Friday, January 22, 2021

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

The United States of America has its first poet laureate. In the nearly fifteen years that I have been writing this blog, I have only twice turned it over to other writers. I need to do it again. Amanda Gorman's performance at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday completely sent me into the clouds, Keep your eyes on this young lady; she's not going anywhere!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade.

We've braved the belly of the beast,

We've learned that quiet isn't always peace,

and the norms and notions

of what just is

isn't always just-ice.

And yet the dawn is ours

before we knew it.

Somehow we do it.

Somehow we've weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn't broken,

but simply unfinished.

We the successors of a country and a time

where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president

only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes we are far from polished.

Far from pristine.

But that doesn't mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge a union with purpose,

to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,

but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,

that even as we grieved, we grew,

that even as we hurt, we hoped,

that even as we tired, we tried,

that we'll forever be tied together, victorious.

Not because we will never again know defeat,

but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

and no one shall make them afraid.

If we're to live up to our own time,

then victory won't lie in the blade.

But in all the bridges we've made,

that is the promise to glade,

the hill we climb.

If only we dare.

It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it's the past we step into

and how we repair it.

We've seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth,

in this faith we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption

we feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter.

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert,

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,

but move to what shall be.

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free.

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation,

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens.

But one thing is certain,

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy,

and change our children's birthright.

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with.

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.

We will rise from the windswept northeast,

where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.

We will rise from the sunbaked south.

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.

And every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful.

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid,

the new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we're brave enough to see it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


"We did what we came to do - and so much more."

Donald J. Trump

Of that there can be no doubt.

Let the word go forth, from this time and place to friend and foe alike - that Donald Trump has passed the torch to a new generation of Americans. They took that torch and attempted to burn down our nation's Capitol. Ain't that something?

As I write these words there are exactly five hours left for this disgusting administration. At this moment a helicopter is parked out in front of the southern portico of the executive mansion, ready to whisk the soon-to-be former First Fool off to Andrews Air Force Base where a jet will send him hurling off to grim exile in Florida. There is a speaker is blaring a recording of Elton John's Funeral For a Friend. The president obviously chose the song. I wonder if the idiot even understands the irony.

Mike Pence is nowhere to be seen. He will be spending the better part of the day at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. For the first time since Andrew Johnson passed up attending Ulysses S. Grant's swearing-in ceremony over one-hundred and fifty years ago in 1869, Donald Trump will not be in attendance. Would he dare show his face? Honestly. Not even when Nixon skipped town in 1974 has a president been as humiliated as this.

He  has arrived at Andrews (8:34)

"We were not a regular administration." (8:47 AM)

Again, is this knucklehead even capable of perceiving irony?

"Goodbye, we love you. We'll be back in some form" (8:45)

He will never set foot in Washington again as long as he he lives (Count on it).

He is now aboard Air Force One (8:47 AM)

Hurry! Hurry!

He's airborne. He's gone. Good riddance. (9:00 AM)

Tonight Joe Biden will sleep in the White House. I sure as hell hope they have had the joint fumigated for the old guy.

I'm wondering how much damage he can do between now and high noon - even on board Air Force One. Does he still have access to the nuclear codes? Lordy, Lordy, I hope not! I can imagine the hideous old freak finally realizing the extent of his disgrace, spraying the pilots with mace, and sending the plane smashing onto the face of Lookout Mountain in Georgia. After four years of this craziness, nothing as weird as that would surprise me at all.

It will be years before we are able to overcome the sick and twisted era of Donald Trump. As I have said before, presidents yet-to-be born will still be dealing with the damage that this president has done to our once-great nation. The very fact that more people voted for him than had ever voted for a president (except Biden, of course) makes me uncomfortable living in a country with a population as civically dense as the citizens of Idiot Nation. Years ago, if I could have foreseen where we've ended up, I would have done what brothers Pete and Jeff did when they were younger: get the hell out of the USA while the getting was good. Since that is no longer an option for me (given my health), I might as well sit back and enjoy the clown show. The inaugurations of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris does not magically eliminate the nasty fact that there are some seriously crazy people slithering through the halls of congress. Keep your eyes open, your fingers crossed and your hands folded.

FUN FACT: The jackasses who follow the Q-Anon cult are saying that 12 Noon is Doomsday in the United States. Isn't that something?

Not since March 4, 1861 - which was the first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln - has DC been as on-edge as it is on January 20, 2021. Following the Trump-induced trashing of the the capitol two weeks ago today, the fringes of the extremely loony right wing have been rumbling that things could get extremely ugly today. The members of the 20,000 national guardsmen who have been shipped in for the festivities have all been vetted for fear that violent extremists have infiltrated their number. We can only hope their vetting was thorough and complete.

One of America's greatest and most enduring legacies has been the peaceful transference of power. For the first time in our history, we are not having a peaceful transfer of power. Of all of the negative legacies of Donald Trump, that one is the most shameful.

A tip of the hat to Joe Biden. Let's say a silent prayer for the man. He certainly has his work cut out for him.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Joseph Robinette Biden is now the 46the president of the United States of America. God bless us, every one of us.


God Bless America
Music by Irving Berlin
Vocal by Kate Smith

For the first time in a long while, I am happy.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Five Days Left


Twelve noon on January 20 2121 cannot come soon enough. The ticking time bomb in the oval office is hell-bent on doing as much damage to the republic that can possibly be done in less than a week. Washington today looks like an armed fortress as twenty thousand national guardsmen and women are patrolling the streets, on the lookout for the armed extremists that attempted to put an end to democracy in America one week and one day ago. I always knew we would come to this point; I was only not sure it would happen in my lifetime. Donald Trump is many, many things. One thing he is not is boring. Let's give credit where it's due.

There are now signs that what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 might have been an inside job. The day before the incursion, several members of congress were seen giving a tour of the layout of the place to several different groups. This is something that had not been done since the shutdown due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus ten months ago. If there was incitement to this incursion by any elected representatives, the feds will find get to the bottom of it soon enough. Bear in mind that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for a lot less in 1953.

If  by now you re unable to understand what a danger that disgusting party is to freedom and democracy, you might as well turn of the lights and go back to sleep. This is not our parents Republican Party. It has been overtaken by a force so dark and dangerous that it needs to disappear forever into history's bottomless shithole. It's a party that, if it still exists a decade from now, should be relegated to the fringes of our national discussion. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" was represented within the capital building last week by seditionist thugs wearing sweatshirts that glorified the Nazis and carrying confederate flags. At least five people died - including one idiot rioter who accidentally electrocuted himself in the groin with a taser.

The specter of the assault on American democracy will be with us for the rest on the lives of everyone who will be old enough to remember it. For the first time in our history there was not a peaceful transfer of power. I can hardly believe that I am even writing these words. It is my belief that the entire presidency of Donald Trump should be annulled. I cannot imagine that ugly, orange face soiling the posters of American presidents that grace most elementary school classrooms throughout the country. How the hell are we going to explain this corrupt jackass to the children of tomorrow? It's going to be awkward, I promise you that.

I'm getting nostalgic for 2020, isn't that something? It's hard to believe that we have sunk as low as this.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Not Since 1861


It's never been this weird - not in our lifetimes at least. There was that little skirmish in 1861 that began as an extreme overreaction to the election of Abraham Lincoln, but that was all settled within four years. We can only hope and pray that the overreaction to the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris four days ago is not a harbinger of stranger days to come, and was a mere aberration. Call me a cockeyed optimist.

Forgive me, but I really need to give tip of the hat to old Mike Pence. I was certain that was he was going to give in to Trump's demand that he  invalidate the results of the electoral college. He didn't. For that alone he deserves our eternal thanks. I've never been a fan of the Vice-President (which is putting it as mildly as possible). History will be kind to him - if only for that reason. I promise that I will never again refer to him as an "imbecile". As far as I know, the rupture between him and The Donald has only one historical precedent: the relationship between Andrew Jackson and his VP, John Calhoun. At the end of his life, Jackson told someone that the single biggest regret of his entire career was not having Calhoun shot. I have no doubt that Trump is having similar feelings toward Pence today. Ain't politics a gas?

As the mob of dunces approached the capitol on Wednesday afternoon, many of them were chanting:

Some knucklehead actually constructed a gallows in the front of the building presumably for this very purpose. Not once did Trump phone the consistently loyal Pence during the siege to inquire on his well being. As a matter of chilling fact, he didn't phone anyone inside that chamber-under attack. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska says that he was informed by more-than-one high-level White House aide that Trump was actually "delighted" by the chaos that was transpiring under the capitol dome. They told him that the president was confused why some people were truly alarmed by what was happening. CNN has also obtained this information. That is the behavior of a sociopath, folks.
As the hours of this disgusting administration melt away, the movement to remove Donald Trump from the executive mansion is growing. It doesn't matter that he has only ten days left on his term. This sociopathic moron has his hands on the nuclear codes. There are even some Republicans who are clamoring for his removal. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is threatening to become a Democrat! The walls are closing in around Donald Trump. He's under the delusion that hell merely be able to pardon himself and walk away from the mess that he has created. Think about that! Andrew Johnson never considered a self-pardon; nor did Dick Nixon; not did Bill Clinton. The reason none of them went down that road was simply because each of them were smart enough to realize that it was a jaw-droppingly stupid idea (and please bear in mind that Andy Johnson was not the smartest knife in the drawer).
Keep your eyes wide on Washington in the next few days. This is the most incredible political crisis we'll ever experience as long as we live (I hope). Those of us who warned our fellow citizens in 2016 what a disaster four years of Donald Trump were going to be should stand proud. We knew what a goddamned mess he was going to make of our republic - and many of us were mocked by our peers. They're not laughing anymore, are they. 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Friday, January 08, 2021

Trump Needs to Be Removed - NOW

It's bad enough that for the past four years we have been stuck with a president that has the IQ of a moldy bag of rancid lollipops, we have to finally admit that 
Donald Trump is criminally insane. He cannot be trusted to remain at the seat of power with the nuclear codes within reach of his gnarled little hands. Less than forty-eight hours ago he stirred up a crowd of screaming yahoos to assault the congress and loot the place. These people were so stupid that they really believed that they were going to take over the government of the United States by their insane action.  Video interviews with many of them prove it. Trump obviously believed it as well. All they ended up doing was traumatizing every thinking man and woman in the United States. 

The Trump administration has been a rolling constitutional crisis since January 20, 2017 when he vomited out what passed as an inaugural address. It's been downhill ever since. If Mike Pence and the cabinet don't have the courage to invoke the 25th amendment and forcibly remove this disgusting man from the house that was once home to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, then the congress should do it instead. The only good thing about this nightmare of a presidency was the daily douses of unintentional humor they provided in abundance. This is not funny anymore, folks. This has devolved into a dangerous and deadly situation. He needs to be removed from that house immediately. Time is of the essence, as they say.

This needs to happen fast; technically it could be done in a matter of hours. According to the department of justice, a sitting president cannot be criminally prosecuted. That opinion is a remnant of the Watergate era when Special Prosecutor Leon Jawarski made that judgment. Personally I don't agree with it, but that's the way it is and I need to live with it. Trump and his dimwitted sons and son-in-law need to be criminally prosecuted and sent to federal prison for a very long time. The damage that the despicable punk has done to this nation will outlive most of you reading this. 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, January 07, 2021

An Extremely Nasty Precedent

"This is going to end very, very badly. We'll just leave it at that."
From The Rant, November 2016
Gee, I really hate to say "I told you so, but....
The last time our nation's Capitol came under siege was during the war of 1812 when the British attempted to burn the place to the ground. They didn't succeed, obviously, but the damage the silly limeys were able to do was good enough. To put it in another context: at the time, Abraham Lincoln was a toddler.
For the first time in our nearly 245 year history, there will not be a peaceful transfer of power in the USA. If you are unable to gauge what a horrible precedent was set yesterday, then, you might as well go back to sleep. After addressing an audience of the babbling birdbrains he calls his "base" for over one hour, he exhorted them to head for the Capitol building. They did - and the result was disastrous. Yesterday afternoon, the president of the Unites States incited a violent insurrection against the seat of our government. 
This morning, the Washington Post is urging that Trump be removed from office immediately. To ask rhetorically, well, how much damage can the silly bastard do in thirteen days? is to miss the point entirely. Donald J. Trump is a psychologically unhinged man. To leave him for even an hour more with the nuclear codes is beyond reckless. The congress should impeach him, or Vice-president Pence and the cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment. Any one of these two scenarios could conceivably be done in a matter of hours. It needs to be done. The damage that this hideous twit can still do between now and January 20 is immense. We could very well regret any inaction by the government.
Like September 11, 2001, November 22, 1963 and December 7, 1981, January 6, 2021 will be remembered throughout American history as a grim milestone date. Never before has a chief-executive incited mob violence against the seat of the government. These extremist groups are not going to crawl back into the holes from which they came and sulk for eternity. Their plan is to fight another day. As Joe Biden pointed out a moment ago, these weren't protesters. These were insurrectionists. Those who can be identified who invaded and looted the Capitol yesterday should be arrested and charged with sedition. 
Amazingly, only four people died in yesterday's mayhem. One young woman was shot by someone unknown, and the other three died as the result of "medical emergencies". Seriously, there should be age limits for those attending such violent events. I cannot help but wonder the carnage that would have ensued had this been a Black Lives Matter crowd that had descended upon the Capitol Building. Can you even imagine? 
As the title of this piece suggests, on January 6, 2021, an extremely nasty precedent was set. It will be a very long time until this is not in the forefront of  our collective consciousness. When I started this blog nearly fifteen years ago, I never dreamed I would be writing about such things. In the film Where The Buffalo Roams, Bill Murray (as Hunter S. Thompson) ends the movie by saying, "It still hasn't gotten weird enough for me".
It's gotten plenty weird thank you very much.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Stephen Colbert's commentary on what occurred yesterday in Washington needs to be seen and heard by all.
He's right. He usually is.
God Bless America
Music by Irving Berlin, Vocal by Kate Smith
No comment from me is necessary.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

He's Out Of His Mind

Keep your eyes wide. On January 6, 2021, Washington D.C. might prove to be the most dangerous city in the entire western hemisphere.

As I write these words, the president of the United States is out in front of the southern portico of the White House, having a positively Hitleresque moment. Never before has the man appeared to be more disturbed and unhinged. Since he has invited untold numbers of angry yahoos to come into D.C. to raise some hell in protest of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, he is covered by bullet-proof glass. You see, a lot of these assholes will be armed. You never know if one of them might get the bright idea that it might be a neat idea to make Donald a martyr for the MAGA cause. He would be the Martin Luther King of the extreme right. Sound crazy? Not really. Most of these folks are heartbreakingly dumb; Idiot Nation, you know.

Just now, he threatened Mike Pence in public, telling him that he'd better name Donald John Trump as the winner of the 2020 campaign when the numbers are officially tabulated later this afternoon (or possibly tomorrow). About a dozen senators and over one-hundred congressmen and women are threatening to contest the results - which should take many hours of debate. What is happening at this moment is an attempted coup. For the first time in our history, we probably won't have a peaceful transfer of power. Isn't that something? We are living through extraordinary times. We really are!

At the moment on the laptop monitor to my left, Trump has gotten the crowd whooped up into a maniacal frenzy. They're shouting in unison:


He just now referred to the Democratic party as "an organized criminal enterprise", which is what I've been saying about the GOP for decades. A minute ago he said that he hopes that Mike Pence has the "courage" to do the right thing and thwart the will of the American people.

If you are unable to perceive what a damaging and dangerous precedent this contemptible thug is setting then you might as well go back to sleep.

FUN FACT: A good number of the jackasses currently attending this rally are not wearing face masks.

How nice! He just ended this rally by exhorting this crowd of extremists to march on the capital. This s going to end badly - but that is something I've been saying since Election Day 2016.

This has been the worst week of Donald Trump's presidency - which is an achievement in itself when you think about it. Only two days ago, the Washington Post released an hour-long tape of Trump attempting to extort the secretary of state of Georgia to "find" 11,780 votes (which is one vote more than he needs) in order to hand him a victory. At one point in the recording the president of the United States floats vague threats of criminal prosecution against the man for not complying with his demands. This is what is known as sedition - not to mention extortion.

At this moment Mitch McConnell is addressing the senate, vainly attempting his to convince his colleagues to accept the results of the election. He is actually the voice of reason in that party. A pig just flew by my window. Ain't politics a hoot?

When Trump addressed his silly masses only a few minutes ago, he spoke as a leader  (ruler) who will be living in the executive mansion for another four years. He is wrong, of course. He has lost sixty-two legal challenges. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be taking the oath in exactly two weeks. What is happening on the floor of the senate right now is the attempt of a handful of politicians to gain favor with "the base".  They only have their eyes on the 2024 campaign. They are doomed to fail and they know it.

What is happening to your once-great nation on January 6, 2021 is nothing short of disgusting.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

The protesters that Trump told to march on the capital yes than an hour ago are now trying to force their way in.
Here is a link to watch the First Fool addressing the crowd of babbling masses, ending less than an hour ago:
It has to be seen to be believed.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: The Worst of the Rant


This was the worst year in the American experiment since the war between the states. This is as bad as it will ever get in our lifetimes, folks. It will never again get quite as weird as this. God bless America....


In the fifteen years that I've been writing this site, I have usually composed between 56 and 60 pieces per year. In 2020 I've composed over one hundred and seven. Donald Trump inspires many things....writers block is not one of them

Here is a tiny example of the year that is about to mercifully expire. Good freaking riddance.


January 4:

 have a strong suspicion that Donald Trump is not particularly good at the game of chess. Chess requires the ability to predict what might happen several moves in the future - a talent that Trump obviously lacks. In the year 2011, the current First Fool predicted that then-president Barack Obama would invade the nation of Iran in order to ensure his reelection the following year. He called the imagined future invasion "pathetic" - and it certainly would have been quite pathetic indeed had it happened. It didn't. Instead, in 2015, the Obama administration worked out a series of deals with the Iranians that effectively put their nuclear ambitions on the back burner. Almost as soon as he took office, our esteemed Common-Pervert-In-Chief destroyed the entire deal.

January 7:

Whatever the case may be, we are screwed either way. We will either be forced to continue on for the remaining year with an unhinged maniac like Donald Trump navigating the ship-of-state, or we'll have to content with an imbecile like Mike Pence calling the shots. Either way, America is fucked. Get used to living in a nation in ruins.

Unglued and Unhinged

Iran's response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani was, to say the least, restrained. They might have retaliated in a way that killed a whole lot of American soldiers but, instead, responded by making sure (I believe)  that the loss of life was minimal or non-existent. In doing so, they avoided a bombardment that surely would have led to an all-out war. Apparently, someone was able to convince The Donald to leave well enough alone. Both sides, hopefully, are satisfied. This incident might have evolved into World War Three, just as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (and his wife) in June of 1914 mutated into the carnage of the First World War, or, as it was known for a generation, "The Great War". You see, when that unspeakable conflict ended in November of 1918, no one envisioned a second war on that scale as being even remotely possible. On September 3, 1939 everything changed.

"I don't know him".

You got to hand it to Giuliani. The man will go down in history as a walking disaster. Throughout this entire fiasco, everything he touched turned into shit. The very fact that Trump did not give this unhinged and incompetent twit the sack three years ago speaks untold volumes about the man's grip (or lack thereof) on basic realities that you and I take for granted. To think that nineteen years ago he was a figure of national pride - "America's Mayor" - in the wake of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Today he has found himself in complete disgrace, more-than-likely within months of being criminally indicted. His fall has been complete and permanent. His reputation is in ashes. When his term as mayor of New York City ended in January of 2002, he should have disappeared. He didn't. Schmuck.

February 19:

Nancy Clements


I took a sentimental journey last weekend to my late mother's hometown of South Bend, Indiana to bid farewell to my aunt, Nancy Babcock Clements. She married my mother's youngest brother, Bob, in the nineteen-fifties. They settled in South Bend where they raised their eight children. Uncle Bob and Aunt Nancy were my godparents. At the time I was christened in August of 1958 they had just given birth to their eldest, Brooke. Since I was in New York and they were seven-hundred miles away in Indiana, the entire affair had to be done by proxy. It's amazing when you consider that I had the talent to complicate family matters even at such a tender age.

Cousin Susan

At her memorial service at St. Patrick's Church in South Bend (the same church that my parents were married in nearly seventy years ago) she was remembered for her kindness and unflinching generosity. Nancy and Bob could easily have succumbed to bitterness and despair, but they never lost their quiet gentleness - even after losing two daughters, Loretta and Susan - the latter of whom died in 1992 through an unspeakable act of murder. Aunt Nancy's passing represents another vanishing thread connected to a childhood that is slowly dwindling away.

Bob, Nancy, Loretta and Susan are together again. There's even more to look forward to tonight. That works for me!

Uncle Bob and Aunt Nancy Clements, 2017

March 2020


 Let me state for the record that the former vice-president was not my first choice to be the standard bearer in this year's political contest. That spot was held in my heart by Elizabeth Warren, followed by Pete Buttigieg. Biden and Bernie were tied for fourth place. Although I  haven't been a registered Democrat since 1998, I tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Four years ago, when they nominated Hillary Clinton, I felt then (as I still do) that they had made a dreadful mistake. Show me a candidate unable to defeat a babbling moron like Donald Trump, and I'll show you a perfectly horrible candidate. As disappointed as I was with Clinton as the nominee, on the morning of Election Day 2016, I dutifully made my way down to the firehouse (my polling place) and cast my ballot for her.
March 15:
They've always talked about "the luck of the Irish". If you think about it, all through their history, the Irish people have been anything but lucky. It wasn't until years after they became Americans that some serious luck start to catch up with them. It should be "the luck of the Americans". All through its history, whenever any serious crisis faced this country, the United States has always been blessed to have a leader of insight living in the White House. All of that changed nearly twenty years ago, on September 11, 2001. When the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor sixty years earlier occurred, America's luck ran out. I don't need to rehash the sins and blunders of the Age of Dubya; It's all too depressing to even think about. Now that we're about to face the worst pandemic in one-hundred-and-two-years, given the intellect and instability of the current occupant of the Oval Office....well....there's not a lot of room for optimism, we'll just leave it at that.
March 28:
Audrey Degan Gargiulo

Audrey Gargiulo was my father's sister. Although she was the oldest of my grandparents' seven children, she survived them all by a decade or more, living to the age of 100. She was laid to rest yesterday in the family plot at St. Columba's Cemetery in Chester, NY. In normal times she would have had a huge send-off - but these times are hardly normal. There were less than ten people attending her wake and burial. She was the last survivor of all my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. This truly is the end of an era. This is a melancholy day in too many ways to count.
April 7:
I went through a bout of flu last week, thinking I had contracted the deadly corona-virus. It seems that the symptoms have made a turnaround and that I am fine, thank you very much. Although I am still as tired as I have ever been, I cannot emphasize enough that we all need to keep to ourselves as much as we possibly can and continue to practice "social distancing". It's our only hope.

Did you ever - in a million years - think that our once-great nation would sink this low? No, neither did I. Get used to the shit-storm. It's gonna be around for a while.
April 9:
In previous elections, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin had one-hundred and twenty-five polling places for their elections. This year, thanks to the Republican-controlled state legislature, they have five. Milwaukee is a fairly large city that is also quite liberal - and quite black. This will force thousands of human beings to be in close proximity with one another - and during a pandemic. This leads me to the only conclusion I can possibly muster: Republicans want dark-skinned people dead.
April 16:
As of this morning, there have been 32,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus. Donald Trump didn't want to upset the economy in order not to hurt his chances for reelection in the fall. As a result, he refused to sound the alarm on the incoming pandemic. For two crucial months the homicidal little sociopath did very little to stem the tide of this tsunami. This isn't mere speculation on my part, folks, this is an indisputable, documented fact. Why, then, hasn't the old freak been indicted on 32,000 separate charges of criminally negligent homicide?
Any answers, Quiz Kids?
April 20:
Why is Trump so gung ho to open up the American economy so soon? Could it be that a second wave even more serious than the first would give him an excuse to shut down the election in November? Could the disgusting little thug really be that despicable? I'm really starting to wonder. It has been comically obvious since he took office that Donald Trump had all the makings of a despot-wannabe. He appears to be on the threshold of making his dreams come true. As I've been saying since the morning after he was elected four years ago, this is going to end badly.
April 24:
The good news is that we have only nine months to contend with the Orange Jackass living in the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln - I think. My theory is that The Donald has been encouraging his idiotic base to do so many reckless things because he knows that a massive second wave of breakouts in the autumn would allow him to use the pileup of bodies as an excuse to shut down the elections in November. What other reason could there be for him to promote such insane behavior on such a mass scale? Or maybe it's merely a symptom of Trump's already obvious insanity. Am I wrong in these theories? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We shall see.

May 7:

Donald Trump is consciously waging viral warfare on the American people. He is trying to reopen the entire country at a moment when it is not even close to being ready. If this happens there will be an explosion of deaths between now and mid August. Most pandemic experts are predicting nothing less.

May 9:

The leaders of the governments of the United States and South Korea were made aware of the coronavirus pandemic at the very same moment on the very same day. South Korea immediately sprang into action in order to contain the virus. As of this moment their total death toll is around 250 people. The United States, on the other hand, chose to ignore the obvious. It wasn't for another three crucial months that Donald Trump decided that maybe he should declare a national emergency. The silly bastard then went golfing. Was this a great country or what?

May 16:You were forewarned - not only on this site - but by scores of other commentators. This corrupt and disgusting imbecile would eventually go after his political enemies. Anyone paying a molecule of attention should have known that something as outrageous as this would eventually happen. Unfortunately not too many of Americans had their eye on the ball. That is why we find ourselves in the situation we're in today. This is something that transpired for no other reason than the complete and utter stupidity of a significant minority of the American electorate. Pat yourselves on the back.

May 30:


Cold-Blooded Murder
In the wake of the pandemic that has thus far killed in excess of one-hundred thousand Americans and the most devastating economic collapse in ninety-one years, the United States is now forced to contend with the most calamitous example of racial unrest since the night Martin Luther King was murdered fifty-two years ago. It all started on Monday when George Floyd, a citizen of Minneapolis, Minnesota stopped into a store to purchase some goods. When Mr. Floyd paid for his items with an allegedly counterfeit twenty dollar bill, the proprietor of the joint phoned the police. As he told the press later, he didn't believe that George intentionally passed along a fake bill - most people who come into possession of them are innocent. He merely wanted them to investigate the matter. When they arrived, George was still in the vicinity of the establishment. The owner says that Floyd wasn't violent or belligerent, and yet, within a minute-or-so, the poor man was face-first on the ground, an officer's knee pressed against his neck, cutting off blood flow and oxygen.
June 6:

It was a perfectly beautiful day to hold such a beautiful event. What struck me was the crowd. Most of them were very young - and a lot of them were quite white. You've got to give a standing ovation to the millennials of all sizes and colors.  As I've written on this site before, I have nothing but awe and admiration for these kids. My generation was handed the strongest, economically sound nation in the history of the world. And what do we bequeath them? A socioeconomic and ideological cesspool. I have no doubt that it is the people who were born in the last decade of the twentieth and the first two decades of the twenty-first centuries who are going to turn this damaged planet around and shake it up in a way that it's never been shaken up before. I long ago stopped holding my breath waiting for my generation to get with the program. That ain't gonna happen, campers. I don't trust anyone over thirty. Sorry.
June 18:
Seven months and three days to go before this nightmare is behind us....God willing. Did you ever dream that this country would fall as low as it has? I never did. Twenty years ago I believed that America had reached rock bottom when it stupidly elected George W. Bush. He's starting to look like Abraham Lincoln when placed in juxtaposition with Donald J. Trump. My youngest brother Jeff has just announced that if this moron is reelected he is going to apply for French citizenship. There was a time, not so very long ago, when this knowledge would have depressed me. Now I'm wondering what the hell took him so long. Can you blame him?
June 20:
Hello to the people of Tulsa, Oklahoma! I know that a lot of you are anxious to see -  LIVE AND IN PERSON! - President Donald J. Trump when he blows into town today for a mass, indoor rally. I know the feeling. My whole life I wanted to meet a president. I didn't care if it was an ex-president, a current president - or even future president. Any one would do! I finally got my wish in 1983 when I met a future president in the lobby of the not-quite-finished Trump Tower in New York City. Ironically, that future president turned out to be - you guessed it - Donald Trump. In a further irony, my life is not any fuller for having had this experience. In fact, it makes me kind of sick to even have to think about it  all these years later - but that's another story for another day, boys and girls.
June 21:
When you get to the point in your national affairs where George W. Bush is starting to look good, you've reached a sorry state indeed. We've gotten to a place where it seems obvious that Trump and the Republican party have every intention of overthrowing the government of the United States by means of illegal electoral tactics. It's obvious in the way they've been limiting the amount of polling places in states and counties that are trending to vote for the Democratic party in November. And it's hideously obvious by the lengths they are going to prevent African Americans from having access to the ballot box.
June 27:
Trump is setting himself up to be the most prolific mass murderer in the history of the American experiment. His inaction before this week, I believe, entitled him to be charged  with 120,000 cases of criminally negligent homicide. Everything changed this week. When he herded thousands of his half-witted followers into a series of indoor rallies in Oklahoma, Arizona, and a packed outdoor rally in Wisconsin - during a pandemic - the charges could be upped (in my opinion) to cold blooded murder. His objective is to make this pandemic so catastrophic that he thinks he'll be able to use the utter chaos that ensues in the autumn to shut down the national election. He legally cannot do that according to the Constitution. But ask yourselves this question:

Since when does this corrupt jackass and common pervert give a flying fuck about legalities? Seriously.
July 19:
In March of 1965, John Lewis, along with hundreds of other people, was beaten senseless by the Alabama state police as they tried to march peacefully across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. John suffered a fractured skull on that dark day and almost didn't survive. For the past couple of weeks there has been a petition going around to take the name of the old confederate racist down from that bridge and rename the structure for John Lewis. Humble as always, Lewis objected to the idea. The fact is, he's no longer around to complain. It should be forever known as The John Lewis Bridge. Considering the time we're living through, the symbolism behind such a move would be incalculable. The city fathers and mothers of Selma should know that the time to do this is now.
July 20:
The president of the United States of America is a traitor. I don't believe that he has any intention of removing himself from the White House six months from today, January 20, 2021. 
July 22:
We are just two days shy of six months left on the clock until this corrupt and disgusting administration is thrown onto History's shit pile. We have no other choice but to ride it out and hope that the unhinged, orange sociopath in the oval office doesn't blow us all into a bazillion itty bitty pieces.  And not one of us should be complacent enough to think that Joe Biden has got this thing wrapped up like a Christmas present. He doesn't. We need to do everything as humanly possible to ensure that Donald Trump is not reelected on the third of November. If he is able to retain another four years - whether de does it legally or illegally - this country is doomed. Do you really think I'm exaggerating? Stay tuned.
July 26:
It amazes me that someone with the serious gravitas and grace of an Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez was born in 1989, the year my father died and two months after my thirty-first birthday. These events in my life seem to have happened only a few weeks ago. I thought that we would have to wait generations for someone like her to come along - but here we are and there she is! She is my hero, or in the parlance of the times in which we live: my she-ro. She could very well be the first woman president of the United States. She is only thirty, and has another five years before she is even eligible for the damned job. But it could happen. She fills me with more hope than I've come to expect from the American Dream in a very long time. I awaken most mornings these days with an optimism that has been deceased in me for years. It's coming back to life, bit by bit. AOC is one of the reasons for that.
August 10:
Branson and Trump
We have five months and ten days left until this nightmare of an administration is mercifully behind us. What is beyond certainty is that Donald Trump is a sore loser. The truth of the matter is that the man has been a loser most of his miserable life; that is why the disgusting imbecile is so chronically grumpy. His smile is more akin to a sneer than anything else. He once told Virgin CEO Richard Branson that he loves nothing more than getting even with people who have crossed him. Between Election Day 2020 and Inauguration Day 2021, the soon-to-be former president will have two months, two weeks and three days to "get even" with the American people for banishing him from the White House. That will be the time to be on your toes, folks. The damage he will attempt in that period could very well be long lasting. Hang on.
August 12:
I came to consciousness early in the morning to the news that Joe Biden had chosen the woman who is to be his running mate in 2020. It's Kamala Harris, whom I've been rooting for to take the spot for months. Things rarely go my way as far as American politics is concerned so you will please forgive me for savoring this scrumptious moment. No current member of the senate has impressed me more than the gentlewoman from California. I knew from the moment I first heard her speak a little over four years ago that she was going to be a star. I was just looking at a photograph of the 2004 Democratic nominees: two guys named John  (Kerry and Edwards). That will probably be the last time that we ever see two white guys as the nominees of the Democratic Party. After 2020, there will be no way of going back to the way things used to be. This is a jolly good thing. Don't expect diversity from the GOP any time soon. Ain't gonna happen, Bubba. 
August 15:
Trump refuses to hand over a dime. He is trying  to stop the mail-in/absentee ballots from being delivered on time - if at all - and he said as much. The fact that millions of senior citizens rely on the mail to receive life-saving medications every month of the year means not a thing to this disgusting, homicidal Neanderthal. All that matters to Donald Trump is WINNING - by any and every means necessary, and at every and any cost. And if that cost should include the lives of you or your loved ones? Well, that's what we call "tough shit", amigo! This despicable bastard is your president. I mean - c'mon, folks! This is a guy who admitted on a nationally televised program that he finds his own daughter sexually attractive. We knew this about him before the election of 2016! Were you expecting any better? Seriously.
August 18:
Since [Louis] DeJoy has impeded the delivery of a mass amount of mail he deserves a lot more time in the slammer than a measly six months. He would be lucky to get off with six years. Removing 681 letter sorting machines from various cities across the nation with huge minority populations that hope to vote by mail in November is corrupt on a scale no one has ever witnessed. Removing thousands of outdoor mailing boxes is an unspeakable crime against the citizens of this country. The practice was immediately halted once a loud enough cry was made at almost every level of the political spectrum. Apparently no more boxes will be removed - but the ones stolen from mostly poor and minority communities will not be replaced. The damage has been done - and quite swiftly.
August 20:

Trump knows damned well that the next administration (with the might of the Department of Justice behind it) will easily be able to siphon through the mountain of corruption and illegality behind the most disgusting American administration in the history of greed and mediocrity. 2020 will be the most important election day since 1932. We need to get out the vote and win. Only then will Donald Trump and these corrupt buffoons doing his bidding (and that would include Vladimir Putin) will be held accountable.
August 24:
George W. Bush could easily have beaten Johnson and Buchanan for the title of Worst Ever. Fortunately for him, he was saved from that dubious distinction by the arrival, on January 20, 2017, of Donald John Trump. In the year 2070, the president of the United States - who in all likelihood hasn't even been born yet - will still, on a daily basis, be dealing with the damage that Trump did to this nation so many decades before. The aftershock of the electoral madness of 2016 will be with us for a very long time.  The reverberations will outlive most of you reading this; perhaps all of you - perhaps even your young children. Get used to living in a nation in ruins.
August 25:
Last night was something unprecedented. By taking these assholes seriously, one could be forgiven for believing that if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are elected on November 3, the collapse of western civilization is all-but-imminent. Church will be outlawed - as will education for children, heterosexual marriage, the flag, Mom, Pop and apple pie. One nitwit even proclaimed that Joe and Kamala wanted to create a "socialist utopia". Apparently not one person of the scores of people who vetted that speech had the brains to understand that "utopia" is defined as a perfect, harmonious society. These people are oodles of fun to watch; and to think that last night['s debate] was only the first of three!
August 31:
During his inaugural address thirty years ago, Donald Trump told the American people that the era of "American carnage" was over. This monumentally stupid man was wrong, of course. The carnage was just beginning. In sixty-four days the polls open up in America for what will be the 58th national election since the first one in 1788. Were I to tell you that 2020 is the most important campaign in our history I would be exaggerating - but only slightly. The only two elections that rank close to November 3 are 1864 - when Lincoln was reelected; and 1932 - when Franklin Roosevelt was chosen by the electorate over the conservative Republican Herbert Hoover. Like 1932 and 1864. The results of the 2020 presidential campaign will depend upon whether or not the United States of America has a future. It's as serious as that.
September 3:
He has repeatedly undermined the health of the public by holding rallies where his half-witted followers are not obliged to wear face masks in order to protect them from the COVID-19 virus. Ten days after he held one in Tulsa, Oklahoma, many people who attended that event began to show symptoms of the illness. Some of them even died - including longtime Republican operative and onetime presidential candidate Herman Cain. He continues to hold these events - as he did two days ago - in front of an audience that included a number of veterans of the second world war, not one of whom was under the age of ninety-three. 
September 3:
My uncle, Edward J. Degan, Jr. is buried at a military cemetery in France. He was killed in the Battle of the Bulge late in the evening of December 15, 1944. He was literally cut in half by a nazi tank shell. It is believed that he was the first soldier to fall in that conflict. He was five days shy of his 24th birthday when he died. This December 20 is the centennial of his birth.
September 11:
This is as big and as bad as it's ever gotten before. Trump is actively trying to steal the November election by any and all means possible. The next four months are going to be more violent than at any point since the war between the states over  century and a half ago. Donald Trump will be the instigator of that violence. Remember that since George W. Bush stupidly lifted Bill Clinton's ban on assault weapons nearly twenty years ago, a whole lot of not-too-bright Americans have been arming themselves with these dangerous guns. If Trump is defeated on November 3, expect many of these blithering nincompoops to take to the streets.
September 16:
When asked by a local Nevada reporter if he was worried about spreading the coronavirus by holding a rally in such closed quarters, he replied that he was not worried at all due to the fact that he was a safe distance from the audience. In other words, FUCK EVERYBODY ELSE, I'LL BE FINE. This is the man that the American electorate foolishly chose as commander-in-chief four years ago. We are now the laughingstock of the planet earth. It will take at least a generation before we have anything near the respect we had even under the administration of George W. Bush. This is completely embarrassing.
September 28:
In his answer to a question in the White House press room last week as to whether or not he would leave the office of the presidency if Joe Biden were elected by the voters on November the third, Donald Trump responded by saying “We’ll have to see”. Clearly this irresponsible jackass does not understand the Constitution, which says that the winner of the election automatically assumes the office at exactly 12 Noon on inauguration Day. For most of our history, that day fell on March the fourth. Since 1937, it has fallen on the twentieth of January - which is a jolly good thing, too. Can you imagine another one month and twelve additional days of this grotesque fool running the ship of state? No, me neither.
October 1:
On the evening of September 29, 2020, we bore witness to Donald Trump in his truest, most undeniable form. If you need anymore proof what a horrible mistake it was to send this half-witted piece-of-shit to the home that was once occupied by Lincoln and the two Roosevelts, then there is little hope left for you. Good luck trying to live a functional life. Last night, the president of the United States became so unglued during his debate with Joe Biden, that it was truly cringe-worthy in a way that is almost impossible to adequately explain. In the life of this country, there will never be a moment as completely weird as the one we are living through at the moment. There will never again be an era as despairing as the one in which we are living through at this time. As the Moody Blues once sang, "Isn't life strange?"
October 7:
Since all of the grownups have either resigned of have been fired from this administration, there seems to be no responsible voices whispering into Trump's ear any longer. The entire joint is drenched with political hacks and right-wing extremists. Since the nineties it has been obvious to anyone paying attention that the man is mentally ill; but in the last three days his insanity has gone crashing into full-tilt-boogie mode. And remember, he has the nuclear codes within an arm's reach of his tubby torso. We are past the time when the 25th Amendment should have been invoked and the responsibilities of the presidency handed over to - and I cannot believe that I am even writing these words - Mike Pence. That is how completely extreme things have gotten.
October 13:
Last night, The Donald had yet another mass campaign rally in the midst of the worst pandemic in over a century, this time in Orlando, Florida. Once again, the event was attended by by many of his half-witted followers, a lot of them not wearing potentially life-saving masks. I am convinced  that Trump is attempting to stir-up a spike in this epidemic that will inflict so much death and disease by Election Day that he will be use the mass chaos as an excuse to shut down polls across the country. When this disgusting administration is finally finished, the hideous old freak should be prosecuted for mass murder - among too many other things to count. 
October 21:
It's been in the running since May when Junior Trump made a pitch to his demented MAGA-brained followers to join the "Army of Trump". It appears to be what I suspected it of being from Day One: an opportunity for Dad to create his own private S.S. - loyal only to him. This week they are calling on this army of the faithful to make themselves known at polling places throughout the land to serve as "poll watchers" on Election Day. This is going to be interesting.
October 25:
We're not as far away as you might imagine from the worst that can possibly come to the American Experiment. With nine days left until the election of 2020, and with COVID cases skyrocketing across the country (in spite of the pleas from public health officials for people to wear masks and practice social distancing) we find ourselves teetering at the very cliff's-edge of our existence. For those of you who mistakenly find yourselves thinking that the hideous old freak has done as much damage to this republic as is possible for one man to do, and that he cannot possibly do any more, you might want to reassess your position on that point. The disturbing fact is that, in the two months, three weeks and five days left until Inauguration Day, Donald Trump is perfectly capable (and quite willing, I'm sure) of doing a lot more damage to this already thoroughly damaged nation. Does that sound like a stretch? Perhaps it is. I'll tell you what: let's all vote for the silly bastard on November 3 and see what happens.
November 1:
All bets are off if this asshole is reelected. Don't get out the vote as if your life depends upon it. Get out the vote because your life depends upon it. Do you have any friends or loved ones who tonight are lying in cemeteries for no other reason than the fact that Donald Trump was elected four years ago? Then you might have an idea of what I'm talking about. Think about it.
November 13:
FUN FACT: The day is Friday the thirteenth. The year is 2020. What could possibly go wrong?
Joe Biden is now the president-elect. There is no denying it. Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20 - not only as the first woman in that office - but as the first person of African descent to hold it. There is no denying that either. It should also be noted that Biden is the first Catholic to be elected to the presidency in sixty years. It's a perfect illustration of how things have changed in the United States. Sixty years ago when Jack Kennedy campaigned for the White House, the biggest issue of that run was his religion. In 2020, the issue of Biden's Catholicism was never even mentioned, not even by the most hateful of religious bigots representing the loony right wing - or, at least, I didn't notice it - and I tend to pay close attention to these things.
November 22:
Fifty-seven years ago today, our democracy came under a lethal assault when a demented little freak pointed a cheap, mail-order rifle at the head of the president of the United States from the sixth floor of a warehouse in Dallas, Texas. Today, democracy finds itself under assault once again, only this time around, the assailant is the president of the United States. Donald Trump is the tenth president to live in the White House since the time of Jack Kennedy. It defies reason to believe that the quality of American politicians (not to mention the American people) could have degraded to this point.
November 27:
Also, this week The Donald pardoned Michael Flynn for his committing perjury when talking to the FBI about his meetings with the Russians four years ago. This is only the first of many pardons in the next month-and-a-half. The problem here is that he can only pardon people for federal crimes - not state crimes. In other words, if Eric or Donald showed up at the Washington Monument with a couple of AK47 and mowed down thirty innocent people, a pardon from Papa would be prompt and certain. If I get busted for DUI here in New York and given a year in the slammer, I'm out of luck. Justice in America is a curious thing, you know?
December 2:
Okay, this is no longer even remotely funny. Rudy Giuliani needs to disappear from public life - FOREVER. I was saying as much ten years ago, but things have gotten even more drastic recently. If only he had had the sense to go gently into the good night of relative obscurity when his term as mayor of New York City ended in 2002. His legacy would have today been set in stone. He would have forever been remembered as "America's Mayor" following his (mostly) heroic behavior in the days and weeks following the horrific attacks on the Big Apple on September 11, 2001. That legacy is now ashes on the alter of public opinion. He will forever be remembered as Donald Trump's crazy spokesman. When his obituary is finally published in the not-too-distant future, the photograph at the top of the headline will no-doubt be of him with hair-dye dripping down both sides of his face - not a particularly good way to exit the public stage.
December 10:
The Donald and his silly minions are determined and hell-bent on subverting the democratic process on January 20, 2021. My biggest fear is that - for the first time in the history of this country - there will not be a peaceful transfer of power. If he calls for an army of his armed, MAGA-BRAINED followers to descend upon Washington to defend their leader, you can expect a very ugly and brutal scene on the streets of D.C. The question is: will he? Anything is possible with this deranged fool. I've been paying attention to this guy for nearly forty years. Four years ago I would tell anyone who listened that this was going to end badly. But even I never dreamed that things would quite get this weird. These are interesting times.
December 17:
Bill Barr has achieved the seemingly impossible. He has made me nostalgic for John Mitchell and Ed Meese. He made me forget about John Ashcroft! I never dreamed that such a thing would be even remotely possible. Strange days, indeed. As Donald Trump's "private attorney" these last two years he has done much damage - not only to the Department of Justice - but to the very idea of Justice in America itself. From his interfering in the sentences of some of Trump's chief cronies - with Mike Flynn and Roger Stone being the most notable examples, to his issuing a misleading version of the Mueller Report where he led Congress to believe that Trump had not obstructed justice (he had).
December 27:
The very fact that this "president" is attempting to overthrow the will of the American people is too sickening for discussion. Just when one thinks he has accepted the inevitable, the silly bastard drops a hint that he will be commander-and-chief for the next four years and beyond. He is trying to make "the base" believe that the election was stolen and that all of the mail-in ballots that went to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were fraudulent. The fact of the matter is that the total for Biden would have been even greater than it was had Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (at Trump's orders, no doubt) not junked thousands of post boxes in minority neighborhoods  all across the land. This very act alone should send both men to the federal slammer for a very, very long time.
As this horrible year ends I have nothing warm and fuzzy to offer you. Sorry about that, folks. This has been the worst year it has ever been my extreme displeasure to witness - and I'm old enough to remember 1968! Compared to 2020, '68 was lollipops and roses.
So there you have it folks. To quote The Who:
"I've got a feeling '21 is gonna be a good year".
We can only hope.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY