Art of the Union

Hello, my name is Mitchell. I am an artist and writer creating politically charged content. My goal is to use art and humor to introduce people to politics and history.

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  • January 19, 2014 8:51 pm
    Celebrate! I have a new website, and needless to say that whole process has been cutting into the time that I have to create work for here. But, it’s done!  Now, back to the politics. As well as weekly posts, I’m working on creating video content as well.
Until then check out the new site: http://www.macnaughtonillos.com View high resolution

    Celebrate! I have a new website, and needless to say that whole process has been cutting into the time that I have to create work for here. But, it’s done!  Now, back to the politics. As well as weekly posts, I’m working on creating video content as well.

    Until then check out the new site: http://www.macnaughtonillos.com

  • December 7, 2013 4:33 pm
    I don’t have any writing to go with this. Sometime down the line I would like to have an art show based on my favorite historical time period - the Cold War. Naturally, I kicked off the series with my idol John F. Kennedy in Berlin. View high resolution

    I don’t have any writing to go with this. Sometime down the line I would like to have an art show based on my favorite historical time period - the Cold War. Naturally, I kicked off the series with my idol John F. Kennedy in Berlin.

  • September 11, 2013 10:43 pm
    By now the fix is in for Syria. President Obama has laid out his 2 options: Either Bashar al-Assad becomes a Middle Eastern flower child and hands over his chemical weapons to the international community peacefully or The U.S. will use Tomahawks to transform select Syrian targets into glass factories. But then there’s the third, less bandied about option: Supply Syrian rebels with lethal munitions to combat Assad’s forces. It’s a plan that has been in the works since June, but if put in a historical context, it may not be the most beneficial route to travel.

In my last post I had written about the U.S. intervention that ultimately lead Afghanistan’s Mujahideen rebels to upend the the invading Soviet forces. A key deciding factor to the Kremlin bashing in Kabul was the weapon that The United States supplied to the Afghan rebels - The FIM-92 Stinger. The MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense System) missile weighed in at 35 lbs of commie crushing power, traveled at a pace of 1,500 mph, and would haunt the Russians until wars-end.

Prior to the introduction of the Stinger, the Mujahideen forces arsenal of AK-47’s and weaponized Kajagoogoo records paled in comparison to the Soviet’s arial onslaught. But in 1986, the new projectile would turn the tables. The once hapless rebels could now make mincemeat of the arial death machines from up to 5 miles away with the missiles heat-seeking sensors. Couple the Mujahideen’s newly found land-to-air dominance with the fact that Soviet tanks had been rendered worthless due to Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, the rebels were able to follow their U.S. supplied itchy trigger finger to victory road.

Nothing beats a happy ending. So, what bookends this touching tale of cooperation? The Mujahadeen handed over the unused Stinger rockets to the outstretched arms of The U.S., who then tucked the inanimate war heroes into bed to retire to a hero’s glory.

Well, not quite. What actually happened was the United States government had to don the hat akin to a disgruntled librarian and go on a witch hunt to recover it’s absent property. Operation Missing in Action Stingers (I did not make that up) was launched in 1990 with a budget of $65 million, and it tasked the CIA with hunting down every last Stinger missile. Alas, like any hunt for 80’s memorabilia, the item sought proved illusive and terribly overpriced. The missiles were selling for up to a whopping $100,000 a piece, and by the mid-90’s an estimated 600 Stingers were still unaccounted for, with the search still ongoing into the most recent war in Afghanistan. 

Now we sit and nurse the idea of opening and arms bazaar once again, potentially learning nothing from history. In trying to nudge the president down this path, Senator Carl Levin opined that the weapons would go to “vetted” groups amongst the Syrian rebels, supplying them with an arsenal that couldn’t be turned on us. But doesn’t this lack a sense of foresight? The history of the Stinger shows that there is more damage that can be done from your weapons than just having them turned on you. Lost missiles turned up in the hands of militant groups, were purchased by aggressor governments such as North Korea, and have been dissected by the Chinese to learn their inner workings. Not to mention the large search-and-recover costs. All of this played against the United State’s best interests, even though it wasn’t through direct physical violence.

And that was all in the 1980’s-90’s. The world has become an even more globalized and borderless place since, letting any possible errant weaponry supplied to the Syrian rebels travel with much more ease. So now the question stands:  Are lethal instruments slipping through the cracks worth it to combat a potential national security threat? Or is it replacing one national security threat with another? In both the 80’s and today we seemingly answered yes to the first , and now we watch to see if history does indeed repeat itself. View high resolution

    By now the fix is in for Syria. President Obama has laid out his 2 options: Either Bashar al-Assad becomes a Middle Eastern flower child and hands over his chemical weapons to the international community peacefully or The U.S. will use Tomahawks to transform select Syrian targets into glass factories. But then there’s the third, less bandied about option: Supply Syrian rebels with lethal munitions to combat Assad’s forces. It’s a plan that has been in the works since June, but if put in a historical context, it may not be the most beneficial route to travel.

    In my last post I had written about the U.S. intervention that ultimately lead Afghanistan’s Mujahideen rebels to upend the the invading Soviet forces. A key deciding factor to the Kremlin bashing in Kabul was the weapon that The United States supplied to the Afghan rebels - The FIM-92 Stinger. The MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense System) missile weighed in at 35 lbs of commie crushing power, traveled at a pace of 1,500 mph, and would haunt the Russians until wars-end.

    Prior to the introduction of the Stinger, the Mujahideen forces arsenal of AK-47’s and weaponized Kajagoogoo records paled in comparison to the Soviet’s arial onslaught. But in 1986, the new projectile would turn the tables. The once hapless rebels could now make mincemeat of the arial death machines from up to 5 miles away with the missiles heat-seeking sensors. Couple the Mujahideen’s newly found land-to-air dominance with the fact that Soviet tanks had been rendered worthless due to Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, the rebels were able to follow their U.S. supplied itchy trigger finger to victory road.

    Nothing beats a happy ending. So, what bookends this touching tale of cooperation? The Mujahadeen handed over the unused Stinger rockets to the outstretched arms of The U.S., who then tucked the inanimate war heroes into bed to retire to a hero’s glory.

    Well, not quite. What actually happened was the United States government had to don the hat akin to a disgruntled librarian and go on a witch hunt to recover it’s absent property. Operation Missing in Action Stingers (I did not make that up) was launched in 1990 with a budget of $65 million, and it tasked the CIA with hunting down every last Stinger missile. Alas, like any hunt for 80’s memorabilia, the item sought proved illusive and terribly overpriced. The missiles were selling for up to a whopping $100,000 a piece, and by the mid-90’s an estimated 600 Stingers were still unaccounted for, with the search still ongoing into the most recent war in Afghanistan. 

    Now we sit and nurse the idea of opening and arms bazaar once again, potentially learning nothing from history. In trying to nudge the president down this path, Senator Carl Levin opined that the weapons would go to “vetted” groups amongst the Syrian rebels, supplying them with an arsenal that couldn’t be turned on us. But doesn’t this lack a sense of foresight? The history of the Stinger shows that there is more damage that can be done from your weapons than just having them turned on you. Lost missiles turned up in the hands of militant groups, were purchased by aggressor governments such as North Korea, and have been dissected by the Chinese to learn their inner workings. Not to mention the large search-and-recover costs. All of this played against the United State’s best interests, even though it wasn’t through direct physical violence.

    And that was all in the 1980’s-90’s. The world has become an even more globalized and borderless place since, letting any possible errant weaponry supplied to the Syrian rebels travel with much more ease. So now the question stands:  Are lethal instruments slipping through the cracks worth it to combat a potential national security threat? Or is it replacing one national security threat with another? In both the 80’s and today we seemingly answered yes to the first , and now we watch to see if history does indeed repeat itself.

  • July 27, 2013 12:21 am
    Anthony Weiner is back in the blinding national spotlight, which means I get another opportunity to post one of my favorite drawings.

Honestly, I don’t -nor have I ever- cared about the sexting controversy surrounding Weiner. And really, those calling it a sex scandal are being just a smidge disingenuous, as it’s missing the key ingredient to a sex scandal – the sex. As far as I can discern, there wasn’t even any touching. Just some lascivious texts and a glamour shot of Weiner’s personal banana tree. There were no bodies pulled from a river, no drugs, not even any public funds used for trollop sampling. In the grand scheme, this is a pretty tame controversy. But since it lives in the salacious we have recoiled in disgust and written Weiner off as a cheat who can’t possibly be trusted, just as we do with every other politician involved in a sordid scandal. This is something we really need to get over as American’s.

Need proof, let’s go to the history books. The 3 progressive icons of the 20th century – Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton – didn’t just share party affiliation as a similar link. They were also all philandering cocksmen. Looking at their legacies, it’s common that not a single one of them are admonished for their healthy portion of afternoon delight because in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter. Wars, deficits, and policy aren’t decided in the bedroom.

In fact, Anthony Weiner didn’t even need to step down from Congress. A NY1-Marist Poll released in 2011 after his first scandal found that, “According to the poll, 51% of those surveyed said they believed Weiner should stay in Congress; 30% said he should step down. Almost one in five, 18%, said they were unsure.” This is because Weiner did fine by his constituents, which is all that mattered. It’s the same reason why Louisiana Senator David Vitter was able to strap on a diaper while cavorting with prostitute’s and be allowed to still serve.

Yes, Anthony Weiner is married, but his is not the first marriage to hit a rough patch. Of course, his unfortunately hit a rough patch on a national stage. When we vote for our elected leaders, we are voting for how the lead in the streets, not between the sheets. The human character is a flawed character, no one is immune to their own foible’s, so the notion that our leaders should be better than the rest of us is a fairy tale. They are exactly like us. To really be true to that personal standard would render any present/future politician damned from the start. Just one look at anyone’s shameful internet search history after a night in a hotel room alone would render any political future dead in it’s tracks. View high resolution

    Anthony Weiner is back in the blinding national spotlight, which means I get another opportunity to post one of my favorite drawings.

    Honestly, I don’t -nor have I ever- cared about the sexting controversy surrounding Weiner. And really, those calling it a sex scandal are being just a smidge disingenuous, as it’s missing the key ingredient to a sex scandal – the sex. As far as I can discern, there wasn’t even any touching. Just some lascivious texts and a glamour shot of Weiner’s personal banana tree. There were no bodies pulled from a river, no drugs, not even any public funds used for trollop sampling. In the grand scheme, this is a pretty tame controversy. But since it lives in the salacious we have recoiled in disgust and written Weiner off as a cheat who can’t possibly be trusted, just as we do with every other politician involved in a sordid scandal. This is something we really need to get over as American’s.

    Need proof, let’s go to the history books. The 3 progressive icons of the 20th century Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton – didn’t just share party affiliation as a similar link. They were also all philandering cocksmen. Looking at their legacies, it’s common that not a single one of them are admonished for their healthy portion of afternoon delight because in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter. Wars, deficits, and policy aren’t decided in the bedroom.

    In fact, Anthony Weiner didn’t even need to step down from Congress. A NY1-Marist Poll released in 2011 after his first scandal found that, “According to the poll, 51% of those surveyed said they believed Weiner should stay in Congress; 30% said he should step down. Almost one in five, 18%, said they were unsure.” This is because Weiner did fine by his constituents, which is all that mattered. It’s the same reason why Louisiana Senator David Vitter was able to strap on a diaper while cavorting with prostitute’s and be allowed to still serve.

    Yes, Anthony Weiner is married, but his is not the first marriage to hit a rough patch. Of course, his unfortunately hit a rough patch on a national stage. When we vote for our elected leaders, we are voting for how the lead in the streets, not between the sheets. The human character is a flawed character, no one is immune to their own foible’s, so the notion that our leaders should be better than the rest of us is a fairy tale. They are exactly like us. To really be true to that personal standard would render any present/future politician damned from the start. Just one look at anyone’s shameful internet search history after a night in a hotel room alone would render any political future dead in it’s tracks.

  • May 3, 2013 6:01 pm
    Well, when I started this drawing it was relevant. I thought I’d still post it since I haven’t been on here as regularly as I used to be. As stated in my last post, things have been extremely hectic. I’m finally getting settled into my new home in Baltimore and it’s opening up more time for me to start posting here again. As much as I would’ve loved to post regularly for the past few months, sometimes life just doesn’t allow it. I make little-to-no money for the things that you see on this blog, so sometimes it has to take a backseat because my bills won’t wait for me to draw a picture of John Boehner in a diaper (by the way, I would never draw that. Don’t worry). So with that said, I apologize for the long gap and I will be back to posting art and commentary. Thanks for your patience! View high resolution

    Well, when I started this drawing it was relevant. I thought I’d still post it since I haven’t been on here as regularly as I used to be. As stated in my last post, things have been extremely hectic. I’m finally getting settled into my new home in Baltimore and it’s opening up more time for me to start posting here again. As much as I would’ve loved to post regularly for the past few months, sometimes life just doesn’t allow it. I make little-to-no money for the things that you see on this blog, so sometimes it has to take a backseat because my bills won’t wait for me to draw a picture of John Boehner in a diaper (by the way, I would never draw that. Don’t worry). So with that said, I apologize for the long gap and I will be back to posting art and commentary. Thanks for your patience!

  • February 24, 2013 8:48 pm
    This Tuesday is scheduled to be the Senate vote for defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, finally one step closer to the ending of this incredible storyline and letting Hagel take the nap that his face has been screaming for since it started.
You are probably familiar with the accusations that have been trotted out against Hagel, everything from the Dan Friedman “Friends of Hamas” joke that went viral in the Senate halls to the idea that Hagel hates Jews (the monster probably didn’t even cry during Schindler’s List). Tactics that don’t even involve Hagel have been used to block Hagel, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham vowing to block the nomination until he receives more information about Benghazi. Don’t worry though, every other embassy attack during 2012 is ok in Graham’s book.
Most of the holdups on Hagel’s nomination have been purely cosmetic, an effort by a handful of Republicans to make sure we know they still exist after the election. But then you get to the real criticism against Hagel, and it seems that he is being punished for being ahead of the curve when it comes to disowning George W. Bush.
The Tea Party movement and new Republican ideology was (supposedly) spawned in part by a party upset with the direction that had been taken under Bush’s lead. And don’t forget that the 2012 Republican National Convention hid Bush in a closet like was a young Harry Potter. And yet, Hagel is being put to task for his tendency to go against the Bush Administration, primarily when it came to the Iraq War.
Fast forward 2009, and the whole Republican party had turned their negative opinions of everything that happened during the Bush Administration into the Tea Party movement. Anti-immigration, anti-government, and anti-spending. Logic would tell you that Hagel would be the “not in the mainstream” wet dream that Republicans are always trying to brew up in their dusty cauldrons.
Unfortunatley for Hagel it seems that he was ahead of the trend. And as with fashion, no one gets credit for predicting a trend, it’s not cool until it’s accepted by groups in the know. Hating Bush 10 years ago only made Hagel the guy in a coffee shop with a handle bar mustache trying too hard. 

    This Tuesday is scheduled to be the Senate vote for defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, finally one step closer to the ending of this incredible storyline and letting Hagel take the nap that his face has been screaming for since it started.

    You are probably familiar with the accusations that have been trotted out against Hagel, everything from the Dan Friedman “Friends of Hamas” joke that went viral in the Senate halls to the idea that Hagel hates Jews (the monster probably didn’t even cry during Schindler’s List). Tactics that don’t even involve Hagel have been used to block Hagel, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham vowing to block the nomination until he receives more information about Benghazi. Don’t worry though, every other embassy attack during 2012 is ok in Graham’s book.

    Most of the holdups on Hagel’s nomination have been purely cosmetic, an effort by a handful of Republicans to make sure we know they still exist after the election. But then you get to the real criticism against Hagel, and it seems that he is being punished for being ahead of the curve when it comes to disowning George W. Bush.

    The Tea Party movement and new Republican ideology was (supposedly) spawned in part by a party upset with the direction that had been taken under Bush’s lead. And don’t forget that the 2012 Republican National Convention hid Bush in a closet like was a young Harry Potter. And yet, Hagel is being put to task for his tendency to go against the Bush Administration, primarily when it came to the Iraq War.

    Fast forward 2009, and the whole Republican party had turned their negative opinions of everything that happened during the Bush Administration into the Tea Party movement. Anti-immigration, anti-government, and anti-spending. Logic would tell you that Hagel would be the “not in the mainstream” wet dream that Republicans are always trying to brew up in their dusty cauldrons.

    Unfortunatley for Hagel it seems that he was ahead of the trend. And as with fashion, no one gets credit for predicting a trend, it’s not cool until it’s accepted by groups in the know. Hating Bush 10 years ago only made Hagel the guy in a coffee shop with a handle bar mustache trying too hard. 

  • June 15, 2012 1:55 pm
    I’m going to take a quick break from politics with this post to advertise a podcast – “The Cartoonimation Show.” I co-hosted this weeks episode in which we discuss Adult Swims history in the full. As well as co-hosting, I also created this weeks show art which is listed above. So, if you’re a fan of Adult Swim and are curious to hear the voice behind the Art of the Union keyboard, tou can listen to the podcast here. View high resolution

    I’m going to take a quick break from politics with this post to advertise a podcast – “The Cartoonimation Show.” I co-hosted this weeks episode in which we discuss Adult Swims history in the full. As well as co-hosting, I also created this weeks show art which is listed above. So, if you’re a fan of Adult Swim and are curious to hear the voice behind the Art of the Union keyboard, tou can listen to the podcast here.

  • February 12, 2012 1:57 pm
    This will be my last post for a while. I finally found a full-time job and will be dedicating the next month(s) to getting settled. I have been hired at a political advertising firm in Florida and have to uproot from New York which will be no easy task but is incredibly exciting. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found a job in politics. Anyways, after I get everything situated I plan to get this blog back to what I intended, informative/funny art and essays instead of having to fish back through my old art to fill space. Until then, I leave you with this sketch of JFK. 

    This will be my last post for a while. I finally found a full-time job and will be dedicating the next month(s) to getting settled. I have been hired at a political advertising firm in Florida and have to uproot from New York which will be no easy task but is incredibly exciting. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found a job in politics. Anyways, after I get everything situated I plan to get this blog back to what I intended, informative/funny art and essays instead of having to fish back through my old art to fill space. Until then, I leave you with this sketch of JFK. 

  • December 7, 2011 3:53 pm
    "I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Minimum Wage raises on fire off the shoulder of Capitol Hill. I’ve watched pepperoni pizzas glitter in the dark near Omaha, Nebraska. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to suspend."
And like that, Herman Cain has ended his bid for the Oval Office. With questionable grace and a severely embarrassed spouse, the Republican blaxploitation film that was the Cain campaign ended Saturday. Complete with exuberant wardrobe and outsider attitude, “Black Almond” crashed into town taking no prisoners. With an all strength/no humility attitude, Cain shook up the establishment with the same fury that he typically reserves for women’s skirts. And then, with a bright and misinformed future ahead of him, his campaign came undone quicker than his zipper.
Make no mistake about it, Herman Cain was a fame hungry circus clown. But, what he lacked as a politician he made up for in being a comedic genius. It would not surprise me if it were to come out that the Cain campaign was a Chuckles Hut improvisational bit that got carried away. The Women for Cain stock photo, Chile model, and that great knee slapper of a campaign commercial. The only candidate to go the student film route for his campaign. I’m sure on the cutting room floor lies the scene where a girl has milk poured on her by a weeping mime. Cain will surely take these skills with him to a new career, as Americans love nothing more than hearing blowhard fools make noises with their mouths.
You see, Herman Cain is the definition of what is wrong with politics today. A political landscape that allows campaign platforms to be built on shit instead of soil and still flourish. A place where sexual harassment charges are on par with electoral votes. You can know nothing, but a well-crafted lie to your base will satisfy them just fine. We live in a time where being able to say I’m an outsider is enough to gain the trust of the masses. 
I’m sorry, but I want a politician to run for president. I believe that our system started going downhill when the “outsiders” started campaigning for office, not for the people, but to rig the system for the benefit of their elite associates. Cain may have not been a politician, but he was a lobbyist and a serial womanizer. I would trade all the Gingrichs, Bachmanns, and Cains for just one more Kennedy, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower. It would be in the United States best interest to decipher the difference between not trusting in the short term and being fooled for the long term. View high resolution

    "I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Minimum Wage raises on fire off the shoulder of Capitol Hill. I’ve watched pepperoni pizzas glitter in the dark near Omaha, Nebraska. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to suspend."

    And like that, Herman Cain has ended his bid for the Oval Office. With questionable grace and a severely embarrassed spouse, the Republican blaxploitation film that was the Cain campaign ended Saturday. Complete with exuberant wardrobe and outsider attitude, “Black Almond” crashed into town taking no prisoners. With an all strength/no humility attitude, Cain shook up the establishment with the same fury that he typically reserves for women’s skirts. And then, with a bright and misinformed future ahead of him, his campaign came undone quicker than his zipper.

    Make no mistake about it, Herman Cain was a fame hungry circus clown. But, what he lacked as a politician he made up for in being a comedic genius. It would not surprise me if it were to come out that the Cain campaign was a Chuckles Hut improvisational bit that got carried away. The Women for Cain stock photo, Chile model, and that great knee slapper of a campaign commercial. The only candidate to go the student film route for his campaign. I’m sure on the cutting room floor lies the scene where a girl has milk poured on her by a weeping mime. Cain will surely take these skills with him to a new career, as Americans love nothing more than hearing blowhard fools make noises with their mouths.

    You see, Herman Cain is the definition of what is wrong with politics today. A political landscape that allows campaign platforms to be built on shit instead of soil and still flourish. A place where sexual harassment charges are on par with electoral votes. You can know nothing, but a well-crafted lie to your base will satisfy them just fine. We live in a time where being able to say I’m an outsider is enough to gain the trust of the masses. 

    I’m sorry, but I want a politician to run for president. I believe that our system started going downhill when the “outsiders” started campaigning for office, not for the people, but to rig the system for the benefit of their elite associates. Cain may have not been a politician, but he was a lobbyist and a serial womanizer. I would trade all the Gingrichs, Bachmanns, and Cains for just one more Kennedy, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower. It would be in the United States best interest to decipher the difference between not trusting in the short term and being fooled for the long term.

  • November 25, 2011 12:21 am
    
I did this illustration for Andre Mora over at Seattle Met. The article I illustrated is about Steve Jobs father and how he swindled his students out of money, leaving them high and dry on a trip to Egypt. You can read the article on their website here.

    I did this illustration for Andre Mora over at Seattle Met. The article I illustrated is about Steve Jobs father and how he swindled his students out of money, leaving them high and dry on a trip to Egypt. You can read the article on their website here.