Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cool Hand Bob

The comparisons are irresistible: on the one hand we have Team Mueller - noses to the grindstone, determined and dedicated, steely-eyed and serious professionals. On the other hand there are Donald Trump and Paul Manafort - stumbling about with one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel. For every clever legal "maneuver" they seem to be digging themselves deeper. It goes without saying that the two of these clowns have met their match in Bob Mueller, and it sure is an amusing to behold. With the passing of each day - of each hour - this scandal gets more and more intriguing.  
Somewhere beyond that mysterious and unknowable void, I am one-hundred percent certain that Richard Nixon is laughing his ass off. By comparison to this, Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler, was correct when he dismissed the Watergate break-in as "a third rate burglary". Trying to obtain intelligence on the "loyal opposition" in the course of a domestic, political campaign is one thing - this is something else entirely.
Did Robert Mueller ever seriously play poker? It would not surprise me to find out that this is the case. The guy has got the steadiest poker face I've ever seen on anyone. I've never played the game in my life, but I can tell you that I wouldn't want to find him staring me down from behind a deck of cards on the other side of any table. I've said from the beginning that when this thing is over and done, the biggest hero to emerge out of the whole mess will be a Republican. I'm banking on Bob Mueller. I can't wait until he shows his hand.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


One More Time
A Collection of Columns by Mike Royko

Royko was as good as they get. No more needs to be said. It's not up for debate so don't even bother.

 I met him once, in 1985 - in Chicago, of course. It was one of the high marks of my life.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TPN: Big Brother TV

"Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!"
The latest tweet from the First Twit
A state run propaganda television network run by Donald Trump? Call it a silly hunch on my part but I don't think that this is a particularly good idea. State TV is something usually associated with Russia or China - not the United States of America. Having said that, I do hope that it does indeed comes to fruition. Let's face it, folks, something like that would be an absolute howl, and would only offer volumes of material for people like me. Can you imagine? Watching grownups trying to put a smiley face on the carcass of a decomposing pig is always oodles of fun. That's what makes Fox Noise (Sean Hannity and Fox and Friends in particular) such a scream to watch. This morning woman named Clara Wilson from Bloomington, Indiana made an excellent suggestion in a comment on my Facebook page. She said that such an entity be called "TPN" (Trump Propaganda Network). Good one, Clara!

State TV in America? What the hell! He's already has the imbeciles over at Fox doing his idiotic bidding 24/7. Voice of America has been around for seventy-six years and they're broadcast reaches the entire planet earth. I have to wonder if this isn't merely the first step toward their goal of crushing every other broadcast organization that provides news and information (with the exception of Fox, of course) to the American people. Am I being paranoid? Perhaps I am. It sure will be interesting to see what this country will look like after eight years - or more of a Trump administration. I am tempted here to say that his reelection in 2020 is never going to happen but I need to check myself. As late as September of 2016 I said that the election of Donald Trump to the office of the presidency was "never going to happen". I know now better. We all know better.
A face in the misty light
If TPN does indeed come into existence, will Jared and Ivanka have their own wake up show? I certainly hope so. Morning Jared - I can see it now. The screaming right wing's answer to Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (whom, in case you haven't heard the news, were married this past weekend. Save me a piece of the wedding cake, kids!) Laura Ingraham would be well advised to leave Fox for the new TPN. Laura, as you might already know, has had a mountain of trouble in the past year with sponsors bailing out on her by the boatful because of her ignorant comments on race in America. State Television, I presume, would have no advertising and she'd be free to kick out all the jams. "Laura Ingraham Unplugged". That would be something to behold! Would she let loose from time to time with the N word? Don't put it past her.

If The Donald is really serious about getting his proposed state propaganda network going, he'd better get cracking - and fast! In a little over a month the House will be back in control of the Democratic party and there is no way in hell they're going to vote to fund such a completely moronic, and possibly unconstitutional idea. The First Amendment mentions nothing about the right of the government to spew political propaganda. I just thought I would point that out. 

I never dreamed that Idiot Nation, doomed as it undoubtedly was, would sink to this level of depravity . I was wrong on too many levels to count. We've waked into the gas chambers and happily breathed-in the Zyklon B. We have sealed our fates. At one time it was a proud thing to be a citizen of this country. Now it's embarrassing. What the fuck were we thinking?

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York


Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
By Hunter Thompson

The best book on an American election ever written.

I had my last drink today.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Anything But Ordinary Times

The Don, Fredo, Connie and Fredo
I started the last piece on this site by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. At the 1940 Democratic Convention in Chicago there was a brawl among the gathered delegates over Franklin Roosevelt's choice of a running mate that year. His former vice-president, John Nance Garner of Texas (known far and wide by his colorful nickname "Cactus Jack") was adamantly opposed to the very idea of a third term and had refused to be on the ticket. FDR wanted his Agriculture Secretary, Henry Wallace, to be named as his running mate. The movers and shakers among the Democratic Party would have none of it. For one thing, Wallace was a former Republican, and secondly, he was seen as too leftwing for main stream politics. The president held his ground. They were going to accept Wallace or he would refuse the nomination.
Eleanor was sent on a plane from her home in Hyde Park, NY to the site of the convention. With another world war looming on the horizon, she told the convention that 1940 was "no ordinary time", implying that unconventional choices were inevitable. The delegates relented and Roosevelt went on to win a third - and then a fourth - term. Many decades later, the noted biographer, Doris Kearns-Goodwin, would use the words "No Ordinary Time" as the title of the best book ever written on the Roosevelt White House.

That little preamble has nothing to do with what is presently happening in America, only with regard to the fact these are - most definitely - not ordinary times. In 1940, the gathering storm was occurring in foreign lands  from which two oceans buffered the United States. Seventy-eight years later, the existential threat hovering above the American landscape is not emanating from Berlin or Tokyo or Rome. Over eighty years ago the writer Sinclair Lewis wrote the novel he is most remembered for. It was called, "It Can't Happen Here". It was about a Fascist overthrow of the good ol' USA. What Lewis was clearly hinting at in the book's title was that it can happen here. It has

These days I am at the point where I don't even like leaving my house. There's too much transpiring on an hourly basis to distract one's attention from the computer screen - and I've misplaced the damned cellphone! This black comedy has taken on a new meaning with an ominous plot-shift. The time it took for this country to get to this point was at such a glacial-nails-pace that, if you weren't paying attention between 1981 and now, you didn't notice the change. That's one of my most debilitating curses: I make it a point to pay attention to these kinds of things. I'm nostalgic for Ronald Reagan. George W. Bush is starting to look like Theodore Roosevelt. I can scarcely believe that I wrote those last two sentences. The damage that American politicians have done to this doomed nation is going to take generations to undo - if it is ever undone at all.  The United States of America has become too unhinged to be taken seriously any longer. All bets are off. This is the way it's going to be from now on.

It's become a freaking mantra for me: Get used to living in a nation in ruins.

Between now and the new year promises to be one of the most interesting (and suspenseful) periods of our lives as far as domestic politics are concerned. The Trump administration is determined that the Mueller probe be thwarted and that the findings hidden from the American people forever. I believe it is their contention that by firing Robert Mueller between now and when the Democrats retake the House in January they will be able to pull this off. I don't think that they will succeed. Light will prevail. Just you wait.

By then, hopefully, most of us will be able to finally comprehend the damage that was done to us. We are accomplices in that damage. Don't you dare ever forget that.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


No Ordinary Time
by Doris Kearns-Goodwin

As mentioned above, this is the best book ever written about the White House years of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It's still in print and is a must for history junkies.


Black Klansman
a film by Spike Lee

I saw this one last night. Certainly not a masterpiece but very well done. Some of it was really funny - and it was all based on a true story. Recommended!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Them ol' Whitaker Blues

"These are no ordinary times."
Eleanor Roosevelt

It didn't take der Donald very long to fire Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Anyone paying even moderate attention knew that the dirty old psychopath would do the deed after the midterms were over; but even as blatant a cynic as I was surprised at the speed with which it was carried out. Scarcely a day after the polls closed across Idiot Nation, poor old Jefferson Beauregard was sent a'packin. Trump never attempted to conceal his reasoning: Sessions had recused himself from oversight of Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign's possible conspiracy with a hostile foreign government to subvert the election process. Trump saw this as an act of disloyalty. Had he been smart (which, of course, he isn't) he could have saved himself a wee bit of face by saying that he gave Sessions the old heave ho because he is, in non-debatable fact, the most incompetent, racist attorney general in a century or more. He didn't. I guess he couldn't bring himself to even feign compassion for any minority.

Which brings us to Mathew Whitaker. For the past fourteen months he has been serving in the Department of Justice as Sessions' chief-of-staff. During that same period he's been unethically putting himself out in the public as a regular contributor to CNN. Several times he has come out publicly, not only on television, but in print against the Bob Mueller inquiry, at times referring to it as "a witch hunt". This is not something a paid employee of the justice department should be doing. He has already made his hostility to the investigation into the 2016 campaign quite public. The very fact that he's been chosen to replace Sessions is, in itself, an act of obstruction of Justice on Trump's part. It's the same reason he appointed a hapless stooge like Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Brett had said in an article he wrote for some law review that a president has the right to pardon himself. His selection was a foregone conclusion - as was Whitaker's.

There's a little problem with Whitaker’s “appointment” and that is the constitutional fact that an attorney general just can't be installed willy-nilly by the chief executive. He or she needs to be approved by the senate - a fact that Trump has either forgotten, or is unconcerned with. Either scenario is a distinct possibility. By now it is embarrassingly apparent that the president of the United States could not pass a seventh grade civics class if his life depended on it. Or - and this is more likely - he doesn't give a shit about the United States Constitution. In the twenty-two months he's occupied the Executive Mansion, he’s made that fact abundantly clear too many times to count.

Whitaker potentially has the has the power to sweep the crimes of the Trump Mob under the historical rug for generations - although not forever (you can't escape the cold and objective judgment of history). It's being said that we have entered a constitutional crises. That's incorrect. We've been in a constitutional crises since twelve o'clock noon on January 20, 2017 when this unhinged jackass entered the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. The only difference is that this week, that crises went up a notch - a huge fucking notch.

Ain't this something?

Tom Degan

First Lady of the World
From The Rant, 11/14/12

This week marked the fifty-sixth anniversary of the passing of Eleanor Roosevelt. She shouldn't be forgotten. Sometimes I get the sinking feeling that she is. I wrote this one six years ago:

We let her go to our own detriment.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Crisis is Here

As was predicted by DAMNED NEAR EVRYBODY, Jeff Sessions was fired as Attorney General on the day after the 2018 midterm elections. It's one of those good news/bad news scenarios. The good news is the fact that poor old Jeff will be remembered as one of the worst AG's in the history of Idiot Nation - although, to be fair, he's got a lot of competition from John Mitchell and Ed Meese for the title. The bad news is that he has been replaced by a Trump loyalist named Matthew Whitaker who as gone on record as being against the Robert Mueller probe. His appointment - like Trump's appointment of Brett Cavanaugh to the Supreme Court (who has stated that a president has the right to pardon himself) is a naked attempt at obstruction of Justice.
Constitutional crisis here we come.
The next few months are going to be the most harrowing and extraordinary times for this doomed country in many years. I'm not saying that the times will get as strange as they were during the American Civil war - that would be a stretch. But I can say beyond a half-a-molecule of doubt if that what is about to happen in America is going to make the sixties look like the Children's Hour. Mein Trumph's base is armed and dangerous - not to mention dumber than dog-shit and bonkers as hell. Oh, yeah. This is going to get quite interesting. Quite interesting indeed. Isn't modern America a hoot? This is going to end very badly.
There’s a little hope on this dismal Thursday morn….very little but that's better that's better than none, ay? We’ve been experiencing a near-constitutional crisis since the moment that this nitwit was inaugurated nearly twenty-two months ago. We’re about to step into the full-tilt crisis mode. I thought it would never get weirder than Dick Nixon. I was as wrong as I’ve ever been in my life. Watergate was a paper cut. This is a freakin’ bloodbath. We have held up a mirror to the American face and twisted smirk of Donald Trump is what is being reflected. I’m nostalgic for George W. Bush. Somebody shoot me please.
As a lot of us predicted two years ago when the American people stupidly sent this maniac to the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, this is was no a good idea. I never dreamed that I would live to be witnessing these things. We sure do live in interesting times.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Constitution of the United States - you know, that document in the National Archives that Donald Trump promised to "preserve, protect and defend"? Yeah, that one! If you still support this fucking mad man, there is no hope for you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Some Gentle Advice on this Election Day

Love and Peace.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Monday, November 05, 2018


"We must especially be aware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(Speaking words of wisdom)
To paraphrase John Lennon:

Will you remember? Remember?

Vote with all of your heart and soul. Vote with all of the energy you possess. Vote for the future of your children. Vote for the well being of the great grandchildren who might never even know your name. Vote as if your life depends on it - because it probably does. Am I exaggerating when I bring your great grandkids into the equation? Not at all.
Think about it: On Tuesday, November 8, 1932 the American people went to the polls to cast their ballots for president. The candidates from the two major political parties were Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and Republican Herbert Hoover. We all know the result of that election eighty-six years ago this week - or at least those of us who bother to learn our history know. Had Hoover won the day in 1932, this country would be an entirely different place in 2018. Had Hoover won the day all those years ago, the world would be a different place in 2018. Because of FDR, Hitler and the Nazis were ground up into mincemeat thirteen years after the election of 1932. Because of FDR our parents and grandparents are no longer driven into extreme poverty and despair when they are no longer able to work. Social Security is the most successful government program in the history of the world. As I write these words, a certain party is scheming to eliminate that very program. Guess which one?

We find ourselves in a situation today that no one could have dreamed of as recent as four years ago. American democracy is in serious danger of going the way of the Ford Edsel and the 8-Track Tape player. Unlike those products, I have a feeling that Americans will be quite nostalgic for their democratic institutions when they are gone. Call that a lucky guess on my part. In the last forty years, the Republican Party has been slowly but surely creeping toward the extreme fringes of political speech and philosophy. The pace of that movement has been at such a glacial snail's-pace that people who don't bother to pay attention to important current events (which is most Americans) were unable to notice the transformation. That someone like me could feel a sense of teary-eyed nostalgia for the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan is telling. As much as I despised the Gipper and the Trickster, I'd give anything to have either one of them back in power. That's how weird things have become.

With or without the approval of Congress, in the next two years Donald Trump is going to do much harm to the United States. It is my belief that Vladimir Putin's dream was to completely destabilize this country, and that Trump was (and is) his willing agent of that destabilization. We cannot allow this unhinged maniac to have unchecked reign over our government. That is what he is seeking and that is what most Republicans will grant him if the voters of this country allows that disgusting party to retain both houses of congress tomorrow. Count on it.

Finally a little message to the young people of America: I don't blame you for not taking me or any of your elders seriously. When we came of age forty years ago, our parents handed us the most economically prosperous and stable democracy in the history of humanity. And what is our generation handing over to you kids? A dysfunctional shithole. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic here, but I don't believe that it's too late to change the future in your favor. Tomorrow is the most important, consequential Election Day since that long ago November 1932. The youngest person who voted on that day would today be 107 years old. Voter turnout in that year was massive among all demographics - the youth in particular. Their participation in democracy still reverberates all these decades later. Do you appreciate the fact that Granny receives a monthly Social Security check? You can thank the long-dead voters of 1932 for that!  The youngest person voting tomorrow was born in the year 2000. If you're between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, you need to understand that your future is in jeopardy. Vote - and get out the vote!

It's later than you think, kids.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Early One Thursday Morn

I posted the following early this morning before the sun came up on the Goshen, NY Facebook page:

Someone attempted to murder me last night. And how was your evening???
At about a quarter to one I decided to drive up Route 17M to the Middletown Quick Check to get some take out. On my way back, I noticed that my vehicle was vibrating. Within seconds, almost opposite the Mid Hudson Psychiatric Center, it lurched violently downward. To my left I could see the driver’s rear wheel rolling rapidly into the darkness. As my cell phone was charging at the time, I did not have it with me to call for assistance. In recent years walking has become very difficult for me and I need to use a cane. I had neglected to take it with me and was forced to stumble home a mile and a half in the dark, falling down once.
I tend to drive very slow late at night. I was doing about thirty MPH. Had I been doing the suggested limit - or had another vehicle been approaching in the opposite lane when the wheel rolled toward it - there could have been one-or-more fatalities.
The jeep is still parked there while I wait for a towing company to open for business.
I live in an isolated area of the town of Goshen. I don’t reside in a residential district and have no neighbors to speak of. This was not an isolated prank. I am the author of a decidedly left-of-center political and current events blog that has gotten a little bit of national attention in the last two years. I have no other choice than to believe that this potentially lethal “prank” was in reaction to my political beliefs, which are - I’ll be the first to admit - controversial. I've been vandalized before, but not in a number of years. I've even received death threats but, again, not in at least eight years. That this could happen anywhere in America, given the times we live in, is to be expected I suppose. The fact that it could happen here in "Slow motion Goshen" is too sad for contemplation.

For whatever silly reason, the administrator of the Goshen FB page deleted the post within less than an hour. Although most of the responses were sympathetic, a few of them were unbelievably hostile. One claimed that I made the whole thing up to get publicity for this blog. Another implied that I was mentally imbalanced and was blaming Donald Trump. I'm almost certain that six lug nuts do not simultaneously remove themselves from a tire.
We sure do live in interesting times.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Are you ready for the punch line?

A half hour ago I took a cab to the site of the incident in order to leave the keys on the front seat for the towing company. When I looked inside, I noticed that my second cane was leaning against the passenger seat. It had been so dark that I hadn't noticed it. That really would have come in handy during the long walk back to my house. Do I feel silly!