Friday, December 10, 2010

Does Anyone Believe The "Blitz" Is Good?

Don't you just love it?

The maggots for the oligarchs, in the personages of Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama are coming out in droves to devour what remains of the national corpse, all the while trying to convince us that they are there to restore life to the dead!

Is any rational person actually going to fall for this? They have long ago established themselves as consummate frauds, all belonging to the same club that is destroying this country. How much more are we, the people, going to take from this bunch of marauding thieves?

When was Bill Clinton elevated to sainthood and Obama beatified, and by whose authority?

Time for a new, independent, credible political party.

Cowboy Bob
December 10, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

“Old Glory Is Flying Upside Down On The Ship Of State”

I cannot think of an image that more typifies the state of the leadership of this country than that of Nero playing his violin while Rome burns. It really is that absurd. We are going from bad to worse at meteoric speed, and nothing serious is being done to avert the impending disaster.

Let’s face it. We have no leadership. We have not seen leadership in this country for a very long time, but we have been skillfully manipulated for decades. Sadly, it still continues. The President has done absolutely nothing to neither restore confidence in leadership from the White House nor inspire integrity in government. He has exploited our trust and confidence by pandering to the worst among us. What, I ask you, has he done to make this country better for all of us? He has been adamant about bringing in some of the most compromised and highly suspect losers from previous administrations (most notably that of Bill Clinton) and the most sinister corporate interests among us. For example, we still have Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Federal Reserve, freely manipulating our financial system much like the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain in the Emerald City. He is no longer credible. Timothy Geithner still remains as Secretary of the Treasury, despite his rather clouded past and suspect motives, with no solid base of confidence in his abilities or intentions, yet still held out by the Administration as a paragon of expertise and virtue in the world of finance.

I am now firmly convinced that absolutely nothing has or will be done in Washington for the people of this country. It just isn’t going to happen if we remain on course. The constituency of our elected officials is, without exaggeration, the world of vested interests that, by definition, are the adversaries of those who simply want to live and work in an honest and healthy society, governed by honest and able servants of the people.

Why do we insist on according deference to those who tenaciously continue to undermine the best interests of the people? I thought respect was to be earned, not conferred. What have they done to earn our respect? Not much from my perspective.

We have no dearth of knowledge, talent and intelligence to serve this country. It is all around us and, once in a while, we get a glimpse of that treasure when we are privy to a few minutes of their knowledge and talents on what passes for news programs. But, where are they in the halls of government to guide us toward a better future. They are not asked to contribute. Why? Because government doesn’t want them there. They don’t want them to complicate the pursuit or mirror the massive corruption that is all around them. Without them, the people end up the beneficiaries of a puppet show, masterfully orchestrated by the oligarchs, plutocrats and corporate barons who own every aspect of a government founded for the welfare of the people.

What did we get for a Financial Reform Bill? Who wrote it? Where were those great minds in the world of economics and finance to guide those deliberations toward a more solid, honest and enduring financial system for us all? They weren’t asked to be there. The few who tried were marginalized and told, “Thanks but no thanks.” It was business as usual, with the fox guarding the hen house.

What did we get for a national health system? Who wrote it? No one was asked to sit at the table behind closed doors to look out for our interests. “Barry” just did what he always does -- he took care of his real constituency and it sure as hell wasn’t the common folk among us, was it?

How can anyone remotely entertain the notion that there is one modicum of integrity, character and commitment to anything having to do with government and its relationship to those who put them in office? All they seek from us is our vote, and there is no limit to the methods of deception and the amount of money they will spend to get it. When the polls close, they pack up their tent and steal away to continue their plundering of the country, unbridled, for another two, four or six years. And, we the people are left with nothing.

Those who serve in the halls of government do not operate from a base of what is right, but what is expeditious and of most benefit to those who own them. It has been said that our government works on compromise. Compromise, by definition, works toward a standard, not of excellence, but of mediocrity. Bi-partisanship is compromise taken to the lowest level of acceptability to the greatest number. It accomplishes little of real substance and inspires no one. Compromise in government is analogous to what a whore does for money. They do only what they have to do for the money, and that money comes from the bottomless reservoir of power and greed that feeds our national system of governance. To think otherwise is self-delusional to the extreme.

To invite politicians, present and former, to serve on commissions and advisory groups to the government is cronyism at its worst. To ask those who are likely to be affected by the outcome to participate in framing regulations is not only a blatant conflict of interest; it is stacking the deck in their favor. No one in my lifetime has been more determined and tenacious in that regard than Barack Obama. He should know better and he should be held to a higher standard, both for what he has done and what he has not done in the public interest.

As for the watchdog function of the Fourth Estate, that evaporated a long time ago. They feed us only what the hand that feeds them wants us to know, and they skillfully shape our perceptions and appetites for the bounty of that table. And, of course, we demand nothing more. We simply accept what they have to offer. Thank God for those few brave investigative journalists who won’t give up and the medium of the Internet to facilitate their endeavors.

We have some real leaders among us, but I rather suspect that those of real character simply don’t want to venture into a world where the compromises they might be asked to make would induce an immediate need to vomit. Or, perhaps, it would place the safety of their families in jeopardy, or they simply see no real hope of changing things for the better. I respect those feelings. But it is only real leadership, based on sound character and a sense of what is right and just that is going to pull us out of this mess.

So, where does all this leave us?

I have an abiding respect for the great minds among us who may feel they cannot compromise their intellectual integrity by being actively engaged in the world of politics. However, when there is no respect for knowledge and expertise within government, where are we, the people, to look? We are in a national crisis of major proportions. I do not think the great seats of learning and the academicians who reside there can properly withhold the precious knowledge and wisdom that only they possess, that may well weigh heavily on vital issues confronting this country.

The one shining light in government is, in my opinion, Elizabeth Warren. She is the personification of Joan of Arc when it comes to her courage and determination to right the egregious wrongs of the financial industries. But, how long can she hold out as the sole warrior fighting that battle? I have no confidence that she has any solid guarantee against having been marked for a limited life in the Executive Branch. After all, Timothy Geithner has made no bones about not wanting her there, and he is her boss, duly anointed by the incumbent resident in the White House. Given his track record for standing firm on his commitments, does anyone care to make book on her prospects for a long and successful future?

Every branch of government is broken. The two-party system exists in name only. Washington is awash in money and bribery on a scale never before imagined in our history. It is so powerful and so pervasive that we see faint hope of reining it in in the service of the people. We have come to accept it by default. As a consequence, we have abdicated our solemn responsibility to ensure “a government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Instead we have demagogues of every ilk taking over government. Those same demagogues offer us no insights or knowledge as to how we might constructively address the challenges we face. Rather, we get trite and simplistic solutions to very complex and complicated issues, something they are neither inclined nor capable of providing. Motive and conduct have trumped knowledge and enlightenment. Politics are pre-eminent over purpose.

There is a better way, but if government doesn’t value the great minds among us, then how can we call on them to help guide us through this sinister and perilous maze of confusion? Where can Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, Simon Johnson, Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Morici, James Galbraith, William Black, Nouriel Roubini, Brooksley Born and all those of like mind and stature find a safe refuge in a haven where they can engage in the discourse and analysis of the great issues facing us? There have to be ways of providing for a solid foundation upon which we can build a renewed optimism that things can, indeed, get better?

Our Nation’s Capitol is replete with think tanks created for every conceivable purpose under the sun. Most of them serve various special interests or constituents that have agendas of their own.

Has not the time come for us to tap into the greatest pool of knowledge and talent among us in order to solve the myriad critical problems facing us, and to change the course of this country? I can think of no better place to seek that help than from those who occupy positions of academic stature and prominence in our nation’s universities and colleges.

Permit me to offer a suggestion.

Might it not be helpful for us consider the creation of a national organization (think tank) for the expressed purpose of calling on the best intellectual and academic minds among us to proffer solutions to the most pressing issues of our day. The final product of any such endeavor would be for the sole purpose of providing an assessment and solutions for the benefit of the people of this country, and beholden to no authority except that of this organization and the disciplines they serve. It would have no relationship to or act on behalf of any other organization, the United States Government or any agency thereof.

1. The institute would be a nonprofit organization devoted exclusively
to the study and resolution of major issues impinging on the ability
of this country to resolve matters in the best interests of its citizens.

2. The organization would be established to ensure freedom of its deliberations
from any outside interests that might seek to influence the outcome of those

3. A paid staff would provide the management and logistical support to
those engaged in the business of the organization.

4. Financial support would be provided by grants from private foundations and
trusts. No government, corporate or private funds would be accepted. The goals
would be to ensure absolute objectivity in all work done by and for the institute.

5. The institute would bring together the expertise culled from the various
universities and colleges specific to issues that are in keeping with their
academic pursuits. Only those having academic appointments, as their primary
vocation, would be eligible to serve on study committees. Those having ties to
other interests would, naturally, have to declare those affiliations at the outset
as a means of determining and ensuring that no bias or conflicts of interest
exists. Every effort would have to be made to ensure complete objectivity and
integrity applied to the outcome of any issue or issues under study.

6. The end result of their deliberations would be the publication of position
papers available for public consumption, and not the property of any specific
entity outside that of the institute.

a. Economists would focus on economic policies and issues, such
as the structure and regulation of the various financial
interests that impinge on the interests and health of society.

b. Trade specialists would focus on trade policies and issues.

c. Tax experts would focus on tax policies and issues.

d. Legal experts would focus on legal issues affecting the
broader society. For example, the recent ruling by the
Supreme Court on Citizens United.

e. Other interests that may have a profound and lasting affect
on society, (not necessarily in rank order of priority) such

1) Deficit reduction and a healthy economy.
2) Immigration
3) Government regulation
4) Environmental issues
5) Health care policies and programs.
6) Defense policies.
7) Government procurement policies and procedures.
8) Economic stimulus goals and programs.
9) Etc.

I believe such an approach would enable society to have the benefit of the best minds, knowledge and expertise available to serve the public interest, free of influence from government, special interests and private money.

It would be a legitimate and open avenue for overcoming the shroud of mystery commonplace in government bodies. It would remove the means that enable them to serve their own interests and those who fund their ambitions, at the expense of those they are elected to serve.

Such an organization would be able to restore the “watchdog” function over government envisioned by the Founding Fathers, but which has been supplanted by the interests of corporate news media.

Above all, it would establish a standard of objectivity based on knowledge that is sorely lacking in our political milieu today. Now, more than ever, the body politic and our country need the means to cut through all the deceptive practices that only seek to confuse us and cloud the issues. In the final analysis, it would introduce a level of transparency to Washington that is, at best, murky. It would bring a level of expertise to the deliberations within the halls of government that is sorely lacking. And, most of all, it would bring a new level of objectivity to the business of this country. The time has surely come.

The very survival of this country depends on the active participation of the finest minds among us. They are our best and brightest hope for addressing and solving the ominous problems we face today.

Old Glory is flying upside down on the Ship of State.

Cowboy Bob
December 5, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Only We Can Keep Hope Alive"

Now that the dust has settled on the mid-term elections, I have had time to reflect on the dynamics of that exercise in futility. In the light of day and with a little reflection, it really is more of an indictment of our democracy in action than it is an affirmation of all that it should be. We have just entrusted hundreds of people with the treasures of our country with, essentially, no knowledge about them. We have taken at face value all they have told us, all that others have told us, and the images of them created by the professionals in the propaganda and image-making business. That isn’t just astonishing, it is downright frightening.

Should we not, at the very least, require an outline of their basic qualifications, such as their educational background, their work and career experience and their service record?

Shouldn’t we know what we are getting when we open the doors of our nation’s capitol to these strangers who are going to determine our national destiny for God only knows how many years to come?

Shouldn’t that information be an essential part of every voter’s pamphlet we receive preparatory to casting our vote?

Shouldn’t we have some idea as to how well equipped they are to make decisions about the complex issues of our day?

The stuff political parties peddle about those they are championing for public office engender less confidence in me than my friendly used car salesman or store-front lawyer. Yet, we readily yield to them as if they really are honorable and well-intentioned people. Is that crazy or what?

We have entrusted our future and our lives to people who are going to make decisions, on our behalf, about every aspect of the most complex society and economy in the world. Who determined that they are qualified to address any or all of those issues in the 21st Century? For all we know, we may have a cadre of people whose abilities might offer little more than what might might would qualify them to do business in a barter economy. How do we know?

Generally, conflicts of interest are regarded as rather serious issues. However, those we put in government service on our behalf routinely engage in such practices with impunity. They determine their own compensation and benefits packages. They accord themselves perquisites without any oversight by outside third-party watchdogs or by those who vote them into office. Is it surprising that they fall prey to all the temptations to which they are subjected? Is it any wonder they steal us blind? How many could resist the temptations of sums of money unheard of and favors that are exclusively within the purview of the most privileged among us? They quickly evolve into subscribing to a sense of entitlement and believing their own press that comes from living within a bubble that insulates them from the real world. Is that dangerous or what?

We talk about lobbyists and special interests as if they were a given. Who made that determination? Shouldn’t lobbyists simply be outlawed? They do not represent the people of this country. They represent those who, by definition, are adversaries of the people. Why do we belabor, but never do anything about campaign finance reform that would clean up this cesspool that marginalizes those they are supposed to serve, in favor of those who ply them with every conceivable largess from cash to favors they could never have even dreamed of in the life they left behind?

Who said they have the knowledge and experience to effectively deal with the extremely complex issues facing us today? We have a reservoir of some of the greatest minds in the world who have devoted their entire lives to mastering academic disciplines and acquiring experience that are a national treasure. Yet, we never call on them to help solve the very complex and difficult problems we face? Is that even sane?

Politicians have, as their primary objective, re-election. They covet the power, the money and the perquisites that come from doling out their office to the highest bidder. Those who finance their campaigns and ply them with personal favors is their real constituency. Decision-making is by compromise and those they serve are the beneficiaries of the spoils emanating from the political gamesmanship that is at the center of everything they do. Mediocrity is the standard of excellence and we, the voters, pay the price.

Real leadership should have, as its primary objective, doing what is right, with the greatest good for the greatest number. Leaders surround themselves with people they regard as being smarter than they are. They defer to the wisdom and expertise of those people, giving them the freedom to do what they do best. They make decisions based on sound evidence and reasoned deliberations. Their reward is in knowing they have given it their best in the service of their constituents, with their integrity and character in tact.

The last example of real leadership and true statesmanship by a national leader was when John F. Kennedy and those closest to him stared down the Cuban Missile Crisis. We have not seen courage and conviction of that caliber since an assassin’s bullet took his life on that fateful day in Dallas in 1963.

What might have been the outcome of a financial reform effort had a real leader been at the helm? Would the fox guarding the chicken coop have written the very regulations that would control his unbridled greed and blatant thievery? I don’t think so. Rather, the dialogue would have probably conveyed, in so many words, “You took advantage of the American people and the party is over. We have taken back control. And you, Mr. Clinton, can take all of your cronies and corrupt practices back to the darkness from which you came.“

What would have happened if a real leader had insisted on transparency and stared down the slugs of the health care business that have fleeced the American people for decades? Instead, he further enhanced their ability to continue, all accomplished behind closed doors. What if the agent of “Change We Can Believe In” had simply honored his campaign promises?

What would have happened if real leadership had been at the head of the table and had told big pharmaceutical companies, unequivocally, that negotiating with the government was an absolute requirement for their continued business? Nothing discretionary about that. It might have cast a completely different light on the mid-terms.

What would have happened if President Obama had kept his campaign promise to re-open NAFTA and other free-trade agreements? Our industrial base might well be recovering by now instead of spiraling downward into even greater depths of hopelessness.

What would have happened if he had kept all of the other campaign promises he made? Would George W. Bush and Dick Cheney be facing the consequences of their criminal behavior? Would we still be mired down in an even larger debacle in Afghanistan with the sacrifice of precious human life from the least among us, and at a cost of billions, if not trillions of dollars? Would organized labor have received the fair treatment that would have helped to equalize the power between big business and the working people who labor in their service?

And, most important of all, what would have happened if Obama had been a real leader rather than a milquetoast consensus builder, who mouths bipartisanship as a cover for his uncompromising loyalty to the elite, the moneyed and the powerful of this country? What would have happened if all those corrupt and compromised re-treads from the Clinton Administration had been sent packing and he had appointed his own Cabinet to advise him?

I would hazard a guess, all things considered, that our national landscape would have looked much different and would have held far more promise for better than ninety percent of us.

The operating philosophy of conservatives and their penchant for a free-market at any cost is, by definition, aggressive and an assault on the finer aspects of our human nature. Its appeal is to the baser aspects of whom and what we are. Unless I missed something, this country was not built on a sense of entitlement, but on a sense of “liberty and justice for all.” On the other hand, those who tout themselves as being liberals often appear to suffer from delusions of having a superior intellect and a higher calling that entitles them to flaunt laws with which they disagree. After all, we are a nation of laws and it is not within their exclusive purview to determine what is to be regarded as right and just. For example, diversity is a concept in which everyone has a stake and a say. We are one nation, not a collection of individual interests that entitles each of them to remain separate but equal. Nor should the conservatives marginalize them in order to keep them there. It is arrogance and, frankly, an ignorance that is an affront to a basic sense of fairness. The bottom line on the balance sheet is that human beings who do honest labor are not just a consumable resource with no right to ascend the ladder of opportunity in order to better themselves. Regardless of who harbors those attitudes, I find them offensive. The notion that all of us are created equal is a myth. It belies the validity of differences in genetic make-up, intelligence, and all one inherits as his/her birthright. To the extent that places people at an extreme disadvantage within the context of society, there has to be some means for leveling the playing field. That is simply the fair and decent thing to do.

I am not so sure our system of government is capable of cleansing itself of the toxic forces that permeate every aspect of the power they hold. I am not so sure we can go back to a time when the honor and decency we expect from those we elect to public office can be rekindled. Have we evolved so far into the swill of what so much of modern-day society holds out to us that we cannot even conceptualize, much less legitimize, the finer aspects of who and what we should be as a people?

Personally, given the complexity of our society and the demands of being a responsible member of the world community, I have serious doubts that our form of democracy can remain viable. I have arrived at the point where I am persuaded that a parliamentary system of government, firmly resting on a foundation of a Scandinavian-style of progressive socialism, may well be the most effective model for addressing the complexity of the domestic and global issues facing us today.

On the other hand, perhaps the only place we can, realistically, start is through the avenue of a new political party, where we can restore the ideals of honesty, integrity and courage in government and that are so essential to our national leadership. It is highly unlikely we will ever get it from the two major political parties. I do not regard the Tea Party as a viable option.

Our institutions, despite the overwhelming influence of dishonesty and cowardice within our political system, still retain an abundance of the kind of enlightened and dedicated talent we need in order to bring about that change. Sadly, some of the best fell victim to the emotional hysteria created by some of those who currently dominate the political scene. However, one need not look long and hard to identify them. They are there, many of whom still hold out hope that there will be an opportunity for them to demonstrate their mettle to a nation crying for help.

A ship without a rudder goes nowhere. That is, in my opinion, the fundamental problem we face. I see people like Chuck Hagel, Bill Bradley, James Webb and, yes, Eliot Spitzer as embodying many of the qualities of leadership we need in order to point us in the right direction.

The future looks bleak and is just cause for despair. It is going to take a long time to get out of the disaster that has descended upon us. However, let us never give up hope. Let us never relax our vigilance. Let us never stop trying. When determination fades and hope is gone, we have nothing.

Cowboy Bob
November 22, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

“Did I Miss Something?”

We Americans are a strange lot in many respects. We are a collection of contrasts that often don’t jibe.

The facet of our makeup that most fascinates me is the extent to which we go to tout our love of equality among men. That is, ideally, a big deal insofar as our national character is concerned. However, in reality, we readily create and support differences in status within our society, quite willingly and readily. We have a different set of standards we apply to celebrities and powerful figures. We defer to them and accord them status that does not apply to the common person. We permit them to engage in excesses and indulgences that are not available to the rest of us. There are very real double standards that are indigenous to who and what we are.

I am, by nature, an egalitarian. Perhaps it harkens back to the sod from which I came. The motto for Wyoming is “The Equality State,” and I not only believe there is much to be said about the meaning of those few words, but I believe in them with all my heart and soul. The only real heroes we have, for the most part, are those who have long ago been consigned to the earth below the manicured lawns of cemeteries after having “paid the ultimate price,” in the service of their country, or those who still wear the uniform. As for the others, we have ascribed to them a superior status, probably more out of a sense of envy for what they appear to be, or out of the power we ascribe to them for what they have. In either case, those are false premises from which flow all sorts of excesses we tolerate that would not be the case if applied to the average person.

I happen to believe that all great fortunes have, at their source, thievery on a grand scale. I, also, happen to believe that most of our other heroes exist because of a vicarious need on our part to emulate them. I question whether or not we really get our money’s worth.

Have you ever noticed that those who enjoy all that super status ascribed to them by a willing society only make “mistakes” whereas, their common counterparts commit crimes? The former makes public apologies and acts of contrition. The other goes to jail. The image of the former is quickly “sanitized,” whereas the latter carries the stigma for a lifetime. Where is the “equality” in this? I just don’t quite see it.

None in my lifetime has been quite as glaring as the persona of William Jefferson Clinton.

If you recall, on his inauguration day, when he and Hillary presented themselves to the incumbent President, George H.W. Bush and his charming bride, Barbara, the chill was so palpable an Arctic wind would have seemed like a tropical breeze. Yet, within a very short time, Bill and George had become the best of friends, playing golf together and traveling all over the globe touting their various humanitarian endeavors.

Did I miss something?

Bill and Hillary were no sooner comfortably ensconced in the White House than it came to light that he and a poor little rich girl from Beverley Hills had been engaged in a bit of exotic hanky panky around and under the desk in the Oval Office. Bill was, ostensibly, talking on the telephone while Monica was engaged in playing “telephone” under the desk. Now, by all generally accepted standards, such behavior would have been regarded as “moral turpitude.” Bill would have been bounced out on his ass and Monica would have been relegated to oblivion. But that was not to be the case. After all, people in high places are judged by a different standard. They don’t commit crimes or grievous indiscretions. They just make “mistakes.” Bill plunged himself into a public display of contrition, seeking counseling for his sexual addiction from that great paragon of virtue, Jesse Jackson who, parenthetically, just happened to have his own progeny from a sexual “mistake” squirreled away in some secluded part of Los Angeles. But, rich and powerful boys play by a different set of rules. The fact that Bill disgraced the Office of the President of the United States was, after all, just a “mistake.” Although it is doubtful that the Diety to whom Jesse professes his loyalty, Jesse’s “mistake,” was quickly forgotten and both now stand before the world completely sanitized for having made those insignificant little “mistakes.”

Did I miss something?

The champions of the free market and small government wasted no time in seeking Bill’s impeachment. But, Bill, being the cool cat he was, remained reasonably composed and, again, committed another small “mistake,” when he was found guilty of what, when applied to the common person, is known as “perjury.” Perjury is classified as a felony but, then again, the rich and powerful don’t commit crimes, they just make “mistakes.” Bill was cleansed and quickly morphed into the outstanding leading example of statesmanship and leadership we have all come to love.

Did I miss something?

Bill had a nose, not only for power, but money as well. He courted the favor of Phil Gramm, Republican Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, all complicit in their common goal of inflating the housing and derivatives markets, and totally deregulating the financial industries. Goodbye Glass-Steagall and hello riches beyond their wildest dreams, all bought with the money of unsuspecting investors. Ah! Such are the newfound joys of gambling with other people’s futures and no one to look over your shoulder. Yet another cardinal lesson on how the benefits of the “free market system” accrue to the common good. Yeah; right!

Did I miss something?

Phil Gramm faded off the scene, but his wife was rewarded with a cushy, albeit rather minor position in George W. Bush’s Cabinet. After all, they have the divine right to take care of their friends without consequence, right?

Bill and his minions still brag about how they handed over the largest budget surplus in history to George W. Bush and his happy band of thieves, only to have all that money squandered in a twinkling, all based on a pack of lies and corruption on a scale never witnessed by this country in its history. I still cannot quite accept that Bill didn’t suspect that might happen. Rather like handing an ice cream cone to a school boy and telling him to not eat it. The fruits of their collective plunder and blatant dishonesty are wreaking havoc on our economy to this day, with no end in sight.

Did I miss something?

With both Bill and George H.W. distinguished progeny of the highest office in the land, they set themselves to altruistic pursuits that were worthy of the white stallions and glistening armor of gallant knights from days of yester year. When President Aristide of Haiti embarked on a mission to gradually democratize that impoverished island, it took very little time for George “The Lone Ranger” and his faithful companion “Tonto” Bill to save the poor peasants of Haiti from the possibility of raising their own rice at a fraction of the cost of what it took to buy that same food staple from the corporate producers of rice in the United States. After all, we had to protect interference with the free market that clearly established its superiority when applied to the human condition. The Aristide Administration was quickly and surreptitiously undermined by the dynamic duo, Aristide was consigned to exile in South Africa and the island nation of Haiti sank back into its life of desperation and life at the subsistence level. I don’t recall seeing a lot of copy devoted to that slight of hand by our former leaders.

Did I miss something?

Then there is the shroud of mystery surrounding that charismatic young man who wowed the delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention with his Keynote Speech. Who was he and where did he come from? Who cared? His image was just what the power brokers were looking for, and he was clearly a force with which to be reckoned in 2008.

I find the whole hard-fought contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential Nomination rather incredulous. I am more inclined to believe the whole epic was less a quest for the nomination and more an act of theater staged for popular consumption. I will grant you that the final push to the nomination was a real cliff-hanger, but Obama was clearly on the trajectory to the nomination. He soared to victory and wasted no time in making a series of imperial speeches that only he can stage and deliver. He had us mesmerized by his persona and the endless promises of reforms that would be reminiscent of the golden days of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But, what doesn’t quite jibe in all this theater is why did Barack Obama import former stooges from the Clinton Administration, all of whom occupied key positions in his Cabinet and administration? Why are they the very ones who were instrumental in setting the stage that led to the greatest deregulation of the financial industries since the prelude to the Great Depression? Why was he so tenacious in keeping them in all the key financial and administrative positions, despite learned advice and encouragement to the contrary? Was this wonder-boy really his own man or was he the one anointed to further the dark ambitions of a pervasive greed and avarice on a scale never before witnessed in the history of the Republic? What happened to all those reforms that were to be the foundation for “change we can believe in?” Why did he do a complete about face and cave in to virtually every vested interest he had vowed to challenge, and that had a stranglehold on every aspect of an economic behemoth that was impoverishing the lives of the middle and working classes of this country? Why does he still persist in that relentless pursuit, all under the banner of political bi-partisanship? Who is sitting in the Captain’s Chair on this voyage of the Titanic? Bill or Barack?

Did I miss something ?

Why do I see the tentacles of the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations in all this? Because I no longer see a democracy with honest differences between the major political parties. Because I only see a country governed with one, unified plutocracy. Any real difference between the political parties was blurred a long time ago. I will acknowledge that we have different labels, but when it comes to ruling, both major political parties are one and the same, beholden to the same centers of power, greed and evil. They pick those who will be the front men for their pursuits. They finance them and keep them in power. Their power extends not only to the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, but to the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, the Pentagon and other unrelenting leeches on our national character and our national treasure. Their “lobbyists” are like maggots crawling all over the rotting corpse of what was once a great nation, populated with a good and decent people, and holding hope and promise for every one of its citizens. Through their control of the industries that fund, shape and control our perceptions of the world around us, they create in our heads what they want us to believe. Every effort to reform and change our system of government, and return it to the people, requires that one only scratch the surface to see the hand of the oligarchy that not only owns but controls our very lives. Those who serve as their lieutenants do their bidding and formulate the false outrage and resistance to their unabated encroachment into our lives. Dick Army, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and their like? Just actors dutifully playing their parts for the purpose of further anesthetizing our senses and dulling what little intellect and inquisitiveness we may still have to call on.

I have no doubts that Barack Obama is the product of an insidious agenda catering to the basest aspects of our human nature. He can be counted on to relentlessly pursue bi-partisanship and he will cave in to the opposition in every instance where it benefit’s the super-rich, the powerful, the influential, the corrupt and those seeking to drain every ounce of life-blood from those who “work” for a living. Tax cuts for the top one percent of the population will be extended and continue indefinitely. The monetary gluttony of the military establishment will continue. Elizabeth Warren will be consigned to the back bench when all the dust created by her dedication to honesty and her dogged determination settles. Will he seek a second term? Only if there is still work left to be done on behalf of those who have him on a short leash.

All of this will be summarily dismissed as just the machinations of another far-out conspiracy theorist. It always is and, so far, it usually works.

Given the incestuous relationship between the Republican and Democratic political establishments, I honestly believe this country is crying for a new political party that subscribes to honesty in government, transparency in all it does and champions the needs of the majority of the citizenry it is intended to serve. I don’t see how we can continue as we are without the entire charade disintegrating before our very eyes.

Such an endeavor will be a monumental undertaking. It will require strong leadership with the charisma to appeal to our better angels and inspire us to new heights. It will require a solid base of dedicated people who know the difference between right and wrong; the difference between real freedom and tyranny in all its forms, and the need to be ever-vigilant and on-guard against the frailties of our human nature, not the least of which is the legitimate pursuit of unbridled greed. There are those among us who can pull it off. They are former members of government, academicians, and people seeking real change and a better life. They are those who are willing to stand up for decency and all the human attributes that distinguish us from those who only seek the gratification of their insatiable appetites for hedonistic and materialistic pleasures in life, the rest of humanity be damned.

The notion of a new political party is, in my opinion, a first step. Its first order of business must be a commission comprised of the finest minds in our midst, with the avowed purpose of developing a blueprint for restoring integrity and original intent to our system of government. It cannot be trusted in the hands of politicians. They are too willing to “compromise” for the sake of their own interests. We have a vast reserve of academic minds in all the relevant disciplines, including the energy and vigor of the graduate students pursuing degrees in those disciplines.

Were it not for the fact that I am now permanently consigned to the taxonomy of “Senior Citizen,“ I would be the first to sign on.

Cowboy Bob
November 15, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Obama Is Really Good At ....."






But he sure as hell is no leader.

Kinda reminds me of an assessment made years ago of the Foreman, by one of the ranch hands, on a ranch south of Cody, Wyoming, when he said “He is like a bull with one nut and one horn. He can’t fuck nor fight. All he can do is ‘beller’ and shit!”

Sez it all as far as I'm concerned.

Cowboy Bob
November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

“The Day After”

The dust is settling on last night’s political blood bath much as it does on a desert sunset. All seems somewhat quiet and serene as a prelude to our elected leadership limping to the end of their current terms of office. We have, once again, reminded the world of the unexplainable fact that, between the 49th Parallel and the Rio Grande there exists that mysterious phenomenon whereby there are, indeed, more horses asses than there are horses. We have shown how laughable the “wealthiest and most powerful” country in the world really is when it comes down to the serious business of governing. People actually believe the charade, and the avalanche of distortions and untruths to which we have been subjected in the waning weeks of the rush to power.

One could almost have memorized the script as each of the winners and losers kissed their spouse, held up their children for public adoration and thanked an endless array of loyal supporters for their genius and dedication. Absent was any open acknowledgement and appreciation for the obscene amounts of money poured into their coffers by the battery of vested interests that are preparing to claim their pound of flesh from the victors.

We could almost have been lulled into believing that this lot really represented a transformation of character and new blood that will clean up the cesspool of humanity to whom we repeatedly entrust our dollars and our lives as each of the old moves out and the new moves in. Such is the folly of our system and the burning desire to convince ourselves that the truth of it all really isn’t that bad. All we have to do is become angry, throw the bastards out and everything will, once again, be copasetic. Don’t bother me with details. Don’t confuse me with facts. Above all, don’t ask me to go through the rigors of routing out the truth of what we face to the collective peril, not only of our nation but, indeed, the world.

We don’t seem to care all that much about the fact that our democracy has been hijacked by the highest court in the land. We don’t seem all that concerned about the wholesale plunder that continues, unabated, by the scions of Wall Street, the international corporations, the military/industrial complex and all those who are complicit in the rape of what was once a great nation.

We scream to the heavens about the massive amount of our national debt, but take in stride any mention of socking it to the super rich by allowing their obscene tax breaks to expire at the end of their ten-year life span. Doesn’t that seem a bit oxymoronic ?

Ben Bernanke continues to quietly dole out the largesse of the Federal Reserve to those who only want more for little to nothing, and need less. All of the backroom deals struck between the White House, the Senate, lobbyists and those they represent remain unchallenged. We pay and they play. Not a bad deal for them. Meanwhile, people struggle to survive without jobs and compete for space under bridges and overpasses. Our infrastructure continues to deteriorate, but the ads for luxury cars and opulent diversions multiply.

Does anyone really believe there is going to be any meaningful and sweeping changes by the cadre of screaming maniacs streaming into the hallowed halls of the Capitol under the banner of the Tea Party? Simple solutions and trite slogans do not solve complex problems. Never have and never will.

I hold out little hope that our system of government, and the gigantic and numerous parasites that feed off it can be routed out. Do we really think we can cleanse ourselves of the complicity we share in all that we have allowed to grow and fester? Can we restore integrity to government institutions, which we have every right to expect will be squeaky clean and above reproach? The sheer size and complexity of the dragon defies any success in doing so. The monster is bigger, richer and stronger than any legion of shining knights on white horses we may have at our disposal.

My focus, like that of so many, has been on the excesses of a system of government and vested interests. But, actually, the focus should be on us and what we are willing to tolerate. The fundamental flaw is not in Washington, D.C., New York and the like. Rather it is in our collective lack of real character and the will to do anything to restore integrity and honesty to institutions created to serve us. We are no longer shocked by anything. We are no longer one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all. Instead, we are a collection of individuals, each with his/her own agenda, the common good be damned. We don’t give one hoot in hell about anyone else so long as our insatiable appetites can be fed from a system of cheap goods and temporal pleasures that flow from a cornucopia of human misery and deprivation. At the end of the day, we really don’t stand for much of anything. The essential ingredients of human decency have become the stuff of nostalgia and naiveté from days long past. Today, all that counts is me; the human condition, the environment and the planet be damned.

How many honest servants do we have in the halls of Congress, the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court and the myriad institutions they rest on? How many of them proudly and diligently labor in service to the people they profess to serve? How interested are we in cleaning up their mess and holding them to account? But, even more telling, is how many of us really care?

John Boehner’s attempt at a contrived display of emotion last night brought tears as big as horse turds to my eyes. He and those who refer to him as “my good friend” are all alike. Come January 2011, the flowery words and trite phrases will have faded, and we will be expected to bend over and grab our ankles in unison. True to form, we will dutifully comply without so much as a whimper.

The rich will get richer. The poor will get poorer. Eventually, the parasite will consume its host, and we will be just another great civilization consigned to the ages. Time is not on our side.

Cowboy Bob
November 3, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010


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 dogs are 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 ask very little in return. I find it of particular interest that “God” spelled backwards is “dog.” My experience with dogs has convinced me that 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 is, 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 made 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 that 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 endearing 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 newfound 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 passersby, but more to let them know he was there than to serve as a warning. When we returned home, he would bound out of the car and run for all he was worth back up the road from whence we 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 lay between my feet 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 loved 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.

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 of 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 is not just a dog; it is a life force all its own that is utterly irresistible. Life for them is just one 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.

Cowboy Bob
April 23, 2007

It is obvious I wrote this some time ago. I had not yet started writing a blog, but there was something almost sacred about the words I wrote at the time, so I filed it to be read again at a later time. As I re-read this just now, a lump welled up in my throat all over again.

I have another dog. She is a mixed breed from the SPCA and what a gem she is! As loving and beautiful as anyone could hope for. However, whenever I walk past that Alder tree, I am overcome by a certain reverence and longing for that canine love by the name of Schotzy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"What Is To Become Of The Grand Experiment Called America?"

I don’t know about you, but as I look ahead to the midterm elections, I am overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness.

When I reflect on the political cesspool we call “government” in Washington, D.C., it is so apparent that any virtues associated with its collective endeavors have long since vanished. There is no honor, no decency and nothing within their power that could even remotely foster a sense of anything short of shame. They are a grotesque lot, at the very least.

The Supreme Court has decided that legislating is a legitimate endeavor worthy of the highest court in the land, no longer limited to their role in interpreting the law and ascertaining the intent of the law. They were successful in 2000 when they stole the election on behalf of George W. Bush, cloaking their evil scheme in the black robes of righteousness. Having gotten away with that, they gave it another go when they ruled in favor of Citizens United, literally giving away the foundations of our democracy, without the slightest pangs of conscience, to domestic and, yes, foreign corporations.

Congress, of course, is a joke. The Senate, with its imperious aura of superiority over all other deliberative bodies in government, projects a false notion of wisdom and fairness, all the while having elevated thievery to a new art form. Squatters rights is a given in that House. Their system of so-called “rules” that undermine the remotest notion of rule by the majority is a devious ploy that only serves political ambitions, rather than the interests of the people. Their obstructionist games since 2008 would be humorous, were it not for the untold damage it has done to this country and the millions of people who suffer the agonies of the damned because of their unabashed corruption and calloused inaction.

The House, being on a short leash of 2-year terms in office, knows full well they can be thrown to the wolves in a twinkling and quickly lose any hoped for opportunities they may harbor to lace their pockets at the expense of those who elected them to office. Those who dare to stand on principle and advocate for the American people are summarily marginalized or demonized. Despite their best efforts to legislate for the American people in the last couple of years, the Senate has managed to stymie those efforts by freezing any progress on their efforts. Is this government as it was intended to be?

Then, of course, there is our resident Community Organizer and his administration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Lofty speeches and the adroitness with which he speaks out of both sides of his mouth are nothing short of spectacular. Ideals that are quickly translated into giving away the store in favor of dirty politics is now commonplace. However, the style of decision-making by consensus is never more than a pathetic compromise, at best. Contrary to what we have a right to expect in the White House, which is a real leader that exercises decision-making on what he genuinely believes is in the best interests of the people, we get backroom deals that serve no one except those who stand to benefit most.

Special and vested interests have become the owners of government. They permeate virtually every facet of what is supposed to be a system that serves every American seeking a fair and just government, with liberty and justice for all.

With this introduction, I began to wonder, “How in the world did we get to this wasteland of a free society from the ideals of the Founding Fathers?” In order to get from a set of ideals dedicated to freedom and fairness, how did we arrive at where we are today? It could not have been possible without a lot of deception, dishonesty and manipulation, all wrapped in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and, of course, supported by the Supreme Court. I decided to probe a bit and was more than a little surprised at what I found.

I discovered that oligarchs are nothing new to the scene. The preponderance of those who founded this nation was themselves, affluent members of the gentry of their day.

Thirty-five were lawyers or had benefited from legal training. Some had become judges. That speaks volumes, but I will leave the reader to draw his/her own conclusions about that august fraternity.

Thirteen were businessmen, merchants or shippers, which could well have been oligarchs of their day.

Six were major land speculators. Speculator? Investor? I see little or no difference with those who have followed them to the modern day.

Eleven speculated in securities on a large scale. Sound familiar?

Twelve owned or managed slave-oriented plantations or large farms. I cannot help but wonder if they too, relied on a pool of cheap labor (slaves) the procurement and suppression of which was supported by an enabling and complicit government.

Only two were small farmers who, surely, must have been closet socialists.

I could not help but wonder if they really were the democratic idealists of their time, or were they laying the foundation for what we were destined to become? Wealth, power and privilege seem to have the same genesis, regardless of the time in which it was spawned. They have the unique ability to consistently rationalize their suppression of the human condition so that it emerges as a manifestation of the highest ideals, most of which could be attributed to Mother Theresa herself!

Throughout recorded history, it can be safely said that royal lineage, wealth, privilege and power have greased the gears of human misery. Nothing has changed. The Third Reich rose to power with the full support of wealthy German industrialists, and a willing and compliant political and military establishment, all touched by the hand of God Himself. The persecution of every minority imaginable was merely the price of purity in ideology and empire. Not just from the blood, tears and lives of their Jewish victims, but gypsies, homosexuals, members of the clergy, etc., as well. Has anything really changed or is it just a matter of degree?

True respect is never conferred. It is always earned for the price of what we call “character.”

I cannot help but wonder what new insights might emerge were a group of graduate students, from appropriate academic disciplines, given the opportunity to develop a PERT Chart on the evolution of our system of government from its inception to the present day. Could they identify significant events in that history which might shed some light on where we went wrong, and what led us to the present-day catastrophe? If all that brought us to this point was within the limits of the law, then I think there would be just cause for questioning their so-called wisdom. Could those same students produce a map of what it would take to get us back on track and restore integrity to our government? Could the social, economic and political nightmare staring us in the face have been averted had better minds prevailed?

I have always placed great stock in the press as the vanguard of the people. I, also, believe that it was crystal clear that the Founding Fathers intended to foster and protect a free press that would serve as our watchdog on government. However, except for a few courageous and staunch holdouts that are literally begging for money in order to survive, the mainstream news media and the thousands of what we euphemistically refer to as “journalists” have become more a part of the problem than the solution. Can you imagine the cadre of all those sycophantic purveyors of news, who rub elbows with the rich and famous in New York, Georgetown, Beverly Hills, etc., giving up their prestigious positions, multi-million dollar salaries and opulent lifestyles in order to champion the needs and interests of the common people of this country and the democracy they trust to serve them? Get serious. Real journalists are a vanishing breed.

Sadly, the fertile soil in which the seeds of true democracy once germinated, then took root and flourished, has become an arid plain to be exploited by the scions of big business and the unbridled greed that is endemic to our entire political and economic structure.

The faculties of natural curiosity, critical thinking and genuine discourse seem to have died with the advent of our addiction to materialism, hedonism, electronic toys and the inherent belief that “fun” is a basic human fight. We are no longer one people but, rather, a collection of vested interests pursuing our own individual and group agendas at the expense of the common good. Despite laws that may be on the books, those who don’t agree with those laws don’t bother with seeking redress through the judicial or legislative process but, instead, deliberately break those laws because they simply don’t agree with them. Is that consistent with the democratic process and an orderly society? Is that consistent with original intent?

We are devoid of any real desire to be fully informed about the salient issues of the day. Our faculties for remaining vigilant against the forces that seek to destroy us have become atrophied. We are much too willing to believe without questioning. We are ripe for buying into that which is the most expedient and the least controversial. Beyond that, it is too much effort. There are more “fun” things to do with our time. We are suckers for every type of deception skillfully practiced by the opinion makers in advertising, entertainment and the “news” media that seem to intensify in numbers and crescendo leading up to national elections. We believe, not in what is, but in what we deem truth to be. It doesn’t get much more hazardous to a civil society than that. As has been aptly observed, “The world exists, not as it is, but as we perceive it to be.”

We are a nation of people that emulates the trappings of power, influence and affluence. It is as if we vicariously transport ourselves into their world of opulent splendor, insatiable appetites and all the decadence that goes with it. We are awed by fame, fortune and privilege. We allow and accept all they have and flaunt, while remaining silent as they disparage the very institutions that serve and protect our common interests and the values that champion the cause of middle class Americans. Labor unions, a fair wage for all those who labor, the right to a decent standard of living, a college education for our children, access to health care and the comfort of knowing we can retire without the fear of living out our declining years in abject poverty are all made to appear as unclean and subversive. Let us not lose sight of the fact that all that enables the rich and powerful to live as they do comes at the expense of those who labor in their service. History bears that out, and still does.

I rather suspect more luxury cars, more homes than one can afford, and more designer clothes have been purchased to impress others than to meet the needs of those who covet them. What is wrong with being proud of whom and what we are? What is wrong with fighting for what is right and just because we have earned it? Surely, the working people of this country are legitimately entitled to the rewards that flow from their many contributions to our broader society.

I believe it is possible to change an idea or a belief system, but how do you change the fundamental values upon which an entire society rests? Does it take another horror on the same scale as those of the myriad brutal dictatorships that have existed throughout recorded history?

We live in perilous times. My biggest fear, come election day, is that we will unwittingly succumb to all the lies and deception to which we have been subjected and, instead of ensuring honesty, integrity and diligence in our government, we will end up opting for the tyranny of vast wealth and power, believing it is, instead, the only way to our salvation.

Then the curtain will slowly descend, the lights will dim and we will sink further into the abyss of a darkness of our own making, the attendant hopelessness and an even more uncertain future.

Surely, we deserve better.

Cowboy Bob
October 13, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

“Revisiting The Wisdom of Molly Ivins On Hatred"

I have recently been engaged in a project that is long overdue. I don’t know if that is because of a homing instinct for the grave or because I have finally come to my senses to the fact that I simply cannot read and re-read all of those long-forgotten treasures I have kept hidden away. However, there are a few that I have re-read that have hit me right between the eyes.

One of my favorite sources of writing has been some of the great syndicated columnists of my time. Two stand out, in particular, as giants among their peers. One was Charles McCabe who wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, titled “The Fearless Spectator.” He was imbued with that rare talent which is surely a gift to the Irish from God Himself. An ability to manipulate the language like no others, and the ability to touch the human heart with the elegance of his prose. Much of his work was published in a few books, all of which I heartily recommend. You might find them available on

The other who stands tall as my second favorite, was Molly Ivins. She was a syndicated columnist for one of the great newspapers of our time, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sadly, the angel of death paid his/her visit to her much too early in her life, thereby depriving so many of what had become a regular diet of wisdom and insight. However, thanks to my proclivity for saving newspaper clippings, I found the following among those treasures. What astounded me was how relevant it is today as it was when it was first published. When that was, I haven’t a clue, but I am grateful I had the good sense to save it. Molly had that great gift with which so many of the giants from Texas possess; the ability to tell it like it is and making every word worth savoring.

I hope you will enjoy this column, and will be as moved by her words as I was with my long overdue second reading of her brilliance.

How many straights chose to become heterosexual?

By Molly Ivins

Well, the gay folks had a fine march in Washington, D.C., but I think they missed a couple of bets. Jack Gordon suggests that they should have stopped en route and had a ceremony thanking the feds for naming that fine new building right there on Pennsylvania Avenue after one of their own. That’s the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

Speaking of whom, there was a great example of why we don’t want to force gays to stay in the closet.

And I would have liked to see a banner reading “Ban Heterosexuals from the Military -- Remember Tailhook.” I trust you all took a look at the charming little report on that incident.

I suspect that finally ventilating all the myths and misconceptions about gays is a useful exercise, even for those who would prefer not to think about them. “I have nothing against gays,” my mother is fond of saying. “I just wish they’d stay in the closet.” But we all know by now -- or should -- that that state of affairs was cruel and unjust and led to terrible abuses.

Of all the odd misperceptions current about homosexuality, perhaps the oldest is that it is a choice, that people choose to be homosexual. That strikes me as so patently silly. Did any of us who are straight choose to be heterosexual? When? Did we wake up one morning when we were 15 and say, “Gosh, I think I will be a heterosexual”? For heaven’s sakes, how can anyone believe that people choose to be homosexual? “I think it would be a lot of fun to be called ’queer’ and ’sissy’ for the rest of my life, so I think I’ll be gay.”

Last time I checked, the experts were still leaning toward the view that homosexuality is multicausational (isn’t that a dandy word?). Most gay people I know believe they were literally born that way, that it’s like being left-handed or brown-eyed. But in at least some cases, there is apparently some developmental influence as well.

The best description I ever heard of sexual orientation came from Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University, who used to draw it on a horizontal scale going from one to 10, with one being completely homosexual and 10 being completely heterosexual. Money says that very few people are either one or 10 and about as few are five (totally bisexual). Most of us fall into a clump ranging from about six to eight, while there’s a smaller clump of homosexuals ranging from about four to two.

Because homosexuality occurs in many species of animals (stickleback fish always struck me as the strangest case) and because it has appeared in all human cultures throughout history, we must conclude that it is what statisticians call “normal aberrant,” (and isn’t that a dandy phrase?)”

I actually saw a letter to the editor last week declaring that homosexuality is a symptom of the decadence and decline of civilization and that it didn’t exist among primitive people such as American Indians. Au contraire, as we say in Lubbock. Aside from the insult to Indians, there were indeed gay Indians before the white man came, and at least in the Plains tribes they were regarded as sort of endearingly special.

Among the less charming counter-demonstrators at the Washington march was the group from Kansas carrying signs saying “God hates fags” and “Death to fags.” It is true that the Old Testament contains an injunction against homosexuality; it’s in the same list of laws given when the Hebrews were a wandering desert people and were forbidden to eat shellfish. I always thought Christians were supposed to be followers of Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ injunctions to love one another -- to love even the despised and the outcast -- could scarcely be clearer. Hate is not a Christian value.

And, of course, there are the gay fundamentalists. We all know of scandals involving gay preachers, and if you wonder what it’s like to grow up gay in a religious environment that stigmatizes gays, I commend to you a truly funny book called “Strange Angel -- The Gospel According to Benny Joe” by Ben Davis, who grew up near Dallas and would have become a fundamentalist preacher had it not been for his sexual orientation.

As a matter of law, I do not see that we have any choice but to seek to ensure that gays have full civil rights. They are citizens, they pay taxes; as Jesse Jackson said Sunday, no one gives them a break on April 15. They serve honorably in the military, ban or no ban.

It has been my observation that some gay people are absolutely wonderful human beings, and some are complete you-know-whats, and most are somewhere in between. So I suggest we all grow up and get over our small-town prejudices (I can never remember whether it was “Queers wear red on Friday” or “green on Thursday.” Lord, didn’t we grow up with some silly ideas?). In our fair land, no one can force us to be tolerant. But neither can prejudice be allowed to keep people out of jobs for which they are qualified.

I suppose some people will continue to feel entitled to hate gays. As the psychiatrists have been telling us for a long time, hating them seems to be a function of being afraid that you might be one yourself.

---- Molly Ivins

“Man attacks most vociferously that which he most fears within himself.”

Cowboy Bob
October 2, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Where Is The Truth In All This?"

As I reflect on the ongoing brouhaha about the millions of “immigrants” who are in this country illegally, I cannot help but wonder how an issue that was originally regarded as a matter of law morph into one of a national guilt complex induced by a respect for the law?

I have to hand it to the ability of those who oppose the law to reframe it into a moral, rather than a legal issue, at the expense of the citizens of the United States of America. It rather reminds me of the classic shell game that the hucksters at traveling carnivals used to snooker their victims out of a few of their hard-earned bucks. What the so-called “Latino” block has managed to do, in terms of reframing an issue, has to go down in history as one of the most skilled ploys ever designed to completely redefine the fact that “illegal” means precisely that. Those who advocate and insist on a respect for the law are now the demons and those who break the laws are their victims.

How is it that what started out as an effort by big business interests to import a cheap pool of labor so (a) they could make vastly greater sums of money and (b) so we Americans could purchase produce in our local supermarkets for a pittance of what it actually costs to produce, has become a social and economic issue to be born by the broader population? Looks like both sides of this issue bear some responsibility for this rather perverse state of affairs. You can bet, as it always does, the taxpayers of this country will be expected to shoulder the cost for the burden of making what is “illegal” into what is “legal.” There will go the safety nets put in place through the sacrifices of previous generations only to be quickly exhausted, and the economic and social burden shifted to the taxpayers. Where is the moral and financial responsibility for all this insofar as big business is concerned? Seems to me that, with the full support of our illustrious government, big business is, once again, getting a free pass at our collective expense. I still regard that as patently unjust.

How is it that generations of immigrants from the far-flung corners of the globe have managed to “legally” immigrate to this country, learn to read, write and speak the language of the nation; and become assimilated into the society through perseverance and hard work, but those crossing our southern borders are held to a different standard? Seems to me “one nation under God,” should translate into “one language for one people.”

How does one explain the fact that the Latinos crossing the border come from countries that, for the most part, have a long-established history of governments by brutal dictators, propped up by a rich and powerful elite, with dominion over a massively huge population of the downtrodden, poor and uneducated? Why is it they seem incapable of rising up and revolting against the yoke of tyranny and oppression by spilling their blood for freedom, both domestic and foreign, in the same way the patriots of this country have done throughout our national history? The answer is quite simple. Because that is the will of the oligarchs, and our government is there to serve that stratum of society first, foremost and always. The added bonus, and the most compelling motivator for our political establishment, is the fact that it is a completely new block of potential voters that is growing by leaps and bounds, any semblance of a respect for the law and established precedent be damned.

What in the hell happened to the fundamental principle of equality we all used to revere and defend? It is time the duly elected Government of the United States of America cleaned up its act and re-commit to representing all the “people of these United States,” instead of every special interest group that has its own axe to grind and is trying to manipulate the system for its own ends. Every city that declares itself a “safe haven” for those who deliberately violate the laws of this country should have all federal funds to which they are entitled immediately frozen until they bring their activities into full compliance with established laws. All churches that, also, declare their sanctuaries as “safe havens” should have their non-profit status immediately revoked until they, too, bring their activities back into full compliance with the laws. There is a right way and a wrong way to seek redress of grievances. Frankly, I have had a belly full of the righteous demagogues unilaterally decreeing what is to be the current prevailing standard of what is right vs. wrong. The tail has to stop wagging the dog!

Our entire system of government is falling apart. The social and economic fabric of this country is rotten. We are no longer a people of “us,” but a collection of individuals, living within a framework devoted exclusively to “me.” If that is not a recipe for ultimate disintegration of a civilized society, I will put in with you.

If we are so concerned about the rights of all citizens of this country, and equality under the law, isn’t it about time we re-directed our focus on the plight of the Native Americans? How much longer are we going to treat them as some ancient novelty, consigned to isolated “reservations,” only to be dragged out for our entertainment at rodeos and the festivals observed by coastal tribes? For your own self-edification, you might try doing a web search on “Famous Native American Intellectuals,” and see what you find. Based on my own endeavor in that regard, let me give you a hint. You will come up with a big fat zero! I rather suspect that is the result of being isolated, marginalized, locked in a never-ending state of total and abject poverty, and compounded by limited efforts at education, with virtually no economic base upon which to build a future. Thanks to decades of persistent and blatant corruption and indifference, the Indian Service made damned sure they were never to be taken seriously by the so-called “real” Americans.

Why doesn’t our government redirect its efforts into righting the egregious wrongs of the past against those we disenfranchised from their lands, persecuted, murdered and isolated so we could pursue our own visions of empire without having to fairly deal with the “red” problem? Why don’t some of those high-profiles among the super-rich organize their peers (and the government which they own) and start a massive and urgent effort to take industry to their reservations, provide them with a solid foundation of vocational and academic education, and enable them to earn a decent standard of living? They might just find out, despite the centuries of stereotypical assumptions to the effect that they are nothing but a bunch of “savages,” there is instead a valuable gene pool of talent from which this country might well benefit. This is a national disgrace that should no longer be tolerated. They, too, deserve to be accepted and treated as equals among us.

The state of this nation would cause any reasonably decent person to rush to the nearest “vomitorium.” Our so-called “two-party” political system is a joke. Admittedly, they have different labels but they sure as hell share a common set of values, more aptly labeled as a codified system of corruption. You know; the congenital malady known as “screw others before they screw you.” “Steal before they steal from you, etc., etc. etc.,” ad nauseum. They no more serve the citizens of this country than do the indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego ! We need a new political party, founded on a sound platform dedicated to cleaning up government, restoring integrity to all the institutions of government, polishing up a badly tarnished respect for the rule of law, and absolute transparency on everything they do in the name of governing on behalf of the American people. That, of course, would presuppose one could find sufficient numbers of people of character to embark on such a venture, but more than that, a bunch that would have the character, courage and the collective will to save us from ourselves. I am not so cynical as to rule out the ability within us to succeed with such an endeavor.

How much more of the elitist mentality and reverence for the entrenched parasites and crooks firmly ensconced in Washington, D.C. can we tolerate?

Don’t you think it is time for that long-overdue “change we can believe in?“ I do.

Cowboy Bob
September 24, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"The Sandpiper"

I keep a file of bits and pieces of writing that have moved me, and that have helped to keep this whole experience called "life" in some kind of perspective. This is one of them.

All I know about Robert Peterson is his name.

The Sandpiper
by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea...

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child...

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr.. P," she said.. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face..
"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation"

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all --! she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia.

Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:


Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand -- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson.

It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever.

It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.

The price of hating other human beings - is loving oneself less.

Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.

I wish for you, a sandpiper.

With thanks to Robert Peterson for reminding me that there are, indeed, greater lessons to be learned from the simple, albeit profound, lessons of everyday life. I especially needed the perspective today.

Cowboy Bob
August 4, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

“Let Them Eat Cake!”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure as hell have a difficult time making much sense out of anything we do in this country that involves politics and the functions of government. The latest controversy over illegal immigration is but just one more example.

Jimmy Carter, in his best rendition of a Country Preacher hell-bent on saving the world, seemed to have some ingrained need to apologize for the fact that this country had been successful. How could this country have so much when the rest of the world had so little? Because we worked for it and behaved responsibly. So, to assuage those feelings of guilt, he benevolently opened the Social Security Trust Funds to immigrants who had never paid one cent in support of the Fund. There began the erosion of the integrity of what was to be a “safety net” for “Older Americans” who had dutifully paid their dues. It has only gotten worse.

Ronald Reagan was, without doubt, about as intellectually challenged as one could imagine. Any rational thought process was a freak of nature; certainly not a part of his makeup. His assault on organized labor in this country was a milestone in starting the avalanche of reforms that would ultimately bring this country to its knees. In a very short time, he managed to demonize unions as the root of all evil in the U.S., with their hapless victims being all of those honorable and upright barons of big business bathing in the light of self-righteousness. He managed to open a “path to citizenship” for hoards of illegal immigrants from third world countries in order to further dilute the labor pool that might demand a living wage and an honest share in the American Dream, to which they were rightfully entitled. The flood gates were opened. America’s poor would simply get poorer and the rich would get even richer.

George H.W. Bush didn’t do much of public interest, but he managed to rub elbows with the rich and powerful of the world, all members in good standing at The Carlyle Club. It didn’t do much for his stature, but I rather suspect it did a hell of a lot for his bank accounts.

Then there came William Jefferson Clinton. He rode in on a white-washed horse to convince us all that he was the savior of the working American, and that the balance of wealth and power would be restored to the people. When Monica was taking a breather, he managed to get cozy with a few chaps by the names of Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan and a few other nefarious rogues, and who readily reached consensus (Obama’s gig)that the root of all evil plaguing this great nation was the Glass-Steagal Bill that had served the people of this country extremely well since the days of the Great Depression. All they had to do was consign it to the dust bin and, “voila,” we would find ourselves transformed into the land of milk and honey in a fortnight. Wall Street was immediately intoxicated at the spoils that awaited them. With the rush into globalization and free trade, Big Business was on a fix that would keep them stoned for eons. Unions would be emasculated and illegal cheap foreign labor would enjoy a new Renaissance in this great country.

George “The Dunce” Bush’s entrance into office was engineered by the auspicious Supreme Court. They hadn’t even changed the drapes in the White House when temptation simply got the best of him. He just HAD to give all those surpluses back to impoverished big business and the super-rich before the proletariat became comfortable with the notion that they were on solid financial footing. Sure didn’t take him long, did it folks?

Now, in the span of less than two years, we have had the second rendition of the Great Depression. Every shenanigan imaginable was pulled on the American people in order to commit outright fraud in an effort to “save” the economy. All this at the expense of the taxpayers, aided and abetted by our new President, who championed the causes of the down and out, promised us the moon, labeled “Change We Can Believe In,” as he surreptitiously hosed the average American without benefit of kiss or KY Jelly. His Cabinet was immediately stacked with all of the old Clinton retreads in order to make certain the voices of every reputable economist and financial brain in the country would be muzzled and never have a rat’s ass of a chance of introducing any control over the Barons of Wall Street, the Scions of Health Care and the Defense Establishment. He has held, most tenaciously, to that commitment, all the while blowing smoke up our asses with flowery speeches while what was once a great nation and a beacon to the world thrashes around in the early stages of its death throws.

I think we have finally reached the point where we are no longer shocked by anything. We can do whatever the traffic will bear without any fear of retribution. Government officials aren’t even subtle about what they take under the table, nor are they the least bit ashamed of the largesse they shunt to the wealthy of this country at the expense of all those who used to have the means to work for a living. Those vices, which used to be looked upon with considerable disdain, are now the norm. We just accept the fact that getting screwed by big money and massive power is standard operating procedure.

The political pundits inundate us with an endless stream of political analyses, most of which we believe without question, and blithely accept as gospel. There are endless “issues of the day,” or other diversions offered in order to keep our eyes off of what is really going on, at our individual and collective peril.

The latest headlines grabber is the plight of “undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, etc.” Those who are marginalized by their drain on jobs and having to bear the cost of social, welfare and healthcare services for all these new arrivals to our shores, are demonized as radical racists. The business interests that outsource jobs, ship industries overseas and reap the obscene profits created by a cheap pool of labor pouring into the United States, benefit massively from this newly created pool of slave labor. So far, they have gotten a free pass for their skill in dealing with the slave trade.

Meanwhile, those who pride themselves on being enlightened and the source of all wisdom, simply ignore those aspects of a lawful society they don’t happen to agree with and attack those who do. With pained expressions rather akin to a dying bastard calf in a hailstorm, the pseudo-intellectuals and bleeding hearts pour out from every sector to champion the cause of those who have chosen to violate the laws of the land. Government remains emasculated or simply impervious as the problem intensifies, giving only faint lip service to any meaningful enforcement or reform.

With their heads firmly up their individual and collective asses, the American consumer ignores the growing peril and cost of fossil fuels, revels in the panoply of cheap goods from foreign manufacturers, largely owned by U.S. business interests and staffed by slave labor. In the meantime, the amassing of vast sums of money, willingly provided by the solid supporters of Wal-Mart and other paragons of social justice and economic equality, burgeon into even greater wealth.

The lessons of the early 1970’s were short lived. There was no serious rush to create new industries based on clean energy. The ink had hardly dried on the agreements between big money and foreign oil producers, when it was back to business as usual. Soon there was a plethora of gas guzzling cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, etc. available to satiate our endless appetites for anything materialistic. The American was, once again, as happy as a pig in shit.

The financial and healthcare industries wasted no time in stiffing the people of this country. They gave us a crumb and charged us for a banquet, long term. Dutifully, we took the bait.

Now, the bottom has fallen out of the economy. There are precious few jobs. Homes are being foreclosed on at meteoric speed. Government stimulus is a cruel joke. The Cro-Magnons of our time, euphemistically referred to as “fiscal conservatives,” look out for the interests of the Robber Barons while impugning the legitimate needs of those going without, all the while being helped by a compliant White House and a hopelessly corrupt Congress.

We Americans seem to take an awfully long time before reality sets in. However, the host is about to be fatally consumed by the parasites they have exploited without mercy. The enablers and reapers of great wealth, power, influence and corruption that all the good and decent of this country have been made to suffer - economically, politically, socially and morally - are about to go the way of those who keep feeding the alligators, hoping they will eat them last.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton has become a hedge fund manager on Wall Street. How do you suppose she got that gig? She just married one of her own ilk at a cost of over five million dollars. Ah yes, just one of the joys of an unregulated financial industry.

All of you deadbeats out there, living from hand to mouth and collecting unemployment benefits in order to avoid looking for honest work, take comfort in the famous words of that great wealthy humanitarian and soccer mom of Imperial France who, as she was being led to the guillotine, uttered those poignant words indelibly etched on the souls of all who have coveted great wealth and privilege, totally impervious to the toll their ambitions have taken on the human condition …………

“Let them eat cake!“

Cowboy Bob
August 1, 2010