Rain, which had passed through quickly numerous times during the night, seemed imminent when Koko and I set out walking this morning. Dark gray clouds were piled up against a lighter gray sky, but not so thickly as to prevent a blush of pink from heralding the sun, which arrived in a flash of bright gold, followed by a heavy shower.
Fortunately by that time I’d run into my neighbor Andy, who shared his umbrella and also his knowledge of history and politics, both of which were welcomed this morning.
I asked him if thought there was a Japanese-American power bloc in the Legislature, or whether that was just an old myth. He said it was an old truth, but he wasn’t sure if it still applied, and thought Kolea had done a good job of debunking it in yesterday’s comment section.
I especially liked one comment Kolea made:
There are also ethnic factors affecting the perception of "political observers," whether malihini or local.
It’s a good reminder that so many factors affect our perception of everything. And when you figure that all 6.7 billion of us are operating within our own sphere of reality, and reality is 100 percent interpretation, it’s no wonder we have so many disputes, and kind of amazing that we ever reach agreement at all.
That idea was underscored during the Mixed Plate program on KKCR yesterday, where Ka`iulani Huff was interviewing attorney Dan Hempey and Naliko Markel, a minister of the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation on the topic of independence and Hawaiian lands.
As Dan noted, the courts have said that Hawaiians do not have a legal claim to the land, but a moral one. So for the people of Hawaii and their state legislators to do nothing about resolving those claims, he said, is to choose an immoral path.
I liked that he put it in those terms, as it seemed to move the issue out of the abstract political and legal arenas, and made it very personal.
Of course, individually and collectively people choose immoral paths all the time, like the most recent Red Cross report that finds “US medical personnel were deeply involved in the CIA’s torture of prisoners held in overseas prisons.”
And then there’s the whole issue of waging endless war. Now we’re shifting the enemy, and so the materials used to fight it, to that nebulous group known as “insurgents.” That ought to give us another 60 years’ worth of battles to fight.
It made me think of an analysis I read over the weekend on the recent spate of gunmen blowing people away in America. It included a quote from Obama:
"We have to guard against the senseless violence that this tragedy represents," President Barack Obama said in Europe on Saturday.
But what violence isn’t senseless, when you get right down to it? And does the president of a nation whose largest export is military equipment and weapons, who has authorized the expanded use of unmanned drones — which have killed numerous civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan — have any credibility in cautioning others about senseless violence?
The analysis goes on to ask:
Put aside for a moment the debate over guns. This isn't about policy. It's about asking the urgent question: What is happening in the American psyche that prevents people from defusing their own anguish and rage before they end the lives of others? Why are we killing each other?
I don’t think you can put aside the debate over guns, especially if you’ve ever watched the movie “Bowling for Columbine.” But I had to wonder why the writer wasn’t asking the even bigger question: Why are we killing so many more people who aren’t Americans?
The answer, as usual, is follow the money. We're spending billions on stuff that maims and destroys, and giving folks a paycheck to do it. And now it seems the revamping of America’s military could very well line the pockets of the Hawaii Superferry folks. As I noted in a March 29 post:
The question now is, will it be back? I guess that depends on what sort of lucrative contract it can get elsewhere, or whether the military is looking to lease a couple of prototype JHSVs while waiting for Austal to deliver the rest.
And voila, what should emerge from Gates’ plan but this little blurb in Navy Times:
The Navy will also lease four joint high speed vessels next year, instead of two, until DoD takes delivery of its own ships in 2011, Gates said. The Navy leases high-speed catamarans, such as the Swift, now on a humanitarian deployment in the Caribbean, but has ordered its own purpose-built JHSVs from the Austal shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
How convenient that HSF has two all ready to go.