Archive for February 2012

The Two Party System

One of the things that really amazes me is that the pundits like to point out how the Republicans have picked issues that alienate the average voter.  While that is true, there are two things you have to ponder.  First, why will the election still be close, and second, even if they weren’t trying to bring back the Salem Witch Trials, they have no new ideas on which to challenge President Obama.  How could you vote for someone who promises to bring you back to the policies that don’t work and have led to the mess we are now in?

Well to the first question on the Salem Witch Trials, and maybe bleeding over into the no new ideas is the obvious conclusion that they just hate, and I mean hate, President Obama.  That one for me is hard to fathom because whether you agree with his politics or not, he is a likeable man.  But then when you look at most really conservative voters you start to see maybe that racism is not dead.  It is covered up with the claim that he is a socialist, but the facts simply don’t bear that out.  Of course, the obvious conclusion is that facts have nothing to do with this and it is a visceral hate thing.  It is sad in this day and age, this still goes on in a fairly large segment of our population.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is that these people are rapidly becoming irrelevant.  Look around you at our youth who are  more biracial, tolerate, and less “white”.  Maybe these fat old white people are having their last gasp at holding on to something they never had.

The other issue to me is more troubling.  We will simply outgrow the Salem Witch Trails thing as our demographics change, but the idea that you can ignore facts and data to support an ideological point of view is truly frightening.  My hero, Paul Krugman, wrote an interesting blog this morning (This Tribal Nation) about how the more well educated conservative voters are, the more like they are to deny facts and data.  Now that is truly frightening.  Global warming, evolution, flow down, austerity, the data is overwhelming about these items (its happening, it happened, it doesn’t happen, and depresses economies), yet they are in denial about it.  So we have this whole Party that denies the failure of their economic policies and yet they still have a chance at the polls.  You have to wonder how we evolved at all.  Oh, sorry conservatives, evolution doesn’t exist, except of course for the mountains of evidence that proves the concept.

So why do I call this blog the two party system.  Because we need one and we haven’t got one any more.  You have a Democratic Party that is mainly center right with a Progressive wing, and a Republican Party that no longer makes sense.  The idea of a two party system is that one party can be led astray by their own hubris and the other party is there to offer new ideas and offer the voters choice.  Except what we have is a Democratic Party that mostly panders to center right, that is Republican ideas of the 1980s and 1990s,, and a Republican Party that babbles nonsense and tries to recreate a Mom and Pop economy (and religious life) that didn’t even exist in the 1890s they want to drag us back to.

If we were to have a functioning two party system, it would go something like this:  The Republican Party would be seen for what it is, a party of political hacks who sell their souls to corporate interest while trying to drag the rest of us back to serfdom, and it would become a fringe element.  Actually it already is, but this is their last hurrah before demographics makes their ideas irrelevant.  The Democratic Party would split into two parties, the center right portion that represents conservative economic interests and still panders to corporate interests, but cares about the middle class, and the Progressives who really do have new ideas (really old Keynesian ones that still work) about investing in our future, and finding new ways to help the middle class instead of thinking austerity cures all ills.

I guess my point here is fairly simple.  We haven’t recognized it yet, but the Republican Party is brain dead and needs to be taken off life support.  The Democratic Party really is too big a tent and more accurately reflects the rational political spectrum at this point.  It is amazing to me that the chattering classes haven’t figured this out yet.  They still pretend they are having rational discussions when they interview Republicans, and still try to paint Democrats as some monolithic socialist party.  Let’s face it, if you were from another planet and you listened to the political dialogue today, you would have to wonder if there is some disease that has destroyed the rational part of most of the nation’s brains.  One thing for sure, if the Republicans do manage some sort of win in November, it will be their end.  Their policies will finally be shown to bring about total failure.

 

Perspective – From the War

Here is your thought for the week as I will be busy trying to make ends meet:  When I was flying in Vietnam, our missions were usually early so by 1 pm most of us had put in a 12 hour day.  I would usually go run about 5 miles, then slap on the Coppertone (yes we are all probably dying of skin cancer), pop a cold one, and soak up some sun on the roof deck of our hootch.  I would be laying up there in the quiet, soaking up the rays, and the conversation would go something like this:

” So how did it go today?” 

“Well landings equaled takeoffs so I guess all things considered, it was a good day”

And that about wraps up life and puts everything into perspective.  At the end of the day if landings equaled takeoffs, all was copacetic.  Don’t sweat all the stuff in between and the details.    Just focus on getting the damn thing back on the deck at the end of the day.  All the rest is noise. I try to remember that every day.  It is probably the most important thing I ever learned.

Euthanasia and Rick Santorum

Well Pope Rick has another edict for us.  He was railing against the evil Netherlands that were putting people to death instead of treating their diseases.  Except, of course they weren’t.  Rick apparently lives in his own little reality, but lets hear it from his own lips:

“They have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and it’s 10 percent of all deaths, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily in hospitals, because they are older and sick,” Santorum said. “So elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country. Because they’re afraid because of budget purposes they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness.”

It is all a lie.  Well I guess that is not quite true.  If you believe your own fantasy world and you claim it is reality, is it a lie?  The Dutch must think we are the hicks from the sticks to take such a complex issue and be so badly misinformed about it.  Welcome to Republican thinking in general these days.  Mitt is now railing against the DREAM act as some kind of program that lets law breakers go unpunished.  If you are two and your parents brought you here, you have grown up in America, worked hard and want to go to college you are a soulless law breaker?  Oh Rick, oh Mitt, the world is not quite that simple.  But in Mitt’s case it is back to the idea of debtor’s prisons where the whole family could be punished for the sins of the father.  That worked out well in Old England didn’t it?

On the issue of euthanasia, this one is complex.  Anyone who has watched as a loved one has died a horrible death at the hands of cancer gets it.  Anyone who tells you their pain and suffering can be managed is a fool. Every drug has a side effect and managing pain can become the problem.  That does not mean one has to choose euthanasia, but in my world where we really are civilized, we ought to have the choice.  Those of you on the fence ought to watch How to Die in Oregon.  No it is not easy to watch and thinking about death is hard.  It is a complex issue and there has to be safeguards, but for me, I would like to die with dignity and people like Pope Rick want to define what that means for me.  I deeply resent that incursion into my important life choices.  I cannot begin imagine the frustration women must feel about the Republican onslaught on contraception and choice.

Rick Santorum brings us a wonderful example of the bliss of religion and its price.  In many cases it price is ignorance and injustice.  Doesn’t have to be, but the Pope Rick’s view is.  He has simplified his world by not thinking deeply about it.  He just has to follow “the word of God”, not think about it.  Having faith and believing you are in God’s hands can really free you from stress and worry.  It can even give you strength you didn’t think you had.  It also frees you from introspection and doubt.  It allows you to ignore the consequences of your beliefs as long as it works out well for you.

Then there is that pesky old question, whose word of God?  There are so many rewrites of the word of God starting with the apostles (if you assume Jesus was God), one has to wonder whose interests the word of God serves.  Just take the contraceptives thing.  If there were none, most women would be basically domestic slaves, destined to bear children and depend on men for their welfare.  Fits right into Pope Rick’s world, but not mine.  I have a daughter and I want her choices and possibilities to be unlimited.

Of course I don’t buy the God thing.  It is a drug of choice for many.  It simply is another route to facing, or more likely, avoiding the enormous complexity and chaos of life. The few religious people I do admire are not the ones like Pope Rick, who want a cookbook for life, but who take the lessons of humility, kindness, and redemption, and try to apply them to our complex world.  Of course you don’t need God to do that, but after all it is their belief as long as they don’t become Pope Rick and decide their cookbook should be the only one.

One last thought:  For those of you who can not see the world around us without a God who created it, extend the logic.  Who created God?  Was he superior?  Oh and who create the superior God who created God …ad nauseam.  The universe is a wondrous and complex place. but do we really need a Daddy to understands or to appreciate it? Do we really need a book of laws that Pope Rick brings us to limit our understanding and our potential?  One would have to wonder what kind of a God (I know heresy in itself) would give us that ability to reason and find truth and justice on our own, and then limit us to some cookbook for all the answers.  Come on people.  We are better than that.

 

Austerity, Oil, and Other Republican Nonsense

Actually I can’t blame austerity on just the Republicans,  Well maybe I can.  Austerity is that wonderful idea that if things are tight and we are a little over extended, we have to tighten our belt, reduce our expenditures and pay down our debts.  Make wonderful sense in a family budget (microeconomics) but is a disaster in macroeconomics.  It is probably why most people think it is intuitive.  Take any country that has gone on a major austerity program.  The idea is that with more balanced budgets the confidence fairy will sprinkle confidence dust on investors and businesses and they will expand, producing more income.  Except they don’t.  What happens in a depressed economy (that thing we are all in right now) is that governments cut way back, it depresses the economy (I think that is why they call is contractionary monetary policy) and GDP falls more and things just get worse.

Take Greece.  They were way overspending and their economy was faltering.  So they must be punished!  Live within your means, right?  So in order for the country to survive since it can’t devalue the Euro on its own and make its goods and services more competitive with Germany, the answer was to gut government spending so that there would be “confidence” in the government and borrowing cost would go down until they could start growing out of their problems.  Except it didn’t.  As the government guts spending, the economy contracts, GDP falters, and guess what?  You need to borrow more to stay afloat.  The same has happened in England, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain.

Think of it this way.  In your little family budget or small business, if debts get out of hand, you need to cut back so you can pay them off.  Austerity works.  But if your income is dependent on how much you spend then if you cut back and your income falters, you are a sinking ship.  Welcome to macroeconomics which apparently many very serious people, as Paul Krugman calls them, don’t get.  Well by now they ought to because the data is overwhelming that austerity does not work.  Meanwhile the Europeans do another deal to “save” Greece and almost nobody believes this is going to work anymore.  I guess we are just waiting until all the dominoes fall before we change directions.  Oh, by the way this is Keynesian 101 which the Chicago School of Economics said was dead and they have been wrong about just about everything else and yet we still listen to them.  Go figure.

Meanwhile in Talking Head Land gas prices are up and according to all the Republican mouth pieces this is because of President Obama.  Except it isn’t.  Do they understand we are on a world market for oil?  Here is one for your little minds Republicans:  In the last four months we were a net exporter of oil.  That’s right.  We produced more than we used.  The market is being driven by speculation, you know, that wonderful market place that can do no wrong in your eyes. We can produce all the oil in the world, but it won’t help us because it goes on the world market.  Oh and did you know that we are drilling for more oil than during the last Republican Presidency (and Congress).  Oh those pesky little details that makes you lying sons of a ….  Of course for all the conservatives this is gospel and they believe anything that is poured into their little brains because they are holding on so tightly to their little edifice of order and control which is founded on sand.

Let me close with Newt who last night lectured us once again about how President Obama is tramping on religious freedom to the cheers of the mostly fat white people gathered at the debate.  Except he isn’t.  He is trying to allow people who aren’t Catholic or Evangelical nuts who think contraception is abortion to have a choice.  Newt and his crowd, under the guise of religious freedom, are allowing their intolerance to rule.  They are the ones denying choice.  If you go to your friendly drug store and you can’t buy the morning after pill or a contraceptive device because the store has reservations about their use, and they control the market, what choice do you have?  Their “choice” trumps your choice.  I have never been able to understand why if you believe something is wrong, why is it necessary to make everyone else conform to your beliefs.  That is what they are trying to do.  They are the most intolerant of the intolerant.  Remember, they are counting on our tolerance of their intolerance.

 

Happy Birthday George

Happy Birthday Mr. President.  As I look back on your life in service of your country, leading the troops, chairing the Constitutional Convention, and then leading the country as our 1st President, you make the sniveling and selfish cowards who call themselves politicians today look like midgets.  And that they are.  Thank you for setting the tone at the Constitution convention which allowed for compromise and tolerance.  Sadly we need you today, but one man can only do so much.  Happy Birthday George.  You are the father of my country and a very great man.

Retrograde Nation

Retrograde has the meaning of moving backwards.  With orbits of satellites or moons a retrograde orbit is one that is slowly, through the force of gravity, sinking back toward the planet it orbits.  That is a wonderful analogy for America today.  When we struck forth in 1776 to create a new nation, and when in 1789 we ratified our Constitution, we reached for the stars.  We tried to free ourselves from religious bondage that had wasted the world’s history for hundreds of years.  We tried to base a government on the natural rights of our citizens and rational dialogue.  Today, if you watch what goes for Republican debate, we are moving back to the Dark Ages.

If you listen to Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, there should be a religious test for office.  That is why the Muslim thing is thrown around about President Obama.  Muslims need not apply.  It is against the very foundation of our Constitution (actually Article VI, paragraph 3), and frankly what should you care about his religion, only what his policies are.  Franklin Graham represents everything that is wrong with religion and why organized religion could bring us the Inquisition.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg.  What is really going on is to say to evangelicals and other religious purists, that if you are not like us, if you don’t think like us, you are not fit to hold office.  Ideas don’t count.  Policies don’t count.  Adherence to religious dogma is what counts.  Purity tests for all.  Retrograde doesn’t even begin to describe our descent into the Dark Ages and ignorance.

Then we have Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church (not to mention the State of Virginia) trying to return women to domesticated slaves.  The really clever thing is that they have turned the argument on its head.  President Obama wisely said that like Viagra, contraception must be covered by our nation’s health care insurers.  But the child molesters that masquerade as Bishops (they at best tolerated it) and Rick Santorum claimed that President Obama was forcing Catholics to go against their basic beliefs (the domestic enslavement of women).  What the Catholic Church and Rick Santorum are about is using institutions to force their belief on others by denying them the choice.  I always wondered if a man was virtuous if he was never tempted?  Instead of believing what they believe and holding their followers accountable, they believe what they believe and want to make sure you can’t act in any way contrary to those beliefs.  How can that be virtue?

Then there is the State of Virginia (and others) who have decided that women, if they want an abortion, must go through an invasive vaginal procedure. An ultrasound will be done by a vaginal probe.  Many women call it forced rape by the state.  This once again is the crowd who wants to get government out of our lives, except when it comes to their religious beliefs which they want to force down the throat of the rest of us.  Gee, if guys wanted Viagra prescribed shouldn’t they have an anal exam to make sure they aren’t gay?  What’s the difference?  It is using the state to identify  humiliate their citizens who don’t believe as they do even though it is within their rights to act that way.

What can I say?  This is what is being discussed as rational political dialogue in the 21s century.  We have let ignorance and religious dogma once again overcome civilization and we are falling back into the dark ages where rational though could get you killed.  This is what the present crop of Republicans have brought us and anyone who calls themselves a Republican should be ashamed.  No they may not support them, but their conservative belief system is what created these monsters and when voting time comes, they will still vote for them.  Conservatism is the force that is holding America back and keeping us from being a great nation once again.  It is kind of funny in a way.  They so claim to love America and to want to reclaim it.  But what they really want to reclaim is the Dark Ages and the death of the American Dream.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil.  They are enabling this lot.

A Simpler World

In my consulting travels I spend a lot of time with true conservatives.  I try my best not to say anything because we have a job to do and we should not get distracted into politics that will, quite frankly, takes us nowhere.  But I am always intrigued at how they think.   There are not two sets of facts in the world and contrary to conventional wisdom, both sides don’t equally equivocate.  By and large, progressives pretty much tell it like it is and conservatives twist it mercilessly.

Oh sure, you can find the anecdotal case where some left wing nut job is off the deep end, but take a step back and consider where we are today and what conservatives are telling us.  Global warming?  Doesn’t exist except of course that every respectable scientific body today endorses it.  Evolution?  Oh why go there.  Lower taxes will spur the economy, except as a percentage of GDP they are the lowest in 60 years and where are the jobs?  High tides lift all ships, except the vast majority of us are losing ground while we have the mass transfer of wealth to a small percentage of our population.  We have the best medical care in the world, except we don’t and it costs twice as much as what others pay for better outcomes.  The market place will create jobs if government will just get out of the way, except it got out of the way and the financial Masters of the Universe almost destroyed us. These are all indisputable facts supported by tons of data, and yet conservatives are in denial about it.  Why?

Well a conversation I had recently may shed some light.  Remember with conservatives, pointing out the actual data just gets them frothing at the mouth and does no good.  You have to understand that this is a visceral thing.  It is highly emotional and rationality doesn’t have a chance.  It is all about order and justice.  They believe in it.  It is at the core of their belief system.  It is a the core of their terror.  Many studies have shown that Progressives are more open to change than Conservatives, hence the term conservative.  At some deep psychological level we are either predisposed to handling innovation and change or we are terrified of it.  This has, I think deep roots in our survival as a species.  Being too adventurous in a hostile world could get you killed.  But not trying new things and being open to change, could also destine you to the trash heap of evolution.  Seen any Neanderthals lately?

So conservatives like to keep it simple and we are back to order and justice.  If things are ordered and you follow the rules, justice follows.  It is as simple as that for Conservatives.  It allows them to order anything and understand their place in that order.  That is why Conservatives are so arrogant about their place in life.  They earned it, they deserve it, and those that are less fortunate, well hell, it has nothing to do with fortune, but with discipline and rule following. Paying taxes simply allows government to reward those who don’t deserve it.   It orders the world’s chaos by blaming the victim.  One has to think no farther than looking at Conservatives and their religious beliefs that tend to be dogmatic and rigid, uninformed by the injustice of those beliefs in the real world.  The market place is the ultimate objective decider of fates if you just let it operate without interference.  If things are bad, blame the government as interfering and making it bad.  Never question the basic assumption about the market place, or for that matter, their religious tyrannical beliefs.

Okay back to the conversation.  It was a simple statement, but it embodied all of the above.  “What this economy needs is just to let entrepreneurs operate freely and they will create the jobs and economy that will take off.”  See, that mean old government is keeping us from excelling.  Order is out of whack because government interferes with the natural order of things.  Except, during the Bush years regulations simply weren’t enforced, tax rates were the lowest in 60 years and the middle class tanked.  Or even more salient today, innovate all you want, bring on great products, but if the middle class doesn’t have sufficient income to support a thriving economy, there will be no one to buy it.  It really is the chicken and the egg.  Which comes first, the goods people want to buy (supply), or the pent up money people have to spend (demand).  The answer which Conservative don’t want to hear, is demand.  And demand means first creating jobs so people have disposable income to buy stuff.  That would force you to admit that government has an important role to play and that brings into question the whole justice and order thing.  Could it be that no matter how carefully you follow the rules and regulate your life, shit happens?  If that is the case, is it not government’s role to keep the playing field level?  Oh my God, heresy.

So for Conservatives, chaos reigns if those they perceive as deserving of their fate get a helping hand from government.  It interferes with the natural order and justice in the world.  It terrifies them and allows them to try to reinvent reality to maintain their belief system.  Until shit happens to them, they are oblivious to it, and then it is a special case.  How do you explain the Log Cabin Republicans (gay Republicans)? Because they are Conservatives in that they believe in the order and justice thing, and just see the Conservative denial of their rights as an aberration instead of a logical extension of their belief system.  How do you explain a Conservative who sees the light on gay rights after their own child comes out?  Until it becomes personalized, they can simply shut it out in a whirl of denial or reinventing reality.

My favorite is austerity.  Yes, that was part of the conversation too.  Europe just had to get things back in order and they can’t afford all the entitlements they want.  Austerity is enforcing the natural order of things.  It means that justice will prevail if you follow the rules and the free loaders are put back in their place.  Evil doers must be punished to realign the natural order of things.  Except it doesn’t work.  Every nation that has gone on an austerity kick has seen their GDP not recover, but decline further.  While it violates in a basic way, Conservative ideology about blame the victim, ECON 101 and the data from our experiment with austerity has shown a disastrous outcome.  In order to get out of debt, you have to grow the economy and austerity simply depresses it.  Paul Krugman put a wonder graph out about what happens to countries that forgot everything we learned in the last 80 years or so and decided on punishment as the way forward (Austerity and Growth).  The data is incontrovertible and overwhelming, yet Conservatives will twist themselves into pretzels to try to explain it away because it violates their whole concept of the natural order of things.  Bad things only happen to bad people right?  And if you do bad things, you must be punished.

I guess I can rest my case with watching the Republican Presidential Primary where up is down and down is up, where facts are so distorted that only true believers could accept these people as rational humans, much less as leaders of our country.  It is where this conservative logic has finally taken us to maintain its basic underlying beliefs, into the world of fantasy.  Melissa Harris-Perry, on her new show on MSNBC, made a wonderful point the other day.  Our democracy needs a strong and vibrant two party system to work.  When one party gets out of hand, as power always corrupts, the other side is there to right the balance with new ideas.  But the problem we face with the Republican Party is that they have no new ideas.  They only have the old failed ones that they cling to with all their might, while reinventing reality to make that possible.  They have got theirs and they selfishly don’t want to risk having to share.  Until they actually become a rational and thinking political entity again, we have a real problem in this country.  I only hope the rest of America sees the absolute failure of conservative ideas and puts them out of their misery.

Happy Birthday

Yes I know, it is Presidents Day on Monday (Lincoln’s birthday was the 12th, Washington’s is the 22nd, and let us not forget Charles Darwin who was born on the same day as Lincoln).  But I am talking about mine.  Today I am 66.  Holy Mackerel!  But let’s us not forget who else was born this month:  James Joyce, Felix Mendelssohn, Copernicus, Bob Marley, Ronald Reagan (I would like to forget that one), Charles Dickens, James Dean, Jack Lemmon, Gypsy Rose Lee, Jennifer Aniston, Chruchhill, Smokey Robinson, Sidney Poitier, Nina Simone, Zeppo Marx, Victor Hugo, William Cody Buffalo Bill, Fats Domino, Johnnie Cash, John Steinbeck, and Elisabeth Taylor just to mention a few.If you are into celebrating your birthday month, this is a good crowd to do it with.

And did you know that on this day in 1861 Serfdom was abolished in Russia (that didn’t work out so well); in 1884 Tornadoes in Miss, Ala, NC, SC, Tenn, Ky & In kill 800 people (I think some of them are still voting Republican); in 1913 1st prize inserted into a Cracker Jack box; in 1942 FDR orders detention & internment of all west-coast Japanese-Americans (a dark day for America); in 1945 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima; in 1952 the French offensive begins at Hanoi (a war I would eventually take part in); in 1959 a USAF rocket-powered rail sled attains Mach 4.1 (4970 kph), in NM (where I would spend my first year in the Air Force and volunteer to ride a sled at a somewhat slower speed); in 1985 Mickey Mouse was welcomed in China (and thus begins their descent into fantasy land); and in 1987 Anti-smoking ad airs for 1st time on TV, featuring Yul Brynner who later dies of lung cancer.  I think the cure for cancer or world peace will be announce on February 19, in the future.

Today I join the elite who are sucking the government dry with their claws into entitlement programs.  The difference between about half of them and me is that I truly appreciate my government and what it does for me.  Social Security starts today for me which makes retirement, real retirement an option in a couple of years.  It is also a life line for so many elderly Americans.  It is amazing to me when I hear people talk about how we can’t afford it.  Of course we can afford it.  We can’t afford not to.  And I hate to break it to my conservative friends, but you can’t get health care without Medicare.  Being 66 is a per-existing condition.  So when all those fools whine about big government and wanting lower taxes, remind them of all the things government does for them that they ignore or take for granted.  I am proud of my government and what it does for all of us.  Take that you government hating know-nothings.

But back to my birthday.  I am in good health, I have wonderful loving friends and family, a once in a life time love affair with my wife, and kids who love me.  It has been a wonderful run and I have no complaints.  As my good friend Mike Ward used to say, “It is a good day to be alive.”  Yes it is Mike and I do miss you.  Losing you just reinforced how precious our lives are.  So happy birthday to me.  I am damn lucky and I wish some of this good fortune on the rest of my fellow human beings.

Paradise

Well, I have been in paradise since Monday, mostly trapped in an office.  But Hawaii has its own issues.  Husband shoots estranged wife and then himself.  Home defaults are at a record high here. Hawaii is toying with a state lottery or shipboard gambling to pay its bills.  Bar owners want an exemption to non-smoking rules because of Asian Tourism (we should kill our own citizens with second hand smoke because Asians are killing themselves).  Speaking of Asians, Waikiki was wall to wall with tourists, either old people or Asians.  Think New York City in the rush hour and you get the idea.  Waikiki has become the largest shopping mall ever built on a beach.  Meanwhile the fight continues with developers taking more and more land so they can load up the island even more.  Oh and did I mention the Governor is slipping in the polls?

Yes, even in paradise where the weather is wonderful, even when it rains, and ocean is still blue, we can’t really seem to get away from the problems we cause with our greed and failure to pony up for what we want.  Still it has been a nice break from winter.  And of course, the locals are always friendly and nice.  But if I were a true Hawaiian, I think I would be holding my head in my hands and wondering what we let these white devils do to us.

Whitney Houston and Conservative Republicans

It is early and I am waiting for a flight to Honolulu and I am having some random thoughts as I peruse the paper.  You know, that thing that apparently fewer and fewer Americans bother with anymore.  I was reading about Whitney Houston’s death and the fact that she probably drowned after taking “prescription” drugs in her bath tub.  You can’t help sadly marveling at how a person who could make such beautiful music and was so talented needed a habit of cocaine to make her life bearable.  Listening to her music was like a drug in that it was so beautiful.  She was beautiful, talented, so what was up with the drugs?  So I was thinking maybe last night at the Grammys, some in that audience who are also drug abusers could maybe take an object lesson?

Then I realized how foolish that was.  When you are addicted to drugs, you can’t hear and you certainly can’t think straight.  And then my mind leaped to our Republican Primary Campaign where these pandering, or maybe just loony candidates are telling the most outrageous and easily debunked lies and the conservative right is lapping it up.  Then I wondered if there is a parallel.  Is the behavior of drug addled cocaine and meth abusers any different than the behavior of religious and Tea Party addled conservatives who deny reality, wildly make up outrageous claims, while denying the very government that brought them their prosperity.  If drug addicts live in a world of denial, they have nothing on the Republican Party right now.