God Bless America

In the modern world, a blessing had become only symbolic. But it still involved the traditions of a family. In the past, in the world before television, the blessing WAS the legacy. It had involved a moral vision.

In the televised world with sponsors, with 120 channels to choose from, the world had come apart. Children of television saw the needs that generations of people who went before us never knew existed.

This week there would be the last televised debate, uninterrupted. America was looking for a leader who had been blessed by a spirit of the past that involved a moral vision. In my view, neither candidate showed much to date that they could carry on a tradition. While in the Senate, these two senators, both who employed a staff that was paid to help them see things, had missed a lot. They both were 2 leader who failed to guide the country with a moral vision. They might be forgiven for time restraints that involved gathering the funding to participate in this $1 billion presidential campaign.

At the last debate we heard one candidate speak of a crisis of confidence. Today there is a story about the crisis on Wall Street which has become the issue of Election 2008. There was a quote from Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income trading at Morgan Keegan, who was trying to explain what had happened. He said. “I think we’re dealing with more confidence than substance.” With $560 trillion that was written by the 5 investment banking houses, Mr. Giddis, the confidence in people like you has been lost and is not coming back.

It was the derivative, market, stupid. Wall Street has with campaign 2008 stained everyone. It was no longer subprime mortgages, Mr. Giddis. What don’t you get Mr. Giddis?

The financial media has finally explained the goings-on in Washington and Wall Street since September 15th. Here are the Cliff Notes, Mr. Giddis, Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain. There were 5 investment banking houses not being regulated by the Securities Exchange Comminssion. The parties were Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. The current Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, as well as the former Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, were CEOs at Goldman Sachs. During their reign at Goldman Sachs, the derivative market exploded. Paulson’s background includes rising through the ranks of Goldman Sachs since 1974, becoming a partner in 1982, co-head of investment banking in 1990, chief operating officer in 1994, and forcing out his co-chairman Jon Corzine in 1998, in what Floyd Norris of the New York Times termed a “coup,” taking over the post of CEO. (In 1970, Paulson entered the Nixon administration fresh from Harvard Business School Masters program, working first as staff assistant to the assistant secretary of defense and then as office assistant to John Erlichman in 1972-73.) Paulson is a Republican. Rubin is a Democrat advising Obama.

There now is a battle of ideology going on between the credit markets and the equity markets. In the current envirnment, no matter the moves put on by Henry Paulson, a son of Wall Street, banks were not buying in. That was why credit markets froze. Bankers have always been conservatives. They were not buying into the social engineering on capitalism. It was not, Mr. Giddis, an issue “more confidence than substance.” Bankers neither trust the balance sheet of another bank nor the government. Nor do I.

Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, apparently thinks the Fed lower interest rates, exactly what created this mess, was going to send the equity markets up. The truth was there really any not arrows left in the quiver to policy makers, as they had all been used, apparently for political purposes.

Those traditions of a family: Read again the story of Isaac as he tried to pass on his tradition, his moral vision, to one of his sons. The question was which son.

A blessing was about making ME holy. Isaaac knew that. The meaning was not a wish. It was not an expression of astonishment or surprise like with a sneeze, as my unabridged dictionary suggested.

This crisis was not just about a failure of leadership. It was the system that was televised. The televised world with its 120 channels, all dominated by political ads, used to provide a place where one soap company could argue with another which could remove the stains the best , which could wash your hair the best. Now there were 50 feet rows of shampoos and 50 foot rows of laundry detergent. And in the end there really was not much difference, only a brand name, and issues of soap bubbles. Only some brands charged more for it brand name and soap bubbles. The cost of those commercials had been passed along, and many soap companies paid stores for preferential placement.

The 2 presidential candidates never had a vision of the developing problem as they focused on taxing power. Both had been in Washington for all of this, watching. Maybe like most of us, they just watched on television. They might have been too busy to realize that there is not enough money to fund health care with the recent crash. There is not enough money for tax cuts. There is not enough money to be waging war.

It was a new age for soap, with old ideas, old arguements. But plenty of shelf space. Those soap bubbles had burst too. It was time to come clean. God bless America.

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1 comment so far

  1. Jim Lunsford on

    I guess that soap bubbles is as good a definition for our political parties as anything else out there. The substance of both is certainly the same.


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