Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The bailout: Getting even with Mommy and Daddy

I have always thought that so much of the vitriol I see in life is an adolescent working out of unresolved problems with one's parents. The blogspere and particularly the reaction to the failed bailout is an example. The invective for those attempting to sort through the financial mess created by the neocons and their George Bush puppet is truly astounding.

As many have pointed out somewhat soberly, the real issue here is availability of credit in a wide variety of circumstances. Among the items that will be seriously impacted are not only home loans, but student loans, appliance loans (like refrigerators) and auto loans. "Good," some of are oedipally challenged exclaim. I don't need a new car or refrigerator and (a) I dropped of of college because some geeky professors never saw my brilliance or (b) I got my student loans, up yours.

Then there is the small question of the real pay-day loans. The ones by small businesses need to make pay roll. Bye-bye pay checks. Too freaking bad, you say.

Then again, the stock market lost more value Monday then the total cost of the bailout. If you don't have an IRA or a 401K retirement account, who cares?

We are told by scripture that we are brother's keeper. Those who selfishly pursue ideological or political goals now and sink this economy into a recession cum depression, don't care about their brother or the their sister. (My God, am I being judgmental?)

I did not experience the depression although my family was steeped in its lore as I grew-up. For those relishing in the defeat of their parents (be it McCain or Pelosi) I suggest a crash course on what the depression was really about. Here's some suggestions for your viewing: "O Brother Where art Thou," "Grapes of Wrath," “Sullivan's Travels,” “Night of the Hunter,” and "Sea Biscuit." They are all entertaining but in the background is a picture of what a Depression era America is like. Forget the horse race in Sea Biscuit and concentrate on what happened to the jockey's family.

Is the bailout package the very best of solutions? Hardly. But it’s a step forward. I am reminded of the old Vietnam slogan: When your up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember you were there to drain the swamp.

As for the movies, I am sure there are better choices, these are off the top of my head. Here's my message: stop getting even with your parents and grow-up. We are facing problems that the big kids have to solve.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is Christ Weeping

The following is adopted from a salon.com comment which was an "Editor's Choice"

I was baptized a Roman Catholic and I remain Catholic to my core, although the Vatican might argue about the Roman part.To me there is only one Christian message and one Christian commandment: Love.

Christ preached that all the prophesies and scripture were founded on love. A generation before Christ, Rabbi Hillel propounded the Golden Rule and stated that everything else is commentary.

As good hearted as many evangelicals are, there is an extreme with a political agenda that is anti-Christ and anti-Love. So much of the Extreme is based upon stilted, strained reading of scripture by 19th century zealots whose powers of reasoning and deduction were seriously defective. They were literally the false prophets in sheep's clothing the Bible warned us against.

The successful mega-church evangelicals with their opulent palaces contrast with Christ's praise of John the Baptist who dressed in animal hair and ate locusts and honey: "What did you go out to the desert to see, a man dressed in fine clothing?"

The concept that a heart-beat away from the presidency would be a person, like Palin, who believes that man walked with the dinosaurs is appalling. The denial of science by the Extremists is already having a dreadful impact on the education of the next generation of American scientists.

Christ wept when he foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Perhaps, for the abuse of His name by the Extremists, He maybe weeping now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Political Chess

Two bad decisions may decide the election: Obama picking Biden and McCain picking Palin. But they were bad decisions for very different reasons. One was a misreading of the political chess board; the other was a cynical, disastrous gambit.

Let’s take the Biden pick by Obama first. It was an unarguably a good pick on its own terms. No one is going to have a heart-attack because Joe Biden will be a heart beat from the Presidency. He is knowledgeable and he is prepared.

But Obama misread his position and was over confident. Maybe perhaps so were some of his supporters like moi (just had to stick in a little Miss Piggy French). It left McCain an opening and he took it by the “brilliant” move of picking a feisty woman who would both attract feminists and, perhaps, more importantly, energize his base.

The problem is that as we take a second look, Palin is perhaps the worse prepared choice for Vice-President in my (ergo modern) memory. For all her problems, Geraldine Ferraro was an experienced office holder at a national level. Some have talked down Harry Truman’s pick as VP by Roosevelt in 1944 (I was 7 years old) when he was forced to dump Henry Wallace who had gotten a little too far ahead of the curve. But Truman was an experienced Senator who had made headlines investigating war profiteering. Even Dan Quayle had national experience. Indeed, conspiracy theorists have ideas about just how deep his experience ran. There were connections between his Senate office and some of the Central American “freedom fighters” lionized by Reagan.

I was like many a bit perturbed by the seeming guile of the McCain campaign in choosing to let Palin make her debut on ABC in an interview with Charles Gibson who might have seemed a patsy type interviewer for her. Boy was I, and the McCain camp, wrong.

McCain had choices that were far better than the one he chose and who would have really put the Dems behind the eight ball. The two most intriguing were the traditional Tom Ridge who might have put both Pennsylvania and Ohio in the McCain column. The other, untraditional choice, was Joe Lieberman who, politically and personally, from my perspective, is a flawed vessel. But it would have been an enormous blow.

Obama’s most obvious choice was Hillary and although I wasn’t a fan of hers for the Presidency, as a resident of New York who has met her twice for at least a handshake and a minute of conversation, I can attest that this is one, smart hard-working lady who, but from my perspective, goes to often for the power guys and gals.

The irony is that the reason that Hillary was never seriously considered was the 800 pound gorilla Bill Clinton, who couldn’t be ignored. The calculation that he would add a wild card factor to the campaign by Obama and that Bill and Hillary could not stand vetting because of the Clinton Library stuff and the pardon scandals that involved Hillary’s brother was a reasonable one. In a sense, Obama studied the whole board and played Karpov. However, McCain threw caution to the win and tried a wild Kasparov gambit.

Obama’ studious study seemed to backfire by the initial thrust of McCain’s daring gambit. But, now the daring gambit may end-up like a lot of other daring gambits, as this writer so sadly knows: a blunder into checkmate.

I wonder how many moves are left?