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Sedition Favorites

Next week the Senate will take up the second impeachment of former president Trump. It is a good time to look back on my sedition favorites from the MAGA mob insurrection at the capitol.

My cartoon shows a MAGA guy bashing a policeman on the head with his Thin Blue Line flag. I thought this made for a nice wordless cartoon, but cartoons are supposed to be exaggeration and commentary, but this one actually happened; there was a guy in the mob doing just this – so I suppose this is more of an illustration than a political cartoon.

Here are some of my favorite cartoons about the Capitol insurrection, to set the mood for next week.

Bob Englehart

 

Rick McKee

 

Dave Whamond

 

Steve Sack


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Republican Infighting

Right now the House is debating President Trump’s second impeachment and a few, prominent Republicans have indicated their support for impeachment – a stark departure from the last impeachment that has split the Republican party.
The Republicans who are arguing against impeachment are described as cowed by Trump and fearful of their on political future and safety. I don’t believe it. It sounds to me like these guys drank the Kool-Aid and believe what they are saying.

Trump’s claims of a stolen election likely led to the election of the two Senate candidates in Georgia and Democratic control of the Senate. A few Republicans, like Liz Cheney and possibly Mitch McConnell can see that the GOP faces self-destruction if the continue to support their fascist fans.


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Ted Cruz Monkey Poop

Today’s cartoon is based on one of my oldies that was based on a famous cartoon by the great British cartoonist, Steve Bell.  I’m a big Steve Bell fan.

Editors don’t like poop in cartoons, and this one isn’t likely to get much ink, but it makes me happy. Here’s the Steve Bell cartoon it is based on. Bell told a funny story at an old editorial cartoonists convention about how he had to negotiate with his editor about how many poops on the wall would be acceptable. I’m my own editor, and I can have as many poops as I want – still, I envy the British cartoonists who can get away with much stronger, nastier cartoons than American cartoonists can.

One more thing … I think editorial cartoonists who use labels are sissies, and I used a lot of labels here, but I didn’t label Ted Cruz, I only labeled his poop – an important distinction.


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Trump and the Courts

Update 12/11/20 5:30pm: The Supreme Court just dismissed the Texas lawsuit. Good for them.

President Trump has been losing his lawsuits to overturn the election results. One last try is a desperate suit by the embattled Texas Attorney General, joined by Republican states and, as I’m posting this, 126 Republican congressmen. The Supreme Court is expected to decline to hear this latest atrocious lawsuit very soon, and that is the reason for my cartoon today – I’m anticipating a reasonable response from the Supreme Court.

I was flipping through my oldies and I found this SCOTUS gavel cartoon I drew back in 2000, showing Al Gore taking it on the head when the Supreme Court intervened to decide the election for George W. Bush. It seems like an appropriate image for today, presuming the court doesn’t make electoral trouble again.

Today I put Trump into that twenty year old drawing.  Here’s the sketch.

 

I like drawing losers getting bashed with the gavel – sometimes the losers are sympathetic. Here is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down gay marriage back in 2009.

Here are the four, gavel waving conservative justices of the Supreme Court, back in 2013, when I thought they were about to ban gay marriage again – they surprised me and did the right thing that time.

We can’t ever be sure that the courts will do the right thing, but most of the time they do. Gotta hope for the best.


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Trivedi's Cartoon Media Storm in India

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was released from jail in Mumbai on $100 bail and a promise that sedition charges against him would be dropped.  It was interesting to watch the media storm about Trivedi explode in the middle of my speaking tour of India.

Trivedi's drawing shows India's Parliament building as a toilet, a commentary on corruption in India's government.

The Cartoonists Rights Network, a foundation associated with my professional organization, The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, is giving their Courage in Cartooning award to Trivedi this weekend at our convention in Washington DC.  I’ve been spending the past two weeks talking to the media in India, and early on I would get no interest or follow up questions about Trivedi – then when Trivedi went to jail it was all over the news, in banner headlines in all the newspapers and dominating TV news.  All of India was outraged at the ridiculous charges and injustice of putting a cartoonist in jail for drawing symbols of the state.

I heard and read a lot of outraged opinions on the case in the media here, and I don’t recall hearing anyone argue in favor of jailing Trivedi.  He got support from all corners of India, although I notice that nowhere in the media did I see anyone reprint or show the offending cartoons.

Also interesting was the motivation of journalists here to tell “both sides” of the story, but since nobody would speak in favor of jailing the cartoonist, the “other side” came out as derision, describing Trivedi as a “bad cartoonist,” and the cartoons as “terrible,” although “nothing that should land the cartoonist in jail.”  I think that attitude is just plain rude.  Trivedi isn’t a bad cartoonist – as regular readers of our site can see, his cartoons hold up pretty well to cartoons by other foreign cartoonists, and cartoonists from India.  I think he’s a good cartoonist, and he deserves some respect for his artwork.

This image, a parody of India's national seal, was the cartoon described most often in the media here.

Trivedi also deserves some admiration for the way he handled himself through this media storm.  He refused to accept bail for days, keeping the story alive and in the headlines.  He’s been appearing all over the media since his release, giving interviews and making intolerant authorities here look silly.  I think he’ll have a strong impact on moving India to a more free press.

There is a general rule that editorial cartoons are a barometer of freedom in any country – if cartoonists can draw the president of their country then the country has a free press.  We don’t see Chinese cartoonists drawing their president; Fidel Castro is never drawn by cartoonists in Cuba.  Our cartoonists in Singapore tell me that they are free to draw anything, as long as it isn’t about Singapore.

In India there is a mixed message on the cartoonist barometer.  The press savages the Prime Minister, who is regularly lampooned in cartoons, but drawings of the President of India, who has a less substantive, ceremonial role, are barred.  Cartoonists are forbidden by law from offending religious sensibilities – and Trivedi did well to limit his cartoons to symbols of the state, so that religious issues never came into the argument.  Cartoonists in India are forbidden from drawing symbols of the state, without first getting permission from the state – that may change soon, because of Trivedi, and it is an important change.  It is the role of editorial cartoonists to criticize government, and symbols of government (flags, seals, currency, government buildings like India’s Parliament building) are the prime tools in every editorial cartoonist’s tool chest.

This offending Trivedi cartoon shows "Corruption" about to rape "Mother India." Trivedi's "seditious" cartoons all used symbols of state in commentary about government corruption.

If I couldn’t draw symbols of governments, and I was barred from offending religious sensibilities, there wouldn’t be much of substance left for me to draw.

Trivedi has done an excellent job of making his point against government corruption in India and against the absurd restrictions against cartoonists in India.  He’s an excellent artist too, and at the young age of 24 he’s now India’s star cartoonist.  All in all, a great result for a talented, media savvy, young activist.