Friday, October 3, 2008


What Will We Do With Them Now?

(Oct.3, St. Louis, MO) Living in a country where more people vote for American Idol than for the President of the United States, it was encouraging, perhaps, that an estimated 62 millions of us tuned in to watch. Does this represent real ‘interest’ on the part of the American voter given the gravity of our current domestic and international profound problems or, did the curiosity factor draw the viewers in. Clearly, a personality, a character, a woman from relative national obscurity – Sarah Palin – no doubt appealed to our style over substance, celebrity obsessed, superficial, politically apathetic society.

While there was indeed tremendous pressure on the Republican VP candidate, Alaska’s Governor, Sarah Palin, Democratic Senator, Joe Biden of Delaware faced a significant challenge as well. How would Senator Biden, the well versed, articulate, veteran Washington insider, intimately familiar with a broad range of issues both foreign and domestic contend with the grossly inexperienced though intelligent, confident novice on the national stage, Governor Palin?

Without being sexist or biased, to avoid the fact of the stark physical contrasts between the two is virtually impossible. Objectivity could only be maintained if one were to have never seen photos of either candidate and only read the transcript of the debate. Objectively, substance, Biden, outscored Palin. The Governor, the polar opposite, no doubt trounced in the subjective, but our cultural, style oriented citizenry.

Arguably not since the first televised Presidential debate in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, was the visual, physical contrast more apparent. How could anyone doubt that a woman who first took the stage in beauty pageants, prancing around in a bathing suit having every aspect of her body “judged”, would not be capable of at least holding her own armed with only her appearance and memorized talking points? There was no doubt that the 65 year old, generic white male creature of Senate would, if he so chose, to slam Palin on substance.

Remarkably each rose to their own specific challenges. That was a disappointment to many for various reasons. Palin’s vapid answers and folksy asides were a not well received by independent minded, concerned voters as much as Biden’s use of legalese, Senate-speak, legislation nuance and minutia turned off the same voters.

The Democratic and Republican tickets appear, on the surface as well as deeper still, to be inverse, converse, disjointed opposites. The Senate veteran McCain atop the GOP ticket with the sassy Palin at his side versus the new-comer, spry, energetic freshman Senator Obama for the Dems, paired with the Senatorial warhorse Biden. Considering, subjectively and objectively, the possible duos would arguably give each party a better package. Reverse the Republicans, Palin for President with VP McCain; Biden atop the ticket with Obama as his running mate. The inverse universe, cosmic, alternate political reality would present the “dream ticket” of Obama – Palin. They would give the old boys, Biden – McCain a real run for the money.

The first and only Vice Presidential debate is now history: ready to be scrutinized, analyzed, criticized, parsed, probed and deconstructed by pundits, journalists, editorialists, commentators , historians, comedians, from this day forward. Any worthy, thoughtful critique will be left for those farther removed from the present, real time, hyped-up, manic 24 hour new cycle reviews.

Beyond all that, on November 4th, American voters will have to make a choice. The choices are the choices, the facts the facts. In a Rumsfeldesqueian summary we, the American voters, must “Go to vote with the candidates we have.”

We will either wake up and think or dismissively toss the dice.

Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 1, 2008



(Oct. 1, New York, New York)  In the brilliantly written 1990 book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, authored by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, their detailed account of the meltdown, hostile take over attempts and efforts to save a hulking corporate sinking ship are well chronicled.  The story they tell in detail of  what was, at the time, the largest failure of an American corporate giant  in history, appears to be a work of fiction, a fairy tale compared to the financial crisis we face today.   We find ourselves on the precipice looking into the abyss of a full blown depression.  Not since the stock market crash and subsequent run on banks that resulted in a decade known as “The Great Depression”, has our country faced such a monumental financial crisis.

In Oliver Stone’s movie Wall Street depicting the life in the fast lane 1980’s orgy of wheeling and dealing at the highest levels, the main character, a ruthless investment banker named Gordon Gekko, says at one point, “Greed is Good.”  Obviously most of the CEO’s of the major financial, banking, lending and investment institutions not only have agreed with that statement but, by having actually vigorously pursued it, they have brought this country, our economy and, perhaps the entire global economy perilously close to total collapse. 

Complicit in this rabid hunt for personal wealth has been our MBA President, the moronic George W. Bush, his cronies and the scum that have served in Congress the last eight years.  They all laid the ground work, literally paved the way over the lives of working class Americans, for their own gain.  The Ponzi schemes, sub-prime mortgage practices, the avalanche of deregulation , complete absence of oversight of every component of the mechanics of our economy designed by K Street lobbyists, constructed by the criminals in Congress and signed into law by imbecilic George, have brought us to this point.  And now , this very same cast of characters claims to be able to fix it?  As Maureen Dowd of the New York Times commented, they are like “the arsonist who wants to put out the fire.”  The applicable  metaphors and analogies are too numerous to waste time on.  The average American knows all too well that our economy has been in trouble for years.

The Republican Party has ruled the country for the majority of the past eight years. What have George W. and company brought us? The largest expansion of the federal government in over 40 years, the largest federal debt, trade imbalance, increasing prices across the board from milk and groceries to gasoline. They have been more business friendly than any administration in memory and have presided over a spending spree that is so astronomical it is difficult to even understand. Trillions, trillions and more trillions and billions spoken about as if they were bingo chips.

Unemployment is higher than it has been in 18 years. Bush and his boss Dick Cheney inherited a budget surplus of several hundreds of billions of dollars yet, these fiscal conservatives have basically had to borrow from foreign lenders to such a degree that much of our nation is owned by those very same foreign nations

Finally, sadly it has come to this. We, too, are somewhat complicit in this catastrophe because we the people have put these bastards in office. Maybe folks will begin to think twice about how “political issues” do in fact impact their lives directly, indirectly and over a lon period of time; a period of sufficient length to impact the lives of their children and grand children.

We have all been astounded to learn that the average CEO makes at least 4000 times more than the average employee in their company. We have been equally astonished as our pensions, retirement plans and home equity have eroded or vanished completely while the richest of the rich, the very people who put us out of jobs and squandered our pensions had easy access to “Golden Parachutes.”

If we were all paying attention we would have noticed that the big oil giants raked in record breaking, stupendous profits while we paid up to four dollars for a gallon of gasoline. Big oil has profited to the tune of $600 billion dollars since the former Texas oilman, Shrub moved into the White House. Gasoline averaged $1.56 per gallon when George W. came into office. What does it cost now? The list of crimes, misdemeanors, no-bid, self-serving contracts and the almost infinite other travesties this crew are guilty of is stunning in its scale and scope.

Then, to watch on TV as these scumbag Congressmen hold self congratulatory press conferences patting themselves on the back for actually having accomplished something, is enough to make any informed citizen vomit.

During the Great Depression, then President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation in a speech containing the famous line,“All we have to fear is fear itself.” That is certainly not true today. Today all we have to fear is our elected government officials and their unquenchable thirst for power,influence and greed. We also have to fear paying the bills and trying to make ends meet.

We have damned good reasons to be cynical and here, among The Brooding Cynyx, we are absolutely disgusted over what has transpired during the tenure of George W. Bush and are extremely cynical that the 26 year member of Congress, a product of Congress and inside the beltway politicking, schmoozing with the lobbyists and helping deregulate everything that should have had some modicum of regulation and oversight related to the economy, fiscal policy and Wall Street, is willing, capable or even could be forced to make any realistic change that will have a positive impact on all the masses of non-barbarians who lay awake at night wondering, how the hell did this happen?

Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 29, 2008



(Sept. 29, New York, New York) There are certain journalists known for their probing, tough, relentless interview style. Some of these print and TV journalists are feared by certain politicians who have watched as their colleagues have withered under intense scrutiny. Katie Couric is not one of them, yet, she was more than capable of rendering GOP vice-presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, appear like a blithering idiot. In a sense, the Republican ticket should be grateful that Tim Russert is no longer with us. He’d have a quite a time with Governor Palin.

Palin’s initial luster is rapidly fading. Her introduction to a national audience was by any measure one chooses to assess a brilliant performance. Considering her unfamiliarity playing the political game at the highest level, having to deliver a speech, live, from the Republican National Convention while 99.9% of Americans had never even heard of her, she presented herself as intelligent, capable, humorous and at ease. A remarkable feat given that in just a matter of days she was thrust from relative obscurity (except in Alaska) to being a vice presidential candidate, a position literally a heartbeat removed from the most powerful position in the world, the Presidency of the United States.

Aside from the bruising from Katie, Palin has not fared well in other interviews. She appears to be an asset on the campaign trail; she has her stump speech down pat and delivers it with gusto and, at times, subtle charm. Despite her public speaking skills, she has demonstrated a remarkable lack of knowledge in every area from the current financial crisis, domestic and foreign affairs of every kind, and has even made statement contrary to the positions espoused by her running mate, Senator John McCain. These are not beneficial indicators considering the election is 36 days away.

Her glaring lack of the breadth and depth of the challenges the next President will confront is not to imply she is unintelligent. She is no fool and, in her brief political career in Alaska, proven to be an ambitious, shrewd and tough politician tactically. Her meteoric rise from the local PTA to Mayor of the small town of Wasilla, to the Office of Governor of the State of Alaska is impressive and proof positive of her political skills. (Granted, we’re talking Alaska here.) The fact of the matter is that being a gifted campaigner as a political candidate is in no way an indicator that once elected; such a person will be a capable, effective elected public official. The stakes as far as Palin are concerned are raised exponentially given the prominence of the office she now aspires to. The second highest elected official in America, The Vice President, a literal heart beat away from the Presidency of the United States, (arguably, the most powerful position on the planet) should be possessed of the knowledge, leadership abilities and other vital attributes we expect and deserve in our President.

Given the current domestic conditions, being engaged in battles on two fronts and the myriad of complex range of national, international if not global challenges the winner of the rapidly approaching general election will confront, the ramifications and repercussions of electing the wrong ticket will reverberate for many, many years to come.

Perhaps, if victorious in November John McCain will surround himself with a stellar Cabinet and advisors that would, to some degree, off set Governor Palin’s weaknesses. We may find out. The simple arithmetic and medical history of electing a 72 year old, four time cancer survivor to the unimaginable pressures and stresses of the Presidency with a 44 year old virtual novice as Vice President could potential be disastrous.

Conversely, we have witnessed and are living through what our current Yale and Harvard educated MBA, CEO President, his highly experienced Vice President, his veteran Cabinet members have wrought. This Administration will go down in history as the most inept, criminal, arrogant, defiant collection of conscienceless scum that has perpetrated more damage, death and destruction of every type on our country as well as around the world. They have shredded our sacred Constitution, violated domestic and international law and engaged in a war that continues to this day that was a war of choice, greed and hubris. Unfortunately, John McCain and, by default, Sarah Palin are joined at the hip to the George W. Bush presidency and legacy. McCain especially cannot in any logical, honest, understandable way divorce himself from this President and all that has transpired over the last seven plus years.

So, this seems to bring us full circle in a sense. Hopefully, considering all the facts, we, the American people will vote thoughtfully, wisely and in great non-apathetic numbers. Time will tell if we will have voted correctly.

Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved