Archive for February, 2008

February 17, 2008

Generalissimo El Busho!

Please click here.

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February 16, 2008

Cartoon for February 16

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says torture—specifically slapping suspects during interrogations–is, or ought to be, legal. This is justified, he explains, as part of the Meme That Won’t Die: the absurd, totally impossible, “ticking bomb” scenario popularized by the TV series “24.”

February 14, 2008

Cartoon for February 14

In perhaps the most bizarre attempt to exploit the weird GOP’s Cult of Reagan to date, John McCain claims he was “inspired by [then California governor] Ronald Reagan” in 1967, while he was rotting in a Hanoi shithole.

February 13, 2008

Flashback: May 3, 2007

I was looking over my cartoons from last year. This one still makes me laugh. As a cartoonist, I definitely want Obama to win.

February 13, 2008

“Quit Your Job, Work is a Sham,” Might Magazine, June 1995

Frédéric’s blog has taken the trouble to transcribe my famous 1995 essay for Might Magazine. He made quite a few typos, but it’s difficult if not impossible to find this online. (There’s a different version of it in “Revenge of the Latchkey Kids.”)

Rereading it 12 years later reminds me what a great editor I had in the person of Dave Eggers, who has since become known as a memoirist and founder of a literary journal named McSweeney’s. He questioned everything, suggested important changes, and helped make my voice more articulate. Now that I do some editing, I know how difficult that can be.

February 13, 2008

Greg Palast on “Silk Road to Ruin”

Author and kick-ass investigative reporter Greg Palast writes about “Silk Road to Ruin”. Stay tuned for a coming comics journalism mash-up between Greg and yours truly.

February 12, 2008

THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: THERE SHOULD BE BLOOD

Liberal Democrats Left Out in the Cold

“The truly undecided voter is rare, say those who study the psychology of voting,” Joe Garofoli wrote in The San Francisco Chronicle. “Since neuroscientists say 90 percent of thought is unconscious, an undecided voter may have already decided–he just hasn’t revealed his pick to himself yet.”

Whether I’m a rare bird or a typical victim of self-denial, I didn’t know how I was going to vote until election day–or, to be more precise, a election minute. Roughly 15 to 20 percent of 2008 primary voters have had similar trouble getting their unconscious to talk to them.

Most of the electoral procrastinators are conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats–party loyalists whose influence has been diluted by independents who vote in their primaries. As has been widely discussed, conservatives were unhappy with the entire field of Republican presidential contenders. Less noted but no less significant has been the effect of John Edwards’ departure from the Democratic field.

Lefties don’t have a candidate.

Like most hardcore liberals, I had planned to vote for Edwards. I’m a registered Democrat. I live in New York, a “closed primary” state. That left Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

I studied the printed grid inside my mechanical voting machine, a steel beast from the 1950s. New York keeps threatening to replace the classic booths. I hope they keep them forever. Old-school machines have a feature I treasure: you flip a switch to make an “X” appear next to your choice. You’re not committed until you pull the lever to open the curtain; you can flip the switch back and go with someone else instead.

I moved the switch to Hillary, to see how it looked. Hillary. Ted Rall votes for Hillary. I asked myself my usual test question: If she won, and I watched her being sworn in next January, how would I feel?

Bored. And slightly depressed.

I thought about the experience issue, her biggest advantage. “I am offering 35 years of experience making change,” she says. Though way overstated–35 years of what? being a lawyer?–living in the White House has to have left her with some insights. Unlike Obama, Hillary wouldn’t lose her way searching for the restroom. But political dynasties suck. Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton would be a sad statement. A nation of 300 million people shouldn’t keep turning to the same few families for leadership.

A woman president is a couple of centuries overdue. But issues matter more than affirmative action. I couldn’t overlook Clinton’s votes to go to war and to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on the never-ending horror show of Iraq. Thousands of people are dead because of her.

Hillary Clinton didn’t think Iraq had WMDs. No one smart did. The polls were running for the war, and so was she. She pandered. It was disgusting. But I was even more appalled by her lousy political skills. It ought to have been evident, even then, that (a) the war wouldn’t go well, (b) Americans would turn against it, and (c) this would occur before she was up for reelection in 2006. It was obvious to even me at the time, and it took me ten years to get a bachelor’s degree.

She was wrong. She had bad judgment. And her September 2007 vote for possible war against Iran proves she still does. I moved the lever left. The “X” disappeared from Clinton’s box.

I made an “X” pop up next to Obama’s name. “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of…” I wasn’t feeling it.

For what will soon have been eight long years, I reflected, left-of-center Americans have endured an illegitimate administration of morons, thieves and bullies. “[The press secretary’s] job is to help explain my decisions to the American people,” Bush once said, describing how he interacts with people who disagree with him. Bush stacked the Supreme Court by appointing right-wing extremists to replace moderates. Compromise was an alien concept to the Bushies. They did whatever they wanted–wars, torture, tax cuts for the superrich, tapping political dissidents’ phones–and Democrats did nothing to stop them, even after they regained control of both houses of Congress.

After 9/11 Republicans repeatedly screamed that liberals were pro-Islamist, anti-American traitors. Right-wing opinion mongers–Ann Coulter, Andrew Sullivan, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, William Kristol of The Weekly Standard (and now The New York Times) accused me of treason. (Hey, I’m not the one trying to get rid of the Bill of Rights.)

Former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes suggested that I be imprisoned or shot. And “mainstream” Republicans indicated their tacit agreement with cricket-chirping silence. Not once did a Republican Congressman demand that their neo-McCarthyite allies apologize for their statements. Not once did a Republican opinion columnist take issue with equating the Democratic Party with anti-Americanism. Not once. Compare that to the Democratic practice of “Sister Souljah-ing” lefties who annoy the conservative hyenas.

I can’t forget the last eight years. Here’s why: they will happen again. Whenever Republicans control the White House and Congress and too many media outlets–as occurred under Eisenhower/McCarthy in the 1950s, Nixon in the 1970s, Reagan in the 1980s–they spew the same disgusting crap about the left. Lord knows Democrats have their flaws, but they don’t say that their opponents belong in concentration camps.

“I want the Republicans to feel the way I did in 2004,” an Iowa Democrat told The New York Times. So do I. I want them to watch everything they care about disassembled. Take Reagan and Bush’s names off the airports, nationalize major corporations, demolish Gitmo, gay marriage–anything that pisses them off.

I want revenge. Obama preaches reconciliation. “I will create a working majority because I won’t demonize my opponents,” says Obama. The Illinois senator is an interesting politician and might make a good leader. But not yet. Give me eight years of Democratic rule as ruthless and extreme and uncompromising as the last eight years of Bush. Then we can have some bipartisanship.

Obama’s let’s-tiptoe-through-the-tulips-with-the-GOP shtick amounts to bargaining with yourself. If a vendor at a flea market offers to sell you a lamp for $10 and you’re willing to pay $8, you don’t offer $8. Demonize, Barack, demonize!

Oh, and Obama says he wouldn’t have voted for the Iraq War. I say he’s lying. So do his votes for funding the war since he joined the Senate. His voting record on Iraq is the same as Hillary’s.

Hillary, no. Obama? Nobama. What to do?

“Hundreds of thousands of Democrats and independents who were motivated enough to go and vote on February 5 did so for Edwards, knowing full well that he was out of the running,” reports The Nation. I was one of them.

COPYRIGHT 2008 TED RALL

February 12, 2008

Cartoon for February 11

Attack them here before we have to fight them there! (The intro about the study is true.)

I’m particularly happy about my Ameri-Islamic flag and the Saul Steinberg/New Yorker Iraq poster on the wall in the first panel.

February 12, 2008

A Special Thank You
posted by TheDon

Thank you, Congress, for giving Chimpy his “surge”. One year ago, after Democrats swept into power, a debate was raging on just how quickly troops could come home from Iraq (although withdrawal from Afghanistan was not seriously considered). Instead, legislation was passed giving the “president” more money for more troops, but just for a temporary “surge” to allow Democracy to bloom and Freedom to be given by God to every Iraqi.

During the six-month long “surge”, eighteen different benchmarks would be met, and the “war” part of the “war” would be concluded. A year later, almost none of the benchmarks have been met (or ever will be met), and the surge will end with a whimper, having killed almost a thousand more of our soldiers and a large, but obscured and unknowable number of Iraqis. The number of troops will be basically the same as before the “surge”, and the military has announced that they won’t withdraw any more troops.

The current administration has successfully extended their occupation of Iraq until the end of their term, at the highest level of troops possible.

Heckuva job, Demmies!

February 9, 2008

Cartoon for February 9

After I drew this cartoon, I realized that it’s really true: tens of thousands of young American men and women have spent their entire adult lives in Iraq. This also ties in to the fact that we have no U.S. troops in the U.S.–you know, to defend the U.S…