CSotD: Always winter but never Christmas

You can tell this is an old Arlo & Janis (AMS) — it’s from 2000 — because I don’t think many people defrag their hard drives anymore, or, at least, it’s not as easy to climb into the guts of the machine as it was back in the days of C-prompts.

I don’t have a better half to be physically cleaning while I sit at the screen, but I did take some time the other day to unfollow some people whose rah-rah cheerleading on the Middle East conflict was stressing me out and, while I was messing around, did an email search for “Do Not Reply” and deleted stuff that, geez, went back to 2006. Most of it had been kind of pointless then, all of it was totally pointless now.

The kitchen still looks like hell, mind you, but I managed to reduce my on-line stress and free up a little space, if not on my hard drive at least on my psyche. Lately that seems like a worthwhile goal.

Not that there isn’t plenty of additional stress filling the gaps. To quote Lucy Van Pelt, “It’s like bailing water with a pitchfork.”

The state of the economy is looking pretty good right now, but, as Bill Bramhall points out, it depends on how you want to look at it. The old joke is that, if you laid 100 economists end to end, they wouldn’t reach a conclusion, which does give partisans the opportunity to paint whatever picture they prefer to see.

Still, the GDP is healthy and wage increases are outpacing inflation and unemployment remains low, such that, if we’re not entirely out of the woods, we’re at a stage where it’s not unfair for Bramhall to show the Democratic artist painting what is and the Republican artist painting what he’d prefer.

I wouldn’t wave pom-pons over the numbers, but I’m sure it doesn’t help matters to complain about a problem that doesn’t seem to exist, unless your goal is to stir up anger, fear and resentment, which perhaps it is.

Narnia under the White Witch was described as “always winter, but never Christmas,” and it feels much the same to be living in a world where it’s always election time even when it’s not an election year.

Not to suggest that the America First crowd is new.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Chip Bok — Counterpoint

Jeff Danziger

Chip Bok asks why we don’t do something about Iran and Syria and blames Obama and Biden for the lack of response in that area.

Meanwhile, Jeff Danziger comments on the fact that we did just respond. He’s not saying it’s Christmas, mind you, and it seems Lt. Dangerous is worried about what may come next, but at least he’s operating on a factual basis.

Facts are hard to come by right now, and it seems a lot of the news we get only comes from one nation in the current conflict, given that access to Gaza is limited and the journalists who are there have been dying in significant numbers or burying their families.

Patrick Chappatte acknowledges the horror of the original attacks by Hamas terrorists, but suggests that, as in 9/11, the response may be neither logical nor proportionate.

The whole world is not just watching but voting, or mostly voting, and mostly voting for a ceasefire while things get sorted out.

And while few suggest that Hamas is a trustworthy source of information, there are those who still remember Colin Powell’s report on weapons of mass destruction and Condi Rice’s aluminum tubes.

120 to 14 didn’t even cover the point spread.

The United Kingdom sat out that UN vote, but Dave Brown is not so reticent about voicing an opinion, and he’s not the only cartoonist in Britain questioning US policy in the matter.

It’s worth remembering that Tony Blair was one of the few world leaders who went along with George Bush’s analysis of the situation, as Norwegian cartoonist Herbjørn Skogstad noted at the time and as a government inquiry noted later, the head of the inquiry writing that it had “concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted.”

Which might make successive British governments a bit gunshy, no pun intended.

Australia also abstained on the vote, which, similarly, hasn’t stopped Fiona Katauskas from casting a ballot of her own in the matter.

Her cartoon is among several observations that wonder over Jerusalem’s warnings for Gaza residents in the north to leave their homes and go south, coupled with reports that Israel is conducting air raids on the south as well.

While when live reports coming from Gaza hospitals said lack of fuel — which Israel continues to exclude from relief supplies — are threatening to shut down treatment of premature babies in neonatal intensive care units, I couldn’t help but remember the first US war against Iraq, and Nayirah al-Sabah, who tearfully told Congress how she had seen Iraqi soldiers remove babies from incubators in Kuwait and leave them to die on the floor.

Except that it turned out her heart-breaking testimony was a fairy tale made up by an American public relations firm to persuade Congress to endorse the war.

Which did not justify Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait any more than civilian deaths in Gaza change the horror of Hamas’s actions in Israel, but should remind us to be cautious in trusting anyone when the Gods of War are contending over who’s to be in the driver’s seat.

There is a reason we all got together and formed the United Nations after the Second World War, even if we ignore it now.

Nick Anderson echoes what General Sherman is said to have told the graduates of Michigan Military Academy — “War is Hell, boys” — but what he actually told them seems more to the point.

As Mercutio said, t’is enough, t’will serve:

He also wrote “It is only those who have not heard a shot, nor heard the shrieks & groans of the wounded & lacerated (friend or foe) that cry aloud for more blood & more vengeance,” and surely that applies also to those in danger of becoming “collateral damage.”

Yeats wrote, “Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart.”

That’s a predictable result of too much winter with never any Christmas.

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Always winter but never Christmas

  1. I still use the C:\ prompt at times. (run cmd.exe) It does some things more efficiently than Windows. But then, I’ve used mainframes the size of refrigerators and I’m still getting used to these newfangled machines.

  2. That scene from “The Best Years of Our Lives” has the best right cross to the head in movies history.

  3. Mike, your first line under the Chappatte cartoon has a typo that I noticed. If you’re as OCD as I am…

  4. Supposedly General Sherman also said (but I cannot confirm, or even find an attribution for the quote, and besides it may have been Phil Sheridan anyway) in re: the killing of Indigenous peoples including women and children :”Kill ’em all. Nits breed lice.”

    1. “Supposedly” is why we have Google. All sorts of people have been accused of this comment. But if you want to counter his idea that war is unpleasant, I suppose it will do.

  5. I cringed when I read
    ‘real wages rise again as wage growth outpaces inflation’
    isn’t that article by Hans Christian Anderson?

    I, and everyone I know (working or especially those who are retired), is finding their income STILL is not keeping up with the Actual Greedflation they have to deal with. They keep saying ‘inflation is down’. But that is disingenuous. The prices keep going up (houses, cars, home loan rates, grocery prices, health insurance (biden’s ad is a lie), etc.) and are not coming down. What they really mean is that the elevator is just moving upward more slowly. My finances are living proof of this. I guess maybe there are some whose wealth is increasing, but not at my ‘economic level’.

    The people that run most governments keep proving that wars are old rich men sending in poor young men as canon fodder to prove the power of the old men. And, we now live in a time when civilian massacres are ‘just the cost of freedom’. I find human society to be an abject failure.

    1. “Inflation is down” is not disingenuous in the slightest, except perhaps to those with a poor grasp on English. Inflation is by definition an upward trend. When people say inflation is down, what they are saying is that the rate at which prices are going up is less steep than it was in some previous period, generally referring to the previous year. There is an entirely separate term for when prices are dropping which should be obvious: deflation.

  6. Dear Mike, I know you try to be careful in what you write. But, I’m not sure which source you refer to: the ‘marketplace’ and ‘bls’ or the real life statistics experienced and provided by me and many people i know. Marketplace is a program that we note (from listening to their radio programs) are cheerleaders for big corporate economic entities that clearly don’t have any concern or sympathy for us, ‘the little people’. And, according to a friend who is an actuary, BLS deals in deceitful statistics: if you quit or are fired from one good paying job and get 3 jobs to replace the one you lost, they say that’s three new jobs created without subtracting the one lost.) Those (and our personal financial records) are the sources my friends and I deal with in real life.

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