Tom Degan

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York, United States
August 16
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TOM DEGAN is a former video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America's national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher. He was born in Goshen, NY in 1958 and, after living all over the United States and Canada, moved back there in 1992. He is a high school dropout who in 1977 received an equivalency diploma (HEY, IT'S LEGAL!) He attended SUNY in Middletown, NY and in 1986 studied journalism at the New School in New York City. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has worked as a truck driver, a radio DJ, and a metal worker... OK, he didn't ACTUALLY receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he DID get some kind of ribbon of sorts when he was in the Cub Scouts. He is the inventor of Cheez Whiz and lives off the royalties on the sales of that fine product. He loves children and little baby duckies. FULL DISCLOSURE: He didn't really invent Cheez Whiz. His address is: 2590 Rte 17M (PO BOX 611) Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 294-5714


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APRIL 28, 2012 5:06AM

Rude Dispatches from the Class War

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Rude Dispatches from the Class War

by Tom Degan

"I think it's both good ethics and good economics to scrap this notion that we can fight a war on terror and give rich folks like me a tax cut. It amounts to class warfare."

-Bill Clinton

It was never supposed to be this way - I think. Is it fair to say that the Founders never envisioned such an extreme disparity among the classes? Some of those guys owned slaves so who's to say. This much is beyond dispute: thirty years ago no one would have dreamed that a second Gilded Age would reemerge, wrecking havoc throughout America's economic landscape. This is merely the grim prelude. As Al Jolson used to say back in the day, "Folks, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"

On Tuesday Mitt Romney became the all-but-certain Republican nominee for 2012. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have seen the writing on the wall. Only Ron Paul remains, refusing to go gently into that good night of political oblivion. You may not agree with most of what the man says (I don't) but you've got to admire his tenacity and his consistency. Of all the participants in this year's Clown Car Race-to-the-bottom, he is the only one of them with a core - rotten as it may be at times.

The 2012 election is going to be one for the ages. Until the jaw-droppingly stupid Citizens United v FEC ruling is overturned (Don't hold your breath if Romney wins) progressives in this doomed country will be fighting this and all future campaigns with one hand (or both) tied behind their backs. The right wing's campaign treasure is now almost unlimited. Their donors virtually anonymous. Expect the dirtiest political campaign in memory - possibly in history. It could very well end up dwarfing the John Adams/Thomas Jefferson contest of 1800 in terms of mud slinging. Expect Barack Obama's race to be the not-so-subtle issue of the campaign of 2012.

 Which brings me to the president. Obama is not my Progressive Dream. Far from it. I'll be blunt: for the last couple of years I've been just mild about Barry. The fact that this Casper Milquetoast moderate is seen by so many of his fellow countrymen and woman as a left-wing-extremist is yet another example of how dumbed-down the American people have become in the last three decades. The only radical, left-leaning administration in the history of this country held the White House longer than any other - a little over twelve years - and it saved this country from the greed and excess of the one percent. But don't expect the citizens of these United States to understand this. Most of them don't know the history of the country they profess to love so much. That is why they are doomed to repeat that history. In fact they're hell-bent on repeating it. Pathetic.

Here is the last thing the so-called "base" of the Democratic party needs to do. Folks, you stayed home in a nasty snit on Election Day in 2010 because Barack Obama did not bring you the liberal paradise that you (and I) dreamed about. And what did that get you? Possibly the worst body of representatives since before the Civil War. Staying home is definitely not an option this time. In the next five years there will be two, maybe even three appointments made to the Supreme Court. If Mitt Romney is elected in November, in less than a decade this place will be a Fascist state. Does that sound like an extreme statement on my part?

"Fascism should more properly be called 'Corporatism' because it is the total merging of corporate and state power."

-Benito Mussolini

Sure. I'm just being paranoid. Pay it no mind.

It's not too late for Barack Obama to go down in history as a great president, but that's only going to happen if....

1.) he is reelected in November, and....

2.) enough civic-minded progressives are elected to the House and Senate.

Otherwise you can expect (at best) four more years stagnation and gridlock or (at worst) the end of democracy. We all have got to start working overtime to ensure that the GOP is defeated across the board next November. This ain't gonna be easy, campers. As stated before, we've already got one hand tied behind our backs. In addition to the Citizens United fiasco courtesy of the Supreme Court. there are the hideous "Voter ID" laws that are being passed in Republican-controlled states across the land. These laws are specifically engineered to see to it that the traditional Democratic constituency (blacks, the elderly. college students) are unable to participate in the electoral process. To quote the Church Lady, "Isn't that special!"

I know what you're thinking and I agree. The Democratic party is - on their best days - befuddled and incompetent. Perhaps its face might be altered just a bit with a new batch of freshmen legislators. Maybe, maybe not. But the cruel fact of the matter is, at the moment anyway, the Democrats are running the only game in town that is not completely rigged.

Republican governors all across this diseased land have been trying to undo the job growth of the last twenty-five months for no other purpose than to make the president look bad for the November Election. Their response to the recent rise in employment? They've been cutting public sector jobs everywhere - particularly the jobs of the people who educate our children - teachers. This is a party hijacked by sociopaths. As I write these words they are working to turn over the public sector - education, the prison system, the post office (among many others) - to privately owned corporations. They don't care about the middle class. They never have. And those whose lives are haunted by extreme poverty? Fuck the poor. They're not even part of the dialogue anymore.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

-Jesus of Nazareth

These are indeed dark times in which to live. But there is a bright side! These people are just oodles of fun to write about! Whatever the outcome on Election Day 2012, I'll be doing fine, thank you very much.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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Type your comment below: hit the ball out of the ballpark here.

The problem for the "progressive agenda" right now is really not what the far right can do to it…it is what the disgruntled left is willing to do to it in the name of “teaching Obama a lesson.”

There are plenty of that type here…mired chin deep in resentment that Obama did not fulfill their unrealistic dreams. Oh, they try to pretend they are angry because he did not try “hard enough”…but their expectations were irrational.

Any move this country makes back toward sanity (a leftward swing from its rightward trajectory) will come in small increments. It will be made my pragmatic progressives…willing to compromise where “compromise” is the only realistic alternative.

Personally, I think Obama has done a much better job than you do…keeping head above water in a political climate so toxic it seems almost unreal. But whether one sees him as I do or as you do…the better alternative for progressives is to go to the poles and support him and the Democrats. (I am a registered Independent, that is tough for me to say!)

But to give the Republicans four years to stack SCOTUS with more conservative hacks is decidedly the WRONG WAY TO GO. Any progressive minded person who stays home or votes for a third party—or who suggest that others do those things, is more a part of the problem than of the solution.
Very well said, Tom. The Citizens United decision has so tipped the scales in favor of corporations and the rich that we have to all come out and vote all Republicans out of office. They have turned so Far Right that the party is unrecognizable now. They emphasize tax cuts for the rich, eliminating regulations, restricting voting, and cutting all social programs. Theirs is now the party of ignorance and they want to use their massive money to install their philosophies on our country. We must all speak out against this travesty and also vote in November.