Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

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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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 again 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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How Dare They Publish These Documents Without Clearing It With HQ?

The little American general tries to plug the leak in the dyke.

Sticking his finger in the dyke...

Well, Wikileaks has done it again. Not being content with having shown video of a turkey shooting in Baghdad–oh, wait a moment–those weren’t turkeys, those were REUTERS NEWS MEN!–they now have had the effrontery to publish 92,000 documents concerning our wartime activities in Afghanistan. 92,000! This makes the 4100 pages of the Pentagon Papers look like small potatoes. You couldn’t do this before the Interwebs! Let’s hear it for technology!

As for what’s in those documents, God only knows. WhoTF has even read them yet? I mean, this makes the last couple of Harry Potter books look like Victoria’s Secret flyers! Wikileaks founder Julian Assange tells us that there is evidence of war crimes there. The Guardian–the British newspaper given advance looks at the stuff–says there no such thing. But one thing, they and the NYTimes and Der Spiegel agree on–it’s worse than we were told.

The White House is making sure that everyone knows that the bulk of these documents deal with things that happened B.O.–Before Obama! But if this was the situation B.O., WTF are we still doing there now? The Pentagon, sharp as ever, wants to remind everyone that no one vetted these documents. Hell, back in the good ol’ days when Stan McChrystal was in charge, the Army vetted all leaks!

As for the reaction of the American public, who knows? The loudest shouters are so far, and have always been, the people who think we’re at war in Afghanistan because THEY ATTACKED US! Wait a minute, that war was over seven years ago–and WE WON! But perhaps these documents may convince more people that the reason for being in Afghanistan vanished a long time ago and–like the guy at last call who hasn’t left yet–the reason we’re still there is because we’re too drunk to see where the door is.

But I doubt it–the size of the leak is too vast for anyone to get a handle on it and its sheer weight will dull its own impact. As for war crimes–hey, there’s only a couple of them in there and they’re just little ones anyway! Besides, it’s war! You can’t make an omelet without breaking a couple of eggs!

I’m afraid we’ll be eating that Afghan Omelet for some time. And it will be about as appetizing as eating my Aunt Margie’s Afghan.

No cartoon next week–I’m taking time off and going to Otakon! Have fun y’all and try to stay out of the heat!

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We Send Troops, We Send Troops Not, We Send Troops, We Send Troops Not

Obama plays one-on-one with an advisor as he makes his decision about troops to Afghanistan

Barry 'The Flash' Obama On the Court

Yesterday was Veterans’ Day and as all Presidents do, Barack Obama went to Arlington to pay respect to our nation’s heroic dead. He seem to have surprised everyone by actually walking among the Iraq and Afghanistan war graves–although why that should have surprised anyone can only be ascribed to just how unexpected a noble gesture is after the Bush years. George Bush made the typical patriotic noises on each of his Veterans’ Days, but he always took care not to greet bodies at Andrews Air Force Base or visit the gravesites lest lightning come suddenly out of the sky. Instead he asked us to support our troops by going out and spending money like it was 1997. Very few of us could actually do that after the FIRST Bush recession–unless we were employed by Goldman Sachs and doing God’s work to make ourselves rich. God helps them that help themselves and gosh darnit, those superproductive workers at Goldman Sachs have done nothing but help themselves!
But I digress–I do that a lot since the Bush years, which seem to have kicked up my ADHD several notches. I think it’s because ADHD characterized our leadership in those days. Bush managed to send out troops into Afghanistan–where they were charged to find Osama bin Laden and were called away to go fight in Iraq when they were on the verge of actually finding him. In Iraq, our troops were charged to take away Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction–which have been forgotten ever since we got tired of looking for something that wasn’t there. We DID manage to find Saddam Hussein–or at least, we found him when somebody handed him over to us in a drugged stupor. If that hadn’t happened, I’m sure we’d have forgotten about that also–like we did about several billion dollars for rebuilding Iraq which managed to disappear unaccounted for. Donald Rumsfeld managed to mislay 2.3 TRILLION dollars somewhere in the Pentagon–which is quite an accomplishment. And of course, we forgot that the levies in New Orleans weren’t up to standard, and at last, we gave away 350 billion dollars to bail out financial companies without asking anyone what they did with the money.
But to return to the veterans. Back in those heady days of fantasizing that we would conquer the entire Middle East so that another 9/11 would never happen again, it was practically a mark of treason to suggest that our military adventures in Sand-flea-istan were ill-advised. But finally, most of the country has come to believe that sending troops on missions with no good reason is not exactly the best use of the armed forces. While most of the country still believes however that the “troops should be supported no matter what,” some of us are still trying to make the argument that the best support you can give the troops is to get them the hell out of someplace they aren’t supposed to be. We’ve declared victory in Iraq so we can skedaddle at the most auspicious time–has anyone heard much news out of there in a while–must be our national ADHD again! And now we turn our attention back to Afghanistan, where the Pentagon, bless their pointy little heads, is telling us we can win if we only nearly double our troops there by sending in 40,000 more. The question is, what are we supposed to win? Al-Qaeda did a little mountain climbing and now lives in Pakistan. The Taliban are trying to wrest power from the corrupt Karzai government–which WE put in place. What the hell are we doing there anyway?
So–now it’s on Barry’s plate. President Obama has at least 4 options of what to do about our military presence in Afghanistan. The option that makes sense–getting us the hell out of there–has been taken off the table–like the single payer health care option had been–leaving us with four different ways we can lose American lives and waste its money in order to achieve some nebulous victory. If we don’t do it, we are told, then all the American lives already lost will be meaningless. That kind of reasoning is like the horseplayer on a losing streak who has to keep betting or else he won’t make back the money he’s lost. DUHHHH! If you can see how stupid the one is–why can’t you see how totally dumbass stupid the other is?
Anyway, Obama has these four options and as always, he’s acting as coy as Miss Scarlett when she’s deciding which beau she’s going to let bring her some barbeque. He’s acting as coy as Steve Jobs when he’s about to introduce the iVibe. You’d think the White House had turned into a backyard fish pond filled with big carp! Which BAD move will Obama decide to take? Just this week, our ambassador to Afghanistan came back and said–DON’T DO IT! But, we can’t let out boys down or the wingnuts will come out and say Obama has no guts for a fight because he’s a socialist fascist and a secret Muslim to boot. Which trying to make sense of makes my head hurt! Obama says he will announce his decision after Thanksgiving. How much you wanna bet he’s trying to find some middle ground solution that neither withdraws troops not sends enough in to do anything? We’re taking bets. Stay tuned for more information!

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