Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Spray Paint and a Salute to Veteran’s Day

Sleepers, Awake

Watch, therefore, for you know not the day nor the hour...

Revolutionary Grrl spray paints a warning across the window of the 1st International Megabank, “Sleepers, Awake.” Is that all she wrote? Find out next week.

Ehhhhh, the page looked better in lineart–I’ll figure out a revision before publishing in print form.

And we upload, one day late because of Veteran’s Day. You remember Veteran’s Day, don’t you? The day all the congresspersons who’ve voted against Veterans’ Benefits get to wave flags and make speeches about how important our troops are. Notice I didn’t say veterans–we only “support the troops”, not the veterans. It seems vets have something in common with fetuses–as long as they’re inside, they’re important, but once they’re out, hey, you’re on your own, Jack. Saying “Thank you for your service,” is a nice cheap way to get around it.

Now if we really wanted to support our troops–and support the veterans as well–we’d pay them a decent wage while they’re in the service. You know, something comparable to what we paid the mercenaries, I mean, civilian contractors we used while we fought two wars of choice in the last decade that we weren’t paying for because they’d pay for themselves with all that Iraqi oil that we never got. Instead of spending the money on a bunch of boondoggle toys for the Pentagon that nobody really wants.

But that would be intelligent and despite the NSA’s best efforts, there IS no intelligence in Washington. So, instead, we salute our veterans. Thanks for your service. Maybe one day, we’ll actually do something to show our appreciation.

And while we’re at it, money, not just prayer, is needed for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. CBSNews has a page devoted to how you can help.

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An Anniversary Nobody Really Cheered About

Well, at least we kept Peoria from being nuked by Saddam Hussein...

Please Note: the Anniversary Cake is Yellow

Last week, we saw the passing of the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq war—ooops, excuse me, Congress never declared war, so, ummmm, what do we call it?

When the airplanes struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, somewhere amid the horror of what I was seeing rose an additional realization, “Oh, my God, we’ve just had our Reichstag Fire.” I could see with horrifying clarity that this would be the defining moment that turned the United States from its democratic principles to something totally antithetical to the dreams of our nation’s Fathers. We have resisted the impulse of creating concentration camps for Moslems–we incarcerated many, but mostly exiled them for visa transgressions. We have created gulags where we gathered a mostly hapless group of alleged terrorists whose major crime seems to have been being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wrong person wanted to collect a reward. We HAVE built massive PRISONS, but these are privately run camps to provide slave labor and corporate profit and anyone can enter. We passed the grossly obscene “Patriot” act through which almost any crime can be considered to be an act of terrorism–when the need arises.

Our incursion into Afghanistan almost looked legitimate. We claimed the head of, what was his name, Osama bin Laden? Yes, he was there, later on he claimed credit for “9/11″, which our government was already doing within minutes of the tower falls–since it had pointedly ignored the warnings from the intelligence community of terrorist actions inside the US. He was there, but the Taliban government had the nerve to ask for evidence before they would consider handing him over. So like a western posse, we went in and cleaned up the corruption in Rock Ridge and hunted down bin Laden until we were just yards from his hiding place in the mountains when…

Wait, what? The real danger is from Iraq? The country which had been under UN sanctions for a decade? Whose dictator, Saddam Hussein, couldn’t even afford to buy shoes for his army? HE had weapons of mass destruction? Yes, we had the ominous YELLOW CAKE requests–which turned out to be forgeries. We had George Bush and Tony Blair smirking their way into war. We had Dick Cheney and Condi Rice promising us mushroom clouds of doom if nothing was done immediately. We had a mountain of evidence that Colin Powell presented at the UN. I remember listening to him and being absolutely convinced by the man’s sense of sincerity… until the next morning, when I realized that all that evidence had no context. That if you believed it was something bad it was, but those conversations about hiding things could have just as easily been hiding the porn when the inspectors arrived.

And so we went off and destroyed a country within weeks. Killed several thousand Americans and maimed 10s of thousands. Killed 100s of thousands Iraqis and destroyed the infrastructure of the country. Wasted around two trillion dollars (when asked about the loss of a trillion dollars from the Pentagon budgets, Donald Rumsfeld remarked, “I’ll have to look into that,” and didn’t) which the Tea Party is now trying to collect from the poorest among us. For which sinful errors of judgment or outright acts of war-mongering for profit no one has been held accountable.

Many of us felt powerless to do anything to stop it. Only after the deed was done did I decide that I could do a political cartoon series against these criminals. I was scared too–protesting the war COULD have been considered an act of terrorism according to the Patriot Act.

HAPPY F$%^&*G ANNIVERSARY.

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And the Magic Word is: al-Qaeda

What? We're still fighting 'al-Qaeda' in Afghanistan?

Say the magic word and we can have troops there until doomsday.

“You Bet Your Life!” “Say the magic woid,” Groucho would say, but our answer today is, “and we can have troops anywhere until doomsday.”

President Obama made a surprise trip to Kabul the other week as part of his up-and-running campaign against the Mittster to emphasize that HE was the one to have success in our Middle Eastern snafu, that the troops supported him and–possibly an afterthought–shore up some agreements about our post-2014-withdrawal presence in Afghanistan. What? you say–we’re going to keep a presence in Afghanistan? You bet your bippy. We still have a “presence” in Italy, Germany and Japan, 67 years after the end of WWII, much to the dismay of the Japanese although, except for the Okinawans, nobody is saying it very loud.

So the issue is, how many troops will we keep in Afghanistan after we remove all our troops from Afghanistan? I bet you thought “removing all our troops” mean “removing all our troops”! How cute! Don’t you know? According to the President, we’re still fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

AHhhh, the magic word! Al-Qaeda! Everything is justified after 9-11 by the use of that name! It justifies almost 11 long hard years of wasting countless dollars and thousands of American lives–not to mention the 100s of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives–and is the ne plus ultra raison d’etre for this morass (and I do mean MORE ASS!).

Now you may argue that there’s really only two al-Qaeda operatives IN Afghanistan since almost all of the left for Pakistan. We don’t really know what we know about al-Qaeda levels–it’s one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s unknown knowns. But that’s the way we are. We can’t make war on an ally, so we do the next best thing and make war on their next-door neighbor to prove how tough we are. That doesn’t mean we can’t break the rule sovereignity by pulling an assassination raid in Pakistan to get rid of Osama bin Laden–al-Qaeda again justified it!

Now our friends on the Republican side of the aisle and Fox and Friends have been raising a stink lately (a year later) over whether or not Obama SHOULD have authorized a raid that THEY would have authorized in a New York minute but now have to be critical of since Obama led the charge. AND getting upset that Obama is “spiking the ball” for having accomplished it, forgetting that George W. Bush spiked the ball on first down before we’d gotten anywhere NEAR the endzone. But that’s the way it is. Remember, they were FOR killing Osama before they were against it!

The I Ching says the superior man’s actions are both good AND correct. Unfortunately, superior men seem to be in short supply in politics today.

I will be in the Philadelphia area next weekend for ZENKAIKON, specifically, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, May 11-12. I’ll be returning on Sunday, so I won’t be doing a cartoon next weekend, but will return on the 20th. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

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The Other Day At #OccupyDC

I WILL BE POSTING A NEW CARTOON ON TUESDAY OCT 18, TO RECOVER FROM THE NEW YORK COMIC CON.

No cartoon this week because it is the October 12th holiday (celebrated on October 10 this year). It’s not very PC to like Columbus Day anymore and for some very good reasons, like celebrating the introduction of slavery and genocide to the New World. On the other hand, it is the official start of Western civilization in the Western Hemisphere and that, for good or for ill, is something worth remembering. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I have an emotional attachment to the holiday since it is my birthday and I LOVE to get a day off for my birthday, even if the actual date falls on a Monday only once out of every seven years–3 out of 7 if you include the weekend. Nevertheless, I do not have any emotional attachment to Columbus himself, since he seems to have been something of a jerk, so I would not be adverse to anyone changing the celebratory intent of the holiday. Unfortunately, no one is going to call it Greg Day, so let’s call it American Culture Day. Just leave it in the second week of October, thank you. I don’t want to have to go changing my birth records to make my birthday July the 4th–you not only get a day off ON the day, but you get fireworks too! And Happy Birthday to all the other October 12ers out there–you’re special people since you partake in MY DAY!

Anyway, since I knew I was going to take some time off today, I decided belatedly to try to find out what was happening at #OccupyDC sometime BEFORE whatever it was they were going to do got done so I could actually get down there and do it with them. #OccupyDC is our local version of the #OccupyFillInTheBlank movement that is slowly gathering momentum throughout the country. The most well-known of these is, of course, #OccupyWallStreet which was finally discovered by the mainstream news the other week when some cop decided to randomly pepperspray some of the protestors on camera and then several days later when 700 people were induced to take paddywagon rides at the City’s expense. I have mentioned OWS a few times in here, but well, quite frankly I was kind of unaware of the DC branch until it had been in existence for a few weeks. This is what I get for getting so much of my news from the Huffington Post–there weren’t any Kardashians taking part in it so it never made the Front Page (THX Arianna for selling out to AOL).

Anyway, I made my way over to McPherson Square on Friday where the Washington Post had said a march to the IMF building was to start. There was a small crowd there, since, I was told, the MAIN group which was actually starting the demonstration was at “Liberty Plaza”, a place I had no idea existed, unless he meant Liberty Square in Manhattan. Which I later found out was actually “Freedom Plaza”, a place I had actually heard about in my 40-odd years in the DC area. We really need some originality in naming our landmarks and parks. What the heck, since it was starting down there, I had time to get new batteries for my camera and a chili dog–it’s my only weakness. Anyway, a few minutes after the introduction of food to my digestive system, the main group arrived and the forces swelled to about 300-400 people and off we went, alternately chanting “Occupy Wall Street, Occupy K Street,” and singing “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.” It almost felt like the 70s–well, a hallucinogenically-deprived version thereof.

We had a big police escort–something like a dozen police cruisers and a few dozen officers on foot or bicycle. But it was not an NYPD situation–there was a respect between the protestors and the police. Partially because the group has not hit the size necessary for over-reacting and partially because, I suspect, many of the police unofficially sympathized with what the protest was about. Besides, most of the bigwigs at IMF had already absconded for the weekend, rather than face all those “people.”

Despite the snide remarks of some of the pundits and professional pooh-poohers, it is not unknown what the demands of the #Occupiers are. Pace President Obama, we are not frustrated with a system that doesn’t seem to work, we are DISGUSTED with one that only DOES work for the top 1%. We are disgusted that the banks which caused the economic mess the entire world is in because of their greed were deemed too important to allow them to bear the brunt of their sins. That they were bailed out to the tune of 3/4 of a trillion dollars while the victims of their greed were allowed to go bust and get thrown out of their homes. We are disgusted that we, the taxpayers, had to bear the brunt of this cost while the banksters themselves were not only not punished, but rewarded themselves with billions of dollars in “bonuses” and didn’t even get their taxes raised or even get regulations prohibiting their worst activities. We are disgusted with “corporate personhood” which has enshrined political dependency on corporate largess. We are disgusted that corporations are so much more important than people that so-called health care reform was formulated around the institutionalization of parasitical health insurance companies. We are disgusted that so much importance is laid on the deficit at a time when government spending is needed for the American people that important job supporting programs like rebuilding the infrastructure and education are being cut left and right to satisfy a small bunch of yahoos who want to “drown government in the bathtub.” And we are disgusted that so much of our resources are being wasted by wars that we seem to be fighting solely so that we “don’t lose.” And finally, but most of all, we are disgusted that no one is listening to us.

Anyway, here’s a few of the pictures I took while on the march. You can see the entire album at my Flickr pages. Have a great holiday and happy birthday to all my astrotwins out there!
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May 9, 2011: Osama Still Dead! Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due…

Not to mention 6 years of birthday greetings to all 26 of his children, all ending with 'And Death to America'

Not to mention 6 years of birthday greetings to all 26 of his children, all ending with 'And Death to America'

Well, a week later and no Osama doubles have shown up, which is probably a good thing. Pakistan has been alternating between blustery protests of “You shouldn’t have done that,” and hiding behind the egg on their faces. The people on Osama’s block have collectively said, “Really, they seemed so quiet, we just thought they were very religious.” Rush Limbaugh was forced to choke out credit to President Obama, but he recovered quickly. We also discovered that the only things we really knew about the mission is that it was in Pakistan and bin Laden was shot–everything we’d been told on the first night EXCEPT President Obama’s announcement turned out to be pure fantasy.

Now Obama offered former President Bush an invitation for them both to appear at “Ground Zero,” but George declined because, at least we were told, he didn’t think he was getting enough credit for his effort in trying to capture bin Laden. One commentator said, this was kind of like the guy who didn’t open the jar saying he loosened it when you opened the top. But this isn’t quite accurate. Bush is the guy who screwed it down too tight in the first place and THEN couldn’t open the jar and needed someone else’s help.

What can we credit Bush with? Ignoring Clinton’s outgoing advice that al-Qaeda was the biggest threat we were facing? Ignoring Richard Clarke’s warnings when he was head of Cybersecurity? Ignoring the CIA memo that bin Laden was intent on striking within the US and dismissing it as covering their asses? Flying around the country in a panic on 9/11 thinking the terrorists were after him after Ari Fleischer tried to convince us that we had “credible intelligence” that the White House was the other target within hours of our being caught flat-footed? Perhaps turning down the Taliban’s offer to hand Osama over (if we gave them the evidence of his involvement which we didn’t have until he kindly took credit for it a few years later) because they didn’t say “Mother, may I?” Giving up the search in Tora Bora yards from bin Laden’s hideout because it was time to invade Iraq and deal with the REAL threat (koff!) How about seven years of “not finding him” because it wasn’t particularly important and bin Laden had been marginalized, hiding out in some cave in the mountains of Afghanistan–when he was really living in a Pakistan suburb?

You’re right. I think President Bush deserves credit for all of those things.

Michael Moore and several others, on the other hand, have been complaining about the lack of due process and how we should have brought bin Laden to trial to show the world something or other about justice. Oh hogwash, Michael, it wasn’t a strictly legal mission to begin with. You know, something about not respecting Pakistan’s sovereign territory (like Shep Smith was ignored about). What would holding a trial have accomplished–shown the world that we can hold a kangaroo court as well as anyone else? I mean seriously, even if his defensive team included Abe Lincoln, Clarence Darrow, Johnny Cochran, F Lee Bailey AND Perry Mason, there was a snowball’s chance in hell that a jury could be convinced there was a reasonable doubt that he’d authorized the 9/11 attacks and isn’t that REALLY the purpose of a trial? Did he need a forum to present his side? It wasn’t as if he hadn’t had nearly 9 years of issuing pronouncements that gave the justification for the attack. I agree, in the best of all possible worlds, it would have been a good idea to put him on trial and give al-Qaeda the present of a ceremonial execution or a living martyr in a US prison to inspire them. But we live in this one and a trial would have just been a theatre piece, a ritual piece of mumbo-jumbo to keep the bad mojo off our actions, an anticlimactic last reel that would only have made sense if bin Laden leaped up out of Silver Lake wearing a hockey mask.

Be thankful that this part is over. Now we can get back to the REAL problem–getting the hell out of two wars we shouldn’t have been in in the first place.

Oh, yes. Thanks, President Bush.

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