Archive for October 2010

Another Hawaiian Business Trip

It has been a busy five days.  I had to fly to Honolulu on Wednesday (when they harvested my Mourvedre) for two days of business meetings and returned late last night.  I have some very irreverent observations.  Now much like my wine habits, I am somewhat of a snob.  So I have learned in flying that picking one’s seat on the airplane is the difference between being merely uncomfortable and being in extreme discomfort.  Since I fly Hawaiian airlines out of Sacramento, I can purchase an aisle exit row seat for a small fee because there is lots of leg room, easy access the restroom if the pilot will ever turn off the seat belt sign, and you get to get on with their first boarding so you can find a place to put your bag close to your seat.  This bag thing is critical because since with the fees for extra bags, everyone is toting a ton of stuff.  Then they try to put everything (not just the one bag) into the overhead bin.  I hate amateur travelers.  But I digress.

As you are sitting in the waiting area you start to total up the overweight people.  No, I don’t mean 10 or 20 pounds overweight, I mean 100 or more pounds overweight.  The state of health of Americans is amazing,  and when you are terrified that one of these weight challenged people may be seated next to you in your seat and theirs, you really start to take note.  The second thing you notice is the number of elderly that are traveling.  Since I am traveling in an exit row and I take my exit row duties seriously, you know that some of these people are going to have to be carried out so you can’t just leap out of the plane and save yourself.  But that would be an extreme and highly unlikely scenario.  The real issue with many elderly flying is that when they go to the restroom, they camp in there.  So if you are like me and need a relief once or twice a on a five hour flight, you have to pick your opportunities very carefully or you are going to be busting at the seams.  My favorite is to skip dinner (I use the term “dinner” loosely) and as the food cart goes by, blocking access for most of the rest of the plane, it is time to make a run to the bathroom.  Oh, one other tip.  Don’t wait until the very end of the flight to use the restroom or you will be standing in line with about forty other passengers.  Pace yourself.

The flight and the meetings were in Honolulu.  I would personally never vacation in Honolulu.  It is like Disneyland with sand.  It is wall-to-wall people.  I usually stay in Waikiki and I just don’t get the attraction.  There are giant high rises with tons of shops where you can buy everything you could have bought at home cheaper.  Then there is the beach, which is more like a crowded swimming pool.  I am of the age where laying in the sun is not an attractive activity, but trust me, that is an idea that is lost on many beach goers.  Here is something I have been pondering lately.  If you are 40 pounds overweight and have a tattoo, if you ever loose weight will the tattoo be wrinkled?  There were so many people who should not be showing skin, showing skin and tattoos in embarrassing places.  Except for a few admired exceptions, it looked like corn feed beef was everywhere.

I will say that you can have some very good meals there.  If you are staying in one of the beach front places and you are paying $500/night for a room, you should be able to afford some of the nicer restaurants.  I returned to one of my favorites, Azure, in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  I wanted a really nice piece of fish and a good glass of wine and they never let me down.  They had fresh Mongchong, which is my favorite local white fish along with a nice pinot and it was a real treat.  Should I be worried that the headwaiter remembered me?

The other excellent meal I had was a business meal with our proposal team and our Japanese partners.  We went to Sarento’s at the top of the Ilikai Hotel overlooking the city and the ocean.  We had a front row seat for the Friday night fireworks at the Hilton.  I went all Italian (Osobuco, and Italian salad (Chopped Salad Gabreilla).  I must say that the ordered wine (I didn’t have any say in it) was okay, but not memorable.  But it was a delightful evening, with good company, and the food was outstanding.

So ended another quick-in, quick-out in Hawaii.  I will spend a week there later in November where I will get a chance to explore more in the evenings.  I would love to go to Maui, which I understand is a whole other experience, but that cannot be fitted into the agenda.  I did stop by my favorite Italian/Japanese wine bar to visit my friend Matsa, but he had moved on and now it was Italian/Korean as the bartender was a very pretty Korean girl.  I did strike up a conversation with her mother and we exchanged memories of Korea.  Her Mother is a beautician and said she could fix my hair so she may get a chance next visit.  What could it hurt?

Three Parts that Make a Whole and Lead to Gridlock

I have noticed that both the Republican and Democratic Parties can be broken into three distinct groups and this insight tells you all about the grid lock we face for the future.  Let’s start with the Republicans.  Their three camps can be broken into moderates, status quo corporate shills, and raving lunatics.

The moderates are an ever-shrinking breed possibly becoming extent.  These are the people that believe in real conservative values of small government, fiscal responsibility, and reasonable and restrained regulations.  These are the Republicans of 30 years ago and we have seen them in the form of Maine’s two Senators, and Arlene Spector who became a “moderate Democrat”.  These are also the wing of the party that is most under attack from the Tea Party and are losing their seats.  Moderate Republicans could be reasoned with and if circumstances changed, they could actually modify their positions.  Barry Goldwater comes to mind, and even Ronald Reagan. Remember Barry changed his mind about the Civil Rights Act and Ronnie raised taxes when he saw the damage flow down was doing to the Treasury. These were the people who you could count on to work bipartisanly toward a compromise.  They actually brought value to the table and cared about our country.  There aren’t many left and with the threat of attacks from the right, they have mostly voted monolithically with the Republican Leadership.

The status quo shills are best represented by their leaders, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.  They make up the majority of the Republican Party. Their Republican idealism and conservative values go just as far as their money boys allow them.  They represent corporate America in Congress and keeping things just the way they are..  These boys and girls, while couching their positions in Republican jargon, are anything but conservative.  What they are, are whores to money and power.  Their votes are bought and paid for by the contributions that keep them in power.  Example of their conflicted soul:  We want to cut taxes and balance the budget.  They could care less about the average American and favor policies that keep industry and banking safe from government regulation and oversight.  The transfer of wealth from the rest of us to the top 3% is a result of these policies.  They have co-opted the loonies and the loonies don’t even know it.  Negotiation with these guys is at best non-existent unless you are willing to do things their way.  Look at the last two years.  All the Republican votes for bills that passed came from the two moderates.  These folks give Machiavelli a whole new perspective.

Then there are the raving lunatics.  Although this group is small, it is growing and is reflective of the Tea Party.  Our media has given us a false impression of these people as earnest people who are angry.  These are earnest people who are lunatics.  Early on it was clear when we saw the early signs of  “Keep the Government Out of My Medicare”.  The want no government, no regulations, and all  government services they do benefit from, they take for granted.  Monday on Rachel Maddow, Rachel was in Alaska interviewing Dan Miller supporters (Tea Party Republican for Senate).  These people are terrified of Eric Holder and Obama about their gun policies.  When Rachel tried to pin them down on just what policies these were that terrified them, they couldn’t name any, but rest assured, these people want to take away our guns.  In my mind these people should never have guns, but that is more about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally incompetent., than a right to protect yourself.  They believe what they want, usually aided and abetted by Fox News, and nothing is grounded in reality.  Their wing of the Republican Party will bring government to a halt if they have their way.  Forget any bipartisanship to solve our problems.  In their minds, if there was no government , there wouldn’t be any problems, then they would be made as hell when their Social Security check didn’t show up or their roads fell apart.  Who needs the FAA?

So on the Republican side, there may be two or three people in the Senate and only a handful in the House who have any intention of working with Democrats,  What do we have on Democrat side.  Well first off, you will note that the Democrats have tried to work with the Republicans.  Remember all those worthless tax cuts in the stimulus bill that Republicans demanded and then wouldn’t vote for?  Remember giving up the public option in the Health Care Bill only again to get no Republican votes?  Democrats are more likely to work with Republicans if both sides can get something, while Republicans are generally, “my way or the highway.” Republicans vote in block, and Democrats do not.  But having said that, lets examine the Democrats.

The three camps we can break the Democrats into are the “media moderates”, the real moderates, and the Progressives.  One hears the term moderate Democrat all the time in the media and who they are talking about are those who are really moderate Republicans thirty years ago like Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Diane Feinstein and others.  They are the ones who defect on every important vote, or water it down with conservative failed ideas and then get nothing from the conservatives in return.  They are compromisers in a big way to the extent that they may give away the fort.  This group is small but with intransigent Republicans, they have held all the power in the Democratic Party.  They are like the status quo shills in the Republican Party and are chained to powerful lobbies.  They will certainly forge bipartisan legislation, albeit, ineffective legislation, completely devoid of any progressive values.

Then we come to the real moderates, exemplified by Nancy Pelosi, Barbra Boxer, almost all the Senate Democrats not listed above.   These guys and gals believe in a positive role for government, firm government oversight, and deficit spending for important national goals.  They are pragmatists in the sense that they will look for compromise where they can win some important goals as long as the compromises don’t destroy the whole package.  These are the ones who grudgingly agreed to the Stimulus and the Health Care Reform Bill to at least show some movement.  The real weakness is that they, like the media moderates have given up too much for a bill, any bill, and as such are seen by many as ineffectual.  They are probably really Eisenhower Republicans and to a lesser extent, are controlled by lobby money.

Finally, we have the Progressives.  This element of the Democratic Party is growing and may become more powerful after the elections when many of the Blue Dog Democrats get run out by Tea Partiers.  There are a larger majority of them in the House than in the staid Senate. They are represented by Alan Grayson, Peter Defazio, Russ Feingold, and independent Bernie Sanders.  They strongly believe in the progressive values of a strong central government and a strong role for the government in our lives.  They are willing to experiment and try new things, are unafraid of paying taxes to pay for investments in our future, and will not compromise their base values.  They are for business, but not at the expense of the middle class.  They would not have compromised on a single payer option (note option as like a test or trail, not a mandate) in the Health Care Bill, they would have doubled the size of the stimulus bill and focused it more on infrastructure, and they would have required that the Banks be held accountable in the bailouts.  They are much less likely to compromise away basic values to get a bill that will be ineffective.  At least in the House, these are the Democrats who will wield the most power after the elections and may shape legislation.

So what does that add up?  Gridlock if the Democrats decide to use the filibuster like the Republicans.  If it isn’t already apparent, the Republicans are going to become more intransigent.  They already vote as a block and the moderates have been completely sidelined with the Tea Party threat.  The Democrats are loosing their Blue Dogs, most likely replaced by Republicans.  The center, or as I call them, the real moderates are loosing ground to the Progressives who will not be so quick to compromise with either the Republicans or the White House.  So what we have is gridlock.

Is there a silver lining?  I think so.  Who is for what will become much more apparent.  Democrats won’t be as tempted to pass bills watered down by conservative ideology that makes them ineffectual and just make the Democrats look ineffective.  If the Republicans prevail and have to show progress, they will get there way with tax cuts and protecting corporations, and de-fanging government regulation.  Things are going to get worse, a lot worse.  Then maybe we can have an awakening in this country and get on with business or working together for solutions for all the people.  Until then we are just spinning around the drain.

I Have Said It All, Let’s Move On

You know when you get right down to it, I have kind of said all there is to say about politics.  The logical and reasonable way forward has been laid out in this blog and it doesn’t seem to make any difference.  These midterms will probably bring us total gridlock with wins by Republicans.  The minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has said his number one priority is to bring down this President.  Many have promised to shut down the government and roll back the little progress we have made.  The amount of outright lies and misinformation put out by these people is astounding and the media is being flooded with untraceable money.  Then when nothing happens it will all be blamed on the Democrats.

I can find no rational reason why the people who destroyed our economy are getting the vote to continue their destruction and the demise of our middle class.  We have candidates that are not likable, are loony, and they are winning.  We have an infrastructure that is falling behind the rest of the world and we want to further cut spending.  We have an ever increasing disparity in rich and poor.  Our children face a future where if this trend is continued, their standard of living will be less than their parents.   I have laid out all the reasons why this is lunacy, and quite frankly, others are doing a better job of it than I am.  And it is doing absolutely no good.  So I am simply going to move on.  Only when politics are just too outrageous will I return to it here.  There is no longer a rational dialogue in this country and I think that says all that needs to be said about our future.  When people don’t understand that we are all in this together, there is just no common ground.  We are empowering the ignorant.

Pundit’s Nonsense

Sure enough, as Paul Krugman predicted, the pundits are already saying that the Democrats and Obama went too far and people are uncomfortable. You know these people look intelligent, but apparently are completely wrapped up in the Washington bubble. Simply put, people are unhappy because things have not improved. The reason for that is what they should be looking at, not touchy-feeley feelings that are totally subjective. Paul and I feel that answer is that he did not go far enough, and as Paul pointed out, had unemployment come down, we would not be having this discussion. But instead of asking the right question, what will work, the pundits jump on “people are uncomfortable with the change” and Democrats will have to reign it in after the elections. That is a sure fired route to continued failure. No wonder we have so many people uninformed about what the real issues are. The media can’t seem to figure it out.

Oh, and one other thing.  Do you ever notice that after an interviewer/pundit asks a question, they go on and on and on and we hardly get to hear their guest’s answer?  Sometimes these guests are really interesting people with unique insights and they get run over by verbal diarrhea from the host/interviewer.  The interviewer is so interested in making their own point that the answer provided by the guest gets lost in the nonsense. Notice the guest is ready to answer the question long before the interviewer gets done with his/her blovating.   And we wondering what is wrong with our media today?  It would be nice if instead of having a point of view, they would be seeking the truth.  Nobody has all the answers and we need our media helping us to  find them, not pushing the latest trend in Washington pundit thinking.

One Week to Go

Well, I watched all the news shows Sunday and read all the editorials including Paul Krugman this morning and I think we are headed for a big crash.  But then I didn’t think the Giants had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to the World Series and I was proven wrong by a scrappy team that showed some real spunk winning the big game in the lions den.  Maybe the Democrats will do the same.  But there were some pearls of wisdom out there and I will try to capture them.

Meet the Press proved to provide some insight into our problems and misunderstandings.  A.J. Dionne fairly well summed up the Democrats shortcomings when he pointed out that those that are surging are running not only on what they accomplished, but what they hope to do in the future.  As he put it, it is not enough to point out the other guy is loony, but what is the plan forward.  This approach has a real downside for the Republicans because they have no plan.

One of the things that was truly bothering me was Harold Ford, who mostly agreed with A.J., but said that he thought the Democrats would keep the Senate, but lose the House, and that President Obama and the Democrats should be more “accommodating”.  He exact words were “push the reset button and be more accommodating.”  Well I could agree with pushing the reset button, but accommodating is what they were and is why their policies were too small.  As I have said before in this blog, accommodating with failure is not an option.  Republicans weren’t in the mood to negotiate and the next crop will be worse.  So by all means lets push the reset button, and then let’s go down fighting for what is right and will work, not what might get passed and then fail abysmally (see Paul Krugman below).

I actually agreed with the Republicans on the show, at least in part.  They wanted to see the nation face the sacrifices needed to deal with the deficit by letting the tax cuts expire for everyone which I think is a fine idea.  They also wanted a real discussion about cutting government where the real spending is.  But they saw no role for government in stimulating the economy and I guess all those Americans out of a job and losing their homes is okay with them when the real culprits are the bankers.  At least this crew of Republicans were real conservatives and were not offering tax cuts and balanced budgets understanding that these two together are an oxymoron.

Frank Rich had an enlightening editorial on Sunday (What Happened to Change We can Believe In and he put his finger on what I think angers most Americans with the Democrats.  Well there is the obvious fact that economy is not getting better so you could draw the false conclusion, failed policies.  But he identified the real thorn and that was that Wall Street and the Bankers got off scot-free.  To sum up, the average American is suffering and these guys are earning record profits.  Obama certainly prevented a catastrophe, but when it came to righting the ship, all the mutineers walked.  Same can be said for the bankers and the latest mortgage fiasco and once again the Administration appears to be operating as business as usual.  When it comes to finding culprits, the Administration is a coward.  I could extend this to the Iraq war, our treatment of detainees, and the loss of our privacy, but that is for another day.  The point Frank was making was Americans see business as usual and they may just vote for fruit loops if it will bring them change, any change.

But the way forward looks bleak if the Republicans gain power and that was demonstrated in three op-eds.  Paul Krugman this morning in his op-ed in the New York Times, Falling into the Chasm, made the point that the pundits are arriving at the conclusion that the Obama policies failed when in fact what history tells us is that they were the right policies, just way too small.  We are in this mess because we failed to learn from history that tells us that unemployment will take a long time to recover, and the policies put in place by the Obama administration were anemic.  Even sadder is that the Republicans who will gain by this failure of leadership have policies that will only make things worse.

Thomas Friedman, in The Election that Wasn’t, laid out what we need to do.  To wit, “In the short run, we’ll probably need more stimulus to get the economy moving again so people have the confidence to buy and invest. Ultimately, though, good jobs at scale come only when we create more products and services that make people’s lives more healthy, more productive, more secure, more comfortable or more entertained — and then sell them to more people around the world. And in a global economy, we have to create those products and services with a work force that is so well trained and productive that it can leverage modern technology so that one American can do the work of 20 Chinese and, therefore, get paid the same as 20 Chinese. There is no other way.”  He concluded with, “Government’s job is to help inspire, educate, enable and protect that work force. This election should have been about how.”  Once again it would seem that we are about to elect people who believe just the opposite.

Finally I could not leave out Maureen Dowd’s Supremely Bad Judgment.  She describes how the whack job, Ginni Thomas, reopened the whole Clarence Thomas sex addict thing, with corroborating evidence from one of Thomas’s girl friends and had we known this, we would not have this conservative nut job on the Supreme Court.  Remember all the Republicans who lied through their teeth defending him with their moral outrage?  How could Anita Hill stand before them and tarnish their righteous Clarence by having the audacity to tell the truth?  But the bigger conclusion is that we now have a Supreme Court that is populated by very conservative political operatives and the Citizens United decision is just the tip of the iceberg.  This is what conservative ideology will bring you, the final breakdown of the separation of powers and a complete loss of respect for the independence of the Supreme Court.  Remember Gore versus Bush?

So I would say the reality has been laid out for us.  We know what Democrats need to do to recover in the last week.  We know what they need to do if they hold on to power, and we know what we are going to get if they fail.  Does any of that make any difference?  Only if the rest of you get out and vote.  And oh by the way, call your kids and make sure they get their friends out also.  Otherwise we are going to be the United States of Corporations.

Vine/Wine Saturday

Vineyard Starting to Show the Effects of Fall

Harvest finally.  Friday, with rain forecast for the weekend, we harvested the Grenache and Counoise. I was surprised by the arrival of bins and crews on Friday.  Apparently Jared (Donkey and Goat) decided to get them in before the rain.   This is about a month later than normal and with rain coming on Saturday, it was time to get them in.  You will note in the pictures that follow, a lot of grapes on the ground.  The picking crews were sorting as they picked to make sure that all the bunches were at the right level of maturity.  With this strange year I would guess that about 15% of the crop was not yet ready (high acid, low sugar).  But I think what was picked was exceptional.  The Mourvedre is still hanging and it is raining.  If we harvest, it will be next week when things dry out.  They have good flavor, but their acid is a little too high.

Picking is a fairly simple process.  Los hombres use shears to cut the grapes off the vine and then put them into buckets.  The buckets are then poured into the bins set up throughout the picking area.  Finally a forklift is used to load them on a truck to weigh them, and then deliver them to the winery.  These are Grenache and Counoise and they are headed for Donkey and Goat to be sorted to remove any debris or bad grapes (los hombres do a very good job of this as they pick),  crushed, cold soaked, and then fermented.  I will let you just enjoy the pictures. I write this on a cold and rainy Saturday.   Carpe Diem.

Senior Management (Ron and Candace) monitor the begining of the Grenache Harvest

Los Hombres

Mas Hombres

One Bin of Grenache Ready to Go

Vines sans their fruit, leaves to die, pruning in spring for another year

WikiLeaks leaks and Torture

Well they have done it again and we see that torture continued into 2009 (Huffington Post and New York Times).  A Pentagon spokesman strongly condemned WikiLeaks’s upcoming release, noting that the documents “expose secret information that could make our troops even more vulnerable to attack in the future.”  Actually he should strongly condemn our President for closing the door to further investigations and exposing the whole sordid mess started in the Bush Administration.  You can’t just sweep the bad stuff under the rug and not expect it to come back and haunt you.  Why oh why can’t leaders understand that although it is hard, sometimes you just have to do the right thing.  Had President Obama done what he promised, we could have cleared the air and made sure this stuff didn’t happen again.  Now he will be tainted with Bush and our country will suffer.  It is time to look at the whole sordid affair and punish those that broke our laws and the rules of war.  If we don’t, there aren’t any and we are no different than the terrorists and they have won.

One other thought:  There is that philosophical question that if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, did it make a sound.  In this case if you mistreat people and no one finds out, are you moral?  I think not.

Stupid

We all know stupid when we see it.  Someone who burns his hand with a match and then does it again to see if the flame is still hot.  It is getting a clear outcome from an action, and then doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.  What brings this to mind is not the Tea Party who think we can just go back to the Bush hands off policy and expect a different result, but in this case the Federal Government and their drug policy.  Digressing but note, I said Tea Partiers.  I think established Republicans are not stupid.  They want corporate control of the government because it benefits them.  Damn the peasants.  They are the 1% that own 83% of all stock in the country.

But back to the other stupid:  Here in California we have a proposition on the ballot that would legalize marijuana and tax it as any other cash crop.  It has a good chance of passing because the reality is that it is a major cash crop and the only source of income for many, is grown throughout California, and attempts to suppress it have just raised the price, encouraging more plantings/importation from Mexico.  Ah, but here enters stupid.  The federal government, in the guise of the Justice Department, plans major enforcement actions in California if it passes, including legal challenges to suppress any tax revenue for the state.

Now this is the epitome of stupid.  We have had a war on drugs in this country for over 50 years and it is a miserable failure.  The whole focus on enforcement is sapping resources from other needed programs while the country abounds in illegal drugs.  You need a drug?  Name it, and I’ll bet I can procure it in a couple of hours.  I could do it quicker but I live in an isolated location, and I am old guy who looks like a narc if that tells you anything about how effective the War on Drugs has been.  Meanwhile they have forced up the price resulting in the drug wars in Mexico where it is a highly profitable industry.  So with this failed policy, they want to make sure that nobody tries anything different that just might work and make them look stupid.  I think making them look stupid has left the gate a long time ago.

So we are being hit with all these carefully placed news stories about how legalizing marijuana in California won’t affect the drug war in Mexico unless we illegally import our crop to other states, that the Feds will be all over us if we do, and legal challenges will prevent any tax benefit.  It is all bogus.  California is not stupid.  See our own State funded stem cell research so that Federal Restrictions on stem cell funding is moot. With legalized marijuana, the Mexican market in California will collapse meaning that there is no incentive to sneak it across the border.  If California’s crop leaks into other states, again the Mexican drug lords suffer.  It is sad when the Justice Department and the drug lords are on the same side of an issue and the Justice Department sees no problem with that.

The other thing that I find humorous is that with the Feds trying to tell California what to do about what is already a thriving business, it just encourages more people to vote for it.  I think their whole approach is counterproductive.  Here we have a state that has one of the larger unemployed populations, with benefits running out, and the Feds want to cut off a real source of revenue for a crop that already is widely distributed without any tax benefit.  They want to take already limited resources and tie them up fighting those potheads in California instead of worrying about, say terrorists.  They want to make sure the drug lords in Mexico don’t have any real competition so the price can stay up and these guys can all get new bigger guns.  Stupid is the only word that describes this.

But here is the real issue.  Why can’t we try something different?  If it works, it is a boon for everyone.  If it doesn’t work, or there are unintended consequences, fix them.  Why must we stick with an obviously failed program because those in Washington controlled by “vowel state logic” have constipated minds?  There are so many things we should be trying, but stupid has us in its grip.  Hey!  What about making gays and lesbians full citizens?  Oh that would never work.

The People Magazine Campaign

I am watching the news about the election and I have not heard a word about policies for the future. But I do know who is a nut, and who isn’t according to the speaker, whose character is better, who is closer to the people, who has had an affair, who believes in witchcraft, who is a true Christian, who is and is not out of touch, who is an insider, who would cut government, balance the budget, and bring America’s strength back. But in all this noise, I have no idea what their plan is for anything. Welcome to high school student council elections. That is what we have sunk to.

The Barbarians Inside the Gate

Does it concern anybody besides Rachel Maddow and me that we are about to elect truly ignorant people?  Let me be concise.  A stupid person is someone who doesn’t have the mental capacity to think clearly.  It’s innate and cannot be cured by education.  This is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about ignorant people who simply have never learned anything (i.e. they are ignorant of the facts) or refuse to learn anything.  The whole Tea Party movement is pretty much based upon ignorance.  Oh, and racism, white fear, anger, and corporate manipulation, but I digress.

I am as angry as anyone else about our lack of progress in anything.  But I don’t think electing people who are ignorant of history or the complexity of issues is the answer.  In fact, it is the essence of the problem.  Let’s examine Christine O’Donnell’s claim that the separation of church and state is not in the Constitution.  Literally, the words separation of church and state, are not in the Constitution, so that is true.  However the 1St Amendment states that government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”.  What Christine is reflecting is a complete lack of knowledge, no ignorance, of the history of the Enlightenment or any knowledge of the debates that went on in the Constitutional Conventional, the Federalist Papers, or the extreme caution our Founders felt about the divisiveness of religion in government.  My point is simply that in their ignorance, they are about to have us repeat some of the major mistakes in history that we thought we had corrected.

Let’s take religious tolerance a step further.  The whole point of the 1st Amendment was religious tolerance, yet many of these candidates from the right want to institute Christianity (and only their version of it) as part of our government.  Religious tolerance is the seed that germinates a truly civilized society.  If you can live peaceably within a culture that accepts all religious beliefs, it is the ultimate expression of freedom and democracy.  It is the ultimate in minority rights.  What these candidates want to do is to take us back in time where we are a lot less tolerant country, and all the strife that comes with it.  But it gets worse

Many of these candidates are by design, white.  They represent white fear.  Sharon Angle’s comments about a room full of Hispanics that looked Asian to her is symptomatic.  They all look the same to her and they are all a threat to her privileged position in society.  She represents white fear in America when the nation is gaining strength by its very diversity.  But her ignorance (and maybe stupidity in this case) regarding how the market place will solve our health care woes, shows a complete lack of understanding of the issues, or the history of what has happened.  Question her on other country’s approaches to health care and I guarantee you that you would get a blank stare, ala Sarah Palin.

And last but not least is the ignorance of the blue collar, middle class voters, that support these candidates.  If Democrats were being back by foreign corporations do you not think there would be some giant outcry?  Yet the Tea Party and the candidates they support are being back not only by foreign interests (if you don’t think that Chamber of Commerce is not using foreign donations to offset operations expenditures, freeing up money for campaign ads you are not ignorant, your stupid), but by the very corporations that will make sure that their piece of the pie continues to grow while the middle class loses.  Corporations want one thing:  smaller, less effective government.  That frees them up to maximize profits without restrictions.  The track record on this speaks for itself so how do you explain this middle class support?  I can only attribute it to ignorance.  They simply choose to ignore the reality of what they wish for.

In the meantime, we have these candidates whose ignorance and throwback policies will wreak havoc with our Government if they are elected.  It is even amazing that these are viable candidates and you wonder what people are thinking.  So we have entered the period of Barbarians within the Gates.  Reminds me of the French Revolution where when the people threw out the Nobility, they also destroyed the fabric of order and justice with their “off with their heads” approach to everyone.  History truly does repeat itself.  Welcome to Chaos Part X.