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FRINGE
A Cartoon History of the George Dubya Bush years
by Elena Steier
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Steier cartoons can be accessed through the magic portal http://striporama.com as


well as http://editorialcartoonists.com and http://americanblogress.com

This book is dedicated to my late father,


Boris Vira, MD,
who loved following politics and was pretty darn smart.

copyright 2008 Elena Steier All rights reserved


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FOREWORD
This collection of political cartoons should be prefaced with a caveat. Truthfully, I never
thought drawing
well was a prerequisite of political cartooning. I figured it was all a matter of righteous indig-
nation, of which I
had plenty.
The government over which George “Dubya” Bush presided was a lulu. Conspiracy theo-
ries long laughed at by right minded people exposed themselves like perverts in trenchcoats.
For example, the existence of so-called neocons turned out not only to be true, but these guys
were in charge of the U.S. government. A huge and shady network of Arab terrorists conspired
to successfully fly airplanes into U.S. buildings. Wiretapping and torture were calmly dis-
cussed on television talk shows as if they were the basis of a very sound and normal political
agenda.
In the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay ruled with his Hammer efficiency. Like a
brilliant dog handler,
he managed to get every single republican to heel. Dissent was not allowed. The ruling prin-
ciple became
a mix of Christian dispensationalism and lobbying influence. I guess maybe God might smite
you dead if you
didn’t believe in the type of free market forces conducive to government subsidies to big cor-
porations.
For the first two years of the Dubya administration, Democrats dominated the senate,
thanks to the defection of Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords from Republican ranks. He probably
took one look at the neocons and said “Holy Sugar”, sacrificing his political future to try and
stave off the inevitable. It was all for naught. Democrats, in a feel good state of post 9/11
bi-partisanship, voted overwhelmingly to give Bush the mandate to wage war on Iraq. A sen-
ate majority came into power after the first mid-term elections and remained thus through the
really stupid part of the Dubya years, the Iraq invasion, the torture, the wiretaps, etc.
Unfettered by regular newspaper gigs, I used a number of drawing styles to comment on
the years of the
Dubya administration. My work was experimental, and not very popular, but in this way it
matches well to the
actual historical record. You can no more peg my work as conservative as you can say that
Dubya’s policies
were conservative. No, the eight years Dubya gave us were totally wild.
Anyhow, here is the lunatic fringe, both in art and in politics.

Elena Steier
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Table of contents
Prelude............................................................................5
Congress ............................................................................9
Putin is Cool......................................................................14
Paper Dolls ......................................................................16
The Hammer.....................................................................20
The Experts......................................................................22
Iran/Contra Redux............................................................25
9/11...............................................................................27
Enron............................................................................32
Dubyogo.......................................................................40
The Homeland.................................................................42
Ann Coulter......................................................................44
Toward Iraq......................................................................46
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch..........................................53
Pre-Emptive Strike...........................................................61
Freedom Fries..................................................................67
Christian Zionists.............................................................73
Winning the Peace............................................................83
Karla Rova and Henry Kissinger.......................................94
Darpa and Information Mining.......................................103
Dick Cheney...................................................................107
Domestic Agenda...........................................................113
Torture........................................................................126
The Contractors.............................................................132
The Press........................................................................140
Rummy.......................................................................146
Katrina........................................................................152
Second Term..................................................................156
Hey Kids........................................................................164
John Bolton....................................................................174
Then there are these Guys................................................176
Aftermath....................................................................188
Onward.......................................................................196
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PRELUDE

This is the cartoon backstory to the Cartoon History of the Dubya Years.
The late twentieth century gave us a new world order. Sounds like conspiracy, but that’s only
if I’d made it up. To understand the new paradigm, first one has to understand that corporations
are big, really big. Some are so big, in fact, that they don’t need countries. In fact, they function as
countries.
On the other hand, you have Saudi Arabi and China which are both countries and corporation
rolled into one, the big difference being that Saudi Arabia is family owned.
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Most Americans haven’t found a way to program their cell phones let along adjust to a new world or-
der. We woke up one morning in 1991 and found out we were the world’s only superpower. We Ameri-
cans love being super. We love superheroes, super-sized burgers, superstars and super egos. If we were
ever going to be part of any new world order, we would go kicking and screaming.
Super is hardly a term which can be used to describe the actual election of George W. Bush. It was
a sloppy affair. We thought we had a democracy, but in the end the democracy failed us. Our back up
system was the Supreme Court, which decided Bush would be our man. At the time, I was just glad it
was over. Bush seemed a nice enough guy, even though he did seem to have a penchant for having his
father’s friends bail him out of failed business venttures. There’s no way the U.S. could end up like a
failed business venture, now could it?
Bush’s top priority after the election was to mess with Clinton for the pardon of Marc Rich, a man
who is a country unto himself. I guess no one told Bush that Marc Rich’s former lawyer, Lewis Libby,
was the deputy for the vice president. The moment Libby testified to Rich’s good faith and innocence
was the moment the entire matter died. For me, it pretty much made me think that maybe Scooter Libby
came from Krypton.
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There were many strange and mysterious things about the election of 2000. Being a cartoonist
from Connecticut, I’m naturally attuned to local politics. Our then governor’s crony, Jay Malcynsky,
ended up in Florida overseeing the contested vote count which ultimately led to the not all together
understandable Supreme Court decision designating Bush as president. Later, the Enron scandal
would envelope Connecticut’s Resource and Recovery Agency, and a ninety seven year old resident
of Oxford, Connecticut would be a victim of the anthrax terror attacks. I’m not sure how this all ties
together, but for a while it seemed that Connecticut was the nation’s mini-me.
Even weirder, Connecticut senator Joe “I love John Hagee” Lieberman was running on the
Democratic ticket as the vice presidential candidate. That was probably the biggest reason I didn’t
vote for Gore.
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9

Congress

The fate of the Democrats during the Bush years would not be nearly as
tragic as that of the Republicans, who today still cling to an illusion of fiscal
responsibility. The Republicans decided that borrowing billions of dollars
from the Red Chinese would be more in keeping to their vision of prog-
ress than the liberal’s tax and spend approach to bigger government. Of
course, you’d have guys like Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth and
Grover Norquist convincing “run-of-the-mill” Republicans that this makes
perfect sense. It just shows you how gullible people can be, especially
conservatives.
In all fairness, the White House under Dubya really wasn’t occupied
by Republicans. Rather it became a rat’s nest of neocons, formerly the
denizens only of conspiracy theories. At the same time, the Congress was
bullied into submission by dispensationalist Tom DeLay. The Democrats
were intimidated, cowed even, but at least they weren’t kept on leashes the
way the Republicans were.
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14

Putin is cool

Bush traveled to Russia in the summer of 2001 and became enamored with Vladimir Putin. Putin
was a former KGB man whose democratic inclinations were suspect at best. However, Bush seemed
to see something of a soul in Putin’s eyes and announced this to the world. Alas, the fascination
would be brief.
Fast forward to the present, and you see that Putin had succeeded in establishing his complete
authority over every aspect of Russian government, business and religion. He’s designated his heir
and taken the prime minister position, effectively relinquishing the title of president but not the
power, and he’s really popular with the general population. Bush, meanwhile, lost the Republi-
can majority in the house and stands at 22 per cent approval. Republicans hate Putin and call him
undemocratic. Personally, I think it’s just jealousy. For one thing, Putin never needed a guy like
Cheney, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
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Paper Dolls, etc.


The one thing characterizing most of Bush’s appointees was that they were by and large people who
didn’t much like the departments they were supposed to head. For your run of the mill Republican,
this was an auspicious sign. Now here was a crew meant to cut back the government. Fat chance..
Unfortunately, a good part of Dubya’s appointees had investments in a corporation called Enron.
Like the other conspiracies which came to light under Dubya, it meant what you saw isn’t exactly what
you got. This crew was the epitome of crony capitalists. They were like the Potemkin village people
meant to keep traditional conservatives happy. They made me think of paper dolls. To see their true
natures, you just had to find the right kind of clothes to dress them in. Government has never been big-
ger or more expensive.
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The Hammer
Ah, Tom DeLay. House majority leader from 2003-2005, he was the king of partisan politics and
of smacking his fellow Republicans upside the head. Prior to being a congressman, Tom deLay had
been an exterminator, a vocation which seemed to serve him well. The kind of enforced discipline
meted out by DeLay gnerally benefited large corporations and shady individuals. DeLay is also a
Christian Zionist, which explains his spiritual ties to Jack Abramoff, Jewish Zionist, although their
financial ties are for a court to decide.
The actual beginnings of Tom De-
Lay’s conservative leanings come from
the Reagan years. From this smiling,
good-willed Gipper came the eggs of a
future S.O.B.

This is Tom DeLay pupating. Through his ArmPac organization, money flowed to his fellow Re-
publicans, forming a close fellowship not unlike the kind you find in a hive of Giant Japanese Killer
Wasps.
Later, Tom DeLay’s financial dealings with lobbyist and con man Jack Abramoff were uncovered,
which contributed to the end of his congressional career. The last cartoon depicts Travis County
D.A., Ronnie Earle, landing the coup de grace by indicting Tom deLay for violations of Texas election
laws.
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Tom Delay putting his


mark on Congress
22

The Experts
In 2005, a documentary about Enron came out called “The Smartest Guys in the Room”. It
documented the fast, painful demise of Enron. The Bush administration gave us their own
version of the smartest guys.. These people knew EVERYTHING. From the sharpest lawyer
in the person of David Addington to hot shot university professors like Paul Wolfowitz. If you
were going to depend on anyone to take you from being a surplus laden country to being deep
in debt, these were definitely the ones to do it.
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Iran/Contra Redux
What would a conspiracy laden administration be
without a few members from the biggest conspiracy
ever, Iran/Contra. Abrams, Reich, Poindexter, Negro-
ponte...the guys who almost brought the Reagan admin-
istration to its knees were all back thanks to Dubya.
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9/11

Yowsas. Those terrorists executed the mother of all terrorist plots.


Besides ushering in an era of paranoia officially known as The War on Terror, the events of 9/11
also produced the sterotypical 9/11 cartoon tribute of a crying Statue of Liberty. Instead of going
that path, I vented my ire by producing the above cartoon. When I opened the paper, there was a pic-
ture of an American flag where the cartoon usually ran. After twelve years of freelancing for the West
Hartford News, this was my first taste of censorship.
On October 7, 2001, we started bombing Afghanistan. We didn’t know it then, but this was but the
martial appetizer. The Main Course in Iraq was yet to come.
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These are some examples


of editorial cartoon “quickies”
which are small picture com-
mentaries meant to fit neatly
into a single column of news-
paper copy.
The War on Terror was
taking our country into some
uncharted territory, so I fig-
ured I’d do the same with my
editorial cartoons. Unlike the
War on Terror, quickies are
short, sweet and to the point.
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As horrible as it was, 9/11 ushered in an era of economy stimulating schemes. We were told that
it was patriotic to buy stuff. To this end, interest rates were slashed and citizens were required to
max out at least one credit card. In 2002, President Bush announced his Ownership initiative which
gave the green light to mortgage companies to finance even the shadiest home purchases. In addition,
national paranoia created a new market for enterprising private military firms. The Department of
Homeland Security came into existence so that military firms had an entirely new market. All this
effectively made the War on Terror one huge pot at the end of the Republican rainbow.
Unfortunately for us, the model for all this excess was a company called Enron. Like Enron, our
economy would become a series of unintelligible financial transactions bolstered by very little tan-
gible product. Economically speaking, for all our wealth, the United States would in fact spend the
Dubya years re-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
30

Soon after 9/11, the United States military had


boots on the ground in Afghanistan. At first it was
CIA, but then the military arrived after some foot
dragging by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Osama
bin Laden managed to elude capture and Afghanistan
became yet another excellent market for military
contracting.
31
How easily we forget anthrax.
This was the other terrorist attack .
It took the lives of a Florida jour-
nalist, a few postal workers and a
ninety some odd year old woman
living in little Oxford, Connecti-
cut. Like paranoia about planes
falling from the sky wasn’t enough,
Americans had to use latex gloves
to open the mail. I remember some
days just thinking that life might
just become one long terrorist at-
tack. Fortunately, we didn’t need a
string of attacks to stay permanently
paranoid.
My only commentary about the
anthrax came in the opening se-
quence of my Xeric grant winning
book, The Revenge of the Vampire
Bed and Breakfast. This is what
I’m reprinting here. It’s just the
single page. It really isn’t commen-
tary, just a gee whiz acknowledge-
ment of the event.
What is one to make of the
anthrax incidents? We know from
the brand that it was weapons grade
anthrax manufactured at a certain
military laboratory in a certain
country, namely the United States.
You’d think maybe they’d have
sign up sheets for anyone wanting
to take a few bags home. Maybe
some genius just slipped out with it
like Sandy Berger did with pre-9/11
intelligence.
Oh, yeah, Sandy Berger. I
didn’t do a cartoon about the Sandy
Berger thing at all. Maybe I should
have. You’ll just have to look
THAT scandal up on Wikipedia.
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ENRON
Making your own markets was the mantra of Ken Lay, Bush Pioneer, friend of all things Bush.
Before the Bush presidency, hardly anyone heard of Enron, even though it was the seventh largest
U.S. corporation. Enron’s existence relied on a complex series of financial transactions masked by
a few tangible products like natural gas and electrical plants. It was unique then, but pretty com-
monplace now. Because of the sudden drop in stock prices after 9/11, Enron’s business model
unraveled, leaving all the brilliant minds who contributed to its success scattered like rats to other
corporations. I’m sure if anyone did some digging, behind every bundled mortgage security in finan-
cial trouble, there’s a former Enron man.
Curiously, Enron’s accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, would be decimated in a post-Enron pros-
ecution frenzy. Chief antagonist would be Michael Chertoff, who eventually would become Head
of Homeland Security. It was a little like blaming Iraq for 9/11. It might have been excessive and
unecessary, but it made us feel better.
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Here’s a three page exerpt
from my Xeric grant winning
comic book, The Revenge of the
Vampire Bed and Breakfast.
Briefly, the Goth Scouts,
whom you met earlier examin-
ing a petri dish of anthrax which
they received in the mail, follow
private military contractors to
The Vampire Bed and Break-
fast. The Bed and Breakfast is
owned by a 600 year old gypsy.
There, they find the residence has
already been invaded by Enron
traders who fervently worship
Ken Lay’s brain.
One of the charms of Enron
lay in its perfectly indecipher-
able business model which could
squeeze money out of a rock so
long as the rock had been used as
collateral for some loans pos-
ing as trades. Basically, no one
understands a thing Ken Lay’s
brain is saying, but gosh, it’s so
BRAINY, how can it be wrong?
The real Ken Lay’s brain
ended up being buried with the
rest of the body just as the trial
was about to begin. This meant
he got to take it all with him. Re-
ally. My friends refuse to believe
he’s really dead. They envision
him sipping fruity martinis on a
beach in the Cayman Islands.
I don’t kow. I personally
think that Ken Lay’s brain can
never die, with or without the
rest of the guy.
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The fact that the Secre-


tary of the Army when the
U.S. invaded Afghanistan
had been a former Enron
executive really bugged
me. I found it worthy of at
least a few cartoons.
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Dubyogo
With apologies to the memory of the late great Walt Kelly, I put together a short series of Pogo influ-
enced cartoon strips. In the prelude to our Iraq incursion, the entire basis of war seemed at once so far
fetched and so wide eyed innocent, that it seemed throwing the entire administration into the Okeefenokee
swamp a most natural thing.
During this time, the role of the press secretary was greatly enhanced. It was his unenviable job to put
lipstick on a pig, as it were. Our distant, univolved president had to be remade into a tough guy in the
mold of Rambo. Interestingly enough, the approach succeeded, with Americans just as happy to clobber
Iraq as they were to smack Afghanistan upside the head, despite gathering protests.
However, overlooked by the usually yap happy press were small incidents like intercepted missiles
from North Korea heading for Yemen. You’d think maybe it would have been well within the acceptable
limits of the War on Terror to confiscate the things. But no, the United States let them go, leaving right
wing essayists hyperventilating on the op ed page of the Wall Street Journal that somehow Clinton was at
fault. It was very hard for the right to let go of Clinton as a whipping boy. Very hard.
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THE
HOMELAND
It didn’t take much time before the entire United States was renamed “The Homeland”. It seemed like
something from an NRA playbook. Championed by Joe Lieberman, The Department of Homeland Security
came into existence as yet another path for companies to find their way to the government dole.
43

Tom Ridge, chief of Homeland Secu-


rity, spoke at my daughter’s graduation
from Carnegie Mellon University. His
speech was mostly about needing satel-
lites to protect the Homeland. That half
the graduates of the Computer Sciences
Department were either Indian or Asian
would have tickled a guy like Lou Dobbs.
I thought it was kind of funny.
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Ann Coulter
To make the mental leap from attacking Afghanistan to attacking Iraq, it is necessary to go through
Ann Coulter. Her insightful and witty essays separated Americans from civility by lumping all Mus-
lims into the category “terrorist”. By suggesting that Christians overrun the Middle East and by put-
ting Saddam Hussein at the controls of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center, Coulter gave
a roadmap to war as clear as any other pundit.
Bombing one Muslim country was as good as any other. Let’s go for it. They all deserve to die.
I decided to pose the question to myself: What would Ann Coulter draw if she were a cartoonist?
Then I came up with these cartoons. What I found over time is that they are not too different from
some run of the mill cartoons being drawn for daily papers.. That I thought was pretty darn sad.
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TOWARD IRAQ
As Osama bin Laden slipped through our American fingers, it seemed only fitting that we go after
another bad guy, someone more catchable. The marketing campaign to sell the American population
on the war began in earnest with a Cheney speech in August of 2002. A short while after that, Sec-
retary of State took the dog and pony show to the U.N. The administration leaked information about
Saddam and Weapons of Mass Destruction to Judy Miller of the New York Times so Condoleezza
Rice could go on the Tim Russert Show and quote the very Judy Miller article based on the adminis-
tration leak.
The gist of the marketing sold us on the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It played on
our paranoia. We should have known there was a problem when after the initial strike to kill Saddam
missed its mark, not a single American soldier was killed by mustard gas or radioactive material.
As a teaser, we were told that this war could be fought on the cheap. As if we were buying a war
from Walmart. Lawrence Lindsay was fired over his suggestion that the war costs would top 100 bil-
lion dollars.
Iraq has in fact become a money pit. Yes, like that fixer upper you bought when the real estate
market was booming.
47

I have an
entire chapter
on the Media
coming up. Ap-
parently Dick
Cheney’s deputy
Lewis Libby
had been pre-
paring them as
Shock troops in
the assault on
public opinion.
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This little cartoon to the right pret-


ty much sums up my feeling at the
time of our build up to war with Iraq.
If only we had paid more attention to
Enron, we may have had an adminis-
tration fighting that as a second front
to the war in Afghanistan and we
could have saved ourselves a whole
lot of blood, sweat, and money.
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There’s more coming up in the book regarding the Christians


as well. At times, it seemed our incursion into Iraq had the flavor
of a crusade against the infidel.
The cartoon on this page regarding Colin Powell refers to his
presentation about Weapons of Mass Destruction to the U.N. He
should have had a little more respect for his own intelligence.
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Doug Feith and super secret papers


51
This is yet another
exerpt from my Xeric
grant winning comic
book The Revenge of the
Vampire Bed and Break-
fast. The vampire son of
the six hundred year old
proprietess of the Bed
and Breakfast has been
brain-washed by the En-
ron/Dispensational cult
and pontificates about
free markets and war.
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MEANWHILE...
BACK AT THE
RANCH...
As the drumbeat for war continued, The Justice Department pretty much used the time to treat the
entire United States as a nest of terrorists. The first part of this task was given to John Ashcroft, who
did pretty darn well until he came down with pancreatitis. That’s when Alberto Gonzales and Andrew
Card chose to pressure him to sign off on the secret National Security Agency wiretapping program,
which he refused to do.
Later that year, Ashcroft handed in his resignation and was replaced by Alberto Gonzales, the kind
of guy who would pull the living heart out of a human being if Dubya said it was a good idea.
I did a lot of very nasty cartoons about John Ashcroft, but I never drew him with a spiked collar, the
way I drew Alberto Gonzales.
John Ashcroft bounced back quite nicely. His company now pulls in millions of dollars from the
U.S. government helping companies investigate and then punish themselves for corporate malfeasance.
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PRE-EMPTIVE
STRIKE
Anyhow, loaded with some neocon concept or “pre-emption”, America started it’s attack on Iraq on
March 18, 2003. Officially, Bush declared a cessation of hostilities on May 1 of that same year, but he
was only kidding. Colin Powell warned the president, “You break it, you own it.” He was so totally right.
Except that the Iraqis seem to think they own it, too.
To continue the theme of conspiracy theories, I’ve started this chapter with a nod to PNAC, the
neocon society for a new world order. From there, I’ve gone and turned the war into a Star Trek episode.
I figure that the neocons decided that the war would be a cakewalk because they really thought of the
United States as a big benevelent spaceship armed with photon torpedoes. Once we transported ourselves
to the Green Zone, the population would naturally love us, because we’re so darn American and everyone
in the Universe speaks English.
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FREEDOM
FRIES
Changing the name of The United States to “Homeland” wasn’t enough. We had to change the names
of a popular food in order to eliminate the word “French”. This is what you do when another nation
opposes your invasion of a sovereign nation. Of course, you could always collectively hold your breath
until you turn blue.
Sadly, it wasn’t just the names of things that we were changing to suit our desires, but apparently
national intelligence as well. It took Joe Wilson and a letter to the New York Times after the invasion to
set out that scenario for the American people. This was followed up by the outing of his wife as a CIA
agent by members of the administration in cahoots with the media. If you think my cartoons are wild,
just wrap your mind around that scenerio. Admistration guys trying to protect their fantasies, decided a
good way to combat reality is to put the covert services at risk. On the one hand, that’s treason, on the
other, these guys are most probably innocent by way of insanity and on the third hand, wow...I just said
on the third hand...
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I drew this picture at the bottom right for my friend who was a war supporter. At the time, you were
considered fairly unpatriotic if you didn’t yay rah rah for the troops. I thought a cute picture of his son
with some blood and guts might change his mind. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe how the country fell
for the administration song and dance, but we did.
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CHRISTIAN
ZIONISTS
Karl Rove ran an unofficial Office of Religious Insanity. The major religious groups always had a
place to go if they needed anything, like a war to secure Israel for the End Times. Besides that, they
liked the idea of Faith-Based social programs with their promise of millions of government dollars. In-
asmuch as the current political climate allowed for easy discussion about Islamic bad guys, it conversely
stayed away from any discussion of home grown religious crazies, specifially the ones who have it in
their heads that the Middle East might be a fine place for a conflagration.
Messianic complex runs through the Bush presidency. To his credit, when it came to right wing
crazies, Bush really was a uniter. Right wing Jews, Catholics, Dispensationalists...they all formed the
happy core of the Bush agenda. The Jews got the run of the Defense Department and Cheney’s office,
the Catholics got the Supreme Court, and the Dispensationalists expected to make out like bandits in the
Department of the Faith-Based Dole.
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The Tri-Lateral Commis-


sion Gym cartoons are my nod
to political conspiracy theories.
The location of these cartoons is
Cheney’s bunker, which is locat-
ed far beneath the surface of the
earth. Only the elite have access
to its super-secret keys. The
most popular part of the bunker
is the gym where the powerful
can ride the exercycles of power
and walk the treadmills of total
world domination.
76

Peggy Noonan
and Jesus
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78

Bork, Scalia and


Gonzales dressed
as Monty Python’s
Spanish Inquisition
79

Bush gets lessons


on how to fly in
anticipation of the
endtimes.
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81
The Passion of Christ was a wildly suc-
cessful movie. Christians flocked with their
Sunday school classes to see it. I’m a horror
fan and I loved it. The gore and special effects
surpassed that of The Texas Chainsaw Massa-
cre. To see it, you needed a strong stomache.

One seriously underreported story concerned the handing over of classified information to AIPAC,
I’m lumping this cartooning together with the Christian Zionists because AIPAC loves those guys.
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WINNING
THE PEACE
The idea of Peace Patrol comics came to me one day while I was listening to one of George Bush’s
lame speeches, which were mercifully infrequent. I figured I’d dress Bush up in his Pilot’s costume,
the one he wore right before announcing the cessation of battle in Iraq in May of 2003, and give him
his own faux comic title. Aided by his sidekicks, Robot Rummy, Super Brain Rove, and Rich Uncle
Dick Cheney, Pilot Bush would go from issue to issue, making the world safe for private contractors
on the United States’ payroll.
I remember hearing Daniel Pipes speaking on TV once, explaining how the United States should es-
sentially take over the entire Middle East. However, in late 2003, when I drew these comics, the ini-
tial bravado behind pre-emption had given way to a kinder, milder reason for war. The United States
needed to bring democracy to all corners of the Earth. While being loaned money by the Red Chinese.
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Karla Rova and


Henry Kissinger
In my quest to find better and nastier ways of ridiculing the administration, I put together cross
dressing references to members of the administration in my comic, The Vampire Bed and Breakfast.
The dirty tricks of Bush operative Karl Rove made for good fodder. For a guy who acted as liason
between the administration and the religious right, he managed to participate in some pretty gosh awful
stuff. First among these was his involvement in the Plame case. The Wall Street Journal called his
role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame “whistleblowing”, which shows you why I read the
pages of the Wall Street Journal with same relish as watching Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Of
course, it continues the linguistic butchering of American idioms and makes your head want to explode
when you think of its real implications. Either it means real whistleblowing borders on treason, or it
excuses actions bordering on treason by making them seem like acts of civil responsibility and bravery.
In any case, here is the story of Karla Rova, one of the vampire ex-wives of Vladu, a three hundred
fifty year old vampire who lives with his six hundred year old gypsy mom and his bratty hundred year
old sister, Mimi.
Following Karla Rova is a discarded few pages from the Xeric grant winning The Revenge of the
Vampire Bed and Breakfast. One of the weirder episodes of the Bush administration happened when
Henry Kissinger was picked to head the 9/11 commission investigating the terrorist attacks. As the ar-
chitect of the secret Cambodian bombings during the Nixon administration, he hardly brought with him
the promise of enlightenment. Bowing to public pressure, Kissinger ended up resigning, but not before
I managed to get this three page comic done.
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DARPA AND
INFORMATION
MINING
Not long after 9/11, there came out a report about extensive data mining by DARPA, he Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. It entailed accumulating bajil-
lions of informational bits and seeing some sorts of patterns emerge. It wasn’t such a bad idea, except
for the fact that it meant spying on every United States citizen. John Poindexter, late of the Iran/Con-
tra scandal, was put in charge of the operation. It was apropos, of course. Iran/Contra was all about
not following the rules, an expertise very much at the core of Darpa’s activities. Here is yet another
exerpt from my Xeric grant winning comic book, The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast.
At this point, you’re probably realizing that this cartoon history of the Dubya years isn’t progress-
ing in a linear fashion any longer. This pretty much reflects what happened in our government. At
some point, the administration abandoned any forward thrust, rather repeating the same old, same old:
wiretapping, torture, private contractors, war. Just listen to some of Bush’s speeches. Eight years of
the same speech warmed over.
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DICK CHENEY
I heard an account of a meeting between England’s Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, and President George
W. Bush. Blair had it in his head that it would be a private meeting between the two of them, but when
he entered the room, there sat Dick Cheney as well as Mr. Bush. And so the meeting continued.
It became clear early on that the vice president was like no other vice president ever. One of the
first things he did was organize a super secret energy task force. What they discussed and what they
determined and even who participated to this day remains totally unknown. When Enron was having
problems with its electiricity plant in India, Cheney stepped in with a vice presidential “You do what
Kenny boy asks or else.”
After 9/11, Dick Cheney’s office facilitated the “Office of Special Plans,” headed by Doug Feith. It
was a wholly independent intelligence gathering organization. Cheney used this office to put the lean
on the CIA, showing up at CIA offices personally to press his agenda, which was war with Iraq, pure
and simple. I think the real reasons for the War with Iraq will remain as unknown as the membership
of the super secret Cheney Energy Task Force. Recall the Ken Lay exhortation to his traders to “Make
Your own Markets”. Dick Cheney had been the principle force in changing the contracting procedures
in the Department of Defense while he was Secretary under president George H. Bush. He later went to
work for the mega contractor Halliburton, earning 45 million dollars. Thanks to the war, Halliburton
has increased business seven-fold. All private military companies are doing quite well, in fact.
All this secrecy around Cheney led me to invent the multi-panel cartoon which takes place in the
Tri-lateral Commision gym located deep within Cheney’s bunker. This is where the real seat of power
lies. Ordinary citizens need not apply. The gym only welcomes people who really matter. People with
so much power they don’t quite know what to do with it.
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Connecticut’s jail-
bound governor and
Dick Cheney.
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DOMESTIC
AGENDA
Yes, just in time for the 2004 elections, there was a domestic agenda. It came and went very fleet-
ingly. Once in a while someone would point out the deficit. In the summer of 2004, however, most
of the talk was about the swift boating of Democratic candidate for president, John Kerry. His four
month experience in Viet Nam was reduced to so much poo, while nary a mention of Bush’s going
AWOL from the Air National guard made it into the rebuttal. Kerry mostly cried foul or went swift
sailing. I think what really cooked Kerry was his illegal alien wife. Well, she’s not illegal, true, but
she speaks with an accent so she may as well be.
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Coronation of Reverent Sun Myung Moon at the Dirk-


son Senate Office Building. This really happened.
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Texan Harriet Miers is nominated by


the president to sit on the Supreme
Court.
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Paul Wolfowitz
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Orrin Hatch and friend

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake

John Snow, Treasury Secretary Karen Hughes


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TORTURE
Around 2004, you had Lou Dobbs turn his CNN program into a nightly hour of Mexican bashing.
Not that anything has changed in the last thirty years as regards illegal immigration, it just shows you
how much a guy on the news can influence public opinion. Suddenly, EVERYBODY was up in arms
about the subject.
It would be so much more interesting to have a nightly torture show. After the revelations of Abu
Ghraib, and the gosh awful photographs which have since then become iconic, our squaky clean Star
Trek Federation self-image pretty much went belly up. Might as well celebrate it in true American fash-
ion, with a brand new reality show.
What is quite scary to me is the constant redefining of what the word terrorist means. We are, af-
ter all, a country so up in arms about 9/11 that we attacked a country which had nothing to do with the
planes going into the towers. It’s not surprising that we are spreading our xenophobic goodness to il-
legal Mexicans as well. In this spirit, Secretary of Education Rodney Paige likened teachers unions to
terrorists and Richard Perle cited journalist Seymour Hersh as a terrorist. So Mexicans became terror-
ists, teachers became terrorists, journalists became terrorists, and so forth. What do we do to terrorists
when we catch them? We torture them, using private contractors, of course. Hope in the neocon heart
springs eternal.
To commemorate our country’s newfound belief in legalized torture, I began drawing members of the
administration in sado-masochistic gear.
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Alan Dershowitz
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Rod Paige beats a terrorist member of the


Teacher’s Union.

Richard Perle interviews terrorist


Seymour Hersh.
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THE
CONTRACTORS
The contractors are the very soul of the Bush administration. These aren’t local contractors, like the
ones that got Buddy Cianci or John Rowland in trouble, these are huge multi-nationals with bigger net
worth than the GNP’s of some countries. All of our tax cut non-money has been going to these guys.
Once in places like Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have any laws governing their actions. If they want
to break a contract, they can. Murder? Sure. Screw with local military? Why not? We pay for them
and hope for the best because we’re Americans and eternally optimistic. I had a conversation with a big
supporter of contractors who pointed out that we couldn’t wage a war without Halliburton. And that’s
suppose to make me feel better about these guys?
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THE PRESS
Most of the stuff about the Bush administration which bugged me the most, i.e. contractor and
dominionist influence, didn’t even make it into the news. Then you find out that The New York Times
articles about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction had been produced in some kind of conspiratorial
manner between Lewis Libby and Judith Miller, a woman who was jailed for not revealing her sources
like some iconic symbol of a free press. It makes you wonder just what does get into the news and
why.
Thank God for the internet. Alexander Cockburn, Wayne Madsen, Jason Leopold...there was a slew
of guys who reported on contractors and dominionists. These guys in no small part influenced the sub-
jects of my cartoons. For one thing, they made this lead weighted albatross of an administration around
our collective necks seem kind of fun and interesting. My other source was the op ed pages of the Wall
Street Journal. Every possible bit of jaw-dropping right wing claptrap appeared there. I mean where
else could you find a serious pice of editorial content headlined “Karl Rove, Whistleblower.”
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One of the biggest critics of the Bush administration has been Lou Dobbs. Somehow he made
the transference from paranoia over Muslims to paranoia about illegal Mexicans. In the meantime,
he managed to bloviate himself into some patriotic reformer. It just goes to show you that there can
be a thin line between patriotism and xenophobia. He’d do better by insisting all Americans get
passports and go see the world. We Americans by and large are a small minded lot.
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RUMMY
Donald Rumsfeld began his tenure as Secretary of Defense by pushing the Defense Shield. Then
we were hit with 9/11 and there was not a blessed thing any Defense Shield could have done to
thwart such a terrorist plot. The CIA put together a group of anti-terrorist commandos which suc-
cessfully battled the Afghans only to be made to wait for regular army troops to arrive by a foot drag-
ging Secretary of Defense. If ever there was a guy who could take political infighting to an actual
battlefield, Rummy was the man who could do it.
My own experience with Donald Rumsfeld was limited to watching his press conferences on
TV. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy them, using folksy language and glib rejoinders to keep the
press from asking any serious questions. His most famous line was in response to a question from a
soldier. Rumsfeld declared that you don’t go to war with the army you wish you had, but the army
that you’re stuck with. It didn’t sit well with many people, but no matter, because Rummy stayed in
office until right after the 2006 mid-term elections in which the Republicans lost control of the House
and the Senate. His departure was accompanied by a twenty-one gun salute which was broadcast on
C-Span. What a guy.
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KATRINA
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana. This was after
Bush’s re-election and before the 2006 mid-term election debacle which put the Democrats in charge
of both the Senate and the House. Though the hurricane was being tracked closely, the actual day
of landfall saw most of key administration players just doing their regular weekend thing, including
Michael Brown, the head of FEMA. Political squabbling gave Louisiana the short end of the stick
because its governor was a Democrat. Coastal parrishes seem to have been left out of the official
disaster declaration.
Anyhow, the intense politicization of the disaster pretty much shouted out to the rest of the country
that you’d pretty much have to be in Republican control to get any kind of help. This is probably
why Louisiana ended up electing a black Republican of Indian extraction to be the next governor.
But this is the kind of schoolyard bickering that had been seizing the Federal Government since the
Bush Administration came to town. Plus, thanks to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if adults
were in charge, they wouldn’t have the funds to do much of anything. The levees in New Orleans
failed, and all the rest of us could do was watch.
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THE SECOND
TERM
I decided to frame the period of time around the 2006 elections as a series of kids’ comic strips.
By this time, I think most everybody in the country had gotten tired of what the Republicans were not
doing, which is governing. Katrina had come and gone, with its disastrous aftermath. Tom deLay had
been booted from office thanks to a lobbying scandal with Jack Abramoff. The wars in Afghanistan and
Iraq still dragged on with no end in sight.
Around this time there came out a movie with the Title “King of Scotland” about Idi Amin. In one
scene, the progatonist, Nicholas Garrigan, gets a little spooked by his patron, ruthless Ugandan dicta-
tor Idi Amin. Amin asks what’s the matter and Garrigan replies: “You’re so like a child. That’s what
makes you so frightening.”
That’s my take on the Bush Administration. Like children, this bunch was so free of rules and
oversight, that the thought of actually doing what’s best for the country never occured to them. After
Katrina, however, the adults came out, which is why the 2006 elections were so disastrous for the Re-
publicans.
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HEY, KIDS!
The Hey Kids cartoons I did came from mulling over what type of example the present administra-
tion was setting for future generations. For one thing, thanks to our military interventions, a lot of
kids were becoming orphans. Also, images of the corpses of Uday and Qusay Hussein were broad-
cast quite extensively on TV, not to mention the scenes of horror from Abu Ghraib. Wiretapping went
a long way towards echoing the idea of someone’s mom reading through a private teenage diary, and
John Yoo’s reasoning was like your older brother declaring that punching you in the face has suddenly
become the moral equivalent of a touchdown in the neighborhood touch football game. Most point-
edly, however, the Hey Kids strips were reflective of the total powerlessness of children. It’s like
Hurricane Katrina. If you want a responsive government, you’d better be a rich Republican with an
offshore post office box. Absent that, kids, you’re screwed.
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JOHN BOLTON
No one characterizes Bush’s second term better than John Bolton. An avid neocon, he liked to be-
rate underlings in his off hours, and sometimes in his not off hours. Sent to the U.N. as an interrum
appointment, Bolton yelled a lot without accomplishing much. It pretty much reflected the way the
administration was heading. It never occured to people like Bolton that U.S. clout in the world had
been much diminished. Our bark was still strong, but our bite was gone.
As I write this, our debt belongs to the Saudis and the Chinese. Oil is selling at $147 per barrel
and rising. The mortgage securities market in still in collapse, with a second market in school loans
and a third in credit card debt still looming as big unknowns. The housing market is in ruins and the
jobless rate is increasing.
All anyone had to do was look at Enron and seen all this coming, but no, for some stupid rea-
son Republican pundits urged our nation to trust these people and we believed them. Our president
pledged to run the country like a business, the problem being that all the businesses he ever ran had
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AND THEN
THERE ARE
THESE GUYS
I think you can characterize the last few years of the Bush Administration as being fairly aim-
less. There’s talk of Iran being really, really bad, but I’m not sure if the Red Chinese will lend us
the money we need to fight them. I pretty much stopped doing political cartoons in 2007. The
market for political cartoons was shrinking, and here I was with a cartooning style which was all
over the boards. My last gig was freelancing for the Soros funded website of the Center for Ameri-
can Progress. It was not a very happy time. Pretty much they demanded cartoons which were
liberal in the traditional sense, pro-Israel, mildly against the conservatives, advancing tried and true
liberal causes. It wasn’t my bag. Old time distinguishing features between the right and the left
had become blurred by private contractors, Christian Zionists and questionable business practices
as far as I was concerned. My cartoons seemed to have more in common with conspiracy theorists
than with political pundits.
Moreover, for all the passion I put into the cartoons, I realized that in the grander scheme of
things, they made not one iota of difference.
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Dubya makes a surprise official visit to President Maliki of Iraq


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The Clintons
tag team
Barack Obama
during
Primary 2008
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AFTERMATH
These final cartoons kind of take us full circle, from the collapse of Enron to the collapse of Bear
Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, WAMU, etc. etc. We are in some bad economic times, people, with no
one to blame but ourselves because we elected the lunatics in charge.
I’m ending this book with a series of comic book pages which I thought were kind of an apropos
combination of military scenes and economic concerns. I threw in a few Condi the Dominatrix cartoons
as well. Putin’s done a good job of running circles around the United States while our pose as guardian
of the free world looks a little like, well, a pose. I thought Bush and his ilk were done for, but then Mc-
Cain declared Sarah Palin, Pentacostal governor of Alaska, as his running mate. The right wing revved
itself into a political juggernaut as it did with Bush, a juggernaut for McCain, who had been censured by
the Senate for costing the taxpayers millions through his involvement in the Savings and Loan Scandal,
and Palin, anti-abortion mother of a pregnant tennager. Suddenly, I realized the same lunatics I lampoon
in this book...the dispensationalists, the contractors, the idiot journalists...may quite possibly be gearing
for yet another chance at the big time. The conservatives we used to know and love as Republicans have
been replaced by treasury plundering fundamentalists. Wow. Isn’t that a kick in the head?
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ONWARD...