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CSotD: What a Fool Believes

We’ll start the day with a little crossover from the funny pages, because Snuffy Smith (KFS) sets the tone for a discussion of spin, lies and foolish belief, and I like Snuffy’s contention that it’s an issue of good judgement.

There is genuine dishonesty, of course, but there is also genuine stupidity and genuine self-deception, and it’s hard to sort out the nonsensical ramblings about Jewish Space Lasers from clearly Anti-Semitic rants from easily disproven claims about police badges, and, of course, cannibalistic pedophiles in non-existent pizzeria basements.

We’ve always had fools amongst us, though they were never able to communicate with each other as readily as they can now.

The Internet has been a boon to left-handed flute players who can find each other and swap information, but it’s also allowed people who believe covid vaccines contain microscopic tracking devices to find each other.

But consider this: I met my first Elvis-is-alive lunatic in 1986, well before we were all on-line, and, after my shock and bafflement, I began to encounter the belief all over the place. I suspect it’s like how, when you’re pregnant, you start seeing pregnant women everywhere: Not that there are more of them, but that you’re more aware of them.

Back then, we didn’t have politicians capitalizing on delusion to build empires, however. Even Joe McCarthy confined his falsehoods to smears and innuendo rather than explicit lies.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Kevin Kallaugher)

(Matt Wuerker — Politico)

I’ve said before that it’s getting hard to create a cartoon that makes its point by exaggerating reality, and Kallaugher and Wuerker have the sense not to try: Simply depicting reality is mind-boggling enough.

If actual lunatics were numerous enough to sway elections, society would have long since collapsed under the burden of their incapacity. I have to believe that a substantial number of the out-and-out loonies at Trump rallies represent a core group who, like Deadheads, follow him around the country.

I also realize, based on my experiences in the Sixties and as a reporter in later years, that there is a selectivity in interviewing the most colorful people in a crowd rather than someone who more closely represents the average attendee.

Neither Kalaugher nor Wuerker are depicting the Q-Anon shaman or goofballs in colonial cosplay.

There are average, decent people out there who do not question their leaders and so are suckered into believing dishonest, inconsistent, deceptive positions.

 

Phil Hands suggests it’s not a “They all do it!” proposition. Not only do the Republicans have a far longer list of things they want to cut from the social contract, but the “Defund the Police” slogan was decried from the start by many Democrats — even those who favored shifting support from enforcement into community programs — and has been repeatedly and explicitly contradicted by Joe Biden both in speeches and through policy.

By contrast, even gob-smacking Q-Anon insanity seems to get a shrug from GOP leadership. The most pushback, it seems, has been an attempt to stop the crowd from using the one-finger gesture at Trump rallies, which is not the same thing as stopping speakers at those rallies from repeating Q-Anon applause lines.

 

Ed Hall goes beyond the notion that silence implies consent to make a reasonable accusation that failure to denounce bigotry and Anti-Semitism from candidates suggests it is an accepted campaign strategy.

We appear to be re-entering the Know-Nothing era of pre-Civil War days, with a taste of the Klan marches and anti-immigrant strategies of the Red Scare of the 1920s.

Hall’s cartoon is rough, but it’s not a pleasant prospect.

And now the NYTimes reports that Donald Trump is considering Marjorie Taylor Greene as his running mate if he gets the nomination for president in 2024, while Kevin McCarthy seems poised to elevate her within the party if he becomes Speaker after the midterms.

 

Meanwhile, Steve Benson (Creators) offers this chilling response to the yet-unexplained loss of Secret Service texts from January 6.

Though it’s possible that, in upgrading all their phones at the same time, they not only inadvertently wiped out all text messages from every single phone, but did so in a way that made them totally unrecoverable.

It’s more pleasant to believe that than any alternative explanation.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Steve Kelley — Creators)

(Nick Anderson)

There’s a heapin’ helpin’ of nuance in both of these cartoons.

Kelley’s little trick-or-treater has things right, in that the average 401k is down about 25%, which would yield a $35,000 loss, and Anderson is also correct that inflation is a worldwide phenomenon rather than a specific result of Biden policies.

Kelley doesn’t blame Biden, but his history clearly shows him no fan of the president, and, with the midterms approaching, simply stirring up discontent is a partisan act. Cartoonists hoping for a GOP surge in November can similarly point out the price of gas, neglecting to note that gas prices are also high in the rest of the world.

But, while the average 401k stands at $129,000, that figure is across all age groups and income levels, and the median is more revelatory of where 401k’s really stand, as is the fact that fewer than half of American workers even have one.

That linked article urges people to aggressively contribute to their 401k, but, as a single parent, I found it hard enough to aggressively contribute to raising my kids, even with child support.

The other factor being that people who do hit that average are 20-some years from retirement, which gives them time to add to it and for the market to rebound.

So Kelley’s claim is accurate and honest, but not half so scary as it might seem and it’s technically non-partisan, though, again, the incumbent always takes the heat.

 

Finally, I like John Deering’s timely commentary on voter suppression, because it is time for people of good will to wake up and stand up against those who would overturn our system.

There was, of course, no “Headless Horseman,” but simply a bully who dressed up to terrify a shy, harmless school master, who fled town and lost both Katrina and his job because he believed in the monster and was too timid to fight back.

There’s a lesson in that.

(Here — Scratch that earworm.)

Community Comments

#1 Bob Harris
October/23/2022
@ 12:56 pm

(In response to “covid vaccines contain microscopic tracking devices.”) If Tucker were a lib, he’d say: “Every pillow and mattress cover you buy from the My Pillow guy contains hundreds of nanoscopic tracking sensors with built-in artificial intelligence to interpret your every move. The My Pillow guy knows when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake. But more to the point he knows what kind of sex you like and exactly when you have it.”

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