2014 will be like 2013

Domestic, International, Uncategorized, Writing

The unsolved problems that have dominated the national discourse this year will only intensify as we make our way into another election year.

2013 was the first year that I kept a consistent schedule, working with The Gabbler’s editors to pitch ideas and angles for cartoons. Again and again, I found myself focusing on certain themes: the intimate relationship between moneyed interests and the government; technology and the perpetually-multiplying powers of the executive branch; and political events that are shaping the direction of the world.

The closeness between the government and moneyed interests is clearly on display in the legal treatment of banks for their far-reaching crimes. My first cartoon this year – an admittedly conventional and unimpressive illustration of an unidentified character shouting at the DOJ’s Lanny Breuer and an oversized personification of HSBC – was a reaction to small fines for heinous money laundering practices. This topic came up again in October, when J.P. Morgan Chase and their acquisitions WaMu and Bear Sternes also avoided criminal charges for recklessly tanking the economy.

This theme will likely be even more pronounced in 2014, as corporations continue to shape our government by blatantly using massive amounts of money to choose who gets elected, and the gap between the rich and poor widens. 

Americans Advise Afghans on Corruption

Domestic, International

Americans Advise Afghans on Corruption

This cartoon directly references two things: A Corruption Index released by Transparency International, and a damning article published in the New York Times, outlining how the C.I.A. was dropping off wads of cash each month to the office of President Hamid Karzai, sometimes in plastic shopping bags, as a way to buy influence. The secret cash amounted to tens of millions of dollars, prompting one anonymous American official to say that the U.S. that was the “biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan.”

Aside from highlighting this blatant example of corruption – I think it’s important to address the way subjectivity and framing affects our definition of corruption. Giving money in return for favor in politics is bribery, regardless of the democratic euphemisms used to legitimize it.

See this cartoon and others at The Gabbler!