CSotD: Variety Pak Views

Sometimes even a good cartoon becomes obsolete before it sees print. Mike Luckovich seems caught between Walter Isaacson’s book extract and Isaacson’s backpedaling on the issue of Musk, Starlink and the Ukrainian war effort.

Isaacson’s book made the claim that Musk had foiled a Ukrainian sea drone attack on the Russian fleet at Sevastopol by shutting down the Starlink connection that would have guided the drones. The accusation went viral, sparking a lot of controversy over Musk’s apparent ability to direct an American ally’s war effort.

But it also sparked denials, and now Isaacson is “clarifying” his remarks, which it turns out were apparently not in need of clarification as in need of withdrawal: Musk had not extended Ukraine’s ability to use Starlink as far as the Crimea and declined to do so in order to facilitate the attack.

That’s a good deal more than a clarification, and Isaacson has admitted he misunderstood what he was told about the matter. Reliable Sources, which has an excellent analysis of the error, notes that the Washington Post, which ran the book excerpt, has issued not a “clarification” but a “correction.”

This may sound like a semantic distinction, but for those of us who have had to issue both, it’s much less humiliating to have to explain what you meant instead of to admit that you just plain got it wrong.

The good news for Luckovich being that he used a land weapon for his cartoon and there remains speculation that Musk did actively interfere with Ukrainian war efforts by cutting Starlink access during the counterattacks in eastern Ukraine.

Not sure that should make anyone feel a lot better about General Musk’s military leadership, but it maintains the validity of the cartoon.

I’m somewhat confused by Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint)‘s commentary on the President’s visit to Hanoi for a cup of coffee on his way home from the G20 summit in India. There have been so many visits there by American veterans of the war (among who Danziger is numbered) that I guess I hadn’t kept track of whether there had been a formal, official government visit.

I was wondering how long it took for us to have official visits to Germany and Japan after that war ended, but then I remembered that we beat them and thus held an upper hand in determining such things.

Not clear on the protocols for visiting places where it didn’t turn out your way, but it’s important to note that Biden was there seeking to improve trade relations, which have long been in place, with or without visits.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Marian Kamensky — Cartoon Movement

Nick Anderson

With the resignation of Spain’s head of women’s soccer, Luis Rubiales, Marian Kamensky updates his earlier cartoon on the efforts by players to get rid of him, and it’s nice to see justice triumph.

But I prefer Anderson’s take, because it emphasizes the power of the Spanish women to insist on being treated with dignity, both in their standing firm on their objections to his forced kissing of a player and in their ability to rally support from other organizations including men as well as women.

Kamensky depicts joy, but Anderson depicts determination. I’d suggest that, while Kamensky seems to address the specific event, Anderson widens the focus to include the future of women’s sports generally.

I disagree with Michael Ramirez (Creators) often enough that it’s only fair to point out the times when we are on the same page.

Well, more or less.

I look on term limits as a crank demand and, like Ramirez, expect voters to decide on Election Day whether a particular elected official has served long enough, which philosophy I would extend to also cover candidates who are past their expiration dates.

However — and it’s a pretty big however — I wish we could somehow diminish the power of incumbency, and getting money out of politics would be a major step in that direction.

It wouldn’t solve everything. It is not only in Third World nations where people seem to think that “voting” means checking the box next to the person you’ve heard of, or that it is betting on the person you think is going to win.

Incumbents will always have an advantage.

The ability of the electorate to sort through things seems to work far better in theory than in practice, and we’ve got some fix-up to do on how we finance and regulate elections before we can simply trust the voters.

We’ve gone, after all, from a time when political parties would write a policy platform and then choose a candidate to carry it forward to a time when they choose an electable candidate and then spend more time fundraising and advertising than trying to formulate policies.

You can’t expect voters to make intelligent choices if they aren’t offered intelligent arguments, and Rob Rogers (Counterpoint) addresses both the ridiculous move to impeach Biden and the overall obsession with attacking Democrats for dubious, unproven reasons.

Most of the bugbears that supposedly keep GOP officials awake at night are either highly theoretical, dubiously sourced or totally fraudulent, which doesn’t mean they haven’t sold these shaky propositions to voters but successful campaigning on those fixations has led to a situation where Kevin McCarthy is hostage to a small but critical group of screwballs who genuinely believe this stuff.

At the moment it appears that they will shut down the government if he doesn’t agree to hold impeachment hearings in which, his captors fully expect, the evidence they’ve unsuccessfully sought for years will suddenly spill out on the table.

But holy moly: When the Queen of Hearts insisted “Sentence first, then the verdict!” in Alice in Wonderland, she at least knew what crime she was charging the Knave with.

There’s plenty of real news out there, and more misery than we may want to cover. The earthquake in Morocco has led the news for days, but now Libya, as Morad Kotkot (Cartoon Movement) points out, has been devastated by a hurricane whose flooding may result in an even higher death toll before everyone is dug out and accounted for.

Those who have obsessed over four dead in Benghazi might at least pay a little attention to several thousand dead 150 miles away in Derna.

Then again, that might require acknowledging climate change.

Plus, y’know, giving a damn.

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Variety Pak Views

  1. One thing that I noticed, two of the big countries that Biden seemed to try to be charming, Vietnam and India, share a distinction. China has been in shooting just short of actual wars with both of them. So for as much as we destroyed Vietnam and as much as India feels dissed by the US, China is actually a closer and one time real threat. They have some reason to sidle closer to us even as they also talk to China.

  2. That elephant cartoon is missing a vial labeled “woke mind virus”

    Just to check off a few more “stuff the right-wing is obsessed over” boxes

  3. “I wish we could somehow diminish the power of incumbency, and getting money out of politics would be a major step in that direction.”

    So would ending Gerrymandering. That would not help with US Senate elections but it sure would with elections for the US House and for state elections.

    1. I remember when Lani Guinier was railroaded and had to withdraw her nomiation for Assistant Attorney General for brining up the idea of cumulative voting. Forty years later she seems like a prophet.

      I’d go for choosing Representatives with a version of the Parlimentary method; voting for a party only- seats are then allotted based on the percentage of votes. Due to Federalism, though, this would have to be done on the state level and I doubt either party would want to surrender th power they now have.

  4. Mike said: I wish we could somehow diminish the power of incumbency, and getting money out of politics would be a major step in that direction.
    I reply: I totally agree. Big Money in elections is a terminal disease of our government. One other point I want to share: Chronological age limits for government officials are a stupid idea. Some older officials are sharper and more honest than many that are younger than they are. Corruption in government (I’m looking at you C. & G. thomas and many others) is a huge problem. Corp. billionaires own most congress critters and judges.

  5. Instead of polling on candidates and their views, maybe what this country needs is a variety of “Survivor / Big Brother / (fill in the blank)” reality shows (local, state and national versions) where random groups of political candidates for office(s) (based on how local the show is) are locked away for a period of time and forced into situations / tasks where they need to prove their bonafides: things such as “attempting to balance a budget for a place that is going to see a shortfall in revenue”, “reacting to word that a loved one was killed in a mass shooting” and “being visited by lobbyists”. Viewers would then be allowed to “vote them out of office” as a way of elimination. It may be the most logical way of deciding who to vote for in elections (having seen them in “action” before the process), and who knows, perhaps weeding out some of the crazies that tend to get elected today.

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