Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Memo to the Dems

Be careful What you wish for
The GOP is on the verge of nominating a dangerous and delusional sociopath to the office of the presidency.
I am not a Democrat; I left that worthless party eighteen years ago this month and never looked back. And I'm certainly not an admirer of Hillary Clinton. She is - beyond a molecule of doubt - the worst candidate the Democratic Party has ever nominated in their almost-200-year history. But even a corrupt, corporate stooge like Hillary is preferable to me when placed in comparison with Trump - to a certain degree....I guess.
I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but I have to be realistic. Barring another major scandal (you never know with those goddamned Clintons) he's not going to be the nominee. My only solace is the knowledge that, as bad as her term in the White House will be (and it will be bad - mark my words) we will survive Hillary Clinton. A Donald Trump administration might well mean the End of this country. Remember, you read it here, folks. 

A Note to the Democrats: Donald Trump is, at present, the only positive thing you've got going for you.

Do you think it a mere coincidence that several totalitarian regimes out there in Candy Land which were clever enough to donate to the "Clinton Foundation" (whatever that might be) were rewarded with billions in  military weaponry during the time she served as Obama's Secretary of State? This is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There's a pretty good reason (from her perspective anyway) why she refuses to release the transcripts of the speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs (for which she was paid nearly three-quarters of a million dollars). Any public figure who gives an address from which the public is excluded is not on the side of the people he or she is sworn to represent.

Congrats, Democrats. You are on the threshold of nominating the most corrupt presidential candidate in the history of your once-proud party.
The rationalization that "she's not Donald Trump" isn't quite good enough. You have been handed - on a silver platter - the most prescient, visionary candidate in the history of any American political party (and, yes, I would include Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in  that mix) and you're tossing him to the wind like ashes. Is Hillary Clinton really the legacy you wish as a gift to posterity?

Think long and hard about this one.

I find it next-to-impossible to believe that, given all that is at stake, the Democrats would seek to nominate the worst candidate possible. They are as inherently corrupt as the Republicans. We might as well stop kidding ouirselves.  

I honestly wanted the first woman to succeed the first African American president of the United States. Not that woman.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


R.I.P., GOP: How Doanld Trump is Killing the Republican Party
by Matt Taibbi

This one appeared in Rolling Stone two weeks ago. Taibbi is the best political reporter of this generation. Here's a link to read it off of the Stone's website:



Since we find ourselves - YET AGAIN - in the midst of another presidential campaign year, I thought we might take this little stroll down memory lane by listening to the first campaign speech ever recorded: Here's former president and candidate, Grover Cleveland in 1892. In that year he became the first (and only) ex-president to be re-elected to the office:


Ain't politics a riot?


Do you remember the good old days? When the Republican Party was merely a danger to the economic security of the American people? Before they became a serious threat to life on this planet? Can you remember those days? I can....vaguely.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Real NRA: Making a Killing

Get used to living in  a nation in  ruins
Robert Greenwald
Robert Greenwald is, beyond any and all doubt,  the most important (and talented) documentary filmmaker to come along in my lifetime. For over a decade his films have meticulously chronicled the destruction of a country that at one time was the envy of the world. You don't walk away from any of his stuff whistling a happy tune - that's for damned sure - but at least you always have a much clearer understanding about what is happening to the United States, and, more importantly, where it is going - and it's not to a very happy place. 

Recently, I was personally honored by Mr. Greenwald and his organization with an advanced copy of his as yet unreleased film, "Making a Killing"....

Okay, I'll level with you:

Recently, somehow, I was lucky enough to be able to finagle a copy of his yet to be released film, "Making a Killing" (There, is that better?) It's a documentary that exposes the lock that the National Rifle Association has on American politicians, the impact on the lives of the victims of gun violence and their survivors, and the incalculable damage that is being done to this once-great nation.

What we have here is a good news/bad news scenario. First the bad news: 

Nothing is going to change as far as the carnage being inflicted on the American people is concerned. There will still be mountains of broken bodies and rivers of blood. Our lawmakers have been purchased by a domestic terror organization. This is the way it's going to be from now on. Get used to it. Deal with it. Adjust. Nothing is going to change. Nothing....

Did I say "nothing"? Let me rephrase that:

Given the availability of these weapons in America, a horrible epidemic of political assassinations is not at all beyond the realm of the possible. What do you think would happen if more-than-a-few choice members of both houses of congress were taken out willy nilly? OH, BROTHER! It makes my head spin and my ribs tickle to think how quickly this peculiar "American problem" would disappear. We're talkin' overnight, folks. Can you imagine? Of course, there are so many of these people-killing machines out there due to years of the insane, NRA-sponsored laws currently on the books, that it would take at least a decade for any tangible results to be noticed. Still, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, ay?

And while we're on the topic, a few high-powered shotgun shells, blasted in the general direction of Wayne LaPierre  (just to keep the hideous bastard on his toes, mind you) might also send these corrupt bastards and bitches in Washington a dandy message, don'cha think? I think it would. I really do!

Disclaimer: Of course, advocating such terrible behavior would not only be irresponsible on my part, it would be completely evil. And besides, murder and mayhem have never really been my shtick. It's not yours either, I'm sure....I hope.

Still, I do hope old Wayne is smart enough to keep a bullet-proof vest handy - even while he sleeps. Just a thought.

Now for the good news....I'm sorry, but there is no good news. That was a shameful attempt to make you read on by giving you something to look forward to. There's nothing to look forward to. Forgive me for misleading you.

One point that is made in Making a Killing is that black people are twice as likely to be the victims of gun violence than their white counterparts. That probably is the key to the indifference on the part of so many white Americans - not enough of their little darlings are being slaughtered. Here's a little stipend you can take to the bank: As time goes by, and more bodies begin to pile up high, that indifference is going to disappear. You'd better believe it. 

I've already had two female cousins shot and killed by men who were stalking them. I've had more acquaintances then I can count who died by the gun - whether by suicide or murder. If it hasn't already effected your lives, it will. Mark my words: it will. The trillion-pound shit-hammer is only in the process of falling; it hasn't found its mark yet. You think the situation is completely fucked now? This is nothing compared to what is coming. In a decade from now, the carnage of these times will seem tranquil by comparison. Remember you read it here, boys and girls.

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

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

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

Here are just a few of the many fun facts from Making a Killing. There will be a quiz at the end of this piece, so pay close attention:
Every sixteen minutes, a woman is shot and killed by a boyfriend or a husband.

Forty-eight percent fewer police officers are shot and killed  in states with mandatory background checks.

Guns accidentally kill children in the U.S. ten times more often than any other developed country on the planet.

1.7 million kids in the USA live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.

A child has been shot to death every-other-day since the Sandy Hook mass-shooting on December 14, 2012.

Between the years 2001 and 2010, more Americans living in Chicago died from gun violence than in the war in Afghanistan.

Over eighty Americans are shot and killed every day.

Gun violence costs this doomed country $229 billion every year.
There is no purchase limit for buying guns and ammunition in most states.

Fifty-five Americans commit suicide with a firearm every day.

States with waiting periods average fifty-one percent fewer suicides by gun every year.

There were 33 mass killings in the United states last year.

There are approximately one-hundred thousand gun deaths in this country every three years.
Victims in all colors - mostly black
The film is literally drenched with oodles of handy little statistics like the ones I have offered here. 

I have been authorized by the the nice folks at Brave New Films to have public screenings of this important new documentary. But I'm not the only one so honored: Anybody may order a free copy for this very purpose. Here's all the proof you need that Robert Greenwald and friends are not in it for the money. My only problem is that I can't seem to find a place big enough that will allow me to show it (Any volunteers in my area would be greatly appreciated). If you happen to live within driving or walking distance of me (Goshen, NY is sixty miles north of Manhattan) give me a shout and I'll be happy to set up a personal viewing for you in my house. If transportation is an issue, call me and I'll come pick you up and drive you home. Talk about service! 

And remember, kids: The National Rifle Association wants you dead. Have a lovely day!

And God bless you, Mr. Greenwald.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to watch the trailer for Making a  Killing on YouTube:


You can sign up to receive a free copy to show in your community as well. This is a film that must be seen. We'll leave it at that.


Massacre in New Town


I wrote this one nearly four years ago, on the morning after twenty little boys and girls - and the six women whose job it was to protect and to educate them - were slaughtered like diseased pigs inside of a Connecticut schoolhouse. At that moment I predicted that not a goddamned thing would change. Not a goddamned thing has. Prescient on my part? Do perish the thought, dear reader! In fact it was the easiest call I ever made.

Are you ashamed of your country yet?

Here's another blast from the past (pun intended):

This was written last August 27, when broadcast journalist, Alison Parker, and camera technician, Adam Ward, were shot and killed on live television while delivering a report from a shopping mall in Roanoke, Virginia: 


Too dreadful for words.

Alison Parker at the moment she was murdered

Saturday, May 14, 2016


A new poll from something called, "Public Policy Polling" (an organization which, admittedly, I've never heard of before), informs me on this fine May morn that fifty-eight percent of the American people are aghast at the right wing's obstruction to President Obama's attempt to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court that came with the death of Justice-from-hell, Antonin Scalia, earlier this year. That's not meant to imply that forty-two percent of them are in favor of it. Predictably, ten to fifteen percent don't give a flying fuck one way or the other. This is as it should be, I suppose. America the indifferent. Rush shed his invective on thee. Life is a hoot.

The poll I refer to also informs us that fifty percent of the electorate are not likely to vote for any candidate in November who would deny the president the opportunity to perform what is, after all, his constitutional duty as chief-executive. This is also as it should be - given the warped mindset and ideological makeup of the mutant clowns currently inhabiting the House of Reprehensibles. They've never quite come to terms with what they perceive as "that evil, commie nigger" sleeping in the same, big WHITE house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was once occupied by their sainted, feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor. Absurdist theater at its finest.

It is now 3:10 in the morning and I just now had an epiphany. I've had an awful lot of epiphanies lately. Consider this if you'll be kind enough:

In 1974, I thought that Richard Milhaus Nixon was the worst thing to happen to the office of the American presidency in history. And then....

....in 1981 along came a senile, plutocratic water-carrier named Ronald Reagan. All of the sudden, Nixon was looking pretty good. And then....

....out of the blue, in 2001, a disgusting lowlife with an even lower IQ, George Dubya Bush, blasted into town, and - LOW AND FREAKING BEHOLD! Reagan started to look comparatively competent. It was at that moment that I really believed (HONEST!) that the "party of Abraham Lincoln" had hit rock-bottom.

They hadn't hit rock-bottom. Oh, perish the thought, kind and gentle reader! In 2016 we are faced with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee - and George W. Bush is starting to look like a moderate.

WAIT! IT GETS BETTER STILL! Richard Nixon is starting to look like George Washington. I'm not making this stuff up! It kinda makes you wonder what they're gonna puke up in 2020, huh?

Have you noticed, perchance, that disgusting party's habit of lowering the bar, millimeter by millimeter, each election cycle over the last half century? Most of us have not noticed. Some of us have.

I need a drink.
It's a given that the GOP will get their heads handed to them at the polls on November 8. This optimism is surely tempered by the by the knowledge that - barring miracle or scandal - Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. With donkeys like that, elephants are not necessary. Whom do you think Hillary's role model as chief-executive will be - FDR or Bill Clinton? Stupid goddamned Democrats. Abandon all hope for that idiotic party. I did eighteen years ago this month. What the hell are you waiting for?

I have this fantasy of living in a lighthouse - only it's not located at the edge of an ocean; this one is situated high atop a mountain. It's comfortable, secluded, nearly unreachable - and yet, I can see everything. No one bothers me. That would be sweet.

Life could be a dream. Sh-boom, baby!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Charlie Chaplin with Eric Campbell, 1916
Early in 1916, Charles Spencer Chaplin signed a contract to produce twelve two-reelers for the Mutual Film Company. The work he produced in 1916 and 1917 is generally regarded by film historians as some of the finest of his career. One-hundred years ago tomorrow, Charlie released his first in that series. It's called "The Floorwalker" and, a century later, it's still a scream. Here's a link to watch it on YouTube:


The restoration of this one is amazing. A hundred years later - and nearly forty years after his death - we can't stop talking about Charlie Chaplin. This is a very good thing.

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Death of the GOP

Here is what I wrote on this site on August 4 last year on the subject of Donald Trump: 

"I really don't believe that he will be nominated at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Then again,  that's what I said thirty-five years ago regarding a feeble-minded, washed-up "B" movie star; I said the same thing twenty years later about a half-witted frat boy from Crawford, Texas. I had better check myself. With the United States as seriously dumbed-down as it has become during the last four decades, it's probably a good rule of thumb not to dismiss the possibility of something that at one time would have been seen as impossible...."

Donald Trump is at this hour the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in the year 2016.

Let me repeat that just in case it hasn't sunk in:

Donald Trump is at this hour the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in the year 2016.

Within a few hours of Trump winning the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz took himself out of the running. The following day, John Kasich bowed out. I received an email yesterday from a woman named Jaime Brewer, who lives in Princeton, Indiana. She told me that she was moving back to her home town of Clay City, Illinois. She said that she was not meant to live in so broken a state. I could relate. I used to be proud of my Hoosier heritage (my late mother was a native of South Bend). Not so much anymore. The Midwest was at one time a pretty progressive region. That was then. This is now. 

What's the matter with Kansas?

What happened in Indiana on Tuesday night was the Republican Party's death knell. It's over. It's fucking over. The moment has arrived that I've been predicting for the last decade. If you'll be kind enough to recall, the very first little ditty that I ever composed on this site - nearly ten years ago - was called: "George W. Bush - The Last Republican President". At that moment I wasn't entirely sure that I was correct in my prediction. Within four years I was totally convinced. Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but you had to have been blind not to see this coming. For the first time in 160 years, one Democratic administration will follow another Democratic administration into the White House on Inauguration Day. Think about that.
And while you're at it, think about this: A political party that was founded 160 years ago on the noble idea that human bondage would forever be obliterated from humanity's landscape is tonight lying in smoldering ruins on Donald Trump's funeral pyre. Note to the Republican National Committee: Strike the tents, fold up the chairs and go home. It will survive for a few more years in the House and the Senate, but as far as the presidency is concerned, the bells of the doomed are tolling, baby! Your party is dead. 

Not that I'm complaining, mind you....
From Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump: How completely pathetic. Forgive me for finding this entire mess so indescribably comical. For anyone paying attention, these are wondrous days to be alive. It's almost like having a deck chair on the Titanic - knowing that you can miraculously extricate yourself from the disaster the moment the ship disappears into the water. This really is an incredible time to be a witness to. It's not the equivalent to watching human beings walking on the moon forty-seven years ago, but it's pretty damned close. To think that it would ever come to this....

Do you remember one year ago? At a time when the number of wannabees packed into the GOP clown car was seventeen, the only one of the lot even marginally qualified for the office of the presidency was former New York governor, George Pataki. Not that I would ever have voted for the guy, but when placed in comparison to the likes of Donald Trump, he has the gravitas of Theodore Roosevelt. And yet, on his best day, he barely registered in the polls; two or three percent was his highest showing. What does that tell you?

Worse still, because of his campaign, Ted Cruz has strengthened his base with the nitwits who vote in Texas elections. I was hoping that Ted would be a political flash-in-the-pan, but it appears that he's going to be around for a while. That's okay. We could use the unintentional laughs.

As stated in earlier posts, I'm not-at-all thrilled with the idea that - barring a miracle - Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. She's a living, breathing reminder to me why I bolted that worthless party eighteen years ago this month. That being said, as awful a candidate as she is, she's still light years preferable to anything the Republicans are bound to puke up - not only in this year - but in every year going back to 1960. You know things have gotten bad when a corporate handmaiden like Hillary can be viewed as a reasonable alternative,

I need a drink.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A silent prayer of thanks to God for sending our way Father Daniel Berrigan, a man who took the Sermon on the Mount literally. This radical priest spent a total of seven of his ninety-four years in prison protesting America's sick obsession with its military industrial complex. 

On May 17, 1968, Father Dan (who passed away this week), his brother, Father Phillip Berrigan, and seven others, entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, seized the records of hundreds of young men (disproportionately African American), went out to the parking lot and set them aflame with homemade napalm.

Dan Berrigan was the real deal.