Thursday, 31 July 2008

Doh, Doh, Doha.

The Doha round of World Trade talks - the fundamentalist capitalist plan for a world where nation shall speak nothing but price unto nation - collapses, and there is equal amounts of hand wringing and rejoicing.
Here are some links from the New York Times, The Times and the Independent.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Let them eat mud-cakes (life, but not as we know it)

Whilst Dickheads the world over swoon at the idea of space tourism courtesy of Richard "Nero" Branson, the people of Haiiti -roundly screwed by exactly the sort of fat-walleted commodity gamblers/sociopaths that Branson is targetting - are reduced to eating mud. I hope Sir Dick is pleased with himself. What is life without its little luxuries? Dick's gobsmacking hypocrisy in claiming that his aim is somehow environmental in nature beggars belief.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Scatology 2

Reading the New Internationalist is an experience everyone should have. This month concentrates on sanitation and technofixes. Reading about the faeces of millions may not be everybody's cup of tea, but you need to know this stuff. You do. Read it - or Frank will come 'round to yours and block your toilet with a Douglas of truly monstrous proportions - and he can!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

More digging for victory

This cartoon has been slightly modified due to initially not, what's the word....ah yes....funny.

Green belts are under threat everywhere, and small scaled solutions -from established allotments to the Permaculture movement - are being under funded and under encouraged due to the high energy, high input big-business models favoured by the the international banks. Thanks to Janet Alty for the idea, and to Craig Mackintosh at PRI for handing Frank the spade, which he will be wielding from time to time.

Go and put your name down for an allotment. Go on. Tell your friends to. Overload the system. Bombard them. You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

Empire of the nuclear sun

The above toon could just as easily have targetted E-on or any other large energy provider whose practices are effectively dismissive of environmental responsibility in favour of Big Business as usual. But...

Whist the argument - about who is allowed what and who is to be trusted and when are we all going to die - continues to dominate coverage of the Iranian Nuclear Power industry, the French state nuclear power company is poised to buy out the UK state nuclear power company (what's left of it) in a deal that will cost the UK taxpayers billions for ever and a day . This is without any credible guarantees of secure storage and treatment of waste in the quantities now being envisaged and the time scales being projected. What sort of question is this nonsense the answer to? The massive price hikes just announced will calm investors' jitters about this course of action.

I much prefer the Saharan solar array idea - especially if it helps finance the EU/AU green wall plan. Lightly pepper that with some local microgeneration and add a large dollop of permaculture and you're laughing.

In local news the collected Manchester councils have opted to grant a referendum on the congestion charge which is the cornerstone of the transport initiative that could be the making of Manchester in the 21st century. So now the school-runners and the single-occupancy commuters and the would-be-Clarksons and other assorted unfortunates get a real democratic chance to scuttle their own children's futures. I fear they will take this chance only too readily. This churlishness on my part might sound anti-democratic, but that's only because it is. The debate will be dominated by large and expensive poster campaigns from those with the cash to flash. I'm afraid my faith in the considered reasonableness of my fellow man has been dented by lengthy service in the NHS.
But you never know.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Only Planet

Not today's news, particularly, but a pointer towards my ONLY PLANET strip that will be appearing in the unutterably excellent NEW INTERNATIONALIST starting in October. I am profoundly chuffed about this and deeply grateful.
The strip follows Gort and Klaatu's emergency inter-galactic health and safety intervention on the endangered planet Earth - a comic tradition that promises to be fun (for me, at least)- So everybody rush out and renew your subscriptions, because Frank knows where you all live.

In the meantime - go and check out the NewInt website

As you may see, the mystical art of hyperlinking has at last been revealed to me - by the web gurus of LaughingRobot, who will be building my new site, courtesy of a generous grant from Artists Project Earth

Friday, 25 July 2008

On an arctic roll

To steal a phrase from the FTs John Thornhill - the World's emotional cycle is swinging from greed to fear. This doesn't seem to change as much as one might imagine. We still have a war not only on terror, but on discomfort, embarrassment and inconvenience - and it looks like common sense will remain a prominent casualty.

For Mancunians, the Info below is not only pertinent, but urgent;

The Three Billion Quid Question: The Transport
Innovation Fund's climate change implications to be
debated in public

On Thursday 31st July, a three billion quid question
will be posed. At a public debate, organised by
Manchester Climate Forum(1), panellists from the
Momentum Group, United City, Clean Air Now, Campaign
for Free Public Transport and the GMPTA will discuss
the Transport Innovation Fund and the need to drive
down carbon dioxide emissions from transport.

Each panellist will outline their response to the
statement "given the reality of climate change, and
the need to cut emissions from all sectors- including
transport- the TIF bid is a sensible way forward."
before being quizzed by the moderator. Members of the
public will then have ample opportunity to
cross-examine the panellists.

The panellists are Toby Sproll, (director of United
City), Dave Coleman (Clean Air Now), Roy Wilkes
(Campaign for Free Public Transport), Councillor
Andrew Fender, (member of the Greater Manchester
Passenger Transport Authority, but speaking in a
personal capacity) and a representative of the
Momentum Group

Marc Hudson, convenor of Manchester Climate Forum,
said "Feelings are running very high on the TIF bid
and the congestion charge component. This is a great
chance for people to look at the question from a
broader perspective."

The meeting is free, and open to all. It will run from
7.30pm to 9.20pm at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount
St., Manchester.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Sticky situations

Dan Glass of Plane Stupid managed to superglue himself briefly to our glorious leader in order to secure a brief conversation about the mind numbing folly of expanding airports in the face of carbon apocalypse.
Gordon didn't seem to mind - as he really isn't arsed about the opinions of the common folk and simply filters them all out, so they don't damage the delicate balance of his internal bubble juggling.
If Dan had taken the trouble to get himself a few billion in the bank, of course, he wouldn't have needed superglue.
I think there's a lesson there for all of us.

Whilst Britain tries to water down EU renewable energy proposals, and internal audits reveal chaos at the heart of the nuclear industry, the carbon spewers race to mash up the arctic to grab 3 years worth (count 'em) of go-juice.
Also - jellyfish numbers swollen by over fishing and climate change continue to plague our leisured hours (excuse for a 'toon re-run) and the cheap flight criminals feel the pinch.

On an unrelated issue, I'd just like to register my own little protest at the further fascistic leanings of Sr Berlusconi, who has secured legislation guaranteeing himself immunity from prosecution whilst he presides over a corruption ridden lurch to the right in a country that really should know better by now. I hope this isn't the beginning of a trend, but I fear it may be.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Monkey business

It's only a matter of time.

Tangentially connected link.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Cometh the hour...


The fireguard will be appearing occassionaly...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

North Americans Invade the South

North American Beavers - introduced into Tierra del Fuego as stock for a fur trade - have expanded across the continent and are doing their bit in the cause of destroying every piece of standing wood on the planet. A more ruthless breed of deforester - enticed by generous economic incentives - is using violence and intimidation to clear those pesky humans out of the way of massive agro-fuel monocultures. Maybe they'll join forces.
There is a rich vein of expletives that I could mine here - a rolling riff of semantic profanity - but I

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Material inaccuracies

Complaints against channel 4's "Great Global Warming Swindle" are upheld. But the damage has already been done.

whilst BAE plan to rush their ethics audit so as to expedite speedy resumption of their exploitation of the war on ambivalent abstract nouns. African Union plan, with backing from the European Union- to construct a Great Green Wall across north Africa to stop desertification eating its way further into the continent - is unveiled.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Rat Race from Polyp - and it MOVES!

A nice animation of Polyp's classic Rat-Race cartoon. Follow the links, copy and send to the entire planet's mobile phones. This would make an excellent benign virus so please spread.

Please go to the links as well to get those meters clocking.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

Two fearless warriors of consumerism?

I've been reading about the varying green credentials of the two candidates in the enormously dragged out and prohibitively expensive American election. Far be it from me to try to interfere with the democratic choice of a sovereign nation - it's entirely up to them whether they vote for Obama or some vicious, clueless old bastard with incompetent advisors.
Of course both platforms are heaving with special interest groups and slippery with fear, lest the people get wind of the true scale of what's coming their way. The truth won't out till mid term, at least. Such is politics.
But it would be such an enormous relief, such a weight off our collective minds in the rest of the world, such a release of long held fearful tension - if they broke the mould and broke with tradition and joined us in our common cause.
America is of course peculiarly placed, as are all empires throughout time, to lead or to dominate as their internal dynamic dictates.

What was it Leonard Cohen said,

"It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It's here they've got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they've got the spiritual thirst.
Democracy is coming
to the USA"

Let's hope so.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fox on the run

Although arctic foxes aren't as imperiled as polar bears - as they are more adaptable and a less threatening presence in human settlements - they are threatened.
Another canary in another coal mine.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Shell shock and delta blues

While the US and UK concentrates most of its oil warriors in the middle east it's easy to forget the struggle that goes on and on for the black gold of Nigeria. Both place and people continue to suffer, and Gordon Brown has sent in some professional help to deal with those pesky locals. The rush to keep it cheap and keep it burning maintains its pace. There's elections to be considered, and tomorrow can wait.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Nothin' to do with me, guv'!

I must confess that I haven't read the 6,300 pages of the State of the Future report as yet - nor shall I, to be frank - and I don't want to underestimate the many and varied non-western-derived problems facing out teeming billions as we crawl gasping towards "interesting times". A cartoon is a cartoon and cannot cover all bases.

I happen to like wind turbines -aesthetically as well as philosophically and practically.
I also love walking in wild country and one of the pleasures associated with that is the internal romance of timelessness that the absence of technology affords. Although the sight of a wind farm looming over the horizon as one crests a favourite hill might squash the wandering Viking fantasy, it's a sacrifice I'm more than happy to make. Wind farms are majestic and fruitful and we should welcome them into even our most precious panoramas.
Of course scale is an issue, but so is global climate chaos, which is rearing up over the horizon a lot quicker than we care to imagine.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Goodbye from the World's biggest ********!

Dubya opted to demonstrate his contempt for the entire population of the planet with the phrase "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter", a big smile and a celebratory punch of the air, as he left the dumbfounded G8heads to return to his planet-razing agenda at home. What is there to say. It's hard to satirise someone who demonstrates that level of open, blase contempt. He might as well have bared his arse and given the assembly the finger. I await the footage on YouTube.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

the origins of specious

As the (theoretically) most powerful folk on the planet return from Japan having commited themselves to thinking a bit more about possibly doing something at some point in the future - subject to growth projections and the contingencies of the electoral cycle - the obvious speciousness of it all is left hanging in the air. The television media (who seem to grow worse by the year) seem disinclined to comment beyond the normal circumspect soundbites. Hints that the democratic world's brightest and best (!) dropped the ball spectacularly are whispered for fear of upsetting the cosy relationship twixt commentators and government, or otherwise frightening the horses. Then they move swiftly on to the staggering hypocricy of their middle east coverage and the tub thumping myopia of the petrol price crisis/bonanza (depending on your share portfolio)
So we all wait for the other fella to start the ball rolling - blaming the Indians and the Chinese for doing what we spent two hundred years bullying, badgering and bombing them into doing - all the while crying for more free trade, more trans-global movement of goods, more energy consumption and just plain more of everything.
Cynics of the Diogenes school might be tempted to abandon their barrels and take to the streets with inflatable hammers. As a species we are in need of a good slap!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Hard Snooze

This cartoon keeps drifting, unbidden, into my head every morning - between slaps at the snooze button. I'm hoping that drawing it will make it go away.

I have no illusions that drawing it will stop the Orag-utans going away.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Born on the fourth of July.

It's an old chestnut, but one man's terrorist IS another man's freedom fighter, and the history of the post-Ottoman middle east has enough label-confusion for a thousand lifetimes. The post independence US - with its genocides, manifest destiny and Monroe doctrine - is another case in point. Maybe it would be nice for all people of good will to use July 4 (or 14th or any of many other dates) to celebrate the idea of self determination and not the fiction of colonially imposed international frontiers or prehistoric devine claims.

Ignore the next bit if you are a person of faith. Skip to the end. I'm going to have a bit of a rant.

On the subject of claims: According to prehistoric celtic tradition the god Llew made a pact with the ancient Welsh that whilst the sacred head of Bran the blessed lay entombed in London, the whole island would belong to them and to them alone. Accordingly all the English and all other immigrants/invaders/settlers/refugees over the past two thousand years in the whole of the UK have to be summarily ejected from their homes by force of arms and confined on the Isle of Wight without access to resources or self determination. Only those with a living tradition of mistletoe worship and oak hugging shall be granted citizenship.
For it is written.

But... that's...utter, utter bollocks, I hear you cry! - Fairy tales and foolishness fit only for children and the slow-witted; A superstitious, fascistic throwback that flies in the face of everything we know to be true and everything we hope for. These tales are metaphors and comfort blankets and not to be taken literally, you say; Read some more stories, you say? - some different ones: - there's a million of 'em? Really?
You mean - being arrested in a first/fifth/eighteenth century mystical timewarp is not the ultimate in human possibility? Well f*ck me sideways. Next you'll be telling me we're all on a spinning rock in a vast ocean of nothingness with bugger all between us and extinction but a brain and an opposable thumb!

Thank the gods that no major international decisions are ever made on that sort of ludicrous basis! Imagine what sort of a mess we'd be in.

I myself base all my decisions on the sacred diatribes of the Cosmic Juggler as vouchsafed to Fat Kevin after a night of cider and horse tranquilisers in Liss Forest. It works for me.

Meanwhile, on planet earth - A World Bank report declaring that up to 75% of recent food price inflation is due to Biofuels is kept under wraps so as not to embarrass the American President - and BigOil is set to soak up 75% of the income from Iraqi oil fields, old and new, in a move nobody anywhere saw coming from a million miles away right from the very start. Links to follow

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Urgent Logic

Now that the urgent logic of $150 a barrel oil focuses our glorious leaders on the subject in hand, all of our ducks seem to be lining up. But - call me a cynic - I remain suspicious of all the Johnny come latelys who now profess green souls solely for financial reasons. I do not believe much spot-changing has gone on. The leopards stalking the world's poor in search of an easy meal are still as they always were.
Some very large scams will be launched amongst the forthcoming initiatives, and some political poison.
Vigilence, as always, I suppose.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

"Seeing off" the weak and vulnerable"

The FT is a fine source of news as it doesn't bother to glaze the true motives of the elite with a layer of pretence. It says it like it sees it - with all the venality and contempt intact. The story of a massive transnational drug company "seeing off" attempts by a generic manufacturer to produce a cheaper version of a schizophrenia drug is written as a victory against the barbarians (allow me a little poetic license.)
For the already safe and comfortable to gloat over an industry gouging ever greater amounts out of overstretched public health services - (particularly a branch over which drugs interests wield a totally disproportionate influence ) is depressingly telling.
The recently released footage of an elderly immigrant woman dying in a waiting room in an american mental health facility provides a chilling counterpoint to this stockholder banditry.
I happen to work amongst these blunt instruments, drug rep beanos and discarded lives and am of the opinion that Capitalist fundamentalism is not the panacea for these ills.,Authorised=false.html?

and another thing...
The belated national "debate" surrounding our "choice" between life and lifestyle often has the traditional characteristics of British public life. ie - clout out-muscles wisdom 9 times out of ten. But,,, we may be seeing a sea-change in that, a recent poll illustrates.
Be of good cheer.