CSotD: Dogs, Frogs and Demagogues

Harley Schwadron speaks for me, because there is a flood of topics being cartooned about at the moment and my desperation is in trying to cover the ones that won’t keep, combined with the prospects of a drought if I cover them all today and nothing surfaces for tomorrow.

My desperation, though, is never quiet. Thoreau was talking of the desperation that comes if you take Randy Bish‘s warning and make sure not to ruin your chances of working at a place where you have to constantly toe the line and keep your beliefs to yourself.

In case that was your goal in life.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Clay Bennett — CTFP

RJ Matson

Oh well, it happens to the best of us, and these guys are among the best.

There may not be any further need to dogpile on Kirsti Noem, but we let Trump up off the floor after voting him out of office, and look how that’s going.

Jack Ohman (Tribune) got good use out of the matter by comparing Noem’s mistreatment of an untrained puppy with Trump’s effect on what was, just a few years ago, a reasonable and responsible major political party.

And then, inevitably, there is the Bash Biden response, this from Chip Bok (Creators) apparently hoping to diminish the attacks on Noem by pointing out that she’s not the only public figure to have had a problem with a dog that resisted training.

The comparison, however, was better made by a meme-maker who thought the whole thing through (fancy that!) and created a commentary that’s been widely re-circulated on social media.

If somehow Kristi Noem doesn’t disappear from the national scene, we can always bring this up again, but I’d rather see a resurgence of pussy hats, because shaming him doesn’t seem to have an effect.

In 2016, Norwegian cartoonist Frithjof Jacobsen launched an image that grew into a landslide of Toddler Trump commentary, and Trump reportedly hated it.

Yet here he is, and not, like Tucker Carlson or Alex Jones, a fading voice in an indifferent world, but a continuing influence with an excellent chance of regaining the White House.

The trick is not to annoy him but to awaken voters.

Deb Milbrath’s image is not nearly as memorable as Jacobsen’s and not nearly as liable to go viral and inspire imitation. But she cuts to the chase about Trump’s plans for his second administration, as he revealed in interviews with a Time magazine writer.

Joyce Vance, a familiar figure to MSNBC watchers, has an excellent, readable analysis of that long Time article, but she shares my despair in getting through to voters. She headlines it “Frogs Continue to Ignore Rising Temperatures,” using the fictional-but-useful metaphor of frogs being slowly boiled to death amid stubborn ignorance, this poll shows:

While Kirk Anderson is commenting on Trump’s supporters on the Supreme Court, the fact is that Trump has strong support from the oligarchs who placed their loyalists on that court as well as others in the plutocrat crowd. His talk of requiring local police to become federal enforcers and of firing state attorneys general who do not cooperate with his plans are not the babblings of a lone lunatic but statements of intent with strong and significant backing.

Not to mention the loyal backup of the common people whose willingness to be conned by a Strong Man approach to governing was mocked in a Tweet that became as widely shared as the phrase “clowns with flamethrowers” that warned against not taking their outrageous notions seriously.

As John Darkow warns, once they’re in power, it will be a little late to start figuring out just what they stand for.

Perhaps it’s already too late. As Rob Rogers points out, the crackdown on free speech and assembly being seen on college campuses is at least partly the result of a combination of donor interference with university governance and the harassment of college administrators by a hostile GOP House.

Back in the Vietnam days, we’d read the furious letters in the alumni magazine and laugh, but back then, college presidents were made of stronger stuff, congress blustered but kept hands off, and with a few exceptions, it was expected that students were young and idealistic and prone to raising hell from time to time.

Campus cops didn’t carry guns then, and the local police didn’t have armored cars with which to break into buildings the students had taken over.

Anne Applebaum, who has just released a book on Autocracy, offered this complaint on Threads that was met with some praise, but also with pushback by people who noted that there’s a reason we’ve heard of Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

Meanwhile, in response to additional “back to the books” criticism, somebody unearthed this Onion piece from 2018, which doesn’t seem to have diminished with age.

The objections to student protest are not coming exclusively from the right wing. Phil Hands is one of several normally centrist cartoonists who accuse protesters of adopting the extremist views of the fringe in their movement.

Which makes this a good time to point out that the House has passed, and the Senate is expected to pass, legislation that could make it officially anti-Semitic to criticize the Netanyahu government, which, to repeat the point, governs in a coalition because he couldn’t get the majority of Israelis to vote for his party.

The worst part being, Pedro X. Molina notes, that uproar over the indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza may distract young voters from the looming end of democracy here.

But we raged against the war while simultaneously supporting the farm workers, after we’d just finished several years of registering Black voters in the South.

I’m not worried about the kids. November is a long way away and there’s time for them to ponder what is on the ballot besides Gaza, which, one hopes, will have been resolved by then.

But their parents don’t have the excuse of youth. They’re scaring the hell out of me.

We have to keep on keepin’ on, and Ann Telnaes not only offers this view of World Press Freedom Day, which is tomorrow, but will appear on a streaming program from the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation at 11:30 AM EST Friday.

Tune in tomorrow!

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Dogs, Frogs and Demagogues

  1. While I have no doubts that the legislation will have a chilling effect on protests, or that there will be plenty of bad-faith interpretations of it to attempt to silence valid concerns, I also do not think it helps to exaggerate the text of the legislation. Both that article and the IHRA make it explicitly clear that criticism of the Israeli government is not automatically antisemitism. Now, I’ll admit that I am not a lawyer, but that bill is pretty short, and seems to pretty clearly state that it is recommending adoption of the entire working definition.

    The only thing in the working definition that is kinda terrible is the point “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Everything else is about not disparaging Jews as a people, but that last one is instead explicitly about the government, and well, if the shoe fits…

  2. Another difference is that Biden clearly loved and cared for Commander, despite his bad behavior.

    Noem expressly stated in regards to Cricket “I hated that dog”, not the words of someone who made a difficult decision putting a dog down…

  3. Shooting the dog was bad enough but I saw a breakdown from someone who knows goats that pointed out that 1) male goats in heat are aggressive and smelly so it was only exhibiting normal goat behavior and 2) goats have thick skulls so shooting one in the head is apparently not the way to take one down. Both things which Ms. Real True Country Living should have known.

  4. Abby Normal bring out a number of good points. But, male (billy) goats can be neutered when young and won’t develop those bad behaviors and characteristics.

    Of course, I can think of a lot of male smelly rtwingnut goats that should have been neutered when they were children and it would have spared this nation a lot of grief.

  5. It is true that Netanyahu “governs in a coalition because he couldn’t get the majority of Israelis to vote for his party.” But then, Israeli democracy works on proportional representation, which practically ensures that will be the case in every election. I don’t think there has ever been an Israeli leader who did not have to govern by coalition.
    Not to deny that he is extremely unpopular in Israel now, for good reason.

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