Saturday, November 20, 2021

An Extremely Nasty Precedent

The verdict yesterday didn't come as much of a surprise to those of us who had been paying even scant attention to the Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For the past month the general consensus of opinion had been that the murderous little thug would end up walking. I, myself, never dreamed that he would be found not guilty on all four charges, My assumption was that they would convict him on at least one - just for show, you understand. The reason for the almost universal pessimism of so many people was because of the judge, Bruce Schroeder, an overbearing putz whose cell phone ring tone was "I'm Glad to be an American", the theme song of all of the  Donald Trump's rallies. It was obvious to me that duh judge has spent the last several weeks auditioning for a potential talk show on Fox Nooooz, Newsmax, or one of the other conservative propaganda outlets. Last night, the right wing SCREAM MACHINE was beside itself in joy and ecstasy. Kyle is the new golden boy of America's fascist crazies.

Last night in Kenosha there were no riots, no tangible outrage. Perhaps it was exhaustion.

Just in case it needs to be explained to you, what happened yesterday inside that Kenosha courtroom set a precedent that is dangerous and lethal on too many levels to adequately catalogue. I imagine that, somewhere out there in the basements of their mother's homes, are a whole boatload of Kyle wannabees who were emboldened by yesterday's verdict. I do hope I am wrong on this point, but I don't think that I am. America has become the sort of place that our worst nightmares never dared to imagine. When a babbling, incompetent halfwit like George W. Bush starts to look in hindsight like Theodore Roosevelt, you know your country is in one hell of a fix. Aren't these interesting times?

I need to go back to bed. Kyle is the right wing's newest cause. He'll probably be feted and celebrated, courted, wined and dined. The little twit's future is being mapped out by handlers and media managers. That's fine. As the old Doris Day song says, whatever will be will be. I hope that the surviving members of his victims' families (and the one survivor) move forward with a civil lawsuit that will seize any earnings he accumulates. They're entitled to the blood money. The Kenosha police department is liable, too. They stupidly allowed him to pass into a toxic riot zone while he was holding a rapid-fire killing machine, never even asking him for his I.D. Some of these assholes even thanked him for coming (it was captured on audio tape). He was obviously a minor and should never have been carrying such a lethal and dangerous weapon. And yet they allowed him to wander into a toxic riot zone. What were the silly bastards thinking?

These are the darkest days I've witnessed in my life. It's so depressing being a citizen of Idiot Nation that it defies definition. I may be depressed, but at least I'm not bored - far from it.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Put It There, Pal
by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (1944)

When these two got together, something magical happened.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


"Gosar". It sounds like the name of a monster in a grade Z science fiction film from the fifties. Or, perhaps, a villainous character from Tolkien's  The Lord of the Rings. It might have been Gollum's half-witted cousin. But the Gosar I speak of this morning (as I'm sure you figured out from the get-go) is not a character of fiction - science or any other. He is a human being (I think) that today walks the same floors that were once walked upon by the likes of Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams. He is the contemptible numbskull who just this week released on Twitter an animated video that depicted him murdering New York Congresswoman Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez and physically attacking President Joe Biden. Nice, huh? He is a congressman who represents Arizona's 4th congressional district. His unnerving habit of rolling his head around while he speaks publically gives me the impression of a man deeply disturbed. If you think I exaggerate, check him out on YouTube sometime. I'm not kidding: the dude is delightfully bonkers.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has been the subject of numerous death threats since she entered congress less than three years ago. Paul Gosar must know this. That very fact makes his actions this past week all-the-more inexcusable. He needs to be removed permanently from the House of Reprehensibles.

Unfortunately, violence under the great dome of the nation's capital is not a particularly new or unique idea. Students of history may recall the horrible incident of May 22, 1856 when Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, a staunch abolitionist, was savagely attacked by slave-owning, South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks with a metal-edged walking stick. Sumner was wounded in the attack so badly that it was three years before he could return to his seat. Brooks was never prosecuted for his crime. In fact, in the deep south he was hailed as a hero. Sound familiar? By the time Sumner was able to resume his duties in 1859, Brooks was long gone, having died a horrible death eight months and five days after the attempted killing from an unexpected attack of what was known as "croup". I suppose it's a disease that modern anti-biotics  long-ago wiped out. According to a contemporary news account of Brooks' demise:  

"He died a horrid death, and suffered intensely. He endeavored to tear his own throat open to get breath."

Steadman and Thompson
Wow. The only artist in the world that I can imagine illustrating such a weird and grotesque scene is Ralph Steadman, the English artist responsible for the surreal visions in the books of Hunter Thompson. Can you imagine? Which reminds me, I sure wish Hunter was still around to report on the "bad craziness" of present-day Washington D.C. The only reason most progressive bloggers exist today, is simply because we no longer have Dr. Thompson around to kick out the verbal jams. Less than one month after George W. Bush's second inauguration,  he was in such complete despair over the state of the country he loved so much, that he put a gun to his head and ended it all. We who blog walk in the pioneering footsteps of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

Between the GOP's bat-shit insane rhetoric and the Democrats' timid ineptitude it's no-small-wonder that either party is still a viable commodity. I gave up my registration as a Democrat nearly twenty-four years ago. My opinion then (and still is) is that they long-ago forgot that they are (or were) the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But while there may still be a few pockets of hope among the Democrats (very few) the Republicans are beyond redemption. That is no longer a political party. That is a satanic cult. I miss the good old days when they were merely a threat to our economic security - and not to our freedom as Americans.

The Summit of Schmucks
Summit of Schmucks
Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez is (in my humble opinion - and for what it's worth) the most extraordinary new-comer to step into the national political spotlight in my lifetime - and I was born when Eisenhower was in office. That someone as decent and as undeniably brilliant as she is could be the subject of such cruel and vile invective from so many sides - including a few members of her own party - is inexcusable. Today, Preston Brooks is remembered for no other reason than his attempted murder of Charles Sumner one-hundred and sixty-five years ago. In 2021, Senator Sumner stands like a rock in American history. I imagine that, by the year 2186, Paul Gosar will be remembered (if at all), just as Preston Brooks is barely remembered today: as a vile clown who spent his meaningless career planting the seeds of political dysfunction and chaos across the American landscape. Like Brooks, Gosar will end up on history's shit-pile. In fact, he's already there.

In one-hundred and sixty-five years, there will be statues remembering AOC. Count on it! There will be no mass movement to tear them down. Anyone care to make a little wager on this point?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Bo Diddley
by Bo Diddley

From 1955, this is the greatest rock 'n' roll record ever made. The percussion is nothing short of hypnotic. 

Rock on, children!


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Friday, November 05, 2021

The Bat-Shit Report


Has anybody there seen my old friend John John?

The answer to that question is, no. Nobody there saw John John - or his dad, for that matter. Both have shuffled off this mortal coil.

I don't know whether to fall on the floor laughing or to be seriously alarmed by what happened two days ago at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Some of the more noted and visible Qanon proponents within the internet put out the word that John F. Kennedy, Jr. faked his own death twenty-two years ago and that he (and, I assume, his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette) are still alive and well; and that he (and his father, JFK, Sr.,) would be making an appearance this week at the sight of JFK's (alleged) assassination nearly fifty-eight years ago. They also announced that not only were both men planning on endorsing Trump's 2024 campaign on that day, but that Junior was planning on running second on the ticket with the former president. Vice President John John. Ain't that something? Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, Mama!

When Jack and John Jr. failed to show up at the appointed time, it was announced by some of the Qanon folks that the two of them would appear later on that night at a Rolling Stnes concert. Hopefully they would be bringing Charlie Watts and Brian Jones with them. Apparently, the four of them had other plans for the evening. No show again. Bummer.

Astonishingly, several hundred people turned up at the base of the old Texas School Book Depository to witness the anticipated event. As Jimmy Page (or was it Robert Plant?) once wrote:

"And it makes me wonder."

And speaking of wondering, I wonder if any of these knuckleheads bothered to do a simple bit of arithmetic: John F. Kennedy Sr. would be one-hundred and four years old if he were alive today. Geniuses. 

"Gym" Jordan
The fact that every one of the morons who showed up at this non-happening plan on voting in three years should scare the hell out of you. I know that it worries
me - but only slightly. Monitoring and recording the political craziness of 2021 America has become a beloved hobby of mine. The more unintentionally funny America's political conversation becomes with the passing of each week, the more interesting my life gets. Joe McCarthy died a year and three months before I was born. Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan are two of the most disgusting politicians that have come down the pike in my lifetime - and yet I'm sure gonna miss 'em when they're gone. I cannot even imagine my life without either of those assholes. I'm almost kind of sorry that I missed Joe McCarthy. Seriously.

As implied in the title of this piece, the conservative movement in this country has gone bat-shit crazy. That is not meant to say that everyone who leans to the right is bonkers, but that they do themselves (and their party) irreparable damage by turning a blind eye to the antics of Trump's MAGA base. Unfortunately, there are only a small handful of conservatives out there in the public arena with the courage to point out the damage that the MAGA-maniacs are doing to this country. Liz Cheney, Steve Schmitt and Joe Scarborough come immediately to mind. God bless them.

Did you ever get the feeling that you were living in the middle of an incredibly dark Paddy Chayefsky script? The next three years promise to get really interesting. Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls. This is gonna be weird.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


"Do you remember? Remember?? THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER???"

John Lennon