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CSotD: Changing Times

Clay Bennett (CTFP)‘s latest inspires a couple of reactions.

One is to take it at face value, because it does feel that we’ve put a lot of bad vibes and hard feelings behind us. I’ve said before that I don’t expect a lot from Joe Biden, but a simple Jerry-Ford-like chance to exhale is good enough for me.

And, as I’ve also said before, Jen Psaki’s press briefings are a repeated indicator that this administration really wants to work with the American people and its media.

But there’s also that “I’ve seen too many horror movies” feeling that, just about the time everyone relaxes and begins to celebrate, the monster bursts back into the room, bigger and more fierce than ever.

After all, Ford was a relief after Watergate and the abuses of Hoover’s FBI, and we put in all sorts of reforms to make sure those things never happened again.

Then our lawmakers decided we didn’t need those restrictions after all, and, well, here we are.

Which brings us to an interesting

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Chris Britt – Creators)

(John Cole – Times Tribune)

Britt’s cynical take on the GOP roll-out of a new, improved, no-longer-insane Marjorie Taylor Greene is not without base, particularly that bit when Kevin McCarthy claims to have never heard of Q-Anon, which he really said.

And yet he had spoken about it before, so, obviously, he was lying, which brings into question that entire dog-and-pony show.

And if that weren’t enough, Greene went on C-SPAN a day later with a rambling load of self-justification that cast doubt on her more carefully staged Congressional confession.

And Cole is right to mock that confession, in which she backs away from her antisemitic remarks and bizarre conspiracy theories without quite renouncing them. She claimed she had stopped believing before running for Congress, which is clearly untrue — or at least she hadn’t stopped advancing the toxins in her campaign.

But the phrase that will follow her permanently is that she was “allowed to believe” these things, and Cole properly captures that lack of personal responsibility.

Maybe she’s regretting that, when she first began to spout those theories, nobody horsewhipped her. But somebody, some outer force, “allowed” her to believe nonsense. It surely wasn’t her fault.

All of which would be dark comedy if the GOP had not backed her and if she were the only Q-Anon believer among their ranks and if she had been appointed to the seat rather than elected.

Not exactly a squeaker. There are all sorts of reasons that she ended up as the GOP candidate, having edged out less insane people in a jumbled primary, but the bottom line is that her lunacy did not dissuade GOP voters from putting her into office.

She’s there because nearly a quarter of a million people want her to be there.

 

Which brings us to Pat Bagley (SL Trib)‘s depressing observation that the Republicans are working in various states to suppress votes by making it harder for people with limited resources to cast ballots.

More stringent ID requirements harm those without drivers licenses, for instance, while limits on mail-in ballots will damage the ability of older people and people in rural areas without public transportation to vote.

Democrats can counter some of this by passing the John Lewis Voters’ Rights Act, but they’re also going to have to remain active on the state level, imitating what Stacy Adams did in Georgia, and what I have earlier said: Passion is nice, but shoe leather and clipboards make the real difference.

And then there’s this

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Ann Telnaes – WashPo)

 

(Lee Judge – KFS)

Stimulus checks are nice — I’ll like them even more when I finally get mine — but we’ve got to get the country back on its feet, and that doesn’t simply mean boosting the Dow Jones.

Telnaes notes that, however bad the job market may be under the pandemic, it’s hitting women, minorities and young people harder, and it’s not just the lack of jobs but the lack of justice.

I say that as someone in a state that is about to pass a “Right to Exploit Labor” law.

Judge further notes the increasing disparity between profits and payroll, and between the workers’ earnings and CEO compensation.

It’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s not moral and it’s not necessary.

 

Nick Anderson (Counterpoint)‘s executive insists that you can’t disrupt the system and expect the economy to survive.

But someone noted the other day that Costco pays its employees $15 an hour while other warehouse stores have stuck to statutory minimum wages, and yet Costco offers the same prices as BJs or Sam’s.

Don’t take off your shoes or put away those clipboards.

 

Then again, don’t feel that we don’t have a few allies in high places. As Robert Airial (AMS) points out, Fox rattled the wrong cage, and lawsuits from both Dominion and Smartmatic are pushing back against the lies broadcast not only by Fox but by OAN and Newsmax, as well as by individuals in their employ and on the fringe of government.

Those of us old enough to remember how Carol Burnett changed the nature of grocery tabloids are excited to see the potential for a similar shift in how fake news is handled on television and radio.

 

Meanwhile, not only is Putin’s puppet no longer in office, but, as Patrick Chappatte notes, he’s got enough on his own desk that he may not have time to mess with anyone else anyway.

Russian politics are very different than our own, but having throngs of people across that gigantic nation turning out to protest, knowing the hostile reception they’re apt to face on the streets and the implacable nature of their federal government, is impressive to begin with, and, yes, the fact they’re not dissuaded by subzero weather is the cherry on top.

Not a country or a system that often inspires jealousy, but, my goodness, it’s good to see people stand up.

I wouldn’t mind hearing balaliakas ringing out like that on this side of the globe.

 

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