The Week’s Best Cartoons 6/18

Yet another week and more of the best political ‘toons from our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge.  Time was that these would make me laugh … and I still take my hat off to the great talents of these cartoonists … but today they make me want to cry more than laugh.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work!

Below is a small sample … be sure to head over to TokyoSand’s place to see … the rest of the story!

See all the ‘toons at Political Charge!!!

A Toothless, Useless, Waste of Time

There are so damn many issues to claim our attention and concern today that it seems something important is always falling by the wayside.  There are some things, though, that we simply cannot afford to lose sight of – climate change, the threats to democracy, the ‘dumbing-down’ of education, the pandemic that is still a pandemic, and our massive gun problem.  Speaking of the gun crisis … I have looked at the ‘bi-partisan’ agreement in Congress and said, “pbthhhh … it has no teeth.”  In my book, it is even less than the very minimum I would expect or demand, were I in a position to make demands.  It is the Republican’s attempt to placate us, to shut us up, to brag that they took our concerns seriously, when they don’t at all.  Did you know that according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 59% favor curbing gun violence, while 35% do not. That includes 92% of Democrats in favor, along with 54% of independents. However, “70% of Republicans say it’s more important to protect gun rights.” 

Yesterday, Paul Waldman published an OpEd in The Washington Post that echoes my own sentiments on the topic …


More guns in schools, and everywhere else? Have we gone mad?

By Paul Waldman

Columnist

June 14, 2022

There’s nothing like a massacre of elementary school children to get the attention of lawmakers, who will be eager to show they’re at least willing to pretend to do something about the gun carnage we Americans endure. But while Democratic states often respond to mass shootings by passing new gun restrictions, Republican states tend to pass laws loosening regulations, driven by the psychotic idea that protecting us from gun violence requires getting more guns in more places.

While there are some glimmers of hope — senators might soon agree on a few worthwhile things on guns — we might emerge from this moment realizing that the flurry of lawmaking after the latest mass shootings took us to an even darker place.

If you want a hint of the dystopian future that might await us, look no further than a bill Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed into law Monday.

The new law’s guiding principle seems to be that we should turn every school into an armed camp as quickly as possible. The law lowers the amount of training required for a teacher to go armed in Ohio from around 700 hours down to 24 hours. According to its text, teacher training must include “at least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises.” Four whole hours!

Think for a moment about your schoolteachers, or your children’s teachers. Maybe a few were past their prime and not as enthusiastic as they used to be. Some were young and idealistic, devoted to the well being of children. Some were brilliant; all had a difficult and stressful job.

But I’ll bet none of them were Jason Bourne, were they?

This is the world Republicans want us to live in, where every spasm of deadly violence is met with what is essentially a military response. If we face a threat from guns, we should get more guns and put them in more people’s hands. If there’s a school shooting, it means schools are “soft targets” that we must harden. Then we’ll do the same to stores and parks and synagogues and churches and mosques — and everywhere else we gather.

It’s a tribute to the GOP’s political and communication skills that it can take any idea, no matter how deranged — we have mass shootings because schools have too many doors! — and push it right to the heart of the discussion. Yes, we could theoretically turn your neighborhood elementary school into something like a supermax prison, but what would that do to the children inside?

We already have a clue from the proliferation of active-shooter lockdown drills in recent years. Meant to tell students that “this will keep you safe,” instead it told them that “this is the nightmare you live in now.” Over and over, they were told to live in fear, that a violent death was their possible future. In some cases, officials have organized simulated attacks where murders were acted out; as one teacher said, “I felt more traumatized than trained.”

We simply don’t know what kind of effects members of this lockdown generation will carry with them. But we’re apparently going to keep subjecting more and more kids to it — better that than force anyone to suffer any minor inconvenience when purchasing their arsenal of deadly weapons.

That’s certainly how the Republicans who control the state legislature in Ohio feel. On the same day DeWine signed that bill, another one he signed took effect. This one enacts “permitless carry,” meaning almost anyone is allowed to carry a gun almost anywhere in the state — no license or training required.

If almost anyone in Ohio could be carrying a gun, shouldn’t the teachers have guns? And if the teachers have guns, shouldn’t the students have guns? Perhaps we should discuss whether a 5-year-old’s constitutional right to bear arms is being infringed if they can’t pack a Glock in their lunchbox.

What we have here is a profound disagreement about what it means for a place to feel, and to be, “safe.” You can weld shut the doors and windows, fill the school with armed personnel and make the kids think every day about their deaths, and you will have achieved a kind of “safety.” But it’s a poisonous kind, one that will terrorize every child who enters there.

Unfortunately, we’re going to see a lot of that in the near future, because “hardening” schools is one of the only ideas Republicans will agree to in response to mass shootings. Money for “school safety” will be in the bipartisan gun bill (if it passes), and states will offer the same, so Republicans can say they responded to the endless wave of mass shootings.

Heaven forbid we should say someone has to be 21 years old to buy a military-style rifle designed to kill as many human beings as possible in the shortest amount of time. But if your school wants a grant to install more metal detectors? Step right up.

And Mrs. O’Neill, the kindly librarian at the elementary school? Put a gun in her hand. That’ll make everyone safe, won’t it?

Kevin McCarthy Is NOT A Good Man

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is a real piece of work, as they say.  If the ‘man’ has a compassionate bone in his body, I have yet to find it.  He whines incessantly and his values, such as they are, are so skewed that it’s impossible to determine what they are, for they may vary from one day to the next.  He had one single moment of dignity on the 6th of January, 2021, when he said …

“Let me be clear to you, and I have been very clear to the president. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if, ands or buts. I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened, if he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that.”

Just a few weeks later, McCarthy visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago and pandered to him in order to get back in his good graces and likely apologized for his earlier comment — a comment which he now tries to deny having said, though it was recorded and has been verified more than a few times.

So, we know he is not an honest man, not a principled man, and cares more for his own political future than for our lives.  But of late he is outdoing himself in the ‘whine-and-blame’ department.

Yesterday, he tweeted multiple times about gas prices having hit $5.  I finally responded to him asking him if he had a point to make, and also whether he had checked fuel prices in other countries, for it is the same around the globe.  The rise in fuel prices is caused by a combination of the war in Ukraine, an excess of demand over supply as people begin traveling more in these ‘post-Covid’1 summer months, and the blatant greed of the oil companies who are seeing remarkably high profits of late (profits on which they pay relatively little taxes).  Canada, Australia, the UK … all report high fuel prices just as ours are.  But ol’ McCarthy wants to point the finger at President Biden and tell the maga crowd that it’s all Biden’s fault.

The thing that got me the most about McCarthy in the past week or two, though, is illustrated by this tweet he made yesterday …

“For the 3rd time in a week, I’m calling for a vote for stronger security for Supreme Court Justices—ALL of them. This isn’t partisan. The threat is real. Why is Speaker Pelosi blocking something that the Senate has already passed unanimously?”

This is a result of the arrest of a man last Wednesday who, while he didn’t actually attempt it, considered murdering Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  He thought better of it and called the police, acknowledging that he was having suicidal thoughts and wanted to kill Kavanaugh because of the pending Roe v Wade decision.  Okay, one man with a mental health issue who didn’t even follow through with his threat, and ol’ McCarthy has tried to pass bills three times within a week to protect the nine Supreme Court Justices.  Don’t get me wrong here … I do not deny that we need to put in place some additional security for the justices if they’re going to keep making anti-humanitarian decisions, and I do NOT wish to see any of them murdered.  However …

On May 24th, a teenager with an assault rifle brutally massacred 19 school children – 4th graders – and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.  In addition to that horrific event, there were a number of other mass shootings including one ten days before Uvalde, where 10 people were killed by yet another teenager with a military-style assault rifle at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.  The rise in mass shootings is the stuff nightmares are made of, and so once again the members of Congress who are people of conscience proposed new gun legislation.  The proposal passed the House (but with much watering down when it finally passed in the Senate, to the point that it is not much of a help at all).  But to my point … guess who voted AGAINST that bill in the House?  You guessed it – good ol’ Kevin McCarthy.

So, let’s get this straight … he is driven to devote all his time, day and night, to getting a bill to protect the nine members of the Supreme Court passed and is downright nasty when he doesn’t get his way, but he cannot be bothered to vote for gun laws, milquetoast though they are, when thousands of people are dying from senseless gun violence, hundreds of them children, every damn year?  Hmmmm … the only conclusion I can draw here is that Kevin McCarthy does not care about the people of this nation, nor does he care about our children.  I think that Kevin McCarthy is NOT a nice man, not a man with a conscience or the capability for humanity, for empathy.  I hope the good people of California think long and hard about his skewed priorities and vote to replace him in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election.


1 Although mask mandates, vaccine mandates, social distancing requirements and other Covid restrictions have largely been lifted, we are NOT “post-Covid” by any stretch, with the nation still seeing hundreds of deaths daily, but some large portion of people have convinced themselves that Covid is gone and it’s time to PAR-TAY!

Beyond Words

May 14th – 10 killed, 3 injured in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York

May 15th – 1 killed, 5 injured at a church in Laguna Woods, California

May 24th – 19 children, 2 teachers killed, 17 injured in a school in Uvalde, Texas

June 1st – 4 killed at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Two weeks.  These are just the ones that made the headlines.  In the two weeks following the Buffalo shooting, there have been 36 other mass shootings in the U.S.  With the exception of the church shooting, the incidents I mention above were all carried out with military-style assault weapons … weapons that civilians have no business even owning.

A grocery store, a church, a school, and a hospital.  American Exceptionalism?  Oh yeah, we’re #1 alright … the only nation on the planet where it’s no longer safe to buy food, worship, go to school, or seek healthcare.

Only In ‘America’

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was beginning to work on a good people post for this morning, the breaking news update jumped onto my screen …

Texas school shooting leaves at least 2 dead

I stopped what I was doing and went in search of information … turns out that, as you all know by now, 19 students and one teacher, Eva Mireles, were killed … or let’s call a spade a spade … they were brutally murdered while in school, the one place our children should be able to feel safe!  The death toll may yet rise if some of the students taken to the hospital don’t survive, or if students still missing are later reported to have died.  Plus, the 18-year-old shooter shot his grandmother, who is in critical condition in the hospital, before setting out for Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

This, my friends, is what Texas Governor Greg Abbott proudly said just one year ago …

No license or training is needed. 🙄 YOU, Greg Abbott, have the blood of these children on your hands and you will never be able to wash it off!  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), claims to be “horrified and heartbroken” and yet time and time and time again he has had the opportunity to pass meaningful gun legislation that might have prevented the 18-year-old shooter from getting his hands on a gun.  YOU, Mitch McConnell, and every other Republican legislator who has blocked gun regulations, also have blood on your hands!!!  And U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, sent thoughts and prayers and said he disdains any discussion on gun legislation.  YOU, Cancún Cruz, also have blood on your hands!!!

Days like today, I am so very thankful for a President who is compassionate and caring.  President Biden gave a speech yesterday evening where he said …

“Another massacre at a Texas elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action. I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”

And former President Barack Obama issued a statement …

“Nearly 10 years after Sandy Hook — and 10 days after Buffalo — our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies. It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy — a quieter but no less tragic one — for families to wait another day.”

I cannot help but share the pain of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends of those 19 children tonight.  Picture being a parent at work, getting that phone call …

Eleven days ago, ten people were murdered in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.  Yesterday, 20 people, 19 of them children, were murdered in school, just two days before the end of the school year.  Where are all those ‘pro-life’ people???  Probably out there carrying signs that read “You can’t take my guns!” or some such drivel.  My granddaughter, when I told her about the school shooting, asked what kind of country this has become.  Not a very nice one, I’m afraid.

Just as I was finishing this post, I saw one from John Pavlovitz that I hope you’ll take a moment to read, for he said it far better than I ever could.  I hope you can understand why this post replaced today’s ‘good people’ post.  I will try to get one out later this week, but if not, there’s always next Wednesday.