Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins Rest In Peace

Firebrand liberal columnist Molly Ivins died this evening after a long battle with breast cancer. Here is more from the Texas Star Telegram.
We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there. From her last column dated 1/12/07

Molly Ivins requested that anyone wishing to donate to a good cause in her memory should support the:

The Molly Ivins Fund for Investigative Reporting

You can either donate at the above link via PayPal or you can send a check directly to them at:

Molly Ivins Fund
c/o Texas Observer
307 West 7th
Austin, TX 789701

Ivins used to be the editor of this fine independent paper. We should support folks who aren't afraid to expose corruption and route out crooks.


A view from beside the stage at the rally prior to the United for Peace and Justice March on Washington to End the Iraq War. 1/27/07
Photo by Joe Tresh © 2007 (Click image to enlarge).

Please sign up for MoveOn's

on Washington to stop the Iraq war.

It's occuring TOMORROW, THURSDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2007. All you have to do is call your two senators and tell them to stop Bush's escalation in Iraq.
Sign Up Here!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Brave Enough for Botero's Art?

Fernando Botero © 2006

Well known artist Fernando Botero shows Americans the painful truth of their foreign policy in his series of paintings and drawings about the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. While the world still awaits full exposure of this evil place, and America's responsibility for what has been occurring there since the invasion of Iraq, Botero has used his outrage as artistic subject matter. This in-your-face, highly charged political art is now on display at Doe Library at UC Berkeley, in Northern California. The exhibit opened today and goes until March 23, 2007. Exhibit Info.

Prior to the opening of this intense artwork in Rome, Botero was interviewed by Revista Diner Magazine. Here's an English language translation:

Fernando Botero © 2006

Fernando Botero © 2006
Revista Diner: Why did you decide to paint this series about what happened in Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero: Because of the anger that I felt and that the whole world felt over this crime committed by the country that presents itself as the model of compassion, justice and civilization.

RD: After painting the horror of the contemporary violence in Colombia, did you think that you had some commitment to also reflect this event of world violence?

FB: In art one must always reevaluate ones ideas, to question oneself. I have always believed and taught that great art was always created on kinder themes, with very few exceptions. And this is true. For example, there are thousands of works done by the Impressionists, but I have not yet seen one that represents a dramatic theme. However, issues as burning as the violence in Colombia and now the torture in Abu Ghraib prison make one think differently.

RD: At the time of the gestation or creation of these new works did you feel that there was some similarity between these two events of horror?

Fernando Botero © 2006

FB: No. The situation is different. The violence in Colombia is almost always the product of ignorance, lack of education and social injustice. That of Abu Ghraib is a crime committed by the greatest armed force of the world, ignoring the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners.

RD: Do you expect that this series, which will surely be controversial, will have a political effect on the world?

FB: No. Art never had that power. The artist leaves a mark that acquires importance over time if the work is artistically valid.

RD: How do you think the international community, especially the North American community, will receive your work, which is so dramatic on a real and current event?

Fernando Botero © 2006

FB: These are works born of anger at such horror. How they would be received was not a consideration at the time that I made them.

RD: Does the number of works that you painted on this theme call one’s attention? What was the process of investigation and creation?

FB: I am addicted to the news, to newspapers and magazines. Besides, every day I look at the internet and I am informed. There have been many articles written on the theme, especially the powerful one that appeared in The New Yorker, which revealed the situation that exists in the U.S.-controlled jails. To the extent that I was informed I felt a greater need to say something about such a horror. Last year I began to draw and paint, and I have already created almost fifty works on this theme.

Fernando Botero © 2006

RD: For which of these two kinds of work that you create do you believe you will be more remembered in the history of Colombian and universal art?

FB: Time and history are big words with which I do not want to get involved.

RD: Is it possible that in the future you will again paint a series specific to some current political theme?

FB: It is very possible. Every time I feel more sensitive to injustice it makes my blood boil.

RD: Aside from the exhibit in Rome next June, where will these pictures be shown?

FB: These works will soon be showing in two museums, in June in Rome and in October in Germany. I have no intention of selling them. I will show them where they invite me to exhibit them, hopefully in the United States. One should not forget that the great majority of North Americans condemn the practice of torture. The press of that country has constantly denounced what happened in Abu Ghraib.
Translated Source. As we now know these important artworks are indeed being shown in America where hopefully they will do some good for the poor souls who have suffered at the hands of our government.

Fernando Botero © 2006

San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker reviews the exhibit.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

The State of the Union: Liar in Chief

Resolute Leader II 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42" Tom Block

If you were unable to stomach watching President George W. Bush give his second-to-last State of the Union speech last night (Goddess protect us for two more years) then I certainly won't make you suffer through the entire, tired exercise here. But I will quote some of the more glaring misstatements (aka lies) immediately rebutted by Senator-elect Jim Webb - VA, who gave the official Democratic response. The especially appropriate images are by artist Tom Block (artist statement included below.)
BUSH: A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy — and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth — in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs … so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move....Source

WEBB: When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them. Source
Fact: In just the first ten days of the new Democratic-controlled Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an increase in the national minimum wage. It was the first time in a decade. Source

Man of God (Voting Block) 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42"
Tom Block

BUSH: Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Source

WEBB: The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable – and predicted – disarray that has followed. Source

Spokesman (War is Peace) 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42"
Tom Block

BUSH:The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. But whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans … kill democracy in the Middle East … and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale. Source

WEBB: With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years. Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism, and that invading and occupying Iraq would leave us strategically vulnerable in the most violent and turbulent corner of the world. Source

Undersecretary of Absolution 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42"
Tom Block

BUSH: My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this Chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq — because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict. Source

WEBB: The war's costs to our nation have been staggering.


The damage to our reputation around the world.

The lost opportunities to defeat the forces of international terrorism.

And especially the precious blood of our citizens who have stepped forward to serve.

The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military. We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos. But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.

Reformer 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42" Tom Block

How many times did Bush mention the word Iraq, Iran or terror/ist in the 2007 SOTUS? You can use THIS handy, interactive chart to see for yourself. You can even type in other words and find out how he spun them in all his SOTU speeches.

Unindicted Senator 2004 oil on canvas 62" x 42" Tom Block


Felix Varela said: "All good people fear political parties," and the enclosed work, entitled "Response to Machiavelli," explores why. Our political system is peopled by the least spiritually realized among us, those that desperately need a sense of personal power to feel as if their lives have meaning. Unfortunately, the truly moral people in our society have no such needs - and the public forum is left to become a Machiavellian scrum among the morally bereft, the vast majority of whom put their own need for self-worth above the public good.

Machiavelli proposed in his book, The Prince, that the "ends justify the means;" this series of paintings explores that premise, examining specific "energies" that rule in our public sphere, regardless of the particular name of the politician or their party attachment.

The paintings themselves are portraits of these energies, detailing such aspects of Power as the complete lack of a central "Truth" or "Principle" to public statements ("Spokesman: War is Peace"); the oxymoronic language and behavior of those who continually abuse our public trust ("Oxymoron" and "Reformer"); the absurdity of pretending to have religious or moral "principles" while caring not a whit about anything but personal power ("Resolute Leader I & II") and other issues pertaining to the lust for power.

Ultimately, the paintings offer a poignant recitation for a populace that is strangled by the pretensions and emotional immaturity of its leadership. The subtext of this study, which details a political system that is, at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, truly Machiavellian, is to call to the citizenry to judge our leaders by their actions, ignoring their words, and take back the public sphere from those least spiritually qualified to "lead" us. - Tom Block

ACTION ITEM!!! Join the mass protest in Washington DC January 27, 2007

There will be smaller rallies in other cities:
San Francisco
Los Angeles
List of other US cities

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Friday, January 19, 2007

War by Any Other Name

Artist Unknown

The Bush Administration, whose only success in six years has been masterfully, spinning publicity campaigns, has launched yet another catchy military operation in Iraq. The so-called "surge" which is really yet another escalation of US troops in Iraq (the previous escalations have not been successful) is called, "A New Way Forward" not to be confused with last February's "Operation Together Forward". If only the Bushies were as good at the actual mechanics of war as they are at creating slogans for this debacle we'd already be out of Iraq. I think you'll be astonished to see how many labels this disastrous war has had so far:
2003 (42 different names)

Operation Peninsula Strike
Operation Desert Scorpion
Operation Scorpion Sting
Operation Spartan Scorpion
Operation Rifles Scorpion
Operation Sidewinder
Operation Soda Mountain
Operation Ivy Serpent
Operation Iron Bullet
Operation Tyr
Operation Ivy Lightning
Operation Silverado
Operation Ivy Needle
Operation Longstreet
Operation Tiger Clean Sweep
Operation Industrial Sweep
Operation Chamberlain
Operation Sweeney
Operation OK Corral
Operation Iron Hammer
Operation Eagle Curtain
Operation All American Tiger
Operation Ivy Cyclone

Artist Unknown
Operation Boothill
Operation Rifles Blitz
Operation Rifle Sweep
Operation Bayonet Lightning
Operation Bulldog Mammoth
Operation Clear Area
Operation Abilene
Operation Panther Squeeze
Operation Red Dawn
Operation Panther Backroads
Operation Ivy Blizzard
Operation Arrowhead Blizzard
Operation Iron Justice
Operation Rifles Fury
Operation Salm
Operation Devil Siphon
Operation Iron Grip
Operation Iron Force
Operation Choke Hold

Artist Unknown
2004 (Another 42 different names)

Operation Warhorse Whirlwind
Operation Iron Resolve
Operation Market Sweep
Operation Saloon
Operation Rock Slide
Operation Final Cut
Operation Saber Turner II
Operation Tomahawk
Operation Trailblazer
Operation Eagle Liberty
Operation Devil Clinch
Operation Rocketman
Operation Iron Promise
Operation Shillelagh
Operation Devil Thrust
Operation Aloha
Operation Centaur Rodeo
Operation Warrior
Operation Suicide Kings
Operation Tiger Fury
Operation Iron Saber
Operation Duke Fortitude
Operation Lancer Fury

Artist Unknown
Operation Lancer Lightning
Operation Vigilant Resolve
Operation Resolute Sword
Operation Danger Fortitude
Operation Ripper Sweep
Operation Yellow Stone
Operation Rapier Thrust
Operation Spring Clean-up
Operation Striker Hurricane
Operation Wolfpack Crunch
Operation Disarm
Operation Giuliani
Operation Slim Shady
Operation Striker Tornado
Operation Rocketman III
Operation Dragon Victory
Operation Gimlet Crusader
Operation Phantom Fury
Operation Al Fajr

Photo by Anja Niedringhaus for Associated Press
2005 (Gee only four this time?)

Operation Matador
Operation Quick Strike
Operation Great Lakes
Operation Steel Curtain

2006 (Something's definitely wrong)

Operation Swarmer
Operation Forward Together
Operation Sinbad

Details on each operation

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Irving Norman with Roberta Loach - Final Installment

Newsflash! If you live in Southern California you will be able to see this amazing artwork. January 21 - April 15, 2007 at the Pasadena Museum of Art! The exhibit will then travel to Utah and Washington DC. I'll get more information for you about those shows.

Elevator © Irving Norman 1946
(Click on image for larger view).
All images in this series are presented with Hela Norman's permission.

This is the final installment of the series on Irving Norman. I was lucky enough to see the exhibit three times (something I've never done at any art show before) at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. If you missed the exhibit you can still see Norman's work via virtual tour or purchase the beautiful 220 page oversize color catalog.

Here is the final excerpt from the 1975 interview artist Roberta Loach did with Irving Norman. I hope you've enjoyed this unique view into the creative motivations of this visionary artist. You'll find the previous segments of this series here:

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2

Introducing Irving Norman Part 1
Introducing Irving Norman Part 2

Roberta Loach: How important to you is design and color and what do these elements have to do with what you are trying to say?
Irving Norman: Everything. I have learned design and daring in design, especially from modern artists such as the Futurists, a very underestimated group of artists.

RL: What are your feelings about non-objective art? And has it influenced you in any way?
IN: I feel that non-objective work is at the top of its significance, and has been for the last fifty years. My work shows my reaction to it. You see, my heroes are Sartre and Camus. I think of them as philosophers representing their thinking of France and the West nations which have fulfilled their mission in terms of world power and they see the fulfillment of this power as illogical, senseless and absurd in terms of the whole of human existence. So that is the thinking that leads to abstraction and at the same time to the concrete. Sartre as a political activist and existential thinker combines the two. This is what some people call the universal in my work...the combination of the concrete and the abstract.

RL: I can see the concrete in your work such as in the buildings, subways, total composition, placement of the figures...but where's the abstract?
IN: Mostly in my preoccupation with death.

RL: You're speaking philosophically of course, but your treatment of space helps carry out this point pictorially.
IN: Yes. There is no answer to this problem of existence. It's like the theatre of the absurd. It all seems to come to a senseless head when a civilization reaches its fulfillment and has nowhere to go. In the meantime, we have to react to our own time like Thomas Wolfe says.

RL: How do you mean?
IN: Wolfe, as you might know, gave detailed descriptions of life in every aspect in the big American cities. His publisher objected, suggesting that he bother himself only with the ultimate. The publisher said that life is and always has been full of problems and always will be. Wolfe said, "No. You may be right, but everyone has to help clarify the problems of his time." If he can't solve it, he can at least analyze and clarify it. That's what he did and that's what I try to do.

From Work © Irving Norman 1943
(Click on image for larger view).
All images in this series are presented with Hela Norman's permission.

RL: How do you react to people who criticize you for only presenting the problems and not offering any solutions?
IN: Well for me the burden of analyzing the truth as it is is so big that I can't visualize the solutions. The Martyrs for example, shows the power of protest and self sacrifice which are methods of solving certain problems.

RL: One last do you feel about your own work now? Are you pleased with the success you are having? Does it make any difference to you?
IN: No difference at all. In fact I'm worried about it.

RL: Why are you worried?
IN: It's a distraction...I never thought of it. Once in a while I had an exhibit and people came and bought a few things and it enabled me to take a trip and raise my spirits...but otherwise I haven't paid attention to it. As I said earlier, I'm just curious about everything and I try to give expression to it.

RL: Do you think you would have continued to work had you not had any chance to show or sell or reach appreciative audiences?
IN: I think's discouraging. You have to fight it off. It draws a bit on your energy, but it's all part of this world. You can't get out of your own skin. I just want to react to life through my work.

Mexican Procession © Irving Norman 1946
(Click on image for larger view).
All images in this series are presented with Hela Norman's permission.

And now commentary from interviewer Roberta Loach
As the reader may well have deduced from this conversation, Irving Norman is out of step with the trendy art of our time. He is unfashionable...a devout humanist, unashamedly concerned with the plight of his fellow man. His work also reveals his concern with the ubiquitous existential dilemma of life that seems to be the lot of all human kind who stop long enough to think about it. Irving Norman is bold, courageous and committed and like all who dare to show such feelings, he is inevitably accused of being morose, unhappy, angry and humorless. He is none of the above. He is a contented man on good terms with life and himself, doing the work he feels he must. He is a mind alive, fascinated, dismayed, aware and above all, tuned in to the realities of life and unafraid to look at and ponder the ugly social and political truths of today that no sane person could deny. Like Thomas Wolfe, he seeks to clarify and analyze the problems of his time, using his powerful gift as an artist to do so. His very act of creation is an affirmation of his optimism about life, though, as Camus would say, "not a forced optimism which is the worst of luxuries and the most ridiculous of lies."

Roots © Irving Norman 1947
(Click on image for larger view).
All images in this series are presented with Hela Norman's permission.
Irving Norman is the epitome of the figurative artist who has something to say, and because he has chosen his agonizingly tormented, distorted figures to express the depths of his feelings, he is looked upon by some of the elitist museum crowd as being too literal and just possibly too controversial for some of their more substantial patrons. How ironic that the very reasons his work is often shunned are the reasons which serve as a perpetual spur to his creative impetus. How can he, possessed of a greater ability than most, turn his back on reality and fail to record it in his "literal" work? In essence, Camus asks the same question: "How can art get along without the real and how could art be subservient to it: The artist chooses his object as much as he is chosen by it. Art, in a sense is a revolt against everything fleeting and unfinished in the world. Consequently its only aim is to give another form to (a) reality that is nevertheless forced to preserve as the source of its emotion. In this regard we are all realistic and no one is." Norman can't get away from the belief that art and life are inextricably tied up with each other. He is a good example of the artist who can neither turn his back on his time nor lose himself in it. He is a unique artist who responds in his own way to his own time with the totality of his being. It seems fitting to close with Camus who understood the true artist so well: "Art advances between two chasms, which are frivolity and propaganda. On the ridge where the great artist moves forward, every step is an adventure, an extreme risk. In that risk, however, and only there lies the freedom of art." As Irving Norman knows all to well. - Roberta Loach 1975.
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

KSFO Radio Spews Hate

Even here in the "liberal" San Francisco Bay Area the insidious, vicious, tentacles of hate radio are well established. KSFO which used to be a Newstalk station when I was a kid is now home to right wing radicals such as:
Melanie Morgan

Brian Sussman (former weatherman on KPIX TV).
Lee Rodgers
Officer Vic

Now these folks have been spewing their nasty bile over the public airwaves for years now and personally I think they, and people like Rush Limbaugh made public hatred somehow seem "cool" back in the 1990s during the right wing Republican Contract ON Americans. This type of attitude, the bullying, the name-calling, the racism, the threats of violence against "liberals" and anyone who speaks their mind publicly has got to end.

With that in mind a local blogger, just a person like you and me, decided he'd had enough of what KSFO was pushing and he started fighting back. This is a story of what one person can do when they have the courage to fight Goliath because the owner of KSFO is no other than ABC/Disney Corporation.

This battle is far from over and you can help blogger Sprocko and others end the reign of hate radio in America right in our own back yard. If you live outside the San Francisco Bay Area you can be assured there is a radio station just like KSFO in your area and you too can help shut off the hate spigot. Just read the story of how Sprocko has taken on this noble effort:

Mike Stark explains the back-story

More back-story from Media Matters

Sprocko's blog

KSFO's Hate Jocks

Hate Radio Clips

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Joel Andreas on Hannity & Colmes TONIGHT!

Addicted to War by Joel Andreas

One of the early artists whose work I exhibited here is cartoonist (and professor) Joel Andreas. Joel has been creating, and re-creating the most excellent cartoon version of recent US History with all the dirty laundry (and rocket launchers) included. This morning I received the following email from Joel's publisher, Frank Dorrel:
The San Francisco Board of Education has voted unanimously to make ADDICTED To WAR a supplemental text book to be used by history teachers in the district. Someone has complained about this happening.

Joel Andreas will be interviewed tonight (Friday) on Hannity & Colmes Fox News TV Nationwide. This is the reason for this segment on the show. Please forward this email to friends and consider calling or emailing Fox in support of ADDICTED To WAR being used in high schools across the United States.

6:20 to 6:30 PM Pacific Standard Time
& repeated at 9:20 to 9:30 PM PST

Well of course "someone complained" about this comic book being used in San Francisco schools. Yes, folks there are right wingers everywhere. But here's a blue ribbon list of endorsements from learned people who think using the book in schools is a great idea.

Or Email:

Preview the comic book here

Frank Dorrel

P.O. Box 3261
Culver City, CA 90231-3261

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Presenting Artist Craig Foster

I'm always thrilled when a new artist contacts me. Craig Foster emailed me with a link to his website and I immediately saw that his work would be perfect to exhibit here on the blog. He's got a variety of image styles but his themes are recurrent and very timely. I've chosen to introduce you to his art by starting with three posters that caught my eye first. These three images take the well known graphic style of artist Michael Schwab and pushes it to put the Iraq war into the clearest of visual terms.

Iraq © 2003 Craig Foster

There seems to be something wrong with President Bush's Iraq adventure. What's a rigid, right-wing, rapturist leader to do about the "winning and not winning" that's going on 3000 miles, and 3000 US soldier's bodies, away from Washington DC?
"When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C. Sept. 19, 2001

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." — George W. Bush, June 18, 2002

"I'm a patient man. And when I say I'm a patient man, I mean I'm a patient man. Nothing he [Saddam Hussein] has done has convinced me — I'm confident the Secretary of Defense — that he is the kind of fellow that is willing to forgo weapons of mass destruction, is willing to be a peaceful neighbor, that is — will honor the people — the Iraqi people of all stripes, will — values human life. He hasn't convinced me, nor has he convinced my administration." — George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 21, 2002

I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied -- finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic -- the IAEA, that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need. - Camp David, Maryland, Sep. 7, 2002

Baghdad © 2003 Craig Foster

I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." — George W. Bush, as quoted in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War"

"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself." — George W. Bush, Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." —George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003

Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home. - White House, Mar. 6, 2003

Could it be that George W. Bush made an, er, um...oh what do you call it when you make a decision and it turns out to be completely wrong? Oh yes, a MISTAKE!
The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating...

If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe.
- Iraq Study Group Report

Kirkuk © 2003 Craig Foster

What about the oil? The latest:
Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972. Ah yes...Iraq's oil
Let's make certain the new Democratic Congress stops Bush from sending more troops to Iraq, presents a workable withdrawal plan, and gets our soldiers out of the civil war Bush created. Join your local Coordinating Council so you can organize with your fellow progressive activists, then meet with your Congressional Representatives. They're not going to do this without constant vigilance by you and me!
Coordinating Councils Unless of course you prefer to follow Bush's instructions:

We'll Fight You Shop © 2004 Craig Foster

About Craig Foster
With the advent of war in Iraq, Foster felt a great urgency to respond artistically and his goal became the creation of a piece a day based on his impressions from the news. It became clear that a digital format was the most efficient means of channeling this response as, according to Foster, "there just wasn't enough time to let the paint dry".

The little characters portrayed in some of Foster's animation and prints are used intentionally to add light relief to the political message conveyed. His hope is to appeal to even those observers who might disagree with such a missive and be inclined to dismiss the work at first glance. Foster's art is also a successful indictment of the ready acceptance of war and the notion that military intervention is always a
safe and effective means of protecting America and the rest of the world.

I'm Telling You © 2004 Craig Foster
Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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You know, it's amazing, the statue comes down on Wednesday and the headlines start to read: oh, there's disorder. Well, no kidding. It is a situation that is chaotic because Saddam Hussein created the conditions for chaos. He created conditions of fear and hatred. And it's going to take a while to stabilize the country. - Washington, D.C., Apr. 13, 2003

"I think war is a dangerous place." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003

"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure." — George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003

"We've got hundreds of sites to exploit, looking for the chemical and biological weapons that we know Saddam Hussein had prior to our entrance into Iraq." — George W. Bush, Santa Clara, Calif., May 2, 2003

I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out that they did have a weapons program. - Washington, D.C., Jun. 9, 2003

There are some who feel like that, uhh -- if they -- attack us, that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they're talkin' about, if that's the case. Let me finish. Umm, there are some who, uhh -- feel like -- that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring 'em on. - Washington, D.C., Jul. 2, 2003

"I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they're well-paid, well-trained, well-equipped." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003

"Iraqis are sick of foreign people coming in their country and trying to destabilize their country." - George W. Bush, interview with Al Arabiya Television, May 5, 2004

Before you went in, Iraqis were an oppressed people, and the dictator threatened his neighbors, the Middle East and the world. Today, the Iraqis are liberated people, the former regime is gone, and our nation and the world is more secure. - Miramar, California, Aug. 14, 2003

"Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day." --George W. Bush, telling Time magazine that he underestimated the Iraqi resistance.

Obviously, I think they're going badly for the soldiers who lost their lives, and I weep for that person and their family. But no, I think we're making good progress.
- Answering a question on how he thought the "postwar" effort was going, interview broadcast on Fox Broadcast Network, Sep. 21, 2003

"I'm not the expert on how the Iraqi people think, because I live in America, where it's nice and safe and secure." - George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2004

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." - Interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Keep Hope Alive!

This video was made by Ava Lowrey a 16 year old activist from Alabama.

Information about the peace rally to be held on 1/27/07

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's a Herstoric Day Today!

Library of Congress

Today was remarkable in that a woman became Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first time in America's history. The woman who became speaker is California's own Nancy Pelosi, who proudly embraces the so-called "San Francisco Values" the Republicans always snidely put her down for. I guess it's code for "gay", "baby-killing", "tree-hugging hippies", etc. If that's the case, thank the Goddess, it's about goddamn time we got control of the Nation's agenda. Gays need rights, babies need to be wanted and cared for, trees need to be hugged and we all have a lot of work to do.

Library of Congress

Yes, today is long overdue not only for America's women, but for all our citizens. Today proves that even a woman, a member of a group once forbidden to vote in this country, can now lead our government. Today proves that civil rights can be won, and that the fight for equality is worth all the sacrifices made.

Library of Congress

Today we're one step closer in the long march towards equal rights and opportunities for all our people as Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel of the House. Lead on Madame Speaker!

Associated Press photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Here's How YOU Changed Congress!

Yes you, progressive American voter/activist/citizen changed Congress on November 7, 2006 and in two days we will all reap the benefits of turning our country away from executive imperialism and back to government by and for the people. One of the victory stories of the past election season was Democrat Jerry McNerney's win over Reprehensible Republican Richard (I hate endangered species) Pombo in California's 11th District. Jerry scored a major prize when he got to deliver the Democratic Party's response to President Bush's weekly radio address. If anyone still believes there are no differences between the two major American political parties here's your proof:

Congressman-elect Jerry McNerney (CA-11) Delivers National Democratic Radio Address

December 30, 2006
Weekly Democratic Radio Address
by Congressman-elect Jerry McNerney

"Good morning and Happy New Year. This is Congressman-elect Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton, California, a new Member in the 110th Congress.

"As we move into the New Year and the new Congress, I am excited about what we can achieve for the American people. In this election, the American people clearly called for change: change in the way we do business in Washington, change in the way that we shape our energy policy, and most importantly, a change of direction in Iraq.

"As our first responsibility in fulfilling the mandate of this critical election, House Democrats will restore integrity and civility in Washington in order to earn the public trust.

"We will ban gifts from lobbyists and lobbyist-funded travel, prohibit the use of corporate jets, and shut down the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street Lobbyists. We will restore the House tradition of allowing a reasonable 15-minute voting period to prevent extended votes, and we will require that Congress put away the credit card and operate under a pay-as-you-go common sense budget rules. We will hold Members of Congress accountable to the people who voted them into office, not lobbyists and special interests.

Convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff leaves federal court in Washington with attorney Abbe Lowell after pleading guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion.(AP photo) Jan 3, 2006

"Our heavy dependence on foreign oil is putting our economy, our climate, and our national security at great risk. We are actually funding the very terrorists around the world who are trying to harm us. It's our patriotic duty as citizens of this great nation to end our dependence on imported oil. Democrats will quickly and significantly reduce our consumption of foreign oil while creating jobs, prosperity, and a healthy environment with a new energy technology, including renewable energy and bio-fuels.

"Most of the technologies needed to reshape our energy future are already at hand; what has been lacking is the political will to develop and expand their use. Democrats have a vision of creating a new energy economy using good old-fashioned American ingenuity to achieve energy independence. New American jobs and a bright future will be the dividend.

A large array of 1 kilowatt Solar Panels east of San Luis Obispo California.
"Democrats will also lead the way for a new direction in Iraq. My son was in the military when he convinced me to run for office, and we continue to keep our soldiers and their families in our prayers. But our troops need more than our well-wishes, and our veterans need more than lip service; we need a change in policy, as confirmed by the Iraq Study Group report released earlier this month.

"I share the concern of my Democratic colleagues that President Bush may use his same failed logic to increase our troop strength in Iraq by up to 30,000 soldiers. The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton, has said that an increase in troops at best won't change a thing, and at worst could exacerbate the situation even further in Iraq.

US Soldiers in Iraq © David Leeson April 2003
"The Iraqis need to understand that the responsibility for the future of that country is theirs. Beginning the redeployment of American forces would send that message. We must also improve the training of Iraq security forces by ensuring that Iraqi units are not infiltrated by either militia members or insurgents. The consequences of not doing so are unacceptable. In my district there is a Gold Star mom whose son was killed in Iraq by the very Iraqis he was training. He and his mom are always in my thoughts. We simply can not ask our young men and women to train Iraqis without doing everything possible to make certain that the people they are training are not attacking our troops.

"Our troops have done everything asked of them in Iraq with great courage. Particularly at this time of the year, when families gather to celebrate the holiday season, we need to remember the huge sacrifices being made by the brave men and women in our military, and give thanks for their service.

"Thank you for listening. I wish everyone the very best 2007 and pray that God blesses you and your families for this holiday season. This is Congressman-elect Jerry McNerney."
Listen to McNerney's radio address.

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