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.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

KAUA`I CORRUPTION BUST NABS EVERYONE

(From 2009)

(PNN)-- April 1— LIHU`E--
More than ten thousand people on island of Kaua`i were indicted and arrested on racketeering charges today as a result of what the FBI called “the biggest corruption and fraud investigation in the bureau’s history.”

“We finally pulled the trigger and busted em all” said Special Agent Richard Stauber. “We were going to arrest just the mayor, his department heads, the county council and most business leaders but after extensive investigation we found complicity from almost every citizen on Kaua`i. most of whom knew about it all but “nevah like say nahting” .

“We busted the whole lot of ‘em with the exception of a few radical activists who turned in the rest and a handful of hippies living in Kalalau Valley and on Secret Beach along with some organic farmers who were blissfully ignorant of anything political.”

“I told ya so,” said news commentator and blogger Andy Parx who, in his daily on-line column, ratted out his neighbors and what he called “my good friends down at the county offices”.

“I knew the corruption ran deep but even I never knew the depth of the entrenched good old boy’s and girls network who either turned a blind eye or actively perpetuated the multitudinous revolving-door, pay-to-play scams, extortion rackets and kickback schemes” said Parx whose reports also served as grand jury evidence.

Standing before a 50 foot by fifty foot chart diagramming the connections between those arrested, Stauber, who spent years undercover disguised as “that funny foreign guy who harasses the county council”, explained how he “disappeared” a few years back after he had gathered enough evidence to start putting together the cases.

“I can’t believe they all fell for the German accent and the slightly off-kilter persona” he said. “It just goes to show the arrogance that made the case so easy.”

Since only one local attorney, Daniel Hempey wasn’t arrested he was appointed to defend those who are currently being held at Vidinha Stadium awaiting processing.

“I have little hope for the higher-ups but am considering pleading “plantation mentality” on the part of the regular working people who didn’t benefit from the system but who knew and were silent” he said.

The cases will be tried in federal court because there were no Kaua`i judges that escaped arrest either.

“Why me” asked Mayor Bernard Carvalho from the federal detention center in Honolulu where he and Council Chair Kaipo Asing are sharing a cell.

“I just got here and was just doing what mayors have done for years- hiring my friends and big campaign contributors for county jobs and looking the other way while everybody took their cut... as long as I got mine” said the 300 pound behemoth while downing a box of malasadas.

Also indicted but not arrested were former Mayor Bryan Baptiste who, it was revealed in the indictments, faked his death last year and escaped to somewhere in South America, shortly after being interrogated by the FBI.

Parx said he’s not surprised but is dismayed because now he won’t have endless daily material for his column.

“With all these guys finally off the streets, I got nothin’ in the immediate future. But I am confident that Kaua`i people will do what they’ve always done- elect some equally or even more corrupt politicians to take their places” he said.

Former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and Police Chief Darryl Perry escaped arrest and are believed to be hold up in a secret love-nest/fortress in Koke`e where they are reportedly intent on setting up a government-in-exile.

State Department of Conservation and Enforcement officers are said to be closing in on them after the pair stumbled into DLNR’s meth lab in the Alaka`i swamp.

In other news today paramedics rushed to the offices of Governor Linda Lingle where she and Attorney General Mark Bennett were working on legal strategies for the ceded lands and Superferry cases. Efforts to remove their heads from their butts were as yet unsuccessful at press time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HEWA- HOTEL OWNER AND MANAGER KIMO KEAWE SLATED TO FILL "ENVIRONMENTAL" SLOT ON KAUA`I PLANNING COMMISSION.

Everyone complains about the recent rampant over-development in the Kapa`a "Coconut Coast" corridor on Kaua`i with at least three new resorts already in the pipeline, all approved in willy-nilly fashion by the Kaua`i Planning Commission (PC)... with more slated for approval soon.

And tomorrow (Wednesday 3/25) at 8:30 a.m. people can try to do something about it.

On the Kaua`i County Council agenda is a nomination which, long-time observers say, will likely make things worse.

The nominee is Kimo M. Keawe, a resort and hotel owner who has spent his entire life in management in the resort industry. But the crazy part is that, if approved, he would fill one of two legally-mandated "Environmental" slots on the commission- an area in which Keawe apparently has no experience or credentials.

His "interview" with the council will take place at 8:30 a.m. with the vote scheduled to come up later in the day.

Keawe retired late last year after what the local Kaua`i newspaper described in January as "a four-decade legacy in resort management starting with Coco Palms in the 1970s." The paper said that "over the years he managed and owned several more, including the Hotel Molokai, before serving as manager of The Cliffs at Princeville for the past 14 years.

The environment never came up in the "talk story" interview with the closest description being that he is "an outdoorsman and spent all my off time hunting and fishing."


He is a huge proponent of time shares penning an article in "Time Share Today" in May 2013 entitled "The Cliffs at Princeville- A Self Managed Success Story."

In the 90's Kaua`i Kaua`i voters approved a County Charter Amendment that called for the seven Planning Commission slots to be filled by two each from the environmental, business and labor communities with one position remaining "at-large." But the amendment didn't specify how that requirement would be enforced or even define those three terms. And the council and the commission has failed to pass legislation or rules to give any guidance.


This has allowed people like Keawe- with absolutely no credentials as an environmentalist- to fill those slots.

If you're one of those who complains about the planning commission's recent decisions- especially the approval of Coco Palms and other new resorts in the traffic nightmare of the Kapa`a corridor- show up tomorrow at the council meeting at the historic county building in Lihu`e and ask the council to enforce the charter and reject Keawe. And ask Mayor Bernard Carvalho to nominate a real environmentalist to the commission. Or you can email testimony to counciltestimony@kauai,gov with the subject line "Oppose Keawe nomination for Environmental Planning Co9mmission slot."


The meeting will be live streamed.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

WITH A STRAIGHT FACE

In "The Liar's Paradox" episode of the TV program Star Trek Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock use logic to kill the android by telling it that "everything 'Harry' says is a lie" after which "Harry" tells the android "I am lying."


Smoke begins coming out of the robot's ears as he says "You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie, but you lie... You tell the truth but you cannot for you lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human. Only humans can explain their behavior! Please explain!"


That's sort of how most of us feel when hearing that the international chemical companies in Hawai`i are okay with "voluntarily disclosing" the dates, locations and types of highly toxic "Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs)" they use in their open-air, biotech experiments but oppose a bill under consideration in the state legislature that would make mandatory the disclosure of that information.


Although they also oppose establishing buffer zones and other health and safety related measures- including allowing the counties to effectively regulate them after the well-documented failures of the state's Departments of Health and Agriculture to do so- let's just focus in on disclosure.


Now what possible reason could there be for their opposition to establishing a law requiring them to do what they claim they are already doing out of the goodness of their black little hearts?


Well in today's local Kaua`i newspaper Paul Oshiro, spokesman for Alexander and Baldwin condescendingly said that "(b)y imposing these mandatory pesticide disclosure requirements without accompanying public education on federal and state pesticide oversight and regulation, this may result in an increase in the number of inquiries, complaints, and non-science based comments and concerns.”


Education? It's been over 60 years since Rachael Carson published the book "Silent Spring," which, according to Wikipedia was "an environmental science book (that) documented the detrimental effects on the environment—particularly on birds—of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims unquestioningly."


Apparently there are still people who do actually need education. But it's not we androids.


Let's suppose the legislature in all their wisdom decided that "voluntarily disclosing" that you have a valid drivers' license and registration in your possession is all you need when you get pulled over and asked to produce them.


"Oh, s'okay," Keone Bulai tells the officer. "I no like hand 'em ovah. No huhu- I get 'em already."


"Alright- be on your way. The law says that's enough for me," says the officer. "I'm sure glad the legislature made producing documentation voluntary because otherwise it could result in an increase in the number of inquiries, complaints, and non-science based comments and concerns."


So why would Keone refuse to produce his papers but be okay volunteering the information that he has them? Well, it might be because he knows his rights and is simply exercising them because he can. And we don't want to cast aspersions of Mr Bulai's character but his status as a constitutional scholar aside, the only other reason we can think of is because HE IS LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH.


And they wonder why many think the chemical companies are shall we say, being something less than truthful under the voluntary "Good Neighbor" program originally designed to provide political cover to Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho and the island's contingent of state legislators in their opposition to passage of a local Kaua`i ordinance that established mandatory disclosure (and buffer zones) until it was vetoed by the mayor, overridden by the council and then struck down by a federal judge.


The stream coming out of our ears is, like the android presented with the Liar's Paradox, the result of being unable to process claims like "pesticides are safe," "we always follow the law," "no one is getting sick or injured" and, our favorite, "it's just science you Luddite."


The truth is that it doesn't take a scientist to understand that RUPs are chemicals that are so dangerous that they are not available without special federal licensing and are to be used only after reading, understanding (often by people for whom English is, at best, a second language) and complying with a virtual book-length set of instructions for their use. Or to understand that those directions include a zero tolerance for the pesticides escaping the boundaries of the property upon which they are sprayed- some bordering on schools, hospitals, homes and waterways- in areas where high-speed, swirling winds can pick up without warning.


It certainly doesn't take a scientist to notice the smoke coming out of our ears or for us to know when we're being lied to.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

THERE'S GOOD SCIENCE AND THERE'S BAD SCIENCE... AND THEN THERE'S ENRIGHT SCIENCE.


RE: My piece the other day about the comparisons between statements made by the con man played by Dan Aykroyd on SNL and those of Ag Dept. head Scott Enright in testimony at the buffer zone public hearing at the legislature Thursday.




At the hearing Enright cited that infamous half-assed DOH "study" which tried to say that the amounts of especially toxic Restricted Use Pesticides found in stream bed sediment and other places downwind of the chemical companies open-air pesticide experiments, were safe. The study actually said that the levels were "within acceptable limits" to which someone on Facebook commented that "there are no acceptable amounts of pesticides."




I felt compelled to answer that that's not strictly true, saying:




"Well maybe, although if there were truly one molecule in an ocean of water I wouldn't obsess over it. The problem is that when you find any amounts- even a molecule- in stream sediment as the DOH's so-called "study" did, it is an indicator of there having been massive amounts nearby- enough so that there a presence left where ongoing diffusion has been and is taking place.




Even if you accept that there is an amount that is "acceptable" in a glass of drinking water (usually expressed in "X" parts per million or even billion) it is bad science to presume that that amount is applicable to finding remnant amounts in a nearby stream bed.




In other words if you drink a glass of straight undiluted poison you'll die on the spot. But if you take one drop of that concentrated poison and dilute it in a million gallons of clean water- and keep putting one drop of the new solution in another million gallons of clean water a few times- eventually the resultant mixture would probably be pretty much innocuous... just like having a stream running continuously over the bed.




But that doesn't mean that somewhere, right nearby in that "original source" glass of straight poison that promulgated the eventually "innocuous" solution, there isn't some really toxic stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2015

DO YOU SMELL THAT?


Despite the seriousness of the subject of Thursday's State Senate hearing on establishing buffer zones for the use of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP), the almost comic routine by international chemical cartel mouthpieces and second banana Scott Enright, the head of the Department of Agriculture, had many guffawing at the benign "nothing to see here- go back to your pesticide-laden homes" portrayal of some of the most toxic substances on the face of the earth.




It was reminiscent of the classic Dan Aykroyd "Bag o' Glass" Saturday Night Live sketch from the 70's where Aykroyd plays Erwin Mainway, President of Mainway Toys.




Using many of the same ploys that poison-purveyors like Syngenta, Dow and of course Monsanto use to get convince us we're just a bunch of hysterical nut cases, Aykroyd does his con-man best to try to convince "Consumer Probe" host Candice Bergen that what she calls his "so-called harmless playthings"- playthings like Pretty Peggy Ear Piercing Set, Mr. Skin Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit Doggie Dentist and Teddy Bear Chainsaw- are nothing to worry about.




And of the Bag of Glass- a big plastic bag full of, yes, shards of broken glass- Mainway scoffs at the dangers like Enright et. al. defending the use of deadly chemicals adjacent to schools, hospitals, homes in towns like Waimea on Kaua`i.




Ask yourself if this type of folderol sound familiar? As Aykroyd tells Curtain:




"Yeah, well, look - you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We're just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it's a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?"




Yeah- it's all just science- whaddaya some kinda Luddite?




"Look, we put a label on every bag that says, 'Kid! Be careful - broken glass!' I mean, we sell a lot of products in the "Bag O'" line.. like Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. They're decent toys, you know what I mean?"




Just like RUPs- it's all right there on the label. Everything is safe as long as it's on the label.




There's also action figure Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk which Aykroyd dismisses by saying "So Barbie takes a knife or Ken gets cut every once in a while. I mean there's no harm in it as far as I can see," later demonstrating the dangers choking on a runaway Nerf Ball.




Finally when Bergen presents him with Alphabet Blocks as an example of a safe toy Aykroyd screams "C'mon, this is harmless? Alright, okay, you call this harmless? [holds block in hand] I mean.. [plays with block and fakes injury] Aagghh!! I got a splinter in here, look at that! This is wood! This is unsanded wood, it's rough!"




Kind of reminds one of industry PR flacks who, with a straight face, try to convince legislators that the REAL problem isn't the literally tons of RUPs blowing all over town but rather the home gardener who uses a few tablespoons of non-RUP Round-up a couple of times a year.




Just like kids want those toys we're told people want pesticides- even in the DNA of their corn, soy beans and glow-in-the-dark goldfish. And hey- what's a few perfectly innocuous pesticides among play-friends?




Just like Mr. Mainway dismisses the dangers of his products, what does it matter if people's homes are coated with neuro-toxins or if they get a giant whiff of them when the winds suddenly pick up. As long as we don't have brown spots on our papayas who cares what happens to a few brown people. We're too busy feeding the world to worry about that.