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CSotD: Deniable Sources

Steve Breen ties in two related stories with a good news/bad news gag.

The good news is that Dear Leader has backed away from a decision to defund “Stars and Stripes,” blaming it on unnamed people in the Pentagon rather than owning it himself.

Superficially, the bad news is that he has no respect for the military, and we’ll get back to that, but there’s potentially a deeper downside in the punchline, because “Stars and Stripes” has, since its inception in the early days of the Civil War, earned respect and affection from the troops for telling the truth, even when it sometimes angers the brass.

Trump has already remade Voice of America from a source of truth into an administration flunky, prompting top-level resignations from those who declined to broadcast Yankee propaganda, and their warnings proved accurate, as VOA then produced a bootlicking story in praise of “Mike Pence: A Conservative Loyal Voice for Trump.”

It’s not hard to suspect that, having come to his attention, “Stars and Stripes” may be in for a similar editorial adjustment.

As has been said too many times, it’s not that you can’t make this stuff up; it’s that you don’t have to.

 

The reverberations of the Atlantic story continue, with Steve Sack offering this assessment of the insults leveled by the Draft Dodger in Chief.

And let me pause a moment to reiterate that Donald Trump did not dodge the draft five times. There are many names on that wall of men who took a II-S student deferment throughout their college years and then either accepted a draft call or enlisted. Taking a student deferment was not “draft dodging.”

But he certainly chose to dodge the draft one time, with a phony letter solicited by his daddy, and one time is more than enough: The vandalism in the cartoon can be wiped off, but the stain on his character cannot.

However, as noted yesterday, Trump has also dodged what seemed likely repercussions from his sexual behavior, and, similarly, his flag-waving Deplorables have never questioned him for letting them slog through the rice paddies while he stayed home.

 

Already, as Ed Wexler depicts, his loyal minions are declaring the whole thing a massive conspiracy by the Atlantic, aided and abetted by the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Fox News and others, who have confirmed most of the original charges.

And this observation from the newsroom: Confirming “most of the charges” does not mean the others are false, or even dubious. The fact that these beat reporters could confirm most of Goldberg’s story within 48 hours simply means that most of what he wrote was floating on the surface.

Given the same amount of time he put into his work, it’s not at all unlikely that they, too, could find the same things he did.

But it doesn’t matter to Wexler’s furious Deplorable, who promises to boycott a publication he’s never read, and will, similarly, avoid those other disloyal fake news outlets that fail to confirm his beliefs.

“Don’t confuse me with the facts” was a funny wisecrack back in the days when Thanksgiving Uncles had not yet been weaponized and had no influence on society, much less on government.

If you still think it’s funny, you’re paying no more attention to reality than they are. The co-option of VOA should be a warning to watch for similar Putinesque editorial changes at “Stars and Stripes.”

 

Which brings us to Jen Sorensen’s discussion of attack and denial, which I like except that it assumes a fact not in evidence: That those who level these anti-democratic charges at peaceful demonstrators could find Belarus on a map, much less that they know anything about what’s happening there.

Part of that is their deliberate ignorance and their reliance on talk radio and rightwing broadcasts. And we’d be better off if it were just the Deplorables in the street, but it goes much farther up the ladder than that.

My suggestion for the presidential debates is that they begin with each candidate drawing five slips from a bowl, each of which contains the name of a member nation of the UN, and then pinning that slip to an unlabeled world map.

But then if Trump won re-election, we’d have to re-write the CIA World Factbook to conform to whatever he’d done in the debates.

However, I would also question how many average Americans, even those who follow the mainstream media, are up to date on the uproar in Belarus, which has had scant coverage outside of NPR and the BBC.

But we sure have heard about that haircut, haven’t we?

 

Meanwhile, David Horsey knocks one over the centerfield wall with this roundup of personalities from the street.

Columnists and cartoonists like to say that, if everyone is angry, you probably got it right. That is nonsense and an insult to readers. If everyone is angry, it probably means you didn’t get anything right.

However, it think it’s safe in this case to say that Horsey will have touched more than a few nerves here and they all (each) look pretty righteous to me.

Oh well, wotthehell.

Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night and tomorrow you’ll be feeling alright.

 

Community Comments

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#1 phil von neupert
September/6/2020
@ 7:37 am

Those who got student deferments were often referred to as “draft dodgers” back in the day. The characterization stems from the fact that poor people didn’t have that option, and had no choice but to serve (or go to Canada.) I think it’s a legitimate criticism, and is one of the reasons we now have an all-volunteer military. Our military is still staffed by people who were poor, and had few (if any) other options. Many soldiers have medical conditions that would preclude their service, and fought to get in. Getting a phony doctor’s note is draft dodging by anyone’s measure. It staggers the imagination to know that many of Trump’s most ardent supporters are the “suckers” he refers to, and they just can’t see it.

#2 Stephane Pigeon
September/6/2020
@ 11:56 am

Forget the five countries, I would ask them to pick 5 state capitals and match them to the correct state on an unlabelled map. Bonus points if they are within 100 miles in the correct state.

#3 Mike Peterson
September/6/2020
@ 2:41 pm

Sorry, but I never heard that criticism of II-S deferments, in New York, Indiana or Colorado, nor from any number of people who lived in other places.

There were people who objected to the II-S as elitist and encouraged students to give theirs up, for the reasons you give, but I never, ever heard it called “draft dodging.” Not once. Ever.

Draft-dodging was taking fake steps, like a bogus doctor’s letter or swallowing tin foil to fake an ulcer on x-rays.

Where it became foggy was in things like fasting before a physical if you were within a few pounds of the minimum weight, but draft counselors, who were part of the resistance, would often suggest those borderline actions. And, as noted, there were people who stayed in school rather than give up their II-S. But “draft dodger” was reserved for people who committed plain fraud.

#4 Phil0 Sophic
September/6/2020
@ 3:51 pm

Mike,
Most of the Draft dodger and America love it or leave it rhetoric was from the same pro war/America crowd of today. I served (reluctantly) in the mid 60s then protested until it ended. Living in NYC it was the construction workers and a minority of WW2 Vets that were most pro vocal and active. Outside of the city they didn’t have red hats however it was the same gun toting flag waving group as today that believe blindly we can do no wrong. Bieng on the front lines of anti war and human rights protesting I learned we are predominantly a nation of closed minded bigots that worship a stained flag whose government can do no wrong because they were never tought what our founding fathers actually had in mind when they conceived this experiment.
Change is necessary and this great nation needs some, especially now that more weaknesses have been exposed.

#5 phil von neupert
September/6/2020
@ 4:53 pm

It may not have been as widespread as I remember, Mike, but I did hear it in the Chicago suburbs. It usually came from working class people, and usually after a few beers. I also recall a few Viet Nam draftees in my Army unit having the same attitude. I agree that college deferments aren’t draft dodging in the literal sense, but an awful lot of working people resented the “rich kids” who took them. Calling them draft dodgers was probably just them blowing off steam, but I know it heard it.

#6 Mike Peterson
September/6/2020
@ 5:22 pm

I heard the guys who served called a lot worse, but, similar to the folks you describe, it was a few loudmouths. Such folks are still with us, on both sides of the political spectrum. (See Horsey’s cartoon, above.)

Blowhards don’t get to define terms, but, hey, if anyone really thinks taking a II-S was draft-dodging, maybe they should petition the Park Service to put asterisks on the names of all the “draft-dodgers” on that wall who went to college before they served.

#7 Richard Lindsay
September/6/2020
@ 5:43 pm

I had a college deferment, graduated, was in the draft, signed on for OCS, graduated 3rd in my OCS, chose my army branch. My plan was to skip Nam by going to a bunch of easy to get into courses, like Airborne, Green Berets, Special Forces, funny though, just when my time remaining would be less than a year, I got my orders. Oops! And my plan to go to schools, etc.? That training was exactly what they were looking for in small special ops teams to continually harass the NVA and Viet Cong along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. That, of course was good for firefights every time we went out, 10 of us to harass the North Vietnamese Army, not platoon, not squad, nope, the Army. So, every plan I had seemed to fail. I followed the dictates of my country against what I believed. But I don’t remember any of that anymore except standing on the UMaine Library steps with my friend Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King, ask him) exhorting 500 or so young people to act back against the Viet Nam War. We didn’t accomplish much but we did feel good about ourselves. However, when the time came I went. And what I remember most about the entire episode was the face of a young black kid, new to the unit, very new, who carried me through gunfire to safety when I came across an unfriendly IED.

#8 phil von neupert
September/6/2020
@ 6:37 pm

Yeah, the Horsey cartoon pretty much sums it up.

#9 Jim Ballinger
September/7/2020
@ 11:20 pm

I have to take issue with the, Was it John Horsey, cartoon. The single most important individuals are the paid instigators and arsonists like the “umbrella man” who is caught on video by numerous protesters and was later identified as a member of a Hell’s Angel affiliated biker gang with a white supremacy agenda, and he was not alone, and they make money doing that type of thing. He broke the windows, then latter was filmed back at the open back door of the auto parts store. Before the fire was started. Who got the blame, your cartoon has a glaring error! Google “umbrella man and protests”. Get a clue!

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