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PLEASE READ THIS: There are another 20 or so editorial cartoons and videos posted in the comments section of the GOS. Check ’em out.
THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS
This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.
When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?
The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.
When Greek philosopher Socrates — regarded as the father of Western philosophy — said that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” he could have easily been talking about the likes of George W. Bush. Having watched a few of his television interviews and read articles written about his memoirs Decision Points, I was again reminded as to how incurious and clueless a person Bush is in matters of great importance that profoundly — and adversely — affected tens of millions of Americans during his two terms as President of the United States.
A couple of the interviewers from Fox News told Bush that he looked completely relaxed and in good spirits. Bush replied that he was at peace with himself and enjoying life, as if his presidency had been a spectacular success and had made significant progress in improving the lives of ordinary, average Americans. The reality is that that his tenure in office resulted in creating unprecedented domestic economic problems while succeeding in diminishing this country’s standing around the world.
Given Bush’s intellectually lazy approach to life, it wasn’t altogether surprising that a story surfaced yesterday in which it was alleged that Bush had engaged in a bit of plagiarism in “writing” his book
Bush’s Book Controversy
According to a Huffington Post article, former President George W. Bush lifted passages from books written by his advisers for his memoir, “Decision Points.” In other words, Bush’s book has done what any good memoir should do: Shed new light on the author. We now know that he’s even dumber than we thought.
But if you already bought Bush’s book thinking you were getting only his own thoughts, you haven’t entirely wasted your money. Finding lifted passages in Bush’s book is like an Easter egg hunt. Look for passages with a number of quotes back to back and then slap the passage into Google Books or plagiarism detection software you might have access to. The slideshow below shows what HuffPost has found so far. If you find any more, send the passage to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll verify it and add it to the list.
(Bruce Beattie, Comics.com (Daytona Beach News-Journal))
George W. Bush is counting on the fact that the country is suffering from a serious case of amnesia and that most of us have forgotten the serious damage his administration did and the carnage it inflicted upon the American people. The list of transgressions by the Bush Administration is too long and has been well-documented on this web site over the years. And often. After eight years of outright lies, deceit, dishonesty, misinformation, arrogance, and corruption, here’s a brief — though incomplete summary — of his eight years in office while the so-called “adults” were entrusted to run the country’s affairs
(Bush + Cheney = Nixon by RJ Matson,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buy this cartoon)
- Bush’s ascendancy to the presidency in December 2000 came only after an assist from the Supreme Court of the United States. Consistent with his political party’s decades-long stated beliefs, if ever there was a “States Rights” case, it was Bush v Gore. Given the unusual circumstances, humility and bipartisanship would have been in order but neither was employed in governing the country.
- His National Security Team was asleep at the switch in 2001 and did (almost) nothing in preventing the greatest attack on the lower 48 states since the War of 1812.
- Bush and the Republican Congress exploited the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (which cost 3000 American lives) at every conceivable juncture for purely partisan advantages, with most of the planners still at large.
- Beating the drums of war for well over a year and subverting decades of American foreign policy traditions by shunning traditional allies, Bush concocted false reasons for an unnecessary and “preemptive” war while wasting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and undermining America’s diplomatic position in the world. In doing so, his Defense Department badly underestimated the troops needed for occupying Iraq and preventing tens of thousands of American and Iraqi casualties — (Jeff Parker, Comics.com – Florida Today).
- Bush created climate of fear and paranoia (not seen since the days of the despised Nixon Administration) during which the Congress of the United States subverted the Constitution of the United States by suspending numerous laws dealing with war detainees, illegal wiretapping, and sanctioning prisoner torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
- His Department of Homeland Security and FEMA were guilty of criminal negligence in coordinating rescue efforts and saving hundreds of lives following Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast in 2005.
- From neglecting the environment to not protecting civil liberties to its disdain for science and rational thinking, the Bush Administration frittered away years of progress made in several areas of domestic policy.
- His economic policies resulted in fiscal mismanagement, widened income and wealth inequality, and imposed trillions of dollars of debt on American families, one that many future generations will have to work hard to pay down. The virtual collapse and meltdown of the financial system in late 2008 was a parting gift to his successor, the results of which are clearly evident to this day in the country’s precarious economic condition.
(Deadly Intersection by J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon)
Bush’s Memoir by Chan Lowe, Comics.com, see reader comments in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
As Lowe recounts on his blog, if one event symbolized the incompetence of the Bush Administration, it was its response to Hurricane Katrina which devastated the City of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast in August 2005
For me, one of the most telling moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred during a press conference. A newsman asked him if he could name any mistakes he had made, and the question took the President aback. None that he could think of, he responded after some thought. Some would call this evidence of his resoluteness; others, of his foolhardiness. In any case, we knew that his decision to invade Iraq was not something that kept him awake at night. What does keep him awake? Evidently, the verdict of history, because he is now seeking to shape it.
I haven’t read his memoir, but one of the mistakes he finally acknowledges — according to interviews — is allowing the release of the photo that was taken of him looking bemusedly down from Air Force One at New Orleans after Katrina. He hasn’t mentioned the way he bungled the Katrina response as one of his mistakes, but maybe that’s in the book.
It is Bush’s right to put his own gloss on his moment in history. We should take his effort with the same grain of salt that we view all Presidential memoirs. One pundit called it a first “baby step” in his attempt at rehabilitation. Some would say he doesn’t need rehabilitating, which tells you how controversial a figure he remains, and will continue to remain for some time… memoir or no memoir.
The Bush Memoir by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
New Peace Symbol by Aislin, Montreal Gazette, Buy this cartoon
Decision Points by Martin Sutovec, Freelance Cartoonist (Slovakia), Buy this cartoon
1. Torture, Iraq, and Preemptive Wars
For a number of years we were told repeatedly by this fear-mongering and manipulative Bush Administration that we were in the midst of a “War on Terror.” It characterized it as the defining struggle of our times. A great fight to the death in which the forces of light were being threatened by the forces of darkness. We were reminded at every moment that our country (and civilization) was under attack not for our hegemonic policies but for our way of life. Terrorists, they told us, despised freedom and liberty as if we were the only ones who had exclusive rights for and a monopoly on these universal concepts. Others were asked to align themselves either with us or against us. For if they did not, they too would experience our wrath.
As Jones points out, every justification conjured up by the Bush Administration and its enablers to initiate the War in Iraq proved to be not only false but demonstrably so. The lessons of history so brilliantly captured in this Robert Fisk essay were completely ignored
Bush says the most painful thing for him to endure during his presidency was rapper/musician Kanye West calling him a racist. I guess that whole starting a war against an enemy who never attacked us, never finding the evidence you reasoned with for starting the war, and inflicting casualties among thousands of civilians and our military wasn’t as troubling for him.
But damn that Kanye.
Bush’s Shoes by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon
Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate/GOComics
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
CIA Torture Cases by Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland (Germany), Buy this cartoon
Jeff Danziger, New York Times Syndicate/Yahoo Comics
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
Bush Book by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Buy this cartoon
Vic Harville, Stephens Media Group (Little Rock, AR), Buy this cartoon
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader/McLatchy Cartoons
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
Bush Farewell by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon
Dick Cheney and George W. Bush by Taylor Jones,
Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon
2. Bush’s Economic “Philosophy” and His Contributions to the Economy
By any measure, the Bush Administration’s economic performance was the worst in modern American history
The Sad History of Trusting the GOP on the Economy
To be sure, George W. Bush provided the perfect bookend to era of modern Republican economic management ushered by Herbert Hoover. The verdict on President Bush’s reign of ruin was pronounced even before Barack Obama took the oath of office. January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, “Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record.” (The Journal’s interactive table quantifies his comparative failure.) Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times… featured an analysis (“Economic Setbacks That Define the Bush Years”) comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower. As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth.
But it was the release of a Census Bureau report in September (“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008”) which in 67 pages laid bare the economic devastation and human toll during the Bush presidency. As The Atlantic (“Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy”) rightly noted, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride”:
On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.
Free Marketeers by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon
Bob Gorrell, Nationally Syndicated Cartoonist, Buy this cartoon
Unemployed by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon
Stuart Carlson, Universal Press Syndicate
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
Bush Farewell by Steve Greenberg, VCReporter (Ventura, CA), Buy this cartoon
Lee Judge, Kansas City Star/McLatchy Cartoons
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
Buying the Bush Book by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon
Bush Error Tax Cuts by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon
The George W Bush Liberry by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon
George W. Bush’s new book for sale by Chris Britt, Comics.com, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
Devil May Care Capitalism by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon
Bush on Mt. Rushmore by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon
The Bush Legacy by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon
Cleanup by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon
Bush Book by Aislin, Montreal Gazette, Buy this cartoon
3. Tony Blair: Bush’s Foreign Policy Partner in Crime
Foreign policy is the collective face a nation puts forth for the rest of the world to accept or reject; admire or detest; cooperate with or defy; and emulate or ignore.
The objective of foreign policy goals is not just to advance our “vital national interests” but also to project our values of fairness, cooperation, and morality for mutual benefit. Consistent with traditions established by both Democratic and Republican Administrations since World War II, an important and essential component had been the pursuit of these goals with the help of our traditional allies.
And yet, during the Bush Years, American foreign policy was the face of a dominant bully hellbent on intimidating other countries to get in line with and support our perverted agendas, with little or no success. In other words, in collusion with the British government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, our foreign policy face was that of The Ugly American
Tony Blair’s Book Annoys Queeny by Brian Adcock, The Scotland, Buy this cartoon
Bush and Blair Buddies by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon
Iraq War Logs by Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE), Buy this cartoon
Coffee or Tea by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
Dwayne Booth, Mr. Fish, Buy this cartoon
Stephane Peray, The Nation (Bangkok, Thailand), Buy this cartoon
Downing Street Memo Cut by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
Tony Blair’s Memoirs by Patrick Chappatte, International Herald Tribune, Buy this cartoon
Bush Shoe Sale by Paul Zanetti, Freelance Cartoonist (Australia), Buy this cartoon
Iraqi Warming by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon
Blair and WMD’s by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
Blair’s Autobiography by Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE), Buy this cartoon
Bush Rides Into the Sunset by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon
Tony Blair by Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, Buy this cartoon
Bush Band Live in Baghdad by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon
Iraq Inquiry and Blair by Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland (Germany), Buy this cartoon
Cover My Back by Olle Johansson, Freelance Cartoonist (Sweden), Buy this cartoon
Blair and History by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon
4. Bush and Hurricane Katrina: Nothing Short of Criminal Negligence
Crowe tells a story that I had never heard before in which he details who had first used Bush’s famous words to FEMA Director Michael Brown, shortly after Hurricane Katrina crashed along the shores of the Gulf Coast
The George W. Bush book, Decision Points, has been released. To the American reading public. Safely after the midterm elections. And get this: It’s a book with words. I know, right?
Now, did Bush write his memoirs by his own self? If he did, I’ll be interested in seeing the word ‘nookular’ in print. Also ‘turr’. As in the ‘war on turr.’ Dubya can’t say the word ‘memoirs’ without it soundin’ like ‘them WARS.’…
From his book, Bush says: “I asked Bob (Riley) and Haley (Barbour) if they were getting the federal support they needed. Both told me that they were. ‘That Mike Brown is doing a heck of a job,’ Bob said. I knew Mike was under pressure, and I wanted to boost his morale. When I spoke to the press a few minutes later, I repeated the praise.
‘Brownie,’ I said, ‘you’re doing a heck of a job.’
And now he’s passin’ the Brownie buck to Gov. Bob Riley. If Bush had been on top of things, maybe he could have come up with his own lame material… It’s not Bush’s fault, of course. How’d he know the line he stole from a respected Republican governor was gonna go nookular?
Bush Tours New Orleans by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon
Bush’s Book by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon
Shark Infested Waters by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly, Buy this cartoon
New Orleans Gone by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon
Bush’s Book Tour by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon
Our Republican Paradise by Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com,
Buy this cartoon
Levee of Lame Excuses by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
G.W. Bush and His Book by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon
My Pet Scapegoat by J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon
Bush Memoir by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon
President Bush Plays Jack Bauer In “24” by RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon
5. Bush’s Sordid Legacy
Under normal circumstances, it takes historians many years (even decades) to fully evaluate any president’s performance in office. As I detailed in two comments this past summer, the reasons are many — Why Do Perceptions of Leaders Change?
- Documents are declassified that shed light on previously unknown facts.
- Former high-level government officials write ‘insider’ accounts of their service providing details heretofore unknown to historians.
- Events happen, perspectives change decades after policies are implemented.
- Leaders themselves contribute to their re-evaluation in significant ways.
The above does not apply to George W. Bush’s administration. In 2006, Historian Sean Wilentz of Princeton University wrote this article in Rolling Stone magazine which explained how many historians viewed Bush’s performance
George W. Bush’s presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history…
Another president once explained that the judgments of history cannot be defied or dismissed, even by a president. “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history,” said Abraham Lincoln. “We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”
Well over two hundred years ago, the founders of this country introduced a political system of checks and balances and though not altogether perfect, it, nonetheless, contains within it a remedy and mechanism for self-correction. The Bush Administration is no exception to that most basic of democratic principles nor is it exempt from being accountable for its actions.
Editorial Cartoonist Bob Englehart evaluates the damage done over eight years of George W. Bush
We ran this photo of the billboard on Page A3 yesterday and I couldn’t resist. Do I miss W? Do I miss polio? I can’t think of one thing I miss about him. Fact is, if he were in charge, unemployment would be at 50 percent and we’d be at war with the whole world.
Even worse, the Queen of Hearts and her tea party would be running the country. If you want a feel for what that would be like, let your thoughts drift to Germany after World War I when all the wrong people gained power. Obama a Nazi, indeed. Look in the mirror, tea bagger, and see what hatred really looks like.
The sign depicted in my cartoon is the actual billboard in Minnesota. It was financed by some local businessmen with a bug up their seated parts. I don’t usually combine art with photography, but this one works. Sometimes this job is way too easy.
In Bookstores Now by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see the large number of reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
A Note About the Diary Poll
I have no idea if there will be a movie made based on Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points. And even if one is made by a supporter as to how accurate it will be of the Bush record.
Numerous best-selling books have been the basis of the some of the best movies ever made. The diary poll only reflects a few that I chose. The ones I chose are not necessarily the best ever. See this list which includes many more books and may very well include your favorites — Books Made Into Movies.
Remember to take the diary poll.