October 30, 2006

Black & White World III


"Many of us discovered Cox & Forkum in the days after September 11th. It was a strange time. After cartoonists had done their initial muted-in-sorrow Statue-of-Liberty-with-head-bowed-to-the-missing-towers tastefully tragic responses to the day itself, many seemed to have great difficulty finding a tone for the new era. And into the void stepped Cox & Forkum." -- MARK STEYN from the introduction

BLACK & WHITE WORLD III contains all our editorial cartoons from November 2004 to October 2006 are included, plus:

-- An introduction by Mark Steyn, author of the New York Times bestseller America Alone;
-- A Cox & Forkum interview with Cox & Forkum, for an inside look at how we create cartoons together;
-- Newsmaker and other caricatures by John;
-- Pages from John's sketchbook;
-- "Cartoon Jihad": A section devoted to our Mohammed-related cartoons, including a previously unpublished interview by Robert Tracinski (publisher of The Intellectual Activist), and his "Publish or Perish" editorial;
-- "The Ahmadinejad Code": A section devoted to our covert cartoon for Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest, including developmental sketches;
-- "Ground Zero": A section devoted to our cartoons about the battle for a proper 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site, including the editorial by Debra Burlingame that started it all;
-- Gag cartoons for the Buster McNutt humor column;
-- And more ... over 400 illustrations!


ONLY $20 plus shipping.

Order at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

UPDATE I: Like our last book, Black & White World III is available online through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. But our new book will also be available at The Steyn Line store and American Compass Book Club.

UPDATE II: Above I stated that our first book was "out of print and unavailable." That was only partly correct. Black & White World is out of print, but a few copies are still available online from a couple of vendors who originally carried the book. If you're looking for a copy, try The Intellectual Activist and Quent Cordair. Amazon may have a few copies left, too. But none of these inventories of the first book will be replenished.

UPDATE III -- Nov. 7, 12:01AM: Our signed-book offer is officially over. Books should ship by mid-November. If we should offer them again, we'll post it here. But let me repeat: Signed books are no longer available. Of course, unsigned books are available, so feel free to please orders for those. Other sources will soon have the new book, too.

Our thanks to everyone who has placed an order. Book sales are one of the ways we make money creating our cartoons, so your support is appreciated.

Posted by Forkum at 05:00 PM

October 29, 2006



This is the last cartoon to be included in our upcoming book. Look for an announcement Monday evening. Teasers: A full-color cover illustration by John. An introduction by the author of a New York Times bestseller. And a way to order signed copies of our book ...

Posted by Forkum at 08:13 PM

October 26, 2006

No Fare


From the Star Tribure: Airport taxi flap about alcohol has deeper significance by Katherine Kersten. (via Little Green Footballs)

The taxi controversy at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has caught the nation's attention. But the dispute may go deeper than the quandary over whether to accommodate Somali Muslim cabdrivers who refuse to carry passengers carrying alcohol. Behind the scenes, a struggle for power and religious authority is apparently playing out. ...

When I asked Patrick Hogan, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman, for his explanation, he forwarded a fatwa, or religious edict, that the MAC had received. The fatwa proclaims that "Islamic jurisprudence" prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol, "because it involves cooperating in sin according to the Islam."

The fatwa, dated June 6, 2006, was issued by the "fatwa department" of the Muslim American Society, Minnesota chapter, and signed by society officials.

The society is mediating the conflict between the cab drivers and the MAC. That seems odd, since the society itself clearly has a stake in the controversy's outcome.

How did the MAC connect with the society? "The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recommended them to us to help us figure out how to handle this problem," Hogan said. ...

What is the Muslim American Society? In September 2004 the Chicago Tribune published an investigative article. The society was incorporated in 1993, the paper reported, and is the name under which the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood operates.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. The Tribune described the Brotherhood as "the world's most influential Islamic fundamentalist group."Because of its hard-line beliefs, the U.S. Brotherhood has been an increasingly divisive force within Islam in America, fueling the often bitter struggle between moderate and conservative Muslims," the paper reported.

The international Muslim Brotherhood "preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic," according to the Tribune. U.S. members emphasize that they follow American laws, but want people here to convert to Islam so that one day a majority will support a society governed by Islamic law.

For more on the Muslim taxi controversy, see No Islamic Law in Minnesota, for Now by Daniel Pipes.

A week ago, it appeared likely that Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport would win special dispensation to avoid transporting alcohol-carrying passengers. The Metropolitan Airports Commission had proposed to give those Shar'i-minded drivers an off-colored light atop their cabs, allowing them to remain in queue while customers with bottles found other cabs.

I opposed this "two-light solution," arguing in "Don't Bring That Booze into My Taxi" that it intrudes Islamic law into a mundane transaction of American commercial life. I urged readers who share my views to write the commission to make known their views.

On October 10, a few hours after my article first appeared, the commission met and reversed itself on the two-light solution.

UPDATE I -- Oct. 28: At Dhimmi Watch, Robert Spencer notices the Sura license plate, which comes as no surprise to me because I learned about it from his highly educational book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Thanks, Robert.

UPDATE II -- Oct. 30: Regarding the flag on the bumper. Our intention was to create an Islamic perversion of the American flag; thus the crescent and star in the star field. The arrangement looked familiar to us, but it wasn't until after we posted it that John figure out the similarities were to the Malaysian flag. There's enough of a difference in the star that we left it as is. But stories like this one (via LGF) make a Malaysian reference fit: American Couple Has Close Encounter with Shari'a in Malaysia.

Retired American policeman Randal Barnhart, who was subjected to a 2am raid by religious enforcement officers, is reconsidering his plan to make Malaysia his second home. ...

On Oct 12, Barnhart, 62, and his wife Carole, 61, were in their rented condominium in Kuah when enforcement officers continuously knocked on their door at 2am, accusing them of committing khalwat (close proximity).

He said the officers demanded to see his marriage certificate, although he had told them that they were Christians and should not be subjected to Islamic law.

Posted by Forkum at 05:07 PM

October 25, 2006

Give War A Chance


This cartoon is from April 14, 2004 and is in our book Black & White World II. Victor Davis Hanson wrote at the time:

[P]eace follows only from the defeat and humiliation of the culpable, not from magnanimity granted to impotent but still proud enemies. ...

We have the force and imagination to succeed on the battlefield and the American people will accept sacrifices for victory. But they will -- and should -- turn on any leader who doesn't fight to win and thereby ensures that we will all pay a far higher price for defeat than we would have for victory.

Bush says he wants "victory" and to "defeat the enemy in Iraq." But what does that mean when, for instance, Islamic militias are still not disarmed? Bush said in April 2004 that "Al Sadr must answer the [murder] charges against him and disband his illegal militia." But al-Sadr was allowed to go free and join the political process, and his Mahdi Army (which killed US soldiers) was not disbanded. Two and half years later, al-Sadr's armed thugs control Sadr City necessitating raids by U.S. and Iraqi troops, raids that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki feels obliged to deny. Just how bad is it? From an AP story:

Reining in the Mahdi Army and militias like it is one of the thorniest problems facing al-Maliki because his fragile Shiite-dominated government derives much of its power from al-Sadr's party and a second political power with a powerful militia, the Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

It remains to be seen if the American people will turn on Bush. But it's clear he is not fighting to win.

From CNN: Bush acknowledges setbacks in Iraq.

President Bush said Wednesday that he is concerned about the situation in Iraq, but it is "critical" that U.S. troops remain there and oust the insurgents.

"I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," Bush said in a White House news conference. "I'm not satisfied either."

Accountability in Iraq ultimately "rests with me," the president said, warning Americans not to be discouraged by their discontent over developments in the war. ...

"Despite the difficulties and bloodshed it remains critical that America defeats the enemy in Iraq by helping Iraq build a free nation that can sustain itself and defend itself," Bush said.

Bush conceded that victory is "going to take a long time" and the United States "will not put more pressure on the Iraqi government than it can bear." He also noted, however, that the United States won't wait indefinitely for conditions to improve in the war-torn nation.

UPDATE -- Oct. 30: From the New York Post: KILL MUQTADA NOW by Ralph Peters. (via TIA Daily)

I lost faith in our engagement in Iraq last week. I can pinpoint the moment. It came when I heard that Maliki had demanded - successfully - that our military release a just-captured deputy of Muqtada al-Sadr who was running death squads.

As a former intelligence officer, that told me two things: First, Iraq's prime minister is betting on Muqtada to prevail, not us. Second, Muqtada, not the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is now the most powerful man in Iraq. ...

Our soldiers and Marines are dying to protect a government whose members are scrambling to ally themselves with sectarian militias and insurgent factions. President Bush needs to face reality. The Maliki government is a failure.

There's still a chance, if a slight one, that we can achieve a few of our goals in Iraq - if we let our troops make war, not love. But if our own leaders are unwilling to fight, it's time to leave and let Iraqis fight each other.

Our president owes Iraq's treacherous prime minister nothing. Get tough, or get out.

Posted by Forkum at 07:16 PM

October 24, 2006

Federal Hold 'em


From the Ayn Rand Institute: Restrictions on Internet Gambling Are an Infringement on Our Rights. (via Principles in Practice)

On Oct. 13 President Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a measure restricting Internet gambling.

"This measure, which requires financial institutions to block credit card and other payments to Internet wagering businesses, is an infringement on our rights," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

"Gambling, when practiced responsibly, can be a totally legitimate form of entertainment. The government has no right to prohibit adults from doing it--on the Internet or anywhere else--and no right to prohibit businesses from offering gambling opportunities to potential customers.

"Why do supporters of the law deny individuals the freedom to spend their hard-earned money on gambling? Because, they say, people will bet and lose more than they can afford. In other words, individuals are inherently incapable of making rational decisions, and thus it is the government's job to protect us from ourselves. This vicious, paternalistic idea has no place in a free society."

From AP: Experts: Ban won't stop online gambling.

Gamblers may look over their shoulder now, but experts say a new Internet gambling ban won't keep bettors from ponying up, just turn them on to overseas payment services out of the law's reach.

"It has put a terrible scare into people," said I. Nelson Rose, who teaches gambling law at Whittier Law School. "But it won't by any means wipe out Internet gambling."

The fright swept through the $12 billion industry on the heels of the recent arrests of two gambling company executives and a new law President Bush signed Oct. 13 that seeks to ban most online gambling and criminalizes funds transfers.

The law has wiped out billions of dollars in shareholder value of British companies, leaving the industry's future in doubt as U.S. lawmakers initially trumpeted they had found a way to halt bets coming from America. But serious questions remain about whether the legislation can be effective in stopping U.S. residents from playing poker or betting on sports.

Posted by Forkum at 06:40 PM

October 23, 2006

Vladimir Putin


From Haaretz.com: Putin to Olmert: No military action against Iran.

Russian president Vladimir Putin denounced any military operation against Iran in a meeting last week with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Putin told Olmert in the Moscow meeting that foiling Iran's nuclear program could end in disaster for the world. Russian sources attached great importance to the Russian president's first mention of a military option in talks with an Israeli leader.

Olmert also discussed the Iranian nuclear program with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, in the first meeting in eleven years between an Israeli premier and a Russian defense minister. ...

Olmert asked Putin to join an American-European move to impose severe sanctions on Iran, which he referred to in a press briefing saying, "The Iranians need to be afraid something will happen that they don't want to have happen."

The Prime Minister's Office declined to provide a statement and said they do not comment on the content of the premier's meetings in Moscow.

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

Posted by Forkum at 07:44 PM

October 22, 2006

Clean Err


Here's another of our gag cartoons for the Buster McNutt humor column. We're taking the day off from politics. We'll be back at it tomorrow.

Posted by Forkum at 12:51 PM

October 19, 2006



From AFP: EU admits Iran nuke talks have failed.

The European Union has admitted that its nuclear talks with Iran have run into a dead end and that it has been left with "no choice" but to return the matter to the UN Security Council.

In a text adopted in Luxembourg Tuesday, EU foreign ministers expressed deep concern that Iran had not suspended uranium enrichment -- a process for fuelling a nuclear reactor but which could also be used to make an atomic bomb.

Major world powers have been debating whether to sanction Iran for ignoring an August 31 UN deadline to suspend the process, and preparations have been building for action at the Security Council. ...

They "expressed deep concern that Iran has not yet suspended its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as required" by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Security Council.

However the EU left open its door for further diplomacy.

"It reaffirmed its commitment to a negotiated solution, and that such a solution would contribute to the development of the EU's relations with Iran. It urged Iran to take the positive path on offer," the conclusions said. ...

"Iran refused everything," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told journalists. "So we are returning to the Security Council to find measures that can be phased in but which are reversible."

He said that would allow a return to diplomacy if Iran was ready for it.

How did Iran respond? From Reuters: Iran to EU: you will lose if you back U.N. sanctions.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator told European states on Wednesday they would be the losers if they joined the United States to push through a U.N. Security Council resolution punishing Tehran for its nuclear program. ...

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator told European states on Wednesday they would be the losers if they joined the United States to push through a U.N. Security Council resolution punishing Tehran for its nuclear program. ...

The incentives package did not threaten penalties if Iran refused, but the failure of months of talks between Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana prompted EU foreign ministers to back incremental measures.

UPDATE I: From Little Green Footballs: Ahmadinejad: Israel "Cannot Survive," Iran's Enemies Are "Paralyzed". Quoting a MEMRI article:

The reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd reported that Ahmadinejad had said in his address that Iran “must stand firm [in its nuclear policy]; we have one more step, and if we pass that, this [matter] will be attained.”

A few days previously, on October 11, 2006, Ahmadinejad had made similar statements on the nuclear issue, in a speech in the city of Shahriyar:“...The enemies are completely paralyzed, and cannot in any way confront the Iranian people. If our people maintain unity and solidarity, they [i.e. the enemies] must expect a great [Iranian] victory, because we have [only] one step remaining before we attain the summit of nuclear technology.”

In that speech, Ahmadinejad underlined the West’s inability to act: “The enemy will never confront us. An attack on Iran is nonsense.”

UPDATE II -- Oct. 23: From FoxNews: Iran's Ahmadinejad Says Nuclear Program Will Proceed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Monday that Iran's nuclear program had grown 10 times stronger in the last year and said Western powers were wrong if they thought Iran would retreat under political pressure from its nuclear plans.

Ahmadeinejad's comments came as diplomats in Vienna said Iran is expanding its uranium enrichment program even as the U.N. Security Council focuses on possible sanctions for Tehran's defiance of its demand that it give up the activity and ease fears it seeks nuclear weapons, diplomats said Monday.

Posted by Forkum at 05:01 PM

October 18, 2006

Big Spenders


This cartoon is from September 22, 2005 and will be in our upcoming book, which I'm happy to report is being edited and nearing production.

Glenn Reynolds has some interesting comments about about why Republicans deserve to lose this election:

[T]he point of my "premortem" wasn't to call for the Republicans to lose. Rather, after pointing out that a lot of hardcore GOP supporters expect them to lose, I wanted to note that if they do lose, it will be because of a number of dumb moves and dropped balls -- "unforced errors," as I called them -- that indicate that they've been taking their supporters for granted, ignoring their professed principles, and relying far too heavily on the old "The Democrats are worse" argument to rally the base, an argument that's clearly wearing thin. (As this guy says: "I won't be 'glad' if Republicans lose. I just think if they lose, they brought it on themselves.")

One of those ignored "professed principles" is pictured above.

UPDATE I: Oct. 19: Thanks to Frank Tzanabetis, Rich Chandler and David Gerisch for pointing out my "loose" grammar.

UPDATE II: More on this topic at The Objective Standard: The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism by C. Bradley Thompson.

Two generations ago, conservatives denounced the growth of government and called for a revolution to roll back the Leviathan State created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. In 1994, conservatives, with their Republican Revolution, rode into power on just such a platform of limited government. Yet today, the conservative intellectual movement and the Bush administration are engaged in a very different kind of revolution—a revolution for big-government conservatism.

Posted by Forkum at 09:21 PM

October 17, 2006

Draw Me


From AP: Political cartoonists talk shop at U.N..

Political cartoonists discussed the power of their pens and brushes at the United Nations on Monday and the pressures they face — highlighted by the Muslim outrage over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. ...

Many of the cartoonists said their work must not be created primarily to incite tensions that could result in violence, while others acknowledged they cannot always determine when they will cross the line.

But they all agreed they must pay attention to the current political climate.

"We have a job to be more sensitive," said Jean Plantu, a leading political cartoonist for the French newspaper Le Monde and the main organizer of the event.

Annan provided the morally bankrupt reasoning for the conference: Secretary-General's remarks at "Unlearning Intolerance" seminar on the theme "Cartooning for Peace". Here's a partial fisking, starting with his speech:

Cartoons make us laugh. Without them, our lives would be much sadder.

And isn't that the only true purpose of an editorial cartoon? To make us happy? Who cares if it makes a point?

But they are no laughing matter: they have the power to inform, and also to offend. Short of physical pain, few things can hurt you more directly than a caricature of yourself, of a group you belong to, or – perhaps worst – of a person you deeply respect.

"Look out, look out! He has a cartoon!"

Yes, cartoons can offend, and that is part of their point.

It just depends on whom you're offending, right, Mr. Annan?

If we banned all offensive cartoons, we should make our newspapers and websites very dull, and deprive ourselves of an important form of social and political comment.

Boy, that's comforting. When it comes to whether or not to institute state censorship, the recognition of a basic right is second only to keeping our news from being boring.

In fact, I am not convinced that the solution to this problem lies in invoking the authority of the State at all.

Really? You've actually considered banning cartoons?

Even if we decided to ban only cartoons that are deeply offensive to large numbers of people, we would still be asking the State to make some very subjective judgements, and embarking on a slippery slope of censorship.

Sure, there might be some practical problems with banning deeply offensive cartoons, but, hey, morally it's a great idea!

You can just hear him battling his inner fascist.

I would much prefer to leave decisions about what to publish in the hands of editors, and of the cartoonists themselves. ...

Yes, why hassle with passing onerous laws and planning midnight raids when you can get the cartoonists to censor themselves?

Does that involve “self-censorship”? In a sense, yes – but exercised, I would hope, in a spirit of genuine respect for other people's feelings, not out of fear.

Let's all get into the spirit of self-censorship. It will be so much more fun that way.

Does it involve “political correctness”? Not, I hope, if that means being dull and pretentious.

Above all, let's not be dull!

But again, yes, if it means remembering that other people have feelings.

Feelings. Nothing more than feelings.

There is nothing admirable, or indeed funny, about heaping further humiliation and contempt on any group in society whose members are already feeling vulnerable and frightened.

Actually, it can be admirable, and indeed funny, if said people deserve it. I'm sure the Nazis felt "vulnerable and frightened" at some point.

I hope also that we can avoid getting into a kind of “cartoon war” ...

Too late for that.

It is certainly not the way to promote better understanding and mutual respect between people of different faith or culture.

Remember, kids: Just because someone wants to kill you for expressing your opinion doesn't mean you can't respect them.

I am not suggesting that there are easy and clear answers to all these problems.

No doubt a guilt trip of this magnitude takes time. Not every cartoonist is eager to spend lots of time guessing how not to offend anyone with his cartoon.

All snarkiness aside, let's look at the truly disgusting finale of Annan's speech.

We have to face the fact that sometimes there is tension, if not contradiction, between different values which in themselves are equally precious.

In peacemaking and peacebuilding, we often find that tension between peace and justice. In the present case, we may find it between freedom of expression and respect for the beliefs and feelings of others.

When that happens, the answer is not simply to assert the primacy of one value over the other. We have to work to find ways of preserving and reconciling both.

So there you have it. The moral to his story is: the Western political achievement of free speech is "equally precious" to the whims of Islamic religious fanatics.

Many in the West have strong "beliefs and feelings" about freedom of expression. But somehow I don't think Mr. Annan is concerned about those "beliefs and feelings." When these contradicting values clash and tensions rise, the solution is, apparently, to somehow find ways to reconcile the contradictions. Perhaps they'll hold more panel discussions.

In the meantime ... To not "assert the primacy" of free speech is to cut our own throats.

There's no point in talking if we can't say what we want.

(Hat tip Little Green Footballs and Tim Sumner)

UPDATE -- Oct. 18: Some readers may not get the reference in this cartoon to the classic ads for Famous Artists School, which used to appear in comics, magazines and on matchbooks. See this Wikipedia entry for more information.

Also, reader Eric Flisser suggested that we caricature Kofi Annan since he is crying about caricatures. We've done that before, so here are a few examples:

Kofi Annan caricature
"Kofi's Last Stand"
"Annus Horribilis"
"Annan Threat"

Posted by Forkum at 05:26 PM

October 16, 2006

Roh Moo-hyun


From AP: South Korea asks Russian help with North.

South Korea called Monday for Russia to play an active role in resolving the nuclear standoff with North Korea. Meanwhile, China inspected cargo trucks bound for North Korea on Monday as Australia banned the North's ships from its ports and Japan considered more sanctions to punish the reclusive nation for its proclaimed nuclear test.

"Efforts to resolve the issue through dialogue should not be abandoned in difficult situations," South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation, according to Roh's office.

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

Posted by Forkum at 08:24 PM

October 15, 2006

Support System


From The Jerusalem Post: Rice: Palestinian struggle echoes battle for US independence

Rice emphasized US support to the Palestinian people, by increasing the American foreign aid to the Palestinians to $468 million, and by putting in place an international mechanism which will allow transfer of financial assistance to the Palestinians without going through the Hamas government. ...

The secretary of state also stressed the importance of backing moderate leaders in the Arab world, such as Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine ...

Here's the full text of Rice's speech. Excerpt:

[W]e fully support President Abbas, and the growing number of his fellow citizens, who are urging Hamas to put the interests of the Palestinian people ahead of their own rejectionist agenda. ...

I know the commitment of the Palestinian people to a better future. I know firsthand the commitment of President Abbas and moderate Palestinians to that future.

Let's look at President Abbas's "commitment." In 2005, Abbas refused to disarm the armed wing of his own Fatah party, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (photos), much less Hamas. Today both terrorist groups are fighting for dominance of Palestinian people. Worse still, not only is the U.S. sending aid to the Palestinians (which indirectly supports Hamas by freeing up their resources for waging terror), but we are directly arming the "moderate" Abbas. As Caroline Glick recently reported:

... Rice has officially sanctioned a policy put together by US Army Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton to expand by up to 70 percent Abbas's presidential guard and personal army, Force 17. The administration wishes to raise some $20 million to fund the training and arming and expansion of Abbas's army from 3,500 to 6,000 soldiers. This move comes after the US transferred 3,000 rifles and 1 million bullets to Force 17 in June. Yet Force 17 is a terrorist army led by terrorists.

Right after he received the weapons shipment, Abbas appointed Mahmoud Damra commander of the force. Damra, who like many of the Force 17 officers and soldiers, doubles as a Fatah terrorist, was wanted by Israel due to his direct involvement in the terrorist murder of at least 15 Israelis. One of his deputies claimed that the US rifles were immediately used to attack a bus carrying Israeli school girls in Judea.

Apparently the US hopes these arms will only be used against Hamas, but World Net Daily reports:

Weapons and financial aid the U.S. is considering giving to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Force 17 security detail to bolster it against Hamas might be used instead to attack Jews and "fight Israeli occupation," a senior Force 17 officer told WND in an exclusive interview.

The militant, Abu Yousuf, hinted any new weapons provided by the U.S. to his group could be shared with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, the declared "military wing" of Abbas' Fatah party. Abu Yousuf, like several Force 17 members, is also a member of the Brigades.

"There is no chance that we will use force and violence against our brothers in Hamas unless they will endanger [Abbas]. There is a chance that Israel will attack the Palestinian territories, and in this case, these weapons and others provided [by the U.S. to Force 17] will be directed towards the (Israeli) occupation," Abu Yousuf said.

Meanwhile, from Ynet News: Al-Aqsa: Israeli attack will unite Fatah, Hamas. So the infighting is only because they aren't both fighting Israel at the moment.

What about Abbas and Israel's right to exist? Wouldn't that be an obvious prerequisite for Bush and Rice's "two-state solution"? Palestinian Media Watch recently reported that Abbas will not require Palestinian terror groups to recognize Israel.

"Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize Israel... It is not required of Hamas, nor of Fatah, nor of the Popular Front to recognize Israel."

Abbas expects only a pragmatic recognition of specific Israeli officials, not Israel itself:

"How can this government, or these ministers, not recognize their [Israeli] counterparts, and then solve [Palestinian] people's problems?... How can he make an agreement with him if he does not recognize him?"

There's no reason to believe that Abbas is "moderate." Yet Rice and Bush continue to blindly insist that we must support him and the Palestinian people, Bush being the one who said after 9/11: "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." So much for that.

Underlying Bush and Rice's campaign for a Palestinian state is notion that the Palestinian people desire our support regardless of the actions of the Palestinians themselves. As Rice said in her speech:

President Bush reiterated his deep conviction that the Palestinian people deserve a better life – a life that is rooted in liberty and democracy, uncompromised by violence and terrorism, unburdened by corruption and misrule, and forever free of the daily humiliation of occupation.

Charles Johnson had some appropriately harsh criticism for this notice:

A question for Condoleezza Rice: on what basis do Palestinians "deserve" a better life, and why is it our responsibility to give it to them? They voted en masse for a radical Islamic terrorist group with an open policy of genocide. They have turned their back on every offer of statehood, chosen a path of violence and murder, and built a death cult society that instills hatred in children from their first moments of life.

And they danced in joy on September 11.

This is nothing but pandering to the victimhood propaganda of an enemy of America, and once again Condi Rice has succeeded in making my stomach turn.

For more on Palestiain's "death cult society," see Johnson's compilation of photos on the military indoctrination of Palestinian children and other examples at Palestinian Media Watch.

A "life that is rooted in liberty" will not grow in such a culture until the life and liberty themselves are respected by the culture.

Related: A Moderate Fatah: Wishing Does Not Make It So by Arlene Kushner.

Posted by Forkum at 04:58 PM

October 12, 2006

Survey Says


From the editorial page of Investor's Business Daily: Body Count Or October Surprise?

A study by a group led by Dr. Gilbert Burnham of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to be published Thursday on the Web site of the Lancet, a British medical journal, will claim that about 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. ...

They used a methodology known as "cluster sampling," which can be valid if using real data and not anecdotal reporting. Most of the original Lancet clusters reported no deaths at all, with the journal admitting, "two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of Fallujah." Fallujah? Hello?

Fallujah at the time just happened to be a major concentration of pro-Saddam and anti-American sentiment, the home base for the homicide bombers and terrorist "resistance" before the U.S. Army and Marines cleared out that nest of thugs.

"They're almost certainly way too high," Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said of the new numbers, noting the results were released just before another U.S. election. "This is not analysis, this is politics."

In this FoxNews video report the author of the Lancet report freely admits that its release was timed to affect the elections, "out of concern for the humanitarian issues."

And what might that mean? In this video, Lancet editor Richard Horton appears at an "antiwar" rally railing against the "lying" "axis of Anglo-American imperialists" who have created a "mountain of violence and torture" preferring "global death" and the "killing of children instead of building hospitals," all of which has "shattered the human family." Yeah, no political agenda there. (via Little Green Footballs).

More in this BBC analysis by Paul Reynolds: Huge gaps in Iraq death estimates. And at Pajamas Media: J'accuse: Iraq the Model responds to the Lancet Lies.

UPDATE I -- Oct. 15: From NewsBusters: Nets, Particularly CBS and Couric, Treat 655,000 Iraqi Death Guestimate as Credible. (via TIA Daily)

UPDATE II -- Oct. 16: Committees of Correspondence notes that the Lancet report used a pre-invasion, baseline mortality rate that is half that of Europe: The Lancet lies....

Posted by Forkum at 04:55 PM

October 11, 2006

Captive Audience


This cartoon is from December 6, 2004 and is in our forthcoming book, Black & White World III.

From TimesOnline: Fury as St Andrews honours Hezbollah backer. (via Iran Press News and Little Green Footballs)

STUDENT leaders are organising a mass protest over St Andrews University’s decision to award an honorary degree to a former Iranian president who praised Hezbollah.

Muhammad Khatami is to be made an honorary doctor of laws by Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader who is also the university’s chancellor.

Khatami will open the university’s Institute for Iranian Studies, which will house 12,000 books donated by Sadegh Kharazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France. The collection of Iranian texts, the largest of its kind in Europe, is estimated to be worth more than £100,000.

The decision to confer the honour on Khatami has provoked criticism from human rights groups who claim thousands of Iranian citizens were jailed and tortured for their political beliefs during his eight-year term that ended last year with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The National Union of Students wants his invitation withdrawn unless Ahmad Batebi, a student jailed in 1999 during a pro-democracy protest, is freed. ...

Iranian exiles are drawing up a petition demanding St Andrews withdraw the invitation. "Thousands of people are seething about this,” said Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, a New York-based Iranian [who helped organize] the petition. “How can a man who imprisoned and oppressed thousands of students in Iran be given a degree by an academic institution?”

Here is the petition opposing St. Andrews' actions: Condemn the University of St. Andrews to award Mr. Khatami an Honorary Degree!

Only after 2 years into Mr. Khatami’s presidency, following the banning order of many newspapers and suppression of any voice for democracy, the Tehran University students’ uprising in July 1999, demanding for the freedom of speech and calling for Democratic Rights was brutally vanquished by the Regime’s military forces!

Mr. Khatami himself delivered a speech during the students’ protest which condemned their movement declaring to ”Crush any movement which would undermine the foundation of the Islamic Republic, at any cost"!

UPDATE -- Oct. 16: From TELOS: Khatami, Again: From Harvard to St. Andrews by Russell Berman. (Iran Press News)

To those who misrepresent Khatami as a reformist, one can only ask: where has he ever criticized the current regime directly? When has he called for a release of the political prisoners, including student leaders (for whom, arguably, university communities might have a particular interest)? Or—as proposed here earlier—had he wished sincerely for reconciliation with the United States, why did he not visit the survivors of the 1979 embassy seizure and ask for their forgiveness? But: no truth and no reconciliation.

Posted by Forkum at 07:18 PM

October 10, 2006

Saving Face


From Reuters: China, other powers say N. Korea should be punished.

China, North Korea's most important ally, joined other world powers on Tuesday in calling for a tough response to the reclusive communist state's announcement of a nuclear weapons test.

China and Russia, which both border North Korea, met with other veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council to discuss a range of sanctions proposed by the United States and Japan to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

Beijing's U.N. Ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters: "I think that there has to be some punitive actions." But he did not say which of the U.S.-proposed sanctions he would support.

"We need to have a firm, constructive, appropriate but prudent response to North Korea's nuclear threat," Wang added. ...

Pyongyang's declaration was a sharp blow to Chinese President Hu Jintao's doctrine of using economic and diplomatic coaxing to persuade it to drop its nuclear ambitions.

The announcement on Monday that it had conducted an underground nuclear test followed years of diplomatic efforts, particularly from Washington, to stop the unpredictable country from joining the seven other declared nuclear weapons states.

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has more thoughts on the matter: Why North Korea is the Wrong Focus. (via InstaPundit)

The truth is that North Korea is an irrelevant bit player in this whole drama. The real player here is China. They have helped North Korea at every step, and North Korea's regime cannot survive at all without their ongoing food and fuel aid. Kim Jong-Il's nuclear plans may be slightly inconvenient to the Chinese -- just not not inconvenient enough to derail a strategy that still promises net plusses to those pursuing it within China's dictatorship.

UPDATE I -- Oct. 12: No surprise here. From AP: China reluctant to back Korea sanctions.

China appeared to shy away Thursday from backing U.S. efforts to impose a travel ban and financial sanctions on North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, saying any U.N. action should focus on bringing its communist neighbor back to talks.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said North Korea should understand it had made a mistake but "punishment should not be the purpose" of any U.N. response.

U.N. action "should be conducive to the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula ... and the resumption of the talks," he told reporters. "It's necessary to express clearly to North Korea that ... the international community is opposed to this nuclear test."

The United States has circulated a new U.N. Security Council resolution that seeks to ban travel by people involved in North Korea's weapons program but softens some other measures to win Russian and Chinese support. North Korea warned it would consider increased U.S. pressure an act of war and take unspecified countermeasures.

UPDATE II -- Oct. 13: Now China is swinging back the other way (for the moment?). From FoxNews: China, South Korea Agree to Back Sanctions Against North Korea.

The presidents of China and South Korea agreed Friday to support sanctions to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula but want to see stability maintained, a South Korean official said. He said they discussed a U.S.-proposed draft U.N. resolution on penalties but reached no agreement.

Presidents Hu Jintao and Roh Moo-hyun didn't discuss details of the steps that they want to see taken following the North's claimed nuclear test, said Song Min-soon, Roh's security adviser.

UPDATE III -- Oct. 14: From FoxNews: Objections From China, Russia Could Delay U.N. Resolution.

Despite winning key concessions, Russia and China raised new objections that could delay a vote Saturday on a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing punishing sanctions on North Korea for its claimed nuclear test.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the changes sought by Moscow and Beijing were essentially technical in nature and a vote may still be possible Saturday.

Posted by Forkum at 04:58 PM

October 08, 2006

The Ahmadinejad Code


The winners have yet to be announced, but the 200-plus finalists in Iran's "Holocaust International Cartoon Contest" were recently exhibited in Tehran and posted online.

And though not among the finalists, the above image was part of a cartoon accepted into the contest, one of over a thousand entries accepted. The cartoonist's name, Hugh Bradley, can be seen on the contest's list of participants under USA.

Obviously a cartoon featuring Adolf Hitler could be appropriate for such a contest, but there's more to the image than meets the eye. It also contains a hidden message critical of the Iranian regime.

We know this because "Hugh Bradley" is really Cox & Forkum.

I had higher hopes for this covert cartoon, but our efforts have become a "one that got away" story. In this unusually long post, I will reveal the hidden message, show the full cartoon as entered in the contest, recap the contest's history, and explain my intentions, all of which is in the "Continue Reading" link below.

SPOILER WARNING: Readers who want to try to discover what is hidden in the image should do so before clicking the link. The answer is revealed in "The Hidden Message" section of this post.


In February, Iran's largest-selling daily newspaper, Hamshahri, announced a Holocaust cartoon contest in retaliation for the "blasphemous" Mohammed cartoons.


The Mohammed caricatures were published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten as a test of free expression. An author of a book about Mohammed told the Danish newspaper that he was unable to find artists willing to draw Mohammed for fear of Muslim retaliation, because depicting Mohammed is forbidden by Islam. That fear proved justified when the Mohammed caricatures provoked worldwide riots and death threats to the cartoonists.

The Iranian newspaper likewise invoked a free speech rationale for its contest:
"Does the West extend freedom of expression to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel, or an event such as the Holocaust? Or is its freedom only for insulting religious sanctities?"
The newspaper challenged European newspapers to publish the winners of the Iranian contest, which would likely include cartoons that questioned the Holocaust. The very rules for the contest referred to the Holocaust as an "alleged historical event." Why would questioning of the Holocaust be an issue to Europeans? Because in some European countries it is a crime to deny the Holocaust. Challenging European newspapers to publish Holocaust-denying cartoons was an attempt to turn the tables regarding "free speech."


The Iranian challenge, however, was an obvious ruse. The mullahs and their supporters had not suddenly become free-speech advocates troubled by European anti-holocaust denial laws. Nor did the existence of such laws, as wrong as they are, suddenly diminish the broad lack of basic freedom in Iran's Islamic theocracy, which is known for its ruthless suppression of dissent and systematic abuse of rights. Even the newspaper sponsoring the contest is controlled by the municipal government of Tehran. There may be expression in Iran, but it it is not free.

If free speech includes anything, it includes the right to speak against one's own government, which can have dire consequences in Iran. Not surprisingly, even cartoons can get one in trouble.

In 2003, a newspaper was banned and employees were arrested after publishing a cartoon perceived as insulting to the Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution. It didn't matter that it was an American cartoon from 1937 depicting a Supreme Court justice.


More recently, two Iranian newspapers were shut down after publishing the cartoon below, which ridiculed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying he felt a halo surround him as he addressed transfixed world leaders at the U.N. (in Iranian culture, the donkey represents idiocy).


Even the director of the Holocaust contest said he would refuse "insulting" cartoons, and it was reported that cartoons critical of Ahmadinejad were indeed rejected (more on this later in the post).

So much for free speech in Iran.

But government censorship is not the only threat to free expression. The Danish cartoons were a test to see if one could simply depict Mohammed without fear of violent Muslim reprisals. The ensuing riots, death threats and embassy burnings all spectacularly demonstrated that Islamists failed the test. A sign at the London protests made the Islamist message clear:


There would be no such Western reaction to the anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoons. No riots by mobs of Jews. No embassy burnings by Israelis. But when it comes to criticizing Islam, a chilling threat of terror remains.

Onkar Ghate, a writer for the Ayn Rand Institute, explained why such terror is the antithesis of free speech:
Freedom of speech means the right to express one's ideas without danger of physical coercion from anyone. This freedom includes the right to make movies, write books, draw pictures, voice political opinions -- and satirize religion. This right flows from the right to think: the right to observe, to follow the evidence, to reach the conclusions you judge the facts warrant -- and then to convey your thoughts to others.

In a free society, anyone angered by someone else's ideas has a simple and powerful recourse: don't buy his books, watch his movies, or read his newspapers. If one judges his ideas dangerous, argue against them. The purveyor of evil ideas is no threat to those who remain free to counter them with rational ones.

But the moment someone decides to answer those he finds offensive with a knife or a homemade explosive, not an argument, he removes himself from civilized society. [Emphasis added]
And therein lies what I believe to be the real reason for the Iranian contest, which was announced during the heat of the "cartoon jihad." The sponsors apparently hoped that mocking the murder of six million Jews would divert attention away from the violent Muslim reaction to the Mohammed cartoons, that is, away from the fact that Islamists readily use force against those who criticize, insult or reject Islam.

In short, the Holocaust cartoon contest was nothing but a grotesque attempt to draw attention away from the thugs of Islam.


Since this battle was taking place in the field of cartooning, we were eager to join the fight. We posted the cartoon "Undeniable" and announced that it was our entry to the contest:


We knew the cartoon would be ignored by the judges. It was to be our way of answering the Iranian's propaganda ploy.

Then it occurred to me: What if we entered to win? Would it be possible to enter a cartoon with a dual message: one message designed to appeal to the judges and act as camouflage, and a second hidden message designed to subvert the contest itself?

If such a cartoon happened to win, the government-run newspaper would distribute our message throughout Iran, and other newspapers and Web sites might do the same worldwide. Perhaps we could accomplish what the government suppresses in Iran: harsh public criticism of Ahmadinejad. Perhaps we could eclipse the contest's other cartoons, which were predominately anti-Semitic slurs and attempts to equate Nazis and Israelis:


Perhaps we could bring some focus back to the real issue: the threat to Western freedom posed by Islamists -- in particular, the Islamic Republic of Iran.


That a government-run Iranian newspaper would host a "free speech" contest was absurd enough. That they would host a contest about the Holocaust was beyond absurd.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is infamous for saying the Holocaust was a "myth" and that Israel should be "wiped off the map.". When confronted recently, Ahmadinejad even refused to acknowledge the experience of a Dachau witness. An Iranian TV report on the exhibit stated of the Holocaust: "This was nothing but a myth -- a myth about the killing of six million Jews." Some cartoons in the exhibit echoed Ahmadinejad's sentiment that the Holocaust is a lie used by Jews as a weapon of war:


In publicly denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad became an open apologist for the Nazi genocide against the Jews. In threatening Israel with annihilation, and in light of the Iran's nuclear ambitions and Islamic imperialism, Ahmadinejad is laying the groundwork for the next Adolf Hitler, if he's not the next one himself.

Robert Tracinski, editor of The Intellectual Activist, further explained the parallels to WWII:
We can't avoid this war, because Iran won't let us avoid it. That is the real analogy to the 1930s. Hitler came to power espousing the goal of German world domination, openly promising to conquer neighboring nations through military force and to persecute and murder Europe's Jews. He predicted that the free nations of the world would be too weak -- too morally weak -- to stand up to him, and European and American leaders spent the 1930s reinforcing that impression. So Hitler kept advancing -- the militarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the Spanish bombing campaign in 1937, the annexation of Austria and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the invasion of Poland in 1939 -- until the West finally, belated decided there was no alternative but war.

That is what is playing out today. Iran's theocracy has chosen, as the nation's new president, a religious fanatic who believes in the impending, apocalyptic triumph of Islam over the infidels. He openly proclaims his desire to create an Iranian-led Axis that will unite the Middle East in the battle against America, and he proclaims his desire to "wipe Israel off the map," telling an audience of Muslim leaders that "the main solution" to the conflict in Lebanon is "the elimination of the Zionist regime." (Perhaps this would be better translated as Ahmadinejad's "final solution" to the problem of Israel.)

Ahmadinejad's "final solution" is motivated by religious fanaticism, which he demonstrated during his September 2005 U.N. address. Middle East commentator Daniel Pipes analyzed Ahmadinejad's speech and his obsession with preparations for an Islamic messiah, concluding:
The most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (such as Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fulfills both these criteria, as revealed by his U.N. comments.
(And Pipes noted that Ahmadinejad's recent U.N. speech had more of the same messianism.)


We had already created a number of cartoons critical of Ahmadinejad (including the two above). But the Holocaust contest presented a unique opportunity to further highlight his similarities to Hitler and possibly get our message past censors and into an Iranian newspaper.

In political discussions, Nazi comparisons are grossly misused, particularly by the "anti-war" left which has made an industry of comparing President Bush to Hitler. Such a comparison renders the Holocaust meaningless, for whatever Bush's faults, he is no more the next genocidal mass murderer of Jews than Cindy Sheehan is the next Secretary of Defense.


On the other hand, Ahmadinejad, the Iranian mullahs, and their weekly chants of "Death to Israel" would have made Hitler envious. (See video of Ahmadinejad leading the chant.)

During the Hezbollah/Israel war, leftists, Islamists, and even Ahmadinejad himself accused Israel of being Nazi-like. Such atrocious moral equivalence requires a massive evasion of reality, including the fact that it is Iran's Hezbollah terrorists who goose step and salute like Nazis while openly fighting to destroy the Jewish state.


Yet the answer is not to dogmatically eschew Nazi analogies because of their misuse, for that would only serve to undermine any lessons we should have learned from history. For the reasons stated above, I chose to apply the Hitler comparison to someone who is truly earning it.


But how does one make such a comparison and hide it in a cartoon? There may be a number of ways, but the idea I hit upon was a reversible caricature. We've all seen topsy-turvy drawings like the one below, "Growing Pains" by Rex Whistler (*see footnote at the end of the post for more information about optical illusions):


In these inversions you see one face right side up and then a different face upside down, in this case a young man and an old man.

But could such an inversion be created using two famous people? My results are below. I designed and illustrated the Hitler caricature so that when turned upside down, Hitler becomes Ahmadinejad.

Move your cursor over the caricature to turn it upside down (if you see no picture below, click here)

Below is the Ahmadinejad caricature isolated beside his photo:


The fact that Hitler's face is so well-known provided room to distort his features to fit Ahmadinejad's, which is why Hitler is so stylized. Hitler's caricature had to be recognizable enough to allay suspicions about a trick picture, while at the same time be a trick picture. Ahmadinejad suffered a few distortions, too, such as his forehead and his left eye (no, that's not meant to be an eye patch).

(The "Never Again" type was added later, my way of making the reversible caricature a stand-alone graphic for use outside of the contest. The type was of course not included in the final cartoon submitted to Holocaust contest.)

A Hitler/Ahmadinejad comparison would hopefully leave an impression on Westerners as well as dissidents in the Middle East. But for Islamists this wasn't exactly an insult, knowing that some of them parade around with signs like this:


In studying the cartoons posted at the contest Web site, I noticed that devil and Satan analogies were common, especially when depicting "enemies" like Jews and Danes:


And Islamists have long referred to America as "The Great Satan" and to Israel as "The Little Satan." Even though such demonization gets no traction in America (where devils are used for food logos and sports mascots), I decided to include horns for the Islamic fundamentalists (see the Ahmadinejad caricature above).


Hiding Ahmadinejad in a Hitler caricature was one thing. A completely separate challenge was to devise a cartoon that would feature the caricature and be competitive in the contest. Early concepts had Hitler and Ahmadinejad down-playing the Holocaust, which, though it fit them both and the contest, would have been a distasteful cartoon to produce.

Eventually I realized that I could literally frame the reversible caricature with a cartoon about the illegality of Holocaust denial, that is, create a camouflage cartoon that exploits the contest's "free expression" pretensions. Such a cartoon would be an exaggerated comment on a fact (some European countries do ban Holocaust denial) rather than a cartoon which itself denied or minimized the Holocaust. Here is the full cartoon as entered in the contest:


The kaffiyeh headdress, popularized by Yasser Arafat, was used to invoke the highly-politicized Palestinian war against Israel, which was another theme emphasized in the contest rules. The risk with this approach was creating too mild a cartoon. Would it be able to compete with out-and-out anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and moral equivalence?

We could only hope the camouflage cartoon would act as a Trojan Horse for the Ahmadinejad/Hitler caricature. My partner John usually draws all our cartoons; this time he illustrated everything around my caricatures (frame, Palestinian, policeman and balloons), and he used a style different from his usual cartooning. Early versions also featured dialogue, but it became clear that the fewer words the better. The question marks and a prohibition symbol were the last aspects I devised in hopes of simplifying the cartoon and making it more universally accessible.

One last trick: Our pseudonym for the project was "Hugh Bradley," which, though not random, has no special meaning. "Hb" was a convenient letter combination to use for a reversible signature. Upside down the signature reads as "C+F":


We could have entered the cartoon from another country using a correspondingly fake name. We could have posed as an Iranian or a Frenchman or even a Dane (which had a nice irony to it). But few Americans were entering the contest. I thought that maybe the Iranians would want to flaunt an American winner in America's face.

I submitted the cartoon on May 11 as "Hugh Bradley" from the United States. In the e-mail I wrote: "Thank you for a chance to speak the truth."


On August 14, 204 finalists out of 1,193 entries were unveiled at an exhibit in Tehran, but it was not immediately clear which cartoons were included. On September 6, the exhibition was posted online, and "Hugh Bradley" was not among the finalists.

Here are some cartoons that were exhibited:


Was our hidden image eventually discovered? Or did the camouflage cartoon simply fail to appeal to the judges? I tend to think that the hidden cartoon was not discovered.

As you can see above, finalist cartoons included Hitler/Nazi comparisons involving Bush, Sharon, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and even Jews. But not all such comparisons were accepted into the contest, as revealed in this report:
[Shimon] Samuels said a member of the Simon Wiesenthal Center submitted two cartoons to Iran's competition, depicting Ahmadinejad as Hitler.

Samuels said the cartoons were sent back.
Our Ahmadinejad-as-Hitler cartoon was not sent back, and our "name" was included on the list of accepted participants throughout the contest. We consider that to be a partial success.

Despite falling short of our ambitions, we are proud of the illustration, and we thought our regular visitors would enjoy seeing the cartoon and reading the story behind it.

* * *

*Footnote: In researching this post, I found two good sources of information on optical illusions. Planet Perplex is a fun Web site where you can experience numerous images such as ambiguous, impossible, hidden and upside-down illusions. Also, the book Masters of Deception by Al Seckel is an excellent reference. The author set up a Web site to supplement the book with video. Regarding inversions Seckel wrote:
"No one knows when inverted images were first created, but they started to become popular on coins during the Reformation. These early topsy-turvy images typically contained hidden political and theological statements. ... [The coins] made fun of the Pope, whose image when inverted would turn into the devil. ... In the 19th century, they took on a more amusing motif and were very popular in advertisements and puzzle cards."
* * *

Related links not included in the post:

The Cox & Forkum Mohammed cartoons
The Cartoon Jihad: Free Speech in the Balance by Christian Beenfeldt and Onkar Ghate, The Ayn Rand Institute, Feb. 10
Publish or Perish: The Lessons of the Cartoon Jihad by Robert Tracinski, TIA Daily, Feb. 13
MEMRI video of Iranian TV report on exhibit: Video (requires search for Clip 1240) and Partial Transcript, Aug. 17
Iran shows anti-Jewish art by Michael Slackman, New York Times, Aug. 25
A Clash of Cartoons by Investor's Business Daily, Aug. 25
Ugly images in Iran by The Boston Globe, Aug. 30
Danish paper prints Holocaust cartoons from Iran AFP, Middle East Times, Sept. 8
Cartoons mocking Holocaust prove a flop with Iranians by Angus McDowall, The Belfast Telegraph, Sept. 14
Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest reveals country's isolation by Christine Spolar, Chicago Trinbue, Sept. 19
Senator compares Iran's Ahmadinejad to Hitler AP, Sept. 19
Iran's proud but discreet Jews by Frances Harrison, BBC, Sept. 22
Toothless negotiations didn't stop Hitler -- and won't stop Iran by David A. Harris, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 25
Moderate Muslims urged to speak out [against reaction to Mohammed cartoons] by Jan M. Olsen, AP, Sept. 30
Norwegian TV Channel TV 2 will show Mohammed cartoons News From Norway blog, Oct. 1

Special thanks to Iran Press News and Ardeshir Dolat for advice on Iran, and to Chris Davis at Quent Cordiar Fine Art for advice on CSS coding.
Posted by Forkum at 12:44 PM

October 05, 2006

Attention Deficit Disorder


From CNN: U.S. warns North Korea against nuclear test.

North Korea's announcement came in the form of a Foreign Ministry statement published by the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA -- the communist country's official news agency.

"The field of scientific research of the DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed," the statement said.

The ministry added, "The U.S. extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test ... as a corresponding measure for defense."

But the big headlines are: House opens page sex scandal inquiry.

The House ethics committee opened an expansive investigation into the unfolding page sex scandal Thursday, approving nearly four dozen subpoenas for witnesses and documents as House Speaker Dennis Hastert held his ground against pressure to resign.

"I'm deeply sorry this has happened and the bottom line is we're taking responsibility," Hastert, R-Ill., told at a news conference outside his district office.

"Ultimately, the buck stops here," the speaker said of the controversy enveloping the House, former Republican Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) of Florida and the page program, a venerable institution almost as old as the Congress itself.

Hastert's handling of the issue has come under harsh criticism by some fellow Republicans and conservative activists at a time when the GOP is worried about holding onto its congressional majority power in the fast-approaching midterm elections.

UPDATE I -- Oct. 6: From FoxNews: Security Council Urges N. Korea to Cancel Nuclear Test. The article features rare pictures of Kim Jong Il, which were shown on state television.

UPDATE II -- Oct. 7: From FoxNews: Shots Fired Along Korean Border as Tensions Mount Over Nuke Tests.

UPDATE III -- Oct. 8: From CNN: North Korea claims nuclear test.

UPDATE IV -- Oct. 9: From FoxNews: U.S. Seeks Sanctions Against North Korea in Response to Nuke Test.

Posted by Forkum at 04:37 PM

October 04, 2006

Gitmo Absurd


This cartoon is from December 2, 2004 and was in reaction to a story about the International Committee of the Red Cross. Little did we know that our cartoon was not that absurd.

Mark Steyn visited Gitmo and reported on his tour in the Chicago Sun-Times: At Gitmo, detainees get La-Z-Boys, pastries. (via HB List)

If you're hoping to hear about the old wooden chair under a bare lightbulb swinging on its cord, here's the reality: The detaineeare interrogated on either a La-Z-Boy recliner or a luxuriously upholstered sofa -- blue plush with gold piping.

As for being emaciated [like the actor in the poster for "The Road To Guantanamo"], it's the only death camp in history where the soi-disant torture victims put on weight. In contrast to the undernourished thesp in the movie version, the average gain at Gitmo is 18 pounds. The Afghan detainees were the chunkiest Afghans I've ever seen. If they ever make it home, their old comrades -- the lean wiry warriors of the Hindu Kush -- will wonder why a party of Florida retirees has suddenly shown up. These Pushtuns are pushing a ton....

If I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new Qurans in each unoccupied cell. To reassure incoming inmates that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Qurans are hung from the walls in pristine surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of the United States government to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry.

This cartoon will be in our forthcoming book, Black & White World III.

UPDATE -- Oct. 5:: Patterico has a detailed, first-hand account from an "Army nurse who worked at Guantánamo, and who spoke on a regular basis with detainees with psychological and/or behavioral problems.":
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Stashiu arrives at GTMO, and tells us what the terrorists are like.
Part III: Hunger strikes, suicides and suicide attempts, and mental illness.
Part IV: Treatment of the detainees.
Part V: Stashiu reacts to Big Media pieces about GTMO.

(Via Michelle Malkin)

UPDATE II -- Oct. 6: If America's self-defense, instead of "religious sensitivity" and "world opinion," was our primary concern, we would be treating the terrorists at Gitmo a little differently. As it is, it's our own military personnel who are put at risk and abused by the detainees (read here). Detainees even get better medical care than the guards. Harry Binswanger had a suggestion:

If I ran Gitmo, I would have begun these killers' internment by smearing them each with pork fat, telling them that now they can no longer believe they'll get into their imagined Heaven, so they'd better abandon their whole religious dogma and start cooperating.

Posted by Forkum at 07:06 PM

October 03, 2006

Beast of Burden


From Real Clear Politics: The Democratic Party Adds Nothing to the National Debate by Robert Tracinski.

Like many on the right, I have been deeply unsatisfied with the Republican Congress. The Republicans, I thought, ought to lose enough seats in the November congressional elections that they feel they've been punished for runaway federal spending.

But as the election gets nearer and I think more about what is at stake, I have come to realize that the best outcome is for the Democrats to lose. The Democrats' failure to regain control of either house of Congress would be a good start. But an unambiguous and humiliating defeat--even a loss of Democratic seats in the House and Senate--would be much better.

The best thing we can do in this election is to crush the left--because the Democratic Party adds nothing of value to the American political debate. ...

In the American system, of course, we don't vote for parties but for individual candidates. So if your local congressional candidate has championed a particularly evil political agenda, is under indictment, or is named "Katherine Harris," then by all means vote for the other guy. But if your local House and Senate candidates are unexceptional--and too many of them are--then your vote is really about which party should have the power to appoint committee chairmen, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and steer the nation's legislative debate. And the Democratic Party no longer has anything of value to offer. ...

[I]f you want to have a debate over how to fight and win the War on Terrorism, you'll have to have it within the right. The left contributes nothing but proposals for surrender, appeasement, and passivity. As far as the war is concerned, that "D" next to a candidate's name on the ballot stands for "defeat." ...

The more the left fades from the scene, the more the national political debate will be a debate within the right. The American system is not friendly to monolithic one-party rule. The moment one party begins to dominate, it tends to split apart along its internal fault lines. The more the Republicans dominate American politics, therefore, the more intensely they will debate among themselves ...

I can't guarantee that such a debate would produce the best result--I would like to see the emergence of a small-government, pro-immigration, pro-war, secular right--but I can guarantee that such a debate would be more interesting and much more productive than the debate we're having with the left right now.

Posted by Forkum at 05:21 PM

October 02, 2006

Mark Foley


From AP: Ex-Rep. Foley checks into alcohol rehab.

Former Rep. Mark Foley, under FBI investigation for salacious e-mail exchanges with teenage congressional pages, has checked himself into rehabilitation facility for alcoholism treatment and accepts responsibility for his actions, his attorney said Monday.

The attorney, David Roth, would not identify the facility, but told the Associated Press in West Palm Beach, Fla., that Foley had checked in over the weekend.

"I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems," Foley, a Republican, said in a statement, Roth told the AP.

In scorching language, House Republican leaders on Monday condemned Foley's actions as they tried to contain the damage to the party five weeks before midterm elections.

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

Posted by Forkum at 08:00 PM

October 01, 2006

Stone Cold


From CNN: Oliver Stone: 'I'm ashamed for my country'.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone blasted President George W. Bush Thursday, saying he has "set America back 10 years."

Stone added that he is "ashamed for my country" over the war in Iraq and the U.S. policies in response to the attacks of September 11.

"We have destroyed the world in the name of security," Stone told journalists at the San Sebastian International Film Festival prior to a screening of his latest movie, "World Trade Center." The film tells the true story of the survival and rescue of two policemen who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after they went to help people escape.

"From September 12 on, the incident (the attacks) was politicized and it has polarized the entire world," said Stone. "It is a shame because it is a waste of energy to see that the entire world five years later is still convulsed in the grip of 9/11.

"It's a waste of energy away from things that do matter which is poverty, death, disease, the planet itself and fixing things in our own homes rather than fighting wars with others. Mr. Bush has set America back 10 years, maybe more."

The director of blockbusters such as "Platoon," and "JFK" said the U.S. reaction to the attacks was out of proportion.

"If there had been a better sense of preparation, if we had a leadership that was more mature," he said. "We did not fight back in the same way that the British fought the IRA or the Spanish government fought the Basques here. Terrorism is a manageable action. It can be lived with," said Stone.

Posted by Forkum at 05:50 PM