Friday, July 16, 2010

"Time Is Of The Essence"

PROLOGUE

When I was growing up in Wyoming it was often said that the best among us were those who were closest to the land. In retrospect, there was more truth in those words than I realized. They, as the working class Americans of today, embodied the real character of this land more than the hoards of so-called sophisticates. They are the ones of today who suffer the most at the hands of the rapacious parasites who plunder the treasure of this great country with impunity. Sadly, we now bear witness to an erosion of what I regard as the essence of the American character. Our national fabric is in tatters. We appear to have lost our way, our national purpose and what it means to be a nation that belongs to all the people, and stands as a beacon to all the world. What has happened to that singleness of vision and what it means to say “I am an American?”

We are more akin to a ship without a rudder. We have no leadership. And a ship without a leader at the helm and a rudder to steer the course, is at the mercy of an unpredictable and unforgiving sea. Our national resolve has evolved into whatever the traffic will bear and whatever one can get away with. The essence of character does not come in degrees and it is not situational. It is absolute and stands firmly on principle and singleness of purpose, not compromise. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so aptly stated, “If a man hasn’t found something to die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

Our government is no longer for the people, but is at the beckon call of every vested interest and money monger there is. It is up for sale to the highest bidder. Lying and deception as the means for staying in office in order to plunder the nation is no longer viewed as a terribly egregious pursuit.

The proliferation of radical political groups and philosophies, the penchant for simple solutions to complex problems and a pervasive indifference to the dictates of common decency are frightening but, also, symptomatic of the long-term erosion in our character as a nation and as a people. I often wonder if we really care about anyone else, or is it all about me.

We lack a unified purpose, a common good and a clear direction. We are in dire need of real leadership; a characteristic that is all too rare but so vital to a democracy and a world power. Consensus-building and compromise do not fill the bill in today‘s climate. It lacks the strength, the focus, the direction and the sheer courage to make the tough decisions which this nation so urgently needs. Given our circumstances, bi-partisanship is a cop out. A penchant for that as a governing philosophy defies the seriousness of what we face today. Leadership recognizes the difference and does not hesitate to take control of the ship of state, and set a course on righting the many ills of a country in disarray and desperately in need of hope.

I voted for President Obama and held great promise from him. As of this writing, I am sorely disappointed at the reality of whom and what he is, in reality. He has proven extremely adroit at talking out of both sides of his mouth. Despite the lavish adoration and praise continually heaped upon him by his following of wide-eyed “progressives,“ who have no fear of ever feeling the real sting of his myriad betrayal of the American people, he is not a centrist. He is a corporate elitist and Wall Street shill of the worst kind. His disingenuousness knows no bounds. He may be a skilled politician, but this is no time for politics. At the end of the day, politics is the complete antithesis of true leadership. I see little that is noble in politics, but much in true leadership and statesmanship.

Following is an attempt to codify what I think the President’s First Inaugural Speech should have embodied. As Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, First Senior Officer of the U.S. Navy at the time of the American Civil War, so aptly said, “Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.” Time is of the essence.

THE SPEECH

My fellow Americans.

Today we stand on the threshold of one of the greatest calamities to hit this nation since the Great Depression. In the past few months we have witnessed the near collapse of our entire financial system. Because a healthy financial system and a sound economy are at the very bedrock of this country, we cannot afford to treat this matter as anything less than the national emergency it is.

The late President Ronald Reagan intoned his famous quote, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” The veracity of that statement has been proven wrong by our history since he first took office. The fundamental flaw underlying the belief that a free and unfettered market is the great panacea for all that ails us is extremely na├»ve. Why? Because it is predicated on the false assumption that everyone actively engaged in that market is inherently honest and has the best interests of this country at its core. Not so. We are, by the very frailties of our human nature, imperfect at best. Temptation stalks us all and, more often than not, tends to lead us into making compromises that, although beneficial to our own personal interests, are in fact contrary to the public interest. For that reason, alone, any civilized society must be built on the foundations of a government that will ensure the welfare of its citizens. That single purpose must always be paramount in the economic activities undertaken by the business community. When business and commerce can not or will not act in the public interest then, by definition, regulation is essential. Only a democratically elected government can and should assume that responsibility.

The signs of weaknesses in our financial and banking systems have become increasingly apparent since 2007, reaching the apex in the last few months of 2008. We are still dealing with the ramifications of that calamitous series of events in order to forestall a greater problem.

A fundamentally flawed belief that the country would be better served by an almost complete deregulation of our financial and banking institutions became reality through a bipartisan effort between the Clinton Administration and the Republican leadership in the Congress. The stage was set for the greatest feeding frenzy on a diet of unbridled greed and corruption in the history of this country. That was followed by eight years of the greatest transfer of wealth from Middle Class Americans to the top tier of our society, at the expense of the viability of the traditional ladder of opportunity for those who sought realization of the American Dream.

Make no mistake about it. We face a national emergency of the gravest nature. Time is of the essence in addressing the multi-faceted aspects of what has and is happening to us. We must take immediate steps to re-instate many of the same legal provisions of the previous Glass-Steagall Act, pending a complete re-examination and overhaul of regulations governing our financial and banking systems.

I am taking immediate steps to convene a task force on finance and banking to identify, analyze and address every aspect of what has led us to the peril we face. The task force will be comprised of the finest economic and legal minds in the country. Those who created and benefit from the financial and regulatory failures that led to this crisis have no place at the table. We shall seek the talents of those who are not tainted by prior service in or association with the very institutions that have failed us. I expect them to set themselves to the task with all due haste and provide me with a plan of action that can be implemented with the greatest sense of urgency, and proposed legislation that can be enacted as soon as practicable. In the meantime, they will serve as my chief financial and banking advisors for as long as necessary.

One of the most egregious assaults on the American people and our system of government was the massively unfair and disproportionate tax cuts for the wealthy of this country, enacted by the Bush Administration. The disparity between the average working American and the top one percent of the population is nothing less than obscene. I will undertake an immediate review of our tax structure and the extreme disparities in the tax burden on corporations, business, nonprofit organizations and individuals, with an eye towards restoring fairness in the distribution of wealth among the citizens of this country. It is an inescapable fact of life that you cannot have public services without paying taxes. A complete repeal of the Bush tax cuts will be undertaken as soon as practicable.

During the last twelve years, we have seen our industrial base deliberately dismantled and shipped overseas, and the work of the American Middle Class outsourced to cheap labor markets around the world. We have been seduced into believing that free-trade and globalization are the great panacea for a new utopia of milk and honey for every American. But, I ask you, at what cost to the citizens and indeed the country? Greed, which used to be viewed with disdain and contempt, has now become a noble pursuit and a legitimate means for achieving material success. Again, at what cost to our citizens and our national character? We must do whatever is necessary to restore our economic base and repair the damage that has been done by avaricious business and corporate interests in simply making more and more money at our collective peril. All international and free-trade agreements are open to re- examination. To the extent any of them have created less than a level playing field for American workers and businesses, they will be subject to renegotiation or, if necessary, cancellation.

Blue-collar workers and a healthy workforce made this country the great economic and social powerhouse it once was. They have been the avenue which has provided the socio-economic ladder by which their children and grandchildren could realize the American Dream. For the past several decades, they have been marginalized and demonized for daring to assert a legitimate claim to their share of the economic fruits produced by their talents and their labors. There is something fundamentally wrong when those who control capital make vast fortunes at the expense of those who labor in their service. The time has come to right those wrongs and restore a balance between ownership and service. I fully intend to restore that balance by enacting legislation that legitimizes and honors the same contributions of organized labor to this great country as the private capital that drives the system.

Illegal immigration has been exploited and encouraged by business interests, with the tacit approval of government, for far too long, as a source of cheap labor at the expense of the working American. That will be addressed with the objective of restoring integrity to the immigration system and penalizing industries and organizations who have and continue to benefit from violating our immigration laws.

Healthcare systems and costs are sapping the economic viability of this country, and continue to shunt untold billions of dollars to the very interests that have exploited our political and social systems for monetary gain at the expense of every American. This cannot continue and I will, as one of my top priorities, establish a task force to assess the status of our healthcare system, and develop a viable and universal plan for a comprehensive single-payer system that will serve every citizen of this country. Those who have exploited this issue will have no seat at the table, including the pharmaceutical companies.

If we are to restore integrity to our system of government, we must rout out the pervasive and insidious corruption that dominates and controls every aspect of those institutions put in place to serve all the people. Government should not exist just for the select few who seem to believe that government is there to serve them, primarily, and stand at the ready for purchase at the right price. Let me remind you that ours is “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” It is not for “those who pay the most that gets the most.” Therefore, I will convene a task force of the best minds available to undertake a comprehensive review of how our government works, focusing on the way our political campaigns are financed, the role played by vested interests on our government, the revolving door between service in government and service to special interests that seek to influence government. There has to be a specific interval of time, mandated by law, before individuals can go from a career in government to one in the private sector and vice versa, in order to maintain an arms-length relationship between the two. I shall ask that every opportunity for self-serving compromise and corruption be identified, and a proposed remedy for every such opportunity, with the ultimate objective being a government that exists to serve all the people, all the time.

I will seek to have the compensation and benefits package for elected officials, codified and published annually, including a complete list of all earmarks garnered for their legislative districts and states. My concern is that self-serving practices may have evolved in order to justify what may be inappropriate and excessive perquisites, all at the expense of the American taxpayer.

I will, also, seek to have favors given to legislators, including amounts in campaign contributions, published for every member of a given committee, whenever legislation is being authored and debated where there is opportunity for conflicts of interest.

I intend to have the entire system for awarding government contracts reviewed by an independent body in order to ascertain the integrity and objectivity of the process, and to rout out existing and potential opportunities for conflicts of interest. I will seek the advice and counsel of the Attorney General and the Justice Department in bringing this about.

For far too long, those at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder have born the burden of serving in our all-volunteer armed forces, often out of economic necessity, while those in the top tiers of our society are spared the obligations and the hazards of such service. I intend to have this situation reviewed with an eye towards reinstating the draft in order to level the playing field on this issue. Further, mercenary armies and contractors will be phased out of government service as soon as possible. That is a luxury and a relationship this country can no longer afford.

This administration will address the issue of education in an effort to ensure that education serves the greatest needs for the greatest numbers. The time has come to refocus on “education” as our primary objective, as opposed to “skill and technical training.” Teaching the youth of this country to ‘think” as their top priority is infinitely more important to being a well-rounded individual and a responsible and fully functioning member of society than is teaching them to “do.” The entire system of education demands a comprehensive review by the best minds available, both in terms of content and structure, including the disparity between private and state-supported institutions of higher learning.

For much too long the budget for national defense has exceeded what should be considered necessary and reasonable, at the expense of more pressing economic and social needs for the people of this country. I expect to see greater discipline and constraint in spending for our military services. We can no longer afford to be the great protector of the world, and have the latest and greatest military hardware at our disposal. Our military spending trumps all other nations of the world combined. That is not only irrational, it is utterly obscene. There is no excuse for continuing along this path by constantly stoking the fires of what at times appear to be dubious fears and threats to our democracy.

There is no longer a global need for an American presence in every corner of the world. We, along with a host of other nations around the world, have at our disposal the capacity to annihilate the entire globe. Why do we need more and better, most of which is never deployed in actual combat? I shall ask for a complete review of every aspect of our defense strategy and the attendant costs to the taxpayers.

The world needs to understand that we Americans are a peace-loving country, governed by the rule of law that expects to be an active and responsible member of the world community. We will no longer start or participate in wars of aggression or pre-emptive assaults on any sovereign nation. However, we will remain vigilant in matters of national defense and the integrity of our borders. Any pre-emptive strike against this country will be met with the full force of our might against the country from which the attack originated, and against those who harbor and provide safe-haven to our adversaries.

The highest priority will be placed on the urgency for shifting to new forms of energy that rely on safe, efficient and environmentally friendly technologies. We are long overdue on phasing out our dependency on fossil fuels and other hazardous forms of energy production. We have the knowledge and the will to move beyond that. It is time to use it.

We must assume our rightful place in the fight against global warming. I am convinced that we can no longer afford to minimize the risks to our planet that is being wrought by the avariciousness of mankind. The knowledge and the will are there to address this matter in an intelligent and decisive manner.

In conclusion, our domestic policy will be focused on creating and maintaining opportunities for the citizens of this country, rooted in an industrial base relevant and appropriate to the 21st Century. Our goal is equal opportunity for all.

Our foreign policy will be to assume and maintain our rightful place in the community of nations, devoted to responsible citizenship, and seeking to further the safety, health and welfare of all peace-loving people around the world.

The United States of America has one of the finest college and university systems in the world. I fully intend to call on that pool of knowledge and talent in brining about the improvements and changes needed to refocus on the future before us. Cronyism and political favors will have no place in this administration.

My goal and that of my Administration is to ensure complete transparency in what we do in the service of this country, issues of national security being the notable exception. There will be no private or secret meetings with those who attempt to subvert the will of the people. The peoples’ business is public business and I intend to preserve that tradition for as long as I am privileged to serve as the President of the United States.

Make no mistake about it. This represents an agenda that will require massive amounts of time, talent, energy, resources and funds to accomplish. However, time is not on our side. If we are to recover from the errors of the past and set a new course for the future, we have no choice but to put our shoulders to the wheel and set the forces of change in motion.

Be warned that the forces of evil are cunning and treacherous. They will stop at nothing to subvert our national priorities in order to satisfy their insatiable appetites for more and more at the expense of the American people. They will commit massive amounts of money, resources, influence and outright deception in order to defeat the will of the people to further enhance their own material gains. They will purchase the darkest and most seductive talents imagined by Madison Avenue, the entertainment industries and corporate news outlets in order to dissuade and discredit the will and the resolve of this great nation. We cannot let that happen. It is up to each and every one of us to remain vigilant, be informed and be strong. Let us join hands in this great endeavor. With your help and the help of Our Creator, we cannot fail.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.



On behalf of President Barack Obama

Cowboy Bob
July 16, 2010