Friday, June 29, 2007

Bush's Immigration Reform Bill Defeated: Today's Cartoon

It seems to me that the defeat of President Bush's planned immigration reform policy by the Senate would be a lot more significant if it weren't for the fact that had it passed, the result would basically be the same; with cheap labor continuing to stream into the United States.

Denying rights to those who already risk everything to sneak into the U.S. is not going to deter any more from trying, nor will it convince the 12 million undocumented workers before them to go back. But what it will do is leave those who arrive twisting in the wind and at the mercy of crooked employers, who are shady enough to hire them in the first place.

If President Bush cares enough about these poor people to want to grant them amnesty, then falling short of that, he should do the next best thing and save them from the perils of getting stuck in immigration limbo. I mean, if illegal workers are really so eager to do the jobs that Americans won't do (aka. exploitation) then why not see if China would be willing to take them as well?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tony Blair Resigns as British PM: Today's Cartoon

Out of ALL the people that could have been selected to be "special peace envoy" to the Middle East, it has somehow been determined that former British Prime Minister (and Iraq and Afghanistan war enthusiast) Tony Blair is the best choice to help stabilize the region... perhaps since he's already excelled at doing just the opposite.

I guess in terms of "qualifications" Tony Blair could be considered the right person for the job, but that all depends on what the "objective" actually is. If it's to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, then forget it. But, if it's to arose Arab suspicion to the point that they are unwilling to cooperate, then Blair could make the perfect "agent provocateur".

With his public image shattered by his unwaivering loyalty to the Bush Administration as well as his participation in the Iraq invasion and inactivity during last year's war between Israel and Lebanon, the last place one might expect Tony Blair to make any positive difference is in the Middle East. Basically, I would say that anyone (including YOU) is probably more qualified to serve as special peace envoy to the Middle East than Tony Blair... provided that you haven't invaded any countries there, recently.

However, I will say this in his favor; as complicated as the reasons usually are as to why diplomacy always seems to fail in that region, Tony Blair can certainly work to help make it a little less difficult to understand.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WWE Wrestler Chris Benoit Tragedy: Today's Cartoon

When it comes to professional wrestling, the real spectacle has always been what takes place behind the scenes; the rest is just a huge waste of time. I mean, who needs elaborate storylines and characters when you've got hectic schedules and steroids?

The nomadic lifestyle of professional wrestlers takes its toll on many of them; with the only difference being the manner in which it eventually overcomes them. For most it's drugs, while others fall victim to accidents (both in and out of the ring). Yet for some, like Chris Benoit, the industry seems to become so overwhelming that the end result is something beyond even the promoter's twisted imagination.

The way I see it, athletes and performers like professional wrestlers are as much a "role model" for people as race horses and circus elephants are. Sure they may be entertaining to watch, but ultimately they are trained to earn their "handlers" as much money as physically possible. Basically, as long as they are healthy, they are profitable and will remain so until the pressure finally gets the better of them and they either break down, or run amok.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tom Cruise Barred From Filming In Germany Today's Cartoon

In recent years, it seems that Tom Cruise has become more recognizable for promoting his "faith" than his films; a perception which has now led to him being barred from filming his new movie about Adolf Hitler, in any military site in Germany.

You see, the German government considers Scientology a "cult" that masquerades as religion, in order to make money... sort of like the way they used to view Judaism in the 1930's, but with a lot more spaceships.

Now, some people may consider this decision to ban Cruise from filming discriminatory and have absolutely nothing to do with his film's plot or themes; but I disagree. Personally, I believe that preventing Tom Cruise from portraying Claus von Stauffenberg was a brilliant artistic decision made on behalf of the filmmakers by the German military. I mean, what better way to depict a "failed plot" to blow up Hitler than by preventing the the screenplay from making it to the big screen.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Chemical Ali Sentenced To Hang: Today's Cartoon

Iraq's notorious "Chemical Ali" was sentenced to hang for masterminding a military campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980's, which involved the use of chemical weapons on civilian targets. Yet, as horrific as those crimes were, I think it's important to note that it was during that time when the United States was supporting Iraq in its war against Iran that Saddam's regime obtained those WMD's and was enabled to use them.

Of course, that's not to say that the U.S. should bare any direct responsibility for what happened to the Kurds. I mean, the Reagan Administration only instructed Saddam on "how" to use those weapons, not "where"; and besides, there are SO many other uses for chemical agents than harming other people. For example, did you know that Hydrogen Cyanide could also be used to manufacture synthetic fibers?

So, whose to say that it wasn't the true intention of the White House to provide Saddam Hussein with the mean to manufacture and equip his entire army with an arsenal of tight spandex bicycle shorts, to confuse and frighten his enemies into submission... Now that's what I call "Shock and Awe" ;)

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Salman Rushdie Awarded British Knighthood: Today's Cartoon

Although the ceremony did have him kneeling and with a sword near his neck; for enemies of the British author Salman Rushdie, the end result was a HUGE disappointment.

The knighthood awarded to the controversial writer of "The Satanic Verses" has prompted protests and condemnation across the Islamic world, towards both Rushdie and the British monarchy. But more notably, the occasion has also served as a fresh reminder to many Muslims of the reasons and extent in which they disliked him in the first place.

Despite having a "fatwa" ordered against him lifted in 1998, attitudes towards Salman Rushdie have hardly changed as a result; basically, people either love him... or they want to chop his head off, which is why public praise and honors bestowed upon the author are often viewed as much in recognition of that controversy as it is a celebration of his literary work. And while the British officials may defend the decision to honor Rushdie with a knighthood, out of all the books he's written, most people can only think of one... and it's certainly not "Grimus".

Well, regardless of what other people may think of the recognition, to me it always seems more appropriate when a"Knight" is someone who could actually use a suit of armor.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Vatican Issues Commandments For Drivers: Today's Cartoon

Here's a better idea, how about instead of 10 commandments to improve conditions on the road, the Vatican just lets us borrow the "Popemobile" whenever we want. I mean, what better way to avoid road rage than a vehicle that cruises at around 12 mph and is flanked with its own bodyguards.

Now that the Vatican has issued its own set of driving instructions for Catholics, motorists talking on cell phone may become the least of your worries since the church has also endorsed praying while behind the wheel. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people conversing with the Almighty, but good luck trying to merge with their eyes shut and their hands clamped together.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bush and Olmert Endorse Abbas Government: Today's Cartoon

With the United States' standing in the world arguably at its lowest point in history, it's understandable that whenever President Bush appears "pleased" in the press, the international community tends to get a little nervous. Perhaps this is an unjust reaction to the Bush Administration's "good fortune"; but after six years of digging holes in the Middle East, one thing that appears certain is that "success" in that region does not just occur on its own, but is rather the "reward" of a lot of planning, determination and hard work, by those carrying the shovels.

During their strategy meeting at the White House, President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert tried their best to legitimize Mahmoud Abbas' new government, by promising to lift an embargo placed on Palestinians (but only in the West Bank) and improve diplomatic relations with Israel; but only on the condition that ties with Hamas remain severed. Now while this may improve some on the hardships endured by the Palestinian people, this strong-armed tactic does little to ease the suspicion that this was the goal of Israel and the United States all along.

The way I see it, if President Bush and Ehud Olmert really wanted to show their support for Mahmoud Abbas, then the last thing they should have done was express it publicly, so that Palestinians could know just how much they "approve" 0f him. Instead, what they should have done was keep their endorsement silent, or lament over the lost opportunity to forgive Hamas, by accepting their "forthcoming" apology. At least that way, the Palestinian people might not feel cheated out of anything and may be more willing to give this new government a chance to work instead.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rumsfeld Refuted on Abu Ghraib: Today's Cartoon

According to a scathing new report by investigative reporter Semour Hersh, not only did former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld know about the abuses taking place in Abu Ghraib prison, but he deliberately lied under oath to a Congressional committee about how much he knew of the scandal and when he initially found out.

In his testimony, Rumsfeld claimed that he only learned about the abuse when he saw the footage... after it was leaked to the public in early 2004. Before then, he had absolutely no idea that there was anything wrong in Iraq, because apparently he was too busy jamming his fingers in his ears and humming the "Star-Spangled Banner", to bother to find out.

You see, in the wonderful world of Donald Rumsfeld EVERYTHING is subjective and a simple matter of interpretation. While efforts may have been made to tell him about Abu Ghraib, Rumsfeld could still claim to have had no "prior knowledge" of the scandal because he was successfully able to ignore these attempts to inform him and thus avoid any responsibility for the situation.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Emergency Palestinian Government Sworn In: Today's Cartoon

As heated as the current situation in the Palestinian territory is, I think the one thing that everyone can agree on is that a "coup" did indeed take place; the question is, "by who?"...

The recent conflict between Hamas and Fatah has divided Palestinians both politically and now territorially, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with each side claiming governance of a particular region. Since the collapse of a unity government between the rival factions, Israel and the United States have immediately thrown its support behind Mahmud Abbas and his Fatah-led "emergency cabinet" by promising to lift sanctions in the West Bank, while further isolating Hamas, by locking them within a 40 km strip of coast along the Mediterranean.

As a result, Palestinians living in the West Bank will most likely be used as examples to those in Gaza, of the benefits they can expect by removing Hamas from power.

So, not only can it be agreed upon that "coup" took place in the Palestinian Territory; but I also believe that the objective was the same, regardless of the perpetrator, because if this was Hamas' idea of a hostile takeover, then they themselves are their own worst enemy.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Scooter Libby Ordered to Jail: Today's Cartoon

While I get the feeling that pardoning Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice is a forgone conclusion, I think the Bush Administration would much rather have waited until their last day in office, than be forced into it sooner by judge's ruling ordering the former White House aide to begin serving his two and a half year sentence.

Basically, I don't believe that Libby would have engaged in this sort of bondage activity if there wasn't a prearranged "safe word" for him to get him out of trouble... and my guess is that word is "jail".

As long a Libby's lawyers could use the appeals process as a means of keeping their client out of prison before January 20th 2009, the Bush Administration could hold off using its pardon and save it as a going away present to the American people. But, if those efforts fail and the White House is forced to use it before they leave office, not only will they ruin the surprise, but they will have to contend with an angry public, upset over the crummy gift they received.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Iraq's Golden Mosque Attacked... Again: Today Cartoon

The way I see it, the second bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra could be perceived in two entirely different ways (depending on your allegiance to Bush Administration)... Either it could be seen as an act of "desperation" by terrorists, determined to provoke a full-scale civil war between Sunnis and Shiites; or, it could viewed as them just being extremely thorough in their efforts.

Yet whatever the interpretation of it may be, the grim fact remains that in Iraq, high profile religious shrines can be targeted repeatedly and seemingly not lose any of it's initial outrage, no matter how many times the place gets blown up.

To me, this seems like an act of desperation in the same sense that when a child plays their favorite video game, they know that when the going gets tough there will always be a handy "cheat code" near-by to help make things a lot easier for them. For the "terrorists" in Iraq, Samarra's Golden Mosque is like one big "Mario square" that will keep dispensing extra lives, no matter how many times it gets hit.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fatah, Hamas Escalate Violence in Gaza: Today's Cartoon

The escalation of violence between Palestinian militants has the region on the brink of yet another civil conflict, being fueled with the aid and encouragement of other countries. Much in the way Iran has been accused of undermining the Iraqi government by supplying weapons and training to militias, the United States is being criticized for its support of Fatah and their efforts to bring down the "democratically elected" Hamas government in Palestinian territory.

Of course, each scenario has its differences and complexities which set them apart from each other; but one thing appears universal in the Middle East and that is that none of these "civil conflicts" seem possible without foreign influences, meddling in that country's affairs.

Now that's not to say that if there was no outside interference there would be no internal conflicts; but at least if there were, its outcome would be determined solely by the people of that country and vastly improve the chances of establishing any sort of stability. You see, I believe that a country always receives the government it deserves; whether it be democratic, communist or authoritarian, because basically its people will either learn to accept what they have or they will choose to resist it. It should never be up to another country to make that decision for them; because right or wrong, each government is a representation of the people, who enable it to remain in power.

With regards to the Middle East, I think the best thing the international community can do is allow each country to determine its own leadership, without any outside interference and then deal directly with those governments to improve relations, establish trust and gradually work to bring about the changes they desire.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sopranos Finale: Today's Cartoon

A lot has been made of the final episode of "The Sopranos"; particularly the last scene, which cuts abruptly and leaves viewers uncertain as to the fate of the main characters. Some fans have expressed disappointment over the ambiguous nature of this conclusion, while others have applauded the finale for the exact same reason.

Basically, by setting up a final scenario, the writers have left it entirely up to the audience to decide what ultimately happens to the Soprano characters. This way, fans of the show are free to imagine the sort of ending that they want, while producers don't have to worry about presenting them with one that they don't. Personally, I prefer the idea that Tony Soprano got "whacked" in revenge for his hit on Phil Leotardo... because that for me is the best ending *I* can make, out of the pieces of information I was given.

It's certainly a clever way to finish a TV series, but the vague conclusion does make me glad that I don't have HBO. I mean, what's the point of paying for cable to watch a show that actually plays a lot better in my mind, for free?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Bush Receives Hero's Welcome in Albania: Today's Cartoon

In a rare occurrence, President Bush got some much needed good publicity for a change; when during a visit to Albania, his support for an independent Kosovo earned him a "hero's welcome" from thousands of supporters.

I have to admit that when I first heard that President Bush was treated like a "rock star" in Albania, my initial reaction was to wonder what exactly Albanians had against musicians; but apparently, this was a good thing. Now, I'm not too familiar with the music scene in Albania; but if George W. Bush is their idea of an "American Idol", then maybe that's a good thing since the only instrument I've ever heard him play are the drums of war.

By using Kosovo as the backdrop for his visit, not only did President Bush ensure himself of a fantastic photo-op, but yet another opportunity to undermine the Putin government, while touring through Europe. First, by dismissing Russia's threat to target European cities over the construction of a U.S. missile defense shield and now by challenging the Kremlin's vow to veto any U.N. resolution that supports independence for Kosovo.

As much as I would like to think that the Bush Administration has the region's best interests in mind. This to me seems more like a game of oneupmanship between two former cold-war rivals, whose leaders appear stuck in some sort of 1970's mindset... which for President Bush, wasn't exactly his most "memorable" decade either.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Hilton Released From Jail: Today's Cartoon

So much for wishful thinking... Paris Hilton is out of jail and back in the news just three days into her sentence, after suffering an undisclosed mental illness that I can only assume is somehow related to spending her brief time in prison THINKING about ways to make the world a better place.

You know, as much as prison must have been a shocking experience for Ms. Hilton, it was nowhere near as difficult as it was for the American mainstream media, who were forced to go three whole days without their favorite "guilty" pleasure. But now that they are reunited and stronger than ever, the cable "news" networks can go back to stalking this mentally-challenged woman, while the rest of us continue to follow real current events, online.

As far as Paris Hilton getting out of jail early... of course celebrity, wealth and privilege played a part in it, because "mental problems" were what got her locked up in the first place. Being released after three days just proves that while she may have been nuts enough to go in, she was certainly sane enough to get back out.

To me, this is like a Hollywood re-make of the "Great Escape"; except this time, it's the dirty hole that gets away :)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Guantanamo Detainee's Charges Dropped: Today's Cartoon

Despite a military court's decision to throw out the charges against two Guantanamo detainees for failing to meet the criteria of an "unlawful enemy combatant", it doesn't look like the United States is going to allow any of them to start swimming home anytime soon.

I find it extremely troubling that after ditching the Geneva conventions to "accommodate" these so-called terror suspects in the first place; five years later, not only is the United States still not able to convict any of these individuals through their secret military tribunals, but they don't even have enough of a case to bring them before this "kangaroo court" in the first place.

It seems to me that support for America's "War on Terror" is based mainly on two (unwaivering) core beliefs; those being the Bush Administration's "official" account of 9/11 and their justification for Guantanamo Bay. So it should come as no surprise that as support for the White House continues to decline (both in the U.S. and around the world) more questions are being raised over the legitimacy of these claims.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paris Hilton Goes to Jail: Today's Cartoon

If Paris Hilton is using her time in jail to decide how to solve the world's problems, the Bush Administration may want to consider checking her into Guantanamo Bay; because she's definitely got a lot of thinking to do.

Personally, I believe that the best thing Ms. Hilton can do to make the world a better place is exactly what she's doing right now... isolating herself from the media and allowing the public the opportunity to hopefully get some real news for a change. Still, it's unfortunate that for someone who is wishing to make a positive impact on society, the only meaningful contribution this "celebrity socialite" can make is to remain out of it for (hopefully) the next three weeks.

Then again, perhaps the time in the big house might also work to Ms. Hilton's benefit. Of course, by that I don't mean "rehabilitation", but rather the spawning of yet another ridiculous trend to be emulated by her young admirers. Who knows; pretty soon going to jail could be viewed in the same manner as someone getting a barbwire tattoo around their arm. While once upon a time it may have made people look threatening and dangerous, eventually everybody starts doing it and all of a sudden it becomes nothing more than a permanent mark of conformity... on their criminal record.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Putin Threatens West Over Defense Shield: Today's Cartoon

It looks like it may be time to thaw out those old "Cold War" civil defense drills again. So remember kids, if you see a bright flash in the sky immediately stop what your doing, get down under cover, stick your head between your legs... and kiss your derrière adiós.

For those of us that missed out on the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960's, America's plan to build a "missile defense shield" on Russia's doorstep could provide this generation with the opportunity to experience the same fear of impending nuclear annihilation that was only read about in history classes and depicted in movies, like "Threads"... My how far we've come in 40 years.

For their part, the Bush Administration claims that this proposed missile defense system is intended solely to prevent attacks by "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea. Now, while Iran is still years away from actually developing nuclear weapons, North Korea does have the capability and the means to use them on other countries; which is why a European missile defense system is so important to protecting America against an Asian country that apparently has no sense of direction.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Jack Kevorkian Released From Prison: Today's Cartoon

I find it interesting that one of the conditions of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's parole is that he can neither assist nor advise anybody in regards to ending their own life; because technically it means that he could be thrown back in jail for something as simple as telling a critic to take a long walk off a short pier.

You know, eight years is a long time for someone to spend in prison; especially when their crime is also a "cause" which many people believe should be legal. To them, Dr. Kevorkian acted to fulfill the wishes of his patients by assisting them to do what they would have otherwise done on their own, if they were well enough to do it... just not healthy to the point that they would reconsider.

Yet contrary to this belief, in the United States the right to life is universal; which means that if someone wants to help other people end their lives, they first must seek congressional authorization to "liberate" that country... and put the poor souls out of their misery.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

The Arrest of the Spam King: Today's Cartoon

While the arrest of the infamous "Spam King" may be good news for people who are tired of receiving junk emails in their inbox, it is most certainly a sad day for all those Nigerian bankers in desperate need of a patsy to help them launder the assets of some deceased shipping magnate. In fact, I've heard that the Nigerian flag is now flying at half-staff.

Speaking of which, for anyone holding out for a better offer on erection pills, this may be your last chance to reclaim your manhood with some cheap Viagra that tastes suspiciously like "Boo-Berry" cereal... but a great deal nonetheless.

So now that the "Spam King" has officially been dethroned, there will no doubt be some sort of power-vacuum within the kingdom of unsolicited emails; one that will most likely get filled (like everything else) with even more spam. Hmm... I wonder if the King will be allowed any prison pen pals; and if so, do you think they will be interested in adding three more inches to the size of their penis?

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