HIL-GLE Wonderblog

HIL-GLE MIND ROT MODERN THRILLS QUALITY CREATIVE NEWSSTAND FICTION UNIT WONDERBLOG Shy people can contact us directly via email at Wunker2000 at Yahoo dot com.

Comments Invited! Currently Moderated.

Monday, March 5, 2018

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update

Mind Cloud
Also known as hypnotism or suggestion

This power gives the user the ability to cloud people's minds.  A target whose mind has been successfully clouded will have an attention span of mere microseconds.  The target will be unable to attack or perform any action during the duration of this power. (He will have the same DODGE level, however.)  Persons affected by this power are extremely prone to suggestion. They can be convinced of all sorts of unreal things. While in this state, they are incapable of lying or withholding information, although they are sort of spacey. User will receive short answers from his targets, usually of the “yes or no” variety.

Mechanics: Power cost is 35 points plus ACT. When attacking with this power, the power's linked BASESTAT level is the active level and the target's PERC level is defending level. Options follow.

·         Change Defending level to the highest of either PERC, IQ or KNOW: 25% cost decrease.  
·         Change Defending to the lowest of either PERC, IQ, WILL or KNOW: Cost SAVE in points.
·         Change stunt roll to deploy power to standard ACC v. DODGE: No cost. 

Range: In general, Mind Cloud works up close and  personal. You have to be in someone’s immediate presence. At no cost, this factors to one half of the linked BASESTAT ACT in meters. The target doesn’t have to see you, but the user must somehow be able to perceive the target.

·         Range Extension I: For an additional 20 points, the range is based on the target being in the close presence of an aspect of the user, most typically his voice. If the target can hear your voice, he is in range.
·         Range Extension II: For an additional 40 point increase, the target can be within the perception range of a projected aspect of the user, such as his image in a picture or voice over the radio or loudspeaker. This also grants the user the ability to hear whatever the heck his target is mumbling about.
·         Range = ACT in meters: skip all that aspect jazz. 10 points per.
·         Range = SAVE in meters: skip all that aspect jazz. 20 points per. .

·         2D6 actions: No cost
·         1 plus half of BASESTAT ACT in actions: 50 points per.

This power essentially freezes its target and then enables the user to question the target briefly. Other than this, the user cannot really command the target to do anything. The target will not remember what he/she is doing during the course of MIND CLOUD’S duration, but will remember what happened immediately after that duration is over.

Power Additions

Suggestion: User can leave a strong suggestion in the target’s mind which will linger as if it is one of the target’s own thoughts. It’s something that the target will feel that he needs to take action on, either immediately, eventually or inevitably. The power can also be used to cause the target to forget what he has told the user. This is an additive ability and takes effect the action after the duration of the Mind Cloud has expired. Any target who has succumbed to one action of Mind Cloud may have a suggestion implanted upon them, with no extra stunt roll on the user’s part requires. The urgency or import that the target places on the suggestion should be determined by a Better Roll Rule result. Suggestion is open ended, but is not MIND CONTROL. No matter how well the result may be, the target is highly unlikely to launch an attack against his allies or take any action which could be an existential threat to himself. Cost 20 points.

Note: Should a target have SHIELD or some other mental defense, it needs to be applied at its level, regardless of what defending level MIND CLOUD is set to work against.

Alternative Power


This is the power to cause a target to communicate truthfully. The target will react to a proposed question and offer the truth as they know it. When confronted with a hypothetical proposal, the target will offer their best educated guess.

Mechanics: This power is always additive to the successful result of some other action or power function. What exactly activates the ability is up to the player’s character concept, but it needs to be a set activity which has been deemed to be previously successful. The duration is either one action (one question) or as long as the triggering event or action. The power comes free with MIND CLOUD, MIND CONTROL and the psychic power H-M Psychic.  To persons endowed with those abilities, compelling the truth is merely an application of a more comprehensive ability. Although person with TELEPATHY or LIE DETECT may know a fib when they hear one, neither of those powers cause a target to focus on what the truth is. The addition of this ability would do so. The stunt roll would be either TELEPATHY or LIE DETECT’s level against the target’s WILL.  In the literature, however, this power is often triggered by a seemingly non psychic action, such as entangling a target in a magic lasso or simply inflicting damage on the target. (Beating the snot out of someone to gain the truth only has demonstrable efficacy in fiction. In this case, the active level can either be COMPEL THE TRUTH’s or the underlying level of another power. The defending level is always the target’s WILL. Targets endowed with SHIELD, FORTITUDE, TOUGHNESS or NERVES OF STEEL are immune to this power. Other defenses may impact either the defending level or duration. Cost is 25 points or 25 points plus ACT if endowed with its own level.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update


This is a defense which has the potential to reduce the damage of an attack inflicted on the user.  The user is taking some physical action to blunt, block or parry the attack. It can either negate the attack entirely or mitigate the impact of its effect. The defense works best against attacks which inflict physical damage.

Mechanics: In order to activate this ability, the user must give up his next (1) opportunity to move or (2) the use of a weapon or a HTH Attack or an attack power.

When activated, the Blocking Option enables the user to:

(1)   Negate the attack entirely or end the duration of a power which has affected the user.  User’s player makes a stunt roll. A roll of double 2s, 3s, 4s or 5s negates the attack entirely. A roll of double 6s not only negates the attack, but allows the user to immediately move or deploy the attack ability he was using to block with. A roll of two ones is a total failure, meaning that the Blocking Option does not perform any function.
(2)   Reduce the points of damage inflicted by the attack, either (a) by the damage output of the attack the user is deploying to block with or (b) by at least the linked in SAVE in points.
(3)   At the cost of not using an attack and forgoing movement, the damage reduction is increased to double the linked SAVE. Unfortunately, if the user has rolled two ones, this function fails to activate.

Blocking Option works on all attacks from a single attacker during a single action.

Power Costs 20 points plus SAVE. Blocking Option needs to be linked to a level, but not necessarily the same level of the attack or movement power being used to block. The user is free to switch up which attack form is being sacrificed to block with. (Default is the HTH Attack.)

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update

Omega Chuck:

Gives the user the ability to throw great distances. Thrown objects will travel the entire distance during the course of one action. The initial powered portion of the distance starts at the linked ACT multiplied by SAVE.  This distance may be extended either sacrificing an action before making the throw or two actions after making the throw. (The character will be unable to move OR launch any other attack during the sacrificed actions.) Each action sacrificed doubles the throwing distance. A user may only throw objects that they can lift.

·         At 5000 meters, whatever the user is throwing will head into orbit.
·         At 11,000 meters, whatever the user is throwing will escape into space.

There are very few things in this world which are meant to be thrown at such speeds or for such distances. Your target is likely to start falling apart in mid-flight, unless the user is also endowed with UNLIMITED LIFT. Similarly, attempting to hit something with an object you have OMEGA chucked is problematic, unless you have FLING with the THROW ANYTHING option. Omega Chuck is really about sending something far, far away, not launching a ranged attack.

·         In the event that the user is endowed with UNLIMITED LIFT, FLING and THROW ANYTHING, the maximum damage that can be inflicted with OMEGA CHUCK is equal to the linked ACT in dice plus the user’s normal STR (or COMBAT) damage plus 40 dice. The same procedure is used to calculate damage on the object being thrown as well as whatever it hits. This damage is only inflicted if the thrown object has travelled the full distance. If it fails to do so, then the object is simply damaged as per normal throwing damage.

(The intention of this ability is not to generate extra damage on throwing attacks. The intention is to give the user the ability to throw something far, far away.)

·         Objects thrown at less than 5000 will eventually fall back to earth. They lose speed and altitude equal to the object’s SIZE SAVE every action after the first.

EXAMPLE: Toni has decided to throw me using her OMEGA CHUCK ability, which is linked to a Mutant BASESTAT (ACT 10 SAVE 35). Her OMEGA CHUCK has a net range of 350 meters. On the first action I am hurled skyward 350 meters and a speed of 350 meters per second. (That’s three and a half football fields at a little over Mach One.) My SIZE is Average (SAVE 5) I start to slow to 345 meters, but I am still heading up. I will continue heading up until my effective MPS reaches zero, in about 69 actions/seconds, at which point I will start to fall. Which brings us to…

·         The maximum amount of damage that the thrown object may suffer or inflict is 40 dice plus the object’s SIZE SAVE in dice as a result of (1) falling or (2) traveling past the powered flight phase.

·         The eventual distance past the object’s initial OMEGA CHUCK range that an object travels depends on the object’s nature, trajectory and other factors which the judge is free to determine at his whim.

Magic Weapons, Power Parts, Vibra Blades and other such weapons may not fall apart or have damage inflicted upon them when thrown with OMGEA CHUCK, but extending the distance of such weapons is only an incidental feature of this power. Such weapons do not gain any extra damage potential as a result of being Omega Chucked.

Power costs 10 points flat for three uses a day. Power cost 25 points plus SAVE for unlimited use.

Note: Chucking people is a favorite application of this ability. The person as Chuck Object may have some defenses against this ability, such as FLIGHT, FREE FALL OR TELEPORT. Even then, the user should be able to move his target the initial distance. The target would be allowed to apply his FLIGHT or other defense on the next action.

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update

(Variable Skill Assumption)

The ability to become excellent at one skill or profession at a time. This power conveys the mental rigor, knowledge and physical aptitude to perform well in a defined skill or profession. As with our skill section, the user is free to make up what the skill or profession is called. Wild Talent can only be used to emulate one skill or profession at a time. Assuming a new skill with Wild Talent will void all abilities gained by the assumption of the previous talent, profession or skill.

Mechanics: This power cost 75 points flat. Common skills, such as baking, driving, computer use, mathematics or electronics would be rated at Super level. Common professions, such as surgeon, pilot, driver or accountant would be rated at Mutant level. Uncommon or extranormal professions, such as Spaceship Pilot, non- Euclidian Philosopher or Dragon Tamer, would be rated at Heroic. Wild Talent creates only skills and professions. It cannot create entitlements or credentials or tool sets.

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update


This is the super hacking power so often referenced in movies written by people whose familiarity with computers and computer programs begins and ends with word processing. It  is also the ability to extended one’s senses through the increasingly sophisticated and increasingly prevalent machines found in our world. The user can see through television cameras, hear through phone lines, communicate through any device connected a computer network. If it’s plugged in or hooked up or in any way wired, it’s a part of the user’s neural network. This is a cropped version of OBJECT ANIMATION, although it coveys no extra senses nor awareness to its targets. It is the second gear of the TECHNOSENSORY super sense. The user senses as the machine senses.

Mechanics: This power is primarily defined by range. At any level, the power gives the ability to command computer controlled or automated objects, even ones with complex passwords and security. The user comes off not merely as some kind of machine trying to communicate with another machine, but rather as commands issued from the device’s own systems. The user can turn things on or off and order the machine to do anything it can normally or potentially do. And the user can order the machine to cover the user’s tracks.

Being inside a machine or its program does not immediately convey any knowledge of either. Assuming the character has no familiarity with the target, a stunt roll is made using the power’s level as the active level and (1) a randomly determined level from Below Average to Heroic, for normal objects and (2) a level from Mutant to Omega, for extranormal devices. Some familiarity with the target may adjust the odds.

This power specifically does not give the user the ability to hijack devices or machines belonging to, in the use of or in the immediate possession of another extranormal person. You at least have to take the utility belt off the guy before you can work your magic.

Only machines with sentience (an IQ score) or protected by extranormal means have the capacity to resist the user’s power. Even on devices with supernatural protection, this power acts as a form of EMPATHY. Automated things are inclined to like our user. That said, the ability conveys no real way to overcome such defenses—at least instantly. The user would need to apply some other talent or skill to get past the protection of extranormal items. This power is more of an at whim extension of the character’s senses than it is a skill set.

Power cost 10 points plus ACT. It has an effective range of ACT in meters. Range on devices such as computer networks or security systems can be difficult to determine. Conventionally, once you get into a closed network or integrated security system, you have control of all of it, no matter how much physical space it takes up. Range here is defined as range to a controlling access point. Taking down a computer system or a cell phone or any singular device is well within the standard reach of this power. Taking down the entire internet or every cell network in the world is not. Not for just 10 points plus ACT. Which brings us to…


Control on all automated targets within range: Doubles power cost.

Range Extension: 1 point per meter.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

WDMA Abilities Arsenal Update

bAG of Tricks

Persons endowed with this power are capable of sprouting a variety of skills, weapons, tools and powers. This power is somewhat similar to ALTERATION and MAGIC POWERS. It is a flexible power, allowing the character access to nearly every defined ability in the game, albeit on a limited basis. Its primary limitations are that the effects of the created object or ability are limited to one action of function or one specific task and that the various tricks must be configured in advance. Beyond flexibility, one of the key advantages to this ability is that its effects can be bestowed on others. This is meant to simulate the abilities of those characters who can come up with an answer to any problem, such as Mad Scientists, fantasy Wizards and certain cartoon characters. How the bag manifests itself is up to the player’s character concept. It can be one thing, such as a magic lamp or a carpet bag, or it can be many things, such as scrolls, a chemistry kit, a group of interchangeable parts. Limitations on what the bag can produce should reduce the power’s cost, but no theme or limits are required.

Mechanics: This power cost 75 points plus SAVE. This creates the ACT plus SAVE in Bag Points which may be used to create applications. Additional Bag points may be purchased at a cost of one allocation point per Bag point. The power may be used to create up to the ACT in separate applications. Additional application slots cost 25 points each.

  • Each application may be comprised of up to the Bag of Trick’s point total. The user has an overall inventory of three times the Bag of Trick’s point total to make all of his applications. No single application may exceed the normal Bag of Trick’s total.

Note: This is a fantasy game and we don’t want to get too rules-bound about a power which, at the core, is an ability to ‘make stuff up’ to solve a specific problem. If there is a need to exceed the normal Bag of Tricks total to make an application, then it can be done at the sacrifice of all other applications. In this case, the new application may not exceed three times the normal Bag of Tricks total.

  • With the exception of some at whim abilities, defined below, the user has to set up the powers stored in his Bag of Tricks in advance. Once configured, the Bag Points are spent and the power awaits deployment. Configured applications may be stored indefinitely. They may also be given to others (in whatever form the player’s character concept calls for) to be used at a later time.
  • The abilities function as the user has defined them, no matter who is using the ability. That said, attacks would be at the possessor’s ACC level.
  • Bag Points recover at their rate of deployment. The user’s Bag Points recharge as the applications are spent, returning points to the Bag at the end of the application’s function. Bag Points used to create applications are unavailable for configuration. Each application created subtracts from the Bag Point total.
  • Applications take time to set up. How much time depends on the player’s concept
  • Unspent Bag Points may be used to negate damage to the user at a ratio of 1 Bag Point for every 3 points of damage negated or 1 Bag Point for every dice of damage reduced.  Only inventory Bag of Tricks points are available for this reduction and only up to the normal Bag of Tricks point total.

The Bag Points may be used as follows:  

  1. Temporary Skill Creation: Cost in Bag Points is equal to the Skill level’s SAVE total. The user may also raise the level of an existing skill by 5 Bag Points per level. Entitlements cannot be created. The cost of Professions or Uncommon Skills does not have to be allocated for. The skill last for the duration of one specific task.

  1. Temporary Power Creation: Define the power as if the Bag Points were allocation points. Powers which are essentially attacks last for one use. Powers which are defenses or travel powers last the ACT in actions. Most other powers will last the duration or one task or up to the SAVE in actions. The ACT and SAVE referenced refers to the level Bag of Tricks is endowed with, not the level endowed to the created ability.

1.    Some Abilities Cannot Be Simulated: The power may not simulate abilities which also simulate other abilities. You may not simulate ALTERATION ability. Powers which have compound functions may be simulated, but the user only has access to one of the functions. The power may not be used to simulate BAG of TRICKS, BOOST, CREATION, IMPROVISATION, LUCK SURGE, MANIC STRIKE, MAXIMISE EFFECT, OVERDO, PANACEA, POWER EXPERTISE, RAY of DOOM, SUMMON, TRANSMUTATION, VETO (Judge may allow VETO in times of crisis), WHAMMY, WISH, WONDER POWER or (found in PSYCHC POWERS) DIVINE INTERVENTION and METAPHYSICS.

2.    There are Special Rules for the simulation of MAGIC POWERS, TRICK WEAPON and UTILITY BELT.

MAGIC POWERS: Cost in Bag Points for creating an application which simulates any element (or spell) found in the section is 20 points or the listed cost. May not create Constructs. May not simulate Flexible Make Up or Magic Attacks. Otherwise bound by the rules for temporary power creation.

TRICK WEAPON: Applications cost 20 Bag Points each. Is always the standard application.

UTILITY BELT: Cost 5 Bag Points per object produced or function accessed, but do not count against the number of application slots, nor do they have to be configured for in advance.

  1. Produce Common Items: The user can produce any common weapon, tool or object—or just emulate their effects. Producing the object costs 5 Bag Points. Emulating the effect, as in having a blast of machinegun fire appear from the user’s fingertips, cost 10 Bag Points. These items do not have to be configured in advance and do not take up an application slot. Created items are bound by the same rules as any temporary power created.

  1. Produce Equipment: User can only produce a SUPERCAR, UNITILE or CUSTOM VEHICLE if it has been purchased separately with allocation points. Keeping such handy to simply whip out takes up an application spot. Any other vehicle may be simulated using Bag Points as Equipment Points. This includes equipment listed in WORLDWIDE ARMAMENTS. The equipment produced will exist for a given task or up to the SAVE in actions. Moreover, the user will temporarily have the skill to operate the equipment for the duration of the task.

  1. Predetermined Equipment: The user is free to make up a piece of equipment. The cost in Bag Points is equal to the ACT of Basestat levels endowed. It otherwise uses the same Bag Point costs mentioned in this listing. Each piece of predetermined equipment takes up one Bag of Tricks slot. The functioning of predetermined equipment is not limited to a specific task or time frame, but it does have to have some limitation. (The standard limitation is that the effect is produced by a device in the character’s base.) The intention of this rule is to help fill in character concept details, not gift the character with unlimited uses of any power he desires. All Predetermined Equipment must be approved by the judge in advance. Each piece of Predetermined Equipment costs at least 10 Bag Points.

EXAMPLE: The user wishes to create a device which will answer his phone and actually carry on a conversation. This is essentially an extranormal version of a standard voicemail. The only Basestat it needs to have attributed is its IQ. Our user chooses level Skilled, at a cost of 3 Bag Points.

EXAMPLE: The user carries around a box of little plastic army men who, when activated, will fight as a miniature army unit. They scale obstacles, hurl mini hand grenades, shoot tiny guns, sweep for mines and call in airstrikes. The unit comes complete with a jeep and a little mini helicopter and a tank. The user would have two choices for defining his animated toy soldier troop. He can use Bag Points to purchase MASTER of the UNIVERSE or, alternatively, use the point structure found in the following two sections, Bag Attack and May Create Boosts to Basestats. The judge should allow some wiggle room for the concept itself. The little trooper’s abilities to operate equipment, scale objects and radio back information do not need to be accounted for.

EXAMPLE: The user has a base full of equipment which performs various different functions. He has a teleporter, a super computer and an array of scientific scopes and devises. The equipment is defined using the Bag of Points costs for the powers and abilities. Only those basestats necessary  for defining the device need to be allocated for.

  1. Bag Attack: The bag can just sprout weapons and produce its own attack. What exactly the bag is shooting or projecting can be determined at whim. It is exclusively a damage causing power and the cost is per attack. This ability does not need to be pre configured. It eats Bag Points but does not take up an application slot. The cost in Bag Points is as follows:

Damage and/or Tangle inflicted
Minor Damage: 1 point. No stacking.
Major Damage: 20 points. No stacking.
BASESTAT ACT in points: 1 point per
BASESTAT SAVE in points: 5 points per.
BASESTAT ACT in dice: 25 points per.
BASESTAT SAVE in dice: 50 points per.

Range (to target)
BASESTAT ACT in meters: 5 points per.
BASESTAT SAVE in meters: 15 points per.
BASESTAT ACT in tens of meters: 40 points per.
BASESTAT SAVE in tens of meters: 80 points per.
BASESTAT SAVE in thousands of meters: 120 points per.
BASESTAT SAVE in tens of thousands of meters: 300 points per.

Area of Effect
Half ACT in meters: 10 points per
Half SAVE in meters:. 15 points per
ACT in meters: 20 points per
SAVE in meters: 30 points per
ACT in tens of meters:  200 points per
SAVE in tens of meters: 300 points per

  1. May Create Boosts to Basestats: Applications may be configured as Bag Points allow for and may include boosts to several statistics, however each individual application takes up one slot. And each application can only be applied to a single target. The costs are as follows:

Movement (increased for BASESTAT ACT in actions)
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT ACT in meters: 10 points per.
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT SAVE in meters: 30 points per.
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT ACT in tens of meters: 40 points per.
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT SAVE in tens of meters: 80 points per.
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT SAVE in thousands of meters: 120 points per.
Increases character’s MPS by BASESTAT SAVE in tens of thousands of meters: 300 points per

Increases character’s REC by BASESTAT ACT for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 5 points per.
Increases character’s REC by BASESTAT SAVE for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 15 points per.

Increases character’s DEFL by BASESTAT ACT for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 10 points per.
Increases character’s DEFL by BASESTAT SAVE for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 25 points per.

Increases character’s HTK by BASESTAT ACT for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 10 points per.
Increases characters HTK by BASESTAT SAVE for BASESTAT ACT in actions: 30 points per.

Alternative Powers

BOOSTER: In this variation, the user is only endowed with E. Bag Attack and F. May Boost abilities. User’s unspent Bag Points may be used to negate damage as above. Applications may be created at whim, so there are no application slots. Cost 25 plus SAVE. Additional Bag Points may be purchased at a cost of one allocation point each.

VERSI TRICK: In this variation, the user lacks attributes C. Produce Common Items, D. Produce Equipment and E. Bag Attack. Powers created may only be deployed by the user. Cost 45 plus SAVE. Additional Bag Points may be purchased at a cost of one allocation point each. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

American Nero (Trump)

How are you resisting Trump today?

Today? Today I told someone on the phone how much I disliked Donald Trump. And the person I was talking to told me how much she disliked Donald Trump. Then we sort of went on and talked about cat videos. I think I told someone at work how much I disliked Trump today. Or I added to the affirmation of the people around me who disliked Trump. For bonus points, I have even told a Trump supporter how little I think of our current president and then went on to extrapolate how much better the present would likely be if Hillary had won the election.

So other than occasionally boostering people already on my side and occasionally ticking some innocent person off with my expressed opinions, I have done little in the way of resisting Trump.

I have been writing a novel. No, it’s not about Trump. And it is little use as a manifesto on resistance to Trump, or, for that matter, any sort of resistance whatsoever. I don’t write those sort of novels. Mind you, I do not deny the power that such novels have. An Uncle Tom’s Cabin or the Grapes of Wraith about Trump is certainly called for. But I am not writing it.

I work full time, too. And I’m working on a revision of my game. And I have social obligations and laundry to clean and meals to make. Although resisting Trump is very high on my agenda, I frankly have not had the time.

I made a logo.

I even made a second logo. (Not shown, although it is a little more even.) And I have a big sign for my logo to go on. All I now need is a protest to join and I am there.

I live in Chicago. Well, I live near Chicago. There have been some protests here. I accidentally walked through one the last time I was downtown. The protest was in a rather logical and easy to get to place, right across the street from Trump Tower Chicago. And I am ready to head back there to join in.

Problem is, that’s not where the protests are. The protests move. A lot of the protests are in places where it is difficult (*) for me to attend. And not all of them are about the IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF DONALD J. TRUMP AS HEAD OF THE AMERICAN STATE.

Case in point: the last protest that I could attend was also downtown, but its purpose was not primarily Anti-Trump, but rather Anti-Balbo.

Balbo? Italo Balbo, an Italian Fascist. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely against fascism. And I am willing to extend Dotard Trump the honor of calling him a fascist, although of the nitwit variety. If Italo Blabo was going to appear downtown to talk up either Trump or fascism, I would be there waving my sign and my logo, protesting with all of the fever I can muster.

But Balbo wasn’t there. Because he’s dead. Been dead since 1940--when a bunch of other Italian fascists mistook his civilian aircraft for something more menacing and shot his little ass down. And that happened in Libya, not Chicago. The Chicago connection is that back in 1933 Italo Balbo flew an Air Armada of 24 sea planes from Italy to Chicago, arguably to help put a little fascist cherry on a festival called the Century of Progress.

It was a neat feat. (Even though Balbo did not fly direct.) Balbo even came with a gift, an ancient Roman column, which he presented to Chicago’s city fathers. It was later put out on display, complete with its own little plaque praising the achievements of fascism. Chicago held Balbo a parade and renamed part of 7th Street as Balbo Drive.

Both the street name and the column and the plaque have remained, curiosities of history.  At the time Balbo made his trip, Italy was not at war with the United States. Balbo himself would be dead by the time hostilities broke out. The monument and street name stayed in place all during WWII, without protest or undo mention.

Why the sudden rush to bring it down now? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps it is because we have no Confederate monuments to pull down and the protesters feel left out? (**)

I am not for renaming the street or tearing down the monument. I am not here to defend Balbo, other than to say he is not Hitler, not a gestapo agent and not anywhere near as bad of an actor as Benito Mussolini.  He’s a rival of Mussolini’s who became politically sidetracked. Balbo went on record against joining up with Hitler and was opposed to Jewish segregation. While in political exile in Libya, he engaged in a number of military actions meant to advance the Italian position against other colonial powers—certainly involving the bloodshed of thousands of innocent Africans. That makes him a standard issue European leader of the time. When push came to shove—when it was politically dangerous for him to do so—Balbo wanted Italy to side with the United Kingdom. As historic figures go, he’s more questionable and misguided than he is an unvarnished monster. If Chicago starts tearing down every edifice erected by questionable people, we will be standing in open prairie.    

Similarly, I am not out to participate in any rally against the police. Or the school district. Or builders using scab labor. I have some sympathy for Black Lives Matter and the Dreamers, but the issue is Trump. Until we get rid of Trump, nothing else matters.

This makes me reconsider what it is  I am protesting against, whether I belong in the mob of the professional protester class. (At least in Chicago there is such a class.) I want this president out because he is a clown. He is embarrassing our country, both with his erratic comportment and his active ignorance of human decency. And he’s incompetent. If anything, the Trump administration has shown how strong the rest of our institutions are. The country isn’t crumbling. (***) It is merely everything that is under the president’s direction control that is acting winky.  Unless he reaches for the nuclear football, it is not an immediately fatal position. It’s like having a bad quarterback or a bad pitcher (or a bad striker). He’s gotta go. We don’t need an American Nero.

What we need is a mechanism to directly elect the president. A value-added move would be a mechanism for public recall. Those are the underlying causes. This isn’t the first time the Republicans have foisted upon us a president the majority of voters didn’t vote for. By popular count, both Trump and Bush lost.  Two is the charm, transforming anomaly into defect. The electoral college needs to go.

Now all I need is 20 million other people who feel the same way.

What are the chances that protests alone will bring down the president?  Empirically, none. One can argue that widespread discontent over the war was the reason LBJ did not run again. The same ‘discontent’ cause was the reason there were no second Carter or Bush I terms. But these presidents weren’t unseated. The last widespread popular protest led to the Civil War—and that did not unseat Lincoln. So my fellow protesters and I are up against it.

Causing a coup or prompting a resignation would require either a nationwide strike or widespread civil disorder. None of that is likely nor desirable. The best I can do by protesting is to lend my support to other actors—the free press, the agents of the law, politicians—hopefully inspiring them to do the right thing.

Long odds and imperfect allies alone are not good reasons to stop. My logo and I are ready.


(*) I am not driving downtown. I commute via rail. If the protest is reasonably reachable via public transport, I’m there. There are also certain places where I frankly am not going. Your rally at 8 PM in Logan’s Square can go on without me.

(**) The majority Confederate monuments should be pulled down. Most were put up during the aftermath of Reconstruction, primarily by whites attempting to reinforce Jim Crow.  That said, there are no Confederate monuments in Chicago, yet the place remains fairly segregated. It’s the monuments in people’s hearts which need to be torn down.

(***) Puerto Rico is a disaster and it’s all Trump’s fault. It is true that three large disasters in a short period are hard for even the best run governments to cope with. But Florida and Texas are now under control. Where is the plan of attack for the island? This is a national disgrace of the highest order, on a par with the fumble on New Orleans. Republicans truly do not like  brown people. 

Search the Wonderblog!

Blog Archive


Ajax Telegraph, Chicago IL