Pat Bagley opens today’s conversation with the accusation the lawmakers intentionally remain uninformed, tossing in the idea that, not only do they reject facts, but that they find the distortions and selective reporting of Fox News comforting.
It’s not entirely clear whether Bagley, who comments on both national and local issues, is speaking of Congress or of the Utah legislature. Either is possible, but that’s a good argument for the proposition that it doesn’t matter: We are surrounded, and governed, by people who challenge experts in favor of believing whatever appeals to their predetermined opinions.
And we vote for them.
Ascribing motivation is dangerous without specific documents flowing between legislators and major donors, though, as they say about a turtle on a fence post, you do know it didn’t get there on its own.
In that Guardian article, an Exxon representative points out that the company was found not guilty of fraudulent denial, but if you scan down that report, you’ll find a link to related content: A three-year old story about their “exoneration” in which the judge specifically limits his finding:
It’s hardly the smoking gun that could turn the petroleum industry around, but, speaking of smoking, it still brings to mind the Tobacco Institute, a fraudulent group put together by the tobacco industry to produce one-sided, self-serving arguments against the scientific consensus that linked tobacco and cancer.
The massive, undeniable paper trail proving their malicious intent resulted in an agreement to halt fraudulent marketing and pay more than $200 billion to help undo the damage their dishonesty had done.
But that was 1998, and this is 2023, so that not only has the Republican House undone a no-smoking rule in Congress, but Tucker Carlson has come out in favor of tobacco, denying that it is harmful to your health.
It makes you wonder if he is trying to discover whether there is any lie so shameless and transparent that his viewers will finally recognize the deceit at the heart of his program.
Adam Zyglis is specific in accusing the mighty elephant of being terrified of a tiny mouse.
Does the old folkloric tradition make sense?
Does the current political situation make any?
While over on the funny pages, conservative Scott Stantis uses his Prickly City (AMS) strip to specifically accuse Speaker McCarthy of cowardice.
To be fair, it’s understandable that a political cartoonist would leap to embrace an accusation that backs up his positions. Gary McCoy is already hostile to the environmental movement, so it’s not surprising that he would take up the notion of a connection between whale beachings and the construction of wind turbines.
The cartoon appeared soon after those news stories, and, while they were quickly shot down by people with a greater understanding of the whale deaths — including that the surge began before the advent of the turbines — we don’t expect political cartoonists to issue corrections for hasty judgments.
On the other hand, it is difficult to disagree with John Deering (Creators) on the judgment represented by the appointment of Marjorie Taylor Greene — proponent of clearly, objectively false and arguably insane theories about Jewish Space Lasers, artificial bio-tracking meat from “peach tree dishes” and other asinine Q-Anon theories — to the Homeland Security Committee.
While, over at Non Sequitur (AMS), Wiley Miller questions the “honor” of being appointed to the House Oversight Committee, to serve alongside Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan.
All may not be lost. Though, as noted here yesterday, the new Confederacy has decided to stay rather than secede, there remains a significant body of voters who can be persuaded to stand with the country, and Ann Telnaes suggests that the transparently incompetent search for the SCOTUS leaker is not fooling anyone who does not desperately wish to be fooled.
Her accusation is well-timed, given the rising disapproval rate against the Court, which will not be tamped down either by their inability — or unwillingness — to find the leaker or by revelations by an independent filmmaker of credible sexual abuse accusations against Brett Kavanaugh that the eagle-eyed FBI was unable to unearth.
The question is whether the rise of truth will emerge in time to change things, or will simply be cited by historians as a cause of death.
Juxtaposition of the Day #1
If there are some responsible Republicans left, they may be finding themselves on the edge of a potential breakthrough.
As Whamond notes, the party has discovered the political power of continual outrage, however random, absurd and undocumented the cause. The MAGA cult was built on the appeal of making people believe they are being exploited and taken advantage of by “them” — the others, the elite, the woke.
But Siers points out that it’s becoming difficult to attack “them” for the things you’re doing yourself, and, specifically, that playing the “everybody does it” game can undercut your own leadership.
However, as his elephant concludes, shuffling out one of the most visible, outrageous figures in the party might reverse a recent trend of failures.
Note, however, that Siers’ proposed cure for the party’s failures does not require reversing Whamond’s prescription for its continued appeal.
Juxtaposition of Don’t-We-Wish
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s resignation has sparked comparison with other leaders who might do well to do the same, according not only to Pope and Golding but to a number of other commentators.
Granted, New Zealand is less populous than Iran, Israel, Russia, China, the US, the UK or Australia. If it were a US state, its 5.13 million people would place it just above Alabama, just below South Carolina.
We’d likely be less stunned if one of their governors decided to step down.
Granted, too, as Patrick Hudson notes, the response to her announcement might depend on where you heard it, and her next election was not a sure thing.
Still, some of us can only look on in envy, and wish the will to serve did not seem so often subservient to the will for power.