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Stephen Gyllenhaal Headshot

Not Fun Change...

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It has struck me (I'm not quite sure why today) that those who are in charge -- from the White House, through the gleaming halls of Congress, around plump Wall Street, in the upper, corner offices of the conglomerates and banks -- all those folks (deep in their hearts) feel that they are right, that they are good.

I travel enough in their circles to watch them - at the high-end restaurants (I confess I love good food). On their yachts (I have summered in the best places too often), in their hot cars and heavy cars, at their kids' schools (the best schools).

They have beautiful homes and tasteful (generally) summer homes. Why should they not believe they are correct? The stock market is terrific again. There are the "green shoots" of recovery. They barely felt that nasty plunge back last fall, except on paper and now their paper looks great again. Maybe a few friends disappeared as various jobs were lost, but all and all...

Besides, who else can run this difficult world, if not them? Certainly Obama has agreed (he was allowed to join them, after all: Harvard, etc and now he's at the top). And, as we have now all witnessed, Obama has kept pretty much everyone of them in place - his cabinet, the guys at GM AIG, Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve and so forth - at a massive cost to the US Taxpayer. (Is it true that the actual cost - now hidden - has been somewhere between nine and eleven trillion dollars - not the two trillion reported? This is rumor - but what's so awful about so many of rumors -- of the last eight years or so, for example, so laughed at at the time - is that so many of them have turned out to be completely true.)

But whatever the massive costs it has become clear to all of us now that nothing (at the top) has changed one wit even as that nasty tumble last fall indicated things were far from okay with this system. Everything (at the top) is back to normal.

But what has hit me even more deeply now, wandering amidst the elite, is that none of these people want change. None of them believe in it, except to make things "greener" perhaps. Other than that, things are just fine from their perspective. But even with getting things "greener" it's a little dicey. I pulled up to a farmer's market here in Hollywood last Sunday where Chevy was hocking it's newest new green, green car - trumpeting (via a couple of hip looking kids in the 20s - getting paid by the hour) that it got 28 miles to the gallon (on the highway) -- 28 miles to the gallon! Wow! Really green!

How stupid do they think we are over there at GM? I think they think we're very, very stupid and they think that they're very, very smart. How many stupid people get billions even after they've screwed up as badly as GM?

So is anything going to change after what Obama's done? Anything? I'm afraid the answer is all too obvious.

So how are things going to change? It's not a fun thought. How have things changed down through history? That's not a fun thought either. Human history has not been a pretty picture for those cultures (pretty much all of them) where the leaders didn't want change, even as things began to fall apart around them (12% unemployment here in California now - which, like Chevy's mpg, is laughable - it's probably closer to 20% when you factor in those who have given up looking. Everywhere you look everything's spun. Not 12%, not 28 mpg, not 2 trillion dollars.

I read a quote yesterday by Timothy McVeigh (of all people). Remember him - the maniac bomber in Oklahoma? Wasn't he a dull witted idiot of a dishonorably discharged low ranking soldier? Aren't all right wing people dull witted idiots?

When he was on trial he was asked if he had anything to say:

"Well, your honor, I will base my case on Justice Brandeis, one of our most brilliant jurists... There, he writes that when government ceases to lead by example and actually provides a bad example, anything can happen. Government is the last teacher. Everything I did, I learned from my government."

Frightening, for me, for a hundred reasons (here's three): not stupid; violent (he killed 168 people, after all); and correct.

Something better change fast, my very smart friends who I have shared so much luxury with, something better change real fast or it's going to get changed for us -- the results of which we won't like, nor will we like the path to it.