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Saving America

While not entirely political, this has got to be one of the funniest cartoons (in my mind) I’ve done recently. Enjoy!

Sweeping Conservative Victories in Europe

When Democrats won sweeping victories in 2006 and 2008, constantly we were bombarded with stories in the media asking, “is this the end of conservatism? Is this the end of the Reagan era?” “The Republican party is now an endangered species, conservatism is dead!” was the conclusion made by some.

I find it interesting, now that the European elections indicate a swing to the right, there is scant coverage of it in our presses. I haven’t found a single story questioning whether Democratic Socialism is now dead in Europe. In fact, I had to dig deep just to find the election results themselves!

For conservatives, the results are a promising sign. America is usually a few years behind the European trend (I’m still waiting for European style jeans to show up at my local Kohl’s). What is boggling my mind now is why on earth is the Republican party shifting left? Polls indicate that America is still a center-right nation, and some Democrats have won victories by campaigning to the right of their Republican counterparts. With Europe moving right and America remaining to the right, the Republican party must either love losing, or they are power hungry, sacrificing principle for what they believe will be the quick vote.

My hope is that true conservatives will run solid campaigns on what conservatives hold dear: limited government, more individual freedom and responsibility (like the freedom to choose which kind of lightbulb I want to use) and fiscal responsibility. My next hope is that they keep their promises once in office.

Politicians that keep their promises? Now that would be news.

Copland’s Rodeo

History Lesson part 2

Graduation Day

“The old system no longer works.” That’s a paraphrase of recent comments uttered by Obama in a graduation speech. Indeed, it seems a lot of colleges teach you a skill, and then show how you can find a company and climb the ladder. Follow that formula, rise to the top, raise your family, have 2.5 children… you get the picture. It’s a great model. It’s the American dream. And these days, it seems that model is no longer working.

I am noticing a very peculiar thing happening in this economic crisis. As people continue to fail to find jobs, they are deciding that the best thing they could do is create their own work by starting their own businesses. We started as a society of entrepreneurs. However, the 19th century ushered in the age of the major corporation and Americans forgot how to fend for themselves. We became complacent in our “secure” jobs. Now that the security blanket has been removed, many of us are doing what made this country so great in the first place. We are improvising. We are inventing. We are creating. The best thing that government can do right now is to step out of the way and let it happen! Don’t coddle us when we are down. Don’t spend a gazillion dollars trying to keep crippling big businesses alive. Let us be Americans!

One quick final note. This cartoon is not intended to be a slam on college graduates. I’ve known many college grads who started great businesses. I’ve also known many who didn’t attend college who started great businesses, and are doing very well for themselves. I just know from my experience, many of my college educated friends, including myself, were never taught how to be entrepreneurs. I always found it pretty funny, that some of us with our so-called serious education didn’t have a lick of street smarts on graduation day. But through time, experience and a few hard knocks, we’ve learned, and so can any capable person who really puts their mind to it.

Cat Delegation

History Lesson part 1

Upcoming Events!

High 5 CAI Annual Show-Opening night, Friday, May 19th, 2009
The Colorado Alliance of Illustrators has partnered with Ink Lounge Gallery to put together their annual show. This year, yours truly, will exhibit my “Marketing” cartoon, as well as pieces from the latest children’s book, jointly illustrated by my talented wife Cherish Flieder. The only jury in this show are you, the enthusiastic public, so feel free to come in numbers and stuff the ballot on my behalf!

You will also enjoy the talented works of some of my other great friends, among them Stan Yan, Che Rippinger and Steve Schader.

Join Me At La Piazza Dell Arte!
This year I will be participating in the La Piazza Dell Arte on Larimer Square, June 06-07. This is a street painting festival where local artists come and create masterpieces on the street in chalks. Come, meet your local Denver artists, take in the creative atmosphere and enjoy the festivities. I look forward to seeing you.

Team PolitixCartoons

I was proud to sponsor Noah last year in his soap car derby race. Stay tuned for this year’s details.

Health Care Affordability Act

Colorado just passed the “Health Care Affordability Act.” (I love it
when politicians call a bill something that is the opposite of what it
is.) This bill is tax on hospitals designed to help “fund” the
uninsured by placing that burden on the hospitals. The hospital’s
only choice is to pass that cost down to their consumer, the paying
sick, thus raising health care costs. Analysts estimate that this
will raise individual hospital bills by 5%. For a $10,000 hospital
bill, that’s an additional $500! In essence, it is government kicking
you while you are already down.

This tax…oops… I’m sorry, I keep forgetting it’s a “fee.” If it
were a “tax” it would violate TABOR, but if we call it a “fee,” then
it is okay (even though 40 other states call it a tax). This “fee” is
made even more outrageous by the fact that the legislation does not
allow the hospitals from itemizing the tax on their billing
statements! So much for transparency. Why would the Assembly make such
a provision? For one reason: so that when your hospital bill goes up,
you blame the hospitals and not the government. Being as sick as I
frequently am, this bill irritates me.

To read more on this topic you can go here

Making Sense of the Noise

I was depressed the day The Rocky Mountain News closed its doors. It was a big loss for the community of Denver. I liked the Rocky. I liked its design and layout, I liked its articles, its choice of syndicated comics. I loved its local flavor. I liked its editorial slant, more conservative than its counterpart, The Denver Post. I had dreams of one day being in The Rocky Mountains News as a staff cartoonist.

The dying newspaper industry indicates a dramatic shift in how we get our information. It is obvious people now resort to the web to get their news. And with the ease of publishing websites, more and more people are becoming their own journalists with blogs and forums and Facebook pages and tweets. Quantity has gone up, while quality has somewhat suffered.

What newspapers offered was the ability to connect to people on the local level. We lose this community with the global internet. Another problem with the internet is that nothing exists that can stop anybody from posting anything. Not that this is a bad thing, except that people generally take their news source as gospel, and where a publisher of a large printed publication has several eyes that reads material in order to assure accuracy, on the internet, conspiracy rants pass as news and some people become inflamed over issues they know little about. We all benefit from the filters that print journalism helps provide.

Cartoonists, unfortunately, are the hardest hit. When looking at cutting costs, it seems the artists are the most expendable. (Who wants to get rid of their accounting staff?) Many cartoonists today are struggling to get by as they are fired by their papers and are having to supplement their means through the few syndication avenues that exist. Some have left the profession altogether. Many wonder if being a paid cartoonist will even be possible in the future.

I believe that people like to laugh and like to be entertained. While this is a difficult transition for cartoonists as they have to figure out new ways to generate revenue through the web, the demand for cartoons will never die. Blacksmiths had to abandon the trade as the horse and buggy gave way to the automobile. However, their skills as a blacksmith was still in demand as the world now needed auto mechanics. They just needed to relearn a few things. I believe the same will hold true for today’s cartoonists as we work tirelessly on our craft and adjust to the new and coming age.

The Elephant in the Room

My purpose in doing these cartoons and commentary is to get you, the readers, to just maybe understand why I hold the opinions I do about policy matters. I’m not a hateful individual who wants this country trashed and could care less about the poor. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I believe conservative policies and the freedoms contained therein have been proven more effective than their liberal counterparts. Nor am I partisan. If a Republican does something I consider unethical, I’ll be among the first to oppose them (after found guilty–I’m a strong believer in innocent until proven guilty.) This cartoon was based on a recent piece on Jon Caldara’s blog, chastising Republicans for getting us into this big government spending mess in the first place. To understand more about this cartoon, read his article at: http://www.joncaldara.com/2009/04/tea-parties-were-protesting-republicans-too/

Colorado Tea Party

The First Amendment guarantees us the right to assembly. Thus, this Wednesday I’m exercising my First Amendment rights by going to one of the many TEA parties being held across the nation. Naturally conservative in all I do, this is a great stretch for me. But I’m looking forward to having fun and I hope you will join me there.

Earl Grey, with a little milk and a little sugar, and with a touch of vanilla… That’s how I like it!

Natural Selection

A number of years ago, I went to hear a paleontology artist speak about his work. Knowing he was a staunch evolutionist, I was bracing myself to deal with possible conflicting evidence that may possibly have shaken my faith.

The artist talked a lot about his craft, his techniques, medium, etc., before he began launching into his diatribe about evolution. He talked extensively about the conclusive “evidence” and if it weren’t for the scientific “evidence,” he probably could believe in God.

He then proceeded to bring forth a sculpted skull he created for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “This,” he proclaimed excitedly, “is the missing link! It is derived from a skull fragment found in Northern Africa.” He gave us the name of this new half human, half ape creature, but I’ve since forgotten it.

“As an artist,” he went on, “I’m hired to use my understanding of science and my own artistic imagination to fill out the rest of the skull from the bone that was found. We used what we believe this Sapien species might have looked like, plus some artistic license to get it to this point.” Did I hear that right? Imagination? Artistic license? Starting with an already foregone conclusion to create your “evidence?”

This individual then showed us the bone fragment from which this fully rendered skull had come. It was the back of the cranium and registered a little more than 2” x 3.” That was it. I could have created Michelangelo’s David from that piece of bone! (well, if I was a better artist, I could have) That wasn’t conclusive at all! If this is the kind of “evidence” Darwinists want to use to support their theory, then I’d rather believe in a loving Creator/Artist, who specifically designed us for a purpose and desires communion with us!

Paul talks about the second gospel in the book of Romans. The first is obviously the written words of the apostles, which society has long sought to silence. The second, though, are the works of nature, as they speak of His creativity. We can choose to listen to the words of nature, or we can choose to drown them out with the humanistic theories of evolution.

I believe science studied with an open mind points to a creator. The origin of creation remains murky and hotly debated, even among Christians. You have old world creationists and new world creationists and intelligent design evolutionists. They all claim to have undeniable evidence. Yet, they all have one thing in common. The complexity of life is too grand to make all of this accidental.

The study of science drove Isaac Newton into full time ministry. Galileo believed his theory on the universe would enhance people’s understanding of God. I pray that your own study might bring you closer to Him.

Defeat HB 1299

Colorado HB 1299 is an extremely dangerous piece of legislation written in part by Democrat Representative Andy Kerr. In essence it would remove Colorado’s current system of awarding our Electoral College votes to the winner of the majority of the people of Colorado, and instead, award our Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

There are obviously many terrible things wrong with this piece of legislation. Let me create a list to highlight a few.

First, it circumvents our national Constitution. Our founding fathers did not come up with the idea of the Electoral College overnight. This was something that was hashed out over many weeks and several debates. They wanted to give smaller states some pull in presidential elections, so that they would not get run over by bigger states. I say, if our founding fathers, who were much smarter than most people I know, thought it a good idea, we should leave it alone.

If this passes, Colorado will be one of the only a few states that has this legislation. This would render Colorado’s importance in any future elections impotent. Our interests and needs will cease to matter to Washington.

Probably the most egregious insult is that the people of Colorado actually voted overwhelming against this type of legislation in 2004 in the form of Amendment 36.

People intent on destroying the Electoral College have not stopped with the state of Colorado. What I find interesting, however, is that you won’t find them wanting to break up the Electoral votes of solidly blue states, such as California or New York. Why isn’t there a big rush to implement these same types of measures in the big blue states?

The biggest argument that proponents of this disaster proclaim is that “every vote should count.” However, purporting this argument will send one on a logical quagmire. For if they truly believed in the legitimacy of everybody’s vote, then they will have to accept the votes of 65% of Coloradans who voted against changing the Electoral College! Their motivation cannot logically be about the will of the people.

If you believe in the integrity of our national Constitution and if you believe in the will of the Colorado citizens, then I encourage you to call Ritter’s office to tell him to veto this bill when it gets to his desk.

Bill Ritter, Governor
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792

Phone (303) 866-2471

Fax (303) 866-2003

Email Governor’s spokesman evan.dreyer@state.co.us

To read more on this issue go to: http://blog.amyolivershow.com/

The Olympic Spirit

This toon basically captures my shock at hearing the IOC ban the century old tradition of the torch relay because of a few protests here and there during the China Olympics. My immediate reactions were many, including the fact that, true, China violates human rights, but Vancouver? Who would protest the Vancouver Olympics? My other thought was, why do we continue to allow a few disgruntled punks dictate policy in this world. The best thing we could do is stand up to these thugs and run the torch anyway. The worst thing we could do is to cower in their wake and give in to political correctness pressure. After all, isn’t the Olympic spirit about overcoming adversity to achieve success?

Defeated CO SB 57-Transparency

Colorado Senate Bill 57 was a measure that would have required school districts to disclose how they use tax payer money. Who would be opposed to that? Well, unfortunately, enough people to defeat it. To read more go to http://transparency.i2i.org/2009/03/no-sunshine-for-colorado-school-districts/

Trodding Dangerous Ground

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday, March 16, voted to uphold Governor Bill Ritter’s law to freeze mill levy rates in order to raise property taxes (striking down the decision made by lesser courts). The Colorado Constitution clearly states in the TAx payer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) that the General Assembly and the Governor MUST ask the Colorado Tax Payer before raising taxes. Simple legislation, if you want to raise taxes, ask first. And after Ref C passed, the evidence clearly shows that the Colorado Tax Payer is willing to impose taxes on themselves.

This clear violation of the Colorado Constitution is not an isolated incident. Our Supreme Court has been labeled as one of the most liberal in the nation, and they have continued to rule against TABOR. Many on the left (and some on the right) have suggested getting rid of TABOR altogether. Fine, but that’s a decision that needs to be made by the people, and not the legislators or the courts. However, Amendment 59 this year proved that Coloradans are not quite ready to do away with TABOR yet.

2009 Spending Bill

Barack Obama promises to cut back on earmarks while he signs a spending bill laden with earmarks. That alone makes for great comedy. Don’t need to say much more after that.

Daylight Savings Time

Ah yes, twice a year, we Americans jostle our time, throwing an hour away here, taking it back there. Statistics show that heart attacks and car accidents go UP during the spring forward event, and they drop during the fall back time change. What does this all mean? Nothing, except that it is extremely arbitrary and seems pointless to me.

Two years ago, George Bush signed legislation that would reduce the time period of Daylight Savings from five and a half months to four. Wow. That was random. The reasoning? To save energy. If we keep going at this rate, we’ll be setting our clocks back December 20, and setting them forward December 22.

I’m all in favor of getting rid of the time changes, as our good buddies in Arizona have figured out. Personally, I prefer Daylight Savings over Standard time, as I like having the light in the evenings. But what do you think? Feel free to take my poll, letting us know how you’d prefer to have your time. (Just don’t take too much time doing it, as you lose an hour this weekend.)

In Honor of Lent

If you were to give something up, what would it be?