Monday, June 25, 2012

“Freedom Taken to the Extreme Becomes the Barbaric State: Welcome to America!”

I cannot recall a time in my life when I have been witness to such an intellectual wasteland or the numbing of the human mind as has been set before us by the need for the American people to be passively entertained and the conscious choice to live in a state of self-imposed ignorance.  That is not only pathetic, it is an indictment of what we could and should be as a people.  Has not the time come for us to revisit the joys of original thought and dismiss the trite and meaningless nonsense that we accept as “fun,” and pursue with such vigor?  

Permit me to list just a few of what we have incorporated into our daily lives. 

·        We willingly allow the oligarchs and those who serve as their minions in government and industry to pillage and plunder the wealth of the nation for their own benefit by fostering subservience from the very systems that should be there to serve the needs and interests of the people of the United States.  They own and control every branch and agency of our government, minimize and denigrate any actions that may be taken for the benefit and welfare of the citizens of this country in favor of reducing their obligations to society and reducing the needs of the broader social order.  The rich just get richer and the poor get even poorer.  That is the new mantra of what we have become.  If that is not really what we want for this country, then why in the world don’t we change the system, and reign in the excesses they claim and which are fostered by those elected to serve us, the people?  They pollute our environment at will while dismissing the warnings of science and the perils to come by their blatant greed at the expense of the planet.       
·        We have completely abandoned any notion that we, the people, have a solemn duty and responsibility to hold our government accountable to us for what they do for us and to us because they have set themselves above the law and the will of the people.

·        We have allowed Bill “Fellatio” Clinton, Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Alan Greenspan to deregulate major financial interests in order to favor bankers, financiers and hedge fund managers at the expense of the American people and the viability of the financial institutions put there to better serve the body politic.

·        The Obama Administration bailed out renegade banks and other financial institutions at the expense of the taxpayers and at reduced rates of interest, for problems they, not we, created!  Moreover, he tacitly gave his approval for the massive and sustained “interest free loans” to failed banks by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. 

·        The Obama Administration has favored reduced rates on income tax and other forms of taxation for wealthy benefactors, the movement of offshore funds in order to reduce their tax liabilities and has favored big business, corporate capitalists and other entrepreneurs to further reduce their tax rates while the average American has labored to meet their tax obligations. 

·        The Obama Administration has favored big energy companies, free trade agreements and other forms of subsidies to various industrial enterprises, again at the expense of the average American.    

·        We revere and defer to the military and intelligence services as if they were royalty and touched by the hand of God.  To question them and their motives is almost an affront to the sanctity of all they profess to be and do for our collective benefit.  Sez who?

·        We have bought into the “privatization” of every conceivable kind of public service as inherently good, less expensive and far superior to anything that might accrue to our benefit by the efforts and work of public servants.  If so, why are the hucksters of the business and financial worlds in such a hurry to tap into that lucrative cornucopia of profit and greater wealth?  That just doesn’t compute. 
·        Why do we tolerate the massive cost of benefits and the loss of valuable time by our legislators so they can spend their time courting the favor of lobbyists, and taking vacations and excursions of various kinds at taxpayer expense?  While the “working” Americans and lower paid workers envy the perks they so freely flaunt, they turn a blind eye and go for even more.

·        Why do our elected government officials acquiesce to one-sided actions such as Citizens United by the Supreme Court, all for the benefit of those who claim their divine right of superiority to rig elections and the financing of those elections for the rich and famous so they can buy votes and the attendant benefits for the benefit of their insatiable greed and material gains?

·        Why is there such disparity in the funding of unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, student loan relief, etc. by the renegades sitting in the halls of the House and the Senate vs. what should be given to help all of those seeking honest jobs and bearing the responsibility for supporting their families with a living wage? 

From my perspective, our society has degenerated to a level where anything goes and we are not embarrassed or shamed by anything.  We are mesmerized by electronic gadgets that enable us to stare blankly into a hand-held device in order to “communicate” with others without ever having to talk, and to be passively entertained by every conceivable kind of titillating pleasure known to mankind.  How are we any better by ogling at girls with skirts up to the cheeks of their bottoms, the bare-chested and tight crotches of men’s clothing, and the use of gutter language as they emulate those who have managed to peddle that nonsense?  Do we really care to listen to a prolonged discussion about the private parts of human anatomy and the role those we are watching play in the entire scenario?  What does all that do for our sense of common decency and what sets us above the sewers from which it comes? 

We are a people who seem to find it attractive to use acronyms and other forms of abbreviated speech rather than proper language in order to carry on conversations.  We attach meanings to abbreviated forms of speech and react as if they were somehow subversive or vulgar, and convey some sort of disdain or prejudice by their very use. 

What comes to your mind when you hear the terms “Working American,” “Middle Class,” “Service Employee,” “Domestic Worker,” “Manual Laborer,” etc.?  Is there not more dignity to being a “Working American” than that of a “Senator,” “a Congressman,” a Consultant?  Where the former earns an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, the other earns his/hers by peddling knowledge of dubious value or by letting us know that he/she steals and deceives (with aplomb) for a living rather than stooping to that of a mere laborer.  Who are the more respectable and more noble in all this?   

What comes to your mind when you hear terms such as “Ivy League,” “San Jose State College,” “Junior College,” “Stanford University,” etc.  Does one strike you as superior or inferior to one of the others?  What does that say about you?

What makes a scion of Silicon Valley more valuable and respectable than someone who can fix your car, or build your house, or manage a cattle or sheep ranch, or serve you a well prepared hamburger in a fast food restaurant?  One works for a living and the other peddles technical expertise of a dubious value to society in general.  Both serve us in special ways and both are essential to a balanced life for all of us.  Why do we revere one more because he/she has money and the other is just a “working person?”

The nomenclatures we use by the names we attach to political parties convey a great deal about us and how we view those we put in public office.  What is the essential difference between a Republican and a Democrat?  Both are accomplished thieves and peddlers of all sorts of deception and manipulation that most decent people would find offensive. 

Did you know that the Presidential Debates to which we are subjected every four plus years are limited only to those who are candidates for the Office of President from the Democratic and Republican Parties?  Did it ever occur to you that is tantamount to a two-party political system to which we, the voters, are expected to subscribe?  Who deemed it a two-party political system to the exclusion of every other qualified candidate who may be seeking that office?  Why should the candidates from the Green Party, the Justice Party and the Freedom Party all be barred from participating in those discourses.  Might we, the voters, not learn a great deal more about who could and would serve us most effectively if we could hear their answers to the important and salient questions having to do with their occupancy of the Office of the President?  I would think so. 

Who deemed it appropriate that we should only have a limited number of political parties for any and all of our elections for public office?  I have never read where it was codified as the only option we were to have and, frankly, I think we (and the country) are the poorer for it.      

We Americans seem to have an ingrained disdain for any political party with the term “social” or “socialist” associated with it.  Somehow those terms connote some sort of subversive element that would surely undermine the purity and sanctity of what we currently have. 

For most of my life I labored by declaring my party of choice as the Republican Party.  With time and enlightenment, I came to my senses and shifted to the Democratic Party.  My greatest joy in that move was to have had the privilege of meeting John F. Kennedy.  I have had my moments with that political party, as well.  That discomfort has been largely created by the notion that, somehow, both of those political parties were more “American,” than others.  I no longer harbor that illusion. 

I now pride myself in being a “Social Democrat.”  A “Social Democracy” is defined as “a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.”  That suggests to me that we have not done a very good job of using the proper nomenclature in the use of such terms and how they might apply to the greater society at large.  If the largest segment of our society is that of the “working” or “middle” classes, does that not suggest also, the greatest segment of our population is a social class?  If that is the pre-eminent class, then it seems logical for that class to be occupied by those who claim membership in the largest group of people dedicated to the health and welfare of society.  That being the case, then why should we be limited to just Democratic, Republican, Green, Freedom, and Justice Parties, all of which are minority parties.  Why should we not have a “Social Democratic” party that embraces the largest majority of voters having the greatest vested interest in a political establishment that would serve the greatest number of citizens?  It would seem to me that the Scandinavian countries have proven the case rather well.  What is to be gained by re-inventing the wheel?    

Moreover, why should any minority party control the institutions of government more than any other political party?  Would it not be more reasonable and logical for a socialist democratic party to represent the greatest potential number of voters in a system that is, ostensibly, there to serve all of the people?       
It seems to me that we could make a good start by revisiting the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, going back to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by putting back into place the safeguards that were so wisely incorporated into our way of life.  We could start with a “free and unfettered press,” followed by well-regulated corporations, an impartial judicial system that served us all, equally. 

We should, and could, clean up the mess we have so we are a real democracy that we can all take pride in and have confidence in to ensure we are all, indeed, “equal under the law.”

Frankly, I am tired of the games our political, commercial, intelligence and military establishment play with us and the persistent wondering if we, the people, really are in control and are being heard, or if we are little more than sheep waiting to be led to the slaughter.

Aren’t you?

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

September 2, 2014    


Monday, June 18, 2012

"Isn't It Time For Change We Can All Believe In?"

I don’t know about most folks, but the more we get into this election cycle the more I am convinced that common decency has no place in this contest. It is whatever the traffic will bear. Whoever can garner the most money and tell the biggest lies seems to fare better in the polls. Make no mistake about it; it is the goal of big money, big business and the Republican Party to convert our democracy into a two-class society as quickly and as completely as possible. Their goal is two-tiered; those who have the most vs. those who have the least. No amount of lying, unadulterated bull crap and impugning the integrity of their opponents will change that inescapable fact. When and if they win this next election, you can bet we will bear witness to the most ruthless destruction of this democracy and the working class that one could possibly imagine. Regardless of the campaign rhetoric, there will not be one modicum of mercy for those who find themselves at or near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Hard times? We haven’t seen anything yet.

So as not to belabor this too much, let me briefly list a few of the issues that have managed to get my hackles up.

1. Despite the efforts of the news media to burnish his image, at the end of his last term in office, Bill Clinton joined forces with Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and other august members of the “club” to deregulate financial industries, kill Glass-Steagall and open the flood gates to the predators of Wall Street. Clearly, that set the stage for the crash of 2007 – 2008. Bill Clinton should own up to that and take responsibility. Time and money doesn’t change things. He is what he is.

2. Barack Obama had hardly found his way to the nearest restroom in the White House, when he began his wholesale importation of every sullied and questionable player that ever served in Bill Clinton’s Administration. I am still not sure whether they were brought in to teach the fledgling President on how the “big boys” successfully played the game or whether they were there to ensure continuity from the Clinton Administration to the Obama Administration. Either way, I regard that as a strategic error in good judgment.

3. The adoration and love-fest notwithstanding, Barack Obama wasted little time before he began his wholesale shredding of practically every campaign promise he made.

a. Not one single banker on Wall Street has been indicted for his role in the collapse of the financial markets. In the depths of the biggest recession since the Great Depression, he recently and publicly extolled the virtues of J.P. Morgan Chase and its CEO, Jaime Dimon. Whose side is this guy on?

b. Not one mortgage company official has been indicted for his role in the collapse of the housing market, a major piece of the economic Titanic that is still listing to starboard.

c. No effort has been made to level the playing field with China on trade and currency manipulation. All one need do is to compare the state of their infrastructure to ours.

d. He sold out the American working class, contrary to his promise to right the wrongs inherent in free-trade agreements negotiated and supported by the Clinton Administration.

e. Much to the detriment of American workers, he has expanded trade agreements and has undercut American business by acquiescing to foreign interests at the peril of our own economy.

f. He failed to even make a weak attempt to honor his commitment to a single-payer option for healthcare insurance.

g. He failed to honor his commitment that would have required drug companies to negotiate with the government on the cost of prescription drugs.

h. He failed to show anything but token support for environmental programs and safeguards.

i. He failed to hold British Petroleum to account for the disastrous rupture of their deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico. If one were so naïve as to believe what is being peddled, you would think the Gulf was our modern-day Shangri-La of milk and honey.

j. He has shrouded the Executive Branch in far too much secrecy, extending its cover to issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay, whistleblowers, etc. His rhetoric on the merits of and advocacy for “transparency” rings hollow.

k. His penchant for “secret” or “private” meetings with adversaries acting contrary to the best interests of the American people raise serious questions as to whose side he is on.

l. His token support for minority interests leads one to believe that he really isn’t solidly behind those efforts.

This could go on ad nauseam, but I believe the point has been made. To say that he is disingenuous is, at best, an understatement.

His penchant for compromise and capitulation to the opposition belies any notion of sincerity in his oratorical ability and casts a shadow on his leadership skills. President Obama may be a “facilitator,” but he is no leader. That requires steadfast determination and the courage to act with resolve on behalf of the American people, rather than selling them down the river for political expediency and personal gain. At the end of the day, he is just one of the boys imbibing in the largesse from special interests to the detriment of the average American. Any serious examination of his position on issues would pose a challenge to any serious student of politics as to his real loyalties and his party of choice.

I think it is time for every good and decent American, and every dedicated Democrat to rethink what his professed accomplishments have really gotten us. Where is the strength of his commitment to the average person who has been so badly put upon by his Administration? He may feign his sincerity for their plight and their pain, but deeds speak louder than words. An anxious nation still waits, with faint hope, that there is still a chance for “Change We Can Believe In.”

Frankly, I am not so sure the “Old Boys’ Club” comprised of the fat cats who have held high office in Washington is actually working for the American people. Who represents those who have been unemployed for years and harbor faint hope that things will, indeed, get better? Who is representing those who are members of labor unions and have been stripped of their authority and rightful place at the bargaining table? Who is representing all the students who are suffering under a burden of debt thought to be unthinkable in recent history? Who is representing all the state and municipal governments who are struggling to provide vital community services and repair crumbling infrastructures? Who is standing with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and their valiant efforts to restore some fairness and justice to our economic system?

Given the trend in the polls and the imminent threat that exists to the very foundations of our democracy, I think the time has come to “think outside the box,” and wean ourselves from the male mystique that surrounds the Oval Office. Barack Obama is clearly a failure and he should, in the name of party unity and what is best for this country, gracefully bow out and make room for America’s first woman as our next President.

The first that comes to mind is Hillary Clinton. She proved herself a very able challenger for President in the Democratic Primary against Barack Obama. I believe she has handled the adversities in her personal life and those in her public life with strength and resolve. I, also, believe she has the ability to unite the many disenfranchised factions that are looking for strong leadership from the White House. My only concerns, and they are valid concerns, is the extent to which she has been influenced and shaped by her husband’s politics, allegiances and ambitions.

Elizabeth Warren has demonstrated her ability while she tenaciously served as the chief advocate for a Consumer’s Protection Agency in the Obama Administration. However, in keeping with his penchant for “playing it politically safe,” he managed to sidetrack her and, as most of us know, she is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. She is a strong, determined, and able person who would make an excellent President.

Amy Klobuchar, incumbent U.S. Senator from Minnesota has proven herself an extremely bright, energetic and highly principled individual. She has represented her state and its constituency well and has the attributes of a reasoned and thoughtful leader. She could handle the responsibilities of President very well.

Jan Schakowsky is one of the incumbent U.S. Congress-women from Illinois and has served in various responsible and powerful positions since she has been in the House. She has proven herself as a bright, energetic and strong leader.

It is well beyond the time for us to put aside any reservations we may have about a woman serving this nation as President. History has given us numerous examples of women who have carried burdensome responsibility as well as or better than any man. Some that come to mind are Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Golda Meier, Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Gandhi, and Christine Lagarde. Any one of them has demonstrated she has what it takes to serve a nation as Head of State.

Any one of the four I have enumerated could, and would, prove that she is more than capable of that challenge, and has earned the distinction of being our first woman President. I can think of no one more capable of steering this country away from a Republican disaster in the making, and restore confidence in our ability to choose and support a leader that will truly do what is best for the people of this country, and the interests of our nation in the world community.

Barack Obama has failed the American people, and he has failed the Democratic constituency he inherited, based on false promises and his cozy relationship with the very oligarchs, plutocrats and scions of business that have taken this country to the brink of ruin. That he is little more than a political opportunist is borne out by the extent to which he has been instrumental in selling out the working people of this country. The time has come for Barack Obama to stop playing with the national psyche and step aside in favor of someone who will take the job seriously and make an honest effort to turn this country around.

Mitt Romney is what he is. He is a ruthless and wealthy opportunist in the game for himself and all those who have amassed phenomenal wealth at the expense of every citizen who has a stake in the future of this country; not just a privileged few.

I don’t see where the “macho” complex and being a member of the “Old Boys Club,” has done us any good. I think it is time for bold and decisive action. The time is now, and the time is for a woman. They have waited long enough.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 18, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Beware False Prophets"

Now that the oligarchs, plutocrats and their army of enablers have clearly demonstrated that they are, quite unabashedly, totally amoral in their assault on the people and institutions of the State of Wisconsin, we need to pause and reflect, not only on what has happened, but what is likely to continue unless we have the will and the determination to draw a line in the sand and say, “Enough is enough!” What we have witnessed is pure evil in its darkest and most virulent form.

About all it has proven is that truth is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to shouting down the manifest lying that seems to be at the foundation of anything having to do with the will or the ambitions of the Republicans in order to reduce this nation to little more than a pile of rubble. Thanks to the dubious wisdom of the euphemistically labeled “Supreme Court,” it has proven itself to be nothing more than the facilitator of the greatest effort to rip this nation apart by its partisan interpretation of the law in order to make absolutely certain that “those who have the most will always get the most.” They have not one modicum of integrity and they have proven to the world, unequivocally, that their genesis could only have come from the loins of the scum that gave them life. But, as seems to always be the case, it is the good and decent among the people they are sworn to protect who suffer at the hands of their partisan mindset and their misguided concept of what they are about. The prince of darkness must be pleased.

The Supreme Court, having laid the groundwork for the rapacious onslaught of big money, has been, as in most cases, instrumental in what looks like the march of great wealth to the sea, leaving in its path nothing but a barren wasteland of empty promises and broken lives. Their greatest cheering section has to be all those who profess to have an inside track with “God” and all deemed by them to be just and holy. As once was famously uttered by a sage of free enterprise, “Tea Partiers and the Religious Right, Ya done good!”

That posturing takes me back to an earlier time in my life when I was a young husband, a new father and a convert to the religion that was, and still is, a challenge to me and the moral compass that has guided me through some tough times in my life. That is personal and not for me to impose on others. But I, also, don’t want others to engage in efforts to convince me of the truth of what they believe and the folly of what I have chosen to believe. At the end of the day, I am duty bound to accord the same deference to others as I have every right to expect in return.

On one occasion, at the conclusion of the first Mass by our new pastor, we were among the parishioners who were greeting him. My family and I were lined up behind a particularly prominent member of the parish who was not the least bit modest about all her many contributions to the church. She was so convinced of her special relationship with the Deity that she was absolutely overbearing. The priest respectfully listened to the litany of all she had done for God, country and faith. When she paused to take a breath, the priest quietly said, “I am not so much interested in how you talk your faith, Mrs. Castle, as I am in how you live your faith.” He stopped short of adding, “Do you use God or do you serve God?” Those few words have stayed with me throughout my life. They have helped to keep me and my commitment to that faith in perspective.

It seems to me there is almost a cataclysmic explosion in the growth of those who espouse some type of special relationship with “God” in all His manifestations. It is as if there is no escape from the absolute truth of every kind of divine revelation they claim. Those who are the “true believers” have no reservations about the infallibility of what they call their “religion.” At the end of the day, probably ninety-nine percent of those have never crossed the line from what is their elementary and simplistic system of beliefs to what they would have us think they actually, in truth, know. That is the stuff of zealotry and demagoguery. How many in the Tea Party have gone on to serve in government and have actually demonstrated that all they so adroitly peddle is in anyway credible and provable? They haven’t got one shred of verifiable evidence to back up anything they assert as being absolute.

I would submit that most of those who bear the label of “fundamentalist,” or evangelical” would likely fall into that category. How many of those professing to be followers of “God,” simply use their religion as a means for justifying their own selfish interests by demonizing those who don’t passively buy into all their tommyrot. They skillfully use their facility for heaping disdain on others as justification for denying others their rightful place in society. Few do a better job of that than the likes of Sarah Palin, Pat Roberts and others of like mind. Do they use God or serve God?

Then, in the wake of Mitt Romney’s claim to the presidential nomination, there is a spate of discourse about his affiliation with and history in the Mormon Church. That is an interesting question.

I grew up in Wyoming among Mormons and got a hefty dose of their grand fairytale in my formative years. Later, while stationed on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, a few of my buddies and I happened to have stopped for a tour of the Mormon Temple on the windward side of the island. Our tour guide was a powerful, dark-skinned Hawaiian. He was a good tour guide and shared some of his experiences and insights about his Mormon faith. One of his many beliefs was that, someday, because of his belief in the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, he would become white. That might have been something that would have played well in the early history of the Deep South, but it was a bit over the top for any sane mind among my tour group on that particular day.

Some years ago, I had a very good friend who was studying for his Master’s Degree at one of our nation’s premier colleges. He chose to address, as his Master’s Thesis, the question of whether or not the Mormon Church actually met the criteria that would qualify it as a religion. In order to complete the requirements for his degree, he had to adhere to the rigors of study and analysis that would lead him to the logical conclusion of his thesis. His conclusion was that the Mormon Church did not meet the criteria for a bona fide religion but, rather, could only be classified as a “sex-centered social club.”

Some have dubbed it a “cult,” and rightfully so. Much of what they believe and practice is shrouded in secrecy. Secrecy and ritual seem to be the essence of organizations that have a need to withhold truth from those who would dare to question their assertions. Many of their traditional beliefs, such as polygamy and racial inferiority have only been tempered by some professed “divine revelation,” that told the elders that what they were practicing could impede the “mission” of the church, and might even be in direct conflict with the laws of the land.

Joseph Smith, the founding father of Mormonism, appears to occupy the pre-eminent position in the hierarchy of prophets and apostles in the Mormon Church whose numbers would dwarf those among other faiths who followed, suffered and died for Christ and God’s Kingdom on earth. The small band of true believers led the followers to their promised land on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, gave them a legacy of the joys of polygamy, racial discrimination and volumes of copy and ritual that no sane person could reasonably and seriously entertain. The more rational among them saw the light, asked too many questions and took flight. The faithful remained, jumped the bones of their harems, paid their tithes and filled the coffers of the Church with great wealth.

There was an emissary from Salt Lake City who was sent to collect the tithes from a colony of Mormons in California during its “Gold Rush” history who had strayed from their ranks. A man by the name of Sam Brennan was the titular head of that colony. When confronted by the demand that he hand over the tithes he had collected to Brigham Young’s emissary, he informed the delegate that he would gladly turn over the tithes only when he was presented with a receipt signed by the Lord Himself. The delegation was forced to return, empty handed, to the land of plenty on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

The wealthy and privileged among them became more influential and more powerful. With time, their progeny donned their suits, got on their bicycles and dutifully spread across the land and, indeed, the world to preach truth from the Doctrine and Covenants, known as the Book of Wisdom, and convert all those to whom they preached the truth of Mormonism. Those who died in a state of ignorance of the Mormon Church were to be summarily baptized, posthumously, in order for the faithful to embrace them as members of the “one true faith,” to whom their souls had been entrusted. Presidents Past smiled from their celestial temple. The Ghost of Joseph Smith was pleased, and the Angel Maroni sounded his horn in jubilation.

Although it is categorically denied as a practice in modern-day Mormonism, if one peers into the backwaters of Utah, Northern Arizona, Idaho, Texas and other remote environs of the West and Southwest, the vestigial remnants of their more dubious practices are still very much in evidence as part of their system of beliefs. There are countless other “secrets” of the faith that still remain sequestered in their archives and beyond of the reach of scholars not of the faith.

One thing, however, remains certain. They have an answer for everything.

Mitt Romney, having had the audacity to equate his time as a missionary in France for the Mormon Church equal to the sacrifice made by millions of men and women who have served and died in the service to this country is an affront to us all. It defies reason and logic, and certainly does not deserve the trust and confidence we place in those we elect to public office, particularly to the highest office in the land. His pillage and plunder of the economy of this country seems to be more in keeping with his experience and talents in the role of a so-called “business man,” If anything, were he a truthful man, he would hang his head in shame for having been a part of the rapacious behavior of Bain Capital and other business ventures that have profited at the expense of so many held hostage to their mercy.

I think it can be safely concluded that Mitt Romney is a member of the one percent that is enslaving the remaining ninety-nine percent of the people of this country. Further, he has shown that truth to him is, at best, elusive. He has shown that he has no compunction whatsoever, about his chameleon-like posturing on any issue that may be germane to his quest for the presidency.

I have a lot of issues with Barack Obama. I cannot argue with his oratorical skills, his personal charm and his professed political and social beliefs. However, as skilled and talented as he may be in other ways, he is clearly not a leader. When push comes to shove, he will always favor the rich and powerful at the expense of the common people of this country – the Middle and Working Class. Perhaps not to the extent that Mitt Romney would, but he has a track record of being much too cozy and accommodating to those on Wall Street, Corporate America, the Military/Industrial Complex and previous members of Bill Clinton’s Administration.

Come Election Day, I will vote for Barack Obama. If I could reincarnate Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, or John F. Kennedy, any one of them would take precedence over what we have. Why? Because each one of them was clearly a leader in the finest and best sense of the word; men of courage. Obama, at best, is a “facilitator.” Consensus does not trump courage and fortitude in serving the urgent needs of this country at the present time. Were he a strong, decisive and clearly a committed member of the political party he represents, I would be much more comfortable. But, to vote for Mitt Romney, in protest, would be totally irrational, disastrous for the future of the United States of America and an assault on the democracy we hold so dear.

In the meantime, we must attach our utmost importance to ------

                          • Getting money out of politics.
                          • Restoring confidence in government.
                          • Restoring independence and private ownership to the news media.
                          • Supporting the creation of a viable third political party.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 11, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Let's Get Serious; Time Is Running Out"

Things sure don’t look good for the country. The polls are not the least bit encouraging. The super rich are buying up the government like a bunch of bargain-hunters at a rummage sale, and the pundits are on ego highs that make them almost look like they really know what they are talking about. We will continue to be deluged by the usual Sunday morning talk shows. George Will’s command of the language will delight us with his endless vocabulary of fifty cent-words. Peggy Noonan’s affectations will remind us of the golden age of silent movie stars and the moderators will, once again, become super stars for the networks, leading the masses to believe they really do know what they are talking about. Meanwhile, their words will ring empty as most people wonder just where in the hell this ship of state is going and if we are headed straight into the same economic abyss that has been the fate of empires since time immemorial. We cannot help but wonder if we have been hijacked by the pervasive greed and rampant corruption infecting every facet of a government that was supposed to be the champion of the people, rather than the seductress for the super-rich and politically powerful.

Make no mistake about it, folks, if Mitt Romney and his happy band of plundering thieves manage to buy our government with the massive amounts of their ill-gotten wealth and the sheer stupidity of all those who honestly think they know what is swirling around their heads, take heed. Surely, they are destined to wake up to the day after the elections only to discover they have been had, big time.

Despite their never-ending exhortations and the religious fervor that has led them to believe they have a privileged place with the Lord over all those of lesser stature, they are more likely to suffer His wrath at the hands of those who have reaped the spoils of their hypocrisy. Ah yes, God is just. I cannot think of one fundamental flaw within the souls of twisted humanity that is more repugnant than the self-righteous and those who labor under the delusion that they are imbued with some special relationship with the Deity. So much for the tea baggers and all the hapless fools who bought into their venom, and spewed forth with such absolute certainty.

It doesn’t take a scientist to realize what a bunch of disingenuous rogues the Republicans put up as their star-studded aspirants for the presidency in 2013. There isn’t one among them that has the interests of the American people at heart and who has a modicum of charity in his soul. Nothing more needs to be said. It is painfully apparent that they have honed their ability in the art of lying. It has taken on the aura of respectability, and they do little to mask their facility with the use of those skills in their pursuit of the spoils they so wantonly covet.

Then we have the five justices of the Supreme Court who are their enablers. If anyone harbored any doubts about the dubious reverence accorded members of the legal profession and those who are elevated to the status of “justices,” they should have been laid to rest long ago by their duplicity with those seeking to lay waste to all this country stands for.

Then we have the Democratic Party that, for the most part, I support. I tend to agree with their social agenda, the support of a strong middle class, and equal opportunities for all. But, I do take umbrage with their somewhat cavalier attitude about the system of laws upon which this nation is built, and the attendant social and political stability those laws are supposed to provide. I have no time for bleeding hearts and their self-proclaimed support for what they see as inherently right and just. They have managed to relegate our system of laws to little more than a momentary impediment to what they have deemed to be what is best for this country. I don’t see that as how our system of government is supposed to work. If you don’t agree with the law, there are legitimate provisions for changing the law, and that avenue is available to all of us.

The greatest social program ever put in place by government was that embodied in the vision of Franklin D. Roosevelt in what became the Social Security Act. It was created as a sacred trust between government and the people, with very specific provisions and methods for its administration. However, in what has become a penchant for always being cast as the champions of the downtrodden, successive numbers of politicians have elected to simply ignore the law and unilaterally change it to fit their agendas, the welfare and benefits of the intended beneficiaries are damned. The problems with Social Security is not because of what has been done by Republican administrations but, rather what has been done by Democratic administrations, starting with Lyndon B. Johnson, compounded by Jimmy Carter and continuing up to the present day by Democratic Administrations. They have simply ignored that sacred trust between the government and the people for their own political aspirations in order to incur favor from those whose votes they seek. They ignored the law and we are supposed to blithely accept the professed benefit of their self-perceived superior wisdom. Bull puckey! I would not be the least bit surprised, with time, that we will come to realize that the “problems” attributed to the United States Postal Service by the wolf pack of hungry Republicans are not, also, the result of the inability of politicians from both major political parties to leave well enough alone and let the system function for the benefit of the people, as intended.

Without question, Republicans plunder, but Democrats pander. Both parties could use a cardinal lesson in how to respect and abide by the Constitution and the foundation which it provides as the basis for governing these United States of America.

The conduct of every branch of government throws into sharp relief the flaws that impede their ability to subordinate their own biased interests to the needs and will of the people. I don’t, for one moment, buy into the notion that it was ever intended to work that way. A friendly reminder for those aspiring oligarchs and plutocrats to remember is that this country was established as a “democracy,” not a “monarchy.” It belongs to all the people and they need to start conducting themselves accordingly within that framework.

Rudyard Kipling authored a verse that should serve as a model for questions we should all be asking and for which there should be concrete answers. That framework is titled, “I Keep Six Honest Serving Men.” The first stanza reads as follows:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

Has not the time come, folks, to begin using those tools in order to ferret out the truth that was intended to lead us to hold political action and hold our public figures to account, rather than allowing them to circumvent the advice and consent of the governed? Is it not time for us, the citizenry of this country, to hold them to ethical standards of conduct and stop them from daring to simply presume, because of their station, they can do any damned thing they want to? By WHAT right have they assumed that authority?

WHERE did the authority come from that recompense for their service to the public was to be augmented by soliciting contributions from the very ones they are sworn to regulate? WHEN did the concept of “conflict of interest” no longer apply to them? WHO gave legitimacy to the notion that becoming wealthy was a legitimate pursuit of their office?

By WHAT right do elected officials have to set their own salaries, benefits, perquisites and retirement programs without the advice and consent of the governed?

By WHOSE authority was it deemed appropriate for government to unilaterally engage in wrapping their activities in secrecy without the advice and consent of the people?

By WHAT authority was the power to engage in the torture, incarceration and assassination of foreign and domestic nationals given without the advice and consent of the governed?

WHY, after his complicity in the deregulation of the financial industries of this country, does former President Clinton appear to have been absolved of any responsibility for the collapse of the economy in 2007? WHAT qualifies him to be a modern-day folk hero?

By WHAT authority have all those complicit in the declaration and prosecution of two illegal wars not been held to account for their actions?

WHY has the President failed to honor his campaign promises to restructure and impose regulations on the financial industries that would help to avert the recurrence of another financial catastrophe such as the nation experienced in 2007 – 2008?

HOW has the nation benefitted from the wholesale importation of former members of the Clinton Administration into key positions within the Obama White House? I tend to see their role more as one of “continuity and control” rather than “advice and counsel.”

WHY has President Obama been given a free pass on practically every campaign promise he has failed to honor and which has caused considerable cost to the taxpayers of this country?

WHY has this Administration failed to call on the knowledge, experience and expertise of the finest economic minds in the country to deal with the so-called “recession,” under which so many good and decent people continue to suffer? Give them full authority to restore integrity and confidence to financial institutions and systems, and implement the safeguards embodied in the Glass-Steagall Act as the best cure we have at our disposal for putting our financial affairs in order.

This could go on into perpetuity, but I think I have made my point. I would, however, pose this one last question. We have every right to expect strong, national leadership from our elected officials, who will take command and make a serious effort to turn this country around, cronyism be damned. It is time for the President to cast his penchant for “consensus” to the winds, assume his rightful place as the rightful leader of this nation and take charge of the situation.

There is an old Wyoming saying among the common folk that says, “If someone is trying to put one over on you, he is blowing smoke up your ass.” That pretty well sums up what we get from every elected official, every politician and every vested interest, gorging at the expense of a nation that is suffering the agonies of the damned. Don’t permit them to delude you into thinking they are getting away with anything that compounds the pain borne by those who have been taken for granted for much too long. Their insatiable greed, and every deception and manipulative tactic they wield are as transparent as a window pane. Be assured it will, eventually, come back to bite them on the ass. They will fail in the grand scheme of seduction they have wrought against the common people. Those who elected them to office will, ultimately, prevail and they will be the ones to revisit and rediscover the virtues and strength of all that made us great. From all that has been laid to waste before us will come a new beginning, and we will be better and stronger than ever. Their mansions will crumble, their arrogance and power will fade, and they will become totally and completely irrelevant. The secret and sinister schemes being drafted by the Bilderbergs in Virginia will fail, precisely because they ended up believing their own press and their attendant false sense of invincibility. The reality of their mortality will, ultimately, fade into the hollow sounds of their indulgent and meaningless lives.

Every decent American has a solemn obligation to lay aside passive entertainment in favor of becoming informed, becoming involved, and taking an active interest and role in the fundamental strength of our democracy – the power of the vote and the will to use it. Look into your very souls and re-discover all of the magnificence and decency that is your birthright. Rid yourselves of the “smoke” they are blowing up your backside, and re-commit to ferreting out truth. Reassert your strength and the will to do what, ultimately, will save you, your children and this country. It is not to be found in claims of virtue based on religious beliefs, political dogma, or the professed superiority of their knowledge and experience. None can be conclusively proven and only serve to seduce the unsuspecting and uninformed among us. It is easy to be a victim. It takes determination and vision to be a change agent.

If we all unite in purging our country of the unbridled evil that engulfs us and that feeds on all that is rightfully ours, we can and will once again prevail. The echoes of “Happy Days Are Here Again,” will be heard once again because of what we rightfully and legitimately reclaim as our gift from the Founding Fathers, not from a bunch of sleazy politicians, slimy sycophants and white-collar thieves that pander to the worst within and among us.

For openers, we can start by:

a. Focusing our efforts in this next election cycle on getting those out of the House and Senate who have paralyzed the ability of those bodies to do the people’s work in a collegial and collaborative way and that we, the people, have every right to expect. “The people’s work first; politics and personal business last.”

b. The Senate has to divest itself of the paralysis from which it suffers. A simple majority must rule.

c. Getting money out of politics.

d. Kill “Citizens United.”

e. Prohibit any appearances of conflicts of interest by justices on the Supreme Court. Justice is blind and they need to be held to that standard.

Where are Buddy Roemer and Rocky Anderson? Are they genuine or just cruel illusions springing from the hopes of those seeking real change we can believe in?

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 5, 2012