For the moment, Barry Blitt owns the Mueller Report, and I think he’s got it right though I wish things were otherwise.
That is, I wish people did hear the mic drop, but expecting that much of the public is a flaw shared by Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, who seemed to believe that people might want to skip one marshmallow now so they could have two or three marshmallows later.
Which is a lovely thing to believe but you’d better toss that solo marshmallow onto the plate so they don’t bite your fingers off, too.
Mueller seems to have done a good job and hewed to his limited assignment and I believe, without having seen it yet, that he has presented a treasure trove of data.
I also believe it will become public, perhaps because the Powers That Be think it exonerates the president — even though it explicitly says it doesn’t — and perhaps because while I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny I do believe in the Ellsberg Elf: If it isn’t released officially, some patriot will leak it.
Though, honestly, I doubt making it all available will change the cocksure opinions from both sides that flooded social media this weekend.
(It’s okay — Nobody really read “The Pentagon Papers” either.)
The release of the report lured Glenn McCoy out of retirement and I like his cartoon, though probably not for the reasons he drew it.
That is, I might like it better if it showed him standing over one of the holes but not falling, because the sumbitch seems able to survive anything, and, while I suspect McCoy and I differ on his innocence, we appear to agree about that.
Dear Leader has declared that the report totally exonerates him, even though, in what few of Mueller’s actual words we’ve seen so far, it specifically says the report does not exonerate the President.
Well, four legs good, two legs better, Boxer was taken to the hospital, not the rendering plant and it’s Snowball’s fault the windmill fell apart.
“What did the President know and when did he know it?”
In Baker’s case, the fact that Nixon’s staff had been involved in actual criminal enterprises — breaking and entering, bribery, etc. — was evidence of major corruption, but it was still necessary to know that Nixon himself had known about it and participated in at least the cover-up (“What did he know”), even if he hadn’t ordered the burglaries (“When did he know it?”), which would be even more serious.
But he was called “Tricky Dick” for a reason, and his clever, devious urge for power seems quite different from Trump’s vague but fundamental need for adulation.
I’ve worked for executives who would periodically surprise me with insights into things I thought were underground, but I’ve also worked with ones who repeatedly stunned me with their ignorance of what I assumed was obvious.
In the latter case, you do not give them a two-page memo. You give them a two-sentence memo. And, as you hand it to them, you tell them what it says, knowing they won’t read it.
Some time later you find out whether it — or at least some twisted version of it — got through at all.
In this case, we know that the White House staff has to provide Dear Leader with bite-sized nuggets of cheerful, over-simplified information, and that his preferred format is the empty-headed happy talk of Fox and Friends.
Which leaves me, and should leave us all, wondering what the President knows and when, if ever, he’s going to know it.
Though I would add this: No matter what Mueller concluded, and even if we’d seen it all last week, we would still not have time to mount an impeachment.
So the issue remains can he be defeated at the polls in 2020?
I would refer you back to Glenn McCoy’s cartoon, and I’d suggest that Blitt’s question is more pressing than Howard Baker’s.
Though now I’m going to quote Roz Chast’s question instead:
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
We can, but let’s start slow so as to avoid the bends.
In addition to his national cartoons, Pat Bagley has been following the ghastly war on National Monuments in his own state.
It’s been an outrageously blatant question of mineral exploitation versus natural beauty, as well as an odd replaying of white men vs Indians in which land that matters to its original inhabitants is snatched away in the name of profit.
I particularly like this cartoon because coal is a fading commodity, not for theoretical tree-hugging reasons but because it’s already low on anybody’s list of desirable fuels and most previous users have long since re-fitted and moved on.
Meanwhile, tourism has substantial economic potential and is already a large part of Utah’s economy.
Even if you have no respect for native rights and no interest in ever visiting beauty yourself if it means sleeping in a tent, it doesn’t take much intelligence to invest in a viable commodity rather than a dying one.
Unless, of course, you’re one of those pump-and-dump short-term profiteers whose vision does not extend beyond the next quarter.
I’ve heard there are such people, though no rational nation would ever let them get a toehold.
Earworms Are Also Pollution, Dammit
There are many reasons to celebrate having grown up within range of Canadian television, including “This Hour Has Seven Days,” as well as “Wayne and Shuster” and Oscar Brand’s “Let’s Sing Out” (and look who did!).
However, it also meant exposure to kid’s shows brought in from elsewhere in the Commonwealth, among them “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo,” which basically starred a live kangaroo’s face and some dead kangaroo paws.
And so today’s Arctic Circle sparks my own impending sense of doom, knowing I’ll be carrying this song around in my head the rest of the day.