Tuesday, July 29, 2014


On the night he took to the podium ten years ago Tuesday, few would have dared dream  how far this guy would go. For a lot of them, that dream turned into their worst nightmare.

 "I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."

Barack Obama speech to the Democratic Convention
27 July 2004

On Election Night 2008, America was faced with a simple, eight year challenge, and the whole world was watching:

How would this nation, built as it was on the lacerated backs of black people, deal with the elevation of the first African American to the presidency?

I'm not saying that most white Americans failed that challenge; the majority of us are sophisticated enough, I think, to understand that we're on the edge of a new dawn in this country, and that very soon - and in the lifetimes of most of you reading this - America will no longer be "a white man's country". The problem here is the fact that a significant minority of people broke down with a severe case of spastic apoplexy at the very sight of a KNEE-GROW family living in the executive mansion. While it is always oodles of fun to watch a right-winger suffer a complete nervous breakdown, their unhinged, delusional reaction to the administration of President Obama raises more-than-a-few troubling questions.

Most disturbing has been the reaction of the Tea party crowd - particularly in the South. Something like this was never supposed to happen. A damn darkie livin' in the same house that the sainted Ronald Reagan once called "home"??? Pass me mah smellin' salts, Esther! They had taken it for granted that Pennsylvania Avenue was an exclusive, all-white neighborhood. Barack Obama is viewed by them as the block-buster from hell. 

The Frankster
Of all of their paranoid hallucinations regarding this boringly moderate president, the one that tickles me the most is the right's perception of him as this wild-eyed, borderline communist. Whenever I see someone denouncing Obama as "the most liberal president in the history of this country", that tells me one of two things: 

(1) The person is lying, or....

(2) he/she has absolutely no understanding of the history of the country they profess to love so much. 

Haven't these knuckleheads ever heard the name "Franklin Delano Roosevelt"? FDR was not merely a "liberal" - he was a radical! In a time that was in desperate need of radical change, Roosevelt was made to order. It is that type of administration that is desperately needed again, too. That is what I was praying for when Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. A lot of us lefties have been bitterly disillusioned.  

The president has been taken to task, by the left and by the right, for not "reaching out to" and "working closer with" congress. Are they kidding? What good would that do? It is unrealistic to expect a sane, rational human being to try to deal with a cabal of people who have lost their freaking marbles. HELLO???  

All that one can possibly hope for at this late date is that, by the November midterms, the voters of this country wake up and understand the the damage that the GOP is collectively doing to their once-great nation. That's the only chance Barack has to go down in history as a good, even great, president. If his administration is judged by future historians as being a failure, most of the blame will not be his. Look at all of the grief and obstruction the man has had to put up with. Hats off to the guy for being able to accomplish anything!

Mr Speaker
It's now a little over three months until Election Day. It is going to be an amusing ride between now and then to say the very least. John Boehner is now in the process of suing the president for merely doing the job that he was elected to do. To make matters funnier still, the right wing is openly talking about impeaching him. What "high crimes and misdemeanors" he is guilty of they haven't made quite clear. Expecting any of these clowns to make sense is a lesson in futility. The reality of a black president is just too much for them to bear. In fact, it's made them crazier than they already were. Not to imply that this hasn't been loads of fun to watch - it has. More fun than the law should allow.

As the months transpire between now and November, their lunacy only promises to get even loonier. I cannot emphasize this enough: These are really interesting times.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fascist Barbi in 2016

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in to see you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Jiminy Cricket 

BREAKING NEWS: God wants the president of the United States to be impeached. How do I know this? Because Sarah Palin says so.

Sometimes I can't believe my good fortune. I'm the kind of guy who loves a nice train wreck - of the figurative variety you understand. At a time when I've learned to live with the idea that my circumstances could not possibly get any better, that this is as good as it is ever gonna get, Lady Luck blows another passionate kiss in my direction. It was proven to me this morning that Sarah Palin is contemplating a run for the presidency two years from now. When asked point blank by Fox Noise's Greta von Susteran if she was going to go for the big prize she coyly replied. "Never say never." I realize that that's not much of a statement of intent, but it's all I have to go on. Oh, please, fate! Oh, please! Oh, please! Oh, please!

Somebody pinch me. 

But it gets worse (or "better" for my purposes): Our gal Sarah might even be contemplating running in a third party uprising. That's right, kiddies! As she has been hinting in recent months, the Grand Old Party just isn't extreme enough for this jabbering twit. She apparently wants to bring U.S. politics into Nazi territory. Isn't that sweet? Do you think that's an extreme take on where they're heading? Consider the following quotation:

"I think we would be totally in the right to do it....Ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss."

No, that wasn't Herman Goering talking. That was some moron named Scott Esk, a candidate for the statehouse of Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain). He was advocating the execution of gays and lesbians. Nice. It should be noted here that since making that idiotic statement, the Republican National Committee has not lifted a gnarled finger to distance themselves from or reprimand this demented asshole. 

Somebody cue the band:

Deutschland! Deutschland!
Uber Alles!

I've written before on this site about the day John McCain announced his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The place was Dayton, Ohio. At that time the only thing I knew about her was that she was the governor of Alaska. I could not come up with a mental image of her in my mind - she was that unknown to me. The moment she stepped forward and opened her mouth, she reminded me of Sally Field. Not Sally Field as Norma Ray - Sally Field as Gidget. I immediately went to the computer to get some information about her. The first thing that caught my eye was the date of her birth: February 11, 1964, a date I could clearly remember. That was the day that my maternal grandmother, Loretta Doran Clements, died unexpectedly in South Bend, Indiana. (ATTN FAB FOUR FANS: It was also the day the Beatles played their first concert in America). 

But other than those two coincidences, there was nothing in her paper-thin biography that warranted any attention. It was clear to me that the Republican party was about to commit electoral suicide with a candidate who was clearly and pathetically out of her league. On the day John McCain announced his choice of running mate, I knew that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States. It was a fairly easy call.

McCain  wasn't too keen on the idea of Sarah Palin on the ticket. His choice had been Joe Leiberman. A former Democrat and a Jew to boot? As conservative as old Joe obviously was, those two nasty little facts were enough to give "the base" a severe case of spastic apoplexy. Sarah was their gal. And she ended up hanging around John McCain's neck throughout the duration of the campaign of 2008 like some half-witted albatross.  By "going rogue" as she did, she virtually destroyed the Senator's lifelong ambition to serve as chief-executive. But for Sarah Palin, John McCain would be sleeping in the Oval Office at this very moment. Can you imagine the torment the poor guy must live with each and every day? Oh, those damnable might-have-beens!

As I wrote way the heck back in 2010, when someone like Sarah Palin can make it as far as she has, it can mean only one thing and it's not a particularly good sign. We are living in a culture that has been custom-tailored for idiots. When a person who can barely put two coherent sentences together without the aid of a state-of-the-art teleprompter becomes one of the best-selling non-fiction authors of the decade, that's usually a pretty good indicator that society is spiraling downward at a fairly decent clip. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!

This is too good to be true. Whether she seeks the nomination as a Republican or Tea Partier (DIRTY LITTLE SECRET: They're now two separate parties) is beside the point. All that I know for certain is that 2016 is going to be the most mystically weird and wonderful campaign season in the history of this diseased land. For those of us who thrive on the gales of laughter provided to us by Sarah Palin and unintentional comedians like her, these are indeed sweet times to be alive.

Honestly, I never dreamed that my luck would get this good.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Game Change
Directed by Jay Roach

Based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, "Game Change" tells the sad (and riotously funny) story of the political catastrophe that was the McCain/Palin campaign of 2008. If it's not available from the friendly, independently-owned video store in your neighborhood (HA! Like they even exist anymore!) here's a link to order it off of Amazon.com:


See this movie. We're talkin' "Essential Viewing" here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rolling Out the "I" Word

Degan back in the Days of Dubya
One of the main reasons I have never regretted leaving the Democrats over sixteen years ago was because of their spineless, cowardly behavior during the sick and twisted reign of George W. Bush. Think about it: He was the most corrupt, mind-jarringly incompetent chief-executive in the history of human folly; a man who led his clueless countrymen and women into a war that never should have been fought, for reasons that were based on lies, the result of which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings - and not one of those worthless Democrats had the political courage to call the little bastard on the carpet by initiating impeachment proceedings against him. 

Don't hold your breath waiting for the goddamned Obama justice department to do the right thing by prosecuting both Bush and Cheney (not to mention Donny Rumsfeld and Condi Rice) for the atrocities committed against the human race on the killing field of Iraq. The precedent has been forever set in granite: Any United States president will, henceforth, be able to get away with murder - that would include mass murder on an unimaginable scale.

Now then, doesn't that make you feel all warm and squishy inside? I just knew it would.

Say what you want to about the right wing in this doomed land. What they lack in brains they more-than-make-up for in chutzpa. They're now seriously talking about impeaching the sitting president for the failure of his immigration policies. Sarah Palin has condemned the prez for what she calls "years of abuse" (she wasn't specific on that point) and then went on to proclaim that Obama's failures at the border were "the last straw". It's my opinion that a former governor who walked away from her job for no other reason than to make a shitload of money in the private sector is the last person on the planet who should be proposing that anyone be forcibly be removed from office. The fact that this blabbering nincompoop was once selected for the second spot on a national ticket defies any sense of rationality. Gee, we do live in wonderful times, don't we?

Will they really go through with something as outrageous as that? If they regain the senate and retain control of the house in the fall they will - count on it. Will the American electorate make it happen? There's the cockeyed optimist inside of me that thinks that by that time they will have had-it-up-to-here with the GOP's obstruction and indifference to the national well being. Then there's the gambler inside of me that remembers the old adage that "no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people". We shall see.

Sellers as Dr. Strangelove
That they're even having this discussion at all is further proof (as if more was really necessary) that the Republican party has lost its mind. This is black comedy at its finest. Move over Dr. Strangelove! Just when you come to believe that the freak show couldn't possibly get any freakier they lower the bar even further. That a failed policy (which has been failing for decades by the way) can be defined as "high crimes and misdemeanors" is a rib-tickler in itself. Someone should make this into a movie. And what actor alive possesses the comedic genius to take on the role of Ted Cruz? Where have you gone, Peter Sellers?

Maybe this is all a ruse; a distraction to take the people's minds off of the train-wreck that the GOP has become in recent years. That's always a distinct possibility. Whatever their motivation it's a knee-slapping joy to behold. The sad thing about this whole, demented affair is the fact that it'll be generations before the American people dare to nominate an African American for the office of president. So insane has been the reaction of the racists out there to the boringly moderate Barack Obama, I just can't see it happening again in my lifetime. I'm just happy to have lived to see it happen at all.

As disappointing as Obama has been in a lot of respects, I don't regret casting my ballot for him. Think of the alternatives.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY  


John F. Kennedy 1917-1963 - An Unfinished Life
by Robert Dallek 

Of all of the books I've read on the subject of the life of John Kennedy (and I've read damned-near all of 'em, folks!) this is arguably the best. Mr. Dallek presents us with neither hatchet job nor lullaby, but an insightful, well-researched inquiry into the life and times of a good and great man who was greatly flawed. Still, we're all better off today because, a half century ago, Jack Kennedy sought the presidency.

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

I'm sorry, I'll stop. 


Bo Diddley
by Bo Diddley:


Please, if this isn't the greatest rock 'n' roll record ever recorded, I don't know what the heck is. From 1958, the year I was born.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Revisionism Cheney Style

Not Burton and Taylor
“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

Sickie Dickie and Dizzy Miss Lizzie

It must be a difficult thing being Dick Cheney. Think about it: He must know that he will be remembered down though the ages as (next to J. Edgar Hoover) the most disgusting, reprehensible fool to ever accept a paycheck from the government. In fact, the comparison to Hoover is perhaps a bit unfair. For all of Edgar's faults, he and his boyfriend, Clyde Tolson, ran a  pretty efficient ship over there at the FBI. When all the dust is settled, historians will have no problem identifying a few positive contributions from Hoover's reign of paranoia. Not so with Dick Cheney. He knows this and it's driving him to some sort of a psychotic breakdown. So desperate the silly old sociopath is to rewrite history that he seems to have gone even further over the edge than previously. I'm getting such a kick out of watching this. I really am!   

There's a special place in the halls of Shame and Infamy for the likes of Dick and Liz (not to be confused with Burton and Taylor). There might even be a custom-made place in the pit of hell. But who am I to judge - sinner that I am. The pair of them must be, at the very least, smart enough to understand that Daddy Dick won't possibly be able to escape the ultimate wrath of future historians. There is nothing that can humanly be done to alter all of the nasty facts - particularly this one:

The First Fool
Invading the sovereign nation of Iraq in March 2003 was - beyond the malnourished shadow of a molecule of doubt - the STUPIDEST military blunder in American history. Vietnam doesn't come close to comparing to it. That conflict evolved, over a period of years, into an untenable quagmire. In Iraq we jumped - headfirst and smiling - into the catastrophe. To make matters all-the-more pathetic, we jumped in with a shit-eating grin on our clueless national face. "Bring 'em on!" said the half-witted president. It backfired. Operation Iraqi "Freedom" is America's ultimate tragicomedy.

'Twas all about an ocean of oil
Flowin' 'neath the Iraqi soil.

There is a lot of blame to be shared for the utter implosion that is now occurring in the birthplace of civilization. What happened would not have been possible without more-than-a-few cowardly and enabling Democrats - chief among them Hillary Clinton. I'll probably be supporting her if the Dems are stupid enough to hand her the nomination, but I'll be holding my nose during the entire process. She could have done the right thing and stood up to the warmongers and plutocrats who were just itching to do some economic plundering in a land that contained some of the largest oil reserves on this troubled planet. She didn't. She just had to prove - for the basest, most transparent political reasons - that she was as much of a warrior as any man. I'm praying that Elizabeth Warren changes her mind and throws her hat into the ring. Wishful thinking, I know.

But to blame the tragedy that is now transpiring in Iraq (as Dick and Liz are doing) on President Barack Obama is beyond ludicrous. That country's disintegration was predicted a long time ago by people who knew what the they were talking about. When Obama made his run for the White House six years ago, he promised to do exactly what he did, which was to get American forces out of there. Iraq is broken. The Bush administration broke it irreparably. We have no other choice than to live with our electoral stupidity. It was obvious to anyone paying a smidgeon of attention during the campaign of 2000 that George W. Bush had the IQ of a half-eaten box of MilkDuds. At the time people were saying that they voted for the hideous little thug because they would prefer to have a beer with him than the smarty-pants, policy wonk, Al Gore. We got what we deserved. Deal with it as best you can.
"Remember when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

George W. Bush

Won't you come home George Orwell? Won't you come home?

I'll say this for Bush: his reticence since leaving the White House five-and-a-half years ago has been admirable. Quite possibly he is ashamed of himself and his participation in what is, without a doubt, the most reckless and incompetent administration in the history of human mediocrity - which would be perfectly understandable. Dick Cheney, on the other hand, is without a tenth-of-an-ounce of shame. In fact, it is my opinion that the man is a textbook sociopath. Whatever his psychological profile might be, it's obvious that we'll have to live with him until the disgusting old freak drops dead - which is fine 'n' dandy by me. Let's face it; the guy is so much fun to watch! Cheney and Cheney are the greatest unintentional comedy team in the annals of American humor.

Dick Cheney may try to run from history, but he can't hide from it. It staggers the soul to think that he believes he'll be able to do just that. Is he in complete denial - or is it merely gargantuan arrogance? That subject would make a good college thesis for a psych major. 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Build We Won't
by Paul Krugman
New York Times, July 4, 1014


Why did America gave up on the future and cave-in on investing in building and maintaining our highways? That's an easy one: Tax cuts for a class of people who already have more money than they'll be able to spend in three lifetimes. GIT 'EM, PAUL!