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Comic Strip of the Day: A Bull Run Indeed

(Lisa Benson)

(Scott Stantis)

Let’s start with a Juxtaposition of Conservatives, and it’s rare that I take Lisa Benson’s POV over Scott Stantis’s, but her pun is both telling and fascinating.

The man churns out one preposterous statement after another and yet the stock market continues to rise.

Still, for all the sage rubbing of chins and tenting of fingers and bloviating of bloviators, most speculation about why the stock market behaves as it does is just that: Speculation.

In the short run, it’s almost always foolish.

In the long run, there’s more substance, because you can attribute changes in the market to sustained, long-term things like war or oil supplies.

But the bottom line is, stock is worth whatever the traders think it’s worth. The system is not dishonest, but it’s not objective.

It’s very rare that a policy results in a major, sustained market change, though the near-collapse of the system in 2008 was certainly one of those moments, and, if you want to credit presidents and their policies, then that was George W.’s fault, and the subsequent recovery was to Barack Obama’s credit.

Or possibly it was a response to the policies enacted in the last month of Bush and the first month of Obama in what seems the last time the two parties stopped squabbling and worked together.

The Dow has been on a constant rise since March, 2009, and taking credit for the fact that it hasn’t stopped seems a little fatuous. The most that can be said is that, while it began its rise under Obama, it didn’t plummet when Trump took office.

But you don’t see a lot of statues with “He didn’t fuck it up” engraved on their bases.

 

However, if you want to attribute market change to presidents — this time charting the S&P 500 — the best of the last four have been Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

So far, Trump hasn’t done a lot more than Obama did over the same period in his administration.

Though, yes, he’s done one helluva lot better than Reagan or Bush, and, while the Democrats in Stantis’s cartoon may wonder how long he can ride that bull, it’s worth noting that, when the rider falls, it’s those clowns who are tasked with risking their own asses to save his.

(Here’s the site where I got those charts. They’re interactive and fun to play with.)

 

As you may have already intuited, I see the attempt to credit Trump with a market that hasn’t stopped rising as a bit of a distraction, and Nate Beeler —  another conservative, by the way — cracks me up with this pun.

 

Ann Telnaes — who BTW is not conservative — puts it another way, drawing on Trump’s own mobster language.

Fascinating that the Trump mob has taken to defending him by comparing him to Al Capone.

But people have long celebrated villains, as Charles MacKay pointed out more than a century and a half ago:

Turpin’s fame is unknown to no portion of the male population of England after they have attained the age of ten. His wondrous ride from London to York has endeared him to the imagination of millions; his cruelty in placing an old woman upon a fire, to force her to tell him where she had hidden her money, is regarded as a good joke; and his proud bearing upon the scaffold is looked upon as a virtuous action. … Not less familiar to the people of England is the career of Jack Sheppard, as brutal a ruffian as ever disgraced his country, but who has claims upon the popular admiration which are very generally acknowledged.

 

Which pair Thomas Nast later compared to the Tweed Ring, with Turpin saying to Sheppard, “There’s no use talking. To them belongs the Palm. They have completely outdone us.”

So now we’re back. Where do we go from here?

It’s true that Robin Hood and other brigands become folk heroes, and I’ve used the clip from “Bonnie and Clyde” in which they shoot out the windows of a repossessed home.

Moreover, we’ve made heroes of the fictional Corleone and Soprano families, so whose hands are clean?

Still, I’d never seen Al Capone held up as anything but a murderous psychopath until now, and it seems particularly bizarre that an administration which inflates the MS-13 gang into a threat much larger than reality would turn around make an enemy of Elliot Ness.

But Trump is not the cause of this situation. He’s the result.

He’s what you get after you’ve bathed the public long enough in a marinade of hostile talk radio rants, searches for Bigfoot and “documentaries” that promote counterfactual paranoia.

Many of Trump’s most outrageous statements are simply repeats of the lies and legends promulgated by talk radio and Fox News, including his utterly asinine, off-the-wall tweet about South Africa’s land redistribution program.

South Africans, including Brandan Reynolds, were not amused to see a small, delusional coterie of racist hatemongers endorsed by the American president.

 

But why wouldn’t Americans fall for a myth about a place on the other side of the globe when they are gullible enough to believe in the resurgence of the coal industry in their own country?

As Kal Kallaugher suggests, Trump is protecting a small, outmoded industry segment in an effort to impress the Deplorables.

It’s a fraud. Coal is not coming back. Power stations are not going to tear out their natural gas generation equipment in order to use coal any more than steel companies will rebuild their iron ore mines.

And Bigfoot is not out there in the woods, despite how many “documentaries” insist that he is.

Again, however, Trump is not the cause.

He is the result. He is what we’ve gained.

 

Pat Bagley offers a tribute to what we’ve lost.

Even those who disagreed with John McCain saw him as a decent man in an era where decency has become outmoded.

Classy of Pat to acknowledge him before he’s gone, and to do so with a refutation of the level to which we’ve lowered ourselves.

Plus this

Community Comments

#1 Richard John Marcej
August/25/2018
@ 8:03 am

I love and am so envious of Ann Telnaes work! IMO she’s easily one of the best, if not the best editorial/caricature artists currently working today. This comic is a prime example, no need for names on the characters like some artists need to do. With her work you can easily grasp everyone she depicts. The fact that the strength of her writing is so good is just icing on the cake!

#2 Mary McNeil
August/25/2018
@ 4:17 pm

I’m sure Trump and his gang compare themselves to Al Capone because they realize that what finally landed him in Alcatraz was not his murderous tendencies, but his tax fraud. Ya think ?

That Bagley cartoon is beautiful ! Simple. Stark. Impossible to misinterpret.

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