Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conservatives Gone Wild

One speaker referred to it as "the Conservative Woodstock". Unlike the last Woodstock, however, "our women are beautiful." Apparently this freak has the hots for Phyllis Schlafly. Va va voom!

Another convention of pissed off and clueless white people blew into town last week. The Conservative Political Action Conference - CPAC
to you and me - staged this silly photo-op for no other purpose than to flex some badly whithered muscles. And as far as anyone can tell, it was, in fact, an all white gathering. Some idiotic commentator at FOX Noise claimed that he had heard from a friend that there was an African American spotted on the peripherals of the crowd, chomping the life out of a hapless watermelon - but that has yet to be confirmed by any responsible news agency. Sarah Palin, for reasons no one can explain, did not show up.

They came to perform what (in a perfect world) would be dismissed as an impossible feat: convincing their fellow citizens that the failed economic and social policies advocated by the right wing for the last three decades should be advanced once again on Election Day 2010. But this is not a perfect world, and - given the American electorate's hideous track record in recent years - their chances of taking back the House and Senate this November is a pretty safe bet. Or is it?

Although concealed by a facade of respectability, this was a vicious crowd. Come to think of it, "crowd" is too polite a term. This was a mob. In normal circumstances, considering the eight years of damage they were able to inflict upon the country they profess to love so much, one might think that their cause would have been pronounced dead-as-a-doornail at this late stage. But these were a people united and reinvigorated, bought together by their utter contempt - their irrational hatred - for "that goddammed nigger socialist in the White House." That was their hideous, unspeakable and unspoken common denominator. I just spoke it for them.

These were a people with a renewed sense of mission.

"The sky's the limit here. I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year for the Conservative cause. And I think Barack Obama is a one-term president."

Dick Cheney

In a spontaneous display of twisted adulation, the crowd chanted in unison, "RUN, CHENEY, RUN!!!" The Dickster, to my bitter disappointment, assured them that he would not run. Pity. I've been wishing like Jiminy Cricket on a star for a Cheney/Palin ticket in 2012. Wouldn't that be the perfect farce? Sickie Dick and Fascist Barbie! Ah, the possibilities....

Cheney wasn't the only icon of the uber right to make himself known to the drooling throng. The Grand Old Party's rock stars showed up in half-witted droves for this show.

There was Michele Bachmann, waxing moronic as only Michele Bachmann can. Almost four weeks ago on this very site, I asked the musical question, "Can Michele Bachman possibly get any stupider?" The answer, apparently, is yes. She projected on a screen a giant slide of a billboard in her home state of Minnesota which displayed a photograph of George W. Bush. Underneath the moronically smiling Dubya was this caption:


Not surprisingly, this ocean of assholes misses him terribly. So, too, does Michele Bachmann. It was quite touching really.

There was John Boehner, giving a speech that demonstrated the complete gullibility of his audience - given the fact that he wasn't laughed off the podium:

Ladies and gentlemen, if you help elect a Republican Congress this November, and I'm fortunate enough to be elected Speaker of the House, I pledge to you right here and now: we're going to run the House differently."

I wish I could have set up a concession stand outside that hall selling my new line of gas heaters made out of balsa wood. I'd have walked away with a small fortune.

There was former Congressman Dick Armey demonstrating yet again that he has spent the last ten years in a vacuum. I am not kidding you, he actually had this to say about the president: "You're intellectually shallow; you're a romantic; you're self-indulgent." He then went on to call Obama, "the most incompetent president perhaps in our lifetime."

QUESTION: Was someone hiding the newspapers from this silly bastard between the years 2001 and 2009?

There was Marco Rubio, the GOP's latest poster boy and candidate for senate. This guy also fancies himself something of a comedian. It was a good thing that Washington was shut down last week by the worst snow storm in its history. Why? Because "the president couldn't find anywhere to set up a teleprompter to announce new taxes." GUFFAW! THAT'S A KILLER! Here is what made this stupid remark so unintentionally funny: he was reading off of a teleprompter when he made it. That's what I love about these people - totally void of any sense of irony.


Every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has made use of the teleprompter. How far do you think Reagan or either of the Bushes would have gotten without that invention? I find it interesting that in a half century, only the black guy got criticized for actually using it. I'm sure that's just a coincidence, though.

And then there was Glenn Beck with his tired old robo-message: Liberalism equals Communism. The fact that this nitwit was welcomed with open arm to this event should give you a fairly good idea where their heads are at.

So I guess the writing is on the wall; the Democrats are going to get hammered on Election Day, right? I wouldn't be too sure about that. There are far too many monkey wrenches that are ready to be thrown into this engine. The most amusing thing to observe during the CPAC festivities last Thursday was their subtle attempt to disassociate themselves from the so-called "Tea Party Movement" without flatly rejecting it. What is going on here?

Here's what's going on: The cooler heads within the Republican National Committee know damned well that the Tea Partiers are a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. It's not merely the fact that most of these people are dumber than dog shit, it is also the ugly reality that so much of that movement is based on the nasty philosophy that has embodied the white supremacist movement for decades. You could hear it in the remarks made by the protesters at the September 12, "March on Washington". You could see it in the signs they carried. Most of these twits refuse to even acknowledge the fact that the president of the United States is an American citizen!

Like Neville Chamberlain appeasing der fuhrer at the Munich conference in 1938, the RNC is frantically searching for a "peace in our time" moment. They have quite a dilemma before them to be sure. On the one hand they need to keep these jackasses "inside the tent pissing out" - so to speak. On the other hand they have to avoid alienating the moderates. Like the demented uncle living in the attic, they must do everything humanly possible to make sure that any contact with the neighborhood kids is limited if you know what I mean.

The Tea Party people are already claiming credit for Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. They are determined to steer the course of the GOP in November, come hell or high water. If they are allowed control of the party, their extremism will only turn off a huge segment of the voting population. If they are denied that opportunity, they will splinter off into third and even fourth party uprisings. Have you ever watched an elephant try to walk a tightrope? It's more fun than a barrel of donkeys!

In the final analysis, the CPAC convention last week was not the celebration of omnipotence they would have us believe. It was nothing more than an organization of desperate politicians trying to put a pretty face on a dead pig. They have no ideas. They have no vision. The only reason for the existence of the Republican party since the days of President Grant has been to serve as handmaidens to their only constituency - the plutocracy. This fact is becoming more and more obvious to even the casual observer - hence their desperation. Will Election Day prove to be the landslide for the Republicans that so many are predicting? Don't count on it. Their weird uncle is at this moment walking the streets wearing nothing but a tattered bathrobe.

Tom Degan


"You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train"

A superb documentary on the life of the late, great Howard Zinn. It is available on DVD.


For more on this subject, expressed better than I could ever hope to, please read Frank Rich's excellent column in this morning's New York Times. Here is a link:


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Contemplating the Kennedys

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Edward Moore Kennedy
August 12, 1980

I feel bad for Patrick Kennedy. For reasons that I can't quite put into words, the poor guy never looked like he felt he belonged in the hallowed halls of congress. Given the fact that the place is chock full of nuts, crooks and mediocrities, it's no wonder he might have felt just a tad out-of-place. Although an obviously tormented man, there is much substance to be found there. Mitch McConnell he is not. Still, it's hard not to feel anything but compassion for the guy. As a person who has his own history of coming to terms with the bottle and all of its nasty little aftereffects, I can relate - big time.
It's an Irish thing.

This week, the right wing SCREAM MACHINE is beside itself with joy. It is in utter ecstasy by the very idea that there will be nary a Kennedy in Washington for the first time since 1947. And it's not just the Hate Radio types and FOX Noise that are beside themselves with joy. Millions of regular Americans - the very people who benefited so mightily by the laws and policies the Kennedys have have championed these sixty-plus years - are joining in the celebrations. Here's the real irony: A lot of these same people will, in due time, miss that family now that they're gone.

And they are all gone - or almost. Take a good look at the photograph at the top of this piece. Out of all of the members of that extraordinary family, only Jean survives (She is the little girl sitting at her father's feet). Of the nine children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, four of them would die violently and young - two in airplane accidents, and two at the hands of misguided assassins. We all know the story so I won't depress you with the details. There is already too much to be depressed about this week.

It's no secret that the Brothers Kennedy were four flawed human beings - not unlike you and I. Of the three brothers who survived into middle age (or barely in the case of Jack and Bobby) it's a safe bet that not one of them would ever have been chosen Husband of the Year. And from what we are able to discern, Joe Junior was a reactionary waiting to happen. As a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 1940, his was one of the few votes against a third term for Franklin Roosevelt. Maybe it's just as well that he is not the Kennedy we all remember. But human frailties aside, we can't forget that in most cases these guys - particularly Ted - were on the side of the angels.

Oh, and did I mention they were funny? Unlike most of the unintentionally funny politicians that fill the U.S. Capital today, those Kennedy brothers were genuine wits. My favorite JFK line of all time was when the Army football team (of which he was Commander-in-chief) was getting ready for a big game against the Catholic Trinity College (He was also our first Catholic president). When some smart alec reporter asked him who he was going to root for, the president answered without missing a beat, "Well, I'm going to root for Army and pray for Trinity." What can I tell you? Jack Kennedy was a frustrated comedian.

One of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we get to refer to the late president as "Jack". No disrespect intended.

The Kennedy Era is within months of ending forever. Maybe that is as it should be. I imagine that had the dynasty of John Adams lasted into the twenty-first century they would be a boring annoyance by now. Early next year when Patrick Kennedy walks out of the House of Representatives for the last time as a legislator, It will be the end of an era that began when my late father was a senior in high school. This coming October 27 would have been his eightieth birthday. He campaigned hard for John F. Kennedy in 1960; was part of the welcoming committee that greeted the president when he arrived at Stewart Air Force base in Newburgh, NY on June 6, 1962. My family - uncles, aunts and cousins - were all Kennedy Democrats. When those two remarkable brothers were cut down within less than five years of one another, we Degans took the loss personally. Being Irish Catholics probably didn't help matters any.

No family in American history - not the Adams, not the Roosevelt, and certainly not the Bush family - paid a higher price in the cause of public service than did the Kennedy family. And to tell you the truth I'm getting sick and tired of hearing them kicked around. From listening to the half-witted cries of jubilation that are greeting the news of the end of the Kennedy presence in Washington, it is easy to conclude that there are a whole lot of people in this silly country who don't appreciate the Kennedy legacy. To listen to the way some of them are talking, you would think the Kennedys were some kind of organized crime family. The Irish Mafia!

I have said more times than I can count that I wish every law and program for which Ted Kennedy was responsible could be overturned just for one week. You'll see then how fast the people start to miss the old guy. History will be the final judge as to what kind of senator Edward Moore Kennedy really was. That he was not fully appreciated by his fellow countrymen and women during his lifetime is not a fluke of American history. Most of the greats were not given the credit they were due until long after their deaths. Posterity is the ultimate score keeper.

Tonight I'll be drinking a toast. I am Irish. That's our job. We drink toasts. So sue me! My toast tonight will be for all the members of that remarkable clan - living and dead. From old Ambassador Joe all the way down to the his youngest descendant.

A toast: That they all have found peace - in this world and the one beyond.
That the survivors are able to look back on their family's vital contribution to the last century and be proud of a unique and valuable legacy.

Someone once said:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Here's to the
the Kennedy family! May they always be found dancing in the rain!

Tom Degan


Former vice-President J. Danforth Quayle announced to the press this week that his son Ben will be seeking a congressional seat from the state of Arizona.

We here are pleased and privileged to witness at this great moment in the history of our grand and glorious nation, the birth of the Quayle family political dynasty.

I need a drink.

For more recent articles in this trash bin of nasty LIBERAL propaganda, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Joe McCarthy: Then and Now

"I have here in my hand a list of two-hundred-and-five - a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nonetheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department."

Senator Joseph McCarthy
Wheeling, West Virginia
February 9, 1950

In a public career that lasted a little over a decade, Senator McCarthy was never able to uncover a single professed Communist working within the United States government.

One of the many things I love about the MSNBC program Countdown with Keith Olbermann is Keith's habit of citing the fact that a story he is highlighting is on the anniversary of a significant day in American history. He then ties the two events together symbolically. Such was the case on Monday evening. While covering the latest barrage of right wing lies and craziness, he noted that it was the sixtieth anniversary of the speech in Wheeling, West Virginia that launched the red-baiting career of Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.

From what I have read on the subject - on a personal level anyway - old Joe was a thoroughly likable guy. Jack Kennedy, the most amiable of men, thought the world of him. In fact Pat Kennedy, JFK's sister, even dated the Republican McCarthy for a time - with papa Joe Kennedy's wholehearted approval. As for me, I think I would have liked Joe McCarthy. I definitely would have loved to have gotten drunk with him at one time or another. The guy could be raucous and freewheeling - a lot of fun by all accounts. But I never would have voted for the man; not if he were the last candidate on earth.

It has all the makings of high comedy: A mediocre legislator with a 'round-the-clock drinking problem decides he needs "an issue" that might propel him into prominence. The nationwide reaction to his false assertions that day in Wheeling placed him in an out of control, high speed roller coaster that was destined to crash sooner or later. And although there was much comedy to be mined from this story (people like McCarthy are always unintentionally funny) in the final analysis there was not much to laugh at. Promising careers were ended. Lives were destroyed.

In the years to come McCarthy became one of the most feared men in Washington. The entire city would be reduced to walking on tiptoes around this disreputable jackass. No one - not even two presidents - would dare confront him head on. The only person in the entire country with the courage to take on Joseph R. McCarthy in a public forum was a legendary broadcast journalist named Edward R. Murrow. His March 1954 CBS program, See It Now, exposed the senator as the liar and fraud that he really was. Murrow's courage did not come without a cost. Sadly, the McCarthy broadcast marked the beginning of the end of his career at CBS News.

Like all demagogues, Joe McCarthy would eventually be done in by his own excesses. In 1954 when he tried to take on the United States Army, accusing them of being stacked to the rafters with Card Carrying Commies, the very absurdity of the charge proved to be too absurd even for the Congress. In a famous confrontation that was viewed by millions on television, council for the Army, Joseph Welsh, asked the thoroughly humiliated McCarthy:

"At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?"

By the end of the year, on December 2, he would be censored, stripped of all of his seniority. Two-and-a-half years later, he would be dead; a broken man victimized - as he himself victimized so many others - by his own demons, primarily alcoholism. He was forty-nine years old

In May of 1957 the body of Joseph McCarthy was laid to rest in a small, rural cemetery adjacent to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. The practice of baseless, political accusations that haunted America through much of the 1950s and which bears his name - McCarthyism - was buried with him....or so we believed at the time.

Joe McCarthy lives.

In 2010 his legacy is thriving. The man is everywhere. Sixty years ago there was only one Joseph R. McCarthy. Today there are literally hundreds of them. And his presence is not limited to the floors of the U.S. senate. He is on television; on the radio; and in hundreds of editorial offices throughout the country. The old son-of-a-bitch is literally dominating the opinion media! And to think, Joe McCarthy never had his own TV program.

The fear that so many within GOP feel for Rush Limbaugh reminds me of the psychological hold that old Joe had on Republicans and Democrats alike sixty years ago. Last week Sarah Palin publicly chastised and called for the president to fire Rahm Emanuel for using the term "retard". She won't dare call Rush on the carpet for repeatedly using the same word on his program a couple of days later. Like everyone else in her party she is frightened to death of him. Don't mess with el Rushbo.

This terror was demonstrated last year in a quite comical way, when Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia had the gall to denounce Limbaugh in an interview with Politico and, later on, during an appearance on the Chris Matthews Program. Gingrey soon got the word - loud, clear and unmistakable: Criticizing the Great One meant certain exile to political Siberia. Within a matter of hours the thoroughly humiliated lawmaker was on his knees, telling Limbaugh on his radio program:

"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 maintain our base and grow it to get back this majority - that I regret those stupid comments."

As Theodore Roosevelt once said in a slightly different context, "The man has all the back bone of a chocolate eclair."

Why are these people taken seriously? Why are they treated by the establishment with such respect? Why do idiots like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck create such fear and awe in the minds of people who ought to know better? For the same reason a drunken neanderthal like McCarthy was held in such esteem six decades ago: Because he excited "the base".

Would you like to know what the most beautiful thing about being a progressive blogger is? Unlike the mainstream media, we answer only to our consciences. We are able to mention the unmentionable; that this country is filled with people - scores of millions of them - who are stupid enough to buy into the McCarthyite propaganda that is broadcast into American homes and American cars on an hourly basis. I love Frank Rich. He is probably the greatest columnist on the scene today - but you'll never hear that manner of brutally honest assessment from him. He wouldn't dare.

Back in the Fabulous Fifties, Joe McCarthy's reckless accusations against honest and dedicated government bureaucrats irreparably harmed the State Department. Diplomatic talent that had taken decades to cultivate was scattered like ashes to the wind. As a result of this purge (and that is exactly what it was) so many of the blunders committed a few years later which led to American involvement in Vietnam might very well have been avoided. Tail Gunner Joe's sick and twisted legacy had done its eternal damage.

That very same kind of damage is being done to this country today. Contrary to what the inscription on his tombstone might have you believe, Joe McCarthy is not dead. The old bastard is still very much with us. Just look around you.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Goodnight and Good Luck
a film by George Clooney

This tells the story of how Edward R. Murrow and his people at CBS News bravely took on Joe McCarthy on a cold evening in March of 1954.

To read more recent postings on this site, please go here:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Adolf Hitler: The Fightin' Liberal

"Hitler's underlying admiration for Marxism was obvious."

Glenn Beck

I thought that the lunacy emanating from FOX Noise couldn't possibly get any weirder than it did during the first year of the Obama administration. I was wrong about that. Last week our friends at FOX finally went over the edge of reason. They have reached the point of what can only be described as surrealistic absurdity.

Now these assholes have taken it upon themselves to rewrite history. Their latest effort comes to us in the form of a new "documentary" which aired last week called "Revolutionary Holocaust". You see, Adolf Hitler wasn't the right wing nightmare that posterity has portrayed him to be all these years. Au contraire! In fact (I hope you're sitting down, Russ Feingold) he was a Liberal. That's right! Der fuhrer was the personification of an elitist, latte sipping, bleeding heart - the ideological soul mate of Howard Zinn and Ralph Nader!

"Deutschland, Deutschland, uber Al Franken...."

And how about that Josef Stalin, huh? For decades we've been led to believe that he was a tyrant and a despot - and indeed he was. But according to Beck and crew, he was a Liberal tyrant; a Progressive despot. We're talkin' Teddy Kennedy on steroids here!

Wait! It gets better! If America ever again goes down the road of Progressive enlightenment, the holocaust that was visited upon Europe in the thirties and forties will surely happen here! Millions of innocent Americans will be murdered! According to Beck: "Allowing this to happen one more time would be unforgivable." OH, THE HUMANITY!!!


FOX Noise is trying to make us swallow the utterly false assertion that Hitler and Stalin were not, as history has led us to believe, bitter enemies. The plain truth of the matter (in their minds) is that they were in bed with one another - ideologically speaking, that is. At one point in this silly program, Jonah Goldberg says, "The Nazis and the Bolsheviks in Germany was really a case of Coke vs. Pepsi." That is why when the Nazi Party was formed in the nineteen-twenties, they decided the swastika at the center of their flag needed to be surrounded by a bold field of red. They were trying to attract the Socialists, whose flag was the same color.

What is conveniently omitted is the fact that Hitler wasn't trying to forward the Socialist cause, he was trying to convert them or - at the very least - confuse them. According to Beck, the only reason Herr Hitler opposed Communism was because he disagreed with its "internationalism". This is utter nonsense which can be debunked by a cursory examination of every comment Hitler ever made (public and private) on the subject of Soviet Russia and Marxism.

HISTORICAL FACT: Here is something else Glenn Beck neglected to mention. It was not only the Jews who were consigned to perish in the Nazi death camps. Also marked for extermination were Gypsies, homosexuals - and Communists. Liberal my eye!

One segment of the program is subtitled, "THE GENOCIDE YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF". What genocide might this be, you may ask? It is the fact that millions of Russians were murdered by Stalin's regime. The Liberals, says Beck, don't want you to know about this and have deleted it from the history books. This segment might more accurately have been called: "THE GENOCIDE THAT GLENN BECK AND YOUR AVERAGE VIEWER OF FOX NOISE HAS NEVER HEARD OF". I don't know about you but I've known about the mass murder carried out by Josef Stalin ever since I started reading history in my early teens. What books (or book) is Glenn talking about? "My Life, My Loves" by Eddie Fisher perhaps? Come to think of it, old Eddie did omit that nasty little fact from his text. Coincidence? I wonder. He's hiding something, I know it!

For me, the highlight of this utterly ludicrous (and screamingly funny) program is when they show an ancient film clip of George Bernard Shaw. He is seen advocating a system whereby people would be forced - once a year - to stand before a committee to prove their worth to society. If they are unable to do so, Shaw implies that they should be eliminated. He then says that a humane, "gentlemanly" gas should be devised to do the job.

Here is as good an example as anything I can conjure how the propagandists at FOX operate: Shaw is described as an avowed admirer and Supporter of Communism. He is not described as what he really was: an aging play write who, even as a young man, was known for his profound eccentricities. But by his eighties the author of Pygmalion had grown beyond eccentric - he was down right dotty! And yet in this clip, Beck gives the impression that he is some kind of statesman of reputation.

The fact is, by the end of his life, George Bernard Shaw was widely dismissed by almost everybody as a harmless and amusing old curmudgeon. Certainly by the time the Nazis seized power in 1933, no one was taking him seriously as a social commentator. And it should be noted that Shaw also had a fondness for making outrageous statements for no other purpose than to shock polite society - tongue planted firmly in cheek. Who knows what the old bugger was really thinking.

Here's a little experiment you can perform. If you know someone who gets his or her information primarily from FOX, ask them this one, very simple question:

Who was George Bernard Shaw?

I'm willing to bet you dinner and a movie that he or she will not have a clue. Or, if they happened to catch the Beck program, their answer will be: "George Bernard Shaw? He was a Communist. Why, everybody knows that!"

Now it can be told. Glenn Beck has exposed the Progressive movement for what it really is: a cabal of blood-thirsty, despotic maniacs whose only plan is to bring a genocidal rain of death and destruction down upon the good and decent citizens of this grand and glorious land of ours. Be afraid. Be very afraid. WE'RE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN....

But seriously, folks....

The "Far Left" that the Far Right loves to whine about so much does not even exist in this country any longer. You don't believe me? The next time you're in any big city, try finding the local chapter of the American Communist Party. Happy hunting!

Last month it was revealed that Glenn Beck was the second most popular television personality in the nation (second only to Oprah Winfrey). The very fact that this nitwit has been able to commandeer a huge chunk of this country's political conversation and that so many people take him seriously is all the proof one needs to conclude that stupidity is running rampant in America. The program which aired on FOX last week ignored all the good that has been done for this country in the last century by Liberal policies and politicians. Not surprisingly, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal were not mentioned - not even in passing.

Sure enough, while surfing through the right wing blogosphere yesterday, I found more-than-a-few sites that had picked up the "Adolf as flaming Lefty" flag and run with it. It sort of makes you wonder, doesn't it? It really is an amusing thing to behold - and not a little unnerving.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


What I just wrote may sound like wild exaggeration but it isn't - and I'll prove it to you. To watch this wondrous piece of historical nonsense unedited, go to the You Tube site and type in the words, "Glenn Beck, Revolutionary Holocaust". You'll be able to view it in its nutty entirety. Here's a link:


Seriously, it has to be seen to be believed.

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