Erdogan

Friends In Low Places


cjones05062017

Donald Trump has a thing for fascists, strongmen, bullies, and just all-around terrible people. He gets hot flashes over Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. He calls Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to congratulate him on his recent power grab. He held a reception for Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt who gained power through a coup. He said he’d be “honored to meet with Kim Jong Un.” In the past Trump has even praised Saddam Hussein. Now he’s invited an admitted killer, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. This is almost as bad as the time he let Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent in to use the plumbing.

Trump is set to talk to Putin tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be a gushing phone call and will go very well as Trump only hangs up on leaders of Democratic nations, like Australia. Trump can’t bring himself to say anything negative about Putin. Stifle liberty and expand oppression? Just fine. Invade a neighboring nation? Hunky dory. Eliminate press freedoms and prosecute journalists and girl punk bands? Sure why not? Assassinate political enemies and critics? Interesting. Hack into Trump’s political opponent and meddle in U.S. elections to destroy confidence in our system and install a racist, narcissistic, unqualified Cheeto potentate into the Oval Office? Fake news!

Erdogan just made a power grab with some shady election tactics of his own. The man has also imprisoned journalists. Trump probably admires such tactics as he’s talking about changing our nation’s libel laws so newspapers will stop pointing out when he’s a hypocrite, lying, breaking campaign promises, lying, engaging in nepotism, lying, flouting conflicts of interest, lying, golfing too much, or when he’s lying. Did I mention lying? Of course changing our libel laws means changing the Constitution. It’s funny how these self-described “Constitutionalists” are so protective over that Second Amendment thing, but the rest of those amendments, meh.

Trump has hosted Egypt’s el-Sisi at the White House, who was previously barred during President Obama’s term for staging a coup and arresting thousands of political dissidents.

It got weird when Trump said he’s willing to meet with Jong Un under the right circumstances. That means there has to be chocolate cake and meatloaf. Speaking of tasty treats, he said Jong Un is a “smart cookie” for being a young man who has held onto power. You know, by killing people like his Uncle. Congratulations! Perhaps the two can have a sleep over and exchange hair tips.

Rodrigo Duterte is a fine piece of work. He really takes the cake. This is a man who as mayor allowed death squads to roam his city and kill freely for two decades. Their targets were drug users and low-level criminals, though they often also hit bystanders, children, and political opponents.

After his election to the presidency Duterte took his killing nationwide by allowing police and vigilantes to kill at their leisure. The man has even boasted about personally murdering three kidnappers who were denied a trial.

It’s become so bad that a Filipino lawyer has asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of nearly 10,000 people over the past three decades.

On top of all that, Duterte called Obama the “son of a whore” because he didn’t like our former president criticizing his murder spree, which also includes journalists. It’s also frightening that Trump has praised Duterte’s high approval ratings.

He won’t have to worry about receiving that sort of criticism from Trump because our new president enjoys hanging around despicable people. Have you seen Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller? These are the kind of guys who would have to use someone else’s photo if they were to join Match.com. Icky individuals needs love too. Maybe there’s a dating site called ClammyLove.com.

Donald Trump is giving legitimacy to wretched regimes of the likes of Duterte, el-Sisi, Putin, Erdogan, Jong Un, and Andrew Jackson. It’s a shame that we have a president with low standards for so many things.

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Travesty For Turks


cjones04212017

Many years ago the most disturbing thing that disturbed me about the nation of Turkey was the squat toilet which is, or was, common there. Basically it’s a hole in the floor that you flush. But instead of sitting while you poop, you squat over it.

Turkish President ­Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just squatted over his entire nation and didn’t even have the courtesy to flush.

To understand the drama playing out in Turkey we need to refer to Star Wars, Episode III. Everything in life can be explained through either Star Wars or an episode of Seinfeld. It’s true, but the closest analogy I can think of from Seinfeld to describe Erdogan is the Soup Nazi. No democracy for you!

In Episode III of Star Wars, Revenge Of The Sith, Chancellor Palpatine uses a war to increase his power, abolish his term limits, and eventually forces his opposition to attempt a coup, which he then uses as his reasoning to kill democracy and install an empire and declares himself emperor. Twenty years later in Episode IV, A New Hope, he abolishes the senate and tells them to take a hike. It was Jar Jar in Episode II who got the whole tyrant ball rolling by proposing executive powers for the chancellor, but we’ll bitch about that annoying Gungan another time.

Turkey is embroiled in an armed conflict with Kurds, the Syrian Civil war, and experienced a failed attempt at a military coup last July that many are skeptical over. Erdogan used has used the coup to increase his power and imprison many of his critics. 40,000 people were detained after the coup, including 10,000 soldiers. Without giving specific reasons, 2,745 judges were also detained. 15,000 educators were suspended and the licenses of 21,000 teachers working at private institutions were revoked. Over 100,000 people have been purged. Erdogan blamed the coup on his opposition, the Gulen Movement, and labeled them a terrorist organization (which Palpatine did to the Jedi) and their leader now lives in exile in Pennsylvania which is the equivalent of Dagobah and Tatooine as there’s nothing to do in any of those places.

Erdogan also used the coup for an emergency referendum held last Sunday that would increase his power and effectively eliminate democracy in Turkey. The eighteen amendments to the Turkish constitution passed on a 51-48% vote.

The proponents for the measures were able to use government resources and funding to stage rallies and support for a yes vote. Critics were suppressed including press coverage, with many being assaulted. International election monitors claim there were a lot of illegal votes, maybe millions.

With the changes the president becomes the head of state and government. It abolishes the prime minister and increases members of parliament, who now need an absolute majority (301 out of 600)  to override a presidential veto, or give him what he wants. The president now has the power to appoint and sack ministers and the vice president. The president no longer has to terminate his party membership (which was a requirement). The president has expanded powers to appoint judges and prosecutors. Perhaps the most significant detail out of this is that Term limits for the presidency will be reset and, if Erdogan wins elections in 2019 and 2024, he could be in power until 2029.

Erdogan said anyone who voted no is a terrorist and that international election monitors need to “know their place.” He plans to use his new powers to reinstate the death penalty which will also prevent Turkey from joining the European Union.

If Erdogan has a majority in Parliament, and he does, he can do whatever he wants. He has effectively become a dictator and democracy has died in Turkey. Donald Trump called Erdogan to offer his congratulations.

Of course I’m really bothered by the prosecution of journalists which includes cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan, who both were recently convicted and will serve nearly a year in prison for doing what I do, making fun of the president. While both cartoonists declared their innocence, I’m guilty as hell of those charges. Ask my clients. In addition to those charges, Baruter faces further prosecution for insulting the prosecutor, who I’ve been told by reliable sources is a dick.

We can add the Turkish Referendum to the list of recent scary and freakish election results such as Brexit and Donald Trump. France is next in line. There’s a rise in the West of those who want to elect tyrants, decrease Democracy and silence criticism.

People like Trump and Erdogan try to silence and delegitimize their critics and tell them to be quiet. I’m not good at being quiet and I hope you’re not either.

We have a responsibility to be very noisy right now.

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.