CSotD: Status Quid

Alex neatly answers my usual “where to start” question because I should have pointed out this development when it started, which was Monday. Start there and catch up.

I don’t know if it’s a complete game change for the strip, which is generally centered on Britain’s business community, but, then again, it hardly matters because the strip specializes in story arcs that can go on for the better part of a year.

But I do know that it’s going to be a fun ride and adapting to a Parliamentary system can’t be half as hard as dealing with all the British stock-trading regulations the strip normally plays on.

Besides, the original UK version of “House of Cards” was far better than the American spin-off. This should be well worth following.


Still on the business-meets-politics beat, Kal Kallaugher brings up an important but uncomfortable point, which is that it’s easy enough to beat up Lebron James and the NBA over their kowtowing to China, but they’re only the most visible, hardly the only ones, playing the game.

It used to be simple to be pure. During the Biafran War in the 70s, we could boycott Coca-Cola for their dealings there, and you could always stop drinking Florida orange juice while homophobic Anita Bryant sang their praises.

And, of course, boycotting table grapes was a direct way to support the Farm Workers Union.

How do you boycott China without going completely off the grid and making your own clothes out of leaves and sticks?

We used to worry about being so much in debt to Beijing, afraid they’d suddenly call in our markers. But that would damage their economy as much as ours and is hardly a major worry.

The ethical side is much more complex. We don’t need to bring in the Orkin Man to know that we’ve got some support beams involved.


Nor, as Matt Bors points out, do we have to look across the Pacific Ocean to find basic ethics compromised by financial dealings, and this isn’t a tangle of interlocking parts: It’s one man’s empire.

It took a little bit of study, even some gymnastics, to link Coca-Cola to the Nigerian repression of Biafra, and it wasn’t any easier to wade through then than it is now.

But it takes even more effort to pretend that the Doral golf resort is truly the best place in the USA to host the G7 summit, or to pretend that Trump’s willingness to let the Kurds be slaughtered is not tied into his business interests in Turkey.


Still, as Steve Sack reminds us, we should not underestimate the ability of Trump’s loyalists to ignore the obvious while following his lead.

The Hunter Biden distraction is precisely why you don’t finagle your kid a spot on the board of anything when you’re involved in politics — Caesar’s wife and all that.

Besides, what does it provide him with, besides an income? If you really want to help him, talk to the sales manager at the place where you bought your last three Lincolns, and get him a job selling cars.

Fat chance. At the risk of taking sides with Fitzgerald over Hemingway, the rich truly are indeed different than you and I, and they don’t even know it.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Lisa Benson is only one of the conservative cartoonists who have taken the position that the House’s investigations should be completely public, which ignores the fact that certain materials being discussed require high security clearances, and also that, at this stage, we’re on an equivalence with grand jury hearings which are never open to the public.

However, I like the other notion they’ve been peddling, which is that Pelosi should bring the matter of investigating the president with the possible goal of impeachment to a full vote of the House.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need to. I think she can appoint a committee for any purpose she wants.

But it sure would be nice to get some people on the record, and it seems likely the vote would be in favor of investigating.


Ol’ Nancy plays her cards close to the vest, however, and, you shouldn’t need Benjamin Slyngstad‘s help in pointing out the “mystery” of what happened in that room: She appears to be on the ascendant.

At this point, she’d be foolish to ask for a vote on what is, rather than on what is said to be.

There are a lot of people out there desperately clinging to straws.


Let’s close with some class

Adam Zyglis plays on one of the classic political cartoons of all times, James Gillray’s 1805 “The Plumb Pudding in Danger,” in which Pitt the Younger and Napoleon carve up the world between themselves.

There is a substantial difference here, in that, while Putin is interested in building an empire, Erdogan is a disposable flunky, albeit a momentarily dangerous one.

I’d note, however, that Zyglis shows Erdogan merely carving off a leg, while Putin digs into the breast, and that seems appropriate.

The other, more critical distinction, is that they’re carving up American interests and not the entire globe.

This — and the cooked goose on the platter — makes sense if you interpret Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” not in terms of the international power that emerged in the 1950s, but, rather, as the isolationist manufacturing giant of the 1930s that embraced fascism, anti-semitism and anti-immigrant xenophobia under the mantle of “America First.”

It seems Trump and his acolytes are willing to draw back into that old, non-interventionist shell and let Putin, Xi and anyone else who wants a piece to devour the world at their leisure.

To believe in this policy requires accepting that Trump can use tariffs and sanctions and his own exquisite deal-making abilities to maintain power from behind the scenes, which, so far, is not only unproven but disproven.

However, if you find the theory dubious, frightening or even farcical, the administration has a message for you:

Get over it.

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