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)