Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Bloviating Gas Bag

In a healthy country populated with an intelligent, enlightened citizenry, Rush Limbaugh would today be standing on the bread line - right behind (or perhaps in front of) Sean Hannity, Michael "Savage" Wiener and Ann Coulter. He probably would have ended up as a used car salesman or a clerk in a liquor store. His opinion would not have been taken seriously by anyone except maybe a sympathetic bartender.

Some bartenders are pretty good psychologists not to mention being fairly adept at feigning interest in the most boring of topics. There is a gentleman named Bill Vaughan who used to tend bar at the old Orange Inn Tap Room here in Goshen, New York. Heaven knows how many hours the poor guy spent listening to me waxing inebriate on all matter of subjects from the deplorable state of American politics to the age-old question as to who was the funniest of the two: Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy? I would imagine that in a perfect society, no one other than a patient, world-weary and kindly mixologist would ever have bothered paying any attention to the opinions expressed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

His fawning audience of giddy, sycophantic little robots (who cheerfully refer to themselves as "ditto-heads") are spoon-fed a daily diet of ignorance, fear and propaganda under the guise of "excellence in broadcasting". One of the most annoying things about the man is his positively inflated opinion of himself. At the beginning of every broadcast he even compares himself to God, implying that his talent is "on loan" from the Almighty Himself. And he never gets tired of telling his clueless listeners how much power he has. That he has a lot of power and influence cannot be denied, but he never tires of reminding us of this unfortunate fact.

During the Democratic party's primary season he gleefully demonstrated that power once again when he instructed his moronic faithful to vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in states where cross-party voting was legal. His motivation was laughably obvious to anyone bothering to pay attention. The last thing the Republicans wanted was to have John McCain in competition with an articulate visionary like Barack Obama. Senator Clinton, they knew, was a sure loser. Had it not been for el Rushbo's electoral meddling, Obama's victory last summer would not have been the cliff hanger it turned out to be; it would have been a landslide.

And now he's at it again. Rush Limbaugh, in an effort to impress all of us with what a big and powerful dude he is, says he is going to "hijack" President Obama's honeymoon with the print and electronic media. He was a little vague on exactly how he was going to do this but you can be sure he was just as sincere as can be. He was telling his listeners in the same breath that the President is more afraid of him than he is of Mitch McConnell "which says a lot about the Republican party", he added. Oh really? While he may be "the most powerful Republican in the country at the moment", as some in the media are implying, they are ignoring the fact that the "party of Lincoln" is in the process of self-destructing. At this writing Rod Blagojevich is the most powerful Democrat in Illinois. How much does that reveal about the current state of the Democratic party? Not much.

The most jaw-dropping spectacle one can witness is the sight of Right Wing politicians dropping to their knees on the alter of the Church of Limbaugh. A couple of days ago, Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia had the unmitigated gall to criticize him in an interview with the magazine Politico and on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Someone (probably Rush himself) got the message to Gingrey that any kind of negativity directed toward the Great One was a mortal sin punishable by political ostracism. Gingrey got the message loud and clear. Withing twenty-four hours he was on his knees, calling into the program and begging Rush to be absolved for his transgressions:

"I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments, and I just wanted to tell you, Rush — and all our conservative giants, who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it to get back this majority — that I regret those stupid comments."

It was one of the most pathetic things I've ever been forced to witness. Theodore Roosevelt would have said of Phil Gingrey (as he once said of his boss, President McKinley):

"He has all the spine of a chocolate eclair."

After Rush made some distasteful, racist comments regarding the President (which I won't reprint here - even I have standards, thank you very much!) MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell tried to get Indiana congressman Mike Pense to condemn the remarks. Pense merely tap danced around the question, frightened to death at the mere thought of uttering a word that would cause the wrath of Limbaugh to come crashing down on his political career. Ms. O'Donnell ended the interview by asking, "You're on your way to be interviewed on the Rush Limbaugh Show, aren't you Congressman?"

"Umm, I think so, Nora" replied an utterly fearful Mike Pense.

"We need to stop giving them coupons where they can go buy all kinds of junk. We just don't have the money. They're taking out, they put nothing in. And I'm sick and tired of playing the one phony game I've had to play and that is this so-called compassion for the poor. I don't have compassion for the poor."

Rush Limbaugh

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"

Jesus of Nazareth

Like all of the Right Wing, media talking heads, Limbaugh is a hypocrite of Olympian proportions. In his book which inspired the title of this piece, Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot and Other Observations, the Soon-to-be Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, wrote as follows:

"Given his feelings about the poor, you might find it surprising that Limbaugh has himself fed off the largess of the government in the form of unemployment insurance. Was Rush temporarily disabled? No....This self-described "rugged individual" and scourge of government handouts had the gall to file for unemployment at a time when he was able-bodied and spending his days sitting around the house eating junk food, too lazy to mow his own lawn."

One could literally go on for pages listing the contradictions and hypocrisies that are personified in the man's very being. The amazing thing is that there are many people - an estimated twenty million or more of them - who still take this asshole seriously! The most unpleasant aspect of my job is that I have to listen to Rush Limbaugh. That is not meant to imply that I listen to him every day, or for the full three hours that he is on the air - I can just take so much. But I do tune into his program a couple times a week and listen to it for as long as my stomach will allow (My endurance record is slightly over two hours). I have to do that in order to be able to comment intelligently on the bullshit he puts forward as fact. That might seem like a masochistic way to spend an afternoon but, hey! - A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. About once a month I'll also tape an entire installment of Fox and Friends. I even read Ann Coulter's book Treason cover to cover. How's that for patience? It's all a simple case of "Know Your Enemy", you know what I mean?

From all that I have read and watched and listened to, the one common denominator that is shared by Rush Limbaugh and his compatriots on the Far Right is that they appeal to the very worst angels of our nature. And quite often, the recipients of their hateful ire are the most helpless among us. For the last thirty years, thanks to the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine, these people have dominated America's national political dialogue. It's high time we take it back, don'cha think?

Rush Limbaugh is not unique to American history. Three quarters of a century ago the opinion media was polluted by the minds of people like Westbrook Pegler, George Sokolsky and Walter Winchell. While they were all able to enjoy great fame and treasure while they were alive, death would find the three of them consigned history's garbage heap, forgotten and disgraced. Indeed, during the thirties and forties Winchell was arguably the most famous man in America. And yet when he died in 1972, the only person who bothered to show up at his funeral was his daughter. Do you remember the name Walter Winchell? Don't feel bad if you don't; not many people do.

Rush Limbaugh, too, will suffer posterity's indifference. Of that you may be completely certain.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY


"Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot and Other Observations" by SENATOR Al Franken


As I was editing this piece, President Obama was on television signing into law the Lillie Leadbetter Act. After eight, long years, it is a beautiful thing indeed to hear the commander-in-chief speak in complete sentences, free of grammatical errors. [sigh].

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Smedley Butler 1881-1940

Two weeks ago I wrote about the plot that George W. Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush was involved in to overthrow the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That scheme was discovered and foiled by a great American hero of World War One, retired general Smedley D. Butler. Just this morning one of the readers of the Rant, Chuck Welch, sent me the following quotation from General Butler's memoirs:
"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service in the country's most agile military force, the Marines. I served in all ranks from second lieutenant to major general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
"I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
"Thus I helped make Mexico, and especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half-a-dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers and Co. in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents."

I can't improve on those words and won't even attempt to do so. Smedley Butler was not only a great American patriot, he was one brave, honest and tough son-of-a-bitch. The fact that his is not a household name is our nation's shame.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


War Is A Racket
by Smedley Butler

To read Smedley's book in its entirety, just click below:

Special thanks to my old chum John Harragin for that link.

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keep voting republican. there will be.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cocka-Doodle-Doo, America!

America was forever changed yesterday.

Here's the tragic irony of it all: I missed the inauguration and didn't get a chance to watch it until late last night on a DVD. While President Obama was assuming office, I was at St. John the Evangelist Church on Murray Avenue in Goshen, NY. As I was looking at the people around me, I imagined that we might very well be the only people on the planet not watching the historic events transpire on television. We were there to say goodbye to our little town's favorite citizen, Bill Lotze, who died in a car accident late Friday night. President Obama be damned. I had to be there for Bill. He was an absolute gem of a human being. God rest his merry soul.

Within seconds of assuming the realms of power, President Obama was cheerfully handed one last reminder of the silliness and incompetence of the last eight years courtesy of Chief Justice John Roberts, who promptly screwed up the oath of office:

"I do solemnly swear that I will execute faithfully the office of the president to the United States"

That President Obama was a bit flustered is understandable. I
have been able to recite by memory the presidential oath since I was twelve years old. One would think that the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court would get it right at so crucial a moment. What did you expect? He was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

"Former President George W. Bush"....Someone pinch me. This truly is the end of an error.

Aside from the majesty, meaning and symbolism of the moment, the most amazing, jaw-dropping spectacle of the day were the expressions on the faces of the Bush Mob as they skipped out of town. They all seemed so pleased with themselves, didn't they? Have they not been reading the newspapers all these years? Have they limited their information intake to FOX Noise? The departing president actually seems proud of the damage he's done to our beloved country. At a welcome home ceremony in Texas, the First Fool told the crowd of blubbering sycophants what "a joyous experience" being president had been for him. "We're back in the state of Texas and we're here to stay", he said. How lucky for Texas. Yeah, you just stay right where you are, George. Goodbye, good riddance and thank you for your "service" to our country.

During the entire twentieth century, only the inaugurations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy can compare to what happened yesterday. What made it so monumental for me was not the new president's race but the fact that for the first time in my life I am older than the president of the United States. When Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, I was twelve days away from my third birthday. I actually have a conscious memory of a time before the president was born! To tell the truth, that's going to take a few minutes to get used to. I have a friend named Terri who was born on August 5, 1961, the day after Barack. Fortunately for her, for the next eight years (I'm predicting two terms) she will continue to have the luxury of being younger than the chief-executive. Some people have all the luck.

Barack Obama has one tough job ahead of him. In his favor is the fact that he has the good fortune to be following into office a man to whom most educated observers would give the label, "worst president in American history". Before Bush came stumbling down the old political pike, James Buchanan was generally considered by historians to be at the bottom of the list. Somewhere, I am sure, Buchanan's heirs are jabbing their collective fists high in the air and shouting a hearty, "YES!!!" George W. Bush was such a complete and utter failure, even if Obama turns out to be an absolute mediocrity (and I do not believe that will be the case) he will seem like George Washington by comparison.

The most moving thing about January 20, 2009, a day which has passed into history, was the look in the eyes of African Americans all across the nation. It was divided between tears of joy and expressions of utter disbelief that after four-hundred years of injustice and humiliation, this was finally happening.

Just this morning I was absentmindedly thumbing through a copy of Time Magazine from March 8 of last year when I happened upon the obituary of a ninety-seven year old, African American woman named Johnnie Carr. Born in 1910, she is described in the article as one of the mother figures of the Civil Rights movement who helped engineer the landmark 1955 boycott that ended segregation in the Montgomery, Alabama public transportation system. She was also the childhood friend of the late Rosa Parks. I thought how sad it is that for all they must have seen throughout their long lives, neither of them would live to see January 20, 2009. H
ow proud they both would have been. But for Rosa Parks and Johnnie Carr, yesterday would have been just another dull, boring inauguration of another dull, boring white guy. Wake up and face the dawn.
America was transformed yesterday. Isn't this a great time to be alive? Or as the late Tim Russert's dad, Big Russ, might have rhetorically asked, "Is this a great country, or what?" January 20, 2009 was a milestone day in American history that we'll all remember for the rest of our lives. Twenty-four hours later, it is just a little easier to believe that we will eventually arrive at the day when America will truly be a color blind society. You can see it in the way young white people reacted to candidate Barack Obama when he was on the campaign trail. The color of his skin wasn't even apparent to most of these kids! They loved the guy because he was handsome, smart, articulate and as cool as a freaking cucumber!
For the first time in a generation, college kids aren't thinking about majoring in business or banking, they're talking about getting into government service. Barack Obama has made government cool again! Not since the dawn of Jack Kennedy's New Frontier nearly half a century ago have young Americans felt this way. They're not asking their country to do anything for them. They're asking what they can do for their country. Twenty-eight years ago yesterday, on January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan told his clueless, fellow countrymen and women that government ("of the people, by the people, for the people") was not the answer, it was the problem. It is my belief that the Obama administration will forever prove the utter fallacy of that idiotic statement. There will be times - and this is just such a time - where government will be the only answer. My fondest hope is that one day the American people will wake up and realize what a complete fool Reagan was.
This is our new New Deal. This is our new New Frontier. The Freedom Train is about to leave the station.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Special thanks to my little commie brother (he lives in France and actually likes it there) Jeff Degan for forwarding the Obama inauguration photograph.


Obama's Challenge
by Robert Kuttner

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Presidents of the United States (UPDATE)

Please indulge me while I paraphrase President Kennedy's inaugural address which was delivered forty-eight years ago today, January 20, 1961:

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 Americans; born in the second half of the twentieth century....

Well, now!
Here's some change you can really believe in, baby! By the time the sun sets late this afternoon, Barack Hussein Obama will have been sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America.

As a public service, I have elected to post this updated version of a list of the forty-three men who have served in the office (Although Obama is the Forty-fourth president to be elected, he is actually only the forty-third person to hold the job. Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and is usually counted twice. Go figure).

So here is the new and
much improved listing of the Presidents of the United States:

1. George Washington
2. John Adams
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
6. John Quincy Adams
7. Andrew Jackson
8. Martin Van Buren
9. William Henry Harrison
10. John Tyler
11. James K. Polk
12. Zachary Taylor.
13. Millard Fillmore
14. Franklin Pierce
15. James Buchanan
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Andrew Johnson
18. Ulysses S Grant
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
20. James A. Garfield
21. Chester A. Arthur
22. Grover Cleveland
23. Benjamen Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
25. William McKinley
26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William Howard Taft
28. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
35. John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H.W. Bush
42. William Jefferson Clinton
43. George W. Bush
44. Barack Obama

I did that from memory. Aren'cha impressed? I knew you would be!

God bless you, President Obama. I don't envy you, pal, that's for damned sure!. You've got one heck of a mess to clean up. Good luck.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


"Fondly do we hope - fervently do we pray - that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until the wealth piled by the bondman's two-hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three-thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether'....With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Hang in there, folks!

Isn't it wonderful? We have elected the first African American president! Now we can all live happily ever after!
Think again. As Winston Churchill once opined, "This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end." This was at a crucial point in World War Two. He then went on to say, "This is perhaps the end of the beginning." While that might have been true for Britain in 1942, it does not apply to American Progressives in 2009. This is barely the beginning of the beginning. We've got a lot work ahead of us.
Electing President Obama was only the first step forward (That's assuming it even was a "Step forward". Please, Barack, don't go Clintonesque on us, okay?) Next to seeing to it that the Bush Mob are prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes against humanity, our biggest job during the next eight years will be to make sure that the half-witted Right Wing ideology that has hijacked the so-called "party of Lincoln" for the last forty-five years is extinguished from America's national political dialogue forever.
This could very well mean the end of the Republican party as we know it - and that would not necessarily be a good thing - one party rule has historically led to disaster. But as has been said many times before, if that party does not undergo an extreme ideological face lift - and very soon - it will go the way of the Whigs and the dodo bird. Come to think about it, that wouldn't be the worst thing that ever happened either.
The people are starting to awaken to the fact that the last eight years were a disaster for this country. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: Most of them still believe Ronald Reagan to be one of our top five presidents - right up there with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The man whose economic philosophy is more responsible than any one's - even George W. Bush's - for the mess we now find ourselves in, is viewed by most of us as Saint Ronnie. How utterly stupid is that?
January 20, 2001 was the twelfth anniversary of the day Ronald Reagan mercifully left the White House. It was on that day that the dirty old dingbat's presidential papers were scheduled to be released to historians for scholarly research. It never happened. Unfortunately for history that was also the day that the half-witted son of Reagan's vice-president became commander-in-chief. Within minutes of vowing "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", George W. Bush signed an unconstitutional executive order that sealed the Reagan papers, as well as those of his father's administration, forever.
It was George W. Bush's first act as president of the United States. Why did he do it? Obviously there was an urgency to do so. What made hiding the Reagan papers so urgent? It is obvious that there are things - many, many things - they do not want the public to know about. What the American people need to understand, what we must teach them, is that the administration of Ronald Wilson Reagan was the second most corrupt in American history. The reason they resorted to such desperate measures to install Dubya in the Executive Mansion in 2000 (and stealing an election is certainly an act of desperation) is because the very last thing Poppy Bush wanted was to have the felonies he committed between 1981 and 1989 revealed for all to see. When his ne'er-do-well kid was selected by an ideologically dysfunctional Supreme Court, the deal was set in stone. History, for the time being anyway, would be locked away from prying eyes. We should demand that President Obama reverse that order.
I know this sounds a tad totalitarian but I can't, for the life of me, come up with a better word. Forgive me but America needs to be re-educated - not with propaganda but with the truth. In an excellent piece that was published this morning on AlterNet (the finest little political site that money can buy, by the way) David Michael Green wrote the following:
"This president - and indeed the entire movement of regressive politics these last three decades (which I refer to as Reaganism-Bushism) - can only be properly understood as class warfare. Its purpose was never to make America a better place. Indeed, if we define America as a country belonging to its 300 million inhabitants, then the purpose was actually precisely the opposite. The mission of this ideology was in fact to diminish, if not impoverish, the vast bulk of these citizens so that the already massively wealthy among them could become obscenely wealthy."
The point Green was making is that viewing the Bush Mob as a bunch of incompetent, prat falling, frat boys is missing the point. The fact is this is one of the most successful administrations in history - for the purposes they were seeking. They sought to loot our national treasure. They sought to damage and destroy the fundamental structures put into place seventy-six years ago by the New Deal. They sought to distract our attention in the so-called "war on terror" by illegally invading the (Deal with it) sovereign nation of Iraq. They sought to make the already insanely rich, disgustingly rich. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Their success is our ultimate failure.
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love you, tomorrow!
You're always a day away!
The inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow as the forty-fourth president of the United States might very well be the dawn of a new age of progressive enlightenment for this country - or it will be a mere fluke of a detour down the road of America's economic suicide. If the citizens of this troubled, nutty republic had much of an understanding of their history, they would not consistently - foolishly - continue down that road. As was once said (and Damn! I wish I could remember who the hell said it!) "Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it" - or words to that effect. Hopefully President Obama will be able to redirect our priorities. We shall see.
One can't help but be moved by the excitement, hope and expectation one sees in the eyes and faces of the people who at this moment are descending on the nation's capitol. Not since the dawn of Jack Kennedy's New Frontier in 1960 has the sense of national purpose been as tangible as it is at this moment. He has us focusing on service - not on ambition; not on the silly pursuit of profit for profit's sake - but service to our fellow human beings.
NOTE TO THE "CHRISTIAN" RIGHT: Call it a hunch, but I think Jesus would have approved. I don't know, I'm just fickle that way.
I hate to quote the following because it has been done to death over the years. But it really applies here:
"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
For the first time since November 22, 1963 those words mean something. It is no longer empty rhetoric. They have real meaning.
As I write these words, the small black and white TV in my office/kitchen is tuned to MSNBC's Morning Joe. Peggy Noonan, noting the festive mood on the eve of Barack's inaugural, just made the statement, "This is just like Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981. People are dancing in the street!" That's not true - that's not even close to being true. While there certainly was a lot of dancing going on twenty-eight years ago tomorrow, all the dancing took place inside of ballrooms at private, closed-to-the-public parties. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the dancers were white. The overwhelming majority of them were wealthy. That's the big difference between 1981 and 2009.
Remember that.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Obama's Challenge
by Robert Kuttner

Friday, January 16, 2009

Georgie in La La Land

Watching the performance of our frat boy president during Monday's final press conference and last night's Good Riddance Address to the nation, trying to but a smiley face on the most criminally incompetent administration in history, I was reminded of the story of the farmer who happened upon a young boy digging through a humongous pile of horse shit with his bare hands. When asked by the farmer just what the hell he was doing, the boy replied with words that should be engraved on the entrance of the George W. Bush Presidential Library:

"There's just got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

There's no pony; only the gnarled carcass of a very dead elephant.

The headline of the January 13 New York Daily News summed up Monday's final press conference perfectly: "BUSH WACKY". The First Fool was telling the American people that, like Douglas MacArthur's fabled old soldier, he is just going to fade away:

"When I get out of here, I'm getting off the stage - I've had my time in the klieg lights."

I hope that isn't so. If his public appearances this week are a harbinger of things to come, he should keep us rolling in the aisles for years to come. George W. Bush and the Right Wing crazies who have hijacked the Republican Party in the last three decades are, quite literally, the gift that keeps giving.

Back during the campaign of 2000 ("Ahma YOU-niter, notta DEE-vider") Don Imus told his listeners one morning:

"Please, vote for this guy, I'm begging you!"

What he was saying was that his job of making people laugh would be so much easier with such an idiot sitting in the Oval Office. Over two years ago, a friend of mine was commenting on my output on The Rant. "You're such a prolific writer", she told me. "Are you kidding me???", I said to her, "During the Age of Bush, these things write themselves!" Indeed, I imagine those of us who earn their reputations siphoning humor out of this virtual gold mine of material are going to have a much harder time of it with President Barack Obama in the White House. Please, George, keep in touch, okay?

"The phrase, 'burdens of office' is overstated."

Of all the mindlessly stupid statements this oaf of office has made since he took the oath of office eight, long years ago Tuesday, that one is the most revealing. It proves beyond a doubt what I have been saying for years; the guy is a sociopath. Sending nearly five-thousand American servicemen and women to their deaths wasn't a burden? A million or so dead Iraqi men, women and little children wasn't a burden? Does this hideous little bastard even have a pulse?

If there is only one thing that all of the men who have survived that job have agreed on, it is the burdens of that office. Harry Truman once called the White House, "the finest prison money can buy". When Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the White House on March 4, 1933, he was a relatively young and vigorous fifty-one-year-old. When he died in office on April 12, 1945, he seemed to have aged thirty years.

The fact that Bush has taken on a much grayer, pallid look since 2001 means nothing. Not aging too well is a hallmark of the Pierce side of his family. I remember during the campaign of 1988 looking at photographs and videotape of Poppy Bush with his hideous wife Barbara at his side. "Awww!", I remember thinking, "Isn't that sweet? He brought his mom along with him!"

Last night's Good Riddance Address to the nation should have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country this morning. Unfortunately for the First Fool, the thunder was stolen from him by a man named Chesley "Sulley" Sullenberger, the pilot who skillfully and heroically landed a US Airways plane filled with over one-hundred people on the Hudson River just opposite the Island of Manhattan. The speech was highlighted on page nineteen of the Daily News; page fifteen of my local paper, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY. Incredibly, the speech wasn't even mentioned on the New York Times website.

Bush was desperate to put lipstick on this pig of an administration. Instead of making the speech from the intimacy of the Oval Office (as presidents always do), he did it from the East Room in front of an audience of family, sycophants and human props:

"I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. There may be legitimate debate about many of these decisions, but there can be little debate about the results."

Well, no shit, Sherlock! No debate whatsoever.

"You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

Were do I begin....Tough decisions??? Were all of those jaw-droppingly stupid decisions he made during his reign of error all that tough to make? This guy is so piss-in-your-pants funny! Sometimes I have the fantasy that his speechwriter is a veteran comedy writer for Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar.

"When the challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hard working families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted."

The time has come for this man and his economic advisers to face some very nasty realities. We wouldn't be in this mess today had these bastards not stolen the election from Al Gore in 2000. As has been proven too many times to count throughout our history, whenever the plutocracy - the Right Wing - were able to seize control of all three branches of our government, they drove this country into the economic ditch every single time. Bush has only proved it yet again. Congratulations, George.

"Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again....We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard....Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe. "

Six words: "BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE INSIDE U.S." Need I elaborate? I didn't think so.

"When people live in freedom they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror."

I'm curious. Does this knucklehead even know the meaning of the word, "irony"?

"Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks [Really? No kidding, George!] There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind."

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he committed the stupidest military blunder in the history of this once-great nation when he invaded the (like it or not) sovereign nation of Iraq?

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he plundered our national treasure by giving a tax cut to a class of people who already had more fucking money than they knew what to do with?

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he went off to party at a political fundraiser while the people of New Orleans were drowning?

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he authorized the countless violations of the Geneva Conventions and allowed combat detainees to be tortured?

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he destroyed decades of foreign policy and diplomatic precedents?

Did he really have "the best interests of our country in mind" when he allowed his henchmen to reveal the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plaime for no other reason than to punish her husband Joe Wilson for telling the truth about the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ?

And finally a question to the people who naively voted for him: Did you have "the best interests of our country in mind" when you sent this half-witted, inarticulate asshole to the White House?

At the conclusion of last night's spectacle of an address, MSNBC's Chris Matthews said to colleague Keith Olbermann, "And that's the tragedy of the last eight years. He's learned the wrong lessons and he's out there selling them again tonight."

"To the last", replied Olbermann.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

In just four days this nightmare of an administration will be toast and jelly. Did you ever think that this country would sink as low as it has? Who'd have thunk it?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All in the First Crime Family

You've got to hand it to those Bushes. In a televised interview last week, George the elder said that he wanted son Jeb to run for the senate. With a straight face he said that Jebbie would make a perfectly fine senator. I was reminded of his appearance last year at the Republican National Convention. His son, George 43, didn't dare show up at the event because of the nasty little fact that he is the most unpopular president in American history and candidate McCain wanted to keep him as far away as possible. So he addressed the delegates via satellite from the security of the Oval Office:
"Fellow citizens, if the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain's resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure that the angry Left never will."
What an asshole. When the First Fool's tirade was over and done with, the cameras cut to poor old, clueless Poppy. It was more than apparent that he was just as proud as a peacock at the performance of his half-witted kid. Obviously they've been hiding the newspapers from the hideous old bastard these past eight years. No question about it, the man is undergoing a serious case of denial.

Let us give credit where credit is due: Jeb Bush is not quite as stupid as his older brother. He has seen the writing on the wall. He knows damned well that the public has a terminal case of Bush fatigue. He promptly made the announcement that he will not be a contender for the Republican nomination in 2010. When Dubya got this news the hideous little thug seemed genuinely surprised. He had not spoken to his brother in a number of days and was disappointed in the news, he said.

QUESTION: Are you as amazed as I am by the arrogance of these knuckleheads?

The most important political development of the next few years should be that the Bush Dynasty be rendered as dead as the Adams Dynasty (NOTE TO THE SECRET SERVICE: I mean figuratively, not literally, dear boys) The damage they have done to this country is incalculable. If I had it my way, there would be a Constitutional amendment immediately ratified that prohibited any Bush or Bush descendant from running for public office for the next two-and-a-half centuries. It will take at least that long to rehabilitate them.

This is a family that has been defecating on the Constitution for generations - going all the way back to grandpa Prescott. We now know that he continued to conduct business transactions with the Nazis after Hitler declared war on the United States - this at a time when his son George was in uniform in the Pacific fighting Germany's allies, the Japanese. He was also involved in a plot that planned the overthrow of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thankfully, the scheme was foiled by a great American patriot, retired General Smedley D. Butler. For reasons I've never been able to understand, Roosevelt didn't have the stomach to prosecute Prescott Bush and his cohorts for treason. Think of that: FDR had the chance to strangle the Bush Dynasty in its cradle but failed to do so. I am a great admirer of Roosevelt but he really screwed up there.

The familial motivation behind the support of a potential Jeb Bush candidacy was - without a doubt - the possibility that he would reclaim the White House in 2013 or 2017. If you've been reading "The Rant" these past three years, you know damned well that I am no great proponent of the intelligence of the American electorate. A people capable of electing as president the likes of Ronald Reagan and the Georges Bush are capable of just about anything. But the question has to be asked; would they really be so dumb as to go down that road again? MY heart says, No! No! No! But my mind says, Yes! Yes! Yes!

During the 2000 campaign, it was obvious to the most casual observers that George W. Bush would be in way over his head as chief executive - and yet a significant minority of the people foolishly sent him to the Oval Office anyway (Don't forget; Al Gore won the popular vote. Also, they were able to illegally remove 57,000 black people from the voting rolls in the state of Florida that year). As far as American politics is concerned, what used to be the unthinkable is now the inevitable. Expect the unexpected.

Here's the biggest irony of all: Jeb Bush really had a good shot at that senate seat. The thing that must be remembered about Florida Republicans is that they are just about the most idiotic people on the planet, second only to South Carolina Republicans. Jeb had more than a good chance to take that seat, but he must know that the ultimate prize, the Oval Office is beyond his reach. He must realize that as the years transpire, the crimes his brother committed against the American people will be revealed for all to see. Not only will George be the last Bush to make it to the White House, it is now a fairly good bet that he will be the last Republican to get there. That party has been reduced to ashes and it was George W. Bush who struck the match.

I can't possibly emphasize this enough. I want that dynasty to die (Again, to the SS: figuratively speaking, my loves). A lot of people are using the excuse that dynasties are intrinsically bad in order to throw a monkey wrench into Caroline Kennedy's quest for the senate seat that will soon be vacated by Hillary Clinton. Let's get serious here, kids: Comparing the Kennedys to the Bushes is as futile as comparing the acting skills of Lawrence Olivier to those of Larry the Cable Guy. It is such an absurd comparison it is hardly worth mentioning but for the fact that it's such a funny one. To paraphrase something Dick Gregory once said comparing Jack Kennedy to Dick Nixon, when President Kennedy walked into a room, the whole room would light up. The only time George W. Bush lights up a room is when he leaves.

So let's make a national pact: No more Bushes, OK? Enough is enough. Between the corrupt sons, George, Neil and Marvin, the father and the grandfather, the damage that these foolish, hideous people have done to our country over the years is too great to even calculate. Let's take the Bush Dynasty to the vet and have it put to sleep.

Some in the know are beginning to imply that the future of the Bush Family's political aspirations lies in Jeb's son, George P. Bush, a good looking guy whom many have compared to John Kennedy, Jr. Please, let's not even go there. The next few years will see the GOP propaganda machine portraying the guy as a new and improved, different kind of Bush. Let's all promise ourselves that America never goes down that road again. You can expect the entire clan to spend the rest of their lives justifying and defending the hideous administration of their brother, uncle and father. That would mean perpetuating the Bush economic/world view should, Heaven forbid, any of them get elected to public office in the foreseeable future. Been there. Done that. We must make sure that that never happens again. These are awful people.

George W. Bush is a textbook example of how dumbed down the American people have become in the last half century. There once was a time when the not-very-bright son of a failed ex-president would not have been taken seriously running for the position of Sanitation Chief of an impoverished, rural county let alone president of the United States.
By now, only a fool would argue against the fact that Franklin Roosevelt was one of history's finer presidents. In the decade following his death, FDR's sons attempted careers in politics and they all failed. Why? Because, with the exception of Jimmy Roosevelt, they were all seriously flawed, unenlightened human beings - and yet they were a whole hell of a lot brighter than Bush. Once upon a time, we Americans had standards of excellence by which we measured our leaders. We can only hope that the election of Barack Obama has awaken us from our long, dark coma.

Despite the current, lingering economic catastrophe we are now experiencing, I'm feeling very hopeful about America right now. More hopeful than I've ever felt in my fifty years (Ugh! Don't remind yourself, Degan!) Maybe the light really is at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this three-decades-long era of incompetence and corruption is about to end. Eric Sevareid once said of Edward R. Murrow, "He was pessimistic about tomorrow, but optimistic about the day-after-tomorrow". For the first time in my life, I am feeling good about tomorrow. Really good.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.


Hijacking Catastrophe
a film by Robert Greenwald

There are less than ten days (nine, to be exact) until these contemptible people are gone forever. The days between now and January 20 will seem like an eternity. God bless you, Beth Quinn.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Post #200: Worst of "The Rant"

Two hundred postings in thirty-one months? The first posting of 2009? Well now! If that ain't a milestone event worthy of a retrospective flashback, I don't know what is! Join me, kiddies, while we take a merry little stroll down Memory Lane....

June 2, 2006:
In November of 2000, when the voters of the United States of America foolishly sent this moron to the executive mansion, we effectively pointed the proverbial loaded pistol at our own collective head. Four years later on Election Day 2004 - make no mistake about it - we pulled the trigger.

June 3, 2006:
And on a star spangled night, my love
You can place your rights on the fireplace
And by the dawn's early light, my love
Your Constitution's turned to dust
Fascism American Style!
That's me and you!

June 4, 2006:
He [Bush] is the greatest president in American history. His is the most gifted, competent administration in American history. History will be the final judge of "We the People" as to whether or not we had the moral foresight to stand behind our able and good commander-in-chief at this most perilous moment....

I'm sorry. I just made a twenty dollar bet with myself that I could write [that last paragraph] and keep a straight face. I lost.

July 4, 2006:
Conservative causes may look good when viewed through a contemporary prism. But they always - without exception - look foolish, even totalitarian, when viewed through the objective lens of 20/20 historical hindsight. If you don't believe me, look up every Conservative cause in American history - starting with slavery! No doubt about it: America is in dire need of a long overdue history lesson, not to mention a course or two in civics.

July 14, 2006
Please stop desecrating the memory of the great emancipator by continuing to refer to it as the "party of Lincoln". Don't ever call it that again. Abraham Lincoln's influence on the Republican Party ended at exactly 7:22 on the morning of April 15, 1865 when he breathed his last breath.

July 31, 2006
One day - and that day is coming very soon - the American people are going to wake up from the Right Wing coma they've been snoring under for the last quarter of a century. And just as they did in 1932 with Franklin D. Roosevelt, they'll send a progressive, "a Liberal" to Washington to clean up the whole, shameful mess.

August 2, 2006
Is it any wonder that we are the laughingstock of the world? Yeah, yeah, I know! The Bush Mob stole the elections of 2000 and 2004. But if most people didn't actually vote for him, a significant minority did. An extremely significant minority. it's easy to steal an election when the results are that close. That's how Lyndon Johnson was able to steal a senate seat from Coke Stevenson in 1948. All it took was rearranging a handful of ballots in one precinct. Think about that for a minute! But for a few corrupt officials in one small Texas district, America might have been spared the horror of Vietnam a generation later. We really should start thinking about giving that state back to Mexico.

September 18 2006:
Three-an-a-half years ago, almost to the day, the president of the United States of America broadcast a message to the youth of Iraq: "Don't give your lives for a dying regime." Truth be told, I was shocked that George W. Bush was even capable of such sage advice. It's also excellent advice for the youth of America: Don't give your lives for this sick, corrupt and dying regime! And if I may, I would also like to add this little pearl to the discussion: ORGANIZE AND RESIST.

November 26, 2006:
Eight years ago Bill Clinton was almost forcibly removed from office for lying about having an extra-marital affair. When are we going to stand up and admit that Clinton's relatively minor transgressions are but a cup of water when compared to Bush's moral and ethical tsunami?

January 19, 2007:
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld - and the tsunami of human excrement that comprises this despicable administration - opened up the gates of hell when they went into Iraq almost four years ago. Only God knows
whether or not we would have been able to save the Iraqi people from themselves; but at least we'll be able to save them from us. That's reason enough to leave.

February 6, 2007:
This generation of Americans inherited from their parents the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. And just what will our heirs inherit from us? A social and ideological cesspool. Go shopping, America.

February 23, 2007:
Will Barack Obama be the next president of the United States? It's hard to say; but one shouldn't be foolish enough to dismiss his chances outright. We live in desperate and extraordinary times and the American people, if only out of sheer desperation, might very well turn to an extraordinary candidate. That very fact is enough to put the good senator over the top. We can only hope. Talk about audacity!

March 19, 2007:
Dear President Bush,

This morning on MSNBC they rebroadcast the footage from May 1, 2003 of you on the deck of the aircraft carrier, Abraham Lincoln. I saw you in that silly flight suit. I saw that disgusting smirk on your face as you declared, "Major combat operations in Iraq are over".

QUESTION: Sir, with the benefit of 20/20 historical hindsight, do you even have a clue as to how fucking stupid you look?

Just wondering.

Love and Peace,

Tom Degan

[Author's note: That letter was mailed to the White House]

March 24, 2007:
The end of the Bush era is upon us. The American people are angry and will soon demand that justice be served. And you thought that Nixon's downfall was fun to watch? Oh, brother!

April 2, 2007:
Let's face some serious facts here, kids: Hillary Clinton is not - under any circumstances - going to be the next president of the United States. 'Tain't gonna happen - not in this lifetime nor the next. Get used to the idea. Come to terms with it. Get a grip. Deal with it. It's not in the cards - marked or otherwise. It's not part of the equation. It's not on the table. It's not under the table. It's not in the stars. It's not in the moons. It's not in any body's horoscope - yours or mine. It's not on the horizon. Let me be as clear and concise as I possibly can: That's never, EVER, going to happen. Could I be any clearer than that?

May 13, 2007:
Somewhere in the void, Richard M. Nixon, you may be sure, is laughing right now. As revolting as the break-in at the Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel on June 17, 1972 might have been, when history finally renders its ultimate judgment, that crime will seem but a paper cut when placed in juxtaposition to George W. Bush's moral and ethical bloodbath. Compared to the Bush Mob, the Nixon Gang are starting to look like a bunch of Trappist Monks.

June 2, 2007:
Is it un-American to feel positively giddy (as I unashamedly do) by the implosion of the executive branch of the United States government? Not at all. Not when that government has proven itself to be as murderously corrupt and incompetent as this one. Make no mistake about it: the complete and utter failure of the Bush regime is the best thing for our republic.

July 10, 2007:
I imagine if I had gone to high school with Mrs. Bush, we wouldn't have done much hanging out together. I never would have been invited to one of her parties and she would not have been caught dead at one of mine:

"Try this hit of Orange Sunshine, Laura, You'll be up for days."

No. Scenes that weird have a tendency of stretching the imagination to the breaking point.

July 26, 2007:
We do live in interesting times, don't we? We really do! Watching these despicable people literally self-destruct before my very eyes is a joy that I can't even adequately put into words! Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming!

August 14, 2007:
Although the day passed totally - deservedly - unnoticed, May 2, 2007 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Joseph R. McCarthy. I only mention this fact because no one in the last half century has replicated more the corrosive effect the red-baiting Wisconsin senator had on the American political system than Karl Rove - NO ONE.

October 15, 2007:
Hey Democrats! Do you want to know another reason why I left your party almost a decade ago? You people are just dumb enough to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton! Prove me wrong, Dems! Please prove me wrong!

October 21, 2007:
In 1958, the year I was born, the very idea that an African American would one day sit on the Supreme Court would have been dismissed as ludicrous by even the most liberal-minded person. It is because of the very policies that Clarence Thomas so despises - policies placed into law by the progressive-minded lawmakers he views with such utter contempt - that he is where he is today. The very fact that he would want to pull up the ladder that made it possible for him to climb to the pinnacle of his profession - thereby preventing other members of his oppressed race from achieving the same opportunities he so skillfully exploited - is one of the most despicable things I have ever been forced to witness as an American citizen.

November 30, 2007:
The America that you and I grew up in is as dead as a doornail. That "shining city on a hill" is a mirage; it's a dream. Wake up. Wake up! WAKE THE FUCK UP!

December 16, 2007:
And you thought that the only thing George W. Bush had been torturing all these years was the English language?

Christmas Day, 2007:
Keep your eyes wide open for the miracles all around you. And remember the simple truth that there is more music to be found in the laughter of a single child than can be found in all of the symphonies ever composed by all of the composers who ever lived.

December 30, 2007:
2008 will be remembered as the year our entire economy collapsed. Take that to the bank (so to speak).

January 4, 2008:
You know, I was just thinking: This son-of-a-bitch [Barack Obama] just might be able to pull this thing off! WOW!

January 31 2008:
America is definitely at a crossroad. Probably more so than any time since 1932. We're now in a position to vote for real change. We now have a golden opportunity to ring in a new era of enlightenment and progress. The choice is still ours to make.

February 13, 2008:
The reality must be faced head on. Sending a Black guy to the Oval Office is an idea that's long overdue. And we're not just talking about any Black guy. He's not Jesse Jackson and he's certainly not Al Sharpton! What we're talking about here is someone who is one of the most extraordinary candidates to come down the political pike in a very, very long time. Barack Obama's day has come.

March 11, 2008:
The final hours of the Bush presidency will find the soon-to-be ex-president furiously issuing pardons - THOUSANDS OF THEM - to the criminals and cowards who faithfully, mindlessly did his bidding. Given the arrogance of this half-witted frat boy, he probably actually believes that a president can legally pardon himself. No doubt about it, the hideous bastard is in for one dark and deeply disturbing surprise.

April 20, 2008:
The total abolition of the Death Penalty is an idea that is long overdue. That this inhuman practice is is being committed on an almost weekly basis inside the walls of prisons all over the country only demeans us as a people. It is un-American and un-Christian. Or at least that is how my civic and religious upbringing forces me to interpret it. My Jesus was a Man flowing with love, mercy and compassion. What was your Jesus all about?

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy".

April 26, 2008
Once again, the Democrats have been handed a bottle of finely aged, twelve-year-old scotch and these gutless assholes have turned it into donkey piss.

June 8, 2008:
So desperate is the Bush Mob to forestall the inevitable, catastrophic economic collapse that is months - if not weeks away - they have resorted to sending checks in the amount of several hundred dollars to every taxpayer in the United States. Their intention is to keep the economy barely sustained just long enough to be able to get out of town while the getting is good and blame the coming, unavoidable meltdown on the next administration; an administration they have some reason to believe will be a Democratic one. What they are in the process of doing may very well serve as a temporary fix; but it will eventually only further deplete our already decimated national treasure. Seriously, has it dawned on you yet how utterly contemptible these people are? I was just wondering.

July 5, 2008:
The next four months will find Barack Obama saying and doing a lot of really nutty and stupid things in order to appease a nation chock full of nutty and stupid people. That is the only way one can get elected president in this country. Trust me on this one.

July 24, 2008:
How is it going to look if we choose a senile old bobblehead over a young and vigorous statesman who has the respect and admiration of the entire world? Gee, we're gonna look awfully silly, don'cha think?

September 3, 2008:
Another thing that struck the funny bone with a vengeance was the old man [George Bush 41]. After Dubya addressed the convention via satellite from the Oval Office, the camera cut to George, the elder. It was laughably apparent that poor old Poppy was just as proud as a peacock at the performance of his half-witted kid. Obviously someone has been hiding the newspapers from the clueless old bastard these past seven-and-a-half years.

September 16, 2008:
What must be understood is that Ronald Reagan was essentially a mask, with a twinkle in its eye and a fine, Irish smile. Remove that mask and what is revealed is the hideous smirk of George W. Bush. That's the real face of the Reagan Revolution. Wake up, America. We're about one half of a step away from the point of no return.

September 26, 2008:
Someone has accurately described it as privatized profit and socialized loss. How much more proof do the clueless American people need? The mask has been yanked away from the phantom of this stupid operetta and the real, ugly face of the Reagan Revolution is revealed for all to behold. THEY are allowed to run roughshod through our social and economic infrastructure. WE are expected to clean up THEIR mess. THEY walk away from the economic carnage relatively unscathed, THEIR tax cuts, quarterly dividend checks and multi-million dollar severance packages still firmly in place, while WE are left to bear the burden of THEIR greed and recklessness. FUCK THEM!

October 15, 2008:
It must be a horrible thing indeed to walk in the shoes of George W. Bush nowadays. Have you seen him lately? The disgusting little thug has aged ten years since the early spring. Why? Think about it: As long as the polling results between Senators Obama and McCain were so razor-thin, stealing this election would be as easy as it was in 2000 and 2004. McCain would be a sure thing and the First Fool and his posse of homicidal sycophants would be able to slither out of town, forever assured that they had gotten away with their crimes against the American people. The last thing in the world he wants is to have the Department of Justice placed in the hands of competent investigators. Read that to mean: "non Right Wing party hacks".

October 25, 2008:
The "Far Left" that the Far Right loves to whine so much about doesn't even exist anymore. You don't believe me? The next time you're in any big city, try finding the local chapter of the American Communist Party. Good luck.

October 30, 2008:
The possibility of sending a non-white person to Washington as the leader of a quarter of a billion people is a wonderful thing to contemplate. Those who share the color of his skin suffered more hardships and injustice than any other group throughout our history. Their time has come. This is their moment. Don't try to stop it. It will be easier to keep the sun from rising.

Election Day, 2008:
Every generation or so, the American people will do something that defies historical expectations. Last evening was a shining example of one of those moments. For the first time in my life (I turned fifty on August 16) I will point towards the Executive mansion on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and I will be able to say with pride, "That's where my president lives." I suspect that there are millions of us who feel that way. I don't know about you, but I've never been more proud of our country.

November 13, 2008:
The euphoria I've been feeling since election Day came to a dead halt yesterday when I was reminded of something I hadn't thought of before. The election of the first Black person as president of the United States is not the milestone event I had previously thought it to be. Think about it for a minute or two: What will Barack Obama be doing for the next four to eight years? The same thing that African Americans have been doing for the last four centuries - cleaning up the mess left behind by lazy and ignorant White people. What the hell's the big deal?

Eight years ago, poll after stupid poll said that most of the people who voted for George W. Bush did so because they would have preferred to have a beer with him over the smarty pants, policy wonk, Al Gore. Sure! I would prefer to have a beer with Bush over Gore any day of the week - if only to smash the little thug upside his head with a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon. But I'll let you in on a little secret: I sleep much more soundly at night knowing that my president is an articulate, intelligent person. Imagine how troubled my slumber has been for the last eight, long years, knowing that the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger has the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds. It has not been easy, trust me. From this day forth, if the Republicans insist on nominating people with the intellectual afflictions of Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin and George W. Bush - then the Grand Old Party is over.

December 2, 2008:
The fact that this half-witted little guttersnipe was elected twice to the most powerful office in the world defies credulity. And considering the gravitas of the two men he was able to defeat, his tenure as president is all-the-more embarrassing. It is akin to Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman losing to Jack Benny on the American Idol violin competition.

December 31, 2008:
In terms of sheer, side-splitting stupidity as entertainment, it will never again get funnier than George Walker Bush. That much I can say with total confidence. The man should have a table named in his honor at Lindy's. Truth be told, I'm kind of going to miss the hideous little bastard when he's gone.

January 5, 2009:
Two-hundred postings in thirty-one months? The first posting of 2009? Well now! If that ain't a milestone event worthy of a retrospective flashback, I don't know what is! Join me, kiddies, while we take a merry little stroll down Memory Lane....

I'm sorry. Am I starting to sound just a tad redundant?

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

COUNT DOWN: There are fifteen days until the imbecile-in-chief will be sent a'packin' back to Crawford, Texas.
Photograph taken on the morning of January 5, 2009.