PBS

Shooting The Bird


cjones03192017

While the Trump boys, Eric and Donald Jr., display their manly courage by having a tour guide take them by their hands to shoot fenced-in big game animals, Daddy Trump prefers bigger game.

Trump unveiled his proposed budget and it contains $54 billion in cuts all across the federal government to make up for increases mostly in defense spending. There’s also increases in Homeland Protection and Veteran Affairs.

What does he plan to cut? The State department (28%) and Environment Protection Agency (31%) will see huge cuts. There will be further cuts in HUD (13%), Transportation (12%), Health & Human Services (16%), Education (13%), Labor (20%), Agriculture (20%), Army Corps of Engineers (16%), Institute of Health (20%), Commerce (15%), and Interior (11%).

It also eliminates further programs in Waste & Water, Education, Science, NASA, FEMA, Affordable Housing, and payments to the United Nations’ climate change programs. Amtrak will also suffer. There will be decreased support to the World Bank and it cuts funding to the Clean Power Plan entirely.

It also eliminates ALL federal funding for Meals on Wheels (it does have other funding that’s not from the government), PBS, African Development, Appalachian Commission, before-and after-school programs, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay funding (hope you don’t like oysters or it shucks for you), Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, NASA’s Office of Education, and a hell of a lot of other programs. How long do you want this blog?

Basically the United States will get dumber, poor kids will get hungrier, and the Earth will get dirtier. But hey, our depleted military will finally be rebuilt.

Wait. What? Depleted military? I’m getting tired of hearing Trump and other Republicans bemoan our “depleted” military. Our military is the largest on the planet. In 2014 our nation spent $610 billion on defense. That’s 34% of what the rest of the world spends on their military. That’s nearly three times higher than China, the second-highest nation with an estimated $216 billion in defense spending.

The United States has 19 aircraft carriers (though the military says only 12 count as carriers). The rest of the world combined has nine and most of those aren’t close to American quality. Do you think Thailand’s one aircraft carrier scares the U.S. Navy?

There’s a lot of stuff that can be cut in the federal budget. Most of those departments targeted by Trump could probably do with some cuts. But to wipe out education, science, diplomacy (cuts to security for embassies and consulates, you know…kind of like the one that was in Benghazi), and even funding to the NYPD which is facing brutal costs protecting Melania while she stays in Trump Tower, is just ridiculous. It’s especially absurd to choose walls over books, food, clean air, science, stuff like that.

A lot of this spending will go toward Trump’s stupid border wall that will be soundly defeated by immigrants with shovels and ladders.

Trump and Republicans will focus on making America dumb again (dumber which will probably be more beneficial to their reelections than gerrymandering) and more polluted, but we’ll have the biggest guns in the world. Our military will also continue to have $38 screws, $7,600 coffee pots, $640 toilet seats, etc. Take that, Thailand!

Creative note: You have to extend me some creative license here. I know Big Bird and the rest of his Sesame Street cohorts are on HBO now and are no longer with PBS. But their image still represents educational programming as they were on public broadcasting for over 45 years.

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For Gwen Ifill


cjones11152016

Everyone who uses social media is in a bubble. You’re in a bubble, I’m in a bubble, your mom is in a bubble, and we all know your crazy uncle is in a bubble. The thing about bubbles is that your news feed gives you information that you want to read, whether you are a conservative or a liberal.

Personally I like to stick my head out of my bubble which is why I’m friends with very conservative people on Facebook (and quite a few in the real physical world). I get to read the information they’re sharing….or is often the case, misinformation.

A lot of people, myself included, get their news from social media. I do too while my TV is also on CNN all day and I personally subscribe to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Seattle Times. Getting your news from social media could have been a good thing but it’s turning into a wasteland of fake news, or what I like to refer as “bullshit news.”

The headlines in my cartoon are examples of actual bullshit news. Conservatives reading this may still believe these headlines. They love the crap news and it’s really hard to shake them when they believe it. If you thought memes with fake quotes and news was bad, it gets even worse with actual fake news sites, and I’m not talking about the satire sites like The Onion. There are sites that pose as ABC, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and such. It’s not always Breitbart, Infowars, and The Daily Caller. It’s very irresponsible. What really gets under my skin are the people who don’t trust the “mainstream” media yet they rely on the bullshit news. Nobody vets on Facebook.

It’s not just conservatives either. If you’re a liberal you probably saw several memes about how Donald Trump once said if he ever ran for president that he would do it as a Republican because their voters are stupid. Guess what. That’s fake. If you’re a leftie reading this you might be saying to your computer screen “Nuh uh!” but I’m telling you, “uh huh.” Another popular example is one I’ve seen shared by both sides about Obama banning the pledge of allegiance. Someone actually blocked me after I pointed out that story wasn’t true. That person was a liberal. Go figure. Don’t get me started on the stories about all the people Hillary Clinton supposedly killed.

We are in an age where many believe they’re not just entitled to their own opinion, but to their own facts. This is where I call bullshit. Journalism is very important to me. It’s important to democracy. While the media is hated more than Congress, Nickelback, grown men who say “anyhoo,” and people who walk too slowly in front of you at the grocery store, I have a high regard for it. Conservatives roll their eyes at me when I express my belief that The Washington Post and CNN are doing a good job. OK, CNN does play the ratings game a bit too much but I don’t buy the liberal-bias argument.

If you’re a purveyor of the bullshit news then you probably didn’t know who Gwen Ifill was if the news of her death from cancer on Monday fell into your news feed. She never reported that the Obama spent trillions of dollars of taxpayer money on a private vacation. Ifill reported real news. Information that was actually true. I’m saddened by her passing for the same reasons I was sad when Tim Russert died. We’re losing very ethical and principled people in our industry and for many people they’re being replaced by the Steve Bannons of the world. That does more than make me sad. It makes me sick.

Ifill was a highly respected journalist for PBS. She got her start working for newspapers in Boston, Baltimore, and Washington. She moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates. You may remember her being parodied by Queen Latifah on Saturday Night Live when they spoofed the Biden/Palin debate.

Gwen Ifill was only 61, two years older than my mother when she died. That is way too young.

I think it would be great if future journalists would aspire to be more like Ifill than the Steve Bannons or Sean Hannitys of the industry. It’d be really awesome if all those fake newsers on social media would attempt to be more like her, though they probably wouldn’t know where to start.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!