Thursday, June 22, 2017

Post #718: Random Observations

With my niece, Olivia: 6/17/17
The following tirade is a series of somewhat disconnected thoughts on the amusing train-wreck that passes these days for the national conversation in the life of Idiot Nation. Before things get any better they're going to get a lot worse. We do indeed live in interesting times which, although undoubtedly a curse, is also a blessing.
1. Fox Idiocy:
I honestly believed that the ongoing catastrophe of the Trump White House would have been the ideological straw that broke demented camel's back for the knuckleheads over at the Unintentional Comedy Channel. I tuned into the first fifteen minutes of Fox and Friends this morning just to see what their take would be. To my surprise, Trump's "victories" are all they could swoon about, without mentioning one of those "victories" by name. What was left unmentioned was the continued implosion of this incompetent, disgusting administration which seemingly compounds itself with each passing week. When you wake up in the morning, try on occasion to check out the first ten minutes of that program. It really is a riot.
By the way, is it my imagination, or is Steve Doocy an idiot?
2. Kiss the ACA Goodbye:
In the days leading up to the unveiling of the GOP's secret healthcare plan, Mitch McConnell refused to meet with representatives of the American Medical Association or any accredited group that is dedicated to the humane care of and treatment for people who are seriously or mortally ill. True to form, old Mitch had plenty of time for lobbyists for the pharmaceutical  companies.
TAKE IT TO THE BANK (On second thought, put it under the mattress): A lot of people who are currently insured (myself included) will not be insured very much longer. This is nothing more than a none-too-subtle scheme to defund Medicare and give another tax break to a class of people who already have more cash than they'll be able to spend in three lifetimes.
Keep voting Republican.
3. Bloomy's Gloomy Prediction:
Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg made what can only be described as an alarming prophecy yesterday: Not only is Donald Trump going to serve out his first term, he's going to be reelected in 2020. It's an understatement to say that this thoroughly depressed me; it send me into a blind funk from which I have yet to completely recover. Bloomberg, after all is a pretty smart guy, one who could hardly be described as a right wing extremist. My first reaction was to think that the poor man had lost his mind. On further reflection, however I had to concede that he might indeed be on to something. The people of this diseased nation are so completely dense in the matter of civics, that eight years of Donald Trump in the White House is almost inevitable.

The cockeyed optimist in me wants to believe that Trump will resign before the year is over. He'll place the blame for that decision on the "fake news media", but the real reason will be that, by resigning, he'll delude himself into thinking that the scandals and investigations will come to an end. They won't.
4. And Reagan I Miss You
(Sung to the tune of Bobby Goldsboros's maudlin 1968 masterpiece, "Honey")
One time I thought that Ronald Reagan's presidency
 was the worse thing possible
But that was many years ago and nowadays
that sentiment seems laughable
In 2016, somehow, the electorate
coughed up an unhinged billionaire
I never had faith in the voters
but I never realized how dumb they are
And, Reagan, I miss you
And I'm feeling blue
I've lost all of my senses
I'm nostalgic for you

And see the debt how big it's grown
But, friends, it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
In early 1981 the debt that's now a redwood tree
Was just a twig
Truth be told, all of the worst presidents in American history are starting to look pretty good in hindsight. Somebody shoot me, please.

5. Consider This:

The president of the United States, since taking office five months ago, has picked a fight with each of our major NATO allies. He's also poked the proverbial stick at China and North Korea. And yet all is fine between him and Vladimir Putin.

I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

6. Keep Your Eyes Wide:

I have no doubt that, in an effort to distract us from the unfolding scandal that is destroying his presidency, the Donald is going to manufacture a few "incidents" that will render the more gullible portions of the population sick with paranoia. Don't let him further divide us. We're divided enough already.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A Presidency Running on Praise
by Michael Harris

Michael Harris is a writer from Canada. He has Donald Trump pegged and nailed. A very entertaining read!

AFTERTHOUGHT, 6/23/17. 5:56 AM:

Last night at the local high school, the annual scholarship was presented to a college bound student in memory of my friend, Meghan Sager. Here's a link to make a donation:

A good cause in memory of a brilliant, wonderful girl.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bad Omens and One Lucky Break

Rep. Scalise
My plan this afternoon was to write about yesterday's comically endearing Jeff Sessions testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee (he says he couldn't "recall" twenty-seven times), but that plan was thwarted late this morning by some psychologically unhinged twit from Illinois who wandered into Alexandria, Virginia and let loose with a volley of bullets from a semi-automatic on a baseball diamond that was crowded with Republican politicians who were innocently practicing for an upcoming charity game against the Democrats. Although two of the injured are in critical condition, only the shooter has died. As is my tradition, he will remain nameless on this site. One congressman, Steve Scalise of Louisiana  was shot in the hip. I'm happy to be able to inform you that he is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery very soon.
"Instant Karma's gonna get you."
John Lennon
(Another famous victim of gun violence in America)
Ironically, Congressman Scalise is one of the hundreds of politicians - from both political parties - who are nestled comfortably in the pockets of the National Rifle Association. The greatest irony is the fact that he led the charge in the House not long ago to repeal a bill that restricted mentally ill people from legally obtaining the very type of weapon that nearly killed him - only to be wounded by someone who is obviously insane.  Maybe this little brush with tragedy will make him rethink his position on the subject of gun control - maybe not. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Because Scalise is a member of the House leadership, he was there with a security detail that was able to return fire and take down the assailant within minutes. Had this not been the case, we would be dealing with a massacre here. I can hear the NRA now:

"See? Some good guys with guns killed a bad guy with a gun!"

Do you seriously believe that you are "free"? Dream away.
The perpetrator in this crime was a left-leaning, former volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Already, Fox Noise is making the most of this nasty little fact. That's fine. Let them run with it to their hearts' content. We should expect nothing more and nothing less of them. They're going to be the main agent of divisiveness  in the national conversation. We live in polarizing times, and we shouldn't expect things to change any time soon; although I have to say that I was quite impressed by the way Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan came together on the floor on the House in a rare display of unity. It was one of those fleeting kind of moments one pines for these days.
A year go yesterday, I comically mused on this site how fast legislation would fly out of Congress if an epidemic of political assassinations began in America. I hope something that horrible ever occurs. But I'm not going to kid myself into believing that what happened this morning in a baseball park in Virginia is going to change things. We'll have to adjust to living in a nation in ruins.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Here's a link to the piece I wrote on June 13 of last year:
Nothing changed then. Nothing will change now.

About an hour before the storm of bullets hit Alexandria this morning. I checked into Fox Noise for a quick, unintentional laugh. True to form, they delivered the goods within a minute.
The inmates of Fox and Friends were criticizing the media and the left for their reactions to Jeff Sessions' refusal to answer questions regarding his conversations with Trump, regardless of the fact that the president is not claiming executive privilege.
 Said one of these halfwits, "Doesn't the left and these so-called 'journalists' understand attorney/client confidentiality?" The others agreed wholeheartedly. Having received my daily giggle I changed the channel.
The attorney general is not the president's "personal lawyer". He's the fucking attorney general of the United States!
The dumbest people on the planet Earth get their misinformation from Fox.

Think about it:

John Mitchell
Ed Meese
Alberto Gonzales
Jeff Sessions

We've had some perfectly atrocious attorneys general in my lifetime.
 UPDATE, 6/15/17, 8:15 AM:

1. As I predicted yesterday, Fox Noise is running with the "left wing terrorism" slant. The last fatal political shooting of a right wing politician in this doomed country was American Nazi Party president George Lincoln Rockwell fifty years ago - and he was killed by one of his own. Predictably the easy availability of these weapons is not part of the conversation on Fox. Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation.

2. Congressman Scalese's condition took a turn for the worse late last night. He his status has gone from being "stable" to "critical condition".

Fingers crossed. Hands folded.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The End of the Beginning

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Winston S. Churchill
Leave it to Winnie. He had a quote for everything!
When I got the news in the wee small hours of Election Day that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I predicted on this site that his administration would implode eventually. What surprised me more than any thing was the speed of that implosion. The way I figured, it would all start to come apart by the end of the summer. As it turned out, the clown car burst into flames at the starting gate, with flaming clowns running about the race track in every and all directions.
Ain't politics the livin' end???
One of my many guilty little pleasures is my daily check on what is happening over at Fox Noise. I equate it to watching an episode of Three's Company. It's so mind-bendingly awful that it can be an amusing experience - as it was on the morning after Jim Comey's riveting testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Not to my astonishment, the hosts of that fest of misinformation and mediocrity were besides themselves over Trump's "vindication" (a word they actually used). It shouldn't surprise anyone the complete and utter cluelessness of so huge a segment of Idiot Nation when so many of them rely on Fox as their principle source of news and information.

The question being asked by those who bother to pay attention to these things is, quite simply: Why on earth would the Donald summon the head of the FBI to his office and attempt to put the old kibosh on an investigation that involved one of the heads of his own campaign? Is it arrogance or abject stupidity? It's got to be one or the other and the answer does not bode well for any of us. Incredibly, in addition to the knuckleheads over at Fox, Trump still has his defenders. The lamest defense of all was cheerfully offered yesterday by House Speaker Paul Ryan. In what has to be the funniest justification of sheer corruption heard on Capital Hill in a long time, Ryan told  the assembled press that the president has not been "steeped in protocol".


Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency exactly a week before my sixteenth birthday. If you had presented this same scenario to me at that moment, I could have told you that this was, indeed, a slam-dunk case of obstruction of justice. It's almost as if he's a not-too-bright fourth-grader who's never attended a party before and doesn't understand that pissing in the punch bowl is not a particularly good example of proper etiquette.

The GOP's desperation to deflect attention from the scandal that will eventually bring all of them down is almost endearing in its pathos. One of the things in  Jim Comey's testimony concerned a little matter regarding former attorney general, Loretta Lynch. When he remarked that, at one point in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mail, she instructed him to no longer refer to as an "investigation" and that, henceforth, he was to refer to it as a "a matter". When the right wing SCREAM MACHINE got wind of this tasty little nugget, they went into freak out mode. This, they're trying to make us believe, is the real scandal! Nice try. While there might be some minor ethical issues with Ms. Lynch's action, it was not an obstruction of justice. She didn't tell Comey that she hoped he would "let go" of the inquiry. The changing of a verb does not a scandal make. Sorry.

All the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't put Trumpty together again

A great fall indeed. No,  Donald J. Trump was not vindicated on June 9. In fact, Comey's testimony was more-than-a-trickle in a tsunami of sandal and corruption that is destroying an administration barely in its infancy. All of the signs were there, shining like a klieg light on a cloudless night. His presidency was doomed to failure. A CEO may be able to bark out orders to his whimpering underlings on a whim, expecting instant gratification, but thanks to our system of checks and balances, it doesn't work that way when one is the chief executive. The irony is that the American people are so completely dense when it comes to the subject of civics, enough of them believed that he could snap his gnarled little fingers and make all of those frightful Mexicans disappear. Maybe they will have learned a lesson when this catastrophe has mercifully ended - maybe. But, oh, the price of that lesson.

Isn't this amusing?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This Land was Made for You and Me
Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Written by Woody Guthrie

As I was walking that lonely highway
I saw a sign there, said "no tresspassin'"
But on the other side, it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me

This song should be our national anthem.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Ideological Idiocy

Early this morning I was tip-toeing down memory lane, looking at some of the things I posted on this site early in the fabled Campaign of 2016. I was simultaneously amused and disgusted to see that two years ago today, I relished the thought that Donald Trump had entered the race. To my way of thinking, it was too good a prospect to be true. He could only throw a serious monkey wrench into the festivities and - on the long-shot chance that he should get the nomination - the American people would never be stupid enough to send the perverted little  psychopath to the Oval Office. That's just never gonna happen, I thought.
Idiot Nation.
Incredible as it may seem (at least for my purposes) the administration of Donald J. Trump has been a mixed blessing. While I'm fully aware that this is the worst thing that could have happened to a country as comically dysfunctional as the United States, it also has been oodles of fun to watch the clown car bursting into flames. It's no longer being discussed in whispers behind closed doors. Today on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC, more than one talking head was openly discussing the president's obvious "mental illness" and "instability" - something that has been apparent to me for decades. You could not have possibly missed it if you were paying attention. I was paying attention. You were, too, I'm sure.
It wasn't until about a week before Election Day that I was finally able to swallow the bitter pill of reality: The civic irresponsibility and recklessness of the American electorate, combined with the fact that the Democrats had nominated one of the weakest candidates in their nearly two-hundred year history, made a Trump victory - if not inevitable - highly probable. Our only choice was to make the best of an exceedingly bad outcome. Take those nasty-tasting lemons and turn them into a delicious pitcher of juicy lemonade! The fact is, when I was fifteen years old, I never believed that I would live to see the American political situation get as bizarre and as entertaining as it was during the age of Dick Nixon and Watergate. I stand thoroughly and modestly corrected: Say what you will about the Nixon Gang, no one - on their worst day - ever accused them of treason (or at least not in their lifetimes). The story of Nixon's covert sabotage of Lyndon Johnson's peace agreement with North Vietnam during the waning days of that long-ago 1968 campaign is another subject for another day. Despicable.

Every day - in every way - the situation is getting more-and-more untenable for the Donald and the Republican Party. The GOP finds itself stewing in the juices of their own mindless extremism. From the moment that "the party of Abraham Lincoln" realized that it could gain some cheap political points by exploiting the resentments of the racists in the predominantly Democratic South (Nixon's "Southern Strategy") they have been appealing to the very worst angels in the nature of the American people. It worked for a while, and it worked out quite well for them. The problem was that, quite simply, none of these assholes ever dreamed that the sun would rise upon a day that white people would no longer be the majority.


Deal with it
If you are a Caucasian, your great-grandchildren will more-than-likely have brown skin. It's not the end of the world. As Frank Sinatra once intoned, "Relax and don't you worry." We're the human race. Chill.

The week that is only beginning promises to be the most interesting of all. On June 8, fired FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in an open session. The White House was contemplating stifling him by claiming "executive privilege" but quickly realized that, since he is now a private citizen, that would have been a  futile tactic on their part. My guess is that, as completely dysfunctional as things have become for Donald Trump at this late stage in the game, by this time next week it's going to be only a matter of time before his impeachment is a foregone conclusion.

It's not quite over - but almost.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


I've linked several articles in the past by my old friend and travelling companion, Kevin Swanwick. Here is his latest; a non-debatable essay as to why pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords was a horrible idea:

The guy is on the mountaintop.


On this day, forty-nine years ago, 6 June 1968, Robert F. Kennedy died. To tell you the truth, I don't feel so good myself.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

1917-2017: Jack Kennedy at 100

Jack kibitzing with Jimmy Durante
"Let the word go forth from this time and place - to friend and foe alike - that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans; born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world."
President Kennedy, 20 January 1961
That was then. This is now.
I wanted to write this one yesterday but was unable to get online for some silly reason. Forgive my tardiness on so important a centennial. Things happen, you know?
Ten years ago yesterday on the ninetieth anniversary of JFK's birth, I noted that a nation couldn't fall any further when placing Jack Kennedy in comparison with George W. Bush.
I stand corrected.

I can still remember what my Kennedy-Democrat old man was wearing on that unseasonably warm November day in 1963 when he told me, "The president's been shot". I was only three months and six days past my fifth birthday. As young as I was, something as historically profound as that doesn't really fade away very easily, you know? 
Whenever the American people are asked in a poll to name the greatest president in history, the answer is always overwhelmingly John F. Kennedy. The fact of the matter is that, although it's not unreasonable to place him in the top ten, he was not the greatest. I just wanted to get that out of the way.
It was difficult not experience profound ambivalence yesterday on reflecting on the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth. My emotions ranged between a sweet wistfulness and a blind freakn' rage. To paraphrase the great Mort Sahl, the fact that, in a little over fifty years, we can go from Kennedy to Trump only proves that Darwin was wrong. It also illustrates perfectly how completely dumbed down this country has become with the passage of time. When one views film footage of Kennedy's first European visit as president in 1961 - and compares it with the coverage of the Donald's nine-day-stomp last week - too many uncomfortable questions to list come immediately to mind; the first being: How is this possible? What does Donald Trump's very presence in the international spotlight say about our national character? I know at least a few of the answers to that question, but I'd rather not dwell on them now. Why depress you further?
From the New Frontier to Idiot Nation.

This was a man far from perfect. Like other great figures in American history, he was greatly flawed. But the frailties of character that made him all-too-human should not deflect our attention that this was a decent guy who wanted to do good by the country he loved; the country that he almost gave his life for in the Solomon Islands in 1943; the country that he did give his life for in Dallas, Texas in 1963. For a while at least, we were a better people because of Jack Kennedy. I just don't know if we are anymore.

By the way, one of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we get to refer to President Kennedy as "Jack". NYAH!

I have a number of vinyl records of his speeches. That is one of the few blessings of living in modern times that I never take for granted. If only we could hear Lincoln's voice at Gettysburg. I'll probably curl up in front of the old turntable tonight and give those recordings a spin. It will be impossible not to reflect on all that was. It will be equally impossible to avoid reflecting on all that might have been - but for one demented jackass with a bad attitude and a high-powered rifle.

Was this a great country or what!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to view President Kennedy speech at American University on June 10, 1963. It is, I believe, the greatest of his career:

As someone once remarked,

"He spoke to us then. He speaks to us still".


On the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the LP has been rereleased as a multi-track re-mix. The sound is indescribable. The  1987 CD release sounds like an Edison wax cylinder by comparison. Highly recommended for fans of the Fab Four Action Figures.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Donald's International Stomp

Tom and Dorothy
When Pope Francis first visited America two years ago, he said that his four favorite Americans were Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Martin Luther King. As a gift, President Trump presented His Holiness with five books by Dr. King. It would have been more fitting if he had given him four books - one by each of them. That's never gonna happen, kids. There is no way a right wing "Christian" Republican is ever going to even vaguely acknowledge the words of Merton and Day. No two Catholic writers in the twentieth century were more adept at exposing the utter hypocrisy of American conservatism.

An interesting side note of the visit to the Vatican that hasn't gotten a lot of coverage is the fact that Sean Spicer, a devout Catholic, was barred by mein Trumph from meeting with the pontiff - while other members of the administration's hierarchy lower than Sean were granted the honor. I'm not used to being a champion of the press secretary, but was there any good reason for this? Probably not. I can only surmise that Donald Trump did this for no other reason than he is a mean and malicious bastard. That's all.
I must confess it has been quite amusing watching Donald stomping about the planet with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth. The idea that he is the representative of the American people is a misnomer. He certainly doesn't represent me. I would venture to guess that he doesn't represent you either. His arrogant behavior on this trip - particularly toward representatives of America's allied nations - was arrogant, embarrassing and comical all at once.

FUN FACT: During a closed meeting with other members of NATO yesterday, Trump referred to Germany, one of our closest and most important allies, as "Bad. Very bad". I don't think an American leader has made that sort of comment since the late Spring of 1945. I'll look into it.

But the moment of this trek into nuttiness that stands out more than any other is the Shove Seen Round the World. Did you see? In a pathetic effort to be seen at the front of the throng of world leaders, the president of the United States of Embarrassment pushed his way through the crowd of world leaders, shoving the prime minister of Montenegro, Dusko Markovi, out of his way. Once he was front-and-center, the leader of Idiot Nation stood there, posing and smirking in a manner that would have made Mussolini blush. Not quite il Duce - but definitely il Douchebag. It really was something to behold.

Donald Trump is what the people of this country deserve. I can't even articulate what fun this is to watch.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
The Newest Victims of ISIS:
A mass gathering of little girls

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Pied Piper of Idiot Nation

What Ailes Us 

"We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we're that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered."
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
I first heard the name "Roger Ailes" over thirty years ago when  read the book by Joe McGinness, The Selling of the President 1968. It chronicled how a total unknown, then based out of Philadelphia, whose only claim to fame was as the producer of the Mike Douglas Show, went to work on the Richard Nixon presidential campaign. His job was to "repackage" a thoroughly unlikable candidate like Nixon and make him palatable to the voters of America via the method of media manipulation. It worked brilliantly. Although the election results against Hubert Humphrey that year were close enough to make Nixon's people sweat bullets, he was able to win. Through the use of television advertisements that they market-tested on select audiences before they were aired, they were able to present The Trickster as an amiable, all American kind of guy. I'm sure I don't need to remind you how nicely that worked out for America, do I.

Think about that: Roger's first exposure to the American people was his responsibility for the presidency of Richard Milhous Nixon. It all goes downhill from there. 
Roger and The Donald
I didn't experience any degree of schadenfreude this week when I learned about the passing of Roger Ailes. The details of his death were pretty depressing in-and-of themselves - killed after slipping on the tiled bathroom floor at his home in Florida. How the mighty have fallen. Only ten months before he had been on top of the world as the head of the empire he created almost single-handedly: Fox News - only to be forcibly dethrowned from his perch after it was revealed that he had been involved in the sexual harassment of scores of the leggy blonde news starlets that have been the staple of that organization for over two decades. The best line I read concerning Ailes' passing came from Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi. When he mentioned to a relative that he was going to tackle this subject in his next piece, the "relative" (probably his father, NBC reporter Mike Taibbi) said to him, "Say that you hope he's reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia."

It was Ailes, more than anyone, who was responsible for getting John Lennon to appear on the Mike Douglas Show in the late winter of 1972. There you have it: Other than the unintentional laughs mined from the occasional viewing of Fox Noise, that is the only positive fact regarding the man's entire career that I'm able to come up with.
Fox and "Friends"
No, I can't get too worked up over the death of Roger Ailes. The damage the old bugger did to the country he professed to love so well is too immense to be catalogued in this limited space. Fourteen years ago, at a time when an appalling number of Americans believed Saddam Hussein to be responsible for the carnage of September 11, 2001, polls proved conclusively that around seventy-five present of the citizenry who believed such nonsense described themselves as habitual viewers of Fox Noise. In addition to Dick Nixon's, Roger Ailes - more than anyone - may take credit for the administrations of George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump. He is not solely responsible for the atrocious dumbing-down of this doomed nation in the last fifty years, but he at least deserves a dishonorary mention. All of us today find ourselves stewing in the juices of Roger's sick vision. His success was due primarily to the fact that his entire career depended upon his appealing to the most appalling angels of the American nature. That's some legacy, huh?

He should have stuck with Mike Douglas. 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever
by Matt Taibbi
Here's a link to read Matt's assessment of the life and career of Roger Ailes, and the damage he did to this country:
Read it and weep.


By the way, do you want to enjoy a really hardy laugh? Monday morning, tune into the first fifteen minutes of Fox and Friends. You must see it to believe it. It's that bad.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Putin's Useful Idiot

"Everywhere there's lots of piggies, living piggy lives"
"Donald Trump's administration is beginning the way Richard Nixon's ended."
Eugene Robinson
on the Morning Joe Program
12 May 2017
Jim Comey is a career lawyer who, by all accounts, is precise and meticulous. He is also religious when it comes to taking notes. Apparently he has a vast paper trail with respect to his conversations with the president of the United States of America. This does not bode particularly well for the Donald. According to an anonymous White House insider yesterday, the dude is "completely fucked". We are told that the inmates of this disgusting administration are starting to "lawyer up". Chaos reigns supreme inside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. By all descriptions that have been provided to us, Trump has been behaving like a raging adolescent. These are indeed interesting times inside the executive branch of the government.
As anyone who knew anything about Donald Trump could have easily predicted, the Trump presidency is in the midst of an utter implosion. The surprising thing is the speed. I was of the opinion that it would take until the late summer/early autumn until things came apart. I was as wrong as I've ever been in my life. The wheels came off the clown car at the starting gate. This entire fiasco has been nothing if not amusing to behold. In a video essay that was posted online the other day, Keith Olbermann observed that the president is guilty of seventeen impeachable offences committed - not since January 20 - but in the last week! This is going to end very badly - but I repeat myself.
Trump is black comedy personified. I'm almost at the point of feeling sorry for the poor bastard. His week got off to a rather deplorable start a few days ago when he hosted a press event in the oval office that was covered exclusively by the Russian news/propaganda service, Tass. The American press was barred from the event. To make matters worse for the Imbecile-in-Chief, it was later reported that, at this very moment, he revealed classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister. In his own defense, Donald sought to put our minds at ease by informing the country that, if a president declassifies anything, it is no longer classified. I feel so relieved. How 'bout you? The info he handed over to the two Russians pertainined to Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu is not amused.
The prez stepped out of one shit storm smack dab into the middle of another one when the New York Times quoted the details of Comey's private conversation with him regarding the investigation into Mike Flynn's contact with the Russian embassy. According to the notes, Trump tried to persuade the FBI director to stop the Flynn inquiry. It's called "obstruction of justice" just in case anyone asks you. But it gets worse (or "better" for my purposes). Incredibly, Trump then attempted to make Comey take an oath of personal loyalty - a pledge of allegiance to the Donald. James Comey, to his eternal credit, politely refused the offer. He has since been fired. Put two and two together.

Donald Trump is about to put America in his rear view mirror as he embarks upon his first foreign trip as president. I suppose that is just as well. It'll be scads of fun watching him stomp around the planet with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth. For all the damage that he's inflicting on this doomed republic, he certainly is an amusing spectacle to study. The journey might also give him an opportunity to forget - for one brief, shining moment - the morass of political turbulence that awaits him when he returns stateside. Bon voyage.

In recent days, the Republicans have been sneaking a new talking point into the national dialogue. Are you ready for this one?

That's right, folks! So desperate are they to put as much distance between themselves and this unhinged nitwit that, when the catastrophe is complete, they're going to attempt to put the blame on the opposition party. You want to hear the sad part? It's probably going to work.
Idiot Nation.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


When the World is Led by a Child
by David Brooks

This excellent essay by David Brooks was published two days ago in the New York Times. It's worth a read. Thanks to Melinda Carroll for sending this one my way via Faebook.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Early this morning

 "Mr. President, you're making a big mistake."
Senator Chuck Schumer
in a telephone call to the Donald
I made this little announcement on my Facebook page this morning:
 "I've been fairly tolerant toward those who support this president - friends and strangers alike. From this moment on, if you insist on supporting this unhinged, common pervert, you're just too dense for rational dialogue."
Honestly, after all that has transpired in the last twenty-four hours, there's no more excuses for rationalization. We have placed in the most powerful office in the world an unhinged despot. The irony is the fact that things have turned out worse that even I dared to predict - and I'm a fairly cynical guy. You had to have been blind not to see how badly this was going to end. If Dick Nixon's infamous Saturday Night Massacre sealed his fate, what happened yesterday was the tolling of the bells of doom for the administration of Donald Trump. To paraphrase Churchill, this may not be the end, it may not be the beginning of the end, but it is most definitely the end of the beginning. It's all downhill from here for these people. Let the shit storm commence.
I was of two minds yesterday when I got the breaking news over the car radio that Mein Trumph had fired FBI director, James Comey. It was his bungling back in October that was more responsible than anything for this disgusting administration's very existence. Ten days before the election, when he made known that there was a new (nonexistent as it turned out) angle to Hillary Clinton's e-mail probe, a lot of people in middle America got severely spooked. But by all accounts he appeared to be sincere (or as sincere as it is possible to appear in Washington) in his desire to investigate what, if any, connection the 2016 Trump campaign had with agents of a hostile foreign government in influencing the outcome of the election. I think it is interesting to note here that the three independent players who have been investigating this president (Comey, Sally Yates, and Preet Bharara) have all been fired by him. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
The most comically ironic thing of all is the initial reason Trump's minions gave for the firing: His mishandling of the Hillary Clinton the same "scandal" mentioned above. After nearly a year of praising Comey on this very point, das Trumpster now feels it his obligation to punish him. Then in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, he admitted that is was all because of the inquiry into Russia. This is the gang that can't get its story straight.
I'm not making this stuff up!
I think it would be instructive to point out how completely politically tone-deaf the Trump Mob is: They seem genuinely surprised by the explosion of outrage that this latest blunder has caused. They apparently had no idea that the dismissal of the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation could quite possibly provoke a constitutional crisis. Trump's letter to Comey, informing him that he was being sacked, is so side-splittingly transparent that one is tempted to weep for the complete idiocy of the man:
"While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation,  I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau." 
If Trump is dumb enough to believe that the page has been turned and now this scandal will simply go away, he doesn't have the intellectual chops to be sitting in the Oval Office. Of course some of us have been saying this from the moment he announced his candidacy two years ago next month. Ain't hindsight a scream?
Mitch: The Plutocracy's Bitch
Now the Big Question: Will the senate agree to appoint a special prosecutor? My feeling is, if the vote were held this morning, they would not. The good news is that this nasty little affair is compounding by the hour. At this stage in the game, even some of the inmates of Idiot Nation are becoming alarmed by the obvious crimes and starling conflicts of interest connected to these corrupt assholes. Mitch McConnell has promised that he will obstruct any and every effort to secure a special prosecutor. I wasn't surprised to learn of this. Old Mitch is into this mess up to his eyeballs. Last September he made several desperate attempts to keep this scandal from seeing the light of day. I'm not sure what he's hiding, but I suspect we'll find out in due time. The walls are closing in for the gentleman from Kentucky as well.

Very soon the Republicans will be shamed into doing what common sense and decency should have made them do without even having to think about it. Very soon there will be no place left for them to hide. It seems to me that Donald Trump's administration is unraveling before our very eyes. It's crashing and burning, shattering into a trillion pieces. Life is beautiful.

I never dreamed things would get this completely weird. Isn't this fun to watch?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


An interesting post-election, pre-inauguration documentary on Donald Trump from PBS's Frontline:

Enjoy....Maybe that's the wrong word. You get the idea.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Deeper and Deeper

Sally Yates
"Logic would tell you that you don't want the national security adviser to be in a position where the Russians had leverage over him."
Sally Yates, 5/8/17

Gee, ya think???

Although I paid close attention to the unfolding Watergate scandal forty-five years ago, I really was too young to comprehensively take in the constitutional ramifications of what was happening. I was thirteen on the night of June 17, 1972, when several burglars were caught planting bugging devices in the Democratic headquarters in Washington, DC. Dick Nixon resigned in disgrace a week before my sixteenth birthday in August of 1974. Only decades of hindsight allowed me to truly understand how big a deal the entire affair was. In 1972, I was only a casual user with respect to politics. Watergate turned me into a full tilt political junkie.
I understand things a lot more clearly in 2017. The scandal involving the 2016 Trump campaign's collusion with Vladimir Putin is proving to be a tidal wave that will make Watergate look like a bottle of leaky Perrier. It is not only the Trump campaign that is suspect. The suspicions now extend to the Trump administration. As impossibly devious as Nixon was, no one - not even his most vigorous critics - ever suspected that the demented old freak held even so-much-as-a mildly treasonous thought.

Clapper and Yates
Watching the testimonies yesterday of formers acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, one got the uneasy feeling that we've only hit the tip of the lice-berg. When both of them were asked if they were in possession of evidence that the administration was in cahoots somehow with the Putin government, neither of them would respond  to the question because the answer would hamper national security. For eighteen days after Yates informed White House counsel, Don McGahn, that National Security Advisor Mike Flynn had been having improper conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyac, the Trump Mob did nothing. Yates, however, was fired. The official reason for her sacking was her failure to implement the Donald's Muslim ban. That might be one reason, but I've got a hunch that it's not the only one.

Trump has made a pathetic attempt to deflect all blame for the Michael Flynn fiasco onto - SURPRISE! - Barack Obama. He says that the former president failed to vet Flynn carefully when he went to work for the Obama White House. A case could be made for that argument. But don't overlook the fact that Flynn was discharged by Obama. Also, NBC News confirmed yesterday that, in their first face-to-face meeting after the election, the president specifically warned the president-elect that Mike Flynn was a danger to national security. Nice try. 
A few hours prior to the hearing, der Trumpster had another one of his amusing tantrums on Twitter:
"Ask Sally Yates under oath if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. counsel".
More than one Republican senator obliged the president by directing that question to both Yates and Clapper. Both of their answers were convincing. In fact, anyone bothering to pay attention to the events of the last four months knows exactly where the Washington Post obtained that information. As you might already have surmised, this is the leakiest White House in American history.

You have to wonder why Trump would appoint someone like Flynn (who, after all, was so tight with Putin) to be his national security advisor. Why would he appoint someone like Rex Tillerson (who, after all, was so tight with Putin) to be his secretary of state? Do you see a pattern here? Could it be that these two guys were picked for no other reason than the possibility that they may have been Putin's choices? If that is case, what I want know is simply: How many others in this disgusting administration were vetted by Vlad?

Crackpot theory on my part? Maybe. But by not making public his tax returns, Trump is quite obviously hiding something. How deep is he indebted to the Russians? His own son admitted to a reporter two years ago that more cash flows into the Trump organization from Russia than any other country on the planet - including the United States. If you weren't around for Watergate you didn't miss much. The sins of the Nixon administration are about to become a trivial footnote in the annals of political crime. As Al Jolson liked to say in his day, "Folks, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

Fasten your seatbelts. 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Today would have been the twentieth birthday of my cherished little friend, Meghan Sager. Her sudden passing three-and-a-half years ago left everyone who was blessed to be in her orbit in a state of mourning that none of us who loved her (which was everyone who knew her) will ever completely recover from. I thought I knew what grief was. I hadn't even scratched the surface.
A few months after she stepped into eternity, her family established a scholarship in her memory. Its purpose is to help fund the educations of young people who, like Meghan, excel in scholastic achievement, artistic creativity, athletic prowess - or who merely possess in abundance the sweet milk of human kindness and decency. And although it's not a prerequisite, it would be appropriate if they were funny, too. Miss Meghan was a riot! Tonight the cherubs are beside themselves in giggles. Of this I  have no doubt.
Please, if you have any spare change lying around the house, make a donation to the Meghan Sager Memorial Scholarship Fund.
You’ll never know how much I adored this kid. I still do, you know. I still do.
Happy birthday, Miss Meghan.
Love and Peace,
Mr. Degan
Here is a link to donate:
Thanks, folks!