Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dark Days in Idiot Nation

Something occurred this week that hasn't happened in over a century and a half - Friday April 14, 1865 to be precise: a mass assassination attempt. That was the night when Johnny Booth and his band of misfit conspirators attempted to murder President Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Henry Seward. Lincoln, as we all know, didn't survive the night. Seward was seriously wounded while Johnson's assailant got cold feet at the last moment. When America woke up to the news of the attacks on the following morning, Saturday April 15, it began one of the darkest periods of morning in the history of the United States up to that point. Those were some pretty strange days in America. These are some pretty strange days in America, too. Strange days indeed.

I wasn't surprised to learn that the Feds had apprehended so quickly the nitwit who mailed thirteen pipe bombs that targeted sixteen prominent critics of Donald Trump. The fact that not one of them had detonated made this caper an utter cinch to crack. I'm not going to mention his name here; in fact I've already forgotten it.  Why give the tarnished little freak any more publicity? It always bugs me to see the name of John Lennon's murderer in the indexes of biographies of the man. We want to know their names no more.

Its impossible not to understand that something very ominous and dark has been unleashed in our national psyche. Groups that had always been marginalized to the fringes of American society are starting to take center stage in the arena of our political discussion. Is it right to charge that the president of the Unites States has, at the very least, some responsibility for what is now unfurling before our eyes? My opinion is that he does.

When Trump described himself the other day as "a nationalist" he was, I believe, sending out a not-too-subtle code to the white nationalists who would love to set this country back two centuries. When he calls journalists who accurately report his words as "enemies of the people", he is laying the groundwork for some radical action against the First Amendment in the not-too-distant future. When he uses the language of hate and violence while addressing "the base" at those rallies he's setting a precedent for something that, now that it has been unleashed, will be difficult (if not impossible) to extricate from our political culture. We won't be stuffing this genie back in the bottle any time soon.  You've got to be blind not to be able to see what this lunatic is inspiring in the worse demons of our nature.

The election is only ten days away. Vote as if your nation's life depends upon it - because it does, you know. It really does.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


by Bob Woodward

I just read this book - AGAIN. This administration has turned out even worse than I would have dared predicted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Counting Down

It's a safe bet that Donald Trump is counting the hours until the midterm elections are over and done with. I've lost so much faith in the civic intelligence of the average American voter that I won't be the least bit surprised when I awaken to the news on November 7 that the GOP has managed to retain control of both houses of congress. If that happens the investigation into the Trump campaign dealings with the government of Vladimir Putin to subvert the election of 2016 will probably be ashes to the wind. Even if Bob Mueller manages to complete his task before that happens, there is no way that a Republican controlled Capital Hill will ever go along with releasing the findings to the public at large. T'aint gonna happen.
 Trump is in the process of stomping about the country, ranting about imaginary left wing conspiracies to audiences of halfwits who slurp up every word. It is no longer delusional paranoia to compare what is happening in America today with what was happening nearly eighty-six years ago in Germany. This was never supposed to be what we are - but it most definitely is what we have become. There is no longer any use kidding ourselves. A decade ago, as the final months of the George W. Bush era were grinding down to a merciful end, I breathed a prolonged sigh of relief at the thought we had gotten through that unsettling period of our history relatively intact. I could never have foreseen Donald Trump. He had made rumblings about seeking the White House periodically in the past but only a handful of drooling sycophants took such talk seriously. No, I thought, not even these Americans are that reckless.

I will never make that mistake again. If sometime in the future these stupid fucking Americans decide to nominate a member of the Nazi Party to run, you'll be able to find me in Las Vegas placing wagers on the guy's success.

I need a drink.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, October 18, 2018

What They Are Doing to America

I get a bit of flack from time to time regarding my use of the term "Idiot Nation" to describe the American electorate. Full disclosure: I know more-than-a-few people a hell of  lot smarter than me who voted for Donald Trump. But even the smartest of men and women are perfectly capable of doing horrifically stupid things. I should know; I do stupid things in my sleep - and I'm a fairly smart guy. But voting for (and worst - still supporting) Donald Trump is another thing entirely. They should have seen this catastrophe coming from a hundred miles down the road - as those of us who bothered to pay attention saw it coming from ten thousand miles down the road. They should have known better. Their vote for Trump was uninformed and ill-advised. I'm in a good mood today, I'll be polite.
This is why we need to (but probably never will) do away with the electoral college. It's very existence in our "democracy" virtually assures that every few years, we're going to wind up with imbeciles like Trump and George W. Bush as chiefs-executive. Neither men won the popular vote when first elected to the job, and Bush was re-elected only because his campaign managed to instill so much fear into the public regarding prospect of a second 9/11 if John Kerry was sent to the White House. I went to bed election night fourteen years ago believing that Kerry had it in the bag. Can you believe that? The next day a British tabloid asked on its front page headline how fifty-nine million people could be that jolly stupid. How indeed. One would think that they might have learned a very hard lesson by now, wouldn't one?

I'm so completely and utterly depressed for the future of the United States at this moment, that I'm unable to even finish this. Keep voting for the Republican Party. You'll deserve everything that happens to you.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Sunday, October 14, 2018


There just cannot be any two ways about it. We've been told too many times to count that "THIS" is the most important election in our history. I would beg to differ. The election of 1864 between Lincoln and McClellan was up there. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was the trigger that led us to the financial catastrophe we are about to suffer. But the election of 2018 is something else entirely. Isn't life wonderful?
This is a poem than the Donald liked to recite during the campaign two years ago. It is quoted in  the new book by Bob Woodward, "Fear":
On her way to work one morning, down the path, along the lake,
a tender-hearted woman saw a poor, half hearted frozen snake
His pretty-colored skin had been all frosted with the dew.
"Poor thing," she cried, "I'll take you in. And I'll take care of you."
"take me in, oh  tender woman," sighed the vicious snake.
She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk,
and laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk.
She hurried home from work that night, and soon as she arrived,
she found that pretty snake she had taken in had been revived....
She stroked his pretty skin again, and kissed and held him tight.
But instead of saying thank you, the snake gave her a vicious bite.
"I saved you" cried the woman,"
And you've bitten me, heavens why?
"You know your bite is poisonous, and now I'm going to die."
"Oh, shut up, silly woman", said the reptile with a grin.
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

Keep voting Republican,

Idiot Nation. Stupid fucking Americans.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


by Bob Woodward


A few nights ago I watched a videotape of the 1960 debates between Jack Kennedy and Dick Nixon. When it was over I was floored by the realization that this country has been so completely and thoroughly dumbed-down in the ensuing fifty-eight years. Look up on YouTube the debates of 1960 and 2016 and make the comparisons for yourselves. We really have become Idiot Nation. 


Friday, October 05, 2018

Call Your Senator

This cannot be emphasized enough: A president who is now under criminal investigation for possible treason should not be nominating anyone to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh is on record for having stated that a president has the constitutional right to pardon himself for any high crimes and misdemeanors committed while in office. When asked if he still believed this nonsense last week during his confirmation hearings (which seems like a hundred years ago) the judge refused to answer the question. It is for this reason alone, I believe, that he was Donald Trump's choice. When he was filtered by the Trump Mob for the nomination, was he asked if he still believed that a president had a license to break the law? My bet is that he was - and that his answer was a resounding "YES". If it is proved that the president of the United States conspired with a hostile foreign power to subvert the results of a national election, then all of his judicial apointments should be impeached.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens - who was appointed to the court by President Ford - has stated that Kavanaugh would not be a good choice to elevate to the Supreme Court. I think the man might be on to something.
Whether or not you believe the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford (and I believe her) is beside the point; Brett Kavanaugh just doesn't have the temperamental chops to be sitting on the highest court in the land. That was obvious during the tirade he went on when responding to Dr. Ford's testimony. That he sincerely believes that a cabal consisting of lefties are out to get him is anyone's guess. Perhaps he does, but my guess is that he pulled that allegation out of his hat in an act of sheer desperation.

He is an absolutely atrocious nominee for "the highest court in the land"  - worse than Uncle Clarence Thomas even - which is scraping the very bottom of the barrel.
But what is beyond a doubt is that Brett will not be a dispassionate arbitrator of the merits of any potential case that might come before him in the next thirty to forty years (yeah, he could be there for that long). This is a bad idea.

(202) 224-3121

That's the number of the United States Senate. Place a call to the senator who represents you. Let him or her know that if the court takes such an extreme turn to the right, this country will be unalterably changed in too many ways to count. Brett Kavanaugh represents a dark place that we don't want to go to.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Brethren
by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

The best study of the Supreme Court ever written.