Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

The Fall of Prince Charles

Charlie Rangel you stayed one term too long.  Twenty terms in office has taken its toll on you.  You have courageously fought for the marginalized in our society and have brilliantly served your constituency and country.  But like Brett Favre you didn’t know when to call it quits.  You could have gone out on top like a champion of the people you so ably represented during your four decades in public office.  Now your left to tramp through the morass of pedestrian politics to defend your reputation and salvage a bit of your integrity.

I didn’t think it was wise decision to run for reelection during the last midterms.  I thought it was motivated by a selfish ego.  Your alleged indiscretions and misdemeanors have made you the poster child for all overreaching politicians and their supercharged sense of entitlement.  As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee your oversight to pay taxes on Dominican rental properties, improper use of mail privileges and your expansive portfolio of rent controlled apartments showed you to be a master exploiter of the numerous ways politician lose touch with the mission of service and the means by which they shamelessly serve themselves by using the power of their office.

Mr. Rangel you did your party and your president a disservice by running for reelection.  This country needs new fresh ideas, youthful energy and representatives unsullied by the  graft and excess privilege taking endemic to political careerists. Yesterday, a panel of your peers on the House Ethics Committee convicted you of numerous policy offenses and conduct unbecoming a congressmen.  They did you and the country a huge favor.  The swift dispatch of justice helps our country avoid the political theater of a  national trauma that a Republican controlled and Tea Party inspired Committee hearing would orchestrate for the American people.

During your last campaign I recall some Eyewitness News video of you strolling down 125th Street followed by a courtier of staffers and hangers-on.  As you waded through your adoring constituents they obligingly parted as if to make way for a royal prince.  As you passed by you pointed with extended arm to individuals as if to say to each “‘I see you and you are mine, you are mine and you are mine.”

Clearly the  good Bonnie Prince Charlie is beloved in his principality.  Mr. Rangel has faithfully served the people of the 15th District of New York and brought home some major bacon.   He has fought hard for the marginalized and working people to codify social justice as a law of the land.  But as he pointed to exuberant constituents anointing them with a royal recognition I could not chase the thought of you holding leases on four rent controlled apartments.  Given the national nightmare of home foreclosures and rising homelessness I couldn’t help but think of the families displaced from affordable housing by Mr. Rangel’s gluttonous pursuit of a radical entitlement.  All the good work Mr. Rangel accomplished does not excuse a mindset that  allows one  to rationalize behavior that shuts out needy families from affordable housing.  It’s an example of how power and privilege corrupts the best men and a symbol of all that is wrong with America and the leaders we chose that brought us to where we are today.

Thank you for your service Mr. Rangel.

You Tube Video: Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street

Risk: democracy, corruption, politicians

November 18, 2010 Posted by | corruption, democracy, democrats, ethics, homelessness, politics, republicans, social justice, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Robbin in the Hood

Gangsta in Chief

Bernard Madoff will go down in the annals of gangsta capitalism as one of the big time hitters. The allegation that Bernie made off with over $50 bn worth of his clients assets is stunning. It exemplifies the pervasiveness of corruption in America Inc. Its hard to fathom how a well respected man of supposed integrity and character could carry on such a massive criminal enterprise. Even more distressing is that many of the victims considered Bernie to be a trusted and beloved friend. Bernie apparently also victimized and plundered a number of non-profit endowments that entrusted the stewardship of their economic sustenance to this man. Bernie’s clients at the Palm Beach Country Club where he was a member, have been devastated by their financial losses. Loss of face, the loss of a friend , faith and trust will be much more difficult to replace. Many of Bernie’s client’s are noted philanthropists whose donations are critical support lifelines for a number of Jewish charities and the State of Israel. They will be hurt. Bernie did some major damage. Bernie wantonly victimized anyone and everyone. I can’t see how this guy can live with himself. He must be on some kind of suicide watch.

How can you explain this? Bernie’s behavior is borne from a sense of radical entitlement. This radical entitlement is the unbridled id. It affirms that self actualization and greed has taken full possession of the American soul. This capitalist ethos is learned from our participation within corporate institutions. This ethos is taught at all levels of our schools. It is preached by our churches and TV Evangelists (both secular and religious). It is shouted by athletic coaches and modeled by parents showing their children how to excel in a competitive world to attain all the riches that America Inc has to offer.

I fear that we have adopted the behavioral, ethical, spiritual and moral characteristics of our corporate institutions. This corporatism has taken full possession of our psyches. It started long ago as the barriers of personal life and work were removed. The distinction between work time and personal time eroded as the demands of our vocations grew and the rationalization of capitalism crept on to claim a greater stake in our culture. We have long witnessed how jobs and careers assumed greater importance for individuals and the negative impact absentee fathers and mothers had on the family. Careerists reluctance to take vacations were compensated by extensive business travel schedules. The focus and zeal for their corporate contributions dissipated the time, attention and energy they could give to family. This created a personal balance sheet that was asset rich; flush with monetary enrichment and ego satisfaction built from corporate reward. These assets had to balance out potentiality massive family liabilities which were addressed with material hush money or the installation of a strict family corporate regime.

The time honored admonition of don’t mix work with pleasure and don’t bring work home is forever gone. Company work from home programs, telecommuting and running home based businesses has installed corporations as a permanent lodger at the center of hearth and home. American’s growing addiction to the incessant beeps of Blackberries and the finger and thumb Pavlovian response feed a cultural disease that celebrates a collective attention deficit disorder providing a convenient escape from the shock and awe of our daily lives.

Human beings are not corporate entities and corporations are not human beings. If we assume the pursuit of our radical entitlement is ethically sound until it is checked by a market regulator or law enforcement official or other institutional safe guard we are left to our own conscience that is driven solely by the profit motive that feeds and an aggressive self preservation. American’s have fully internalized a capitalist ethos. In this era of lax oversight and regulation we are all at risk for the next scam by a nation of corporate sharpies intent on getting what they believe is theirs to be had.

Bernie is a poster child for this behavior. We just a well should be building a statue to the man. He exemplifies and reifies all of the contorted and grotesque ideals of our shared capitalist ethos.

You Tube Music Video: Perry Mason

You Tube music Video: The Untouchables

Risk: culture, psychology, family, economics

December 18, 2008 Posted by | culture, economics, hedge funds, Madoff, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment