Monday, March 31, 2014

When John E. Comes Marching Home

The two King Georges
One can only imagine the torment that John E. "Jeb" Bush feels deep down in the recesses of his soul. His father's reign as chief executive was not a term that historians will be drinking toasts to a century from now. The fact that he was defeated for reelection by an obscure governor - from Arkansas of all places - illustrates better than anything what a dud the poor old bastard was. But if dear old Dad was a blight on the legacy of the Bush dynasty, his dim-witted older brother's presidency pretty much sealed the family's place in history. Dubya is in serious competition with James Buchanan for the title of the most incompetent chief-executive in the annals of human mediocrity. Is it any wonder that Jeb should feel compelled to try and tidy-up the "brand" so to speak?

I'm of a mixed opinion regarding the possibility of a third member of that disgusting family entering the White House for the third time in less than thirty years. My biggest fear is this undeniable fact: recent history shows that whenever any of these assholes come anywhere near the Oval Office, a lot of innocent people with brown skin start to die. Look it up. When the Founding Fathers developed the office of the American presidency two-and-a-quarter centuries ago, they each had differing notions of what was required to lead a nation that they all agreed would be the world's beacon for freedom and democracy. It's a fairly safe bet that not one of them would have put a tendency toward extreme, sociopathic behavior on their list. I have no tangible evidence to back up this little theory of mine. Call it an educated guess.  

And then there are the working people of America. Going all the way back to Grandpa Prescott eighty years ago, this Klueless, Klutzy Klan have never had much of a soft spot for the poor and middle classes of this country. I don't think (as a lot of my fellow lefties believe) that race has a hell of a lot to do with it - if anything. The simple truth is that the Bushes only care about money - and people with lots 'n' lots of it. They have demonstrated this countless times for generations. They still believe, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that the economy will be just fine 'n' dandy if America's tax burden is shouldered by the people who can least afford to do the shouldering. They still want us to believe  that if we only allow America's treasure to trickle down upon us, we will be led into the Candyland of our most twisted fantasies. Has that peculiar economic theory worked at all in thirty years? Well, yeah - but only of you understand that "trickle down" is merely a quaint little euphemism for getting pissed on. In that sense it has worked brilliantly. 

But I have my own, very sinister reasons for being interested in the specter of a third Bush uprising. True, my feelings in this regard are quite ambivalent; I love America and only want to see it prosper and thrive - and yet I can't help but come to terms with the sick reality that the possibility of Jeb Bush in the White House would be a boon to people like me who make their names commenting on the utter destruction of this nation's social and economic infrastructure. For those of us who blog, a third Bush White House would be the equivalent of a stocking loaded with candy canes - with every day being Christmas. 

Me 'n' Dubya, 10/27/08
I know what you're thinking - and I agree. It's beyond despicable to even fantasize about something as horrible as President Jeb Bush in order to live out one's demented, journalistic fantasies. For those eight, excruciating years that his brother was president, as awful a thing as that administration was to watch, it sure as hell was loads of fun to write about! In the final weeks of 2008, as his reign of terror and error was coming to a merciful end, I publicly fantasized that I would miss George W. Bush - and that's exactly what happened (in an odd and demented sort of way). Within months of his exit from that national spotlight I found myself pining for that warped syntax of his. Life was never again the same for me. This is not meant to imply that Barack Obama hasn't provided plenty of ammunition - he has. The main difference between the two men is that when the current president says something outrageously funny, that's usually his intent. 

If Jeb Bush ever does call the White House Home (and for the record I don't think that's EVER gonna happen) the incidents of unintentional humor won't be as overflowing as they were during his brother's two terms, but I know that he won't be boring - in the same appalling way that Dubya was never boring.  When crazy, unenlightened people wield the ultimate, lethal power, it has this funny way of keeping me on my toes, you know where I'm coming from?

Who knows what the hell will happen between now and Election Day 2016. It's going to be oodles of fun watching Jeb stomp around the country during the GOP primaries - with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth - saying the kind of moronic things that appeal to "the base" of the Republican Party, and then watching him try to ease his way back toward the center during the general election - assuming he get's the nomination. Whatever the outcome, 2016 is going to be a scream. 

Such interesting times: I know not whether to giggle or weep.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


House of Bush - House of Saud
by Craig Unger

A riveting and disturbing chronicle of the Bush family's corrupt and destructive relationship with the Saudi royal family. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seizing the Wealth


"You say you wanna a revolution?"
Well, you know,
We all wanna change the world."

John Lennon, 1968

As was the case eighty years ago, one of the the solutions to the economic quagmire we currently find ourselves wallowing in will be a massive redistribution of the wealth of the world - not just the USA - but the entire planet earth. Now there's something to look forward to, ay? The tired  old, worn-out placebo of "trickle down economics" isn't fooling anyone anymore - or at the very least - enough people have become hip to the scam. John Steinbeck once said something to to the effect that a middle class conservative was some poor bastard living under the hopeless illusion that he or she would one day be a member of the ruling class. There used to be a lot of plutocratic wannabes living in that dreamland. They're becoming as rare as Betamax videotapes. More-and-more people these days just want to get by, be comfortable, give their kids a decent education, and retire in moderate comfort. That's not really a helluva lot to expect when you think about it; in fact, it used to be the norm in this country. It will be again.

Am I waging class warfare here? You bet your ass I am. And I ain't taking no prisoners, baby!

The Frankster
Think about it: For the better part of forty years we had a succession of Liberal presidents and a series of predominantly liberal congresses (it ebbed and flowed) and the result was the greatest economy in the history of humanity. Since the early eighties, when this country took a hard turn rightward, the economic security that generations took for granted blew up in our clueless faces. KABOOM!!!

This is not a coincidence, kids. 

I've never been the kind of guy to speak for anyone but myself - and I really hate to be the bearer of nasty tidings - but like the old song says, "something's gotta give". The current economic reality we live under is unsustainable. For over thirty years, which class has been doing all the giving? There will be a brief pause while you ponder that question.


For those of you who got it right, you win a four year supply of Rice-a-Roni - The San Fransisco Treat.

You can dismiss what I say as the insane ramblings of an unhinged lefty (I get that every day) but the truth of the matter is that I'm a fairly moderate guy. It's only by the standards of these weird times that someone like me can be viewed - by anyone - as some kind of radical. You know you're living in the weirdest of alternate realities when a weak-kneed panderer to the status quo like Barack Obama is perceived by so many as a wild-eyed socialist. It really is funny when you think about it. Why don't I hear you laughing?

Here's some further commie diatribe for your entertainment pleasure: Back in the good old days, people like the Koch brothers paid a whopping ninety percent of their income in taxes. Those days are coming back. The survival of this country depends on nothing less. It's either that or die. There's nothing I love more first thing in the morning than confronting these stark realities. They really wake me up. Hi ho.

And while we're on the subject of "waking up"....

Uncle Bobby once said that a hard rain was gonna fall. It's falling now. Wake the fuck up.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Capitalism: A Love Story
A film by Michael Moore

Watch it if you haven't already. It's a few years old so you can pick it up relatively inexpensively. It's worth your time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mr. Paul's Nasty Faux Pas

“We have got this tailspin of culture — in our inner cities in particular — of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." 

So said Paul Ryan on Wednesday
“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning's interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make [YA THINK???]....I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people in our communities.”

So said Paul Ryan on Thursday

Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan made those idiotic comments regarding inner-city KNEE-GROW men on William Bennett's radio program. Mr. Ryan is not a racist according to his admirers. The proof they offer is the fact that he dated a black gal when he was in high school. This is the same rationale that some conservatives use to prove that Bill Bennett is the hippest of hipsters because he escorted Janis Joplin to her senior prom back when Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House. My brother once dated a gal who went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This proves nothing - as he would be the first to admit I'm sure.
The strangest thing about these far-right-wingers is that, even when they're talking in front of an open microphone for the benefit of untold millions of listeners - not to mention cyberspace beyond - they oft-times seem to be under the impression that they're speaking from within the confines of a soundproof bubble that only the very dumb are able to infiltrate. The possibilities of the consequences of their words coming back to haunt them seems not to temper their insanity in the least. This is not a rare occurrence. In fact this is something that happens several times a week with these assholes. And consider the fact that Ryan is considered by many to be the intellectual pillar of the Republican party. Isn't that a scream?

There goes Degan playing the race card again!

I don't claim to know what lies deep within the souls of Paul Ryan and Bill Bennett. It would be reckless and unwise for me to accuse either man of being a racist. But here is something I can state beyond any shadow of a malnourished doubt: They aren't particularly crazy about the idea of black people voting. Both of them are on the record supporting those unconstitutional "Voter ID" laws, the sole purpose of which is to deny the traditional progressive constituency (READ: ALL THOSE NASTY BROWN-SKINNED PEOPLE) the right cast their precious ballots. I just needed to clear that up.

But regardless of what lies deep within the hearts of our friends on the loony right, their intentions are pretty obvious. Like Ronnie Reagan's shameful references to "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" during that long-ago campaign of 1980, they shamelessly attempt to tap into the very worst instinct of the American psyche. They're so completely void of rational ideas they have no other choice but to reach deep down into their demented, ideological bag-of-tricks for some smoke and mirrors. Let's face the ugly facts, shall we? From the beginning of this republic, race has been a killer issue; the one thing that has always been able to drive even seemingly rational white people stark raving bonkers. In fact, so apoplectic do some of us get with regard to this topic, it's kinda fun to watch at times! Have you ever watched some unrepentant Dixiecrat have a stroke? I highly recommend it sometime. Seriously.

LOOK OUT! They're comin' to git'cha! They're gonna steal yer jobs 'n' take yer money 'n' marry yer daughters! Ya give them KNEE-GROWS an inch 'n' the bastards'll take a freakin' mile! SOMEONE FETCH ME MAH AMMO BOX!!!

But back to reality.... 

Georgie Boy
Race propaganda has always worked beautifully in the past. The problem for the propagandists is simply that it won't be working all-too-well for them for much longer. Within the lifetime of most of you reading this, we white folks won't be in the majority any longer. Those aren't the words of some smart-Alec lefty (as some of you may surmise). That is simply a statement of the cold, hard truth. The white plutocracy knows this and they're beside themselves to do something - ANYTHING, HEAVEN ABOVE! - to stem the sociological tide. But they can't! That's what they cannot see or refuse to admit. To even attempt to stop this unstoppable force would be as futile and silly (and dangerous) as attempting to keep the sun from setting this evening. Why are they getting so bent out of shape over the inevitable? Why not just lie back, groove with the changes, and let nature take its course? What the hell is the matter with these knuckleheads? Any ideas?

Paul Ryan won't be going anywhere anytime soon. His district has been gerrymandered firmly into place thanks to the Republicans' tampering with the electoral process in states they control legislatively. That suits my purposes just fine. I plan on being around a while as well.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


That Old-Time Dog Whistle
by Paul Krugman

Mr. Paul nailed it in this morning's New York Times. He's good at that sort of thing, you know?


Angel Eyes 
by Frank Sinatra

Pardon me but I got to run
The facts uncommonly clear
I got to find who's now the number one
And why my angel eyes ain't here

Excuse me while I disappear....

Frank on the mountaintop
This recording is from Only the Lonely (1958), arguably his finest LP. I know enough about Frank Sinatra the man to say that I probably would not have liked him personally had fate ever conspired to bring us together - but I can't say enough about Frank Sinatra  the artist.

Sometimes I get in such a mood. I was feeling that way last night. I usually get in that condition after the sun goes down. Yesterday evening my blues were particularly acute. I used to self-mediate with booze. I no longer have that option. On these lonely nights Frank is my drug.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Fixing the Unfixable

Frank Gaffe-ney
The dirty little secret is out: Grover Norquist, one of the architects of the modern-day conservative movement, is an undercover agent for the Muslim Brotherhood. This is according to Frank Gaffney, columnist for the Washington Times and founder of the ultra-right think tank, Center for Security Policy. Norquist, you may recall, is the rabid, anti-taxation advocate, early disciple of Ronald Reagan, and the man who once infamously proclaimed that his dream was to shrink the government down to a size where it could be "drowned in a bathtub". This little tirade on Frank's part was just one of the hundreds of delightful clashes with the real world emanating out of this week's annual CPAC conference. I know what you're thinking and I agree wholeheartedly: It rarely, if ever, gets much nuttier than that. My life is quite amusing. It really is.


As I've written on this site too many times to count, I am not a cheerleader for the Democrats. I finally rid myself of that worthless party sixteen years ago - and my life has been much happier because of this, thank you very much. This is a party so spineless and impotent that one wonders if Lyndon Johnson and Jack Kennedy would even recognize it today. Of course not all is lost; there is still some hope - molecular though it may be: People like Sherrod Brown and Elijah Cummings remind me that there is still some fight left in the old donkey. And Elizabeth Warren??? No woman since Audrey Hepburn can make me as week in the knees as she. I adore her.

Liz Warren
The problem with the modern day Democratic party (and it's a HUGE one) is that for every Liz Warren there are at least ten-or-more Chuck Schumers. Any political party with a tired old fuddy duddy like Harry Reid as their leader is in dire need some serious therapy.  

But while there is plenty of reason to despair as far as the Dems are concerned, there are still reasons for optimism. The Republicans, on the other hand, are beyond redemption. On Inauguration Day 2017, one Democratic administration will succeed another one for the first time since 1857. That is not as bold a prediction as it appears. Just take a good look at their "front runners" for the 2016 nomination. 

The Rand Man
About the sanest thing the GOP is able to regurgitate these days is Rand Paul, the man who at last year's CPAC hoot chastised his fellow conservatives for not being right wing enough. That should give you a bit of an idea how bad things have gotten for them. If you think that the 2012 primary contests were a riot of mirth and merriment, hold on to your funny bones. 2016 is going to be a scream! I don't take any amount of pleasure in telling you this....Aw, hell, who am I kidding? I'm lovin' every minute of this. Watching this despicable party disintegrate before my very eyes makes me feel like a little boy on Christmas morning. I never dreamed that my luck could get this good. If this is a dream I don't want to awaken from it. I don't get many days as lovely as this. Please don't rain on my parade. 

Last year I congratulated Chris Christie for not being invited to the 2013 CPAC conferences. The fact that he was not acceptable to these clowns could only help him with Americans who posses an IQ above above room temperature. That was then; this is now. The New Jersey governor now finds himself mired in corruption and legal investigations. All of the sudden he has become a hero to the insanity junkies who plan these things. In twelve short months he's gone from persona non grata to Man of the Hour. Life can be so mysterious, you know?

Whatever you do, try not to take your eyes off this clown show. When any political organization abandons all pretenses at moderation it only spells certain doom. In the 1960s the Nixon gang courted the racists. From 1980 onward the Reagan people invited into the tent the clinically insane. That is how they arrived at their present, pathetic condition. The Republicans are light years beyond the point where they can even make a half-hearted attempt to "moderate" themselves. To do so would only invite an ideological chasm that would doom it forever. And to think that this was once the place that Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt called "home". Strange days indeed.

The day of the politics of old white guys with beer bellies and bad breath is coming to a merciful end. Deal with it as best you can.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


My report of last year's CPAC spectacle:

It still hasn't gotten weird enough for me.


Democracy is Coming to the USA
by Leonard Cohan

Get the fuck out of the way. 

"It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and the worst...."


"Sail on! Sail on! Sail on!"