If You Can’t Laugh…

Credit where credit is due: Trump and his sorry crew have been an absolute boon to satirists and other creative folks. (If you haven’t seen Melissa McCarthy channeling Sean Spicer on SNL, it’s worth a few minutes of your time. But it isn’t just SNL, Colbert, The Daily Show, et al–Andy Borowitz and other print comics have also been on a roll.)

Even Facebook friends have shared great one-liners. My current favorite is a comment about Trump’s cabinet picks: “I’ve seen better cabinets at IKEA.”

Fundraisers and protests have also become more creative. There were the ubiquitous “pussy hats” of the women’s march, of course, but the snark extends to a recent fundraiser invitation I received.

The fundraiser will benefit the Tri-State Alliance, an LGBTQ/AIDs organization in southern Indiana. (I’ve known the Executive Director for many years, and I can attest that it is a wonderful organization.) The organization’s webpage describes its mission.

The Tri-State Alliance (TSA) is the primary social service and educational organization that serves the diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of Southwestern Indiana, Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois. TSA works to educate our own community through a monthly newsletter and guest speakers, engages the media on relevant LGBT issues, and trains other public/social service organizations through a speakers bureau and diversity education.

TSA coordinates the regional LGBT Youth Group, HIV prevention targeting the gay community, and Lesbian Health Project services. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight-supporting allies who volunteer for TSA continue to serve the region’s LGBT community and its changing needs.

The fundraising “hook” for this event is its invitation to “Buy Todd Young’s Vote”–a play on the obvious quid pro quo of Young’s expected vote for confirmation that Betsy DeVos’ “bought” with her donations to Young. As the very clever invitation puts it,

Betsy DeVos and her family have donated $72,900 to the campaign of United States Senator Todd Young.

Incidentally, despite all evidence to the contrary, Senator Young thinks that Betsy DeVos would be a great choice to lead the Department of Education.

Betsy DeVos has never set foot in a classroom, did not send her children to public school, cannot distinguish between proficiency and growth, and thinks that guns should be allowed in schools in the event of grizzly attacks. That fictitious grizzly is about as qualified as Ms. DeVos to run the Department of Education.

If Betsy DeVos can buy Senator Young’s vote, we should be allowed to do the same.

If, of course, Senator Young does not wish to accept any funds raised*, all money will be donated to the Tri-State Alliance Youth Group, an LGBTQ Youth Group based in Evansville Indiana.

*or if this tongue-in-cheek fundraising page somehow constitutes a bribe, despite being eerily identical to the actions of Ms. DeVos.

Of course, if Senator Young had any sense of propriety–or shame–he would recuse himself from a vote on DeVos, whose display of profound ignorance during her Senate hearing was both revealing and embarrassing.

Since a sudden eruption of  integrity from Senator Young seems unlikely, I think it would be fitting if the Tri-State Alliance raised an equal or greater amount for young LGBTQ Hoosiers.

You can send contributions here.


  1. DeVos campaign contributions to Senators: Marco Rubio $98300; Bill Cassidy, $70200; Thom Tillis $70200; Pat Toomey, $70200; John McCain, $50600; Rob Portman, $51000; Tim Scott, $49200; Ron Johnson, $48,00; Todd Young $48600; Mike Rounds $46800; Steve Daines, $46800; Corey Gardner, $46800; Richard Burr, $43200; Lisa Murkowski $43200; Mitch McConnell, $34400; Roy Blunt, $33100; David Perdue, $23400; Dan Sullivan, $23400; Chuck Grassley, $21600; John Thune, $17500; Tom Cotton, $2600; Jim Inhoffe, $1000.

  2. Any donations to TSA will be money well spent. They use the money wisely and do a GREAT job of helping young people. They save MANY LIVES. Great work.

  3. IMO the only thing keeping the country from going completely bonkers is the comedy emitted daily from the Trump team and late night television stand ups. Really, you can’t possibly listen to Kelly Ann Conway Canad and not laugh. “Alternative facts.” “The Bowling Green Massacre.” Added to that is a press secretary who’s mission is not to inform but to punish. And then there are the presidential tweets. You can’t maker this stuff up. It’s the Keystone Cops, the Gang Who Can’t Shoot Straight and Laurel and Hardy all rolled into one.

    It won’t be Congress (a comedy act unto itself) or the Supreme Court that will bring Trump down. It will be a nation rolling on the floor in one long fit of laughter.

  4. Recently, South Park reported that since Trump is intrinsically such a joke, their writers were having trouble parodying him.

  5. OMG; think of the fodder provided to such as Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Robin Williams in addition to today’s Store-Front Prophets! SNL is back at the top of TV viewing; as they deserve.

    A Zen line from a movie struck me this morning; “Spring comes and the grass grows by itself.” Meaning we really cannot control anything in life. Those who follow Zen philosophy haven’t been watching the protest marches the past two weeks. We can control that which we believe in if we don’t give up to that particular Zen quote. Two of my lesbian friends visited on Wednesday; they live in Lebanon so we don’t get together often. They weren’t paying much attention to politics till last summer and my ongoing rants. I pointed out a possible problem they hadn’t thought of; if Trump and Pence get their way removing LGBTQ rights as they stand now, people can report their “orientation” to employers, landlords, local businesses, etc., and cause them a world of trouble. Will – CAN – the Tri-State Alliance deal with such issues? There are many hateful, evil people in this state and this country who supported and continue to support Trump and Pence. I keep thinking about those ELEVEN Trump yard signs surrounding me prior to the election.

    Here is another quote, one that we should keep in mind, “We have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.”

  6. The following is a quote from my main website http://www.StrategicPower.org:

    The importance of understanding from a systemic perspective was pointed out by author Robert P. Moses in Radical Equations (2001) where he quoted the civil rights leader, Ella Baker:

    “……to become a part of a society that is meaningful…..means that we are going to have to learn to think in radical terms. I use the term radical in its original meaning–getting down to and understanding the root cause.”

    Many feel that Ella Baker might have been the most important force in the civil rights movement of the 60’s which benefited all minorities, Jews and women included.

  7. Of that crowd of recipients of DeVos largesse, only Murkowski has the guts to stand up for the good of the country rather than the good of the Republican party.

    Ella Baker may well have been the most important force in the civil rights movement, but she, like all the other women in the movement, was not allowed to speak at the March on Washington.

    Thank God for women.

  8. Peggy,

    There will be no birth of a successful political movement in the U.S. unless there is an equal fusion of women and men, which was missing in the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s.

    It’s just impossible to do otherwise. I guarantee.

  9. Marv; what the hell do you think we are trying to do with our attempts to organize ourselves to overcome the current epidemic of Trump’s idiocy…the deepest “systemic problem” in action today? What do you think the millions in this country and in other countries around the world are trying to do? The total “systemic failure” of the 2016 election process is our current “systemic problem” and has our allies being threatened by the possible loss of this country’s continuing support and our enemies are laughing and some readying their weapons system. We have halted one major violation of the Constitution, maybe only temporarily, by stopping Trump’s immigration ban which manages to include banning American citizens from returning to this country if it is reenacted. We are keeping the lies and “alternative facts” before the public with protest marches and using social media. We are donating to trusted organizations and demanding rebuilding and strengthening the Democratic party while we attempt to control Trump and the entire GOP. We are fighting on many fronts as Trump & Co., attempt to divide us as a nation as we struggle to retain the Constitution to protect our civic and human rights. This is actively dealing with the “deep systemic problems”. You repeatedly use the term “systemic problems”; the primary definition in my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary refers to the aortic system within the body but I understand your usage refers to the problems within the political system.

    “We can’t do a damn thing unless we deal with the deep systemic problems.”

    We are trying, Marv, we are trying. That “root cause” you refer to in Ella Baker’s quote is the full resurrection of racism and bigotry in all it’s ugly forms and Trump’s emancipation of hatred as being politically correct.

    And SNL has become a major political movement in America today. Ya gotta’ love it!

  10. It’s a matter of perspective. Our colonial leaders with their brash talk of liberty and freedom were regarded as “radicals” by their royal overseers; Ghandi was a “radical” to the same overseers with his talk of Indian independence, and MLK was a “radical” by standards of those who still considered freed slaves as “property” and far from “equals,” as we will learn to our dismay if Sessions becomes our AG. I vividly recall years ago being in Williamsburg, Virginia, in a library full of colonial and revolutionary-era books and papers. I read the front page of a London newspaper printed in 1777 that called for the redcoats in the colonies to capture the traitor to the Crown (George Washington) and hang him from the nearest tree. I broke out laughing to the admonishment of others in the quiet library as I considered how one man can be a traitor and the father of our country simultaneously, our only president who was ever voted to the office by acclamation.

    Bringing this down to present day realities and considering that under our democratic model Trump and all of our other representatives are to be overseen by the people, I (like the English in 1777) think that Trump’s outspoken worship of the murderous dictator Putin (for whatever reason, not excluding Trump’s business relationships with Russian banks and oligarchs) is a treasonous act in giving aid and comfort to the enemy, but I am not in favor of hanging him. I will settle for his impeachment, and the sooner the better, and if it should be subsequently determined that he committed such treasonous acts because blackmailed by Putin and that such acts could call for criminal indictment, then I would favor letting the law take its course.

    Trump doesn’t seem to realize that this is not about his narcissistic self but about our country; that endorsement of Putin as a “strong leader” and “to be respected” only encourages this murderer of his policial opponents, members of the media and others who dare challenge his dictatorial bent to expand his operations in the Ukraine, all to the nervous consternation of our European allies. Trump is the same guy who plays his national security card on every issue even if only vaguely related. I can think of no worse breach of Trump’s duty to provide for our national security than propping up a murderous dictator who for whatever reason is playing Trump like a drum.

  11. “The very nature of a struggle on the part of labor and minorities…..renders it inevitable that labor and minorities join the camp of and stand by and for the forces of democracy. For it is only within the FRAMEWORK of democracy that labor and minorities can achieve freedom, equality and justice.”
    ~A. Philip Randolph [grew up in Jacksonvile]

    The FRAMEWORK has been seriously tampered with by the DEVIANT ELITE. Until we start correcting the structural problems we will be unable to move forward other than with just empty words.

    Asa Philip Randolph[1] (April 15, 1889 – May 16, 1979) was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties.

    He organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African-American labor union. In the early Civil Rights Movement, Randolph led the March on Washington Movement, which convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 in 1941, banning discrimination in the defense industries during World War II. The group then successfully pressured President Harry S. Truman to issue Executive Order 9981 in 1948, ending segregation in the armed services.

    In 1963, Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, which was organized by Bayard Rustin, at which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Randolph inspired the “Freedom Budget”, sometimes called the “Randolph Freedom budget”, which aimed to deal with the economic problems facing the black community, it was published by the Randolph Institute in January 1967 as “A Freedom Budget for All Americans”.

  12. Excellent fundraiser idea. And why limit this sort of thing to Todd Young? Seems like they all want to be swamp dwellers of some sort.

    But, I’d be careful talking about the short-fingered vulgarian creating work for comedians. He’ll take credit for creating a jobs program.

  13. JoAnn,

    “The total “systemic failure” of the 2016 election process is our current “systemic problem” and has our allies being threatened by the possible loss of this country’s…..”

    No doubt, it is one our serious”systemic problems.” But it is only a problem that appears on the SURFACE. The systemic problem I’ve been discussing is a deep systemic problem. It affects all other systems. It is the FRAMEWORK of our democracy.

    Keep supporting Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center. You both think alike. Unfortunately, neither one of you have the background or the experience to tackle the root cause of our problems. You both need to admit it.

  14. If you think SNLis funny, that’s just fine because there are many silent Trump supports that keep shaking their heads at you liberals and feel more empowered every day by their vote. If you can bear it, watch the interview with Tucker Carlson and Milo Yiannopoulos regarding the UC Berkeley riots. Milo hits it out of the park -you dems are in deep deep trouble and you know it. http://insider.foxnews.com/amp/article/54077

  15. Becky,

    Good point. You’re right the Democratic Party is in deep, deep trouble and I’m not so sure they are aware of the depths of their trouble.

    The Democratic Party has been the party where the “One-Eyed Man has been King” for a long, long, time. It would take a “miracle” for that to change.

  16. When I saw Sheila Kennedy’s February 6 blog entitled, “If you can’t laugh …” I almost stood up and cheered. Sheila has a following of very brig ht, very well-informed followers. But almost all of them use a deadly serious approach, and Donald Trump doesn’t deserve it.

    In my opinion, Donald Trump has no sense of humor. Donald Trump has no sense of wit. Donald Trump does not seem able to put two sentences back to back without telling a lie. Why would anyone take a liar seriously.

    Collectively, the late night comics are doing a good job of trimming Trump’s sails. All of them are paying a nightly tributes to Trump’s small hands … to Trump’s mushy way of talking … to Trump’s trashy remarks about people who say bad things about him.

    I’d like to see Sheila’s followers capitalize on Trump’s one claim to fame. He’s a dumb ass.

  17. Paul, Thanks for those words. I could have sworn that the topic today was humor. Perhaps now we can return to that.

  18. Becky thinks it’s about winning. My team beat yours. I find that’s common among those who Trump conned.

    Remember, the first party Trump beat was the Republicans, but now the GOP line to kiss his, ah, ring goes around the block. They promised power to their faithful, he delivered it.

    And that’s the problem. We learned from our couches from the Ministry of Truth that winning is all that matters, whether you’re an athlete searching for performance enhancement, a game show fan, a bachelor or bachelorette, or a celebrity.

    It’s no longer about freedom or opportunity or becoming, it’s about power.

    In such an environment what can freedom lovers do? Give up on freedom and join the struggle for power? That’s what we did for the Revolution and Civil and World wars. Successfully.

  19. “No doubt, it is one our serious”systemic problems.” But it is only a problem that appears on the SURFACE. The systemic problem I’ve been discussing is a deep systemic problem. It affects all other systems. It is the FRAMEWORK of our democracy.”

    Marv; it IS that FRAMEWORK of our democracy which has allowed Trump to be nominated in the first place, to be elected by the “deep systemic problem” of the Electoral College and to be allowed the freedom to attempt to destroy that FRAMEWORK as established by the Constitution with his Executive Orders and other presidential actions, proclamations and Tweets which abuse his freedom of speech.

    I have never claimed to have the background or experience to “tackle the root causes of our problems” but you do, repeatedly. As Gerald said, “It’s a matter of perspective.”; you believe you know THE answer to our deepest problems and that we are doing nothing; we believe we are doing something with our exchang of information on this blog and others, using social media, our donations, protests and marches using the knowledge we have at hand while working within the law. I shall continue and escalate when and if it is possible.

  20. Teresa your comment @ 7:07 am says a lot about our system. In my later working years the Multi-National Corporations I worked for had some very strict rules on accepting or giving gifts , etc., from our clients or potential clients. The potential existed that you could be terminated and even prosecuted if you violated the rules. Accepting or offering money as gift was an absolute NO. It could be construed as a bribe.

    Our Political System, the elected officials and the McMega-Media try through a variety euphemisms to sanitize these campaign contributions. The idea of a conflict of interest is quickly dismissed by the politicians and McMega-Media.

  21. Funny Pete, because you still don’t get it. The fight is totally about FREEDOM but it has become quite obvious that the two political parties have opposite views of what freedom means. The only time liberals are interested in “working together” is when they are in the minority. Finally we have a president that understands the liberal’s play book. So, if you want to say it’s all about what team wins, then “game on”. You just don’t like having to play by your own rules. Too bad for you now that Harry
    Reid pulled the “nuclear option” in 2013 and Obama excessively used executive orders . Do you remember when Obama told the GOP in January 2009 that “I Won” as a means to say: screw you I don’t care if you object to my stimulus package. Then he made backroom deals to pass Obamacare with not one Republican vote. With 10 trillion more dollars added to the federal debt and the labor participation rate at a 20 year low and Obamacare premiums skyrocketing plus many other dismal statistics, common sense Americas decided they had had enough. Chaos is all you’ve got. Maybe you should go live in California and teach at Berkeley.. take Sheila with you- it would be a good fit. Did you watch the Milo video yet?

  22. Marv @ 10:46 am. > Good point. You’re right the Democratic Party is in deep, deep trouble and I’m not so sure they are aware of the depths of their trouble. <<<

    The Establishment Democratic Party has been called the Vichy Democrats. That is they have elected officials in safe enclaves. Perhaps the Establishment Democratic Party could also be considered in the historical perspective of an ancient Roman Client State, controlled by the 1%, but given some lee way to govern their enclaves. A bit like Herod the Great a Roman Vassal and others like him in the Roman Empire.

    Leaders like Pelosi, Schumer, Wasserman-Schultz, the DNC and the Super Delegates, make certain the Party does not stray into Bernie Land.

  23. I have been trying to reach Todd Young for two weeks by phone to register my opposition to DeVoss’s appointment. No luck. His mailbox is always “full”. Surely he employs someone to empty it? I guess inn this case, to NOT empty it. He’s MIA for his constituents.

  24. In keeping with Paul and Theresa’s comments regarding the title of this blog, I Googled some quotes from comedians but found surprisingly few that fit today.

    Lenny Bruce; “The liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.” Knowing Lenny’s drug habits, I don’t know if he was trying to be funny or not but I understood his message perfectly.

    George Carlin; “I went into a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” Somehow I related this quote to attempting to explain rational thought to Trump and expecting him to understand it; must be the liberal in me because I also understood this message perfectly.

  25. Becky, I am curious what was your solution to Health Care in the USA. The Republicans have had what eight years to come up with an alternative plan. Believe me I am no fan of ACA or Obamacare. I have VA and Medicare.

    I would favor the Canadian Solution to Health Care.
    Any plan to replace ACA should take a deep and thoughtful study of how other countries handle their Health Care. So let me start with some facts for selected countries.

    Total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP.
    Source CIA World Fact Book 2014
    Australia 9.4%, Canada 10.4%, France 11.5%, Germany 11.3%, Japan 10.2%, USA 17.1%. The percentages cited by the World Bank are exactly the same as the CIA’s.
    Source Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2014
    Australia 9.0%, Canada 10.0%, France 11.1%, Germany 11.0%, Japan 11.4%, USA 16.6%.

    Total health expenditure per capita (per person) in US dollars. 2015
    Source Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    Australia $ 4,420, Canada $ 4,608, France $ 4,407, Germany $5,267,
    Japan $4,150, USA $ 9,451.

    Average life expectancy at birth in years:
    Source Data List by the World Health Organization (2015)
    Australia 82.8 years rank # 4, Canada 82.2 years rank # 12, France 82.4 years rank # 9,
    Germany 81.0 years rank # 24, Japan 83.7 years rank # 1, USA 79.3 years rank 31.

    It is rather evident if you compare the cost of Health Care in the US to other countries it is much higher in the USA. It is equally evident the higher cost as a percentage of GDP or Per Capita we pay in the USA does not result in a better life expectancy in the USA. In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth – everybody in, nobody out. In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life. This is in contrast to the USA where your coverage is in many cases is determined by your employer. In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

  26. JoAnn, how are these for a laugh?

    The Trump White House was in a dither over the weekend when the Federal judge put a stop to their Muslim ban… they couldn’t find a Republican lawyer who knew anything about the Constitution to appeal it.

    Or, Trumps latest tweet. “Negative polls are fake news.” This from a man who claimed that this inauguration crowd was the bigliest ever!

    Come on… these are hilarious!

  27. The Trump Tweet is the winner, a Republican lawyer not knowing the Constitution is an old joke. I guess I will go back to my W.C. Fields quote, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” I think our liberal views confuse Trump with their simplicity so…are we dazzling him and his cronies with our brilliance or is he baffling us with his bullshit?

    I am waiting for him to speak to the commanders at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Cringe at the thought of seeing or knowing what he says but have a gut feeling it is important I do this; am also curios what the reaction of the commanders will be. Wish they had the nerve – or the fundamental American right – to walk out on an idiot even if he is the president.

  28. Becky is sympathetic to the oppressed banks, corporations, health insurance companies, mega churches and billionaires who raked in most of the wealth from Obama’s economic magic recovering from the dark days that he inherited. They need to be freed from his regulation in order to scrape up the little wealth that the 99% share now.

    What they have figured out now is that they don’t have invest it here anymore. The rest of the world offers bigger fish to fry. Let the workers who have always been America’s engine of wealth have the left overs here.

    Now that Trump has solved the unemployment problem of the aristocracy by pulling them into his cabinet let the looting begin.

    As the Ministry of Truth implores from the propaganda box in every living room, poverty is wealth, sickness is health, freedom is slavery.

  29. Pete,

    “Becky thinks it’s about winning. My team beat yours. I find that’s common among those who Trump conned.”

    Face up to it. It’s a game. It’s a zero sum game whether we like or not. Winner takes all. You shouldn’t expect many Republicans to “jump ship” when the other side offers no opposition.

    Who wants to join a bunch of losers who can ONLY fight back with their dollars or laughs?

    “It’s no longer about freedom or opportunity or becoming, it’s about power”

    “In such an environment what can freedom lovers do? Give up on freedom and join the struggle for power? That’s what we did for the Revolution and Civil and World wars. Successfully.”

    The problem is that freedom isn’t always easy to maintain. Sometimes it disappears. Democracy is not permanent, especially evident when its defenders are not diligent. The freedom that you cherished has been voted out. That’s no JOKE, nor is it FUNNY. And only effective action or STRUGGLE for power, in your words, can prevent the situation from turning into a complete rout.

  30. Becky:
    Please speak to how Trump is going to deliver on his campaign promises to focus on the forgotten people after he has surrounded himself with Darth Vader (Bannon) and a host of unqualified apologists who tell us not to take him literally , except when we should take him literally, spin his lies for him and never bat an eye. His presidency thus far has consisted of ceremonial signings of EOs followed by his sophmoric addresses and tweets.

    Explain how the republicans begged for president Obama to work with them (translation-do everything their way, or not at all) but never actually made any concession to any of his initiatives, e.g his SCOTUS candidate. Now they whine about democrat obstruction.

    This all depends on your perspective. Trump lost the popular vote by 9 mm votes; won the gerrymander vote in the EC. He continues to embarass the USA, undermine the equities market and threaten our allies and make enemies of representatives that should be our allies. And let’s not forget he continues to defend Putin.

    Blackmailed by Putin? In debt to Putin? Maybe. But I think Bannon’s twisted vision for the world is based on an alliance between Russia and US which together rule the world with an iron hand and quell anyone that disagrees with their vision, while their friends enrich themselves further.


  31. Aha! A Goppette arrives at Sheila’s blog! Goppette apparently is set to defend the “so-called President” and his merry (albeit insanely rich) band of clueless thugs! Knock yerself out, Goppette! Start with explaining to the “so-called President” about how dangerous it is to sign executive orders without having a clue about what they mean or how quickly they can damage this country. Take a look around, Goppette. It’s only been two friggin’ weeks and the “so-called President” has done a lot of damage. Oh my, Goppette, you’re in for a tongue-lashing from folks here who really, really know their stuff. Really!

  32. Announcement: Out of work radio announcer Mike Pence, temporarily holding the title VPOTUS has again demonstrated his lack of civics education by claiming that the court issuing a stay on the “muslim ban” was meddling in foreign affairs.

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