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David Horsey says…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: April 26, 2020, 01:55:26 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

The contagion of conspiracy theories

For some Americans, conspiracy theories explain the world better than facts.

By DAVID HORSEY | 11:46AM PDT — Tuesday, April 21, 2020



IT IS NOT a new phenomenon in human history that a significant number of people choose to believe wild fantasies over straight facts. For some, it seems the wilder the theory the more readily it is believed.

There are a number of psychological and cultural explanations for this, but a big reason for this rejection of rationality is that some events are just so monumental that it is hard to accept that they came about by chance or through simple, natural causes. From the JFK assassination to 9/11, conspiracy mongers on both the right and left have filled books, blogs and gullible minds with elaborate, dark fantasies about what really happened.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is no different. It has been variously called a media hoax, a Chinese plot and a Democratic Party scheme to wreck President Donald Trump's re-election chances — memes that have been seized upon, not only by fervent supporters of the president, but by the president himself.

The truth is so much simpler: Viruses happen, so be prepared.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/the-contagion-of-conspiracy-theories
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2020, 01:56:30 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

Extra! Extra! Democracy needs us.

If the free press is allowed to die, democracy will soon follow.

By DAVID HORSEY | 9:13AM PDT — Friday, April 24, 2020



IT CAN feel a little awkward for a person like me who works for a newspaper to plead the case for saving newspapers. Working for a newspaper and a newspaper syndicate is, after all, how I pay my bills. But it is not just me and my compatriots in the press who have an interest in keeping the newspaper industry alive; it is anyone who cares about preserving a free and democratic society.

Sure, there is plenty of anger directed at the media these days, but when most of those upset people are picturing the media, it is commentators on cable news or national political reporters who are a thorn in the side to certain politicians that they have in mind. They are usually not thinking about local newspapers; and that is where a calamity looms that will harm everyone, no matter their political beliefs.

Local newspapers, from small weeklies in rural areas to metro dailies in our bigger cities, are American citizens' primary source of information about state and local government, schools, crime, sports, the arts, neighborhoods, local businesses and just about everything else in public life. When they do their jobs right, local journalists keep politicians honest, warn about scams and con men, celebrate local heroes and give a voice to people who are mistreated or cheated or defeated by powers bigger than themselves.

That indispensable resource is rapidly going away. Since 2004, as many as 2,100 local newspapers have gone out of business. Many more have been taken over by corporate entities who don't give a damn about good journalism or individual communities and just want to squeeze the last drop of profit out of withering newsrooms. Much of the country has become a news desert where citizens are either under-served by the remnants of once thriving news operations or are not served at all.

Small towns have been hit especially hard, but it is not just those communities that are going without news. Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. recently cited the example of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a once proud newspaper, that has now been reduced to covering a metro area of 2 million people with just four reporters.

So far, Seattle has done better than most cities, thanks to dedicated local ownership that cares more about quality journalism than cutting to the bone to pump up profits. But even The Seattle Times, in one of the richest cities in the country, cannot avoid debilitating reductions somewhere down the line if things continue as they are. There are many good ideas for changing the economic equation for newspapers. The first thing that might help a great deal, though, is for the citizens and the civic leaders of this region — and every region in America — to understand the utter necessity of preserving and resurrecting independent, local news organizations.

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and it was no accident that the founders of this country put that guarantee first. They understood there is no possibility of a free nation without a free press.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/extra-extra-democracy-needs-us
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2020, 01:57:43 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

Armed and ignorant

In the face of a pandemic, anti-government protesters want
to trust luck, not Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.


By DAVID HORSEY | 11:43AM PDT — Friday, April 24, 2020



URGED ON by the florid rhetoric they were hearing on right-wing media, more than 2,000 flag-waving, gun-toting, sign-carrying protesters gathered in front of the state Capitol building in Olympia on Sunday, April 19, to declare that Governor Jay Inslee's pandemic-fighting stay-at-home order is an intolerable violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Like similar small groups of demonstrators at several other state capitals across the country, the rebellious folks who gathered in Olympia resent being told to stay home from work, to avoid crowds, to skip church and temporarily refrain from activities that might expose them and the people around them to the novel coronavirus. Among the agitators were three Republican legislators, one of whom — Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls — had a sharp warning for Inslee.

“Governor, you send men with guns after us when we go fishing, we'll see what a revolution looks like,” Sutherland said. “You send your goons with guns, we will defend ourselves,”

It is not clear about which goons Sutherland was talking. The only guys with guns who answer to the governor are the fine men and women of the Washington State Patrol. It is more than a little startling to hear a state legislator refer to state patrolmen as goons, but such is the rhetorical style of those who glean their version of reality from the rants of Alex Jones, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Agree with them or not, anyone who caught a view of the demonstrators on TV had to wonder about one thing: In that packed crowd of angry people, was there at least one asymptomatic carrier of the deadly virus? And, if so, how many in that crowd would end up sickened or worse? Perhaps they will all be lucky and dodge that particular bullet, but trusting to luck is a dangerous way to deal with a killer disease, though that seems to be exactly what the demonstrators would have us all do.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/armed-and-ignorant
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2020, 01:59:28 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

Gates versus the goon squad

Bill Gates is the victim of right-wing conspiracy theories and human stupidity.

By DAVID HORSEY | 2:23PM PDT — Friday, April 24, 2020



IN THE real world, Bill Gates is the scion of a prominent Seattle family who, as a very young man, led the computer revolution by founding Microsoft, thereby becoming the richest person on Earth, and who, in his later life, has chosen to be one of the planet's leading philanthropists by spending his fortune trying to eradicate menacing diseases across the globe. In the darker universe of the internet, though, Bill Gates is something entirely different: the venal creator of a pandemic.

Utterly absurd and totally fake conspiracy theories about Gates are being spewed from right-wing web sites and fringe media, such as QAnon and Infowars, and are being given credence by conservative provocateurs, such as President Donald Trump's felonious henchman, Roger Stone, and FOX News rabble rouser Laura Ingraham. There are several variations on the theme, but the gist is that Gates cooked up the virus and loosed it on the world so that he could make a gazillion dollars marketing a vaccine and set up an oppressive surveillance system to track everyone on the planet.

It is totally nuts. Can anyone believe that a guy with so much money that he has to work hard to give it away would want to pad his wealth by secretly committing global genocide? It defies the most basic rational thought. And, yet, millions of people are flocking to Internet sites that sell this lunacy and to right-wing media sources that say it just might — might — be true.

Humans have believed myths and fairy tales since the dawn of civilization. For most of that time, it may have been excusable since serious science was unobtainable and access to broader knowledge was a privilege available only to an elite few. We do not have that excuse anymore. We have scientists who can tell us where viruses come from. We have a free press to investigate facts. And we have the internet, which makes knowledge open to anyone with access to a computer. Unfortunately, millions of people continue to think like primitives and use that technology to create and chase after scary stories and heinous legends instead of the truth.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/gates-vs-the-goon-squad
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2020, 12:47:53 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

No crowning achievements

Trump is no tyrant, just a big-talking incompetent.

By DAVID HORSEY | 11:30AM PDT — Friday, May 01, 2020



LIBERALS who have long been freaking out about President Donald Trump's authoritarian rhetoric should relax. Trump really doesn't want to be king; he just wants to play one on TV.

The current global crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed Trump at his most bombastic and most feeble. One the one hand, he has loudly asserted that as president he has “total authority” and can order state governors to do his bidding and even shut down Congress if he is so inclined. On the other hand, he has run away from making the hard choices a capable leader must make, leaving it to governors and mayors to create their own plans to get safety gear to hospitals and organize the kind of comprehensive testing program that is imperative before the economy can be revived. He is all talk and no action.

The good news, if there is any, is that Trump is a fake tyrant. The bad news is that he is also a fake president who shuns the difficult duties of his job.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/no-crowning-achievements
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 01:16:32 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

You can't make this stuff up, folks

Trump is pushing the limits of political satire.

By DAVID HORSEY | 11:37AM PDT — Friday, May 01, 2020



SINCE first becoming a contender for the presidency in 2015, President Donald Trump has been a gushing fount of inspiration for political cartoonists, late-night TV hosts and the entire comedy industry. His bizarre public pronouncements; his toxic-tweet flurries; his malevolent, mendacious persona; and his coterie of sycophants, mediocrities and right-wing weirdos provide so much material for satire that people assume this is a golden age for those of us who make a living making fun of the powers that be.

The truth, though, is that Trump gives us far too much to work with. The specialty of political cartoonists, in particular, has always been to take note of the flaws and foolishness of the movers and shakers in society and to exaggerate those elements to create edgy, jugular art that declares to any who will listen that “the emperor has no clothes”. But what does a satirist do when the emperor very proudly boasts about being naked?

Or, more specifically, what can be said in a cartoon about a president who, on live television, suggests that a cure for COVID-19 might be achieved if people ingest disinfectant and expose their innards to light? How can any cartoon get more exaggerated or more shockingly weird than that?

Cartooning Trump has become a mere act of illustration, not comedic exaggeration. Trump cannot be cartooned; he is a cartoon.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/you-cant-make-this-stuff-up-folks
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2020, 01:57:44 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

How we got here: One country, several nations

The way we confront today's societal choices — right down to who we choose for president
in November — depends on which collection of American nations prevail over the rest.


By DAVID HORSEY | 3:08PM PDT — Friday, May 01, 2020



WASHINGTON, OREGON and CALIFORNIA have banded together to coordinate policies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as have states in the Northeast. Meanwhile, several states in the South and the Mountain West have gone rogue, relaxing social distancing rules and allowing massage parlors, barbershops, bowling alleys and beaches to open up for business.

It is easy to interpret these contrasting approaches merely as red states and blues states running off in predictably opposite directions. However, the way regions of the country have responded differently to the current national health crisis may be evidence of enduring cultural values that go far deeper — as far back as the first colonies in North America and even to the English Civil War.

In his 2011 book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America journalist and historian Colin Woodard notes that the United States is not just one big, homogenous cultural lump. Similarly, journalist Joel Garreau wrote in The Nine Nations of North America, the continent could easily be divided into nine distinct countries, including a cohesive coastal society running from San Francisco up through Seattle to Vancouver and beyond. Garreau called that elongated land Ecotopia. Woodard identifies the same area as the Left Coast, but he takes his premise beyond Garreau's observations into recurring patterns of history.

Woodard's central premise is that the founding cultures that colonized North America have not vanished in the American melting pot. By his reckoning, the diverse philosophies and ways of organizing society that guided European settlers as they established communities in the New World still drive powerful undercurrents in our fractured federation.

In our time, we are experiencing one bitter political clash after another — about the right to bear arms versus the right to safety in public spaces; about tightening borders versus welcoming immigrants; about protecting property and wealth versus extending health care and a living wage to all; and, yes, about employing the coercive powers of government to save lives in the middle of a pandemic versus risking those lives so that businesses can stay open and individuals can roam free. If Woodard's premise is right, those searing debates and many more are merely the latest manifestations of a long historical dynamic. The way we confront today's societal choices — right down to who we choose for president in November — depends on which collection of American nations prevail over the rest.

The oldest of Woodard's “nations” is El Norte, the borderlands of northern Mexico and the United States, where descendants of Spanish conquerors and indigenous people are now a resurgent political force from California to Texas.

New Amsterdam's obsession with commerce and openness to people of all ethnicities and religions in the 1600s is still the hallmark of New York City, an urban nation Woodard calls New Netherland.

The often belligerent, individualistic, independent spirit that lowland Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants brought from the violent borderlands of the British Isles to the 18th-century American frontier remains potent in Greater Appalachia, a region that runs from West Virginia along either side of the Ohio River and down into northern Texas — a cantankerous spirit that shows up at any gathering of NRA members or Tea Party patriots.

In the nation Woodard calls the Midlands, the live-and-let-live attitude of William Penn's 17th-century colony has been sustained in political swing states from Pennsylvania into the Midwest heartland.

The once-influential nation of Tidewater, composed of Maryland, Delaware and the eastern halves of North Carolina and Virginia, was founded by royalist Cavaliers who took the side of the king in the English Civil War. Today, the region's long political alliance with the rest of South has faded; Tidewater has joined the Obama coalition.

Most enduring through the course of American history has been the rivalry between two very different nations: the Deep South and Yankeedom.

The Deep South came into being when wealthy English slave owners relocated from the Caribbean to Charleston, South Carolina. They were an aristocratic elite who believed in their God-given right to rule and prosper on the backs of enslaved Africans and poorer whites. Over decades, their slave society spread through the Gulf Coast states into Texas. Even when crushed by Yankee armies in the Civil War, their racist, hierarchical system was reconstituted and prevailed well into the 20th century.

Does the callousness of the old slave masters reverberate in the actions of the current governor of Georgia? His rush to reopen businesses disregards the threat to disadvantaged black communities where the coronavirus is particularly lethal.

Yankeedom arose from Puritan New England. Having overthrown a king in their homeland and governed through Parliament until the Cavaliers forcibly restored the English monarchy, the Puritans were on a mission to create a more righteous society in virgin territory. Over time, their intolerant religious beliefs fell away. What remained was a conviction that society could be made better by the earnest efforts of well-educated, free-and-equal citizens working together for the common good.

During the American Revolution, Yankees allied with the slaveholding leaders of Tidewater, but thereafter, as the Deep South agitated to extend slavery to new states in the West, abolition-minded New Englanders were themselves tempted to secede from the union.

Yankee culture expanded into the upper Midwest and eventually sailed into the San Francisco Bay, the Willamette River Valley and Puget Sound. Though far from being a majority on the West Coast, Yankees were cultural and political leaders who encouraged education, entrepreneurship and devotion to civic duty. Even the old Puritan dream of creating a more perfect world echoed in the Left Coast's latter-day utopian dreams, from the hippies of Haight-Ashbury to Earth Day environmentalism.

Politically, the Left Coast has long allied with the Yankees of the Northeast and the Upper Midwest. Well into the 1970s, Washington's Republican Party leadership was in sync with the GOP progressives of Massachusetts and New York. However, once the state's Republicans began to realign with a national GOP increasingly dominated by the Deep South, they began to lose elections. It has now been 40 years since a Republican was elected governor in Washington.

It has also been a long time since a Democrat has found favor on the east side of the Cascades. In 1994, voters ousted two Democrats representing the region in Congress — Speaker of the House Tom Foley and a young freshman named Jay Inslee. Woodard describes Eastern Washington as part of another nation, the Far West, a vast area long exploited by eastern industrial interests where an abiding resentment of the federal government is dominant. Is it any surprise then that, in Left Coast Seattle, business leaders have rallied in good Yankee fashion to support hospitals and Governor Inslee's social distancing measures while, over the mountains in the “Far West” counties of Benton and Franklin, officials have tried to defy Inslee's stay-at-home orders?

When we wonder why Americans seem so disunited, even in the midst of a pandemic that threatens us all, the answer may be simple: We are one country composed of several nations that have seldom seen things eye to eye.


__________________________________________________________________________

David Horsey is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for The Seattle Times. During a break from working for The Seattle Times for a few years, he created cartoons for the Los Angeles Times.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/how-we-got-here-one-country-several-nations
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