CSotD: Rotting from the head

Prickly City (AMS) has been looking askance at the GOP lately, which would be unremarkable if the strip weren’t a conservative outlet or if we were living in a normal world. However, we’re in a world in which “conservative” seems increasingly to mean going along with the party line.

Moving your lips while you cling to power is a story with a long history, though Casablanca fans know that Louis only clung to a very limited, local power, and only so long as he trimmed his sails to those prevailing winds.

I was planning on doing a State of the Union follow-up posting, because you might have noted that Wednesday’s round-up exclusively involved cartoonists working for specific newspapers. They tend to have fewer deadline issues, at least on breaking news, and I wanted to give the syndicated cartoonists a chance to catch up.

However, I’ve found it nearly impossible to sort the cartoons drawn before the speech from those drawn after.

For instance, I’m assuming that Kirk Walters (KFS) had this one in the bank ahead of time, since nobody who watched the speech could possibly think Biden hadn’t scored points, whether or not you agreed with him.

By contrast, Pedro Molina (Counterpoint) is specific to the event, mocking Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ odd response, in which she explained that the nation was divided between crazy and normal, and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s strident claim for which of those sides the GOP has staked out for itself.

Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) is only indirectly referencing the SOTU speech with her latest, and, in a comment behind the Counterpoint paywall, she explains the piece, and that the donkey is actually pulling a reluctant elephant from the ambulance.

“Republicans want to start discussions to stabilize the programs for the future,” she wrote, “but Democrats would rather kick the can down the road and hope for the best.”

Did she hear the speech or not? It seems like pre-Enlightenment science, in which you decide what is true and then frame your experiments to prove it, rather than allowing the experiments to reveal the facts.

And having been called a liar, Biden not only invited the hecklers to check with his office, but then had his office publish a set of examples of what he had referenced in the speech:

Granted, he wasn’t tremendously specific in his speech yesterday in how he plans to fund Social Security and Medicare, but he indicated that making wealthy corporations and individuals pay more in taxes — what he termed a fairer contribution — would make it possible, nor could Benson have heard it before penning her cartoon.

However, his outline is still a reversal from Sen. Rick Scott’s attempt to backpedal and deny his own proposal to a skeptical Kaitlin Collins, who refused to let him suggest that Biden’s move to slash drug costs represents a cut in benefits for seniors.

There is a difference between wishful thinking and intentional disinformation, but, just as you can’t always tell when a cartoon was actually drawn, you can’t always tell when someone is dreaming versus deliberately misstating the facts.

Still, as Michael Dukakis noted, “a fish rots from the head,” and those in charge are responsible for what is said and done under their watch.

And, as Confucius noted, you cannot call a person loyal who hesitates to criticize the object of his loyalty.

Speaking of unquestioning loyalty

I don’t normally look to the New Yorker for political cartoons, but this piece by David Ostow neatly sums up Florida’s move to restrict what young people can read while loosening gun laws.

There are restrictions in Florida on kids’ access to guns, mind you. This isn’t Missouri, where Republicans are pushing legislation for teenage open carry. But the fewer restrictions on guns, the more chances for youngsters to get their hands on weapons.

The standard argument is that most people don’t favor either book banning nor permit-free concealed carry, but if Ron De Santis can refute Trump by asking him to look at the scoreboard, he can use the same defense of his punitive educational laws and his free-form gun laws. It’s not like voters didn’t know who they were pulling the lever for.

Dennis Draughn is in North Carolina, not Florida, but his critique of “parents’ rights” applies to many states where it seems parents are giving the right to object to what is taught — or what they think is being taught or what they are told is being taught — but not to the overall politicization of schools and school boards or any of a number of matters which do not flow along within the prevailing winds.

While, as Drew Sheneman (Tribune) wisely points out, the notion that state censorship of different voices and a policy of government-backed cancel culture is intended to save students from propaganda and indoctrination is Newspeak nonsense.

But it’s worked in the past, and, as I’ve argued before, sometimes Animal Farm is the accurate Orwell parable, the one in which the animals agree that we’ve always chanted “Four legs good, two legs better.”

Flash! We’re not the only nation in the world!

Television news has been rightly focused on the horrifying destruction of the earthquake, and international cartoonists have done the same. I particularly like Ahmad Rahma (Cartoon Movement)‘s piece because he cites both his own Turkey and Syria rather than simply the former nation.

He also skips the standard tumbled-buildings and the blood-soaked imagery to suggest the simple sorrow without exploitive theatrics. The death toll is over 20,000 as I write. What more does it take to inspire your concern?

But Ann Telnaes has broken the silence among cartoonists on this side of the Atlantic, and she’s done it by noting the criticism that is springing up around Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rather than by simply reminding us that death is sad.

An earthquake may qualify as an act of God, or, in that semi-theocratic government, of Allah, but Telnaes applies an English-language pun: This is at least partly Erdogan’s fault.

Another case in which the fish rots from the head, and it becomes infuriating, as this commentary explains, when buildings have been exempted from earthquake-related construction standards imposed after the 1999 quake in that country. Damage control, he suggests, is more centered on fiscal mismanagement of a supposed earthquake relief fund that wandered off into other pockets.

Many of the buildings that fell were constructed before 1999, I’m sure. But there’s quite an accusation in this photograph of how the civil engineers built their own building.

As the Christians say, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”

Doctors Without Borders is accepting donations, as is Unicef.

Watch for the scams, but don’t use it as an excuse to sit on your wallet.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Rotting from the head

  1. I really like Draughon’s toon. As for taxes, Turkey is not alone in using taxes for other. In South Africa we have a special fuel tax paid on every litre you buy. One would think it would be spent on roads, but no, it goes into the general coffers and you still get to pay road tolls over and above.

  2. So the relevant question is “How to fund a self-funded government program”?

    The easiest solution should’ve been enacted years ago by raising the minimum federal wage.

    Immediately everyone at the bottom starts paying in more and those above the bottom are not going to sit still for receiving the same paycheck so they’ll start paying in more too.

    Another easy solution is to raise the cap, but Republicans would never go for that.

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