Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Worst of the Rant

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

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

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

January 18:

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

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

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

February 15:

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

February 29:

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

March 2:

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

March 12:

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

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

May 24:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 15:

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

September 22:

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

September 28:

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


October 5:

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

October 11:

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

October 18:

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

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

October 21:

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

November 3:

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

November 8:

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

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

November 17:

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

November 23:

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

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

Good bye, America.

 December 19:

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

December 29:

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


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

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Auld Lang Syne
by Guy Lombardo

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An Amusing Nighmare

What, me worry?
But you tell me over-and-over-and-over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
Barry McGuire

It happened again early this morning, as it has on so many mornings since November 9. I awoke at 2 AM from a not-very-fitful sleep and the first thought on my mind was: That was just a terrible dream, right? That did not really happen, right? I don't really reside in a country where so huge a segment of the population are so fucking, gut-wrenchingly dense, that they would hand over the nuclear codes to a corrupt, unhinged, sociopath and pervert like Donald Trump, right? That didn't really happen, right? RIGHT???
Wrong. I walked over to the bedroom window to take a look outside. There it was, outstretched before me, an endless landscape that mocked the senses:
Idiot Nation.
As horrifically brutal and depressing as the next forty-eight months will undoubtedly be, there is at least one slender and fragile silver lining to be mined from America's electoral stupidity: They sure aren't going to be boring! As has been historically proven each-and-every-time the right wing has ever been able to seize all three branches of the government, the economic destruction of this diseased country is virtually assured. It may be a terrible thing to behold, but it does not make a psychologically healthy person yawn. Societal carnage has a way of keeping one on his-or-her toes, you know what I'm talking about?

Of course, it's almost a given that, when the economic cataclysm does indeed come crashing down right at their front doors, these very same, heartbreakingly dumb and clueless Americans will find some way to place the blame for the disaster at the feet of the man who, for seven-and-a-half years, has led the United States through an unprecedented surge of economic growth. Just in case you might have lost count, that amounts to ninety consecutive months, folks. Expect these trends to begin to reverse themselves before the summer is upon us. You may also reasonably expect the economy to completely collapse before the year is out. Within that very same frame of time, don't be too surprised to find yourselves nostalgic for George W. Bush. It's going to be that kind of time in America. Bad craziness indeed. Brace yourselves for the storm.

And speaking of the halfwit from Crawford, Texas: As alarmed as I was at this time sixteen-years-ago when the disgusting little thug was in the process of packing his gear for the move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I never - for a moment - doubted that we would survive him. Now, I'm not so sure. Donald Trump's major contribution to Dubya's political legacy is that Bush would only have to languish for a relatively short eight years, tied with James Buchanan, for the dubious honor of being remembered as the most incompetent chief-executive in the history of human mediocrity. In no time at all, Trump will surpass them both. Count on it.

He has already begun to staff his administration with anti-Semites and white nationalists. Honestly, if you're not seriously alarmed by what's ahead for you and your loved ones, you're either (1) too mean and stupid to be fully functional in polite society, or (2) you haven't been paying attention.

NOTE TO MY FRIENDS WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP: As far as you're concerned,  I would like to believe it's the latter of the two.

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

So there you have it, folks: Another thrilling adventure in the action-packed life of Idiot Nation. Such weird times we live in, ay?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

This woman is my latest crush. It doesn't get much better than Samantha.


Prepare to laugh loudly.


Debbie Reynolds has passed away - one day after daughter, Carrie Fisher. It doesn't get much more poignant than that, does it? I always thought that she was lovely. Eddie Fisher was a putz for dumping her for Liz Taylor. Seriously.

That Hollywood is fading away.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Another Year Over

I'm really not in too much of the Christmas spirit this year for obvious reasons (none of which I need to go into here, I'm sure). Christmas has been permanently ruined for me, I suppose, and it's been that way for many-a-year. When I was a little kid,  I could never understand why Ebenezer Scrooge could hold so sweet a holiday in such complete contempt. I get it now. I really do hope this is not a permanent condition on my part. So, instead of dwelling on the negative, I'll share with you some little chestnuts from Christmases past.
Keep your eyes open for the miracles all around you. And remember the simple truth that there is more music to be found in the laughter of a single child than can be found in all of the symphonies ever composed by all of the composers who ever lived.
Keep the meaning of this day - which is not only the birth of Jesus Christ, but the very idea of peace on earth, good will toward all people - in your heart and soul. Pray for peace. And remember that it will never come so long as foolish men choose to make their earthly fortunes by providing the world with weapons of death.

Blessed are the peacemakers
For they shall be called Sons of God


Oh, and did I mention that I hate Santa Claus? I really do, you know. I say this without any fear of coal in my stocking. You see, I haven't received a thing from the hideous old bastard since 1966. That was the year I spiked his hot cocoa with a generous portion of Old Granddad. Santa, although a rather large person, doesn't hold his alcohol too well. I found this out the hard way. After leaving our presents under the tree, he took off from the roof or our home and crashed into the Finkle house across the street. Two reindeer were killed. Horrible carnage.



'Twas the night before Christmas
and all 'round the place
Them Liberals was plannin'
to attack us with mace

The Children were nestled
all snug in their beds
While visions of Ayn Rand
stomped on their heads

And mama with her Demerol
and I with my booze
Had just settled down
for a long winter's snooze

When out on the rooftop
there rose such a ruckus
I sprang from my bed to see

A posse of Liberals
all armed to the teeth
Were doing rude things
to our poor Christmas wreath

They spoke not a word
but were vile and we shook
As they ripped out the pages
of Ms. Palin's book

They poured gas on our presents
And set them aflame
And to our stuffed Santa
They did just the same

And I heard them exclaim
as they tore up the streets
"Nasty Krimble to all!
Next year leave us some sweets!"

But seriously, folks.....

I don't believe in wishing people a "merry" Christmas. Drunks and drug addicts are often quite merry but they are seldom, if ever, "happy". Like Doctor Winston O'Boogie said nearly forty-years-ago:
And so Happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young!
Have a grand time, folks!


This planet is such a dark and unhappy place. At times it can seem unbearable. There is not one of us who couldn't stand a little more love. Not one of us is incapable of giving a little more as well. Rather than cursing the darkness - and each other - let us, instead, light some candles tonight.

 Happy Christmas, everybody. Happy Christmas, one and all!


This is just to hope and pray that you don't use this insufferable curmudgeon as an example and that you all have a grand holiday and new year. There really is so much to be thankful for that I have no right to complain about anything. My only request would be that if you know any people who might be spending this Christmas alone, stop by and see them if you're able to. Be safe, healthy - AND FOR PETE'S SAKE, GO EASY ON THE FREAKIN' FIGGY PUDDING, OKAY?


So there you have it, folks. It doesn't matter your religion - or lack thereof. Have yourselves a grand and blessed Christmas/holiday season.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING: Here's a link to watch my Christmas message/tirade on Facebook:



Every year the Beatles would record a Christmas message and send the record out worldwide to all the members of their fan club (Wasn't that thoughtful of the lads?) Here is a wonderful compilation that some very talented person put together a few years ago:

Happy Christmas, everyone!


The picture at the top of this piece was posted by a friend named Mandy Kilpatrick on her Facebook page. I couldn't resist nicking it!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Electoral Day

Attention, class. The "Electoral College", an antiquated idea from the Eighteenth Century - which was only designed in order to give southern slave owners a little more pull at the polls - gets together on this chilly winter's day to officially choose the next president of the United States. While there is a molecule of room to be optimistic, I won't be terribly surprised to learn at the end of the day that an unhinged, not terribly bright, sociopath and pervert will be taking the oath of office come January 20. Which is fine 'n' dandy by me. These idiotic Americans deserve Donald Trump. It'll be such a hoot to see the poll results, as early as July, when ninety percent or more of these fools tell pollster-after-pollster that they voted for Hillary Clinton. Of course they did. Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation. Watch your step, ya hear?
There are an awful lot of people who should have been a bit more careful what they wished for. Maybe they don't understand the ramifications of their error now, but they'll understand them soon enough. The bazillion dollar shit hammer is about to hit the fan. In four years you won't recognize this place. I can't wait to see the looks of mass-shellshock on the faces of so many Americans. That'll be the funniest thing of all. So many of them and their elected representatives  will attempt to blame the economic carnage that is surely coming on Barack Obama. Blame the nigger. It works every time. Why do you think there are so many innocent black men in prison in this country? C'mon, folks! Put on your thinking caps!
"Donald Trump is one of us."
From the mouth of a poverty-stricken primary voter in the south

Oh yeah, it'll be a screaming fucking riot watching these clueless Americans stewing in the juices of their own idiocy. It makes me giddy to know that at least I'll have something to look forward to. Someone pinch me.
This is 1948 all over again. At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia that summer, Harry S Truman saw his beloved party torn apart at the seams. A third party uprising is every presidential candidate's worst nightmare. Poor old Harry had to contend not only with the spectacle of Strom Thumond and the racist Dixecrats bolting the party because he was too much of a liberal; he also had to deal with Henry Wallace and the progressives jumping ship because he wasn't liberal enough. A fourth party uprising! Every poll had GOP nominee, Tom Dewey, winning easily on Election Day. It seemed that the only person in the country who thought Harry Truman would be able to pull off the seemingly impossible was Harry Truman himself. On the morning following Election Day, Dewey looked as if he had been hit by a train - not unlike the way Ms. Clinton looked on the morning of November 9. That is what is known as "historical Deja vu".

I'm sure that at this moment many of the Republican electors are being warned from on high not to rock the boat by denying the presidency to a man as horrifically unqualified as the Donald. By doing so, they would only be opening up a rat's nest of rage on the part of the millions of mesmerized, Tea-Partying dingbats who honestly believed that sending this asshole to the White House would be a really neat idea. "Fuck the good of the nation!", the head-honchos from the RNC are almost certainly telling them, "The future of our party is at stake!"

They don't give a damn about you or your children. Tax breaks for a class of people (like Donald Trump) who already possess more money than they could reasonably spend in three lifetimes: That's the only mantra they know. It's the only reason they exist. Dwight D. Eisenhower was inarguably a great Republican president. Don't you find it rather strange that they never mention his name in their campaign literature and propaganda? There's a jolly good reason for that: When Eisenhower sat in the Oval Office, the richest one percent in this country were taxed at a rate of ninety-one percent. During the eight years he served as chief-executive he never once felt the need to change that scenario. That is why during the years 1953 to 1961, the American economy surged in a way no economy in the history of humanity ever had. That is no longer the case. That is why your country is in ruins.

This ain't rocket science, folks. This is Civics 101. It makes one wonder when we're finally going to learn this lesson.

Ben Gilman
I had these thoughts running rampant through my mind yesterday when I received the word of the passing of my former congressman, Ben Gilman. Ben represented the people of the Hudson Valley from 1972 until 2002. I was first introduced to him by my father in the parking lot of the Holiday Mountain ski slope at Monticello, NY in the early winter of 1966 when I was only eight and he was a newly-elected New York State assemblyman. He was a friend of the family, but that was no big deal on our part: Ben Gilman knew everybody  - or so it seemed. He was the type of politician that no longer exists: "a moderate-to-liberal Republican". He was a kind and thoughtful statesman who always got my vote: The last member of that disgusting party I ever cast my precious ballot for.

His district was gerrymandered out of existence fourteen-years-ago by George Pataki and Dick Cheney. Ben refused to march to the beat of the extreme right wing's drum, and his political courage cost him his seat. Georgie and Dickie's chicanery backfired - BIG TIME, BABY! The end-result of their meddling was two new Democratic congressmen - one of whom is openly gay. Isn't that funny?

Ben Gilman was the last great Republican statesman to serve in the House of Representatives. They're all gone, and they're not coming back. And please, don't get me wrong; it's not merely for the Republicans I mourn. The Democrats used to stand for something noble, too.

I need to get very intoxicated right now.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Plain Speaking
by Merle Miller

This oral biography of Harry S Truman is worth its weight in gold. Twice I have read it. Twice I could not put it down. A really entertaining political biography - one of the best ever! Highly recommended to you and yours.


According to Facebook "Memories", I posted a link to this recording five years ago today. I had forgotten all about it, and I'm grateful to be reminded of it. For the next four years this is going to be my national anthem:


Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Welcome to the Abyss, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy your stay!
Here are the Cliff Notes, folks: The American people, in their comically amusing, infinite stupidity, have just elected as the leader of the most lethally powerful nation on the face of the earth, an agent of the Russian government. We knew as far back as September that Vladimir Putin and his gang had successfully hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee and had released them via WikiLeaks in order to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton. That's how we were able to learn about all of the dirty tricks that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and company inflicted upon Bernie Sanders' candidacy. What we didn't know then was that the Russians had also successfully infiltrated the computers of the Republican National Committee. The information in those files have not been released for the obvious reason: Putin now has the GOP and every one of its "lawmakers" in a perfect position to be blackmailed.

The Russians are coming. Hooray! Hooray!
All of the above has been confirmed by the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (in addition to fourteen other government agencies). It is almost possible - in fact it is very possible - to view what has happened as a successful coup d'état against the government of the United States of America by a hostile foreign power - with full cooperation and assistance from agents within that government - Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell for instance. Old Mitch tried to move Heaven and Earth to keep this information from being revealed to the public. Only when Mitch's chicanery was exposed did he call for an investigation, telling reporters, "Russia is not our friend". That is not to imply that any of this  would have made a damned bit of difference to these Stupid Fucking Americans.

QUESTION FOR THE AGES: Is there a more perfectly reprehensible, disgusting and vile piece-of-shit than Mitch McConnell slithering its way through the halls of Congress? If there is, please, I need to know about it.

ANOTHER QUESTION FOR THE AGES: If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if Mitch McConnell is there to deny that a sound was made? I wonder....

We did this to ourselves, America. For nearly forty years, the American voter has been playing Russian Roulette with right wing extremism. The gun finally went off on Election Day 2016. None of this will make any difference to me. I thrive on chaos, dysfunction and despair. For anyone who makes his or her name commenting on America's doom, a perspective Donald Trump administration will be the gift that keeps giving and giving. As for the rest of you? You've had it.

As a rule, men in my family tend not to live terribly far into their sixties, so I'm fairly secure in the knowledge that I won't be around to reap the cataclysm's ultimate wrath. In the meantime I plan on having quite the hearty laugh - watching with glee and merriment - while those who were foolish enough to cast their precious ballots for the likes of Donald Trump descend into their self-inflicted hell-on-earth, custom-made to order! For all the rest of you, especially the children, my heart will break; in fact it is breaking as I write these words.

To those of you who were idiotic enough to choose Donald Trump as your new "ruler": Are you still under the illusion that this was a particularly rational idea on your part? I'm just curious. You're going to deserve everything that happens to you.

I had been predicting for a decade that George W. Bush would be remembered in history as the last Republican president. A century ago the journalist, H.L. Mencken, warned us against overestimating the intelligence of the American people; I plead guilty to just such an overestimation. In the nineteen-thirties, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a totalitarian overthrow of the Unites States called "It Can't Happen Here". Well, guess what: It's fucking happened here.

Good bye, America.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Listen to what Keith Obermann has to say regarding this nasty topic. As usual he's right on top of things:

We might very well be beyond the point of no return.

BREAKING NEWS, 12/14/16:

A number of electors appear to be joining together in an effort to put a stop to the catastrophe that would result in a Trump presidency. We can only wish them luck. Keep your fingers crossed and your hands folded.