CSotD: Implausible Deniability

Joe Heller is only one of many cartoonists raising the issue of egg prices, along with an army of meme-creators posting variations on a guy giving his GF a carton of eggs instead of a diamond.

So no particular criticism of Heller, but a more generalized: “So what?”

Ask Google “Why are egg prices so high?” and it will spit back a list of links to the same basic answer: An outbreak of avian flu has forced the destruction of millions of laying hens.

As that article explains, supply is down, demand is up, and you don’t need an advanced degree in economics to know what that means for prices.

Which suggests a temporary solution: Don’t eat so many eggs.

Nearly two-thirds of American households are living paycheck to paycheck, and I promise you, we’ve had practice finding less expensive ways to feed ourselves.

So, yes, I’m making a big deal out of people making a big deal out of something that shouldn’t be a big deal.

Welcome to today’s theme!

It’s not just a matter of getting a laugh out of something insignificant, though jokes about egg prices are becoming similar to jokes about stepping on Legos with bare feet.

But making a distraction out of something that isn’t a big deal has become part of the Big Lie Strategy, as Mike Luckovich points out.

And David Frum affirms, in a short but silly Twitter thread.

Use of natural gas has been identified as a serious health risk, including a significant cause of childhood asthma, but the recommendations do not, despite rightwing disinformation, involve taking anyone’s gas stove. They involve not approving gas stoves in new construction, and offering significant rebates for purchase of induction and other electric appliances.

But the MAGAts have seized on a new grievance and are off to the races, hoping, as Luckovich puts it, to distract the public from the genuine attacks on personal rights and freedom on their agenda.

The fact that nobody is seizing existing gas stoves does not matter, any more than the fact that the IRS budget increase was primarily for customer service, any more than survivable abortion attempts are extremely rare but already treated as the new bill demands, any more than the fact that any sales of crude from the SPR to China were done second hand, by private industry, not the government.

Facts don’t matter. Neither did the GOP’s promise to read the Constitution as its first order of business, which might have forestalled some of the performative, nonsensical bills it passed instead.

Though dubious interpretation is not entirely a rightwing fault, as demonstrated in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Smith — KFS)

(Tim Campbell — Counterpoint)

Mike Smith is right to call out the GOP for their hypocrisy in shielding Trump from criticism over the enormous amount of classified materials he removed from the White House while raising cain over the far smaller collection of documents that turned up in a locked closet in an office Biden hadn’t been using.

But, then again, Campbell is right in saying the sloppy paper handling by Biden or his staff provided the GOP with a bit of leverage.

Clearly, the two events are barely comparable: Trump loaded up so many documents that the National Archives missed them and asked for their return, which he blocked, denied and obstructed. Biden’s move was so inconsequential that it went undiscovered for several years, at which point it was found and immediately reported by his staff.

Luckovich fails in this analogy, because, while he focuses properly on magnitude and apparent intent, there’s no question but that Biden’s “withdrawal” was illegal.

A better comparison has been floating around on social media, comparing a deliberate shoplifter who runs from security with someone who, outside the store, realizes he has an unpaid item in his shopping cart and returns immediately to set things right.

Intent is a critical issue, and I wonder how often retiring politicians inadvertently include things they aren’t supposed to have in the materials they pack up upon departure.

I haven’t found a specific answer to that question, but this article goes into some depth on the issue of intent, while this blog entry lays out the ways in which the matter has been honestly or dishonestly tossed around.

Both are worth reading if you’re one of the minority who care about facts.

As Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of United States Army Europe and the Seventh Army, notes, it’s not just presidents and vice-presidents who screw up, and the outcome largely depends on degree and intent.

The decision to seek an independent counsel for the Biden matter seems unavoidable for the same reason as was necessary in Trump’s case: You couldn’t simply have the Attorney General call the shots when there was a potential issue of political bias one way or the other.

And BTW, some critics want Merrick Garland to be a gunslinger rather than a chess player, but I’d rather wait for justice than either blow a potentially winnable case or be guilty of leading a lynch mob.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Dave Granlund)

(Jeff Stahler — AMS)

After the first trove of unintentional documents were found in Biden’s think tank office, additional searches were apparently ordered that turned up a few pages among papers stored in the garage that also holds his prized Corvette.

I say “prized” because, given the value of the car and Biden’s economic level, I suspect this was a well-secured location, and, while Granlund goes for a laugh, I highly doubt things were handled with such cheerful disregard.

If you want to joke about it, Stahler has a better take, because maybe there should be a company that just goes through former politicians’ papers to make sure they haven’t broken the law.

Meanwhile, I don’t know that the quirky movie about women who clean up crime scenes is any more realistic than the quirky movie about a kid who snags his friend’s dad’s prized 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder for a day of joyriding, but I’ll bet nobody stores a car like that in a rickety old garage in Pasadena.

Sounds like something the House Automotive Storage Investigative Committee should look into.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Implausible Deniability

  1. At the wake for a neighbor I got into a conversation with an employee of the funeral home who also did crime scene cleanup. He told of working on a car where there had been, literally,, a body in the trunk. The crooks had tried to cover the smell by carrying an open crock of sauerkraut around in the car. That pretty much topped any silly story I had from teaching junior high.

  2. There are at least two TV series about crime scene cleaners. “Mr. and Mrs. Murder” is a comedy/farce from Australia (streaming on Acorn). “The Cleaner” is a 2021 British production (streaming on Britbox) and is somewhere beyond quirky, bordering on the surreal.

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