Thursday, March 29, 2018

This is Going to End Badly

Think about this: There is not a reputable lawyer in Washington that wants to defend the president of the United States of America. The problem is not the fact that this isn't the sort of case that most criminal defense lawyers wouldn't kill to have under their belt (it is) the problem is the simple fact that the potential client, in this case the Donald, refuses to listen to sound, legal advice. The man is so completely unstable that one never knows which unhinged direction he's going to tear off to at any given moment. As things look at the present, it seems he's going to have to seek a public defender. Wouldn't that be something? All we can say for certain at this stage of the game is that Donald J. Trump - and too many people in his former and current inner circle to count - are in serious legal jeopardy. A lot of these people are bound to turn on him sooner or later in order to save themselves - and that would include the husband of his daughter Ivanka, Jared Kushner - perhaps Ivanka herself.
The most comical part of this whole situation is that neither Trump nor Kushner is liable to fall on the sword for the other, which should make Thanksgiving Day dinner at Trump Tower this year quite awkward for everyone involved. The level of corruption of every adult in this family is being unveiled by the day. The only innocent is young Barron. I feel quite sorry for the poor kid. The legacy he will have to live with in being the son of Donald Trump is going to be a burden to be sure. Alice Longworth lived for seventy-one years after her father, Theodore Roosevelt, left the presidency. The difference between her and poor Barron is that Alice had much to be proud of. I don't envy this boy. He has a rough road ahead of him.
SHOW OF HANDS: Is there anyone out there still in denial about where this utter mess is eventually going to lead? If there is, I've got the shadow of a bridge that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan that I'd love to sell you.
Ask yourselves the following question: If Donald Trump is as innocent as he claims to be, why has he been wasting so much of his precious POTUS time attempting to throw one wrench after another into the Mueller investigation's finely-oiled machine? As a fellow Republican remarked recently, if the president is innocent, he should act like he's innocent. In spite of all this. a report yesterday tells us that the man's polling numbers are up this week - by seven points - thirty-five to forty-two percent! When I first read these numbers my only thought was, what in the hell is the matter with these nutty Americans? Is it something in the Kool-Aid? Are the tin-foil hats wrapped around their little minds a tad too tight? Why are so many of us so easily deceived? To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, I may not be a gourmet, but I can tell the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.
It would seem to be that, once this mess has been mercifully sorted out, most of the family (with the exception of Melania, Barron and Tiffany) could end up being hauled off to Leavenworth by a herd of rabid mules. If that happens (when that happens) we "adults" will have a lot of explaining to do to our impressionable children. When I was in grade school, every class I attended had a poster near the blackboard which contained the image of every president in United States history. When I was in the eighth grade, the list only went as far as the thirty seventh president, Richard Milhous Nixon - which was bad enough. How are we going to explain to these kids the presence of so vile a human being as Donald Trump? I suppose most of the ones who voted for him will deny it to their dying day. Or, if they do own up to it, they can always blame Fox Noise:
Who the hell could blame them.

From Class to Crass
Someday the dust will settle, the decades will pass, and all of us living will be no more. The one question that will have every historian scratching his or her head will be, quite simply: How? How can a nation that produced the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy - AND EVEN DICK NIXON FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE! - be capable of vomiting a Donald Trump. I'm sorry I won't be around to hear what their answer will be.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Meet the Next Greatest Generation

Democracy is Coming to the USA

Since this moment began, people have asked me, "Do you think any change is going to come from this?" Look around.
We are the change

Cameron Kasky
Survivor of the Parkland, Florida massacre

Time keeps flowing like a river
Into the sea.
Alan Parsons

The Greatest Generation is slowly fading away. Just as the last veteran of the First World War passed into eternity three years ago, in less than twenty years time, there will be no one left standing with a living memory of having fought in World War Two. Meet the next Greatest Generation.
This week I am more optimistic for the future of this country than I've been since I can remember - perhaps more than I've ever been. Think about it: In November, kids who were born in the year 2000 will be voting for the first time. They are determined to be part of the process and they're pissed - you'd better believe it, Buster. Theirs is the generation that is going to save this nation, and they began to make their presence known during the March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, 2018 - a day that will be remembered in history. They will continue to be heard on Election Day in November. Theirs is the generation that is going to tear this country down and turn it around. 
TIMELY ADVICE: Get the hell out of the way.
In the aftermath of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, I wrote on this site (as I've written following damned-near every mass shooting in this country during the last twelve years) that no one should expect this unacceptable situation to change. Our "representatives" in Washington would still be expected to serve as prostitutes for the National Rifle Association and, within a month's time, everyone (except the friends and families of the victims, of course) will have forgotten all about it and it would be back to business as usual.

Did I say that?

Now I'm not so sure. Now I think (I hope) I'll be forced to eat those words. Something is happening in this country and it's the children (not their parents) who are making it happen.

And a child shall lead them....

Although the NRA was noticably silent yesterday, one of their spokespersons was engaged in an interesting bit of semantic speculation on the "NRA TV" network (Yes, it really exists, I kid you not). One of the goals of these kids is to get the age requirement to purchase all firearms raised to twenty-one. This dizzy twit wondered aloud how it could be that they're too young to buy a gun but old enough to shape policy. At a "Friends of the NRA" luncheon yesterday, about four miles away from me in Middletown, NY, one attendee stated that the kids in Parkland and across the nation "are being manipulated by the liberals". Across town hundreds gathered on  the campus of SUNY Orange (my old alma mater) and marched toward a local church. As far as I can tell, there was no liberal manipulation going on, just a mass of good, concerned citizens motivated by fear and outrage. I was feeling quite ill yesterday and missed the event - which I'll forever regret, I'm sure.

FOR THE RECORD: The president of the United States had no comment on this latest march on Washington. He was in Florida golfing at the course he owns. Did you expect better of him? Dream. Dream away.
Thinking of John, no doubt
Although ours was never a perfect union, our parents handed to our generation the most functional nation in the history of humankind. And what are we handing over to the kids born in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first? A babbling, ideological cesspool. They are the ones who are left the task of cleaning up the unspeakable mess we have stupidly bequeathed them. By the time their work is through, most of us will be long gone - which is probably just as well. We have no right to reap the benefits of their labor. We have no right to stand in condescending judgment of the mass outrage they expressed yesterday in towns and cities across the country. Their day has come. We have utterly failed them and there's no useful purpose in debating the matter.  We really need to step aside.

The NRA should take notice: This is a revolution. If they know anything about the history of the human spirit, surely they must realize that, although revolutions can be temporarily curtailed, they cannot be stopped. They shouldn't bother attempting to stop this one. They might as well try to keep the sun from setting in the western horizon this afternoon. It's  about as futile as that.

This new generation is smarter than the last one.  They're more honest, more articulate and about ten times as hostile to the racism and sexism of their elders' generation. There's no stopping them now. The fuse has been lit and yesterday we were all eye-witnesses to the explosion. These children refuse to be the citizens of Idiot Nation. Their calling is a lot higher than that. We should all be proud of them. I know that I am! And I am grateful to have been around to witness their emergence.

Tonight I'll be raising the glass and drinking a toast these incredible young people. Here's to you, kids!
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Democracy is Coming to the USA
by Leonard Cohen

You'd better believe it, baby! Get out of the way! 

Friday, March 23, 2018

This is Not a Good Idea

 "To Stop Iran's Bombs, Bomb Iran"
Headline of a NY Times Op-Ed piece written by John Bolton
What could go wrong?
When I heard that H.R. McMaster was stepping down from his position as the Donald's National Security Adviser and that John Bolton was being seen as a possible replacement, I knew at that moment that Bolton was sure to get the job. Perceptive on my part? Not really. Trump was elected president due to the machinations of Vladimir Putin, the ruler of a hostile foreign government. Trump is in the position he is in (whether consciously or unconsciously - I'm still undecided about that one) to do as much damage as possible to this already doomed republic. War Hawk Bolton was the logical choice for the position. Less than a month ago, in a piece written for the Wall Street Journal Bolton recommended a pre-emptive nuclear strike against North Korea. During his intelligence briefings during the campaign of '16 and during the transition period, Trump is said to have asked more then once why the USA can't use their "nukes" in any potential conflict.  This is going to end badly.

I have a feeling that John Bolton and Donald Trump will compliment one another in a working relationship - not in a positive way. Their one common denominator is the fact that both men are - undoubtedly - bat-shit-crazy. I do hope (in fact I pray) there are one or two grownups in the West Wing that have the common sense to ensure that the two of them are not left alone with one another for even a minute. The potential for an international catastrophe has multiplied in the past few hours.

I first became aware of Bolton in the months leading up to the inauguration of the village idiot of Crawford, Texas. That the guy was reckless in his approach to foreign policy was an understatement. It would seem that the word "diplomacy" was not in his vocabulary. That's why it was amusing when Bush made him United States Ambassador to the United Nations during a recess appointment early on in his administration. When it became crystal clear that he wasn't going to be confirmed by the senate, he quit the  job to avoid the embarrassment of being turned away. You see, this knucklehead was too much of an extremist for even the Republicans. Apparently, the post of National Security Advisor does not require senate confirmation. That is a situation that really needs to be remedied. Bolton is someone who should not be "advising" anyone, particularly an unhinged buffoon like our esteemed president. I'm just putting the thought out there. Run with it.

One former participant in the presidency of King George the Second described Bolton as the most "dangerous" member of that administration. When one considers the fact that this was the same administration that produced Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft, Condoleeza Rice - not to mention George W. Bush himself - that is an eye-opening statement. That a very dark and ominous corner has been turned should not be doubted by anyone who bothers to pay attention to these sorts of things. Bolton also advocates the pre-emptive bombing of Iran. Apparently Trump agrees with this strategy. He has forgotten the lessons learned by the instability in the region that was unleashed in the aftermath of America's invasion of Iraq fifteen years ago this week; the most idiotic military blunder in the history of Idiot Nation. It was a war he criticized relentlessly during the campaign two years ago in the primary debates that Jeb Bush participated in. One thing we've learned about Donald Trump is that there are many labels that may be applied to him. Consistency is not one of them. 

The damage that George W. Bush did to this country will never be accurately assessed. The fact that the brainless twit sat in the Oval Office for eight years is difficult to comprehend in hindsight. And yet, the complete mess of things that Trump has been able to let loose in fourteen short months is astounding. Perfectly sensible people have found themselves waxing nostalgic recently for "the good old days" of Dubya. Indeed, I also have found myself feeling less hostility for the little bastard in a handful of psychologically unguarded moments. Compared to the Donald he's starting to look like George Washington. That odious comparison is why what is happening now cannot - and should not - be allowed to continue for another three LONG years. This has got to end, folks. We'll very soon be at the point of no return.

There is one silver lining behind this extremely dark cloud: the complete and permanent destruction of the Republican Party. Call me a cockeyed optimist.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


On a YouTube comment feed yesterday, someone predicted that Trump will serve two terms - two consecutive life terms.

Ain't that a riot?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Friday Night Takedown

Mutt and Jefferson

"The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability."
Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions
So says the man who perjured himself in sworn testimony before his former senate colleagues. Nice!
Andrew McCabe
Last night was a milestone in this ongoing catastrophe that is also known as the Trump administration. Traditionally, Friday nights have usually been fairly slow as far as news cycles are concerned. The entire country is either out on the town tying one on - or home in bed sleeping one off. That is why late Friday evening is the ideal time to dump awkward or embarrassing political news on the American people. By late Saturday morning, hopefully, the impact of the story might have dissipated. One of the most peculiar characteristics of the Age of Donald Trump, it would seem, has been that every Friday evening has seen a news dump of damned-near eye-popping proportions.

On schedule, it happened again late last night, only this time the bad news was even more unsettling than it usually tends to be. A lot of alarm bells went off when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he had terminated the employment of Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe. Brian Williams of MSNBC remarked that, while this was not quite a Saturday Night Massacre, it most definitely was "a Friday Night Takedown". Indeed.

The cruelest cut of all is the fact that McCabe, a twenty-one year veteran of the bureau, who has earned himself an unblemished reputation and the esteem of his peers, was within twenty-four hours of retiring. Now the pension he has worked so hard for is in serious jeopardy of evaporating into the wind. Perhaps that is the case, but I have a funny feeling that old Andy is going to have a golden opportunity to make some juicy lemonade out of these nasty-tasting lemons. His memoirs will soon be in demand - that's assuming they're not in demand already. I envy this guy's future.

The charge from on high against Andrew McCabe is that he transmitted unauthorized information - via another agent - to the Wall Street Journal. Then, when asked about it by his "superiors" (FUN FACT: There are no "superiors" in this disgusting administration) Sessions claims that he was evasive in his responses. The only problem with these rather vague allegations is the fact that McCabe is (or was) the "Deputy Director of the FBI". Part of his job description was that it was he (and no one else) who deemed what information was "authorized" for public consumption and what information was not. Do you see where I'm going with this? The incident in question involved a report the Journal was in the process of putting together regarding Hillary Clinton's infamous email server. Apparently McCabe believed that some of the information obtained was erroneous and he wanted to set them straight. Perfectly reasonable if you ask me.

Mr. McCabe is not going gently into that good night of obscurity. In a  public statement made last night, he indignantly said that the only reason he is being sacked by these treasonous bastards (my words, not his) is because he is within just a few days of sitting down for what will no-doubt be a comprehensive question-and-answer session with Independent Council Bob Mueller, and that he knows a lot of things the Trump Mob would rather Mueller not know. Apparently, McCabe is as compulsive a note-taker as was James Comey. He's in a position to mortally wound this administration, and Trump is as desperate at this point as a cornered rat.  The Deputy Director's life and career have to be destroyed and discretided by any means necessary. Common decency and justice mean not a thing to these people. McCabe's statement is one for the books:

"For the last year-and-a-half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President's tweets have amplified and exasperated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than twenty years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us. No more. Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey."
No, Andrew McCabe will not be going quietly - you'd better believe it, Bubba! Trump may not realize it yet - but the decrepit old freak is going to find out soon enough: He has stupidly created his very own, custom-made John Dean. The only difference here (and it's a helluva big difference) is that McCabe, unlike Dean, won't need to "cooperate" in order to receive a lenient sentence. There will be no plea bargaining here. He has done nothing illegal.

Matt Apuzzo
The incident with the Wall Street Journal reporters occurred a year-and-a-half ago. Trump has been in office for nearly fourteen months. Why was it not an issue until this week? What took him and Sessions so long to bring it up? Matt Arpuzzo is the New York Times reporter who has been covering this story closely. Last night on MSNBC he said, "The disciplinary process is not known for great speed at the Justice Department, and so one of the things that I am quite interested in is, why did this happen so fast? The speed of it is certainly interesting."

Very interesting indeed. But I'm sure that it's all merely a harmless coincidence. Yeah right.

Within an hour of Sessions' announcement of the Deputy Director's dismissal, Trump - to no one's surprise by now - was positively giddy with his latest, unhinged Twitter tirade:

"Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."
How awe-inspiring. Someone hand me my chisel, please.
The Donald's animosity toward McCabe is nothing new. At his first meeting with Trump following the inauguration, the new president asked him for whom he had voted in the 2016 election. McCabe responded - uneasily, I'm sure - that he hadn't voted at all. Whether he was being truthful or not, it was an impudent and unethical question to ask. McCabe's wife, Jill, had been a candidate for senate in Virginia a couple of years earlier. She had run as a Democrat and eventually lost the election. One of her chief fundraisers was former governor Terry McAuliffe, an old and cozy friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton's.

Jim Comey
Here's where it gets quite awkward and weird: Jim Comey was in Los Angeles attending a conference when he was suddenly fired (as Trump, himself, later admitted to Lester Holt on national television) for not shutting down the Russia investigation. He ceased what he was doing in his official capacity as  head of the FBI, and promptly returned to Washington in the plane he had come in. A few hours later, Trump summoned McCabe into the Oval Office. When he asked why Comey had been allowed to use a government plane to fly home, McCabe's response was, apparently, not satisfactory for the First Fool. Then, out of the blue, the president of the United States of America said this to the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

"Ask your wife what it feels like to be a loser."

What did Jill McCabe have to do with any of this? Besides that, was Jim Comey expected to take a bus back to D.C.? Did Trump expect him to walk? Or fly coach even? This is merely an illustrative example of what a petty, vindictive and juvenile little piece-of-shit our president is. Aren't you proud to be an American?

Bob Mueller
Here's what's going to happen: Last week, the Republican-controlled, House committee that was "investigating'" the Russia connection to the Trump campaign of 2016, shut it down unexpectedly and announced that there had been no collusion with Putin or anyone else within the Russian government - much to the chagrin of the Democrats. Trump will use that event - plus Andrew McCabe's "disgrace"  as a pretext for shutting down Robert Mueller's inquiry. It will, of course, happen late on a Friday night. Maybe not this Friday; maybe not next Friday - but a Friday night soon. We'll be able to call that one "The Friday Night Massacre". The Chief-Executive is using the Department of Justice as a tool for political persecution. We all need to keep on our toes.

Tom Degan
Goshen, N Y

SUGGESTED VIEWING: Here is a link to watch the Brian Williams segment on MSNBC last night that was quoted in this piece:


I was just thinking early this morning that Watergate was nothing like this scandal. For political junkies these are, indeed, heady days. To quote Bill Murray in the role of Hunter Thompson in the 1980 film, Where The Buffalo Roam: 

"It still hasn't gotten weird enough for me."
Happy Saint Paddy's Day, everybody!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

It Didn't Have to Be This Way

It was a thrilling time to be alive. Being born in 1958, I could see the change. The clouds were ascending. I really believed that things would eventually turn for the better. I was barely old enough to remember the America of segregation and Jim Crow. In spite of the elevation of a failed, feeble-minded "B" movie actor, I never - for a moment - doubted that America would move forward. Even the arrival on the scene of George W. Bush was not enough to dim my essential optimism for the future of this country. By contrast with what we have now, Bush is starting to look presidential. And Reagan? He's starting to look like George Freakin' Washington! That was then. This is now. As far as my worthless generation is concerned, the party's over. It's time to call it a day. Our generation was handed a nation, that while not perfect, was functional. And what have we handed over to our descendants? A shithole. What a legacy!

It didn't have to be this way..

It's all over now. The shit has hit the fan. It is over and done with. The American people wlll never be trusted again by thinking people. Germany, the nation that he USA saved the world from eighty years ago - is now the leader of the free world. Isn't that something?

This is worse than anyone could have dared predict it would be. Donald Trump symbolizes everything that is dark and disturbing in the American psyche: a bent, unenlightened dysfunction that the rest of the world has come to view with a combination of horror and amusement. It will take generations to heal the embarrassment of Trump. For the foreseeable future the rest of the planet will have no good reason to take us seriously. This political cancer is terminal and self-inflicted. Sixty-five years ago the part-comical, part-horrified speculation in liberal salons was what if Joe McCarthy should ever find himself living in the White House. It happened on January 20, 2017 - only this time the new commander-in-chief is a much-worse case scenario. For all of old Joe's recklessness, at least he had a sense of humor and could be a lot of fun to be around. Even Jack Kennedy liked the man! It was said that he was also a great drinking companion. Despite his flaws, from all that I have read about the man, I get the sense that I probably would have liked Joe McCarthy had time an fate bought us together.


Show me a political figure who reflects someone like McCarthy in a positive light, and I'll show you a catastrophe personified. Within hours of finally taking a hard line against Vladimir Putin, Rex Tillerson was fired by Trump. One can only surmise the number of state secrets that the Donald has revealed to his main man in Moscow by now. The damage that has already been done to America in the space of fourteen months is incalculable. What can only be concluded at this point if that we - and our children - will be living with the stigma of this uncouth jackass for the rest of our lives.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Russian Roulette
by David Corn and Michael Isikoff

Monday, March 12, 2018

It's Happened Here

Had it been mere fiction, it would have been the darkest of dark comedies: A self-aggrandizing, celebrity billionaire, the star of a bad reality television show, decides to "up his brand" by seeking the office of the presidency. He never really expected to win, but as a former candidate his speaking fees would go through the roof. As always he was in it for the money. To the surprise of nearly everyone, he wins the primaries. Then, incredibly, he wins the general election. This was something else indeed. As president, the opportunity to make countless financial killings would be extraordinary. It reminded people who bother to pay attention to these things of the old line from H.L. Menken: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Today we're also reminded of the title of Sinclair Lewis' most famous novel: "It Can't Happen Here". It  can happened here. It has.

I cannot believe I'm writing this stuff.

It was only in the final ten days of the campaign that it finally dawned on me that he might be able to take the big prize. In spite of the appearance of the infamous, long-dormant Access Hollywood videotape,  he seemed to be inexplicably gaining momentum. There was also the fact that his opponent was a terrible candidate. All of these realities made perfectly probable the election of the most grossly incompetent, psychologically deranged candidate in American history. It might have even been inevitable. Donald Trump is the end result of America's ferocious civic irresponsibly. He is the personification of what happens when the people are left to their own idiotic devices. That the process of free democratic elections must be maintained is without credible argument; but it sure as hell doesn't bode well for the future of this doomed republic. 

That is the reason the electoral college has to be done away with. Until that happens, imbeciles like George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump are to be expected. It doesn't matter that they lost the popular vote. Those elections should have been landslides. That over a third of the country still mindlessly supports an uncouth moron like Trump is telling on too many levels to count. It really is quite funny when you think about it. Dark comedy indeed. Are you amused yet?

"We have met the enemy,
and they are us."
Walt Kelly's "Pogo"

The implosion is occurring before our eyes. Scores of administration officials have been fleeing like rats from this sinking ship. Vladimir Putin may be many things, but he's not an idiot. His goal was to weaken America by placing in the White House  a genuine idiot - and quite possibly a paid agent in the service of his government. If I'm correct in my suspicions (and I believe that I am) this is the worst possible nightmare we could ever have dreamed of  encountering. I'm not an advocate of the death penalty - and nothing is ever going to change that - but I think it is worth taking note of the fact that, sixty-five years ago in June, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were strapped into the electric chair and executed for far less than (what it is becoming more-and-more apparent with each passing day) the president of the United States of America is culpable of. No misdemeanors here, kiddies. These are the highest of crimes.

We're talking serious stuff here, campers.

As of this hour, we don't know all of the dirt that Special Council Robert Mueller has on this political thug, but what we do know should give us pause. And the fact that what is now apparent is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg is quite sobering. The coming year will prove to be catastrophic - not merely for the Trump administration - but for every man, woman and child who calls America "home". For the second time in my life, I will see a president removed from power in utter disgrace. Whether by resignation or impeachment, Donald Trump's hours as chief-executive are winding down. It might end this year, or perhaps early next. Whatever the scenario, it's a virtual certainty that, sometime in the very near future, we'll be dealing with President Mike Pence; a depressing thought, I know, but at least he's not certifiably insane - dumber than a sack of moldy grapes, yes, but not certifiably insane....or at least, I don't think he is.

Let me get back to you on that one.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Mueller Has Trump & Company Pinned Down
by Jefferson Morley

This excellent piece was published early this morning on AlterNet's web page. A must-read if there ever was one.


BREAKING NEWS, 3/13/18, 11:31 AM:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been fired by Donald Trump. This is amazing. Although a piss-poor appointee to begin with (a former Exxon exec running the State Department? Are you freakin' kidding me???) the best that could be said of old Rex was, although he's the second worst secretary of state in American history, in the sea of utter incompetence and cluelessness that is the Trump administration, he was, at the very least, moderately adept at his job. Naturally - and for this reason alone - it was a foregone conclusion that the Donald would eventually give him the old heave-ho.

The wheels have now completely come off this disgusting administration. Are you finding this one/tenth as amusing as I am?

Early this morning, after nearly fourteen months on the job, Rex Tillerson FINALLY took a hard line on Russia. By mid-morning he was out of that job. I'm sure that it's all merely a coincidence, though.

Idiot Nation

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Hats off to Mr. Mueller

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky....Stormy Daniels.

It's ironic. The biggest hero that will emerge from the most devastating political scandal in United States history will be a Republican. There are so many things that Robert Mueller is uncovering - things that have nothing to do with Russian "collusion" - but which he is obliged, nevertheless, to pursue as a prosecutor. It's a lot different from Republican Kenneth Starr's persecution of Democrat Bill Clinton twenty years ago (Where does the time go?) In 1998, when Kenny Boy was unable to uncover crimes committed in the Whitewater deal or the Paula Jones affair, he went searching for them. The only way he was able to nail Bill was by questioning him about Monica Lewinsky, whose affair with Clinton he knew about in advance thanks to information given to him by a woman named Paula Tripp. Naturally Bubba fibbed. 


Fooling around with Monica was not a crime. Lying about it was. Starr knew that the president would lie in response to so embarrassing a question. He was determined to bring Clinton down, come heck or high water. It was political persecution, pure and simple.

Nobody can accuse Robert Mueller of political persecution. 

There's never been anything like this situation in American politics before. No one ever thought that there would ever again be anything that even came close to Watergate. Truth be told, Iran Contra was, I believe, far worse than the crimes Dick Nixon and his gang committed against the American people. Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan was able to elude justice. The same is true for the Bush Mob when they illegally invaded Iraq based solely on information they knew damned well was false. How many people died as  result of those lies? We'll never know the answer to that question.

What is happening now is different. This time evasion will not be possible. People are talking. Don't be surprised if, two or three years down the road, we see a former president of the United States hauled off in shackles to Leavenworth. This is an extraordinary moment to witness. I cannot believe my good fortune.

Perhaps the people will finally wake up to the damage conservatism has historically done to this nation. Perhaps not. To be honest with you I'm not optimistic. In the first televised interview Nixon gave six years after leaving the White House in utter disgrace, he famously complained to Barbara Walters (and I'm paraphrasing here): "The trouble with the history books is that they're mostly written by liberals". He was absolutely correct - and there's a dandy good reason for that, too. In order to write about American  history, you must have a broad and comprehensive knowledge of that history. Once one has obtained that knowledge, one begins to notice a pattern: Every time the right wing has been able to seize control all three branches of our government, they have destroyed this country economically. When George W. Bush appointed Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in 2006, for the first time since the thirties, the conservatives had a firm lock on all three of those branches. What happened? Within two years we experienced the worst economic catastrophize since the thirties. 

Are you seriously under the delusion that that is merely a coincidence? Have another sip. That's the biggest problem, in my opinion, with the American people. Their knowledge of the history of the country that most of them profess to love so well is almost non-existent in most instances. In my experience, whenever I have asked people who the president  was during the first world war, the overwhelming majority of them have not been able to correctly answer that question. That's pretty pathetic, don'cha think?

The coming year promises to be a rolling constitutional crisis. A situation this volatile and toxic cannot continue; and in fact, I don't believe that it will. By the time 2018 is mercifully over, Donald Trump will no longer be president. Either he will be impeached or he'll resign - or the stress will kill him. I know that is a horrible prediction to make but, let's face it, he's a relatively old man who is  obviously not in the best physical shape. And according to almost every anonymous source from within the Executive Mansion, he is consistently stressed-out and is becoming unglued by the pressure of being chief-executive.

Donald Trump's profound flaw was his complete ignorance of the constitutional role of the president. Think about it: For his entire life he had no board of directors to answer to. He was, in effect, a board of one. For all of his adult career he made decisions and barked orders - and was answerable to no one. His fatal mistake was in assuming that the presidency would work in the same manner. That is why it is a blessing that billionaire Ross Perot was not able to win the White House in 1992. He had the identical, perfectly goofy notion. Trump may not understand it as of this moment, but he'll understand it soon enough: He is answerable to us. We are the board of directors. 

As of today, people are fleeing this disgusting administration by the scores. It's all a case of getting out while the getting is good, with their reputations hopefully only marginally damaged. Isn't this interesting?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Devin Nunes Can't Be Trusted with National Secrets
by Heather Digby Parton

This one was published on AlterNet's website early this morning. A very good read that shouldn't be ignored.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Jared's Got a Problem

A Choirboy on Opioids
“He’s now president for life.
Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”
Donald Trump on Chinese President Xi Jinping
He's thinking about it. Count on it.
Every day, the scope of this disgusting administration's mind-bending corruption becomes even more obvious and immense. It really is an incredible time we're living in. We've had corrupt administrations in the past: Nixon's contempt of the rule of law is legendary; more members of the Reagan administration went to prison than any other in the history of Idiot Nation. Every administration going all the way back to Warren G. Harding's (Remember Teapot Dome?) had some levels of crookedness. But the administration of Donald Trump is something else all together. We're barely a year into this catastrophic fiasco and the wheels are coming off. It really is an extraordinary thing to bare witness to.

It was with a great deal of skepticism that the people who make their names commenting on the train-wreck of American politics greeted the news last year that Donald Trump's son-in-law would be serving as "senior advisor" to the new president. It was believed - in some circles at least - that Jared and his wife, Trump's daughter Ivanka, would act as "moderating" influences over the obviously unstable president. If they have been at all successful in their respective jobs, it makes one tremble to think how unhinged the Trump White House would be by this time. When challenged about the charges of nepotism, Trump's apologists said that since the two were serving in an unpaid capacity, it wasn't really nepotism - at least not technically. And besides, they whined, JFK hired his younger brother as Attorney General. My only response to that one is that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump together aren't worth one tenth of a Bobby Kennedy. End of argument.

Bob Mueller
Now we are learning that within days of the nation of Qutar turning down a request that they invest many millions of dollars in a building owned by the Kushner family's real estate company in merrie olde Manhattan, Jared insisted that Trump support a blockade of Qutar that was being enforced by Saudi Arabia. Apparently, most of the administration and everyone in the state department (including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) were against the support of the blockade. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. Qutar is a country that the United States has maintained good relations with for many years. Although it might be hard to prove, it's obvious that Jared was getting even with the leaders of Qutar for not investing in his financially troubled property at 666 Fifth Avenue. In essence, the spoiled little freak had a temper tantrum. This is precisely the reason we have conflict-of-interest laws on the books. His sweet revenge might have given him pleasure at the time, but it has now exploded in his face. Jared could be in one shitload of trouble. I'm sure he has a sinking feeling knowing that Robert Mueller is looking into his nefarious dealings at this hour. Life is good.

Ask yourself the following question: Would Kushner have supported the blockade had Qutar coughed up the cash? I'm not naïve enough to believe that he would have. Why was he virtually alone in supporting it? I was born very early in the morning but it wasn't this morning. This is as bad as it's ever going to get, folks. And the amazing thing is that this is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. If Watergate was a paper cut, this is  bloodbath. I was just wondering how many people out there still feel - deep in their hearts - that sending these corrupt buffoons to the White House was a good idea. The fact that over one/third of the citizens of this country still support the administration of Donald Trump is as troubling a fact as I've ever encountered. It's no wonder our allies are scratching their heads today.

I just had a beautiful fantasy. Wouldn't it be a hoot if Mueller could make a plea deal with little Jared and get him to testify against his father-in-law? Can you even imagine how awkward something like that would make Thanksgiving family dinner at Trump Tower next November? That would certainly put poor Ivanka in an untenable situation. 

I've always gotten the notion that Donald Trump has always enjoyed being Donald Trump. Since the man has never been one to take bows in the self-awareness department, it's easy to believe that this would be so. I imagine that he's not having a whole lot of fun these days. By all accounts, the president has become completely unhinged in recent months, more unhinged than he already was - which was obvious to anyone who bothered to pay attention to the campaign of 2016. This is ending catastrophically; and while it's as interesting as any unfolding political scandal in American history, it does not bode well for the American people, and more importantly, for their children.

If you voted for this fool you'll deserve everything that happens to you. It's your kids I feel sorry for - not you. Not at all.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Francesca Fiorentini

AJ+'s Newsbroke

Francesca Fiorentini is my newest hero. She has a YouTube channel that produces weekly political commentary that, in addition to being informative, is riotously funny. The American people ignore this brilliant woman to their own detriment. Here's a link to watch some of her videos. Highly recommended:

She's here to stay - and I couldn't be happier!