Tuesday, March 31, 2009


NOT SO FAST THERE ROVER: Tempest in a teapot, much ado about nothing, not with a bang but a whimper.

Pick you trite cliché but it’s gratifying to see the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) tell everyone from the respondents to the pundits- and especially to the Hawai`i Supreme Court (SCOHI) - to go home shut the hell up in today’s decision on the “ceded lands” case.

Because despite what the mainstream media and the state is saying the decision did not establish any new federally-sanctioned state “ownership” in any way shape or form, it simply vacated it and remanded it back to the SCOHI.

What they actually said - not what the Honolulu Advertiser or state attorney general wishes they said- was:

(W)e have no authority to decide questions of Hawaiian law or to provide redress for past wrongs except as provided for by federal law. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Hawaii is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

Seems like another typical case of American blind justice and the judges were going to look at the 27 8x10 color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows on the back that purportedly showed state ownership the lands stolen from kanaka maoli lands

The SCOTUS just sent the whole matter back to the SCOHI to re-write their opinion without mentioning the 1993 “Apology Law”.

The decision wasn’t based on their stilted and selectively amnesic recitation of the Amerikan view of the thrift-based “ownership” of the “crown lands”. It was solely based on the use of federal law by the SCOHI.

Most people expected this would happen after the oral arguments. Even most of us who asked what part of the apology’s “confession” made the illegal theft legal didn’t expect true justice from a court that has always endorsed the genocidal underpinnings of Amerika.

Still it was nice to see a rap on the knuckles for both Governor Linda Lingle’s corrupt shyster mouthpiece Attorney General Mark Bennett and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) who thought they were going to get some kind of definitive ruling answering the question of who ‘owns’ the land.

Even we momentarily expected the worst, especially after, as the SCOTUS said,

even respondent OHA has now abandoned its argument, made below, that "Congress . . . enacted the Apology Resolution and thus . . . change[d]" the Admission Act.

But as any SCOTUS watcher knows the prime directive of the Roberts Court is, to paraphrase him, to not make any decision it doesn’t have to make and push it all down the road as long as possible.

What may be the best part of the decision is that it exposes OHA for what it is- nothing more than a cog in the genocidal state and federal machine.

When push came to shove, during the hearing, OHA showed it’s true stripes, basically begging the justices to spare their life, saying they agreed with Bennett et. al, on state ownership of the land... because without state ownership, as a creature of the state they would have and be nothing at all.

Dropping all 30 years of pretense in claiming that they represented the kanaka maoli in any way shape or form, their duplicitous “please have pity on your humble servant oh wise, wonderful and benevolent court” plea was a disgusting show of bureaucratic self- preservation even if it meant the betrayal of their charges.

There’s little doubt that the SCOTHI will go back and purge their opinion of the apology law references and replace them with state law. The process for doing that is contained in the OHA brief in opposition filed in the case.

But then what? Is kicking the can further down the road a strategy that will do anything but allow the thieves to consolidate power behind the now official concept of Amerikan Justice that says that land can owned after being stolen... fair and square?

Certainly this is nothing new in US jurisprudence. Ask any descendent of mainland natives who thought they had rights to their land rights, many with better paperwork than na kanaka have.

Some may think that for now it is a bullet dodged none the less for those who have any hope of maintaining a land base for the reestablishment sovereignty over these islands.

All we can say is don’t count on it being anything beyond, to cite another cliché, the calm before the storm.

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the SCOTUS decision

When a state supreme court incorrectly bases a decision on federal law, the court’s decision improperly prevents the citizens of the State from addressing the issue in question through the processes provided by the State’s constitution. Here, the State Supreme Court incorrectly held that Congress, by adopting the Apology Resolution, took away from the citizens of Hawaii the authority to resolve an issue that is of great importance to the people of the State. Respondents defend that decision by arguing that they have both state-law property rights in the land in question and “broader moral and political claims for compensation for the wrongs of the past.” Brief for Respondents 18. But we have no authority to decide questions of Hawaiian law or to provide redress for past wrongs except as provided for by federal law. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Hawaii is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered

Monday, March 30, 2009


DERAILING THE GRAVY TRAINING: Back sometime in the early 80’s when Ronnie Ray-Gun was busy chest-thumping at the Ruskies like Bonzo there was a particularly tense period when the frenzy was so whipped-up many of America’s rabble though attack was imminent.

It was during this period of profound fear-mongering that the skies of Kaua`i were suddenly and disturbingly full of presumably military fighter jets one day, annoyingly buzzing residential neighborhoods for hours on end.

The noise and indeed the earth-shaking became too much and we called the FAA to complain.

After a tirade basically asking “what the f--- is going on” we were put on hold for about five minutes before being told- and we kid you not- “don’t worry... they’re ours.”

“We don’t care who the hell’s they are” we screamed “stop it- now.”

We tell this story because even this clueless bit of federal paternalism had nothing on our very own local brand, as exhibited by Kaua`i Councilmembers Jay Furfaro and Dickie Chang at last Wednesday’s (3/25) meeting when discussion turned to a bill to appropriate a half a million dollars to shove down the rat hole of tourism promotion.

It’s bad enough that the county is once again throwing money at an industry that provides at best crappy jobs cleaning toilets with our tongues for substandard wages while it scoops up most of the wads of incoming cash for outgoing designation. It’s bad enough that there’s never any credible evidence that more advertising does anything to increase tourist numbers... assuming that’s a good thing in the first place. And it’s bad enough that the administration wants to do this while they are putting essential county services on the back burner by refusing to allow departments to fill vital open positions.

But when the bill came up for first reading before the council there was not only no specific information for the public- even after we requested it preceding the meeting- the reading was followed by a perfunctory “don’t worry your pretty little head- we’ve seen a plan... and it’s ok” from Furfaro and Chang.

But the public wasn’t even going to get that much until council watchdog Glenn Mickens got up and asked, as we asked the FAA, “what the f--- is going on“ eliciting the “don’t worry they’re ours” from the two tourism-industry, council-embedded shills.

Presumably if no one said anything the bill would, as we see all the time with “money bills”, go to a pubic hearing, one committee meeting and a final second reading, all without a peep out of anyone on the council or administration on anything but a barest of bones plan for spending... if that.

There is supposedly a plan- something about somehow bribing the “wholesalers” of vacation packages according to Furfaro and Chang who sought to hush Mickens up after his testimony by telling him they’d seen the plan and it was okay with them so shut up sit down and let us worry about it.

Mickens testimony described a few choice past rat holes for tourism promotion money which the industry has conned out of the county without any accountability or measurable “bang for the buck”.

Mickens asked a simple question that people have been asking for years- if we’re going to spend all this money why not do the one thing that will insure we get warm bodies on the ground... distribute vouchers for the tourists themselves for airfare, presumably on any flight into Kaua`i.

But we might never have even heard anything about the idiotic and thread-bare drivel-heavy plan had it not been for an article by a relatively new yet excellent reporter at the local paper, Michael Levine- asking some questions and apparently getting a hold of a “report” of sorts from new county Director of Economic Development George Costa after the meeting.

Levine describes the “plan” which is heavy on vague categorical generalities with a dearth of actual details of distribution of the money or any feedback or accountability mechanism.

Though it’s not apparent whether Levine actually saw a plan or just got a description of it, it appears to be another of these advertising based boondoggles throwing money at a bunch of pre-selected targeted “wholesalers” that will supposedly promote other unlisted pre-selected businesses, presumably corporate off-island owned hotels and tour businesses

Levine writes:

“The main emphasis of the program is working with wholesalers to drive new bookings to Kaua`i over a wide variety of properties and to encourage spending in local businesses through a coupon book that will be created in partnership with the Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “Based on Hawai`i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism visitor spending statistics, the $500,000 being requested for the marketing program is estimated to generate approximately $15 to 17 million in our island economy.”

Oh, is that the same DBED&T that is slated by some legislators for demolition and is famous for erroneous statistics and throwing STATE money down their rat hole?

The proposal shows that the $500,000 described as “Phase I” would include $250,000 to be split evenly among five wholesale partners or online travel agencies, and the coupon book described by Costa will likely be a part of that plan.

Oh boy- coupon books- a bunch of worthless “buy one get one free” and “free gift with purchase” coupons that are 99% useless crap, as most tourists know.

The proposal listed the top five such partners for Kaua`i as Pleasant Holidays, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Blue Sky Tours.

And what exactly are we going to do- bribe them to get them to trick people into coming to Kaua`i?.. When you click-on Florida you get Kaua`i? What happens if Honolulu pays them $251,000 to send them to Waikiki?

“Sixty-five percent of our room nights on Kaua`i come from 12 major wholesalers,” said Council Vice Chair Jay Furfaro in response to Mickens’ testimony.

This isn’t being directed at trade shows, he said, it’s being directed at “key customers we refer to as wholesalers.”

Furfaro recently cut all his job-related ties to the tourism industry where he spent his whole life working as an executive, after being continually caught in conflicts of interest, and now that such ties require recusal.

Also included in the proposal was $170,000 for a kama`aina campaign encouraging locals on other Hawaiian Islands to visit Kaua`i, with a special focus on military personnel. The 50th anniversary celebration for South Pacific, scheduled for September, would receive $30,000, and $25,000 apiece would go to a radio show and to Kaua`i Visitors Bureau administration fees.

Oh boy- more advertising... and event support. That’ll work... and if it doesn’t how will we know? As usual the answer to that is unquantifiable... so shut up Parx.

Phase II, which would cost another $500,000 and could be funded through the upcoming budget process, would allocate another $250,000 to five wholesale partners, $170,000 to the kama`aina campaign, $40,000 to a “Northwest Blitz” and $25,000 apiece to a radio show and to Kaua`i Visitors Bureau administration fees.

Yes folks this only fills up half of the rat hole.

Only either a complete idiot or the recipients of kickbacks could possibly think that increasing advertising will get more people to come to Hawai`i or specifically Kaua`i these days.

Presumably these dunderheads have been to the mainland and talked to people there. Have they ever found one person who never heard of Hawai`i much less one who has to be convinced to come here, all else being equal?

Of course not. People on the mainland don’t need to be reminded how much they want to come here, possibly over every other single visitor destination around the world. It’s at the top of the list for everyone’s “dream vacation”.

So what’s stopping them?.. the fact that they didn’t see a 30 second clip of bikini clad beach-goers or fake hula dancers?

What are we- a bunch a freakin idiots? It’s the cost you shemageggis. “Everyone knows” the airfare is outrageous, the hotel rooms and rent-a-cars are out of sight and on and on.

Whether this is actually true doesn’t matter because people belive it is and no amount of advertising saying “no really- it’s not that expensive” will cause them to experience a pissy-foot as rain.

The only thing that will get them here is actual good-as-cash vouchers, as Glenn suggested. And not those lousy restricted ones that can only go to one or two specific business... which have already raised their prices by $200 in anticipation of participating in that kind of scam... a scam most mainlanders have seen and won’t get taken in with again.

$1 million would translate to 5000 $200 vouchers to be used unrestricted on any airline as Glenn suggested.

Actually we’d suggest they be used for any business on Kaua`i too and perhaps use them to leverage a “double your Kaua`i Voucher” program for participating airlines or businesses to get a bigger bang for the buck.

The boneheads in tourism promotion are quite obviously either clueless.. or corrupt.

With no accountability with strictly advertising-based promotions. That assures that there is no feedback mechanism to establish it’s effectiveness in solid verifiable numbers. So they can never be held accountable and hold their jobs forever whether they perform or not.

Just look at this hilarious paragraph from an article in the local paper this weekend from Sue Kanoho executive director of the Kaua`i Visitors Bureau:

The second assumption I often hear is that they think all KVB does is “just place print advertising” to get the word out about Kaua`i. In fact, KVB has a myriad of areas that we focus on to market the island. In addition to print advertising, KVB also does television spots and television programs, radio ads, outdoor advertising, e-marketing, webinars, travel trade advertising, trade shows, product launches, destination training, wholesaler cooperatives, event marketing, familiarization tours, research and last, but not least, and one of the most important elements…. public relations.

Uh, Sue, maybe the problem is that all you can think of to do is advertise, no matter what the medium.

It’s evocative of a line from the movie The Blues Brothers where the patrons of the chicken-wire bar where they’re about to play tell them “We like both kinds of music- country AND western”.

The reason for this mindset is perhaps that they belive the only way to get people here is to con them into doing it, implying that otherwise they would never come.

That may be true of other locales but these marketing geniuses, many of whom come from other places where they cut their visitors destination marketing teeth, have no understanding of the built in desirability of the local product- Hawai`i itself- whether in reality or through the fantasy that mainland denizens hold in their mind of the islands as the ultimate destination.

If you ask them the only obstacle in their minds is cost. So why not give them something real that will also assure the behavior we seek along with a built in unambiguous accounting of where the money went and exactly what we got for it?

Actually we shouldn’t be spending a nickel on promoting someone else’s business- it’s amazing how quickly entrepreneurial free-market zealots turn into promoters of a welfare state when the handout is for them.

But if these gullible politicians feel they have to spend money on tourism promotion it’s time to stop the corrupt kick-back-ready system of advertising a product that couldn’t be any more desirable... unless it were free.

Friday, March 27, 2009


BITE ME: We really should end the week with an emotionally satisfying rant suggesting the bigoted, homophobic, red-shirted troglodytes to shove their jesus and bible up their sociopathic asses so there won’t be room for that army of big hairy phalluses they apparently fear so much.

After all, it’s as obvious as it was a decade ago that you can’t fight the religious passion of mentally ill, deluded, heterosexual degenerates with clear rational logic and calmly reasoned arguments for civil rights.

The fact that “our side” didn’t use this kind of appeal to irrational fears was apparently the downfall of this year’s civil rights battle, just like it was last year in California.

We should have known- clear headed intellectual appeals to “do the right thing” are sooooo 60’s retro.

But blaming the hoodwinked mob for the legislature’s capitulation to hatred and bigotry out of fear for their political careers is to relieve them of the responsibility- and hopefully accountability at the polls- for their shameful acts.

Much in the aftermath has us shaking our heads in disbelief more than at the disgusting abandonment of principle by weasels like Senate President Colleen Hamabusa and her spineless lockstep sycophants.

One of the weirdest claims we’ve read from legislative insiders is that the amazingly fearless Kaua`i Senator Gary Hooser somehow led the battle against ignorance and discrimination in order to somehow further his political ambitions after he announced early this year that he was going to run for lieutenant governor next year.

This claim comes from the self same politicians who claimed they were voting against civil unions because the majority of their constituents were against it.

What are we a bunch of freakin’ idiots? Even if they missed the only scientific poll- which showed massive support for the civil unions legislation- how can they say Hooser was doing it for political gain when they’d have to actually believe that he would lose the votes of that majority opposition through his actions?

We’ve known Gary for 25 years and have rarely if ever been disappointed in any of his actions either on the Kaua`i county council or in the senate- and that’s not something we can say about any other elected official other than Representative Mina Morita.

It has truly boggled our mind as to how he’s been able to pull it off with all the petty little prevaricators and pissants he works with and move into a leadership position to boot.

Which is why we and many other on Kaua`i are in large part hurt that we will certainly have someone of a lesser character as our senator after November 2010.

Many can’t see why someone who has been able to remain principled and effective as a legislator would want to move into any administrative post, much less one that is as useless as an appendix.

The only explanation we can come up with is that maybe he’s just fed up with the stupidity and arcana of his “colleagues” in the Hawai`i state legislature.

Anyone who follows legislative matters has at one time or another been frustrated to the point of tears at the casual acceptance of the inane committee system that perverts the will of the people and even the body year after year after year and the pay-to-play campaign finance laws that perpetuate the inertia.

Allowing one legislator to subvert the will of the majority is the antithesis of democracy in a legislative body. Yet when push came to shove, respect for this corruption and power mongering was shamelessly cited by the senators- the ones who voted no but claimed to actually support civil unions- for refusing to “pull” the bill out of the deadlocked committee.

And yet there’s a shocking silence and distinct lack of outrage in the press- mainstream and otherwise- about the process that led to the ridiculous “only in Hawai`i” denial of civil unions.

The veil has now been lifted on these homophobic slimeballs’ claims that they just wanted “marriage” to be keep from those who have sex differently than they think everyone should.

It’s become painfully obvious they are bent on punishing those who don’t accept their interpretation of a fairy tale penned by cave men as being the literal one-and-only truth.

No other state has, when pressed, denied civil unions with full equal rights for all, even those that, like Hawai`i, constitutionally ban same gender marriage. As a matter of fact the supreme courts of other states have said that the state may constitutionally ban non opposite gender marriage but MUST provide for the same state granted entitlements and benefits for all when doing it.

It’s apparently time to take up the Hawai`i courts’ time again with such a case now that the public knows that asking the legislature to grant equal protection is as useless as reasoning with those with a religious stick up their collective asses.

The concept of “civil unions” is a discriminatory watered down version of the equal right that true marriage. It would certainly seem a no-brainer to get the government out of the marriage business all together and let the babies have their bottle. Let the bible thumpers pervert the minds of their own adherents.

The only protected class that is actually proscribed by a “lifestyle choice” is the one that’s kuleana of the brainless twits who believe the earth is 6000 years old and that people used to live 900 years and live inside fish.

If they want to warp the minds of those who made the choice to join up, well, we’ll all just have to be tolerant of those who “dare to be stupid”.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


BARE CUPBOARD: Two emails arrived today regarding the desecration of the burials at Naue Point at Ha`ena on Kaua`i, one from Chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Rep. Mele Carroll, regarding the status and current content of three bills dealing with the state burial councils and one from 22 “Kānaka Maoli Scholars Against Desecration” from across Hawai`i and the U.S.

And though the need is great for reform of the “advisory” burial council system - even the judge who ruled in the case said the laws are insufficient for protection of the `iwi kupuna- as evidenced by the “legal” desecration okayed by the state at Naue, the bills do pretty much nothing but add more “consulting” groups for the councils and set up a “working group” to study what can be done meaning there will most likely be no action this legislative session.

Today, we’re off to the dentist so without further comment we’ll let readers read for themselves the note from Carroll’s office on the three bills and the letter from the scholars describing and decrying the history and current status of the burial issues.


House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs passes resolutions, Senate bills

SB 1083, SD1

Senate Bill 1083 SD1 includes additional native Hawaiian organizations for the Department of Land and Natural Resources to consult with to determine whether a burial site should be preserved in place or relocated and to develop a list of candidates for the burial councils. Senate Bill 1083 SD1 passed with amendments, which adds to the list of organizations the Kamakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, DLNR’s Historic Preservation Division, and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai‘i Nei.

HCR 226

HR 194

House Concurrent Resolution 226 and House Resolution 194 request the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to convene a working group to review the system and procedures for the review of Native Hawaiian burial sites. House Concurrent Resolution 226 passed with amendments. The recommendation was to add language to the resolutions to include that the working group would work with the State DLNR Historical Preservation Division in addressing and seeking solutions to the many serious concerns that the division is faced with, for example, the lack of qualified staffing, the overwhelming unresolved cases pertaining to our kupuna iwi, and other critical issues.


Kānaka Maoli Scholars Against Desecration

Second Statement on Naue, March 24, 2009

As Kānaka Maoli scholars we write to follow-up on our statement from September 13, 2008 publicly condemning the state-sponsored desecration of a Native Hawaiian burial site at Wainiha, Kaua`i resulting from the construction of a new home at Naue Point by California real estate> developer Joseph Brescia. Both the state abuse of power and the desecration continue unabated and must come to a halt.

In the late 1980s, in response to a massive burial site disturbance at Honokahua, Maui, Kanaka Maoli came together to challenge the laws that allowed this type of sacrilege. As a result of this history, five Island Burial Councils were created and are administratively attached to the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) of the Department of Land and Natural Resources to address concerns relating to Native Hawaiian burial sites. By Hawai`i state statute, the composition of each island Burial Council must consist of a majority of Kānaka Maoli. The preservation criteria established by state law favor the "preservation in place" of burial sites that contain a "concentration of skeletal remains," or are "pre-contact" or "historic period" burial sites associated with important individuals and events.

At Naue, there are 30 known burial remains within less than half of an acre, with a high likelihood that more remains are present. Naue is a significant historical site that is frequently acknowledged in hula, oli, mele, and other Hawaiian knowledge sources.

Accordingly, the Kaua`i- Ni`ihau Island Burial Council appropriately voted to preserve in place the burial site on the property claimed by Brescia.

In complete contradiction to both their own state law, and the April 3, 2008 determination adopted by the island Burial Council to preserve the burials in place, the SHPD improperly approved a "Burial Treatment Plan" for Brescia without the required consultation with the island Burial Council. The Burial Treatment Plan was submitted by Mike Dega, the archaeologist hired by Joseph Brescia as a consultant in support of his building a private home atop of the burial site.

The SHPD’s own rules empower the island Burial Council to determine the disposition of previously known burials. The island Burial Council’s decision on this issue is supposed to be binding. Yet, SHPD deputy administrator Nancy McMahon sanctioned the use of vertical buffers and concrete caps on the burials to make way for installing the footings of Brescia’s house. Her authorization for such an intrusive "preservation" measure is a fundamental repudiation of the power allocated to all of the island Burial Councils.

By ignoring the decision of the island Burial Council, her actions undermine both the very concept of historic preservation and the reason for the founding of the island Burial Councils. Tragically, before a court could intervene, and based on McMahon’s unauthorized agreements, Brescia’s team managed to install massive house foundations on a portion of the cemetery.

The Kaua`i Planning Commission’s approval of Brescia’s house plans included a specific condition issued in a letter dated December 12, 2007 that "No building permit shall be issued until requirements of the State Historic Preservation Division and the Burial Council have been met." The requirements of the island Burial Council have not been met; the Council recommended that there be no building upon the cemetery. SHPD covered up the island Burial Council’s decision by trying to pretend that vertical buffers and concrete jackets constitute "preservation" ; they do not.

During the consultation required by the preliminary October 2008 court ruling, on November 6, 2008, the island Burial Council recommended that the SHPD reject the revised Burial Treatment Proposal submitted by Dega. Therefore, Brescia still has not met the requirements of the island Burial Council and thus, the building permit should be revoked. Because the Kaua`i Planning Commission’s December 2007 approval was specifically conditioned on Brescia’s meeting the island Burial Council’s requirements, there is no real approval of Brescia’s house plans. The island Burial Council made clear the proposal to build on the burial site was culturally unacceptable to its members, which is why the Council rejected the revised Burial Treatment Plan. The Kaua`i Planning Commission should be held accountable to rescind the conditional approval it gave, since its requirements were not met.

In the midst of this ongoing desecration, last month, on February 4, 2009, the SHPD wrote a letter to Dega acknowledging his sixth proposed Burial Treatment Plan. This is the same Burial Treatment Plan that McMahon circulated to Native Hawaiian Organizations for consultation as part of a court order by Judge Watanabe on October 2, 2008. The outcome of this consultation with Native Hawaiian Organizations was their sweeping rejection of the proposal. Without any regard for this rejection, the SHPD letter to Dega states, "at this time we cannot accept the Burial Treatment Plan without some revisions which are to be addressed below" and then outlines seven concerns for him to deal with such as detailing a landscape plan for burials outside of the house footprint. In other words, the letter basically instructs Dega to revise the Burial Treatment Plan in order for SHPD to approve it. This is unacceptable; if McMahon’s decision is reaffirmed despite the outcome of the consultation with Native Hawaiian Organizations that clearly rejected the proposal, it would set a dangerous precedent and strip the island Burial Councils of any meaningful authority.

To date, 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe has denied requests for a temporary restraining order and has even refused to grant a temporary injunction to stop further construction until the full civil suit is adjudicated by the state court. The civil suit — Joseph Brescia v. Ka`iulani Huff, et al. — currently in progress is a travesty. Brescia is suing at least 17 individuals—almost all of whom are Kānaka Maoli —implicated in protecting the burial site from his construction work. Beside trespass, Brescia has accused them of five other counts: private nuisance and harassment, tortious interference with contract, civil conspiracy described as "terroristic threatening" , intentional interference, ejectment, and slander of title. We stand in solidarity with the defendants. Brescia has no one else to blame but himself; he knowingly took the chance of building his house over a grave site when the essence of the island Burial Council’s action was to preserve all burials remains in place.

We must remind the state agencies that their own law, Hawai`i revised statute 711-1107 on Desecration, specifically states that no one may commit the offense of desecrating "a place of worship or burial," and the statute defines "desecrate" as "defacing, damaging, polluting, or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant's action."We call on all people of conscience to join in our condemnation of the desecration of the ancestral remains by:

• holding the Kaua`i Planning Commission accountable for upholding their own condition by finding Brescia in violation of it by starting to build;

• demanding that the SHPD honor the Kaua`i-Ni`ihau Island Burial Council’s original decision to preserve the burial site without any construction;

• insisting that the SHPD respect the outcome of the court-ordered consultation process and reject the Burial Treatment Plan;

• supporting an end to the illegal construction supported by the state; and

• protesting Brescia’s lawsuit targeted at those who have served to prevent the further degradation of the bones of our kūpuna.


Hokulani Aikau, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Carlos Andrade, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Maile Arvin, M.A. candidate, Department of Ethnic Studies, University ofCalifornia San Diego

J. Leilani Basham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Hawaiian Studies,University of Hawai`i at West O`ahu

Kamanamaikalani Beamer, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai` i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center, Hawai`i

Kealani Robinson Cook, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Michigan

Lani Cupchoy, Ph.D. Candidate, History, University of California, Irvine

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Wells College

Sydney Lehua Iaukea, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai` i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center, Hawai`i

Lilikalā Kame`eleihiwa, Ph.D., Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and American Studies, Wesleyan University

Kanani K. M. Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Geology & Geophysics, Yale University

Jon Kamakawiwo`ole Osorio, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Lessa Kanani`opua Pelayo, M.L.I.S. Candidate, B.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Kekailoa Perry, J.D. Assistant Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Keanu Sai, Ph.D., Lecturer Kapiolani Community College

Noenoe K. Silva, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Stephanie Nohelani Teves, Ph.D. Candidate, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan

Ty Kāwika Tengan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Haunani-Kay Trask, Ph.D., Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa

Liza Keanuenueokalani Williams, Ph.D. student, New York University

Erin Kahunawaika` ala Wright, Ph.D. Director of Native Hawaiian Student Services, Hawai'inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge


Contact: J. Kehaulani KauanuiPh: 860-638-1264Email: jkauanui@wesleyan. edu


Write individual emails or letters the Kaua`i Planning Commission, State Historic Preservation Division Officials, Governor Linda Lingle, Joseph Brescia, and the Mayor of Kaua`i.

Please cc: all letters and emails to: J. Kehaulani Kauanui,Center for the Americas, Wesleyan University, 255 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459.Email It's important to cc: me so I can track letters and so the recipients know you are keeping one KM scholar in the loop so there's a record of the correspondence.

See addresses below:

Ian Costa
Director of Planning
County of Kaua`i
4444 Rice Street, Suite 473
Lihue, HI 96766
icosta@kauai. gov

Laura Thielan, Chairperson
State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources
State Historic Preservation Division
601 Kamokila Blvd., Room 555
Kapolei, HI 96707
dlnr@hawaii. gov

Pua Aiu, AdministratorState Historic Preservation Division601 Kamokila Blvd., Room 555Kapolei, HI 96707pua.aiu@hawaii. gov

Nancy McMahon, Deputy Administrator
State Historic Preservation Division
601 Kamokila Blvd., Room 555
Kapolei, HI 96707
Nancy.A.McMahon@ hawaii.gov

Governor Linda Lingle
State of Hawai`i
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
governor.lingle@ hawaii.gov

Joseph Brescia, President
Architectural Glass & Aluminum
1151 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 101
Alameda, CA 94501
jbrescia@aga- ca.com

Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr.
Mayor, County of Kauai
4444 Rice St., Suite 235
Lihue, HI 96766
mayor@kauai. gov

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


GETTIN’ TERRITORIAL: We had an email exchange this week with a self-proclaimed “don’t tread on me” style anti-government type who is seemingly new to the islands. But unlike many right wingers his hatred of the federal government didn’t get clouded when it comes to the rightful ownership of the lands of the kanaka maoli.

Though he was pretty well read on the subject he asked us for some more source material and we were glad to help... ya know, strange bedfellows and all that.

And it make us all the more repulsed by the type that makes some kind of statement and then in arguing their point, runs away from it in one of those smarmy “I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’...” responses to “but you just said...”.

And speaking of weasels we went over to lawyer-blogger Charley Foster’s Planet Kaua`i, today to see what kind of anti-kanaka rights opinion he was running away from now.

And Charley rarely disappoints

In a post today Charley first reminds us that

It is well settled as far as Hawaii courts are concerned that the state has jurisdiction to enforce its criminal and traffic laws within the boundaries of the state, regardless of whether the defendant in question is Native Hawaiian and claims immunity from such jurisdiction.

Of course if, if past is prologue when questioned he would probably point to his having said “as far as Hawaii courts are concerned” so he can run away from it being a position with which he so apparently agrees.

Then he reprinted part of an essay from Kai Landow in Indian Country Today, depicting a trial in a Hilo courtroom where “Rocky” Awai was “pleading sovereign” to a dozen traffic tickets and he somehow beat the rap when the ticketing officers unfathomably- at least for the judge- couldn’t remember anything about giving the tickets.

But the essay in whole is a must read because Landow goes on to juxtapose that judicial procedure with the one he next attended- the “ceded lands” case before the US Supreme Court.

To refresh people’s memory, even though many thought that the issue before the court was who actually owned the stolen crown lands taken in the illegal overthrow, that not only wasn’t an issue that the justices thought needed settling by them but those supposedly representing the kanaka’s claim – the Office of Hawaiian Affairs- seemed to agree with the state in saying that the state had “perfect title”.

Unlike a lot of those who have either looked at the transcript or listened to the tape of the hearing and answered the questions “what just happened there?”, Landow provides the most insightful of interpretations we’ve seem.

Here’s an excerpt:

I was one of the few people who got a seat to hear oral arguments in the Supreme Court. The question before the court was whether or not the Apology clouded the title the State held on the “Ceded lands.” The argument between OHA and the State of Hawaii were essentially the same. So what were they arguing before the court? And that is exactly what the Justices asked. Justice Souter interjected “This whole case seems murky to me. Am I missing something?” I looked over at Haunani Apoliona, chair of the OHA Trustees. Her face was pensive. I could see their greatest fears were materializing. The parties did not want the court to address the issue of title and for one hour most of the court’s discussion centered on just that, title, ownership of the land.

Well hasn’t the ownership of the land in Hawaii long been settled?

It was surreal to hear the State’s Attorneys General Mark Bennett argue, “Yes we illegally overthrew the Hawaiian Government,” and then to go on to argue the State had “Perfect Title.” Am I missing something, too?

I left the court to a cold sunny Washington DC February day. Liko Martin [A well known Sovereignty activist, musician, composer- “Waimanalu blues”] was outside the court after the case was accepted. He was wearing a cowboy hat, a clean pressed suit and freshly shaven. I was taken aback; he looked very different from our last meeting on the beach at KaWa, in Ka’u Hawaii. Liko had been bearded and mud covered, spending much of his time working in the lo’i [Taro patch]. We had been living rough with Abel Simeona Lui, a real champion of the sovereignty movement. A Kanaka Ma’oli who moved back to the land and despite repeated arrest for trespass managed to solidify his land claim.

“Liko cleans up good!” My friend Hanalei points out with the same surprise as mine as Liko maneuvers around the Supreme Court plaza with a film crew in tow.

Hey brah, Howzit? We wen file an intervention with the court, kay?” Liko said to me. I asked him on what basis did he file?

“That we are the true owners and that we need to enter into direct and immediate negotiations, kay!” I could see the OHA people seemed devastated and I saw Haunani Apoliona scowl at Liko’s show of force from across the plaza.

“OHA just hurt itself by arguing the Hawaiian’s had no legal claim to the land and only a moral one in State Law” I told him

“The State is dead brah, its dead” Liko answered.

I thought to myself what just happened. It had felt like we were in the court case and the justices were arguing our position. It struck me that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs changed their position to bolster the State of Hawaii’s claim to “Perfect Title”. I realized that if the State doesn’t have title; then OHA has nothing. So who represent the Hawaiian’s interests? I have no false hope that the court will rule in our favor. But it was nice to hear some of our own questions posed to people who have refused to respond to us.

The Apology bill is a sorry thing.

Have you read it? Liko Martin calls it a confession, I call it a stipulation of facts and our Attorney General for the Hawaiian Kingdom Tom Anthony calls it “Crap”. He is right of course, it is crap. If it had been anything else but crap the Hawaiians would now be living on their own land in their own jurisdiction.

From the Apology bill 103-150: “Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum.”

It is because of statements like this that Hawaiians wave this bill as proof. It also may be why our friend Rocky got all those tickets dismissed. Judge De Frietus may also believe if he let the attorney Gary Zamber bring this Apology bill into the case he might slip up and create a federal question. And what is that federal Question?

Rocky said it to the court “You don’t have any jurisdiction over me. I am not an American citizen.”

So why is a traffic case in a small Hawaiian town connected to a Supreme Court case between the State and a State agency? My Uncle Moses He’anu would say “Do your homework!”

I’ll tell you anyway. It is because the United States of America has never been able to substantiate any lawful claim in Hawaii, period.

The Americans admit they stole the land and barred us from seeking relief in the courts and yet argue their title is “Perfect.” Everyone knows this is unjust yet they expect us to accept it. Would you?

I spoke to a pro bono legal agency this morning who told me our case is seen as frivolous. I spoke to an Indian lawyer who told me to be practical and that you can’t win on the law. Do we go to the courts as a legal fiction? I look at the law and we win. That is if we are before an impartial jurist and we note the US courts have an interest in the outcome.

Malama Pono

That’s us, do things right, Malama Pono. We can’t find any statute of limitations to file against the US occupation. We can’t build on facts that are “Murky” to file a brief that hopes the Americans will finally do the right thing. We should not have to go to court for America to do the right thing.

Something stinks!

That “something” that stinks is- as we pointed out to those whose like Foster whose lawyerly dialectic on the case concludes that somehow the “rule of law” enabled confessed theft to stand- “American Justice” is an oxymoron.

We who seek justice for the kanaka can laugh at the absurdity of those who have their noses buried in a law book in an attempt to obscure reality, as they lead us though the looking glass into a Carrollian Wonderland.

But in justice in Amerikan courts is the real joke, especially if your skin is of a darker shade.

To those who seek justice for Hawaiians through the judiciary, I’m sure we speak for many when we say “that’s mighty white of ya”.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


DOUBLE DOG DARE: The discredited Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program has been abandoned by many jurisdictions around the country as a program that, at best doesn’t work and more often if anything actually causes kids to use destructive drugs, especially the more dangerous types like methamphetamine or “ice”.

But apparently the vapid, poorly informed leadership on Kaua`i – specifically Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Police chief Darryl Perry- live in their own private little world of denial if an article in today’s local paper is accurate.

According to the article reporting on the statewide DARE Conference at the Hilton Kaua`i Beach Resort,

Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho praised the DARE program for its work with children to have them recognize and resist drugs and other temptations.

“Having police in the DARE program has its benefits,” he said... “The DARE program has a positive impact on young people...

But that’s not what the US General Accounting Office found in 2003 where they ripped the program new one and reported, among other things, that:

(T)he six long-term evaluations of the DARE elementary school curriculum that we reviewed found no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received DARE in the fifth or sixth grade (the intervention group) and students who did not (the control group).

And as if to highlight one reason the program is a bust Perry and Carvalho announced that the newly rebranded “Operation Green Steam” had taken up the precious police resources of the undermanned and underfunded KPD to go after two marijuana growing plots recently, one in Kilauea and another larger, less reported, one in Hanama`ulu.

Though on the Big Island their county council has made marijuana enforcement the “lowest priority” for their police department and rejected the formerly named “Green Harvest” federal funds, Kaua`i continues to live in the dark ages.

According to the experts, DARE just makes the problems worse.

The reality is this. In the DARE “classes” kids are told that all drugs are equally bad and destructive and to” just say no”, even to this day. Although the DARE officials say they have changed the program since the GAO report, the reality is that this is still the basic underpinning.

When kids leave the class and hit “the street” they find out that different drugs, especially marijuana, have different and often far less of the horrible effects they are told of in the class.

When the kids find out they were lied to about marijuana- and even see that this “scourge” is prescribed as medicine for many- they naturally think that if they are being lied to about marijuana they are probably being lied to about use of everything from” ice” to “huffing” glue and paint to drinking alcohol and the ingesting of many other substances that cause permanent damage.

It isn’t just a coincidence that ever since the marijuana crackdowns started in the 80’s- especially on Kaua`i- that methamphetamine use has risen to epidemic proportions. People either can’t get marijuana anymore or find that, due to the eradication and enforcement efforts, it’s unaffordable. Many- especially those who discovered they were lied to in their DARE program in school- turn to a cheap and, what they think is probably a harmless, substitute.

One of the most bizarre statements quoted in the article came from Perry who spoke of President Barack Obama, who wrote about his drug use while in high school

Perry is quoted as saying

But with children being surrounded by well-known personalities that have histories of drug use, there are not enough mentors out there for children to learn from, Perry said.

He cited for example Barack Obama, a Hawai`i native now president of the United States.“He is one of thousands of students who graduated from Punahou, but why did he become the president?” Perry asked.

His presidency is attributed to several things, but his achievement is based on all the people involved in his life.

“The people in this room represent all that is right,” Perry said. “And we recognize you for all your work with young people.”

Was Perry saying that Obama’s success was attributable to the DARE program? Or did he just forget about Obama’s drug use.

It’s unclear what the heck he was talking about but he apparently was saying that kids need good roles models... like the DARE team.

But when the kids find out that the DARE lessons are a bunch of crap and that they’ve been bamboozled and sold a bill of goods that doesn’t jibe with their observations, their natural inclination is to actually reject everything the “good guys” say... and stand for.

And what are they to think when these “role models” tell them they will wind up in jail or dead if they ever touch any drugs including marijuana and then they see not just their parents with prescriptions for it but the president succeeding despite his youthful imbibement?

According to the article

Bill Arakaki, the Kaua`i Area Complex superintendent, said it is vital that DARE keep disseminating information to local youth.

Including bad information?

Arakaki along with Perry and Carvalho and the whole out-of-touch-with-reality anti-drug team seem to be living in the dark ages, rotely repeating whatever drivel the funders of DARE tell them to say and actually endangering our kids by feeding them demonstrably false propaganda.

Kids need to be armed with the ability to make good decisions and not lied to. The DARE program fails at that on just about every possible level and leaders on Kaua`i need to wise up to the fact that as long as they dare to be stupid, they are the ones to blame for the ice epidemic through their lockstep adherence to a discredited methodology.

Monday, March 23, 2009


GETTING THE LIES OF THE LAND: Somewhere in the bowels of the County Attorney’s office, where the special layering of confidentiality obscure all other secrets, presumably sits a hush-hush file whose surreptitiousness is of the utmost clandestine nature.

We can only presume that an examination of that file would reveal the details of not only all the reasons why the county doles out big bucks to “special counsels” in Honolulu to litigate our lawsuits, but why they lose every time.

This year however even the $1.2 million dollars appropriated in last year’s budget wasn’t enough to satisfy the beast and apparently they have already gone though that and are asking the council for an additional $300,000 to cover the overspending.

But even that may not be enough because according to the budget submitted by Mayor Bernard Carvalho they have already spent a whopping $1,575,587 this fiscal year- $75,587 more than the total they would have in the budget if Bill #2307, appropriating the $300,000, passes.

That $300,000 is just slightly less than the $337,169 spent all last year meaning for some reason we’ve spent $1,238,418 more this year than last because none of the eight attorneys in the office are competent enough. And that’s just through March 15 with certainly more to come by the June 30 end of the fiscal year

So where is all that money going? Well, that’s the biggest secret of all. Because although the council must publicly approve each expenditure “up to” a certain amount each for specific case, the information on how much is actually spent is of course, a secret.

But there are clues and one on this week’s agenda points the finger toward a common target of lawsuits- the often absurd and unruly determinations made by our various administrative boards and commissions.

These boards and commissions are the repository, not for the best and the brightest or those who benevolently give themselves to public service but rather for the most part, for hacks and cronies of the mayor who seek to at best pad their resumes or at worst make decisions to financially benefit other cronies who sit on other boards with whom they do business every day in the community.

And they do so by flouting rules- if indeed rules exist- and making quite blatant arbitrary and capricious rulings that baffle the members of the public who have experienced their handiwork and walk away with a bad taste in their mouths for so-called due processes of Kaua`i county government.

The cases in point this week are two lawsuit listed as “Claims” on this Wednesday’s county council agenda, filed against the Liquor Commission - one of the most secretive and entrenched in the county- over the denial of a liquor permit to well known local businessman James “JJ” Jasper.

According to one of two similar suits Jasper filed, the commission made their decision without any of the due process required by law- due process that should be contained in administrative rules in accordance with HRS Chapter 91 but, typically on Kaua`i don’t even exist or don’t properly- or legally- address the conduct of adjudicatory functions of many of them.

The suit paints a picture of a commission that didn’t even notify him of the hearing or the result, denied him any of the records and in fact secretly met in violation of open hearing and meeting laws. The commission then let the long time Director of the Liquor Control Eric Homna spin his tale and also act as the commissions attorney in secret executive session, and finally made their determination based solely on Homna’s contention, refusing to allow Jasper to present and cross examine witnesses or have other rights under state laws regarding contested case hearings.

This echoes the complaints of many others when interacting with the various boards and commissions.

The case of the Board of Ethics is even worse. Not only have they been operating without rules that adhere to state law for years they have actually encoded the arbitrary and capriciousness of their decision making process in the rules they do have,

They are apparently seeking to change their rules but the new draft just gives them not just the current power to make arbitrary secret decisions but the power to not even take cases or acknowledge them if they so decide. And even if they do they can suspend due processes like the ability to call witnesses and hear from the complainant when they make their decisions.

And they are currently plotting to pass the new rules without even holding the public hearing that HRS 91 requires.

The Ethics Board, as PNN has reported in the past, has been engaged in a battle to somehow ignore the provisions in the county charter in sections 20,02(d) which prohibit members of boards and commissions from appearing before other boards and commissions on behalf of private parties.

And at their last meeting, after failing to get voters to take the provision out of the charter last November, Board Chair Mark Hubbard- a Grove Farm executive- attempted to take the 20.02(D) provisions out of the “Guide to Ethics” the county publishes for it’s employees, board members and other officers at the last meeting according to Ethics Board watchdog Horace Stoessel.

No telling how much they are costing the county in lawsuits over the years but it doesn’t appear it will get any better unless new county Attorney Al Castillo reverses another of those “secret opinions” that seemingly allow the board to ignore 20.02(d) and reins in the other lawlessness.

Another den of baffling inequity is the Board of Review (BOR) which determines cases of property tax appeals.

Quite revealing was the testimony of realtor Mike Dyer and others during a recent hearing on a bill to try to change the BOR process- a bill that the council has deferred until next September when it will probably then again procrastinate long enough to make it “too late for this year” as they did last month after discussing the bill for months earlier.

Dyer described the experience he and many other have had of getting decisions denying their appeals without any rhyme or reason usually just rubber stamping the county assessor’s determination with a process that allows the BOR to arbitrarily make rulings with no supporting documentation for their decision.

That has been the common hallmark of almost all others of the adjudicatory boards and commissions on Kaua`i- decisions are made without any explanation or justification.

That has led to some of the most costly lawsuits, especially against the all powerful planning commission which has caused to county to lose three lawsuits this year and probably will again in the future unless they start documenting their decisions.

Perhaps the most infamous was the recent decision regarding the new resort in Waipouli when all they needed to do, according to a separate suit by 1000 Friends attorney Dan Hempey, was file a “finding of fact” on the issues that went into making their determination,

But instead they just make their determination without “officially” finding the facts, causing the judge in the lawsuit that followed to say the commission’s decision was voided - that after spending oodles of cash on a “special counsel” whose bungling of the case caused the county to lose out on normally routine givebacks from the developer in addition to the lawyer’s fees.

Similar was the case of the “Monkey Pod Tree” development in Koloa and the bottled water case where the incompetence of the boards and commissions caused their decisions to be voided in the courts when the usual gaggle of less than competent lawyers the county routinely hires did their usual long, drawn-out, losing job.

And you can bet more and more of these cases will be coming up as developers learn they can get what they want in court because of the incompetence of the staff in properly arming their boards and commission with competent and adequate administrative oversight- rather than the hacks and cronies who populate the offices of the departments and Mayor’s office itself- as well as representation by competent attorneys

People thought that in passing a charter amendment in 2006 establishing an office of Boards and Commissions to administrate the various entities, some semblance of competence would be established. But instead then Mayor Bryan Baptiste appointed a crony of cronies, long time county insider John Isobe to the post who continues in the job under Carvalho.

According to members of the public who watch and bull dog the various boards, Isobe has worked tirelessly to treat the public as a nuisance that must be dealt with through secrecy. treating them like the proverbial mushrooms- kept in the dark and fed plenty of manure.

Many on Kaua`i just ignore all this and think well, it doesn’t really effect them. But money changes everything and if they knew how much this attitude was costing them through lawsuits and other payoffs and paybacks to the revolving-door, chamber-of-commerce crowd, perhaps their attitude would differ.

Friday, March 20, 2009


USED GUIDE DOG FOR SALE: How could we all have been so wrong for so long?

It’s painfully obvious now that conclusions, even though based on the reams of data, that the Hawai`i Superferry (HSf) was nothing but a demonstration prototype for a new class of military war ships were nothing but the rantings of a bunch of stupid hippie environmentalists grasping at straws.

The illumination came directly from an unimpeachable source- Superferry president and chief executive officer- and former Navy Admiral- Thomas Fargo who would certainly have no reason to lie to or BS anyone.

Barely choking back crocodile tears, before the “final voyage” of the Superferry, Fargo set everyone straight.

According to the Honolulu Advertiser:

Fargo, after mentioning that the military might want to lease the Alakai, addressed speculation by some activists who have opposed the project that Superferry was designed from the start as a military operation.

"That's absolutely not true," said Fargo, a former Navy admiral. "We certainly wouldn't have gone to the trouble to paint Alakai in the manner that we did, to appoint her with 836 first-class seats, to spend the huge sums of money that we did to establish service here in Hawaii if that was our goal.

"The goal that's unmistakable was to provide regular and reliable commercial ferry service in these Islands."

And, in a phone interview directly from the deck of the boat with the local Kaua`i paper’s Michael Levine, Fargo let us misinformed misanthropes know that this was no causal remark.

Levine says:

Asked about the possibility that the Alakai would be sold to the military, Fargo took umbrage at the implication that it the Superferry was designed for military purposes all along.

“I want to make one thing perfectly clear because this has been misunderstood from the get-go. All these theories that it had something to do with the military are bogus,” he said. “We wouldn’t have painted, branded, and carpeted (the ship), put 831 first-class seats and spent all this money if we wanted to lease it to the military. That logic is absolutely flawed. The conspiracy theories ... are a bunch of baloney.”

Of course- how could we have been so blind? All we had to do was look at the paint job. It was right on the boat... “Hawai`i Superferry”. obviously if it were really for military use it would have said “War Ship Prototype- Military Boondoggle”.

And whose ever heard of painting over anything- that lettering was obviously done with permanent paint. It must have cost at least, why, hundreds of dollars to paint the words and logo on an almost $400 million boat.

Of course those seats couldn’t serve anyone else but ferry passengers. They quite obviously are irremovably and permanently embedded on the ship. Those “first class appointments” could only serve civilians because, as everyone knows, soldiers always stand at attention and never sit down.

But the carpeting- well that cinches it. That stuff is impossible to replace. And who would want to with all the vomit stains?

Apparently we were just bamboozled by these awful conspiracy theorists. because, well Fargo says it was all a “bunch of baloney” and what possible reason would we have to not take a Superferry official at their word?

It’s all falling into place now.

It was apparently just a coincidence that back in 2000 Hawai`i Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator and convicted felon Ted Stevens of Alaska “earmarked” $10 million to study the feasibility of high-speed large-capacity ferries in Hawai`i and Alaska at the very same time when, as the ranking member of the Senate Armed services committee, he was first considering Navy plans for a new fleet of high speed large capacity vessels virtually indistinguishable from the ferry- a plan which called for spending 10’s of billions on the war ships that were yet to be designed or built.

Then, it certainly wasn’t in anticipation of cashing in when Australian ship builder set up shop in Mobile Alabama where they could compete to design and build the military vessels because, unlike ferries, the war ships had to be built in America.

They came to build us a ferry.

The fact that the ferry was the first aluminum-hulled, high-speed vessel of that size and with a catamaran design- identical to the description the Navy used for their proposed project- was quite obviously part of a fallacious post hoc- proctor hoc argument by anti US military commies.

Austal was obviously only coming to the US because they love Americans so much and just wanted to come and build a ferry for Hawai`i, even if their initial investment in setting up the ship was many times the amount the ferry cost and there was no contract in place for even the ferry. Why everyone knows that all corporations like Austal are really just benevolent public service organizations and don’t ever consider anything based purely on profit motive.

Of course it was just a happy coincidence that the first and only major funding for the ferry came from former Navy Secretary John Lehman. Because it was certainly of no note at all that congressional records show that they were reluctant to spend a nickel on the new design because they didn’t know if it would really be able to stand up to shallow water and close shore maneuvering... or for that matter if the unique design would even float.

It’s all too clear that the real story is the original story. The one they’ve told all along and are “sticking to” today as they ready the ship for military use: some guy who had never heard of high-speed high-capacity ferries identical to the Navy’s design went to Europe, saw a ferry and said “I’m gonna run an outlandishly big, untested and never-built-before ferry to go between islands in Hawai`i”.

The fact that he had no background in ferries, mutli-hundred-million dollar businesses or any money personally to invest is irrelevant. It had to work because he was “an entrepreneur”.

This could never have been just a cover story in anyone’s wildest dreams- even though Inouye had already appropriated the money for the study before the idea was even proposed and was one of the first to immediately support the idea.

Why even Superferry opponents like Koohan Paik and Jerry Mander say that’s the true origin of the HSf, as they wrote over and over in their book “The Superferry Chronicles”. Who are we to question the story if they bought it?.... It doesn’t matter that almost every bit of information cited in the book came from secondary and tertiary rather than original sources.

Now we know it’s the only thing in the book they got right.

It’s obvious the whole project was and always has been driven forward solely in the name of serving the people of Hawai`i. The fact that Lehman et. al. put pressure on the federal government to demand an exemption from state mandated environmental studies before they would guarantee a loan had nothing to do with the urgency to move the project forward and get the boat in the water as quickly as possible to show congress that the “ferry” would withstand actual service.... that’s would be just preposterous

What possible motivation, other than helping people to take their car and travel to see their auntie on another island, could a former Secretary of the Navy have had?

And certainly it was just because Governor Linda Lingle really liked the Superferry honcho John Garibaldi so much that she risked and eventually destroyed her political career to pressure the state bureaucrats to acquiesce to flouting the law in order to rush an oversized, biggest-ferry-in-the-world into service... despite the fact that it was comparatively horribly expensive to operate and had unless capacity... not to mention the sticker shocking price.

Why all that sucking up to people dealing in multi billion-dollar contracts could never result in a lucrative position when Lingle term-limits run out in 2010. Because pols who make corrupt decisions and show themselves to be willing cogs in a boondoggle never get rewarded with multi-million dollar revolving door consulting jobs after leaving office

It was all just speculation when articles appeared in the military-contracting trade magazines quoting Austal officials, U.S. congressional members and military planners talking about wanting to see how the HSf stands up to use before they go forward with the new class of Navy ships based on that almost identical design. After all, everyone knows that trade magazines like that that people rely on to make billion dollar investments are all just opinion rags.

Just because it was the first one and sailed around for a year before congress and Senator Inouye- now chair of the armed forces appropriation sub committee- allowed the project to start slowly going forward doesn’t mean a thing.

And we all know how dumb Lehman, Inouye, Fargo and everyone else involved are. They would never have been smart enough to plot to operate for a year or so without an EIS for a boat that any moron could tell you would severely effect the environment in ways that can’t be mitigated (especially at zero cost for infrastructural support).

They could never have schemed to nix the studies so they could pull out, sell the boat to the military and sue the state for letting them do it when the courts unanimously laughed at the state’s attempts to con everyone.

The fact that they ignored the first Supreme Court ruling as long as they could- and then got the legislature to illegally let them show off the boat by running it for a year while opponents went back to court- yet this time after the recent ruling they shut down on a dime, doesn’t mean a thing.

The record shows that they are obviously just good citizens who always respect the law and the court rulings.

Why how could they have foreseen that they would get to operate long enough to show the boats viability then get nixed by the courts?... you’d have to believe they have ESP or are psychic.

We all know that senators and military-contracting ex-admirals would never be able plot anything so complex.

And anyway, they would never scam idiotic twits like Lingle, Attorney General Bennett and most of the members of the state legislature. No one would do that just for money- why it would be wrong and the military never does anything wrong- just think of how righteous the Vietnam and Iraq wars were.

Besides, they had no way of knowing that there were plenty of greedy, self-centered mainland marauders living in Honolulu who would jump at the chance to treat the environmentally sensitive and infrastructure-poor neighbor islands like their personal playground and toilet and plunder the resources, trash the place and go home.

Why Americans can always be counted on to put their own self-interest aside and do what’s for the good of others. When people ask them not to overrun and despoil someone else’s neck of the woods Americans never just call them NIMBY’s, push them aside and take what they want with no regard for anyone but themselves.

So they certainly couldn’t count on all that happening. It was just a happy coincidence that the greedy pigs put on enough political pressure to force the state’s Minotaurs at the legislature and in the administration to do what was wrong as long as they could.

Yup- Fargo has opened everyone’s eyes to our silly evidence-based conclusions.

We who thought there was ever any connection between the Hawai`i Superferry Inc. and the military simply made the common mistake of believing’ our own lyin’ eyes instead of the words of those always trustworthy PR hacks and corrupt military personnel and contractors.

Even though their wieners are out and there’s a distinct and overpowering pissy stench of ammonia coming from our feet, apparently it’s just raining.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


A POOCH BY ANY OTHER NAME: Derrick DePledge’s blog today reports on a new scientifically conducted poll showing widespread support for the civil union bill passed by the house and now in the senate.

Derrick is usually a pretty sharp cookie and his analyses are perceptive even if we don’t always like what he has to say.

Today he quibbles with one question and frankly we just don’t get it.

The question in the poll says:

*”Couples of the same gender should have access to the legal privileges and protections of marriage as couples of the opposite gender -- as a matter of civil rights.”

But DePledge says:

Although the poll found broad support for civil rights for same-sex partners, the way the questions were framed shades the results. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements that affirmed equal treatment for same-sex partners.

There was no question, for example, simply asking whether people support giving same-sex partners the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities as married couples under state law, which is what the bill would do. Instead, the questions were framed around equal treatment, dignity and respect, and civil rights.

Frankly, we just don’t see how the question is substantively any different than DePledge’s, except that it shuns the use of buzz words that evoke emotional responses

What’s the difference between “couples of the same gender” and “same sex partners” other than the use of the word “sex” to evoke emotional reactions using equivocation to bring to mind images of same gender couples having sex?

What’s the difference between “legal privileges and protections” and “same rights, benefits and responsibities” other then it seeks to intimate special privileges rather then equal protection using another “loaded phrase”, equivocating on the word “privileges” to intimate that it is a privilege not a right people are seeking?

And what’s the difference between “of marriage as couple of the opposite gender” and “married couples under state law” other than that the use of the words “opposite gender” serves to remind people already predisposed to an emotional reaction that “they” are not like “us”?

If anything the question asked is clearer, uses less hot button wording and is a much more accurate depiction of the proposed legislation than DePledge’s- other than the spelling error in “privilige”.

DePledge’s preferred query reflects a mentality- perhaps unconscious- all too common among many journalists who tend to sensationalize an issue, preferring to whip up an emotional frenzy among readers rather than avoid pushing those buttons.

Besides- that’s what we do all the time Derrick so quit moving in on our turf.

Here, for the record, are the four questions and the results that DePledge listed.

*”Committed couples and their families, regardless of their sexual preference or orientation, should have the same rights. That’s the bottom line -- we should treat people equally.”
81% agree
16% disagree
3% don’t know

*”The civil unions bill is just one more example of how the Hawaiian culture believes in treating everyone on the islands with dignity and respect.

”64% agree
25% disagree
11% don’t know

*”Couples of the same gender should have access to the legal priviliges and protections of marriage as couples of the opposite gender -- as a matter of civil rights.”

64% agree
31% disagree
5% don’t know

*”It’s clear that the issue of legal rights for gay and lesbian couples is not going to quiet down until gay and lesbian families receive equal protection under the law. The Legislature should quickly pass the civil unions bill.”

62% agree
31% disagree
8% don’t know

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


LETTING SLEEPING DOGS LIE.. AND LIE... AND LIE AGAIN: Amidst all the secrecy, paternalism and arrogance of certain members of the Kaua`i County Council one of the most irksome tendencies has been to blame everyone in the world for their own foibles and blunders, taking the last words on any particular subject and spinning a cloak of their own excellency from whole cloth.

Last Friday (3/13) though the emperor’s fabrications were temporarily made transparent when that tact blew up in their faces, especially on the noggin of Chair Kaipo Asing after he lit into the Public Access and Open Space Commission in an emotional tirade over their alleged dereliction of duty and a lack of attention to their “top priority”- reestablishing lost public accesses to the beaches and the mountains.

“I’m very disappointed” Asing told commissioners Jean Souza and Beryl Blaich after their yearly report to the council where they presented a list prioritizing recommended land purchases for the county.

Asing’s voice was tinged with rage in a lengthy tirade blaming the commission for abandoning the issue of closed accesses which he called “the very reason” for the existence of the commission.

“What is happening?” he repeated, saying instead of concentrating on identifying existing accesses “the commission continues to go in another direction” by prioritizing new land parcels for county acquisition and ignoring access.

Vice Chair Jay Furfaro then detailed how he Asing and councilmember Daryl Kaneshiro passed this wonderful ordinance that would fund the efforts to identify and eventually reopen closed accesses, seemingly- to those who didn’t know better- taking credit for the whole idea of the fund along with Asing but never mentioning the Charter Amendment that was conceived, drafted and proposed solely by then outgoing Councilmember Gary Hooser.

But things quickly turned when Councilmember Tim Bynum took the floor.

“I want to put the responsibility where it lies” he told the council, audience and Blaich and Souza.

And that apparently was with the administration and council, not the commission

The real reason for commission inaction is that the administration has used a poorly written ordinance to ban the commission from even discussing re-establishing access, not just by denying them the information gathered by a designated department planner but by refusing to allow them to even put the matter on their agendas.

In addition funding for a position for an “open space planner” has been deleted in the new budget submitted by the mayor last week.

“I can’t tell you... the level of frustration” said Souza after finally being given the opportunity to explain, since Asing had refused to allow any response to his attack despite attempts by Blaich to respond.

Souza told the council that there is- get ready, here we go again - a secret county attorney’s opinion saying that the only thing the ordinance allows them to do is to “get public input and make a list” of parcels that the county might want to buy with money from the open space and access preservation fund which, by charter, contains 0.5% of the real property taxes collected since 2003.

“We’ve been fighting with our legal folks” to no avail said Souza explaining how even the information from a planner in the planning department that was assigned to investigate the access issue and pick the “low hanging fruit” was eventually cut off from the commission’s purview before they were eventually forbidden from even discussing the matter at their meetings.

“It’s important to clarify that your hands have been tied” said Bynum to Souza and Blaich after Asing’s tirade had been shown to be uninformed at best, typically disingenuous and self serving at worst.

While Souza chose her words in a painfully deliberate manner Blaich was less circumspect. She told the whole sad story in detail telling the story of how “staff has refused to give us information and we have not been able to put it on our agenda” adding that “we couldn’t even put that in our report”.

She explained how they wanted to put all this in the presentation they were making but when they got their report back from the county attorney the section on access had been replaced with an innocuous little passage about how “access remains a top priority” but saying little else about the way the administration- and council by ignoring the alleged problems contained in the ordinance- have been negligent in getting together to figure out why their “top priority” remains wholly unaddressed.

Bynum pulled no punches on the role of the council in this even though it was quite obvious most of the blame lay with the administration saying “I want to make sure we aren’t holding the commission responsible”

“It falls on the administration AND council” he said, adding “I’ll take responsibility”.

In testimony, former Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura put the blame only on the administration calling it a “lack of leadership on the part of the mayor” and disregarding council inaction in the face of two years of commission reports that didn’t address the access issue.

She chided both the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste and current Mayor Bernard Carvalho saying she was sure if then temporary Mayor Asing had served long enough he would have formed a “SWAT team” of the administration, the council, the county attorney and the commission to solve the impasse.

“The work can be done today with leadership” she said in denying that the bill she and Furfaro introduced was defective for the purposes of exploring access.

Most likely this all boils down to this secret county attorney’s opinion- yet another in a string of baffling actions and inactions blamed on such edicts. Although we have of course been unable to examine the opinions, one model seems to be become apparent to explain how the conclusions have been reached, based on the public statements made by those who have seen them.

In our analysis the emerging pattern seems to indicate that what many of the opinions have in common is that they apparently use the text of enabling legislation- i.e. the current ordinance or law- to define and proscribe provisions in the county charter rather than the other way around as it’s supposed to be under the primacy principle.

Many of these opinions seemingly rely on provisions in ordinances that are interpreted in a way so as to contradict the charter and in some instances the opinions apparently rely on only the ordinance when, if both the charter and ordinance are read together they would necessarily produce different conclusions.

What is becoming more and more apparent when looking at these opinions is that a lot of them need revisiting and word on the street is that that new County Attorney Al Castillo seems to be leaning in that direction.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


GUARD DOG AND YAPPERS : Though yesterday’s Hawai`i Supreme Court ruling that “Act 2” was created for “a class of one” was obvious all along to anyone but the politically deaf, dumb and blind, at the time of the hearing many doubted whether the justices would see that.

Sure they could have looked at the fact that the original draft was written with the words “Hawai`i Superferry (HSf)” but dropped that and inserted the words “high capacity ferry” instead in the final version. Or they could have just read the transcripts of the special legislative session and reached the same conclusion.

But instead, in the final analysis all they had to look at was something that came to light only after the hearing- that the fact of the sunset date made the addition into service of another vessel meeting the description, a physical impossibility.

And that fact- not well expounded upon in the case filed by Maui Tomorrow (MT) and the Sierra Club (SC) which relied more on the environmental protections in the Hawai`i State Constitution- came to light only through the intrepid efforts of indefatigable Superferry opponent Brad Parsons who spent a few week going through Act 2 with a fine tooth comb looking for a smoking gun.

And he found out that it was staring us all right in the face all along.

We followed his almost daily reports trying to put together the facts that might add to the case but, we admit, we doubted that anyone would listen to whatever he came up with.

That is until one day when the latest installment of his work arrived in our inbox peaking our ears.

Parsons was working on the section showing how it would have been almost impossible to have another company use the law to buy a boat fitting the description to ever start service.

That work seemed to lead to one point that had been escaping scrutiny. Even if somehow another company could have used the law to enter the market someday- a questionable proposition to begin with- there’s no way they could have done it by the “sunset date” in the bill.

After a brief email exchange, Parsons made the case that it wasn’t just virtually impossible but was fully impossible for there to be another ferry covered by the legislation before the expiration date the legislation contained.

Certainly there was a lot of useless and even just plain wrong information from Superferry opponents along the way which was used to try discredit the opposition. The book “The Superferry Chronicles” was a plethora of misinformation such as the now ubiquitously reported number of 1500 protesters in Nawiliwili (no one who was there thinks there were any more than 1000 and even that might be high) to the repeated claim that “Act 2” was named that by Lingle to say that the Supreme Court’s original ruling was only “Act 1” in the Superferry drama yet to be written (it was actually the second “act” passed during the special session, the first being a legally mandated confirmation of a Lingle appointee) not to mention the claim that it wasn’t until late in the game that the project suddenly, somehow morphed into a military boondoggle (documents going back to 2001 uncovered by Hope Kalai show military involvement in the ferry project’s conception through U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye’s “ranking member” position on the Senate Armed Forces Appropriation Committee).

If it weren’t for articles written by people like Joan Conrow, Dan Hempey and Haunani Trask it might not have any credible information at all.

But our hero today is Parsons who dealt with the facts and worked his butt off until he found the one fact that would make all the others pale in comparison. Parsons kept at the facts and, in the final analysis there’s a good probability that his work was indeed recognized and formed the basis for yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.

It stands up while the attempts by some to blow off facts in favor of sloppily written pseudo histories- which well could have derailed opposition and eroded the credibility of those who actually researched the matter via original documentation rather than through sensationalization of a cursory examination of newspaper reports- have done little but provide a potential for a guilt by association discrediting of the work of Parson’s and other actual, credible researchers.

None of this of course would have been possible without the efforts of Isaac Hall and his supporters in MT and SC. But without people like Parsons and many others who stuck to the facts and knew they should be enough, we wouldn’t be here today.

And where we are today is that the HSf’s “surprise” decision to voluntarily stop operations is most likely because they have completed their military “mission” and now will be able to recoup their losses by selling the boat and suing the state for whatever they lost.

Too bad we can’t get clowns like Governor Lingle and the legislators who supported Act 2 to pay for it out of their pockets. And it’s too bad we can’t get all those voters who ignored the facts and kept the circus in town to share in that cost.

Monday, March 16, 2009


BESTEST FRIENDS: With the death of newspapers like tomorrow’s closing of the Seattle Post Intelligencer many trained as journalists are turning to public relations work, attempting to turn sows ears into silk purses.

But sometimes there’s little they can do to repair the images of the morally bankrupt, especially these days when even the biggest polluters and environmental criminals are trying to show their green credentials.

So it should have come as no shock when the local paper, desperate for “free content”, rewrote a piece of PR absurdity last Saturday, telling us that “PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility) wins Navy Cultural Resource Management Award

A reading of the lead shows that the award was of course not from the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth or some environmental organization but from the Navy itself.

The article says that

The Chief of Naval Operations recently announced the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kaua`i as the one of the winners of the 2008 CNO Environmental Award for the Cultural Resources Management Installation category, a PMRF news release said this week.

It blathers on about some invasive eradication program- i.e. trying to kill of some off the keawe on the base- and some “cultural/natural resources display” about the “significance of these components to the Native Hawaiian culture prior to Westernization — food, shelter, construction, medicine and cultural practices.”

For those who have followed the exploits of PMRF over the last 20- or ever 40- years it’s a real stomach churning experience to read thorough all the platitudes regarding how caring and concerned- not to mention beloved- the Navy base is about that “significance”.

But the end of the article pushed the button that for many no doubt opened the ear-valve, allowing the emission of a stream of steam.

It quotes one particular “coconut” (brown on the outside white on the inside), Kunane Aipoalani who works on the base as a “transportation buyer” and is a member of the Kaua`i Burial Council.

Ignoring historical desecration and environmental despoilage in Mana, he uses the magic words the rest of the article avoided.

“As a descendent of Nohili and the surrounding area of Barking Sands, I’ve felt PMRF has always been a good neighbor in their established relationship of being sensitive and respectful to the ‘aina (land), its people, and the cultural history of this place. I appreciate the importance of this relationship which is vital to the preservation of a legacy that was left by our ancestors.” (emphasis added)

Good Neighbor, eh. Do good neighbors turn pristine accessible beaches- the longest and widest stretch of beach in the islands- into a restricted, often closed-off cog in the war machine, while spewing rocket fuel, dumping their rockets and waste on the ocean floor in the Ni`ihau channel and, in it’s latest land grab, closing down existing local farms (and preventing new ones) on well-irrigated, prime ag land?

We don’t know if Aipoalani is too young to remember or is exhibiting intentionally selective memory but other do remember the phrase “Good Neighbors” from the base’s PR campaign back in the 90’s when base Commander Robert Mullins repeated it ad nauseum during the infamous “Star Wars” battles when the Navy set brother against brother inland-wide so they could fire off 40 dilapidated old Polaris missiles in an early test of Ronald Regan’s sci-fi movie fantasy.

(Parenthetically Mullins eventually landed a job as former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s Administrative Assistant where his first act was to steal the economic development money slated for the Hanapepe Economic Alliance’s efforts to revitalize the town’s economy and spent it on the “High Tech” center for PMRF defense contractors in Waimea. He then took a job with contractor Textron and opened an office in the building he built, as PNN reported on “The Parxist Conspiracy” TV newsmagazine in the 90’s.)

When people hear the phrase “Good Neighbors” many also remember a film called “Good Neighbor?” by local videographer Ed Coll depicting Mullins repeatedly and defensively stating “we ARE good neighbors” while defending the main gate of the base before his soldier goon squad beat and arrested a group of Hawaiian religious and cultural practitioners who attempted to access those beloved sacred Nohili burial dunes that Aipoalani mentioned, for a religious ceremony.

The film hadn’t been seen publicly for many years but recently it has been resurrected by Coll and is now posted on line.

It shows a goon squad of camouflage-clad soldiers using excessive force and injuring the group members, led by Rev Ka Leo Patterson and a group of reverends and pastors from across the island and world and supported by other guests who accompanied them.

For those who haven’t seen it- and even for those who haven’t seen it in a decade and a half- it’s a must see now. It shows how the cultural and religious practitioners went around a fence to get to the dunes only to be clubbed and dragged behind couple of buildings- where they could not be seen by those who waited outside the fence- for some final abuse. Coll followed them in, wearing his press pass around his neck, before a hand over the camera stopped his filming and he was told he would be arrested with the group and have his camera and tape confiscated.

They never did either.

But before they stopped him from taping, the video shows Kanaka Maoli Michael Grace being subdued by six soldiers and beating him and attempting to put him in plastic handcuff with him screaming in pain and the screaming “he’s resisting- he’s resisting” all while Grace is doing his best to submit to their handling despite the rough treatment.

Grace had plastic handcuffs placed on him, according to Coll, so painfully tight they “disappeared into the folds of his skin” until later when an officer came by and cut them off.

One of the guests Fred Dente wasn’t as lucky. Dente was supporting Patterson’s group and came to participate in the ceremony. He was placed in cuffs so tight that his hands started to turn black during the bus trip to be “processed” according to him and others on the bus.

After being released Dente had to go to the emergency room and suffered permanent nerve damage causing him to miss work for six months afterward eventually contributing to ending his career as a master carpenter.

Those arrested were never charged with anything, many think to remove any record of the arrests so that those injured could not sue.

But is that ancient history- and have things changed?.

Just last year apparently they were at it again when local videographer Bob Sato was physical attacked by base security personnel when he legally refused to leave a public area just off the base while making a kids surfing video, as PNN wrote at the time.

Sato posted his video on-line for a while until, he says, some goons from the base came to his home and threatened his family if he kept up his attempts to publicize the event.

And as far as environmental protection just this month questions have been raised regarding whether the fish kill last January off Ni`ihau was cause by concurrent war games in the area, possibly due to use of sonar.

Local reporter Joan Conrow’s March 9 investigative piece in the Hawaii Independent headlined “Fish fears on Kaua`i, Ni`ihau – Is the Navy to blame?” seems to indicate that the PMRF activity is the most likely reason for the kill off- and a couple of dead whales.

Here’s some excerpts of the article

It’s been weeks since a massive fish kill was discovered on Nihau, but those living on the privately-owned island remain afraid to eat the reef fish that are a dietary staple...

(State aquatic biologist on Kauai Don) Heacock said he observed hundreds of dead fish on Ni`ihau and many had distended swim bladders, a phenomenon more typically associated with deepwater fish that are brought up to the surface. Fish use their swim bladders to “sense, hear and feel sounds and vibrations underwater,” he said.

“If there was a very large underwater explosion, for example, fish would feel that, and if it was loud enough, it could kill them,” Heacock said. “It could destroy organs and tissue.”...

Heacock said that (Ni`ihau owner Bruce) Robinson also reported a baby humpback had washed ashore on Ni`ihau on Jan. 21....
A large swell apparently washed the calf away before Heacock and others were able to get to Ni`ihau on Feb. 4, where they collected dead fish and monk seal scat and observed several seals, which appeared healthy.

On Feb. 9, another humpback calf washed ashore on a section of beach between Kekaha and Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility.

“We don’t know if the fish kills and the two baby whales washing ashore are related, but they might be,” Heacock said. “We do not know if there was some kind of sonic experiment or sonar testing going on. We do know there were military activities going on during that period. Several commercial fishermen said they’d seen some large Navy ships, Marine Corps helicopters and even Australian ships around Ni`ihau in that time period.”

Paul Achitoff, an attorney with Earthjustice, said that the Navy’s counsel confirmed that the January 2009 undersea warfare training exercise (USWEX) began at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 and ended at noon Jan. 18.

The Navy did use mid-frequency active sonar during antisubmarine training exercises last year. However, PMRF spokesman Tom Clements refused to confirm whether the Navy had used sonar during this year’s USWEX, or even that military activities had been conducted at all.

“If an anomaly occurred at that time that people are trying to connect to our activities, we’re saying they were no different than the activities that have been done on the range over the past 40 years,” Clement said.

The Navy contends there is no connection between such strandings and sonar use, but has never released any necropsy reports on the dead animals.

In a response to an email posing additional questions, Clements wrote: “As far as ‘loud noises underwater,’ as you know, there are many anthropomorphic sources of sound in the water, including recreational and commercial boat traffic that crosses our range. Our activities that can cause sound in the water are managed and quantified, as expressed in the Hawaii Range Complex EIS completed in 2008.

“And regarding the introduction of toxic or noxious chemicals, if your question refers to operations specifically designed to test or train with or against chemical agents, than the answer is ‘no.’ The PMRF range did not have any spills or accidents resulting in unintended releases. Most human activities on and in the water can potentially introduce chemicals into the ocean, from sunscreen to diesel fuel emissions.”

When asked whether any intended chemical spills or releases occurred, and why the Navy declined to comment on the date or nature of its activities, Clements replied in a second email: “I believe I did respond within the context of the question by distinguishing between intended (operations specifically designed) and unintended (spills or accidents). Not commenting specifically on all-inclusive military operations within a given parameter of dates is not unusual.”

It should be pointed out that the EIS, which underwent years of court battles, was only okayed by the courts, not because it wasn’t dangerous to marine mammals but because “national security” was more important than a few dead whales.

Of course this kind of doubletalk, avoiding the question and attempts at whitewash by Clements are typical of the Navy and PMRF spokespersons over the years. And we’ve come to expect it as they have cut off access to fishing and surfing spots since September 11, 2001 only opening it up after massive community protests threatened to make their claims of being “good neighbors” even more specious than it already was.

Now select local people are occasionally allowed into the area but only with special IDs issued after extensive background checks.

We expect a lack of respect to the local and native culture from the US government and it’s armed forces, and their defending the theft of the kanaka maoli land base at the point of a gun- heck, they’re the ones whose troops backed up the original theft in 1893.

And we expect them to defend the attempt to “steal the land one last time fair and square” via the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the never-ceded lands and through the Akaka Bill now before the U.S. congress.

That’s because this country was founded on genocide and is supported through it today both domestically and throughout the world. As George Carlin used to say “bombing brown people” is our favorite activity- our very stock-in-trade.

But to try to claim some sort of cultural and environmental bonefides by giving itself an award for being such “good neighbors” and getting one of the poor kanaka house nig... ah, slaves to make a statement on what good neighbors they are is about as galling as it gets.