Friday, April 26, 2019

The Ongoing Constitutional Crisis

As it now turns out, the Mueller Report didn't absolve The Donald from any wrongdoing. The special prosecutor left it up to the Congress to take matters into their own hands - to do what the law and the Constitution mandates them to do. I thought it was revealing that Trump's reaction to the results of the long-awaited findings went from "vindicated" last week to "total bullshit" this week. None of us who have bothered to pay attention to this train-wreck of an administration for these past two, very long years, should be a bit surprised by the schizophrenia of the White House's position on a day-by-day basis. This is precisely what we signed up for on Election Day 2016. The demented chickens have come home to roost.

And now we have the spectacle of the president of the United States - in flagrant violation of the Constitution - is ordering that members of his administration (current or former) ignore congressional subpoenas requiring them to testify about what they may or may not know regarding this administration's behavior since taking office. This would seem to me to be an impeachable offence in itself. After all, on January 20, 2017 Donald Trump took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".  This is all fairly straightforward as far as I'm concerned. What part of that oath are some people unable to comprehend?

And while we're on the subject, if President Trump was as innocent as he and Attorney General Barr are implying he is, why were the two of them so determined to keep the non-redacted version of Team Mueller's report from the prying eyes of those nosey American people? When Barr held a press conference that coincided with the report's release, he proved himself to be Trump's willing stooge. That is how history will remember him. No matter what mountaintop accomplishments he is able to achieve with whatever life is left to him, he will never be able to shake this nasty incident from his historical reputation. As of this afternoon, J. Mitchell Palmer, John Mitchell and Ed Meese don't look quite as reprehensible as they once did. As they say, context is everything, you know?

The national train-wreck is still in motion. The untenable situation that the United States currently finds its poor self in is only going to get much worse before it gets half-a-molecule better. I often try to speculate how long-lasting the damage done by Donald Trump to this country will be. Coming as relatively soon as he did following the disastrous era of George W. Bush, between the two of these psycho-clowns, one would have to concede that the bitter fruits of their incompetence will still be felt generations from now. This is as it should be, I guess. The voters who sent these corrupt jackasses to the Executive Mansion will get what they deserve. It's their children that I feel bad for.

It's always the children. Have you ever noticed that?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Man Who Sold the World:
Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America
by William Kleinknecht

This excellent critique of the fiasco of the Reagan Revolution was first published ten years ago. How it possibly evaded my attention then is anybody's guess. As good a book on the subject as I've ever read. Here's a link to order it off of Amazon:

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Pete Buttigieg


With spouse Chasten Glezmen
It is with more than a smidgeon of trepidation that I throw myself into the tank for the candidacy of the mayor of my late mother's home town, Pete Buttigieg. My hesitation has nothing to do with the man's sexuality. Twelve years ago when Barack Obama announced that he was exploring a possible run for the presidency in 2008, I was reminded of the song from Man of La Mancha, The Impossible Dream. Although I conceded that he had a chance to take home the big prize, I knew that it would be an uphill battle. A black man with a Muslim middle name sandwiched between two African names was going to face a few unique hurdles to be sure. Following the two disastrous terms of George W. Bush anything was possible. Today the possibility of being an eye witness to President Pete's inauguration in less than two years is not half as preposterous to some as it would have seemed only a decade ago. Following the worst president since the founding of the republic, the American electorate (historically not the most enlightened lot) are liable to send a gay progressive to the Executive Mansion for no other reason than an act of mass desperation.
My hesitation regarding the Buttigieg run has more to do with the man's appearance. Let's face some serious facts here, campers: the guy seems too good to be true. Although I have never regretted voting for Obama during the campaigns of 2008 and 2012, he turned out to be  bit of a disappointment in more-than-a-few instances. I don't want to appear to be the fawning admirer today as I was then. I'm a bit older and (I hope) a heck of a lot wiser. You grow, you know? 
Over There
As impressed as I was with Barack's credentials eleven years ago, Pete's resume is something else indeed: Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, Afghanistan veteran, concert pianist - and he's able to read seven languages and is fluent in four of them. Compare that to the current occupant of the White House who barely makes himself understood in English. When watching him being interviewed on television, his thoughts are articulate and precise, which is somewhat of a rarity these days. It is obvious that Pete Buttigieg is brilliant. That is not an exaggeration on my part. Look him up on YouTube if you think that it is.
It was my cousin, Margaret Clements, who first made me aware of this brilliant and innovative mayor about a year ago. She was on hand the other day when he threw his hat into the ring at South Bend's old Studebaker plant. My admiration for him has only increased in the ensuing months. Obviously the fact that Pete is gay is not going to go over too swimmingly in most (but not all) traditional red states. And yet I believe that when enough voters have a good look at the man, and listen to what he has to say, it's not to much of a stretch to think that enough of them will be able to put aside their pre-conceived notions to give him a chance at the presidency. On the surface, this Midwestern mayor is what can only be described as a "dream candidate". His devotion to Christianity is proof that the Religious left, as personified by people like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, is reawakening from a long and troubled slumber.
"President Pete". It sounds good to me.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This is the first thing I've posted in over a month. I broke my arm and could barely raise it to the keyboard for the longest time. We're getting better all the time.


One-hundred and thirty years ago today, Charlie Chaplin came into the world. Here's a link to a piece I wrote five years ago on the 100th anniversary of his entrance into the movies:

Smile though your heart is breaking....