Tuesday, December 22, 2015

For San Bernardino...

For Paris, for MetroJet Flight 9268 I put forth this comic:

 I know that this is perhaps a delayed response to Daesh's barbaric actions. Each of the attacks mentioned above are not things that have happened immediately in the past. There are times when the biweekly release schedule does not allow me to be as nimble as I would like. I wanted to push back against surveillance, and to speak against Climate Change. Tonight I mock Daesh. I wanted to do this because of their barbarism.

I criticize my own government. I do it often. I criticize people who are on the other side of the political spectrum, and I do that often. I even occasionally criticize those with whom I would mostly agree. When I mock them, it is just that. It is criticism. Perhaps harsh criticism, but with a certain amount of respect.

For Daesh, I go beyond criticism. With Daesh I am expressing my utter condemnation of and scorn for their worldview. I reserve such scorn exclusively for those who murder and commit human rights abuses against others. Particularly those who warp an otherwise admirable philosophy in that pursuit.

I can say a lot of nasty things about my own government, but no one is going to arrest me for doing so. Despite my government's history of sometimes grievous actions against peaceful dissidents, no one is going to behead me for my liberal beliefs and worldview. That is what distinguishes us from Daesh and why I agree with my president and my congressional leaders: Daesh must be condemned by all Americans, and all people around the world who believe in human dignity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

99.9% of Scientists Agree...

This issue of course, in reaction to the ongoing Paris Climate Talks. Here is to hoping that we get a good deal out of the talks, and that governments ultimately decide to go well beyond what has been proposed. Here is to hoping we get CO2 emissions down to a such a level as to only get a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees.

I have been sitting on this idea for a comic for a little while.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fuck Daesh, but Let's Not McCarthy This.

I tried to make multiple statements with this Vociferation. The statement I hope is most clear is the utter disgust and contempt I hold in my heart for Daesh.

I also wanted to say something about Climate Change because of the upcoming Cop21 summit.

My main focus of course, was to criticize the way this tragedy has been used to push expanded surveillance. I felt ambivalent about writing this issue. My heart is with the victims of the Paris attacks. I love Democracy, I love my country. I'd like to express solidarity.

I decided to speak out, however, because I think my opposition against the ongoing deterioration of our civil liberties is perhaps an even greater expression of my love of both Democracy and my fellow countrymen.

I myself paused to question whether or not this is the proper time. I have come to the conclusion that it must be the right time. As we have seen after 9/11, any emergency measures we put into place now will endure long past the immediate crisis. If we are talking about a fundamental change to our constitutional rights which will change for generations then we must have a debate about it's consequences.

I also do not think countries win wars by giving into fear. They win it instead through steely resolve, by dodged determination and making the difficult decisions rather than the easy cosmetic ones.

There is little evidence to suggest that the Paris attackers used encryption. There is little evidence that if we went after domestic companies and forced them to encode backdoors into their software that Daesh would not simply use some other program by a company not under our government's jurisdiction. I would also guess that an operation as sophisticated as Daesh could simply make their own encryption software.

Evil men will always find a way to hide their wicked intentions, and if we placed backdoors into our communications software, it would only serve to enable cyber criminals to steal our data and open our citizens up to another kind of terror.

Western governments must be wary of giving away their civil liberties as an alternative to showing resolve and making the difficult choices.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep Cops Out of Schools

I struggled with this one, because I did not want it to be a criticism of police. I wanted to do the school to prison pipeline, because I've followed it for years and people seem to think it is a new thing.

The bigger issue with the school to prison pipeline is not the cops to me, though. It is a society that prescribes police as the solutions to problems where other measures would be more effective.

The primary job function of school administrators is to deal with disciplinary issues. They traditionally deal with issues like theft and assault. I don't see why we need school resource officers. Columbine had both school resource officers and security cameras. It seems like a feel good solution that in reality does nothing except make people feel safe at the expense of civil liberties. Barring isolated and tragic incidents, schools today are safer than they have ever been and it is a trend which began before the extra security measures.

Even if schools must have school resource officers, I don't think they should be called upon to deal with routine matters of discipline. An administrator should be able to handle an uppity kid.

I think authoritarianism only diminishes respect for authority. That, and as soon as you remove the supervision, kids will just misbehave. The goal is to teach kids good values and to foster their maturation into good citizens. I'm not saying that kids should get away with disrupting class or being disrespectful. I just don't think that they should be slammed to the ground or handcuffed.

Something lost in our national conversation about this is that there is much middle ground between being Draconian and just letting kids do whatever they want. A large middle ground.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Defending Planned Parenthood

This one mocks Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. I find these efforts particularly offensive because what they are primarily doing is denying healthcare to low income women.

This comic also criticizes the deceptive and dirty tactics anti abortion activists use, which are almost as offensive to me as the idea that a woman shouldn't a say over her own body.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stretching the Truth on a Job Interview...

This comic is obviously directed at the tendacy of politicians seeking office to lie and reverse their positions. I decided to do this comic to put one out there that perhaps conservatives could enjoy in addition to liberals, who I would assume make up the majority of people who dig my comics. I like it when conservatives tell me they can enjoy my comics because they call out politicians.

In its original inception, this comic specifically called out Hillary Clinton for flip flopping on the TPP. She has moved to the left on a lot of issues but the TPP seemed blatant to me. I broadened the comic because I realized that the GOP candidiates are doing it as well.

So is Bernie Sanders, so are all the presidential candidates. It is just part of the game.

I picked the metaphor of a job interview because I believe that dishonesty there can be countered. As much as my comics strike a cynical tone, I do believe the system can work if we put some effort into it.

In 2012, before I decided to cancel Rick, I was going to do some comics in defense of voting, in defense of being involved of politics. Comics defending the idea of being able to create real change. I intend to make comics with that topic for the 2016 elections instead.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Climate Change Comics

Tonight's Vociferation is about Climate Change. I intend to do more comics about the subject while leading up to the Paris Climate Change talks.

This comic was brought on by the criticism Republicans laid upon the Pope for speaking on the topic. Republicans said the Pope should stick to religious matters. I say that Climate Change is a religious matter. It is a religious matter because it is a moral matter. Climate Change will exacerbate poverty around the world if it is not addressed. Climate Change is a concern for anyone who considers themself a humanist, regardless of whether or not that humanism derrives from a secular source or a religous one.

I don't agree with the Pope on a few social issues, but I do think he is spot on with his views on Climate Change, and several other topics.

I also don't get this retort from candidates that they are not scientists and therefore do not have an opinion on the climate. Not a single one of the Republican candidates is a retired general, and yet they all have an opinion on military strategy. Not one of them is an economist and they all talk about how to stimulate the economy. A shrewd leader surrounds himself with experts to advise him on how to handle subjects which do not align with his areas of expertise. A shred leader educates himself. Much like Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War. Lincoln had no military experience on the outset of the war and it showed. He made many mistakes in the beginning, but he educated himself, he found the right people, and ultimately lead his country to victory.

I also find it strange Republicans duck the science because the science is basic. They aren't being asked about quantam mechnanics. It is Climate Change. You can look at the ice caps and glaciers around the world and see that something is amiss. You can look at the migratory patterns of animals and see that there is something strange going on. It just boggles my mind.

Even though I disagree with it, I somewhat understand the reluctance to act on the basis of economic concerns. I still think that shows a weakness, though. An ideal president is one who can weigh many different concerns against one another and still get things done. An good president must juggle many different concerns all at once and not fail to address any one of them.

The Republican presidental candidates fail on all of the above.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Religous Freedom is not your Get Out of Jail Free Card

This is obviously a dig at Kim Davis and people like her. It seems to me that people like Kim Davis is very selective in which Bibilical laws they follow, and what science is valid. I doubt most on the Christian right believe that the Earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the Earth, even though those ideas are clearly supported by the Bible. Why then do they reject the overwhelming empirical evidence that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice?

Why is it that marriage is a crisis but the fact that large numbers of citizens in our society work on the sabbath is not? The sabbath was included in the Ten Commandments and were a big deal to God in the Old Testament.

If the Christian Right really thinks that the Bible is infalible and the word of God, then why do they pick and chose what they want to follow out of that book? 

Friday, September 4, 2015

My thoughts on Obamacare

Here is another liberal comic. If there is one thing I miss about Rick during it's brief stint as a twice weekly comic is that I could cover more obscure topics. Even doing Rick weekly, I could mix it up and even do a few comics conservatives could enjoy. With Vociferations I basically only do the headlines.

This comic is merely about how people criticize Obamacare despite liking many facets of the law. I think it is fairly common knowledge amongst the politically active.

I personally experienced this at my job during our open enrollment. Everyone was so pleased about all the new preventitive care without realizing where it came from. I myself have personally benefited from the provision of the law which enables me to stay on my parent's plan. As someone in my early twenties trying to get started in life, that tenant of the law has helped me imensely.

This comic touches on something which annoys me: when people take political positions without knowing their facts, such as the Obamacare example. I feel like I spend more time trying to correct what I see as misconceptions(I do admittedly mostly do this against conservative principles. These comics do respresent my opinions and are biased after all. Though, I do try and present things which are factually accurate.) than outright stating my beliefs. I would rather put out a comic advocating for a single payer health plan than defending Obamacare. That's the plan I would support.

Still, I don't like the myth making, and while there are several facets of the Affordable Care Act I could criticize, I can't deny it has had a positive impact on many Americans. I am personally opposed to the idea of an individual mandate, but it offends me that it was called unconstitutional. Maybe it was not the most effective means of extending coverage, but you can't just call something unconstitutional just because it is unpleasant. To do so cheapens that word and makes it harder to call the government out on the true excesses of power it commits.

That is the true danger of our current political climate where misinformation and hyperbolic insults thrive.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Question Everything

I considered the last Vociferation I posted to be somewhat lackluster, so I put forth more effort into this issue. This one is both about Climate Change and a common argument I hear from people I debate which I have wanted to tackle for some time.

I find it iritating when I rattle off some study or fact and a person points out to me how studies can be manipulated or how scientists can be paid to produce a result. It does not iritate me because it is untrute. I am well aware of how facts can be skewed. The problem I have that line of reasoning is that no one ever explains to me why the particular fact or study I have cited is wrong. I want to know the why and how. To me, saying a study can be fabricated would be like telling me my grandmother has the capacity to lie and therefore I should not believe a word she says.

Yes, studies can be wrong and facts can be presented in such a way to be misleading. It is good to question them given this fact, but it is never good to dismiss something out of hand merely because it can be manipulated. If that were the case, we could believe nothing.

Everyone should have the courage to dig a little deeper and confirm whether or not the evidence is true or false. Both for things we should be skeptical of, like our government, and of the things we place trust in, like institutions of science.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My thoughts on the Iranian Nuclear Deal

This comic expresses my support for the Iranian Nuclear Deal. I chose this topic because polling shows that the majority of Americans oppose the deal.

I am one of those liberals who finds Obama to be too moderate. I consider Obama to be a more centrist politician. One of the issues on which I think Obama is far better than Romney would have been is on Iran. I regard diplomacy as a much better option to war.

I debated on how to tackle this topic. Mainly because there was a Rick, the Cryptozoologist issue a few years ago that dealt with this issue. It posited the idea that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would only set it back a year, and would only embolden Iran. That is my main argument for diplomacy. Still, I wanted to do something different for this strip. I try my best not to retread.

I researched the arguments of those opposed to the Iranian Nuclear Deal. I didn't find many of their arguments to be serious. Perhaps hiding behind all the hyperbolic talk are some legitimate concerns. I haven't found them. What I see in people who attack the deal are people who don't like Iran. It seems to me that people don't like this deal because it doesn't remove the Iranian regime from power.

I can relate to these opponents of the deal in that I don't care for the Iranian government. I just don't think we should be the world's policeman. It isn't practical for the Untied States to simply wipe out everyone who disagrees with us. We won our philosophical debate with the Soviet Union without the need to invade their country. The United States instigated regime change in Iran before, and that did nothing to curb it's radicalism. Some would argue it did the opposite.

I find it hard to accept the arguments of those who express disgust at Iran for it's human rights record when they support doing business with governments that are just as bad, if not worse.

I would also point out that Benjamin Netanyahu has been making dire, apocalyptic predictions about Iran for years and none of them have come to pass. All in all, I think the Iran Nuclear Deal is good.

Friday, July 24, 2015

From Armed Robber to Con Artist

This comic is about my thoughts on the Greek Debt Crisis. I don't approve of how Greece is being treated by the Trokia.

I try to stick to US politics, because that's what I have a stake in. This week, however, I really wasn't feeling it with US issues. I didn't want to knock Donald Trump twice, Climate Change and the Iran Deal I just struggled to think of anything on. I had one idea but it just wouldn't work.

Then I got into a discussion about politics, how I am surprised I test as so far to the bottom left on the political compass test. It made me think of positions I have which are actually radical. My view on Globalization is one such view.

I actually think Globalization would be a positive thing if done correctly. I don't care for Neoliberalism or the United Nations in many respects. I am disappointed with them merely because I see them as the first admirable but flawed steps towards a more global system. Globalism is a new idea and as such, the first instutitions built upon that idea were sure too be flawed. They were destined to have too much of the mentality of empire, too much inequality. I feel like we need to strengthen global institutions and make them more equal. Less predatory.

My idea was that the Greek Debt Crisis exemplies this. I feel like what is being done to Greece today is what would have been done by conqeust a hundred years ago. The problem isn't nessecarily violence in my view, we must also expunge the idea that it is a zero sum game and that one country should be able to bankrupt another for fincial gain.

That is where this comic came from. I think I wrote it two days ago. It finally came to me.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Tonight's comic is kind of a cop out, generalized strip. Very busy at the moment.

I direct this at about the half of the GOP feild which are nuts. There are some candidates like Jeb Bush that I disagree with, that I don't think would make a good president, but that I find sane. Then there's Donald Trump who just dissappoints me. It think it says bad things about the United States as a whole that Trump could be taken even the slightiest bit seriously by any large group of people.

Friday, June 26, 2015

State Mandated Malpractice

Tonight's issue is about abortion. I have always talked about abortion in a juvenile way in my comics and in my sad ass attempts to make humorous blog postings. I'm trying to rectify that with this comic.

I am pro choice. Firmly pro choice and it upsets me to see Roe V. Wade slowly being eroded. At first, as a teenager, I was for it simply because I figured women would do it anyway. I thought it would be best for women to have that procedure done by a medical professional rather than some shady back alley abortionist.

To me now, it is about the right to control your own body. Everyone should have that right. Things happen, and I don't think that the anti choice side is sympathetic to that.

I don't think the Christian Right has very healthy or realistic attitudes towards sex. I think the abortion issue has more to do with that than anything else.

I am also mindful of Roe V Wade on this night where Gay Marriage has become legal. There is always a group of people dedicated to impeding and turning back the forces of progress. This group always exists, and unless we are vigilant, sometimes they can win.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Everyone hates the big guy

This comic is simply an expression of my viewpoint that conservatives are not truly against big government. They just like the government to be big in different parts from liberals.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Patriot Act has a special place in my heart.

The Patriot Act has a special place in my heart. Not because I like the bill. I have a strong dislike for it, in fact.

The Patriot Act is one of the first bills I disliked enough to start getting more political with my art. It is part of the reason I wanted to do satire to begin with. I stand fully with Rand Paul on this one and I hope the bill does sunset. I hope it isn't replaced with something equally bad or worse.

I considered doing a lot of things in this strip. First it was going to be the TPP, until I found out that congress and the public will get a chance to read it before it is put to a vote. I still don't like what the copyright provisions supposedly are, so I didn't do a comic against the misconception I just mentioned. Nonetheless, I did not want to do the TPP.

I then decided I should do the Patriot Act. It ties in nicely with the themes of Ostraka and I have disliked that bill for a long time. I went through easily a half dozen ideas for this comic and thought about abandoning it in favor of doing a comic against capital punishment.

Ultimately though, I went with the Patriot Act. I hope that bill sunsets, and I hope it signifies the beginning of the process to rollback some of the areas where the War on Terror has gone overboard in curtailing civil liberties.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spiritual Phallus

This comic is generally about people who use violence to spread their religious or political beliefs. You can tell I was exhausted while writing and doing this one.

Anyway, I really dislike people who use violence in this manner and I consider it unfair that entire religions get lumped in with uncivilized maniacs use violence in an attempt to prove their zeal.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Respect for Civil Liberties

I had a hard time deciding what to do a comic on this week. I think this partly stems from not reading the news as much lately. With Ostraka getting ready to come out, I have less time. The periods of Rick, the Cryptozoologist where I struggled with what to satirize were also times when I did not read the news as much.

I considered doing a May Day comic, but I guess I blew that one. I also considered gay marriage, but I've done that one a lot lately. I considered doing Freddie Gray, and I kind of mentioned it in this comic, but in the end I opted against. Not because I don't think that Freddie Gray is an issue, but just because the whole thing makes me feel sick to my stomach. The lack of understanding towards the plight of the Freddie Grays of the world makes me sick to my stomach. The way we pretend racist is imagined, the way we simplify these issues, makes me sick to my stomach.

The least I can say is that I am at least happy, for the most part, with how the authorities have responded. They made a clear distinction between protesters and those who rioted. They pressed charges against the officers. I know there are still some questions from lawyers representing Freddie Gray's family as to whether or not the Baltimore police are being entirely truthful. Still, overall I can't criticize the response.

I am also glad that the protesters immediately condemned the violence and even tried to stop it.

I digress. Tonight's comic is about how our government has sacrificed our civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. It is an issue dear to my heart having come up in the shadow of 9/11. I also felt like it was worth doing a comic about because most of the presidential candidates are not talking about it.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz perhaps, but for the most part, no one is talking about it. Rand Paul I can't support and Ted Cruz is just an fanatical lunatic. I am afraid it will end up like 2012 where neither candidate will support rolling back some of what I consider to be the excesses of the national security state. Or, perhaps like 2008, where the candidate will seem to support rolling it back and then go and expand it.

I think our government has for the most part good men, noble men. I think all of these extra measures, the NSA spying, is to keep us safe. I just consider it wrong headed. I think the United States has gone too far in some of our measures against enemies who need to be confronted.

Tying it back to Freddie Gray, I think it is a bigger problem, too. Before the War on Terrorism, it was the War on Drugs, the War on Crime. Politicians come out as tough on crime even when it isn't warranted because it makes people feel safe. Because it gets them elected.

I think it is time for a change in how we react to crimes inside the United States and threats from outside.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Moving Past the Wandering Womb

Here is another issue relating to LGBT rights. I chose to do an issue about it because the supreme court is currently debating it. I try to avoid doing too many issues in a row about the same topic, but my passions have been inflamed by the current round of this controversy.

I found this issue hard to write. I thought about it for hours, I did some other things while I was thinking on it, before coming up with this comic. I don't think this one represents me at my best.

The main issue for me in criticizing this topic is that none of the arguments against same sex marriage resonate with me. None. When people say God is against it, well, I'm agnostic. I can't be scared of something I don't believe in. I don't want to use the argument that God doesn't exist, because I'm agnostic. I don't know the answer. I can't disprove God and I don't like disrespecting people's beliefs. I just can't wrap my head around the argument.

I don't understand why people can't accept evolution, plate tectonics, and the biological origins of homosexuality when the Bible is scientifically inaccurate on so many things. Christians accept that the Earth revolves around the sun without giving up their faith. I may be undecided on God, but I am certain that the Bible did not actually happen as described. With the miracles and the fire and brimstone. Those things I reject.

I also don't understand people saying marriage promotes procreation. I never knew something like sex required marketing. People seem perfectly willing to fuck and the high incidence of shotgun marriages during times when having children out of wedlock supports this.

I don't agree with the idea that kids require both a mother and a father. I don't even think marriage is a panacea.  Evidence suggests it is better for kids to have their parents divorce than have an abusive parent or parents who hate each other. Studies show children of gay couples aren't harmed by the experience.

Personally, I think I would want to marry a woman if I got her pregnant. I just don't think I should have a right to dictate that choice for everyone else. There are many people I can think of who had difficult family situations and ended up fine, even wildly successful. 

It seems self evident to me that all people deserve equal treatment and that homosexuality is not a choice. So, I have a hard time even discussing this topic with people who disagree.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My first Webcomic, Geek Force, will be returning Friday May 22nd

Seven years ago today I launched my very first Webcomic. I was a month away from graduating High School and didn't know dick about making Webcomics. I couldn't draw worth a damn and rushed myself into production on the comic. I committed myself to a production schedule I could not keep.

Not surprisingly, a little over than one year later that Webcomic fizzled out. I have launched two Webcomics in the interim. One that ran for about three years and is kind of alive now in a sporadic form. The other is ongoing and has been updating for a year and a half. Hopefully that one will continue for years to come.

Even with the new Webcomics I had always vowed to bring Geek Force back. To finish telling my story. I have brought it up from time to time. I posted some scripts and rough artwork for Geek Force exactly two years ago today.

Tonight I am pleased to announce that finally, Geek Force will be returning to the site for good. On Friday May 22nd, the reboot of Geek Force will launch. It is now entitled Ostraka. It is no longer a comedy, it is no longer so overtly political. That is what my Vociferations are for. It is now an action drama series.

The comic will post six pages each week. I had mentioned previously I was hoping to release Ostraka in bigger blocks of pages than that. This is still the case. Four issues make one chapter and each issue ends like the acts of television shows inbetween commercials. The only reason I am not releasing chapters all at once is because while seasons might work on TV they don't really work for Webcomics. 

In the coming weeks between now and May 22nd, I will be revealing the new names for the characters on this blog and on my website.
Even with the change in tone, and the fact that I am trying a genre I have never made a Webcomic in before, I hope all of my readers will give Ostraka a chance. I think this dystopian action comic I the best one I can possibly make and I am proud of it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Christian Right does not agree with my definition of "Freedom"

This issue is about a ballot initiative to repeal Springfield, MO's non-discrimination ordinance specifically, and about Indiana and Arkansas more generally.

I mentioned in a post before that I regretted not being more vocal in my support for gay marriage in the past, so of course I must criticize these "religious freedom" laws.

I do not agree with the Christian Right that their religion gives them the right to discriminate against Homosexuals.

I still think that the Christian Right is standing on the wrong side of history, I still think that the momentum is against them, but, I think it is important to speak out in this case. They are getting laws passed. The Christian Right possesses political power in this country outsized to the general population. It is a good lesson in why we need to be more politically active. That way one or two radical groups cannot control our government.

It sickens me that the local slogan for our anti-discrimination ordinance is "faith, family, freedom", again, I strongly disagree with the notion of religious freedom being put forth here. Especially when they are trying to deny the freedom of others. If someone is paying you for a service, it in no way implies you endorse them by providing it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What Historians will say about this period of History one hundred years from now

This comic is of course about the court case that McDonalds and other companies have launched against the city of Seattle over Seattle's minimum wage ordinance. I disagree with the current legal thinking which grants corporations extended rights.

I do not find corporations to be evil, personally. I view them in much the same way as the government. It is something which can be useful, which can make our country better and stronger. It is, however, also a source of power for a small group of individuals. In order to have a healthy Democracy, any source of power wielded by a privileged few must be checked against.

I prefer more the fifties model of corporate culture. It seems that the economy worked well for corporations then and also for the everyday American as well. The model we seem to be emulating right now is the late 1800s model. I have no taste for that.

Friday, March 6, 2015

ISIL would make Lex Luthor cry for restraint

This issue is about ISIL. I chose to poke fun at ISIL in response to a reaction some in the United States have to those of us who question US foreign policy. The reaction in question is that they question our patriotism. People like Bill Maher rightfully point out that ISIL represents a greater threat to Democracy than any one issue in our domestic politics. I acknowledge this.

The reason that I am more vocal about smaller issues instead of an evil group like ISIL is because I pick my topics based upon awareness as opposed to my level of moral outrage. Nearly everyone barring a vocal minority is opposed to ISIL. The same can not be said about Climate Change or other issues I have made comics on.

Also different from Climate Change is that the government is actually taking action against ISIL. Again, using Climate Change, the same cannot be said. A large segment of our elected officials deny Climate Change even exists, and President Obama had to go as far as to veto the Keystone XL pipeline. I have done issues about legalizing marijuana in the past, but unless there were a referendum coming up, it would be less a priority now. There is widespread support for abolishing marijuana prohibition now.

Recently I did a comic in support of Transgender individuals. I did that instead of one that say supports gay marriage because while the tide has turned for gay marriage, Transgender individuals still get discriminated against. Yes, Alabama did stop issuing gay marriage licenses. There are people who are vocally against Homosexuals. Still, at this point it is clear they stand on the wrong side of history and popular opinion is against them. I do not feel the need to criticize them when the majority of the public already is against their views. (I also regret never doing a comic supporting gay marriage. I could not think of an idea which was funny. Another factor in what I make fun of. My first goal is to make people laugh and who am I kidding, my comics will not sway anyone's mind.)

When an issue is black and white, it is not as interesting to me. I would rather bash something like conservatism that has some merit as an idea.

Additionally, when I express the opinion that actions the United States has undertaken helped to create ISIL, I think it can be misconstrued. I would say it is fair to compare ISIL to the Nazis. They are both the rare kind of group which is unambiguously and astonishingly evil. Historians generally accept that Nazism was able to rise because of the harsh conditions imposed on Germany after WWI. They admit that the Allies in WWI had a hand in helping the rise of Nazism without excusing the war crimes the Nazis carried out.

In the same way, I disagree with the way US foreign policy has sometimes been carried out while not excusing the actions ISIL has committed. The world would be better off without ISIL in it. Part of the reason the postwar era of WWII was so successful is that the Allies acknowledged the mistake from WWI and avoided repeating after WWII. Extremists cannot be reasoned with, but perhaps young men could be prevented from being radicalized. Even the US government admits it could do better in the propaganda wars with ISIL.

I think that once ISIL has been defeated we will have to think long and hard about how to curb the sociological conditions that lead to extremism in the first place. The Middle East has been a violent place for a long time and if violence could bring about Democracy it would have long ago.

In criticizing Islamophobia I remember the embarrassing propaganda posters from WWII. The ones that depicted Japan with racist caricatures. It was not necessary to depict them in that manner to win that war. I think Islamophobia may one day be viewed with the same embarrassment we remember the racism from WWII.

If Islamophobia can be likened to McCarthyism, it is important to remember that McCarthyism made it more difficult to find communist spies, not easier. The way to defeat extremism is not to extol American values but to stand united with other cultures against it.

All that being said, as an American I still love my country and want to see it succeed in the twenty first century. I detest ISIL in the strongest way and find it to be unambiguously and cartoonishly evil. It is my sincere wish that the be eliminated from the Earth.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A lesson in reading graphs

This comic is about Climate Change. It serves as sort of a sequel to last week's comic because I try to not create too much new artwork for Vociferations. It is all recycled.

I like how it ended up though, because Climate Change and Anti Vaxers have a common thread to me. The thread being that both sets of groups are not well versed in the science of it.

I have friends who are Climate Change deniers. Living in the Midwest, I have many friends who are Climate Change deniers. When I debate the topic with them, they always tell me how naive it is of me to trust scientists. Anyone can pay a scientist to produce the result they want, they say.

That is true, however it does not address the points I make. I am not a scientist, but I have a rudimentary literacy and grasp of science that allows me to assess the structural integrity of a scientific study.  When you point to a recent cooling trend, you ignore the fact that overall the trend is still up if you look at decades.

Climate Change deniers cannot explain away how migration patterns of animals have changed. They can't explain how if you look up the ice caps on Google Earth they are almost non-existent in the summer. You can visibly see the changes in the ice caps with satellite technology. Climate Change deniers refuse to acknowledge that predictions of Climate Change predict much more than warming. They predict extreme weather and ever excessive snow and cold. A warmer climate does not mean the weather is hot all year around. Look at the weather patterns of deserts.

I will hear Climate Change deniers say that it is arrogant to think that man can change the climate. Would these same people deny that the world would be at risk if their were a nuclear war?

Would they admit that humans can destroy ecosystems on a small scale by pollution, deforestation, and bad farming practices? If so, what if every community on Earth engaged in those practices all at once? That's what we are doing with our fossil fuels and coal fired power plants.

There is no reason to deny Climate Change.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My take on Anti Vaxers

My take on vaccines is that the movement against them is ludicrous and that any rational human being would get their kids vaccinated. Listening to the February 5th episode of Democracy Now!, I was astonished at the number of misconceptions thrown out by Mary Holland.

She disputes that herd immunity exists, and seems to not even understand what herd immunity means. She argues we can not eliminate diseases with vaccines when clearly the fact Smallpox is nonexistent shows that this is the case. She speaks like an authority on medicine when her degrees have nothing to do with medicine. The arguments she throws out for why the MMR vaccine are ridiculous.

Yes, in rare instances vaccines can have bad side effects. There is no concrete evidence they cause autism, but they can have rare side effects. If you compare the rates of metal disability from Measles to vaccines, however, there is no contest. Measles causes far more deaths and disabilities than vaccines ever have. I found maybe one cause of a death attributable to a vaccine in my research as compared to the cumulative thousands Measles has caused throughout human history.

I have no patience with anti vaxers and the misery they are causing by bring these childhood illnesses back into existence.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Don't be a douche

This comic is about being nice to transsexuals. I am acquainted with a trans woman and it boggles my mind as to why people refuse to use female pronouns to refer to her or call her by her preferred name. It just seems like a simple gesture such as calling someone their preferred name could make the lives of transsexuals much easier.

I am pretty sure I could request people call me Lord Tearlach the Mighty, start wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes to get in touch with my Scottish heritage and get less flack than transsexuals get. I just don't understand it.

Also, fun fact, I chose Tracy in this comic because I was once on a chat room chatting with a girl named that. I hit on her for about forty five minutes before I learned Tracy was actually a (non trans) man. That's why I don't try to pick chicks up in chat rooms anymore.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Advice for the Incoming Congress

I make no secret in my political webcomics that I do not care for the Republican Party. Especially not the radical right wing faction of the party which has taken control of the GOP in recent years. So, to celebrate Republicans taking over congress, a comic criticizing their economic stance.

For all the conservative bluster about fiscal responsibility, they seem to have a poor understanding of how macroeconomics differs from drawing up a personal budget.