Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 6/06/07

Artist's Statement

Thanks to my pal Jim for forwarding me this column from the SF Gate about the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, NSPD 51 and HSPD-20 (I only included the first one in the caption because I ran out of room). Thanks also to his wife Sarah for suggesting that this should be the subject of this weekís cartoon when I was at a loss for ideas and in a mood unreceptive to inspiration. Thanks to Boyd for help with panel 2. "Mysterious invaders" depicted are from George Palís War of the Worlds. Please note the Sci-Fi Channel logo.

This cartoon is a bit of a good-humored told-you-so to my friend Myla . Myla and I are both vociferously opinionated people and often make little wagers against each other, usually with oysters, gelato, or some other delicacy at stake. Myla invariably wins bets of a personal nature, since I suffer from poor judgment, but in our political bets, she consistently succumbs to the fallacy of believing that Things Couldnít Possibly Get That Bad. So far, she has lost the following bets to me: 1.) that Chief Justice John Roberts would prove to be the moderate he presented himself as during his confirmation hearings, and 2.) that there was no such person as Marvin Bush. To decide the former bet, we chose the next major abortion case to come before the court as the litmus test, and, per my prediction, Roberts voted along with the majority to uphold the so-called "partial birth abortion ban," even when the health of the mother was at risk. The latter bet was resolved with a simple google search. To be fair, it is easy to understand her incredulity. I mean: Marvin? (For those not in the know, Marvin is the youngest and, if such a thing is measurable, least impressive of the brothers Bush. He was also, by bizarre coincidence, head of the firm that provided security for the World Trade Centers. Upon which odd chunk of information, needless to say, 9/11 conspiracy wackjobs have constructed towering Gaudian edifices of theory.) For all her formidable intelligence and paranormally accurate insight into human character, it seems she has yet to learn one of the oldest rules in the book: Never Bet Against a Pessimist.

Our next unresolved bet is that the Bush administration will somehow try to cling to power beyond the 2008 election; Myla says, No way; I say, Let us wait and see. Itís true that I felt this was more of a sure thing back when we originally made the bet, when the Bush administrationís hubris was rampant and unchallenged. These days Karl Roveís dream of a permanent Republican majority has gone the way of the Third Reich and New Coke, and I get the feeling even George doesnít want to be President anymore. Only Dick Cheney continues to thrive, bloated and ruddy from the blood of innocents. But I still suspect that when they won power they had no intention of relinquishing it, any more than they ever intended for American troops to withdraw from Iraq when they invaded. In 2004 some lower-level Republican apparatchik floated the idea of developing contingencies for postponing the election in the event of a disruptive terrorist attack, but this got shot down before it was airborne. Now we read about these creepy new directives and my old suspicions are revived. The implications of these directives are not exactly clear to me, and the SF Gate column elides some crucial points, leaning heavily instead on conspiratorial innuendo and rather labored sarcasm, so this may just be standard left-wing paranoia. But, on the other hand, recent history has shown again, for those who needed reminding, that any expansion of governmental power will always be abused. Anyway, itís encouraging to know, strictly from a handicapping viewpoint, that American democracy may yet be overthrown in a fascist coup.

Good luck, Myla!



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