turkey

The Magic Mikes


cjones10212019

Maybe I’m just naive and don’t understand diplomacy or foreign policy, but it seems to me if you’re going to have a successful ceasefire, then both sides have to agree on the definition of “ceasefire.”

Donald Trump, the self-described “stable genius” and “great negotiator” with “unmatched wisdom,” sent sycophant Mike One and sycophant Mike Two to Turkey to negotiate an agreement with President Recep Erdogan to stop killing Kurds. Pompeo and Pence emerged after a nine-hour negotiation with Erdogan that Turkey has agreed to stop killing Kurds for five days to give them time to leave a 20-mile “safe zone,” and that the Kurds must surrender their heavy weaponry and fortifications. What the Kurds get out of this is that they have five days to run before Turkey shoots them in the back while they’re running.

Reuters is reporting that the border is calm at this time, but within the first 24 hours, shelling and airstrikes against the Kurds continued. Erdogan blamed the Kurds though independent reporters and observers reported airstrikes and shelling coming from Turkey. But, Donald Trump backed Erdogan in blaming the Kurds. In fact, despite the “tough guy” letter Trump sent to Erdogan, he’s adopted the Turkish tyrant’s language when talking about the Kurds.

Erdogan has described the Kurds as terrorists and Trump has parroted that Turkey is fighting terrorism in Syria. Erdogan has claimed ISIS prisoners are being released intentionally by the Kurds, and Trump has echoed that. Erdogan claims the PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, is a greater threat than Isis. Right on cue, Trump has made the same claim.

He’s taking Vladimir Putin’s talking points also in saying Russia is fighting ISIS when in reality, they’ve spent most of their time in Syria fighting rebels, often backed by the U.S., who are fighting Syria’s dictator Bashar Assad. This is Trump’s defense of giving Russia more clout in the Middle East while reducing the United States’. As Nancy Pelosi told him to this face earlier this week, “all roads lead to Putin.”

Trump started the Turkish invasion by pulling U.S. forces out of Syria on a whim after a phone call with Erdogan. Within hours, Turkey was invading Syria and targeting Kurdish fighters previously supported by the U.S. Donald Trump believes he’s solved a crisis he created.

The groups fighting in Syria now are Assad’s forces, the Kurds, Turkey, Russia, and Iran. Trump’s pullout is a win for each of them except the Kurds. At one of his hate rallies in Texas, Trump compared the fight to kids in a schoolyard and said, “Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while.” He also said he had given the Turks and Kurds a lesson in “tough love.” Hopefully, it didn’t involve a copy of Forbes Magazine with Ivanka on the cover which he’ll have to pay hush money to keep silent about later. Trump also claimed the Kurds are “very happy about the way things are going” and that the U.S. has “taken control of the oil in the Middle East.” Nobody understands what he meant by any of that.

Kids in a schoolyard fighting can’t be compared to an actual war where lives are lost and a refugee crisis is created. If the Kurds are “happy,” they’re not aware of it yet. And the oil, what the fuck? Trump’s comments are further evidence he needs to be removed from office.

Right now, every nation that wants to take advantage of the United States, friends and foes, needs to negotiate with Donald Trump. His negotiations with North Korea gave the U.S. nothing in return for legitimizing Kim’s regime and a cease in U.S. military preparedness on the Korean peninsula. His negotiations with Nancy Pelosi got him nothing when he started with something. His deal with Erdogan has given Turkey, Russia, and Iran everything, and even Assad a little something, but nothing for the Kurds or the U.S. If Iran was smart, they’d renegotiate the nuclear agreement with Trump, get clearance to build nuclear weapons, and maybe get a few Trump condos thrown into the deal.

Donald Trump is an idiot and he sent two idiots, Mike and Mike, to Turkey to wash Erdogan’s car. My question is, what else of Erdogan’s did they wash?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

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Trump’s Turkey Letter


cjones10192019

Warren Harding was not a good president. Even during his term, he was regarded as a failed president and that perception remains with today’s historians who rank him among the worst. His administration was visionless, ineffectual and corrupt. He slashed immigration quotas, appointed his cronies, one of whom accepted bribes from oil companies in what became known as the Teapot Dome scandal, and brought an end to the reform-minded eras of his predecessors. He had a lover on the side to whom he wrote letters to in which he referred to his penis as Jerry. The Republican Party, concerned that the affair wouldn’t just expose Harding as a cheater but that his lover supported Germany in World War I, paid her an amount that would be nearly $300,000 today in hush money. The RNC even paid for her and her husband to go on a lengthy trip to Japan, and Harding himself offered her $5,000 a year as long as he was in public service. Corruption, mistresses, hush money, ending reforms, scaling back immigration, weird penis story, etc. Does any of this sound familiar?

Harding did not belong in the presidency, but at least he wasn’t oblivious to that fact as he once conceded, “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.”

Donald Trump is not fit for his office and he shouldn’t be there. But, unlike Harding, he doesn’t know it. In fact, he tells us he’s a “stable genius,” has “unmatched wisdom,” and boasts of imaginary accomplishments that “only he” could have accomplished.

Donald Trump is stupid. He’s also a man-child. When Hillary Clinton called him “Putin’s Puppet,” his retort was, “You’re the puppet.” Yesterday, after a failed meeting with Congressional leaders over Syria, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he had a “meltdown.” His retort this time? She had the “meltdown.” She said she “prays for his health,” and he tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!” If Pelosi had called him a “poopy head,” he would have replied she’s a “poopy head.” I hope he’s never in a rap battle (actually, I think I would like to see that).

Trump later tweeted out a photo of the meeting he thought would make him look good to his base. In it, Pelosi is standing at a table, fully occupied by men, directly across from Trump, seemingly confronting him. Instead of it humiliating her, she made it her header photo on Twitter. It’s like the time I bought a water pistol to scold my dog with, and he ended up barking for more sprays from the water pistol (maybe we should try the water pistol technique on Trump).

In another act of obliviousness, Trump proudly distributed a letter he wrote to Turkish president Recip Erdogan, which reads like it was written by a third-grader on Adderall.

Upon seeing the letter on Facebook, I thought, that’s good satire. It sounds just like something he would write, or in his case, dictate. Though, they may have gone over the top with the stupidity…oh wait….that shit’s real? Even the press had to check with the White House to see if it was genuine. To everyone’s astonishment, the White House confirmed its authenticity. Have you ever turned on TV news to see every anchor with their mouths hanging open? This is an actual letter from one world leader to another and not some drama-filled vague Facebook post from one teen to another about checking out her boyfriend (I have nieces. I’ve seen these)?

In it, Trump says, “Let’s make a deal” and he further warns that he’ll destroy Turkey’s economy if a deal isn’t made over the Kurds whom he abandoned like a first or second wife. He tells Erdogan he doesn’t want to be “responsible for the slaughter of thousands of people” and that history will look “favorably” on him if he gets it done the “right and humane” way. Or, that it’ll look upon him “forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,” like how it’ll look on Republicans still supporting Trump after they see this rambling trainwreck of a letter. He further warns Erdogan, “don’t be a tough guy,” and “don’t be a fool!” then strangest of all, sums it up with, “I’ll call you.”

Donald Trump doesn’t just need to be impeached. He needs to be checked into a facility where he can receive help. I don’t mean that to insult or attack him. There’s something wrong with him.

Trump also tweeted his high approval rating within the GOP base, seemingly aware Republicans may be flaking, as two-thirds of House Republicans voted in favor of a resolution condemning his decision to pull United States troops out of Syria. There are reports several Republicans are privately expressing they’re tired of dealing with Trump. There are fears in the White House that a Senate trial could actually be a disaster for him, as each day reveals new details of his corruption while he continues to exhibit a mental disorder.

Impeaching Trump as punishment is all well and good, but that’s the least of it. He needs to be removed because if not, he will continue to endanger this nation. The man is a Russian asset and a national security risk (he even revealed we have nukes in Turkey, which goes against a longstanding government policy of not saying where they are. Next, he’ll tweet the codes).

Donald Trump doesn’t know how to be president, let alone a rational, stable adult. Republicans who continue to support him don’t know how to be Americans.

Donald Trump is not fit for this office and he doesn’t belong here.

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Kurds Get Trumped


cjones10112019

Donald Trump is not just a risk to our national security. He’s a risk for the world’s security.

Trump has a good argument about America being in “forever wars,” like Afghanistan. He’s not the first to make the argument as it’s one that’s been carried by Republicans and Democrats alike. But pulling our troops out of Kurdish-held northern Syria isn’t removing us from a “forever war,” as most of the fighting on our behalf has been done by Syrian Kurds. They’ve fought with our equipment and training to defeat ISIS.

This is where it gets tricky. The Kurds are holding about 11,000 ISIS fighters. Trump says Turkey must now take responsibility for those prisoners. They also operate camps for families displaced by the war, holding tends of thousands of people. Many of them are non-Syrian wives and children of ISIS fighters.

Turkey does not like the Kurds. They have been fighting separatist Kurds inside their borders for years and consider all Kurdish fighters, including our allies, the Syrian Kurds, to be terrorists. Turkey is planning to invade Northern Syria after the U.S. removes its protection of the Kurds.

Syria’s dictator, who the Kurds have also been fighting, along with ISIS while they’ve been fighting ISIS (told you it’s confusing), controls the southern half of Syria. President Bashar al-Assad is backed by Putin and he wants to retake northern Syria. He’s looking to make a deal with the Kurds. Russia also has troops in Syria.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers issued a joint statement saying, “If Turkey attacks these Kurdish soldiers, there is a grave risk that the ISIS fighters they guard will escape and return to the battlefield.” Susan Rice, the former national security adviser for President Obama, told Stephen Colbert, “This is batshit crazy.” Trump’s former UN ambassador Nikki Haley said we’re leaving the Syrian Kurds “to die.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came out of his shell and said this will benefit the Syrian regime, Iran, and Russia.” Even Lindsey Graham, who usually resides in Donald Trump’s butt, said this is “complete chaos” and a “disaster.” The butt, however, according to Lindsey, is nice this time of year.

This is America bailing on an ally after they helped us defeat ISIS. Already, there are reports of Turkish artillery shelling and airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish positions. Trump made the decision after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, probably after Erdogan promised dirt on Hunter Biden.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” Turkey replied, “Yeah, uh-huh. Right.”

The United States has a long history of abandoning the Kurds. President Richard Nixon helped foment a Kurdish uprising in Iraq to fight Iran. But after Iran and Iraq mended fences in 1975, we turned out back on the insurrection and left them to be slaughtered and driven into exile. In 1991, George H.W. Bush called on Iraqis to rise up against dictator Saddam Hussien. After we were done with Desert Storm, we abandoned the Kurds again and Saddam crushed them. Last August, the Trump administration convinced the Kurds to pull back from the Turkish border and dismantle their fortifications. Now, with those fortifications dismantled, Donald Trump has given Turkey the green light to invade northern Syria.

Trump’s former top diplomat in the war against ISIS, Brett McGurk tweeted, “The value of an American handshake is depreciating.” Plus with Trump, you don’t know where that hand’s been.

Hearing the criticism and concern over Turkey’s intentions, Trump tweeted yesterday, “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).” Well, shoot. I guess we were all concerned about nothing because we still have Trump’s “great and unmatched wisdom” to take care of things. If nothing else, he’ll destroy Turkey’s economy like he did before which nobody remembers happening.

The conflict of interest in this crisis should also be noted. There are Trump Towers in Istanbul (in case you’re a Republican, Istanbul is in Turkey). Trump’s proud of these towers and said in 2015, “It’s called Trump Towers. Two towers instead of one. Not the usual one. It’s two.” Unfortunately for the Kurds, they don’t even have one Trump Tower.

We are bailing on our allies and proving to the world we can’t be trusted. Our next president, unless it’s Mike Pence, will have to rebuild that trust. Someone said, “Don’t forget, that’s their territory. We have to help them. They fought with us. They died. We lost tens of thousands of Kurds, died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us. And for themselves. They died for themselves. They’re great people. And we have not forgotten. We don’t forget.” In case you can’t tell from that sentence structure, Donald Trump said that. He said it last year and, I think he forgot.

All these world leaders who throw Trump parades, flattery, visits to secret cities, sword dances, and promise investigations based on conspiracy theories on his political opponents need to keep in mind, Trump is not loyal. But for us, when Trump bails on an ally, it’s not just his reputation he’s harming. He’s making America look bad. Sure, world leaders in the future will realize our next president fully understands two towers is more than one tower, but they’ll remember we’re the idiots who put an orange idiot in the White House.

We need to show the world that we can do one thing right and that is impeaching Donald Trump because he’s bringing America’s credibility down to his level. And in case you’re a Republican, his level is a sewer.

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Ingrate Gobbler


cjones11222017

The Idiot-in-Chief couldn’t stop tweeting dumb shit this weekend. What else is new, right? He attacked Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, and tweeted, “was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President.” My first thought was, what did Flake say about Teddy Roosevelt? By the way, Mr. Cheeto…it’s “mic,” not “mike,” unless you named the microphone “Michael.”

Trump also tweeted his outrage that a player for the Oakland Raiders stood for the Mexican national anthem, but took a knee during our anthem, before the Raiders/Patriots game in Mexico City. First, why would Marshawn Lynch, the player Trump referenced, be upset with Mexico? Second, for a guy boycotting the NFL Trump is watching a lot of NFL.

Then, Trump went after Lavar Ball. Ball is the father of one of the UCLA students arrested for shoplifting in China, and whose release Trump has taken credit for. Before the students thanked Trump, he demanded they thank him. A couple days later, Lavar Ball questioned Trump’s involvement in their release. Trump had another public meltdown.

Ball is very similar to Trump. They’re both narcissistic self-promoters. They also make very stupid statements that have no basis in reality. Ball once said that during his prime, he could have beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one. I am fully confident, however, that Ball can still beat Trump in a game of one-on-one.

The real kicker here is that Trump said that maybe he shouldn’t have gotten the kids’ release until his next trip to China. That is just a rotten and selfish thing to say.

Trump is too thin-skinned for the job he holds. This is further proof Congress needs to take the nuclear button away from him.

Creative notes: This is a short blog and a quick cartoon today. I really liked this idea and I kicked it out pretty quick. I still plan to keep my usual late-night cartooning routine tonight. Drawing two today will allow me to take next Saturday off, maybe. I didn’t get one last weekend but I still ate ice cream.

Also, Frank could probably use a day off from proofing.

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 (please specify which print you want or I won’t mail one). All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

 

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 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.

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Ambassador Assassination


cjones12212016

On Monday a Turkish police officer posing as a member of a security detail walked up behind the Russian ambassador to Turkey and shot him in the back at an art gallery in Ankara.

As ambassador Andrei Karlov lay dying on the floor the gunman shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” The image was captured in photos and video and shared around the world. The gunman injured several others before he was killed by police.

Since Russia entered the Syrian civil war they have claimed they’re only bombing terrorists. Others, including the United States, have accused Vladimir Putin of using his bombs not to attack terrorists, but to prop up Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and killing thousands of civilians. What may complicate matters is that the terrorists may be on the side supported by the United States.

Turkey is not a safe place. Earlier this year they experienced a so-called coup attempt which many claim their president staged to build his support and to punish his enemies. They’ve had three major terror attacks within the last ten days which has followed a month of violence. This is a NATO nation that doesn’t resemble one.

While there’s no justification for terrorism or the killing of diplomats, Putin can find the source of this world-wide scorn in his own mirror. You can’t drop bombs on babies and not expect a backlash. The U.S. has some experience in this area.

Turkey wasn’t the only site of terrorism on Monday. Three people were injured at a Muslim prayer center in Zurich, Switzerland, and at least 12 were killed at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany.

As our next president forges a closer relationship to Russia and perhaps Syria, we may expect some of this backlash to be directed toward us. I wonder where terrorists wishing to make a statement against an American president can find targets throughout the world where there are numerous buildings bearing his name.

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War With Russia


cjones11272015

I resisted joining the herd of political cartoonists drawing turkeys to symbolize the nation of Turkey. Did Turkey plan to jump in American news the week of Thanksgiving? They could have timed it better for cartoonist by giving their turkey cartoons a few more days of shelf life.

A lot of people who declare we should put troops into Iraq and Syria, and others who say we should go to Ukraine, never sign up themselves. They’re real quick with the war plans if they’re not a part of the plan. Hell, these people don’t even want to pay for it monetarily. They’re really good at taking their guns into Walmart and coffee shops though.

On top of that a lot of conservatives idolize Vladimir Putin over Obama, and gloat over how strong of a leader he is. Now they’re even gloating about France’s war with terrorism because they’ve dropped about two percent of the bombs the U.S. has dropped on ISIS. But they’re in love with Putin. He’s a homosexual hating bully, so go figure.

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, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!