Best Bush Quote of the Day

There’s a sense that people in America aren’t getting the truth.

Believe it or not, that’s Bush claiming that things in Iraq are better than the media says. In reality, of course, they’re much worse, but Republicans are amazing. No matter how great they’ve got it, they never, ever stop. They’re like the Terminator. Even when they win, they press on for further gains. When Democrats win, which hasn’t happened for a long time, they consider the battle won and move on the next issue. Not Republicans. They’ve got the Iraq spin machine working wonders, but they insist that the media should tell everything–not just 95%–their way.

Everyone should learn from their over-the-top tactics.

Of Course It’s UnConstitutional

So the US Supreme Court is going to rule whether the McCarthy-era bastardization of the Pledge of Allegiance–the “one nation, under God” part was added by right-wing lunatics who thought they were differentiating the US from the “Godless” Soviet Union–will continue to be recited by millions of schoolchildren, many of them atheist.

Let’s hope the new, saner, post-sodomy ruling Supreme Court will do the right thing and affirm the 9th District Court of Appeals ruling that declared the Christianized Pledge unconstitutional.

This case represents an important opportunity to put a halt to a national effort aimed at removing any religious phrase or reference from our culture,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a law firm founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson.

Mr. Sekulow may have missed high school history, but this isn’t Afghanistan. We live in a secular country. Religion is a private matter. Neither the state nor its representatives should ever discuss religion in any form in a public forum. Duh.

Criticizing Israel Doesn’t Make You Anti-Semitic

Jon is one of the more thoughtful respondents who had a beef with last week’s cartoon about “Israeli Policy Fantasies”:

Generally i think you are right on target about Bush but you have got it wrong on israel and palestinians. How about a cartoon showing arafat as a 2-bit dictator refusing a very very nice deal three years ago? Where is the biting satire when it comes to blowing up people celebrating a holiday or a wedding or sitting at their kitchen table?

My friend’s mother was blow to bits during a Seder in Israel 18 months

ago. Are the Palestinians defending themselves in this case?

I appreciate that strong ideas need strong ,almost hyperbolic rhetoric at times; but i urge you to consider a biting attack on Palestinian duplicity. I am fairly left-wing like you but you are pushing a doctrinaire line almost as bad as the rightists.

Jon raises some good points. Yassir Arafat is a corrupt turd whose corruption nearly erases the good he has done as the world’s highest profile Palestinian revolutionary. And anyone who fails to deplore terrorist attacks by Palestinians against innocent Israeli civilians is heartless and immoral.

This cartoon, however, isn’t meant to present a fair and balanced look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s simply making fun of the absurd argument, heard repeatedly in the media, that Israel is justified in doing just about anything–assassinating public officials, building Berlin Walls, launching rockets that miss their targets, invading Syria–to “defend” itself.

An analagous cartoon could obviously be done from the other point of view, with a Jewish victim of Palestinian terrorism saying that he doesn’t mind losing his family because, after all, the Palestinians were “merely” fighting for independence.

So why didn’t I do such a cartoon?

Because, first and foremost, you don’t hear Hamas or the PLO arguing that Israelis shouldn’t mind getting blown up. But also because an editorial cartoonist’s job is to defend the defenseless against the powerful, and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has the overwhelming advantage in military, diplomatic and political terms. No one needs to come to the aid of the Israelis; they’re doing a great job themselves.

American media coverage of the Intifada is so one-sidedly pro-Israel, however, that it’s important to balance things out now and then. If it were the other way around, if Palestinian atrocities were always brushed off as the Israelis were condemned, I’d be moved to do a cartoon from the opposite viewpoint.

Karl Rove’s Trifecta

Generalissimo El Busho only employs one brain among his besitary of Ford Administration retreads, underqualified hacks and Uncle Toms: Karl Rove. And today is a big day for the chief strategist. After engineering the Florida 2000 judicial coup d’état that installed his boss and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s coup lite in California, he’s just pulled off the sleazy Texas redistricting Democrats tried to stop by fleeing to New Mexico.

For those who didn’t follow the story, redistricting is customarily done after each Census. Last time was 2001. But Texas Republicans, noting that custom isn’t law, used their power in the state assembly to take advantage of post-2001 demographic shifts. Anything for a few extra GOP Congressmen–as if they didn’t have enough already.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s technically legal. But much of what goes on in government is the result of gentlemen’s agreements; now that this one has broken down, look for more such shenanigans on both sides. Redistricing is expensive–and we, the taxpayers, pay for it.

US Troops Use Gestapo Tactics in Iraq

Thanks to alert reader Digby for pointing me to this piece from the ever-enlightening UK Independent for yet another answer to the perpetual post-9/11 question “Why do they hate us?”

US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.

The stumps of palm trees, some 70 years old, protrude from the brown earth scoured by the bulldozers beside the road at Dhuluaya, a small town 50 miles north of Baghdad. Local women were yesterday busily bundling together the branches of the uprooted orange and lemon trees and carrying then back to their homes for firewood.

Nusayef Jassim, one of 32 farmers who saw their fruit trees destroyed, said: “They told us that the resistance fighters hide in our farms, but this is not true. They didn’t capture anything. They didn’t find any weapons.”

Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in this Sunni Muslim district.

“They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they were cutting down the trees,” said one man. Ambushes of US troops have taken place around Dhuluaya. But Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jabouri, a member of a delegation that went to the nearby US base to ask for compensation for the loss of the fruit trees, said American officers described what had happened as “a punishment of local people because ‘you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us’.” What the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of Palestinians was now happening in Iraq, Sheikh Hussein added.

Asked how much his lost orchard was worth, Nusayef Jassim said in a distraught voice: “It is as if someone cut off my hands and you asked me how much my hands were worth.”

Go Team America! We’re liberating the shit out of them!

Why Don’t I Ever Speak/Do Book Signings in Your Town?

I get asked this a lot, and the answer is because there isn’t a newspaper in your city that publishes my work.

When I was starting out, I often did appearances in cities like Durham, NC and Iowa City, lovely places both. But not one single human being showed up. Correct that: only one did. Me. On the other hand, when I came to, say, Dayton, OH or Philly, hundreds of people came. This made the trip worthwhile for me, my publisher and the place sponsoring the appearance. The difference? There was a newspaper there that had made people aware of me and to promote the event.

True, there are other means of promotion–posters, flyers, ads, listings, even planted puff pieces in the paper–but I’ve learned from experience that those don’t work very well. So if you want me to come to your town, the best way for that to happen is for you to urge your local newspaper editor to pick up my strip and/or column.

Reading my stuff online may be fun, but if everyone did that, I wouldn’t be able to make a living doing this.

Book Title Contest Continues

Thanks to those of you who have sent in suggestions for book titles of my 2004 collection of cartoons and columns about Bush and the goings on in his illegitimate administration. Unfortunately, there are no winners…yet.

Many respondents seem to be after some kind of “Bush Sucks” or “Why Bush Sucks” angle, but book titles have to be a little more subtle, yet straightforward at the same time, than that. So the challenge remains: name the book and you get the original artwork for one of my syndicated cartoons for your wall.

2004 Necropublican Convention in NYC

Next year’s Republican National Convention, held late to coincide with the 3rd anniversary festivities surrounding the 9/11/01 attacks and held in New York City despite the fact that every single New Yorker despises Bush and all that he stands for to an extent that can’t be expressed by words, promises to put the 1968 Chicago riots to shame. I’m already stocking up bottled water and canned food for the endtimes. And I’ve got THE most bitching T-shirt designs ready for attendees…

Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline Project Update

The sordid story detailed in my book “Gas War” continues.

Our Good Friend Karimov, U.S. Ally in the War on Terror

Still wondering why they hate us? Check this out.