Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Powerless Injustice

[Click on the title to see Mike Roger's referenced video]
It's shocking that clearly stating the obvious as the rep from Michigan did on the "floor" is so easily dismissed by other supposed representatives.
I've felt a similar powerless injustice certainly as an irrational kid, as can be expected. But as an adult it's much less tolerated. I was at a car auction in Palm Springs at a vintage car race 20 years ago. I was looking at a funky little Triumph Herald convertible circa 1965 completely restored that was with the various Ferraris, Maseratis and formula cars, when I felt the brush of the back of a Arab Sheik's dismissive hand shooing me away from his space as he had a look. In shock I glared at him, but he never looked my way; just deferred me to his bodyguard who looked prepared to eliminate me if I so much as touched his boss, living within his rules as I'm sure he did. That dismissive wave of the hand spoke volumes.

I have felt that same powerless injustice when I was invited by a renter in my house (past tough times) to visit his extended family for dinner. I caught slight undercurrents of resentment that I had it so easy as an American citizen, while this group of brothers was living outside the tax structure of our country as maids, gardeners, mechanics (from whom I bought a Volvo), car painters and car auction buyers. Our way of life is under attack and there is glee around the world as Obama, their savior, is putting us in our place. It's clear that there is a sense of entitlement at "getting even", that those of us who've worked hard need to step aside now. The White House is no longer insulating us from the laws of the jungle. There has been no other more dangerous time for our country. Mark Levin's book, "Liberty and Tyranny" has helped clarified the core values that are a reference as we feel our lives slowly eroding. I fear critical mass is much closer than we think, though we're lucky to have many well positioned advocates of our free enterprise system acting as weather vanes. Sometime, deplorably, we may not be able to talk among ourselves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thomas Sowell Clarifies Interconnectedness

Few understand the capitalist economy better than Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute. Click on the title to see a very clear synopsis of why the economy took such a deep plunge.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Katmaikayak Tours

These people know how to show you the Alaska experience!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Taking The Lid Off Of The Economy.

My former entries were bombastic and a little on the wild side as I condemned the new presidency as a truly Statist organization as defined in Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”. Since I’m not held to the confines of a pro writer, I have no limits to my bombast other than common sense, and that, marginally.

But it is becoming painfully obvious that our leaders have no desire to help their citizenry in ways that truly matter. The financial world is looking to China to ease the strains put on the world economy! The obvious explosion of capitalism in China is overwhelming the iron fist of Communism. Given half a chance, capitalism grows like a weed!

In the August 10th, 2009 issue of Business week ,

Maria Bartiromo asks Donald Tang of CITIC,

“Was China smarter than the U.S. about stimulating the economy?”

Mr. Tang answered with, “Policymakers have really tried to take advantage of the crisis to transform the economy from an export economy led by the coastal region to [one led by] domestic consumption by, for example, giving customers vouchers to buy electronic goods and reducing taxes to put money in their pockets.”

Maria Bartiromo, “You were in China two weeks ago. What has happened on the ground?”

Joseph Meuse /Belmont Partners, “I’m telling you they’re already past the recession. The economy is humming. I see at least a 9% GDP growth.

Maria Bartiromo, “Are the Chinese amazed we’re still stuck in the recession?”

“That’s right. They’re holding all the cards and will continue to do so. There is a feeling here that China is still stuck in some kind of Third World mentality. It’s not. It’s a superpower.”

As anyone who lived through Reaganomics knows, lowering taxes stimulates growth. When conferring with the economist Arthur Laufer, Ronald Reagan took a chance and the rest is history with the capitalist machine making the United States the place to be for thirty years. Strong leaders can take chances that give power to others. Weak leaders are convinced they need all the power they can get. Our President has proven himself to be a micro manager, cautiously doling out snippets of “stimulus”, hoping to restart the economic engine, just enough to generate a healthy flow of taxes that he can regulate like a kid fine tuning his motorbike for maximum economy. I think he’s got some definition misunderstandings between “economy” and “the economy”, since he’s been “educated” ever mindful of the imbalance of power in America, in the best grooming institution of the politically successful. It’s one thing to ignore history, yet another to ignore Chinese capitalism’s health readily available for all to see. It would appear that our President’s vanity is clouding his vision that he will be accepted as the leader of the Big Boy’s club, but it’s all about leverage and traction. There’s a reason the USA has garnered respect amid controversy for so long. Don’t presume anything in the real world.

In true statist form the president has taken a crisis and carried the uncertainty forward with his own bombast. He is on a mission of control. Citizens are merely obstacles to be overcome and milked for all they’re worth. Our “leadership” is elitist in nature and above we mere subjects, as they prepare our lives of servitude. It is truly unbelievable that the Democrats are going along with this madness! Where are the Liebermans of the party now? I haven’t made an entry for awhile because I was hoping the former writing on the wall was misunderstood. It was not and my fears are building about the future of our great nation.

Thankyou, President Obama, for bringing thunderstorms to my future! I have confidence you have no desire to get your head out of the clouds. My next greatest hope is that you’re gripped by forces we can’t see, possibly the money behind your advantages, that have produced leverage on you to make you act counter to American values and that you will level with us when you can’t take the hypocracy anymore.

Wishful thinking.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Tongue In Cheek Parody: Robbing Hood

You notice how your sense of optimism may slip away when you least expect it....a slight irritation on the freeway may lead to noticing the dust on your dash and thoughts that you've been thinking of replacing your car, but money's a little tight right now and you won't mind, for the time being that your lifestyle seems to be sliding down a ravine! Cheer up! You're in good company! Everyone in The Western Civilization is going through the same thing.

There seems to be an effort to systematically deconstruct our economy, the greatest in history and the kingpin throughout the free world! Hold on to your hats; We're in for a rough ride, but there could be a
Robbing Hood (click the hyperlink to see my parody) robbing from the rich and giving (wink, wink, nod, nod) to the poor. Oh, and by the way, I keep flashing back to the various futures presented in "Back To The Future".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The American Dream in 2009

For a limited time, for new buyers, GM has offered to take over payments for nine months in the event that they lose their job. It feels like another slap in the face of the American taxpayer, dangling candy in front of greedy consumers who snap at the bait, oblivious to ulterior motives as GM once again insinuates itself into a nine month free ride at worst but solvency at best. The intent is to make the consumer feel important, as though there’s nothing more valuable than you, the consumer and they’re investing in you. The problem is the guarantee would be taxpayer money about which they’re being so cavalier in their marketing strategy. It’s a way they can be broad based in hooking as many as possible to gain leverage at crunch time if it doesn’t work as planned, “taking” from the taxpayer, hooking a buyer for the company’s viability, nine months minimum. It’s offensive to a rational sense of accountability. But GM may not have time to use a more measured approach to stay afloat. It’s sometimes described as a retirement plan that sells cars. Where’s my compassion?
The unauthorized book, “On a Clear Day You Can See GM”, regularly comes to mind with the current GM crisis. The book was initially authorized by DeLorean, but when DeLorean realized the position in which it would put him, speaking as he did about problems within the company, he revoked his support of the project. His collaborator released the book on his own, against the wishes of DeLorean and we readers captured a glimpse into a closely guarded organization.
In a way, I suppose we could look at GM as part of our aging infrastructure, much like the railroads of the late 19th century. GM, Ford and Chrysler survived as they claimed the 20th century, one of the most prosperous in the history of mankind. Several good cars faded away tugging at heartstrings as they went. The British had their powerful Navy in previous centuries. Several American car manufacturers didn’t survive because they lacked a combination of elements that defined our identity as a nation and made us swell with pride at our combined American ingenuity as we were the envy of the rest of the world. Even the most suave in exotic lands wanted a piece of that, “Je ne sais quoi? How you say?” Chasing the dream as we all wish for better times.
Perhaps that is what we are lamenting as we have given the main car manufacturers a comfort zone with our loyalties and our love of the creative and often humorous advertising entertainment that would also suffer from such a void.
The USA made people all over the world glad to be alive. Disneyland was so popular it grew roots in France and Japan. The pursuit of happiness became a final destination rather than an end to those with means as the middle class grew and became international in scope. Goodwill and sharing rippled on many shores throughout the world in the form of marketing of ingenious products, from skateboards to jet skis. Certainly Ipods are sexy and have done their share to once again remind us how lucky we are to live in a country where people come to make dreams reality.
But GM has been an economic engine more broad-based and entrenched in our psyches. We’ve grown up attuned to having a certain car at certain points of our lives. We are living the American dream!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Thoughts On Tea Parties On April 15th

Victor, a Russian immigrant with a PhD in philosophy, recognized in Obama the playbook used during his youth in Russia during the rise of Stalin. He was a random caller on the Rush Limbaugh show on April 14th. He thanked Rush for being a shining light for his listeners while we’re ‘pulling out our hair’ as the supposed disaster of the President’s deception unfolds, since we don’t have the advantage of retrospect yet. I don’t have a stake in my words here beyond the unpleasant possibility that we may lose our way of life, as we’re all either benefiting from free enterprise, or hired by others that figured it out better than we did. The decision makers usually have the advantage of a financial cushion in the event things don’t work out as they thought. I don’t wish to be the object of a tyranny that supplants a possibility of a comfortable retirement, which won’t exist if the middle class disappears, as it may with incentives removed from what some see as “the rich”. The middle class grew out of WWII, which was the impetus that dragged the USA out of the depression, finally. It was not, as is thought, the product of Teddy Rosevelt’s New Deal.
Victor told Rush he was ‘spot on’ in his understanding and presentation to his listening audience. A most telling element mentioned by Victor on the air and the reason I felt the need to write, was the relaying of a specific memory from his youth in Russia. When atrocities were discovered by Victor’s parents, his parents used to say, “Stalin can’t know this is happening. We need to make sure Stalin knows what is going on,” when now he knows, from history and the advantage of retrospect, that Stalin was the source of the atrocities. Victor is sickened to see the current events unfolding after successfully making a new life for himself in America. Just as his parents did, liberals are in the dark about their boy, Obama; their mesmerizing speaker and hope for humanity that they found so lacking in the former President. I hope I’m off-base with this article.
I always found it mysterious that Bush’s Secretary of State, Condaleza Rice, an extremely accomplished woman, was considered by the left as irrelevant because of her party allegiance. The hate of the former Presidency has been replaced with a similar strong emotion of the opposite variety for the current President. Be careful what you wish for.
Retrospect is a handy tool that is unavailable now, because there is no track record for the speed that liberals are trying to catch up with where they could have been had Bush not interfered with the direction of policy implementation Clinton had initiated. There’s always a period of inertia that must be overcome as critical mass is reached for change to occur. The economic crisis, according to Rahm Immanuel, a terrible thing to waste, has added a layer of obfuscation** on top of regular platitudes that hide what to some (Constitutionalists) is subterfuge (KFI)*, while to others (Liberals) is progress (KPFK)*. That one little thing that has layers of obfuscation** thrown on it is…. The removal of incentives, barriers to free enterprise and the subsequent destabilization of the dollar are at risk. Our currency is not referenced to a definite amount of gold, thus is by fiat only as is the rest of the world, except, maybe Dubai. Since the government is in control of printing money, because of the massive bailouts, this puts the government in the center of relief from debt for generations to come. The money being spread around is sold as relief when actually it is immeasurable debt leading to subservience to government, by those unwilling or incapable of growth in a free market, a concept too complex for a bumper sticker, thereby sold in obfuscation rather than debated openly with full disclosure. This obfuscation is part of the reason behind the Tea Parties of April 15th. Some things can be affected by the swing of the pendulum from left to right and back every eight years, some things can’t. Are we willing to let someone unskilled experiment with our future? I think not.

*Radio stations are L.A. based
** A big word meant to act as a deterrent of further investigation. One look at that word, “obfuscation”, and even those who don’t see jumping letters from dyslexia will easily ignore or just get fuzzy about the details following. It’s intentional to get readers to dig out their dictionary and familiarize themselves with the concept, because it is a common political strategy.

Tea Party Genesis

Rick Santelli of CNBC started the idea of a Tea Party, as a derivative of "The Boston Tea Party" of old. Here on April 15th in the steamy year of 2009, we have action from just a bunch of regular citizens tired of being steam rollered!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leverage and Traction in Political Leadership

It’s a bit disarming to see President Obama chided by Europeans: He’s taking their own game too far. Ah, youth, “one upping” each other, as they do. Meanwhile Hillary attempts diplomacy with Russia, leading to a chiding from Putin on another continent. All we need is one more stooge to keep the comedy act alive.
The President may be bursting a balloon that has been kept afloat to obfuscate for class reasons; what’s really going on in the big picture, as it were. The Europeans have historically chided Americans who they consider “boorish”* when it comes to finesse. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were tenuously respected because they understood diplomacy in Europe, while John Adams suffered from his directness, dispensing with finesse, driven by haste and impatient with the charade of the French courtesans. Consider that the members of the UN will have a good debate and call it a day, while Americans live in the world of action. But, now, Marie Antoinette’s, “Let them eat cake!” has never felt so close to our lives. As events unfold there’s a tendency to believe the possibility that freedom to protest is largely for theatre to keep the populace feeling influential while in reality they are focused on an eddy and dispersed from essential matters underway as our leaders pursue the power of an Oligarchy**? Please, history, prove me wrong!

* boorish - ill-mannered and coarse and contemptible in behavior or appearance; "was boorish and insensitive"; "the loutish manners of a bully"; "her stupid oafish husband"; "aristocratic contempt for the swinish multitude"
** Oligarchy- A form of government in which the supreme power is placed inthe hands of a few persons; also, those who form the ruling few.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Does The Emperor Have Any Clothes?

Any writer wants to be a lightening rod for his readers and avoid alienating them lest they pigeonhole too quickly and marginalize the message.  No one can be everything for everybody.  If a writer wants to capture a large readership, casting a wide net will certainly alienate a certain few.  Any viewpoint risks distrust especially now when we are all trying to make sense and recover from the financial meltdown.
These are challenging times and we find our lives, even the world in a state of flux rarely seen.  We have little confidence that rationality will rule as America rides the rough economy out.  We hope that our leadership will continue to be just and respected by free thinkers throughout the world.  Billions have been lost by investors as former University professors with no particular interest in finance are at the helm of our futures.  Dare I say, in this world of political correctness, that liberals, proud in their tradition of compassion have shown themselves to be like the emperor with no clothes as they delve into the rational world of finance.  Were this a screenplay, I'd insert a reference that some feathers would have been ruffled, "Ah, he's one of those," would smirk a scholarly type, deferential that those he considers his equals would surely be in agreement that the "less informed" live in the world of commerce.  All the arrogance and posturing are now merely window dressing to ACT II.  There is a real need to resolve issues that have real consequences.  No one welcomes such a challenge, but victory will be sweet.  I fear mere debate of Collegiate U.N. politics that resembles Chicago politics is functioning in our great nation as our president drops back to punt.  Will President Obama adapt to changing circumstances?  Will the fears of left wing pundits be realized that he has no intention of saving the financial world from ruin?  
Unfortunately, this is not a Saturday morning TV show on SciFi.  This is your life!  Even under a severe conservative belt tightening measured recovery, we're looking at 5-7 years before we reaccess.  Certainly a healthy financial world exists in a delicate balance as we saw whan the house of cards fell.  We will probably make lifestyle choices that will affect our outlooks well into the future abandoning our consumptive habits.  We must recognize indications of rapid recovery as bubbles, always under construction to serve a few.  We are still lucky to have the best conditions known to man under which to weather the storm.  We will see if President Obama does truly want a healthy future for his daughters rather than the effects of a grand experiment that history has shown to be a waste, potentially bringing suffering to the spirit of a free world.  Does the emperor have clothes?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Great Jimi Hendrix Live

While researching a previous post, I found such interesting formerly unavailable footage on uTube that I was inspired to write another.
I came across this live Hendrix. This was filmed around the same time I saw Jimi up in Bern, Switzerland at a fantastic concert just prior to Monterey Pop of 1967. Cream was supposed to be at the concert in Bern, but Ginger Baker was under the weather, so Eric Clapton played with John Mayall instead, since he'd been with Mayall's band previously. Johnny Almond was also featured in the band, since Mayall was a conduit for many of the greats. I was a bit disappointed that Clapton didn't mention his appearance in Bern in his book, but he did mention being blown away with Hendrix while in London. Clapton's book is excellent and a great window into a life of a truly gifted musician. Traffic during their suitar period, Move and Anselmo Trend ( a local Swiss band) rounded out the evening. Blind Faith emerged a few years afterwards.
My friends and I saw John Mayall, a good sport, playing in a pub in the old part of town as we made our way to the concert hall. The air was electric with the anticipation of what we were to see. We'd taken the train up from Geneva as we were students at Ecolint (International School of Geneva). My own music evolved through the years through the paths of rock, blues, jazz, fusion, flamenco and folk.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Doing Due Diligence.

A few emotionally depleted days ago in joking with a friend, I quiped, " The stimulus package passed today.  I need to tell Michelle Obama that I’m gravely disappointed in my country today."   Yesterday, we found out that Daschle’s plan (part of Hillary’s plan for socialized medicine) was hidden within the stimulus package, found by Republicans doing due diligence, not by Democratic forthrightness. In fact, Dems told their party members that sliding the bill through with something else would be the only way to introduce it, much the same way as Obama told family members of those who died on The USS Cole disaster that he’d released the mastermind of the attack the day before. Heartlessness? Welcome to the Democratic version ‘change.’”
A couple of days ago, Obama told us not to worry about minor fluctuations in the stock market as it drops like a hydrodynamic rock into a black abyss. He misrepresented the “price/earnings ratio” for the “profit/earnings ratio” showing in one fell swoop that he doesn’t know what he’s talking the stock market crashes.
The USA will recover, but it will happen in spite of our current leadership.
Dennis Miller and David Dryer are keeping me on life support….thanks, guys!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Obama May Be Lost In His Own Experiment

Both Obama and Hillary were avid students to the ideas of Saul Alinski; Obama through his mother's boyfriends with romantic formulative links to his roots. I hope I'm just wrong, but Obama may need to follow his idealized feelings of socialism through to conclusion, thereby destroying our lives, in order to prove to himself that he can make it work any better than the failed attempts throughout history. He is protected now from the effects of what may be his experiment because his future is assured, as president. Perhaps we can forgive Saul Alinski his support of socialism as he refers to Dostoevski, who was writing about the Bolshevik Revolution, the people’s revolt against monarchy; a period analyzed by pensive writers and history books. Saul Alinski did not have the advantage of having seen USSR fail and the wall between East and West Germany fall as it tore itself apart under it’s own weight with the catalyst of Ronald Reagan’s leadership. In light of our recent history, Obama’s and Hillary’s interests in Mr. Alinski send shivers down the spine.

In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky outlines his strategy in organizing, writing in the prologue,

"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families - more than seventy million people - whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don't encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let's not let it happen by default."[4]

Alinsky codified and wrote a clear set of rules[5] for community organizing. His rules for radicals are now used as key tactics to learn in the training of new community organizers and were the tactics used by then candidate Barack Obama to win the 2008 election. If Obama has given in to following principles set forth by Alinski and is following the path in honor of his mother’s boyfriend, has he allowed wiggle room in case things don’t work out? I think it’s entirely possible he’s willing to experiment to the end with our futures. We may find out too late if his legacy and experiment are more important to him than our former way of life, because, after all, he and his pals are imune from our future, since high ranking officials have their own medical and retirements futures and are not limited by the laws they create for the rest of us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Same message....Two Different Styles

I was doing a little Google mining and came accross this link.  October 31, 2008 seems like quite awhile ago.  The floor was dropping out of the market and we were all looking for the "Eat Me" cookies in our own "Alice In Wonderland" adventures as we slid down the rabbit hole.  
"I'm late for a very important date," was ringing in my head when I realized I hadn't secured my 401K adequately.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kyler England Plays on Musical Cafe for Santa Barbara

It was a relief to have a break from the dismal political scene. I'm on a film crew of a live public access TV show called "Musical Cafe" which hosts a diverse range of talent. We were lucky to be in the presence of Kyler England last night. She performed solo with guitar, sans band. Kyler is currently releasing her forth CD, "Simple Machine". A number of her songs have appeared on television shows.
She has a real knack for writing about her world in a unique way. With her powerful voice and lilting nuances she reveals her perspective to us. Her new CD has several tunes you'll find yourself humming as I do.
"818" starts off the CD with a romance in the 818 area code, looking for someone in an area, a familiar theme with a unique perspective. Just when you're lamenting the end of a song, you're gripped by the subtle layered intro of "tonight, tonight" and the optimism of an adventure in the city. "You and I" tracks the roots of a relationship to confirm a belief we all can share in one another played in a comfortable groove. "Simple Machine" is a refined love song. "Sweetspot" hit my sweetspot. What a relief after the anxiety of the economy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Is Deconstruction Really A Possibility?

As a teen, in 1963, our family drove through the then Yugoslavia along the Adriatic Sea, up from Greece, on some rough roads through terrain that revealed lives seemingly on the edge. Cars were not common. We were a few days south of Dubrovnik. One afternoon we rounded a hillside and were miraculously surrounded by lush grounds and towering trees. An elegant hotel with a well dressed staff was the only accommodation available and though we traveled economically, we investigated the hotel for the night. Shiny Czechoslovakian limousines were parked here and there. The only room available was the honeymoon suite, which we accepted, because it wasn’t too expensive for us, considering the exchange rate from the country in which we lived at that time. We found out that we were in a vacation spot for the then Soviet Politburo; a place not for commoners.
The experience was a very rapid education on a totalitarian/elitist system. Elitists MUST maintain their superiority and separation in order to maintain their power. Interesting, isn’t it that those who spend time at certain positions in Washington DC do not have to share a medical future, nor retirement future with their constituents? Dare I call them elitists? Our new leaders are headed in a new direction; one welcomed by those who were not too fond of the Bush administration. For many years we have heard Gore preach about living within our means from his high perch of leadership where his own excesses have nothing to do with us from his audacious perspective, thinking that anyone who disagrees with his perception of truth is irrelevant. Snap out of it: This is about squaring the deal. The direction initiated has elements of the tenured professors in American Universities, as Saul Alinski, an early interest of both Hillary and Obama, advocates rapid fixes during catastrophes, be they fomented or real.
Is deconstruction really a possibility? Could we be seeing such a system unfolding before our eyes in the USA of all things?
Mayor Bloomberg has reported that 44,000 of the 8 million population of New York City pay 50% of the taxes. Tax them more as the bad guys targeted by the populists, and what if they leave town? Remember, Republicans are expected to pay taxes.
Rick Santelli on the trading floor of Chicago called for a Chicago Tea Party. The earlier the better, before bad policies take hold.
The parsing of words by the recently installed Burris AFTER the “porkulus” vote, to get the necessary 60 votes, is reminiscent of the obfuscation we became so disgusted with during the Clinton period. Obfuscation is the tool of the trade: Be as far from forthright as possible. As apparent anarchy ensues, the power brokers line their pockets while chaos gives them cover, under the cloak of catastrophe. Each party has been accused of such deceit. The Nation has recently been exposed to the murky, convoluted obfiscation that has been refined to a fine art as smooth Chicago politicians inadvertently reveal their modus operandi. But to what end? Sedition? What value is wealth and power with a world at a precipice of decay? The events of late are so unbelievable that the trail will only be apparent in retrospect, time frame unknown.
Anarchy is entertaining for students to experiment with when young, but this is no joke! There was the attempt to take over the census by Rahm Immanuel, just a little number to assure party power forever, seemingly a grab while everyone was looking the other way. Is it ethical for ACORN to be functioning in consort with the Presidency? Catastrophe is so essential to deliverance a la politics. The audacity driving events of late is unbelievable! The greatest country in the world and the fleecers are in the White House.
Welcome to the world of style over substance.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is There a There There?

We have a new administration with Pres. Obama with the opportunity to leave partisanship behind. Media outlets have the power to frame our view of events. Why am I surprised to see the headline in the LA Times, about Pres. Obama pressuring Republicans on the “stimulus” package? Pres. Obama urges action pushing for a quick vote so the public won’t find out what it is and what it’s not. It’s a pork bill larger than anything in our history. If only having a conscience were popular. There could be an incentive to be honest. As it is, our representatives see little use in being conscientious other than to cover their rears. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. What can we expect? Partisanship sells newspapers and feeds the hungry.
With great lament, I peruse my dusty memories of a childhood in Geneva, Switzerland, with all its iconic bureaucracies, promising so much and providing a sense of permanence to my myopic view of the world as a youngster (11-17). The UN, CERN (CERN is impressive) and many other organizations offer a presence that serious work is being done there on serious issues that only those with extensive educations in prestigious institutions have the capability to understand. We see the limos, manuevering flagship cars, some built in the countries represented. We stand on our tip toes or peer through darkened glass to catch a glimpse of magnanimous dignitaries.
I live in the USA now. My illusions have long since dissolved as we see public officials time after time simply ignoring paying their taxes or collecting small percentages of immense sums termed “bonuses” for some nebulous consulting fee; business as usual. There are far too many skeletons in various closets of both parties to be able to be transparent without a very painful adaptation period, one which just will not happen. The first place to have transparency would be Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac balance sheets exposed: Yeah, sure. As we saw with the worldwide meltdown, the house of cards called an economy is a very delicate balancing act. And now we’re in the awkward position where the government has distorted relative values, bailing out some and not others. Forget the bill, eliminate taxes for awhile and bring incentives to work back. Step up to the plate, Mr. President.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

College Culture

The local College radio station alarmingly uttered the concern that a recently won piece of liberal real estate was on the verge of being “Privitized”! The irony that activist college students use “power to the people” as a mantra is hilarious. Capitalism created higher education to grow the economy and culture. Government intervention in the process distorts the relative values of the services.
When President Obama promises that education will be available to everyone, even “undocumented workers”, the service of paying for this education becomes distorted, since teachers have invested varying amounts in their educations and compensation is negotiated. Incentives disappear when the government mandates, especially if no one gets a failing grade to protect people from low self esteem. Where’s the incentive to excel in this case? In many cases, Government workers don’t need to go to what private industry calls “acredited schools”, because they adapt to the lowest common denominator and, in effect, dumb down the education to eliminate the threat of failure. The “Bailout” package underway works towards this colorless world. The people who created it have been put in the position of fixing it. They, elitists, think we are incapable and in need of their greater “wisdom”. They are pushing the stimulus package because they have no idea that we are still operating on the coat tails of capitalism, and that’s why the margin of safety exists that obscures the results of socialist policies which have been underway insidiously since the first welfare check was written. They wish to limit CEOs’ incentives, but some don’t even pay their taxes or feel they need any limitations put on themselves. There is a varying time lag in effect from policy choices made of months if not years. Similarly, if this path is 100% victorious (a paradox), it would take years to get back to our current position. Hindsight is always 20/20. It will take years before the majority has the luxury to look back in hindsight at the present to see what and when steps were taken that resulted in a critical mass that changed our Country.
Before the “Boston Tea Party”, the British wanted the colonists to only accept certain tea sellers i.e. they were distorting the market with mandates. The colonists wouldn’t put up with it, and here we are: Land of the free and home of the brave?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Out of the Clouds of Utopia.

I wonder what all those poor sheltered Bush haters are going to do when their great hope is illuminated with the harsh truths of our current situation? President Obama is very bright and even, at times, appears to be in disbelief himself with his grave responsibility and opportunity to tackle the greatest challenge of our time. But he has real decisions to make now, the kind that made Bush very unpopular. There are many dems that feel he’s just a swaggering politician, not presenting the change he promised.
We’re not privy to the horrors that President Obama has discovered since he’s been exposed to secure information. “Gitmo” is to be closed, but “renditions” (sending prisoners to their country of origin without access to details of their detention) is to remain in effect under the Obama administration; an indication of an understanding that a level of restraint is necessary. The decisiveness to close Guantanimo prison so resolutely appeared reckless since a fully informed decision apparently was of secondary importance to a campaign promise.
The sloppy accounting practices of Geithner and Daschle (60 staffers and $83k per month for consulting) don’t sound like a change we can believe in. But Geithner speaks Chinese and he and his father are old friends of Henry Kissinger, so what’s a little $45k of back taxes? And now Daschle has withdrawn as “Health and Human Services Director”. Pay for play is more subtle in DC than in Illinois. In the words of Mark Stein, “How much in back taxes are you willing to pay to be in the Obama Cabinet?”
The left seem patient about their own cabinet members’ moral compasses, because their entrenchment at emotionalism aimed at Bush primarily was for entertainment value. The Right needs its own acerbic cartoonist to ridicule the characters entering Obama’s cabinet.
“Revolutionaries” may not consider themselves as such other than that they have established a comfort level whereby they have an arrogant certitude that the former President was a complete buffoon. Any group with common interests tends to lull themselves into a false moral sense. In their mutual support for each other the group-think can be such a narcotic that the possibility that another point of view may actually be correct can easily be ignored without follow up consideration, owing to a group comfort level.
When are the tides going to shift as the reality of the Obama Presidency gets out of the clouds of utopia?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Distrust Of Power

The downtrodden are merely well worn tools used by the skilled politician to appeal to many shallow pockets, predetermined by habit to open their hearts (and wallets) to give to their fellow man, for a sense of relief that they have done their part, and for their efforts, a small carrying fee is attached by their benevolent government.
What is it about liberal (liberated?) writers and their obsession with the downtrodden? How many times have I turned on the radio to NPR and heard about the downtrodden or prisoners’ dilemmas?
The key is that they do not trust power. We find it incomprehensible when hearing about a twisted comparison between the downtrodden Palestinians under the thumb of the Israelis. We can understand why Jews don’t trust power. The West also, contemporaneously, senses an incongruity to Israel’s military response, due to the practically infinite patience we see as Israel appears to put up with so much violence perpetrated against people. From our detached vantage point, we can have a sense of denial that there ever will become a true breaking point for the Israelis.
The Palestinians have been effective in launching rockets into civilian areas for so long that the Western psyche has been deadened to the day to day news in Israel. The West can draw parallels with the ongoing debate in this country as to whether or not “make believe” television violence has an effect on our youth. There is no comparison! The low rumble of consistent violence has lulled those in denial of the reality that the rockets and suicide bombers cause real damage to innocents and their way of life, marred as it is by random acts of terrorism. Subsequently, the very real response of Israel to a “disproportionate” attack on Gaza engenders a reaction on the desensitized Westerner, who, incomprehensively, sympathizes with Palestinians for the apparent imbalance. Yet, evil Palestinians purposefully use their neighbors, Mosques and families as shields that they can use by extension against westerners for sympathy through worldwide press! The blind denial was, as I say, incomprehensible until I realized the distrust of anyone with power, which has morphed into unlimited “sustenance” for the Hollywood film industry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Musical Cafe rocks!

I've been a camera guy for Musical Cafe for awhile, but, I admit, it's been awhile, with excuses like the holidays (excuses!). Just look at what a great experience it is! This New Year I'm going to make sure I drop those excuses and get back with it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pat Metheny , Joni Mitchell and Jaco Pastorius

Then there was when Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays joined Joni for a tour that I caught up in Portland Oregon. I believe the scenery here looks like The Greek in LA. Jaco Pastorius left The Weather Report to join them on the same tour that here looks like The Santa Barbara Bowl. Like a Black Crow flying in a blue sky..... That tour spoiled me for awhile.

Early Musical Influences

This afternoon I was listening to a local blues & jazz radio station. The DJ was playing some choice music from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band from the “East Meets West” album mastered in the late 60s. Around 1970, I spent some time at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Ca. listening to the Paul Butterfield’s Band play, since they were there often There were influences of sitar in some of Elvin Bishop’s and/or Mike Bloomfield’s scales as well as minor and major scale runs. I noticed the counterpoint of major to minor scales for tension and release. Later on I noticed the same technique used by Jerry Garcia in his long jams.

What impressed me after all these years was how accessible the music sounded. It had a raw energy that was always appealing, brought soulful blues to the coast and helped to inspire a generation of musicians. I would keep the style of the music in mind when playing my guitar, jamming with friends often after classes and on weekends while in College.

My style included many influences over the years. I used a few open tunings since I learned Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell (plus) and blues slide for practice. I was in a fusion band during my college years with a clarinet and piano player, while I also worked on Bach's Brandenberg concerto with flute and piano and thrown in there somewhere was a sitar effect in another genre of guitar using an open "E" tuning a la John Fahey and later Leo Kottke, with the base "E" dropped down an octave to approximate a droning sound. Blues was my mainstay with some Jorma Kaokonen thrown in, from The Jefferson Airplane

It was sad to see many years ago The Golden Bear had been closed.