This is one of those Lord-Where-Do-I-Start days, and Ann Telnaes has won the toss for this salute to our impossibly-not-okay presidency.
Her cartoon is not so much a case of being "too smart for the room" as of being "too well-informed for the room," because she had to append Cliff Notes:
Ivanka Trump’s company received provisional approval from the Chinese government for three trademarks the same day President Xi Jinping and his wife dined at Mar-a-Lago in Florida with President Trump. During the visit, Ivanka’s daughter sang a traditional Chinese song for the couple.
That second link is inconsequential except for verifying that, indeed, little Arabella performed for the visitors, but the first describes an embarrassing and unacceptable dog's breakfast of conflicts, based on the nonsensical notion that prominent government officials can keep their business interests at arm's length simply by not showing up at the office, except when they want to.
From that first article:
“Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues or the commercial terms of agreements,” her attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement. “She has retained authority to direct the trustees to terminate agreements that she determines create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.”
In other words, she's still up-to-date on the decisionmaking, however much she may play the role of Sgt Schulz.
A blind trust is quite different. In a blind trust, the benefactor of the trust loses track of what's in it, which is to say, the president might be dealing with lumber trade but would have no idea whether there were still shares of Weyerhauser in the portfolio or if they had been sold and replaced with shares of Hasbro.
We haven't faced this sort of conflict before, in large part because we haven't had adult children as factors. Jack Ford and the Reagan kids had some visibility during their fathers' tenures, but it was fame-by-association. They certainly didn't have positions in the administration, nor did their spouses, if any of them were married, which I'm not even going to look up, since the point is we all know Ivanka's got a spouse.
There was also Billy Beer, but I don't recall the Carters inviting him to come on by to entertain heads of state.
This ghastly situation -- not just Ivanka's part, but the whole tangled web of potential emoluments -- is, no matter how rich the drapings, far, far more tacky than anything good ol' Billy could come up with.
Although, having glimpsed some of the decor at the "Winter White House," it looks like the Loomis, Fargo & Company heist, except these crooks went on a shopping spree at Bed, Bath and Bordello before they began robbing the bank.
Juxtaposition of the Day
I'm totally burned out on "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts" as punchlines, in part because overuse of them, to borrow a term from Jen Sorensen's quote posted here day-before-yesterday, "normalizes" something that should outrage us, and also because they have been beaten into the ground and are simply tired and increasingly stupid.
As both Dan Piraro and Keiran Meehan demonstrate with aplomb, it's not like the Trumposphere isn't replete with punchlines that contain some underlying political punch and that have not yet grown tired and increasingly stupid.
And Ed Stein points out that, as soon as the campaign cliches begin to grow stale, Dear Leader serves up a heaping helping of stupidity to keep cartoonists fat and happy.
The accusation, traditionally, was that protesters were being funded and directed by Moscow, but that's obviously a little problematic at the moment.
Thus it becomes necessary to fall back on an sort of indefinite "them," perhaps somehow connected to Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or Vince Foster or Elvis, who hire busloads of people none of whom ever come forward and discuss their work as paid demonstrators.
Which, as Ed points out, makes it hard on those of us who can't figure out where to get our fair share of the proceeds.
And while we're on the topic of dubious payoffs, the line "follow the money" only occurs in the screenplay, not the actual nonfiction account, of "All the President's Men," but it's a pretty good rule for tracking down bad guys and Francis applies it here to our current economic system.
The real pope appears more pragmatic than we thought at first, but, then, I only follow this one, and, as he points out, the flaw with capitalism is that it contains no intrinsic ethical boundaries, which wouldn't matter if people were inherently good, but then popes and dali lamas and other gurus would be unemployed.
They wouldn't even be able to get jobs as liberal demonstrators, because what would anyone be paid to demonstrate against?
There needs to be a sensible spot on the continuum between the Peter-Pan anarchy of social media and the locked-down world of Recep Erdoğan, because we don't need tyranny but we do need rules, and those who continue to advocate for a world without boundaries seem increasingly naive.
We've always had crime and bad people, and the Unabomber didn't post his manifesto on line, but that doesn't negate the potential for aberrations to turn into fads.
This particular murder is too complicated to serve as an example, because it veers off into how mentally ill people obtain guns, and it feels like one example where, indeed, if he hadn't had a gun, he'd have used something else.
Or someone else would have.
It's not like everyone else in the unregulated online world is a paragon of virtue.
What more do you need?
And, when we get there, how do we fix it?
But let's not end things on a pessimistic note ...