CSotD: Interesting Times

It being a day to debate various unclear topics, let’s clear our palates with John Darkow’s straightforward commentary on “legitimate political discourse,” in which he skips all the metaphors and the reductio-ad-absurda and goes straight to the point:

There is absolutely no moral world in which what happened on January 6 qualifies as “legitimate political discourse,” and anyone who says otherwise is beneath contempt.

And yet, as noted yesterday, we learned to accept “alternative facts” and we’re currently debating this horrific lie. These people do not have some magic hold on us: We’re doing it to ourselves.


Well, not entirely. I’m bringing back this Drew Sheneman (AMS) cartoon for an encore, to mark the Supreme Court’s five-four decision that gerrymandering a district in order to keep African-American voters from having a meaningful voice is not a clear violation of Voters Rights.

Granted, they’ve only agreed to keep it in place for the 2022 elections while they ponder how (okay – “whether”) to make it permanent, but, meanwhile, they’re palling around with their conservative patrons and making secret speeches to rightwing lobbying groups, while protesting that we shouldn’t look upon them as political.

Again, we’re doing this to ourselves. We could fix things so that the McConnells couldn’t force their handpicked henchmen down our throats by simply fixing things so the McConnells had to compete fairly for public office.

Taking money out of politics would require a constitutional amendment, which is a laborious process, but we got the 18-year-old vote and the 25th Amendment through quickly, because we wanted to.

And because Congress agreed.


Asking the cats to put the bells on their own necks seems a tougher trick.  As Matt Wuerker (Politico) notes, they apparently would prefer not to.

Anyone old enough to remember Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings is old enough to know that this power grab did not begin with Donald Trump. Thomas could have simply apologized to Anita Hill; his claims of an “electronic lynch mob” foreshadowed his arrogant tenure on the court and his refusal to recuse himself from cases in which his activist wife has an interest.

And the Court’s unwillingness to adopt an ethics rule for themselves, which we discussed before, is a clarion call to impose some kind of length-of-tenure on the justices. But it would also likely require an amendment — What? You thought they’d declare such a law constitutional? — and, however the justices themselves feel about it, there are those in other branches of government who like the way things have been going.

So, again, we just have to persuade the cats to tie bells around their own necks.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Jack Ohman)


(Kal Kallaugher)

And don’t look for consistency from the Republican Party, which — despite his being at the top of their list of saints — bears no resemblance to Ronald Reagan.

Note that these are two different observations, despite both referencing the attempted coup. Ohman focuses on the demented dregs that have flocked to the GOP banner, while Kal is more interested in the self-interested knuckle-draggers who have taken over party leadership.

Reagan served as president from 1981-89, a few years before the Internet changed the world, which is a large part of both observations: He was still a distant leader in a distant capital, and we hadn’t yet begun to see the universe as unfolding from our own centerpoint.

We were nicer people then and you had to be a nicer person in order to appeal to us. Which doesn’t mean that Reagan’s actual policies were particularly nice or that he wasn’t willing to cycle lies about Welfare Queens in order to divide the country and consolidate his power.

But Rush Limbaugh was barely in syndication when Reagan left office. Reagan laid the groundwork for rightwing talk radio, but — while he certainly had his opponents and detractors — he walked away from the wreckage somewhat spotless.

Again, you probably had to be there.


Adam Zyglis indulges in a bit of whataboutism here, and there’s no reason to downplay Putin’s manipulations on the Ukraine border simply because we were guilty of the same thing some time ago.

Rather, I’d take it as a reminder that we, as a people, were buffaloed into accepting a disastrous, pointless, needless war, and that the Russian people are likely getting the same assurances from trusted leaders that we got and are likely believing what they are told.

It’s no reason to let Putin off the hook, particularly when you see both the human toll and the political chaos that resulted from our trusting the Cheney Administration and its genial spokesmodel.

(Ahh, we should have listened to Adam Felber!)

The similarities might be a reason to focus on getting our European allies to come together with meaningful diplomatic countermoves in the event of an invasion.

But, hey, we can’t even get our own house in order, between the Tucker Carlson turncoats who cozy up to Putin and the handwringers who don’t trust sanctions and don’t want war, but want Biden to DO something unspecified mumble mumble.

If there is a whatabout factor here, it’s that everybody but Tony Blair warned us against invading Iraq and we did it anyway. Now I suspect everyone but Xi Jinping is warning Putin.

Following the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Custer’s body was left untouched out of respect, except that the Cheyenne women pierced his ears with their sewing awls, to unblock whatever had kept him from hearing the warnings in this life, so that he might hear them better in the next.

The fact that Custer wouldn’t listen, and W wouldn’t listen, doesn’t mean that Putin won’t.

Though I have to wonder if the museum in this Al Jazeera documentary is still open, and if Putin has ever visited it.

It’s awfully hard to believe he doesn’t remember that it all happened.

Though perhaps you had to be there.

And listening.


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