POLITICAL CARTOONS OF THE WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

I collect them. Whenever I see a really good one, I save it for the next time I need something funny where humor is hard to find. This week, I haven’t done anything that warrants political cartoons, but these are all so good, I figured — why not?

Have a laugh. Show them to someone and make them laugh, too.

THE ARRANGEMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Arrangement


This is one of “those words” which means so many things on so many levels it is hard to know exactly where to start.

Most typically, in my world, it is “common parlance” for a couple whose marriage isn’t going well, but who would prefer to avoid a divorce. Often, it is because they are also in business or share other important interests and a divorce would distract the world from whatever else they do.

Rich people have an arrangement. Poor people simply can’t afford the divorce.

I always thought that Bill and Hillary had an arrangement, that they agreed to continue working and living together and the deal was that they remain discreet, not humiliate one another, and keep their eyes on the importance of the work they were doing. I think Bill screwed that up and Hillary never forgave him for that.

I suspect this is the situation with many high-powered political couples. I can’t prove it, but I would be surprised to discover I’m wrong.

An arrangement isn’t inherently a bad thing. Often, the work a couple does together is more important than whether or not one or both of them is entirely faithful to the formal marriage bond. There are also couples who never bought into monogamy, so their marriage was an arrangement from the beginning.

But arrangement means other things. Spying is an arrangement. Treason is an arrangement. Most forms of corruption are an arrangement and often, an extremely complex arrangement involving many people across a vast network. It is why when such an arrangement starts to crumble, it is a shock to see exactly how many people were involved, either at the fat or short end of the deal.

Last night on Colbert (with Jake Tapper as the guest), there was much talk of “why” so many Republicans are still trying to “sell” Trump. Regardless, barring an actual putsch in our government, DJT is OUT by 2024, if he doesn’t die of hardened arteries first.

CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out presumably these same people intend to have a career after 45 is gone. How do they expect anyone to have any faith in them?

My answer? The money. Follow the money. Trump has been laundering Russian money for a long time and there’s a lot of money involved. He is not the only one who has been “on the take.” Maybe they think if they steal enough money, they can buy faith? They’ve done it before, after all.

I’m willing to bet that many of these other Republicans have gotten their portion of the dirty money. They aren’t protecting Trump. They are trying to protect themselves, too.

I hope we get to hear every last detail of the story.

Washington is a carefully arranged town. How much money have they stolen? How much of it has been used to turn our country into a place I don’t even recognize?

AMIBIGUITY – Marilyn Armstrong

The Ambiguity of Our Times

Ambiguity. That’s when you say “I love you,” but pause afterward and think (out loud) that you used to love other people and you don’t love them anymore, so maybe loving you doesn’t really mean very much.

That’s how I feel about “Our Power President.”

He is making America great. Again. Because our previous greatness wasn’t “his” kind of great.

He has solved all our problems, yet somehow, none of them seem solved. But that’s only because the press lies all the time and refuse to admit all the important fixes he has made in the world.

Trump and Putin

Meanwhile, the kids are still living in baby jails. Kim Jun Un has a lot of rockets and no intention of giving them up. Russia is taking over the United States and our Chief Moron doesn’t seem to notice. We are going to be a new — and really BIG — satellite of Russia. Cool!

Russia is very good at taking over other countries. It’s one of their “things.” At one time, they dominated more than half of Europe and were working on Asia and Africa, until the Chinese beat them to it.

We used to be pretty good at it ourselves, but now, we bow and suck up to Putin.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

I’d like to know why this is true. What does Putin have on Trump? It can’t just be something sexually embarrassing. It’s got to be something seriously illegal in an international kind of way. Will we ever know what it is?

Thoughts on the matter?

CORPORATE VERSUS POLITICAL AMERICA – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I read an interesting article about the difference between corporate America and political America. In a nutshell, corporations’ bottom line is with the public. Politicians’ bottom line is with their donors.

Today, ironically, it seems that corporate America is more beholden to and therefore more sensitive to public opinion than politicians are. This makes sense. Corporations deal directly with the public. They function in more of a true democracy than politicians do.

Politicians have a huge and powerful layer of lobbyists, special interests and large donors that shield them from the will of the people. Or at least the vagaries of public opinion.

The result of this is dramatic. For example, Roseanne Barr makes some egregious racist and conspiracy theory tweets. Within 24 hours, her show is canceled by the ABC Network. That was done in response to and in fear of the outcry by an outraged public. The network has to placate their viewers or risk losing them.

On the other hand, Trump has frequently tweeted awful, racist and conspiracy theory comments. Each one worse than the last. Yet there have been no consequences for him. Despite great public outrage. He is protected from the effects of public opinion by his loyal Republican base and his congressional supporters. In turn, the Republican congressmen are bolstered by their large donors, including lobbyists and special interest groups. They don’t have to pay attention to the negative reactions of over 60% of the general public.

So, our political system is, in some ways, less democratic than our corporate system. Starbucks closed their stores across the country to hold a nationwide racial sensitivity training session. This was done in response to public pressure after some racist incidents at a few of their stores. Again, public opinion had a direct and immediate effect on the company’s policies and actions. In contrast, there are layers of buffer between politicians and their constituents. At least between elections.

Elections bring politicians a bit closer to their constituents, at least temporarily. But it’s still not the direct connection that corporations enjoy. You either buy the corporation’s product or shop in their store or you don’t. There is nothing between your checkbook and the company you are buying from. Even at election time, special interest and donor money can shield a politician from his voters. And can have disproportionate influence on the politician.

Take the NRA. The NRA has only five million members. Public opinion is over 80% in favor of reasonable gun control. That’s over 200 million Americans who support gun control legislation. But somehow those meager five million people wield huge sway over a majority of politicians. That’s because the NRA throws an outrageous amount of money at politicians. No matter what a politician’s constituents think or want, the NRA will get the politician’s vote if the price is right.

The Electoral College is another buffer zone between Presidential candidates and the American voter. The popular vote does not determine the president. That would be the pure democracy that corporations have to deal with.

Local politics in certain ‘swing’ states have a disproportionate influence on presidential election results. And the voters in those states have a disproportionate influence on elections. That leaves the rest of the country out in the cold.

Lately, it seems like we’re getting even farther away from the concept of democracy. Now, we have never been a pure democracy. But it seemed that the ‘will of the people’, at some points in our recent history, had more sway. Maybe I’m being idealistic. Maybe public opinion never had a major influence on elections or on politicians once in office.

But I would love to live in a country where public opinion could have a direct effect on our country’s policies. Like Roseanne losing her show within 24 hours – I would love to see meaningful gun control regulations enacted 24 hours after public opinion goes nuts over yet another fatal school mass shooting.

I don’t believe that that will happen anytime soon. But maybe if Democrats can motivate people to vote who usually don’t vote, public opinion might be able to overwhelm the ‘money talks’ bias of the political system. At least I can nurture that dream for the next five months!

BOLD, NEW OPTIONS TO PREVENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS – Garry Armstrong

School shootings with multiple victims have become an everyday news story in the United States. It’s become a boiler-plate political issue with second amendment activists led by the NRA holding fast to their rights.

Fighting to keep the right to own guns, even as bullets from assault weapons are taking the toll on the lives of our young people.

Gun activists are seemingly oblivious to the availability of assault weapons through illegal purchases.

Gun rights trump young lives in harm’s way. It’s a deadly serious issue but the solutions offered by some of our elected officials are anything but serious. Do you think Jimmy Stewart’s Senator Jefferson Smith would be okay with arming teachers to shoot it out with offenders in crowded classrooms?

Can you imagine the late Speaker of the House, “Tip” O’Neill,  the consummate politician, agreeing to arm the real life “Mr. Peepers” with magnum 44’s to blast invaders as students scatter to avoid gun fire?  O’Neil’s reply would minimally question the sanity of his colleagues in the House and the Senate. Sadly, we have no Tip O’Neill to step up with rational solutions to our national nightmare.

Pilgrims, it’s time to deal with the miscreants who surely don’t value human life.  Time to answer those whose inner demons enable them to spray bullets with deadly intent into classrooms to assuage their problems.

Time to lock ‘n load but with some creative thing.

SUGGESTION #1  IMPLODING LONG GUNS:   Picture the iconic Red Ryder Rifles of our youthful dreams. Long, gleaming barrels with the burnished red stocks, topped by an autographed picture of our 45th President. The sentiment would be clear:  “Bad hombres die hard!”.   If the school shootist fires this weapon,  it’ll blow up in his face.  Crisis averted.

If a teacher or defending student fires the weapon,  it’s a senseless tragedy — but we must look at the big picture.  A Presidential eulogy will ease the pain of more innocent lives lost.

The imploding long guns should be mass-advertised to draw the attention of would be assassins.  The rifle’s Presidential sentiment should entice those who are on the edge of committing bloody massacres.  They will be nudged by the Commander-In-Chief’s passion for thoughtless, narcissistic behavior.  The shooter is sure to take selfies with his presidential embossed rifle and post it on Twitter and Facebook, with pride gleaming in is orange eyeballs.

Gary Busey could do television ads for the imploding long guns.  Busey’s colorful style would make the guns an easy sell,  especially for those who want to make their mark in the world.

SUGGESTION #2 – IMPLODING TRUMP BOBBLE-HEADS.  These terrific replicas of our President have all the verve and sexually traumatic attraction of DJT.  They’ll be personally autographed in that familiar, illegible scrawl used to sign faux bills. The bobble-heads have a floating toupee that easily separates from the rest of the bobble-head on implosion.  School security would locate the bobble-heads at strategic positions on campus likely to be invaded by would be shooters.

Psychologists believe the invaders will be disoriented by the bobble-heads, pick up the miniature DJTs and blow themselves into a parallel universe occupied by ORANGE-haired robot women, all named “Stormy”.

Roseanne Barr will do all advertising for the Bobble-heads, emphasizing her belief in MacCheesehead’s legacy as emperor of the world.

These are just the top of our R&D campaign for alternatives to avert School Shootings. We’re working on DJT dart boards that will explode when a dart hits the spot.  THE spot.

Let’s stand strong against idiotic suggestions to avert school shootings. You can voice your opinion in the mid-term elections that, hopefully, sweep out more of the corrupt and mentally challenged officials who are pigging out at the public trough.

IDENTICAL? NOT EXACTLY, BUT ABSOLUTELY RHYMING

No two things are identical, though many things seem to be on the surface.

Even identical twins are not precisely identical. There’s always some small difference. Every snowflake is unique. Each part of history is slightly different from any other.

But if things aren’t identical, they can be remarkably similar. “Rhyming” as Samuel Clemens artfully phrased it.

Our world today rhymes well with the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Every single day that passes make this more obvious. The U.S. is not 1930s Germany, yet we resemble it sufficiently to make some of us — me for example — very worried.

Many people describe the German government at the time as weak — or mostly too weak to fight back. There was a time — quite a long time — when they could have fought back. When Hitler could have been forced down and out, but it didn’t happen.

Will we do a better job? Are we trying? What more can we do?

My friend, Martha Kennedy pointed out to me that Trump is not a Republican.

Trump is a fascist.

It caught me off-guard for a second. My breath went in and stopped there … and then I knew she was right. He isn’t a Republican. He isn’t even an American. There isn’t a patriotic, nation-loving bone in his bloated body. He is a greedy, bigoted, narcissist who cares about no one but himself. He is loyal to nothing.

In my heart, I would like to see him in handcuffs off to a long-term in Federal prison, but I would settle for him and all those wretched people he has sucked into our government removed and banned from government. If you can ban Pete Rose from baseball, how much more so should we be banning that thing from any kind of government — or even the possibility of getting any sort of government assistance for any project. Ever.

But don’t worry. I’m sure someone will hire him to do play by-play on a TV news show somewhere. Let’s take a wild guess here. You think possibly Fox?

THE UNPRECEDENTED USE OF THE WORD UNPRECEDENTED IS TRULY UNPRECEDENTED – BY TOM CURLEY

Ever notice how sometimes you begin to notice something you never really noticed before? Whatever it was, it was there all the time, from the beginning. You just never noticed it.

Damn. He’s right there!

For example: you buy a new car, say … a Prius. You never paid any attention to them before. But now you have one. Suddenly, you notice there are hundreds of them everywhere. Every time you are on the road you see dozens of Priuses. Where the hell did they all come from? Why are zillions of people suddenly going out and buying a Prius?

The answer is of course, they were there all along. There is a reason this happens. There’s a part of your brain called the Reticular Formation. It does a lot of things. But the most interesting one is that it acts as a filter for useless stuff.

You take in everything around you with your eyes, ears, nose, and so on, but most of it is not worth your paying attention to it. So your brain blocks it out. It also filters out stuff that happens again and again. This is why people in the city can sleep with all the traffic noise. After a while, your brain ignores it. But, when something breaks through that guard post, you see or hear it all the time.

Which brings me to the word unprecedented.

Since this whole Trump Train Wreck started, the use of “unprecedented” has become, well, unprecedented. I hear it dozens of times every day. Almost always on the news or late-night talk shows, but also from friends. I use it myself all the time.

But think about the meaning of word. It means something that has never happened before, yet every day, we use the word. Because everyday, something which  has never happened before, happens. Every single day!

The world is a few billion years old. Lots of shit has happened. I mean really, a lot of shit. You’d think pretty much everything that could happen, has happened. Before Cheesy McCheese Head came down the ‘golden escalator of doom,’ we used to say things like:


“Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

“History might not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme a lot.”

“Don’t run with scissors!”


But today all you hear is “UNPRECEDENTED.” Sometimes you hear synonyms of the word, like bizarre, uncommon, unheard-of, aberrant, or abnormal. But mostly, it’s just “unprecedented”.

My question is “how does he do it?” How can every day bring a new insanity nobody imagined could — or would — ever happen? How is he creating so much … unprecedentedness?

Is that a word? If not, I’m claiming it. My trademark word. Back off Colbert!

I think the answer has to do with a thing called “social norms.” These are rules we live by. We didn’t learn them. We accept them and take them for granted. There are things you can or can’t do. More specifically, things that you shouldn’t, wouldn’t, or simply DON’T do. There aren’t any laws saying you can’t do that thing, but you know — everybody knows — you are not supposed to do it.

There’s no law saying you can’t deliberately let out a big fart in a crowded elevator, but the vast majority of humans realize it’s not a good idea. So, they don’t do it.

There’s no law against running with scissors, but we know we shouldn’t do it. (Seriously, don’t do that. You could put an eye out.)

A subset of social norms would be political norms. There are things you are supposed to do. Kiss babies, wear an American Flag lapel pin, release your tax returns. Stuff like that. Of course, there were other things politicians know they were not supposed to do. If they did, their careers were over. It used to be things like saying fuck in public, or making fun of a handicapped person.

Or molesting children.

Do any of these things and they’d be gone. There aren’t any laws saying you can or can’t do this stuff. Wait a minute –let me change that. There absolutely are laws against molesting children. But what with reality shifting so often, who knows for sure?

You simply knew to do or not do those things. It was part of being human, part of society. It went with stuff like the peaceful transition of power every four years, having only one President at a time, and having a President putting all his money in a blind trust while in office.

Those kinds of things.

But our current SCROTUS believes if it ain’t illegal, fuck it. He’ll do it. Political norms mean nothing to this asshole. No ethics, no compassion, no “for the good of the country.”


Release my tax returns? Fuck you.

You can’t hire your kids? Watch me.

Conflicts of interest? Kiss my ass.


Think about it. Nobody, including most constitutional scholars, had ever heard of, or really paid any attention to the emoluments clause which is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.


“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.


Notice that this is part of the beginning (Article I) of the Constitution. It clearly says a President can’t accept any kind of gift or bribe. And until now, no President since Washington would have dreamed of doing such a stupid thing!



CONSTITUTION: You can’t take a bribe or any kind of gift.

TRUMP: Oh yeah? Hold my beer.


We have a person occupying the White House, who — last week — admitted in a Tweet that he obstructed justice. His lawyer’s response? Trump can’t break the law. He is the law. Above the law. Meanwhile, until — yesterday? the day before? — I’m pretty sure being a pedophile was worse than being a liberal Democrat. Guess what? Not anymore!

So basically, he has ruined social norms. He’s destroyed political norms. He’s broken all the rules and he’s getting away with it. So, from now on, we’re going to have to make everything a law. Everything. You farted in a crowded elevator? You have the right to remain silent (and deadly).

So, thanks SCROTUS. You ruined it for everybody! This is why we can’t have nice things!

Now that you’ve read this, the number of times you notice the word unprecedented will be, well, unprecedented.