Monday, March 23, 2009

Stupid, Stupid Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) - Moderate Democrats in Congress, including Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, are nudging their party's liberal agenda to the center.
They're trying to add a pro-business dose of pragmatism to President Barack Obama's plans to rescue homeowners, overhaul health care and revamp energy policy.
Bayh's group of about 15 centrists in the Senate could be a critical voting bloc.
He says the group won't be obstructionist. But he says most matters need sixty votes in the Senate, and his group will be a key to making that happen.


Good morning Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea....

Well now! You would think that the Democrats would start to show some long overdue profiles in courage now that they are firmly back in power, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you? Think again.

A tip of the hat to that silly party is in order. Once in a blue moon I'll find myself trying to remember why I disengaged myself from that stupid organization over a decade ago. But as soon as the thought crosses my mind, they will cheerfully remind me. At a time when the nation is desperate to take a decided turn to the left, a number of Democrats are in the process of sabotaging that party's traditional progressive agenda

Last week on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the announcement was made that Evan Bayh (pictured above) was going to be providing that program with an exclusive. Sure enough, within an hour, there was the distinguished senator from Indiana telling Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezezinski that he had organized a group of "moderate" Democrats in the senate whose sole purpose was keeping that party's Liberal wing in check.

First of all, let's get honest here. The goal of Bayh and his co-saboteurs is not to nudge "their party's liberal agenda to the center". Their purpose is to force that party's essentially centrist agenda to the far right. They are also positioning themselves to have their collective butts kissed by the party's rank and file in order to get anything done legislatively. Call it what you will, but my definition is outright political blackmail. It is one of the most disgusting power plays I've seen come from within "the party of FDR" in a long time. Count on it: Bayh is positioning himself to challenge President Obama in the primaries three years from now. Gee, I wonder if Evan Bayh would have been this dead-set against the president's agenda had he been chosen to be second on the ticket? This has got to be revenge.

To paraphrase the late, great Mr. Fred Rogers: "Can you say 'Contemptible Bastard'? Sure you can!"

Treacherous Democrats are hardly a new phenomenon. Remember poor old, crazy Zell Miller challenging Chris Matthews to a duel immediately after addressing the 2004 Republican convention? Or how about "loyal Democrat" Joe Lieberman who refused to accept the verdict of his party when they denied him the nomination three years ago? He ran as an Independent and defeated the Democratic nominee. To show that there were no hard feelings, Joe would endorse John McCain in '08 and even did an award winning reprise of Zell Miller's much heralded performance when he made a key note speech at the GOP's convention last summer. Do you remember all of those cowardly Democrats who stupidly voted to give George W. Bush the authority to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq in October of 2002 without the constitutionally mandated Congressional approval? As far as yours truly is concerned, that party has damned near lost all of its much lamented credibility. As Theodore Roosevelt once said of President McKinley, they have "all the backbone of a chocolate eclair".

And while we're on the subject of wayward Democratic politicians, let us not forget the entire eight year reign of Bill Clinton. Clinton could have (and should have) put an end to the era of deregulatory madness that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Instead he ended up merely passively enabling it. For the first two years of his administration he had a majority in both houses of Congress and he blew it. Although he was an able and competent chief executive in many substantial ways, no Democrat since Johnson (Andrew, not Lyndon) was a more bitter disappointment than William Jefferson Clinton.

I quit drugs in 1977. It's days like these when I seriously consider taking up the habit again. Oy vey!

Show me a "conservative Democrat" and I'll show you just another cheap politician who has been bought and paid for by Corporate America.
These so-called moderate Democrats are in the back pockets of the lobbyists who pay for their 'round-the-world "fact finding" jaunts, private jets and free, gourmet meals at five Star Restaurants. Every member of that party should ask him or herself the following questions: "Am I going to be a Joe Lieberman Democrat or a Russ Feingold Democrat? Am I going to be a Franklin Roosevelt Democrat or a Bill Clinton Democrat?" Damned good questions. Any answers?

What in the name of Mitch Miller is going on here? What the hell is the matter with these people? And while we're on the subject, what is the matter with Barack Obama? While it would be wrong to make an etched-in-stone, definitive assessment of his administration after only two months and three days, it's all too apparent that the man is off to a disastrous start. The editorial pages are packed to the margins with opinions as to why this would be so. Would you like to hear mine? The president has made a horrific error by placing within his administration men and women who are so ideologically out of step with the progressive ideas he envisioned during last year's campaign, they have rendered his programs impotent. To put it as simply as I can:

There are way too many Republicans in this administration.

Call it a hunch on my part, but I have a suspicion that putting Timothy Geitner in charge of a department
he once tried to abolish was not a particularly smart idea. Come to think of it, it was a monumentally stupid one. While there were indeed a number of Republicans within the New Deal, they at least believed in the agenda. And don't forget that in 1933, there still existed a progressive wing of the GOP, a direct legacy of FDR's distant cousin, Theodore. That is no longer the case - far from it.

And speaking of the New Deal (and it's all-but-impossible not to refer to it during these trying times) I expected this president to have, at the very least, a remedial understanding of American history. During the campaign he constantly referred to Doris Kearns-Goodwin's excellent biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. As I said at the time, right author, wrong book. The book he should have been reading was her bio of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, No Ordinary Time. The reason New Deal was so successful three-quarters-of-a-century ago (recent right wing revisionism notwithstanding) was because Franklin Roosevelt's Brain Trust understood full well that 1933 was not a time for caution and timidity; it was a time for bold, experimental "action" - a word that Roosevelt used consistently in his speeches at the time. Why does President Obama seem to not get this? If he continues on the course which he has apparently set for himself, he is doomed to failure. Remember you read it here on The Rant, Mr. and Mrs. America.

It is high time that the Dems throw some ice-cold water on their clueless faces and realize that their entire reason for being is not to position themselves as
Republican Lite. They are - or at least they're supposed to be - the party of progressiveness. They can begin by ensuring that those "timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat", the Evan Bayh crowd, are badly defeated in the primaries of 2010 and 2012. This country can only be saved by making a hard turn toward the left. That is not merely my humble opinion, that is a statement that is backed up by two-and-a-third centuries of historical fact.

Wake up, Democrats, it's later than you think.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Profiles in Courage
by John F. Kennedy

Jack Kennedy. Remember him?


At 5:30 PM, Blogger Citizen Sane said...

Touche'. Absolutely right! Everyday brings more puke-worthy news of the latest democratic roll-over, or sellout. To me it proves that aside from about 3 people in congress, the whole mess of them have sold out the American people. These manservants of industry are primarily focused on transferring what remains of public wealth into the coffers of the mega wealthy elite.
The Fed refuses to disclose who they're giving money to and how the recipients are spending it, and congress barely bats an eye. Have you noticed that there's been NO financial industry regulation restored? No consumer protections enacted? In fact, everything they do further fucks over the public!!
They're trying to pass "food safety" regs that punish local and organic growers - who are the only ones actually producing safe food, ironically. It does nothing to curb foreign crap loaded with banned chemicals.
The new student loans rules require students to pay a monthly interest payment while IN school - and is now being touted as "saving borrowers money", although it's acknowledged that this will "weed out those who can't afford to make the monthly payments while in school". The rules do nothing to help those of us who are out of school and buckling under the excessive interest and penalties piling up.
And congress is letting a government contract that had been long held by a company in Alabama go to China now, because it will "save money". This is costing 300 people their jobs. Hel-lo!!!! And I could go on and on.
The bizarre thing is that since the election, in which dems gained leadership of each of the three branches of government, they're sucking up to repugs more than they ever have! They are apparently determined to ignore the electorate, and become repug lite. It should be clear to most people by now that we do NOT a government by the people, for the people. We have puppets, who couldn't care less if the average American ends up not having even minimal means to survive.
I predict by summer, there's going to be massive protests, nationwide. And gubmint has been planning for it for months.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Good evening, Anna....

I think you're on to something. The revolution is right around the corner. The big question is:


It's only a matter of time. To quote Peter Finch/Howard Beale from the film, Network:

We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom and Anna, Great points...

>>Wake up, Democrats
Not only that, wake up Republicans! If you have not noticed, there is hardly anyone in Washington that represents any of us. Sure, portions of either party's rhetoric can appeal to some or all of us at times, but does it mean anything? A perfect example is the abortion issue. During the Bush administration, there appeared to be an ideological majority in the administration, house, senate and court. If ever there was an opportunity for change on this issue, that was it. What that inaction reveals is that abortion really isn't an important issue to the Republican party - it is merely a carrot to be swung from a stick at each election cycle.

Question, what have your representatives in Washington done for you lately? Can you even tell - particularly when the bulk of news is delivered by companies so huge that it is rare for them not to have at least some vested interest? The bills these people vote on are incredibly bewildering. They are stuffed with earmarks, pork and last minute inclusions that would be impossible to stay completely on top of - this would be the case even if they actually read them. Is it possible that these bills are any less confusing then fine-print on contract updates from your credit-card company? Still we usually have an intuitive sense as to what those documents say, 'We are going to fuck you - even more'.

The system is rigged and one of the mechanisms that allows it to work is people subscribing to the illusion that we are going to be represented by either major party. It is not particularly a problem to live under this system if those in power maintain a reasonable standard of living for the majority of citizens. When that is no longer the case, perhaps the time comes for the American people to consider if the notion 'either you are with us - or you're against us' applies to our elected officials and the financial elite.

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

...there's going to be massive protests, nationwide. And gubmint has been planning for it...

I think your right about that too. It may not be an accident that there is a million potheads in jail that can be freed to make room for those with a revolutionary zeal. They might run into a space problem if they try and round up all of those who have give up trying to keep up with their credit card payments...
I guess at that point, people will also realize that creating a large population of people incarcerated for minor crimes to justify the creation and support of the prison industry was not such a good idea.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not so fast.

You want a revolution?

What you'll get is an excuse to clamp down with a military dictatorship. A classic setup.

The pieces are in place, and it could happen. Don't kid yourself.

Think about it.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Citizen Sane said...

(spelling fixed! :) )
And yet if we don't have the courage to unite and generate massive resistance, what then? Soon there will be nothing left - for you, your kids, grand kids, etc.
I have no doubt that what you say regarding the pieces being in place is accurate. But what's the alternative?

At 10:20 AM, Blogger stoney13 said...

Amen to the remark about Blow Job Bill! He signed the legislation that undid ALL the regulatory entities put in place to prevent The Great Depression from ever happening again!

Felonious Phill Gramm, and his fellow Big Finance lackeys on BOTH sides of the aisle, brought this nightmare on the American People!

The Republicans wrote the bills, and The Democrats caved! Now we're paying for it!

Two thirds of the "money Market" accounts, Mortgages, and Mortgage Backed Annuities bought,and sold in this country since 1999 existed on paper, and nowhere else!

The weasels run the hen house, and the fox has been seated to watch the flock!

Gab your ankles, grit your teeth, and get ready for the shaft! If you think it's bad now, YOU AIN'T SEEN SHIT!!!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

As Paul Krugman poignantly offers, "This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair." The Obama administration’s bank rescue plan apparently is just a more complex version of what Bush's henchmen offered a few months ago. He's buying into, and serving the American public, the notion "that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they're doing."

"...there's something strange going on here. By my count, this is the third time Obama administration officials have floated a scheme that is essentially a rehash of the Paulson plan, each time adding a new set of bells and whistles and claiming that they're doing something completely different. This is starting to look obsessive."

The moneyed-elite, the international banking cabal, the multinational corporate giants, and our elected corporatist leaders effectively set the stage and played the American people...We, the People...for suckers again.

It's not going to take 100 days. It's very apparent, to me, that Obama is just as much "one of them" as the rest. He certainly couldn't be this incompetent, could he? Borrowing from Tom's rendition of Mr. Rogers, and also Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, can you spell D i s a s t e r C a p i t a l i s m ?

Folks, I don't know whether it has truly sunk in, but we're in a whole lot of trouble.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"Folks, I don't know whether it has truly sunk in, but we're in a whole lot of trouble."

Frank, if they gave a Nobel Prize for the finest understatement of the year, you would be in Norway now accepting a hefty check from the committee.


Tom Degan

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

The military dictatorship is a good bet.....revolutionaries will be categorized as terrorists and dealt with accordingly. What we really need is a revolution of consciousness.....back in the sixties the collective societal consciousness was more intelligent than it is now to say the least. Hmmmm.....if there was only something people could ingest that will raise their consciousness. Once upon a time there was a little Bear with a laboratory....

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, considering the spirit of the moment, Mr. Toles, as usual, speaks a thousand words with just a few strokes of the quill.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

What really scares me is that everyone knows we are in a clusterfuck of a mess, but I don't hear anyone offering solutions. I have thought on this matter and the ONLY solution I can come up with to change this two party system is Election Reform. Politicians will never change the way it works now, so it needs to be a grassroots amendment to the Constitution to create public financing of ALL elections. We the People do have the right to amend the Constitution and I think the time has come. If we can get the lobbyists and corporations out of Washington, that is our only chance to take back control of OUR country. If not, we will continue to live in a fascist country.

So what do you say, Tom? Want to start a revolution?

Jo R. in Arizona

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know Anna. I really can't say for sure what should be done. But there's not much left right now anyway, is there?

If it were my decision, I would suggest as a tactic, doing nothing. Empires always collapse from within, and that will happen here too. It's almost a guarantee. Doing nothing will save a lot of blood that doesn't need to be spilled, and a lot of misery. We've had enough of both in our lifetimes. Right? Resistance is pointless, And what would emerge from the ashes I ask? Would it necessarily be better than what we have? I'm not so sure. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, I think.

It takes much discipline, restraint, and the adoption of a long view not to allow your enemy to provoke you. When one is provoked, one loses.

But if you do insist on a revolution, I would make it one that increases our individual understanding and enlightens those around us who have been bewitched by the hollow promises of false messiahs. That applies equally to all, and matters not on which facet of the political divide one sits.

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

I think GRR hits it on the head. Let the empire destroy itself. The Military is slowly dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, China is threating to dump the Dollar, and people are waking up now that they are feeling the pain in their wallet. Violence will only bring the most violent to power and make things much worse.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"Let the empire destroy itself".

Yeah, that would be probably the best thing. I'm starting to think that maybe it would have been better had McCain and Gidget von Braun won the election. Things are so bad that Obama is almost doomed to fail. When that happens, the right wing will say (with a straight face, no less) "See? We told you so!".

Matt Taibbi put it well in the first sentence of his recent piece in Rolling Stone,

"We are royally fucked".

Tom Degan

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I sense a note of despair. Don't. This is a marathon not a sprint and the race is long. Think of the future and what you will leave behind for those that come after us. Think in kalpas.

You, and many of those who post here are sharp and introspective, and, it seems to me, genuinely concerned. Dig deeper into your understanding of what it means to have a decent, fair and equitable society. And talk about it.

I think what really needs to be studied is how the propaganda matrix is created, and perpetuated. It was in full swing in the run up to the election but trying to point that out was much spitting into the wind. At least it was in my experience.

Remember the three card monty guys, or the scam with the ping-pong ball and the pea? At one time you'd see it going on all over mid-Manhattan. I forget what that was called but those guys --it was almost always guys, were so skilled at hiding that damn thing you never could know for sure under which half of the ping-pong ball the pea would show up, or which was the queen of hearts.

I would never fall for it myself but it was interesting to watch the suckers come along, guess correctly a couple of times and the set-up was complete. The operator then vacuumed out the mark's wallet. The fool was so sure he'd win that warning him the game was rigged was wasted breath.

The same thing goes on in our greater country, except the three-card monty folks in our society aren't hanging out on street-corners running an office on overturned cardboard boxes. Instead, they wear suits, commute, run for office, grease the rails of commerce, own the media, bid for government contracts, and basically promote the idea that up is down, hot is cold, good is bad, and bad is good.

The average citizen has no idea what is really going on and like the gullible fool who bets a fiver, they place faith in their own judgement completely unaware that their judgement rests on a carefully crafted illusion.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way, I despise Matt Taibbi.

He's got a wicked and cynical soul.

And he works for 'them'.

Trust me on that.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Great posting, my friend! And I loved the three-card monty analogy. I lived in New York City in the eighties and I could never understand the knuckleheads who used to fall hook, line and sinker for that scam/

As for Matt Taibbi, cynical: no doubt. Wicked? I'll probably have to part company with you there. And while there is no doubt that he does work for "them" (Rolling Stone just ain't what it used to be) he still is on target most of the time.


Tom Degan

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

The empire will do all in its power to prevent its destruction. That's the purpose of these " bailouts " to preserve the status quo. With a stacked deck the dealer will stay in the game using the marked cards to prevent unfavorable outcomes. As I have said before, the establishment is evil and cannot be trusted. Obama seems to have overestimated the benevolence of establishment. He might care to some degree about the welfare of the poor and middle class but the other shitheads in Washington care only about themselves and their wealthy friends. I don't think these people were potty trained properly......they seem to think their shit is for everyone else to eat !!

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Taibbi is wicked if not evil; he knows he perpetuates a fraud, plays two ends against the middle, and gets paid to do it.

He's a media whore of the worst kind, and PRECISELY the kind of 'journalist' I have in mind when I think of smoke and mirrors and Orwellian mass manipulation.

There was a very interesting 'discussion' between Taibbi and David Griffin on 9/11 --yes, the greatest window of opportunity to see into the black-op nightmare that operates under our very noses, and at OUR expense without OUR approval, back in 2008 over at alternet.

I heard Griffin live speaking to about 100 people in Manchester Vermont, long before he became known and I can tell you there is NO comparing the two minds of Griffin and Taibbi. The former exudes a measured intellectual balance and maturity that the later spoiled-brat-yuppy graduate of waspy Concord Academy, doesn't even know the meaning of.

To quote one of the last posts of that 777 coment article:

"Mike Taibbi's passionate defense of the official 9-11 conspiracy theory seems disingenuous to me. For a guy who has no problem in critisizing the Bush administration he seems to go ballistic at the very thought of some of us questioning whether they may have had something to do with it. I feel the same about Mike's associate Bill Maher who was taken off TV for being too rough on Bush and upon his return simply goes "nukular" when 911 is questioned.

Is it un-American to question the Holy government? Maybe Mike and Maher are just doing what their corporate bosses tell them.

What if we have a new investigation into 9-11 and find the truth of the matter is that 911 was a false flag operation and rogue operators in our government conspired to kill Americans to justify a case for war and make a tidy profit doing so.
Will Maher and Taibbi swallow their pride and admit they were wrong? Damn right they will because it'll make for great TV ratings!


Go here if you want to read the whole shooting-match.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"I feel the same about Mike's associate Bill Maher who was taken off TV for being too rough on Bush and upon his return simply goes "nukular" when 911 is questioned."

GRR, Interestingly, I found a similar observation and mentioned it on Anna Van Z's The Mills River Progressive (H.R. 645: National Emergency Centers Establishment Act) regarding REX 84. While watching last Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher, he emphatically made the point of rebuffing the existence of the FEMA detention ("concentration camps") centers being built around the country. Interestingly, his guest, Keith Olbermann, chimed in with the very same sentiments. Their remarks almost seemed rehearsed, as though they were mandated to disavow the possibility of their existence. The moment struck me as being very odd, because neither seemed to believe his own words.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Citizen Sane said...

Does anyone know what happened to the investigations of all the put option trading, etc. right before 9/11?

"The Chicago Board Options Exchange sees suspicious trading on Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, two of the largest WTC tenants. In the first week of September, an average of 27 put option contracts in its shares are bought each day. Then the total for the three days before the attacks is 2,157. Merrill Lynch, another WTC tenant, see 12,215 put options bought between September 7-10, when the previous days had seen averages of 252 contracts a day. [INDEPENDENT, 10/14/2001] Dylan Ratigan of Bloomberg Business News, speaking of the trading on Morgan Stanley and other companies, says, “This would be one of the most extraordinary coincidences in the history of mankind if it was a coincidence.” [ABC NEWS, 9/20/2001]


Suspicious trading occurs on the stock of American and United, the two airlines hijacked in the 9/11 attacks. “Between 6 and 7 September, the Chicago Board Options Exchange [sees] purchases of 4,744 put option contracts [a speculation that the stock will go down] in UAL versus 396 call options—where a speculator bets on a price rising. Holders of the put options would [net] a profit of $5 million once the carrier’s share price [dive] after September 11. On September 10, 4,516 put options in American Airlines, the other airline involved in the hijackings, [are] purchased in Chicago. This compares with a mere 748 call options in American purchased that day. Investigators cannot help but notice that no other airlines [see] such trading in their put options.” One analyst later says, “I saw put-call numbers higher than I’ve ever seen in ten years of following the markets, particularly the options markets.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS...)
Source: HistoryCommons.Org

It's like all of that just disappeared down the memory hole. Clearly, many people had fore-knowledge of the events of 9/11. How does Taibbi and those of like mind explain this?

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jefferson's Gaurdian, Anna, Tom et all.

Has everyone seen the BBC series Century of the Self?

Talking about the propaganda matrix, there is much food for thought here.

Have fun.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grrr, Hasn't our government's transition toward a military dictatorship already been underway for several years? Several of the classic criticisms of the nazi & soviet states apply now. But to what end? If our society is in decline - and it certainly seems to be the case, what does the future hold for our leadership? An extreme analogy is a comparison of being on top of a thriving nation vs. a pile of shit. It doesn't take a keen sense of smell to know something about our current trajectory stinks.

Revolution may not be the right word for what we need to accomplish. We the people should demand the restoration of our liberties defined in the constitution & bill of rights. Isn't this said to be one of the most valuable assets that a citizen possesses? It is not unreasonable to draw the relationship between the loss of liberties that preceded the loss of prosperity. Fighting for these rights is not only it legal, but it is also our responsibility as Americans. Additionally, it is a logical guess that many in government, business and some of the extremely wealthy understand that their prosperity is linked to ours and may have a stake in our cause. So my quest is to see the patriot act and anything else that violates the constitution be repealed.

There are several reasons why this would be a good thing to pursue. Among them, it would help combat the growth of militarization within domestic police forces. Also our standing as a nation (among other nations) is coupled to our approach toward liberties and civil and human rights. In recent years we have witnessed a huge growth in anti-american sentiment all around the globe. Our nation can use all the help it can get - it is less likely to come if it does not deserve it.

Anyway, while following this suggestion may exercise futility, to do nothing is just foolish - and to wait until your protesting for something to eat may be fatal...

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John...

This is is just my opinion, but I believe there is a difference between doing violence --which is what most think of when calling for revolution, and doing no-thing.

Being still, and watching, is preparation. It is not doing nothing. And yet most would think so. Patience is a virtue.

Using softness, being watchful, being patient, as opposed to being impulsive, impatient, exercising hardness through imprudent and violent acts, is a more effective tactic. Once again, this is my opinion.

Think of water. Is there anything softer? Yet, water is a powerful force. It will cut valleys, and melt rock. That too is the power of understanding. When the collective unconscious collects itself :) change will happen.

I agree with you completely that the Patriot Act is anathema to any understanding we might have had about the nature of a free society. But the Patriot Act is merely the tip of the iceberg. It's the label of a mindset, the window dressing on a tactic, sold as fear in the guise of protection against the 'evildoers'. In and of itself, the Patriot Act cannot harm you. If you think it so, you give it power. We need to resist that tendency.

In addition to my suggestion to view the Series 'Century of The Self' of which I only posted links to episode one --there are two, I suggest viewing another series, also found on YouTube: 'The Power of Nightmares'.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Citizen Sane said...

Grrr, when I speak of revolution, I am speaking not in terms of violence, but in terms of ACTION. Effective actions, which include millions of Americans getting off their lethargic butts, tuning off their t.v.'s, and trotting on over to the local office of their congressional representative - or if possible, their rep's DC office.
I also mean paying attention. Asking pointed and critical questions about everything being foisted on us, and not accepting vague or nonsensical answers.
It means the willingness to suck it up and boycott institutions or corporations en masse, even if it means some personal inconvenience. Can you imagine the result if every working person in America who makes under 100k a year was willing to participate in a nationwide Stay-Home-From-Work Day? The PTB would be shaken to their core! But many folks would be too fearful to do even that much. As long as that's the case, nothing is going to change.
We also need to be more willing to examine, question, and eliminate our own excesses, and confront our own personally cherished myths about "how things are". Some of us are doing this, but many still are not. If most people continue "going along to get along" the way we have been, our country as we know it will not survive. And when things get so bad that even the comfy and complacent are losing out big time, then you'll see widespread violent actions spreading like a tidal wave. It's almost inevitable at that point, and is entirely predictable.
Does it have to be that way? No. But we as a culture have to be willing to wake up and speak up.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna, you got it.

First step: get people weaned from the number one toxic addiction: The Television. "the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world [where all maner of shit is peddled for truth]" psst... who said that, sort of, loosely quoted?

If --and that is a very big if, that were even remotely possible, there MIGHT be a chance to see the kind of changes you speak of. But not before.

And please, its GRR, not Grrr. :)

At 1:08 PM, Blogger LCS said...

With democrats like these who needs republicans?

Boy, we could use a man like FDR again!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Amen, Laneman....

When you have a moment or two, scroll down to the piece I wrote on March 9 about the trip my old pal Dan O'Brien and I made to the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park three weekends ago. We sure could use Franklin D. Roosevelt today.


Tom Degan

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

What we really need is a man like ABBIE HOFFMAN again !!!

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Boycotts and protest demonstrations are a great idea. However as we saw at the Repug convention it is easy for the establishment to plant trouble makers to justify Kent State like tactics on the demonstrators. Boycotts will be a lot harder for the establishment to defend against and the internet will make organizing boycotts very easy. As Anna points out such boycotts will be inconvenient but very effective if done properly and are of a large enough scale. Hey now we are getting somewhere !!!

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Josh Justice said...

Anna Van Z: Revolution? While that sounds all good and merry, you have to take into consideration the fact that many of the soldiers returning from overseas are being re-deployed in the states for domestic use. While this clearly violates quite a few laws, that never stopped the government before. The second there's any sort of protest or revolution, regardless of whether it's peaceful, the provocateurs will be in place to be sure the news sees anarchists in black hoods burning down hospitals. Never underestimate the power of Goebbels-esque propaganda.

Now Tom, I hate to say it, but I told you so. You were so full of hope and ready for change when Obama first came out. Well, so far he's gone back on his word that the federal government will respect state sovereignty in matters of legalized marijuana... The DEA just raided a medical marijuana center in San Francisco. Where is the change of position with Israel? They mercilessly slaughter women and children in Palestine and Hilary doesn't even mention Palestinian statehood in her visit! Well, at least he held Bush and Cheney accountable! OH wait, he's parroting their retorect.

Sorry, I didn't mean to be so harsh... you've got a good heart, but a little too much faith.

-Josh Justice

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Josh Justice said...

Sorry Anna, I didn't see your second reply. I definitely agree that a revolution of the sort you're discussing is necessary and desirable!

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

GRR, (or Grrr, if you're snarling and gritting your teeth) I never believed, for a moment, that Anna, or anyone else for that matter, was advocating a violent overthrow of the government. First-and-foremost, logistically it could never be pulled off. Secondly, even if it could be achieved, the end-result would likely be worse for the majority of Americans. We're in agreement here.

However, Anna is correct in her assessment. People do need to resist the temptation of drifting back into, and living in, their cocoons of ignorant bliss. Obama was able to mobilize and generate substantial interest in our political environment during the last election campaign. I think, now that the election's over, and he's now firmly in office, the very people that supported him -- the young, minorities, and the gay community, have fallen back into their slumber. I may be wrong, but it certainly feels like they have.

People do need to turn-off the television, and when they do watch, make sure the programming has educational value. Certainly not all TV programming is valueless, or mind-numbing, but the great majority of it is. And people do need to become more politically astute. It doesn't do any good to only follow the political and governmental meanderings of our elected (and un-elected) officials every four years. The powers-that-be are counting on the fact that you will, and will not be inclined to maintain an interest, so it's imperative that everyone really keep their ear-to-the-ground and their eye-on-the-ball. A republican democracy cannot function any other way. Thomas Jefferson was very emphatic about this.

Personally, I've made a "new year's resolution", of sorts, and I'm making a point of calling or writing (e-mail) my elected officials on each and every major issue or logjam. They're probably wondering, "Who is this guy?", but it's working. I'm getting responses (e-mail) from them, advising me what they plan to do, etc. If I don't like their responses, I write them back and tell them. I've decided, if I can express my political, economic, and social views on open forums such as Tom's The Rant, or Anna's The Mills River Progressive, or any of the other blogs or websites I've frequented and contributed to over the last few years, than I should communicate with the people who can do the most to affect the change I'm interested in seeing. Granted, I recognize they don't seem to do much, but keep this in mind: You can bet the wealthy and the powerful individuals, who really call the shots in this country, are having their say. If you remain mute, their influence becomes only stronger and harder to deflect.

I also shun purchasing, whenever possible, from large corporate behemoths who dominate my community, like every community, and instead restrict my purchases to locally-owned or regionally-owned enterprises if I have a choice. I refuse to frequent chain restaurants and most chain-stores, which helps to keep my dollars in my local community and area. I buy my produce from farmers markets, in season, instead of the chain grocery stores. I'm thinking about starting a cooperative in my community, similar in scope to others I've belonged to when I lived in other places, and I keep my thermostat setting chillingly low in the winter and uncomfortably warm in the summer.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, and that I couldn't improve in many ways, but I'm initiating these changes in order to not only help my community and my region, but to also make a statement. As a solitary figure, I can only enact so much change. Like a David, in a world of Goliaths, I only have so much power with which to confront the beast. But, with enough Davids, working in concert to achieve the same goals and purpose, I know I can lend a sufficient hand in helping to starve him.

Starve the beast. That's the only way to beat him. Starve him.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Jeff's Guard....

You make some good points (as always) but in particular regarding television. Usually, when I turn on the telly, I know where I am going - usually the news, C-SPAN, PBS or FOX Noise (for laughs). This morning - just for the hell of it - I decided to go channel surfing. I was appalled by how much shit I saw being broadcast. Truly incredible and very depressing.

On that happy note....

Tom Degan

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous GRR said...

Jefferson's G
Listen ti what our dear President just said today:

"So let me be clear: al Qaeda and its allies - the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks - are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan."

President BushBama

Oh God. Here we go again. This nightmare is never going to end. And the little ones will slumber on.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger LCS said...

Greetings and salutations Tom! I have been enjoying your blog for a while and liked your post on your visit to the FDR homestead. As a former resident of the Hudson Valley I have been to both the Roosevelt estate and Valkil and enjoyed them immensely.

As for the TV: it's David Shuster, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC all the way! At least for political stuff. :)


At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

everytime i see your van i want to barf

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Don't get me wrong, I am not offended that the sight of my van makes you feel like vomiting. The fact that you have a reaction is a good thing and, in a peculiar way, I encourage it.

What drives me crazy are those who have no reaction - indifference. That is what drives me up the wall!


Tom Degan

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, I vaguely remember you making reference to your van in a previous article, or post, or both, but I can't remember what it is that makes it memorable. Could you publish for your loyal readers who don't remember, or have never had the pleasure, a photograph of just what it is that is turning the stomach of Anonymous?

By the way, have you read the latest commentary by Joseph Stiglitz? His analysis, like that of many others, concurs that "The real failings in the Obama recovery program lie not in the stimulus package -- though it is too heavily weighted toward tax cuts, and much of it merely offsets cutbacks by states -- but in its efforts to revive financial markets." As I mentioned in a previous post, it's very apparent that President Obama is just as much "one of them" as the rest of the corporatists and banking moguls. He knows he can't satisfy two masters, so he's chosen to appease the ones who propped him onto the national stage and whisked him into office. While corporate money and influence have evidently tainted this new president, and is setting the agenda on issues in our Congress and courts, We, the People, have been forsaken; for we can never speak as loudly with our own voices, and our votes, as corporations can with their unlimited amplification of money.

Starve the beast, folks. The only way out is to starve the beast.

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous GRR (Green River Rider) said...

Jefferson's Guardian...

But how do you propose we starve the beast? I'm all ears.

As for my handle, I ride about 8,000 miles a year on my bicycle. One of my favorite rides is along the Green River in the hills of Southern Vermont.

I just wanted you to know I'm not an angry poster. :)

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

/stɑrv/ verb, starved, starv⋅ing.
–verb (used without object) 1. to die or perish from lack of food or nourishment.
2. to be in the process of perishing or suffering severely from hunger.
3. to suffer from extreme poverty and need.
4. to feel a strong need or desire: The child was starving for affection.
5. Chiefly British Dialect. to perish or suffer extremely from cold.
6. Obsolete. to die.

–verb (used with object)
7. to cause to starve; kill, weaken, or reduce by lack of food.

8. to subdue, or force to some condition or action, by hunger: to starve a besieged garrison into a surrender.

9. to cause to suffer for lack of something needed or craved.

10. Chiefly British Dialect. to cause to perish, or to suffer extremely, from cold.


bef. 1000; ME sterven, OE steorfan to die; c. G sterben Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

GRR, I believe you can get a idea of what I'm referring to when I say "starve the beast" from my previous post. I don't think I can make it any more clear. Certainly, a one-man show isn't going to be able to accomplish anything. It's going to take a concerted effort, by all Americans who care. Using your own analogy of the power of water; one drop, or a few, doesn't have the capability of moving mountains. But many, over time, can carve huge canyons or redefine a whole geological area. If I'm only one solitary raindrop, my efforts will most likely just be absorbed or run into the storm-drain. But millions of raindrops, working as the power of one...and over time...can truly make an impression.

I agree with you, patience, and "being watchful", is necessary. But it can't be the only remedy. There needs to be meaningful action along with the collective-consciousness raising that you mention.

That's a lot of mileage (averaging 22 miles per day) you're biking each year. That's excellent. I assume you belong to a cycling team?

No, I never thought of you as angry -- only those who repeated the "Grrr".

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous GRR said...

Hi Jefferson's Guardian

I do race informally with the master's division of a local bike shop, but hill-climbs are my favorite event. Climbing steep hills at 6 mph is not as dangerous as riding in a pack at 30. But it's not as much fun either! Of the races I do, the following link is to my favorite. Such effort becomes a meditation and a welcome diversion to obsessing about the contradictions and disappointments of the times we live in.

This is the link.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Josh Justice said...

Man Tom,
not even a response? I swear I'm not a troll, just concerned with this lull in protest and anger when an election comes up.
ladies and gentlemen! it doesn't matter if it's a man, a woman, a latino or even an african american. They all serve the global banking elite, not the people.
there was so much critical time wasted while these banker bailouts were being formulated and instead of getting out and protesting, my friends were so self-assured that Obama would fix it all.
I wonder how many obamacides there's going to be when all these people hopped up on Obama's "change" come down and see how much worse things have really gotten.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"Obamacides"...I like it. ;->

Josh, I agree with you that Tom tends to be optimistic, but I'm sure he's always had that way about him. People with positive personalities, like Tom, and others I know, usually have a lower incidence of chronic and fatal diseases, and more often than not, live longer. There's nothing wrong with that, no doubt, it's just that he sees the glass as being half full. It's actually a positive attribute, especially in these darkening times. You're mistakenly confusing optimism, or faithfulness, with hiding one's head in the sand and thus, not seeing reality. This trait, I concur, can be...and is...dangerous. I perceive that Tom sees what's happening. He just digests it differently. Besides, optimistic people are more fun to be around.

I also agree with you about the "global banking elite" (see my above posts). But, personally, I don't think your generation has the wherewithal, or the necessary moxy, to hit the streets and make a difference. Whereas my generation became walking-and-talking zombies due to television, your generation already is -- probably exacerbated by an ever-increasing array of electronic paraphernalia, coupled with being schooled in an increasingly more deficient public education environment.

"Big Brother", and "Corporate Father"...working hand-in-hand, for so long...saw the value in a distracted, manipulated, and ignorant electorate. It's finally paying huge dividends for them.

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous JoshJustice said...

Unfortunately, I would have to agree with your assessment of my generation.
I'm off to watch Hulu.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

By all means, go fiddle...while Rome burns, and steals from you and your future.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous John said...

GRR, Mt. Washington seems like it would be a spectacular ride!

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous GRR said...

Hi John...

Mt Washington is a great ride. And a great event. The August event has filled up but Newton's revenge in July has room. Go for it!


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