about the British Historian who was sentenced to three years in prison for remarks about the Holacaust. Why is it that racist remarks like this are tolerated when they come from Republicans?

Coulter and Limbaugh represent the worst of what has come to be 21st century America. They are glib and without a shred of comprehension of what they are doing to us with their inflammatory speech. Words that are said not to convey ideas, but only for their thrilling effect. They are crying "Fire" in the national Hall that enshrines our Constitution and the Decleration of Independence. If we aren't careful, they will burn it down.

I am not advocating that they be silenced. They have a right to rave as much as the next idiot. I am advocating that they be taken for what they are. Demagogues.

Why we are where we are

This is the President of the United States of America picking up a cable that conducts lightning from a tree. It is unknown whether there was a storm in the area. Probably.

In addition to this cable, this man holds the fate of the world in his hands. He could pick up the red phone and call a nuclear strike on any place in the world.

Do you sleep well at night?

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, February 23, 2006

New Yorker Cartoon Contest

I never win in the New Yorker cartoon contest. So here is my lastest entry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Cairo Trilogy

I'm reading the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz. It starts in Cairo of World War I. At this time, Egypt was occupied by the British. Many of us remember when Lawrence of Arabia came out in the early 1960's. At that time, the concept of Britain ruling Egypt did not seem all that unusual. In fact, the rule of other peoples by Westerners was as ingrained and as acceptable to our sensibilities as segregation was in the South before 1956 (I recall the separate rest rooms and water fountains in the department stores for the "colored." And, for sure, blacks had a separate Church. Still do, I think. Irony there!).

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The mind set that tolerates America ruling Iraq is deeply ingrained. The most cogent discussion of the Western attitude towards the East is, IMHO, Said's "Orientalism." The fact that the Universities of the East do not study "Occidentalism" is not coincidence. Since the age of European exploration, we in the West have considered ourselves exceptional. Manifest Destiny does not just describe the American West.

Many years ago I used to visit the grandparents of a college classmate who lived on Beacon St. in Boston. The husband was a physician and had been with the Australians in Egypt during WWI. He had been in a mess tent when Lawrence of Arabia had passed through. (I have a picture of Ike I took in 1957 at Valley Forge when he was within spitting distance. Of course nobody spit, we respected him. I also saw Kennedy at the Army Navy game in 1961. He had a great tan. Only after he was killed did I learn that he had Addison's disease, probably iatrogenic. We brush with history, but I digress.)

Mahfouz in "The Cairo Trilogy" repeatedly refers to the Australians as being uncultured and crude. I have no doubt that the soldiers from Australia were as described. They were, after all, one generation up from transported convicts. The Moslem culture of the Egyptians that Mahfouz depicts is light years away from the sheep grazers of Queensland in concept and practice.

The idea of foisting the American ideal of democracy off on the the people of Iraq is fraught with peril. Those who are proponents of this policy, and I assume that it is our president, though one is never sure any more what he is up to, should first understand the culture that underlies the Iraqi people. I certainly don't and I am pretty sure that Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer don't either.

[By the way, Cheney goes hunting every Fall about 5 miles from where I'm sitting. Am I scared shitless? You bet.]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Strange World Department

In Austria they have condemned an English man to three years in prison for "denying the Holacaust." (actually, he claims that the majority of deaths in the Nazi death camps were from typhus. Wrong, but not libelous, you would think. Next they will say that they can throw you in prison for saying that Gypsies and Poles were victims.) In Denmark, a cartoonist depicts Jesus Christ as a murderer (actually, Muhammad, but, hey, what's the difference?).

I am not justifying either practice in any way. I think both men are jerks. Its just that....

We live in a strange world.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oro Pro Nobis

from Richard "Buckshot" Cheney, Oro Pro Nobis*
from Georgie "Porgie" Bush, Oro Pro Nobis
from Condie "The Shoe" Rice, Oro Pro Nobis
from Donnie "Bonkers" Rumsfeld, Ora Pro Nobis
from Dougie "Fucking Idiot" Feith, Oro Pro Nobis
from Paul "Flowers in Iraq" Wolfowitz, Oro Pro Nobis
from Ahmad "Baba" Chalabi, Oro Pro Nobis
from Mickey "Cadaver" Chertoff, Oro Pro Nobis
from Alberto "The Vice" Torquemado, Ora Pro Nobis
from Kenny "don't know him" Lay, Ora Pro Nobis
from Jack "don't know him" Abramoff, Ora Pro Nobis
*with apologies to Boondocks

I just remember this as a kid. Litanies. Love em.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mirabile, Mirabile. Ariel Sharon rises from the dead

Ariel here goes to visit his son in prison.

What on Earth?

An alert reader sends the following:


What part of "being manipulated" don't you understand?

Its pretty simple. Osama bin Laden was in an American hospital in Dubai city in July 2001 at the same time that George W. Bush received a presidential briefing saying that bin Laden was determined to strike at the American heartland. On September 10th, 2001, he was in a hospital in Pakistan.

Almost five years later he is still at large.

At every chance, our dyslexic president reminds us that we are engaged in a Global War On Terror, presumably this bin Laden is the principal enemy.
What don't you understand about this? Are you stupid or something?

And Where is the Fox?

He's in Dubai. Looky here:
According to Le Figaro:

"Dubai... was the backdrop of a secret meeting between Osama bin Laden and the local CIA agent in July [2001]. A partner of the administration of the American Hospital in Dubai claims that "public enemy number one" stayed at this hospital between the 4th and 14th of July. While he was hospitalized, bin Laden received visits from many members of his family as well as prominent Saudis and Emiratis. During the hospital stay, the local CIA agent, known to many in Dubai, was seen taking the main elevator of the hospital to go [up] to bin Laden's hospital room. A few days later, the CIA man bragged to a few friends about having visited bin Laden. Authorized sources say that on July 15th, the day after bin Laden returned to Quetta [Pakistan], the CIA agent was called back to headquarters. In the pursuit of its investigations, the FBI discovered "financing agreements" that the CIA had been developing with its "Arab friends" for years. The Dubai meeting is, so it would seem, within the logic of 'a certain American policy.'"
And where is Dubai?
Dubai or Dubayy (in Arabic: دبيّ)
one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, or
that emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai City" to distinguish it from the emirate.

Going South

And who could resist this:
Britain is set to start pulling out its troops in March and complete the withdrawal by the end of May.
That's from Iraq. That's our coalition buddy. Looks like Cheney convinced them the insurgency was in its last throes. Ole Dick had one too many beers, I'm afraid.

The Fox and the Chickencoop

Sorry, couldn't resist this:
The Bush administration has outsourced the operation of six of the nation’s largest ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country with troubling ties to international terrorism. The $6.8 billion sale would mean that the state-controlled Dubai Ports World would control “the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.”
Chertie, you're doing a heck of a job.

Can you imagine if Bill Clinton did this?

Friday Crab Blogging

Quaile Memorial Edition

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bonus Crab

Was asked to draw a "middle aged grumpy gorilla" but this is what we got.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday Crab Blogging

We got his highness coming today. Everybody has to stay indoors. Is this what George Washington envisioned?