Monday, October 22, 2012

Franz Liszt's "Obligations of Genius", Obama and Romney

2012: a year in an era where what should be obvious as moral
failures or inadequacies instead are described, detailed in
shrouding specifics and obfuscating outrage. The myopic
confusion of today has not always and everywhere obtained;
some have had the requisite clarity to see beyond self. Such a
man died in 1886, after a life dedicated to what he called
"The obligations of genius" in a letter to one of his patrons.

When the Danube flooded, leaving many homeless, he donated
a large amount of his personal fortune earned as a virtuoso pianist
to the bereft. He invented the master class, his pupils coming from
far and wide, from England to Russia, giving these classes for
FREE. Liszt spent many hours tirelessly promoting the works of
fellow composers, defending some under attack. With
Mendelssohn, he combed Europe for forgotten scores by Bach,
founding the Bach Gesellschaft; without this effort we wouldn't
be able to enjoy Bach today.

Tonight is the final debate between Obama and Romney. Have
any of their statements reflected  realization of  the  immoral basis
for the  Great Recession of 2007--?  Caring for one and all is
one of the obligations of genius; perhaps that's what it takes,
actual genius, to see it, to feel it. Today is also Franz Liszt's
201st birthday...what an appropriate time to show such caring
at home and abroad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 The Presidential Debate, Round Two: A Tragicomedy of Incompetence

Despite the chattering classes' verdict giving the win to Obama
last night, I feel all three players were less than stellar. Candy
wasn't dandy, although a Romneyite said she was. Obama
defended himself  without offering specific proof (a bill number,
name of an act or an executive order, etc.) regarding his
administration's efforts to better secure student college funding.
On his record about achieving energy independence, again, no
easily verifiable facts put forward....just actions minus details.
How can anyone look up such claims? How, therefore, can
such claims be believed?

Believability is impossible with Romney, who changes his facts,
positions and passions as often as most of us change clothes.
It's one thing to change your mind after discovering more and
better evidence, quite another to do it as often as Romney has
lately. Remember that infamous '72 McGovern weather vane ad,
showing the wind blowing the weather vane back and forth,
implying  McGovern was a loose cannon? The Democrats at
the DNC should produce the same piece, but with Romney's

None of the presidential debates since the League of Women
Voters stopped their sponsorship in 1988 have been legitimate
or of high-calibre professionalism. The LWV said then that
the Commission on Presidential Debates, a creature of both
the RNC and DNC, is a "closed-door masterpiece".

....A masterpiece of tragicomedic proportions. Shakespeare's
still right: "Life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy
to those  who feel".  Sadly, no one has bested the Bard. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The 2012 VP Debate: Where Was the "Wonk"?

Paul "Policy" Ryan, MIA almost all the way, seemed more like
Willie Wonka than wonk.  Ryan had few specific proposals,
fewer facts than VP Biden, who spat out statistics steady as
a ticker tape machine. In a bit of entertainment humor, Rep
Ryan bobbed his head like a drunken turkey in an effort to
emphatically effect points.

--It didn't work.  Biden won.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CNN, Tsk, Tsk, Now Errors There Too

Seen on the Your Money segment, CNN, Oct. 6th 2012, ~1 PM.
CST: a one-question Q & A session--Can a President Create
Jobs? The guest pundit  and the CNN interviewer (jocularly
expressive though he was) both said "No", quoting all sorts of
distantly-related, extraneous points for their answers.

OF COURSE the government can and has created jobs, and it
isn't the government bureaucracy I refer to.  Here were educated
(presumably) people we tune into for information giving us bad
intel. How does CNN, et al, think the U.S. obtained the Hoover
Dam, the U.S. highway system, other massive projects?--From the
private sector? No, indeed. We need infrastructure repairs to our
crumbling roads, rails and bridges NOW, not later.
An important reminder: The Great Depression (~1930s) ended
BEFORE WWII, thanks to FDR creating JOBS, along with other

How is it that CNN hires people who  don't know that a president
and Congress can mount projects no private enterprise ever
dreamt of? Did they pass history class in grade and/or high
school? Time to re-examine those HR records at CNN, methinks.

CNN, I used to regard you as an unassailable source--
clean up your errors, tsk, tsk.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Winning the White House: Round One in a Three- Round Event

My worst fears were allayed: there was no three ring circus at the
first presidential debate of 2012. Mitt and Mr. O were very civil,
cordial, even, some moments.  A score card of sorts is in order:

(1) Mitt WAS rude to Jim Lehrer, interrupting and talking over
Mr. Lehrer several times--where's a gavel when you need one?
(2) Romney, replete with repetitions,  faced Mr. Lehrer
courageously saying  he'd cut federal dollars to PBS, repeal
(3) Mitt wants to open up U.S. trade with South America,
but keep an eye on China, "...when she cheats". This accusation
never got the explanation required  to understand it.
(4) Romney wouldn't authorize any massive federal construction/
reconstruction projects which are the only means the federal
government has to ACTUALLY create jobs, aside from hiring
more military. So how would Mister Mitt get good middle class
jobs going?--By fireside chat, exhorting employers to hire?
-- By issuing Executive Orders? But no, no, never upping of taxes
for the very rich.

[A] The President says he'd invest in training by taking the
monies spent on wars we're winding down from to reinvest
in America, an "economic patriotism". He  stressed the need
to fund education, explaining that Washington can and
should help the states, because more better educated people
can become the workforce businesses  demand.
[B] Mr. Obama supports lower corporate tax rates, especially
in the manufacturing sector.
[C] The President seemed comfortable, had no awkward
hesitations. I disagree with the afterparty talking heads who
opined he should be more "crisp". I don't want a cracker for
president, pundits, thanks all the same.  


The two men talked a great deal about the middle class,
Governor Romney now sounding a lot like Mr. Obama, for the
first time. Mirabile dictu, is Mitt becoming a bit of a bleeding heart
just in time to gain the White House? Not a bit of it. The Governor
plans to add a five trillion tax cut on top of Bush II's current
13 year tax reduction package which didn't "grow" jobs even
before the Great Recession.  He denied it, but I'm not convinced.

Round one, done. We meet again October 11th. Let's
avoid a three ring circus then too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

We Are Better Off than We Were Four Years Ago

Will Romney dare to ask that now standard, classic question of
Mr. Obama? There's only one answer: OF COURSE WE ARE.

Even if  the following "savings" went against the grain and
mainstream, macroecon theory, they kept the world safe from a
true Depression (even if American pols, bankers and other high
rollers caused the Great Recession of 2007):
(1) AIG was saved  (It WAS too big to fail, let's break it up.)
(2) Detroit/GM was saved, as well as thousands of auto industry
      and industry-related jobs across the U.S.
(3) Dodd-Frank  was enacted, even if it didn't return required
      regulations  to Glass-Steagall levels.
(4) Unemployment levels, at a frightening 10+% early on, have
      dropped  to 8%+. (As the saying goes, "Better is better.")
(5) "Obamacare" was enacted, providing mandated insurance for
      millions with pre-existing conditions. (Some provisions still
      rankle, however.)
(6) Obama ended Osama in four years. (Bush hadn't, after eight.)

Obama made major mistakes and promises were not kept,  but
these six little items prove WE ARE BETTER OFF.

Let the president have four more years: he needs them to fix
Clinton's and Bush's sixteen.
Better is better, but we need even "mo better".