Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More on Evangelical Extremism...

Sources and inspirations for this week's 'toon:
  • The main inspiration was Jesus Camp, which I rented over the weekend. My reaction to this flick?


    I usually don't get a visceral fright from horror movies... they're just kinda boring to me. I guess the scene in "The Ring" where the kid crawls out of the TV is pretty scary... and the scene in Hannibal where he feeds Ray Liotta his own brain made it hard for me to stomach food for a while. I also found Requiem for a Dream disturbing on many levels.

    But this movie... holy freaking crap. Let's just say I couldn't watch the whole thing all the way through in one sitting. It's that messed up. Of course, mostly because it ain't no horror movie... just the everyday lives of Evangelical extremists in America.

    As many have noted, by far the funniest part of the movie is at the beginning of the camp, when the white-bread freakazoid adults are getting their little minions pumped up to a Christian techno-rap tune with lyrics like "J.C.'s in da house!" and "We're kickin' it for CHRIST!"

    The laughs stop there, though...

  • Check out a couple of articles by Chris Hedges, whose book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America just came out in January. The first is on the radical Christian Right's use of middle and lower-class despair as a recruiting tool; for example, playing on the guilt and shame of women who've had abortions for the purpose of furthering an extremist ideology. In the second, Hedges talks about the radical Christian Right's infiltration of the military and police, which he says "signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign... to dismantle America's open society and build a theocratic state." While this may seem somewhat alarmist on the surface, he does make a compelling point that the "final aesthetic" of the radical Christian Right is violence.

  • Check out Susan Jacoby on the plight of atheists in our society.

    See also Boltgirl on Makeover Ministries' movement to "inspire women to look good from the inside-out and to be Supermodels for Christ"... according to founder Tammy Bennett, who decks herself out "from head to toe in silver." Wow...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More on Campaign Finance...

Sources and inspirations for this week's 'toon:
  • Farhad Manjoo on a proposal by a pair of Yale professors on how to fix campaign finance -- give every American citizen $50 to donate anonymously to candidates of their choice. Among the revelations in this article, the author notes that Hillary Clinton has already announced that she is going to fund her campaign entirely through private contributions, and her rivals are likely to follow suit. Also, Russ Feingold continues to plug away at attempts to fix the system, but his ex-partner in the effort, John McCain (now, of course, himself a candidate for president), seems to have forgotten all about his former crusade.

    Check out Russ Baker on the top 10 corporate democratic strategists-for-hire, which shows just how far the Democrats' tentacles reach into the corporate world (despite being the party that is supposed to represent the interests of poor people). See also a couple of FindLaw articles on the Supreme Court's most recent encounters with Buckley and campaign finance reform: McConnell v. FEC and Randall v. Sorrell (with, of course, Scalia and Thomas leading the defense of the "free speech" rights of big money contributors). Finally, some multimedia: check out Bill Moyers' Capitol Crimes, and some NPR reports on campaign finance.

  • I've been reading a lot lately about the presidential election of 1896, which many political scientists have considered to be a "realigning" election... I'm going to save most of the links for a later cartoon, but here's a good little article that links it to present-day events. It was the election that marked the birth of modern campaign finance, as William McKinley's campaign manager Mark Hanna appealed heavily to corporations for help in their run against progressive William Jennings Bryan. Hanna's famous quote: "There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can't remember what the second one is."

    Shocker of the century: Hanna is Karl Rove's personal hero...

  • Some good articles trying to dissect the Obama phenomenon by Matt Taibbi and Patricia Williams, and one on John McCain's problems with Arizona Republicans by Max Blumenthal.

  • If you don't already know about these sites, check out Vote-Smart, Politics 1, and (especially) Open Secrets. Lots of good info on all the candidates, including actual important facts beyond what Hillary's wearing or what Obama's middle name is: e.g. voting records, public statements on important issues, contributor info (w/ background on some of the corporations and their interests), and the top industries contributing to each candidate.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holy cannoli!!

Rage getting back together?

That would just about make my decade...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Say what?

This story came out last week, but I haven't seen much outrage over it:

Apparently, back in 2003/2004, the Federal Reserve airlifted gigantic shipments of cold, hard cash to the new "government" of Iraq, amounting to $4 billion and weighing 363 tons.

Fast-forward to the present day, as the ever weather-beaten people of New Orleans stand, mouths-agape, asking "are you fucking kidding me?!" while levee repair money gets shifted around to various projects.

But then, they're just being "ungrateful," right?

Holy crap...

More on the military, Watada...

Sources and inspirations:
  • This week's 'toon was based largely on the case of Ehren Watada, the Fort Lewis soldier who was court-martialed last week after refusing to be deployed with his unit to Iraq. The prosecutor in the case says that Watada "disgraced himself and the military." Of course, the obvious question is: if Watada has disgraced the military, then what in the effing hell has George W. Bush done?!

    This aspect of military law is pretty murky. Of course, soldiers cannot be governed under the same set of laws as the rest of us -- the chain of command has to be preserved. At the same time, soldiers clearly have a duty to refuse unlawful orders, a principle established by the Nuremburg trials. As a result, those soldiers who are men of conscience are put in an impossible position when a reckless and insane Commander-in-Chief orders them to commit illegal actions. And, in the end, the consequences for those actions fall completely on the soldiers' shoulders when the administration leaves them out to dry. "Support the troops" indeed...

    Taking all these points into account, Watada probably should go to prison, something he seems entirely willing to do. George W. Bush should go to prison, too, but my psychic tells me that's never gonna happen. My gut tells me that the mistrial was orchestrated by the government, which was faced with a high-profile trial that would put a huge spotlight on the most objectionable aspects of this already unpopular war and turn the kid into a martyr when they sent him to prison. I'm suggesting that the confession was "botched" to make it all go away quietly. I don't really have any "evidence" for this, but that doesn't seem to be a big deal in investigative journalism these days.

  • Check out a whole heap 'a older articles from Mother Jones on the military and the Pentagon's recruitment crisis. JoAnn Wypijewski reminds us that "the fundamental lesson [of Vietnam]... is that soldiers forced to become criminals for old men's ambitions won't all come home quietly." David Goodman gives us the backstory on Iraq soldiers who believe that the adventure there is illegal and immoral, including one who has to worry about getting run over on the streets of his hometown because he voiced his belief. See also Jonathan Stein's interview with documentary filmmaker David Zeiger.

  • Diane Farsetta on the U.S. Army's new sales tactic for potential recruits: encourage them to ignore their parents and other people who don't think the Iraq War is a very good thing.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fighting Words: 2/12/07 Cartoon

"Who's the Most Screwed?, #2"...

Previous episode here:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Speaking of "Journalism"...

Here's a question: you guys in the teevee "news" business realize that Anna Nicole Smith was not a former president, right? Or a Supreme Court Justice... or a foreign dignitary... or a Pope... or a Nobel Laureate... or a soldier who died in the line of duty.

I don't want to speak ill of the dead... let's just put it this way: I was not offended or annoyed by the coverage of Barbaro's death. But this is like something out of the freakin' Twilight Zone...

You guys have officially gone 'round the bend...

More on Journalistic Integrity...

Sources and inspirations for this week's 'toon:
  • Check out two excellent columns by Matt Taibbi on the right-wing media's formula of "fear, titillation, and self-loathing," and on the conspicuous lack of any legal consequences for their pseudo-journalistic hate speech. See also a post by Glenn Greenwald on right-wing pundits as the world's foremost experts on "what Americans want."

  • Robert Parry and Eric Boehlert on the right-wing media's Obama preoccupation, and some unfortunate news for Fox News as their ratings begin to plummet (See this? It's the world's smallest violin playing just for them).

  • Satta Sarmah on "The Cowardly Wolf," and Media Matters on CNN's eager-to-please attitude on White House talking points.

    See also Michelle Pilecki on another poor excuse for an interview, NPR's Juan Williams with President Lunkhead.

  • In case you had any doubt, Molly Ivins was a "swan." Check out a couple of her older terrific columns on Rush Limbaugh's misuse of satire and the Bush administration's treatment of the media.

    Matthew Rothschild has a collection of her greatest quotes (my favorite: "The only thing to do is fight harder and smarter."). See also tributes from Paul Krugman and The Nation.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fighting Words: 2/5/07 Cartoon

"Wild Planet 5: The Ugly Duckling Syndrome"...

See the previous episodes: