CSotD: Dropping the Masks

It may seem odd to begin a discussion of the end of America with today’s Buckets (AMS), but what may have struck Greg Cravens as ironic exaggeration a few weeks ago has become chillingly relevant, now that Donald Trump has finally declared his contempt for the US Constitution and the rule of law.

I doubt this was ever intended to be ha-ha funny, but it would be more amusing if it weren’t such a solid parody of what’s going on in the American electorate.


I suppose it’s reasonable that people thought electing a semi-literate reality show star president was acceptable, perhaps remembering that Ronald Reagan had begun as an actor, and George Murphy seemed a competent enough governor (no, senator — see comments).

But, as Clay Bennett (CTFP) suggests, the notion that Herschel Walker is even marginally qualified to be town mayor, never mind a US Senator, makes little Eddie Bucket look like Alexis de Tocqueville.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pearls Before Swine — AMS)


(David Horsey)

The death of local newspapers is an issue, and, contrary to the joke in Pearls, they can’t bully you into subscribing.

There’s a whole book — or at least a whole rant — in what happened to local newspapers, and it certainly focuses, as Horsey contends, on a loss of advertising combined with takeovers by Wall Street investors with no interest in the product, only the profits.

Part of the ad revenue issue was inevitable, because national product ads moved from local papers to television, and the ease with which car dealers and Realtors could create their own sales booklets made them less dependent on the local paper, even before the papers’ head-in-the-sand response to Craigs List killed their classifieds and those aforementioned auto and real estate people created their own websites.

Even so, local journalism can be, if not wildly profitable, at least sustainable, and we’ve seen examples: I support my public radio station as well as a local aggregator, and we’ve also got a statewide non-profit that does original reporting.

It’s not impossible, unless you’ve got distant stock swappers demanding dividends that a small paper can’t possibly generate.

Subscribing to the local paper used to be part of becoming an adult, like putting the utilities in your own name and mowing the lawn with some regularity.

Well, that was then and this is now and how it happened is less critical than what it means.


Jen Sorensen notes the shift to a hard right that has also taken place, such that not only does what media remains seem dominated by extremists but that the product of their hostile world view has spilled over into the streets and is impacting our educational systems.

The worst part of this is that my one quibble is with her final panel, because I’m not hearing any calls for young people to even consider points of view beyond the One Accepted Truth.


There is truth, however, and there is even justice, and, while Ann Telnaes notes that the latest fish to be hooked are small fry, there are some lunkers who also deserve to be reeled in.

She’s enigmatic about the potential, but that’s reasonable, because, while we know they are there, and we may have some faith in Merrick Garland’s slow-and-steady approach — after all, nobody he’s actually gone after has escaped — there is a larger problem, which is that we have a substantial portion of the population who don’t accept facts and reality.


We scoffed at Kellyanne Conway’s absurd notion of “alternative facts,” back when she was promoting Trump’s ridiculous lie about the size of his inaugural crowd.

Not only was the idea of “alternative facts” oxymoronic, but we could see from photographs that there was nowhere near the number of people present that he claimed.

You didn’t have to think, or believe.  You just had to be able to count.

But they counted the votes in 2020 and Trump insisted it was a lie, and now they’ve counted the 2022 votes and Charlie Kirk insists that it’s a lie.

It may be one thing to have people believe the nonsensical ravings of an admittedly talented and charismatic salesman, but who is this little weasel that anyone should accept his counterfactual, illogical view of reality?

You don’t have to think, or believe. You just have to be able to count, and some 49% of voters not only accept a flat-earth view of reality but voted to endorse it in November.


Trump’s response is not to be grateful for ill-earned victories but, rather, to double down and stop pretending to have any interest in law and order. A faint nod to our great Founders and now let’s tear up the Constitution and install Dear Leader, based on alternative facts in a world of alternative reality.


Trump’s call to overturn Constitutional government did not go unheard, but while Google News was full of reporting on the astonishing declaration, I saw nothing from Fox News about it, and a specific search of their site this morning provided not a word.

By the time you see this, that may have changed, but they certainly weren’t leaping to cover it, while today’s NY Post is exulting over the Musk-sponsored “revelation” that, in the course of the 2020 campaign, the Biden campaign asked Twitter to take down photographs of Hunter Biden’s penis, and is highlighting an attack on Tish James, who is prosecuting Trump’s financial empire.

Point being that, even if Garland goes after those big fish not just with hook-and-line but with gaffs, spearguns and harpoons, landing them will simply be portrayed to the slavering mob as another example of jackboots and corruption on the part of a government that does not deserve to exist.

You may be comforted that 51% of people like our Constitutional system and want to preserve it, and, in a democracy, that is sufficient to carry the day.

Until you factor in the virulence and violence that hang over that 49%, the deplorables who have been described, yes, as clowns, but as “clowns with flamethrowers.”


We opened with a comic rather than a political cartoon, and this Pros & Cons (KFS) seems a reasonable way to close, while we wait for the editorial cartoonists — and the rest of us — to catch up.


8 thoughts on “CSotD: Dropping the Masks

  1. Two comments: the right wing bias is just the pendulum swinging the other way. Last I heard there are 5 major companies that own the news outlets of the nation. I don’t think they’re all conservative. Secondly, as a conservative in Arizona, I left the republican circus years ago. Even the people I considered sane have joined the clowns. The republican party has had been in the majority since the early 70’s. Yet every election they run on how bad the state is and what they will do to improve it. They lost, suck it up buttercup. At least Masters didn’t refute his loss to Mark Kelly.

  2. Not gonna buy the both-sideism on this one, Al, unless you can show a liberal chain of 191 stations that ordered those stations to run left-wing editorials the way Sinclair has issued must-run rightwing material …


    And verify a system of fake “local” news outlets across the country passing along extremist views as “news” like this:


    This is not your father’s news cycle.

  3. The funniest thing Saturday morning was Fox News personalities shocked – shocked! – that a media outlet like Twitter could have a partisan tilt.

  4. As progressives in Scarizona (until we can escape alive), we see the rtwingnut fanatics carrying guns into grocery stores and threatening voters at election drop boxes, shouting at us who wear masks that we are traitors. Filing frivolous lawsuits whenever their feelings are hurt. Our local newspaper is so insipid it is only suitable for wrapping fish. We try to make positive contributions to our community in spite of the prevailing onslaught of hateful rtwingnut behavior. It is about as effective as shoveling sand into the sea.

  5. One fascist tactic in Italy in the seventies was a lot like that of the patient in “Pros & Cons.” The idea was to create enough fear and uncertainty in the citizenry that they would welcome a strong leader who countenanced no opposition. It was call the “strategy of tension,” and may have had some support from the U.S.

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