CSotD: Errors, lies and wishful spinning

“Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth—to see it like it is, and tell it like it is—to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth. ” — Richard M. Nixon, August 8, 1968

Gary Varvel (Creators) offers a pair of cartoons that illustrate today’s theme.

The first is mostly a bit of wishful spinning, because it opens a debate that begins with honest definitions. Since the fall of Afghanistan, the US has sent $2.35 billion in aid to the country. Nobody should be disputing that.

But the aid has not been sent, as Varvel depicts it, directly to Afghanistan’s Taliban government. Rather, it has been sent to aid groups working to rebuild the shattered country. A check made out to the Taliban is a lie, or perhaps an error or perhaps a case of spin.

It’s hard to dispute that the Afghan government will skim some of those aid donations, and so Varvel is correct in suggesting that our efforts to fulfill the so-called “Pottery Barn Rule” will inevitably benefit the Taliban. The twin arguments against it are (1) how this differs from other humanitarian efforts in similar nations and (2) whether it’s worth lining a few corrupt pockets to assist a desperately struggling people.

It’s a debate worth having.

This second Varvel cartoon, however, falls under the category of a lie.

It’s true that the President went back to Delaware for the weekend, as other presidents have gone to Camp David or Bedminster or wherever. It’s also true that, when asked on the beach for a sound bite about Maui, he said “No comment.”

But the idea that he’s done nothing about it, and said nothing about it, is a monumental lie.

Not only has he been vocal on the topic since the outbreak of the fires, but he was active in pledging aid and dispatching FEMA and other resources to the island well before this tempest in a teapot roiled the rightwing.

That’s also before we get into whether a working weekend might include taking a break to walk on the beach and whether a round of golf would take longer.

It’s not a necessary argument when you have so much evidence, formal and informal, showing the overall accusation to be a lie.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Pat Bagley

Steve Benson

Lisa Benson — Counterpoint

Three perspectives on Biden’s recent move to protect the land around the Grand Canyon from commercial exploitation.

Bagley harkens back to Theodore Roosevelt’s initial efforts to protect the canyon at a time when developers wanted to build hotels on its rim and mine its depths. TR had previously worked to block a plan to build a railroad into the heart of Yellowstone and initiated wildlife refuges as well as strengthening and expanding national parks.

It’s important to note that Roosevelt was a conservationist, not a preservationist, and so could be a friend of John Muir, seen here with him at Yosemite, but still clash with him over the use of natural resources. “Conservation” indicates wise use while “preservation” indicates no use.

But sometimes wise use meant no use, and, even when it didn’t, Roosevelt was more cautious than others of his time, saying in a 1910 Kansas speech

 I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behave as each farmer here behaves with reference to his own children. That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. 

This is distinct from, but compatible with, Steve Benson’s point that we’ve robbed native people of enough of their sacred and meaningful land and that it’s time we at least stopped, even if we can’t reverse what has already happened.

By stark contrast, Lisa Benson seems to think we’ve achieved energy independence or come close enough that a stop to uranium mining on the land around the canyon would end our chances. You needn’t ask if she is promoting atomic automobiles with that radioactive gas pump, since she might mean nuclear power plants to power electric cars. Or something.

But here’s a quick exercise: Go to Google and type in “US uranium imports.” See how long it takes to come to this chart:

I’d like to see her plan for boosting that five percent to 100 percent.

I’ll bet she hasn’t got one.

Similarly, I’m flummoxed by Mike Lester (AMS)’s claim that the FDA has approved Ivermectin for covid treatment after resisting it for so long, and his suggestion that the previous ban cost “hundreds of thousands of covid deaths.”

It took a little digging to find out WTF he was talking about, but I did find a couple of sources: One was Epoch Times, a Falung Gong website which, as Wikipedia explains, has “promoted conspiracy theories such as QAnon, anti-vaccine misinformation and false claims of fraud in the 2020 United States presidential election.”

The other was an interview on Maria Bartimoro’s Fox program. Bartiromo was a central figure in the Dominion Voting Machine lawsuit, which, you may have read, her employers did not win.

At which point a journalist might be tempted to search for another source, such as this one, which declares the whole thing a load of horse hockey.

Error, lie or wishful spin? What difference would it make?

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Eric Allie — Counterpoint

Bob Gorrell — Creators

Mike Luckovich

It’s odd of Allie to declare that there is no rule of law, but I suppose that’s how he and Gorrell explain being able to convict the Bidens of crimes with no witnesses or evidence or even a trial.

But Luckovich (sarcastically) suggests that, if you stand on a tall enough promontory and shout “Biden Crime Family,” it will eventually become true.

Or, if not true, at least an acceptable error or an understandable bit of wishful spinning.

Enough: I’ve more than reached my word limit for today; Tomorrow we’ll take up the more official war against information and the press.

Meanwhile, be like Richard Nixon: Tell it like it is.

14 thoughts on “CSotD: Errors, lies and wishful spinning

  1. My mom’s side of the family is from West Virginia. In the early ’90s, we drove up for a cousin’s wedding and stayed at a hotel on a hill at the edge of town, across from a broad Appalachian mountain. A decade later, I was in town for my grandmother’s funeral and stayed at the same hotel. As we were standing in the parking lot before leaving for the service, I looked around and said to my cousin, “Didn’t there use to be a MOUNTAIN here?” He shrugged and replied “Strip mining.”

  2. 1) As a Hoosier, let me just say that Varvel is a disgrace. The fact that he straight-up lies as frequently as he does and then claims (in that interview that was posted here a week or two ago) that he’s criticized for his Christian beliefs all the time is nauseating.

    2) I work in the medical field and saw some things during COVID, including more than one patient through themselves into renal failure from ivermectin. I have a real hard time keeping myself from wishing ill will on the disinformation peddlers that made life worse for me and my colleagues for the past couple years. I guess my wish for Lester is that he’s fortunate enough to get his medical care from someone who isn’t getting their guidance from the Epoch Times.

      1. “Whiter whites! Brighter brights! Looks after your kids and pleasures your wife!”

        Is there nothing ivermectin can’t do?

  3. Is the horse hockey link the right one? I didn’t find anything about ivermectin there.

      1. Thanks. In the interim, I simply googled for “Did the FDA approve ivermectin” and got the same link you’ve now posted. Which emphasizes/amplifies how truly lazy Mike Lester is.

      2. Mr. Harris, I am a fallible child of God and unlike many of my critics am sometimes wrong. Comes w/ the job. But I put out 11 cartoons/week x 52 weeks. Lazy? It takes a lot of work to be this wrong. —-ML

      3. In defense of Mike Lester: He’s not lazy; it takes a lot of digging to find the right misinformation to justify your position!

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