Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Escape from New York

The politicians: Attack or Co-opt Instinct

The politicians: Attack or Co-opt Instinct

So, the #Occupy Movement decided to hold a world-wide demonstration on the weekend of the New York Comic Con. AAAaaaauuuuggghhhh! as Charlie Brown would have said. Or as Dick Cheney said, other priorities. I’d already spent mucho bucks not just for the convention tickets, but add in train fare to and hotel in New York City and oops, sorry, I have to be a cartoonist this weekend, not an activist. Please don’t hold anything important on the weekend of AnimeUSA, thank you.

I’m not sure NYCC was worth it tho. There were so many people there, it’s a wonder I found anyone I knew, let alone make any contacts–which, besides seeing the new Makoto Shinkai anime, was the reason I went for. One woman I heard talking was saying she had a panic attack from the crowd and I believe her. The convention now takes the entire Javits Center and was completely filled, wall-to-wall, with people in or out of costume. Not to mention so many exhibitors that I don’t think you could have seen all of them if you’d been there for the entire 4 days–not if you had any other things to do–like eat. Shoutouts to my friends Brad Guigar, Murder Nurse and Moxiecat–and if anyone else was there that I know: What? didn’t you see me wave?

Now, the last time I’d been to New York for any time over a hour had been 2 and a half years ago. I grew up in New Jersey. I KNEW New York was expensive. I knew what the hotel cost. I knew what the train cost. But I had no idea HOW expensive it had become until I actually arrived there. You can’t take a step outside the hotel without spending five dollars. Seriously, a little man comes up to you and collects a “breathing charge.” If you actually do anything–like buy a hot dog–you’re out 10. Down here, panhandlers come up to you and ask for a couple of bucks because they need busfare. One came up to me outside Penn Station and asked for $20 for the train.

The reason, I think, has something to do with trickle-down. All the money in the world has trickled down–to the southern tip of Manhattan. And just like in a gold rush, the closer you get to the mother lode, the more expensive things get, just because they can, because that’s where the money is. One politician said recently that $150K a year in New York wasn’t wealthy because of the expenses. It’s true. And at the same time, that’s just f#$%^& insane. He has my sympathy. But I have no sympathy for the conditions that make that true.

The Occupy Movement has reached an extremely crucial stage–it’s been going on so long and has achieved world-wide status that the politicians can no longer afford to ignore it. The robber barons and their Republican minions have started attacking the protesters as unwashed hippies, college students looking for a thrill, commies and socialists. This kind of thing is un-American (not like the Boston Tea Party). The Democrats are now trying to co-opt the movement so they can lead from behind in the hope that this will result in votes. But what they don’t get is that this isn’t about politics as they are in the US. This is about a totally corrupt culture where money talks and both political parties jump. The Republicans may be the primary abettors, but the Democrats are the enablers. After all, when the Supreme Court decided that money was speech and that corporations could not be fettered in their exercise of free speech, they legalized bribery–as long as it was disguised as a campaign contribution.

In 1984, Orwell predicted perpetual warfare. What he didn’t foresee was the perpetual election, a feature peculiar to these United States. In the UK. a national election can be held within a month of its necessity. Here, the campaign for the next election begins the day after the voting. The need for campaign contributions doesn’t end, but like a junkie’s addiction, grows as the amounts needed for campaigning grow less effective, so that you need more and more, until the purpose for holding office and the need to raise cash for it are indistinguishable. Politicians are addicted to the process and the only cure is cold turkey.

And that’s why we need to Occupy Wall Street. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the YouTube of Sgt. Shamar Thomas at Times Square, scolding the NYPD for their lack of honor :

[Occupytimessquare] 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins)

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The Other Day At #OccupyDC

I WILL BE POSTING A NEW CARTOON ON TUESDAY OCT 18, TO RECOVER FROM THE NEW YORK COMIC CON.

No cartoon this week because it is the October 12th holiday (celebrated on October 10 this year). It’s not very PC to like Columbus Day anymore and for some very good reasons, like celebrating the introduction of slavery and genocide to the New World. On the other hand, it is the official start of Western civilization in the Western Hemisphere and that, for good or for ill, is something worth remembering. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I have an emotional attachment to the holiday since it is my birthday and I LOVE to get a day off for my birthday, even if the actual date falls on a Monday only once out of every seven years–3 out of 7 if you include the weekend. Nevertheless, I do not have any emotional attachment to Columbus himself, since he seems to have been something of a jerk, so I would not be adverse to anyone changing the celebratory intent of the holiday. Unfortunately, no one is going to call it Greg Day, so let’s call it American Culture Day. Just leave it in the second week of October, thank you. I don’t want to have to go changing my birth records to make my birthday July the 4th–you not only get a day off ON the day, but you get fireworks too! And Happy Birthday to all the other October 12ers out there–you’re special people since you partake in MY DAY!

Anyway, since I knew I was going to take some time off today, I decided belatedly to try to find out what was happening at #OccupyDC sometime BEFORE whatever it was they were going to do got done so I could actually get down there and do it with them. #OccupyDC is our local version of the #OccupyFillInTheBlank movement that is slowly gathering momentum throughout the country. The most well-known of these is, of course, #OccupyWallStreet which was finally discovered by the mainstream news the other week when some cop decided to randomly pepperspray some of the protestors on camera and then several days later when 700 people were induced to take paddywagon rides at the City’s expense. I have mentioned OWS a few times in here, but well, quite frankly I was kind of unaware of the DC branch until it had been in existence for a few weeks. This is what I get for getting so much of my news from the Huffington Post–there weren’t any Kardashians taking part in it so it never made the Front Page (THX Arianna for selling out to AOL).

Anyway, I made my way over to McPherson Square on Friday where the Washington Post had said a march to the IMF building was to start. There was a small crowd there, since, I was told, the MAIN group which was actually starting the demonstration was at “Liberty Plaza”, a place I had no idea existed, unless he meant Liberty Square in Manhattan. Which I later found out was actually “Freedom Plaza”, a place I had actually heard about in my 40-odd years in the DC area. We really need some originality in naming our landmarks and parks. What the heck, since it was starting down there, I had time to get new batteries for my camera and a chili dog–it’s my only weakness. Anyway, a few minutes after the introduction of food to my digestive system, the main group arrived and the forces swelled to about 300-400 people and off we went, alternately chanting “Occupy Wall Street, Occupy K Street,” and singing “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.” It almost felt like the 70s–well, a hallucinogenically-deprived version thereof.

We had a big police escort–something like a dozen police cruisers and a few dozen officers on foot or bicycle. But it was not an NYPD situation–there was a respect between the protestors and the police. Partially because the group has not hit the size necessary for over-reacting and partially because, I suspect, many of the police unofficially sympathized with what the protest was about. Besides, most of the bigwigs at IMF had already absconded for the weekend, rather than face all those “people.”

Despite the snide remarks of some of the pundits and professional pooh-poohers, it is not unknown what the demands of the #Occupiers are. Pace President Obama, we are not frustrated with a system that doesn’t seem to work, we are DISGUSTED with one that only DOES work for the top 1%. We are disgusted that the banks which caused the economic mess the entire world is in because of their greed were deemed too important to allow them to bear the brunt of their sins. That they were bailed out to the tune of 3/4 of a trillion dollars while the victims of their greed were allowed to go bust and get thrown out of their homes. We are disgusted that we, the taxpayers, had to bear the brunt of this cost while the banksters themselves were not only not punished, but rewarded themselves with billions of dollars in “bonuses” and didn’t even get their taxes raised or even get regulations prohibiting their worst activities. We are disgusted with “corporate personhood” which has enshrined political dependency on corporate largess. We are disgusted that corporations are so much more important than people that so-called health care reform was formulated around the institutionalization of parasitical health insurance companies. We are disgusted that so much importance is laid on the deficit at a time when government spending is needed for the American people that important job supporting programs like rebuilding the infrastructure and education are being cut left and right to satisfy a small bunch of yahoos who want to “drown government in the bathtub.” And we are disgusted that so much of our resources are being wasted by wars that we seem to be fighting solely so that we “don’t lose.” And finally, but most of all, we are disgusted that no one is listening to us.

Anyway, here’s a few of the pictures I took while on the march. You can see the entire album at my Flickr pages. Have a great holiday and happy birthday to all my astrotwins out there!
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Slut Walks and Mass Arrests–Who Do You Have To (BLANK) To Get Some News Coverage In Here?

The NYPD makes certain our corporate overlords never have contact with THOSE people.

Keeping us safe for oligarchy

It seems a corner has been turned in the 2 week old protest “Occupy Wall Street”–the media has actually discovered that it has been taking place. No, I take that back–the news media has been aware for some time–it’s just that they haven’t said anything about it. After all, it’s not like they were wearing tricorn hats to advertise an anachronistic mindset paid for by the Koch Brothers?

However, this change is due to two events–the eminently nightly-news worthy march titles, “The Slut Walk”–ahhhh, nothing like sluts walking to titillate the cockles of the anchorperson’s heart–and the mass arrest of 700 protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge. Captain Jack McCarthy and Officer Joe Bolton were on hand to explain:

“It was for the kids you know. Them poor children shivering in the park with nary a TV camera on them, except for the iPads and cell phones they brought themselves. We thought a few days ago when we peppersprayed a few and arrested a few others for resisting arrest, the news would finally take notice, but we gave up when we’d arrested 80 and no throngs of reporters descended.”

“So we thought–what if we trick a few of them into stepping off the walkway into the road on the Brooklyn Bridge and arrested them for obstructing traffic? That might do the trick. So we had Officer Joe stand at the entrance of the Bridge with a sandwich board and light stick directing people who didn’t want to be arrested to stay on the walkway, and those who didn’t mind it to walk down the vehicular path to the paddywagons. And sure ’tis, we thought we have 400 of them, but by the time we got them all processed, 700 had been miraculously arrested. That got a little bit of front page–but we suspect nothing more will be noticed until there’s another slut walk.”

I’d like to thank the NYPD for their generosity and altruism in helping to obtain some media exposure. But it isn’t going to help. Last I heard, Wall Street officials were making plans for over-the-street walkways and heliports to ensure that the gods of finance never come in contact with the people who actually earn the money they manipulate. Except of course the help. As one broker explained, “Oh, dear, the noise … and the PEOPLE!”

This is Greg Uchrin for IRONY NEWS signing off for now.

This just in (well, I just noticed anyway) JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. Quelle Surprise!

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Hey, Wall Street, We’re Fed Up With Your Bull!

The Wall Street Bull drops a load on America as the NYPD line up to protect the bankers and brokers from peaceful protesters.

Errrr, not exactly trickle down is it?

Well, I’m more or less recovered from InterventionCon over the weekend. Thanks to Onezumi Hartstein and James Harknell for their work in creating this fun convention. Shoutouts to Ari Pramagioulis of Success Communications Group, Murder Nurse, Moxie Cat and all the other great people of Cosplay Burlesque. Congratulations Mookie, creator of Dominic Deegan on your impending doom, err, I mean marriage. Fellow artists Elaine Corvidae of Rivensol, Jennie Breeden of the Devils Panties, the gang at Interrobang Studios, my next table neighbors from Singed Cat and other studios. Good luck to First Law of Mad Science and Ninjas versus Vampires. Hi Andi from a table whose weblink I can’t find. And thanks to all the people who attended and especially those of you who bought something from me!

Now, back to business. I thought I might do something about the incredibly tacky game show beauty pageant known as the second Republican Debate last week with Wolf Blitzer seemingly oblivious to his role as successor to Bert Parks (There they are–the next US Presidents!) Bob Barker or Monty Hall. Was that a debate? Then I thought, oooooooo the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a much more IMPORTANT thing to celebrate. Darn, we finally will let patriotic Americans fight for their country without prying into their private lives! But then something that seemed to be slipping through the cracks came to my attention. SOMEONE FINALLY decided to protest against WALL STREET.

Due to getting ready for three conventions on three successive weekends, plus the disaster of the basement deluge (not to mention the death of my printer), the knowledge of the existence of OCCUPY WALL STREET seems to have slipped past me. As well as most of the mainstream news! As anyone with any common sense has realized, Wall Street went through a recovery after the banking bailout, but Main Street never did. That’s because Wall Street has usurped the reins of power in the United States and the common people no longer have a voice. President Obama promised to be a force for change, but his moneyed advisors led him by the nose to ignore the plight of the people. The Republican Party fights tooth and nail to protect each and every dollar of them, their true constituency, calling tax hikes on the luckiest of us “class warfare” when the REAL class warfare has been waged on the American middle-class since the days of plaster saint Ronald Reagan. The Democrats are little better, since our endless campaign season requires them to be funded by the money boys. Too long have the media paid attention to the faux populism of the Tea Party which is more intent on punishing their neighbors for a crust of bread than taking it from the bankers who have repossessed the bakery!

I am not anti-capitalist. Bankers and brokers–like the bacteria that live in the body and are necessary to digestion–they are a good thing when regulated. They provide the grease that the wheels of commerce need to turn. But when unregulated they turn into a cancer that sucks the life from the body, from the hearts and minds and hands of the American people. And that’s where we are today, and we’re dragging the rest of the world down with us. It’s about time to stop, to re-regulate commerce, to prosecute the miscreants for the crimes they have committed, to return power to the “little people” like you and me. Whether or not you agree with me, I urge you all to watch what is happening on the streets of New York.

But you might have to really look for it–it ain’t making front page. The money boys don’t want it there.

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First, an earthquake, then, a hurricane, then, a Deluge …

The author after the Deluge.

Damn, that iBook works underwater (don't try this at home)

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am sharing my studio/office with three industrial blowers and a matching dehumidifier. My wife is trying to say something to me from the stairway … WAYYYYYYY over there … I can barely hear a word. HUH? I yell. She takes a few steps closer. Now I can actually hear a stream of unintelligible wife sounds. HUH? Finally, she gets next to me and I can finally hear her question. I just can’t understand it because there’s too much @#$%^&*( noise to THINK!

Ahhhh, the last few weeks. An earthquake, a hurricane–and then a deluge. The earthquake was relatively fun for me. I’d never been in one before and I was taking a nap for a headache on a bed with one of those memory foam mattress pads. Suddenly, I awoke to find myself on a huge square of Jell-O. As consciousness seeped into my brain, I wondered if it was an explosion–nope, lasting too long, OMG is THIS what an earthquake feels like? Should I get up and stand under a doorwa…whoops, it’s over. I understand it was scary if you were in one of the highrises in the area or one of the areas with a nuclear plant, but from my vantage, it was a very brief theme park ride. Whheeeeee!

The hurricane was more serious for more people, but again, we had it easy this far inland. Over-prepared. Took more time to undo the storm preparations than the storm actually lasted. But last Sunday, the start of the Deluge from the storm in the Gulf. FOUR DAYS of torrential rain and on Wednesday night, the drain in the back stairs silted up and the water started coming into my basement–where my office is. It’s Nowell’s flood. Whose?? You’ve heard of Noe’s flood–well, this one’s Nowell’s.

Now, some people will tell you that I am all wet anyway. And I don’t wish to dampen any opinions of my work, but this week I will throw a sop to my critics and admit that my wit is not very dry at the moment. The plumber came quickly and re-opened the drain, but my new roommates have been going full blast all weekend. It sounds like an airplane hangar.

Obama gave a speech about doing something to create jobs. I’m afraid I didn’t listen because I was in the middle of flood recovery at the time. Not to worry, Eric Cantor said they would only pass the parts that our corporate overlords liked. That should really help things. That is, if you really want an unemployment rate above 10%–which the Republican party wants because they think it will all be blamed on the Democrats–and especially Obama–and more people will be willing to take jobs at ridiculously low wages–which they won’t get because those have all been sent to India. This is because the Republican Party loves America.

Speaking of loving America, we’ve just had the 10th anniversary of the horrible event that caused ten years of national insanity. For a week, everyone wrote about 9/11. We’re still fighting two wars, neither of which were particularly useful in solving the cause of 9/11. And both of which actually made our reputation worse. We’ll probably be throwing money away on both of them for the next decade. We’re still taking our shoes off to get on an airplane. Which means we’re still #$%^&*( insane.

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