CSotD: Monday Dissensions

Starting the day with things we ought not to believe, Ann Telnaes encapsulates the conflicting stories about how the Secret Service accidentally deleted text messages from, golly, of all dates, January 5 and 6, 2021.


She includes a nameplate for Nixon secretary Rosemary Woods, for the benefit of those too young to remember Woods’ absurd re-enactment for the press, explaining how, while transcribing the White House Tapes, she accidentally kept her foot on the pedal that erased them as she reached to answer the phone.

(We didn’t buy it.)

But, since the median age in the US is 38 and Watergate was half a century ago, more than half of us weren’t born yet and a good chunk of the remainder weren’t old enough to follow the story, which results in a whole lot of people comparing the Nixon and Trump scandals without having witnessed the former.

To repeat, Watergate was confined to the executive branch, while the Insurrection appears to have co-conspirators in Congress, and not only was Nixon operating with only token support from the legislative branch, but he was doing so without the support of a major faux-news organization.

However, there are parallels, and Woods’ ridiculous excuse for having erased the tapes she was transcribing was just as credible as the shifting, conflicting statements from the Secret Service, who, bear in mind, are also responsible for Schroedinger’s Presidential Vehicle, in which the president was both reaching for and not reaching for the steering wheel.

We’d be better off with fewer secrets and more service.

However, Adam Kinzinger promises that Thursday’s Prime Time hearings will “open people’s eyes in a big way” as the Committee reveals what was happening in the White House during the riot at the Capitol.

Fox viewers will turn to less challenging programming again, I’m sure, but the Committee’s real audience is the Uncommitted. We’ll see how they respond.


I like Paul Fell’s commentary on the release of the Uvalde report, in large part because “Texas Authorities” is more accurate that “Uvalde Police.”

As I’ve noted before, the Uvalde Police were not the only department on the scene, nor the most numerous, as listed in that report:

Nor were they in charge, and that’s a major part of the problem: Nobody appeared to be in charge.

People on social media are asking how you could have so many officers on the scene without resolving the problem, but that’s like asking how you could have so many people in the canoe and not prevent it from capsizing?

The report quotes officers describing the chaos as a “cluster” and it takes a cluster to create a cluster.

The report is readable and fascinating, though the Texas Tribune’s coverage, as seen here and here, is a good starting point, and this paragraph sums up many of my own suspicions and fears:

No command center, nobody clearly in charge, radios that weren’t compatible between departments and didn’t work inside the building are only a part of the cluster. There’s also the fact that door locks were known to be defective and shortcuts in violation of safety rules were common at the school .

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the report also quashes a lot of unwarranted accusations.

Though “Don’t confuse me with the facts” is not confined to those who refuse to watch the Jan 6 Hearings.

Facts won’t deter those who’ve made up their minds about this disaster.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Rob Rogers)

(Deb Milbrath)

There is a lot of whataboutism in this pair, but informed whataboutism can be a valid riposte.

My main criticism here is that Milbrath seems unfair in suggesting only Republicans are condemning the fist bump. There is a storm of cartoons of Biden bumping bloody fists with MBS from the left side of the aisle.

As Rogers suggests, it wasn’t a meeting that didn’t carry with it a great deal of baggage, and those who recall Biden’s election-year pledge to make MBS a pariah need to also remember that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has changed a whole lot of things since.

Politics indeed make strange bedfellows, and the US and Britain didn’t ally themselves with Stalin in WWII because they admired the guy.

And if you don’t like the Saudis, you might want to be a little more skeptical of their PR work not only in circulating those fist-bump photos but in denying that Biden had brought up the Khashoggi murder.


Sometimes his questions seem better than theirs, particularly since he had explained his trip in some detail in advance, in an Op-Ed that apparently only I read.


And an unexpected spin on one of my familiar rants: I like Pat Byrnes’ cartoon about the rats leaving, not a sinking ship but a sunken one. It’s a matter of applying a timeworn metaphor in a way that transcends the cliché, and of addressing the fact that, for all the GOP whining about a one-sided Jan 6 investigation, it’s Republicans who are testifying.

Aside from the fact that the Diaper Don has likened witnesses to “rats” in true gangster fashion, the cries by his minions for “cross examination” might better be phrased as “We want to disrupt and distract like we do in other hearings, with self-serving, accusatory, insulting speeches instead of actual questions.”

Not to mention that “cross examinations” happen in trials, not hearings, and if this does come to a trial — inshallah — the judge won’t allow that kind of flamboyant witness-badgering.

But let’s talk about me: I’ve ranted often that the notion of “rats leaving a sinking ship” involves them bailing out before it leaves port, as seen in this 1951 Russell Brockbank Punch cartoon.

However, the seamen’s superstition may not rely on rats being psychic so much as on they’re being closer to the facts: Last night I came across this passage by Dumas (1847):

Which, mind you, seems more to apply to Never-Trumpers, who sensed the rot in time to decline signing on for the cruise.


And another departure from a familiar rant: I hate cartoons in which poetic parodies fail to scan, but Ed Wexler gets this one right on the beat, and transforms the rat’s saggy eyes into a take on those of the original stage-struck boychik.

Let’s hope he does sing!


7 thoughts on “CSotD: Monday Dissensions

  1. How many in that median age group are going to look sideways at Wexler’s cartoon? I looked at it and immediately thought, “Wait — is he really playing off what I think he is?” 😀

    I love when I get to be a part of the “in” crowd. 😉

  2. Secret Service
    “We’d be better off with fewer secrets and more service.”
    Nice line.
    And for whom is their service, the President or the country?
    They famously are supposed to take a bullet for the President.
    At what point do they need to “take one” for their country?

  3. “ …a force larger than the garrison that defended the Alamo”
    An important feature of (endangered) local and regional journalism is the knowledge base of area history and lore that produces apt references like that, a comparison which should truly hit home.

  4. Perhaps they should, but what I don’t expect to see happen is a change under which firefighters will begin letting civilians run into burning houses. Note that the kids who died were dead before she got there and the others were successfully evacuated.

  5. Instead of discussing “whataboutism,” how about we start discussing “Why are there different rules for Republicans and Democrats?” What I find especially infuriating is that the Very Serious People (not all of them, but not just F*x) tend to respond with a variation on “oh well, boys will be boys” when Republicans do something egregious.

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