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.

HAPPY F$%^&*G ANNIVERSARY.

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Who’d'a Thunk The Belgians Would Be So Creative?

Young Frankenstein homage, exhuming the Belgian archbishop with ties to the child abuse scandal..

The Belgians thought it would be better to hire local labor to exhume the Cardinal...

Well, it has been an eventful week. General MacArthur shot his mouth off again to the press and Harry Truman was forced to sack him. Oooops, I mean General McChrystal shot his mouth off to a reporter from Rolling Stone and Obama, after months of McChrystal’s badmouthing and leaking, was finally forced into firing him. McChrystal’s boss and predecessor, General Petraeus, will take over operations in Afghanistan that, suprise! surprise! we’ve been told will probably take even longer. After all, those 50 al-Qaeda in the mountains need to be kept from rejoining the rest of their crew … in PAKISTAN. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re trying to keep out the Taliban too so we can keep our friend Karzai in power–who, it has been speculated, has already joined the Taliban. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows, but the United States will continue to waste money and troops there because we won’t accept defeat in a war that lost its meaning 5 years ago.

Anyway, on to the real story…no, not the one about Fox and Friends wondering what that BP robot was thinking when it accidentally knocked the cap off the Gulf gusher–Jon Stewart already handled that. Hey, guys, The Terminator was just a MOVIE. No, I’m talking about the latest development in the ongoing story of Churchly pederasty. Holy Hercule Poirot! The Belgian fuzz raided church offices to seize evidence about priestly child abuse and its coverup. You gotta hand it to those Belgians. They ain’t sitting on their hands with this one. But the icing on the cake was the opening of two Cardinal’s tombs–what, did they think they were going to catch them in a smoking erection? Evidently, somebody thought that evidence might have been buried with the prelates, instead of being burned like anyone with half a mind would have done. On the other hand, the Church is full of bureaucrats, better photocopy those papers before you burn them, just in case we need them again!

While giving the Belgian police high marks for energy, initiative and creativity, I have to ask what they were smoking. Did someone read/watch The Da Vinci Code one too many times? How about Young Frankenstein? In any case, Our Holy Father is in a state of Righteous Dudgeon–something he forgot about doing while HE was in charge of investigating priestly child abuse–How DARE they act like the Church was full of bankers? I mean, criminals! “Huff! Huff!” he huffed, “Thou Shalt Not Hear the end of this!” And the former Hitlerjugend member from Bavaria (in what was to become WEST Germany) called the Belgian cops worse than Communists!

The Belgian church is now thinking of suing the Belgian police if the Jesuits can torture out a legal basis for the suit.

Finally, as we heard this morning. Robert Byrd, longest serving Senator in US history, passed away last night. Byrd was a living example that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, having turned from a member of the KKK to one of the most reliably liberal members of the Senate. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family, the Senate and the people of West Virginia.

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Afghanistan: As Obama will say, the Surge is Working … Hmmmmmmm

The last two al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Bilal and Yussuf, discuss Obama's Afghan strategy and how they'd be happy to leave for $10 billion dollars and we wouldn't even have to send in 30000 troops.

Afghanistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan--it's getting so they're not even unpacking anymore

Well, the root canal is still a bit sore but the stomach virus has, shall we say, eliminated itself, so we are back here a day late. Obama’s speech to West Point–which Mr. Matthews stupidly characterized as “the enemy”–has already passed out of the news to give way to more important rumors about Tiger Woods and his many woods…which appear to be quite a few more than he carries in his sack. President Obama has, as was expected, elected to escalate whatever it is we’re doing in Afghanistan. I mean, what ARE we doing there? Is it a war? I thought that was over eight years ago. Is it a mission? If it is, I’d like to know what the mission is. Or was.Or will be. Because the only way you can end a mission is by accomplishing something and after 8 years of being in charge, we haven’t seemed to have accomplished much. Was it to catch Osama bin Laden? That’s what the advertising was back after 9/11. Well, hell, we let him escape to Pakistan. That’s one mission UNaccomplished. Was it to eliminate the drug trade? Hell, there are only two industries IN Afghanistan, rugmaking and opium poppies, and opium poppies is the one that brings the most cash into the country. Besides, if that was our goal, we should have just left the Taliban in charge–they’d brought opium production down to a minute fraction of what it had been. What’s 18 months gonna do that the last 8 years hasn’t?
To be fair, back during the election, Obama kept saying that Afghanistan was the GOOD war and Iraq was the BAD one and he was going to do something about it. But lots of us must have figured that was just to impress Fox News. And as it turns out, this is one of the few things he wasn’t blowing smoke about. Gays? Wait around. Patriot Act? You know, there are some awfully good things in there. Secrecy in government? Shhhhhhhh, let’s not talk too much about that one. Single Payer? Why, that would destroy our health insurance industry! So I can’t blame progressives for being surprised that he IS keeping his promise about this one. But, if we haven’t accomplished our mission yet, just WTF is it?
FOX NEWS knows what our mission is–since they seem to have become the fourth branch of government since Dick Cheney abdicated–it’s to “WIN”. That’s one word we didn’t hear in Obama’s speech, Fox newsies said with stuck record regularity, WIN! Well, Fox–and its subsidiary, the Republican Party–has always had a football game mentality to both war and politics, which I suspect are the same thing to them. No such thing as a draw, only winners and losers in their books, so if you didn’t win, you’re a loser. But — we won. We did that eight years ago. What we’ve been trying to do for the last eight years is figure out what the hell it was we DID win. True, we got rid of the oppressive Taliban government, but what did the Afghani get in return? Karzai–and his brother, Mr. Opium King? Who managed to hold an election in which hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in non-existent polling stations? I’m no fan of the Taliban but Cheeses and Crackers, couldn’t we have done a little better than Hamid Soprano?
Winning, as far as I can see, consists simply of keeping al-Qaeda and the Taliban out. Well, the Taliban, there’s only about 100 al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan at the most generous estimate, see Bilal and Yussuf in the illustration, but we always have to say “al-Qaeda and the Taliban” so that our “mission” looks like it still has something to do with 9/11. Where did al-Qaeda go? To the hills of our “ally” Pakistan. So why are we in Afghanistan? To keep them from coming back in. WTF would they go back to Afghanistan when they have a safe haven in Pakistan? I mean, it’s not like it’s their ancestral homeland. They have just as miserable conditions in Pakistan as they had in Afghanistan. Well, we have to stay to keep the Taliban out. What for? To keep up the opium trade? To prop up a government that is so corrupt it even makes the Bush administration look beige? We’ve had eight years to Kabul together a government in our own image and likeness and all we did was screw around. We ain’t gonna do it by getting serious for another 18 months.
But I think Fox News has a point, one that they don’t even understand–which isn’t saying a lot, since understanding things is less important to them than having an opinion. We have to have a surge to make it look like we’re taking some kind of action. Then we’ve got 18 months to figure out what we can say we accomplished so we can declare our mission “WON”. Then we can “draw down” before the ’012 election. Mostly. Like Iraq, we’ll be keeping a significant garrison in place because the only way to keep the Taliban out is to stay fighting them. And, like Iraq, where we still have 50,000 troops, we’ll be there for some time to come. At a million dollars a year per man because that’s what it costs to keep troops occupying another country. Just think what we could do HERE with a million bucks! Never mind we, think of what I could do with a million bucks. Hey, doesn’t the USA qualify for “too big to fail?”
Which brings me to my final point. The Soviet Union was only in Afghanistan for 10 years and that little adventure is credited with its downfall. We’ll be hitting OUR tenth anniversary in 2011 and remember, the tenth anniversary is TIN!

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A Great New Idea from the Republican Party (Note for the irony-deficient: this is irony)

Captain Taxcut to the Rescue: parody comicbook cartoon cover showing Captain Taxcut promising an unemployed and evicted family that he will go to Washington and bring more corporate tax cuts so their old employers can hire them back at reduced wages, saving their jobs from being outsourced to Mumbai...

SuperSame Me!


The Republican wing of the House voted en masse against the Obama stimulus plan. Their criticism? Not enough tax cuts. As Paul Krugman and others have often noted and indeed the Congressional Research Service has noted, tax cuts don’t stimulate the economy. In other words, they don’t work. The only people who actually spend a tax cut are people who are broke. They usually spend it on necessities. The rich invest them. The middle class banks them. Total stimulus? 0. Zero. Goose egg. Nada. So why keep pushing tax cuts. Could it be a fundamentalist belief in Reagonomics? The trickle-down that never reaches bottom? No, I think these guys are lamely following their de facto party leader, Rush Limbaugh. Doesn’t it make you feel great to know that your Congressman might be a ditto-head? And what does commissar Rush want? To push Failure into Obama’s face. Who cares if the nation suffers from their obstructionism, the party is more important than mere people. The senate was nearly as bad, but three senators had the guts to break ranks, realizing that the sooner something was done, the better it was for the American people. Thank you Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. You showed true patriotism and courage. Quite unlike the American Taliban, Pete Sessions of Texas. Democrats aren’t the enemy, Pete. The screwed-up economy is. Oh, that’s right, I forgot. You’re one of the ones who wants it screwed up.

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