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"IT'S A MAD,MAD,MAD,MAD COUNTRY!"
May 8th, 2010 10:45 PM

Dear Friends,

Now that I'm much older and can piece together a roadmap of my life as the Good Lord designed its path from the experiences I've come across, I remember a certain film collecting cobwebs in the back of my mind, which for some odd reason I'm compelled to dust off for recognition today. This motion picture comedy was released during the Fall of 1963. An ensemble cast of noteworthy bon vivants from Spencer Tracy to the likes of Ethel Merman, Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters among many others, created an uproariously funny adventure in their attempts to find hidden treasure. The amount of $350,000 was the loot buried by a gangster's last dying utterance, overheard by a collection of incompetent characters drooling to be the future recipient of a mass fortune. The movie house where I viewed the film was in downtown Detroit and it was a thrill to be in an audience where laughter was truly contagious.

By all historical accounts, Stanley Kramer's 'It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!' was a hit at the box office. In the film, the adventure almost cost several participants their lives. The opportunities in finding the treasure was 'topsy turvy' from beginning to end. The slapstick antics were fun to watch and as a child I was certainly 'amused'. In my own mind, I never imagined the characters in the film to be 'mad', only loud, greedy and foolish in driving cross country to find buried treasure. What did I know! I was 8 years old and certainly no movie critic, just a li'l' tot needing an escape from the duress of a children's military school!

In my latest recollection, a mere 47 years later, this film reveals the desire of an entire ensemble willing to conspire, cajole and create untrustworthy fragile alliances to grab the loot! Certainly these folks will do anything and everything to be compensated in a manner where work is not a requirement to achieve a mountain of riches. $350,000 is still considered an impressive payday to lose one's morals. Accounting for inflation, the amount in todays' figures is $3,200,000! Any 3rd grader viewing this film for the first time in today's America, may have acquired the slight ability to subtly grasp the motivations behind these claptrap cast of deadbeats.

Beginnings

There have been numerous studies which demonstrate the predisposition of children's behaviors are formed due to a continued stream of experiences where parents, peers and adult influences mold one's personality. When children witness adults in scenes of self indulgence for the pursuit of instant gratification, a youngsters' mind wanders and is pulled in a direction where mastering techniques in deception are perceived as a reward onto itself. I digress of course, as this film is harmless by today's prurient standards. Nevertheless, the anger and the frustration many Americans are feeling today can be considered as a direct result of influences throughout one's formative years. The consequences of such upbringing is self-evident.    

While its been said that life imitates art, we can also say art imitates life. This film poked fun at our limitations. Greed will always be a factor in any scandal. The chronic desire for more leads to corruption, bribery, control and a litany of lies. The denigration of the human spirit occurs when integrity is no longer the penultimate value in the lives of those we've entrusted to represent our interests. When government, business and the press conspire to abuse the responsibilities required of a democracy, the outrage of its citizens will be known in no uncertain terms.

National Anxiety - Secrets Revealed

The Tea Parties held across the nation several weeks ago were much larger in attendance than last year. Hard working middle class Americans voiced their displeasure with the majority party in Congress not just about an increase in taxes but in the direction where government intervention in the lives of its citizens are encroaching on sacred liberties and freedoms. Government attempts to raise taxes to solve problems of their own making has begun a lively discourse, where demonstrations are just one of the options ordinary citizens have at their disposal to have their voices heard. When the elected leader of this nation considers the pain and suffering of the majority as 'amusing' and is chagrined when gratitude is not forthcoming, we have now acquired the opportunity to view what's in store for all Americans, if we haven't recognized its ill effects already. The ballot box is the only cure to heal the sick.  

When the US Government and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decide to investigate or hold accountable the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs for abuses which led to the current financial mess, many Americans are upset and angry as they doubt the integrity of all 3 entities. The timing of the complaint by the SEC is too convenient, as several meetings at the White House with the President and Goldman's CEO were held, before the hearings in the Senate began. The public was subjected to an expletive laden cross examination designed for shock value in a BeltWay culture where disrespect and lack of decorum is valued as virtue. The character of both the government and Wall Street was exposed as Congress manipulated its examination of Goldman Sachs by creating the false impression the Great Recession was the exclusive handiwork of this firm and Wall Street in general. Unfortunately, Congress has no desire to remember the ill conceived recommendations in devising mortgages where underwriting guidelines were changed to allow most everyone the ability to purchase a home without scrutiny.

It has been revealed the President along with members of Congress investigating the activities of this firm, received large sums of campaign contributions. It is no wonder many Americans have given up any worthwhile attempts to embrace or trust anyone in government. It's inconceivable the public's interest can ever be represented when money flows in efforts to secure influence.  When trust is no longer viable, questionable relationships with other entities becomes apparent. The desire of business interests comes into question along with the control of 'journalists' where such improprieties are censored and excluded from public dissemination or debate.

A Wink & A Nod By The Numbers

One of the main reasons for the collapse of the economy began when home buyers were given a 'green light' to purchase properties with no downpayments or were allowed to borrow the down from others, not using a penny of their own funds for their purchase. In hindsight, it seems as though there were mortgages where the only qualification, was the desire to purchase a house if you were alive and breathing! Once your pulse was checked, you were considered a good candidate for a mortgage. All of these 'financial instruments' suggested for implementation by Congress and designed by the underwriters at FannieMae and FreddieMac, could be construed as similar to the derivatives offered by Goldman Sachs in attempts to mislead their counterparts and investors. When major banks and financial concerns garnered enough courage to emulate the reckless philosophy of politicians, the sub-prime train wreck began its cross country financial destruction. 

There are many other events or activities which has harmed the natural optimism of Americans.

1. The implementation of laws in regards to Immigration, where the rule of law is in doubt.

2. The slow response to the Oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico which threatens the livelihood of fishermen and wildlife along the coast.

3. The continuous anxiety when another event of terrorism is discovered. The Ft. Hood massacre, the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt in Detroit and the car bomb in Times Square last week, are reminders of a larger debate. Were security measures properly administered in preventing such occurrences from ever happening again? Is 'political correctness' the impediment obfuscating the true facts of these attempts to harm Americans?

4. The stream of bankruptcies, foreclosures and high unemployment rates accelerate despair and the loss of one's peace of mind.

5. Most importantly however, are the differing values of government compared to the majority of Americans. When the work ethic is no longer viewed as an asset in a democracy by its own government, we as a nation suffer the financial and ethical consequences.

The foreign concept of government intervention in all spheres of one's daily life is anathema to the founding philosophy of a democracy. The fight for these values was made evident in the healthcare reform debate. These are just a few of the numerous trials Americans must endure and forced to live in a manner unaccustomed by many. 

While the old refrain of 'follow the money' is still as active today as it was in times past, scandals are revealed once we ascertain where the money came from, who received the money and the amounts in question. It's so ironic! In the film the entire cast is doing everything imaginable to find the hidden treasure. In today's influence peddling scandals, the hidden treasure has been found and the money has already been spent, nowhere to be found. As 'Deep Throat' once said, 'follow the money'. We as Americans must take heed. When we 'follow the money', we'll know to whom this nation can finally place their trust and allegiance, once the hidden treasure has been found.

We Wish All Mothers A Happy Mother's Day!

 We also strongly recommend viewing 'How To Love Your Mother' presented by Dr. Charles Stanley. Please check your local listings or visit www.intouch.org for more information.

 

Ernie Harwell

1918-2010

We mourn the passing of Ernie Harwell, the voice of the Detroit Tigers for over 40 years! Many of us from Detroit have fond memories of Ernie throughout the years and we consider him a member of our family. We all know in our hearts he's providing the play by play in the big broadcast booth in Heaven! Ernie will truly be missed.

 Thanks Again

   

 


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Posted by Jesse Dorado on May 8th, 2010 10:45 PMPost a Comment

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