Tuesday, June 2, 2015

THE "BIG" STORY?

THE "BIG" STORY?


Today a few of my favorite activists ridiculed media coverage of the transgender "coming out" by the former Bruce, now Caitlyn, Jenner, basically saying there are bigger environmental, economic justice, etc, stories for the corporate media to report rather than this "Kardashian" infotainment.


And I suppose if you aren't transgender perhaps the issue is not important to you... or perhaps the murders and suicide rates are so high among trans people that you don't hear about it enough to care.

But the story of a famous person going public about who she is attracts the kind of media attention that is essential to spreading a message of acceptance of transgender- the "T" in LGBTQ- community members in a world that has been and still is for the most part, hostile to them.


At a time when the same acceptance and civil rights they seek are finally on the verge of being won by lesbian, gay and bisexual persons, it's a story that is just as important as "same sex marriage" or any LGB story was one, five or ten years ago... whether it was "Ellen" or your neighbor down the block.

This is a crucial time for transgender persons, especially children. We don't need another generation growing up with an almost 50% suicide rate. And seeing themselves positively portrayed on TV is the beginning of the end of discrimination and the kind of religious atrocities that directly cause those deaths.


It could take years before laws fully catch up and it will take a sea change in attitudes to get there. But until then reporting the story with sensitivity and acceptance- as most if not all media are doing now- will remain as important as anything. If it takes a "Kardashian" to move the issue to a new level it will be following the same path that LGB and before that racial integration stories took when famous people "came out" to help reverse bigotry and make acceptance the norm.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Neil Young + Promise Of The Real “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop

Promise Of The Real “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop” Official Video and Lyrics Contrary to the misleading information coming from Starbucks, the coffee company is in alliance with other Food Giants, including Monsanto, in suing the state of Vermont to overturn the GMO labeling laws voted for by the people. If you don’t like a rock star bucks a coffee shop Well you better change your station cause that ain’t all that we got Yeah, I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto Monsanto, let our farmers grow What they wanna grow From the fields of Nebraska to the banks of the Ohio Farmers won’t be free to grow what they wanna grow If corporate control takes over the American farm With fascist politicians and chemical giants walking arm in arm Monsanto, let our farmers grow What they wanna grow When the people of Vermont voted to label our food with GMOs So they could find out what was in what the farmer grows Monsanto and Starbucks grew the grocery manufacturer mice [?] It sued the state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will Monsanto — and Starbucks — others want to know What they feed their children Monsanto, let our farmers grow What they wanna grow -----------------------------

Sunday, May 31, 2015

WELCOME TO MY FANTASY

Tuesday's Mother Jones article on Bernie Sanders younger days gave rise to today's misogynist corporate press rantings over his 1972 piece that gives incredible insight into the state of the women’s movement in that year, publishing a blurry yet readable scan of a Sanders' Freudian essay called "Man and Woman" from the "Vermont Freeman."

Of course the puerile obsessions of the Chuck Todd-crowd that surfaced over the piece on the Sunday blather-fests demonstrates that those who didn't get it them still fail to comprehend the dominant-subservient dynamic of the rape culture that Sanders understood even 42 years ago.


At the time, despite the era's "revolution in the air," movement gatherings were still male-dominated affairs where women were kept in the kitchen and condescendingly told how "cute" their all-female "consciousness raising" sessions were.


Press accounts have "keyed in" the most prurient parts of an essay that was apparently meant to demonstrate the social science behind men's knee-jerk rejection of social equality and women's internalization of basic troglodytic male insecurities. But of course they've left the insightful parts that follow on the cutting room floor because four decades have done nothing to bring these suits and hair-dos into the 21st century.


If "news"- and I use the term loosely- of this smear hasn't reached you yet, it will. It took a while to follow the links to find the original amidst the breathlessly and selectively out-of-context excerpts to find the original article. I doubt you'll be seeing the full text any time soon.


In 1972 few men were able to grasp the concept of a social component and go beyond "equal pay" type issues being raised by the nascent women's movement of the day. Sanders on the other hand, got it then the same way he does today. Sanders continues to be in the progressive forefront of the battle, especially in the military, citing current legislative efforts as woefully inadequate.


And by the way, do read the rest of MJ's profile of his younger days.


I'm not about to revoke my Green Party affiliation to join the Hawai`i Democratic Party to vote in the caucuses but I'll be doing everything I can to see if we can raise Sanders' already incredibly 15% showing in the national polls to 51%- despite the clueless, gotcha, issue-free, industrial press- by grabbing the potential of the so-called "social" media by it's horns and rallying people to utilize it for our own designs. All we have to do is reverse the perverted, self-fulfilling reasoning of the "he can't win so I won't vote for him" loons.


Hey- it could happen.


My "now you see it, now you don't" eyes ain't what they used to be and I'm really bad at keying in text. So scroll down, squint a little and read Sanders' essay in full. And if you don't see what it really says perhaps that's a clue as to why despite the gains in the treatment of women over forty-plus years we, as a still-male-dominated society, still have so far to go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

UNFORTUNATE TRUTH

The last thing in the world you'd think this peace-pursuin'-pup would watch was last night's White House Musical Tribute to the Military (or some such jingoistic gibberish). But when I saw John Forgerty on the schedule my first though was "will he do it- does he have the chutzpah to speak truth to power?

So I recorded it and today buzzed though Obama and the "rah-rah. let's hear it for war" part. And when John came on he did "Bad Moon Rising."


Well, close enough. After all it has the lyric:

"Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye."


And seeing Obama's cabinet-o-war and the rest of the military-elite jangling their medals and clapping and singing along was surreal in it's own right.


But I kept zipping and sure enough, my faith was given Credence as the first chords of "Unfortunate Son"* rang out to the mostly clueless gaggle of dress-uniformed baby-killers, some actually singing along... although shots of the murderer-in-chief revealed he knew exactly what was going on, exhibiting one of his infamous sh*t-eatin', anger-just-below-the-surface grins.


I harkened back to the early 90's on the eve of the first Iraqacle-debacle, the night before the the first phoney Bushy invasion began- the one that got the ISIS ball rolling in the first place- to the Grammy Awards where Dylan came out, drunk as a skunk, and screamed a Zimm-a-lacious version of "Masters of War" that was unintelligible to anyone who wasn't intimately conversant in Bob-speak.


But now, amidst today's bipartisan calls by decrepit and feeble-minded politicians, generals and pugnacious pundits for another seemingly inevitable bloodbath of gullible American youth in a return to the sanguine Sumerian sands, it was nice to see at least five minutes of sanity thrown in the faces of the insane.


Speaking truth to power is easy when you post it on Facebook or a blog. But when you get up there and do it right in the faces of those that need to hear it most well, John Fogerty you certainly are a Fortunate Son-of-a-Bitch.


Happy Dead Soldiers Day all.


-----------------


*Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooo, their red, white and blue
And when the band plays "Hail to the Chief"
Ooo, they point the cannon at you, Lord


It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no
Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand
Lord, don't they help themselves, y'all
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yeah


It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no, no
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no


Yeah, yeah
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask 'em, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer "More! More! More!", y'all


It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, one
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no, no, no
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no, no, no

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

CYAin' IN THE USA

"Blood bath" isn't too strong a term for today's Hawai`i State Senate shake-up. And social media has eleven fingers to point in explaining how and why three of the biggest advocates for food safety and sustainability- Senate Health Committee Chairman Josh Green, Water and Land Chairwoman Laura Thielen, and Agriculture Chairman Russell Ruderman- were reportedly ousted from their committee leadership positions.


It would be easy, if not simplistic, to think that it was just an early yet predicable coup for the chemical and Frankenfood cartel. But the demise of conservative Senate President Donna Kim, along with the survival of other allies of those opposed to the indiscriminate use of pesticides and genetically-modified-food experiments, makes that look like a less than compelling argument.


It would be easier still to blame Green's at-many-times abrasive style and intransigence over the medical cannabis dispensary bill for his ouster as conference committee chair precipitating the falling dominoes that led to a 19-6 vote to replace Kim with Kaua`i Sen. Ron Kouchi.


But perhaps because of the neophyte nature of the corporate media reporters covering the legislature, those perplexed at the way majorities shifted have little idea of how the legislature- and moreover the state senate- has operated for decades.


Neither officeholders nor staffers are eager to talk on-the-record about the politically functional dystopia that is the Hawai`i Legislature. But when they do talk they start and end by saying it's a lot like prison where survival means joining a gang that will "cover your ass."


Though usually depicted using such niceties as "coalitions" or "caucuses" with names (used more by reporters than members) like "Opihi," and "Chess Club" or, more traditionally, with the name of the leader, they are more like the La Nuestra Familia and the Texas Syndicate because no one survives alone in the Hawai`i Senate. You can't be everywhere at once and without "family" you WILL be stabbed in the back.


In the legislature's hurry-up-and-wait, four-month rigid schedule you can never be at every committee meeting, hearing or- more importantly in a body that's exempt from the state's Sunshine Law- back room deal-making session to protect your interests.


So you join a gang. You join the one that reflects your interests, whether that means environmental protection, good governance and "doing good" or money, power and "doing well." You'll either find it or, by joining with those disenfranchised or generally disgusted with the current selection of gangs, form a new one.


That of course means that "you can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." Because when all is said and done it's a game of "Political Survivor" - Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.


And as every prisoner knows the gang will help you as long as you are useful to them but if you burn them or make them look bad they will turn on you like a pit bull in heat.


So what you don't want to do is make the others look bad. Like in prison, it's a matter of "honor." You may not support the legislative goals of your own gang members. Some put more or less of an emphasis on supporting each others' priorities. But if you make them look bad in front of the other gangs with whom they make have made the necessary side deals required to engender support for their priority legislation, you will be put on a flaming boat and set adrift like a used-up Viking warrior.


And that's what Sen. Green did. And did with such an egotistical zeal that he brought down the whole gang with him... except for those who, out of self-preservation, jumped away from his flaming ship.


It wasn't just the medical marijuana dispensary bill. Green's penchant for "my-way-or-the-highway" has sowed the destruction of a slim sub-faction of his so-called "Chess Club" gang long before last Friday's debacle when he was dumped in a vain attempt by Kim and others to save their own asses.


Perhaps the most telling thing we found in press reports was this (pay-walled) from a Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s coverage of the Saturday morning massacre and Green's removal as head conferee:
---
Lawmakers had made a dispensary program one of their top priorities in this year's session, and the effort had progressed smoothly until last week's conference talks, which at times grew heated.


Some dispensary advocates were irked by what they saw as a hard-line approach by Green.
During a conference hearing Friday, Green had said he declined to meet with the governor's staff about the dispensary measure. He added he would not change his position on certain provisions even if that might cost Ige's support and signature.


"The governor doesn't know half of what I know or you know or Sen. (Will) Espero knows about this program," Green told (House Conference Committee Chair Della) Au Belatti during conference Friday. "He's a fantastic guy but he's not in the trenches."
---
Whether Green was always a babe in the woods politically, as many observers have long contended, or whether the presence of a "27th Senator" in the form of the well-connected and popular among his former colleagues in the senate, Governor David Ige changed the equation this year and Green simply never recalculated is subject to more discussion. At best he exhibited a head-shaking political naivety. At worst, the emergency room physician displayed an egotistical "God Complex" on many health-care-related bills.


It hasn't helped that his campaign donor list reads like a who's who of corporate heath care lobbyists and physicians in a time when donor lists are becoming ever more available for scrutinization by the media and public.


No one is shocked- unless they are "shocked, shocked"- that there's politics afoot at the legislature. Unless that someone is Senator Josh Green.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

EDUCATION AND THE MOUNTAIN

More than forty years ago Kanaka Maoli and those in allegiance began to dream of reclaiming political and cultural sovereignty over Hawai`i nei.


In the 1970's after more than a century and a half of an often brutal repression of spirit, culture and language- with a US military overthrow and occupation thrown in- what's been called a "renaissance" emerged in not just direct actions like the reclamation of the bombed-out yet still sacred island of Kaho`olawe, but the resurrection of the language, culture and very soul of a great people which had been viciously repressed.


As with black families in the Jim Crowe south, or the native people in British colonial India, parents felt they had to have "the talk" with their children... "give up your dignity, give up your language, don't rebel against the white man- it's a losing battle."


The culture and spiritual identity was literally beaten out of the children. Much like aboriginal children across the globe, they were taken from their homes to indoctrination camps where they were "de-educated" and forced to be white in everything but skin color.


The political arm of the renaissance blossomed into what's been loosely called the "sovereignty" movement and, as scholars documented the illegality and brutality of the overthrow and yes the genocide, kanaka and allied kanaka-at-heart realized that the key was "education."


Surely once the colonizers in America and across the world understood what happened, the wrongs would be righted- although how it should happen and what a resulting model would look like was and still is fodder for extensive debate.


Yet as the years passed it began to seem like despite successes in that effort to educate ourselves and the "outside" world, kanaka lands were still held "in trust" in the hands of the state which, US courts have ruled, "owns" what are now called "ceded lands" even though no such ceding ever took place.


Those lands have continued to be stolen in new and innovative ways as, despite protections built into the State constitution. western money and paradigms are moving to "steal the land one last time- fair and square" via things like the Akaka Bill and the increasingly cash-conscious Hawai`i State Office of Hawaiian Affairs.


Some of us who were in our 20's then and are now getting used to being called "uncle" have wondered of late what to make of it. Were we wrong? Was "education" always going to be an exercise in futility because there are many who just don't care or don't want to be "educated?"


But on April 4 something extraordinary happened. Following a seven year "legal" process that just ignored the long-standing, oft-stated opposition to development of the place where the kanaka creation story took place, 31 people were arrested for blocking the beginning of earth moving for a new multi-billion-dollar Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).


There are 13 other telescopes at the top of the mountain but the 14th desecration of Mauna a Wakea (commonly called Mauna Kea) has since proven to be one slight too many.


As Moloka`i kupuna Walter Ritte has said, people are saying "enough is enough."


Many of those with vested or even casual interest in the TMT have tried to characterize those engaging in the astonishing uprising of not just kanaka and kama`aina but legions of the now apparently "educated" across the US and the world, as being misguided, some going as far as to say it's about "science vs superstition." They say it's all about astronomy and discovery, some even attempting to twist the story of pre-western-contact voyaging Polynesians using celestial navigation in traveling to Hawai`i (something pooh-poohed by the self-same academics just a couple of generations back) to claim we are misguided in protecting the sacred mountain "because Hawaiians were always 'about' science."


But this has nothing to do with "discovery of the beginning of time and space." There are plenty of other mountains in the world for that.


While the precipitating incident has occurred surrounding the occupation and physical degradation and desecration of Mauna a Wakea, this isn't simply about one battle to stop one telescope any more.


It's about how, as Uncle Walter told the TMT corporation, "you got greedy. You had 13 other telescopes but it wasn't enough. Now we want them all gone. And we're not going away"


People will ask if the project is really about astronomy or whether "science," as it is many times, is being used as a smokescreen for a cash-cow that has been projected by some to potentially garner anywhere up to a million dollars a night for its use, were it to be constructed.


Others will argue about the wisdom of TMT's unnecessary "in your face" attempt to bulldoze around some dirt even before funding is in place- years before actual construction is set begin. They will question trying to do so while legal cases are still on appeal.


But this is about the fruits of education that many still dream will lead to demilitarization, deoccupation and decolonization. It may not happen in the lifetimes of those of us who had the vision in the 70's. But the protection action on Mauna a Wakea gives us what a dream always needs to survive... hope.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

MEL RAPOZO'S "REEFER MADNESS"; COMING SOON TO A COUNCIL MEETING NEAR YOU:

Reefer Madness is coming to Wednesday's Kaua`i County Council meeting when long-time pot-foe, Chair Mel Rapozo, will introduce Resolution 2015-37 demanding the state legislature kill bills that would set up "compassion centers" to provide medicinal cannabis patients in Hawai`i with a place to purchase their medicine.


Most other states with medical marijuana programs provide for "stores" where patients can buy their medicine and the programs have generally been a great success. Some states- Colorado and Washington and the District of Columbia- and some local jurisdictions have also approved the recreational use of marijuana and the US congress is considering a bill to remove it from it's ":Schedule 1" classification which falsely states that it has no medicinal value.


Resolution 2015-37 appears to be solely the brain-child of long-time pot-fear-mongerer Rapozo with no other "introducers" listed. The resolution notes that the police departments of Honolulu, Maui and Hawai`i Island and the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney have submitted testimony opposing House Bill 321 with Kaua`i PD and Prosecuting Attorney notable for their absence from the list.


Apparently Rapozo didn't properly research his resolution because the companion bill to HB321 is SB 1029 not Senate Bill 879 (as the resolution says) which is a decriminalization bill that passed the senate and is currently in the house.


The resolution asks that if the legislature doesn't abandon HB321- which appears poised for passage this year after Hawai`i became the first state legislature to okay medical marijuana more than a decade ago- a long list of draconian restrictions be added to the bill including one allowing the "counties to... restrict or (even) prohibit growing or selling" what many patients call "the blessed herb."


The resolution claims that "marijuana trafficking remains a source of violence, crime and social degradation" much as the now-ridiculed 1936 film "Reefer Madness" claimed.


The resolution also asks that "should the legislature choose to adopt the bill(s)" that they:


1) establish a two-year residency requirement, presumably even for those who only have months or even weeks to live or have just found out they need chemotherapy (the latter being one of the qualifying uses cited in current state law);


2) ban "home grown cultivation and production" phasing out the current grow-your-own program;


3) establish a "closed system that ties a specific cardholder and proscribed limitation to a specific grower/retailer;"


4) allow only for a "pilot program" and


5) "explicitly prohibit... reciprocity provisions between Hawai`i and other states and counties."


Long time council observers and medical marijuana advocates anticipate the presence of Rapozo's ally in the tiny, cult-like and assuredly-anachronistic pot-prohibition cabal in Hawai`i, Keith Kamita- the the zealously anti-weed Deputy Director of the Department of Public Safety who has notably traveled the state ranting about the dubious so-called dangers of marijuana use, speaking to any group that will listen... including, in the past at Rapozo's behest, the Kaua`i County Council.


Some even predict the presence of bible-thumping union-boss Tenari Maafala. The President of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) has long-joined Kamita and Rapozo in their fanaticism and SHOPO opposition is also cited in the resolution. As an example of Maafala's other world-views he once said "you would have to kill me" to get him to enforce a ban on gay marriage because, according to multiple media reports, it would be "contrary to his religious views."


A crowd is anticipated for the meeting that begins at 9 a.m at the Historic County Building by the Royal Palm park on Rice St. But Council Chair Rapozo has been infamous for manipulating the order of disposition of items on the agenda in order to either stultify or enhance the numbers of those giving testimony... often dependent on his own stance on an issue


If taken in order, the resolution itself may not come up until the afternoon. However those who want to testify on the matter at the beginning of the meeting can testify on Communication C2015-113- a technical agenda item asking to have the resolution itself placed on the agenda. It appears on something called the "Consent Calendar" (CC) and that is always voted upon at the very beginning of a meeting. It is listed under "#7" of the CC and you must request it be reassigned from the CC for public testimony. Ask the clerk before the meeting starts or raise your hand when the consent calendar is announced.


Medical Marijuana reform activists are asking for anyone- especially current or prospective patients and/or those who have not been able to obtain their medicine under the current program- to come and testify. If you cannot attend the meeting you can email testimony to counciltestimony@kauai.gov with "Oppose Resolution 2015-37- Support current HB 321" in the subject line.


The meeting will be live streamed.