Daily Kos Comics

The Blind Chaos of Futility

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he talks to members of the travel pool aboard Air Force One during a trip to Palm Beach, Florida, while flying over South Carolina, 3 February 2017. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Somewhere between the joke about how conservatives in general cannot tell the difference, particular observations about the breathtaking naïveté we are supposed to believe about the Trump administration—

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Thursday dodged questions about the existence of possible recordings of conversations between President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey.

Kellyanne Conway speaks at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, 4 March 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)“I can’t comment on that,” Conway said on Fox News before moving to discuss other portions of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier in the day.

Pressed twice more about the existence of possible tapes, Conway responded, “I can’t comment on that and actually the president himself has said he won’t comment any further on that.”

(Byrnes)

—we might find echoes of Sen. Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) point to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when the latter decided he simply did not feel like answering: “You realize how simple it would be to simply say no, that never happened?”

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Some 2020 Democratic Presidential Speculation, Just Because

The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

It would be easy enough to overplay the drama in an early look toward the 2020 election by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times:

In a largely leaderless party, two distinct groups are emerging, defined mostly by age and national stature. On one side are three potential candidates approaching celebrity status who would all be over 70 years old on Election Day: Mr. Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Competing against the Democrats’ senior cohort is a large and relatively shapeless set of younger candidates who span the ideological spectrum: governors, senators, mayors, wealthy executives and even members of the House. They are animated by the president’s turbulent debut and the recent history, from Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 to Mr. Trump’s last year, of upstart candidates’ catching fire.

In the Senate alone, as much as a quarter of the Democrats’ 48-member caucus are thought to be giving at least a measure of consideration to the 2020 race, among them Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California. All are closer to 40 than 80.

For now, however, it is the party’s septuagenarian trio that is casting the longest shadow over 2020, and all three have taken steps to extend or expand their leadership status in the party.

In between, for good measure, is discussion of an amorphous non-faction we might consider as the collected other, including Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Before booking the orchestra for a dramatic score, we should remember this is merely April, 2017; Democrats need to to read the midterm map, first. That is to say, it seems a bit early to see who lands where in relation to what. And, admittedly, it is hard to account for the proverbial known unknowns in the time of Trump; the unknown unknowns seem extraordinary at this time, too.α

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Passthrough (Presidential Potsherd)

#PresidentPotsherd | #WhatTheyVotedFor

President-elect Donald Trump delivers his first official news conference since winning the November election, 11 January 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“I assume ‘let’s blame Obama’ will become a popular rallying cry in far-right circles, because it’s vastly easier than dealing with the facts.”

Steve Benen

It is not quite correct to ask who is surprised. In truth, nobody ought to be surprised. Still, though, if we inquire, for the sake of some decent societal form, what brought on Mr. Benen’s line, well:

This week, the president has moved on to a new explanation: this is all Obama’s fault. USA Today reported this morning:

President Trump said that former president Barack Obama is “behind” the angry protests that have erupted at Republican town halls around the nation during an interview on the Fox News morning program Fox and Friends scheduled to air Tuesday morning.

“I think he is behind it,” Trump said when asked about Obama’s role in the protests. “I also think it’s politics. That’s the way it is.

“No, I think that President Obama is behind it,” Trump said, “because his people are certainly behind it and some of the leaks, possibly come from that group, some of the leaks – which are really very serious leaks because they’re very bad in terms of national security – but I also understand that’s politics. And in terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”

This is, in many ways, the perfect Donald J. Trump Conspiracy Theory.

And this is the Donald J. Trump administration, after all.

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A Reflection on an Echo of a Cartoon

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 3 January 2017.

To the one, winter is as winter does, and we should probably leave it at that. Nonetheless, a month later, Jen Sorensen’s point still echoes:

Hillary has certainly frustrated me at times over the years, but I came to admire her intelligence and poise over the course of this election cycle. Her performance at the debates with Trump was nothing short of heroic. She also ran on the most progressive Democratic platform ever, but since policy has become almost completely divorced from politics, she gets little credit for that. I could go on, but as my husband says, this was not so much an election as an exorcism, the culmination of a decades-long smear campaign by the right.

The term “political correctness” has been the cornerstone of conservative efforts to transform the ideas of civil rights and equality into something frivolous and stupid. The right loves plucking silly examples from obscure, powerless people and blowing them up into huge “culture war” issues that supposedly threaten the nation. “PC” is an insult that plays into their hands.

Along these same lines, “liberal elites”―long a Fox News favorite―is designed to shift attention away from the actual economic elites hoovering up the world’s wealth and resources, such as the Koch Brothers or Trump, and instead make one think of poodle-owning urbanites supposedly looking down their noses at everyone (while in reality voting to raise the minimum wage). It’s a frame, not a fact, and hides a deep anti-intellectual agenda.

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A False Dichotomy (Demopathic)

- "Fellow Democrats! If we want to win in 2020 we have to appeal to either the white working class or young women and people of color. It's either or." - (Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 27 December 2016)The eternal choice. Either, or. The accursed Democratic bargain. This is one of those ideas that never seems to work out well. And if we should expect no better on this occasion, that might well be the point.

You’d have to ask Matt Bors, of course. Meanwhile, yeah, one more time around. You know?

No?

Oh … er … ah … right. Get used to it.

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Image note: False dichotomy ― Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 27 December 2016.

The Donald Daa’ish Show (Once Upon a Time in Trump)

Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos, 9 December 2015.

David Corn makes an interesting point―

Trump blames HRC & BHO for w/drawing troops from Iraq. But he called for that in 2006, even if violence increased.

―and recalls, well, himself, not quite two months ago:

When a conservative radio host on Thursday asked if Trump meant that the Obama administration had “created the vacuum” in the region that allowed ISIS to grow, the GOP nominee stuck to his nonsensical statement: “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS.” Next, Trump claimed he was being sarcastic. Then at a campaign rally, he added, “But not that sarcastic.” It was a very Trumpian couple of days. And on Monday, with a speech on national security that Trump read off a teleprompter, he had a chance to declare what he really thought about Obama, Clinton, and ISIS. After repeating the lie that he had opposed the Iraq War before the invasion, Trump did not restate his “founder” claim, but he said that because of Obama and Clinton, “Iraq is in chaos, and ISIS is on the loose.” He added, “the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has unleashed ISIS.” He insisted that Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (which actually was compelled by an agreement reached with the Iraqi government by President George W. Bush) “led directly to the rise of ISIS.”

Here’s the problem for Trump—if being wildly inconsistent and attacking an opponent for supposedly holding a position that Trump himself once advocated is a problem: 10 years ago, Trump called for a complete US withdrawal of troops from Iraq and indicated that he didn’t give a damn if this led to civil war and greater violence there. He even predicted that such a move would cause the rise of “vicious” forces in Iraq. But Trump believed this would not be the United States’ problem. That is, Trump was ardently in favor of the very actions that he now decries and for which he wrongfully blames Obama and Clinton.

To the one, is there actually anything surprising about that? This is, after all, the Donald Trump Show. To the other, though, with less than a month remaining, it seems reasonable to wonder just how many times one might get to hand out that August article.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos, 9 December 2015.

Corn, David. “In 2006 Interview, Trump Demanded US Troops Leave Iraq—Even if Chaos and ISIS-Like Violence Occurred”. Mother Jones. 16 August 2016.

—————. “Trump blames HRC & BHO for w/drawing troops from Iraq”. Twitter. 9 October 2016.

The Masculine-American Way (National Insecurity)

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 13 July 2016, via Daily Kos Comics.And … that would be Matt Bors.

The artist, I mean. Not the closet case with the rifle.

The fun part about asking, “Any questions?” or, “Who needs this one explained?” is the lovely adventure, when someone raises a hand or clears their throat, of trying to figure out just what they need explained and why.

At some point, though, we probably shouldn’t laugh at these people. They unwell, terrified of everything, and carry a killing range on average between a quarter and half mile. As such, they are extraordinarily dangerous.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, via Daily Kos Comics, 13 July 2016

True (McDignity Mix)

Yes, there really is such a thing as “McTeacher Night”; I’ve seen one, before. And, yes, the fast food joint invites the students from a local school to come over and order food from their teachers.

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos, 19 May 2016.To the one, there is an old slogan about the day the schools have the money they need and the Air Force needs to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. It’s been around for a while; posters, bumper stickers, t-shirts―the whole nine yards. One wonders at the potential hullabaloo if we sent some military recruiters to do the same.

To the other, if you have ever witnessed one of these events, it might seem plainly evident why so many people back teachers in contract disputes. This really is asking too much of schoolteachers, yet they will put on their shining classroom smiles and face their students in good faith and the best possible spirit.

When it comes time to remind children to do whatever it takes to get the job done, perhaps we don’t often enough point to their teachers as examples because we are ashamed of what communities demand.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos, 19 May 2016.

Not the Worst Thing Budweiser Has Ever Done, But Still

→ "Canned Patriotism: Uh-oh. Budweiser is changing its name to AMERICA for the summer. (Actually owned by foreign company.) How far we've fallen―from grand experiment to brand experiment." ← (Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 24 May 2016.)It is my regret to advise that Jen Sorensen is actually not joking. Well, not about that part, at least, but what’s a cartoonist to do?

Sadly, though, no, it’s not a joke. InBev is actually doing this:

The America labels are only going on 12-ounce bottles and 12-ounce cans, said Nick Mills, general manager at the Baldwinsville brewery. Other sizes―such as 24- and 16-ounce cans―will be in patriotically-themed case boxes and packages, but will not be labeled as America.

“We do summer patriotic packages every year,” he said, noting past labels and artwork that featured the Stars and Stripes or the Statue of Liberty. “This one seems to be getting more attention.”

It has raised eyebrows from those who question the use of the word “America” by a brewer not based in the United States. A-B InBev was formed in 2008 when InBev, itself a merger of Belgian and Brazilian brewing interests, acquired Anheuser-Busch in a $50 billion takeover. A-B had been founded in 1876 in St. Louis, which remains its U.S. headquarters.

(Cazentre)

Certes, ’tis unspeakably crass, but let’s face it, this is hardly the worst thing “America’s Rape Brewery”™ has ever done. Generally speaking, Budweiser ought to be disqualified from being “America’s beer”.

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Image note Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 24 May 2016

Cazentre, Don. “‘America’ rolls off the bottling line at Upstate NY’s Budweiser plant”. Syracuse.com. 25 May 2016.

A Walking, Talking Uterus in a Superhero Costume Beating an Orange Anus

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, via Daily Kos, 18 May 2016.Congratulations to Matt Bors, who notes his latest nomination for an Eisner Award, and with with penultimates like this, it’s easy to see why.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, via Daily Kos, 18 May 2016.