Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

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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Couldn’t Have Happened To A Nicer Guy

The GOP is sure all this slut business will blow over by November

Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk...

Much as I normally hate to do a subject two weeks in a row, the swift financial retribution against Rush Limbaugh is worthy of an exception. Seems Rush has lost about 90% of his sponsors over the controversy caused by his deliberate slander of an innocent bystander, at least temporarily. As you will remember, Rush called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute for the horrendous crime of wanting to testify to the all-male committee fulminating over contraception about her friend who was denied contraceptives when she needed them for hormone therapy. Rush leapt to judgment on the girl, in an ass-brained show of ignorance of how contraceptives work, saying she was having so much sex she needed government assistance to pay for her pills. The rightwing ditto heads have repeated these charges ad nauseam and no amount of facts can ever dissuade them from the opinions given them by the Pope of Clear Channel.

This is the way free speech works in the free market. Rush Limbaugh was, is and will be free to make any ass-brained statement he wants to make. The question is whether or not anyone has to pay to allow those statements to be broadcast to the nation and world at large. With sponsors, he can shout it loud and clear to the entire radio audience. Without sponsors, he’s still free to shout them–but unless he or Clear Channel pay for it themselves, his soapbox might be … a soapbox. Seems Clear Channel has had to run Public Service Announcements on many of the commercial spots during Rush’s show this week. Dum da dum dum!

Bill Maher has weighed in on the proceedings and has tried to argue that Rush ought not be censored by the free market. Piffle. Bill is still smarting because HIS former TV show Politically Incorrect got dumped when he expressed an unforgivable truth: that the perpetrators of the cowardly attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center were not themselves cowards. This was in the middle of US war-drum fever. Come on Bill, Americans won’t be ready for that kind of nuance before 2102, the year AFTER the 9/11 centennial. We still have people who said the Japanese deserved the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown tragedy because of PEARL HARBOR! And besides, what you said was true, just unpopular. That’s a fair distance from maliciously maligning someone by misrepresenting what they’d said or done.

Free speech doesn’t mean we have to subsidize hate speech. As long as someone’s willing to pay for the plug in the socket, Rush will have a platform. But, if no one wants to pay to have a person with that much bile representing their company, screw it. Let him try to get a gig on NPR :)

And speaking of Japan, this weekend marked the anniversary of that horrible series of misfortunes. Compounding the tragedy was that although Japan is one of the most prepared nations against earthquakes, the government had let down its guard on tsunami preparedness and had dropped the ball on nuclear safety measures AND spent more time CYAing and following procedures instead of reacting swiftly enough to contain the nuclear danger. But the Japanese people have shown incredible resilience and courage in their recovery. Last year, I did a short video to Yoko Kanno’s song for the survivors and I’d like to post its URL here againhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na60p1P22rg. Links are there for several organizations that were involved in the recovery effort at the time. I’m sure they will accept more donations.

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It was all Boehner could do to stop Mike Pence from holding his breath til he turned blue…

No, that's not a basketball team uniform...

No, that's not a basketball team uniform...

Our country is in a world of hurt. Seriously. In one party, we have a bunch of two-year-olds who demand everything and won’t be satisfied without sugar on top. And on the other hand, we have a chief executive who has the backbone of a sponge. SpongeBarack. He sucks in all this abuse, giggles annoyingly, and then declares it a great accomplishment for the American people. OK, Barry doesn’t giggle annoyingly, but it would be better if he did.

Now I understand narcissism. I was an actor once. And that’s possibly the one profession which is more narcissistic than politics, but it’s a close race between actors, politicians and strippers. Politicians see every deal as an accomplishment–even turds that have been spray-painted gold. And this budget deal is a turd so moist the paint can’t even stick. Yet President Obama goes and describes it as some kind of rosey-hued vision of democracy because “Americans of different beliefs came together,” to avoid a government shutdown–when the tyrannical threat of a shutdown should never have existed in the first place! Then he went to the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the fact that it was still open, but don’t worry, your tax dollars will help pay for those tax cuts for the upper 1% we caved on back in 2010. My, how long ago was THAT? Oh, by the way, we’ll have to cut out some government jobs–like 100,000! (But the stock market is doing great, isn’t recovery grand?)

And immediately after the deal was struck–we get assholes like Mike Pence intoning that the deal was probably not good enough. Not good enough? According to one Republican, they got 79% of what they wanted. What does Mike Pence want? 100% capitulation, an apology for not surrendering sooner, war reparations and Obama, Reid and Pelosi committing seppuku on the steps of the Capital?

As a wise ‘possum once said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” God save the United States of America–’cause nobody else is trying.
__________

The awful tragedy in Japan is continuing–hundreds of thousands of people have been homeless for a month now and agriculture in the area–particularly rice farming–is non-existent. Many people kept their money at home rather than the banks, and now are penniless. So a reminder, please give generously for Japan relief in this time of need

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone
Text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.
Text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.
Also Save the Children
Japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief @ Global Giving
Doctors Without Borders
Americares
Shelter Box
Peace Winds
Operation USA
World Vision

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Too Soon? Not for our nuclear expert, Ann Coulter!

Ann Coulter takes a dip in Japan's latest hot spring, while a Fukushima engineer rails at her from the sidelines.

Dear Ann: Why don't you go over and show us how beneficial a little radiation can be?

Well, the big news about someone finally helping the Libyan rebels after they had been driven back to Benghazi has pushed the Japanese situation off the headlines. While I’m generally not very much in favor of militarily sticking our noses into other countries’ affairs, I’m even more against pussyfooting around when it’s something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and (drumroll) WE WERE ACTUALLY ASKED TO DO IT. I mean, instead of being suckered into it by someone who’d tell any lie to get us to attack his country to a bunch of people who’d tell any lie to to convince us we needed to start a war against it. The Libyan rebels were actually in danger of overthrowing Gaddafi a few weeks back, but I suppose, it was better to wait until they’d been hammered to near defeat so there could be a much more protracted and expensive war. Gotta keep those arms factories busy–they’re our only dependable export!

Besides, we couldn’t do anything about Libya while Japan’s travails were at the top of the headlines! We can only keep our collective national attention on ONE thing at a time! Sure enough, now that we’ve started bombing raids in Libya, Japan gets swept off the headlines–last week’s news–it’s been seven days, aren’t they out of the woods YET? Well, the situation has improved–if you can count finding a few thousand bodies and getting 2 out of 6 reactors stable improved–but there are many more bodies to be found, 4 reactors that still are in danger and Japan is in massive need of rebuilding. But don’t worry! We’ve tied up the world supply of potassium iodide so the people of the west coast and their pets won’t get radiation sickness! Never mind the people who live on the same island! Our chihuahuas must not get sick (except maybe from an overdose of potassium iodide).

Americans are known for over-reacting to everything. So it comes as a shock that Ann Coulter would seem to be a voice of reason. But no, when she said, a little bit of radiation was GOOD for you, she wasn’t thinking about the nervous nellies of California, she meant the people of Tokyo! “… the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer,” she wrote in her Human Events column. Well, Ann, if a little bit of radiation is so good for you, why don’t you hop on over to Fukushima and lend a hand? Oh, I forgot, that would be altruistic and Ayn Rand would never have approved. On the other hand, it’d be great publicity for your next book and remember, your place as the reigning bitch queen of the right wing has been usurped by the Alaskan twitterer! So go on over for the photo opportunity–and do us a favor–take a few photos at the gate of the reactor complex. But don’t get in the way–you might keep some of those engineers who are desperately trying to save their country from getting their proper dose of Vitamin Gamma Ray.

In the meantime, everyone, please keep sending in donations for Japanese relief–I listed a few worthy causes in last week’s column and there are many others as well. With a tragedy of these proportions–over 400,000 people are homeless and in need of food, clothing, shelter and medical attention–even a wealthy country like Japan needs help in the short run and if you can even just afford a few bucks, it will help.

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Kimi de ite, buji de ite (Yoko Kanno) For the people of Japan


Song by Yoko Kanno
Images by Greg Uchrin, Translation by utadafreak22 http://www.jpopasia.com/news/yoko-kannos-message-song-to-japan::5466.html
Please give generously for Japan relief in this time of need
Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone
Text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.
Text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.
Also
Save the Children
Japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief @ Global Giving
Doctors Without Borders
Americares
Shelter Box
Peace Winds
Operation USA
World Vision

A Personal Note

I had just finished watching an online movie late Thursday night/Friday morning when I saw the news about the disaster befalling Japan. Readers will know that I am an anime and J-horror movie fan. The images I saw were worse than any horror movie because they were real. I knew that this was what I would be devoting today’s blog to. But how to do it properly to express the fear, pain, sorrow and yet, hope for recovery that I wished to convey?

It seems that almost every cartoonist has been doing some image based on Hokusai’s famous ukiyo-e “Wave” prints, the Japanese flag, or the Wave AND the Japanese flag. So I wanted to do something different. At the same time, I was trying NOT to react to the idiocy I was seeing like CNN’s Larry David–I mean Larry KUDLOW–opining that we should be grateful that the human toll is worse than the economic toll (which I hope was just a stupid way of saying that it’s amazing that the economic toll isn’t as devastating as the human one), Rush Limbaugh’s asshole opinion that environmentalists would blame it on global warming and cheer that so many car manufacturers were hard hit by the disaster–seriously, that man needs to multiply up his oxycontin consumption so that he’s too opiated to foist his coprophagic bloviating on the world–and idiots on the web cheering that finally Japan was paid back for Pearl Harbor–an event which happened when most of them were probably not even born yet–as if being fought to an unconditional surrender 66 YEARS AGO and suffering the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to mention the firebombing of Tokyo, didn’t cause enough civilian deaths to satisfy the bloodthirsty cretins. But I won’t mention my reaction to these.

Then I heard Kanno Yoko’s beautiful song. Kanno Yoko, or as she is more generally known in the west, Yoko Kanno, is a brilliant composer and is known mostly for her work in anime and movies, including Cowboy Bebop, the Ghost in the Shell television series, and a personal favorite, the undeservedly little known live action film, Kamikaze Girls. She wrote Kimi de ite in response to the disaster as a means of providing comfort and hope to her fellow Japanese and published it on YouTube without any accompanying video. I was able to read the touching lyrics on Jpopasia posted by utadafreak22, a young fan. Kanno-sama’s song soothed my own feelings about the aforementioned idiots and expressed everything I myself wanted to say about the sad situation.

I had two options. I could accompany the song with photos of the disaster. I felt that this might be too brutal, and I also thought that other people would take care of this option faster and better than I could. Or I could create a video that matched the tone of this song. That’s what I’ve tried to do here.

Please keep the people of Japan in your hearts and thoughts as this disaster continues to unfold. And please give to one of the above charities, or any of the others which are stepping in to help in this time of need.

Thank you.

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