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This weekly diary takes a look at the past week's important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist's message.

:: ::
A Spectre is Haunting Cuba — the Spectre of Marxism

John Trever, Albuquerque Journal

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).


It is an interesting contrast both in terms of style and deeds.

On the international front, Barack Obama made a major speech last week from Cairo, Egypt and one which reaffirmed American values of fairness and justice.  He presented himself as an honest broker and indicated that he was willing to spend political capital in order to resolve thorny issues which have bedeviled that part of the world for decades. By toning down his predecessor's inflammatory rhetoric, he expounded on a blueprint that seeks reconciliation between the West and the Islamic World.  

On the other hand, with two high-profile cases of violence in recent days, the level of paranoia and hate is rising for some inexplicable set of reasons among the Radical Right in this country.  Why these divergent trends?  Is it the weak economy, resentment caused by a large influx of immigrants, growing frustration over their own inadequacies and failures, easy access to guns, unwillingness to accept Obama as the country's first African-American leader, or some other irrational motive that explains this criminal, hateful, and abhorrent behavior by fringe elements of the Loony Right?  Even if tarred unfairly with a broad brush for the crimes of a few sympathizers, it sometimes seems that the once-formidable conservative movement is in total political meltdown.

Will the political -- and real -- bleeding stop anytime soon?

Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Jeff Danziger, Syndicated Political Cartoonist

John Sherffius, Boulder Daily Camera

Matt Bors, Idiot Box  

David Horsey, Seattle Post Intelligencer

Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE)

:: ::

2. Obama on the World Stage: Bridging the Divide

Foreign policy is the collective face a nation puts forth for the rest of the world to accept or reject; admire or detest; cooperate with or defy; and emulate or ignore.  The purpose of conducting an effective foreign policy is not just to advance our "vital national interests" but also to project our values of fairness, cooperation, and morality for mutual benefit.  Rather than employing the Lockean approach advocated by Obama to foster international cooperation, the Bush Administration had, over the years, slithered deeper and deeper into their Hobbesian cocoon of paranoia while embracing every "all against all" conflict - one after another.  The consequences were disastrous.

A review of post-World War II American foreign policy suggests more continuity than change from one administration to another.  Hence, the skepticism expressed in this diary about Obama achieving meaningful change in the Middle East is, well, mostly justified.  Results always trump rhetoric.

Yet, I remain optimistic.  I'm aware that Obama's speech is only a first step in restoring some sanity to the practice of international relations.  Skeptical concerns notwithstanding, his speech may already have had an impact.

Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), The Economist (UK)

Cal Grondahl, Utah Standard Examiner

Don Wright, Palm Beach Post

Chip Bok, Akron Beacon-Journal

RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Stavro, Al Balad (Beirut, Lebanon)

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dario Castillejos, Imparcial de Oaxaca (Mexico)

:: ::

3. Hate Talk Begets Hate Crimes

A particular trend that has manifested itself with increasing intensity in the past decade: the positing of elimination as the solution to political disagreement.  Rather than engaging in a dialogue over political and cultural issues, one side simply dehumanizes its opponents and suggests, and at times demands, their excision.  This tendency is almost singularly peculiar to the American Right and manifests itself in many venues: on radio talk shows and in political speeches, in bestselling books and babbling blogs. Most of all, we can feel it on the ground: in our everyday lives, in our encounters, big and small, with each other.

David Neiwert, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right


Earlier this week I posted two cartoons here and here which received an unusually high number of recommends and were widely seen (even on other web sites) according to my photobucket 'stats dashboard.'  The editorial cartoons highlighted the hypocrisy of the "Pro-life" movement and their tendency to resort to violence, as Neiwert points above.  

I received the following email from someone who wasn't pleased

I saw that pro-life cartoon you posted on DK.


It's just too bad that you were not one of those thousands of lives killed by Tiller the Killer.

In the days since white supremacist James von Brunn gunned down and killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., most of the reactions on web sites such as FreeRepublic.com can be distilled as such: von Brunn isn't one of us.  

As you can determine from the below editorial cartoons, many cartoonists aren't buying that argument    

Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News

Tom Toles, Washington Post

Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons

Walt Handelsman, Newsday

Barry Deutsch, leftycartoons.com

Mike Keefe, Denver Post

Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record

John Deering, Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal

:: ::

4. No Universal Healthcare: A National Shame.

Among the wealthy industrialized countries, only the United states does not provide universal healthcare to its citizens.  Is momentum building to change this ugly fact?  A recent Diageo/Hotline Poll showed the following results:
62% of voters support a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system.
38% of voters strongly supporting a major overhaul.
About 1/3rd or 35% of Republicans are in favor.
64% of Independent voters likewise.
Perhaps to no one's surprise, 87% of Democratic voters support a major overhaul of health care.
This article in the New York Review of Books explains the most controversial aspect of the Obama Plan (I encourage you to read it)
A central feature of Obama's campaign proposal for health care was the so-called "public option," by which the government could set up its own insurance company to compete with private insurers.  This is the most controversial part of Obama's plan, and the most emotionally charged.  It is emerging as a litmus test both for the powerful lobbies arrayed against it (insurers, doctors, and hospitals) and for liberals who want serious reform.

To the lobbyists, this is the dreaded "socialized medicine" that will limit consumer choice (though it will not, in fact) and get the government in the business of setting standards of care and reimbursement rates to doctors and hospitals.  For the liberals, a public option is useful only if it's like Medicare, i.e., fully backed by a government that can support it with taxes and appropriations.

Republicans will oppose a public option, and many moderate Democrats are dubious about whether it's worth falling on their swords over it. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has proposed creating a public health insurance plan, but one that would have to sustain itself on the premiums and co-payments paid by policyholders.

Ed Stein, United Media

R.J. Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Bruce Plante, Tulsa World

Jeff Danziger, Syndicated Political Cartoonist

Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe

Ben Sargent, Universal Press Syndicate

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer

:: ::

5. Republicans: Out of This World

Almost 40% of Republicans are down on their own party and given this fact, two interviews by prominent Republicans tell the tale of the modern G.O.P.

Mike Murphy, political strategist and former senior adviser to John McCain in the 2000 McCain Campaign, has a simple message: demography is destiny

Despairing Republican friends have been asking me what I think we should do to rebuild the GOP and begin our certain and inevitable comeback. My answer disappoints them: 'Build an ark.' I say this because I've made a career out of counting votes, and the numbers tell a clear story; the demographics of America are changing in a way that is deadly for the Republican Party as it exists today...

Young voters need to see a GOP that is more socially libertarian, particularly toward gay rights.  With changing demographics come changing attitudes, and aping the grim town elders from Footloose is not the path back to a Republican White House.  The pro-life movement can still be a central part of the GOP — it has support among all ages (and a slim majority of Latino voters) — but the overall GOP view on abortion must aggressively embrace the big tent.

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) acknowledged the party's negative reputation and explained it this way
We're digging ourselves out of a deep hole.  We took it in the shorts with Bush-Cheney, the Iraq War, and by sacrificing fiscal responsibility to hold power.

Tim Eagan, Deep Cover

John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune

Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com

Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com

Jeff Danziger, Syndicated Political Cartoonist

RJ Matson, Roll Call

Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly

J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register

Jerry Holbert, Boston Herald

:: ::

6. Pray, Do Tell

Jerry Holbert, Boston Herald

John Sherffius, Boulder Daily Camera

Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

:: ::

7. Final Thoughts

Are you prone to exaggerating facts once in awhile?

Lloyd Dangle, Troubletown

:: ::

A Note About the Diary Poll

Francis Fukuyama's book The End of History and the Last Man from the early 1990's was a premature case of Neoconservative triumphalism.  While a huge relief to most of humanity, the end of the Cold War did not signify that Western liberal democracy had emerged as the preferred and ultimate form of universal government.  Many other factors account for various models of governance around the world.  

Witness the myriad of problems posed by the countries I've listed in the diary poll.  Most of the world's danger spots lie in regions where democracy -- let alone liberal democracy -- remains an elusive dream.  It would be a daunting task for any president to confront these problems, let alone one who trying his darndest to resuscitate the country's weak economy while attempting to pass unprecedented legislation in healthcare and other areas.  

This is the unstable world that Barack Obama inherited from the rubble of ideas and deeds left by the astounding incompetence and criminality of the Bush Regime.

Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to JekyllnHyde on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:18 PM PDT.


In the Coming Months and Years, Which of These International Problems Will Pose the TOUGHEST Challenge to the Obama Administration?

0%0 votes
4%5 votes
27%34 votes
4%6 votes
3%4 votes
7%9 votes
2%3 votes
11%14 votes
8%10 votes
5%7 votes
0%1 votes
6%8 votes
2%3 votes
8%10 votes
8%10 votes

| 124 votes | Vote | Results

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