Friday, March 17, 2017

POST #700: Random Observations

The Blizzard of '17: Wasn't that a time?


Hi, folks! How's President Donald Trump working out for ya? I'm sorry, I'll stop.

The following are a series of unrelated thoughts regarding the present-day train wreck in the life of Idiot Nation. So sue me.
 
1: BREAKING NEWS!
 
Secretary of State and Exxon Stooge, Rex Tillerson, is this morning threatening North Korea with military action. Here's a gentle prediction for you:
 
Before it's is all over, this maniacal administration is going to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. I do hope and pray that I'm not understating the situation.
 
2: A Pox Upon  the Elderly
 
In another perfectly hideous idea (The current administration is overflowing with perfectly hideous ideas - or haven't you noticed?) the Trump Mob has decided that the government will no longer fund something that is known as "Meals on Wheels". In a lame effort to justify the unjustifiable, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated (with a straight face, I swear!) that he has not seen any "effects" from the program. Really?
 
I once chauffeured a woman delivering those meals whose automobile was on the fritz. For three consecutive days I assisted her as she made her rounds, even entering the homes of the elderly and housebound people she helped to feed. If anyone reading this has any pull with Speaker Ryan, tell him that I have seen the "effects" firsthand. The looks of appreciation and thankfulness on the faces of everyone I encountered were impossible not to see.  The love was palpable. It's hard to estimate the number of folks who will be greatly harmed by the loss of Meals on Wheels.  Some of them will die. I hope the Republicans reexamine this one. Wishful thinking, I know.
 
I had this beautiful experience about twenty-five years ago. I'm sure none of the many people I encountered during those three memorable days lived to see the era of Donald Trump. That's probably just as well.
 
3: Blame the Limeys
 
Two weeks ago tomorrow, Donald Trump - in a pathetic attempt to distract attention from the ever-metastasizing Russian/wiretapping scandal - tweeted early in the morning that he had uncovered evidence that his phone had been tapped by Barack Obama. Apparently, the man is too heartbreakingly stupid to understand that he was accusing the former president of committing a felony. After a bi-partisan investigation proclaimed that Trump had not been bugged (electronically speaking only) he made the jaw-dropping declaration (via Sean Spicer) that it hadn't been American intelligence agents doing the dirty deed, it was British spies all along - possibly, we may assume, even James Bond himself. To say that the government of merrie olde England was not amused is putting it mildly. It's quite an achievement to piss off the Brits; in fact I do not recall any American president in my lifetime upsetting them at all
 
Are you last holdouts ready to concede what is by now an embarrassingly obvious point? The president of the United States of America is out of his fucking mind. Case closed.
 
4: Guns For All

In the wake of every mass murder for years, the right wing (within congress and without) have repeated the same stale talking point endlessly: It's not about the availability of guns, they say, the problem is all those crazy people out there. It's hard to argue with that logic. Certainly one of the many reasons for Idiot Nation's appallingly high murder rate is the fact that there are too many guns out there - and that way-too-many mentally ill persons have easy access to them. So what did the House of Reprehensibles do this week? They approved legislation that would make it easier for veterans who are "mentally incapacitated" or "deemed mentally incompetent" to obtain even more of them. Ain't that somethin'? Twelve Democrats joined two-hundred and forty members of the GOP in supporting the bill. If nothing else, this will make the suicide rate of those veterans (already disturbingly high) soar into the stratosphere. This is one way to lighten the load of caring for them I suppose. It also makes the NRA smile.

Three-and-a-quarter years ago, twenty-six human beings (twenty of them little children) were slaughtered inside of a Connecticut elementary school. You would assume that something that horrific would have touched the hearts of our "representatives" in Washington, wouldn't you? Think again. Fuck the children. Let 'em bleed buckets

I just now learned an interesting statistic that I'd love to share with you: If the members of congress committed suicide at the same rate as American veterans, the joint would be deserted within twenty-five days. Isn't that a lovely thought?

5: A Tip of the Hat to the S.S.

Now that the administration of Barack Obama is officially history, I can say out loud what I only dared think for the last eight years: For most of his stay at 1600, I honestly believed that he would not leave office alive. No president since Abraham Lincoln ignited such extreme hate from the less enlightened quarters of American society. No president since Lincoln had received as many treats against his life. Whenever I watched live televised footage of him mingling with crowds of strangers, it would make me wince.  It is a tribute to the Secret Service that the man was able to get out of town alive. Let's hear it or them.

6: Donnie and Angie

A few minutes ago the joint press conference in the East Room of the White House with Trump and Germany's Angela Merkel came to a merciful end. The tension between the two was fairly apparent. Merkel was probably wondering what the hell she was doing being seen on the same podium as this putz. The Donald was twice asked by German reporters about his wiretapping charge against Barack Obama. He denied making the charge and blamed it on Fox News. At an Oval Office photo-op, when asked by a photographer to shake hands with each other, both of them ignored the question. It was so awkward and uproariously funny. Say what you will about this president, he never fails to provide the unintentional comedy. In this respect he makes George W. Bush look like an amateur.

This is a president who doesn't do the diplomacy thing very well at all. This is black comedy at its strangest.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED LISTENING:

A Drop of the Hard Stuff
by Peter Sellers

A St. Patrick's Day greeting from one of the greatest comic actors of the last century. This was recorded in 1958 in Studio Number Two at Abbey Road in London. Every ethnic stereotype is presented in this record - and yet it still plays well fifty-nine years later. That's the beautiful thing about being Irish. You just can’t offend us! Here’s a link to give it a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di6yX3yVAtM 

The man is irreplaceable.

SUGGESTED READING:

PBS Changed Our Lives
from The Rant, 3/5/11

Not to the surprise of anyone who bothers to pay attention, it has long been a dream of conservative politicians to kill the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Trump administration has announced that they have every intention of doing just that. This is a particularly atrocious idea (one of a bazillion perfectly atrocious ideas). I covered this touchy subject in a piece I wrote six years ago this month. Here is a link to read it if you’d like:
`
 
Understatement: Sending these nincompoops to Washington was not a particularly nifty idea.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Completely Surreal

The Clown Gang
America is now governed by a president and party that fundamentally don’t accept the idea that there are objective facts. Instead, they want everyone to accept that reality is whatever they say it is.
 
Paul Krugman
NY Times, 13 March 2017
 
I knew that this administration would end up as a rolling disaster (and constitutional crisis) but even I was unprepared for the speed with which it would come crashing down. The way I figured, it would take until the late spring or early summer for the unraveling to commence. Not at all, kind and gentle reader! Less than two months in and the administration of Donald Trump is falling apart - utterly so.  This is the darkest of comedies. For a politics/news junkie such as I, these are dandy times to be alive.  

 
Beavis and Butthead: The Movie
Ten days ago, when der Donald accused former president Obama of wiretapping his phone at Trump Tower, I suspect he isn't bright enough to realize that he was essentially accusing his predecessor of committing a felony. The explosion of disgust from Democrats and a few Republicans has forced him to "walk back" his accusation. According to Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, the president wasn't talking about wiretaps specifically, he was merely referring to surveillance in general - whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. Kellyanne even went as far as suggesting that the ex-prez might have used Trump's microwave to get his dirt on her boss. I guess the implication here is that, since the laws on the books don't mention microwaves as a means of obtaining intelligence, Trump wasn't actually accusing him of committing a crime. I suppose the relative question here should be:
 
What didn't the president know and when didn't he know it?
 
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have an antique Edison Wax Cylinder Phonograph. I think it's been spying on me. I just thought I'd put that out there. 
 
I know what you're thinking and I wholeheartedly agree: It just keeps getting stupider by the minute with these people. Isn't this fun to watch?
 
And the biggest laugh of the year is the inconvenient truth that fifty-nine percent of the knuckleheads that voted for Trump will be the ones most hurt by the new GOP health care plan, or "Trump Care" as they're now calling it. I find it interesting that Trump has let it be known that he doesn't want his name associated with the proposed bill. As John Oliver pointed out recently, this is astonishing when on considers that for decades, the man has exhibited a positive fetish for adding his name to the shittiest products ever conceived by human mediocrity. Do you remember Trump Steaks? Or how 'bout Trump Vodka? Or Trump University???
 
This is going to end very badly - but I repeat myself.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

 
SUGGESTED VIEWING:
 
As expected, John Oliver has damned-near cornered the market on all things Trumpian. Here's a link to watch a segment of a recent broadcast that I referred to in this piece:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifi9M7DRazI 

The truth may hurt but it can be quite funny, too.


Monday, March 06, 2017

Insanity Running Rampant in D.C.


MESSAGE TO SUPPORTERS OF DONALD TRUMP:

Ain't hindsight a bitch?
 
Idiot Nation.
 
Mika
The president of the United States of America is certifiably insane. I'm repeating myself, I know, but it needs to be drummed into the consciousness of all whom may still find themselves in various stages of denial. We can no longer pretend that this sort of behavior is normal. Of course this fact has been obvious to those of us who make a habit of paying attention to the American train-wreck. And it did not become apparent during the course of the 2016 campaign; we've known this for decades. You can almost see the little birdies flying out of the man's ears. On this morning's Morning Joe program on MSNBC Mika Brzezinski said, "This is no longer funny." I beg to disagree. What is happening at the moment in the White House is just about the funniest thing I've ever witnessed.
 
The latest chapter in our National Nervous Breakdown occurred early Saturday morning when the Donald let loose this humdinger of a tirade on Twitter:
 
"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
 
Whoa! This is indeed something that needs to be looked into! Put Jefferson Beauregard on the hunt. He'll get to the bottom of this....
 
But seriously folks.

And where did Trump come up with this alternative fact? Not from a national security briefing, you may be assured. He read it on the white nationalist website, Breitbart, which lifted it almost verbatim from an on-the-air tantrum that was broadcast a few days earlier on the Mark Levin program. Levin is one of the more notable right wing crazies currently fouling the American airwaves. This is where the president gets his information. Ain't that a scream?

First of all, it would be kinda nice if Trump, in his capacity as commander-in-chief, would take the time to learn some remedial facts about the power of the presidency - or the lack thereof in this case. No president has the power to arbitrarily order a citizen's telephone to be wiretapped. That sort of unchecked power was ended over forty years ago, the direct result of the abuses that were committed by Dick Nixon and his gang. Obama could not have tapped Trump's phone even if he wanted to for the simple reason that he didn't have the power. A tap would have required an intelligence agency obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. And if that warrant had, indeed, been obtained, the judges in question would had to have been convinced that there was, indeed, some dangerously illegal shit going down.

Either Trump is lying about (and libeling) a former president, or the wiretap was placed inside the tower because a few judges were utterly convinced that serious crimes were being committed. Either way, Trump is left with Borscht on his face. White House insiders have kindly leaked to the press that the Donald has been in a blind rage all week. Gee, ya think?

And who can blame him? Forty-five days into this disgusting administration and the wheels have become completely disengaged from the clown car. The clowns are all on fire, running hysterically in every direction. I'd be pissed off, too! So would you! Let me repeat myself: This is the funniest thing I've ever been privileged enough to bear witness to. These are wondrous times to be alive. They really are!

About a month ago my prediction was that we would have to wait two years for the Dems to take control again for this bat-shit-crazy thug to be removed via the impeachment process. Now I'm not so sure. There is no way in hell that this travesty can continue for any great length of time. It would seem that Trump's insurance against impeachment is Mike Pence. No one in his or her right mind would sleep very soundly at night knowing that someone possessing his perverted ideology was calling the shots. My only comfort in this scenario is that, although old Mike may be dumber than a box of dead snails, he's not insane....or at least, I don't think he's insane. Let me get back to you on that.

For a political news junkie such as I, the last forty-five days have been breathtaking. Obama was a good, capable president (in most respects) but - Geez Louise! - the guy could be boring at times. Say what you will about Donald Trump - he's not boring. Anything but!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Keith Olbermann might have proved too controversial for cable television, but he's still out there resisting. Here is his take on the rolling catastrophe that is the Trump White House. It's more than worth your precious time:
 
LOOK! UP IN  SKY! IT'S A BIRD! IT'S A PLANE! IT'S OLBERMANN!!!
 
Hats off the dude!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

J'Recuse!


 
I recently saw a few video clips of George W. Bush being interviewed on his latest book tour. Are you ready for this? I actually found myself liking the guy! That's how completely weird things are getting. The Trump era is so shockingly unhinged that someone like Dubya - whom I had previously perceived to be the political anti-Christ - is starting to appear perfectly amiable. I guess there is some degree of empathy in my heart for Bush. He must realize that the history books will not be kind to his administration. His fatal error was bringing Dick Cheney and the PNAC Mob into his sphere. Remember PNAC? It stood for "Project for a New American Century". You don't hear much about them anymore. They screwed things up so totally that they've gone the way of the 8-Track tape and the Bic Banana. Good riddance.
 
The latest debacle in the electoral catastrophe that is more popularly known as the Trump White House (Idiot Nation) involves one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, former Alabama senator, professional bigot and, presently, United States Attorney General. Sessions was caught - red handed - perjuring himself during his confirmation hearing last week - or at least that's how it seems. In response to an inquiry from Al Franken, who asked if he would be able to impartially investigate whether or not any members of Team Trump clandestinely met with representatives of the government of Russia during the 2016 campaign, Sessions volunteered the statement that he had never met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Brilliant.
 
Sergey: From Russia with love
`
In fact, he had met with the Ambassador - on two different occasions. Jeff's self defense is that the meetings were only in his capacity as a member of the senate armed services committee, and that he doesn't "recall" discussing the campaign with him. This begs an interesting question: What purpose would any member of that committee have in meeting with the Russian ambassador? A member of the Foreign Relations Committee would have a lot of reasons, sure. But Armed Services? Maybe I'm speaking out of ignorance because, thus far anyway, I seem to be the only one to have pointed this out. Strange days indeed.
 
But I'll be generous here and give old Jeff the benefit of the doubt. In fact, it behooves us all to give him the benefit of the doubt ("Behooves". Isn't that a funny word?) Perhaps he really did "misremember" contacting the ambassador. The only reason I bring this up is simply because the Democrats (and a small handful of Republicans) are now calling on Sessions to resign at once. In the words of Noel Coward:
 
How can I make it Cleah?
This is not a good idea!
 
Because of Sessions' involvement - however peripherally - in this newest Trump Mob debacle, he has been publically shamed into recusing himself from the investigation. Were Sessions forced to remove himself from office, there is no doubt in my mind that the Donald would replace him with another hard-core, right wing stooge - who would not be obliged to recuse him or herself, throwing a political monkey wrench (and possibly ending) the entire investigation. Every day it seems, the reality of this administration is becoming more-and-more obvious. A special prosecutor will probably be called in at any time now. We cannot afford to mess this up by handing it over to some brainless, political hack. It might do the Dems a bit of good to start thinking long range. Just a suggestion.

The next - and most obvious - thing we need to do is to demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns going back the last quarter of a century - IMMEDIATELY. He's hiding something, kids. And I'm guessing that, once the fat cat is out of the bag, the American people (or at the very least the ones with IQs higher than a bag of rancid Cheese Doodles) will demand his impeachment.

Heaven only knows where or how this is going to end. My suspicion is that we've barely scratched the surface of what I am convinced will prove to be the most insanely corrupt administration in history.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Oh, Coward!
SUGGESTED LISTENING:

Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington
by Noel Coward

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a huge Noel Coward Fan. This is the song quoted above. Here is a link to listen to it on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7ay6E345e0

I repeat, Mrs. Worthington, sweet Mrs. Worthington
Don't put your daughter on the stage....


The guy was a hoot-and-a-half!

BREAKING NEWS, 11:23 AM:

The Donald has just unleashed this posting on Twitter:
 
Time to have a little heart-to-heart, America. Can those of you still in denial finally see how dangerously disturbed the president of the United States is?
 
AFTERTHOUGHT:
`
Eighty-four years ago today marked the dawn on the New Deal. Franklin D. Roosevelt saved this nation from the worst economic catastrophe in its history. And when he was done saving America? Just for shits and giggles he decided to save the world.
I wrote this one four years ago.
 
From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Donald J. Trump. You can't fall any further than that. It's just not possible.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It Feels Like 1973, Doesn't It?


 
Archibald Cox
On the night of October 20, 1973 I was barely two months past my fifteenth birthday. As young as I was, I was at least perceptive enough to understand that something extraordinary was occurring in the life of America. On the evening of the historical and extraordinary "Saturday Night Massacre", when Dick Nixon fired the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, my brother Pete and I were across the street from our house at the home of our pals, Tom and Tim Finkle. When NBC's John Chancellor broke into the regularly televised programming to announce that "America is in the midst of a constitutional crisis" and that, "Nothing like this has ever happened before", I knew then and there that the proverbial substance had hit the fan. Between the firing of Cox, the resignation-in-disgrace of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, and the swearing-in of the new Veep, Gerald R. Ford, October of 1973 was one of those milestone months that took the average news junkie's breath away - not unlike February 2017. As Yogi Berra once observed, "It's Deja Vu all over again!"
 
Watergate turned me into the stone-cold political animal that I remain to this day, forty-four years after the fact. In the summer of 1973, weeks before I turned fifteen, so transfixed was I by the daily hearings that were unfolding on the television screen, I taped about four hours of them by placing the microphone of my little cassette tape recorder up to the speaker of the TV in my father's den. I still have those tapes, filed away in a drawer about six feet from where I now sit. I knew damned well that history was being made and I was determined to preserve it for the sake of posterity. I guess it never occurred to me that the networks might have their own system of archiving these nasty little events. Stupid kid!
 
As someone once said (and I wish like heck I could remember who said it) "everything today is just the same as it was then - only different". The scandal that is now brewing in Washington is so palpable that one would have to be in complete denial not to perceive it. For every hour that ticks by, the stench becomes more-and-more pronounced. The Trump campaign conspired with the government of a hostile foreign power (with a little help from the head of the FBI) to pervert the American election. Some dare call it "treason".
 
"Nothing like this has ever happened before."
 
NBC's Chancellor
John Chancellor died in July of 1996. About ten years after Watergate, I would find myself working in the lobby of Rockefeller Center in New York City, headquarters to the National Broadcasting Company. More than once, I would see him emerge from the elevator and stride across the lobby. I was always tempted to walk up to him and explain the impact that his reporting had on me at so tender an age - but I was never able to muster up the courage to do so. It was one thing to strike up a friendly conversation with David Letterman (as I did twice) but John Chancellor was something else indeed. He had a dignity and a gravitas that I could never come close to approaching, so I let him walk by undisturbed (although making eye contact with the great man was enough to give me the dry heaves). Six months ago I would have been tempted to say that we'll never see his like again, but I need to restrain myself. The Washington press corps seems to be awakening from a long and blissful slumber. We shall wait and see.
 
If Watergate was a paper cut, this is going to be a blood bath. These are extraordinary times to witness.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
 
SUGGESTED READING AND VIEWING:
 
All the President's Men
by Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein
 
It is one of the very few times of my experience that the movie was every bit as good as the book. Watch it. Read it - or both. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

MANDITORY VIEWING!

Monday's Rachel Maddow program was the most extraordinary of her notable career (at least in my opinion). The scandal is unraveling, slowly but ever-so-surely. If you missed the opening of her program last night, you missed something that was quite eye-opening. Here's a link to watch it….WATCH IT!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX8dgbr5EI8

 What is now happening is extraordinary; we're talkin' unprecedented here. It keeps getting stranger and stranger. This is no ordinary time. We’ll just leave it at that.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Leanne Coffman is Speaking to Us


I don't normally turn this site over to other writers. In eleven years and 694 pieces, I've only done that twice. I'm about to do it again. This is no ordinary time.

I have never met Leanne Coffman (much as I would like to). She is a successful businesswoman who lives in Indiana. The following essay, which she posted yesterday on her Facebook page, sent me into the clouds. I am reposting it here with her kind permission. It needs to be shared, and read by all.

*********************************

My pal, Leanne Coffman
Dark venting: A Jewish friend wisely pointed out to me that we (I) shouldn't be too cavalier in making comparisons with the era of Hitler to now. This week, another friend, who is a German citizen, and I had a conversation about the type of government/societal conditions that existed during the 1920s-1940s. Both were correct in that we aren't seeing a mass extermination of a race/religion of people and we should not equate anything of the Holocaust to now because that would be quite insensitive of us.

However, I still find these comparisons to the white nationalist/dictators of that era and those are precisely what I am concerned about:

1) Mussolini and Stalin and Hitler, were keen on blaming liberals, immigrants, minorities.

2) They despised any in the press that were honest or against them and thereby prevented them from freely speaking.

3) The charismatic, narcissistic leader who speaks to the population only adds to that image. Mussolini said, “Italy wants peace and quiet, work and calm. I will give these things with love if possible and with force if necessary.” Could I see Trump paraphrasing that? Of course I could, because any dictator wants to rule by force and I do put Trump in the role of dictator-wanna-be, not because he seems to actually be smart enough to want that, but his narcissism seeks to be fed and he's surrounded himself with people who seem to align with white nationalism/rule by force and lies, not diplomacy.

4) Adding to that, the callousness of a significant percent of our population is hideous (and I see that a lot here in the rust belt, where wanting to do for other people or caring about society is met with hatred and disgust and sometimes threats by Trumpists).

5) Additionally-- knowing that a person such as Bannon is at the right hand of Trump, along with others who share similar ugly views, is not comforting to me. Bannon has been quoted as saying that he comes to "destroy" aspects of our government and I truly believe he means it. His brand of racism and hatred have no business shaping our policies or whispering in any US President's ear.

This cannot end well. I honestly do believe that martial law is not far behind. In fact, I could imagine that martial law/ extreme civil unrest is only months away.

I can also imagine people being destroyed for speaking the truth, either professionally or personally, through threats or real actions by this government and/or the group of people who align with Trump.

Fear of reprisal will most certainly be a tool used by this administration if this continues.
 
There will never be a period in time that compares to the horrors of the Holocaust. But I do believe millions will be harmed here and around the world by this Presidency, from loss of healthcare (which will impact the poor and fragile the most) to the environmental harm that will impact the planet and its people, and loss of freedoms and potential wars/civil unrest that will happen here and globally.

We will never recover from this in our lifetimes. 

It takes longer to rebuild than it does to destroy.

Already our global reputation is damaged. (Even if we elect someone else in four years that is markedly different, the world knows there are a significant percentage of Americans who align with at least some of Trump's policies. Racism in our country will not diminish in four years and we've pretty well shown that ugliness to the world.) Add to that the environmental losses that the world and generations will feel, the healthcare changes that will effect at least some American lives and the quality of those lives; the refugees we could be saving, but will perish due to our callousness; the immigrants lives we'll destroy during these four years - those things we won't recover from. No new election will bring back those people.

The America I loved is not dead, but her pulse is weak.

I'll fight for the future as long as I have means to do so, but I'm well aware that neither myself, nor anyone reading this, may fully see the recovery of America.

Leanne Coffman
 
****************************************
 
Thank you, Leanne, That was as good as it gets!

Jessica Graae
SUGGESTED LISTENING:

Jessica Graae has a new recording. It bears a listen.

America is dying
When hate has found its home


All proceeds from the download are being donated to the ACLU.

https://jessicagraae.bandcamp.com/

Shh, listen....

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beat The Press

 
 
"We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe. We are free and independent people, and we will make our own choices."
 
Donald Trump
CPAC convention, 2/24/17
 
The Spice of Lies
Every month it seems, the right wing comes up with a catchy euphemism in order to distract the already pitifully distracted American people. A good example would be the term "job creators". They couldn't just come out and say they didn't want the "rich" or the "wealthy" to pay their fair share of taxes, so they came up with "job creators". Clever, huh? Their new idiotic catchphrase is "fake news". Trump's Hermann Goering wannabe, Steve Bannon, has labeled the press, "the opposition party". Not to any thinking person's surprise, the propaganda is finding acceptance in too many quarters for comfort. A lot of the  inmates of Idiot Nation are swallowing the bullshit with a smile and a giggle.
 
There was something they refer to as a "gaggle" in the White House press room yesterday. This is an informal gathering where TV cameras are usually turned off and reporters are obliged to resort to the old fashioned drudgery of taking notes. These events are not as uncommon as you might imagine. There is no rule  that says television needs to be present to record every second of history. The republic survived its first 170 years without the electronic media. When a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if a video camera is not there to record that sound? It probably does. I'm still in the process of researching this tricky subject. Let me get back to you.
 
What made yesterday's little event different was the fact that representatives of  New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Politico were denied access to the briefing. To their credit, Time magazine and the Associated Press boycotted the gathering. Every news media outlet should have followed suit.

Herr Priebus
What we have here may very well prove to be the proverbial tipping point. That the Trump administration had been displaying tendencies that leaned toward the tyrannical is no profound scoop; anyone who bothered to pay a modicum of attention was able to figure that out at the starting gate. But this is something else indeed. The New York Times is not an underground, left wing rag, churned out in some embittered, elderly communist's basement on a shoestring budget. It's the most respected newspaper in the world - the paper of record - an institution that has been around over a century-and-a-half. It's "crime" (along with that of the LA Times and Politico) is that it has been disclosing to the public a few unpleasant facts recently that the Donald and his handmaidens would rather you and I remain in the dark about - particularly a recent report that chief-of-staff Reince Priebus was caught red handed trying to put the old kibosh on an ongoing FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. This administration is a rolling scandal that metastasizes with the passing of each day. Ain't this oodles of fun to watch? 

Did you ever think you would live to see the day when we would be looking back at George W. Bush with a feeling of tender nostalgia? At the Trump inaugural last month, Dubya seemed to be a man almost giddy in his cheerfulness. And why wouldn't he seem that way? His reign as the most corrupt, incompetent chief executive in the history of human mediocrity has come to an end. I'd be pretty damned cheerful, too, were I in his shoes.

What is happening at the moment is nothing less than the rape of the First Amendment. Are we to expect this country to survive if this is allowed to occur? The time has come to take the gloves off, kids. Hurl the shit at the fan and let it fall where it may.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

Who's Making Things Up? Trump or the Media?
by Elizabeth Williamson

This dandy little essay appeared in yesterday's New York Times. Here's a link to read it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/opinion/trump-offers-good-soup-but-no-substance.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

It's a keeper!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Forty-Seven Months to Go


One month into this disgusting administration, and I'm even stunned and amazed (and quite uproariously amused) at how quickly the whole thing is disintegrating. This is beyond our worst fears. You had to be unconscious not to have predicted how badly this was going to end up. I really do not believe that Trump will survive another forty-seven months; but we have to resign ourselves to the depressing fact that he will be the cross America is forced to bear for at least another two years. Impeachment will only happen with a Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress - if it ever happens at all.

There's nothing left to say. This will probably be the shortest thing I've ever written on this site. To be perfectly frank with you, I'm totally shitfaced at the moment - which is the desired condition to be in when one is as ashamed of their country as I am now. I am no longer at ease living in a nation with a population so mind-fuckingly dense that they would happily send someone as completely unhinged and unqualified as Donald Trump to the White House. Don't you dare say that I didn't warn you. Don't.

Idiot Nation.

Here is a question that is screaming to be addressed: How did a country that had the foresight to elect Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Barack Obama to the presidency ever sink this low? How the hell is this even possible?

Go gently into that good night, America. It's over. It's over. It's fucking over,  Get used to living in a nation in ruins.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT, 2/22/17, 7:28 AM:

Politicians from both sides of the gap are this morning applauding Trump's choice of General H.R. McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Some have gone as far as comparing him to George Marshall. This is a hopeful sign. McMaster has insisted on total freedom to choose his staff - without political interference. I suppose this proves the old adage that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Friday, February 17, 2017

FLASH! THE PRESIDENT IS INSANE!


"Have you heard the news?", he said with a grin,
"The president's gone mad."
"Where?"
"Down town."
"When?"
Last night."
"Hmm, gee, that's too bad."
 
Bob Dylan (slightly paraphrased)

Well, hey there, America. Gee, I realize that this is somewhat of a touchy subject, but the matter can be ignored no longer. The time has come to have a good old fashioned, national heart-to-heart. As they will tell you in any twelve-step program, the first step in overcoming any problem is simply admitting that one has a problem in the first place. That way, the solution to said problem - though never easy - becomes a lot more achievable. This is the fundamental principle behind Alcoholics Anonymous - and that organization has been performing miracles for eighty-two years. So, let's just give in and just admit was has been palpably obvious for a long time to any of us who have bothered to pay attention:
 
The president of the United States is out of his fucking mind.
 
When Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency nearly two years ago, no one with an IQ higher than a box of moldy Milk Duds (myself included) believed that the voters in this broken nation would ever send someone this obviously unhinged to the White House. We had lived through the eight-year trauma of George W. Bush's reign of madness, but there was never any serious doubt that we would survive him. The Donald was something else indeed. Throughout the primaries and campaign of 2016, the very idea of someone this deranged getting within a mile of the Oval Office was enough to send the most stouthearted of us into complete despair. When, in the days leading up to the election, it became clear that Hillary was not gaining an insurmountable lead against him, that despair turned into resigned depression. Early in the morning of November 9 it was all over.
 
Goodbye, America. HELLLLLOOOOO, IDIOT NATION!
 
"Always remember that those who hate you only win if you hate them - and then you destroy yourself."
 
Richard M. Nixon, August 9, 1974
 
The instability that was all-too-clear to those of us paying attention is starting to become obvious to others. Better late than never, ay? One is reminded of Dick Nixon. No man who ever served as chief-executive was more disturbed than the Trickster himself. It is now pretty much agreed by his biographers that the guy did not possess the psychological temperament to serve in office. To Nixon there was no such thing as a "loyal opposition"; you were either on his side or you were "the enemy". He even kept "an enemies list" which was somehow leaked to the public during the thick of the politically incapacitating Watergate scandal. His profile was a textbook case of screaming paranoia.

But say what you want about Nixon, he wasn't an idiot. His most ardent detractors are forced to concede that - all of that nasty emotional baggage notwithstanding - he was a fairly astute dude. That's not the case as far as Donald Trump is concerned. Just listen to him when he speaks extemporaneously: He has the vocabulary of a not-terribly-bright high school freshman (apologies in advance to all not-terribly-bright high school freshmen). Here's something you can take to the bank: Crazy and stupid is not a particularly good combination. In fact, it can be lethal.

This is new territory we've wondered into as a nation - and it's territory we would have been wise not to enter. I am not in a position to accurately diagnose Donald Trump. But the fact is, several doctors who are qualified psychiatrists have stated for the record that he shows all the classic symptoms of severe mental illness. Trump's psychological "peculiarities" have been a badly kept secret for many decades. How is it that so many Americans missed it in 2016?

You think this administration is off to a bad start? Imagine how badly it's going to end. We'll just leave it at that.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

This column by Paul Krugman appeared in this morning's NY Times. It's worth a read. All of his stuff is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/opinion/the-silence-of-the-hacks.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

It's getting darker by the hour.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Out Like Flynn




Okay, let's see a show of hands:
 
Whom among you still believe that sending an unhinged twit like Donald Trump to the White House was a really neat idea?
 
Idiot Nation.
 
Every day - in every way - the magnitude of the mass electoral blunder committed by the American electorate on Election Day 2016 compounds itself. If Watergate was a paper cut, this scandal will prove to be a bloodbath. The new administration is comprised of a collection of stooges, representing the interests of a hostile foreign government. This going to end very badly, campers - catastrophically so. Remember, you read it here. Our worst nightmare has come to fruition. The takeover of the American government by a cabal of deranged fascists, envisioned by Sinclair Lewis in his 1936 novel, It Can't Happen Here, has happened indeed.
 
Hunter Thompson once advised us, "Buy the ticket, take the ride". You won't need to purchase a ticket in order to take this sick and twisted ride; the revolution is being televised. All of us will have a front row seat. 
 
What did the Pervert-in-Chief know, and when did he know it?
 
Sally Yates
According to the administration's Ministry of Propaganda, the Donald found out that  former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed the Obama sanctions on Russia with Putin's representatives only in the last day or so. This conversation took place a month before Inauguration Day - a clear violation of the law. But according to Sally Yates, the acting attorney general (before she was fired by Trump), she informed the president that Flynn was susceptible to Russian blackmail weeks ago. The fallout from this latest detour in the Clown Car Show was that National Security Advisor Flynn was forced to resign from his post in complete and utter disgrace. And to think we're only entering the third week of this disgusting administration. It only promises to get a lot stranger as the weeks and months (and years) transpire. Brace yourselves for the shit storm. Pack a lead-lined umbrella.

There are heady days for me. Being from the area where I live, I have friends, too depressingly numerous to number, whom naively cast their destinies with man/child Trump in the last election. I'm not the kind of guy who would walk up to someone and gloat, "Don't say I didn't warn you". I don't have to. One former Trump supporter of my acquaintance walked up to me and asked, "How did you know?" My response sounded smug, which I didn't mean it to sound, but there is no other possible way of answering that question:

"I was paying attention", I told him

This ain't rocket science. The people who now find themselves ashamed and embarrassed for openly supporting this uncouth maniac should have known better. They should have been paying attention. And now, because of this inexcusable case of mass, civic irresponsibility, we're stuck with the gnarled son-of-a-bitch for, at the very least, the next two years. Cancel your reservations to Candy Land.

Way to go, America.

And the fact that he lost in the electoral college is as pathetic a rationalization as anything I've ever heard. It should have been a landslide. Those of you who were foolish enough to vote Republican in 2016 are going to deserve everything that happens to you. As for the rest of us, we'll just have to roll with the punches.

Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation.

On that jolly note: Happy Valentines Day!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT:

I predicted the morning after the election that there would be no writers block in the Age of The Donald. There isn't. This nitwit is the gift that keeps giving. Life is beautiful.

SUGGESTED READING:

It Can't Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis

It's happened here.

Idiot Nation