Cartoon for January 15, 2009

Bush—er, Obama—can’t come up with $1 trillion to fill what Paul Krugman describes as a nearly $3 trillion hole. Yet he, and no one else, ever questions the wisdom of escalating our other doomed war, the one against the people of Afghanistan.

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26 Responses to “Cartoon for January 15, 2009”

  1. grouchy Says:

    Unguarded skid of $100 bills…

    Ted, have you by chance seen Generation Kill? (Or read the book?)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    1st post!

  3. fizzle Says:

    I thought Obama was a Sox fan…
    Hey Ted, why nothing about Gaza?

  4. fizzle Says:

    I thought Obama was a Sox fan…
    Hey Ted, why nothing about Gaza?

  5. Aggie Dude Says:

    I just gotta be honest, Rall, every time I see you act as though Obama is just another GW Bush, I lose respect for you; Not as a cartoonist and journalist, you’re good at that, but as a mature adult citizen of the country.

    There are profound differences between them. The fact that the country has been financially and morally gutted and is in a cavernous free fall shouldn’t diminish that.

    There’s almost nothing he can do, we’re screwed, that’s why it was important not to go into these situations in the first place. The fact that we’re there isn’t Obama’s fault anymore than it is your fault and my fault.

  6. Thomas Daulton Says:

    This one is sooooo juicy. Numerous people, including your drinking buddy Tom Tomorrow, have pointed out that the supposed Iraq Reconstruction Plan included things like gigantic subsidies to health care and education, while the authors of that plan simultaneously preached to the American people that such things were evil and counterproductive if we ever dared to try them at home. Indeed it does make it sound like America could use a good old-fashioned defeat in an invasion.

    But nope, nope, aid must never be dispensed directly to the American people; aid can only be humanitarian if it passes through a gigantic heartless multinational company first. Hammer of the Blogs points out that if the $800 Billion Wall Street Bailout is supposed to help Obama achieve his goal of creating 3 million jobs, then that’s a quarter-million dollars per job funneled to gigantic financiers, so that they can “trickle-down” a few tens of thousands to the people who actually work at those jobs. And yet we have the gall to say that whasisname Madoff conducted a “Ponzi scheme“!!

  7. Incitatus Says:

    Ted, that was a funny cartoon and a reminder that the current (and the future) administration doesn’t only squander taxpayer money on bankrupt corporations.

    Now, this has nothing to do with the cartoon, but if Kurt is checking out these comments, I’d suggest that he take a look at Nicholas Kristof’s column on the NYT today. Now, Kristof is as good a liberal, in the American sense, as you can find, but his opinion on South Asian sweatshops is the same as this semi-libertarian’s. Too bad Obama will probably cave in to the protectionist noise, though.

  8. Incitatus Says:

    Ted, that was a funny cartoon and a reminder that the current (and the future) administration doesn’t only squander taxpayer money on bankrupt corporations.

    Now, this has nothing to do with the cartoon, but if Kurt is checking out these comments, I’d suggest that he take a look at Nicholas Kristof’s column on the NYT today. Now, Kristof is as good a liberal, in the American sense, as you can find, but his opinion on South Asian sweatshops is the same as this semi-libertarian’s. Too bad Obama will probably cave in to the protectionist noise, though.

  9. Ted Rall Says:

    “There’s almost nothing he can do, we’re screwed, that’s why it was important not to go into these situations in the first place.”

    Whatever, Aggie. There’s plenty that Obama could do: nationalize the banks, no tax cuts, bail out homeowners, raise the minimum wage, pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, apologize to the world, pay off the torture victims, arrest Bush and Cheney, stop warrantless wiretapping, etc.

    He’s choosing not to.

    Would it cost him politically? Maybe. So what? Saving America is more important than one man’s careerism.

    If Obama wants to let the county go down the shitter, that’s his choice. But it’s the wrong choice, and we have the right to say so.

  10. Susan Stark Says:

    Mr. Obama did not get not get the memo that neo-con philosphy is dead, apparently.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Ted-

    Oh come on. Obama can do little to NOTHING on your list because he wouldn’t be able to get any of it through Congress. You’re acting as if the man can simply do things by fiat, and you should know better.

    I’ve got no problem assigning blame, but put the blame where it actually belongs. Here’s a hint: very little of it belongs on Obama.

  12. Ted Rall Says:

    Why wouldn’t Obama be able to get his agenda through Congress? Bush did, and he had a Democratic Congress to contend with. Obama needs to use the bully pulpit, take his case to the American people, and bully and bluster.

    Come on–what more does Obama want? A 100% Democratic Congress?

    Also, much of what he should do can be accomplished by executive order, like closing Gitmo and sending the detainees home and withdrawing our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

  13. Angelo Says:

    FDR addressed the country on why he wanted to pack the supreme court. He believed in what he was doing. He told the whole country why, and he identified and publicly talked shit about the people who were against it.

    We just just got through with a bad dictator, now we need Obama to be a good one.

  14. Kurt Says:

    Incitatus,

    Kristoff is a semi-libertarian free trader, not a liberal, and he was talking about south east asia (specifically Thailand which has about as free of a market as there is, or did until recently). I was talking about China where people get shot for not showing up to work when they are sick and get sent to prison for life for suggesting that now that they are skilled laborers, maybe 30 cents an hour isn’t a fair wage.

    For the record, I am a fan of free trade and even of bootstrapping and tough working conditions, as long as the investment isn’t an economic hit job that is imperialism in corporate cloaks or slavery by another name. I am also a fan of the free market most of the time. You stated recently that Keynesians dont account for positive externalities… I disagree with you on that and I think that when libertarians try to equate pollution with some workers gaining marketable skills is silly. I think that free markets require some regulations that redistribute wealth because some wealth is ill-gotten and that the market rate of labor is priced so poorly (and usually by captured regulators). Also, free markets tend towards wealth concentrations that are suicidal (see 1929 and 2008). Maybe you aren’t as hard core a libertarian as I think you are, but I am not quite the commie you seem to think I am. I am pragmatic mostly but I don’t think people should be slaves.

    By the way, Kristoff in all his wisdom argues that working in a sweatshop is honky-dory, but working in a brothel isn’t. Both are jobs in Thailand that lift people out of abject poverty and they are both coercive, slave-like lives. Maybe you can tell me why one is okay and the other isn’t. I sent Kristoff an email but he hasn’t responded.

    Now, onto Ted’s cartoon… I hope someone can talk Obama out of his ill-advised Afghanistan build up. It is stupid, wasteful and doesn’t really solve anything. Then again, I hope that in a few months I won’t have to take my shoes off at the airport and that I can bring in my own bottle of water, but I am not holding my breath.

  15. Grouchy Says:

    Kurt (and Incitatus):

    Most wealth is ill-gotten. The entire global economy is built upon the abstract premise that absentee landlords can “own” property (real estate, natural resources, etc.) that they don’t have an actual physical relationship with.

    This arbitrary premise (which I consider highly immoral) is so ingrained in mainstream thought that few people acknowledge the threat of violence that underscores just about every action involving transnational commerce. Here’s another word for a transaction that takes place under threat of violence: theft.

    “Libertarians” commonly miss the whole boat on this issue: they support the property rights of multi-national corporations by touting the virtue of the “little guy.” If you’re honest, you’ll admit that these two sets of interests are mutually exclusive…

  16. SEK:USD Says:

    Carlos Latuff is pretty acerbic but one of his recent cartoons nailed it:

    “McCain: Iran is a threat! Full support to Israel! More troops to Iraq!
    Obama: Iran is a threat! Full support to Israel! More troops to Afghanistan!”

    It’s a diplomatic coup, I tell ya. It’s certainly some kind of coup when the elephant in the room is that the new policy is the same as the old policy. Even bringing up Afghan causes some Obama boosters to foam at the mouth. His hands are tied, I hear. If it’s true that he believes it, that makes him…well, a moron.

  17. Incitatus Says:

    Kurt,

    Kristof is a somewhat puritanical “liberal” from Oregon. The situation with prostitutes in SE Asia is heartbreaking, but except when it involves violence from the pimps and children (on which Kristof does a great job), I don’t share his point of view. What a prostitute does with her own body is her business, blame their Western patrons for exploitation.

    Grouchy, I think we established that you’re more of a commie than Kurt is. Property is propert, be the owner a striving individual or a multinational corporation. Most big companies (but not all) get that big because of ill-gotten favours from big government. So, if you loathe them so much as you make it seem, perhaps you should start doing a little thinking about their enabler.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    > Property is propert, be the owner a striving individual
    > or a multinational corporation.

    Yes, yes, it's ALL THE SAME THING.

    The bag of peanuts in my backpack is THE SAME THING as, say, ALL THE ASSETS OF GENERAL MOTORS.

    > Most big companies (but not all) get that big because
    > of ill-gotten favours from big government.

    Yes, if "BIG GOVERNMENT" went away then EVERYTHING WOULD BE FINE.

    What an interesting religion you have.

    You understand, the only reason you've ever HEARD of it is that it's constantly promoted by those same "big companies" to get you to lobby and struggle against their enemies for them?

  19. Incitatus Says:

    Anon@1/18/09 5:55 AM:

    I lobby for noone. My religion is apparently more interesting than yours. You should get back to your meds and stop TYPING EVERYTHING IN UPPERCASE!

  20. Grouchy Says:

    Let’s think about the “enablers”: once, in many countries, it was established in law that certain human beings were born being “property.”

    Yes, “Property is propert” [sic]; this is the highest law given to us by god! It’s a shame we got sidetracked and outlawed formal slavery.

    But still, the berries in my backyard (or the peanuts in my backpack) are the same thing as the diamond mine that I own in Africa–no matter that I have never visited it or drunk the polluted water that streams forth into the worker’s communities.

    “Property is propert” [sic], and maybe one day I’ll be able to own people out-right again (though I prefer wage-slaves–they’re cheaper because they’re disposable…).

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted..

    Unless you’ve got some evidence that Obama doesn’t intend to bully and bluster, you’ve undercut your own argument completely.

    Everything on your list that can be done by executive order he’s already announced he will do.

    Everything else will fall victim to the same Republican obstructionists that have prevented much progress for the last two years. And THAT’S not only why Obama won’t be able to get a progressive agenda through congress, but THAT’S where the blame belongs; on the Republican obstructionists and their Democratic enablers.

    So, to sum up: Everything you’d like Obama to do that he can do by fiat, he’s announced he will do.

    Everything else you’d like him to do, he won’t get through Congress.

    And you want to blame Obama for that? I don’t think so.

    Put the blame where it belongs, dude.

  22. DISSENT is MENTAL ILLNESS Says:

    Sorry, buddy, nobody loves “libertarianism” more than the big corporations that actually benefit from deregulation and low taxes. You and yours have no other political function except to make things cushy for them.

  23. Angelo Says:

    incitatus eaid earlier:
    “Most big companies (but not all) get that big because of ill-gotten favours from big government. “

    That is like blaming a Boeing 737 for 9-11 instead of the hijacker.

  24. Incitatus Says:

    Grouchy, for your reading delight, I have restored the dictionary and spell checking on Firefox, so you’ll never have to quote a single typo twice. Hope it makes you feel better.

    Reckless behaviour (your diamond mine example) should be punishable if it inflicts damage on others, hardly anybody would argue about that. Your mentioning slavery is just silly and offensive, the should be a corollary to Godwin’s law that included mentioning it. Allegories are always fun to read, but don’t really help your point in debate (that applies to you also, Angelo).

    I would like to know, at what point, in your learned opinion, does a mom-and-pop shop get too big? When pop manages to save enough so he can buy an unsuccessful competitor’s store? Do you really want the very visible and very heavy hand of the monopoly of violence twisting pop’s arm because of that?

  25. Grouchy Says:

    Reckless behaviour (your diamond mine example) should be punishable if it inflicts damage on others, hardly anybody would argue about that.

    Huh? If no one would argue that position, then when is it legal for European and American firms to profit off diamond mines that destroy African communities? (I’m thinking about diamond mines because of the recent National Geographic piece.) One man’s “reckless behavior” is another man’s “entrepreneurial spirit.” Are you suggesting *gasp* regulation? Who’s going to monitor and punish such behavior? Big *gasp* government *gasp*?

    Your mentioning slavery is just silly and offensive…

    Your statement “property is property” is silly and offensive.

    [A]t what point … does a mom-and-pop shop get too big?

    Off the top of my head, how about this: a progressive tax stops Pop from keeping more than 10 times his worker’s median salary. As he starts to accumulate more wealth, he’s got a choice: he can share it with the government, or he can share it with his wage-slaves.

    Have a nice day at your job! 🙂

  26. Angelo Says:

    “I would like to know, at what point, in your learned opinion, does a mom-and-pop shop get too big? When pop manages to save enough so he can buy an unsuccessful competitor’s store?”

    More like when pop puts up walmarts all over the country, and puts thousands of pops out of business.

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