Friday, February 17, 2017


"Have you heard the news?", he said with a grin,
"The president's gone mad."
"Down town."
Last night."
"Hmm, gee, that's too bad."
Bob Dylan (slightly paraphrased)

Well, hey there, America. Gee, I realize that this is somewhat of a touchy subject, but the matter can be ignored no longer. The time has come to have a good old fashioned, national heart-to-heart. As they will tell you in any twelve-step program, the first step in overcoming any problem is simply admitting that one has a problem in the first place. That way, the solution to said problem - though never easy - becomes a lot more achievable. This is the fundamental principle behind Alcoholics Anonymous - and that organization has been performing miracles for eighty-two years. So, let's just give in and just admit was has been palpably obvious for a long time to any of us who have bothered to pay attention:
The president of the United States is out of his fucking mind.
When Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency nearly two years ago, no one with an IQ higher than a box of moldy Milk Duds (myself included) believed that the voters in this broken nation would ever send someone this obviously unhinged to the White House. We had lived through the eight-year trauma of George W. Bush's reign of madness, but there was never any serious doubt that we would survive him. The Donald was something else indeed. Throughout the primaries and campaign of 2016, the very idea of someone this deranged getting within a mile of the Oval Office was enough to send the most stouthearted of us into complete despair. When, in the days leading up to the election, it became clear that Hillary was not gaining an insurmountable lead against him, that despair turned into resigned depression. Early in the morning of November 9 it was all over.
"Always remember that those who hate you only win if you hate them - and then you destroy yourself."
Richard M. Nixon, August 9, 1974
The instability that was all-too-clear to those of us paying attention is starting to become obvious to others. Better late than never, ay? One is reminded of Dick Nixon. No man who ever served as chief-executive was more disturbed than the Trickster himself. It is now pretty much agreed by his biographers that the guy did not possess the psychological temperament to serve in office. To Nixon there was no such thing as a "loyal opposition"; you were either on his side or you were "the enemy". He even kept "an enemies list" which was somehow leaked to the public during the thick of the politically incapacitating Watergate scandal. His profile was a textbook case of screaming paranoia.

But say what you want about Nixon, he wasn't an idiot. His most ardent detractors are forced to concede that - all of that nasty emotional baggage notwithstanding - he was a fairly astute dude. That's not the case as far as Donald Trump is concerned. Just listen to him when he speaks extemporaneously: He has the vocabulary of a not-terribly-bright high school freshman (apologies in advance to all not-terribly-bright high school freshmen). Here's something you can take to the bank: Crazy and stupid is not a particularly good combination. In fact, it can be lethal.

This is new territory we've wondered into as a nation - and it's territory we would have been wise not to enter. I am not in a position to accurately diagnose Donald Trump. But the fact is, several doctors who are qualified psychiatrists have stated for the record that he shows all the classic symptoms of severe mental illness. Trump's psychological "peculiarities" have been a badly kept secret for many decades. How is it that so many Americans missed it in 2016?

You think this administration is off to a bad start? Imagine how badly it's going to end. We'll just leave it at that.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This column by Paul Krugman appeared in this morning's NY Times. It's worth a read. All of his stuff is.®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

It's getting darker by the hour.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Out Like Flynn

Okay, let's see a show of hands:
Whom among you still believe that sending an unhinged twit like Donald Trump to the White House was a really neat idea?
Idiot Nation.
Every day - in every way - the magnitude of the mass electoral blunder committed by the American electorate on Election Day 2016 compounds itself. If Watergate was a paper cut, this scandal will prove to be a bloodbath. The new administration is comprised of a collection of stooges, representing the interests of a hostile foreign government. This going to end very badly, campers - catastrophically so. Remember, you read it here. Our worst nightmare has come to fruition. The takeover of the American government by a cabal of deranged fascists, envisioned by Sinclair Lewis in his 1936 novel, It Can't Happen Here, has happened indeed.
Hunter Thompson once advised us, "Buy the ticket, take the ride". You won't need to purchase a ticket in order to take this sick and twisted ride; the revolution is being televised. All of us will have a front row seat. 
What did the Pervert-in-Chief know, and when did he know it?
Sally Yates
According to the administration's Ministry of Propaganda, the Donald found out that  former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed the Obama sanctions on Russia with Putin's representatives only in the last day or so. This conversation took place a month before Inauguration Day - a clear violation of the law. But according to Sally Yates, the acting attorney general (before she was fired by Trump), she informed the president that Flynn was susceptible to Russian blackmail weeks ago. The fallout from this latest detour in the Clown Car Show was that National Security Advisor Flynn was forced to resign from his post in complete and utter disgrace. And to think we're only entering the third week of this disgusting administration. It only promises to get a lot stranger as the weeks and months (and years) transpire. Brace yourselves for the shit storm. Pack a lead-lined umbrella.

There are heady days for me. Being from the area where I live, I have friends, too depressingly numerous to number, whom naively cast their destinies with man/child Trump in the last election. I'm not the kind of guy who would walk up to someone and gloat, "Don't say I didn't warn you". I don't have to. One former Trump supporter of my acquaintance walked up to me and asked, "How did you know?" My response sounded smug, which I didn't mean it to sound, but there is no other possible way of answering that question:

"I was paying attention", I told him

This ain't rocket science. The people who now find themselves ashamed and embarrassed for openly supporting this uncouth maniac should have known better. They should have been paying attention. And now, because of this inexcusable case of mass, civic irresponsibility, we're stuck with the gnarled son-of-a-bitch for, at the very least, the next two years. Cancel your reservations to Candy Land.

Way to go, America.

And the fact that he lost in the electoral college is as pathetic a rationalization as anything I've ever heard. It should have been a landslide. Those of you who were foolish enough to vote Republican in 2016 are going to deserve everything that happens to you. As for the rest of us, we'll just have to roll with the punches.

Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation.

On that jolly note: Happy Valentines Day!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


I predicted the morning after the election that there would be no writers block in the Age of The Donald. There isn't. This nitwit is the gift that keeps giving. Life is beautiful.


It Can't Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis

It's happened here.

Idiot Nation

Saturday, February 11, 2017


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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Further Dispatches from Idiot Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Riot: Thy name is Randy Rainbow

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Open Letter to the World

Marching on the tower, Michelle Wey quotes Charlie Chaplin
Hey there, world!

My goodness! What can I say? A long time ago someone remarked that when the United States sneezes, the rest of the planet catches a cold. Expect yourselves to be bedridden with pneumonia in a matter of months. To say that we inmates of Idiot Nation fucked up in 2016 is the understatement of the millennia. Electing Donald Trump was an electoral error of catastrophic proportions. I should say for the record, however, that (with the exception of the stupid haircut) comparisons to the rise of Hitler eighty-four years ago are way over the top. At least Adolf had good manners.
I'm nostalgic for George W. Bush. Somebody shoot me please.

Think about this for a minute, will you? Nearly three months ago, a significant minority of the American people foolishly elected as president a man whose reputation for corruption - not to mention sexual perversion - had preceded him by damned-near four decades. And today we find ourselves forced to contend with the nasty fact that, for the next four years at least, this unhinged sociopath will have his gnarled little fingers on the nuclear codes. What does it tell you about the intelligence of the American people when, in spite of the utter chaos of his first eleven days as chief-executive, a full forty percent of us feel that the hideous bastard is doing a competent job?

Please bear in mind that there are 1449 very long days to muddle through until January 20, 2121.

The latest blow to come crashing down from the trillion dollar shit-hammer occurred late last night when the Donald fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to execute the orders that would have banned all those of the Islamic faith from dipping so much as a toe upon our shores. Some of the people seeking asylum acted as translators during the Iraq war - at great risk to their own lives and that of their families. The Trumpsters accused Ms. Yates of "betraying" the Department of Justice. This Monday Night Massacre is only a twisted overture for what promises to be a very bizarre and disjointed opera.

Steve Bannon:
White "Supremacist"
Trump's choice for chief advisor and strategist is a Hermann Goering wannabe named Steve Bannon. Not only that, Trump wants this bloated buffoon to sit in on meetings of the National Security Council. Bannon is an on-the-record anti-Semite and an avowed believer in white supremacy. His only previous claim to fame was as a contributor the an openly racist website called "Breitbart". On an early-morning news program a couple of hours ago, someone likened this scenario to Barack Obama allowing an editor of BuzzFeed to sit in on National Security meetings. One can only imagine the shit-storm of righteous indignation from the far right that would have predictably ensued had he allowed something that completely weird to occur. Call it a hunch on my part, but I'm relatively certain that it never entered the former president's mind. That was the nice thing about Obama: His judgment was usually fairly sound.

QUESTION: Do you miss him yet? 

What can I tell you, World? This is the way it's gonna be for the next four years - or, at least until he's impeached. There are two problems with that possibility: Trump has left himself virtually immune from impeachment by selecting as his vice-president Mike Pence: a man so completely divorced from reality and common sense that one is seriously tempted to check his pulse for any signs of life. I'm reminded of forty-four years ago. In October of 1973, at the same time that the infamous Saturday Night Massacre was playing out, Dick Nixon's vice-president, Spiro Agnew, was being forced from office because of revelations that had been uncovered exposing his corruption while he had served as governor of Maryland during the sixties. Spiro was such a reactionary old imbecile that no one in his-or-her right mind would have even dreamed of removing Nixon from office. Once Agnew was gone, Nixon's presidency was toast and jelly. Within ten months Nixon was sent packing in disgrace, and Gerald Ford was the president of the United States. It's not too much of a leap to assume that there are similar skeletons dancing in Pence's closet. He is, after all, part of the vast criminal conspiracy known as the Grand Old Party.

The second problem with the impeachment scenario is the hardcore elements of the Tea Party base. These knuckleheads are going to stand by Trump no matter what. It's hard to envision a situation where many GOP politicians would risk their wrath - and the distinct possibility of their starting a third party out of sheer spite. Whatever the case, the next four years promise to be quite interesting indeed.

So there you have it, World. I hope you've been paying attention to the mass outrage that has been exhibited in the last eleven days - particularly by the women of America. This is all the evidence you need that the United States is not without hope (I think). I'm optimistic enough to believe that this tired old planet will eventually be saved, but it's only going to be saved by the women. We men have fucked things up so utterly and completely, that we have no right to ever expect to be taken seriously again. The twenty-first will be remembered as the century of the woman. This is as it should be. Get the heck out of the way, fellas!

....Oh, and carry on, World.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

"The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now, my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say: "Do not despair". The misery that has come upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish."
Charles Chaplin

from The Great Dictator (1940)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump World's Alternative Reality

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,
both in person and around the globe."
White House press secretary, Sean Spicer
Won't you come home, Ron Ziegler? Won't you come home?
When confronted on NBC's Meet The Press regarding the insanity of the Trump administration's insane refusal to accept the fact that the Donald's inaugural ceremony was attended by less people than Obama's in 2009, Kellyanne Conway hinted to Chuck Todd that the new administration would not tolerate hard questions from the news media in the future:
"I think we're going to have to rethink our relationship here", she told him, "You're saying it's a falsehood. And Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts  to that." An understandably flabbergasted Todd replied, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods."
It's going to be a long and interesting four years.

Trump's latest episode of paranoid fantasy has to do with all of those "illegals" who gave Hillary Clinton the edge in the popular vote. After being dared by certain members of the press to launch an investigation into it, he says that he is going to do so - this despite not a molecule of evidence to support his claim. Spicer, his own press secretary, could not even lower himself enough to admit that he agrees with him, only telling the media that the boss "believes" these idiotic things to be true. Expect this numbskull to be told "You're fired" in a very short time.

This morning we learned that Trump has put a gag on the Environmental Protection Agency. We are no longer entitled to know what is in the air our children are breathing or the water that they are drinking. Isn't that something?

Earlier today, a friend of mine named Christine Curry sent me a message listing the clinical signs of textbook narcissism:

• Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
• Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
• Exaggerating your achievements and talents
• Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
• Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
• Requiring constant admiration
• Having a sense of entitlement
• Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
• Taking advantage of others to get what you want
• Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
• Being envious of others and believing others envy you
• Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Do these traits possibly remind you of someone we know? The very fact that this deranged pervert still has a forty percent approval is unexplainable to me. Isn't it amusing living in Idiot Nation? When the truth looks you in the eye, you avoid its glare to your own detriment. It's time to wake up and smell the elephant shit: The president of the United States of America is as crazy as a bed bug.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


About a half hour ago I learned that Mary Tyler Moore has died at age eighty. The decade of the seventies were the dark ages as far as television comedy was concerned. Her program was a flower among the weeds. This calls for a serious contemplation of mortality.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Au Revoir, Mr. Prez!

Casting my vote, 2008
So much has happened. It might as well have been fifty years ago; at least, that's how it seems to me. On the night that Barack Obama was elected on November 4, 2008, the elation I felt over the idea that a nation that was built upon the bloodied backs of African American bondage had just elevated to the presidency it's first black man seemed too good to be true. For weeks I was walking on air. But as the days leading up to his inauguration went by, that feeling of elation began to slowly dissipate. By January 20, 2009, it was gone, That's when it hit me:
What's this president going to be doing for the next eight years, I asked myself? The same damned thing that black people in this country have been doing for the last four centuries - cleaning up the mess left behind by lazy and ignorant white people! What's the big freakin' deal?
I was expecting the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt with this president, and ended up disappointed. Most of the blame for what he left unaccomplished lies at the feet of the disloyal opposition. He might have done so much more but for the fact that the right wing in congress were determined to destroy his administration. Much as they tried, they didn't succeed. Given all the obstruction (I dare call it "treason") he had to contend with, it's a miracle he was able to accomplish anything. And through the storm, he and Michelle - and those two extraordinary kids - handled themselves with the utmost grace and dignity.
But as much of a disappointment to this crazy lefty that he might have turned out to be, I never - not for half-a-second - regretted casting my vote for Barack Obama. But for all the obstacles that were thrown in his path, he might have been remembered as a great president. Perhaps he will be. At the very least, historians in  the not-too-distant-future will remember him as "near great". Of that I have no doubt. He certainly was the most competent chief-executive of my lifetime - and I've been around since Eisenhower.
I could write more about this but I'm tired and not in the best of moods this evening. In the wee small hours after his election eight years ago, I wrote a piece called "Wake Up and Face the Dawn". This one might very well have been called, "Wake Me When It's Over". The fact that this able and decent man will forever be sandwiched in the history books between George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump is too sad for contemplation.
Every day, the ramifications of this electoral catastrophe become clearer and clearer. I am no longer comfortable living in a country so civically irresponsible that it would send a man as horrifically corrupt, unhinged and unqualified as Donald Trump to the White House. I am so utterly depressed tonight I can barely articulate myself. And to think what we might have been....
God bless and good luck, President Obama. You'll be missed more than you know.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to the piece I wrote early in the morning after that historic Election Night eight years ago:

I cannot believe our luck has gotten this bad. I don't know what else  to say.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Onward, Idiot Nation

We're still not one-hundred percent certain what, if anything, Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump that would subject him to blackmail for matters of sexual indiscretion. Here's what we know beyond a millimeter of doubt:
1. Trump's praise of the Russian dictator over the last two years would be surprising from any candidate campaigning to become the next president of the United States. Coming from a so-called "conservative" it was absolutely astonishing.
2. Trump's support for a GOP platform at the convention, calling to end support for the Ukraine which is at this moment fighting Russian separatists is equally puzzling.
3. Trump's nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, a man without a molecule of diplomatic experience - is troubling in light of the fact that Exxon and Russia stood to make as much as half a trillion dollars from an oil deal that was given the kibosh when President Obama put into effect economic sanctions on that country due to its interference in the sovereignty of its neighbors.
4. Donald Trump is a common pervert. 

The consensus of opinion among the punditry for why so many of these stupid white Americans were so insanely desperate to send this corrupt, unhinged sociopath to the White House is simply because "they wanted to send a clear message". Well, thanks a heap, folks! Your message has been received loud and very clear indeed: "We're a nation chock full of halfwits and racists". Lovely.

The initial source behind the charges was a "very credible" former official in British intelligence. The BBC is now reporting that there are, in fact, four sources - all of them credible. And to think that this jackass will - barring a miracle - soon be living in the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Isn't this fun to watch?

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

I'm amazed that, given the behavior of the pervert-elect since Election Day last, I have yet to detect much (if any) buyers remorse on behalf of the people who were so heartbreakingly clueless as to think that electing Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton was a particularly nifty idea. They'll understand easily enough when the bazillion dollar shit hammer comes a'crashing down upon all of us - those of us who were smart enough to understand the threat that a Trump administration poses for the future of our children - and the less-than-half of the rest of you who were too knee-slappingly dumb to figure it out. My sympathies are - and shall remain with - the former. The saddest victims of America's mass, electoral insanity are, of course, the children. The hearts of those of us with an IQ above room temperature should be breaking for them.

A number of years ago, the Republicans in congress came up with a dandy euphemism for the one percent of this doomed republic. Loath to proclaim that they did not want to raise taxes on "the rich" or "the wealthy", they came up with this guaranteed humdinger: "The Job Creators"! Ain't that something? They now have a new one for sites on the internet (like the one you are currently reading) that are giving the public information that they would rather you not know. They now bemoan, "The epidemic of Fake News". I smell a decomposing rat. Could this possibly be a nasty harbinger of even nastier things to come? Could legislation be around the corner outlawing all of these "fake" news sites? They're at least thinking about it; I'm as sure of that as I am my own name. Do not make the mistake of putting an idea that horrible past these disgusting bastards and bitches. The Patriot Act was merely a grim overture. Get ready for the shit storm: Like it or not, it's coming.

This is not paranoid speculation on my part. They've already gutted the Voting Rights Act, making it nearly impossible for millions of African Americans and the poor (the traditional progressive constituency) to cast their precious ballots - and they did so while a black Democrat was living in the White House. Assuming that they might come down hard on our First Amendment rights - or even going as far as "suspending" the constitution - is merely the next, quite logical step. Keep your eyes wide.

Golden showers fill your eyes....

As far as the allegations of Russian/Trump complicity are concerned, it would be unreasonable to assume that Donald "Grab-'Em-by-the-Pussy" Trump would not be capable of that kind of weird behavior. Remember, this is a guy who, up until very recently, was being sued by a young woman who claimed that she was raped by Trump and a friend (who is now in prison, having been convicted of child sodomy) at a private party on Long Island when she was even younger - thirteen, to be precise. She says that she was forced to withdraw her charges when she began to receive credible death threats. I  seriously wonder if it's merely a coincidence that, in the two months since his election, reports of sexual assaults upon women are up nearly twenty percent in America. 

Do you have a thirteen-year-old daughter? Did you support and vote for Donald Trump? Are you perfectly content with the fact that she is within five years of going out - alone - into Donald Trump's America? If your answer is "yes", then what the hell is the matter with you? You're either a pervert or a fool. Give me some time to figure out which.

And while you're at it, kiss this fucking country goodbye.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Fifty-five years ago tonight, January 13, 1962, the brilliant video visionary and comedian, Ernie Kovacs, was killed in an automobile accident in West Hollywood. He was only forty-two. The link below is to a PBS tribute series that was first aired in the Spring of 1977.

He literally invented the music video. This installment is called "Kovacs on Music" It must be seen to be believed. 

The photograph below of Ernie with Buster Keaton was taken on the last day of his life. Over a half century without Ernie Kovacs has not been an asset to this dreary world.

Ernie and Buster, 13 January 1962

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Repeal and Replace? WITH WHAT?

Your tax dollars at work
Here's the bad news: In the next four years, a lot of innocent people are going to die needlessly.
Now for the good news: This time around, the dead will not be only foreigners with brown skin and Arabic names. I just wanted to give you a little something to look forward to.
Onward, Idiot Nation.
Affordable Care - "Obamacare" as they always sneeringly referred to it - will soon be going the way of the 8-Track tape cartridge. The Republicans are attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of their idiotic constituency by saying that they're going to replace it with something even better. Of course, they have no plan to replace it with anything. My guess is the right wing is hoping that, by this time next year, the completely dumbed-down American people will have forgotten all about the fact that, for one brief shining moment in the history of this doomed republic, health insurance was affordable for the masses.
"This great nation will endure as it has endured. It will revive and will prosper. So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is - fear itself"
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4 March 1933
All bets are off. This once-great nation is toast. "Make America great again"? These psychotic imbeciles cannot be serious.

It's no longer a debatable point: Yesterday, Donald Trump was given an Intel briefing at his throne inside Trump Tower in New York City. The heads of every major intelligence agency in America confronted him with the incontrovertible evidence that he is only headed for the White House on January 20 because he was installed (via the hacking of the DNC computers) by the ruler of the former Soviet Union. Can you even imagine the mass freak out that would have ensued had Barak Obama entered into the presidency under similar circumstances? They would have lynched him on the spot.

I spoke to my cousin last night, who informed me that more-than-a-few of the locals are in a blind rage at me for the brutality and profanity of my language in the wake of this latest example of mass, electoral insanity (Goshen, New York is still an exceedingly conservative little town). I can only paraphrase the great, abolitionist writer and editor, William Lloyd Garrison, who, on the eve of the American civil war wrote, in effect, Do not expect my language to remain moderate in the wake of this oncoming cataclysm. 

You won't recognize this place in four years. Good going, America. I'm going back to bed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Worst of the Rant

In the shadow of the old man
Time  yet again for another merry, year-end stroll down memory lane. Didn't 2016 suck? Well, guess what: 2017 in only going to be worse. Isn't it amusing living in Idiot Nation?

January 4:
When [Bill Cosby's] obituary is written in a time not terribly far off, he won't be remembered primarily as "America's favorite dad", or as "one of the great humorists of the twentieth century" (a title which I believe he deserved). There will be no two-hour documentaries on the life and groundbreaking career of Bill Cosby - as is the case with Chaplin, Keaton, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. There will be no more lifetime achievement awards for Bill. Nothing.
January 15:

This is not 2000. Back then, very few observers (myself excepted) could perceive what a complete fool and incompetent Dubya was. Things are a lot different today. One look at the clown bus that is the 2016 Republican primary is all one needs to wash away any lingering doubt about Bernie's electability. (Spell Check is telling me that "electability" is not a proper word. Screw them). Last week, the only GOP candidate even remotely qualified for the presidency, George Pataki, dropped out of the race. He wasn't even registering in the polls. What does that tell you about "the party of Abraham Lincoln"? It's a pretty bleak picture to be sure.

January 18:

I have a record of some of Dr. King's speeches (Yeah, I still listen to vinyl - so sue me!) Sometimes, when I'm feeling depressed about my country (which, fortunately, is only when I'm sober) I'll give it a listen. Whatever my frustration level may be when I drop the needle on Side One, by the time the tone arm of my turntable edges its way down the play-out groove of Side Two, I always end up feeling a little better about America. That we can produce a man such as this is cause for hope, I suppose. Maybe, just maybe, such a person is within out midst at this very moment; gently reaching out to the better angels of our nature. Maybe we're just not listening.
Shh. Listen....
January 20

They told us that the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare", as they sneeringly termed it) would be unworkable, that it would plunge the economy into the abyss. That prediction has blown up in their clueless faces. Not only is Obamacare working, its success has startled its most optimistic adherents. That it needs to be improved is beyond a doubt; but millions of people are today insured who never would have had the chance if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won in 2008 or 2012 respectively. The Affordable Care Act has already saved countless lives. Rejoice, kiddies.

February 3:
I'm not at all alarmed at the prospect of a Cruz candidacy - amused, yes, but hardy alarmed. In fact, I hope he gets the nomination this summer. There is nothing in the realm of the most twisted possibility that I can foresee that would be as delightfully weird as Ted Cruz playing the part of the right wing's standard bearer for 2016. The guy is so extreme and vulgar that, for people like me who thrive on this stuff, a Cruz run would be a demented dream come to life. Oh, please, fate....
February 10:
The fact of the matter is that I just don't trust Hillary Clinton. That is not to say she would be a terrible president, it's just that I know that her attorney general - not unlike Eric Holder - will not be prosecuting the Wall Street bastards who have made a sport out of plundering the American economy these past thirty-plus years. It would be an entirely different scenario with Bernie in the White House. Hillary is a good woman, and no serious person doubts her intellect. But as a progressive her credentials suck. If she is the nominee I'll be voting for her come Election Day, what other choice will I have? Look for me at the polls; I'll be the one holding my nose.

February 15:

It must not be ignored that if Antonin Scalia is not remembered down through the ages as "the worst justice of modern times", you can bet the farm that he and Uncle Clarence Thomas will share that dubious prize. He might have been possessed of "a brilliant legal mind", as so many are saying, but it was a mind nonetheless warped by his own fears and prejudices. He should not have spent a single hour of his time on earth passing judgment on anyone - let alone an entire nation. 

February 29:

Let's face some serious facts here, folks: For sheer comedy, it doesn't get much better than old Ted - it really doesn't! The difference between him and Joe McCarthy is that, sixty years after his death, McCarthy only looks comical in hindsight; at the time he scared the shit out of most thinking Americans. Teddy Boy, on the other hand, is the Buster Keaton of unintentional comedians, right up there with Sarah Palin and anyone named "Bush". He really should be given the Mark Twain Prize.

March 2:

But the biggest non-surprise of the evening were the victories of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Money and name-recognition: it will never fail in the long run. Generally, most Democrats are delighted with Secretary Clinton's showing last night. Their glee may be a tad misplaced. Although an intelligent woman, she is (and I'll put this as gently as possible) a jaw-droppingly awful candidate. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). When compared to Bernie, Hillary's progressive credentials are paper thin. Her presence on the ticket as standard-bearer for the Democratic Party could very well be enough to make liberals like myself stay home on Election Day. Her victory last night is yet another personal reminder that I did the right thing leaving that party in 1998. For the record: I'll be voting on Election Day 2016, come heck or high water - you'd better believe it  - but I'll be holding my nose.

March 12:

The passing of Nancy Reagan this week has rendered the American people, yet again, nostalgic for the days of Ronniemania. I was never a fan of the gipper; in fact it has always been my opinion that the damage the old freak did to this country was so immense that it would never be accurately assessed - we're talking incalculable here, kids! And yet, even I (and I'm loathe to admit it), have found myself these past few days looking back upon the Reagan years with a nauseating sense of twisted longing. Even Dubya is starting to seem marginally palatable to me. Can you believe that? Give a starving dog a piece of rancid sirloin and the poor creature will eat it every single time.
March 16:
The biggest news last night (although the least surprising) was the withdrawal from the race of the GOP's golden child, Marco Rubio. Say what you want about the poor schlub, at least he was smart enough to see the writing on the wall. When he was unable to carry his own state of Florida, it was all over. The story of the implosion of the Rubio campaign illustrates perfectly the utter ideological chaos of the Republican Party. As comically right wing as the senator is, he just isn't extreme enough for the imbeciles and crazy people who have hijacked "the party of Abraham Lincoln". It is now a two-man race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump - two of the most unstable candidates in American history. Although the least nauseating of the bunch, Rubio never stood a chance. If that very fact doesn't scream untold volumes about the state of conservatism in America, nothing will.
March 25:
I've read enough biographies of Richard Milhous Nixon to know that he was a really smart guy - one of the smartest men to hold that office in the twentieth century. Even his most ardent detractors concede that he wasn't stupid - arrogant, yes - but very intelligent. I also know that he was psychologically unbalanced and that he never should have gotten within ten feet of the Oval Office. To think that for over four decades, generations of Americans, most of them African American  or Hispanic, have suffered needlessly under our insanely punitive drug laws for no other reason than Dick Nixon's desire to score some cheap political points and win re-election in 1972.  It defies any and all senses of human decency. We need to stop apologizing for this vile, contemptible bigot.  
March 31
Recent video postings by Sarah Palin have been very amusing on the one hand, and quite disturbing on the other. It would appear that the poor soul is becoming a bit unhinged - that is to say - more unhinged than we've come to expect. It is amazing when you consider that, less than seven years ago, a major American political party chose this shallow, incurious woman to be second on their presidential ticket. Sarah Palin in 2008 was merely a prelude to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in 2016. John McCain will be eighty years old on August 29 of this year. To think that she might have been "a heartbeat away from the presidency" at this very moment is enough to give the most strongest of constitutions the dry heaves. We really dodged a bullet there, folks.
April 6:

Would Hillary Clinton be a decent president? I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is that her credentials as a true progressive are paper-thin, and that she has an unsettling coziness with Wall Street and the banksters who have made a sport of plundering the American economy for over three decades. If she is the next president of the United States (and this is not merely an assumption on my part, it's a stone-cold fact) not a single one of these bastards will be prosecuted by the Clinton II justice department and sent to prison for their crimes against the American people. That won't be the case under President Sanders - you'd better believe it, baby. A whole lotta chickens are gonna be doin' some serious roosting!
April 17:
Squirrelly Man
On Election Day 2008, I really was naïve enough to believe that Obama would practically be the second coming of FDR. That didn't turn out to be the case. That being said, I have never regretted voting for the man, and as we near the end of his tenure, I have to concede that he's been a pretty good president. But I wanted more. You see, I was pining for greatness. Considering all of the nonsense he was forced to put up with, I suppose we ought to cut the guy some slack. When the history of these times is written in the not-too-distant future, Obama's legacy will stand fairly tall, while his detractors - the McConnells, the Boehners, the Palins, et. al. - will all end up looking like psychologically deranged little squirrels. No amount of revisionism will be able to white wash their legacies. For the past sixty years, the extreme right wing has been trying to do just that with Joe McCarthy. You will be kind enough to notice that it hasn't worked out too well for them. Old Joe still languishes at the top of history's scrap heap where he belongs - and where he'll remain.
April 26:
On some YouTube site this morning, a well-meaning but utterly clueless Sanders supporter claimed that "she is not the Democratic Party." This poor guy has missed the point entirely. The problem with Hillary Clinton is that she is the Democratic Party. She's one of the reasons I left the Dems eighteen years ago next month. With donkeys like her, who the heck needs those elephants? They long ago forgot that they're supposed to be the party of FDR. They're not any longer. That's been the case for a very long time - we're takin' decades. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren are the exceptions. They've never been the rule. Perhaps that might change, but I'm not going to hold my breath. In the mean time we're forced to contend with the Hillary Clintons and the Chuck Schumers. I need a drink.
April 30:
Here is (yet again) another example of the Democrats' genius for turning champagne into donkey piss. They were handed - on a silver platter - the most visionary candidate in their history (more than FDR even) and they have told him, in effect, to take a flying leap. Someone like Bernie Sanders comes around only once in a lifetime. Here's the good news: The next time a candidate of Bernie's vision comes down the pike, the Democratic and Republican parties will both have been consigned to history's garbage bin. There's a dandy thought for you. Good riddance to them all.
May 6:
Within a few hours of Trump winning the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz took himself out of the running. The following day, John Kasich bowed out. I received an email yesterday from a woman named Jaime Brewer, who lives in Princeton, Indiana. She told me that she was moving back to her home town of Clay City, Illinois. She said that she was not meant to live in so broken a state. I could relate. I used to be proud of my Hoosier heritage (my late mother was a native of South Bend). Not so much anymore. The Midwest was at one time a pretty progressive region. That was then. This is now. 
May 14:
[F]ifty percent of the electorate are not likely to vote for any candidate in November who would deny the president the opportunity to perform what is, after all, his constitutional duty as chief-executive. This is also as it should be - given the warped mindset and ideological makeup of the mutant clowns currently inhabiting the House of Reprehensibles. They've never quite come to terms with what they perceive as "that evil, commie nigger" sleeping in the same, big WHITE house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was once occupied by their sainted, feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor. Absurdist theater at its finest.

May 24:

Less than half of this country is barely smart enough to understand that they have been sold down the river by their elected "representatives", while most of the rest are too utterly stupid to comprehend what has happened to them. Does that statement sound a bit extreme for your tastes? Take a gander at the presumptive Republican nominee. 'Nuff said?
May 31:

The GOP is on the verge of nominating a dangerous and delusional sociopath to the office of the presidency.

I am not a Democrat; I left that worthless party eighteen years ago this month and never looked back. And I'm certainly not an admirer of Hillary Clinton. She is - beyond a molecule of doubt - the worst candidate the Democratic Party has ever nominated in their almost-200-year history. But even a corrupt, corporate stooge like Hillary is preferable to me when placed in comparison with Trump - to a certain degree....I guess.

I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but I have to be realistic. Barring another major scandal (you never know with those goddamned Clintons) he's not going to be the nominee. My only solace is the knowledge that, as bad as her term in the White House will be (and it will be bad - mark my words) we will survive Hillary Clinton. A Donald Trump administration might well mean the End of this country. Remember, you read it here, folks. 

June 10:
The most ironic thing about this whole mess is the sad fact that the Dems were handed this year - on a silver platter, mind you - the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history, and they blew it. Leave it to those silly Democrats: Give them two clear choices and they'll make the wrong one every time - and that would include every nominee since 1980. Damned-near all of the polls had Bernie defeating Trump very easily in November. That's not the case with Ms. Clinton. A few polls are showing her barely neck-and-neck with him.

Neck-and-neck with Donald Trump. Can you imagine?
June 13:
As I speculated on May 24, an epidemic of political assassinations of a few fat and corrupt members of the House and Senate would more-than-likely put an end to this madness. Come to think about it, I get the giggles contemplating how fast federal legislation would fly out of the House of Reprehensibles, banning these lethal, rapid-fire, people-killing machines if something that dreadful were to happen. We're talkin' overnight. Can you imagine how many innocent children's lives would be spared in the years to come? Fifty-thousand? One-hundred-thousand? That wouldn't be such a terrible trade-off, come to think about it. Of course, there are today so many of these guns on the street due to the fact that in 2004, the village idiot of Crawford, Texas - stupidly - let the assault weapons ban expire, it would probably take at least a decade before any tangible results were noticed. Keep voting Republican.
June 22:
Folks, it's time to sit down, take stock, and have a nice, long overdue, national heart-to-heart. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" is now an organized criminal enterprise. If the events of this past weekend didn't convince you otherwise, you're beyond hope. Only a kook or a fool can ignore it any longer. When faced with the worst public health crisis in American history (worse, in fact, than the polio epidemic of the twenties and thirties) Republican politicians opted to make the crisis even  more deplorable. For nothing more than reasons of self-interest, they chose - yet again - to appease a domestic terrorist organization. That's all the NRA really is. They and the Republican Party are two networks spawning national dysfunction that need to be done away with - fast. This cannot continue. We cannot become accustomed to this appalling situation. Make them pay for what they have done to this country.
June 27:

One of the things a reputable sociologist might possibly explain to us is, in the post-Hitler world we're supposed to be living in, how something like a Donald Trump presidency could possibly happen. It's certainly beyond my ability. And don't try to tell me that comparisons to der fuhrer are an overreaction.  Both men rose to political prominence by exploiting religious hatred, racial prejudice and economic paranoia; both were megalomaniacs and narcissistic; both were sociopaths and completely ignorant on the subtleties of diplomacy - and both had really stupid haircuts. I don't believe for a minute that Trump is going to be elected in November, but it sure is unsettling to contemplate how close we've come to elevating to ultimate power a character as darkly Hitler-like as this uncouth nitwit. At least Adolf had good manners. It kinda makes you wonder, huh?
[UPDATE: 12/30/16: At the time I wrote this, I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. I never will again.]
July 6:
For a political insanity junkie such as myself, 2016 turned out to be the most deliciously fruitful of years. I remember thinking that 1980 was the ultimate in surreal political theater. A feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor as the candidate for a national political party? They'll never top that! But they did; and every four years the clown car show kept getting stranger and stranger - and more depressingly ominous. The Republican Party has been inching itself - slowly but all-too-surely - toward Nazi territory for the last three-and-a-half decades. The inching has been so stupefyingly slow, that most people have barely noticed the change. Is that an exaggeration? Look at the presumptive nominee! Look at his following! Compare them with Ronald Reagan and any of his rallies thirty-six years ago!  From the perspective of a battle-hardened lefty, Ronnie is starting to look fairly reasonable when compared to the right wing of today. Now that's pretty scary!
July 12:
And congress? As I said after the carnage at Newtown nearly four years ago: Don't expect them to do anything to change. Still, the people of Dallas may take some comfort in the knowledge that the "thoughts and prayers" of the corrupt politicians on the NRA's payroll are with them.
July 14:
We arrived at the FDR Library and Museum at around noon. The first building one enters is called the "Henry Wallace Welcoming Center", which is named for FDR's second vice-president (He had three of them!) There is a larger-than-life-sized photograph of Mr. Wallace's smiling face at the entrance greeting visitors as they walk in. Do you think that there's a "Dick Cheney Welcoming Center" at George W. Bush's library in Texas? I would think not. Who the hell in his-or-her right mind would even go near the joint with Chaney's face snarling at them from the entranceway? Would you subject your children to something that weird? I ask you.
July 22:
Trump is a student of political theater. He has studied the GOP campaign process quite closely, and he understands - as anyone who seriously studies it  can easily understand - that the only way a candidate is able to receive  the Republican presidential nomination these days, is by stumbling around the country - with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth - saying a lot of jaw-droppingly mean and stupid things. The only candidate to come close to the Donald in sheer meanness and stupidity was Ted Cruz. That's why Cruz was the only other contestant left standing in Indiana back in May. It was there that poor old Ted folded his cards. Trump had seen to it that he wasn't going to be "out-stupided", not even by a hideous Neanderthal like Ted.
July 27:
The person I feel the sorriest for this morning is Bernie Sanders. His revolutionary campaign today lies in ruin. Had the main-stream-media and the Democratic National Committee not been in confederacy against him (as I believe they were), had every person who desired to cast their ballot for him been allowed to do so, he would today be the nominee. I also believe that he would have cleaned the Donald's clock on Election Day; every poll had him doing as much. As it stands, Ms. Clinton is now barely neck-and-neck with the guy. What the hell does that tell you?
July 30:
But for the time being anyway, let's give Ms. Clinton the benefit of the doubt; and let's not forget the maniac that Republicans all over this diseased nation have chosen to run against her in this positively strangest of political years. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. At that moment in time, I was possessed of the crazy notion  that the American people would never be silly enough to elect an idiotic frat-boy like George W. Bush to an office as important as the presidency of the United States. As it turns out, I was entirely correct about that notion. He won simply because, as governor of the crucial state of Florida, his brother was able to remove fifty-thousand African Americans from the lists of eligible voters. I guess poor ol' Jeb regrets that little bit of chicanery! Had Dubya lost in 2000, Jeb might very well have been the nominee today. Isn't that funny? Instant Karma's gonna get'cha, Jebbie!
August 2:
It bugs me when people, to this day, (serious writers even) refer to Lenny Bruce as "a dirty comedian". He wasn't that at all. In fact, it is my belief that Lenny was the closest thing American humor has ever produced to being a free-form poet. That he was profane there is no denying. When one's vocation is to call attention to the sick society we all still inhabit a half century after his death, profanity is unavoidable; in fact, at times it can be essential. Lenny might have been "a surgeon with a scalpel for false values", but sadly, he was never able to provide us with a cure. Fifty years later, we look out upon the landscape to find that this sick society has only gotten sicker in the ensuing decades.
August 14:
Please, someone kindly explain to me how we went from there:
"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
To here:
Fair scare and starving yours again, our feather-brained farce upon incontinence, a neo notion, deceived in Librium, and desecrated to the prostitution that all mein were cremated awful.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
August 27:
All available evidence tells us that the House of Reprehensibles will remain in the clutches of the GOP during the years 2017-2019 - and for the foreseeable future. The American people have yet to learn the lesson they should have learned a century-and-a-half ago about the inevitable economic disaster that always comes of right wing governance. But it should be conceded that it's not only the electorate that is at blame: This unfortunate situation is the end-result of years of the unconstitutional gerrymandering of congressional districts in states that are controlled by the Republicans. The key to victory for that disgusting party is, primarily, watering down the black vote. An area in any of these states that has a high percentage of people with dark skin, usually (conveniently) finds itself at the intersection of as many as four or five congressional districts, which are (conveniently) mostly white. As a result, the people most vulnerable get hurt even further by lack of representation. This is not a coincidence.
September 8:
It is unsettling to me when I consider the fact that there are a number of people that I know personally - whose intellects I respect and admire - who are openly supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. This is a fact that I've found myself wrestling with as the weeks heading up to the November election come upon us. What is it? Could it possibly be a mere anti-Clinton reflex that is as innate as Pavlov's doggies salivating at the bells of doom? Or is it something a little more complicated than that? Whatever it is, I have yet to figure it out.

September 15:

Let's face it, folks: Conservatives in this country have gone bat-shit-crazy. When the Republicans finally do fracture into a million itty-bitty pieces in a matter of a few short years, that will be a real opportunity for progressives to get to work remaking America's badly decimated infrastructure. If the Democratic plan for the future is to continue in their current guise as "Republican Lite", their certain destruction is imminent. By nominating Hillary Clinton in 2016, they are not off to a particularly good start. If the Dems are unable to detect the boiling rage just beneath their traditional constituency's surface, they will detect it pretty goddamned soon enough. You'd better believe it.

September 22:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: FDR was a radical left-winger. His administration was literally oozing with radical left-wingers. Historians generally regard him as being one of the greatest president in the history of this republic. That's not a coincidence.

September 28:

A mere forty-one days separates us from this moment to when the polls open to the public on the morning of November 8. And while one month and ten days can be an eternity in politics, don't count on any unpredictable scandal that's going to change the fact that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States....I hope. Although, as I've said many times, I'm not in ecstasy over the fact that she is the "progressive" standard bearer in this race, the alternative is too horrible to think about. President Trump? If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that's sure going to be oodles of fun to write about. If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that road, I'll be the only person I know personally who will benefit.


October 5:

It's amazing how with the passing of the years, time goes by more quickly. it doesn't seem possible that nearly eight years has come and gone since Mr. Obama went to Washington. I'm not going to lie to you: this president has been a major disappointment in a lot of areas. But, given all he has had to contend with - particularly the complete idiocy of the Republican opposition - he and his family have held themselves up admirably, with great dignity and grace. Will he be remembered as a "great" president? I don't know the answer to that question; but it's a cinch he'll at least be remembered as "near great". That's not a bad showing either. History will have a lot to say about "The Obama Years". I can't wait to read some of it.

October 11:

Here is how the Donald has even further debased our already thoroughly debased culture: On page 12 of this morning's Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY - my local paper - they quoted him by using the words "fuck" and "pussy". That has never happened before - not in that paper. This candidacy is too strange for words. I never dreamed I would live to see the day when I would be nostalgic for George W. Bush. The bar just keeps getting lower with these people.

October 18:

What is happening in the United States in 2016 is very ominous indeed. The plutocratic forces that own this country are setting a precedent of fear and intimidation. The message has been sent and received: Don't you dare fuck with our agenda. It's enough to make any thinking person tremble with fear and loathing to contemplate how bad this situation might get if Donald Trump is elected in three weeks time. Thankfully, that's not ever going to happen.

[UPDATE. 12/30/16: It happened - Idiot Nation]

October 21:

Did you ever get the feeling that you were living through an amusing nightmare? You can't make this stuff up. That's a good description of American politics in 2016: "An Amusing Nightmare". If I ever write a book about this era, that'll be the title.

November 3:

It's impossible to believe that the people of this doomed country (at least the ones that vote) are, quite possibly, within less than a week from electing the most Hitleresque candidate to come along since der fuehrer himself. Don't make the mistake of dismissing that last sentence as a wild exaggeration from an unhinged lefty. The fact of the matter is that for the last half century, the Republican Party has been crawling - ever-so-slowly and ever-so-surely - toward an insanely dark and disturbing place. If you've yet to notice this undeniable phenomenon, you haven't been paying attention. A Trump administration might be just the thing to awaken you from your apathetic slumber.

November 8:

And to think it has come to this. I'm not-at-all certain who is going to be declared victor at the end of what I know will be a very long day. I've so little faith in the civic intelligence of my fellow countrymen and women that a Donald Trump victory late this evening won't phase me in the least. In fact I'll be able to make some tasty lemonade out of those nasty lemons. If the Donald wins this thing, I'm the only person I know of who makes under a million dollars per year that will benefit handsomely.

November 9:
The Democratic Party needs to disappear forever. Early in the primaries, it was obvious that they had within their grasp the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history in the form of Bernie Sanders - and these idiotic Democrats blew it. At the time of the convention, every poll had him beating the Donald decisively, while Hillary was barely neck-and-neck with the guy. Bernie might have been the nominee but for the Democratic National Committee's sabotage. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton should go into permanent hiding. We want to be reminded of them no more. Go away. Go away. Go the fuck away.

November 17:

On the morning of Election Day, bitter experience had me nearly resigned to the possibility of a Trump victory by day's end. When Dubya was reelected in 2004, no one paying attention could have doubted that he was the most insanely incompetent chief-executive in the history of the republic. When I received the news early the next morning that John Kerry had gone down to defeat, that was the moment I finally realized that these stupid fucking Americans were capable of just about anything. The star of a reality TV show is now the president-elect of the United States of America. The Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party are this morning celebrating. Think about that.

November 23:

A woman on Facebook posted an ominous comment yesterday regarding an acquaintance of hers  who is a German exchange student studying in the Los Angeles area. This person received a communication from his parents instructing him to come home immediately. The reason?
"America has fallen." 

Well now! Doesn't that just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside? The times they certainly are, uh, "changing".
December 13:
I had been predicting for a decade that George W. Bush would be remembered in history as the last Republican president. A century ago the journalist, H.L. Mencken, warned us against overestimating the intelligence of the American people; I plead guilty to just such an overestimation. In the nineteen-thirties, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a totalitarian overthrow of the Unites States called "It Can't Happen Here". Well, guess what: It's fucking happened here.

Good bye, America.

 December 19:

There are an awful lot of people who should have been a bit more careful what they wished for. Maybe they don't understand the ramifications of their error now, but they'll understand them soon enough. The bazillion dollar shit hammer is about to hit the fan. In four years you won't recognize this place. I can't wait to see the looks of mass-shellshock on the faces of so many Americans. That'll be the funniest thing of all. So many of them and their elected representatives  will attempt to blame the economic carnage that is surely coming on Barack Obama. Blame the nigger. It works every time. Why do you think there are so many innocent black men in prison in this country? C'mon, folks! Put on your thinking caps!

December 29:

After the complete failure of the Bush years,  I was naïve enough to believe that America might finally have learned its lesson. The first piece I wrote on this site ten-and-a-half years ago predicted that Bush would be the last Republican president. I was still making that prediction as late as the summer of 2016. I should have remembered the words of turn-of-the-century journalist, H.L. Mencken, who once famously observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." After this calamitous year, I promise you that I'll never again stray far from such sage wisdom. I'm suspecting that the Donald will be reelected in four years, and I trust that the inmates of this doomed republic will be just fine 'n' dandy with that.


So there you have it, kiddies: A wrap-up of Idiot Nation's worst political year since 1968. I really do hope that all of you have a happy new year - but I cannot fathom how the heck that will be possible. Good luck!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Auld Lang Syne
by Guy Lombardo

Give it a spin at midnight tomorrow for  the sake of old times.

We'll taste a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne