Friday, June 29, 2007

America's Clown Princes

Honestly, can this possibly get any stupider? This week, the First Fool is claiming "executive privilege" in order to keep from handing over to Congress documents which pertain to the unwarranted firings last year of eight U.S. Attorneys. At the same time, Dick Cheney is claiming that he's not part on executive branch of the government, but the legislative branch. Of course, it didn't stop the evil bastard from claiming executive privilege six years ago when the press and public were trying to get the names of all of the corporate swine who were part on the so-called Energy Task Force that set the course of this nightmare of an administration's Energy Policy. Just a little reminder: you're paying a whole hell of a lot more per gallon today than you were when Bill Clinton was president. Some policy!

What constitutional genius came up with the novel idea that the VEEP is a legislator? Is it because of the fact that he is the President of the Senate? The reason he is there (if he's there at all) is to break a fifty/fifty vote. That's his only job. Nowhere in the Constitution is the vice-president defined as a legislator and for very good reason: the vice-president doesn't make laws. Other than the role of tie-breaker his only other constitutional function is to succeed the president should the unthinkable happen. (Unthinkable, indeed. We should all pray for the health and safety of George W. Bush for three reasons: (1.) The dreaded prospect of a President Cheney, (2.) The LAST thing in the world the half-witted right wing of this country needs is a martyr to rally around, and (3.) He is, after all, a human being - I think).

In an opinion piece published late last year in the New York Times, Paul Krugman warned us all to expect "a rolling constitutional crisis" in 2007. Is Krugman a political prophet? Maybe but certainly not in this case. Predicting a constitutional crisis engineered by the hideous little thug currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is pretty much a no-brainer. I prophesied as much in December of 2000 - a full month before the village idiot of Crawford, Texas even took the oath of office. (Thankfully, I made that prediction on the Kirk Grantham radio program and a tape of it survives). Indeed, anyone with a modicum of information as to the history of this mediocre and unenlightened man should have seen it coming. Predicting the destruction that Bush and Company would rain down on this once-great country was as easy to foresee as the inevitable explosion after a lit cigarette is thrown into a 55 gallon drum of gasoline. It was the easiest call I ever made - the ultimate Duh!

One of the arguments against the possibility of impeaching both Bush and Cheney has been that "the votes aren't there". As the Monkees once observed, "That was then. This is now". By the end of this summer, I believe, the overwhelming majority of the American people will finally wake up to this nasty and unpleasant fact: sending these people to the White House was the worst electoral mistake the voters of this country ever made. Come mid September, they'll be demanding that this cabal of kooks, criminals and fools be forcibly removed from office and prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. If they are allowed to get away with what they've done to the people, America will never recover from it. If they are allowed to get away with the crimes committed against the men, women and little children of Iraq, our standing within the international community of nations will be damaged irreparably.

Think of all the good will that was sent to this nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001! The following day, a French newspaper ran a headline which proclaimed, "We Are All Americans Now". We were cosseted into the affections of the entire planet - and these stupid bastards squandered it forever.

Why is it that so many people are resigned to the status quo? "There's nothing I can do", they seem to be saying, "We just have to learn to live with it". Anyone who tries to make the argument that "only a criminal can be impeached, not an incompetent" hasn't been paying attention. This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most criminal administration in the history of human folly! Folks, the evidence is staring you right in the face - and remedy is right there in black and white! From Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States of America:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason [Lying to Congress and the American people in order to send the Military off on an illegal, unjustifiable war], Bribery [Hundreds of billions of dollars of 'no bid' contracts going exclusively to campaign supporters], or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors [Far too many to adequately catalogue]".

Could it possibly get any clearer that that?

The argument that the Bush administration has only a year and a half left till its term comes to end and we should merely wait them out is foolish at best. Much damage can be done between June 29, 2007 and January 20, 2009. Every day, the destruction to the American infrastructure is compounded astronomically. As it stands today, it will take generations to recover from this one insane era. We've got to admit that the government of the good ol' USA has been hijacked by what can only be described as an organized criminal enterprise. The damage that they've already done to the United States is so immense it will never be accurately assessed - it is beyond the point of calculation. The administration of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney has got to be ended - NOW. The future of your children depends on nothing less. Think I'm kidding?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:
The Impeachemnt of George W. Bush
by Elizabeth Holtzman
with Cynthia L. Cooper

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Broadcast Journalism is Dead

Listen closely....Can you hear it?....That faint rumbling in the distance is the sound of Edward R. Murrow and Eric Sevareid doing somersaults in their graves.

In 1981, when the Reagan administration gutted the FCC, one of the first casualties was TV news. Back in the day, when the people owned the airwaves, one of the prerequisites for owning a television or radio station was that an owner, by law, had to provide the community with news and information as a public service. If the news department operated at a loss (and most of them did) that was the price they had to pay. Keeping the public informed about breaking events and matters of public policy was the news division's reason for being. The most important thing for a functioning democracy is an informed and educated electorate. It was a good system and - with very few minor exceptions - it worked beautifully for almost forty years.

All of that is gone. Broadcast News today is a crucial profit center on most independently owned stations and national networks. The legendary producer Fred Friendly once made the observation that the job of a good journalist was not to give you the news you want to know, but to give you the news you need to know. Friendly never lived to see FOX News and it's probably just as well. One can only imagine how horrified he would have been by the 'round the clock coverage of the Paris Hilton affair that has been going on for at least a month. It is a certainty that he would have been embarrassed for the industry that he and Murrow literally invented - watching News organizations blowing their budgets on helicopters trailing the motorcade of a woman going to jail for less than a month on a DWI violation - a woman void of substance who is famous for doing absolutely nothing!

Forty-five years ago this month, Marilyn Monroe's life was unravelling (Marilyn, unlike Paris Hilton, was a woman who could boast more than a few major accomplishments during her short life). In the summer of 1962 her dependence on drugs was starting to take a noticeable toll on her health and sanity. In addition to that she had just been fired by the director of the movie she had been filming with Dean Martin (She would be dead in a little over a month). But almost half a century ago, if you knew any of this information about the troubled actress, you learned of it by reading gossipy fan magazines - not by watching NBC News. In 1962, that organization had more important things to relate to the public. At about the same time the Monroe saga was playing itself out, President Kennedy's FCC chairman, Newton Minnow, referred to television as "a vast wasteland". Like Fred Friendly, it's probably just as well that Mr. Minnow never lived to witness the spectacle called FOX News.

No question about it: the American people are a people distracted. The main-stream media (electronic and print), the so-called "fourth estate", has utterly failed in its obligation to keep the public informed. In the good old days, a vibrant and healthy press might very well have been able to expose this administration's lies regarding Iraq's mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction Program and at least a half a million human beings would still be walking this earth. In the good old days there was something that was known as the Fairness Doctrine which guaranteed by law that both sides of any issue would be given a fair hearing over the people's air. When Ronald Reagan did away with that rule, the rise of right wing dominated Hate Radio was the inevitable result. In the good old days there was a limit as to how many broadcast stations an individual or organization could legally own. Today we are bombarded by a Corporate Media which is trying to keep the American people stupid. They are succeeding.

It is worth noting that, in the run-up to the worst foreign policy blunder in American history - while the corporate media was banging the drums of war - the only news organizations that essentially got the story right (Knight-Ridder, for instance) were those which operated outside of the Washington Beltway mentality. Independent journalists like Bob Herbert, Greg Palast and the late, great Molly Ivins, who desperately tried to light tiny candles of reason in the dark night of mindless nationalism, were dismissed by the main stream media as "unpatriotic". Instead of paying attention to the criminal machinations of their government, the foolish American people were happily being spoon-fed near lethal doses of info-taining pornography by the likes of FOX News. Just look at the result....

Where have you gone, Walter Cronkite?

For democracy's sake, we should all be demanding re-regulation of the broadcast industry. De-regulation, the hallmark of the so-called "Reagan Revolution" - whether it be of the airwaves or of Corporate America - has been a catastrophic failure. It's time to take our country back.

On October 28, 1958, at a convention of broadcasters in Chicago, Illinois, Edward R. Murrow gave a speech which, in hindsight, seems prophetic. Speaking of television he said:

"This instrument can teach, it can entertain, yes it can even inspire. But it can do those things only to the extant that men and women are determined to use it towards those ends. Otherwise it's nothing more than wires and lights in a box".

Edward R. Murrow didn't live to see FOX News either.

Wow! Did you see what I just did? I used the words "Edward R. Murrow" and "FOX News" in the same sentence. I didn't even think that was possible!

Fortunately for all of us, Bill Moyers survives on PBS....

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:
Murrow: His Life and Times
by A.M. Sperber

Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
by Don Edwards

Edward R. Murrow: An American Original
by Joseph E. Persico

SUGGESTED VIEWING:
Selling The War
Bill Moyers' Journal
Available from PBS Video

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back on the Sauce?


Me thinks Dubya has been hitting the bottle again. This should come as a surprise to no one. Many of us have suspected for years that his public line about being an ex-drinker who found religion was just a bit too simplistic to be believable. In the last year in particular, there have been far too many public incidences to even count where he has looked to be under the influence of alcohol. He has been more glassy-eyed than usual and in recent months, he has been noticeably slurring his words. Back in December, at a meeting with the press in which the findings of the Iraq Study Group were being discussed, he seemed (to me, at least) visibly impaired. On her Air America program, Randi Rhodes made the same observation.
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His malapropisms have also become more frequent and absurd. After six and a half years as president of the United States, one would assume that he'd be getting better at this. In fact, his very public, verbal gaffes are as numerous today as they were at any time during the campaign or 2000. Many people have been wondering aloud, why can't this knucklehead get it right? The cat was let out of the bag last week when he was photographed in Germany drinking what appeared to be a glass of beer (Have a look at the photographs above).
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Anyone who knows me might view this as a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Full disclosure: In my day, I was not unknown for tippling a few, myself. I was also a major pot smoker in my teens and early twenties). The simple fact of the matter is that I spent many a year in serious, scholarly pursuit of this very subject (in a matter of speaking): I can spot another drunk a mile away. Labeling any criticism of mine as "hypocritical" is entirely missing the point: I am not the commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation in the solar system. If and when that ever happens, you'll have every reason in the world to be scared to death. Until then...
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Is it unfair to make such a bold claim, that we have a raving, out-of-control drunk sitting in the oval office? Ask your self this question: Would any sane, rational and sober human being have made the decision to invade Iraq four years ago? Aye, there's the rub! The benefit of four years historical hindsight has shown us that by March of 2003, Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program (a program which - by the way - was financed by Ronald Reagan and George Bush the elder) was deader than Saddam is now. The Bush Mob knew that the Butcher of Baghdad was a threat to no one but himself - and yet they were determined to commit the stupidest foreign policy blunder in American history by invading! Why? Was the First Fool shitfaced? In truth, there is a very tangible case to be made to support that allegation. What proof do I have? Here's my proof:
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EIGHTY PROOF!
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On the night of the invasion, I got about as drunk as I've ever gotten in my life (I was that unnerved by the whole turn of events). But even in that uber inebriated state, I at least had the good sense to say to myself, "Hey! This whole Iraq thing? Not a good idea"! As tipsy as I admittedly was, Bush must have been fucking hammered!
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Back in his day, President Eisenhower was roundly poked fun at for his "mangled syntax". True, Ike may not have been the greatest extemporaneous speaker who ever lived, but at least he was quite capable of getting his point across. With this president it's hard to figure out just what the hell he's talking about half the time! Here are just a few tasty examples:
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"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country".
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"Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better".
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"I just want you to know, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace".
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"Saddam would still be in power if he [John Kerry] were president of the United States and the world would be a lot better off".
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"In my judgement, when the United States says there will be serious consequences, and if there isn't serious consequences, it creates adverse consequences".
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Here's my personal favorite:
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we".
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Priceless.
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Now ask yourself the following question: Are these not the words of a man who is twelve and a half sheets to the wind? People in the know have claimed that careful examination of the photo in question has shown that the label on the bottle in front of Bush is Buckster, a non-alcoholic "blond" beer which is manufactured by Heineken. That may be the case. But it bears noting that the president failed to show up the following morning for an important gathering of world leaders, his press people citing a "stomach virus" as the reason for his absence. Stomach virus? Or was the hideous little thug just too hung over to show his face? Eventually, history will reveal all.
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At the very least, George W. Bush is a "dry drunk". That is to say, while he may not be an active drinker, he still possesses all of the negative traits and personality patterns that are all too characteristic of most serious alcoholics: a failure to admit even serious errors of judgement or an unwillingness to examine one's own motives and moral failings, for instance.
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"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things".
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Indeed.
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I myself would prefer to believe that Bush has been under the influence all these years. It would be a little less disturbing to know that his actions since the day he took the oath of office were the result of blurred, alcohol induced judgement. One would hope that a sober, clear-headed human being - in full control of his senses - couldn't possibly be so reckless and stupid.
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Eventually, the books will be written exposing what (if anything) this disgusting president was thinking when he charted the ultimately disastrous course he set his once-great nation on four and a half years ago by invading Iraq. As has been noted on this site before: generations from now, presidents not even born yet will be dealing with the damage that was done in so short a time by this mediocre, unenlightened man. George W. Bush's days in office are numbered, no question about it. But of this you may be absolutely certain: we'll be living with the consequences of his corruption and incompetence for the rest of our lives.
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Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net
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SUGGESTED READING:
Bush on the Couch
by Dr. Justin Frank

Monday, June 11, 2007

BLACK SOLDIERS BETRAYED


Hey there, readers! Are you an African American? Are you, perchance, from one of the key "swing states" (Florida, New Mexico or Ohio, for example)? Do you have a friend or relation (brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild) who is a person of color and is now serving in uniform, risking his or her life on a daily basis in the atrocity that the Bush administration is now committing against the men, women and little children of Iraq? If so, please forward to him or her this little posting of mine. It was written for them....
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dear Sir or Madam,

First of all, at the risk of sounding trite, thank you for your service to our country. There is something awe-inducing to witness a group of people who have been largely excluded from the so-called "American Dream", putting their lives on the line for their once-great nation.
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By now, I am sure that you've figured out that the scam your civilian leaders were able to hoodwink most of the American people into believing - that this stupid and irrational war was about ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and keeping the United States free and safe - was nothing more than a blatant lie. Saddam Hussein's WMD program was non-existent and your leaders knew it. I'm sure it dawned on you a long time ago that the criminal occupation of what was (like it or not) a sovereign nation that your government has forced you to take part in never had a damned thing to do with "bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people". By now you're probably cognizant of the fact that the motivations of these despicable bastards and bitches (Hi, Condi!) was primarily to seize what is generally believed to be the second largest oil reserves on the planet. It is also a fairly safe wager that you've noticed that the work which used to be done relatively inexpensively and competently by the military has been contracted out to politically connected (read: "Republican connected") corporations - with blatant disregard for legally mandated bidding processes - and that they have been able to loot untold billions of dollars from the national treasury in doing so.
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I have no doubt that you're aware of all of the above. But were you also aware of the fact that when you cast your vote for president in 2004 - after all of the blood, sweat and tears you've shed - that your vote wasn't even counted? The Republican party's political machine, with Karl Rove in charge of the entire operation, conspired to have your vote tossed to the wind. They knew damned good and well you wouldn't be voting for the GOP that year. How did they know that? Because you're Black! They knew you couldn't possibly be that stupid! How could any sane and rational African American vote for a party that is dedicated to keeping them under the boot, so to speak?
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Oh, sure! In recent years they've tried to give an appearance of "inclusion". At any GOP gathering, the "token Negroes" can always be found in strategic places - just for show, mind you. Their conventions of 2000 and 2004 looked so much like an old time Minstrel Show with all of those smiling and pathetic, slap-happy Uncle Toms shuffling across the podium, I half expected Al Jolson, resurrected from the dead (in black face) to descend the stage:
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Mammy! My little Mammy!
I'd walk a million miles
For one of your smiles
My MAAAAAAMMMYYY!
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The entire spectacle was so transparent and demeaning, it would have even embarrassed Stepin Fetchit! "Yassa! Whatever Massa wants, Massa gits! Hee! Hee! Hee! Oh, Mistah White Folks, YOU SHO IS SLY!!!"
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Where the hell do they find these people?
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But, really, all of that silliness is irrelevant and beside the point. The fact of the matter is this: if you're Black and the native of a state where a Bush victory was not at all a foregone conclusion, a so-called "Swing State", it's a very good possibility (in fact, it's more than likely) that your vote was given the old heave ho! How were they able to do this, you may well ask? They were able to do it through a process called, "vote-caging". In his excellent book, Armed Madhouse, Greg Palast explains in detail how they were able to pull it off:
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"The Bush/Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "DO NOT FORWARD" to voters' homes. Letters unreturned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were these evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and - you gotta love this - American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are black voters. Why weren't these African American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation [or away at college] - and the soldiers were oversea".
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Does that make you angry? Yeah, I understand totally. I'm in a blind fucking rage over the whole matter and I'm not even black! But you really shouldn't be all that surprised. The Tribute to Scatman Crothers spectacle at the last two Republican National Conventions was nothing more than a sick and cynical attempt to deflect the undeniable: the GOP is the party of power, the uber rich, the elite - the White Man, Buster! - And you folks had better dammed well know your place if you know what's good fer ya! This nasty and obvious truth was driven home with a gut-wrenching vengeance two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While Bush was posing for the photographers playing a guitar at a two-thousand dollar-a-plate fundraiser somewhere in California (a scene which - so help me - reminded me of Nero fiddling while Rome burned all around him), thousands of the citizens of New Orleans were left to die in a raging flood that consumed the most poverty stricken part of that city. I don't need to remind you that the overwhelming majority of those citizens were people of color, do I? I didn't think so. Do you think for one moment that the government they claim you are fighting to preserve would have exhibited such base and blatant indifference to the suffering had the disaster occurred in...say...oh...I don't know...Crawford, Texas, maybe? No, neither do I.
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Given all that you now know, the question is just screaming to be posed:
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WHY THE HELL ARE YOU RISKING YOUR LIVES FOR AN ADMINISTRATION THAT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THE BASIC DECENCY TO ALLOW YOU THE FUNDAMENTAL, CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR VOTE COUNTED???
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Just thought I'd ask.
`
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.
tomdegan@frontiernet.net
`
SUGGESTED READING:
Armed Madhouse
by Greg Palast
* * * * * * * * * *
AFTERTHOUGHT
I just recieved this e-mail from Charles Moore of Chicago, Illinois:
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IMPORTANT
House Speaker Pelosi's office is taking calls voting for impeachment of Cheney and Bush at
202-225-0100
FAX 1-202-225-8259

For more recent postings on this site, please go here:

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Cheers!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why The Beatles Still Matter

John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
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It was forty years ago today....

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I don't think I've ever had a better example as to how cynical we've become as a culture than when I read some of the pieces in various newspapers and on the Internet which took note of the fortieth anniversary this week of the release of the Beatles' timeless 1967 album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". The opinion of many writers seems to be, "Well, it was never really that good to begin with". Some poor, misguided person by the name of Jon Wiener, in a piece published on AlterNet, actually said "some of the songs are pretty bad". He then proceeded to give an example of one of those "pretty bad" songs: John Lennon's brilliant collage of circus sounds and psychedelic merriment, Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite.
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I don't get it. It may not be their finest album - the passage of time has proven that that's probably true. Revolver and Abbey Road stand out across the decades as works of art that have yet to be surpassed in their brilliance and melodic invention. But to curtly dismiss Pepper as overrated is (to be polite) naive - if not just a tad crazy. It was a milestone album that changed the way we listened to rock 'n' roll. Someone once remarked that June 1, 1967 marked the day that it ceased to be ritualistic dance music and became music to be listened to, to be appreciated.
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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a masterpiece.
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I can still vividly recall the moment I first laid eyes on that cover! It was in the living room of the house across the street from mine where my cousin Michael Cullen lived. As I remember, it was at twilight. My Uncle Tom and Aunt Elaine had a Columbia console phonograph which was (in its time, I'm sure) state of the art. The lid above the turntable was closed and a copy of the brand new Beatles LP was lying on top of it. To a little kid just two months shy of his ninth birthday, that photograph on the album's cover was eye-opening to say the least! Mike was under the impression that the group had actually changed their name to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and told me as much. What a peculiar name, I thought. "Mike! They're wearing mustaches! What's that all about???" And who the heck were all these strange people surrounding them? In June of 1967, the only people I was able to recognize were Laurel and Hardy. In the ensuing years, the faces would become much more familiar to me: Bob Dylan, Lenny Bruce, Oscar Wilde, W.C. Fields, Huntz Hall, Marilyn Monroe, Karl Marx, Marlon Brando, Mae West, Terry Southern, Marlene Dietrich - and Stuart Sutcliffe - "Stu", as he was known to the lads; the Beatles' first bass player - a brilliant artist and close friend of and mentor to John Lennon - who died suddenly in April of 1962 at the appallingly young age of twenty-one of a brain hemorrhage.
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At the dawn of the summer of 1967, Sgt. Pepper was a revelation! There had never been a record like it before. That year, you couldn't avoid it if you tried - it was being played everywhere and by everybody! And yet, forty years later, many of the very people who loved the album the most during that long ago Summer of Love seem utterly detached from it.
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Maybe listening to that album all these decades later is a painful reminder of all that might have been - of all the dreams that were not to be. The world was in turmoil in June of 1967. The Viet Nam War was raging with no end in sight (It would go on for another eight, long years). And yet with the multitude of problems facing the western world at the time, there was a genuine, tangible hope in the air: "Put a little love in your heart/And the world will be a better place/For you and me/Just you wait and see..." It was obvious to everyone (even me, young as I was) that the times were indeed a'changin.
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There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game...
It's easy!
All you need is love!
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"All you need is love". We really believed it in 1967. I still believe it. And yet it is hard to listen to Sgt. Pepper in 2007 without feeling a very real sense of sadness and even grief. Two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, are dead - the former by an act of cold blooded murder and maybe even the latter. Harrison was being treated for cancer in 1999 when he was stabbed several times in his home by a crazed intruder on New Year's Eve of that year. His weakened condition as a result of that attack no doubt hastened his death less than two years later.
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There are other things that make us wistful when listening to that album. The hope and optimism that seemed abundant in 1967 is moribund forty years later. The reason Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band today sounds quaint and old fashioned to some ears is because we have become so jaded as a people - mean, callous and indifferent. Our humor has become excessively cruel; our culture obscene. Throughout Sgt. Pepper, are loving, gentle reminders of the joy and wonder of childhood:
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Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain,
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high....
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That kind of lyrical innocence doesn't even exist in most children's media and literature anymore. Forty years of war, gratuitous violence and political corruption have left us numb. "Tangerine trees and marmalade skies" we now view through a prism of cynicism and scorn.
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Late one night, not very long ago, I had a dream that the Beatles were still among us, making us laugh and sing in the same way they did when they were the undisputed Princes of the Planet Earth all those years ago. That's what was so wonderful about the Fab Four: they not only sang like the scruffy angels they were, but they were so damned funny! All one has to do is view the films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help" and you're once again reminded that they were a great comedy team - one of the greatest. When I awoke from that dream - thinking it had been real - the blunt realization that the Beatles are gone forever was too depressing to even contemplate.
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In 1995, the night the video "Free As a Bird" premiered on national television (the first "new" Beatles song in over a quarter of a century), I watched it with a young woman who was born in 1970, the year they broke up. Hearing them sing together again - Paul and George sounding strong and clear; John, by that time long dead, his voice transferred from an old and faded cassette tape, sounding as if he were singing from far, far away - was a very moving experience. When she noticed my reaction, she laughed and said, "Oh, Tom! What's the big deal"? I told her that no one who didn't live through that turbulent era, could possibly understand what that band meant to their troubled generation.
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Is Sgt. Pepper dated? Yes it is - horribly so - But that's not the Beatles' fault. It's ours.
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With our love
We could save the world
If they only knew....
`
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.

SUGGESTED READING

The Beatles
by Bob Spitz

ESSENTIAL LISTENING

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

For more recent postings on this horrendous trash bin of commie propaganda, please go to this link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

One Year of "The Rant"

My goodness! Can it be an entire year? Early on the morning of June 2, 2006, I received an e-mail from a person who had read my daily postings on the wonderful political website, AlterNet (a link to which may be found on this site), who told me, "You ought to start your own blog". Never having been very computer savvy, I inquired, "Well now, how the heck do I do that"? The person then directed me toward, Blogger.com and explained to me that starting one would be easier than I thought. By day's end I had posted my first piece which was called, George W. Bush: The Last Republican President. I have searched my files, trying in vain to find that e-mail but it has apparently, sadly, been lost forever. I can't even remember if the person who contacted me that morning was a man or a woman. Whoever it was, all I can say is thanks a heap! This has turned out to be one of the greatest things I've ever been involved in. Ironically, while George W. Bush may very well be the worst thing that ever happened to this once-great nation, the hideous little thug is the best thing that ever happened to me. As the Moody Blues once sang, "Isn't life strange"?

By the end of June, I had fifteen pieces posted. The sheer volume of output that first month was somewhat misleading; most of those postings were letters to the editors of two local papers here in Orange County, New York (some going back as far as nine months) that I dusted off and ever-so-slightly edited to bring them up to date (Reflections In A Hurricane's Eye from June 24, for instance, was originally published in the Goshen Independent and the Chester Chronicle in September of 2005). At the conclusion of the first piece, I predicted that Bush would be remembered as the first former president in history of this country to go to federal prison. I stand by that prediction.

After a full year, where do we find ourselves?

We're almost at the halfway point of 2007 and things are starting to get really interesting. The Bush administration is, quite literally, falling apart. The First Fool's original Texas Gang are starting to flee this disgusting White House like rats from a sinking ship. The official explanation is that they are just "burnt out" or that they "want to move on to other things" or (my personal favorite) "they want to spend more time with their families". Please. Any power freak will tell you that working in the White House is the most sought after, desirous gig in the world. One doesn't just "leave" that job unless one has a damned good reason. These people, unlike their boss, aren't totally stupid. They know good and well that the trillion dollar shithammer is about to come crashing down. Trust me on this one, campers: they don't want to be seen anywhere near Washington, DC when that happens.

Is it un-American to feel positively giddy (as I unashamedly do) by the implosion of the executive branch of the United States government? Not at all. Not when that government has proven itself to be as murderously corrupt and incompetent as this one. Make no mistake about it: the complete and utter failure of the Bush regime is the best thing for our republic.

Oh, yeah.... The next six months are going to be very interesting - very interesting, indeed, my dears!

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

Photograph of the editiorial offices of "The Rant" taken on May 9, 2007