EXPELIO TRUMPUS! – BY ELLIN CURLEY

David Brooks wrote an editorial in the June 2, 2017 New York Times called “The Axis Of Selfishness.” I just reread it. It really helps you understand where Trump is coming from. It makes his attitudes and actions a bit more comprehensible.

Brooks posits that Trump has a very dark view of humanity and the world. Trump believes that man is motivated solely by selfishness and self-interest. Life is merely a competitive struggle for gain and dominance at the expense of others.

There are only winners and losers. There is a limited amount of ‘stuff’ to be had and everyone has to try to get as much as possible for themselves. You are either on top or you are on bottom beneath someone else’s heel.

There is nothing in the middle. No area of compromise, no mutual interest, no sharing. No neutral zone where people coexist in peace, prosperity and equality.

This explains a lot. He is simpatico with brutal dictators because they share his philosophy of life. They are ‘winners’ who have come out with the most power and the biggest piece of the finite pie. It’s every man for himself, us against them, eat or be eaten, dominate or be subjugated in a dark world with no humanity or humanism.

No touchy feely stuff like morality, good, selflessness, compassion, caring, or justice enter his world. It’s as if those qualities don’t exist for him. That really is sad. If he weren’t screwing up the entire free world I might feel sorry for him — another squishy emotion that he doesn’t recognize.

If this is how Trump sees the world, his behavior almost makes sense. No wonder he’s such a dick! No wonder he’s paranoid. No wonder he thinks all Muslims are out to kill us, that Western European democracies as well as Canada and Mexico are out to cheat us, that all non wealthy, non white Americans exist entirely to mooch off everyone else — and all liberals want only to destroy him.

No wonder Trump can’t let anything go — or stop tweeting. He has to be right and everyone else must be wrong. No wonder he has to demean others. In his mind, the only way you can lift yourself up is by denigrating others.

Brooks says the problem is that Trump’s worldview is self-perpetuating. If you act aggressively, competitively, and selfishly towards all others (people or nations), they will respond to you in kind. Thus your misanthropic attitudes are confirmed and the vicious circle of the worst humanity has to offer goes around and around.

The rest of us acknowledge the existence of greed and venality, but we believe social evolution pushes mankind to be cooperative, empathetic, idealistic, loyal, and righteous. We believe humanity is designed to strive for these ideals in our personal and public lives. We can see the wonderful world we can make if we work together and care for one another.

In our world, Harry Potter beats Voldemort every time. In Trump’s world, Harry Potter is a minor character with little power or even influence. Voldemort is the undisputed king.

I don’t want to live in that world! Neither does most of America.

We have to hope the people who share our better view of life can muster the strength needed to banish Orange Voldemort’s darkness, and bring back America’s light. We have to fight to reinstate compassion, decency, justice, and right as the guiding forces for America.

EXPELIO TRUMPUS!

FOLLOWING CHAPPAQUIDDICK – Garry Armstrong

Chappaquiddick was one of the stories I covered in 1969, that memorable turn of the road year for so many people.

I first covered “Chappy”  for ABC News.  I was just a back up newsie for the network reporter.  Steve Bell, I think.  Tommy would remember him.  Bell introduced me to all the people we interviewed. I tried to keep the names with the faces.  Teddy, Rose, Ethel, Eunice, Sarge , as well as many of the young women Ellin Curley mentioned in her post.

I kept a low profile,  taking notes for Bell so he could move around more easily.  I didn’t say much of anything to anyone. Ted usually greeted me with “Hey, there!”  That was his normal greeting for most people.

He was bad with names. Years later, I would prank him about that.

There was an obvious “Kennedy line” between them and us.  Steve Bell was a gracious reporter, knowing when to not be pushy.  Steve also covered Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, so we had a bond. He trusted me — unlike some of his other ABC colleagues.  I (ironically) heard some of the Kennedys talking after Steve would wrap an interview.

Chappaquiddick Bridge (2007)

I was pretty much invisible to them.  They were nervous about some of the questions.  Sarge Shriver was always hovering, making sure our drinks were refilled.

ABC’s take on “Chappy”  left me with many unanswered questions.

The Kopechne family was guarded, suspicious of the media and its Kennedy bias.  Rumors flew about older reporters on the take from Daddy Joe Kennedy.  They were just rumors for me.  I never had any factual knowledge of hinky stuff.  I met old Joe once at a cocktail party on the Hyannisport compound.  He was distant but not rude.  Someone had apparently whispered to him about me. I never found out what.

I next met the Kennedys during my brief tenure as co-anchor at Ch-18 News in Hartford. Ch 18 was a small RKO-General station. I was the token Black guy and the first one to anchor in that market.  Whenever something “sensitive” came up,  I would be dispatched to cover it.

Kennedy compound – Hyannisport

There was a “Chappy” anniversary.  I was sent to the Hyannisport compound.  This time,  I wasn’t invisible. Many congratulated me on my promotion to co-anchor and said they liked my work.  I didn’t buy any of it so I just smiled.  They seemed to favor me out of the horde of reporters from around the world. Big names like Rather,  Brokaw,  Frank Reynolds, Donaldson, and so on.

Garry and Tip O’Neill

The stars were upset with the favoritism they thought I was getting from the Kennedys. I continued to smile.  In truth, the family was just re-wrapping the same stories I was told when I was with ABC.  They made me the “local favored TV newsie.” Newspapers ran with the same crap.  Ch-18 loved it and milked it for months until Channel 7 in Boston came beckoning for me.

Over the years, I did numerous Kennedy stories.  They always treated me with respect because I didn’t overtly push the line.  I used sources for that stuff and feigned ignorance when confronted about my involvement.

The Kennedy men

Ted Kennedy became one of those people I would describe as a “good acquaintance,” but not a friend.  We were on first name basis — when he could remember my name.  He sometimes frequented the same bar used by Tip O’Neill, myself, other pols and media.

Tip always assured Ted that I was a good guy, one you could trust.  I always bought the next round for Tip, and the next. Tip was the real deal.  I am flattered he thought well of me.

“Chappy” never came up in those social situations. Ted would sometimes bitch about media bias but always apologize to me.  I always smiled.

So,  that’s my “Chappy” back story.  It’ll be interesting to see what they’ve done with the film.  I have a friend who did background work for it.  I’ll have to hit him up for gossip.

BREAKING NEWS! BOLD, NEW OPTIONS TO PREVENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS – Garry Armstrong

School shootings with multiple victims have become an everyday news story in the United States. It’s become a boiler-plate political issue with second amendment activists led by the NRA holding fast to their rights.

Fighting to keep the right to own guns, even as bullets from assault weapons are taking the toll on the lives of our young people.

Gun activists are seemingly oblivious to the availability of assault weapons through illegal purchases.

Gun rights trump young lives in harm’s way. It’s a deadly serious issue but the solutions offered by some of our elected officials are anything but serious. Do you think Jimmy Stewart’s Senator Jefferson Smith would be okay with arming teachers to shoot it out with offenders in crowded classrooms?

Can you imagine the late Speaker of the House, “Tip” O’Neill,  the consummate politician, agreeing to arm the real life “Mr. Peepers” with magnum 44’s to blast invaders as students scatter to avoid gun fire?  O’Neil’s reply would minimally question the sanity of his colleagues in the House and the Senate. Sadly, we have no Tip O’Neill to step up with rational solutions to our national nightmare.

Pilgrims, it’s time to deal with the miscreants who surely don’t value human life.  Time to answer those whose inner demons enable them to spray bullets with deadly intent into classrooms to assuage their problems.

Time to lock ‘n load but with some creative thing.

SUGGESTION #1  IMPLODING LONG GUNS:   Picture the iconic Red Ryder Rifles of our youthful dreams. Long, gleaming barrels with the burnished red stocks, topped by an autographed picture of our 45th President. The sentiment would be clear:  “Bad hombres die hard!”.   If the school shootist fires this weapon,  it’ll blow up in his face.  Crisis averted.

If a teacher or defending student fires the weapon,  it’s a senseless tragedy — but we must look at the big picture.  A Presidential eulogy will ease the pain of more innocent lives lost.

The imploding long guns should be mass-advertised to draw the attention of would be assassins.  The rifle’s Presidential sentiment should entice those who are on the edge of committing bloody massacres.  They will be nudged by the Commander-In-Chief’s passion for thoughtless, narcissistic behavior.  The shooter is sure to take selfies with his presidential embossed rifle and post it on Twitter and Facebook, with pride gleaming in is orange eyeballs.

Gary Busey could do television ads for the imploding long guns.  Busey’s colorful style would make the guns an easy sell,  especially for those who want to make their mark in the world.

SUGGESTION #2 – IMPLODING TRUMP BOBBLE-HEADS.  These terrific replicas of our President have all the verve and sexually traumatic attraction of DJT.  They’ll be personally autographed in that familiar, illegible scrawl used to sign faux bills. The bobble-heads have a floating toupee that easily separates from the rest of the bobble-head on implosion.  School security would locate the bobble-heads at strategic positions on campus likely to be invaded by would be shooters.

Psychologists believe the invaders will be disoriented by the bobble-heads, pick up the miniature DJTs and blow themselves into a parallel universe occupied by ORANGE-haired robot women, all named “Stormy”.

Roseanne Barr will do all advertising for the Bobble-heads, emphasizing her belief in MacCheesehead’s legacy as emperor of the world.

These are just the top of our R&D campaign for alternatives to avert School Shootings. We’re working on DJT dart boards that will explode when a dart hits the spot.  THE spot.

Let’s stand strong against idiotic suggestions to avert school shootings. You can voice your opinion in the mid-term elections that, hopefully, sweep out more of the corrupt and mentally challenged officials who are pigging out at the public trough.

A RUN FOR WALKER

Darren Walker was moderately successful in business when he was called upon to head up the state’s Bureau of Air.  Even though he made little progress there, his passion for the job and common sense solutions to problems led him to be appointed head of the state’s Environmental Protection Agency.  From there he made a lot of pronouncements about enforcing the state’s laws and cleaning up the rivers, lakes and the air as well.  There was a big problem with Darren’s dreams, however.  He had a small staff and a small budget.  So Darren decided to dream bigger.

Election Day 2012

An entire year before the general election for governor, Darren announced that he would be a candidate.  He told the press it was the only way for him to move reforms forward in the state.  His own party was stunned at this and especially at the use of a dirty word to career politicians, “reform.”  The governor who appointed Walker felt this announcement to be a personal betrayal of his trust in Darren and withdrew all support of anything Darren wished to do.

As he was accomplishing very little anyway, Darren resigned from his position to concentrate on his campaign.  His own party felt that was pretty much the end of Darren.  Without party backing or major donors, they were convinced he had no chance. They went on with business as usual.

Darren, however, was more determined than his rivals could possibly imagine.  When asked about fighting a campaign with less money than his opponents, Darren would always reply, “We will just have to outwork them.  We will knock on more doors, make more calls, hold more meetings than all of them combined.  We will take the campaign to all of the people statewide.”

And so, he did just that.  With his good looks, boundless energy and pleasant personality Darren started to become a good interview for the press and he gave a lot of interviews.  This added media attention meant his opponents would fight back the only way they knew how, with attack ads.  While other candidates were spending money on negative ads, Darren was shaking hands, kissing babies and smiling for the cameras.

“We will not wallow in the mud like our distinguished opponents,” Walker declared.  “Distinguished” was probably an overstatement.

When the primary election arrived along with the winter thaw, pollsters showed a tight race and some even thought Darren could win.  This, of course, scared those in his own party as they clearly wanted to return the sitting governor to office.  When the results were in, however, Darren rode his bright smile onto the fall ballot as the candidate of his party.  Immediately, party leaders were announcing that they would support the will of the people and get behind their party’s candidate for governor.

“We will not let our opponents take back the governor’s office and march the state backwards with their regressive ideas,” the Senate president announced.

“The people have spoken,” the House majority leader declared, “and we intend to see that their candidate is a big success.”  In truth, they did little to support Darren as they were not so sure that an opponent in the governor’s office would be worse than a reformer from their own party.

Soon after the primary victory, Darren announced he intended to live up to his name and walk from one end of the state to the other, right down the middle.  Considering the size of the state, this idea seemed insane. The opinion of experts was that it would take most of the campaign for Darren to do it.  He would lose precious time while wandering down rural back roads and he would get no press outside the big cities.  His party was convinced he was doomed and tried to determine if they should start acting friendly toward the opposing party candidate.

Darren lost no time in organizing his walk.  He held a press conference at the south end of the state to declare the beginning of “Walking to the People.”  He set out with a small entourage and an advance team that headed off to the towns along the way to line up interviews, town hall meetings, and “meet and greet” sessions with local residents.  To lose no time on the road, they invited local press to walk part of the way with the candidate and they would drive the reporter back to his or her own town when he or she got tired.

There were a lot of reporters who could brag that they walked with the candidate, although they might not always admit it was just a short distance.  At other times his small staff, would throw questions at the energetic candidate as he walked, so he could practice giving good answers. Darren was prepared for everything the press and the people of the state could ask.

The unique campaign tactic gained national attention.  By the time Darren was half way across the state, he was a nationwide sensation. News crews rode along side Darren. The crew of “Walkers for Walker” grew and when they walked into the northern half of the state, they walked with students, parents, idealists, dreamers, and a whole contingent of people who believed that Darren was going to return government to the people.

By election night, Darren was unstoppable. Party leaders were at his campaign headquarters to grab some of the spotlight for themselves and to congratulate the new governor.

75-SignOfTheTimesNK-1After Darren took office and gave a rousing inaugural speech promising the people of the state just about everything, he went right to work.  He summoned his party leaders to his office.  He spoke about campaign reform and the need to limit spending, but legislative leaders explained that their opponents had many wealthy friends and they would get around the laws through political action committees.  When the new governor spoke of term limits, he was told that was unfair to those who already dedicated their lives to the public.

When Darren offered to raise the limit of terms, they countered with the same explanation and when he offered even higher limits or to exempt sitting legislators, they had a counter argument for that too.  Over his time in office he tried to get his leaders in the legislature to pass a variety of reforms.  He soon learned through his many meetings with his own party, that they were the stumbling blocks to success not the other party.  A governor could not do much if he could not get legislation passed.

When it was time for the next election, Darren had little success in office and worried that he would be perceived as a failure by the people.  Party leaders explained to Walker if that he wanted to have a chance at reelection, he needed to support the legislation of his own party and stop putting his veto to measures they passed.  They would in turn support him.  They could blame any lack of his legislation on the opposition, even though they controlled the legislature.

“You support us, Governor, and we will support you,” Walker was told.  From that point on the only chance for the Walker for Governor campaign was to avoid telling the truth about what Darren learned during the first term.

IN THE CLUTCH: A ROUGH GO FOR AN AMERICAN CONSCIENCE

I started reading through this and realized despite having written in more than a year ago, it’s just as true now as it was then. Somehow, I would have hoped we’d have … oh, I don’t know. Impeached Trump? Convicted a few of his more toxic adherents? Something, anyhow. But here we are, essentially right where we were a year ago last November.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life On Earth

It was pointed out to me this morning that there’s a lot we don’t know about the people who came before us.

How — why — they dressed and spoke and related to each other as people in their society. We are fuzzy about a lot of cultural material and mostly, we take our best guess as to what they were thinking as they lived from one day to the next in whatever capacity they lived it.

We have no clue about how our great-grandfather confessed his love to great-grandmother. We don’t know the words they used, or their tone of voice. We don’t know if their moment of passion happened at all. We don’t know because they left no evidence for us. They spoke differently, yet surely they held the same emotions we do — and we base all our fiction on that assumption. But of course, we…

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EXPECT THE WORST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve figured out how to mentally and emotionally survive the next three years under Donald Trump. (If there is a God, please let it be only three years!). I’m not proud of the plan I’ve come up with. But I think it will work for me. It is not for the faint of heart. So for some of you, don’t try this at home.

Basically, I’m going to expect the worst from the Federal Government on most fronts. So, I have already mourned the loss of an environmental policy that actually fights climate change. Therefore, I will not bleed again and again as the environmental progress we’ve made is chipped away, bit by bit. At the end of Trump’s term, I’ll be thrilled if we can still safely breathe the air and drink the water, at least in most of the United States.

I have already surrendered the ideal that the U.S. Government will promote any kind of individual rights – civil rights, right to choose, LGBT rights, freedom of speech and press, freedom from deportation, hate crimes and voter suppression, etc. I will look only to the Blue states to protect individual rights, as many states have already promised to do. Selfishly, I live in a Blue state block so I hope to be shielded from the worst of the onslaught against rights that will take place elsewhere in the country.

I know that neither health care nor public schools will get the programs or the financial support I believe they should get. So I won’t freak out at every attempt to destroy both systems. I’ll hope that the inertia of a huge bureaucracy (and the incompetence of the Trump administration) will at least mitigate the radical nature of the changes the Trumpettes want to make. But basically I will assume that for public education and national health insurance plans, the next three years will be like Moses’ time wandering in the desert. (At least this time it should be three years and not forty!)

Conflicts of interest will be huge. Regulations will be nonexistent. Autocratic rhetoric will be rampant. As for foreign policy and the economy, if we don’t end up in a major recession, a nuclear war or under martial law, I’ll consider it a win.

The one area where I can’t hide my head in the sand, is the media. My only hope that we will again function as an enlightened, progressive country, lies with the press/media. We can keep our ideals alive if at least some voices in print, on TV and online remain sources of ‘facts’, ‘truth’ and ‘real news’. With their support we can fight back against the dinosaurs roaming the land trying to destroy everything about us that is decent and good. We will survive to triumph again as long as progressive voices continue to be heard and continue to share ideas and plans for political resistance.

Other than keeping some form of resistance and truth alive, I have no hopes for the Trump years. So I can’t be disappointed or surprised by pretty much anything. I won’t enjoy watching the world going to Hell in a hand basket. But I may be able to weather the experience without having a complete meltdown.

A PORN STAR, A PLAYMATE, A PLAINTIFF AND A GUY NAMED PECKER WALK INTO A BAR – BY TOM CURLEY

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stormy Daniels has a 1-hour interview scheduled on CBS this evening — 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper — at 7 PM. It’s the real deal show! Trump wanted his own show, and now, he’s getting it! Maybe not exactly how he planned it. 

And the bartender says “What is this? Some kind of joke?”

The answer is, yes and no. It’s not a joke. It’s reality. In so far as reality has become a bigger and bigger joke these days, it is a joke. And the bar they walked into wasn’t a ‘bar’ bar. It was a legal bar.

So, what’s the joke? The president is suing a porn star, Stormy Daniels, because she broke a Non-Disclosure Agreement for talking about an affair the President insists never happened.

I’ve never met this woman!

He’s basically saying: “I did not have an affair with that person to whom I paid $130,000 to not talk about the affair we had.”

What’s the other joke? A former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, is suing The National Enquirer because they bought an interview from her detailing the affair she had with the President.

I’ve never met this woman either!

They silenced her by simply not running the story. The punchline here? The guy who killed the story is named Pecker.

The jokes are the news.

There’s also a plaintiff, Summer Zervos, who is suing the President for defamation of character.

But that’s not funny. Not all news is funny.

I don’t think the news is supposed to be funny. These days, more and more of the news is funny. Absurdly funny. Or possibly ridiculous. Is there a difference? “You can’t make this shit up.”

How many times have we heard that phrase recently?News and comedy are becoming one.

Where do you get your news? The CBS Evening News or Stephen Colbert? The ABC Evening News or Jimmy Kimmel? CNN or The Daily Show?

I usually choose the latter because I get the same raw information, just with jokes. These days you get the jokes more and more just from reading the news.

When I worked on network news shows at CBS, we would have monitors showing the other networks. As you’d expect, all the shows did all the same stories in roughly the same order. Makes sense. These days, I notice the same stories on all the late night comedy shows too. The comedians all tell pretty much the same jokes in pretty much the same order. The thing is, they all thought the jokes up separately. But since the story is the same, they come up with the same jokes.

It’s just the news.

Comedy and news are becoming one.

I know I’m going to laugh when I watch The Daily Show. I expect to laugh. I’m getting the same laughs from CNN and MSNBC. Who are not trying to be funny! They are merely reading the news!

“Hey, did you see Wolf Blitzer last night? He killed!” I didn’t make up the title of this blog. I saw it on TV. Which late night show? None of them. It was a pundit on CNN, Ana Navarro, who said it.

I’m here through Thursday. Try the veal!
Comedy-and-news-are-becoming-one.

That’s not what’s really worrying me. What happens when they separate? When comedy and news split and become two separate things? What happens when the news isn’t funny anymore?

Our current clown show reality has a shelf life. It can’t go on forever. It will just seem like forever. 

What happens after a sane, boring President is elected — and there are no more daily scandals, screw-ups, and shit-storms? No more crazy tweets? No more porn stars, playmates, plaintiffs, and guys named Pecker? The news will continue, but what about all the poor comedians, comedy writers, bloggers, and columnists? They will have to go back to writing jokes again.

They will be forced to think up funny stuff on their own! Our comedic muscles are atrophying! I can feel it. What can we do about it? Are there special comedic exercises? Should we fill in Mad Libs? Improv?

Sure, we could, but why bother? We can’t top reality. We can’t make this shit up.

When that time comes, we’ll all just have to buckle up and get back to work — making up jokes. When that time comes, I think I’ve got a good one.

Picture of Mr. Pecker not included.

A porn-star, a plaintiff,  a playmate and a guy named Pecker walk into bar …

Too soon?