Friday, February 08, 2019

State of Disunion


 "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."

From Trump's 2019 SOTU Address
`
Someone hand me my chisel, please.

It took me a couple of days to get up the energy to even comment adequately on the State of the Union speech. It seems that a day doesn't go by in these weird times when one is not rendered speechless at least three times between consciousness and repose. Although the Watergate era is closing in on a half century, receding into the historical mist ever-so-slowly, for those of us who were old enough to understand and remember what was happening at that point in American history, the eras of the Trickster the Donald and are hardly comparable. Nixon was a thug and a thoroughly despicable human being, but - all in all - one never lost that much sleep knowing that the man was within a few feet of the so-called "nuclear football". As unhinged as Dick Nixon became in the final days of his administration (drunkenly talking to the portraits of his dead predecessors, for instance) he had around him enough people who were rational and fairly competent. I don't believe that is the case as far as Donald Trump is concerned. 
`
The highlight of the State of the Union Speech was when the cameras cut to the women in white. It was a reminder that this country is going through some significant changes, and it would do all of us bloated white guys good to sit back and roll with those inevitable changes. We have got to accept the fact that what is occurring now in America - and around the planet - is as natural as the sun rising in the eastern sky. This is a new morning, guys! The most important national story in the first half of the twenty-first century will be how we deal with this much needed change. So far, I'm sorry to say, we're not off to a particularly good start. This will be - this is - the century of the woman. Deal with this new reality. Aww, c'mon! It won't be so bad, I promise!

There is no way - in Heaven or on earth - that this disgusting president will be residing in the Executive Mansion on New Year's Day 2020. We're just weeks (days???) from seeing members of his immediate family being indicted by Team Mueller. This is as bad as it gets. This is as bad as it's ever been, or ever will be.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Wake the fuck up, folks. Seriously.

AFTERTHOUGHT:

On the day of Trump's inauguration, an old friend of mine posted on her Facebook page what a beautiful thing his presidency will be for the nation. My comment was, "Get used to living in a nation in ruins". This was her reply:

"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."


Errors of grammar and punctuation notwithstanding, after forty years of friendship, she at least might have learned how to spell my name. With two years of hindsight, this note seems even more ridiculous than it did at the time. People are funny.
"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."

Please, hand me my chisel.



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

More Memes


One of the great disappointments of my life is that I do not posses the talent to draw. I have always thought that I would have made a pretty good political cartoonist, but I guess that was not meant to be. Since I acquired the technology for creating memes nearly two years ago, this problem has been partially solved. Last summer I shared a few on this site. Here are some recent ones:



There's gonna be a hot time in D.C. this year. Hold onto your hats.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

Breakfast of Champions
By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

This book changed my life.



Monday, January 21, 2019

HAPPY DR. KING DAY!

Paging Dr. King

I'm almost glad that Dr. King did not live to see his ninetieth birthday last week. The America of January 21, 2019 would have broken the good reverend's heart. Could he have imagined that, in the space of fifty years after his passing, we would go from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump? What would he have made of it all? It's a pretty safe bet that he would not have been pleased. The tumultuous times in which he lived are kind of low rent compared to today. I lived through both periods. As unsettling as things were to the ten-year-old boy that I was in 1968. I never thought for a second that I was witnessing the end times of America. Today I'm not so sure.

With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, commentators began to speak of "a post racial America". Within months of his inauguration that phrase all-but disappeared. The reaction by a significant minority of Americans to their first black president would have, I'm certain, broken Dr. King's heart. While we have come a long way in many respects, we haven't come very far at all. Trump's residency in the White House is all the proof we need to lay that fallacy low. The fact that a known white supremacist, Stephen Miller, is writing policy is all we need to know that the societal curse that Martin Luther King died fighting is still very much alive.


The memory of where I was the moment the news came over the car radio that Dr. King had been murdered in Memphis is as clear today as it was a week later. We were coming back from a long-defunct shopping center in Middletown, New York called Lloyds. My late mother was driving in the east-bound lane of Route 17 - known by locals as the "Quickway". We were just approaching Exit 122, the Fletcher Street exit where the local Catholic high school sits opposite. We were heading up the ramp when the announcement was flashed to the world. Being a mere nine-years old on April 4, 1968, I had only a vague knowledge of who Martin Luther King was. I would learn a lot more in the days that followed. This was the event that turned me into a newspaper reader. The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy two months later only hardened my resolve to try and stay on top of things. If you're not old enough to remember, 1968 was that kind of year in America - not terribly different from 2019. In fact, I'm willing to make the argument that these times are far worse. Back then, it was only an occasional politician or civil rights leader being gunned down. Today it's whole classrooms of kids.
 
"A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
` 
Well, what the hey! It appears to me that the good doctor was onto something there! In fact, we're way beyond "approaching spiritual doom", we're there, baby! Take a good look around you. This ain't your father's America. It's not even close. Paging Dr. King indeed.

"If we assume that mankind has the right to exist, then we must find an alternative to war and destruction. In our day of space vehicles and guided ballistic missiles, the choice is either nonviolence or nonexistence."

That's what I love about this guy! American history is littered with "Christian" religious leaders. Try as you might, you can't escape them. The thing that sets the right, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn't a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were - a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker. Give me a week and I might be able to name one or two others, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968. Dorothy Day left this veil of tears in 1980. They're gone and they're not coming back.

I'm going to celebrate today by getting hopelessly drunk. I'm an American. That's what we do!
 
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
`
And if America is to be a great nation, this must be true.
`
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire!
`
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York!
`
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
`
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
`
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
`
But not only that -
`
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
`
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
`
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi!
`
From every mountainside, Let Freedom ring!

It doesn't get any better than that.

Happy Dr. King Day, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
 
BREAKING NEWS!
The Trump White House has no events marking Dr. King Day. Of course, they need to appease "the base".
 
SUGGESTED READING:

Let the Trumpet Sound
by Stephen B. Oates

This is the only biography I have ever read about Dr. King, but it's a good one. Very much recommended.
  
The greatest Americans had mug shots!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two Very Long Years


Those of us who have reached a certain age have noticed that, the older we get, the quicker time passes. By the time we reach our fifth decade we begin to understand how preciously short our time on earth really is That's the strange thing about living in the era of President Donald J. Trump. On January 20, 2017, time came nearly to a standstill. The inauguration of this corrupt and incompetent putz seems like a lifetime ago. Early this morning I came across something I posted on Facebook a couple of hours before The Donald was sworn in:
 
"Brace yourselves for the most unhinged administration
in American history."
 
Was that merely a lucky guess on my part? Nah! The simple fact of the matter is that I was paying attention. In fact, most of us were paying attention. But for the goddamned Electoral College, a constitutional snafu that was put in place over two-hundred years ago for no other reason than to appease the slave-holding states, this nightmare would have been avoided. We need to understand and come to terms with the fact that, as long as it continues to exist within America's voting process, imbeciles like George W. Bush and Donald Trump are virtually inevitable.

H.L Mencken
I only realized only a week before Election Day 2016 that a Trump administration was almost a foregone conclusion. Before that moment, I had been of the opinion that his victory over Hillary Clinton would never happen; that we would overcome this blight upon our political landscape. It was at that moment that I was reminded of this sage advice from the great journalist of the early twentieth century, H.L. Mencken:
 
 "NEVER underestimate the stupidity of the American public".

That was the moment I knew we were screwed. What made it all the more depressing was the fact that I knew a number of intelligent people - far smarter than I - who were conned into voting for this jackass. How could they not have seen this catastrophe coming? How could they not have perceived the chaos and turmoil that would undoubtedly have come to fruition? We now have - sitting in the White House - an agent of a hostile foreign government. Isn't this amusing?

Idiot Nation

I lost a few friends on Inauguration Day 2017. Three people, in particular, whom I had known and loved my entire life (and still do) gave me the old heave ho. That's okay as far as I'm concerned. What's the point of living if you can't risk alienating a few loved-ones? You've got to stand for something.

This is where we are. This is where we belong. The fact that we could possibly find ourselves in this mind-fuckingly, impossible situation is dark comedy at its finest. We should have seen this coming. We didn't. Shame on us. We should have known better.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

Trump Must Be a Russian Agent. The Alternative is Too Awful:

From the Wired website

https://www.wired.com/story/president-trump-mueller-russia-agent-putin/?mbid=social_fb_onsiteshare&fbclid=IwAR3fmv0FgLHEncD4pYkz9DdpbUEwm4KyhqRWHjtZIa4bs3ZvZYnPjQ9fVSM

Friday, January 18, 2019

I Smell a Smocking Gun

 
 "President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation  of the matter."
 
According to BuzzFeed
 
Cut to the Dragnet theme.

Mr. Mueller shown laughing last
It's now all-but a foregone conclusion: There is no way on Heaven, Earth and Hades that Donald Trump will still be sleeping in the White House by year's end. If the BuzzFeed story is true, it is merely a trickle in a torrent of bad news that is at present consuming the administration of Donald J. Trump. And remember, as shocking as the things we know for certain are ("Known knowns" as Donald Rumsfeld once infamously called them) just imagine all of the information that Robert Mueller has inside his desk drawer that we're still in the dark about. Fasten your seatbelts, kids! And while you're at it, brace yourselves for the shit-storm that is about to commence. Our long national nightmare has only just begun. 2019 is going to be a year to reckon with as far as history is concerned. By the time this entire mess is over and done with, Watergate will be a mere blip on the scandal radar. I have no doubt that, at this very moment, Dick Nixon's descendants are giving themselves hearty high fives.

Can you imagine the good kicking that The Donald must be giving himself on this snowy winter's morn? The silly bastard wanted to be the most powerful dude on the planet earth in June of 2015 when he announced his candidacy - and in a mere four years - his dreams have been rendered ashes in the dirt. He had gotten away with fraud and theft all of his miserable life. He must have believed that the presidency would be more of the same; that - this time - he would be able to make the kill of all kills, the greatest heist in the history of uncommon thievery. He must have thought he would be able to do to the people of the United States what Putin and the oligarchs were able to do on such a huge scale to the people of Russia. Obviously the silly bastard miscalculated - BIG TIME!

What the Trump Mob failed to take into consideration was that, over here, we still have (for the most part) a robust free press. Unlike Russia, our leaders are still subject to be held to account for the crimes they commit against the people. Putin and his buddies have been able to rape their country's economy because, when a rare journalist has the courage to expose to the world the misdeeds of these thugs, that journalist often ends up dead. That's not the way things work here in America - or, at least, not yet. Don't be surprised to find out that, before this is all over, a handful of investigative reporters end up sleeping with the fishes. Does that sound a bit alarmist to you? It doesn't to me. I wouldn't, for a second, put it past these people. You shouldn't put it past them either. Seriously.

And yet in spite of everything, Trump's poll numbers continue to cling at, roughly, forty percentage points. Show me a nation with such a high percentage of the population so willfully ignorant, and I'll show you a country the composers need to start writing requiems for. In his latest film, Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore wondered aloud if, given all that it has become in the last forty years, America is even worth saving any longer. It's a question that has been on my mind for quite some time as well. Eric Sevareid once said of Edward R. Murrow, "He was pessimistic about tomorrow, but optimistic about the day after tomorrow. Since Murrow died over half a century ago, we must assume that we're still in the "tomorrow" that Sevareid was referring to. Not to appear impatient, but I sure wish "the day after" would get here quick.

Keep your eyes on the train-wreck. Remember, for all the stupidity that we have to deal with and digest at every turn and on every day, we are at a type of moment in history that few generations have the opportunity to bear witness to. That, alone, is worth the price of the ticket, ay?

Be vigilant, campers!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Trump's Showdown
from PBS's Frontline

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fcxSCcM-xw&feature=share

This was produced a few months ago and is well worth your time. It explains how we got to this pathetic point in out history. Please watch.
 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The All American Train Wreck

The Grand Old Party indeed


Watching the confirmation hearings of Trump's Attorney General-designate the other day was anything but reassuring. William Barr was evasive when asked about the Mueller investigation. It's possible that he has every intention of sabotaging the inquiry into Russian interference during  the campaign of 2016. Perhaps he is mouthing what he knows his idiotic boss wants to hear. There's no doubt that Barr has all the votes he needs - and then some - to be confirmed. He must understand that if he doesn't hand over the final results of that investigation to the congress, they will be leaked to the press in short order. Also, the storm of outrage that will no-doubt follow any attempt top cover up Team Mueller's findings will rock the country off of its foundations. It's obvious that, by putting Bully Barr on the job, the Donald truly believes that he is going to make this entire mess go away. It's not going to go away. It's here to stay - not only in the lives of Donald Trump and those involved in this - but in the eternal pages of history. As they say, he can run but he can't hide - but he's going to try like hell.

You know very well that this is going to end catastrophically for the president - not to mention us. Some serious political journalists are starting to imply that he's going to spend the rest of his life in federal custody. Last month on the Observer website, writer John R. Schindler quoted a senior intelligence official who told him a week before the 2017 inauguration, "He's going to die in jail". Pretty heavy stuff if you want my opinion. That's why we find ourselves, I think, in an excessively dangerous period: Donald Trump is mentally ill. At the moment he must be wild with rage and paranoia. This is a combination of traits that seems to be a straight path to disaster on many different levels. When crazy people get cornered in the wake of their ill-deeds, they tend to dangerously lash out in ways that get people hurt. If you have a child, friend or loved one who is considering entering the armed services anytime soon, you might want to advise them to wait until the era of Donald Trump blows over. Just a gentle suggestion.

By he way, unlike the official quoted above, I do not believe that Donald Trump should go to "jail". Jail is where you go when you've had one-too-many on a Saturday night and you accidentally back your car into the plate glass window of the local pharmacy. If Donald Trump is guilty of even one half of the things that I seriously suspect he s guilty of, he needs to go to a maximum security federal penitentiary.

These really are extraordinary times.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Monday, January 14, 2019

His Mouth: A Weapon of Self Destruction


I almost retired The Rant recently. I was feeling so worn out by the tsunami of daily bombshells that I was starting to believe that this rolling constitutional crisis was no longer amusing. Thankfully this little bout of exasperation passed quickly. Not to compare this periodic tirade of mine to The Daily Show, but I can well imagine why Jon Stewart might feel a pang of regret for not being able to report nightly on what is happening to America at present. No, I really should stick around for this. For anyone who makes his or her name commenting on the complete train-wreck of American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. the Trump administration is the gift that keeps giving. Thank you, Donald. I owe you big time, dude!

What struck me early this morning was an opinion I read somewhere (and forgive me for not taking note of the paper or the name of the person who wrote it). This person called the events that are currently destroying the Trump presidency as "the most astonishing scandal in the history of this country". "Astonishing" is hardly an adequate way of describing it. Watergate was pretty "astonishing". As snake-like as Dick Nixon was, even the people who bothered to pay attention to his quarter-century in the national spotlight were shocked to find out that the man was capable of taking part in felonious behavior. The Trump Mob's misdeeds are something else entirely. Treason was the crime that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for sixty-six years ago. And the weirdest thing of all is the fact that it was Roy Cohen, Trump's infamous mentor, who sent the Rosenbergs to the gallows. History: It's literally drenched with juicy little ironies like that precious little nugget.

He who laughs last....
`
When the history of this comically turbulent time is finally written, it will be noted that the person most responsible for the complete and utter destruction of Donald J. Trump will not be Robert Mueller; it will not be Adam Schiff; it will not be Nancy Pelosi - nor will it be Michael Cohen. The author of this criminally inept administration's book of doom will prove to be none other than Donald Trump himself. The reason the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened this investigation into Trump's possible treasonous activity on the part of Russia (a hostile foreign power, in case it's slipped your mind) is simply because this fool could not keep his mouth shut. He admitted to Lester Holt - ON NATIONAL TELEVISION FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE!!! - that the reason for firing James Comey was because of "This Russher thing" (his words), and the tweets. Let's not forget the almost daily Twitter outbursts from the First Twit: a virtual cornucopia of direct evidence of obstruction of justice. It's a textbook case of this guy's arrogance and stupidity. As I said: "He's the gift that keeps giving".

As I've stated on this site before: Watergate was a paper-cut. This is a freaking bloodbath. The people who were naïve enough to vote for this disgusting jackass and common pervert should have known better. They should have seen this coming - as so many of us clearly did. They didn't. This is an error-of-judgment that will be a stain on America's soul for generations. Come to think about it, "error of judgment" is a little too easy. This was simply a case of mass civic recklessness and irresponsibility. Our descendants will never forgive us. They shouldn't. I don't.
`
Idiot Nation

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED LISTENING:

Democracy is Coming to the USA
by Leonard Cohen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU-RuR-qO4Y

We listen to Battle Hymn of the Republic today to illustrate the war between the states. One-hundred-and-fifty-four years from now, this song, this recording, will be the anthem that illustrates our struggle in January of 2018.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Fast-Motion Implosion

 
"Do you think Putin will be going to the Miss Universe pageant? If so, do you think he will become my new best friend?"
 
Donald Trump, 2013
 
Idiot Nation
 
With the tolling of each hour it is becoming more stupidly apparent that the president of the United States has committed treason. I should probably wait for the Team Mueller to conclude their investigation before conjuring up so bold an assertion, but there's a lot smoke behind what must be a raging, consuming fire. What we're witnessing, I believe, is the winding down of the most insanely corrupt and incompetent administration in American history. Take your pick of the very worst of them: Buchanan, Pierce, Harrison, Harding, Hoover, Bush 42 - Donald Trump is in a class all by his miserable self. It must be awfully lonely at the top.
 
The Latest bombshell to explode (and it's a biggie, kiddies) is a story that appeared this morning in the New York Times. It seems that in the Spring of 2017, the alert agents of the F.B.I. were so alarmed by the Donald's behavior in the days following his firing of James Comey, that they began to wonder whether or not he  might be purposefully doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, or - at the very least - he was being used as an unknowing dupe by the Russians. However this scenario is eventually explained, it doesn't resolve itself very well for the commander-in-chief: he's either a fool or he's a traitor. My suspicion is that he's an unhealthy mixture of both. For the last two years he has been cheerfully acting as Vladimir's useful idiot, and he does not even pretend to love the country whose constitution he has sworn to "preserve, protect and defend". That charade ended quite some time ago. As impossible as this may be for many of us to swallow, an F.B.I investigation into the possibility that the president is a traitor to his country has been ongoing for over a year-and-a-half. We only found this out this morning.

When Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims (with a straight face, I assume) that all of his actions throughout his two years in the White House have been much more punitive with respect to Russia than the previous administration, it doesn't come close to passing the laugh test - not by a long stretch. 
 
What I would like to know is what, if any, state secrets were handed over to Putin’s government by this hideous cretin? It is almost inconceivable to me that he hasn’t. You must remember that the one thing that matters to Donald Trump - more than anything - is the wealth he is able to acquire, whether legally or otherwise. Since he was vomited onto the public stage a third-of-a-century ago, those of us who bother to pay attention to these things have been eye witnesses to Trump’s insatiable recklessness in pursuit of power and profit. Those who claim that he would never sell his country out by such cheap and disgusting means simply don't know the man’s history of justifying his cheap and disgusting ends. America is on the verge of revelations that will prove soul-shattering. Wait for it....

"A hard rain's a'gonna fall."
 
Uncle Bobby Zimmerman

"I'll say it again: If this hideous, clueless degenerate takes the oath of office in one week, this country is finished. These are depressing events, the likes of which so many of us never dreamed we would live to witness. It's quite a lonely thing when one is an intelligent person living in Idiot Nation."

From The Rant, I/13/17

The ironic thing is that this disgusting administration is turning out to be even worse than I dared to predict it would be on the eve of the inauguration two years ago. This situation is only going to metastasize in the coming months. It cannot possibly continue for another two years, one week and one day. It has already proved to be catastrophic. Fifty years from now, the president of the United States - who probably hasn't even been born yet, will still be dealing, on a daily basis, with the damage that Donald J. Trump did to his once great nation so many decades before. I used to say the same thing about George W. Bush with not half as much dread. Isn't this amusing?

And now we find ourselves three weeks into the longest government shutdown in our history. Think about that for a minute! Not even during the war between the states or the darkest hours of the Great Depression did the United States cease operating for three weeks and one day. You've got to ask yourselves: is this what is meant by making America great again? Trump was so completely spooked by the shrill reaction of the reactionary right wing media at the thought of compromising in order to keep the government running that he let it indefinitely go KAPUT. This is not a president who has the best interests of you and your children at heart. He has created a "crisis" at the border that is nonexistent. In fact, the amount of illegal border crossings have been shrinking for twenty years. In 1973 the problem was much worse than any time in 2018. What is wrong with this picture?

FUN FACT: As bad as things appear to be at the moment, it's only going to get worse before this corrupt nincompoop is removed from the presidency. As Al Jolson liked to say back in the day:

"FOLKS, YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!"

 Are you, too, amused? Brace yourselves.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

Here is a dandy analysis from the Vox News website of this morning's New York Times scoop on the Trump/Russia investigation. I would link the article itself but, alas, the Times requires that you pay for it.

https://www.vox.com/2019/1/12/18179662/trump-russia-mueller-fbi-new-york-times

Happy reading, campers! 

"When other friendships have been forgot...."

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Here Comes the 116th



I haven't been a Democrat in almost twenty-one years. That being said, I could not be happier over the fact that they will be controlling the House of Representatives starting today. Donald Trump cannot be a bit happy regarding this latest turn of events, that's for damned sure. 2019 promises to be the most tumultuous year in Washington in a very long time. It will be many things but won't be boring.
 
Nancy Pelosi is the first speaker of the House since Sam Rayburn to regain the speaker's gavel after having lost it. The prospect of her in such a position of leadership doesn't necessarily fill me with any degree of joy. It's because of politicians like her that I left the Democratic Party in 1998. I had great hope when the first African American took the oath of office ten years ago this month. That hope was short-lived. Barack Obama is a good man and turned out to be a mostly successful and capable president, but he hardly turned out to be the progressive firebrand that I've been waiting all of my sixty years for. The fact of the matter is - for my purposes at least - the man turned out to be a bit of a dud. The Democrats desperately need to wake up and remember that they are supposed to be the party of FDR. It's something they forgot a long time ago.
 
I may be going out on limb here, but my prediction is that, by this time next year, Donald Trump will no longer be president. I'm not saying that he will be impeached (not by this senate - are you kidding me?) but my gut instinct tells me that he will be forced to resign. That will leave us with Mike Pence as the commander-in-chief - a depressing prospect, I know, but something we'll just have to deal with when we cross that road. Perhaps Trump's thinking when he selected Pence as his running mate that he would be insurance against impeachment, much like Spiro Agnew was for Richard Nixon - until he was forced to resign in disgrace in October of 1973. When he was replaced by Gerry Ford, Nixon's presidency was living on borrowed time. By the winter of 2019, Congress will be so desperate for Trump's exit that they'll be thrilled to have even a hopeless imbecile like Mike Pence as president. It's that kind of time in America.

As completely off the rails as 2018 turned out to be, 2019 promises to be even weirder. With a real existential threat to his administration in the House, this president will begin to disintegrate under the pressure.  Shutting down the government didn't curtail the Mueller investigation and it seems to be going in a very bad direction as far as Trump and even his children are concerned. The presidency of Donald Trump can only end catastrophically. This is an interesting time to be alive.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Fahrenheit 11/9
a film by Michael Moore.

I received in the mail yesterday the DVD of this important documentary. Here's a link to order it off of amazon.com:

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/reporter-quits-nbc-citing-networks-support-for-endless-war-7d1ca15cd2fc?fbclid=IwAR17e6yTu_PXaM_3LDCg39P71Ooh-3AkvhGnUT5g0XF2GVUuIk1LTAw5HXQ

A keeper to be sure.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The Worst of The Rant

Me and cousin Madeline
`
This is it, yet again: another year-end round up of the worst that this doomed nation has to offer. I wish I could tell you all that this is a joke - or a bad dream - but this is the reality of our lives. This is where we have come.
 
Idiot Nation.
 
January 4:

This was my theory a year before the catastrophic election of 2016 -  and you did indeed read it here first, folks! Trump never had any intention of becoming president of the United States. He was merely intending to "up his brand", so to speak. As we all know by now, his scheme backfired in ways that the hideous old bastard never dreamed possible. He should have heeded the advice of that great muckraker from a bygone era, H.L. Mencken. Donald Trump's lethal error was overestimating the intelligence of the American people. This is black comedy at its finest; and the funniest thing of all is the fact that it's all too deliciously true!

January 7:

Let's take a good look at what is now happening: the president of the United States is determined to send a former political opponent to prison. Now ask yourselves the following question: When was the last time something like that happened in this country? The simple answer is that it has never happened. In nearly two-and-a-third-centuries of presidential politics in the dark and strange history of Idiot Nation, not once has the victor in a national election ever sought to bring trumped-up charges (pun intended) against the person who ran against him. The campaign of 1800 between incumbent-President John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was the dirtiest, most bitter political battle in American history. Although the two men wouldn't correspond for many years after, I'm sure it never occurred to Jefferson to send his former friend and ally to the slammer. Old Tom had a helluva lot more class than that.

January 14:

With the passing of each interminable hour it seems, the sick joke that is the disgusting administration of Donald Trump just keeps getting sicker and sicker - a feat in itself when you think about it.  Are you looking for a convincing argument for obliterating the electoral college? Look no further. As long as that institution exists in what is supposed to be a democracy, imbeciles like Trump and George W. Bush are inevitable.

January 22:

I just had the most deliciously ironic thought: Germany is now the leader of the free world. The country that eighty years ago gave rise to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis - the nation that the United States saved the world from - is today our moral superior. Who would have thought? Our day on the mountaintop is over. The world will never trust us again. Can't say that I blame them much. Can you?

February 4:

Somewhere, I am almost certain, Oliver Hardy is laughing. Donald J. Trump has gotten himself in to another fine mess. There are too many Republicans in both the house and the senate who know that their chances of being re-elected in November are a fraction less than zero. As a result a whole helluva lot of them are retiring - "to spend more time with their families". Of course they are. And now that tooting the idiotic party line is no longer beneficial to their reputations, they're speaking their minds - to the utter detriment of Trump. One of these soon-to-be retirees is Trey Gowdy, an excitable right wing congressman from South Carolina. He will be bolting the congress next January after serving eight years. He said in no uncertain terms yesterday that that release of Devin Nunes' pathetic little memo should have no bearing on the Mueller investigation, and that the Feds were correct in their decision to peruse the Steele dossier. He's not the only one speaking his mind. Trump's political fortunes are devaluating by the day. Isn't this oodles of fun to watch?

February 16:

Here's a tasty little morsel of fact to munch on with your morning coffee: Since the massacre of twenty little girls and boys - and the six women whose job it was to educate and protect them - inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, 2012, there have been over sixteen hundred mass shootings in the United States of America. Since that time over three-hundred shootings took place on the campuses of public schools. Ain't that a riot? On the day that the mutilated bodies of twenty little children - all barely out of infancy - became acceptable "collateral damage" to the House of Reprehensibles, the Senate and the National Rifle Association, this doomed country hurled itself - head first and smiling - straight into the pit of hell.

February 21:

Fifty years ago it was the college students of America that shook this country up and turned it around. This new revolution will be waged by mere teenagers in high school. They're standing up and are refusing to be sacrificed on the altars of political expediency, corporate greed and human stupidity. After sixteen students and one faculty member in their Parkland, Florida school were slaughtered last week by some homicidal psychotic who was able to obtain a rapid-fire weapon that, in a civilized country, he never would have had access to, the survivors of the massacre are determined that they are not going to live in a country where that sort of tragedy has become the new norm. They have decided that the politicians in Washington who are there merely to serve as handmaidens to the National Rifle Association are going to finally do the right thing by the children of this country or they're going to disappear forever.
`
These kids are pissed, Buster. You'd better believe it.

February 25:

Let's just get it out in the open: while requiring the teachers of our children to carry a weapon may be a hysterically funny thing to even visualize (no argument there) it is also an appallingly bad idea. If you had told me on the day I started this site that in less than twelve years I would be writing about such things, I probably would have felt your forehead. Show me a president that is taking seriously the idea of turning our nation's schools into armed camps and I'll show you a president who has lost his fucking mind. Of course I have known this unsettling fact about Donald Trump for over three decades. Many of you had to find out the hard way. Life can be funny that way, you know?

March12:

The implosion is occurring before our eyes. Scores of administration officials have been fleeing like rats from this sinking ship. Vladimir Putin may be many things, but he's not an idiot. His goal was to weaken America by placing in the White House  a genuine idiot - and quite possibly a paid agent in the service of his government. If I'm correct in my suspicions (and I believe that I am) this is the worst possible nightmare we could ever have dreamed of  encountering. I'm not an advocate of the death penalty - and nothing is ever going to change that - but I think it is worth taking note of the fact that, sixty-five years ago in June, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were strapped into the electric chair and executed for far less than (what it is becoming more-and-more apparent with each passing day) the president of the United States of America is culpable of. No misdemeanors here, kiddies. These are the highest of crimes.

March 15:

It was a thrilling time to be alive. Being born in 1958, I could see the change. The clouds were ascending. I really believed that things would eventually turn for the better. I was barely old enough to remember the America of segregation and Jim Crow. In spite of the elevation of a failed, feeble-minded "B" movie actor, I never - for a moment - doubted that America would move forward. Even the arrival on the scene of George W. Bush was not enough to dim my essential optimism for the future of this country. By contrast with what we have now, Bush is starting to look presidential. And Reagan? He's starting to look like George Freakin' Washington! That was then. This is now. As far as my worthless generation is concerned, the party's over. It's time to call it a day. Our generation was handed a nation, that while not perfect, was functional. And what have we handed over to our descendants? A shithole. What a legacy!

March 25:

This week I am more optimistic for the future of this country than I've been since I can remember - perhaps more than I've ever been. Think about it: In November, kids who were born in the year 2000 will be voting for the first time. They are determined to be part of the process and they're pissed - you'd better believe it, Buster. Theirs is the generation that is going to save this nation, and they began to make their presence known during the March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, 2018 - a day that will be remembered in history. They will continue to be heard on Election Day in November. Theirs is the generation that is going to tear this country down and turn it around. 

March 29:

Ask yourselves the following question: If Donald Trump is as innocent as he claims to be, why has he been wasting so much of his precious POTUS time attempting to throw one wrench after another into the Mueller investigation's finely-oiled machine? As a fellow Republican remarked recently, if the president is innocent, he should act like he's innocent. In spite of all this, a report yesterday tells us that the man's polling numbers are up this week - by seven points - thirty-five to forty-two percent! When I first read these numbers my only thought was, what in the hell is the matter with these nutty Americans? Is it something in the Kool-Aid? Are the tin-foil hats wrapped around their little minds a tad too tight? Why are so many of us so easily deceived? To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, I may not be a gourmet, but I can tell the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

April 22:

There was no doubt about it: the office of the speaker of the House was not a bit happy back in November when the Chaplain of that body offered a gentle prayer that the tax law which was being debated at that very moment be fair to everyone. Not an hour had gone by when one of Ryan's toadies made his way into the good father's office and let him know that he should focus his prayers on something a little less specific. Adhering to the philosophy of Jesus Christ was something that good Christians just don't do - not as far as the modern-day Republican party is concerned. All pretense of theirs being "the party of Christian values" should have gone out of the window and into the trash bin decades ago. This isn't a political party, it's a cult.

May 10:

A day no longer needs to pass. With the passing of each hour the scope and depth of the current administration's complete corruption astounds. Had you bothered to pay attention during the sense-crippling campaign of 2016, one knew in one's heart, with the announcement of Donald Trump’s victory in November, that this was going to end badly. The question is: who could possibly have anticipated that the catastrophe would be this pronounced? Who would have dreamed, sixteen months into this disgusting president’s reign of error and stupidity, that some of us would be nostalgic for George W. Bush? The most gratifying thing of all is the fact that even the stooges at Fox Noise (some of them anyway) are beginning to figure this out. These are incredible things to be able to bear witness to.

May 24:

Today just might turn out to be the day that the constitutional shit hits the old fan. In an unprecedented move that has legal scholars baffled (if not horrified) the Department of Justice caved in this week to the demands of the Republicans - with backing from the White House, of course - to allow Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, two unabashed supporters of the common pervert currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, access to the evidence that the Mueller team has, thus far, been able to accumulate on Trump and his cohorts. Naturally and not unreasonably, the Democrats have called "FOUL!". Although it is unheard of that a prosecutor would allow a prospective defendant's team to investigate evidence before an indictment is even issued, the Dems' argument is that it should be the bi-partisan "Gang of Eight" that should be the ones to review what Mueller has. White House spokes-stooge, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters yesterday (with what I must assume was a straight face) that the reason the loyal opposition  won't be allowed into the process is because they haven't requested to be there.

June 16:
Why is this man smiling?

The heat just got turned up ten notches for Donald Trump. It's a fairly safe bet that, at this hour, the poor old geezer is in double freak out mode - screaming obscenities at the television in the middle of the night; gorging himself on cheeseburgers and ice cream; standing half naked in the dark on the Truman Balcony, cursing at fate, how it could have allowed him to be caught in the middle of the atrocious mess he now finds himself in. He's now at the point where he could easily be envious of Dick Nixon during the worst days of Watergate. That affair was nothing - a mere blip on the proverbial scandal screen. Treason is serious stuff. Has anyone reminded him that Tuesday will mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of the day that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the electric chair for that very crime? Has it dawned on him the irony that it was his mentor, Roy Cohen, who prosecuted the two of him and sent them to their deaths? It must not be much fun being Donald Trump these days. Call it an educated guess.

June 18:

Donald Trump is what we have become, folks. He is everything, wrapped up into one repulsive human being that the rest of this tired planet has come to view in the American character with a sense of revulsion and alarm. We should have seen this self-inflicted catastrophe coming from ten-thousand miles down the road. We didn't. Idiot Nation.
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Around five years ago I wrote on this site that in a generation or so, we who call ourselves "white" would no longer be in the majority, and that the big story of the first half of the twenty-first century would be how we reacted to this new reality. This week we were all given a nasty preview of how ugly this new change is going to be.

June 26:

Remember the good old days when Donald Trump was merely a goldmine-source of unintentional comedy? That's not to say that the guy is no longer ripe for satire and dark humor; he is. The problem is that what has happened to America is no longer particularly funny. I've been saying for nearly eighteen months, "This is going to end badly". The word "bad" can be read in many different ways. I fell down a flight of stairs in my house a couple of months back, and while this not a good thing it certainly wasn't "tragic". The administration of Donald J. Trump is going to end tragically - and not just for him, his associates and his family. This administration is going to end tragically for all of us. The writing is on the wall, folks - minus the errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

July 18:

Imagine....just imagine....if Barack Obama, standing next to the president of the former Soviet Union, had sold out his country as blatantly and as shamelessly as Donald Trump did two days ago at the Helsinki "summit" between himself and Vladimir Putin. Can you even imagine the howl of unanimous, righteous indignation that would have exploded from the conservatives within congress and without? Fox Noise and the right wing SCREAM MACHINE would have blown their collective gaskets; The House Judiciary Committee would not have bothered  waiting for the niceties of the impeachment process. They would have lynched him on the spot. There are a different set of rules in our society for men with dark skin. Don't you forget it, Bubba.

July 28:

I'm not implying that der Donald would shoot his former "fixer" out in the middle of New York City for all the world to behold, but Cohen must sleep a little uneasy these days knowing about the character of the man he worked for at one time. Given the fact that Vladimir Putin has made quite an investment in the very existence of a Trump administration, and taking into consideration that THE VLAD is not unknown for sending hired assassins out on little "errands" - in other countries even - poor old Michael must be just a bit nervous these mornings when he puts the keys in his ignition.

August 7:

What the hell is going on here? Why on earth would the Donald stupidly go on Twitter and admit that, yes, his "wonderful son" Donald Jr. did, in fact, meet with operatives of the Putin government inside of Trump Tower in June of 2016 in order to obtain intelligence ("dirt") on Hillary Clinton, but that it was merely politics as usual and that everybody does it. Nothing to see here, folks! Break it up, the show's over! Everybody just move along!

August 21:

With the conviction of Paul Manafort a lot of things can happen now. Is he counting on a pardon from the Donald? Is a pardon forthcoming? Has some kind of shady deal been made? I kind of doubt that Paulie is going to fall on his sword like a good soldier and go gently into the night. If he really has something completely damaging on the president I imagine he's stalling for time waiting for his sentencing. His problem (and it's a big one) is that the second trial involves the state of New York, where a presidential pardon is not applicable. When that trial is over my theory is that Trump will issue a pardon.

August 28:
 
When McCain first sought the presidency in 2000, he beat George W. Bush early on in the New Hampshire primaries. Next on the trail was South Carolina. The Bush Mob went into that state with a nicely revamped version of the so-called "Southern Strategy" used so effectively by Dick Nixon during the campaign of 1968. In a series of "robo-calls" that bombarded that state, a recorded voice asked potential voters a series of questions. One of those questions was "How would you react if you were to learn that Senator John McCain had fathered a child with a black prostitute?" A few years earlier, John and his wife, Cindy, had adopted a dark-skinned baby, orphaned in South Asia. Bush and his henchmen knew damned well that South Carolinians would see campaign photographs of the McCain family and put two-and-two together. It was the most despicable political dirty trick in modern times: exploiting the love that this couple offered a homeless little girl in order to bring into existence the most corrupt administration in the history of this republic - up to that time.

September 3:

One has to seriously wonder what the people in his inner circle are thinking these days. Are they walking on cracked egg shells? My suspicion is that they're telling this president everything he wants to hear. Those are the types of people Donald Trump has always surrounded himself with. That's why this disgusting administration was doomed for failure. Jack Kennedy, Barack Obama and Dwight Eisenhower always had advisors on hand who would let them know when they were blowing it. Not Trump. All he's ever known in his career are blubbering sycophants, yessing him to his heart's content. Now the silly dingbat is cornered with nowhere to flee to. Bobby Mueller and company are zeroing in and the Donald is desperate. This is ending very badly.

September 12:
There will be no Donald J. Trump Schools - public or private. There will be no Donald J. Trump Memorial Highways. There will be no Donald J. Trump National Parks. There will be no Donald J. Trump Airports. There will be no Donald J. Trump Hospitals. There will be no Donald J. Trump Centers for the Arts. There will be no statues erected to the memory of Donald J. Trump. There will be no Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum.
`
There's never going to be a Donald J. Trump Memorial Anything. Okay, I'll compromise: perhaps they might one day dedicate a Donald J. Trump Memorial Rest Area in the center of the Long Island Expressway; a place where weary motorists might stop to relieve themselves. Yeah, that would possibly work; but other than that....

September 19:

It all comes down to this: the president of the United States is seriously - dangerously - disturbed. This situation (amusing as it is) cannot continue. It is obvious that Donald J. Trump is a paid agent on a hostile foreign government. Vladimir Putin put the bastard in office for the sole purpose of doing as much damage to America's political infrastructure as is possible to do - and Trump is cheerfully complying. As things stand now, that damage will take a generation or more to be undone. If he is allowed to complete this first term, or, Heaven forbid, be elected to a second, we will be long past the point of no return. This is an emergency. Calling all cars.

October 5:

This cannot be emphasized enough: A president who is now under criminal investigation for possible treason should not be nominating anyone to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh is on record for having stated that a president has the constitutional right to pardon himself for any high crimes and misdemeanors committed while in office. When asked if he still believed this nonsense last week during his confirmation hearings (which seems like a hundred years ago) the judge refused to answer the question. It is for this reason alone, I believe, that he was Donald Trump's choice. When he was filtered by the Trump Mob for the nomination, was he asked if he still believed that a president had a license to break the law? My bet is that he was - and that his answer was a resounding "YES". If it is proved that the president of the United States conspired with a hostile foreign power to subvert the results of a national election, then all of his judicial appointments should be impeached.

10/27/18:

Something occurred this week that hasn't happened in over a century and a half - Friday April 14, 1865 to be precise: a mass assassination attempt. That was the night when Johnny Booth and his band of misfit conspirators attempted to murder President Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Henry Seward. Lincoln, as we all know, didn't survive the night. Seward was seriously wounded while Johnson's assailant got cold feet at the last moment. When America woke up to the news of the attacks on the following morning, Saturday April 15, it began one of the darkest periods of morning in the history of the United States up to that point. Those were some pretty strange days in America. These are some pretty strange days in America, too. Strange days indeed.

November 15:

It didn't take der Donald very long to fire Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Anyone paying even moderate attention knew that the dirty old psychopath would do the deed after the midterms were over; but even as blatant a cynic as I was surprised at the speed with which it was carried out. Scarcely a day after the polls closed across Idiot Nation, poor old Jefferson Beauregard was sent a'packin. Trump never attempted to conceal his reasoning: Sessions had recused himself from oversight of Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign's possible conspiracy with a hostile foreign government to subvert the election process. Trump saw this as an act of disloyalty. Had he been smart (which, of course, he isn't) he could have saved himself a wee bit of face by saying that he gave Sessions the old heave ho because he is, in non-debatable fact, the most incompetent, racist attorney general in a century or more. He didn't. I guess he couldn't bring himself to even feign compassion for any minority.

November 24:

These days I am at the point where I don't even like leaving my house. There's too much transpiring on an hourly basis to distract one's attention from the computer screen - and I've misplaced the damned cellphone! This black comedy has taken on a new meaning with an ominous plot-shift. The time it took for this country to get to this point was at such a glacial-nails-pace that, if you weren't paying attention between 1981 and now, you didn't notice the change. That's one of my most debilitating curses: I make it a point to pay attention to these kinds of things. I'm nostalgic for Ronald Reagan. George W. Bush is starting to look like Theodore Roosevelt. I can scarcely believe that I wrote those last two sentences. The damage that American politicians have done to this doomed nation is going to take generations to undo - if it is ever undone at all.  The United States of America has become too unhinged to be taken seriously any longer. All bets are off. This is the way it's going to be from now on.

It's become a freaking mantra for me: Get used to living in a nation in ruins.

November 27:

A state run propaganda television network run by Donald Trump? Call it a silly hunch on my part but I don't think that this is a particularly good idea. State TV is something usually associated with Russia or China - not the United States of America. Having said that, I do hope that it does indeed comes to fruition. Let's face it, folks, something like that would be an absolute howl, and would only offer volumes of material for people like me. Can you imagine? Watching grownups trying to put a smiley face on the carcass of a decomposing pig is always oodles of fun. That's what makes Fox Noise (Sean Hannity and Fox and Friends in particular) such a scream to watch.

November 29:

The comparisons are irresistible: on the one hand we have Team Mueller - noses to the grindstone, determined and dedicated, steely-eyed and serious professionals. On the other hand there are Donald Trump and Paul Manafort - stumbling about with one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel. For every clever legal "maneuver" they seem to be digging themselves deeper. It goes without saying that the two of these clowns have met their match in Bob Mueller, and it sure is an amusing to behold. With the passing of each day - of each hour - this scandal gets more and more intriguing.  

December 14:

Our esteemed president didn't do himself any favors the other day when he sat down for a photo-op with his political opposition in the Oval Office. It was quite a scene to be sure. Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were quite animated throughout the event. Mike Pence, on the other hand, looked for all the world as if he was auditioning for the lead role in the sequel of Weekend At Bernie's

December 18:

If this president was not so blatantly transparent it would be a lot easier to take him seriously. We're now threatened with a government shutdown on Friday if Trump doesn't get his five billion for the wall on the border of Mexico. That money will not be forthcoming and it's a cinch to predict that the Christmas Shutdown of 2018 is going to happen. Why would the Donald do something so stupid and reckless? I'm sure I'm not the only person to have figured this out, but by shutting down the government Trump believes he will be able to shut down the investigation that is currently being done on the conspiracy to corrupt the election of 2016. This is what the despicable little thug is up to - count on it. It was something to behold.
 
December 29:

Donald Trump's shutdown last week of the government he's charged with overseeing was the icing on an extremely nasty tasting cake. The damage that this obviously demented old freak is doing to the nation that he doesn't even pretend to love will be lasting and (I'm starting to fear) irreparable. The experts tell us that it is unfair and wrong to diagnose mental illness in someone without a thorough examination of that person's psychological makeup. I disagree entirely. You don't need a doctorate in order to understand that the ragged man standing on the corner of West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue screaming obscenities at pigeons has got some serious issues. Such is the case with the president of the United States. It was obvious three-and-a-half years ago when he announced his candidacy. It was obvious for thirty years to anyone of us who bothered to pay even scant attention to this guy. Not enough people were paying attention during the campaign of 2016. They're starting to pay attention in the final days of 2018. Have you noticed that?

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Wasn't that a time? 2018 is over. Good riddance.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY