Jimmy Margulies produces the most concise picture of what we’re facing: Trump’s wall has very little to do with border security and everything to do with his ego.
If the topic were border security, he could have come to an agreement with Congress months, perhaps years ago: Both parties take the matter seriously, though only one is willing to accept Trump’s unsupported notion of a crisis.
Fact is, border crossings and apprehensions have gone way down over the past 20 years, which isn’t all that surprising because both parties have been pouring resources into the problem, both with greater physical security, including “walls” where they make sense, and a substantial boost in Border Patrol staffing.
This graphic comes from a lengthy article from Business Insider that discusses the existing barriers and enforcement and makes it clear that there is no single failsafe solution that will work from San Diego to Brownsville.
In terms of resolving the shutdown, Trump is promoting an analysis, whereby the Democrats’ refusal to approve an expensive, mostly inappropriate and likely ineffective wall-style barrier that he hasn’t really looked into is a refusal to approve sensible upgrades to the existing system.
It is as if they are willing to buy him a car but he’s insisting on a Rolls-Royce.
It’s not surprising that his Deplorables and his Congressional toadies are accepting this idea that the Democrats refuse to “compromise.” After all, they have motivations you can blame it on.
But it’s not much of a compliment to journalistic integrity that so many cartoonists are promoting the easily-disproved “both sides do it” view of the shutdown.
Someone explained the other day that “civility” means saying nice things about white folks, while saying nice things about colored folks is “political correctness.”
There seems to be a lot of civility around this issue.
Juxtaposition of the Day
And if you suspected that the Republicans had become the party of rich folks, the response of the GOP and its minions to people without paychecks confirms it.
The advice being given to unpaid federal workers is a strong indication of how little practical experience the current power holders have with real-world working-class life.
Most well-publicized was the advice to Coast Guard members that they hold garage sales.
I was unemployed for the better part of a year, and I supplemented my inadequate unemployment check with a lot of eBay sales. But what I sold included some heirlooms and a large collection of antique books I had amassed over roughly 35 years.
The people currently having the hardest time getting by without paychecks have not been on the planet for 35 years.
Oh, and, once my lease thank-god ran out, I had free room and mostly-free board with my son’s family for what turned out to be about half the time I was out of work.
That can be a hard move to pull off when you’re still expected to show up at the job for which you’re not being paid, and if you have a mortgage or a lease for which you remain obligated.
But, then again — at the risk of repeating a Herblock I just ran a few weeks ago — privileged, heartless lack-of-empathy is a bulwark of the Republican party.
Ann Richards famously said of W that “he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.”
The GOP has become the Party of Congenital Batting Champs.
And, to repeat something else I’ve said recently, there is a fantasy of having some of these entitled Lord Fauntleroys go live the life of the working poor, but the problem with that is that they would always know they could quit anytime.
The most delightfully ludicrous part of “Sullivan’s Travels” is the dabbler who wants to experience poverty walking down the highway with his bindle over his shoulder while his staff follows along in a well-turned-out motorhome.
The difference being that Sullivan genuinely wanted to know. I’ve seen no such curiosity from this gang.
Meanwhile, Steve Sack is back and, boy, is he pissed. He’s been cranking out panels at a prodigious rate, including this criticism of Trump’s latest cunning plan, to use his executive power to declare an emergency and loot the funds designated for hurricane and wildfire victims.
He has also speculated about the possible fallout when a vainglorious nitwit discovers the power to declare anything an emergency and snatch authority from the legislature and other Constitutional safeguards against tyranny.
Note, BTW, the difference in facial expression in these two cartoons: In one, he is the cold-hearted bully with no empathy, while, in the second, he is the self-satisfied six-year-old in charge of the candy store.
Note also that, while both cartoons are relentlessly sarcastic, neither is funny.
Okay, the paper towels crack is pretty funny, but only in light of how astonishingly heartless and tone-deaf it was in the first place.
But, while there’s plenty of room for sarcasm, there aren’t many laughs in the shutdown, as Matt Davies points out with this commentary on the burden being placed on unpaid federal employees.
Nor is it simply a crisis for the employees themselves. They will eventually be repaid, though their credit ratings may take years to recover.
Contractors who work on federal projects and federal properties will not be repaid, and there are any number of small businesses that rely on a local cadre of federal employees, or on people drawn to the facilities they oversee, who will never be made whole for the money lost during the Trump Shutdown.
And for what?
As Phil Hands points out, the whole thing is a misbegotten bit of childish nonsense, a solution that won’t work for a crisis that exists only in the bizarre, shifting imagination of an irresponsible, fantasizing narcissist.
And in the unquestioning minds of the gullible suckers to whom he has managed to sell this snake oil.