Wednesday, January 31, 2018

That Kennedy Kid.

I'll refrain from reviewing Donald Trump's State of the Union speech last night. To be honest with you I slept through the entire thing and was only able to see it early this morning. As expected, it was filled with enough lies and distortions to make it mildly interesting. The thing that really stood out was when he claimed that immigrants are legally able to bring as many of their relatives over as they like. Of course, that isn't even remotely close to being true. He took credit for a lot of things he had no business taking credit for. Basically he is riding on the coattails of Barack Obama. A lot of folks are calling the speech a "success", which is true in a way. The fact that he did not make a total screaming fool of himself is something to be noted, I guess. Had any other president made a similar speech it would be blasted as a complete failure. We've set a low bar for this president. What I would like to focus on today is the Democratic response to the speech as delivered by Joseph P. Kennedy III.
A lot of people this afternoon are making a lot of noise about a possible Kennedy candidacy in 2020. I am a bit ambivalent about this. I am of the belief that (with the obvious exception of John Adams) political dynasties occupying the Executive Mansion is not really what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they put together this new experiment in governance. If Donald Trump hadn't won the Republican nomination nearly two years ago, it's a good bet that Jeb Bush would be sitting in the Oval Office at this moment. Three Bushes in a single generation would have been three Bushes too many. But conceding the fact that this Kennedy was born seventeen years after the last one left the White House on November 22, 1963, I'm willing to cut the guy a bit of slack. At least his name isn't Bush - or Clinton.
Is he too young to be seeking the job? Technically he's not - although it does make me feel almost elderly when I consider that he was born a mere two months before John Lennon died. Can you imagine? The Constitution clearly states that a president must be no younger than thirty-five. If Joe Kennedy goes for the big prize in three years - and happens to win it - he will be forty years old when he takes the oath of office on January 20, 2021. That's three years younger than Great Uncle Jack was when he became president in 1961; two years younger than Theodore Roosevelt was when he became chief-executive in September of 1901 upon the assassination of William McKinley. This would make him the youngest serving president in history - fairly young, true, but still old enough to handle the job.

His response to the Donald's speech last night was impressive enough. As soon as he was finished, the right wing SCREAM MACHINE went into overdrive, claiming that the congressman had been drooling throughout. When I noticed the small, shiny bit of moisture on the left side of his mouth, I knew in an instant that those knuckleheads would make an issue of it. True to form, they did. The Kennedy camp is claiming that it was merely a case of lip balm that was hastily applied before he went on. That would make sense. Had it been saliva on his face, it would have dried up in a matter of minutes. It was visible for the entire address, which lasted for nearly fifteen minutes. Nice try.

Joe Kennedy is a smart guy. That he has an abundance of good ideas is another thing in his favor. Would he be my ideal candidate? Certainly not. But I've lived long enough to finally realize that my ideal candidate is never going to come my way. Unless they find a way to resuscitate Franklin D. Roosevelt I'm destined for the wilderness. Joe Kennedy is a candidate I could live with - unlike the candidate the Democrats came up with in 2016. This morning, someone accused me of being a sexist in my opposition to Ms. Clinton's run for the White House. Had Elizabeth Warren sought the nomination I would have been one-hundred percent in the tank for her. Hillary was - and is - a plutocrat, more comfortable with the Wall Street types than with real, working Americans. In this respect, young Joe Kennedy fits the bill perfectly. And the fact that he is the most telegenic politician since his great uncle over half a century ago won't hurt him in the least. His act plays well on the tube. The fact of the matter is that, thanks to television, we are doomed forever to electing style over substance.. Joe Kennedy seems to possess both as far as I can tell.

Will he walk the walk? We shall see.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a YouTube link to watch Joe Kennedy's response to Trump's speech late last night:

The kid did pretty good.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

They've Got a Ticket to Obscurity

James Comey purposefully set out to sabotage and destroy the campaign of Donald Trump during the campaign of 2016? Here is a beautiful example of the Republicans' low opinion of the intelligence of the American people (an opinion that I share, by the way). They're counting on most of us forgetting what really happened. If Comey was really that far into the tank for Hillary Clinton, he was the stupidest saboteur in the history of human deviousness. The former head of the FBI reopened the investigation into Ms. Clinton's emails a week before Election Day. He cost Hillary the election. This is just one of the many latest rewritings of history that these people are engaged in. And the propagandists over at Fox Noise, Sean Hannity in particular, are acting as stenographers for the GOP. I wonder if any of these people have ever taken the time to wonder how they're going to be perceived by historians seventy years from now. Do they even care?
Their latest foray into Laugh Land involves a "secret society". Apparently, those flaming left wing loonies - over at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (I'm not making this up) - have developed some sort of sinister cabal where they meet to plot the overthrow of all that is good and decent in this grand and glorious land of ours. The right wing politicians puke this stuff out and the right wing media dutifully passes it on. Again, I really don't think that they give a shit how posterity will judge them. It's obvious they don't at all. 

"Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies."
Westbrook Pegler
Referring to Robert F. Kennedy
Westbrook Pegler 1894-1969
Back in the thirties and forties there once lived a columnist named Westbrook Pegler. Interestingly, I stumbled upon his grave a few years ago while I was visiting the final resting place of my great grandparents, Margaret and Edward Degan, at the Gate of Heaven cemetery in Hawthorne, NY. He's buried fairly close to them. Old Westbrook was as vile a political commentator as one might hope (or not hope) to find anywhere. I always thought that the hideous old freak was born too soon. He would have been perfectly content among the Hannitys, the Limbaughs and the Coulters - and I know beyond a doubt that he would have been crazy about the Donald. The beautiful thing about Pegler is that he was completely wrong about every single important issue of his generation. Not only was this nitwit an anti-Semite of the worst order, he was against the civil rights movement and anything (or anyone) associated with Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. His views eventually became too extreme even for the right wing Hearst organization which syndicated his column. He ended his life in total obscurity, tapping out an occasional tirade for the John Birch Society's publication. I think I'm the only person I'm aware of who even knows who this knucklehead was. As powerful as he was during his time on earth, death has left him consigned to history's garbage bin.

"Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea!"
Walter Winchell

Another powerful extremist commentator of that age was Walter Winchell. His New York gossip column, which came into being in the mid-twenties, was eventually syndicated nationwide. As his fame grew, so did his arrogance. He would eventually drift from writing about show people to redefine himself as one of the worst red-baiters of his time. His power was enhanced by a nightly radio report that was heard by millions. Like Pegler, poor old Walt eventually fell of his own weight. When he died in 1972 he was so broke that there were no funds to bury him in his beloved New York. He was laid to rest in Texas, where he had been staying at the time he died. For all his one-time power and fame, the only person to attend his graveside service was his estranged daughter with whom he had not spoken in many years.

The graveyards of history are littered with the corpses of men and women who made their names by trying to put a stop to human progress. They are all pretty much obliterated from human and historical memory. There will be no lasting monuments decades into the future for Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. Look for them only in the footnotes.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT, 10:10 AM, 1/30/18:

The State of the Union speech is tonight. Be sure to tune in. This oughta be a hoot!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Great Shutdown of '18

"It's a hard rain's a'gonna fall"
Uncle Bobby

Okay, let me see if I've got this right:

The Grand Old "Party" controls both houses of congress; they control the presidency - and yet somehow they want us to believe that it is the Democrats who are responsible for the shutdown of our government late Friday night....Huh?
By the way, I needed to put the word "party" in quotation marks. It's no longer a party as we have come to understand the term. It hasn't been one in decades. This is an organized criminal enterprise. Wake up and smell the elephant shit.

When Senator Claire McCaskill announced a bill that would ensure that soldiers would continue to get paid during the shutdown, Mitch McConnell objected. Do any of you still harbor illusions regarding what these people are all about? Not that I'm at all comfortable defending the Democrats, but the heart of the shutdown had to do with their insisting that the "Dreamer" kids, the ones who came here illegally as toddlers and who are now - for all intents and purposes Americans - won't be deported. They also insisted that poor children would still be allowed access to health insurance. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" (what would I do without quotation marks?) wouldn't hear of it.

What does that tell you about the so-called "Family Values" mob?

In the meantime the president, that unhinged, orange-haired sociopath and common pervert who now resides in the Executive Mansion, is unwilling or unable to help strike some sort of a deal. Remember, this is the same putz who, thirty-five years ago, became famous for writing something called, The Art of The Deal. We only know his name today because of that idiotic book. No more proof is needed to plainly show that Donald Trump's entire career - his entire existence - is a fraud. Anyone bothering to pay even scant attention has known this reality for decades, and yet, so many of us were dumb enough to cast our precious ballots for him because, as they said time and time again, "He's one of us".

And of course, they're one-hundred percent correct in profound ways that most of them aren't intelligent enough to ever fully comprehend. Donald J. Trump personifies that dark place in the American psyche that the rest of the planet has come to view with a perfect combination of alarm, amusement and distain. He's one of us, alright. And the American people's well-documented  history of know-nothingness and political self-destruction (constantly voting against their own best interests) are the very ingredients that are leading directly to their own ruination. Honestly, it would be kind of funny if it weren't so damned pathetic. Really, it's like waking up to find that you're living smack dab in the middle of a Paddy Chayefsky play. Life is strange that way, you know?

I do wish that I could confidently predict for you that the GOP will be wiped away in the elections this fall, and that this complete tragicomic, nightmare of an administration will be gone in a year's time, but that would be wishful thinking on my part. I don't know about you, but I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of watching so many of my fellow countrymen and women stewing in the juices of their own appalling stupidity. Schadenfreude on steroids.  That'll make for a really fun show! It's simply a case of making the best out of a horrifically bad situation: take those nasty lemons and whip up a pitcher of some juicy lemonade.

Sit back and try your best to enjoy the show. This promises to be ten Watergates and twenty Teapot Domes all rolled up into one nicely-wrapped package.

I just had the most deliciously ironic thought: Germany is now the leader of the free world. The country that eighty years ago gave rise to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis - the nation that the United States saved the world from - is today our moral superior. Who would have thought? Our day on the mountaintop is over. The world will never trust us again. Can't say that I blame them much. Can you?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Fire and Fury:
Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff

Last weekend I got the chance to read the book that everybody is talking about. You should read it, too. Everybody should read it. Of course I realize full well that not everybody will.

A year ago we ceased being the United States of America. On January 20, 2017 we became Idiot Nation.

Here's a link to order it off of

It's worse than anyone would have dared  predicted.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

People Who Live In Glass Shithouses....

With the passing of each interminable hour it seems, the sick joke that is the disgusting administration of Donald Trump just keeps getting sicker and sicker - a feat in itself when you think about it.  Are you looking for a convincing argument for obliterating the electoral college? Look no further. As long as that institution exists in what is supposed to be a democracy, imbeciles like Trump and George W. Bush are inevitable.
The latest travesty in the continuing tragicomic saga of this White House is Trump referring to Haiti and the nations of Africa as "shit countries". He wondered aloud at a bi-partisan meeting with lawmakers in the cabinet room why the USA is not receiving more refugees from lily-white Norway. Was there someone on hand to remind this perpetual fool that in that country, the people have access to free education and health care; that the crime rate is almost nonexistent; and that the standard of living for the average citizen is pretty high - higher, in fact, than it is here in the states. If there are any Norwegians stupid enough to want to relocate the United States, they have yet to make themselves known.

I'm not going to waste too much time on this fine Sunday afternoon on this latest, totally predictable gaffe from the esteemed common pervert who now - unbelievably - finds himself residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This is whom we are stuck with for at least another year. Someone working in the West Wing has described him as "a clown surrounded by idiots" - or was it "an idiot surrounded by clowns"? It really doesn't matter, does it. Both description are apropos. To pick on the people of Haiti, in particular, is so disturbing that it's difficult to find the exact words to describe something this completely vile. No country in this hemisphere has suffered more completely in recent decades than the poor people of that island/nation. I've noticed that so many Haitians I have been fortunate enough to encounter in my travels and interactions seem to be blessed by the common denominator of kindness and gentleness. Too many of them to adequately count have made priceless contributions to American society and arts. See the link at the bottom of this piece to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

The president of the United States is inarguably the most unhinged racist to occupy the Executive Mansion since - at the very least - Woodrow Wilson. It took one-hundred years for the inmates of Idiot Nation to puke up something comparable. That is another feat that takes quite a bit of doing. Another one worth taking note of.

From the moment he announced his candidacy in June of 2015 it was clear to everyone but the idiots who get their news and information from Fox Noise that this was a deeply disturbed, uninformed man. When he referred to the Chinese government on live television as "you motherfuckers", that should have been the end of his campaign. It wasn't. The damage that this insufferable moron will do to America between now and the moment he is impeached next year will be so immense, it is impossible to predict at this early date.

To my friends who were foolish enough to vote for this asshole: Don't you dare say I didn't warn you.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here’s who — and what — America wouldn’t have had without Haitians
by David Von Drehle

This excellent piece appeared two days ago in the Washington Post. It tells you all you need to know. "Shithole nation" indeed.


Fire and Fury
by Michael Wolff

I read the book that everybody is talking about this weekend. If you read nothing else for the rest of the year, read this book. I'll only say that the situation is worse than even I dared to predict. Here is a link to order it off of

We really are living through extraordinary times. 'Nuff said?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

The Persecution of Hillary Clinton

First they came for Hillary Clinton, but I was not Hillary Clinton - so I said nothing....

This is an avenue I rarely travel down. Coming to the defense of Hillary Clinton is not something I am used to (or even comfortable) doing. Although I did support her once she received the nomination from those perpetually clueless Democrats; and although I did manage to make my way to my local polling place to cast my ballot for her on Election Day 2016, it was more a matter of necessity than anything else. I had supported Bernie Sanders during the primaries. The Dems had been offered the most visionary candidate to come their way in eighty years and - true to form - they blew it. They chose to cast their lot with a tired and stale old plutocrat. To this day many of them are still blaming Bernie for Ms. Clinton's loss. Back in August, when I posted on my Facebook page that she was the worst nominee since Mike Dukakis in 1988, I was "unfriended" by over one-hundred people before the sun went down.
Show me a candidate who is unable to defeat an unhinged,  common pervert like Donald Trump, and I'll show you a bad candidate.
This week, under pressure no doubt from Trump and the usual suspects in the house and senate, the Department of Justice has decided to reopen the investigation into Hillary's emails. Although it was proven over a year ago that she was careless with regard to the handling of certain classified documents, former Attorney General James Comey concluded that she had, in fact, done nothing criminal. This unpleasant fact is hardly satisfactory for the Trump Mob.
Let's take a good look at what is now happening: the president of the United States is determined to send a former political opponent to prison. Now ask yourselves the following question: When was the last time something like that happened in this country? The simple answer is that it has never happened. In nearly two-and-a-third-centuries of presidential politics in the dark and strange history of Idiot Nation, not once has the victor in a national election ever sought to bring trumped-up charges (pun intended) against the person who ran against him. The campaign of 1800 between incumbent-President John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was the dirtiest, most bitter political battle in American history. Although the two men wouldn't correspond for many years after, I'm sure it never occurred to Jefferson to send his former friend and ally to the slammer. Old Tom had a helluva lot more class than that.
Not even Dick Nixon ever dared something as atrocious as what is now being attempted by the Donald and Company. Oh, sure, the Trickster was perfectly capable of instructing the IRS to audit the taxes of his "enemies" (the old bastard had enemies everywhere) but he stopped decidedly short of having any of them hauled off to Leavenworth. For all Nixon's flaws, he was no Donald Trump.

The precedent that is apparently about to be established is ominous and deeply disturbing. This is the sort of thing that happens in banana republics; this is the type of behavior to be expected of Orwellian despots.  If these people have their way, it will soon become the accepted behavior of the American president. Isn't that something? Has the thought occurred to you yet that a lot of us might have been on to something in 2016 when we warned our fellow countrymen and women that sending Donald Trump to the White House might not be a terribly neat idea? I knew this administration would be an ongoing constitutional  debacle, but not even I was prepared for the scope of its incompetence and corruption. Quite frankly, it boggles the mind.  

As it stands, we'll have at least another year to deal with this out-of-control ignoramus as our commander-in-chief. Don't expect the Republicans to do their patriotic  duty by removing Donald Trump. In the meantime, the damage that he will do to the people of the United States is impossible to assess. This much is beyond a smidgeon of a doubt: 2018 is going to be an extremely interesting year. Brace yourselves.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


by Stacy A. Cordery

This is the third biography I've read on the life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (TR's daughter) and it is by far the best. Sometimes arch-conservative, sometimes flaming liberal, during her long life the only consistent thing about Princess Alice was the fact that she did not give a damn what people thought about her. In this respect she truly was one of the fist modern women. Her father once said to a friend, "I can be president of the United States, or I can manage Alice. I cannot possibly do both."

Here is a link to order it off of

I've always said that Alice's life is a Broadway musical waiting to happen!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Clash of the Extremists


"Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn't become president, could return to inconspicuous lunching."

From the forthcoming book
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff
As reported in this morning's NY Daily News

This was my theory a year before the catastrophic election of 2016 -  and you did indeed read it here first, folks! Trump never had any intention of becoming president of the United States. He was merely intending to "up his brand", so to speak. As we all know by now, his scheme backfired in ways that the hideous old bastard never dreamed possible. He should have heeded the advice of that great muckraker from a bygone era, H.L. Mencken. Donald Trump's lethal error was overestimating the intelligence of the American people. This is black comedy at its finest; and the funniest thing of all is the fact that it's all too deliciously true!
The vicious back-and-forth this week between the Donald and former chief strategist, Steve  Bannon, reminds me all-too-well of the petty squabbling that went on between Josef Goebbels and Hermann Goering throughout the entire mercifully brief reign of Adolf Hitler eighty years ago. Extremists will always eventually devour one another. Reading William L Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich two years ago was a double edged sword: While the "rise" part was thoroughly depressing, the "fall" chapters were just oodles of fun to read about! It's sort of a similar feeling I get while watching the utter disintegration of the most corrupt and disgusting administration in the history of this weird nation.
Won't you come home George Dubya? Won't you come home? 

The new book by Michael Wolff quoted above has been dismissed by the Trump Mob as nothing less than a tome filled with lies that should not to be taken seriously by anyone. If that is, indeed, the case, why are the president's lawyers working overtime at the moment trying to prevent its publication next week? It is rather more likely that Mr. Wolff has revealed a few nasty truths that Trump would rather be kept in the dark. The man is so completely arrogant that he went into this thing seriously believing that he would never be accountable to history. Despots are always prone to believe such nonsense. That's the reason they always fall of their own weight. According to the Daily News, another juicy detail being revealed by Fire and Fury is this side-splitting nugget:

Daughter Ivanka Trump planned on using her old man's failed candidacy as a springboard for her own run in the future. It was she - not Hillary Clinton - who was going to be remembered in history as the first woman chief-executive. By the way, by all accounts darling Ivanka is dumber than a box of moldy, purple yo-yos. I swear I'm not making this up.

Don't be surprised that this dimwitted debutante really believed that she had what it takes to handle a job as intellectually taxing as the presidency. And don't think that something as completely improbable as an Ivanka Trump administration might not have happened someday. We live in Idiot Nation. Anything is possible. Anticipate the absurd. It is not even feasible to ask the voters of this country to look back on a Republican president - Dwight Eisenhower for instance - and remind them that "the party of Abraham Lincoln" has morphed into something else entirely. Old Ike might not have been perfect; much of his foreign policy was just a hair short of incompetent, but at least Americans of that generation knew that he was a dignified gent whose heart was in the right place. A political party that devolves from the hero of D Day to Donald Fucking Trump has no right to exist; not here - not in the United States. We're better than that....or, at least, we used to be....Never mind.

I really doubt that Trump's legal eagles will have any luck suppressing the Wolff book. It has jumped to the top of my reading list - a book that we're going to be discussing for many years.

This is all quite too good to be true.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Eastern United States is about to be slammed with the coldest weather in living memory. They are saying that in the next few days, some parts of the country will be colder than the planet Mars. Please stay inside. And if you have to travel, be sure that you have a fully-charged cell phone in your possession. Stepping outdoors for less than a half-a-minute late last night to get something out of my vehicle (without a coat!) I was immediately taken aback by the brutality of the chill in the Northeast air. I don't think I have ever experienced such cold weather - and it's supposed to get worse! These are nights that are potentially lethal. Please, be safe, folks.

It is sad and unsettling to know that there are homeless people out there. Those of us sleeping under a roof and in a warm bed have much to be thankful for tonight.