CSotD: Waiting While the Waters Rise

I’ve often criticized cartoonists for failing to defy their schedules when breaking news demands commentary, but this won’t be one of those times. Given my necessary 4 AM wake up time, I was asleep by yesterday evening when Politico broke the story of the pending SCOTUS decision on abortion.

A few cartoonists leapt to their drawing boards, including Steve Brodner, whose style is to comment by reporting, as seen here.

A couple of others did fine work on the fly, some others re-posted their previous commentary on the topic, but I’m going to wait 24 hours to tackle this moment.

I’m sure there will be more cartoons to come, and, while I remain impatient with those who, inevitably, will wait until their regular turn arrives, I’m not going to penalize others who, like me, awoke to the news this morning.

But I think Julia Ioffe’s tweet is worth passing along on World Press Freedom Day, because she’s absolutely right to condemn the navel-gazing that threatens to overshadow the news itself. There is a story, of course, in the leak, but the immediate story is far more compelling, not only for what it means for women’s autonomy but for what it tells us of the gathering clouds that allowed Mitch McConnell to stack the court.


I’ll also pass along gun-control advocate Shannon Watts’ comment, because she touches not just on the futility of small-p prohibition in general, but on the immediate threat to women’s lives brought about by forbidding that which cannot be stopped.

We can debate voter suppression and CRT bans until the cows come home, but women will die as a result of this decision and not just theoretically, not just maybe, not just some time in the distant future. Others, more fortunate, will arrive in emergency rooms permanently mutilated.

But we’ll take it all up in 24 hours.

And, one hopes, in the 2022 and 2024 elections.


Meanwhile, there’s also a war in Ukraine, and Patrick Blower offers this vision of a Potemkin Parade in Red Square on Victory Day, May 9.

For those not versed in Russian history, the story goes that Grigory Potemkin, statesman and favorite of Catherine the Great, erected pasteboard villages along her inspection route, dismantling each as she passed and re-erecting it further down the road. The story is dubious, but the wisdom of faking it to appease those in power has made it a parable that certainly fits any attempt to make Putin feel that his latest adventure is working out.

Which is, if not an admirable goal, a smart one, since a prominent banker who criticized the war was forced to resign and divest his shares in the bank, and has hired bodyguards after receiving dire warnings from friends inside Russian security.


Tuckyo Rose, the darling of official Russian television, is in no such danger, which seems like a pretty good reminder that Fox and Carlson and their role in the war are an interesting topic for debate on World Press Freedom Day.

For those keeping score:

  • Ezra Pound was confined to a mental hospital after his pro-Axis broadcasts
  • Iva Toguri, one of several women called “Tokyo Rose,” served six years in prison
  • William Joyce, known as “Lord Haw Haw,” was hanged


I couldn’t find a source that agreed on Carlson’s salary, but here’s a cartoon of another Putin supporter, Sergei Lavrov, by Maarten Wolterink, and I’ll bet Lavrov does all right, too, though the US has now imposed sanctions on him.


If you’d like to check the quality of Wolterink’s caricature, here’s a photo of Lavrov (left) taken five years ago as he and Russian envoy Sergei Kislyak (right) were meeting with an American contact who was supplying them with top secret information about an Israeli counterterrorism operation in Syria.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ed Wexler)


(Pat Byrnes)

“I forgot” is a pretty good defense, as modeled by Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia, though she did mix things up a bit by declaring that she had nothing to do with statements someone else made on her social media accounts.

Since they were not following orders, I guess you can’t hold them responsible either.

And she forgot doing other things that the evidence showed she did and so, consequently, how can you blame her?

I guess we’re going to find out, if the Jan 6 committee can — as announced — persuade Republicans to show up and testify about their activities leading up to that one-day tourism event. (No word on when tourists will be invited to visit the Supreme Court building, but I’ll let you know.)

If anyone actually shows up to testify, we can expect a totally honest case of situational amnesia, since their boss is opposed to pleading the Fifth.

“You see the mob takes the Fifth,” Trump said during a campaign stop in Iowa late last September. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

The committee reportedly doesn’t actually need their testimony. Like Supreme Court Justices, these Trump operatives appear to be unaware that “truth will out” is a lot more certain today than it was in 1596 when Shakespeare wrote it with a quill pen rather than making photocopies of it, sending it in a text or splashing it across his social media accounts.

Now we just have to discover the difference between knowing the truth and acting upon it.

A whole lot of truth is gonna out itself in that process.


Not that I blame the Old Farts for not getting it. I don’t entirely get it, though — ancient as I am — I’m at least hip enough to know that nothing you post ever really disappears.

Like Lemont, I wish I had a little more reach, since, like Lemont, I’m never wrong and think the world would be better off if more people received my pearls of wisdom.

However, like Lemont, I don’t want a PR firm to goose up my numbers. I’m not one of those complaining about what a running sewer Twitter is, and I suspect there’s a connection between having artificial numbers and bathing in toxic messages.

Anyway, our elitist group will meet here tomorrow.

Meanwhile, maybe we should fill some sandbags.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Waiting While the Waters Rise

  1. The Supreme Court has, historically, been a reactionary influence on the country. The short period when it was dominated by appointees nominated by presidents from FDR through LBJ was an anomaly.

  2. Neil Gorsuch, Bret Kavanaugh, Sam Alito, Amy Barret and Clarence Thomas all testified that Roe v. Wade was ‘settled law’ in their confirmation hearings… they lied. Impeach them!?

  3. “The Supreme Court has, historically, been a reactionary influence on the country.”

    /Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court/ (Orville Vernon Burton and Armand Derfner) thoroughly documents the racial aspect of this.

  4. What was overturned in Casey was the provision that a woman could not obtain an abortion without first notifying the man who impregnated her.

    How about retroactive abortion ? Everyone is born and grows up but then a panel is formed : teachers, church people, family members – and give thumbs up or thumbs down on them NOW.

  5. In a democracy, the people get the governance they deserve. This truism will become especially obvious to women in red states in months and years to come

  6. For a speedy cartoon, see ‘The Other Ones’ for 3 May
    on Kamala Harris
    asking Gorsuch questions during his nomination.

    The Lees publish on WordPress & I don’t know how to copy the individual toons from them.

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