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