Tag Archives: United States

Better Than Nothing..

John KnottUnlce Sam asks his allies France and Great Britain to repay the United States for helping them in World War I.

In the 1920’s to late 1930’s, the years following World War I, several European nations were indebted to the Unites States, causing prominent issues. In World War I, the United States joined forces with Great Britain, Belgium, Russia and France to form the Allies and work to defeat the Central Powers made up of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Allies were ultimately able to win the war and force Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which contained a war guilt clause. By signing this clause; Germany was accepting responsibility for all of the loss and damage that the war caused and agreeing to pay thirty two billion dollars in war reparations (Potter). War reparations are when a country makes amends for a transgression they have committed by paying money to the countries they wronged (Moulton and Pasvolsky). However, the years following the end of the war were difficult for the economies of Great Britain, France and Germany not only due to the devastation, but also the expenses that come with war, such as transportation, weapons, repairs etc. (“World War I Fast Facts”). Thus, the end of the war came with massive war reparations and war debts. These were no small sums; to put it into context, even in 2014 Great Britain was still making plans to pay back what they borrowed from the United States. (“First World War Debt to Be Paid off at Last”).

War debts refer to the money a country owes to another country for the resources that were borrowed to fight the war. After World War I, the United States asked for war reparations from Germany, as decided in the Treaty of Versailles, and for Great Britain and France to repay war debts. Considering much of the war took place on European soil, Germany, Great Britain, and France suffered a lot of destruction to their cities. This made it quite challenging for them to acquire the money they needed in order to fully repay the United States (Moulton and Pasvolsky).

The political cartoon by John Knott titled, “Better Than Nothing” published on December 30, 1931, in the Dallas Morning News, illustrates the United States asking to be repaid by their allies for help in the war. In the cartoon, it shows Uncle Sam representing the United States off the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, asking Great Britain and France to pay the war debts they owe. Since France and Great Britain were unable to pay the war debts, you see Uncle Sam pointing to the land that is near him—the large colonial possessions of Great Britain and France in the West Indies, Guiana and Central America—while saying “I might take some real estate on account.” If Great Britain and France could not pay the money back, the United States did not want to go home empty-handed. While Uncle Sam is asking for the land, France and Great Britain are across the Atlantic Ocean looking quite unfazed as they are sharing a smoke together.

The title of Knott’s cartoon, “Better Than Nothing” coincides with an editorial that was published in the same Dallas Morning News issue; the editorial titled, “Reparations and War Debts,” announces that United States congress voted not to reduce or cancel the war debts. That meant that Great Britain and France were expected to pay back every cent of what they owed to the United States. The article also explains that Great Britain and France had their hands tied because they needed Germany to pay them reparations before they could even afford to repay the United States.The editor equated this situation to Great Britain and France essentially being “bankrupt” and stuck. Something was going to have to give or an alternative deal was going to have to be made in order to move forward.

Senator Capper, who was one of the Senators who had a hand in the ruling that no cancelations or reductions be made to the war debts, was quoted in an article in The New York Times as saying, “Uncle Sam has played Santa Claus long enough.” Senator Capper was worried that the amount of money the United States loaned to these countries was beginning to become “too much of a load.” At that point, not only had America paid for most of the war itself, but also the reconstruction that followed the war (“Capper Opposes Debt Revision; ‘Uncle Sam Santa Long Enough’”).

Another editorial that was featured alongside John Knott’s cartoon in the Dallas Morning News was entitled “Buy Them Out.” In the article, the editor explained how Representative McFadden of the United States Congress suggested an alternative deal that would help Great Britain and France repay the war debts they owed to the United States. Instead of forcing Great Britain and France to pay billions of dollars—that they did not have—McFadden proposed offering the countries a buyout deal where they would give up their colonial territories south of the United States as repayment of their debt. The article goes on to explain that if such an agreement were to be made, “Holland only would be left of European powers having control over United States territory south of Canada, excepting the Falkland Islands in South America.” Though this deal was fair in economic terms, it was most likely not going to be something on which Great Britain and France were eager to sign off.

The message Knott is getting across with his cartoon is that it is only fair for the United States to walk away with at least some sort of repayment for the debt that Great Britain and France owe, even if it is not in the form of cold hard cash. In the cartoon, Knott does not portray Great Britain and France as two men who are struggling and can barely get by; rather, Great Britain is drawn with a belly, portraying the state of being well-fed, and both Britain and France are smoking, which can be considered an act of luxury. This keeps the audience from empathizing with Britain and France and helps to show them that it is fair to expect the two countries to find a way to repay what they owe in some form or fashion.

When the United States Congress voted not to cancel or reduce the war debts owed by France and Great Britain, this demonstrated that the United States were demanding to be repaid no matter what. The question was not if, but how the United States was going to get repaid by these countries. John Knott illustrated a potential answer to this question through his cartoon. Works Cited
“Buy them out.” Dallas Morning News, December 30, 1931. Editorial.
http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX&p_theme=ahnp&p_nbid=L56R4DMHMTUyNjMyNTM5NS4yODU2MDk6MToxMzoxMjguNjIuNzAuMTE5&p_docref=v2:0F99DDB671832188@EANX-104D2247C6907F01@2426706-104D22487677A470@12-104D224B65AA3163@Buy%20Them%20Out .

“Capper Opposes Debt Revision; ‘Uncle Sam Santa Long enough’.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Dec 27, 1931, pp. 1. ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/99200163?accountid=7118.

“First World War Debt to Be Paid off at Last.” Evening Standard, 03 Dec. 2014, p. 45. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=99762662&site=ehost-live.

Knott, John. “Better Than Nothing.” Dallas Morning News, 30 Dec. 1931. Editorial.
http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX&p_theme=ahnp&p_nbid=P5FT56BQMTUyNjMyODM4Ny4yNjg1MTU6MToxMjoxNDYuNi4xMTkuOTc&p_docref=v2:0F99DDB671832188@EANX-104D2247C6907F01@2426706-104D22487677A470@12.

Moulton, Harold G., and Leo Pasvolsky. World war debt settlements. The Macmillan company, 1926.

Potter, Edmund D. “World War I debts,” The 1930s in America, edited by Thomas Tandy Lewis, Salem, 2011. Salem Online.
http://te7fv6dm8k.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Abook&rft.genre=bookitem&rft.title=The+Thirties+in+America&rft.au=Potter%2C+Edmund&rft.atitle=World+War+I+debts&rft.date=2011-01-01&rft.volume=3&rft.spage=1035&rft.epage=1036&rft.externalDocID=1916300673&paramdict=en-US.

“Reparations and War Debts.” Dallas Morning News, December 30, 1931. Editorial.
http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX&p_theme=ahnp&p_nbid=P5FT56BQMTUyNjMyODM4Ny4yNjg1MTU6MToxMjoxNDYuNi4xMTkuOTc&p_docref=v2:0F99DDB671832188@EANX-104D2247C6907F01@2426706-104D22487677A470@12.

“Denuclearization”: The 21st Century’s Ongoing Disarmament Dilemma

An international symbol of peace, an olive branch- bearing white dove uses its wing to hold back the weight of nuclear arms
An international symbol of peace, an olive branch- bearing white dove uses its wing to hold back the weight of nuclear arms

Although many American citizens believe that the Korean War ended in 1953, armed conflict ceased merely by way of an armistice. This truce is one of the only things that “technically prevents North Korea and the U.S. – along with its ally South Korea—from resuming the war, as no peace treaty has ever been signed” (“The Korean War Armistice”). Since the Cold War, the conflict on the Korean Peninsula has been put on the back burner, but tensions still boil and the relationship with the United States still has friction (“The Korean War”). “Both sides regularly accuse the other of violating the agreement, but the accusations have become more frequent as tensions rise over North Korea’s nuclear program” (“The Korean War Armistice”). The diplomatic complexities of recent efforts to limit North Korea’s nuclear arms capabilities echo earlier attempts made in the 1930’s to attain disarmament.

In order to understand the geopolitical chessboard, it is important to understand different stakeholders and their issues add to the boiling tensions throughout the region. Since the armistice, the creation of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) has separated the peninsula into two different nations: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK (a.k.a. North Korea) and the Republic of Korea or ROK (a.k.a. South Korea) (Tilelli et al). In the decades since the Korean conflict, the northern nation has become a “Hermit Kingdom” (Strand), while the southern nation flourished in the modern world.

Besides the two Koreas, there are complex alliances among regional stakeholders. China, North Korea’s closest ally, “condemns its neighbor’s nuclear developments” but has opposed “harsh international sanctions on North Korea in the hope of avoiding a regime collapse and a refugee influx” (Albert). Russia, a neighbor of North Korea, supports a halt on nuclear tests and calls for North Korea and the United States to cooperate and reduce tensions (“Russia ‘Welcomes’ North Korea’s Nuclear Declaration”). Japan, a United States ally, “has called the prospect of a nuclear-capable North Korea ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and said the security situation…is the severest since the Second World War” (McKirdy). Along with threats to North Korean allies and American allies, the Korean Peninsula has also threatened the United States itself (“North Korea Nuclear Timeline Fast Facts). “Despite the difficulty of the challenge, the danger posed by North Korea is sufficiently severe, and the costs of inaction and acquiescence so high, that the United States and its partners must continue to press for denuclearization” (Tilelli et al).

As of the writing of this blog, the world is holding its breath due to daily, sometimes hourly, developments in U.S. – North Korean relations. While always fraught, the relationship between the United States and North Korea has been especially complicated since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. Using his unconventional (un)diplomatic tactics, he has made rude tweets and comments about the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. For example, on September 22, 2017, upon agreement with South Korea to “increase economic and diplomatic pressure against North Korea, Trump provocatively called the North Korean dictator “Rocket Man” (Hamedy). North Korea, in turn, successfully tested an “intercontinental ballistic missile” that landed a mere 210 kilometers west of Japan (Hamedy). North Korea has even threatened that it has the technological capacity to “reach U.S. soil with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles” (“North Korean Nuclear Negotiations: A Brief History”).

Remarkably, however, there also have been positive developments in the U.S. – North Korea relationship. On March 8, 2018, after a meeting at the White House with the South Korean National Security Advisor, President Trump suddenly agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un if North Korea “pledged to refrain from further nuclear tests and move toward denuclearization” (Vitali). Six Short weeks later, the two Korean heads of state shook hands and together stepped across the DMZ as a gesture of peace on April 27, 2018 (CNBC). Recently, there has been preliminary talks among the U.S., ROK, and DPRK officials about a proposed peace summit scheduled to take place on June 12, 2018 in Singapore (Diamond). Progress towards the summit was advanced due, in part, to the release of three American hostages from North Korea (Holland). At a future summit, the United States will try to persuade North Korea to “abandon nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests” (Holland).

However, recent remarks by President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, have hurt the possibility for the summit. On May 16, 2018, Bolton suggested “that the White House was looking at Libya as an example of how it handled negotiations with North Korea to denuclearize” (Stracqualursi). North Korea took this remark as an “’awfully sinister move’” to imperil the Kim regime” (Stracqualursi). Thus, as of yesterday (May 17, 2018), plans for the proposed summit, seem to have completely fallen apart. Coinciding with Bolton’s remark, annual U.S.-South Korea military drills were used as an excuse by North Korea to suspend the peace summit (Cohen). Fortunately, there is still hope, as South Korea is “attempting to salvage peace talks with North Korea and play mediator for the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un” (Sampathkumar). From personal insults and threatening missile tests to diplomatic handshakes and proposed peace summits, diplomatic relations have been a wild ride. “Diplomacy between the United States and North Korea has gone through familiar cycles of long stagnation, followed by brief bursts of hope and then inevitable disappointment, typically after North Korea reneged” (Landler).

Global denuclearization is a critical issue of our time. The anonymously illustrated cartoon atop this blog (which originally appeared on “A Nuclear War Planner’s Guide to Resisting the Bomb- Infoshop News,” a blog by Robert Levering) depicts a white dove holding an olive branch in its mouth. Both the dove and the olive branch signify “peaceful intentions” (“Dove with Olive Branch as Symbol of Peace”). The dove in the cartoon represents efforts to fend off nuclear destruction. The weight of nuclear weapons, indicated by the “radiation warning symbol,” (Frame) bearing down on the achievement of peace.

With denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea, we must know what each party demands. The original definition of the term “denuclearization” is “to prohibit the deployment or construction of nuclear weapons” (“Denuclearize”). Unfortunately, this is not the working definition that either side, the United States or North Korea, is currently using. The United States, for one, wants North Korea to hand over its nuclear weapons and missile systems and allow international inspectors to check whether denuclearization is being upheld (Fifield). However, for North Korea denuclearization means mutual steps to eradicate nuclear weapons and requiring the United States to remove its nuclear umbrella (Fifield). The “nuclear umbrella” (Lewis) is a security arrangement in which participating nations consent to the possible use of nuclear weapons for their defense (“Nuclear Umbrellas and Umbrella States”). This is a danger towards the stakeholders for the United States, as the nuclear umbrella of the U.S. protects Japan and South Korea, however, there has been some other compromises on the table. For example, North Korea will relinquish weapons only if the United States ends its military alliance with South Korea. Unfortunately, the compromise of denuclearization seems far-fetched, especially since both nations have fundamental differences on the definition of what they are trying to achieve.

Each side of the conflict has fundamental differences on the definition of denuclearization. For its part, North Korea has declared a halt to nuclear testing but views its nuclear arsenal as an insurance policy for defending peace for future generations (Borger). The United States, on the other hand, has decided to sustain a policy of “maximum pressure” on North Korea until the demands of a completely denuclearized Korean Peninsula are met (Borger).

Jeffrey Lewis ponders the complexities of the term “denuclearization” in his opinion piece, “The Word That Could Help the World Avoid Nuclear War” (Lewis). Both “denuclearization” and “disarmament” are terms used in diplomatic negotiations to de-escalate tensions and prevent war. These issues are reminiscent of the early 1930’s when the victorious nations of World War I called for a discussion on arms reduction. Their attempts at international demilitarization, culminating in the Geneva Conference of 1932, were the subjects of an editorial – “Disarmament”—and an accompanying cartoon –“Sword is Needed”—published in the Dallas Morning News on October 29, 1932. The illustration, by John Knott, depicted the tax burden of maintain armaments to the common man and the difficulties or reaching widely agreed terms for disarmament. His cartoon illustrated the complexities of previous disarmament conferences and exemplified that the only way to solve the problem was with bold action to ensure peace. Both cartoons emphasize the burdens of armaments, the obstacles to global demilitarization, well as the fragility of peace.

Works Cited

Albert, Eleanor. “Understanding the China-North Korea Relationship.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 28 Mar. 2018, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/china-north-korea-relationship.

Borger, Julian. “US and North Korea Expectations over Denuclearization Appear to Collide.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 24 Apr. 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/us-and-north-korea-expectations-over-denuclearization-appear-to-collide.

CNBC. “Smiling and Holding Hands, Leaders of the Two Koreas Meet at a Historic Summit.” CNBC, CNBC, 27 Apr. 2018, www.cnbc.com/2018/04/26/north-korea-and-south-korea-kim-jong-un-and-moon-jae-in-at-inter-korean-summit.html.

Cohen, Zachary. “North Korea Warn US as it Suspends South Korea Talks over Military Drills.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 May 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/05/15/politics/north-korea-suspends-south-korea-talks-us-military-drills/index.html.

Davenport, Kelsey. “Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy.” Arms Control Association, May 2018, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/dprkchron.

“Denuclearize.” Dictorionary.com, Dicotionary.com www.dictionary.com/browse/denuclearize.

Diamond, Jeremy and Kevin Liptak. “Trump Announces North Korea Summit Will be in Singapore.” CNN, Cable News Network, 11 May 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/05/10/politics/singapore-donald-trump-kim-jong-un/index/html.

“Disarmament Again.” Dallas Morning News, 29 Oct. 1932, p. 2. America’s Historical Newspaper, infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX&p_theme=ahnp&p_nbid=P75K5CDYMTUyMjA4ODk3NS4zNDQ0OTg6MToxMzoxMjguNjIuMjUuMTgy&p_docref=v2:0F99DDB671832188@EANX-10483DD48E0961E6@2427010-10483DD50169304E@17.

“Dove with Olive Branch as Symbol of Peace.” Great Seal, greatseal.com/peace/dove.html.

Fifield, Anna. “North Korea’s Definition of ‘Denuclearization’ Is Very Different from Trump’s.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Apr. 2018, www.washingtonpsot.com/world/asia_pacific/north-koreas-definition-ofdenuclearization-isvery-different-from-trumps/2018/04/09/55bf9c06-3bc8-11e8-912d-16c9e9b37800_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a3ce261fd107.

Frame, Paul. “Radiation Warning Symbol (Trefoil).” Radioactive Consumer Products, www.orau.org/PTP/articlesstories/radwarnsymbstory.htm.

Hamedy, Saba. “All the Times Trump Has Insulted North Korea.” CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Mar. 2018, www.cnn.com/2017/09/22/politics/donald-trump-north-korea-insults-timelines/index.html.

Holland, Steve. “Trump Seeks ‘Very Meaningful Summit in Singapore with North Korea.” Reuters, Thomason Reuters, 11 May 2017, www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa/trump-seeks-very-meaninful-summit-in-singpaore-with-north-korea-idUSKBN1IB240.

Huang, Jing, and Xiaoting Li. “Pyongyang’s Nuclear Ambitions: China Must Act as a “Responsible Stakeholder’”.” Brookings, Brookings, 28 July 2016, www.brookings.edu/opinions/pyongyangs-nuclear-ambitions-china-must-act-as-a-responsible-stakeholder/.

“The Korean War.” Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-history/period-8/apush-1950s-america/a/the-korean-war.

“The Korean War Armistice.” BBC News, BBC, 5 Mar. 2015, www.bbc.com/news/10165796.

Landler, Mark. “With U.S. and North Korea, a Repeated History of Hope and Disappointment.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/us/politics/north-korea-us-history-negotiations.html.

Levering, Robert. “A Nuclear War Planner’s Guide to Resisting the Bomb- Infoshop News.” Infoshop News, 25 Feb. 2018, news.infoshop.org/anti-war/a-nuclear-war-planners-guide-to-resisting-the-bomb/.

Lewis, Jeffrey. “The Word That Could Help the World Avoid Nuclear War.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Apr. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/opinion.avoid-nuclear-war-denuclearization.html.

McKirdy, Euan. “PM Abe Says Nuclear North Korea Greatest Threat to Japan since WWII.” CNN, Cable News Network, 4 Jan. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/01/04/asia/abe-north-korea-comments/index/html.

“North Korea.” Nuclear Threat Initiative – Ten Years of Building a Safer World, Apr. 2018, www.nti.org/learn/countries/north-korea/.

“North Korean Nuclear Negotiations: A Brief History.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/timeline/north-korean-nuclear-negotiations.

“North Korea Nuclear Timeline Fast Facts.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Apr. 2018, www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-timeline–fast-facts/index.html.

“Nuclear Umbrellas and Umbrella States.” ILPI Weapons of Mass Destruction Project, 22 Apr. 2016, nwp.ilpi.org/?p=1221.

“Russia ‘Welcomes’ North Korea’s Nuclear Declaration.” Channel NewsAsia, 21 Apr. 2018, www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/russia-welcomes-north-korea-s-nuclear-declaration-10161832.

Sampathkumar, Mythili. “South Korea Attempts to Salvage North Korea Peace Talks and Play Mediator for Trump-Kim Summit.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 17 May 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/trump-kim-jong-n-north-summit-south-korea-nuclear-weapons-a8356361.html.

Sang-hun, Choe. “North and South Korea Set Bold Goals: A Final Peace and No Nuclear Arms.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/world/asia/north-korea-south-kim-jong-un.html.

Stracqualursi, Veronica. “White House Walks Back Bolton Comments after North Korea Outcry.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 May 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/poltics /north-korea-john-bolton-libya-comments/index.html.

Strand, Wilson. “Opening the Hermit Kingdom.” History Today, Jan. 2004, www.historytoday.com/wilson-strand/opening-hermit-kingdom.

Tilelli, John H, et al. “U.S. Policy Towards the Korean Peninsula.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, June 2010, www.cfr.org/report/us-policy-toward-korean-peninsula.

Vitali, Ali. “President Trump Agrees to Meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.” NBCNews.com NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Mar. 2018, wwwnbcnew.com/politics/white-house/south-koreans-deliver-letter-trump-kim-jong-un-n855051.

Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder!

An elephant, representing the Texas Legislature, points to a redistricting map of the state which shows a large portrait of an elephant, the symbol of the Republican party, superimposed on the map.
An elephant, representing the Texas Legislature, points to a redistricting map of the state which shows a large portrait of an elephant, the symbol of the Republican party, superimposed on the map.

Borders, especially Texas borders, have always been divisively political. Texan history has been full of border disputes: the 19th century issue of slavery in the Missouri compromise (Connor); attempts in the 20th century to redistribute land to political parties (“Division of Texas”); and 21st century gerrymandering within the state (Tarr and Benenson). The long, repetitive cycle of redrawing arbitrary lines to meet political goals continued through the early 2000s with the Texas Legislature’s decision to redistrict its boundaries for the US House of Representatives. In 2003, Texas Lawmakers opted for a voluntary redistricting to increase Republican seats in congress (Toobin).

While redistricting is required by the US Constitution every ten years at the advent of a new census, the 2003 redrawing was not a legal necessity. The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature called for a vote on a new redistricting plan soon after taking a majority of seats in both houses. This plan was rife with controversy. ­­The process of redistricting was drawn out well past the intended Republican time-frame due to several court hearings (e.g.: League of United Latin American Citizens v Perry) regarding the legality of gerrymandering along racial and political lines (Eggin). Those legal cases challenged the legality of the new map. One district was found to be in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and was re-drawn (Eggin). By 2007, however, the new district map was finalized and in effect.

Leaders of the GOP, like Texan Tom DeLay, repeatedly stated that the purpose of this elective redistricting was to increase Republican control of the US House of Representatives (Toobin).

DeLay was the House Majority Leader and Republican whip in the United States Congress. After the state elections in 2002, DeLay took time off from Washington in 2003 to lobby the Texas government in Austin for a new district map. DeLay had an instrumental role redistricting the Lone Star State. He ran a Political Action Committee (PAC) called “Texans for a Republican Majority” that focused its large monetary assets on influencing the Texas house to re-draw the state’s map boundaries (Eggin).

DeLay’s national political career was tainted with assorted ethics and procedural violations, especially his ruthless work with the Texas legislature. In 2004, DeLay was reprimanded by the House Committee on Official Standards for exceeding acceptable behavior in pursuit of his political goals. In 2006, he was forced to resign from the US Congress when he was indicted for alleged conspiracy and election violations vis-à-vis his PAC (“DeLay, Tom”). The tactics used by DeLay that so effectively built a stronger Republican majority would ultimately be his downfall. Because of the overtly political goals, partisan redistricting has left many in the electorate frustrated and cynical towards the politicized electoral boundaries.

These sentiments are aptly captured in Christopher Weyant’s cartoon, “Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder.” His cartoon depicts the geographic area of the state of Texas with several small shapes carved into it, representing congressional districts. By far the most immense shape is the large figure of an elephant’s head superimposed in the middle, covering a majority of the map. The elephant symbol is used a second time for the anthropomorphized presenter of the map, who is labeled as the Republican Texas Legislature. Dressed in traditional Texan garb—a cowboy hat, yoked shirt, large belt buckle, rancher boots, and bolo tie—the elephant announces: “Booty is in the eye of the beholder!” This is a play on the idiom, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This pun replaces “beauty’s” sentiment of love and appreciation with the nearly-homophonous “booty,” a noun that normally describes seizures in war (Oxford English Dictionary). “Booty” has the connotation of being something a pirate steals from its rightful owners. In this case, Weyant’s word choice shows the sordid behavior of the GOP in the pursuit of more seats in the US house—perhaps “pirating” the right of representational democracy from the electorate in the state.

This cynical view of the 21st century Texas redistricting was not uncommon in the years following the new map’s creation by the Texas legislature. During the Supreme Court cases on racial gerrymandering, many commentators found that the nature of the redistricting was an unnecessary political aggression. That the Republican party was sacrificing the will of the people for a shameless grasp at power (Toobin).

Jeffery Toobin, in his New Yorker editorial “Drawing the Line,” (pp.) described the Republican Party’s efforts at nation-wide redistricting as heavy-handed and corrupt. Especially in light of Tom DeLay’s inditement for political corruption, critics like Weyant found pirate-like behavior in his party’s conduct. Toobin argued that these aggressive methods would not be conducive to political discussion and would ultimately cost the Republican Party politically. John Cornyn, the senior Republican Senator of Texas, however, saw it differently. He said that many in his party felt their aggressive new map was justified—political revenge for the Democratic-drawn maps that had been used for the past decades (Toobin).

Such spiteful GOP responses to perceived injustices by the opposing party recall memories of 1930s-era efforts by Texas Democrat John Nance Garner to overcome the North-Eastern hegemony in the US Senate by redrawing the borders of the Lone Star State. Just as 21st century Republicans have redistricted Texas to guarantee greater representation in the United States House of Representatives, Garner led a campaign to divide Texas into five smaller states in order to increase the number of Democratic members in the US Senate. Garner’s political machinations were the subject of much critique in the Dallas Morning News in 1932. The editorial board, in their piece “Texas One and Indivisible,” found that Garner’s politically charged plan would adversely affect the citizens of Texas. Read together with John Knott’s cartoon, “Can He Sell the Old Man,” that depicted Garner as a salesman selling something the State didn’t want, there’s an immediate connection with today’s political commentators’ and illustrators’ concerns surrounding redistricting.

The controversies around remaking political borders are constant in Texas history. In 1932, when John Garner was criticized in The Dallas Morning News for his attempt to split up Texas for the benefit of his political party, it was only one many attempts to draw lines to wield power. Today’s use of governmental processes to gerrymander borders remains both controversial and pervasive. Even with the potential costs of the political game, bureaucratic means of partitioning are effective and will likely continue as long as they are technically allowed.

Works Cited

“Booty: Definition.” Oxford University Press. 2018. Web. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/booty

Connor, Seymour. “Missouri Compromise.” Texas State Historical Association. 15 June 2010. Web. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/nbm01

“DeLay, Tom.” Congress A to Z, 5th ed., CQ Press, 2008, pp. 152-153. CQ Press American Government A to Z Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2142200100/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=b56f15d8. Accessed 20 Apr. 2018.

Eggin, Dan. “Judge Staff saw Texas Redistricting as Illegal.” The Washington Post. 2 Dec 2005. Print.

Knott, John. “Can He Sell the Old Man?” The Dallas Morning News. 3 Jan 1932, sec. 3: 10. Print.

“League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.” Oyez, 11 May. 2018, www.oyez.org/cases/2005/05-204.

Tarr, Dave, and Bob Benenson. “Mid-Decade Redistricti­­ng.” Elections A to Z, 4th ed., CQ Press, 2012, pp. 330-333. CQ Press American Government A to Z Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX4159000121/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=58e78366. Accessed 20 Apr. 2018.

“Texas, One and Indivisible.” Editorial. The Dallas Morning News. 3 Jan 1932, sec. 3: 10. Print.

Toobin, Jeffery. “Drawing the Line.” Editorial. The New Yorker. 6 Mar 2006. Print.

Weyant, Christopher. “Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder.” The Hill. 2007.

An Unexpected Champion

The media prematurely pronounces Hillary Clinton victorious in the political fight for “Champion of the Middle Class” against a generic Republican candidate during the 2016 presidential election.
The media prematurely pronounces Hillary Clinton victorious in the political fight for “Champion of the Middle Class” against a generic Republican candidate during the 2016 presidential election.

Michael Ramirez depicts the fight for the votes of the middle class in the 2016 presidential election in his cartoon, “Champion,” published in the Chicago Tribune. The two candidates for the election were Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee, Donald Trump. The 2016 presidential election was historically significant for women because it brought us closer to seeing a woman elected to the Office of President of the United States. Hillary Clinton was one of the most famous women in politics. Clinton came from a prominent political family with years of political experience. By contrast, Trump had little political experience, which made the pundits think that Hillary was sure to win the presidential election. In June of 2016, an article, “The 2016 Election is Already Decided,” was published in the Washington Post and discussed how, “the 2016 election is already decided. History says Hillary Clinton wins,” based onthe historical patterns of elections and the unpopularity of the GOP nominee, Donald Trump (Sosnik, “The 2016 Election is Already Decided”). Although she eventually went on to face defeat, her presidential campaign was a stride for women in the fight to see a woman elected to the office of President.

Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1975, she married her husband, Bill Clinton who served as President of the United States from 1993-2001. As First Lady of the United States, Clinton began her own political career. After her time as First Lady, she went on to serve as a two-term Senator from New York from 2001-2009 (Kelso, “Clinton, Hillary”). She then continued on to become the candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2008. After facing defeat in that election, she was chosen as the 67thSecretary of State under President Barack Obama from 2009-2013 (Kelso, “Clinton, Hillary”). Clinton’s vast political experience led her to run for President again in the 2016 presidential election.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, was born in 1946 in New York City. Trump spent his life building a real estate empire and starring on the reality television show The Celebrity Apprentice, which resulted in him becoming a billionaire and a public figure. However, he greatly lacked the political experience that was characteristic of past presidential nominees, which made his run for the Republican nominee seem like nothing more than a joke to many. However, on July 21, 2016, Trump accepted the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (“Donald Trump”).

The presidential election of 2016 was one of the most controversial and unusual elections in the history of the United States. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, put up a strong fight against Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. The campaigns of both candidates were plagued by controversies and scandals. However, many viewed the campaign of Trump as a joke because of his lack of political experience compared to Clinton. Many people thought that Clinton would easily win the presidential election. This view became even more popular when the Clinton campaign office released their financial statistics. Clinton had raised more than $45 million during the first quarter of the campaign, shattering the previous record (Hassanzade Ajiri, “Hillary Clinton Has Raised $45 Million…”). In addition, 90% of the donations were less than $100, revealing Clinton’s popularity among Middle Class Americans (Hassanzade Ajiri, “Hillary Clinton Has Raised $45 Million…”).

In the final stretch of the election, both candidates made their final pleas to the American people and expressed the major platforms of their campaigns. Trump addressed the American people by saying that, “Today is the day that the working class strikes back,” (America Decides, “Hillary Clinton made a Dramatic…”). Clinton took a different approach by saying, “We have to bridge the divides in this country and love trumps hate,” (America Decides, “Hillary Clinton made a Dramatic…”). Clinton had spent previous weeks trying to attack the Trump campaign but shifted her address to stress national unity in the final days. At one of her final rallies in Philadelphia, she was joined by her husband as well as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (America Decides, “Hillary Clinton made a Dramatic…”). It looked as though Clinton would take this controversial election.

Yet on November 8, 2016, the results of the election began to come in, and many people could not believe it. Trump ended up receiving 306 electoral votes and Clinton received 232, giving Trump the election (“US Elections 2016 Results). However, Clinton went on to receive 48% of the popular vote and Trump only received 45.9% (“US Elections 2016 Results). Very few people expected this outcome, especially because of the unconventional nature of the Trump campaign. Clinton called Trump and conceded but did not give a concession speech to the public that night (“Roberts, “Trump wins Presidential Election”).

The fight for “Champion of the Middle Class” is illustrated in Ramirez’s cartoon through the characters of Clinton, the GOP nominee, and the media. The character of Clinton has her hand raised over her head in victory by the character representing the. The elephant character, representative of the GOP nominee, has a look of annoyance and says, “You know the match hasn’t started yet, right?”. They are in a boxing ring that represents the election for the champion of the middle class. This illustration is representative of the prevailing thought by the media that Clinton had already won the election before it even started. In the cartoon as in real life however, the GOP nominee was not ready to concede the fight before it started and eventually went on to win the election.

The elements and surprises of the 2016 presidential election are further outlined in the editorial “Hillary, how can this be? Isn’t the race over?” published in the Chicago Tribune on September 6, 2016. The author describes the weeks leading up to the election as a time that Clinton’s staff eagerly anticipated restoring the White House to make it their new home (Kass “Hillary, How Can This Be? Isn’t the Race over?”). He then explains that in the last few days the polls revealed that the race had tightened, and Clinton’s lead had shrunk drastically. He goes on to say that the race is not over, although many people thought that it was long ago (Kass “Hillary, How Can This Be? Isn’t the Race over?”).

Similar themes are conveyed in a cartoon published more than 85 years earlier in the Dallas Morning News. In John Knott’s cartoon, “It Was That Kind of Fight”, a similar political battle is illustrated. Ruth Hanna McCormick is depicted with her arm raised in victory over her male competitor, Charles Deneen, in the Illinois state senatorial primary election of 1930. McCormick came from a prominent political family, and both her father and first husband served on the Senate. She also was an advocate for the suffragette movement, making her an influential public figure. Similar to Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, many thought that because of McCormick’s vast political experience and background, she was sure to go on and win the general election. In the end, however, both women faced defeat in the general elections. Although Clinton and McCormick were not elected, both of them made important strides for women in the fight for gender equality.

Although women have made immense progress in the fight for gender equality since receiving the right to vote in 1920, the recent election proved that there is still a lot left to fight for. We have yet to see a woman be elected President of the United States. Even though we were not able to elect a woman to the Office of President, the election of 2016 proved that we are closer to seeing this goal come to completion.

 

Works Cited

AMERICA DECIDES. “HILLARY CLINTON Made a Dramatic […].” Evening Standard, 08 Nov. 2016, p. 1. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=119310937&site=ehost-live.

Ramirez, Michael. “Champion.” Chicago Tribune.

Cogan, Brian, and Tony Kelso. “Clinton, Hillary.” Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture, Greenwood Press, 2009, pp. 222-223. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2444000063/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=5c9fc4ca. Accessed 17 Apr. 2018.

“Donald Trump.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 2 May 2018, www.biography.com/people/donald-trump-9511238.

Guardian US interactive, et al. “US Elections 2016 Results: Track Who Won, County by County.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2016/nov/08/us-election-2016-results-live-clinton-trump?view=map&type=presidential.

Hassanzade Ajiri, Denise. “Hillary Clinton Has Raised $45 Million in Campaign Contributions so Far; .” The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2015.

Kass, John. “Hillary, How Can This Be? Isn’t the Race over?” Chicago Tribune, 7 Sept. 2016, www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-hillary-trump-election-kass–0907-20160906-column.html.

Lawless, Jennifer L. “U.S. Politics and Society: Women, Political Participation of.” The Encyclopedia of Political Science, edited by George Thomas Kurian, vol. 5, CQ Press, 2011, pp. 1709-1710. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX1671601454/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=505971b0. Accessed 17 Apr. 2018.

Roberts, Dan, et al. “Donald Trump Wins Presidential Election, Plunging US into Uncertain Future.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 Nov. 2016, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-wins-us-election-news.

Sosnik, Doug. “The 2016 Election Is Already Decided. History Says Hillary Clinton Wins.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 June 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-2016-election-is-already-decided-history-says-hillary-clinton-wins/2016/06/28/8c6e682e-3d49-11e6-80bc-d06711fd2125_story.html?utm_term=.7846d9002963.

Trump Tells NATO: Pay Up

A stereotypical American couple lounges at a backyard pool. The man sits on the side reading a newspaper with the headline: "Trump Tells NATO: Pay UP." The man complains that "Nice Going Trump! Now the French are going to be even RUDER to us..."
A stereotypical American couple lounges by the pool, while the man comments on Trump’s assumed provocation of the French, remarking that now they will be even ruder than before.

In the spring of 2017, the tension was growing between the United States and various other nations. The US was still considering whether or not to remain part of the Paris Agreement, an accord within the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aimed “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change … [and] to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change” (UNFCCC page on the Paris Agreement). According to Trump, “Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as $2.7 million lost jobs by 2025” (NPR). For many Americans, this was an extremely unattractive prospect. When running for office, Donald Trump promised to back out the Paris Agreement if it failed to meet the needs of the US. The outlook for the US remaining bound by the agreement was dim. Due to this, many nations lowered their opinions of not only President Trump but of the United States as a whole.

Donald Trump spoke to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on May 25th, 2017. NATO, an international alliance founded in April of 1949, is designed to mitigate both political and military disputes. Notable members of NATO include the United States, Germany, France, and Italy. The United States is a large proponent of NATO’s funding and, as one of the world’s leading powers, it is a key member of the organization. However, due to tensions that arose as a result of the Paris Accords, many other nations within NATO looked down on the US.

Consequently, when Trump spoke to the NATO saying that, “Massive amounts of money were owed,” the reception was not pleasant (BBC).  According to NATO’s report in 2016, the number of countries who had reached the target 2% spending on defense was only five. The President remarked that “[It] is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and [from] not paying in those past years” (BBC). While the goal for countries involved with NATO is 2% spending on defense, “NATO states’ contributions are voluntary and a target of spending 2% of GDP on defense is only a guideline” (BBC). Many United States citizens, including some high ranking government officials, believe this number to be a hard line. Eventually, the US did withdraw from the Paris Agreement on June 1st, 2017.

In Mike Lester’s political cartoon, Trump Tells NATO: Pay Up, a woman lounges in a backyard pool while a man nearby reads the newspaper. The front of the newspaper reads: “Trump Tells Nato: Pay Up” in bold, black letters. Presumably reading the story, the man remarks: “Nice going Trump! Now the French are going to be even ruder to us…” Lester’s cartoon presents the thought that President Donald Trump’s actions with NATO are derogatory not only to the organization but to international relations, particularly with France.

Mike Lester adds a bit of humor to his cartoon, with the male reading the newspaper stating that: “Nice going, Trump! Now the French are going to be even ruder to us…” For many years, the stereotypical view of French people by Americans is that they are stuck up, snobby, and altogether impolite. They seem to look down on those from the US. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center (PRC), the approval ratings of the US President dropped 70% between the past two administrations. Trump’s demands have not only led the general public to loathe him but other entire countries as well, including France. Thus, the man in the cartoon reading the newspaper fully expects the French to remain stereotypically snobby, but to an even greater extent.

Due to the tensions in the Paris Accord and the US’s new “mandate” for countries to pay their fair share, international opinion of the United States is diminishing. The American government has chosen to maintain a hard position rather than work to compromise with NATO and the countries involved with the Paris Climate Agreement. This relates to John Knott’s political cartoon, Dirty Work, from the Dallas Morning Newspaper. The rigid position and the decision of countries to avoid compromise in the 1930s links the two cartoons. The struggle of each nation to fulfill its own agenda led to another world war. It seems similar to the US’s current actions: threatening to pull out of arguably globally beneficial agreements if its own agenda is not brought to fruition. The parallels between present day and the 1930’s are eerily similar. If nations, and more importantly, international organizations such as NATO, cannot function effectively to create agreements,  then the consequences may be severe. If countries make the same unyielding demands as they did before World War II, then history may be destined to repeat itself.

Works Cited:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Status of Ratification.” The Paris Agreement – Main Page, 12 Oct. 2017, unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php 

Romo, Vanessa, and Miles Parks. “Confusion Continues: The United States’ Position On The Paris Climate Agreement.” NPR, NPR, 16 Sept. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/16/551551083/u-s-still-out-of-paris-climate-agreement-after-conflicting-reports.

“Donald Trump Tells Nato Allies to Pay up at Brussels Talks.” BBC News, BBC, 25 May 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40037776.

Wike, Richard, et al. “U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, 26 June 2017, www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/26/u-s-image-suffers-as-publics-around-world-question-trumps-leadership/.

“Economic Growth Seeds”

In a 2017 cartoon by Gary Varvel, President Donald Trump is depicted as Johnny Appleseed tossing around the "seeds" of tax cuts, while the Democratic Donkey questions the practicality of his actions.
In a 2017 cartoon by Gary Varvel, President Donald Trump is depicted as Johnny Appleseed tossing around the “seeds” of tax cuts, while the Democratic Donkey questions the practicality of his actions.

The issues of tax legislation and general economic ideology have dominated the political sphere of the United States throughout the nation’s history, and being central matters of debate and partisan disagreement they have carved out two primary sides of the argument over time. Today, President Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding a tax revolution and the ensuing Legislative proposals offered by the Republican Party are characteristic of supply-side, or trickle-down, economic theory, in which business investment is stimulated by making funds more available to corporations and the wealthy, and as a result economic improvement occurs from the top-down. This policy was also a core component to the presidencies of both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Others, however, have pushed for the style of Keynesian economics, or the theory that government spending is the key to economic stimulation, as seen by President Barack Obama’s economic policies. Both theories face the issue of finding sources of funding to supplement losses of government revenue that result either due to spending more or receiving less.

Gary Varvel, an opinion cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star Newspaper, published the cartoon, “Economic Growth Seeds,” on April 28, 2017 (Varvel). The cartoon refers to President Donald Trump’s adamant announcement of his plans for the “largest tax cut in our country’s history” (Walsh). Moreover, Varvel reveals a particular case of the ongoing argument of economic policy and the question of how the government is to maintain its revenue while implementing its policy. The cartoon shows the perspective of both sides of the Trump tax cut debate and its consistency with politics throughout history, and raises the issue that there lacks a decent means in which to respond to the funding question; usually the federal budget deficit takes the hit.

Varvel’s illustration consists of two characters: President Trump on the right and a personified donkey on the left, which symbolizes the Democratic Party (Makemson 256). Varvel doesn’t portray President Trump sporting his normal presidential suit and working the Oval Office, however. The cartoon instead depicts Trump as John Chapman — more widely known as the folk hero, “Johnny Appleseed” — tossing seeds into hills of plowed fields from a large bag labeled, “Tax Cut Seeds.” Chapman, born in Massachusetts in 1774, traveled throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio to harvest apple nurseries and sharing his knowledge with settlers on the American Frontier. In the cartoon, President Trump, or Mr. Appleseed, appears to be walking with a haughty and confident posture while carelessly throwing the seeds all around. In contrast to Varvel’s depiction, Chapman planted his apple seeds for strategic economic reasons (“Johnny Appleseed”).

Such an alteration of the Appleseed story conveys a dynamic of order in chaos present in the Trump tax plan, in which his idea is that his concept would distribute growth itself. This element of simplicity may be Varvel’s reason for referring to Johnny Appleseed, who left the growth of his apple trees to nature and the people along his path whom he taught how to tend to the trees. Similarly, Trump and the Republican tax cutters are relying on and trusting the natural process of economics for their “seeds” to grow and prosper.

The other character, the Donkey/Democratic Party, is standing behind Trump’s path of travel, leaning over with his hands extended outward toward the seeds on the ground in a gestural expression of disbelief as he questions with a dropped jaw, “How are you going to pay for this?” The face of Trump appears to be whistling and completely ignorant of the donkey’s concerns. This interaction reveals a common issue in politics, in which one side questions the other’s proposal with the age-old dilemma of how to and who will pay for it; usually the party with their hands on the Congressional reigns simply ignores the opposition. Despite the cartoon’s original caption, which states, “Impatient Democrats seem not to understand the principle of sowing and reaping,” the Democrats do have a right to pose this question, especially because the idea behind Trump’s tax cuts has been seen in our country before (Varvel).

Specifically, this idea was featured in 1980’s America as supply-side economics rose to prominence. When Ronald Reagan became the 40th president of the United States in 1981, he faced a flurry of major economic issues. The country was still recovering from the Vietnam War, prices were increasing rapidly as a result of a Middle Eastern oil embargo, and a recession was well under way after a long period of stagflation in the 1970s. Thus was introduced “Reaganomics,” which consisted of supply-side economic policy — removing impediments to the supply of factors of production by implementing spending cuts to reduce the size of government and a monetary policy that controls inflation, eliminating federal regulation on businesses, simplifying the system of tax brackets and a broader base, and cutting income taxes across the board to encourage investment and allow for money to trickle down to the private sector (“Reaganomics”). The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 introduced a tax rate decrease from 70% to 50% for the top tax bracket and a drop from 14% to 11% for the lowest bracket (Schein 650). Soon after, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 implemented major changes to tax policy, including the simplification of income taxation to three brackets with the rates of 15%, 28% and 33%. The Reagan Tax Cuts aimed to stimulate the economy by allowing for more investment, and in broad respect succeeded in improving the economy (“Tax Reform Act of 1986”).

The Trump-backed 2017 Republican tax plan functions in a similar way, and would be the first massive tax overhaul since 1986 (Financial Advisor). It follows the supply side concept that has become a central component of the Republican Party since the Reagan Administration. Although still incomplete, Trump’s prospective bill sets out to simplify the income tax brackets for individuals and families from seven to three, solidifying rates at 12%, 25% and 35% (Bryan). However, due to criticism there will most likely be an added fourth bracket at the top (“Trump Discusses”). As a result of the proposal, more of the middle class in Trump’s plan will be paying what is currently the rate for only the lowest middle class bracket. Additionally, the plan introduces the “Zero Tax Bracket,” in which the standard deduction is expanded to nearly double what it is now, requiring that the first $12,000 of income for individuals and $24,000 for married couples be exempt from taxation. The plan also aims to lower the highest tax bracket from 39.5% to 35%. The greatest change, however, involves business tax rates. With the principle of supply-side economics at the heart of Trump’s political stance, his proposed tax reform will lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% (Bryan). It would also lower the pass-through business tax rate — the rate of taxation of small business profits that go directly to individuals — from the top bracket level of 39.6% to the new middle level of 25% (Morgan).

The problem with Trump’s tax plan, and what ended up being the weakness with similar plans put in place previously, is the national budget deficit. The Reagan Tax Cuts — though not completely alone, as they were accompanied by Congress’s failure to cut domestic spending and the defense expense at the end of the Cold War — contributed widely to the $1 trillion federal deficit in the 1980s (“Reaganomics”). The Bush Tax Cuts in the early 2000s followed the same trend. H.W. Bush put in place measures to incentivize production, but while economic growth did occur, increased government spending in a time of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan caused further depletion of the national revenue (Evans 17-19). In Trump’s and the Republican’s case, the new tax codes would cost the national revenue $4 to $6 trillion in the next 10 years, according to the Tax Foundation, and no substantial proposals have been put forth to offset this loss of revenue (Stewart). Some Republicans claim that new revenues will be gained from eliminating tax loopholes and — as per the Johnny Appleseed concept — the economy will take care of itself if investment is allowed to increase (Morgan). The tax plan will also eliminate most itemized deductions and the state and local tax deduction, which are both potential sources of revenue (Bryan).

Ultimately, the main claim of both Varvel, Trump and many Republicans is that the tax cuts alone are the seeds of economic growth; although there may be a slight deficit as the seeds solidify their presence in the ground and establish their roots, in time they will sprout and the economy will grow on its own. However, in an interview with House Speaker Paul Ryan in September of 2017, he did not promise the tax overhaul would not increase the federal deficit, and said the primary goal was to “bolster economic growth” (“The Latest”). The question of how the government plans to balance the upcoming loss of revenue is still up in the air.

Varvel’s cartoon bears several parallels with John Knott’s March 26, 1937 cartoon entitled, “The Tax Expert,” which referred to a tax remission bill proposed in the Texas House of Representatives — a topic of controversy in the state in the 1930’s (Knott). First, the bill Knott portrayed was fueled by the same idea behind Trump’s proposed tax cuts, ultimately aiming to provide the same kind of economic relief in a time of financial difficulty for citizens. While Trump today faces decade-old remnants of the Great Recession of 2008, the Texas Legislature in 1937 was caught up in the distress of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The 1937 tax remission proposal intended to provide a tax rebate to all Texas counties, which could then use the money as they pleased to improve the conditions of their respective areas. In the same way, Trump’s plan maintains a large focus on cutting taxes for businesses with the thought that if there was more money available to be spent at the corporate level, investment would increase and thus “[extend] economic opportunities to American workers, small business, and middle-income families” (Bryan). Essentially, the overall goal of both measures was and is to to establish a fairer and more evenly distributed method of taxation by getting the money out of the hands of the government and into the control of smaller units — Texas counties and United States businesses — and trusting the basics of economics to guide the money into the hands of the people at every level below.

In regard to balancing the government revenue with the release of funds in the form of tax remission or tax cuts, both cartoons emphasize the uncertainty that comes with such measures. In Varvel’s cartoon, the donkey asks the obvious question about the course of action in place to make a tax cut feasible in terms of the federal budget. The fact that the donkey is empty-handed and Trump is only holding the tax cut seeds and no other economic measures proposes that there is not a good, tangible method made available as an offset to the revenue that will be lost as a result of the cuts, and Democratic Party is skeptical of the Republican claim that the cuts themselves will consequentially refill the revenue by means of the trickle-down model. Opponents of the Trump tax reform believe that it is likely that there really isn’t a decent way to pay for the plan and therefore a large federal budget deficit would ensue (Stewart). Knott’s cartoon displayed the same sort of doubtfulness, suggesting that the passage of the tax remission bill could not in reality stand alone without some way to balance the budget. In Knott’s view and the view of the democratic governor at the time, James Allred, the likely result of large-scale tax remission would be higher taxes for the regular taxpayer, as depicted by the legislators hand reaching into the pocket of Old Man Texas for money (“Tax Remission”).

The opposition — primarily the Democratic Party — has historically offered a different solution on the other end of the spectrum of economic policy. The concept of Keynesian economics has been the dominant force of Democratic legislation since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s utilization of the theory in the New Deal after the onset of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and the large amount of government spending required by World War II that proved to improve the United States economy (May 540-541). Despite being opposed to the Trump tax cuts on the basis that they will cause the deficit to bubble to an unhealthy level because there is no other source of revenue as a part of the plan, Democratic policy has been characterized by the same problem. Responding to the 2008 Recession, Obama implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which largely increased the government’s spending while reducing its revenue-raising options (Sahadi). Thus, the roles of Varvel’s cartoon were reversed, as members of the Republican Party, concerned about a ballooning deficit themselves, criticized the policy with an argument similar to that of the Democratic Party in response to Trump’s plan.

Both cartoons highlight that it is extremely difficult to come up with a balanced fiscal policy. No matter the side — republican, democratic, conservative, liberal, or any other party or ideology — there will be opponents claiming that there is no way to pay for the proposed plan. As seen in both 1937 and 2017, the fight over the government’s role in the economy and ensuing impact on the federal or state budget deficit has remained fundamentally the same. The cases of Knott and Varvel portray the concept of the government placing control over money in the hands of the governed to improve their financial situation and ultimately the economy as a whole, and the opposing argument that there exists no viable source to provide those funds to the people. Yet the two sides can easily be switched when the government spends excessively. In general, the major economic ideologies of supply-side economics and Keynesian economics differ only in who is put in charge of spending — either the people or the government, respectively — but both lead to the same problem of balance. As we move forward, it is important to realize that the same problem may have many different methods for solving it, and while the economy is a massive enigma, by working together we can begin to progress toward better and better reform.

 

Works Cited

Bryan, Bob. “IT’S HERE: All the Details of Trump’s Massive Tax Plan.” Business Insider, Axel Springer, 27 Sept. 2017, www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-plan-details-corporate-rate-individual-brackets-deductions-cuts-2017-9.

Evans, Kim Masters. “The U.S. Economy: Historical Overview.” The American Economy, 2009 ed., Gale, 2009, pp. 1-19. Information Plus Reference Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX1838100007&it=r&asid=78f00a60eadedfbfc5226bf27aab3d10. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.

“Johnny Appleseed: A Pioneer Hero.” Environmental Issues: Essential Primary Sources, edited by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner, Gale, 2006, pp. 21-23. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX3456400021&it=r&asid=8d11bf000834a204e8cd2134997295ad. Accessed 12 Nov. 2017.

Knott, John Francis. “The Tax Expert.” The Dallas Morning News, No. 17 ed., 26 Mar. 1937, p. 4.

Makemson, Harlen. “Cartoonists, Political.” Encyclopedia of Journalism, edited by Christopher H. Sterling, vol. 1, SAGE Reference, 2009, pp. 253-261. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3202300070&asid=0be6461c4df61d0480aca18fc13115d5. Accessed 14 Nov. 2017.

MAY, DEAN L. “Keynesian Economics.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, edited by Robert S. McElvaine, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, pp. 539-541. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX3404500304&it=r&asid=55eeb9551783fd782464aa2fc29212f7. Accessed 12 Nov. 2017.

Morgan, David, and Richard Cowan. “Trump’s Plan Calls For 25% Rate On Pass-Through Entities.” Financial Advisor, Reuters, 27 Sept. 2017, www.fa-mag.com/news/trump-s-plan-calls-for-slashing-taxes-on-businesses–the-wealthy-34898.html?section=3&page=2.

“Reaganomics.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History, edited by Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk, vol. 2, Gale, 2000, pp. 863-865. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX3406400794&it=r&asid=ae58407f5b57e4de68e6663b23ec3dd3. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.

Sahadi, Jeanne. “Tax the Rich: How Obama Will Pay for His Stimulus Package.” CNN Money, Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2011, 6:42 PM ET, money.cnn.com/2011/09/12/news/economy/stimulus_package/index.htm.

Schein, David D. “Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA).” Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society, edited by Robert W. Kolb, vol. 2, SAGE Publications, 2008, pp. 649-650. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX2660400267&it=r&asid=f225e93d831cfe85ea2d3ba30438de9b. Accessed 25 Oct. 2017.

Stewart, James B. “Economists Fear Trump’s Tax Plan Only Heightens a ‘Mountain of Debt’.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 27 Apr. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/business/economy/trump-tax-plan-deficit-column.html.

“Tax Reform Act of 1986.” Gale Encyclopedia of American Law, edited by Donna Batten, 3rd ed., vol. 9, Gale, 2010, pp. 483-484. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CCX1337704281&it=r&asid=b919f3118192207fdebadc599bf3c91e. Accessed 25 Oct. 2017.

“Tax Remission.” The Dallas Morning News, No. 177 ed., 26 Mar. 1937. Dallas Morning News Newspaper Archive Database, Readex, infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX&p_theme=ahnp&p_nbid=Q56N4FQEMTUwODI5MTEzOS41MDQ0OTc6MToxMzoxMjguNjIuNjAuMTA1&p_docref=v2:0F99DDB671832188@EANX-10425A715CE83A7F@2428619-10425A7265F96F45@27pp. 28–28.

“The Latest: Ryan Opens Door to Tax Cuts Adding to Deficit.” US News, The Associated Press, 13 Sept. 2017, 5:31 p.m., www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-plan-details-corporate-rate-individual-brackets-deductions-cuts-2017-9.

“Trump Discusses New Tax Plan, Texas And Florida Hit By Job Loss.” The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 23 Oct. 2017, publicpolicy.wharton.upenn.edu/live/news/2177-trump-discusses-new-tax-plan-texas-and-florida-hit.

Varvel, Gary. “Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Economic Growth Seeds.” Indy Star, USA Today Network, 27 Apr. 2017, 4:09 p.m. ET, www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/varvel/2017/04/27/cartoonist-gary-varvel-economic-growth-seeds/100989380/.

Walsh, Kenneth T. “The Path to a Deficit.” US News, US News & World Report L.P., 29 Sept. 2017, 6:00 a.m., www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2017-09-29/trumps-tax-plan-could-lead-to-a-huge-deficit.

U.S. Military Spending

wolverton-cartoon

In recent decades, the American government has been harshly criticized for their increased military spending at the expense of other public benefits and programs. The 2004 Monte Wolverton cartoon titled “U.S. Military Spending”, mocks this issue, depicting a caricature of George Bush as president, obediently shoveling piles money into the gaping maw of a US military officer, entitled “U.S. Military Spending” that is demanding “FEED ME!” (Wolverton). While this cartoon takes a decisively negative stance on U.S. budget priorities, an argument can be made that it was necessary, as the heightened military spending is in response to a complex and precarious political balance, beginning near the turn of the millennium.

In the 1990’s, President Bill Clinton presided over an unexpected period of economic prosperity and budget surplus. While the United States had recently exited the Cold War, there were no prominent military conflicts, and it was at the height of its imperialistic power, and the nations’ influence was far-reaching and authoritative. However, during George Bush’s presidency, a tragedy occurred. The terrorist group, al-Qaeda coordinated and executed four catastrophic attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and wounded over 6,000 others. Monetarily, they caused over 10 billion dollars in property damage and 3 trillion dollars in total cost to the United States (Bram 2). The September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers fundamentally changed the outlook and temperament of the nation. There was a palpable shift towards anxiety and paranoia in the mindset of the collective American citizenry, and a movement greater defense spending and heightened airline security. Even as early as early as 2016, the history of the culture and actions United States can be divided into ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 9/11 (Butler 4). At the time fear mongering and threats from Middle Eastern nations made it easy to convince the United States population that the military spending was imperative.

The resulting Afghanistan war was a response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, beginning in 2001 when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The purported goal was to remove al-Qaeda from a position of power, by eliminating the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic movement that wanted to implement Sharia law (Santos 148). To date, it remains the longest U.S. military conflict in its history (Kim 16). The following period was a time of strained political and societal tensions, characterized by an increase in government military spending. Following the conflict in Afghanistan, anti-Middle east sentiments carried over into the Iraq war, which began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq and lasted the better part of the next decade as the U.S. remained in the country to destroy the government of Saddam Hussein and oppose the resulting insurgency. In 2003, approval ratings of the war with Iraq were high, as the attacks on the twin towers had renewed patriotism and nationalism, and the public was hungry for revenge. However, as the war dragged on, enthusiasm decreased, and the war, as well as president George Bush, faced widespread criticism. For some, the reasons for entering the war, the supposed existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, were not sufficient (Santos 145). These arguments have merit, as the war was a significant military expenditure, with the total cost estimated to be $1.7 trillion dollars; however, the long term economic effects were estimated to be more than ten times this (Donovan 4).

The contemporary controversy over the U.S. military budget stems from different views about the purpose of the U.S. military. Some believe that our military serves a fundamentally different purpose from that of the armed forces of all other nations, such as that of China and Russia. They believe that the U.S. has and should take on the role of “world police”, that out military’s purpose is to fight terrorism and intervene on the behalf of our allies. For these people, the fact that the United States outpaces all other nations in military expenditures seems logical and necessary. Others however, believe that the U.S. should only enter conflict if it is a direct attack on the United States, by another nation.

In 1933, John Francis Knott, a historically famous political cartoonist published Militarist Nation, Coming and Going, in the Dallas Morning News (Knott). The drawing depicts the front and back of a French World War 1 soldier: the front of the uniform pristine and reading “Millions For Armaments”, while the back is tattered and worn, with patches which portray the problems that the unbalanced budget faces, such as “taxes” and “defaulted debts”. Knott satirizehe duality of the predicament that France faced at the time: having to maintain a facsimile of military strength, while facing economic crisis and outstanding war debts.

In comparing these two cartoons, it is evident that while they share the same subject matter, a criticism of a military overspending in a nations’ budget, the approach taken by each cartoonist is different, to better represent the nation at hand. In Knott’s cartoon, it can be inferred that the French have put up a façade of a strong military and keep their budget constraints and struggling economy under wraps, while the United States is almost unapologetically gluttonous in their military spending, even when the popular opinion it that it is entirely unnecessary. While the French soldier is depicted as strong and well kept, the commander in the Wolverton illustration is cartoonishly obese, implying that the French expenditure was costly, but necessary, while the United States spends out of greed and pride. The cartoon also implies that Bush is an obedient, mindless servant to the military-industrial complex. He simply is shoveling money into its “mouth”, without closely figuring out how much it would cost or paying any attention to balancing the budget. The Wolverton cartoon is more explicit in its intended point than the Knott cartoon, guiding readers towards the rhetorical question “Enough money left for everything else?”, while Knott assumes the reader has the relevant context and can correctly infer the point.

The implications of the French cartoon, as well as their political and economic situation at the time, are much further reaching than may initially be perceived. The French prewar period, prior to World War II, hallmarked by uncertainty and augmented military spending, can be compared to the period of political instability that currently threatens the United States. At the time, the French did not know for certain of the inevitability of the World War II, an event which justified their increased military budget during the interwar period. World War I was denominated “The War to End All Wars”, the worst war that had happened or will happen, and critics of the French budget priorities claimed nothing on this scale could ever happen again. Yet, within 20 years, Germany had once again become an aggressor, sparking the terrible conflict of World War II. The critiques of the current United States budget claim it is preparing for a conflict that will never happen. However, the contemporary United States doesn’t have the benefit of 80 years of hindsight to determine whether their unbalanced budget will be the most advantageous solution for the current predicament. Unprecedented military and cultural instability in the Middle East, as well as political conflict in Europe, is provoking a period of uncertainty, as there is no way to tell whether our nation is heading towards another ruinous global clash or total disarmament. It could also signify the loss of the United States’ status as the dominant global power, just as France lost its political status after the second World War.

Works Cited

Bram, Jason, James Orr, and Carol Rapaport. “Measuring the Effects of the September 11 Attack on New York City.” Economic Policy Review 8.2 (2002): n. pag. Social Science Research Network. 13 Sept. 2005. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Butler, Taryn. “The Media Construction of Terrorism Pre and Post-9/11.” McKendree University Scholars Journal 24 (2015): n. pag. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
Donovan, Jerome Denis, Cheree Topple, Vik Naidoo, and Trenton Milner. “Strategic Interaction and the Iran-Iraq War: Lessons to Learn for Future Engagement?” Digest of Middle East Studies 24.2 (2015): 327-46. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Kim, Youngwan, and Peter Nunnenkamp. “Does It Pay for US-based NGOs to Go to War? Empirical Evidence for Afghanistan and Iraq.” Development and Change 46.3 (2015): 387-414. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Knott, John. “Militarist Nation, Coming and Going.” Dallas Morning News 19 Oct. 1933, 19th ed., sec. 2: 14. Print.
Santos, Maria Helena De Castro, and Ulysses Tavares Teixeira. “The Essential Role of Democracy in the Bush Doctrine: The Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Revista Brasileira De Política Internacional Rev. Bras. Polít. Int. 56.2 (2013): 131-56. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Wolverton, Monte. “Military Spending.” Political Cartoons. Cagle Cartoons, 2004. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Come to Texas!

Come to Texas!

 

John Knott’s political cartoon Come to Texas! provides an illustration of the decentralization of highly-centralized industries to Texas during the late 1930s. Depicting the decentralizing industries as a crowd of businessmen with briefcases marked “fair practices,” many highly-centralized businesses during this time were branching out, coming to Texas because of its better conditions towards the end of the Great Depression (Southwestern Industry). However, Texas was not content to accept just any company since a number of these industries were coming to Texas from a wealth of problems, leaving in their wake issues such as poor worker treatment (Gardner). The sign above the Texan’s head exemplifies this concern, cautioning against industries seeking to exploit Texas’ more-business-friendly economic climate in an effort to protect Texans. Texas is still happy to have the industries, hence the cartoon’s depiction of the Texan giving a warm welcome to the arriving industries; however, if the incoming industries wanted to employ Texans, they must first take care of Texans. The editorial entitled “Southwestern Industry” that accompanied Knott’s cartoon helps provide additional historical context for the events in the cartoon. It explains that while Texas had an abundance of raw resources, “relatively little progress [had] been made in the manufacturing of cotton and woolen cloth” (Southwestern Industry). This meant that many of Texas’ raw materials had to be shipped to industrial centers in other states to be processed, manufactured, and reimported once completed. The editorial goes on to advise that there “should be no welcome sign in Texas for the manufacturer who wants to get away from some other State merely because he is unwilling to pay fair taxes or reasonable wages” (Southwestern Industry). In a nutshell, the editorial maintains that increased manufacturing in Texas would be good for the state, but not at the cost of shoddy work practices coming to Texas with the intent of exploitation. Overall, Knott’s depiction of decentralizing industries coming to Texas provides an overview of the decentralization of jobs to Texas as well as Texas’ concerns with fair work practices.

Beginning in the mid-1930s, the unemployment rate dropped as the US started recovering from the Great Depression (“Miss Perkins Urges Job Security Plans”). Although the Great Depression didn’t completely end until the onset of World War II, Knott’s cartoon and the accompanying editorial were published in 1937 when the economic situation of the nation was starting to improve. While the highly industrialized and centralized areas of the US were only just starting to get back on their feet, Texas’ economy had fared better overall throughout the Depression (Hammons). The hardships faced by Detroit, Michigan, during the Great Depression provides a prime example of how dissimilar the conditions of industrialized and non-industrialized parts of country were. In the case of Detroit, all of the nation’s car production was centralized in a single area to allow the heads of business easy access to all of their production sites. However, when the economy took a sharp downturn in 1929, it became much harder for the average person to afford a car. When car sales tanked, that region crashed (Nystrom). Conversely, the lack of compact industries in Texas “helped to buffer Dallas from the worst of the Depression” (Hammons). Because Texas wasn’t as industrialized, it wasn’t hit as hard. The Depression was still crippling, but comparatively speaking, Texas fared marginally better.

In order to combat the troubles of highly-centralized production, centralized industries began to spread out, decentralizing production to other areas of the country (Southwestern Industry). According to the International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, decentralization “signifies the disbursement of power from the top down… lead[ing] to higher levels of efficiency” (Decentralization 250). To put it in layman’s terms, a centralized company branches out, setting up production in other places to take advantage of the different locations’ benefits, such as cheaper production, looser regulatory laws, cheaper labor, and closer proximity to resources. In this particular time period, decentralization was primarily used to diversify in response to the problems of highly centralized industries during the Depression (Bowman). Highly centralized industries began because of big-name tycoons, such as Ford or Rockefeller, because it was easier for management to oversee all of their productions by having them nearby (Jahn). However, just like the saying ‘having all one’s eggs in the same basket,’ the Depression hit those highly-industrialized areas the hardest, causing the highly-centralized companies to crash. Decentralization was harder on management since moving industries from Chicago to Texas meant no longer having immediate access to all nearby production; however, it was much better for the industries overall. The cheaper production costs and delegation of smaller tasks to other areas let management focus on the bigger picture instead of trivialities of day-to-day production (Jahn).

Due to its abundance of raw resources and available labor source, Texas made for a very promising-looking market for highly-centralized industries looking to decentralize. An especially alluring factor was Texas’ rapidly-growing market, meaning more workers in production and more buyers of finished products (Texas 822). In addition, by relocating branches of industry to Texas, companies didn’t have to pay such high transportation costs to import the raw resources and then ship the finished product from the North-East back to the South. Although Texas had an abundance of natural resources, such as cotton, wheat, wool, and cattle, it lacked the industries needed to process the raw materials, especially in the textile department (Southwestern Industry). By allowing industries centralized in other states to decentralize to Texas, Texas would also gain jobs and a boost to its economy. However, despite all the advantages the added industrial boost posed, both the editorial and Knott’s cartoon stressed the fact that there remained a number of possible drawbacks in allowing out-of-state industries to set up production in Texas.

That is the exactly the argument Knott’s cartoon presents. While the Texan depicted in the cartoon is happily receiving the incoming industries with his arms outstretched in welcome, the sign above the Texan’s head expresses the concern “No exploiters of cheap labor, tax dodgers or fly-by-night industries wanted” (Knott). The meaning drawn from Knott’s cartoon paints a picture of a state that wanted the benefits of industrialization – just not at the cost of adopting the problems that some of the industries brought with them. In looking at poor work practices in other areas of the country during the same time period, namely the case of the Radium Gals, the concern depicted in Knott’s cartoon becomes even more apparent. The Radium Gals were a group of women hired during the 20s and 30s to work at the Radium Dial company painting watch faces with a special radium paint (Suppan). Exploited by the company they worked for, these women were paid far lower wages than men and were slowly poisoned and killed by the radiation from the radium paint (Suppan). With such adverse publicity surrounding cases such as the Radium Gals, the editorial and Knott cartoon cautioned against accepting decentralizing industries that were seeking to exploit laborers or exercise dubious business practices (Gardner). Since companies that utilized shifty work practices were seen as “author of the general misery, … cutter[s] of wages, … and the tax-dodging embodiment of the general irresponsibility that pervades the American business community,” Texas was not keen on hosting industries that were going to exploit Texas’ market and workers (Castranovo 61).

In summation, Come to Texas! is a political cartoon by John Knott that provides commentary on the decentralization of industries to Texas towards the end of the Great Depression. Despite the fact that decentralizing industries presented numerous advantages to Texas, both the editorial and the Knott cartoon emphasize how important it was for Texas to be wary of allowing just any industry to relocate, stressing that if the decentralizing industries wanted to employ Texans, they had to take care of Texans.

 

 

Works Cited

Bowman, Joel. “The Great Decentralization.” Non-Dollar Report. Non-Dollar Report, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://nondollarreport.com/2014/11/economic-evolution-the-great-decentralization/>.

Castronovo, David. “The Artist as a Young Reporter.” Edmund Wilson Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1988. 51-71. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 695. Twayne’s Authors on GVRL. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

“Decentralization.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, edited by William A. Darity, Jr., 2nd ed., vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2008, pp. 250-251. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3045300532&asid=c07ec128b7f5c795f9358d1289944f66. Accessed 29 Nov. 2016.

Gardner, Virginia. “Former Watch Painter Faints; Halts Hearing.” Chicago Tribune 11 Feb. 1938: 1+. Chicago Tribune Archive. Web. 23 Oct. 2016. <http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1938/02/11/page/1/article/woman-tells-living-death-at-radium-quiz>.

Hammond, Carlyn. “The Great Depression and World War II – Texas Our Texas.” Texas Our Texas. Texas PBS, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://texasourtexas.texaspbs.org/the-eras-of-texas/great-depression-ww2/>.

Jahn, Christine. “Organizational Structure.” Encyclopedia of Business and Finance. Ed. Burton S. Kaliski. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. 669-674. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2598&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3402700343&asid=fbfa946d055263c2440c408246c59a88

Knott, John. “Come to Texas!” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News. 27 March 1937. Sec 2: 2. Print.

“MISS PERKINS URGES JOB SECURITY PLANS.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 11. Jan 01 1937. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2016 .

Nystrom, M. A. “Second Great Depression in Detroit.” Second Great Depression in Detroit | M.A. Nystrom | Safehaven.com. SafeHaven, 3 June 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://www.safehaven.com/article/10420/second-great-depression-in-detroit>.

“Southwestern Industry.” Editorial. Dallas Morning News 29 Mar. 1937, sec. 2: 2. Print.

Suppan, Heinz-Dietrich. Marking Time: The Radium Girls of Ottawa. N.p.: Outskirts, 2016. Print.

“Texas.” Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Ed. Timothy L. Gall. 7th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2007. 803-31. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

If They Would Exchange Presents

Cartoonist John Knott ridicules the post World War I predicament of U.S. and European relations in regards to the stalemate between war debt revision and disarmament.
Cartoonist John Knott ridicules the post World War I predicament of U.S. and European relations in regards to the stalemate between war debt revision and disarmament.

If They Would Exchange Presents is a political cartoon by John Francis Knott mocking the predicament of U.S. and European relations post-World War I. It depicts “Europe” giving the gift of disarmament to the U.S., represented by Uncle Sam, in exchange for war debt revisions. The cartoon implies that Europe would disarm if the U.S. would revise, or essentially decrease, European war debt; likewise, the cartoon suggests that the U.S. would gladly decrease European war debt if Europe were to disarm first (Knott 2). The accompanying editorial titled “The Reparations Problem” summarizes the context of the cartoon. It explains that by the end of 1931, the U.S. Congress finally gave approval for a one-year postponement of German reparations, acknowledging a proposal made in the previous year by then President Herbert Hoover. The U.S. Congress did not want to cancel war repayments, as it strongly indicated to the International Committee on Reparations, but instead wanted to suspend payments. The reason for Germany’s inability to pay was that it could only pay from borrowed money that it was no longer able to obtain or from money made off of exports that were heavily tariffed (“The Reparations Problem” 2).

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Serbian nationalists in 1914 catapulted Europe into the First World War. The assassination set off a domino effect, causing country after country to get involved in the escalating conflict that eventually developed into World War I. What ensued after the war was the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, a meeting that established the terms of peace after the war, and during this conference the Treaty of Versailles was established (Cochran). The reparation clauses of the Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany was to take responsibility for the damages caused by World War I and that it must adhere to a payment schedule to pay back the cost of those damages. The mindset of the United States and its allies was that they were essentially dragged into the war out of obligation, and therefore should be repaid for everything lost in the war. However, it was known that Germany could not pay the entire costs of the war and that it was nearly impossible to create a realistic repayment schedule in 1919, the year that the treaty was signed. The Treaty of Versailles did not have a definitive reparation settlement (Merriman and Winter 2207). Therefore, naturally, Germany wanted debt revisions. Germany, however, wasn’t the only European country in debt. For example, in 1934, Britain still owed the US $4.4 billion of World War I debt (Rohrer). For this reason, Knott’s cartoon depicts “Europe” in need of war debt revision and not just Germany.

The disarmament portion of the cartoon pertains to the U.S.’s insistence on worldwide disarmament, highlighted in President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points peace proposal that said, “All countries should reduce their armed forces to the lowest possible levels (Multilateral disarmament.)” (Fuller). The Treaty of Versailles initiated the notion of disarmament by targeting Germany in particular, forcing them to take full blame for World War I and to disarm. “The German army was to be limited to 100,000 men and conscription proscribed; the treaty restricted the Navy to vessels under 100,000 tons, with a ban on the acquisition or maintenance of a submarine fleet. Moreover, Germany was forbidden to maintain an air force” (“Treaty of Versailles, 1919″).  The Treaty’s main concern was the disarmament of Germany. Politicians, journalists, and academics argued at the time that the naval race for arms was one of the major causes of the war. Based on this idea, the victors of the war decided to force Germany to disarm due to its previous invasion attempts toward France. It was thought that by forcing its disarmament, Germany was being stripped of its power to wage war (Merriman and Winter 856). Soon, this philosophy was expanded to include all European nations. “Following the atrocities of World War I, both nations [the U.S. and Great Britain] hoped to avoid any future conflicts, and both faced difficult economic times that restricted military spending. As a consequence, the two governments were willing to consider serious limits on offensive weapons” (World History Encyclopedia 593).

Reduction of conflict, however, wasn’t the only motivation behind disarmament. The Great Depression diverted attention from the issue of disarmament to debt and unemployment. In 1932, everyone owed America money, but because of the depression, few countries could repay their loans. The U.S. decided that if nations didn’t spend money on arms, they would be able to repay the United States; therefore, the U.S. called for worldwide disarmament (Bradley 38).

Knott’s cartoon represents a very circular predicament. The two entities were at a stalemate. The U.S. was the world’s major creditor nation, and in order to get paid back, it insisted on worldwide disarmament so that funds could be redirected to debt repayment. Europe, however, would only disarm if war debts were lowered and revised first. It was as though this political stalemate could only be resolved by some miracle.

That is exactly the point Knott wants to impress upon his audience. The illustration of the Christmas tree, along with the fact that the cartoon was being published on Christmas Eve, gives the cartoon an air of Christmas spirit. The term “Christmas Miracle” is typically used to emphasize how unlikely an event is to occur, and that seems to be what Knott is implying as the only solution to this conflict – a Christmas Miracle – given how unlikely a compromise seemed in 1931.  What is also humorous is how nonchalant the gift exchange is, almost trivializing the damages and lives lost in the war. It is as if there is no rivalry or conflict of interest between the two parties; it’s not as aggressive, or desperate, or even as somber as one would expect. It is definitely not a gift exchange of good will either; Christmas is regarded as a time of selfless generosity and community, a time of giving rather than receiving without the expectation of anything in return. However this is a very self-interested exchange, defying the traditional, selfless ideals of Christmas. These contradictions serve as indirect attacks on the U.S. and Europe’s inability to reach an agreement.

If They Would Exchange Presents is a political cartoon by John Knott that focused attention on and mocked the diplomatic gridlock between the U.S. and Europe. It uses the setting and themes of Christmas to criticize the two sides’ uncompromising stances toward disarmament and war debt revisions, comparing the successful exchange of “presents” to a Christmas Miracle. The cartoon serves as political commentary on post-World War I negotiations and ranks as one of Knott’s many politically motivated cartoons.

Works Cited

Bradley, F. J. He Gave the Order: The Life and Times of Admiral Osami Nagano. Bennington: Merriam Press, 2014. Google Books. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Cochran, Philip. Austin Community College. Austin, Texas. 27 Oct. 2015. Lecture.

Fuller, Richard. “The Treaty of Versailles – 28th June 1919.” rpfuller. rpfuller, 3 June 2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Knott, John. “If They Would Exchange Presents.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News [Dallas, Texas] 24 Dec. 1931, sec. 2: 10. Print.

Merriman, John, and Jay Winter. “Disarmament.” Child Care to Futurism. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. 855. Print. Vol. 2 of Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction.

Merriman, John, and Jay Winter. “Reparations.” Nagy to Switzerland. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. 2206. Print. Vol. 4 of Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction.

“The Reparations Problem.” Editorial. Dallas Morning News [Dallas, Texas] 24 Dec. 1931, 85th ed., sec. 2: 2. Print.

Rohrer, Finlo. “What’s a Little Debt between Friends?” BBC News. BBC News Magazine, 10 May 2006. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

“Treaty of Versailles, 1919.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Japan-China Island Dispute

Patrick Chappatte epicts an island lying in-between two naval ships rushing towards each other. One of the ships displays Japan’s national flag, while the other displays China’s national flag. A man that resembles Uncle Sam is tie to an anchor that is being dragged behind the Japanese ship. Uncle Sam is holding up a hand to signal “stop”.
Patrick Chappatte epicts an island lying in-between two naval ships rushing towards each other. One of the ships displays Japan’s national flag, while the other displays China’s national flag. A man that resembles Uncle Sam is tie to an anchor that is being dragged behind the Japanese ship. Uncle Sam is holding up a hand to signal “stop”.

 

The political cartoon Japan-China Island Dispute, created by Patrick Chappatte and published in The New York Times on September 20, 2012, depicts an island lying in-between two naval ships rushing towards each other. One of the ships displays Japan’s national flag, while the other displays China’s national flag. A man who resembles Uncle Sam is tied to an anchor that is being dragged behind the Japanese ship. Uncle Sam is holding up a hand to signal “stop” (Chappatte). The cartoon conveys the conflict between China and Japan over disputed islands and America’s role in this complex foreign issue.

The island in the political cartoon represents a set of eight uninhabited islands that are called “Senkaku” islands by the Japanese, “Diaoyudao” islands by the Chinese, and “Diaoyutai” islands by Taiwan (Yu). The Senkaku/Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai islands are located northeast of Taiwan and consist of seven square kilometers in total area. Their importance lies in their proximity to nearby shipping lanes, rich fish-filled waters, nearby (possible) oil and gas reserves, and strategic military location for dominance within the Asia-Pacific region (“How Uninhabited Islands Soured China-Japan Ties”). These islands are located on the East China Sea and should not be confused with another set of disputed islands between China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam in the South China Sea (McKirdy and Hunt).

In some ways the disputes over these islands resemble events in Asia before, during, and after World War II, when nations were in conflict over territory and colonization (“The Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Stimson Doctrine”). The current Disputed Islands Conflict holds relevance to our lives because the countries in these territorial disagreements are the same major political players who were at odds immediately before and during the Second World War and also because the failure to satisfactorily resolve earlier territorial disagreements is now the source of renewed geo-political tension and potential conflict. This is worrisome; for as George Santayana would once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” (Santayana 284).

In Chappatte’s cartoon, the two colliding battle ships represent Japan and China and their this territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai islands. Japan claims it originally surveyed the islands, found them uninhabited, and officially made them part of Japan’s territory on January 14, 1895. According to the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco, however, Japan had to give up some of its islands to China, although these disputed lands were not a part of the treaty. The Senkaku/Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai islands remained under US trusteeship until they were returned to Japan in 1971. Meanwhile, China contends that the islands have been apart of China since before Japan’s nineteenth century survey and therefore should have been given to China under the Treaty of San Francisco (“How Uninhabited Islands Soured China-Japan Ties”).

Not mentioned in the political cartoon but equally important is Taiwan’s involvement in this conflict. Taiwan argues that the islands belong to them. The Senkaku/Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai islands are crucial fishing areas for the Taiwanese economy and food supply. Japan offered a diplomatic solution to Taiwan by allowing them to fish in the area in exchange for naval assistance in surveillance of the islands (Chiu Bi-Whei). This strategic move not only gave Japan a neighboring ally in this matter but also bolstered the division between China and Taiwan.

In Chappatte’s political cartoon, Uncle Sam represents America’s involvement on the side of Japan in this dispute. After its loss in World War II, Japan’s constitution was rewritten by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (“Bringing Democracy to Japan”). Under Article Nine of the new constitution, Japan was to disband all military forces. After the formal U.S. Occupation ended, Japan was only able to operate a defensive military Self-Defense Force (“Article 9 and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty”). Not having any military whatsoever would have left Japan crippled if foreign affairs were to turn violent. To resolve this pressing matter, in 1952 the two countries signed the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Under this treaty, America was allowed to station U.S. military bases in Japan; in exchange, Japan would receive U.S. military aide if they were to experience foreign conflicts (“Article 9 and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty”).

The current discord between Japan and China is reminiscent of tensions between the two nations during the early 1930’s and leading up to World War II. The tense situation over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai islands in the East China Sea revelas a continuous, unresolved source of friction between China and Japan. In order to maintain open international ocean trade routes as well as overall peace in the Asia-Pacific region, America has given support to Japan in this complex foreign dispute. If violent conflict were to erupt, the damage would not only be felt by Japanese and Chinese citizens and others in the region, but also by the American people here at home due to our alliance with Japan and our obligations to provide military support under the terms of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.

Works Cited

“Article 9 and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.” Asia for Educators. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

“Bringing Democracy to Japan.” Crf-usa.org. Constitutional Rights Foundation, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

Chappatte, Patrick. “Japan-China Island Dispute.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Chiu Bi-Whei. “Taiwan Wants a Say in Senkaku Talks.” DW.COM. Made for Minds, 09 Sept. 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

“How Uninhabited Islands Soured China-Japan Ties – BBC News.” BBC News. BBC, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

McKirdy, Euan, and Katie Hunt. “Showdown in the South China Sea: How Did We Get Here? – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Santayana, George. The Life of Reason, Or, The Phases of Human Progress. New York: Scribner, 1954. Print.

“The Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Stimson Doctrine.” History.state.gov. U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.

Yu, Miles. “Taiwan’s First President Ignites Firestorm with Claim That Disputed Islands Belong to Japan.” Washington Times. The Washington Times, 6 Aug. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.