Sunday, February 21, 2021

Deep in the Bowels of Texas



Generally speaking, putting people in charge of government who do not believe in governance is not a particularly good idea. Just thought I would pass that along.

Few people who bother to pay attention to such things were surprised by the news that, during the worst environmental crisis Texas has seen in many-a-decade, Ted Cruz decided to skip town with his little family and haul ass to Cancun where the temperature currently is in the mid-eighties. He told reporters later on that he was only being a "good father" to appease the sensibilities of his two daughters who wanted to get out of town. His little girls are eight and twelve. What kind or man, do you suppose, throws his children under the bus for reasons of cheap, political expediency? He claims that he was merely chaperoning the girls and their mom overnight and that he planned on getting back into the thick of the action the following day - in spite of the fact that he was photographed at the airport with a rolling suitcase that seemed capable of supplying a week's worth of duds for one man.

In the meantime, the fiery and brilliant New York Congresswoman, Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez (someone who definitely believes in vigorous governance) moseyed on down to the Lone Star State to help out in any way she could - and in the process managed to raise 3.2 million dollars for the people under duress. Beto O'Rourke, who was defeated by Cruz in the last senatorial election, has been on the move across Texas since the onset of this disaster, making sure people get much-needed water, and personally checking on the welfare of the most vulnerable among his fellow Texans. 

The plight of Texas at the moment is as pathetic as we've witnessed in quite a long while. The managers of that place have been warned many times in the last three decades to modernize their energy grid. But of course, the pleas to do so have been ignored. The fact that the warnings that an environmental catastrophe such as this could come crashing down the pike unexpectedly - and at any time - fell on deaf ears and empty minds. Just the other day, former governor Rick Perry - the most monumentally stupid of men - stated that the good people of Texas would rather freeze for a few days than take any advice or accept any help from the government.

Compassionate conservatism. Don'cha just love it???

As if things haven't gotten weird enough down there, the energy companies of Texas are designed with a "supply and demand" kid of deal. This means that the households that have not lost power during this unspeakable ordeal will be forced to make up for the profits that were lost by the grid. Certain middle class families can expect a bill for seventeen-thousand big ones in next month's mail. Ain't that something? 

One would think that this latest right wing-fueled disaster would finally turn Texas blue - or at the very least purple - but, seriously, I'm not going to hold my breath. It will probably only take a man-made catastrophe of biblical proportions that will get them to finally wake up and smell the elephant shit. Until then, the rest of us will have to sit helplessly by while the voters of that state continue to send mediocre knuckleheads like Ted Cruz to Washington to represent them. Oy vey! 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


I wrote this about the newly-elected Senator Cruz on this  site eight years ago:

 Joe McCarthy
The thing about Cruz that tickles me more than anything is his obvious (and quite pathetic) idolization of the late Joe McCarthy. Although Tail Gunner Joe had been in the grave for almost fourteen years when Ted was born in December of 1970, the legacy of McCarthyism is alive and well in the man's persona. It is quite apparent that the senator from Texas has been channeling the long-dead senator from Wisconsin. He has so many McCarthy-like mannerisms that it's just a tad unsettling - such as the way he hunches over the microphone and tilts his head to the side. It really is something to behold. The weirdest thing about the times we live in is that in 1953 there was only one Joe McCarthy. Sixty years later it's a different story. Today the halls of Congress are polluted with scores of Joe-wannabes. As I said before, these sure are interesting times.


Deep in the Heart of Texas
by Bing Crosby and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra

What the heck, let's end this on a cheerful note, ay?
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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Final Thoughts on Rush Limbaugh

"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."

From The Rant, January 29, 2009

I'm not going to douse you all with schadenfreude at the passing into eternity yesterday of Rush Limbaugh. I know that he had friends and family that loved him and will treasure his memory. Back in December when I learned that he was too ill to broadcast any longer, I looked up his birth date on Google. It stated that he was born on January 12, 1951. I said a silent prayer for him that he would at least live to see his seventieth. He did. Good for him. 

That being said, American public discourse has become just a little bit less unhinged with his demise. For forty years he poisoned our national conversation with his own brand of right wing extremism and an overt and vile racism that he never even attempted to conceal. From the time he entered the public arena in the early eighties, it was obvious that the audience he was aiming for was disgruntled white men with beer bellies and bad breath. In the nearly-fifteen years I've been writing this site, I only wrote about Rush Limbaugh once. That was twelve years ago in the piece quoted at the top. Truth be told, I never thought about him much because he was hard to take seriously. Once in a blue Venus I would tune him in only to ponder his latest idiocy - just for my own amusement you understand. Other than that, old Rush was barely on my radar. In fact I'm surprised I remembered how to spell his name.

Rush Limbaugh is dead, but the damage he has done to American society and culture will be with us for a very long time. On the day of his death, the ex- president of the United States (You know whom I'm talking about) phoned in to a Focks Nooz program to proclaim that Rush will be "irreplaceable". My immediate reaction was: yeah, no one will ever replace him. That is a very good thing, indeed. But how do we set upon undoing the damage that he has done to America? That's the tricky part. In Joe McCarthy's day there was only one Joe. Today American politics is littered with McCarthy wannabes. It's the same thing in American media with respect to Limbaugh's imitators - they're everywhere. The results of this plague on the national discourse will be with us for a very long time, and it's anyone's guess as to whether or not we will even survive it. 

"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

His masses of half-witted devotees happily referred to themselves as "ditto-heads". That sounds about right. Rush was the personified symbol of this country's willful stupidity. The damage that he has done will be with us for a very long time.

Here is how I ended the piece on Rush that I wrote in 2009:

"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 estranged daughter (with whom he had not spoken in years). 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."

So there.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Friday, February 12, 2021

Our National Identity

I have no illusions that the senate will convict this disgusting half-wit and common pervert for his crimes against democracy. I long ago lost any faith in the GOP to do the right thing. Where have we gone? How did we get to this place? How did the "party of Dwight D. Eisenhower" come to this? What the hell would he have thought about the devolution of the nation that he defeated Hitler and the Nazis over, or the party that he claimed as his own?


Sure. These are interesting times.

Why have we come to this place? What the hell has happened to America? To think that a GOP-controlled senate is about to acquit this hideous asshole is too weird to even contemplate. Where did we go wrong? 

We will never escape from the international stigma of Donald Trump. He will be a part of our national identity forever. The question is, how did this happen to the country that was once presided over by someone like Abraham Lincoln? Would someone please explain this to me? We have had idiotic presidents in the past - BUT DIONALD FREAKING TRUMP??? - What were the populace thinking???

How will we be able to explain this to generations yet to be be born? I don't think that we will be able to. Call it a silly hunch.

Tom  Degan
Goshen,  NY

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Party Unhinged


Someone posted a wise observation on Facebook early this morning:

"An unpunished attempted coup becomes an instruction manual."

It's hard to fine fault with that one. And yet it would appear that the "party of Dwight D. Eisenhower" is prepared to let the former president off the hook for inciting last month the worst riot in the District of Columbia since the Brits attempted to burn the place to the ground over two-hundred years ago. While the management of the House attempted to school the senate the severity of what happened on January 6, most Republican senators chose to ignore the video carnage. One jackass propped his feet on his desk and casually read something. For years I've been saying that that disgusting party will one day revert to what it was when Ike was in the White House. I no longer believe that. On January 6, 2021, the Grand Old Party became eternally irredeemable.

So begins Day Three of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. The Dems have eight hours to wrap up their case - and if today's proceedings are one half as devastating as yesterday, it promises to be an interesting event any way you slice it or dice it. A small handful of Republican politicians seem to have been ashamed into doing the right thing after watching yesterday's horrifying presentation - but whether they're able to get the needed seventeen votes in order to convict Trump is a dim hope. I'm hoping for a miracle. Those who would acquit Trump for his actions on the days leading up to and following January 6. 2021 are merely urinating on the grave of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Hill police officer killed in the insurrection. Those who stormed the capitol last month will know that they will be given the green light to do it again - if only in their own minds. In case you might not have noticed, most of them are not terribly bright. Oh, you've noticed that, too, huh?

A little over a month ago, the loony right wing of this troubled nation came within a hair of overthrowing the government of the United States. Trump needs to be thoroughly punished for his many sins against democracy. If that doesn't happen here and now, it will happen again and again. Does that sound like an incredible statement? Perhaps it is. I'll yell you what: Let's vote for the Republican nominee in 2024 and see what happens.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to watch Day Three of these incredible proceedings:

Interesting times indeed.


Late in the evening of February 9 marked the first moment that John Lennon has been gone from this planet longer than he walked it. I cannot even describe to you how unspeakably sad this revelation made me feel.


Bring on the Lucie {Freda Peeple)
by John Lennon

Free the people now
Do it!
Do it!
Do it!
Do it!
Do it!
Do it!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Impeachment: The Sequel

I wrote this paragraph on my blog on December 10, nearly a month before the events of January 6:
"The Donald and his silly minions are determined and hell-bent on subverting the democratic process on January 20, 2021. My biggest fear is that - for the first time in the history of this country - there will not be a peaceful transfer of power. If he calls for an army of his armed, MAGA-BRAINED followers to descend upon Washington to defend their leader, you can expect a very ugly and brutal scene on the streets of D.C. The question is: will he? Anything is possible with this deranged fool. I've been paying attention to this guy for nearly forty years. Four years ago I would tell anyone who listened that this was going to end badly. But even I never dreamed that things would quite get this weird. These are interesting times."
Nailed it.
The amazing thing is the fact that Trump's legal team during these proceedings are so pathetically inept that one can possibly wonder why anyone could understand how it could come to this. Of course it has come to this. No competent attorney worth his-or-her own life would align themselves with this moron. HELLO???
The first second impeachment in American history of a United States chief-executive is now underway. It's a wild thing to behold. The chances of seventeen Republicans in the senate of going for this are almost nil. But I have hope. What more do I have? One month and four days ago the sitting president of the United States attempted to violently overthrow the government of this nation. The fact that an imbecile as incompetent as Donald Trump came co close to succeeding should give every one of us pause - not to mention the dry heaves. At this moment, a potential American despot, with the IQ above a half-eaten box of Milk Duds, is watching very carefully. The next time they very well may succeed. God bless America.

You never thought it would come to this, did you. No, neither did I. 

And, please, forgive me for tooting my own horn here, but in the early morning hours of January 6, I posted the following on my Facebook page (Please forgive me, but I'm a tad intoxicated at the moment; I really need to rest on my laurels here. Sorry):

"Keep your eyes wide open for the next sixteen hours. January 6, 2021 is going to be one of the most interesting days of our lives. Mark my words, campers".

If you describe yourself as "a registered Republican", you need to get out while the getting is good. One day, your children and grandchildren will have the benefit of 20/20 historical hindsight. They will ask you on what side you stood during this troubling time in the history of the American nation. What will you answer be? Will you be proud? Hermann Goering has grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom today walk this planet. That is their right. They are many things. Proud they are not. I guarantee it.

Think about it, folks.

Let's all hope the GOP does the right thing. I won't be holding my breath.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY

Monday, February 08, 2021

According to Lincoln....


After nearly six years of this country being torn apart by Donald Trump, the American people need to be healed - the Reunited States of America. This is beyond my ability as a writer; so today I'm turning over The Rant to Abraham Lincoln. We need to look to his second inaugural address for inspiration. Sadly, one month and eleven days after delivering this masterpiece, Lincoln fell victim to an assassin's bullet.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY


At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? 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 all the wealth piled by the bondsman’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 on 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, 4 March 1865