Monday, October 29, 2007

Fighting Words: 10/29/07 Cartoon...

"On Their Deathbeds: Dick Cheney"...

It's a new one, I swear! See the previous episode:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on Religion on the '08 Election...

This one was a repeat from a couple years ago, because I totally screwed myself like a moron on my cartoon schedule this week. My planned cartoon, which was about halfway done (I'll keep chewing on it... you'll be seeing it in the future), was on the pathetic toadying to the religious right being done by the Republican presidential candidates, especially by Rudy. It seems to me that this bunch of Republicans is even phonier than usual, partly because everybody except Rudy is resigned to losing. They're just half-assing at this point. Rudy, though, is spectacularly disengenuous... the man is just an incredible loser. He's going to be special... I really hope he's the candidate.

Meanwhile, the religious right (especially James Dobson) is pitching a fit because they don't think any of the Republican candidates have sufficient hatred for women and gays, among others. Dobson is threatening to throw his support to an unelectable third party candidate, which will probably split the Republican vote and kill his group's political influence for the forseeable future.

I'm lovin' it...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More on Authoritarianism in America...

Quick list of articles and random notes for this week's 'toon, as I'm racing a dying battery thanks to yet another power outage. Seems the Pacific Northwest is now getting these "10 year storms" at least once a year now... and it's not even friggin' winter yet.
  • On authoritarianism, check out an excellent article on movement conservatism by Paul Krugman, and a 3-part series on conservative authoritarianism by John Dean (not his best-written work ever, but he makes some interesting points).

    Also, DNI Mike McConnell has been in the news a bit lately... here he asserts the White House position that any "debate" on the administration's shadowy surveillance programs "will kill Americans."

  • Speaking of surveillance, I was all set to link to this article about the Democrats holding firm on NOT giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies that dutifully handed over private information on their customers to the government. That was yesterday, this is today:
    At the start of the day, Democrats were confident that the measure would gain approval in the House despite a veto threat from President Bush. But after an afternoon of partisan sniping, Democratic leaders put off that vote because of a competing measure from Republicans that on its face asked lawmakers to declare where they stood on stopping Osama bin Laden from attacking the United States again.

    ...Democrats denounced the Republicans’ poison pill on Mr. bin Laden as a cynical political ploy and “a cheap shot.” But Democratic leaders realized that they were at risk of losing the votes of a contingent of more moderate Democrats who did not want to be left vulnerable for voting against a resolution to stop Al Qaeda, officials said.

    Holy shit. Add this to the failure to override Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill, and the Democrats are having themselves one hell of a week! (Note to idiot Democrats: I'm being sarcastic, you worthless jerk-offs.)

    In case you've missed it, the domestic surveillance issue came to the forefront again earlier this week, thanks to new reports that revealed more details about telecoms' involvement in the programs, including yet another report that these programs were initiated at least 6 months before 9-11.

  • On our inegalitarian society, Juan Cole says the Bush/Cheney model can more accurately be described as "Bonapartism," which he says means "the state rules in an authoritarian way and disregards the people, representing itself as the true representative of the business classes. In fact, it serves only a small spectrum of corporate cronies of the ruling elite, disadvantaging almost everyone else."

  • On torture and the "moral high ground," a NYT editorial asks a very simple question: Is this really who we are?

  • On detainees, the attorney who represented Jose Padilla wonders what would've happened if no one had bothered to fight on his behalf. This leads her to wonder:
    After all, if the government does indeed have the authority to hold citizens indefinitely, without formal charges or legal counsel, what good are our Constitutional rights to due process?

    Garrett Epps has the story of Brandon Mayfield, the Oregon lawyer who was thrown into a Portland lockup for two weeks and smeared in the press by the FBI, all seemingly based on the simple fact that he is a Muslim convert. Thankfully for the rest of us, he hasn't been wallowing in self-pity since then... he's been fighting the Patriot Act. And he's having some success.

    An interesting side-note from Glenn Greenwald on Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, who apparently has shown a little bit of resistance to the administration on the issue of indefinite detention. Others maintain that Mukasey is not such a great guy.

  • On the emergence of new details on the megalomania of Cheney and Addington, brilliant writer Charlie Savage has a new book out on their 30-year quest to turn the presidency into a new American dictatorship.

    The new episode of Frontline, which I haven't watched yet, also has some new details on the power-madness of Cheney.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More on Supreme Court cases, Clarence Thomas' book...

Articles for this week's 'toon:
  • The Supreme Court reconvened last Monday, for what will most likely be another ugly term. You may recall, the most contentious cases from the last term were Parents Involved (public school integration), the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case (free speech), Ledbetter (pay discrimination based on gender), and Gonzales v. Carhart (abortion; see previous cartoon), the last two of which moved Justice Ginsburg to read her dissents aloud from the bench. Justice Breyer has accused the Roberts Court's conservative bloc of flouting stare decisis, and Arlen Specter claims there's going to be a Senate investigation of the decisions and of Roberts' and Alito's answers during their confirmation hearings.

    The upcoming docket should be a real doozy, though. The court will be answering questions on, among other issues, the Military Commissions Act (whether federal courts have jurisdiction over habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees) and capital punishment (whether common lethal injection is "cruel and unusual" under the Eighth Amendment). Needless to say, stay tuned...

  • So Clarence Thomas has released his memoirs. Reportedly, within these pages he rehashes his infamous claims of racism in his 1991 confirmation hearings, compares himself to Tom Robinson from To Kill A Mockingbird, and comes off as extraordinarily bitter and slightly deranged (which is always good from a Supreme Court justice).

    Of course, among the first stops on his promotional tour was Sean Hannity's show (on the network owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the book publisher that gave Thomas a $1.5 million advance for his work) and a visit with his good buddy Rush Limbaugh (whose third marriage, which has already ended in divorce, was officiated by Thomas). So much for a sitting justice avoiding the "appearance of impropriety."

  • The always tactful Justice Scalia on Bush v. Gore back in January:
    "It's water over the deck — get over it."

    Meanwhile, Jeffrey Toobin reveals that Justice Souter seriously considered resigning after the decision was handed down.

  • The last square was a reference to the situation with renowned legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who was hired to be the dean of the new law school at UC Irvine, then fired for being "too politically controversial" (specifically, he wrote an op-ed criticizing Alberto Gonzales, although he's well-known for his commentary from the left), then rehired. I included this in the cartoon mainly to compare and contrast Chemerinsky's supposedly "controversial" actions with the behavior of the above justices.

Something occurred to me this week about doing caricatures of Supreme Court justices. Politicians may come and go... I'll probably have to stop talking about Bush and Cheney someday. But I can keep making fun of Scalia and Thomas FOREVER.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Overpaid Losers

Just as a reminder, in case you haven't heard this from me in a while: dear God, I love watching the Yankees get beat.

Especially in a crazy-ass game like last night's, where it seems the baseball gods themselves don't want them to win. Nothing quite as funny as seeing the Yankees implode because of a giant insect swarm on the field, while Jeter and A-Rod run around waving their arms and screaming "EEEEEWWW, bugs!"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More on Bush the Moron...

Pretty straight-forward cartoon this week... inspired by a few especially good gems from our favorite bad sitcom character who just happens to be real. No doubt you've already heard about most of these:
  • "The No Child Left Behind Act is working... as yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn..." (emphasis added)

    --Bush at a media event in New York, speaking to a group of schoolchildren.

  • "We're also talking to different finance ministers about how we can send a message to the Iranian government that the free world is not going to tolerate the development of know-how in how to build a weapon, or at least gain the ability to make a weapon." (emphasis added)

    --Bush at a recent D.C. speaking event.

  • "My advice to whoever will be our nominee is to reach out to the African-American community as well as other communities, because I believe we've got a very strong record when it comes to... fairness in justice." (emphasis added)

    --Recent Bush press conference.

  • "I heard somebody say, 'Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead!" (emphasis all his, which is what made it classic)

    --Bush in another recent press conference, in a bizarre attempt to justify the Iraq War.

  • Lastly, New York Times columnist David Usborne on Bush's recent address before the UN General Assembly:
    But the President, who used his appearance at the podium yesterday to call for a "mission of liberation" to bring democracy and human rights to countries under dictatorship or repressive rule, needs a little help in this regard.
    Heaven forefend that he mangles the names of Sarkozy, say, or Mugabe. We know this thanks to a snafu by the White House staff who mistakenly allowed a few journalists to glimpse a draft of the President's address complete with phonetic spellings in brackets to assist him with names of people and places. In the correct version for the press, they had been erased.

    ...[The] President's crib notes:
    Kyrgyzstan, KEYR-geez-stan
    Mauritania, moor-EH-tain-ee-a
    Mugabe, moo-GAH-bee
    Harare, hah-RAR-ray
    Sarkozy, sar-KO-zee
    Caracas, kah-RAH-kus

A lot of people complain that they're tired of the "Bush is an idiot" jokes, but I believe I will continue to enjoy talking about it long after he's out of office. It's the single biggest reason why he should've been gone a long time ago: he is not and has never been qualified to be President of the United States. All this quibbling about which scandal was the worst (Scooter Libby or the U.S. Attorney's scandal? WMD's or torture? Warrantless surveillance or tax cuts for billionaires?), when it should've been patently obvious to all of us very early on that the man lacked the intellectual capacity to appreciate the real-world consequences of the decisions he was making. Everybody knew he was simply a dimwitted frontman for extremists, we all knew nothing good could come of it, and yet all we could do was sit and watch events unfold. Who didn't know within 48 hours of Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast that New Orleans was going to get screwed on rebuilding?

Nonetheless, I think it won't be until we have a decade or two of separation from the Bush presidency before there is a real understanding within our society of just how embarrassing this chapter of American history has been...

Monday, October 01, 2007