GW BUSH. According to Robert Novak in the Washington Post: “"With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment."
GAVIN NEWSOM. The mayor of San Francisco will soon be presented with a bill voted almost unanimously yesterday by the board of supervisors to ban petroleum-based plastic grocery bags from the city. SF generates 180 million of these bags which, hard to recycle, cover the earth. Sort of like a cross between kudzu and Christo. Biodegradable ones are more expensive but the city is betting the costs will decrease as they become more common. Good News Dept.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN. When people finally wonder why McCain faded in the campaign they can start with this interview yesterday on CNN. McCain was claiming that there were neighborhoods in Baghdad that were so much improved you could go out for a walk in them. “Gen. Petraeus goes out there everyday. The success we’re experiencing, (it’s now possible) for Americans . . . to go into 2 of the 5 neighborhoods in a secure fashion.” Soon CNN’s Baghdad correspondent, Michael Ware was live from Baghdad with a response. “No way on earth can a Westerner, particularly an American stroll the streets of this capitol of 5 million people. If al-Qaeda doesn’t get wind of you or one of the Sunni insurgent groups don’t descend on you, if someone doesn’t tip off a Shiia militia, then the nearest criminal gang is just going to see dollar signs and scoop you up. You’d barely last 20 minutes out there. I honestly don’t know what part of Neverland Sen. McCain is talking about when he says you can go strolling in Baghdad.”
CPL. PAT TILLMAN. Yesterday a Pentagon investigation revealed that the military had lied for 5 weeks about Tillman's death in 2004. After flaunting him as casualty of enemy fire (they now admit he was accidentally shot to death by his fellow rangers) the army kept the facts a secret from his family and the nation. We may start thinking of these days as America's period of truth and reconciliation . . . or just the Time of the Big Shovels.
GW BUSH who uses executive privilege to keep Rove, et al from testifying, afraid of . . . what? The magic of the newspaper. Flipping from Gonzogate to an ad for this movie about a ventriloquist's dummy who mutlilates and kills, seemed kind of, well, about the same thing.
THE IRAQ WAR PROJECT Senior Illustration Portfolio Class Instructor: Steve Brodner Spring 2007
The concept behind The Iraq War Project is to illuminate some of the less defined moments in the run-up to and execution of the Iraq War at the time of the fourth anniversary of the invasion. Students each took on at least one part of the story. This is designed to be exhibited in a school gallery as well as a part of the SVA website. The breakdown is as follows:
Chris Duffy: Early '90's, Cheney and Wolfowitz develop ideas projecting American power, spreading democracy, using preemptive war.
Jin Hyo Wang: Summer 2002, Cheney gives wrong information on Iraq ('amassed chemical weapons", "nukes within a year") manipulating doubtful data.
Vincent Scala: Summer, 2002, in spite of DOE doubts, Rice asserts that aluminum tubes were "definitely centrifuges for enriching uranium", evokes "mushroom cloud" imagery.
Kathryn Llera Summer, 2002, Bush falls under the sway of dishonest exiles.
Erin Kenealy: 2003, Bush and Co. ignore advice from top experts (Gen. Shinseki et al) for high troop levels: in the 500,000 range.
Steve Brodner: 2003, Lawrence Lindsay, economic advisor, says it will cost $200 billion. He is fired.
Nelson Francisco: March 2003, Baghdad falls amidst chaos, key unprotected sites, looting. Iraqis view US as incompetent and untrustworthy.
Clarice J. Chang: Jay Garner is replaced by Paul Bremer who dismantles civilian government, hunting for Baathists, stops all planning for interim government, and disbands the army, which melts into the population.
Nelson Francisco: 2004, U.S. is increasingly identified with an environment of religious sectarian war.
Nelson Francisco: 2004, Conditions prove progressively more dangerous for US occupying forces.
Chinyera Johnson: 2005, privatization leads to waste, negligence and unaccountability. Blackwater employees, unsupported and lightly armored, are massacred and desecrated in Fallujah.
Tae Sun Cha: 2006, Sunnis, Shias target each other increasingly. US finds itself in a civil war with over 100 deaths per day. The Bush Administration still refuses to acknowledge this.
Dan Sherman: Sept. 2006, National Intelligence Estimate states that US involvement is feeding terrorism.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, who, in a remarkable political moment, announced that her cancer, now, tragically, inoperable, has returned. . . and that her husband's, John Edwards, presidential campaign would go on with her full support. Look for John Edwards to surge (if you can find him).
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. President Bush’s speech last night demeaned the Senate inquiry into the Federal Attorney scandal, calling it a partisan fishing expedition (after trying to turn federal judicial system into an unprecedented political war room) stating that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers would not be permitted to testify under oath. Leahy quickly announced that there definitely would be subpoenas. The Senate security camera immediately picked up evidence of a growing spine.
DAVID WALLIS, author of “Killed Cartoons: Casualties of the War on Free Expression”. This important book illuminates the problem many of us have in the print world, containing cartoons and illustrations effectively censored by our free media (including some by us Drawgerites. Anyone in the New York area can attend the pub party and reading tomorrow, 7 PM at Barnes and Noble, Astor Place. The after-party will be held at Sauce Lounge, Ninth Ave between 22/23 streets.) “Cartoonists are arguably the most incendiary journalists. They're the ones who hit us in a primitive place. Part of their job brief is to offend, and that makes editors increasingly uncomfortable.”, says David.
Below are pieces from the book by Paul Conrad, Mike Priggee and Peter Kuper.
An Unknown Soldier. The next to be sacrificed, in this war for a lie, for the rich fantasy life of politicians and the tribal fears of the the rest of us . . . on the fourth anniversary of the invasion. He/she will be perhaps someone you know, or not. But to paraphrase Arthur Miller, "They were all our sons and daughters".
KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED. After a time in Guantanamo he has apparently confessed to everything from the Lindbergh kidnapping to Global Warming. Tony Snow reportedly said, "We don't consider using pubic hair electrodes to be torture."
KARL ROVE, previously untouchable Bush mastermind, now finally fingered by the consequences of his own “genius”. E-mails now reveal the connection between the firing of Federal Prosecutor Bud Cummins in favor of the placement of Rove’s favored hatchetman, Timothy Griffin (famous for “helping” vote counts along, especially in minority districts in Arkansas). Better late than never.
Saints of Guatemala, in which we see the dots underneath the dust of George W. Bush’s boots and try to connect them.
1. Mayan Cleansing Ritual, performed yesterday at the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Iximché, after a visit by Bush. “We can’t have a man who represents war come to this place.”, said Jorge Morales, a protest leader.
2. Updated Cleansing Ritual. After the Bush visit local people picked up kernels of corn from the ground, which were thrown as part of the welcome for Bush, so great is their poverty.
3. Speaking of poverty, less than ten miles from where Bush spoke, children work under sweatshop conditions almost impossible to believe, under CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Amy Goodman’s interview with Charles Kernaghan, anti-sweatshop activist, is excerpted below.
4. (unillustrated) New Bedford, Massachusetts raid, where undocumented workers were arrested and sent to Texas leaving their children without parents. Given life in Central America can we wonder why they are here?
Well, inside the factory, they’re all kids. The vast majority were thirteen years of age to seventeen -- sixteen, seventeen years of age. It looks like a high school, but it's not a high school. These kids are going in from 7:00 in the morning until 7:00 at night, fourteen hours a day, six days a week. Sometimes they have to come in earlier, at 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning.
They do an extraordinary amount of work, these young kids. Thirteen-year-old kids, we watched them cutting up broccoli. You know, you buy those frozen broccoli florets in the stores. Every head of broccoli, they grab these heads of broccoli, and with a knife they make thirty-seven cuts, and then with their hands they break the broccoli apart into ninety-seven pieces. So there’s ninety-seven operations. They do one broccoli every sixty-four seconds. So they're making a cut every seven-tenths of a second. And this is all day long, seven-tenths of a second. I mean, flying through. They're cutting themselves with their knives. They're on their feet all day. They say their feet swell up. Their backs hurt. They’re exhausted. They make the same movements over and over again. Their wrists swell up.
But they told us something that was extraordinary. They were doing like 692 pounds of fruit and vegetables a day. These are thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-old kids. But they said to us, the worst was the melon. And we said, like, “Why?” They said, well, you work in the water, because they're constantly washing the floor. So here you have thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-old kids standing in sneakers in an inch of water for twelve hours, and they say that their feet begin to crack, the skin, and bleeds -- and they begin to bleed.
And they just kept going on. They said, you know, the factory is quite cold. This area of Guatemala is in the highland. It's quite cold. And plus, they're freezing these vegetables. So their workers are surrounding in an area called preparation, surrounded by all of these freezers, and it's freezing cold in there. And they won't let the kids wear sweaters, because the sweaters may get lint onto the fruit or onto the vegetables. So you have kids working in cold temperatures in t-shirts, but all the supervisors are walking around in sweatshirts and jackets. And they also say to the kids, “It will make you lazy if you wear the sweater. So if you wear that sweater, we're taking it away from you, and we’re going to throw it away.”
So you have kids, you know, working twelve hours a day in the cold, often standing in an inch of water, their feet are bleeding, their hands are cut and they’re cheated their wages. And the company actually tells the kids -- this company was not, you know, too reticent to discuss with the children why they wanted them. They said, “Look, you have no responsibilities. You don’t have families. You’re not a parent. You don’t have to worry about kids or a house. You’re just here to work.” And they would constantly scream at them to go faster, go faster. Most of the workers were earning about half of the legal minimum wage. They didn't have social security, which is mandatory in Guatemala. They weren't paid for holidays. I mean, this place was like -- this place was a bad place, and this was right next to where George Bush was giving his talk about the benefits of free trade.
RUDY GIULIANI, new darling of the extreme right. Pro-choice, gay rights, anti-gun Rudy. The Mainstream Media have talked themselves into believing that nutty movement conservatives will throw in their lot with him just because he was downtown when the planes hit. I don’t THINK so (er, there are a lot of pictures like this).
ALBERTO GONZALES, who is discovering that White House gas can generate as much heat as the greenhouse variety. In a week of cascading scandals Gonzales is on the hot plate over FBI abuse of the Patriot Act, doing illegal domestic surveillance. Then there was the case of eight federal attorneys, fired for political reasons, six of whom are pictured below. Any questions about how this White House operated in the Valerie Plame case can be put to rest This is a mob administration and he is consigliari.
DANIEL G. BOGDEN, whose office had started an investigation into Nevada’s GOP Governor Jim Gibbons (although he denies political pressure).
PAUL K. CHARLTON, who was “retired” after opening inquiries into two Republican congressmen.
DAVID C. IGLESIAS,, fired after being called by Sen. Pete Domenici and rep. Heather Wilson to pressure him to prosecute Colorado Democrats.
CAROL C. LAMM, who headed the investigation that ended in the guilty plea by Randy “Duke” Cunningham. This led to other inquiries.
JOHN McCAY, who received a call fro, GOP congressmen to investigate a close election in the state of Washington, won by a Democrat.
H.E. CUMMINS III, fired to make room for a prosecutor who was assistant to Karl Rove.
ANNE COULTER, key performer in the Gestapo USO. Responsible for remarks so infantile and low as to make the GOP cringe but not complain . .until this week. Nice to see them reach their limit with her. Here’s a mini Coulter-Fest:
About the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. ... I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.”
Then, there was her crack about Muslims at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): “I think our motto should be post-9-11, ‘rag head talks tough, rag head faces consequences.’”
At CPAC on Thursday, in endorsing Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, who needs more bad press like a hole in the head, she piped up with this one: “I was going to say something about John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’”
Could it be that she is now past her time?
SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN
Who responded this week to the Bush Administration’s awarding to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories the contract to design a brand new H-bomb. In a historical moment when our thoughts are focused on getting nations to give up the idea of uranium enrichment and bomb-grade material acquisition that the thing to do is come up with . . . more nukes! Sen. Feinstein said: “the pursuit of new warheads could serve to encourage the very proliferation we are trying to prevent.”
Here is Sam Nunn’s view (from The NY Times Magazine Feb. 25):
It is very likely that North Korea's success in building weapons and Iran's steady progress toward that goal have only encouraged other nations to get into the nuclear game. But, Nunn believes, the United States, mired in Iraq and strained in its relations with former allies, has never had less leverage to counter them. Nunn says that the current Iraq war (which he also opposed) has distracted U.S. officials, undermined the credibility of any U.S. military threat it might bring to bear on North Korean or Iran and ''dealt a severe blow to the leadership credibility we need in the world.''
In this view, American credibility is an essential part of persuading other nations to stop or reverse their nuclear programs. One way to enhance American credibility, according to this line of thinking, is for the United States to decrease its own nuclear stockpile. Yet the Bush administration has not only not moved to significantly reduce that stockpile, it is also exploring new nuclear technologies (like bunker-buster mini-nukes). ''I think we have very badly failed to meet our responsibilities,'' Brent Scowcroft, George H. W. Bush's national security adviser and Nunn's friend, told Michael Crowley, reporter of this story. ''I think it is the sort of neoconish notion that it is our job to dominate the world and that the way you dominate it is by pushing ahead on new nuclear stuff.''
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC reporter who, after a long convalescence from life-threatening head injuries sustained in Iraq, has re-emerged with a documentary about his own story as well as those of others wounded in Iraq.
What would have been an astoundingly brave work turned, by happenstance, into a perfectly timed push to the spreading scandal of the Bush administration’s Katrina-ing of the vets a Walter Reed Army Medical Center and elsewhere. As detailed this morning by Paul Krugman in the Times, this scandal is less about one hospital than penny-pinching and privatization fracturing the entire system. Clear policy choices from the top.
Here are some sketches I made from powerful photos in last week’s Newsweek by Ethan Hill.
Two years after losing his leg in a grenade attack he still doesn’t have a primary care physician.
Lost both legs in her Humvee. Her two buddies died. She wears their names on her back.
Suffered traumatic brain injury riding in an unarmored Humvee. The doctor at the scene decided he would die, and so left him untreated.
Struggles with deep emotional scars, a form of illness the army is especially unprepared to treat.
Are wounded at twice the rate of Americans, with severely limited prospects for treatment. (from photo by Peter van Agtmael, Polaris)
BARRY BONDS. In the new afterward to their book, Game of Shadows, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams record that in the last 7 years Barry Bonds’ shoe size has gone from 10 ˝ to 13. Ages, 35-42, the formative years.
KIEFER SUTHERLAND, star of “24”. The Dean of West Point Military School, Patrick Finnegan, visited the set of “24” to ask the producers and writers to stop portraying torture techniques as effective, only to be snubbed by producer Joel Surnow. Sutherland is offering to go up to West Point to speak before the cadets and denounce torture. I guess that’ll take care of the problem.
“”24” is an ad for torture each week.”, Jane Mayer, The New Yorker.