The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for July, 2011

This Week’s Cartoon: “The Latest Debt Ceiling Demands”

Debt Ceiling cartoonUgh, what more can I say. This whole thing reminds me more and more of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine every day. Manufacture a crisis, use the ensuing sense of panic to impose draconian cuts to programs people desperately need, and voila! Utopia at last. Never mind that Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times, and Dubya 7, or that Clinton balanced the budget, or that the vast bulk of our current deficit was formed under Bush. The hypocrisy is simply astounding.

The m&m’s in the first panel are, of course, a reference to Van Halen’s infamous contract rider stipulating that the brown ones be removed. David Lee Roth has explained that the point was not to be a prima donna, but to test to see if stage crews had read the contract carefully. I love this quote:

I came backstage. I found some brown M&M’s, I went into full Shakespearean ‘What is this before me?”… you know, with the skull in one hand… and promptly trashed the dressing room. Dumped the buffet, kicked a hole in the door, twelve thousand dollars’ worth of fun.”

I decided to make the m&m’s that Republicans object to the green ones, since, you know, they hate anything green.

This Week’s Cartoon: “Bulb Wars”

The silliness and hypocrisy of Republicans’ lightbulb activism — especially their sudden concern about mercury in compact fluorescents after pooh-poohing efforts to limit mercury pollution for decades — was too much for me to resist. I should add here that it’s not just CFLs that they’re opposed to; low-energy incandescent bulbs are also available, and the energy law (passed under Bush) is intended to create a market for these by eliminating the cheaper, less-efficient competition.

While CFLs theoretically reduce mercury pollution by reducing the amount of coal power consumed, I have to admit I’m wary of the expectation that they’ll be OK for the environment as long as people recycle them instead of dumping them in the garbage. “Just take them to Lowe’s!” chirped a woman from the NRDC on a Colbert clip I watched recently. But honestly, how many Americans are going make the effort to do that? See the second panel of this cartoon for a clue. I suspect in 20 years we will have a “WTF were we thinking?” moment.

While Googling images of the tea party, I came across this photo of Sarah Palin supporters from the Christian Science Monitor.

tea party women

Yes, these are the people fighting modern lightbulb technology and threatening to annihilate what’s left of the economy over the debt ceiling.

This week’s cartoon: “Post-Debt Ceiling Ultimatums”

In the midst of all the hand-wringing over deficits, it seems no one is bringing up the simple fact that the deficit will disappear if Congress does NOTHING. The entire debate is a crock of simmering crap, a thinly-veiled excuse for Republicans who don’t give a damn about deficits to gut social programs. It’s straight out of the GOP playbook. Run up massive deficits to starve the beast (see: Reagan, Bush Jr.), then squawk bloody murder when a Democrat is in charge, pinning the blame on them and forcing the Dem to clean up the mess (see: Clinton, Obama, Mark Warner as governor of Virginia). And no matter how irresponsible the Republicans are, or how cautious Dems are budget-wise, the grand narrative never changes. Dems are always characterized as big spenders, Repubs as pillars of fiscal probity. And when Dems point to loopholes like the private jet tax break, the Republicans’ talking point is: “That’s small potatoes. It would hardly make a dent in the deficit.” Well, if it’s no big deal, then why threaten to blow up the whole economy over it? And if minor expenses don’t matter, why threaten to defund NPR over piddling chump change?  These people are unserious frauds concerned only with dismantling the New Deal, and the media should treat them as such. Anyone — and any cartoonist — who takes these self-proclaimed “deficit hawks” at face value (especially that smug, dead-eyed, know-nothing doucheswizzle Paul Ryan) is doing a gross disservice to the public and to democracy itself.

This Week’s Cartoon: “The Mental Stimulus Plan”

A few Obama supporters on Daily Kos took umbrage at this one. Personally, I think it’s a pretty mild warning about the dangers of not having a jobs plan. So what if it’s not politically feasible right now? He could at least try to make the case, instead of gratuitously invoking Republican falsehoods about the economy (see Krugman’s posts on this tendency here and here). It’s time to play offense at least rhetorically, Republican obstructionism be damned.

Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.



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