Weekly Toon …

Obamacare repeal could spell the death of your health insurance ...

I’ve been traveling the last couple of weeks and haven’t had time to write anything about the latest GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That being the case, this toon from Gary Varvel, the editorial cartoonist for the IndyStar, will have to do for now.

You can see more of Varvel’s work here and watch this cartoon take shape by viewing this video to see an artistic genius at work.

When I wrote the initial draft of this post much earlier in the week, it seemed likely that the Republicans would be able to pass their latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. But with both Rand Paul and John McCain definitely opposed to the Graham-Cassidy bill and Susan Collins (R-Maine) leaning against it, that seems somewhat less likely now.

I’d be a lot more comfortable if both Collins and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) came out against the bill (as they did against earlier versions); and it wouldn’t surprise me if the bill still passed because there’s plenty of time to change it to win over the needed votes.

For the time being, all I’ll say is that Graham-Cassidy is a very bad bill indeed, much like the GOP’s previous repeal measures. You can read more about why that is here, here, here, and here.

Our runner-up for the week from Pat Bagley addresses the same subject, but in a much more pointed and direct way. As I’ve said before, where you stand on the question of healthcare says everything about who you are as a person.


Weekly Toon …

Me neither ...

I didn’t really have much time to check out the toons this week. But the one above hit home, at least for me. It comes from Signe Wilkinson, the first female recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. She’s best known for her work in the Philadelphia Daily News and you can check out more of her toons here.

I’ve never been able to afford an iPhone and it looks like Apple has still another winner in that regard with its latest version. Some people say that’s the whole point; that Apple is only interested in appealing to those who have money to burn. But, hey, if a phone is your status symbol, so be it.

Our runner-up for the week is a biting commentary on the Equifax data breach. Do you think our government cares? Do you think anyone will go to jail for this?

Don’t hold your breath!

What a disgrace!

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government rescinded a visiting fellowship offered to Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified government secrets, after the university faced forceful backlash from CIA Director Mike Pompeo among others.

“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” Douglas W. Elmendorf, the school’s dean, wrote in a 700-word statement released shortly after midnight Friday.

You can read more here, here, and here.

The only mistake here is Harvard’s for ever hiring someone like Elmendorf who doesn’t have a spine or even the smarts to realize how badly he’s damaged the Kennedy School’s reputation by this shameful decision. Sadly, I’m about to take off on a trip so I don’t have time to discuss this in more detail.

But it’s a disgrace and Harvard ought to be ashamed of itself for giving into this kind of pressure from an intelligence community that has repeatedly demonstrated its complete lack of intelligence.

But, then again, Harvard loves witch hunts.

Weekly Toon …

Rick McKee, the editorial cartoonist for the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, captured my feelings exactly in the above cartoon. You can find more of his work featured here.

Is it just me or is anyone else tired of Hillary’s efforts to cash in on one of the most pathetic political campaigns in modern times? It seems everyone is to blame for her loss except Hillary herself.

Get over it, girl, and stop bothering the rest of us with your incessant whining!

Our runner-up for the week is a commentary on still another political scumbag, Steve Bannon. You’ve had your fifteen minutes of fame, Steve. Now crawl back into the swamp that spit you out.

Weekly Toon …

Ship of fools indeed ...

A commentary from editorial cartoonist Milt Priggie on the absence of leadership in our country on the issue of climate change.

In this case it’s probably less an absence of leadership than leadership by GOP fools who don’t want to face up to reality on their watch. It’s the rest of us who end up paying the price for their idiocy.

In any event, you can find more of Priggie’s work by following this link.

Given how much the flooding in Houston dominated the news this past week, our runner-up for the week provides still another take on that disaster and on still another issue as well.

Weekly Toon …

He's not the first ...

I was too busy this week to spend much time checking out cartoons so Trump’s shift on Afghanistan will have to do for now. It’s hard to blame Trump for the mess he inherited, of course. It was George W. Bush that committed us to this war and Obama who chose to continue our involvement.

But it’s hard to be sympathetic to Trump either. This week he also finalized that directive of his ordering the Department of Defense to discriminate against those who are transgendered and would appreciate the opportunity to serve our country honorably in places like Afghanistan … unlike Trump himself who used a phony excuse to dodge serving in Vietnam.

In any event, David Horsey, who authored this cartoon, rightly noted that “against his own instincts, Donald Trump has chosen to defend a distant line with American blood and treasure. Afghanistan is now his war to win or lose or perpetuate until another president comes along.”

And here’s a little self-commentary that will have to serve as our runner-up for the week 🙂

Weekly Toon …

More than a wink, it was an endorsement!

Just when you think Donald Trump can’t sink any lower the man finds new ways to do so. First he failed to condemn the behavior of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and members of the Ku Klux Klan for their behavior in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday. Trump argued that many were to blame for what happened.

Then on Monday he read a statement that did condemn the hate groups. But he quickly backed off the following day at a press conference in which he said blame for the violence should be shared between the hate groups and those gathered to protest their presence.

Both sides contained “very fine people,” he said, revealing his true character in the process.

Key administration officials remained silent throughout, including, among others, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn, all of whom are Jewish, and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Let’s be clear. Very fine people would never join hands with neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and members of the Klan. Very fine people would never stand by silently while others with whom they were marching chanted “Jews will not replace us” or “blood and soil.”

There is no moral equivalence between those who preach hate or drive cars into a crowd injuring and killing others and those who protest the people doing this.

For that reason alone it was heartening to see many Republicans pushing back against Trump. Speaking to local media in his home state of Tennessee, Senator Bob Corker admonished Trump for his response to the weekend violence and said the president “has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.”

“I think our president needs to take stock of the role that he plays in our nation and move beyond himself, move way beyond himself, and move to a place where daily he wakes up thinking about what is best for our nation,” Corker added. “Helping inspire divisions because it generates support from your political base is not a formula for causing our nation to advance, our nation to overcome the many issues that we have to deal with right now.”

“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today,” Corker continued. “He’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. And without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”

“The president has not yet, has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

Other Republicans spoke up as well. “There are not two sides to bigotry and there are not two sides to hatred,” former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “If you choose to march with the flag that symbolizes the slaughter of millions of people, there are not two sides to that.”

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, excoriated Trump for his equivocating response to the violence and urged him to apologize in remarks posted on Facebook.

“In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?”

And don’t be fooled. The removal of Steve Bannon changes nothing. The cesspool that passes for Trump’s brain is still there, still sucking up to people who made their anti-Americanism all too evident last weekend in Charlottesville.

Our runner-up for the week is still another commentary on Trump’s moral depravity.