This collection of paintings goes back to 2001 when I began the Patriot Games series in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Enron and WorldCom scandals. The website went on-line in September 2003. The latest series, An Organized Crime, was begun in 2011.
The folly of our political leaders continues to be “the invention of endangered ‘national security,’ the invention of ‘vital interest,’ the invention of a ‘commitment’ which rapidly assume[s] a life of its own, casting a spell over the inventor.”
The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984
Welcome to the Patriot Games
"Come all you young rebels and list while I sing For the love of one's land is a terrible thing It banishes fear with the speed of a flame And it make us all part of the patriot game"
Patriot Game Dominic Behan, 1929-1989 playwright and songwriter
Sunday Talk'n Heads 2010-2014. Acrylic on canvas, four panels, 30 x 40"
Meet the Press was the first Sunday morning talk show and began in 1947 on NBC. It was a 30 minute news conference where a guest was interviewed by a panel of questioners. Face the Nation on CBS followed in 1954. This Week began in 1981 with David Brinkley who had left NBC and joined ABC. Fox News Sunday began in 1996, created by right-wing Republican operative Roger Ailes and funded by right-wing trash media mogul Rupert Murdoch. FNS is designed to showcase Republican propaganda and demonize Democrats and Democratic administrations in state and federal government. The theme of the show is Republicans are right, Democrats are wrong, corporations are good, unions are bad, right-wing white guys are good, liberals are bad, and minorities are an annoyance, unless they agree with right-wing white guys. The longer these Sunday morning shows are on television, the more America keeps deteriorating. The standard of living continues to decline for average Americans. The illegal foreign wars continue. The corrupt political system keeps on corrupting, while corporate domination explodes across the society.
Bureaucrat Totenkopf 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36”
When Donald Rumsfeld was fired as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, Robert Gates was brought in as an old hand, an accepted bureaucrat from former administrations, ‘the man who [would] help overhaul President Bush’s Iraq policies.”1 He would breeze through confirmation hearings as “polite and personable” and “enjoy influential protectors on both sides of the aisle.”2 However, what was not discussed was Robert Gates’ actual history as a bureaucrat.
Iraqi Dead Under US Occupation 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48”
"We have a better way… Kill them. We are going to wipe them out."
President George W. Bush1
In October 2006, doctors from Johns Hopkins School of Health along with Iraqi doctors from al-Mustanceriya University in Baghdad published a study in The Lancet, a British medical journal, which estimated the number of excess deaths from the occupation of Iraq at about 655,000.2
How many more tours will there be for the American military in Iraq? Tour after tour takes its toll. Each tour increases the chance of not getting out alive, or in one piece with all arms legs, eyes, hands, and feet – a physically functioning human being. Even then, how destroyed is the mind? The brain subconsciously takes pictures with the eyes, retaining those images for a later time, creating a different world inside the mind. Perhaps it’s a world without myths, without propaganda; without hero worship; a world of reality from within the abyss.
“Corpses are impersonal.” Otto Dix, from his daybook on the Somme, 19161 “What of their oath to the colors, to me as Warlord?” asked Wilhelm. “Oath to the colors?Warlord?” replied General Groener with disgust.“These are just words today.” November 9, 1918, German Quartermaster-General, Wilhelm Groener and General Hindenburg meet with Kaiser Wilhelm to convince the Kaiser that the war was over. The next day, Wilhem boarded a train to cross the frontier to neutral Holland.2
The war was over, though not for the thousands who were permanently dismembered and disfigured in the 20th Century’s First World War.Just as it was then, today’s brutality of an insane war, orchestrated by cowards who had never served in combat, has permanently dismembered and disfigured thousands of soldiers and civilians all in the name of patriotism, loyalties to oaths, and lies. In 1920, German painter and World War I veteran Otto Dix painted the Skat Players - 3 war cripples playing cards. The Skat players are “a mass of spare parts thrown together, left-over pieces of bodies.”3The painting was an example of the grotesque - "[subverting] the expectations of both machine and man, merge horror with humor, and challenge the boundaries of propriety in order to attack the nationalism that created the result."4The players "resemble derisive dedications to man the beast, whose malicious social games provide further confirmation of the theory of homo homini lupus.” (Man is a wolf to man.)5The war is portrayed “as buffoonery, as a sarcastic farce.”6
Commander-N-Sleep 2007. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48"
On August 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a Presidential Daily Briefing, also referred to as a PDB. It was an intelligence briefing from the Central Intelligence Agency. The title of the August 6 PDB was, “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.”
The fake journalism of NBC News begins with the Today Show, when one of the morning personalities recites scripted questions to Tim Russert, so he in turn can cover Bush Administration talking points and attempt to discredit opposition to Bush Administration policies.
These little staged performances also give Russert the opportunity to pontificate on topics that he has already been given access to, hoping to maintain his image of some authoritative political analyst. His Washington Speakers Bureau website page calls it, "his unparalleled insights on the latest Washington headlines." This gimmick was on display throughout the lead up to the war and the Valerie Plame/Bush Leak scandal (even though Russert was more than likely already privy to what the Bush Administration was up to via Mary Matalin – for Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Robert Novak). Russert likes to portray himself as the innocent party with "unparalleled insights" just following a story. More than likely, he was deeply involved in both the pre-war spin and the leak of the CIA officer's name, all to provide assistance to the Bush Administration.
The Washington Speakers Bureau page goes on to say, "Russert regales audiences with first hand accounts of asking tough questions." He also claims to unravel Washington's "complexities." But the real gem is, "Russert helps audiences cut through the spin and get to the truth." As the public learns more about Russert, the fact is he's all about spin and very little of it is grounded in truth.
In an April 2007 interview with Bill Moyers Journal. Moyers asked Russert about Cheney and the New York Times leak regarding aluminum tubing, and how coincidently, Cheney was on Meet the Press the very day the leak appeared in the Times. Moyers asked Russert if he knew about the leak in advance. Russert nervously claimed he did not. Then Russert claimed that he wished he had access to other government officials who may have had doubts about the story. He said, "What my concern was, is that there were concerns expressed by other government officials. And to this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them."
He wished his phone had rung? Is it not the job of the journalist to make the phone calls? Why did he not seek out the government officials?
Obviously, Russert only goes with the story of the people who grant him access, make the calls to him, rings his phone. Those are the people who get on his show; the people with the bogus story.
Republican Oversight 2006. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48”
The Republicans are destroying America. They are destroying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in America. This destruction has been achieved through a pattern of deception and distraction, vague commitments, sleight of hand, and flat out neglect of the nation. For instance, they hold hearings, but witnesses are not under oath. They pontificate instead of asking questions and demanding answers. When they do ask a question, there is no follow-through on the answers. Then they state, “We’ll look into it,” and never do.
Republicans’ New Lapel
2006. Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28"
The Republicans are the party of money. They have so much money yet they can’t get enough of it. In their quest for more money they have hit some roadblocks, known as scandals, which means, they have been trying to get money, money, and more money through illegal means. They just could not seem to get enough money legally.
Perhaps it’s an illness, always starving for that money. Perhaps it’s the only way Republicans can make any friends – having to buy them. Maybe the fact is, that the only way Republicans can get any support is to buy it, because no one seems to like their ideas, candidates, policies, or people.
Honestly, who would want to be friends with George Bush, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Rick Santorum, Arlen Specter, John Warner, Mark DeWine, Orrin Hatch, Bill Frist, Pat Roberts or any of the other Republicans, for nothing, for free? More than likely no one.
Let’s face it, these Republicans have the personality of a pile of dirt. Therefore, the Republicans need to sell their “public service” to get all that money to buy friends and supporters. But what happens when the money dries up and their payola runs out? What then?
That’s when they turn to foreigners: Israeli politicians and Israeli organizations, Arab sheiks and Arab bankers, Chinese businessmen, British wealth, Iraqi, Iranian, and Syrian dissidents, corrupt European politicians, arms merchants, Turkish political parties, foreign shipping corporations, on and on the list goes…all in the name of that big gold dollar sign.
Republican Cuff-Links 2006. Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28"
The Republicans have provided a new adjective to add to the lexicon of criminal procedure – Republican cuff-links. When the Republicans do crime, they do it big time. They love money so much, that they have to turn to illegal ways to get more of it. And of course, like many criminals, the first thing out of a Republican's mouth is, “I didn’t do it.” Then the evidence piles up so high, that one Republican Congressman broke a record with his federal prison sentence. Perhaps that was appropriate for a guy who called himself, “Duke” (maybe he suffered from a John Wayne syndrome). The Duke was so confident in his illegal business, that he created a menu of what he would sell, and how much it cost to receive his access.
Extraordinary Rendition 2005. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48"
Dateline: The Hague In the early hours before dawn this morning, former President of the United States, George W. Bush, arrived in police custody at the International Criminal Court. The former American President was transferred over to international authorities by the United States at zero hours GMT. The former President will face trial before an international tribunal for aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The international tribunal issued a statement saying, “The court will allow the victims of aggression to tell their story. Those who commit acts of aggression and crimes against humanity will be brought to justice.”
What Was Their Role?
2005. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48”
“We have been too often disappointed by the optimism
of the American leaders, to have faith any longer
in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds.”
Walter Cronkite, February 27, 19681
The role of newscaster has been part of the American television landscape since the late 1940s. In the early years it was a short broadcast report of headline news on the three major television networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC. Over the decades there have been a collection of well known names: Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, John Cameron Swayze, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, John Chancellor and the legendary Walter Cronkite.
Cronkite, known as ‘the most trusted man in America’2 rose to the status of news icon, and the measure of what Americans came to know as the network news anchor, for the very reason that he changed the course of history when he questioned the policy and progress of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson, in February 1968, “reputedly turned to his press secretary, saying, ‘If I’ve lost Walter, I’ve lost Mr. Average Citizen.’”3
By the early 1980s, the news anchor landscape would change.