Sunday, June 30, 2013

“Nobody Reveres Power More Than Americans” and "Money is Power"

If one chooses to look at the phenomenon of power in the fabric and history of the United States, it is readily apparent that we, as a people, revere and defer to power. We seem to vicariously share in the exercise of power, in all its manifestations, whenever and wherever it is visible and apparent. Individually, we may have little or no power, but we waste no time or the expenditure of effort in deferring to power which, in most instances, becomes manifest by great wealth.

We presume that if one has great wealth they, ipso facto, are due the same deference as raw power. Historically, the great fortunes in American history have wasted no time in coming to that conclusion, and have used their wealth to exercise undue influence and power over the affairs of the nation. It has continued, unabated, from the moment each and every one of them has been duly registered in Dunn & Bradstreet.

However, as patently apparent the excesses of wealth (power) become, we seem to have an ingrained need, as a people, to accord it the deference the holders of same believe is their rightful due just because they have amassed fortunes that, contrary to public opinion, does not buy them the respectability they would have us believe they have acquired, no matter how ill-gotten their gains may be. From that flows a level of arrogance that would boggle the minds of the most astute among us. Just look at the sad state of affairs that exist in our society, our economy and our government. Need I say more?

We are owned lock, stock and barrel by oligarchs, plutocrats, bankers, financiers, corporate capitalists, entertainment personalities, and a government that seems to believe they have risen to a level of omnipotence beyond question simply by exercising their ability to steal with aplomb and manifest a degree of arrogance that precludes question and accountability from those who have entrusted them with the mantle of public duty and responsibility.

Before we take this further, let us reflect on some significant historical facts that we, Americans, have consigned to history because of our love for power:

Look what we, settlers from other continents, did to Native Americans who rightfully claimed this  country as their lands. Look at how we murdered them, herded them onto reservations and, with  the aid of a gun, consigned them to being perceived as savages who were incapable of being   integrate into the broader social fabric, and become respected citizens of a society that had beencarved out for the rest of us. To this day they are consigned to some of the poorest real estate  on the continent, only to become very much second-class citizens living their lives in abject poverty.This may only have come about through the superiority of firearms against bows and arrows.Where, today, are the oligarchs who could (and should) invest in their futures and lift them out of poverty in order to become rightful citizens and equal among the rest of us? Show me one.

Look at the barbaric behavior and power of the NRA and its role in the slaughter that occurs every day and in every venue in the Unites States.

Look at how we defer and pony up with our tax dollars for massive amounts and types of arms to ensure our military establishment is the largest and most up-to-date in the world. How many of those great innovations that soar through the skies above us and sail on the seas of the world have ever actually seen combat where the value of our investment was actually put to the test? I rather imagine the real winners in this vignette are, you got it, the super-rich. With all those in our government and military establishment it was, for them like taking candy from the proverbial baby.  And we, the people, willingly complied as we always seem to do.

Look at how Wall Street and the entire financial establishment fleeced the American people to underwrite their plunder of massive amounts of money from the coffers of the nation. None have been indicted, prosecuted or incarcerated because of their criminal behavior. And, you can bet your“bippy” that   none of them will pay for their crimes now or into the far distant future. The book is ckosed on that one.

The super-rich of every ilk own every aspect of our government, our economy and the resources (material, financial and human) that go into it. We have an entire system of government that, save for a few outstanding individuals; thumb their noses at all of us who have elected them to office. Every one of the branches of those who serve in the various institutions that are, ostensibly, there to do the “people’s business” have achieved a level of arrogance that boggles the human mind. They not only dismiss us, they simply ignore us as they dutifully serve as the faithful minions of those who ply them with massive amounts of money to keep them in office and line the pockets of those who make their continued viability possible.

There is a dedicated effort in this country to “get money out of politics,” and they are doing a laudable job, but it is an uphill climb. We not only need to get money out of politics, but we need to revamp the system to make it virtually impossible for that wealth to influence the lives and viability of all those who serve on our behalf in government. Authority must be returned to the people of this country and that can only come about by making it virtually impossible for those who see themselves as the top “x” percent of the population; however they may choose to define their favored status in the pecking order of wealth and affluence.

No matter how much they would have us believe otherwise, they are simply another, albeit poor example, of H. Sapiens.  They, too, will lie on their death beds just like the rest of us, but will be remembered for what and by whom?  A legacy of greed, avarice and self-indulgence at the expense of the society in which they lived?  Somehow, that all rings rather hollow and is a pathetic legacy, at best.  Compare that to all that is left by the legions of selfless people who, throughout the ages, have worked tirelessly to make this world a better place for all of us.   

I would encourage people to take the off-ramps to a few of America’s small towns and take in the vacant homes, the boarded-up store fronts, the empty schools and hospitals and all the indications of decay. Then, remind yourselves of the fact that each of these towns was, at one time, a viable place for people to live secure lives and to be an integral part of a real community. They worked together, socialized together, played together and took care of each other. It was a valued and cherished way of life. It was supported by what might have been a small, but viable, industrial base that provided jobs to underwrite that way of life for a great many good and decent people. However, with the so-called progressive evolution of society and the insatiable greed of big business and the vast wealth behind each, they ultimately wither and die. But, let us remember, also, that each of those people had a legitimate stake in the success of that industrial base and all that made that particular town possible. Those factories have been dismantled or closed, moved overseas to cheaper labor markets, and the owners of those enterprises pocketed the spoils, shaved all they could off their tax obligations and squirreled the proceeds away in foreign banks so they could further deprive those towns and, indeed, the nation of the portion that rightfully belonged to them. The stake is more than just a paycheck to those who worked there. They, too, have a legitimate stake in those business ventures that rightfully belongs to them as much to those who financed them. It is a symbiotic relationship that is the only decent and right thing to support. Money conveniently forgets that obligation, but their self-interests do not negate that simple fact of civilized life in these United States.

As you drive out of those towns, reflect on what you have seen and the tragic end to what was once the backbone of this country. Then, take the next off-ramp and reflect yet once again on the next one. It may bring sadness to your heart, but it will bring reality to your soul.

Have you noticed, in today’s vernacular, there are those who “work” for a living and whose numbers are causing the unemployment statistics to swell, and those who own the enterprises that once were the workplaces for those who committed to the life and success of those enterprises. I would submit to the reader that there is something much more noble to “working for a living,” than laying claim to the plunder and exploitation of all those who honestly gave of themselves for a fair share of what this nation has to offer.

Those who call themselves “owners” in reality only develop and exploit the resources of this country. It is the “workers” who give life and meaning to those resources, making the world a bit better for all of us. I have to confess to an inherent contempt for those who have mastered the art of exploitation, thievery and the absence of any remorse, whatsoever, for all they have brought down on the heads of every American to whom they should not only be beholden, but to whom they should be eternal grateful. You owe it to those people to pay your taxes, share your bounty and assume your fair share of the responsibility for making this system honest and one that works for all of us. To do otherwise is a national shame of gigantic proportions for which you will be called to task, eventually. Moreover, every corrupt public official who has served as your enabler will, also, atone for his/her transgressions in ways I rather suspect they cannot even imagine. I happen to believe in Divine Justice but I, also, believe in fate that may have nothing to do with a deity. However, as the old adage goes, “the chickens will always come home to roost.”

Now, those who are the most burdened by the corruption and greed of business, banking, government and wealth have to assume their share of the responsibility, as well. As has been said, “Talk is cheap.” The people must unite in an effort to right the wrongs of the past and restore integrity, honesty and credibility to those who we put in office to serve us and, yes, the nation in which we live.

We must insist on standards of basic conduct that clearly underscores our values in a system that is free of conflicts of interests. Those standards must embody the means and the methods for taking to task all of those who have the audacity to presume that what rightfully belongs to all of us is, instead, their private booty to be used and consumed as they see fit. They have lost sight of the fact that their very souls are dark and tarnished, shrouded in shame and, yes, finite. What one sows, one also reaps.

As the wealthy and privileged presume the power of their fortunes confers on them the right to exercise inordinate power over all those they exploit, they are not on the side of the average citizen. They do not perceive you as human beings who have an inherent sense of worth that is of tremendous value to the societies in which we live. Rather, you are the fodder for their canons. You are the expendable resources whose lives aren’t worth a plug nickel. Your misery and suffering are just part of the homage of deference you are expected to pay them for all of the misfortunes they command from you and all they plunder in the name of their ill-conceived notions of “success.”

If they dare to presume their material wealth is a legitimate form of power to be exercised in their total focus on more, more and more, has not the time come for you, by your very humanity to take stock of the power that is yours and to assess whatever means you have at your disposal and confront their power with yours? Know full well that a preponderance of the established “peace” officers are their minions, not your advocates. Know that your power is much more arduous and an uphill battle, but it takes organization and determination for it to take root and to be noticed. Passive resistance and peaceful demonstration is what gives you and your cause legitimacy within the broader context of society. That is a respected and honored use of power, not violence.

The time is upon all of us to draw a line in the sand. No more cut backs in social programs and the safety nets the downtrodden have every right to expect. It is time to re-empower organized labor. It is time to think of publicly owned businesses that are not only the property of all of us, but are fully committed to serving all of us, as well. We need to re-direct our resources to eliminating hunger among our underprivileged. It is time to remove the stigma from hunger and poverty that has been brought down upon us by a class of privileged and powerful people that simply no longer care about us, the body politic. They need to be reminded, over and over again that, at the end of the day this country belongs to us and, if they are to remain viable within the context of our society, they must respond to all our needs first, not just theirs.

There is no shame in being a good and decent person. Albeit, you may lack the creature comforts of the upper and privileged class but, from my own experience, I have met far more vulgar, decadent, dishonest, greedy and power-hungry people in urban executive suites than I ever did on the ranges, ranches and in the small towns of the Rocky Mountain West. None can ever convince me that the heart and soul of this country and throughout the world does not rest with the common people. Those who delude themselves into thinking otherwise do so at their own folly. At the end of the day they are nothing more than tramps with money. The human backbone of America needs to exercise the power and determination to remind them of that fact, and hold them to their part of the bargain in the social contract.

The United States of America is a concept. It is the embodiment of what the country should strive to be and what all of those who claim citizenship should honor. We all should hold near and dear to our hearts the sincere belief that it is not up for sale to the highest bidder. Rather, it is a system of beliefs that transcends any measure of monetary value and, therefore, has no price tag.

May it always be a concept that is “ours” that is embodied in the very souls of the common people of the United States? We need to be aware of the fact that is why we have no royalty, no aristocracy and no titled gentry. It is a sacred trust we inherited from those who have sacrificed and gone before us, and one that we are sworn to defend and uphold – a spirit that is eternal.

You can make a difference. You can change the course of this country. It is up to all of us to bear this burden and to share in the obligations that go with it. We all share in the responsibility for making this a better place for us to live. However, it is a formidable task and something that none of us should take lightly.

I think it is time to demonstrate a common resolve that will turn this “ship of state,” around into a brighter sun, and with the winds at our back.

More to follow.

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 30, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

"How prophetic are the words of Lord Acton, famous British Historian?"

June 14, 2013

Given the maelstrom created by the recent revelations of the outrageous conduct by our national intelligence apparatus and its army of politicos and minions, the famous words of Lord Action seem rather appropriate:


I would like to append the above with a quote from my blog posted on February 6, 2011 ---

"Trust, like the soul, never returns once it is gone."

Is it any wonder that the approval ratings for our political establishment in Washington, D.C. are so fractured and tenuous?  I tend to agree with the growing number of astute minds who have suggested that, perhaps, it is time to rethink the merits of a third political party.  The growing cost to the country of the current monopoly on political power by the two mainstream parties that dominate the national scene seems rather prophetic, doesn't it?  .  

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher

Saturday, June 8, 2013

“Let’s Transform Our Complacency and Fear into Resolve and Determination”

As my kids would say, “In the olden days,” when I was in the United States Navy, there were certain organizations with which we were told not to have any contact. I respected that admonition and never gave it another thought. One of those organizations was The John Birch Society.

Many years later, married and starting a family, it was brought to my attention that this particular organization was having a convention in a nearby city that was open to the public. I discussed it with my wife, reminding her of the caution I had received some years earlier. We decided that there was always something to be learned if we remained detached and critically evaluated whatever message might be forthcoming. It was in that spirit we ventured into their world. No, it had absolutely nothing to do with law enforcement officers dedicated to the conservation of the nation’s birch trees. It was clearly political.

We dutifully took our place in the back of the room on the outside chance that we might have to make a hasty retreat for the sake of protecting a sound mind and a reasonably intact body. When our eyes adjusted to the lighting, rather than seeing a hoard of neo-Nazis in brown shirts or card-carrying communists, they resembled us and many of our family and friends. They were dressed in casual clothes, many of whom were obviously from rural parts of the country. They were well groomed and quite friendly. None shouted slogans or raised closed fists. My antennae reminded me to be very careful lest my principles be corrupted or compromised, consigning me and my wife to eternal purgatory.

To be sure, their message was politically conservative which had little or no appeal to either of us, given our steadfast allegiance to causes all “liberal” and “progressive.” However, there was one subject that fascinated me. It was a discussion of an international secret organization of those who had the means, the desire and the will to, essentially, control the world. Their label was “Bilderbergs;” a world order that was in the business of furthering and protecting the massive wealth and power of the elites of, primarily, Europe. That bit of information was, in and of itself, rather daunting.

We left that gathering quite secure in the knowledge that we were firmly in the camp of some of America’s most enlightened and progressive citizens, with absolutely no interest in getting involved with this particular group. But we, also, knew that we should keep a watchful eye and ear out for anything having to do with the Bilderberg’s. I never gave it another thought until June 5, 2013 when I read an article about them, including a roster of their members. Much to my surprise, there was a plethora of familiar names from the ranks of the rich and powerful in Europe, plus a notable number of Americans from similar backgrounds.

I learned a long time ago that, when dealing with information that is emotionally charged and tinged with conspiracy theories, there are three fundamental questions that must be asked if one is to maintain a respectable posture of objectivity and a critical eye.

1. The first question: “Is this the truth?”
2. The second question: “Is this false?”
3. The third question: “Is it plausible?”

If the answer to either of the first two is “No” then be deeply concerned, or don’t let it clutter your mind or cloud your judgment. If, however, the answer to the third is “Yes” then it warrants keeping an open mind and critically evaluating anything tangential to the issue pending further information that might either corroborate or refute the fundamental premise.

Can you imagine my astonishment when I saw that the Bilderbergs were, indeed, still very much a part of our world order and seemed to have managed to keep much the same roster of members from the wealthy, powerful and influential that had been a part of that group many eons ago? Although the press attempted to reassure the reader that it was not a secret society and operated very much in the open, given the current and fragile state of world affairs, I could not help but contemplate as to whether or not this group of people might just have some serious concerns about current world economic affairs and social trends, in particular.

Of a more specific interest to me is why the following individuals were in attendance at all: (a) Former Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, (b) former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, who figured prominently in and profited handsomely from deregulation of the financial industries by the Clinton Administation, (c) Former advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, (d) Bush-era neoconservative titan Richard Perle and, (e) the recently disgraced and retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus. Augmenting this roster of notables of concern were those listed as being from Ivy League schools, the Kennedy School of Government and Stanford University. Why was the focus only on these few private and wealthy institutions of higher learning? Why are those invited to attend only from western nations where the world’s wealth resides and is managed by either European or American interests, or both?

The smell test tells me there may well be a broader concern that just might involve the rumored and growing deterioration in the health of western economies and the possible upheaval that might erupt from the proletariat if they don’t get their ducks in order and, more importantly, don’t do everything they can to contain any uprisings from the masses in order to protect their ill-gotten wealth and its attendant power? Is this just coincidental or within the realm of probability? I leave that to you.

Permit me to pose a few pertinent questions to those who may be reading this.

1. Who among you honestly believe that we have a political, social and economic structure that operates from a base of integrity and a common concern for the well being of all the citizens of the United States of America?

2. Who among you believe that Wall Street Bankers and Financial Pundits, Oligarchs, Plutocrats and Corporate America have been treated in like manner by our political establishment as those who have fallen victim to “free trade agreements,” the housing bubble, the illusion of a growing and robust economy, a trail of broken promises when it comes to health care, social programs, treatment of the underprivileged and working class Americans that are on a par with the bottom of the population or, as I like to call them, affectionately, “the bottom feeders?”

3. Who among you can seriously dispel any notion that the working men and women, and their cousins living in abject poverty, have not been relegated to the status of “consumable resources” on the balance sheets of those who have amassed absolutely obscene and vulgar amounts of material resources, and who could only be the envy of those who have been ‘brain washed” into actually believing they give one hoot in hell about the welfare of the world, this nation and all who labor in its service?

If any of you seriously answered positively to any of those questions, then I have a wonderful computerized machine that converts manure into pure gold, and I am willing to sell it for a very good price. No reasonable offer will be rejected.

Moreover, can you even entertain the notion that all of the resources brought to bear on the population by the various forms of the “entertainment media,” and corporate broadcasting could possibly conceive of and implement the skills necessary in order to shape your every taste in every aspect of your lives, the end result being clearly ingrained biases in their favor? I can.

Pause for a moment and reflect on the massive growth of government and all the attendant technology they require that has gone exclusively to what is referred to as “homeland security,” and “keeping us safe from terrorists?” Can you imagine the massive amounts of money that have been made by some of our earliest Secretaries of Homeland Security and the created demand for their “skills” with companies engaged in the manufacture and distribution of every imaginable electronic device for monitoring just the passenger volume flowing through our airports? Compound that by the panacea of consulting jobs that have been part and parcel of that windfall, as well. Who said the “insiders” don’t take care of their own?

Frankly, I don’t buy into the notion that such a broad blanket of fear enveloped this nation as vastly and quickly as we are led to believe. I am rather more inclined to believe the fear factor was contrived and amplified by people in the Bush, Cheney and Obama Administrations. I dare say, if we could be privy to the body of knowledge in the repositories of information about government programs, we would find that some of the best experts in the business of “mind control,” and those who profit from them have been commandeered to assist in this effort just to keep the fear factor alive and well.

I don’t want to minimize the uncertainty of all that goes on in today’s world, but I, also, don’t want to over-react to the “bogey men” that might be nothing but the creative efforts of those who are sworn to scare the crap out of us at every opportunity. Let me ask you, in our saner and quieter moments, who in the world would honestly countenance the complete lockdown of a major city, such as Boston, looking for two fanatics about whom we had a pretty good fix in terms of numbers and the ability to do what they did? Does that really makes sense?

The massive amounts of our national resources that are siphoned off for “faux” security measures, and the malignant growth of security and defense industries in order to respond to those imagined threats would go a long way toward leveling the playing field and alleviating the suffering of millions of Americans. Think of the jobs that could be created, the numbers of unemployed who could be employed and the resultant benefits that would accrue to the people of this country by improved infrastructure, ecological friendly industries and education alone. If that isn’t sobering, I don’t know what it would take to get our attention.

If all this weren’t enough, we are now treated by the revelation of years of massive spying on the American people in pursuit of (you guessed it) stopping terrorism. Funny how little our elected officials claim to have known about all this. A mere oversight of seven or so years is nothing to get upset about, now is it?

Far too much of what we have not just a right, but moreover an obligation, to know about has been kept from us by self-appointed “keepers of the faith,” in the name of a national interest at our collective peril. Unless my mind deceives me, it seems to me that a chap by the name of Barack Obama, early in his ascendency to the Presidency, placed a passel of stock in the need for transparency in government. The question is rather straight forward, but I rather suspect the answers, for which we will wait for a protracted period, will be a long time coming.

We must stop sitting around quivering like a bunch of dogs passing peach seeds. We must eliminate the fear factor in our lives and demand ownership and transparency from our government. Enough of the monopoly of a two-party system. Enough of money in politics. Enough of lobbyists, and the entire spectrum of “business interests” of one sort or another that literally own and control our government and every agency thereof. Most importantly, enough of any control, whatsoever, of our news media. We simply must go back to independent ownership that lives up to the spirit of the Constitution – a free and unfettered press. Without that independence, the wolves will steal in under the tent, yet once again, only to create and perpetuate the same problems of bias and control we live with every day. Unless my memory fails me, it seems to me that the Preamble to the Constitution begins with “We the people …..” Not “We the banks; or “We the corporations or “We the oligarchs or “We the plutocrats or “We the lobbyists or “We the Defense Contractors.” Nor do I recall any wording or precedents which were adopted that would give those who have the most dominion over all of us, the greatest share of our shared wealth, however one may choose to define it.

If ever there was a time for the average American to cast off the numbing shackles on their minds, experience the wonders of being able to think for themselves and savor the magic of human interaction, the time is now. Cap it all off by claiming your ownership and control of the government that was created and nurtured by the blood of martyrs to serve the welfare and interests of all of us; and not just a select and self-appointed few.

This nation and all its resources, in the final analysis, belong to all of us, not the rapacious exploitation and destruction by those who perceive themselves the anointed ones by some mystical higher power, euphemistically labeled Wealth, Privilege and Power. It is time to put them in the dust bin of history where they all belong.

It is time to throw open the windows and breathe the fresh air given to us all by our Creator. It is time to rejoin the family of humanity that is still, to this very day, the most magnificent of all the creations in the entire universe.

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 8, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

“Has The American Dream Become A Nightmare?”

I have to confess that I have my good days and my bad days. If I permit myself, I can become as immersed in a sense of hopelessness and futility as the best among us. But, the crucial question is, “How does all this serve to solve the myriad problems we face and what can we, as individuals, do about them? Well, as the Brits say so well, “We can damn well buckle up, keep a stiff upper lip and get on with it.” For my money, that isn’t a bad idea and one which I think a lot of us can keep before us during the course of our daily lives. As was once so brilliantly coined, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”

I have seen this country and a good many of us slide, ever so slowly, into a deepening state of depression with the constant bombardment we get, each and every day, about how bad things are getting or, worse yet, the false promises of how things are beginning to look up. My question is, “And for whom?”

I have, at times, lost sight of what a complex world we live in and that has our every waking moment programmed in order to respond to all of those who whet our appetites for the panoply of every conceivable materialistic appetite and hedonistic pleasure the human mind can possibly contemplate. When we buy into those notions, we quite unconsciously dismiss or disregard some of the values that have served mankind so well for a very long time. As we become focused on outward validation of our sense of self worth, we become immune to the vast resources we have at our disposal to bring us back to reality and, in the course of time, make us better citizens. With that comes a renewed commitment to our humanity and the unlimited wonders of all that is good and decent about and within us. That is what will sustain us and make us better when the “fun” and “things” produced by commercial enterprises become transparent and clearly reflect back to us the seductive power of what we have been led to believe is what we want and need, all at the expense of our own individuality.

We need to be conscious of the fact that Our Creator, however one may choose to conceive of and define that higher power, there is nothing that is produced by Apple, Microsoft, Hollywood or factories producing tons of things we really don’t need that can even come close to the wonders of the human spirit. We can’t be made in cheap slave shops in poverty-stricken centers of economic power, shipped overseas and sold at inflated prices to enhance the wealth of greedy entrepreneurs at the expense of the common good. At the end of the day, no matter how they try to convince us otherwise, they are simply human trash. They are empty human souls with not a modicum of compassion for the human race and their untapped responsibility to become responsible citizens among the rest of us. They are not to be emulated nor trusted. In the final analysis, they are just another species of predatory animals. Nothing more and nothing less.

I cannot conceive of how any human being can ignore the cadre of law enforcement officials that were aligned against the demonstrators in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and whose avowed reason for being is to protect citizens against the forces of evil brought down on them by corporations, financial institutions, and governments duly elected by the people to protect the people. No wonder they gave up the ghost and faded into the night. Who wants to try and overcome those odds? If that isn’t putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what does.

How is it that the institutions and officials we have elected to serve us, the people act, not for us, but against us? Why do we tolerate their arrogance? It sure seems to me that about all an election does is use our votes to legitimate their role in a government that they see as our adversaries and a license to shower themselves with every kind of inflated compensation and perquisite that is the envy of those who put them there? Where is the justice and fairness in all that? I can’t see it.

How about all those students who desperately want to get an education so they can better serve society and become better providers for their families? They are saddled with exorbitant loan fees they may never be able to repay, while the fat cats in banking and finance get cheap or interest-free loans from the government in order to better serve their affluent stockholders and officers?

Let us not forget the bloated cost of supporting a military/industrial complex that never finishes the job. There is always a better mouse-trip that will, somehow, stave off the latest identified terrorist and threat to our “freedoms” (whatever that means). There is no satiating their appetites for the money they ostensibly need for our common good and welfare. Now we have the Department of Homeland Security that will surely dwarf our military establishment when we are sufficiently convinced that the “bogey man” is to be found on our streets and among us, causing us to cry out for them to “protect our freedoms!” Where does it all end? Go figure.

When is there going to be enough for us to repair our decaying infrastructure? When is there going to be enough for us to provide the social programs and health care services that any civil society has every right to expect? Don’t you love it when they label those as “entitlement programs,” but conveniently avoid any such nomenclature for the licentious thievery by the financial industries and the burgeoning defense industries? I suppose there is something noble in the latter and so parasitical to the former. Ah, the power of words and the epistemological whores who ply that trade for our consumption ……. and without a modicum of shame.

Then there is my favorite of all time. The greatest ruse ever thrust upon the American people was convincing the populace of the superiority of all-volunteer armed forces rather than the draft. And the result? We have young men and women “volunteering” because they cannot find a decent job and need the money, going off to distant lands to put their lives on the line, in the national interest, for a mere pittance. Meanwhile, those of privilege and wealth go off to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford and the like, live the good life on campus and graduate with all the skills necessary to pillage and plunder the nation of more of its wealth in order to further enhance their family fortunes. I ask you, what is fair about that deal? Ask those who come home from the front lines maimed, permanently disabled and pleading for the medical and rehab care they urgently require. But, if God had intended them to be valued members of society, He would not have made them poor. All the accolades, flags waving and parades cannot compensate them for their sacrifice on behalf of a nation owned and controlled by oligarchs, international corporations and a political establishment that is totally beholden to those who finance their ambitions and profit from their votes and their tax dollars. They are the very ones who have consigned their families, friends and communities to a permanent state of desolation, poverty and unemployment. Proof that the “free enterprise” models we are expected to revere and emulate are all, at the end of the day, one of the cruelest hoaxes ever perpetrated against civilized people.

The luster of what we call a “democracy” long ago faded into oblivion as far as I am concerned. I simply no longer buy into the notion that the rough and tumble, cowboy mentality of this nation necessarily serves the best interests of all of us. I am no longer inclined to believe the message, for the poor and underprivileged, so the top “1%” can blithely go through this life with a harbored disdain for those of lesser means. It is a bill of goods sold to us by some of the most skilled manipulators in our history, so they can continue to plunder what rightfully belongs to all of us in the name of “free enterprise” and “entrepreneurship.” I regard that mantra as no longer credible.

Practically every institution we have revered and respected as being integral parts of the American way has failed the majority of us miserably. Churches, once the moral compass of the community have proven themselves to be just as avaricious and hypocritical as all other institutions of society. Business and government, in all its forms, has done nothing to better the life of the people or to strengthen the fabric of this society. They have mercilessly exploited the working people of this country, callously shipping jobs over seas and hiding their wealth in offshore accounts so the burden of keeping this ship of state afloat falls on the shoulders of those who can least afford it. Our government takes tax dollars from those at the bottom of the economic pyramid in order to finance their political ambitions and support those who lace their pockets in order to ensure they remain loyal to their avaricious pursuits.

Meanwhile, our national infrastructure is crumbling around us, and our social and economic institutions are drying up so there is less and less left for people who are only asking for the right to honest and fairly compensated labor. All for the sake of those who believe they have some sort of divine right to a life lived in opulent splendor, the human cost be damned. To them, I cannot help but wonder, if human life is carried on their books as an “expendable resource.”

The resources of this great country belong to all of us, equally. Just because the majority may permit exploitation of those resources by a select few, it most assuredly does not mean that a fair and just portion of those resources are not to be returned to its rightful owners, and that means all of us, for our common welfare. Greed and avarice has no place in this equation.

Say what you will, but the sanest forms of government in the world are those found in the Scandinavian block of countries. They are more environmentally and socially conscious. Their entire political systems and social structure are sane, sound and supported so everyone can have a decent life and a fair share of the countries’ resources. With time, I believe that will become ever so much more apparent to all of us. When that day comes, I hope it will be a peaceful transition.

In the meantime we must remain vigilant and not be seduced by those who seek to abdicate their social responsibility to the country that opened the doors of opportunity to them, but remains for the benefit of all of us.

For the Tea Party and the other mutations of what is passed off as ordained by God, how about this one: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you also do to Me.”

Permit me to close with some words by one of history’s most famous, if not notorious, public figures:

                          “Political power does not rest with those who cast the votes;
                           Political power rests with those who count those votes.”

                                                                                             *** Joseph Stalin

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
June 5, 2013