Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Barack Needs Our Help

About a week and a half ago, I told you about my positively un-American, younger brother, Jeffrey Rudd Degan ("Rudd" was my maternal great-grandmother's maiden name). He's the one who lives in Germany who married a French woman. You get the idea. This morning, I received an e-mail from the little commie thug, imploring me - threatening me - to make a donation to the Barack Obama/Joe Biden campaign.

"HA!", I replied with much, smug self-satisfaction, "Beat'cha to the punch by over a month! I sent him a check in early August."

But, noooo!!! That wasn't enough for Jeff. Was I only going to send him one measly little check? Wasn't I going to urge the readers of "The Rant" to do as much??? To make a long story short, he's not going to stop bugging me until I devote an entire column to making an appeal for the Obama campaign fund. Said he:

"Tell your readers that if they have not given yet, give now! I want to see a post about giving to Senator Obama - and I want to hear you say that you have sent out an e-mail to everyone on your mailing list, asking them to donate to the campaign today. Do it now. I am not going to stop harassing you. I know where you live."

Fine, Jeff. If it'll make you happy, I'll do it (pain in the neck)....

Here is a nasty fact of political life: it costs a hell of a lot of money in order to run for the office of president of the United States. The biggest cash killer is broadcast time. Buying air time costs a bloody fortune. This is a situation which should not exist on We the People's airwaves. The next president and congress should see to it that federal legislation is passed that will demand that every four years, all television stations across the country will be obliged - by law - to cover a certain amount of time every day to balanced coverage of the presidential election. Paid political advertising should be made illegal. Nothing is more responsible for the deplorable state America's knowledge (or lack thereof) of electoral politics and affairs of state. Nothing.

Just consider for a minute what is at stake. Here are ten, damned good reasons why electing John McCain would be a monumentally stupid idea:

1. The Supreme Court is on the verge of a complete mental breakdown. What you have at the moment are four right wing extremists against five moderates. The next president will make - at the very least - two appointments (possibly three). John McCain has already said, more than once, that as president he would appoint activist Conservatives to the bench. Read that to mean: REACTIONARY KOOKS (ala Scalia and Uncle Thomas).

2. John McCain is seventy-two years old and (let us face some serious facts here, kiddies) not in the best of shape. This might seem to many to be a cruel thing to say but if this situation calls for anything, it is brutal frankness: The law of averages absolutely forbids his not passing away between now and January 20, 2012. Keep saying it to yourself, over and over again: "President Sarah Palin". I can just picture the movie marquee. "GIDGET GOES TO WASHINGTON". Neat idea, huh? No, I didn't think so either.
3. No question about it, most of us are sick of the GOP. The 111th Congress is going to be overwhelmingly Democratic in both houses. If the American people are silly enough to elect the ticket of McCain/Palin to head the executive branch of their government, they can expect four years of stagnation and stalemate.
4. Today's Republican talking point is the word, "maverick". A senator who has voted a full ninety percent of the time on the side of the worst president in the history of this country can and should be called many things (I can think of one or two choice words myself) but "maverick" is not one of them. Yesterday, David Broder made the absurd statement that John McCain is "an anti-establishment reformer" and his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate only proves it. Have another sip, Dave. A generation ago, Broder was one of the best political writers out there; it almost seems as if he has sold his soul. McCain is pure Washington Beltway and David Broder knows it. Anti establishment? John McCain? Sarah Palin?? I need a drink.

5. McCain has seized the mantra of "CHANGE". How in the hell are we expected to believe that the Republican party is going to clean up the mess that they have made? The very idea of these people in charge of the military for another four years, after the catastrophic mistakes of the last seven-and-a-half-years, is too depressing to even contemplate. And don't forget that Senator McCain thought that invading Iraq - the worst military blunder in American history - was a perfectly fine idea. He has yet to admit his error. In December of 2002, a full three months before the invasion, Barck Obama was already on the record as being against it. And the Republicans want to talk about judgement?

6. This is my own theory but after years of careful study I believe I am onto something here: What has been going on for the last seven years is that the extreme right wing is purposely trying to bankrupt the American economy so they will have an excuse to do away with the social safety nets so many of our fellow Americans depend on, some of which have been in place for over seventy years ("See? Big government doesn't work!") Four more years of Republican "rule" (it's hard to refer to it as "leadership") might very well sound the death knell for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - and Lord only knows what else. If you or a parent or grandparent depend on a monthly check from the government - from funds you have paying into your entire lives - you should be seriously alarmed. If you're not, you're not paying attention.

7. Forgive me for being repetitive but I just can't help myself: PRESIDENT SARAH PALIN???

8. Again, it might sound cruel to some but it must be said. John McCain, I don't believe, has the psychological temperament to be president. His explosive temper toward his colleagues (including threats of physical violence) is legendary. There have been times during this campaign when he has seemed to be on the verge of senility. And this is the guy we want negotiating with Vladamir Putin? The hell with the drink, I need some heroin.

10. Seriously folks! Look what the Bush Mob has done to this country! John McCain has said repeatedly that he has every intention of continuing their policies. How is it going to look to the rest of the world if we go down this road again? We're gonna look like a bunch of assholes!

As I've said more times than I can count, not since 1932 has the need for this nutty country to go in a new direction been as pitifully obvious as it is in this political year. Not to do so will be nothing more than a case of mass suicide.

Way the hell back on February 23, 2007, shortly after Senator Obama announced his candidacy, I suggested on this site that he adopt as his own, Bobby Kennedy's unofficial theme song from his ill-fated 1968 campaign, The Impossible Dream. Sung by the late Richard Kiley in the Broadway classic, Man of La Mancha, it was a beautiful piece of music that no one, it seems, even remembers anymore:
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
This is my quest to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right - without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell for a Heavenly cause
And I know if I only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest
Alright. Maybe "glorious quest" is a tad over-the-top. But it cannot be denied that the man has one hell of an uphill battle ahead of him. As was once said, "Money is the mother's milk of politics". The Obama campaign will only be successful if they raise money - lots of it. Please give as generously as you possibly can. Our great grandchildren - who will never even know our names - are depending on us.

There, Jeff. Are you happy now? You're a creep, you know that?

Here is a link to make a donation to Obama/Biden '08:
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Rady Ananda is one of the finest young progressive writers currently walking among us. Here is a link to her excellent blog:


America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a
Transformative Presidency
by Robert Kuttner

There are one-hundred and thirty-two days to go until George W. Bush is gone from our lives forever!


At 4:57 PM, Blogger HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Glad to see your entry, and we've all made contributions (me, and those on my mailing list/friends' list/family list).

I checked the electoral votes map; he's about 100 votes ahead, so while the Gallup polls aren't showing quite the ratio we'd like, since it's the Electoral College that ultimately counts, these are the states to work hardest on.

My family are all in Michigan; so far I've got 100% of them to vote (and Michigan is one of the key pivotal states).

Hopefully the investigation(s) going on with Sarah will all be made public in October - that should change things a bit more in Obama's favor.

I've put up a beautiful photo of Obama and his COMPLETE speech (text and video), so if you want to add that information to your blog, go to:



At 5:20 PM, Blogger Teacher Mom said...

I am trying not to freak out about the polls. Given Sarah Palin's evangelical beliefs and her complete lack of knowledge regarding world affairs, I naturally thought that McCain's numbers would go DOWN - even with the convention.

So, thanks for your post. You just kicked me in the pants to donate!

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


At least you listened to Jeff when it came to writing the column, however, go back a few RANTS and re-discover where he REALLY lives.

You may find yourself missing a Christmas card if you don't!

By the way, why is it that we, Americans Abroad, cannot give to support our political candidates in the form of CA$H?

At 1:43 AM, Blogger JRD said...


"Little commie thug"? At 6', 2" and over 200 lbs. I think I safely say I ain't little!

"Happy in Nevada", can you give more or are you maxed out?

Teacher Mom, glad to hear it. Don't forget to harass your friends and don't take "I already gave 50 bucks during the primary" as an answer. Now is the time when we can really make a difference.

As I said to the Ranting Lunatic who is our host: Dig Deep and Go Viral!

Finally, Waif - Glad to see someone is paying attention.

And you can give when you live abroad. Foreigners are not allowed, but you can send a check or use a credit card

I know time's are tough, but we simply cannot afford another 4 years of Republican misrule.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

I guess you've all figured out by now just who "Germanicus" is.

Teacher Mom, give me a call sometime. I'd love to meet you and your other half one of these days.


Tom Degan

At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aloha: Although I don't make much money & am struggling to hang onto my home, I've given a few times to Obama's campaign and will give again on payday. I see it as an investment into my future - if McCain/Palin gets into the White House, I will definitely lose my home and join the growing ranks of the working homeless - and my grandchildren's futures.

This election scares the crap out of me and I can't understand why others can't see that McCain says NOTHING about the issues! And Palin is just repeating verbatim the convention speech her Bushies wrote. Now the McCain campaign says they'll campaign together for the duration. She must be untrainable (I hope Biden eats her alive at the debates). They're using Rove tactics to dangle shiny things in front of people's eyes to distract them from the truth ... ARGH ... it makes me so angry.

Oops, I digress again: we all need to invest in the future of our country and help Obama. I'm in Hawaii, which he will carry, but I've been e-mailing everyone I know to contribute. We also need to spread the word about McCain's vicious lies - the sex ad is a new low. Not everyone knows about Factcheck.org. I actually know some Neandrathals who think Faux News is "fair & balanced".

Sorry, digressing again: give, give, give - as much as you can!!!

PS: keep up the good rant, Tom.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger JRD said...

May I call you WW? Maybe not, eh?

Right on all accounts. It is mind-boggling how complacent the American people have become. I sent the message below to a group of family members and got no response (with the exception of Tom, of course). I just don't get it. I thought that it would at least get a rise out of the more right-wing members of the clan (we have a big family and 'clan' is not an exaggeration).


Personally, I would say to you all: "Do Nothing!"

Do nothing if you think it is OK for one country to invade another without provocation. Russia at least was responding to attacks on its troops in South Ossetia. We were going after non-existent WMD concocted in some neo-con think-tank.

Do nothing if you think it is OK to torture.

Do nothing if you support dismantling the fundamental civil liberties on which our nation was founded.

Do nothing if you earn over 5 million dollars a year and own too many houses to count.

Do nothing if you support drilling here, drilling now, drilling everywhere and all the time in spite of the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that tells us that our addiction to the fossil fuel fix is killing our environment.

Do nothing if you're satisfied that America cannot do any better than what George Bush had to offer, because John McCain is simply offering more of the same.

If not, then do something.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush will never be gone from our lives. There will ALWAYS be a George Bush.

Bush is a front man. Clinton was a front man. Reagan was a front man. Gore and Kerry, would have been front men. Barak Obama or McCain will be front men. It's all a charade, a circus that runs through town every four years.

Go ahead, contribute to Obama's campaign. Throw your money away. Burning it would at least give you some heat.

'Contribution' is a misnomer. It should be called a hope tax, or a fool's tax. And like all taxes, it vanishes into deeper pockets.

And the con continues.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

green river rider:

I have to disagree with you about Obama - with trepidation - at least I hope you're wrong.

But I do have to say this, pal: Well said.

Very well said.


Tom Degan

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


I do not know the exact website, but I KNOW one exists called something like, "Electing A Democratic Congress."

Al Franken, the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against War) and other Candidates ALSO need funding to get over these clownish cut/paste-out-of-context ads they are using as catnip to the cats, remember my Tommy Douglas story? The mice needed to stop feeding and playing with cats and elected MICE.

Time to put our money out there, local campaigns need foot-work, delivering pamphlets and staffing phone lines and giving rides to the polls on election day. If you love this country, SIGN UP!

And give to the Democratic Candidate in your area, we need to get 60 Senators in if we ever want to have VETO power over some meglomaniacs in power.


Germanicus, may I suggest you change you name to best reflect your "place" in the world? It might even clue in your bro as to your locale; Agent Provacateur would be most fitting.

a la prochaine!

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Jeff, I prefer to "do nothing" because I'm a believer that it essentially doesn't make any difference any longer which candidate, from either major party, gets the nod. As I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to disagree, both major parties are tight with the globalists and multinational corporate and banking interests. Senator Obama is no different. He's been feeding heavily at the corporate trough for quite some time. Consequently, although he would most definitely welcome my paltry donation, I'm inclined to believe he doesn't need it. I certainly could use it better than he.

Corporations have made themselves the primary defining force on this planet. They shape our cultures and communities; define what is of value and what is not; determine what news we hear, and read, and what we don't. They define our work, what is produced and consumed, where investments are made, and what technologies are developed. They craft our laws and policies, and they dominate our politicians. I'm not being over-the-top by stating that corporations literally are in charge of our lives.

I think we could all agree to describe the reality that flows, from this corporate dominance, as anti-democratic, anti-community, anti-worker, anti-person, and anti-planet. And who among us honestly believes that, under the current state of affairs (whether Bush II, Clinton before him, Bush I, or Reagan), things are about to turn for the better? It certainly will not under another Republican presidency, and it can not under an Obama administration. Either major candidate, upon assuming office, will amount to nothing more than window-dressing.

I'm sorry to rain on your brother Tom's, and your, parade, but until the American citizenry wakes up and finally understands that we're thinking through a colonial mindset, we'll continue to be beholden to outside interests - this time through overt corporate colonialism - that our Founders fought a revolution to escape. I sometimes wonder just how bad our lives will have to decline before the American people come to their senses. I wonder how long it took our Founding Fathers?

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Jefferson's Guardian,

Like Green River Rider, you make a point that is so well and elequantly put - and yet one that I hope is mistaken. Am I just kidding myself? That is a distict possibility. In fact, were I to get REALLY honest with you, I would probably concede that it is more than likely. It's like the old song from the 1920s says, "My sweet tooth says yes but my wisdom tooth says no".

As I said recently to another poster (maybe it war you?) maybe in four years I'll be back on this site with an omlet on my face bemoaning how Barack let ut down. But until then, I have to believe that Obama will be the transformative president that we have all been praying for our whole lives.

I hop[e your wrong but, sadly, I have to admit that it's a better than fifty/fifty chance that you're not.

Tomm Degan

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Teacher Mom said...

Green River,

I don't disagree that Obama and McCain are front men. However, they are not necessarily front men for the same people. Both of them are clearly in bed with corporate interests, but you are forgetting a couple of things (and you sound like Nader!):

1) Who ever wins is ultimately the person making the big calls. Do we really want a hothead like McCain making decisions that affect war and peace? I believe that McCain and Obama would clearly make different decisions about these types of issues. In terms of the farce of globalization, I agree that they would both protect corporate America.

2) They have different policies in terms of taxes and other social programs and these have a REAL impact on people's lives. Maybe you are rich, but I am not. If Obama cuts taxes for people making less than 300,000 yr, that matters to me. Also, as a matter of principle it matters. Do we want a society like those in the 1700's in France where the elites paid NO taxes? That is what we're getting close to here under W. McCain has also vowed to eliminate social security. Again, this is a social program that MATTERS to a lot of people.

3) Historically, there have ALWAYS been tensions in this country between democrats (small "d") and corporatists. Opting out of the system will only ensure that democracy (small "d" again) will fail. So, why not evaluate the candidates and determine which one better supports democracy and vote for them. There ARE differences between these two men. Then, use your voice to help educate the people you encounter in your life about the need for the balance to swing back to democracy. This can be accomplished in many ways including campaign finance reform and ethics reform.

Have you read any John Ralston Saul? I think you would like his writings!


At 11:25 PM, Blogger DivaJood said...

Points Seven and Nine are the two scariest things I can think of at this moment. And I've made contributions. And on Monday, will hie my perfect pink butt down to the LA Obama office and volunteer.

It was great being in the office at Four Corners the last three weeks - everyone is an Obama supporter!

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only ONE system of holistic systems: the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. Period.

Everything, is subservient to this system, including our ideals.

Have I made myself perfectly clear, Mr. Beale?


At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paste and copy:


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, like you, I used to be firmly in the Democratic camp each and every election cycle, just knowing that if only the Democrats could retain power, all our social and political problems would be worked on, and would finally get solved. But, decade-after-decade, the same problems continued to persist. They actually got worse, not better. Aside from a Republican revolution that oversaw a dismantling of much of the New Deal era's strides to put society on a more equal footing, even when Democratic control was firmly in place the slide continued towards further degradation of human rights, and citizen needs, in favor of corporate and moneyed interests.

I, too, sincerely hope I'm wrong in my opinion about Senator Obama. I truly do. But the evidence is irrefutable. Thankfully, in 2002, which is the year Thom Hartmann's remarkable Unequal Protection came out, I picked it off the bookstore shelf and only intended to take a quick glance, but then couldn't put it down. I immediately bought it, and read it - more like absorbed it. Since, I've done extensive reading and research concerning corporate personhood through other areas, such as POCLAD.

That day things really started to crystallize for me. I understood that our problems weren't unsolvable through democratic action; they were only resisted by corporate entities that held far more power and influence than I did as a voter, and an agenda that was antithetical to mine, and most Americans. I learned that although I had the protections and rights granted to me through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so did, underhandedly, multinational corporate and banking interests. Just as important, it became apparent that our elected officials, from both parties, were in the corner of their corporate benefactors; not mine, or yours, or any of the other millions of middle or working class people in this country. When I made that connection, I mean when it finally hit me like a ton of bricks, I understood that a slow-motion coup d’état had taken place right under our noses. It didn't take troops and tanks rolling through the streets; all it took was time and incremental steps. It worked, and sadly, most of America is oblivious to the fact that it happened. They know "something's wrong", but they haven't figured it out. It was the most covert takeover of a people in history.

I'll probably never return to the Democratic Party, but it could happen. If, through some miracle, they adopted the same stance in their official party platform that the Green Party has regarding the elimination of corporate personhood, then I'll come back. The "Greens" unabashedly call for "legislation or constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood." This, Tom, would be the real panacea to true reform, and the return of our country to We the People. Without this, we're just pissin' in the wind.

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jefferson's gaurdian?

You have hit the nail square on the head!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Jefferson's Guardian,

Yes, the very concept of corporate personhood is an absolute obscenity. As I said before, you just may be right about Obama. But this much is absolutely certain: he will be a very different president than McCain.

Then again, maybe four more years of Republican ruination will have positive results in the long run. As Harry Truman said during the campaign of 1948, "How many more times do you have to be hit on the head before you realize that you're getting hit on the head?"

Maybe a McCain presidency, followed by an unexpected Palin presidency, would be the proverbial straws that breaks the camel's back. Maybe the clueless American people would finally stand up as one and shout, "ENOUGH!" Whatever happens on Election Day, I won't be overjoyed or in despair.

The Chinese have a blessing which is also a curse:

"May you live in interesting times".

We certainly do, don't we? But I have a funny feeling that we haven't been blessed. One thing is certain: as shitty as these days are, they sure as hell ain't boring!

Tom Degan

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Yes, Tom, Obama would be a very different president than McCain. Unfortunately, our functional government would be indistinguishable.

To use a popular analogy from the past few days, "A pig in lipstick is still a pig".

I think you'd agree.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Sadly, yes, I am inclined to agree.


At 10:46 AM, Blogger JRD said...

Dear Jefferson's Guardian,

Regarding your comments to Tom, I could not agree more. As I grow older, I find my own thoughts drifting further to the left (isn't the opposite supposed to happen?) and, like your own, growing more radical.

Regarding the Democrats, I too want to say that they are hopeless, but the simple truth is that they are our only hope. There is no viable alternative, at least not at the moment. To do anything other than work our hearts out for Barak Obama, in spite of his acknowledged flaws, is to admit defeat and to open the gates to the barbarians.

I don't think we will get another chance after this. If the American people elect John McCain, or rather if the American people accept John McCain as the next president, then that will validate everything the Bush administration has done. And while I may not be able to prevent it from happening, by God I will not have it said that I did not do everything in my power as a citizen of the United States to prevent it.

That is why I support Barak Obama for president and I would ask you to do the same.

Thank you for your thoughts.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all of you who say 'do nothing' and post your 'facts and figures' -you forfeit any right to bitch and moan. The old adage "if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem' has never been more true. It starts at the boro/township level. Get out of your ivory tower of bull%^&* and go do something that is tangible then maybe you can start to feel pride in this country that we were taught was the best and blessed but has woefully and tragically lost it's way. If you can't, then move.
Thanks Tom - love to read the Rant :)

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you for the kind words, anonymous.

By the way, using the word, "Bullshit" is not only allowed on "The Rant", it is heartfully encouraged.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it: Gidget Goes to Washington!

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

I listened to this on CBC.CA/Overnight last weekend. I think it speaks volumes as to why it is important for the USA to elect Obama, if they want ANY credibility on the national stage.

Swedish Politicians Back Obama Indeed, it seems almost all Swedish politicians are backing the Obama/Biden ticket, on and off the record.

"After 8 years of Bush, if the US wants to restore it integrity and respect, they need change; that change is Barrack Obama.

It is a very good commentary and even addresses the question posed by some US Citizens, "why should they be making comments on our election and interferring?"

Personally, I KNOW WHY, because my Mutual Fund has lost almost $4,000 with all the economic mess in the last 6 Months!

If people want to know how much Obama is going to "cost" them, ask them if they know how much their retirement fund, bonds, RRSP's and Mutual Funds have COST/LOST under the BUSH regime.

Somehow they have to realize they have ALREADY taken the big hit in the wallet.

As to comparing Tax Breaks? Obama wins hands down on who gets the breaks, those who NEED them; McCain? More money to the millionaires under the specious ideology of Reagan's "Trickle Down" economics. The only thing that every trickled down was diarrhea from the "thrones" of the elite after feasting on their Roman Food Orgies; we probably even paid for the feather they used to induce vomitting into their pork-barrel trough.

To drive the point home on how much they will *~*SAVE*~* under the Obama Plan and the fact that those who are too poor to pay taxes get a rebate, this ought to provide them the information as presented on CNN, the information comes from a independent organization, COMPLETE WITH COMPARISON CHARTS. CNN Crunches Obama and McCain Tax Plans

If that doesn't convince the shrinking middle-class (does it still exist?) and the one-check-away-from-homelessness that they need to vote OBAMA, the nation is lost, and that is as in OVER.

Mary Josephine Bernadette

At 11:57 AM, Blogger dick wagner said...

45 years ago, I voted for Goldwater, read "None Dare Call It Treason" and almost began following in my family's staunch Republican world view. I learned to play the guitar, had some real success, saw the world and became a Democrat. Today I am an independant ready to vote straight Democratic to hopefully join a wave of likeminded citizens who want this Republican party to suffer it's biggest defeat in history. Throw off fascism and repression. Elect OBAMA. He is our last great chance for the return to civility and promise.


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