Sunday, January 23, 2011

.... another gem saved from an earlier time.

“I believe that opening one’s self to another in trust requires greater courage than any act of purely physical valor, because we are risking what we judge to be most precious - our own ego. To make one’s self vulnerable is the highest form of compliment, for it is a statement of our greatest gift to another person - our trust in him.”

------ George Leonard
November 1985

Posted by: Cowboy Bob
January 22, 2011

"The Evolving Relationship"

Like many people, I am a person who, over the course of my adult life, has tucked away bits of wisdom for periodic refreshers in the future. Unfortunately, those intentions are quickly forgotten as are those bits of wisdom. As I re-discover some of those treasures, I will share them with you.

Cowboy Bob
January 22, 2011

Jordan Paul, Ph.D and Margaret Paul, Ph.D

We are not born afraid to show our emotions. Babies freely express their feels of pain, joy, sexuality. Unafraid of rejection, we are born open to life, curious, eager to learn. We cry when unhappy, hurt or afraid. Later, when happy, we add laughter to our natural repertoire of behavior and still later, sexual feelings and curiosity are naturally expressed. We flowed from our instinctual, inner self and were one with that natural self -- our outer behavior and inner feelings were harmonious. We are not born afraid of being who we really are.

The more approval children get for their natural self the greater their self-esteem. It’s that kind of love which teaches faith and self-respect. We all need love if the potential in all areas of our personality is to flower. Only by meeting challenges can we grow, but when we are afraid of failure, disapproval, and rejection, we pull in, afraid to venture further and test ourselves out.

The messages we start receiving soon after birth, however, are that there is something wrong with us. Our cries often bring disapproval -- “Don’t cry” (accompanied with irritation, anger, hitting). “You’re too sensitive” (said with disgust). “You mean that hurt your feelings?” (said with derision). “You shouldn’t let things like that upset you.” (said with caring but an obvious message that there’s something wrong with you for feeling sad). “I’ll give you something to cry about.” (no comment necessary for that one). Expressions of intense, spontaneous, free-flowing joy and curiosity bring more disapproval - “Calm down,” “Control yourself,” “Don’t ask so many questions.” (all carrying the message that you’re wrong, bad, not right). Expressions of sexuality bring even more disapproval A great deal of our natural curiosity, openness, and sensitivity -- fear, sadness, frustration, joy, sexuality, sensuality -- is made wrong by those who are most important to us; our family.

How could we, as young children, have believed we were okay when the constant overt and covert beat of our parents’ message was, “You are not okay. You need to change who you really are and become what we think you should be and then you will be lovable.” Since children are very sensitive to parental rejection, disapproval hurts and is frightening. Needing our parents love and approval but not getting support for who we really are, we become protected with the hope of becoming lovable. We learn to hide our natural responses by either suppressing our feelings or getting angry.

As we grow up, our protections become so well engrained and automatic that, as adults, we are often unaware that we’re protected most of the time. We become so identified with our protected side we may believe that’s who we really are. When protections are lowered (for instance, when we fall in love, ingest certain chemicals, or go on vacation) the person we experience may not feel like our real self. Our natural self may have diminished to the point where it feels like a stranger.

We become approval seekers, afraid to be ourselves, believing that we’re not okay, forgetting our real identity, looking to others to tell us how to be. We absorb our parents’ beliefs that the universe is a dangerous, unfriendly place and therefore we must always be on guard, protected. We lose faith in ourselves, in the God within and without. Putting most of our energy into trying to be what we hope will be an okay, acceptable, lovable, worthwhile person; we lose touch with who we really are.

The poster in our office, which is almost everyone’s favorite, shows a very sad dog looking out a window saying, “I’ve tried so hard to be what I’m supposed to be that I forgot who I am.” Not a very pretty situation, is it? And we keep doing this generation after generation. Is there any wonder that we have such little faith in the inherent goodness of either ourselves or our children?

Jordan Paul and Margaret Paul, authors of the book Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? are psychologists and are licensed Marriage

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Great Source of Exceptional Insights

For sometime I have been subscribed to an outstanding source of information regarding the politics and government of this country. The guy's intellect and ability to write makes mine pale in comparison.

I highly recommend that you check out The Regressive Antidote (dmg@REGRESSIVEANTIDOTE.NET), written by David Michael Green, who is a Professor of Political Science at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. He will help to keep you focused on what is happening. You will find him extremely interesting, provocative, funny and sardonic.

Good reading!

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Big Brother Is Watching; I Must Be Doing Something Right!"

To say that I am more than mildly irritated would be an understatement, the reasons for which will become apparent within the context of this epistle.

As most bloggers do, I have a monitoring service that tracks various interesting and relevant aspects of activity on my blog site. The information provided is innocuous but does provide valuable data relative to the distribution and interest in what I have written.

For sometime it has been common knowledge that Google has been providing surveillance services to the U.S. Government without informing or gaining the approval of their subscribers. My monitoring service has routinely shown that my blog is reviewed on a daily basis, without fail, by googlebot in Mountain View, California. Three days ago, I decided it would be the decent and kind thing to do to (a) make them aware of the fact that I was cognizant of their monitoring my blog for reasons unknown to me, but (b) I am sure the U.S. Government must be very pleased with their diligence in carrying out their surveillance activities. The next two days indicated a sudden absence of any such activity by googlebot. I must have hit a nerve somewhere within that vast organization.

Today, I opened the monitoring report from the service to which I subscribe. Rather than the customary few, I was greeted with 19 hits, from unknown sources, in the past two days with 134 pages of what I have, so far, published on my blog and which have been “viewed” by those same sources. I immediately concluded that I must have struck a nerve somewhere in the vast labyrinths of the murky world of intelligence. Why? Was it for the purpose of intimidation or something far more sinister? How am I to know?

Permit me to set the record straight. I have two serious concerns about where this country is headed. One is the broad base of complacency and sheer ignorance among the electorate of this country that enables those in positions of prominence who choose to exploit their trust for less than noble purposes. The other is the cadre of “politicos” and vested interests that have profited handsomely from that broad base of apathy and ignorance. It has not been just an opportunity for those who exploit it for ulterior motives; it has been a veritable gold mine that just keeps on giving to those who wish to profit.

On the outside chance the terrible tragedy in Tucson, Arizona may figure into this equation, let me make it abundantly clear that there is no place in this country for violence or the wholesale prostitution that enables violence to be done in our name. I would ask you, are tragedies such as mass murder and assassinations that are so much a part of the fabric of this nation the fault of the people? I think not. Once again, I have no doubts but that our ignorance and complacency help to make those acts of violence possible. But, that same ignorance and complacency has enabled the legions of politicians and the complicity of vested interests to profit handsomely from the massive amounts of money that have flowed into their coffers. The most prominent is the National Rifle Association, and other organizations and individuals of like mind, all for the avowed purpose of aborting any attempts at meaningful gun control, that would effectively reduce the threat posed by the indiscriminate proliferation of guns and other weapons of violence that are a constant threat to all peace-loving people. Why have they not been held to account for their blatant disregard for the safety of the citizens of this country they are sworn to uphold? Why in the world would any citizen of this country need a gun for any purpose other than game hunting and law enforcement? The smoke screen of guns for personal protection is more illusory than an established fact. Truth be known, most of those guns probably pose more of a threat to the owner than they do to the imagined criminal that is going to break into their homes with the intent of doing them bodily harm.

Why, I ask you, do we permit those on the lunatic fringe and those right, smack dab in the middle, to cow and intimidate us into believing that owning guns is a fundamental right and an absolute necessity? To the extent that perception exists in regard to the Second Amendment, as far as I am concerned, it could and should be changed. We are a long way away from the frontier that spawned that mind set. The world of today is far too dangerous, and modern weaponry is far too sophisticated, for us to hang onto the mistaken notion that by curtailing the ownership and latent power of those lethal instruments is somehow a violation of our civil rights. To that I would say, “Hogwash.” Thank God Dick Cheney only had a hunting rifle. I shudder to think what might have been the outcome if his weapon had a magazine which held 32 rounds of ammunition. The entire hunting party might have been leveled.

If we are ever to curtail the power of conspiracy theorists or other fringe elements, then there has to be absolute transparency in government. For far too long we have acquiesced to those who convince us it is, somehow, essential to our national security. I doubt the veracity of that statement. Rather, the excesses of the power of that privilege have done more to enable those who seek to exploit the people of this country than to protect them. The gun-control issue is but one. How about those who enable legislatures to make secret deals that are clearly contrary to the best interests of and the will of the people? How about those who vote for and support illegal wars that have virtually no relevance to any real threat to our standing as a world power?

I believe every healthy relationship ever known to mankind must, by definition, be a reciprocal relationship. People who profit from our society must give back to it in equal measure. That means opportunity and economic justice for all. To the extent that does not happen, then someone suffers. Right now, those suffering the most are those who have been most exploited by the very ones who should be concerned about them.

You cannot have a civilized society without paying your fair share of the taxes. You cannot have a modern, healthy democracy by reducing working people to the level of serfs. Eventually, it will come back to bite the “haves” on the ass to their individual and collective peril. My worst fear is that, because there is such a preponderance of weaponry in the hands of those at the bottom of the food chain, they will be pushed to the point of desperation. That, in turn, will lead them to take up their guns, go to the streets and take that which they have been denied the right to earn by honest means. That, folks is a fact of life and not the machinations of an insane mind. That is reality and simple, elementary logic.

We can never hope to have a healthy, viable society unless there is equal opportunity for all. That, by definition, supports the notion that we have an obligation, as a society, to protect ourselves from the frailties of our own human nature. We must ensure that there are regulations and oversight in place to accomplish that, with full accountability and transparency for those dependent upon and affected by those safeguards. Otherwise, we will all be held hostage to raw power in all its forms from which we, as a people and a nation, will continue to suffer.

Our society must rest on a solid base of all those virtues that have somehow fallen out of vogue by the narcissistic, hedonistic and materialistic pursuits that have dominated our national psyche for much too long. Call them what you will, but they are a measure of what we refer to as matters of “morality” or “character.” They are all around us and, if we will but look for them, they exist within most of us. Our very human decency depends on recognition of the fact that, ultimately, they must be the guiding principles by which we live.

For those of you in the United States and Canada who feel the need to monitor the works of people, such as me, who genuinely give a damn about our country and its people in their entirety, I would suggest you reign in your paranoia. You don’t have to sit in some darkened room in front of a computer monitoring my every word. I have nothing to hide and nothing about which I should feel a modicum of shame. Just send me your e-mail address and I will be more than happy to refer you to every blog I post from this point forward. That will eliminate the rather clandestine and sordid manner in which you feel you have to work in order to peruse my meager attempts at writing. Hopefully, you may find a few pearls of wisdom within those words that will provide you with a few insights into another perspective which you might find helpful. If that is the case, then all this will not have been in vain.

As of this writing, I have a deep and abiding concern about the manner in which those we elect to office have chosen to do the people’s business. Am I going to stop criticizing the mainstream political parties? No. Am I going to stop criticizing the institutions of government? No. Am I going to stop criticizing our government for the manner in which it chooses to operate? No. Am I going to stop criticizing those who profit from the compromises made on their behalf by our government officials? No. Am I going to stop criticizing a corporate news media that fails to serve as the real watchdog on government? No. To do otherwise would be an abdication of my principles of personal integrity and fair play. It would be an abdication of my responsibility as a citizen, and it would be an abdication of my duty as an American.

I have little confidence that the changes we need to make in order to repair the damage done to this democracy are going to be realized any time soon. For that reason, I still hold firmly to the belief that we need a new political party, the main thrust of which is to restore integrity to our government, the way it does business and the manner in which it relates to the people who support it. Only through a duly elected government that is spawned by that new political perspective and dedicated to the finest ideals for governing, can we hope to restore this country to the greatness it once was, and bring it back from the brink on which it currently stands.

Cowboy Bob
January 13, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"It's More Than Just The Appearance Of Impropriety"

I have to confess that I, among millions of others, was totally mesmerized by Barack Obama during his quest for and election to the Presidency in 2008. I have to; also, confess that it did not take long for the disparity between his words and his actions to become an issue of growing concern to me. At this juncture, like so many others, I am totally disillusioned with the man euphemistically referred to as “Mr. President.” As I reflect on his record during the past two years, the only consistency I can find in his behavior is the glaring dichotomy between his posturing in public and his real persona behind closed doors with the power brokers in our economic and social systems. He is repeating that which he has so often gotten away with in all the current round of appointments to his White House Staff.

Despite the persistent need for many Progressives to view this man through rose-colored glasses, in reality he is no friend of Democrats or the American people. He is the classic caricature of an “Insider,” in every respect. He is far too cozy with some of the most sullied and evil people in the history of the Republic. They are the ones who have co-opted the entire Federal Government by doing the bidding for the oligarchs, the plutocrats, big business and the military/industrial complex.

It has become difficult, but I have come to the conclusion that his rise to power was brilliantly planned and orchestrated by some of the darkest and most powerful forces in our society. He is as ruthless and calculating as anyone who has ever sat in the White House. One only has to look at the cadre of carry-overs from the Clinton Administration and his steadfast and unwavering support of them. Every significant piece of legislation that was, ostensibly, created to serve the Middle Class and the working people of this country, in the end, has only served to further the interests of the super-rich, Wall Street and the elitists in our society. His penchant for “bi-partisanship” is nothing more than a ruse for carrying on the mission of the oligarchs, plutocrats and multi-national corporations.

The complacency among the citizens of this country is so complete that he doesn’t even bother to acknowledge that there may be some valid questions regarding his judgment and the integrity of those he is gathering around him. That, folks, is an indictment of us, not of him.

Permit me to pass on to you a few insights into the major players with whom he has surrounded himself:


a. Currently serving as a Counselor to TIMOTHY GEITHNER, Secretary of
The Treasury.
b. During the Clinton Administration, Deputy Director of the National
Economic Council while the Council was directed by ROBERT RUBIN,
later to become Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton
c. Became National Economic Advisor to President Clinton in 1996.
d. Principal negotiator with then Secretary of the Treasury, LAWRENCE
SUMMERS of the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that repealed large portions of the
Depression era Glass-Stegall Act which allowed banks, security
firms and insurance companies to merge.


a. Associated with the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One Corporation in Chicago.
b. In 1993 served as special counsel to the President on issues
relating to the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement
c. In 1997, Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President
Bill Clinton.
d. Served on the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.
e. Enthusiastically supported by JP Morgan Chairman Jamie Dimon, the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Third Way and Karl Rove.
f. Was an outspoken critic of Health Care Reform, Financial Regulation
and The Consumer Protection Agency.


a. Director of the White House National Economic Council for President
Barack Obama.
b. Staff of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Reagan.
c. Served as economic advisor to Michael Dukakis in 1988.
d. Chief Economist for the World Bank 1991-1993.
e. Undersecretary for International Affairs in the Clinton
f. Served in the United States Treasury during the Clinton
Administration, and was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1999,
succeeding ROBERT RUBIN.
g. Leading voice in the Clinton Administration against greenhouse gas
reductions and against U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol.
h. Acting on the advice of Kenneth Lay, Summers urged Governor Davis to
relax California’s environmental standards in order to reassure the markets.
i. In 1999, hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which lifted more than
six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial
banking, insurance and investment services (by repealing key
provisions in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act).
j. As a member of President Clinton’s Working Group on Financial
Markets, Summers, along with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) Chairman Arthur Levitt, Fed Chairman Greenspan and
Secretary Rubin, torpedoed an effort to regulate the derivatives
that many blame for bringing the financial market down in the Fall
of 2008.


a. Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998
-2001) under Treasury Secretaries ROBERT RUBIN and LAWRENCE
SUMMERS in the Clinton Administration.
b. In 1993 named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
c. Instrumental in the rescue and sale of Bear-Stearns in 2008, and the
subsequent bailouts that followed at the end of the Bush
Administration and the beginning of the Obama Administration.
d. Currently serving as the Secretary of the Treasury under President

Early in my career as an executive, I was advised by a young and highly principled attorney that if one is to maintain his character, he must not just avoid anything that would lead to self-serving compromise, but one must judiciously avoid anything that might have the “appearance” of compromise. That is a piece of advice I never forgot, and which I believe to be as poignant today as it was then. Sadly, to use a popular cliché, “we have moved on,” and no longer seem to place much stock in that bit of wisdom. We think nothing of committing infractions against the principles that define our character. We are the poorer for it.

If the characters I have profiled above don’t meet the test of “appearance,’ then I would ask, “What does?“ Moreover, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that their histories rise to the level of outright collusion, compromise and conflicts of interest.

I still hold out faint hope that we can somehow rescue ourselves from the dismal future staring us in the face. However, only by revisiting those principles and standards of character that once guided us in the conduct of our personal, business and public lives can we begin to turn the tide on our looming national demise. But, I don’t think we can find the rubrics upon which to build a better government among the remnants of our major political parties or within the halls of government as they currently exist. That can only come about through a new political party, dedicated to honesty and integrity in our system of government and those who serve us, and that doesn‘t shy away from perseverance and hard work.

We need a real leader that will embody the courage, decency, honesty, and integrity this nation is crying out for, with a cadre of dedicated people to make it happen, from the grass roots all the way to the top. Once those few are identified, then comes the question as to whether they want to take on such a Herculean task and the many personal sacrifices it will require. That is the stuff of heroes.

We have a few gutsy people in public service, some of whom might fit the bill. There are others out in the hinterland who might, also, be viable. That quest is probably better left to younger and better minds. The entrenched old dogs cannot be trusted with such an arduous and noble endeavor. They blew the opportunity a long, long time ago.

Whoever dares to flirt with such a venture must, of necessity, reflect on what it means to be a person of integrity sufficient to transcend being just a politician and a member in good standing with the “Old Boys Club.” His/her aspirations must ascend to a higher level that is characteristic of statesmanship and, yes, that of a real leader.

Before we go anywhere, we need to accept that we, as members of the human race, are inherently flawed. If we are to be guided by our better angels, then we must be mindful of our proclivity to fall from time to time, and not tolerate or rationalize those human frailties that mitigate against our aspirations to be good and decent people in every aspect of our lives. Self-discipline is the first canon of that endeavor. Character is lost when we deny our own foibles. It is regained when we acknowledge our imperfections and set ourselves to the task of righting the wrongs of the past.

Barry’s mantra of “Change We Can Believe In,” rings rather hollow against the backdrop of the social and economic wasteland started by Reagan and continuing unabated up to and including the incumbent resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Somehow, the credo that “Vice Is Nice, But Incest Is Best,” seems more befitting of that unholy alliance.

At the end of the day, as was once so aptly stated by some prominent mind, the name of which escapes me, says it all. “The evil that men do shall proffer so long as good men do nothing.” It is up to the collective “us” to change the direction of this country for the benefit of everyone and not just the select few who have ordained themselves the elite and privileged over the masses among us. A two-class society just isn’t in keeping with our American traditions.

If we remain complacent, quivering like a bunch of dogs passing peach seeds, the bad guys will win and we will lose. Do we really want to go down that road? I don’t think so.

Cowboy Bob
January 8, 2011