CSotD: Exercises in Dubiosity

We’ll start this review of things that shouldn’t shake the firmaments with a Peter Brookes commentary on Dear Ex-Leader’s latest foray into the Intertubes. The main point of featuring this is that it was once flattering when the greater world took notice of our leaders, but lately perhaps not so much.

It’s hard to tell the degree to which anyone is taking Trump’s launch of a new social platform seriously, and coverage so far seems to range from skeptical to satirical, with several people noting that he has had a number of commercial failures — steaks, wine, etc. — and that he canceled his blog in about a month after it drew few readers and a lot of mockery.

But he has a cunning plan this time around: Terms of service for joining his social media platform include not making fun of his social media platform.

Call it “The First Rule of Farce Club.”


Less comical is the deliberate misunderstanding of both the debt limit and Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill. Steve Kelley is hardly the only conservative to combine the fact that the debt we’re paying off was run up before Biden was elected, and that Biden’s proposal does, in fact, spell out how it will be paid off, over a ten-year period that would avoid the one-time expenditure Kelley implies.

Trying to assign blame for debt is a reminder of the old joke that, if you laid every economist in America head-to-toe, they would not reach a conclusion. National debt is a fact of life and it’s not the only measure of economic health. Nor is it simple enough that you can readily score presidents by how it happened on their watch.

It is, however, fair to say that accusing Democrats of following a “tax and spend” policy seems a bit foolish if your own policy is “don’t tax but spend anyway.”


Meanwhile, Gary Varvel (Creators) was not the only conservative cartoonist to give birth to a small cow over the Chinese experimental launch of a hypersonic missile, which turns out to deserve, if not a “So what?” response, something related.

Seems the biggest advantage of the new missile is that it can maintain that high speed at a relatively low altitude, which means it might perhaps achieve a first strike before the response would obliterate Beijing and many of China’s other major cities.

Also it might be intercepted anyway, since we ought not to assume we know everything in our own arsenal.

Though we should give the rightwingers credit for effective propaganda: After keeping silent about a conservative president who could barely walk down a ramp or drink water with one-hand, and who thinks Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution, they have successfully advanced the notion that Joe Biden is senile.

His speech in Scranton the other night showed no such signs, nor did he sound like a spoiled prep-school slacker with no feelings for the working class. You may not want to watch the entire 90 minutes, but it serves as proof of his articulate vitality.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Joe Heller)


(Mike Thompson)

By the way, whether you’d rather blame Biden or Trump or Obama, we didn’t get here all at once, and, while Heller’s prescription of shopping local(ly) is good advice, it is easier said than done, despite Thompson blaming pure greed (which is certainly part of it).

About 25 years ago, I knew a young woman who worked in a ribbon factory which was shutting down to move to South Carolina.

She was offered the chance to relocate with them, but passed it up and, sure enough, within a very short time, they’d shut down the South Carolina factory as well, in favor of an Asian sweatshop.

It was no surprise: Some of us had been boycotting JP Stevens long before that, and them only as a prime example of anti-union companies more focused on profits than workers.

I don’t know that you could simply decide to move all your production back home at this stage, but I do know that even domestic producers are at the mercy of foreign parts.

As for shopping locally, the major chains have long since driven most truly local stores out of business.

I give maple syrup or Cabot cheese as a gift sometimes, and there are local arts and crafts, but let’s not fool ourselves: Like Esau, we’ve traded our birthright for a bowl of pottage.


On a far more pleasantly trivial level, Andy Marlette (Creators) notes a development that’s no big deal: Researchers managed to use an old log to date the Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows to a precise 1,000 years ago.

My Danish blood has had me celebrating Leif Ericson and little Snorri Thorfinnsen since before the ruins were found in 1963, and why not? I was a little kid and little kids care about such things.

Whenever it happened, they came, they saw, they got conquered by the skraelings and their “discovery” faded into the sagas along with Brendan the Navigator and Admiral Zheng.

File’em all under BFD.


A more relevant journey into Dubious Historical Developments is seen in this Steve Bell cartoon, which de-celebrates the fact that Irish President Michael Higgins declined to join in the festivities for the centennial of the partial-independence of his nation, while the Queen had to stay home because of poor health.

The Irish government did send representatives, since the festivities were ostensibly set up by a consortium of churches, though, like Higgins, I’m a bit puzzled by it all.

The existence of “Northern Ireland” — “the North of Ireland” as it’s known on most of the island — has hardly been peaceful.

I know a family burned out of their Belfast apartment by an Orange mob, and I had a cousin die of a heart attack after his business at the border was trashed by nationalists.

It was just the way things were.

Cardinal O’Fiaich preached non-violence and worked for peace, but he also told me of waiting in his car at night to observe young men stopped by police, to assure they got home safe.

And he couldn’t be everywhere.

Things have improved beyond all expectations, but now Brexit is restoring the barbed wire.

Partition seems an odd thing to celebrate.