Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Jinn in the Bottle

I read someone at the American Thinker , Lee Cary, likened the outpouring of resistance to the Healthcare debate at the town halls across the land as letting the genie out of the bottle. A genie that usually sits back in the bottle quietly.

Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders uncorked the bottle and the peoples' Genie is out. He's not happy, this Genie. In normal times, he sits there quietly inside the bottle. Sometimes watching. Mostly not. He finds politics boring, if not disgusting.

That got me thinking, (and people, genies DON'T just sit back waiting quietly. Look it up).....I don't think the people are the genie.

I think Barack Obama is the jinn, to use the more appropriate word. (not a REAL jinn, c'mon folks....jinns are stuff of tales)

A Jinn is a supernatural being. Its origins are Arabic and we in the West were raised by Walt Disney-like interpretations of the creature. (or I Dream of Jeannie with the beautiful ditzy blonde in love with her benefactor and basically benign and comical.)

Uncork one from a bottle and you will be granted 3 wishes (or sometimes only one.. they aren't unionized as a rule) as a reward for freeing it. And you better be clever too because once the wish has been uttered, you get it and all that comes with it. I remember as a kid thinking, "if I ever found that bottle and got three wishes, the first one would be for an unlimited number of wishes.", thinking smugly how very smart I was.

But a jinn has free will. It can grant anything it likes, including mayhem and destruction. It is wrathful and punitive. Who wouldn't be, cramped up in a bottle for YEARS, having been tricked there in the first place by a wily human?

Here are the lyrics: (read 'em!)
Well Ali Baba had them forty thieves
Scheherezad-ie had a thousand tales
But master you in luck 'cause up your sleeves
You got a brand of magic never fails
You got some power in your corner now
Some heavy ammunition in your camp
You got some punch, pizzazz, yahoo and how
See all you gotta do is rub that lamp
And I'll say

Mister Aladdin, sir
What will your pleasure be?
Let me take your order
Jot it down
You ain't never had a friend like me
No no no

Life is your restaurant
And I'm your maitre d'
C'mon whisper what it is you want
You ain't never had a friend like me

Yes sir, we pride ourselves on service
You're the boss
The king, the shah
Say what you wish
It's yours! True dish
How about a little more Baklava?

Have some of column "A"
Try all of column "B"
I'm in the mood to help you dude
You ain't never had a friend like me

Can your friends do this?
Do your friends do that?
Do your friends pull this out their little hat?
Can your friends go, poof?
Well, looky here
Can your friends go, Abracadabra, let 'er rip
And then make the sucker disappear?

So doncha sit there slack jawed, buggy eyed
I'm here to answer all your midday prayers
You got me bona fide, certified
You got a genie for your charge d'affaires
I got a powerful urge to help you out
So what-cha wish? I really wanna know
You got a list that's three miles long, no doubt
Well, all you gotta do is rub like so - and oh

Mister Aladdin, sir, have a wish or two or three
I'm on the job, you big nabob
You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain't never had a friend like me
You ain't never had a friend like me, hah!

Can your friends do this, indeed.

So last year, with absolutely no evidence or track record of accomplishments (at least, none he'll release) to support the claims of ability, along comes this exotic man who promises to right the wrongs of the Administration. He's young, hip and to quote the current VP, "clean bright and articulate." He's such a blank slate, the voters could project anything they wanted out of a President and he, THIS ONE, would the THE ONE to deliver.

Finally. All that Hope and ALL that CHANGE. And it would be so easy. Just let him work out the blueprints and the details and sit back and enjoy the turn-around of fortune. Finally, all those rich oppressors making life miserable for the plebs would be getting a little of it back at 'em!

That was part of the story too, remember. Aladdin gets it all, the gold and jewels and the King's daughter AND gets revenge on his oppressors.

But stories with genies are often long and complicated. And often end up unhappy. The Fisherman who released him has told the reward was to choose the manner of his own death. Yes he figured out a way to trick that jinn back into the bottle but he released him once again. (go figure that!)

The trouble with jinns is you cannot know how your wish is going to result in it's final effect. How it will ultimately affect you, those you love and those you don't. Much like winning the lottery.

You think, wow my life is going to be so much easier now that I don't have to worry about making ends meet. But the reality usually ends up quite the opposite. (and you find so many new relatives suddenly exist)

I believe we are seeing this now.

How many times have we seen this play out: If you give a kid a car, he/she loves it! Drives it everywhere, carts friends around in it, (they rarely ask any of the riders to help with gas, you know) and the parent has to nag about oil changes, brake tag renewals, etc. And the parent pays for the insurance. And the car gets abused, the kid gets in a wreck. The parent is left to sort out the legal headaches and the kid learns NOTHING. But if a parent makes the kid work, save money and then buy a car, the chances are a lot higher that the kid will take better care of it.

This is true about home-ownership. Renters do NOT, as a rule, maintain the endless up-keep on a house/apt/ you name it, like the owner expects it should be. And that includes the yardwork. They have no vested interest in it and if it gets rundown, they can always move out and forfeit the deposit which rarely begins to cover the repairs. But the owner is left to sort it out, get the repairmen in, fix what's broken before he can rent it out again.

I'm the first to admit I don't like the PRESIDENT Jimmy Carter but I'll give the man his due when it comes to Habitat for Humanity. The organization "gives" people decent homes BUT NOT UNTIL AFTER those same people work on building houses for others! They call it "sweat equity" for a reason. Those people aren't merely handed a house because they cannot afford one. They are purchased through labour and the owners take care of the houses they earned for that very reason. They might never be able to monetarily afford to buy a house but they sure can MAKE one. And with the money they saved, they can support the "system" by paying property taxes and that in turn supports their local community. TO me this is so simple and elementary. These people have vested interest in making their community THRIVE. Not merely SURVIVE.

You'd think that after all the years of success, Habitat would have taught Congress a thing or two about ownership. Allowing banks and lending institutes to offer "interest only" loans to people who could not qualify for a conventional loan (or for that matter offer it this to ANYONE, I don't care how rich a person is, this is criminal behavior) was unconscionable!!! I understand the reasoning behind it but it smacks of something of a Ponzi Scheme to me (and last I heard, those things were dynamite, in that you don't touch it.) Buy a house for interest only and turn around a sell it to someone for higher than you paid and you make money. This works for a while. And it artificially raises the value of houses. But eventually there comes a time when the last person holding the title can't find someone who will pay that higher price. AND when that person, the owner, can't pay his "mortgage" either, he's in a world of trouble! He didn't buy it with no equity to OWN it. Who in their right minds would pay for something that expensive and stack the deck against themselves?

Now one or two of these sad sacks is one thing, but multiple that by the thousands and you begin to understand how we are in this crisis. I don't believe all the people who have foreclosed on their homes are the poor. I believe there is a fairly good mixture of affluence in there as well. People who thought they'd jump on this bandwagon for a fast ride and couldn't jump off fast enough.

And I believe those congressmen who changed the banking regulations OUGHT TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, every bit as much as the lending institutes should be. And the people running FMAC and FNMA. THEY caused this to happen. THEY created the chaos and they want us to let them fix it! They won't even own up to their roles in this debacle. (BTW all the "administrators" of FMAC and FNMA certainly were well-paid and didn't have to return their salaries or stand up to a congressional oversight committee hearing either. Where's the hue and cry for accountability, hmmmm?)

So although it might appear that I have gone offtrack, here's where it comes full-circle.

The people in the genie stories are down-on-their-luck and along comes a benefactor who gives them what they think they want and don't have to earn it or pay for it. (It has to come from somewhere, surely.) And the people usually think there are no strings attached or consequences to the wish. Just grant it and all will be well in their world. They don't know who or what this granter of wishes is or consider the ramifications of their wish or alternative methods of achieving for themselves, just instant gratification. Fork it over, and be quick about it!

Obama the jinn has appeared, having been released by the voters, and his supporters think now it's their time to reap the rewards but time will tell if this jinn is a good one or an evil one. I don't know which he is. But history and fables have me convinced that we can't be complacent and just believe in something from nothing. There is ALWAYS a price that must be paid.

People, you have to EARN what you OWN. That makes the reward valuable.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
You gotta have something if you wanna be with me
Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
You gotta have something if you wanna be with me

I'm not tryin' to be your hero
'Cause that zero, is too cold for me
I'm not tryin' to be your highness
'Cause than minus is too low for me.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
And I'm not stuffin', believe you me
Don't you remember I told ya, I'm a soldier
In the war on poverty, yeah

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