Tuesday, August 28, 2018

John McCain at Twilight

"I’ve tried to serve our country honorably. I’ve made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them. I’ve often observed that I am the luckiest person on Earth. I feel that way even now, as I prepare for the end of my life. I’ve loved my life, all of it. I’ve had experiences, adventures, friendships, enough for 10 satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life in good or bad times for the best day of anybody else’s."
John McCain, from his final message to the American people
I have to tell you, I always liked John McCain for this reason: you never were really sure which way the man would tilt on any given vote in the senate. His was not a knee that jerked. And although, yes, the man was perfectly capable of making me tear my hair out on most days. He always had a sense of profound decency about him that was more-than-likely purified by the unimaginable suffering he encountered between the five long years of 1968 and 1973 when he was a prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Then there was the wit. The Arizona senator was one of the microscopic few Republicans in Washington whose comedy was truly intentional. And he could laugh heartily at himself  - a trait that is truly rare among conservative and liberal politicians alike. He would go on some CBS News program and tell the moderator how nice it was to be back on the "Communist Broadcasting System" and no one at the network would be offended. How could anyone not like John McCain? Seriously!

I didn't agree with John McCain on a heck of a lot of things with regard to domestic and international affairs, but the term that was applied to him by the media, "maverick" was well-earned. He wasn't the last Republican for whom the term "right wing crazy" could not be applied, but - my goodness - they're fewer and further between than they used to be, that's for sure. Moderate Republicans used to be a dime a dozen. When I was a teenager, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a few. Now they are rarer than 8-Track tape players. Susan Collins of Maine comes to mind; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is another - both women. Give me an hour and I might be able to name for you one or two others. That he was disappointed in the direction his party had taken in the last quarter century there can be no doubt. 

He once said that one of the biggest thrills of his young life was when President Eisenhower addressed his graduating class at Annapolis Naval College in the fifties. I haven't any doubt that old Ike would have been just as appalled as McCain was at where the GOP has gone in the twenty-first century. I'm just as certain that Franklin Roosevelt would be deeply disappointed at the modern-day Democrats.

When McCain first sought the presidency in 2000, he beat George W. Bush early on in the New Hampshire primaries. Next on the trail was South Carolina. The Bush Mob went into that state with a nicely revamped version of the so-called "Southern Strategy" used so effectively by Dick Nixon during the campaign of 1968. In a series of "robo-calls" that bombarded that state, a recorded voice asked potential voters a series of questions. One of those questions was "How would you react if you were to learn that Senator John McCain had fathered a child with a black prostitute?" A few years earlier, John and his wife, Cindy, had adopted a dark-skinned baby, orphaned in South Asia. Bush and his henchmen knew damned well that South Carolinians would see campaign photographs of the McCain family and put two-and-two together. It was the most despicable political dirty trick in modern times: exploiting the love that this couple offered a homeless little girl in order to bring into existence the most corrupt administration in the history of this republic - up to that time.

I would not have voted for John McCain in 2000. Like so many of us who leaned leftward in that period, my heart belonged to Ralph Nader. I lived in New York and I knew for certain that Al Gore would carry it easily. What I hadn't counted on was the corruption of Governor Jeb Bush's Florida. The Nader vote allowed them to easily steal the election in that state. Had John McCain won the 2000 South Carolina primaries and, subsequently, the presidency, I would have been disappointed for sure, but I know I would not have lost a minute of sleep (as I did during the Bush years) knowing that he was at the helm of the ship of state.

The MEGGA-DOWNER for John McCain came eight years later. He was able to win the 2008 GOP primaries quite handily as I recall. At the convention he had wanted Joe Lieberman (the most conservative Northeastern politician as could be contrived in fiction) to run second on the ticket. The maniacs and halfwits who now controlled the Republican Party would have none of it. Lieberman had two things going against him as far as these clowns were concerned: he was a former Democrat - and a Jew HEAVENS TO BETSY!  

Instead they shoved down his throat Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, a woman so shockingly uninformed and incurious, she doomed the campaign from the get-go. Still, McCain campaigned honorably. When a woman at a rally somewhere in the Midwest accused Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, of being "an Arab", McCain gently grabbed the microphone from her hand and explained that, no, Obama was a good and decent family man with whom he had some major disagreements on policy. Class act, that McCain. Donald Trump would have egged the old biddy on I'm sure.

McCain's last class act as a statesman was recently when he gave a very public thumbs down to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

I thought it predictable how Donald Trump behaved yesterday in the hours following McCain's passing. You can't expect dignity from this president and he didn't disappoint. Instead of a statement in the White House pressroom, he "tweeted" his curt condolences to the family. That's what he does. He tweets. As a final insult to the man he had openly despised ("I like heroes who weren't captured") he raised the flag above the White House from half mast after only one day. The howl of public outrage was so shrill, he was forced to raise it back up. Knowing John McCain's love of dark comedy, I'm sure he would have been mightily amused.

George W. Bush and Barack Obama, his two past political rivals, will be delivering the eulogies at the funeral. Donald Trump has been asked to stay away. It's that kind of time in the United States.

McCain's reputation will be mixed. That's okay. Even the best of them are only allotted mixed reputations in the end. His passing is almost perfectly timed. The party he represented for nearly forty years will soon be going away as well. They won't have John McCain around anymore to give them that little bit of desperately-needed substance.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to read John McCain's final message to the American people:

"I lived and died a proud American".
John McCain

Saturday, August 25, 2018

POST #800: Random Observations

Here are a collection of thoughts that have no relation with one another. They should be taken seriously or with a grain of salt - as one deems fit. 

1. McCain

John McCain is in the last stages of a fatal disease, the same one that killed my father, that is going to end his life. Please remember that he (along with Susan Collins) is the last Republican politician who can be declared a "moderate". This will, indeed, be the end of an era.

2. Promises Promises

During the campaign of 2016, Donald J. Trump promised us that he would do for America what he did for the Trump "brand". It was the only promise he kept.
3. Fascistbook
My "friends" on Facebook come in many different flavors - not all of them delicious. Occasionally I'll see a posting that begins: "I am not a racist, but...."
Please be on notice from now on that when I read those words, what one is really saying to me is this: "I am a racist because...." So there!

4. Enquiring "Minds"

We now know that the National Enquirer has been operating an extortion ring for decades. Their "Catch And Kill" program, which kept scandalous stories off of their pages for many years, is beyond any doubt the most corrupt kind of journalism anyone's ever encountered probably. They should not be allowed to be continue this assault upon American journalism. The Enquirer is just one of many reasons why Weeda Peepole have become so dumbed down. The entire institution should be taken out of business - permanently. Of course, these idiotic Americans will continue to read the publication, in droves.

5. Mikey and Pauley

With the conviction of Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of Michael Cohen the other day, it's a good bet that the administration of Donald J. Trump is about to go the way of the Dodo bird. This is the beginning of the end, kids. You should have seen this catastrophe coming from one-hundred miles down the road, as those of us who were paying attention, saw it coming from ten-thousand miles down the road. This was a complete, and utter no-brainer. I'm sorry. I'm venting. Pay it no mind.

6. The Problem

Donald Trump's biggest problem (aside from his personality) is the fact that he never had any advisors. For his entire career he has only surrounded himself with sycophantic "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear - not what he desperately needed to know. That is why he is in so much deep trouble today. It's a cinch that he will end up in federal custody one day in the not-too distant future, escorted out of the Executive Mansion in hand cuffs.

7. I Don't Know What Else to say

2018 has been one of those kind of years. I'm rendered speechless.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

This is going to end badly....but I repeat myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Trump's Nightmare

Don McGahn is not a guy I've paid much attention to in the last nineteen months. Compared to the collection of complete maniacs and morons that comprise the administration of Donald Trump, the guy doesn't really stand out. In dong a bit of research on him I was pleased to discover that, like my father and too many uncles to count, he's a graduate of Notre Dame. That is a nice thing to learn. In my experience graduates of old ND tend to be fairly decent and honest. It is obvious that McGahn knows a lot of really bad secrets regarding the president. The reason for that was the Twitter freak-out exhibited by Trump when it was revealed this week that McGahn, a White House Lawyer, sat down for thirty hours of testimony with the Mueller investigation. According to everyone who knows him, Don McGahn is telling the truth, the whole truth, and then some.
This is not good.

Okay, I'll fess up: this is the best news I've heard since this disgusting administration began on January 20, 2017. I knew from the moment I learned that this unhinged jackass had been elected to the presidency that his administration would end prematurely and disastrously. It was a foregone conclusion. Donald Trump was an openly and publically corrupt businessman who had been flaunting his incompetence on the public stage for nearly forty years. It was predicted by everyone who others to pay attention. What we are in the midst of is nothing less than an ongoing constitutional crisis that will continue to play out as long as he is president.

With the conviction of Paul Manafort a lot of things can happen now. Is he counting on a pardon from the Donald? Is a pardon forthcoming? Has some kind of shady deal been made? I kind of doubt that Paulie is going to fall on his sword like a good soldier and go gently into the night. If he really has something completely damaging on the president I imagine he's stalling for time waiting for his sentencing. His problem (and it's a big one) is that the second trial involves the state of New York, where a presidential pardon is not applicable. When that trial is over my theory is that Trump will issue a pardon.

"Instant Karma's gonna get you
It's gonna knock you on the head".
John Lennon

You'd better get yourself together, Donald.

Whatever the case, it can't be a lot of fun being president these days. Donald Trump used to give the distinct impression that he was having a really good time being Donald Trump. That isn't even close to being the case anymore. The fact is, the man seems to be on the verge of losing touch completely - if he hasn't already. It's a safe bet that he regrets deeply winning the campaign of 2016. He thought the job would be so easy. Isn't that a riot? Now look at him.

Instant karma indeed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Forgive me for taking three days for writing this. I've been a bit out of it. Perhaps turning sixty last week has slowed me down! When I was in my twenties I never thought I would live to be thirty. Now I'm twice that age. Go figure.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Memes

One of my greatest disappointments is the fact that I have never been able to draw. I have always believed that I would have been a pretty good political cartoonist had I been blessed with that talent. Technology has changed all of that. The ability to create "memes" has lifted some of us from our artistic inabilities. We may now go into the clouds. Here are a few humdingers I've been able to create in the last couple of years.
So there you have it. We really do live in interesting times.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Ohio's Danny O'Connor and Troy Balderson
The suspense in Ohio's 12th  congressional District today is palpable. The two candidates in a special congressional election won't know the results for a few weeks - the final tally is that close. It won't be until the provisional and absentee votes are counted that the results will finally be known to all. Whether or not the Democrats win this one, it's still good news for them. The 12th is a district that has been so gerrymandered to the benefit of the Republican Party in recent years, the area hadn't gone Democratic since 1982. This is a grim prologue to the November midterms for the GOP. We may very well see the "blue wave" that more than a few of the talking heads have been predicting for months. We shall see.
This cannot be emphasized enough. The future of this country is at stake. Does that sound just a bit extreme for your tastes? Perhaps it might be; but please, I would beg you to consider this: In 2020, after the next census, the party in power - particularly in Governors mansions all over the country - will be redrawing the election districts. If the Democrats are not the party doing most of the redistricting, look forward to another decade (at least) of America sinking into the abyss that is being manufactured by America's extreme right wing.

I really hate to be seen as a PR man for the Democratic Party, as I've said on this site too many times to count, I left that party in May of 1998 and I've never regretted my decision. It's not the party of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - and hasn't been for a very long time. But while the Dems make me pull my hair out in frustration at times, the Republicans are beyond redemption. Theirs has not been the "party of Abraham Lincoln" since 7:22 on the morning of April 15, 1865. That was the moment that old Abe breathed his last breath. Theirs is not a political party. Theirs is an organized criminal enterprise. America's very existence depends on them disappearing forever. Does that sound paranoid? I'll tell you what: keep voting Republican. Let's see what happens.

The Democratic Party needs to win this overwhelmingly in November. This is not the time to be experimenting with third parties. This is a time to get serious. It's later than you think.

I've never asked this before, but please share this little piece with as many people as possible. I think it's the most important thing I've ever posted on this site.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY