CSotD: Human Rights, and Wrongs

It can’t get much simpler than Megan Herbert‘s illustration. We know what human rights are, and we claim to respect and revere them, and yet we consistently fail to provide them.

It’s a bit like the way we save money: We know we should and we certainly want to, and we fully intend to and we’re definitely going to but not quite now. Not quite yet.

That may not seem like the best analogy, since, at the moment, a lot of people really are having trouble getting from paycheck to paycheck. But “getting by” is one of those human rights, and this Grizelda cartoon sheds a light on a bureaucracy that fails to take steps to deal with it, at least so long as the people in dire need do not appear to have the power to force change.

The controversy starts with a need for perspective and compassion at the micro level: Some people are complaining that they can’t afford to take a vacation — which is not a human right — while others are complaining that they can’t feed their children, which is.

At the macro level, Bill Bramhall points out that the GOP-dominated House of Representatives proposes to strip the IRS of the funding it had been given to improve customer service, implement free tax filing for simple returns and better monitor compliance.

It’s an effective attack, because as long as taxpayers can’t get through to have their questions answered, and when they have to pay for help in filing their taxes, they’ll hate the IRS.

Turning them into allies of the wealthy tax cheats who cost the US economy an estimated $1 trillion each year.

It would be foolish to expect a healthy IRS to catch every one of those rich parasites, but it is even more foolish to think the results wouldn’t more than justify the cost of increased enforcement.

However, as long as they can spin frightening stories about jack-booted thugs pounding on working class doors, Uncle Pennybags and his cohorts can rest easy.

Something to think about while you’re on hold trying to get a tax question answered. A bi-partisan congress had crafted at least a partial solution, but the MAGAt-led House is intent on uncrafting it.

Elsewhere, we’re seeing an effort to stir up more resentment and distrust of education. As seen in this Mike Smith piece, foolish remarks and crude behavior on college campuses are being amplified into a major crisis.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to lie about what is happening, but, as has often been the case, there is generally somebody saying something stupid, because people between the ages of 17 and 22 are good at saying things they’ll regret in a few years, and not just “I’d like to borrow $75,000 so I can major in art history” or “Let’s get married!”

Up to now, the classic was “Defund the Police,” which made sense if you knew what they meant, but none at all if you relied on what they said.

Now the predictable inability of small groups of loud, inarticulate kids to frame sensible statements about the Middle East, and administrations that tolerate free speech, are being taken as a barometer of where colleges stand.

Clay Jones explains this cartoon with a lovely, furious rant about the hypocrisy of the rightwing who seem to have forgotten their own history of standing by toxic blowhards.

Even standing alone, his cartoon draws a good laugh as you read through its litany of rage and come, finally, to the speech balloon in the lower righthand corner.

I’ve said this more times than I should have to, but that’s illustrative of the point: People cite 1984, in which Big Brother’s heavy fist forces people to obey the oppressive central government, but Orwell better anticipated our situation in Animal Farm, in which the pigs are able to shift their stories and their policies in midstream with the vast bulk of the other animals not even noticing.

It’s not a matter of oppression. It’s a matter of capitalizing on trust, gullibility and short attention spans. Did we used to say “Four legs good, two legs bad”? Why, no, remember? We said “Four legs good, two legs better.”

Look: It’s written right on the wall of the barn: “Four legs good, two legs better.”

Only the disloyal could doubt that.

There seems to be some pushback growing against the notion that criticizing Israel’s response to Hamas terrorism is antisemitic, and Rob Rogers is not alone in criticizing the sledgehammer tactics being used to rout out Hamas from densely populated Gaza.

There was a famous point in the Vietnam War in which Americans forced residents of a Vietnamese village to relocate because the place had become a refuge for Viet Cong. It became famous not because they uprooted all those people and placed them in a new, unfamiliar place, but because some inarticulate boob explained “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

We’ll see if Bibi Netanyahu can come up with a better-phrased rationale for why Israel launched an air strike on a refugee center, but, for now, the explanation that one of the dozens of people killed was a Hamas leader seems like thin broth.

Where is the line between sledge hammer tactics and war crimes? Brandan Reynolds states his own position.

The head of Doctors Without Borders doesn’t use that terminology, but he does describe what his people in Gaza are seeing:

Helpless people are being subjected to horrific bombing. Families have nowhere to run or to hide, as hell is unleashed on them. We need a ceasefire now. Water, food, fuel, medical supplies and humanitarian aid in Gaza need to be urgently restored.

The United Nations and the Pope have also called for a ceasefire, but the Israeli government has refused.

Point of Information: A ceasefire is only a temporary truce. It’s not pacificism. It’s not a surrender. It’s a chance to sort things out.

Meanwhile, as I write this an estimated 8,500 Gazans have died. “Estimated” because coverage is limited, and even where journalists have been permitted to enter Gaza, 31 of them have been killed.

Glen LeLievre asks what good reporting would do anyway. We’ve seen this before, we’ve even wept over it.

But here we are again anyway.

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Human Rights, and Wrongs

  1. There isn’t an either or here. Hamas was certain enough of Israel’s response that it stockpiled food, fuel, and water for its forces underground, as reported by the New York Times. Ordinary Gazans are at once human shields and collateral damage. The goal for Iran, its allies and client militias is to stir up enough outrage that it can wage war with impunity, and probably through its various cat’s paws.

    The numbers, sad to say, matter less than the goals, and the idea that a ceasefire will sort anything out is naive. What it will do is give Hamas the opportunity to regroup and rearm, and ultimately that will only prolong the suffering.

    1. Does Israel stockpile food, fuel, and water for its forces? Does the US?
      Why expect Hamas to be as foolish as the Russian Army in not preparing for a counterattack?
      I’m not defending the morality or ethics of Hamas,
      but attacking them BECAUSE they were prepared for the response to their attack merely shows a lack of strategic thinking on your part.

      1. Israel and the US stockpiles them for their civilians too. Hamas just sort of leaves theirs hanging in the breeze.

  2. Mike Smith says of the university grounds ‘this isn’t a safe neighborhood’ Which reminds me of Jared (2BilliondollarGiftfromBonesawMBS) declaring that americans feel safer in Saudi Arabia than in the u.s. I am so angered and see that as the height of ignorant arrogance, given how much damage he did in the Israeli Gaza neighborhood when he was put in charge. My cohorts agree with me, we wouldn’t feel safe anywhere today. We have been verbally attacked and physically threatened; even by an ignorant old bigoted grocery checker. Welcome to the apocalypse.
    I hope this doesn’t just sound like whining. But, we did save as much money as we possibly could during our working years. Yet, as my neighbor says: we are concerned that greedflation will soon have many of us unable to afford food or health insurance.

  3. That panel with the elephants is missing an “Hitler was an okay guy” balloon

    After all, the GOP is the party that’s all buddy-buddy with neo-Nazis and White Supremacists…

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