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Comic Strip of the Day: Bull in China and elsewhere

It would be awfully hard not to lead off with Patrick Blower‘s commentary on the new, voluntary trade wars, simply for the color and dynamism of the piece.

But it’s more than eye-catching, with the absurdity of Trump and his little leash-and-collar, about to be ignominiously crushed by household appliances rather than suffering the more honorable dragon-flaming death.

Trump’s self-centered lack of empathy is absurd when he’s tossing paper towels to hurricane survivors or making lame jokes about boats to someone whose house is in ruins.

But his inability to — pardon the metaphor — read the tea leaves when dealing with other governments is far more hazardous, and his arrogant, paranoid world view that anyone who stands on equal ground is an enemy and must, as Blower says, be brought to heel, is genuinely dangerous.

 

Add to that, as Rob Rogers does, the combination of his utter ignorance of how economics work and his stubborn refusal to learn, and you’ve got quite an uncool situation boiling up.

Woodward documents a conversation in which he was being warned about the deficit, to which his response was that we should print a whole lot of money, lend it out at the newly-raised interest rates and thus make a lot of profit for the government.

Even a mildly attentive high school senior would know better. It’s as if we had hired a self-styled automotive engineer who, it turns out, flunked driver ed and never took trig.

 

And so Patrick Chappatte (whom I mistakenly identified yesterday as French; he’s Swiss) combines Trump’s obsession with walls with his abysmal ignorance in dealing with world leaders, and behold.

I enjoy the way cartoonists play with the China trade war, because, as both Chappatte and Blower predict, the result will be destruction to our own retail economy.

I suppose, in his fourth-grade mind, he thinks we’ll bring all that production back here and it’ll be 1950 again with Dad at the factory and Mom in the kitchen, but he needs a sixth or seventh grader to explain where metal and parts come from, simply as a beginning.

Not to mention that one of the good things about the 1950s was that unions were strong and kept his fatcat pals from running roughshod over the workers, while that post-war “We’re all in this together” atmosphere also prevented them from posting absurd CEO salaries and stock options.

I don’t think Trump’s contributors want to go back to that, however many of his constituents would like to wind things back before Brown v the Board.

So he’s playing with everybody’s cost of living, and we should bear in mind that the other part of going back to those days is that, when Dad was at the factory and Mom was in the kitchen, they only had one car in the family and one bathroom in the house and no dishwasher.

Good luck selling that aspect of the good old days.

Still, it’s more contained than what may happen if he continues to listen to his collection of outdated foggy old war hawks about the Middle East.

A busted economy is better than sending another generation off to kill and be killed at the behest of a confused, incompetent nitwit.

 

And a busted domestic economy, in which everyone is flipping burgers and nobody can afford to replace their refrigerator, could cost him votes despite, as Jeff Danziger notes, his loyal pack of puppies.

I particularly like this cartoon because, while some of their more outrageous butt-sniffings show up in my feed, what I see are mostly the comments from true cuckoobirds, in minor news groups or from the back row of Congress.

This makes it easy to brush off Trump loyalists as fascists, racists, imbeciles and clowns, which raises the question of why anybody with any sense would listen to them.

But this bunch is featured on programming packaged as legitimate news, and they don’t continually froth at the mouth and fall off their chairs like John Belushi on Weekend Update. They come across as perfectly reasonable.

I watch MSNBC and CNN in the afternoon, going back and forth because, while MSNBC leans left harder, CNN treats everything as a “Breaking News! OMG! Emergency!”

So I sometimes end up parsing through it like the hapless curate gamely seeking out the excellent parts of a bad egg, but, for the most part, I rarely find them promoting something truly rotten or taking positions that five minutes of research would clearly show to be false.

I imagine there were conservatives who watch Fox in much the same fashion, perhaps sensing the right-lean but without picking up on the purposeful distortion and genuine ill-will because it is generally presenting by nice-looking people in nice clothes who speak nicely.

These are, I would guess, the people for whom loyalty means “My country, right or wrong,” and you don’t have to go to a Klan rally to hear that.

 

To add Nick Anderson‘s cartoon to the discussion, there may be plenty of people who want to see pederast priests in jail but who doubt the story being told by Kavanaugh’s accuser, and it is hypocritical.

On the other hand, while you always have a number of faithful who punish their children for making those accusations against dear old Father Finnerty, there’s a much, much larger number who doubt it was true or who were content with the bishop’s decision to send Father off for six weeks of counseling before assigning him to another parish.

I think it’s perhaps less that they don’t want to believe those terrible things about Father Finnerty or Brett Kavanaugh and more that they don’t want to be shaken out of a universe in which everything is as it ought to be.

They do not want to live in a nuanced world. They want to believe. They want certainty and stability.

The war is not against the crazies. They are an inconsequential minority.

It’s against a much larger group:

The enemy is those who will not hear, because they will not risk upsetting the things that keep them anchored.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
September/23/2018
@ 7:50 am

It’s been… well, amusing-yet-frustrating to see how Commander Babyfinger’s attempt at a trade war with Canada isnt working out too well for him. He keeps insisting on deadline for Canada to commit to his pretty outrageous demands about Chapter 19, and then the deadline passes, and he says, “Fine! Here’s the real deadline!” And then *that* one passes, and he says, “All right! But this is your absolute FINAL deadline!” I forget what the current one is.

And of course, the Trump-like conservatives in our country are screeching, “He’s going to ruin our economy if we dont do this! And it’s all Trudeau’s fault!” Because, you know, CB is an astute businessman and Trudeau is Pierre’s son, and we all know what *that* means………

It’s one of those moments when I wonder what Gilbert and Sullivan would be doing with this mess.

#2 Mary McNeil
September/23/2018
@ 3:46 pm

Or what Pogo (and Walt Kelly) would say…

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