Juxtaposition of 15 Years
(Ann Telnaes, July 7, 2003)
(Ann Telnaes, June 7, 2018)
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a fanfare.
Nearly 15 years ago to the day, Telnaes captured an array of horrors, because it wasn't just Bush and his cronies -- Ashcroft in this case -- piping a patriotic tune for the sheep to follow.
The ridiculous array of flag pins on the news anchor's lapels barely tells the tale of how the media leapt to carry water for the Bush agenda, and not just Fox News, which was only six years old at the time.
It was everyone, patriotically abandoning their normal guise of neutrality to proclaim their oneness in the struggle.
The question at the time was raised by some, "If you put on a flag lapel in a moment of crisis, when -- and how -- do you gracefully take it off and go back to normal?"
And the answer was that "normal" isn't coming back, and that the solution to people in the Middle East hating us is more cameras everywhere, watching everyone, because Big Brother will keep you safe if you only stop struggling.
Telnaes was early but not alone. Two years later, Kirk Anderson produced this masterpiece of parody, and the question before us is not who was first but was anybody in time anyway?
The adoption of flag lapel pins and flag-decorated news sets was, indeed, a betrayal of people like Walter Cronkite, but, while Fox News was created to stoke the fires of jingoism, the other changes were market-driven and the market responded.
And it should also be remembered that the focused neutrality of the news up to that moment was a reaction to the 1950s, when only a few Ed Murrows stood up to the red-baiters.
Not that we didn't have warnings then, either: "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was a message, as was the more blunt "Fahrenheit 451," and they were hardly the only prophets trying to persuade us to distrust the Greeks when they bear gifts.
And then the flag was co-opted during Vietnam as a symbol of loyalty to the prevailing order.
It's almost quaint now to think back to when W got the nomination and many of us assumed that nobody would vote for such an obvious lightweight.
And laughed when he sent out Cheney to find him a vice-president, and the answer came back "Me!"
But eight years passed and the only harm done was an endless war that permanently sowed deadly chaos throughout the Middle East and the wider world beyond, several thousand dead American kids and the near-total cratering of our economy.
We got over it -- not that it was repaired, we just got over noticing -- and decided the problem was that we hadn't invested in a strong enough leader.
Well, we fixed that, and, as Bruce Plante suggests, those who do not learn from the past are doomed to cheat on the final.
Professor Trump has surrounded himself with advisers and staff who share his proud, patriotic view of our glorious past, like the State Department spokesperson who cheerfully cited D-Day as evidence of our great relationship with Germany.
It's not that you can't make this stuff up, but that you can't top reality.
We are being led by a spoiled, narcissistic manchild who, when only 10 of the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to come to the White House for the traditional post-Super Bowl photo op, announced that he was disinviting the team and then staged his own patriotic party on the White House lawn, like an eight-year-old ostentatiously playing in his front yard, hoping to make jealous the neighborhood kids who won't let him in any of their games.
But the issue isn't which patriotic song he butchered but, rather, if there is anything he could do -- including shooting someone on Fifth Avenue -- that would destroy his popularity?
Although the official policy is that the torture itself not be seen, even by those who make our nation's laws.
The Orwellian explanation is that the Democrats passed a law requiring the separation and incarceration of children, which is a lie, but who cares?
No, that's the question:
Brian Duffy isn't the only cartoonist to portray Trump as king, holding himself above the law and, indeed, holding himself to be the law.
But I was drawn to his art and then found that he had also done his homework, adding this on his Facebook page:
James Madison’s Note of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 clearly lays out their concerns in his report on the Executive branch of Thursday July 19, 1787.
Virginia Delegate George Mason: “Shall any man be above Justice? Above all shall any man be above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice?”
Virginia Delegate James Madison: “ …provision should be made for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence or perfidity of the chief Magistrate. The limitation of his period of service, was not a sufficient security. He might lose his capacity after his appointment. He might pervert the administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers.”
Pennsylvania Delegate Governeur Morris: “ This Magistrate is not the King but Prime Minister. The people are the King.”
How long will this go on? We're finding out.
Now here's your moment of zen
Must be the throat spurs.