Steve Breen ties in two related stories with a good news/bad news gag.
The good news is that Dear Leader has backed away from a decision to defund “Stars and Stripes,” blaming it on unnamed people in the Pentagon rather than owning it himself.
Superficially, the bad news is that he has no respect for the military, and we’ll get back to that, but there’s potentially a deeper downside in the punchline, because “Stars and Stripes” has, since its inception in the early days of the Civil War, earned respect and affection from the troops for telling the truth, even when it sometimes angers the brass.
Trump has already remade Voice of America from a source of truth into an administration flunky, prompting top-level resignations from those who declined to broadcast Yankee propaganda, and their warnings proved accurate, as VOA then produced a bootlicking story in praise of “Mike Pence: A Conservative Loyal Voice for Trump.”
It’s not hard to suspect that, having come to his attention, “Stars and Stripes” may be in for a similar editorial adjustment.
As has been said too many times, it’s not that you can’t make this stuff up; it’s that you don’t have to.
And let me pause a moment to reiterate that Donald Trump did not dodge the draft five times. There are many names on that wall of men who took a II-S student deferment throughout their college years and then either accepted a draft call or enlisted. Taking a student deferment was not “draft dodging.”
But he certainly chose to dodge the draft one time, with a phony letter solicited by his daddy, and one time is more than enough: The vandalism in the cartoon can be wiped off, but the stain on his character cannot.
However, as noted yesterday, Trump has also dodged what seemed likely repercussions from his sexual behavior, and, similarly, his flag-waving Deplorables have never questioned him for letting them slog through the rice paddies while he stayed home.
Already, as Ed Wexler depicts, his loyal minions are declaring the whole thing a massive conspiracy by the Atlantic, aided and abetted by the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Fox News and others, who have confirmed most of the original charges.
And this observation from the newsroom: Confirming “most of the charges” does not mean the others are false, or even dubious. The fact that these beat reporters could confirm most of Goldberg’s story within 48 hours simply means that most of what he wrote was floating on the surface.
Given the same amount of time he put into his work, it’s not at all unlikely that they, too, could find the same things he did.
But it doesn’t matter to Wexler’s furious Deplorable, who promises to boycott a publication he’s never read, and will, similarly, avoid those other disloyal fake news outlets that fail to confirm his beliefs.
“Don’t confuse me with the facts” was a funny wisecrack back in the days when Thanksgiving Uncles had not yet been weaponized and had no influence on society, much less on government.
If you still think it’s funny, you’re paying no more attention to reality than they are. The co-option of VOA should be a warning to watch for similar Putinesque editorial changes at “Stars and Stripes.”
Which brings us to Jen Sorensen’s discussion of attack and denial, which I like except that it assumes a fact not in evidence: That those who level these anti-democratic charges at peaceful demonstrators could find Belarus on a map, much less that they know anything about what’s happening there.
Part of that is their deliberate ignorance and their reliance on talk radio and rightwing broadcasts. And we’d be better off if it were just the Deplorables in the street, but it goes much farther up the ladder than that.
My suggestion for the presidential debates is that they begin with each candidate drawing five slips from a bowl, each of which contains the name of a member nation of the UN, and then pinning that slip to an unlabeled world map.
But then if Trump won re-election, we’d have to re-write the CIA World Factbook to conform to whatever he’d done in the debates.
However, I would also question how many average Americans, even those who follow the mainstream media, are up to date on the uproar in Belarus, which has had scant coverage outside of NPR and the BBC.
But we sure have heard about that haircut, haven’t we?
Meanwhile, David Horsey knocks one over the centerfield wall with this roundup of personalities from the street.
Columnists and cartoonists like to say that, if everyone is angry, you probably got it right. That is nonsense and an insult to readers. If everyone is angry, it probably means you didn’t get anything right.
However, it think it’s safe in this case to say that Horsey will have touched more than a few nerves here and they all (each) look pretty righteous to me.
Oh well, wotthehell.
Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night and tomorrow you’ll be feeling alright.