Jack Ohman starts us off today by pointing out that Republican complaints that John Bolton is only offering to testify in order to sell books might be more compelling if they weren’t defending the biggest snake-oil salesman, grifter and shameless profiteer in major politics since the Teapot Dome.
Trump also sells books, and, as Ohman points out, pretty much everything else he can get his tiny hands on.
But let’s pretend for a moment that Donald J. Trump were a Benedictine monk, permitted only a cell with a straw mattress that would regularly be turned over to be sure he wasn’t hiding personal belongings.
John Bolton would not become the only person in the country with a product to sell.
I’m not advancing the cynical faux-wisdom that “they all do it.” I’m simply saying that there are damn few people out there who aren’t advancing one thing or another. If they aren’t selling it for money, they’re swapping it for prestige or power or status.
And watch those Puritans most critical of Bolton’s book sales and Hunter Biden’s directorship go straight from the Senate to the corporate trough.
Meanwhile, some genuinely good people have written books about their work and their efforts, or at least allowed other people to do so. Even Gandhi-ji did not avoid cameras and journalists.
Let me here make another observation: John Bolton is not Gandhi.
The point is that you don’t have to like him to find him useful.
A college friend became an FBI agent and told us about his babysitting of a key witness in, as it happens, one of those major anti-gangster cases that made Giuliani’s reputation.
It might sound romantic or, at least, fascinating to hang out with a genuine Mafia member for a few weeks, but Tommy finally got to the point where he told the guy that he wasn’t his friend and he didn’t like him and that he didn’t want to hear any more stories.
Most people of any prominence possess a lot of charm, but I could picture having had about enough of John Bolton.
Still, the gangster my friend was tending was necessary for the case and Bolton seems to have valuable information to offer the Senate.
Dismissing his potential testimony because he’s written a book is absolute nonsense and the only people who believe that argument are fools.
Those who pretend to believe it are in on the con, and there aren’t a lot of fools in the Senate.
So I chuckled at Adam Zyglis‘s cartoon, which is a use of the GOP mascot that is both wonderfully expressive and wonderfully silly. The look of dumb comfort on his face, plus his apparent indifference to his comfy bedding is simply inspired.
Again, it’s a matter of the elephant being in on the con. Suppression of evidence is not an accident, nor is it an honest attempt to finish up with this impeachment nonsense and get back to the important work of blocking House bills.
Clay Bennett suggests that, indeed, everyone is selling something, even those who don’t put down on paper what they’re trying to sell.
Don’t fret: Mitch is in little danger of becoming food insecure.
Elsewhere in the Universe
China wants an apology for this coronavirus cartoon by Niels Bo Bojesen that ran in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, and the uproar is interesting on a couple of levels.
One is that, to most Westerners, there’s nothing particularly offensive in marking up someone’s flag to make a point, though it’s not hard to imagine at least a subgroup of Americans being offended over a cartoon from another country that took liberties with the Stars and Stripes.
But that linked article from China Daily, while expressing anger over the insult to their flag, focuses more on the insult suggesting that the Chinese government has not made sufficient efforts to control the spread of the virus.
Which makes you wonder what they’d think of Steve Breen’s cartoon, which not only suggests it but makes an absolute accusation.
As it happens, I dug into the story last week in order to write an explainer for young readers, and I didn’t find a lot of accusations that the Chinese government hadn’t moved to contain the coronavirus about as fast as you would expect, beyond running out of surgical masks early on so that people felt forced to stay home.
However, the NYTimes somewhat justifies Breen’s accusation, with a story that begins by saying that the Chinese government failed to act quickly until there were “thousands of infections and scores of deaths,” but then turns around and notes that
Compared to the very low bar set by the Chinese leadership’s secrecy and inaction during the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, Mr. Xi has responded with speed and alacrity to the latest health emergency,
The story is a mix of praise and accusation, which cites media control as part of the problem, but also blames the sheer size of the nation and of its governing bureaucracy, before complimenting, however backhandedly, the Xi government for its response to a major challenge.
I’d add that I’m not sure where “We’re sure seeing a lot of flu” turns into “What the hell is this?” but I know it’s easier to spot that sort of problem in hindsight and from a distance.
Anyway, the Danish government is standing firm in citing their free press rather than apologizing, much less ordering the cartoon to be taken down, and Jyllands Posten itself issued a statement clarifying their stance, but not apologizing for it.
I would suggest that this seems more a cultural/political misunderstanding than an actual threat to the free press.
Also that there’s a certain irony or something in that Jyllens Posten wasn’t intentionally trying to insult anyone this time around.
Anyway, let’s all be cool like little Fonzies.
Just sneeze into your elbows, wash your hands and try not to get bent of shape without more cause than this.
All you really need is good lovin’