Six Degrees of Separation

Y'know what really got me about all this was how everybody in the public and the media seemed to forget all about the great honking wad of cash that the Bush Regime gave to the Taliban, early in the Chimp's Presidency, ostensibly for the purpose of "fighting drugs" in Afghanistan. This was, of course, right about the time the Taliban were catching worldwide hell for doing things like destroying old Buddhist temple ruins and such.


Afghanistan, needless to say, was full of militant Muslim militia/guerrilla types who were trained by the CIA to resist the Soviet invasion back in the day, including an especially notable ex-CIA asset named Osama Bin Laden. It must not have occurred to the US "spooks" that folks like the Taliban or the Mujahideen see any outside invasion as a threat, not just the Soviets. Talk about more blowback than you can handle.

We first hit the streets with this one in early November, while the shit was just starting to fly hot and heavy here and in Afghanistan, and had an amazingly easy time considering the climate. Around Adams-Morgan, we'd just finished hitting a Washington Post box and were about half a block down the street when I happened to glance back to see a couple of women checking it out, and overheard one saying to the other, "yeah, we all know Bin Laden.".

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America's Towers O'Terror

Tragic though the event may have been, I got tired quickly of all the TV talkers howling about the thousands who died at the Pentagon and World Trade Center without once considering the USA was responsible for at least a hundred times as many over the course of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, ten years of Vietnam, the 1991 bombing of Baghdad, and the decade of sanctions against Iraq following Iraq War I.


Also -- stop me if I'm wrong -- but didn't Bin Laden's targeting of the World Trade Center classify as targeting on a "military asset" under the Pentagon's own current rules? Was he really doing anything different from the US in Iraq Wars I and II, or the US/NATO action against Belgrade?

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Madness of George II

This is one of the pieces I was happiest about, in terms of people getting the literary/dramatic reference in the context of the initial mass Tourette's outburst of almost WWI-like zaniness from the US Government and society at large in the weeks after 9/11. I honestly didn't think enough people in my audience would've seen The Madness Of George III to get it, but it turns out lots of folks had. I was rather embarrassed to have forgotten that the kind of people who collect my work aren't going to be the kind of people who like films with hot babes, high-speed chases, robots turning into airplanes, and stuff blowing up.


It was another weirdly poignant piece: done originally for the October issue of The Progressive (without the headlines and captions) it dealt with the emerging imperialistic tendencies of the then-early Bush Regime and drawn a good month or so before 9/11.

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Out With the Crew for an Evening's Postering, Fall 2001

Gotta hurry on back to my hotel room,
where I got me a date with a pretty little girl from Greece;
she told me she would be there with me
when I paint my masterpiece!


I try to think more about the guy we met at Dupont Circle who was overjoyed to have finally discovered where these posters came from, or the students from the George Washington Action Coalition out for a late-night bicycle ride on P Street who stopped off and jazzed us up with a quick blast of solidarity ("Yo, wheatpasters!") to take my mind off the "neighbor" on Connecticut Avenue who stalked us -- tearing down posters -- for two blocks, and the DC cop who became frustrated with his own piss-poor knowledge of the law and inability to cite us for anything and proceeded to stalk us and tear down posters all the way down P Street from Dupont Circle almost to Georgetown, committing no less than half a dozen separate basic Constitutional violations in the process against our crew.

So, the next time you bump into some pacifist liberal who wants to "negotiate" with the police, direct them to this video.


Fall 2001 IMF/World Bank Series

The Fall 2001 IMF/World Bank mobilization was to be our blockbuster sequel to A16, rumored by many to be the biggest mass mobe in town since Vietnam -- Lord willing and the creek don't rise, barring any sudden freakish turn of events -- such as, say, a large airliner or two or three diving into a few really large buildings.

fall2001imfwb5part650wNeedless to say, the wheels pretty much came off The Movement's™ wagon very soon after 9/11; the Mobilization for Global Justice and Ruckus Society practically tripped over each other while backing out, citing (as I recall) "respect for the victims" -- even as the neocons and other right-wing freaks at the time were preparing for endless war overseas and endless abuse of the Constitution at home, also out of consideration for "the victims". Luckily, there was ANSWER, which went on with its events, shifting to a pro-civil liberties, anti-war focus for what was previously an anti-globalization mobe, so at least the Left hadn't been totally bullied off the streets by the Neocons and their brownshirt pals in Free Republic and Gathering Of Eagles.

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Monkeywrench Grrl

What's especially ironic about this piece was that it was a piece with a World War II patriotic retro-kitsch motif based on the loud, kitschy, big-time phony WWII-era posters on the bus shelters and subway billboards being used to advertise a recent Disney special-effex blockbuster, the infamous Ben Affleck masterwork Pearl Harbor that came out early that summer... a good three months before the real, live, non-ironic, mindless patriotic kitsch seizure following 9/11.


On the purely non-issue-oriented side, a design and technical epic Win. The layout, pose and color came out a perfect match -- I was able to find a high-res scan of the original WWII piece to point-sample my colors from -- and it was also the first time I made serious use of top-highlight and middletone shadow hatching effects, drawn on a sheet of tracing paper with a dark graphite stick, scanned as a separate layer and dropped over the main drawing in Illustrator. I'd been kicking the idea around for a while, playing with it just a bit, but decided to try it whole hog after seeing Van Gogh's La Meridienne at the Musèe d'Orsay a few months before.

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Show Us Where It Hurts

When you're a K Street big shot, you like your local politicians to stay bought and keep their campaign promises, and that's why around the turn of the century, Anthony Williams would've been your man. Among his top priorities as Mayor was closing down DC General Hospital, the city's only public hospital and, in spite of constant alarmist rumors in the Washington Times, not a hell hole.


Among the other jewels of the Williams Legacy was his keeping of campaign promises to close homeless family shelters, to close and sell a fistful of public schools for redevelopment as condominiums or health clubs, and to run poor and working-class people out of DC and replace them with people who can afford to shop downtown and who are most likely to vote for Anthony Williams (or someone like him... like, say, Adrian Fenty).

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Stop Dubya's "Star Wars"!

The Farce is strong in this one, O, Master!

Sure as hell was, there, Mr. George W. Skywalker. What other briefing materials could the Chimp have had when deciding that at a time when the Cold War was long over, one of our main military threats was reduced to a Mafia-ridden laughingstock and the other was our Most Favored Nation trading partner? Sure, why not restart the "Star Wars" program which, by Reagan's own admission, was a waste of time?


This also wound up illustrating the cover of Alternative Press Review in the summer of 2001.

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Anthony Williams' Greatest Hits

Sam Smith, author of the Progressive Review, also wrote and edited its "City Desk" column about news and issues local to Washington, DC until his retirement to Maine in early 2009. One of my favorite City Desk columns appeared around 2000, where he details Anthony Williams' numerous achievements during his first term as mayor of DC -- the closing of city shelters for homeless families, the closing of schools for redevelopment as condos, the deterioration of city services, the closing of DC General Hospital -- in a column entitled "Anthony Williams' Greatest Hits". As the run-up to the '02 mayoral election campaign was just getting started, I thought this series would be an excellent and easy-to-remember reminder to potential voters about what, exactly, Anthony Williams had given this city in the past three and a half years.

williamsgreatesthits650wOne happy accident here was, during the initial sketching, finding out how easily my rat could be made to look like Williams with some extra whiskers, a little shock of hair here and there, and a bowtie. I wish now that I'd saved that issue of the Washington Post Sunday Magazine with the cover story on Williams -- while he was running for re-election, I think -- and the photo the Post used was one of him when he was about three years old, wearing an outfit almost identical to the suits we saw him in while he was Control Board honcho and, later, mayor: that dull-assed gray thing with a plain white or light-blue shirt and that friggin' bowtie. So, apart from being a soulless Ivy League technocrat and servant of oligarchs, Anthony Williams really did look like his momma dressed him.

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