Controversies piling up

Controversies piling up
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It’s been a hell of a week for anyone following North American politics. The festering scandals on both sides of the border are too numerous and complex for me to summarize at the moment, so here’s a toon that tries. See how many references you can spot.

The reason I don’t have time to write a full essay for this toon is because I’m too busy getting ready for my appearance at the big fancy Vancouver Comic Arts Festival this weekend. It’s going to be my second-ever comic convention appearance, and I’m gonna have a ton of cool Filibuster-themed stuff for sale, including some cool brand new merch I designed specially for the show.

On Saturday I’m also going to be giving a talk with my good buddy Matt Bors on the future of editorial cartooning in North America. It’ll no doubt be a real fiesta of insight and cynicism.

Anyway, if it’s at all within your power, you should totally come visit me. VanCAF is completely free to attend, and it’s housed in the Roundhouse centre in scenic Yaletown. Thing runs from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, May 25, and then 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday the 26th.

See you there!


  1. Beppo

    Come on JJ, don't you know that the Obama admin is completely 100% scandal-free and anything that looks like a scandal is something that has been ginned up by those dastardly Republicans?

  2. Kento

    Satire is usually better if it's used against something other than a straw man.

  3. Beppo

    No, Obama is an empty suit, not a straw man.

  4. awnman

    I thought he was an empty chair

  5. Jake_Ackers

    Actually I've read about that point exactly. The theory, as least indirectly what happens, is that Dems don't care about scandals overall because when one happens a ton tend to happen one right after the other. So none of them tend to grow into anything major because of the 24 hour news cycle. Republicans tend to try and manage every single one so when one does emerge it just erupts into something everyone is able to focus on it.

  6. Rachel Bush

    Around 2006 we learned that the NSA has a huge database of what phone numbers are calling what phone numbers.

    We also learned that the U.S. was operating on the principle that it is legal to eavesdrop on calls between Americans and non-Americans from the non-American end to spy on suspected American terrorists. Under their principles outlined, nothing would stop the U.S. and some other country from doing quid pro pro where a third country agrees to spy on Americans and hand over their records, then America does likewise for their citizens.

    It was in this context that a senator from Illinois popped up and attempted to distinguish himself through transparency, open government, privacy rights, etc. Really, aside from the Iraq War vote, it was pretty much the only thing distinguishing him from Clinton during the Democratic primaries. He bashed Bush for it all the time. What the hell.

  7. @AblativMeatshld

    Oh, if only there had been people pointing out that he had accomplished little, and that nothing in his background even suggested a hint of commitment to things like "transparency" or "rights"…

  8. Jake_Ackers

    True that. Seems the only one doing anything about it are the Pauls. First Ron and now Rand.

  9. Psudo

    There are a lot more non-whites on the USA side because the USA is more willing to give non-whites in power. American diversity!

    That statement ought to drum up some controversy.

  10. J.J. McCullough

    Also: women.

  11. Taylor

    Considering one of the non-whites is there involuntarily….

  12. Psudo

    Do you mean Michelle?

  13. @AblativMeatshld

    When it comes to "more scandals involving minorities", it isn't just that we're "more willing" to have minorities in power, it's that we have so many more minorities…

    I mean, what's Canada's Hispanic and Black population as a percentage? It can't be even close to the US…

    So really, it is pure probability…

    That, or your white people are WAY more unethical than your minorities…

  14. Jake_Ackers

    Well Canada has a lot of Asian but most of those IIRC are limited to one area and are more recent.So they probably just haven't had as many chances or time to be corrupt, sleazy or incompetent as the rest of the politicians. lol

  15. Yannick

    The difference with Canada is that most of the visible minorities are recent (less than 3 generations) immigrants. We didn't have slaves.

    That said, Ontario, BC and Manitoba range between 30%-25% of nonwhites, concentrated in the cities where some are half-white and half visible minorities. Mostly Indians in Toronto and east Asians in BC.

    The poor provinces don't attract immigrants, so are 95%+ white.

  16. Yannick

    Aside from a 5% of Black Loyalist descendants in Nova Scotia, I should mention. Said loyalists were promised their freedom in the independence war if they sided with the British.

  17. J4n1

    Bengazi, Tragedy, not a scandal, no actual fact based evidence for any shenanigans.

    AP, Republicans demanded investigations, they got them, no laws were broken, not a scandal.

    IRS, only 3rd or so of organizations involved were tea party, none were denied c4’s (except 1 progressive organization i think), and, for extra laughs, nobody was even legally required to file the damn applications.

  18. Jake_Ackers

    No nothing illegal. Just lying, incompetence, and then a cover up. Not all scandals are illegal. It's doing exactly what you are trying to do. Justify the failure of an entire administration to do their one job. Provide security for the American people. Plus in a war that we weren't even suppose to be in or even authority too. Oh wait when its a Republican, he is the devil. When it's a Democrat its well… "old news."

  19. virgil

    That's a bit premature isn't it?
    Bengazi: Odd that nothing was done during the siege hours, and if nothing else, makes you wonder why.
    AP: The Fox reporter may give this more life. Investigations have not had time to run.
    IRS: Agent taking the fifth, various intimidation factors at work, head of the agency let go….there's sure some smoke on this one.
    I'm not certain anyones guilty of any crime..but I'm not ready to write it off just yet.

  20. J4n1

    Bengazi, Tragedy, not a scandal, no actual fact based evidence for any shenanigans.

    AP, Republicans demanded investigations, they got them, no laws were broken, not a scandal.

    IRS, only 3rd or so of organizations involved were tea party, none were denied c4’s (except 1 progressive organization i think), and, for extra laughs, nobody was even legally required to file the damn applications.

  21. @AblativMeatshld

    Actually, with the AP thing, laws WERE broken – there are specific statutory means by which the DOJ can get phone records of reporters, and they followed none of the rules. Add to that the fact that it seems several folks at FNC were targeted (with Rosen being named in an indictment so his records could be obtained, as well as his PARENT'S records). So yeah, there is something here that should bother a lot of people, not the least of which is that apparently Holder doesn't know anything about what his people are doing about anything, ever.

    As for Benghazi, at a MINIMUM Hillary lied to Congress. Period.

    At worst, the WH and State Department actively sought to cover up what happened, the causes of what happened, and what responses were made when it happened. For weeks calls for more security were ignored, calls for help that night were ignored, and afterwards we were told it was because of a video despite HILLARY knowing that it was AQ-linked people within 24 hours of the attack.

    If you are fine with people actively lying to you for a couple of weeks to deflect something, well, then there is little to be done for you I guess…

    And with the IRS – no, not "1/3 were tea party". Every group that got that much scrutiny was a group that supported something that was not in agreement with the administration. True the Vote has been trying to get 501(c)4 status for YEARS. No, they haven't be denied – a denial can be appealed, where "requests for more information" can not be appealed.

    And the list of things the IRS was asking? Blatantly illegal. The IRS can't ask to see your facebook or twitter posts. It can't. It can't come audit the personal and business accounts of people trying to set up the non-profit.

    The IRS (and if you think that NO ONE at the WH gave "suggestions", then there is even LESS that can be done for you) actively did things that Nixon was charged with having ATTEMPTED. Nixon didn't succeed in the effort, but the attempt itself was enough to make it a charge in the articles of impeachment.

    There is PLENTY of scandal here. What should worry everyone is that apparently it is so easy to hide major issues like this from Holder and President Obama, that they had no idea at all in any way that ANYTHING bad was going on…

  22. @AblativMeatshld

    Damnit, that was supposed to be in reply to J4n1

  23. jonasbelford

    Can someone explain the Ford thing to me? I fail to see what the actual controversy is. Three people, one from a gossip site and two from the Toronto Star (which has a weird anti-Ford obsession), claim to have seen this video of him doing crack. Ford calls the allegations "ridiculous" and so far the people who allegedly had this video have "gone underground" to quote a CBC report. So now the media is clamoring to Ford to make a statement. A statement that says what, exactly? That he doesn't do crack and the video claims are a lie? What part of that wasn't conveyed by calling the allegation "ridiculous"?

    I think focus should be on this video and the reasons it hasn't appeared yet rather than why Ford repeating his initial statement.

  24. Jake_Ackers

    In the appease of facts, rumors will be reported as true. McCain has had two major potential scandals in his career. Every time he came out stronger. Why? Because he took the entire day to have ONE press conference and address every possible question. Then he never talked about it again.

    The Mayor is failing to address something that has feet. He needs to kill it before it grows. He is refusing to kill the issue. Most people don't lie straight to your face (at least they don't think they are lying). They distort the truth or just don't even address. So failing to address it, makes it seem like he has something to cover. After this is politics, it's a fish bowl whether they like it or not.

  25. jonasbelford

    He did address it though. He was asked about it when the story first came out and he called the allegation ridiculous, which to me is a pretty big 'no'. What else is he supposed to say? If its not true (which I am inclined to believe until the video surfaces), then what else can he say other than 'no'?

  26. Jake_Ackers

    It's the method. He needs to have a full day press conference and let the media ask anything and everything. He pretty much just did a check list. I "addressed" it and now I'm done.

  27. jonasbelford

    But… why though? What else is there to ask him at this point? What kind of questions would be at a full day conference other than variations of "did/do you smoke crack"? Unless that video surfaces or its owners come forward, Ford doesn't need to do anything other than confirm/deny the allegation, which he has. I don't live in Toronto and don't care about Ford either way, but for the life of me I can't see what benefit there is in pursuing Ford rather than the video and those who claim to have seen it.

    One other thing I would like to add though, is that none of his coworkers are saying stuff like "oh hey, now that I think about it, Ford did have X Y and Z behaviours that might suggest drug use". They're just joining the "address the media" bandwagon.

  28. Cicero

    I'm on the wrong side of the continent, but I'm curious as to what you've got for sale.