Saturday, April 29, 2017

One-Hundred Days of Mirth

Why is this man smiling?

"It's hard to believe that Donald Trump has only been in office for 100 days. I swear, I think 2017 is happening in dog years."
Elizabeth Warren
Okay, I know what you're thinking and I will happily concede the point: The very existence of this psychopathic lamebrain's administration is not a laughing matter - I get the point. But one cannot deny that there is a mountain of laughter that can be mined from the Age of Donald Trump. Although there is no joy when one wakes up in the wee, small hours of the morning to be reminded at the moment of consciousness that one is still an inmate of Idiot Nation, it can be quite amusing, too. And when one's vocation is to call attention to the American train wreck, the Donald is the gift that keeps giving....and giving and giving and giving. Samantha Bee is a very happy woman. I'm pretty happy, too.
One-hundred days ago Donald Trump was inaugurated as the forty-fifth president of the United States, and things are now about three times as bad as the most pessimistic of us would have dared predict. In all that time the president who, as candidate, promised so much "beautiful" legislation in his first hundred days in office that the people would be "sick" of all his successes - has not been able to deliver a single thing. As I was reminded this morning by a TV talking head: William Henry Harrison was able to accomplish much more - and he died thirty-one days into his presidency. Trump, it would seem, is trying to establish some sort of record. If that is indeed the case, he is succeeding beyond anyone's wildest and weirdest dreams.

Did you ever think we would fall this hard? Strange days indeed.

Now Trump is trying to tell us that the "First Hundred Days" expectation put on incoming presidents in modern times is "ridiculous". He makes an excellent point - although I'm quite sure this was an accident on his part. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, as they say.

Darwin was wrong
As was noted in the previous piece on this site, the "First Hundred Days" of any presidency were never noted until the dawn of the Roosevelt administration in 1933. In his first three months and one week in office, FDR was able to get a truckload of legislation passed for the simple reason that, at that point in history, the United States was in the midst of an economic crisis of catastrophic perportions. It is unreasonable to expect that any president (even a genius like Trump - GUFFAW!) would be able to replicate that kind of precedent. It isn't remotely possible.

I was just thinking, using the names of Roosevelt and Trump in the same sentence is a bit surreal. How we devolved from the Frankster to the Donald would make a dandy subject for a book.

Out like Flynn
From the Muslim travel ban, to the wall on the Mexican border, to the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to the accusation of wiretapping by President Obama, to their disastrous foreign policies, to the resignation-in-disgrace of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, to the utter incompetence of damned-near everyone associated with Donald Trump....I could go on for hours....this administration has been a rolling constitutional crisis.

Let me state for the record that in most cases, the Trump administration's lack of success has been a very good thing for the country. The only thing they have been successful at is keeping the public's attention diverted from what is gradually evolving into the worst political scandal in the history of this country; I am referring, of course, to the covert collusion with a hostile foreign power during the 2016 presidential campaign. That affair is metastasizing by the day. The problem is that we'll have to wait until the GOP no longer controls both houses of congress in 2019 for this maniac to be removed from office via the impeachment process - that's assuming they'll be defeated on Election Day 2018. You never know.

Like I said: Idiot Nation.

Tonight is the annual White House Press Correspondents Dinner. I wasn't the least surprised to learn that the prez will not be gracing the affair with his presence. In order to make those events fun, a president needs to have a self-deprecating sense of humor. That's why Jack Kennedy was so successful in that kind of setting; he could laugh easily at himself. This is a trait that Donald Trump is completely lacking. The only conceivable thing I can imagine him giggling at would be the sight of a wheelchair-bound paraplegic tumbling down the escalator of Trump Tower. Yeah, it's hopeless to expect him to appear at something like that. Here's what we can expect, though: an unhinged Twitter tirade first thing tomorrow morning. Wait for it.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


What's the Matter with Kansas
by Thomas Frank

How a nation with roots so firm in progressivism could possibly take such a drastic turn to the extreme right. An excellent read.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ain't Hindsight a Bitch?

I have to do some research on the first one-hundred days of the James Buchanan administration (1857-1861). He is generally regarded by most historians to be the most incompetent chief-executive in the history of Idiot Nation. Indeed, so traumatized was he by his four years in the White House, on March 4, 1861 (the traditional Inauguration Day in that time) he is said to have told the new president, Abraham Lincoln: "Sir, if you are as a happy a man upon entering this office as I am upon leaving it, you are a happy man indeed". Buchanan's consistent blundering for the four years he held that job made civil war inevitable. Most people breathed a sigh of relief when the poor old bugger was finally carted away to cushy retirement at his farm in Lancaster, P.A.

I suppose that most of us will also be breathing easier once our esteemed, Common-Pervert-In-Chief is no longer sleeping under the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The difference between 1857 and 2017 (and it's a difference worth taking note of) is that one-hundred and sixty years ago there was no such thing as "the nuclear code". Just thought I'd make that little observation.

Idiot Nation
Not to my surprise, recent polling shows us that only about two-to-four percent of the people who were naïve enough to cast their ballots for this unhinged and blithering twit regret their choice. I suspect that by year's end, that number will rise somewhat - but not too much. These statistics are a sad reflection of what America has become. There is no longer "an informed citizenry", cognizant of the issues and their own interests.  We're just a nation with enough unhinged and blithering twits to keep us in a perpetual state of ruin for generations unseen. Fold up the chairs, strike the tent and go home.

Crappy Days are Here Again

The "first one-hundred days" of various administrations did not become a measuring stick of legislative accomplishment until the opening months of the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. The notable difference between then and now, obviously, is that eighty-four years ago FDR came into office inheriting an economic catastrophe - the kind of which had never been seen before; With twenty-five percent of the workforce unemployed and most-of-the rest barely getting by, the opinion of many was that the "American experiment" had turned out to be a dismal failure. Although there were a handful of slip-ups at the dawn of the New Deal, at the end of those one-hundred days, there was a palpable optimism in the air. The first few steps of the proverbial journey of a thousand miles had been taken, and Americans were making that journey together. The popular tune of the moment was, "Happy Days are Here Again".

Donald Trump, on the other hand, inherited from Barack Obama an economy that, if not completely vigorous, was sailing smoothly - as is inarguably still the case. When the proverbial substance hits the fan (as it will within a year - if not sooner) you can bet that the Donald will not be taking the blame for  the bad numbers, as he is currently giving himself the credit for the good numbers. The buck will never stop at this president's desk.

Yeah, Trump's supporters went to a dark and disturbing place when they sent this fool to the Executive Mansion. They'll deserve everything that happens to them.

In closing here is a friendly reminder to chew on:

The president of the United States of America - and several people within his inner circle during the 2016 campaign - are being investigated for possible treasonous acts.

Oh yeah, this is going to end very badly.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Defining Moment
by Jonathan Alter

A paragraph from this excellent book:

"The banking crisis peaked just before his inauguration. With the upper Midwest in turmoil, Cleveland banks began to fold, threatening the Ohio banking structure. New Jersey passed an emergency law limiting withdrawals, causing a spread of panicky behavior in the East. In a three-day period starting February 23, Indiana, Arkansas and Maryland declared holidays [in order to close the banks], kicking off a round of more closures the following week. By Saturday, February 25, the Hoover White House received word to expect rioting on Monday in Detroit. where the banks had been closed for nearly two weeks. People couldn't buy gasoline, milk, or bread. Railroad cars stayed on sidings. Thousands of automobiles were abandoned, out of gas in the middle of the road. The only good news was that this lack of transportation made starting a riot harder."

Here's a link to order it off of
This one cannot be recommended enough.

Here’s a jolly thought to send you off into Dreamland:
The fate of the world now hinges on the temperaments of two unhinged sociopaths with really stupid haircuts.
Ain’t that a riot?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's Tax Day! Oh, and By the way....

The Warden of Idiot Nation

Since April 15 of this year fell on a Saturday, today is Tax Day. YIPEE!!! Which reminds me: There's a very good reason that our Beloved Common-Pervert-In Chief still refuses to show us his income tax returns for the past twenty-five years. A full third of the inmates of Idiot Nation are so touchingly dense that they will stand by the Donald until the bitter end. They will sink to any depth to prove their loyalty to this corrupt sociopath who reflects their inexcusable racism. That is why Trump's approval ratings with the public, as low as they are today, will more-than-likely never go much below thirty-three percent. He's one of them, and they love him for it.
It's an entirely different story for the rest of us. Once we are able to have a peek at what this guy has been up to, the story is over. Not even these idiotic right wing politicians in the congress will be able to defend him - or most of them anyway (There will be a few holdouts). Once the truth is revealed, the American voters with IQs above a bag of moldy seaweed will demand that he be removed.
I'm not going to predict that Donald Trump will be remembered as the first president to go to federal prison. I made that same prediction about George W. Bush eleven years ago in the first piece I ever wrote on this site and wound up with egg on my face. There are two sets of rules, one set for the ruling elite, and another for the rest of us. The one percent only pays for their crimes when one of their own turns on them. Why do you think Bernie Maddow is one of the only one of his class to go to prison for his crimes of plunder? His victims were the one percent. Dwell on that one for a little bit.
St. Dubya
I will say this, though: While Trump probably won't be dying in lockup, he will be the first chief-executive to be removed from office via the impeachment process. Of this I am certain, and every day it's becoming more apparent that this corrupt and disgusting administration is starting to make the Bush Mob seem like a bunch of angelic choirboys.

It's a fairly reliable barometer for measuring how completely weird things have gotten when one finds one's self nostalgic for the likes of Dubya. Can I get a witness?

Donald's excuse for the past year has been that he is unable to release his income tax returns because he is being audited by the IRS. Bullshit. There is no law on the books which states that a person being audited is forbidden from making the record public.

The people should demand that the House of Reprehensibles subpoena the  Internal Revenue Service and make those returns known immediately. It is within their power to do this legally. If there is nothing there - as so many of them are implying - then just let it all hang out and be done with it. If there is nothing there, show us. Those of us who lean leftwards have been freaking out about Trump's taxes for over a year. This is the perfect opportunity to shut us up and also make us look quite foolish in the process. It would be such a political score for him that he would be foolish not to do so. That's how I am certain that he is covering something up. He could have made us all look like a mob of pompous crybabies months ago! Why didn't he? Think about it, kids.

Call your reprehensible in Washington. Let him or her know that the president of the United States is not above accountability.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A short documentary on the history of the Beatles' Apple Records: 

Very interesting.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Zyklon B, Anyone?

A Sean Spicer Wannabe
Here is the transcript; I kid you not: 
SEAN SPICER: We didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons....
REPORTER: Uh, quote "Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” What did you mean by that?
The real Sean Spicer
SPICER: I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. I mean there was clearly ... I understand your point, thank you. I, thank you. I appreciate that. There was not ... in the ... he brought them into the, to ... to the Holocaust Center, I understand that, what I'm saying, in the way that Assad used them where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocents into the middle of towns, it was brought … so, the use of it, I appreciate the clarification, that was not the intent. 
Wait, it gets worse.

A few minutes later he had to clarify things a bit further. Obviously the Jewish people of Germany who were murdered by the Germans during the thirties and forties were "innocent", were they not? Of course they were! Sean was back a few minutes later with yet another written clarification.

Incredibly, it gets worse still.

What Sean actually meant to say was that Hitler, unlike Syria's Bashar al-Assad, didn't use poison gas to murder the citizens of his own country. Apparently, all of the Jews who perished in the Nazi death camps were tourists on a jolly holiday with Adolf.
Where to begin....
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with Adolf
Yesterday, April 11, 2016, was not a particularly grand day for the ongoing catastrophe that is known in polite circles as "The administration of Donald J. Trump". First there was an unfortunate incident on the golf course (which I need not go into here - that would be unnecessarily cruel). Then there was the revelation that one of his foreign policy advisors during the 2016 campaign, Carter Page, had been under investigation for treason. But during the afternoon briefing given by Sean Spicer, a gaffe was witnessed by the nation that stands out in an administration that is notable for its output of monumental gaffes. Comparing anyone with Hitler in the modern era is rarely a good idea. I am guilty of this and I have regretted it (sometimes). But what happened yesterday in the Jim Brady Press Room revealed such an appalling lack of historical perspective that it makes one shudder to try and come to grips with the idea that these extremist nincompoops are running the country.

In Idiot Nation, the halfwit is king.

Pretty good - but no Lincoln
It bugs me when I encounter people who are ignorant of this country's incredible history. I once had a conversation with a high school-aged girl of otherwise above average intelligence. It took place in the café of a local bakery. When she noticed that I was reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln, she casually remarked that her dad could remember what he was doing when he learned that the great emancipator had been assassinated. When I gently informed her that she must be referring to John F. Kennedy, she insisted that, no, it had been Abraham Lincoln. Only when I was able to prove to her that Lincoln had been dead since 1865 was she finally convinced. Fortunately for all concerned, she was wise enough not to seek a career as a presidential press secretary.

As simultaneously comical and horrifying as anyone who bothered to pay attention during the campaign of '16 knew damned well it was going to be, it's twice as bad as even the most cynical of us would have dared to predict. Nearly eighty years ago, Charlie Chaplin skewered Hitler and his gang in a satirical masterpiece called "The Great Dictator". It would seem to me that the time is ever-so-ripe for a modern update - with Alec Baldwin taking on the part of the Donald of course. That would be really funny! And, like Chaplin's Dictator, pretty sad.

Yeah, this entire mess is both comical and horrifying - but at least it's not boring. As the old saying goes, behind ever dark cloud....Never mind.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Here is a link to watch yesterday's press conference in its entirety:
It must be seen to be believed.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Bells, Whistles and Bright, Shiny Objects

As predicted, the Trump administration has concocted an "event", their very own Reichstag Fire, in order to distract the inmates of Idiot Nation from the rolling scandal that defined the first hundred days of its existence. During the long campaign of 2016, the Donald repeatedly warned the voters what a "catastrophe" it would be to involve America in the conflict that is presently playing out in Syria. He specifically warned President Obama against making any move that would complicate international affairs. His position was in perfect compliance with the isolationist policies adhered to by he and his closest advisors - Steve Bannon in particular. On Thursday they were forced to make an ideological U turn. When in doubt, wag the doggy. It seems to have worked out quite well for them. This morning no one is talking about treason. Nonetheless, Trump's buddy, Putin, is not amused. Nice.
In this latest move they were merely ripping a page out of the old Reagan playbook. In November of 1985, the day after a military barracks in Beirut was bombed and over two-hundred sleeping  marines were killed, the Reagan Mob was desperate to turn the media's attention away from the tragedy. Their scheme involved invading the Caribbean island of Grenada. Their excuse was that they had detected a cabal of sinister commies, scheming to take over the tiny nation. It was all bullshit but that didn't matter. In the process nineteen people were killed - including one American serviceman - all for no other reason than to score a few, cheap political points. In order to ensure that the scam worked out to perfection, the media was banned from covering the invasion. Yeah, I've seen this movie before. Be forewarned: It doesn't have a happy ending.

Why is this administration showing such righteous, moral indignation at the atrocities being committed against the people of Syria while they show such utter indifference to the plight of refugees fleeing this atrocity? I'll wait for their answer. Don't hold your breath.
This is not meant to downplay the tragedy of one-hundred men, women and little children being murdered by poison gas this week. The vile brutality of the Assad regime is without question, and is an insult to decency; I just refuse to buy the theory that - overnight - Trump has become much of a humanitarian. What happened in Syria a few days ago has been happening intermittently for the last seven years. This is not the first time Assad had used these banned weapons on his own people. Since the beginning of that civil conflict over half a million people have been killed. It's never mattered at all to Donald Trump before. Why does it matter to him all of the sudden? My guess is that, had it only been reported in the New York Times or the Washington Post, it never would have registered to his little mind. This time, it was reported on Fox Noise - complete with images. No, I'm not buying this at all, not for a minute.
It seems interesting to me that Trump spent an entire year forewarning the nation that Obama was all set to embark on entering the conflict in Syria, and that today he is blaming what is happening there on Obama's "inaction". Predictably, so few Americans were paying close enough attention to notice this little discrepancy. We really do live in unusual times.
It might do Bashar al-Assad some good to get the hell out of town while the getting is good. The people, if they are ever able to get their hands on him (and that day will come), will tare the bastard into a million itty bitty pieces. As was once observed by Gandhi, dictators eventually fall of their own weight. This is a consequence that is as natural as the setting sun. 
The news is not much better in the long run for Donald Trump: The investigation into possible Russian collusion with his campaign last year will continue. Our attention may be averted for the time being, but only temporarily. How many future "events" will they invent to keep us distracted? This is going to be interesting.
There aren't any solutions to humanity's descent into chaos and barbarism; or at least there are no easy solutions. As long as men stubbornly continue to make  their earthly fortunes by mass-producing weapons designed to murder the innocent, this dilemma will continue to confound. It's unsetting to observe that, as far as I can tell, there has been little mention in the electronic or print media that two days ago marked the centennial of America's entrance into World War One (or "The Great War" a it was known then and for a generation thereafter. No one then ever dreamed that a second cataclysm of such magnitude would again occur). Donald Trump - and most of the people who comprise his inner circle - are just reckless and foolish enough to ignite a third planetary conflict.
Most of the people I talk to are not seriously alarmed by what is happening. Again, they're not paying attention. I am. You are, too, I'm sure. If you weren't you wouldn't be reading this.

Cheerio! Pip! Pip!
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Rise of the Third Reich

How did it happen in as "civilized" a nation as Germany? This documentary explains it pretty thoroughly. Don't worry, it can't happen here (ya think?) It's over two hours but well-worth your precious time.


So Long, Mom!
by Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer once remarked that if any memorable songs are going to come out of the third world war, we'd better start writing them now. He kindly obliged:

Recorded in 1965

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Plot Sickens

I saw a very memorable bumper sticker the other say that really said all that needs to be said:
"When you elect a clown, expect a circus."
If there ever was a phenomenon to be simultaneously amusing  and depressing, this is it. It boggles the mind to even contemplate that this unhinged psychopath and common pervert is living in the same house that was at one time occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. The wheels have come off this country. This is going to end very badly, but I think I've already mentioned that. Pay it no mind.
Is referring to the Donald as a psychopath just a wee tad over the top? Nearly five years ago I read an article  that listed the ten telltale signs of a  clinical psychopath:
1. A total lack of empathy
2. A tendency of making self-serving moral choices
3. lying compulsively and unnecessarily.
4. A master manipulator
5.  deflecting blame
6. An inability for showing remorse
7. Habitually two-faced
8. A talent for using people for one's own purposes
9. Superficially charming and glib
10. Psychopaths tend to be control freaks
Do those traits remind you of anyone in particular? Think.

If I was in better health and twenty years younger, I would leave the United States. To tell you the blunt truth, I don't like it here anymore. I rarely leave the house these days; that's how completely depressed I've become regarding this nasty turn of events. The Republicans have destroyed the joint, enabled by the mostly incompetent Democrats. One party has lost its marbles, the other has sold its soul.
The problem with the GOP is that they long-ago forgot that they were (at onetime anyway) the party of Roosevelt: THEODORE.
The problem with the Dems is that they long-ago forgot that they were (at onetime anyway) the party of Roosevelt: FRANKLIN.
It basically boils down to that, folks. Neither party is ethically fit to govern this country any longer. Last year at this time I was convinced that both organizations were within a few years of disappearing forever. Today I'm forced to concede the sad and unacceptable fact that they won't be going away anytime soon. It totally sucks to be an inmate of Idiot Nation, doesn't it?

I am in a unique position to say that I was able to witness to a few of America's years on the mountaintop. I really do feel sorrow for the kids who were born post-Reagan-Revolution. A lot of them are now coming into adulthood, most of them poignantly unaware of what it was like to be an American in the days when our infrastructure was second-to-none. We really did stand for something noble. Those days are gone. Long gone. Who personifies us now? Donald Trump.

Get used to living in a nation in ruins.

We have become totally fractured. Yesterday, a wise and kind friend of mine gently took me to task for the profanity of some of my remarks out in the Facebook-sphere. The point is well-taken. Perhaps I am a small part of the problem. It would do all of us who lean leftward some good to measure our comments and criticisms carefully and with the utmost of caution.

We don't need to stoop to their level. We have the truth on our side.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

West End Blues
by Louis Armstrong
American music in the twentieth century begins - and ends - with Louis Armstrong. This 1928 recording of West End Blues was, in its time, revolutionary.