Moneybag Democracy

To view the original art, please travel to “Moneybag Democracy” [Archive No. 9703]

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

“Now, that doesn’t mean that questions of Taiwan, Tibet, human rights, the whole range of challenges that we often engage on with the Chinese, are not part of the agenda. But we pretty much know what they are going to say. We have to continue to press them but our pressing on those issues can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crises.

~ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (February 20, 2009)

The news appeared in cyberspace on Friday, February 20, 2009.  As Yogi Berra once elucidated, it was as déjà vu, all over again. International and domestic activists have come to realize, once again, America is a democracy dependent on dollars.  Amnesty International advocates shook their heads, wondered, and worried of what might be.  Students for a Free Tibet collectively shrugged their shoulders and expressed a shared distress.  Citizens at home, in America, barely blinked.  An avid Obama supporter, was resigned to realities that, only weeks ago, she might not have thought she would willingly accept.  Moneybag democracy lives.  Hillary Clinton serves the President, the precedent past, present, and perhaps, future.

Days ago, with Secretary of State Clinton abroad in China, the world was given an opportunity to witness America’s new direction.  Most anticipated dollars would no longer have a greater influence on United States policy than humanitarian concerns did.  Globally, people waited to cheer for the change that had certainly come.  Then, Secretary Clinton, pleaded with Beijing to buy United States bonds.  Contrary to her pointed comments on human rights, made during her presidential campaign, as a representative of the Obama Administration, Secretary Clinton spoke as though she no longer believes as she had, Chinese ownership of US government debt had become a threat to national security.  

Perhaps, Hillary Clinton, and her President, surmised Capitalism, or a democracy devoted to dollars must survive at all cost.  Certainly her husband, and his Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had reached this conclusion near a decade earlier.

Like Secretary Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, chose to sell America’s soul. When the first woman Head of State spoke of her decision, few United States citizens said a word.  In the 1990s, then Head of State, Albright, in a 60 Minutes interview, discussed the American policy decisions that caused the deaths of more than half-million Arab children in Iraq.  She said without hesitation, the loss of young lives were the price the Clinton Administration thought wise to pay.   Madeline Albright mused; the sacrifice of little ones was “worth it.”

Hardships on fellow humans are the cost citizens in a comfortable and “civilized” society must pay for democracy.  Apparently, Americans, even the most Progressive amongst us, seem to agree.  Then, as now, few if any said a word.

Today when news came over the wires, Secretary Clinton stood firm in favor of economic relations with China, regardless of human rights violations, only a few countrymen responded.  Activists were ‘shocked’ when they heard the American Ambassador, Clinton, take such a stance.  Representatives from Amnesty International and Students for a Free Tibet spoke out.

T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA said the global rights lobby was “shocked and extremely disappointed” by Secretary Clinton’s comment.  The advocate for honorable and equitable civil liberties may have trusted that at least where China was concerned, the Clinton’s had a record, or at any rate, had offered respectable rhetoric.

James Mann, a Johns Hopkins scholar who wrote a history of U.S.-China relations, also recalled.  When asked of Secretary Clinton’s most recent comment, Professor Mann stated he was struck by the contrast.  Bill Clinton, he said, as president more than eight years earlier gave strong speeches on behalf of political freedom in the People’s Republic.  “Bill Clinton told the leader of China he was on ‘the wrong side of history,'” Mann recollected.  “Now, Hillary seems to be giving them the reverse message: that China is on the right side of history.”

However, historians might consider the statement that President Bill Clinton is better known for was his truer agenda.  “It is the economy stu***!”  In March of 1997, writer for China Daily, Ren Yanshi avowed the Chinese government certainly perceived the United States had a record of human rights violations, during the Clinton years.  In a “Moneybag Democracy,” the United States of America caters only to the rich.  In the States, a consumer culture allows the prosperous to profit further.  The people, the poor suffer greatly.

In recent years, as the rich got much richer, this truth was revealed in radical ways.  The word “Katrina” evokes much empathy.  “Bank bailouts elicit more emotions within the ranks of what once was the Middle Class.   Some might say, these truths are the reason that change has finally come to America.  Until today, the thought was coins and currency would no longer guide an Administration or US policy.  Barack Obama brought hope to the world.

Students for a Free Tibet embraced the new Administration.  They believed the current White House could and would make a difference in the lives of all people.  Surely, a President Obama would not serve only the affluent.

As a Senator, Barack Obama was among the sponsors of the act, which bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, on the Dalai Lama.  Senator Obama urged Chinese president Hu Jintao to “meaningfully address the Tibet issue.”  After the election, Tibetans were encouraged.  They sent President Obama letters of Congratulations.  Thus, it was an unexpected and an unwanted surprise to hear Secretary Clinton cavort, cajole, and say as she did.  The proponents of social justice stated, Clinton’s remarks “sent the wrong signal to China at a sensitive time.”

“The US government cannot afford to let Beijing set the agenda,” said Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of the New York-based advocacy group.

Long-time activists, domestic supporters of Barack Obama, persons such as Jessica, see Secretary Clinton’s statement differently.  This woman who energetically endorsed Barack Obama from the moment he announced his campaign would have welcomed a more mindful position.  She yearns for United States policy to be benevolent as she believes Barack Obama, the man, is.  Jessica, who organized her community to come out and work for what she craved, an Obama White House, now thinks America cannot “afford” to do other than cater to the wishes of the Chinese government.

A jubilant Jessica has been joyful since her presidential candidate was chosen to serve. She avows; “Unfortunately, due to our greed, China owns us.  If they pulled their money, this country would die.  Sad fact but true.”  

American lives would be lost if foreign affairs focus on humanitarian concerns in China.  There can be nothing worse.  Who would buy the wares that please the people in the States, or Jessica might say, in her own defense, furnish jobs for those born in the Far Eastern nation.  The argument could be made; and certainly, descendants of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, would be the first to offer it.  US dollars support a much-improved Chinese culture.

George W. Bush might have mused the latter claim an important one.  Perchance, that is why the former President chose to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics.  United States indebtedness served to justify relations with China, a country well-known for human rights violations.  The desire to feed a Capitalist market, the need to assuage the hunger of citizens who habitually consume on credit, and a country famished for cash, will do all that they can to appease those who beat and brutalize Chinese citizens.

The people of China, many Americans cried at the time, cannot be punished because they live under totalitarian rule.  Nor can US athletes be penalized.  Cruel and inhumane treatment is not acceptable, or at least it would not have been months ago, to Jessica who did all she could to help place the now President, Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

In primary season, Jessica stood staunchly against what she then thought were Hillary Clinton’s hawkish views.  She, might have agreed with essayist Stephen Zunes when he wrote for the Foreign Policy in Focus on December 11, 2007, “(F)ront-runner for the Democratic nomination for president shares much of President Bush’s dangerous attitudes toward international law and human rights.”  

Nonetheless, today, Jessica, the proud Progressive, a self-identified peace lover offers, “If there is no money, people will die.  Fact.  I hate it (almost) as much [as an idealist would.]  I also agree we are a soul-less country.”

Then, she quickly deferred to her disgust for the George W. Bush years.  She stated the crimes committed by the former Administration were deplorable.  Jessica concludes, “(W)e have to hold the previous administration accountable for their crimes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose position on censure has wavered would concur with Jessica, today. If the subject were an investigation or possible prosecution of the Bush White House, Nancy Pelosi would be on-board.  However, Speaker Pelosi may, or may not, think the United States can ignore human rights violations on the part of China.  One never knows.  History and statements made in the past, are often inconsistent.

Almost a year to the day, on February 21, 2008, Secretary Clinton’s good friend, the esteemed Representative from San Francisco, Pelosi, spoke eloquently of what she did not publicly discuss with fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton, now in 2009.

“If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” House Speaker Pelosi told reporters during a visit with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala, India.

Indeed, America, the Moneybag Democracy has forfeited ethical influence.  Economics has replaced principled certitude as US policy.  The press understands the priority.  The commercial media knows dollars deliver.  Damn the lives and liberties of our brethren abroad.  In the United States there is but one mission, moneybag democracy.

Perchance this truth explains why coverage on the decision to forego human rights concerns is limited.  An article appeared here, or there.  Yet, few commentaries focused on the human rights aspect of the Secretary Clinton’s travel.  The Los Angeles Times reported, Clinton added environmental and security issues to economic talks in China.  Most say Secretary of State Clinton has sealed the deal.  She has merged the past with the present. Former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton has performed laudably for her President, Clinton, Bush, Obama, or for the precedent moneybag democracy.

References for varied reality . . .


To view the original art, please travel to Might

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

On November 8, 2004, Artist and Political Essayist Andrew Wahl, penned his thoughts on “Might.” Then, the current war in Iraq may have been on his mind.  Fiscal policies that ruled in favor of the wealthy could have evoked his visual essay.  Way back then, religious factions, each of which was ready to deem the others wrong, were engaged in combat.  That thought, coupled with the rest, may have brought this toon to be.  Today, all these realities remain true.

Four and five years ago, bombs blasted abroad.  Bullets whizzed past the heads of innocent mothers, fathers, sons, and Iraqi daughters.  The same is true today.  Had the acclaimed Andrew Wahl sketched the same political cartoon in 1996, it would have been no less accurate.  

Then, a Democrat reigned in the White House.  Nonetheless, innocent Iraqis were victims of the American Superpower.  Sanctions were put in place.  The “mighty” United States government gave no money or aid to children who starved in the streets of the Middle Eastern nation.  Americans offered no medicine to the ill or injured young ones who would ultimately die in their homeland, Iraq.  It seemed the sentiment of sanguine Americans was, “Might makes right.”  

In the 1990s, then Secretary of State, Madeline Albright spoke to this truth on 60 Minutes.  When Reporter Lesley Stahl asked of the more than half-million Arab children left to die in Iraq, the American Ambassador declared; “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”  

Worth can be a woeful venture.  There was a time, when the rich certainly thought, what they may do to increase their income was right.  The affluent had the might.  Profits, made persons more powerful.

Years ago, the Puget Sound Business Journal published an article titled, As the rich prosper, low-income jobs multiply. In April 2008, Peter Gillespie, a Toronto Star Journalist opined, Rich prosper, as society suffers.  Yet, while that was true then, ultimately many learned, when money is seen as the “might” many fall.  

More recently, as the economy crumbled worldwide more realized, the rich lose more. Surely dollars do not deliver the might countless believed they would.

Perhaps, devotion to a deity is the source of greater supremacy.  Pious persons often deem they or those who follow the will of the Lord are the mightiest.  Moral ethics can be the only omnipotent guide.  However, Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, a minister, lawyer, and author cautions religions may be killing us.  For the writer Thomas, the proverb, “Be fruitful and multiply,” from the book of Genesis, has caused the planet much harm.  Three hundred (300) million individuals in the United States and more than 6 billion abroad, he says, may be our global doom.

Cleric Thomas sites scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as reason for grave concerns.  He notes, the might of virtuous copulation has created a population too vast to be supported by natural resources.

Other observers of the holiest warn religious war may be our disastrous destiny.  These battles raged when Artist Andrew Wahl wrote of might, just as they did centuries ago.  Religious Wars never resolve the question, who is the mightiest.  Today, the tide has not turned.  The seas have yet to part.  Peace, anywhere in the world is still threatened by religious differences.  One only needs to consider the Middle East.  In 2008, Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter, reflect as he might today.  There must be a The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War, or the many foolish fights for control.

Might each of share and care rather than rule militarily.  Might mankind realize money is not the power.  Might we ponder moral efficacy does not eliminate Earthly resources; nor do the ethical kill their brethren?  Might is more than dominance.  The mightiest live, let live and love.

References for right, might, and reason . . .

Does It Matter?

To view the original art, please travel to “Does It Matter?”

Art; copyright © 2006.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Article; copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

Today, just as every Saturday, at a local intersection, I stood vigil for war veterans, civilians and soldiers.  As I held a sign which reads “Love.  Not War.  Love,” I contemplated the combat overseas, the recent tragedy in Mumbai, India, the protracted wars in Iraq, Afghanistan.  The situations in Israel and Iran, were not far from my consciousness.  Threats and acts of terrorism, nations in turmoil; thoughts of a desired global tranquility filled my mind.  I imagined, as I do daily, a transition, and a hopeful worldwide transformation towards peace.

As I pondered the profound, a man in a very large Sports Utility Vehicle stopped near me. He rolled down his car window. The gent was perhaps in his forties, well-groomed, and thankfully polite.  Calmly, concerned, and a bit critical of what he seemed to think my naivety. this anonymous chap announced, “What would you do if they came on to our shores and attacked us.”  

Without a thought I said, “Violence begets violence.”  He repeated his query and expanded the thought.  “Would you not fight back?” I reflected on what I observe to be true.  People kill other people in the name of peace.  Christians, Muslims, Jews proclaim a love of the Lord and all mankind, except when they define another as the enemy.  I stated, “I would wonder of their reasons. Might they believe we had done them harm.”  Agitated, the stranger shrieked, “Do you mean to say that we, Americans are to blame?” Without hesitation I responded, “No.”  I than shared, “I believe as my grandfather taught me, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right.'”  Seemingly in a huff, the man quickly sped away.

As an afterthought, I realized I might have asked as Andrew Wahl had more than two years ago; “Does It Matter?” (Archive No. 0626a)  Does it matter who assaulted whom first or last.  For me, it does not. Jew, Muslim, Christian, no matter the race or creed; a life is a life.  

I thank you Andrew for the illustration that speaks more than a thousand words might.

An end to new editorial cartoons … for now

“Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press,?

is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

To view the original art, please travel to Farewell for now

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

From this week’s Weekly Editorial Cartoon E-mail:

I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news this week: This will be the last Weekly Editorial Cartoon E-mail, at least for a while. After much soul-searching, I’ve decided it’s time to take an extended sabbatical from editorial cartooning. Several factors went into this decision, from financial (it was never really about money, but, in these tough economic times, my toons aren’t even supporting my comic-book habit anymore) to practical (the progressive media outlets that have supported my work are going to be less hungry for toons critical of the Obama administration) to inspirational (I’m sure Obama will make his share of mistakes, but I doubt he’ll ever fuel my fire like W.) All considered, it seemed like the right time to make a clean break.

I’m not sure exactly what’s next. I’m hoping to publish a collection of my Bush-era toons. There’s also a graphic novel or two on the backburner, as well as a couple of kids’ books. And I would never rule out a return to editorial cartooning, if the right opportunity arises. I’m going to spend the rest of the year finishing up my current semester of grad school and enjoying the holidays. Then I’ll turn my attention to the hard question of “What’s next?”

Before signing off, I pass along a hearty “thank you” to all of you: the readers of this e-mail and the editors who have supported my work. It has been a pleasure!

From Abomination to Obamanation

To view the original art, please travel to From Abomination to Obamanation

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

With overwhelming voice, Americans have voted to move beyond the dark times of the past eight years. “Yes We Did” (Archive No. 0838). Now, if the nation can just survive the next two months, 17 days, 19 hours, 59 minutes and 42 seconds.

Quick note: I’ll be out of town so no new cartoon next week. Back November 19.

Till then,


GOP Back on the Brink

To view the original art, please travel to GOP Back on the Brink

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

With less than a week until Election Day, it’s starting to look more and more likely that the GOP will be cast “Back to the Wilderness” (Archive No. 0837) by voters.  But beware: The last time Republicans were banished, they came back strong, first with their “Contract With America,” then with a scary brand of neoconservatism implanted on the born-again blank slate of George W. Bush. Lord only knows what they might come up with this time.

Back in seven with my post-Election Day toon.


America at a crossroad

To view the original art, please travel to America at a crossroad

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Just thirteen days until United States citizens face “The Choice” (Archive 0836), (though early ballots are already in the mail). Have you made yours?

Back in seven . . .


A Rerun? Really?

To view the original art, please travel to A Rerun? Really?

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Yes, I’m sorry, but I had to dig into the archive this week.  As much as I hate to go with a rerun this close to the election, I’m in the middle of grad school midterms and, well, the history of the Vietnam War trumps everything for a few days.  I’ll return to Election 2008 soon, but, in the meantime, enjoy “All Tricks, No Treats” (color version) (Archive No. 0639b) from 2006; it’s as accurate today as it was then (unless you happen to live on Wall Street).

Back in seven . . .


That comment

To view the original art, please travel to That comment

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

“That one?”

No, I don’t think John McCain had any racial intent when he oddly referred to Barack Obama as “that one” during last night’s debate. But it was dismissive and a poor choice of words, especially in light of McCain’s nasty anti-Obama ad, “The One,” from earlier this year. In debates, it’s often the little things that stick, and “That one” just might be that thing for this one. My latest toon, “What’s in an Article?,” (Archive 0835) reflects on the moment.

Back in seven . . .


More on money

To view the original art, please travel to More on money

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

The economic meltdown continues. This week’s take, “Money Talks” (Archive 0834), is the latest in my dollar-bill series.

Back in seven . . .