Tuesday, February 24, 2009


THE OLD SWITCH-A-ROO: This is the time of year in Hawai`i when the mausoleum for dreams of social economic and environmental justice and good governance is open for business.

The legislature is in session and no good idea is too good to be tortured into a bizarro-world semblance of its original virtue.

Sometimes it’s because troglodytic pitchfork and torch-wielding bumpkins, whipped into a frenzy, descend on the decision makers- as they are doing as we write- because they don’t want to let others be as or more miserable than they are in their abusive and loveless marriages where they abuse their children by sending them to church to learn how to hate.

But most of the time it’s those “leaders” who sell the rest of us down the river by compromising away what both they and their followers wanted in the first place, selling us a “diamonelle” and calling it a gem..

Even though we spent yesterday ridiculing the bible-thumping bigots, we have to remember that the civil union bill HB 444 is already a mockery of the civil rights that those who support it really envisioned.

Before the red-shirted, wide-eyed handful of dogmatic hypocrites descended on the capitol we had already lost the battle because those who would protect the rights of same-gender couples had already given up on the true equality that only a repeal of the legislature’s ban on equal marriage rights for all can provide.

Now mind you we don’t really understand the need people have for obtaining paperwork to prove they love someone else- it’s a remnant of medieval society that really has no place in the 21st century.

If the government is going to grant licenses for anything the only important thing is that they be subject to equal protection under the law. Yet our own progressive leaders have already given up before we began by telling the rest of us to sit down shut up and support their poor substitution for social justice.

But this isn’t the only issue that’s had it’s heart torn out by our supposed allies.

A bloggers’ battle royal is brewing over Ian Lind’s usual bent toward losing the battle before it has begun- especially on issues like campaign finance reform- after Disappeared News’ Larry Geller dared to expose the shibai Lind has been promoting lately supporting a series of bills that would actually cause a flood of corporate money to fill politician coffers by repealing restrictions that are in place now.

The “that is better than this and we’ll never get that so we should settle for something else” pap has been a theme of Lind’s on this and many other issues for years but never more than in his apparent longstanding opposition to meaningful public financing of elections.

Recently he’s even not just been campaigning against fully eliminating corporate contributions to political campaigns he’s actually supporting a bill to increase corporate cash

Lind, the self professed progressive who actually headed Common Cause Hawai`i in the early 80’s, has somehow become a leading voice in whittling away at reforms before they even get started by accepting unacceptable compromises.

He’s been keeping up a cockamamie thread for over a year now about how the pilot program of full public financing of elections on the Big Island violates a somewhat unrelated U.S. Supreme Court ruling even after we pointed out the differences between the Big Island law and those that were struck down.

(The ones struck down all restrict the amounts non-participants can collect while the local measure only increases the amount publicly financed participants get based on what the others collect)

We finally gave up on challenging him- as we did last year- when he reinstated his bafflingly devoid-of-reality rant again recently but when Geller sort of called him out- without even mentioning his name or blog- Lind apparently blew a gasket.

Geller reiterated his stance today which somehow didn’t rise to Lind’s snooty Honolulu-kama`aina-family standards or bow to his usual mainstream corporate journalism embrace.

He attacked Geller for writing a “diatribe” that “abandoned any pretense of thoughtful analysis of campaign finance issues and instead waded into a swamp of name calling and crudely overstated political stereotypes.”

What the heck Lind is referring to is anyone’s guess. Geller’s original piece is well researched and simply rightly ridicules those in the legislature who want to pad their campaign coffers and increase corporate influence.

Lind’s personal and passive-aggressive attack on Geller was the only thing in all of it that could be called name calling but is typical of the lack of depth he exhibits every day, usually substituting a quick google search for substance and analysis.

Geller, as usual, beat us to the punch in his articulation of what kind of crap the legislature is pulling, calling it their “own stimulus bill” but apparently the somewhat prissy and proper Lind has some weird kind of axe to grind that causes him to be one of those who lose our battles before they commence.

And besides- if Ian’s characterization of Larry’s piece were accurate we’d be the first to complain...name calling, diatribes are our kuleana.

Another well known compromiser of rights- as usual the rights of the very people it purports to represent- the Office of Hawaiian affairs was also torn another new one today by Dave Shapiro

In his blog he asks what the heck OHA is doing supporting bills that are held out to stop the state’s “ceded land” grab but actually do so by acknowledging the very principle of ownership-by theft by giving the legislature the right to approve, by a 2/3 margin, the sale of the lands

Another bit of bitter baloney is how the anti-GMO groups have joined those with this kind of unfathomable need to abandon-the-war-to-fight-a-skirmish by dropping efforts to ban frankenfoods- or even restrict or label them- but rather jumping on the bandwagon to ban only GMO taro.

That leaves active measures in the legislature- like the bills that would not just protect corporate interests in despoiling what we eat but even possibly ban the counties from prohibiting them as some have contemplated- orphans that could stealthily slip through to passage.

We have met the enemy and he is, if not us certainly a close approximation.


charley foster said...

Why not rather ask why the government treats married and non-married people differently in the first place?

Katy said...

Andy, thanks for ranting about this. I don't understand why some citizens feel the need to do all the compromising up front for the polticians.

It's a terrible strategy, and violates everything ever learned in the history of social struggle.

It's a given that politicians will cut deals and compromise. That's why citizens have to hold the line, so that the end result of legislation (if that's how we choose to make social change) is sort of in the ball park of what we wanted.

Howard Zinn wrote about this quite eloquently here: