William Murchison from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 04 Apr 2020 04:44:32 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss William Murchison from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/william-murchison-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison 5bca855d92318db18f97c9a9db322cef The Old Political Game for 03/31/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/the-old-political-game Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Politics being politics, and politicians being politicians, Americans have figured out how, along with sore throats and violent coughing, the coronavirus causes finger-pointing, loud talking and endless credit-claiming. </p> <p>The best remedy I know of: huge handfuls of salt for sprinkling on the gratitude that comes with seeing government now and then live up to its legitimate role as protector of the public.</p> <p>Clearly, the finish line in this saga of the virus that ate the world is far distant. There's ample time to note the holes in the view that all humans must do to be happy is turn over every problem to government. It's the view now best associated with the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders &#8212; of whom, mercifully, very little is heard these days. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 7a68c14cc68566d7713758969be061b8 By the Skin of Our Teeth for 03/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/by-the-skin-of-our-teeth Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We seem to be in what Bernie's and Joe's and my generation called a "mell of a hess," back before the media and the political class routinized the words that were formerly common to override with: #%$#%^!!%$%.</p> <p>Which made for a politer time, but we're not there any more. At the present point, no one really, honestly, deep-down knows what to do, the "experts" least of all. The experts all know their own fields: medicine, politics, finance. They don't know much outside those fields. Nor does anyone else. The current problem is that the media can't get past the fantasy that experts, always unnamed, know what to do in a given impasse and therefore should be hearkened to. Whatever the case, experts never seem to prevent more mellacious hesses from arising.</p> <p>It's a good time for thinking about Thornton Wilder and his timeless play, "The Skin of Our Teeth" &#8212; which premiered on Broadway two days before Joe Biden was born. We were going through a lot at that time. The U.S. was embroiled in the century's second international war. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> f854a6b4114cfae08f4d37d3161d7230 So, Now What? for 03/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/so-now-what Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This virus thing has gotten crazy. San Francisco ... closed down due to the coronavirus' spread?! A whole American city on hold? And other localities set for like privations? </p> <p>Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders' contemporaries may remember (as I do, being one of them) a Gregory Peck/Ava Gardner movie from 1960: "On the Beach." Following a nuclear war, an unharmed American sub ventures to San Francisco for a look. There is only stillness; no one is in sight. No one. </p> <p>It gives one the willies to contemplate the shutdowns that government officials, here and abroad, are implementing or contemplating: so extended, so complete as to invite ridicule. Few seem to regard them as ridiculous. That, too, gives one the willies. We are entering an age nobody imagined just weeks ago. We do not know what lies at the end of the tunnel when the light is switched back on.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> 7460e1cd88708e378d79bfd35b197fb5 Bye Bye Bernie for 03/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/bye-bye-bernie Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The stock market on Monday took a look at the world around it and swooned, delivering a decisive blow to the Sanders candidacy and its proposed revolution.</p> <p>Who wants a political revolution when economic forces are hard at work wringing vitality and optimism out of the economy? Isn't that the question? The less we see and hear of Comrade Bernie amid the crash of his prospects, the sooner we can recover a measure of common sense in our deliberations.</p> <p>Common sense is the commodity that's coming-apart in recent years has made the greatest noise. The retreat of common sense from its necessary place in the middle of public affairs has left the field to the wildest notions, not least Sen. Bernie Sanders' notion, derived from all the socialist enterprises you ever heard of, that government can bludgeon a nation and people into bliss. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> a231e654e033ffcf4cdaa93e4994ffea Hooray for Democracy! for 03/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/hooray-for-democracy Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There is occasionally good sense in just standing back and watching the grand spectacle known as democracy.</p> <p>The presidential tryouts, known as the primaries, have been a strong prop of that reasoning. People who want, or say they want, to be president step on the stage and tell us why. They strut their stuff, for better or worse. They talk (almost interminably) about their challenging childhoods, the sacrifices their parents made on their behalf, the flash of inspiration that led them to the political trade. They lay out their strategic plans for the first 100 days after the inauguration.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p> c753a6846e4b93a1acff599dff13b8f6 Sanders: 'Democratic' Control Freak for 02/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/02/20/sanders-democratic-control-freak Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>"President Sanders, speaking from the White House yesterday, proposed/criticized/blamed ... "</p> <p>Um, er, no &#8212; not really. It's not going to happen. This Bernie thing &#8212; the rise of Bernie, the magnetism of Bernie, the radiance that shines from his curly white locks &#8212; is more overrated than a luxury vacation package to Wuhan. </p> <p>Basically, that's because Sen. Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Oh, we've known that for decades &#8212; so long, indeed, that we take for granted his commitment to government direction of whatever moves.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 25, 2020</p> 8429d546a6863d2c7c05edca5babcebf A Start-Over Job for the ERA for 02/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/02/20/a-start-over-job-for-the-era Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>One immense reason for our present political entanglements &#8212; would it be OK to say "messes"? &#8212; is the lately acquired political habit of addressing every possible human problem through politics.</p> <p>For instance, with regard to women's rights, the Equal Rights Amendment.</p> <p>We don't as a nation affirm female entitlement to opportunities long gainsaid by social convention. If patient readers will indulge an unreformed Goldwater Republican, I can't wait until we hand the White House to an American Maggie Thatcher, female and conservative to the tips of her polished nails.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 18, 2020</p> 292fb7415891902429e3fff07e1492ab Of Donald and Nancy: Two Wrongs Plus One More for 02/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/02/20/of-donald-and-nancy-two-wrongs-plus-one-more Tue, 11 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>You could say, as I'm sure vast numbers have, that "Trump started it."</p> <p>But he didn't, because he didn't have to. Vast numbers had done it for him, and President Donald Trump merely picked up where they had left off &#8212; loud and brash, eyes intent on the image in the mirror: me, me, me.</p> <p>Where Trump left off, if the present president can be said ever to leave off, the present speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives picked up. Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw her own fit amid the pretense of self-control. She added her personal embellishments to the occasion by rending in twain, before the watching world &#8212; America's foes as well as friends &#8212; the address Trump had just delivered on the State of the Union. This action she characterized a minute or two later as a matter of "courtesy." <p>Updated: Tue Feb 11, 2020</p> 0187f5e4e79e95af36041c23b15b6b74 So, What Did They Think They Were Doing? for 02/04/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/02/20/so-what-did-they-think-they-were-doing Tue, 04 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In any "stupidest" or "most worthless" contest, America can confidently put its money on the President Donald Trump impeachment mess.</p> <p>What frivolity. What junk. What an irredeemable waste of valuable time.</p> <p><i>Almost</i> irredeemable. I should make that clear. <p>Updated: Tue Feb 04, 2020</p> 494697ae54cea37b2921e0eb073ec400 The Party of Hate? for 01/28/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/the-party-of-hate Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In the middle of a muddle, there's minimal sense in predicting outcomes. </p> <p>In other words, is the president's former national security advisor speeding the president toward removal from office? (I strongly doubt whether John Bolton's version of President Donald Trump's Ukrainian diplomacy &#8212; so to call it&#8212; will slow down the necessary process of Senate acquittal on vastly overblown impeachment charges. But what does some hack journalist understand? Beyond the reality of how much trouble even a president can get in by talking before thinking?)<p>Updated: Tue Jan 28, 2020</p> 7e89304e963d5cf4c384700c559ae0da The Debate We Truly Need for 01/21/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/the-debate-we-truly-need Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The essence of democracy is free speech, and the essence of free speech is assertion. For instance ... </p> <p>1. Privately owned firearms should be confiscated.</p> <p>2. Everybody should own a firearm.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 21, 2020</p> 4a776e738cc75d12cafa353d9c46860b Still Feeling the Bern? for 01/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/still-feeling-the-bern Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The best thing about Bernie &#8212; need I explain, in the year of grace 2020, <i>which</i> Bernie? &#8212; is how a frosty-haired old coot, old enough to have been a high school classmate of mine, fires up kids who never heard of our era's icons: Leo Durocher, say, or Robert Q. Lewis. </p> <p>This happens, coincidentally, to be the worst thing about Bernie. A youthful constituency for socialist measures and methods in the Bernie manner is a scary thing to behold. In a less mixed-up political environment than ours, candidate Sanders might rise, with some exertion, to the level of Marianne Williamson.</p> <p>That is because of a once generally obvious point &#8212; that America needs a socialist president, even a self-billed "democratic" one, the way it needs reparations for the War of 1812.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 14, 2020</p> c9462f2cebf64a073c21157bf5ef0e5a Actions Have Consequences for 01/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/actions-have-consequences Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p><i>"If you ... intend to be first in, and hit your enemy in the belly, and kick him when he is down, and boil your prisoners in oil (if you take any!), and torture his women and children, then people will keep clear of you." &#8212; John Arbuthnot Fisher, Baron Fisher of Kilverstone (1841-1920)</i></p> <p>Well. Um. Yes. We can agree, probably, that the mighty commander of the Royal Navy at its mightiest (the early 20th century) was talking for effect, much to the relief of potential captives of the world's mightiest empire. What a point all the same: Don't cross the British line; you'll be very, very sorry you did.</p> <p>I wouldn't bet on President Donald Trump's having ever heard of the great Fisher. But the understanding Fisher wished to convey &#8212; that of the need for deterrence and punishment of bad behavior &#8212; is as old as humanity.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 07, 2020</p> 07bd3f50051dbec2789ca448a22270e0 A Mission for the '20s for 12/31/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/a-mission-for-the-20s Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>So. Another decade behind us, another in front. </p> <p>Journalists love nothing more than the opportunity to gaze analytically in either direction. "Fills up the paper," we used to say, back when newspapers needed constant filling to complement the ads on which our business model rested. </p> <p>The fun part was looking ahead; no reader could say to a jury of 12 good men that what hadn't happened never would happen. You could predict the descent of little green men upon New York City or Harvard's makeover as a dog-training school (a prospect not without charm), and no one could prove you wrong. You still can. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 31, 2019</p> bde95ed404ce938e60add2c4f1883aeb Again and Again and Again for 12/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/again-and-again-and-again Tue, 24 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Memorizing the Middle English of Geoffrey Chaucer &#8212; as required in the senior English curriculum of long ago &#8212; I found sheer repetition the ticket to success. "Whan that Aprille ... whan that Aprille...whan that Aprille ..." over and over and over. Then, finally, the achievement: command in some sense, however limited, of the tongue of another place, another world.</p> <p>I wonder whether "command" of Christmas, and its world, is not akin to that experience. Now then, hear it once more: "And it came to pass in those days ... And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger ... And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host ... "<p>Updated: Tue Dec 24, 2019</p> a8383f0ce06d9a54f10af1404dc3bb50 Revival Time for 12/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/revival-time Tue, 17 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Pretty much every American lacking a cemetery address understands the purpose of the rhetoric of the House Judiciary Committee's report this week on impeachment: "betrayed the nation," "threat to the Constitution," "engaged in a pattern of misconduct." And so on. </p> <p>It is how prosecutors talk, knowing the need to throw the kitchen sink at the accused, hoping to hit him with, at the very least, the soap dispenser. Likewise, every American above ground will have noticed that the President himself lays on a mean rhetorical bullwhip, his intemperance being a major reason for the whole impeachment foofaraw. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Many, without parsing the language of the Judiciary Committee report, agree in general that President Donald Trump should be tossed from the top of the Washington Monument, sans parachute.</span> Which, in my estimation, he won't be &#8212; unless he confesses proudly, in so many words, "I slipped Zelenskiy a C-note to lie about Biden." Which, of course, he won't. I think. And then we'll be past this stuff &#8212; the biggest waste of public time since the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 17, 2019</p> ac2e5978b2fa4350296b744e032a1cc4 Much Ado Over Not Very Much for 12/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/much-ado-over-not-very-much Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A history professor I once studied under tended to offer weary responses to technical and highly dispensable questions of the sort that arise in weary seminars. To wit: "But what's that got to do with the price of eggs?" Or, more pointedly sometimes, "the price of eggs in Arkansas?"</p> <p>I thought of this aptly characterized boredom threshold as I watched the impeachment &#8212; um &#8212; hearings on Monday. Hearings? Snorings seems more to the point: a canopy of mingled objections and arguments and the preening of elected officials who know well enough they are on television. I make no attempt at distributing the credit or blame to particular actors, the defense or the prosecution. The occasion is large enough for censures of various kinds. </p> <p>What had it all to do with the price of eggs in Arkansas? So little that a disinterested sitting hen would scarcely have noticed. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 10, 2019</p> 679e07b0340ed10b10039c34b55fe7df Ain't It the Truth? for 12/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/aint-it-the-truth Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Anglican Church of Canada clutches its throat at the prospect of &#8212; Lord have mercy &#8212; shutting down its ministries and works 20 years from now. You know &#8212; putting up the "Closed" sign, the public demand for said ministries dwindling more with every passing year. So sharply have Anglican membership rolls declined since 2000 that, according to an internal study, naught but the buildings will remain in 2040. </p> <p>Which, as many will recognize, is an odd assumption to entertain concerning any of the Lord's enterprises &#8212; the same Lord who parted the Red Sea (I'll come back to this) and seems easily capable of repopulating empty churches and moving powerfully forward. Canadian Anglicanism's prospects nevertheless put in mind the consequences of life in an age when, seemingly, you don't have to believe anything. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 03, 2019</p> fb77723ac6a75b2dfa7636213fc12803 Of Impeachers and Extra Drumsticks for 11/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/of-impeachers-and-extra-drumsticks Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Beyond the impeachment mess surrounding President Donald Trump, which is due to be settled one of these days &#8212; I think in Trump's favor, but what do I know? &#8212; beyond the impeachment mess, I was starting to declare, sprawls before us ... what, exactly? More messes of similarly degrading character?</p> <p>I shouldn't wonder. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Impeachment, successful or the reverse, will settle nothing in these Disunited States of America.</span> Where everything's a brawl. And nobody likes anybody. And working your opponents over with brass knuckles is the accepted way of making known your devotion to the joys of Free Speech and Discussion.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 26, 2019</p> a14aa7cb185698f1e63484fd96f0ec0a Will Democrats in 2020 Again 'Fall in Love'? for 11/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/will-democrats-in-2020-again-fall-in-love-58422 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There are large historical differences between America's two major political parties in how they choose their presidential nominees. </p> <p>Consider this: Since 1952, there have been 11 presidential elections where there wasn't a Republican president running for reelection. In 10 of those 11, the Republican candidate who led in the major polls in the year before the election went on to win the presidential nomination.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 19, 2019</p>