Saturday, May 3, 2008


I DON’T THINK WE’RE IN KANSAS ANYMORE: We once had a dog that the kids named Toto and he was so dumb he would run around in circles and pee on himself every time we came home. And even when we went outside to take in the clothes off the line or get something out of the car he would do it when we came back in as if he couldn’t remember we had been sitting there 30 seconds before.

It reminds us of these people who tried to get so excited over the possibility that Aloha Air Cargo’s demise was going to somehow make the Superferry a viable business and indeed an excuse for plunging back into Nawiliwili that they practically wet themselves in anticipation. And now, even though their off-island donuts will still be coming via air cargo, (with Love), they apparently keep forgetting that news and are still pissing their pants at the prospect of taking their jalopies on an O`ahu shopping expedition or a delivery of Ala Moana cream puffs.

But those Toto’s are no match for those who- and I’m not making this up- see absolutely no connection between the Superferry and the military.

Now that cabal is usually just made up of the clueless anonymous trolls in blog comment sections and the wing nuts and assorted wackos in the letters to the editor’s column.

But when our pal Pete Antonson, who apparently tries to put some thought into his writings, made the claim we had to take up the debate.

Rather than rehash it here we thought we’d re-publish it in the form of a conversation from our comments section since it appeared the day after we dissed Pete’s own letter to the editor. It’s about not only the connection but about how people do research and their homework and, in fact, how they figure out what’s really going on in the world.

We pick it up with Pete’s comments on our post the day before.

(Please excuse the lack of our usual crackerjack copy editing team on these comment section posts- now you’ll see how truly illiterate we are.)

I realize my TGI letter was less than admired in some places; but, the writer I was defending also happens to be my fiancé; so the gloves were off.

My letter and Joan's post, in my opinion, speak of the soft underbelly of a movement with the best intentions.

When I was a young idealist, I believed everything I read in the L.A. Free Press (late 60's) and was ready to burn something down. Now, my peers are Doctors and Lawyers who have 40 years of adult experience and are not going to accept a bunch of poorly researched crap especially when it includes the pretense that they need to be educated.
Don't belittle us. We have to use research based treatments
, sort out the crap for a differential diagnosis or a legal brief on a daily basis. A lot can be at stake.

We then go home and try to be as green as we can because its the righteous way to live. A valid environmental movement needs folks like us too and we're not easily convinced.Regards, Pete Antonson

That’s why I said I thought it was disingenuous Pete. You have every right to defend your fiancée but don’t do it without reading the document and then claim it’s others who haven’t done their homework, which is what I took from your letter.

I don’t need to list for you all the factual material on-line regarding the Superferry- or perhaps now I do. Did you even read the audit? Did you read the recent Times article? Just yesterday documents showed HSf lying about their lobbying expenditures and more revelations the day before about military ties in the lawsuit filing.

If you choose to attack the messenger - those who publish and comment on these documents- for being ill-informed at least read the documents.

We’re not making this stuff up. And most of us verify the validity of the source of the documents before we present them. I can’t think of an instance of someone providing faked documents in the on-line reporting on the HSf.

If you had read everything presented since last August you couldn’t say what you did about lack of documentation- and if you didn’t how can you say it’s those who have who are ill-informed. At least go back and read the documents and then attack the veracity of the source material, not the messenger. I expect that idiocy from the anonymous trolls and get a chuckle out of it. But expect better from you because I’ve seen it.

Dear Andy,
I don't see where Krisztina referred to any particular "document" that needed to be read like you did. She did refer to legal and environmental issues which I referred to as well and will now in more detail:

I was referring to the "concerns" first articulated by Judy Dalton at the Superferry PUC meeting, and the "after the fact research" that followed over the next two years. I agreed with the word: "concerns;" but, the "concerns" became "reasons" to stop the Superferry. I went over every study and presentation about whales in danger. None were peer reviewed. Some were discussions or reviews, not studys. Most were about different types of whales in different places and conditions. Every single one was sponsered or completed by advocates for whales and 12 mile an hour speed limits on the West and East Coasts and elsewhere.

I looked for substance, facts, or anything solid enough to stop somebody's business in regards to a homeless invasion, harbor traffic, increases in crime. There was anecdotes from other places with different conditions and a lot of concern and speculation. Invasive species is real. It's happening here and now and needs more attention. Stopping one boat does virtually nothing about it though. Ironically, more can probably be done quicker with Superferry. It would then be a model for what's imposed on all the rest.Again, all this was good reason for concern; but, less than a reason for a crusade, in my opinion.

As far as "We were enforcing the law" rationale. The fact was that until overuled by a higher authority, the Dept. of Transportation's ruling was the law and it was followed not broken. The fact was that the Supreme Court ruling was specific to Maui and their ruling was followed not broken.

The revelations since August are just reasons to dislike the management, especially if you already do, or call for enforcement of any violations of the law. I doubt if those penalties include terminating services. The military conspiracy is a joke. I've followed up on each and every part of it since Juan revealed breathlessly that SF looked just like the one the Navy leased...duh. It is nothing more than association piled onto association. If it turns out that Austal has an antiunion or rascist streak or, to no one's surprise, their Deep South portion does, I don't see how that has anything with a Superferry they don't own or operate, or the next one once they release it. If you feel morally obligated to boycott; then do so.

There's a ton of quantity here and almost no quality. Enough to be concerned; enough to work cooperatively for remedy, not enough for what has developed.Regards, Pete Antonson

I was referring to your letter Pete. And for the most part I was referring not to someone’s oral testimony ages ago. Did you read Harold Bronstien's filing with the PUC? did you read the source documentation it contained? I can’t understand how you can disregard the information from government and university studies on speed and whales. The speeds were from the MMA.

As far as military connections I hope you’re read all of Joan’s work and checked the documentation behind it. And if the Times article isn’t another smoking gun what is? Did you read the agreement with the loan consultants? It lists the military as one body to be consulted with along with the money people. Even the military sees and readily the connection. there are statements and articles from HSf and active military leaders as far back as 2003 trying to “sell” it to Hawai`i by pointing out how it could be used to carry troops and materials.

It was sold as a potential transport for the Stryker brigade.If you want to turn away and say it’s all BS be my guest. People say that about evolution. But don’t say the documentation for all this isn’t out there because all you read or heard were characterizations of it instead of reading the source material.

The DOT’s actions in exempting the project were found to be illegal. That is a fact. And your “only for Maui” is also the same lie that the same people who, like you, continued to say there was nothing illegal liked to say even though the SC didn’t say it. Whether the 120 day limit on filing is or isn’t found to be valid (it’s before the Int. court right now) doesn’t effect that legality or its jurisdiction. If it wasn’t illegal how come the legislature had to go back and make it legal?

Which all comes back to the point that the information you’re seeking is what an EIS is designed to identify (not that anyone expects an honest EIS from Belt Collins who have already shown their hand in banning emailed testimony and limiting testimony at the scoping meeting which they tried to play down as “informational meetings”). If you lacked information why weren’t you screaming for an EIS before the action, as is detailed in NEPA, which Act 2 directly violates.

Like I said, if you have actually read all the source material and think it’s not enough-especially for the military connection- then your powers of reason are a lot less acute than I thought.

By the way – the big military Superferry that was put in the water Saturday leaked according to sources at Austal. You may miss it since apparently you don’t read all the source material... if it gets reported outside the non-corporate alternative press maybe you’ll notice.


Dear Andy,If you begin with the premise that the military is our enemy and also have the premise that the Superferry is our enemy, all this information falls into a nicely prepared slot. I don't have either premise so this "mountain of information" is viewed by me in a different manner. The Times article tells us what we already know about Austal trying to obtain military contracts with their design. Austal built Superferry. That's an association. Associations are all I ever see waved around. Like Lehman and the Navy or the fact that the new CEO was in the military. This is guilt by association; not deeds. If either one does business with the military (deeds) in another arena, it simply does not mean that everything they do is militaristic. It's just another association.

Let me also point out that 50 pages about military clowns not doing the right thing and one page with loose associations about Superferry and former military personnel do not add up to 51 pages damning the Superferry. Ten paragraphs about Austal's Southern shipyard management doing bad things plus one sentence about Austal having built Superferry does not add up to 10 paragraphs damning Superferry; and so on and so on.

Here's another way the info is handled: John Lehman told the Pacific Business News that Superferry would ferry Strykers to the Big Island for training. Much was made of this and much should have been made of it. However, a year later, the statement was officially retracted and replaced with one that said the PUC would not permit it and Superferry had no plans to contract for military training. For the first statement, John Lehman was the "Minister of Truth." For the second statement, John Lehman was an exReagan admin. militaristic scumbag liar. Same guy making both statements. Whatever fits the foregone conclusion.Regards, Pete Antonson

Pete if you can’t critically read because your pro-military or pro-Superferry bias is so strong don’t assume others are “jumping to conclusions”. The military, in and of itself is neutral, although the need for a standing army can be debated. But that’s irrelevant.

If you don’t want to see any connection you’re not going to. The Lehman quote was “retracted” as a PR move. You can’t just “retract” something and make believe it never happened. Was there an explanation for why it was wrong and how they discovered their error? As a matter of fact if you had been following the daily comedy bit that is the HSf you’d have known that at first they denied he ever said it until someone went back and found the PND piece.

If you want to act the fool, be my guest- most people do.

The Times article and Austal itself not just admits but touts the fact that the LCS is based on the HSf design. And the evidence for the “rush job” due to the pressure of the military contract are voluminous and Austal acknowledges it but denies it cause poor craftsmanship (and yet another Austal worker- this time an inspector- verified this again in today’s BI weekly article). Everywhere you go where the information has not been put back through the spin cycle after the facts were reported show the connection.

There are none so blind- you’d make a piss poor cop or investigative reporter Pete- don’t quit your day job.

You can attack my or others’ characterizations- I could care less what- or more accurately whether- you think. But if you can’t put the facts together it’s not because every single one doesn’t fit.

Good inductive reasoning is a skill- perhaps you don’t have it. As I said, any prospective statement is a “theory”- including gravity, the sunrise or evolution. But lack of intellectual certainty can’t get in the way of functional or operational certainty. Though gravity is the least scientifically understood natural phenomenon it seems to exist whether we believe in it or not. Sure we could fall up tomorrow but I wouldn’t rely on that to conduct my affairs and as a matter of fact I’m going to rely on the opposite.

Theories change with facts that don’t fit. What doesn’t fit here? Where even the one fact that indicates there may not be “a connection”.
I refuse to be a frickin’ idiot because some insists on peeing on my foot and telling me it’s raining.

People who employ critical thinking and aren’t mentally hung up on their “beliefs” are the ones who can see the inductions that approach certainty as opposed to those who either force the square facts in a round hole or employ a base of belief and a “you can’t ‘prove’ anything” model of the world.


Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
The difference between us is that you are a partisan antiferry advocate. "Partisan" usually refers to fervent, sometimes militant support of a cause, faction, or idea. You are accepting any and all negativity that can possibly be attached to Superferry by any association available. The choir (or nontrolls) you're preaching to laps it all up because they are partisan too.

I am not partisan. I am not writing proferry propaganda. I am applying analysis and evaluation towards the antiferry propaganda produced by antiferry partisans such as yourself. That makes me the critical thinker; not you.

By the way, we've all had to swallow our words from time to time because we're human and do make mistakes. I believe your statement "You can’t just 'retract' something and make believe it never happened" is an unreasonable position. I look forward to reminding you of it in the future.
Regards, Pete Antonson

charley foster said...

Pete and I have always had similar attitudes toward the Superferry spectacle. I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other about whether the Superferry decides to operate in Kauai. True, I certainly don't oppose it. If it ran I would probably use it, if the price was right. But I don't feel strongly enough to agitate for a resumption of service. I am, however, fascinated by the spectacle of the local debate. Of course, as we all know, to some people, not being for their side is taken as the same thing as being against them...

Anonymous said...

Can't we all just get along? No way.
Isn't there a reasonable way to settle our difference? Yes a duel. Why must there be such rancor and divisiveness around these issues? Because even when we agree to disagree, I'm not so agreeable when people don't agree with me.
Well it does makes for an entertaining read. Agreed, now stop pissing in the wind and hand me a raincoat

Anonymous said...

Same old Andy. If the blather fits the agenda, it must be true.

Do you have one hard fact that the SF is depending on military biz or that it's a test bed for military models?


And I won't ride the thing-period. I puke on well designed ships.

Why not go back to worrying about oxygen depletion from a couple of dozen trees being cut.....Maybe all that monkeypod wood is destined for military use?

Anonymous said...

The "military connection" is mere preaching to the choir. Nobody who doesn't have an anti-military bias even cares if there's some connection. While it gives true believers yet another reason to hate the superferry, it won't sway any average citizen joes to your side.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the 8:40 comment, as I have explained elsewhere.

If one believes that the US military is a benign institution that protects us and all our freedoms and benevolently spreads democracy around the globe, then any help to the military is good.

If one believes (as I do) that the US military has been and is being used to further US imperialism and protect the interests of the corporate elite at the cost of the lives and self-determination of the -usually- brown skinned people of the global South, as well as controlling the "internal colonies" of African and indigenous people in Alaska, the pacific (inc. Hawai'i) and in the barrios, ghettos and on the rez, then a military connection would be quite a cause for alarm and resistance.

So those of us who are keeping an eye on this aspect and talking about it aren't naive about how this information plays to pro-US military people. But we also know that there is a solid and growing population of people who are cynical about the claims of the US elite about what our military is really being used for. We have a right and a responsibility to keep the conversation - and the resistance - going.


Anonymous said...

The military can be both of those things even at the same point in time. It does not have to be all one or all the other.
Case in point: On the same day in January 2005, there was a firefight in Bagdad, the Air Force had a massive airlift of water, food and medical supplies underway for Tsunami relief, The Navy was using its Westpac highspeed ferry in Thailand for Tsunami relief, and the Coast Guard rescued 2 adults and a child from a boat in the middle of a blizzard in Washington. Just another day for the men and women of our military.
Regards, Pete Antonson

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is such thing as humanitarian aid. Yet, it doesn't ameliorate the overwhelmingly imperialist course upon which the US elite has set the military.

Just because they both happen, doesn't mean they cancel eachother out, and there is far too little analysis in the US of the real impact of our "adventures" abroad, and, as I said, within.

In fact, given the details of our brutality, the underlying motives for "humanitarianism" can be called into question.

However, I guess I'd be willing to accept the humanitarianism of the US at face value if we were generally willing to do the same when considering Cuba's humanitarian missions.


Andy Parx said...

This isn’t about the military being good or bad or even neutral- it’s about the military boondoggle... i.e. the money.

The military dollars are the connection that makes everything else fall into place. Everything from Navy Sec. Lehman’s involvement in setting up the project to Lingle’s corrupt processes to Austal’s rush job on both the SF and the new LCS that both leaked, links back up to the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars so a few overgrown little boys can have new toys- toys that are of questionable use, as is the history of most- yes most-military “device” construction projects and the funding of them. Over the past 2-30 years it’s become mere luck (and luck that doesn’t happen often- the reverse is usually the case) when one of these projects actually pans out to be something useful to the military for military goals instead of lining the pockets of retired Generals and Admirals who know how to bilk the military on a scale Sgt Bilko couldn’t dream of achieving.

I’m pissed off because that’s our healthcare, our education, our roads and bridges in these boondoggles.

Is the LCS aluminum hull design going to be an Osprey or an M-16? Is it a B-1 or a B-15. Most likely, when you look at how everyone is trying to cut corners and the hair-brained nature of the concept (based on the “high speed commercial ferry design) it will turn out to be another trillion dollar (when the real final costs are paid) boondoggle- it certainly is following the pattern.

I’m glad that now apparently few, other than Pete, don’t deny a connection between the SF and the military but the mere existence of the connection isn’t the point- the connection is self apparent. It’s what the link between the money means for performance and achieving the stated goal (whether one agrees with the goal or not) not only of Austal and the competing version but for all the activity surrounding it from Admiral Lingle to left-holding-the-bag-chump Garibaldi to Senator never-met-a-military-boondoggle-he-didn’t-like Inouye

Personally I could give two s—ts about a stupid f—in’ boat. This is about massive corruption the federal and state level and lining the pockets of those that go through the government-to-private-sector revolving-door for a project that was and is ill-advised, ill-produced and is ill-performing... driven by Ike’s military industrial complex.

I would think all you conservative military boosters who are honest and getting ripped off would see that this isn’t about a ferry boat, it’s about a trillion dollar swindle.