Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Man for All Treasons

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.

Former CIA director John Brennan - hardly a far-left ideologue - has stated publically that, in his opinion, the president of the united States is guilty of treason; John McCain has called the presidents statements "disgraceful"; even corrupt and hideous old Mitch McConnell has taken to himself to remind his constituents that Putin is not a friend of America. When one's standards have sunk so low that they offend Mitch, that doesn't bode particularly well for the one doing the offending. It may be reasonably argued that what happened in Helsinki on Monday was the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. The bells of doom are tolling for this for the most insanely corrupt, incompetent administration in the history of Idiot Nation.

The most amazing thing about the Helsinki summit, - even    more so than the revolting and unintentionally hysterical joint press conference between the Donald and Vlad - was the fact that they both met with each other for two hours - alone. This was nothing short of unprecedented. When an American chief-executive meets with the head of any  government - especially a hostile government - always present are his key foreign policy advisors. Trump insisted that this little conference be conducted between Putin and himself, with only their interpreters present. Not even the unhinged ideologue, John Bolton, was permitted to take part in the festivities. Something like this has never happened before. It is laughably obvious that the president wanted to discuss a few "matters" that are a tad too sensitive for those with even the highest security clearances. Here's something you can take to the bank: That meeting was recorded by the Russians. Vladimir Putin today has Donald Trump more embedded in his pocket than ever.

I would love to know who Trump's interpreter at that meeting was. Was he or she an American citizen?  If I were Bob Mueller, I would be looking at issuing a subpoena the moment that person sets foot upon American soil. Another interesting highlight of the Helsinki press conference was when Putin invited Mueller and his team to Russia to give them  the opportunity to question the twelve Russian intelligence operatives indicted  by the department of Justice, all of whom are now safely snugged away in Moscow. This would not be a particularly good idea - in fact it could possibly be a fatal one. Bad things tend to happen to Putin's advisories, and I'm not sure that a little "accident" wouldn't befall any group of people on the cusp of exposing a scandal that could cause the administration of the Russian president's most valuable stooge to descend into a freefall. No, that's not a good idea at all. They should stay put. Seriously.

The rest of the summer of 2018 promises to be a gift for insanity junkies everywhere - particularly the ones who call America "home". In wake of the mass outrage and utter disbelief that followed the events in Finland on Monday, Trump made a feeble attempt to walk back some of the more idiotic comments he made, but it was of no use. The damage has been done, and even more -than-a-few of his supporters are starting to wonder if sending this fool to the White House was a good idea. Just in case you've yet to figure it out: IT WASN'T. In front of the world, Donald Trump put the word of Vladimir Putin in front of every intelligence agency that serves his own government. But don't think that something that horrendous is about as bad as it gets. In the weeks to come, it's only going to get much worse. By summer's end, the implosion will be nearly complete.

Brace yourselves for the end. Somewhere, I'm absolutely certain, Dick Nixon is laughing.

Tom Degan
Goshen, ny

Saturday, July 14, 2018


"Let me be clear - unequivocally and under oath - not once in my twenty-six years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took."
Peter Strzok

Let me be clear: these are certainly interesting times in which to live. I was one week shy of my sixteenth birthday when Dick Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9. 1974. The night before I had experimented with LSD for the first of only a handful of times. Not surprisingly, I was sound asleep when the Trickster gave his "my mother was a saint" speech in his farewell speech to the White House staff late the following morning. That was probably the only televised Watergate-related event in the fourteen month Watergate scandal that I missed. At the moment Nixon was sent a'packing off to grim and bitter exile in his bunker at San Clemente, I remember thinking that American politics would never again get as corrupt and as weird as it had been during the Nixon era. I was wrong. I had to wait forty-four years but we've finally arrived at place darker and infinitely more disturbing than Watergate.

That was a paper cut. This is a bloodbath.

I was reminded once again of how completely unhinged "the party of Abraham Lincoln" has become in recent years while watching the testimony of FBI agent Peter Strzok in front of a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday. It was nothing more than the Republicans' attempt at cheap, political theater and it blew up in their clueless faces. Like the scene during the Army/McCarthy hearings of 1954, when attorney Joseph Welsh confronted an obviously unhinged Joe McCarthy ("At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?") it was a moment that will be burned into the historical memory banks sixty-four years from now. On the Hannity program the following evening, tricky editing on the part of Fox Noise allowed Sean to spin the event as if the Republicans wiped the floor with Peter Strzok. That's not even close to being true. By the proceeding's end, it was obvious to everyone that these assholes had messed with the wrong FBI agent.

Uber-Goober Gohmert
As you might recall, Strzok, who had been having an extramarital affair with a fellow FBI employee named Lisa Page, had been exchanging emails with her as the campaign of 2016 was winding down. These emails had gone public and their content made clear that both Strzok and Page were understandably alarmed by the very notion of a Trump administration (as were all thinking people at the time). The highlight of the hearings was uttered by uber-goober, Louis Gohmert of Texas:

"I cannot help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?" 

Not to anyone's surprise, the Democrats on the committee exploded in rightful indignation; one congresswoman angrily advised him to go back on his medications. It was one of those "pinch me" moments tha makes life in Donald Trump's America so horrifically amusing. Isn't this fun?

It is my belief that the president of the United States of America is a willing agent of a hostile foreign power. I'm fairly certain that I will eventually be proved right on this point. What is hard for me to believe is that so many Republican politicians would want to save this administration by covering up what is undoubtedly the most despicable political crime in the history of this country. Putting party before the best interests of their nation will only backfire on them in the long run.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to view some highlights of Thursday's congressional clown show. It really must be seen to be believed:**.

Louie Gohmert:

Trey Gowdy:

We do indeed live in extraordinary times!


My output on this site has been a bit slow as of late. I've been having severe trouble with my vision lately that has required laser surgery on my right eye on Tuesday. Surgery on the left eye will be happening on this coming Tuesday. I can see the moon again. Life is good.

Friday, July 06, 2018

The Legacy of Mister Rogers

Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Mister Rogers

I didn't do much on the Fourth of July this year. The high point of the day for me was sitting down with Tom Frederick, a guy I've known since about two-and-a-half years before the invention of dirt, for an interview on his new podcast. It was a very enjoyable experience; the reason being that we discussed the history of comedy in America. Thankfully, the subject of current events and politics never came up. It would have depressed the both of us, I suppose.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how utterly vicious American culture has become in recent years. Mea culpa: I am definitely part of the problem, otherwise, the title of this blog would be "The Loving Discourse", not "The Rant". What got me obsessed with the subject of the seeming disappearance of gentleness in America was a trip I made to the movies a week ago today. I had the joy of viewing the new documentary on the life and perfect career of Fred Rogers. It's called Won't You Be My Neighbor. If you don't see another film for the rest of the summer, please see this one.
When Mister Rogers' Neighborhood made it's debut on PBS in early 1968, I was a few months shy of my tenth birthday. I clearly remember channel surfing one day and coming upon this gentle, soft-spoken man chatting amiably to the viewer in a manner I was not familiar with  - at least as far as standard televised kiddie-fare was concerned. It seemed to me at first glance that he was addressing me as if I were an infant. As long as I live, I'll always remember my initial reaction to this obviously very decent man's tender musings:


Having been raised from my earliest memory on the insane slapstick of animators Tex Avery and Chuck Jones and the cartoons they created for Warner Brothers and MGM, it was my impression  that children's programming was a one-size-fits-all proposition. For the next twenty-or-so years, I would occasionally - accidentally - tune in to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, watch it for a minute or two with a sense of smug amusement, and then turn the channel to something else, wondering as I did how this program had managed to remain on the air for all these years. Then one day, in around 1990, I had what I can only describe as a EUREKA moment.

Visiting my sister's house one morning, I noticed that her preschool children were watching Mister Rogers. While he talked to them, they were transfixed, hanging on to his every word. That's when it hit me: in 1968, he wasn't talking to ten-year-old Tommy Degan - he was talking to his three-year-old sister Sally! That was the day I finally understood what Mister Rogers was all about. Shame on me for having taken so long to figure it out. From that moment on I was a fan. In fact, I would occasionally make a point of visiting with my little nieces and nephews when he was on the air; I wanted to share with them the joy and wonder of life that he so beautifully transmitted over the airwaves. I would even make a point over the years to purchase Videotapes and DVDs produced by Mister Rogers for the preschool children of friends of mine. In fact, I still have a VHS on the shelf behind me that I never got around to giving away. It's called A Day at the Circus....and, yes, I did watch it. I loved it!

To be sure, Won't You Be My Neighbor is not a film for kids. It's a serious study of the man's life and the impact he had on the children he sincerely loved. You can see a clip of the segment from three days after the murder of Robert Kennedy where Daniel the puppet tiger timidly asks, "What does assassination mean?" At a time when African Americans were being denied the right to use public swimming pools all across America, you can see the scene where Mister Rogers invites Officer Clements - a black policeman - to share his wading pool and soak his feet. But my favorite clip of all is from a Fox and Friends segment where one of the three stooges who host that awful program refer to him as "evil". Isn't that a hoot? 
I remember once tuning into the Sean Hannity radio program many years ago and listening to him brag about the fact that his kids were "not allowed" to watch Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for fear that they'd become too nice and too wimpy. Sean's kids are adults now. I cannot help wondering what kind of people they have turned out to be. One of my most nagging regrets is that I was too old for Mister Rogers when he came along in the late winter of 1968. Had he been around in 1961/1963, I probably would not have turned out to be  one half of the cynic that I am.

Mr. Rogers used to say that his favorite number was 143: One letter being "I"; four letters being "Love"; and three letters being "You".

This film is mandatory viewing for everyone with a pulse. When he passed away in 2003, I genuinely grieved. I'm enough of a cockeyed optimist to believe that the gentleness that was personified in Mister Rogers didn't die with him. Hopefully it's only on an enforced hiatus. We can only hope.
Won't you be? Won't you be?
Please won't you be my neighbor?
This was something I really needed to do. I feel better already.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Won't You be My Neighbor will be released on DVD on September 4. Pre-order a copy today. It's beautiful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Beyond Amusing

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.

We saw the tragedy unfolding before our eyes last week at the Mexican/American border. Children were snatched from the arms of their loving parents without - amazingly - being provided with any documentation as to where those kids could be located. As if that wasn't bad enough for the tastes of thinking people everywhere, the government (that would be our government) apparently did not record the names of the parents or the children. Remember, some of these kids are infants.

Trump is quite a new experience for the American experiment. We've never really had a genuinely bat-shit-crazy president before.

The round-the-clock pressure that the Watergate affair brought upon Dick Nixon began to cause the hideous old bastard to become unglued. He began to drink heavily and there are credible reports of him having conversations with the painted portraits of some of his dead predecessors (I can just imagine him snarling obscenities at JFK!) But for most of the five-and-a-half years that The Trickster called the White House home, his judgments were, for the most part, sane - horrifically misguided, true, but quite sane all the same.

Theodore and Elliot Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt was a man who underwent periods of debilitating of depression for his entire life. In fact, a few historians have made the argument that old Teddy was, perhaps, bi-polar. there is some evidence that this might be the case. Roosevelt was a man of almost manic enthusiasms that could leave the people around him bewildered. On the day that he was inaugurated as vice-president, President McKinley's chief political advisor, Mark Hanna, told him: "Do you realize there is but a single heartbeat between the presidency and that mad man?"

Certainly it cannot be argued that going into the Brazilian jungle at the age of fifty-five (an episode from which he almost didn't return) in hindsight had to be a bit nuts. His younger brother, Elliot, succumbed in his early thirties to the ravishes of drug and alcohol abuse; and although it is impossible to clinically diagnose both men a century after their passing, there is some evidence that a strain of mental illness existed in that extraordinary family.

But for all of TR's craziness - real or imagined - the only people who had a real (and justified) fear of his presidency were the richest one percent, or, as he referred to them, "the malefactors of great wealth". He was sincere when he said that he wanted a "Square Deal" for all of the people. Unlike Trump, Roosevelt was noted for his sound and reasonable judgment.

Abraham Lincoln was another president for whom an argument can be made that he suffered from some form of mental illness. Like Roosevelt, Lincoln was plagued throughout his lifetime by episodes of  severe depression (back then it was referred to as "melancholia"). There were times when his sense of inner despair was so profound, that he would retreat within himself for hours, barely acknowledging anyone. Indeed, a poem he wrote in 1844, when he was thirty-five, reveals a dark, inner world that must have been bleak:
I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
              I'm living in the tombs.
Lincoln's personal turmoil does not take away from us his rightful image of one of the greatest presidents in history; in fact, it only enhances it.

Past chiefs-executive were made up from a vast landscape of emotional and psychological variables. They were forty-three differing men of differing intellectual capacities. Some were blessed with great strengths, while others were cursed with monumental weaknesses. A few offered to the American people farsighted ideas that made for a more perfect union, while still others were incapable of visualizing this country's potential. Donald Trump is something else altogether. This is going to end tragically....

....but I repeat myself.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY 

by Ron Chernow

I had an understanding about the general and the president, but the private man has been a joy to get to know. The best bio I've read in a long time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Look What We Have Become

I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.
Laura Bush

I never had a problem with Laura Bush. She always seemed to be to be a good-intentioned, warm-hearted woman. I could never hold it against her that she chose as her life partner a corrupt and contemptible jackass like Dubya, any more than I could hold any animosity toward Melania Trump for her choices. With regard to Ms. Bush, I always had the feeling that, deep down, there was a kind and compassionate woman lurking beneath the façade. She proved it yesterday with an op ed she authored in the Washington Post where she came to the defense of the children being separated from their parents at detention centers at the Texas/Mexico border. Good for her.
Two-thousand children being detained in tents in one-hundred degree heat in a tornado zone? What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile the president is trying to make to make us swallow the nonsense that what is happening now is simply the implementation of laws that were put into play by the previous administration. This same nonsense was regurgitated this morning by the stooges on Fox and Friends. Other members of Team Trump have come out and admitted that what is happening is not an Obama-era law, but the policy of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, and uber-Nazi wannabe, Stephen Miller. As this tragedy plays itself out - with the whole world watching aghast, Trump is using these poor kids - and their parents - as gambling chips: give him his wall and maybe they might be able to work something out. Other than Dick Nixon's Christmas 1972 bombing of North Vietnam, it's the most inhumane and disgusting behavior I have witnessed in my lifetime.
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.
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.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


"Zero Tolerance" is Intolerance,

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bad Times in Trumpsville

Off to the Klink
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.

I've had a bit of writers block of late. It wasn't a case of lack of material, but simply a matter of: WHERE DO I BEGIN??? Between the Russian-collusion scandal and the extremism of too many American citizens and politicians, the Trump Charities affair  - not to mention the atrocity that is being committed, at this very moment, by this very administration  at our southern border (I'll get to that one in a couple of days) - it's been one of the most extraordinary news weeks of my life - and I was born when Eisenhower was living in the White House!

When Paul Manifort was caught this week, red-handed, trying to coerce  witness in the Mueller investigation to lie for him, it was a foregone conclusion among every legal expert I saw interviewed that the man's bail would be revoked and that he would be sent to jail to await his trial. If found guilty of the many crimes he is being accused of He could spent the rest of his life in prison. It was an arrogant and stupid thing for him to do, but then again, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of arrogance and stupidity in Trumpsville; in fact there's such a surplus of both. they're selling them for half-a-penny per ton.

Mayor 9/11
Manafort is no longer able to count on the pardon that Trump and his newest fixer, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, are publically dangling out on the airwaves - a clear case of obstruction of justice in my view. He has no other choice at this stage but cooperation. Trump said in an impromptu press conference on the White House lawn yesterday  that Manifort was only peripherally involved with the 2016 campaign (in fact, he was its chairman) and that he hardly knew the guy. Having now said that, how would it be politically feasible to grant him a pardon? If he knows nothing of the man's background or the crimes he may have committed, pardoning him now - or at anytime - would be an act of political self-destruction on his part. Trump must realize this, and, more importantly, Manifort must realize this as well. He has no other choice but to tell Bob Mueller everything he wants to know. With any luck, he could get off light with a ten year sentence - or even five. Mueller and company are holding all the cards.

As if this weren't enough of a headache for the Donald, there's also the specter of the newest Cohen in his life. Michael Cohen is - or he was - Donald Trump's attorney. He was the fixer that was recently replaced by Rudy Giuliani. We don't know what Team Mueller has on him, but after the Feds raided his two homes and his office, by all accounts they walked away with oodles of incriminating evidence. Although he's not in half as much hot water as Manifort (at least I don't think he is) he has nonetheless found himself in an untenable situation. It appears he is spilling his guts.

It's an interesting time to be alive.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

While the Abyss Beckons

There are a few real and disturbing details that we need to come to serious terms with:
First and foremost, the president of the United States of America is out of his fucking mind. This is something that was obvious to any of us who had bothered to pay even cursory attention to the Donald Trump phenomenon since he burrowed his way into the national spotlight three-and-a-half decades ago. Secondly, it is now pitifully obvious that this president - your president - is an agent (possibly a paid agent) of a dangerous and hostile foreign government. The good news is that he is no longer a "secret" agent - not to those of us who have been smart enough to pay attention.
I need to share with you my first exposure to The Donald:
It was not with the 1985 publication of The Art of the Deal. It was about two years before that. You see, I was working at the about-to-be-opened Trump Tower, as a metal worker. I was with a crew that was polishing and lacquering the brass railings that guided visitors from the entrance into the interior of the lobby. The foreman on the crew I was working with was an Italian immigrant named Frank Amato. As I was standing next to Frank, The Donald approached us with one of his pathetic, little sycophantic flunkies in tow. Here is the conversation exactly as it happened:
TRUMP: What's that chemical he's using in my railings?
FRANK: Well, Mr. Trump. this is a chemical called "Noxon". It is used....
At that moment, the sycophantic flunky interrupted him:
SYCOPHANTIC FLUNKY: No. When Mr. Trump asks you a question, you direct your answer directly to me.

In other words:
I witnessed this exchange with my very own eyes. Fast forward thirty six years: this asshole is our president! Ain't that something?
I always wanted to meet a president - current president, future president or ex-president  - it didn't make a damned bit of difference. Pity me that my fate would force me to meet Donald Trump in 1983. Damn you, fate!

I must admit that, last night, while viewing the moment that  Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shook hands, I was struck by the majesty of the moment. Then again, when realizing that these are the two most unhinged despots on the entire planet, the other part of me said - LOUDLY - This is going to end badly.

Idiot Nation.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

RFK: Fifty Years On

"I guess there's no point in being Irish if you don't realize that, sooner or later, the world is going to break your heart."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
When Moynihan said that, he was speaking of Jack Kennedy, but it applies to Bobby, too. I found out very young that my heart would be irrevocably broken.
This is the anniversary that always depresses me, the forty-ninth one I've lived through. Fifty years ago today, in the early hours of June 5, 1968, Someone who shall remain nameless fired a .22 caliber gun behind the right ear of Robert Francis Kennedy. After lingering for twenty-six hours in extremely critical condition, he passed away early the following morning, June 6.
Bobby Kennedy was my first political hero. It was around this time that I started paying close attention to the news and the people making the news. I knew he was running for the presidency and I was an enthusiastic supporter. Ideology had not a thing to do with it; I was, after all only two months shy of my tenth birthday. The fact of the matter is that I just liked the guy. All day long on the fifth, all anyone could do was think of -and pray for - Bobby. I went to bed that night with the nightmare images of him lying on the cold floor of the Ambassador Hotel Kitchen, barely conscious and bleeding from a wound to the back of the head. Early the next morning my father came into mine and brother Pete's bedroom to awaken us with the grim news: "Senator Kennedy died a few minutes ago."
 He was so unlike the caricature of what we've come to expect from most politicians: his voice was soft and he spoke with a slight lisp. In spite of his much heralded "toughness" there always seemed to be an almost fragile vulnerability about him. When talking to an audience of farm laborers or inner city youth, he could quote George Bernard Shaw or the ancient  Greek playwrights Aeschylus and Sophocles without showing even the slightest hint of condescension. Said his most recent biographer, Evan Thomas:

"He seemed so young when he died. He was young - only forty-two, a year younger than JFK had been upon his election as the second youngest president in the nation's history. But Robert Kennedy somehow seemed younger, more boyish. With his buck teeth and floppy hair and shy gawkiness, he sometimes came across lik
e an awkward teenager. At other times, he was almost childlike in his wonder and curiosity."
He also had the political courage to tell the American people the hard and bitter truths they would have preferred to ignore. During the ill-fated campaign of 1968, during a `question and answer session after a speech, a smug member of a mostly college-age audience sarcastically asked the Senator just who he thought was going to pay for all of these proposed programs of his. Robert Kennedy looked the guy dead in the eye and said, "You are."

They just don't make Democrats like that anymore, do they?

To think where we might have gone but for the bullet of one deranged and confused mad man. A second Kennedy administration (which would have ended on January 20, 1977) would definitely have prevented five-and-a-half years of Nixon and Watergate and might very well have prevented the dawning of the insane right wing era that began exactly four years later with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan - and has continued for thirty years - an era which has ruined a country that used to be a nice place in which to live. We are a better people because, for one brief shining moment, Bobby Kennedy walked among us. I wish he had been allowed to stick around, don't you?
On the night of August 28, 1964, at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, Robert F. Kennedy was greeted by the delegates with a thunderous ovation that lasted almost a half an hour. When the crowd finally calmed down, he paid tribute to his late, martyred brother, dead only nine months. Quoting Shakespeare in a passage from Romeo and Juliet, what he said that evening resonates across the decades. It might also be said for Bobby himself:
When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of Heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

I, too, am in love with the night. There's a lot to love.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Robert F. Kennedy His Life and Times
by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Fabulous O'Dwyers

Pat 'n' Bubba

Paul O'Dwyer
Is there anyone out there still slumbering under the delusion that the administration of Donald Trump was anything less than a complete, mass civic screw-up on the part of the American people? Don't be shy; let's see a show of hands. 

I am on my way to the wake of Pat O'Dwyer in less than an hour. She was a longtime friend to the community I live in. In fact, she served as supervisor of the town of Goshen, NY back in the nineties. Please allow me a bit of immodesty by telling you that I had more than a bit part in her campaign. She was married to the legendary civil rights attorney, Paul O'Dwyer. He passed away nearly twenty years ago in June of 1998. Two of my most cherished possessions are an autographed copy of his memoirs, and a photograph of myself posing with him and the late congressman, Ben Gilman. Ben was the type of Republican politician that is doesn't even exist any longer: a thoughtful moderate.  

When I left New York City back in the nineties, I became quite close to Pat and Paul. In fact, down on my luck, they lent me a small pickup truck they had laying around the yard that wasn't being used. For four months it allowed me to go around the county shooting videos for various projects (mostly wedding). With the cash that I earned from the use of that little truck, I was able to purchase a vehicle and a place of my own - a converted chicken coop on LaGrange Road in Campbell Hall that was owned by my late pal, Rich Pennings The place wasn't as bad as it sounds - in fact, I loved it - and the rent was quite reasonable. The three of them were a life-raft.

The O'Dwyers were at one time the most famous Liberals in New York. Since Pat and I hadn't talked in a couple of years, I never had a chance to speak with her about the sick phenomenon of Donald Trump; and I can only imagine how Paul would have reacted to the specter of a Trump administration.

Just when I want to believe in my heart that the Left is making a comeback in America, I'm forced to concede that the liberalism that was once personified by people like Paul and Pat O'Dwyer is becoming extinct. It's also a reminder that this nation used to be a nice place to live in. It's not anymore.

I've got a funeral to get to.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

Nunes and Gowdy

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.
Are you alarmed yet?

These are the kinds of things I never dreamed I would be witnessing during the Bush II administration. As reprehensible as the man appeared to many of us at the time, an least he wasn't a total fuck-up - and if you give me a week or two I might be able to come up with one accomplishment of his. But what we are witnessing at present is an assault upon the rule of law much worse than anything that occurred during Bush's reign of error. This is something else indeed.

A bit of news was made last night on the Rachel Maddow program. One of her guests was Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He was the chief Democrat on the House Committee that was investigating the Russian collusion - that is until it was shut down by the GOP when they proclaimed the Trump campaign innocent of all nefarious doings. He told Rachel that he had been informed by someone at the DOJ that the Gang of Eight would be allowed to review the evidence and that they had every intention of showing up to review the goodies that Team Mueller has been able to compile in the last year of the investigation. The Department of Justice was not formed to be politicized. That's not quite what the Founders of this country had in mind when they formed it. Either both sides should be involved or it should be cancelled altogether - which would be the better decision. The very fact that this is occurring at all is a lighted match at the top left-hand corner of the constitution. We'll all know by late this afternoon if the flame makes contact with the parchment.

Isn't this exciting?

The fact that Devin Nunes is taking part in this is unsettling to say the least. He was caught red-handed last year consulting with the White House on what his committing was coming up with. That, in itself, was a clear case of obstruction of justice. Do you really believe that he and Gowdy won't immediately contact the Trump Mob with an itemized list of the evidence they will acquire? The Donald knows damned well that to shut this thing down would be a political catastrophe; he and his legal team are doing everything humanly possible to strike a fatal blow. In the long run he'll have no other choice than to end it entirely. Even the "base" - a lot of them anyway - won't like that a bit. That's when the shit will hit the fan. Hold onto your hats.

In the meantime, the president of the United States, in order to deflect public attention from the Mueller investigation, is attempting to criminalize the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That's not only beneath contempt, that is criminal in and of itself.

Ask yourself this question: What possible good has it done America to have its State Department decimated as it has been under this disgusting administration? The answer is, simply, that it hasn't done it a damned bit of good. If that is the case (as it obviously is) why have they weakened it so? I think I know the answer to that question. They did it at the behest of a hostile foreign power to whom they are in the service of. Take a wild guess which one I'm referring to.

Cheers, Vladimir!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY