Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Worst of The Rant

Ring out the false; ring in the true
Ring out the old; ring in the new

-George Harrison

Heavens to Betsy! Can it possibly be? Another year come and gone??? Well, goodness gracious me! Time certainly flies when you're trying to save the world, ya know? And speaking of time; it's time once again for another annual recap of the Worst of The Rant. Happy reading, campers!


January 4:
Tomorrow marks the start of the One-hundred and Twelfth Congress. For a person who makes his or her name and livelihood by commenting on the ineptitude and corruption of American politicians, this is indeed wonderful news. We are beside ourselves with giddy anticipation. For regular working people, however - particularly those hardest hit by the economic catastrophe we currently find ourselves in - this bit of news is as nasty as can be. PREDICTION: You thought the One-hundred and Eleventh Congress was beyond awful? OH, BROTHER! This one will be remembered as the worst in history. Anyone care to make a little wager on this point? I'm taking on all comers.


[12/30/11: My goodness! I nailed that one, did I not?]

January 10:
The extremism of [November 22] 1963 was pretty much isolated to a few southern cities. Forty-eight years later it's gone national. What happened in Arizona over the weekend [the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords] is only the beginning. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but America's political discourse has been hijacked by half-wits and crazy people. Their spokespersons make their names by inflaming their clueless masses with the language of hate. That's their job. Then again, I'm not giving away any state secrets here, am I?

January 20:
I can still remember what my father was wearing when he told me, "The president's been shot." He had just pulled in the driveway and had the car radio on. I was arriving home from Mrs. Peevey's kindergarten class. I distinctly recall that, despite it being late into the autumn, it was an unseasonably warm day. Something wonderful ended on November 22, 1963 - not just John F. Kennedy's life - but America's youthful optimism as well. I don't believe this country ever got over the assassination of President Kennedy. Maybe it will one day. Maybe not.

January 25:
Since the demolition of the Fairness Doctrine thirty years ago, the progressive point-of-view on America's airwaves has diminished to the point that it's now almost non-existent. For every Thom Hartmann you have at least twenty Rush Limbaughs. It's a dire situation that is getting worse with each passing year. And it wasn't exactly a spirit-lifter when Air America failed a couple of years ago. The people's airwaves have been stolen by the plutocracy, and they don't plan on giving it back. Take it back.

January 31
Much of the blame for the "scourge" of Michele Bachmann must be laid at the door of Chris Matthews. I love the man. He is just about the smartest son-of-a-bitch commenting on politics today. But I really have to chide him for "discovering" her. Ms. Bachmann was a deservedly unknown congresswoman in October 2009 when he invited her on his program "Hardball" for an interview. It was there that she called for an investigation of all the Democrats in congress for their "un-Americanism". Under normal circumstances such an idiotic statement would have hurled her right back into obscurity. Instead, the GOP made her a star. Life is funny that way, you know?
February 6:
On February 6, 1911, one-hundred years ago today, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. Unlike most of the country however, I won't be spending this day looking back on his presidency with any degree of nostalgia - trust me. I'm not celebrating the life of Ronald Reagan. I hold the hideous old bastard in complete and utter contempt.

February 17:Could this be the beginning of a revolution that might spread nationwide? I'm hopeful. Unlike the clueless tea party types, the good people of the state of Wisconsin realize that the blame for the problem lies not with those naughty, bleeding heart Liberals, but with the plutocrats and greed heads who long ago hijacked not only our government, but both political parties - including the one that Lincoln helped found in 1856. Bob Dylan once said, "A hard rain's gonna fall." Indeed. I hope you have an umbrella at the ready. The shit storm has arrived.
February 28:
There is a certain kind of schadenfreude that comes with seeing a people getting exactly what they deserve, and I imagine that I'm going to love every minute of it. It's also a much better thing to come to terms with the shit storm that is just around the corner than to delude oneself into believing that some nameless secular messiah is going to lead us all to the beloved Candy Land of our fantasies. A lot of us (myself included) made that mistake with Barack Obama and our hopes exploded right in our faces. It's almost like anticipating that knock-knock-knocking sound to be Winston Churchill - only to open the door to find Neville Chamberlain standing there - utterly clueless and befuddled. And unless Obama is challenged in the primaries by the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt, I'm afraid we're stuck with him.

March 11:
It will b
e recorded [of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker] that no other single human being was more responsible than he for inspiring the people to finally rise up and revolt against the economic injustices they had been suffering under for over three decades. When Walker and the GOP legislators in the Wisconsin State House illegally signed away the collective bargaining rights of union workers, did they really believe that that would be the end of it?

Like it or not, the Madison Revolution is here. Get the fuck out of the way.

March 16:
Newt Gingrich is one of those "lowest common denominator" politician­s that litter the pages of American history. Like old Joe McCarthy, he is unable to appeal to the best in his fellow Americans because there is not a heck of a lot of substance there. But all that aside, Newt wants to be the next president of the United States so badly he can hardly contain himself. He's hell-bent on seizing the nomination at the GOP convention in 2012 - and nothing and NOBODY is going to get in his way. This is gonna be good!

April 5:
I hate to be seen as a cheerleader for the Democrats, I really do. I often feel like I'm in a restaurant and the waiter is asking me, "Would you like a nice cool glass of donkey piss to wash down that juicy plate of elephant shit you've ordered, sir?" Our choices these days are sparse - no question about it. But when everything has been sliced and diced, I feel that am left with no choice but to side with the Dems. The alternatives are too depressing too even think about. "Stick with Tweedle-dee", I tell myself, "Tweedle-dum is brain-damaged." He's also a bit of a pervert.

May 19:I'm going to do something I've never done before (and will never do again - I promise!) I'm going to say something in favor of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis: When they took power in March of 1933, they at least didn't fuck with the electoral process. Hitler's ascendance to power was achieved legally and in conformity to the German constitution as it stood at the time. That's right; I'm comparing the Nazis favorably to the Republican party. Things have gotten that weird.

May 24:
I've been thinking a lot about Ronald Reagan lately. Less than two weeks from now will mark the sixth anniversary of his passing. Six years! Can it possibly be? I'm sorry he's no longer here. I wish he could have lived to see the presidency of Barack Obama. I really do. The sight of a black man in the Oval Office would have given the old bugger a severe case of spastic apoplexy or maybe worse. That would have been so much fun to watch.

May 31:
Let us face some serious and undeniable facts here. A politician as deliciously sleazy as the Newtster should be cherished - if only for the scads of unintentional comedy his very presence in the national limelight inspires. As you might imagine, I have been following Newt's presidential campaign - or what's left of it - with a longing I'm hard-pressed to describe. I soooo wanted him to get the GOP nomination in 2012 I could almost taste it. I was even contemplating sending the hideous old freak a check. I might as well not waste my money. It's very clear to everyone (except Gingrich of course) that he's not going to get his party's nod next year - or any year for that matter.

June 20
By privatizing the American prison system these assholes have created a brand-spanking-new corporate class whose very existence will depend upon those prisons being filled to the rafters with human beings - FOREVER! As a result the owners will send lobbyists to Washington, who will then bribe our representatives into passing more-and-more punitive laws that will ensure that those prisons are booked to capacity. How will they make a profit? Forced industrial labor - which will be just another drain on American jobs. Think about that: Forced labor. It's something that was officially terminated in this nation one-hundred and forty-six years ago. It was called "slavery". Remember that "peculiar institution"?

Mah! Mah! The ol' plantation sho has changed!

June 28:
In the meantime the Republicans in Congress are doing everything humanly possible to ensure that the economy crashes. That is the reason - and the only reason - they are trying to prevent the raising of the debt ceiling in August. If America goes into default the proverbial shit will hit the economic fan. When that happens, all bets are off for the president. Their goal is to bring on an economic catastrophe in order to take back the executive and legislative branches of your government on January 20, 2013. That is what human slime like Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are banking on. Our livelihood and well being doesn't matter in the least to these bastards. Wake up.

July 7:The right wing has been in serious denial throughout its long and weird history (You may recall the "peculiar institution" of slavery). Modern times are no different for these freaks. Here's what they need to (but won't) understand: America's financial affairs are in shambles. There is only one way out of the hole we have dug for ourselves - and it's going to involve taxes: Decades of SERIOUS taxation. The people who benefited the most from the thirty-year financial drunk - the Plutocracy - will be the ones who will have to bear the burden of the shovel. And that will mean bringing the tax rates for the richest two-percent back to where they during the Eisenhower era when many of them were in a ninety percent bracket. That is the only way out. Deal with it.

July 14:
I have been desperately trying to write a poem about the train wreck that Rupert Murdoch's life has become but I've run into a bit of a brick wall. Please, could somebody give me a word that rhymes with schadenfreude?

July 21:
The Republican party is at this very moment mounting a campaign that, if successful, will disenfranchise the the voting rights of African Americans - and everyone else who tends to vote left-of-center - all across America. Isn't that sweet? They understand all-too-well that the mysterious and unknowable segment of the population that the sociologists describe as "moderate" or "swing voters" (I call them "purple agitators" myself) are starting to become disgusted by the extremists who hijacked the Grand Old Party decades ago. What to do? Not to worry! Just bypass that nasty ol' Voting Rights Act of 1965. That'll learn 'em!

July 28:
The problem with the Republicans is that they have forgotten that they are the party of Roosevelt - Theodore.

The problem with the Democrats is that they have forgotten that they are the party of Roosevelt - Franklin D.


August 2:
The Tea party owns Washington DC. This radical, right-wing fringe group now sets the agenda for this country, isn't that a scream? Mike Lupica put it well in yesterday's New York Daily News: "These are the crackpots who have designated themselves to speak for Conservative America. Only they don't act like conservatives. They act like anarchists." I can relate. I never dreamed I would live to see the day when I would feel a sense of tender nostalgia for Alan Simpson. These surely are interesting times to live in.

August 10:
In the meantime our downward spiral will only continue. This is as it should be. A people moronic enough to squander the treasure of their once-great nation as they have been doing for the past thirty-one years deserves everything that happens to them. There is an indescribable joy - call it "schadenfreude" if you must - in watching people who are losing their homes and pensions while simultaneously complaining about "those goddamned liberals". It's quite a funny thing to witness. As America continues to slide into the depths of destruction and despair, I can console myself with the knowledge that there will be no shortage of entertainment value in its decline - for me at least. Life will still be beautiful, thank you very much.

August 22:
According to these plutocratic handmaidens, the tax code simply isn't fair. People who live at or below the poverty level have to start chipping in! A family of four making $22,000 a year (or less) will have to shell out to the feds. Can you believe that? Think about it: That single mother who barely scratches out a living assembling Big Macs at the McDonald's down the street? If these hideous bastards and bitches have their way, she will now have to send a check (assuming she has a checking account) to the IRS every April 15. Of course that will mean she and others in her income bracket will have a lot less money to pump back into this already-feeble economy - a fact that apparently has not been taken into consideration by the knuckleheads who govern us.

And they call us "elitists"!

August 31:
Dick Cheney is back with his "long awaited memoirs". Awaited by whom they won't say. I won't be reading it. I've read enough about it and heard enough about it (primarily from the Dickster's own mouth) to form my own assessment of the drivel spread generously within. In fact I won't be reading any of the flood of books that have been written, are being written, and will be written by the Bush Mob. It's always an amusing thing to watch these bitter, dirty old men attempt to cleanup their putrid little corners in the Hall of Infamy. Robert McNamara tried it fourteen years ago and it didn't work out too well for him. Cheney will fare no better I suspect. What he is attempting here is the equivalent of putting a smiley face on a decomposing pig:

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


September 15:
Two debates in the space of five days? Somebody up there must like me. In the midst of the first one I asked myself out loud, "Am I hallucinating this?" I wasn't. This was very real indeed. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology I was able to record both spectacles onto DVD for posterity. Looking at them again last evening was not the ordeal you might imagine. To the contrary it was loads of fun to watch! Unintentional comedy always is - and these twits are the Marx Brothers of unintentional comedy.

September 21:
Here's a little something you can bet the farm on. The next thirteen months will see the right wing beside themselves as they scramble - like sadistic little mice - to change the topic of discussion from that of economic fairness, to the subject of that BIG, BLACK, BOLSHEVIK BOOGIEMAN in the Oval Office. They won't be able to take back the senate and the White House - nor will they be able to retain control of the House of Reprehensibles - without exploiting the worst racist tendencies deep within America's tormented soul. That is their biggest hope. That is their only hope. 2012 might very well turn out to be a most interesting political year. Talk about understatement!

In addition to playing the race card, it's a fairly easy guess that they'll drag out their moth-eaten bag of "family values" for good measure, as hard as that argument is for many of us to swallow these days. The Republicans don't give a shit about American families - or the families who gross somewhere under a million per. This is a party that cares about one thing only - that the obscenely rich get obscenely richer. To hell with the rest of you.

October 1:
Since the voters of this country foolishly handed over the reins of executive power to a feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor a generation ago, the rape and plunder of America's financial infrastructure has been going on at full speed. Politicians of both parties rigged the laws in order to make the theft perfectly legal. That mournful chiming that is now emanating from deep within Wall Street is the death knell of the orgy that the plutocrats thought would never end. Americans are taking their country and their economy back.

October 12:
Here is a question that I am hard-pressed to avoid: Is there a bigger asshole slithering though the halls of congress than Eric Cantor? If there is I'd sure-as-hell would like to know about it. It has always amused me to watch him on the tube trying to defend the morally indefensible. He always has this weird look of cherubic contentment on his clueless face. It really is something to behold. To the credit of Mitch "The Plutocracy's Bitch" McConnell, he at least has the decency to look somewhat ill-at-ease when having to vomit forth their nonsensical talking points. Cantor, on the other hand, is right at home with their delightfully twisted agenda. Too weird!

October 15:
If the next president is a Republican and is able to make one or (God forbid) more appointments to [the Supreme] court, it will ultimately lead to the end of democracy in America. Does that sound a tad paranoid on my part? Maybe it is. Let's all vote Republican next year and see what happens.

October 21:

Folks, that is not a political party. That's an organized criminal enterprise. Those aren't statesmen. Those are the plutocracy's hired goons. This isn't America any longer. This is something else entirely; something dark and ominous. That's why what is happening down on Wall Street - indeed all across the land - is so important. We are now into the second month of the occupation. It won't be going away any time soon. This is only the beginning of something really, really big, baby! A hard rain's a'gonna fall. Forgive me if I seem giddy.

November 20:
When people have been subjected over long periods to injustice, it's only a matter of time before they revolt. Revolution is not something that can be swept away by think tanks or police riots. It's a bit more complicated than that. Revolution-in-reaction-to-human-cruelty is as natural as the sun rising in the eastern sky. All the king's pepper spray and all the king's soldiers can't stop a rising sun either. Try it sometime.

November 29:
Yeah, I'll fess up - I get awfully sentimental when it comes to the subject of the Beatles. On the night George died I remember pouring my heart out over the telephone to my friend Terri Sager. I admire her patience. She listened gently while I waxed inebriate on the news of his passing, and what a drag it was that two of the Beatles were now dead, and how this was possibly the end of the world, and blah blah blah....But it moves me to realize that today the two survivors are elderly men, and that eternity is now beckoning them. When I was a boy, John, Paul, George and Ringo were the undisputed princes of the planet earth. They seemed to be invincible. The passing of the decades reminds us that the Beatles were as frail in their mortality as any of us. They really were a bit like you and me.

December 15:
I am the person of the year. So are you.

You don't
have to be down in Zuccotti Park. You don't have to be on the streets of Oakland, California or Madison, Wisconsin or Austin, Texas or South Bend, Indiana. You won't have to be out in Ulme Park in Poughkeepsie, NY this afternoon at 4 PM in order to be a part of this movement. That's why the worldwide Occupy movement is so frightening, not only to the corporate media, but to our "rulers" as well. Jello Biafra is the former lead singer of the legendary political punk band The Dead Kennedys. He is today a lecturer who has released a number of spoken-word CD's on his Alternative Tentacles record label . Ten years ago, in a statement that is truly sunning in hindsight, he advised us, "Don't criticize the media, become the media!" A decade ago his words left some of us scratching our clueless heads. Today we know what he was talking about. We are the media. The revolution is being televised!

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

December 21:
Was Iraq worse than Vietnam as some have implied? Certainly not in terms of lives lost, thank goodness. But in terms of the damage done to our economy and infrastructure, Iraq clearly wins out. Also we need to be reminded that Vietnam only gradually evolved into the quagmire it eventually became. In the case of Iraq America stupidly dove headfirst and smiling - eyes wide open - into the muck. For the first time in history, taxes on the rich were actually lowered during a time of war. Saddam Hussein was going to destroy us we were led to believe. It was a lie of course. We destroyed ourselves quite handily thank you very much. We didn't need Saddam Hussein.

December 25:
Keep your eyes wide-open for the miracles all around you. And remember the simple truth that there is more music to be found in the laughter of a single child than can be found in all of the symphonies ever composed by all of the composers who ever lived.

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

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


Whew! And what a year that was, huh? Do you think that the next year will not possibly get any weirder than the one which is now mercifully ending? I wouldn't take that bet for anything.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED VIEWING/LISTENING:

Ding Dong! Ding Dong!
by George Harrison
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJR44H48POo

Like George says, "Ring out the old, ring in the new!
"

And finally, here is a little seasonal treat for you, It's my all-time favorite Popeye cartoon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI0gH-W0dQw

Let's Celebrake!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Obama Family's Commie Christmas

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel's voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born

What a disgusting sight on oh-so-holy a night. The Photograph at the top of this piece is from the Obama family's Christmas card. Aren't you positively revolted by this sickening image of Bo the cowardly Kenyan/Communist Canine desecrating the floor of the house where the sainted Ronald Reagan once lived? You're not? That's okay, I didn't think you would be. I wasn't either. I was just pulling your leg!

Whatever your political persuasion, it would be kind of hard to find fault with the tranquil scene
depicted above. And yet, predictably, the right wing scream machine went into full-tilt, freak out mode the moment they had their first look at it. Sarah Palin was just beside herself on FOX Noise. They all were! No mention of Jesus. No mention of Christmas. Just a picture of their mangy pooch snoozing away by the fireplace. Our gal Sarah called the photo "strange". It's Christmas day. I'll refrain from calling the woman an idiot. T'is the season, you know what I mean?

I don't get it. As much as I despised the administration of George W. Bush, it never even occurred to be to find a molecule of fault with any of the eight Christmas cards he sent to the American people during the eight Christmases he occupied the Executive Mansion. That would have been quite foolish - not to mention a tad petty on my part. One of the Bush family cards was a sketch of the White House that depicted a bunch of Scotch Terriers frolicking in the snow on the south lawn. There was no mention of Christ or Christmas in that card either. The right wingers didn't make a peep at the time. That was then. This is now.

Having gotten that little bit of stupidity off of my chest....

Let me savor this moment to wish all of you -
left, right or center - a happy Christmas/Holiday season. Another year over and a new one's just begun. To tell you the truth, I just haven't the "Christmas spirit" this year. There are a number of reasons for this, the most obvious one being the deplorable state of the country I love more than any other on earth. Since I have nothing upbeat and optimistic to leave you with in 2011, I'll close with something I wrote four-years-ago on Christmas Day 2007:

Keep your eyes wide-open for the miracles all around you. And remember the simple truth that there is more music to be found in the laughter of a single child than can be found in all of the symphonies ever composed by all of the composers who ever lived.

Much better.
I never wish anyone a "merry" Christmas. Drunks and drug addicts are often quite merry, but they're seldom - if ever - "happy". Happy Christmas, one and all!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@fronti
ernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:

The Christmas Box
by Richard Paul Evans
SUGGESTED VIEWING/LISTENING:

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
by Bing Crosb
y and David Bowie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQwwCRiDZQ
This is Bing Crosby and David Bowie in a duet from Bing's 1977 Christmas show. We see Crosby at the very end. Less than two weeks after this segment was taped, he collapsed and died on a Madrid golf course of a massive heart attack. He was seventy-four. The program aired posthumously.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Out of Iraq

"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

George W. Bush
State of the Union address
28 January 2003

My! My! What a difference sixteen little words makes!

"It was a stupid fucking war."

-Molly Ivins on the subject of Vietnam

There will be no L
ife magazine photo of a fired-up sailor embracing an unwitting passerby in a spontaneous, passionate kiss. There will be no jubilant celebration in Time Square or at the Hollywood Bowl or the Boston Commons - or anywhere else for that matter. There will be no ticker-tape parades. The brave men and women who were used as pawns by these dirty old men should be honored and respected, but there is no reason to feel good about any of this except for the fact that it's finished. This stupid fucking war - a war that should never have been fought - is over and done with.

There is a tiny stretch of real estate where I live in Goshen called "Triangle Park". It borders North Church Street and Delta Place. It is directly across the street from the childhood home of my old pal Kevin Swanwick. When I need to do some serious thinking about something or other, I'll go there in the late afternoon and early evening; I just park my van, sit in the dark and think. That's where you would have found me last night. How was I going to write about the stupidest military blunder in the history of this country? Where does one even find the words? Do the needed adjectives even exist? This was gonna be tricky.

"Bring 'em on."

The question is determined to rear its ugly head: Why the hell were we there to begin with? Oh, right. Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction that he was about to unload on the helpless American people. The smoking gun would "come in the form of a mushroom cloud". Remember that line? Anyone with half-an-eye open at the time knew what a load of shit that claim was. Those of us who bother to pay attention to affairs of state knew damned well the reason George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were literally hellbent on going into that country: Iraq sits on an ocean of oil. Their scheme failed miserably. The American occupation of Iraq got horrifically out-of-control within three months of its start. By the summer of 2003, the mission became a pathetic attempt to save face. When the premise for invading was finally and irrevocably exposed as the lie it was, the mission became one of "nation building".

Nation building? Just take a good look at the "nation" these homicidal assholes h
ave "built".

George W. Bush. It still infuriates me that this half-witted little bastard called the White House "home" for eight, long years - the same house that Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt once lived in. Here's a clip from the very first piece I ever posted on this site on June, 2, 2006:

"In November of 2000, when the voters of the United States of America foolishly sent this moron to the executive mansion, we effectively pointed the proverbial loaded pistol at our own collective head. Four years later, on Election Day 2004 - make no mistake about it- we pulled the trigger."

My opinion hasn't changed in five-and-a-half years.

Was Iraq worse than Vietnam as some have implied? Certainly not in terms of lives lost, thank goodness. But in terms of the damage done to our economy and infrastructure, Iraq clearly wins out. Also we need to be reminded that Vietnam only gradually evolved into the quagmire it eventually became. In the case of Iraq America stupidly dove headfirst and smiling - eyes wide open - into the muck. For the first time in history, taxes on the rich were actually lowered during a time of war. Saddam Hussein was going to destroy us we were led to believe. It was a lie of course. We destroyed ourselves quite handily thank you very much. We didn't need Saddam Hussein.

What is the fin
al tally of American servicemen and women killed? Four-thousand? Five-thousand? I lost count a long time ago. The amusing thing is that they still tell us (with faces as straight as a two-by-four I swear) that these unfortunate victims "died to keep us free". Here's a fact that no one wants to acknowledge: They died in vain. Every single one of them. They only died to increase Halliburton's coffers. They only died so that Corporate America might score some megabucks on the killing fields of Baghdad. Operation Iraqi "Freedom" will be remembered as the world's first privatized war. They died to keep us free? Bullshit. I'm a lot less free than I was on the night of March 20, 2003 when the United States invaded the (like it or not) sovereign nation of Iraq. You're a lot less free, too. You don't believe me? Three words: "The Patriot Act". Need I elaborate?

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-Benjamin Franklin

Hardly any of us knew anyone doing the actual fighting in this debacle. In almost a decade of war, I only knew one serviceman stationed in Iraq, and only casually at that; a guy named Irving Media. He was killed when the vehicle he was riding in hit an Improvised Explosive Device. His broken body lies about two miles from where I now sit, at the Orange County Veterans Cemetery which is located
at the edge of the village of Goshen, New York. Irving Media died in vain.

What is the final tally of Iraqi men, women and little children killed in this atrocity? Here's the punchline: Nobody seems to know. Nobody bothered to keep an eye on the numbers. They can't even give us a rough estimate. Isn't that a scream? Some human rights organizations believe that the number is well-over a million souls lost to the Bush Mob's greed and stupidity. We'll never know how many innocents died in that stupid fucking war.

And finally, what is the final tally of men and women whose injuries on the battlefield were so severe they will be dependent upon assisted living for the rest of their lives? Somewhere around thirty-thousand or more. How many men and women have been so psychologically damaged by the trauma of Iraq that all they can look forward to are lives fraught with emotional dysfunction? No one has any idea. We'll be living with the sick legacy of the Iraq war for a long time into the future. Here is something you need to keep in mind: The last surviving American veteran of World War One ("The war to end all wars") passed away only a couple of months ago. A long time indeed

War is over
If you want it
War is over - NOW

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Given the fact that he was murdered during the Christmas season, this is the time of year when I feel John's absence from our lives the most. I often wonder what he would have had to say about all of this. No doubt he would have written a song or two about that stupid fucking war. We really could use him now. A tip of the hat to the jackass who decided that his life had to be terminated,

So let's try to be optimistic. "Always look on the bright side of life", as Monty Python instructed us. The war in Iraq - or American involvement in it anyway - is finally, mercifully over. Now we need to set ourselves to the task of putting our house back in order. How do we do that? It's Easy!

VOTE REPUBLICAN!

I'm sorry, I was only kidding

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net


SUGGESTED READING (or viewing)

"Fair Game"

Valerie Plame's excellent book recounted the persecution she and her husband Joe Wilson were subject to after he revealed to the world that the Bush Mob's justification for invading Iraq was a goddamned lie. It has been made into a movie which is out on DVD. Read it. Watch it.


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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Vfp48laS8

Happy Christmas, folks!

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

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

See you there!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We are the People of the Year

When FOX Noise got the word, they predictably hit the rhetorical roof. How dare they compare those filthy hippies in Zuccotti Park to the good people of the Arab Spring who are fighting for the rights that have been denied to them for too long! Uber-dunce Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts of FOX and Friends, giddily noted that Time Magazine had in the past awarded the "Man of the Year" title to the likes of Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. It went right over the head of this jackass that the title "person of the year" is not necessarily a judgement of someone's "niceness", but rather that person's capacity as a news-maker. That's why the Ayatolla Khomeini was named Time's 1979 Man of the Year - and not the cast of One Day at a Time. What an idiot.

I am the person of the year. So are you.

You don't
have to be down in Zuccotti Park. You don't have to be on the streets of Oakland, California or Madison, Wisconsin or Austin, Texas or South Bend, Indiana. You won't have to be out in Ulme Park in Poughkeepsie, NY this afternoon at 4 PM in order to be a part of this movement. That's why the worldwide Occupy movement is so frightening, not only to the corporate media, but to our "rulers" as well. Jello Biafra (photo left) is the former lead singer of the legendary political punk band The Dead Kennedys. He is today a lecturer who has released a number of spoken-word CD's on his Alternative Tentacles record label . Ten years ago, in a statement that is truly sunning in hindsight, he advised us, "Don't criticize the media, become the media!" A decade ago his words left some of us scratching our clueless heads. Today we know what he was talking about. We are the media. The revolution is being televised!

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

The order is rapidly fading. We are no longer reliant on the three-network-monte game for our news and information. It's no longer just the cab
le news channels that corner the market of ideas. The old media is now almost irrelevant. You and I are now the nightly news. You and I are now Huntley and Brinkley. You and I are now the managing editors of this broadcast. ABC, NBC and CBS no longer hold all the cards. Although I do miss the Ed Sullivan Show - I gotta tell ya.

With our laptops and our iPhones we are grabbing this country by the lapels and shaking it back into consciousness. Fifty years ago all we had to rely on were a handful of antique mimeograph machines. This is something else entirely. This is an information revolution. Will the plutocracy try to shut us down? Maybe. They'll never know what hit them if they do though. Yesterday Mitch McConnell was threatening - once again - to shut the government down. That's nothing! We can shut this entire country down if we want to. I know we can do it, too. They may have the money; we've got the numbers. Power to the people, ya dig? This is for keeps, baby! We are the media. We are their worst nightmare come-to-life a thousandfold. We are tens-of-millions of Hunter Thompsons risen from the dead. Wow! Just picture that! That's what I call a Ralph Steadman sketch waiting to happen! Ralph???

I've had enough of reading things
By NEU-rotic, PSY-chotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want
is some truth!
Just gimme some truth!

-John Lennon

Get the message out. You don't need to be a rock star or a journalist or a reporter or a poet
laureate. You don't need to be a bestselling author or a Nobel Prize-winning scientist or an Oscar-winning actor. You don't need to be Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore or Noam Chomskey or Keith Olbermann (although it helps). You don't need to own a computer. You don't even need access to one. Spread the message the old fashioned way: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. I had one published
just last week. And if all of the above fail, go to your nearest mountaintop and shout the truth from there!

"How lo
ng? NOT LONG!"

-Martin Luther King

These are the salad days of a movement that is going to turn America - and the planet earth - around. How long it will take is anybody's guess; but I cannot help but be inspired by the good Doctor King's words. I'm also reminded of Supreme Court Justice Lois Brandeis when he said that America will either have one of two things: extreme income inequality or democracy. It cannot - it will not - have both. Yeah. We're gonna have democracy alright. You can take that to the bank. On second thought, stuff it under the mattress. It's probably safer there.

You want all the proof you need that we are now living in a plutocratic dictatorship? Here it is:

Just suppose for a minute that I was the supervisor of a small village somewhere in upstate New York. I once ran for supervisor of Goshen so we'll make that our hypothetical location. Now imagine that at a Town Hall meeting one night, I cheerfully announced to the hardworking citizens of that lovely little burg that I had "misplaced" a hundred-thousand dollars in taxpayer money - their money. What do you think would happen to me? They would drag me out of the place in handcuffs. They would then hang me from the nearest tree. Come to think about it, that's probably what would have happened eventually. I'm awfully glad I lost that election. Honestly.

Now picture this if you will: Just a few days ago, former New Jersey Governor and billionaire John Corzine admitted to a panel of lawmakers that the investment firm that he was the head of "misplaced" over a billion dollars in investors' money. Now just what the hell do you think happened to him? He was allowed to walk out of the place, free as a freakin' bird. Does it puzzle you just a tad that no one from Goldman Sachs is not at this moment rotting in federal prison - or has even been brought up on charges??? We're living under a plutocratic dictatorship. Open your eyes. Take action NOW.

Wasn't deregulation a really neat idea? And they say they can't understand our rage? HELLO???

The Democrats in general - and President Obama in particular - would be foolish to try and capitalize on this rage. If they had bothered to remember a long time ago that they are (or were) the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had had the guts to stand up to the right wing extremism of the last three decades, we probably wouldn't be brow-deep in the economic quagmire we find ourselves in today. That worthless party is within five years of finding themselves where the Republicans are at this moment; beyond redemption. If they know what's good for them they'll clean up their act - pretty damned quick. They have got to stop nominating these pathetic, right wing Blue Dogs. Otherwise, within the next five years a new party will emerge from the wreckage of their incompetence and indifference.

This week the spokespersons for the plutocracy have been predicting the end of the movement which is now engulfing the world. The joke's on them. I really hate to be quoting the Carpenters here but Frank Zappa doesn't have anything apropos for this particular moment: "We've only just begun".

Everybody sing!! "SHARING HORIZONS THAT ARE NEW TO US!!!" I'm sorry. I'll stop.

See you at the occupation, kiddies!

Tom Degan
Defeated 2000 Candidate for Supervisor of Goshen, New York
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED READING:

Lincoln at Gettysburg
by Gary Wills

"....and that government - of the people, by the people, for the people - shall not perish from the earth."

Imagine that.

AFTERTHOUGHT:

I'm not the only person ranting out there in cyberspace, folks. Here is a link to a new blog by a guy named Bryan Raines. It ain't too shabby:

Time to Rant

It's time for all of us to do some serious ranting. Seriously.

Please, join me on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/tomdegan

Cheers!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tom Degan's Fantasy Flashback

Imagine....

UPI, Washington DC - September 20 1969:


John Lennon, the most "far-out" of the Fabulous Beatles, met with President Richard M. Nixon today in the Oval Office at the White House.
During the two-hour meeting Mr. Lennon and the president discussed among other things, world peace, the famine in Bangla Desh, the aspirations of American youth and the best way of removing resin from a Chinese water-pipe. After presenting Mr. Nixon with a copy of "Two Virgins" a record he made with his Japanese wife Yoko Ono, the president gave Mr. Lennon a copy of the album, "Mantovani Plays the Music of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg". According to Chief of staff H.R.Haldeman, the two men also shared four tabs of blotter acid.
At the meeting's conclusion Mr. Lennon told the assembled press in the Rose Garden, "He's not a bad fellow deep down, I think. He just needs to expand his mind a little, you know?"
An hour later Mr. Nixon was found by his aid Charles Colson under the large conference table in the cabinet meeting room, singing "Everybody's Got Something to Hide 'cept for Me and My Monkey", trying to amputate his own feet with an antique emery board.
******************
In memory of Doctor Winston O'Boogie (1940-1980) who left this world thirty-one years ago tonight.
`
Tom Degan
tomdegan@frontiernet.net
`
SUGGESTED READING:
LENNON: The Man, the Myth, the Music - The Definitive Life
by Tim Riley
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BslpXO4oha4
Wherever you are, you are here....

Join me on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/tomdegan

John Lennon and Richard Nixon would have approved.

Monday, December 05, 2011

PROOF: Corporations are not People

Corporations - corporations who need corporations
Are the luckiest corporations in the world....

I wrote this little ditty nearly two years ago, just a few days after the Roberts Court's disgusting Citizens United v FEC ruling. I've taken it out of the archives and given it a dusting off. It's proof - legal proof - that corporations are not persons. This is such a no-brainer that it's awkward having to explain it to certain people. It's almost like having to explain to a grown adult why it gets dark at night. Here it is:

Ascribing humanity to a corporation, to a company like Exxon or Disney for example, raises too many questions to even list here. But let's at least attempt to ask a few of them, shall we, boys and girls? Here goes....

Are corporations really persons?

Do corporations think?

Do corporations weep?

Do corporations fall in love?

Do corporations grieve when a loved one dies as a result of a lack of adequate health care?

Do corporations have loved ones?

Are corporations even capable of loving?

Do corporations sometimes lose sleep at night worrying about disease, violence, destruction, and the suffering of their fellow human beings?

Do corporations feel your pain?

Can a corporation run for public office?

Is a corporation capable of having a sense of humor? Is it capable of laughing at itself? (EXAMPLE: "So these two corporations walk into a bar....")

If a corporation ever committed an unspeakable crime against the American people, could IT be sent to federal prison? (Note the operative word here: "It")

Can a corporation register to vote?

We all know that corporations have made a shit-load of cash throughout our history by profiting on the unspeakable tragedy of war. But has a corporation ever given its life for its country?

Is a corporation capable of raising a child?

Does a corporation have a conscience? Does it feel remorse after it has done something really bad?

Has a corporation ever been killed in an accident as the result of a design flaw in the automobile it was driving?

Has a corporation ever written a novel or a dramatic play or a song that inspired millions?

Has a corporation ever risked its life by climbing a ladder to save a child from a burning house?

Has a corporation ever won an Oscar? Or an Emmy? Or a Tony? Or the Nobel Peace Prize? Or a Polk or Peabody Award? Or the Pulitzer Prize in Biography?

Has a corporation ever performed Schubert's Ave Maria?

Has a corporation ever been shot and killed by someone who was using an illegal and unregistered gun?

Has a corporation ever paused to reflect upon the simple beauty of an autumn sunset or a brilliant winter moon rising on the horizon?

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise if there are no corporations there to hear it?

Should corporations kiss on the first date?

Could a corporation resolve to dedicate its life to being an artist? Or a musician? Or an opera singer? Or a Catholic priest? Or a rabbi? Or a Doctor? Or a Dentist? Or a sheet metal worker? Or a gourmet chef? Or a short-order cook? Or a magician? Or a nurse? Or a trapeze artist? Or an author? Or an editor? Or a Thrift Shop owner? Or a EMT worker? Or a book binder? Or a Hardware Store clerk? Or a funeral director? Or a sanitation worker? Or an actor? Or a comedian? Or a glass blower? Or a chamber maid? Or a film director? Or a newspaper reporter? Or a deep sea fisherman? Or a farmer? Or a piano tuner? Or a jeweler? Or a janitor? Or a nun? Or a Trappist Monk? Or a poet? Or a pilgrim? Or a bar tender? Or a tar bender? Or a used car salesman? Or a brick layer? Or a mayor? Or a soothsayer? Or a Hall-of-Fame football player? Or a soldier? Or a sailor? Or a butcher? Or a baker? Or a candlestick maker?

Could a corporation choose to opt out of all the above and merely become a bum? Living life on the road, hopping freight trains and roasting mickeys in the woods?

I realize that this is pure theological speculation on my part but the question is just screaming to be posed: When corporations die, do they go to Heaven?

Our lives - yours and mine - have more worth than any goddamned corporation. To say that the Supreme Court made a awful decision in Citzens United v FEC is an understatement. Not only is it an obscene ruling, it is an insult to our humanity.

Tom Degan
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

Join me on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/tomdegan

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

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Shameful, left wing propaganda. I TELLS YA, THERE OUGHTTA BE A FREAKIN' LAW!!!

keep voting republican. there will be.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Newt? NEWT???

"Start with the following two facts: Really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash' - unless it's illegal."

Newt Gingrich, December 1, 2011
as quoted yesterday in Charles Blow's New York Times column
(
I saw it on TV, too!)

Poor people don't work. Poor children only work at doing things that are illegal. Ya gotta love 'im. You just gotta!

It's official and unavoidable: My man Newt Gingrich is SURGING ahead in the polls! To make matters worse (or better - depending upon where you're coming from) since Herman Cain announced the end of his train wreck of a campaign yesterday, his supporters are now looking for a new home. Call it a silly hunch on my part, but methinks most of them will find a kindred soul in the Newtster. Has my luck really gotten this good? Eek Gads! This is too goo
d to be true. Thank you, fate!

Certain
people on "THE LEFT" went into a bit of a tantrum after hearing a comment made the other day by Bill Clinton. When asked why Gingrich's poll numbers were shooting up so rapidly, Clinton replied (and I'm paraphrasing) to the effect that Republican primary voters were merely reacting to Newt's "sensible" ideas. "What?" they cried out in unison, "Sensible ideas? Has Clinton lost his mind???" Sure he has. Old Bill is crazy - like a fox.

That's what
I love about Bubbah. The man is one smoooooth operator, baby! They didn't call the guy "Slick Willie" for nothing, that's for sure. If I were a more widely-read writer (Yeah, I'm barely a cult figure, I'll admit it) I would never say this out loud for fear of jinxing Newt's momentum. Here's what's happening, folks: Old Bill knows damned well that he's one of the most popular and admired ex-presidents in history. If he comes out and publicly states that Gingrich's ideas are not all that outrageous - but are, in fact, "sensible" a lot of the halfwits within the GOP's constituency will holler:

"Whoa! Lookie yonder, Martha! Even ol' Bill Clinton thinks Newt's a'barkin' up the right tree! He's got mah vote!"

He's one wily sum'bitch, that Bill Clinton!

Poor Mitt Romney. It's easy to feel sorry for the guy. Not that I would ever vote for him you understand. I would drink a cocktail of vodka and battery acid before I ever voted for the likes of Mitt Romney. Still, there is a certain....Oh, what's the word...."Pathos?"....in the spectacle of a man coming face-to-face with the ugly reality that even his own people can't stand him. It's obvious that he wanted to settle some old scores for no other reason than the honor of his late father. In the summer of 1968 Governor George Romney of Michigan was in a fight-to-the-death struggle with old Dick Nixon for the Republican nomination. At a campaign appearance somewhere, the senior Romney was asked how he had changed his position on the Vietnam war from that of staunch supporter to viciously opposed. His answer? "I was brainwashed."

Brainwashed?
A man seeking the presidency admits that he can be "brainwashed"? George Romney's campaign was as dead as a doornail from that moment on.

Mitt hasn't given up hope and for damned good reason. Poor old Newt has the nasty habit of flaming out just as things are starting to look up for him. It's only a matter of time before he foolishly blurts out something too weird even for the right wing extremists who are now the "norm" in that disgusting party. Or worse - he might say something thoughtful and intelligent - the kiss of death for any Republican candidate these days. That's what destroyed the Rick Perry campaign. When he claimed that anyone who would separate an illegal immigrant from his or her family "has no heart" his campaign was toast and jelly. It wasn't all of the idiotic things emanating from his mouth that killed his chances. It was one genuine moment of human compassion. That's what kind of party the Republicans have become.

It's oodles of fun these days to watch a moderately intelligent guy like Romney stumbling around the country saying all sorts of mind-jarringly stupid things. He knows that this is the only way to appeal to the chowderheads - particularly in the Deep South and Midwest - who vote in Republican primaries. Say what you want about Mitt Romney, unlike most of the contenders for the nomination the man knows what he's doing.

Newt Gingrich can win the Iowa caucuses later this month very handily if he plays his deck-full-of-jokers right. After that it's onto New Hampshire where the rabidly right wing paper, the Manchester Union Leader, endorsed his candidacy last week. This was an embarrassment from which Mitt has yet to recover. He is, after all, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts. If Newt is able to take New Hampshire, the next major contest is in South Carolina, where Romney hasn't the chance of tadpole in boiling water. By then the Gingrich Express will be an out-of-control, unstoppable freight train. George Romney must be doing somersaults in his grave.

Ain't politics fun?

From "The Rant" March 16, 2011:

"It isn't very often that one happens upon a politician as delightfully sleazy as Newt Gingrich. The man is a walking, talking caricature. Thomas Nast - the legendary nineteenth-century political cartoonist most famous for his drawings of New York's corrupt Boss Tweed - would have loved the Newtster! This is the same guy who had eighty-four ethics charges filed against him during the four years he served as speaker of the House of Representatives."

And it's not merely his questionable past when it comes to the tricky subject of ethics that he'll be dealing with. Overt corruption seems not to mean a damned thing to a lot of conservative voters. What he does have to worry about will be the fact that he's been married three times - which is not likely to play too well with your average Tea partier - trust me on this one, boys and girls. To quote the great Cuban conga player and band leader Ricky Ricardo, Newt has "got some "splaining to do".

Here is a guy who served his first wife with divorce papers while she was layiug in a hospital bed recuperating from cancer surgery! Although the poor gal did not die (and is still very much alive I'm happy to say) for all Newt or anybody else knew, she might very well have been on her death bed - cancer being such an iffy thing. But wait, it gets worse - or, for my purposes - better:

In 1998, while he was leading the charge to remove Bill Clinton from office for lying about having an affair with a half-witted intern, Newt himself was was cheating on his second wife - whom he would eventually divorce before marrying the woman he was having the fling with. Class act that Newt Gingrich, huh?

And with Newt Gingrich as their nominee, how would it look to the family values mob, knowing that their potential First Lady was just some damned common hussy who had fooled around with a married man? This act might not play too well down in Dixie - but you never know with this bunch. They are drooling so to get this Socialist/Kenyan/Negro out of the White House, they'd probably forgive Newt if it was revealed to them that he was a member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

Barack Obama is the luckiest politician in all recorded human history. I envy the man. Think about it: First, fate generously places as his opponent for the senate a genuine headcase like Alan Keyes. Then a few short years later he makes a try for the presidency and has the good fortune to be faced against befuddled John McCain and Fascist Barbie. And now, four years later....I mean, just look at these people!

This is gonna be as easy as shooting a school of half-witted fish in a leaky barrel. President Obama is the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Lou Gehrig must be smiling, I just know it.

I am looking forward to the campaign of 2012 like a seven-year-old kid looks forward to Christmas morning. All my bets are on Obama. The GOP nominee will be Newt or Mitt. Gingrich will scare the bejeezus out of moderates and Romney will not - under any circumstances - inspire "the base" to come out en masse. The religious bigots who have hijacked that party hate the idea of a Mormon in the White House almost as much as they do the idea of a black guy living there. Also there is the fact that Romney is viewed by these clowns as - WAIT FOR IT - a "liberal". It doesn't get much stupider than this. It really doesn't.

This morning on CBS's Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer referred to to this comical mess as the "wackiest Republican primary ever". He wasn't exaggerating. For someone that makes his or her name commenting on the masterpiece of stupidity and incompetence that American politicians now embody, these are grand days indeed to be alive. When George W. Bush was wrecking havoc upon the land, I never dreamed that things could ever again get as weird as that. I'm am happy to tell you that the current crop of mediocrities seeking the highest office this side of the Milky Way have proven me wrong. In fact, I'm not just happy to tell you this, I'm downright giddy about the whole thing.

Somebody pinch me please.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

SUGGESTED READING:

Here is a link to a very cool Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Republican-Bigotry-Hate-Fear-Lies-and-Distortion/174612345903369?sk=wall&filter=1/"

Here is a link to Charles Blow's column on Newt quoted above:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/03/opinion/blow-newts-war-on-poor-children.html?_r=1

Have a grand week, everyone!