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


Saturday, February 11, 2017

#LetLizSpeak


Donna, my other love
As the old song said, "I fall in love too easily". I'm hopelessly in love with five cashiers who work at various establishments in the small town in which I live. I'm head-over-heals smitten with four actresses (two of whom were named "Hepburn", all of whom are deceased). I'm in love with every woman that I consider a close friend. These are not intense, amorous obsessions, mind you, merely harmless, schoolboy crushes. There are only two politicians that I've ever fallen in love with. One is the congresswoman from Maryland, Donna Edwards; the other is the distinguished senator from the great state of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.

When Liz Warren first came into my consciousness a little over a decade ago, it was all over as far as I was concerned. We're talkin' love at first sight here, folks. She had me at "hello". This is why I went into a blind rage a few nights ago when Liz was censored on the floor of the senate by uber-bastard, Mitch McConnell, for reading a letter written by the late Coretta Scott King into the record. He said that Ms. King's words, committed to the congressional record over thirty years ago, were a violation of "Rule Number Nineteen", a "slander" upon the character of Jeff Sessions, the avowed White Supremacist who is now our attorney general.  
 
Martin and Coretta
Coretta's letter, which caused poor old Mitch to collapse into a state of spastic apoplexy, was written in 1986, when a much younger Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was Ronald Reagan's nominee for a federal judgeship. Given his history of racist behavior, his nomination was an assault upon the senses of the widow of the good doctor. Most of the members of the congress agreed - including a good many Republicans. Sessions was given the ol' heave-ho.
 
Weep no more, my lady
O weep no more today
We will sing a song for my old Kentucky home
For my old Kentucky home far away
 
I won't rehash my feelings regarding old Mitch at this time. When commenting on him I tend to get a little out-of-control with my feelings. I have fantasized on this site about confronting him in some decrepit, back alley somewhere in the District-of-You-Know-Where and pounding the corrupt little freak to the very edge of eternity. My maternal forbears all hailed from the Blue Grass State and Indiana (Mike Pence's home turf). These two ancestral connections, at one time anyway, made me proud. I am profoundly ashamed and embarrassed by the connection today. I'm also distantly related to Roger Brook Taney - the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court whom, in 1857, wrote the Dred Scott decision - the worst ruling in the history of this diseased republic. The older I get, the more painfully obvious it is  becoming to me that my heritage sucks. One of my ancestors evicted the family of a very young Abraham Lincoln from the land on which he was born. Another of my relatives was Dr. Samuel Mudd, the man who patched-up the broken ankle of John Wilkes Booth in the hours after he murdered the great emancipator. You can only imagine my embarrassment. I'm descended from a long line of perfect rascals.
 
Hang down your head, Tom Degan.
 
The following day, other senators (all of them male) read Coretta's words into the record. None of them were prevented from completing their remarks. That is not to imply that Mitch's actions the previous evening were sexist (although he is, indeed, a shameless sexual bigot) it is merely that, by the following day, he had come to understand the gravity of the mistake he had made. By the time the sun rose the next morning, Elizabeth Warren was America's newest political superstar. As was once observed: There is no such thing as bad publicity.

Did Mitch censor Elizabeth Warren because he a sexist It's really hard to say. Of this I have no doubt: He censored her because he's a fool. That is no state secret.
 
Elizabeth Warren is a godsend for many reasons - and one of those reasons is the fact that she drives the right wing in this country completely nuts. She was, in fact, my choice to be the Dem's nominee in 2016. Not to my surprise, that idiotic party blew it - yet again. Had she or Bernie Sanders been nominated last summer, either one of them would have destroyed Donald Trump at the polls on Election Day. Instead, they chose to cast their lot with Hillary Clinton, a candidate so inherently flawed, she was unable to defeat a common pervert like Donald Trump. On second thought, weep, my lady....
 
Idiot Nation.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED LISTENING:

Here is a YouTube link to listen to Martin Luther King's speech in New York City, delivered on April 4,1967, one year before he died, at Riverside Church in New York City.
`

He spoke to us then. He speaks to us still.
 
AFTERTHOUGHT, 2/13/17. 2:05 PM: 
 
I received this message a week ago from someone I've known for forty years. I'll be merciful here and keep the name anonymous:
 
"I will get used to living in a nation that's not a laughing stock where we can be proud again and not be slaves to other nations. I will be happy to be self sufficient and have others respect us again. How quickly we forget 911 and how these people went to our schools and were our neighbors then murdered all people in walks of life. My grandparents were immigrants and came to this country with pride and love for America learned the language and worked hard through criticism and being spit on. You Tom Deagan were raised with a silver spoon in your mouth. If you don't like the president or respect him get out.
See the rest of the world and how it lives."
 
I deal with this stuff every day. It would have been nice if, after all this time, she might have learned how to spell my name.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Further Dispatches from Idiot Nation


The silliness compounds itself with the passing of each day. The president of the United States is now saying that the media is intentionally hiding reports of Islamic terrorism. Predictably, this cheerful disregard of reality is being left unchallenged by the true believers, the so-called "base". Let me repeat myself: Sending this "Arrogant, demagogic man/baby" (Thank you, Randy Rainbow!) to the Oval Office was not a particularly neat idea. This is going to end very badly; We'll just leave it at that.
 
I cannot see this train-wreck of an administration making it all the way to 20 January 2021. The air of corruption and incompetence - not to mention good old-fashioned psychological instability - is so pronounced that, should the Democrats take control of the House and Senate in two years, impeachment is not out of the realm of the possible. We'll just have to wait it out and see what transpires. It's going to be an excruciatingly long two years, though. Look on the bright side: At least it won't be boring, ay? It's my job to give you something to look forward to. You're welcome.

With a mere eighteen days into this horrific term, one could be forgiven for imagining the worst-case-scenarios possible. When a nation's "ruler" (I just can't bring myself to say "leader") is as completely deranged as Donald Trump, it's not difficult to imagine all sorts of hideous incidences crashing down. When he was being briefed after the election by various intelligence and military officials on the state of international affairs, he was reported to have inquired, more than once, about the possibility of using nuclear weapons to settle various scores. If that doesn't give you the dry heaves, nothing will. This is going to be an interesting four years, don'cha think?  

Is the damage done already repairable? Possibly. It's difficult to imagine the world ever again looking at America through the same lenses when so huge a segment of the voters were unwise enough to elect the Donald on November 8. And it is not a salve on the national consciousness to attempt to rationalize this electoral catastrophe by reminding ourselves that Hillary Clinton did, in fact, win the popular vote. That doesn't matter. It should have been the biggest landslide in the history of the republic - bigger than Dick Nixon's still inexcusable victory over George McGovern in 1972 when he won every state but Massachusetts and the District of You-Know-Where.

This one should have been a no-brainer, kids.

One of the more heartening turn-of-events during the last two weeks has been the reemergence, after a long and blissful slumber, of the American left en masse. If as many of them had bothered to show up at their polling places on November 8, 2016 as I saw out in the street, I suspect that all we would be dealing with today is a wishy-washy moderate in the form of Hillary Clinton rather than what we have now: an obviously reactionary and disturbed guy with the vocabulary of a fourteen-year-old. I would only remind a lot of them that apathy is not the answer. They might want to jot that down on their things-not-to-do list. Just a suggestion.

And while I'm giving away all of this sage advice (free of charge mind you) the Democrats might want to go to where the energy is next time around. A man in his seventies had the people about as fired up as any candidate since Bobby Kennedy nearly half a century ago, while Hillary had them yawning and embarrassed. Every poll had Bernie Sanders defeating Trump decisively while Hillary was barely neck-and-neck with him. Next time around, they ought to see which candidate is generating the most passion and go with him or her. The fact is she is not a true progressive. Hillary Clinton was a genuinely terrible candidate. Lesson learned? I doubt it.

So this is where we find ourselves; it's not a good place to be for sure, and we're going to have to roll with the punches. Late last night  received this extraordinary message on Facebook:

"You Tom Deagan were raised with a silver spoon in your mouth. If you don't like the president or respect him get out. See the rest of the world and how it lives."
 
I've known the person who sent this communication for over forty years. It would have been nice if, after all this time, she might have learned to spell my name correctly - but that's beside the point. The point is, I've never considered this woman to be of below average intelligence. That's the kind of astonishing ignorance we now have to deal with: a population that has allowed itself to become so completely brainwashed, that otherwise bright people have swallowed the Kool-Aid gladly.
 
This is going to end badly. I'm sorry, I'm repeating myself.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Not since Stan Freberg has a musical satirist come along as on point and wickedly funny as Randy Rainbow. He is the perfect tonic for dealing with the stress of living in Idiot Nation. Randy takes no prisoners. We laugh to keep from weeping. Artists like this are to be treasured. If you are not familiar with him yet, you will be. The guy is a legend waiting to happen. Here is a link to watch his latest piece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLaYDmJYE8k

Riot: Thy name is Randy Rainbow