barack obama

supreme commander by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

"Biggie 'O", 2011, m.o.i., found objects, duct tape, and vinyl.

Some of these materials were collected shortly after 9-11. Only recently, for an upcoming show, did I figure out how to put them together. Typically, I like to produce multiples; there are 3 of these. This morning, I put the finishing touches on the final one, popped open nytimes. com and was stunned to the see the headlines.

he's a jackass by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The President on Congressman Joe Wilson Kanye West.

No doubt the so-called Don't Tread on Me crowd will use the President's remark as just an another excuse to spread lies. Since journalists rarely call out even the most blatant slanders, reporting on them as though they are news, it becomes easy for the oppostiion to sell untruth as a policy alternative.

In a weird turn around though, it's the right wingers who are suggesting now that the government has overstepped its boundaries and is treading on individual rights and liberties. When the Bushites were in office, it was the left. Seems as though we're doomed to ping pong between levels of extremism in the country. Jackasses!

duff lite solutions by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

I think it's great that the President sat down and had a beer with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley. Really. Nothing but good should come from this. Maybe they'll even learn a little something about beer in the process. The President will be drinking a Bud Lite - which either makes him a pantywaist watching his carbs, an uniformed beer drinker, or a member of the wine and cheese set. Dude! I'm a member of, among other drinking clubs, the wine and cheese set, but I know enough to not drink skunky, watered-down beer. Drink a real beer, not some beer that takes 15 minutes to make.

Wouldn't Amber Wavers American Ale from Washington's own Capitol City Brewing be more appropriate for the White House than one brewed by a Belgian Company? The Belgians make some of the best beers in the world but Anheiser-Busch products aren't one of them. Or better yet, how about one of the Wild Dogs from the largest brewery in Maryland, Flying Dog.

Biggie O may be well read but he probably hasn't read this post about lite beer. Beer, good hand-crafted beer, is good for you, especially if taken in moderation. Lite beer, if taken in moderation or even in excess, is never a good idea.

are you sure you want a lite?

call me joe by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley, along with innumerable right-wing bloggers, are wrong when they insinuate that the arrest of anyone, black, white, red, or brown, who are attempting to enter their own home, "is a local issue". For those with shorter memories, institutional racism and Jim Crow laws were often justified based upon the idea that locals had the right to choose to associate with whomever they wished. That they do. They did not have the right to discriminate against or exclude them based on race - which was the common practice, and although less common today, is still a practice.

If Officer Crowley, who may not be a racist, had the sense to admit that he made a mistake (and this seems to be difficult for any police officer to do) then this issue would have gone away quickly. That he has publicly stated that he'll never apologize only ensures that the country again will be forced to continue to face it's racist attitudes. That a good thing.

Anyone who believes that the election of Barack Obama as the President sent us into a postracial period neglects to understand the effects of the continued use of the term "the first black President" on the American psyche. As long we are calling him that, a man who is as easily as white as he is black, then we've still got a way to go with equality in this country. Let's just call him the President of the United States.

mixed-raced men can't dance? by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Well at least Michael Jackson figured out a way to continue to remain controversial, even in his death. What's the death of a famous person without the suspicion of a drug overdose-accidental or on purpose?

One thing troubles me though and it should trouble you. Biggie O can't even give a shout out to a brother who's been lost down the troubled road of fame? An American brother as famous as Michael Jackson? Sure Micheal has some high negative numbers but the dude was huge. Bigger, yes, than Elvis. Than Princess Di. As big, if not bigger than Muhammad Ali. Has there ever been a bigger American star than MJ? Come on, Biggie, "Loosen up!" I'm beginning to believe that old saw - mixed race men can't dance.

Photo: White House Photo Office, National Archives via Wikipedia Commons

your tax dollars at work by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The Obama administration, reversing 18 years of military secrecy and media manipulation, has begun to allow the press to cover the return of fallen US soldiers. Bringing the true costs of the war home to American citizens is one of the ways the Administration hopes to garner public support for our eventual withdrawal from this conflict.

epic battle: star wars versus crosby, stills, nash & young by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

"America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen." -Incumbent Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan during a campaign stop in 1984.

When I watch this political ad from a bygone day I am reminded at just how slow America is to change. It also illustrates just how long we have been working on many of the same economic and social justice issues that still confront this nation.

The campaign commercial is from the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro run against the Ronald Reagan/Pappy Bush re-election bid. Weird that it was almost 30 years ago and perhaps weirder still, the themes echoed in this spot aren't that much different than those brought forth by the Democrats in 2008. We're still fighting the same battles, the same view of how our country should look that we fought 25 years ago. At the time, many thought that surely the country would opt for teaching their children rather than building Star Wars weapons of mass-destruction. Actually when talking about the Star Wars missile defense system we should really be talking about weapons of non-destruction since they never seemed to work. Then the votes were counted and Reagan was reelected by the one of the largest landslides in history.

Sometimes I think we are fooled by how easy it seems to be to listen in on the candidates, the pundits who cover them, and the myriad of conversations from laypersons about America's problems. Just because people are constantly shouting at each other doesn't mean anyone is taking the time to listen to each anyone's rhethoric. And this includes their own, for if they were, many ought be embarassed by their own message.

bracket buster by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Many conservative news pundits, who began slinging crap and labels like 'socialist' even before the new administration took office, seem to be disappointed in every thing the administration does these days. Sadly, if you listen to many of them, they seem to be saying the same things that liberals were saying about the Bush administration just a few short months ago. The administration is lying. The administration's plan for solving the war can't and won't work. We'll be mired in the Middle East for decades. There isn't enough money to do the needed tasks.

Last evenings White House news conference proved that it's generally a slow transition from running for office to governance. Running for office, especially if one can cast themselves as an outsider, is often no more difficult than separating oneself from the competition and making the vague promises that voters want and need to hear. If you make anything more than vague promises during an election cycle, you're wasting time and likely unelectable. Governance, however, is much more difficult, if only because more folks are involved in the decision-making process. The new budget process illustrates this quite well.

The Obama administration can offer a road to balanced budgets all it wants, but ultimately Congress has to pass it. And the Congressional process, with its reliance on K street lobbyists and endless re-election financing is still ripe for pillaging the American dream. Everyone hates pork, unless it happens to be in their own district, and then it is a needed infrastructure enhancement.

There a saying in recovery, 'you didn't get in this mess overnight, so don't expect to get out of it overnight.' And it works on many levels. Personal and/or family relationships and/or hardships. The point being is don't expect this administration to solve our problems in the first 100 days. Hell, they'll be lucky if during the first few months of this administration they correctly identify the root cause of our problems and some reasonable approaches on how to solve them.

my new facebook friend, president barack obama by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

People can complain all they want about things not being that different under President Obama, and I share part of their fear. But it's early yet, really early, and there's a whole lot of stuff that needs doing. But after all, let's face facts, he's the President, not all 535 members of Congress and if we really want change, most of those folks need to go because they spend too much time raising money and listening to lobbyists.

But I do know this. Obama is the first President to send me emails. Funny thing. It's not surprising to be getting an email from the Prez. The hundreds of emails I got during the campaign may have something to do with my lack of surprise and sure, the new ones are going out by the million so I'm not that special. And some could argue that he's just trying to control the story and that's part of the motive behind the e-blast, but I say, hey, it's 2009, shouldn't the President communicate with the American public using the same tools they use to communicate with each other?

Seems a no-brainer. Nice to have a President with a brain.

excerts below:
Last night, I addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

To confront the serious economic challenges our nation faces, I called for a new era of responsibility and cooperation. We need to look beyond short term political calculations and make vital investments in health care, energy, and education that will make America stronger and more prosperous well into the future.

...a few highlights from my address...

Central to this plan will be a renewed commitment to honesty and transparency in government. Restoring our country's economic health will only happen when ordinary citizens are given the opportunity to hold their representatives fully accountable for the decisions they make.

I look forward to continuing to work with you as we bring about the change you made possible.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

charles darwin and president obama, linked by a g-string by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

At first glance this might appear to be pandering to your base senses. However, unpon closer inspection, you'll come to realize it's actually a rare form of politcal protest practiced at Carnivale by Viviane Castro. This approach might renew your interest in history or thwarting US attempts to commercialize Amazonian resources.

white house miracle worker by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Jackie Chalms reports in the NY Times that Barack Obama will unveil a plan on Thursday to cut the deficit in half by the year 2013. The plan will call for reductions even while the government spends trillions to bail out banks, lenders, and car companies. The reductions will come from a combination of higher taxes on the wealthy, eliminating the war in Iraq, and selling commemorative $5 bills with his image on them.

obama's plan to cut the deficit in half

warrior ant press claims fair use of shepard fairey use of ap image by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Which came first, the image or the appropriated image?

Although the Associated Press may be suing Shepard Fairey over the use of a photographic image in what became the iconic image of 2008 (if not the decade), Warrior Ant Press exerts that work produced by m.o.i. that used Shepard Fairey images based upon the AP photograph clearly falls under fair use. And does so for the following reasons.

One persons trash is another ones treasure. Images used by m.o.i. were either discovered on handbills found in the post-election trash outside of the local Obama headquarters, or in the case of one particular work, in the mail from Move On dot Org. Artists are free to re-purpose physical objects as they see fit. If one owned a Picasso and decided to paint over it and create a new work of art it would no longer be a Picasso. If I called this re-purposing art, it would be so, otherwise it would be defacement.

m.o.i has a long history of appropriation whereby the physicality of the original object is embedded within another, newer, work. This practice doesn't toy with the idea that art is informed by other art, it takes the idea to its literal conclusion. This retains the original intellectual property rights and yet lays a cloak of an entirely new one upon it. To compound the rights issue, the work is then sent to others gratis with an inherently embedded challenge, "who now owns the object? and what will you do with it? keep it as such? re-purpose it? who owns the ideas behind the object?"

Once these objects have left the realm of Warrior Ant Press these decisions become those of the new owners. And should they increase in value, then m.o.i. would receive none of the benefits thus the appropriations are used for financial gain.

Secondly, any work that appropriates an iconic political image based upon a political photograph to create a new work is inherently political. It has to be. Propaganda begets propaganda art begets art about propaganda art. And political expression and art are uniquely guaranteed as a First Amendment right in this country.

Thirdly. The AP photograph in question has largely little meaning unless the propaganda posters follow. Without the propaganda campaign, it's just another of any thousands of photographs taken during the course of the campaign. But once the propaganda posters went viral, the original photograph becomes an incredibly valuable piece. Its value is not diminished by appropriation but rather increased.

Likewise, the use of appropriated images in m.o.i's work has no meaning - unless the public has an understanding of political propagandist images of Obama. Warhol can't make art from a Marilyn Monroe or Jackie Kennedy image unless the public already has bestowed iconic status to these celebrities. m.o.i.'swork seeks to re purpose an iconic image into another form of idolatry. Who's that face on the dollar bill? It's not even close to an engraving; there's no way you can mistake it for a $5 bill. And because the image has been put on the bill, one immediately grasps that it's 'art'. The connections are obvious; thus the work immediately becomes what it seeks to comment on - art and money in politics.

Lastly. And we could go on but let's not and this may the most relevant of all the arguments. The images in m.o.i.'s work aren't even the same ones as originally appeared in the Manny Garcia image. They are images, produced at the request of the Obama campaign, to replace the Manny Garcia image. Given the thousands of time the public had seen the image, the actual gesture no longer mattered. All it took was a red and blue Russian Constructivist image to spring to mind the shibboleths of HOPE, CHANGE, and PROGRESS.

It is art for arts sake, and the sake of politics; all without apology. That the masses are so quick to understand it speaks more to the power of the masses than to the power of the art. You are either with me, or against me. We don't care because we are moving forward whether you wish to or not.

Biggie O. Larger than life and the ultimate player. We get it. Does the AP?

Images, top to bottom. All images and art work by m.o.i., collection of Warrior Ant Press.

1."Presidential portrait for a government office", 2009.
2."Change Cola°", 2008.
3. "new money", 2008.
3."Join the party", 2009.

a stroll down pennsylvania avenue by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The 4-hour season premiere of 24 had just ended when the Chief Executive declared a state of emergency for the incoming Obama administration inauguration ceremonies. With the exception of forcing the Obamas to rent a hotel room in the city they'll soon own, Bush has gone to great lengths to court the incoming President, likely because Bush knows that his legacy can be helped if Obama doesn't spend his first 100 days in office lamenting on how bad things have become and expend early political capital on trying Bushites for crimes against humanity.

It likely the threats against Obama and his family have been many and a few wackos have probably had real intent to harm. Many pray for the families safety and fear the worse might just be around the corner. Each day the headlines are scanned with elation marred with a bit of uncertainty. Some days I'm almost afraid to look.

The problem is that presidents, not just this president-elect, continue to be shielded farther and farther from the public they serve. This distance just builds during their tenure. Instead they are constantly surrounded by advisers, bodyguards, and the security-vetted elite. The interests of the People, for whom the President must swear allegiance to uphold, are then marginalized, pushed behind the barricades, and each face regarded as a potential threat. This prevents an open and transparent government of, and by the people, and leads to a culture of royalty. Even the most well-intentioned and grounded President can't escape this security-bubble because the secret service won't let them. The balance of power shifts slowly away from the electorate to the safety of the back room and the country suffers ill because of it.

One of the best things Obama could do is to insist, as Carter did, to walk down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and shake hangs with the people during his journey to the White House. (During his second inagural parade, Pres. Bush and the First Lady, briefly stepped from the motorcade to show America that the country was "safe from the terrorists" but the phlanx of secret service agents had grown considerably larger since the Carter days). The police state might not like it, but Obama was elected rather than appointed. We hope for a country where every man, woman, and child - be they black, white, brown or the President, feels safe enough to walk down the street unfettered from fear.

m.o.i.: new money--the cure for what ails you by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

They're going to try to say, 'Well, you know, he's got a funny name, and he doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills and the five-dollar bills.' --President-elect Barack Obama addressing a crowd in Union, MO, July 30th, 2008.

new money,m.o.i., Found objects on paper, demoninations may vary, 2008.

other resources:
John McCain for President web ad, Seal, June 27, 2008

2008 political ads

christmas at barack's house by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

OK. I won't be @ Barack's house for Xmas. But I did a card from Michelle. All right, it was only an e-card, but I certainly never got one from Laura Barbara Bush. One wonders if the Obama's will be able to dispense with the million dollars or so we spend on White House Christmas cards every year and just send out e-greeeting? Hallmark would not be happy. But what's the saying, times are tough.

One of my favorite things about roast turkey is the cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things in the world to make, although I jazzed mine up a bit this year after reading a friend's, one who lives in Maine, recipe. Her sauce is made with organic cranberries and maple syrup, lot's of maple syrup, to the point where an individual serving cost something like $4. I don't like cranberry sauce that much to buy a gallon of maple syrup and reduce it and I don't make it Maine very often where the price might be more reasonable, but there are 2 new secret ingredients in my sauce. You'll never guess.

Christmas @ Barack's Cranberry Sauce.

1 package of cranberries.
1 cup of turbinado sugar.
2 cups of port wine (it must be drinkable).
1/2 cup of Alaskan spruce tip syrup (in memory of our vanquished foe).
1/4 cup dried tart michigan cherries.
1/4 vanilla bean split.
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon.
juice of the orange and lemon.

Soak the cherries and the vanilla bean in the port wine overnight. Then place the cranberries, sugar, and citrus juices in a non-reactive pot, cover and cook until the berries pop. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the cherries, port wine, vanilla bean, and zest. Simmer until thick like jelly (will coat the back of a wooden spoon). Pack in Obama jars or glass dishes.

runs good; needs work by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Things are likely to get worse before they get better. Millions of Americans, especially the most disenfranchised among us, children, the unemployed, and the elderly, are likely to suffer even more in the wake of the deepening economic crisis. Generally, they have little if any cushion to protect them and what cushion exists, is in danger.

It's not just the country as a whole that is ailing financially; a number of states are projecting huge deficits for the current fiscal year. Unprecedented ones. California, 11 billion dollar shortfall; New York, 2 billion dollars. And next year's budgets look even bleaker than the current ones. The solution for states is frequently narrow. In Missouri, for example, 90 percent of state revenues go to 3 programs: education, prisons, and health-care. In a Republican controlled legislature, one adverse to raising taxes and reducing prisons, it pretty much leaves education and health-care to take the brunt of the cuts.

Cities are seeing the fallout as well. The City of New York is looking at a 2 billion shortfall over the next 2 years. Kansas City recently announced that an additional 300 million in cuts could be needed this fiscal year (on top of previous cuts) as revenues continue to fall below projections.

In light of these troubles, the Obama transition team must begin to order the business of the upcoming administration. The economy? Global climate change? Dependence on foreign oil? Growing Russian hegemony? What should be addressed first?

It's still the economy, stupid. It's what brought the O-man to the office and if we can right it fairly quickly, we can more easily solve the other issues. Closely tied to any economic fix is the health of the auto industry. But if renewed growth in the auto industry isn't greener, and much greener than past growth, we'll have squandered a huge opportunity. The new administration must require quick and forceful changes in production models and increased mileage-standards. We must quickly move to very efficient automobiles. This helps to reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs, and move the country away from dependence on the our elixir of death known as oil.

The US economy is still one of the most robust economies in the world. We have an opportunity in the near term to once again lead the world but we must insist that the people's way, and not the lobbyist way, paves the road ahead.

you've earned that puppy by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Having you been using the words unprecedented, historical, and ground-breaking a lot this week? Stop. I'm pretty sure that this won't be the first vice-President to take the train to work.

Puppies. Puppies. Puppies. There's nothing like that new puppy smell. It's even better than the new car smell. And a lot less toxic. But face it. Puppies are a lot of work. And they demand lot's of attention. The puppy can't be part of the family if you don't do your job as well. Feed the puppy. Water the puppy. Love the puppy.

In Arkansas they call puppies 'hounds.' Earlier this week, voters in Arkansas, by a 57% margin of approval, enacted the Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban. It makes it illegal for any individual cohabiting outside of a valid marriage to adopt or provide foster care to minors. We've known for quite some time that they don't like gay people in Arkansas but apparently they also don't like kids that much. Fifty-eight percent is about the same level of support that Arkansans gave to John McCain. I'd say the state is pretty out-of-touch with the rest of the nation. Seems like it might be time for some White-Housing training.

signs, signs, nowhere are there signs by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The political detritus from an election has never disappeared from the landscape faster. I'd heard rumors of Obama signs being lifted before the election; someone told me it was their second sign to be stolen from the front of their yard in a week - but I don't think the problem was widespread or endorsed by McGruff. At the time, I surmised that it could just as easily have been folks who were trying to grab history-in-a-sign.

Yes, there were the few McCain supporters who engaged in yelling socialiste! and there was the large Obama sign with the hammer and sickle painted on it that graced the grand boulevard throughout October. However, it was just hard to imagine that desperate Republicans, regardless of the pending landslide, would drive en masse around in the middle of the night plucking yard signs as though they were opponent's eyes. The zealotry of pranking teenagers, yes, or college students who wanted signs for their dorm rooms, makes more sense for the trickle loss of O signs.

In contrast, after the primaries, the Ron Paul signs were left in street medians and on busy corners for weeks. WEEKS. Maybe Paul's meager 2 percent draw sucked all the energy from his campaign and no one had the wherewithal to pull his trash.

But come November 5th, the ubiqitous Obama and McCain (even the light rail signs) were gone from the landscape. I suspect the Obama supporters wanted to hang on to a piece of history and that the McCain and Light Rail proponents were just embarrassed by the significant pasting they'd just received at the polls. Wednesday, did feel a bit like New Year's Day, as though the country was ready to move forward FROM THIS DAY ON. Let's hope we are.