Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blackwater Contractors Get Iraq Immunity: Today's Cartoon

You know, with all the reports about Blackwater lately, I get the impression that if the United States government was as interested in protecting Iraqi citizens as they are the security contractors that shoot them, they probably wouldn't have to worry as much about doing either. I mean, how can they possibly expect to gain hearts and minds; when at the same time, they are dealing guns and ammo... and immunity from prosecution?

For its part, the Iraqi government is at least unified in its response to pass a new law, revoking the blanket legal protection granted to foreign security firms, since 2004. Unfortunately, this assertive act by parliament which would otherwise be celebrated by the Bush Administration as a sign of Iraq's fledgling independence, may instead become it's own undoing; as its decision to defy Washington and protect its citizens, may turn out to prove just how little control the Iraqi government actually has over the safety and well-being of its own people.

In which case, I say that if Iraqis can't beat Blackwater, they might as well join it... as private security "sub-contractors". Just take a page out of China's play book and offer to do the same job at a fraction of the cost and I'm fairly certain that Iraq would be able to gain its security back from the United States in no time ;)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

British Royal Blackmail Scandal: Today's Cartoon

I must say that despite all the scandals and controversies which surround the British Royal family, I'm not the least bit surprised that it's been over a century since someone has actually tried to blackmail Buckingham palace. I mean, what's the point of risking jail for a few thousands quid, when the same bloke can simply go to the tabloids and get a lot more for his (and the monarchy's) trouble?

Now, I'm not going to speculate as to which one it was (this time) that got caught polishing their crown jewels; as far as I'm concerned, if it weren't for creating scandals and making commoners feel morally superior, the Royal House of Windsor would have gone the way of the Hammer House of Horror a long time ago.

That's not to say that the British monarchy does not still serve a purpose, other than providing content for gossip rags, entertainment shows... and the occasional editorial cartoon :) It's just that they have a lot of free time to fill in between Garden parties.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Rumsfeld Faces Torture Charges In France: Today's Cartoon

Alright, so it may not be "official" (at least not yet) but even the rumor of Donald Rumsfeld fleeing French authorities after a human rights group filed a criminal complaint against the former Defense Secretary during a visit to France, is enough to at least convince me of people's optimism... as well as their sense of humor.

Now perhaps I've seen too many "Pink Panther" movies, but since we are speculating on information provided to us by "unconfirmed sources", allow me to use mine to envision a bumbling French inspector in hot pursuit of an equally "Clouseau-esque" (yet tragically less funny) U.S. Defense Secretary; so that if the story turns out to be untrue, at least my version of it would make for an entertaining screenplay.

All kidding aside, I think what is most important to note about this rumor is that while people debate whether or not Donald Rumsfeld actually faces arrest in France on charges of war crimes stemming from the authorization of torture in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, no one seems to be arguing that he shouldn't... which for me, makes the possibility that he might, appear all the more believable.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

US Tightens Sanctions Against Iran: Today's Cartoon

Now, I'm not saying that the Bush Administration is "lying" when it claims that Iran is building a nuclear weapon; but after leading its country into Iraq under suspiciously similar circumstances, trying to convince the world of yet another unsubstantiated threat that only they can see (and prevent) may be about as difficult as Dick Cheney trying to turn a "Q" into an "N".

The thing is, if the United States was serious about deterring Iran from producing a bomb, I really don't think that they would be trying to isolate it through sanctions and in effect turn it into the North Korea of the Middle East, where the threat of nuclear annihilation becomes its sole bargaining lever.

The way I see it, if Iran wasn't interested in manufacturing nuclear weapons before the United States decided to tighten its sanctions against them, this economic white glove across the face may be the motivation they need... and the justification that Bush Administration is looking for.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Condoleezza Caught Red Handed by Protester: Today's Cartoon

I wonder if the protester that waved her blood-colored hands in the face of Condoleezza Rice before her testimony at a Congressional hearing did so because she couldn't get into a taping of "Real Time with Bill Maher" instead.

It seems to me that recently the U.S. anti-war movement has decided to really step up its efforts to get its message heard by the mainstream media... whether they want to listen to it, or not. By disrupting live news programs and press events, it appears that anti-war protesters are able to sneak up and catch these corporate media outlets at their most vulnerable and take that opportunity to fire an unfiltered shot across the bow of the American war propaganda machine.

Now usually these "breaches" only last for a few short moments before security drags off the intruder and the program (or should I say "programming") resumes as normal. But thanks to the internet and sites like Youtube, what was only seen and heard briefly can now be shared and repeated countless times, to the point where the incident overshadows the event itself.

To me this strategy of protesters using the inherent weakness of the corporate media to help promote their agenda would be effective, provided that people were interested in what political figures like Condoleezza Rice have to say in the first place... which for the most part, they are not. Instead it seems that Americans are far more interested in celebrities than they are in politics; and for their part, the corporate "news" excels at feeding this demand.

So, with all the coverage the media provides, it would seem logical that there are plenty more opportunities for the anti-war movement to get their message out by following Britney Spears on a trip to McDonald's than there is waiting in the lobby for members of the Bush Administration to appear before Congress. After all, it's not like everyone is as interested in watching C-SPAN as they are.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harry Potter Author Outs Gay Character: Today's Cartoon

Personally, I'm not "buying" J.K. Rowling's attempt to sell more books by revealing that characters from her popular "Harry Potter" series are suddenly gay. The way I see it, if "Dumbledore" the wizard was actually a homosexual, it would have been revealed in the story, since the character does not exist in any other capacity. In other words, if it doesn't happen on the page, it doesn't happen at all (unless of course, it happens in the movie).

To me, the idea of an author assigning traits to a character after their work is finished, makes me wonder why they even bother writing in the first place, when apparently it's much easier for them to just explain everything to you. I mean, throughout seven books, it is not like Rowling didn't have ample opportunity to reveal her character's sexuality to the reader... that is, if it mattered at all to the plot and she had actually decided he was gay while writing the series.

Now, I'm not saying that a whole lot of effort needed to be made to make the sexual orientation of Dumbledore more apparent in the book; in fact, I'm pretty sure that a scene with the wizard using his magic to score "Coldplay" tickets would have done the "trick" ;)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Schwarzenegger Battles California Wildfires: Today's Cartoon

With all the earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires that California endures on a routine basis, it seems to me that Arnold Schwarzenegger has experienced more "action" as Governor than he did as a movie star throughout the entire 1980's... However, unlike "Red Sonja", these disasters are much more difficult for people to walk out on.

Perhaps I STILL have a hard time accepting him in an actual leadership role; but honestly, how bizarre a scenario is it when you've got the President of the United States phoning up "The Terminator" to offer his assistance in dealing with a real emergency, in which hundreds of thousands of lives are in danger... I mean, wasn't this the same President who stayed on vacation during Hurricane Katrina?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Bill Maher Heckled by 9/11 Truthers: Today's Cartoon

Personally, I think Bill Maher may have been too hasty to have vocal members of the 9/11 "truth" movement removed from the audience during a live airing of his political debate program; in fact, if interest in this incident is any indication of the sort of ratings that he could be receiving, he may wish to have these people back on his show... if for no other reason than so he can throw them out again.

As far as 9/11 theories go, I tend to believe that if people can look past all the lies and deceptions perpetrated by the Bush Administration in the years since the attacks and are still able to accept their explanation for the event without the slightest hesitation, then there is really no point to try to challenge them on those views, since apparently they don't have any. And like a young child being shaken from a deep sleep, all you'll get for your effort is a tantrum of obscenity in return.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Bomb Attack Ruins Bhutto Homecoming: Today's Cartoon

Despite the concerns of authorities and knowing herself that she was a target of terrorists, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto decided to go ahead with her slow moving procession through the crowded streets of Karachi; and thus set the stage for the worst bomb attack in Pakistan's history.

Upon her return from exile, Bhutto expressed confidence in her belief that she would not be harmed, because attacks against women were forbidden by Islam. Unfortunately that "guaranteed" security did not extend to the crowds of supporters outside of the armored bus she was riding in.

Now obviously those who carried out this heinous attack are the ones directly responsible taking the lives of over 125 people; but by shrugging off security concerns leading up to the bombing, Benazir Bhutto certainly did her part to ensure the high body count... which leads me to wonder which is her bigger concern, the votes or the voters?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Turkey Approves Actions Against Iraq: Today's Cartoon

When President Bush says that the possibility of Turkey invading Iraq in response to "terrorism" would not be in their interest, I believe him; after all, he's speaking from over four years of experience. It's just too bad that no one was around to tell him the same thing... oh wait, there was.

Now, I'm not condoning the invasion of Iraq, but if the Bush Administration felt justified to do it out of fear of an "imaginary" threat, then what right do they have to say that other countries can't do it; especially in response to ACTUAL attacks?

While the "Pottery Barn rule" that former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell famously assigned to America's occupation of Iraq may have been "you break, it you own it", in the years since it "broke" this has seemingly become less of a consequence and more of an incentive for other countries to march into the store as well.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dalai Lama Visits White House: Today's Cartoon

I wonder which was the more difficult decision for the United States to make; denoucing the Armenian genocide and offending Turkey, or honouring the Dalai Lama and upsetting China... Then again, I guess it doesn't matter, since the *easiest* choice was to go ahead and do both.

The way I see it, if the Bush Administration was already hurting its relationship with China by hosting the Dalai Lama in the first place, then they might as well have gone all the way and allowed President Bush to ride him on the White House lawn, as he originally intended. I mean, if the Queen of England's visit last spring is any indication of what the "God-king" of Tibet can expect from an encounter with the "Man-child" of Washington, then perhaps China was a little too quick to condemn the meeting.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Putin Dismisses Alleged Plot Threat: Today's Cartoon

You know, if we're to believe that Vladimir Putin is not concerned about an alleged assassination plot during his trip to Iran because he doesn't listen to special services, then I can certainly understand why it is that they don't want him to ever leave home.

Then again, it must be tough for the Russian president to take any threat seriously when apparently his own security detail is far more concerned (or lazy) about going outside than he is.

While Putin has been able to craft an image of himself as a strong, determined leader, I'm not so sure that the same can be said about Russian security; whom Putin has seemingly dismissed as a bunch of "nervous nellies" and brushed off, along with the latest threat against him.

Now, I understand that you can't live your life in fear; but then, these alleged plotters are not exactly trying to "scare" Vladimir Putin. So let's hope that if he doesn't take the threat seriously, he will still at least decide to wear a vest... bulletproof or otherwise.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize: Today's Cartoon

So much for thinking that Jimmy Carter would be the last American to win the Nobel Peace Prize; though in my defense, I will say that it must have been a difficult choice for the committee to make, as an award that is traditionally given to individuals in recognition of peace negotiations and human rights was instead awarded to an environmental activist.

Now, I not trying to downplay Al Gore's hard work and accomplishments, but the way I see it, if all it takes to win a Nobel Prize is to make documentaries that "raise awareness" of important issues, then why hasn't Michael Moore won the award already?... Probably because the foundation isn't trying to encourage him to run for President in 2008 ;)

It's strange to think that an award as prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize would be given to someone in advance of their deeds (or even to encourage them in the first place). I mean, if we're to believe that Gore is deserving such distinction through a documentary and rock concert, then imagine the far greater impact he could make as "leader of the free world". In which case, this year's prize could be interpreted less as a "reward" and more as an "investment" on Al Gore's (future) legacy, as President of the United States.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Turkey Recalls U.S. Ambassador: Today's Cartoon

You know, it seems like every time the U.S. tries to do something noble, they somehow manage to make things a lot worse for themselves.

By passing a Congressional bill that officially recognizes the Armenian genocide (92 years after the fact), the United States has waited until the worst possible time for it to finally express an opinion on the matter... and in doing so, may end up losing a key ally in it's "war on terror".

I mean, in all those years in which America could have said something and risk offending Turkey, they instead have decided to do it at a time when they actually can't (with it threatening to cut off its cooperation and support of U.S. operations in Iraq).

Now I don't mean to appear insensitive, but after 92 years why is America suddenly interested in recognizing the Armenian genocide, at the risk of losing its strategic alliance with Turkey? ...After all, it's not like history is going anywhere.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Carter Says US Tortures Detainees: Today's Cartoon

While term limits may prevent U.S. presidents from serving more than eight years in office, the way I see it, since Jimmy Carter only served four, he should still be eligible for re-election, 30 years later. Then again, I get the impression that he probably prefers the freedom that comes outside of Washington, of being able to speak the truth of his country and not have to worry about the "political" fallout from it.

It seems to me that if the United States is ever going to repair its tattered image abroad, Jimmy Carter is just about the only American figure who is still respected enough around the world to do it... the only problem is that the Bush Administration is keeping him hard at work criticizing it, instead.

You see, despite what pundits may think of his presidency, Jimmy Carter has since gone on to build an impressive portfolio of public service outside the narrow realm of US politics (which has even earned him the distinction of possibly being the last American to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize). Now as a humanitarian, his efforts already made George W. Bush pale in comparison; but as a respected critic of his administration, Jimmy Carter makes President Bush appear even worse than he does on his own (if that's even possible).

This is problematic in the sense that while Carter can definitely help to improve America's foreign image, his outspokenness against the current government can also contribute substantially towards its steady deterioration... making it that much more difficult for this 83 year-old to fix, if he ever gets the chance.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Iraq Demands Compensation From Blackwater: Today's Cartoon

Despite the insurgents and sectarian militias, it would appear that the greatest threat to Iraq's fledgling "democracy" is actually the private security firms, which seemingly operate with impunity and undermine the authority and credibility of the Iraq's "freely-elected" government.

After ordering the expulsion of "Blackwater" from Iraq following a recent civilian shooting incident in Baghdad, not only was the demand of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki not taken seriously by the company, it also failed as a warning to other security firms to reevaluate their rules of "engagement", as civilian shootings continue to occur.

While some may question the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, the fact of the matter is that in order to at least create the "impression" of a functioning democracy, a "sovereign" state should be permitted to exercise its right to self-determination, even if the outcome is akin to a puppet having an abdominoperineal resection.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Britian To Halve Iraq Force: Today's Cartoon

The way I see it, Britain's decision to reduce its commitment in Iraq from 5000 to 2500 troops by next spring sends a clear message to the Bush Administration that its "policy" must be working.

You see, the longer the United States must fight in the region, the more debt it will need to incur in order to secure its claim to third largest oil reserve in the world, which also means that the less the U.S. can afford to share this immense wealth with the rest of its coalition. So, what better way to avoid splitting the spoils among their allies than by getting them to split, period.

While the Bush Administration may have wanted a multinational force to help shoulder the burden of removing Saddam Hussein, now that he's gone, what they want is to figure out a way to remove this coalition from Iraq as well... which they seem to have succeeded at brilliantly, by allowing the entire nation to fall into chaos; thus forcing their allies out of the country and away from its natural resources.

Now if only the White House could have schemed its way to the oil itself, it would've *almost* been worth the effort... at least financially.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Marion Jones Admits Steroid Use: Today's Cartoon

When Marion Jones said that she had asked God for forgiveness after she admitted to lying about taking performance enhancing drugs before the 2000 Olympics, I wonder if this was the same "God" who had apparently provided her with the steroids -- I mean the "God-given abilities" which she claimed to have.

I mean really, how much sympathy can she expect to get from a God whom she thought didn't exist enough to care about being used as a false front for her "sinful" behavior?

Then again, if God was indeed responsible for Marion Jones' steroid use, then perhaps by praying for forgiveness what she is actually doing is apologizing for getting busted in the hope that he won't do anything to her, out of fear that she will accept a plea deal and testify against him ;)

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Diana Inquiry Unsure Of Pregnancy: Today's Cartoon

The way I see it, if Mohamed al Fayed can help convince the High Court of London to set up yet another inquiry into the tragic 1997 car crash which took the life of his son and Princess Diana, based on "conspiracy theories", then perhaps he could also work his magic in pressuring an American court to hold a public inquiry into the events of 9/11. I mean, who knows?... Maybe Prince Philip was behind that as well.

To me, the belief that the British Royal family orchestrated the accident which claimed the life of Princess Diana because she was having a Muslim baby is the basis for this investigation, so the fact that no one can prove or discredit the claim that Lady Di was actually pregnant kind of makes this latest attempt at resolution a bit of a wasted exercise, since it will do nothing to address this conspiracy theory.

You see, in this day and age when suspicion of authority has become the new favorite pastime, anything other than "indisputable evidence" only serves to validate the notion of a cover-up; in which case, the fact that there is no indisputable evidence IS the indisputable evidence.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

North Korea To Dismantle Nuclear Program: Today's Cartoon

With North Korea's pledge to disclose and dismantle its nuclear program coinciding with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's diplomatic visit to Pyongyang, it would appear that the regime of Kim Jong-il has been able to use the international spotlight on Iran to help improve its own standing in the world.

Much like after 9/11, when pressure was being put on Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya saw this as a chance for it to shed its own distinction as a "state sponsor of terrorism" by formally renouncing its WMD program at a time when doing so would benefit them the most in return. So, it seems to me that North Korea may be exhibiting the same sense of opportunity as Libya, by formally renouncing it's own WMD program ahead of a confrontation with another country over theirs.

You know, I wonder if any of these "rogue states" actually do develop these weapons with the intentions of using them against the United States... I mean, other than as a negotiating lever.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blackwater Defends Reputation Before Congress: Today's Cartoon

Didn't the Rolling Stones teach us anything about the dangers of hiring "private contractors" for security operations, back in 1969?

The way I see it, if it's illegal for civilians to impersonate police officers then it should also be prohibited for them to pretend to be soldiers; especially in Iraq, where their questionable conduct is frequently being mistaken for that of U.S. troops, whose reputation is tarnished enough, due to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

It seems fairly obvious to me that US officials would not have to outsource responsibility in order to avoid accountability in Iraq, if they just didn't do it to begin with. By bringing in private contractors with virtually no oversight, the Bush Administration has created from the onset the conditions for the inevitable fallout, which we are just now beginning to read about. I mean why else would a government need to rely on a company like Blackwater to buffer itself from the consequences of their actions, if it weren't for those actions creating the need to distance themselves from it?

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Britney Spears Loses Custody of Children: Today's Cartoon

My guess is that if America's mainstream media were to focus as much attention on the well-being of the "kids" serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as they do the health and safety of Britney Spears' children, the Bush administration would have lost "custody" a long time ago.

You know, it never seems to fail that at a time when the U.S. needs to pay attention to serious matters, their press allow themselves (yet again) to become distracted by the tabloid wing of their "news" department and the latest gossip surrounding the former marginally-talented pop singer and bad actress, Britney Spears. I mean, with all of this coverage being devoted to her during TWO controversial wars, I am beginning to wonder if whether this troubled celebrity needs help... or a commendation from the White House.

If anything, the reporting on Britney Spear's custody battle at least proves that the American mainstream media is still "capable" of investigative journalism... even if it apparently has no idea what it should be investigating.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

UN Envoy Sent To Myanmar: Today's Cartoon

Say what you will about permanent members of the security council undermining the authority and the integrity of the United Nations, but when countries like Myanmar are permitted to conduct atrocities against their own people, without any sort of concern towards the international community, you really have to wonder how much "authority" it actually has in the first place.

I mean, it wasn't like world leaders didn't know what was going to happen, since practically the same thing occurred in 1988. And even then, nothing was done because of it. Just as nothing was done when Saddam gassed the Kurds (Hmm... 1988 was a bad year for the UN).

You know, it just doesn't make any sense to me why certain states seem all too willing to enforce "democracy" upon nation's that don't even want it, yet stand by and watch passively as the people that actually do get their teeth kicked in because of it.

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