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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Cartoonist Ted Rall

His take on Pat Tillman is one of his ugliest strips yet from the antiwar side, posted this past weekend on the MSNBC site, and taken down since then due to heavy protests.

I thought his panel on the 9/11 widows from 'way back was just as ugly. But to be honest, his cartooning used to give me the same enjoyment as Ann Coulter's columns. They couldn't be much farther apart ideologically without being exactly alike temperamentally, but both are artists in good, skillful, funny spew. The problem is that the cartoonist also writes - www.tedrall.com carries essays as well as cartoons. He tries occasionally to reason out a way for the antiwar / left fringe to unravel its' way back to a Democratic mainstream. But mostly he's only funny from behind his strips. There, he can be almost completely heartless, and still sometimes get a laugh. That drawing style of his can still get a chuckle, too. 'Til I read the dialogue.

The Tillman strip points up something about Rall's ugliness since 9/11 that runs not deeply, but into a little different tributary. It's the sense that he really, truly wants his work to be tested by the powers that be. He wants to go to jail for his work. Last year, in London, Bush's speech before Parliament included a brief nod to the huge protests going on throughout the city. He affirmed that these protests are a part of the greatness of Western Civ. Which must put a corkscrew in the heart of a combative guy like Rall. He will never go to jail because of his art; he will never mount a test case before the very Supreme Court who cleared the hated Bush's way to the presidency. This president will never take Rall's measure, or any artist's measure, as a personal enemy.

And so the cartoonist is left to ply his trade, hitting every target but the one he thinks really counts, earning bile from opponents of course, support from allies naturally. But Rall will never become an Alexander Solzhenitsyn for the comics industry, because he actually does have his artistic freedom to say any unsupportable, and just plain mean thing he likes. How unrelieved he must feel.

But there's always publicity!

Success and Failure Of Coalition (vis a vis Iraq)

This a long, solid e-mail addressed to Roger L. Simon's site, listing some accomplishments to counter the more generalized assertions of failure by some others correspondents.

The link - http://rogerlsimon.com/archives/00000918.htmHere 'tis. Check your list against his:

"During a similiar discussion on another forum on Set. 29 '03 I posted the following metric as my outline of success in Iraq.

1. Restoration of the power grid to its best operating level between 1990 - 2002.

2. All schools opening and functioning at 1990 - 2002 levels.

3. Health services operating at levels superior to 1990 - 2002 levels. Hospitals open with sufficient supplies and medical training occuring at level superior to 1990 - 2002.

4. Autonomous rule by regional authorities with selection/election to regional councils based upon a representative system.

5. Referendum on the new constitution at least scheduled for a vote on a given date.
Check (Although date is not set - the proposed constitution has been drafted - the date will be set after the July 1 turnover.)

6. Courts functional to highest appellate level.

7. Economy operating on a level equal to 1990 - 2002.

8. Establishment of new military force structure sufficient for defense against territorial incursion.
Ongoing - least satisfactory result to date.

9. Restoration of oilfield production to 2002 levels with continuing ongoing improvement in infrastructure.

10. Draw down of US forces to 40% of maximum force requirements in 2003.
Ongoing - tied to 8.

The handwringing interlude of the moment will pass rather quickly. Sadr's time is up and the potency of his "army" has been exposed (nice job, Sistani).

Are we headed for victory or defeat in Fallujah? Define the metric and I'll tell you."
Posted by Rick Ballard @ 05/03/2004 09:57 AM PST "

Iraq isn't a failure yet. Not by a long shot. Not by the Arab Street. Not by the freshest fighting.

Generalized abrasions.

Joseph Wilson followed Kofi Annan on 'Meet The Press' on Sunday, May 2, and was pretty blah. His book "The Politics Of Truth", the story of how wife Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA employee last year by journalist Robert Novak, is a stirring affirmation of togetherness by a professional couple: a CIA employee and an ex-ambassador type. That said, as I said, pretty blah stuff. Previous reports on his book have outed Wilson's admission that, by george, Hussein's primary tout 'Baghdad Bob' was the Iraqi official who visited Niger in 1999. Scroll to my previous post below about Wilson.

But speaking of a title like "The Politics Of Truth", does it occur to people who lean on such phrases that by casting all 'truth' as 'construction', they put themselves in the 'propagandist' category they presume to reserved for their opponents? The Wilson-Plames seem to be pretty well-connected in Washington, which just means they have the same issues with breaking out of the spin as anyone else.
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