Costa Rica Bankers


crsta06082018

This cartoon was first published in The Costa Rica Star June 8, 2018.

If you’re a director of a public bank in Costa Rica, you will make between $16,000 to $30,000 a month. That’s American dollars, not colones.

The new president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, signed an order to reduce the salaries of the bank’s general managers. Then, the directors of Banco Popular (a public bank) ignored the order, hired a sub-general manager, and set his salary at over $22,000 a month. That must have angered the president as he responded by suspending three directors of Banco Popular. Good for him.

There’s a new cartoon for this week’s issue of The Star. Go check it out.

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Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

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Dictator Envy


cjones06212018

There was so much breaking news from the Trump administration this past week, that by Friday we would have forgotten that the president had legitimized North Korea’s dictatorship if he hadn’t reminded us.

On Thursday, the Attorney General of New York sued Trump and three of his children for using the Trump Foundation, a supposedly charitable organization, for political purposes and as a personal slush fund. Trump called the action political and biased, but it’s hard to defend it wasn’t used politically when there’s footage of Trump handing out giant Trump Foundation checks at campaign rallies. He also used the foundation to settle lawsuits, pay bribes and purchase murals of himself. Scott Pruitt said, “damn.” He has vowed he won’t settle the lawsuit, which must mean there’s not enough money left in the foundation for Trump to use for the settlement.

The only thing surprising about the lawsuit is that it took so long. It’s a civil suit, so none of the Trumps, Donald, Don Jr, Eric, and Ivanka are going to jail for New York. However, the state has referred the case to the Federal Elections Commission (which won’t scare anyone) and the IRS, which should scare the life out of the Trump family. Don’t be surprised if Trump doesn’t start including the IRS in his demands for the Justice Department to protect him. The Trump Foundation scandal may also implicate anyone who has ever donated to the foundation, like those who may have paid Trump through the foundation to avoid paying taxes on a bill.

Perhaps the most incriminating part of this for Trump is the fact that he has signed annual I.R.S. filings, under penalty of perjury in which he attested that the foundation did not engage in political activity. That’s something people have gone to prison for, and usually for much less than Trump has done here.

On Friday, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort went to jail for violating his bail agreement. Basically, he broke the law while out on bail. Manafort couldn’t even stop colluding with Russians on the way to his trial for colluding with Russians.

Later Friday morning, Trump gave an interview to Fox News on the White House lawn and then extended it to the rest of the press, who asked actual questions.

The Inspector General of the Justice Department issued their report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton and found fault with the FBI’s handling the issue, but didn’t find fault with the decision not to bring charges. Trump comprehended this as an exoneration that he didn’t collude with Russia, which the report didn’t mention. Trump could read the back of a shampoo bottle and comprehend “rinse, lather, repeat” to mean he’s exonerated.

Trump issued a few more lies while on the lawn. He said Manafort only worked for him for 49 days when the fact is he worked for him for 144 days. He also said that maybe it turned out that former National Security Adviser and Lock-Her-Up chant leader Michael Flynn, didn’t really lie. That’s kind of an odd statement since Trump previously claimed he fired Flynn for lying. He claimed he was saddened that migrant children were being separated from their parents and detained by ICE, and then he blamed the Democrats even though it’s his policy. Next, he’ll blame Democrats for his botched hair transplant. Then, he blamed Obama for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their annexation of Crimea, as if Obama pulls Putin’s puppet strings like Putin yanks on Trump’s. Earlier in the week, he said the people of Crimea prefer to be in Russia since most of them speak Russian, which probably means we should all be a part of England again.

The most bizarre part of Trump’s Friday morning were his comments on North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Where Trump used to call him “Little Rocket Man” and threaten to bring down “fire and fury,” he now talks about his great relationship with the dictator and even gave him his private phone number, 1-800-CHEETOS.

It went from bizarre to terrifying when Trump expressed his desire for Kim’s power. Trump said, “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” What was that? You want the same groveling obedience demanded by a dictator who executes family members and controls his nation by fear? That’s the kind of power Trump wants? Wouldn’t Trump have to kill a family member with an anti-aircraft gun to inspire that sort of obedience? Eric, run.

Trump envies the power of a dictator so much that it was easy for Kim to play him in Singapore. Not only did Kim get validation and equal footing with an American president, but he got Trump to sacrifice our military’s preparedness for a photo-op, and to top it all off, he got prime propaganda footage of Trump saluting one of his generals.

By the time Trump was landing back in the U.S., Putin was on the phone angling for his own summit. If a 35-year-old novice dictator can get the best of Trump, what will Putin, a former spy for the KGB, get? Eastern Europe? California? Maybe soon, Sarah Palin will really be able to see Russia from her house.

During his Singapore trip, Trump expressed admiration for how positive state-run news was in Korea and that the famous “pink lady” who reads it is more lavish in praise than Fox News. While praising dictator-sponsored news outlets, he attacked the free press again and said the media was “our country’s biggest enemy.” His administration also sought to punish CNN’s Jim Acosta for asking Kim Jong Un if he was willing to denuclearize.

These are scary times. A man who can’t comprehend directions on a shampoo bottle shouldn’t be negotiating nuclear deals. Even if Trump wasn’t in love with dictators, he’s enough of a fool to be spun by them.

Watch me draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

Yappy Jesus


cjones06202018

Americans love to say America is the greatest country in the world. The new doctrine for our foreign policy is “We’re America, bitch.” But, I’m pretty sure the greatest country in the world wouldn’t separate children from their parents and imprison them in tents in the desert. Maybe there was some confusion, and they were supposed to be in tent prisons with dessert. Spelling is a challenge for this White House.

Obviously inspired by the recently pardoned Joe Arpaio (the racist law-breaking criminal sheriff in Arizona), the Trump administration is looking to place 1,000-5,000 immigrant children in tent cities in the desert. The number of migrant children the government has apprehended has increased by 20% since a “zero-tolerance” policy was initiated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (who doesn’t know Norway is mostly white but knows a brown kid when she sees one). The new policy ordered the Border Patrol to refer anyone crossing the border illegally for criminal prosecution, no matter the situation. Some people being incarcerated haven’t crossed illegally, as they went to the Border Patrol and requested asylum, which we don’t grant anymore for people whose lives are threatened by gangs or spousal abuse.

The number of children currently held by the government is over 11,200 at some 100 facilities (with Trump murals and re-education classes) to hold them are around 95% full. One solution would be to stop separating children from their parents and throwing them all in jail, which sounds a little better than throwing toddlers to cacti and rattlesnakes. But, maybe the Trump murals will ward off the snakes and Gila Monsters.

Sessions justified this abuse of government policy by quoting the Bible. He cited Romans 13 when he said, “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” Funny thing. That’s the same verse used by Southerners to justify owning slaves in the 1800s. Scary thing: Sessions probably knows that.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a church goer as well. During a White House press briefing Thursday, Sanders was insulting members of the press (they really hate Jim Acosta) and using the Bible defense. She said, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible. It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”

I haven’t seen a government use religion to justify policy this much since the Taliban.

There are probably a lot of quotes from the Bible that can be used to defend this administration.

There’s, “Thou shall not grab strange vaginas, unless thou is famous.”

And then there’s, “Thou shall not boast about grabbing strange vaginas to a reality TV host on a bus unless it’s just locker room talk.”

Plus, “Do not shag a porn star unless she’s willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.”

I think this one was added yesterday: “Thou shall not salute a North Korean General unless his large hat is really spiffy.”

I’m gonna let you in on a secret. I made those up. But, here’s one that’s genuine: From Deuteronomy 10:18-19, “God loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

But, maybe I’m doing it wrong, and we’re only supposed to quote Old Testament God and not Hippy God.

Watch me draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

Free Kool-Aid


cjones06192018

Join the cult, get free Kool-Aid. Disclaimer: The Kool-Aid isn’t really free.

Representative Mark Sanford was hit by an air strike, and kinda-sorta literally. Direct from Air Force One on his return home from his Singapore photo-op with dictators and saluting North Korean generals, Donald Trump bombed the South Carolina Republican’s re-election bid.

With about four hours left to vote in South Carolina, Trump tweeted, “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina.” The Argentina line was about Sanford’s affair with an Argentinian. Trump criticizing someone for an extramarital affair would be like Bill Clinton attacking someone for leaving DNA on a blue dress. But, Trump’s attack worked.

Sanford narrowly lost his primary and will now be leaving Congress. And what did Sanford do to not help Trump “MAGA” and be nothing but trouble? It wasn’t voting against Trump’s agenda as he fully supported that. He criticized Trump’s character and called for him to release his tax returns. Apparently, saying anything negative about Trump is sacrilege to the Church of Trump.

Two other candidates who MAGA won primaries on Tuesday despite one being aligned with white supremacists and the other being a pimp. Seriously.

Retiring Senator Bob Corker said the GOP was looking less like a party and more like a cult. He’s not wrong. Have you talked to a Trump sycophant or followed any on social media? Even if you have, you probably can’t understand their motivation. I have tried by asking them, but admittedly, approaching them with “hey, why are you a sycophant” hasn’t produced the best reaction.

Corker is right. Republican lawmakers express privately their dislike for Trump but won’t criticize him publicly. They’re afraid of an angry tweet and the wrath of his voters.

But why has the Republican Party become the party of Trump?

Their motivation is not policy. They don’t care about family values, high deficits, or even if the president takes a lot of golf vacations, all stuff they used to care about. They don’t care about broken promises as they’re all going to pay for the wall on the Mexican border if it’s ever actually built. They hated the Iran deal which contained specifics, stipulations, held that accountable, and actually prevented them from building a nuclear weapon, but they love Trump’s deal with North Korea which doesn’t contain any guarantees.

They don’t really care about draining the swamp as Trump won’t fire Mr. Swamp Thing himself, Scott Pruitt. They don’t care about pay-for-play as Trump and his kids are making money off the presidency. Don’t ask any of them about emoluments as they probably couldn’t spell it let alone define it.

Do they worship at the Trump altar because he’s a great businessman despite multiple bankruptcies with many of them being scams? Do they love him because he supports the troops despite his draft deferments and attacks on POWs and Gold Star families? They hate the Clinton Foundation but that’s not it either as they ignore the Trump Foundation being a slush fund for Trump to purchase paintings of himself.

Maybe it’s the great economy and job numbers which he inherited from Obama. Is it the details of his policies, which is usually just “replace with something better?” Do Trump supporters really love Russia and desire jobs in China?

It’s not because Trump champions freedom because he calls the press our “biggest enemy.” It’s not because he cherishes our greatest alliances as he’s attacked Canada, Germany, and NATO. It’s not because he’s a devout Christian because he doesn’t go to church.

It can’t be because of his intelligence, personality, charm, wit, or accomplishments because he doesn’t have any. Most of all, it’s not because he’s going to take care of them because he doesn’t really care about them. His tariffs are going to hit his followers in the Midwest the hardest. His tax cuts mostly help rich people like himself and his children, don’t expire for corporations, but they expire for you.

It can’t be because he respects women, as he’s personally attacked them verbally and physically. It can’t be his concern for your children as he endorsed a pedophile for the United States Senate.

It can’t be because he’s honest. It’s not his desire to build bridges as he spends a lot of encouraging divisiveness. It’s not because he hires the best people.

I don’t think it’s the racism. Yeah, he’s a birther, attacks Mexicans, Muslims, compliments Nazis, retweets white supremacists and anti-Semites, believes minorities are monolithic, and endorses other racists for office. I always thought people loved Trump despite his bigotry. Sure, racism isn’t a deal breaker for any Trump supporter and the biggest reason for others, but I’d hate to think there are over 60 million Americans voting for a guy because of it.

So, sycophants? What is it? Why? Why have you pledged your loyalty to such a huge disaster of a human being, a man who more a collection of bad traits than an actual human being? This is a person with so much to overlook, ignore, or excuse to support. So, I ask again….why?

It must be the Kool-Aid.

Watch me draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

Fun With Dictators


cjones06182018

Come to Sandals on the beautiful coastline of North Korea. There’s no Wi-Fi. You will be closely monitored and tailed by government officials at all times. You will not be allowed to leave the resort or talk to the locals. If you touch anything, you may be relocated permanently to a different kind of resort. You may return home in a coma. Bring the kids!

Donald Trump’s main takeaway from seeing images of North Korea are the real estate opportunities. Just imagine all the golf resorts on those pristine beaches. Maybe we can set up Carnival cruises. Trump said, “They have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, ‘Boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’ You could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real-estate perspective.” Trump needs to start thinking from a presidential perspective.

Trump really liked the North Korean dictator. He liked Kimmy so much, that he canceled military exercises with South Korea, without telling South Korea or even the Pentagon. He didn’t even give Kim Jong Un his patented grip-and-pull-I-have-a-bigger-button handshake.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “weak,” and “dishonest,” Kim Jong Un is a “funny guy.” He loves his people, and they love him back with “great fervor.” He’s a very “talented guy” with a “great personality” and a “great negotiator.” What about all the people Kim has thrown into gulags? Trump isn’t too worried about them as he says they’re the “great winners” of the summit. The word “great” was tossed around a lot.

Maybe Kim is a funny guy. He often tells this joke: Knock knock. Who’s there? Just kidding. They’re not going to knock when they come to throw you into a gulag.

Trump tweeted about the advice President Obama gave him on North Korea being our biggest problem. Trump says “no more” and “sleep well tonight.”

Trump even made a propaganda video for North Korea. Seriously. It was so good; reporters thought it was made by North Korea. After asking a question during the summit, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager advocated for CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials to be revoked, which is something they’d do in North Korea…and with a firing squad.

Trump showed Kim the propaganda video on an iPad, which made North Koreans ask, “what’s an iPad?”

Kim Jong Un is about as talented and funny as Trump is a deal maker. Kim has no interest in building golf resorts. He’s not interested in improving the lives of his people. He’s a dictator. His main priority is clinging to power through appeasing his military, killing off anyone who is a threat, and manipulating the citizens of his nation. This is a man who had his own brother and uncle killed. Some people have been sentenced to death by being ripped apart by dogs, which means the dogs are eating better than the citizens of North Korea.

Kim Jong Un is paranoid. He was afraid leaving his country for the summit would invite a coup. He even traveled with his own toilet so nobody unauthorized would handle his poo, despite the fact, his people have been brainwashed to believe he doesn’t poo (so who’s going to look for his poo if he doesn’t poo?). Right now, there’s an official poo handler in North Korea wishing to be ripped apart by dogs.

Trump said if he’s wrong about Kim Jong Un and North Korea and it doesn’t work out, he won’t admit he’s wrong, but he’ll find an excuse to lie about it. Maybe, say the summit never happened, or that Obama made him go, or blame Canada. His sycophants will buy any of those reasons because they are more gaslighted than Kim’s supporters. But, in defense of North Koreans, they don’t have access to information.

Otto Warmbier was a student at the University of Virginia. He went to North Korea, was abducted, and Kim sent him back to us in a coma shortly before he died. Trump said Warmbier did not die in vain.

If you doubt that, then you must have missed the part about beach resorts.

Watch me draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

American Beaches


cjones06172018

The summit in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un was truly historic. It was the first time an American president legitimized the dictatorial regime of North Korea.

Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg has been searching out the Trump doctrine on foreign policy. After talking to administration officials over several weeks, he finally got one from a White House official with direct access to Trump. It’s “we’re America, bitch.”

That sort of attitude invigorates the testosterone-fueled, alpha-male wannabe Trump sycophants who want to see America mark its territory over friends and foes alike. Former White House official and white supremacists Sebastian Gorka famously said before it was discovered he was an international fugitive, “the era of the pajama boy is over.”

This new era without pajamas has given us a leader who agreed to sit down with a dictator without any preconditions, or consultations with anyone who knows anything about the region being discussed. It just felt good to him. Meeting Hitler probably felt good to Chamberlain too.

Trump told us he didn’t need to prepare for his meeting and his actions display he didn’t prepare at all. He agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un for their first meeting without anyone else in the room except translators. Immediately, he put himself at a disadvantage as Kim can speak English and Trump is still struggling with the language.

During the meeting, he tried to sell Kim the idea of building hotels on North Korean beaches. This is a dictator who refuses to give his people internet access. He’s going to build beach resorts?

Trump says his entire life has been about making deals, and apparently, the art of the deal is getting someone to agree to something they’ve already agreed to. Trump and Kim signed an agreement that Kim had already covered with the president of South Korea. Trump wanted to unveil the details later, but his shtick of showing off his signature gave photographers with zoom lenses the opportunity to see the four conditions on the one-page document.

The agreement said both countries would play nice, the U.S. would provide security guarantees, Kim would destroy a missile facility (just one), they would work on returning the remains of POWs and MIAs, and that Kim reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. This is a weaker agreement than past agreements the North Koreans never kept. This agreement is so weak, they don’t even have to violate it. They can just ignore it. They got the photo-op.

There was no agreement on human rights. No word on Japanese citizens North Koreans kidnapped. Nothing about North Korea hacking American businesses. But, Trump said he’s suspending war games with South Korea, and he desires to withdraw all U.S. forces from the Korean peninsula. Trump did not consult or give a heads up on any of this with South Korea. This is what happens when you don’t prepare.

Trump described Kim as “talented.” He said he developed a “special bond” with Kim, and on people in forced labor camps, Trump said they’re “one of the great winners” of this summit. Did I mention he didn’t prepare? If the people in North Korean gulags had internet access, they could keep the “winning” in mind while eating dirt and cabbage tomorrow.

The one detail that can’t be overlooked is it doesn’t matter what was in the agreement. North Korea breaks promises and so does Donald Trump. While Trump and Fox News sycophants can crow and cheer his handshake with Kim, you have to gauge the “deal” on whom they dealt with.

Donald Trump signed an agreement with a dictator, a man who has murdered hundreds, including members of his own family. This is a regime that enslaves and starves their own people. There is no free press in North Korea. This cartoon and blog will not be read by anyone in the DPRK. Kim Jong Un is still a mystery to the world, but he’s built a cult of personality that Donald Trump can only dream of unless his followers have started to believe he can talk to dolphins and doesn’t poo. Trust me. He poos and dolphins don’t want to talk to him.

Trump left Singapore saying he trusts Kim Jong Un. Trump has given his trust to a dictator, legitimized a murderous, communist regime, and ended military exercises that the DPRK wanted to be gone.

By his not preparing, Donald Trump made himself Kim Jong Un’s bitch.

Watch Me Draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!

Ugly American Baby


cjones06162018

Donald Trump attended the G7 Summit against his will. He didn’t want to go, probably because he had spent the week insulting our allies while lobbying for Vladimir Putin.

Trump arrived late to the summit and he left early. He agreed to a communiqué (which is a big word for Trump) by the allies but withdrew while on his flight to Singapore because the Prime Minister of Canada said, wait for it……that Canada will defend itself from high tariffs. We actually have a trade surplus with Canada. We get more oil from Canada than from any other nation.

Trump had a hissy fit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel released a photo of our allies surrounding Trump which showed him being the quintessential ugly American. Later, he acted the part of the ugly American baby by accusing Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau of being weak and dishonest.

Peter Navarro, a Trump trade adviser, said, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.” That quote may have disturbed me most of all.

Trudeau did not stab Trump in the back. Trump had insulted Trudeau all week before the summit. But, what really bothers me is that Navarro didn’t whine for the president or the United States. He whined for Donald J. Trump, as though it’s sacrilege to cross the man. This sycophancy is terrifying.

Republicans accused Obama of destroying our alliances and betraying their trust. Those same Republicans are silent on Trump being an international embarrassment and giving our allies an education that we are not to be trusted.

Trump is dining with Kim Jong Un in about three hours from when this blog is being written. He’s openly floated the idea of having the North Korean dictator and murderer to the White House. He wants Russia reinstated back into the G7 despite their invasion and annexation of Crimea, their poisoning people on British soil, and their tampering in our elections. He praises authoritarians while attacking our allies. He is not a champion of freedom, liberty, or democracy.

Donald J. Trump is an ugly American baby. And there’s a special place in Hell for those who enable and don’t defend us from him.

Watch me draw.

Thank you for your support. Reader contributions really do help and are appreciated in a time of dwindling revenue for political cartoonists. You will also be supporting free speech and the First Amendment, and independent journalism while those in power are doing all they can to suppress it. You can also support by purchasing a signed print for $40.00. Just look at the right of this page and click the PayPal button, or you can email and make other arrangements. Thank you!