ARE YOU A DECENT HUMAN BEING, OR ARE YOU A DICK? – BY TOM CURLEY

I listen to the various pundits on all the news stations and newspapers going on and on about what Democrats need to do to win the midterm elections. They all have a variation of the same theme. They must have a “message.” They can’t just say “Hey we are better than that asshole Trump and those fucking Republicans.”

They need to be for something, like universal health care, a 15-dollar minimum wage, not ripping innocent children from their parents for the crime of trying to come to America for a better life.  But here’s the thing.

That’s bullshit. I completely disagree. We have moved far beyond arguing about political policy. We need to run on what kind of human beings we are in this country.

It’s really simple.


Are we, as Americans, decent human beings? Or are we dicks?


It turns out that over the last two years we have found out there are a frighteningly large number of Americans who are unimaginably horrible dicks. 

If you think ripping a baby from a mother or father and then sending it to another state without any way of keeping track of who the baby belongs to or where it went is OK, you’re a dick.

If you are horrified by this and you didn’t believe such a thing was possible in America, you’re a decent human being.

If you think white supremacists and Nazis are good people, you’re a dick.

If you think a white supremacist running down innocent protesters with his car and killing at least one is bad, you’re a decent human being.  Side note: NAZIS ARE BAD.

If you are a white person who calls the police because

1 – A black family is barbecuing in a public park
2 – A black fireman is doing fire safety checks in his own neighborhood
3 – A black state representative is going door to door talking to her constituents
4 – A black woman is at a community pool to which she belongs
5 – A black man is wearing socks at a public swimming pool

you’re a racist dick.

Oddly, most of the dicks who called the police on these people were women. Turns out


You don’t need a prick to be a dick.


That might make a pretty good bumper sticker or tee-shirt.

racist white women
One of dicks who actually did one of those things.

If this stuff both surprises and appalls you, you’re a decent human being.

I’ve been covering elections for CBS since Nixon. In every election, both sides always say the same thing. “This is the most important election of our lives.”

And we all go, “yeah, sure, whatever.” But this time, for the first time in my life, I agree. We, as a country, are at an honest-to-God existential crossroad. We are being governed by the largest group of horrible dicks in modern history.

And we are being led by the biggest dick of all, the twidiot-in-chief.

So, please, get out and vote this November.

Be a decent human being.

Don’t be a dick. There are way too many of them out there already. 

BECOMING A POLITICAL PESSIMIST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I used to look forward to reading the news. I know it sounds crazy, but every day I looked forward to reading about another advance in the Mueller investigation. It seemed to be moving inexorably toward its ultimate goal – the exposure of the crimes of Trump, his campaign and his family.

In my fantasy world, there would be a day of reckoning. Trump would be forced to resign or would be impeached. We’d get to watch all the shady characters around Trump get their comeuppance. Justice and the rule of law would be restored. And all this before the 2018 midterm elections!

Mueller is my only hope that something so cataclysmic will be revealed that even the soulless, spineless, amoral Republicans will throw up their hands and say “This is enough! We’re out!”

Unfortunately, my fantasy world is crumbling around me. The forces of evil seem to be winning – or at least not losing. Instead of anticipating exciting news from Mueller’s probe every day, I dread the day I’m going to read that Ron Rosenstein has been fired and that the Mueller investigation has been terminated. I know it’s coming. It’s just a question of when and how.

Once Mueller is gone, I’ll have nothing positive to look forward to politically except the 2018 elections. And they are too far away to get my blood boiling yet. Without my daily dose of hope from Mueller, I have nothing to blunt the impact of three and a half more years of a Trump Presidency. That is truly depressing.

I also don’t put too much hope for salvation on the upcoming elections. Even if the Democrats win the House of Representatives in November, they can impeach but they can’t convict and remove Trump from office. Only the Senate can do that with 67 votes – way more than the Democrats can even dream of winning.

So, barring a thunderbolt from Mueller, and soon, I can’t foresee anything keeping Trump from serving out his full term. And the damage he can do in three and a half more years is mind blowing!I feel for the country and fear for our democracy. I cringe at the thought of what this country will look like after four full years of a Trump Presidency.

I’m also selfish. How will I get through each day of Trump without a total moral and emotional breakdown? What will I cling to each day to get me through to the next? I can try to avoid the news. But for me, that can only last for a few days. I’m addicted and so is my husband. He’s even worse than I am.

Maybe after November, it will be enough for me to watch a Democratic House pummel Trump and renew criminal investigations into him and his merry band. Maybe that will be enough to keep me sane. Maybe it will be gratifying enough to watch the inevitable decline of the Republican Party. Maybe that will keep my spirits up.

Maybe watching Trump squirm under a Democratic thumb will brighten my days.

Who knows what will have happened by the time November rolls around? I pray it will be something with which I can maintain my equilibrium until the next national election.

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.

THE FAILURE OF DEMOCRACY – RICH PASCHALL

The Illinois Primary, by Rich Paschall

The weather was a bit cold and the skies were partly cloudy when I went to vote in our primary.  Our political future is mostly cloudy with a 98 per cent probability of discontent.  I guess that is nothing new for a primary, but in the current political climate, I was hoping for a better atmosphere.

The voter turnout was astonishingly low despite the massive amount of money spent on television ads and the large quantity of social media madness.  A friend of mine who always votes immediately took to Facebook to tell all the non-voters to just “stfu.”  If you don’t know what that means, you can consult your urban dictionary.  We are trying to keep a “G” rating here.

Illinois counties
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“I am surprised,” said Cook County Clerk David Orr of the low turnout.  The county estimate late in the voting day was 23 percent.  Cook County contains Chicago and suburbs so the one county of 102 counties can pretty much determine the outcome of statewide races.  Imagine if we had double the turnout and they all voted for someone other than the eventual winner.  All races would have a different candidate and the voter turnout would still be less than half.

The county clerk thinks that all of the negative advertising has a negative effect on voters.  If you think all candidates are bad, why vote?  The days of voting for the “lesser of two evils” seems to be gone.  If voters don’t like the choices, they stay home.

If you think Millennials are going to bail us out in the future, you might wish to think again.  Their voter turnout was pegged at about 3 per cent.  THREE per cent!  You might get them to register to vote at voting drives on college campuses and some local hot spots, but getting them to actually vote seems to be another matter.

Voters between 54 and 74 helped to bring up the percentage.  The turnout in this age group was 42 per cent.  OK, we care about the outcome and we want to get rid of as many bad politician as possible.  Our numbers, however, are dwindling and so is our influence.  When we are gone, who will be voting?  Will ten percent of the population decide for everyone?  We know extremists with a rabid fan base will get voters out, how about the sane ones?

When I arrived at the polling place in the local grade school near the house, I noted that you had to go up stairs to get in and then down stairs to the polling area.  It is not what you would call handicapped accessible.  I know there is a handicapped entrance as it is a public school, but I believe it is on a different side of the large building.  This has been my polling place for almost 40 years.  Now the stairs bother me and friends say I should report this to the Board of Election Commissioners.  That would be the democrats who help decide where all these polling places are put.  They must have heard the complaint by now.

We have paper ballots where you fill in the arrow for the candidate you want with a fine tipped black marker.  I took the large sheet of paper for the Democratic primary to the voting booth where I could sit rather than stand.  There was no one else there, so why not?  I carefully considered the list of billionaires and multi-millionaires running for governor.  The favorite was J. B. Pritzker, billionaire businessman and venture capitalist.  He hopes to unseat billionaire Governor Bruce Rauner, businessman and venture capitalist, in the fall.

The Pritzker family is well-known for philanthropy.  I know this by the amount of things that have their name on it in Chicago.

Chicago businessman Chris Kennedy – Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast

Despite the 70 million dollars in ads bought by Pritzker with his own money, I decided to vote for Chris Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy.  No one here considers him a carpetbagger, by the way.  He met his wife at Boston College and after graduation in 1986, he married her and moved to Decatur, Illinois.  Decatur!

For years he ran the Merchandise Mart properties.  The Merchandise Mart in Chicago is the largest commercial building in the world. He has been involved in various local and civic causes.  He was not liked by the establishment and did not have the kind of money Pritzker had for ads.  He lost.

After I turned in my ballot and headed out of the polling place, there were a couple more voters there, but I did not get a good look.  From a distance they looked like Boris and Natasha, but I did not think those two lived in my precinct.  Anyway, the turnout was sparse.

Outside there were political operatives handing out polling cards or “palm cards” to voters.  These are cards you can take into the polling place so you can vote for the candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party. This is a long and time-honored tradition here.  It probably has less influence than in the Mayor Daley era.

Two of the street operatives looked amazingly like moose and squirrel, but I could not tell for sure as they hid behind a tree when the Boris and Natasha looking characters came out.  I was going down the street in the other direction so who can say who these characters actually were.

In fine Chicago tradition the County Clerk received complaints of fighting at a polling place.  It seems some political operatives got into a fight with other operatives over the placement of campaign posters.  Yep, your signs might be too close to someone else’s signs so maybe he should punch you.  That’s what we call here “the fight for democracy.”

Sources: “Illinois Primary 2018: Large majority of voters stay home on Election Day,” abc7chicago.com
“Illinois Primary Voter Turnout,” chicago.cbslocal.com
“Christopher G. Kennedy,” en.wikipedia.org
“Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to Face Democrat J.B. Pritzker in General Election,”  http://www.wsj.com

WE NEED A REAL STABLE GENIUS IN THE WHITE HOUSE – TOM CURLEY

This is not something I thought up on my own. But I love the idea. A while back our Dunder-Head-In-Chief tweeted that he was “like, a really smart person and  a very stable genius”.

What’s an unstable genius? Lex Luthor?

Stable genius. Unstable genius.

Who knows? All I know is anybody who’s been paying attention to the last year knows at least two things.

  1. He’s not stable
  2. He’s definitely not a genius.

This particular tweet started a meme. No, not just a meme, but a movement! People realized that having a stable genius in the Oval Office is a good idea. Who is a true, honest to God stable genius?

Mr. Ed.  He has all the qualifications:

  1. He lives in a stable.
  2. He’s a genius.

Not only would he be a good President. He’d be a great candidate, which is what you really need to be to become President.

Think about it, it would be very hard to insult him.

TRUMP: You’re a horse’s ass!

MR. ED: Yeah, so? I’m a horse. What’s your excuse?

And he’d have the ultimate put down line. Anytime Trump says something stupid all he has to do is say:

“Oh, Wilbur.”

That’s even better than Ronald Reagan’s, “Well, there you go again.”

So, I am joining the legions of people behind the new and ever-growing movement. Mr. Ed in 2020!

We won’t have to worry about endless stupid tweets because Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say!

Don’t believe me? It’s right there in the theme song!

“People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.”

Hell, parts of the theme song can be his campaign ad!

“Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed”

Yet. I’m Mr. Ed, and I approve this message.

So, there it is. Hope for the future. A real stable genius for President!

I can only see one real problem with moving forward with this movement.

Mr. Ed, is dead.

Damn, I really hate ending on a down note. So here again are two dogs playing “I Got Your Nose!”

BAD GOVERNMENTS TEND TO GET WORSE

“It is a lot harder to get rid of a bad government than to elect one,” said my Tasmanian friend.

It sure is. We  elected Trump — though I take issue with including me as I did not vote for Trump or anyone in his party. Ever. We opened the door and let them in. Getting them out again is going to be one huge mess. I wonder how we will do it, what with all the gerrymandering in the various electoral districts and a broken Electoral College.

First, you get elected.

My father used to remind me — regularly, as if I were otherwise going to forget — that the German people voted for Hitler. He didn’t thug his way into power. He ran for office and they voted for him.

We — as a nation — voted for Trump. Some voted for him out of some bizarre but well-intentioned belief that he might do some good. Others were just pissed off and they wanted to make a loud noise — and they most assuredly have done exactly that. Many voted for him by not voting at all, or voting for non-electable candidates, effectively skewing the election.

It wasn’t a national sweep where we all got together and thought he was “the right guy” for the job, but  the weird statistics managed to get it done.

Trump is the man pushing through laws we thought we’d beaten off. All the positive things we thought we’d accomplished turning to rubble. It’s going to be long road back.

Then, you pass some really evil legislation.

Like the Germans, we did it freely. No army pushing us. No thugs at our backs beating us down. There was a hint of potential thuggery, of course, but few of us directly experienced it. Now, welcome to a new world. Our world. We bought it, moved into it, and are living it. Hell isn’t theoretical anymore. We are in it.

Look what we’ve got. Laws which will in short order make the poor more poor, the middle class a lot closer to poor and a several hundred filthy rich people ridiculously even filthier and richer.

Laws which will make most of us less healthy, will kill many who remain. Children will die of easily controllable diseases, as will their parents and grandparents. Old people will starve and live in poverty without a safe place to live.

The roads and railways will crumble. Our last remaining places of beauty will become sump holes of oil hunters and fracking companies. Pollution will increase, the air will get less breathable. Jobs won’t trickle down.

Because poor people don’t spend money and without a demand for goods, no one will hire new workers or raise the wages of existing ones.

Many of us will do our best to keep our spirits up and stay on a better course. We will never stop hoping that something will happen to get us back on the right track. Maybe Fat Orange Head will keep eating those fried burgers until his heart stops pumping. He’s old enough, fat enough, and sluggish enough. We can hope. Maybe in the middle of a Tweet, his brain will finally melt down.

We dream of a better future.

Where are the new Democrats? Why do I always see the same old faces? Assuming we have the will to drive the current assholes out of office — who are we going to elect? When do we see the new faces to will lead us forward?

Most of us still believe this country is a democracy. Is it?

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.,