Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: The Worst of "The Rant"


Here we are again: Another year-end wrap up - and a strange one it was, huh? 2010 was - no molecule of a doubt about it - the weirdest political year in living memory. What say we take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

January 3:

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said of the American Plutocracy, "They hate me and I welcome their hatred." Obama needs to take a cue from FDR. Instead of trying to "reach out" to the right wing, he needs to understand that they are not his friends; that their political fortunes rest on a single strategy: that his administration is a complete failure. They don't care a thing for the welfare of the people they are supposed to represent. The only thing that concerns them is the corporate constituency they act as handmaidens for. You would think that after almost a year in office the president would have learned this lesson, wouldn't you? Perhaps he has. We shall see.

January 9:

Given all that we now know about [Cheney] it's almost surreal to think that that once upon a time he could have been seen as a political asset to anything but the American Nazi Party. Fortunately for humanity, people as undeniably evil as Dick Cheney only come around once in a lifetime. Other than [J.Edgar] Hoover the only other Americans I can think of who even come close to Cheney in terms of pure villainy are Joe McCarthy and Dick Nixon. But even Nixon is able to take credit for some positive accomplishments during his time on this earth (and give me a day or two and I might be able to cite one). Cheney's, however, will be remembered as a completely negative legacy.

January 19:

When someone like Sarah Palin can make it as far as she has, it can mean only one thing and it's not a particularly good sign: we are living in a culture that has been custom-tailored for idiots. When a person who can barely put two coherent sentences together without the aid of a teleprompter becomes one of the best-selling non-fiction authors of the decade, that's usually a pretty good indicator that society is spiraling downward at a fairly decent clip. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!

January 23:

So corporations are "people", with "certain unalienable rights"? You've got to hand it to Reagan and the two Bushes. Thanks to their atrocious appointments to America's highest court, the damage they've done to our democracy will be felt for generations. The recent decision by the Supreme Court to strike down two precedents (including McCain/Feingold) which limited the obscene amount of money a corporation could use to influence the electoral process is a case in point. According to the Supremes, a corporation is "a person" entitled to take advantage of the First Amendment just like any other "person". It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

January 28:

Last week the voters of Massachusetts told pollster after pollster that they gave the late Ted Kennedy's seat to Republican Scott Brown because they wanted to send a clear, unmistakable message to Washington. Well now! They certainly did that, did they not? Their message has been received loud and clear:

"WE'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!!!"

Good for you, Massachusetts!

February 4:

The "Far Left" that the Far Right loves to whine about so much does not even exist in this country any longer. You don't believe me? The next time you're in any big city, try finding the local chapter of the American Communist Party. Happy hunting!

February 11:

Back in the Fabulous Fifties, Joe McCarthy's reckless accusations against honest and dedicated government bureaucrats irreparably harmed the State Department. Diplomatic talent that had taken decades to cultivate was scattered like ashes to the wind. As a result of this purge (and that is exactly what it was) so many of the blunders committed a few years later which led to American involvement in Vietnam might very well have been avoided. Tail Gunner Joe's sick and twisted legacy had done its eternal damage.

That very same kind of damage is being done to this country today. Contrary to what the inscription on his tombstone might have you believe, Joe McCarthy is not dead. The old bastard is still very much with us. Just look around you.

February 16:

No family in American history - not the Adams, not the Roosevelt, and certainly not the Bush family - paid a higher price in the cause of public service than did the Kennedy family. And to tell you the truth I'm getting sick and tired of hearing them kicked around. From listening to the half-witted cries of jubilation that are greeting the news of the end of the Kennedy presence in Washington, it is easy to conclude that there are a whole lot of people in this silly country who don't appreciate the Kennedy legacy....

Someone once said:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Here's to the the Kennedy family! May they always be found dancing in the rain!


March 1:

And don't deceive yourselves into thinking that it's all the fault of one party and that the other will lead us to the promised land. You're kidding yourselves. There are no Republicans left who have not been corrupted and very few Democrats. Teddy Kennedy is dead and he's not coming back. The problem with America can easily be boiled down to a single question:

Would you like a nice, cold glass of donkey piss to go with that juicy plate of elephant shit you've ordered?

Bon appetit, America!

March 7:

It is embarrassing to have to point this out, but of the five-hundred and thirty-five members of the House and Senate, only one man (Bernie Sanders of Vermont) has had the the sense to point out what should be a no-brainer: We need to make drastic cuts in military spending. Or, in terms that even your average right wing extremist will be able to understand:

We piss away far too much of our national treasure on things that go BOOM!

March 14:

It's going to be an absolute scream in the next few years watching the Bush Mob try to rewrite history with the flood of books that are sure to come out. The latest screed by Rove is merely the tip of the iceberg. They have quite a chore ahead of them no doubt. Putting a positive spin on the worst administration in American history? I imagine something that tricky would be the equivalent of trying to put a smiley face on a decomposing pig:

"Well, lookie thar, Martha! Ain't that purdy?"

March 19:

Democracy in America has been overthrown - plain and simple. For three decades Corporate America was allowed - by law - to rape, pillage and loot our national treasure. When their house of marked cards came crashing down on September 15, 2008, you and I, against our will, were forced to bail these hideous bastards out. That's not a democracy. That's a plutocracy! These "Plutocrats" were able to buy our democratic form of government under the guise of campaign contributions. They have seized it and they have no intention of giving it back. And don't kid yourself by thinking that this is the fault of any particular political party. Both of them have been thoroughly corrupted - the Republicans only slightly more than the Democrats. You say you want a revolution?

March 29:

The Board of Ed in Texas has taken it upon themselves to rewrite history. You see, the problem with the story of America, they argue, is that it has always been written with a nasty left wing bias. I have to concede their point. Have you ever noticed the way those Liberal historians always tend to focus on the attributes of Abraham Lincoln? They totally ignore all that was good and decent in the character of Jefferson Davis! The Texas Board of Education is going to remedy this awful injustice. From this day forward (if these idiots have their way) Davis will be presented to America's schoolchildren as the moral equivalent of Lincoln. Look away, Dixieland!

April 8:

Once upon a time there existed a class of people who were SO FILTHY RICH that they lived in a ninety percent tax bracket. In other words, they kept ten percent of their income, handing over the rest to the federal government. It wasn't as much of a sacrifice as you might think. They still had more money than they knew what to do with - they only had ninety percent less of it. That situation has not existed in this country for a long time. But it will exist again - count on it. I'll be very blunt with you: Our very economic survival depends on us "soaking the rich" if you will. The last thirty years was their party and you and I were not invited. It's time for them to pay the piper - not us.

April 20:

I have spent enough time in Kentucky to know that it is chock full of good, decent, and honorable citizens. Knowing this as I do, another perplexing question forces itself on my consciousness: Why would such wonderful and lovely people consistently send a flaming asshole like Mitch McConnell to represent them in Washington? It just doesn't make any sense!

April 27:

As Jimmy Paige once wrote - or was it Robert Plant? - "It makes me wonder". I wonder what defect it is in the psychological makeup of a group of human beings that would have them place the health and well being of millions of other human beings behind the private profit of a very few. Most of these lawmakers who live in the pockets of the Plutocracy call themselves "Christians". Have they ever made a serious study of the books? You know! - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? - Those guys! How do they justify their actions? How do they sleep at night? We're talkin' major hypocrisy here! That's what makes them so much fun to watch! I always get a certain twisted delight in watching their fake piety. Imagine Wendy O. Williams being cast as Bernadette of Lourdes; or Marilyn Manson as Mahatma Gandhi. It's kind of the same thing.

May 10:

Roll the opening credits:
`
METRO GOLDWYN MAYER
PRESENTS

"Andy Hardy Gets A Clue"

Starring
Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy
and
Lewis Stone as Judge Hardy

A fun time for the entire family!
Align Center
The Camera fades from black onto a house in a pleasant neighborhood in the mythical Midwestern town of Carvel. The home is the residence of kindly Judge Hardy and his family. The scene dissolves into the interior of the Judge's study. He is sitting in his leather-bound chair in front of the fireplace, concentrating on a small stack of legal briefs which are placed on his lap. There is a quiet knock on the door. "Come in", he says. From camera left enters the Judge's fifteen-year-old son, Andy Hardy....

Andy Hardy: Dad? I was wondering if we could have a little talk, you know, man-to-man.

Judge Hardy: What is it, Andrew?

Andy Hardy: I've been thinking a lot lately about deregulation.

Judge Hardy: In what way, son?

Andy Hardy: Well, Dad, I'm starting to think that deregulation might not have been a really neat idea after all.

Judge Hardy: No shit, Sherlock.

May 20:

I am totally ashamed of my behavior on the plane during the flight across the Atlantic. I'm sorry to tell you that I engaged in an inexcusable moment of racial profiling. Behind me were a group of seven or eight men whose attire and demeanor had me very suspicious. As things turned out, their behavior en route was exemplary and I had nothing to fear. Given all that has happened in recent years, however, and taking into consideration that it is their kind who are trying to destroy America, I had every reason to be worried. I'm sorry but seeing a group of bloated, middle-aged white guys in business suits tends to make me just a tad paranoid.

June 10:

In this one respect Barack Obama is a lot like JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although many of us are not old enough to remember those thirteen awful days in October of 1962, we've certainly seen enough film and videotape footage of it. How did Jack Kennedy behave during that confrontation with Russia? He was as cool as a freakin' cucumber, Buster! Can you imagine how the Soviets would have reacted had the president taken the suggestion of some media adviser and "freaked out" on Khrushchev ? Many of you reading this would never have been born. I would probably be dead. We would never have known the name "Sarah Palin". There would today be no such thing as FOX News. Oh, the humanity.

June 25:

I have a confession to make: I miss Dick Cheney. I miss him and his disgusting daughter Liz pounding the bejesus out of the talk show circuit, waxing idiotic on the subject of the evil socialist in the White House. Be honest; they were kind of fun to watch, weren't they? They always reminded me of two circus wagons stuffed with clowns that had crashed into each other on a main highway. You just couldn't take your eyes off the two of them! Then came the BP disaster. Liz lowered her profile and Sickie Dick all-but-disappeared! I'm sure that's all a big coincidence, though.

July 13:

What would the possibility of a President Palin mean for the United States? It would probably mean the death of this country - but that would be a fait accompli as far as I'm concerned. A people stupid enough to send someone like that to the White House deserves everything that happens to them.

July 19:

The most amazing thing in the aftermath of the BP/Gulf of Mexico catastrophe is the fact that the Republicans (and a more-than-a-few Democrats) are not even considering a moratorium on deep water drilling. These assholes just don't get it. They never have. They never will. The problem with most politicians is that it is not in their interest to think long range. All that really matters to them is the next campaign. Those campaigns are paid for, in large part, by the very companies (BP for one) that are destroying the environment. This is a good argument for either public financing of the electoral process or term limits - or both. In the meantime the country will only continue on its downward spiral. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!

July 26:

Is it a coincidence that in the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq eight-and-a-half years ago, over seventy percent of the people who believed that Saddam Hussein was somehow culpable in the attacks of September 11, 2001 were habitual viewers of FOX Noise? Rupert Murdoch's organization has but a single purpose: keeping America stupid. Who would have dreamed that he would be this successful? Most Americans are unable to locate the continent of Africa on a map, or name a single Supreme Court Justice. FOX has a hand in this; I just know it!

August11:

Those in the extreme right who like to pretend that they've cornered the market on patriotism need to be exposed for what they are - ideological snake oil salesmen. All we have to do is open our eyes to see the damage that their thirty-year domination of our political conversation has done to this country. I'm almost at the point of believing that that damage is irreparable. At this writing, every poll indicates that the electorate intends on putting the party responsible for most of the mess we're in back in power on Election Day. Isn't that nice? Have another sip, America.

August 18:

Between you and me and the fire hydrant, I'm getting sick and tired of all the anti-Muslim hysteria that has been running rampant in the last nine years, and I've decided to take matters into my own hands. From this day forward I decree that the first week of September be deemed, "National Take A Muslim To Lunch Week". You don't know any Muslims? No problemo, amigo! Just get in touch with me. As I said before I have more Muslim friends and acquaintances than I know what to do with! I can set you up with a Class A, regulation Muslim in no time at all! September 1 is two weeks from now. You have plenty of time to set up a date. And if your schedule makes lunch time difficult, then take a Muslim to breakfast - or dinner. And if there is a fasting issue which prevents them from sitting down to a meal, then what the hell - take a Muslim to the movies. Take a Muslim to a ball game - or the golf course! Whatever the venue, be sure to spend some quality time with a child of Islam.
They're quality people!

September 1:

Is there a bigger asshole in the senate than Mitch McConnell? If someone can come up with a more worthy candidate for the title than poor, pathetic old Mitch, please let me know. So, he wants Obama to give credit to George W. Bush for the surge of troops into Iraq in the waning days of that disgusting administration? This is just too funny for words. Bush commits the worst military blunder in American history by invading the sovereign nation of Iraq by way of falsified evidence; nearly forty-five-hundred American servicemen and women are killed - not to mention as many as a million Iraqi men, women and little children - and now we're all expected to be grateful to the half-witted little bastard. I couldn't make this stuff up in fiction.

Spetember 15:

The idea of Tea Partiers getting the nomination in such "enlightened" states as New York and Delaware is an ominous thing to be sure. I have to believe (hope) that this revolution of knuckleheads is going to backfire on the grand old party in the end; that Election Day will prove to be the biggest upset since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey in 1948. If the people who are responsible for most of our economic woes are put back in charge in January, it will prove only one thing: the jaw dropping stupidity of the American people. There will be no other explanation for it. None.

September 22:

I get the feeling (call it a silly hunch on my part) that the American people don't fully appreciate the implications behind the prospect of the GOP taking back the House and the Senate in January. I know what you're thinking and I agree. The Democrats are beyond worthless. Let's face some serious facts here: Any party with a pathetic and befuddled old Andy Gump like Harry Reid as their leader is going to have - "issues" shall we say? But the thing that has to be remembered about our elected Democratic representatives in Washington is the fact that - for the most part - their hearts are in the right place. The same cannot be said for the Republicans. They long ago ceased being a political party. They are now an organized criminal enterprise. If that sounds to you like the extreme ramblings of an embittered Lefty, that's fine. But I am convinced that within a decade, 20/20 historical hindsight will prove me correct. Call me in ten years and we'll compare notes.

September 29:

Yesterday's "contract" is today's "pledge". It's the same old bullshit with a different dessert topping. By now these ridiculous Republican photo-ops have become as predictable as they are unintentionally comical. There they were in their shirtsleeves - ties strategically removed, the women wearing casual slacks - all in a pathetic attempt to come off like real hard-workin' folks. They even staged the event in a Hardware store! They must really think that the American people are awfully stupid to fall for something as obvious as this. The very fact that so many people did swallow this nonsense without so much as a chaser proves that perhaps these politicians are onto something.

October 7:

Twenty-six days from today (if current trends continue) these imbecilic Americans will bang yet another nail into the slowly-closing coffin of their economic security by handing the legislative branch of our government back to Reagan's ideological heirs - the same jackals and jackasses - bitches and bastards - who are responsible for the mess we're in today....and our downward spiral will only continue.

Is this a great country, or what?

October 9:

It is ironic, and maybe even fitting, that our final vision of [John Lennon] is not as the sweet old curmudgeon we always knew he would turn out to be - but as the Lennon of 1980: Forever young, eternally whimsical, steadfastly defiant, deadly serious, and hopelessly silly - all of the paradoxes that were combined in this one incredible, enigmatic persona....I sure do miss John Lennon.

October 19:

I haven't given up hope. As the great and deceptively wise Yogi Berra once philosophized, "It ain't over till it's over." Sage wisdom indeed. We still have sixteen days and - as the old adage tells us - that's a lifetime in politics, baby! We also have a fact on our side that by now is a part of the natural order of things:

The sun will rise in the east
The moon will set in the west
The right wing will behave like assholes....

October 24:

You've gotta hand it to FOX Noise. These hideous bastards and bitches would have done Josef Goebbels proud. They grabbed the BIG LIE and ran with it. Through constant repetition and non-too subliminal messages, FOX kept repeating the LIE into the ears and minds of its clueless constituency:

OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST!
OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST!
OBAMA IS A NAZI!
OBAMA IS A RACIST!
OBAMA HATES WHITE PEOPLE!
OBAMA KILLS LITTLE BABY DUCKS!

On November 2, 2010, the American people - or at least those who were stupid enough to swallow this nonsense - will be going to the polls en masse, salivating like Pavlov's dogs at the bells of doom.

November 3:

If you happen to be driving down Route 9W in the vicinity of Hyde Park, NY this morning, a distinct rumbling can be clearly heard. If you're traveling north, the noise is coming from the rose garden of a mansion on your left. It is the sound of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt doing somersaults in their graves. They wouldn't recognize [the Democratic party] today.

November 17:

Regarding Sarah Plain: To paraphrase the late, great Molly Ivins in a slightly different context:

If that woman's IQ slips any lower we're gonna have to start watering her twice a day.

November 23:

I hate America for what it has become. I love America for what it was. I adore America for what it could be.

You and I will be paying more in taxes in the years to come. That is unavoidable. Come to terms with the idea. Here's the good news: We'll be paying a bit more. The rich will be paying a lot more. Here is the ONLY way out of the mess that the Republicans and more-than-a-few Democrats have gotten us into: We absolutely need to bring back the ninety percent tax bracket for the uber wealthy. That is the only way out. The only way. It amazes me that after all these years, the Republicans still want us to buy into the myth that says glad tidings will "trickle down" on the rest of us. Is that really true? Well, yeah. If you like getting pissed on,
it's very true indeed.

December 5:

The nightmare that we are now experiencing at our southern border is nothing compared to the one Canada will be feeling within a decade. It will be a phenomenon never seen before: American refugees. Whoa! What a concept! In ten years this country won't be worth the paper that the maps of it are printed on. All because we in this generation refused to recognize our priorities. And here is the nasty little reality that no one has dared to mention. The damage that we've done to ourselves is more-than-likely insurmountable. Isn't that a sweet thought? The years between 1981 and 2011 will be remembered as the period when the United States committed a long and slow suicide. The damage is now complete. Get used to living in a country in ruins.

December 14:

It's a secret no longer. We Liberals are out to destroy Christmas. Late in the evening on Christmas Eve we are planning a coordinated, all out, violent assault on the yuletide. As of December 25, 2010, the name of the holiday shall forevermore be referred to as "International Emma Goldman Day". Anyone caught celebrating the birthday of the Prince of Peace from that point forward will be severely punished. Let all those intending to ignore this edict be forewarned....But seriously, folks.

***********************************

But now the days are short
We're in the winter of our years
And now I think of this land
As Wonder Bread turned green from mold
To rocks from gold
We were gripped by fear
It was a
VERY weird year....

And what a long, strange year it's been. Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

AFTERTHOUGHT:

The photo at the top of this piece was taken in May in London during our trip to the Abbey Road Studios. The photographer was my old pal and patient traveling companion Kevin Swanwick.
Have a great year, pal! Give Kathy, Holly and Paulette a hug for me!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thinking About Bobby


You might think of me as someone with way-too-much time on my hands, but I spend many hours thinking about time and its passage. And this Christmas Eve I cannot help thinking about Bobby Kennedy. You see, today marks a major milestone as he recedes into history. As far as I can tell, I am the only person out there in the media/internet carnival who has picked up on this, so you'll probably only read about it here. Let me explain:

RFK was born on November 20, 1925. When he died on June 6, 1968, he was exactly forty-two years, six months, and seventeen days old. That was forty-two years, six months and eighteen days ago.

Today, Christmas Eve of all days, will mark the first day in history that Robert Francis Kennedy has been gone from this earth for longer than he walked it.


I tend to get fairly depressed every Christmas (It's an Irish thing, you know?) and this year would have been no exception. But this revelation only adds to my holiday blues. I believe to my core that we would be a better country today had he not been taken from us on that terrible night almost forty-three
years ago. I can still remember vividly my father waking up my brother Pete and I with the news, "Senator Kennedy died a few minutes ago." I was in the fourth grade.

He was so unlike the caricature of what we've come to expect from most politicians: his voice was soft and he spoke with a slight lisp. In spite of his much heralded "toughness" there always seemed to be an almost fragile vulnerability about him. When talking to an audience of farm laborers or inner city youth, he could quote George Bernard Shaw or the ancient greek playrights Aeschylus and Sophocles without showing even the slightest hint of condescension. Said his most recent biographer, Evan Thomas:

"He seemed so young when he died. He was young - only forty-two, a year younger than JFK had been upon his election as the second youngest president in the nation's history. But Robert Kennedy somehow seemed younger, more boyish. With his buck teeth and floppy hair and shy gawkiness, he sometimes came across like an awkward teenager. At other times, he was almost childlike in his wonder and curiosity."

He also had the political courage to tell the American people the hard and bitter truths they would have preferred to ignore. During the ill-fated campaign of 1968, during a question and answer session after a speech, a smug member of a mostly college-age audience sarcastically asked the Senator just who he thought was going to pay for all of these proposed programs of his. Robert Kennedy looked the guy dead in the eye and said, "You are."

They just don't make Democrats like that anymore, do they?

To think where we might have gone but for the bullet of one deranged and confused mad man. A second Kennedy administration (which would have ended on January 20, 1977) would definitely have prevented five-and-a-half years of Nixon and Watergate and might very well have prevented the dawning of the insane right wing era that began exactly four years later with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan - and has continued for thirty years - an era which has ruined a country that used to be a nice place in which to live. We are a better people because, for one brief shining moment, Bobby Kennedy walked among us. I wish he had been allowed to stick around, don't you?

On the night of August 28, 1964, at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, Robert F. Kennedy was greeted by the delegates with a thunderous ovation that lasted almost a half an hour. When the crowd finally calmed down, he paid tribute to his late, martyred brother, dead only nine months. Quoting Shakespeare in a passage from Romeo and Juliet, what he said that evening resonates across the decades. It might also be said for Bobby himself:
.
When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of Heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

I, too, am in love with the night. There's a lot to love.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:

Robert Kennedy and His Times
by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

For more recent postings on this hideously LIBERAL site, please go to the following link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Shameful, left wing propaganda. I TELLS YA, THERE OUGGHTA BE A LAW!
They're working on it - rest assured.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look Away, Dixieland

If you happened to find yourself in and around South Carolina last night, you might have been able to catch the "Secession Ball". This was a little shindig that was organized in order to "celebrate" the one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the south's decision to secede from the union - a fateful decision to be sure. The result was the bloodiest war in American history. When the dust finally settled, an estimated one million people - soldiers and civilians - lay dead. Quite naturally this "celebration" caused many a jaw to drop around this once-great nation. The NAACP, as you can imagine, isn't particularly happy. Neither is Jesse Jackson. And poor old Al Sharpton is positively apoplectic!

Why is anyone surprised by all of this? Sure, if it were happening in any other state in the union (with the exceptions of Texas and Mississippi of course) it would be outrageous. But, folks, this is South Carolina we're talking about here - a place where your average voter in any Republican primary has the IQ of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds. Just look at the quality of representatives they have sent to Washington throughout their weird and twisted history. Once in a blue moon they'll produce a gem like Jim Clyburn, but all-in-all their record is pretty grim. Remember Strom Thurmond? His 1948 third-party presidential campaign was a revolt against Harry Truman's insistence that the Democratic Convention contain a Civil rights platform. And don't forget that George W. Bush became president ONLY because his campaign was able to convince enough of the idiots in that state that John McCain had an illegitimate black child. Hey! Racism is part of their cultural heritage. Cut these silly people some slack, alright?

Listening to some of them defending the secession ball was amusing to say the least. In their minds the war between the states had not a thing to do with human bondage. Oh, perish the thought, mein herr! It was all about "states rights". Oh, brother! A century-and-a-half later and the descendants of the Confederacy are still in serious denial. They're also trying to get us to swallow the notion that it's not necessarily a celebration of "secession" - so to speak. It's a celebration of (get this) "courage". The ideologues who took it upon themselves to dissolve the union in 1861 were brave men with the courage of their convictions. They believed in their hearts that they were doing right! Yikes!

I'm aware th
at comparing the rebels of dear ol' Dixie to the Nazis is akin to comparing worm-infested apples to rotten mangoes, but the temptation is just too irresistible to pass up:

Well, yeah, the confederates of yore had the "courage of their convictions" alright - but so did the Nazis. You see, when Hitler and his gang turned the European continent into a mass grave seventy years ago, they believed they were doing a wonderful thing for humanity. They also believed that planetary peace and love would happen only when every Jew on the face of the earth was obliterated. Can you even imagine a world without Jack Benny? Not me!

The rebels had the "courage of their convictions"? No question about it. There's only one little pr
oblem with that argument: Their "convictions" were atrocious. HELLO???

QUESTI
ON:
Who is the worst traitor in American history?

A FEW HELPFUL HINTS:
It is not Barbara Streisand; nor is it George Soros. It isn't Julian Assange (He's not even an American) and it isn't any member of the Kennedy family (Although I sometimes wonder about Bobby Junior). The answer to this question is not "Dan Rather", and it's not "Keith Olbermann" - and it definitely isn't "Benedict Arnold" (That would be too easy).

ANSWER:
The worst traitor in American history was a man by the name of Jefferson Finis Davis.

Think about it! Here was a guy who raised an army of millions in order to destroy the United States of America. It doesn't get more treasonous than that, does it? States rights? Bullshit! It was all in the name of White Supremacy. This asshole actually believed that he and his fellow owners of property had the "God-given right" to hold human beings as cattle. His were not merely sins against his country, they were sins against the human race. When it comes to pure treason, they don't get much worse than old Jeff Davis - although Barbara Streisand is a close second. That gal's an absolute rascal.

Some nameless jackass once declared, "The south shall rise again." What he should have said was, "The south needs to wake the hell up!" A little less than a year from now will mark the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of World War Two. Call it a hunch on my part, but I seriously doubt there will be much whooping it up in Munich next December the seventh. I don't imagine that there will be a heck of a lot of partying in Tokyo either for that matter.

Oh, I know that there will be historical observations on the part of the German and Japanese people, but I would expect that those observations will be somber and subdued. I doubt very much that some Hitler impersonator (Do such people really exist?) will be giving a recitation of der fuhrer's speech to the Reichstag, declaring war on the United States. And I really don't think that there will be thousands lined up, dressed in period costumes, doing a reenactment of the Battle of the Bulge. As the nephew of a young man who was killed in that incident (Lt. Edward J. Degan, Jr. - photo on the left) I would probably be offended by something as weird as that. But I needn't worry. The German people figured out a long time ago that embracing a lost and evil cause is not very good form. Honestly, you just gotta love them Gerrys. God bless 'em!

And make no mistake about it. the confederate revolution of the eighteen-sixties was about as evil a cause as any army ever marched in lockstep to. I guess it's wishful thinking to hope that the sons and daughters of the confederacy will take a cue from the Germans and tone things down just a tad, but that's probably not going to happen. The fact that these celebrations offend almost all people of color (with the possible exception of Michael Steele) seems not to bother them in the least. That's the most disturbing thing about this.

I wonder how it makes African American children in South Carolina feel when they are confronted with the reality that these dopey, bloated honkies are commemorating a cause that was born of the perceived "inferiority" of their ancestors. If I were a black kid it wouldn't make me feel very good at all. Robert Plant once sang, "And it makes me wonder." It sure does.

It really doesn't matter in the long run I suppose. They're going to do what they want to do - Yankee perceptions be damned. Fine. Let them celebrate "the glorious dead" that died for a not-too-glorious cause. Let them have their stupid ball and be done with it. They will look almost as foolish in the pages of history as their forebears do. Look away, Dixieland.

Tom Degan
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:

With Malice Toward None
by Stephen B. Oates

A reviewer once referred to this excellent book as the finest one-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written. I couldn't agree more.

AFTERTHOUGHT:

Did you have the chance to observe the moon's eclipse early this morning? Just beautiful!

For more recent postings on this disgusting, commie-loving site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The War on Christmas


And he did the same thing
to the other Who's houses
Leaving crumbs much-too-small
for the other Who's Mouses

-Theodor Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss
 

`
 It's a secret no longer. We Liberals are out to destroy Christmas. Late in the evening on Christmas Eve we are planning a coordinated, all out, violent assault on the yuletide. As of December 25, 2010, the name of the holiday shall forevermore be referred to as "International Emma Goldman Day". Anyone caught celebrating the birthday of the Prince of Peace from that point forward will be severely punished. Let all those intending to ignore this edict be forewarned.

[CUE THE JINGLE BELLS]

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all 'round the place
Them Liberals was plannin'
to attack us with mace


The Children were nestled
all snug in their beds
While visions of Ayn Rand
stomped on their heads

And mama with her Demerol
and I with my booze
Had just settled down
for a long winter's snooze

When out on the rooftop
there rose such a ruckus
I sprang from my bed to see
WHAT THE F**K IS GOING ON UP THERE???

A posse of Liberals
all armed to the teeth
Were doing rude things
to our poor Christmas wreath

They spoke not a word
but were vile and we shook
As they ripped out the pages
of Ms. Palin's book

They poured gas on our presents
And set them aflame
And to our stuffed Santa
They did just the same

And I heard them exclaim
as they tore up the streets
"Nasty Krimble to all!
Next year leave us some sweets!"

But seriously, folks.....


There is no "war" on Christmas. It's a lot bigger than that. It involves more than just one day out of the year. It is, in fact, a war on Jesus Christ. And that war has been being waged non stop by the right wing in this country for at least two centuries. Another shot across the bough was fired this week by Senator Jim DeMint, the half-witted reactionary from South Carolina, when he said that unemployment insurance should be turned into a loan program.

"It then encourages people to go back to work", he said.

At a time of such terrible economic hardship not known since the nineteen-thirties, those words are an assault on everything Jesus Christ ever taught us. Let 'em eat cake.

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."

Jim DeMint is a self-described "Christian". Has he ever read Jesus' Sermon on the Mount? Does he even have a remedial understanding of what it means? Nah! Probably not! DeMint was part of the same crowd who held the American people hostage by threatening to shut down the government of the United States if a tax cut was not continued for a class of people who already have more money than they will possibly spend in a lifetime.

Jesus does not approve. That is much more than just a guess on my part. Unlike a lot of these clowns, the life and teachings of Christ were part of the curriculum when I went to school as a boy. That's right - five years of Catholic education. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about here.

And as to the war on Christmas, doesn't our consumer culture encourage it? Doesn't our very economic survival depend upon us making a mockery out of the birthday of Jesus Christ every year - going all the way back to the dawn of the industrial revolution over a century ago? If Bill O'Reilly and the jackasses over at FOX Noise were as concerned as they pretend to be about the war on Christmas, they would refuse every cent of every advertising dollar tying any product to Christmas Day. Trust me on this one campers: That ain't NEVER gonna happen.

Christmas comes but once a year
so you'd better make hay while the spirit lingers
It's slipping through your fingers, boy
Don't you realize?
Christmas can be such a monetary joy!

-Stan Freberg, 1958


"And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them and they were sure afraid. And the angel said unto them: fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward all people."

The Gospel according to St. Luke
Chapter 2, verses 9:14
from the King James Bible

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

-Linus Van Pelt
From "A Charlie Brown Christmas", 1965

They just don't get it - and they never will - these people who would exploit the name of Christ in order to promote the most unChrist-like agenda that is theologically possible. They have spent the last thirty years destroying the American economy. And yet instead of reaching out to help the victims of their greed and recklessness, they would rather cut the taxes on billionaires. God bless America.

"I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:36

Instead they now want to build more prisons. Yes, there is a war on Jesus Christ, alright - and here's something the extremists who have hijacked our national political dialogue need to understand: It's a war they can't win. Beware the sleeping giant of the Religious Left.

And so Happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

-John Lennon

`
Like the man said:
Happy Christmas, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

Suggested Reading for all of those so-called "Christians" who ascribe to the philosophy of the right wing:

The Sermon on the Mount
 
 `
Just a thought.

Here's a little traditional holiday chestnut from Franz Schubert as interpreted by the late Perry Como:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXx9HZTE8_o


For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan
 
  Pray for peace

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December 8, 1980


Nothing to do to save his life. Call his wife in....


The passage of thirty years does little to alleviate the sense of shock and horror that we felt on that awful night, Monday, December 8, 1980. It was unseasonably warm, that much I distinctly remember. It had been a pleasant day right up to the moment the news came over the television. In the early afternoon I saw on HBO, the Peter Frampton/Bee Gees debacle, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - one of the worst movie musicals ever made. Late in the afternoon and early evening, I saw for the very first time, the Marx Brothers' 1932 classic, Duck Soup - a masterpiece. I remember wondering to myself whether or not John Lennon had ever seen this film. It's comic lunacy combined with an anti war theme would appeal to him, I thought. 
 
Irony of ironies: I had quit my job as a radio DJ earlier in the week. The man who owned the station, a legendary New York Disc Jockey who shall remain nameless (sorry, cousins) had turned out to be a real impudent son-of-a-bitch to work for. The very last thing I did before I walked out of the place forever was play the new John Lennon single, (Just Like) Starting Over. 
 
At exactly eleven thirty, after having watched a rerun of M*A*S*H (an episode from the early years when that series was still watchable) I went back to the book I was reading, John Toland's massive biography of Adolf Hitler. Deep in concentration, I was barely aware of the news bulletin that was being relayed on W-NEW channel Five. All of the sudden, my subconscious was jarred by what I thought were the words, "John Lennon". I quickly looked up at the TV to hear the announcer say:

"....is in critical c
ondition at Roosevelt Hospital with multiple bullet wounds."

"Did I just hear that?" I said to myself, probably out loud, "Nah! Who the hell in their right mi
nd would shoot John Lennon?" I consciously dismissed the very idea as absurd.
`
I went back to the book. Hardly twenty seconds had elapsed when the telephone rang. It was my brother, Pete. I could tell by the first syllable out of his mouth that I had indeed heard what I thought I had only imagined....
Imagine.

"TOM...."  
"Oh, my God! What happened??"
"Lennon's been shot.

 
I went back to the television and turned the channel to the American Broadcasting Company. I knew that the Monday night football game was still in progress and they had not yet broadcast their late evening news. Within a few short minutes the game was interrupted with a "Special Bulletin". The person who made the announcement was a woman named Roseanne Scamardella:

"FORMER BEATLE JOHN LENNON IS DEAD. HE WAS SHOT A SHORT TIME AGO. POLICE HAVE A SUSPECT IN CUSTODY.

 
Back and forth I paced the apartment - shell shocked, in a blind grief-stricken rage and in utter disbelief. By chance, my eyes happened to wonder toward the stereo system on the bookshelf. The record resting on the turntable was called, The Beatles First, a collection of their earliest recordings, made in Hamburg, Germany in the summer of 1961 which I had been listening to earlier in the evening.

Then came th
e dreadful, televised image that brought the reality of what was happening crashing down with a vengeance too horrible to even contemplate: the image of John Lennon's lifeless corpse, wrapped in a body bag, strapped to a stretcher, being loaded like so much cargo into the medical examiner's van, bound for the coroner's office. For the first and last time in my life, I drank a bottle of scotch, a drink that under normal circumstances I can barely stomach. These were anything but normal circumstances. It was the only alcohol available that evening. I would never have been able to sleep otherwise.

The next day's headlines only confirmed what many of us, upon awakening from our troubled sl
umber, had hoped had merely been a terrible dream:
`
JOHN LENNON SHOT DEAD  
`
The final act of insanity in this insane nightmare would be committed by Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. Three days after the murder, they sneaked a photographer into the New York City morgue. The next day's front page showed a close up of John's dead face; discolored and bloated by three day's rigor mortis.
 `
I read the news today, oh boy....
`
In the intervening years I have tried to concentrate on the life he lived, not the hideous manner in which he died. But on this anniversary it's difficult - if not impossible - to avoid remembering the events of that terrible evening thirty years ago. Where did the time go? Just recently someone asked me how long it took me to get over the murder of John Lennon. "I never got over it" was my answer. I never will. December 8, 1980 broke my heart. 
`
Thankfully we can still hear that beautiful, otherworldly voice, forever young, eternally irreverent. John Lennon left an indelible impression on our culture that cannot be denied. He is still a very real part of our lives, almost as much as as he was all those years ago when he walked among us. Thanks to the miracle of recorded sound, the voice of John Lennon is still very audible, a lingering ghost from our distant past that stubbornly refuses to fade into the void. At least we have that to be grateful for. Dr. Winston O'Boogie won't be going away any time soon.
`
Anyone who was living in Goshen, New York in December 1980 will remember this:

Five days after he died, on Saturday the thirteenth, a worldwide vigil in John's memory was held at 2 PM EST. For ten minutes there was silence - peace - all across the planet earth. I had a couple friends over to observe the event on television. In the village of Goshen, although it had been a clear and sunny day, the moment the vigil began at two o'clock, it began to snow - and not just flurries - for ten solid minutes there was a blinding blizzard. At exactly 2:10, the moment the vigil ended, the snow stopped and the sun came out. His child-like, 1971 anthem, Imagine, drifted through the ether:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

It was only at that moment that I felt happy for John Lennon.

`
Tom Degan 
Goshen, NY
`
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

`
SUGGESTED VIEWING:
`
Imagine: The Movie
`
SUGGESTED READING:
`
John Lennon: A Life
by Phillip Norman

For more recent posts on this site, please go to this link:
`
peace....

Sunday, December 05, 2010

GOP to USA: DROP DEAD

I'm now having one of those "HUH?" moments that have occurred with more and more frequency in the last ten years. What should be happening at this point is a showing of unified national outrage. Instead it would seem that most of us could hardly care less. And the anger that is being expressed by the Tea party types is being directed in the wrong direction and for the wrong reasons. They actually believe that Barack Obama is some kind of left wing extremist when, in reality, he's as tepid a right-of-center moderate as we've had since Bill Clinton.

The policies of low taxation for the obscenely wealthy that have played so huge a part in our current economic catastrophe will be allowed to continue. The Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they plan to hold the government hostage unless the Bush tax cuts, scheduled to expire on the last day of this month, are allowed to be continued indefinitely. That means "forever". It also means a loss of four trillion dollars in revenue over the next decade; a lousy deal any way you dice it or slice it. The president of the United States, far from being the Progressive warrior his base was praying for when we sent him to the White House two years ago, appears hellbent on caving into their demands. As Theodore Roosevelt once privately said of President McKinley, "He has all the backbone of a chocolate eclair".

I never thought I would live to hear myself even think this, but the Democrats probably should have nominated Hilary Clinton two years ago. President Obama has let us down in every way imaginable. There is still a part of me that wants to believe that he
still has a few cards up his sleeve and that he is within days of delivering an unexpected political counter-punch. Maybe. I really hope that's the case, but that hope is dwindling by the day. I know in his heart he is a good guy but his leadership style leaves much to be desired. Seriously, if this is the sort of change I'm expected to believe in, you can keep it.

FOR THE RECORD:
I still thank Heaven every day that John McCain is not at this moment sleeping in the White House. I am beside myself with joy that Fascist Barbie is not a seventy-four-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency. If you were thinking for a minute that I'm
sorry that Obama won on Election Day 2008 - think again. As disappointed as I may be in the current administration, a McCain/Palin White House would have been the apocalypse. Now let's move on, shall we?

Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, is yet another stark reminder why I left the Democratic party nearly thirteen years ago. The fact that they're not half as bad as the Republicans doesn't make their very existence any easier to justify. It's getting clearer by the day that they don't really have our interests at heart. The overwhelming majority of the American people - unlike the small percentage of us perceptive enough to have seen the light - have their stakes tied up with either one of the two major political parties. They cannot see (or refuse to see) that both the Republicans and the Democrats are morally unfit to govern this country any longer. Unfortunately, as long as so many of us refuse to acknowledge this simple and undeniable truth, our slide into the abyss will only continue.

"And the dance band on the Titanic
Played 'Nearer My God To Thee'
The iceberg's on the starboard bough
Won't you dance with me?"

-Harry Chapin

And at this joyous time of the year, the GOP has delivered a holiday message to the people who are now suffering under the worse economic conditions since the 1930s, conditions that were largely brought on by them:

FUCK YOU, AMERICA!

They cannot bring themselves to relieve the burden of the unemployed at the risk of angering the handful of plutocrats they act as handmaidens for. They can't admit to themselves that the Bush tax cuts never made any feasible economic sense; that the policy of continuing a tax break for a class of people who already had more money than they knew what to do with was (to put it mildly) destructive to the interests of the vanishing middle class. And yet they continue on this destructive course. Why? What the hell is the matter with these people? If they seem just a tad crazy to you, it should be noted that they're crazy like a FOX News.

Make no mistake about it: Their ultimate goal is to bankrupt the nation to the point where mathematics will force for us to obliterate the social safety nets that have cushioned many an economic blow for regular working Americans for decades - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance. They want to see these programs obliterated. That's been their dream for nearly eight decades. And if the president of the United States refuses to stand up to these hideous bastards and bitches, their dream will be coming true a lot sooner than you might think. What needs to be understood is that the collapse of September 2008 was merely a harbinger of things to come.

WAIT! IT GETS WORSE!

They can't even bring themselves to provide for the care of the brave men and woman who responded to the disaster at the World Trade center nearly ten years ago - many of whom are sick and dying as a result of the noxious fumes they were forced to inhale into their lungs in the weeks that followed. Their reasoning? The nation simply can't afford it. And yet they can afford tax breaks for billionaires. Isn't life beautiful?

There's a part of me that finds it difficult - no, I find it impossible - to feel any degree of genuine sympathy for a lot of the people who will be affected by what is now transpiring. Most of them stupidly voted for the right wing in the last several election cycles. As far as I'm concerned they are going to get exactly what they deserve - screw 'em. It's the poor kids that I am saving my compassion for, not their idiotic parents. We've got to face the fact that this generation of children will be the first generation in American history whose opportunities and lifestyles will be far inferior to those that their moms and dads enjoyed. This generation of so-called "grownups" have left a debt so astronomical that our great grandchildren - who will never even know our names - will still be paying it off generations from now. What will they think of us? Fortunately we won't be around to have to look them in the eye.

Welcome to the United States of China. Enjoy your stay!

The nightmare that we are now experiencing at our southern border is nothing compared to the one Canada will be feeling within a decade. It will be a phenomenon never seen before: American refugees. Whoa! What a concept! In ten years this country won't be worth the paper that the maps of it are printed on. All because we in this generation refused to recognize our priorities. And here is the nasty little reality that no one has dared to mention. The damage that we've done to ourselves is more-than-likely insurmountable. Isn't that a sweet thought? The years between 1981 and 2011 will be remembered as the period when the United States committed a long and slow suicide. The damage is now complete. Get used to living in a country in ruins.

Wasn't the Reagan Revolution a blast?

Tom Degan
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:

Spanking The Donkey
by Matt Taibbi

A Fascinating and extremely funny look at the campaign of 2004 by the best political writer out there today. I am in the process of reading it for the second time. It's a great book!