Saturday, December 30, 2006

What's One More Dead Body?

Saddam Hussein was executed last night. Isn't that wonderful? Now we can all live happily ever after because the Butcher of Baghdad has been sent packin' off to eternity. Everything is going to be fine, just fine and dandy, my dears! The Iraqi people will Come Together (RIGHT NOW, OVER ME!) and learn how to love each other the way they're supposed to. And the world will be a better place for you and me - just you wait and see! There will be laughter in the streets and music in the air. The wine will be flowing, the birdies will be singing and the children will be dancing. Can I get a witness??!! Oh, glorious, wondrous day! I am so happy I could fucking vomit.
Do you feel any safer? Ah! I thought not.
Within hours of the announcement of Saddam's hanging, there was a triple car bombing in Baghdad that killed over thirty people. What??? Well, what the hey! That's not the way the scenario is supposed to play out, is it? Is it??? Oops! Well I guess it's still going to be business as usual, ay, folks? The fact is this: his dead body is just one more of over half a million. If the geniuses in the Bush White House are under any illusion that the killing of Saddam Hussein is going to change things, they will soon be brought back down to earth - very soon. His death is as much of a turning point as his capture was a turning point - or as the killing of his sons was a turning point - just as those sham elections were a turning point. Truth be told: all the Iraqi people did that day was give America the purple finger.
In a statement issued from his ranch in Crawford, Texas this morning, George W. Bush has described this day as "a major milestone" in Iraqi history. If you consider the possibility of the Sunni population exploding in violence and retribution as a major milestone (which is likely to happen) then, well yes, I suppose it is a milestone of sorts. But if you're expecting things in that troubled part of the world to finally calm down, you're dreaming. What I'm trying to say is, Saddam's death changes nothing. In fact, it's going to make matters worse - much worse.
December has turned out to be the deadilest month for US servicemen and women in all of 2006. It's a fairly good bet that by New Years Day, the American death toll will be at or over the three-thousand mark (just as I predicted on this site back on November 26th - Good call, Degan! ). And now the First Fool wants to send even more troops into this holocaust! Question: has this asshole ever learned a damned thing about the history of the nation he professes to govern? My guess is that he's not even aware of the past - which brings to mind the old adage about people ignorant of their own history being doomed to repeat it. In 1968 when Lyndon Johnson increased troop levels in Viet Nam in the wake of the Tet Offensive, the only result was more violence and more killing. No good came from it - none. LBJ needed to justify the deaths of all of the kids killed under his watch by sending in even more kids to be slaughtered. It didn't make a bit of sense then and - since we have a precedent firmly established - it makes even less sense now.
2007 will be the year we come face to face with some very sick and nasty realities: Invading Iraq was the stupidest foreign policy blunder in American history. Poll after poll after embarrassing poll has shown that the majority of the Iraqi people actually feel a sense of nostalgia for the regime of Saddam Hussein. Can you believe that?? No question about it; he was a bad guy - one of the worst - but at least the country enjoyed some level of stability under his rule; at least the average Iraqi could get through the day without the fear of being shot in the street like a dog or blown into a million pieces by a well placed, unsuspected car bomb; at least the people didn't live in constant fear and paranoia. All of that is gone - forever.
Ah! Saddam Hussein! Those were the days, my friend! Yeah, he was one evil son-of-a-bitch - no argument in from me there - but, c'mon! In hindsight he wasn't that bad, was he? I mean, compared with what they've got now? Are you kidding me?? I imagine that, in contrast to the apocalypse that the Bush Mob has engendered, living under Saddam must have been an absolute joy! Remember his eldest son, Uday? Well, umm, sure, the kid had a bit of a mean streak - no doubt about it; sure, he was a blood-thirsty, half-witted little sociopath but - Ha! Ha! Ha! - you know what they say, don'cha? "Boys will be boys"!
Saddam Hussein and his sons would have eventually fallen of their own weight. It might have taken five or ten or maybe even fifteen years - but it would have happened sooner or later. It would have been a logical turn of events in Iraq's history that would have occurred naturally. To even entertain the notion that the citizens of an Arab country would just sit back and let an American-installed puppet government take over their affairs is sheer insanity at best - or abject stupidity - your call.
Once again, the Bush administration has failed to think long term. Killing Saddam is just going to open up another rat's nest of violent discontent. Had it been up to me, the hideous bastard would have been handed over to the Hague to spend the rest of his miserable life in solitary confinement - in a six by seven foot cell - to ponder the atrocities he committed against humanity - the same fate that I expect someday for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney - but that wasn't meant to be, I suppose. The only thing that the killing of Saddam Hussein has accomplished is this: Tonight one more lifeless body lies in Iraq.
Happy New Year, everybody.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald R. Ford 1913-2006

When I turned eighteen in August of 1976, I had every intention of voting against Jerry Ford in the November presidential election; Ford was the hand-picked successor of the totally disgraced Richard Milhaus Nixon and I wanted Nixon (and everything and everyone connected with Nixon) out of my life - forever. I procrastinated, however, and didn't register in time to vote on Election Day; the novelty of being able to drink legally having temporarily overtaken my life, rendering all other civic obligations to the back burner - Hey! I had priorities, dammit! Although I was pleased with Jimmy Carter's victory that year, I also felt bad for the outgoing President Ford - the man's essential goodwill and decency were obvious to me even at so young an age. I liked Jerry Ford! I still do.

Earlier this year, on 14 July, I wrote a piece on this blog called "A Message To My Republican Friends" where I argued that, with two or three exceptions, most of the Republicans who followed Abraham Lincoln into the White House were second-rate mediocrities - Ford was listed as one of those exceptions:

"Gerald R. Ford...has, sadly, been under-rated by historians. It should be remembered that, while he accomplished little in the two and a half years allotted to him, he was a good and decent man who did much to heal the nation after the twin traumas of Vietnam and Watergate. He should have been elected in his own right in 1976".

Had he been elected in '76, we might all have been spared the economic hangover of the so-called "Reagan Revolution" all these decades later, not to mention the nightmare administration of Reagan's political heir, George W. Bush. The greatest irony of all is the undeniable fact that he would have won that election had he not been challenged from the right during the primary season by none other than Ronald Reagan, himself. The pounding that Ford took from the Gipper so damaged him in the general election, he would be defeated by an obscure former governor from Georgia. In hindsight, the implications of Ford's loss thirty years ago are deep and disturbing. Four years later, in 1980, the so-called "Grand Old Party" turned its back forever on the moderation and vision that was personified in the form of Gerald Rudolph Ford.

That is not to say that his record is without blemishes. In all of the discussion pertaining to the man's legacy that have been going on in the media since the announcement of his death late Tuesday evening, I've yet to hear mention the deplorable one-man crusade he waged in the sixties as a member of the House to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, an FDR appointee and one of the greatest jurists of the twentieth century. His sins of omission during the Boston school desegregation riots of September 1975 can only be described as shameful. He had a chance to show some real moral leadership and might have used the bully pulpit of his office to inspire people to do the right thing. To his ever-lasting disgrace, he didn't.

And let's not forget the fact that no one is more responsible for the careers of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld than Gerald R. Ford.

But his all-too-human shortcomings aside, the passing of President Ford this week at the age of ninety-three is a bittersweet reminder of what used to be as far as the American political landscape is concerned. Let's face it, we slept a little sounder at night knowing that Jerry Ford was in the White House. For the first time in a long, long while, there was a bona fide good guy in charge of our government. Many of us couldn't even remember the last time that had been the case. You always knew that, even if you didn't agree with his decisions, he came to them with the best of intentions. Many people (myself, included) hit the roof when he pardoned Dick Nixon a month after taking office in September of 1974. Thirty-two years of historical hindsight has shown us that it was probably the right thing to do.

Yes, folks, there used to be such a thing as a moderate Republican politician; they could be found everywhere and, although kinda goofy in one or two aspects, they were essentially good - if at times misguided people. It can not be denied that President Ford, as essentially conservative as he was, would not even be able get the GOP nomination today. He would be dismissed as a "maverick liberal" - things have changed that much. Three decades later, the corruption and ideological extremism that has overtaken the GOP has damaged that organization for all time and eternity. For over a quarter of a century, they have waged an unrelenting war on the poor and the middle class that has all but decimated the potential of working people in this country to earn a decent living. Gerald Ford's political fate was sealed in the spring and summer of 1976 when the radical right forced him to come face to face with the future of the Republican Party. Well, the future has come and gone. From the vantage point of late December 2006, it is obvious to every thinking person that the so-called "Party of Lincoln" is beyond saving.

Sure, Jerry Ford wasn't perfect but he was a good man and you always knew, deep in your heart, that he was trying to do the right thing - that's what you want from your leaders - you want them to have a finely tuned moral compass. In the final analysis, that's all that really matters. God rest his soul.

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Photograph of George Harrison and Gerry Ford
taken in December 1974

For more recent postings on this naughty, commie site, please go to the following link:


Monday, December 25, 2006

"I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day"

The purpose of this little posting is simply to wish all of you a happy and blessed Christmas.

Having watched the interview Bob Scheiffer conducted with Laura Bush on CBS's Face The Nation yesterday, it was all-but-obvious that the meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace - has been lost on these people. Last year around the holidays, the First Lady was asked by Brian Lamb of C-SPAN to name some of the President's favorite Christmas songs:

"Oh, he likes Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and things like that".

Of course he does.

I am reminded of another secular Christmas song that is more in tune with the spirit of the season. President Bush actually used a part of it last year during a speech from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - that is to say, he quoted it out of context. He never would have dared to recite it in its entirety, for doing so would have exposed the gut-wrenching hypocrisy of the obscene fiasco that is now being carried out by our government - in our name - against the men, women and little children of Iraq.

Although the tune dates back to the end of the Civil War (it was written in 1864 as a poem by none other than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) the best known version of it was recorded fifty years ago by Bing Crosby on October 3, 1956:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet, the words repeat
Of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men

I thought as now this day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rung so long the unbroken song
of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no Peace on Earth", I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men

Then peal the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men


Happy Christmas, everyone!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to listen to Bing Crosby's recording of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

Oh, they love America, don't they? Dare to tell them that their twisted vision will do irreparable harm to the country they claim to love so much and they'll accuse you of being unpatriotic: "Defeat-ocrat", "Surrender Monkeys", "Cut and Runners" - you've heard it all before. Like the kid in the old Disney movie who was forced to shoot a mortally injured Old Yeller, they'd kill this country because they love it so much. That they're in the process of doing just that should give us all pause. "I'm sorry, old boy (sniff, sniff), but I jes gotta do it"!

It was Boswell who once attributed this famous quote to Samuel Johnson: "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels". If there's one thing you can't help but notice about these right-wing fools, it is their so-called "patriotism". They have a corner on the market.

Yeah, they just love America, the land of opportunity. As long as the "opportunity", so to speak, is offered to a relatively few elite opportunists and kept out of the hands of the many. To them the American Dream, whatever the hell that means anymore, is theirs and theirs alone. The hell with the Bill of Rights. The hell with the Constitution. The hell with you!

They just love America! - Like OJ loved Nicole; like Paul Snider loved Dorothy Stratton; like Mark David Chapman loved John Lennon - they love America to death!

You know who they are because they're not at all bashful making themselves known: their virtue is impeccable; their patriotism, unquestioned; their motives, as pure as dirt. They love America like you love your house. You own your house. They own America.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Islands
From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters,
This land was made for you and me...

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie, they never fail to remind us, was a professed Communist.

They love to invoke, for their own twisted reasons, the name of the man Whose birth in Bethlehem one silent night so many centuries ago, we, as Christians, celebrate this very month:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven...
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth...
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy...
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God...

That they have always been blind to the contradictions between their murderous agenda and the words of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is one of the mysteries of the age.

Yeah, they love America, alright. They love it so much, they've gone on a merry shopping spree that has spent it into bankruptcy. Our heirs, who will never even know our names, will have to foot the bill for this unprecedented recklessness. They now have China - China! - paying a good deal of our tab. The fact that our entire social and economic infrastructure will collapse overnight if or when that country decides to pull the rug out from under us - whether it be for political, economic or military reasons - doesn't seem to have entered their minds. Then again, one gets the uneasy feeling that nothing has ever entered their minds. They actually seem to have immunized themselves from the truth; example: "Absolutely we're winning"! Lets's face it: these guys aren't the brightest bulbs on the porch.

They hide behind the flag in order to pursue an agenda so at odds with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, those good and learned men are, at this very moment, doing somersaults in their graves. They hide behind the flag to justify the breaking of international and domestic law. They hide behind the flag while they commit genocide in Iraq. One can hide behind a piece of cloth only for so long. They claim to be against the desecration of that very flag and yet no administration in history has soiled it more than this one.
2007 will be remembered as the year that these nationalistic freaks were exposed for all time and eternity as the contemptible hypocrites they are. Their day is over.

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Photograph of Tom Degan
by Carolyn Syskowski
Lakeville Inn, Goshen, NY
December 9, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The 109th Congress 2005-2007

There are people a lot smarter than I (MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, for instance) who have called it "the worst congress in American history". The "good for nothin' 80th Congress", as the session of 1947-1949 was constantly referred to by President Truman, was a model of legislative statesmanship by comparison. From the scenes of Bill Frist diagnosing the condition of the tragic Terri Schiavo from a distance of almost a thousand miles away, to the semi-comic implosion of the political career of the now thoroughly disgraced congressman from Texas, Tom DeLay, the incompetence and corruption of the One-hundred and ninth Congress of 2005-2007 is one for the Halls of Infamy. We can only hope and pray that their record is never surpassed.

Honestly, Did you ever, in your wildest, apocalyptic dreams, think that your once-great nation would sink as low as it has??? So help me, Mitch Miller, I never even dreamed it! Witnessing Bush try to function in any public forum these days is getting to be more and more uncomfortable to watch. At a meeting with the press last week where he was discussing the findings of the Iraq Study Group, he was audibly slurring his words. Randi Rhodes replayed it twice on her Air America Radio program and there was little doubt that something was wrong - seriously wrong. Is the hideous little bastard back on the sauce? As luck would have it, I have spent many years in scholarly pursuit of this very subject (so to speak) - I can spot another drunk a mile away - and my own considerable expert opinion tells me that this would, indeed, be the case. I was actually starting to feel some degree of sympathy for the man until I remembered the dead - at least half a million Iraqi men, women and little children - and I was quickly bought back to earth - Genocide has a nasty little tendency of doing that. George W. Bush deserves many things - no argument from me in that department - but sympathy is not one of them. He deserves only our utter contempt.

One can only speculate as to the conclusions historians will come to a century from now. Of this you may be reasonably certain: their verdict will not be kind to us, the American people. This disgraceful state of affairs would not have come into being but for the fact that the the citizens of this country were so jaw-droppingly ignorant with respect to affairs of state. That more of us voted for the American Idol than for the American President speaks volumes as to our shameful indifference and lack of basic knowledge pertaining to our government. Think about it: Condoleeza Rice is the most visible Secretary of State since Henry Kissinger's term during the Nixon administration almost forty years ago - she's also the first African American woman to ever hold that job! - And yet poll after poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans not only don't even know who she is, they're blissfully ignorant of the outright damage she has done to the USA's standing within the international community of nations. If that very fact is not enough to make you want to bang your head against a brick wall, your inner fortitude is much stronger than mine - or maybe you're just living in total ignorance - either way, take a bow.

Has it really come to this? In the thirties, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about the facsist overthrow of America called, It Can't Happen Here. The implication behind the title was that it damn well could happen here and that, given the extremist nature of America's political conversation at the moment, it very well might! As has been said before: if you're not alarmed, you're not paying attention.

As of today (December 16, 2006) there are exactly two years, one month and four days left of this absolute nightmare of an administration. No question about it: we cannot allow this situation to continue. In a piece published this week, former White House counsel John Dean speculated that the impeachment of Bush and Cheney is out of the question. His reasoning was that there are so many reactionary, half-witted, right wing loonies polluting the chambers of the House and Senate, the removal of these hideous war criminals is not even a viable option. While his point is well taken, I must respectfully disagree. My belief is that by next summer, ideology won't matter any longer. The people - WE, THE PEOPLE - will demand that the Bush administration be held to account for their crimes against humanity. Lord help any foolish politician who stands in our way.
As for the one-hundred and ninth Congress? Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Sunday, December 10, 2006

In Defence of Desertion: It's Perfectly Legal

When the next president takes the oath of office on January 20, 2009, the very first thing that he or she needs to do - even before delivering the inaugural address - is to sign an executive order granting a "full and unconditional pardon" to any and all service men and women whose consciences would not allow them to take to take part in the obscenity that is now being committed against the people of Iraq by the Bush administration. That is the only reasonable and humane thing to do. Deserting the military during a period where one's own country is a willing partner in what can only be described as genocide is not only justified and highly commendable, it is also legally defensible. In the aftermath of World War Two, a lot of German and Japanese military personnel were severely punished for horrific crimes against humanity. But of the thousands of atrocities cited during the Nuremberg trials of 1946/47, desertion wasn't among them - a little tidbit of information you might want to take note of.

And while we're on the subject of desertion, let us not forget this embarrassing little fact: Our esteemed commander-in-chief, the First Fool, George W. Bush, went AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972. He'd have gone to Leavenworth but for the machinations of his father who at the time was the well-connected chairman of the Republican National Committee

Ah, connections!

The unpleasant fact of the matter is this: these kids were lied to. They were led to believe that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the carnage of September 11, 2001. When it became obvious to every thinking person on the planet that the only reason for invading Iraq in the first place was so that a handful of GOP-connected profiteers could seize the second largest oil reserves on the planet, what moral option remains for a person of conscience but desertion? Ask yourself this question: Knowing what you know now, would you have had a part in this? Would you have willingly enlisted in the military knowing that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were going to invade a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, based on false and misleading intelligence? I didn't think so.

Generals have the option of resigning in cases where the aspirations of the civilian leaders are at odds with their own personal moral compass - and more than a few of them have done just that. A regular GI does not have that luxury. It is part of the military code of conduct that soldiers in the field, whether they be buck privates or five star generals, must not - under any circumstances - engage in violations of international law. That the invasion of Iraq was indeed such a violation can now only be argued by the irrational - the president and vice-president of the United States, for instance.

It has been said in these pages more times than can be easily counted that this war is over - get used to the idea. There was never even a chance of winning it - none. The so-called "Iraq Study Group" has basically come to the same conclusion. Without coming right out and saying it, the implications are as clear as day and cannot be missed. When your doctor tells you that your condition is "grave and deteriorating", it's generally a pretty good idea not to make a down payment on next summer's vacation house. Green bananas are not recommended either.

For the second time in a generation, a half-witted Texan (Just what is it about Texas?) has forced American children into an untenable slaughterhouse. But, unlike the fiasco in south east Asia forty years ago, Iraq was doomed from the start. Don't forget that the Viet Nam conflict only gradually evolved, over a period of years, into a quagmire. With respect to Iraq, we stupidly dove head-first and smiling into a quagmire. As if that wasn't bad enough, this time 'round we're in the process of losing two wars simultaneously! I think the time is ripe for an "Afghanistan Study Group". In the midst of all of the attention that Bush's Iraq catastrophe has received, we've lost sight of the nasty little fact that that conflict is all-but-over as well.

Who was it that said that a people ignorant of their own history are condemned to repeat it?

It is estimated that more than eight-thousand people have fled the military in the almost four years since the Bush Mob committed the worst strategic blunder in American history when they signed off on the invasion of a sovereign nation that was a danger to no one but itself. Anyone who deserted during "Operation Iraqi Freedom" - excuse me while I vomit - were totally within their rights - both morally and legally; that is to say, desertion is in total compliance with international and domestic law. It is the duty of every good American to not only assist them in their flight but to urge them to do so. Should the situation present itself, any and all of them can expect help from me. Count on it. Get out while the getting's good, kids.

Let me say this for the record: I've been doing a lot of praying lately but you've got to understand that I am not praying for a victory for the United States in Iraq; I'm praying for God's will. Bring our men and women home. Now.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Note To The Right Wing: The Party's Over

Back in the late winter of 1980, I was taking a sociology course at Orange County Community College in Middletown, NY - OCCC, as we used to call it. My professor was a learned gentleman named Doctor William Byrne. One day during class, he made a statement that at the time I thought verged on the ridiculous:

"In the next quarter of a century, this country is going to move so far to the right, you won't even recognize it"

The last time I ever saw Doctor Byrne was on election night 1980. I was working as a reporter for W-ALL Radio, covering the election results at the Orange Inn in Goshen which was where the Orange County Democrats were staked out. The Dems got badly stomped that year and it was almost like an Irish wake from what I can remember (we were all pretty loaded). When CBS News' Walter Cronkite made the official announcement, that Ronald Reagan was the next president of the United States, the good Doctor sadly shook his head and gravely walked out into the cold November night. Oh please! I thought to myself, It's not the end of the world! I wasn't crazy about the prospect of a Reagan Presidency either but how bad could he be? Really bad, it turned out. If you're still alive, William Byrne, and even if you're not, I tip my hat to you. You obviously could see something that I was blind to. In many deep and symbolic ways, that night really was the end of the world - the world as we knew it.

The Reagan Revolution and the subsequent right-wing lock on our national political dialogue - which has gone on for almost twenty-six years now - has nearly destroyed what was once a nice country to live in. Think about what it was like to be an American in 1980! Sure it was a "bitch of a year" as Thomas Merton once referred to another calamitous year: We were in the midst of a crisis with Iran that threatened the lives of fifty-plus American diplomats being held hostage by that nation's leaders; there were severe fuel shortages that occasionally led to long lines at the pump; Jimmy Carter could be a fairly lackluster, uninspiring leader and his famous "Malaise" speech that summer didn't endear him to anyone.

On a personal note, I didn't fare too well in 1980 either. On the morning of December 8th, I lost my coveted radio job. Could 1980 get any worse, I thought? It could and it did. That night, at 10:30 PM, some homicidal little geek shot and killed John Lennon outside of his apartment building in New York City. No ifs, ands or buts about it: 1980 sucked.

Yet aside from all of these nasty distractions, it was fun being an American in 1980. You didn't have to be rich to lead a comfortable life and home ownership wasn't the impossible dream that it has become for so many of us (Full disclosure: I rent). Where I live, a house that went for fifty-thousand in 1980 now goes for nearly half a million. Twenty-six years ago, racial tensions - although undeniably real - were barely palpable in most places. There was actually hope -real, tangible hope - that we were well on the way to being a color blind society....

...."Color blind society". It just hit me that I haven't even heard that term in years....

Although the America of 1980 was beset with some very real societal problems, our humor wasn't so vile, our politics weren't so mean and we the people weren't so angry. What happened to us?

Ronald Reagan happened to us.

Is it a stretch to blame most of our problems on dear old Ronnie? You be the judge: For twenty-six long years, the Republican Party waged a virtual war on a middle class that in 1980 was thriving. This economic assault on America's working men and women would not have been successful but for Ronald Wilson Reagan. Two and a half decades after he took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol Building on January 20, 1981, the middle class is on the road to extinction. This dreadful situation would never have occurred had the American people not foolishly turned their backs on the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal.

Well, be of good cheer, kiddies! The Reagan Revolution is over. Two and a half years after the Gipper finally bought the farm, his political philosophy and the tsunami of mindless extremism that came with it is finally coming face to face with the grim reaper of national discontent. As I always said they would, the people are awakening from the right-wing coma they've been snoozing under since that day, so long ago, they naively sent a feeble-minded, failed, "B" movie actor to the oval office - to the White House. The very first action of the current president, within minutes of being sworn in, was signing an executive order sealing the papers of the Reagan administration indefinitely! They don't want us to know the truth about Ronald Reagan. Fear not. Eventually we'll know everything. One cannot hide from history.

It must never be forgotten that Ronald Reagan was merely a friendly, amiable mask with a twinkle in its eye and a fine Irish smile. Remove that mask and you have the hideous, disgusting smirk of George W. Bush - that's the real face of the so-called "Reagan Revolution". Most of the things that Bush has done to you, Reagan tried to do to you and would have done to you had he had control of both houses of Congress. We had to wait till January of 2001 for that to happen.

Some say that the GOP is merely in a slump and that they'll have their mojo back by time the next election cycle comes along. Don't be too sure of that. The Democrats now have the power of the subpoena and much will be revealed in the next two years with regard to the machinations of the Bush White House and their corrupt lap dogs in the House and Senate. Unless the Republican Party reforms itself, George W. Bush might very well be remembered as the last republican president.

Think about that for a minute: from Lincoln to Bush. You just can't fall any further than that!

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

This is off-topic but I just had to share it with you: it was announced on MSNBC minutes ago that the top three stories to capture the attention of the American public in 2006 were (in order of importance, mark you):

1. The death of Steve Erwin
2. The death of Anna Nicole Smith's son
3. The war in Iraq.

Britany Spears' love life was a close fourth.

And guess what? Many of these people are registered to vote. Be afraid be very afraid.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some "Known Knowns" To Munch On

" we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know that there are known unknowns. That is to say: we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know".

Donald Rumsfeld
with straight face, no less
Well, mine eyes have seen the glory! It is a civil war! How could that possibly be? There is no whiff of magnolia in the sweet southern breeze. There's no Old Black Joe singing Camptown Races under a warm rebel moon. There are no southern belles of unquestioned virtue. There is no cotton. There ain't no Dixie.

And they call this a civil war???

Just a few days ago, NBC News announced that from this day forward, that would be the term used to describe the conflict in Iraq. "Conflict" sounds a little bit understated, does it not? As of today, December 1, 2006, as far as Iraq is concerned, we're almost in apocalypse country. This entire obscenity has been brought to you courtesy of the village idiot of Crawford, Texas. From the first cabinet meeting in January 2001, according to Paul O'Neil in Ron Susskind's book, "Price of Loyalty" and Richard Clarke in his book "Against All Enemies", these murderous bastards were determined to invade Iraq - come hell or high water. They convinced themselves - and a lot of foolish Americans - that it would be a "cake walk", that we would be greeted with "flowers and candy" and that the streets of Baghdad would be littered with rose pedals. They were going to turn the entire country into fucking Disneyland and we were all gonna to live happily ever after.

Oh, Tinkerbell! If we believe hard enough, it will be true!

We are now almost four years into this atrocity - that you and I (as taxpayers) are funding - and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. None. Not a flicker - not even a hint of a flicker.

Mission accomplished. Does that phrase just give you an uncontrollable fit of the giggles, or what?

With the findings of the Iraq Study Group due on December 6, speculation in the media has been as to whether or not the First Fool will be wise enough to act on their recommendations. Don't hold your breath. If there's one thing we've come to expect from this nightmare of an administration it is that when faced with a decision of momentous import, they'll always do something really stupid - always. That's the reason we're bogged down in Iraq to begin with.

Consider this: They actually believed that invading a hostile, Arab country, in total violation of international law and opinion, was a good idea. Over a half a million lives later it is now a given what was obvious to every thinking person from the beginning: the invasion of Iraq was the worst foreign policy blunder in American history. The consequences of what they have done has barely scratched the surface of our national awareness - but it is deep and it is long lasting. The damage that George W. Bush and company have done to our nation and the planet will be palpable a century and a half from now.

What they have done to our country has severely weakened our social and economic infrastructure to the point that we are on the verge of a bona fide national emergency. Whether it be with respect to the educational system or the condition of our bridges and highways, our country is quite literally falling apart. The day will come in the very near future when we will no longer be able to simultaneously support the vital social services that have been in place since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt and the Military Industrial Complex. The far-right wing actually believes that they will be able to do away with all of our societal safety nets - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance - and that the American people will be more content with guns rather than butter. They're wrong. Our society needs to be strengthened and our planet needs to be made safe from the utter destruction that is all-but-inevitable because of the existence of our out-of-control armaments industry. The coming generation will see the end of the American corporate military machine. You and I will see to that.

At a press conference in Jordan the other day, Bush said that Americans should not expect a graceful exit from Iraq. Who the hell in their right mind is expecting that?? America's exit from that shattered country, whether it be in 2008 or 2028, will be in total, humiliating defeat. That is the reality that we all need to come to terms with. That is the inarguable fact. The sooner we own up to it, the better off we'll all be. This war is over - get used to the idea. Anyone who seriously believes that this is a winnable situation has been watching too much FOX News while drinking near-lethal levels of Stupid Juice. It's over. It's all over. Maybe we won't be able to save the Iraqi people from themselves, but it's a sure bet that we will be able to save them from us.

If the Republicans are smart - yes, I know that's wishful thinking but hear me out - they'll insist that Dick Cheney retire for "health reasons" immediately. There are trainloads of evidence to impeach and remove the president and vice-president. And while the prospect of a President Nancy Pelosi is fine and dandy on this end, I'm sure it's the GOP's worst nightmare.

2007 is only a month away and of this there can be no doubt: it will be the most tumultuous political year since the 1860's - not the 1960's, mind you - the eighteen-sixties! All I can tell you is that it's going to be one hell of a ride so brace yourselves, folks! Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground and - for the love of Mike! - make sure the kids are fastened tightly in their safety seats! It's going to be that kind of year.

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY