Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

February 18, 2010

Animation: “In Search of” http://ping.fm/PLLgA

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February 17, 2010

New Ted Rall/David Essman Animated Cartoon goes live tomorrow. Fun!

February 3, 2010

Ted Rall Signing YOLD at UWS NYC Barnes & Noble Tuesday February 16!

Cartoon for April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009

Inspired by the somewhat inside-baseball debate between media types who argue that the “information wants to be free” mantra of the digirati and the traditional print people who wonder about boring stuff like how they’ll pay their bills.

Cartoon for April 25, 2009

April 25, 2009

Blogger appears to be back on track.

Obama continues to protect the torturers and block investigations. I am done with him.

Cartoon for April 23, 2009

April 24, 2009

Blogger has been acting tweaky lately. It took me 48 hours to get this cartoon to load. My apologies for the delay; wish me luck getting the next ones up there.

THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: Circle of Shame

April 23, 2009

It Takes a Nation of Torturers to Hold Us Back

I suppose I should take a bow.

For eight long years (years that passed like centuries for the misérables rotting in cages at Guantánamo and Bagram and Abu Ghraib and Diego Garcia and Bulgaria and the U.S. Navy’s fleet of prison ships) no one cared about torture. Law professors, politicians, and journalists justified it. Even liberals didn’t care: there wasn’t one major protest march against beating or raping or drowning people to death. Strange but true: the only forces raging against the collective madness that warped the American psyche after 9/11 were human rights organizations and a couple of cartoonists.

The syndicated political cartoonist Matt Bors and I took point, repeatedly ridiculing and ranting about the Bush Administration’s torture policies and Americans’ tacit tolerance of it in cartoons we knew would be reprinted in only a handful of publications. Editors and readers advised us to “stop obsessing” and “move on.” Award committees passed us over in favor of cartoonists who bought Bush’s tall tales about WMDs in Iraq. We were blackballed.

At least they didn’t shove a flashlight up my ass. That is a favorite interrogation tactic at Gitmo (and Bagram, where Obama plans to send the Gitmo victims next).

Perhaps the declassification of CIA documents revealing that the CIA waterboarded one man 183 times (why not 182? Why not 184?) prompted Americans’ newfound distaste for taxpayer-funded dungeons. Maybe it was the juvenile stupidity displayed by Bush’s legal eagles: “As we understand it, you plan to inform Zubaydah that you are going to place a stinging insect into the box, but you will actually place a harmless insect in the box, such as a caterpillar,” one memo said. Because, you know, they don’t have caterpillars in the Northwestern Frontier Province.

Whatever the cause, better late than never (though not for the dozens of fathers, brothers and sons murdered in American torture chambers), but things have come full circle. Americans are against torture again. Some Congressmen are calling for investigations into Bush’s war crimes. President Obama, forced to backpedal on his infamous inclination to “move forward” rather than compel the CIA’s goons to “look over their shoulders” while applying electrodes to the genitals of 14-year-old Afghan boys, seems amenable to throwing the Dirty Half Dozen–the six Bushie lawyers including John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Alberto Gonzáles–to the tender mercies of a special prosecutor.

My favorite aspect of the discussion involves whether or not torture works. “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the Al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country,” Obama’s national intelligence director argued last week. Key suspects “provided much valuable information under less severe treatment, and the harsher handling produced no breakthroughs,” countered The New York Times about the newly released documents.

I don’t care if torture works. I don’t give a damn if torture could reveal a plot that would cost millions of lives. I would rather die in a terrorist attack than live in a society that relies upon torture to protect itself. But what do I know? Maybe I’ve just been brainwashed by my Christian upbringing.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the Dirty Half Dozen lawyers ought to be prosecuted for constructing an illegal CYA framework to justify heinous acts by government torturers. An attorney who perverts logic and the law as follows is far too dangerous to be allowed to walk among free men: “Although we do not equate a person who voluntarily enters a weight-loss program with a detainee subjected to dietary manipulation as an interrogation technique, we believe that it is relevant that several commercial weight-loss programs available in the United States involve similar or even greater reductions in caloric intake.”

An officer of the court who doesn’t pack up his office supplies and type up a resignation letter rather than write the following suffers from both psychosis and stupidity: “Although the abdominal slap technique might involve some minor physical pain, it cannot, as you have described it to us, be said to involve even moderate, let alone severe, physical pain or suffering.” Do a Google Image search on John Yoo, author of many of the Torture Memos: the pudgy little pig would break down in tears if he ran out of hand lotion.

Jail the lawyers, preferably for life. But don’t forget their bosses. As has been amply documented, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld and others personally signed off on specific acts of torture. They ordered the Dirty Half Dozen to draft those memos to provide them with legal cover.

Lawyers don’t write law; they interpret it. If a corporate executive relies on bad legal advice, he goes to jail. Hiring a crappy lawyer isn’t a defense. Bush and his war council should spend the rest of their lives at Guantánamo. Since he’s continuing Bush’s detention policies, so should Obama.

And let’s not forget the CIA and military torturers, the so-called little fish. As servicemen learn during training, it is illegal to follow an illegal order. An order to torture or abuse prisoners of war violates U.S. law and international treaty obligations, as well as international law. When given such an order, it is every person’s moral and legal obligation to refuse it, even if means facing a court-martial. Everyone involved with torture deserves prosecution, including the physicians and psychologists who sat in on sessions that involved “harsh interrogation techniques.”

At the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II, hatemongers like the Jew-baiting newspaper publisher Julius Streicher were prosecuted for promoting racist Nazi ideology. Surely an analogy can be found for right-wing torture fans like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who repeatedly fanned the anti-Muslim hatred that led to our current shame. Even Bill Maher, libertarian-cum-liberal post-ABC firing, was pro-torture after 9/11.

In the end, of course, we are all to blame. It was the American people’s moral obligation to rise up as one against a government that carried out torture in our name. Yet we didn’t lift a finger. If only there was a prison big enough to hold all of us.

COPYRIGHT 2009 TED RALL

Ted on the Beeb

April 23, 2009

There’s an article on the BBC website about political cartooning and Barack Obama. It contains some quotes by me.

I’ve Been Laid Off

April 21, 2009

Since 2006 I’ve been working three days a week at United Media as Editor of Acquisitions and Development. My job was finding new talent–comic strip artists, columnists and writers of puzzles–to syndicate to newspapers. Needless to say, this was a difficult time to pitch new features to papers.

Considering the circumstances, I enjoyed remarkable success. My first feature was a daily newspaper version of “Diesel Sweeties,” by R. Stevens. If not the first transition of a webcomic to daily form, it was certainly the most successful. Unfortunately for print readers, the artist decided to focus on his online work and ended the strip. After that came Tak Toyoshima’s “Secret Asian Man,” the first daily comic strip about Asian-Americans by an Asian-American cartoonist. It remains in syndication today, and continues to garner attention. I recruited Signe Wilkinson to draw “Family Tree,” a family strip with an ecological bent filtered through Signe’s uniquely jaundiced eye, and “Family Tree” keeps getting sales as comics pages get slashed. There was also Keith Knight’s “The Knight Life,” in which Keith transitioned his autobiographical alt weekly strip “The K Chronicles” to the daily form. It is a success. Most recently were the daily comic version of Stephanie McMillan’s political cartoon “Minimum Security” and “Rip Haywire,” an updating and parody of adventure comics by Dan Thompson.

I am proud of what I accomplished. Not only did I bring some smart, cool cartoons to wider audiences, I also breathed some life into the daily comics pages, which most readers agree are horribly moribund. I found that I am made to be an editor, helping creators realize their own voices more efficiently and effectively.

Unfortunately, my position as acquisitions editor has been eliminated, and I am out the door–like so many Americans these days, with a mortgage I have to pay somehow.

So if you’re a creator who was hoping to pitch me something, I’m sorry–I can’t help you anymore. If you need a cartoonist, a writer, or an editor, or anything else, please drop me a line. I need work, and fast.

Cartoon for April 18, 2009

April 18, 2009

I hope the second panel is understandable. I’m trying to say that the workers voted to take pay cuts, but the boss will screw them. It’s probably confusing.

And they say drawing comics is easy. Liars!