CSotD: Spin and that other stuff


This Alan Moir cartoon is past its use-by date — I try to feature cartoons within seven days — but the fact that it’s a bit old is somewhat the point.

The point is, is it true? Is it false? Is it spin?

I say “spin.” I’m still interested in the war, but we’ve got a lot on our plates in the US and a lot of other places as well, so it’s not that we’re actually bored.

But we might as well be. If we’re not inundated with news from Ukraine, perhaps it confirms my contention that what you see is less a factor of what is being covered as it is what other people are clicking on.

The war is being covered. The fact that we’re sending another $750 million worth of high-level weaponry to Ukraine has been on newscasts in the past day or two.

But it hasn’t been splashed across my social media pages and I follow several sources to follow news of the war. It just doesn’t seem to be rising to the top.


On the other hand, this ad has been on my Twitter account for the past 48 hours or so. Obviously, somebody thinks we’re interested in helping the poor, down-trodden refugees of war-torn Eastern Europe.

It’s good to know that these gorgeous young Slavic women not only have traditional and family values but are particularly attracted to old American men.

What’s better to know is that the American government has enacted some laws to compensate for that combination of traditional values and inexplicable lust.

It’s inevitable that war profiteers are working on this level, but you don’t have to dig very far into the topic to discover that it’s not so funny after all.

This may not quite fit the definition of sex-trafficking, but when I was on a family law email group a few decades ago, there were often stories told of women who ended up in abusive situations or who did a touch-and-go marriage long enough to get a green card and then dump the sucker.

I doubt that’s changed.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what’s happening in Ukraine, here’s a recent update and analysis from Gen. Mark Hertling, who is one of the better sources on it.

But Moir isn’t lying: We do have to search for the coverage.


Our topic today is the difference between spin and pure shit, and Ben Jennings offers an extremely good example of how to spin Britain’s current problem with the literal kind of shit.

Jennings not only offers a double pun on “Poohsticks” but bringing in that bear offers a reflection on a world once celebrated for innocence.

The current drought over there seems to have revealed, or at least emphasized, the amount of untreated sewage being released into British waters, and I suppose the good news is that people have a visceral response to actual shit that they don’t have to less comprehensible forms of pollution.

Perhaps they’ll be more likely to demand a solution.

I say that as someone who lives in a state with a considerable PFAS issue, but, then again, who doesn’t?


By contrast, David Simonds focuses anger on the people who should be protecting the public against this sort of thing, and it’s a different sort of spin.

Jennings makes a more emotional appeal to solve the immediate problem, while Simonds reflects on a long-term issue of agencies that take the money without doing the job, which is part of a more extended argument.


It’s an argument that Rod Emmerson says applies as well in New Zealand as it does in the UK, whether actual human waste figures into things or not.

This still qualifies as “spin,” because these various executives don’t actually discuss such things or laugh when they do, but the distance between the compensation of CEOs and the pay rate of workers is not an opinion but simple math, as is the trend it represents.

The spin is in how you feel about it.


Michael Ramirez (Creators) offers a familiar spin from the corporate side, which is that high prices for things that don’t cost a lot to make are how companies finance the R&D which produces new products.

You’d need a forensic accountant with a sharp pen to figure how much of a factor government grants for such development offset the actual research cost, along with how the fact that Banting, Colip and Best deliberately sold the patent on insulin for $1 to prevent profiteering figures in, and why pharmaceutical companies sell their products for markedly lower prices overseas than they do in the United States.

Though it’s like saving Tinkerbell’s life: You just need to get everyone to applaud.

Which, after all, is how spin works.


By contrast, Gary McCoy skips the spin and goes straight for the “I know you are, but what am I?” argument, comparing Biden’s campaign promises with the tax policies outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Biden promised that people earning less that $400,000 would not see an increase in their income taxes, and that provision is written into the new law, as both this analysis and also this analysis confirm.

And as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen assured Congressional leaders.

It’s not a matter of “spin.” It simply isn’t.

I suppose you could say the strategy here is that “poo sticks.” And among the MAGAts, it likely will.


As Jimmy Margulies (KFS) suggests, loyalty to Trump has seriously impacted Republican abilities to tell spin from shit, and, while that’s his own spin, he’s got backing from Mitch McConnell, who recently said nominating unqualified candidates has likely ruined the GOP’s chances of retaking the Senate.

But Margulies only applies average spin.

You’ll find much more entertaining spin in this Jonathan Chait piece at New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, headlined “Mitch McConnell’s Terrible Candidates Are His Own Fault: This happened because the GOP decided not to confront Trump’s election lies.”


While Clay Jones, no shrinking violet when it comes to saying what’s on his mind, offers this cartoon and then explains his no-holds-barred analysis of the difference between spinning and lying.


I like spin. This guy was always part of my favorite Sunday entertainment:

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Spin and that other stuff

  1. I played pooh sticks off the supposedly original bridge. I won but the trick is to throw your stick into the middle, fastest flowing water. I also went canal boating near Rugby. Many houses near the canal flush straight into it. Despite the warm weather we did not take a dip with turds flowing past you. Pity, but Bondi Beach in Sydney 30 years ago was the same.
    The US meds pricing story is absolute price gouging and collusion to me as a non?American. It should be easy for a rich philanthropist to set up a non-profit insulin manufacturing plant. Why not? Or am I missing something here in South Africa?

  2. Regarding the Ramirez, I think it relies on the fact that most Americans, whether they make 30,000/yr or 3,000,000/yr, think they’re “middle class.” The moment we admit those 400,000.00 earners into the “middle class” his cartoon becomes spin rather than sh!t. Ramirez is simply conveniently omitting that Biden, in his promise, defined 399,999.99 9/10 as the upper bound for “middle class.”

  3. Rich, I assume you mean McCoy. But declaring people who make $400,000 a year middleclass is like declaring whales to be fishes. IMHO, it goes well beyond spin.

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