Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

August 03, 2004

Diamonds Are A Saud's Way In

And, as some of the subordinates of a man-of-war captain are apt to invoke his good wishes and mollify his conscience by making him friendly gifts, it would perhaps have been an excellent thing for him to adopt the plan pursued by the President of the United States, when he received a present of lions and Arabian chargers from the Sultan of Muscat. Being forbidden by his sovereign lords and masters, the imperial people, to accept of any gifts from foreign powers, the President sent them to an auctioneer, and the proceeds were deposited in the Treasury.--from White Jacket, by Herman Melville.

When they attend this year's memorial services for the victims of the 3rd anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I wonder if President Bush and his family will be wearing the some of the almost $130,000 dollars worth of fine jewelry they accepted from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince in 2003? (login available at bugmenot)

While it's true that the Constitution (Article I, Section 9) prohibits anyone in the US Government from receiving a personal gift from a foreign head of state without the consent of Congress, the First Lady and daughters aren't members of the Government.

So the only thing preventing Laura, Jenna and Barbara from pocketing their blood-covered baubles is the type of moral sense Rudy Guiliani displayed when he told Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal to shove his $10 million dollar check where the sun doesn't shine. Since such an act isn't described in the above article, I can only assume that such a sense is not possessed by the Bush family, and that they accepted the Saudi gifts with all the alacrity of a nest of magpies pouncing upon some scraps of tin foil. Perhaps when W talks about "family values" what he really means to say is "family value," as in the price it takes to buy his.

Somebody should let Kim Jong IL know that the best way back into the good graces of Washington isn't through negotiations, it's via the open palms of the Bush administration. Why should they turn up their noses at his 30 pieces of silver, when they'll happily take those offerered by the equally despotic House of Saud?

Perhaps we're not the policeman of the world after all. Perhaps we're its bellhop instead. No wonder the French are pissed. Accepting money from despots is their main line of business, and now George Bush is crowding their territory.

"I've turned down your bedsheet, Monsiuer Aziz, and some of the staff who object to your presence in the Hotel U.S.A. have been removed from the premises to a free speech zone where they won't bother anyone. Would Monsiuer like a whore? I can have Miss America brought to your room, or perhaps a nice boy?"

Mind you, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong, and I'd like to think that if Kerry was President he would have the common sense to throw gifts from despots back in their faces, but I don't think either will happen.

Update: Edited for clarity.

Postscript: Thanks to reader Kevin M, a complete list of the 2003 gifts.

Posted by Bigwig at August 3, 2004 12:27 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

I've heard many criticisms of Kerry, many of which I agree with, but "presumably only waiting to [get into the pockets of the Saudis]" is a first for me. What's your basis for this, out of curiosity?

Posted by: Lex at August 3, 2004 01:17 PM

Hi Lex,

No factual basis, other than my general feeling that most politicians in Washington will sell themselves to the Saudis--blame my memories of Abscam, I suppose.

Should Kerry come out swinging on the question of accepting gifts from despotic rulers, more power to him.

Like I said above, though, it's not something I expect.

Posted by: Bigwig at August 3, 2004 01:51 PM

Ok, I took out that last paragraph. It was easier than explaining why I think Kerry is probably just as bad, especially as it was based on a gut instinct rather than hard evidence to begin with.

Posted by: Bigwig at August 3, 2004 02:11 PM

OK. I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed something somewhere. Thanks.

Posted by: Lex at August 3, 2004 02:40 PM

Here's the list of what the prez DID get:
http://cryptome.org/dos080204.txt

Posted by: Kevin M at August 3, 2004 03:09 PM

Dear Bigwig,

Sorry, could not figure out how to reach you at Siddall essay sites.

Thank you very much for your comments and information on John Siddall, my great-great uncle (my grandmother's uncle, my great-grandfather's brother).  Thanks to you I ordered and now have the best two of the three "Sid Says;" both my 88 year old mother and I am enjoying his essays.  I had made copies from the old American Mag in library stacks of many for my uncle, also a journalist.  But the book is priceless.  I had not known about the John Reed reference.  Thanks again.  I must read the Ida Tarbel biographies..have searched some for references.

Some info you might be interested in.  John MacAlpine Siddall was the youngest of six brothers (one died as a youngster) born in Oberlin, Ohio, where he did his undergraduate work.  His progressive views were certainly influenced by the school and town and his father's Quaker habits.  Family lore believes the Siddalls who moved there in 1857 were involved in the Underground Railroad.  When he did the legwork for Ida Tarbell he joined John D. Rockerfeller's Sunday school class, justto  be up close to the guy.  He also snuck onto the grounds of the Cleveland mansion to observe and prowl.  He is thought to have been aided with some inside information from his brother Ben who was a highly situated Cleveland lawyer.  (again, family lore).  Minnie Siddall was his sister-in-law, wife of brother William, a Cleveland dentist.  Jean Joiner was his wife.  They had no children.  When he knew he was dying, sadly so prematurely, he prepared eight months of Sid Says columns for use after his death.

There are relatively few Siddall descendants, but we are very proud of his life and legacy.  Thank you for keeping them alive.

Sincerely,

Hampton L. Wilmot
River Falls, WI

Posted by: Hamp at August 4, 2004 10:14 AM

I don't really want to accept your version of these events as given.

But, of course, non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to the donor and the U.S. Government.

Posted by: Stephen at August 4, 2004 04:53 PM

Hmmm.

Are they actually gifts to the individuals or to the office? Past Presidential families, such as the Clintons, have gotten numerous gifts but they've all been associated directly with the office.

If a Presidential family wishes to take anything home they have to reimburse the government for the fair market value.

So ... a non-event. A non-scandal. A non-worth my bloody time thank you.

Posted by: ed at August 4, 2004 05:34 PM

ed is right. All those gifts are considered gifts to the office. Bush gets none of it, it all goes to the national archives. I still think he could have told them to stuff it tho.

Posted by: joel at August 5, 2004 09:08 AM

Re-read your sources, guys. Gifts to the President are treated differently from gifts to the first lady, and there are no regulations at all, or at least none that I can find, about gifts to people like Jenna and her sister.

Posted by: bigwig at August 5, 2004 01:36 PM

Hmmm.

Yes of course. Because we all know the Bush's are extremely poor and unable to afford very expensive jewelry. :/ Seriously man, come on. While the Bush family is the least wealthy of the quartet of Bush, Cheney, Kerry and Edwards, they still are worth about $15 million+.

Any gifts of that kinda are associated with the office. That's SOP because otherwise we'd get situations like this i.e. innuendo.

Posted by: ed at August 6, 2004 05:52 AM

It's not the realtive wealth of the recipient that matters. Not is it the quality of the gift. What's important is the character of the giver.

Should the Bushes accept a gift from Kim Il Sung, or Fidel Castro, if either offered one, given their murderous despotism? No, because doing so would give tacit endorsement to the rule of the giver.

IMHO, accepting a gift from the Saudis is no different. It's a disgusting betrayal of American ideals, and undercuts what we're attempting to do in the Middle East.

Posted by: Bigwig at August 6, 2004 09:50 AM

I'm trying to imagine Teresa Heinz Kerry being tempted by jewelry from the Saudis.

Doesn't fly for me.

Scorpio
Eccentricity

Posted by: Scorpio at August 7, 2004 11:36 PM

hi. what a fantastic site! took my breath away, great work. bye for now.

Posted by: Computers at October 26, 2004 12:10 AM

This site is interesting as well as informative. Enjoyed browsing through the site. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Casino Hotel at December 4, 2004 07:27 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?