Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Faux Tan Man

"Mr. Tan Man, lend me your ear
Your type of thinking, I find very queer...."

As sung by the Chordettes on acid

Who are the people who have run against John Beohner every two years since he entered Congress in 1990? I really must do a google search on this subject. Given the type of Congressman he is, these people, whomever they are, must have been perfectly horrible candidates. That can be the only possible explanation. The voters of Ohio can't be that dumb, can they?

It has just been reported that Representative Boehner's PAC has spent nearly $83,000 - this year alone - on "private" golfing events. This at a time when the unemployment and underemployment numbers in this country are at or over twenty percent. I suppose that would explain Johnny's perpetual tan. The boy's been getting a hell of a lot of sunlight lately, frolicking out there on the greens. As George Gershwin once wrote, "Nice work if you can get it." Very nice indeed.


"The Golf events this year sponsored by Boehner's Freedom Project political action committee have stretched from April until October, from Florida to Ohio. And the minority leader didn't hold his events at worn out municipal courses. The most recent outing was a $20, 921.34 event at the plush Robert Trent Jones track in Gainesville, Virginia, an invitation-only private club that was once home to the Professional Golfers Association President's cup."

According to the filings of the Federal Election Commission, the most expensive event cost the "Freedom Project" a total of $29,501.21. This was held in September at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a course designed by Jack Nicklaus. I wonder if they allow blacks and Jews to become members?

"The fact is, this country's going broke....We're spending money we don't have and passing it onto our kids, and at some point somebody's got to say, 'Enough is enough'"

John Boehner

Where was this jackass when the halfwit from Crawford, Texas was spending the United States into a bankruptcy so paralyzing there is no precedent for it in all recorded human history? Where was his outrage when when the Bush Mob plundered the nation's treasure by making war on a country (Iraq - just in case it slipped your mind) that was a threat to absolutely no one? Is he really serious? That's the really funny thing - he is.

John Boehner is as crooked as they come. Since the departure of Tom Delay he has become the corrupt politician's corrupt politician. He is the new face of organized political sleaze. Someday we'll all realize this. As hard as he may try, he'll never be able to escape the wrath of history. The fact that he has always been (I'll be polite) "ethically challenged" should not surprise anyone who's paid even scant attention to his career these past twenty years.

In June 1995, at a time when Congress was deliberating tobacco subsidies, he was busted handing out checks (bribes - let's be honest) from the cigarette industry to various members in a naked attempt to influence their votes. This incident occurred in plain view right on the floor of the House of Representatives. Is this a great country or what?

Which brings me to something else - not just about Boehner but politicians in general - and not just the Republicans but most of the Democrats as well. When are they going to end this sick and phony charade of being men and women "of the people"? To be sure, there are too many people all over America who are just stupid enough to believe such nonsense. Sarah Palin's book is at this moment the nation's Number One seller. And John Boehner wouldn't keep getting reelected if there weren't enough fools in his district who actually believe that he is on their side. But let's face some serious facts here: working in Washington on behalf of one's constituency is soooo mid-twentieth century. Why can't just one of them have the courage to come out and say it:

"Yeah! I'm a fucking whore for corporate America! What the fuck are YOU ASSHOLES gonna do about it???"

Now, that would show some real moxie! A politician who did that would get my nomination for the annual Profiles in Courage prize that is awarded by the Kennedy Library every year. I might even cast my vote for a person with such guts. I'm just a sucker for chutzpa, what can I tell you!

It's not as if they are attempting to even hide their corruption any longer. It is overt, out in the open and visible for all to behold - a truly transparent plutocracy. How could they be so arrogant? Why is their corruption so blatant? Because they have got us right the hell where they want us. The depletion of our system of education in the last three decades has paid handsome dividends for these humorless thugs. We have become a nation of morons.

You have got to give a tip of the hat to corporate whore John Boehner and the entire Right Wing movement. Not only do they have a huge segment of this once-great nation believing that the government is bad (an intelligent debate may be made on both sides of that topic) but that all government is inherently bad. When or if the day ever dawns that finds most Americans believing this nonsense, we might just as well rename our country, the United States of Anarchy.

Tom Degan


"Harold's Left" is a blog by a guy named Harold (DUH!) who also serves in the U.S. Military. On his home page he states:

"This is an outlet for American progressives who believe in hope over fear. Fear is the linchpin of the conservative movement and always has been. However, progressives believe in the hope of a more perfect union. The ideological battle between the right and the left has existed since 1776, and when progressives have prevailed, we have become a better nation for it."

His site is an absolute gem of wisdom and common sense and well worth your precious time. Here's a link:

Happy reading, campers!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin: Going Rove

If you will be kind enough to indulge me, I would like to propose a toast: Here's to Sarah Palin; may she never - EVER - go away.
I am going to go out on a limb here: No woman since Eleanor Roosevelt has done more to further the cause of progressive politics in the United States of America than has our Sarah.
Don'cha just love her? I sure do!
A woman in Texas by the name of Stephanie Garcia has a blog called,
Lady Steele, Modern Super Hero. Yesterday, in a posting aptly titled "Going Stupid", she offered her readers five different variations on the definition of the word "rogue" - courtesy of the good people at Webster's Dictionary:

1. Vagrant, tramp

2. A dishonest or worthless person: scoundrel

3. A mischievous person: scamp

4. A horse inclined to shirk or misbehave

5. An individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

This certainly begs the question: did she or any of the geniuses who surround her have the wit to even do a cursory look into into the definition of that word? And she wants to be president. Is this a great country, or what?

The lady is at it again.I have spent an unhealthy amount of time in the last fifteen months thinking about Sarah Palin. Is she for real?
Does she actually believe the nonsense she spouts on a daily basis? Is she insane or merely dumber than dog shit? Her latest contribution to America's shattered political conversation is her memoir, Going Rogue. The fact checkers who were given advanced copies of the book a couple of days before its publication seem to be unanimous in their opinion that it is drenched in distortions and baldfaced lies. She has picked up the fallen torch of Josef Goebbels and Karl Rove: The bigger and more outrageous the lie, the better it may be utilized to further the cause of one's idiotic political agenda. She has learned more-than-a-few lessons from the masters of distortion.

For the record: I have not read Going Rogue, nor do I have any intention of doing so. I have enough political non-fiction to keep up with to waste any of my time on fiction. That is the reason I never read Gore Vidal's historical novel on Abraham Lincoln. What's the point when there are so many great biographies? Besides, it's been quoted and dissected enough in the last twenty-four hours - by Liberals and Conservatives alike - that I'm able to draw some reasonable conclusions.

One such conclusion that is unavoidable is the woman's jaw-dropping shallowness. When telling the story of how she was confronted at one point with news reports that she and her husband Todd were going to divorce, one would think (indeed one would hope) that she would offer for the reader's contemplation a heartfelt description of her abiding love for her husband; how their union could not be tossed aside like some disposable camera - that she and Todd took their wedding vows seriously. No, there was none of that....

"Dang, I thought. Divorce Todd? Have you seen Todd???"

TRANSLATION: If Todd gains fifty pounds, he's toast.

Thirteen years into their marriage,
Eleanor Roosevelt was confronted with her husband's affair with her social secretary (and distant relative of mine - I come from a long line of home wreckers) Lucy Paige Mercer. After contemplating divorce, it was decided that they would continue their union. Years later, she confided to her friend, Joesph Lash, the reasons for saving their marriage. They were many and complicated. This, I can assure you, was not one of those reasons:

"Dang, I thought. Divorce Franklin? Have you seen Franklin???"

Ah, substance!

The book offers all sorts of lame explanations as to why the Republicans got their heads handed to them at the polls a year ago - and conveniently avoids the unavoidable: the choice of this idiotic woman to be "one heartbeat away from the presidency" will go down in history as the most profound political blunder of the era. The very fact that she was perceived as a viable, competent candidate is further proof (as if further proof is really necessary at this late point) that the Republican National Committee has been overtaken by maniacs. Did they actually believe that she was up to the task? You bet'cha!

"What do you read?"

That is not really much of a "Got'cha" question, is it? Obviously you would be able to answer it in a heartbeat: "Well, among other things I read 'The Rant' by Tom Degan." (And don't you dare deny that you read it. You're reading it now, GOTCHA!) Ask me the question and I would be able to give you a fairly long list without batting an eye: Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The Nation....I typed that out without a moment's hesitation. And those are just some of the publications I read. So why is poor Katie Couric being condemned by the diva of the Klondike for making such an "unfair" inquiry?

I think that the more relevant question would be this: how come the Governor of Alaska and nominee for so high an office could not answer so basic and simple a question without the benefit of notes and Que Cards?

"What do you read?"

The fact that she was unable to improvise an answer is quite revealing. I mean, who the hell hasn't heard of Time or Newsweek? She couldn't even come up with "The National Review" - the Bible of the right wing! Even Mad Magazine would have been appropriate under the circumstances. If it weren't so funny it just might be a tad disturbing.

The most interesting and intriguing thing about all of this is the total absence from the book's pages of the name, Levi Johnston, Sarah's none-too-bright, former/future son-in-law and the father of her grandson (whom he happily admits was named after the rock band, Van Halen, and his favorite hockey equipment company - genius). He says that his obviously ghost-written and devastating portrait of the Palins in
last month's Vanity Fair was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This is one kid she really should avoid pissing off. Better to omit him from the text entirely.

It is a given that Sarah Palin will not be going away any time soon. Does she have a shot at the nomination in 2012? Unfortunately the answer to that question is: probably not. Oh! But what a gift that would be! The final nail in the coffin of the right wing as a viable political force in this country. But I believe in miracles, and I'm going to pray that the Republican base shrinks between now and then to such a horrifying degree that the nomination is hers for the asking.

Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing? Can you even imagine?

Tom Degan


Eleanor and Franklin
by Joseph Lash

It was also made into a two-part, television movie in 1975 starring Jane Alexander and Edward Hermann in the title roles. It is available on DVD.


The geniuses at Google Ad Sense have decided that since this is a piece on Sarah Palin, they should advertise her book at the top of the page. Don't waste your money.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A party by any other name....

....would whither and die. As Gomez Adams would say, "Capitol idea, Tish!"

So, this is the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, huh? That is (to be polite) a bit of a stretch, wouldn't you say so? To imply as much is like saying that Beach Blanket Bingo was a remake of Battleship Potemkin; or that Wayne's World was an adaptation of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich - a silly proposition any way you slice it or dice it. Why don't they just rename it "The Tea Party" and be done with it? Or how about (in homage to Monty Python) "The Silly Party"? Anything but the Republican party. It only soils the memory of two great Presidents.

Then again, what's in a name? The damage has already been done and it may very well be irreparable. This was proven yet again on Tuesday in the so-called "New York 23" election, when the extremists from all over the country stormed into town to defeat a woman who was deemed "too moderate" for the half-witted hardliners. They ended up handing a congressional seat over to a Democrat in a district that has not gone Democratic since the nineteenth century. Way to go, assholes!

Who the hell is leading that worthless party anyway? Michael Steele? Please. Mitch McConnell?? Have another sip. Their "leadership" (such as it is) may be found in the form of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann. Is it the goal of these clowns to destroy the GOP in order that it may be rebuilt in their own, hideous image? If that is the case they're in for quite a surprise. That nutty party is already "in their image". Are they serious when they imply that they wish to move it even further to the right? How "far right" can one move before one falls off of the face of the earth? Are they serious? Here's the good news: They are.

When the grand old party was handed over to the lunatic fringe of American politics at their convention in the summer of 1964, it was only a matter of time before it was destroyed from within. Who would have thought it would take forty-five years for that to happen? Better late than ever, I suppose - but DAMN! Did they have to take the rest of us down with them?

In his column in Monday's New York Times, the usually astute Paul Krugman ended that morning's piece with this extremely rare (for him) clunker:

"The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here - and it's very bad for America."

No, Paul! BAD PAUL! What is happening here is very good for America! Can't you see? The Republican Party - the party of Strom Thurmond, Jerry Fallwell, Jesse Helms, Spiro Agnew and Ronald Reagan (all mercifully dead) - IS IN THE PROCESS OF COMMITTING SUICIDE! There is no other way to describe what is now happening to them! Professor Krugman, I admire you as much as any writer I can think of - but you must understand that this will not be "very bad for America". Trust me on this one, okay? Good Paul!

All over the print and electronic media this week, the poobahs and pundits are predicting major Republican gains in next year's elections. What is their basis for so bold a prediction? Historically, the party of a sitting president always loses in the midterm elections. It is as natural as autumn following summer. However, they fail to take into consideration one crucial factor: this is no ordinary time.

Given their weird behavior in the last year or so - and given the fact that they will only continue to self destruct in coming twelve months - I cannot foresee them gaining any serious ground in either the House or the Senate on Election Day next. In fact I can only see their numbers diminishing even further. By this time next year, Michele Bachmann will be yesterday's news - count on it.

We can only hope that out of the carnage of the GOP's destruction will come a third party that is a tad more moderate and thoughtful - and I must emphasize the word "Hope". That ain't never gonna happen, baby! It's easy to predict that the Democrats will be running things for a long time into the future. The problem with that little scenario is, as Lord Acton said, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - and the Democrats already have more-than-their-share of corrupt political hacks. For every Russ Feingold there are about ten Max Baucuses. If the Democratic Party is going to be taken seriously in their self-proclaimed roll as the "the party of the people" (and that's getting harder to believe by the day) they need to be purged of their dead weight.

Real reform is needed. And it's not just the GOP of which I speak. The overwhelming majority of our elected representatives - from both parties - need to be challenged in the primaries by reformers intent on taking our country back. That might also mean a challenge to the President in the primary of 2012. It is too early in this administration to give Barack Obama anything but the benefit of the doubt. We'll see where we stand a year or two from now. I want to believe in this guy - and I do believe in him - but the sad and painful truth is that I am starting to become disillusioned with my president.

In case you haven't noticed it, the entire American legislative branch has been taken over by organized criminals. But I'm preaching to the choir here. You have noticed, haven't you! Good for you! The most glaring comparison I can come up with is the mafia. Everybody knows what those worthless sons-of-bitches are all about. Everybody knows they make their living off society as parasites - and yet they operate right out in the open. How much of a no-brainer is it to conclude that lobbying is nothing more than legalized bribery? It's not free speech - it's organized crime! Why is it allowed to fester? Why are you and I allowing it to fester? What the hell is wrong with this picture? Any ideas? Any answers? HELLO, AMERICA???

In the mean time the ship of state is only going to continue to sink. That's alright by me, though. As long as I've got material to write about, I am as happy as a clam at high tide, thank you very much. For someone like me who makes his name writing about the catastrophe that the American political system has become in the last thirty years, these hideous fools are the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving....

As Frank Sinatra once sang, "Don't worry 'bout me, I'll get along."

Tom Degan


Capitol Crimes
From Bill Moyers' Journal
Available from PBS Video


Darlene Costner is a retired eighty-four year old woman living in Tuscon, Arizona. She writes a blog called Darlene's Hodgepodge that - in its sweet little way - kicks some serious butt. Highly recommended! Here's a link:

The gal takes no prisoners - again, in a very sweet and loving way. Happy reading, campers!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tea Partiers

"This bill is the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the nineteen years I have been here in Washington"

John Boehner
November 5, 2009

The greatest threat to freedom in nineteen years? Oh, dear!

I derive a great deal of pleasure from doing what I do. But there are a few points of extreme unpleasantness to be sure. One of these is the fact that I am forced to spend a lot of time thinking about people like John Boehner. The greatest threat to freedom in nineteen years? Where was this asshole on September 11, 2001? Or when the Patriot Act was passed for that matter. Where was this fool in 2000 when the Supreme Court put a stop to the vote counting in the state of Florida and installed the Bush Mob in the White House? The greatest threat to freedom in nineteen years? Have another sip, Mr. Faux Tan Man.

Another convention of half-witted, pissed-off and clueless white people stormed into Washington, DC yesterday determined to destroy the type of health care reform that - if it goes into effect - will surely save the lives of most of the protesters who were in attendance (or their loved ones). It was the sort of weird, indescribable spectacle that makes the train-wreck of American politics (not to mention the got-busting stupidity of so many Americans) such a perverse delight to behold these days. Let's face it: crazy people are always loads of fun to watch - and the jackasses who showed up in Washington yesterday didn't disappoint.

At least one person held up a huge sign that showed a pile of bodies, victims of the European holocaust of the thirties and forties. Above this gruesome reminder of humanity's capacity for evil were the words:


Isn't that sweet? That seems to be quite a popular thing to do these days - equating anything connected with this administration and this president to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? But the highlight of the day (for my money anyway) was Congressman John Boehner. He held up a copy of what he claimed was his own personal copy of the Constitution and proceeded to quote from "it":

"We hold these truths to be self-evident - that all men are created equal."

That's not from the Constitution, Johnny. That's from the Declaration of Independence - which was written thirteen years earlier! Were we able to go back in time to 1966 - when I was in the third grade
- I could have told you that then, too. When we've gotten to a point where our elected representatives can't even get basic American history right, we're in, as Harry Truman liked to say, "one hell of a fix."


The crowd (which was invited to the event by everyone's favorite extremist poster girl, Michele Bachmann, during an appearance on FOX Noise) could have been hired form Central Casting for all anyone knows. Although some of the signs they held up were crude, homemade affairs, a number of them were professionally made and more-than-likely distributed by the politicians who planned the event. The size of the crowd was estimated by the police to be between three and four-thousand people. Examining all of the news footage I could, I did not see any African American faces among the protesters. That is not meant to imply that there were none there - I am most certain that there were a handful of token Uncle Toms placed in strategic locations throughout. There always are:

"Hee! Hee! Hee! Oh, Mistah White Folks, you sho' is sly!!!"

"I would love to have every one of your viewers join me so that we can go up and down through the halls. Find members, look at the whites of their eyes and say, 'Don't take away my heath care.'"

Michele Bachmann
October 30, 2009

"The whites of their eyes"??? As in: "Don't shoot until you see...."??? What the hell is it with this imbecilic woman and her penchant for violent language? This is the same idiot who less than a year ago said on national television that she wanted to keep people "armed and dangerous" on the subject of taxation. Nice!

What is happening (just in case you failed to notice) is that many of the far-right extremists - within Congress and without - are inciting the brainless masses to violence. Does that sound overly alarmist on my part? As Eliza Doolittle said in My Fair Lady, "Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait." Given the current explosive atmosphere which certain Republican members of Congress have made possible with their irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric, another domestic terrorist incident akin to what happened in Oklahoma City in 1994 is not only possible - it's damned-near inevitable.

When that happens - Oh, brother! - watching the Republican spin machine surge into overdrive will be quite amusing to say the least. Mark my word
s: there will be more-than-a-few sleepless nights at Rupert Murdoch's media corporation. Trying to pin the blame for something like that on the Liberals is going to be a tad tricky to say the least. But so brazen are these people you can be sure that they'll give it the old college try. I can see it now....

A small organization of disgruntled Birthers decide that they are going to save their beloved nation from the Big, Black, Bolshevik Bogeyman. They concoct a scheme to blow up a government building in - South Bend, Indiana; Davenport, Iowa; Goshen, NY - take your pick. They make their move just when people are arriving for work. Over one-thousand men, women and children perish in the massive explosion. All of this is done in the name of Jesus Christ, by the way. Go figure.

That night Glenn Beck will look his viewers in the eye and say:

"My friends, can't you see how the evil left wing is driving the good citizens of our beloved country CRAZY?"

The following afternoon, Rush Limbaugh will literally be foaming at the mouth - a side effect from psychopathic, righteous indignation and habitual narcotics abuse:

"I lay the carnage of yesterday's massacre at YOUR DOORSTEP, Liberals! You did this to the good people of [South Bend, Davenport, Goshen]! Their blood is on YOUR hands!"

Would something as horrible as another homicidal attack on our government by a Tim McVeigh wannabe spell certain doom for the loony right wing? More than likely. When that happens, the American people will finally have had enough - which once again proves the old adage that behind every dark cloud there is indeed a silver lining.

As Uncle Bobby Zimmerman once said in a slightly different context, a hard rain's a-gonna fall, baby.

Tom Degan


I apologize for the lag between the last posting and this one. I have been in the process of moving to a new location and have been consumed by the effort. Between the years 1989 and 1996, I moved at least once a year. In 1993 I moved twice! I don't know how I found the strength to do it.

This is my first piece written from my new home - smack dab across the street from an adult book store and a tattoo parlor - a perfectly lovely location. I moved into the place and property values actually went up - that's how bad the neighborhood is! The house is very nice, though. 2590 Route 17M, Goshen, New York. Stop by sometime.