DAVID CROCKETT (HE HATED “DAVY”) MIGHT HAVE BEEN A KING IN HIS WILD FRONTIER

I don’t usually post straight history right out of the books but we recently signed up for Disney + and found ourselves watching “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.” Interestingly, at the begiinning, there was a note that said the speech given by Crockett to the House of Representatives was an accurate rendition of what he said. This is a long, more third person rendition.

Crockett was America’s first media star. The press followed him around everywhere. But that speech in Congress was, as he knew it would be, the end of his political career. He already hated Jackson for his treatment of the Creek Indians and this bill appalled him. He felt we had no right to move Natives unless they were in agreement. They were a sovereign nation and deserved to be treated as such. So now you can rewatch “Davy Crockett” again, ignore Jackson (always worth doing) and remember that Crockett hated the nickname “Davy.” He was David, thank you.


Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 10

From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE DAVID CROCKETT TO THE

HON. DANA ROHRABACHER OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker,

This description was included in a book titled “Speeches on the Passage of the Bill for the Removal of the Indians,” published by Perkins and Marvin in 1830. The speech was given by Rep. David Crockett of Tennessee on May 19, 1830, in opposition to the Indian Removal Act. Unfortunately, the Congress disregarded Crockett’s objections and passed the bill, which was then signed into law by President Jackson. This is a sketch of the remarks of the Hon. David Crockett, Representative From Tennessee, on the Bill for the Removal of the Indians, Made in the House of Representatives, Wednesday, May 19, 1830.

Mr. Crockett said that considering his very humble abilities, it might be expected that he should content himself with a silent vote; but, situated as he was, in relation to his colleagues, he felt it to be a duty to himself to explain the motives which governed him in the vote he should give on this bill. Gentlemen had already discussed the treaty-making power; and had done it much more ably than he could pretend to do. He should not therefore enter on that subject, but would merely make an explanation as to the reasons of his vote,

He did not know whether a man (that is, a member of Congress) within 500 miles of his residence would give a similar vote; but he knew, at the same time, that he should give that vote with a clear conscience. He had his constituents to settle with, he was aware; and should like to please them as well as other gentlemen; but he had also a settlement to make at the bar of his God; and what his conscience dictated to be just and right he would do, be the consequences what they might.


He believed that the people who had been kind enough to give him their suffrages, supposed him to be an honest man, or they would not have chosen him. If so, they could not but expect that he should act in the way he thought honest and right. He had always viewed the native Indian tribes of this country as a sovereign people.

He believed they had been recognised as such from the very foundation of this government, and the United States were bound by treaty to protect them; it was their duty to do so. And as to giving to giving the money of the American people for the purpose of removing them in the manner proposed, he would not do it. He would do that only for which he could answer to his God. Whether he could answer it before the people was comparatively nothing, though it was a great satisfaction to him to have the approbation of his constituents.


Mr. Crockett said he had served for seven years in a legislative body. From the first hour he had entered a legislative hall, he had never known what party was in legislation; and God forbid he ever should. He went for the good of the country, and for that only. What he did as a legislator, he did conscientiously. He should love to go with his colleagues, and with the West and the South generally, if he could; but he never would let party govern him in a question of this great consequence.

Red Jacket, Native Chief

He had many objections to the bill — some of them of a very serious character. One was that he did not like to put half a million of money into the hands of the Executive, to be used in a manner which nobody could foresee, and which Congress was not to control. Another objection was, he did not wish to depart from from the foundation of the government. He considered the present application as the last alternative for these poor remnants of a once powerful people. Their only chance of aid was at the hands of Congress. Should its members turn a deaf ear to their cries, misery must be their fate.

That was his candid opinion. Mr. Crockett said he was often forcibly reminded of the remark made by the famous Red Jacket in the rotunda of this building, where he was shown the panel which represented in sculpture the first landing of the Pilgrims, with an Indian chief presenting to them an ear of corn, in token of friendly welcome. The aged Indian said “That was good.” The Indian said, he knew that they came from the Great Spirit, and he was willing to share the soil with his brothers from over the great water.

But when he turned around to another panel representing Penn’s treaty, he said “Ah! all’s gone now.”

There was a great deal of truth in this short saying; and the present bill was a strong commentary upon it. Mr. Crockett said that four counties of his district bordered on the Chickasaw country. He knew many of their tribe. Nothing should ever induce him to vote to drive them west of the Mississippi. He did not know what sort of a country it was in which they were to be settled. He would willingly appropriate money in order to send proper persons to examine the country. And when this had been done, and a fair and free treaty had been made with the tribes if they were desirous of removing, he would vote an appropriation of any sum necessary. But until this had been done, he would not vote one cent.

He could not clearly understand the extent of this bill. It seemed to go to the removal of all the Indians in any State east of the Mississippi river, in which the United States owned any land. Now, there was a considerable number of them still neglected. There was a considerable number of them in Tennessee, and the United States’ government owned no land in that State, north and east of the congressional reservation line.


No man could be more willing to see them removed than he was if it could be done in a manner agreeable to themselves; but not otherwise. He knew personally that a part of the tribe of the Cherokees were unwilling to go. When the proposal was made to them, they said, “No; we will take death here at our homes. Let them come and tomahawk us here at home: we are willing to die, but never to remove.”


He had heard them use this language. Many different constructions might be put upon this bill. One of the first things which had set him against the bill, was the letter from the secretary of war to colonel Montgomery — from which it appeared that the Indians had been intruded upon. Orders had been issued to turn them all off except the heads of the Indian families, or such as possessed improvements which the Government had taken measures to purchase from the Indians who had gone to Arkansas.


If this bill should pass, the same plan would be carried further; they would send and buy them out, and put white men upon their land. It had never been known that white men and Indians could live together; and in this case, the Indians were to have no privileges allowed them, while the white men were to have all. Now, if this was not oppression with a vengeance, he did not know what was. It was the language of the bill, and of its friends, that the Indians were not to be driven off against their will.


He knew the Indians were unwilling to go: and therefore he could not consent to place them in a situation where they would be obliged to go. He could not stand that. He knew that he stood alone, having, perhaps, none of his colleagues from his state agreeing in sentiment. He could not help that. He knew that he should return to his home glad and light in heart, if he voted against the bill. He felt that it was his wish and purpose to serve his constituents honestly, according to the light of his conscience. The moment he should exchange his conscience for mere party views, he hoped his Maker would no longer suffer him to exist.

David Crockett

He spoke the truth in saying so. If he should be the only member of that House who voted against the bill, and the only man in the United States who disapproved it, he would still vote against it. It would be matter of rejoicing to him until the day he died that he had given the vote. He had been told that he should be prostrated; but if so, he would have the consolation of conscience.

He would obey that power, and gloried in the deed. He cared not for popularity, unless it could be obtained by upright means. He had seen much to disgust him here; and he did not wish to represent his fellow citizens, unless he could be permitted to act conscientiously. He had been told that he did not understand English grammar. That was very true. He had never been six months at school in his life; he had raised himself by the labor of his hands. But he did not, on that account, yield upon his privilege as the representative of freemen on this floor.

Humble as he was, he meant to exercise his privilege. He had been charged with not representing his constituents. If the fact was so, the error (said Mr. Crpckett) is here, (touching his head) not here (laying his hand upon his heart). He never had possessed wealth or education, but he had ever been animated by an independent spirit; and he trusted to prove it on the present occasion.

A SWITCH OF REALITIES – BY TOM CURLEY

Marilyn asked me to dig this one up from the archives. It took me a while to find it. It was written quite a while ago. If I didn’t tell you this you would swear it was brand new. Unless you don’t swear. But really, who doesn’t swear? At least once in a while. There was my Aunt Helen, no wait. She could cuss like sailor …

Sorry, I got distracted.

I think if we suggested this now, everybody would go along with it. Including the idiot-in-chief. It’s the “get out of the White House without going to jail card”  he’s been looking for. The “get out of this insane reality card” we’ve all been waiting for.


I figured it out!

The solution!

To reality!

This reality!

This reality TV reality!


The problem is not so much that we are living in a reality TV reality. The problem is that we’re living in a REALLY BAD reality TV reality. Face it, it’s just not working folks.

youtube.com

Do you know what does work? Fictional TV reality! Think about it. There’s a show on TV today called “Designated Survivor.” In it, the whole U.S. government is blown up during a State of the Union Address.  The Executive Branch, the Congress, the Supreme Court, all gone. The one cabinet member that has to stay home becomes the President. He has to rebuild the entire government from the ground up. And while he’s doing that, there’s a mysterious cabal,  the ones responsible  for blowing everybody up, that’s also trying to take over the country. In spite of all that, their government and their President are doing a hell of a lot better job than ours!

tvguide.com

So here’s what we do.  Let’s just switch realities! It’s a win-win for everybody. How do we do this? Simple.

First: The current administration leaves the government and instead, goes on real TV 24 hours a day. On Fox News. They all go to work on sets that look just like Washington, D.C.  They do the exact same things they do now. It will be just like on  “Big Brother”. Only bigger. And on Fox News.

quickmeme.com

They can pass laws, write executive orders, cancel health insurance for the whole nation, cut taxes for billionaires, eliminate “Meals On Wheels” or just kick puppies. Whatever they want! And here’s the best part. Trump supporters won’t be upset because they only watch Fox News. As far as they’ll be concerned, everything is normal.

It just isn’t real.

“And it’s only on Fox.”

Second: OK, great you say. But what about real reality? Who’s going to be the real President? The real cabinet?

Here’s who. Real honest to God fictional ones.

thegeektwins.com

And the cool part is, we have a lot of options. We have lots of choices for President. We could have Jeb Bartlett. He was a great President. Don’t believe me? Watch “The West Wing.” It’s on Netflix, the whole series, all seven seasons.

theoddessyonline.com

We’ve got Dennis Haysbert. I’m pretty sure he was President twice.

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We’ve got Morgan Freeman. Not only was he President, but he was also God!

knowyourmeme.com

And the list goes on. Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers … (Oh, for God’s sake, Google the rest.) You get my point.

Now, appointing a cabinet becomes fun!

Secretary of State? How about Tia Leoni? She’s already Secretary of State and seems to be doing a pretty decent job of it. Every Sunday. Let’s give her the job for the rest of the week.

cbs.com

Attorney General? Julianna Margulies. She’s a lawyer, ran for State’s Attorney and by almost all accounts, is a good wife.

cbs.com

Secretary of Defense? Well I admit, at first, I was leaning toward Schwarzenegger or Stallone. Then it hit me.

CHUCK NORRIS! Think about it. We could cut the military budget down to nothing. Nobody’s going to go to war with us. Nobody fucks with Chuck Norris!

memegenerator.com

ISIS COMMANDER: We will destroy America!

ISIS GUY WATCHING THE NEWS: Sir, America just made Chuck Norris Secretary of Defense.

ISIS COMMANDER:  Shit.


(Insert favorite Chuck Norris joke here. My favorite? Chuck Norris once counted to infinity. Twice.)

pinterest.com

Department of Education? The cast of Sesame Street.

themarysue.com

Depart of Health and Human Services? Pick any of the stern but kindly Chiefs of Staff from the medical show of your choice. Any one of them will do just fine. (Except for Dr. Zorba. I’m pretty sure he’s dead.) (Extra points if you get that reference.)

humansofjudiasm.com

Department of Housing? Chris Rock. OK, he really doesn’t have any more qualifications for the job than Ben Carson does. But I just like the guy. He’s funny.

memegenerator.net

(If you get that reference, you get double extra points.) I could go on, but you get the point.

How do we do this? Simple. We have an election. Not the usual kind. Between voter suppression, low turnouts, gerrymandering, and the Electoral College, our elections are not working out well.  I mean, seriously — that’s how we got into this mess to begin with.

So what do we do? We have an election the same way reality TV shows do it. Everybody gets to vote from their smartphone, their computer, their tablet, or Android device. You can email or text your vote. You are only allowed to vote up to 20 times on any given device. You can vote up until 10 pm Eastern Standard Time. (Text and messaging fees may apply.)

ethnews.com

Granted, this will fire up the Millennials and confuse the hell out of old folks. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s still better than the Electoral College. We can set up March Madness style brackets and have an election every week for maybe a month until we get a winner. More office pools!

yankeeinexile.wordpress.com

And we, the people, elect everybody. The President doesn’t get to appoint his cabinet. We do.


It’s Democracy at work!

And it could work!


As a cheese-faced person who somehow actually became President of the United States said to a bunch of totally incredulous Black people a while back:

theoddeseyonline

“Give it a try. What have you got to lose?”


IF COVID HITS ALL THE OLD SENATORS, THERE MAY BE A LOT MORE RACES – Marilyn Armstrong

With the exception of fourteen youngsters in their forties, all the rest are over 50. Thirty-nine are over 60. Twenty-two have passed 70.

Six of them have said goodbye to 80.

If McConnell is going to drag all these geezers into the senate and put them in close quarters, shall we put bets on who’s going to get sick and maybe die before the election?

I don’t know what McConnell has in mind, but he’s no spring chicken himself. It sounds to me as if he’s determined to kill off as many of the senior members of his own “party” as he can. Has guilt grabbed him? Or does he actually believe that this virus is no big deal?

If, by random chance, he should travel into the hereafter with others, bon voyage. Have a great trip!

THE UNIMPEACHMENT NON-EVENT – Marilyn Armstrong

I keep reading about how Trump is going to be impeached. Or at least, SHOULD be impeached. Needs to be impeached. On this, I tend to side with Nancy Pelosi: I don’t want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison. For life.

Two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and William J. Clinton. Neither was removed from office. It was more like a bad mark on their permanent record than getting expelled. They were harder on Harry Potter than either impeached President.

This doesn’t mean I had or have anything against Bill Clinton. I liked him a lot except the thing about men and their zippers and how come they can’t keep them zipped. He could at least have kept it zipped until he left office. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Would it really kill men to not screw someone inappropriate for a few years? Men can be such pigs.

I do not think Trump will be impeached. “Why not?” you ask.

The Senate doesn’t want to do it and even the House isn’t sure about it. Also, why does everyone assume impeachment would unseat Trump? It didn’t unseat the two presidents who were impeached.

The only things that can unseat a president are high crimes and misdemeanors for which there exists no clear, modern definition. Although if any president has committed them, I’m sure Trump is The Man.

Moreover, a GOP-dominated — or even a Senate with a substantial percentage of them — does not have to act on impeachment. Regardless of the outcome of any investigation, now or in the future, there is no mandate to do anything about it. Yet, despite the ineffectiveness of previous impeachment procedures, everyone is convinced that this time, it will be different.

It won’t be different. It will be exactly the same.

What would make this time different than before? What new law is on the books? What new interpretation of “crimes the president can/can’t commit” exists? As far as I know, we have made zero legislative progress in Congress and we seem unlikely to see any before 2020.

And also, please note that no matter WHAT the House of Representatives does or tries to do if the Senate (McConnell) refuses to bring the issue to the floor, it’s not even a slap on the wrist. All it will do is raise the ratings on late-night television and miscellaneous news outlets.

CONUNDRUM – A QUANDARY ENCLOSED BY CONFUSION AND VEXATION – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Conundrum

We are living in a conundrum of rather massive proportions. The definition is confusing because the word is confusing.

It is a difficult, vexatious problem. It is not unlike an enigma. It may be a riddle impossible to solve. It’s a quandary, often with many potential solutions, but none which work.

We live in a nation of laws where laws don’t seem to have any current relevance. Our protections — Congress and the Supreme Court — are as much a part of the conundrum as the moron in the middle. We can’t count on protections from anywhere. Where a few years ago, we were nervous and worried, today many of us are plain terrified.

He was described last Sunday by Jake Tapper as follows:

We have a “leader” who cannot lead because he knows nothing. That would be bad enough, but he also doesn’t accept advice from those who actually do know many of the answers.

He is driving the world like a 12-year-old kid who just stole the family car. Can his tiny little legs even reach the brakes?

The economy of the world is endangered by him. He refuses to allow sane people to do what needs to be done.  He denies science, evidence, facts, and truth. Although he certainly appears to be among the most stupid men alive, I have trouble believing he is really as stupid as he seems, but no matter how I look at him, I cannot see anything but stupidity, cruelty, meanness, and rage.

Did he get this way via dementia or Alzheimer’s? Is he — above and beyond the obvious loss of brainpower due to disease — also so deranged he thinks the disaster he is creating is amusing? Is anyone laughing?

In my nightmares, I imagine him sitting in one of his ugly, tasteless “homes” cackling at the misery he is causing and wondering what else he can do to make it worse.

People keep asking, “How can he look at himself in a mirror?”

The answer is simple. He has no conscience, no moral center, no sense of right and wrong. The only reason he hasn’t built more effective concentration camps is that he hasn’t got the money. Yet.

Not to worry. He’s working on it.

TOO EARLY TO BE DRINKING? – Garry Armstrong

I heard these lines recently in a movie. They made me laugh.

“Isn’t it too early to be drinking?” he said.
“No,” she said. ” I’m awake.”

The line had stayed with me many years after the laughter faded, replaced by memories of work, reporters, bars, and pubs from New York to Saigon. As a reporter, I covered Presidential politics from 1962 to 2001. From JFK to Bush, Jr. As a newbie reporter, I saw veteran correspondents fueling up with multiple Bloody Marys as we began our day on the political or campaign trail.

Diner bar and table

I was impressed. During my rookie year, I summoned up enough courage to question one famous reporter who had begun his career working with Edward R. Murrow. He was on his third Bloody Mary — in one 10-minute period.

“Isn’t it too early to be drinking?” I asked, slowly and politely.

The veteran reporter who’d covered FDR, World War II in the trenches, and the McCarthy Hearings, among other assignments. He looked at me for a long moment, then finished his drink.

“Is it too early to be drinking?” he repeated my question and ordered another Bloody. “No, I’m awake!”

I shook my head in amazement and admiration. He was clearly fortifying himself for the day to come. It would be another long day on the road. Cold, dreary, and filled by interviews with people from pompous to angry to clueless when asked about election issues and the candidates.

I remember one fellow decked out in a hunting outfit, cradling a shotgun. He sneered when answering my questions. When finished, he said “Figures the media is not tellin’ the truth. A Negro askin’ me stuff about that Catholic in the White House. That’s what’s wrong with our country.”

The veteran reporter had overheard the conversation. He gave me a wry smile.

Years later, I shared the story with “Tip” O’Neill, Speaker of the House and a personal friend. He laughed so hard the bar seemed to shake. Then he looked angry for a moment, patting me on the shoulder with a huge sigh.

“Garry,” he said, “Here’s looking at you, kid!” The Political Legend smiled as we clinked glasses. “Some days, it’s never too early to start drinking,” O’Neill concluded. And ordered one more round.

I wonder about “eye-openers” for those covering last year’s Presidential race and even more about how those trying to cover “news” in this insane political year are managing. These days, for those who still drink, maybe it really is never too early to start drinking.

TERM LIMITS ARE A REALLY BAD IDEA – Marilyn Armstrong

So you believe term-limits will solve our political problems.

Interesting.

Why would you think that? Are “old timers” in Congress the problem as opposed to the bloated egos and narrow minds of Tea Partyites and Trumpets? How about those right-wing religious nutters? Most of them were just recently elected, have no understanding of how government works, and to top it off, care nothing for America.

 

Exactly what problem do you think you solve by making terms shorter? Is that likely to attract better quality candidates? Will it convince people to vote for better candidates? Doesn’t our most recent presidential election prove that people will vote for a bad candidate even when all logic and reason should tell them he or she will not serve their interests?

So you believe we will get better government if no one in congress gets to stay for a long time. Why would inexperience result in better government? Would you choose an inexperienced surgeon? A lawyer fresh out of law school? A barber who has never cut any hair? In what field do we prefer raw recruits to proven veterans?

Oh, right, the presidency. How’s that working for you?

Why do you want amateurs making your laws?


Our founding fathers specifically excluded term limits. Their experience under the Articles of Confederation (the document that preceded the Constitution) proved to them that good people are not interested in temporary jobs for lousy pay in a distant city. The people elected to office under the Articles walked away from their positions — or never took them up in the first place.

There saw no future in it.

When the Constitution was drawn, its authors wanted to tempt the best and the brightest to government service. They wanted candidates who would make it a career. They weren’t interested in amateurs and parvenus. The business of governing a nation has a learning curve. It takes years to get the hang of how things work, how a law gets written. How to reach across the aisle and get the opposition to participate.

The Articles of Confederation contained exactly the ideas people are promulgating today. They failed. Miserably. Do we need to learn the same lesson again?

The absence of term limits in the Constitution is not an oversight. The writers of the Constitution thought long and hard about this problem.

A little more history


Under the Articles of Confederation, our country fell apart. Elected representatives came to the capital (New York), hung around awhile, then went home. Why stay? The job had no future. Their salaries didn’t pay enough to cover their costs while serving and nor pay enough to keep their families alive.

Term limits were soundly rejected at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. They were right. The Constitution aims to get professionals into government. Term limits remove any hope of building a career in government. It becomes a hard temp job without a future.

Myth Busting 101: Congress isn’t overpaid


Maybe they are paid more than you and me but compared to what they could be earning elsewhere, they are paid poorly. What you cry? How can that be?

Most members of Congress are lawyers. The 2011-2012 salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate was $174,000 per year. A third-year associate at a good law firm will do that well and after six to twelve years (1 – 2 senate terms), a competent attorney in a good market makes much more.

Senators and representatives have to maintain two residences, one in their native state, the other in DC. If you think $174,000 will support two houses and send the kids to college, you are living in a fantasy world. Which is why many members of Congress have other income streams.

Curiously, our Founding Fathers expected congressmen, especially senators, to be men of means. They felt only wealthy people would be able to afford government service. And they would be less susceptible to bribery. On the whole, they were right. What they didn’t foresee was how many kinds of corruption would be available. Bribery is the least of our problems.

Skill and experience count


Writing a law that can stand up to scrutiny by the courts and other members of Congress takes years. You don’t waltz in from Anywhere, USA and start writing laws. Moreover, great legislators are rare in any generation. A sane electorate doesn’t throw them away.

We are not suffering from an entrenched group of old-time pols stopping the legislative process. We are suffering a dearth of the old guard, the folks who understood how to work with the opposition. It’s the newly elected who are stopping progress.

Sadly, our savvy, experienced Senators and Congressional professionals got old and retired. Or died. They have been replaced by imbeciles.

Above and beyond the skill it takes to write legislation, it takes even longer to gain seniority and peer respect. Frank Capra notwithstanding, Mr. Smith doesn’t go to Washington and accomplish miracles. Newly elected congresspeople hope to build a career in politics. With luck, one or two of them will become a great legislator, a Tip O’Neill, John McCain, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bob DoleTed Kennedy or any of the giants. Anyone you name connected to important legislation was a multi-term representative or senator.

Term limits eliminate great legislators


Term limits guarantee a bunch of amateurs — or worse — fumbling their way around Congress. As soon as they figure out where the toilets are and get reasonably good at their jobs, they’ll be gone. Does that make sense? Really?

Garry and Tip O’Neill

If you think your congressman or senator is doing a crappy job, replace him or her with someone you believe will do better. That’s a fine example of term limits.

Don’t elect them if you don’t believe in them


We have term limits. They are called elections.

Throw the bums out. Vote for the other guy. Term limits were disastrous in 1788 and they haven’t improved with the years. Watch the news to see how our wonderful, inexperienced government is doing. If that doesn’t argue against the treasured (but stupid) belief that what Washington DC needs are outsiders, I don’t know what will convince you.

We have outsiders.

Assuming we survive 45s reign and are still a democracy, we will need intelligent, knowledgeable people to set America back on course.

We don’t need term limits. We need better candidates, better representatives. We need men and women willing to learn the craft, who have ideas and can work with each other and other nations to get America’s business done. Our government does not rest on the Presidency. It rests on 435 congressmen and 100 senators.

The President isn’t supposed to run the country


Congress writes legislation and votes it into law. Ultimately, it’s you, me, our friends and neighbors who choose the people to make laws, pass budgets, approve cabinet members and Supreme Court justices.

Whatever is wrong with Congress, it’s OUR fault


The 435 members of Congress are chosen by us and if you don’t like yours, don’t vote for him or her. If someone gets re-elected over and over, you have to figure a lot of people voted for him or her. You may not like him, but other people do.

That’s what elections are about. It doesn’t necessarily work out the way you want, but changing the rules won’t solve that problem. Make the job more — not less — attractive. Treat candidates better so qualified people will want to work in government. Otherwise, you’re creating a job no one wants.

Be careful what you wish for.

Ultimately, it’s all about America. Partisanship, special interests, regional issues, party politics, and personal agendas need to take a back seat to the good of the nation. We need to agree what that means, at least in broad strokes.

If we don’t know what we want from our government, we won’t get it. Term limits won’t fix the problem, because that’s not what’s broken.

Vote for people who believe the good of the country is more important than their personal agenda.

Vote for intelligent people who understand compromise, who have an understanding of law, justice, and believe in this country and what we supposedly stand for.

That will produce a change you will like.

MIXED BLESSINGS

The Blue Ripple, by Rich Paschall

My mother used to refer to many things as mixed blessings. In part that was because she could always see the down side of anything good. Her mother was the same way so I guess it sort of runs in the family.

Visits from her aunt Harriet would probably fall into that category. (That named is changed although I am not sure any living relative would be offended).  The joyous greetings and fun visits would sooner or later degenerate into negative conversations regarding the hard life we all live.  This may have been fueled by too many adult beverages.

We might hear about the “good old days” but that was usually followed with stories of living through the Great Depressions.  Of course we could understand that the family struggled greatly after the market crash of 1929.  It seemed unfortunate to me that 50 years later so many conversations were brought down by this memory.

Visits to grandma were mixed blessings even though I liked her a lot.  There were always hard candies, marzipan and cookies from the German bakery. We were not allowed too many, but we were always given something.  The joy of our arrival seemed to be followed by the annoyance of our presence.  As children, we were always to be corrected so we tried to sit quietly and do nothing.  You can see how well that works on little ones.

Illness or accidents could be a mixed blessing in my mother’s mind or a “blessing in disguise.” Although the situation was bad, it was meant to teach you a good lesson.  Be careful.  Take care of yourself.  Avoid accidents.

When she was elderly, took a bad fall and was taken to the hospital, she noted that it was a good reminder of our blessings.  “Did you see that woman who was in the other bed?  Tomorrow she will have her leg amputated.  Someone else’s situation can be worse than yours.”  I guess I saw all of that as two negatives, so “mixed blessing” is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

We have all had jobs that were mixed blessings.  I had one that paid well but was unpleasant to work at. Another did not pay well but was rather enjoyable most of the time I was there.  In our working lives, many of the things we encounter contain mixed emotions, mixed benefits, mixed results.  In some, the negative outweighed the good by so much, I had to walk away.

When I was young and needed a car, some people I knew made me an offer on an automobile that was rarely used. I could not refuse. It was a mixed blessing. I felt I had to spend more time with the people who sold me the car and I always felt indebted to my father who loaned me the money. I was grateful and in their debt.

If I thought long and hard I guess I could think of many examples of mixed blessings of people, places, and events.  We could often see local, national and international events in this way.  In Chicago, we could look at the tenure of certain politicians as mixed blessings.  While there was too much patronage and even corruption, they managed to achieve great results for us.  This is why we referred to Chicago as “The City That Works” for many decades.

Very recently, many have hailed the great success of what they called the “Blue Wave.”  Of course, it was not that at all.  It was more of a ripple as many political analysts have noted.  While the current political situation energized many people to vote, equally as many stayed home.  NPR reported an estimated 47 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.  That means democracy was the loser again as the majority of voters elected to have no voice in the elections.

Voter turnout

For Democrats, the results were a mixed blessing.  If they were energized to work harder, so were the followers of 45.  Dems took back the House and declared their “Blue Wave” was a success, but Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate which gives POTUS more power in some areas.  While energizing more “blue” voters, Dems may also have alerted “red” voters of the importance of getting to the polls.

Photo Garry Armstrong

The House Dems will gain control of committees and have increased oversight of government next year, but Senate Republicans will have an easier time pushing through 45’s appointments to government posts and federal judgeships.  That could push the courts more to the right, helping protect POTUS and friends.  Many Dems will be praying for the good health of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

When you wish to energize voters to get more people to the polls, you may end up with a mixed blessing. Your opponents might be energized too and get some extra victories.

There will never be a strong Blue Wave, Red Wave or any wave until there is a strong wave of voters.  That would be a great blessing.

TERM LIMITS: A REALLY TERRIBLE IDEA – Marilyn Armstrong

I keep reading the same crap. Why is this so hard to understand?

So you believe term-limits will solve our political problems. Why would you think that? Are “old timers” in Congress the big problem — as opposed to the bloated egos and narrow minds of the Tea Party, Trumpocrats, and racists? All of whom were recently elected and have no understanding of how the government works? And worse, who care nothing for the American people?

Look how much they’ve fixed everything. Yeah, that’s going well.

Exactly what problem do you think you solve by making terms shorter? Will it attract a better quality of candidates for office? Will it convince people to vote for better candidates?

Doesn’t the past presidential election prove that people will vote for a bad candidate even when all logic and reason should tell them he has no interest in serving their interests?

So you believe we will get better government if no one in congress gets to hang around awhile? Why would inexperience produce a better government?  Aren’t we already suffering from a monumental amount of inexperience and incompetence?

Would you choose an inexperienced surgeon? A barber who has never cut hair or gone to barber school? In what other area do we prefer untrained, raw recruits to veterans?

Oh, right. The presidency. How’s that working for you?

Why do you want amateurs making your laws?

Our founding fathers specifically excluded term limits.

Their experience under the Articles of Confederation (the document that preceded the Constitution) proved to them the best people are not interested in temporary government jobs for lousy pay in a distant city. Many of the people originally elected under the Articles of Confederation walked away from their positions or never took them up in the first place.

There was no future in it.

When the Constitution was drawn, its authors wanted to tempt the best and the brightest to government service. They wanted candidates who would make it a career. They weren’t interested in amateurs and parvenus. The business of governing a nation has a learning curve. It takes years to get the hang of how things work, how a law gets written. How to reach across the aisle and get the opposition to participate.

The Articles of Confederation contained exactly the ideas people are promulgating today. They failed. Miserably. How many times do we need to relearn the same lesson?

The absence of term limits in the Constitution is not an oversight. The writers of the Constitution thought long and hard about this problem.

A little more history

Under the Articles of Confederation, our country fell apart. Elected representatives came to the capital (New York), hung around awhile, then went home. Why stay? The job had no future and their salaries didn’t pay enough to cover their costs or support their families.

Term limits were soundly rejected at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. They were right. The Constitution aims to get professionals into government.


Term limits remove any hope of building a career in government.
It becomes a rough temp job without a future.

Myth Busting 101: Congress isn’t overpaid

Maybe they are paid more than you and me but compared to what they could be earning elsewhere, not so much.

What you cry? How can that be?

Most members of Congress are lawyers. The 2011-2012 salary for rank-and-file congressional members was $174,000 per year. A third-year associate at a good law firm will do that well and after six to twelve years (1 – 2 senate terms), a competent attorney in a good market makes much more.

Senators and representatives have to maintain two residences, one in their native state, the other in DC. If you think $174,000 will support two houses and send their kids to college, you are living in a fantasy world. Which is why many members of Congress have other income streams.

Curiously, our Founding Fathers expected congressmen, especially senators, to be men of means. They felt only wealthy people would be able to afford government service. They would be less susceptible to bribery.

On the whole, they were right. What they didn’t foresee was how greed would become the foundation of our national government and that’s another issue. Or how many kinds of corruption would be easily available.

Bribery is the least of our problems.

Skill and experience count

Writing a law that can stand up to scrutiny by the courts and other members of Congress takes years. You don’t waltz in from Anywhere, USA and start writing laws. Moreover, great legislators are rare in any generation. A sane electorate doesn’t throw them away.


We are not suffering from an entrenched group of old-time pols stopping the legislative process. We are suffering a dearth of the old guard, folks who understood how to work with the opposition. Knew how to make the process work. It’s the recently elected morons who are stopping progress.

Sadly, our experienced old-timers got old, retired, or died. They have been replaced by imbeciles.


Above and beyond the skill it takes to write legislation, it takes even longer to gain seniority and respect. Frank Capra notwithstanding, Mr. Smith doesn’t go to Washington and accomplish miracles. Newly elected congresspeople hope to build a career in politics. With luck, one or two of them will become a great legislator, a Tip O’Neill, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bob DoleTed Kennedy et al.

Anyone you name connected to the passage of major legislation was a multi-term, Representative or Senator.

Term limits eliminate all chance of having great legislators

Term limits guarantee a bunch of amateurs — or worse — fumbling their way around Congress. If any of them figure out where the toilets are and actually get good at their jobs (I know, hard to imagine at the moment), they’ll be gone.

Does that make sense? Really?

Garry and Tip O’Neill

If you think your congressman or senator is doing a crappy job, replace him or her with someone you believe will do better.

If you don’t elect them, they won’t be in Congress

We have term limits. These are called elections. Throw the bums out. Vote for the other guy. Term limits were an awful idea in 1788 and they haven’t improved with time. You only have to watch the news once or twice to see how our wonderful, government is doing.

If that doesn’t argue against the treasured (but stupid) belief that what Washington DC needs are outsiders, I don’t know what will convince you. Assuming we survive 45s reign, we will desperately need intelligent, knowledgeable people to set America back on course.


We don’t need term limits.
We need better candidates, better representatives.


We need men and women willing to learn the craft, who have ideas and can work with each other and other nations to get America’s business done. Our government does not rest on the Presidency. It rests on Congress.

The president doesn’t run the country

He’s not our “CEO.” Congress writes legislation and votes it into law. Ultimately, it’s you, me, our friends and neighbors who choose the people who make the laws, pass budgets, approve cabinet members and Supreme Court justices.

Whatever is wrong with Congress, it’s OUR fault

The members of Congress are chosen by us and if you don’t like one, don’t vote for him or her. If someone gets re-elected over and over, you have to figure that a lot of people vote for that candidate. You may not like him, but other people do. That’s what elections are about.

It doesn’t necessarily work out the way you want, but changing the rules won’t solve the problems. Make the job more — not less — attractive so better people will want to go into government. Otherwise, you’re creating a job no one will want.

It’s close to that already. Mention going into politics to an ambitious young person. Watch him or her recoil in horror.

Ultimately, it’s all about America. Partisanship, special interests, regional issues, party politics, and personal agendas need to take a back seat to the good of the nation … and we need to agree what that means, at least in broad strokes. Term limits won’t fix the problem, because that’s not what’s broken.

You want term limits? Vote the morons out of office

We didn’t vote ALL the morons out of office, but we did pretty well and considering there are still a few senatorial elections being recounted, we may do even better. Moreover, we had the highest voter turnout ever. That’s amazing, wonderful, and gives me hope.

Vote for people who believe the good of the country is more important than their personal agenda. Vote for intelligent people who understand about compromise, who have a grip on law, justice, and the constitution.

That will produce real change that might last!

FREEDOM – Marilyn Armstrong

OBSERVE AND REMAIN MINDFUL OF FREEDOM

I want everything to last forever.

When I buy a television, I don’t expect to ever buy another one. I will keep using the old one until it simply won’t work anymore … or someone gently tells me that I really need a new one.

“Oh,” I say, “But I just bought this one.”

“You bought it 14 years ago. I can’t even connect most things to it. It doesn’t have the right connections.”

“Is it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday.”

It does seem like yesterday because I can remember buying it. I remember deciding which TV would give us the best pictures, be reliable. Which is how come it lasted 14 years. Actually, it still works. It’s just too old to be of much value — and too huge to get rid of, so I guess it will live in the basement forever.

The only things I buy more or less on schedule are computers because operating systems change and software won’t run on old systems. I don’t want to get new computers. In fact, I hate new computers. Setting them up is a total pain in the butt. But I cope — because I know I need them.

On the other hand, things like refrigerators, washing machines, ovens? The roof, the water heater, the floor, the sinks and toilets — aren’t they forever? Don’t you buy them once and then you never have to worry about them again?

I’m on my third water heater and beginning to worry about the roof. I’m discovering that the vinyl siding wasn’t as permanent an investment as I thought it was … and the ants keep coming back.

Just to remind me how impermanent the world truly is, the rights we fought so hard to create, the young are fighting for them. Again.

Early 1900’s protests against the czar in Russia

How can that be? How can we have made so much progress and find ourselves back — not only where we were, but back to where my parents were. I feel like we haven’t regressed to the 1950s, but more like the 1930s.

The changes we make, the changes we paid for, fought for, battled for … they are supposed to be forever or at least for our lifetime. The roof should never need to be replaced. The heating system should be a lifetime investment.

Freedom should be given — and once achieved, you should always be free. We should never need to battle again for the right to live our lives as we please. Personally, I don’t think we should have to fight for it in the first place. We should be born free and take on obligation only by choice.

Freedom has come and gone many times throughout human history. Rome was free until it wasn’t. Greece was free … until it wasn’t. Many countries were briefly free, until swallowed up or conquered by others. I guess it’s our turn, my turn, to realize that the freedom I thought we’d won was merely a respite from the despotism of the world.

I’m not sure why it’s like this. Why is it freedom for which we need to fight? Why doesn’t tyranny require a battle? Why do the bad guys always seem tp have the upper hand?

I think it’s because we let them. We say “Oh, a few huge corporations won’t really matter” and then we look around and the entire world is made up of huge corporations and we don’t matter. We give up our freedom incrementally.

We surrender it for higher wages, cheaper toys, nicer cars. We give it up because it sounded like fun and we don’t see the down side. We elect the wrong people because they sound good. We fail to examine if they are really who they say or are capable of being who we need.

We do it. Ourselves. We give up our freedom in tiny pieces until we have nothing left to lose.

Freedom is a costly gift which does not come to us without commitment and a battle. I didn’t imagine I would live long enough to need to fight for it twice. Is that some kind of bizarre payback for living  a longer life?

ANYONE KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON? (WITH GARRY AS THE CLOSER)

I keep reading about how Trump is going to be impeached. Meanwhile, I keep thinking two presidents were impeached: Andrew Johnson and William J. Clinton. Neither was removed from office. It was more like a bad mark on their permanent record than getting expelled. They were harder on Harry Potter than either impeached President.

This doesn’t mean I had or have anything against Bill Clinton (I liked him a lot) except the whole thing about men and their zippers and how come they can’t just keep them zipped — at least until they get out of office. Would it really kill them to not screw someone inappropriate for a few years? Men can be such pigs. But I digress.

I do not think Trump will be impeached. “Why not?” you ask.



Because the Senate doesn’t want to. Even if Democrats utterly wipe the floor with Republicans in 2018 by winning EVERY available seat in the Senate, it does not mean the Senate will impeach Trump. And if they did, why does everyone assume that impeachment would unseat Trump? It hasn’t unseated the two presidents who were impeached. The only thing that can unseat a president are “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which there exists no clear, current definition.

Moreover, a GOP-dominated — or even a Senate with a substantial percentage of them — does not have to act on impeachment. Regardless of the outcome of any investigation, now or in the future, there is no mandate to do anything about it. And yet, despite the ineffectiveness of previous impeachment procedures, everyone is convinced that this time, it will be different.

Why? What would make this time different than before? What new law is on the books? What new interpretation of “crimes the president can commit” exists?



I’m as unhappy as anyone about the state of the nation, but I’m a pragmatist. The harder I look at it, the more I’m convinced this is another not-happening event. Senators aren’t going to take him down. For way too many of them, it would be the same as taking themselves down.

If we are all very lucky, Mueller’s investigations will take down many of his Trump’s cronies. Which maybe will improve the situation a little bit. But eliminating Trump? You think so? If you think so, I’d like to hear why you think so. Based on what? Because I want to believe. I really do.

In the end, I believe that ending this disaster will rest with us. Voters. In 2018 and 2020. If we cannot stand together and sweep the bastards out of office, life in these United States is going to get increasingly ugly and frightening.

Talk to me. Tell me I’m wrong. Convince me I’m crazy or I just don’t understand the situation.

I’m listening.

And from Garry Armstrong:


This has been primary conversation for Marilyn and me, which depresses the hell out of us, but one thing seems clear: The Squatter isn’t giving up his land because of all the bad news and the threat of impeachment. Unless they nail him on treason, he’s not getting out of Dodge. Unless they get Watergate type material on him, he won’t give up the ranch. It’ll take a great showing by the Democrats in the mid-terms and deep doo-doo for the Republicans for the Bully Boys to run their Jefe out of town.

Meantime, it’s great fodder for late night comedy/ talk shows. As the revival tempo monologues pile up the missteps by Orange Head and his minions, the audience gets more and more excited, anticipating a climax that the Big Fat Bad Hombre is leaving. No! Not happening that way. Sorry to be a party pooper but reality bites.

Don’t shoot the messenger. Men are cheaper than guns.,

A DEAL IS A DEAL

This morning, after last night’s midnight signing of a law to abandon Americans to the tragedy of poverty with no recourse to government, I realized that there can be but one reason this has happened.

The Republican party and nearly all its members have signed contracts with the Devil. Real contracts. Signed at the crossroads in the dead of night. In blood. Because this certainly can’t be any kind of “principles” from anyone who is supposed to protect this country from danger or economic collapse — or even nuclear war. This has got to be the foul paw prints of the evil one at his finest.

Christians? I don’t think so. Does anyone see any Christian act in any of the behavior of this band of evil-doers? I thought not.

At some point, late in the night, they all gathered and each drew blood and signed their name. From this they got “a career” and probably wealth — because in the end, it’s always about money. It is possible that the Koch brothers actually are emissaries of the devil, if not the devil incarnate. Hard to tell in these modern times.

Welcome to Hell, folks. I believe we are living in it.