Mohammed Bin Salman

Murderer MBS


cjones03022021

One of my biggest problems with Donald Trump is that the leader of the free world is supposed to set an example for the rest of the world to follow and be a champion of freedom. That includes freedom of the press because even as a president may fight with journalist, he is still supposed to value the importance a free press brings to democracy. You can NOT have a free country without a free press. This is a fact.

Instead of championing freedom, Donald Trump attacked our democratic allies over the price of cheese, how much they contributed to NATO, questioned if we needed NATO, and insulted the leader of Denmark for not selling us Greenland. He sucked up to leaders who were strongmen and suppressors of freedom in Turkey, the Philippines, China, North Korea, and Russia. He took Russia’s president’s words over that of our intelligence agencies. He defended and pushed aside the murders committed by the regimes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman.

When confronted with the fact that Putin has had journalists murdered, Trump said, “So what. Do you think we’re so nice?” We don’t throw journalists off buildings in our nation. When asked about his buddy Kim Jong Un’s murder of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, Trump said, “He feels really bad about it.”

After Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, living in the United States and under the protection of our country, was murdered in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, Donald Trump defended the murderers. Khashoggi was lured to the embassy and then killed with a hacksaw, in that they chopped his body up into multiple pieces.

Make no mistake about it. One reason Saudi Arabia did this to a journalist and an American resident is because they knew if caught, that the President of the United States (sic) wouldn’t do anything about it.

U.S. intelligence said it was “highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.” But Trump made suggestions that Khashoggi was aligned with terrorists, as if he had it coming. He questioned U.S intelligence and said, “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t! That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

That translates to: Our relationship is with Saudi Arabia, not with freedom and not with the truth. If Donald Trump could have chopped up journalists in our country, he would have.

President Joe Biden promised us we’d get the truth. He has delivered on that. When it comes to defending freedom in this manner, he has not. Yesterday, President Joe Biden became a disappointment.

I voted for Biden. And in doing so, I knew there would be issues where I would disagree with him. I knew there would be issues where I would have to draw a cartoon taking him to task, even if it upsets some of my readers…or all of them.

But, as I’ve said before, I am not like one of those MAGAt Trump-worshipping cartoonists. I am not in a cult to Joe Biden. I do not bow down before a golden statue of him like they’re literally doing at CPAC this weekend. I don’t worship Joe Biden and forget all the principles I used to claim I cared about. I am happy Joe Biden is president over Donald Trump, but I am not Joe Biden’s friend. I do not work for the Biden administration. Just because I champion many of the same issues you do, don’t make the mistake I am on your team.

My friend and fellow cartoonist Ted Rall made some bizarre post several weeks ago about how he’ll be the only liberal who will take Biden to task, which is just flat-out wrong. I can think of several cartoonists who will do that, and especially over something like this. Also Ted works for Sputnik, which is owned by Russia. Ted works for Vladimir Putin, so there’s that.

Like I said, I’m not like those MAGAt guys, where they will criticize a politician on an issue but ignore when their side does it. How many conservative cartoonists who ignored or defended Trump’s position with the murder of Khashoggi will now turn around and criticize Biden for it? All of them.

The Biden administration released the CIA report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And it reported what we already knew. The killing was approved by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the de-facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, a monarchy and dictatorship.

The conclusion was based, the report said, on the crown prince’s absolute control of decision-making, the involvement in the operation of a top adviser and seven members of his personal protective detail, and his “support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad.”

In an opinion piece, The Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a contributing columnist while living as U.S. resident, calls bin Salman a murderer and that Biden should not give him a “pass.”

The Post points out that while we do need stability in the region, in the oil market, and a strong deterrent to Iran, we can’t allow bin Salman to just skip away from responsibility.

While MBS will not have a direct link to the White House through secret backchannels and apps that delete conversations (thanks, Jared), or photo-op visits in the Oval Office, he’s still going to have contact with top American diplomats. Just a few days ago, he had a phone call with our new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

While Biden has stopped sales of arms for Saudi’s war with Yemen, which Trump refused to cease even after Congress told him to, Biden will continue to sell other arms to the kingdom for “defense.”

There will be no freeze of bin Salman’s personal assets in the United States. There will be no travel ban against him. There will be no expelling, even temporary, of the Saudi ambassador. There will be no calls for a new successor to the king of Saudi Arabia, which I should remind you, is not a democracy. Any sanctions against the nation will be minimal.

While MBS has opened up some freedoms in the nation, has released high-profile prisoners to appease Biden along with ending the blockade of Qatar, an American ally, his regime has still brutally oppressed freedom in that nation. In Saudi Arabia, you can be imprisoned for life for being gay…or receive the death sentence. How many other nations do we sell missiles to that murder people for being gay?

Saudi Arabia has the same policies on the press and LGBT as Iran.

While MBS may not chop up journalists under the protection of the United States in the immediate future, Biden’s actions doesn’t pressure them to stop murdering other journalists.

An American president should not only defend freedom in the United States. He should defend freedom worldwide. He should demand that Saudi Arabia cease all punishment of journalists. Last year, 50 journalists died throughout the world. Even our ally, Turkey, throws journalists in prison.

We have improved from having a president (sic) who called journalists the “enemy of the American people” and demanded we get rid of laws that protect a free press…you know, like the Constitution. But, just being better than Donald Trump isn’t good enough. We should demand better because we deserve better. Joe Biden was the answer to getting rid of Donald Trump. Now that we have done that, can we all move on?

When I criticized Andrew Cuomo, I did not put myself in that position. Andrew Cuomo put me there. In this case, Joe Biden has placed me in this position to go after his administration on this failed, anti-democratic, and anti-free press policy.

Trump’s position was, “Our relationship is with Saudi Arabia, not with freedom and not with the truth.” Biden’s is, “Our relationship is with Saudi Arabia, the truth, and maybe some of the freedom. Eh. Here and there.”

President Joe Biden, defend a free press. Don’t coddle the murderers of journalists.

Remember Jamal Khashoggi.

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Bone Saw Dreams


cjones10222018

Which is worse? That Donald Trump is too stupid to understand that continuing to attack the press in the wake of the death of Jamal Khashoggi is tacky, tasteless, and offensive, or that he knows and just doesn’t care?

Earlier this week at a rally in Montana, Trump talked about a Republican’s physical assault on a reporter, which he and his angry mob all laughed over.

Last May during a special Congressional election in Montana, Greg Gianforte attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian. Gianforte initially denied doing it until witnesses and a recording of the attack came to light. He apologized and was found guilty of assault. Naturally, in this new normal, he won the election.

Trump praised the guy and said, “Any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy” and made a gesture mimicking a body slam. Don’t forget, Trump is a wrestling fan. The theme of Trump’s speech was highlighting how Republicans are the party of “law and order” and Democrats are for “angry mobs.” I’m starting to believe that cognitive dissonance is contagious.

The Guardian’s U.S. editor, John Mulholland said, “In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the President will see fit to apologize for them.”

Places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia weren’t bastions for press freedom before Trump came along, but now, journalists are literally being killed in brazen fashion.

The Saudis killed Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate. After claiming for two weeks they had no idea of Mr. Khashoggi’s whereabouts, then speculating that he was dispatched by “rogue killers,” a theory Trump also tossed about, they now admit he’s dead. They claim he died in a fist fight and that eighteen nationals have been arrested. Turkey claims his body was cut into pieces while he was still alive.

There are still questions. Why was he being questioned? Why was he being questioned by so many people? What proof is there that anyone has actually been arrested? Finally, where is the body?

While stating the death was “unacceptable,” Trump added that Saudi Arabia is a “great ally.”

Trump, who has done business worth millions for years with Saudi Arabia, has consistently expressed that money is more important than this journalist’s life. He is more concerned about a potential arms deal with the Arab nation than press freedom. Perhaps favoring the dollar over humanity is how Trump became a billionaire, in addition to conning and inheriting. Saying an attack on a journalist is “unacceptable” is a little hard to swallow when you’re leading a hate rally in laughing about an attack on a reporter.

Every journalist’s freedom should be defended by the leader of the free world. An American president should make it a top priority to defend the life of a journalist working for an American news outlet, even if he believes they’re “fake news.” He should not be helping autocrats he idolizes in covering up a murder.

What has been proven this week is that we have a fake president.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

The Art of the Murder


cjones10202018

During Donald Trump’s Helsinki Summit with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin was asked about having compromising information on Trump. Putin responded to the American journalist by telling him, “Just disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore again.” As the supposed leader of the free world, an American president should have taken this opportunity to educate an authoritarian leader that that’s not the way it works in free nations. He should have told him that free nations have freedom of the press, that it’s the first part of our Constitution, and that no president, American or Russian, can tell an American journalist what they can cover, not to mention what they can and can’t think about. Instead of doing any of that, Donald Trump just smiled smugly, appearing very satisfied with Putin’s answer and lecturing of the reporter.

We are not surprised Trump isn’t defending the press, human rights, or just basic rights over the murder of a journalist for The Washington Post. Trump is a man who accuses the media of being the “enemy of the American people” and flings out the term “fake news” on an almost daily basis. In fact, he even used it yesterday. Saudi Arabia probably took a cue from Trump when murdering Jamal Khashoggi and considered him an enemy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Someone is taking cues from someone else. At first, we thought Trump was taking it from Saudi Arabia when he speculated that Khashoggi was murdered by “rogue killers.” For this theory to work, you have to believe that somehow a band of “rogue killers” flew into Turkey on a private jet owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, broke into the Saudi Arabian consulate, murdered a man, chopped his body up, sterilized the room, and flew out of the country within hours on the same private jet, and did it all quietly. Now, it appears Saudi Arabia may be taking the “rogue Killer” cue from Trump.

What may be the most despicable about this is that the president of the United States of America is helping murderers craft a cover story.

When asked if he’s helping them engage in a cover-up, Trump denies it and immediately goes into how much Saudi Arabia spends on arms and “other things.” He expresses concern that the Kingdom will do their defense shopping elsewhere, like Russia or China. He points out that Khashoggi was not an American citizen and only a permanent U.S. resident, as if that means it’s not our problem.

The president who claims he’s a great deal maker is showing the entire world that he’s not a deal maker at all, and more of a patsy. Saudi Arabia needs arms from the United States. They would face more pressure from the inability to purchase from us than we would from the loss of their money. Yet, Trump is allowing them all the leverage.

Trump is stating publicly how much we need their money. Instead of demanding that Saudi Arabia come here to do some “splaining,” he sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to them, where he was photographed with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who is suspected of ordering the murder, smiling and laughing. Trump can’t criticize the Kingdom over a murder, yet he attacks Canada over cheese.

What we need to question isn’t money the Saudi government is spending on American defense products and “things,” but how much they’ve spent on Donald Trump.

Trump denies having any financial interest in Saudi Arabia. Is he lying or being tricky with his words? Maybe he doesn’t have any financial interest IN the Kingdom, but they have a stake in him.

First, Saudi Arabia, like Russia, was very interested in helping Trump win the election. In 2016, an emissary for two princes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump goons offering to help Trump win the election. I wonder if they met in the same room where they held the meeting with Russians. After the election, Saudi Arabia paid Trump campaign veterans $5.4 million to lobby on their behalf, in areas where they’ve never hired lobbyists before.

But, you don’t have to take my word for Donald Trump having financial connections to Saudi Arabia. You can take his. At a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama in 2015, he said, “I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!”

In 2001, Trump sold the 45th floor in Trump World Tower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $4.5 million. That’s an entire floor. When Trump was $900 million in debt, a Saudi prince helped him out by purchasing his yacht for $20 million, that Trump had paid $29 million for (there’s those great deal making abilities again). Since the election, Saudi Arabia has spent over $270,000 at the Washington Trump Hotel. Trump’s hotels in New York City and Chicago have also had a rush of visitors since the election. Why do they always want to stay at Trump hotels? The interesting detail about the hotels in NYC and Chicago is that bookings are down, but the Saudis are helping defray those lost revenues.

After he announced his presidential campaign, Trump registered eight companies in Saudi Arabia.

While Republicans accused the Clintons of being corrupt, and taking money from Saudi Arabia (seriously), Trump’s corruption is staring us right in the face. He’s violating the emoluments clause, he won’t release his taxes, and he’s lying about where his income is coming from. His supporters point out that he’s giving his salary back to the government but ignore the fact that he’s making a windfall off taxpayers.

This stupidity of the Trump administration can be amusing and I get some good cartoons out of it, but it’s becoming dangerous. People are literally being murdered and the president is trying to help the murderers cover it up. We need to stop Trump before he tries to turn the United States into the kingdom of Trumplandia. He’s already practicing the nepotism that’s the governmental structure in Saudi Arabia.

We need to keep the pressure on Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump until we receive answers on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And, after they give us those bullshit answers we should demand the real ones.

We thought Donald Trump was horrible when he was merely a stupid, sexist, racist bigot stealing from charity, defrauding the government, and defending Nazis and pedophiles. Now, we know he’s even worse and will help cover up an actual murder.

Be Complicit
What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.