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 base 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.
Having again elected a new Congress with a mandate to end the war, activists are determined to hold Congress accountable this time. The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign is urging contact with members of Congress, in their home offices, on the Third Friday of the month — Iraq Moratorium day — and has produced a video with Vietnam vet Ron Kovic to promote it. (That’s next Friday, Nov. 21.)
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is urging meetings with members of Congress in their home offices between now and Jan. 3, when they are seated. Says UFPJ:
These visits will help communicate our sense of urgency. Our nation is still at war, as well as in the throes of sharp economic decline and a growing global environmental crisis. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us billions of dollars, which are vitally needed here at home, and tens of thousands of deaths on all sides. There is much to be urgent about!
With a new administration and a new Congress coming to power in January, we have an opportunity to advance new priorities and to help restore the proper role of Congress in foreign policy matters. But that means we have to start our work now, we cannot wait for several months…
Issues To Address In Your Meetings With Members Of Congress
At a time of economic crisis, the United States needs a new foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy and international cooperation, rather than military power and war. In discussions with members of Congress, it will be helpful to stress that our economy will not recover, and we will not have the resources to create green jobs, health care for all, 21st-century education and rebuild the infrastructure, if the military budget is not reduced. The present level of military spending is outrageous and not sustainable with all the new programs promised during the election campaigns.
1) On Iraq. Congress should insist on the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and contractors from Iraq. This withdrawal should be accompanied by a new diplomatic surge to stabilize the country and open the political space for Iraqis to decide their own future. Deployment of the National Guard in wars overseas should cease, returning their focus to domestic security.
2) On Afghanistan. Congress should not permit an expansion of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. It should press for a multilateral regional effort at stabilization along with rapid withdrawal of NATO and U.S. forces.
3) On Iran. Members of Congress should make clear their opposition to a new war in Iran. They ought to encourage unconditional, high-level talks to reduce tensions and urge Iran to abandon any nuclear weapons program. If the U.S. truly wants to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, it will require us to live up to our commitments under Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Help organize an action in you home town! We are just regular folks with jobs and all of life’s pressures, but we feel a need to speak out and do what we can. Please join our Raise Hell campaign by banging pots and pans for peace, and using every peaceful means including the Internet, phone and fax to let the LOCAL office of your Congressional Representative know – on the 3rd Friday of every month – that the war must end NOW and no attacks on Iran!
If you cannot attend a physical protest, please WRITE, TELEPHONE, FAX and EMAIL your LOCAL Congressional Representative’s office on that day!
Network with local organizations and individuals is your area. Let us know about your efforts, and send us your pictures to help inspire others; we will post on the website. We will also help you network with others in your area as well as statewide and nationally. Contact us at: [email protected]
Download Flyers and Signs
Go to our section of print-ready materials for flyers and signs that you can use as is, or modify for your locality,
Send Letters and Emails to Congress
See our Congressional contacts and Sample Letters for complete info.
We need BLOG and Internet enthusiasts to get the word out; researchers to gather congressional info and more; website content development and programming support; and other assistance to build the campaign.
We’re making a difference, with a simple, low-cost approach, but it does take hard cash to make the most of our collective efforts!
John McCain’s refusal to admonish a questioner who called Hillary Clinton a “bitch” has received much attention, in the last couple days. Good. It should. But what received much less attention was his own despicable attempt at humor, back in 2000, at the expense of both Janet Reno and Chelsea Clinton.
As reported, at the time, by Salon’s David Corn, McCain said, at a Republican fundraiser:
“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno.”
As Corn pointed out, the media that did report the story actually omitted to report McCain’s actual words! The same media who reported in excruciating detail the private behavior of President Clinton and his girlfriend, excused themselves from reporting the details of McCain’s statement, ostensibly to protect a sensitive public. Or was it to protect John McCain?
As Corn wrote:
McCain’s two-liner conveys some interesting insights into what he considers humorous (lesbianism, a young woman’s physical appearance), particularly since it was delivered to a Republican crowd. Remember, this is the party that champions pro-family values.
McCain’s lapse in judgment — admittedly, not as big a lapse as having a sexual relationship with an intern — may be a significant clue into aspects of his “character,” and thus relevant to the voting public. But many voters have been spared this insight, thanks to the censors in the press.
The media and McCain’s pundit sycophants talk a lot about character. Well, what does it say about a man that he takes cheap shots at a woman because she doesn’t fit his standards of femininity? What does it say about a man that he finds it humorous to take cheap shots at a 20 year old woman’s physical appearance?
Of course, as Molly Ivins reported (quoted in this Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting article), Rush Limbaugh once made a cruel “joke” about Chelsea Clinton’s physical appearance- when she was still only thirteen years old! But Limbaugh isn’t an elected official, and he has never run for public office. He’s also not held out as some sort of crusty straight-talking sage. John McCain is.
What does it say about the corporate media that they wouldn’t report McCain’s actual words? What does it say about them that the story, itself, has been largely forgotten?
As Corn concluded:
But the joke revealed more than a mean streak in a man who would be president. It also exposed how the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times play favorites when reporting the foibles of our leading politicians.
And have the televised pundits even mentioned it, at all?