claytoonz

Off-Camera Baby In The Corner


cjones06292017

To explain why the White House has started holding press briefings “off camera,” the very svelte Steve Bannon said, “Sean got fatter.”  While Spicy is indeed a chunky monkey, nobody actually believes Bannon’s hypocritical fat-shaming explanation.

Every president’s administration battles with the press. While Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had their issues with the media, Republicans use it as a campaign tactic. Both Bush administrations would print up bumper stickers which read “annoy the media. Vote Republican.” The media doesn’t care who you vote for.

The press has always had low approval ratings because people don’t like the bearers of bad news, or any news that conflicts with what they believe and wants to hear. Donald Trump and his collection of sycophants have gone beyond using the press as an opposition, and have fully labeled them as the “enemy of the American people.” Republicans love the Constitution, except for that pesky First Amendment thingy.

Not content with describing legitimate news outlets as “fake news” delivering hoaxes, Trump’s team is now conducting White House press briefings off camera. While they’re allowing audio, they’re not allowing the press to deliver that in real time. They have to wait until the briefing is over before they can play it for their audience. How lovely.

Trump’s biggest grudges are with The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN. The Times and Post have both been on a tear lately with their investigative reporting on Trump’s campaign and their involvement with Russia. It’s not “fake news” that both newspapers circulations have risen since the election of the man who hates news. When it comes to the press briefings, they’re shunning CNN’s Jim Acosta. They haven’t allowed him to ask a question for several weeks, or at least they won’t answer them. His question “Why don’t we turn the cameras on?” went unanswered. Sean Spicer pretended he didn’t hear the question and moved on to another reporter.

On Tuesday, deputy spokesgoon Sarah Huckabee Sanders went on a rant about news organizations reporting, again, “fake news.” She brought up a recent incident where CNN had to retract a story on the Russia investigation and three of their journalists resigned over the transgression. What she and other conservatives don’t understand is that’s how an actual news organization handles a mistake. How many people have resigned from Fox News or Breitbart over false reports, which are published on their outlets quite frequently.

The White House spokespeople complain about fake news and lies, yet Spicer’s very first press briefing, where he didn’t take any questions, was only about Trump’s bogus crowd sizes. This administration has leaked information anonymously and has retweeted and promoted false information from right-wing news outlets. They’re like your crazy tinfoil-hat wearing uncle who complains about the “lame-stream media,” yet shares links on Facebook to Breitbart and Infowars.

Brian Karem, executive editor of Sentinel Newspapers in Maryland took Huckabee to task for her comments about the press.
Karem said: “Come on, you’re inflaming everybody right here, right now, with those words. This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heaven — any one of us are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us.

You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There is no option other than that. We’re here to ask you questions. You’re here to provide the answers. And what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, “See, once again, the president is right and everybody else out here is fake media.” And everybody out here is only trying to do their job.”

Sanders responded calmly and said, “I think if anything has been inflamed, it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media.” And then she asked the press to watch a video and described it, “There’s a video circulating now — whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know — but I would encourage everybody in this room, and frankly everybody across this country, to take a look at it.”  Yes, she did that with a straight face.

I do appreciate Mr. Karem’s defense of the media, but to be fair, he does have a blemish on his journalistic record that I take personally as it was an insult to what I do.

In 2015 his newspaper published plagiarized cartoons. These cartoons weren’t copied or redrawn by his “cartoonist,” who I had never heard of before this was reported. These cartoons were published with the art from the original creators, but the text was changed along with the artists’ signature. Mr. Karem pulled the cartoons off his site but I’m not aware if he fired the guy. The two failings for Mr. Karem in this instance is that he didn’t notice that the cartoonist’s supposed drawing style was changing from week to week (depending on which cartoonist he was ripping off), and that he allowed a cartoonist to work anonymously. Editorial cartoonists need to subscribe to the same ethics and expectations of all journalists. I don’t accept any exceptions, ever. Neither should newspaper editors.

Unlike the Sentinel and Mr. Karem, CNN hires real artists. In fact, they sent their courtroom reporter, William Hennessy to live draw Monday’s press briefing. As you can see here, Mr. Hennessy is a real artist.

I would offer my services but the subjects will come out cartoony. However, I believe I would accurately describe the situation.

Creative notes: No, I didn’t trace Mr. Hennessy’s work. Feel free to compare. I did copy and attempted to emulate his style. I deviated from the scratchy technique to draw Spicer in his bib and diapers. It had to look like Clay Jones drew something in the cartoon. By the way, Hennessy’s work is FANTASTIC and I have the greatest respect for courtroom sketch artist. But, I think my depiction of Sean Spicer is better. What do you think?

It’s really hard being a one-man syndicate when editors (who receive death threats from Trump supporters) are afraid of cartoons with opinions, while I’m also competing against other syndicates with dozens of cartoonists (who offer lots of right-wing cartoons and the kind without any opinions). 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 $50 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

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Blaming Obama


cjones06282017

In the movie Step Brothers, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are two 39-year-old men with the maturity of eight-year-olds who still live at home. They ask the father for permission to convert their beds into bunk beds so they can have more space in their shared room for “activities.” The father thinks it’s a bad idea but says they’re grown men who don’t need his permission. Naturally, the bunk beds fall apart trapping one of the brothers underneath the top bunk with the other blaming the father for letting them do it.

That’s what a man-child does. He blames others for his transgressions and stupidity as he’s incapable of accepting responsibility. Donald Trump is a 70-year-old man-child who should still be living at home, not in the White House.

A political cartoonist does his or her best work when they’re angry. It’s really hard to get angry every single day. At the most, politicians just really annoy me. This time, I’m pretty pissed off.

Donald Trump has now decided his best defense against accusations that he colluded with Russia to win the presidential election is to blame his predecessor, Barack Obama. Do what now? How does this work exactly when you blame someone for something you previously said didn’t exist? This is the sort of nonsense you’d think only Kellyanne Conway could attempt to explain. But, no. There are plenty of Trump defenders who will believe anything Trumpelstiltskin says.

Every president blames his predecessor for something, especially if they’re from opposing parties. Obama often blamed Bush for the crappy economy he inherited. Usually, when a president blames a previous president, there’s at least a basis of truth to it. George W. Bush did leave Obama a shitty economy and Republicans spent eight years complaining how Obama conducted the worst recovery ever. Basically, Republicans messed everything up and bitched how the Democrat was taking too long to clean it.

Trump not only blames Obama for bad stuff, he takes credit for the good Obama did. He’s taken credit for jobs Obama has saved. He’s taken credit for the stock market which has continued its upswing that started way before Trump took office. He’s taking credit for job numbers that he once claimed were fake while he was a candidate. He’s taking credit for the current economy, even though at this very moment we’re still in Obama’s fiscal year. But when it comes to blaming, Trump doesn’t even use a grain of truth. He flat out makes shit up.

Trump accused Obama of wiretapping the phones in Trump Tower. If you’re a Trump supporter you believe that despite it being a total lie. Now Trump is blaming Obama for Russia’s hacking into our presidential election.

Obama and our intelligence networks were aware of Putin ordering his agents to corrupt our election, the attempts to destabilize our democracy, and the effort to throw the election to Donald Trump. A lot of the information remained classified until after the election, but it was public knowledge way before November what the Russians were up to. I remember this. I drew a lot of cartoons about it. I remember Donald Trump denying it was happening. 2016 was not a figment of my imagination though it was kind of a nightmare.

Obama was in a catch-22 with how to handle the situation. He could sit back and let the election play out or make big bold statements and enact sanctions. That would have had Donald Trump, who was screaming at the time that the election was “rigged,” accuse Obama of using government resources to sway the election toward Hillary Clinton.

Obama publicly told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “knock it off.” He waited until after the election to enact sanctions, shut down two Russian compounds (one in Maryland, the other in New York). He’s been fairly criticized for his handling of the situation, but I don’t think he had any winning options.

If President Obama had done more and Clinton had won the election, Trump and Republicans (some who knew of the hacking, but remained silent) would still be screaming that the Democrats stole the election. If Trump had won despite Obama’s involvement (which I think would have happened anyway because Trump voters don’t work with facts or substance), we’d still be where we are now. Now is a situation where Obama didn’t want to give the impression of messing with the election and he’s being accused by Trump of colluding with Russia. Yes, seriously.

Now keep in mind that after Trump secured the nomination, he was provided the same intelligence briefings the president was receiving. Despite this fact, Trump continued to deny there was an attempt by Russia to hack our election. He said it could be China or some fat guy sitting on his bed. A closer guess would have been a fat guy in a penthouse on 5th Avenue.

Not only was Trump aware what the Russians were doing (as we all were), he asked Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s emails. On July 26 of last year, five days AFTER the Republican convention where Trump was awarded his party’s nomination, he said “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” A few months later he went even further. In October 2016 (in case you’re a Trump voter, that’s AFTER July), Donald Trump was at a campaign event and reading leaks of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign when he said: “I love Wikileaks.” 

Obama didn’t ask Russia to hack and release emails. Obama didn’t shout that he loved Wikileaks.

If not doing enough to stop the hacking is colluding, then egging them on, using the information, and enabling the hostile foreign power tampering with our election is definitely colluding. Denying the actions is even further collusion, which is what Trump did throughout the election and continued after he was inaugurated.

Now Trump is finally admitting that Russia hacked our election, though he’s blaming Obama. What’s really hard to understand is how can the hacking story be a “hoax” and “fake news” yet still be Obama’s fault? Trump and his supporters will try to have it both ways as it takes an actual brain to understand that strategy doesn’t work. So expect Conway to be on CNN around 9:00 a.m. to explain it for us. I have aspirin.

Here’s another piece of logic that Trump supporters won’t understand: If Obama’s inaction is proof of collusion, then Trump is guilty too. Since he has become president, Trump has denied the hacking was done by Russians and hasn’t done anything to punish Russia or to prevent future hacking attempts. According to former FBI director James Comey, Trump never asked about or discussed how to protect us in the future. He was only concerned about having the investigation into Michael Flynn dropped, the pee tapes, and for Comey and several others to make public statements that he was personally not under investigation. In addition to this, he continued to deny the hacking attempts while personally relaying classified information provided by an ally to the Russians. And yet Obama is the one who colluded with the Russians.

What’s next? Will Trump blame Obama for his two divorces and the reason why his two sons are idiots who look like Beavis and Butt-Head?

The president takes an oath where he swears he will protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge we’ve been attacked, or even who our enemies are, despite being the recipient of the best intelligence network in the world.

That doesn’t just annoy me. That seriously pisses me off.

It’s really hard being a one-man syndicate when editors (who receive death threats from Trump supporters) are afraid of cartoons with opinions, while I’m also competing against other syndicates with dozens of cartoonists (who offer lots of right-wing cartoons and the kind without any opinions). 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 $50 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

Replacing Pelosi


cjones06272017

Republicans have campaigned against Nancy Pelosi for years. If a Republican was running against a Democrat for dog catcher in bupkisville, Iowa, he’d compare his opponent to Pelosi and claim the Dem will inflict Beagles with a gay agenda.

So it was no surprise that during the campaign in the special election for the Georgia House seat that Republicans used Pelosi against the Democrat, Jon Ossoff. It’s not that surprising that conservative Georgians don’t like a San Francisco liberal. The people in Georgia who are afraid that electing a moderate Democrat would mean that Nancy Pelosi would mandate they enter into a gay marriage probably also believe that Trump is going to make America great again.

Now a lot of liberals are demanding that Pelosi is replaced as the Democrats’ leader in Congress. They point out how they lost four straight special elections. They remind us that she’s 77-years-old and the party needs younger leadership. They don’t believe she’s a great campaigner for her party and she’s not a very good speaker.

She’s not a great campaigner but she was the Minority Leader when Democrats took the House during the W. Bush administration. Yes, Democrats lost four straight special elections….in very conservative red districts. Are you blaming the chairman, a man, of the DNC for those losses? Do you even know his name? Sure, she’s not a great speaker, but have you heard Donald Trump speak? The man is barely literate and he only knows four adjectives yet he won the presidency.

I’m all for replacing Pelosi…if you can name someone who can do the job better. You can’t. The leader of each party in Congress must round up their members for votes…or against votes. Nancy Pelosi has proven to be a very good manager. She got Obamacare through the House and that wasn’t easy. Compare her leadership skills and accomplishments to those of John Boehner or Paul Ryan. Boehner may be the worst Speaker of the House there has ever been…until Paul Ryan. They’ve had at least seven years between the two of them and you can’t name one major piece of legislation they’ve passed. Not one.

Just as the Democrats used Newt Gingrich against the Republicans in the 1990s, Republicans will use the Democrats’ leader as a boogeyman. They’ve also used President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Yes, they’re running out of targets to whip people into frenzies over, but as soon as Pelosi is replaced the Republicans will also have a replacement.

As for age, I don’t really take your concerns seriously after you supported either Bernie Sanders (75) or Hillary Clinton (69) in the last election. You’re still talking about Bernie Sanders and now you’re throwing Joe Biden (74) and Elizabeth Warren (68) into the mix. Maybe Al Franken can be that new young leadership you’re looking for to run against Trump since he’s only 66. I just seriously depressed you, didn’t I?

Republicans do get mileage running against Pelosi, but replacing her would be the greatest gift Democrats could give them. They would love to see a new Minority leader as inept as Paul Ryan.

The solution to winning elections isn’t replacing Pelosi. It’s running better campaigns with better messaging. If Republicans’ and Independents’ main reason to vote against the Democrats is Nancy Pelosi, then Democrats have gotta figure out how to appeal to stupid voters.

It would be better figuring out how to communicate with stupidity than becoming part of it.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.

Taking A Hike


Highlands06162017

The Highlands Current in Philipstown, New York asked me to draw a cartoon on one of their local stories. I decided to wait a week after the Current’s publishing of this cartoon before posting it here. I didn’t want my site to compete with theirs, or look like it was scooping them.

The numbers of hikers on their Breakneck Ridge has increased to the point that it’s actually becoming a problem for their stewards.

This cartoon was a lot of fun and easy to come together. The editor, who obviously knows the issue a lot better than I do because he lives there and covers the area, supplied me with three ideas. He said I could use any one of them. Since I prefer to write my own stuff, I came up with a couple of ideas and he liked this one, and so did I.

It’s nice when everything comes together, especially when deadlines are looming and I have other projects on my schedule. This was a fun one and a joy to do.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.

Death Becomes Them


cjones06262017

Ya’ know, this might be the best caricature that’s ever been drawn of Ted Cruz. I’m not patting myself on the back here as I only drew a robe with a black hole for the face. Usually, when it comes to black holes and Ted Cruz, the black hole is where his heart should be.

I wonder about the type of people who like Ted Cruz. I imagine they’re the sort who giggle when old people fall down. They probably aim their car tires at tortoises crossing the street. A little pee came out while they were laughing hysterically at disabled protesters being arrested for protesting the new Republican designed anti-health plan. There’s nothing funnier than arresting people who need wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. Republicans find that shit funnier than Hee-Haw.

Ted Cruz is a vile, evil, sinister, creepy, and all-around icky person. While the GOP’s huge tax-cut plan for the rich designed as a health plan is too mean for Republican senators like Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, it’s just not mean enough for Ted Cruz and the Republican toad from Kentucky, Rand Paul (the other senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is an actual tortoise).

What’s in this bill from the U.S. Senate that actually became meaner than the House version (which many thought was impossible but the Senate said “hold my scythe”)? First, it strips funding from Planned Parenthood. And if you’re a Ted Cruz kinda guy who really desires to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, you might be all right with that. Never mind the fact that there is no federal funding for abortions and all that money goes to cancer screenings and other health benefits (women stuff we guys wish to remain oblivious to). But who needs facts when you have dogma, right?

This bill will kill the Medicaid expansion that covers 14 million people in 30 states and Washington, D.C. States will have to make up the cost difference and it’ll cost them millions, and a few billion. Since states won’t actually be able to make up this difference, it will affect people in and slightly above poverty. But, Republicans have shown they really don’t give a shit about poor people.

The bill imposes a harsher federal spending cap on Medicaid. This will force states, who have to actually balance their budgets, unlike Congress, to choose between funding Medicaid, education, law enforcement, roads, prisons, etc. It will cut over $800 billion from Medicaid. Can you tell me how you can cut over $800 billion from the program without it adversely affecting the poor?

Since the fire in the states’ dumpsters won’t really start burning until most of the current governors are out of office, they’re not going to start planning ahead. Most of these people are Republicans. In case you haven’t noticed, Republicans don’t do well with budgets. Remember the budgets from Reagan, Bush, or the other Bush? Wait until the multiple bankruptcy president is through with the federal budget. We’re gonna have to rewrite the 22nd Amendment just so Obama can come back and fix this shit again.

The bill will maintain Obamacare’s tax credits but will scale back the value of those based on income and geography. It may benefit people with high premiums but it’ll also make deductibles rise. You don’t mind your deductibles rising, do you?

The Senate version will make it easier for states to seek exemptions from other provisions of the law, including the essential benefits insurers must cover, including maternity care and mental health. The House version would authorize states to apply for waivers allowing insurers to charge sick people more. Since this will have to return to the House if it passes, we can’t be sure what’ll end up in the final version. This thing could end up with a Dracula-blood-sucking-death-panel provision. Do you like leeches?

Both versions of this plan will force people to go without health coverage. How can that be predicted? When you make it too expensive and people have to choose between health insurance and little luxuries like eating, that’s the logical outcome.

By removing low-income and disabled people from Medicaid the Senate bill would fund a large capital gains tax cut for the rich. According to the Center on Budget [and] Policy Priorities, $33 billion of the tax cuts would benefit the 400 wealthiest U.S. households, so if you sell a lot of stocks you’re gonna smell goooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.

Thirteen members of the Senate worked on the bill in secret, though a few of them claimed they didn’t know what was gonna be in it. That’s like an author not knowing who-did-it in his murder mystery. It’s usually the butler and if this bill is amended to appease the bastards, Ted Cruz will probably be the butler.

Did I mention, nobody likes Ted Cruz? When I say “nobody,” I mean people who are decent individuals who don’t run over turtles on purpose and folks who don’t live in Texas.

One last thing: If you voted for Donald Trump, who promised he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, you’re an idiot.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.

Lordy


cjones06252017

A smart man would learn after his “I got tapes” bluff doesn’t work with a writer, that it won’t work with the director of the FBI. Donald Trump is not a smart man.

In a deposition several years ago, Trump was asked about telling people he was taping them when he wasn’t. He kinda sorta came clean with “I might have said that.”

Now Trump has come clean that he did not tape his conversations with former FBI director James Comey, though he speculated that maybe someone else may have taped them, perhaps from bugging. The guy really has a hard time admitting when he’s wrong (which is constantly). Bad thing is, this time he knew he was wrong. And what’s with the paranoia that he’s constantly being bugged? Is Trump going to spend the next four years in a perpetual state of whining and acting like a victimized baby?

Trump let the lie hang for 41 days that he may have taped Comey. His sycophants point out that Trump said Comey better “hope” there aren’t any tapes. Technically, that’s not a lie, but when you let it hang for 41 days, ignore the question when the press asks you repeatedly, and you send your staff out to defend the dumb-ass tweet, you turn it into a lie.

Trump’s staffers and lawyers tell us to ignore his tweets, but take him at his word as the president of the United States of America. So is he not president when he’s tweeting? Are we supposed to accept that he’s a 70-year-old toddler that isn’t old enough yet to have his own cell phone? It brings us back to litigating the election by asking again: “How did a man too stupid to be president become president?” That in itself is worthy of an investigation.

But he is the president and when he took the oath to become president he swore to defend our nation from all attacks, foreign and domestic. How can he defend us when he refuses to acknowledge an attack?

Trump and his supporters love to say there’s no evidence of a collusion between himself and/or his campaign with Russia, or obstruction of justice. If that’s the case, then why does he keep lying and making shit up?

Trump’s lawyers have to be relieved that the tapes don’t exist. I mean, yeah, Trump shot his credibility down even further, but at least he didn’t create even more evidence that he’s attempting to manipulate an investigation.

I can’t decide if the funniest part of all this is that after making the tape claim, Trump and his people act all bewildered that anyone wants to talk about it. It’s like his birther claim. He peddles it for five years and then he doesn’t want to talk about it, and he definitely never acknowledges he was wrong or just making shit up.

It’s also knee-slapping hilarious that Trump’s tape tweet is what got the Special Counsel in business. That’s some seriously stupid-ass bluffing right there. This guy is seriously leading our nation and toting around the nuclear football? Oh, that’s funny in a terrifying way. I can’t wait to watch Trump defenders explain this as either a lie or a seriously stupid, moronic bluff. It has to be one of the two, if not both. It’s both.

Or maybe the funniest part is that the day Trump admits the tape claim was a lie, he starts questioning Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s integrity. Seriously. He’s doing that with Comey and now he’s pulling it on Mueller (perhaps so when he fires Mueller he can say that he didn’t trust him).

But let’s question Mueller and Comey’s integrity. I mean they did lie about Obama’s birthplace, planted the lie that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, that millions of illegal votes were cast for Hillary Clinton, that Trump has the largest electoral victory in modern history, or that the clouds parted and the rain stopped during Trump’s inauguration speech. Oh, wait. Those were Trump lies.

Here’s the thing: Trump has lied again, and again, and again, and again, etc. He’s even lied about the freaking weather. And guess what.

We have it all on tape.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.