Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Clown Cars

As the blizzard of 2015 descends upon us here in the Northeast, the lack of mobility for the next couple of days gives one time to do a lot of thinking. It is now 4:00 AM here in Goshen, New York. As of this moment it's not much of a storm. That's bound to change at any moment. Outside my window there is a light powder covering my jeep, This is strange considering the fact that the nice lady on my television screen is informing me that everywhere is being hammered - particularly in New England. We shall see. The hatches are battened firmly down. Be safe. Be warm.

And while we deal with and contemplate a very real storm, the proverbial shit storm is also making itself known. I was jarred from my reverie early yesterday afternoon when I happily stumbled onto a link to a speech that Sarah Palin gave on Saturday at something called the "Iowa Freedom Summit". What the heck is this twit doing in Iowa? Exactly what every elected Republican who is not a resident of that state is doing. She's going to make a run for it next year. While she didn't actually come out and announce her candidacy, all the signs are there. 

It was truly a weird thing to behold. Fascist Barbie was even more incoherent than is usually the case. Watching it, my first inclination was to assume she was on drugs. I wasn't going to mention it but when my cousin, Patricia Cullen, remarked that she has all of the symptoms of some poor soul in the midst of a serious cocaine binge, I thought that maybe I should take note of it after all. If you think I may be exaggerating, I'll provide a link to the speech in its entirety at the bottom of this piece that was provided by the website Mediaite. It's a scream.

The very fact that this completely incurious, idiotic woman was once given the second place on a national ticket is incomprehensible. "What if...." It makes the senses tremble in horror. 

My theory is that Sarah Palin must know that she hasn't a ghost of a chance of being elected next year. What she is doing is nothing more than a cynical upping of her "brand" - so to speak. It seems that even the most rabid of right wingers are starting to tire of this utterly silly person's act. With the new label of "former candidate for the presidency", she will be able to regain a little attention and boost her speaking fees some twenty or thirty thousand a pop. The gal is as transparent as a window during a spring sunrise. That's why she's so much fun to watch.

The two Ricks
That's not the case as far as the two Ricks (Santorum and Perry) are concerned. They really do believe that the White House is their respective destinies. There's something pathetically endearing about the terminally clueless, you know?  A few of you will disagree with this, but I think I'm a fairly astute guy when it comes to politics. I'll let you in on a little secret: I might run for the presidency as a Republican next year. What are my qualifications? I have none. In fact only a fool would vote for me - which would, nonetheless, guarantee me a lot of votes in the USA at this sad time in its history. The only reason I've been thinking about running would be as a sick joke. The difference between Rick and Rick and I is the fact that at least I'm intelligent enough to understand that I am totally unqualified for that office. The same cannot be said for all of the right wing wannabes in this comically political season. They really believe they're presidential material.

The First Fool
I can't believe our good fortune. The prospect of all of them on the same stage trying to tear each other to shreds is too good a vision to be true. Somebody pinch me.

The most disturbing thing about the fiasco that the Republican party has become in recent years is the fact that any one of these assholes might very well be living inside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in less than two years. Only a year ago I was predicting out loud that George W. Bush would be remembered for two reasons:

1: As the most corrupt, incompetent chief-executive in the history of human stupidity, and....

2: As the last Republican president.

I was also predicting that on January 20, 2017, one Democratic administration would succeed another one. That hasn't happened since March 4, 1857.

At the time I made those predictions I sincerely believed that the American people would not be so foolish as to place back in power the party that dug us into the mess that Barack Obama has spent the last six years trying to dig us out of. All bets are KAPUT. The GOP-controlled 114th congress will see to it that even more repressive election laws are passed between now and Election Day 2016. Count on it.

Teddy Boy
President Sarah Palin? Relax. Even the American people wouldn't be stupid enough to send that blithering imbecile to the White House. Ain't never gonna happen, so just put it out of your mind and keep it out. President Ted Cruz? That's another story. You don't believe the electorate would send a reactionary yahoo from Texas to the White House? What planet were you living on between the years 2001 and 2009? If they're perfectly capable of electing as president of the United States a screaming idiot like Dubya, they're capable of almost anything. Ted Cruz's campaign would prove to be a relative cinch.

Whatever happens next year, regardless of who's nominated at the Republican National Convention, regardless of who is elected in November; 2016 is going to be a most amusing year.

It is now 5:33 AM. The major accumulation of snow we were told to expect just after midnight hasn't appeared. There is still only a light dusting atop my vehicle. Cars now move effortlessly down the highway outside my window. Have we in the Hudson Valley somehow managed to dodge the bullet that Mother Nature aimed at us? Eight hours ago my friend, Nancy Karlovich, said on her Facebook page, "I'm calling it. This storm is going to be a flop." Perhaps she knew something the rest of us didn't.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to watch Sarah Palin's speech on Saturday:


I wasn't exaggerating. You can't even satirize these nitwits. All you need to do is roll footage of them unedited. Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Here Comes the 114th

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

If you're still naive enough, after all the evidence to the contrary that has been assaulting your senses for decades, to perceive the GOP as "the party of moral values" you might want to pass this one by. You're beyond hope.

I'm looking forward to the next two years. Let's face some harsh realities, people: There has never been, in the lifetime of anyone reading this, an era as delightfully weird as the one we are living through now. And the beautiful thing to contemplate is the fact that it's going to get even weirder as the months transpire. In November of 2014, the American people put back in power the very party that created the mess that Barack Obama has spent six years trying to dig us out of. In spite of the mountains of obstruction he's had to deal with that has been hurled at him by the disloyal opposition (Let's stop kidding ourselves about their motives) he's been fairly successful given the sabotage tossed his way by the loonies in the extreme right wing. You've got to admire his fortitude. Let's hear it for the dude.   

And now the assault begins. This year marks the eightieth anniversary of Social Security being made the law of the land. Since Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal made it possible in 1935, it has been a point of nasty contention for the Republicans. Americans who tend to vote with that party have long been in denial as to what the GOP would like to do with the program that has for eight decades saved hundreds of millions of senior citizens from dying in poverty. Between now and Election Day 2016, a lot of people in this country are going to wake up and face the nightmare they never imagined. And merely voting them out next time round won't be quite as easy as it has been in election cycles past. Count on them passing even more restrictive voter suppression laws between now and then. Remember, you read it here. This is going to be quite interesting.

As bad as the 113th Congress was (and they were one of the least productive congresses in the history of this doomed country) that body was only the overture for what is yet to come with the 114th. As Al Jolson liked to say back in his day, "Folks, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"  As worthless and impotent as the Democrats have become, the Republicans are beyond a molecule of redemption. And with the puppet of the one percent, Mitch McConnell, now installed as the senate majority leader, you can count on the disintegration of America's infrastructure going into overdrive. We have been living for some time in a plutocratic dictatorship. The process has evolved at such a snail's pace that most Americans have not noticed it. They'll notice it by Election Day 2016. You'd better believe they will.  

Here's a little piece of handy trivia that I'm sure will amuse and delight you: As of this week, there are more Republican representatives in Washington than at any time since 1928. Isn't that lovely?

I usually end these things by saying words to the effect of, "But here's the good news". Don't ever take me seriously when I say that, it's only false optimism. The "good news" - so to speak - is usually the promise of barrels of unintentional laughs provided by the unintentional comedians of both parties. And while this political train wreck promises to be screamingly funny at a certain level, there is no silver lining behind this depressingly dark cloud. We might as well come face-to-face with the awful truth: The United States of America is skipping merrily into oblivion.  That's a really polite way of saying, "we're screwed", isn't it? I think so!

The bottom line is that, like the fall of the Roam empire, none of this will be boring. That's about the only positive thing I can think of at the moment. Ain't politics a riot?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY 

I couldn't leave you on such a depressing note.

Glenn Miller

Hello, Lola!
by the Mound City Blue Blowers


The personnel on this 1928 recording are: Coleman Hawkins, Charles "Pee Wee" Russel, Glenn Miller, William "Red" McKenzie, and Jack Bland. It's nice to know that this was an integrated ensemble - such a rare thing in the twenties.

Listen to 24-year-old Glenn Miller's incredible trombone solo! In the sixteen years of life he had left, he never swung like this again. This is an amazing record!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Foregone Conclusion

It's damned-near as certain as the sun settinging in the western sky this afternoon. Jeb Bush wants to move into the Bush family's home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - the one that they sublet in 2009. He's not only started his very own political action committee, but he's actually severed his ties to anything and anyone connected with finance and investments. Given the historical and sickening greed of the family Bush - going all the way back to the nineteen-forties (Grandpa Prescott continued to do business with the Nazis when it was forbidden by law to do so) - that move in itself is enough to convince the mightiest of skeptics that John E. "Jeb" Bush (George Dubya's slightly brighter younger brother) is playing for keeps. This is too good to be true. Today is the seventieth anniversary of the marriage of George H.W. and Barbara Bush. What better time for an honest assessment of the Bush brand, ay?

As much damage as that disgusting family has managed to do to this country over a period of nearly half a century, I find it ironic and amazing that any of them can still be taken seriously by anyone. But they are and there's nothing any thinking person can do to alter that grim reality. Let's just roll with the punches.

What will be more amusing than anything (assuming he gets the nomination) will be to watch him desperately trying to convince the country what a disaster Barack Obama has been as chief executive, and how we should go back to the policies that worked so well when his half-witted brother was in charge of things. You'll be so good to recall that in January of 2009, the month George W. Bush mercifully vacated the Executive Mansion, three-quarters-of-a-million jobs were being drained each month from the United States economy. We're now at month number fifty-seven in job growth (Or is it fifty-eight months? To tell you the truth, I've lost count). I don't envy Jeb at all. After all of the destruction they've wrought on the economy, he needs to convince the American people that they were better off under conservative "rule". I don't dare call it "leadership".
You can count on both houses of the Republican-controlled congress to try and tank the economy between now and November of 2016 in order to make Jeb's election all-the-more of a sure thing. They don't give a damn about the welfare of the people they're sworn to represent.

Oh, yeah, this is going to be very amusing indeed. 

Katherine Harris
There's another reason why Jeb's quest for the presidency is not the gargantuan hurdle you might imagine it to be. After the first debate between Al Gore and Brother Dubya, it was obvious to anyone bothering to pay attention that the First-Fool-to-be was dumber than a sack of moldy rocks. No one was more aware of the hideous little thug's intellectual limitations than Jeb. As governor of Florida, he and his secretary of state, Katherine Harris, devised a scheme that removed 57,000 African Americans from the voting rolls in 2000, It worked. Before all of the votes were counted, Bush was appointed president by a right-wing-dominated Supreme Court. The result was the most incompetent, destructive administration in American history. Remember how sweetly that worked out for you? Then again, maybe you don't. Think.

You forget these cold, hard truths to your own detriment, America. Just thought I'd mention that.

As for me, I'll be perfectly content if, on January 20, 2017, a third President Bush in a generation is tossed the keys to the White House. As I've said more times than I can count, the lower this once-great nation sinks into the ideological cesspool, the higher my stock rises. Vote for Jeb - please.

The biggest obstacle facing Jeb will be the perception problem. It's embarrassingly obvious that he has been planning this run for years. Why do you think he's tried to reposition himself as a moderate since the village idiot of Crawford, Texas left Washington in 2009? When he lived in the Florida governor's mansion, he ran that state under policies that were decidedly to the right of center - in many cases extremely to the right. After the debacle of his brother's reign of error and terror, he must have felt that he needed to moderate himself somewhat. But now that he'll be entering the GOP primaries a year from now, he has to take on positions that are palatable to the crazies who have overtaken the Republican party. If that dilemma weren't funny enough, once he gets the nomination, he has to run like hell back to the political center. 

Did I mention how amusing this is going to be? 

Hillary Clinton is - at this point anyway - the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee. There is a very good chance she will be the next president. I'm not very happy about that possibility. The thought of two Clinton administrations is depressing enough - BUT THREE BUSHES??? That could send the United States into a permanent tailspin - assuming that we're not there already. We need to wake up to the harsh reality that conservatism as a form of governance is unworkable. This is not a new idea I'm peddling here; this is an inarguable, historical truth. It's unfathomable to me that a potential Jeb Bush candidacy is being taken seriously by anyone.

The Brothers Bush are not very different from one another in terms of ideology. They are both hard-line, right wing ideologues who believe that still more tax breaks for the one percent are the best thing for the....well....one percent. Patriarch Pappy Bush once called this scheme "voodoo economics". After the old man was taken on in 1980 as Ronald Reagan's running mate, he got with the program. Since then, he and his sons have cautioned patience. Don't worry, they tell us, the wealth will trickle down to all of you eventually!  Thirty five years later, we wait still.

Happy new year, everyone.

Tom Degan 
Goshen, NY 


Hijacking Catastrophe
a film by Robert Greenwald

It's a historical fact: Whenever someone named Bush moves into the White House, a lot of innocent people with brown skin start to die horribly violent deaths. This excellent documentary details with depressing accuracy the incompetence and corruption behind the Bush Mob's illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. This is the most important documentary to emerge from the Bush years, and so few people have seen it. See it now. Here's a link to watch the film in its entirety on YouTube:


You can also pick it up for under ten bucks at amazon.com. Trust me on this one, kids; we don't want to go down this road again. Can I get a witness?