Monday, January 20, 2020

one more year....HANG IN THERE, FOLKS!

An uncluttered desk is symptomatic of someone with no ideas.

Here we have your classic Good News/Bad News scenario....

THE GOOD NEWS: One year from today, Donald Trump will no longer be president of the United States and will (if there is any justice in this world) be on his way to federal prison.
 
THE BAD NEWS: 2020 is a leap year and we will be forced to wait 366 days instead of the standard 365.

For the third year in a row, Trump has failed to take note of Martin Luther King Day. That's fine by me. In fact, I'm glad that he has never honored the life of one of the greatest Americans of the twentieth century. For him to do so would have somehow cheapened and soiled the event. But, please, consider this: Next year, Dr. King Day will fall on the day of the inauguration of the new president. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine the KICK ASS celebrations that will be occurring all over the nation when that happens. January 20, 2021 will be the most joyous day in America in my lifetime. I don't know whether or not Trump will be impeached by that time. My guess is that the senate Republicans will keep him right where he is - which is fine. Mike Pence is such a deplorable asshole that we'll be all better off enduring another year of The Donald. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. you know?

I'm not a Democrat. I left that party almost twenty-two years ago and never looked back. But I plan on voting for whomever the Democrats nominate next summer - regardless. In the year 2000, the Left in this country nominated a good and decent man named Ralph Nader to run as their standard bearer. And what did that get us? Eight years of George W. Bush - a man who, inexplicably, I'm beginning to feel nostalgic for. We cannot afford to make that mistake in 2020. There are several candidates on the Democratic side for whom I would not be comfortable at the top of the ticket. That doesn't matter. As I did in 2016, when I went to the polls and cast my precious ballot for Hillary Clinton) I'll be voting for the Democratic nominee. The survival of the country that I love depends on nothing else.

I am insanely intoxicated at the moment. A year from today, in addition to celebrating MLK Day and the end of the most insanely incompetent and disgusting administration in American history, my plan is to celebrate a full year of sobriety. There won't be anything else to take note of on January 20, 2021as far as I'm concerned. This fiasco needs to end, NOW. Think of your children. If nothing else, think of them.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED READING:

STABLE GENIUS 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

MELANIA TRUMP IS A PROSTITUTE

 
 
FULL DISCLOSURE:
 
This piece has nothing to do with Melania Trump. I've learned in the past week that the first lady has threatened to sue the pants off of anyone and everyone who even vaguely suggests that she is now - or has ever been - a lady of ill repute. The way I figure it, is that a lawsuit directed my way would be the equivalent of a million dollars publicity for this blog. Numbers are down. You do what you gotta do, you know? 
 
We are gathered here today to discuss, of course, the impeachment of the president of the United States. The right-wingers in the seem intent to keep any witnesses from taking the stand next week. So desperate are they to rig the process in Trump's favor, they seem blissfully unaware that the people are going to see this skullduggery for the scam that it obviously is. They seem clueless that the number of people who want this silly bastard in the White House to go away is getting larger with the passing of each day. A little over two weeks from not, which is when this thing is expected to wrap up, the numbers should be even higher. And with the amount of new evidence that seems to be pouring in daily, the Republicans are anxious to get this thing over and done with and sweep it under the rug.

The fact that they would be so reckless and brazen with a national election less than ten months away makes their obstruction all-the-more hard to figure out. Have they actually deceived themselves into thinking that the electorate will have forgotten about this fiasco between now and November? Are they that delusional? The answer to that question is....well, yeah, they are.

It's never going to be the way it was, folks. It's over. It's fucking over. Did you ever - in your wildest, stupidest dreams - ever imagine that your once-great nation would sink as low as it has? It never even dawned on me. We used to mean something to the rest of the world. We mean nothing now. Donald Trump is now the leader of the free world. When I think of what we might have been.... Fuck it, I'm going back to bed.

Sweet dreams.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Friday, January 17, 2020

All You Need Is Lev

Best of Strangers
 
Just Friends, Lovers No More
"I don't know him. Perhaps he's a fine man. Perhaps he's not. I know nothing about him".
 
Donald Trump, 11/16/20
 
Until two nights ago Lev Parnas was little more than a caricature; in fact he seemed almost cartoonish to me. He and his pal, Igor Fruman, both "associates" of Rudy Giuliani, reminded me of a couple of villains from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. All this has changed as you might well imagine. I was also surprised to discover how well-and-soft-spoken he is. When he gave an interview to Rachel Maddow, and later, to Anderson Cooper, the guy started to seem a little more human - particularly because he refuses to be a patsy for the legacy of Donald J. Trump. Parnas' very existence is the latest of hundreds of wrenches thrown into the haywired Trump machine. As I've been emphasizing since the morning after Election Day 2016, this is going to end very badly.

Anything Lev says should be taken with the tiniest grain of salt. He is, after all, under criminal indictment for campaign finance violations. But he sure does sound convincing. It would seem to me that the guy has everything to lose and not a damned thing to gain by coming out now and telling a bunch of bald-face-lies about the president of the United States - and it's not only The Donald he's implicating. Also ensnarled in this scandal is Vice-President Mike Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry to name but two. The sheer scope of the scandal that is now imploding this disgusting administration is beyond anything that anyone - myself included - could have predicted on the day the oaf of office recited the oath of office on January 20, 2017. This is beyond anything that Dick Nixon and his gang were involved in forty-eight years ago at the height of the Watergate mess. This is the hydrogen bomb of political scandals. These really are extraordinary times to be alive.

It's almost a tragic thing to bear witness to what is happening now to Donald Trump - "almost". It's a gratifying thing to watch this most corrupt of chiefs-executive as the chickens come home to roost all around him. The dude's arrogance and corruption were bound to catch up to him eventually. I'm surprised, really, that it took this long to tell you the truth. And the senate has found itself in one hell of a pickle. We're now at the point where most Americans want him removed from office - and that number is growing every day. Trump's acquittal is no longer a foregone conclusion. It's still not very likely, but not out of the realm of possibility. For every day that passes the storm gains momentum. By this time next week his position may very well be untenable. This is going to be quite interesting, boys and girls.
`
"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.

We still don't know if Lev Parnas or John Bolton are going to be allowed to testify before the senate in the impeachment trial. A trial without witnesses would be the greatest injustice of all.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT:

Jared and Ivanka have never met Lev Parnas either.



Saturday, January 11, 2020

Thoughts from John Harragin


Degan and Harragin occupying Wall Street, November 2011
`
I first met John Harragin about two-and-a-half years before the invention of dirt. We've been pals for damned-near fifty years and I don't suspect that status will be changing any time soon. I was pleasantly surprised this morning to pick up the local Chronicle to find this excellent piece in there by my old pal. It is a warning to humanity that we ignore to our own determent:
 
*********************
 
Humanity is approaching an environmental apocalypse. It is looking ever more likely that our survival depends on us changing our ways. It is time to declare a war on pollution.
 
This war must be waged like no other in history, because the enemies are the very same entities that typically rally to wage war on our behalf:
 
● Fossil fuel companies
● Energy production
● Chemical companies
● Industrialized agriculture
● The banking industry
● Transportation and shipping
● Surveillance state activity
● Military activity
 
How can we respond to this crisis when its causes lie in much of what we do as a society?
 
The biggest single carbon emitter and polluter on earth is the United States Military. Any reasonable response to the climate crisis will include massive changes to the way the military functions. But first one must understand the relationship between fossil fuels, the military, and the hoard of corporations and individuals that profit from the huge military budget.
 
The military consumes a vast amount of petroleum – but one of its major functions is to protect the flow of oil. The function of securing oil is the predominant reason why the military is so huge, with hundreds of bases installed around the world. Additionally, the manufacture and deployment of ships, aircraft and other vehicles as well as weaponry of all types consume a vast amount of fossil fuels. Much of this activity is distributed among many private military contractors. These companies don’t exist for the good of mankind, our environment, or the citizens of the United States. Their purpose is to generate profit.
 
Some of the industrialists behind military contracts have become extremely wealthy – now to the extent that they wield more financial power than anyone else. But like their companies, their purpose is to generate profit. With that growing wealth, these industrialists gained control of many businesses across sectors, including technology, chemical, media, agriculture, and energy production companies. Shortly after World War II, industrialists’ control of government and military activity had evolved to such an extent that Dwight Eisenhower devoted his final speech as president to warn society of this growing threat to the principles of our nation by what he referred to as the Military Industrial Complex.
 
The collective objective of the Military Industrial Complex is the perpetuation of its self. Of course, this is just a reflection of the individual industrialists working to secure and grow their own incomes. Nothing has been off limits toward achieving these goals. Media, individuals, politicians, and government have all been co-opted and are all regularly manipulated.
 
But now the world is recognizing climate destabilization as a threat that will invariably lead to humanity’s destruction if bold steps are not taken – particularly the minimization of fossil fuel usage.
But nearly all military activity relates to energy. It is totally intertwined with controlling various resources, particularly oil bearing resources and pertroleum's production. Then there is the obtaining and securing of shipping and pipeline routes, supporting sheikhs, overthrowing sheikhs...
 
This is why we have the huge military – to maintain and increase power of the petrodollar and world dependency on oil. Without that, the massive military presence – and thus the Military Industrial Complex, would shrink. To the industrialists – and thereby the complex – decreasing fossil fuel usage is unthinkable.
 
The military’s ongoing relationship with petroleum is proving to be a war on life itself. Unfortunately, it appears that the United States is going to win this one...

Friday, January 10, 2020

PRESIDENT PENCE?

Lovingly....Longingly....
 
Let's be as clear as we can be here, okay? Mike Pence is a politician so mind-fuckingly dumb, he makes Dan Quayle look like Albert Einstein. Remember Dan? He was George H.W. Bush's running mate in 1992. The guy turned out to be such a strain and embarrassment to the ticket that year, that the Bush campaign would print his name on the bumper stickers in such a deep and dark red hue, that they wouldn't photograph in black-and-white! Back then, most newspapers did not print in color. Team H.W. did not (for jolly good reasons) want to emphasize the fact that they had actually chosen this genius to be a "heartbreak away from the presidency". They somehow managed to win the contest that year anyway - for reasons I will never be able to understand.
 
Idiot Nation.
 
Spiro is my Hero....NOT!
We need to come to some serious terms regarding the proposed impeachment of our esteemed Common-Pervert-in-Chief. It's probably not going to happen. And while I am ambivalent about that fact, I have reconciled myself to the idea that Pence, while undoubtedly not as certifiably insane as Donald Trump, is at least twice as dumb as Trump himself. Unless we can repeat the scenario of the autumn of 1973, where the corrupt and idiotic Spiro Agnew was replaced by a decent moderate named Gerry Ford, impeaching Donald Trump would probably have far-too-many ramifications down the road. We really don't need to go there. Seriously.

Whatever happens - many thing might transpire between now and January 20, 2021 - we need to focus on the campaign ahead of us. If this unhinged jackass is reelected for another term, this doomed nation is through. We need to let go of the right wing lock that has taken control of the United States for the last forty years. It's later than you think, folks. It's later than you fucking think.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

 

Thursday, January 09, 2020

A Suggestion for the Candidates



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.
 
FUN FACT: The last surviving veteran of the "Great War" passed away only six years ago. It is no longer a living memory.
 
I have a suggestion for the Democratic candidates for the 2020 election. They should put their differences aside - just for the moment - and put out a jointly signed letter to the rest of the planet that essentially reads:
 
Hi there, world! We're awfully sorry about the situation that the United States now finds itself in. No person with a lock on reality could have seen Donald Trump coming. Please, when this fucking nightmare is behind us, and this contemptible jackass is once again a private citizen and on his way to federal prison, we'll be back to normal (or as normal as the United States gets these days. Whatever happens between now and January 20. 2021, please try not to overreact. Remember that this era of American history is merely another, massive brain-fart on the part of the American voters, and that we will soon correct ourselves - just as we did on January 20, 2009 when we inaugurated Barack Obama. Please be patient - and hang in there!
 
Or words to that effect....
 
Such a statement would settle nerves that are in dire need of settling, don'cha think? There will never again be a moment like this, where the rest of this troubled planet will need to be reassured as much as it needs to be at this moment. I don't know whether or not Trump will be removed from office later this month, although his support among some Republicans seems to be eroding. I understand that the prospect of a Pence administration is enough to rattle the nerves of any thinking human being with an IQ above room temperature; but it should be remembered that Mike Pence - as jaw-droppingly stupid as he undeniably is - is not certifiably insane; something that we should all remember.

This is a deplorable situation that we need to extricate ourselves from as soon as possible. The fact that this idiot's support in the polls hovers, stubbornly, at forty percent is a reflection on the idiocy of too may Americans. There was a time, not too long ago, when the citizens of this doomed nation would advertise their national origins to anyone who would listen. That's not the case any longer.

I am ashamed to be a citizen of a nation so out-of-touch that they would send this fucking asshole to the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. So sue me.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

SING, JOHNNY, SING!


 
Around the time I met the child rapist
It's certainly not a good thing to be Donald Trump these days. Truth be told: I've never thought it's ever been a good thing to be Donald Trump. I say this from personal experience. Two years before his name became a household expletive with the release of that idiotic "Art of the Deal" back in the early eighties, I had my own encounter with Donald Trump. It was, as I remember it, shortly before Trump Tower was opened to the public. I was working on a metal restoration crew, polishing and lacquering the brass railings in the lobby of the soon-to-be-opened Tower. All of the sudden, this impudent jackass walked up to the foreman I was working under, an Italian immigrant names Frank Amato. Trump, with a degenerate little sycophant in tow, walked up to where Frank was working.
 
"What's that chemical he's pouring over my brass railings?" asked the future Common-Pervert-In-Chief.
 
"Well, Mr. Trump", replied Frank, "This is a chemical called 'Noxon', which we use to...."
 
"NO", came the firm reply from the degenerate little sycophant. "When Mr. Trump asks you a question, you will direct the answer to me."
 
TRANSLATION:
 
"You goddamned little WOP piece-of-shit, you're not worthy to look Mr. Trump in the eye!"
 
I witnessed this revolting behavior with my own eyes. I knew, from first-hand-experience - THIRTY SEVEN YEARS AGO - what Donald Trump was all about. And some of you still wonder why I was so alarmed when this jackass was nominated by (GET THIS!) "The party of Abraham Lincoln" four-long-years-ago this summer? I was paying attention, kiddies. And, of course, I wasn't the only one. My mantra four years ago was: "This is going to end badly". I was only one of thousands of bloggers out there trying to warn you. Most of you already understood this. A significant minority of you did not. We really need to do away with the Electoral College. Seriously.

And now we learn that The Donald's Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has decided to cooperate fully and testify during the impeachment proceedings. I have a funny feeling that Bolton won't be invited to the Trump family's Thanksgiving dinner in November. Can you even imagine how mind-numbingly awkward that would be? Last night on MSNBC, Lawrence O'Donnell speculated that Bolton's reason for cooperating at this late stage, is simply because he will be able to manipulate the more-pliable Mike Pence into carrying out the blueprint for the onset of World War Three. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that were, indeed, the case.

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.

Have a jolly good evening, campers!

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York

SUGGESTED READING:

Al Franken: Master of the Senate

I just read this today. As brilliant and as funny as we might expect Al to be. I really wish that he would come back. He is one of the best senators of my lifetime. Honestly.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

The Donald Dogs the Wag


 
"If Americans anywhere are threatened we have all those targets fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary."
 
So said Corporal Bone-Spurs
 
EXTRA! EXTRA! ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND IS ASSASSINATED IN SARAJEVO!
 
Idiot Nation
 
Soleimani
Late yesterday morning when I received the news of the assassination Trump ordered of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, my thoughts immediately flashed to the only-son of a friend of mine of almost fifty years. He entered military service on his eighteenth birthday a number of year ago, and I needed to know if he was still serving. Trying to sound as nonchalant as is humanly possible, I inquired of him,  "Hi, Danny. Where are you these days?" When he informed me that his term-of-duty expired in October, and he was living in Wisconsin, and was about to relocate to Florida to live with Dear-old-Dad, I replied: "I'm quite relieved to hear this. The president has gone mad. It's not a good time to be in the service. This is going to end badly. Send your dad my best."
 
"I will", said he. Nice kid.

I 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.

Wasn't sending this hideous psychopath to the White House a jolly good idea? Idiot Nation.

What this unhinged jackass unleashed upon the world yesterday could very well be the spark that ignites a firestorm that might lead to the war that humanity has been fearing for several generations - THE BIG THIRD ONE. We should never have gone in this direction. A-thousand-or-more commentators (this one included) accurately predicted in 2016 that sending this fucking moron to the Executive Mansion would incur a series of self-inflicted disasters that would be felt for generations. My generation was bequeathed the most functional, prosperous nation in the history of humanity. And what are our heirs inheriting from us? An ideological shit-hole. These are the weirdest of times. They really are!
`
Here's my handy suggestion:
`
All of the Democratic candidates in the 2020 primaries should sign a joint-letter, letting the people of the planet know that what is happening to this once-great nation (in the word of Charlie Chaplin) "is but the passing of greed; the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress", and that, no matter which Democrat wins the election on November 3, 2020, this era of human stupidity and absurdity shall come to an abrupt and permanent end. I never believed - for a minute - that the day would come when I would look back upon the era of a half-witted frat boy like George W. Bush with a feeling of teary-eyed nostalgia. We sure do live in a strange era.

Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, Mama - Whoa!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Who Is Eric Trump?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWk3_qWEEH0&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1zOTREQghn8tK03sxBJYwHNg_0KCdJl0s-gmg88pJNvNzNbBenO7pz_eo

BREAKING NEWS:

Eric Trump is a fucking moron.



Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019: The Worst of The Rant



Me 'n' Lady Charlotte

The following are a compilation of various thoughts published on this site within the confines of the year which is about to mercifully end. As troubling as these times undoubtedly are, they sure as heck aren't boring. Might I get a witness?
 
January 3:
 
I haven't been a Democrat in almost twenty-one years. That being said, I could not be happier over the fact that they will be controlling the House of Representatives starting today. Donald Trump cannot be a bit happy regarding this latest turn of events, that's for damned sure. 2019 promises to be the most tumultuous year in Washington in a very long time. It will be many things but won't be boring.
 
January 12:
 
The ironic thing is that this disgusting administration is turning out to be even worse than I dared to predict it would be on the eve of the inauguration two years ago. This situation is only going to metastasize in the coming months. It cannot possibly continue for another two years, one week and one day. It has already proved to be catastrophic. Fifty years from now, the president of the United States - who probably hasn't even been born yet, will still be dealing, on a daily basis, with the damage that Donald J. Trump did to his once great nation so many decades before. I used to say the same thing about George W. Bush with not half as much dread. Isn't this amusing?

January 14:

I almost retired The Rant recently. I was feeling so worn out by the tsunami of daily bombshells that I was starting to believe that this rolling constitutional crisis was no longer amusing. Thankfully this little bout of exasperation passed quickly. Not to compare this periodic tirade of mine to The Daily Show, but I can well imagine why Jon Stewart might feel a pang of regret for not being able to report nightly on what is happening to America at present. No, I really should stick around for this. For anyone who makes his or her name commenting on the complete train-wreck of American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. the Trump administration is the gift that keeps giving. Thank you, Donald. I owe you big time, dude!
 
January 16:
 
You know very well that this is going to end catastrophically for the president - not to mention us. Some serious political journalists are starting to imply that he's going to spend the rest of his life in federal custody. Last month on the Observer website, writer John R. Schindler quoted a senior intelligence official who told him a week before the 2017 inauguration, "He's going to die in jail". Pretty heavy stuff if you want my opinion. That's why we find ourselves, I think, in an excessively dangerous period: Donald Trump is mentally ill. At the moment he must be wild with rage and paranoia. This is a combination of traits that seems to be a straight path to disaster on many different levels. When crazy people get cornered in the wake of their ill-deeds, they tend to dangerously lash out in ways that get people hurt. If you have a child, friend or loved one who is considering entering the armed services anytime soon, you might want to advise them to wait until the era of Donald Trump blows over. Just a gentle suggestion.
 
January 18:
 
Keep your eyes on the train-wreck. Remember, for all the stupidity that we have to deal with and digest at every turn and on every day, we are at a type of moment in history that few generations have the opportunity to bear witness to. That, alone, is worth the price of the ticket, ay?

January 20:
 
I lost a few friends on Inauguration Day 2017. Three people, in particular, whom I had known and loved my entire life (and still do) gave me the old heave ho. That's okay as far as I'm concerned. What's the point of living if you can't risk alienating a few loved-ones? You've got to stand for something.
 
February 27:
 
The Republicans were obviously desperate to save Trump by trying to tear down Michael Cohen's reputation at every level. Can't they see that, by protecting this president, they're only going to do serious damage to their reputations in the long run? Is it political courage or is it just plain old stupidity on their parts. Any takers?
 
March 1:                           

Hats off and a raising of the glass to Congressman Elijah Cummings, the man who chaired the festivities. He was somehow able to keep things moving along despite the attempts of Jordon and Meadows to sabotage the hearings early on. He reminded me of  the teacher of a class of first graders dealing with rowdy children. Next time you're surfing YouTube, do a search for the Army/McCarthy hearings of 1954. Sixty-five years later and the behavior of Joe McCarthy and his assistant Roy Cohen (Trump's mentor) is at the same time laughable and obscene. Are these modern-day politicians aware of the fact that their antics on Wednesday are now a permanent part of America's audio/visual record? Do they understand that in the year 2084 their buffoonery will be just as accessible and appalling to generations unborn? Do they honestly believe that their heirs will be showing these clips to their friends and bragging, "Hey, check out my great-grandpa!" I rather doubt it. I am a descendant of Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Dred Scott decision. It's not something I've spent much time bragging about - trust me. 
 
March 15:
 
I have to take a moment here to, once again, explain why I left the Democratic party nearly twenty-one years ago, As I have explained too many times to count. I'm not comfortable with any political party with a genius for taking a bottle of finely aged wine and turning it into a worthless jug of donkey piss. I'm sorry, but I just can't go there.
 
April 16:
 
Over There
As impressed as I was with Barack's credentials eleven years ago, Pete's resume is something else indeed: Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, Afghanistan veteran, concert pianist - and he's able to read seven languages and is fluent in four of them. Compare that to the current occupant of the White House who barely makes himself understood in English. When watching him being interviewed on television, his thoughts are articulate and precise, which is somewhat of a rarity these days. It is obvious that Pete Buttigieg is brilliant. That is not an exaggeration on my part. Look him up on YouTube if you think that it is.
 
April 26:
 
And now we have the spectacle of the president of the United States - in flagrant violation of the Constitution - is ordering that members of his administration (current or former) ignore congressional subpoenas requiring them to testify about what they may or may not know regarding this administration's behavior since taking office. This would seem to me to be an impeachable offence in itself. After all, on January 20, 2017 Donald Trump took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".  This is all fairly straightforward as far as I'm concerned. What part of that oath are some people unable to comprehend?
 
May 4:
 
Barr in the hot seat
`
Were you able check out any of Barr's testimony? I watched the spectacle from start to finish. It was quite a touching thing to be sure. It was amusing to watch the man twist himself into semantic pretzels in his lame attempt to justify, not only his gross misrepresentation of the Mueller report, but the criminal behavior of Donald Trump. When asked a couple of weeks ago whether or not Mueller had objected to his characterization of the nearly two-year investigation into the Trump administration, Barr implied - under oath - that he had not. Now we learn that on March 24, Mueller sent a letter to the attorney general accusing him of misrepresenting the "context, nature and substance" of the four-hundred page report. Yesterday, after being subpoenaed to appear for questioning before the House, Barr arrogantly refused to even show up. It was the House's intention to have experienced lawyers question him on his behavior. He did not have the courage to face them. These are not times for profiles in courage.
 
May 8:
 
A hostile foreign power has subverted - and is still in the process of subverting - our voting processes. Why is ending this crime against Weeda Peeple not a priority for Trump, McConnell, and the rest of the Republicans? On more than one occasion recently they have voted down efforts by the Democrats to beef up electoral technology and security. Why??? If you are unable to figure this one out, folks, go back to sleep.
 
My 24:

This week also brought the disturbing sight of the president of the United States promising to persecute his political enemies - in this case the FBI and certain members of the Justice Department. He's got his own personal lawyer, the attorney general for God's sake, working on that. These are the kind of actions that we would normally expect from tinhorn dictator. Even Dick Nixon, who was not unknown for dealing harshly with his "enemies", ever got this completely weird. If you think for a moment that this is merely Trump's quaint little way of blowing off some steam, you might want to rethink your position. We have yet to even scratch the surface in deciphering what this lunatic is capable of. 
 
May 27:
 
Edward Degan, Jr.
1920-1944
There was a time when everyone knew someone - friend or family member - who gave their life for their country. I cannot even claim personal familiarity with my uncle Ed Degan (pictured above) who was one of the first American servicemen to die in the Battle of the Bulge on December 15, 1944. He died fourteen years before I was born. He was just four days shy of his 24th birthday when he was cut down by one of Hitler's tank shells. I always wonder what might have been; what kind of cousins I might have had; what kind of woman he might have married. By all accounts, the guy had everything going for him and so much to live for. His siblings and his parents eventually adjusted to life without Eddie Degan. When I was growing up, whenever any of them reminisced about him, it was always with great affection and humor - with not a bit of sadness or bitterness.   Today he lies in the military cemetery in St. Avold, France.

May 28:

Someone accused me recently of liking what is now happening in Washington. My response was simply that "liking" is a gross understatement. I'm loving every minute of this political meltdown. I had a stock answer three years ago whenever the results of the 2016 election were discussed: "This is going to end badly, folks". Although I live in the evil northeast, the Hudson Valley town in which I reside is pretty conservative. To those of you who tittered and rolled your eyes at the alarm I expressed at the time ("Oh, Tom! Isn't he amusing!") I can only say that I've been vindicated a hundred fold.

June 16:

Harding
Inept chiefs-executive are hardly a modern phenomena. American history is littered with the stories of men who were not up to the job (James Buchanan and Warren Harding coming immediately to mind). But never have we had a leader ("ruler") who purposely sought to harm the country. This is where Donald Trump stands out. Did you ever - in your wildest and stupidest dreams - believe you'd live to see the day when the topic of conversation on national broadcast media would be whether or not the president of the United States might be a Russian asset? You may think that I'm being an alarmist, paranoid lefty, but I do believe that the damage that is being done to this country by the Trump Mob will probably take several generations to undo.

June 29:

There were a number of heroes on Capitol Hill during the final weeks before Richard Nixon's political demise. Ironically enough a fair proportion of them turned out to be Republicans. Back in the weird old days, you could still count on more-than-a-few members of that party to step up and do the right thing. The GOP back then were a square and fairly goofy lot to be sure, but we always knew that (most of them, I think) had their hearts in 1974, the "party of Abraham Lincoln" was not a full-blown organized criminal enterprise. It was on its way, but there was still plenty of room for hope for less-extreme conservative voters. That hope is long gone.

July 18:

I don't suppose that it's too much of an exaggeration to conclude that a lot of really powerful men (and perhaps a handful of women) are shitting purple yo-yos on this fine Thursday morn. One can only imagine what evidence and information the Feds uncovered when they raided Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan mansion and had a peek into his safe a few days ago. If it were only one "underage woman" making the accusation that she had been sexually abused by a cabal of rich and powerful men, then there would be room for skepticism. But in this case, there appears to be a score or more of them. Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls. This is going to get interesting.

[AFTERWARD: Less than a month after posting this piece, Epstein was found dead in his cell, an apparent "suicide". Perhaps.]

July 20:

Walter Cronkite once remarked that, five-hundred years into the future, all of the momentous events of the momentous twentieth century will be viewed by historians as mere footnotes to the moon landing  of July 20, 1969, fifty years ago tonight. He probably wasn't too far off the mark. We are as removed from that moment as those who witnessed it were removed from the year 1919. The fact that a half century has gone by between that moment and this defies belief. As divided as America was at that time, the entire country - indeed the entire planet - came together united. It was a very different world.

August 10:

Uncle Bill Clements
The first time I ever lived away from home was in 1963 when I found myself living with my uncle, Bill Clements, and his family in Dayton, Ohio. My mother had become quite ill, and us kids were scattered about with various relatives in the Midwest. Although my memories of the place are vague after the passage of over half a century (I returned there only once) what I've managed to retain are those of a pleasant place brimming with nice folks. You can imagine my dismay when I learned that Dayton was where nine human beings became the victims of America's latest mass murder. This was only a day after twenty-two people were gunned down in cold blood in El Paso, Texas. Again, the politicians are sending out their "thoughts and prayers" to the victims and their families. Again people are demanding that sensible gun laws be passed in this doomed country. Again, in the weeks and months to come it will be mere business as usual.

August 14:

It is my belief that one day Mitch will finally be exposed and punished severely for his crimes against the people of the United States, but waiting for that day is damned-near excruciating.

September 3:

The insanity of Donald Trump is not something that can be denied any longer. If you're a registered Republican you should be twice as alarmed as I am. If enough GOP politicians finally throw up their hands and say "Enough is enough! Country before party!" then I believe that that disgusting party can be saved. Otherwise they will soon disappear into the shit pile of history. Don't forget that nearly all of the heroes of the Watergate scandal were Republicans. So far, there are no GOP heroes in the age of Donald Trump - not one.

September 9:

Just when you thought that this disgusting administration could not possibly outdo itself in sheer incompetence, they lower the bar yet again. I want to say that the only good thing that will come of the Trump era will be the eternal eradication of conservatism in America, but that would be wishful thinking on my part. From where I sit on September 9, 2019, I give Trump's chances at re-election next year at about fifty-fifty. In addition to consciousness, optimism is also not much of an option during these dark days in the history of Idiot Nation. Think of what might have been, what we could have been. Look at what we have become.

September 23:

We now know that Trump is perfectly willing to persecute is political enemies to suit his perverted political whims. This is nothing new; Dick Nixon did that with gay abandon back in his day. What sets Donald Trump apart from The Trickster is that Nixon only went after the anti-establishment types - like Dick Gregory and John Lennon. Trump tends to go after previously respected members of the FBI and the CIA, trying to turn the American people against the institutions that no president has ever dared to go after before. This reminds me of The Night of The Long Knives in 1934, when Adolf Hitler an attack against  the leaders of the Brown Shirts, the very bastards responsible for the Nazis' rise to power. They were executed because of der furor's growing paranoia that any one of them might have their eyes on his position of power. If you don't think that this could happen in America, then, you're not paying attention. Go back to sleep.

September 26:

To say that the political climate of Washington has been turned on its head in the last twenty-four hours is an understatement. It would appear at first glance that the president of the United States was engaged in an extortion scheme against the president of the Ukraine, withholding military aid in an effort to get dirt on the man who may very well run against him next year - and his son. If this is true, it's all over for Trump. My feeling is that there is something coming that's going to shake America to its foundation between now and the end of the year. My suggestion to everyone would be to stand back and contemplate this extraordinary moment in American history. Forty-six years ago today, this country was wallowing in the depth of Watergate. I was fifteen at the time. On September 26, 2019 I thought that it would never get that weird again. I was wrong, of course. The Nixon Gang are starting to look like a loft of Cherubic choirboys by comparison. The Age of Trump is something else indeed.

September 27:

I've fallen head-over-heels for a sixteen-year-old girl. A little over a week ago I had onlyf a vague idea of who Greta Thunberg is. Now she is a permanent part of my life. Greta is trying to save the world; and the funny thing is, I think that she just may succeed. Kids.

October 10:

This week we had another stark example presented to us (as if any more examples were really needed) that Donald J. Trump is a paid asset of a hostile foreign power. Conceding the fate of the Kurdish people to the hands of ISIS is as reckless and cruel an act of diplomacy that has ever been committed by an American president. The only human being on the planet that this benefits is Vladimir Putin. Where I come from it's called "treason". Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death for as much sixty-five years ago. I'm just putting the idea out there.

October 17:

 Waking up to the news of the unexpected passing of Elijah Cummings makes this morning a particularly gloomy one in what can only be described as dark times. The Baltimore congressman was one of the dwindling number of shining lights in the House of Reprehensibles. Since coming to Washington nearly twenty-four years ago, few members of congress impressed me half as much as this undeniably great man. To say that he will be deeply missed almost sounds cliché. They don't get any better than Elijah Cummings.

October 28:

One must wonder if Bill Barr ever ponders his historical legacy. Does he understand that posterity will view him with utter contempt? Or are they planning to issue in the future state-approved "official" history books? Don't put it past these hideous bastards and bitches. They've already dipped their toes in that rancid water with high school history texts that equate Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis on the same moral plane. Ain't that something?

November 3:

We really need to come to grips with the unsettling fact that the damage that is now being done to America will be felt for generations. The fact is, for those of us of a certain age, we'll be living with the reverberations of the Trump Age for the rest of our lives. I believe that fifty years from now, the president of the United States (who has probably not even been born yet) will still be dealing - on a daily basis - with the damage that this imbecile did to his country so many decades before. When one experiences a really bad dream, our subconscious knows that it is, in fact, only a dream - and that we will wake up from it in short order. We're not going to wake up tomorrow morning only to discover that the disgusting presidency of Donald Trump was just a harmless nightmare. This ain't no dream, kiddies. This is the real thing. Are you amused yet?

November 13:

Bear in mind that, twenty years ago, more-than-a-few of the same assholes defending Donald Trump today, were ready to remove a sitting president from office for lying about a cheap affair with a half-witted White House intern. Isn't that amusing? At that time, many thinking people paying attention were appalled by the legal calisthenics the GOP went through to get to that point. Imagine, if you will, the national uproar that would have resulted had the Dems had gone from Russia collusion to Stormy Daniels in the same investigation? I'll wait for your reply.

November 24:

An now we are learning that Rep. Devin Nunes, who has made such a sham of the entire process, may have been in cahoots with the very corrupt players in Ukraine in trying to get what everyone in-the-know agrees to be non-existent dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter. As John Oliver calls it, this is "Stupid Watergate". Only this is far worse than Watergate on its worst day. I imagine that at this late stage in the game, Donald Trump is envious of Dick Nixon. As much as they desperately try to edit the narrative of this complete fiasco to their own twisted benefit, there is no way out for theses schmucks. The day The Donald took the oath of office was the beginning of the end of his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You had to have been blind not to see this disaster coming from ten thousand miles down the road.

November 27:

His original plan, I'm almost certain, was to "up his brand". As a former presidential candidate, his speaking fees would likely skyrocket - as would his salary for hosting The Apprentice. He could write his own ticket from there on; everything would be easy sailing. But that damned electoral college - and the heartbreaking ignorance of so many Americans - thwarted his plans. Now he needs to win reelection. There's an awful lot over covering up to be done and he needs the power of the presidency to keep him and his sons and daughter out of Leavenworth. That is the reason he and his underlings need to do everything possible - legality be damned - to be ensure that he is reelected in less than a year. In the meantime we can expect this disgusting chief executive to continue to lash out at any and all who may earn his wrath. It really is an interesting thing to be a witness to.

December 11:

This is as bad as it's ever been or is ever going to get....I hope. I'll say it again: Watergate was merely a paper-cut. This is a bloodbath. It amazes me that this disgusting administration has turned out to be twice as bad as even I dared to predict on the morning following Election Day 2016. Trump will be tried in the senate next month. And though a lot more may be revealed between now and then, I don't expect him to be removed from office - which is probably just as well. Mike Pence is such a complete and dangerous dingbat, having him steering the ship-of-state won't be much of an improvement. I never dreamed our luck would get this bad. When one finds one's self nostalgic for the likes of George W. Bush, one realizes what an ideological and toxic waste-dump their once-revered country has become. The best that could be said of the Trump era a year ago was that, at the very least, it was amusing. That's no longer the case. The accidental comedy is running a bit thin.

December 8:

I am almost certain that this letter to Nancy Pelosi was not written by The Donald. In spite of its utter lunacy, it possesses a certain literary flair that is always lacking in this unusual president's tweets. But the very fact that one-or-more people on his staff approved of this brain-damaged gibberish should make all of us cringe. These people are in charge of our government. These people are running our fucking country! If you are not seriously alarmed by what is happening to the nation that at one time was a beacon to the world, you're not paying attention. Go back to sleep.

December 20:

Donald Trump was impeached the other day by the House of Representatives. His trial will be going to the senate next month. It is likely that he will be acquitted there - which is probably just as well. Mike Pence is as dangerous a dingbat (although not quite as insane) as The Donald, and we'll probably be just-as-well riding out the storm between now and January 20, 2020.
 I make no pretense at offering any kind of jolly holiday cheer. My life has gone into such a dark place that to do so would be hypocritical on my part. It's almost stunning when I realize what a complete cynic I have become. I've always been a connoisseur of comedy. Since I was about eight-years-old, I've been an admirer of the classic American comedians of Hollywood's so-called "golden" era in particular - except W.C. Fields. I never could understand what the big deal about Fields was. He disliked Charlie Chaplin which was all-the-more reason for me to keep my distance fro the old bugger. When I was much younger I could never comprehend what was so funny about an upper-middle-aged curmudgeon, so embittered regarding his fellow human beings and society in general. I tell you, I just didn't get it! I get it now.

*****************************

So there you have it: 2019 compressed into a neat and sick little narrative. As one gets older the years go by faster. That's not the case for this year, though. 2019 seems to have gone on for the better part of a decade. I expect 2020 to be even longer. Brace yourselves for the comedy of horrors to come.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

My 62nd Christmas

Dick Nixon's favorite Christmas LP (and my dad's)
 
Tom Lehrer
On Christmas Day you can't get sore
Your fellow man you must adore
There's time to rob him all the more
The other 300 and 64....
 
Tom Lehrer, 1959
 
Not a particularly cheerful way to begin our annual Christmas salutation, I concede. In the fifties and mid-sixties, Tom Lehrer was (along with Stan Freberg) America's leading musical satirist. I just needed to give the mas a tip of the hat on this fine, yuletide morn. Although he has not released a commercial LP since 1965, I'm happy to tell you that Tom is still very much among the living. Look him up on YouTube when you have a moment to spare. You will laugh; I guarantee it.

 Kill those turkeys, ducks and chickens
Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens
Even though the prospect sickens
Brother, here we go again!

I make no pretense at offering any kind of jolly holiday cheer. My life has gone into such a dark place that to do so would be hypocritical on my part. It's almost stunning when I realize what a complete cynic I have become. I've always been a connoisseur of comedy. Since I was about eight-years-old, I've been an admirer of the classic American comedians of Hollywood's so-called "golden" era in particular - except W.C. Fields. I never could understand what the big deal about Fields was. He disliked Charlie Chaplin which was all-the-more reason for me to keep my distance from the old bugger. When I was much younger I could never comprehend what was so funny about an upper-middle-aged curmudgeon, so embittered regarding his fellow human beings and society in general. I tell you, I just didn't get it! I get it now.

FUN FACT: Both Fields and Chaplin died on Christmas Day.
 
John Lennon once said, "where there's life there's hope". A dandy thing to contemplate! Unfortunately he uttered those words in the last interview he ever gave on this planet. Less than eight hours later he was murdered in cold blood outside his apartment building in merrie olde Manhattan. That horrible
event occurred at the beginning of the 1980 Christmas season. I truly believe that the last blissfully happy Christmas I ever experienced was in 1979. But I'm not that much of a pessimist. After all, where there's life....Never mind.

So don't mind me. It think, therefore I rant. Do enjoy yourselves. As I've said during numerous Christmases past, I prefer the way the English wish each other "Happy Christmas". I like that. Drug addicts, psychotics drunks and misers are often deliriously "merry"; they are almost never happy.

Happy Christmas, one and all!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT:

I'm listening to a flock of geese flying over my house, headed south for the winter. See you in the springtime, kids!