Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woody Guthrie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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


At 6:01 AM, Blogger sumo said...

That about sums it up I'd say.

At 6:02 AM, Blogger landsker said...

Nice post, Tom. Isn`t it true that patriotism is not inherited, but something that must be learned, seems like new teachers are required.
Happy holidays to you.

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've written beautifully and powerfully about a tragic truth. Americans have become a compromised people, the result of assuming our leaders are "doing the best they can" and have "good intentions." The awful truth is that almost every aspect of our lives is being controlled by elitist groups who don't give a damn about us. Actually they do, in the sense a parasite cares if its host lives or dies.

It's the way things are in politics, education, religion, health care (my special bugaboo!) and the institutions that control our food and money. Is there anything else I've left out? The pattern of deception and manipulation pervades every important institution in our lives, with the possible exception of the arts.

The most patriotic thing one can do is to try to wake people up to the fact that they are unwittingly hosting and supporting a nasty bunch of parasites. I feel sorry for my children who will face a choice in life of acquiescence and compliance or a neverending battle with authority.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS The photo is a nice touch. You managed to look like a scoundrel.

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tom,

Another excellent rant and this time you have really touched on one of my main concerns which is our indebtedness to China. Most people in this country are so totally clueless that they are not even aware of the great threat this poses to our economy. At some point these debts, like chickens, will come home to roost.

As far The Patriots, you are absolutely right on. When I see one of them coming all wrapped up in the flag, I want to run the other way.

Best wishes to you and all of your fellow readers for a wonderful holiday season. Remember, just a few more days to 2007 and let us hope and pray that this year we can turn things around and get this country back on a better track.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom, Sad but true. That cabal of crooks, liars and thieves calling themselves the Bush administration has desecrated my flag in ways that protesters of all stripes could never do and I am mad as hell. They are using the flag as a cover for raping the country while enriching themselves on a scale never before seen ANYWHERE.
I have always thought the flag was beautiful since I was a small child and saw it flying free, then on the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor and the flag-raising photo at Iwo Jima presently immortalized in the statue in DC.
Where it really stands out is a display showing flags of all nations which I first remember seeing at the internatiional airport at Rhein Main Germany and later at Bonn on Embassy Row. also we were living on Fort Bliss Texas when Kennedy was shot and I looked out the window and saw the flag on the post cemetery was lowered to half-staff and knew he was dead. Just look at a display and see which flag stands out. These lowlifes have the nerve to wrap themselves in the flag that men and women have died for and proclaim they are patriotic because they want to pass a damn fool anti flag burning amendment which would be as effective as the no spitting on the sidewalks used to be.
As for this land is my land they are Keerekt there, the land belongs to the upper 1% these days.
As for patriotism they wouldn't recognize it if it bit them in the rear. Where were they when their country needed them? THEN Cheney had "other priorities", Bush was drunked out, stoned out and spaced out and I forget what Rummy's excuse was but he is yesterday's news, gone but his misdeeds will not be forgotten for generations to come.
Also their phony Christianity has also caught up with them. Any fool knows Christ would never sanction what they do in His name. Christ was clearly for separation of church and state with His "render unto Caesar" reply to the heckler, and I think he would reply to Bush's "faith based iniative" the same way He did to the money changers in the Temple, He would throw the bums out, even if Pat Robertson did tell George God wanted Bush to be President for 4 more years.
with Bush's personal financial history one would think he would be wise to loan sharks but as with everything else it seems he failed to learn seeing how he has sold us to China exceeds the scale Poppy and Reagan sold us to Japan. Everybody was shocked SHOCKED!! when the Japanese held title to most of the Hawaiian Islands and started to move into Times square but wait till Mandarin is the language spoken on Wall Street and the UnitedStates Treasury.

At 3:13 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

Dear Tom,
This is surely one of your finest essays. We have seen such a terrible distortion of the meaning of "patriotism" in the last 6 years. It has been desecrated almost beyond comprehension. I have often felt I was back in Germany in the 30's looking over a sea of fanatic faces screaming "Deutschland Uber Alles!"
Especially,after the invasion of Iraq, the atmosphere in this country was poisonous and hysterical. Blood lust was in the air. Reason and logic were deemed unpatriotic. It was either goosestep in line or be threatened and shouted down. That kind of national hysteria is very frightening. It is toxic and destructive. It is counter to the freedom envisioned by our forefathers, who championed freedom of speech. Instead, we had a menancing Dick Cheney growling and snarling and having dissenters arrested or denied entrance to supposedly public forums. We had cops harrassing people in shopping malls for wearing T-shirts with protest logos. And, worst of all, we had the Mainstream Media beating the war drums so loudly that they basically became another branch of the Whitehouse PR spin system. Some of this has softened, but only superficially. Escalating the troop numbers in Iraq is being referred to by the Media as a "troop surge." The MSM laps it up and feeds it to the public with nary a thought of "here we go again." They pick up on all of these supposed Master-Mind Terrorist Plots and trot them out on the front page. When it is later shown to have been a bunch of hooey, they bury the story in some small-print paragraph deep within the bowels of the paper. Or, as with the networks, they don't mention it at all. The Fourth Estate is dead as a doorknob, and truth suffers for it. Yet, they would scream from the rafters that they are patriotic.
Patriotism,like any good concept, when taken to an extreme and drastically distorted, becomes negative. It hides a wide spectrum of sins from racism, bigotry and scapegoating to the demolition
of Habeus Corpus and advocating torture. A true patriot would seek to maintain our Constitutional freedoms, not dismantle them. A true patriot would attempt to gain honor for his/her country by acting with integrity, decency and morality in a troubled world. A true patriot would not start a war based on lies and manipulation, and send the youth of the country to die for oil, war-profiteering and one man's insane obsession. A true patriot would be open to dialogue with other countries, would promote human rights, would reach out with a helping hand, not a guided missle. Yes, we have had to fight for our freedom. The reasons were clear and the danger imminent. Terrorism is an international threat, not only to the United States but to much of the world. The War in Iraq has not quelled this threat. It has increased it substantially. A true patriot would have avoided that result for the sake of the country.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Hey there! Nice posts - Patricia, Wilma and Tamara. I'm glad you all liked the piece! I wasn't too sure about it and was thinking about redoing it all togeteher. Truth be told, that was one of the few pieces I wrote just before I went to bed (as opposed to first thing in the morning) and I had had a couple of drinks. I guess it ain't too bad at that!
Tom Degan

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to paraphrase Give'emhellharry, you told the truth and they think it is hell. While they are reading the Bible(IF they do) they should read what it says about hypocrits. As my mother used to say. "you can go to hell for lying as fast as you can for stealing". Since they do both on a daily, nay hourly basis,they should rethink their actions

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Palooka's Revenge said...

excellent post tom!

merry christmas to you and yours..... p

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Blake said...

Haunting memories of a song by Simon and Garfunkle come to mind- Narrative of Vietnam War reports with a soulful "Silent Night" playing over/under narration of the death and destruction

Dr. Rick Lippin

At 9:47 AM, Blogger billie said...

i hope that you are correct tom. i have been hanging by a thread of hope since 2000. good thing it is a steel rod thread of hope :) happy holidays to you and yours- see you back here in 2007 to get that boot warmed up for kicking these morons to the curb!

At 7:16 AM, Blogger sumo said...

Merry Christmas up and be joyous while you can.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

And so this is Christmas
And What have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

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

John Lennon 1973

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom, A Merry Christmas to you too. I wish I could say Joy to the World but so many places have no joy including right here in the good old USA. May the new year bring better things

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>A true patriot would not start a war based on lies and manipulation, and send the youth of the country to die for oil, war-profiteering and one man's insane obsession.

A true patriot would not make baseless accusations against a sitting US president that he (nor anyone else) can substantiate. A true patriot would continue to use his brain instead of getting swept up in an insane obsession against one man. A true patriot would be clear-headed enough to realize that dozens of countries joined in the Iraq invasion and would therefore conclude that only an irrational clown would conclude it was "one man's insane obsession."

A true patrtiot would be non-partisan enough to acknowledge that the decision to invade Iraq was based on decisions by both Republicans and Democrats. A true patriot would acknowledge the following quotes as valid, take them to heart, realize he's been a bit over-zealous, retract his overly-emotional mischaracterizations of President Bush and history in general, and resolve not to be so divisive in the future:

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
- Madeline Albright, Feb. 18, 1998.

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb. 18, 1998.

"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry ( D - MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
- Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001.

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002.

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
- Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapon stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002.

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002.

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to mis-calculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23, 2003.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any questions?

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Thank you for your submission. It is certainly well written and thoughtful.

Secondly, I am always flattered whenever anyone (for whatever reason) researches the archives of "The Rant". As this one was written slightly over two years ago, I do sincerely appreciate it.

First of all, let me reassure you that I am not an apologist for the Democrats. I am not even registered to that silly party. I left the Dems over a decade ago and never looked back. But it should not be forgotten that there are more than enough Democrats at whose doorstep the blame for the obscenity of the Iraq was may be properly blamed, it is President Bush who bares the ultimate responsibility.

The reason I was dead set against the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was because of the vote she cast to give Bush the authority to invade without the constitutionally mandated congressional authorization.

Happy 2009 to you!

All the best,

Tom Degan


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