The word “liberal” has been through a lot. Since the ’80s, liberals have been ludicrously demonized by the right. At a certain point, I began using “progressive” instead as it seemed more contemporary and carried less baggage. These days, it seems that the concept of liberalism is often conflated with neoliberalism — which is pretty much its opposite. To the extent that some socially-liberal people are unconcerned with the excesses of capitalism and economic inequality, I would argue that means they are conservative, although that word has also become somewhat meaningless in an era of extremism.
I recently purchased the worst smelling garbage bags yet, emitting what can only be described as an overpowering stench of portaloo liquid throughout the kitchen. As this Guardian article notes, around 4,000 chemicals are used in fragrances, the details of which remain “trade secrets” and are therefore unregulated. EWG adds that even products labeled “unscented” may contain fragrance to cover up other odors. Many are derived from petrochemicals, contributing to urban air pollution in the form of VOCs. So in addition to irritating those of us who are sensitive to smell, they’re actually bad for air quality.
In the case of present-day America I’m afraid this has become a weasel word — a way for political commentators to safely bemoan our sad state of affairs without actually saying anything that could be construed as “partisan.” The term “polarization” erases differences in power, places dominant and marginalized groups on the same plane, and implies a false equivalence between violent movements and vulnerable people trying to defend themselves. It is an intellectually dishonest way of looking at our current situation, one that has been ruthlessly exploited by those very extremists who would destroy the press that insists on normalizing them.
It’s a rare single-panel cartoon from me. The end of Roe felt like it required a simple, direct response. My one hopeful thought is that enough people have had a taste of freedom thanks to the social revolutions of the past 50-60 years that those ideas will be difficult to erase — though that is exactly what the GOP is trying to do.
I hope the Justice Department does the brave and moral thing and prosecutes everyone who broke the law, no matter how “controversial” that may be. Yet I worry that removing Trump from the equation won’t be enough to stop the authoritarian juggernaut that is today’s GOP. Swift action was needed after the insurrection to punish or remove members of Congress who refused to certify the election, yet nothing was done. The movement is so much larger now, with institutional backing on countless fronts. There’s an enormous donor class of billionaires and superPACs and companies funding antidemocratic campaigns. And they’re not going to stop.
This particular doom spiral, which once seemed relegated to a handful of hip cities and resort towns, has seemingly spilled over into just about anyplace you’d want to live now. I don’t mean to pin personal blame on particular kinds of workers, but the widening gap between jobs that can cover the cost of living and those that don’t. (I realize not all tech workers and realtors make tons of money!) The ultimate irony of this dysfunctional system is that eventually the “essential” workers disappear, leading the obliviously wealthy to lament that poor people are “lazy” and don’t want to work anymore.
Blanketing America with guns is the logical endpoint of calls for ever more guns, the folly of which was demonstrated at the school in Uvalde where cops with guns failed to stop a bad guy with a gun for over an hour.
After I drew this cartoon I found out that some Republicans are, in fact, calling for homeschooling as a response to mass shootings in classrooms. Apparently someone was making this argument in The Federalist. Homeschooling advocate and ’80s teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron is also trending for his outlandish comments about public schools. So, as is often the case these days, my comic is not really that great an exaggeration. (I’m not necessarily opposed to homeschooling in all cases, though as the daughter of teachers and a graduate of a public high school and university, I am a staunch defender of public education.)
It’s not just that every business transaction seems to come with some sort of feedback request, which is mildly annoying in itself. But the surveys themselves tend to be time hogs, as though we are all retired people with nothing to do all day but provide free market research. (Not that retired people necessarily want to answer four-page questionnaires, either.) I would like to be paid for my careful, extensive analysis of products or services, thank you very much!
Over and over again, we have these events that show very clearly what is happening in this country — a violent white supremacist movement spreading like wildfire, and fueled by deep-pocketed players — only to slip back into the daydream where “both sides” are to blame, and endless handwringing ensues over the behavior of good people trying to stop the madness.
We’re finally paying the price of the scorched-earth obstructionist game the GOP has been playing with SCOTUS (as well as the federal courts), and getting away with over and over again. I mean, they haven’t respected institutions at all — destroying democratic institutions from within is what they do. Clarence Thomas’s wife literally supported a coup to overturn the last election! The only solution at this point would be adding people to the court, but it does not look like Dems will get the numbers to do this and it is doubtful they would even have the courage to do it, as they would face waves of mainstream pundits saying (falsely) that Dems are the ones undermining the institution.
Recently, when Elon Musk was asked about the possible unfairness of the world’s billionaires controlling so much of the world’s wealth, he suggested that there were “axiomatic flaws” leading people to that conclusion. He claimed that he did not spend money like a billionaire, with the exception of his time-saving private jet, and that he did not even own a home. I think I detect an axiomatic flaw in that answer.
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