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CSotD: Very random observations

Pat Bagley starts us off with a depressingly accurate look at things. The comment on the tax on services identifies this as a local comment on Utah politics, but it applies nationally as well.

I suppose they might listen if they were more beholden to local voters than to corporate contributors, but an Amendment to overturn Citizens United would have to get through the people it would be intended to control.

And, speaking of feeling unresponded to, here’s a piece of Watergate that doesn’t seem to fit the current crisis: Without the principled stand of the Justice Department, where Nixon had to dig through several layers to find a compliant toady, and the no-nonsense decisions of Judge Sirica, and the honest bipartisan … well, you get the picture.

The actions of the rightwing power machine since the days of Newt Gingrich seem now a bit like that iconic scene in “The Birds” where Tippi Hedren doesn’t notice one crow, two crows, five crows, 10 crows until the whole flock has gathered.

 

Amid all the “Big Bird goes to heaven” tributes for Caroll Spinney (who, after all, was 85), Jack Ohman puts a more critical spin on things and mourns the bird we ought to be concerned about.

Trump’s nonsensical boasting about crowd size at his inauguration brought forth sarcastic comparisons to the “Big Lie” theory, but now we see the reality: The GOP has a sizeable chunk of the population willing to swallow their spin, even when it is utterly counter to the facts.

So you have the Mueller Report outlining the President’s obstruction of justice and Barr simply announces that it doesn’t, and now he’s back doing the same with the Inspector General’s report.

Up is Down and White is Black and the Deplorables are able to believe six impossible things before breakfast, because they’ve been trained to.

For all that, I don’t think things are out of control yet, but there needs to be a wake-up call, and people have to take it seriously. Like Anne Frank, I believe most people are good at heart, but, like Anne, I also “hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us” before it’s all put right again.

Most of the cartoons out of the UK have been about their own election, and this one from Matt is no exception, but it has relevance to our own upcoming election as well.

Both Brexit and Trump owe their success in substantial part to the belief by those aforementioned good-hearted people that victory was in the bag and they didn’t have to show up and vote themselves.

When I see polls showing how badly such-and-such a Democratic candidate will defeat Trump, it makes me nervous, because Hillary Clinton was also projected to send him down to defeat.

Polling is inexact, and, as noted here before, it is unintentionally class-based to an extent that seriously undercounts the very demographic most likely to vote for Trump.

I have some hope that the current impeachment imbroglio will aid Democrats almost by accident. They’d have done better to go after his bribing of sex partners than some technical violations of election law or whatever this Ukraine thing is about.

But the quick Senate vote clearing Dear Leader may shock the conscience of progressives while lulling conservative voters to sleep.

If you can blunder into defeat, you can also blunder into victory. We’ll see.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

Steve Breen

Kevin Siers

Here’s one of the “it happens” coincidences in which two cartoonists had the same idea, with the difference being that, usually when it happens, it was an obvious idea that should have been dumped for just that reason.

In this case, it’s a good concept, making it worth noting, and it’s also worth noting that, while Breen cites “wasting time,” Siers cites “deliberate ignoring of facts.” They’re related, but distinct, though, in the end, the outcome is the same.

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin complained that Thunberg was a poor choice.

Don’t get me wrong. I think climate change is a dire threat and, unlike some curmudgeons, I think Thunberg provided a public service in calling attention to the threat. However, I find it preposterous to assert that Thunberg had a unique, transformative impact on public opinion in a way no other person has.

The same could be said of Rosa Parks or Rachel Carson: They galvanized public opinion but left the heavy lifting to experts and to the general public’s shifting sentiments.

Perhaps Rubin doesn’t have her ear to the same ground I have, and perhaps she’s following the same instincts as those pollsters who fail to count everyone.

I think she’s wrong, and I hope she is, because I prefer to think that Thunberg joins the Parkland Kids in awakening a generation that has the numbers to turn the ship of state, if they show up at the polls.

Again, we’ll see.

But I hope they realize it takes shoe leather and clipboards, and not just impassioned posts on social media.

 

In other news

This Joe Heller piece voiced an observation of my own, though I have enough mixed feelings about the Salvation Army that I don’t relate it specifically to them.

Rather, it occurs to me when I pass the homeless people standing on the thruway exits and the entrances to shopping malls, or when traffic is being snarled by “boot drives” for youth teams, animal rescue or the local volunteer fire department.

(Note to city folk: If you Google “boot drive,” you’ll get some computer stuff. A boot drive out here is when fundraisers stand in the street soliciting donations from passing drivers, named for the boot in which volunteer firefighters would collect the money.)

I no longer carry cash and, so far, the panhandlers can’t swipe a card, and thank god because it would really tie things up if they could.

Meanwhile, I went into the grocery store the other day, and, as I passed her, the Sally Ann bell ringer wished me “Happy Holidays.”

Are they allowed to say that??

Community Comments

#1 Richard John Marcej
December/12/2019
@ 9:49 am

Funny, I was having a similar thought just yesterday. I was thinking about seeing a hockey game in two weeks, since I plan to be in the city, and was wondering whether I should buy the ticket ahead of time or take my chance and buy the ticket at the box office when I arrive at the arena.

That got me thinking, I’m wondering how this new way of life, commerce wise, a world where everyone uses credit cards, debit cards and carry no cash, is affecting ticket scalpers? Don’t they rely on people carrying cash? I’m pretty sure they don’t carry credit card swipes.

#2 Tara Gallagher
December/12/2019
@ 10:54 am

Because of the number of people who don’t carry cash, the street-newspaper vendors here in Seattle take Venmo payments.

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