Friday, January 09, 2009

No Solutions- The Obama Gap - Unemployment Figures Dec 2008

The Obama Gap - Paul Krugman
Unemployment Numbers for December 2008
Even Paul Krugman, appears unwilling to say what the real problem is. The fact is the real problem is still not being solved.
The problem is wealth polarization and wage stagnation. This unwillingness to discuss the real problem makes the problem that much bigger.

The fact of the matter is that the only people who have the kind of money needed to jump start the economy is the rich.

I warned about this in September 2008 - The Solution is Wage Infalation via Tax Policy
and again in October 2008 - Stimulus and the Need for Wealth Distribution
The problem is simple. In order to compete on Wall Street companies need to make huge, huge profits. The result is even if a company makes huge profits, their stock prices fall because someone else makes huge, huge profit. So to be competitive companies must lower wages.

The only way to solve this is for government to change the rules of the game. A good example would be to return to income tax levels on the rich that are pre-Reagan.

In that there is no real solution (i.e. this is never going to happen), this is my last political post on this blog. For anything political see The Post-Partisan.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ross, Holbrooke, Haass To Serve As Envoys - Marc Ambinder

Ross, Holbrooke, Haass To Serve As Envoys

Huge news, Dennis Ross reported in as envoy/negotiator on everything Iran. All I can say is - OMG.

There is absolutely no doubt in Obama's very strong even hawkish pro-Israel position. This is fantastic news for Israel. I am reading Statecraft currently and, basically, Ross is a hero of mine.

Tactics for the Middle East, Barack Obama and The Mideast’s Ground Zero

The Mideast’s Ground Zero - Thomas Friedman's piece
piece this morning makes a few very important points on recent middle east historical events. I would like to expound a bit on how this relates to Christian support for president-elect Obama.

What we have currently in the Israel/Palestinian region is a shift in who the real power players are. Previously, the PLO/PA were the representatives of the Palestinian position. This made a two-state solution, given a few very difficult sticking points, a possibility. Today, we have a different scenario. With Hamas and Hezbollah in power on the borders of Israel the real power brokers are Israel and Iran. With the combination of a shi'a state in Iraq and Iranian puppets in both South Lebanon and Gaza, a two-state solution no longer is practically on the table.

This scenario has occurred at least in part as a result of a few huge tactical and even strategic blunders. The USA supported elections in Gaza prior to the setting up of a state with any constitutional institutional structure. The result is that Hamas, an Islamist party, took power. This total rookie move was basically putting the wine of democracy in a vacuous political wineskin. The wineskin of democracy MUST BE A CONSTITUTION WHICH PROTECTS THE RIGHTS OF ALL CITIZENS and institutions which solidify the development of a sovereign state. The result has been that Iran is now bordering Israel through its proxy Hamas. This is a decidedly anti-two state solution and the state that is threatened is Israel.

So the strategy now has to be to undermine the Islamic narrative of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Nothing accomplishes this vital strategic necessity better than the support and success of Barack Hussein Obama and a changing of the face of America in the political mind of the Palestinians. America must convince the populations Gaze and the West bank and Southern Lebanon that their prosperity is not linked to Hamas and Hezbollah but relationship with the West. What is needed then is most likely a new political player other than the Palestinian Authority in the areas of the future Palestinian state.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Easy to Understand Krugman on Stimulus

Stimulus arithmetic (wonkish but important) - Paul Krugman

Around where I hang out, people are knee jerk anti-government. I avoid the topic as much as possible, but if anyone is interested, the above Krugman article explains the need for government intervention pretty well. Krugman has been very good over the past week so read all his blog and his op-eds to get what I think is at least an intelligent discussion of the options.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Why I am Not a Fundamentalist - A Brief Look at the Cosmology of Genesis 1

The "fight for Genesis" has been a rallying point of fundamentalists for over a century since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. What fundamentalists have been fighting for is the wrong headed defense of Mosaic or Ancient Cosmology. What such a reading of the text of Genesis misses is that the bible is not intending to communicate the ancient cosmology as a tenet of the faith. Therefore, to make ancient cosmology a creedal belief places the progress of human discovery at odds with faith in Jesus as the Christ. Such a link between Ancient cosmology and faith in Jesus places an unnecessary stumbling block to faith.

Instead, it is better to understand the worldview of the biblical writers as one of the tools the writer necessarily used to communicate the culturally transcendent truths about God's relationship with man throughout history from Abraham to the present.

For example, Genesis 1 states the following:
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Moses is stating that God separated the waters, some above in the heavens and some below the air on earth. The expanse between the two bodies of water was called sky. Later, Moses places the stars and the like in the sky. This is the Ancient cosmology. This view of how the universe is laid out was prior to our discovery of the water cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation and was a common sense explanation of where rain came from.

Remember, less than 300 years ago, human beings universally believed that there were four basic elements: earth, fire, water and air. No one had described accurately the idea that one element could exist in the three basic states of air, liquid, and solid. These discoveries which we take for granted today are part of our cosmology.

The key here is that you cannot expect an ancient writer to speak from a worldview that was not possible for him to comprehend. God inspires men to write, but, nonetheless, God uses human instruments to perform His work including writing the Bible.

So when we take into account the worldview of the writer, we must look to discover the BIG revolutionary "aha" that the writer was explaining to his contemporary readers. In Genesis, Moses was not questioning whether there existed two bodies of water separated by the expanse of sky. What he was questioning was the understanding that the different elements and objects of the universe were the creation or eminence of DIFFERENT DEITIES.

Moses the Prophet of Monotheism!!!!
In Moses' world, the Israelites had just come out of Egypt where there was a god of the river and a god of the frogs and a god of the Sun etc. The story of Moses is the story that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the One true God of Heaven and Earth and all that is on the earth and under the earth and in the seas and in the sky and the rain and the sun and everything.

Moses tells this revelation using the tools of his culture and ancient cosmology. To miss the radical proclamation of the Lord Almighty as Lord of All and instead focus on the cosmological understanding of human society of 4000 years ago is to not only miss the point but to place ignorance as a prerequisite to faith in God Almighty.

I do not think that the placing of such a stumbling block between faith and those God loves will be something that will be so easily forgiven.

They Used Us for Our Faith

Last night, my family and I watched the movie, Traitor starring Don Cheadle.

There was one line in the movie that I can totally relate to. The Cheadle character is speaking to his friend (who is a Islamist) and he says,
"They used us for our faith"
The Cheadle character is trying to show his friend how his faith made him committed and the politically minded used that conviction to their political benefit but distorted the faith in the mean time.

I can relate. What is so difficult about being in such a situation is that we as individuals haven't been down this road of serving God with our whole being before and it often takes years to figure out who is real and who is just using us for our radical comittment. Someties our desire to serve God in a tangible way makes us vulerable to being used by people with a worldly or political agenda.

I do not think the church has learned its lesson but the fact is, "They used us for our faith".