Monday, March 30, 2009

"Power Concentrated In The Hands Of A Few Is Toxic To Us All"

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.“ -- Lord Acton 1887

I do not think there is a more powerful or insidious force in the arena of human relationships than power itself. It is a force that should never be minimized. By the same token, should it be regarded as something not to be feared. It can seduce us so we lose all sense of perspective, compromise our sense of morality and set us on a course of covetousness that can eventually destroy us. By any measure, that is an awesome force not to be taken lightly.

That the Founding Fathers were judicious in their regard for the distribution of power is evident in the meticulous attention they gave to the wisdom inherent in the separation of powers between the institutions of government and the electorate, and the relationship between the powers of the federal government and those of the states.

I have great respect for the Founding Fathers and the vision they demonstrated as they struggled to put together the framework for a Republic that would ultimately become the model to be emulated by others struggling with democratic forms of government. I don’t necessarily agree that the end product of their endeavors has resulted in a perfect outcome, but it came pretty close. Like all fine instruments, a bit if fine tuning had to occur in the wake of ratification of their efforts. However, the guarantees and the separation of powers were right on the money. Any damage that may have occurred in the wake of their efforts has been brought about by imperfections within the human condition. We think and act as if we lived in a perfect world which, by our very nature, is impossible. That, in turn, leads to over-simplification and the extremes that follow.

I believe the greatest threats to our democracy are those posited by the centralization and concentration of power. We, as responsible citizens, have abdicated our sacred responsibility to remain ever vigilant over how and why power is acquired, and how it is exercised and retained. We are far too trusting. We much too readily acquiesce to ideologies and personalities, rather than keeping them at arms length, and constantly questioning their motives and actions. Those in office know this and are very adroit in exploiting it to further their own ambitions.

Except for the ideological bias individual justices may bring with them, I believe the Supreme Court has done a pretty good job of holding to the intent of the Founding Fathers, the rather blatant interference in the outcome of the election of 2000 not withstanding. That will be a blight on its record for all time to come. However, even in the chambers of this great body, the imperfections of our human nature serve to remind us of how elusive perfection actually is in the real world, and the need for all of us to never assume that only good will follow in the wake of our trust.

The Executive Branch has certainly had its share of megalomaniacs, some good and others not so good. The egos of a few have served to inspire us and lead us to new heights. Others have led us into the jaws of disaster with their imperious notions of a royal aura enveloping them. The last administration is a rather good example of the latter. There have been those who genuinely worked to improve our lot and others who have set themselves to plundering the country for their own benefit and that of their cronies. All said and done, it has been a rather mixed bag in my opinion. In the final analysis most of them have proven to be just another politician hoping to leave an historical legacy that extends beyond the presidential library. There are those few who should have been freeze-dried for political campaigns and ceremonial occasions, but most are best forgotten. We can learn a great deal from those few who set themselves above any sense of morality and accountability for their actions to those who put them in office. It should reinforce the notion that too much trust comes at one’s own peril. They are the ones that bear watching before, during and after their terms in office.

The House of Representatives is comprised of representatives elected by the voters in congressional districts within each state, apportioned by population. Their terms of office are for a 2-year period which, effectively, ties them rather closely to their respective constituencies. By definition, they are more attuned and responsive to the will of those who elected them to office. We now have what is probably the closest tie of accountability directly to the people of any arrangement now in effect. I regard this as the most analogous to the House of Commons in a Parliamentary System of Government. Two-year terms probably do the best job of limiting the extent to which influence can be peddled and the amount that can be stolen.

However (and this is very significant) senators were elected by the legislatures of each state, and were subject to recall by the legislatures of that state if he/she failed to represent their state’s interests at the federal level. Their very political survival was contingent upon their ability to advocate for their individual states. Their terms of office were for a period of 6 years; the longest term of any serving member in the Legislative Branch.

Then, in 1910 some self-styled expert decided to introduce the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which removed the election of Senators from the State Legislatures and transferred that power to the popular vote of the people within their respective states. The Amendment was ratified by the voters on April 18, 1913 and became law. That action cemented the federal monolith in Washington, D.C. and insulated them from any meaningful control by the individual states. Terms of six years each certainly gives one plenty of time to overcome the frailties of memory and, as a consequence, provides for far greater latitude in lacing their pockets with the largess that goes with the spoils of power, six-year terms of office and seniority. Much can be overlooked and much can be had with the passage of time. I would say they do a pretty damned good job of making hay while the sun shines. Not only do they become independently wealthy at the expense of the taxpayers, but they blatantly thumb their noses at us while they do it.

The result of passage of the 17th Amendment is, in my judgment, one of the two most glaring examples of how the popular mentality of the voters effectively destroyed the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. I cannot help but wonder how powerful and plentiful lobbyists would be today were it not for ratification of the 17th Amendment. I suspect they would be less akin to the House of Lords in a Parliamentary System of Government and more akin to an ambassador at the United Nations.

The power that was given to corporations by allowing them to be treated the same as individual citizens, with all of the rights and privileges thereto pertaining, has resulted in a concentration of power that most threatens our very existence as a democracy. No individual in our society can even hope to amass the financial and political power of the corporation. And, my dear friends, I would submit to you that it is a natural marriage for them to join forces with the political and economic establishment that now threatens the future of our very existence. We have effectively created a federal monolith with unlimited power over our lives, and destroyed the essence of a democratic form of government in favor of a plutocracy. Political and economic power is now effectively concentrated in Washington, D.C. and on Wall Street. We are the poorer for it and getting poorer by the day because of it. They all feed at the same trough of power, influence and money, all the while treating us like mushrooms by keeping us in the dark and feeding us bullshit. And what is worse, they are further enabled by our own self-imposed ignorance.

They pat us on the head and tell us to go outside and play as if we were a bunch of obedient children. How in the hell can power rest with the people, which is what a democracy is supposed to be, if we so willingly give it all up in exchange for the paltry favors with which they seduce us? If we won’t even take the time and effort to stay informed and take an interest in the issues of the day, how can we be anything but easy prey for their greed, avarice and lust for unlimited power?

Next to the 17th Amendment, the action of government that has most crippled our ability to be a healthy democracy is by allowing corporate ownership of the news media; the concentration of the power of information in the hands of a few very big organizations, all of which have motives contrary to those demanded by a viable democracy. What used to be healthy discourse has now morphed into passive participation in the intellectual equivalent of pabulum! But, how can a reporter be an adversary to ones he/she joins for cocktails in the evening? Just watch today’s reporters fawning over the power structure in the halls of power.

Another institution that, in my humble opinion, acts contrary to the best interests of a healthy democracy are those privately funded academic institutions of higher learning. They breed a brand of privilege and elitism that spawns the avaricious appetite for more and more power that is leading us inexorably down the road to ruin as a civilized society, a healthy democracy and a world power to be respected and revered. We are beholden far too much to their alums for the “expertise” we require in order to manage our affairs of state. Let us not forget that an expert is nothing more than one who is better organized and uses audio-visual aids. History clearly demonstrates that great wisdom is not complex and has been abundantly available to our nation in the hands of those often regarded as far too humble to grace the corridors of power.

They are now telling us that there are some institutions that are simply too big to fail. Too big to fail for whose benefit? If that is the case, isn’t it about time we set ourselves to the task of reducing the size of the political, economic and social institutions that have wrought such havoc on this country and, indeed, the world? I cannot think of a better way to start than ---

1. Repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, restoring the election of senators to the power of state legislatures. Let’s do away with this imperious aura that breeds corruption and indifference at the expense of those whom they are supposed to serve.

2. Enact legislation that forbids corporate ownership of the news media. Set up franchised service areas for each newspaper, television and radio station and require that they be locally owned and operated. Limit today’s networks to a role as national and international news bureaus that sell their services to locally owned news outlets.

I have frankly had enough of the bovine scatology that the complexity of our nation and the world is beyond the comprehension of the average person. That is double-speak that is skillfully used to retain the power and influence that will ultimately lead us down the road to what William Grieder has termed, “corporate government.” If that term doesn’t have a sufficiently ominous ring to it, I don’t know what does.

I no longer trust Barack Obama because I haven’t heard any compelling reasons why he chose to reincarnate the Clinton Administration as his own. That doesn’t pass the smell test and is cause for me to wonder what kind of a bargain was struck during the primaries. Was it on the order of “If Hillary wins, this is Barack’s role in her administration with a guarantee that he would be the next “first” in 2016. If Barack wins, this is Hillary’s role in the next administration. Insofar as the occupants of key positions are concerned, they would essentially be identical in both of the administrations.” It is just a question of who plays first violin in Big Money’s Symphony Orchestra of unlimited and unbridled power, to be played at the requiem of a society that totally abdicated its fundamental responsibilities to the best democracy the world has ever seen - that of being intellectually curious, fully informed and totally involved. Complacency is the stuff of fools and saps the lifeblood out of the afflicted. Let that not be our ultimate failure.
Cowboy Bob
March 30, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

“A Rose By Any Other Name………….?”

The current controversy about the resignation of Charles Freeman, Chairman-Designate of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), has created quite a firestorm in the news media, and rightfully so. However, the issues surrounding his resignation are so convoluted that one needs to be very careful about drawing erroneous conclusions and a tendency towards stereotyping.

Suffice to say Charles Freeman is probably one of the most consummate diplomats in the business. He is extremely intelligent, has a wealth of experience, is forthcoming and has a keen ability to work collaboratively with others without compromising his principles. His decision to resign is a tremendous loss to the government and to the people of the United States, all because of a cadre of right-wing, neo-conservative Zionists who have long exerted far too much influence on our government in their zealous allegiance to their dreams of a pure Jewish State of Israel.

Given their control over the government of Israel, I regard their pursuits as that of a renegade state that is completely ruthless in the character assassination of anyone who dares to take issue with their pursuits. Among their most notable demonstrations of their loyalty to the United States, was an unprovoked attack on a United States naval vessel (USS Liberty) in international waters without provocation and consequence. They have spied on the United States with impunity and have effectively dominated U.S. foreign policy towards the State of Israel since its founding. Except for the death camps, their treatment of the Palestinians rivals anything the Third Reich inflicted on all sorts of those regarded as less than perfect specimens of humanity, not limited exclusively to the Jews. Anyone who fails to realize that their goal is an exclusively Jewish State is out to lunch. One only has to scratch the surface of their unrelenting land grab in the Palestinian Territories to readily see their ultimate objective. And who gets the blame for their ruthless pursuit of empire? God, of course. Now I ask you, what sane and rational person would believe that nonsense?

The endless rhetoric about a permanent peace and a two-state solution is nothing but smoke. It is a ruse to keep the United States placated so they can control the relationship and continue to receive untold billions of dollars in aid. And every politician since Harry S. Truman knew and knows it. The slightest criticism immediately causes a knee-jerk reaction resulting in their classic charge of anti-Semitism. A cursory attempt at a clear definition of that term reveals that for one to be a true anti-Semite, one would have to have an ingrained hatred of the Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Phoenicians - a tall order for the worst of bigots. Despite their best efforts to limit that term to anyone who disagrees with their aspirations of empire, they don’t have a claim to exclusivity on that one.

However, let us not equate the international Jewish community with the posturing of the government of Israel. Were it not for the fact that the Jews have always been a literate people and super-achievers in every academic, scientific and artistic discipline known to man, the rest of humanity would still be in caves. They have, also, historically been a peace-loving people opposed to violence and human injustice. They are generous to a fault in their support for the institutions and activities that enable civilized societies to flourish and prosper. The agenda of the majority of Jewish people is the complete antithesis to that of the neo-conservative Zionist zealots dominating the Government of Israel. The world owes them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid, and we are still reaping the benefits of their talents and accomplishments that push the boundaries of knowledge and enlightenment ever forward into the future for the benefit of the world community. We, also, owe them our insistence on a balanced foreign policy by the United States towards the State of Israel, our role as an honest broker in a two-state solution, and the broker of an honest peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is time for the integrity of Palestinian lands to be restored and the brutality towards its rightful owners to cease.

The United States has the power to make it happen. But, in order for that to come about, those in power in Israel need to know that we regard their lobbying activities in the United States as direct interference in our internal affairs by a foreign power; something we would not tolerate from any other nation on earth.

The American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) changed its name to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, no doubt hoping to soften its image among American voters. However, its mission still remains that of the neo-conservative Zionists whose sole objective is a pure Jewish State. Does a tiger change his stripes? A rose by any other name? They have proven themselves to be consummate adversaries of the United States, to the extent we may have challenged their objectives and tactics.

We need a fair and balanced foreign policy in all our international relations. Sad to say, Charles Freeman is uniquely qualified to have had a profound influence in bringing about that balance, so urgently needed and so long overdue.

Cowboy Bob
March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Today's Rant"

Following is an e-mail I recently received from a British national working in the Middle East.

Cowboy Bob

March 17, 2009


"Today's Rant - Inspired by news of the troop increase in Afghanistan."

So who's kidding who here? In this current age of excessive PC (political correctness) we all seem to have been consumed by the desire (imposed or voluntary) not to upset anyone over anything, for fear of being labeled as anything from uninformed to racist. In this mindless rush to protect the sensibilities of any group, or individual, whose agenda does not include criticism of any sort, we appear to have lost the right or the ability to call a spade a shovel.

Take Barack Obama for example (let me finish this sentence before jumping to incorrect conclusions); here is a new president, committed to bringing the 'Boys' home from Iraq as promised, suddenly wanting to increase the presence of US troops in Afghanistan. Now why would anyone who actually wants the troops out of harms way, want to immediately send them into a similarly dangerous area.

We know it isn't for their good, because they will certainly die and in probably higher numbers than the British and others are currently sustaining. This is the lot of the American GI. At some point during their training (one does assume that these bodies in uniform do get trained despite evidence that whatever they got didn't sink in) they appear to be taught that they are both invincible and at a higher point in the food chain than any national of any other country they are sent to protect, or fight. This unfortunate arrogance does tend to piss off a great deal of normally passive people, directly resulting in the average GI becoming the embodiment of everything everyone hates about America and Americans, and consequently a target.

(I diverge for a second, but can anyone tell me if the average American is deaf? There must be some explanation why they seem oblivious to their volume in a restaurant when the nearby tables are treated to their conversational prowess and opinions whether they want them or not.)

We also know that the western style of democracy just isn't applicable at the current stage of development of a country like Afghanistan. It's a bit like trying to impose this style of democracy on a tribe in the Amazonian rain forest. They already have a system that actually suits them well, but we - in our infinite wisdom - believe ours is better, without learning how theirs works. It is a bit like the British Raja 'educating' the natives, only to find themselves a hundred or more years later, mourning the loss of culture and heritage. Why do we fail to see, from the example of Saudi Arabia, that you can buy all the artifacts of civilization, but they are pretty useless without the two thousand years of experience to make them work?

It was only a few years ago that the British were being encouraged to leave Iraq to the USA (around the time of "to the victor goes the spoils" attitude of the US) when they thought it was still profitable to hang in there. The Brits were being 'given’ Afghanistan to play with. As usual they were being left something that was of no real value to the US - so what is new there?

So why this sudden interest in Afghanistan? Well actually, the sudden interest is in America. The land where deregulation of the financial sector allowed the spawning of the world's fiasco that will eventually affect every person on the planet (with the exception of the bastards who created it and who are now still receiving bonuses bigger than most of us earn in a lifetime). The very last thing that America needs right now is another two hundred thousand battle worn soldiers rucking up on their doorstep looking for their old jobs back (many of which no longer exist) and a heroes welcome. Where would Obama's rescue package go with a whole new army to feed back in the homeland? I doubt the DOD would roll over and transfer their costs to a domestic budget.

The obvious solution is to keep them as soldiers and send them far away from America where they can rustle up a bit of patriotic support for the new missionary mission to educate the savages into the ways of American democracy. Teaching them that if they are friendly to the US, buy all their products and basically toe the line - that is democracy US style.

The answer then is that the real reason is socio-economic, in America’s interest at this troubled time. There is no problem with that, every one is doing it, but then, please, don't try and kid the world that this is some new humanitarian mission to bring democracy to the bunch of warring tribes that have been kicking the shit out of each other for a few centuries (and will probably still be kicking the shit out of each other long after we have gone). It's all about money and unemployment figures, so stop asking the rest of the world to stump up more "help" for the American cause in Afghanistan, when all that is really meant is "please legitimize us being there in greater numbers".

I think we have all given legitimacy to America's abhorrent foreign policy for quite long enough. We backed the illegitimate war, we supported the thieving American Companies that delivered less than thirty percent of the value of their contracts to the Iraqis and now we are supposed to play second fiddle to the US because they have no where else to put their unemployment problem other than Afghanistan.

Grow a spine and admit that is the basis of the new frontline, and then pick up the tab - bodies and all.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

“Will The Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up?”

I have to confess that Barack Obama is a real enigma to me. Try as I may I just can’t quite figure the guy out.

My first exposure to the man was his appearance at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention when he mesmerized the party with his Keynote Speech. Regardless of your political persuasion, you have to admit that was one fine oratorical performance. I felt then that he was presidential material and the brilliance of his charisma was almost blinding.

I was not the least bit surprised when he announced that he was running for president. I thought he demonstrated a keen sense of history by announcing his candidacy on the steps of the Old Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, and carried over the theme of Lincoln’s influence throughout the campaign. However, as his run progressed and the histrionics of his speeches became more grandiose, rather than perceiving him as an inspired man, I came to see him for what should have been apparent from the outset. You don’t play in the ballpark of national politics without being very skilled in the art and science of politics. I am now more inclined to think everything he does stems from a strategic design as to what he perceives to be good politics and what is good for his personal ambitions.

He promised us change, when and if he came to Washington. Admittedly I am a simple man. But, to me, change implies new faces and new thinking on the national political scene. However, what we got was a massive resurrection of the Clinton Administration and the cronies who go with it. We got the same faces and the same loyalties we had with Billy Boy. From my perspective, that sure as hell isn’t change. It is simply more of the same repackaged, and I don’t think that is what the electorate wanted or expected.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that Bill Clinton was the sitting President with a Republican Congress when the financial industries were almost totally deregulated under the evil inspiration of Phil Gramm and the Senate Banking Committee. Bill Clinton could have, and should have, vetoed the legislation rather than signing it into law. Robert Rubin, as Secretary of the Treasury should have vehemently opposed it. That did not happen. So, try as the Obama Administration may, to hang total responsibility for the financial meltdown around the neck of George W. Bush, let us remember who opened the flood gates on this disaster.

I find it all rather interesting that, since leaving office, Bill Clinton has pocketed well over 100 million dollars from “speaking” engagements. God only knows, how much has found its way into the coffers of his foundation from the financial industries that he was instrumental in deregulating. Further, Chelsea finished college and promptly joined one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street. Robert Rubin left the Clinton Administration to become CEO of one of the largest investment houses on Wall Street, with a very lucrative salary and bonus package. Is all of this coincidence that befell a few innocent bystanders? I think not. Let’s fix responsibility where it belongs. Bill Clinton had more of the characteristics of a liberal Republican than he ever did those of a centrist Democrat.

I am willing to concede, at this juncture, that Barack Obama seems to be a man of honor, as politicians go. He would have to get up early in the morning to get ahead of the Clintons, whose ideology I regard more as amoral than I do as matters of principle. Only after a lot of backdoor “negotiating” did Hillary agree to accept the nomination for Secretary of State and, you can be sure, with a lot of input from Billy Boy. However, I find it rather interesting that only yesterday did I notice a television journalists’ observation that, as of now, Hillary Clinton is the most powerful woman in the world. If that is indeed the case, how could any rational mind believe that she was first offered the position of Vice President? Anyone who knows anything about Hillary Clinton should not be the least bit surprised that she would much prefer the power of the Secretary of State than the ceremonial role of Vice President. Nice try, Mr. President.

Now, permit me to focus on the financial debacle staring us in the face. Despite attempts to convince us that Obama has surrounded himself with some of the finest financial and economic brains in the country, I am more inclined to think he suffers from the “old boys’ myopia.” Instead, we are stuck with retreads from the Clinton Administration who seem more inclined to play footsie with the rogues on Wall Street than to hold them accountable for their dastardly deeds of the last eight years. We have Larry Summers, who appears more like a bird drunk on overly ripe pyracantha berries than one of the more respected economists on the national scene. He is aligned with Tim Geithner who can’t even do his own income tax returns accurately, yet we are supposed to defer to him as one of the greatest financial minds in the business.

Obama has summarily dismissed a significant faction of economists who appears to be much more capable of “thinking out of the box,” than those he has gathered around him for advice and counsel. Some of the more notable ones are Jim Cramer on CNN, Joseph E. Stigler (Nobel Laureate), Paul Krugman (Nobel Laureate) and James K. Galbraith, Ph.D., School of Economics at the University of Texas, Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, all of whom appear to be persona non grata at the White House. One who should not be overlooked is Professor Robert Reich at the University of California, Berkeley who served on President Obama‘s Transition Team but who seems to have been relegated to second string these days. All of these people are, essentially, saying that Obama is not doing enough to address the serious flaws inherent in the banking and investment houses, nor is he doing what needs to be done with the urgency and haste required. I don’t hear any of them advocating outright nationalizing of the banking industry. Rather, I hear them saying the government must take them over, clean up the mess they have created, and then sell them back to private investors under new management. In the meantime, the rogues who have done such an abysmal job of “managing” those houses and the investors who profited so handsomely from their shenanigans will take the hit that rightfully belongs to them, instead of the taxpayers.

I raise the question, is President Obama all that naïve, or is he taking care of his cronies who carry on their foul deeds in the canyons of New York City? Is he a dedicated statesman or a very calculating and skilled politician? If it is the latter, this is neither the time nor the place for paying back political favors.

Now, let me focus on a subject near and dear to my heart --- health care. The President has very skillfully avoided any national discourse on the merits of a single-payer healthcare system, and has focused almost entirely on his plan to work with insurance companies on a national health plan, despite national polls that show more than 60 percent of Americans favor the former. The preference for a single-payer system is underscored by some of the best minds and organizations in the country, one of the most prominent being the California Nurses Association. Who are the ones likely to benefit the most from Obama’s plan? I smell a rat.

Healthcare costs are the greatest single financial burden on businesses in this country, and the single largest impediment in their inability to fairly compete in the international marketplace. Further, the cost of providing healthcare has impoverished and deprived more citizens of access to healthcare in this country than any other industrial nation in the world. Why have costs escalated at such an astonishing rate? Principally because of the effective lobbying and unbridled greed of insurance companies, drug companies, organized medicine and overly zealous entrepreneurial efforts by hospital management companies. Their success at milking the golden cow in Washington, D.C. almost ranks right up there with Wall Street. Computerized medical records and working with insurance companies isn’t going to do the trick, no matter how much we get of the President’s finely tuned oratory and his ability to summarily dismiss the voices of real dissent. Experience on the world scene clearly demonstrates that a single-payer system will beat anything Obama is proposing, hands down. As a point of comparison, let us be mindful that the President is still stumping for “clean coal,” despite the legions of scientists and environmentalist who have labeled clean coal as nothing more than one grand oxymoron peddled by the coal industry! Where have you been on this one, Mr. President?

You, Mr. Obama, were elected to the Presidency of this great country because an overwhelming majority of Americans genuinely believe you will effect the changes necessary to meet the needs of those who are truly suffering because of the naïve philosophies and blatant corruption of previous administrations. These are tough times and not one when we should be “sampling” a lot of unproven alternatives. We need honest, bold, firm and inspired leadership rather than a holding of hands in a pathetic attempt to reach consensus on all issues. Time is of the essence.

Humility is one of the greatest of all human attributes. The time has come to back off from riding the coattails of Abraham Lincoln, the staged histrionics on the public stage and belaboring bipartisanship. You, Mr. President, need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask, “Who am I, really?” When you give your first State of the Union Address next January, we don’t need to see you coming down Pennsylvania Avenue in a golden chariot, pulled by six white horses. We don’t need to see you enter the chambers of the House of Representatives adorned in a white toga with a wreath of laurel on your head. Rather, we need to see, and indeed identify with, a strong and determined president who has the admiration and respect of every one in this country and around the world. We must know in our hearts you are one of us, with all the ideals, courage, honesty and integrity we all cherish and so desperately need, but which so few of us have. That is the ideal and the beacon of hope we most need.

The vast majority of us genuinely want to believe in you, Mr. President. You have captured our hearts. Don’t let us down. We may never get a second shot at this one.

All the best.

Cowboy Bob
March 5, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Obituary for Common Sense"

The following obituary is reputed to have been published in the recent past by the London Times. They deserve a few cudos for having done so. It is interesting and, sadly, is rather true.

Cowboy Bob, March 2, 2009


"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who
has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was,
since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He
will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the
worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more
than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended
from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for
reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the
job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but
could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to
have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses;
and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in
her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his
wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He
is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now,
Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone."