CSotD: Thoughts from a psychologist’s notebook

I take some comfort from Cathy Wilcox‘s cartoon, not because she’s a shining beacon of hope but because it’s good to know that so many of the problems we face are universal. In case you were thinking of chucking it all and moving to Australia.

The most distressing part is that, as suggested, we can’t even fix the things we can fix, and that assessment is coming from someone in a nation with a population one-thirteenth of our own. If Australia were a US state, it would be third in population, wedged in between Texas and Florida.

Who, come to think of it, are our problem children, while California, our most populous state, is no less of an oil tanker with very limited ability to pivot.

As Wilcox suggests, our angst comes less from the things we can’t do anything about than from the things we ought to be able to change but seemingly can’t.


Mike Lester (Counterpoint) also sets a cartoon in a psychiatrist’s office, where his patient is a hardworking American beset by libtards and elites and pointy-headed intellecturals who can’t park a bicycle.

Lester echoes the frustration of feeling powerless, but instead of agonizing over it as Wilcox does, he channels it into divisiveness.

This is a well-established approach of populists, and Lester ramps up the fury with some illogical points: He’s probably right that, if the fellow is so overwhelmingly successful, he may have an adjusted-gross-income in excess of $400,000 and will thus have tax increases.

But I don’t know anyone in that situation who doesn’t already work weekends and holidays, while, even so, I can’t see how a sole proprietor can squeeze any more personal income out of his business by spending more time at the office.

Joe Six-Pack isn’t going to see his taxes rise anyway, and, even if he did, spreading the cost of college loan forgiveness over 338 million Americans isn’t going to amount to a whole lot for each taxpayer.

Granted, doing the math would blunt the point, which is that “we” are having to pay for “them.”

Never mind the fact that “they” are also going to be paying for “them,” because the point is to divide, not to commiserate.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(JD Crowe)


(Matt Davies)

Crowe is hardly the first observer to point out the disparity between the break given college graduates and the more generous breaks handed to businesses and to the wealthy, but note that his goal is less to create resentment than to criticize it.

Davies, meanwhile, points out that the relief is not complete. Biden has estimated that the move will wipe out debt for about half the students involved, but it’s critical to note that the ones being most viciously criticized — the ones who took out massive loans for degrees offering little in the way of employable skills — will still have a good-sized mountain of debt on their hands.

In any case, I don’t hear a lot of moaning about the impact on personal taxes when DoD builds a new aircraft carrier. That’s seen as a good thing because it will create jobs in the shipyards at Pascagoula or wherever, but giving former students another hundred bucks or so to spend each month is also a positive. It’s just spread more thinly and reaches more people.

The point being not to re-argue the program itself, but to examine the intentional divisions being fostered.

The rightwingers say Biden should have gone to Congress, but show me when they said they’d have been receptive?

And when they argue that more needs to be done to curb the rising cost of college, I agree.

What bills have they introduced to do that?


Meanwhile, I’m sure Jimmy Margulies (KFS) drew this cartoon before last night’s Presidential Address, but the horrified responses on Twitter from the GOP congressional leaders simply reinforces Lindsey Graham’s threat that Trump’s carefully groomed MAGAts will rise again if their Dear Leader is subject to the law.

Margulies is not the first to suggest that an unsuccessful putsch is simply rehearsal for the next, but when people were saying that in the wake of the attempted coup, they were speculating.


Robert Ariail (AMS) confirms Margulies: Graham and others have since made clear that it was not idle theory, and this morning’s fury over last night’s speech is simply one more attempt to rally the rabble.

Interesting that none of them take the stance that “You surely can’t mean us!” but, rather, they insist that he does and that they are offended.

My goo’ness, you don’t have to wear the shoe if it doesn’t fit. Or even if it does.


Meanwhile, the Tucker Carlson wing continues to back Russia against Ukraine, just as they hold up Hungary’s Orban as the epitome of good leadership. I haven’t seen fresh cartoons about the Russian dissident who “fell” out of a window in Moscow the other day, but here’s what I did for students back in 2008, when journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on Putin’s birthday and both Jeff Danziger and Ann Telnaes responded brilliantly.

Being a dissident in Russia can be risky, and Newsweek compiled a list of people who have fallen out of windows there, and the list doesn’t include dissidents who died from polonium poisoning or in random attacks on the street. Nor does it list Alexander Navalny, who survived being poisoned, as did former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yushchenko, as did Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

But Carlson and his ilk are simply mirroring their Dear Leader’s ability to overlook such things. As Trump told Bill O’Reilly, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

And, as a candidate, he had explained Putin to Joe Scarborough: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

Though it’s not that Trump focused his admiration entirely on Putin. He also told General Kelley that he wished his generals were more like Hitler’s, and pooh-poohed Kelley for pointing out that Hitler’s generals had tried to kill him, saying “No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him.”

Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal.” — Joe Biden, 09/01/22


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Thoughts from a psychologist’s notebook

  1. It’s not surprising to see Mike Lester ignoring the fact that the business owner in his cartoon got a large tax break on his “pass through” income from the Trumpublicans that dwarfs the relatively small, hypothetical cost to him of student loan forgiveness. H*ll, the annual benefit outweighs the lifetime student loan cost in many cases.

  2. Mike Petersen – thank you for being you. Thank you for CSOTD.
    I very much appreciate your juxtapositions of the day.

    “I still trust the people.” – Samuel J. Tilden

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