CSotD: What did the President not know and when did he not know it?

Stuart Carlson‘s piece could either be today’s lead-off or our wrap-up, but, wherever you place it, it stands as a catalog of the things the President really doesn’t know. Or claims not to know. Or claims not to believe. Or really doesn’t believe.

It is a puzzlement, but Carlson gathers it all together and even leaves us with a joke at the end, because it’s not at all tough for Trump to make those calls: They all add up to him getting to do whatever he wants regardless of all the reasons not to.

It might be more comforting to think of him as blatantly dishonest rather than psychotically challenged, but Carlson is not the first cartoonist to pick up, in that fifth panel, on the self-satisfied, vacuous smile.

Though I’m grateful that I only had to deal with them for eight weeks a year at summer camp, I wish more people had the experience of living with prep-school bullies. I jokingly refer to the place as “Camp Lord o’ the Flies” but maybe we need to put “Animal Farm” and “1984” aside to read that old chestnut one more time.

I remember a colleague telling me that “Lord of the Flies” was a symbol of how capitalism and socialism something something and I said, no, it’s not a symbol of anything.

It’s a novel about how people behave if nobody stops them, if there are no rules.


I’ve seen plenty of cartoons about the death of Khashoggi and Trump’s bizarre embrace of his murderer, and I deeply respect David Fitzsimmon‘s piece, because it is a betrayal of monstrous proportion.

But Judas was conflicted by his act. His name may have come down over two thousand years as the epitome of disloyal, dishonest perfidy, but at least he had the presence of mind to be ashamed of himself.


I like Fitzsimmons’ piece for what the betrayal means to our own values, but I really like how Brian Duffy encapsulates the actual mindset in which it has occurred.

It is an empty-headed, unconscious level of narcissism. If he were plotting and planning, he’d have, at the least, put his properties into a blind trust, well aware that, when his eight years were over, he could pull them back out and add enhancements and expansions that would boggle the mind.

But this is not the kid who is going to wait and get two marshmallows, nor is he concerned about a fig leaf of modesty to conceal his intentions, because the true narcissist doesn’t see any possible objections to his doing whatever he can manage to do, by any means necessary.


Such that Gary Markstein can flip a familiar image to show not only how Trump views a free press but how he willingly adopts the unattractive half in a universal symbol of how a brave man can stop tyranny.

The point of the original being that, ordered to crush human rights, the tank driver was not sufficiently mindless and cruel, and hesitated to “follow orders.”

The unmentioned conclusion to that original being that the Chinese government found other military and police who were perfectly willing to follow orders.


Dwane Powell says the American people are better than that and I’d love to believe he’s right, but I don’t.

I believe the majority recognize right from wrong, but there’s a meme floating around about how the lesson from Germany is that a third of you would kill another third of you while the final third did nothing to stop it, and it’s true in any conflict that doing nothing is the public’s major default position.


And so Joseph and Mary and their baby make an appropriate symbol for Mike Luckovich, not simply because of the spiritual values they represent or because of the season we are entering but because they were, in the Gospel of Matthew, refugees who fled their country to preserve the life of their child.

I don’t know exactly what happened at the border, and neither do you, and I doubt anyone has the full picture yet. I do remember that, when the National Guard opened fire at Kent State, it was reported that the demonstrators had been throwing rocks and that this turned out to be bullshit.

And that the National Guard was exonerated.

I’d like to know if those mothers and kids had a safer place to be, farther back from the fence and the tumult.

But, in the end, the question is not what happened on that day at that time.

It’s how we got to a place where it could happen at all.


Steve Brodner has a brilliant, must-go-see piece at the LA Times, which coincides with a recent Fresh Air interview with McKay Coppins, author of an article, “How Newt Gingrich Broke Politics.”

This toxic hatefest did not simply pop fully formed from the head of Donald Trump, after all.

I wish it had.

Because we knew, even in the early days, even in Newt’s first forays into undermining the system. We knew.

Only, when he left Congress, well, I guess we relaxed.

“We” in that sentence being the third who might have stood in front of the tank.

But who knew, and did nothing.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Jimmy Margulies)


(Graeme MacKay)

I honestly don’t think Trump devotees will mind that autoworkers are losing their jobs.

Meanwhile, to jump back to the top of this blog entry, Dear Leader has already shown his inability to process what’s going on, with a statement that perhaps GM should make other things instead, or focus on cars that people want.

For the people involved, it sounds like GM will give them the softest possible landing, but I’m thinking that, if their COBRA benefits end before they find new coverage, they may at least change their attitudes about health insurance.

Not that health coverage is an issue for those left unemployed in Oshawa, of course, but MacKay has shown one more example of what it’s like to sleep with the elephant.

Our turn to say, “Sorry.”


If only we could all read between the lines.