Monday, 23 March 2009

I've been thinking - again...

This worries me –
From the New York Times; “The Art of Political Distraction” by SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

“It was a sliver of news, seemingly a side issue, run amok. In the grand scheme of today’s taxpayer expenditures — $787 billion for economic recovery; another $700 billion to shore up shaky financial institutions; who knows how many more billions tomorrow — the A.I.G. bonuses amount to small change. But the small change became a big deal in an instant, dominating the talk shows and threatening to undermine Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda.

…by tapping into some larger fear or existing perception — “a proxy for a bigger concern,” in the words of Ed Gillespie, former counselor to Mr. Bush. If that concern runs deep enough, the side issue becomes the main issue.

The tail begins to wag the dog!

Thus did the A.I.G. bonuses become a symbol of long-simmering taxpayer resentment over Wall Street bailouts, and economic inequity in general, raising essential questions about fairness and personal responsibility —

“There has to be a sense of good and evil, a dramatic arc to it that makes some intuitive sense, so it can’t be terribly complex.”

…what the public wants in these situations “is closure,” Mr. Gillespie said.

“Under these circumstances, you have victims and you need to find a villain,” Ms. Jamieson said. “We need a narrative explanation that tells us how we got here, and attaches blame.”

Yet by week’s end, it was clear that the furor had exacted a price. As the House passed legislation imposing a 90 percent tax on bonuses after bailout, the White House ducked questions about whether Mr. Obama would sign such a bill. Mr. Geithner’s credibility was badly damaged, in part because of his shifting explanations of how he learned of the bonuses. Mr. Dodd suffered as well, for his role in writing legislation that, in the end, allowed the bonuses to be paid.”

This worries me because we, the voters/public/citizens of the world, must be smarter than this. The easy issue, the quick answer seldom is the right way to go. We have to be willing to READ more than one newspaper, LISTEN to more than one viewpoint (CNN and FOX), and then form an opinion of our OWN. I think this economic mess is dangerous in more ways than money – it can distract the world from evil being pursued right under our noses (Darfur is still there, the Congo is still going up in flames, the trafficking in sex slaves, both boys and girls – most of them CHLDREN, continues to grow ("When it comes to statistics, trafficking of girls and women is one of several highly emotive issues which seem to overwhelm critical faculties. Numbers take on a life of their own, gaining acceptance through repetition, often with little inquiry into their derivations. … the UNESCO project illustrates the wildly varying data on human trafficking produced by government organizations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). For example, in 2001, the FBI estimated 700,000 women and children were trafficked worldwide, UNICEF estimated 1.75 million, and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) merely 400,000.”), the gun runners of the world are reaping the benefits of violence from the Kush to the Mexican-U.S. border, AIDS is on the rise in Washington D.C. of all places (3 percent of D.C. residents have HIV or AIDS — a 22-percent increase since 2006; statistically that is epidemic proportions), young men and women are still dying and being wounded every day in a war that is not - in Iraq and Afghanistan, the planet is crumbling underneath us from global warming and the sheer number of humans, and waste, we drill for and fight over the last of the earth’s petroleum instead of developing alternate sources of energy. Eventually, we will run out of oil. It takes at least 10 million years, specific geological processes and a mass extinction of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures to create crude oil -- making it the definition of a nonrenewable resource.

I’m not saying we should not vent some anger over the AIG bastards but in proper perspective.

I hate to give you two gloomy posts in a row but that’s what’s going on in my head today. We can’t do hands on saving the world on the majority of these issues as we have to go to work, cook dinner, worry about tuition for our children, make time (please!!!) to give and receive affection (sex for those who can:-), look at what exhibit is showing at the museum, and go see Julia Roberts and gorgeous Clive at the cinema (no I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m going to for sure).

We have to pray and meditate. We have to do the laundry. We have to go to the gym, hug our children, check the homework, pay the electric bill, and unclog the drain.

What I AM saying is that I want us to be AWARE of the big picture. We need to be aware of what is going on in Dubai, Washington D.C., Moscow, Beirut, Rabat, Jerusalem, and Riyadh – then do whatever we can. Educate our children in tolerance and compassion, refuse to be lazy and allow someone else to make up our minds on complicated issues, make time to CARE. Vote. Give when and what we can. Write our opinions – I love bloggers.

I do think it makes a difference. I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before, I didn’t like it but there it is eh? I know my own child gives me grief about the Tibetan monks (present and past) who sit for years in a cave and meditate on compassion. “What possible good can that do?” But I think it can! Prayer, meditation, just being fucking NICE makes a difference in the greater Universe. We are in the Universe, that’s a fact, but how we affect the Universe, because we do (that is also a fact) is a CHOICE.

I think intention in whatever form or title we give it is the most powerful force in the Universe. I do. But intention requires persistence to be truly effective.

I love this quote from one of the American presidents, "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Calvin Coolidge

Seven years after the death of his son Daniel, his father Judea Pearl said, “Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.
But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.”

I realize I’m really taking you on a stream of consciousness here but that’s where my head is today – so let’s hear YOUR thoughts eh?



drea_dear said...

I love stream of consciousness. I often find myself editing my own posts, for fear of scaring off my crafty readers. I hope some of this makes at least a little sense.

Here are the things that stood out to me, and my thoughts (no particular order, just as I remember them):

AIG - I don't have a problem with the hard-working people who are trying to fix the company and are only receiving retention bonuses of around $1,000. I have a problem with the people who nearly collapsed the US economy (AIG is that big) receiving individual bonuses of around $1 million. We don't want to retain those people. They did not do their jobs properly, they profited from misfortune, they need to join the back of the line at the unemployment office and start having to deal with the scam job offers from Career Builder and Monster, just like everyone else. And since the taxpayers are now 80% shareholders in the company, we have a right to be outraged and demand change. This is not just someone else's 401K (I don't have one, so it didn't affect me), it's my tax money that I have to pay no matter what.

I liked your list of everyday things - I'm envisioning out of work investment bankers with a "Honey Do" list that includes unclogging drains. It's a fitting metaphor.

Personal responsibility and persistence - I think these are twined lessons. I've not yet mastered them, but I have to teach them to my children. It's saying "sorry" (and meaning it!) the instant you do something wrong, not just when you're caught. It's trying to do something, even when it's difficult (I'm potty-training an almost 4 year old - I could teach a lecture on personal responsibility and persistence). Not enough Americans hold these as important values. "Someone else will do it." That's become our mantra. My older daughter gets in trouble for making her little sister do things for her. I think you're right that there are major issues in the world, we've turned blind eyes to them. But it does start small - by teaching the kids how to keep a clean house regularly so that you have time and energy to devote to your community, so that other people can be empowered to use their talents to effect change.

lady macleod said...

drea_ drea
Well said! Thank you for your viewpoint and thank you for coming by.

Moannie said...

It has been a long day and I think I should probably come back and read this tomorrow with less tired brain cells. There is a LOT to worry about in this post and believe me I do worry about it all, but rather like a vehicle teetering over the edge of a precipice, when it gets too far there is no turning back. This world crisis is in free fall and all the money in the world is not going to solve it overnight. Our government has borrowed so much money that our children's children will be paying it back. My son lost his business, my daughter [youngest] has been made redundant, I'm no saint, my compassion does not stretch as far as my love...the ills of the world are man made, greed, greed and more greed. Thirst for power, inhumanity, and more greed.Our public sector workers are on index linked pensions and one in seven workers are in the public sector. The head of the bank that received MILLIONS of taxpayers money has waved bye bye with a £16 million pay out and says 'I'm keeping every penny, suckers' meanwhile my hardworking son and his wife are struggling to keep their home and daughter is swimming in a pool filled with PA's with her experience and will probably not find another job. I'm all out of compassion, sorry.

Guess I should have come back tomorrow.

lady macleod said...

Oh no you don't have to "come back tomorrow"! It's a viewpoint I want to hear - and it's MY blog :-)
I'm so sorry to hear how your family is being negatively impacted, but I do use in my own life the philosophy that - if no one is dead, there is still hope. I believe that. Compassion goes both ways you know, you don't only give it, you get it.
I can hear the bitterness and anger in your voice - as parents, it always hurts more when it hurts our children doesn't it?
Stay angry as long as you need to do so, I think it's better than apathy and I think when you are ready to move onto compassion you will.
That's what I think.
Thank you for your personal and therefore enlightening comments. and thank you for coming by.

Ian Lidster said...

But, on a cheerier note, my love, there is an award for you over at my blog.

mutleythedog said...

Hay what the heck!

Thats whats in my thoughts today....

lady macleod said...

Ah yes love, well you are always a cheerful note... Thank you for coming by. I'm on my way over.

Well said. Well said. harump. Thank you for coming by.