Monday, August 31, 2009

Bush Bails Out Obama as Obama Takes Credit for Bush Bank Bailout


Leave it to politics to turn the tables as the only successful Obama economic program to date was not part of his recovery program at all but was the bank bailout by the Bush Administration. Obama is taking credit for the program that has already made a $4 billion profit for the US Treasury.

Of course only the banks Bush gave money have repaid. Once the Democrats took control with the election of Obama the bank bailout became the housing bailout (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the insurance bailout (AIG), and the union/automaker bailout (GM and Chrysler). None of them have repaid the government billions yet.

Still it didn't keep Obama from taking credit for the bank repayments and the profit to the government. Not only does Obama never missed a chance to blame Bush for everything bad that has happened since Obama took office but now he won't give Bush credit for anything that might go right.

The Banks and the profit made include:
Goldman Sachs $1.4 billion
Morgan Stanley $1.3 billion
American Express $414 million

In addition five other banks including Northern Trust, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street, U.S. Bancorp and BB&T each paid between $100 million and $334 million in profits. These figures do not include 14 smaller banks who paid about $35 million in profits.

Of course another element of the bailout, the effort to stimulate home sales, has had little impact. The same is true of the program to buy the toxic loans currently held by the banks and capable of disrupting any economic recovery. But then you can't get what you were promised under this Administration so get used to it.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Stimulus Not for Seniors as Social Security Increases Dropped - A Sad Day for America


As if the slow moving Obama stimulus program doesn't already have enough problems, recent revelations show that the Obama record deficit is going to hit new record deficits with the new projections now being revealed by the White House economists, raising our deficit projections by $9 trillion from $7 trillion. At the same time tens of millions of senior citizens are being told there is no money for a Social Security cost of living increase the next two years.

So failing banks, investment companies, insurance companies, labor unions and community organizing programs get all the billions they want and need to survive and pay bonuses but our senior citizens cannot even get a cost of living increase for the money they paid into the system during their entire life. The truth about deficit spending could only be hidden for so long.

Now the Oath of President of the United States reads as follows:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And the Preamble of the Constitution reads as follows:

"The Constitution of the United States of America

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Nowhere in the Oath or Preamble do I read that the president can show favoritism to any political party or special interest, nor campaign contributor or endorser. I can find no language that says the president, his staff or his party (Democratic) leaders can ignore the interests of groups of Americans because those groups disagree with them and only the president knows what is best.

Nowhere do I find that if the president doesn't like what the Republicans or Independents think he can refuse to listen to their concerns yet isn't that what Obama and Pelosi said about the stimulus and health care? Take it or leave it.

Obama was elected to represent "all the people" not a chosen few and he promised not to hurt the middle class with his massive agenda yet the seniors on social security are the middle class. So why are the corporations and unions being bailed out by getting trillions of dollars for salaries, bonuses and benefits while our senior citizens are told there is no money for a cost of living adjustment?

There is no representative government in America. When our parents and grandparents are denied cost of living increases while the corporate and union people are given whatever they want to save them then something is dreadfully wrong with our system because "We the people" of the Constitution seem to have disappeared under the barrage of economic stimulus for the chosen few.

The people who built this country are not just being ignored but totally forgotten. Will the military veterans be then next to be forgotten? It almost seems that the goal of the Democratic leadership and president is to eliminate the middle class in order to take care of the special interests. The promises of the Administration to heal the country, eliminate the prejudice and lower the volume were nothing more than empty promises and the hope that was promised was a modern fable.

Anyone out there dependent on Social Security and Medicare or military pensions better wonder if they are next to be swindled out of their life's work in order to help the special interests. The Obama palace guard have demonstrated that deficit spending is of no concern to them and that paying for their payoffs is a problem for future generations.

Their solution was to mortgage our children and grandchildren's future and lives but the drunken spending spree now overwhelming Washington has gotten so extreme that they are going to have to start stealing it from today's seniors and veterans pensions and health benefits to pay for it.

Blocking a cost of living increase for our seniors, the first time since 1970 this has happened, while driving up inflation through reckless deficit spending is stealing in every sense of the word. I find these actions to be in direct conflict with protecting the welfare of the people, all the people, as articulated in the Constitution.

If there is criticism of our new president it is not related to race but to performance and in America leadership determines popularity when it comes to politics. Obama's freefall in the polls is a measure of his leadership in office and his reliance on the political hacks and practices of old time back room politics. We hoped we were beyond that but we find we are saddled with just more of the same.

The Gross National Debt:

Right now there is no black or white but simply green when it comes to distinguishing between politicians, and not the green of the environment but the greenbacks of money, money, money. It seems our hope for change for the good of all has been lost in the avalanche of spending and that is a sad day for America.


St. Clement's Island Prehistory - Part 2 American Colonial History


Why did two ships of colonists risk a dangerous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1633 to flee England for America and why did they bring their hopes for religious freedom to St. Clement's Island Maryland? To understand the history of St. Clements one needs to understand there is another part of the story, the history of events in the 16th Century which a few years later would cause the colonists to leave England for America.

Let's call it the European prehistory of St. Clements and quite frankly you might be a bit surprised by what you learn. This prehistory includes a series of international events involving the most powerful monarchies, legendary family dynasties, and mighty empires in Europe beginning with the infamous King Henry VIII of England.

St. Clements Island was the site of the first declaration of religious freedom to be guaranteed anywhere in the world, a freedom that in time would become embedded in our US Constitution. A little over 100 years earlier Henry VIII set in motion the series of events that would result in this charter.

Events in Europe during the 16th century led to the fall from favor of the Catholics and Puritans in England and the subsequent journey to settle the colony of Mary Land in 1634 where religious freedom would be guaranteed. Monarchies in England, Scotland, France, Spain and Italy and the Vatican in Rome were all to play a role in this decision to settle in the new world.

A web of intrigue led to a mosaic of treachery, murder, assassination, torture, arranged marriages and more in the alliances and enemies that came and went beginning with the reign of Henry VIII in England who was born in 1491, the year before Columbus discovered America, and was King from 1509 to 1547. Here are more of the people who made the landing at St. Clements possible.

Captain John Smith - 1st Governor of Jamestown

A leader of the first English attempt to colonize the new world at Jamestown, Captain John Smith was such a colorful character that when the boats arrived in America the officials in charge of the settlement wanted to prosecute Smith for mutiny because of his actions on the way to America. But when they opened the official charter for Jamestown the sponsors had designated that Smith would be one of the leaders and the first governor.

Smith was best known for being saved by the Indian Princess Pocahontas when her father the Chief was going to put him to death. A couple of years later Pocahontas again saved Smith from being killed in an ambush. But contrary to efforts by Walt Disney to change history, Pocahontas and Smith had no romantic involvement.

In 1609 Smith was injured during the Indian wars and returned to England for treatment. He never made it back to Jamestown but did explore New England in 1614 and 1615. During the latter expedition he was captured by French pirates but escaped several weeks later and made his way to England. It was the last time he was in the New World though his books on America inspired many English to become part of the colonization of America.

Pocahontas - Indian Princess

I mentioned that Pocahontas twice saved John Smith who later advised Calvert to secure the Mary Land territory. Though she had no romantic involvement with Smith like the Disney movie, she did marry an English settler who lost his wife soon after he arrived. John Rolfe fell in love with Pocahontas when she was being held captive by settlers afraid of an Indian uprising. They married and he took her to England to meet King James, with the help of John Smith.

As they were preparing to leave England and return home she came down with a disease and died at the age of 22. When he returned to America Rolfe went on to develop the tobacco crop that was more valuable than gold in trade with Europe. Because Mary Land was much better suited for raising tobacco it became the primary source of the valuable commodity for Europe.

Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore

If a father has to trust a son to finish his work there could be no better son than Cecil who spent the rest of his life after his father's death making sure the colony of Mary Land lived up to the dreams of his father. Just five weeks after his father died the long awaited charter came through but not until it had survived challenges from the Virginia colonists and from the Protestants in Parliament.

Since his father had already planned the mission and his two boats from the Newfoundland adventure were available, the Ark and the Dove, Cecil, the new Lord Baltimore set about finishing the work. Father White and others had been hard at work securing the gentlemen whose investment was crucial to make the journey. A total of 17 eventually invested in the effort and over 300 people sailed on the ships.

Well aware of the efforts in Parliament to strip the Calverts from their land in America because they claimed the right of religious freedom, Cecil decided to remain in England and defend against their enemies and it was a good thing he did. He sent two younger brothers, Leonard and George with the boats along with Father White while the passengers were about evenly split between the Catholics and Protestants.

The landing in March of 1634 was the culmination of his father's dream while the establishment of Mary Land as a palatinate gave Lord Baltimore and his descendants rights nearly equal to an independent state including the right to wage war, collect taxes and establish a colonial nobility. Such rights had never been granted before.

Sir George and Cecil Calvert were extraordinary visionaries dedicated to provide a safe haven where all religions could be practiced. The Calvert's ability to overcome the opposition from the Church of England and parliament and maintain the cooperation of the Protestant King while developing a colony with religious freedom was a major step toward the guarantee of religious freedom in the US Constitution some 153 years later.

Leonard Calvert - 1st Governor of Mary Land

Brother of Cecil Calvert, Leonard had accompanied his father Sir George on a voyage to Newfoundland so he was experienced in the demands of colonization and the need for food, safety and cooperation with the Native Americans. When Cecil had the expedition to Mary Land organized, with the help of Father Andrew White, it was his brother Leonard that Cecil chose to be the first governor of the new colony.

Upon arriving in Mary Land at St. Clements Island Leonard read the charter that had been prepared by Sir George Calvert and Father White guaranteeing religious freedom in Mary Land. Somehow his father and brother had negotiated a grant with the king that gave the colony nearly the same status as an independent state thus the Charter they drafted was the first one to guarantee religious freedom anywhere in the world. It was to be a major influence for freedom of religion in our Constitution.

Leonard had a fort built on St. Clements Island and went to meet the Emperor of the Algonquin tribes in Mary Land to assure them the settlers came in peace and to get their approval to develop a colony in Mary Land. No other European settlements did this and it is why the others were plagued with hostilities from the Native Americans while Mary Land was the only place where peace existed from the first day. About a month later he moved the colonists to the site of St. Mary's City.

The planning and management of the colony by the Calverts was exceptional as the first summer they were already shipping corn and fish to New England settlements. The history of colonial America does not do justice to the role played in settling the colonies by the Calverts or Father White nor to the model of Mary Land as the most successful colony in America. From 1634 to 1776 there were 37 governors in Maryland, of which 23 were appointed by Lord Baltimore, the Calvert family. Calvert family members served 8 of the 23 terms.

Father Andrew White - 1st Jesuit In English Speaking Colonies

Born in London, White entered a Spanish seminary, studied in Douai, France, and was ordained a priest in 1605. He risked a cruel death during a period of renewed Catholic persecution by becoming a missionary to Protestant England. In 1606, he was captured and banished from England following the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt by radical Catholics to kill the new King of England, James I and the entire English parliament. It was discovered just before the explosion was to take place.

The conspirators were put to death and many other priests were banished from England because of their Catholic sympathies. Father While was sent to Europe and joined the Society of Jesus the next year. Beginning in 1628 he began helping Sir George Calvert and later Cecil Calvert plan for the colonization of America.

He is principally known to American history for his writings and labors in connection with colonizing Maryland which earned him the title of "Apostle of Maryland". Sir George Calvert, first Lord of Baltimore, corresponded with him from Avalon in Newfoundland; Father Vitelleschi, General of the Jesuits, makes mention of him for the first time regarding a mission to English America in a letter dated Rome, 3 March, 1629.

In preparation for the founding of the Maryland Colony he composed the "Declaratio Coloniae Domini Baronis de Baltimore", to attract settlers and co-operators in the enterprise. The expedition set sail on 22 Nov., 1633, from Cowes, Isle of Wight. He is the author of the "Relatio itineris", which constitutes the classical authority in regard to colonizing early Maryland. His writings are the best surviving testimony to the colonization of America while his translations of various documents into the Native American language were the first in the new world.

The Ark and the Dove landed in early March and after several weeks were spent building the fort and meeting with Indian leaders on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, 1634, the "Pilgrims" of Maryland held a formal ceremony on St. Clement's Island, where Mass was celebrated for the first time in English speaking America. "Maryland Day" on March 25 has been declared in remembrance of the amazing achievements of the St. Clements colonists.

When they arrived Father White was given a cabin by the Indians on a creek just north of St. Clements where he could meet with them and teach them about the Catholic religion. It was the 1st Catholic chapel in English speaking America and hundreds and maybe thousands of Native Americans were converted by Father White and the Jesuits. For ten years Father White devoted himself with apostolic humility, patience, and zeal to missionary labours amongst the settlers and the Native Americans.

The "Annual Letters" narrate his successful labors amongst the tribes of the Patuxent and Potomac; he carried the Gospel to the Anacostans in the neighborhood of our current nation's capital; he converted and baptized with solemn ceremonies on 5 July, 1640, with Governor Calvert and other civil dignitaries being present, Chitomachon, the Tayac or "Emperor of Piscataway". He composed a grammar, dictionary, and catechism in the native idiom, being the first Englishman to reduce an Indian language to grammatical form.

The Puritan party in England began to openly challenge the efforts by Queen Henrietta to rally the Catholics to help King Charles and the growing tension was felt with disastrous effects on Catholic interests in Maryland where a band of protestant marauders from Virginia plundered the Jesuit establishments in Mary Land. Three Jesuit priests in the Inigoes settlement were chased across the river to Virginia then hunted down and murdered becoming the first martyrs in Colonial America.

The invaders seized Father White with two companions and sent him in irons to London in 1645. After two years in prison he was finally tried on the charge of treason of being a Catholic priest in England which violated English law. Conviction would result in being put to death.

White was acquitted on the manifest pleas that he had entered the country (England) under force and much against his will but he still had been held at Newgate prison until January of 1648 before he was released and then never allowed to return to America again. Newgate was a 700 year old prison in London notorious for inhumane conditions, disease, torture and being a holding prison for those sentenced to death. Though he longed to return to his dear Marilandians" his earnest petitions would not be granted and he died in England in 1656.

During the journey to America twice the ships were caught in devastating storms and no one thought they would survive. Father White used a sacred relic, a piece of the True Cross of Jesus he brought with him to pray for help and credited it with saving the ships from the hurricanes. Again he used the piece of the True Cross to heal the son of the Native American Emperor who seemed to be dying. As a result the Emperor and his family converted to Catholicism.

His work to establish the Jesuits in America resulted in Father White being declared the founder of the Jesuits in America and forefather of Georgetown University, the most famous Jesuit university. Other firsts included erecting the first Catholic Cross on St. Clements Island, holding the first Roman Catholic Mass in English speaking colonies and establishing the first Catholic chapels and churches in the original colonies. Like the Calverts, Father White is largely ignored in history books and his contributions to religious freedom as well as the contributions of many others pointed out deserve a much more prominent place in American colonial history.

Dr. Thomas Gerard - Owner of St. Clements Manor

Gerard was from a prominent family in England whose direct descendants were Prince Charles and Lady Diana of the royal family. He was a Catholic and came from a noble lineage of Catholics who were activists against the Protestant royalty in England. Thomas Gerard's uncle, Rev. John Gerard, S. J., was convicted of conspiracy in the infamous Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and was tortured in the Tower of London.

Dr. Thomas Gerard's father, Sir Thomas Gerard, Lord Baron of Byrne, was one of the Catholic gentry who financed Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, for the initial colonization of Maryland in 1634. On that expedition of the ships the Ark and the Dove were Richard Gerard, Knight-Baronet who was brother of Dr. Thomas Gerard, and a sister, Ann Gerard Cox.

Sir Thomas Gerard was held in such high esteem in England that he was given a grant for any land he so desired in Mary Land before the expedition ever set sail and it was granted by Cecil Calvert and King Charles I, a rare action by a King. Dr. Thomas Gerard was named Lord of St. Clements Manor in 1634. It was the most powerful and one of the largest Manors in the colonies growing to nearly 20,000 acres.

Interestingly, Dr. Thomas Gerard from a noble Catholic lineage married a Protestant, Susannah Snowe and raised their eight children as Protestants. When the Manor House and accompanying chapel were built Dr. Gerard moved the rest of his family to America in 1638 where the Manor House at Coltons Point became one of the oldest homes continually lived in at the same location in America. The house was burnt down by the Puritans in 1645 and rebuilt. It was burnt down by British troops in 1814 and rebuilt. Finally it was severely damaged in a hurricane in 1933.

There you have it, some of the colorful characters from history who played a role in European developments that would eventually bring about the landing of the colonists here, at St. Clements Island, 375 years ago.

Those who know the story recognize that St. Clements Island and Manor rank among the most sacred and significant historic sites in America. They understand that the Calvert family and Father Andrew White have not been rightfully recognized as they were among the most successful visionaries to colonize America. The Mary Land colony was the most successful in the New World while the St. Clements Manor (now called Coltons Point) is the oldest continually lived in location in the original colonies.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finding Grace on the Potomac - in Robert L. Jefferson


Coltons Point, the oldest continuously occupied chartered settlement in America, has long been known as one of America's best kept secrets. Here is another glimpse of what goes on behind the shroud of secrecy surrounding this charming and largely unknown area of Southern Maryland where the colonists first landed in 1634.

The other night I went to a quaint place called Nekadesh Farm in Colton's Point to a concert by a local resident named Robert L. Jefferson. Now I love all kinds of music so I was up for almost anything but to my surprise this artist played and sang everything as if there was no difficulty transitioning from Opera to Jazz to Gospel to Musical Theater and even to Patriot songs.

The second surprise was the quality of the performance. I am no stranger to Broadway and Opera having spent 16 years in the NYC and New Jersey areas and being somewhat involved in the music scene. Nor am I a stranger to Gospel as I did media projects for Thomas Nelson in Nashville and their record label Word Records along with several other labels.

My idea of exceptional performance was based on seeing and hearing the best singers in the world who performed at the epicenter of music in the opera houses and Broadway stages of the Big Apple to the concert halls and churches of Nashville and Memphis. I was even involved in the 84 piece Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of NYC whose annual performance of the Best of Broadway brought all the top stars of the musicals.

So down here in quiet Coltons Point I make it a habit to lower expectations and give the artists a chance. Was I ever stunned when Robert sat down at the piano and broke out in song to Bali Ha'i from South Pacific. It was the beginning of a mesmerizing afternoon of music selections from Broadway, the Blues, Gospel and Patriotic genres that enchanted the intimate gathering and left us feeling as if we just survived a breathtaking trip to Oz with Dorothy.

There was magic in the keyboards and magic in the voice as Robert emotionally embraced the wide selection of songs as if they were his own life story. When he closed with the patriotic selections American Anthem and God Bless the USA there wasn't a dry eye in the room. In today's age people seem to have forgotten about the good things in America but for one afternoon they were front and center.

At this point I thought I had my quota of surprises but when I approached Robert after the concert more surprises were in store. He can belt out a song on stage but his humility and humbleness off stage were quite a contrast. Robert followed a slightly different path than most famous or soon to be famous singers and musicians in America.

Of course there was playing the piano at age seven and then joining the gospel choir in church. But he went on to get a bachelors degree, then Masters in Musical Arts while becoming an accomplished soloist, songwriter, recording artist and jazz pianist. Even more astounding, he spent much of his career to date with the US Army Field Band and this group is no ordinary drum and bugle marching band.

As I learned from their web site, from Boston to Bombay, Tokyo to Toronto, The United States Army Field Band has been thrilling audiences of all ages for more than half a century. As the premier touring musical representative for the United States Army, this internationally-acclaimed organization travels thousands of miles each year presenting a variety of music to enthusiastic audiences throughout the nation and abroad. Through these concerts, the Field Band keeps the will of the American people behind the members of the armed forces and supports diplomatic efforts around the world.

Since its formation in March 1946, the Field Band has appeared in all fifty states and in more than thirty countries on four continents. The organization's four performing components, the Concert Band, the Soldier's Chorus, the Jazz Ambassadors, and the Volunteers, each travel over 100 days annually. Tours include formal public concerts, school assemblies, educational outreach programs, festivals, and radio and television appearances.

The United States Army Field Band is considered by music critics to be one of the most versatile and inspiring musical organizations in the world. Its members, selected by highly-competitive audition, represent some of the finest musical talent in America. More than six decades as the military's most traveled musicians have earned them the title, "The Musical Ambassadors of the Army."

This year Robert was involved in a history-making event as The US Army Field Band was part of the Presidential Inaugural event for Barack Obama, our nation's first Black president. It was one of the highlights of Robert's career.

Lest you think he can do all this and more on his own you are mistaken for behind the man stands one amazing woman his wife Pensacola and together they have developed a rapidly expanding ministry that offers teaching programs for Gospel Music and a variety of other music and entertainment related activities including the concert series which got me into this story in the first place.

To learn more and have an opportunity to attend the intimate concerts contact Robert through his web site at;

or you can learn about his ministry at



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hurricane Bill - Wake Up America


Pictured above is Hurricane Bill in the lower right of the photo as it gathers strength and sets course for America. Now the weather service has somewhat downplayed this storm after all the false alarms since Katrina have cost millions of dollars.

However, our own intuition here at CPT believes this will most likely develop into a monster storm and batter the Atlantic States from North Carolina north where hurricanes hitting land are not a common occurrence.

Those of you in the Carolina to New Jersey-New York areas should make preparations for a storm next week that could leave the area without power and water for some time depending on the storm damage if it does hit land.

By the time you get a warning from your local and national weather services there will be shortages of food and water and you better stock up early for a week to be safe. Remember when buying food you will have no electric power to cool or cook unless you have a power generator.

Also this storm will hit in the midst of the Dog Days of Summer when we could have high temperatures and severe humidity in it's aftermath. Plan for what it will take to stay cool and dry. Keep handy a basic medical kit plus whatever you need for special medical problems.

Consider that massive power outages will leave you without a toilet, even in the septic areas since electric water pumps are needed, or water for washing so you should keep bottles of drinking water and water for washing and toilet flushing.

Finally, flooding, perhaps severe, could result so make sure if you are in a flood plain your valuables on the ground floor are above potential water lines. Common sense and advance planning can make it a lot safer and more tolerable. Make the best of this calm before the storm.

If it misses us and stays in the Atlantic we will still get major rainfall but if it does hit as we expect the damage will be a lot more severe so be prepared.


Summer Wrap Up - Obama and The Economy - What About the Forgotten Americans?


Nothing has really changed. Money owns Wall Street, money owns the news media and money owns our politicians. Perhaps the public is finally figuring that out. The crooks are in control like they have been for the past couple of centuries and the noose around individual freedom has continued to tighten. Money should support our system, not control it, because money has no loyalty to a people or to a cause, just an insatiable obsession with acquiring more.

After years of Wall Street greed in which both political parties were willing beneficiaries and Republicans and Democrats failed to protect us nothing has changed. The same mindset that figured out how to circumvent whatever feeble attempts by the federal government to regulate the money managers remains alive and well in the Obama regime.

No one has moved to eliminate the opportunity for market manipulation nor even the hideous practices with futures, swaps, programmed buying and selling and the maze of other techniques brought about by the darkest financial minds in America to squeeze every last cent of profit out of our system with no regard for the consequences on people.

Money has no geographic borders. The whole world tried to cash in on Wall Street greed by buying into the sub-prime mortgage market and oil price speculation brought to you by the folks at Goldman Sachs, AIG, CitiGroup and others. The whole world lost a fortune betting on immoral practices.

The media covered up these practices that began with Clinton and now have impacted on three presidents because the media is even more dependent than politicians on the profits of greed, money, in the form of advertising. Now the media is hurting and until the media is destroyed in its present form it will continue bleeding to death because it no longer serves a useful service to the money changers.

When advertisers pumped money into television and news media wrote good things about the advertisers everyone was happy. Then the bubble burst. Now the money is drying up as the greed mongers destroyed the credibility of our news media just as they had destroyed the credibility of our politicians by getting them addicted to the money.

After the crash on Wall Street last year people stopped investing. The media and politicians immediately said to start spending our way out of the recession. How stupid when spending was what got us into the recession. When we stop spending, start saving, and stop our obsession with owning things that have no impact on our quality of life nor morality, we might have a ray of hope for the future.

In Asia every person consumes two barrels of oil per year while in America every person consumes twenty-six barrels of oil per year. At the end of the day the people of Asia are the ones financing our addiction to greed by buying American bonds that we cannot afford so we can continue our growth by increasing our deficit.

What is the point of fixing a system that does not serve the American people, whether a political or a financial system? One that is throwing billions and trillions of hard earned American dollars down an endless pit into the arms of the very people we are trying to stop. You cannot cure cancer by feeding it and you cannot cure corruption by feeding it, you cure them by eradicating it. End the practices that do not serve the greater good of the country and you will clean up the mess in America. If you are Obama, the place to start is in the White House and Congress where the manipulation of America was planned and executed and where it remains alive and well today.

Summer Wrap Up - Obama and Congress - Who is Looking out for Us?


As Obama completes his 7th month as President I hope there are a few things he has learned. Like all new presidents he has tried to ride the crest of adulation and perceived popularity to secure sweeping changes on the face of our nation and like all new presidents he failed.

Like all politicians he promised ideological changes and like all new presidents he discovered the American public really do pay attention to those who attempt to hijack the nation. Obama style socialism had no more chance than Bush conservatism because America is a melting pot on philosophical identity, not prone to believe politicians.

We do not care about a politicians agenda, only their willingness to get past their agenda and start serving all the people not just their own special interests. Obama has enraged the conservatives with his platform and the liberals with his failures and in America that is how it should be because in the end we demand a higher standard than political promises can deliver.

He got burned on the economy, not because he was wrong but because there is no evidence his solutions would work. The same politicians and bureaucrats that got us into this mess are advising him and the same special interests continue to pump tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of our elected officials. This conflict of interest, the practice of accepting money from those you regulate, is a cancer that must be eradicated from American politics if corruption is to ever be contained.

Neither Obama nor congress has the strength, the moral fortitude nor the willingness to risk their career for the greater good of the people by working to abolish special interest lobbying, campaign financing and corrupting our elected officials. No, money still controls Washington and Wall Street and those Obama supporters with money got more money while those without money got the shaft.

Why? Because the same people remain in power in congress, the White House and Wall Street who caused the problems. Two trillion in government bailouts to protect the practices of the greed mongers should be ample evidence of the strength of the crooks and the weakness of the elected officials who promised to stop them while accepting millions in campaign contributions.

Maybe Obama will mature. Maybe he will realize who the enemy really is. Maybe he will lower the volume of tirades against opposing politicians and people who disagree because isn't that what America and freedom are all about? When he turns his anger on the people filling his staff positions, walking in the halls of congress and thumbing their noses at the American public while stealing them blind he might start to make progress.

Americans are sick and tired of special interest agendas whether it is the Democratic or Republican agenda, liberal or conservative, Wall Street or Main Street, Madison Avenue or common sense, media or advertisers. We long for political and economic systems whose purpose is to serve America, not bleed it dry. We long for leaders who want to help all the people, not just stuff their own pockets. We long for news media who place truth above advertising prices and stock values. While there may be a few out there, they are few and far between.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Memories of Youth in America - 1776 Revolution to 1969 Woodstock


With the media fascination surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival that began August 15, 1969, I think our reflection should also not forget other incidents when our youth stepped to the forefront. I am a baby boomer and was in my early 20's when Woodstock took place. By then several of my classmates and friends had been killed in Viet Nam.

Yes it was a time desperately in need of peace and tranquility. Coming from the Midwest we were raised to be patriots and taught that there was a price to be paid for freedom and we were more than willing to pay that price. Then things seemed to change.

A few years earlier I went to the University of Arizona where I was in ROTC as anti-war demonstrations rocked our campus. There was considerable co-mingling of students from various West Coast schools like UCLA, USC, and other California schools along with the Arizona students.

We were in the same conference, the PAC Ten and competed in athletics. At the time UCLA was becoming the dominant force in college basketball. Unfortunately I was on the Arizona basketball team and had to face the Bruins.

Then I was injured, lost my athletic scholarship and volunteered for the military draft. To my dismay I was rejected because of the sports injuries. In case you were not around then if you were not a full time student you were eligible to be drafted and if you volunteered for the draft you went to Viet Nam earlier and served one year less active duty. You could then return and go to school under the GI program.

In 1969 my brother was in the Marines and the year before was in the Tet offensive in the war zone. The Viet Cong attacks on over 100 cities stunned the military, the Johnson Administration and the public. We had been led to believe the war was winding down and we were winning. The stunning action drove the President from office that year.

Also the year before Woodstock I was a volunteer in Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign and saw him just before he was assassinated in California. It was the second Kennedy I volunteered to work for to be murdered. Just a few weeks before Kennedy was murdered Martin Luther King, Jr. had been murdered. He was about to undertake the Poor People's March on Washington, DC and Resurrection City had been built on the nation's Mall. I had visited the city where up to 3,000 poor people lived and up to 50,000 gathered for the March.

King's assassination led to deadly riots across the nation and even in Omaha where I worked for the Mayor we had policemen murdered during the riots leaving behind young families. The radicals of the 1960's were attempting to hijack every cause that was legitimate. In time I got to personally know Coretta Scott King, Martin's widow, and came to appreciate the severe price her family paid to help others.

All of this was in the year leading up to Woodstock.

By the time Woodstock came around I was 23 years old, married with kids, involved in politics and trying to change the world from within the system. My work took me from Omaha to Washington, DC often. I was also into music and rock groups were dominating the music scene.

On one trip out east I heard about the upcoming Woodstock event and the line up of potential artists going to perform. Unfortunately, tickets for the event were only on sale in New York City and the surrounding area. Several of the scheduled acts performed that summer in Omaha at the auditorium and when I talked to them they were unsure of the event and if they would appear.

I was not a hippie nor did I even know any hippies though I had lived from the east coast to the west coast, and I did not grow up in the drug culture though I knew people who were exposed to it. Like many kids at the time, I was drawn to the music and the message in the music.

When Woodstock took place and nearly 500,000 showed up I was amazed it went so well but concerned that this festival would become recognized for much more than it represented because of the size of the crowd. For every ten people showing up at Woodstock to party one person had died in Viet Nam to protect their right to freedom, with nearly 55,000 of our nation's youth killed in the war.

I remembered an earlier time when our youth came together to promote an unpopular cause. The average age at Woodstock was 18-25. The average age of the Colonial Army that fought the mighty British Empire for the right to create the United States was 18-25. There was little food, clothing, money, and medical help for both groups.

While there were about 450,000 youth at Woodstock there were 231,771 who fought for freedom in the Revolution. One was a peaceful revolution to stop a war while the other was forged of battles, deaths and fighting against all odds to lay the foundation of freedom that would spawn the youth at Woodstock nearly 200 years later.

Both came at a terrible time for the people when the poor suffered, racial prejudice was dominant, there was high unemployment, excessive taxes and little opportunity. Those youth in the Revolution risked their lives, families, property and futures for a dream and were willing to pay the ultimate price to get it.

I only hope the nation does not forget the extreme difference in roles played by our youth over time. I only hope the Woodstock generation does not forget what was behind the desire for peace that summer weekend both in terms of the terrible sacrifices of the generation of youth 200 years earlier and the events of the previous year.

There was terrible war, racial prejudice, the environment was being destroyed, education was poor, unemployment was high, Madison Avenue materialism was dominant, Wall Street corruption was out of control, politicians did not listen, special interests got their way, confidence in government was at an all time low and too many people were indifferent. Sound familiar?

And I really hope the youth of today look around and see what previous generations of youth did to get you where you are today. Are you willing to take up the mantle of peace or war to defend what you inherited? Or have you let America slip back to where it was when earlier youth rose to the challenge?