Friday, May 16, 2008


"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
January 20, 1961

If my name were Kevin James, let me tell you what I would do: First, I would pick up a shovel, find a remote location somewhere out in the middle of a forest, and I would dig a deep hole (although not quite as deep as the one he dug for himself last night on MSNBC's Hardball). I would then place myself in that whole, and I would stay there for as long as it took for me to age to the degree where I was no longer even recognizable to my own family. When I emerged from that hole after a period of a decade and a half or so, I would change my name - just for good measure, you understand.
The evening of May 15, 2008 was a night that will go down in history as one of the golden moments of Cable News Talk. When Chris Matthews dies (which I sincerely hope isn't for a very, very long time), the televised obituaries will carry the clip. Oh, I could view it all day and into the night and never get tired of it. The irony of it all is that last night was one of the few nights I didn't watch Hardball. I was dining with a friend at a Japanese restaurant in Monroe, NY called the Plum House. (By the way, if, perchance, you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I highly recommended the place). It was only when I woke up this morning that I managed to catch the interview in all its juicy entirety. What a delight! It was as good as it gets. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Mr. Matthews!

First a little background. Yesterday, in a speech delivered in Israel, the man who was installed as president of the United States by an ideologically perverted Supreme court almost eight years ago, made a clumsy and ignorant reference to the Democratic nominee (Get used to the idea, Hillary) Barack Obama and his stubborn insistence that a nation must negotiate with its ideological enemies. Accusing the Illinois senator of appeasement, our esteemed halfwit-in-chief made the following incredible (given the location) statement:

"As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator [William Borah of Idaho] declared, 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is: the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

The First Fool refuses to understand the first rule of international diplomacy: You talk to your friends. You negotiate with your enemies.
That is why this administration's foreign policy has been such a sick joke and an unprecedented catastrophe.

On last night's installment of Hardball, Chris Matthews highlighted two opposing opinions with regard to the "appeasement" argument: Mark Green, President of Air America Radio, and Kevin James, a shrill, right wing talk show host who broadcasts out of Los Angeles. At one point, this nitwit used the appeasement of Hitler by the British government in 1938 as a modern day analogy to negotiating with Hamas. During the interview, he seemed to be giving the impression that he didn't know the difference between negotiation and appeasement. He didn't. The guy didn't even have an eighth grade level knowledge of world history. Said Chris, "Tell me what Neville Chamberlain did." For four or five minutes - but what must have seemed like four or five hours to Kevin James - he stayed glued to the main message of the GOP's talking points and could only shout out the same, stupid message:


He had absolutely no idea of the details of the infamous Munich Conference of September 1938 that enabled Hitler to annex a huge portion of Czechoslovakia, nor the "peace in our time" debacle that resulted from it. It was obvious that he didn't even know who the hell Neville Chamberlain was. The "discussion" (if that's what you want to call it) ended this way:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You don't know what you're talking about, Kevin. You don't know what you're taking about. Tell me what Chamberlain did wrong.

KEVIN JAMES: Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, Chris! Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, all right?

CM: I've been sitting here for five minutes asking you to say what the president was referring to in 1938 at Munich.

KJ: I don't know.

CM: You don't know, thank you.

Twenty-four times Matthews tried to get this screaming jackass to define Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler in Munich seventy years ago. Twenty-four times James just could not do it. It really was a beautiful thing to behold. A shell shocked and somewhat embarrassed Mark Green, watching this spectacle transpire before his disbelieving eyes, was finally able to blurt out, "Kevin, when you're in a hole, you stop digging." To think that this nitwit actually gets paid as a political commentator - and I write this stuff for nothing. Life is sort of funny that way, isn't it?

Ah! It was classic, right wing, unintentional comedy at its finest! One of the joys of any progressive with a warped sense of humor (that would include yours truly) is watching these assholes make utter fools of themselves. I mean, they're the gift that just keeps giving and giving! I remember a day back in 2000. I was driving through central Pennsylvania, listening to one of these reactionary twits bloviating from a station somewhere in Ohio. At the time, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was working for the presidential campaign of Al Gore. All of the sudden - to even my surprise (these knuckleheads really have to work at it to surprise me) - the guy starts criticizing Daley for his actions during the Democratic convention riots of 1968. My main point of contention with this silly argument is the inconvenient little fact that the Mayor Daley of 1968 was by this time long dead - having died in 1978, over two decades before! The Mayor Daley of 2000 was his son Richard, Jr. Because the signal was faint, I literally had to pull over to the side of the highway to listen. On and on he went for five or six minutes. I waited and waited for one of his staff or his many sycophantic callers to correct him on this major faux pas. Of course, not one of them had the intelligence to even notice that he had committed one. It truly was a sublime moment in the annals of far-right idiocy - as good as it gets.

The very fact that fools such as this have overtaken the people's airwaves since Reagan deregulated the FCC a generation ago is symptomatic as to why Americans in general are the most gut-bustingly stupid people on the planet. That really wasn't the case forty and fifty years ago. Our parents and grandparents went to the polls with a fairly good idea of what the critical issues were that this country might have been facing at any particular point in time. That is no longer true. At this moment, one of the main subjects of America's national political dialogue is whether or not Senator Obama is an "elitist" because of the type of food he prefers to eat. That's what it has come to! That's how dumbed down this country has become. Do you need any more evidence? Just take one good look at the inarticulate madman sitting in the Oval Office that a huge percentage (although not most) of American people naively sent to the White House - not once - but twice. Need I go on? I thought not. Please, If I sound to you a bit smug, forgive me but I've earned the right to be so. All true progressives have.

If you ever have a chance, check out the Kennedy/Nixon debates from September 1960. You can probably order a video of it to rent at your local library. The first thing one notices when viewing that historical event is the fact that both men, for the most part, are speaking as if they assume that the average citizen has an attention span of better than three seconds. Say what you want about Jack 'n' Dick, imperfect men thought they were (especially Nixon - Heavens to Betsy!), they both had a healthy respect for the intelligence of the American people. Now let us fast forward that tape to the autumn of 2000. When I videotaped the Gore/Bush debates, I labeled that particular cassette, "Dumb and Dumber: The Sequel". Seriously!

As the bumper sticker on my old pick up once declared, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." Thankfully, the public is finally starting to pay half-hearted attention to what is happening to their once-great nation. Sadly, it is not out of any sincere desire to learn and understand affairs of state, but only because events are starting to effect them personally - gas prices, the food crisis, the sinking economy, etc. But at least as the infrastructure of this country collapses all around us; as millions lose their jobs; as millions more are thrown into the kind of grinding, mass poverty America has not known since the gilded age of the Robber Barons over a century ago; as the middle class of this country slowly but surely ceases to even exist; as America confronts the coming socio-economic catastrophe brought on by three decades of corruption and incompetence....we will at least have the solace of knowing that the the loony right wing will be entertaining us into oblivion with gales of unintentional laughter for decades to come!

Thank goodness for these little blessings.

Tom Degan
from the Cornwall, NY Library
Here is a link to a video of the Matthews/James confrontation and meltdown. It literally has to be seen to be believed. Enjoy!


At 7:51 PM, Blogger Vagabond Musings said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

I saw that on television last night. It started off badly with Chris saying, "Why are you YELLING?" As Kevin James opened his mouth and started yelling never ONCE speaking.

I finally understood what my Shrink said, when he said, "Just wait until all those who have been to war change the Social Psychology of the entire USA."

We have something like 30% plus of our military returning with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), it will change the Social Psychology of the USA.

I have Severe Complex PTSD, and I had to hit the anti-anxiety drugs during that interview. I am trying to live within the world, not away from it. I know with certainty what I can and cannot watch, participate in, or even have in my house, even something as passive as BOOKS! Yes, it really DOES ENCOMPASS EVERYTHING.

What happens when 25% of your population has served overseas in a senseless war and developed a variety as severe as mine, or the families at home that have responsive PTSD?

You develop a culture of AVOIDANCE. A culture that doesn't want to, but has to for the sake of it's health.

I've watched, this match, today with the sound off, it is entertaining to see Chris and Mark Green in their shock at his stupidity and his inane insistence that he continue!

It's the screaming that sets off my symptomology, and I am sure it wouldn't do much for anyone who has been in a firefight or given an order to "clear zone."

PTSD triggers are strange things. Indeed. I manage to make my way in the world and successfully, but those of us with PTSD will never be cured, will always be on medication and learning to live with a disability.

How will the rest of the culture deal with the destruction they not only wrought overseas, but at home, cheered on by uneducated fools who have a large audience to fill with their Truth (aka LIES?

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Hey Tom, hey Prairie Waif

Lately there is a little bounce in my step, a little grin on my face, a little flutter in my heart....

Thanks Tom, for your rants. You don't know the good you have done.


At 11:41 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


Huckabee said it in PUBLIC! And the asinine 24/7 "news" clowns are circulating it like a flyer looking for the cousin of Sirhan Sirhan. . .

They better put more security on OUR CANDIDATE. My suggestion? Fire any that may still be attached to Huckabee and hire some Black Panthers. Where are Tommy Smith and John Carlos? I bet they could still run down a lie or anything else. . .

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

On the brighter side of things the Keith Oberman anti-bush rant the other night was remarkable!

See/hear it at


Dr. Rick Lippin

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Lorraine Grula said...

Watching Kevin James squirm was one of the funniest things i have seen in a VERY long time.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,
Thank you for this! I used the link and saw the whole hilarious exchange. It was delightful to see that obnoxious idiot exposed and silenced. It made my week!
Hopefully this incident will cause the next neurotic twit with half a brain and a big mouth thinking of a career in media to reconsider!
It's great to see knowledge and intelligence trump the "shrill factor"!
This is something I will share with my kids to illustrate why knowing history is so important...and knowing the difference between "appeasement" and "negotiation." Chris Mathews was brilliant.
As always, your rants are terrific.
fearless flower

At 4:28 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

Another wonderful and witty Rant, but also sad and disturbing to think that this kind of idiot is actually allowed a forum to address people, many of whom do not have the intellegence to think for themselves.

Our country is truly turning into a place where the inmates are running the insane asylum.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Dick said...

Tom...your commentary is worthy of a medal of freedom. You are consistantly more than the country speak truth to power on a level with Ton Hartman or Keith Olberman. Your voice is a real lantern in the dark and you're as pissed off as I am, which makes me very happy.
Dick Wagner
Scottsdale, Arizona

At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,
Hey, if you can stand to listen to it a couple more times, go through the audio of Bush speaking to the Knesset. Pay attention not to the content, but to the delivery. When he discusses war and bombing and other aggressive, reactive and instinctive concepts, he is smooth and relatively coherent. When he mentions peace or other reflective, deliberative concepts, he becomes the bumbler. He is clearly not a man at peace with peace.

FWIW, I do not think the American people put him in the White House twice, and I dont think they will send a Democrat in this fall, unless UN observers monitor the elections vary carefully.

Sorry to say, but the American Experiment is very nearly over.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...


This fuck stick is every bit the Neocon that Bush is! Ranting like a mad man about something that he knows nothing about!

Well here's what I know about Neville Chamberlain!

Neville Chamberlain repeatedly told the British People that only he had the real truth! That only he held the real intelligence! That they should all "Go home, and have a nice sleep", and let him deal with it!

Only when bombs dropped out of the London sky did they find out that the "real" truth, was not truth at all! That the good Mr. Chamberlain, knew not of what he spoke, or for that matter ignored any, and all intelligence to the contrary of what was his mindset!

When you consider Bush's headlong rush into war in Iraq. And the manner which he ignored any intelligence that suggested this was ill advised. And how he sought to defame, or destroy any person who disagreed with his assertions, you get the idea that his raising Mr Chamberlain's name from it's tomb in history was as ill-advised as his adventures in the Iraq!

Of course, since when did Bush ever do anything that made any sense!

Oh yea! The poor deluded fool that made the "if only I could have talked to Hitler" statement WAS A FUCKING REPUBLICAN!!!!!!!!!!

Enough said!

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Hey, Tom,

Republican shill Kevin James deserves all the humiliation that can be heaped upon him. Good job! Shine a light in the corner and the roaches do scatter.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

Well, the good thing about your blog is that it makes me look into things I have never thought were interesting until now. In this case though, I don´t think you or the previous posters are being objective about the broadcast. Yes, Kevin James was yelling, he did seem defensive from the start. But his adrelaline was up because he knew the other two guys were going to attack him. What did Prime Minister Chamberlain do wrong after all? Aside from blindly trusting Hitler to back off by bribing him with a chunk of Chekoslovakia? Isn´t that appeasement like Kevin James said? It didn´t work, but that only makes negotiating with terrorists seem less attractive, not more. What am I missing?

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

And bear in mind that I am taking a sociology course now so I know that one has to suspend ones ideological and moral beliefs to look at the world from a sociological perspective...

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

Maybe I´m not suspending them enough. Give me a day or two, it worked for the marihuana issue.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They're SOO dumb!!!"
No. Their actions are calculated and exersized with intent.
Here are your words from Alternet regarding Huffington. And I'll add, I couldn't agree more.
"They used to call it "the party of Lincoln". But that is so obviously no longer the case, their most blatant propagandists don't even try to use that language anymore. Let's face it: the GOP has been overtaken by a cabal of kooks, criminals and fools.

They have cut the throats of the poor and the middle class.

They have looted our national treasure.

They have abandoned their constituancy in favor of a multi-national corporate behemoth and an out-of-control military industrial complex.

They have created a global, geo-political catastrophe in the Middle East that will take at least a century to remedy.

They have shoveled a generation of American children into an untenable slaughterhouse in Iraq.

They have engendered an economic nightmare so immense that generations yet unborn will still be bearing its burden.

They have sold our nation's soul to the highest corporate bidder.

They have made a mockery of the First Ammendment.

They have squandered a five trillion dollar surplus with a tax cut for a class of people who already had more money than they knew what to do with.

They have gutted vital social programs that aid the poor and elderly which have been in place for over seventy years.

They have turned federal emergency management into a sick joke.

They have knocked the teeth out of laws meant to protect working men and women.

They have plundered the environment.

They have depleated our educational system

They have hijacked this nation's politcal dialogue.

They have ruined our international reputation.

They have handed our domestic agenda over to religious fantatics.

They have denied voting rights to people of color in three states.

They have stolen two national elections.

They have trampled on our constitution.

They have sent our Bill of Rights through the sausage grinder.

They must never, ever be allowed to govern this country again.

The grand old party is over.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

It is a shame what this country has been put through, and even more the price that will be paid to restore (if possible).
Keep speaking truth, Tom. And thank you. PEACE!


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