Friday, April 22, 2011

"Barack Had a Ball"

If there is one human attribute that trumps all others, in my opinion, it rests with those who have a healthy respect for and a personal commitment to truth. I regard David Michael Green as one of those rare individuals. A bit of Wyoming wisdom that was passed on to me more years ago than I care to remember is “Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear; tell me what you think I need to hear.” I think DMG holds true to those words. His writing is pure genius. He may seem, at times, a bit cynical but, “within the breast of every cynic beats the heart of an idealist.”

Again, David, thanks.

Cowboy Bob
April 18, 2011


“Barack Had a Ball”

The old Obama reappeared this week.
Well, sorta, anyhow.

He gave a speech that liberals could find inspiring.
Again, sorta. And only if you don’t pay attention to a few gigantic caveats.

Let’s come back to that. First, though, the good news. The president got closer than he has in a very long to time to drawing serious lines of distinction between two very different approaches to the social compact in American society. This is work he has desperately needed to do these last two years, and work that has been wholly lacking from this most anemic of presidencies. When I and others criticize Obama for failing to present to the American people an overarching narrative that helps to define for us where the battle lines are drawn, who the good and bad guys are, and what we should believe in and fight for, this is what we critics are talking about. The absence of this narrative (and the gaping vacuum that absence has created for others to fill) is one of the main reasons that this presidency has failed so miserably.

Of course, the deeper problem may well be that such a clarion call is lacking from the president because any underlying convictions of that sort are equally absent. Every meaningful indicator suggests that if you pull back the facade of the anti-war, minority, young, community organizer Democrat, what you get are the politics of Dick Cheney, and sometimes worse.

But apart from that most serious of problems, Obama has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the office he occupies. Even with all the power he has to push buttons that would destroy the planet, and even with all the millions of people who work underneath him in the federal government, and even with his trusty veto pen, any president’s greatest weapon in a system of separated powers is the bully pulpit. This soapbox is crucial not only for purposes of persuasion, but also for the deeper task of framing (which does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to persuading, anyhow). A smart and effective president gets what he wants by using the bully pulpit to set the agenda of what is debated, by framing how issues are perceived (to use the classic example – is it an ‘estate tax’ or a ‘death tax’?), by selling the public on his position regarding the issue, and then by persuading them to demand that Congress get on-board.

This president almost never does any of that. Worse, he sits by passively while others do exactly that sort of work instead, on their terms. The full measure of Obama’s failures in this respect can be taken by the sheer outrageousness of what Republicans get away with saying. If Harry Truman was in the White House, there’d be no death panel bullshit or birthers, and anyone stupid enough to talk that smack at the president’s expense would pay the heavy burden of being ridiculed for the drooling imbeciles they absolutely are. If FDR was president, we’d be sufficiently reminded that the same kleptocratic elite who crashed the global economy in order to steal from the vast majority of Americans should not be given remotely serious consideration with regard to anything they say (indeed, they should count their blessings just to be on the happy side of prison walls), especially when these thieves call for more of the exact same policies.

Ah, but that was back when Democrats were Democrats. We, instead, get Barack Obama.
Still, for those of us who have so much lamented the absence of political courage in this president, he appears to have taken a step in the right direction this week. A step. Nobody should get overexcited here. You wouldn’t exactly say that his speech showed balls. Well, maybe one. Or two-thirds, perhaps, rounded up to one. In any case it’s fair to say that this week, finally, Barack had a ball.

Or so it appeared, when the president actually went so far as to do the vision thing in his speech. Here’s the key excerpt, where he discussed the Republican plans for America’s future: “Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can’t afford to invest in education or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that’s who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m president. The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know. The America I know is generous and compassionate; a land of opportunity and optimism. We take responsibility for ourselves and each other, for the country we want and the future we share. We are the nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI bill and saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives.”

Oh look, America. It lives! Finally the president speaks out about something. Finally he portrays a contrast between the forces of darkness and the rest of us. Finally he draws a line in the sand. Finally he awakens from his long slumber.

Well, like I said. Sorta. I despise Obama and feel passionately that he has betrayed the country. That said, I’ll give him (or even Sarah Palin) credit for getting it right when they do, should that miraculously happen. I do that because my biggest loyalty is to something grossly missing from American politics, and that is a little dose of honesty. So give the president his due for what he did. But while we’re at it, let’s also recognize this for what it is – and what it isn’t – in all its full glory.

The most important single observation to make about this speech is that the president has lost before he’s begun – his newfound willingness to make (mostly oblique) contrasts, notwithstanding. Or, more accurately, it is we who have lost before he’s begun. Anyhow, this is pure Obama. Yield, yield, yield. Then go into negotiations with vicious thugs where – shockingly – you wind up yielding more. That the president could end up in such a position on this particular issue is the most astounding example of this pattern yet. Have we really forgotten, already, who made this mountain of debt, which is now presented by the very same people as the implacable imperative requiring us to slash social spending? Was it liberals who insisted on tax cuts for the wealthy these last thirty years, saying it would raise federal revenues? Was it liberals who decided to invade Iraq on the basis of lies, and not pay for a nickel of those trillions spent with increased taxes or spending cuts? Was it progressives who created a needlessly overly-expensive new prescription drug benefit? Was it liberals who blew the doors off of domestic boondoggle spending when they controlled Congress last decade? Was it liberals who deregulated the finance industry, then bailed Wall Street bankers out one hundred pennies on the dollar after they imploded the global economy? Was it progressives who funneled hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies to giant oil and agricultural corporations? Was it liberals who massively expanded spending on so-called national defense, even though the US has no serious national enemies anywhere on the planet?

No, it was not. It was the exact same set of freaks and monsters who now demand that we must push poor and elderly Americans into the gutter, because the effects of their policies have now drowned us in an ocean of debt, and so that we can do even more of all of the above. It doesn’t get more obvious than this. The point is, if you can’t negotiate from strength on this issue, you can’t negotiate from strength, period. Need I say more about this president?

But negotiating to win appears to be the last thing on Obama’s mind, anyhow. I’m not the first armchair psychologist to note that the guy seems to prize being liked above all other virtues, quite literally including among those others the health and welfare of the nation, a responsibility which he himself sought. And he desperately seeks this social approval even when the people whose kind feelings he covets are spitting in his face, and rolling him, and trouncing him in elections by saying the most outrageous things about him personally, and – most importantly – not at all liking him at the end of the day, despite his very best efforts.

You could see Obama’s craving for acceptance in the content of this speech, and in what he left out. When he talked about how things had gone wrong in the past, he didn’t name names, leaving listeners to believe the Great Republican Lie that everyone is equally culpable. Or even worse, that theirs is, as they claim, the party of fiscal responsibility – a lie of astonishing proportions. You could see it when Obama was delivering the toughest lines of his speech. He kept doing this strange thing with his mouth and chin that made it look very much like he was in pain getting out those words. And you could tell by how he ad-libbed – both what he included, and what he omitted. At one point, he was supposed to say “Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security out of a fear that any talk of change to these programs will usher in the sort of radical steps that House Republicans have proposed”. And he did say that. It’s just that he dropped the word “radical” when he delivered the line. At another point, he spontaneously added the following to the prepared text: “And even those Republicans I disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions, but I truly believe they want to do the right thing”.

The guy obviously has a hard time confronting people. Which is fine with me, if that’s how he wants to run his personal life. I don’t care if Michelle makes him dress up in a Bozo the Clown costume and rides him like a pony in the East Room, and he’s too wimpy to object. That’s up to him. But I’m not okay with Mr. Happy for my president. I don’t want Tom Hanks in the White House, man, I want George Foreman. Or, as former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos once put it, I want somebody “with a Peace Corps heart and linebacker eyes”. I can’t tell whether Obama has any sort of heart at all, but if he does, it’s a Wall Street heart. And as for the rest of his anatomy, I don’t think he’s quite pro football material, do you? Do they take people with cupcake eyes in the NFL?

Obama’s ad-libbed statement is telling in another crucial respect, as well. I don’t know if he really believes that ridiculous shit he mouthed about “those Republicans I disagree with most strongly”, but if he does we are in such a major world of hurt. I’m sorry, Barack, but John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and George Bush and Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and the rest of that ugly crew – they’re not sincere patriots who really want to do right for the people of America, but who just happen to have a bit of a different vision than most folks do. That particular lie – almost the biggest in the entirely of American politics, a sport with more lies than an endless-loop video of a marathon golf tournament – is such a huge part of our problem, and such a big chunk of the explanation as to why this country is in the state it’s in. These are not patriots, Fool. These are predators. If heroin dealers wrapped themselves in the flag, would you “truly believe they want to do the right thing”? If Hitler belted out the Star Spangled Banner right before the Battle of the Bulge, would you have believed he was “sincere about wanting to do right” by America? Y’know, I could very well be the world’s worst poker player that ever lived, but by god almighty I’d like to sit across the table from this guy for half an hour. Meanwhile, if we have any hope of saving this country, it’s got to start with some truth in advertising. Difficult as it might be for certain Harvard graduates to comprehend, kleptocratic sociopathic marionette politicians crushing the American public by ruthlessly doing the bidding of an insanely greedy corporate oligarchy are not exactly what you’d call patriots. Is it too much to demand a president who can sort out something that basic?

Obama was also vague in offering his supposed alternative to the Republican plan. You can see that, especially in the way he contradicted himself regarding one of the cheapest ploys commonly used by Washington politicians. He rightly pointed out that “Because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices”. Good point, Barack. The old “waste and fraud” ruse is as tedious as it is unfortunately effective. But how is that you then, later in the very same speech, tell us that “Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.”? Or that “We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments” in healthcare? Isn’t this precisely the sort of nonsense you just got done criticizing others for doing?

Obama also throws out grandiose vagaries like this one about the cost of the US military, saying we need to: “conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world”. Really? Let’s me see here now. You’re two-and-a-half years into your presidency, your fighting that same number of meaningless wars abroad, your country is drowning in debt, and you’re just now figuring out that we need to rethink the bloody empire? And you’re proposing that some unspecified person is to begin this process, somehow or another, at some unknown future date? Maybe it’ll be like the Deficit Commission Obama created. He put the truly scary Alan Simpson in charge of that abortion. Given that George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense is also serving as Obama’s Secretary of Defense, I wonder how this would turn out. And when. After years – years, not months – of being a senator, running for the presidency and being the president, couldn’t we expect somebody to be able to articulate a real plan here?

There are gigantic opportunities sitting there for anyone who genuinely would want to chop federal spending. Opportunities that would not only permit real benefits to the country, and would not only be popular with the public, but would represent incredibly astute politics, forcing the Republicans to defend the worst monsters on the landscape, and forcing them to twist themselves into gruesome pretzels, indulging in the worst forms of overt and high comedic hypocrisy. We’re not talking about low-hanging fruit here, people. We’re talking about peaches, pears and plums that have been picked, cleaned, shipped, purchased, sliced and delivered to the president’s dining room table, sitting there in his expensive china fruit salad bowl that Nancy Reagan bought. Can we not agree to end massive taxpayer subsides to giant corporations making record profits? Can we not agree to have a genuine minimum tax for all well-to-do individuals and corporations, so that GE can’t make $17 billion in profit and still wind up being owed money by the US treasury? Can we not agree to end tax incentives for exporting American jobs overseas? And wouldn’t it look really embarrassing to oppose any of these initiatives? I mean, come on.

And then there’s the whole tough guy routine. Even when Obama says stuff like, “But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.”, or, “In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.” – even when he talks tough like that, does anyone, especially Republicans, take this guy seriously? Isn’t he the guy who said he’d for sure close Guantánamo? And who wanted the public option? Why doesn’t he think Republicans will try the same game of chicken with him on tax cuts for the wealthy that they did last time? And why should we expect that the Capitulation Kid will have a better solution to their gambit than he did last time? And if he does have one, why didn’t he freakin’ whip it out in December? Face it, nobody folds like Obama. He’s the origami president.

Which means that I’ve given up believing his pretty words in speeches like this. Indeed, I suspect that this speech is actually just a bunch of pretty words meant to bring people like me back into the fold. People whom Obama will need a year from now, especially if jobs do not reappear, and if the GOP nominates Twit Romney, who then makes a case to a credulous and bleeding public that he’s got the ol’ private-sector-jobs-creating-know-how-magic in his fingers (you know, just like the kind that the ridiculously flush private sector is using right now, as we speak, to not create jobs). Obama knows he will be vulnerable in 2012, and he needs to bring his base back home, after two-and-a-half years bitch-slapping us with all the regularity of German train schedules, and some of the politics too.

This was not a real speech about progressive values. This was not the resurrection of Harry Truman, a fighter battling for the public interest, a pugilist willing to name names and bloody faces.

This was a campaign speech.

And even if it wasn’t, it is the measure of Obama’s abysmal presidency that people like me believe that it was.

David Michael Green
Professor of Political Science
Hofstra University
Long Island, New York

April 18, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Bill Clinton: President of the World? Hardly"

I am a great believer in authenticity. Being real is very important to me, both personally and in my associations with others. I find being less than forthright cause for caution, and I have been right most of the time. Contemporary Americans, in particular, have mastered the art of socially acceptable bullshit. Everyone knows the game is being played, but no one really gives a damn. It is all part of being “in” these days.

Since corporations bought up all of the major news outlets in the country, journalists in their service have morphed from rugged, independent seekers of the truth to major and minor celebrities in the social swirl of high society and politics. They create and maintain a persona the masks any clear understanding of the real person behind the façade. Affectation has supplanted articulation. No one does affectation quite as well as George Will, Peggy Noonan and Kelly O’Donnell. The syrup almost drips from the ends of their tongues as they treat us to the sheer ecstasy of their prognostications. What would we do without them?

Basic human honesty used to be the standard by which we were judged in the course of our personal and professional conduct. But, hey, that has all become rather passé wouldn’t you say? It just doesn’t play as well as the persona we want to reflect to the world. Media journalists are now “stars” which we dutifully devour. Personalities and images are created and changed on a whim. What is “in” today is “out” tomorrow.

Major excursions into the world of fame and fortune usually require more skilled methods. Hence, the “sanitization” of one’s past in order to transform them into a paragon of virtue for today’s consumption. I don’t think anyone has managed to pull this off quite as well as Chris Matthews on MSNBC and Bill Clinton, recently of the Presidency. Both are very good at it and, coincidentally, have been quite successful at making the transition to an image much more akin to that of real celebrity and change agent.

Chris Matthews managed to do an evisceration of Phil Donohue who, at the time, was the top-rated talk show host on cable television. Chris wanted his job and set himself to the task of making it happen. In a mere twinkling of brutal personal and professional ambition, Phil was history and Chris was the rising star of cable television news. If you watch him closely, he just can’t quite resist the temptation to flaunt his newly acquired status of “star.” He is rude to his guests and interrupts them at will. He is opinionated and dogmatic. In the latest promo for his show, he is shown being primped by underlings as he prepares to face yet another news spectacular for the viewing enjoyment of his many followers. He recently let it be known, on air, that he lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland. How is that for a cardinal dose of humility? “Look at me, I made it!” ‘I am a star!” That is about as megalomaniacal as one can get. Take heart, Phil. You still get the award for being a real professional and a gentlemen, and that no one can take from you.

Recently, and not surprising, Chris Matthews featured an hour-long special on MSNBC titled, “Bill Clinton: President of the World.” It had to be one of the pre-eminent cleansings of a tarnished image as one can get, and skillfully done by one who shares a common past in that regard. For people at my stage of life, Bill Clinton is recent history. He is what he is and no amount of time and effort can erase that. His time in the White House had to be one of the most sordid and base presidencies of my lifetime. He carried out his sexual escapades with little or no shame. He lied under oath about those exploits and embarrassed his family in the process. Was he contrite? He tried to make it look as if he was, but I don’t buy into that. Once the dust began to settle, he announced to the world that he was going to seek counseling from members of the religious community in order to overcome the temptations of the flesh. So long as that ploy seemed to play reasonably well he remained true to the pursuit. When the lights began to fade on that one, he shifted his sights to other more pressing and rewarding matters.

Bill Clinton left one of the largest financial surpluses and created more jobs during his last term than any President in recent history. For that, alone, he still receives praise and adoration for being such a wonder-boy in the Oval Office. However, scant attention is paid to his even more glaring accomplishment on his way out the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He colluded with Phil Gramm, (Republican and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs), Robert Rubin (Secretary of the Treasury), Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan and a whole host of other major and minor rogue participants in the total deregulation of the financial industries. This succeeded in making them all darlings to the biggest vultures on Wall Street, all of which laid the foundation for the collapse of our entire economy at the end of George W. Bush’s last term in office. You have to go some to top that, but to hold Bill Clinton to account for that one is just too gauche. So, instead, the spin-doctors set themselves to the task of polishing his image so the populace-at-large would soon forget what a reprobate he really is. It worked. How come we never hear about this?

Since leaving office, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, whose disdain for each other was palpable at the beginning of Clinton’s first term, have now become bosom buddies.
They now head up a foundation for doing all kinds of good deeds around the world, in between excursions to some of the finest golf courses in the world. Then there is that murky venture of Bill’s into Haitian politics that resulted in the exile of Bertrand Aristide to South Africa. Big business interests in the U.S. are reputed to have been most unhappy about the prospect of Aristide raising the minimum wage from 25 cents per hour to 61 cents per hour. But, Billy Boy came to the rescue, snatched success from the jaws of defeat, thus saving the Haitians from anything remotely associated with a higher standard of living. How come we never hear about this?

Conspiracy theories have always bothered me, but I cannot help but wonder how the closeness came about between Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. For me, it seems like a stretch for it to be taken as coincidental. What follows is only conjecture but it seems logical to me.

I don’t believe it was happenstance that Bill Clinton set a banquet table with the largest budget surplus in history just for the sake of enhancing his presidential reputation. Rather, I believe it was the prelude to what was to follow.

I would not be the least bit surprised to hear that Bill Clinton profited handsomely from his deregulation of the financial industries and gutting the Glass-Steagall Act. If truth be known, his personal wealth was probably enhanced immeasurably from his participation in that wholesale plundering of our national treasury. You just don’t do what he did with some form of recompense. Interestingly, Chelsea is now a hedge fund manager on Wall Street. That position just happens to be one of the highest paid positions in our economy. It has been recently reported that what “hedge fund gamblers,“ earn in one hour is 47 times as much as a middle-class household makes in over 47 years! (Les Leopold, AlterNet 4-11-2011). Now, I don’t know how much the prodigy of Bill and Hillary is making but, given the proclivity of that illustrious family, I rather suspect she is far from even being close to the bottom rung on that particular chart of comparisons.

Now, permit me to digress to the issue of Barack Obama. I don’t believe he just happened to appear on the national scene by some twist of fate. Rather, I suspect his introduction to the American people at the 2004 national convention of the Democratic Party was a trial balloon sent aloft by the wealthy and influential of this country. He was put on the program to see how well he would represent them later on the career path they had already laid out for him. Following his barnburner of oratorical talents on that occasion, his mentors must have been ecstatic beyond their wildest dreams. He could have left no doubt in their minds that he was the boy who would serve them well in the years to come, all at the expense of the common people of this country. Bill provided the feast and Barack led the rapacious appetites of the greedy to the table that had been set for them.

Doesn’t it seem a bit incredulous not to question the stampede of talent from the former Clinton Administration into key positions within the Obama Administration; with replacements by Clinton protégés waiting in the wings should an incumbent decide to leave? If you notice, they always occupy key positions having a strong relationship to Wall Street and related financial interests. You might, also, take note of the number of campaign promises that have been summarily ignored by Mr. Obama. Then, of course, there are his many other talents, not the least of which is the ability to talk out of both sides of this mouth, and the ability to strike deals behind closed doors with those who should properly be perceived as adversaries of his particular political persuasion? He is a marvelous surrogate to those in positions of real power.

That Barack Obama actually won the nomination for President at the 2008 Democratic National Convention still remains a mystery to me. Was he the chosen one should Hillary lose in the primaries, and was he to be the back up if Hillary won? That will forever remain an unanswered question in my mind. I just find it difficult to believe it was a string of random events.

Kudos to the image makers and the mainstream news media for their attempts at sanitizing them and to make them the darlings of the media they want us to see and believe.

Bill Clinton: President of the World? Hardly. Barack Obama: a “real” Democrat in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? I don’t think so.

Cowboy Bob
April 18, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

“Beware Charlatans Espousing Wisdom”

I cannot recall a time, in my three score and ten plus years of treading the sod, when I have been witness to the utterly obscene and calloused posturing of Congress and the White House regarding the current budget crisis. Their blatant corruption and total disregard for the virtue of honesty and a modicum of compassion for those who are suffering at the hands of a system that has summarily dismissed their value in society is about as vulgar as it gets.

We keep having it pounded into our senses that we are facing a massive problem of “government spending” but, typical of the congenital inability of conservatives to be the least bit forthcoming about their real motives, they leave out any mention of the massive impact of the recent extension of the “Bush” tax cuts for those at the top of our national pyramid of massive wealth. Hey folks, you don’t have to be an Ivy League Economist to come to the conclusion that the problem is not spending! It is a problem of revenue! If the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share for the privilege of living in a civil society, we wouldn’t be having this shameful prostitution of truth and its attendant rape of the very foundations of common human decency. We are, once again, reminded of the historical fact that the gluttony and insatiable greed of wealth knows no limits, and they can be counted on to destroy everything and everyone that gets in the way of their pursuits. That has always been the case and I would make book on the fact that it will never change. That is ingrained in the very make-up of predatory animals of every kind.

The countenance and deceptive nature of those professing to be “conservatives” under various labels, be they Republicans or Tea Party loyalists, is eerily similar to those who rose from the economic ashes of Germany that produced one of history’s greatest despots; Adolph Hitler. As he began his meteoric rise to power, he had no trouble garnering the support of the wealthy elite and the industrialists of his time. They were some of his most devout followers, but the ones who were his most obvious and vocal followers were those who completely abdicated any responsibility for critical thought, hearing what they wanted to hear, and believing what they wanted to believe, rather than what was glaringly truthful. They had no trouble marginalizing everyone deemed to be “inferior” and “undesirable” by the Third Reich and the evil genius of the propaganda machine of Joseph Gobbles. They were the ones who stripped people of their individual and civil rights for the greater glory of “The Fatherland.” They are the ones who fully supported, but disavowed any knowledge of the death camps and the trains to hell that took their disenfranchised and defenseless victims to death camps spread across the face of Eastern Europe. Kind of reminds us of what is going on in the Midwest in assaulting the rights of workers. They continue their relentless ability to twist and distort truth thinking that we will be so naïve as to actually believe they give a damn about creating jobs and a healthy economy for the Middle Class and working people of this country. What they and their wealthy benefactors never seem to realize is that genuine respect and support are earned phenomena. The essential difference between those who have the power of great wealth and those who covet that power is that the latter is just another commodity to be purchased in order to get the job done. Those who serve wealth are nothing more than the hired help. As Adolph Eichman, who masterminded the elaborate train system that fed the ovens of the death camps, so matter-of-factly stated in his defense at his trial as a war criminal, “I was just following orders.”

At the end of the day, I see little to differentiate the zealots of those who wore the swastika with pride and those who have infected our institutions of government. They actually believe they are imbued with altruistic motives and the pursuit of ideals that boil down (in their most simplistic terms) to; lower taxes and smaller government. In today’s increasingly complex world, that just doesn’t wash. One has to be the accomplished liar that most of them demonstrate themselves to be in order to convince one’s self and an unsuspecting cadre of simple minds that their words and philosophies are divinely inspired.

Have you ever noticed that the ranks of the “fundamentalists,” are laced with a toxic dose of self-righteousness that dispels any notion of fallibility? A goodly number of them are skilled at quoting the Bible and making biblical reference to points of view that play to their devious and dark agendas. Do they ever remotely consider, for just a fleeting moment, that what they espouse just might border on heresy? Any attempt to engage in introspective analysis in order to explain what makes them tick would probably terrify the hell out of most of them. Bible thumpers can be dangerous.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

“Whatever you do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Jesus Christ)

Beware charlatans espousing wisdom. (Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann take note.)

Cowboy Bob
April 8, 2011