I’LL GIVE YOU MY REALITY IF YOU GIVE ME YOURS – By Tom Curley

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 not working. Each time something happens that we might think is positive, the next day — or the next hour — we discover we were deluded.

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Do you know what does work?

Fictional TV reality!

Think about it. There was a show called “Designated Survivor.” In it, the whole U.S. government was blown up during a State of the Union Address.  The Executive Branch, Congress, Supreme Court? Wiped off the earth.

The only cabinet member that had to stay home becomes the President. He has to rebuild the government from the ground up. While he’s doing that, there’s a mysterious cabal in which the ones responsible for blowing everybody up are also trying to take over the country.

In spite of that, their government and President are doing a lot better job than ours! They are noticeably more sane and coherent and sometimes, they make intelligent decisions. Imagine that!

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So here’s what we do.  We switch realities!

It’s a win-win for everybody. How? It’s simple — at least in theory.

First

The current administration leaves the government and instead, goes on real TV, 24/7. Every day. You like watching the news? You’ll never miss another show!

Second

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.

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They can pass laws, write executive orders, cancel health insurance for the whole nation, eliminate “Meals On Wheels” or just kick puppies. Whatever they want! 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.”

Third

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

Here’s who. Honest to God fictional ones.

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The cool part is, we have a lot of options. We have lots of choices for President. And if we dig into the DNC pool, we’ve got dozens more. Hell, every billionaire is ready to declare!

We could have Jeb Bartlett. He was a great President. Don’t believe me? Watch “The West Wing.” Again. As a matter of fact, just keep watching it over and over until you feel better. It’s like a political tranquilizer.

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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 the President, but he was (is currently, I believe) also God!

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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!

Fourth

Secretary of State? How about Tia Leoni? She’s already a 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.

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

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Secretary of Defense? 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!

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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.)

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Department of Education? The cast of Sesame Street.

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

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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.

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

Five: The Election

How do we do this?

We have an election. Not the usual kind. What with voter suppression, low turnouts, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and just candidates that don’t have the right scriptwriters, our elections are not working out well. That’s how we got into this mess, to begin with.

We have the 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.

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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. Imagine how many office pools there will be. You might even win!

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

This is absolute Democracy at work!

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:

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


BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO – Reblog – The Shinbone Star

BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO


— Andrew Prendimano/The Shinbone Star

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands yesterday, leaving Democrats giddy but still thinking about what might have been.

While watching election returns we allowed ourselves to get a little greedy as Beto O’Rourke made things interesting in his Senate race with Ted “Zodiac Killer” Cruz, but at the end of the day it appears Repugclicans will retain control of the upper chamber.

Democrats wanted a tsunami but only got a decent wave. So what’s it all mean?

Well, the good news is that with Democrats seizing control of the House, some semblance of checks and balances will be restored for Psycho Donald Trump. That’s a really nice way of saying that Democrats can make Trump’s life a living hell for the next two years, and that’s cause for celebration. Specifically:

  • Democrats will now chair House committees, meaning they will have subpoena power.
  • They will have oversight over whatever bullshit the White House tries to unleash, and lord knows Trump’s evil West Wing whackos have already unleashed plenty.
  • If the Mueller investigation reveals impeachable offenses against the president, well, the newly Democratic House can bring those charges, though they will likely die in the Republican Senate. Still, impeachment proceedings wouldn’t be a good look for the Tweeter in Chief.
  • Gains in Democratic governorships mean Republican-drawn legislative maps will now be viewed by someone more inclined to say, “WTF???”

We can now relish the fact that Republicans will soon be getting a new look at some old villains, like Nancy Pelosi who could again be House Speaker. And then there’s Auntie Maxine Waters, who is probably sharpening her long knives this very minute.

But it’s the new villains that must be most concerning to Republicans, bright new faces bringing stark contrast to an old Republican Party chock full of wrinkled white Neanderthal males. CNN’s Van Jones may have put it best in his analysis when he said:

“It’s the end of one party rule. It’s not a blue wave but a rainbow wave.”

The Shinbone Star’s staff is small and widely scattered. We can’t cover every race, but some of our crew of half-blind geriatrics burned the midnight oil covering issues and races of special interest to them:

DOWN IN THE LONE STAR STATE

O’ROURKE

We Texas Democrats of a certain age keep thinking victory will come to us, but it didn’t come on Tuesday night.

Beto O’Rourke has gone down swinging, running a campaign that a human being can be proud of — except for the part where he didn’t win. Now that it’s happened, I expect Democrats will dissect the defeat mercilessly. That’s what Democrats do.

But mark this down: a still-to-be-determined number of Democrats were elected to Congress on Tuesday, and it’s hard to imagine that any of them have anything but warmest regards for Beto O’Rourke. It was the excitement he brought to the race in Texas that brought a wave of voters, many of them new to the process.

So the sting will linger for a bit, but the 46-year-old O’Rourke will be heard from again.

In his concession speech, O’Rourke talked of visiting every Texas county, and being welcomed in every one of them. He also vowed that Democrats “will be defined by what we’re for.”

He promised to help Cruz where he can, but he most pointedly thanked his hometown of El Paso, and said the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez is a working hub of citizens from two nations. “It doesn’t need to be walled.” — Lin Lofley

NEW FACE IN NJ-11

SHERRILL

In New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, the seat held for 12 terms by retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen flipped to the Democrats as Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot, scored a victory over Republican Jay Webber.

In his concession speech, Webber, who was backed by President Trump, seemed to blame his loss on the fact that his campaign was outspent by the Democrats.

The seat went up for grabs when Frelinghuysen, head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

He had come under criticism for failure to hold town hall sessions for his constituents. The campaign pitted Sherrill, a first-time office seeker, against Webber, a state assemblyman who has held statewide office since 2008. — Anne-Marie

WHY NANCY PELOSI SHOULD BE SPEAKER

PELOSI

With Democrats seizing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, there will be a struggle for leadership with some folks calling for newer, younger leadership. That would be a mistake.

Nancy Pelosi is a General Leia. She is the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and the most successful. Pelosi delivered landmark legislation for economic stimulus, financial overhaul, and healthcare.

Yeah, the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare, aka “death panels” — which conventional wisdom declared to be such a loser that most Democrats ran away from it (and President Obama) resulted in most of them getting their asses kicked. Yet here we are eight years later and what were the smart kids running on? Healthcare. Who knew?

We now have one branch of government back under control of people not under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard occupying the White House. But those who are under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard still run the other branches of government. Democrats haven’t been the majority in the House for eight years and will now be engaged in some of the most epic political battles we’ve ever seen. Literally trying to save the freaking nation! A sports analogy: It’s the playoffs . . . do you start a rookie who hasn’t played a minute in the league or do you go with your future Hall of Famer? Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker redux! — LarryBnDC

WHY DO I FEEL DIRTY?

MENENDEZ

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) retained his seat despite a nasty campaign with multimillionaire businessman Bob Hugin that featured ads questioning the ethics of the embattled, now a three-term senator.

Hugin, a former Celgene Corp. executive, spent $36 million of his own money on his campaign, which in the end saw him too closely tied to President Trump, who he supported to the tune of $200,000 in 2016.

Menendez’s re-election followed his corruption trial that ended in a mistrial. Hugin outspent his opponent by more than two-to-one en-route to the loss. — MastaTalka

THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

HAALAND

New Mexico native Deborah Haaland became the first Native American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Winning 59 percent of the vote, she easily defeated Republican Janice Arnold Jones.

New Mexico also has a new Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Rick Pearce. Grisham replaces Republican governor Susana Martinez who couldn’t run because of term limits — mercifully.

Incumbent senator, Democrat Martin Heinrich easily defeated Republican Mick Rich with 52.9 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Rich. Libertarian former governor Gary Johnson received 82,860 votes, or just 15 percent.

Johnson and Jill Stein running as Libertarians in 2016, helped propel Donald Trump into the White House. Of interest to state conservationists was the race for land commissioner pitting, Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard winning against oil industry-backed Republican Patrick Lyons. — Fred Bunch

LAND OF THE FREE

It’s almost 9 p.m. here in British Columbia, so Election Day coverage is almost over for most Americans. As a realist who leans towards pessimism, the outcome is what I hoped/expected for at best. And hey, it’s definitely a more survivable event than if the Republican Party and their morally bankrupt leader had kept everything.

So, on that note, as a Canadian, the one story I have been following is the Florida vote on whether former felons should be given back their voting rights. Yes, to all of you who just take for granted your right to vote, I typed that correctly. I don’t think many people realize just how difficult it is to actually get out and vote in the United States; state by state, rules and regulations differ.

And if you are or were a felon, that comes with a whole other box of bullshit. The U.S. is one of the harshest countries when it comes to those who have committed a crime. Florida was one of three states (the other two are Kentucky and Iowa) that held a lifetime ban on voting for any felon, former or otherwise.

That’s all changed now. An estimated 1.5 million former felons will have their voting rights restored in Florida thanks to the midterm voter turnout in favour of the amendment on the ballot.

In a country that claims to be home of the free yet has the largest number of incarcerated people on the planet, this is a big deal. It’s a big deal for those directly affected and it’s also a big deal for politics.

Florida has long been the state that determines political outcomes for the country, and now with more than a million people now able to have their voices heard and their votes counted in future elections, this could be a game-changer.

Let’s hope it’s a move towards change for better voting rights in all of the United States of America. — Madmegsblog

IT’S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE – Reblog – THE SHINBONE STAR

THE SHINBONE STAR

WRITTEN BY MADMEGSBLOG – November 4, 2018

As a Canadian watching helplessly from north of the border, all I can do is scream at the laptop and the television and type “VOTE” over and over until my fingers cramp up. There used to be a time I could tell you the current political stories and climate for both countries; now, it’s more like “Trudeau who?”I know I could walk away from social media (and I have at times) and I could shut my ears to the constant noise, but I just can’t. Most of us can’t.

What has been a constant train wreck that was both cringe-worthy and entertaining in a circus kind of way has become one giant ball of horrific attack after horrific attack thrown at the citizens of a country I used to know.

What used to be a bit of joke for Canadians to heckle has become a tragedy of historic proportions. We still can’t look away, but we sure as hell aren’t laughing anymore. None of this is funny. Hell, watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” no longer keeps me sane. I try to chuckle at their witty jokes, but I cry inside wondering if the disaster down below is a survivable event.

I commend the likes of Maher, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, and Samantha Bee. To go on air weekly or nightly and try to make people laugh about that thing in their Oval Office that is ruining their great country one hateful tweet at a time makes my heart hurt for them.

I know I have run out of steam so I can only imagine what my American friends are feeling right now. You can see the exhaustion on their faces. It’s pretty bad when Stormy Daniels has to be the one to carry the humour on Bill Maher’s show.

It’s a scary time right now.

For Americans and for anyone who believes in democracy. Nationalism and racial divide is popping up all over the globe. Europe is in disarray and hate groups are on the rise. There are 49 countries that are officially ruled by a dictatorship.

That may not sound like a lot, but given how influential the United States is globally, the fact that the piece of garbage currently now running the country routinely threatens freedom of the press and attempts to dismantle the Constitution while cozying up to ruthless leaders gives governments in struggling countries a renewed energy to do the same. Here’s a map below to give you some idea of “freedom” in the world. Green is free, at least for now. Let that sink in.

We are all watching the decline of democracy globally, and the Great Ape in Charge of America is leading the parade. The sad part is, he doesn’t even really know it. It was never his intention; his intention is to WIN. At any cost.

The free and not-free world

So all we Canadians can do is sit and watch, and freaking hope beyond all hope that every American citizen gets out there on Nov. 6 and VOTES!!! Because if Trump and the Republican Party win and keep the majority, the cost will be huge and will be felt everywhere. The ripple effect of hate and malignant tribal politics will be far-reaching and even harder to beat come 2020. Even if it’s a Democratic sweep in November, it’s still an uphill battle to regain the political dignity that the Big O and his cronies have destroyed.

We aren’t laughing anymore. There’s no more condescending Canadian humour at the expense of our American friends. How could anyone joke about the idiot in the White House when people are dying at the hands of hate? No, we are frightened for you and we hope you can win this fight. We are behind you 100 percent.

So I will just say it one more time:  PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

via It’s Not Funny Anymore

FOR MASSACHUSETTS: OUR GUBERNATORIAL RACE – Marilyn Armstrong

I spent some time today reading about races that are close and which are not. Here in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is expected to win handily and I am glad. She’s a live wire in a house full of deadheads.

Charlie Baker, our Republican governor, is considered extremely likely to win in more or less of a landslide because everyone likes Charlie Baker. Even I like Charlie Baker, but I’m not going to vote for him.

BOSTON, MA. – SEPTEMBER 26: Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez speaks to media at The Massachusetts Statehouse on September 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)

I’ve been thinking as a middle of the state semi-rural resident of Worcester country, I’d like to know what exactly he has done? He certainly hasn’t done anything around here.

He hasn’t paved the roads, repaired the bridges, or updated our disastrous trains (commuter trains, and Amtrak). He hasn’t invested in new or improved schools, better healthcare, or extended MassHealth (our state’s Medicaid) to people who need it. I can’t think of anything he has done that has anything to do with me or anyone in this county. I’m pretty sure the rest of Massachusetts would agree with me.

But he is a pleasant fellow. Your basic nice guy. Garry once told me the nicest people you’ll ever meet are politicians and mobsters. I’ve met both.

Garry was right.

Flowers growing in the potholes

Other than being nice, what else is Charlie Baker doing? All the problems we had when he took office are still with us. And if you live in this state, you absolutely know — 100% sure — the rails will stop working as soon as we get snow. Moreover, we won’t have enough snowplows, sand, or salt.

Charles Baker, Governor – Massachusetts

Charlie Baker is Boston’s mayor. He has little or nothing to do with anyone outside greater Boston or the wealthy areas along our eastern coastline. In short, he’s not our governor. If you live in Newton or Framingham, maybe he’s your guy, although I’m not sure what he’s done for you, either.

In fact, I’m not sure he does anything except be pleasant. He is, however, committed to supporting the Republican ticket because that’s where the money comes from. He may act like a Democrat to get elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, but make no mistake. He is not. It’s a political shell-game.

One of the things Gonzalez said during the debate was that anyone who doesn’t live in or around Boston must wonder when the government might do something for them. He actually said he had wanted to do this debate in Worcester, but Baker’s staff would not agree. He said he would like to be governor for the entire state because everyone west of greater Boston was still waiting to some any kind of public transport, much less upgraded transport.

That is exactly how I feel. I get that we are always outvoted by the city and its suburbs, but we live here too. Wouldn’t it be nice to at least get back the amount of taxes we pay in? Maybe have an extension so we could take a  train to Boston? How about a minibus so if you can’t drive, you are not helpless.

I don’t think charming Charlie is enough. We deserve better. Not that this post is going to change the race, but we need to stop electing pleasant do-nothing governors and find one who will actually accomplish something.

The last good one we had was Michael Dukakis — more than 30 years ago.

Facts Fuel Incentive to Vote Out Trumplanders to Save Our Country – THE SHINBONE STAR

Voting matters. Even though you are one vote, the collective number of people who DON’T vote outnumbers those who do.

Vote.

Bring your friends. There are so many places where there is no vote, no choice. Please, please VOTE.

THE SHINBONE STAR

Who could forget the way smug Republicans acted — including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — after getting a would-be rapist onto the Supreme Court. Although Graham isn’t up for re-election this cycle, his recent performances should provide incentive to vote against his Republican cohorts.

What evidence, what proof, what hard facts do any of us need to realize our country is not better off nearly two years into the Donald J. Trump era of governance in order to vote out anyone who supports the misguided, self-absorbed person currently occupying our White House?

Just to be clear, there is no tax cut on the horizon for the middle class no matter what Donald says in the next few days. Not only is there no new tax cut, but apparently the one he and his GOP cohorts bragged so loudly about toward the end of last year never materialized for the average…

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99 New: Now – REBLOG – Jan Wilburg

I could not have said it better.

Red's Wrap

I have only this to say tonight – after a day of news about people murdered while praying.

Start where you are
Use what you have

Do what you can
–Arthur Ashe

Don’t wait to be asked. Find out where people are needed and go there. Send money to people running for office who believe in equal rights, justice, fairness, and inclusion. Sign up to knock on doors or make phone calls. Go to the march. Make a sign. Hold the sign over your head so people passing in cars will see it.

Do not be afraid. The people who were killed today can’t march, they can’t vote.

We will have to do it for them.

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Wasting away in MAGA-ritaville – REBLOG – THE SHINBONE STAR

I can’t write about these last two horrors. I’m literally too angry and upset … and on some level, scared. If this election goes wrong, our geese (or is that gooses?) are cooked.

THE SHINBONE STAR

MAGA-ritaville, infested with MAGATs.

Sunday, first day of a new week still dripping with horror from the one that went before.

We’re wasting away in MAGA-ritaville, people, a place where Americans of conscience must divide their attention between a plot to assassinate high-profile foes of President Donald Trump by one of his acolytes, and the horror of a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting where a right-wing extremist who called Jews the “children of Satan” murdered 11 of them.

And the president? No acknowledgement that his hate-filled agenda has anything to do with either case, even though one suspect’s vehicle was a rolling shrine to MAGA ideals, while the other’s hatred for a Jewish group that provided assistance to immigrants is a page from the course syllabus for Trumpism 101.

Facebook — swarming with news of both horrors — says I must be angry or sad, with no possibility of being both. And…

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