This weekly diary takes a look at the past week's important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
  1. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
  1. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist's message.

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Maximum Leader

Jeff Danziger, Syndicated Political Cartoonist

Note: Due to extensive coverage of this very important story and its implications for peace in the region and elsewhere, I've devoted most of the diary to events in Iran.  

Other issues are covered in the last few sections.


A New Burst of Freedom

It is one of those rare moments in history that simply takes your breath away.

Following a disputed election, they have raised their voices only desirous of being fairly heard.  They have marched in solidarity.  They have asked for justice and to hold their government fully accountable for its actions.  They have suffered brutal attacks on their dignity.  And yet, all through this ordeal, they have demanded change in a (largely) peaceful manner which would make Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. immensely proud.

Over the past week, the brave people of Iran -- long suffering under the despotic grip of a theocratic government -- decided to take a stand against repression and for freedom. Where is our Prague Spring, they ask?  Many in Czechoslovakia experienced just that in early 1968, albeit briefly, until Soviet troops put an end to it.  They seem to have drawn inspiration from their predecessors at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and during the many uprisings in Eastern Europe in the late 1980's.  They have demonstrated what most humans ought to aspire to: a hand in determining their own destinies.

Most of all, however, I think many Iranians are tired of having their dreams deferred. Those who aspire to govern Iran have to prove to the electorate that they have political legitimacy and the consent of the governed without masquerading as defenders of the downtrodden and the poor.  The way events are unfolding, I fear it will get a lot worse before it gets better for the protesters.  Hardly any regime gives up power without a ferocious internal struggle.  Are there any Mikhail Gorbachevs among Iran's mullahs?    

In the long run -- John Maynard Keynes' famous observation notwithstanding -- who can deny the Iranians these basic democratic rights?  Who can object to this admirable behavior?  Would we, in similar circumstances, be brave enough so as to do the same when confronted with these awful conditions?  I don't know the answer to that question.

We are, and continue to be, grateful to the Iranian people for this amazing display of persistence and will power.  We are in awe of the courage they have displayed.    

As was said here eloquently, "we are all Iranians now."  

The people of Iran deserve our wholehearted support.

Steve Benson, Arizona Republic

Tom Toles, Washington Post

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear

There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth

Frederick Deligne, Le Pelerin (France)

Jeff Stahler, Columbus Dispatch

Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News

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  1. The Fix is In  

Was there widespread fraud in the Iranian Election and was it enough to reverse the eventual outcome?  Initial reports indicated that the evidence was inconclusive

Millions of handwritten paper ballots were counted within hours.  The challenger riding a surge of momentum and popular enthusiasm lost in a landslide.  Other opposition candidates did poorly even in their home provinces.

There are many signs of manipulation or outright fraud in Iran's disputed election results, according to pollsters and election experts, but the case for a rigged outcome is far from ironclad, making it difficult for the United States and other Western powers to denounce the results as unacceptable.

By week's end, an analysis done by the U.K.'s Chatham House -- which was detailed in this diary -- presented statistical evidence that the probability of voting irregularities was very strong

Dave Granlund, politicalcartoons.com

Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant

Jack Ohman, Portland Oregonian

Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner

Jeff Parker, Florida Today

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  1. Power to the People

Even though President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had claimed a landslide victory on the night of the election, the opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his supporters had made the same exact claim.  The result?  Massive protest marches and demonstrations by Mousavi's supporters, the likes of which haven't been seen in Iran in decades

J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register

Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer

Tom Toles, Washington Post

Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer

Dwane Powell, Raleigh News and Observer

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  1. Meet the New Regime, Same as the Old Regime

When the present theocratic regime took power in Iran in 1979 by ousting the autocratic Shah of Iran, many people supported their actions.  In the decades since, has the present government exceeded even the Shah's heavy-handed methods of governance?  Iran's record in terms of human rights abuses and disallowing certain freedoms has been just as abysmal, if not more so

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

The Beatles, Revolution


Cal Grondahl, Utah Standard Examiner

Déjà vu!

Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette

'Teheranical' by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune

Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe

Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen

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  1. They Are All a-Twitter

Tweet, Tweet!! Live-Tweeting The Revolution

One trend in this drama presently playing out in Iran is unprecedented: the use of new technology to communicate with the rest of the world.  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other internet tools have forever changed how such uprisings are reported upon.  But, as effectively as the opposition has used these tools to organize protest rallies and communicate their message, so has the Iranian government.  Yet, the power of this new technology in undermining governments is undeniable

Certainly, a powerful new force is developing here. Citizens who once had little public voice are using cheap Web tools to tell the world about the drama that has unfolded since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of Iran's disputed election.  The government succeeded last week in exerting control over Internet use and text-messaging, but Twitter has proven nearly impossible to block...

Governments that are jealous of their power can push back on cyberspace when they feel threatened.  The Iranian state runs one of the world's most formidable online censorship regimes.  In the past week alone, officials have blocked access to YouTube, Facebook and the majority of Web sites most often cited by reformist segments of the Persian blogosphere.  They supplement this censorship with surveillance and the threat of imprisonment for those who speak out.  Even if they fail to block political speech or organizing activities, the possibility of future retaliation can chill the most devoted activists and critics.

See Rachel Maddow's MSNBC Report on Twitter

Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate

Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record

Monte Wolverton, The Wolvertoon


Note: Click on this diary How Ahmadinejad Legitimately Won the Iranian Elections for more cartoons on Iran's Election.  I posted the diary earlier in the week.

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  1. Lord of the Flies: Some Hits, Some Misses

Barack Obama had a mixed week, even though his poll numbers remain very strong. The debate over appropriate healthcare reform rages on Capitol Hill with the outcome in doubt.  New regulations concerning cigarettes and how Wall Street conducts its business were welcomed by supporters of the president.  But Obama's GLBT supporters remain unhappy over his policies (or lack of them) with many strongly urging him to take immediate and decisive action.  In a funny incident, Obama emerged as Lord of the Flies!

Walt Handelsman, Newsday

Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant

Tim Eagan, Deep Cover

Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader

Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant

RJ Matson, Roll Call

Jeff Parker, Florida Today

Mikhaela Reid, Alternative Weeklies

Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record

Dana Summers, Orlando Sentinel

Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

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  1. Clueless Republicans, Part XXXVII

Beset by scandal, lacking effective leadership, and dominated by wingnutty voices, Republicans not only remained clueless for another week but saw their party's poll numbers at its lowest level in several decades.  Every president should have these clowns as political opponents

The state of the Republican Party remains grim.  Just 22 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans, near April's decades-long low point.  Only 36 percent said they have a favorable impression of the GOP, with 56 percent saying they have an unfavorable impression. (Fifty-three percent said they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.)

Steve Benson, Arizona Republic

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News

Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News

Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate

Mike Keefe, Denver Post

Ed Stein, United Media

Henry Payne, Detroit News

  1. Final Thoughts

Finally, how's this socialism thing working out for you?  

Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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A Note About the Diary Poll

In 1989, at the 200th Anniversary of the French Revolution celebrations in Paris, France, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was asked as to what the impact of France's revolution had been over the past two centuries.  

She replied:"It was mostly about chopped heads."

Thatcher was wrong.  Revolutions are meant to upend the existing social, economic, and political order.  The French Revolution certainly did that and much more.

Check dates if you are unsure of your poll selection.  Here's a list of revolutions and rebellions in human history. Putting in the starting and ending years in my poll was messing it up.  I'm aware, for example, that the slave revolt in Haiti lasted from 1791-1804.

The Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789 during the French Revolution

Originally posted to JekyllnHyde on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:20 PM PDT.


Which Revolution, Struggle, or Uprising Has Had the Most Impact So Far in Human History?

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| 352 votes | Vote | Results

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