Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Going...Going...Gonzalez!

There he was: The President of the United States - The First Fool - standing in the shadow of Marine One, the presidential helicopter, bemoaning how shameful it was that Alberto Gonzalez had been forced to resign because of nothing more than a political witch hunt. After all the good work the Attorney General had done for the American people - that something like this could possibly happen to so good and upstanding a man. How can those evil-doing Democrats even sleep at night?

Please.

Talk about a fait accompli! Alberto Gonzalez is just one more in a deck of jokers, this house of marked cards which is collapsing of its own weight all around this incomparably, murderously corrupt and incompetent administration. Last week it was Karl Rove who got out of Dodge while the getting was good. Who do you think will be the one to skip town next week? Unlike George W. Bush, these people aren't totally stupid. They know that the trillion dollar shithammer is about to pulverize this disgusting White House into dust. They know that the scam that they arrogantly thought they could put over on We, The People - is being uncovered and exposed for all it's worth. Trust me on this one campers: They don't want to be found within a thousand miles of DC when that happens! They've left Dubya to twist - agonizingly - in the wind. Soon he'll be out there, all alone; left to be held accountable for the crimes against humanity that were committed in his name and under his orders. The gavel of history will soon be crashing down upon Bush - and I'm going to love every freaking minute of it.

The evidence surrounding the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys last year is as shocking as it is voluminous: They were relieved of their duties because they either refused to persecute Democrats who were guilty of nothing, or they insisted on prosecuting Republicans who were guilty of everything! As Greg Palast observed just yesterday, Joe Stalin did that sort of thing. Saddam Hussein did that sort of thing. Who would have ever dreamed that something like that could happen in the USA? (Actually, it has happened a number of times in our nation's history. For a good point of reference, pick up a book about Sacco and Vanzetti). But the practice of political persecution is an old Karl Rove specialty. As the late, great Molly Ivins once said, "That's sooo Rove 101." Before he brought his twisted little act to Washington, Rove - as republican King maker in the state of Texas - used his enormous influence to initiate the prosecutions of a number of Democrats who were probably guilty of nothing - two of whom in particular wound up going to state prison.

What has been happening for the last six and a half years in the Justice Department is nothing more than the Karl Rove Show going national. When the final chapter on the Bush era is written (and it's being written at this very moment, make no mistake about it) Alberto Gonzalez will be written off as a pathetic, impotent little "yes" man. It was Rove, with George W. Bush's approval, who was really calling the shots. If poor little Alberto is smart (wishful thinking, I know, just bear with me) he'll cut an immunity deal with the Congress and tell them everything. If he doesn't, sooner or later some underling at Justice will. Call it a hunch, but I have this sneaking feeling that there are an awful lot of potential John Deans out there who are just itching to spill a bowl full of some extremely nasty tasting beans.

That Gonzalez is covering up for some serious crimes, only a fool would deny. It's already been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that, as White House council, he bypassed acting Attorney General James Comey and tried to get John Ashcroft who was extremely ill and under sedation, to sign off on the infamous (illegal) wiretapping scheme. As sick as he was, Ashcroft (and I can't believe I'm even writing this) acted nobly and refused to have anything to do with the deal. During testimony before the Senate earlier this month, when confronted by Senator Arlen Spector with the fact that the sedated Ashcroft wasn't even legally the Attorney General at the time of this hospital room confrontation, Gonzalez came back with the pathetic response that Ashcroft could have reclaimed his powers anytime he wished.

And speaking of Senate testimony, please tell me: how many times in one four hour period have you ever said, "I don't remember" or "I can't recall". If we are to believe his testimony, he is either the most incompetent Attorney General in history, or the man has the IQ of a half eaten box of Milk Duds. Come to think of it, I suspect that it's probably a little bit of both. Or maybe he's lying! Now there's a novel idea!

And now for the big question: What sort of contemptible political hack will George W. Bush try to install as a recess appointment while Congress is away on vacation? Here's my scenario - they'll try to find someone who is a retired politician with a little experience in the law (violating it). Maybe an ex-senator or congressman or - BETTER STILL! - a former governor! Yeah! That's the ticket! Now who can we find? Hmm...How 'bout...How 'bout - FORMER GOVERNOR JEB BUSH FROM THE GREAT STATE OF FLORIDA!!! WHAT A NEAT IDEA!!! Naturally the Democrats and even a few intelligent Republicans (there are some out there, believe it or not) will fly into a rage. Instantaneously, the Republican National Committee will issue the talking points which the neanderthals of Hate Radio will recite in unison: What a bunch of hypocrites these Democrats are! After all, President Kennedy appointed his brother Bobby as Attorney General in 1961 - and both of them are now viewed as sainted Democrat icons!

Is the Bush Mob actually brazen enough to try to pull off something that obvious? Absolutely they are. Will they dare try it? Who knows? But of this you may be absolutely certain: They're thinking about it.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY

tomdegan@frontiernet.net

POST SCRIPT:

To Bob O'Connor (1930-2007) who passed away this week just one month shy of his 77th birthday:

You were one of the greatest men I ever knew. Thank you for a wonderful life, well lived and nobly spent. Thank you for your wit. Thank you for your love of family and friends. I'll sleep a little more soundly tonight knowing that you and Jack Degan are together again. We love you and we'll miss you forever.

Cheer! Cheer for old Notre Dame!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When It's Wakey Time Down South


Take a good look at the photo above. It was taken almost a century and a half ago. Do you know who that man is? I'll give you a hint: He's dead. Nah, that doesn't say much, does it? Here's another hint: He was, beyond any doubt, the worst traitor in American history. Hats off to you if you recognized him - but don't feel bad if you didn't. By all rights his name should be forgotten. And yet, a lot people - particularly in the southern region of this country - are so out of touch with reality, they still view him as a great American hero. His name was Jefferson Davis: a man who actually raised an army to do battle against the government of the United States of America. The civil conflict which he helped to create was based primarily upon the silly notion that white people had a God given right to keep black people in bondage. In the four year period between 1861 and 1865, over six-hundred thousand human beings would die in the pursuit of the idea that that notion might forever be extinguished from America's national political conversation. However, one-hundred and forty two years after the Civil War ended, the treasonous flag that he flew in mortal combat against his own country - the so-called "stars and bars" - still flies high at court houses and government buildings (not to mention private homes) all over the deep south.
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Well, Ah do declare! If that doesn't sound just a wee bit un-American! Oh, Mammy! Pass me mah smellin' salts!
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Being a voracious reader of American history, I cannot but notice that the one common headache of every American president, going all the way back to George Washington, was dealing with the reactionary fools south of the Mason-Dixon line. Whether fighting them on principal or pandering to them for reasons of political expediency, the chiefs executive of this country have wasted much time and treasure over the years keeping the South pacified. Theodore Roosevelt was actually burned in effigy all over the former confederacy for the simple act of inviting an African American, Booker T. Washington, to dinner at the White House! Bully for you, Teddy!
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Like most people, I'm proud of my family history - except with respect to some aspects of my southern heritage. But while I'm proud to say that I am descended from southerners Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Lord Baltimore, the founder of the state of Maryland (and head of the first Catholic family to settle in the New World), I'm also descended from another native of Dixie, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney. Believe me, I don't sleep any easier at night knowing that I am related to the knucklehead who wrote the Dred Scott decision - the worst Supreme Court ruling ever. It is said that President Lincoln considered throwing Taney in prison for the good of the Union. He should have.
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In a recent piece in the New York Times, Paul Krugman made the astute observation that in order to win in a Republican primary - particularly in the deep south - a candidate has to say a lot of really stupid things. Why is that? Why does so much of our nation's well being depend on appeasing the remnants of the confederacy? Why do southern voters consistently elect as their representatives men and women appallingly lacking in vision, substance and - yes - intellect? Why is it that America's political dialogue has been held hostage by these clowns for as long as most of us can remember? What the hell is wrong with these people? Is it the heat? It must be.
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What tends to be forgotten is the fact that in the century following the end of the civil war, the "solid south" was primarily in the hands of the Democratic party. You see, for exactly one-hundred years, the idea of voting for the party of Abraham Lincoln - "that nigger lovin' bastard who freed the slaves" - was pretty much anathema to most southern voters. Remember, this is a people who seceded from the union because they thought slavery was a really neat idea! (There is still a cult that views John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin, as a great American prophet) After Lyndon Johnson managed to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed into law (the greatest political feat of the twentieth century), he told his aide, the recently deceased Jack Valenti, "We've lost the South for at least the next generation." He was right - and then some!
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During the campaign of 1968, while the Dems still had some hope of reclaiming Dixie, Dick Nixon cheerfully pounded the final nail in that coffin. Part of the Nixon Gang's "Southern Strategy" that year was convincing enough of these bole weevil Democrats (who were ideologically drawn to the third party candidacy of George Wallace) that they had more in common with the Republicans than they even knew. Through subtle use of code words and the race card, the GOP managed to do the seemingly politically impossible. The strategy worked. The "Solid South" has been solidly Republican ever since.
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The purpose of this little essay is not meant to imply that all southerners are idiots. Certainly that is not the case. A culture that can produce the likes of Tennessee Williams, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Parker and Molly Ivins has more than enough merit to it, thank you very much. It's just that one has to wonder why southerners - White southerners - many of whom live at or below the poverty level - would so habitually and happily vote against their own interests by supporting the GOP. Is it merely that the hatred of black people is so ingrained into their souls that they cannot see the forest through the trees? I'd like to believe there's another, less obvious reason. I'd like to believe that it's less a matter of social indoctrination than a matter of education.
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What needs to happen in the south (indeed, what needs to happen all over America) is an education revolution. Anyone who believes that a vote for Trent Lott or George Allen was a wise decision needs to be enlightened, to be sure. Were they not aware of the fact that it was a Democrat - a northern, LIBERAL Democrat - who brought the south into the twentieth century? Prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt's rural electrification programs, many areas of the deep south were in total darkness. The New Deal, which was opposed by the Republican party on almost every issue, changed all of that. Do they know that the economy has always soared during liberal administrations? (Excuse my language: I meant, "progressive" administrations) Have they ever been taught the undeniable fact that at three times in our nation's history, the plutocracy has seized control of all three branches of our government and that in every single instance they ran this country into the dirt? Maybe with a little education they might come to the obvious conclusion: Conservative philosophy of governance does not work. Period. It never has. It never will. While it might be a fine and dandy arrangement for the wealthiest one or two percent of the country, the rest of us always wind up getting hurt - BADLY.
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They used to say that the south shall rise again. Believe me, if they ever start talking secession again, I won't try to talk them out of it, I promise. But if there is ever another revolution in dear ol' Dixie, let's hope and pray that it's a revolution of ideas; a revolution of thought; a revolution of hope and Christian values - and I mean real Christian values: Jesus Christ - not Jerry Falwell.
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The South does not need to rise. The South needs to wake up.
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Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Liberal Talking Points


One thing you can count on, one thing that is almost as inevitable as the rising sun (or the setting sun - depending on your point of view) are the right wing talking points that the half-wits in the conservative main stream media espouse on a daily basis. All the Republican National Committee has to do is issue the sheets containing points of emphasis and - Voila! - the neanderthals on Hate Radio and FOX Noise spread the word. The problem with the Progressives is that they tend to play it by ear. As the legendary Will Rogers once observed: "I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." What we need to do is issue our own set of talking points. We're at a great advantage: WE HAVE THE TRUTH ON OUR SIDE! (By the way, when I say, "What we need to do....", I'm speaking as a Progressive - not as a Democrat. I wised up and left that worthless party years ago).

Last week, Tula Tsalis, one of the Founding members of Citizens For Impeachment in Orange County New York (about an hour north of Manhattan) organized a gathering at the Wisner Barn on Wisner Road in Warwick, NY. The purpose of the meeting was to conduct a series of workshops to instruct average citizens on how to lobby our Representatives, to convince them that impeaching this awful president is the best thing for the country. One of the pieces of literature that was distributed at the event was a page called, "Impeachment Talking Points" which contained ten specific reasons why this administration needs to be removed from office:
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10 Impeachable offences committed by Bush and Cheney:

1. Launching an illegal war of aggression against Iraq which violated the U.N. Charter, using fraud to justify the war to the U.S. Congress and the public, and misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization.

2. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, which resulted in the deaths of dozens, while hiding prisoners from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. Violating the the Constitution by detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans without due process, charges, or access to council.

4. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm [Leave it to these murderous assholes to bring back napalm!]

5. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution by the warrantless wiretapping of the phone calls and e-mail of American citizens.

6. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing elections [in at least three states] in 2000,2002, 2004, and 2006.

7. Violating the Constitution by using signing statements to defy laws passed by Congress.

8. Violating U.S. law by paying [so-called "journalists"] to disseminate propaganda and misinformation, leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative for political gain and retribution.

9. Subverting the Constitution and abusing presidential power by asserting a "Unitary Executive Theory" giving unlimited powers to the President, by obstructing Congress and the Courts review of presidential actions, and by promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

10. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, in ignoring warnings of an Al Qaeda attack prior Sept. 11, 2001, and in increasing air pollution and [failing to recognize and deal with the threat of global warming].
Sourse URL: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/

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So there you have it, kiddies! Short and to the point. The next time you're arguing the pros (a whole lot of them) and cons (none at all) of impeachment with one of your crazy, right wing buddies, and you get a little tongue-tied, just refer to our list here. It might be of great help to you.

Happy debating!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net
Photograph of Tom Degan taken on the morning of August 16, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Karl Rove Has Left The Building


Although the day passed totally - deservedly - unnoticed, May 2, 2007 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death Joseph R. McCarthy. I only mention this fact because no one in the last half century has replicated more the corrosive effect the red-baiting Wisconsin Senator had on the American political system than Karl Rove - NO ONE.
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It became official yesterday morning. At an 11:30 AM Rose Garden appearance, it was announced that Karl Rove - known by the press as "Bush's Brain"; called "The Architect" or "Turd Blossom" by Bush himself (depending on the hideous little bastard's mood) - will be sent packin' off to Texas at the end of August. The official excuse? He wants to spend more time with his family. Of course he does. That's the line all of the rats fleeing this sinking ship of a White House are using. The truth is a little more complicated than that. The fact of the matter is that Karl Rove realizes that the jig is up. He knows that the multiple indictments are going to be coming down any day now. He thinks that by running home to the Lone Star State, he'll somehow be able to avoid answering for the crimes he has committed against the American people. The only question remaining is when the First Fool will give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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Say what you want to about the man, it can not be argued that Karl Rove is a political genius. When all of the dust is settled it will have to be conceded that he was able to take a pathetic moron like George W. Bush and not only make him look presidential, he was able to manipulate a huge segment of the American people into thinking that sending the little thug to the Executive Mansion was a really neat idea! Several presidents in American history have had Rove-like equivalents at their beck and call: William McKinley had Mark Hanna; Franklin D. Roosevelt had Louie Howe; Harry S Truman had Clark Clifford....But nowhere - nowhere - in history is there anyone who even approaches Karl Rove in terms of pure Machiavellian intrigue. Hats off to the man.
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As has been apparent with this disgusting administration from the very beginning, appearances are everything. Just because he will no longer be a physical presence in Washington, does not mean he won't be making himself known. Like the ghost of Hamlet's father, the spirit of Karl Rove will be hovering over the Bush Mob until the day this scandal ridden White House is pulverized into dust. This is all a matter of cosmetics. Rove will still be dictating political policy for quite some time. Count on it.
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It is telling that his very first mention in the main stream media was way back during the summer of Watergate. On August 10, 1973, a Washington Post story highlighted the fact that a young upstart named Karl Rove was being accused by his fellow Young Republicans of dirty tricks. This was just the beginning of a career of a man that a Texas acquaintance once described as the political equivalent of a "junk yard dog." Throughout the years Rove's strategy has been to go after an opponent's strengths rather than his weaknesses. A case in point would be the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a Rovian operation that was brazen enough to challenge the credibility of Purple Heart recipient John Kerry's military service during the war in Viet Nam. After the New Hampshire presidential primary in 2000, when John McCain received forty-nine percent of the vote to Bush's thirty-nine percent, Rove was ready in South Carolina the following week. It is accurately remembered as the dirtiest campaign of at least the last one hundred years.
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A number of years before, McCain and his wife Cindy had adopted a beautiful brown skinned baby from one of Mother Theresa's orphanages. What the Rove Nazis did in South Carolina in the Spring of 2000 was beyond despicable; it was absolutely evil. In his campaign literature, the Arizona senator had made no secret of his daughter's racial identity - she had been featured prominently in all distributed family photographs. The Bush campaign - with Karl Rove conducting the orchestra - made thousands of night time phone calls to the South Carolinian voters who are (let's face facts) just about the stupidest people on the planet Earth. You don't believe it? I have just two words for you: "Strom Thurmond". Case closed. When asked, "How would you feel were you to find out that Senator McCain had an out-of-wedlock daughter with a black prostitute?" the geniuses in South Carolina put two and two together and somehow came up with five. From that moment on, McCain's quest for the presidency was doomed.
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But it was never merely winning a political battle that was important to Karl Rove - he was intent on destroying any political opponent who got in his way - Republican or Democrat. There are too many stories to count of Democrats in the state of Texas who had investigations initiated against them at Rove's behest - two of them in particular would wind up going to prison on charges that they were absolutely innocent of. Their only crime was that they walked into the political cross hairs of Karl Rove.This practice continued into the Bush White House and is the heart of the investigation of the Gonzalez Justice Department. The reason those eight U.S. attorneys were fired last year was because they either refused to prosecute Democrats who were probably innocent or that they insisted on going after Republicans who were probably guilty. That is the reason Rove is leaving the government at the end of the month. The noose is tightening.
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Does Karl Rove honestly believe he will be able to escape justice by running away from the mess he has helped create? Does he really think that he'll be able to ignore any further congressional subpoenas that will no doubt be issued against him? My guess is that he does. Remember, if there is one thing all of these people have in common it is their unprecedented arrogance. I'm sure that he and Dubya have already worked out the fine points on the pardon - one of the hundreds that Bush will be forced into granting in the hours before his entire presidency falls of its own criminally incompetent weight.
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This just keeps getting weirder and weirder, does it not? Word is out that one of the projects that will keep Rove occupied in the months to come will be the writing of his memoirs. What I would like to know is how many people are going to be dumb enough to purchase the book in the hope that they will be getting an honest, unvarnished look into the inner workings of the Bush White House? What publishing house will be disreputable enough to give him a nine-figured advance?
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Of this you may be absolutely certain: The presidency of George W. Bush is on the verge of its death knells. It will be a miracle if it survives the year.
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OH, MAN! I'M LOVIN' THIS!
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Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

AFTERTHOUGHT:
It has just been announced that Karl Rove will be appearing on NBC's Meet The Press with Tim Russert on Sunday, August 19. THAT should be interesting, indeed!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Our Crumbling Infrastructure

The collapse of the bridge last week that connected the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should be taken as an omen of sorts; a sign of things to come. The fact of the matter is that the infrastructure of the United States of America is coming apart. This is a direct result of the so-called Reagan Revolution and the sermon that the right wing has been preaching all these years: that taxes are inherently evil (or to put it more succinctly) taxing the rich is inherently evil. The theory was that if those who controlled the bulk of this country's wealth were just left alone and allowed to make their fortunes without being bothered by that nasty ol' Tax Man, the money would eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us. Think about that the next time you're taking Fido for his morning walk. It's sort of the same principle.

That was the mantra of a feeble minded, failed "B" movie actor named Ronald Reagan and the army of neanderthal morons he brought with him to Washington DC in the late winter of 1981. Government, they told us, wasn't the solution. Government was the problem! It was a stupid argument to begin with. To put it simply, the theory of Trickle Down Economics is unworkable. During his battle against the Gipper during the 1980 primaries, George Bush the elder, in a rare moment of honesty (maybe his only moment of honesty) labeled the entire scam, "Voodoo Economics". That's a little closer to the truth. As has been proven time and again, the uber rich are not going to share the wealth - they're simply going to hoard it. It has virtually nothing to do with economic theory and everything to do with human nature: The rich tend to be greedy. That's why they're rich! HELLO??
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As is becoming clearer every day, this imbalance in our corrupt system of taxation is starting to have a noticeable effect on this country's infrastructure. And the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush as president seven and a half years ago has only compounded the problem. For the first time in world history, a leader has actually lowered taxes during a time of war. As if that wasn't bad enough, at least fifteen billion in taxpayer dollars that had been earmarked to fund that war has gone unaccounted for - looted. Now consider this question: Who the hell do you think has the clout to steal fifteen billion dollars? Think about it..
The effect of the Bush Mob's criminal mismanagement of the American economy became obvious two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the city of New Orleans drowned, the government, it seemed, became paralyzed. It wasn't simply the fact that this administration was too incompetent to deal effectively with the catastrophe, the sad truth is that much of the money that should have dealt with the disaster just wasn't there. It had been diverted to fund the obscene, illegal war in Iraq that the United States is destined to lose. It has also been wasted on a bloated Military Industrial Complex that is quickly turning this planet into a powder keg.
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In an excellent piece that appeared this week on the website, CommonDreams.org, Air America Radio host, Thom Hartmann (what's with the "h", Thom?) made the following disturbing observation:**********
Since Bush has been president:
* over 5 million people have slipped into poverty;
* nearly 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance;
* median household income has gone down by nearly $1300;
* three million manufacturing jobs have been lost;
* three million American workers have lost their pensions;
* home foreclosures are now the highest on record;
* the personal savings rate is below zero [emphasis added] - which hasn't happened since the great depression;
* the real earnings of college graduates has gone down by about 5% in the last few years;
* entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by over 3%;
* wages and salaries are now at the lowest share of the GDP since 1929
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Those are the facts, people - not the usual, cooked up propaganda you're accustomed to getting from the FOX Noise machine and Rupert Murdoch's corporate media empire. (Please read "The Rant" by Tom Degan instead. It'll probably do ya some good!) I think it should be mentioned that at three different times in our nation's history, the plutocracy has seized control of all three branches of the government and in every single instance they ran this country into the dirt. How many times are we going to repeat that mistake before we finally learn a lesson that should have been learned almost a century and a half ago? Conservative philosophy of governance does not work. Period! It never has and it never will. It might be a fine and dandy little scheme for the richest two or three percent, but everyone else winds up getting the shaft - BIG TIME!
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This country is broken and desperately needs to be fixed. The last repairman to come our way was a son of privilege from Hyde Park, NY (right across the river from where I now sit) named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although the wealthy of his day referred to him as "a traitor to his class" or "That man in the White House", he and his administration (very few of whom were mere political appointees) put together a system of social safety nets that worked beautifully for almost fifty years - that is until a dingbat, cowboy wannabe named Ronald Reagan began to dismantle them twenty-six years ago. No doubt about it: The New Deal needs to be resuscitated NOW.
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What the far right half wits in this country have never been able to figure out is the laughably obvious and simple fact that it is taxation that makes for a functioning, orderly society in harmony with itself. Take Norway, for example, a country where the crime rate is barely perceptible: Sure they are probably the most taxed people on the planet Earth - but do you want to know something? - They seem to be the happiest people on the planet. (True, they don't smile a lot but that's just a cultural thing - you wouldn't understand). From cradle to the grave, their basic social needs are provided for by the government - education (including college), medical, retirement - and their Gross National Product isn't even a fifth of what ours is! The Norwegians (God bless the little darlin's) figured out a long time ago that only when a people are secure, are they truly at peace with themselves.
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Are we a nation at peace with ourselves? It really is a silly question when you think about it, isn't it?
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Pray for peace.
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Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net
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Special word of thanks to John D'Andrea, AKA: Johnny Bongo, for sending me the link to the Thom Hartmann piece. Dude! You Rock!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

George's Tillman Problem


This might seem like the ultimate in cynicism, but after six and a half years of the Bush Mob, I have earned the right to be cynical, thank you very much: The tragedy in Minnesota last night was a real lucky break for this disgusting administration. Until around 7:20 yesterday evening, the only thing the media was talking about were the unsettling revelations regarding the government's exploitation of the fratricidal killing of former football star, Pat Tillman. When the bridge that connected the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis collapsed over the Mississippi River on Wednesday night, the Tillman story went the way of the Passenger Pigeon and the 45 RPM.
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Pat who?
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When his death was first announced to the public in April of 2004, the Pentagon and the White House exploited the event for all it was worth, "catapulting the propaganda" that Corporal Tillman lost his life in a heroic battle with the Taliban. This was a dynamite story that was too good to be true! A real national hero - a freakin' martyr! The guy was perfect for the role - movie star good looks; an all American boy-next-door image; a real true blue "patriot" in the best sense of that word! This was a publicity coup! Every kid in the United States was going to want to grow up to be Pat Tillman! Can I get a witness???
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It was all a lie - and your leaders knew it. Tillman, it turns out, wasn't killed by any crazed Afghan, he was killed by his fellow soldiers - Friendly Fire - OOPS! But wait! It gets better! (or worse - depending on your sense of irony) The coroner who examined his body believes might very well have been a homicide. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that they lied about the events that led his death - with a total disregard for the sensibilities of the Tillman family, all of whom are (as you can well imagine) in a blind rage about the entire debacle. Once again, the truth has been revealed. Once again, the Bush White House is exposed for the corrupt and incompetent fools that they are. Once again, they have a lot of explaining to do - a whole helluva lot! Did these assholes not learn a thing from the Jessica Lynch affair? Of course they didn't. The fact of the matter is, these people are incapable of learning anything.
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Did they really believe they could keep the "Pat-as-action-hero-figure" story going forever? Do they actually believe they'll be able to white wash posterity? Are they that delusional that they think they'll be able to re-write history in order to revision themselves as people who had a clue as to what the hell they were doing? What are they thinking? What's the matter with them?
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Tillman, you'll remember, was a professional football player who, in a surge of patriotic fervor after the hideous attacks of September 11, 2001, decided to give it all up to join the military. According to everyone who knew him, he was a highly perceptive and intelligent guy. To no one's surprise, when the administration invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq in March of 2003, Tillman saw it for what is was: the stupidest military blunder in American history. He apparently wrote to family and friends that he was disheartened and disappointed he with his civilian leaders. According to some reports, his plan was to come out publicly against the war. He was even trying to work out a meeting with noted anti-war commentator Noam Chomsky when he returned stateside. All of these revelations are only adding to the questions surrounding the mysterious circumstances of his killing.
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The testimony yesterday of former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (Remember him?) didn't help matters any. When confronted with pointed questions during a congressional hearing, Rummy took the tried and true Alberto Gonzalez route: he either didn't remember or he wasn't aware. Of course he wasn't.
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Maybe I'm preaching to the choir here - maybe not - but the question is just screaming to be posed: Do you realize what a drastic, horrible, monumental mistake it was to send these people to the White House? Just thought I'd ask.
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Now Congress wants to find out exactly what the First Fool knew about this whole sordid mess and when he knew it. Bush - incredibly but to no ones surprise - is claiming executive privilege. I know what you're thinking and you're absolutely correct: No, it doesn't get any stupider than this. It really doesn't.
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Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net