Press Freedom

Enemy Of The Saudi People


cjones10142018

The United States is a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. We present an example that encourages other nations to follow. Past presidents have been champions and ambassadors of American freedom. It’s what the world expects from us. Citizens in oppressed nations need to hear it from our leaders.

Our most important freedom is freedom of the press. That’s why it’s in the First Amendment, and not the Second. Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by the United States Constitution. While supporters of Donald Trump rejoice in having a president who is a “Constitutionalist,” he says, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.”

Trump calls the press “fake news” and the “enemy of the American people.” He’s targeted specific journalists from Katy Tur to Jim Acosta for bullying and harassment. Journalists have received death threats mimicking Trump’s language and even adding “MAGA” to their promises of violence. A major news network recently received a threat stating, “I swear allegiance to my leader, and he says you’re fake news, you’re the enemy. I must rid the country of you because you’re the enemy of the people.” One Trump supporter threatened to travel to the offices of The Boston Globe and commit a mass shooting. Apparently, Trump sycophants aren’t the only ones inspired by his free press hating rhetoric.

The government of Saudi Arabia is accused of killing a Saudi citizen, journalist for The Washington Post and resident of Virginia, Jamal Khashoggi. The Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is suspected of ordering the murder of Khashoggi. Mohammed and the Saudi government were not discouraged by the United States from murdering a journalist, even after U.S. intelligence intercepted the prince’s plans to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

Last week, Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and he never left, at least not alive. The Turkish government has accused Saudi Arabia of murdering the journalist, flying his body out of the country, and that they even hacked him into several pieces.

Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government, and many within it would probably describe him as an “enemy of the Saudi people” who wrote “fake news.” Why would the Crown Prince be discouraged by America from murdering a journalist when the president of the United States calls the press the enemy?

The Saudi’s may also believe there would be no repercussions from the Trump administration. Saudi Arabia was the first nation to receive a visit from a President Trump. They lavished praise on him, blasted his image on jumbotrons across Riyadh, and even treated him to a sword dance. Mohammed has become a close friend to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, often engaging in private phone conversations that are not on any public record, and striking concern within the U.S. intelligence community. Mohammed has been quoted as saying Jared is “in his pocket.”

Mohammed initiated a crackdown against many in his nation perceived to be a threat to his power, which included arresting a Trump critic. Donald Trump praised the move.

If Saudi Arabia is responsible for the death of Khashoggi then the United States must implement sanctions against them, which would include individuals. How will Donald and Jared handle leveling punishment to their good buddy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

There are a lot of things Trump doesn’t understand. The Nuclear Triad, why we have troops in South Korea, words on paper, etc. I don’t expect him to understand why press freedom is important or that he bears responsibility when people threaten and attack journalists while screaming his catchphrases. Trump will never understand what it means to be presidential as he’s still operating as a con man.

The United States needs a leader who will stand up to those who threaten freedom, from Saudi Arabia to Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump needs to demand Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. We need a leader who will put the nation and our values before himself.

We also need a leader who isn’t a coward.

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.
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Wildfire


cjones10152017

As at least 20 wildfires rage in California, killing 35 so far, Donald Trump is gutting Obama’s Climate Change policy (along with everything else Obama initiated during his term. More on that with my next cartoon). While Trump has issued a disaster declaration for the Golden state, Californians will probably have to issue huge compliments and gratitude for Cheetolini to do more.

Thousands of homes have been lost to the fires, including the Santa Rosa home to one of my heroes, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.

When it comes to disasters, Trump is picking and choosing which Americans he wants to receive aid. While Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are also recovering from hurricanes, Trump is issuing threats to the territory that we can’t stay there forever, as if it’s a foreign nation we’re occupying.

Trump is also picking and choosing which parts of his oath of office he plans to keep.

Donald Trump recited the oath of office which states, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Donald Trump said those words, but they apparently don’t mean anything to him.

Trump is concerned with people disrespecting the flag of the United States and the National Anthem (unless it’s Kid Rock wearing the flag as a diaper. He gets invited to the White House). He has said that people can’t disrespect those. Much like the stock market and the national debt (which Trump said last week, one will pay off the other), he doesn’t understand the United States Constitution…or the fact he’s sworn to protect it.

Trump loves the flag controversy. It helps him further divide this nation and it allows him to continue to be president only for the low-information rubes who support him. There is no actual danger to this nation if someone disrespects a flag, a song you don’t know all the words to, or even our military (which has not technically fought for American freedom since the Civil War). It’s red meat for stupid religious zealots, like vowing we’re going to start saying “merry Christmas” again, which must be a secret ban Obama implemented. I can’t find any information on that, no matter how hard I search.

A rhetorical question I posed on Twitter a few days ago to Trump sycophants was: “what’s worse? Disrespecting the flag or the U.S. Constitution?” Violating one of those actually endangers our freedom, and it’s not the flag.

What is frightening as hell is that we have a president, who idolizes authoritarian figures, who is disregarding the parts of the Constitution he doesn’t like.

Trump says people can’t disrespect the flag. Yes, they can. It’s protected speech. The Constitution doesn’t say that only speech Donald J. Trump agrees with is allowed.

While every president has issues with the press, Trump has been in a constant love/hate relationship with it for his entire life. Lately, he’s focusing on the hate.

Upset at a report that he wanted to increase our nuclear arsenal (because he doesn’t understand treaties either), he blasted NBC. Trump tweeted, “with all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” He also wondered out loud why the Senate Intelligence Committee wasn’t looking into the “fake news networks.”

Wednesday, Trump said, “it is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.” Guess what, you walking mango. I looked into it. Yes, the press pretty much can write whatever they want to write. It’s how Trump’s favorite publications, The National Enquirer, Breitbart, InfoWars, and Fox News can spread made-up bullshit for Trump to help disseminate.

First off, there is not a license for news network, no more than there are licenses for journalists (including political cartoonists). Individual stations are licensed, but not networks. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not regulate content. This isn’t Nazi Germany, or present-day North Korea, or Cuba, or Azerbaijan, or China, or Russia, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or Turkey, or Uzbekistan, etc.

Second, freedom of the press is guaranteed by the First Amendment. If you’re a Trump voter, that’s the very first one in the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers thought it was kinda important. Trump might have autocratic fantasies about ditching parts of the Constitution that he and his stupid base don’t care about, or have never bothered to read, but he has sworn to defend it.

Similar to how you can’t choose which American citizens are worthy enough to receive disaster relief, and which are not, you can’t pick which parts of the Constitution you swear to defend. I know the Second Amendment is the only one you get a boner for, but you might want to look into the others.

When it comes to people who kneel during a song and people who want to violate the United States Constitution, only one of those groups should have their patriotism questioned (hint: It’s not the protesters).

Did you know that in addition to protecting the press and protesters, the First Amendment also allows you to practice whichever religion you fundamentalist zealots choose? Also, it prevents anyone from stopping you from saying “merry Christmas.”

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. 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 $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

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.

Who’s Your Caddy?


cjones02252017

What is it with conservatives and hypocrisy?

They spent eight years complaining that President Obama spent too much time on golf courses while neglecting his duties (and then complained when he’d issue executive orders).

During Trump’s first term in office he’s been on a golf course six times. He actually corrals the press into a club house where the windows are blacked out so they can’t see him play. Is the conservative press complaining about this? Of course not which might be why they’re not excluded from Trump press briefings.

On Friday Donald Trump spoke at CPAC and continued his war with facts and information. Once again he claimed a free press is the enemy of the American people. He said he doesn’t like “fake news,” despite actual fake news helping him win the election.

Before Trump took the stage his chief adviser Steve Bannon spoke to the group and declared the war against the media will intensify. He labels the press as the “opposition.” If information and facts are the opposition, what does that make you? Oh yeah. Liars. Lies and misinformation were Bannon’s bread and butter while he was head of Breitbart, that racist, alt-right, “information” source.

On Friday Trump’s press secretary held a press “gaggle” and prevented several legitimate news organizations from attending. He blocked The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Politico, and Buzzfeed.

Interestingly enough, Breitbart, who shouldn’t even be allowed on the White House grounds, was invited. Also invited was The Washington Times, which is very pro-Trump, and owned by a religious cult (the Times fancies itself “America’s newspaper” and a competitor to The Post, but their circulation has fallen to less than 60,000). The third conservative news outlet invited was One America News, which you’ve probably never heard of, or if you have seen it on cable you mistook it for an angry infomercial. You can make an argument that The Washington Times is a news source, but the other two are not.

News is not what the Trump administration wants shared. They’re against news. The Trump teams wants propaganda and they’ll punish those who won’t play along. Bannon has promised to make things worse for the press. That means he’s going to make things worse for everyone who actually cares about freedom in this nation.

And those conservative outlets? They’re carrying Trump’s bags.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, etc.. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Fascist Say Shut Up


 

cjones01302017

Let’s start with the second most ridiculous aspect of this. This first is the fact Donald Trump is actually president of the United States and is issuing more racist executive orders than tweets.

The second is that an alt-right white nationalist from Breitbart is the president’s chief strategist. What’s the strategy? Telling the press to shut up?

Steve Bannon, the figure from that fine journalistic institution Breitbart, sought out The New York Times to tell them that journalists need to shut up and listen for a while.

Don’t worry. We’re listening.

I’m not really good at shutting up when people tell me to shut up. A person I never wanna talk to can make me talk to him by telling me to shut up. I’m sure as hell not going to let some wannabe Nazi tell me what I can’t and can do.

Fascist don’t appreciate journalists doing their job. That job is reporting the truth. Fascist hate that. It drives them crazy. That’s why they try to shut them down. It’s not going to happen.

Shutting up isn’t in the cards. If anything we’re just going to get louder. Especially in this era of Trump. There’s too much at stake, and too much we can’t let them get away with.

Can you hear me now?

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, etc.. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!