My Predictions for Biden’s Probably-Truncated Presidency

            Beginning in March 2016 I repeatedly and almost famously warned overconfident Democrats—who ridiculed me for saying so—that Donald Trump would probably win the 2016 election. Days after Trump’s “softly sensuous” inauguration I accurately predicted the next four years: “Three scenarios show us what everyday life in Trumpian America will probably feel like: Third World dictatorships, prison and having an alcoholic parent.”             “In a dictatorship,” I noted, “particularly where the despot is a megalomaniac in the vein of a Saddam Hussein or a Muammar Gaddafi, citizens obsess over the Great Leader’s every move.” Never have the American people obsessed for four exhausting years over a president as we did over Trump and his autocratic style. “People who have done time will tell you that it’s important to study the guards, particularly the sadistic ones.” Like prison inmates, we studied Trump and his tweets and his strange corrupt family incessantly in a vain attempt to isolate the methods to his…
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Demented Thinking About Joe Biden

            The president is suffering from dementia.             I’m a cartoonist and a writer and I am most assuredly not a gerontologist. I did not go to medical school. If I am not an expert in aging and cognitive decline, how do I know Biden has dementia? The same way I and you and everyone else know things to be true despite our lack of credentials: experience and pattern recognition.             I don’t need to be an ornithologist in order to identify a blue jay.             I’m not a doctor yet I was right and my doctor was wrong when I told her I had a hernia and she said I didn’t; I’d had one on my left side in 1999 and this felt like that, but on my right. Knowing your own body sometimes counts for more than formal education.             I didn’t go to NYU film school. Despite my lack of official accreditation in cinema I know, as…
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I Am a Victim of Republican Cancel Culture

    The debate over “cancel culture” centers around how Democratic Party, “woke” activists and politically-correct “social justice warriors” expel people from social acceptability or force them into joblessness because something they said or did provoked an online mob. But Republicans have been canceling people for much longer. I am living proof. My career grew to national prominence during the 1990s. By the time Bill Clinton left office, my cartoons and columns regularly appeared in well over 100 American newspapers and such magazines as Time, Fortune and Bloomberg. My editor at the New York Times added up the paychecks and calculated that his newspaper had published more cartoons by yours truly than by any other artist throughout the decade. I had a talk show on KFI radio, a 50,000-watt megastation in Los Angeles. I won major journalism awards, including two RFKs and a Pulitzer finalistship. Because my cartoons and columns criticized Bill Clinton and the Democrats, the right-wing censorship squads…
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There Are More Socialists Than Democrats or Republicans. We Should Act like It.

            American leftists find themselves at a tactical crossroad. Will the 39% of Americans (and more than half of those under 30) who steadily oppose capitalism stand up for themselves? Will socialists, progressives, communists, left anarchists and left libertarians boldly fight to build a movement, thus inspiring other allies of the working class to join the struggle to abolish the vicious and vacuous capitalist system? Or will leftists continue to tolerate and support a corporate Democratic Party that exploits them for their votes, financial contributions and labor while it contemptuously promotes everything they deplore? Two out of five voters is a plurality. If the other three out of five split their votes between the Democrats and the Republicans, the Left wins. But those big numbers cannot win if they remain scattered. Tragically for workers and the environment, the Left has no organization. No party. No media. No voice inside the establishment. Progressives and other leftists are powerless. The only “major”…
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In Praise of Bad Weather

            There is joy in the air. That joy is misplaced.             For that joy might kill us.             I set down these words on the 9th of March in Manhattan. Historically, the average temperature on this day of the year is 40°. If the weather forecast for today, March 9, 2021, is correct, and at this writing it looks like it will be, the temperature will hit 61°.             “Today is going to be a beautiful day,” the radio said this morning.             Everyone is happy. People are making plans to eat outside, go running, walking, whatever, everyone in New York who can break away from work or other obligations is determined to enjoy today’s “good weather.”             I feel it too. I have a meeting after I finish writing this. The sun will feel sweet on my face. More people will be smiling; even if I have to surmise that from the twinkle in their eyes above a…
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Joe Biden Doesn’t Need More Time. He Needs Progressives to Demand an Ambitious Agenda

            “Give Joe Biden time.”             “He just got there.”             “Trump left him a hell of a mess. It’s unreasonable to expect him to turn things around in a month or two.”             “Now is not the time to criticize him or the Democrats. When would be a good time? I don’t know, but certainly not now. Later.”             These are talking points used by Biden and his defenders against progressive critics—progressives who, for the most part, voted for him—who attack the president for doing too little on COVID-19 stimulus, healthcare, the minimum wage, student loan debt forgiveness and other important issues.             Though couched in an oh-so-reasonable-sounding tone, “give the man more time” makes zero sense.             Asking the Left to be patient would be reasonable if President Biden had an ambitious agenda. But he doesn’t. Like fellow incrementalists Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Joe Biden isn’t proposing any big fixes or programs. His ideas are nips and…
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Don’t Hate Rush Limbaugh. Copy Him.

           My death will make some people giddy with joy. That’s cool. I like to make people happy.             In the unlikely event that I’m  somehow able to witness the gleeful grins and chortles of those who savor the sweet news of my demise, I hope that whatever is left of me on the astral whatever will remain sufficiently objective to recognize the fundamental fairness of the celebrants’ reaction. After all, criticizing the dead is one of my things. Rejecting the traditional maudlin obituary cartoon format that depicts every boldface name showing up at the pearly gates to check in with Saint Peter — why are American political cartoonists so certain that the next world will be configured in accordance with Christianity? — I have occasionally acquired notoriety by publishing critical observations about such dearly departed figures as Ronald Reagan, Jerry Garcia and other politicians and celebrities whose life stories I believed to have benefited from grade inflation. I have…
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Biden Offers Moderate Solutions to Radical Problems

“Radical problems require radical solutions,” I wrote in my 2010 book “The Anti-American Manifesto,” a polemic that calls upon us to save ourselves from imminent social, economic and political collapse by overthrowing the system and rebuilding society from the ground up. We currently face several radical problems. But we’re not likely to rise to the challenge, because the Biden Administration’s adherence to the Democratic Party’s cult of militant moderation ensures that their proposed solutions will mitigate these grave issues—at best—with zero chance of avoiding disaster. There is a time and a place for tweaks and minor adjustments. You don’t amputate a leg to cure a sprained ankle. Extreme situations require going big; if your oncologist suggests removing half your tumor and then waiting to see how it goes, fire her. Our planet has cancer. Exponentially increasing temperatures have killed most of the world’s reefs and threaten widespread food shortages and thus political stability. Garbage, toxins and other pollutants are clogging…
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It’s Not That Biden Is Too Slow. It’s That He’s Going Too Small.

           In the intraparty Democratic war between progressive leftists and corporate centrists, each side speaks a different language. The two factions’ takes on Joe Biden’s first weeks as president starkly demonstrate that inability to communicate.             Biden’s base is his centrist supporters, those who backed him against Bernie Sanders during the primaries on the grounds that his moderate demeanor and years of wheeling and dealing would allow him to find common ground with Republicans who would probably continue to control the Senate. Centrists’ response to criticism of Biden is that Donald Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis, the shattered economy and the deep wound to our national psyche caused and embodied by the January 6th Capitol insurrection will require a long time to fix. Impatience, they say, is unrealistic and unfair. The same principle applies to Biden’s response to longer-standing policy issues that predate Trump, like climate change and the healthcare system. They say, he just moved into the White…
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No, Virginia, It’s Not Too Early to Criticize Joe Biden

Joe Biden approves of this message.             Censorship in mainstream corporate American media outlets is subtle. It’s not so much that they spin the truth. It’s that they omit pertinent facts and exclude relevant points of view.             So it is with politics. Among the tools available to messaging and framing experts is “flooding the field” — dominating the news with a blizzard of headlines in order to obscure actions they ought to be undertaking but are instead ignoring. That’s what we are seeing, or not seeing, from the new Biden Administration.             Donald Trump and his predecessors left behind a hell of a mess. But much of what you and I consider unfinished disasters to be reversed or cleaned up is to this centrist Democrat’s cronies and top administrators just business as usual, perfectly desirable neoliberal policy that, as far as they are concerned, can and should continue. Only one thing to get in the way of the continuationists:…
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