Monday, August 18, 2014

"SCHOTZY"


From the time I can remember I have always loved dogs.  My Dad was not enamored of dogs, so I didn’t have many while I was growing up.  Those that I did have were either put down or given away.  I grieved silently as each one departed from my life.  I decided early on that when I struck out on my own I would always have a dog.  Except for a stint in the Navy and my years at college, that has pretty much been the case. 

To me doges were extra-special beings.  They embody so much of what we should be.  Their love is unconditional and total.  They readily forgive and offer us endless chances to prove our love for them in return.  They protect us.  They are loyal to us.  They give without limits and as very little in return.  I find it of particular interest that “God” spelled backwards is “dog.”  My experience with dogs has convinced me that it is no coincidence.

There are few dogs I don’t like and, of those, my caution is probably because I don’t understand the breed or the animal.  I have reservations about trying to cozy up to a Doberman, a Pit Bull Terrier or a Rottweiler.  Dog experts tell me there is no such thing as a mean dog.  Rather, it is the way we treat them that makes them our adversaries. 

My family and I have had a variety of dogs over the years, each one a personality unto itself.  We loved each one of them, and our hearts broke when we had to part with them.  However, we just couldn’t quite live without one, so we always got another.  I would find myself perusing the want ads looking for one that needed a good home.  Before the scab had barely formed on the wound caused by the loss of the previous one, there was another to take his place.  Not one has ever been a disappointment.  Each brought his or her particular personality to our home and hearts, but all were the wonderful, loving and giving creatures peculiar to their kind.  The tremendous sense of loss we feel when one leaves us, I suspect, the result of the unconscious realization that we always got more than we gave in return. 

It was about ten years ago that I was going through the want ads in the Sunday paper when one ad in particular caught my eye.  It was for a Schipperke that was available for adoption, free of charge.  I found that rather odd given the rarity of the breed.  I had only seen one in my entire life, a puppy in a pet shop.  When the owner let him out and he had the run of the store, he was the most animated and adorable dog I had ever seen.  That brief exposure stayed with me. 

The Schipperke is unique among dogs.  They are 10 to 13 inches in height and weigh between 12 and 18 pounds, on average.  They are jet black with a heavy coat.  The head is shaped like a fox’s, with small dark brown eyes that have a devilish but questioning expression.  They have small pointed ears. 

Schipperkes are full of boundless energy.  They have a temper, a great spirit and are protective.  Although wary of strangers, they are devoted and loyal to their families.  The dog is territorial and protects it’s environ against all intruders.
Schipperkes readily accept other pets in the home, and they are intelligent, curious and mischievous.  They can (and do) try the patience of a saint, but when the dust settles whatever stress they may have caused is readily forgiven and the love of the breed takes over. 

The origin of the Schipperke was as a captain’s dog on the barges in Belgium and was a popular breed throughout the country.  Today, they are canine companions to those who have a particular affinity for this kind of dog. 

Back to my discovery of the ad in the Sunday paper.  I called the number and inquired as to whether or not the dog was still available.  I was assured he was and I man an appointment to go and see him.  From the moment the woman opened her door, I knew he was meant to be mine.  He was four years old, pedigreed, neutered and a sterling specimen of the breed.  I was asked if I wanted the papers.  Given that he was no longer able to procreate, that seemed rather superfluous so I declined the offer.  I noticed there were no tears or remorse in giving him to me.  I wondered why but it was too early to draw any conclusions.  He immediately became apprehensive as he was put in the car and occupied the seat next to mine.  I experienced the gnawing feeling of sadness that comes with seeing the confusion surrounding that supreme act of rejection he could never have
understood.

I left and merged into the traffic that would take us home.  All the while, he remained standing in the seat.  I reached over to pat him and to let him know that, even though
Those who had just banished him from their lives didn’t care; he was mine to be loved for the rest of his life.  He bit my hand.  Time to back off and take it slowly.  We arrived home and I took him into the house.  He took a stand on the couch in the Family Room. 
He was insulated from the back and both sides.  He felt safe from an imposing family of four, another dog and a cat.  His growls served notice on us all that we were indeed the enemy.

His given name was “Bear,” which just did not quite fit.  Therefore, I chose an enduring term from German and he was known from that day as “Schotzy.”  He soon settled in and became one of the clan.  There was never an altercation with the other dog or the cat.  They were all in it together.  He quickly surveyed his new found castle and the limits of his kingdom on the acreage where we live.  He never strayed from those boundaries in the ten years he was with us.  He would regularly check every square inch of ground to make sure everything was in order. 

Typical of his breed, he was fiercely independent.  He had his own special places to hide, but never for long.  He loved to ride in the car with his muzzle into the wind.  He would bark at passer-byes, but more to let them know he was there than to serve as a warning. 

When we returned home, he would bound from the car and run for all he was worth back up the road from whence he had come.  As to where he was running, to this day I have no idea.  All I know is that it wasn’t far because he would immediately return. 

Everything was on Schotzy’s own terms.  If he wanted to stay outside in the weather, he did.  If I wanted him to come into the house, he would pause and have one more drink of water just to remind me who was really in charge.  He would sometimes stay in the house.  At other times, he would stay the night outside within the confines of the fenced portion of the yard.  He was always on guard against a band of marauding coyotes (boogies) that might venture onto the property.  He would bark into the wee hours of the morning to let them know he was on duty. 

Wherever one of us might be, he could be found sleeping somewhere close by.  He would lie between my feed when I was watching television to the point of self-induced paralysis.  I would, of course, suffer the agony in order to accommodate him.  He was my constant companion when I was working on the computer.  He love to have his head rubbed and his ears scratched.  In the morning, when I would let him out, he would run for the same small Alder tree to sniff it and leave his mark before venturing on to the first inspection of his realm. 

During my long absences in Saudi Arabia, Shotzy never forgot me.  Upon stepping out of the car, as soon as he heard my voice he would run to greet me.  When we went to Seattle to visit the kids, rather than me taking him for a walk, he was the one who would take ME for a walk.  The song, “I Did It My Way” could well have been written for him. 

Schotzy was in good health and active.  However, on the morning of April 21, when I opened the door to let him into the warmth of the house, he appeared to be fast asleep on the deck where he always laid to keep tabs on his precious estate.  When I approached him, I realized he had died peacefully during the night.  His passing has left a horribly painful void in my life to this very day. 

We called a vet and he wanted forty dollars to cremate him with all other animals and road kill.  That didn’t do much for his memory in my view.  Given the speed with which I was given the pitch, I had no confidence that I would get his remains back if I asked for them.  Veterinarians are becoming as greedy as their medical counterparts.  So, I dug his grave at the base if his favorite Alder tree, laid him to rest in his own blanket and tied a yellow ribbon to a branch above where he is buried.  I have cried a lot these past two days.  The night he died, as I was drifting off to sleep, I could hear the coyotes screaming into the dark void of the night.  Schotzy is gone and the boogies are back. 

People who are familiar with the breed generally say they wouldn’t want one for a pet because they are so difficult.  Those who have had one often give qualified answers or hedge their bets. 

It will take some time before I start perusing the ads for pets in the newspaper again, but I know in my heart I will eventually return to those pages.  Would I consider another Schipperke?  I will ask myself if I really want to go through all that he was again.  I would probably skim over any ads for Schipperkes that might be looking for a good home in favor of an easier breed.  On reflection, I would go back to that ad and ponder it, knowing that one encounter could be hazardous.  Curiosity and a faint tug at my heartstrings would take over and my first sight would cause any resistance I might have to evaporate.  I would be hooked all over again. 

A Schipperke us not just a dog; it is a life force all its own that is utterly irresistible.  Life for them is just on big adventure and one endless playful game.  I suspect those who would say “no” to that experience have lost the child within.  Those who still have it will be sorely tempted to accept the challenge. 

Schotzy, I know, forgave me for all the times I was impatient and indifferent with him.   Much to my chagrin and regret, I got the best of the deal.  Rest in peace. My Dear Schotz, and may God see fit to let us meet again in that better world where you are and where I hope to be one day. 


First written April 23, 2007
By Bob Crowder
Ridgefield, Washington

Rewritten from the misplaced original on August 18, 2014
By Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher



Postscript: 

I shed a lot of tears when I lost Schotzy.  This may be the first blog I ever wrote, but I shed a few more tears by just re-doing and re-reading this.  I honestly don’t believe there has been a more magnificent creation than a dog, God’s most generous and loving gift to mortal human beings.  They are what all of us should be and what so few of us ever become.  I can’t imagine being without one.  I have loved all I ever had and I will always have one as long as I tread the terra firma of this earthly home. 


May all those who read this always have the love and loyalty of a dog, and I sincerely hope all of those who don’t know what that means discover it.                 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“Elizabeth Warren Is the Real Deal; Hillary Clinton Is the Great Pretender”




We Americans are a strange lot in many ways.  For reasons that I cannot explain, we seem to have an ingrained need to create idols in our minds to which we ascribe the mantle of celebrity.  That in turn, gives them the license to engage in all sorts of deceptive behavior which we not only covet, we swallow hook, line and sinker.  I never cease to be disappointed in myself when I fall for that same line, and I am always a bit disappointed in myself and vow to be more perceptive in the future.  But, like so many of us born under the red, white and blue, that vow always seems to elude me.  So much for indomitable will and personal resolve. 

No one in recorded history was so taken by the persona of Barack Obama as when he gave that great speech to the Democratic National Convention.  I was absolutely certain that he was a leader that had been sent from heaven to save the world.  You have to admit, he gave new meaning to the word “charisma.” 

However, in the intervening years the luster has faded and I am able to see and hear what he is really all about.  He may look and sound good, but at the end of the day I am persuaded that those who have him pegged correctly are right.  He is a fraud.  He is nothing but an illusion of what we want to believe, not the real deal.  He is not a leader.  Rather, he is a seducer of those who want or need to use him for their own ends.  That explains why he is the darling of every huckster who wants to make a quick buck by sweet-talking the average American out of what should be rightfully his and passing it on to those who only get fatter and richer off of his ability to pander to those who simply want more from those who have so little to give.  And, moreover, no one ever calls him on it!

Look at how cozy he is with Jaime Diamond and his cohorts on Wall Street and in the financial sector of our economy.  Look at how he panders to the advocates of free trade, the oil and coal industries, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, big defense contractors, the fat cats who are in a race to ship their businesses overseas for the benefit of tax breaks that only accrue to the detriment of the working people of the United States. 

Look at his penchant for “privatizing” everything for the benefit of great wealth and unlimited power.  Just take a close look at what he has managed to engineer for our prison system and education.  Now, I ask you, how are we better off because of those bright ideas?  Prisoners are used by the state for cheap contract labor and our children are given an inferior education all in the name of making more money for those whose greed knows no limits.  Look at the sad state of the entire infrastructure of the country so billionaires can pay less in taxes and shift the burden of public services, more and more, to the taxpayers.

I was mesmerized by the recent line up of the richest people in the United States, how they are giving most of their money away, not for the benefit of the taxpayers, but so they can control how their money is spent for the “common good” whatever that means.  It may have been their money that was going for a greater good, but you can bet your "bippy" they will have managed to maintain absolute control over how that money is spent, and I seriously doubt it will be for the common good!

One of the great benevolent billionaires of our time, Warren Buffet, who now owns one of the largest rail systems in the country (BNSF) is sending trains down the Columbia River Gorge and on to the pristine environs of the Northwestern West Coast, as far as the eye can see, all loaded with petroleum and coal destined for Asian countries.  I rather suspect he will be perceived as the entrepreneurial genius he has become, all because the polluting energy will not be burned on our soil and polluting our atmosphere but, rather, that part of the equation will occur halfway around the world.  The prize in all this is the ability to boast that the pollution is the fault of the consumer of those products.  All we are doing is making a quick buck from the process – the spirit of free trade.  Give me a break!  But, the local politicos are just lapping up the promises and the prospects of “bringing jobs to the Northwest.”  Go figure.

The latest to catch my eye is the current search for a permanent home for the Obama Family when it finally sinks in that they have managed to funnel all they can respectably take after the mantle of “President” finally sinks in for the long haul.  It is reputed they are looking at a posh place in Rancho Mirage on the California Desert that would be fitting, not so much for what they are but what they have become.  The place they ostensibly have in their sights used to be the opulent residence of the Annenbergs, one of the richest men on the planet at the time he built it.  I supposed it would be asking too much to expect the newest graduates of the White House to settle for anything less.  But, they do like money, power, prestige and prominence, don’t they?

Bill, Hillary and the cadre of adoring admirers that became their legion of power and influence during their years in government were great mentors for the Obama’s.  The mere fact that they would select the Arkansas alums and their lot for their role models tells us all we need to know.      

Let me pose a few salient questions for us to contemplate:

1.                  Wealth and power do not equal preferential treatment at the expense of the common good.
2.                  Elected officials are there to serve the people; not vice versa.  They work for US and they take their marching orders from US!
3.                  The cowboy mentality and renegade posturing we revere and emulate do not make us any better than the rest of the world, despite what we may want to believe.    
4.                  Republicans are not ordained by God.  They may think so but, at the end of the day, they are simply intoxicated by some false belief that God is on their side. 
5.                  Democrats do not have a corner on what is deemed progressive.  They just like to think so but, in the end, all that gives them is the license to steal less conspicuously than Republicans. 
6.                  Words and phrases that may suggest a common good and a common future are not subversive nor do they undermine the viability of the country.
7.                  Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as vulgarity and poor taste.  Just because Mommy and Daddy think there is something magical about their genitals does not make it so.  There is such a thing as human decency and good behavior that trumps that myth. 
8.                  Money does not make the person.  The person makes the money and it is for the good of everyone, not just a select few who have managed to delude themselves into believing that it gives them preferred status in society.   
9.                  To work harder, longer hours and for less money does not diminish the stature of those who labor under those conditions.  They have just as much merit in the eyes of Our Creator as any other human being.  Work is honest and noble.  Stealing, pillaging and plundering are not. 
10.              Democratic Socialism is not a dirty term.  It is a democratic form of government that is there to serve the people and to make society a better and more equitable place to live.  The Scandinavian Countries proved that a long time ago and it remains one of the most viable and sanest forms of government in the world today. 
11.              This planet we fondly call “Mother Earth” belongs to all of us equally.  No one has squatter’s rights despite their insistence in the false belief that they do. 
12.              We are here as custodians of this country and all it has to offer its citizens.
13.              We are not here to save the world at our expense.  That is a common obligation we share with others, equally. 
14.              Wishing will not make it so.  Hard work, integrity, decency, honesty, fair play, and a common concern for each other will. 

In the final analysis only the collective “we” can make this one of the “Greatest Countries on Earth,” as can every other citizen of every other country can and should do for themselves.

Frankly, I think our system of government has outlived its usefulness.  It is not there to serve us all, equally, but to facilitate the dubious ambitions of those elected to office by those who still harbor the notion that there is such a thing as “equality.”  The only solution I see as realistic and feasible is a complete review and audit of what we actually have compared to what was intended, and then we set ourselves to the task of righting the wrongs that have occurred since 1776.  Ambition not withstanding, it could and should be done.  The question is are we up to the task and are we up to the cost of making it reality for the welfare of all of us?     

Given what I see as a prevailing malaise that is endemic within us as a once determined and proud people, I seriously doubt that we have the will or the means to be sufficiently honest to set ourselves to the task and make it really happen.  Perhaps the pundits that see nothing but folly in that notion are right.  Maybe our reality is that while we may be watching Nero tune his violin, our modern day Rome is in the process of simply preparing to incinerate itself all over again and right before our very eyes.  Then what do we do? 

By turning against each other and ourselves we may be setting the stage for the Great American Dream to simply evaporate before our very eyes.  That would be the ultimate tragedy, wouldn’t it?


Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

July 23, 2014    

Saturday, July 12, 2014


“Where Did We Go Wrong? "


I have to confess that I am one of those bringing up the back of the pack that has absolutely no mastery of technology.  As a consequence, I am at the mercy of every new piece of “gimmickry” that is produced and who is a victim just waiting to be “had.”  This fact was recently driven home when the “modem” on my computer went out and, concomitantly, my internet connection went down, as well.  So I had the remaining bits and pieces of what was identified as a computer setting on my desk and which quickly became apparent that it wasn’t worth a plug nickel.  I was both panicked and helpless.  Any effort for a quick resolution proved to be beyond the “carrier,” so here I sat, totally without any means of communicating with the outside world, while the company that was supposed to ensure the viability of my internet system, diddled and dawdled around with no apparent ability to identify and fix the problem within anything remotely resembling a reasonable period of time! 

So, any of you who may be at the mercy of Century Link for your basic package of computer and communication technology, should you have a problem, my advice is to proceed with extreme caution.  I would suggest the same degree of caution should you be considering Comcast or Infinity and, possibly HughesNet.  Believe nothing they say or what you may hear about them.  Verify, verify, verify!  They, collectively, have simply corroborated what I have long suspected; the propensity for American business to simply say whatever takes the heat off in order to proceed as they will, and charge you through the nose for what they call their “technological superiority” and “service.”  It all comes out of the same bag of tricks.  And you, CONSUMER AMERICA, pays dearly while those vested with the responsibility for regulating their activities simply look the other way while cupping their hands behind their backs.  American business and big money sold themselves to the Almighty Dollar and the Political Establishment a very long time ago.  Anything even resembling authenticity is an illusion designed to get what they want, at taxpayers’ expense, for more money and providing the least of what was promised to the consumer.

Any way, I am now back in business with a modicum of hope that nothing else of an unforeseen nature will come to haunt me.  I hope all of the followers of my blog, such as it is, have not lost faith in me and, moreover, I hope I still have the many cherished friends that were always there for me. 

This may be a bit ragged around the edges, but bear with me.

I believe there is always a blessing or two that comes with any adversity.  That is a vital and important part of the life process and one that I try to never take for granted.  But, that includes a few “zingers” that you never see coming that can throw you a curve and make you take stock of what you are, who you are and what you believe, not to mention how equipped you may be to deal with something that proves to be totally “off the wall.” 

I suddenly had to face the fact that my wife was falling victim to a serious “memory problem,” and would have to be admitted to a care facility for proper care and treatment.  The prognosis is not good and the sheer reality of that bit of news set me back on my heels.  The finality of what that may mean is not easy for me.  The sheer terror of facing a lifetime of being and living alone is daunting. 

I have had to seriously ponder all sorts of possibilities that may be a part of my future, how I will react and how I will handle those challenges.  This process extends from a very long past, the speed and complications of the future and a very vague and uncertain future.  Where have I been, where am I going and what lies ahead? 

A few of the things that have astonished me is harkening back to a simple but wholesome childhood growing up in small-town Wyoming.  While living it, it seemed at times to be a terrible ordeal.  With the passage of time it became a joy and with maturity it became a blessing for which I will always be most grateful.  The end result is what I am today.  For all of my faults, bumps and imperfections, I am alright with what I have become. Sure, I could be better, but that is for another day. 

What concerns me and terrifies me most is how we, as a nation, have discarded the finer aspects of whom and what we are as a people.  We have taken an inherent sense of decency and goodness and exchanged it all for the most vile, self-serving, and greedy aspects of only what humanity, in all its forms, has managed to apply the mantle of respectability while the sum total of all we are as a people has decayed to the point where the stench of it all must, ultimately, be the cause of a plague of celestial nausea the likes of which none of us ever dreamed.

I have nothing but unmitigated contempt and disdain for any form of deception and the spoils that spawn that kind of behavior. 

I have total disdain for great wealth.  There is nothing noble about its pursuit and its spoils.  It is what it is.  A poor excuse for the perception of human superiority and the belief that, somehow, it is divinely ordained.  There is nothing noble or inherently good about it.  Only the poor whose backs produce that great wealth have any redemptive value.  Those who reap those rewards are nothing but human garbage.  Take stock of those who have it and pretend it is their right. 

I have equal contempt for those who covet power.  Power, in my humble opinion, is just as pernicious as wealth.  It knows no limits and nothing is immune from the dubious rewards that all too often come with it.  You can rationalize anything that will come from it and it knows no limits to the exploitation and degradation of the human condition in its pursuits.  It has no mercy by those who provide the spoils to the powerful.  Just look at the youth of this country who have, and still do, labor under a burden of debt that would make the “robber barons” of recent history look like missionaries. 

Look at all of those who have engaged in predatory lending, questionable investments and hedge funds without incurring any risk worth talking about.  Look at how many of them own politicians of every conceivable ilk and literally buy their loyalty in order to ensure their continued plunder of the nation, not to mention all of the good and decent people who look for honest work and a fair shot at the American Dream.

I have no trouble disparaging all those who have cornered every lucrative opportunity within our political, industrial and military complex in order to serve the masters who own them or who are likely to profit, handsomely, from all that awaits them at the end of their tenure.  Just ask any Veteran who has recently felt the sting of a service that was supposed to take care of them and their families. 

I have no respect, whatsoever, for the establishment that is the purveyors of vulgarity in every form.  It is evident in the way they dress, the way they talk and the way they display no hesitation, whatsoever, about baring to the world all of the flesh they think they have to offer and that will prove to be titillating to some poor fool who seems to think that is the “in thing” to do.  God help us!     

The legalization of marijuana (soon to be followed, I am sure) by other forms of “recreational drugs” as a further expression of our “God given right” to any freedom we may care to label as having been touched by the Divine.  Anyone going though life half stoned surely has a serious problem; one for which society will have to pay in the long term.  What, I ask you, could be more pathetic?

I have a particular disdain for all of those so-called “members of the cloth,” who have preyed on young men for centuries, not to mention the cadre of contemporary members of the clergy who will peddle whatever the traffic will bear, so long as they can attribute an endorsement from the deity in its marketing plan for a few bucks.  Hey, whatever will sell!  right?  And we don’t even wonder, for a fleeting moment, where the moral compass for the world has gone!  Every one who can enter the fold and make it work by scaring the hell out of people with the professed word of god has surely got a gold mine waiting at the end of the tunnel.   

I am particularly concerned about the sudden influx of children from Latin America seeking political asylum in the United States.  Unless I am totally off the mark, this country was founded by and for the citizens of the United States of America.  That, unless I am extremely naive, would exclude those who have yet to become citizens.  Now, let me draw your attention to the hoards of politicos and, elected officials and “wide-eyed” liberals who can hardly wait to become a part of the hoards supporting all of these poor people trying to get into this country.  Now I ask you, does any rational and sane person honestly believe this is a spontaneous act of “children?”  Is there anyone who has not wondered how something requiring this degree of organization and funding could have come about by thousands of children?  Who is profiting from this?  Those who are trying to ensure their next election by courting the votes that is likely to emanate from this latest scam? 

Surely this has got to be one if the greatest frauds of this century.  Our illustrious elected officials are asking for billions of dollars to support this latest example of a rush to democracy.  And, we are on the verge of saying “yes” because we gave away, long ago, our control over the purse strings controlled by all of those we have elected to office.  Where has “a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” gone?  On the outside chance there are some among you who are caught off guard by that question, may I suggest a tour of the industrial wasteland that has been created by the insatiable greed and avarice of our entire industrial, manufacturing and financial sectors of the economy of this country.  Take a drive through any strip mall in your town or city and take note of how many signs have been taken down and all that remains is an empty and cold edifice that once provided honest work for honest people looking for an honest part of the American Dream.  Look at the bare fluorescent light bulbs that remain in what used to be viable signs advertising a business venture owned and operated by people who earned their stripes and now face a lifetime of handouts.  Handouts that will only become the object of disdain created by the very ones who consigned them to sleeping in shelters, under bridges or seeking a few bucks to sustain life that can emanate from any and all sorts of marginal or sordid forms of work thrust upon them by hunger and deprivation. 


Without exhausting every term that could be applied to what we are and should be as a people, I simply ask you,

“What has happened to our basic sense of human decency?” 

“What has happened to our basic sense of human compassion?”

“What has happened to our basic sense of charity?”

“What has happened to our basic sense of empathy?”

“Where did we come to adopt and accept a double standard of human value?”

“How did we come to believe that it is a basic human right to simply have frivolous abundance and fun at the expense of a greater good?”

“When did we cease to subscribe to the notion that there is a clear and discernible difference between what is right and what is wrong, and there is nothing vague about that difference?” 

You don’t have to be out of the mainstream and still subscribe to these values.  Ultimately, it is the society in which we live that must determine the kind of a society in which we will live and enforce those norms so there is a common standard we can all understand and unequivocally support. 


I could go on into perpetuity.  However, the simple fact remains that we have a solemn obligation to insist on virtue in the conduct of our daily lives.  Without that basic measure, we are a lost society.  The only alternative remaining is our continued descent into human deprivation and depravity.

Time is not on our side.  We have a burgeoning population throughout the world that is not inclined to a democratic way of life.  We have a planet that is overheating while vast wealth and unbridled greed disparage the notion of conservation and clean energy.  We still have vicious and petty dictators for whom human life is merely a concept; not reality. 

IT REALLY IS TIME TO GET SERIOUS.  The place to start are all those who drive our economy and determine the values by which we live.  Only each of us, working hand in hand, can make that a reality which will ensure a future for all those yet to follow us.

I happen to believe that is the path that whatever form of a deity that may exist would expect us to take.  Does it really make any sense to try and second-guess what may be real and about which we have no knowledge?         

The Sagebrush Philosopher
July 12, 2014           


    


   




 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Government = Protection Racket for the 1 Percent"

I refer you to Common Dreams.org published today, April 22, 2014 by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship titled "Government = Protection Racket for the 1 Percent."  

Thank God for two of the best investigative journalists of our time - Bill Moyers and Michael Winship - for this excellent article.  

For all of you who are genuinely concerned about the escalating power of money, the subservient masses they find within the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and those who ostensibly represent the will of the American People, this is a must read.  Anyone who genuinely believes that any branch of our Federal Government gives two hoots in hell about the majority (disdainfully referred to as the "Will of the people,") has mastered the art of self-deception and has become so complacent that the masses are simply up for plucking by the highest bidders.   

Time is not on our side.  If we don't get serious about purging our system of government of the pervasive and burgeoning corruption and the evil influence of big money, we are not going to be around much longer to restore integrity to our democracy and power to the people who are the descendants of all those who this vision of the Founding Fathers was intended to serve and respect, and to whom it rightfully belongs.

The time is long past for us to become "informed," rather than "indoctrinated."  If we don't make an effort to know what is going on, rather than what those who are our adversaries want us to believe, we are in deep do-do .  To say that ignorance is bliss is a gross under-statement.  It is a travesty of major proportions, for all this country is, has been and has the potential to be. 

When the "Common Person" bites the dust, and that dust settles, we will be nothing but a totally decadent oligarchy/plutocracy where wealth, self-indulgence and ignorance reign supreme, and all we give a damn about will be gluttonous consumption and the pursuit of pleasure.  Any vestigial remnants of character, responsibility and a genuine concern for each other will be but a faded and tattered memory of what once was and is no more. 

Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire will rise, once again, from the ashes of what was once our finer angels ----- and we will be the poorer for it.

May God help us. 

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
April 22, 2014    

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"And They Tout All This As Progress!"

I find it utterly incredulous that, in this golden age of computers, passwords, etc., that it takes an act of God in order to just survive in this world of computer techies.

When I go to the Post Office, I put a key in the box, turn the key and "voila" the box opens and I get my mail.

When I go out to get in my car, I put a key in the ignition, turn it and "voila" the car starts and I am happily on my way.

When I return home, I put a key in the lock, turn it and "voila": the door opens and I enter into the safety of my domicile.

For all the foregoing, I have no need for a password and all the suicidal thoughts they engender when trying to penetrate whatever is guarded by them.  I simply go about my business, quite content that I can manage to operate a simple lock and key, and the world is mine.  I am inclined to believe that all of this crap they saddle us with is simply a way to drive up the cost of whatever it is they are selling and to reduce the population by slowly driving them crazy.

Are there any sane minds out there who can reintroduce those of us from an earlier age to the pleasures of a simple lock and key, all of the passwords be damned?

My life is sufficiently simple and ordered that I have no need for a barrage of secret words and other such paraphernalia in order to survive.  Are there any reasoned minds out there in cyberspace who has a trusting mind and an inclination for a simpler era?  

Today has been an absolute nightmare for me because the lower end of some large intestine in London tried to hack into one of my e-mails.  I can at least take some small consolation in knowing, because of the incestuous gene pool of the Royal Family, that it did not originate in Windsor Castle.  Perhaps it was one of the renegade whistle-blowers seeking a safe haven outside the United States.  Whatever source from which it may have come, surely it has to be part of a conspiracy that is out to destroy the world of the more sane among us.

If anyone can convince me that the world is better off because of the proliferation of this electronic age and all its gadgetry , I will gladly kiss their posterior in Times Square for the benefit of what remains of their perverted world of "progress!"

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
April 19, 2014



  

Monday, April 14, 2014

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study by Eric Zuesse

I would refer the reader to the online news publication, Common Dreams.org dated April 14, 2014.

The suggested article is authored by Eric Zuesse.

For those of you interested in the erosion of democracy in the United States of America and the rising influence of the growing oligarchy, I would heartily recommend that you take the time and effort to read and reflect on this piece of writing.  It is approximately one and one-half pages long and the conclusions are ominous for those of us who have serious and growing misgivings about this trend.  Moreover, it is of further concern exacerbated by what appears to be a growing antipathy by the population at large.

It is, in my humble opinion, time to take this matter seriously, to become informed and to become active, lest we lose this precious gift from the Founding Fathers.  It may be more fragile than we think.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
April 14, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

“Where Is the Democracy In What We Presume Is Our Democracy?"



The longer I study politics and the twisted road we travel in trying to maintain some semblance of order in what we presume the Founding Fathers intended for this country the more confused I become.  I cannot help but wonder where simple Aristotelian logic is to be found in all this is?  Do we have some ingrained need within us that equates complexity with sophistication so we are somehow led to feel bigger and more important than we really are? 

Why is there not more simplicity in what we do so even the least among us can comprehend and react intelligently to what is going on in our name and, ostensibly, for the common good?  Instead, we blur that fundamental need with all sorts of ceremony, rules, regulations and privilege that serve no purpose for the body politic and the society in which we are consigned to live?  We have managed to make the people’s government and how it works the stuff, not of the common man, but of all sorts of specialists who have a corner on how we interpret the very tenets of how we are to behave and live?  Long ago, it was our complicity that set the stage for the greatest surge in the growth of what we now call the “legal profession,” in all its forms and manifestations.    

Who has benefitted most from this?  Why is it the politicians of every stripe and ilk we can imagine?  That is followed by the corruption of money, social strata, and a population that simply cannot hold those who pretend to be superior to the basics by which we should all live, work and prosper?  We just cannot seem to resist the temptation to put the noose around our own necks. 

What twisted mind came up with the notion that the Supreme Court should be appointed by the President?  Is that not a sterling example of a conflict of interest that is one of the President’s most cherished perquisites of the office he holds?  Understandably so.    

If we are all to suffer the “wisdom” of the Supreme Court, then I would ask why the esteemed justices are not the result of winning the confidence of the American people by popular vote of the people, rather than by what seems to be a kinship with buddies of the rich, powerful and privileged of the land.  It does not seem like it would be terribly complicated to make that change so we all have a say in who gets seated on the “bench,” for how long, and who can feign wisdom when it comes to our common welfare and what is best for those of us who comprise the “people” of this country.  If they have the power to make sweeping decisions that affect all of us, then why should we not have the power to decide who makes those decisions? 

I regard the Supreme Court as one of the greatest enigmas within our system of government.  They seem to have an aura of arrogance and a sense of superiority that should not be tolerated, much less encouraged and, even more ridiculous, revered. 

I, for one, think it is time for all members of the Supreme Court to be elected by popular vote of the people, with term limits, and the Chief Justice elected at the beginning of each session, by a majority vote of the entire court.  

That should put their role in proper perspective and remind them that it is the people of this country who put them there, keeps them there and to whom they are accountable; not a self-styled aristocracy predicated on wealth, privilege and ill-gotten power.

I, for one, think it is time we gave real meaning to what we euphemistically call a “democracy,” relegate “republic” to the dust bin of history and get on with the people’s business as it should be conducted in the world of today, and, sadly, is what most people actually believe we already have.

And that is the way I see it.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

April 8, 2014     

Friday, April 4, 2014

“There Just Has To Be Something Better!”



When one looks at the motley bunch we refer to deferentially as the Supreme Court, it should come as no surprise to anyone that our illustrious Chief Justice has made it abundantly clear that he, too, is a member of the plutocracy/oligarchy that has a stranglehold on our (ostensibly) democratic form of government.  Any illusions about where they stand on the issues relative to the governed of this country just flew out the window. 

But, let’s face it.  This country and all we profess and delude ourselves into believing about it being a “democracy” and the “land of the free” has just been proven wrong once again.  The villains who are disparaged by all those in high places still reside within the ranks of the “working class,” the “middle class,” and the “laborers.”  They are to be exploited and tolerated for the benefit of the greater good to which we have entrusted the complete health, welfare and growth of this country. 

We, the people, must bear the brunt of the blame for where we are.  We have become a people of “appearance,” rather than “substance,” and we are paying the price for it.  The visceral pleasures of life and the massive brainwashing that has led us to the Pollyanna style of life and hope we covet has worked.  We are now the product of the entertainment industries, the bill of fare offered to us by television, the numbness of our cranial tissue brought on by the myriad hand-held devices that have transformed what used to be thinking human beings into numbed-down automatons who have lost the ability to engage in original and critical thought.  Kaput!  It is gone and we are all the happier for it. 

Anyone who could honestly believe that NBC and MSNBC give us anything but what is the bill of fare emanating from the halls of General Electric is out of touch with reality.  Does anyone honestly think that Westinghouse is going to rely on CBS to feed us anything that deviates from the company line?  ABC never mentions its affiliation with Disney Enterprises, but you can bet your next pay check that, behind the scenes, Mickey Mouse and his cohorts are preparing and serving up to us what they want us to believe, not what we need to know in order to be informed citizens who can be trusted with the care of the greatest democracy in the history of the world.

CNN and Fox News?  Well, I suspect they are in it more for the income generated by their brand of notoriety than anything of substance and truth.  Thanks to Al Jazeera there may still be hope for a real news outlet.  The downside to that, of course, is who will bother to watch and listen to their broadcasts.  Don’t hold your breath.          

Global warming?  It will never happen.  After all, history has shown us that this, too, shall pass and we will never feel the sting of all we have brought down on our heads.  The entire history of our faux-rich class has proven that we are immune from the realities of what lies ahead, created by their ingenuity and greed, and all we have created by our own hand.  We seem incapable of operating from a base of principle.  Rather, we readily succumb to pretext.  That leaves nothing to move us to greater heights and a genuine common concern for what is in the best interests of all of us.  Commitment and creativity come cheap these days. 
         
The next big joke we have to ponder is how much power and control now rests with the massive monolith of agencies we call our Federal Government.  Who, in their right mind, could actually believe there is a clean and genuinely concerned statesman among them, excepting those few who stand on principle and honesty?  The majority of them are much too preoccupied with stealing and lying to the electorate in order to lace their pockets with all they have come to believe is their rightful share of the pie for playing politician.  Who are their real constituents?  Need I even bother to ask the question?  The answer is self-evident to any seriously concerned citizen of the Republic. 

If one were to administer a means test to any of them, be it the House, the Senate, the White House, or the Supreme Court, their attention would automatically be drawn to Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Hollywood and all of the other sprawling complexes dotting the country sides of Virginia and Maryland where so much of the real wealth, power and influence lie. 

I, also, cannot help but wonder why we have a sacrosanct two-party political system?  Who said we can only vote for a Republican or a Democrat who has been duly vetted and blessed by the political party with which they are affiliated?  What have the Green Party, the Justice Party, the Freedom Party and all the other minor annoyances played by fringe parties done for us?  What choice have we had to participate in a real election because of their place on the ballots so dutifully given to us when we venture in to go through the motions of really voting?  At best, it is a ritual, most of which has been stolen from us by the actions of the Supreme Court and the money machines of the oligarchs, plutocrats and corrupt benefactors that support the main stream political machines.  How much longer are we going to support and feign belief in this charade?  There is no grander form of deception than that we inflict on ourselves by our own stupidity and naïveté. 

Yeah, I know.  Bill Clinton is one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States and his wife is being pursued by the wide-eyed progressives and liberals who just know in their hearts that she is the one who can give new meaning to the Presidency, and show the world what a real woman can do in the White House.  I’ve got news for them.  Move over Hillary.  Elizabeth Warren has you beat by a country mile and she is the real deal.  Anyone with half a brain and a modicum of decency knows that.       

Clearly, the White House is up for sale to the highest bidder and what has now become the cadre of oligarchic and plutocratic benefactors for whom the cost of favors from that particular residence is pocket change.  What, for example, do presidential advisers do for us other than negotiate the deal that will most benefit those who now own our Federal Government and all its key players?  Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both show signs of having been accepted into the club that will only result in fewer jobs for Americans and more money for those who own the offices and the occupants that dutifully offer their best advice on behalf of those to whom they are actually beholden.  Whoever may be the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania at any given point in time is, I am sure, well paid for his exceptional performance as the water boy for the super-rich and powerful to whom they owe their loyalties.            

I genuinely believe that our entire government apparatus and structure is severely fractured and those who are so readily available to pick up the pieces are benefiting the most.  It is certainly not the mainstream Americans who are more the victims than the benefactors of their activities, ostensibly for the common welfare and our collective behalf. 

If we are to reclaim the heritage left to us by the Founding Fathers and restore their intent for a healthy and long life for this nation, there has to be some serious thought given to what we can and should do for our collective welfare and this grand experiment of what is meant by self-government by the people and for the people.  It won’t be easy, but I am confident it can and should be fixed by those who own it, not by those who have bought or stolen it.   

Every major political party has been co-opted by those who claim a propriety right based on their membership and control of the party apparatus.  I see little real difference in the Democrats and Republicans, save that contrived to deceive all of us into believing they really give a damn about any of us and their every motive and move is for our common and collective welfare.  Yes, and for those of you who may be interested, I have a great bridge for sale at a bargain price. 

We need a new political party that encompasses the majority of working Americans, middle class Americans and all those who labor for an honest living by the sweat of their brow.  We can no longer afford to acquiesce to those who are convinced of their economic and social superiority, and their perceived Divine right to mete out their wisdom to those of us who simply “labor” for a living.  They have not earned the right to even stand in the same room with the average person who has made this country great throughout history. They are the social and economic parasites of our time. 

They are the ones who have sent their progeny off to Ivy League Schools and Military Academies so they can remain immune from any real sacrifice on behalf of the American people and the country that has given them all the privilege and power they covet.  They are the ones who send off the best among us to foreign lands to die for the wealth and power they have garnered from less than honorable means in order to acquire their booty.  They are the ones who plan and orchestrate the galas on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with all the glitz and glamour of show business personalities, blowing smoke up our back side to somehow make us believe those who have come back maimed and disfigured gave of themselves so selflessly for the greater good of this nation.  In reality, it doesn't take a stretch to remind us that most of those who went to war on our behalf did so because there were no jobs and the means for an honest living available to them here at home.  Those had all been sent off to enhance their foreign investments and the massive sellout of American industries through free-trade agreements and all of the secret deals made behind closed doors in the halls of government – a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  It is pretty to think so but it sure as hell doesn't square with the reality I see and hear about every day. 

We need citizens who care about this country and all those who labor in its service.  We have had enough of the deferential trips to Las Vegas, the Hamptons, and other environs of wealth and power, reserved for billionaires, where obsequious parasites bow and scrape before the most vile among us hoping a crumb will fall from the table so they, in turn, can pursue their lesser pursuits at the expense of those who have earned their place at the table.

Let us not forget that the word “public” refers to that rightfully belonging to the public, not private enterprise.  I have had enough of the epidemic of “privatization” that has overtaken this country.  Those who are making out like bandits from their exploitation of what was, and should continue to be public services, are costing this country and its citizens dearly in terms of a more efficient, healthier and more responsive system for the average American.  For starters, I refer to schools, parking meters, and a whole host of public services that have served the people of this country extraordinarily well. 

One of the most egregious examples of the greed and creative thievery set before us is the privatization of prisons, where vital services and minor criminals are sold into what I regard as slavery by contracted “privatized” prisons, aided and abetted by compromised judges and other officers of the court in order to further lace the pockets of those who are just as much of a criminal bent as those they sell into service for a fast buck.  These are but a few examples of how our tax dollars are being pirated from under our noses in order to simply feed the rapacious greed of those who cannot earn it honesty, so resort to less honest means and an aura of piety in order to convince those of us who have paid for those services, and who rely on their value to us, that they can do the job better, more efficiently and at less cost than can those we have retained to “work” and represent the public to whom they are accountable. 

The stench of the bull shit created by the “creative” minds who seduce the rest of us is beginning to smell.  It is time to revisit all those hollow promises and get back to basics, at a fair price and for a reliable service. 

It is time to burnish the patina of labor unions and organizations that represent the working people of this country.  They deserve to have their place at the table restored and to get the credit they deserve for doing what is right by this country.  There is a hell of a lot of talent floating around in the environs that does not require a “college” education in order to prove their worth and value to the society of which they are a part.  As a wise professor once said to his class, “When you send a jackass to college all you have at the end of the process is an educated jackass.”  Those words convey a fundamental fact to all of us.  Native wisdom and innate talent are worth something, even in today’s plastic and phony world. 

Isn't it about time we created a new political party that subscribes to and supports a constituency of people dedicated to a country governed by those who work for and labor in its service, rather than to massive wealth, power and privilege that exploit it and hold themselves above the law? 

Can we not create a party that fully supports the welfare of all the people, not just those who only believe in and support a self-imposed and false sense of superiority?  Can we not return to the fundamental prescription of “one nation, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all?”  Can we not return to “a government of the people, by the people and for the people?”  Can we not take it from the hands of those who disdain the notion of the public good, and return it to fair and just treatment for everyone?  Can we not all share in the burden of supporting this democracy that has, for so long, stood as a beacon to the rest of the world?  Can we not all rediscover that basic sense of decency and honesty we once knew?  Can we not do with less and give more?  Can we not be good stewards of this fragile planet on which we rely for life?

Can we not, once again, simply level the playing field for all of us?

Can we not all simply restore a value system that says to us and, indeed, to the entire world, there is a better way.  We have been there, done that, and know what we are talking about.      

What is to be lost by trying it?    

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

April 4, 2014              

Friday, March 21, 2014

“Where Is the Real You in All of This?”



I have to confess that I have an inherent mistrust of all of the “free trade agreements” started by Bill Clinton and given new life by Barack Obama, further compounded by Stephen Harper, Conservative Prime Minister of Canada.  The shroud of mystery surrounding each of them and the secrecy that seems to play an integral part in the process is, I believe, cause for concern by all of those who are likely to be affected by them.  Its alliance by the parties thereto seems to exceed the bounds of what we have come to accept as simply Chiefs of State as colleagues, but, rather, what smells more like an alliance of those serving big money interests in each respective country of participating members.  Rather, someone is coming up with the short-end of the stick in all this and, I rather suspect, are the citizens and working people of each participating country.  The constant echo of “trust me” is pause for keeping our backs to the wall and a response of “show me” before any agreement becomes codified and binding. 

I am particularly uncomfortable with the close association of President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  How is it that Harper seems to manifest an inordinate amount of power and influence in these matters, particularly the Keystone XL pipeline and of more concern is the role Harper seems to be playing in determining how that project evolves, even to determining the value to be placed on the land to be expropriated to make way for the worst polluting petroleum in the history of the continent.  It just doesn’t pass the smell test. 

I, also, have haunting reservations about what kind of a Chief of State this Harper really is.  Why, for instance, did he remain silent when Michelin recently gave 900 of their Maritime workers their walking papers without so much as a peep from Mr. Harper?  If he did what he should have done, in my humble opinion, would have been for him to hustle his buns to Nova Scotia to convene a personal meeting with the powers that be at Michelin and asked them just what they were doing and justify the rationale for their actions.  900 unemployed in one fell swoop is not a minor issue, by any stretch of the imagination.  The massive influence of the oligarchs in the United States is well known.  However, it would seem to me that Mr. Harper is well qualified to assume his rightful place among that less than august group of the super rich and powerful.  What role have Canada’s oligarchs played in all this, and at what cost to the environment?  I think it bears careful scrutiny by legitimate watchdogs before any precipitous action is taken to make it a reality that cannot be stopped or reversed.            

I am mystified by the extent to which we, like so many civilizations that have preceded us on this planet, have so readily acquiesced to power, influence and great wealth without even so much as a whimper by all of those who are likely to be adversely affected by the actions of those who perceive themselves as members of some elusive and undefined superior stratum of society and, indeed, the world.  Where did even the most basic principles and foundations of control by and the consent of the governed go?  We have given up all that underwrites equality for the people to those who simply take control and claim the spoils for themselves and those of like makeup and ambition.  That seems readily apparent as the complete antithesis of a democratic society “of the people, by the people and for the people.” 

How can anyone abandon the inescapable fact that this entire planet belongs to all those occupying space on it?  This piece of real estate is not for the exclusive use and ownership by other mortals who may have more money, power and influence just by their status in life and their ability to con the rest of us out of what is, and always will be, rightfully ours by Divine right.  Insofar as intellectual property is concerned, I fail to see why that could not be addressed by society to ensure fair and just compensation to those who have given the world a better mousetrap. 

However, one aspect of all this remains sacred, and that is the welfare and will of the people.  Nothing should abrogate that inescapable fact of our common existence.  That should always be the foundation of any action being considered for the welfare of society and those we have deemed to be our public servants – the acid test for it all being, does it serve the interests of the governed?  No amount of money, breeding, power or force should ever trump that essential part of who we are and what we are as a people and a civilized society.  No one element of that society should ever be a second-class citizen or claim veto power over the governed.  Moreover, every political party should always serve the social contract in some fundamental way; never the vested interests of any one or more factions within that society. 

The days of emperors, kings, queens, dictators and any notion of an inherent superiority over those to whom the world belongs are over.  Let them earn what they claim as theirs, just like the rest of us.  Let them be accountable to the people, just like the rest of us.  Equality is universal and it is time we all got used to that fundamental fact of life.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.  If we, the people, want it to happen we can and will make it happen. 

We can start by making every election based on what the electorate sees as the common will of the people, not when some selected group forks out a fortune to convince us that they have come up with a better mousetrap that just happens to give them and their ilk an edge over the rest of us; always couched in the rhetoric of some deity and admonition from a divine power that makes us tremble in our boot straps.

Is this world government?  Not by any measure.  We are all different by virtue of our birthright and a whole host of familial and societal influences.  But, as rational and intelligent beings, we can discern what is the best deal for the majority of us, and go for the gold. 

Every platform of every political party should be published and commonly understood by the electorate.  Every election should be publicly financed and any form of private financing deemed against the law.  We should encourage everyone to actively participate in elections, but no one should be allowed to buy the votes of anyone voting.  A conflict-of-interest by any other name is still a conflict-of-interest.  It doesn’t take a judge in black robes to figure that one out.  End of story.

The end game must always be that nothing is adopted for or by the people without the expressed consent of the people by a vote of the people.  The “expert” has yet to be born who can trump the common wisdom of the governed.  To believe otherwise and, more dangerously, to defer to that belief is the death knell to democracy.  We cannot, now or ever, succumb to any hint of the notion that anything better is possible or desirable.

It is time for us to take off the rose-colored glasses and stare reality squarely in the face.  Our tastes and desires are the exclusive result of the efforts of business, commerce, the entertainment industries, network news organizations, and producers of every kind of electronic gadget imaginable.  They determine what we see, hear, and want and all they feed us simply numbs the brain and reduces our ability to think critically and discern the difference between reality and fantasy.  We have become automatons that exist for the sole purpose of increasing their wealth, enhancing their power and growing their influence.  They are the most evil force the world has ever had to face.  They will sacrifice limb, life and, yes, the very planet on which we live in order to simply acquire more, more and more at the expense of human life and the world in which we live.

There is not one elected official sitting in offices in government, or in industry, finance and raw power in all its forms that has one ounce of integrity and human compassion in his/her whole being.  Make no mistake about it; we are all expendable in the pursuit of their insatiable lust for greed, power, money and all that goes with it.  There is no redemption for any aspect of their being.  Moreover, they have no ability to see what they are creating.  They are blinded by their own lust. 

If there was ever a time to revisit our finer angels and the best about our human nature, it is now.  Time is not on our side.  This world belongs to all of us and necessity dictates that we must reclaim it for the common good, not for the ambitions and greed of the few. 

Real democracy and the welfare of the majority is our only hope.  Together we can make it happen.  Divided we will disintegrate before all the gods of wealth, power and privilege.  Hopefully, come 2016, the nation will relegate Hillary Clinton to her proper place in history and welcome Elizabeth Warren as the nation’s first Madam President. 

It is imperative that all of us vote, know what we are voting for and realize that it is the people of this country who work for a living and carry the weight of their responsibility as a citizen with pride in all that they are and all that we are.  It is not those of privilege, wealth and power who will make the difference.  It is you and all those like you.

When anyone says that he/she “works for a living,” it should be with pride and a badge of honor.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
March 21, 2014
                             

              

Sunday, March 16, 2014

“Freedom Taken to the Extreme Becomes the Barbaric State: Welcome to America!”



I cannot recall a time in my life when I have been witness to such an intellectual wasteland or the numbing of the human mind as has been set before us by the need for the American people to be passively entertained and the conscious choice to live in a state of self-imposed ignorance.  That is not only pathetic, it is an indictment of what we could and should be as a people.  Has not the time come for us to revisit the joys of original thought and dismiss the trite and meaningless nonsense that we accept as “fun,” and pursue with such vigor? 

Permit me to list just a few of what we have incorporated into our daily lives. 

·        We willingly allow the oligarchs and those who serve as their minions in government and industry to pillage and plunder the wealth of the nation for their own benefit by fostering subservience from the very systems that should be there to serve the needs and interests of the people of the United States.  They own and control every branch and agency of our government, minimize and denigrate any actions that may be taken for the benefit and welfare of the citizens of this country in favor of reducing their obligations to society and reducing the needs of the broader social order.  The rich just get richer and the poor get even poorer.  That is the new mantra of what we have become.  If that is not really what we want for this country, then why in the world don’t we change the system, and reign in the excesses they claim and which are fostered by those elected to serve us, the people?  They pollute our environment at will while dismissing the warnings of science and the perils to come by their blatant greed at the expense of the planet.       
 
·        We have completely abandoned any notion that we, the people, have a solemn duty and responsibility to hold our government accountable to us for what they do for us and to us because they have set themselves above the law and the will of the people.

·        We have allowed Bill “Fellatio” Clinton, Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Alan Greenspan to deregulate major financial interests in order to favor bankers, financiers and hedge fund managers at the expense of the American people and the viability of the financial institutions put there to better serve the body politic.

·        The Obama Administration bailed out renegade banks and other financial institutions at the expense of the taxpayers and at reduced rates of interest, for problems they, not we, created!  Moreover, he tacitly gave his approval for the massive and sustained “interest free loans” to failed banks by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. 

·        The Obama Administration has favored reduced rates on income tax and other forms of taxation for wealthy benefactors, the movement of offshore funds in order to reduce their tax liabilities and has favored big business, corporate capitalists and other entrepreneurs to further reduce their tax rates while the average American has labored to meet their tax obligations. 

·        The Obama Administration has favored big energy companies, free trade agreements and other forms of subsidies to various industrial enterprises, again at the expense of the average American.    
         ·       We revere and defer to the military and intelligence services as if they were royalty and touched by               the hand of God.  To question them and their motives is almost an affront to the sanctity of all they                 profess to be and do for our collective benefit.  Sez who?

·        We have bought into the “privatization” of every conceivable kind of public service as inherently good, less expensive and far superior to anything that might accrue to our benefit by the efforts and work of public servants.  If so, why are the hucksters of the business and financial worlds in such a hurry to tap into that lucrative cornucopia of profit and greater wealth?  That just doesn’t compute. 
      
·        Why do we tolerate the massive cost of benefits and the loss of valuable time by our legislators so they can spend their time courting the favor of lobbyists, and taking vacations and excursions of various kinds at taxpayer expense?  While the “working” Americans and lower paid workers envy the perks they so freely flaunt, they turn a blind eye and go for even more.

·        Why do our elected government officials acquiesce to one-sided actions such as Citizens United by the Supreme Court, all for the benefit of those who claim their divine right of superiority to rig elections and the financing of those elections for the rich and famous so they can buy votes and the attendant benefits for the benefit of their insatiable greed and material gains?

·        Why is there such disparity in the funding of unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, student loan relief, etc. by the renegades sitting in the halls of the House and the Senate vs. what should be given to help all of those seeking honest jobs and bearing the responsibility for supporting their families with a living wage? 

From my perspective, our society has degenerated to a level where anything goes and we are not embarrassed or shamed by anything.  We are mesmerized by electronic gadgets that enable us to stare blankly into a hand-held device in order to “communicate” with others without ever having to talk, and to be passively entertained by every conceivable kind of titillating pleasure known to mankind.  How are we any better by ogling at girls with skirts up to the cheeks of their bottoms, the bare-chested and tight crotches of men’s clothing, and the use of gutter language as they emulate those who have managed to peddle that nonsense?  Do we really care to listen to a prolonged discussion about the private parts of human anatomy and the role those we are watching play in the entire scenario?  What does all that do for our sense of common decency and what sets us above the sewers from which it comes? 

We are a people who seem to find it attractive to use acronyms and other forms of abbreviated speech rather than proper language in order to carry on conversations.  We attach meanings to abbreviated forms of speech and react as if they were somehow subversive or vulgar, and convey some sort of disdain or prejudice by their very use. 

What comes to your mind when you hear the terms “Working American,” “Middle Class,” “Service Employee,” “Domestic Worker,” “Manual Laborer,” etc.?  Is there not more dignity to being a “Working American” than that of a “Senator,” “a Congressman,” a Consultant?  Where the former earns an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, the other earns his/hers by peddling knowledge of dubious value or by letting us know that he/she steals and deceives (with aplomb) for a living rather than stooping to that of a mere laborer.  Who are the more respectable and more noble in all this?   

What comes to your mind when you hear terms such as “Ivy League,” “San Jose State College,” “Junior College,” “Stanford University,” etc.  Does one strike you as superior or inferior to one of the others?  What does that say about you?

What makes a scion of Silicon Valley more valuable and respectable than someone who can fix your car, or build your house, or manage a cattle or sheep ranch, or serve you a well prepared hamburger in a fast food restaurant?  One works for a living and the other peddles technical expertise of a dubious value to society in general.  Both serve us in special ways and both are essential to a balanced life for all of us.  Why do we revere one more because he/she has money and the other is just a “working person?”

The nomenclatures we use by the names we attach to political parties convey a great deal about us and how we view those we put in public office.  What is the essential difference between a Republican and a Democrat?  Both are accomplished thieves and peddlers of all sorts of deception and manipulation that most decent people would find offensive. 

Did you know that the Presidential Debates to which we are subjected every four plus years are limited only to those who are candidates for the Office of President from the Democratic and Republican Parties?  Did it ever occur to you that is tantamount to a two-party political system to which we, the voters, are expected to subscribe?  Who deemed it a two-party political system to the exclusion of every other qualified candidate who may be seeking that office?  Why should the candidates from the Green Party, the Justice Party and the Freedom Party all be barred from participating in those discourses.  Might we, the voters, not learn a great deal more about who could and would serve us most effectively if we could hear their answers to the important and salient questions having to do with their occupancy of the Office of the President?  I would think so. 

Who deemed it appropriate that we should only have a limited number of political parties for any and all of our elections for public office?  I have never read where it was codified as the only option we were to have and, frankly, I think we (and the country) are the poorer for it.      

We Americans seem to have an ingrained disdain for any political party with the term “social” or “socialist” associated with it.  Somehow those terms connote some sort of subversive element that would surely undermine the purity and sanctity of what we currently have. 

For most of my life I labored by declaring my party of choice as the Republican Party.  With time and enlightenment, I came to my senses and shifted to the Democratic Party.  My greatest joy in that move was to have had the privilege of meeting John F. Kennedy.  I have had my moments with that political party, as well.  That discomfort has been largely created by the notion that, somehow, both of those political parties were more “American,” than others.  I no longer harbor that illusion. 

I now pride myself in being a “Social Democrat.”  A “Social Democracy” is defined as “a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.”  That suggests to me that we have not done a very good job of using the proper nomenclature in the use of such terms and how they might apply to the greater society at large.  If the largest segment of our society is that of the “working” or “middle” classes, does that not suggest also, the greatest segment of our population is a social class?  If that is the pre-eminent class, then it seems logical for that class to be occupied by those who claim membership in the largest group of people dedicated to the health and welfare of society.  That being the case, then why should we be limited to just Democratic, Republican, Green, Freedom, and Justice Parties, all of which are minority parties.  Why should we not have a “Social Democratic” party that embraces the largest majority of voters having the greatest vested interest in a political establishment that would serve the greatest number of citizens?  It would seem to me that the Scandinavian countries have proven the case rather well.  What is to be gained by re-inventing the wheel?    

Moreover, why should any minority party control the institutions of government more than any other political party?  Would it not be more reasonable and logical for a socialist democratic party to represent the greatest potential number of voters in a system that is, ostensibly, there to serve all of the people?       
        
It seems to me that we could make a good start by revisiting the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, going back to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by putting back into place the safeguards that were so wisely incorporated into our way of life.  We could start with a “free and unfettered press,” followed by well-regulated corporations, an impartial judicial system that served us all, equally. 

We should, and could, clean up the mess we have so we are a real democracy that we can all take pride in and have confidence in to ensure we are all, indeed, “equal under the law.”

Frankly, I am tired of the games our political, commercial, intelligence and military/industrial establishment play with us and the persistent wondering if we, the people, really are in control and are being heard, or if we are little more than sheep waiting to be led to the slaughter.

Aren’t you?

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

March 16, 2014