Author Archives: glabwrites

Hot Air: Leaking, Bleeding

A pal alerted me to an aspect of this overall story but s/he has no desire to be identified. You know who you are so thanks, chum.

Wikileaks is being sued by the Democratic National Committee for conspiracy, with both the Russian Federation and Li’l Duce as co-plaintiffs. The cloak-and-dagger org. was founded in 2006 and has released scads of embarrassing, revealing, sensitive, and occasionally criminally-swiped docs about any number of mortal and/or venial sinners. The organization published in 2016 a bunch of emails that turned the Dems’ faces beet red and played a not-insignificant role in throwing that year’s presidential election to Individual 1.

Anyway, Wikileaks, acc’d’g to sources that would know, has filed its first legal documents ever — the org. likes, of course, to keep a profile as low as that of, say, Indiana’s own J. Danforth Quayle.

On top of that, W-leaks has set up a GoFundMe page, begging for dough to help defray its lawyers’ fees in a separate but related libel case against The Guardian. That’s ironic because it means Wikileaks is trying to squelch reporting, something it says the DNC has been dying to do to it for a couple of years now. In the DNC suit, the outfit faces RICO treble-damage liability should it be found guilty, rendering it bankrupt.

The centerpiece of W-leaks’ defense is the 1st Amendment. Should the Manhattan federal district court rule against it, why, the whole sacred human endeavor we call journalism will collapse and die. At least that’s what Wikileaks’ attorneys contend.

Here’s the thing about people who paint everything either black or white. Wikileaks, for example, operates under the conceit that the United States has committed worldwide mortal sins. It won’t get any argument from me on that charge. We can start with the aboriginal holocaust and run down the list through Afghanistan. Or even the entire 45th presidency, but, y’know. Anyway, a whole gang of people out there have contemplated America’s sins and concluded that every single thing this nation has ever done, ever will do, or even contemplates doing is as evil anything Hitler, Stalin, and Vlad the Impaler had done.

Those folks are ripe for the picking for other world players eager to mess with this holy land’s business. Like V. Putin’s spooks & geeks. You know the old line, enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, do you really want Russian hackers, oligarchs, mobsters, and Putinites as your bosom buddies?

Look, the DNC is w/o Q. a top-heavy dinosaur that needs a massive infusion of new blood but the end result of Wikileaks’ doc torrent was a destabilized America led by a fittingly unstable sociopath. Old Man Putin is giddy that we’re now the laughingstock of the world and are de facto outcasts on the global stage, at least until President Gag no longer occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But — guess what — the Dems remain a top-heavy dinosaur.

Wikileaks trafficked in purloined emails. Do they then have a legal or moral right to publish them?  You might remember the stolen docs that landed the eventually-monickered Chelsea Manning in stir. Wikileaks published those as well. It avoided legal jeopardy for that but Manning found herself looking at a 35-year stint in the Army’s max security hotel in Leavenworth, Kansas. She served a total of seven years until former Pres. Obama commuted her sentence at the tail end of his term in office. Manning, though, was imprisoned because she was a soldier who took advantage of her security clearance to acquire the sensitive papers in question.

Wikileaks, in the DNC case, simply was the recipient of the swiped emails, the actual lifting being done by others.

It may have a point when it claims 1st Amendment protections and it may indeed be acting as the bulwark against forces that would love to maim a free press. I might feel compelled to support Wikileaks in this venture. But, for pity’s sake, I’d have to hold my nose to do so.

Hot Air: Cows & Gangs

Bumper sticker I saw yesterday on a Subaru — natch, this is Bloomington, right? — at 3rd & the Bypass:

When I See Cows I Make an Announcement to the Rest of the Car that There Are Cows!

One-Sided

Well, the teams have been set for next year’s mayoral beauty pageant. It’ll be the upstart Amanda Barge challenging the reigning champeen John Hamilton.

This being B-town, the May Democratic primary tussle between the two will be the de facto election. Our town hasn’t had a Republican mayor since December 31st, 1971. Inauguration day around these parts is always Jan. 1.

So that’s 46, going on 47 years of one-party rule hereabouts. Sheesh. We’ve gone from Frank McCloskey to Tomi Allison to John Fernandez to Mark Kruzan and now to Hizzoner. That’s half a dozen Dems in a row and how much do you wanna bet the seventh, no matter who it may be, will also come from that side of the fence.

Hamilton & Barge in happier days.

Even though I personally haven’t voted for a Republican for any office, be it local, state, or national, since the Grand Old Party opted to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment, I still believe it’s a shame that we live in a place where one gang has an undisputed monopoly.

I’ll be supporting Amanda in the primary and I’d vote for her against any Republican but a healthy democracy needs a strong, principled opposition. Sadly, even if this town were able to produce a viable Rep.  candidate, I’d have to shy away from her/him for being even nominally associated with the baboon at the top.

Hot Air: Bombs Away

Is it okay to joke about ethnic groups that are at the top stratum of our species’ pecking order? Doesn’t matter. I’m gonna swipe one such gag and replay right here on this Pearl Harbor Day.

I love the trendy restaurants constantly opening in New York. The latest one combines German food with Chinese. It tastes great, but a half hour after you eat, you’re hungry for power.

[Originally delivered by Dick Cavett and resurrected by comedian/singer Larry Rand.]

Dirty Water

Get giddy all you want about whatever big surprises the Mueller investigators may soon reveal — hell, I just read a hint that Mike Pence may be indicted, for chrissakes — but keep in mind the real damage has already been done.

For instance, President Gag is about to issue a directive that would curtail the EPA’s ability to regulate the chemical crap running off into much of the nation’s drinking water. This story hardly made a ripple in the news cycle yesterday because…, well, it’s so goddamned repetitive. Li’l Duce‘s been weakening our environmental protections obsessively — nay, pathologically — since he took office nearly two years ago.

Virtuosi

[h/t to The Loved One.]

Tuning In

Here’s the podcast link for yesterday’s edition of Big Talk featuring director/choreographer George Pinney. His musical, “Tuning In,” runs through December 15th at the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

Winter

Sure, this dark season may depress the hell out of me but Bebel Gilberto‘s ode to it quickly pulls me out of my funk.

Hot Air: Our Own Worst Enemy

Driving in to the alternate headquarters of this global communications colossus, Hopscotch Coffee, this AM I recalled an old line I once posted on social media:

Alright, I’ll admit it: I have a love/hate relationship with humanity.

Really, anybody who isn’t conflicted in their feelings about this bizarre species to which we belong simply isn’t paying attention.

On the one hand I’d like all god’s chilluns to live, breathe, and thrive as long as they can. OTOH, sans any clear and present predatory dangers like saber-toothed tigers or packs of wild hyenas, the only thing we have to fear is…, us.

We’re doing our level best to scare the poo out of ourselves. To wit: today’s New York Times features two stories about honest-to-gosh existential threats we face in the coming years. The only good thing that can be said is at least we have a choice in how we’re going to destroy ourselves.

1. Researchers are warning that we the people are burning oil at unexpected accelerated rates the last five years, leading the scientists to conclude that climate catastrophes not only will become more severe but will wash over us quicker than had been expected. Looks like The Loved One and I could have saved ourselves some tens of thousands of dollars by not buying hybrid cars since 2006. I mean, what was the point?

2. The United States is threatening to pull out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty it signed w/ the Russkies back in 1987. In response, V. Putin and his generals promise to blow the shit out of any Eastern Europe country that hosts American mid-range nukes in the event of a spat between the two demagogue-led nations.

Then again, maybe it’s just me. We’ve had one day of sun in the last…, oh, I dunno…, 17 months, so my reserves of hope and optimism are reaching startlingly low levels right about now.

Still, jeez, I thought we’d started to amp down our lust for H-bombs and gas guzzlers decades ago.

Beloved

Pinney

My guest this afternoon on Big Talk will be musical theater director and choreographer George Pinney, who has been back in town overseeing the workshop production of “Tuning In,” now playing through December 15th at the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

Pinney is invariably described as the “beloved” professor emeritus in the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama & Contemporary Dance. I had to ask him what made him so beloved, thereby embarrassing the bejesus out of him, but he did answer in an honestly self-aware fashion.

Tune in today at 5:30pm to WFHB, 91.3 FM. You can catch Big Talk on your radio, streaming, or podcast, the link for which I’ll provide as soon as it exists.

Hot Air: Mortal Sin

The story’s a couple of weeks old at this point but I still feel compelled to weigh in. Here’s Reason # 1,278,946 to detest the National Football League:

A star running back for the Kansas City Chiefs whaled the bejesus out of some young woman in a luxury Cleveland hotel hallway last winter. Friends tried to intervene, security responded, cops were called — the whole shmear. The Chiefs and the NFL got wind of the incident and shook their fingers at the player.

Oh, wait. They didn’t even go that far. Acc’d’g to a press release from the Chiefs, “several members of our management team spoke directly to him.”

Team Official: Did you do it?

Player: Nah, it was nothing.

Team Official: Okay.

Tough disciplinarians, eh?

But, y’know, boys’ll be boys. Football players earn their living through their brawn so this young fellow using his fists and feet in trying to impress his argument upon the 19-year-old woman in the hallway is…, well, understandable, right? Now stay out of trouble until this all blows over. And, by the way, make sure you get a thousand yards again for us this year, you rascal.

See, that’s how much the NFL cares about a young woman who says she was slapped, slugged, pushed to the floor repeatedly and kicked while she was down. Her ordeal is as nothing compared to the value of the running back’s thousand yards.

Ah, but then the running back committed a real sin in the eyes of the NFL. A security video of the beating somehow hit the streets. TMZ aired it and it’s a nauseating scene.

The Kansas City Chiefs responded accordingly. They cut the running back. He’s out of a job now.

Hell, no, they seem to be saying, we won’t tolerate this kind of thing!

I mean, beating the hell out of a woman is one thing; getting videoed doing it and having that video make the rounds…, son, we can’t have you around anymore.

I hereby renew my pledge never to give a dime of my hard-earned dough to the NFL.

Animalese

I thought you might get a kick out of this:

[ h/t to reporter Eric Zorn. ]

The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees

From the fifth studio album of one of my very favorite ’60s bands.

Hot Air: Burke’s Law

I never cared much at all for Ald. Eddie Burke, whose law offices were quarantined yesterday by FBI agents. The feds seized some pieces of evidence — but of what? No one knows at this moment whether the raid has to do with Burke’s work for the Trump Org. or is related to everyday Chicago graft. It could be just a coincidence that Burke helped Trump negotiate the foul waters of the city’s real estate, building permit, and planning cesspools.

Those of us dying to see President Gag go down in flames are itching for the raid to be perhaps the coup de grace in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Li’l Duce‘s dirty dealings. For my part, I’ve always suspected Trump’s house of cards would collapse when Mueller et al came close to his financial records. And if anybody’s got any damning Trump records it’d be the lawyers who helped him build his 1389-foot silver-clad phallic symbol on the Chicago River.

Trump’s Junk.

The FBI is mum thus far, confirming only that its agents raided Burke’s lair. I know this, though: Should the raid be part of a purely local investigation into mundane Windy City shenanigans, a lot o’folks — me included — will be sorely disappointed.

On the positive side, the agents were observed taking only a few cardboard legal file boxes, a computer, and a couple of monitors from Burke’s main downtown office. (His South Side office also was raided at the same time.) That means they had a narrow, extremely focused aim when they entered the place. If Burke’s firm was being rifled because the feds were looking only for Chicago dirt, they’d have emptied the joint because Burke’s operation has had its fingers in local affairs for some 50 goddamned years.

A word of caution. I noticed one or two observers saying yesterday that P. Gag ain’t gonna finish his term. Maybe. But keep in mind if The Incurious One becomes the second American president to quit, our Dear Leader will be none other than former radio talk show host and charter member of the Woman Haters Club, Mike Pence.

As always, be careful what you wish for.

Anyway, back to Eddie Burke. The long-time 14th Ward alderman was a leader in the cabal of white city council members who actively opposed everything Chicago Mayor Harold Washington did from 1983 through ’87, the year the city’s first black mayor collapsed and died at his desk. Dubbed “Council Wars” (a reference to Star Wars) by comedian Aaron Freeman, the standoff between Chicago’s white and black legislators preceded by a decade the similar toe-to-toe that has stymied the US Congress since the Newt Gingrich Republican Revolution of 1994.

A couple of guys I knew were certain Eddie Burke was an unapologetic racist. They swore up and down that Burke was the kind of guy who’d happily drop N‘s when speaking in private about Harold. Then it was revealed that Burke and his wife Ann, a then-rising attorney in her own right who’d go on to become a jurist on the Illinois Supreme Court, adopted a black infant. I can’t imagine an unabashed racist welcoming a dark-skinned scion into his family.

In any case, N-dropper or not, Burke et al did a hell of a lot more damage than simply offending the sensibilities of people who didn’t want to be referred to by the two-syllable pejorative.

An aside about Ann Burke, Eddie’s wife. In 1985, she was part of the defense team for Kelvyn Park High School principal James Moffat, who was convicted of multiple sex crimes. I covered that trial. Acc’d’g to prosecutors, Moffat hand-picked troubled and desperate students and had them enter and leave his office through a private door so he could have his way sexually with them. Truth is, the trial made me sick to my stomach. Moffat was the worst of the worst when it comes to sexual abusers in positions of power. I don’t hold anything against Ann Burke for defending him; all people deserve a good, solid defense in our criminal justice system. Nevertheless, judging by the looks on their faces and their body language, I sensed that both she and lead attorney Larry O’Gara knew Moffat was as guilty as sin. In fact, the day Moffat was found guilty, he tearfully and loudly begged Cook County Circuit Court Judge Francis Mahon, who issued his bench verdict like a man wiping dog shit off his shoes, for a second chance, another trial. It was a bizarre outburst not based on any realistic judicial options. Then Moffat’s wife essentially shoved his overcoat at him, spun on her heels, and stomped off after the erstwhile principal finished his groveling. The conventional wisdom in the press gallery was that Moffat had subjected both his wife and his children to the same type of sexual abuse he visited upon too many Kelvyn Park HS students.

Defense attorneys in a lot of cases must need to put themselves through all sorts of gymnastic rationalizations to do what they do.

I wonder if Eddie Burke grappled with his conscience to do whatever work he did for the man who would become the unlikeliest president this holy land has ever had.

Big Talk: This Week & Next

Here’s the podcast link for yesterday’s Big Talk featuring Vauhxx Booker, the public face of Bloomington Black Lives Matter chapter. And here’s the link to my Limestone Post feature on him for this month’s edition of Big Mike’s B-town.

Next week’s guest will be George Pinney, professor emeritus at Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Dram, and Contemporary Dance. Pinney’s invariably described as “beloved” so you can bet I’ll grill him as to what’s so lovable about him. In any case, Pinney’s the director/choreographer the current Bloomington Playwright’s Project production, “Tuning In,” running through December 15th. That Big Talk will air Thursday, December 6, at 5:30pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM.

Hot Air: A President In Check

People are complaining about President Gag saying he doesn’t believe his own administration’s climate change report issued this past week. The report, in case you missed it, says climate change is real and will adversely affect the American economy throughout the remainder of this century no matter what we do to ameliorate the situ. over the next few years. P. Gag, of course, has famously characterized global warming and climate change as the bunk.

Funny thing is, I’m sort of comforted by this contradiction. It’s proof in the pudding that the US presidency is not yet a tyranny. Whoever’s the prez can’t just issue edicts or ukases on a whim. There are still experts, informed mavens in the various fields the federal government must of necessity have its fingers in, and — yes — bureaucrats who work diligently through the year no matter who occupies the Oval Office, doing the vital work of running this country.

Now, plenty of Right Wing big-mouths decry what they call The DeepState, and these are the folks they’re talking about. They’re not elected. They, by and large, don’t have political allegiances. They know their jobs and do them, quietly, through a succession of presidents. If that bugs you, then you’d be happy to go back to the days of the spoils system where all jobs were up for grabs to the highest bidders or the most loyal party hacks. Civil service reform largely took care of that.

Not much about the Trump presidency makes me feel good but at least our governmental infrastructure prevents the Greed Monkey-in-Chief from completely turning this holy land into his own personal fiefdom.

Vauhxx Booker, Talking Big

A quick reminder: Get to know Bloomington Black Lives Matter spokesperson Vauhxx Booker later this afternoon. He’s my guest on today’s edition of Big Talk, airing on WFHB, 91.3 FM, at 5:30pm.

Booker

Come on back tomorrow for the link to the podcast of the show.

Hot Air: Flogging & Blogging

What do you know about Black Lives Matter? To hear some people talk, it’s a tight-knit, highly disciplined, armed outfit that’s just a snap of the fingers away from taking over large parts of this holy land. Hell, if you’re a Fox News aficionado, BLM is as evil and dangerous a group as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Commies, Tojo’s Japanese Empire, the Kaiser, the Illuminati, and Planned Parenthood all rolled into one.

The truth, of course, is something other.

Booker

Here at this global communications colossus, we like to go straight to the source and ask first questions. So, this week both Big Talk and our partner medium, the Limestone Post, will feature Vauhxx Booker, one of the leaders of Bloomington’s chapter of BLM. Wait…, let me modify that descriptor a bit: Black Lives Matter eschews the traditional leadership paradigm, as Booker explains. Better I should say he’s the public face of the group in these parts. So don’t fret, Booker’s not posing in black beret and camouflage fatigues with rifle strapped to his back, directing the troops to take City Hall.

That’s the funny thing about American public discourse these days. There’s no nuance; there are no subtle shades. Our current president reflects that childish view of reality; you know, how he refers constantly, almost pathologically, to things in superlatives. A bunch like BLM can’t just be a group a lot of people might misunderstand or even worry about until they understand it better. Nuh-uh — it immediately must be either the single organization that will save our democracy and if you’re not with ’em, then you may as well be a Nazi, or it is, as mentioned above, a gang of terrorists just itching to get its hands on a nuclear weapon.

The whole current charade of mass and social media information exchange can wear a soul down. Case in point: Sometime last summer I decided to take a long break from social media before I was moved to leap out a window to my thankful death. I felt relief almost immediately. Nothing in the world had changed. I was no less connected to friends and loved ones. But I wasn’t being barraged ceaselessly by the most frightful, existentially threatening news in the world. The effect on my overall sanity was striking.

Now I’m back to sneaking a peek at Facebook and Twitter every now and then, just to see who’s who and what’s what among my pile of “friends.” I did so last night and when I slammed the lid of my laptop down in terror just a few minutes later, I felt it would only take a double shot of Wild Turkey 101 to calm me down enough to get a decent night’s sleep. For pity’s sake, I was made panicky by references to the coming end of the Earth through climate change, a possible Russian-Ukraine war, the world edging closer to nuclear conflagration, encroaching forest fires, Beijing’s unbreathable air, Trump wanting to start a Goebbels-ish state-run TV outlet, GM shutting down American auto plants, Bill Gates warning that some kind of disease will soon kill 30 million people, even how extreme weather is literally shrinking the planet. Each of the respective posters of these spine-chilling items was tacitly warning me, it seemed, that this one thing was going to be the End Of Us All.

For chrissakes, how are we not all tearing our hair out?

It’s not that I hadn’t been aware of these things already. I’d consumed all these news bits from my many bookmarks. BTW, they include:

  • New York Times
  • Bloomington Herald-Times
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Guardian
  • Al Jazeera
  • BBC
  • NPR
  • The Nation
  • The Atlantic
  • The New Republic
  • Right Wing Watch
  • Pro Publica
  • FactCheck
  • PolitiFact
  • Crooks and Liars
  • And maybe dozen other niche publications and/or sites

In any given week, I scan most of these outlets and thereby get a pretty good picture of what this world is up to. And still I don’t feel as if the top of my head is going to blow off as I do every single time I log in to FB. The whole social media world is turning us into neurotic, quivering wrecks.Anyway, I’m sure there are FB circles where my aforementioned fantastical, fearful description of Black Lives Matter would be presented as gospel. And even among those who don’t fear the brown-skinned hordes lurking around every corner waiting to snatch our guns and our daughters away from us there’s a level of almost willful unfamiliarity with BLM. So tune in to Big Talk Thursday, November 29, 5:30pm, on WFHB, 91.3 FM, and click over earlier that afternoon to the Limestone Post for this month’s edition of Big Mike’s B-Town, both featuring Vauhxx Booker.

Hot Air: Gov’t, Big & Small

If you don’t know all politics is optics and theater by now, you’ll never know.

Case in point: That story last week about the Kansas City health inspector who destroyed a big pile of food that was being served to the homeless in a public park. The people serving the food did not have food service permits so the inspector simply poured a batch of bleach all over the comestibles, thereby putting a stop to their unforgivable sin of feeding poor, hungry souls without departmental permission.

Image: Chase Castor/New York Times

As Matt Taibbi wrote several years ago, scads of people detest “regulations” precisely because of people like that inspector. Most people’s understanding of the concept of regulation does not entail government protection against huge, faceless corporations that are busting unions, putting employees in physical peril, dumping toxic shit into our air and water, feeding us cancer-inducing crap, luring kids into smoking and binge-drinking, and/or outsourcing manufacturing to Third World nations where workers are paid slave wages.

No, when people think regulation, they think of the local petty tyrants who punish them financially and occasionally put small business owners at terminal risk for not following the law to the most minute letter. Being penalized because your business license isn’t tacked on to right wall isn’t protective, it’s picayunish. Getting a ticket and having to appear in court because one of your two rear license plate bulbs is burned out  doesn’t save a single human being from losing her/his life on the road. Making an old geezer like me show his drivers license so he can buy a bottle of bourbon is nothing more than an annoyance.

When Democrats say the word “regulation,” that’s what many — perhaps even a majority of — people think about. See, that’s where Newt Gingrich was brilliant. He put out the infamous GOPAC memo more than 20 years ago, listing dozens of words and concepts Republican candidates should use to describe the opposition and an equal number to describe themselves. Dems were the party of “bureaucracy,” “taxes,” “welfare,” and “criminal rights.” His own party’s candidates, on the other hand, were champions of “common sense,” “opportunity,” “liberty,” and “truth.” Oh, and the Democrats, the memo advised, swam in “red tape.”

What could be more red-tape-y than that Kansas City health department inspector destroying food meant for hungry homeless folks?

So, it’s been almost a quarter of a century since the Republicans taught the county the value of words, since the GOP, as the memo’s title suggested, made language a “key mechanism of control.” And still my party doesn’t get it. Still they think all the right-thinking people are book-smart and no one but backwoods rubes reacts emotionally to verbiage.

Keep pushing those “regulations,” Dems, and keep watching the electorate immediately think of that Kansas city health department inspector. Fingers crossed, the lesson somehow sinks in by 2020.

Inexplicable? Maybe not.

This is the kind of thing that baffles me about Trump supporters. As I’ve written here before, I can’t for the life of me understand how someone could have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and then voted for Trump in 2018. It’s downright bizarre, bordering on deranged.

Now, here’s a couple of guys, a married gay couple, big liberal-cause donors, darlings of the New York City crowd of moneyed progressives whom the likes of Fox News personalities love to demonize, who in fact were big contributors to and voted for Hillary Clinton in the election two years ago.

And now they’re big Trumpists.

Crazy!

The only thing I can figure is they’re in thrall to pomp and circumstance, they lust for the limelight, and they slobber to be rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful. Other than that, I still don’t get it.

Then again, that sounds like the sum total of the Trump magnetism.

Hot Air: The (Anti)Social Network

Yeesh!

 

This from clinical psychologist Melissa G. Hunt who did this study at the University of Pennsylvania. Then again, did we really need formal academic research to tell us this?

Last Of The Breed?

I continually ask myself, regarding the godawfully depressing 2016 election, is this a bump in the road or is it the road?

The 2018 midterm election indicated a lot of people who voted for our current president decided, hey, mebbe the Dems ain’t so bad in comparison to the incurious, happily uninformed, impulsive, likely psychologically damaged archvillain who occupies the Oval Office these days.

Thing is, the Democratic Party still does not have a coherent, punchy, straightforward message that easily trips off the lips of its candidates and, it would be hoped, the electorate. Say what you will about Li’l Duce, “Make America Great Again” is pure gold as a tagline. It’s almost as good as Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America.”

Can you think of any line or slogan the Dems have employed within the last 50 years that comes within a hundred miles of either of those two utterances? I can’t. In fact, you have to go back some 86 years to then-candidate Franklin Roosevelt’s acceptance speech at the 1932 Democratic National Convention before you find as sharp, as compelling a political line from a donkey party standard bearer. On July 2, 1932, in Chicago, Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination and promised the American public a “new deal.” This was a New Deal nation at least through the next half century, until Reagan came along with his sledgehammer.

Now ask yourself what today’s Democratic Party stands for. It sure isn’t the New Deal. The party, in fact, is facing a crossroads. Does it continue to mumble, stumble, and mealymouth its way through elections, trying to sweet talk voters, saying Aw, we’re not that bad, honest? Or does the Democratic Party become bold and say our capitalist system has turned largely rotten these days, serving only the haves while the have nots hold on by their very fingernails?

In truth, that’s what candidate Trump told America in 2015 and ’16. Yeah, he’s a billionaire and yeah, he’s four-square for laws and regulations that keep wealth at the very top and if you’re not living at the apex of the pyramid, well, tough shit for you. But his essential message was You’re getting fucked by the big guys and only I can save you.

Have I mentioned Americans love to be lied to? Love it.

Anyway, the Democrats are policy wonks. They read all the reports, study all the research papers, pore over books by economists, sociologists, and other decorated academicians and then speak to the public in jargon. They see all the problems and have all the answers. Just listen to us, they say. And, next thing they know, another Republican has been elected to Congress or the statehouse or the school board.

Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, is perhaps the apotheosis of this smarter-than-thou Democratic politician. Time and again he’s rolled out one idea or another — annexation, say, or his extortion scheme to benefit “affordable housing” — without feeling out the populace. For my good money, a politician’s chief asset should be her or his ear. That is, the good ones know how to listen. Hamilton, by and large, is not just tone-deaf, he’s profoundly hearing impaired.

Yep, Hamilton’s read all the research papers. He’s studied all the learned tomes. He’s conferred with all the experts. He doesn’t have to listen to his constituents because he has all the answers. He knows how to fix all the problems and don’t disagree with him because he knows best and you don’t.

And some people wonder why Democrats, too often, turn off large swathes of the electorate.

I wonder if the Democratic Party is becoming smart enough to realize guys like Hamilton are dinosaurs and the Trump victory in ’16 was the asteroid that smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago?

First One’s Free, Kid

So, some seditious scientists are working night and day to develop ways you can — emmis!make your own medicines.

Imagine that!

If you think pharmaceutical drugs cost too much money — and who doesn’t — you might get a kick out of this. Researchers are working on ways that you and I can make our own, say, epinephrine pens or the HIV drug Daraprim.

Now these off-the-grid chemists are actually making quite a few of these drugs and are handing them out at conferences and conventions. They’re even handing out the recipes for the meds.

The traditional pharmaceutical companies, natch, will be screaming bloody murder about all this for a couple of reasons, one good and one not so. On the good side, the Big Pharma guys’ll be hollering, Hey, you people in the general public aren’t licensed, experienced pharmacologists working in inspected labs, using sterile, pure ingredients. That’s true. And that’s one good reason why I’d be leery of someone passing me a handful of pills that are intended to cure my baldness made in their garage. OTOH, the likes of Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline will hate this DYI development because, well, it’ll mean fewer folks will be compelled to buy their drugs only from those multinational, monolithic business empires.

I’m eager to see how this plays out.

[h/t to Alex Straiker.]

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