Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The right wing politicians that currently pollute the halls of congress are always surprising me. Whenever I come to the conclusion that they couldn't sink any further into the depths of the ideological sewer than they already have, they cheerfully lower the bar even further just for my benefit. Isn't that nice of them? Their current healthcare bill - which I don't think is going to pass, by the way - is nothing less than a scheme to be rid of Medicare and to provide a tax break for a class of people whom already possess more cash than they'll be able to possibly spend in three lifetimes. Most of them profess to be good and decent Christians, but I'm not buying that for a minute. In fact I think that most of them are atheists. It's obvious to me that not one of them have a fear of eternal damnation.
Which brings me to the subject of Mitch McConnell. Being a descendant of generations of Kentuckians, it floors me to even consider the fact that so many of them are as warped as they are when it comes to the subject of civic responsibility. Why they would continue to send to Washington a corrupt and hideous twit like old Mitch every six years is something I have yet to figure out. I've visited Kentucky many times over the course of my life and most of the people I encountered seemed to be real nice folks - Yes sir! - Fine, upstandin' Americans! But, EEK GADS! - A lot of them seem to be too heartbreakingly dumb to be left alone with pencils and other sharp objects.
It's a hell-of-a-lot more politically expedient to be against "Obamacare" then it is to be against "Affordable Care" (which is its real name, just in case it's slipped your mind). The Conservatives  won't call it by its proper name because to do so would expose their cruelty and greed. If they have their way, many innocent men, women and little children are going to die. If they have their way, the grief and despair of the survivors will be a million-fold.
"Blessed are the merciful
For they shall obtain mercy."
Jesus of Nazareth
The Progressives in Idiot Nation have been trying to achieve national health insurance for the American people since Theodore Roosevelt's campaign of 1912. The British have had it for damned-near seventy years! Not long ago, I signed up for Affordable Care (which I can barely afford). If these contemptible knuckleheads have their way, and I become seriously ill in the next five or six years (which is pretty bloody likely) I'm going to die. It's as simple as that, baby! NO MORE RANT! When you go to the polls at the mid-term elections next year, all you need to do is ask yourself just one, basic question:
"What would Tom Degan do?
Really, it isn't that difficult, kids!

My brother, Jeff Degan, has been living in Europe for the past quarter century. Way back in August of 2009 he used this site to write an open letter to his fellow Americans. I really need to republish it. It's a beaut:


"As an American who has been living in Europe for most of the last 20 years, one who has visited doctors numerous times in four different countries, whose two children were brought into this world in European hospitals (France and England), who has himself spent a week in a public British hospital, and who underwent an operation in a private British clinic, I think I can say a thing or two about health care in Europe.

"Our out of pocket expenses for the births? Zero. Even though in France my wife spent 5 days in the hospital after the birth of our first daughter, which is standard by the way.

"During the three years we lived in England, we never once paid for medicine for our children. Children get drugs for free in the UK. Visits to the GP are free for everybody.

"My expenses for the week in the NHS hospital? Zero.

"The cost of the operation in the private clinic? Zero, it was covered by my work insurance, as was the post-op physical therapy I needed.

"In Western Europe you would never be forced to sell your home in order to pay for your medical bills, as happens all too often in America when catastrophic illness strikes and the insurance company decides that your condition was 'pre-existing'.

"The quality of the care? Mostly good. French hospitals are excellent, even the food is decent. The food at the NHS hospital was beyond awful, but then again most English food is pretty bad (though they do have great Indian food). At night, they were understaffed, but I am guessing that, apart from that place where Dr. House works, most American hospitals are understaffed at night, too.

"In short, in the US, you pay more, get less, and die younger than we do in Europe. What part of that don't you understand?

"My fellow Americans, you have nothing to fear except those who would use fear to keep you enslaved to the myth of the might of the American health care system."

Jeffrey Rudd Degan
Brother Jeff
I know what you're thinking and you're right: The guy is a Communist-waiting-to-happen. Not only does he live in France, he actually likes it there! An eternal shame to the good name of the Degan family (or as it's pronounced over there: "Day-gaw"). But seriously, it cannot be denied that he makes an excellent point. As he says, "What part of that don't you understand?" And to imply that the quality of the care across the pond is far inferior to ours doesn't pass the stinky test. If that were truly the case, please explain to me why the infant mortality rate over there is so much better than it is over here? Think about that for a minute. And while you're at it, wake up.

They're not concerned with your well being; nor are they concerned with the well being of your children - or any of your loved ones and friends. They have spent the last eighty-four years trying to do away with the gains made by progressives: Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Equal Rights for Women, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance - I could go on.

Keep voting with the Conservatives. You'll deserve everything that happens to you.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Sicko: A Film by Michael Moore

This excellent documentary came out a decade ago. It's as sadly relevant today as it was then.  Here's  link to watch it on YouTube:


Your insurance company wants you dead.

Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation. Don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Post #718: Random Observations

With my niece, Olivia: 6/17/17
The following tirade is a series of somewhat disconnected thoughts on the amusing train-wreck that passes these days for the national conversation in the life of Idiot Nation. Before things get any better they're going to get a lot worse. We do indeed live in interesting times which, although undoubtedly a curse, is also a blessing.
1. Fox Idiocy:
I honestly believed that the ongoing catastrophe of the Trump White House would have been the ideological straw that broke demented camel's back for the knuckleheads over at the Unintentional Comedy Channel. I tuned into the first fifteen minutes of Fox and Friends this morning just to see what their take would be. To my surprise, Trump's "victories" are all they could swoon about, without mentioning one of those "victories" by name. What was left unmentioned was the continued implosion of this incompetent, disgusting administration which seemingly compounds itself with each passing week. When you wake up in the morning, try on occasion to check out the first ten minutes of that program. It really is a riot.
By the way, is it my imagination, or is Steve Doocy an idiot?
2. Kiss the ACA Goodbye:
In the days leading up to the unveiling of the GOP's secret healthcare plan, Mitch McConnell refused to meet with representatives of the American Medical Association or any accredited group that is dedicated to the humane care of and treatment for people who are seriously or mortally ill. True to form, old Mitch had plenty of time for lobbyists for the pharmaceutical  companies.
TAKE IT TO THE BANK (On second thought, put it under the mattress): A lot of people who are currently insured (myself included) will not be insured very much longer. This is nothing more than a none-too-subtle scheme to defund Medicare and give another tax break to a class of people who already have more cash than they'll be able to spend in three lifetimes.
Keep voting Republican.
3. Bloomy's Gloomy Prediction:
Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg made what can only be described as an alarming prophecy yesterday: Not only is Donald Trump going to serve out his first term, he's going to be reelected in 2020. It's an understatement to say that this thoroughly depressed me; it send me into a blind funk from which I have yet to completely recover. Bloomberg, after all is a pretty smart guy, one who could hardly be described as a right wing extremist. My first reaction was to think that the poor man had lost his mind. On further reflection, however I had to concede that he might indeed be on to something. The people of this diseased nation are so completely dense in the matter of civics, that eight years of Donald Trump in the White House is almost inevitable.

The cockeyed optimist in me wants to believe that Trump will resign before the year is over. He'll place the blame for that decision on the "fake news media", but the real reason will be that, by resigning, he'll delude himself into thinking that the scandals and investigations will come to an end. They won't.
4. And Reagan I Miss You
(Sung to the tune of Bobby Goldsboros's maudlin 1968 masterpiece, "Honey")
One time I thought that Ronald Reagan's presidency
 was the worse thing possible
But that was many years ago and nowadays
that sentiment seems laughable
In 2016, somehow, the electorate
coughed up an unhinged billionaire
I never had faith in the voters
but I never realized how dumb they are
And, Ronnie, I miss you
And I'm feeling blue
I've lost all of my senses
I'm nostalgic for you

And see the debt how big it's grown
But, friends, it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
In early 1981 the debt that's now a redwood tree
Was just a twig
Truth be told, all of the worst presidents in American history are starting to look pretty good in hindsight. Somebody shoot me, please.

5. Consider This:

The president of the United States, since taking office five months ago, has picked a fight with each of our major NATO allies. He's also poked the proverbial stick at China and North Korea. And yet all is fine between him and Vladimir Putin.

I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

6. Keep Your Eyes Wide:

I have no doubt that, in an effort to distract us from the unfolding scandal that is destroying his presidency, the Donald is going to manufacture a few "incidents" that will render the more gullible portions of the population sick with paranoia. Don't let him further divide us. We're divided enough already.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A Presidency Running on Praise
by Michael Harris

Michael Harris is a writer from Canada. He has Donald Trump pegged and nailed. A very entertaining read!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bad Omens and One Lucky Break

Rep. Scalise
My plan this afternoon was to write about yesterday's comically endearing Jeff Sessions testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee (he says he couldn't "recall" twenty-seven times), but that plan was thwarted late this morning by some psychologically unhinged twit from Illinois who wandered into Alexandria, Virginia and let loose with a volley of bullets from a semi-automatic on a baseball diamond that was crowded with Republican politicians who were innocently practicing for an upcoming charity game against the Democrats. Although two of the injured are in critical condition, only the shooter has died. As is my tradition, he will remain nameless on this site. One congressman, Steve Scalise of Louisiana  was shot in the hip. I'm happy to be able to inform you that he is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery very soon.
"Instant Karma's gonna get you."
John Lennon
(Another famous victim of gun violence in America)
Ironically, Congressman Scalise is one of the hundreds of politicians - from both political parties - who are nestled comfortably in the pockets of the National Rifle Association. The greatest irony is the fact that he led the charge in the House not long ago to repeal a bill that restricted mentally ill people from legally obtaining the very type of weapon that nearly killed him - only to be wounded by someone who is obviously insane.  Maybe this little brush with tragedy will make him rethink his position on the subject of gun control - maybe not. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Because Scalise is a member of the House leadership, he was there with a security detail that was able to return fire and take down the assailant within minutes. Had this not been the case, we would be dealing with a massacre here. I can hear the NRA now:

"See? Some good guys with guns killed a bad guy with a gun!"

Do you seriously believe that you are "free"? Dream away.
The perpetrator in this crime was a left-leaning, former volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Already, Fox Noise is making the most of this nasty little fact. That's fine. Let them run with it to their hearts' content. We should expect nothing more and nothing less of them. They're going to be the main agent of divisiveness  in the national conversation. We live in polarizing times, and we shouldn't expect things to change any time soon; although I have to say that I was quite impressed by the way Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan came together on the floor on the House in a rare display of unity. It was one of those fleeting kind of moments one pines for these days.
A year go yesterday, I comically mused on this site how fast legislation would fly out of Congress if an epidemic of political assassinations began in America. I hope something that horrible ever occurs. But I'm not going to kid myself into believing that what happened this morning in a baseball park in Virginia is going to change things. We'll have to adjust to living in a nation in ruins.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Here's a link to the piece I wrote on June 13 of last year:
Nothing changed then. Nothing will change now.

About an hour before the storm of bullets hit Alexandria this morning. I checked into Fox Noise for a quick, unintentional laugh. True to form, they delivered the goods within a minute.
The inmates of Fox and Friends were criticizing the media and the left for their reactions to Jeff Sessions' refusal to answer questions regarding his conversations with Trump, regardless of the fact that the president is not claiming executive privilege.
 Said one of these halfwits, "Doesn't the left and these so-called 'journalists' understand attorney/client confidentiality?" The others agreed wholeheartedly. Having received my daily giggle I changed the channel.
The attorney general is not the president's "personal lawyer". He's the fucking attorney general of the United States!
The dumbest people on the planet Earth get their misinformation from Fox.

Think about it:

John Mitchell
Ed Meese
Alberto Gonzales
Jeff Sessions

We've had some perfectly atrocious attorneys general in my lifetime.
 UPDATE, 6/15/17, 8:15 AM:

1. As I predicted yesterday, Fox Noise is running with the "left wing terrorism" slant. The last fatal political shooting of a right wing politician in this doomed country was American Nazi Party president George Lincoln Rockwell fifty years ago - and he was killed by one of his own. Predictably the easy availability of these weapons is not part of the conversation on Fox. Enjoy your stay in Idiot Nation.

2. Congressman Scalese's condition took a turn for the worse late last night. He his status has gone from being "stable" to "critical condition".

Fingers crossed. Hands folded.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The End of the Beginning

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Winston S. Churchill
Leave it to Winnie. He had a quote for everything!
When I got the news in the wee small hours of Election Day that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I predicted on this site that his administration would implode eventually. What surprised me more than any thing was the speed of that implosion. The way I figured, it would all start to come apart by the end of the summer. As it turned out, the clown car burst into flames at the starting gate, with flaming clowns running about the race track in every and all directions.
Ain't politics the livin' end???
One of my many guilty little pleasures is my daily check on what is happening over at Fox Noise. I equate it to watching an episode of Three's Company. It's so mind-bendingly awful that it can be an amusing experience - as it was on the morning after Jim Comey's riveting testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Not to my astonishment, the hosts of that fest of misinformation and mediocrity were besides themselves over Trump's "vindication" (a word they actually used). It shouldn't surprise anyone the complete and utter cluelessness of so huge a segment of Idiot Nation when so many of them rely on Fox as their principle source of news and information.

The question being asked by those who bother to pay attention to these things is, quite simply: Why on earth would the Donald summon the head of the FBI to his office and attempt to put the old kibosh on an investigation that involved one of the heads of his own campaign? Is it arrogance or abject stupidity? It's got to be one or the other and the answer does not bode well for any of us. Incredibly, in addition to the knuckleheads over at Fox, Trump still has his defenders. The lamest defense of all was cheerfully offered yesterday by House Speaker Paul Ryan. In what has to be the funniest justification of sheer corruption heard on Capital Hill in a long time, Ryan told  the assembled press that the president has not been "steeped in protocol".


Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency exactly a week before my sixteenth birthday. If you had presented this same scenario to me at that moment, I could have told you that this was, indeed, a slam-dunk case of obstruction of justice. It's almost as if he's a not-too-bright fourth-grader who's never attended a party before and doesn't understand that pissing in the punch bowl is not a particularly good example of proper etiquette.

The GOP's desperation to deflect attention from the scandal that will eventually bring all of them down is almost endearing in its pathos. One of the things in  Jim Comey's testimony concerned a little matter regarding former attorney general, Loretta Lynch. When he remarked that, at one point in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mail, she instructed him to no longer refer to as an "investigation" and that, henceforth, he was to refer to it as a "a matter". When the right wing SCREAM MACHINE got wind of this tasty little nugget, they went into freak out mode. This, they're trying to make us believe, is the real scandal! Nice try. While there might be some minor ethical issues with Ms. Lynch's action, it was not an obstruction of justice. She didn't tell Comey that she hoped he would "let go" of the inquiry. The changing of a verb does not a scandal make. Sorry.

All the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't put Trumpty together again

A great fall indeed. No,  Donald J. Trump was not vindicated on June 9. In fact, Comey's testimony was more-than-a-trickle in a tsunami of sandal and corruption that is destroying an administration barely in its infancy. All of the signs were there, shining like a klieg light on a cloudless night. His presidency was doomed to failure. A CEO may be able to bark out orders to his whimpering underlings on a whim, expecting instant gratification, but thanks to our system of checks and balances, it doesn't work that way when one is the chief executive. The irony is that the American people are so completely dense when it comes to the subject of civics, enough of them believed that he could snap his gnarled little fingers and make all of those frightful Mexicans disappear. Maybe they will have learned a lesson when this catastrophe has mercifully ended - maybe. But, oh, the price of that lesson.

Isn't this amusing?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This Land was Made for You and Me
Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Written by Woody Guthrie

As I was walking that lonely highway
I saw a sign there, said "no tresspassin'"
But on the other side, it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me

This song should be our national anthem.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Ideological Idiocy

Early this morning I was tip-toeing down memory lane, looking at some of the things I posted on this site early in the fabled Campaign of 2016. I was simultaneously amused and disgusted to see that two years ago today, I relished the thought that Donald Trump had entered the race. To my way of thinking, it was too good a prospect to be true. He could only throw a serious monkey wrench into the festivities and - on the long-shot chance that he should get the nomination - the American people would never be stupid enough to send the perverted little  psychopath to the Oval Office. That's just never gonna happen, I thought.
Idiot Nation.
Incredible as it may seem (at least for my purposes) the administration of Donald J. Trump has been a mixed blessing. While I'm fully aware that this is the worst thing that could have happened to a country as comically dysfunctional as the United States, it also has been oodles of fun to watch the clown car bursting into flames. It's no longer being discussed in whispers behind closed doors. Today on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC, more than one talking head was openly discussing the president's obvious "mental illness" and "instability" - something that has been apparent to me for decades. You could not have possibly missed it if you were paying attention. I was paying attention. You were, too, I'm sure.
It wasn't until about a week before Election Day that I was finally able to swallow the bitter pill of reality: The civic irresponsibility and recklessness of the American electorate, combined with the fact that the Democrats had nominated one of the weakest candidates in their nearly two-hundred year history, made a Trump victory - if not inevitable - highly probable. Our only choice was to make the best of an exceedingly bad outcome. Take those nasty-tasting lemons and turn them into a delicious pitcher of juicy lemonade! The fact is, when I was fifteen years old, I never believed that I would live to see the American political situation get as bizarre and as entertaining as it was during the age of Dick Nixon and Watergate. I stand thoroughly and modestly corrected: Say what you will about the Nixon Gang, no one - on their worst day - ever accused them of treason (or at least not in their lifetimes). The story of Nixon's covert sabotage of Lyndon Johnson's peace agreement with North Vietnam during the waning days of that long-ago 1968 campaign is another subject for another day. Despicable.

Every day - in every way - the situation is getting more-and-more untenable for the Donald and the Republican Party. The GOP finds itself stewing in the juices of their own mindless extremism. From the moment that "the party of Abraham Lincoln" realized that it could gain some cheap political points by exploiting the resentments of the racists in the predominantly Democratic South (Nixon's "Southern Strategy") they have been appealing to the very worst angels in the nature of the American people. It worked for a while, and it worked out quite well for them. The problem was that, quite simply, none of these assholes ever dreamed that the sun would rise upon a day that white people would no longer be the majority.


Deal with it
If you are a Caucasian, your great-grandchildren will more-than-likely have brown skin. It's not the end of the world. As Frank Sinatra once intoned, "Relax and don't you worry." We're the human race. Chill.

The week that is only beginning promises to be the most interesting of all. On June 8, fired FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in an open session. The White House was contemplating stifling him by claiming "executive privilege" but quickly realized that, since he is now a private citizen, that would have been a  futile tactic on their part. My guess is that, as completely dysfunctional as things have become for Donald Trump at this late stage in the game, by this time next week it's going to be only a matter of time before his impeachment is a foregone conclusion.

It's not quite over - but almost.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


I've linked several articles in the past by my old friend and travelling companion, Kevin Swanwick. Here is his latest; a non-debatable essay as to why pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords was a horrible idea:

The guy is on the mountaintop.


On this day, forty-nine years ago, 6 June 1968, Robert F. Kennedy died. To tell you the truth, I don't feel so good myself.