Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pence Dilemma

Dump Trump for Dense Pence
We need to face a few uncomfortable facts here, folks. Good news/bad news:

Donald Trump is not going to serve out a full, four-year term as commander-in-chief. That's the good news (and it's very good  news indeed!) I guess I don't need to explain to you what the bad news is - but I will: Mike Pence might be the next president of these pathetic United States. I say "might" because Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian sabotage of the campaign of 2016 is ever-widening. Pence seems to be on the peripherals of this scandal at the very least. Perhaps he's near the center. PERHAPS HE'S THE EVIL GENIUS WHO MASTERMINDED THE WHOLE SCHEME! Nah, that's giving the man way more credit than he deserves. Whatever the awful reality, we shall see.
This is only one of the good news/bad news scenarios that liter the American political landscape in the fatally amusing era that we now inhabit. There can be no denying the obvious fact that poor old Mike is dumber than a sack of purple yo-yos - that's beyond rational debate at this point;  and we also know that Pence is up to his teeth (if not the top of his head) in political corruption going back to his term as governor of my late mother's home state of Indiana - but at least he isn't bat-shit crazy. Forget the shameless corruption of Donald Trump and nearly everyone in his orbit, including his kids (although I'm sure Barron's clean) we now have to contend with the fact that the POTUS is suffering from serious mental illness. This is no longer a debatable issue. The Donald is nuts. This was patently obvious during last year's campaign. It has only gotten more so - excruciatingly more so - as the last nine months have transpired, and he has started to melt-down under the day-to-day pressures of being the leader of the most lethally powerful nation on the planet. That lethal power of which I speak should not be placed in the hands of a crazy person. Just a suggestion on my part. Pay it no mind.

Anti-hero Spiro
It's like 1973 all over again! In the autumn of that year the Watergate affair was rapidly imploding the administration of Dick Nixon. As young as I was at that weird moment in the history of this republic, it was obvious even to me that the Trickster was becoming unhinged by the pressure accumulating every day and from every angle. In fact it was in October when the old bugger really began to fall to pieces. That was the month in which it was revealed that his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, had been taking financial kickbacks while governor of Maryland several years earlier. Spiro  pleaded "no contest' and was forced to resign as VEEP. Agnew was such a babbling imbecile, no one in congress would have dared to force impeachment proceedings on Nixon while Agnew remained a smoking gun away from the White House. The moment that Agnew was replaced by Gerry Ford, it was all over for the president - and he knew it. Within less than ten months, Ford was sitting comfy cozy in the Oval Office while Nixon was living in rancid exile at his fortress in San Clemente.

1973 was an interesting time to be alive in America. Not unlike 2017. Politics can be that way, you know?

Mike Pence is about as warped and corrupt as Spiro Agnew was - maybe more so - but as unglued as Nixon became in the Autumn of 1973, he was the very picture of stability and common sense when placed in juxtaposition with the likes of Donald Trump. For all of his flaws (and Heaven knows he had scads of them) no one could ever make a rational argument that Nixon was not an intelligent man. In fact, let me venture out on the proverbial limb if you please: It is my educated opinion that Dick Nixon was one of the three smartest men to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the twentieth century (the other two being Woodrow Wilson and Jack Kennedy). In the last thirty-seven years it has become apparent that being smart is no longer a prerequisite for being president. Have you noticed that? Strange days indeed.

Donald J. Trump, on the other tiny hand, is....umm....let me be as polite and as gentle as possible here....Incurious? Every day, it is becoming more-an-more painfully obvious that Trump is completely out-of-his league intellectually and psychologically. In fact (the hell with politeness) if Trump is not the dumbest president in history, he's a cinch to be tied with Andrew Johnson - who served a century-and-a-half ago. In 2016, the American people (or enough of them to turn the tide) wanted to "experiment" with a "different" kind of president. Well, I think that by now it's apparent to everyone that their little experiment failed disastrously. Each day that this unhinged jackass and common pervert remains in power is a day that further seals the fate of that other "experiment" known as "democratic governance". Trump needs to be removed. The sooner the better. If nothing else, think of your children.

I was just thinking, many years ago I had a friend named Tom Pence. He died over twenty years ago at a depressingly young age. I sure hope that him and Mike aren't related. Something that strange wouldn't help Tom's legacy a bit.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT: 10/20/17, 4:03 PM:

There is a rumor swirling about that the Donald is about to launch a crackdown on anti-Trump Facebook pages. I wouldn't put it past him. This is going to get interesting!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting Stranger by the Hour

When I was young, oh so much younger than today, I believed that the United States would become completely unhinged at some point in my lifetime. This idea dawned on me in the waning months of 1980 when the voters of Idiot Nation decided that sending a failed B movie actor to the White House would be a really cool idea. This is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. You see, I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. My only excuse (and it's a pretty lame one) is that on Election Night of that year I got quite intoxicated. Ask anyone who knows me: I'm capable of highly idiotic behavior when I've had one-too-many.
I was working as a reporter for W-ALL in Middletown, NY. Assigned to cover the Conservative Party Headquarters, I arrived at their place to discover that they had chartered a bus for New York City to whoop it up at the Waldorf. Although the polls had not yet closed, it was obvious early in the evening that Jimmy Carter was going to be badly trounced by the Gipper. I wandered across the street to where the Democrats were stationed and proceeded to imbibe pretty heavily with them (it was an open bar). By the time I wondered over to the town hall to cast my vote, I was eleven-and-a-half sheets to the wind. For some reason (was it a sick joke or my utter frustration with Carter?) I cast my lot that year with Ronnie. I regretted it in the morning. I didn't make that same mistake again in 1984. I’ve been stone-cold-sober every Election Day since.
“Mothers Against Drunk Voters”. Does such an organization exist? It should, you know. It really should.
After casting - I mean - wasting my vote. I wondered back to the bar to watch the returns. Sitting there glued to the tube was Dr. William Byrne, a professor from the local college who five months earlier had been my sociology instructor. He once told his wide-eyed class, “In the years to come, this country will move so far to the extreme right that, by the time the twenty-first century gets here, you won't recognize it”. Although I respected and admired him, I thought that he was exaggerating. In hindsight, I am floored by his prescience.
A little after 9:00 PM, when CBS News officially announced that Ronald Wilson Reagan would be the next president of the United States, the good doctor sighed, bowed his head, and walked out of the place. That was the last time I ever saw him.
Although his eight-year reign depressed the hell out of me, I never for a moment doubted that we would survive Reagan's two terms. To be honest with you, compared to what's come along since he left the White House on January 20, 1989, the old bugger doesn't look half as bad as he used to. Hell, even Dubya is starting to look marginally palatable when placed in comparison to the buffoon we are now forced to refer to as "the commander-in-chief". The very fact that a full one/third of the people of this country still support this clearly unhinged abomination is something that we all need to contemplate seriously. It is now clear that the Trump White House will not survive a full term. That many of his supporters are threatening national unrest if impeachment ever occurs should also give us pause. Recently, the disgraced preacher Jim Bakker (Remember that knucklehead?) threatened civil war should the Donald ever be forcibly removed from office. Nice! It would appear to me that the next year-or-so is going to be quite the ride. I've already purchased my ticket.
To be honest with you, I'm not sure that Donald Trump's presidency is survivable. I do hope it is, but I'm not absolutely certain of that. It will take a long time to recover from what right wing governance has done - and is doing - to this once-great nation. There's room for optimism. In the life-span of people who still walk among us, Germany endured twelve years of Hitler and the Nazis. Today they survive as one of the most stable and thriving nations on this troubled planet. It might take years; some of us might not be around to see the ultimate transformation, that "new birth of freedom". Still, as the adage says where there's life there's hope, ay?
I have a feeling that ours will be the first generation not to envy the young. Our parents bequeathed to us the strongest, most vibrant nation in the history of humanity. And what will our children and grandchildren inherit from us? A cesspool.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Requiem for the American Dream
This essay/interview by and with Noam Chomsky is better than anything I've ever seen or read that describes what has happened to America. I just watched again late last night. I cannot recommend it enough.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Vulgarians at the Gate

It should be a surprise to no one the speed with which this administration is unraveling. It certainly comes as no surprise to Yours Truly. I could see this disaster coming from a hundred miles away. If you don't believe me, just click on the archives of this site and read what I wrote during the final four months of 2016. I rarely get to give myself a pat on the back so please forgive me for taking full advantage of this sweet opportunity. I took a lot of shit in 2016 - from every direction - for the sense of urgency I displayed in warning people the immensity of the mistake the voters would make by sending this asshole to the White House. I lost more-than-one friendship that went back many decades. That's fine. I'm losing no amount of sleep over the matter.
And yet it seems that the complete failure and utter incompetence of the Trump Mob has caught a whole lot of my fellow Americans completely off guard. It's an unnerving thing to consider the fact that in a nation this powerful, such a huge segment of the populous is so out-of-it with respect to the topic of politics that they would consider the prospect of a Donald Trump administration to be a really neat idea. A recalcitrant Trump supporter recently defended his vote for this madman by saying to me: "Well, look what he was running against!" My response:
"Well, look what she was running against!"
Hillary Clinton might not have been the best nominee (It should have been Bernie!) but the choice given to us last year was akin to choosing between a basket of puppies or a bag of decomposing ravens. This should have been the greatest political no-brainer in eighty-four years; and yet, for so many people it was anything but. Last year, as they are becoming more prone to do with the passing of each election cycle, these silly Americans went happily for the dead ravens. And there is no excusing the fact that Trump won only in the electoral college. It should have been a landslide.

In the meantime, the damage that these clowns are doing will probably take untold years to undo. We'll have a lot of difficult days to endure for the simple reason that too many people in this country are not informed enough to make the right decision at their polling places....Did I say "Right"? I beg your pardon, I meant to say, the "Correct" decision. There are too many of us who can be accurately compared to Pavlov's dogs, salivating at the right wing scream machine's bells of impending doom that progressives would unleash on the poor and helpless inmates of Idiot Nation.

These sure are interesting times to be alive, you'd better believe it.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The front page of my local paper this morning asked the musical question:


Would you like to know what would lead to sane gun laws in this doomed country? The random assassinations of a score (or more) of our "representatives" (with maybe a handful of NRA reps thrown into the mix just for shits and giggles). WHOA! It makes my head spin to envision how quickly legislation outlawing these weapons would FLY out of the House of Reprehensibles and the Senate if a series of events that dreadful occurred. Can you even imagine?

Please, I am not advocating violence, I am just stating an unpleasant reality. They're not on our side.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Fear and Carnage in Las Vegas

It's happened again. To tell you the truth, we were a bit overdue. This is a good news/bad news scenario for Donald Trump. The good news is the fact that this latest little saga in the national train-wreck will divert the public's attention from the scandal that will very soon consume his presidency; The bad news is simply that the shooter who killed at least fifty people last night in Las Vegas apparently was not a Muslim.

Fifty people. The numbers are expected to rise.
This is a subject that I'm sick of writing about. To make things a little bit easier for my purposes, I'm just going to tip toe through the old archives and let previous things I've written over the years do the talking for me. Here are a few oldies but goldies for your reading pleasure - all still perfectly relevant:
April 19, 2007:
This week, as in times past, we're having all the old, tired clichés of the National Rifle Association shoved down our throats: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Of course they don't - and I'm seriously considering shooting the next person who tells me that. "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them." Yeah right. Were you aware of the fact that gun violence in Britain has all-but vanished since that country banned all hand guns a few years ago? The same is true for Australia! In countries where firearms are difficult or impossible to obtain, the murder rate is extremely low or (in some cases) non-existent. I'm not makin' this stuff up, folks! Do the research!
March 29, 2009:
As Americans arm themselves to the teeth, the law of averages will eventually forbid such an unspeakable tragedy from not touching the lives of almost everyone. It has already happened to my family - twice. Two female cousins of mine - who never even had the joy of meeting one another - (one on my mother's side, the other on my father's) both died as the result of being murdered by men who were stalking them. Don't for a moment reflect on the passive tranquility of your lives and delude yourself into thinking, "It can't happen here". It can. It will. Whether child, parent, sibling, cousin or friend; gun violence will touch your seemingly untouchable lives eventually. Count on it.
July 20, 2012:
This is the way it's going to be from now on, kiddies. When a country has the stupidest gun laws in the western world (laws that are getting even stupider by the year) its citizens should come to expect this sort of thing. Our lawmakers have no intention of correcting this unacceptable situation. Most of them are too terrified of the power of the National Rifle Association to do the right thing. [In 1957] John F. Kennedy (one of history's more celebrated victims of gun violence) wrote a book that profiled examples of great political courage throughout American history. He wouldn't have much material to work with were he around today to write a sequel. Cowardice abounds. Get used to living in a country in ruins. This is the way it's going to be from now on.

December 15, 2012: 

The tragedy in Newtown yesterday morning defies reason and common decency; but don't think for a minute that a change is going to come. Any half-witted, psychotic little geek with an attitude problem and a fist-full of dollars will still be able to walk into any gun shop in Anytown, USA and take home a handy-dandy, semi-automatic, military assault weapon specifically designed to kill an entire roomful of men, women and little children  - and do it quite quickly and efficiently, too. Our lawbreakers disguised as lawmakers will still act as whores to expediency and campaign contributions. American children will still be slaughtered on the alters of greed and human stupidity. That ol' River of Blood is gonna still keep on flowin', baby! Nothing is going to change - nothing.  Why bother getting so bent out of shape over the inevitable? I'm not.

The NRA types love to jabber away - like diseased little myna birds - about 'freedom'. We need to come to grips with some unpleasant realities. A society that lives in dreaded, mortal terror wondering when and where the next massacre of innocents will take place may indeed be many things - no argument there. 'Free' they are not. Let's just stop kidding ourselves here and now, okay?

January 13, 2013:

The gun crazies tell us that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to have the people armed to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. That's pretty crazy, too. The founders had a bit more faith in this new democratic experiment than that. There's a dandy reason why it was not legal for a private citizen to own a cannon back in the day. A cannon, when aimed just right, was capable of harming or killing a whole lot of innocent people. That's why they inserted the line about "a well-regulated militia" (a line the NRA always omits when quoting that amendment). James Madison and crew could not have envisioned rapid-fire, semi automatic weapons in their wildest dreams. Hell, they couldn't even foresee the Edison Wax Cylinder! That's the reason they designed the Constitution to be amendable. They had no idea what future technology had in store for humanity. A bit of amending is in order, wouldn't you say?

February 20, 2013:

Sure enough, and as predictably as the sun setting in the western sky this evening, it is quite clear that nothing is going to change. Nothing. Two months and six days ago twenty human beings - just barely out of infancy - were slaughtered like cattle by some goddamned lunatic bearing a tiny arsenal of rapid-fire weapons. In spite of national shock and outrage and the demand that these guns be eliminated from the public marketplace, most of our representatives are going to see to it that things remain just as they are.

March 22, 2013:

In the meantime (very mean indeed) we really have to come face-to-face with the prospect of living in a nation in ruins. We need to understand that there are just too many people in this doomed country - too violent, too stupid, and too stone-cold crazy - to ever see the light of day. This is not a situation that can be cured overnight by some magical, sociological panacea. This is a condition that will take a century or more to remedy - if it is ever remedied at all. We might as well deal with it as best we can. We The People are diseased. Congress is an organized criminal enterprise. The media is beyond dysfunctional. The chickens are coming home to roost - and they're armed and dangerous.

GUNS! Guns galore, baby! GUNS FOREVER! Lots 'n' lots of little baby body parts!  Little boys 'n' girls, blown to smithereens -  to teeny weeny bits! Decapitated heads and limbs - severed forever by the force of the explosion from the hand of some homicidal half-wit with a serious attitude problem and way too much time on his hands. This is what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Have a look at the autopsy reports if you think I'm lying to you.
April 9, 2013:

But what the hell! Ninety percent of the American people want to see stricter gun legislation and yet these assholes refuse to do the right thing. I can't keep emphasizing this enough, folks: Congress is an organized criminal enterprise. And it's not just the Republicans in the cross-hairs of my scope (figuratively speaking - I promise!) There are enough Democrats who are hardly blameless. They should all be held accountable for the carnage when the next massacre of innocents happens within a few months time. And it's gonna happen, make no mistake about it - again and again and again.  Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans (not to mention Harry Reid and the conservative Democrats) will see to that. This is a fact of life that we need to grow accustomed to.

May 7, 2013

 How "free" do you feel? Free as a bird? That's perfectly understandable if you've never had someone you loved dearly killed by gunfire. I have. I wonder how many of the parents of the kids murdered in Newtown didn't give a rat's ass about the "gun issue" prior to December 14, 2012. I don't know the answer to that question. What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that they care now. They care very much. You will, too, if and when it happens to you. And as we continue down this idiotic road, the chances are getting better by the day that it will indeed happen to someone you love - or to you - or to me (YIKES!). 

 September 8, 2013:

Note to the rest of the world: Planning on a sweet and cozy vacation for the spouse and kiddies? Here's some sound advice you'd be smart to heed: Stay out of the this place. We here in the good ol' USA want you dead. And if we catch you in the wrong place at the wrong time you're a goner, Buster. Of course the odds are much better than fifty/fifty that you'll get out of here alive but why on earth would you want to take such a chance - particularly when your loved ones are involved? Go out and hug a tree during a thunderstorm. It's much safer than visiting the United States of America. Think I'm kidding? Don't mess with us. Stay away from here if you know what's good for you. I'm not kidding.

September 21, 2013

Guess Who
Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's most visible spokesman, will be going on Meet The Press for a sit-down with David Gregory tomorrow. He's always loads of fun to watch. On his last appearance on that program, the hideous twit was literally foaming at the mouth. I'm not kidding! It must be a difficult thing to make one's living defending the indefensible. How this guy sleeps at night is anyone's guess. My theory is that he's simply a sociopath. Or maybe he's suffering from acute brain damage. Whatever the case, it should be an interesting hour.

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy of December 14, Wayne said something to the effect that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. In the case of the Washington DC Naval yard massacre you had a bad guy with a gun entering a military facility that - we must presume - was packed to the rafters with lots of good guys with guns. And sure enough, one of them was able to take the bad guy out. HOORAY! The only problem was the fact that he was able to murder twelve innocent people before he was put down. OUCH! So much for the delightful idiocy of Wayne LaPierre.

September 2, 2014:

A little news item in this morning's paper caught my attention pretty quick. There has been a stampede nationwide to purchase as many models as possible of a particular, Russian-made AK 47. You see, Obama has just initiated a ban on importing them as part of the sanctions against the former Soviet Union because of their involvement in the Ukraine conflict. As a result, they have literally flown off of the shelves at gun stores all across this ruined land. As far as anyone can tell, there are no more of the things left. That's what is known as a good news/bad news scenario. 

Good News: There is one less dangerous weapon available. 

Bad News: In the last week America has become just a wee bit more lethal than it was the week before. Isn't that nice?

August 27, 2015:

And please, don't give me the NRA's argument (and if they haven't used it yet, they will - count on it) that if only Alison and Adam had the sense to arm themselves, they would be alive today.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were focusing on their jobs. They were ambushed. They were doomed. They never had a chance.

May 24, 2016:

This is not "the land of the free". If you are under the delusion that, as an American, you are freer than a citizen of, say, Norway or Ireland or France or England or the Netherlands, you might just as well go back to sleep. We live in a constant state of paranoia and despair, wondering when and where the next massacre of innocents will take place - as it surely will, and very soon. Call it what you will, just don't call it "freedom". Don't insult my intelligence, okay? We've been sold down the river to the lowest bidder. Stop kidding yourselves. Just deal with this American wasteland as best you can.

 TIMELY TIP: Vodka helps. Lots 'n' lots of vodka.

June 13, 2016:
Don't hold your breath waiting for change to come. That's not going to happen - not now, not ever. Every Republican in Washington (and way too many Democrats to count) are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association. I imagine the only thing that would reverse this intolerable situation would be an epidemic     of random shootings of our elected representatives (with a handful of NRA spokesmen thrown in just for shits and giggles). That would change things overnight - you'd better believe it, Bubba! But it would be wrong for me to hope for such a deplorable trend in our national affairs - and I'm not even gonna go there. I'm just trying to make what I feel to be a very valid point. And besides, violence isn't my thing. It isn't your thing either, I'm sure....I hope.

If the corpses of twenty little girls and boys, all barely past infancy - slaughtered inside a Connecticut schoolroom like a barn-full of rabid pigs - wasn't enough to get these sociopathic bitches and bastards in Congress to do what is, after all, the only morally right thing to do, the mutilated bodies of nearly fifty dead homosexuals is not going to get the job done either. Call that "an educated guess" on my part. Don't forget that these nasty little regularities are the price we must pay for - ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? - our "freedom". Ain't that a riot?  

Well that's it. This is now officially the worst mass shooting in the history of this doomed country. More people were shot last night in Las Vegas, Nevada on American soil than any time since the Civil War. In the short time it took me to compile this piece the numbers did indeed go up. At this hour the fatality count is over fifty-eight human beings slaughtered and over four-hundred injured, all while innocently enjoying a Jason Aldean concert. Those numbers are expected to rise before the sun sets on this troubled day in the life of Idiot Nation.
I'm going back to bed.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Suffer Little Children
From this site, April 9, 2013

This one was written less than four months after the massacre of twenty little boys and girls inside a classroom in Newtown, Connecticut.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This Cannot Continue

 "[W]e will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."
Donald-Fucking-Trump at the U.N.
I promise you, this shall be mercifully brief.
It was clear to any thinking person who has bothered to pay attention to the train-wreck that America has become, that when Donald J. Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly last week and threatened to “destroy” North Korea, it was a blatant attempt to distract the American people from the scandal that is destroying his disgusting administration and has a very real chance of putting him in federal prison. Trump has a pattern of criminal activities that may be easily traced, many of which go all the way back to the swinging seventies. He's never before faced any serious threat to his existence as a free man. What is happening at present is all-too-different. This time his billions (or whatever-the-fuck the real numbers are) will be of no use to him. Reality is closing in on the Donald. It's not quite over for the hideous bastard yet, but the train is nearing the station.

I do hope that you're all enjoying your stay in Idiot Nation.

Are you ready for the scoop? According to the demented little pestilence who rules North Korea, his country and this country are now at war. In an effort to avert our gaze from the worst political scandal in the history of this cluster-fucked republic, Donald Trump - this disgusting and deranged little jackal and common pervert - has brought the planet to the abyss of nuclear catastrophe for the first time in fifty-five years. If what has happened to this country has not put you in a blind rage, you really ought to seek professional help - or perhaps you might strap yourself into a time machine that conveniently sends you back Berlin, circa 1933. This is as weird as it has ever gotten. Five times as weird and ten times as potentially lethal.

This cannot be allowed to continue. It would have been bad enough if the unhinged piece-of-shit had been caught casually waxing idiotic on a hot microphone, threatening to "destroy" a nation of thirty million people. To say such an insane thing at a podium inside of the United Nations - with the entire world watching - is beyond nuts. It is a pretext to genocide.
In this morning's New York Daily News, the columnist, Richard Cohen (who I usually agree with) said that the people who are praying for the impeachment of this asshole should "be careful what they wish for"; that Trump's half-witted "base" might very-well unleash a civil frenzy unparalleled since the war between the states in the 1860's. It's more-than worth the risk. An American shit-storm as compared to international annihilation? That's a pretty easy call. Seriously.
I do hope - IN FACT, I PRAY - that cooler heads are in contact with someone - ANYONE - inside the North Korean hierarchy - assuring them not to panic; that the complete and utter idiocy of the American people in sending this imbecile to the White House is only a temporary and rare snafu in the process of democracy, and that everything will be back to "normal" in a matter of time. I hope that some rouge soul inside of  North Korea is reassuring responsible officers within this government of the same thing.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Idiot Nation

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Hero For All Seasons

Alright, everybody, STAND UP AND KNEEL! 
If you happen to read this site with any degree of regularity, you have probably figured out by now that I don't give a rat's rear about sports. Next month when everyone else is watching the World Series, I'll be taking a drive in the country; Or maybe I will be curled up with a good book, or perhaps I'll be watching C-SPAN. I'm not trying to make myself seem like some sort of cultural supremacist - for all anyone knows I might  be passed out drunk somewhere (always a distinct possibility). The point that I'm trying to make is that life is short, and people (American men in particular) waste too much of their precious time on this fragile planet pondering and obsessing over the subject of sports. Because of my indifference when I was growing up, a few of my peers questioned my masculinity. Perhaps some of them still do.  I could never figure this out. Watching a bunch of guys in tight-fitting uniforms jumping around an Astroturf field was never my favorite way of spending a Saturday afternoon. My favorite sport has always been Figure Skating. Some of those gals are gorgeous!
So it may seem out of character for me to inform you that I have a new sports hero - only the second one in my entire life! The other was Babe Ruth - not so much for his prowess as a ball player - but due to the fact that the Bambino could out-party any other player of his age, something I've always admired. (FUN FACT: I was born on the tenth anniversary of the Babe's passing).
My latest (and greatest) sports hero is a guy whom a month ago I could not have identified in a police line-up. His name is Colin Kaepernick!
He conjured up a right wing shit storm of protest in the late summer of 2016 when he refused to stand for the National Anthem at the start of a game. At first he sat it out. Then, after some reflection, he decided to genuflect in prayerful solemnity. He wanted to make a gentle statement about what was happening to African Americans in his country, that too high a percentage of them are being killed for no good reason. He didn't give anyone the finger, he didn't hold his nose or grab his crotch - he merely got down on one knee. 
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Colin Kaepernick

Quite predictably the right wing SCREAM MACHINE went into immediate overdrive. He was disrespecting the flag, some said; he was advocating the murder of policemen, howled others. I imagine everything would have been fine if he hadn't mentioned the reason for the genuflection. Had he told the country that, by getting down on one knee, he was merely doing his impersonation of Al Jolson singing Mammy, these extreme-right-wing nincompoops would have been quite pleased with the gesture. A lot of them would have applauded him, I'm sure, for reminding America of what the good old days were like when these darkies knew their place. That's always an admirable thing to these clowns. No doubt he would have won the heart of Pat Robertson immediately. Pat might have invited him the next day to co-host an edition of The 700 Club. I can envision him of obliging poor, senile old Pat with a special rendition of the tune:
"I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles
My Maaaaaaaaammmyyy!"
Of course, our esteemed Common-Pervert-in-Chief just couldn't resist throwing his two cents into the national conversation (and I'm being generous here. Two cents is a vastly inflated price for Trump's word on any day). At a rally a couple of days ago in Nuremberg - I mean Alabama - he publicly referred to Kaepernick as "that son-of-a-bitch", This prompted Colin's mom, Theresa, to offer us, on a silver platter, the best line of the week: She said that she was one "proud bitch" indeed. I wanna party with that woman.

An amazing and beautiful thing is happening this week: other athletes are following suit - and not only the black ones. An entire Little League team even! These kids, of multi-races, got down on their knees in homage to their brother-and-sister Americans who are persecuted for no other reason than the color of their skin. As strange and as hideous as the times in which we live undoubtedly are, something beautiful is emerging from the carnage. It's something to ponder with wonder and awe.

Colin Kaepernick is a hero for all seasons; Not just Football season.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Didn't you just figure?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Is No Longer Amusing


"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."
Donald Trump, speech to the U.N., 9/19/17
This will end in one of three ways:
1. The generals who surround Kim Jung Un will become so alarmed by the bombastic language coming out of Donald Trump's mouth at the United Nations today, that they kill the hideous little bastard to save their own country (which would make Trump the most brilliant geo-political chess player in world history - a scenario that I frankly don't anticipate).
2. This escalates into something truly catastrophic and terrifying.
3. The House and Senate move with lightening speed to remove this madman from office before he breaks the world.

About a year ago.  I speculated on this site that Donald Trump could foreseeably become the worst mass murderer in history should the American people be stupid enough to send this sociopath to the White House. Of course, I naively said in the next sentence, but that was never going to happen.

Idiot Nation.

Today, the president of the United States may very well have revealed that he does indeed possess the capacity to murder millions of people. Or is this merely an effort to distract the populous from the scandal that is devouring his presidency, bit by bit, with the passing of each day. If that is indeed the case (as I strongly suspect it is) tomorrow morning the topic on every front page in the nation will not be Russia. If this is the case, the man is completely evil.

Here is what must be understood: In his tirade today, Herr Trumph neglected to mention whether or not he would "destroy North Korea" in a defensive capacity, or in an offensive first strike. Since the USA already has a nasty history of the latter (remember Iraq?) Kim and his henchmen must be in full-tilt freak out at this hour. It is my understanding that, given human nature, it its essential that diplomacy be subtle and nuanced. That's one of the reasons Ambassadors don't give regularly scheduled press conferences. The president (who, after all, is the country's chief diplomat) need not stand like a precocious and bad-tempered third-grader on the schoolhouse playground. It's a little more complicated than that....

Okay, I'll be brutally frank with you: It's a helluva lot more complicated than that. The White House is no place for bad-tempered third graders.

I'm waiting to see what the reaction to all of this will be - both domestically and abroad. Today, as he has done virtually every day since he assumed the office eight months ago tomorrow, Donald Trump revealed to the world that he possesses neither the intellect nor the psychological temperament to be serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the most lethal nation on the planet Earth. Sending this man to the Oval Office was a terrific mistake of indescribable magnitude. If you've yet to understand what I'm talking about, you'll understand it soon enough.

As the title says, this is no longer amusing.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Dr. Strangelove
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb

We'll meet again
Don't know where, don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day....

Where is Peter Sellers when we need him?

Monday, September 18, 2017

This Business of Bashing Bernie

The title of Hillary Clinton's new memoir of the ill-fated campaign of 2016 is, "What Went Wrong". Since its release I cannot help but notice a huge trend of Bernie Bashing out there in the Twitter and Facebookspheres. According to these silly people, Bernie Sanders is solely responsible for the sick and disgusting administration of Donald Trump. We'd all have been so much better off last year if only Bernie had minded his own business and stayed at home in Burlington. Of course, they're taking their cue from Ms. Clinton, who puts a great deal of blame on Sanders in the book. It's almost as if the guy had the nerve to crash her coronation.

Please. This doesn't even come close to passing the giggle test.

First of all for the record, I have not read What Went Wrong nor do I have any plans to read it. If anyone out there wants to lend me their copy I might give it a whirl. But other than that, I have more important things to spend my money on. However, I have read enough reviews and transcripts and listened to enough portions from the audiobook that I think I am able to give enough of an opinion on it that merits some discussion. I find it amusing that so many people (liberals and conservatives alike) think of Hillary Clinton as a pillar of progressivism. To Conservatives she is the dictionary definition of the possible rise of socialism in this country. To Liberals she is the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt. She is neither.

I realize that I'm wondering into "cracked eggshells" territory here. On the eighth of this month I made a posting on Facebook advising the Bernie haters to lay off the man, that Hillary was more responsible than anyone else for her defeat. Within one week I was "unfriended" by over one-hundred people. So be it. Here is my opinion - for whatever it's worth:
I didn't support Ms. Clinton in the primaries in 2008; nor did I support her candidacy in the early months of 2016. To my evil, LEFT WING way of looking at things, she has, for much of her public life, been more of a tired and stale old plutocrat than a real, forward looking progressive. As I see it, the sound defeat of her universal health care initiative in the early years of Bill's presidency taught her a lesson in joining them as opposed to beating them. That she is an intelligent and decent woman there can be no denying. Perhaps she would have been a great president; perhaps, having reached the highest level of public office that can be reached in this country, she would have reemerged as the fightin' liberal we once knew her to be. I really do believe that that might very well have been the case. The real tragedy is that we will never know. The pioneering broadcast journalist, Charles Collingswood, put it well. Speculating on historical might-have-beens is as futile as "throwing darts into a fog".

Though we may be beyond the point of speculation, there are a few facts that we need to own up to. Hillary Clinton was an unfortunate choice for the nominee. She was probably the worst Democratic candidate since Mike Dukakis in 1988, possibly in living memory. Most of the polls I read had Senator Sanders defeating Trump handily on Election Day 2016, while Hillary - on her best days - was barely neck-and-neck with him. I know what you're thinking and I agree. There were too many unfair disadvantages thrown in her path: Jim Comey reopening the e-mail investigation just days before the election; Russian espionage with (as is becoming more clear with each passing day) collusion by the Trump campaign; and the very fact that she is a woman running for an office no woman has ever held before - all of these things were a hurdle no man seeking the presidency would have had to overcome.  But we shouldn't miss the much larger point: She was running against a candidate who was terribly unenlightened and extremely mentally ill. She was running against a candidate whose financial corruption was a matter of the public record. In other words, she was running against the worst presidential candidate in all American history. It should have been a landslide in her favor.

2016 should have been a repeat of 1972, when Dick Nixon won every state in the union with the exception of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. On that most consequential of years, Nixon had the good fortune to be running against George McGovern, one of the most decent men to ever seek the office. Americans don't really have a soft spot for decency. Donald Trump's triumph last year over Hillary Clinton is proof enough of that. The fact that Hillary won in the popular vote is another glaring imperfection in the system that worked against her. As long as the electoral college exists, mad men and imbeciles like Donald Trump and George W. Bush will continue to befoul the Executive Mansion.

Idiot Nation.

The tragedy of 2016 is simply that Bernie Sanders was offering the voters of this doomed country the type of a historical vision that they had not been offered since the second campaign of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936. Four years earlier, during the '32 campaign, FDR kept his cards close to his vest, revealing very little of the broad and drastic changes he would make in regards to the American peoples' relationship with their government. The difference between then and last year is that Bernie had the courage to represent himself, at the starting gate, as the true progressive he really is. Bernie Sanders is a radical. At a time when radical change is desperately needed, that's not such a bad thing. I'm a radical. If you examined your soul close enough, you'll probably find that you are, too!

The rap that is being made against Bernie Sanders this week (and I find it highly suspicious that it took them  year to come up with this one) is that he never really campaigned hard for Secretary Clinton and that he even sabotaged her campaign....

Where do I begin?

This is complete nonsense. Bernie campaigned like a crazy person for Hillary! I witnessed it in person one year and two days ago exactly - when he came to New Paltz, New York for a campaign rally that I attended. He was all over the country campaigning furiously and passionately for her. To even vaguely imply that he was not a team player throughout the process is slanderous. Look at the historical record. Bernie Sanders was all over the map for Hillary. Her supporters should know better. She should know better, too.

Do you remember the masses of enthusiast people who packed Bernie's campaign events? On the day of the election, many of those same people ended up voting for the Donald - or the third and fourth party candidates. Many of them didn't bother voting at all.

It didn't become clear to me that Trump would win this thing until two days before the election. On that morning I drove down to my local polling place and dutifully voted for her with as much enthusiasm as I could possibly muster. Maybe Bernie might not have been able to get enough votes in the electoral college to take home the big prize. Perhaps he might have. Again, the real tragedy is that we'll never know the answer.
The only thing we know for certain is that - for the time being anyway - we're stuck with the most dangerously unstable and corrupt chief executive in the history of human stupidity. That's something that should give every thinking person pause.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
The next time a mob of these nazi bastards have a rally waving that fucking flag, I'm going to have this made into a giant poster and show up in person.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Not So Sweet Sixteen

As Irma pounds the hell out of the Southeast today, it's a bit hard - no, it's impossible - not to let the memory stray back to the man-made catastrophe of sixteen years ago. Late in the evening of Sunday, September 9, 2001, I gave my brother-in-law, Bob Borski, a ride to his home in Brooklyn. At around ten o'clock we passed just under the Twin Towers. I hadn't been that far downtown at night in a decade-or-so. I remember thinking how beautiful they looked towering over the night sky of Manhattan. Would George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue have sounded any different had those buildings existed in 1924? The 1993 terrorist assaut on the World Trade Center was still a fresh memory. I speculated to Bob the damage a privately-owned D-10, it's aisles racked with 55 gallon drums of gasoline could do. It never occurred to me that a commercial airliner would do the trick quite handily.
Forty-eight hours later, those buildings were gone forever.
The horror of September 11, 2001 has faded like the smoke that lingered over New York City for so many days afterward. I'm lucky in that I didn't lose any loved ones. My cousin, Patricia Cullen, who was working in one of the towers, barely escaped with her life. For about four hours we thought that she didn't make it. She was finally able to get through to us and let us know that she was safe and sound. The relief was palpable. Of course the families of many others wouldn't be as lucky as ours. My other brother-in-law, Jack Dermigny. lost his cousin Dan. The brother of my pal, Joe Stark, was one of the scores of firefighters who went into the towers, never to emerge. September 11, 2001 was that kind of day.
America's luck ran out on that day. Throughout all of our history, whenever we were confronted with a national trauma, the United States had been blessed with a leader at the helm who was able to guide the ship of state through the crisis with wisdom and clarity. Within months, in spite of the mass good will that was directed at him, it became clear what a mistake it had been to elect George W. Bush as president of the United States. His complete incompetence has been foreshadowed only by the corrupt and disastrous administration of Donald Trump. After nearly eight months of Trump, Bush is starting to look like Franklin Roosevelt. Never did I dream that things would get this weird. Did you? 

Hindsight is a funny thing, isn't it?

By noon on the day of the attack, all civilian, aircraft were grounded. Late that night, for reasons I cannot remember, I found myself walking a deserted street in front of the commons of the college I had attended over two decades before. It was there that I happened upon an old girlfriend. Of course, we were discussing the atrocity of that day when, from out of nowhere, the sky of Middletown, New York was jolted by the roar of what I assumed (and hoped) to be a military jet. Although invisible to us, it was obvious that it was flying at a low altitude. After a few minutes, we gave each other a hug in the darkened street and went on our separate ways. It was such a surreal ending of what had been a completely surreal day.

Sixteen years after the fact, 9/11 is still too depressing to think about. The fact that the American people have foolishly turned over their government to incompetents who don't believe in government makes a terrorist attack on the scale of what happened on that day (or much worse) almost inevitable. This is the grave that the inmates of Idiot Nation have dug for themselves.

Have a lovely day!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Trump's Assault on 'Dreamers' Might Work Politically
by Matt Taibbi

As is always the case, Taibbi is on top of it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

POST #734: Random Observationsj

My third selfie in as many years

The following are a compilation of unconnected thoughts that I've recently written down or sent out into the Facebooksphere. Similarities to any persons, living or dead, are purely intentional.
1. The Problem With Blaming Bernie
I find it sad and quite ironic that so many supporters of Hillary Clinton in the last election are blaming Bernie Sanders for her defeat.
Every poll had Sanders defeating Donald Trump decisively, while Clinton - on her best day - was barely neck and neck with the guy. His campaign was sabotaged - not only by the so-called "liberal" media - but by the Democratic National Committee as well.
Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because, as they've done so many times in the past, the Democrats exhibited their positive genius for taking a bottle of finely aged champaign, and turning it - OVERNIGHT - into a jug of worthless donkey piss.
They were handed, on a silver platter, the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history, and yet (for reasons I'll never be able to figure out) decided to go with a tired and stale old plutocrat.
Ms. Clinton was the worst candidate that the Democratic party has nominated since at least Mike Dukakis in 1988; maybe even the worst in living memory. And yet in spite of this, I went to the polls on Election Day and voted for her with as much enthusiasm as I could possibly muster. Why? Because she was running against the worst candidate in American history. It was kind of a no-brainer, folks.
Every once in a while I forget why I bolted that utterly worthless party nearly twenty years ago. On Election Day 2016, they cheerfully reminded me.
 Forgive me, but I'm still feeling the Bern.

2. Ronald and Donald

Thirty-seven years ago, on the night this nation naively sent a feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor to the White House, the American people effectively pointed the proverbial loaded pistol at their own collective and clueless head. On November 8, 2016 - make no mistake about it - they pulled the trigger.

Then again, compared to what's come along since then, Reagan is starting to look like Abraham Lincoln. Aren't politics amusing?

3. Irony of Ironies:

The fate of humanity tonight depends upon the temperaments of two unhinged sociopaths with really stupid haircuts.

Ain't that a riot?

4. Revisionism:

In Donald Trump's America, we need to rewrite the lyrics of John Lennon's classic anti-war anthem. My contribution to the discussion:

You may say I'm a Dreamer
But I'm not....HONEST, I'M NOT!!!


Every thinking human being is a beautiful dreamer tonight.

5. Twit:

Limited to 143 characters, Twitter is the ideal forum for people with limited attention spans.


Just a thought.

5. To sleep....To sleep....

I have nothing more to say. I must sleep. My plan is to go gently into that good night.

Good night.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


My cousin, Shawn Bliven, is having major issues due to the fact that he is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Here is a link to leave a donation to a fund to assist him with his crushing expenses, I remember the night he was born. It's always been a joy being a part of his biography.