CSotD: Strange Days Have Found Us

There’s no doubt but that Kieran Meehan inked this Pros & Cons (KFS) well before Election Day, but a look at social media this morning more than justifies Lyndon’s view of things: Sociopaths seem to have a good grip on the conversation.

There’s little for political commentators to analyze in the post-election chatter, but a great deal for the psychoanalyzing that Lyndon does, though, as he suggests, there’s a difference between nudging someone back between the rails and trying to help someone who has completely lost contact with the highway.

We’ve got people with a history of demanding a hand-recount complaining about the scanning machines in Maricopa County that are forcing ballots to be counted by hand, and election deniers insisting that getting their asses kicked was, in fact, a victory, and some are blaming Trump and others are blaming McConnell while the Freedom Caucus is preparing to hold their own party hostage if they win a majority in the House.

Meanwhile, Republicans are claiming that their nomination of Herschel Walker proves they aren’t racist, but Nikki Haley wants to deport Warnock. Which the daughter of immigrants should have thought of 400 years ago, before his ancestors were imported.

Now, even with a scorecard, you can’t tell the crazies from each other or from the sane people, thanks to Elon Musk, who is letting people print their own scorecards for $8, or, at least, he did that long enough for everyone to see how well it worked.

Which is to say, not at all well.

Forbes has a listing of phony Twitter accounts, and it’s amusing until you realize that some actual damage has been done, both to reputations and to the stock market.

Jenny Leonard of Bloomberg asked President Biden a follow-up question about Musk’s foreign entanglements the other night, and he laughed off the topic without dismissing it:

Turns out that one way to put yourself under investigation is to allow someone to impersonate a US Senator who happens to have an interest in cybersecurity and related topics. A Washington Post reporter, with Markey’s permission, easily created a fake Senator Markey Twitter account, and the result was not hilarity.

Jeremy Nguyen is laughing, with this New Yorker updating of Peter Steiner’s classic cartoon, but Markey isn’t.

And then there’s the matter — which neither Leonard nor Biden addressed — of how the Saudis and other investors feel about loaning money to someone who not only pays way too much for the platform but then promptly drives off the advertisers who give it the insufficient income it was generating.

There was a rash of pearl-clutching over the notion that the government might take notice of a private citizen engaged in foreign entanglements with dubious nations, mostly from the same rightwing voices that proudly Back the Blue, but don’t mind people beating the shit out of them at the Capitol, and who propose eliminating both the IRS and the deficit. (See “Pros & Cons,” above)


Elsewhere in the Virtual World, Paresh Nath (Cartoon Arts) notes a disturbance in the force as digital currency experiences some bumps and bruises, the largest of which is the bankruptcy of FTX, which raises the theoretical question of how can a company that deals in pretend money have “secured creditors” to pay off?

At least Beanie Babies and baseball cards have a physical reality, however funged their nonfungible value may have become.

What’s left to divvy up when a make-believe bank goes down? Office chairs and coffeemakers?


Not to panic: The World’s Richest Man is on the case, or, at least, someone who claims to be him is on the case.

And he’s got a blue checkmark, so it must surely be him.

However, if you’d rather get advice on this matter from a more qualified source, try the Onion.


Still on the topic of self-centered blowhards, but no longer on the topic of even marginally amusing failures, Dave Brown celebrated Remembrance Day with this reflection on poppies, peace and the man who respects neither.

I’d note that the same rightwing crew who don’t want the government keeping tabs on Elon Musk’s overseas adventures are beginning to waffle on the topic of arming Ukraine so we don’t end up sending our own kids to die in Putin’s Big Adventure.


Bruce MacKinnon echoes Brown’s note that there’s nothing funny about destroying poppies.

It’s encouraging, even heart-warming, to see the citizens of Kherson turn out to hug and cry over their Ukrainian liberators, but it’s important to keep in mind that a rational person would not have launched the invasion in the first place, and to remember that, while the Kaiser stepped aside when he was beaten in WWI, his successor held out in a bunker to the last minute.

We should also recall that, however crazed Napoleon may have been to escape from Elba and attempt to recapture France, he didn’t do it alone, and not only did his soldiers rally back to his banner, but his advancing army was greeted with cheering crowds until his final defeat and exile to St. Helena.


As David Simonds puts it, Putin’s retreat from Kherson is a failure, and it’s hardly the first in what has been a horrific series of reversals.

It’s becoming harder for Russia’s state TV to deny how badly things are going, and the Russian people are becoming discontented since the press gangs began dragging men off the street and sending them, untrained and ill-equipped, to die in Ukraine.

But so what?

Putin has, over nearly a quarter century, tailored his inner circle to make a putsch unlikely, while, if it happened, there’s absolutely no guarantee that whoever replaces him would be an improvement, for Russia, for Ukraine or for the American kids we’re hoping won’t have to fix the global disaster America Firsters are headed for by hobbling Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.


“We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves,” Lyndon Johnson famously said.

But Ann Telnaes reminds us how that worked out, then, and again after Iraq and Afghanistan.

Don’t rely on the Pottery Barn rule.

Sociopaths never pay up.

                                             (Vera Brittain)


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2 thoughts on “CSotD: Strange Days Have Found Us

  1. There’s a great story about how a Paris newspaper reported Napoleon’s return. Here it is, from http://thesiecle.com/episode22/

    “There is a delightful anecdote from the Hundred Days that captures in a nutshell the fickle nature of newspapers in early 19th Century France. It consists of headlines from the Moniteur Universel, the official French government-run newspaper, reporting on Napoleon’s advance on Paris as follows:

    9th March, the [Cannibal]1 has quitted his den

    10th, the Corsican Ogre has landed at Cape Juan

    11th, the Tiger has arrived at Gap

    12th, the Monster slept at Grenoble

    13th, the Tyrant has passed through Lyons

    14th, the Usurper is directing his steps towards Dijon, but the brave and loyal Burgundians have risen en masse and surrounded him on all sides

    18th, Bonaparte is only sixty leagues from the capital; he has been fortunate enough to escape the hands of his pursuers

    19th, Bonaparte is advancing with rapid steps, but he will never enter Paris

    20th, Napoleon will, tomorrow, be under our ramparts

    21st, the Emperor is at Fontainebleau

    22nd, His Imperial and Royal Majesty, yesterday evening, arrived at the Tuileries, amidst the joyful acclamations of his devoted and faithful subjects.2

    It’s my favorite story from the whole Hundred Days, with one very minor problem: it’s completely made up.”

  2. Yes, heard that one in 10th Grade World History, but only from the teacher, not from the text! (He didn’t label it as fiction.)

    The story may not be real, but the enthusiasm was, and a good reminder at the moment that, as Faulkner said, the past isn’t even past.

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