CSotD: Witnesses for the Defense

A bit of political catching up, and Ann Telnaes expresses what I hope is a wider frustration with the lack of accountability for the architects of the insurrection.

There was a fair amount of frustration over the fellow who only got eight months in prison for his part in the uprising, and it’s understandable in that he came with equipment to do far more harm than he did. At the same time, I don’t know how you should handle the case of someone who walks into a bank with a gun in his pocket and a note saying “Hand over the money” if he loses nerve and walks back out.

But they did get him for something, and eight months in prison, plus having a felony conviction, is a punishment.

I’m holding fire to see what sentences are handed out to some of the people who did more than trespass.

And please don’t tell me what some other person in some other jurisdiction got from some other judge for doing some other crime. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Supreme Court take a stance on “cruel and unusual punishment” but I don’t expect that from this particular court, and, as Telnaes suggests, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

I reported on enough drug busts at the border that I’m familiar with Nigerian mules getting light sentences if they cooperated with investigators by delivering their smuggled drugs to the fellows further up the ladder. I want to see what happens as the Proud Boys begin to turn states’ evidence, and it damn well better include some people in Armani suits.

There was some meagre justification, back when the Cheney Administration crashed the economy, for declaring certain banks “too big to fail,” and bailing them out to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing.

But ain’t nobody gonna suffer except those highly-placed perps if they go down in flames, to which I would add that, when the arrest of the Watergate burglars was traced all the way up to the Oval Office, there were plenty of sentences handed out, and, if Jerry Ford let Nixon himself off the hook, it was with the understanding that he’d slink off to Loma Linda and keep his goddam mouth shut.

I don’t know if that was an express agreement, but Nixon was a crook with a sharp mind, a bit of class and a sense of personal dignity. A factor which clearly does not obtain this time around.

Mister, we could use a man like John Sirica again.


Of course, while there were plenty of Republicans — on the Watergate Committee and elsewhere — willing to stand behind Richard Nixon to the bitter end, the people in the firing line were all in the executive branch, while, this time, as Kal Kallaugher notes, the blame is pointed at some of the people constitutionally charged with finding out what happened.

I’d add that the Nixon administration was the beginning of the shift towards an authoritarian, partisan government, in which Democrats hate America and Republicans wear flags on their lapels.

And it wasn’t just about Watergate or breaking into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office.

It was about hailing the Silent Majority, and condemning the nattering nabobs of the mainstream media, and further criminalizing drug use, and praising (perhaps instigating) brutal attacks by hardhats on peace marchers, and putting up billboards mocking kids for longhair. And so on and so forth.

It was also the start of a constant election cycle built on cynicism, distrust and smarm.



Richard Nixon most assuredly did not appoint the members of the Watergate Committee, though, as Clay Bennett (CTFP) suggests, there’s no mystery about who directed the choice of Jan 6 investigators from the Republican side, particularly since Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar A Lago to get his orders from the GOPfather.


His candidates are not, perhaps, quite as clearly inappropriate as seen in Kevin Siers’ cartoon, but plenty of people on social media have pointed out that the defendants were not permitted to sit on the jury at Nuremberg, and, if McCarthy’s choices aren’t necessarily defendants, they could be, and they’re certainly potential witnesses.


Granted, as Bill Bramhall suggests, it may be a little hard to find Republicans who have not become habituated to their roles in the masquerade. There are pictures of the same congressmen helping to barricade doors who now defend the insurrectionists as harmless “tourists.”


Fortunately, as Nick Anderson (Tribune) puts it, while their hypocrisy is clearly on exhibit, Nancy Pelosi is also exhibiting something: The kind of calm spine we’ve been waiting for.

Circling back to Telnaes, the Democrats now need to back it up.


In which I am shamed, if only momentarily

I was tempted to follow up on Friday’s wiseass comment and run an entire day of cartoons featuring the coronavirus and Olympic rings, which are a perfect example of an old political cartooning rule that says, if the idea came quickly to you, it probably came quickly to everyone else, too.

And it probably isn’t very good.

I’m cynical enough, too, to suspect that sometimes it’s good to draw a cartoon that will appeal to cloth-eared editors who don’t understand satire or subtlety. Times are tough and the kids are going to need new shoes for school.


Ruben Bolling having mocked the salable cartoon 21 years ago.

But just as I was cackling over this nasty plan, I came to First Dog on the Moon‘s latest, and it was as if one of the sharpest, snarkiest cartoonists on the planet purposely reached out to smack me upside the head and remind me to behave myself.


Well, okay. Let’s remember that life is not entirely awful, even if cartoons of the Olympic Rings and Covid are.

You’ll note I masked the bylines in that display because First Dog shamed me enough that, while I won’t back off the criticism, I won’t point out specific people. That would be mean, since they’re only a sample of every goddam cartoonist in the goddam world drawing the same goddam cartoon.

Be best.

PS — This does not mean that the Aussies have lost their talent for sarcasm (h/t to Cathy Wilcox):