Monday, January 31, 2011

Twit from the North Country

I will say the only words I know that you understand, my Michele: You're a dunce.

"We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil, and it was a scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forebears who worked tirelessly - men like John Quincy Adams - who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."
-Michele Bac

What the....DID SHE JUST SAY THAT???

So, the Foundin
g Fathers ended slavery, huh? She is off by years. Roughly four score and seven years - give or take a few. She also pegged John Quincy Adams as one of "the very founders that wrote those documents." He must have been quite the child prodigy. When the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, John Quincy Adams was one week past his eleventh birthday. Should it surprise any of us that she got him confused with his father - John Adams? For the record: On January 31, 1865, when the House of Representatives passed the Thirteenth Amendment that outlawed slavery forever, John Quincy Adams - the guy who "would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country" - was resting quite comfortably indeed. He had been dead for nearly eighteen years.

 American history is lots of fun - and relatively easy. The fact that slavery did not end during the Federalist period but immediately following the Civil War is kind of a no-brainer; the sort of thing that most kids understand by the third grade. It's quite revealing that Michele Bachmann can't even get this History 101 subject right. It's also quite funny. She is one of the reasons that my life today is such a joy. All of that unintentional comedy! I hope she never goes away.
What is i
t with the people of her district? How could they be proud of the fact that this quarter-witted fool is their representative in the hallowed halls of congress? Minnesota, after all, is the state that gave us Bob Dylan, Jessica Lange, Walter Mondale, Judy Garland, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Sinclair Lewis - not to mention Patty, Laverne and Maxine - the lovely Andrews Sisters. That's a pretty impressive list any way you slice it or dice it.

Minnesota is also the home of my beloved kin - the fabulous Tuma family of St. Paul. For that reason alone it rates high in my book.
Hi, cousins!

 Maybe we should cut the place some slack, Michele Marie Amble Bachmann was, in fact, born in Waterloo, Iowa on April 6, 1956. While I was doing a little research, trying to figure out how anyone can get this stupid in less than fifty-five years, I came upon a revealing clue: She received her law degree from Oral Roberts University. That would explain volumes, wouldn't it. I've noticed that many alumnus of that Christian school have a somewhat warped view of reality. And yet a lot of them manage to graduate without retaining so much as a remedial understanding of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth - Michele Bachmann for instance. If that weren't the case she wouldn't possess such a mean and spiteful view of the country she claims to love so well. Oral Roberts University must be an interesting place. I'd like to party on that campus one of these days.

Much of the blame for the "scourge" of Michele Bachmann must be laid at the door of Chris Matthews. I love the man. He is just about the smartest son-of-a-bitch commenting on politics today. But I really have to chide him for "discovering" her. Ms. Bachmann was a deservedly unknown congresswoman in October 2009 when he invited her on his program "Hardball" for an interview. It was there that she called for an investigation of all the Democrats in congress for their "un-Americanism". Under normal circumstances such an idiotic statement would have hurled her right back into obscurity. Instead, the GOP made her a star. Life is funny that way, you know?

This past week was a high point in Representative Bachmann's twisted career. Not content to let her party's hierarchy respond to President Obama's State of the Union speech, her demented illusion of self-importance concluded that the entire country was beside itself anticipating what she had to say. Although the networks ignored her babbling comments (with the curious exception of CNN) the following morning it was all everyone could talk about. It was as if the GOP's official response (delivered by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin) had been wiped from living memory.

Once again a headline hunting extremist from the fringe of the "party of Lincoln" had stolen the spotlight and diverted the message. Life is beautiful.

She claimed in her little speech that the deficit "exploded under President Obama's direction." Apparently this nitwit was asleep between the years 2001 and 2009. Indeed it seems the entire tea party movement was in a coma during those years. By the time they woke up from their long and clueless slumber, instead of facing reality head on, they decided to take the historically tried and true path of blaming the black guy for their woes. It's a lot easier that way, you know.

I have this dreaded fear - that one day in the not-too-distant future, historians will record that the United States of America began - and ended - with a tea party.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


And speaking of my cousins the fabulous Tuma family of St. Paul, Minnesota:

If you happen to find yoursel
f wandering near the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey this evening at 6:30, Nicole Tuma will be giving a flute recital. She's the daughter of my cousin Katie Clements, and her husband Randy Tuma. I have heard Nicole play. The gal is brilliant!

For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Naughty, left wing propaganda. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Fading Progressive Voice

I'm going to miss Keith Olbermann. I didn't watch Friday night's program because I went to bed earlier than usual. As a habit, if I miss one of his broadcasts I will watch an early-morning rerun of it. That wasn't an option this time. Every Friday night at the stroke of midnight, MSNBC goes into stupid mode with their idiotic exploitation documentaries. On the weekend it becomes worse than FOX Noise (if that's even possible). I only found out about Keith's departure from the network late Saturday morning. Although this news saddened me, I was hardly surprised. Given his courageous stand on the most controversial issues of the times in which we live, it's a miracle he lasted as long as he did.

I was ecstatic eight years ago when Olbermann returned to MSNBC after a hiatus of several years. Back in the nineties, during the height of the Clinton Impeachment/persecution, he was one of the very few voices of reason on the mainstream television airwaves; an oasis of enlightenment - and humor??? Lord, the man was funny! Lenny Bruce meets Edward R. Murrow.

We don't know the reason for his leaving. Mountains of speculation have been offered, but nothing is yet confirmed. Was he forced out by management because of the imminent merger with Comcast? Was it a despute over money? Or was he simply burned out? His beloved father died last year and it was obvious that his long illness took an emotional toll on the son. Been there. Done that. Who can say for sure why he is leaving. This much is certain though: The few left-of-center voices crying out in the wilderness are rapidly diminishing. This is not a good thing for our national political dialogue. How's that for understatement?

Truth be told, I never trusted MSNBC's image as an island of progressive reason in the ocean of right wing foolishness that the American airwaves have become in the last thirty years. The only reason they decided to "turn left" was simply because in the beginning they tried to outfox Fox - and they failed miserably at it. Some of their early programming was beyond absurd. Have you forgotten "Watch It with Laura Ingraham" or "Alan Keyes is Making Sense"? Hats off to you if you have. I've spent the last decade trying to forget them and - so help me Father Coughlin - I can't. They even, very early on, gave a half an hour each w
eek to Michael Weiner Savage! Even Fox never stooped that low!

No, they we
re losing their shirts trying to position themselves as Fox Lite. They turned to the progressives out of sheer desperation. They timidly dipped their tiny little toes into the waters of Liberalism in 2002 with the Phil Donahue Show. Finally they had a ratings winner! I still have two installments of that program on videotape, and I can assure you that it was excellent. There was only one slight problem: General Electric - which owns MSNBC - which is a member-in-good-standing of the Military Industrial Complex - didn't care for the fact that old Phil wasn't particularly gun-ho over the Bush Mob's plan to illegally invade the sovereign nation of Iraq; in fact he was dead-set against it - and he made no secret of his displeasure in the interviews he gave. Donahue was out in the street before he knew what hit him. MSNBC's ratings once again plummeted into the toilet.

Eventually, the geniuses at the network realized they had no choice: They couldn't beat FOX at their own game so they decided to counter attack: BRING ON THE LEFTIES!

Chris M
atthews has been there from the beginning. Matthews leans slightly to the left and is just about the smartest commentator out there. But astute as he is, they needed more. What they needed was a heavy-hitting, unapologetic L.I.B.E.R.A.L. The kind of person who would give Grover Norquest the heebie jeebies. That's where our man Olbermann came in. The guy was made-to-order for people like me who were pining for an authentic, progressive voice who wasn't merely broadcasting from an obscure, 1000 watt AM radio station in Burlington, Vermont (Nothing against obscure, 1000 watt AM radio stations in Burlington, Vermont mind you). We wanted - we fucking needed - a Liberal knight in shining armor. Enter Keith Olbermann.

He did the job for eight years and he did it brilliantly, an
d with a flair for the visual that Ernie Kovacs would have envied. He spoke truth to power (something a good journalist is supposed to do after all) and in doing so, he pissed off a lot of really powerful people. Also, there was nothing that could drive the right wing blogosphere as apoplectic as the very mention of the words "Keith Olbermann". He was (and is) our champion.

When Keith left MSNBC in the late nineties I thought that he was gone forever, but in 2003 he was back and better than ever. Maybe we'll see him again - or hear him. There's always radio. Whatever the venue, we need Keith Olbermann like a tonic

I'll be drinking an old fashioned Irish toast to you tonight, Keith! I'm gonna miss
The Worst Persons in the World and Oddball and Fridays with Thurber. The tone of your voice in the Special Comments segment could get just a tad shrill at times, but who could blame you? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were running the county. You should read some of the stuff I wrote while they were driving this once-great nation into the dirt! It was hard not to lose control of one's composure with those two hideous bastards running the country....See? There I go again!

Since the demolition of the Fairness Doctrine thirty years ago, the progressive point-of-view on America's airwaves has diminished to the point that it's now almost non-existent. For every Thom Hartmann you have at least twenty Rush Limbaughs. It's a dire situation that is getting worse with each passing year. And it wasn't exactly a spirit-lifter when Air America failed a couple of years ago. The people's airwaves have been stolen by the plutocracy, and they don't plan on giving it back. Take it back.

Tonight at eight o'clock, for the first time in eight years, I'll be watching an episode of
The Simpsons.

"Good night and good luck".

Tom Degan


The Worst Persons in the World
by Keith Olbermann

by A.M. Sperber

Thursday, January 20, 2011

JFK: Fifty Years Later

"Let the word go forth from this time and place - to friend and foe alike - that the torch has been passed to a new generation of American: Born in this century; tempered by war; disciplined by by a hard and bitter peace; proud of our ancient heritage - and unwilling to witness or permit the small undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world."

John F. Kennedy
January 20, 1961
Fifty years ago today

"Bring 'em on!"

-George W. Bush, Summer 2003

"Darwin was wrong."

-Mort Sahl, 1988

The "ask not what your country can do for you" bit I never thought to be one of that speech's strong points. Although it is striking in hindsight for its call to sacrifice (Can you imagine a politician doing that today?), it was never much more than a sound bite I think - a catchy quotation that would sound good on the radio and evening news programs. There is so much more to John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address than the one line that everyone remembers.

"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

It is ironic that the death of Sargent Shriver this week should fall on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of his brother-in-law's inauguration. As the decades pass, John Fitzgerald Kennedy recedes further and further into the mists of history. May 16 of last year marked the first day that he has been gone from this life longer than he lived it. Recent months also saw the death of Ted Sorensen, Kennedy's devoted aide and main speechwriter. Indeed, most of the members of that administration - as young and vital as most of them were on January 20, 1961 - have now passed on. "Camelot" was a long, long time ago.

I can go on all night talking about Jack Kennedy. One of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we get to refer to him as "Jack". Although he's not my favorite president (FDR holds that place in my heart) he was the only chief executive of my lifetime who would qualify as "great". (Sorry, but I never succumbed to Ronniemania). No one who succeeded him has even come close to measuring up to JFK. His greatness lies in his legacy. Although he wasn't able to accomplish a heck-of-a-lot during the less-than three years that fate allowed him, he did set this country on the path toward accomplishing great things - sending human beings to the moon for instance.

"Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction."

Nearly a half century of biographical scholarship has unveiled some unpleasant truths about Jack Kennedy. He was not the model of human perfection that so many in his generation imagined him to be. This was a great man, greatly flawed. I'm willing to cut the guy as much slack as the slack factory can provide. Most of the historians who have spent the last half century digging up the facts of his life - unpleasant and otherwise - agree that he was essentially a good man and that, for the most part, his heart was in the right place. That's good enough for me.

Oh, and did I mention that he was our funniest president? The guy was a scream! I'm sure it had something to do with his being Irish.

"Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation'—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."

Four years ago on May 29, 2007, the occasion of what would have been his ninetieth birthday, I wrote the following on this site:

"Listening to a recording of his address to the graduating class of 1963 on the campus of American University, one can't help but feel a sense of real sadness - almost despair - at how far we have fallen as a nation in the ensuing forty-four years. It is almost as if, after wandering through the desert for all those decades, we emerged to find out that the shining city on the hill has turned out to be nothing more than a mirage - a cheap and cynical political huckster's vision of a government of the privileged, by the privileged, for the privileged. When JFK took the oath of office on January 20, 1961, America's future was bright and boundless. Today our only glory is in our past. The damage that has been done to the country he loved so well - the country he almost died defending in World War II - will be with us for generations. What would he have thought of the America of 2007?"

Or 2011 for that matter.

My memory of 1961 is only vaguely focused. I was, after all, two-and-a-half years old on the day President Kennedy was inaugurated. President Obama hadn't even been born yet. That blessed little event would take place on August 4 of that year, and (ATTENTION BIRTHERS) it would take place in Hawaii, which (as we all know) is located in the United States of America.

My impression of JFK when I was a very little boy - a toddler really - was as the guy on TV with all that hair. It always seemed so long to me! I wouldn't see a comparable head of hair on any man until the Beatles arrived on our shores in February 1964. Because of this I thought he was much younger than he really was. I remember a few years after his death, the moment I discovered that he was in fact thirteen years older than my father. I was stunned! I had honestly thought him to be about ten years younger - simply because he seemed so youthful!

It's ironic to think that, despite his youth and vitality - "vigah" - his health, we now know, was so fragile. Three times in his life he was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. It's a safe bet that, had he not gone to Dallas on that dreadful day, he would have died relatively young anyway. Jack Kennedy's stay on the planet earth was never meant to be long.

I can still remember what my father was wearing when he told me, "The president's been shot." He had just pulled in the driveway and had the car radio on. I was arriving home from Mrs. Peevey's kindergarten class. I distinctly recall that, despite it being late into the autumn, it was an unseasonably warm day. Something wonderful ended on November 22, 1963 - not just John F. Kennedy's life - but America's youthful optimism as well. I don't believe this country ever got over the assassination of President Kennedy. Maybe it will one day. Maybe not.

"I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not...."

Aw, hell. You know the rest of it.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address - one of the great orations of the twentieth century. Here's a link:

The Inaugural Address

Unless your name is Martin Luther King, It just doesn't get much better than this.


Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America

by Thurston Clarke

For more recent postings on this site please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sarah's Fifteen Minutes

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

-Sarah Palin

I'm going to do something here that I've never done before (and will probably never do again - I promise). I'm going to defend Sarah Palin. Bear with me....

I don't think Sarah knew the implications of the term she used in her idiotic speech last week following the massacre in Tuscon. As a matter of fact I am certain of this. When I heard her use the the words, "blood libel", I wasn't sure what it meant either. I had heard the term before but had to look it up to refresh myself on its meaning: An excuse Chris
tians used at one time for murdering Jews. Wow!

I know the failed governor didn't write that speech. My evidence? As idiotic as it obviously was, it was also somewhat articulate. Let's be honest; our gal Sarah does not really have that much of a way with words. It was more-than-likely written by one (or more) of her hyped-up, right wing advisers. I'm sure you have noticed by now that she tends to surround herself with these people. Casa de Palin is crawling with these twits.

She didn't have a clue as to what she was saying. Now let's move on to more substantive topics....On second thought....

Almost three years ago when GOP nominee John McCain announced his inexplicable choice of a running mate, I scurried to my trusty old computer do do a google search of the name "Sarah Palin". The only thing I knew about the woman was that she was the governor of Alaska. The first bit of information that jumped out at me was the date of her birth: February 11, 1964 - a day which was a milestone in my life, and that I clearly remember! That was the day that my maternal grandmother, Loretta Doran Clements, died unexpectedly in South Bend, Indiana at age sixty-eight. That is a photograph of her on the left, taken in 1897 on the day she was baptized a Catholic. Wasn't she cute as a button?

But other th
an that little cosmic coincidence there was nothing - and I mean nothing - in her shallow resume that impressed me that much. As a matter of fact, at the time I thought McCain's choice of her to be on the ticket was proof that the poor old bastard had finally lost his marbles, and was not fit to be chief-executive. After a few days' sober reflection, however, I realized that Palin had not been the senator's choice at all. He had wanted uber numskull Joe Lieberman as the V.P. candidate. Had that happened, McCain would probably be sleeping at his desk in the White House at this very moment.

But the half-wits and crazy people who had long-before hijacked the "party of Abraham Lincoln" had other ideas. McCain was seen by these assholes as too much of a "maverick". He could not always be counted on to march in lock step to the extreme right wing's spastic drummers. And Lieberman??? Forget about it. He was a one-time Democrat - and he was still a Jew - not a winning combination for these hideous dingbats.

No, they needed a candidate who was going to excite and inspire THE BASE. Sarah Palin was their (ill)logical choice. The gravity of their mistake became immediately apparent (to me at least) from the moment she opened her mouth at her first campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio. As I remarked at the time, she had all the political gravitas of Sally Field as Gidget.

Ms. Palin is symptomatic of America's intellectual dysfunction. As I wrote on this site a year ago Wednesday:

"When someone like Sarah Palin can make it as far as she has, it can mean only one thing and it's not a particularly good sign: we are living in a culture that has been custom-tailored for idiots. When a person who can barely put two coherent sentences together without the aid of a teleprompter becomes one of the best-selling non-fiction authors of the decade, that's usually a pretty good indicator that society is spiraling downward at a fairly decent clip. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!"

The fact that a major political party would have thought it beneficial to place this silly person "a seventy-two year old heartbeat" away from the Oval Office should give every thinking American pause - regardless of party affiliation. There are oodles
of pundits out there who are now predicting that Fascist Barbie's latest PR fiasco will be the cause of her downfall; that her chances at the Republican nomination next year have been smashed on the rocks of her insensitivity. The consensus of opinion seems to be that she should have at least waited until the funerals of the Tuscon shooting victims were over before she made her moronic "blood libel" remarks. Their verdict? Sarah Palin's fifteen minutes of fame are over. I hope this is not the case.

I have a confession to make: I'd miss Sarah Palin if she went away.

Let's face some serious facts here. For people like me who make their names commenting on the train wreck of American politics, Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps giving and giving - and giving and giving and giving. Also there is the undeniable fact that she has a real shot....excuse me, I meant "chance" the GOP nomination in 2012. Chris Matthews laid out the scenario back in July on his MSNBC program Hardball:

1. Palin wins the Iowa caucus due to a heavy evangelical turnout.

2. She takes a respectable second place to Mitt Romney in his backyard of New Hampshire, causing his campaign to implode overnight.

3. Next stop, South Carolina. Due to the average IQ of Republican voters in that state, her victory in the primaries is almost a foregone conclusion.

By that time she will have all the momentum she needs to glide handily to the convention and nomination. Think about it.

To be brutally frank with you, the prospect of a Palin candidacy makes me drool with longing and anticipation. Can you even imagine a campaign that utterly twisted? I wouldn't have to touch my computer for the entire run. These things would write themselves! And let's not forget that her nomination would virtually guarantee Barack Obama's victory on Election Day. As disappointed as I am in his performance thus far, he's a damned sight better than anything the Republicans have to offer. In fact, the only one who could give the president a run for his money is Mitt Romney, and the Republicans (in their present incarnation anyway) will never - EVER - nominate a Mormon. Rahm Emanuel will be made chairman of the American Nazi party before that ever happens. Let's be honest with ourselves.

I realize that this is wishful thinking on my part, and that I'm probably kidding myself, but I want this to happen so badly I can almost taste it! Maybe this whole "blood libel" controversy is merely a detour on her road to the nomination. I surely hope so. John Cleese has said that he no longer thinks that his fellow Monty Python alumni Michael Palin is the funniest person in the world who bares that name. I agree. Some of my favorite comedians are the unintentional ones - and Sarah Palin delivers the goods. Just think what a scream the campaign of 2012 would be with her as the grand old party's standard bearer!

Oh, please, fate! Oh, please! Oh, please! Oh, please!

Happy Dr. King Day, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Here is an example of some delicious Palinisms, courtesy of the nice folks over at You Tube:

The gal is a hoot-and-a-half!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Consequences of Words

"Words have consequences."

-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
Hey! That reminds me: Whatever happened to Sarah Palin? The old gal has been awfully quiet for a change. Have you noticed that?

Gail Collins put it perfectly in the title of her column in the New York Times this morning:

e Right To Bear Glocks?"

As of th
is hour, Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords clings to life after being shot during a scheduled meeting with her constituents on Saturday morning. The incident took place at a supermarket called, "Safeway". How ironic. At this moment she is in critical condition but is expected to survive. Keep your fingers crossed and your hands folded.

Six peo
ple were killed in the rampage, including Federal Judge John Roll, and a nine-year-old little girl named Christina Taylor-Green. Christina was there because she wanted to learn about government. She was born on September 11, 2001. I'm not making this up.

Within the last year-and-a-half, the extremist nitwits who now control the "party of Lincoln" have been kicking out the jams with their incendiary rhetoric: Michelle Bachmann telling an interviewer that she wanted the people of Minnesota "armed and dangerous" on the subject of taxes; Sharon Angle (Remember her?) talking about "second amendment remedies" with respect to politicians who dare to lean to the left. And how 'bout Larry Pratt - presid
ent of the Gun Owners of America? Here's a lovely little Prattism that was quoted in AlterNet this morning:

Remember Oklahoma City? Yeah, I do. And I also remember the Waco barbeque that your Attorney General gave us. Thanks a lot.... We're in a war. The other side knows they're at war, because they started it. They're comin' for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They're comin' for everything because they're a bunch of socialists."
Wow! Medications, please. Here's another neat quote:

t retreat....RELOAD!"

Who said
that? I'll give you a hint: It was the same idiot who put up a map of the United States with the cross-hairs of a gun over Gabrielle Giffords' district. Isn't that nice?

We kno
w next-to-nothing about the assailant. The information that is available thus far is that he is a loner and a malcontent named Jared Lee Loughner. (The "Lee" part of his name immediately gave me pause - as in "Harvey Oswald" - too weird!) His is the textbook profile of the typical assassin. Hardly anything can be discerned about his politics. Liberals are implying that he is a right winger. Conservatives are saying just the opposite. He has become quite the hot potato, politically speaking that is. He once listed Mein Kamph (extreme right) and Das Kapital (extreme left) as two of his favorite books. Who can say what is really going through this confused and tormented mind? Of this there can be little doubt though: This guy is as nutty as a Nestles Crunch bar. Whatever his motives might have been, the language of violence and physical intimidation that has littered America's political landscape in recent years must be viewed as a possible source.

One of the tragedies of history is the fact that Lee Oswald never had the chance to testify in his own defense. I'm not one of these people who believe that the man was some kind of patsy who was framed for killing President Kennedy. I have no doubt that he was the one (and the only one) who pulled the trigger of the Manila Carcana rifle that ended JFK's life. But I have a theory:

Oswald wa
s an extreme left winger - the type of which no longer exists in this country: a committed Communist. I believe that had he been living in New York or Boston or Los Angeles - or even Atlanta - when the Jack Kennedy rolled into town, Oswald never would have killed the president. But he wasn't in any of those cities. He was living in Dallas, Texas. In November of 1963, Dallas was the bat-shit-crazy, right wing capital of the nation. Just a few weeks before the Kennedy shooting, UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked and spat upon at an appearance in that city.

Lee Oswald's motive for killing John F. Kennedy was not fame and recognition. He wasn't John Hinckley or Mark David Chapman trying to add notoriety to a meaningless life. He vehemently denied having any part in the shooting.


That was his story and he was sticking to it! It was a story he didn't have to stick to it for very long, though. Forty-eight hours after he was busted, a single bullet from Jack Ruby's gun forever silenced Lee Harvey Oswald. What could possibly have been his motive?

Here's my theory: He killed Kennedy because he really believed he could get away with it. On the day of the murder, the Dallas Morning News ran an ad that accused JFK of treason. They even posted two photographs of the president that were positioned to look like mug shots. Nice! The atmosphere in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 was so politically toxic, Oswald must have assumed that the police and Secret Service would immediately focus on one or more of that city's illustrious right wing crackpots.

The extremism of 1963 was pretty much isolated to a few southern cities. Forty-eight years later it's gone national. What happened in Arizona over the weekend is only the beginning. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but America's political discourse has been hijacked by half-wits and crazy people. Their spokespersons make their names by inflaming their clueless masses with the language of hate. That's their job. Then again, I'm not giving away any state secrets here, am I?

There is also this unfortunate truism that cannot be ignored: America has the dumbest gun laws in the western hemisphere. Until this nasty situation is remedied (Don't hold your breath) these sorts of massacres are the new reality. Get used to it. The NRA and Larry Pratt love to talk about "freedom". Let me explain something to you: A people who live in mortal terror contemplating when and where the next massacre of innocents will take place may be many things - no argument there - "Free" they are not. Let's just stop kidding ourselves here and now, okay?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Gail Collins' column this morning. Here's a link:


Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison today.


Case Closed
by Gerald Posner

This is the best (and most convincing) book written-to-date regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


I've never done this before, but today I'm devoting this blog to a brilliant piece of animation that I only became aware of this morning when my friend Kathleen Saulino posted a link to it on her Facebook page.

This, I believe, is one of the most important and educational films ever made. It explains in terms easy to understand (and with brilliant satirical insight) what has happened to this once-great nation, and why we all need to stand up and take it back.

It is almost thirty minutes long but worth every second of your precious time. Cross my heart. Here's a link:

Take a good look at what America's political apathy and ignorance has done to us.

Send a link to everyone you know - and tell them to spread it far and wide - to everyone they know....
and so on....

"The Re-Founding Fathers and Mothers"

Seriously, we don't have to take this lying down. We need to get the greatest minds of this generation together in one room. Unfortunately, it doesn't have to be a particularly large room. Someone's kitchen table will probably do.

Declare a new Declaration of Independence - independence from the banks and financial despots who have looted not only our own financial infrastructure, but the economies of the entire planet. Shout from the highest mountain that the days in which the plutocracy controlled our lives are numbered, and that one day soon, the people shall rule. We will rise up in revolution, the type of which humanity has not witnessed in two centuries.

Then after we're finished, we'll all head back to my place for coffee and danishes.

Cheerio! Pip! Pip!

Tom Degan


When you have a moment or two, read Frank Rich's column in this morning's New York Times:

Nobody says it quite like the Frankster.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Bring on the Clowns

Tomorrow marks the start of the One-hundred and Twelfth Congress. For a person who makes his or her name and livelihood by commenting on the ineptitude and corruption of American politicians, this is indeed wonderful news. We are beside ourselves with giddy anticipation. For regular working people, however - particularly those hardest hit by the economic catastrophe we currently find ourselves in - this bit of news is as nasty as can be. PREDICTION: You thought the One-hundred and Eleventh Congress was beyond awful? OH, BROTHER! This one will be remembered as the worst in history. Anyone care to make a little wager on this point? I'm taking on all comers.

From Bob Herbert's column in this morning's New York Times:

"In any event, the G.O.P. has taken its place once again as the House majority and is vowing to do what it does best, which is make somebody miserable — in this case, President Obama. Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is now chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Com
mittee, said recently on the Rush Limbaugh program that Mr. Obama was 'one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.' He backed off a little on Sunday, saying that what he really thinks is that Mr. Obama is presiding over 'one of the most corrupt administrations.'”

Just what
the hell, you may well ask, is Darrell Issa up to? Folks, this is as easy to explain as anything I've encountered in the five years I've been writing this blog. These people are as transparent as glass. Here's the deal:

When Congressman Issa describes Barack Obama as "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times", this question comes immediately to mind: "Was this assho
le living in a vacuum between the years 2001 and 2009?" Does he really believe such nonsense? Although it's difficult - if not impossible - to figure out what these people really believe, the answer is, in all likelihood, no. Then why would he say such a moronic thing? Here's why:

In 1998 t
he cabal of right wing freaks that had hijacked the "party of Abraham Lincoln" came very close to removing Bill Clinton from office for lying about an affair with a half-witted intern (Whatever happened to her?) Had they done so four years earlier they might very well have weakened Clinton enough politically that he never would have been reelected in 1996 - or even nominated for that matter. Their big mistake was waiting until Bubbah's second term to make their move. They don't plan on making that same mistake this time. What Issa is doing is - in effect - poisoning the atmosphere. What he is doing is laying the groundwork for the impeachment of President Obama. The wheels are already in motion, and this time they plan on striking before the president is up for reelection. Watch them in the next few months as they set up their "investigative" committees and begin the process of gathering "evidence". Again, would anyone care to make a little wager?

And Obama (The man's naivete never fails to astound) is in the process of making the same mistake President Clinton made all those years ago. By "reaching out to" and "working with" the crazy people on the other side of the aisle, he seems to believe that they'll cut him some slack in return. He is within months (Weeks? Days? Hours?) of learning the futility of this strategy. He is about to learn the lesson Clinton learned in 1998 - which, by the way, is the same one Neville Chamberlain learned in Munich in 1938: Extremists cannot be appeased. That particular truism has been proven throughout history too many times to count. I have to believe that Obama realizes this.

The political shit storm is within months of darkening the American sky. I am as certain of this as I am my own name (Tom Degan. Nice to meet'cha!)

The only reason the impeachment of Bill Clinton didn't go through in 1998 was because, as the clock was ticking down in the House of Representatives to remove the president from office, it became obvious to these knuckleheads that the Ameri
can people were not on board with what was obviously a political persecution. Old Bill, for all his mortal faults, was still pretty popular with his constituents. Also, he wasn't a black guy - a fact that you can bet the farm has been taken into consideration by these racist clowns. It'll be a lot easier, I'm sure they figure, if their victim this time is a COMM'NIST KNEE-GROW. This is going to get interesting.

I have a feeling that a lot of the people who voted Republican in November will have buyer's remorse very soon. And I know damned well that every idiotic Liberal who stayed home on Election Day will soon regret their collective hissy fit. We've got the House of Representatives we deserve. Life is funny that way, you know?

When are we going to face the ugly truth about the Republicans? How long will it take before the people finally wake up? The Democrats are impotent cowards - no doubt about it - but the GOP is beyond redemption. They don't care about the poor and middle classes. They don't even give a shit about the moderately well-to-do. You say you have a million dollars in your bank account? You think that because (technically at least) you're a "millionaire" that you matter to these people? You're not even a blip on their radar. You don't matter. You don't even exist. You're worthless. You're living in a plutocracy. Know your place. Race means not a damned thing. We're all niggers now. Get used to it. Wake the fuck up.

Tom Degan

Whenever Bob Herbert comes to bat - so to speak - he usually knocks it right out of the park. This morning's piece was no exception. Here is a link to the excellent column quoted above:

Git 'em, Bobby!