The CEO of OceanGate had brushed off warnings from dozens of experts, accusing them of insulting him personally and trying to shut out a new player in the submersibles business. Since drawing this cartoon, I learned that he was also hoping to eventually market his subs to oil and gas companies for deep sea exploration.
To be clear, I am not opposed to technological solutions to the climate crisis. What I’m referring to here is the faith in future carbon-sucking devices and other dubious ideas that oil execs and their political allies use an excuse to keep drilling.
Every line in the third panel was taken from something that was actually said in response to the Trump indictment. In a now infamous tweet, Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins ominously stated, “This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.” The term 1/50k is a reference to military maps, and in this context “know your bridges” seems to be about seizing infrastructure in a civil war-like scenario.
Also via the same Huffpo article, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona tweeted ”We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye.” Fox host and longtime Trump propagandist Mark Levin stated “It is a war on the Republican Party. And it is a war on the republic…”
The PGA Tour recently announced that it was merging with its competitor, the LIV Golf tournament. LIV is owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. You may recall that the Saudi regime drew international condemnation only a few short years ago for the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a bonesaw. As Human Rights Watch notes, this splashy move into professional golf is an attempt by the Saudi regime to “sportswash” its heinous record of abuses.
Obviously we can’t ignore the creep of fascist ideology, as it leads to real people being threatened and harmed. But we can become aware of these narratives and contextualize them, and understand how they are part of a hateful, abnormal agenda rather than just another point of view. I recently came across a good post on Kottke.org which quoted a Heather Cox Richardson essay on a U.S. Army pamphlet from 1943 on fighting fascism in America.
It is “vitally important” to learn to spot native fascists, the government said, “even though they adopt names and slogans with popular appeal, drape themselves with the American flag, and attempt to carry out their program in the name of the democracy they are trying to destroy.”
This eyebrow-raising story came to my attention via Common Cause, which has been fighting a bill that would allow LLCs and other corporate entities that own property in Seaford, Delaware to vote in that city’s municipal elections even if the business owners are non-residents. Adding to the extremely problematic nature of this proposal is the fact that only 300-600 voters typically participate in local elections, and this bill would make 200 LLCs and other “artificial entities” eligible, more than enough to affect the outcome. I consider this a sign of the times, part of the larger juggernaut of corporate interests steamrolling actual human beings.
Trump demolished the budget with tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and R’s raised the ceiling three times without a peep. And yet, after saying they wouldn’t negotiate over the debt ceiling, it appears the Dems are very much negotiating. Biden has been insisting that these are parallel budget negotiations, but they are, as Joan McCarter of Daily Kos notes, actually about the debt limit. Could this be merely a strategy to appear bipartisan before the Dems unilaterally invoke the 14th Amendment, as many legal scholars argue they are Constitutionally authorized to do? Perhaps. But given Obama’s precedent of caving to extortion in 2011 and the Dems’ long history of squishiness on all matters, I’m not holding my breath.
There’s a certain cadre of pundits who get a lot of mileage out of posing as open-minded defenders of ideas and debate, but in reality they are stuck in the right-wing narrative that the threat is from the left rather than overwhelmingly from the right. It should now be obvious to anyone with half a cortex that the right’s screeching about “wokeness” and free speech is disingenuous, part of a larger strategy to impose their own radical ideology on America and undo all social progress of the 20th century. Creating a moral panic about public schools and universities is all part of the plan. Somehow these useful idiots (as depicted by the above cartoon character) tend to overlook the fact that today’s GOP is openly looking to the illiberal dictatorship of Hungary as a model. Orban has seized control of that country’s universities and cultural institutions to promote what he calls “Christian” values and “national identity.”
For more on the subject, I highly recommend this excellent essay from Dave Karpf.
It seems we have crossed some sort of threshold — a critical mass of gun ownership, paranoia, and anger that is spilling over into ordinary life at every turn. For all the rhetoric around the Second Amendment invoking “liberty,” guns are limiting our freedom. So many situations now involve a small but plausible risk that someone could lose their temper and start firing at you.
According to this well-reported piece in the Washington Post, a right-wing think tank based in Florida called the Foundation for Government Accountability has been pushing to dismantle regulations that protect kids from working long hours and dangerous jobs. The FGA is funded by some of the biggest Republican donors.
Via Daily Kos, the bill that just passed the Iowa Senate is nothing short of appalling:
The new would-be law “allows 14-year-olds to work six-hour night shifts, allows 15-year-olds to work in plants on assembly lines moving items up to 50 pounds, and allows 16 and 17-year-olds to serve alcohol,” reported Iowa’s Who13 …
I know the postwar years weren’t easy for everybody, but lower housing and education costs seemed to create more opportunities to build a stable middle-class life, or at least pursue artistic dreams on a lean budget. I don’t envy kids starting out today.
A few weeks ago I saw a toot on Mastodon linking to an article about the life of Philip Glass, marveling at how he supported himself working various jobs in NYC while he established his music career, and noting how difficult that would be in today’s Manhattan. Hence the second panel of the cartoon, although that character is not supposed to be anyone in particular.
Justin Jones was fortunately reinstated by the Nashville Metro council as I was drawing this cartoon. It looks like Justin Pearson will also be reinstated this week. Their expulsion from the Tennessee legislature was a radically antidemocratic move from Republicans, yet you might not know it given some headlines that appeared last week. According to this excellent TPM article by Kate Riga, the AP went with the laughably anodyne “Amid polarization, minority party lawmakers face penalties.”
A few recent stories got me thinking about the oil industry this week, leading me to actually wonder how fossil fuel CEOs can stand to live with themselves given that the world is burning up in front of their faces, much as their own scientists predicted decades ago. Perhaps the most notable news was the “final warning” from climate scientists in the IPCC report that said we are on track to use up our carbon budget by 2030.