Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Revolutionary Grrl 5–How to deal with surveillance …

As the two police units leave, Revolutionary Grrl comes back out of hiding.

Dealing with surveillance...

How does Revolutionary Grrl deal with surveillance? Find out next week!

In the meantime, it’s Hallowe’en. Trick or Treat! and boy, does NSA have a trick for you! Not just Angela Merkel–who has been thinking twice about that shoulder rub der Dubbley├╝ gave her–but 35 other national leaders (at the last count I can remember) have had their phones tapped by NSA! Not only that, but 60 million phone calls a month from Spain to add to the 70 million from France. Well, 50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong, but we’ll add 20 million more to make sure.

The treat is that it’s making the world safer for the US. After all, they claim that it saved us from over 50 terrrrrrrrrist plots already. HOCKEYPUCKS! With that amount of data, I don’t care how much computing power you have, you’re never going to find important information–UNLESS you already know what you are looking for. Is that how they’ve been getting all those al-Qaida targets? Playing 6 degrees of Osama bin Laden from his old cell phone contact list? Now we know why that pizzeria in Islamabad got droned–someone who Osama called, called someone who called someone who called someone who called someone who ordered a pizza with everything–they must have been terrorists–no pork sausage.

This isn’t about protecting America. It’s spying on people just because WE CAN. Do they honestly think they can find out anything about a terrorist plot just by sifting through several billion phone calls a month? Hell, no. This isn’t a tool for protection, it’s a tool for prosecution. Once they find out who the terrorist is, they can track down any accomplices who are stupid enough to use their throw-away phones more than a week.

And the congresspeople who defend this tool? They’re just a bunch of tools themselves! Besides, we already have a network for spying on people. It’s called the Internet. Except that’s only useful for finding out what kind of porn the terrorists have been watching.

And cat videos.

Unless you’re Angela Merkel. We got everything on her. Who ya gonna call, Angela? Make it Ghostbusters–you got too many spooks on the line listening in…

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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.


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You Have To Hit These Semantic Points JUST Right!

Barack Obama prepares to smack down Mitt Romney with a giant debate point/mallet

Where'd he get that mallet from?

Well, Barry was on point the other night. He not only went toe to toe with Mitt, but he managed to call one of his remarks “offensive” and look at one point like he was going to slap Willard silly. Americans are ALWAYS impressed by that kind of stuff. He got in the point about the 47% Romney doesn’t care about at the very END of the debate when Romney couldn’t make a comeback, AND he scored the rhetorical point of the evening.

Now, all the critics have pointed out that Obama’s score was a semantic point. Yes, Willard was right that it took us two weeks to determine if the Benghazi incident was a terrorist plot and this was because we got caught with our pants down. With all the cost-cutting, we didn’t have the security in an area where our diplomats were well-liked. Or the intelligence. And President Obama DID call the incident an “act of terrorism” while speaking in broad generalities in the Rose Garden the next day.

But let’s look at this a bit closer. What was Mitt comparing it to? Well, the most likely event that he was comparing it to was that horrible incident some 11 years ago when a bunch of terrorists flew some airplanes into some really big office buildings–that’s right, “9-11″. And we knew then, moments after it occurred, that not only was it an act of terrorism, but we knew WHO was responsible. And why did we know this?

Because Bush and Company had been asleep at the wheel. Intelligence had been advising them since day one of the administration that al-Qaeda and Bin Laden were planning something big, something within the borders of the United States, something that involved stealing jet planes, and the official response was, “Yeah, yeah, you covered your ass–now let’s get on to more important stuff like cutting taxes.”

How many times has something rotten happened that you snapped your fingers and said, “Man, I KNEW THAT was going to happen.” And why did you know? Because you’d screwed up and not taken it into account. So sometimes, speed in declaring something a terrorist act is NOT a very good thing–like when it’s an an indication of stupid complacency. So I’m more than willing to let Barry score on this one. Mitt deserved the mallet from Hammerspace.

What is Hammerspace? Glad you asked–it is the critical name for that extra-dimensional portal out of which a cartoon character grabs a giant mallet to smack down his opponent. I think we can thank Tex Avery for the discovery of the portal as a cartoon device, usually accompanied by a boi-oi-oing sound effect as the mallet strikes and loud music from Carl Stallings, but the name for it is much more recent and too obscure for the wiki to say who first used the term. Anyway, Mitt, welcome to Hammerspace–when you walk into one, you deserve it.

Now let’s see what happens in the next one.

And another sad event. Our condolences to the family of George McGovern, another lion who acted on what he stood for. The last generation of politicians who weren’t all completely beholden to financial interests is fast fading into memory.

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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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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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