Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“Why Is Obama Cramming For The Finals When He Already Has The Crib Notes For The Second Act?”

Well, folks, he did it again. He gave another one of his famous speeches, and all of the liberals (real or imagined) of one stripe or another have been reduced to the orgasmic state because Our President has finally turned the corner and is going to be tough with the opposition. He has finally realized that he has a set of gonads! Now, I ask you, how many times is he going to have to go through the motions of an oratorical genius that would put Roman Senators to shame before we realize that is his stock in trade. He gives a speech that has nothing to do with his real agenda. We are lulled into believing this guy is, finally, going to show us that he is a real Democrat. Then, what does he do? He goes back to the White House, meets behind closed doors or in secret with the very ones he vilified in his speech, and strikes a deal that is diametrically opposed to what he said he was going to do for the American people. The script is so old and tired that it wouldn’t take much talent for a minor actor to write it with his eyes closed.

How many times do we have to be led down this path before we come to the conclusion that only one thing can be said about him with any degree of certainty? He is consistently inconsistent! He is a lifelong student on the subject of elitism, with a solid base of support from those who are in the business of destroying the Middle Class and working people of this country. Those are his constituency, not those who want so desperately to believe that he is the real deal. He has played the Democrats for a bunch of fools for over two plus years and still gets away with it. They still give him a free pass, the cost of which is nothing more but well-crafted rhetoric and a teleprompter.

He has just come out with a real barn-burner. He has reassured us, once again, that he is there to serve the lesser of us “Americans,” knowing full well that he has no intentions of living up to the letter of what he is preaching. The real deal is what he has in mind for the powerbrokers who lace his pockets with enough “moola” to keep him in office.

Without wishing to belabor this matter, permit me to simply pose a few random questions based on his campaign promises in 2008 in order to illustrate my doubts about how credible he really is.

1. When he campaigned for the Presidency in 2008 we were assured that he would hold to account the members of the previous administration who were guilty of war crimes. That was dismissed soon after his election with words to the effect that “he preferred to look to the future rather than dwell on the past.” Just an empty promise to the memory of all those who suffered at their hands.

2. What happened to his promise to outlaw the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens?

3. What happened to his promise to close Guantanamo Bay?
4. What happened to his original timetable for exiting from Iraq and Afghanistan?

5. What happened to his support for a national health plan that would include a public option and reign in the obscene profits of health care providers and private insurance carriers?

6. What happened to his promise that pharmaceutical companies would be required to negotiate drug prices with the government?

7. What happened to the stringent controls that were going to be imposed on the financial institutions on Wall Street? The Dodd-Frank Bill is an impotent second-best, most of which is yet to become law.

8. What happened to the consumer protection laws that were to insulate consumers from the predatory lending practices of every huckster in the business of lending, credit card companies, mortgage companies, etc.? Full financial disclosure and all of the other means of reigning in the bandits that sold out this country was to be the order of the day. Why was Elizabeth Warren so hastily marginalized before she could even get her sea legs and begin to do something meaningful? You don’t suppose the big boys in high places who stood to lose their license to do whatever they wanted in the name of the almighty profit set their sights on her, do you?

9. What happened to his promise to hold to account British Petroleum and the other opportunists that precipitated the Gulf oil crisis? What was done to make whole the legions of hard-working people living along the Gulf Coast who depended on a healthy Gulf for their livelihood?

10. What happened to his promise to restore an level playing field for organized labor in dealing with management?

11. What happened to his promise to strengthen NAFTA and CAFTA so they would be more balanced in terms of ensuring the interests of American business and American workers were fairly served?

12. Why, as he rails on and on about creating jobs, is he quietly working to expand our “free” trade agreements with other countries around the world that will shift hundreds of thousands of jobs “overseas?” Think Columbia, Honduras and Korea.

13. Why did he so quickly phase out some of the best economic minds and trade specialists in the country in favor of the rogues that surrounded Bill Clinton and his happy band of thieves? Think Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Rahm Emmanuel, Timothy Geithner and a whole host of lesser sharks? He has, also, fortified that bunch with an economic advisor from General Electric and a son of the infamous Mayor Daley of Chicago? Does the aura of William Jefferson Clinton still inhabit the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or is the President simply doing what he does best? Fronting for the real power brokers. Who said corporate power is not alive and well in this administration?

14. Why has Obama managed to steadfastly avoid any close association with disenfranchised labor organizations fighting for a fair shake in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, etc? Has he lost sight of the fact that the majority of those same people supported him in his run for President in 2008? Or worse yet, does he even care?

Perhaps, at the end of the day, this is the manifestation of someone who, long ago, sold his soul to vast wealth, and massive political and social power. Does he see one of his paramount responsibilities as playing to the institutions of government that are so powerful and so compromised they have become impervious to proper oversight and accountability to those who, ostensibly, represent the American people?

Is his folksy rhetoric at town hall meetings or manufacturing plants the real Obama, or is his imperial countenance that we saw in Berlin and in Grant Park in Chicago the elitist so many of us are predisposed to seeing. But you can hardly compare the inherent worth of a waitress at Denny’s in Poughkeepsie, New York to that of a grand and narcissistic billionairess that sees him as nothing less than the reincarnation of Adonis himself.

This guy, insofar as I am concerned, is no friend or advocate for the Middle Class and working people that made this county great. He never was and never will be. What we are witnessing (and which will only intensify in the months to come) is a very well honed and skilled attempt to seduce all of those people into voting him in for another term so he can continue to serve the vultures that feed on the rotting flesh of this country. What does he have in his bag of tricks that he will take from the working people of this country and offer it to the Teabaggers and Republicans in exchange for their “bi-partisan support?” How about Medicare and Medicaid for starters?

At the very least he needs to be challenged for the Democratic nomination in 2012 by a real Democrat with the leadership skills, the credibility and the integrity to bring strength and honor to that office once again. Let the incumbent make a dignified exit and take his time shopping for a summer home on Lake Cuomo, a winter retreat in the Caribbean and a secluded mansion on the North Shore of Chicago. Surely, the rewards for being a loyal and devoted steward to the rich and famous, coupled with his government retirement benefits, would provide him with the means to live in the manner which he has coveted for such a long time.

I wasted my vote in 2008. The next time around, if President Obama is the only choice, I think I will take a pass and let the chips fall where they may. It couldn’t get any worse.

Cowboy Bob
September 20, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The End of America

This is extremely well done. It is a good example of outstanding journalism. It is profound, thought-provoking and very sobering. The video takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but it is something every conscientious American should take the time to watch. I, for one, take a critical, but serious, view of anything that might suggest collusion between government, big money, big corporations and the military/industrial complex. History is replete with examples of totalitarian regimes that have endeavored to lull those who are the object of their conquest into complacency, ultimately, at their own peril.

I hope you are successful in accessing this video presentation.

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
September 17, 2011

The End of America
based on The New York Times best seller
Click here to watch the complete documentary. From award-winning filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (The Devil Came on Horseback and The Trials of Darryl Hunt) comes the provocative and expertly crafted film, THE END OF AMERICA, based on The New York Times best seller by the same name. In a stunning indictment of sweeping policy changes during the Bush years, author Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth) makes a chilling case that American democracy is under threat.

Investigating parallels between our current situation and the rise of dictators and fascism in once-free societies, Wolf uncovers a number of deeply unsettling similarities—from the use of paramilitary groups and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law. With this galvanizing call to arms based on her recent book, she urges regular citizens to take back our legacy of freedom and justice.

We are all in danger. A police state control grid is being established in the United States. Now is the time for all lovers of liberty to stand together and speak out against the growing tyranny destroying our Republic. We WILL be victorious against the New World Order.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

“The U.S. And Eliot Spitzer Deserve Another Chance”

My Grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family was a classic patriarch. He was, without question, the head of the family and he maintained that exalted position until he took leave of this earthly existence. He had his share of faults and had an eye for members of the opposite sex that was the cause of marital discord on more than one occasion. But, he redeemed himself in many respects through his generosity and his ability to be one of the greatest “Grandpa’s” of all time. He could be harsh in his assessment of his fellow men, often laced with some pearls of wisdom in his perception of them and their follies. One of his better insights was his observation that, “If a man waves a Bible in your face keep your back to the wall.” From my perspective, that was pretty good advice which I never forgot. In my lifetime I have seen far more hypocrites in church than I ever encountered in a good bar.

There is nothing that brings out our righteous indignation and plays to our need to be seen as a pillar of virtue more than when savoring the titillating delights of some other person’s fall from grace. My, my but how quickly we can become shocked! That entire manifestation of human behavior loses its “oomph” rather quickly when we honestly reflect on our own battles with the power of hormones. All of which, in turn, leads me to see the moral outrage espoused by others for what it really is --- complete hypocrisy and the naughty and titillating delight of reveling in what we will never know and can only imagine!

When one of these very sordid revelations hits the public arena, the sound of the gasps can be deafening and the shocked expressions can be seen for miles. I cannot help but wonder how many of those paragons of virtue dress like street walkers in the name of fashion, and how many of their significant others are watching porn at home while dinner is being prepared in the kitchen.

Now, I see a wide disparity between being weak when it comes to matters of the flesh versus outright vulgarity. The former I can accept for what it is – human frailty that falls within the realm of recovery and redemption. The latter I regard as the complete degradation of another human being and the complete abdication of any sense of basic decency. It is, in my opinion, an escape into every conceivable kind and degree of human depravity. It is an assault on our humanity and on our sexuality.

In recent history we have seen various manifestations of the salacious side of life, some rising to outright notoriety that captures the attention and the outrage of every defender of moral purity known to mankind. Political figures, in particular, seem to have captured the spotlight in that regard and to a greater extent than less notable mortals. Let me focus on just two who have found themselves in the spotlight during their public life.

The first of course, is William Jefferson Clinton. If there was ever an example of moral degeneracy and vulgarity personified, it was in the person of President Clinton. I find it rather incredulous that he, as the most powerful man in the world, could not have controlled the situation and avoided exploiting a poor little rich girl from Beverly Hills, who must surely have been completely awed by the charm, charisma and sheer power of the man in the Oval Office. He managed to get her under his desk in the Oval Office, providing oral delights for his erotic pleasure while he, a true master of the art of multitasking, fiddled with a cigar and talked on the telephone. The maelstrom that followed and which subjected the nation to every sordid detail of his personal life was front page news for weeks. He lied under oath, to the press and to those around him and, not least of all, the nation. He disgraced the office he held and the trust placed in him by the American people. He sought help and consolation from every Southern minister who would give him the time of day. But, despite his attempts and help from the establishment and the news media, the shadow of that stigma still follows him. He may be held out as the senior statesman among us and the paragon of redemption, but I still think the rogue is still alive and well somewhere within his person, the dubious title of “President of the World,” notwithstanding.

There is, to my way of thinking, a common thread in his relationship between his private and public persona. It centers around issues of personal morality and integrity. No amount of effort to sanitize him will ever convince me that he is anything but an unsavory character that serves a very suspect group of those who wield great power and influence within the world of national politics.

I find it all rather incongruous that we would be expected to believe that his relationship with Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Rahm Emanuel and other lesser but well-known characters in tailored suits were examples of devoted public servants. Those are the folks, among others, who completely deregulated the financial industries, which were laid waste for plundering by every huckster and profiteer in the business and in successive administrations. Does anyone really expect us to believe that the whopping surplus amassed during the Clinton Administration would not be a temptation for the taking by the incoming administration of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Neocons and their dreams of empire. They had to have known that their assault on the integrity of our financial institutions, coupled with a massive federal surplus would be like putting candy before a baby to those who would succeed them in 2000. To conclude otherwise defies all rudimentary logic. What we will never know is to what extent all of those partners in crime profited from their schemes and the resultant paralysis inflicted on the nation for decades to come. I would not wish to suggest anything other than good networking, but I do find it rather coincidental that Chelsea Clinton is now a Hedge Fund Manager.

The fact that most of those same players have so readily moved into the Obama White House in order to play an active role in the current administration. In concert, they further deprive the nation of the very lifeblood required in order to maintain a healthy economy and a decent standard of living for every American, all of which gives pause to the most trusting of people. I believe there is cause for concern. Obama and his minions may choose to call it “Change We Can Believe In,” but I am inclined to think there is more to the depth and extent of those relationships that trumps the welfare of the nation. The prominence of former Clintonites in key positions within the Obama Administration is, I believe, suspect. I don’t see any evidence that would suggest the nation and its people are better off because of those unholy alliances. Who is the real leader and who are the real power brokers? The closeness of that particular clique reminds me of an observation attributed to an old hillbilly – “Vice is nice but incest is best!”

In the final analysis, the conduct of Bill Clinton and his venue for his escapades is, at the very least, salacious. He not only disgraced himself and the office he held, but he shamed himself before the American people and, indeed, the world. That is history and no amount of image polishing will ever change that.

Now, let’s look into the matter of the other political notable who found himself in a maelstrom created by his sexual appetite and the manner in which he chose to deal with it. Because of the arena in which he served, he has generated his share of controversy. It is not for me to judge the man but what he did was, without question, beyond the bounds of decency. However, how he chose to address and deal with the matter suggests a person of infinitely stronger character than Mr. Clinton.

To my knowledge, Eliot Spitzer never hit on members of his staff and he never used the facilities of the offices he held for immoral purposes. What he did was done outside his official positions and the offices he held. He was by all accounts a dedicated public servant, with sterling credentials with a track record of diligence and integrity. He is considered to be one of the best Attorneys General in the History of New York and he conducted himself as Governor with dignity and strength of purpose.

Eliot Spitzer has accepted full responsibility for his conduct. When I recently saw him interviewed on television he was asked about his extra-marital affairs. He never sidestepped the issue, but stated, unequivocally, that what he did was wrong, but it was a private matter that was being addressed by him and his wife. He said it was a personal issue between the two of them and he would not discuss it further. I don’t think he could have been more forthcoming than that. I trust the man.

Eliot Spitzer is probably one of the most competent and effective political figures to hit the national stage in a very long time. He is an unusually bright, energetic and dedicated man in his professional pursuits, and he has maintained an impeccable public image since he resigned as Governor of New York. He has all the qualifications, experience and stature to be a strong and effective leader of national prominence. He has proven to be tenacious and determined in his professional and political life.

I would hope that a new political party could be created that would offer this nation what it needs in order to clean up the corruption and self-serving milieu within our Federal Government. But I am not confident there is the will or the time necessary to make that happen. Short of that, however, I do believe that Barack Obama should be challenged for a second term as President of the United States. He has failed the tests that would convince me he is a leader and a man of personal integrity. He has not been true to his party, to the people of this country and to the promises he made when he campaigned for election in 2008.
If Obama’s nomination for a second term were to be challenged, I would put my money on Eliot Spitzer to salvage our government, restore its ideals and principles, and return it to its rightful owners --- the citizens of the United States of America.

To paraphrase an old Native American, “Oh, Great Spirit, keep me from ever judging a man until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”

Eliot Spitzer deserves a second chance.

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Our Growing Epidemic of Arrogance"

As I reflect on the demise of our country and all that it once stood for, I am struck by what appears to be an epidemic that has evolved over a very long period of time. It is pervasive and invasive in every facet of our society and our lives. It is the “arrogance of power.” It is the arrogance of political, economic and social power. It is particularly virulent in the centers of power that determine, advocate and nurture the so-called “values” by which we live. It is the power that has eroded the essence of what should be emulated as good and decent within us. It has destroyed the collective “we” in favor of the collective “me.” Everyone has his or her own agenda. We are a collection of very myopic and self-serving people hell-bent on self-destruction in the pursuit of our own self-defined “goals,” however one is inclined to see them.

The institutions that were once there to serve the body politic now have their own constituencies to which they give their allegiance. Serving the people of this country was once the ultimate goal of government, business and commerce. Now people are no longer regarded as living beings worthy of the dignity that was once inherent in that concept. The people have become little more than an abstraction. They count for something, in figurative terms, when specific interests need them in order to realize their goals but, once achieved, they become faceless and irrelevant.

“Arrogance,” has become a club of exclusivity, serving itself and all those they depend on for their survival and prosperity. They have ceased to be subtle. They flaunt their power and privilege before those they plunder and ravage. They have insulated themselves from accountability for their actions and the scorn that follows.

The institutions of government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial and the plethora of government agencies serve themselves. They no longer represent us and act on our behalf. Rather, they unilaterally determine what they deem to be “best” for us and impose their will on us accordingly. Who and what we are, what we want and what we need are no longer relevant.

Wall Street serves itself in the business of making vast sums of money, at our expense, then sequestering their ill-gotten gains in off-shore tax havens and investing them in countries where they can further exploit the human condition to our collective detriment. They flaunt their power, greed and avarice before the very institutions that should be regulating their activities and ensuring they serve the people of this country, as they were once required to do.

Corporate America is no longer discreet in their massive greed and exploitation of those they feed on. They have become masters of marginalizing every threat and challenge to what they have deemed to be legitimate means to their ends. They have bought and own every facet of the “peoples” government that now aids and abets them in their rape and plunder of what little is left of our nation.

The most egregious and threatening of all are those comprising the “Military/Industrial Complex.” The sheer magnitude of the resources they squander and the power they wield over our everyday lives is frightening. The largest share of our national resources go to support their fantasies and dreams of a new order, a new empire and global conquest. They literally control ever aspect of our defense, intelligence and surveillance apparatus. They operate, with the blessings of our civilian institutions of government, under a shroud of secrecy that defies reason. We really have no idea how big they are what they are up to and how they affect the everyday needs of the American people.

Some of the most glaring examples of the gross disparity in how they see themselves vs. what is good for us, are the extreme differences between the perquisites and compensation for our elected government officials in Congress and the White House. It is rather akin to the old adage that says, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say.” They have no compunction about telling us, repeatedly, about how Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety nets are bankrupting the country, but summarily ignore the real causes of our fiscal plight. Is that disparity reality or what they want us to believe? The answer is self-evident, but very few in power are willing to expose truth to the light of day and hold to account those who talk so ably out of both sides of their mouths. If Social Security is truly a public trust, as we are led to believe, then the incumbent resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should cease and desist from using it as his personal petty cash fund; a precedent so egregiously set by James Earl Carter, and continuing unabated ever since.

At best, all we get is one more lofty speech, followed by secret deals with the very ones who were vilified in the speeches. Obama has been as consistent in that little game as anyone could be. But, we always give him a free pass on his arrogance. Leadership and courage are not in his makeup.

When all three houses of government were in the hands of the Democrats, and some meaningful changes could have been made, rather than leadership and courage, we were overdosed on the merits of “bi-partisanship.” What, I ask you, did we the people, get from that bargain? Damned little, if you ask me. Now, the Democratic leadership is doing its thespian routine to perfection --- the hapless victim. How can any sane and rational person fall for that?

Arrogance is not endemic just to government. Its effects are very much evident in the ranks of the American people themselves. It takes one hell of a lot of effort and determination in order to ferret out truth. It is the stuff of lazy minds to accept beliefs at face value. Sadly, those beliefs are what convince us that our prejudices are noble and righteous. Beliefs are the stuff of zealots. They are predicated on ignorance and emotions, and they are irrational. But, look what they have wrought. We now have a raving bunch of lunatics on the right that tout simplicity and austerity in government, all the while playing the part of the consummate enablers for the oligarchs, the plutocrats and all those who serve them. A two-class society can’t come soon enough for them. As an aside, they always seem to have “God” on their side. Does anyone actually believe that He talks to them?
Then, of course, we have the so-called “Progressives.” Progressives, to my way of thinking, suffer from delusions of moral and intellectual superiority. They are the enlightened ones who never hesitate to take the high ground. Our system of laws, which should be the foundation for our entire system of government, is not to be respected, not to be systematically changed as circumstances dictate, but to be assaulted as the root cause of all the ills that plague us. Laws? Who cares? Just look all of the poor people who are being exploited by the establishment because of them. They will just ignore the law and demand what they see as virtuous, the law be damned.

I cannot help but wonder, as I look at all those claiming to be “Progressives,” but who are some of the most affluent and prominent figures among us, how they are likely to be affected by giving away the store to all of those they have deemed to be put upon by society. Did it ever occur to them that the ills of an illegal and underground workforce, consigned to a subsistence level of existence, are not the fault of the American people? They are the result of a compliant government relaxing the vigilance that was to ensure our national security, so big business and vast wealth could exploit those seeking an ostensibly better life over the abject poverty from which they came. But, guess what, the very social safety nets that belong to the people are fair game for bearing the cost of righting those egregious wrongs. God forbid that anyone would seriously consider raising taxes on the super-rich and corporations where the liability squarely lies! Where is the justice in all this?

Saving the best for last, I now turn my attention to the largest and most powerful instrument of the arrogance of power in our society --- corporate ownership of our news media. Who said that we had a free press that was there to ensure that government was to be, and remain, the watchdog for the people? It has become a massively lucrative business, imbued with the star-worship of celebrities skillfully selling us on the points of view of those of great wealth and power they so readily serve. They have elevated lying to a new art-form. They tell us, not what we should know, but what their masters want us to know. And, we accept it without question.

Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and a whole host of ignoramuses do a yeoman’s job of peddling their questionable truth to all the true believers who desperately want to accept the fact that the sky is falling. On the other hand, the martyrdom of the liberal news media and their faux concern for all the downtrodden is the stuff that feeds into our need to rise up in righteous indignation. In both cases, have you noticed, when one of them steps out of line and ventures into the world of knowledge, truth and challenging the company line, they are cut off at the ankles and sent into exile?

However, there are those who have chosen a career in journalism as an honorable and noble profession, and who honestly try to live up to all that stands for. Theirs is a rocky road at best and often have a tough time surviving. They deserve all the respect and admiration we can give upon them. Thanks to the Internet, there has been a renewal in the pursuit of freedom that once was the hallmark of the trade they so ardently ply. If there is any facet of our society that we should make damned sure remains open and free, it is the Internet. Without it we are doomed to an unenviable fate at the hands of those who profess to be on the side of the people.

Do I hold out hope for the future? I must confess that maintaining a sense of optimism is difficult. Why? Because of the laziness, selfishness and sheer brutality of all the true believers, the zealots of whatever ilk. The people of this country are losing that which rightfully belongs to them, all because of an internalized set of values that supports our perceived sense of entitlement, and the arrogance that is a natural byproduct of the accompanying mindset that has infected every facet of our lives.

We are rather akin to the band of sheep being led to the slaughter and can no longer detect the smell of the blood spilled by those who have gone before them; those who were willing to stand for and defend all that made them great.

Regardless of the ultimate price, as long as I get what I want, who cares?

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
September 12, 2011