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Category: Politics

Believe It or Not
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Green New Deal. It’s getting a lot of play in the media these days. Among the stories: Mitch McConnell says he wants to bring it up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, presumably so he can poke fun at its radical approach to global warming.

Indeed, there has already been some of this kind of sneering. Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, got up on the floor to accuse the proposal of seeking to put an end to cheeseburgers and milkshakes. (Barrasso, it should be pointed out, is one of several doctor-senators who has repeatedly voted to take health care away from poor people.) I’ve seen some political cartoons that made similar fun by suggesting that the proposal was little more than an attack on cow flatulence (farts are funny, but shame on you, Mike Lester). It may not be Mike’s job to solve the problem of climate change and prevent the ending of civilization, but it most certainly is the responsibility of McConnell and Barrasso. To date, they have not offered any suggestions of their own.

There are even some otherwise sympathetic voices who warn against the world-changing nature of the Green New Deal (GND). They say it only hands a cudgel to the G.O.P. to use against those of us who want a planet that supports life. Shame on these turkeys, too (I’m talking to you, Michael Tomasky). I took the opportunity to read the GND, so you don’t have to (but you may, right here). I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. And let me tell you — it is radical. 100% green renewable energy by 2030. That won’t be easy. But neither is living in a furnace.

I guess it depends on whether you believe the science or not. If you don’t believe the science (despite having witnessed everything science has delivered for our civilization in technology, medicine, wealth, and human understanding), then it’s perfectly okay to make fun. You might even suggest that it’s all a hoax, that the world’s scientists — in every pertinent discipline, from every culture, and speaking dozens of languages — are all part of a titanic conspiracy to fool the rest of us. And not a single one of these scientists (not one!) has ever come forward to expose this monstrous plot…much less explain why a profession founded on discovering the truth would so drastically forsake its core mission.

If you do believe the science, however, I think you might have a different response to the GND. “Finally!” might be one reaction. Or, “Great, but I want more details.” Or even, “Thanks, but it’s already too late.” The GND is short on granular specifics, but it is clear on the big stuff: no carbon-based energy, and go all-out (including the money to pay for it) for every other source, especially solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal.

The plan does mention support for sustainable organic agriculture, but I saw nothing overtly anti-cow. There was no mention of burgers or cheese or shakes or farts. The dairy and meat industries, it is true, would not get the same kind of government help as the producers of more healthy food. They’ll just have to make it on their own. That aspect of the plan goes more to protecting our health generally. To me, the most pressing issue here is global warming.

In that respect, it all makes sense…if you believe the science. And you either do or you don’t, right? Let me repeat, in case you missed it: YOU EITHER BELIEVE THE SCIENCE OR YOU DON’T. And why wouldn’t you believe? Everything you see in the news — rising temperatures, rising sea levels, shrinking icecaps, extreme weather, and the comparative abruptness of these changes — confirms it. Meanwhile, nothing substantiates the claims of the deniers.

There is no doubt that Republicans’ mockery will not help. It will piss you off, but just because they say that the GND is silly and naive does not win the argument. Science does…if you believe the science. And (one more time) you either believe the science or you don’t. So screw them, and screw the political calculus that says we need to go slow. Bring on a vote in the Senate! Let’s get started by hearing the evidence of this unfolding calamity and having it fully debated.

“Radical” may be right, but what are the alternatives? At this point, “radical” and “sensible” are the same thing.
Roger That
Roger Stone is one of those people, like the Orange Jaundice himself, who is better left ignored. But now, here he is at the center of the Mueller investigation. It appears that Roger may have been up to something treasonish with our president and his Russian rooting section. So we really should pay attention, even if that’s what he seems to want most.

He got a particularly big dose of attention last Friday morning. Twenty-plus federal agents arrived just before dawn by land, sea, and air at his villa in South Florida. He was cuffed, his property was seized, and he was hauled off to jail. Mr. Stone later said that he had been treated “worse than Osama Bin Laden.” To be clear, though, he was not deep-sixed at a secret spot at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Nope, he’s still up and around… and still running his dandy gangsta act for whoever will listen. The act, however, seems to have lost some of its panache. As he came out of the federal court in Fort Lauderdale after making bail, he raised his arms to give the Nixon double-V-for-victory salute. Sadly, the gesture revealed a wide swath of fish-belly under his polo shirt. It wouldn’t have been a good look even if his gut had been spray-tanned like the rest of him. His hair, usually a perfect rug, appeared to have been attached upside down. His mouth worked like an organic taffy-puller to keep his dentures under control, and despite the victory sign, he looked weak and disoriented. Perhaps the crowds chanting “Lock him up!” threw him off his game. The whole scene belied his dapper bad boy pose and revealed the ghoulish bottom-feeder underneath.

It is worth noting that at least some of the FBI agents who nabbed Stone and sifted through his possessions were working without pay at the time. One can only imagine the rush to volunteer that must have followed the call for agents for this operation. He is just the kind of guy that any straight-laced lawman would love to collar. He flouts the law. He badmouths the cops. He lies about everything. He revels in his reputation as a dirty trickster who makes his own rules. Do I want in? Are you kidding me? Furlough schmurlough...just tell me what time I’m supposed to be there!

I’m not sure what the motivation might have been for sending in an armed regiment of agents to nab Stone. Maybe the shock and awe was a message to Stone and his co-conspirators. Maybe there are as-yet-unknown charges whose seriousness merits this kind of muscle. Or maybe Mueller was just being extra careful about a poisonous rot that is threatening the health of our republic.

Whatever it was, the big bust gave at least one group of federal workers a chance to clap back at a president who had dissed them repeatedly and questioned their patriotism. Better yet, it was their job to do it. And yes, they will even get paid to rattle his cage. Eventually, anyway.
The MF-Word
By which I mean “motherfucker.” It was recently dropped by new Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib as a character assessment of our president. I may be revealing my own sexism, racism, ageism, and religious intolerance all at once. but it surprised me to hear this word issuing from the lips of a middle-aged, Muslim, mother of two.

My first take was, as Nancy Pelosi later referred to her own reaction, generational. I may use the word fuck more than I used to, but motherfucker seems like a curse too far for public discourse. Fucking, after all, is a perfectly respectable human activity. Motherfucking is unlikely to ever attain that status. There’s nothing wrong with cocksucker, either, even though it’s a tad harsher than fuck. The honorable Representative from Michigan, however, skipped over both of these lesser obscenities to go for maximum effect. That said, the more I have thought about this issue, the less objection I have to her usage.

Members of Tlaib’s democratic socialist cohort had already come to her defense. The irrepressible Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared “I got your back,” and went on to call out the “faux outrage” that was frothing up among the GOP bros. Pelosi herself pointed out that it was nothing worse than the President himself had said and went on to say that she was “not in the censorship business.” I’m liking Nancy more and more these days.

Kim Campbell, another politician in her 70s — and the first female prime minister of Canada — also showed her solidarity with Tlaib by tweeting yesterday that “he really IS a motherfucker!” We should also note that Campbell is a member of Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party. Snoop Dogg chimed in with a motherfucker of his own, and this morning Samuel L. Jackson did the same. Who am I to buck the tide?

I guess you might say that our dialogue has coarsened, that manners and decency have now given way to vitriol and recrimination. Or, you could look at it a different way. You could say that the terms of our dialogue have simply evolved to meet the new reality. What if, let’s imagine, our president is a serial money launderer? What if he abuses his power and violates the Constitution to enrich himself? What if he has jeopardized just one citizen’s well-being so he can protect his own sorry ass? What if he’s a fucking traitor? I can imagine all of these possibilities being true, but even if only one is, then the word motherfucker is not nearly strong enough as an epithet.

So yes, I too say motherfucker. In fact, the more motherfuckers the better. After all, it’s not as if we are saying something that isn’t true. To quote Canada’s first female Prime Minister. “he really IS a motherfucker!”
The Future Felon
I am certainly no expert at reading tea leaves. For one thing, I rarely drink tea. For another, it’s damn near impossible when they put them in those little bags. I don’t know, maybe I’m doing something wrong.


Anyway, I also have problems with my political predictions because I tend to let my personal feelings get in the way. One needs detachment to make sound judgments about the future. The leaves I am trying to read here are those that pertain to the future of the current resident of the White House. I am way too emotionally involved with this topic. It’s so bad, I can’t even stand to speak his name, much less forecast the exact date of his eviction.

For a while, like most people, I was basing my projections on his actions. Ever since he entered presidential politics and began doing the unthinkable, I and everyone else have been predicting his fall. But each time, no matter what the offense, he has escaped and moved on, seemingly unscathed. And so we see that none of those outrages-of-the-day has been any help in our political prognostication. So now I intend to focus on the words and actions of other people. Is there something in their response to He-who-must-not-be-named that might somehow hint at our future?

Again, let me stress that I’ve had very little success with this kind of fortune telling. Not only can I not bear to speak his name, the mere thought of it summons the taste of bile in my mouth. It clouds my thinking. For a while, I was projecting that he’d be out by Washington’s Birthday, 2018. Even though that was only a joke designed to get a rise out of people, I was genuinely crushed when it didn’t happen.

But that was before. This time, I am trying to leave my feelings (and any direct thoughts about him) out of it. Instead, I will go with an evidence-based approach. Scientific leaf reading, if you like. Let me give you an example: just today, Judge Andrew Napolitano — on Fox and Friends, of all places — suggested that Goldfungus may in fact be guilty of a felony for authorizing that hush money for Stormy Daniels. For a regular talking head over at Fox News, this would ordinarily amount to heresy.

Fox’s Laura Ingraham, lantern-jawed defender of the Orange Julius Caesar, dared to disagree with his recent assertion that The Wall has already been partly built. Though she didn’t say so, she was siding with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on that one. When was the last time something like that happened? Tucker Carlson has been tough on the president for over a year now (mainly because he wasn’t rabid enough about immigrants), but recently Tucker has added such jibes as “unfocused” and “boastful” (gosh, really?) to his list of complaints.

I don’t want to make too much of these examples. Fox remains, after all, the main megaphone for White House apologists and conspiracy mongers. Still, I see a trend. Michael Ramirez, a prominent right-wing colleague of mine (strong art, at least) produced a cartoon last week depicting T.Reeks as repellently ugly and even a tad cray-cray. That is unprecedented ink, coming from that pen.

And then there are all the people who decided not to take the job of White House Chief of Staff. That’s a rough total of 7.7 billion people (minus Mean Mick Mulvaney, who will soon join me in regretting the day he was born). That’s a lot of tea leaves, and they all seem to be saying that no sane person wants to get anywhere near the Cheeto-in-Chief.

And, lastly, there are ex-pals Michael Cohen and David Pecker (look it up in the dictionary — that’s his picture you see). They have both turned against the Bellowing Tangelo in a big way, transforming their undying support into dead weights around his bloated, bottle-bronze neck.

The Big Bag of Leaves is the Senate Republicans. I don’t see any of those leaves turning quite yet. Still, you hear plenty of scuttlebutt about deep dissatisfaction among these G.O.P. poohbahs. That disgruntlement will only go public once we get the long-awaited report from Robert Swan Mueller III. That may well be the biggest tea leaf of all, but it’s still not here. If the trend continues, however, the end may well be near.

And it will continue. My scientific leaf reading confirms that it wilI. What it doesn’t confirm is when, so I guess we’ll just have to be patient. Sometime, maybe even sooner than we think, the season will be over for the Golden Hate Warrior.

Okay, I know that prediction sucks. We’d all prefer to know exactly when it’s going to happen. As you know, however, tea leaves can be very evasive. They are certain of one thing, though: the Ochre Ogre will go down.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon