Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cartoon #234: “Rings Around Uranus”

Title: Rings Around Uranus; Text: (TV says) The Hubble Space Telescope has found more rings around Uranus. (thought bubble of man in easy chair says) Domestic spying is worse than I thought.

The New York Times reported today that President Bush allowed the National Security Agency to intercept much more domestic communications data than he previously admitted to. Duh. The NSA has long been intercepting all worldwide electronic communications. All U.S. communications are routinely passed through the NSA’s supercomputers sifted with “trip words/phrases”.

This has, of course, been illegal since 1978. But the U.S. government has used a loophole to snoop on every citizen. Through secret reciprocal agreements with certain allies, like Great Britain, the U.S. intercepts their communications and shares it with their intelligence agencies, and they intercept ours and share it with our intelligence agencies. After 9/11, their has been no need to hide behind this “snoophole”.

In “other” news this week, astronomers discovered two new rings around the planet Uranus. The NSA’s ability to listen to all worldwide telecommunications is nothing compared to the National Reconnaissance Office’s use of space telescopes for spying on everyone. But that discussion remains taboo.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cartoon #233: “Iraq Election”

Title: Iraq Election; Text: (Hand labeled 'Iraq' with ink-covered finger in same direction as arrow sign that says 'Exit')

Cartoon #232: “Domestic Spying”

Title: Domestic Spying; Text: (National Security Agency seal with the word 'Security' replaced by the word 'Disgrace' and the eagle's head bowed and wings lowered in shame.)

Here’s the deal. The U.S. is not at war. How do I know? Look at any seal of the United States, or any seal of any federal agency. It is also on the back of a one dollar bill. Look at the eagle’s head. While the head has been facing the same side as the eagle’s talons holding the olive branch (symbol for peace), the U.S. has been in peacetime. When the U.S. was last at war, the eagle’s head faced the other way, toward the talons holding the arrows (symbol for war). The last time any seals of the U.S. depicted wartime was in 1945.

The claim that the U.S. has been at war since 2001 is a lie. If, like lots of United Statesans, you believe this lie, you now know the truth. Only citizens of the U.S., through direct action by their representatives in congress, can go to war. Now you know.

Moreover, President Bush has been using this lie to justify the uprecedented, dictatorial power of illegally spying on you. The National Security Agency is complicit in this conspiracy. The NSA obeyed an illegal order from the president in peacetime. These are high crimes. Felonies. Violations of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Impeachable offenses.

Do your duty.

Cartoon #231: “Calvin & Hobbes Anniversary”

Title: Calvin & Hobbes Tribute; Text: (Heading says) In Loving Memory of Calvin & Hobbes 1986-1995 (tearful Calvin & Hobbes hugging in spotlight with caption) 'Dragons live forever, but not so, little boys... -Peter, Paul, and Mary

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cartoon #230: “War on Christmas”

Title: War on Christmas; Text: (Heading says) Putting Jesus back in Christmas (Jesus says) Happy Hanukkah

Jesus was Jewish. He never celebrated anything like ‘Christmas.’ In biblical times, birth dates were not remembered, and birth anniversaries were not observed.

What would a Jewish contemporary of Jesus, who was the same age as Jesus, have said if you had asked him when he was born? After wondering about your sanity for asking such a question, he might tell you the year of his birth — if he knew even that much. That year would be 3761 by his calendar.

If you wished him a happy Hanukkah (or Feast of Dedication as he knew the holiday), he would know exactly what you meant. Hanukkah is a celebration of his people’s real victory in their own real ‘war on Judaism’ waged by the Syrians.

If you think there is a ‘war’ against Christmas in the U.S., just try ignoring it. If you are right, it should be easy to avoid Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas TV specials, Christmas ballets, Christmas plays, Christmas pagents, Christmas concerts, Christmas parades, Christmas services, Christmas cards, Christmas foods, Christmas advertising, Christmas greetings, Christmas movies, Christmas magazines, Christmas books, Christmas parties, Christmas bonuses, and Christmas vacations.

If you are correct, you will not see, or hear, or touch, or smell, or think about any of these Christmas experiences. On December 26th, or later, it will occur to you that Christmas passed without your noticing it. Think you can do that? If so, you are wrong. You won’t succeed. Now ask yourself: If Christmas can’t even be ignored, how can there be any kind of clear and present danger threatening to kill it?

So what is all this hoopla and humbuggery about a so-called “war on Christmas?” It is a fabrication of the religious right in the U.S. It is more fear mongering to raise money for neo-conservative political causes. It’s as nonsensical as the false accusation about a conspiracy to use Spongebob Squarepants to turn heterosexual kids into homosexual adults. It is as nutty as a fruitcake.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Support Your Local Cartoonist!

Today is Black Ink Monday, the first ever theme cartoon day by editorial cartoonists to protest the downsizing of staff editorial cartoonist jobs.

Among the threats to jobs of political and editorial cartoonists is the “dulling down” or outright avoidance of strong opinions and editorials by news organizations — and none are stronger than political cartoons.

The strange attitude that a news organization’s op-ed page should be everything to every reader — or nonexistent, as with most TV and radio web sites — is wrong-headed. Publishers who do not want to offend anyone, out of fear that someone might cancel a subscription, or choose not to subscribe, place a gag on minority opinions (no pun intended).

In fact, this long-time trend is the cause of, not the solution to declining profits in the news business. Controversy sells, dullness doesn’t. Just ask the top publicists in Hollywood.

Blaming financial woes on new media gimmicks and technologies doesn’t hold water either. The ‘new’ always wears off, and consumers continue their search for stimulating content.

Politicians do have the power to hurt publishers who ridicule them (see any good history about the press in Nazi Germany). But giving in to bullies is even more wrong-headed.

To learn more about the protest, and see Black Ink Monday cartoons by other cartoonists, visit The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists Web site.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thought Bubble #29

What we haven’t yet come to grips with in the United States is that Robert F. Kennedy was our country’s last hope.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thought Bubble #28

Here’s a feature film comedy remake idea starring today’s top comedy actors: “The Terrorists Are Coming, the Terrorists Are Coming!”

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cartoon #224: “Gulf of Tonkin”

Title: Gulf of Tonkin; Text: (Bush speaking in three panels) 1. Declassified documents show that LBJ went to war based on lies. 2. Which finally proves... 3. It's an old Texas tradition.

A National Security Agency analysis of the Gulf of Tonkin incidents was declassified this week, four years after it was written in 2001. It proves conclusively that there was no attack on U.S. ships on August 4, 1964, as reported and leaked to the media. President Lyndon Johnson used the false reports of the alleged attack to justify escallating U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Some of us did not have to wait for declassification. Here in Pflugerville, Texas, we needed only ask the comptroller of the school district, Gerrell Moore. Former NSA officer Moore was the senior intelligence official aboard the U.S.S. Maddox during the Tonkin Gulf incidents. He has told anyone who would listen from day one that the second attack never happened. He was even interviewed for decades about it by mainstream news organizations like Newsweek. Nobody ever published his statements.

Those of us who have been paying attention to modern U.S. history have long known that there is nothing new about the so-called “War on Terror,” and that the slippery slope toward neo-fascism (or corporatism if you prefer) did not start on 9/11.

Cartoon #223: “Tom Delay’s Redistricting Map”

Title: Tom DeLay’s Redistricting Map; Text: Tom DeLay's Redistricting Map for Texas (Texas outline drawn as elephant's head.)

Almost two years after it was written, a secret memo, dated December 12, 2003, was turned over to the Washington Post regarding the Texas redistricting map rammed through the state legislature by Tom DeLay. The 73-page memo detailed an opinion by the voting rights section of the Department of Justice that the map violated the Voting Rights Act. The memo was never seen by the three-judge panel that ruled the map was legal in 2003. At the time the memo surfaced, the case was pending for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s decision came on June 28, 2006. The state legislature’s redistricting plan did indeed violate the Voting Rights Act in the case of House District 23, represented by Republican Henry Bonilla.

For those of you who followed my cartoons on this subject two years ago, you may recognize this as similar to my 2003 cartoon, “GOP Redistricting Map for Texas.” Tom DeLay’s name was not a national household word back then, and the image becomes more prophetic as we learn more about the corruption behind the Texas redistricting fiasco of 2003.