tv QA CSPAN January 4, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EST
and congress, so i am sort like a proctologist." in tohey sort of let me the family fold. brian: your brothers and sisters are medical doctors. and how many of their spouses are? michael: my older brother is a fertility specialist. his wife is not a doctor. all of the other spouses are doctors. my grandmother and grandfather were in the medical profession. my grandfather was a doctor in japan and my grandmother was a pharmacist. brian: your mother and father? michael: not. i wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon. i was saying in a speech the other day, "president obama got a nobel peace prize for doing absolutely nothing, but i should get one for all of the lives i save by not being a doctor." brian: go back to the beginning. you have a japanese-american mother and a mexican-american
father. how did that happen? michael: i'm am half japanese. mexican, and1/4 completely confused. my father was in the military in army intelligence. he met my mother in japan. she lived in the united states. but i was born in tokyo, japan. my older brother and i. the first language i spoke was japanese. you know, it's been a long road. i have lived all over the world. it has been good exposure because i lived in belgium, germany, paris, and on and off between the united states and japan. brian: the political cartoon came to you when? michael: i never anticipated being a political cartoonist. the strangest part of this story is i really wanted to be a doctor. i recall reading the newspaper every morning with my dad. we had two when i lived in california. we took the orange county register and the l.a. times.
times had paul conrad. the register had jeff mcnally. he was working for the richmond times later. it ran his cartoons. we had this morning ritual where we would have breakfast, he would read the l.a. times first and halfway through, we would swap papers. i was aware of political cartoons and i loved them. and i loved paul conrad's dark images. they were moving and they had deep messages. i think jeff took that a step further with his wonderful sense of humor. i think that extended the reach of the cartoon by reaching a much larger audience with a message with the humor. and so, like any other reader, i loved looking at the political cartoons but i never in my life envisioned being a political cartoonist. i stumbled into it by accident. brian: we're going to show a whole bunch of new cartoons from your book.
this is your second book. this cartoon may have been in your first book but it is not in this one. it was very controversial. you will remember it because the secret service came after you. you explain it. michael: basically, i used an old, very iconic photograph from the vietnam war era where the saigon police chief had just caught a vietnamese terrorist who had killed a colonel and his family in saigon, he executed them on the streets of saigon. i used that iconic image to portray george w. bush being assassinated by politics during the advent of the iraq war. the image somehow got communicated to the secret service that i was advocating assassinating the president.
but honestly, i don't think -- i was not investigated initially. drudge wrote a headline, "political cartoonist being investigated by secret service." boy, when i got into the office of the l.a. times, we were inundated with callers wanting to interview me. this cartoonist being interviewed by a conservative administration. but, i had really not been contacted by anyone in the secret service. the general rule at the "l.a. times" is all you have to do is call and start cussing and they would forward you to my phone. i never really received any phone calls before the story broke.
and then as it turned out, the l.a. branch of the secret service did contact me, but only because they had this big publicity about me being contacted by the secret service and i think they felt left out. and so i got a call in the middle of the day after numerous calls and this guy said, "i am with the secret service and i would like to see you." i said, "you will have to get in line. how do i know you are with the secret service?" and he responded, "well, i have dark sunglasses, a black suit, and a black tie." means,aid, "well, by all come on down." i thought it was a crank call. a few minutes later, the receptionist said the secret service was there to see me. the "l.a. times" dispatched their lawyers, a team of lawyers, down there and they promptly escorted him out of the building because we did not want to set the precedent of a journalist being interviewed by the secret service. brian: we have 18 seconds of video. it was shot originally by eddie
adams, the ap photographer, and somebody from nbc. let us watch this to show how graphic this is. [video clip] brian: you are not that old to remember that? michael: i do sort of remember that. i do not remember the entire clip, of course. back in television in those days, they did not show the whole thing, but i do remember the photograph as an iconic image of the vietnam war. that is what political cartooning is all about. using images that people are familiar with to convey a point of view. brian: another controversy that you were involved with -- michael: i was involved in another one? brian: a hate cartoon. you were accused of showing the wailing wall in jerusalem. here it is on the screen. what was that cartoon. michael: it was called, "worshiping their god." i took stones that looked like the wailing wall and i produced
the letters that spelled "hate." it was during the first intifada. there is a figure that is a conglomeration of extremist israeli settlers and people that were opposed to the establishment of the palestinian state. the people creating the violent upheaval there. in addition to that, you have a palestinian figure. if you notice, he is on a prayer rug, but he has his shoes on. both of these figures are using a false religion for a political purpose instead of pursuing a religious advocacy, they were just worshiping hatred. when this appeared, i got numerous complaints from both sides. both the jewish groups were upset that i would use the wailing wall figure, and the palestinian groups were mad at
me because i was accusing them of hatred. it proves once again that i am an equal opportunity offender. brian: you were syndicated. how many different papers are you syndicated in? michael: about 540. i get hate mail in all different languages now. brian: when was the first time an editor said, "i am not going to run that." michael: i only had one incident in my career. lionel lindner was the editor of a memphis paper. bring me toe to my firstwhere i won pulitzer.
i was there for seven years. lionel was killed in an awful accident on new year's eve day. and, angus mccarran took over for him. he was the editor of the pittsburgh paper. the rumors were thick that angus was very liberal. lionel was very conservative. i would be one of the first people to go because i am very conservative. we had civic leaders lining up in his office for three days straight telling angus to fire me. we had a pretty terrible beginning. in fact, he kicked me out of one of the editorial meetings. i like engaging in the meetings. on the third day that he was there, on a wednesday, the topic was on welfare reform. they were trying to advocate working in order to get welfare. i did a cartoon where i had an uncle sam figure lying in an
alley, holding a sign saying, "will work for food." he is turning to the bum next to him saying, "they actually want me to work." it is a totally legitimate cartoon. well, angus canned it. i went up to angus and i said, "this is a legitimate cartoon. i think it ought to run." he said it would not run. and i said i would send it and it would run in all of my syndicates. he used more explicit language. i called my accountant and said we should get everything together because i think i will probably be leaving. i demanded a meeting with angus on that friday and went into his office. i said, "look, you have five illustrators in this paper that are better artists than i am. if you want them to draw, hire them. i'm an editorial cartoonist. my job is to use profound images and break them down into something easy to present to an audience for them to understand. it has my name on it. if you want to put your name on the cartoon, by all means, do.
but i will not draw your cartoons. i will draw the best cartoons that i can. give me the freedom that i need to do my best. i will research them and do my best with them. i will win you a pulitzer prize. but i am not going to draw your cartoons. if you are going to fire me, fire me now." he laughed at me. and he said, "no, do whatever you want." from that moment on, we got along great. he gave me the complete freedom to do whatever i wanted. that was the only incident when i had a cartoon killed. brian: how long were you with the "l.a. times"?
michael: 7.5 years. brian: what happened? michael: a mutual parting of ways. they were looking for a way to cut costs. philosophically, it was never a good fit. i don't think. we had talked about paul conrad, my predecessor. we were diametrically opposed. in june know what, they actually wanted to limit the number of cartoons i did in a week. i actually had to negotiate upwards to do more cartoons for them. there was a huge transition between publishers. and i worked for the publisher. as the publishers came and went from the familiarity between me and the publishers left as well. and there just came a point where they were looking at cost cuts and change, and i don't think they ever embraced my philosophy. the only job i ever had outside of military service that i had to put on kevlar and a helmet to walk through the newsroom. brian: we will talk about your new job at "investor's business daily," where you are now. let us look at some of your cartoons from your new book, "give me liberty or give me a obamacare."
why the title? michael: they did not let me call it "an illustrated guide to impeachment." this massive expansion of government -- we have unfunded liabilities when it comes to entitlements. 15 million more americans on government aid. more than anything, this is what the administration represents to me as a political cartoonist. big government, progressive regime, unlawful regime. what i am proud about in this book is it really makes the case on all of the things that they have done wrong. past history is a good way to provide for the future. we are getting into another presidential election cycle.
i am hoping this will spark the initiative for people who want real change to get back to our constitutional foundation, to enact them and get involved in the process. that is what political cartoons are. a catalyst for thoughts. educate progresses what the consequences of these disastrous policies have been. brian: for folks that do not know your politics, one of the introductions in your book is from dick cheney, and the afterword is from rush limbaugh. no question on where you are. i want to show you a cartoon from 2008. the headline there, "47 million uninsured." for those of you that cannot see it, the first figure says, "i can afford it, but i do not want it." there are 18 million under that person.
"i am indestructible." "i am illegal and i am not here." 12.6 million. "i am inbetween jobs and only temporarily uninsured." 9.4 million. "i am covered but my parents have not signed me up yet." 8 million. and, "i am eligible but i have not signed up." 3.5 million. and you have a note that says, some of to more because overlap."ries michael: this is the sad consequence of when the media does not do its job. the 47 million figure has never been really proved. in fact, i think a week after the administration rolled out the "47 million uninsured" number, they brought that number down to 37 million because they had pulled it out of the air. i think from what i've read, and the in-depth investigation done at the time, we are talking about 4% of the people that were uninsured at the time. brian: here is another one from 2008.
you will see it, there is a woman senator with "amateur" over her head. michael: not women senators. prostitutes. polictian -- politician is "amateurs" and the prostitute is saying "senators." this is on obamacare. and gift-taking and trading going on to have senators take on this program. they used chicanery. change the rules to enact it. so that cartoon really points that out. brian: this one is from 2010. tell us about the mad hatter. michael: the mad hatter is nancy pelosi. she is saying, "you have to pass
this bill so you can find out what is in it." and this is the most ethical congress ever. once again, it was based on the obamacare scheme that this administration was going to push through using liberal methodology, whatever kind he could. this complicated rule that no one had ever read was going to be passed on to the american public who did not know what was in it and what the consequences was going to happen that what happened to the population. brian: the cut line on this is, "please remove these items from your person." 2010.from michael: this was on the debate going on today. which is on the fourth amendment. how hard we go to protect the general public and what constitutional rights do we have to exchange for safety. this is a real question as to the extent of that. the thing that defines america is our constitution, and the liberties and freedoms that we have. hopefully, the fear of this danger from the terrorist groups will not overcome our common sense to redefine what america is.
brian: in the corner on that badge it says, "tsa." inside, it says, "u.s. department of groping." michael: that is when you had the stories where the tsa guys were getting touchy-feely. brian: 2014. "the police are keeping us down." explain this and the art of this, and what you are trying to do for the person who picks this up. michael: we have the juxtaposition of the reality that is going on in the black community. the vast majority of homicides and killings are done by black-on-black crime and yet there are some other civic leaders that are blaming it on the police.
as we have seen, just recently in the cases with the san bernardino and the policeman who let these people who could have been hostages out of the building saying, i would have been willing to take a bullet for you first. the police have a terrible job secure.us it is made harder by this movement that is blaming them for the irresponsible behavior of other people. and in certain circumstances, obviously, the police should be condemned for their overzealousness for the things that have happened. the vast majority of circumstances, they are there to keep us safe. reminded ofd be that. brian: here is 2012. and it says, "darkness rising." explain this one. michael: this one is directed towards a generation of folks being brought up a different way than perhaps you and i were where we had a family unit.
there was a cohesion. kind of a person-on-person relationship. whereas the new millennium have a lot of violent video games, they communicate in ways that they do not really see people anymore. then we have this incident, this cartoon was about the shooting in colorado. the batman movie. the question was, what changed this person into this monster? the lack of communication. the lack of human contact. playing violent video games. these are all questions for generation y. brian: this is from 2012. the headline on it, "a weapon guide for the uninformed." on the left, you have a semi-automatic. mass shootings, 18. is that 18 people at that time? michael: yes. at the time, i wanted to compare the homicide rates and what type of instruments of murder are
used and what were the damages. the problem with some of the progressive media is they exaggerate things to fulfill their political agenda. like this idea that these weapons that look like assault rifles are in fact assault rifles. there is a big difference between an automatic weapon where you squeeze the trigger and it fires off many rounds and these long rifles which are the same as a hunting rifle, where you squeeze the trigger and it shoots one bullet. i wanted to compare and contrast
the murders done with other weapons. blunt objects. handguns which no one is talking about banning. drunk driving. people using their hands and feet in violent acts. auto accidents constitute far more deaths than mass shootings. brian: auto accidents were 32,000. rifles, 453 killed. 6009 people killed with handguns. 1817 with knives. drunk driving, over 10,000. hands, feet, fists, 869. that is in one year. michael: yes. the statistics came from the fbi. if we are going to debate, you have to know the facts. they have to be grounded in facts. brian: cartoon here from 2009. again, the figures are small. explain what you see in this. michael: two indians looking at the new invaders of the new world. one indian is saying to the other, "running bear, not another word about immigration
reform. be polite to our visitors." of course, the motivation behind this is on immigration and how the indians probably did not worry about it back then and therefore now, you see who is dominating. a tongue-in-cheek play on what is going on in immigration. for some of us, there is a delineation between immigration and illegal immigration. just like the delineation between islam and radical islam. the leaders cannot figure out the difference between the two. they should not be guiding our government. brian: how many will be conservative and how many liberal? michael: 9-1. 10% of the conservative cartoons out there, i would be very surprised.
brian: who are some of the other leading conservative cartoonists? michael: there are not that many. stephen started out being conservative. the debate he had within his church, the mormon church, he is now very liberal. he has become very progressive. we are outnumbered. maybe a half-dozen progressive cartoonists, liberal cartoonists that i love. conservative cartoonists are few. gary in indiana. scott danis in chicago, more center-right. there are many that have retired or left their paper. the mccoy brothers.
nate beeler, center-right. brian: one of the most celebrated political cartoonists in my lifetime is a man named herb locke. they did a documentary of him at hbo. he appeared on "book notes" in 1993. he is deceased. when he died, he gave $50 million he had earned at the "washington post" to a foundation. here he is. [video clip] >> this is a cartoon from 1950. the headline up on it is, "you aren't supposed to stand on that," and the headline is, "mccarthyism." did you invent that? >> apparently so. the first use of "mccarthyism" that i know of. it originated because i wanted to put something on that barrel and you could not call it mccarthy himself. it could say "mccarthy techniques" and so on. i thought of "mccarthyism."
and you know, it caught on. brian: how often has a cartoonist from your experience developed something like "mccarthyism" or some other term? michael: it happens very rarely i imagine. to be honest with you, i don't look at other political cartoonists. at all. brian: never? and -- michael: i do on occasion. we all deal with the same issues. especially with the 24-hour news cycle. i don't want to see what my competition is doing. i want to deliver a message to my readers. that is the most important thing in my mind. i don't want to see what anyone else is doing, because we are talking about the same subject
matter. i don't want to subconsciously adopt one of their ideas. brian: how often do you find people who do not focus on what the politics are of cartoonists? how often do you find people that completely understand what you are trying to do? michael: because you and i are into politics, we think in that way. i don't think the vast majority of americans actually think in that light. i am really surprised when i give speeches around the country, how closely unified the american people are on the majority of the issues. they are divided on a lot of substantial issues, but for the vast majority, americans are much closer than people would think. there are people in political organizations that have an agenda and want to draw the people apart because it helps them. there are more things that unify us than divide us. brian: pat oliphant. here is -- this is back in 2014. david mccullough is on the stage with him.
[laughter] [applause] michael: i did not know he was left-handed. [laughter] brian: so, when you were growing up, what cartoonists besides paul conrad and others you mentioned did you pay any attention to? and what about the drawing part of this? you have a certain way of drawing. how would you explain the differences? michael: my influences were whatever was running in the newspaper and the people i liked the best. pat oliphant was one. he was a phenomenal political cartoonist. i can appreciate the artwork itself and what it is meant to be, which is a mechanism to influence people regardless of political party you are affiliated with.
pat does it better than most anyone i know. jeff was in that category. jeff was a good friend. and sort of a mentor. i loved jeff's work. he added an element of humor that i think was a great tool in expanding the audience of a political cartoon which is something i try to utilize in my cartoons. paul conrad, the dark and foreboding images that he had. they would reach you and touch you. i think that is what good effective political cartooning is. i view it as advertising on television. you have about five seconds to capture the viewer's attention and you have another five seconds to deliver the point or sell the product. the difference is with television, you're selling a
product. with cartoons you're selling an idea. i believe i am trying to reach people. i am trying to change people's minds. reinforce the ideas that they have for a purpose which is my view of what the united states ought to be very what this self-governing, democratic republic is all about. the power of america lies in its people. less government, more people. the people should have the power. they should wield this power. the kind of political today,ties we have people forget that it is the politicians that work for the people. brian: back to the cartoons. this is 2014. a familiar face will appear on the screen. how have you drawn her? michael: hillary has been great. i have to say that the clintons are probably my favorite political family. i won my first pulitzer in 1994 on the back of that administration. this cartoon, it is when she was
professing not to have any money and yet she was making $200,000 a speech. the relationship that bill has with his interns is probably the same relationship that hillary has with the lack of being able to tell the truth. i think she makes for great political cartoons. brian: how did you -- did you draw her on purpose that way? mouth and tiny teeth. michael: when you take a caricature of someone, you are changing the dynamics of their features. not only to make them into a cartoon but to show the dynamics of their personality as well. if you notice in my president obama cartoons, the more he is caught in prevarication, the larger his ears get.
so it is selective. you can see that in pat oliphant's caricatures of richard nixon. as he got more immersed in watergate, the shadows on his face and his eyes got darker. pretty soon, they were barely eyes. they were black holes in his head. brian: years ago, pat oliphant was not particularly friendly with the jimmy carter administration. at the end of the administration, carter was tiny and in the corner. michael: the perfect device. you know, the one thing we have over our journalist colleagues is exaggeration. we can create our own world. the dynamic is that we are trying to say something with a personality. brian: when did you go color? michael: when i first went to "investor's business daily." "la times."the
i have to say it is the best editorial page in the country. i do write some. i co-manage it. it was an expansion of my duties. frankly, we have great writers there. we are not afraid to tell the truth. people are giving praise to donald trump for his bluntness, but i have been doing that my entire career as a political cartoonist. we do that in the pages of daily.r's business we are located in los angeles and washington, d.c. all over the place. think our new printing plant will be in texas. brian: 156,000 daily circulation. michael: that is strictly print.
brian: what about digital? michael: i don't know what the numbers are. we have rapidly expanded digitally. emphasisart of our because we are reaching so many more people that way. brian: here is a cartoon and it looks like you are cutting both sides. erskine bowles is on the left. the senator in the middle. the commission and then you have a tiny kid on the right. his formula is, "cut spending." michael: they configured a debt commission. i don't know how many millions of dollars they spent putting together this commission to figure out the solution to the national debt that we have. $18 trillion dollars. saying how difficult it is.
the little baby is just saying, "cut spending." it is amazing, when you look back at our budgets. the last time that george w. bush was president, we had a democratic majority in the house and congress. he was roundly criticized for overspending, which was right. i did cartoons against that as well. i was looking back at that number when you had that configuration, and the deficit was $160 billion. seven years later, at the apex of the obama administration with a democratic majority in the house and the senate, the deficit rose to $1.3 trillion. that does not mention the growth in those years in federal spending. $2.4 trillion with the federal outlay. $3 trillion in seven years. population growth was 4%. how big does this government have to be? when you read these endless stories about the duplication of services, obamacare has become an extension of medicaid. it is costing taxpayers a fortune and yet they are not receiving better services. with me, it is about having a smaller, more efficient government. the realization is that we have a finite amount of capital out there. you can give it to the people
that innovate and create jobs. the use of dynamic economy to grow. or you can give it to bureaucrats who do nothing but shuffle paper. brian: this is a cartoonist that is deceased. we did an interview with him in 2008. he is about as far left as you are right. i want to know what you think of this. he was not the same kind of -- you saw him mostly in magazines like the "new yorker." i think he also drew for the
"new york review of books." it is david levine. [video clip] >> it is a drawing of henry kissinger. it was rejected by a publication. >> by all other than "the nation." it was known among cartoonists that if you had to try something or you wanted something that was "loaded," this was the place to go. they printed kissinger having sex, with a globe being the head of the woman. it was to suggest that sexually, this guy is screwing the world. brian: what do you think? would you do something like that?
michael: ibd is a family newspaper where i work, so there are some limitations. i want to reach a large audience. i have not seen a lot of what david has done, but they are mostly caricatures. they are really beautifully rendered, i really love them. you know, i am a hard right-winger, i guess you could say. very conservative. i am looking at these issues on their merits. not about personalities. i am an equal opportunity offender. it is about, when you make these drawings, how will it translate to the audience and how many people can i reach. and i think, if you do something too crass, it is going to be limited. now of course, you can get controversy about it but controversy itself is not always good. sometimes, it overshadows the point you're trying to make. sometimes the hardest decision to make is not running a cartoon. for instance, there was the time cochran died.hnny
i thought of a great cartoon. the first image was johnny cochran in heaven. of course, johnny had gotten o.j. simpson off on a murder charge. the gates of heaven and st. peter saying, "i'm sorry johnny, but the halo don't fit so i don't admit." seeing all that he had done, he was a very generous person and involved in a lot of charitable activities. i could not define the man by one single action. with political cartoons, it is almost just as important to know what not to draw. brian: from 2012, the cut line is, "and there is plenty more where that came from." we will see it in a second. what is this? michael: this is on turning corn into ethanol. one of the byproducts -- we can go into the inefficiencies of using corn-based fuel. because it takes so much farmland to create it.
but what they did not realize is that in doing this, you also limit the supply of food out there for third world countries. they were making the cost of corn rise, as they were utilizing corn for ethanol. i decided to juxtapose that to the conditions going on in the third world, where corn is a very important element for them to survive. and yet, we are doing it because we want to push this country towards alternative fuels even if it is inefficient in its creation. brian: i read an account in your university of california, irvine, alma mater publication that you used to have bill clinton, an imitation of bill clinton, on your answering service. michael: one of my friends is paul shay glenn, who does voice impersonations on the rush limbaugh show. i discovered paul in memphis,
tennessee. i was invited to play golf. i surf because i am from california. a friend of mine invited me to play golf with a couple of his friends. it was the first time i had ever played golf. there was one person who was more physically inept with a golf club than i was. i was leaning down to putt, and suddenly i heard ronald reagan coaching me, and it was paul. he is an amazing impersonator. i hooked him up with the rush limbaugh show. so now he is doing the rush limbaugh show. so paul, every once in a while, i would get him to record my answering machine and do different voices. i made the mistake once of giving him my code to the answering machine. i actually had to get rid of
that answering machine. in the middle of the night, he would change my messages and that created all kinds of problems. in fact, on sundays, when i was doing "u.s.a. today" for mondays. paul and i would get together to talk about parodies and themes for his songs. when i am starting to draw my cartoon, i get focused and ignore everything. unbeknownst to me, paul would answer my telephone as me. later in the day, i would have friends calling me back asking me what kinds of medications i was on, because i was speaking gibberish. and i would say, "no, i have not spoken to you today." it was paul answering my phone as me. so, if you want an obnoxious friend, there is one for you. brian: a couple of years ago, al gore sold his television network current tv to al jazeera for reportedly $500 million,
reportedly. you have a cartoon in 2013. explain this one. michael: al gore is saying, "so, i sold my station to an anti-american network. arabd by an oil-rich state. i always said i was for a green economy." michael: right. it was kind of ironic that al gore who was supposedly for the green movement turned out to be more of a capitalist than an environmentalist in this circumstance. i almost openly wept when al gore did not win the presidency because i think that would have been a fine thing for editorial cartooning. brian: the next one is from 2014. it is very complicated. it starts out with "global cooling," with a line through it. "global warming" with a line through it. "climate change" with a line through it, and then "climate disruption" underlined. michael: the rebranding of the global -- i should say, of the climate movement.
first, they were calling it "global cooling" in the 1970's. and then, "global warming." and then, the earth has not warmed in the last 15 years, so they changed it to "climate change." now, they are changing it to "climate disruption." the little kid is writing "it is called weather." brian: on the other side. "the climate is warmer," and that is crossed out. and then it says, "cooler for now." michael: the climate has been pretty constant in the last 15 years. one thing i do like about that cartoon -- you are going to have to buy the book if you want to see it -- if you look carefully on the top, it says "e = mc hammer." on a government that has taken on the role of being the nanny state. saying "stop your whining.
we will provide for you. just do what we ask. if you do exactly what we ask, we may provide you with some health care." the plantation mentality of the government that oversees everything that we do. i was up in new york, i always have breakfast. they have the same person guiding me to make sure i do not use too much salt on my eggs. brian: 2011. rather stark. what are you saying here? michael: when you think about clarence thomas, there is a lot of proof -- he is just one example. i love clarence thomas. some of his writings are amazingly in-depth analysis of everything and yet they criticized him because they never asked questions during the hearings.
it seems to me, when you look at these conservative african-americans, they ought to be models for the community. the mainstream media negates who they are by virtue of what their skin color is. i am one quarter spanish, one quarter mexican and half japanese. completely confused. think in the 21st century we should move beyond the idea that race is a determiner for anything. i have two brothers and two sisters and they are all extremely intelligent and kind people. the exact opposite of me. we come from the same genetic material. at some point, we need to discover that we need to move on. brian: i want to explain what they are looking at. michael: in the 1950's, they
discriminated against blacks by having refrigerated water for the whites and then having very poor water deliveries for the blacks. i am saying that there are certain people in the political hemisphere that have done the same thing to conservative blacks. that discrimination is going on today. the kinds of things they are allowed to say about people like clarence thomas and ben carson is horrible. brian: you might find this interesting. i am not sure i'm going to pronounce this correctly. borzou daragahi.
the former l.a. times baghdad bureau chief. back in 2007 talking about an iraqi cartoonist. watch this. [video clip] >> this is a very poignant one by him. uncle sam is drawing a portrait of this scene but instead of the gun, he is handing the flower to the guy. i asked the cartoonist if he thought this cartoon was inflammatory. he laughed at me and said, "i go online and i check out the american cartoonists and the stuff they have about bush and u.s. foreign-policy and american domestic and international politics. it is far more critical and nasty than anything i have ever drawn." michael: it reminds me, there are a bunch of us that got to visit with ronald reagan in the rose garden when he was president. he had a wonderful joke. he said, "the difference between the united states and the soviet union is the united states political cartoonists can draw political cartoons of the president of the united states. in the soviet union, the political cartoonists have to draw cartoons on the president
of the united states." that is the one thing we have here that is so amazing about this country. the freedom of speech. freedom of information. you can effectively criticize those people that run the government. it really differentiates between who we are and what other countries are. a bunch of us went to cuba. havana, cuba. i got the opportunity to talk to the information minister. and so i asked him questions about the brothers-in-arms flight that was shot in international airspace. about the journalists arrested. about the people that were handing out petitions simply to even talk about democracy, they were arrested. he refused to answer.
i said, "let me ask you one more question. i talked to your reporters and some of the cartoonists in cuba and they are not allowed to draw images of fidel castro. they cannot draw images of che guevara. in america, we believe the country that cannot make fun of its leaders, is usually a country that is imprisoned by its leaders. so let me ask you this question, what is your favorite fidel castro joke?" his face went white. little beads of sweat gathered on his forehead. he finally said, "i do not know one, but i will tell you one later." that is the difference between the united states and the freedom that so many people have sacrificed so much for. we have men and women out there who are fighting to guarantee our liberty and our freedom. the freedom that we take for granted. i don't think any editorial cartoonist -- to educate the masses, to make sure they understand that the government works for the people. brian: you made some people who have an iranian connection mad at you for this.
i don't know what the title it is. it is on the screen. the cockroaches. michael: this cartoon received a lot of criticism. if you look carefully at the cartoon, on the bottom of the grill it talks about terrorism. specifically about extremism in iran. brian: it is the country of iran and it has a sewer lid over it and cockroaches coming out of it. michael: and on the sewer lid, i think it says "extremism." it is talking about a very specific segment of the population of iran that is responsible for engendering these surrogates of the evil and spreading chaos within the region. i did receive a lot of criticism for it. what i said was that iran is
responsible for a lot of the chaos that is going on. this expansion of radical extremism, it started in iran first. you could argue that extremists in saudi arabia are doing the same thing, but these groups, when you look at the population, the average age is 28-years-old and they are very pro-western but that the illogical dictators of the regime, the revolutionary guard, uses this evil to create chaos in the region. brian: it shows the cockroaches spreading to afghanistan and iraq and syria, and even to israel and the gaza strip and pakistan and all of the countries around it. what made people the most angry about this? michael: in iran, they were mad because i characterized the country as a whole as a refuge for cockroaches. i don't think people realize that this expansion, this iranian expansion, is very dangerous. "mutually assured destruction" only works when the other side does not want to die.
because of this nuclear arms race that will go on in the region, a region that has a lot of oil money but little reverence for human life, it will become a much more dangerous world. brian: this one is from 2014. you can see it on the screen. this is the world trade center. you have people falling to their deaths. explain this one. michael: i am not afraid of the feedback. there is a real question as to the responsibility of our intelligence services to figure out where these dangers of terrorism are coming from.
when you look at this war on terror that we are in right now, it can only be effective if you know what is going on on the ground by taking away the devices that allow you to figure out the machinery that is generating the terrorism, it exposes the dangers. waterboarding. i don't think it is torture, frankly. if you just blow up terrorists and you do not find out who they are and how they are doing it -- in the san bernardino case, we got their electronics. we can put together a trail of who these people are. that is a much better way to secure our safety. brian: one last question. how did you get dick cheney and rush limbaugh to write the foreword and the afterword? michael: i am honored to say i have become friends with dick and lynn cheney.
some friends of mine had them over for dinner and i got to meet them. i have always been a fan of their politics. i have been friends with rush limbaugh for a long time. he used to run my cartoons in his newsletter. brian: besides buying this book for $28, where can people see you on a regular basis? michael: if you go to our website, you will see my cartoons every single day. you can get me on twitter. and on facebook. brian: the name of the book is "give me liberty or give me obamacare." michael ramirez, thank you for being here. michael: it was my pleasure. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
announcer: for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at q&a.org. "q&a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> if you enjoyed this week's interview, here are some programs you might like. author and illustrator molly crabapple talking about her drawings of the israeli-palestinian conflict and the guantanamo detention center. from the 24-hour news site. and, diane out west.
-- diana west. you can watch these any time or search our entire library at c-span.org. next, live, your calls and comments on washington journal. a.m., afghanistan humanitarian challenges in 2016. in live later, bill clinton new hampshire. >> tonight on the communicators, why the cta changed its name this past fall to consumer technology association. >> over 3600 exhibiting countries and over two point 4
million square feet of exhibit space. that is up from 2015. more excitement, more different categories the in ever before. it is the future. it is a show of solving real-life problems. not just entertainment, education, information. food, cleanclean water, we are solving big problems with technology. c-spaner: tonight on two. >> this morning, a preview of obama16 agendas of the administration with reuters reporter jeff mason and errico warner. and looking at some key 2016 races in the house and senate. the new bipartisan
ranking of all u.s. senators since 1993. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. ♪ president obama is back at the white house this morning after two weeks in hawaii with his family. he vows to get right back to work. he is meeting with loretta lynch this morning, talking about gun issues. we may see some executive action in that area soon. on capitol hill the senate remains out for another week but the u.s. house will be in session. they will get back to work tomorrow and we expect midweek they will take a vote to repeal parts of the health care law and to fund planned parenthood for one year. in