Fetal “Facts”

Fetal "Facts"

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The House recently voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, under the pretense that fetuses can feel pain by then. Texas Representative Michael Burgess said a dumb thing in defense of this dumb ban:

Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful … They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?

Burgess is an OB-GYN by profession, which makes his comments even more troubling. But I doubt he believes it. It’s just a pretense for the Republicans’ plan to chip away at access to reproductive rights. Whether they’re stripping funding for Planned Parenthood, or passing terrible laws at the state level, the GOP is determined to make abortion impossible, if not outright illegal.

To the Republicans, every potential life is precious, until it’s born. After that, they’re more than happy to let it starve to death.

The Endangered Moderate Republican

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Olympia Snowe called it quits last week, citing the insane partisanship that’s crippled our government for, oh, let’s say forever. She and most in the commentary class have claimed that it’s due to equal amounts of stubbornness on both sides of the aisle. They are fucking wrong, or lying.

The GOP has always tried to court their dumb base by dangling a few racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic carrots while they quietly worked to enact their corporatist agenda. Now the dum-dums are fully in charge, dragging the party so far to the right that we’re ARGUING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION IN TWENTY-FUCKING-TWELVE!

The Democrats have been centrists for my entire life. Spooked by 1968 and Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency, the party can’t even be seen with an actual self-identified liberal or progressive, let alone let them influence their agenda. Clinton was a centrist Democrat, and if you ignore his lofty speeches, and look only at what he’s accomplished, Obama governs like a moderate Republican.

Or at least what once was considered a moderate Republican before the Know-Nothing Renaissance. The shifting of the GOP towards the far right has caused the entire national dialogue to shift along with it. It’s a game of tug-o-war, and while the GOP and the Tea Party are pulling in the same direction, the Democrats won’t let the far left help. So the end result is weak-ass Democrats just trying to maintain the status quo as Republicans tug us back into the 19th century.

Potential SOPA/PIPA Revisions

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Since SOPA and PIPA were shelved following last Wednesday’s blackouts, this comic is kind of late to the discussion, but the bills’ backers will attempt to trot out a revised version sooner rather than later. I also wanted to draw Chris Dodd’s man-boobs. You’ll notice that since this was for the New York Times, I avoided coloring his nipples and going crazy with veins and hair. Because I am RESPONSIBLE.

Anyone who thinks it’s just Republicans who cravenly do their donors’ bidding should have been enlightened by who continued to support these bills following the widespread online opposition. Sure, supporting Hollywood’s mad grab for extending copyright privileges isn’t as bad destroying the economy, environment, and everything else, but it’s still shitty.

As for reducing (you can never stop it) online piracy, the solution’s simple: Price your shit fairly, and make it easy to use. I pay $8 a month to both Hulu and Netflix instead of a pricey cable package, and that keeps me pretty much up-to-date with pop culture. As for sports, that’s why bars were invented. Paying more than $10 a month for any content-related thing is obscene. It generally costs $30-$50 to get internet access, so if you think your one thing is worth more than a third of the Internet, you have seriously overvalued your product. And yes, that also applies to a certain newspaper with a soft paywall.

Order Your New Pet Newt!

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That Gingrinch became the latest front-runner shows how much people loathe Mitt Romney. Gingrich is a petulant dick, something the GOP base loves, but he also has a Washington insider history that’s usually the reason why governors and other “outsiders” get the nomination. I was sixteen when Newt shut down the government, and that was sixteen years ago. Christ, I’m old.

I’m still not counting Willard out, but with just a couple weeks to go before the primaries, I’m not sure how this doesn’t drag out until spring.

Secrets of the Super Committee

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The Occupy movement has thankfully shifted the media’s and public’s focus on jobs and income inequality. But last summer’s ridiculous “debate” about the debt ceiling, where the GOP held the country and the global economy hostage to get its way, resulted in the formation of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, AKA The Super Committee. They’re supposed to reach to an agreement before Thanksgiving, or automatic cuts in defense and social services go into effect…in 2013.

Fans of war are shitting their pants at the prospect of cuts, although they’d only go down to 2007 levels. Remember 2007? Our military industrial complex was so tiny back then; only involved in two quagmires and who knows how many surveillance and assassination actions. Surely going back to that is the equivalent of turning the military into a ragtag group of militia men, who have more money than the rest of the world’s defense budgets combined.

And fans of of not living in a third world nation are equally pants-shitting about cuts to social programs, including myself. The whole charade was conducted to cut these programs, and Obama played along instead of pointing out the absurdity of the whole thing.

Yes, the deficit is a problem. But we are in the middle of the longest fucking recession most Americans remember. (OK great-grampa, you still win at Great Depressions, for now. We’re trying real hard to top you though.) Revenues were already thrown way out of whack by the Bush Tax Cuts and all that “pro-business” shit Clinton pulled. Throw in long-term 9% unemployment, and they drop precipitously.

We need growth, and the only way to do that is through government spending. The pittance we’re arguing about now is only enough to maintain our current shit-sandwich of an economy. Individuals and businesses are rightfully holding on to what cash they have, so government is the only entity that can make the unselfish decision to spend large amounts for the benefit of everyone else. Interest rates are at an all time low, and it’s a crime to not use that virtually free money to make much-needed investments in infrastructure, education, and anything else that will pay for itself through the growth and demand it creates.

I’m honestly not too worried if the Super Committee fails. Like the comic says, anything they do, or what happens if they fail to reach an agreement can be changed or nullified by a future Congress. It’s in the Constitution! John McCain’s already working on this solution to preserve his precious defense spending. And if you think the Occupy movement is big now, wait until this Super Committee super-shit hits the super-fan.

Oh, and check out Mark Fiore’s animation about the Super Committee. I’m glad I watched it before drawing this cartoon, not only because it’s funny, but I originally sketched the title panel to look like the Super Friends Hall of Justice.

Republican Presidential Debate-athon

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I subjected myself to last Tuesday’s debate, and thankfully came up with a cartoon idea for my troubles. It’s simultaneously hilarious and horrifying that Herman Cain is considered a serious front-runner. Whenever he speaks, he sounds like that kid in class who didn’t do the reading but was very good at bullshitting his way to a C+. (I don’t have facts to back that up.)

The song Romney’s singing is a parody of The Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner. Only Jonathan Richman can make me feel sentimental for Boston’s Route 128, and driving on that nasty ol’ clusterfuck of a beltway.

And due to the Occupy Boston events going on in Dewey Square, Richman should put out an updated version Lonely Financial Zone.

Educating the Obvious

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The inspiration for this strip is this recent court ruling. That article features some great quotes from the teacher in question, James Corbett, such as “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”

But unlike Corbett, I’m not actually anti-religion, just anti-know-nothings whose faith crumbles at the mere thought of anything beyond a literal interpretation of their ancient book of choice. And they’re bringing this country down into a stupid-hole we’ll never escape from. To see how far we’ve already fallen, check out this informative graph from Tony Piro.

And the latest Krugman op-ed details the terrifying reality of the Republicans being the anti-facts party, from science, to economics, to pretty much any fact a nerd has saw fit to put on Wikipedia.

Austerity Survival Guide

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Unless you’re a rich dick, the “recovery” of the last year or so never materialized. Growth has been anemic, if at all, and unemployment is still at 9%! I know I’ve been harping on the unemployment thing, but it’s a pretty big deal. The more people who are working, the more revenues come in, even with the shitty Bush tax cuts being extended by Obama in perpetuity.