Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goldman Sucks

If you've read this blog with any degree of regularity, it's no state secret that I've been fairly hard on the Democrats in the last few years - and with damned good reason, Jack! Let's be honest; they are light years - and beyond - from being the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But for all of their many faults, I think most of them mean well. (and by "most" I mean a bare majority). They're impotent cowards - befuddled and pathetic. But let's give the silly bastards credit where credit is due: At least their hearts are in the right place. And once in a blue moon they are able to overcome their innate incompetence and deliver to the American people some tangible and meaningful legislation. That appears to be what might happen in the next couple of days. They seem to be on the cusp of delivering financial reform legislation. All they need to do is bring over two Republican senators to their side and it's a done deal. Which brings me to the "party of Abraham Lincoln".

The Republicans are no longer a political party. What we have here is an organized criminal organization. At this moment they (along with one thoroughly corrupt Democrat - Ben Nelson) are in the process of preventing a debate on the senate floor regarding pending legislation that would regulate (or re-regulate) the financial industry. When Wall Street was deregulated during the reigns of Reagan, Clinton and the two Georges, cooler heads stood up and tried to warn us that it would only lead to the economic mess that we find ourselves in today. While a small handful of people made a hell of a lot of money in the interim, many Americans suffered terribly. There are tales too numerous to tell of people who were forced to go back to work after retirement because their pensions had been gambled away by these clowns. The GOP is perfectly content to let this unspeakable situation continue. They don't represent us. They represent the people who have spent the last thirty years looting our economic infrastructure. If that ain't criminal, I don't know what is. If it walks like a freaking duck....

After today it will be impossible for the Republicans to continue to justify their opposition to financial regulatory reform. As I write these words a long overdue hearing is underway in Washington, DC. The top executives of Goldman Sachs are about to be humiliated in front of a nationwide television audience. When the sun goes down this evening, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and company are going to have one hell of a difficult time if they continue to defend what is morally indefensible. This is going to be really interesting.

As Jimmy Paige once wrote - or was it Robert Plant? - "It makes me wonder". I wonder what defect it is in the psychological makeup of a group of human beings that would have them place the health and well being of millions of other human beings behind the private profit of a very few. Most of these lawmakers who live in the pockets of the Plutocracy call themselves "Christians". Have they ever made a serious study of the books? You know! - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? - Those guys! How do they justify their actions? How do they sleep at night? We're talkin' major hypocrisy here! That's what makes them so much fun to watch! I always get a certain twisted delight in watching their fake piety. Imagine Wendy O. Williams being cast as Bernadette of Lourdes; or Marilyn Manson as Mahatma Gandhi. It's kind of the same thing.

Sooner or later our right wing friends, within the Congress and without, are going to be forced to admit that the era of anything goes deregulation was a really stupid idea. You can only sit calmly in a burning house, ignoring the flames all about you, for just so long. Sooner or later you'll be forced to flee for your life. After making your escape, if you still refuse to acknowledge that the house is indeed on fire, you're beyond the point where you can make rational decisions on your own. You've entered Librium Country, hombre!

The legislation being put forward by the Democrats is nothing to get ecstatic about. True to form, what they have offered is such a cowardly watered-down version of what is really needed that it is hardly worth more than a halfhearted thumbs up. Essentially what they have come up with is a band-aid for a blood bath. I think it is revealing that even in this moderate and mushy form, the bill is too much for the Republicans to stomach. They want their "clients" to be given license to plunder our national treasure. You don't agree with that? Then please explain to me what else could possibly be the motivation behind their opposition. It makes no sense otherwise. None.

In recent weeks Republican members of the House and Senate - John Boehner and Mitch McConnell in particular - have been meeting privately with the big wigs from Goldman Sachs (among others) in order to kill any reform legislation. When McConnell tells us that the purpose of those meetings was to improve the proposed legislation (Let's get real, shall we?) that doesn't even come close to passing the the giggle test. I was born very early in the morning, but it wasn't this morning. These people no longer even make any pretense as to who they're really working for - and it isn't us. We might as well stop kidding ourselves.

By day's end, the "party of Lincoln" (TEE! HEE! HEE!) will have found themselves teetering on the edge of a very unenviable precipice. Every poll shows that over sixty percent of the people want serious financial regulation reinstated into the economic marketplace. It is going to be amusing (to say the least) watching the verbal calisthenics performed by the right wing in the next week or so. I can see it now: Boehner is on the floor of the House of Representatives, weeping tears of rage and despair, decrying the very idea that the "socialist agenda of this radical president and his cohorts in un-Americanism, have trampled our sacred flag and the United States Constitution in one fell swoop!" Oh, this is going to get ugly. Very ugly indeed....

Which reminds me - would someone please explain to me what the hell "one fell swoop" means anyway? Are "two fell swoops" even possible? Or how 'bout "two/thirds of a fell swoop"? I'm sorry but these are profound questions beyond my philosophical grasp.

It's highly unlikely that any serious reform is going to be put forward until the Republican presence on Capital Hill has been significantly diluted if not eradicated. I do not believe that it is a given that they are going to gain major ground come Election Day. In fact there is every reason to believe that they will only continue to self-destruct between now and then. They can't win without the section of the electorate who describe themselves as "moderate". The moderates are taking a good look at the train wreck that is the modern GOP and by all accounts they're becoming more and more disgusted by what they see. Any party whose most visible spokespersons are certifiably bat-shit-crazy reactionaries like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin is going to have serious "issues" to be sure. They are now cheerfully marching toward the edge of the cliff. GERONIMO!

Keep your eye on this story! Watching these Republicans attempt to justify the continuation of the policies that have led to our economic ruin will be amusing to say the least. This ought to be a scream!

Tom Degan


Reforging The White Republic:
Race, Religion, and American Nationalism 1865-1898
by Edward J. Blum

I received a copy of this extraordinary book courtesy of its author, Edward J. Blum. It tells the story of the years following the end of the Civil War, and how a golden opportunity to bring about a new era of racial brother and sisterhood in this country was thwarted primarily by the American Protestant Church - by so-called "Christians" - in their efforts to convert the American ideal into a White Nationalist cause. Below is a link to where you can order it on Amazon.com. It is essential reading in order to understand how we got to where we are today - and, I believe, where we might go from here.


Mr. Blum has also written a biography of W.E.B. Du Bois which, although I have yet to read it (I will! I will!) has received excellent reviews.

"God wept; but that mattered little to an unbelieving age;
what mattered most was that the world wept
and still is weeping and is blind with tears and blood

-W.E.B. Du Bois

For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mitch: The Plutocracy's Bitch

Weep no more, my lady
Oh, weep no more today
We will sing a song for my old Kentucky home
For my old Kentucky home far away....

-Stephen Foster

 A question to ponder for the ages:

If a tree falls in the forest....

....does it make a sound if Mitch McConnell is not there to deny that a sound was made?

I wonder....

I have written before of my Kentucky heritage. Although I have never lived in the place, many of my maternal forebears called Kentucky home. My grandfather Walter L. Clements was a native of Hodgenville, Kentucky, the same small town where Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. That's me posing with him in the photograph on the left. It was taken in the summer of 1971 at his home in South Bend, Indiana, right around the time of my thirteenth birthday. This was the second to last time I ever saw him alive. Grandfather Clements passed away in 1975. He and my grandmother Loretta Doran, along with their daughter, my aunt Marietta Barras, today lie side by side in the little rural Catholic cemetery in Hodgenville.

I have spent enough time in Kentucky to know that it is chock full of good, decent, and honorable citizens. Knowing this as I do, another perplexing question forces itself on my consciousness: Why would such wonderful and lovely people consistently send a flaming asshole like Mitch McConnell to represent them in Washington? It just doesn't make any sense!

It sure as hell hasn't been an easy week for poor old Mitch, that's for sure! Not only was he caught red-handed parroting Frank Luntz's talking point memos - almost word for word - he has now been exposed for all time and eternity for what he truly is, and what the history books a century in the future will remember him as being: a whore for the plutocracy. After the events that have transpired this week, if his constituency have not yet awaken to the fact that their senator is a corrupt political hack who is in the back pocket of a cabal of Wall Street bankers and financiers, then they are utterly beyond hope.

Earlier th
is week in New York, Mitch had a meeting with the pimps he struts his stuff for - the hierarchy of Wall Street and the banking industry. It was at this meeting that he developed a political strategy for defeating regulatory reform legislation that they could approve of. He knew he had one hell of a tightrope act to perform once he got back to Washington. On the one hand he had to do his pimp/master's bidding - and do it right - or the bitch'll get slapped silly (Don't you go pissin' off those johns, Mitch). On the other hand he had to make his constituents believe that he was some kind of prairie populist, man-of-the-people! It blew up in his face. He has now found himself walking in a politically untenable minefield. It sure as hell wasn't a good week to be Mitch McConnell. I almost feel sorry for the hideous little freak.

Mitch has been frantically trying to warn us that the proposed regulatory reform bill will harm the American people! He's telling us that it will virtually guarantee perpetual bank bailouts far into the future! That is a lie and he knows it. In fact the bill is
a pathetically watered down piece of legislation that will attempt to end the plunder of America's economy that these bastards have been engaging in for three decades. You see, Mitch doesn't give a damn about his country; he doesn't give a hoot-in-hell about his constituents. All he cares about are the corporate pimps that he is beholden to. Mitch really puts out for these guys, doesn't he? He's their bitch. He's their ho.

The halls of history are littered with the biographies of corrupt politicians: New York mayor Jimmy Walker was as crooked as they come, and yet he had a soft spot for the downtrodden and showed it often. Huey P. Long was another rascal with a heart of gold in some instances at least. Although steeped in corruption, he really did great things for the underprivileged in Louisiana during the twenties and thirties
. Legendary Boston Mayor James Michael Curley eventually went to prison, and yet his enduring legacy are not the deeds that sent him there - but the municipal hospitals he built to serve the poor people of that city.

Mitch McConnell is in a class all by himself. If he has any redeeming common denominators with the aforementioned scoundrels, they have yet to manifest themselves. In fact you really have to scrape the bottom of history's barrel
in order to find someone as thoroughly corrupt and as mean spirited our boy Mitch (and if you give me a month or two I might be able to come up with a name). In this one respect the "distinguished" gentleman from Kentucky has distinguished himself very handily indeed. It makes you wonder what the hell the voters of that state were thinking when they sent him to Washington in the first place. The people he ran against in the primaries and general election must have been awful human beings - or were they? It sure makes me wonder.

In the last year or so I have made a concerted effort not to be as bombastic in my language as I was when I began this site almost four years ago. When it dawned on me that the children of many of my friends were reading out of curiosity, I felt that I had better start
choosing my words a little more carefully. But it is difficult - no, it is impossible - to contain myself when describing a hideous little bastard like Mitch McConnell.

I have never been a violent guy. I've never committed an act of violence against another human being in my entire life - but I have this awful fantasy (and remember, it's only a fantasy) about encountering him in an alleyway on the side of one of Washington's meaner streets, beating the bleeding mortal shit out of him, and then stuffing him into a nearby garbage dumpster to recuperate. I know that it's wrong on my part to entertain such thoughts, and that the Prince of Peace admonishes us to be kind and gentle with one another - but I just can't help myself when it comes to this guy. Since George W. Bush and Dick Cheney rode off into America's permanent sunset last year, there is no one - and I mean NO ONE - in that town that I despise more than Mitch McConnell. If there is a more contemptible snake slithering through the halls of Congress, I'd sure as hell would like to know about it.

How he is able to sleep at night is anyone's guess. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe he has not had a sound night's sleep in decades; who knows? One would hope there is a sprinkling of remorse for his sins against humanity behind that stupid, clueless facade of his. Whenever I see him on television he usually looks a bit uneasy when he is forced to defend what is morally indefensible. In the final analysis it doesn't really matter what (if anything) is going on inside Mitch McConnell's small and incurious mind. What matter most are his deeds.

A final word to my cousins in old Kentucky: Your senator is not working in your best
interests. In fact the historical record proves beyond doubt that he is trying to strangle you economically. I'm a New Yorker. I live eight-hundred and sixteen miles from where my grandparents are buried in Hodgenville. It's not my responsibility to start a movement to remove Mitch McConnell from office. It's yours.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

RTHOUGHT, 4/21/10:

Here is a
topic that has earned a moment of silence: It was on April 21, 1910 - one-hundred years ago today - that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known to you and me as "Mark Twain") died peacefully at his home in Redding, Connecticut.

For more recent postings on this disgusting, positively subversive blog, please check out the following link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Shameful, left wing propaganda. THERE OUGHTTA BE A FREAKIN' LAW, I TELLS YA!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here we go again....

"Why do the conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don't get to get the liberals? What the hell is that all about?"

Tom Harkin (D - Iowa)
Reported in POLITICO

Damned good question, Tommy boy! Why indeed? Who was the last real Liberal on the Supreme Court anyway? You really have to go all the way back to William O. Douglas in 1975. By the way, Hark Man, you were my choice for nominee in 1992. To posterity's eternal regret, you were out-bubbah'd by smooth talkin' Slick Willie Clinton. We all would be much better off today had President Harkin (an honest to goodness Liberal) been minding the store between the years 1993 and 2001, that's for damned sure!

Fasten your seat belts and brace yourselves for the latest shit storm that is about to fall on Washington DC, folks. With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens imminent, President Barack Obama is about to make his second appointment to the United States Supreme Court in a less than a year. And like last year's Sonia Sotomayor confirmation travesty, you can expect the Republicans (and even some Democrats) to have a positive hissy fit. These people have moved so far to the extreme right in recent years, the wishiest washiest moderate is going to be perceived as too much of a radical, left wing ideologue for these nincompoops. That being said, I think the president should make a bold decision. The Roberts Court contains plenty of far-right Conservatives (five of them). It's high time we have a Liberal in there - someone who leans decidedly (although not extremely) to the left.

Dag nap it! We need someone in there with the judicial chops of William O. Douglas! Is that asking too much? Douglas was appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and sat on the bench until 1975 when a debilitating stroke forced him into retirement. He died on January 19, 1980. Interestingly, the man who would eventually replace him was Justice Stevens! For thirty-six years, Douglas was, in almost every instance, on the side of the people (Almost - nobody's perfect). He was such a thorn in the side of the political fringe in this country, the GOP twice tried to impeach him. One of those attempts was led by Congressman and future president Gerald R. Ford. Why can't we have someone like Douglas sitting on that bench once again? It's been too long. We need a fightin' Liberal on the Supreme Court.

No matter what the president does, he's going to catch hell from these silly bastards and bitches. Why not go full steam? Why not a little daring do? We're seven months from Election Day. By then, whomever is appointed won't be much of an issue. By then it is almost certain that the American people will come to realize that having one true Progressive voice on the Supreme Court will not cause the sun to fall from the sky or huge cracks to appear in the earth's surface. There is nothing foretold in the Book of Revelations that a Liberal or two (or five) on the highest court in the land is the wicked force that is likely to bring on Armageddon. Sure, the usual suspects will freak out. Sarah Palin will accuse the new Justice of "paling around" with the Weather Underground; John Beohner will break down and weep tears of rage and despair on the floor of the House; Glenn Beck will almost surely come up with manufactured evidence of his or her ties to Fidel Castro, Abbie Hoffman and the North American Man/Boy Love Association - but by November it won't amount to a hill of garbanzo beans.

Not quite three months ago, in a five-to-four decision that is sure to have a seriously negative effect on democracy, the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations, in effect, had all the legal rights as you and I; that they could pervert the electoral process with unlimited amounts of cash. Come to think about it, I take back what I said before. What we need is a FIRE-BREATHING, LEFT WING EXTREMIST as a counterweight to the plutocratic lackeys who now sit on that court. You know who they are:

John Roberts
Anthony Kennedy
Antonin Scalia
Samuel Alito
Uncle Thomas

All five of them are appointees of either Reagan or the two Bushes. The damage those three presidents did to this republic thanks to those horrible appointments will be felt for generations. The Republicans are already warning their clueless masses that Obama plans on nominating a judicial activist. Just what do they think the five mentioned above are? If you don't define giving a corporation full citizenship as "activism", I've got some property on one of Saturn's moons that I'd like to sell you. By the way (and I'm sure this never even crossed the minds of these assholes) that atrocious ruling leaves the door open for foreign corporations to influence American elections. Chew on that for a little bit. If you think the system is corrupt now - Oh, Brother! Just wait and see what it looks like in three or four years!

One of the possibilities being floated about at the moment is Hillary Clinton. For the record: I said a lot of things about Hillary Clinton during the primaries two years ago - really mean things - that I truly regret. In October of 2002, when she voted to give George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq without congressional approval (mandated by the Constitution) she blew it as far as I was concerned. That was a political vote - and there was no excuse for it. I hope she has lost a lot of sleep in the years since as a result of that vote. That being said, Ms. Clinton is a smart woman and - at heart - a true progressive. Since 1992, her innate liberalism has taken a back seat to political expediency - for obvious reasons. But that situation would reverse itself once appointed to the court. Progressives who view Hillary with suspicion need not be worried. I think she would be an outstanding appointment - as long as she keeps Bill out of the deliberations. That could complicate things just a tad, you know what I mean?

Another possibility (and this is my idea, thank you very much) would be - not necessarily a lawyer or a judge - but a constitutional scholar! A person who has spent his or her professional life - not in a court of law - but at the National Archives and various law libraries, studying the U.S. Constitution and the ramifications (for good and ill) of various Supreme Court decisions throughout American history - like that Dred Scott case! Wasn't that a hoot? Or how 'bout that "Corporations are People, Too" decision from January! THAT WAS A SCREAM!

Barack Obama is going to be attacked no matter whom he puts forward as a nominee. Putting up a real fight against the forces of darkness and stupidity will surely impress enough of his fellow countrymen and women to make a difference on Election Day next. This could be a political gold for him if he goes about mining it correctly. He should choose someone he knows will stand by the Constitution and the American people; someone who will fight the good fight in the name of good ol' traditional liberalism, baby! We haven't had a justice like that on the Supreme Court in a very, very long time. In fact we're decades overdue. C'mon, Mr. President! Let's rumble!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Go East, Young Man
By William O. Douglas


Sheria Reid is a writer from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her blog is called, "The Examined Life". In her own words:

"An examination of the ups and downs of of life as a southern, black woman. I write about family, politics, and the human condition, and I try to maintain a sense of humor about it all."

It's a great site. I think you might like what she has to say. I know you'll love the music. Here's a link:


The unexamined life is not worth living. "The Examined Life" is definitely worth a good read. Enjoy!

For more recent postings on this nasty, commie blog, please go to the following link:



Thursday, April 08, 2010

Extremism in the Defence of Librium

It's been one of those weeks. I am torn as to how to interpret recent political events. On the one hand the latent threats of violence and intimidation that underlies the actions and speech of the Tea Party crowd is enough to make any clear-thinking person seriously alarmed about the direction the lunatic fringe of American politics seems to be headed. On the other hand, these people are just so damned funny! We're talking Ambivalence City here! Part of me wishes them to go away and the other part would mourn their loss if they ever did. Let's face it: These assholes are the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this country since Eleanor Roosevelt.

"Don't retreat. RELOAD!"

Sarah Palin

You see what I'm talking about? They're a hoot!....sort of. On the more ominous side are the latest threats against the lives of Senator Patty Murray and Congressman
John Lewis - both Democrats. Back in the day, it was frustrating being a Progressive in this silly country. Now it's starting to get downright dangerous. One GOP operative the other day suggested that Democrats should be afraid to leave their houses. Isn't that sweet? And as I predicted would happen on this site not two months ago, the Republican party, which initially embraced the Tea Partiers, is now desperately trying to distance themselves from this nutty movement. Try as they might, though, they can't - but it sure is a funny thing to behold! The "party of Abraham Lincoln" and the so-called "Tea Party" are now inexorably linked in the public's mind. This is going to hurt them badly come Election Day. Intelligent Americans are becoming disgusted with the mindless extremism. Isn't life wonderful?

Take Michele Bachmann.....Please. She recently implied that the whole purpose of the census was so the government will know where the best places to set up internment camps will be. I realize that this silly woman has the IQ of your average hummingbird, but surely she must know that that statement is complete and utter bullshit. What does that tell you about her? It tells me more than I need to know. If there has been a more despicable American demagogue in my lifetime I am not aware of it. You have to go all the way back to Joe McCarthy to find anyone comparable. In October of 2008, in an appearance on the Chris Matthews program, she stated (with a straight face, I swear) that all Democratic members of the House and Senate should be investigated for their "anti-Americanism". I'm not makin' this stuff up, folks. It makes one wonder if she's ever given the Constitution even a passing glance.


You gave us Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Garrison Keillor and Eugene McCarthy. Is this half-witted, hideous twit the best you can do? Seriously.

The question needs to be posed but, thus far, few are willing to pose it: When and where will the first act of extreme violence be carried out? Don't kid yourselves into thinking that it won't happen. It will happen and soon. The encouragement by these "responsible" legislators and commentators virtually guarantees as much. For months they have been egging on their mindless masses and it's only a matter of time before one of them goes even further over the edge or reason - if that is even possible.

Am I being just a tad paranoid? You be the judge. Just last week Sean Hannity was addressing an auditorium filled with right wing zombies at the Reagan Library in California. When he referred to the gathering as "Tim McVeigh wannabes", instead of being greeted with uncomfortable silence he was applauded! Count on it - someone will soon cross the line into extreme violence. That "great American patriot" Ronald Reagan, in his inaugural address nearly thirty years ago, told his clueless, fellow countrymen and women that government wasn't the answer, government was the problem. That has been the mantra for these assholes ever since. Keep repeating that mantra:


Keep it up! Eve
ntually you'll believe it. Ask yourself this question: At a time when our population has exceeded the quarter-of-a-billion mark, is it really a particularly good idea to shrink the size of the government? Call me an old fussbudget, but it would seem to me that if two-hundred and fifty-million people need anything, it is efficient governance. One-hundred years ago, there was an organization of crackpots who were bent on doing away with all government. One of them was even able to murder a president of the United States (William McKinley). Back then they were called "Anarchists". Today we call them the "Tea Party". The more things change, the more they stay the same. Go figure.

The propaganda campaign on the part of the American plutocracy has truly been impressive. As of this writing we still live in a democracy (technically speaking, that is). They still need a majority on Election Day in order to seize the reigns of power. In an effort to do this they have somehow managed to convince a fairly large segment of the population that the economic mess we now find ourselves in is the fault of the president of the United states and a cabal of Liberal politicians that don't even exist any longer. As far as these foolish people are concerned, the recklessness of the Bush years - lowering taxes (particularly on the wealthy) while fighting two separate wars; handing over our debt to China - never even happened. The fact that the economy is slowly but surely improving is irrelevant to them. This Socialist president and his Liberal allies, within Congress and without, are out to destroy the United States of America. I learned a long time ago never to underestimate the stupidity of the American people. A people who would twice cheerfully send a incurious jackass like George W. Bush to the White House are capable of just about anything. Isn't life strange?

Here is the sad truth that EVERYBODY is ignoring....

We are standing on the edge of an economic cataclysm and there is only one way out. It will
involve taxes - a decade or more of serious taxation. The politicians won't tell you that but that is the way it is, folks. Unlike the last forty years, however, there is no reason why the poor and middle class should have to bear the burden of getting us out of the the hole that the uber rich dug us into.

Once upon a time there existed a class of people who were SO FILTHY RICH that they lived in a ninety percent tax bracket. In other words, they kept ten percent of their income, handing over the rest to the federal government. It wasn't as much of a sacrifice as you might think. They still had more money than they knew what to do with - they only had ninety percent less of it. That situation has not existed in this country for a long time. But it will exist again - count on it. I'll be very blunt with you: Our very economic survival depends on us "soaking the rich" if you will. The last thirty years was their party and you and I were not invited. It's time for them to pay the piper - not us. This is not class warfare, nor is it revolutionary thinking on my part. That is what is known as good old fashioned common sense.

Knowing all this as I do, it is a laugh riot for me watching these Tea Party jackasses at any given event. They have been brainwashed by the plutocracy into doing th
eir bidding and they're doing it quite handily. And remember, contrary to what their leaders would have you believe, this was not a "grass roots" movement. It was created, promoted and, in some cases, financed by Rupert Murdich's FOX Noise. Watching them protest the "evil Liberals" and knowing that the median income of these idiots is probably around thirty-five-thousand per year - if that - is enough to send me into gales of uncontrollable laughter. I'd really miss them if they were gone. Honestly I would.

We sure do live in interesting times. I remember when I was a kid thinking that Watergate was mountaintop of weird politics. It wasn't even close. Strange days indeed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Fear and Loa
thing on the Campaign Trail '72
by Hunter S. Thompson

The funniest book ever written about the American political/campaign process. I sure do miss you, Dr. Gonzo. Have you finally found the peace that eluded you your entire life? I hope you have.


A writer on CHICAGO NOW just wrote a review of the above piece yesterday morning. It's a prefect illustration of how the right wing operates. He calls me, "emblematic of the essential anti-Americanness of the Left in this country." How's that for prose? It sounds like he attended the Michelle Malkin School of Writing, doesn't it? This fellow wasn't content merely to quote me grossly out of context. No, he had to make things up! Did I say that I wished anyone to be killed in this piece? Did I even vaguely imply it? That's what this silly person says! He refused to provide a link to this site so his readers could make up their own minds. Oh, but I'm providing a link to his! Please, reread what I wrote above then read his review. It is an absolute scream! Here's a link:


Seriously, it must be seen to be believed.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Paging Dr. King

"When Jesus says 'Love your enemies,' He is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world, that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's ironic that the forty-second anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King should fall on Easter Sunday. The temptation to compare the the murder of Dr. King to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is almost irresistible. Like Jesus, King, particularly in the last year of his life, had become a prophet of peace. He had moved beyond the perimeters of American Civil Rights and had entered the lion's den of the international anti-war movement. And like Jesus, he incurred the wrath of a lot of powerful people. One year before his death - forty-three years ago today - he gave a sermon at the Riverside Church in New York City:

"A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Well, what the hey! It appears to me that the good doctor was onto something there! In fact, we're way beyond "approaching spiritual doom", we're there, baby! Take a good look around you. This ain't your father's America. It's not even close. Paging Dr. King indeed.

Here's an even bigger irony: His assassin might have saved himself the inconvenience of a long prison sentence had he just waited a few short years. The sad fact of the matter is that by the spring of 1968, Dr. King was not long for this world. His autopsy revealed heart disease so advanced, it is doubtful he would have lived to see his mid-forties. His lifelong fondness for deep-fried southern cooking notwithstanding, the very fact of just being Martin Luther King must have been a burden that would have killed men a lot younger than he. Perhaps we should consider ourselves fortunate that he walked in our midst for as long as he did.

"If we assume that mankind has the right to exist, then we must find an alternative to war and destruction. In our day of space vehicles and guided ballistic missiles, the choice is either nonviolence or nonexistence."

That's what I love about this guy! American history is littered with "Christian" religious leaders. Try as you might, you can't escape them. The thing that sets the right, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn't a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were - a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker. Give me a week and I might be able to name one or two others, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968. Dorothy Day left this veil of tears in 1980. They're gone and they're not coming back.

There are a lot of people today doing what Dr. King did - in reverse. They are the Anti-Kings - or as I like to call them - the Martin Loony Kings. In his time on earth, King sought to appeal to the nation's conscience - to all that was good and (unfortunately at times) hidden in the American character. Today there are national spokespersons galore who would be happy to undo all the good work he did. Their stated purpose is to appeal to the darker demons of our nature. It's working. The number of people out there who seriously believe that our African American President is a "foreign born, Socialist Muslim" is growing by the day. The gullibility of so many Americans truly astounds. Would you like a little cyanide with your glass of Kool-Aid, ma'am?

"Through the vistas of time a voice still cries to every potential Peter, 'Put up your sword!' The shores of history are white with the bleached bones of nations and communities that failed to follow this command."

Give me some of that old time religion! You know - the stuff that Christ actually taught? I find it revealing that the right wing wants to have the Ten Commandments etched into the walls of every courthouse in the United States - and yet they never even mention the Sermon on the Mount. Why is that, you may ask? Because Christ's words in that sermon are anathema to the agenda of the modern day Conservative movement. Read it sometime if you think I'm lying.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven"

Jesus of Nazareth

The aforementioned Dorothy Day once said that if you feed the hungry, they will call you a saint. If you ask why they are hungry, they'll call you a Communist. Martin Luther King was called a Communist (among many other things) during his all-too-short life. They would probably say the same thing about Jesus were He to return to earth on this Easter Sunday 2010. Those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness" will suffer in their quest for Heaven on earth - as did Christ; as did Dr. King.

He was persecuted alright. J. Edgar Hoover once referred to him as "the most notorious liar in America". Somehow, this soft spoken, intellectual and introverted preacher was viewed as a hideous threat to all that was good and decent about America. Go figure. But wasn't that always the case? Think about it: the absolutely coolest people of the last century - Charlie Chaplin, John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman, Joan Baez, Frank Sinatra - even Eleanor Roosevelt - all of them had files in Hoover's FBI. Martin Luther King is in pretty good company.

"Men [and women, Doc!] of all races and nations are today challenged to be neighborly. The call for a worldwide good-neighbor policy is more than an ephemeral shibboleth; it is a call to a way of life which will transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment."

So, here's to Dr. King! His legacy, although secure, is embedded in a shifting foundation that is subject to the whims of a body of halfwits posing as "responsible legislators". We're far away from the kind of country he envisioned, but we're still striving for the mountaintop. His dream did not end on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968 - forty-two years ago today. In fact it was only just beginning.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

"We say that war is a consequence of hate, but close scrutiny reveals this sequence: first fear, then hate, then war, and finally deeper hatred. Were a nightmarish nuclear war to engulf our world, the cause would not be so much that one nation hated another, but that both nations feared each other."


Let The Trumpet Sound:
The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Stephen B. Oates


Everyone remembers "I have a dream" and "I've been to the mountaintop". The sermon he gave at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967 - one year to the day before he died - is the most important of his life. It marked the moment he came out publicly against the war in Vietnam. Here's a link to listen to it in its entirety:


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"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Martin Luther King would have approved!