Puerto Rico

Heckuva Job, Trumpie


cjones10022017

With Puerto Rico officially a disaster from Hurricane Maria, people starving and dying, going without electricity, money, water, food, and with a flash flood watch in effect, Donald Trump wants to assure all of us one thing. He’s doing a great job.

During the recovery effort for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, President George W. Bush said to FEMA director Michael Brown, “you’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie,” despite the fact “Brownie” was doing an incredibly crappy job. It was a category five of crappiness.

My friend and fellow cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz joked that when Trump visits Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he will say, “I’m doing a heckuva job, brownies.” I wish I had thought of that.

Bush was overseeing a disastrous recovery effort and dishing out praise to people unworthy of it. In contrast, Trump is praising himself. Trump is taking issue with reports from the media the job he’s doing isn’t all that great. Trump and the sycophants defending him aren’t just having trouble with the facts. They’re also tone-deaf. People need to focus more on humanity and less on cult worship.

When not lavishing praise on himself, and informing us that others are giving him compliments, he’s informing us that Puerto Rico is an island in the ocean surrounded by water and it’s currently in massive debt. He suggested their debt will determine how much effort the federal government will put into the recovery effort. Trump said, “Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort — it will end up being one of the biggest ever — will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island.” Over 50 percent of Americans don’t know Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and Trump may be among that 50 percent.

The good news is, Trump promised “we will not rest until the people of Puerto Rico are safe,” and then he went to New Jersey for a golfing weekend.

A “good-news story” is exactly how acting Homeland Security Director Elaine Duke described the relief effort. Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan took issue with Duke’s description of the situation. Cruz said, “We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency. I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying.”

Trump needs to stop listening to his sycophants, and to himself. He needs to listen to Mayor Cruz and treat the citizens of Puerto Rico as if they’re as much as American citizens as the people of Houston and Florida because they are. He needs to focus less on attacking the NFL, the press, praising himself, Puerto Rico’s debt, and his weekend golf outing. I would suggest he treat Puerto Rico the same way he treated Houston and Florida, but I’d rather he did a better job than that. Perhaps he can take some inspiration from the way President Obama reacted to Hurricane Sandy. Trump needs to stop being tone deaf and practice some empathy, while also throwing every resource possible to that island in the ocean surrounded by water.

Puerto Rico is quickly turning into Trump’s Katrina. Trump’s failed presidency has finally come down to losing lives. Trump’s critics have wondered how the president would fare with his first crisis. Just like his presidency, he’s failing.

Creative note: I used this idea several years ago when I was with The Free Lance-Star. It was during the Obama administration and I can’t remember exactly how I used it. I can’t find the original because it’s in a friend’s attic across town, and FLS’s new ownership has deleted the archives that were online and contained the 14 years worth of cartoons I drew for them. But, in doing this cartoon I figure I could steal from myself. I’m sure it’s much more applicable to today’s situation than it was when I used it previously.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

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First Responders


cjones09292017

Donald Trump has been accused of not doing enough for Puerto Rico, and not even being that concerned about it. Now is all this criticism fair?

He did tweet about it five times…you know, after he tweeted nearly 30 times about the NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. Fox News will air an interview with him later where I’m sure he talks about Puerto Rico…though, all they’ve shown of it so far is him talking about the NFL…again.

But, he has talked about Puerto Rico. He told us he’s doing a great job. He also told us that many other people believe he’s doing a great job. Oh yeah, and according to him, a lot of people are giving him compliments on the great job.

And, just in case you don’t believe Trump is thinking about Puerto Rico, he displayed how much he’s looked into the problem as he has discovered it’s an island in the ocean, which is surrounded by water, and you can’t just drive to an island, especially one that’s surrounded by water.

But, don’t just listen to Trump about the great job he’s doing. Listen to the governor of Puerto Rico, the mayor of San Juan, and the non-voting congressional representative of that island surrounded by water. They are all publicly thanking Trump. Which is smart, because Trump is still a little peeved that during the Republican primary that island surrounded by water voted for Marco Rubio, who drinks a lot of water.

We need to wait and listen to what these representatives of Puerto Rico have to say in six months after the lights are turned back on. When they’re not as dependent on disaster relief we’ll see if how thankful they really are toward Trump.

Does Trump have his priorities in order? Has he put much more focus on the NFL than American citizens living in a disaster area? Or, is he prioritizing billionaires?

Trump has been asked to allow a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, which will allow international organizations and governments to ship aid to the island.

What is the Jones Act? Also called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act requires all goods shipped between American ports to be on ships built, owned and operated in the United States. It also means that anything shipped to Puerto Rico from another nation must first dock on the mainland of the U.S., and then be placed aboard an American ship before delivering to Puerto Rico. This forces a lot of shipping from Europe, South America, and nations in the Caribbean to bypass Puerto Rico while carrying goods for Puerto Rico. It makes citizens of the territory pay at least twice as much as they should.

Trump says he is considering removing the restrictions, but he’s hesitating as “a lot of people that work in the shipping industry…don’t want the Jones Act lifted.” You know, billionaires. The Jones Act was lifted temporarily for Houston and parts of Florida after they were struck by devastating hurricanes. It doesn’t make sense not to lift it for Puerto Rico if your main concern is the citizens who are suffering and literally running out of food and water. Not lifting the restriction makes perfect sense if your top priority is millionaires and billionaires.

Apparently, other than bashing black athletes, Trump’s major concern is the rich people. He’s proposing a tax plan that will cost this nation $2 trillion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that our deficits will exceed $10 trillion over the next decade, and let’s not forget that Trump wants to increase military spending, build a useless wall on the Mexican border that Mexico is not going to pay for, and we need to rebuild Houston, parts of Florida, and all of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Trump once called himself the “king of debt,” and with this tax plan, he’ll make Reagan and Bush look like mere squires.

Trump wants to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, which is great news for corporations who are currently avoiding paying any taxes. He wants to eliminate the inheritance tax, which will be awesome for his five kids. He wants to eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which is meant to ensure that rich people don’t get away with paying no taxes. He plans to lower the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. He wants to collapse the current seven income tax brackets to three. He’ll create a 25 percent tax rate for “pass-through” companies, many of which are things such as law firms, that give their profits directly to individuals. Another notable pass-through company is the Trump Organization. He’ll double the standard deduction. And finally, eliminate some unspecified deductions, but keep the mortgage interest deduction and charitable giving deduction that are so vital to wealthy taxpayers.

Finally, rich people will get a break in this country. Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and squishy inside?

In case you forgot, Donald Trump is a billionaire. His cabinet is made up of billionaires and millionaires. It would be very nice to say Trump isn’t doing this for himself, except we haven’t seen his taxes, so we can only guess it’ll benefit him greatly.

So, if you’re a billionaire in Puerto Rico, Donald Trump has your back…I mean, if you’re a white billionaire.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

Needs In Puerto Rico


cjones09272017

Between last Wednesday, September 20, and last night (Monday, September 25), Donald Trump tweeted once about Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico. It simply said, “We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe! .” That was very nice of him, though it did come off as sort of an obligation before he could tweet what was of more concern to him.

In contrast, he tweeted 22 times attacking athletes. Oops, 23. He let another one fly after I started that paragraph. You would think Colin Kaepernick and Stephen Curry were threatening to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

For good measure, he also tweeted about Iran test firing a missile that never happened. Man, I hope he doesn’t hear that debunked story about Reese’s planning to end production of peanut butter cups. I don’t think I can handle four days of that national outrage.

Trump finally returned his focus to Puerto Rico last night, which means General Kelly’s nerves were being tested. With three tweets, he stated, “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble.. …It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars…. …owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well. Someone found Wikipedia. I hope it wasn’t a link Jared sent from his private email account.

Personal note to Frank, my proofreader: Don’t send me any corrections for the italicized text in the last paragraph. That’s all Trump.

But, at least he is focusing on the actual issues a president should be focusing…crap, he just tweeted about the NFL again.

Puerto Rico is in massive debt. It’s tough for a territory that doesn’t have representation in the federal government, can’t vote for president, and is in a location where imports have to be shipped to the mainland before they can be delivered to the island, which is farther away from Florida than the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Maria has wiped them out. In addition to having much of their infrastructure destroyed by a category five hurricane, they’ve had to struggle with floods. They’re in need of the most basic necessities, like food, water, electricity, information, etc. A major dam may break flooding even more neighborhoods. It may be six months before the island has electricity, which means they won’t find out about this Trump/NFL crap for a long time. When they do finally have electricity returned, they’ll have a lot of Trump fuckery to catch up with. This NFL stuff will be old news for the rest of us if we haven’t been blown up yet.

For me personally, one of the most troubling aspects is there are people on the mainland who can’t make contact with friends and family in Puerto Rico. They don’t know if they’re alive, doing OK, if their homes are destroyed, or what. In the next day or so, I may be using my network of readers to see if I can locate family members of friends of mine.

We have enough mayhem without a president instigating more. Last week, there were nine players in the NFL who knelt while the anthem was played. Last Sunday, every team had players kneeling. Even Jerry Jones was on his knees.

Maybe Trump should focus on the real issues at hand instead of calling athletes “sons of bitches.” He can focus on North Korea and that “Little Rocket Man” has better words than the “dotard.” Don’t forget, Texas and Florida are still rebuilding areas. And on top of all that, he can put some effort into Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are Americans. A patriot would want to take care of them instead of getting his panties in a twist over kneeling athletes.

Or he’ll notice they’re not kneeling for the American national anthem in the CFL and the news cycle will just go to shit again.

Creative note for the geeks: I draw with a stylus and about a year ago a bought a package of new nibs. I put the new package in my desk drawer and continued to use the original nib that came with the stylus. When I was finishing yesterday’s cartoon I noticed that there was a lot of resistance between the tablet and the stylus, so I finally put in a new nib after using the original for a year and a half. I had to get used to drawing on glass all over again with this cartoon because the new nib is very slick. I told you this note would be very geeky.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.