“Are You Sure You Wouldn’t Like a Red Carpet?” - JPG
Herblock compared road building in United States forest reserves to providing a red carpet reception for the timber industry. His John Q. Public character is the loser, flattened in the middle of the road. In 1997, the Worldwatch Institute, located in Washington, D.C., issued a report Paying the Piper: Subsidies, Politics and the Environment, arguing that 500 billion taxpayer dollars paid for deforestation, over-fishing, and other environmentally destructive activities and brought more financial loss than gain in the long term.
1997 
december 2012
“You Want Business in this Town or Don’t You?” - JPG
Herblock expressed his concern that local government regulation of pollution wouldn’t work through his depiction of a businessman coaxing a local politician to look at payroll and tax numbers, while ignoring the smoke billowing from a factory. In 1967, Lyndon Baines Johnson’s administration provoked an outcry from the leaders of industry when it discussed standards to limit air pollution. Business owners argued that restrictions would be better imposed at the state and local level.
1967 
december 2012
“I’ve Figured a Way to Get Rid of That Stuff—Use It Up” - JPG
Herblock believed that the Environmental Protection Agency and agribusiness were partners in the continued use of the most toxic pesticides. In June 1988, EPA administrator Lee M. Thomas made an exception to the ban on the chemical dinoseb. He permitted companies to exhaust existing stocks of the herbicide, which were known to cause birth defects as well as sterility in those exposed to it.
1988 
december 2012
“All Right, All Right—I Believe It” - JPG
By showing a man withering under a hot sun while holding a newspaper featuring global warming headlines, Herblock connected the record-breaking heat in 1998 to an international debate about whether the climate is changing. As Washington, D.C., and other American cities sweltered, the Clinton administration pushed Congress to restore funding for its climate initiatives. Congress disagreed with the president over the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, an international program to decrease global warming.
1998 
december 2012
“We Could Compromise and Paint Them Green” - JPG
This is one of the last cartoons that Herblock produced in his seventy-two-year career as an editorial cartoonist. He reacted to a House vote to permit oil drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. In preparing for the vote, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas said, “We feel very, very confident we will be able to crack the backs of radical environmentalists.” The Senate refused to pass the measure.
2001 
december 2012
“There Goes the Entire Neighborhood” - JPG
When Herblock used the trash-laden globe as a metaphor for world pollution, he conveyed the overwhelming nature of the problem. In February 1973, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report about water pollution covering an estimated 700,000 square miles of ocean just off the continental United States. NOAA reported finding “globs of oil” and plastic waste in the part of the Atlantic Ocean called the Sargasso Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
1973 
december 2012
“I Hear the Cold Part of the Cold War Is Over” - JPG
Herblock used irony to contrast the metaphorical heat from radioactive waste with the decrease of Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. The dissolution of the Soviet satellite state structure in 1989–1990 significantly reduced an external threat to the United States. But as the federal government sought solutions for the long-term storage of nuclear waste from weapons, local governments and citizen groups resisted. Site plans included Yucca Mountain in Nevada; Boyd County, Nebraska; and Hudspeth County, Texas.
1990 
december 2012
“Boy, We Could Develop That into Some Fine Stumps” - JPG
Herblock emphasized both the natural beauty of the United States as well as developers’ greed in extracting its resources. He drew this cartoon at a time when Congress had six conservation bills pending to protect and preserve federal lands, including one that would prevent developers from making false claims to mineral rights in national forests in order to harvest timber. Congress ultimately approved of legislation increasing federal park lands and funding their protection.
1953 
december 2012
“. . . An Atmosphere that Could Support Life . . .” - JPG
To convey the hazards of air pollution, Herblock contrasted the hard-to-breathe air on Earth with the atmosphere of Mars, which, based on data from the Viking spacecraft, scientists posited could have once supported life. The Senate opened debate to revise the 1970 Clean Air Act during the summer of 1976 when Washington and other American cities repeatedly had air quality alerts. Cities looked to state and federal government agencies for funding and legislation to help them curb polluting smog.
1976 
december 2012
“Nah—It Wouldn’t Be Practical” - JPG
Herblock commented on his belief in the long-term need to explore solar energy sources by showing people laboring to clean up damage from oil, coal, and nuclear energy while dismissing solar energy as impractical. Despite the increased discussion among scientists about the “greenhouse effect” caused by fossil fuels, oil remained the world’s most valuable commodity in the 1980s. Power companies scarcely invested in solar energy because start-up costs exceeded the expense of purchasing oil from abroad, especially after the Reagan administration reduced federal funding for solar research by eighty percent.
1989 
december 2012
“What We’d like is about a Twenty-Mile Island” - JPG
Herblock drew the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant as a desert island after a January 1980 report suggested that such plants operate away from population centers. The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant had released radiation into the atmosphere and into the Susquehanna River in 1979, causing initial panic, but no long-lasting damage.
1980 
december 2012
“This Is an Emergency—We’ve Got to Prevent Any Leaks of Information!” - JPG
Herblock used sarcasm to present his view that the administration of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was more concerned with information leaks than with leaking radiation and public welfare. On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, near Middletown, Pennsylvania, overheated and the nuclear fuel cores experienced meltdown. Holding tanks with radioactive water overflowed and, with permission from the U.S. Regulatory Commission, the power plant discharged both radioactive water into the Susquehanna River and radioactive gas into the air. John Pfhal’s photograph shows the plant’s presence on land and reflection in the water.
1979 
december 2012
Billboards Are Good for You - JPG
Herblock considered billboards a form of pollution that prevented people from seeing American scenery. He wrote that advertisers “put their products before the beauties of nature.” Here, he opposed a congressional proposal to alter a 1965 Highway Beautification Act that would have decreased restrictions on billboard owners and advertisers.
1986 
december 2012
"We Can Even Improve on Turning Things Over to the States - We Can Let the Industries Regulate Themselves" - JPG
In 1995, Herblock objected to legislation introduced by the House to alter the Clean Water Act and defer to industry and special interest groups. The 1974 act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to limit pollutants in the water. The bi-partisan 1995 measure, had it gone forward, would have exempted certain industries from cleaning waste water prior to discharging it into public treatment facilities and permitted more development on wetlands. The Clinton administration successfully fought the proposed legislation.
1995 
december 2012
"Maybe He Should Be Cited for Contempt of Public Intelligence" - JPG
To indicate his support for land closures under the 1964 Wilderness Act, Herblock portrayed Secretary of the Interior James Watt using earth moving equipment while failing to convince an American family that he was protecting the environment. Under the Wilderness Act, government lands open to development were to be closed indefinitely in 1983. Environmentalists accused Watt of undermining portions of the act with his proposed legislation to reopen lands to development in 2000.
1982 
december 2012
"Good News - We've Reduced the Nuclear Threat from Abroad" - JPG
Herblock used irony, with a hint of sarcasm, to contradict a positive newspaper headline announcing the end of the Cold War. Although the Soviet Union and the United States ended the nuclear weapons showdown that had begun during World War II, nuclear waste remained a risk within both countries. In the 1990s, journalists reported that radioactive waste in a Soviet mine had exploded and had devastated area communities. People living near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State learned that contaminated water in the Columbia River reached the Pacific coast and local fallout poisoned crops. The release of nuclear waste into the air near Cincinnati, Ohio, contaminated local drinking water.
1993 
december 2012
Call of the Wild - JPG
The visual metaphor of baying wolves and a chain link fence helped Herblock convey his objection to developers clamoring to eliminate the legislation that separated them from access to the untapped Alaskan wilderness. In March 1979, the House Interior Committee had proposed allowing oil drilling, mining, and timber harvesting on the Alaskan lands that President Carter had protected as national monuments.
1979 
december 2012
Formerly Good Earth - JPG
When Herblock portrayed his John Q. Public figure in a gas mask, standing on a filthy planet Earth overwhelmed by toxic spills, polluted waterways, and unprecedented levels of air pollution, he was showing his support for the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency on December 2, 1970. Reports by researchers who investigated the dumping sites that leached toxins into local food and water supplies had increased public awareness of life-threatening hazards and the need for better care of the earth.
1970 
december 2012
Toxic Wastes - JPG
Herblock often used a ticking bomb, this time in the form of a barrel of chemicals under a playground, to depict the hazards of toxic waste dumping. In 1985, the Environmental Protection Agency identified 403 highly toxic chemicals used in industrial production and increased regulations controlling toxic waste dumps. Researchers who studied the effects of toxic waste spills found them especially detrimental to children, who absorbed the toxins through breast milk, food, and water.
1985 
december 2012
"You Know How Fast Money Goes These Days” - JPG
In September 1951, the United States Senate prepared an investigation into Chiang Kai-shek’s use of bribery to maintain congressional backing for his government in Taiwan. Herblock compares the Nationalist Chinese lobbying for economic aid with the reality that they had excellent resources to support their government. He depicts Chinese capitalists bloated with the dollars they had received from the United States.
1951 
july 2011
"I Hear We Might Volunteer to Go Home” - JPG
On July 10, 1951, the United Nations opened peace talks with North Korean and Chinese representatives in Kaesong, North Korea. Ironically, the war did not stop for the negotiations—it entered a bloody phase that had devastating effects on communist troops. Herblock shows two Chinese soldiers, weary, cold, and poor, wondering at the news. Herblock’s caption takes a jab at the Chinese government’s fiction that “volunteers” filled the ranks of its army.
1951 
july 2011
Thinker - JPG
Chinese men, impoverished by World War II and the civil war that engulfed China in its aftermath, found themselves “volunteering” to participate in the Korean War. There, they became entrenched in a war that neither the East nor West could win. Seeing the stalemate, Stalin began advocating an end to the war. Here, Herblock depicts a man in tattered clothing balancing the knowledge of the Chinese casualties of war with the Soviet propaganda encouraging negotiations for peace.
1951 
july 2011
Full-scale War with China - JPG
General Douglas MacArthur, having been recalled from Korea by President Harry Truman, testified before the Senate on May 3, 1951, on his intention to involve China in a full-scale war. When asked if bombing China would start another world war, he deflected the question, saying that it was not in his area of expertise. Herblock uses the metaphor of a swamp to describe the mire in which Americans would find themselves if they went to war against China.
1951 
july 2011
Formosa! Formosa! Formosa! - JPG
As Iran and India formed governments independent of colonial rule, the United States feared that nationalized industries equaled communism. Herblock depicts Uncle Sam focusing on Formosa, now called Taiwan, and the nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek who had fled there. At the same time, he portrays Soviet leader Joseph Stalin eagerly reaping benefits from Iran and India. Herblock felt that aid to Chiang Kai-shek prevented the United States from protecting other global interests.
1951 
july 2011
"I Don't Think You Quite Got the Idea, Senator” - JPG
As United Nations forces fought the Chinese for possession of Seoul, President Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) recalled General Douglas MacArthur to the United States. Fear of communism led many conservative senators, including Harry P. McCain (1906–1979) of Washington state to support MacArthur’s call for war against China. Herblock depicts a divided Republican Party by using the Republican elephant to repudiate Cain’s snarling Asian tiger, his symbol for war against China.
1951 
july 2011
"Always Glad to Loan My Neighbor a Shovel" - JPG
The Soviet Union supplied the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with weapons during the Korean War but did not send ground troops. Chinese soldiers occupied Seoul because the large army willingly pursued the United Nations troops southward despite the high rate of Chinese casualties. Herblock depicts Soviet leader Joseph Stalin looking over Mao Zedong’s shoulder as the Chinese leader shovels his soldiers into a cannon, an assessment of their Korean War roles.
1951 
july 2011
"I’ll Make the Down Payment For You” - JPG
As the South Korean city of Seoul changed hands for the third time in six months, General Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) advocated using nuclear weapons against China. Herblock uses the common visual metaphor of the Chinese dragon, a formidable foe from which Uncle Sam shrinks as Chiang Kai-shek eagerly pulls him forward. He depicts Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (1878–1953) with a bemused look, perhaps eager to watch the United States attempt to fight communism throughout the world.
1951 
july 2011
"Tell You What—If I Stand On Your Shoulders—" - JPG
In 1949 China plunged into civil war, as the communist forces of Mao Zedong (1893–1976) faced the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975). Chiang Kai-shek lost and fled to the island of Formosa, now known as Taiwan, where he demanded international aid. Herblock depicts Uncle Sam gingerly testing the murky swamp, symbolic of the proposed United States entry into the war. He accuses the Chinese leader of letting the United States do all the dirty work.
1951 
july 2011
"I Can’t Stand to See You Suffer Like This” - JPG
Conservative Republican senator Robert A. Taft (1889–1953) of Ohio felt that President Harry Truman’s foreign policy during the Korean War had failed and accepted General Douglas MacArthur’s argument that war with China was necessary. Here, Herblock accuses Taft of pushing an already wounded Uncle Sam into an abyss, his metaphor for war with China. Herblock truly feared that another world war would erupt if China were bombed.
1951 
july 2011
Jump Start - JPG
The Gore campaign had dropped in the polls when the addition of Senator Joseph Lieberman as Gore's running mate garnered media attention and gave his campaign a boost.
2000 
september 2010
"Dick and Dad will tell me all I need to know" - JPG
On July 25, 2000, Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush selected Richard "Dick" Cheney as his running mate for vice president because of Cheney's broad political experience ranging from White House chief of staff to Defense secretary. Cheney's expertise and maturity was sought to dispel questions about Bush's relative inexperience, particularly in foreign policy. But Bush's selection of Cheney revived questions about the younger Bush's independence from his father's legacy and whether he won the nomination on the basis of his own strengths.
2000 
september 2010
"I made my decision after listening to ..." - JPG
Many voters had felt enthusiasm for such candidates as Democrat Bill Bradley and Republican John McCain. But by mid-summer, George W. Bush and Al Gore solidified their hold on the major party presidential nominations if not the voters themselves. In this cartoon, Herb Block shows two voters who are turned off by listening to a speech by their candidate.
2000 
september 2010
Blaze Congress, Stripper - JPG
On June 29, 2000, the Senate approved a House measure to force the disclosure of contributions and expenditures used by so-called "Section 527 Stealth Police Action Committees" to influence elections. The new law stipulated that Section 527 groups must register with the IRS, providing a modest measure of disclosure. Herb Block was not impressed by this limited effort to curb some secrecy in campaign finance and continued to believe that congressional big-money politics was not baring much of anything.
2000 
september 2010
Hare and Tortoise 2000 - JPG
Aesop's fable about the tortoise and the hare became a metaphor for the 2000 pre-convention presidential campaign. Although faster, Al Gore, the hare, seemed to bounce around, while George W. Bush, the tortoise, wheeled steadily ahead. A Bush lead in the polls dropped after Gore's appearance at the midsummer Democratic Convention.
2000 
september 2010
"It's still a representative form of government -- they represent us" - JPG
The unlimited "soft money" raised by national party organizations can be spent on advertisements that skirt the campaign finance reforms brought on by the excess of the Watergate era. Herb Block has consistently pointed out that the skyrocketing campaign contributions and expenditures threaten "government by the people and for the people." As for "free speech" arguments, he says "that there is nothing free about sales of public office to high bidders, who buy and pay for elections and influence."
2000 
september 2010
"‘A house divided' -- 'Preserve the Union' -- when does he get to the important thing -- telling us all about his personal religion?" - JPG
Personal religion has become a central issue during the 2000 presidential campaign, as most candidates have announced their religion and their beliefs. In this cartoon, Herb Block contrasts today's candidates with Abraham Lincoln, a man who could quote the Bible, but who kept his religious preferences to himself.
2000 
september 2010
"Said Alice . . . 'It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life'" - JPG
In October 1999, presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan switched from the Republican Party to the Reform Party, creating divisiveness within the emerging third party as his political platform differed markedly from that of founder Ross Perot. In the meantime, real estate magnate Donald Trump had formally established his Reform Party candidacy. Trump was favored as the "Stop Buchanan" candidate, but in February 2000, he withdrew from the race. In August 2000, Patrick Buchanan accepted the presidential nomination from one wing of a decidedly split Reform Party. For Herb Block, the situation evoked one of Sir John Tenniel's famous illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
1999 
september 2010
The Pre-Primary Vote - JPG
Presidential campaigns appear to begin earlier with each election, and the races for the 2000 election were in full swing by mid 1999. Long before the presidential primaries, candidates and both parties had amassed unprecedentedly large war chests. These consist largely of "soft money," contributions to political parties, which can be raised and used in any way that does not actually mention a candidate by name. The direct primaries, which were designed to eliminate nominations by "party bosses" in "smoke-filled rooms" did not anticipate the ever-increasing effects of money in determining national candidates before conventions. For decades, Herb Block has been a constant, uncompromising advocate for controlling campaign funds.
1999 
september 2010
Greatest Country on Earth - JPG
With the only superpower on earth enjoying record prosperity, Herb Block offers in this recent work some reminders of unfinished business and non-business.
2000 
september 2010
"This must be that strange creature they mentioned in history class" - JPG
By January 2000, the stock market had experienced twelve years of almost unprecedented growth, an extended "bull" market, leading many to forget that the law of gravity had not been repealed for stock purchases. New investors had taken advantage of the boom in Internet technology to trade on their own, and the lifetime experiences of many investors, which did not go back to days of financial recessions, left them unprepared for the steep sell-off of stocks in April 2000.
2000 
september 2010
"Put this on -- You're obviously not covered by the First Amendment" - JPG
On March 29, 2000, the Supreme Court upheld an Erie, Pennsylvania, ordinance that required nude dancers to wear pasties and G-strings. The Court maintained that nude dancing did not fall within the free speech protection of the First Amendment.
2000 
september 2010
"Just gunsmoke -- For a moment I thought somebody somewhere might be burning a flag" - JPG
Congress tried to make flag burning a crime while still refusing to pass legislation limiting the purchase of guns. In March 2000, the Senate once more considered a constitutional amendment, previously endorsed by President Bush, that would have banned "desecration of the flag," but once more fell just short of the necessary two-thirds vote.
2000 
september 2010
"I don't know where your socks are, and if you keep coming in here with that cigar I'm going to call OSHA" - JPG
In January 2000 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advisory made companies responsible for the health and safety of employees working from home. On January 5, the day the cartoon appeared, Alexis Herman, the Department of Labor Secretary, rescinded the advisory that had caused confusion among employers about what oversight they would be expected to provide for their telecommuting employees.
2000 
september 2010
Crime and Punishment - JPG
Herblock exposes inadequacies in sentencing by comparing the lengthy prison term meted out to a criminal involved in a drug use charge, with the relatively short term for the prisoner convicted of murder. The War on Drugs in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in harsher terms for those involved in drug-related activities. By 1999, prison populations had swelled with those serving long mandatory sentences for non-violent offenses. The long sentences for the use of crack (cooked cocaine) compared to those for use of the more expensive cocaine powder illustrate another inequity. The American Bar Association reported that by far the majority of arrests were for possession rather than dealing, and that the stiffer sentences did not deter actual criminal activity.
1999 
september 2010
"Kids these days! Craziness in schools movies, video games–terrible! Here–Try this dandy!" - JPG
This cartoon appeared shortly after the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado, in which two teenagers shot and killed twelve of their fellow students and a teacher before turning their weapons on themselves. This horrifying event followed other widely reported acts of violence with firearms in U.S. schools. Herb Block comments, "Many joined the gun lobby in seeking causes everywhere except in the easy availability of firearms."
1999 
september 2010
Speakers on Behalf of the Kosovo Massacred and Homeless - JPG
On March 23, 1999, NATO and the United States ordered air strikes against the Yugoslav military after Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic refused to halt his campaign against Kosovo Albanians. The air attacks began on the night of March 24, hitting Yugoslav targets, including the capitol city of Belgrade. President Bill Clinton evoked images of Nazi atrocities during World War II to lend moral weight to the decision to attack Yugoslavia. The American people, in general, responded favorably to NATO's action.
1999 
september 2010
Lines in the Sand - JPG
Milosevic's attacks in Croatia and Bosnia, and his practice of "ethnic cleansing" were too long ignored by the U.S. and its allies. Later, despite warnings from the NATO nations, Milosevic persecuted ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo. On February 23, 1999, Serbian and ethnic Albanian leaders announced they had reached an accord, but NATO reserved the option to begin air strikes if the situation did not improve. Herb Block correctly figured that an intransigent Milosevic would not adhere to the agreement.
1999 
september 2010
Impeachment Parade - JPG
Despite the reluctance of many senators, the House vote for impeachment required them to proceed. The trial began January 7, 1999, and after heated exchanges on both sides, the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton on February 12. On September 22, 2000, independent counsel Robert Ray, continuing an investigation begun six years earlier, dropped charges against Bill and Hillary Clinton concerning a Whitewater land deal going back to pre-presidential days. Herb Block comments, "The chief independent counsel in the more than $50 million investigations was Kenneth Starr, whose tactics were widely criticized. His performance contributed to Congress's failure to renew the independent counsel law."
1999 
september 2010
"What have we got that's more like a close shave?" - JPG
In 1998, President Bill Clinton's sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and his alleged perjury in grand jury testimony and obstruction of justice was the big issue. After their election losses that year, many Republicans were wary of calling for impeachment and urged consideration of censure instead.
1998 
september 2010
"True, I had coffee with those big contributors, but I didn't swallow" - JPG
During his 1992 presidential campaign Bill Clinton admitted that, while out of the country as a young man, he had smoked marijuana, but said he had never inhaled. Later, during a Senate investigation into campaign fund-raising abuses, the White House reluctantly turned over video tapes of coffees held with potential donors. Although the tapes ultimately showed no illegal activity, the White House's hesitance to disclose them prompted Republican leaders to call for an independent counsel investigation.
1997 
september 2010
"What -- Us tell fibs of some kind?" - JPG
On April 14, 1994, the Chief Executive Officers of the seven largest tobacco companies in the United States testified before the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment that they did not "believe" that nicotine was addictive. Indications that these CEOs were hardly being candid surfaced in the spring of 1996. Herb Block comments, "Internal documents showed a consistent pattern of knowledge and concealing of information on calculated efforts to promote and increase cigarette addiction." He portrays the CEOs with Pinocchio noses.
1996 
september 2010
Not Negroes! Not Women! Not Gays! - JPG
Within days of his inauguration, political pressure from the military and other sources forced newly-elected President Bill Clinton to delay his campaign pledge to lift the ban on gays in the armed forces. Gay and lesbian leaders subsequently announced their intention to hold Clinton to his election promise. Eventually a watered-down and largely ineffectual "Don't ask, don't tell," policy was announced and later questioned by Clinton himself. In this image, Herb Block lampoons earlier unsuccessful efforts by the military to avoid including African Americans and women.
1993 
september 2010
Economic-Political Currency - JPG
President George Bush, running for re-election in 1992, portrayed himself as an agent of change by supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and voucher programs for education and health-care. But the Savings-and-Loan scandal and the fact that Bush was held responsible for its ballooning costs to taxpayers was also costly politically. Bill Clinton benefitted from a campaign supporter's slogan, " It's the economy, stupid," to help him win the day on November 3.
1992 
september 2010
Health Coverage - JPG
On May 2, 1991, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that about 20 percent -- approximately $125 billion -- of medical spending is administrative in nature. Spiraling costs, the plight of uninsured patients and the need for universal health care coverage were among the concerns raised by Democratic candidate Bill Clinton during his successful 1992 presidential campaign.
1991 
september 2010
The Sorcerer's Apprentice - JPG
George Bush ran against Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination during the 1980 presidential campaign, criticizing his opponent's economic program as "voodoo economics." Herb Block comments: "Later, on being considered for the vice presidency, he not only switched to supporting Reagan's economic policies but did 180-degree turns to change from a Planned Parenthood supporter to a ‘right-to-lifer' and a sudden convert to all of Reagan's social policies, including teaching of "creationism" with evolution, and a constitutional amendment to bring organized vocal prayer into the public schools. He was also for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. He got the job. And four years later The Big Job. But his 1988 pledge, ‘Read my lips. No new taxes' came back to bite him when he agreed to a budget plan to increase taxes."
1990 
september 2010
"People's Republic" - JPG
On June 3 and 4, 1989, Chinese army troops and tanks rolled into the Tiananmen Square area in Beijing to crush student-led pro-democracy protests that had begun in mid-April. Residents of other cities in China and nations worldwide protested the bloody crackdown. Casualties were estimated at 5,000. Herb Block reprinted this cartoon ten years later as a reminder of the Chinese rulers with whom Americans were dealing.
1989 
september 2010
"And we pray that you sinners out there will see the light" - JPG
Some televangelists exploited those who could least afford to give. Several of these preachers, who preyed on the guilt of their listeners, were revealed as imperfect role models. In April 1987, the Reverend Jim Bakker's television empire, Praise the Lord (PTL), crashed when Bakker's sexual misconduct was revealed and federal and state officials began investigating PTL's funding practices.
1987 
september 2010
Church of the Heavenly Antenna - JPG
Self-serving TV evangelists made the news even as they broadcast their sermons on television. In Herblock at Large, the cartoonist wrote, "Also dealing in megabucks have been the TV evangelists who decry sin and who are up there in direct communication with God --- while at a more mundane level, they rake in millions a year to keep themselves on TV --- and sometimes to keep themselves living in the high style to which they have made themselves accustomed." A good example was Oral Roberts, who raised $8 million dollars after telling his television audience that God had warned him that he would die if he did not receive the money.
1987 
september 2010
"Our bags are packed" -- Weinberger on Star Wars Program - JPG
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was a strong advocate of increased arms spending, including the proposed anti-missile missile program, known as "Star Wars." The $640 toilet seat collar on Weinberger became a Herb Block fixture after disclosures of Pentagon purchases of $435 hammers, $466 socket wrenches, $600 ashtrays and $2,043 wing nuts.
1987 
september 2010
"Speak softly and carry a big stick" - JPG
As the Iran-Contra scandals grew, a Reagan-appointed commission headed by former Senator John Tower held hearings. President Ronald Reagan told the Tower Commission that (A) He did not know the National Security Council staff had been helping the contras; (B) he had "no definite knowledge of military aid"; and (C) "I was very definitely involved in decisions about the freedom fighters. It was my idea to begin with." Secretary of State George Shultz contradicted Reagan's testimony on knowledge of arms-parts shipments. When continued disclosures became public, the bold Reagan administration lapsed into the passive: "Mistakes were made." The Tower Commission absolved Reagan of blame in the Iran-Contra scandals, attributing his part in them to memory lapses.
1986 
september 2010
Arms Payoff for Hostage Release - JPG
On November 2, 1986, an American hostage was released by an Iranian group that had held him captive for more than seventeen months. It was soon reported that his release was linked to a transfer of military spare parts to Iran. President Ronald Reagan commented that such a story "has no foundation" and "is making it more difficult to get the other hostages out." Herb Block comments, "But the story was true, and the trading of arms actually provided an incentive for the taking of more hostages. Appearing on television, Reagan said forcefully, ‘We did not, repeat not, trade weapons or anything else for hostages.' When this was proven to be untrue, he later made a carefully worded retraction. He left it to Attorney General Meese to disclose the diversion of arms-sales funds to Nicaraguan contra rebels, a violation of an act of Congress."
1986 
september 2010
"Right up my alley" - JPG
The Reagan administration made abortion a top issue. Acting Solicitor General Charles Fried filed a brief with the Supreme Court on July 15, asking that the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision be overturned. It was the first time since 1954 that the Justice Department had requested that a key decision be reversed. On July 10, the House of Representatives voted to deny foreign aid to international groups that funded abortions.
1985 
september 2010
Invasion of the Corporate Body Snatchers - JPG
In this cartoon, Herb Block anticipated the super-giant, super-mergers that came later. In the 1980s, the deregulation of banking in the United States allowed financiers to use unprecedented and risky tactics. Financial innovations such as junk bonds encouraged corporate mergers, leveraged buyouts, and hostile takeovers at a phenomenal rate. By April 1985, the failure of many savings and loan institutions cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. It was described by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh as the biggest white collar scandal in history. Herb Block says, "It was swept under a very large rug."
1985 
september 2010
On to Central America - JPG
On August 21, 1982, President Ronald Reagan ordered eighty Marines to Lebanon, and one month later he sent 1200 more. At a press conference, correspondents familiar with the area had pointed out that U.S. troops barracked at an airport would be in an extremely vulnerable position. On April 18, 1983, a truck bomb destroyed the American Embassy in Beirut, killing seventeen U.S. Foreign Service and military personnel. On October 23, 1983, another truck bomb destroyed the Marine Barracks, killing 241 Marines and 19 U.S. civilians. Two days later, Reagan ordered an attack on the little Carribean island of Grenada, ostensibly to protect American students, who were unaware that they needed protection.
1984 
september 2010
"The gods are angry" - JPG
When President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he immediately pressed his program to cut taxes, reduce money spent on social programs and deregulate regulatory agencies. He named appointees to consumer protection and civil rights agencies who could be counted on to make them practically inoperative. Some Democrats went along with Reaganomics, but many felt it gave relief to the very rich and too little to the most urgent areas of need. Herb Block comments: "Reagan continued to call for balanced budgets without ever presenting one and tripled the national debt."
1981 
september 2010
Mined Area - JPG
This cartoon appeared as the United States government filed suit against the Occidental Petroleum Corporation for dumping hazardous waste at Love Canal and other sites around Niagara Falls, New York. Pressed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department also sued for reimbursement to cover the costs of cleaning up the toxic waste sites and to relocate people whose homes had become contaminated.
1980 
september 2010
"Rosalynn, it's him again" - JPG
Herb Block's commentary on the 1980 contest for the Democratic presidential nomination recalls a popular contemporary Gillette television commercial of a two-sided bathroom cabinet. On September 11, 1979, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his intention to run for president against the Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter unless there was "improvement in the economy or at least a perception of improvement by the American people." Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill encouraged Kennedy to run, which he did unsuccessfully.
1979 
september 2010
Spiritual Leader - JPG
The Shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi, left his country on January 16, 1979 paving the way for a new government led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. On April 1, 1979, Khomeini established an Islamic republic in Iran, calling it "the first day of the government of God." Revolutionary fervor ran high as armed vigilante bands and kangaroo courts made bloody work of the Shah's last partisans and what remained of the secular left. Under Khomeini's fanatic rule, firing squads summarily carried out death sentences. His followers seized the American embassy and numerous hostages on November 4, 1979.
1979 
september 2010
Moscow Olympics 1980 - JPG
On July 14, 1978, the Soviet government imprisoned Anatoly Shcharansky, a dissident accused of supplying secret material to a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The trial began on July 10, just two days before the start of U.S.-Soviet strategic arms limitation talks in Geneva. The trial captured public attention because Shcharansky had been promoting the cause of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. In addition, Shcharansky's countryman Alexander Ginzburg, manager of a fund for political prisoners, received a sentence of hard labor on July 13. President Jimmy Carter spoke out against the trials but said that American athletes would not boycott the Moscow Olympics. He reversed this decision in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
1978 
september 2010
"Ah, Independence Day -- The glorious Fourth! Do see that the natives get a nice fireworks display" - JPG
As a resident of Washington, DC since 1946, Herb Block has actively supported the political interests of the half million or so residents of the District of Columbia. Herb Block comments: "The residents of the District of Columbia pay the Federal income tax and a D.C. income tax that is higher than that of almost any state. And they are required to fulfill the same calls to duty including military service as other Americans. But they have no voting representation on the floor of either house of Congress."
1978 
september 2010
"We rub these sticks together till we strike a spark ... we keep rubbing these sticks together ... we take these sticks ..." - JPG
As U.S. dependence on foreign oil grew, President Jimmy Carter focused on energy conservation. He called his energy campaign the "moral equivalent of war," which critics shortened to "MEOW." In his 1978 State of the Union message, Carter reiterated the need for an energy bill, but could not rally support. The Reagan Administration scuttled the policy, even removing the solar panels Carter had installed in the White House. A generation later, the U.S. imports half of its oil from abroad, and has requested OPEC members to lower prices by increasing exports.
1978 
september 2010
"Except for those of us who are above it" - JPG
In 1977, the U.S. District Court tried a former CIA head for failing to report accurately the extent to which the spy organization was active in Chile. The House Judiciary subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights probed the FBI. The chairman questioned whether it was "appropriate to keep thousands of Americans under surveillance, [involving] everything they do, interviewing their employers, just because two or three people say they're going to stage a demonstration." Herb Block comments, "Unwarranted secret operations and snooping in the interest of ‘security' have contributed to making Americans feel less secure."
1977 
september 2010
"This here country ain't big enough for both of us" - JPG
In 1977, a severe fuel shortage caused by an OPEC decrease in production, along with increased pollution and growing fears of global warming, caused Americans to rethink energy use. Yet the government was slow to carry out the 1970 Clean Air Act, and the automobile industry pressured Congress to extend the deadline further. In 1977, the Act was amended to give both states and automakers still more time to reduce emissions. Gas-guzzling SUVs and light trucks were not held to the standards of ordinary cars and were later given till 2004 and beyond to reduce their polluting.
1977 
september 2010
"Read me what it says, Dad" - JPG
In Herblock on All Fronts, the cartoonist wrote: "Depreciation in dollars, in products, and in entertainment has also extended to education. Here it is not a case of the fast buck but of the fast bucking-the-kid-along-to-the-next-grade. It produces graduates who can hardly make their way through a phone book or figure the cost of four twenty-five-cent items in a grocery store."
1977 
september 2010
"... One nation ... indivisible ..." - JPG
On February 22, 1977, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter submitted his budget to Congress. It included an additional $350 million in school aid for poor children; extra millions in grants and work-study programs for college students; and sought a reduction in congressional funds for school districts with large numbers of federal employees. Herb Block's cartoon is a reminder of the divisions in one nation.
1977 
september 2010
"Remember -- don't vote for anyone who would interfere with the way we've been handling things" - JPG
In a televised address on October 15, 1974, President Gerald Ford appealed to Americans to mobilize in the fight against inflation, suggesting a list of voluntary individual measures. His "Whip Inflation Now" campaign was called WIN but turned out to be a loser. Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns had announced that the nation was in a recession, despite Ford's insistence to the contrary. Ford campaigned for Republican congressmen and senators, urging support for candidates who supported his fight against inflation.
1974 
september 2010
Nixon, Unindicted Co-Conspirator" - JPG
By July 14, 1974, President Richard Nixon stood almost alone. His vice-president Spiro Agnew, pleaded nolo contendere to a charge of tax evasion, and was forced to resign. Many of Nixon's closest aides had been convicted of illegal activities. Nixon himself was named an "un-indicted co-conspirator" by the Watergate grand jury. A few days later, the House Judiciary Committee recommended impeachment, and the Supreme Court required him to turn over all subpoenaed tapes. When even his closest friends, reviewing these tapes, agreed that the evidence against him was overwhelming, Nixon bowed to the inevitable, resigning on August 9.
1974 
september 2010
Nixon Hanging Between the Tapes - JPG
Even more damning than President Richard Nixon's profiting from public office were the disclosures of his corruption and attempts at corruption of the government itself including the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon and even the Secret Service. A taping system that had recorded most of President Nixon's conversations in the Oval Office provided the "smoking gun" that spoke of crime and corruption. Nixon refused to release the tapes until the Supreme Court ordered him to do so.
1974 
september 2010
Nixon, with sign, "I am not a crook" - JPG
On November 17, 1973, President Richard Nixon told 400 Associated Press managing editors that he had not profited from public service. "I have earned every cent. And in all of my years in public life I have never obstructed justice. People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook," he declared. On April 3, 1974, the White House announced that Nixon would pay $432,787.13 in back taxes plus interest after an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and a congressional committee. Among Nixon's benefits to himself were improvements in his properties, supposedly necessary for his protection. These included a security ice maker, a security swimming pool heater, security club chairs and table lamps, security sofa and security pillows.
1974 
september 2010
"Move over – We can't stay in a holding pattern forever" - JPG
Before the Watergate case, Herb Block had noted other Richard Nixon scandals. These concerned reports of improper influence by ITT Corp. on the location of the future Republican National Convention; Nixon's fluctuating decisions on milk price supports that amounted to a shakedown for campaign funds; and pressures on other businesses to meet quota "suggestions" on contributions. There were disclosures of taxpayer money spent to fix up Nixon's homes in Key Biscayne and San Clemente. Nixon also took large backdated tax deductions for the gift of his vice-presidential papers, which even included newspaper clippings.
1973 
september 2010
Nixon Awash in His Office - JPG
By June 1973, the country had become transfixed by the investigation of Watergate via the televised hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. On June 25, former presidential counsel John Dean began his testimony, the first before the committee to directly accuse President Richard Nixon of involvement in the coverup.
1973 
september 2010
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