Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 26 Nov 2020 15:36:20 -0800 Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate 771540fa745e63951adbef5dd8542b33 Obama's Memoir Highlights His Afghanistan Failure for 11/26/2020 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Shortly before becoming vice president, Joe Biden traveled to Afghanistan in his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When he returned, he had a succinct assessment of the situation there: "a real mess." </p> <p>When he takes the presidential oath on Jan. 20, Biden will find not much has changed. He will find himself saddled with a host of serious problems &#8212; a raging pandemic, a struggling economy, a toxic political environment &#8212; that are largely the fault of Donald Trump. But the blame for being stuck in Afghanistan lies mostly with Barack Obama.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 26, 2020</p> 980aa783dfc2ac5400083740b051ecd7 Bail Reform Has Not Unleashed Violent Crime for 11/22/2020 Sun, 22 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The book of Ecclesiastes advises that the Almighty sends rain to fall on both the just and the unjust. American incarceration policy follows the same pattern. We've always locked up people who have been convicted of crimes. But in recent decades, we've made a practice of also jailing people who have not been convicted of crimes.</p> <p>On any given day last year, some 631,000 people were held in city and county jails. Of that group, 75% are awaiting trial &#8212; and, in our system, entitled to the presumption of innocence. But many defendants have learned that the presumption of innocence and $3 will get you a Starbucks latte. They are in jail for lack of the money to make bail.</p> <p>This phenomenon has contributed to mass incarceration. In 1999, notes the Prison Policy Initiative, the number of convicted criminals held in local jails has been stable &#8212; while the number of people merely awaiting trial has soared. Over the next 15 years, 99% of the growth in the jail population came from locking up people who have not been found guilty of anything. They were defendants who were denied bail or, more commonly, couldn't pay it.<p>Updated: Sun Nov 22, 2020</p> 4bf3a1653ffa5a6649137ecbb8e01f5f The Pandemic Spawns False Claims About Freedom for 11/19/2020 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In the minds of many Americans, the coronavirus pandemic creates a huge danger to constitutional rights and personal freedom. These unhappy souls regard stay-at-home orders, business closures and even mask mandates as unprecedented, intolerable assertions of government power. They want to go back to the old days when people were free to make their own choices on such matters.</p> <p>Among the critics is Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who decries "previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty." White House adviser Scott Atlas responded to stricter rules in Michigan by tweeting, "The only way this stops is if people rise up," with the hashtag #FreedomMatters. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., claims that experts who endorse such measures are mainly bent on forcing "public submission." <p>Updated: Thu Nov 19, 2020</p> 8c50038f521650e1f2dcec72a5ee8dff Trump's Crazy Electoral College Scheme for 11/15/2020 Sun, 15 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The Republican Party has lost in the popular vote for president in seven of the last eight elections, and that dismal record has some Republicans doing some serious rethinking. Not about how to broaden the GOP's appeal to voters, but about how to take voters out of the equation.</p> <p>Republicans have an advantage in the Electoral College, which delivered George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016 to the White House after they got fewer votes than their opponents. But that advantage proved insufficient this year. Joe Biden won enough states to carry the day.</p> <p>Trump and his allies insist he lost only because the election was stolen, a claim that has been summarily laughed out of several courts. Judges, you see, require actual evidence, which has been missing in action.<p>Updated: Sun Nov 15, 2020</p> 58b8b3a5d9bc6e0230921f543384bfb2 Biden Curbs the Cult of Presidential Personality for 11/12/2020 Thu, 12 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>When he first ran for president, Barack Obama evoked fervent loyalty and extravagant dreams in many people. As the first black president, with a rare gift for oratory, he was supposed to inspire us to new heights, end our racial divisions and make America beloved around the world. Campaigning for him, his wife, Michelle, said, "We need a leader who's going to touch our souls." </p> <p>In 2007, Timothy Noah, of the liberal online magazine Slate, created a sardonic regular feature, "The Obama Messiah Watch." Its stated purpose was to determine whether Obama was "the second coming of our Savior and our Redeemer, Prince of Peace and King of Kings, Jesus Christ." <p>Updated: Thu Nov 12, 2020</p> 10aa6dffd2026c9903067d5c5ef55b3a The Formidable Challenges Facing Joe Biden for 11/08/2020 Sun, 08 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, The Onion, a satirical newspaper, had this headline: "Black man given nation's worst job." </p> <p>Joe Biden, who appears likely to be declared the winner of this year's election, knew what he was getting into when he decided to try to unseat Donald Trump. But Obama is probably telling his vice president, "Dude, I had it <i>easy</i> compared with you."<p>Updated: Sun Nov 08, 2020</p> 2dc2cd1bbe049deecb82482ee60a35a6 Our Long National Nightmare Is Not Over for 11/05/2020 Thu, 05 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>This looks to be the election that meant everything and resolved nothing. Donald Trump defied the polls to come close to winning &#8212; and could yet win. Joe Biden may win, but by such a narrow margin that he can't claim a convincing mandate &#8212; and it appears he will confront a Republican-controlled Senate that can block almost anything he wants to do. Our long national nightmare is not over.</p> <p>If the winner isn't yet certain, some things are. One is that the two parties are more opposed and entrenched in their views than ever. Neither dominates nationally, even as one or the other enjoys impregnable dominance in many states.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 05, 2020</p> 929e03fe139f2c2a236de71219bc0ae3 Who's Afraid of a Giant Inflatable Rat? for 11/01/2020 Sun, 01 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The federal Endangered Species Act protects a wide array of threatened creatures. But it doesn't apply to Scabby the Rat, which will soon become extinct if the Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board has its way.</p> <p>Scabby is a giant inflatable rodent, up to 25 feet tall, with angry red eyes, exceptionally prominent front teeth and sharp claws. Created some 30 years ago, it's a favorite device of unions trying to draw attention to their grievances, and it works. "Before, you could drive by and see six guys with picket signs and probably never notice them," James Allen, president of District Council 1 of the International Union of Bricklayers, told the Tribune last year. Scabby is hard to miss.<p>Updated: Mon Nov 02, 2020</p> ac26f2328bac89cdc2eba00ee65a4fbf Religion Is on the Decline, and Politics Is to Blame for 10/29/2020 Thu, 29 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There may a rational, evidence-based case for allowing all high school sports to be played during the coronavirus pandemic. But that is not what you can expect from Mark Curran, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, who prefers that you trust the dictates of his religion rather than the counsel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p> <p>"My son found out today his football season is cancelled," he informed his Facebook followers. "The Devil is about fear and isolation. Does he own you? How much more of his childhood are we going to steal? Death will eventually come for everyone. Your soul will have an eternal destination." <p>Updated: Thu Oct 29, 2020</p> 223105c4b33214d158dcd0e7f3ec8993 From Start to Finish, Trump Demonizes Foreigners for 10/25/2020 Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A fanatic has been defined as someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. It's a good description of Donald Trump, who began his quest for the presidency stoking fear of foreigners and used this year's final debate to keep doing it, as he has throughout his presidency.</p> <p>Foreigners who come to America &#8212; with or without authorization &#8212; are viewed with hostility by this administration. It has diverted military funding to build Trump's border wall. It has separated thousands of foreign children from parents who came without permission &#8212; and then failed to reunite hundreds of these families. It has cut refugee admissions by some 90% and legal immigration by half. It has declared war on "sanctuary cities."</p> <p>From the beginning, he's combined pitiless policies with venomous rhetoric. In announcing his candidacy in 2015, he said of Mexicans coming to the U.S.: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."<p>Updated: Sun Oct 25, 2020</p> 958b5d62f9129badcc76f17d0da8a962 Will Biden End the Wars that Trump Prolonged? for 10/22/2020 Thu, 22 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you listened long enough to Donald Trump during his first presidential campaign, you could find grounds to hope that he would make some badly needed changes in American foreign policy. After the catastrophe of the Iraq War and the dismal slog of Afghanistan, Trump promised a different approach.</p> <p>"We're getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world," he said. "We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about," he vowed, promising "a disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy." <p>Updated: Thu Oct 22, 2020</p> 69a89bc6552ff46392b52b3603ea2e43 Democrats Should Reject Court-Packing for 10/11/2020 Sun, 11 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Joe Biden and the Democratic Party believe they are on their way to a decisive victory on Nov. 3, and they may be right. He could find himself in the presidency with his party in control of Congress. But they should beware the pitfall of hubris. The fatal temptation in a moment of triumph is to overreach, and Democrats are already at risk of trying to grab too much.</p> <p>One of the worst parts of the debate for Kamala Harris came when Mike Pence demanded to know whether, if elected, Joe Biden would "pack the court if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed." Harris did an extended dance of evasion, allowing her rival to respond, in one of his rare moments of truthfulness, "You, once again, gave a nonanswer."<p>Updated: Sun Oct 11, 2020</p> 90860bdc421703139b821f5cc5c69887 We'll Soon Go Off Daylight Saving Time, But Why? for 10/08/2020 Thu, 08 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In the coming weeks, leaves will fall, plants will shrivel, temperatures will sink and Americans will experience growing dread over the unpleasant experience that awaits us in November. No, not the presidential election &#8212; the end of daylight saving time.</p> <p>Early on the day after Halloween, the nation will shift to what is inaccurately known as standard time, though it applies for only about four months of the year. The vast majority of us will have to reset clocks, adjust sleep times, endure mild symptoms of jet lag and get used to the sudden early onset of darkness. Then, in March, we will have to switch back in another round of disruption and aggravation.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 08, 2020</p> 87e7d1adcefe607e7918a480b621b1e8 The Price of Trump's Reckless Coronavirus Conduct for 10/04/2020 Sun, 04 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump is likely to survive his infection with the coronavirus. But it's hard to imagine how his reelection campaign can. The president has trailed Joe Biden in national polls for a year, and his performance in the first debate did nothing to close the gap. The news that he has a virus that can be debilitating and even deadly can only give any undecided voters a push toward Biden.</p> <p>Many people are already voting, or will be before the full effect of the disease on Trump is known. He's possible his symptoms will remain mild and he will make a quick recovery. But the alarming uncertainty around his health is an argument for the calm and stability that Biden represents.<p>Updated: Sun Oct 04, 2020</p> 68738cccdac7b0d35e24fcd22f07c01c Amy Coney Barrett's Malignant View of the Constitution for 10/01/2020 Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>One of the chief dividing lines in American politics is how Supreme Court justices interpret the Constitution. Rarely has that line been brighter than today. The enthusiasm for Amy Coney Barrett grows from a belief among conservatives that the court has been too creative in reading the Constitution and that her arrival will put a stop to such abuses.</p> <p>Upon her nomination to the court, the White House said she "has demonstrated a steadfast dedication to upholding the Constitution as written, and not legislating from the bench." Barrett, said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, supports "an independent judiciary that interprets the law and Constitution as-written." <p>Updated: Thu Oct 01, 2020</p> a21e59121f58597d87c5806d873306ea The Irrelevance of Presidential Debates for 09/27/2020 Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The first debate is typically the most dramatic occasion of every general election presidential campaign. Two (or three) rivals who have been contending with each other from a distance finally have to confront each other face to face, with the nation watching raptly and the election hanging in the balance.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">It's great theater, particularly this year when Donald Trump and Joe Biden square off in what could be an epic brawl.</span> The 90-minute forum, to be held Tuesday evening in Cleveland, will undoubtedly produce a large audience. The initial confrontation between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 drew 84 million viewers, more than any previous debate. This one will dominate media coverage for days.<p>Updated: Sun Sep 27, 2020</p> 500e690ac692529db304a6d6146ba505 How to Overcome a Conservative Supreme Court for 09/24/2020 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Among Americans who are not politically conservative, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her pending replacement evoke anger and despair. A court with an impregnable 6-3 conservative majority is likely to roll back all sorts of rights and protections, leaving many people at risk.</p> <p>The most obvious likely casualty is the court's 1973 decision granting constitutional protection to a woman's right to abortion. Four justices voted this year to allow a highly restrictive Louisiana law, and Donald Trump's next appointee is almost certain to provide the fifth and decisive vote for that option. Roe v. Wade has as much chance of surviving as a sandcastle in a tsunami. States, we can assume, will soon be free to ban most if not all abortions.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 24, 2020</p> 092b40c43e1fd5939accfbb61e3aac66 Can the United States Survive the 2020 Election? for 09/20/2020 Sun, 20 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a little-known state senator from Illinois electrified the crowd with a speech proclaiming our fundamental unity. "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America," Barack Obama declared. </p> <p>Four years later, he campaigned for president promising that we could overcome our differences. His election offered evidence that he was right. His presidency, however, proved that he was wrong.<p>Updated: Sun Sep 20, 2020</p> 1204f53dd28b555ad15530c506957463 Americans Like Free Trade. Trump and Biden Don't. for 09/17/2020 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President John F. Kennedy once noted, "There's an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan." But in the case of free trade, the opposite is true. It's been a great success as a policy, but one neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden is willing to claim ownership.</p> <p>Trump is an outspoken protectionist, regarding imports as bad and domestic production as good. As part of his "America First" agenda, he made a grand promise to "end our chronic trade deficits." (In fact, they've gotten bigger.) He slapped tariffs on China, South Korea, the European Union, Mexico, India and more. He sees every dollar spent on imported products as a dollar lit on fire.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> bc8cd0288502d12ba71184ad24eda826 Pence Debases the Vice Presidency for 08/30/2020 Sun, 30 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Loyalty to Donald Trump demands more than many people can muster. One Cabinet officer and high-level aide after another has repeatedly endured ill treatment only to finally leave rather than accept further indignities. But no subservience is too much for Mike Pence.</p> <p>His Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention confirmed that the vice president is prepared to say anything to celebrate his boss &#8212; and the more absurd the statement, the more resolutely he utters it.<p>Updated: Sun Aug 30, 2020</p>