Tragic Humor

Detail: This Modern World, 15 September 2014Don’t blame the cartoonist; sometimes the stranger-than factor comes into play, and there really is no punch line that isn’t depressing.


Tomorrow, Tom. “The existential threat”. This Modern World. 15 September 2014.


Rick Santorum speaks during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sometimes, being an American has its own unintended rewards. Then again, many of those rewards are silver linings threaded from other disappointments. To wit, there really is no sane purpose in promoting, say, the political arguments of one like former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA); there are, however, days when it is worth the time to witness the Pennsylvania Screech trolling Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Rand Paul insists he’s not an “isolationist.” Writing this week in TIME, he says, “I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.”

Segar-20131010-RandPaul-crop-bw But in reality, the Kentucky senator has advanced a brand of neo-isolationism and appeasement that is as short-sighted as it mistaken.Despite his recent, and frantic efforts to recast himself as not completely ridiculous on national security issues, the truth is his record often puts him in league with Barack Obama—or even to the president’s left. Anyone who truly cares about American liberty at home must not ignore real enemies and rising threats abroad. Rather, we must confront such challenges wisely and decisively to protect American lives, our economy and our allies.

He may be changing his tune now, but he can’t hide from his record. Senator Paul has long been wrong and far out of the mainstream on three key matters – Iran, the Islamic State and Israel . . . .

What follows is a splatter of inimitable Santorum, including a critique of the Kentucky junior’s foreign policy toward Iran: “But few believe he is serious.” Santorum follows up with a series of messy sound-bite spurts, denouncing neo-isolationism in his Kentucky colleague’s outlook on Israel, asserting, “Not only would this be a dangerous mistake, it once again puts Senator Paul to the left of even the Obama-Clinton-Kerry . . . .” Then again, on that bit, despite the notion that run of the mill, uninspired centrism now strikes Republicans as some sort of flaming leftism, Santorum can stain Mr. Paul’s presidential ambitions for the simple fact that the point is true. As a result, it would seem the Republican gauge would put Mr. Paul somewhere left of … well … Communists.

And while one might reasonably suggest that Mr. Santorum is correct that neo-isolationism “is bad for America”, the entire trolling critique falls apart well before that closing line:

Earlier this summer, Paul questioned in the Wall Street Journal whether there was any good reason for the U.S. military to stop or even slow down the Islamic State’s jihadist offensive in Iraq. He did so despite the fact that ISIL, as it is commonly known, has been slaughtering Muslims and Christians across the region. Yet he saw no serious threat to the American people from ISIL and could not bring himself to support the use of U.S. airpower to help our Arab and Kurdish allies defeat ISIL and prevent the establishment of a radical Islamic caliphate. What’s more, he continued to argue that it is in part the GOP’s fault that Iraq is fast becoming the epicenter of terrorism.

(Boldface accent added)

It really is an internecine dispute; only Republicans would try that line, since most everyone else already knows it’s the GOP’s fault in general, and the Bush Jr. administration’s fault in particular, that the Iraqi Adventure continues to degrade as it does. In the end, the question of the GOP’s fault is one that really only plays within Republican ranks; most days, even the media punditry has no interest in this question—they’re too busy stirring up fake controversies for the sake of ratings by pushing Republican talking points as fact.

Still, though, it’s an awesome throwdown, offering a glimpse inside the Republican mind.


Such as Roberta Rampton and Will Dunham of Reuters did recently, and seemingly with the once-respected news agency’s blessing.

Santorum, Rick. “Will the Real Rand Paul Please Stand Up?” Politico. 5 September 2014.

A Call for Roberta Rampton and Will Dunham of Reuters to Retire From Journalism

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 28: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC.  President Obama spoke on various topics including possible action against ISIL and immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Let us simply start with the lede from Roberta Rampton and Will Dunham of Reuters, which actually tells us the important part we need to know about:

President Barack Obama will deliver a speech to Americans and consult with lawmakers this week to sell his plan to go on the offensive against Islamic State militants, but is trying to head off public concern about another big military escapade.

Setting aside the clunky headline, “Obama to set out plan to go on offensive against Islamic State”, the Reuters pair at least managed to make it through the lede without totally collapsing. But then they kept writing.

Obama said that in his remarks on Wednesday he would “describe what our game plan’s going to be.” He will meet congressional leaders on Tuesday to seek their support for his strategy to halt the militant Islamist group.

Obama indicated he did not believe he needed additional authorization from Congress to carry out the plan, although he intends to consult with lawmakers and might seek approval for additional funds.

“I’m confident that I have the authorization that I need to protect the American people,” Obama said. “But I do think it’s important for Congress to understand what the plan is, to have ‘buy in,’ to debate it.”

The president, who campaigned for the White House in 2008 on getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, has struggled to articulate how he wants to address Islamic State, telling reporters last month that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to tackle the group.

Is that how it goes?

Oh, wait, our apologies; we have somehow mistakenly classified Reuters as a news organization, which rather is quite embarrassing, given the bottom-shelf melodrama of Rampton and Dunham’s “report”. This really is somewhat offensive behavior. After all, if Rampton and Dunham were real reporters, they would never have workes so hard to craft such a wilful deception. Both Roberta Rampton and Will Dunham should retire from journalism, permanently.


A Point We Probably Need to Bear in Mind

It is not so much that somebody had to say it, but that concomitant sadness in expecting that nobody will actually care. Or, you know, get it.

No, seriously. There really is an important point in there.