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CSotD: Sunday Wrap

We’ll open today’s offerings with documented proof that Steve Kelley (Creators) either slept through the entire Trump administration or is having serious regrets over not paying greater attention to the factual gyrations of its various press secretaries.

He’s also wrong about what Psaki said, suggesting that reporting misinformation to Facebook, Twitter, whoever, is the same as forbidding them to publish.

Under Trump, press secretaries had the unpleasant task of passing along the President’s eccentric view of reality, starting with poor Sean Spicer having to defend the overblown estimates of crowd size at the inauguration. It didn’t get any better, though Sanders and McEnany didn’t seem to suffer from Spicer’s conflicts over it.

Unlike Sanders, who could come across as a scold when she was batting down a question she didn’t like, Psaki not only keeps her cool but then answers the question, as in this recent exchange with Fox Reporter Steve Doocy, in which she makes clear that watching television or scrolling through Facebook does not constitute “spying:”

 

I kind of regret that I didn’t watch Fox News to see what Doocy managed to take away from that encounter, but, meanwhile, here’s the “Disinformation Dozen,” and nobody had to break into the Watergate complex to find them.

 

Not that Biden is free from criticism coming from his own side of the aisle. Mike Thompson echoes calls for him to take stronger action to end the filibuster rule in the Senate.

I suspect that there’s a lot going on that we’re not seeing, but if Biden is pinning his hopes on picking up a pair of Senate seats in 2022 and breaking the logjam, he may be asking a lot.

And, if he is content to bring up voting rights in that next session, I wonder what it would hurt to bring it to a vote now and let people see where their senators stand.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Robert Ariail – AMS)

 

(Lee Judge – KFS)

Reaction to Biden’s decision to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan seems oddly calm, given the tenor of the times. Ariail seems to lay blame on the cat for going away, though, even then, the phrase he cites only credits cats with keeping mice under control, not with eliminating them entirely.

I think Judge gets it right in pointing out that there is no alternative to either staying or allowing the inevitable retaking of the country by the Taliban.

We’re facing the same situation the Soviets faced, and their wasted investment in the war was a proximate cause of the breakdown of their union, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but was certainly a greater cost than the US faces now.

George W. Bush says it’s a bad move. Well, when it comes to Afghanistan, he’s the expert on bad moves.

Even Rudyard Kipling, one of the flag-wavingest imperialists ever, despaired of victory there:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Mind you, Kipling became less of a war-lover after his son was killed in one.

Which suggests that maybe we should bring back the draft, for both sexes and without deferments for students.

Or for people with phantom heel spurs.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Andy Marlette – Creators)

 

(Darrin Bell – KFS)

The recent protests in Cuba have brought significant criticism to Biden for inaction, though it’s not clear what action is wanted. Bell echoes calls for an end to the embargo, but Biden is not the only person who suggests that reducing the economic squeeze would do more to bolster the Cuban government than it would to free the Cuban people.

Marlette’s cartoon is reminiscent of the long build-up to the Spanish American War, in which newspapers praised the Cuban rebels, excoriated the Spanish colonial government and offered positive reporting on Americans who sailed to Cuba to join the rebellion.

These folks, by the way, were known as “filibusterers,” and had the tacit and often political support of the government, though they were left to find their own financing.

William Randolph Hearst allegedly told a correspondent “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.” Whether or not he said it, he did it, but I doubt either of these cartoonists are hoping for a nation-building adventure, much less the chance to tag along and sketch the action.

However, it’s surely worth something that the police in Florida are not enforcing the law against blocking roadways when the protest is aimed at the Cuban government, though Gov. DeSantis did provide some finger wagging.

Biden addressed Cuba at his joint press conference with Angela Merkel:

 

There has been criticism of Obama for having eased relations with Cuba, but Dana Summers’ (Tribune) call for open borders seems like a reversal of most conservative views of our refugee crisis.

U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas warned Cubans against trying to reach Florida by boat, and the US has consistently cautioned against the dangerous attempts, though he may have been the first to declare that they would not be allowed in.

But, as this Reuters article reports, most escaping Cubans are not setting off in bathtubs and inner tubes but, rather, taking a safe and legal route from Cuba to Mexico and then making an attempt from there to gain refugee status in the United States.

 

And, the chart indicates, they’re doing better under Biden than they did under Trump, the current administration having largely canceled Trump’s order to turn away large numbers of refugees, including Cubans. This was touted as one of his few anti-Covid moves, but has generally been interpreted as an anti-refugee move.

As noted in that linked article, Axios reports that the Biden administration intends to do away with Title 42 expulsions entirely at the end of this month. The numbers on that chart certainly suggest that.

However, Cuba remains in crisis.

Fortunately, if it does come time to send other people’s sons and daughters down there, we’ve got the experience, as Phil Ochs’ college buddy recalled at his memorial concert:

 

Community Comments

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#1 Kip Williams
July/18/2021
@ 7:42 am

I was at dinner with some friends I hadn’t seen in ages, and mentioned a humor volume from the early 20th c (D’Ordel’s Pantechnicon, available at archive) that was actually still funny, and which had been written by one of the architects of the Afghanistan partition–a character in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA under a pseudonym–one Mark Sykes.

This prompted one of my companions to interject the curious fact that he was descended from Sykes (or perhaps one of his siblings), and hadn’t heard of the book, after which we discussed the smallness of the globe.

#2 Mary Ella
July/18/2021
@ 12:25 pm

Just like how having sleazy philanderer as president was a horrific crime that would cause the downfall of our national morals during one administration but NBD since we “didn’t elect a minister” during another, all American political thought can be boiled down to “it’s okay if my side does it but not if yours does.” Political cartooning and other commentary seems to be the same basic thing. I started noticing it in my twenties and it hasn’t gotten any better since. On bad days, I sometimes wonder whether the country would be better off just splitting up—let one side have Florida and, I dunno, Idaho, and the other can have the Pacific NW and just be done with it.

#3 Phillip Schearer
July/18/2021
@ 6:25 pm

“Which suggests that maybe we should bring back the draft, for both sexes and without deferments for students.”

Hell no!! The virtual elimination of the draft is the greatest advance for American freedom of my long, liberty-loving lifetime. A free country doesn’t need to enslave its citizens to protect itself.

#4 Mike Peterson
July/19/2021
@ 2:41 am

Point being, Phillip, that if the sons and daughters of influential people were at risk of being sent off on these military adventures, we might have fewer of them. And we might hear more voices raised in the streets if we did decide to play war in other people’s backyards.

#5 Phillip Schearer
July/19/2021
@ 2:54 am

Point being, Mike, that “A free country doesn’t need to enslave its citizens to protect itself.” Did I not make myself clear?

#6 Nicholas Merritt
July/19/2021
@ 6:32 am

Philip, asking if you made yourself clear isn’t worth a dime of you’re not willing to listen to anyone else in the process.

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