James J. Patterson

  • Honk If You Want Rush Limbaugh To Fail!

    Republicans have become like mean little Boy Scouts gone wrong. They no longer wish to help granny cross the street, they won’t share their dessert, and they refuse to sit with the foreign kid at school. Now, like mean little brats, they openly decree that if they can’t play Captain, they want to sink the boat?

    On a recent trip to England, I had one important question to ask, and I asked it of every English man and woman I met, “Are Tories here in England big assholes like Republicans are back in the States?” The universal response was, “Oh certainly. We call them ‘The Mean Party.’”

    When Obama succeeds, and he will, how sadly amusing will these pathetic dystopian’s seem, and how strange, that anyone, ever, took them seriously. There will be much to blame them for. War, pollution, and disease, chief among them.

    More later…

  • Poet Rose Solari on Hockey!

    Rose Solari, Poet Extraordinaire, inspired by the recent NHL All-Star Game, has unearthed a terrific piece she once did for the legendary SportsFan Magazine!

    It’s called, “How the New Age Movement Drove Me to the National Hockey League!” Enjoy!

  • Happy Birthday Thomas Paine!

    January 29th is the 273rd birthday of the man who gave our country the name, “The United States of America.” In the 1820’s, more than a decade after his ignominious death, admirers of Thomas Paine began a tradition of meeting in pubs around the world on his birthday to raise a glass to the man who gave words to the greatest freedom movement in human history. So take a moment, go to the fridge and pop a cold one, and read along with us!

    In an open letter to the people of Britain, Thomas Paine informed the King’s subjects that their economy had become so dependent on war, that mere trade and taxation was no longer enough to keep the crown in business. In his Crisis Pamphlet, No. VII he told them, “they looked on conquest as certain and infallible, and under that persuasion, sought to drive the Americans into what they might style a general rebellion, and then crushing them with arms in their hands, reap the rich harvest of a general confiscation and silence them forever. The dependants at Court were too numerous to be provided for in England. The market for plunder in the East-Indies was over: and the profligacy of government required that a new mine should be opened and that mine could be no other than America conquered and forfeited. They had nowhere else to go…Taxation could never, as I mentioned before could never be worth the charge of obtaining it by arms…”

    In Crisis No. III he is even more succinct:
    There was a “…fixt design in the king and ministry of driving America into arms, in order that they might be furnished with a pretence for seizing the whole Continent as the immediate property of the Crown. A noble plunder for hungry courtiers!”

    Elsewhere in Crisis No. VII he scolds the English, “Where information is with-held, ignorance becomes a reasonable excuse… surrounded by the sea, preserves them (the English) from the calamities of war, and keeps them in the dark as to the conduct of their own armies. They see not, therefore they feel not. They tell the tale that is told them and believe it, and accustomed to no other news than their own, they receive it, stript of its horrors and prepared for the palate of the nation… They are made to believe that their Generals and armies differ from those of other nations, and have nothing of rudeness or barbarity in them. They suppose them what they wish them to be.”

    His assertion was that England perpetrated a ruse to get America to fire a shot, and when they did, England would then be justified to send in troops and put us down with the intention of confiscating our wealth. So I ask you, are we condemned to repeat the sins of our fathers? Think Gulf of Tonkin, think Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    More from Paine:

    “The Creator of man did not constitute him the natural enemy of each other. He has not made any one order of beings so. Even wolves may quarrel, still they herd together.”

    “War never can be the interest of a trading nation, any more than quarreling can be profitable to a man in business.”

    “As individuals, we profess ourselves to be christians, but as nations we are heathens.”

    “That which is the best character for an individual is the best character for a nation.”

    “By a curious kind of revolution in accounts, the people of England seem to mistake their poverty for their riches, that is, they reckon their national debt as part of their national wealth.  They make the same kind of error which a man would do, who, after mortgaging his estate, should add the money borrowed, to the full value of the estate in order to count up his worth, and in this case he would conceit that he got rich by running into debt.”

    “Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world.”

    “Cato seems to be possessed of that Jesuitical cunning, which always endeavors to disgrace that which it cannot disprove.”

    “That men never turn rogues without turning fools, is a maxim, sooner or later, universally true.”

    “Who would ever expect discretion from a fool, candour from a tyrant, or justice from a villain?”

    “Men whose political principals are founded on avarice, are beyond the reach of reason, and the only cure for Toryism of this cast, is to tax it.”

    “When we take a survey of mankind we cannot help cursing the wretch, who, to the unavoidable misfortunes of nature shall willfully add the calamities of war.”

    “If there is a sin superior to every other it is that of willful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits… but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of Hell. And opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

    He wrote a pamphlet addressed to General Howe, the commander of British forces in the colonies, stating that “You are fighting for what you can never obtain, and we are defending what we mean never to part with.”

    His point was that Howe’s army could conquer anything but could hold nothing, that he was fighting a nation and not another army; that wherever the British army resided, the colonists would wither them away through attrition, and bankrupt their endeavor.

    Sound familiar?
    And there’s more…

    “If a government requires the support of oaths, it is a sign that it is not worth supporting, and ought not to be supported. Make government what it ought to be, and it will support itself.”

    “There is no such thing as the idea of a compact between the people on one side, and the government on the other. The compact was that of the people with each other, to produce and constitute a government… a constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution, is power without a right.”

    “All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sourses. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature or quality of either.”

    And lastly,

    “I do not believe in the creed professed…by any church that I can think of. My own mind is my own church.”

    “…it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe…”
    “When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.”

    Common Sense.

    Reccommended Reading:

    The Collected Works

    Thomas Paine and Revolutionary America by Eric Foner

    Citizen Tom Paine by Howard Fast

    Thomas Paine and the Promise of America by Harvey Kaye

    Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man by Christopher Hitchens

    Thomas Paine,

    Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations by Craig Nelson

    More later…

  • Patterson’s Vagabonds Top Ten II

    A Post Day One Priority Schedule!

    Want to save some money? Here are the Vagabond’s Ideas For Obama and the New Congress to consider:

    1. Close Guantanamo and end USA sponsored torture. Tell the word that such a thing will never happen again.

    2. Get a law enacted that prevents US companies from exporting jobs to any country that does not allow Collective Bargaining.

    3. Institute a Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil Companies who grew fat on the Iraq War.  End No-Bid Contracts, cancel those on the books and institute a War Profiteering tax.

    4. Re-Instate the New Deal safeguards that Reagan/Gingrich/Bush used to get us into the financial crisis.

    5. End funding for SDI.

    6. Publish a repayment schedule for all those who get “bail-outs.”

    7. A law stating that corporations may not have their own armies or militia.

    8. Re-criminalize all domestic spying.

    9. Freeze military spending (now more than a trillion a year) with a goal to reduce it at least 33% in the first Obama Administration.

    10. Find out where the $12 billion in cash, 363 tons of it, that was sent to Baghdad from May 2003 to June 2004 ended up, and if one single dollar found it’s way into terrorist hands, charge those who authorized the dispersal with aiding and abetting the enemy, or treason. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said at the time “We have no way of knowing whether the cash shipped into the Green Zone ended up in enemy hands.”)

    That was some “Green Zone!” Somebody knows. Find out, now.

  • New Deal Bashing: A New Tool For The Ignorant

    You’ve been hearing this piece of idiocy forever, “It wasn’t the New Deal that saved us from the Great Depression, it was World War II.” In other words, domestic deficit spending is evil, but military deficit spending on a humungous scale is somehow not deficit spending at all! Go Figure.

    New Deal Bashing, DeBunked!

    All WWII proved, economically, was that Roosevelt should have spent 100 times more than he did to get us out of the Great Depression. He had to fight the conservatives for every nickel. Keynes had the answer: Spend your way out of recession/depression, and pay off your debts in times of plenty. But what if, during the good years, your leaders want to keep the government flood gates open to feather their nests? History proves that War Spending is the opiate of the corrupt government. For some reason, it’s so much easier to get $50 million for a new fighter jet, but impossible to find a few bucks for crumbling bridges or water treatment. What does that tell you about your national priorities? You tell me. The New Democratic Congress should review each and every New Deal roll back since the first Reagan Administration, and reinstate them all.

    This IS All Reagan’s Fault

    In the early 1980’s the Reagan Administration was faced with a dilemma. The Nation’s infra structure was crumbling and our industrial base was rusting over, antiquated, and desperate for an upgrade. Leaders of Industry grumbled that in WWII we destroyed all the factories in Germany and Japan, then built them new ones that they were now, a generation later, using to defeat us economically. Yet when Jesse Jackson called for a Domestic Marshall Plan to rebuild our industry he was called a cook, socialist, radical, or worse, a union man. When Jerry Brown suggested we could build a national industry around environmental clean-up and alternative power, he was trivialized and given the name, Governor Moonbeam. SO Reagan was presented with two ways to go: the Progressive way, investing in our future, or another way, suggested by Wall Street, cannibalize your industries and let us make billions selling off the usable parts. Guess which way the old geezer went? In order to destroy the nation’s economic base, however, Reagan needed to get rid of the safeguards put in place by Franklin Roosevelt to prevent another Great Depression. And this he did with great glee. Almost immediately the markets started crashing again. He borrowed a trillion from the Japanese, but instead of investing it in America, he handed it over, lock, stock, and barrel, to the military industrials. Recession was the result. It’s time historians took off the blinders when Reagan’s name is mentioned, and look at the man for what he was, a spokesperson for the Evangelical Millenarian Right, who believed Armaggeden right around the corner and wanted to get as rich as possible, as soon as possible, no matter the consequences.

  • Welcome To Chicago East! AKA Washington, DC!

    Where it’s cool to be hip, smart, and Liberal again, at last!

    Welcome To Chicago East!

    Old guard Washingtonians can feel it coming: a vast sea change in the culture of the Capital City. Many locals are unaware of what’s about to happen. Want to see how cool this stodgy old town could actually become? Why not let The Legendary Buddy Guy, give you a sample tour!

    Meet Buddy Guy and the home of Chicago Blues!

    And our main man likes to eat!

    Learn about Chicago Cuisine!

    And Tummy’s are rumblin in DC town!

    Is U St Ready For The Obamitans?

    In 1976-77, when Jimmy Carter came to town replacing the Nixon/Ford regime, the town was over-run by a hard working hard-partying group of Southern Democrats, mostly from Atlanta, who hit the town in waves! Overnight the mean-spirited Republicans were all gone. Old stodgy bars and restaurants where Republicans stopped off to dine before going home, suddenly were transformed into rip-roaring country-rock, outlaw country, music venues that were open late, and re-opened early.  These had been added to the folk, rock, and jazz stalwarts of the 60’s Kennedy / Johnson era holdovers which were a strange blend of New Englanders and Texas Democrats.

    But just as it began to rage, the Carter era was over.

    I’ll never forget driving home late from a hockey game on Reagan’s first inaugural evening. I took a cross-town route from Landover, Maryland, down New York Avenue, and saw, on that War Torn boulevard that The Great Society had left behind, a pair of Republican couples from California, all decked out in furs and diamonds and ball gowns and tuxedos, trying to hail a cab in freezing weather, as dilapidated cars and ghetto dwellers looked on them like odd creatures in a zoo. They were terrified. It was beautiful. I could imagine them in their mansions in Southern California, looking through travel brochures of the Nation’s Capital, and seeing a grand Avenue named for New York, The Empire State, with stars in their eyes. I, like many other locals, slowed down to get a good look and laugh.

    By and large, Republicans don’t support the Arts. They don’t even believe in them. Soon the vibrant scene in DC disappeared, as those rockin’ venues turned back into stodgy restaurants, or disappeared altogether. And the culture of the town dried up almost completely. One by one, traditional music and arts venues went under. The local arts community turned inward as it was now to be utterly ignored by the hordes of know-nothings that swarmed the city. And twelve dark long years ensued.

    When Clinton came to town, we thought there would be some cultural relief, but unlike other transition periods, the Republicans held on and didn’t leave town, believing that the Clinton thing was a blip on the screen of their perpetual dominance of national politics.  Gingrich declared himself the real president and demanded that Republicans never vote for anything again that was sponsored by a Democrat, “Even if it’s good for the country, because ultimately, what will be good for the country is to get Clinton out of office.”

    For all Clinton’s staying power and popularity, what cultural benefits, really, could he offer this town being from Little Rock, Arkansas? None. It remained an artless Republican town despite his victories, and the arts and music communities remained underground, functioning in spite of the hostile or merely disinterested, people all around them.

    Then came Bush/Cheney/Rove, people who brag about being ignorant and outwardly hostile to anything remotely involved with the arts. The fascist cliche, “When I hear the word Culture, I reach for my pistol,” suddenly had a new and ominous resonance. These are stupid people who don’t read books.  And the town slid further into darkness. Now rather than turning inward, creative, thoughtful, intelligent people had to hide.

    All of that, thank god, is over.Perhaps now, after ten years of pleading to deaf ears, Quincy Jones’ dream of a

    Perhaps now, after ten years of pleading to deaf ears, Quincy Jones’ dream of a cabinet-level post for a Secretary of Culture will get a fair hearing. “People abroad know more about our culture than we do,” says QJ.

    Here’s what Quincy J has to say

    Man, I want to see Buddy Guy at the head of the Inaugural Parade, doing the State Street Stroll, down Pennsylvania Avenue!

    Go White Sox!