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...