Archive for February, 2005

February 24, 2005

Richard says:

Your Luddite pal got it right.
I hope you will keep going on the topic that a preponderance of blogs “work for the bad guys.” I’d put it a wee bit more bluntly – as in blogger expenses and salary are paid by the bad guys. Sure, it costs almost nothing to broadcast one, and yes they are multiplying like fungi, but it’s quite a trick to get them linked to popular web sites and even more importantly into the mainstream media – unless you have money and influence. No exposure, no importance.
Dig deeply enough and I’m sure you’ll find that many, perhaps most, of the politically oriented blogs function like the fictionalized movie critics created by big studios to sell rotten movies. Plant a favorable account, then get it quoted in the mainstream media you either rent, dupe or control outright. Pay the lowly blogger for their time (covertly of course), but mostly pump them up by getting him/her linked and cited. Karl Rove certainly figured this gambit out years ago.
Trust no blog unless you know who pays who pays the bills.

And he says it very, very well.

February 23, 2005

Geneva Conventions

Andy writes:

Even though I’m a softcore Libertarian who thinks Clinton is the greatest president since James K Polk, I’ve found myself 99% behind you the last few years. Behind enough to buy subversive cartoonists for my Dad even though I’m still debt ridden student.

I don’t know if I agree with Andy about Clinton (or Polk!) but I do miss his economy. Everyone does.

A couple points of disagreement:
1) latest blog entry: The Geneva convention does not apply to the, for lack of a better word, the “terrorists” in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Geneva convention is VERY clear, you MUST WEAR A UNIFORM if you are a soldier. If you do otherwise you are willfully endangering civilians and surrender the rights of a soldier. The Geneva Convention doesn’t say anything about terrorists but it does describe “spies” and I think the current insurgents fit the description to a T. Spies have no rights so technically the Bush admin is within the bounds of international law.

Actually, things aren’t nearly as clear cut. I just finished reading “The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib,” a collection of the Taguba Report and the original memoranda generated by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo and other administration torture aficianados, which address Geneva and the uniform issue. What Geneva actually says is that soldiers are defined as those who wear clear insignia. That doesn’t necessarily mean uniforms. In fact, Taliban militiamen in Afghanistan were distinguished by their black long-tail turbans–which were originally tribal in affiliation but were adapted by the entire Taliban while the non-Taliban tribals took on other garb. U.S. forces tacitly accepted this distinguishing feature by firing at anyone wearing one, even from aerial Predator drones and it was well known in the theater of war.
In Iraq, many of the insurgents are former Iraqi government officers and soldiers and still wear uniforms in combat. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, moreover, resistance fighters are covered under the qualification that both are indigenous resistance forces covered under Geneva, uniformed or not.
Al Qaeda militia, however, probably do not qualify under Geneva with the exception of those who also fought under the former Afghan Taliban regime.
Still, Boss Bush is still a vicious greedy bastard with no regard for human lives other than his own. Him and his ilk subverted our Democratic-Republic and deserve far worse than the terrorists.

2) Attack Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? ARE YOU CRAZY!!! We can barely
hold onto power in Iraq with its mere 30 million people and soldier friendly terrain. How the hell are we supposed to take on Pakistan with like 100 million people living in miserable mountains.

Actually, I think it’s more like 140 million. But most of them live in flatlands, not mountains.

The combined
wealth and power of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with require Bush to put America on war footing and mobilize the entire country. Me, a 24 year old man, would have to go fight. I’m not dying to those ungreatful SOBs. If they draft me and my fellow upper middle class friends you
better believe the ICBM’s will carpet bomb those two countries off the
face of the earth cause there’s no way in hell my parents or grandparents will stand for me being in the line of fire.That’s pretty much all I disagree with you about right now. okay, the Tillman comic was offensive and over the top but it was also damn funny.
R.I.P. Hunter S.

Yeah, invading Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would probably have been terrible ideas. But, unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, they would have been terrible ideas that would have helped to avenge 9/11.

February 23, 2005

For the Last Time…

…I am not a Democratic Party strategist. I have no stake whatsoever in whether Hillary or whoever runs on the platform of what’s left of the American left in 2008. So why do people keep writing stuff like this from RShake?:

I have seen you on various News programs. I am currently a registered Democrat. I have been a Reform Party member, Republican, & Libertarian. I am in fact one of those elusive swing voters. I am amused at how you think to persuade people to support issues that you espouse to when you villify them as stupid? Not a very effective strategy. Mostly I am disappointed in the Moonbat, Tin foil Hat mentality that permeates the Democratic Party in lieu of the last election.
I almost wonder if this email is wasting my time & energy as I am certain it will not resonate with the intended receiver. Sadly when vitriol and insults are used instead of dialogue there is little hope for any real effective communication. There was a time not too long ago that Liberals listened to Conservatives with courtesy. Even when they did agree with the content of the message. Liberals were primarily in control of the Congress at that time. Perhaps that is one reason they were in control. When I tried to listen to Air America all I hear is whining and insults. It does not win people to your way of thinking.

I remember when liberals used to listen to conservatives with courtesy. And all the while, in race after race, the hard right–which hijacked the GOP back in 1976–was running vile attack ads with little or no response from their opponents. And it worked. Republicans resorted to base tactics year after year. Then it spread to the media, and got especially nasty after 9/11. Treasonous crone Ann Coulter started smearing true patriots (i.e., progressive Americans) as anti-American. (Perhaps it was projection, since she thinks Joe McCarthy was a swell guy.)
Anyway: liberals got tired of getting beaten up and insulted, and decided (thank God!) to start giving back a little to hate-filled Republicans. Whining and insults? Better get ready for more of the same. We didn’t start this fight, but by God we’ll finish it.

February 23, 2005

Andrew Sullivan, Self-Hating Liar

Allen writes:

As usual I enjoyed your column even though it was a little “out there.”
Andrew Sullivan is a “gay GOP blogger?” Did you read his endorsement for
John Kerry? Is it really important to point out that he is gay? Or was that
just a cheap shot?

Yes, Sullivan endorsed Kerry–because Bush came out for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. (This is why he gets the big TIME magazine bucks–because he couldn’t see that coming.) Which is why I pointed out that he is gay. Not only does Sullivan talk about being gay all the time, it’s a core part of his political identity, so much so that after spending years sucking up to Bush while he set up concentration camps that he only turned slightly against him over gay marriage. Besides, “gay Republican” is like “Jewish Nazi”–it’s a bizarre indicator that someone is off their rocker, politically and possibly otherwise.

You sound like a schoolboy whining about name calling and such on right wing blogs. Give me a break, have you ever read Democratic Underground? Does
Kos not have the same kinds of posts on his open threads? If you can dish
out columns about Reagan burning in hell and Pat Tillman being a sap before
his dead ass was even cold then why bitch about a few right wing loons
making gay ass threats? (Metaphor overload).

Perhaps DU and Kos have similarly violent comments in similar portions, but if so I’ve never been able to find them. There’s a big difference between strident invective and threats of violence; the left specializes in the former while the right prefers its politics Gestapo style. And there’s a HUGE difference between saying that Reagan is burning in hell (if there is such a place)and threatening to murder someone.
Here’s an exercise: substitute “George Bush” for “Ted Rall” in those lines. Now ask yourself: would the Secret Service take an interest in those revised quotes?

If Eason Jordon was so right about the journalists why did he not show some
examples? If you’re running CNN you gotta have the facts when you run your
mouth like that.

February 23, 2005

David Horowitz’s Neo-McCarthyite Blacklist

Anyone who doubts that Bushite right-wingers are presiding over a new 1950s-style witch hunt in their constant equation of dissent to treason need only turn to ideological turncoat David Horowitz’s highly-touted right-wing online blacklist “Discover the Network”. According to Horowitz, his site “is a ‘Guide to the Political Left.’ It identifies the individuals and organizations that make up the left and also the institutions that fund and sustain it; it maps the paths through which the left exerts its influence on the larger body politic; it defines the left’s (often hidden) programmatic agendas and it provides an understanding of its history and ideas.”
Hm. Sounds innocuous enough.
But Horowitz makes a big leap: he mixes in Islamic terrorists with the supposed liberals. Next to the listing for Al Sharpton, then, is one for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Ayatollah Kholmeini (someone should tell Horowitz he’s dead) of Iran is next to Barack Obama, the up and coming Democratic Senator. There’s Johnny Walker Lindh, American Talib, next to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation. It’s a reprehensible, vile smear, and it would be laughable if (a) it didn’t read like those anti-abortion hitlist websites and (b) it wasn’t so patently untrue. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda operative, hardly shares a political agenda with UN chief Kofi Annan, whose images appear side by side. In fact, radical Islamism shares a lot more in common with radical Republicanism–both hate women, believe in a fundamentalist interpretation of their respective scriptures and want to take over the world. But never let the facts get in the way of a political smear, Mr. Horowitz.
There is, in this case, a personal angle. I am, apparently, the only cartoonist on a list that includes such luminaries as John Kerry and Kewisi Mfume. I’m easy to find: I’m “right” there at #673 (the list is in alphabetical, rather than ideological, order) between Massoud Rajavi and Sheikh Alaa Ramadan, who I assume are supposed to be my new best friends.
Anyone familiar with my work has got to laugh at my second supposed sin: “Reserves condemnation only for Republicans.” I mean, what’s wrong with that? Not that it’s true: ask Bill Clinton how warm and fuzzy he feels about the way I batted his ass around for eight years. I’m an equal opportunity politician basher; it’s just that these days, there aren’t many powerful left politicians left. And the rest of the listing is full of similar garbage.
Even more interesting than the implicit linking of patriotic Americans with Islamist terrorists is the fact that no mainstream Republican can be counted upon to condemn Horowitz. Where is John McCain to repudiate this shit? One must assume, therefore, that the mainstream GOP agrees with Horowitz’s smear tactics. God knows the right-wing bloggers do.

February 23, 2005

On Genocide

Mike writes:

First of all, I love your cartoons…and agree with ALMOST everything you say about MOST subjects. But I do want to offer a minor quibble- whatever you think of the Iraq war or the Afghan war (I’m totally against the first, but felt the second was justified), you really shouldn’t use the word “genocide” to describe it. In my opinion, its not even close to genocide, and cheapens the word (sort of like when people throw around the word “rape” to describe things other than, well, rape.)
“Genocide” is more than just killing a lot of people- we usually use that word when we are talking about the attempt to wipe out an entire ethnic group, and where they are singled out because of their ethnicity. “Genocide” also usually means specifically going after civilians, as opposed to killing significant numbers of them while going after soldiers. There are always civilian casualties in any war, but all wars are not genocide. Whatever you think of the Iraq war (and I’m almost as opposed to it as you are), you must realize that if we really wanted to wipe out the Iraqi people, we would have done it a bit differently, and there wouldn’t be 160,000 dead- there’d be millions.

So stop throwing around the word “genocide”, when “slaughter” or “humanitarian disaster” would be more accurate. Other than that, keep up the good work.

I wish more thinking folks like Mike would take another look at the invasion of Afghanistan–the war even lefties can get behind because the Taliban were such brutes. (Like Saddam wasn’t?) But hey, I’ve already written two books about that. If only I could convince more people to read them!
So. What about genocide?
Noting that it’s a new word, dating to the liberation of the first Nazi death camps in 1944, my dictionary calls it “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” The United States is presently engaged in the deliberate and systematic destruction of a political and cultural group: Iraqi civilians. Remember, even the insurgents are civilians–our own Pentagon designated them as such by virtue of denying them protection under the Geneva Conventions. So every insurgent/resistor we kill in Iraq is by definition an act of genocide against Iraqi civilians. Of course, others may take issue. And I may change my mind, since genocide is usually reserved for events like the attempted extermination of the Tutsis in Rwanda during the early ’90s. But I don’t feel prepared to back away from the term just yet.

February 23, 2005

O’Reilly on Churchill, Redux: Maybe He Should Be Fired After All

Thanks to FOR Matt for sending this along:

These quotes are about the closest O’Reilly has come to giving his opinion on firing Churchill. He seems to be moving closer to saying he should be fired, but he hasn’t come right out and said it yet.
February 9, 2005 Wednesday

O’REILLY: The only people, huh? So in the world, according to Churchill, if you sell bonds, insurance, or anything else that furthers capitalism, you’re a Nazi.
For this kind of reasoning, the University of Colorado is paying the guy almost $100,000. Now some say Churchill should be charged with treason or sedition. We’ll examine that in a few moments. But clearly, the man has some constitutional protections. Where he is vulnerable is in the competency area.
As we mentioned last night, he wrote a book saying that Israel is perpetuating a Holocaust against the Palestinians, and that Hitler’s government did not have an institutional plan to exterminate European Jews. Both those statements are false, provable, just like two plus two equals five is false.
If a math teacher put forth that equation, the math teacher would be fired. If an ethnic studies teacher denies the Third Reich had a policy of Jewish mass murder, that teacher has to go.
So say goodbye to Churchill. I predict he’ll be fired for incompetence by early March. Now I could be wrong. And even if I’m right, the ACLU will sue on his behalf. That’ll be a fascinating case.
But in the end, there are consequences for controversial speech. Every day of my life, someone attacks me because I’m outspoken. There’s little I can do but absorb the slander, libel and defamation that comes my way. And so it will be with Churchill. He will pay a big price for his hatred of America and his cruelty to the 9/11 families. But the price should be fair and reasonable. And that’s the Memo….
Fox News Network February 7, 2005 Monday

Jason Bruno, Chico, California, “O’Reilly, your push for Churchill’s firing is ridiculous.”
And so is your letter, Mr. Bruno. I’ve said many times I am not for firing the guy, although I am reevaluating this based on new information….
Fox News Network February 3, 2005 Thursday

O’REILLY: Sure, sure. All right, Carol. Thanks very much.
And here are the results of our poll question. We asked you: Should Churchill be fired from the University of Colorado? More than 25,000 of you voted. Eighty-six percent say, yes, he should be fired; 14 percent say no. I was in the no category there. We’ll leave the poll question up over the weekend in case you want to weigh in.

Sure sounds like O’Reilly wants Churchill fired to me.

February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson

We can assume what demons drove the good doctor to commit suicide, but no one knows besides those who were closest to him. What we do know is the example he set, which was to write journalism without giving a shit about causing offense to the rich and powerful scum who deserve disdain for their disolute lives. We also know his influence, which was way too small. Many read him, but too few writers ever had the guts to follow in his footsteps.
I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it hadn’t been for Dr. Thompson. Told to pick up his books by friends in college, I was immediately taken by his take-no-prisoners writing style; while I doubt I’ll ever come close to his achievement as a writer, I’ve certainly adapted his willingness to take on anyone and anybody who deserves it, damn the torpedoes. His mainstream success proved that honesty is marketable; that has surely paid a few rent bills for me over the years. Rest well, Hunter, but you’ll be missed for you are needed now more than ever.

February 19, 2005

Ann Coulter, Know Thyself!

Thanks to an astute FOR, Ann Coulter’s remark about me on C-SPAN has finally turned up. As it turns out, the neocons’ favorite dyed blonde Skeletor namechecked me during a rant about Ward Churchill’s tenure:
“This raving lunatic at the University of Colorado, who walks around like he’s a big radical, living on the edge, when to the contrary, he can’t be fired, he knows he can’t be fired, he can say the most outrageous things imaginable, like that cartoonist Ted Rall, who just does things to upset people so his name will get in the paper.” I don’t really know what Churchill has to do with me, save that I wrote about him last week.
Responding to Ward Churchill’s assertion that Indian reservations are the equivalent of Nazi concentration camps,” Coulter writes in this week’s column: “I forgot Auschwitz had a casino.” Yeah, historical revisionism about the American Indian genocide isn’t meant to upset people so her name will get in the paper. Pot, meet kettle.

February 19, 2005

The World’s Stupidest People…

…post to the Comics Journal message board.
For no discernable reason whatsoever, the usual crew of wannabes, neverwillbes and fake names created by the cyberstalker I had to sue for libel have started up another idiotic discussion about the lawsuit. This is particularly perplexing since there have been no significant developments on the legal front. The defendant keeps filing documents to stall a trial, my lawyer keeps countering the stalling tactics, and a trial date remains to be scheduled for an incident of impersonation that dates back to 1999. Whoever said that justice delayed is justice denied must have lived in New York; while I generally agree with the legal tradition of granting the benefit of the doubt to defendants in legal matters, it ought to be possible to get one’s day in court at some point. All of these delays are almost enough to make me become a Republican. Among some of my favorite posts of moronitude:

My biggest fear is that Rall v. Hellman will end up chipping away at what’s left of the first amendment.

I’m suing a guy who took away MY free speech by sending out emails under my name. Impersonation isn’t free speech; had Hellman used his own name to ridicule me I would have been the first to defend his right to do so. And I might have even chuckled about it. It’s pretty simple stuff; even a comics nerd who lives in his parents’ basement ought to be able to get it. But such is the dismal state of the American education system that there exist people who think that impersonation is a form of, rather than an attack upon, free speech. If people like this were denied the right to vote, Ralph Nader would be president right now.
Then there’s this prize:

Ted Rall turns people off from liberalism with his shitty comics and fascist left attitude.

Do I have a “fascist left attitude”? If by fascist left this dude means that I have zero tolerance for the Rethugs and their scummy American state media lackeys, then hell, I’ll take it. When your country has been hijacked by mass murderers, looters of the treasury and subverters of democracy, polite conversation isn’t called for. Anyone who votes Republican (as of December 20, 2000) is by definition an anti-American scoundrel, a neofascist and/or a fool. Fuck them.
Oh, and: I don’t give a shit about “turning people on to liberalism.” I’m a writer and a cartoonist with opinions (some liberal, others conservative, others neither), not a propaganda mill for some poorly defined non-movement.
And this, from another genius:

It also should be noted that it went to a jury trial all you’d have to do is remind the jury that Ted did the Terror Widows and Firefighters strips, it’s game over at that point.

Uh-huh. Because that would be totally relevant to whether it’s OK to impersonate someone…years before either of those cartoons were made.
Finally, refering to a snide comment I made about those who drew cartoons for Hellman’s benefit book:

Great to completely dismiss 50 artists who haven’t had the honor of having stick figure drawings in print like Mr T Fancypants R.

Yeah, it’s really bad politics on my part to insult 50 “artists” who hate me so much that they signed their names to a book solely dedicated to the prospect that I deserve to die painfully. News flash: I wish upon these assholes exactly what they wished upon me.