The Guilty Party

The Guilty Party

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. 

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The Sorensen Monologues

Housing Crisis Made E-Z

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.

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More Guns, Please

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.

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Republicans Call for School Control

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.)

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Feedback Frenzy

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!

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Moments of Clarity

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.

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Pandora’s Court

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.

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What Does the Billionaire Think?

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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Highly Selective Health Nuts

It’s easy to laugh at this stuff, but I actually find it more disturbing and sinister than anything. The “alpha male” bro culture of the alt-right ties directly into authoritarian “strongman” rhetoric and the strategically-contrived moral panic about gender that is reflected in the anti-LGBTQ laws sweeping the nation. Put simply, it’s fascist, and many in news media don’t seem to fully connect the dots or grasp the symbolic power at work here.

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Accurate Political Labels

I suppose on the surface this could be read as a simple insult comic, but I’m trying to get at a deeper issue. Our entire political discourse has become plagued with right-wing terminology, much of it false, with the intention of demonizing entire classes of people and inciting moral panic. It is remarkable how how we have no similar language for “conservative elites,” or the overwhelmingly Republican plutocratic class that runs Fox and much of the country. 

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How to Fund Grad Student Workers

One of several unionization efforts in the US right now is the movement to organize graduate student workers at universities. These laborers, who teach college classes and perform research that lends prestige to their institutions, tend to be paid appallingly low wages. The poverty-level paychecks are all the more unethical when you consider how university endowments have ballooned with the stock market in recent years, with many worth billions. Meanwhile, housing prices in college towns have surged, leaving student workers in a terrible predicament. This recent Guardian article provides further details.

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The “Marketplace of Ideas”

The phrase “the marketplace of ideas” has a long history, but seems extra-ubiquitous lately. As Wikipedia puts it, “The marketplace of ideas is a rationale for freedom of expression based on an analogy to the economic concept of a free market.” But markets are about power, money, and advertising. Certain voices are seen and heard more than others. The most “popular” product is not necessarily the best, and is often arrived at through manipulating desires and needs. The entire approach runs counter to the scientific method. You don’t get to choose facts like a brand of deodorant.

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist seen on Daily Kos, The Nib, and in magazines and
newspapers throughout the US. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

 

 

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