Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More on Conservatism as a Failed Ideology...

Some excellent sources for this week's 'toon, as we're witnessing some relevant breaking news on Gerald Ford's death:
  • Ford's death is relevant, of course, because of Henry Kissinger's role in the Nixon and Ford administrations, which I also touched on in a previous cartoon. Many have argued over the years that Kissinger's involvement in the clandestine carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War and the 1973 Chilean coup have earned him an appearance before an international war crimes tribunal. It seems he can't go abroad these days without someone trying to indict him. And, according to Bob Woodward, this is the guy who has been advising Bush and Cheney lately on the best way to proceed in Iraq.

  • Check out the terrific introduction to Sidney Blumenthal's new book, How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime, a comprehensive retelling of the story of "the most willfully radical president in American history." The good points are too numerous to list, but he does note in the beginning that among Bush's 2000 campaign promises was to be a more "humble nation" with regards to foreign policy, and also to bring an end to the Clinton administration's policy of violating the civil liberties of Arabs accused of terrorism. Wow.

  • A generally well-argued piece by Alan Wolfe entitled "Why Conservatives Can't Govern," which makes the claim that contemporary conservatism is a fundamentally contradictory ideology, in the sense that the conservatives who hold office must operate within the same federal government that they want to make "small enough to drown in a bathtub." As a result, he says, they attempt to "split the difference" by operating the government in a way that gives them the most political gain, for example, by giving tax cuts to billionaires. His best example in support of this hypothesis is FEMA, an agency that worked so well under the Clinton administration, but under Bush was reduced to a skin-and-bones operation run by the former head of the International Arabian Horse Association. The problem is that the Bush administration was trying to run an agency when they were fundamentally opposed to that agency's mission.

  • Gary Kamiya's obituary of neoconservatism (which I think may be a bit premature). The neocons' foreign policy game plan is characterized by a belief that Americans hold a monopoly on nationalism, and by a purposeful ignorance of the varying cultural and historical contexts among different groups within the Arab-Muslim world. Which partially explains why, when we were attacked by a bunch of Saudis, we attacked Iraq...

  • Kevin Baker on the conservative art of "the back-stab."

  • A couple of articles on the back-story behind Robert Gates by Eric Alterman and Robert Parry, and a couple on Newt "the Outsider" Gingrich by Alex Koppelman and John M. Broder.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Fighting Words: 12/25/06 Cartoon

"Conserv-B-Gone!"... check out some other commercial parodies here, here, and here.

Runnin' a little late here, but it's crazy holiday time... I figured everyone would be opening presents anyway, or eating turkey, or drinking heavily.

To everyone who takes the time to read my cartoons every week: Merry Groksmas!... y'all are much loved. Stay tuned for the new year, should be some fun developments coming in the Fighting Words world...

Monday, December 18, 2006

More on Conservatism as a Failed Ideology... ?

I'll save my weekly list of sources and inspirations for next week, because I think I'll touch on the subject again. I haven't been half-assing lately, trust me... suffice it to say, widespread power outages and webcomics don't go well together. Makes it kinda hard to scan your artwork if you can't turn your scanner on...

So, that was my big cheat: this week's 'toon was made almost entirely by cobbling together extraneous artwork from previous cartoons. Yeah, I s'pose I could have driven an hour to a Kinko's that may or may not have had power, but I was sick, and didn't have time, and blah blah blah boo-hoo piss/moan...

All I'm saying is if I have to do another cartoon next week with no power, I'm gonna be really mad. You hear me Puget Sound Energy? You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fighting Words: 12/18/06 Cartoon

"George W. Bush's It's a Wonderful Life"...

This one was actually a pretty big cheat for me, but I have a good excuse. Explanation coming...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

All About the Art...

Ummm... how does this guy draw with a pen?

Actually, I really don't want to know...

(thanks to Jess)

Monday, December 11, 2006

More on religious pluralism, media figures...

Cartoons like this week's sometimes end up as writing disasters for me (although this one turned out OK). I start out with good intentions, with the goal of making an argument on a substantive subject like religious pluralism in our society, but inevitably I get into the realm of media figures who make it their objective to eliminate pluralism. It's all downhill from there, as I find myself slogging through various quotes and yammerings by the Glenn Becks and Bill O'Reillys and James Dobsons of the world, in an effort to make the language coincide with the particular caricature. Eventually, my original point gets lost. I think it's just the nature of certain formats that lead to this result sometimes...

On the other hand, I believe I have made a discovery: the "mental pressure point" to induce vomiting. The other day, I learned a pressure point on the lower forearm that prevents vomiting, sneezing, coughing, etc... now I've discovered its opposite! So, if you want to barf, either chug 10 shots of Jagermeister, or read these:
  • Extensive coverage of the War on Christmas, including Simon Maloy blowing the cover off our collective, double-secret, secular-progressive agenda, and Media Matters on Bill O'Reilly's exposing of "the worst kind of fascism you could possibly have."

  • Alexander Zaitchik on the "distressing" discovery by the leaders of the religious right that less than 10% of born-again Christians actually have a good understanding of what the Bible says. Yeah... shocking. Included are a number of classic quotes by James Dobson, aka "The Truth":
    "Only by understanding the immutable truth claims of Christ," says Dobson in The Truth Project's promotional video, can Christians successfully defend against the "postmodern worldview" in which "God does not exist," "the family is defined as any circle of love," and "homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality."

    "If we capture and embrace more of God's worldview and trust it with unwavering faith," says Dobson, "then we begin to ... form the appropriate responses to questions on abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices." But the real prize is bigger than any one issue. By fully embracing Truth, religious conservatives can "recapture Western Civilization," which they "invented but have lost."
    Of course, in reality, Dobson could care less whether people read the Bible or not, as long as they buy into him being one of the ultimate authorities of what the Bible really says. It's a means of control... nothing else.

  • An action alert from FAIR on Glenn Beck's comment to newly elected U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress: "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." We also learn that Beck really likes the scene in The Siege where Muslims are herded into stadiums and put behind razor-wire... maybe a little too much, if you get my drift.

  • George Johnson, on the suggestion by some that "science needs to take on an evangelical role, vying with religion as teller of the greatest story ever told"... in effect creating a religion of science.

    I'm not sure that surrendering the moral high-ground is necessarily the right way to go here, guys.

  • A CBS News report on the inside story of David Kuo, Bush's former head of Faith-Based Initiatives.

  • Paul Krugman on John McCain's kowtow-ing to Jerry Falwell.

    The more I read about McCain, the more nervous he makes me...

Oh, yeah... and the article saying that scientists have determined Neanderthals were indeed cannibals.

Fighting Words: 12/11/06 Cartoon


It's been a while... check out the older episodes here and here, which are a wee bit different.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good Actor

This is a few days old, but I found it amusing.

Of course, the immediate reaction for a lot of us is: "Gee, I do that all the time, but I didn't know there was money available for it"...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More on war profiteering...

My main source for this week's 'toon was the latest documentary from Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films, Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers, which I was able to view thanks to my friends at Not A Number (who, by the way Seattle folks, carry my latest t-shirts and buttons!).

The arguments are well-made throughout this excellent film, but there were also several images that I hadn't seen before that I found interesting. One was the image of thousands of private contractors' supply trucks doing daily routes in and out of various areas in Iraq, like a scene out of Road Warrior. It gave a good sense of the wastefulness of the profiteers' daily activities there, as many of the trucks continued to do their routes on the taxpayers' dime even though they were nearly or completely empty.

A second image that I found striking was that of scores of soldiers at a camp somewhere in the sweltering heat of Iraq, who were forced to stand in huge lines every day at chow time because the contractor was so slow with their food service. Meanwhile, many of these companies' employees and executives were living in conditions that were, shall we say, a bit more luxurious.

One last item that found its way into the cartoon was the segment on the use of "burn pits," which I found particularly stomach-turning. I don't want to give the whole movie away, though... go see it!

Here also are some articles to check out:
  • Two Alternet articles, one on the 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers, and another on #1 on that list, C.A.C.I. International, who has recently been on a legal warpath in an effort to intimidate their critics in the media and blogosphere.

  • James Glanz on the closing of the government office that was meant to oversee these private contractors in Iraq, and Paul Krugman on Bechtel folding up the tent and going home, which he says means that "the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Iraq is basically over."

  • An interview with Jeffrey St. Clair, who, in the process of talking about the "sub-atomic" intertwining of politicians and corporations, interestingly calls John McCain "the most fraudulent politician in Washington."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fighting Words: 12/4/06 Cartoon

"Profiteer: Corporate Contractor!"...

See some previous video game spoofs here, here, and here. I love this format, but I've never actually owned a video game console of any kind. I have wasted many an hour playing other peoples' machines, though...

Friday, December 01, 2006


A message for all you kids out there: if you're going to smoke crack, make sure you don't wander naked into a swamp in Florida. Apparently, the giant alligators down there just sit and pick off wandering naked crackheads like they're popcorn. Remember, a safe naked crackhead... is a happy naked crackhead.

The more you know...

(thanks to Jess)

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Wondering how the Supreme Court's hearing on global warming is going? Take a wild guess...
Milkey faced skeptical questioning from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the court's newest members, but the most sustained -- and entertaining -- interrogation came from Scalia.

At one point, he acknowledged the role of carbon dioxide as a pollutant in the air but wondered about it being a pollutant in the "stratosphere."

"Respectfully, Your Honor, it is not the stratosphere. It's the troposphere," Milkey said.

"Troposphere, whatever. I told you before I'm not a scientist," Scalia said to laughter. "That's why I don't want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth."


Justice Stephen G. Breyer said a change of heart by the EPA could set off a string of similarly small decisions by other agencies, "each of which has an impact, and lo and behold, Cape Cod is saved." He seemed most sympathetic to the states' case, along with Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who as usual asked no questions, is presumed to be in line with Scalia, Roberts and Alito. That leaves Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as a pivotal vote in whether the states have proven they have standing for the case to go forward.

The title "Your Honor" sort of loses all meaning when it's used in reference to Scalia, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More on Class War, the Yuppanzee...

Some information relating to this week's 'toon, on everybody's favorite materialistic monkeys:
  • Lots from Paul Krugman, including a lecture aired on Democracy NOW, and columns on class war politics, on "tax farming", on the education/income myth, and on the history of economic inequality in America. His most commonly made argument is that we are currently witnessing levels of economic inequality and elitism that have not been seen since the Gilded Age of the '20s and '30s. As an example, he points to the Gilded Age mansions of Greenwich, Connecticut, which had been given up after that period to become museums and government buildings because people could no longer afford them as private homes, but are now being knocked down to build even bigger modern-day mansions for the uber-wealthy.

  • Two articles from Mother Jones on "the subsuming of the political process to the corporate agenda" (quoting Thom Hartmann from his book on "corporate personhood," Unequal Protections).

  • A really fascinating article on "slum ecology" by Mike Davis, which I have been trying to work into a cartoon, but still haven't really been able to do it. The piece talks about large cities in third-world countries (such as Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Caracas, and Rio de Janeiro), where conditions are such that millions of impoverished residents are forced to relinquish all acceptable standards of safety and health in favor of a place to live:
    They are pioneers of swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, desert fringes, railroad sidings, rubbish mountains, and chemical dumps —unattractive and dangerous sites that have become poverty's niche in the ecology of the city.
    Reading this article, the one thing that kept coming to mind was "New Orleans"... in other words, this is the answer to people who asked after Katrina, "how could this happen in the United States?" The answer is that things were not so good in New Orleans before the storm, and, just maybe, on the whole, this country is not so "great" after all...

See also some late articles on similar topics by Louis Uchitelle, William Greider, and Matthew Rothschild, which may end up as inspirations for the next episode of "Yuppanzees"...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fighting Words: 11/27/06 Cartoon

"The Great American Yuppanzee #2"... see more of the Yuppanzee here!

See also the previous anthropological study of the people of the heartland here, here, and here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh yeah, I have a blog...

I think the tryptophan has done fogged-up my brain... I totally forgot I had a blog to update. Here are a few articles that have caught my eye, that probably won't end up in cartoons:
  • I ain't no "feminist" (not that I disagree with them, it's just not a focus of inquiry for me), but this is pretty messed up. What century is this again?

    See also some analysis of the Supreme Court's upcoming decision on the Partial Birth Abortion Act.

  • Turns out Seattle isn't so environmentally enlightened after all...

    And everybody who spent time in Thanksgiving traffic this week lets out a collective "DUUUUUUHHHHHH".........

  • Introducing the new home of the Utah Jazz, EnergySolutions Arena, aka "The Dump"...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More on signing statements, executive privilege, and the MCA...

Lotsa great sources for this week's toon, first on signing statements:
  • John Dean, Dave Lindorff, and Tim Harper on the more than 750 laws that have been waved away by a president who apparently believes (or, I should say, has been coached to believe, since there is no way he could comprehend such complex legal issues on his own) that the Constitution grants him all the powers of the presidency enumerated in Article II, plus all the ones in Articles I and III that supposedly talk about "Legislative Power" and "Judicial Power."

  • Charlie Savage, who broke the story wide open (or would have, if the rest of the mainstream media had bothered to pay any attention) with some excellent reporting in the Boston Globe.

  • Edward Lazarus on the general havoc wreaked by the administration on the Constitution, part of a "triple-whammy" where they systematically stamp out civil liberties and executive accountability while dramatically increasing government secrecy.
On executive privilege, or possibly related topics:
  • Think Progress with a clip of Cheney on the Stephanopoulos show, saying that neither he nor his little buddy would be appearing before Congress if subpoenaed.

  • Michael Dorf and John Dean on the administration's past experiences with executive privilege, mostly dealing with Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings.
And on the Military Commissions Act:
  • Two in a series of excellent essays by Joanne Mariner on the Bush administration's attempts to chip away at Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, or at least their obligation to comply with it via the War Crimes Act.

  • Good commentary on the subject from Molly Ivins and Glenn Greenwald, and Nick Turse on the "American Prison Planet," with always disturbing little nuggets like this:
    Earlier this year, news broke that Halliburton subsidiary, KBR -- the firm infamous for building prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay and for scandals stemming from work in the Iraq war zone -- received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build detention centers, according to the New York Times, "for an unexpected influx of immigrants" or "new programs that require additional detention space."
    One Vietnam-era radical, former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg, grasped the implications immediately. "Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," he said. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fighting Words: 11/20/06 Cartoon

"Billy, the Boy Who Knew Too Much #3"... see more of Billy here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: extremely minor spelling correction made that probably no one would ever have noticed. If you can figure out where the correction is, you win... um... my heartfelt congratulations.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Curse of the Shrunken Brain

Voodoo practitioner tries to jinx Bush:
BOGOR, Indonesia - A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the "potion" and smeared some on his face.

"I don't hate Americans, but I don't like Bush," said Pamungkas, who believed the ritual would succeed as, "the devil is with me today."

We can laugh, but you ever wonder why he gets those nasty infected boils on his face? Or could it perhaps explain some of his verbal gaffes, like it's some kind of tongue-swelling curse?

(thanks to Myia)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More on Election '06...

Not too many sources for this week's 'toon... just a few quotes from some of your favorite right-wing political commentators. Here they are, if you can stomach it: Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg (an older quote from a running feud he had going with Glen Greenwald), Michelle Malkin ("Unhinged moonbats! Unhinged moonbats unhinged moonbats unhinged moonbats... unhinged moonbats? Unhinged moonbats!!"), Rush Limbaugh (Is he back on the hillbilly heroin? You decide...), and Karl Rove (fka "The Architect").

See also a couple of good articles on the crumbling of "Movement Conservatism" by Richard W. Behan and Paul Krugman.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fighting Words: 11/13/06 Cartoon

"TV Trivia!"...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back to Work...

OK, Dems, time to show us if you're actually any better than the other guys. In particular, I want to see those federal dollars pouring into New Orleans (you can pay for it by rolling back all those tax cuts for billionaires).

Another article today on the raging mental health crisis in New Orleans, due mostly to the fact that only 2 out of 11 hospitals there are fully functioning.


Of the way, we werrrrrrrrrrrrre....

Goodbye, you crazy-ass goat fart.

Scattered pic-tuuuurrrrrrrrrressss....

Monday, November 06, 2006

More on Global Warming, Katrina, and the all new Chevy Oblivious...

A number of good sources this week, for another fairly straight-forward cartoon:
  • Check out an earlier 'toon and BushGreenwatch on the links between hurricanes and global warming.

  • See an article by "The Republican War on Science" author Chris Mooney, noting a speech by sci-fi novelist and environmental science "skeptic" Michael Crichton, who argues that environmentalists are trying to "politicize science" (and... what exactly is he doing?). See also Clayton Sandell on two senators' calls for ExxonMobil to stop their "ideas lobbying," i.e. funding of politicized "science."

  • Julia Whitty on "The Thirteenth Tipping Point," which cites a sociological study that lists the top 5 reasons why some Americans reject environmental science, namely: belief that global warming is natural, belief that it's media/environmentalist hype, distrust of science, plain old flat denial, and conspiracy theories. The study found that the people were most often white, male, highly religious Republicans who get most of their news from the radio (surprise!). On the other hand, check out Bill Moyers' latest piece, "Is God Green," on the growing environmentalist movement within evangelical Christian circles.

  • John Heilprin, who reports that two federal agencies are investigating whether the Bush administration blocked government scientists from speaking freely about global warming and censored their research. It wouldn't be the first time, of course. Specifically, the article notes that the science journal Nature reported last month that the NOAA suppressed a report linking hurricane strength and frequency to global warming.

  • More on Crazy Jim Inhofe from Media Matters and Think Progress, and Bill Berkowitz on the environmental crimes of one of Inhofe's major donors, Koch Industries.

  • Check out videos and reviews of the ridiculous Chevy Silverado ad by Jalopnik and Slate, and an article by David Carr.

Happy "choosing" day! Too bad most of the choices suck. Stephanie McMillan has a good one on that subject... see also Matt Bors on "staying the course."

Fighting Words: 11/6/06 Cartoon

"New Chevy Commercial"...

Nope, not done with Chevy yet.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This is our country...

How about a rare YouTube video post, a follow-up on my rant from a few days ago on the Chevy Silverado ad (via Cursor):

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on Bush's Evolving Iraq Rhetoric...

Fairly straight-forward cartoon this week... check out:
  • Thomas A. Ricks and Joe Gandelman on Bush's new call for "benchmarks" on Iraq, a reversal that they suggest is motivated by an upcoming report by James Baker's Iraq Policy Group criticizing the current Iraq War policy.

  • Carpetbagger on the shocking revelation that the Bush administration's policy on the Iraq War is ultimately motivated by domestic political concerns, rather than what would be the best way to save the lives of American soldiers. I'm shocked...

  • Media Matters on Dan Bartlett's bald-faced claim that "it has never been a 'stay-the-course' strategy" for them.

  • Harold Meyerson on Dubya's statement that the "cut-and-run" Democrats are "all over the place" on Iraq. Meyerson notes the irony of Bush attacking the Democrats "for failing to articulate a clear, compelling alternative to his war, though his war created so cosmic a debacle that there were no compelling alternatives."

  • Jonathan S. Landay on Cheney's view that water-boarding is a "no-brainer." And nobody knows more about not having a brain than his little buddy...

Stumptown was fun. Sales were a little better than SPX, and it's always nice to (hopefully) gain a few new readers too. I've also learned that comfortable shoes are an absolute necessity at these shows, because my dogs were barking by about noon on Saturday...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/30/06 Cartoon

"Alien Society, #5"... see the previous episodes here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Spelling error fixed (oops!)...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Why? Why why why why why why... ?

Quick comment on the World Series coverage -- specifically the patriotism circle-jerk disguised as a Chevy commercial with the John (Cougar?) Mellencamp song playing in the background.

Why in the name of all that is still reasonable in this world is there Katrina footage spliced into at least one of the versions of this commercial? Is Chevy suggesting that the proper response to the Katrina disaster is to go out and spend more money (instead of, say, donating it to people who need it) on another gas-guzzling automobile that will make global warming worse and give us bigger, stronger hurricanes? Does Chevy really think people are too stupid to make this connection? I think most people who drive cars now are not deluding themselves that there are tangible consequences to their actions... it's like splicing pictures of a smokers' lungs into a cigarette commercial.

Just wondering... I ain't no consumer psychologist or anything.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More on Network Neutrality...

Some sources to check out for this week's 'toon on a very complex subject:
  • See especially the recent Bill Moyers On America episode titled "The Net At Risk," which is available online. Among the interesting points made in this piece, the internet revolution is compared to the birth of language and the invention of the printing press, in terms of historical developments that revolutionized how we learn and communicate. Also, the point is made that Japan and South Korea have fiber-optic infrastructures already in place that supply internet connections up to 100 times faster than the best DSL connections in the U.S., for the same rates that we pay here. Apparently, the telecom companies had promised to build such a system here in the 90's, but never really got around to it.

    See also Moyers' article with Scott Fogdall, "Fighting the Imperial Internet."

  • See some older articles on the subject from Christopher Stern, Jeff Chester, and Celia Viggo Wexler & Dawn Holian.

  • Be sure to check out and David S. Isenberg, both of whom kindly have linked to this week's 'toon, and are much more qualified to speak intelligently on this subject than I.

I'm off to Portland in a couple days for Stumptown... if you're in the area, stop in to say hi!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Executive Authority to Let You Die

This is a few days old, but I wanted to comment on it before it tumbles down the Memory Hole...

Congress last week passed a new homeland security bill, which included a set of job qualifications for the head of FEMA (obviously in response to the "Brownie" fiasco):
To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has "a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and "not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.

The law, Bush wrote, "purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the president may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."

It's like the administration's lawyers aren't even trying anymore...

I suppose what this means is that everybody should acquaint themselves with their local shelter of last resort, because you're gonna get to know it REEEEALLY well should a catastrophe happen to strike your community (if, for whatever reason, you do not have the means or opportunity to leave). Personally, I sure am glad the Kingdome is gone, 'cause I couldn't stand to be in there for 3 hours for a Mariners' game, let alone spend 4 days there in a pit o' hell with 40,000 other people waiting for the government to get around to helping us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More on Diebold, GOP electoral fraud...

Check out:
  • RFK Jr.'s article "Will the Next Election Be Hacked?", which makes several important points, in particular:
    The United States is one of only a handful of major democracies that allow private, partisan companies to secretly count and tabulate votes using their own proprietary software. Today, eighty percent of all the ballots in America are tallied by four companies - Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic. In 2004, 36 million votes were cast on their touch-screen systems, and millions more were recorded by optical-scan machines owned by the same companies that use electronic technology to tabulate paper ballots. The simple fact is, these machines not only break down with regularity, they are easily compromised - by people inside, and outside, the companies.

    Three of the four companies have close ties to the Republican Party.

  • Art Levine on "Salon's Shameful Six," the six states where GOP vote suppression tactics could most likely impede fair elections in 2006. The quote in this week's 'toon about keeping "the wrong kind of people from voting" comes from a comment by Arizona Secretary of State Janice Brewer (AZ's equivalent to Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris) at a fundraising event.

  • Vochi J. Dreazen on "Why Some Republicans Want to Lose," in which Bruce Bartlett makes what is probably a very good point:
    "Every Republican I know thinks Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the best things they have going for them," wrote Bruce Bartlett, a Treasury Department official during the presidency of Mr. Bush's father, referring to the top-ranking Democrats in the House and Senate. "Giving these inept leaders higher profiles would be a gift to conservatives everywhere"...

  • In case you didn't recognize it, the tirade by the wiseguy voting machine in this week's 'toon comes from the DeNiro/Capone rant in The Untouchables...

Had a good time in DC last week. The Politics & Prose signing was fun, and I met a lot of great people there and at SPX. Sales at SPX stunk, which put me into a pretty sour mood, but hanging out with the cool kids in CWA (along with a few stiff drinks from the Marriott hotel bar) made me feel much better. A great many thanks to my wonderful friends Jim and Karen for putting me up in our nation's cap-i-tal last week!

Next up, Stumptown... hope to see lots of Northwest peeps out there picking up t-shirts!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/16/06 Cartoon

"GOPranos, #2"... see the previous episode here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Runnin' late...

Sorry folks, cartoon's coming. Didn't get in from DC until late last night... stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More on Foley, Woodward...

On the comparatively unimportant but entertaining Foley scandal:
  • Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei on the possible repercussions for the GOP in the upcoming election.

  • A post from several weeks ago from Pam's House Blend that caught my eye again, on Hastert's "House Republican American Values Agenda." It includes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a Pledge of Allegiance protection act, an "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" (requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions that the unborn child feels pain), and a "Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act" (particularly constructive -- it would prohibit governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies).

    Interestingly, there's nothing about protecting children from sexual predators in the House of Representatives... he probably just "forgot" that one, though.

On the fallout from Woodward's State of Denial:
  • Mike Whitney, who asks why Woodward waited until now to disclose these crucial details, and argues that his "real job is not to maintain an 'informed public' or preserve the free flow of information," but to serve the interests of "disenchanted elites [who] want a place at the policy table again."

  • Think Progress on the revelation that Henry Kissinger has been advising Bush and Cheney, noting:
    Says Woodward, “Now what’s Kissinger’s advice? In Iraq, he declared very simply, ‘Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.’” Woodward adds. “This is so fascinating. Kissinger’s fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will.”

  • A CBS report with several nice little nuggets from Woodward's 60 Minutes interview, including this one on Saudi Prince Bandar:
    Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

    Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”

  • Another CBS report and an article by John Dickerson on the palace intrigue of the Bush administration, including all your favorite names in Republican professional wrestling (as seen in the last square of this week's 'toon, from left-to-right): Laura "Spacegirl" Bush, Andy "Bad News" Card, Don "The Galloping Geezer" Rumsfeld, George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, Colin "Sgt. Sycophant" Powell, Condi "The Shopping Queen" Rice, and "King Kong" Cheney.

    (OK, I could probably come up with better wrestling names for most of those if I put some thought into it...)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/9/06 Cartoon

"Republican Wrestling Federation, #2"... see the previous episode here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bizzy Bizzy Bizzy

Getting ready for my DC trip...

But that didn't stop me from wasting way too much time playing Help Hastert Hide the Perv from HuffPo.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More on the Katrina response...

This cartoon came about mainly because I finally got a chance to view a tape of Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke." As expected, this documentary was tough to watch in some spots, but, needless to say, this is not due to a lack of quality filmmaking. I'm no "film cricket" (as Homer Simpson once said), but this has to go down as one of Spike Lee's best pieces ever. While it is more a straight-forward retelling of events than his regular films (as it should be), it bears a lot of the familiar Spike Lee artistic signatures that are common in his work: dramatic music, over-exposed images, "portrait" shots, uncompromising storytelling, etc. It's a must-see if you feel as strongly as I do about the injustices that have been perpetrated by our government during the Katrina aftermath.

See also Noam Chomsky on our missing leaders, Isaiah J. Poole on the "catastrophic conservatism" that truly made this tragedy possible (it's certainly not just about a hurricane), and an interview by Alan Maass with a couple of very eloquent Katrina survivors.

I debated with this week's toon whether to have the doctor leave a dying Bush's hospital room, and spray-paint the now-familiar urban marking used by searchers in New Orleans on the door, indicating that there was "1 body" inside. I decided that this was a little over-the-top, or maybe just too un-funny.

It's a decidedly un-funny thing that's happening down there, though...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Kill the People in Your TV

The new T-Shirts are in, and they kick all kinds of ass (thanks to Django at Seatthole). I've anointed this one with the above title, available in BLACK and NAVY... part of a new series of more general-interest T-Shirts that I've come up with. For now, this design will be only be available at SPX and Stumptown (along with new buttons, prints, and other stuff), so come see me at the shows! Afterwards, they'll all be going up on the website for everybody to purchase...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Thanks a lot, Brian... now I'm totally addicted to YouTube. I was doing just fine before, relatively ignorant of the existence of this phenomenon, and now my formerly productive hours are just wasting away...

Check out one of the best Daily Show clips ever:

Monday, September 25, 2006

More on Abramoff, GOP "morality"...

Check out:
  • Think Progress has a summary of the Abramoff scandal, including his Coushatta scam, which involved Christian-right activists James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and (most prominently) Ralph Reed. See also an article by Joe Conason on Tom DeLay's involvement, which points out:
    Not many politicians have been as bold as DeLay in publicly claiming the mandate of heaven... What did God tell DeLay about those lavish trips and dinners and donations, and about the money funneled to his wife? The actual Bible, which he professes to believe is the word of the Lord, is quite clear on the question. Bribery is strictly prohibited in Exodus 23:8 and Job 36:18, which specifically warns: "Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside."

  • Think Progress also has a good wrap-up on DeLay's misdeeds, up to and including the Abramoff scandal. See also a report by Beyond DeLay, which identifies the 20 most corrupt members of Congress, and 5 to watch (21 of the 25 total are Republicans).

  • On the Religious Right, check out Rob Boston's list of their top 10 power-brokers. Number 4 is the Alliance Defense Fund, which recruits young lawyers to "pledge 450 hours of pro-bono time to the Body of Christ," in an effort to "reclaim the legal system for Jesus Christ" (huh?). See also the Time article asking "Does God Want You To Be Rich?"

  • Regarding Clinton, watch him rip Chris Wallace a new one.

  • Lastly, the joke about hookers comes from good ol' Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who, aside from being sent to the clink for conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion, reportedly liked to put on a turtleneck sweater and pajama bottoms and entertain prostitutes on his yacht by the light of his favorite lava lamp.

Fighting Words: 9/25/06 Cartoon

"Fundamentalist Broadcasting Network, #2"... see the previous episode here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fighting Words Appearances

...mostly as a reminder to myself to get my butt in gear and get ready for these events:

For both events, I'll have some kick-ass new shirts and buttons, along with prints, copies of Attitude 3 ready to sign, and possibly other stuff as space will allow!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More on Rumsfeld, The Art of War...

A number of commentators have done analyses on the conflicts between Sun Tzu's The Art of War and the military strategies of today's neo-cons (who, supposedly, are big followers of Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz). However, since I am a fan of the book, I have wanted for a while to put my spin on it too. The Art of War has to be among the most frequently misinterpreted books in history. The translation that I have is by Thomas Cleary, who says that "Sun Tzu's professed aim was not to encourage warfare but to minimize and curtail it," and that there is "a profound undercurrent of humanism" that runs through Sun Tzu's Taoist text. Here are some of the quotations that have been "Rumsfeldized" for this week's 'toon:
  • Therefore one who is good at martial arts overcomes others' forces without battle, conquers others' cities without siege, destroys others' nations without taking a long time. (emphasis mine)

  • So there are three ways in which a civil leadership causes the military trouble. When a civil leadership unaware of the facts tells its armies to advance when it should not... When the civil leadership is ignorant of military affairs but shares equally in the government of the armies... When the civil leadership is ignorant of military maneuvers but shares equally in the command of the armies.

  • The superior militarist strikes while schemes are being laid. The next best is to attack alliances. The next best is to attack the army. The lowest is to attack a city. Siege of a city is only done as a last resort.

  • When hypocrisy sprouts, even if you have the wisdom of ancient warrior kings you could not defeat a peasant, let alone a crowd of them. (quote by Sun Tzu follower Zhuge Liang)

  • To overcome others' armies without fighting is the best of skills.

See also a pair of older pages of Rumsfeld poetry from Slate, one from Wikipedia, and Think Progress on Rumsfeld's recent lies before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fighting Words: 9/18/06 Cartoon

"Rum Tzu: The Art of Quagmire"...

Trying something a little different again artistically. Check out a previous 'toon with a "reenactment" of a historical character...

Friday, September 15, 2006


My inclination has been not to respond to criticism in letters unless the reader clearly makes an honest effort to make an argument and engage me in a dialogue. Eat the State! recently received this one on my Remember 9-11 cartoon:
I appreciate Ben Smith's sentiments in his cartoon "Remember 9/11"--except for his depiction, in the last frame, of the people being duped by the propaganda. The signs are unmistakable: bad haircuts, bad teeth, bad make-up, bad nutrition, and bad grammar all point to stereotypes of lower-class "rednecks" or "trailer trash."

Does Smith really believe that working class or poor people are less politically astute than people with middle-class haircuts and orthodontia? More, does he think the Left can rebuild a strong base through class snobbery? And what is this image doing in ETS!?

My answer to the person's two questions directed to me is "No" - as demonstrated by my depiction of poor and working class people in my "Who's the Most Screwed?" cartoon from a couple weeks ago. The people in the 9-11 cartoon represent people who prefer to be ignorant of the "broader context" on issues of consequence.

I've had a few unhappy responses to those characters, but I'm not really sure that rednecks as a "people" have a historical basis for being offended when they're stereotyped. And my caricatures are pretty mild compared to some others...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More on Hamdan...

Check out some articles on the fascinating backstory to the Hamdan case:
  • See especially the NPR story on the representation of Hamdan by Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift. This is one of those "lawyers on a mission" stories that initially led me to law school, but it also touches on the institutional resistance that probably drove me away from the legal world. Katyal is a 33 year-old lawyer who had never argued a case before the Supreme Court, and who found himself in charge of one of the most important cases in U.S. history on presidential abuse of power. He would end up pouring in thousands of hours on this case, never getting more than 4 hours sleep a night, and spending $40,000 of his own money. Swift is a military defense lawyer who was appointed on the condition that he secure a guilty plea from his client -- a condition that he felt was unethical. He was eventually forced to file a strategic brief that was an implicit warning to his superiors in the chain-of-command that "there would be repercussions if they decided to gag the lawyers" (one of the ballsiest moves I've ever heard of).

    Meanwhile, Katyal and Swift would find some support in the corporate legal world from the Seattle firm of Perkins Coie, the firm where I worked as a file clerk for a couple of years after college. I'm proud of Perkins for standing up on this one, especially considering the fact that most big firms "were steering clear of Guantanamo cases for fear of being called unpatriotic."

    As it was portrayed in the NPR account, the amount of resistance from the government that the Hamdan team encountered in their entirely righteous quest was, simply put, sickening. It is one of those stories that leaves you wondering how the hell this could be our government. Katyal actually commended the military and the administration for letting them do their jobs, saying that, "in some other country, we might have been shot." I think this is beside the point. The real issue here is a government that has historically claimed absolute dominion over the moral high-ground, and yet is so disturbingly hostile to the basic democratic ideals that they claim to covet (see another article from the Guardian on that particular point).

  • John Dean on the incredibly duplicitous behavior of Sens. Kyl and Graham during the case, of which he said, "I have not seen so blatant a ploy, or abuse of power, since Nixon's reign." Apparently, at some point the two Senators filed an amicus brief in support of a government motion to dismiss, which relied heavily on the record of a conversation between the two on the Senate floor that never actually took place. The entire exchange was inserted into the record after the fact, as though it had happened live, which effectively reversed their prior position on an amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act.

  • Edward Lazarus on the role of government lawyers, which should be more than just being "'whores' who will give intellectual cover to any position, no matter how wrong or unreasonable."

  • Articles by Adam Liptak and David E. Sanger, which supplied many of the administration quotes on detainees and torture that were parodied in this week's 'toon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fighting Words: More on "Islamo-Fascism"...

Check out some articles on the "Islamo-Fascism" neologism:
  • An outstanding column by Thom Hartmann on American Fascism, which quotes former VP Henry Wallace:
    "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."
    (Incidentally, Hartmann and Randi Rhodes recently did voice ads for my pals at Not a Number that are running on Air America 1090AM in Seattle.)

  • Robert Parry, who argues that "the reality behind Bush's grim vision is the emergence of an American totalitarianism where objectionable thought will be repressed and dissent will be equated with treason." He backs it up with this excellent point:
    But the problem with Bush’s history lesson is that wiping out some future Lenin or Hitler would require killing or imprisoning anyone who wrote about political change in a way that rulers considered objectionable or threatening at that time. While “predictive assassination” might eliminate a Lenin or a Hitler, it also might kill a Mandela or a Jefferson. What Bush appears to be advocating is the end of free speech and free thought, or at least the regulation and punishment of speech and thought that he disdains.

  • More good blog posts and articles from John Dean, Ken Silverstein and Katha Pollitt on the right's problematic use of the "Islamo-Fascism" term.

  • Seattle congressman Jim McDermott predicts Republicans will spend the next 30 days trying to scare the hell out of us in a desperate effort to stay in power. Probably a good bet.

More soon on military commissions and torture, and on the remarkable backstory to the Hamdan case that initially got me fired up to do this week's 'toon...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Speaking of Protest Music...

If you haven't seen it yet, check out this clip of George W. Bush singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday"...

(thanks to webmaster Jim)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Protest Music

Check out an LA Times article on the state of protest music, and Stephan Smith-Said on just why it is so objectionable that Neil Young and corporate whore-machine MTV would decry the lack of new protest music on the scene. Anybody at MTV bother to notice how many ads for military recruiters and war video games run on their channel before they put that article up?

As for Young, the LAT article notes a prescient line from a 90's Cracker tune that we've all heard a million times: "what the world needs now is another folk singer like I need a hole in my head." I'm no music expert by any means, but personally, I'm waiting for the group that is going to pick up the torch of Public Enemy and a band that I mention quite frequently here, and give sound and voice to the explosive anger I feel over current political events. Is it Tool? They're great, but not really political. System of a Down and Green Day? Maybe. How about The Coup or Anti-Flag? Tom Morello's side project, Nightwatchman? Morello himself says that Outernational is the next Rage... try them out.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fighting Words: More on Media Personalities, "Infotainment"...

Check out: Lawrence Pintak on "The Fog of Cable," which notes a particularly disturbing interview by Kyra Phillips' fellow CNN airhead, Tony Harris; Danny Schechter on the state of broadcast media, noting that "much of the new investment in journalism today is in disseminating the news, not in collecting it" (emphasis mine); and a yearly report from the Committee on Excellence in Journalism, which states:
Reporting on cable is highly focused around either the personality of the program hosts or sending a camera and correspondent to an event and having them pass along what they are seeing at that moment. The effect, more so than in other media, is that the audience’s role is passive. There is less effort here to tell how these stories involve the viewers, what to do about them, how they relate to their lives, or how viewers can do or learn more.

All justified criticisms aside, there are still some good ones out there in broadcast journalism, as noted by Larisa Alexandrovna. In particular, check out this fantastic clip of Keith Olbermann (via MediaChannel) giving commentary on Rumsfeld, and channeling the spirit of Edward R. Murrow. I'm going to have to start watching his show more regularly...

Fighting Words: 9/4/06 Cartoon

"The Drunk Local News Three"...

I usually don't go for the obvious laugh, but I couldn't let this one go. See more from the Drunk Local News team here and here.

For an extra 50 points see if you can figure out what Brett is drinking in each of those cartoons... answer below:

[One: whiskey on the rocks; Two: mojitos; Three: Budweisers]

Friday, September 01, 2006

So smart we don't have to act like it...

So Seattle is the "smartest city" in the country, huh?

Apparently, these rankings don't factor in the percentage of soccer moms, yuppie assholes, and general upper-middle class idiots who drive to work every day by themselves in giant, hurking SUV's and sit idling in McDonalds drive-thru's without a care in the world about the broader context....

I grew up here too, so I feel entitled to criticize us...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"A War Foretold"

The previously mentioned Mother Jones timeline of events leading to the Iraq War is now online, in a handy little interactive format.

Fascinating read, check it out...

Monday, August 28, 2006


Posts on the Fighting Words blog are now being cross-posted on the group blog for Cartoonists With Attitude (CWA), a cartooning supersite with contributions from Ted Rall, Jen Sorensen, Mikhaela Reid, Brian McFadden, Matt Bors, August Pollak, Masheka Wood, Stephanie McMillan, and yours truly. All of us will be at SPX in October, where we will be signing, selling, shaking hands, etc.

This is a very cool little project... and the site looks great (thanks to Brian).

Fighting Words: More on New Orleans, Katrina recovery...

Some sources for this week's 'toon:
  • Loyola law professor Bill Quigley gives a comprehensive report on "New Orleans a Year After Katrina," including revelations about the federal response such as "FEMA trailers did not arrive in the lower ninth ward until June" and "the official rate of increase in rents is 39%" (with no governmental efforts at rent control in sight).

  • An extensive pdf report by the Institute for Southern Studies on a recovery effort that is a disaster in itself, with especially good sections on the United States' failure to live up to international human rights obligations.

  • Neil deMause on the national media's glossing over issues of poverty when reporting on Katrina, quoting Slate's Jack Shafer: "What I wouldn't pay to hear a Fox anchor ask, 'Say, Bob, why are these African-Americans so poor to begin with?'"

  • John D. McKinnon on the political P.R. blitz surrounding the Katrina anniversary.

  • Two good columns by Paul Krugman on Bush economic policy, which he says resembles that of a 16th-century monarchy, and also is much more responsible for economic inequalities in society than they like to claim.

  • And, on a lighter note, check out this lexicon of "Yatspeak."

    Yeah you rite.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fighting Words: 8/28/06 Cartoon

"Who's the Most Screwed?"...

Check out more 'toons on New Orleans and Katrina here, here, here, here, and here (press the "back" button to return to this page).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Partisan" = "Progressive"

Via Cursor, the Diocese of Duluth, MN has cancelled an appearance by Sister Helen Prejean because of her prior support for an advertisement criticizing the policies of the Bush administration:
The problem wasn't the political nature of the issues raised in the ad, [Kyle Eller, communications director for the diocese] said, noting that the church and Prejean often take stands on political issues. But the ad's partisan attack of Bush crossed the line, Eller said.

"When it gets into attacking (a political figure), that becomes partisan," Eller said...

But in a letter on her Web site, Prejean said the ad properly criticizes Bush's "reckless pursuit of war in Iraq, which has helped to destabilize the entire middle East; his approval of torture; his zealous promotion of imprisonment and executions; his fiscal policies which make the wealthy people more wealthy and poor people poorer."

Funny how Sister Helen's entirely legitimate criticisms of Bush's disastrous policies can be considered "partisan," and something like this is not:
One of the most blatant examples of [Pope Benedict XVI, fka Cardinal Joseph] Ratzinger’s intervention into the political affairs of a country was his role in the 2004 US presidential election. A number of American Catholic bishops publicly declared in the run-up to the election that they would deny Holy Communion to Democratic candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, because of his pro-choice stance on abortion rights. Their intervention, a brazen violation of the secular foundations of the US Constitution, was tantamount to a religious injunction to Catholics to vote for George W. Bush.

In June 2004, Ratzinger issued a statement of guidance to US bishops that, in effect, gave the Vatican’s seal of approval to Church officials who were using the abortion issue to discourage a vote for the Democratic candidate. In his missive to the bishop of Washington DC, Ratzinger wrote: “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia.”

I'm not sure how Sister Helen's political leanings could come as a surprise to anyone... she's been a well-known social activist for years. I had a few friends during law school that worked with her at the Moratorium Campaign, and they all said that she is quite an impressive person...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We interrupt your regular programming...

...for a special announcement from "the Commander-in-Chief-of-the-World" on Global Warming.

And also, a blurb on the real Commander-in-Chief's affinity for fart jokes. Stuff like this just doesn't surprise me anymore...

Monday, August 21, 2006

More on Commemorating 9-11...

Check out the homepage for that cheesy commemorative coin you've no doubt seen on TV (from a company headed by none other than Barry Goldwater, Jr.!); and reviews of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center by Jac VerSteeg, David Walsh, Michael Phillips and Ruth Rosen, along with a rather jerky interview given by him here.

For some information on the broader context: check out some archived Frontline episodes here, here and here; also keep an eye out for the current issue of Mother Jones, which contains a comprehensive timeline of events leading up to the war (apparently not online yet)...

8/21/06 Cartoon

"Remember 9-11"...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Onion

Cuz I got nothin':

Jessica Simpson's breasts need your help.

Randy Johnson asks for pitching advice "for a friend of his."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More on Big Oil...

Check out:
  • Articles by Barbara Lewis, Mary Pemberton, and Steven Mufson on BP's Alaska pipeline closure, which is expected to drive gas prices to $4/gallon here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • A PDF report by ExxposeExxon on ExxonMobil's largely successful efforts to profit from oil dependence, to downplay the feasibility of diversification into alternative energy sources, and to encourage further oil dependence by promoting junk science.

  • Derrick Z. Jackson on Big Oil's big profits, akin to a "looting" of America (raising a good question: why hasn't there been more pressure on Bush to freeze gas prices, especially in the South after Katrina?).

  • A NY Times report on the P.R. difficulties that come along with record profits, which almost makes you want to shed a little tear for ExxonMobil (yeah right).

  • An archived NOW episode, and an article by Edmund L. Andrews, detailing how Big Oil goes about dodging royalty fees for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which may end up costing taxpayers as much as $80 billion over the next 25 years.

See also some perspectives on Big Oil's impact on foreign policy, including:
  • Greg Palast, who argues that the real reason for the Iraq invasion was to keep Iraq's vast oil reserves in the ground, to avoid "drowning the market" and keep demand (and prices) high.

  • Joshua Holland, who goes further to uncover how the U.S. has crafted a law for Iraq that makes the undiscovered Iraqi oil fields, estimated to be as much as 84% of Iraq's total reserves, open to PSA's (privatization by American oil companies).

  • A characteristically excellent post by Juan Cole, who explores "Peak Oil Theory" as the thread connecting the Bush administration's policies towards Iran, Iraq, and Hezbollah, all directed towards "politically reorienting" the entire Gulf. He says it also explains the mysterious Bush policy towards Pakistan:
    In a worst case scenario, Washington would like to retain the option of military action against Iran, so as to gain access to its resources and deny them to rivals. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, however, that option will be foreclosed. Iran may not be trying for a weapon, and if it is, it could not get one before about 2016. But if it had a nuclear weapon, it would be off limits to US attack, and its anti-American regime could not only lock up Iranian gas and oil for the rest of the century by making sweetheart deals with China. It also might begin to exercise a sway over the small energy-producing countries of the Middle East. (The oil interest would explain the mystery of why Washington just does not care that Pakistan has the Bomb; Pakistan has nothing Washington wants and so there was no need to preserve the military option in its regard.)

    Even an Iranian nuke, of course, would not be an immediate threat to the US, in the absence of ICBMs. But the major US ally in the Middle East, Israel, would be vulnerable to a retaliatory Iranian strike...

    It may be that that hawks are thinking this way: Destroy Lebanon, and destroy Hizbullah, and you reduce Iran's strategic depth. Destroy the Iranian nuclear program and you leave it helpless and vulnerable to having done to it what the Israelis did to Lebanon. You leave it vulnerable to regime change, and a dragooning of Iran back into the US sphere of influence, denying it to China and assuring its 500 tcf of natural gas to US corporations...

    The second American Century ensues. The "New Middle East" means the "American Middle East."

    And it all starts with the destruction of Lebanon.

    ...and making this outstanding point:
    If the theory is even remotely correct, then global warming is not the only danger in continuing to rely so heavily on hydrocarbons for energy. Green energy--wind, sun, geothermal-- is all around us and does not require any wars to obtain it. Indeed, if we had spent as much on alternative energy research as we have already spent on the Iraq War, we'd be much closer to affordable solar. A choice lies ahead: hydrocarbons, a 20 foot rise in sea level, and a praetorian state. Or we could go green and maybe keep our republic and tame militarism.

Monday, August 14, 2006

8-14-06 Cartoon

"The Public, the Oil Company, and the Politician"...

I love those old Sergio Leone movies... check out an earlier 'toon with Bush disguised in a similar motif.

See also a previous 'toon on the oil vampires in the Bush administration.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fantasy Baseball Fans Rejoice

In case you missed it, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that player names and stats are not the intellectual property of Major League Baseball or the Players' Association, who were seeking to bar fantasy leagues from using that information. So, good news: the games will go on.

Unfortunately, the judge failed to use her authority to tack on an extended jail sentence for Minnesota Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire for botching the handling of my fantasy team's best pitcher, super-rookie Francisco Liriano (whose season now appears to be over due to an arm injury).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid

The Bush administration wastes no time in getting their fear-monger on:
Terrorists were in the "final stages" of a plot to simultaneously blow up as many as 10 jets leaving Britain for the U.S., sending the planes and thousands of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.
The U.S. raised the terror threat level to "severe," or red, for all flights leaving Britain for the United States.
Chertoff said the plotters were "getting close to the execution phase."

"There were very concrete steps under way to execute all elements of the plan," he said.
The plot was "as sophisticated as any we have seen in recent years as far as terrorism is concerned," Chertoff said.

And this gem:
Hours after the news broke, Bush said it was "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

Thanks, assholes... I seem to remember a situation in late August of last year, a pending disaster (with several days reasonable notice, as I recall), and you worthless idiots were nowhere to be seen until 4 days after the disaster occurred.

However, as a number of satirical depictions have pointed out, it's much harder to make political hay out of hurricanes than terrorists:
(Will Forte as) George W. Bush: ...We all know, in the days after the hurricane, I said I wasn't warned about how bad the hurricane might be, and.. now there's a tape showing you that I was warned! ...So, who's got the last laugh now, huh? The main thing to remember here is: it's been six months, and there hasn't been another hurrircane! The hurricanes are on the run.

Back to the Old West

Perhaps a similar theme to my next cartoon...

15 states in the South and Midwest have enacted "shoot first" laws that expand the right of self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations that might formerly have subjected them to prosecution for murder:
The central innovation in the Florida law, said Anthony J. Sebok, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, is not its elimination of the duty to retreat, which has been eroding nationally through judicial decisions, but in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the occupant’s safety.

“In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.”

Of course, I'd imagine that such laws will not benefit many of the folks who favor them, their chief obstacle most likely being the fact that they're too drunk or inbred to aim straight...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fighting Words News

I've been invited to join the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists! Check out my page here, as well as the pages of familiar names like Bors, McFadden, Rall, Reid, Sorensen... among many others.

Monday, August 07, 2006

More on corporate media consolidation...

Check out David Hirschman, William Douglas and Dan Froomkin on upcoming changes to the White House Press Room; E&P on the "anti-press" policies of the Bush administration; David Neiwert's "open letter" to his fellow journalists; Catherine Komp on the need to restore local media ownership to fight hate radio; and Peter Phillips on the "mainstream" corporate media:
Can we trust the news editors at the Washington Post to be fair and objective regarding news stories about Lockheed-Martin defense contract over-runs? Or can we assuredly believe that ABC will conduct critical investigative reporting on Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq? If we believe the corporate media give us the full un-censored truth about key issues inside the special interests of American capitalism, then we might feel that they are meeting the democratic needs of mainstream America. However if we believe - as increasingly more Americans do- that corporate media serves its own self-interests instead of those of the people, than we can no longer call it mainstream or refer to it as plural. Instead we need to say that corporate media is corporate America, and that we the mainstream people need to be looking at alternative independent sources for our news and information.

Also check out "who own's what" among the "big ten" media conglomerates on interactive pages from The Nation, NOW, and CJR.