Thursday, January 19, 2017

Au Revoir, Mr. Prez!

Casting my vote, 2008
So much has happened. It might as well have been fifty years ago; at least, that's how it seems to me. On the night that Barack Obama was elected on November 4, 2008, the elation I felt over the idea that a nation that was built upon the bloodied backs of African American bondage had just elevated to the presidency it's first black man seemed too good to be true. For weeks I was walking on air. But as the days leading up to his inauguration went by, that feeling of elation began to slowly dissipate. By January 20, 2009, it was gone, That's when it hit me:
What's this president going to be doing for the next eight years, I asked myself? The same damned thing that black people in this country have been doing for the last four centuries - cleaning up the mess left behind by lazy and ignorant white people! What's the big freakin' deal?
I was expecting the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt with this president, and ended up disappointed. Most of the blame for what he left unaccomplished lies at the feet of the disloyal opposition. He might have done so much more but for the fact that the right wing in congress were determined to destroy his administration. Much as they tried, they didn't succeed. Given all the obstruction (I dare call it "treason") he had to contend with, it's a miracle he was able to accomplish anything. And through the storm, he and Michelle - and those two extraordinary kids - handled themselves with the utmost grace and dignity.
But as much of a disappointment to this crazy lefty that he might have turned out to be, I never - not for half-a-second - regretted casting my vote for Barack Obama. But for all the obstacles that were thrown in his path, he might have been remembered as a great president. Perhaps he will be. At the very least, historians in  the not-too-distant-future will remember him as "near great". Of that I have no doubt. He certainly was the most competent chief-executive of my lifetime - and I've been around since Eisenhower.
I could write more about this but I'm tired and not in the best of moods this evening. In the wee small hours after his election eight years ago, I wrote a piece called "Wake Up and Face the Dawn". This one might very well have been called, "Wake Me When It's Over". The fact that this able and decent man will forever be sandwiched in the history books between George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump is too sad for contemplation.
Every day, the ramifications of this electoral catastrophe become clearer and clearer. I am no longer comfortable living in a country so civically irresponsible that it would send a man as horrifically corrupt, unhinged and unqualified as Donald Trump to the White House. I am so utterly depressed tonight I can barely articulate myself. And to think what we might have been....
God bless and good luck, President Obama. You'll be missed more than you know.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to the piece I wrote early in the morning after that historic Election Night eight years ago:

I cannot believe our luck has gotten this bad. I don't know what else  to say.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Onward, Idiot Nation

We're still not one-hundred percent certain what, if anything, Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump that would subject him to blackmail for matters of sexual indiscretion. Here's what we know beyond a millimeter of doubt:
1. Trump's praise of the Russian dictator over the last two years would be surprising from any candidate campaigning to become the next president of the United States. Coming from a so-called "conservative" it was absolutely astonishing.
2. Trump's support for a GOP platform at the convention, calling to end support for the Ukraine which is at this moment fighting Russian separatists is equally puzzling.
3. Trump's nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, a man without a molecule of diplomatic experience - is troubling in light of the fact that Exxon and Russia stood to make as much as half a trillion dollars from an oil deal that was given the kibosh when President Obama put into effect economic sanctions on that country due to its interference in the sovereignty of its neighbors.
4. Donald Trump is a common pervert. 

The consensus of opinion among the punditry for why so many of these stupid white Americans were so insanely desperate to send this corrupt, unhinged sociopath to the White House is simply because "they wanted to send a clear message". Well, thanks a heap, folks! Your message has been received loud and very clear indeed: "We're a nation chock full of halfwits and racists". Lovely.

The initial source behind the charges was a "very credible" former official in British intelligence. The BBC is now reporting that there are, in fact, four sources - all of them credible. And to think that this jackass will - barring a miracle - soon be living in the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Isn't this fun to watch?

I'll say it again: If this hideous, clueless degenerate takes the oath of office in one week, this country is finished. These are depressing events, the likes of which so many of us never dreamed we would live to witness. It's quite a lonely thing when one is an intelligent person living in Idiot Nation.

I'm amazed that, given the behavior of the pervert-elect since Election Day last, I have yet to detect much (if any) buyers remorse on behalf of the people who were so heartbreakingly clueless as to think that electing Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton was a particularly nifty idea. They'll understand easily enough when the bazillion dollar shit hammer comes a'crashing down upon all of us - those of us who were smart enough to understand the threat that a Trump administration poses for the future of our children - and the less-than-half of the rest of you who were too knee-slappingly dumb to figure it out. My sympathies are - and shall remain with - the former. The saddest victims of America's mass, electoral insanity are, of course, the children. The hearts of those of us with an IQ above room temperature should be breaking for them.

A number of years ago, the Republicans in congress came up with a dandy euphemism for the one percent of this doomed republic. Loath to proclaim that they did not want to raise taxes on "the rich" or "the wealthy", they came up with this guaranteed humdinger: "The Job Creators"! Ain't that something? They now have a new one for sites on the internet (like the one you are currently reading) that are giving the public information that they would rather you not know. They now bemoan, "The epidemic of Fake News". I smell a decomposing rat. Could this possibly be a nasty harbinger of even nastier things to come? Could legislation be around the corner outlawing all of these "fake" news sites? They're at least thinking about it; I'm as sure of that as I am my own name. Do not make the mistake of putting an idea that horrible past these disgusting bastards and bitches. The Patriot Act was merely a grim overture. Get ready for the shit storm: Like it or not, it's coming.

This is not paranoid speculation on my part. They've already gutted the Voting Rights Act, making it nearly impossible for millions of African Americans and the poor (the traditional progressive constituency) to cast their precious ballots - and they did so while a black Democrat was living in the White House. Assuming that they might come down hard on our First Amendment rights - or even going as far as "suspending" the constitution - is merely the next, quite logical step. Keep your eyes wide.

Golden showers fill your eyes....

As far as the allegations of Russian/Trump complicity are concerned, it would be unreasonable to assume that Donald "Grab-'Em-by-the-Pussy" Trump would not be capable of that kind of weird behavior. Remember, this is a guy who, up until very recently, was being sued by a young woman who claimed that she was raped by Trump and a friend (who is now in prison, having been convicted of child sodomy) at a private party on Long Island when she was even younger - thirteen, to be precise. She says that she was forced to withdraw her charges when she began to receive credible death threats. I  seriously wonder if it's merely a coincidence that, in the two months since his election, reports of sexual assaults upon women are up nearly twenty percent in America. 

Do you have a thirteen-year-old daughter? Did you support and vote for Donald Trump? Are you perfectly content with the fact that she is within five years of going out - alone - into Donald Trump's America? If your answer is "yes", then what the hell is the matter with you? You're either a pervert or a fool. Give me some time to figure out which.

And while you're at it, kiss this fucking country goodbye.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Fifty-five years ago tonight, January 13, 1962, the brilliant video visionary and comedian, Ernie Kovacs, was killed in an automobile accident in West Hollywood. He was only forty-two. The link below is to a PBS tribute series that was first aired in the Spring of 1977.

He literally invented the music video. This installment is called "Kovacs on Music" It must be seen to be believed. 

The photograph below of Ernie with Buster Keaton was taken on the last day of his life. Over a half century without Ernie Kovacs has not been an asset to this dreary world.

Ernie and Buster, 13 January 1962

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Repeal and Replace? WITH WHAT?

Your tax dollars at work
Here's the bad news: In the next four years, a lot of innocent people are going to die needlessly.
Now for the good news: This time around, the dead will not be only foreigners with brown skin and Arabic names. I just wanted to give you a little something to look forward to.
Onward, Idiot Nation.
Affordable Care - "Obamacare" as they always sneeringly referred to it - will soon be going the way of the 8-Track tape cartridge. The Republicans are attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of their idiotic constituency by saying that they're going to replace it with something even better. Of course, they have no plan to replace it with anything. My guess is the right wing is hoping that, by this time next year, the completely dumbed-down American people will have forgotten all about the fact that, for one brief shining moment in the history of this doomed republic, health insurance was affordable for the masses.
"This great nation will endure as it has endured. It will revive and will prosper. So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is - fear itself"
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4 March 1933
All bets are off. This once-great nation is toast. "Make America great again"? These psychotic imbeciles cannot be serious.

It's no longer a debatable point: Yesterday, Donald Trump was given an Intel briefing at his throne inside Trump Tower in New York City. The heads of every major intelligence agency in America confronted him with the incontrovertible evidence that he is only headed for the White House on January 20 because he was installed (via the hacking of the DNC computers) by the ruler of the former Soviet Union. Can you even imagine the mass freak out that would have ensued had Barak Obama entered into the presidency under similar circumstances? They would have lynched him on the spot.

I spoke to my cousin last night, who informed me that more-than-a-few of the locals are in a blind rage at me for the brutality and profanity of my language in the wake of this latest example of mass, electoral insanity (Goshen, New York is still an exceedingly conservative little town). I can only paraphrase the great, abolitionist writer and editor, William Lloyd Garrison, who, on the eve of the American civil war wrote, in effect, Do not expect my language to remain moderate in the wake of this oncoming cataclysm. 

You won't recognize this place in four years. Good going, America. I'm going back to bed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Worst of the Rant

In the shadow of the old man
Time  yet again for another merry, year-end stroll down memory lane. Didn't 2016 suck? Well, guess what: 2017 in only going to be worse. Isn't it amusing living in Idiot Nation?

January 4:
When [Bill Cosby's] obituary is written in a time not terribly far off, he won't be remembered primarily as "America's favorite dad", or as "one of the great humorists of the twentieth century" (a title which I believe he deserved). There will be no two-hour documentaries on the life and groundbreaking career of Bill Cosby - as is the case with Chaplin, Keaton, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. There will be no more lifetime achievement awards for Bill. Nothing.
January 15:

This is not 2000. Back then, very few observers (myself excepted) could perceive what a complete fool and incompetent Dubya was. Things are a lot different today. One look at the clown bus that is the 2016 Republican primary is all one needs to wash away any lingering doubt about Bernie's electability. (Spell Check is telling me that "electability" is not a proper word. Screw them). Last week, the only GOP candidate even remotely qualified for the presidency, George Pataki, dropped out of the race. He wasn't even registering in the polls. What does that tell you about "the party of Abraham Lincoln"? It's a pretty bleak picture to be sure.

January 18:

I have a record of some of Dr. King's speeches (Yeah, I still listen to vinyl - so sue me!) Sometimes, when I'm feeling depressed about my country (which, fortunately, is only when I'm sober) I'll give it a listen. Whatever my frustration level may be when I drop the needle on Side One, by the time the tone arm of my turntable edges its way down the play-out groove of Side Two, I always end up feeling a little better about America. That we can produce a man such as this is cause for hope, I suppose. Maybe, just maybe, such a person is within out midst at this very moment; gently reaching out to the better angels of our nature. Maybe we're just not listening.
Shh. Listen....
January 20

They told us that the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare", as they sneeringly termed it) would be unworkable, that it would plunge the economy into the abyss. That prediction has blown up in their clueless faces. Not only is Obamacare working, its success has startled its most optimistic adherents. That it needs to be improved is beyond a doubt; but millions of people are today insured who never would have had the chance if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won in 2008 or 2012 respectively. The Affordable Care Act has already saved countless lives. Rejoice, kiddies.

February 3:
I'm not at all alarmed at the prospect of a Cruz candidacy - amused, yes, but hardy alarmed. In fact, I hope he gets the nomination this summer. There is nothing in the realm of the most twisted possibility that I can foresee that would be as delightfully weird as Ted Cruz playing the part of the right wing's standard bearer for 2016. The guy is so extreme and vulgar that, for people like me who thrive on this stuff, a Cruz run would be a demented dream come to life. Oh, please, fate....
February 10:
The fact of the matter is that I just don't trust Hillary Clinton. That is not to say she would be a terrible president, it's just that I know that her attorney general - not unlike Eric Holder - will not be prosecuting the Wall Street bastards who have made a sport out of plundering the American economy these past thirty-plus years. It would be an entirely different scenario with Bernie in the White House. Hillary is a good woman, and no serious person doubts her intellect. But as a progressive her credentials suck. If she is the nominee I'll be voting for her come Election Day, what other choice will I have? Look for me at the polls; I'll be the one holding my nose.

February 15:

It must not be ignored that if Antonin Scalia is not remembered down through the ages as "the worst justice of modern times", you can bet the farm that he and Uncle Clarence Thomas will share that dubious prize. He might have been possessed of "a brilliant legal mind", as so many are saying, but it was a mind nonetheless warped by his own fears and prejudices. He should not have spent a single hour of his time on earth passing judgment on anyone - let alone an entire nation. 

February 29:

Let's face some serious facts here, folks: For sheer comedy, it doesn't get much better than old Ted - it really doesn't! The difference between him and Joe McCarthy is that, sixty years after his death, McCarthy only looks comical in hindsight; at the time he scared the shit out of most thinking Americans. Teddy Boy, on the other hand, is the Buster Keaton of unintentional comedians, right up there with Sarah Palin and anyone named "Bush". He really should be given the Mark Twain Prize.

March 2:

But the biggest non-surprise of the evening were the victories of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Money and name-recognition: it will never fail in the long run. Generally, most Democrats are delighted with Secretary Clinton's showing last night. Their glee may be a tad misplaced. Although an intelligent woman, she is (and I'll put this as gently as possible) a jaw-droppingly awful candidate. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). When compared to Bernie, Hillary's progressive credentials are paper thin. Her presence on the ticket as standard-bearer for the Democratic Party could very well be enough to make liberals like myself stay home on Election Day. Her victory last night is yet another personal reminder that I did the right thing leaving that party in 1998. For the record: I'll be voting on Election Day 2016, come heck or high water - you'd better believe it  - but I'll be holding my nose.

March 12:

The passing of Nancy Reagan this week has rendered the American people, yet again, nostalgic for the days of Ronniemania. I was never a fan of the gipper; in fact it has always been my opinion that the damage the old freak did to this country was so immense that it would never be accurately assessed - we're talking incalculable here, kids! And yet, even I (and I'm loathe to admit it), have found myself these past few days looking back upon the Reagan years with a nauseating sense of twisted longing. Even Dubya is starting to seem marginally palatable to me. Can you believe that? Give a starving dog a piece of rancid sirloin and the poor creature will eat it every single time.
March 16:
The biggest news last night (although the least surprising) was the withdrawal from the race of the GOP's golden child, Marco Rubio. Say what you want about the poor schlub, at least he was smart enough to see the writing on the wall. When he was unable to carry his own state of Florida, it was all over. The story of the implosion of the Rubio campaign illustrates perfectly the utter ideological chaos of the Republican Party. As comically right wing as the senator is, he just isn't extreme enough for the imbeciles and crazy people who have hijacked "the party of Abraham Lincoln". It is now a two-man race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump - two of the most unstable candidates in American history. Although the least nauseating of the bunch, Rubio never stood a chance. If that very fact doesn't scream untold volumes about the state of conservatism in America, nothing will.
March 25:
I've read enough biographies of Richard Milhous Nixon to know that he was a really smart guy - one of the smartest men to hold that office in the twentieth century. Even his most ardent detractors concede that he wasn't stupid - arrogant, yes - but very intelligent. I also know that he was psychologically unbalanced and that he never should have gotten within ten feet of the Oval Office. To think that for over four decades, generations of Americans, most of them African American  or Hispanic, have suffered needlessly under our insanely punitive drug laws for no other reason than Dick Nixon's desire to score some cheap political points and win re-election in 1972.  It defies any and all senses of human decency. We need to stop apologizing for this vile, contemptible bigot.  
March 31
Recent video postings by Sarah Palin have been very amusing on the one hand, and quite disturbing on the other. It would appear that the poor soul is becoming a bit unhinged - that is to say - more unhinged than we've come to expect. It is amazing when you consider that, less than seven years ago, a major American political party chose this shallow, incurious woman to be second on their presidential ticket. Sarah Palin in 2008 was merely a prelude to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in 2016. John McCain will be eighty years old on August 29 of this year. To think that she might have been "a heartbeat away from the presidency" at this very moment is enough to give the most strongest of constitutions the dry heaves. We really dodged a bullet there, folks.
April 6:

Would Hillary Clinton be a decent president? I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is that her credentials as a true progressive are paper-thin, and that she has an unsettling coziness with Wall Street and the banksters who have made a sport of plundering the American economy for over three decades. If she is the next president of the United States (and this is not merely an assumption on my part, it's a stone-cold fact) not a single one of these bastards will be prosecuted by the Clinton II justice department and sent to prison for their crimes against the American people. That won't be the case under President Sanders - you'd better believe it, baby. A whole lotta chickens are gonna be doin' some serious roosting!
April 17:
Squirrelly Man
On Election Day 2008, I really was naïve enough to believe that Obama would practically be the second coming of FDR. That didn't turn out to be the case. That being said, I have never regretted voting for the man, and as we near the end of his tenure, I have to concede that he's been a pretty good president. But I wanted more. You see, I was pining for greatness. Considering all of the nonsense he was forced to put up with, I suppose we ought to cut the guy some slack. When the history of these times is written in the not-too-distant future, Obama's legacy will stand fairly tall, while his detractors - the McConnells, the Boehners, the Palins, et. al. - will all end up looking like psychologically deranged little squirrels. No amount of revisionism will be able to white wash their legacies. For the past sixty years, the extreme right wing has been trying to do just that with Joe McCarthy. You will be kind enough to notice that it hasn't worked out too well for them. Old Joe still languishes at the top of history's scrap heap where he belongs - and where he'll remain.
April 26:
On some YouTube site this morning, a well-meaning but utterly clueless Sanders supporter claimed that "she is not the Democratic Party." This poor guy has missed the point entirely. The problem with Hillary Clinton is that she is the Democratic Party. She's one of the reasons I left the Dems eighteen years ago next month. With donkeys like her, who the heck needs those elephants? They long ago forgot that they're supposed to be the party of FDR. They're not any longer. That's been the case for a very long time - we're takin' decades. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren are the exceptions. They've never been the rule. Perhaps that might change, but I'm not going to hold my breath. In the mean time we're forced to contend with the Hillary Clintons and the Chuck Schumers. I need a drink.
April 30:
Here is (yet again) another example of the Democrats' genius for turning champagne into donkey piss. They were handed - on a silver platter - the most visionary candidate in their history (more than FDR even) and they have told him, in effect, to take a flying leap. Someone like Bernie Sanders comes around only once in a lifetime. Here's the good news: The next time a candidate of Bernie's vision comes down the pike, the Democratic and Republican parties will both have been consigned to history's garbage bin. There's a dandy thought for you. Good riddance to them all.
May 6:
Within a few hours of Trump winning the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz took himself out of the running. The following day, John Kasich bowed out. I received an email yesterday from a woman named Jaime Brewer, who lives in Princeton, Indiana. She told me that she was moving back to her home town of Clay City, Illinois. She said that she was not meant to live in so broken a state. I could relate. I used to be proud of my Hoosier heritage (my late mother was a native of South Bend). Not so much anymore. The Midwest was at one time a pretty progressive region. That was then. This is now. 
May 14:
[F]ifty percent of the electorate are not likely to vote for any candidate in November who would deny the president the opportunity to perform what is, after all, his constitutional duty as chief-executive. This is also as it should be - given the warped mindset and ideological makeup of the mutant clowns currently inhabiting the House of Reprehensibles. They've never quite come to terms with what they perceive as "that evil, commie nigger" sleeping in the same, big WHITE house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was once occupied by their sainted, feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor. Absurdist theater at its finest.

May 24:

Less than half of this country is barely smart enough to understand that they have been sold down the river by their elected "representatives", while most of the rest are too utterly stupid to comprehend what has happened to them. Does that statement sound a bit extreme for your tastes? Take a gander at the presumptive Republican nominee. 'Nuff said?
May 31:

The GOP is on the verge of nominating a dangerous and delusional sociopath to the office of the presidency.

I am not a Democrat; I left that worthless party eighteen years ago this month and never looked back. And I'm certainly not an admirer of Hillary Clinton. She is - beyond a molecule of doubt - the worst candidate the Democratic Party has ever nominated in their almost-200-year history. But even a corrupt, corporate stooge like Hillary is preferable to me when placed in comparison with Trump - to a certain degree....I guess.

I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but I have to be realistic. Barring another major scandal (you never know with those goddamned Clintons) he's not going to be the nominee. My only solace is the knowledge that, as bad as her term in the White House will be (and it will be bad - mark my words) we will survive Hillary Clinton. A Donald Trump administration might well mean the End of this country. Remember, you read it here, folks. 

June 10:
The most ironic thing about this whole mess is the sad fact that the Dems were handed this year - on a silver platter, mind you - the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history, and they blew it. Leave it to those silly Democrats: Give them two clear choices and they'll make the wrong one every time - and that would include every nominee since 1980. Damned-near all of the polls had Bernie defeating Trump very easily in November. That's not the case with Ms. Clinton. A few polls are showing her barely neck-and-neck with him.

Neck-and-neck with Donald Trump. Can you imagine?
June 13:
As I speculated on May 24, an epidemic of political assassinations of a few fat and corrupt members of the House and Senate would more-than-likely put an end to this madness. Come to think about it, I get the giggles contemplating how fast federal legislation would fly out of the House of Reprehensibles, banning these lethal, rapid-fire, people-killing machines if something that dreadful were to happen. We're talkin' overnight. Can you imagine how many innocent children's lives would be spared in the years to come? Fifty-thousand? One-hundred-thousand? That wouldn't be such a terrible trade-off, come to think about it. Of course, there are today so many of these guns on the street due to the fact that in 2004, the village idiot of Crawford, Texas - stupidly - let the assault weapons ban expire, it would probably take at least a decade before any tangible results were noticed. Keep voting Republican.
June 22:
Folks, it's time to sit down, take stock, and have a nice, long overdue, national heart-to-heart. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" is now an organized criminal enterprise. If the events of this past weekend didn't convince you otherwise, you're beyond hope. Only a kook or a fool can ignore it any longer. When faced with the worst public health crisis in American history (worse, in fact, than the polio epidemic of the twenties and thirties) Republican politicians opted to make the crisis even  more deplorable. For nothing more than reasons of self-interest, they chose - yet again - to appease a domestic terrorist organization. That's all the NRA really is. They and the Republican Party are two networks spawning national dysfunction that need to be done away with - fast. This cannot continue. We cannot become accustomed to this appalling situation. Make them pay for what they have done to this country.
June 27:

One of the things a reputable sociologist might possibly explain to us is, in the post-Hitler world we're supposed to be living in, how something like a Donald Trump presidency could possibly happen. It's certainly beyond my ability. And don't try to tell me that comparisons to der fuhrer are an overreaction.  Both men rose to political prominence by exploiting religious hatred, racial prejudice and economic paranoia; both were megalomaniacs and narcissistic; both were sociopaths and completely ignorant on the subtleties of diplomacy - and both had really stupid haircuts. I don't believe for a minute that Trump is going to be elected in November, but it sure is unsettling to contemplate how close we've come to elevating to ultimate power a character as darkly Hitler-like as this uncouth nitwit. At least Adolf had good manners. It kinda makes you wonder, huh?
[UPDATE: 12/30/16: At the time I wrote this, I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. I never will again.]
July 6:
For a political insanity junkie such as myself, 2016 turned out to be the most deliciously fruitful of years. I remember thinking that 1980 was the ultimate in surreal political theater. A feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor as the candidate for a national political party? They'll never top that! But they did; and every four years the clown car show kept getting stranger and stranger - and more depressingly ominous. The Republican Party has been inching itself - slowly but all-too-surely - toward Nazi territory for the last three-and-a-half decades. The inching has been so stupefyingly slow, that most people have barely noticed the change. Is that an exaggeration? Look at the presumptive nominee! Look at his following! Compare them with Ronald Reagan and any of his rallies thirty-six years ago!  From the perspective of a battle-hardened lefty, Ronnie is starting to look fairly reasonable when compared to the right wing of today. Now that's pretty scary!
July 12:
And congress? As I said after the carnage at Newtown nearly four years ago: Don't expect them to do anything to change. Still, the people of Dallas may take some comfort in the knowledge that the "thoughts and prayers" of the corrupt politicians on the NRA's payroll are with them.
July 14:
We arrived at the FDR Library and Museum at around noon. The first building one enters is called the "Henry Wallace Welcoming Center", which is named for FDR's second vice-president (He had three of them!) There is a larger-than-life-sized photograph of Mr. Wallace's smiling face at the entrance greeting visitors as they walk in. Do you think that there's a "Dick Cheney Welcoming Center" at George W. Bush's library in Texas? I would think not. Who the hell in his-or-her right mind would even go near the joint with Chaney's face snarling at them from the entranceway? Would you subject your children to something that weird? I ask you.
July 22:
Trump is a student of political theater. He has studied the GOP campaign process quite closely, and he understands - as anyone who seriously studies it  can easily understand - that the only way a candidate is able to receive  the Republican presidential nomination these days, is by stumbling around the country - with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth - saying a lot of jaw-droppingly mean and stupid things. The only candidate to come close to the Donald in sheer meanness and stupidity was Ted Cruz. That's why Cruz was the only other contestant left standing in Indiana back in May. It was there that poor old Ted folded his cards. Trump had seen to it that he wasn't going to be "out-stupided", not even by a hideous Neanderthal like Ted.
July 27:
The person I feel the sorriest for this morning is Bernie Sanders. His revolutionary campaign today lies in ruin. Had the main-stream-media and the Democratic National Committee not been in confederacy against him (as I believe they were), had every person who desired to cast their ballot for him been allowed to do so, he would today be the nominee. I also believe that he would have cleaned the Donald's clock on Election Day; every poll had him doing as much. As it stands, Ms. Clinton is now barely neck-and-neck with the guy. What the hell does that tell you?
July 30:
But for the time being anyway, let's give Ms. Clinton the benefit of the doubt; and let's not forget the maniac that Republicans all over this diseased nation have chosen to run against her in this positively strangest of political years. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. At that moment in time, I was possessed of the crazy notion  that the American people would never be silly enough to elect an idiotic frat-boy like George W. Bush to an office as important as the presidency of the United States. As it turns out, I was entirely correct about that notion. He won simply because, as governor of the crucial state of Florida, his brother was able to remove fifty-thousand African Americans from the lists of eligible voters. I guess poor ol' Jeb regrets that little bit of chicanery! Had Dubya lost in 2000, Jeb might very well have been the nominee today. Isn't that funny? Instant Karma's gonna get'cha, Jebbie!
August 2:
It bugs me when people, to this day, (serious writers even) refer to Lenny Bruce as "a dirty comedian". He wasn't that at all. In fact, it is my belief that Lenny was the closest thing American humor has ever produced to being a free-form poet. That he was profane there is no denying. When one's vocation is to call attention to the sick society we all still inhabit a half century after his death, profanity is unavoidable; in fact, at times it can be essential. Lenny might have been "a surgeon with a scalpel for false values", but sadly, he was never able to provide us with a cure. Fifty years later, we look out upon the landscape to find that this sick society has only gotten sicker in the ensuing decades.
August 14:
Please, someone kindly explain to me how we went from there:
"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
To here:
Fair scare and starving yours again, our feather-brained farce upon incontinence, a neo notion, deceived in Librium, and desecrated to the prostitution that all mein were cremated awful.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
August 27:
All available evidence tells us that the House of Reprehensibles will remain in the clutches of the GOP during the years 2017-2019 - and for the foreseeable future. The American people have yet to learn the lesson they should have learned a century-and-a-half ago about the inevitable economic disaster that always comes of right wing governance. But it should be conceded that it's not only the electorate that is at blame: This unfortunate situation is the end-result of years of the unconstitutional gerrymandering of congressional districts in states that are controlled by the Republicans. The key to victory for that disgusting party is, primarily, watering down the black vote. An area in any of these states that has a high percentage of people with dark skin, usually (conveniently) finds itself at the intersection of as many as four or five congressional districts, which are (conveniently) mostly white. As a result, the people most vulnerable get hurt even further by lack of representation. This is not a coincidence.
September 8:
It is unsettling to me when I consider the fact that there are a number of people that I know personally - whose intellects I respect and admire - who are openly supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. This is a fact that I've found myself wrestling with as the weeks heading up to the November election come upon us. What is it? Could it possibly be a mere anti-Clinton reflex that is as innate as Pavlov's doggies salivating at the bells of doom? Or is it something a little more complicated than that? Whatever it is, I have yet to figure it out.

September 15:

Let's face it, folks: Conservatives in this country have gone bat-shit-crazy. When the Republicans finally do fracture into a million itty-bitty pieces in a matter of a few short years, that will be a real opportunity for progressives to get to work remaking America's badly decimated infrastructure. If the Democratic plan for the future is to continue in their current guise as "Republican Lite", their certain destruction is imminent. By nominating Hillary Clinton in 2016, they are not off to a particularly good start. If the Dems are unable to detect the boiling rage just beneath their traditional constituency's surface, they will detect it pretty goddamned soon enough. You'd better believe it.

September 22:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: FDR was a radical left-winger. His administration was literally oozing with radical left-wingers. Historians generally regard him as being one of the greatest president in the history of this republic. That's not a coincidence.

September 28:

A mere forty-one days separates us from this moment to when the polls open to the public on the morning of November 8. And while one month and ten days can be an eternity in politics, don't count on any unpredictable scandal that's going to change the fact that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States....I hope. Although, as I've said many times, I'm not in ecstasy over the fact that she is the "progressive" standard bearer in this race, the alternative is too horrible to think about. President Trump? If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that's sure going to be oodles of fun to write about. If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that road, I'll be the only person I know personally who will benefit.


October 5:

It's amazing how with the passing of the years, time goes by more quickly. it doesn't seem possible that nearly eight years has come and gone since Mr. Obama went to Washington. I'm not going to lie to you: this president has been a major disappointment in a lot of areas. But, given all he has had to contend with - particularly the complete idiocy of the Republican opposition - he and his family have held themselves up admirably, with great dignity and grace. Will he be remembered as a "great" president? I don't know the answer to that question; but it's a cinch he'll at least be remembered as "near great". That's not a bad showing either. History will have a lot to say about "The Obama Years". I can't wait to read some of it.

October 11:

Here is how the Donald has even further debased our already thoroughly debased culture: On page 12 of this morning's Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY - my local paper - they quoted him by using the words "fuck" and "pussy". That has never happened before - not in that paper. This candidacy is too strange for words. I never dreamed I would live to see the day when I would be nostalgic for George W. Bush. The bar just keeps getting lower with these people.

October 18:

What is happening in the United States in 2016 is very ominous indeed. The plutocratic forces that own this country are setting a precedent of fear and intimidation. The message has been sent and received: Don't you dare fuck with our agenda. It's enough to make any thinking person tremble with fear and loathing to contemplate how bad this situation might get if Donald Trump is elected in three weeks time. Thankfully, that's not ever going to happen.

[UPDATE. 12/30/16: It happened - Idiot Nation]

October 21:

Did you ever get the feeling that you were living through an amusing nightmare? You can't make this stuff up. That's a good description of American politics in 2016: "An Amusing Nightmare". If I ever write a book about this era, that'll be the title.

November 3:

It's impossible to believe that the people of this doomed country (at least the ones that vote) are, quite possibly, within less than a week from electing the most Hitleresque candidate to come along since der fuehrer himself. Don't make the mistake of dismissing that last sentence as a wild exaggeration from an unhinged lefty. The fact of the matter is that for the last half century, the Republican Party has been crawling - ever-so-slowly and ever-so-surely - toward an insanely dark and disturbing place. If you've yet to notice this undeniable phenomenon, you haven't been paying attention. A Trump administration might be just the thing to awaken you from your apathetic slumber.

November 8:

And to think it has come to this. I'm not-at-all certain who is going to be declared victor at the end of what I know will be a very long day. I've so little faith in the civic intelligence of my fellow countrymen and women that a Donald Trump victory late this evening won't phase me in the least. In fact I'll be able to make some tasty lemonade out of those nasty lemons. If the Donald wins this thing, I'm the only person I know of who makes under a million dollars per year that will benefit handsomely.

November 9:
The Democratic Party needs to disappear forever. Early in the primaries, it was obvious that they had within their grasp the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history in the form of Bernie Sanders - and these idiotic Democrats blew it. At the time of the convention, every poll had him beating the Donald decisively, while Hillary was barely neck-and-neck with the guy. Bernie might have been the nominee but for the Democratic National Committee's sabotage. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton should go into permanent hiding. We want to be reminded of them no more. Go away. Go away. Go the fuck away.

November 17:

On the morning of Election Day, bitter experience had me nearly resigned to the possibility of a Trump victory by day's end. When Dubya was reelected in 2004, no one paying attention could have doubted that he was the most insanely incompetent chief-executive in the history of the republic. When I received the news early the next morning that John Kerry had gone down to defeat, that was the moment I finally realized that these stupid fucking Americans were capable of just about anything. The star of a reality TV show is now the president-elect of the United States of America. The Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party are this morning celebrating. Think about that.

November 23:

A woman on Facebook posted an ominous comment yesterday regarding an acquaintance of hers  who is a German exchange student studying in the Los Angeles area. This person received a communication from his parents instructing him to come home immediately. The reason?
"America has fallen." 

Well now! Doesn't that just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside? The times they certainly are, uh, "changing".
December 13:
I had been predicting for a decade that George W. Bush would be remembered in history as the last Republican president. A century ago the journalist, H.L. Mencken, warned us against overestimating the intelligence of the American people; I plead guilty to just such an overestimation. In the nineteen-thirties, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a totalitarian overthrow of the Unites States called "It Can't Happen Here". Well, guess what: It's fucking happened here.

Good bye, America.

 December 19:

There are an awful lot of people who should have been a bit more careful what they wished for. Maybe they don't understand the ramifications of their error now, but they'll understand them soon enough. The bazillion dollar shit hammer is about to hit the fan. In four years you won't recognize this place. I can't wait to see the looks of mass-shellshock on the faces of so many Americans. That'll be the funniest thing of all. So many of them and their elected representatives  will attempt to blame the economic carnage that is surely coming on Barack Obama. Blame the nigger. It works every time. Why do you think there are so many innocent black men in prison in this country? C'mon, folks! Put on your thinking caps!

December 29:

After the complete failure of the Bush years,  I was naïve enough to believe that America might finally have learned its lesson. The first piece I wrote on this site ten-and-a-half years ago predicted that Bush would be the last Republican president. I was still making that prediction as late as the summer of 2016. I should have remembered the words of turn-of-the-century journalist, H.L. Mencken, who once famously observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." After this calamitous year, I promise you that I'll never again stray far from such sage wisdom. I'm suspecting that the Donald will be reelected in four years, and I trust that the inmates of this doomed republic will be just fine 'n' dandy with that.


So there you have it, kiddies: A wrap-up of Idiot Nation's worst political year since 1968. I really do hope that all of you have a happy new year - but I cannot fathom how the heck that will be possible. Good luck!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Auld Lang Syne
by Guy Lombardo

Give it a spin at midnight tomorrow for  the sake of old times.

We'll taste a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An Amusing Nighmare

What, me worry?
But you tell me over-and-over-and-over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
Barry McGuire

It happened again early this morning, as it has on so many mornings since November 9. I awoke at 2 AM from a not-very-fitful sleep and the first thought on my mind was: That was just a terrible dream, right? That did not really happen, right? I don't really reside in a country where so huge a segment of the population are so fucking, gut-wrenchingly dense, that they would hand over the nuclear codes to a corrupt, unhinged, sociopath and pervert like Donald Trump, right? That didn't really happen, right? RIGHT???
Wrong. I walked over to the bedroom window to take a look outside. There it was, outstretched before me, an endless landscape that mocked the senses:
Idiot Nation.
As horrifically brutal and depressing as the next forty-eight months will undoubtedly be, there is at least one slender and fragile silver lining to be mined from America's electoral stupidity: They sure aren't going to be boring! As has been historically proven each-and-every-time the right wing has ever been able to seize all three branches of the government, the economic destruction of this diseased country is virtually assured. It may be a terrible thing to behold, but it does not make a psychologically healthy person yawn. Societal carnage has a way of keeping one on his-or-her toes, you know what I'm talking about?

Of course, it's almost a given that, when the economic cataclysm does indeed come crashing down right at their front doors, these very same, heartbreakingly dumb and clueless Americans will find some way to place the blame for the disaster at the feet of the man who, for seven-and-a-half years, has led the United States through an unprecedented surge of economic growth. Just in case you might have lost count, that amounts to ninety consecutive months, folks. Expect these trends to begin to reverse themselves before the summer is upon us. You may also reasonably expect the economy to completely collapse before the year is out. Within that very same frame of time, don't be too surprised to find yourselves nostalgic for George W. Bush. It's going to be that kind of time in America. Bad craziness indeed. Brace yourselves for the storm.

And speaking of the halfwit from Crawford, Texas: As alarmed as I was at this time sixteen-years-ago when the disgusting little thug was in the process of packing his gear for the move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I never - for a moment - doubted that we would survive him. Now, I'm not so sure. Donald Trump's major contribution to Dubya's political legacy is that Bush would only have to languish for a relatively short eight years, tied with James Buchanan, for the dubious honor of being remembered as the most incompetent chief-executive in the history of human mediocrity. In no time at all, Trump will surpass them both. Count on it.

He has already begun to staff his administration with anti-Semites and white nationalists. Honestly, if you're not seriously alarmed by what's ahead for you and your loved ones, you're either (1) too mean and stupid to be fully functional in polite society, or (2) you haven't been paying attention.

NOTE TO MY FRIENDS WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP: As far as you're concerned,  I would like to believe it's the latter of the two.

After the complete failure of the Bush years,  I was naïve enough to believe that America might finally have learned its lesson. The first piece I wrote on this site ten-and-a-half years ago predicted that Bush would be the last Republican president. I was still making that prediction as late as the summer of 2016. I should have remembered the words of turn-of-the-century journalist, H.L. Mencken, who once famously observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." After this calamitous year, I promise you that I'll never again stray far from such sage wisdom. I'm suspecting that the Donald will be reelected in four years, and I trust that the inmates of this doomed republic will be just fine 'n' dandy with that.

So there you have it, folks: Another thrilling adventure in the action-packed life of Idiot Nation. Such weird times we live in, ay?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

This woman is my latest crush. It doesn't get much better than Samantha.


Prepare to laugh loudly.


Debbie Reynolds has passed away - one day after daughter, Carrie Fisher. It doesn't get much more poignant than that, does it? I always thought that she was lovely. Eddie Fisher was a putz for dumping her for Liz Taylor. Seriously.

That Hollywood is fading away.