Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The 2012 Clown Brigade

I love Newt Gingrich.

Let us face s
ome serious and undeniable facts here. A politician as deliciously sleazy as the Newtster should be cherished - if only for the scads of unintentional comedy his very presence in the national limelight inspires. As you might imagine, I have been following Newt's presidential campaign - or what's left of it - with a longing I'm hard-pressed to describe. I soooo wanted him to get the GOP nomination in 2012 I could almost taste it. I was even contemplating sending the hideous old freak a check. I might as well not waste my money. It's very clear to everyone (except Gingrich of course) that he's not going to get his party's nod next year - or any year for that matter.

Did you catch his act on CBS's Face the Nation last week? This "fiscal conservative" could not explain to Bob Schieffer why he owed Tiffany half a million dollars. But that is the least of his problems. The "base" is pissed off at him - not because he is one of the most corrupt politicians of modern times - but beca
use he is on his third marriage. It's all over for Newt. Isn't it a Pity? Now, isn't it a shame?

Oh, but what a beautifully twisted campaign that might have been! Can you even imagine? As I speculated on this site back in March ("Newt the Hoot"), the fact that Newt is an apparently sane, relatively smart (compared to the rest of that party) white man, he would have needed a screamingly crazy black woman with the IQ of a turnip to "balance out" the ticket. Unfortunately there are no women of color within the Republican party with any degree of national stature. And since Butterfly McQueen is dead, this would have left either Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin as the ideal running mate. What a fun campaign that would have been to cover! But, alas, it was never meant to be. [SIGH].

But fear not! There is still much hope for the cause of political parody in America. The good news is that the remaining frontrunners seeking to be the standard bearer in 2012 for the "party of Abraham Lincoln" (GAG!) are all ripe for satire. This is too good to be true.

Bachmann/Palin Overdrive

Tied for second place in my "dream nominee contest" would be Fascist Barbie and the twit from the north country - the aforementioned Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The fact that the two of them are even taken seriously by so many people is all the proof one needs in order to understand that the wheels have come off America's national political dialogue - and why this once-great nation has become the laughingstock of western civilization. Bill Maher recently described Michele as the candidate for people who find Sarah "too intellectual". Wish I'd said that!

The possibility of either of these two nitwits being nominated is not quite as farfetched as you might believe. Due to the heavy presence of the half-wit/evangelical vote early in the primaries - particularly in Iowa and South Carolina - it's not improbable that one or the other could gain enough momentum to breeze into the convention hall with just the right number of delegates at the end of the summer.

The dilemma they face is that with both of them seeking the same prize, they will split the uber right wing/Nazi vote between them - with the spoils going to someone like that nasty "left wing socialist" Mitt Romney. They need to make some kind of deal between themselves - and I really hope that they
do. As a person who makes his name commenting on the train wreck of American politics, Bachmann or Palin at the top of the ticket would be a gift from Heaven. Okay, I'll level with you: I realize that this is a bit of a long shot but I can dream, can't I?

41. Bush
42. Clinton
43. Bush
44, Obama
45. Bush

Honestly, how idiotic w
ill we look if the above listing makes its way into the history books? We'll look like Land of the Assholes, don'cha think? And yet there are people out there who (with straight faces no less) are trying to convince Jeb Bush to go for it. To Bush's credit (and I can't believe I'm giving credit to anyone in that family) he has said over and over that he is not interested in running for president - in 2012. Say what you want to about the man, he's a lot smarter than his older brother - which is damning by faint praise, I realize. It is obvious to me that he has every intention of running in 2016 - running and winning. They are quite adept at stealing elections, those Bushes.

A country stupid enough to ever send another member of that disgusting family back to
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will deserve everything that happens to it. Everything. Not that I'd mind though. I am one of the very few people who make under a-million-dollars-per-year who would benefit very handsomely from a third Bush presidency. During the last decade, the lower this country sank into the shit hole, the higher my stock rose. While George Dubya Bush may have been the worst thing that ever happened to this country, the half-witted little bastard was the best thing that ever happened to me. You say you want to send another Bush to the White House? Go for it, dude - and thanks!

This much is certain: Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt was challenged in 1936 by an obscure Kansas governor named Alf Landon has an incumbent president been in a more enviable position than Barack Obama will be in 2012. On Sunday's Meet the Press, Mitch McConnell implied that the Democrats should be careful what they wish for, that in 1980 they were aching to run against Ronald Reagan and that they lived to regret that wish. It's different this time around. As jaw-droppingly stupid as Reagan was, he at least had the sense to surround himself with smart people. That's not the case this time. That's far from the case. The truth of the matter is that most of these people just aren't that bright. I'll give you a juicy example of what I'm talking about:

"And so Ala
ska may progress, I will not seek reelection as governor."

Sarah P
July 3, 2009

As I said at
the moment she made that remark, "What the ffff....DID SHE JUST SAY THAT???" You bet'cha!

Had she been speaking extemporaneously, I could have forgiven her for a harmless slip-of-the-tongue. But she was reading from a prepared text! And the extremely funny thing about it is that the little example of political oratory quoted above was approved by her handlers. No, these people aren't very bright at all. Obama must have picked up a little bit of that luck-of-the-Irish on his recent visit to Dublin. Top o' the marnin' to ya, lad!

Whatever happens and whomever gets the big prize at the Republican National Convention next summer, I am looking forward to the 2012 campaign like an eight-year-old kid looks forward to Christmas. This is going to be a revolution of laughs.

To paraphrase the Who: I've got a feeling 2012 is gonna be a weird year. Very weird indeed. I'm giddy. Forgive me.

Tom Degan


with Chris Matthews on MSNBC

He drives me nuts sometimes (like the evening in October 2009 when he literally put Michele Bachmann on the political map) but Chris Matthews is just about the smartest son-of-a-bitch out there in the main stream media with respect to all matters political. If I miss an installment of Hardball, I'm the lesser for it.


A Good Life
by Ben Bradlee

The memoirs of the legendary editor of the Washington Post. I always thought that Bradlee wa
s one of history's more colorful and brilliant people. This book only reaffirms my opinion. A great read.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Post #353: Random Observations

The following series of thoughts and observations were lifted from miscellaneous ramblings I had scribbled in my notebook or posted on various sites out on the internet. DISCLAIMER: Certain thoughts expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of The Rant Corporation....What am I saying? Of course they do.


A couple of weeks ago the African American columnist Charles Blow wrote the following piece in the New York Times:

"I first met Donald Trump a couple of months ago at a cocktail party. Someone introduced us, and he immediately started in on a speech about how beloved he was among blacks. He said that everywhere he went, blacks were telling him to run for president and that some hip-hop stars had told him that he was the most popular white man among black people."

Wow! That im
mediately reminded me of Lenny Bruce's classic bit, "How To Relax Colored People at Parties":

"That Joe Lewis was a helluva fighter! That's what I love about you people, you've got a natural sense of rhythm! Born right in you I guess, huh? You hungry? Want some fried chicken and watermelon? Listen, I'd like to have you over to the house but I've got a bit of a problem. You see, I've got a sister. And I hear that you guys....Well anyway - Here's to Joe Lewis!"

Gotta love the Donald. You just gotta!


I've been thinking a lot about Ronald Reagan lately. Less than two weeks from now will mark the sixth anniversary of his passing. Six years! Can it possibly be? I'm sorry he's no longer here. I wish he could have lived to see the presidency of Barack Obama. I really do. The sight of a black man in the Oval Office would have given the old bugger a severe case of spastic apoplexy or maybe worse. That would have been so much fun to watch.


About two weeks ago, some poor woman was arrested a mile down the road from where I now sit for possession of a harmless weed. Can you believe that?

DISCLAIMER: I don't smoke pot. Nor do I advocate its usage - unless for medicinal purposes of course. I haven't touched the stuff since my nineteenth birthday - August 16, 1977 - which, coincidentally, was the day that Elvis Presley died. I always tell people that Elvis and I quit drugs at the very same moment
, the only difference being that I did so voluntarily.

Having said that, let me say this:

Nearly three-quarters-of-a-century after it was made illegal; a half-a-century after it was proven to be practically harmless - why is it still a crime to possess and smoke marijuana?

Here is a list of ten famous people - heavy smokers all - who died too soon of lung cancer or other diseases related to their addictions to nicotine:

Humphrey Bogart
Edward R. Murrow
Nat King Cole
George Harrison
John Huston
Noel Coward
Betty Grable
Walt Disney
Gary Cooper

Peter Jennings

Here is another list. Ten famous people who died from alcoholism:

Tennessee Williams
Jack Kerouac
Truman Capote
Lorenz Hart
Veronica Lake
Bix Beiderbecke
Montgomery Clift
Dylan Thomas
John Barrymore
Errol Flynn

Now I'm going to ask you to name for me one celebrity who has died from too much grass.

Go on, I'm waiting.....

You couldn't do it, could you? Don't feel bad, neither could I. Not only have I never heard of any famous person dying in that matter, I am not aware of it happening in all recorded human history! Why in 2011 are we still having this same, idiotic conversation?

Is it a "gateway drug" as they never tire of reminding us? Yeah, it probably is. But so is Miller High
Life - the Champagne of Bottled Beer. Let's get a grip here.


It's rare to find someone in American history as mind-numbingly evil as J. Edgar Hoover. We now know that he had a secret life that he spent fifty years hiding. His personal frustrations more-than-likely added to his peculiar psychological makeup. Why could he not have just come out of the closet? He would have been a much happier man had he done so, I think. It is no longer a mere rumor that he and his highest ranking agent Clyde Tolson were homosexual lovers for decades. And yet in spite of that, Hoover held blackmail information on other gay men - and women. The guy was beyond despicable.

Think of the "criminals" that the FBI spent decades investigating:

Eleanor Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Thomas Merton, Frank Sinatra, all three Kennedy brothers, Eartha Kitt, Dick Gregory, Joan Baez....

And through it all, the silly old bastard would deny the existence of organized crime. He has been placed where he rightfully belongs - in history's trash can. Good riddance.


"Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot...."

I know, it's syrupy and sentimental, and I know "Camelot" never really existed, but I can't help it when it comes to President Kennedy. It's an Irish thing; you wouldn't understand. Some of his speeches read like freakin' poetry fifty years later:

"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."

Although it is almost a cliche these days to say that he was hardly the Liberal that his admirers remember him as being, it should never be forgotten that he was the last chief executive to take on the Federal Reserve. For all the revisionism, let's not overlook the fact that - warts and all - Jack Kennedy was a good guy.

By the way, one of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we can refer to him as "Jack".

"....for one brief, shining moment...."

I'm sorry, I'll stop.


"Are there any niggers here tonight?"

That was the question Lenny Bruce posed to a shocked audience one night in 1960. His point - right or wrong (and I believe he was right) - was that "the suppression of the word gives it the power of violence and viciousness." I was thinking about Lenny not long ago when I was watching 60 Minutes and saw that some nameless group of do-gooding nitwits had taken it upon themselves to remove the "N" word from a new edition of Huckleberry Finn and replaced it with the word "slave".

We cannot start pretending that THAT WORD never existed. It is not only futile, it's kind of silly, don'cha think? Are we expected to burn all copies of Dick Gregory's excellent 1964 autobiography which was called (by the way) "Nigger"? How silly would we look if we changed the title of that book (which is still in print) to "Negro"? Gregory knew dam
ned well the literary sledgehammer effect of the "N" word. It's a horrible word, no doubt about it. But it's a damned powerful word, too. There are certain places in American literature where not only does it work, it's essential - in Huckleberry Finn for instance. Old Huck was an illiterate, ignorant kid. That's how illiterate, ignorant kids talked in those days. In fact, that's how some of them talk still. To pretend he had the vocabulary of David Copperfield doesn't make any sense.

And, please, let's not forget that Mark Twain is not some re-visioned, nasty old southern bigot. Next to Frederick Douglas, he was the most enlightened human being of his age on the subject of race - and I would include Abraham Lincoln in that assessment.

It's a word; a terrible word, yes, but it's only a word. My kindergarten teacher, the late Annabelle Peavey, instilled it in me quite early:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones...."

Well, you know the rest.


Profits are up to record highs. So what - you may well ask - are the corporations doing? They're decimating the work force. Consider this just for a minute:

When a corporation behaves this irresponsibly, it wrecks havoc on society. This is not merely my opinion - in fact it's kind of a no-brainer. Call it Economics 101

A corporation - every corporation - that behaves this irresponsibly should be seized by the people. If you're honest with yourself, that's not such a revolutionary idea. Think about it for a minute or two. What would we do to a lone kook who was causing so much disruption within his community by means of arson, bombings etc. that his actions put hundreds - thousands - of his fellow citizens out of work? Again, this is another no-brainer - we'd throw him in prison.

Why should a c
orporation be allowed to take advantage of our free enterprise system for a period of years and then be allowed to dump the very workers that allowed it to accumulate its treasure? Especially when the treasure of which I speak comes out of the pockets of regular consumers who are adversely effected when they dump - like trash - their work force. Its very greed causes much disruption and heartache within the the local (and national) community.

And notice that I refer to this proverbial corporation as "it", not "he" or "she". I'm not sick enough to refer to a corporation as "a person".

When a corporation does so much damage to society, how come it cannot be legally seized by
the state to keep it from committing further economic carnage?

Why is this allowed to occur?


Tom Degan


The photo at the
top of this piece was taken on May 20. I'm standing next to the van that got me around for over five years. When the mechanic who usually services it told me last week that it would cost me $3500 to pass inspection, I told him to forget about it. The thing was a lemon from the day I purchased it - one problem after another - and I wasn't about to sink another dime into it.

Still, it was the most "famous" vehicle I ever owned. During those eight dark years when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were destroying this country, it was kinda hard to ignore the huge "IMPEACH BUSH" signs placed prominently on either side of my van - a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette. My Republican brother-in-law, Dr. Jack Dermigny, used to jokingly refer to it as "the treason-mobile". I always got a kick out of that!

Thanks to godson and nephew Chris Pennings for the photograph

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Disenfranchised States of America

It's happening in Wisconsin. It's happening in Michigan. And to no one's surprise, it is happening in the state of Florida where the election of 2000 was stolen from Al Gore by an ideologically perverted Supreme Court, and handed over to a disgusting, half-witted little frat boy from Crawford, Texas. In fact it is happening in states all over the country where the Grotesque Old Party controls the legislatures. Across America, Republican politicians are working overtime, at this very moment, to ensure that the ballots of a huge segment of the American people are not only ignored - they're not even cast. The United States: Was that a great country or what?

In an article from the Daily Kos that was republished this morning on the deliciously subversive website AlterNet, Chris Bowers wrote the following:

"I'd write that I'm shocked [Shocked!] a party facing recall elections is about to pass a law making it more difficult to vote in those recall elections, but sadly it isn't s
hocking at all. Limiting voting from Democratic-leaning demographic groups—in this case students, the poor, and those without cars—is a long-standing Republican tactic. Combined with Republican attempts to remove all limits on corporate spending in politics, it's part of a strategy to structurally alter the electorate in their favor."

Here is what is happening: The "party of Abraham Lincoln" (Those words are getting more difficult to write by the day, Thank goodness for quotation marks!) is in the process
of a long-expected, long overdue self-destruction. Earlier this month when the majority of them signed onto Rep. Paul Ryan's scheme to destroy Medicare, the electorate - nationwide - hit the roof. They know damned well that if the present voting regulations remain in place they will be utterly destroyed at the polls on Election Day 2012. What to do? Make goddamned sure that the very people who are most inclined to vote for the Democrats next year don't vote at all. How utterly convenient.

They are
trying to make us believe that this has nothing to do with suppressing the Democratic vote and everything to do with voter fraud. Clever. The problem is that there is no wide-spread epidemic of fraudulent voting - and that which does exist usually favors the Republicans. I would offer as evidence Ohio 2004, and, again, Florida 2000. Last week, state Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) took to the floor of the statehouse in Madison and exposed the scam for all time. Documented evidence of fraudulent voting within the entire state of Wisconsin amounted to .0006 of total votes cast. The voter ID bill is "a solution looking for a problem", said said Ms. Grigsby. She's my newest hero.

There are certain types of people who are not bloody likely to vote for the agenda of the disgusting, criminal enterprise that tries to pass itself off as a "political party". These would be comprised of African Americans, the elderly, city dwellers, the young, people who lack a license to drive, and the poor. And of course the trickiest problem facing them are the poor. As was noted in Matthew, 26:11:

"The poor you will always have with you."

The Republicans are desperate, and as the old adage tells us, desperate times require desperate measures. Their solution is that in order to vote, every person who casts a ballot will be required to purchase a government-issued ID and produce it at their respective polling places. A lot of the elderly - the very same people who stand to gain the most from a Democratic victory in 2012 - tend to vote via the process of the absentee ballot. That is why the plutocracy's handmaidens are trying to make it more difficult for senior citizens to cast their vote in absentia. They are trying to steal the election of 2012. They will succeed only if we allow them to.

I'm going to do something I've never done before (and will never do again - I promise!) I'm going to say something in favor of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis: When they too
k power in March of 1933, they at least didn't fuck with the electoral process. Hitler's ascendance to power was achieved legally and in conformity to the German constitution as it stood at the time. That's right; I'm comparing the Nazis favorably to the Republican party. Things have gotten that weird.

How on earth can it possibly be constitutional that convicted felons, who have served their terms and paid their debts to society, are not - for the rest of their lives - allowed by law to participate in the electoral process?

Because u
nless they are sporting a squeaky-clean, white collar, convicted felons tend to be poor or working class. Traditionally those people are not very sympathetic to the goals of the power elite. That is the reason - and the only reason - they are not allowed to vote. Let's stop kidding ourselves.

The uber
right wing can no longer win on the basis of their ideas. The people are finally waking up to the fact that those ideas are beyond atrocious (What took them so long? I hope they had a nice nap). If the Republican party is to survive, they have no other choice but to disenfranchise a huge segment of the public who bother to participate in democracy.

Well, um, gee whiz, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, kids, but this is the sort of thing they do in totalitarian societies. Just thought you'd like to know.

New York state is a fairly moderate place in which to live. Even in staunchly Republican Orange County where I reside, those who identify themselves as "registered Republicans" tend to be reasonable and friendly people. Just the night-before-last, one of my closest and oldest friends, Tom Frederick (photo left), won a seat on the local school board. Tom is a Republican and fairly (although not extremely) conservative. Politically speaking we don't agree on a whole heck-of-a-lot. Regardless of our differing worldviews, I voted for him and had no pangs of conscience in doing so. He's a good man and one of the most intelligent and decent people I have ever known. As I said, most people who are registered with the GOP in this part of the country don't have little birdies flying out of their ears. That's why the northeast is such a nice place to live and why I will never leave it. Thus I don't suspect that the moronic and grossly unconstitutional "voter ID" proposal will become law anytime soon here in the Empire State.

But if it does....

I am going to make a pledge here and now: I plan on arriving at my local polling place on Election Day 2012, with no other ID in my procession than my word that I am who I am, and my signature to compare with my previous voting record. Heaven help the person or persons who would dare to prevent me from casting my precious ballot. I promise you this: There will be violence, Buster! I will send to the emergency room anyone who even attempts to disenfranchise me.

On second thought....

The people who run the polling place in the village of Goshen are the loveliest, sweetest elderly ladies who always greet me with warm smiles, cookies and tea. I may need to rethink this.

Back to the old drawing board.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY



A film by Josh Fox

Are you undecided about the "clean" mode of gas drilling called "fracking"? After you watch this troubling, very important documentary, you won't be undecided any longer. If it's not available from your friendly, independently owned video store (There must be at least one left) here is a link to order it from Amazon.com:


You can pick it up for as little as $12.99. Buy it, watch it - and have a public screening.
The people of America need to see this film. It's that important.


This is totally off-topic but....

The stars are aglow
and tonight how their light sets me dreaming
My love, do you know
that your eyes are like starts brightly beaming?
I bring you, and sing you a moonlight serenade....

We're all familiar with the music that Glenn Miller composed for Moonlight Serenade, but very few of us are aware of the beautiful lyrics Mitchell Parish wrote for this piece. With all of the improvements in audio technology in the seventy-two years since this song was recorded on April 4, 1939, it still doesn't get much better than this.

Wait until the moon is full. Reach out to your loved one, dance softly and let the moon's gentle light set you dreaming. Listen and rejoice in this masterpiece of nocturnal romance:

Moonlight Serenade

Yeah, I know. I'm just a hopeless romantic. So sue me!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who did it?

It was quite a week, or "That Was the Week that Was" as the title of the old BBC program used to tell us. What really cracked me up was the sorry spectacle of the Bush Mob - all of them scrambling frantically like rats in a feeding frenzy - trying to take credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden. In a way it was kind of heartbreaking - and quite amusing. One thing you can count on from these idiotic people is all the unintentional comedy. It's a safe bet that - on his best day - Robert Benchley could not have come up with stuff this good. I hope they never go away. Talk about the gift that keeps giving!

In fact they have inspired my brand new project! It is a fantasy revival of a scene from the Broadway classic, My Fair Lady: It takes place in Henry Higgins' study. It is late at night and they have just returned from the grand ball where he and Colonel Pickering introduced London society to a "Lady" named Eliza Doolittle. In truth, Eliza is nothing more than a common, cockney flower girl. The two men are congratulating themselves, gloating over the fraud they have managed to pull off. In the corner of the room stands a heartbroken Eliza, stunned that these two won't give her an ounce of credit for all of the hard work she has put into the venture. Professor Higgins is played by George W. Bush. Pickering is played by Dick Cheney. The roll of Eliza is touchingly portrayed by the lovely ingenue, Barack Obama:

Tonight, old man, you did it!
You did it! You did it!
You said that you would do it and indeed you did!
It thought that you would rue it, I doubted you'd to it.
But now I must admit it that succeed you did!
You should get a medal or be even made a knight!

Oh, it was nothing. Really nothing!

All at once you hurdled every obstacle in sight!

Now wait! Now wait! Give credit where it's due!

A lot of the glory goes to you!

But you're the one who did it!
Who did it! Who did it!
As firmly
as Gibraltar, not a second did you falter....
And they never knew that yoooooou DID IT!


There's a damned good reason why they never knew that he "did it". HE DIDN'T.

The fact of the matter is that these jackasses deserve no more credit for what went down last week than I do for the murder of Rasputin in 1916. As I pointed out on this site on May 5, Dubya and Sickie Dick dropped the ball not very long after September 11. In order to save face after letting him slip away at Tora Bora, they put out the spin that bin Laden really wasn't all that important. That's right, campers: The guy responsible for the worst mass murder on American soil since Pearl Harbor wasn't "important". Bush even told the press that he didn't "Spend much time thinking about the guy". To emphasize the point, they shut down the unit of the military (put up by Clinton) whose sole purpose was "getting" Osama. When Obama became president in 2008, he restarted the unit.

It was all a sick and pathetic attempt to deflect attention from the obvious fact that the
Bush administration will be remembered as the worst in American history. Somewhere out there, the descendants of James Buchanan are saying, "YES!"

There are those - on the right and the left - who are now claiming that by going into Pakistan and putting bin Laden out of the world's misery, the Obama administration was in violation of international law. There is a case to be made for this argument I believe. This may very well set a very nasty precedent. We'll have to wait and see. But don't think for a minute that President Obama will be put on trial at the Hague any time soon. The Obama administration's "crimes" (if you insist on referring to them as such) are small change compared to the things that Bush and Company used to do in their sleep, and as a matter of policy.

If I ha
d had my way, bin Laden would have been taken alive, tried (and if found guilty) placed into solitary confinement for the rest of his miserable life.

Noam Chomsky made an interesting point the other day (Noam Chomsky has a habit of making interesting points; did you ever notice that?) When asked if the American military was justified in going into Osama's compound, killing him and burying his body at sea, he replied that they were just as justified as the Iraqi military would have been had they entered George W. Bush's compound, killed him and buried his body at sea.

Of course, if I had had my way, Bush would be taken alive, tried (and if found guilty) placed into solitary confinement for the rest of his miserable life.

I'm just sayin'.

I guess none of the right wing reaction to the president's successes should surprise us all that much. They have one goal: to see that this administration fails - completely. And if it doesn't actually fail, make damned sure Obama's successes are perceived as failures - or better still, frauds. This is the new reality that Karl Rove has bequeathed to American politics. Attack the opposition at their strongest points. That is how they were able to defeat the genuine war hero John Kerry - by attacking his military record.

The swift boats are coming, hooray! Hooray!

Since t
he campaign of 2004, not one of them has suggested that Senator Kerry's record of service is anything but authentic. They don't need to, Their lies long-ago served their purpose. The most incompetent president in the history of this once-great nation was reelected to a second term on Election Day 2004. Aren't the American people a scream?

Here's something to remember: On August 6, 2001 - thirty-six days before the attacks that changed America forever - George W. Bush was presented with a presidential daily briefing which stated: "OSAMA BIN LADEN DETERMINE TO STRI
KE INSIDE USA". He smugly told the person who provided the report, "Okay, you've covered your ass." And what did he do when confronted with this information? He did nothing.

I said this a few years ago but I have to say it again: Fifty years from now, the president of the United States, whomever he or she may be - who in all likelihood has not even been born yet - will still, on a daily basis, be dealing with the damage that this corrupt, half-witted little frat boy did to this country so many years before.

Tonight, old man, you didn't.
You didn't. You didn't.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


GREAT NEWS! I heard about this on the Rachel Maddow early this morning: The National Archives has just launched a website called, "The National Jukebox". Go there and browse to your heart's content. Hear archival recordings - going ba
ck more than a century - from our nation's history! You want to hear Roosevelt, Wilson and Taft from the campaign of 1912? You want to hear George M. Cohan sing Over There? It's all here! I can't begin to tell you how valuable I think this site is! Here's a link:


Here's Will Rogers from 1923 putting the bankers of his day in their rightful place:


Twelve years later he was killed in an airplane accident. We could use that sort of candor today. Please come back, Will. Please?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The nic
e folks over at blogger.com experienced a MAJOR system breakdown the other night. As a result, this piece disappeared for almost a whole day. Now you see it, now you don't. I hate when that happens.

Fortunately now we see it again. Unfortunately the comments that many of you were so kind (and in a couple of cases "so mean") to post have been lost forever. I'll try to retrieve as many as I am able to - even the naughty ones (I believe a few were saved in my inbox). In the meantime, feel free to re-post! June 2 will mark the fifth anniversary of "The Rant". In all of that time, this is the only problem I've ever had with this service. I'm sticking with 'em!



Thursday, May 05, 2011

Reflections on September 11

In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, just hours after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, I added the following afterthought to the piece I had posted on this site two days before. Just in case you missed it first time 'round, here it is again for old time's sake:

Here's something you can take to the bank:

Within less than a week, a whole new cottage industry will arise from our otherwise screwed economy that will deny that Osama bin Laden has been killed; that the president manufactured this whole thing to bring his approval ratings up; that Osama was actually killed by the Bush administration four - five - whatever - years ago. I can just hear them now:



Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls! Here come the Deathers!

Did I say "within less than a week"? What was I thinking? It started within twenty-four hours. These nitwits are as predictable as the setting sun. Life is beautiful.

The announcement of Osama's killing brought back a flood of nasty memories. On the night of Sunday, September 9, 2001, I gave my ex-brother-in-law Bob Borski a ride from Goshen NY, where he had spent the weekend, to his apartment in Brooklyn. At the time he was wedded to my youngest sibling Sally. Bob and sister Sal have since divorced. Shit happens.

At exactly 10:30 PM, less than thirty-six hours before they came crashing down to eternity, we drove right under the Twin Towers. I used to live in New York City back in the eighties and had been down there many times since. But this was the first time I had been that far downtown at night in well over a decade. I remember thinking that I had forgotten how beautiful those two buildings looked up close, illuminating the Manhattan night.

As I looked upward at the World Trade Center through the car's sun roof, the bombing of it's parking garage in 1993 crossed my mind, and I related to Bob my fear of another terrorist attack. I speculated that two or three privately owned DC 10 air crafts, their aisles filled with 55 gallon drums of gasoline, would take one or both of those towers down in a matter of minutes (I never - for the life of me - even considered hijacked passenger planes). While Bob was open to the possibility of the means he was, for g
ood reasons, skeptical as to the ends:

"Those build
ings are pretty sturdy, Tom".

"I don't know, Bob", I replied, "Enough fuel would melt that steel skeleton like butter".

Two days later, on the morning of September 11th the telephone rang, awaking me out of a sound sleep. It was my sister Carol on the other end with the news that a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. She was amazed that a pilot could be so careless. I knew damned well that it was no accident, this was an act of terrorism. Bob, who was working right around the corner at the offices of American International Group (AIG), knew it, too. He later told me that the first thing that crossed his mind at the sound of the first explosion was our conversation of two nights before.

"I don't think that anyone could have foreseen planes flying into these buildings".

-Condoleeza Rice

I dropped out of High School at the beginning of my Junior year. I'm just sayin'.

I spent all of that anguished morning and well into the afternoon in the kitchen of the home of my uncle and aunt, Tom and Elaine Cullen (both now deceased). Their daughter Patricia worked in the first building to be hit. She called home on her cell phone to reassure us that she was within a few minutes of getting out. Ten minutes later the building came crashing down. For four horrible hours there was not a word from her. Although no one could bear to verbalize it, we were all convinced that she was lost forever. Finally she was able to get through. "I'm okay", Trish Cullen told her mom and dad. She had escaped with only two minutes to spare. She had been unable to get through because, as you can imagine, every communication circuit was jammed. September 11, 2001 was that kind of day.

God smiles on the Cullen family.

I've always been against the death penalty. It is my belief that everyone - regardless of their sins - has the potential to become a saint. I took a waiver this time, though. Osama bin Laden was beyond redemption. I thought that the celebration which greeted the news of his demise was a bit over-the-top; more than anything it was a time for sorrowful reflection on what happened to this country on that awful day ten years ago. It makes me uncomfortable to see the execution of anyone greeted with cries of joy. But I guess the American people can be forgiven their jubilation. Good riddance to the murderous bastard.

As might be expected, the president's approval ratings shot up a full ten points the following day. The right wing media machine immediately went into overtime. They will be spending the next few weeks working furiously to to make damned sure that those same numbers go right back down again. They have already started to badger him for not releasing the photographs of bin Laden's body. Had he done so, they would now be badgering him for releasing them. He's danged it he does and danged if he don't. This is what they do - and they do it quite well, don't they?

I am of two minds about making these photos public. At first I thought they should be shown to the world for no other reason than to shut the conspiracy theorists up. On further reflection however, I have to concede that the prez did the right thing by keeping them hidden. As Chris Matthews pointed out on his program last night, the minute that photo is put out there, it goes viral. The last thing we need is Osama's base in a blind rage at the liberties the cyber-comedians out there would undoubtedly take with the photo-shopped image of his bloated and bloodied corpse. Bury it - and him - forever.

What is most amusing is watching the GOP spin machine trying to rewrite history. They're trying to give George W. Bush credit for this! Isn't that a scream? What they fail to mention is that three years after 9/11, Bush shut down the military unit which had been put together by Bill Clinton to kill or capture bin Laden. When he was asked to justify his actions, he made the following, jaw-dropping statement:

"To tell you the truth, I don't spend much time thinking about the guy."

Within a month of taking office President Obama put the unit back together. Bush deserves not an ounce of credit for this. Some people are surprised that the former president will not be showing up at the ceremony that will be taking place at ground zero this morning. I'm not surprised at all. In fact I can't say that I blame him in the least. If I were George W. Bush I'd be ashamed to show up, too. It's reassuring to find out that the guy has a conscience.

Another knee-slapping bit of revisionism on their part is with regard to "enhanced interrogations" (or "Torture", as defined by the Geneva Conventions). "SEE???", they gloat, "WATER BOARDING REALLY WORKS!!!"

It doesn't. The information which led to bin Laden's courier was obtained through "traditional" methods of interrogation. This has been established beyond a doubt. Donald Rumsfeld even admitted as much - early on. This was before the right wing propaganda machine handed him the new script. He changed his story within hours. Are you surprised?

This is a good time to be Barack Obama (or "Bareback Alabama" as Spell Check tells me his name should be spelled). Election Day 2012 is exactly a year-and-a-half from tomorrow. And while that may be a very long time in terms of politics, certain realities make it clear that the guy is in a very enviable position. Is there any hope for the Republican party at the dawn of this campaign season? Well, yeah. The ghost of Teddy Roosevelt could rise from the dead tonight and seize the mantle of standard bearer, leading the Grand Old Party to the political Candy Land - but other than that I don't think there is a hell-of-a-lot of room for optimism.

There is also a grand window of opportunity here for the president. We originally went into Afghanistan to "get" Osama bin Laden. He's been gotten. It's time to get out of there.

Obama is having his JFK/Cuban Missile Crisis moment. Will the momentum take him to the autumn of 2012? At this point the only thing that will prevent him from easily sailing back into the White House on January 20, 2013. will be a blunder of such monumental proportions it renders his administration crippled. Or perhaps a nasty scandal. It's always possible that the Republicans will "manufacture" one. They did it in 1998; what's to prevent them from doing it again? That party is firmly in the hands of crazy people. And to think - we're within hours of their first campaign debate of the season. That ought to be a riot.

Tom Degan


"Fair Game"

This is the film about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. If you will recall, she was the covert CIA agent who was outted by the Bush Mob after husband Joe exposed the lie behind their invasion of Iraq. It stars Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. It's a great film and it's out now on DVD and Blue Ray discs. It might even be available on 8-Track tape. I'm not too sure.


"Shock Doctrine"
by Naomi Klein.

I read this book. You ought to read it, too. In fact everyone should read it. Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein explains why far better than I could ever hope to. From CommonDreams.org:


They're trying to kill this country and we're letting them do it.

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