CSotD: Bellyrubs for Bullies

Clay Bennett (CTFP)‘s cartoon introduces today’s theme by happenstance, because we all know that Ukraine needs our continued help, and that time is running out as fast as their ammunition.

The happenstance is that the cartoon appears at the same time as David Frum’s article in the Atlantic, “Why the GOP Doesn’t Really Want a Deal on Ukraine and the Border,” in which he notes that the majority of Republicans support Ukraine despite being cowed by peer pressure into appeasing Putin, and that, while there is validity in their concern about the border, it’s primarily an issue they’ve found hurts Biden the most.

Frum lists four reasons the GOP is demanding border reforms before they allow Ukraine to survive, of which the first is foremost:

The record of the GOP-dominated House backs up his assertion: They’ve set an astonishing record of passing nothing except performative nonsense. They’re strictly in it for the bellyrubs.

As John Auchter’s piece suggests, they are not in favor of anything. They have no plan except to oppose and demonize the opposition.

As Leonard Cohen wrote of the bureaucrats who condemned young men to death in World War I, “A scheme is not a vision, and you never have been tempted by a demon or a god.”

As for the border, I suppose there is some cold comfort in realizing that, while the dialogue in Cathy Wilcox’s cartoon on the topic of immigration and asylum could readily be taking place here, she’s criticizing Australian attitudes.

As Frum notes, there are problems on our border not because there is an “open border” but because we can’t process asylum claims rapidly enough and they disappear into the country while the backlog increases.

The solution is not to waste money on a wall that can’t possibly work but to invest in more personnel to handle that backlog so that we can reject specious asylum claims and obtain the increased labor we need, and, by-the-by, remain a bastion of freedom and a shining city on the hill.

If anybody still cares about that.

If we can get some comfort from knowing that Australia’s populist demagogues are as heartless as our own, there’s little promising about how Elon Musk has discovered a way to prosper by catering to bigotry and gullibility.

Pat Bagley depicts the appalling stew he has made of Xitter, but, while major advertisers are fleeing the sewage, it doesn’t seem as if Musk cares. He paid too much at the start and the site has hemorraghed money ever since, but he continues to double-down on hate and deceit while his faithful lapdog Linda maintains her happy-talk as if she were selling Girl Scout cookies.

Like the GOP performance artists, he’s not in it to succeed in normal terms. He’s there for the bellyrubs, and he’s no more concerned about making Xitter profitable than he might be about the cost of sailing a yacht or maintaining a luxury mansion.

This is what he wants to spend his fortune doing.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Jimmy Margulies — KFS

Michael Ramirez — Creators

If brown-skinned refugees are a convenient target, so are the intellectual pinheads who can’t park a bicycle straight, long ago vilified as such by George Wallace and Lester Maddox, and now dragged back out by the GOP for some more beatings in a Congressional show trial.

Certainly, few in Congress have shown more willingness to do anything for a bellyrub than Harvard alumna Elise Stefanik, who led the attack on college presidents.

Her transparently ideological “Have you stopped beating your wife?” interrogation style has inspired a flood of cartoons accusing college presidents of letting young people learn how to think when they are supposed to be teaching them not to.

Margulies takes the simple route and dismisses a complex issue, while Ramirez makes a list of the horrible things colleges may tolerate, including, in a stunning display of irony, “cancel culture.”

He also attacks colleges for being racially inclusive (DEI) and aware of other people’s needs (Woke) as well as doubly concerned with racism (Critical Theory and CRT, which are the same thing).

Ramirez declares that openness to debate and discussion is “poison” and we can assume that the GOP is pursuing an antidote for it.

For my part, I remember the appallingly stupid things college students said in my day, I am not surprised that college students still say appallingly stupid things today and I expect that, once again, they’ll get it out of their systems once they’ve grown up.

The ones I fear are the unrepentant suck-ups who long ago discovered the right things to say in order to get the bellyrubs that earned them honors as students and that now win them elections and powerful committee assignments.

Juxtaposition of Restraint and Fury

Clay Bennett — CTFP

Ann Telnaes

An interesting and appropriate contrast, as two champions of the form go after the same soft target.

Like immigration and racism, abortion specifically and gonad issues generally are a societal fascination that can be readily exploited, and they are, similarly, issues in which the people being exploited are vulnerable.

What I like about this Juxtaposition is that Bennett takes an appropriate male approach to the horrors of the Texas law and subsequent court decision, standing somewhat back in appalled but restrained condemnation, while Telnaes expresses a woman’s fury in identifying personally — note the perspective — with the hypocrisy of De Santis’s imposition of male supremacy on personal decisions.

When I say that Bennett is “appalled but restrained,” the blood on those thorns shows what he sees rather than what he has felt. There are many, too many, of us who have held weeping women and heard their stories, but we have not lived them.

Like MacDuff, we must dispute it like a man, but we must also feel it like a man. The worst thing to do is to harden our hearts like a drunken Rick Blaine:

In 1941, even in 1971, men might only hear those stories from women who worked in rooms with the tinny piano in the parlor downstairs.

But in 1972, furious, courageous women stepped forward to let the world know how universal was their experience and their concern.

They changed the dialogue. They changed the world.

But, like the Ukrainians, they haven’t won yet.

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Bellyrubs for Bullies

  1. I have always thought that, unless a legislator or a voter can give birth themselves, they should never be allowed to make a law involving reproductive rights–or vote for or against it. It’s as fully illegitimate as making laws or voting on them to control Martians.

    1. That is probably one of the best statements in regards to this situation I have read. thank you

  2. Rep Stefaniak’s concern for antiSemitsm would be more touching if she didn’t advocate the complete wiping out of – oh, immigrants, black people, and Democrats in general.

      1. Oh, Mike! Congratulations on missing the ball altogether! You might try reading Raskin’s ENTIRE remarks rather than cherry-picking.

      2. I’m going to assume you missed the sarcasm, since I’m happy to stand by Raskin’s complete and unmistakable denunciation of Stefanik. But it’s a good time to remind people that I would normally have deleted a comment that violates the rule against insulting other commentators. Stick to debating facts and opinions in future.

        Here’s the full interview.

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