Sunday, July 6, 2008


HOW COME WE NEVER GET CAT FOOD? As the July 22 deadline approaches for Kaua`i candidates to sign up to run for Council, as if a recurring nightmare it seems we’ve puked into this bucket before.

Today’s local paper introduces yet another apparent would-be-hack, Christobel “Kaliko Kauahi” Kealoha serving up another streaming rancid plateful of the usual new-candidate pabulum.

“I think I have to offer a special ability of empathy in feeling what people are saying and using that to guide me toward my decisions,” she said.

Zzzzzzz. Yeah, sure. This “I’ll listen to people more” drivel is the standard pap. Here’s more:

She said she wants to take her philosophy of respect to the council table.

Oh great- so you’ll make kissy face and kow-tow to the buffoonery and corruption of the incumbents and belly up to the political trough?

Want another spoonful? Open wide...

Maintaining objectivity, flexibility and listening to what others have to say worked through her legal career, she said, which can be adversarial.

Oh great... another bag of the usual false humility. So glad you’re not running on the usual subjective, intransigent, ignore-your-constituents platform.

Then the capper. In a most absurd but predictable stance from someone who worked in the office of the attorney general for 22 years comes this.

Kealoha said she is open to issues like Hawaii Superferry, which she deems helpful at this time for Kaua`i.

It’s hard to say which is most distressing- the actual fact that she favors the Superferry on Kaua`i, the fact that she bring up the issue but apparently sees nothing wrong with what the attorney general’s office did in making a mockery of the law, or the fact that her decision-making ability is apparently so politically tone deaf that the only policy issue she mentions is her support for a project to which Kaua`i has been trying to bid good riddance.

But a few of weeks ago the paper printed a promo for a possibly a bigger bundle of bupkis, contender KipuKai “Leslie” Kuali‘i.

In it Kauali`i takes a courageous stab at the issues saying:

The first-time candidate said solid waste, traffic and affordable housing are the top three issues he will tackle with creative solutions.

Gee Les, you must have stayed up nights to discern that those issues are big ones. And wow- the reported fact that you spent most of your life on the mainland has given you great “creative” ideas... even if you have no idea what has been attempted and how these problems obtained their obstacles to resolution.

Kauali`i isn’t saying just what these creative ideas are- his web site has been there for quite a while with no mention of issues.

Had enough claptrap? No? Then try this.

“But I also want to make sure we’re doing all we can to help our kupuna and our children,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re giving the children enough options so they are not resorting to drugs and alcohol ... a horrible problem that affects most of our families.”

What a courageous stand. Glad you told us because we weren’t gonna vote for you because we were afraid you might be one of those people who detests your elders and kids and thinks drug abuse is a-okay. And what about mom and apple pie?

Actually Kualii’s reported background sounds promising.

Kuali‘i said he’s a passionate community organizer dedicated to helping others, and brings more than 20 years of experience in labor, political and community campaigns to the council.

But this little ditty leaves no doubt he’s the usual political climber geared up to suck up to Asing and the good ole boys and not make waves.

Kuali‘i, a Democrat, said he will bring a level head and a cooperative spirit to the seven-member legislative body.

Often it seems like they’re bickering a lot, and I’m sort of a middle-of-the-road moderate person who can work with all kinds of people,” he said. “I know it’ll take a team, too, and I can help.

To be fair it might be the filter of a newspaper interviewer’s questions that makes them sound this way but we don’t see them complaining that their ideas and words were misrepresented. And we doubt an excellent reporter like Nathan Eagle would slant rather than try to fairly represent what either wanted to appear in print.

We urge everyone to ask for specific detailed policy positions this fall as PNN will be doing in our upcoming election questionnaire. And we invite readers to help prepare the questions.

But this being Kaua`i don’t expect to get anything more issue-oriented from them or any candidate... if they can help it.

And right there in a nutshell is what’s wrong with not just Kaua`i politics but now apparently those the national stage as well.

No one in their right mind is happy with the sham of democracy that is American corporate governance. Yet we keep voting for people who not just intimate but make central to their campaign, how they will “get along” with those who made the mess and presumably will be taking those “legal bribes” too, should they win and be given the chance at funding a re-election campaign.

This is usually just the kind of candidate that, you can bet come a couple of Novembers, will be perpetuating the system that perpetuates them.

Somehow entrants in the political fray- from our local entrants to our presidential candidates- actually play down the issues these days, as if policy specifics were an afterthought.

And we’ve dumbed down our expectations to the point where simply being able to list policy issues is a qualification for election.

Have you read some of this Obama poppycock? PNN is (thanks to Jeff Fishman and Lightline) in possession of a letter from a “Kaua`i for Obama” coordinator trying to convince “progressive” voters to continue to support their candidate even though he’s abandoned them on issues, as exemplified by his Senate vote for the Bush-Chaney “Total Information Awareness” government wiretap and corporate immunity bill.

Here’s how Gregg Heacock opened a letter to the faithful entitled

We Are the Winds of Change -The Movement that Drives this Campaign

A storm of controversy arising over Barack Obama's support of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is testing the unity of our campaign. Many in the campaign arethreatening to jump ship. While some accuse him of being a centrist, and others defend him as a pragmatist, the angriest among us are calling him a traitor. I do not wish to deny the importance of this issue, but I remember being told in my Camp Obama training that the issues can distract us from the true narrative of this campaign (emphasis added).

It goes on to say:

That narrative of differences and values that unite us is "the wind" Barack says "is sweeping across this great land" calling for change.

Imagine, then, that the campaign is a ship, moving toward the horizon, with the captain adjusting the sails to manage the ship through rough currents to get us to a new land. We are the wind that fills the sails and the crew that manages the ship. As the wind, we are free to blow whichever way our intention takes us. As the crew, we need to secure the ship and give respect to the person who leads us. In short, argument is healthy for without wind we are dead in the water. But, we need not to confuse this with working for the campaign. Still, it would be a lax crew that lacked concern for the judgment of its commander.

After pages of more airy-fairy, wishy-washy claptrap (contact us for a full copy) it ends with this:

Our comfort, now, must be in going forward together.

We are the wind; we are the sail; we are the ship; we are the destination. We are eternal; we are now. And, we are not alone.

Abandon all questioning of actual policy all ye who enter, eh?

There’s something in this that sounds kind of like the indoctrination of the “Hitler Youth” in the 30’s... or maybe the Catholic Church... with maybe just a smidgeon of “American Idol” for flavor

The “Camp Obama” events he speaks of were not very widely reported upon but those that did cover the events described not your usual political campaign schools but essentially brainwashing sessions held last summer to send Obazombies out into the countryside.

It was a brilliant bit of nouveau political planning where young impressionables from all over the country gathered and were basically told they didn’t really need the candidate’s or the campaign’s direction or any experience in election campaigning because this was going to be a “different” kind of election where issues are secondary to the “movement”, couching it in terms of “change” and “no more politics as usual” and other stirring euphemistic eradications.

More widely reported was that as state elections neared the national campaign personnel came into many cities and towns and to their surprise found Obama headquarters already there- often staffed with people with no idea what positions the candidate had on the issues but who had nonetheless galvanized the populace in anticipation of the caucuses and primaries.

Political aspirants constantly tell us the problem is that everyone is always arguing and fighting, claiming they will bring a “new way” of governing.

Those just may be the most dangerous candidates. It’s beyond us how the heck someone is going to “change” things by essentially colluding with incumbents.

Sounds a lot less like change than maintenance of the corrupt two-party status quo. But until people stop perpetuating the self-deceit that their democratic options are limited to choosing tweedledumb instead of tweedledumber we’ll be lapping up our regurgitated pabulum for the foreseeable future.


Katy Rose said...

I don't argue with your critique here, but I do want to point out the thing that makes Kauali'i interesting: according to his literature, he worked on interesting grassroots workers' rights campaigns like Justice for Janitors and worked with Jobs with Justice coalitions and Pride at Work (LGBT workers' rights.) As a labor organizer in the nineties myself, I know that these strands of the movement were really standing on progressive, grass-roots organizing principles and challenging the labor dinosaurs who had sat with their feet up on the desk for decades while the bosses robbed the workingman blind.

Anonymous said...

hi andy, i'm really interested in what your ideal council candidate WOULD realistically say if said candidate actually did want a chance of winning. there may be a few people interested in running for and winning a council seat who are looking for a platform that you would not completely lambaste....i guess i'm wondering if anyone can realistically run for office and be electable without sounding as awful as you make everyone sound.

Andy Parx said...

People would support a candidate that focuses on the lousy record of the council as to secrecy, vacation rentals, land use legislation and the specifics. I don’t believe that you can’t talk about the issues and directly challenge incumbents on their records as most assume.

People want someone who will stand up to these guys- tell us they not only won’t vote for executive sessions for public policy but will turn in these guys when they try to illegally evade the sunshine law. People want someone who will institute performance audits and then issue subpoenas when the administration won’t show up and tell the truth and fill the position of county auditor that was created two years ago. People want someone who would promise to repeal the vacation rental perpetuation grand fathering provisions passed next year. They want someone who will not be going with the crowd on these and a dozen other specific issues.

Half the problem is that these people running don’t even know these issues well enough to discuss them in detail.

We had many years of 6-1 and sometimes 5-2 voting and the minorities were the top vote getters (Kaipo, JoAnn and others) so it’s not that you can’t get elected challenging the status quo. As a matter of fact the top vote getters are almost always the ones perceived as the “rebels”. But these people who run on the “I’m a nice guy so vote for me and I will get along with the incumbents” are not what we need. And because they’re playing politics from day 1 you can bet they’re going to vote for self preservation and re-election when the chips are down.

You don’t have to be nasty or radical or personally attack the incumbents- just run on the issues- people know about this stuff peripherally and will vote for someone like that if they have the other electoral parts.