Monday, March 01, 2010

Mickey Mouse America

"Cathy, I'm lost" I said though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all come to look for America
All come to look for America

Paul Simon

Mickey Mouse must die....Okay maybe that's a bit of an extreme statement. Just bear with me....

My favorite book of John Steinbeck's isn't even a work of fiction. It's pure journalism. In fact, next to Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 journey into the dark side of the American dream, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and Jack Kerouac's 1957 classic "On The Road", it is some of the finest prose ever written about these United States. If you haven't read "Travels With Charley", you haven't read about America.

In 1960 Steinbeck, into his third decade as a widely-read novelist and nearing the end of his life, realized that his success had isolated him from the "real America" of which he had once been a part. Perhaps inspired by Kerouac, he decided that he and Charley, his chocolate-colored, standard poodle, would go off to look for America. What the two of them found was a thriving, vibrant though troubled and tormented nation. In spite of her many demons, America in 1960 was a land of hope, almost giddy with optimism. At this stage in his life, with his time on earth ebbing, Steinbeck was almost physically ill with chronic wanderlust:

"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight, perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked."

Charley died in 1961. His beloved friend John followed him to the grave seven years later. It boggles the mind to ponder what these two noble travelers would have made of the America of 2010.
Can you even imagine? I can't. I swear to you, I can't.

We have often heard described the "genius" of American democracy. That genius is no more. It is brain-dead. The final nail in the coffin was the atrocious decision last month of the Roberts Court which reaffirmed the delusion of "corporate personhood". Tear down the facade of an imaginary democracy that we all have been living under for too long now. As the song says, "It's time to wind up the masquerade" and time to wake up to some nasty realities: You have been bought and paid for by the plutocracy. They own you! Your elected representatives? Forget about it. You're not even on their radar. They sold you down the river a long, long time ago. Whose interests are they looking out for? They're just looking out for number one:

"And number one ain't you
You ain't even number two"

Frank Zappa

And don't deceive yourselves into thinking that it's all the fault of one party and that the other will lead us to the promised land. You're kidding yourselves. There are no Republicans left who have not been corrupted and very few Democrats. Teddy Kennedy is dead and he's not coming back. The problem with America can easily be boiled down to a single question:

Would you like a nice, cold glass of donkey piss to go with that juicy plate of elephant shit you've ordered?

Bon appetit, America!

John Lennon once sang, "You don't know what you've got until you lose it." We've lost so much in the last thirty years and yet so few of us have even bothered to take notice of our loss. We are a nation distracted - distracted by our really cool hi-tech toys; distracted by reality television; distracted by Tiger Woods' personal life; distracted by the corporate media - it really is a miracle that all of us haven't lost the ability to think critically.

We're not living in the country envisioned by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. This is light years away from the "government of the people, by the people, for the people" that was conjured for posterity by Abraham Lincoln on the bloodstained fields of Gettysburg in 1863. This is Disneyland. We're living in fucking Disneyland.


A land chock full of overweight and underpaid Mickey Mouse men and Mickey Mouse women, driving in their Mickey Mouse cars to their Mickey Mouse jobs; coming home at the end of a long Mickey Mouse day to their Mickey Mouse houses filled to the rims with their Mickey Mouse spouses, their dysfunctional Mickey Mouse kids and their lovely, state-of-the-art Mickey Mouse appliances.

Back in our Mickey Mouse capital, our shit-for-brains, Mickey Mouse politicians, lovingly gazed upon by their butt-ugly Mickey Mouse wives, firmly secure in their Mickey Mouse careers, are busy passing worthless, Mickey Mouse laws that their clueless, Mickey Mouse constituents will thank them for by reelecting them to one Mickey Mouse term after another and another and another....

We The Mickey Mice....

Sure, it wasn't meant to be this way but that's what we've become. Deal with it, but don't accept it as the way things are always going to be. As Frederick Douglas once advised, "Agitate. Agitate. Agitate." The fact that so many people have passively accepted what has been done to them is a fairly good indicator of the depth of their mass-unconsciousness. Jello Biafra once made the argument of a "creeping fascism" which works its way into a society's fabric at such a snail's pace, by the time it reaches its full and ugly form, people hardly notice it. Wakey, wakey, kiddies!

"As I was walkin' that lonesome highway
I saw a sign that said No Trespassing
But on the other side, it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me"

Woody Guthrie
This Land Is Your Land

Guthrie wrote that song in the nineteen-thirties. The land he sang of is dead - long dead. Today the other side of that sign has been stamped, "OWNED BY CORPORATE AMERICA". Last month the Supreme Court virtually guaranteed that that side wasn't made for you and me at all.

In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley were both impressed by the thriving close-knit communities that peppered the American landscape; mini-infrastructures of pharmacies and hardware stores and family restaurants and funeral homes and grocers and barbers and bankers and bakers and butchers that were the bedrock of small town life. Fifty years later have found those same communities decimated - raped by Corporate America's Mickey Mouse monopoly on our economy. In 1960 Steinbeck could see the change that was coming:

"Our treasured and nostalgic picture of the village store, the cracker-barrel store where an informed yeomanry gather to express opinion and formulate the national character is rapidly disappearing....The new American finds his challenge and his love in traffic-choked streets, skies nested in smog, choking with the acids of industry, the screech of rubber and houses leashed in against one another while the towns wither a time and die."

In the early seventies, I briefly attended a prep school at the edge of one of these booming little villages in central Pennsylvania. When I visited the area a few years ago for the first time in three decades, I was shocked by what I saw - or, rather, by what I didn't see. It was a ghost town. Like too many small towns all across this once-great nation, it had been Wal-marted out of existence.

They've all gone to look for America....

It's a fairly safe bet that a half-century later, Mr. Steinbeck and Mr. Charley would not recognize the Mickey Mouse America of 2010. This land was your land. This land was my land.

Tom Degan


Travels With Charley
by John Steinbeck

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by Hunter S. Thompson

On The Road
by Jack Kerouac

For more recent postings on "The Rant", please go here:


Just kidding!


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Cher Duncombe said...

Absolutely great post! It certainly does appear that the "genius" of American democracy is brain dead. A death caused by a self-inflicted wound! We have indeed become a nation so distracted by our need to consume that we have become unable to see the storm clouds on the horizon. Mickey Mouse America? God help us!

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Rain Trueax said...

Our government system is dead but the things Steinbeck wrote about with the American people, it's still here. It never was everybody. I hear daily about the innovative new energy business start ups that my husband is involved in helping into being or hearing about through others who are working to build new ideas. I watch my grandchildren being raised with the same values I was. It's there in the American people but not enough of them and that's the problem.

This week-end I heard something very upsetting about an area in Eastern Oregon that I like very much. The Aryan Nation is trying to get a headquarters in one of the little towns. 375 people showed up to protest it and a hundred more could not get in. More watched the proceedings elsewhere. This is the rural heart of America that is supposed to be beyond hope but they said some of those people had tears in their eyes at the thought of a hate group settling in their midst.

Steinbeck's America is still there but it needs help and strong leaders who are worthy of it and some Americans need a tough reminder to wake them up as to what is really happening to their country and who is doing it.

Between the deterioration of our schools and our media's complete giving itself over to nonsense, it will take it being the people, those like you who call it out for what it is. It's unfortunate that the ones living that Mickey Mouse America, as you so aptly named it, won't read sites like yours :(

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Ned B. said...

Mickey only ever was a mouse, a cartoon mouse, Steamboat Willie, a mouse with great spirit with whom we loved to identify. Alas, and most ironically, his demise (went to meet his maker, you might say) derived from his "Disneyfication."

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Nance said...

Love Steinbeck, love Charley, would love to crawl into the back of that homemade camper truck and narrow my world down to the immediate and the manageable. I have to take my point of view both higher and wider, however, to avoid despair; I have to believe that this ugly contraction of our national identity could be followed by something...livable, endurable, maybe even admirable eventually.

I don't want to spend my last fifteen years or so grieving hopelessly for the country of my home. Ours would not be the first generation, in this or any country, to do so, but I'm on a quest for hope. And for integrity; if I can't find it, I must embody it, myself. My distractions, when I need them, must be worthy ones. Travels With Charley serves very well.


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Well for one thing Amerika in 1960 was occupied by Americans. Immigration was controlled. Our society was not inundated with non-assimilating immigrants legal or illegal. When Nixon decided in the early 1970s that one good way to screw the middle class was to allow uncontrolled immigration, we began on the road to where we ended up today. Forget all that shit about Amerika being a land of opportunity, a melting pot of cultures and nationalities.....our government allowed outsiders to come in and take away jobs, send all the untaxed income back to their homelands and live here subculturally without any intention of assimmilating. The result is detrimental to all of us who actually belong here.....less job opportunity and an inability to organize our citizens due to a diluted society full of disinterested immigrants with their own agendas. That is what really changed in those 50 years from a cultural viewpoint. Economically we have a weakened middle class with wages not even near meeting the cost of living for the average person. Educationally, we have been dumbed down and brainwashed to the point where people don't even understand what their true interests are, let alone how to protect such interests. Disneyland indeed !!

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

So what was the moment that pushed YOU over the edge?
Your blog was always the place I could go to find a simpatico writer who through his humor and tenacity always lifted me up. I still feel that way but I can see you now need a dose of your own medicine.
Here's how it works, Tom. When I think of you out there in Goshen NY, I always feel like if the shit hits the fan and I have to strike out on my own, if I can just make it to Goshen, then I know I will find a friend who will welcome and keep me until I am strong enough to venture on. Because out in Goshen, in the midst of all this darkness is a guy named Tom Degan who I know I can count on to be a point of light in all this mess. And same for you, Tom. If you can make it as far as Madison Wi, you know you can come looking for me and I will give you shelter and encouragement and if you can make it as far as Oregon, then Rain will do the same and on and on because although the big black curtain has fallen over our "land of the free", there are still a bunch of us who refuse to let the torch burn out.
Most of this is metaphorical, I know as a writer, you get that, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and tell you that over the months of reading your stuff I have come to love you and I believe in you and the call on your life. Go ahead and let yourself feel the despair, there's no way out but through, hon.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

What a nice thing to say, Mary. You've made my day! I wouldn't need an excuse to trek out to Wisconsin to see you!

All the best,


At 2:12 PM, Blogger Amolibri said...

Amazing, Ellis...shoehorning your anti-immigrant blather into this great piece. Your 'vanilla americans' should be as industrious as immigrants throughout US history. I'm one.
ESL classes and waiting lists are through the roof!!!

Non-assimillating, indeed! ;o(

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

I am not anti-immigrant at all. I just think we need to take care of the people who are already here before helping others come here who have no intention of assimilating or playing for our team. If you are here legally and consider yourself an Amerikan FIRST then I have no problem with you. If you are here legally and have NO INTENTION of joining us culturally or if you are here illegally then I think you contribute to the overall problem. This isn't about vanilla's about people who come here to take advantage of our idiotic immigration policy. In other countries immigrants must have a needed skill to be allowed to remain and settle. The fact that they don't like it in their homeland or find no opportunity there is just too bad. If you don't like your government then revolt and overthrow it. Don't come running here !! It is true that at one time industrious immigrants through their ignorance and desperation helped build this country. Those days are long over. Now the majority of immigrants are a social and economic drain on our society. Amolibri, explain to me exactly how WE benefit from YOU being here ?? We need to take care of our own people, then maybe there will come a time we can help folks from other places too.

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Amolibri said...

Heard you the first time, E. (you're not anti-immigrant?....garsh....what do you call it then? Isolationist???)

When did your ancestors get here? ...and when did immigrants start being demonized by the likes of you? ;~(
PS: if there were no illegal employers (=exploiters) then....???? Gimme a break.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Amolibri said...

Have a read, Ellis.
With love,

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

My ancestors came here to be exploited as cheap labor. They looked at that as opportunity !! They would have been better off staying in Europe !! I don't demonize anyone.....I just comment on what I see going on today in Amerika. These days immigrants come here to exploit our society. You didn't answer my question do we benefit from you being here ?? If we don't benefit in some manner from your presence among us, we really don't need you here, do we ?? I am not racist nor do I dislike foreigners. I am not isolationist either. I just think that until other countries let Amerikans immigrate as freely as we allow immigrants to come here, we should take care of our citizens first !! The presence of non-assimilating immigrants makes that more difficult to acheive, or haven't you noticed ??

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Jobs Amerikans won't do, huh ?? I guess you haven't seen my past comments regarding minimum wage and the poverty level. Amerikan workers are ridiculously underpaid. The presence of desperate immigrants is one reason this is the case. Our bargaining power is diminished by folks who will work for shit pay. I want to see the wealthy pony up more of their wealth to the people who actually do the work. Finding cheap labor to exploit is the establishment's goal. Desperate immigrants help the establishment achieve that goal !!

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Amolibri said...

So, the 'wealthy' are excused from exploiting, eh? Do you think magically the absence of immigrants will raise wages? How naive.
The $$$ markets ran wild with less & less regulation and the corps with offshoring. You see what you choose, my friend.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great commentary -
But really, Tom, get with the program - Do you want some more Kool-aid?

Or put another way:

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Lydia said...

Wonderful post that both riled me up and choked me up. (Besides that you opened with some lyrics from one of my most favorite S&G songs.)

In 2001 we brought a chocolate Standard Poodle puppy into our home. Bonbon. Someone suggested that I read Travels with Charley and I did. Loved it. Still have to read your other two on the reading list.

I, like Rain, have been following with great interest the push by white supremicists into the Oregon town of John Day. I love that place and am heartened to see the citizens protesting such an infiltration. One resident was interviewed on Portland news and she said ( I'm paraphrasing), "We are diverse here. We are right, and we are left. But you won't find any among us who welcome hate here."
I wonder if my husband would agree to my hitting the road this summer with Bonbon.....

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Ellis, you're paintin' yourself into a corner. That's the trouble with playing the blame game and allowing your your glasses to get frosted up with nostalgia.

It's the system, a system we allowed to be made, not the people, not the newcomers. Businesses are intereested in cheap labor so they can be more competitive. They exploit and not only hurt their competitors but employers and workers who play by the rules.

You need to educate yourelf on immigration laws, to understand how difficult it is to acquire citizenship. And who made it that way? The very people who benefit from it and I don't mean the workers.

Show me someone who doesn't want a better life for themselves and their family.

Americans could do with a little less arrogance and a bit more humbleness. We put it to the African -Americans and exploityed them and the same to we screwed the Native Americans out of their land, made second-class citizens of them, hated the waves of Irish, of Italians and of Easter Wuropeans and now it's the Mexicans' turn.

Lets hear one more chorus of "God Bless America"



At 2:45 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

This is not a " blame game ". I am not referring to the immigrants who attempt to get citizenship. However, many who do earn citizenship still do not put Amerika and our culture above their native cultures. If you want to live here then become one of us. Keep your native culture and customs secondary or stay where you are !! This system we have was bought by the rich and tailored by the rich to preserve the status quo. I agree immigrants are merely pawns in their game the same as Amerikans are. Everyone who gives their best efforts in all they do deserves a " better life ". My point is that not everyone is entitled to live that life here in Amerika. I don't approve of how we stole the Native American Indian's lands nor do I approve of how we treated ( and still treat ) African-Americans. That said, I don't think the ordinary Amerikan should be held accountable for past travesties committed by evil unethical people. These assholes were not our ancestors they are the ancestors of the rich ruling class who are still in power today. It is most important for a society to take care of its own people first. We have failed miserably at this in Amerika. Part of that failure results from the purported benevolence toward immigrants which in reality is nothing more than a disguised way of further exploiting everyone the establishment can exploit !! The presence of these immigrants makes it more difficult for our own fragmented and diluted citizenry to organize and fight back against our rich oppressors. Once we get that squared away then we can worry about the folks elsewhere !!

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Schmoop said...

This country has become what it is not because of politicians and elected officials; it has become this way because of the American voter who supplicates him or herself to ideology, a couple of touchstone issues, and a lack of pragmatism...

And indeed, selfishness. Chew on that.


At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Ellis D., Esq. said...

I don't think it is fair to blame the dumbed down, brainwashed, misguided citizens for our present situation. Are Amerkians selfish ?? Sure, they have been brainwashed and conditioned by the establishment to be selfish. Greed and selfishness are learned behaviors. People can be taught to be generous and altruistic. The biggest obstacle to this is capitalism which by its very nature breeds greed and selfishness. The greed and selfishness start with the rich and " trickles down " the socio-economic ladder. Humans are intelligent enough to be able to work together. The competition caused by capitalism prevents this cooperation from occurring. Since the rich only look out for their own greed driven interests and the rest of us act " selfishly " for our survival little will change. Wealth equals control in Amerika and few people have wealth so those few are in control. Until money is removed from politics by way of Public Campaign Financing, little will change. Don't blame brainwashed people for acting out their programing....unfortunately that is all they know. Teach your children well and don't let the establishment brainwash them. Maybe future generations will then be more enlightened !!

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Schmoop said...

Ellis...I know you are messin' around 'cause really, no one is that stupid.

If I am all I have ever learned, and been brainwashed by, and it controls who I am today, than I have no free will.

I am but a shell containing and responding to my own empiricism. Truly that that cannot be.

Am I but a shadow of Hume and Berkely rolled into one and cinctured by my own empirical thought.

Oh please tell me, brilliant one, that there is a trace of Spinoza and Leibniz in me. Please tell me that I have some rationalism left in me.

You're a dolt.


At 4:19 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Matt-Man.....the people I am referring to have no idea who David Hume, George BERKELEY, Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz even were, let alone their philosophical beliefs. I also don't see where empiricism, rationalism or any other philosophy is even applicable to the point I was making. But the fact that you even think about it separates you from the average Amerikan, who is unable to do any critical thinking at all !! The average Amerikan believes that the government ( establishment ) is their friend and cares about their welfare. Once they take that bait then what free will is left ?? It seems the extent of your free will is the freedom to call me a dolt. As a philosophy major who graduated cum laude I beg to differ with you on that. So you think the average Amerikan evaluates all the propaganda and bullshit they are fed critically and with suspicion ?? They don't....for if they did they would be damn pissed off at being lied to and shitted on by the establishment ALL THE TIME !! Obviously few pay attention and even fewer try to do something about it. If all Amerikans were as smart as you Matt-Man we wouldn't be in this boat. Do you only associate with others in the Mensa Society ?? :-)

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Amazing post and awesome blog.
Let's keep in touch.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Absolutely, Jack. Thank you so much for the kind words on the McClatchy site this morning.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 7:42 AM, Blogger McDaddyo said...

Elly writes: ``NO INTENTION of joining us culturally.''

So let me get this straight.

In your view, If I want a green card I have develop a hugely inflated, grossly blurred and hair-trigger defensive assessment of my personal beliefs, a massive fast-food eating habit (and the blubber to show for it), watch at least 4 hours a day of "American Idol," "Law & Order," downloaded pornography and Fox News while driving a behemoth vehicle that gets no more than 10 miles per gallon and needs 2.5 parking spaces while I listen to some ignorant blowhard on the radio tell me what a poor, poor victim of political correctness and affirmative action I am while I await a cell phone call from my Guatemalan maid to confirm that I haven't received any margin calls on the Internet stock trades I made because my cousin promised me he had insider information he got while giving a quick hand job to the minister in the men's room at the Wal-Mart sized Church of Christ Crucified while shouting how much we hate to pay taxes...

No thanks. How about this Ellis. I'll obey the laws, work and pay my taxes. I'll speak whatever language I like (just curious, how many do you speak?), eat whatever food I like and keep the religion of my own choice to myself. If you gotta problem with that, maybe your the one who doesn't belong here.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Well first of all McDaddyo the Amerikan culture you rightly reject is NOT the culture I was referring to. Those fat, shallow, misguided, selfish, clueless people do more harm than good for society. You say you'll speak any language you want ?? Well how about since you have chosen to come to Amerika SPEAK ENGLISH so you have at least THAT in common with your hosts !! I don't speak a foreign language. If I did move to a foreign land I would certainly learn their native language. I woud never expect them to accommodate me....." press one if you would like to speak English ". So instead of sending the income earned here back to family in other lands, put in back into our economy. How about taking an interest in our social problems instead of contributing to them ?? What attracted you to Amerika to begin with ?? I take it it wasn't fast food or Amerikan Idiot !! Why folks from other countries feel they have some kind of right or entitlement to be here is a mystery to me. Amerikans sure aren't welcomed in other places ( except as money spending tourists ). Try to stay permanently somewhere and see what happens !! I have no problem with a legal immigrant speaking their own language among themselves, eating the foods of their choice and practicing their religion if they need such a crutch to survive. Finally, please somehow provide a benefit to us from your presence here. We have enough of our own people who don't make a positive contribution and we are stuck with them, we don't need any others !! I was BORN here to Amerikan parents, as much as I dislike the evil establishment I think I am entitled to stay here lacking a realistic alternative !!

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Schmoop said...

Um...Ellis? Thanks for the backhanded kudos, but really, I don't need them. I do well enough on my own.

And, my good man, I need not the desire, nor the need to throw out titles that I may or may not have such as, "Summa cum Laude." Oh only graduated, "cum laude". Anyhoo...

You are one of the problems with America. You are but an insular, self-absorbed dude who has no concept of the real world. Or...maybe you do, and maybe you do not like it.

And that Ellis, is why you make pretentious comments that try to make you sound as fabulous as the Swiss Guard looks in their dandy outfits.

You Suck and you are afraid of your own mediocrity.

Sorry Mr. Degan...I didn't mean to hijack your blog for a moment, but you know how us loquacious Irish guys can get.


At 11:25 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Now listen, folks....

Let's not forget that most of us are on the same page here. I can attest to Ellis' Progressive credentials - the man takes no prisoners.

This is merely a disagreement with respect to details - not to ultimate goals.


Tom Degan

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Matt-Man I wonder why someone as perfect as you feels the need to use insults. I've seen too much of the real world you refer to and NO I don't like it !! I'm not afraid of mediocrity.....most people are average at best anyhow. I am afraid of people like you who seem to support a hypocritical establishment that acts unethically toward its citizens. I'm not trying to sound fabulous in these comments. I'm only trying to point out that Amerika is far from what it should be and my observations as to why I believe this is the case. If you are happy with the way things are done and the way folks are treated then I guess you are one of THEM not one of US. Therefore, I don't give a shit what you think !!

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Schmoop said...

Y'know Ellis. Mister Esquire...As much as I have to say to you, and none of it good by the way, I'll reserve it.

I'll reserve my debate with folks who have enough balls, which you obviously lack to have a blog, or an e-mail address with which you can be contacted, but...

Then again...why would I waste my time? I like my peeps...and they always speak the truth, and more importantly, they do it with common sense.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

I need to put a little sunshine in the comment page. Although I am very old, I am not old enough to remember the time of the Robber Barons and child labor but I have read about that period in our history. It was a time of great exploitation of the poor and vulnerable, as is happening today.

We survived that period and I think America will survive this period of giant corporations having all the power when greed is rampant.

To blame the immigrants for our loss of jobs is a red herring. Ellis better read up on how the banks have brought about our near depression and loss of jobs. Look to Wall Street for the woes put upon us.

Even the Spanish speaking immigrant (Let's face it - that's who Ellis is referring to) pay something into our system. Social Security and taxes are withheld from their paychecks and add billions to our coffers. It has been proven that our economy would suffer if they were all sent home.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Well as a dolt with no balls who sucks this is my final reply on this topic. All I was pointing out is that in 1960 the demographics of Amerika ( which by the way I spell with a " k " out of respect for the late Abbie Hoffman a true Amerikan Patriot !! ) were much different than today. I have no problem with LEGAL immigrants, though I do think they should speak English. I also think that if we had a rational immigration policy we would only allow in folks that WE THE PEOPLE would benefit from having here and not benefit only the rich oppressive ruling class. Until every Amerikan has a job that pays a LIVING WAGE why should we give precious jobs to outsiders ?? Only rich employers benefit from that, not WE THE PEOPLE !! I know, lazy Amerikans aren't willing to do certain jobs blah, blah. That's because the jobs don't pay a living wage and Amerikans know they deserve better !! Darlene, it wasn't the banks alone that caused our problems the whole evil establishment is/was the culprit..... those in control are the super rich, not WE THE PEOPLE. So Matt-Man have another sip of your Wild Irish Rose, take a drag on your deadly cigarette and enjoy all you love about this fucked up misguided country you live in. Peace & Love, Ellis

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Ellis makes an excellent point. One of the many reasons the middle class is being strangled is the because the rich (and not-so-rich) will exploit people over here illegally, who are desperate to be employed and will work for shit wages.

Here is the problem America will face in a generation. While these people are willing to work for practically nothing, their kids - almost all of whom were born here - will expect their rightful piece of the American pie. They will not go the economic route of their parents, I guarantee that.

If THE MAN expects them to labor for minimum wage - or below - the proverbial substance is going to hit the fan. Mark my words.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, your point's well taken, but it's also assuming we don't experience an economic collapse before then. The probability is becoming more apparent with each passing day.

I think this will be a pivotal year. As I've mentioned before, December won't look like January. We're in for some rough times ahead. We're by no means out of the woods.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

I am living in upstate New York at the base of the Adirondacks specifically because when I was 16 I read Travels with Charley and wanted to see that America. When I finally got here I was hooked. There ARE actually a handful of those little villages Mr. Steinbeck wrote about, but they are fading quickly away. I live near a couple and one fire burned out the center of town and now they are talking about dissolving the village because there ain't much left. I think we can start talking about dissolving the Union because there ain't much left for the rest of us.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

"Well for one thing Amerika in 1960 was occupied by Americans. Immigration was controlled. Our society was not inundated with non-assimilating immigrants legal or illegal."

Ellis, I was alive and active in 1960's America and I gotta tell ya, there were plenty of "wetbacks" in the West. I traveled with families of them while I thumbed my way around the Coast highways. Immigration is still as controlled as it was then, and we are not exactly inundated with non-citizens. We are inundated with crooked politicians, but not so many illegal immigrants. Around here we get Puerto Rican kitchen staff and waiters, and they aren't a problem, we need them! I suspect you are given to making broad, unsupported statements to move your bigotry along. Give us some valid numbers and their sources so we can confirm your assertions, otherwise it sounds like you just don't like "Others".

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Incidentally, I took your advice and started reading Travels With Charley (about 80 pages so far). You're right, it's fantastic. I mentioned this in passing to my brother-in-law and he said it was his favorite book bar none.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Brian F....

Isn't it a great book? I'm glad you're enjoying it. You have inspired me to pick it up again. It's been quite a number of years since I read it.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 6:22 AM, Blogger mofeto said...

Well! My first blog that I will read regularly!


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