CSotD: The Way We Live Now

I’ve long since stopped featuring Santos/Pinocchio cartoons, since there were too many of them and they’d lost all impact. But I got a laugh out of Ed Hall‘s combining of the metaphor with the common “spend more time with my family” excuse. In fact, that lame explanation is as too frequent and as devoid of impact as Pinocchio cartoons.

Together, however, they work pretty well, the other factor being that, though the Republicans may finally be opening their eyes, we-the-people have seen nothing new.

It’s not so much that they waited for the ethics committee report before moving to expel him. I’m all in favor of conducting the trial before pronouncing sentence.

But they gave him committee assignments and generally pretended he was one of them. They could have at least shunned him.

All of which builds up to Hall’s cartoon getting a laugh.

As to how it’s being handled on the other side of the aisle, it seems largely to be ignored by conservative cartoonists, but Steve Kelley (Creators) took the opportunity to excuse the GOP’s tardiness with a bit of totally unsupported whataboutism.

Santos is guilty of blatant, obvious lying and grifting. That’s not partisan sniping. It’s the conclusion of an ethics committee with both Democratic and Republican members.

Thus far, however, extensive searching by GOP hatchetmen has turned up nothing on Biden, leaving them to make preposterous claims about a personal loan to a family member at a time he wasn’t in office.

Laughable, yes, but not funny.

And particularly not-funny since we’re seeing that attacks don’t have to have any factual basis so long as they are repeated and repeated into receptive ears.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Mike Smith — KFS

Lisa Benson — Counterpoint

Beating the drum works. Mike Smith points out that economic indicators are looking up, but somehow polls show that people feel things are bad. And it may be because that’s what they’re seeing from Lisa Benson and what they’re hearing from Fox and Newsmax and others intent on stirring up what the man called “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Or, y’know, fear itself.

I don’t think you ought to be a cheerleader. The pandemic may be over, but the clean-up continues. Inflation is still above where the Fed wants it, gas prices are higher than they were and, while it’s easy to get a job, it may not be the job you had before. Budgets are stretched.

But, if the cornucopia isn’t overflowing, it is in the process of refilling itself.

If you look at other countries, you’ll find reasons to feel pretty good about our situation. And if you don’t look, you won’t.

As John Branch (KFS) notes, there is a group of people who think it clever not to vote, that all the candidates are the same and so it doesn’t matter.

Clever? It’s more likely that they aren’t bright enough to analyze the issues, or that they don’t pay attention.

But they’ll proudly tell you how bad everything is, and how smart they are not to believe any of it.

I suspect that defiant non-voters are a loud minority, compared to passive non-voters whose self-image is so blunted that they exist in a cloud of non-belonging, the Deltas and Epsilons of the Brave New World who bumble along beneath the surface while the Alphas, Betas and even the Gammas reap the benefits of society.

Huxley posits a world in which people are chemically and psychologically programmed into solid, inescapable levels. In the real world, individuals can rise or fall despite the slot into which they were born, but, whether in dystopic fantasies or genuine history, there are always people eager to exploit the exploitable.

Some of those exploiters are more brazen and open about it than others, as Darrin Bell (KFS) points out with a clever graphic flip. He didn’t need the extended text in that second panel, since those who are going to get it would get it and those who won’t get it still won’t.

I have both hosted a talk radio show and led horses to water, and I can assure you that the old saying is true.

That is, however, no excuse for silence.

Since Musk endorsed openly, blatantly, hateful antisemitism, major advertisers have paused their advertising on what was already a shaky platform.

Cynics have greeted that news by assuming that things will die down and the advertisers will return, and they’ve got proven “If A then B” logic behind them: If things die down, then advertisers will likely return.

Lord knows Xitter will welcome them back.

As Musk and his faithful sidekick insist, “freedom of speech” includes spreading hate, as long as the people who spread it have no agenda and the people who see it also choose to hate.

Also, they’re not actually allowing it. They’re just not actually disallowing it. And they’re also saying that they think it’s true, and that advertisers should support their free expression.

The challenge is not simply what will Xitter users say and think, but what will happen to the American Experiment if enough people are persuaded to vote in favor of a dictatorship?

Trump and his cohort have announced their plans for a second administration, and Mike Luckovich barely exaggerates. It’s not likely that Trump would refuse to take an oath again which he didn’t honor the first time around, but among his plans is immediately declaring the Insurrection Act and having the military arrest any protesters at his inauguration.

Things go downhill from there, because one of the mistakes from his first administration that he is determined to avoid in 2025 was hiring people who would keep his worst inclinations in check. His cronies are drawing up a list of ways to avoid having to protect and defend the Constitution, and a roster of staff who will help process that shift.

There is hope: Some media outlets have stopped trying to play “on the one hand, but on the other” and, instead, are letting people know what is truly at stake in the next elections.

Others, as Jen Sorensen points out, work to help people ignore the unpleasantness, and help Make America Great Again, like it was before the troublemakers woke up and spoke up.

That would be nice.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: The Way We Live Now

  1. I dunno. I rarely go much farther than my grocery, 1.8 miles from my home, so I only fill up my tank two or three times a year. But even I can recognize that when gas is $2.90 a gallon (as it was the last time I was out this week, that it’s NOT higher than ever. And we here in west-central Wisconsin usually have the highest prices in the state. So if people are paying ANY attention, they really shouldn’t be moaning about high prices.

    And gas at $2.90 is well below the inflation rate of everything else over the past fifty years. When gas cost 39 cents a gallon in the sixties, comic books cost twelve cents each. Today’s comics cost $3.99 or $4.99, an inflation rate that would make gas cost somewhere between $12.87 or $16.57 a gallon had it increased at the same rate. That’s around the price Hong Kong residents pay these days. And of course, diesel gas prices (a major determinant of food prices) are lower here than in most other world markets, so I believe our bellyaching is pretty much unwarranted, especially with wages far higher than when I was working for my dinner just three years ago.

    1. Higher than before the pandemic, that was. As for fall price rises, there is generally a burp as refiners switch from automotive gasoline to home fuel and back again, so it tends to hit in spring — sparking rumors of profiteering on vacation season — and in fall, which only sparks rumors in election years. In any case, the real engines of price change are OPEC supplies, which the president of the US has limited power to change.

    2. Gas is around 3.50gal here, which is pretty reasonable considering it peaked around 5.20 or something back in the heyday of the “I Did That” sticker craze. I don’t see too many of those anymore…

  2. As we’ve published,”You can lead a horses-ass to knowledge, but you can’t make him think” copr. TAIA
    I really like the Darrin Bell portrayal of the elongated muskrat. He may be failing (read that: flailing) but he is still polluting the waters badly.
    From many economists I respect: Gas prices are frequently manipulated by the Petroleum industry. And, I and many of my cohorts on a fixed income see that in the past 3 or so years ALL their expenses have doubled. Wall Street and the Banksters are not the economy we live with. The elevator is still climbing further out of our reach, just more slowly.

  3. I agonized over the extended text (I prefer as little as possible), but I don’t have much faith that most people under forty would remember – or would have been taught – that the Klan also hates Jewish people.

  4. In 2000 Ralph Nader proclaimed that there was no difference between his two opponents (Tweedledum and Tweedledee as I recall). Not voting in response to Ralph’s advice made a huge difference for Iraq’s citizens and for how we address global warming.

    You never know about the road not taken, but I am fairly certain we would be better off if Ralph had stayed out of it

    1. Also if the Supreme Court had stayed out of it.

      Turned out the road not taken was blocked by the fake Brooks Brothers riot and Clarence Thomas’ RV.

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