Random Notes

Yesterday, the big news story was President Trump’s firing of FBI Chief James Comey. How long will this surprising action from our nation’s leader stay in the headlines? It’s hard to say. From day to day, and even hour to hour, Donald Trump’s unpredictable outbursts of authority keep America (and the world) in a constant state of uncertainty.

I suppose for a few among us — stock traders, fear-mongering demagogues, TV satirists — this chronic uncertainty is good for business. Certainly, Stephen Colbert has profited from having the bizarre Mr. Trump in office. (Although I’m certain Stephen would rather have gained his ratings satirizing someone less dangerous and destructive.) But for 99% of the world’s inhabitants, having a such a flaky President in control of a nuclear arsenal is very unsettling.

It’s true that more than a few of the headline grabbing actions by our President and his gang are purposely created to distract attention from subjects they’d prefer ignored. This time, that isn’t the case. If anything, Comey’s firing drew more attention, at least momentarily, to the rumored connection between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Perhaps the Trump White House believes that Mr. Comey’s dismissal labels him now as a failed bureaucrat — at least in the eyes of Trump’s most loyal supporters. A man fired for his incompetence may have less public credibility if he is called before any Congressional committee or independent investigator. Nevertheless, I’m hoping he is called. The Russia-Trump connection needs to be thoroughly investigated. I can’t think of any other incident in America’s history that comes close to being so potentially subversive.

On another note, last Friday I attended Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s Women’s Power Lunch. The main speaker was Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA under President Obama. What sort of puzzles me is that I was totally unaware of who Gina McCarthy was until last Friday. Turns out, she’s one of the most dynamic and entertaining speakers I’ve ever heard.

Why Ms. McCarthy wasn’t on national television regularly while she worked in the Obama Administration is a mystery to me. Perhaps the White House strategists judged her strong urban Boston accent and direct, no-nonsense language would be too much for Middle America’s taste. I do know now that she did appear in some TV interviews back then but she certainly never became a household name. And she should have. On Friday, I thought everything Gina McCarthy said was exactly what needs to be said about climate change, the responsibilities of the EPA and the foolishness of our Republican Congress and our President.

Incidentally, Ms. McCarthy was confirmed as the EPA head by a Senate vote of 59 to 40 after a record 136-day confirmation fight. (Those wonderful Senate Republicans.) She then became the face of Obama’s global warming/climate change initiative. Once Donald Trump was elected, he replaced her with Scott Pruitt, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma – a man who rejects the idea that human activity is a primary contributor to climate change.

For those of you who didn’t have the good fortune to see Ms. McCarthy speak at Jan’s event, I’ve included a You Tube link in a P.S. below. The site features a number of short (and long) examples of her thoughts and style.

Finally, Illinois’ gubernatorial Democratic Primary race is now well underway. Last night at the NTD Executive Board meeting, Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker made an appearance. Besides presenting information about himself and his personal priorities, he outlined his views on Illinois’ huge financial problems, the human damage Governor Rauner’s intractability is causing and Mr. Pritzker’s ideas for halting this calamity.

The New Trier Democrats are still months away from a formal endorsement session by the general membership. However, the more I see of the Democratic candidates for Governor the more optimistic I am that their quality, compassion and common sense will shine through. Whenever and wherever any of them speak across Illinois, the Democratic Party’s message should resonate with voters who have had enough of life under Rauner (and now Trump too).

This bodes well, not just for winning the governor’s race but for replacing Republican state legislators who have supported Governor Bruce Rauner’s obstructionism and Republican congressional candidates who have stayed in lock step with the destructive policies of President Donald Trump.

We’re still not half way through 2017 but every day it becomes increasingly clear that the time to start winning back the Illinois Governorship and majorities in Congress is right now. The Republicans are in trouble. We cannot let them escape the resounding defeat they so richly deserve.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

P.S. To sample some of Gina McCarthy TV appearances click here.  
P.P.S. The search for a new NTD Office Manager is a serious situation! Can you think of any friends, relatives, neighbors who might fill the job? They should be energetic, have an interest in progressive politics, possess a quick mind and dependable work ethic, and, of course, have the time available for this part time job. The hours are flexible. See the info directly below.

The New Trier Dems need an Office Manager

Here is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in strengthening progressive politics in New Trier. It’s a salaried job that will put the person who gets it in the middle of the New Trier Dems’ operations. If you or someone you know meets the qualifications and time requirements listed below, contact the New Trier Dems by email.

Job: New Trier Dems Office Manager
Salary: $13.00 per hour
Time required: 9 hours a week (generally); Additional hours as needed during elections and major New Trier Dems’ events.
Qualifications: Computer literate; Light bookkeeping skills; Comfortable dealing with the public, face-to-face and on the phone.
Other preferred (but not essential) experience: An interest in political issues and current events; A belief in the importance of voter engagement; Past participation in grassroots political activities.