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CSotD: In a snarky mood

“Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
   As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
   By a finger entwined in his hair.
“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
   That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
   What I tell you three times is true.”
I don’t often have the TV on much before five o’clock, but yesterday was a light workday and I happened to catch Trump’s astonishing driveway unburdening, in which, as Matt Davies illustrates, he explained how his tariffs had actually worked, emulating Joseph McCarthy in claiming to have an important paper in his pocket and then flashing it without letting anyone see it.
In fact, he specifically kept reporters from actually seeing it, because he said they would then freeze-frame it and read it, and it’s a super-secret multi-page one-page agreement with Mexico.
As illustrated here by Rob Rogers.
And he denied reports that the Mexican government had, as Darrin Bell points out, agreed to beef up security at their southern border some time ago and insisted that the threat of tariffs worked and Mexico had caved in to his superior negotiating power.
I suppose we shouldn’t expect him to say, “After shooting off my mouth without consulting Congressional Republicans, it appears I wrote a check they’re not gonna cash, but, fortunately, if you’ve all forgotten the agreement we reached with the Mexican government earlier, I can pretend it came in response to my empty threats.”

 

He then segued, to the extent he segues rather than leaps, into rants about Joe Biden and insults about Nancy Pelosi that could have been a John Belushi opinion piece on Weekend Update.
I was amused by the opening line in a story in The Week, which said “President Trump formally kicks off his re-election campaign next week,” because how could you tell?
He’s been running for re-election since he was sworn in, with campaign rallies in place of speeches, the main difference being that his “speeches” are all about how great he is, and are largely based on facts that only he can see.
And he’s not content with the Bellman’s count of three, but tells us these things far more often than that, which doesn’t make them true but makes them dominate the national conversation, which is much the same thing.
It puts the mainstream press in a difficult position, because they should report what the president says. It’s news, even if it is utter bullshit.
And journalistic ethics should keep a reporter from writing that the president ranted like a lunatic, saying things that were not even close to true or fair or accurate.
At least, ethics used to. I ran into a situation once in what was intended to be a straightforward article about college football, but which became confrontational when the athletic director told me a series of lies so outrageously ridiculous that I had to go into consultation with my editor to find a way to quote him accurately without letting his nonsense go unchallenged.
Here’s what we came up with:
The immediate impact was that the sports department got upset because they weren’t allowed to use the word “bullshit,” but a few weeks later, it emerged that CU was under investigation by the NCAA and was about to be placed on probation, which explained Crowder’s tap-dancing.
I can’t blame someone for bullshitting the press who is under investigation and in danger of losing his job, whether it’s Eddie Crowder or Donald Trump, but I don’t think White House reporters can turn around and ask Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron if Dear Leader is bullshitting them.
And, besides, the people who think he’s bullshitting will think that, and the people who think that what he tells them three times is true will believe that, and I wish I thought there were a lot more people in the middle who might shift positions.
Fortunately, there are some conservatives who really are conservative and I like this Michael Ramirez piece because he not only confronts the bullshit (And I also like the Big Mac, Coke and ketchup bottle.), but, in this hyper-partisan world, there’s a much better chance of Ramirez’s work landing on the breakfast table in a conservative home where it might make a difference.
Which brings us to a brief commercial break, because I snagged that cartoon from “Counterpoint,” a new political cartooning aggregator that will drop a weekly collection of diverse voices into your mailbox at no cost.
Counterpoint is the brainchild of a well-heeled sponsor who wants people to see cartoons from both sides and so has recruited Ramirez, along with Darrin Bell, Kal Kallaugher, Nick Anderson, Mike Lester, Rob Rogers, Scott Stantis and Rick McKee to deliver cartoons each week.
There’s no cost to subscribe. You simply go here and make it happen.
Now, back to our exciting program!
Yesterday, I featured this Thomas Nast cartoon on the Tweed Ring, which I particularly like because it features the whole group, and has the ghosts of two legendary road agents admitting that their thievery is totally eclipsed by the crew below.
It occurred to me a little later that someone could simply redraw the faces, since, as Clay Bennett points out, we’re at the point now where the question of whether it is ethical to rake in cash has given way to the question of how much you can grab.
Jeff Danziger levels the charge that Jared Kushner is profiteering over war and repression in the Middle East, while
Ann Telnaes points out a double conflict of interest as Mitch McConnell and his wife, Sec’y of Transportation Elaine Chao, work together to extract money for Kentucky from the swamp that was supposed to be being drained.
But there is no conflict of interest.
There is no conflict of interest.
There is no conflict of interest.
See? I said it three times! It’s true!

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
June/12/2019
@ 9:30 am

Carroll’s opening line reminds me of another great opening line: “Just the day for a Whiskey Rebellion!” said Aunt Polly Pinkwood, and off she ran, lipperty-lipperty-lip, to fetch a few shooting rifles. (Writer: Donald Ogden Stewart)

McConnell’s nigh-supernatural ability to increase his wealth by millions each year on a congressman’s salary reminds me strongly (as have so many Gop politicians) of the song “A Little Tin Box” from FIORELLO!

“Mr. X, may we ask you a question?
It’s amazing, is it not,
That the city pays you slightly less than fifty bucks a week,
Yet you’ve purchased a private yacht?”

“I am positive your Honor must be joking!
Any working man can do what I have done.
For a month or two I simply gave up smoking,
And I put my extra pennies one by one
Into a little tin box,
A little tin box
That a little tin key unlocks.
There is nothing unorthodox
About a little tin box…”

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