Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Open Letter to the World

Marching on the tower, Michelle Wey quotes Charlie Chaplin
Hey there, world!

My goodness! What can I say? A long time ago someone remarked that when the United States sneezes, the rest of the planet catches a cold. Expect yourselves to be bedridden with pneumonia in a matter of months. To say that we inmates of Idiot Nation fucked up in 2016 is the understatement of the millennia. Electing Donald Trump was an electoral error of catastrophic proportions. I should say for the record, however, that (with the exception of the stupid haircut) comparisons to the rise of Hitler eighty-four years ago are way over the top. At least Adolf had good manners.
I'm nostalgic for George W. Bush. Somebody shoot me please.

Think about this for a minute, will you? Nearly three months ago, a significant minority of the American people foolishly elected as president a man whose reputation for corruption - not to mention sexual perversion - had preceded him by damned-near four decades. And today we find ourselves forced to contend with the nasty fact that, for the next four years at least, this unhinged sociopath will have his gnarled little fingers on the nuclear codes. What does it tell you about the intelligence of the American people when, in spite of the utter chaos of his first eleven days as chief-executive, a full forty percent of us feel that the hideous bastard is doing a competent job?

Please bear in mind that there are 1449 very long days to muddle through until January 20, 2121.

The latest blow to come crashing down from the trillion dollar shit-hammer occurred late last night when the Donald fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to execute the orders that would have banned all those of the Islamic faith from dipping so much as a toe upon our shores. Some of the people seeking asylum acted as translators during the Iraq war - at great risk to their own lives and that of their families. The Trumpsters accused Ms. Yates of "betraying" the Department of Justice. This Monday Night Massacre is only a twisted overture for what promises to be a very bizarre and disjointed opera.

Steve Bannon:
White "Supremacist"
Trump's choice for chief advisor and strategist is a Hermann Goering wannabe named Steve Bannon. Not only that, Trump wants this bloated buffoon to sit in on meetings of the National Security Council. Bannon is an on-the-record anti-Semite and an avowed believer in white supremacy. His only previous claim to fame was as a contributor the an openly racist website called "Breitbart". On an early-morning news program a couple of hours ago, someone likened this scenario to Barack Obama allowing an editor of BuzzFeed to sit in on National Security meetings. One can only imagine the shit-storm of righteous indignation from the far right that would have predictably ensued had he allowed something that completely weird to occur. Call it a hunch on my part, but I'm relatively certain that it never entered the former president's mind. That was the nice thing about Obama: His judgment was usually fairly sound.

QUESTION: Do you miss him yet? 

What can I tell you, World? This is the way it's gonna be for the next four years - or, at least until he's impeached. There are two problems with that possibility: Trump has left himself virtually immune from impeachment by selecting as his vice-president Mike Pence: a man so completely divorced from reality and common sense that one is seriously tempted to check his pulse for any signs of life. I'm reminded of forty-four years ago. In October of 1973, at the same time that the infamous Saturday Night Massacre was playing out, Dick Nixon's vice-president, Spiro Agnew, was being forced from office because of revelations that had been uncovered exposing his corruption while he had served as governor of Maryland during the sixties. Spiro was such a reactionary old imbecile that no one in his-or-her right mind would have even dreamed of removing Nixon from office. Once Agnew was gone, Nixon's presidency was toast and jelly. Within ten months Nixon was sent packing in disgrace, and Gerald Ford was the president of the United States. It's not too much of a leap to assume that there are similar skeletons dancing in Pence's closet. He is, after all, part of the vast criminal conspiracy known as the Grand Old Party.

The second problem with the impeachment scenario is the hardcore elements of the Tea Party base. These knuckleheads are going to stand by Trump no matter what. It's hard to envision a situation where many GOP politicians would risk their wrath - and the distinct possibility of their starting a third party out of sheer spite. Whatever the case, the next four years promise to be quite interesting indeed.

So there you have it, World. I hope you've been paying attention to the mass outrage that has been exhibited in the last eleven days - particularly by the women of America. This is all the evidence you need that the United States is not without hope (I think). I'm optimistic enough to believe that this tired old planet will eventually be saved, but it's only going to be saved by the women. We men have fucked things up so utterly and completely, that we have no right to ever expect to be taken seriously again. The twenty-first will be remembered as the century of the woman. This is as it should be. Get the heck out of the way, fellas!

....Oh, and carry on, World.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

"The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now, my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say: "Do not despair". The misery that has come upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish."
Charles Chaplin

from The Great Dictator (1940)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump World's Alternative Reality

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,
both in person and around the globe."
White House press secretary, Sean Spicer
Won't you come home, Ron Ziegler? Won't you come home?
When confronted on NBC's Meet The Press regarding the insanity of the Trump administration's insane refusal to accept the fact that the Donald's inaugural ceremony was attended by less people than Obama's in 2009, Kellyanne Conway hinted to Chuck Todd that the new administration would not tolerate hard questions from the news media in the future:
"I think we're going to have to rethink our relationship here", she told him, "You're saying it's a falsehood. And Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts  to that." An understandably flabbergasted Todd replied, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods."
It's going to be a long and interesting four years.

Trump's latest episode of paranoid fantasy has to do with all of those "illegals" who gave Hillary Clinton the edge in the popular vote. After being dared by certain members of the press to launch an investigation into it, he says that he is going to do so - this despite not a molecule of evidence to support his claim. Spicer, his own press secretary, could not even lower himself enough to admit that he agrees with him, only telling the media that the boss "believes" these idiotic things to be true. Expect this numbskull to be told "You're fired" in a very short time.

This morning we learned that Trump has put a gag on the Environmental Protection Agency. We are no longer entitled to know what is in the air our children are breathing or the water that they are drinking. Isn't that something?

Earlier today, a friend of mine named Christine Curry sent me a message listing the clinical signs of textbook narcissism:

• Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
• Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
• Exaggerating your achievements and talents
• Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
• Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
• Requiring constant admiration
• Having a sense of entitlement
• Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
• Taking advantage of others to get what you want
• Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
• Being envious of others and believing others envy you
• Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Do these traits possibly remind you of someone we know? The very fact that this deranged pervert still has a forty percent approval is unexplainable to me. Isn't it amusing living in Idiot Nation? When the truth looks you in the eye, you avoid its glare to your own detriment. It's time to wake up and smell the elephant shit: The president of the United States of America is as crazy as a bed bug.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


About a half hour ago I learned that Mary Tyler Moore has died at age eighty. The decade of the seventies were the dark ages as far as television comedy was concerned. Her program was a flower among the weeds. This calls for a serious contemplation of mortality.

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