published Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Kudzu

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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memphisexile said...

Another great one Clay! I think all of us posters here can agree that our system of legal bribes called "campaign contributions" really hurts this country. Both sides are guilty, and until we get real campaign finance reform nothing will really change.

November 20, 2011 at 1:07 a.m.
NGAdad said...

Is it really just the love of money that is causing such great disparity in our country, in the world? Are the rich and powerful just motivated by greed? Is there something more? Blackmail? Superiority complex? Will the French Revolution/Libyan solution be necessary again? hmm... Remember Romania?

November 20, 2011 at 2:10 a.m.
fairmon said...

The only way to eradicate Kudzu is to dig it up by the roots. It is time to throw them all out but be careful about what we do to have all branches be healthy.

November 20, 2011 at 2:36 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

You are really "on the money" with this one, Clay. I don't see how anyone on either side of the political fence can dispute the truth of this 'toon, but I'm sure the usual Bennett bashers who post here will be hurling their knee-jerk epithets at you nonetheless.

Money in politics is like a malignant cancer in our government. Practically every politician, Demo and Repub, is owned by the lobbyists and those who buy them with their "contributions." We do not have a government of, by, and for the people but a government of, by, and for the rich and big business.

Almost nobody in Washington is talking about campaign finance reform because they all benefit mightily from the system just as it is - corrupt and self-serving. If we are to change the way our political system operates and get the money out of politics, so that we have a true representative government, the change will have to be forced on them from the ground up.

Please, go to this website and sign the petition to get the money out of politics. Over 247,000 Americans across party lines have signed it. There is so much that divides us today. Isn't this one area where we can find some common ground?

http://www.getmoneyout.com/

November 20, 2011 at 2:59 a.m.
fairmon said...

Federal government debt=$15 trillion and growing. The super committee is charged with reducing spending and/or increasing revenue by $1.2 trillion over ten years. The reduction needs to be 2 trillion per year or 20 trillion over ten years to reduce the total debt to $10 trillion. People will not and cannot accept the truth. The administration and congress cannot do the right thing and be elected again. Move over Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal we are on our way.

November 20, 2011 at 5:56 a.m.
davisss13 said...

Good comic. Very appropriate.

November 20, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.
EaTn said...

Several years ago I read a story about a family who bought a house in Georgia, cleared the kudzu from the back yard and to their surprise found usable in-ground pool. Anyone who's familiar with kudzu knows how difficult clearing the prolific special interests from Washington will be, but I believe with eventual cooperation between the tea and occupy groups it will happen.

November 20, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.
DarkSky said...

We can send Washington D.C. some goats from Missionary Ridge...

November 20, 2011 at 9:47 a.m.
ricardo said...

Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the roots of the kudzu and roots of the tree. Current elected (and appointed) officials will never change the status quo. Newly elected officials cannot get elected without the status quo.

November 20, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.
cheesy_rider said...

Perhaps kudzu based ethanol may be the answer to the U.S. becoming energy independent.
Oops! Forgot about the government subsidies, bureaucratic red tape, and taxpayer burden that it takes to really make it work.

November 20, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Free speech. Freedom for each to use their own money to speak freely. Freedom to get together and use money together to speak together. First amendment, anyone?

Campaign laws are written by incumbents for the benefit of...guess who. Not to give challengers equal protection of the laws. Complicated laws protect the status quo and those who can afford lawyers and accountants. Simple laws give the poor and the underdog a better chance. Those who write complicated laws hurt the poor by their actions, whatever their motives. Down with Obamacare; Ryan's vouchers would be less bad.

November 20, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.
miraweb said...

Great cartoon, Clay! Love it.

November 20, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
ricardo said...

Free speech? That implies that those who have no money also have no voice. That is not democracy.

November 20, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
rolando said...

Read Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness.

Self-interest made America great; excessive government regulation destroyed her -- as it destroyed many other countries.

The problem is not the money -- it is the regulation and the confiscation of money from those who work for it only to give it to those who don't. It has turned us into a welfare state with almost half of our citizens beholden to the government instead of the other way around.

November 20, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

Spalted!

November 20, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
chet123 said...

It has to start with campaign reform.....also in 2007 there were over 15,000 registered lobbyist.....this doesnt include non-registered which is thought to be twice as many and some of these lobbyist is from nation hostile to America.....Hmmmm...there a lot of quid pro quo in Washington.....Politician have sold out... In congress there are 239 millionaires....even while the economy have suffered in growth and average american income have decline or stagnated...congressional income have grown robustly.....They need to be throwed out and a revised policy which will be open and transparent to the America people

November 20, 2011 at 4:18 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Rolando, I have read most of the works of Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum - her real name), including this one you mention. Her philosophy, if it can rightly be called that, is a simplistic and juvenile one, appealing to the very basest of human nature - selfishness. It is extremely easy to live by this "philosophy." Just do, live, be for yourself and to hell with anyone else. It is ironic that so many right wingers today are adopting her "philosophy" and most of these same right wingers profess to be Christians, yet she herself despised religion and was a self-proclaimed atheist.

She also was a sniveling hypocrite. In her later years she readily accepted her Medicare insurance and her SS payments. One can argue that she had paid into them, like everyone else, and thus had a right to them. But to constantly proclaim to everyone else that it was wrong and weak to take government assistance was nothing but hypocritical of her. But then, no one can fault her for acting in her own self-inerest, which is basically what she was all about anyway. Just live your life and take what you can and screw everybody else. What's not to like about that "philosophy?"

November 20, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.
chet123 said...

Until those two things are done....American will continue to suffer with a government that doesnt not represent the people interest...but the politicians own fat pockets...

This is my Challenge to Both Parties.....American people are tied of hearing the lies

November 20, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.
chet123 said...

ROLANDO.....I'm very familair with AYN RAND....so this explain why your opinion are so right-wing ha ha ha....ROLANDO...why dont you just go off and live on a compound in UTAH...or joint the Amish and see how self-sufficient you can be.....and dont come back crying looking for help as AYN RAND did.....she was a bitter woman....i first saw her on a TAPED mike wallace interveiw....she has tapped into your inner soul ha ha ha ...i knew it was something weird about you ROLANDO.....my advice to you is go go go!

November 20, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
MTJohn said...

rolando said...

Read Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness.

Self-interest made America great;

No it didn't. Self-interest allowed the wealthy, powerful and politically connected to steal this country from the rest of us.

November 20, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.
dude_abides said...

"The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him."

roll on rocklando

November 20, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
alprova said...

Rolando wrote: "The problem is not the money -- it is the regulation and the confiscation of money from those who work for it only to give it to those who don't. It has turned us into a welfare state with almost half of our citizens beholden to the government instead of the other way around."

And since your monthly income depends upon the Government, I fail to see that you have a thing to bitch about. You are beholden to the Government.

If you have some objection to taking money from Government, then are you going to start rejecting your monthly deposits into your account and subsist without them?

November 20, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.
fairmon said...

chet123 said... It has to start with campaign reform.....also in 2007 there were over 15,000 registered lobbyist.....this doesn't include non-registered which is thought to be twice as many and some of these lobbyist is from nation hostile to America.....Hmmmm...there a lot of quid pro quo in Washington.....Politician have sold out... In congress there are 239 millionaires....even while the economy have suffered in growth and average American income have decline or stagnated...congressional income have grown robustly.....They need to be thrown out and a revised policy which will be open and transparent to the America people

Finally something we agree on. Limit to an amount (say$25) by any individual that will enable those with the lower incomes to contribute equal to the wealthiest. Use the matching funds process to allow those with no job or income to contribute. Publish in alpha order on a web site the name and amount of the contribution so anyone can access it.

November 21, 2011 at 12:10 a.m.
alprova said...

Harp3339 wrote: "Finally something we agree on. Limit to an amount (say$25) by any individual that will enable those with the lower incomes to contribute equal to the wealthiest. Use the matching funds process to allow those with no job or income to contribute. Publish in alpha order on a web site the name and amount of the contribution so anyone can access it."

An individual, no matter their income, or whether or not they work for a living, is allowed to contribute as little as one dollar to any candidate of their choice today. Contributions under $200 are not subject to reporting requirements.

What would be accomplished by making the list of people who contribute less than $200 to any candidate or PAC public?

Why would you want to limit what any one person to contributing just $25? It's not individual contributions that are the problem. It is corporate contributions and PAC's that are buying political favors and candidates.

Candidates that receive those type of contributions are financially beholden to them.

November 21, 2011 at 3:58 a.m.
rolando said...

You know contracts, alpo, or so you claim. As a bean counter pretending to know something of economics, you produce absolutely nothing in support of our country...other than going for the lowest bidder on everything, at a tremendous cost, nationally. Yet you pontificate endlessly in support of yourself and your provincial views.

The government entered into such a contract with me...I work for 40 years supporting our country's security and her cutting edge technology with a real and lasting effect; they take part of my money -- voluntarily -- invest it for me and pay a pension when I retire. Just as countless unions -- that you blindly support -- do for their members. There is zero difference. All fiat money -- the only kind we have -- is the property of the government to do with as it will.

November 21, 2011 at 5:30 a.m.
rolando said...

Rickeroo -- Perhaps you and chet are "authorities" on Ayn Rand, but probably not. You certainly haven't understood the concepts of how selfishness worked to make our country great...or how socialism is destroying her by taking their life's blood and giving it to some undeserving, incompetent, lazy, unwashed, Occupying-type slob who never worked for it.

Every man who ever existed that worked at clearing woods for farmland, built a business, developed a transportation system, or anything else in the world did it for one reason and one reason alone -- pure selfishness. Selfishness that supported his family, sent his sons and daughters to college, improved their standard of living in this country to levels unseen in the world...and created a country and a culture above all others, solely based on capitalism...and selfishness.

November 21, 2011 at 5:40 a.m.
fairmon said...

alprova said....

Why would you want to limit what any one person to contributing just $25? It's not individual contributions that are the problem. It is corporate contributions and PACs that are buying political favors and candidates.

Speed reading again? Read the entire exchange which would abolish any contributions other than the individual contribution. No lobbyist, PAC, corporate influence. It won't happen because neither party would support such drastic measures impacting incumbents.

November 21, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.
fairmon said...

When taking every penny from the top ~20% that already pay ~80% of all income taxes and reducing the defense budget by 50% still does not reduce the debt what would those insisting on more from the government propose to stop the slide toward a bankrupt country? The super committee target of 1.2 trillion over ten years or the automatic cuts if they fail to agree are both jokes and misleading to the American people. This assumes people will keep lending us money to double the debt in ten years. What happens if bond interest rates spike like they have in Greece and Italy?

Several countries are in the process of a regime change. It may be time for the same in the U.S. with a capable and responsible new party if both parties keep their current approach. The American people are too afraid of change and the possible loss of their coddled comfort to do anything other than continue their blind loyalty to the party promising them the most.

November 21, 2011 at 6:53 a.m.
MTJohn said...

rolando said...Every man who ever existed that worked at clearing woods for farmland, built a business, developed a transportation system, or anything else in the world did it for one reason and one reason alone -- pure selfishness. Selfishness that supported his family, sent his sons and daughters to college, improved their standard of living in this country to levels unseen in the world...and created a country and a culture above all others, solely based on capitalism...and selfishness.

True enough, Rolando. Selfishness also gave us current reality, i.e. a country in which government is no longer owned by We, the People but by just a few of the wealthiest capitalists. As Paul Harvey was fond of saying, self government without self control won't work. Selfishness has trumped self control and we have a mess.

harp3339 said...Several countries are in the process of a regime change. It may be time for the same in the U.S. with a capable and responsible new party if both parties keep their current approach. The American people are too afraid of change and the possible loss of their coddled comfort to do anything other than continue their blind loyalty to the party promising them the most.

We may well be on the verge of regime change in this country. But, if it occurs, what makes you think the next regime will be led by capable and responsible folks?

November 21, 2011 at 7:06 a.m.
fairmon said...

Is a majority of people being government dependent any less a problem than a government dependent on lobbyist, corporations and wealthy individuals? Are government grants, subsidies and programs used to manipulate and control state and local governments and people any different than lobbyist and others that behave the same way to influence government?

Both seem to be out of control like Kudzu that can destroy an entire forest. Did we import more than Kudzu to use for erosion control from Japan? We seem to be tracking their economic dilemma.

November 21, 2011 at 7:08 a.m.
mymy said...

Excuse me: will not believe this.

November 21, 2011 at 7:17 a.m.
fairmon said...

MTJohn responded with.....

We may well be on the verge of regime change in this country. But, if it occurs, what makes you think the next regime will be led by capable and responsible folks?

I don't think it would be or that people would support it if available. People are as owned by government as government is by the influential. The majority of voters are comfortable with increasing taxes on others, increased spending and debt. See the revolts in Greece and Italy to see the impact of any attempt to change that. It may even be worse here.

November 21, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.
MTJohn said...

harp3339 said...Is a majority of people being government dependent any less a problem than a government dependent on lobbyist, corporations and wealthy individuals?

Our government is not dependent on lobbyists, corporations and wealthy individuals - it is owned and controlled by them. And, if that were not the case - if our government really was owned by We, the People - we would have a lot fewer people dependent upon it.

November 21, 2011 at 7:19 a.m.
fairmon said...

MTJohn said....

Our government is not dependent on lobbyists, corporations and wealthy individuals - it is owned and controlled by them. And, if that were not the case - if our government really was owned by We, the People - we would have a lot fewer people dependent upon it.

I think we agree. Dependent or owned is a play on words. Either way the government is controlled just as people are influenced or contoled by the government.

November 21, 2011 at 7:27 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Harp - assuming that the word choice "owned" vs. "dependent" is saying the same thing about the relationship between government and K Street, we might agree on part of the definition of our current problem. However, I do not agree with you that the choice is between a government dependent on K Street and a society in which the majority of citizens are dependent upon government.

I also do not think that people are owned by our government. However, I do think that many people have sold out to the interests that own our government - e.g. note the ratings of the media owned by Rupert Murdoch. I also do not think that popular support will define the post-revolution government. Take comfort because I think that your side will prevail - but your comfort will be short-lived.

November 21, 2011 at 8:17 a.m.
alprova said...

Rolando wrote: "You know contracts, alpo, or so you claim. As a bean counter pretending to know something of economics, you produce absolutely nothing in support of our country...other than going for the lowest bidder on everything, at a tremendous cost, nationally. Yet you pontificate endlessly in support of yourself and your provincial views."

Is that what I do? Contrary to your opinion, I generated a great deal of income for not only myself, but for fifty other people who worked for me for many years. I paid more than a million dollars in taxes on the income I generated. I wasn't just an accountant all of my life.

The best that you can claim is that you handed back money in the form of taxes that came from the pockets of the taxpayers.

"The government entered into such a contract with me...I work for 40 years supporting our country's security and her cutting edge technology with a real and lasting effect; they take part of my money -- voluntarily -- invest it for me and pay a pension when I retire. Just as countless unions -- that you blindly support -- do for their members. There is zero difference. All fiat money -- the only kind we have -- is the property of the government to do with as it will."

That in no manner changes the dynamics when it comes to your current arrangement with our Government. You are still solely supported by the taxpayers of this nation. You are no longer contributing by producing labor for the Government.

I'm well aware of your service to our nation, but that ended some years ago. While in your mind, you feel that you are entitled to all that you receive, the fact remains that you are being supported by the Government, just like all the other people who are "beholden to the Government."

You've got a lot of nerve to suggest that I have never "produced absolutely nothing in support of our country." If it were not for people like myself, and the taxes paid on income generated in the private sector, your paychecks and your retirement would not have existed.

November 21, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.

A cartoon we can all agree with.

November 21, 2011 at 9:18 a.m.
chet123 said...

ROLANDO.....Try telling that to families that lost their love ones on D-Day for this country and the free world...try telling that to the families that lost their fathers and sons and brothers on foreign land....on the blood soak beaches of OMAHA and UTAH.... the Americans that fought to liberate JEWS from German Death Camps in Auschwitz,Belzec,and Sobibor Jews as her blood relatives.....ROLANDO,,,Authoritarian on Ayn Rand i'm not....but for her to even suggest that "SELFISHNESS MAKE OUR COUNTRY GREAT".."SELFISHNESS MAKE OUR COUNTRY GREAT".....After so many of our young American men gave their life for AYN RAND'S(shes born into a JEWISH FAMILY) freedom and American freedom as well as the free world makes me want to throw-up.....AYN RAND OWED Americans an apology....now i understand why she couldnt keep a man and no man wanted her...she was evil....the woman was filled with bitterness...full of hate..ungrateful to the many that sacraficed their life for her....i understand why she died alone!!!

Shame on you ROLANDO!!Shame on you ROLANDO!! SHAME ON YOU!!! You have made some dumb comments in the past...but this one take the cake....It says a lot about who you are...you are a miserable man...You have allowed hate get the best of you....this is the Philosophy you are adopting/entertaining....Do you understand you are flirting with treason,betrayal....

November 21, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.

I agree with what Rolando is saying in spirit. I believe corruption would be a better label for the kudzu than money, but money works too.

November 21, 2011 at 12:03 p.m.
fairmon said...

MTJohn responded with.......

Take comfort because I think that your side will prevail - but your comfort will be short-lived.

What do you consider my side to be? I have nothing but disdain for both parties. The fizzle committee failed, that is a good thing as I see it. The automatic cuts occur in addition to the $1 trillion already identified. Obama made a commitment to veto any attempt to weasel out of the reductions. The Bush rates expire at the end of 2012 and are not part of the calculation. Congress has time to do more to reduce unemployment but I doubt they will.

November 21, 2011 at 8:08 p.m.
fairmon said...

Why is it better to have the government take money from people then like a bookie take the vigorish out at a high rate to pay themselves and administer and redistribute to the welfare programs of their choice? Why not provide people the option of reducing their taxes by up to 20% of taxes due for contributions to eligible charities that provide those services now provided by the federal government? It makes sense but you would never get those government employees that ride the gravy train or politicians to even consider it.

November 21, 2011 at 8:19 p.m.
MTJohn said...

harp3339 said...What do you consider my side to be? I have nothing but disdain for both parties.

Based on what I have read in your various posts, I made that post assuming that your sympathies lie with the Tea Party.

November 21, 2011 at 8:26 p.m.
fairmon said...

MTJohn's response....

Based on what I have read in your various posts, I made that post assuming that your sympathies lie with the Tea Party.

Please reference any post where I suggested anything other than the tea groups are a joke. Mostly older, uninformed, limited understanding of financial systems. I do think that fiscal responsibility and restraint are necessary but a more liberal approach is needed in personal choices with less government intrusion trying to legislate morals. I have no problem taxing the mega wealthy more as long as wasteful spending is equally reduced. It is evident many people confuse over paid management, media personnel, TV and movie stars and athletes with businesses that need to be profitable and competitive when making products in America. Congress likes to pick winners and losers and they do show favor to the financial sector which produces nothing.

November 21, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
fairmon said...

The system is broken and neither the super committee nor super glue will fix it. It may be good the super fizzle group didn't crank out some convoluted, complicated, conventional voodoo economics like congress normally produces.

November 21, 2011 at 11:39 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Harp - I apologize if I have misunderstood your leanings.

November 22, 2011 at 8:12 a.m.
chet123 said...

HARP3339.....You said why is it better for Government to take money from people?????

Harp3339...you are an intelligent man...why do you continue to ask questions like that....

This is a hint: To finance military,to build crumbling infrastucture, to finance schools and colleges, to give safty net to childrens and elders, to protect American people from unregulated commence(food inspectors),FDIC, fireman,policeman,our wounded soldier who have made sarifice with their health and body for this country, to preserve the many agencies that have made this country stronge to preserve civil Society ect....

A society you have benefited from whether you admit it or not harp!!

Why would you be selfish and deny the next generation the same opportunity you were afforded...

And why are you bent on protecting rich,selfish, greedy people who have benfited from america labor and consumer....they did not get rich without help from other american....

November 22, 2011 at 11:25 a.m.
chet123 said...

Harp3339....did you say welfare!...or corporate welfare.....i dont mind giving to children and you shouldnt either....but we have been giving to the rich and greedy(corporate welfare)

November 22, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.

mymy awl thees Hippy-Kritts up thar tokin abutt selff-ishniss as ifn tha Reech ar tha owlnee wuns! i livn wit tha por an theys jes ifn nott mor selffish-- i wurk fer tha Reech hoo treet usns reel gud an hepp usns awl tha tym! ifn theys go ta Cheena hoo wull geev us wurk? stoopid is as stoopid duz!

sheesh! howndoggy! itsa tha LUV uv moniy tha meks a man korr-uppt(tha Bible isa rite agin! nott mrBee!)

OWR kun-tree is a Banc-ruppt cuz sooo mani peeples jes shutt ther mouffs an sed nuttin fer yers! yessn YU! inna yur jobs n sech! yall wanna yer job butt sez NUTTIN ta korr-uppshin---thenyall cumplayn abutt Warshintin! yall maid them-ole Korr-upturs--nowyall lye wit em!

mye hats offn ta mrRoland hev a nise day sir! yur notta un Hippy-Kritt! thanky tha Lord

November 26, 2011 at 4 p.m.
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