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?