CSotD: Interesting Times


(Editor’s Note: There is no Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.”
However, these are certainly interesting times.)

We’ve already discussed Trump’s — or the RNC’s — scam of hiding pre-checked boxes turning one-time donations into recurring contributions that drained MAGAt bank accounts.

In that entry, I said his supporters were unlikely to get wise because it wouldn’t be covered in their news sources, and I particularly like Matt Wuerker (Politico)‘s way of illustrating that point.

I also said that the reason we see the same old cons being run — I used Nigerian widows as an example — is that, no matter how much you warn people, no matter how transparently false the propositions seem, there is always someone eager and willing to be fleeced.

Which makes me appreciate the circular machine he envisions. Trump isn’t going to disappear nor are rapacious Republicans going to go away, though The Honorable Matthew Gaetz certainly seems to be at the end of his presence.

It would be too complex to illustrate on this cartoon, but I do think a number of MAGAts will get off the Fleece-O-Matic, some because they’ve wised up to the scam, probably more simply because Trump will fade from constant view and they’ll move on to the Next Big Thing.

But we haven’t seen the last of Dear Leader, and, if the mainstream media stops offering him 24/7 coverage of whatever crosses his mind, he’ll still exist and, let’s not forget, there remains a body of people who believe they are smarter than everyone else because they know how the Moon landing was faked.

I expect a somewhat scaled-down Fleece-O-Matic to remain part of our political landscape.


Rob Rogers notes another part of our post-Trump hangover, and as Biden struggles with his Scotch Tape to reassemble the Iran Nuclear Deal, the mullah’s objection is not only fair but one that Biden is no doubt hearing from the rest of the world as well.

A quibble: While the mullah is as good a symbol of Iran as Uncle Sam is of the US, the people who negotiated the deal for Iran wore Western clothing, had Western haircuts and had often been educated in this country.

Not just cartoonists but commentators of all stripes, including members of Congress, continue to ignore the structure of the Iranian government, in which a council of conservative mullahs does indeed wield power over a modern legislature, and also commands a small but pugnacious military force separate from the Iranian armed forces.

These Revolutionary Guards are the bullies who, for instance, seize boats in the Gulf and then have to give them back, and thank god Trump didn’t have command of a similar force here.

But the people in Tehran and other major cities are modern, often progressive people, whose votes are overwhelmed by deeply conservative people out in the countryside, who live a pre-21st Century lifestyle and keep the mullahs in power.

If I were sitting on Iran’s side of that table, whether I wore a turban and a beard or looked like a contemporary businessman, I would be well aware of the power of conservative rabble in my own country, and apply that knowledge to the fact that Trump was elected once and someone similar might be suddenly thrust back into power again.

In fact, it would be good to keep that in mind regardless of which side of the table you were sitting on.

Ed Hall makes a simple, powerful observation about current attempts to rename schools that commemorate dark figures in our past.

Robert E. Lee is one of the most troubling of them, because of the popular myth about a courtly gentleman who only went to war out of loyalty to his beloved Virginia.

It’s true that Lee, like many landed gentry going back to our Founders, was conflicted over slavery, and even felt it was likely to end.

But that didn’t stop him not only from owning slaves but from opposing abolition. Most important is that, however he felt about it and whatever his motivations, he took up arms to preserve the peculiar institution, and if the story of courtly Bobby Lee is a myth, the notion that the Civil War was over anything but slavery is a damn lie.

Robert E. Lee made war on his own country to preserve the right of people to own other people.

Honoring him is, as Hall notes, particularly distressing to African-Americans. But I’d add that it also should be distressing to all Americans.

It’s important that this is an example of a man who was famous for one thing only, and that one thing combined racism and treason.

Others in our past are not so easily sorted into the Villain bin. We can still honor, for instance, Washington and Jefferson for their massive contributions to society, while noting that they lived imperfect lives in imperfect times.

And I say that as an Irish-American who thought it was stupid to take Thomas Nast’s name off the editorial cartooning award, despite how I feel about his bigoted anti-Irish, anti-Catholic cartoons.

I’m even more appalled that Laura Ingalls Wilder is now condemned for accurately depicting her mother’s bigoted views of the Osage, despite her contrasting them to her father’s more generous opinions.

One of my granddaughters attends a middle-school named for a controversial governor of Minnesota. His name is being removed as part of a trend to name schools not for famous dead people but for the neighborhoods they serve.

Makes sense to me.


Self-correcting Juxtaposition of the Day

(Darrin Bell, April 7 and April 9)

Bell celebrated Asa Hutchinson’s stance against bigotry against trans kids too soon, but has corrected his own cartoon in light of legislative hatemongers overriding Hutchinson’s veto, which — inexplicably — only requires a majority in Arkansas.

It would be easy to dismiss them as Ozark hillbillies, but similar laws are being debated throughout the country, as Christian mullahs seize power and turn their ignorant hatred into laws to hurt our children.

Perhaps we shouldn’t laugh at those gullible MAGAts who lost their lives’ savings to the Fleece-O-Matic.

We, and our children, are being fleeced of far more.