Friday, May 22, 2020


The issue behind the Grand Wailea Resort contested case proceedings: desecration of sacred gravesites

by Larry Geller

Here is a short video explaining the issue behind the contested case hearing that the Maui Planning Commission wants to keep locked behind closed doors.

Also see: Media Groups Demand End to Closed Grand Wailea Resort Contested Case


Disappeared News part of media group seeking to open Maui Planning Commission deliberations to public scrutiny

by Larry Geller

A media group (including Disappeared News) has petitioned the Hawaii Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to order the Maui Planning Commission to open its deliberations to the public in a contested case hearing. A writ of mandamus is an order from a court to a government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.

The Commission has ignored a written demand by the group that contested case proceedings related to the Grand Wailea Resorts proposed expansion be reopened to the public.

Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus directing the MAUI PLANNING COMMISSION and its HEARING OFFICER to open its proceedings in In the Matter of the Application for: BRE ICONIC GWR OWNER, LLC, Docket No. SM1 2018/0011 and to otherwise comply with the constitutional standards set forth in Oahu Publications Inc. v. Ahn before closing any contested case proceedings to the public...

A downside of the current coronavirus crisis is that it gives government boards and commissions the opportunity to feel they can flout constitutional or statutory requirements to conduct their business in the open.

The Maui Planning Commission is moving forward with a contested case hearing closed to the public.


Pandemic no excuse for government hostility to sunshine laws

The issue before the Maui Planning Commission is the request by the Grand Wailea Resort to remodel and expand its operations within the Special Management Area.

The public has a right to observe the discussion, the decision-making process, and any vote. To cloak actions of a board or commission in secrecy means that they do not want to be accountable to the public for their actions.

Download 20200521 Petition for Writ of Mandamus Re Maui Planning Commission from Disappeared News

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Pandemic no excuse for government hostility to sunshine laws

by Larry Geller

“Information allows people to scrutinise the actions of a government and is the basis for proper, informed debate of those actions.” (The Public’s Right to Know: Principles on Freedom of Information Legislation,London, 1999, p. 1.)

The founding fathers recognized the connection between democratic government and an informed populace. George Washington, who suffered more than his share of criticism from the prq^, believed in the importance of the free exchange of ideas in a democracy. He once wrote that the process was necessary so Citizens at large may be well informed, and decide, with respect to public measures, upon a thorough knowledge of the facts. Concealment is a species of misinformation." (James E. Pollard, The Presidents and the Press, 1947, pp. 29-30)


Given the chance, many government boards, commissions and even the Hawaii State Legislature will take the opportunity to operate out of the public view. The current COVID-19 crisis coupled with Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamations have made it easier for government bodies to overstep their discretion in locking the public out of the public’s business.

This morning attorney Lance Collins submitted a written demand that the Maui Planning Commission's contested case proceedings related to the Grand Wailea Resorts proposed expansion be reopened to the public. Disappeared News  and The Hawai'i Independent are media organizations making this demand.

The issue before the Maui Planning Commission is the request by the Grand Wailea Resort to remodel and expand its operations within the Special Management Area.

Three Native Hawaiian community groups, Malama Kakanilua, Hooponopono o Makena and Pele Defense Fund were granted intervention in the proceedings and the Commission appointed Maui attorney Linden Joesting as the hearings officer.

On May 7, the hearings officer issued an order denying that the proceedings were required to be open to the public, reaffirming an earlier decision that the proceedings move forward regardless of the COVID-19 emergency or the stay at home orders on the basis of needing to "get the administrative law work of the County done."

Relying upon First Amendment caselaw protecting the press' right to access adjudicative proceedings, the media groups have also noted Hawaii's long tradition and experience of open access to contested case proceedings especially related to land use.

The letter includes these points:

“In summary, the Media demand that the proceedings for the above-mentioned contested case be re-opened to the public without qualification or delay. Article I, Section 4 of the Hawaii State Constitution and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the requirements of the Charter of the County of Maui, impose upon the Maui Planning Commission and its hearings officers, an obligation to conduct contested case proceedings including prehearing conferences in a manner accessible the public and the press.”

Disappeared News feels that it is important to clarify that actions of government be completely transparent—and that the coronavirus crisis not be used as an “excuse” to deny the public its rights. There’s no question that government does have the ability and in the context of public health or national security and public order, or the rights of others like privacy, to impose some rules and limitations. But to place limits on the public’s right to see or participate in the actions of its government, the restrictions need to meet tests of necessity. The denial by the hearings officer does not meet standards of necessity.

Additionally, there is a long tradition and experience of open access to contested case proceedings especially related to land use.

"There has been a total disregard for the rights of the public and the press to access and observe this important case. We sincerely hope the Commission reconsiders this decision immediately," said journalist Victor Gregor Limon.

"This time of emergency does not justify government secrecy. The Resort is certainly not entitled to have their permits fast-tracked behind closed doors while public gatherings are banned and also excluding the press,"

Download 200519 Media Letter to Maui Planning Commission from Disappeared News

Monday, April 27, 2020


Life of the Land appeals denial of Kahuku Windmill motion

From today's press release:

Life of the Land filed a direct appeal to the Hawai'i Supreme Court on April 27 regarding the Public Utilities Commission's decision to deny its motion to void approvals related to the Kahuku windmills project.

Last September, Life of the Land filed a motion for relief with the Public Utilities Commission seeking to invalidate the approval of the Purchase Power Agreement between Hawaiian Electric and AES Corporation for the Na Pua Makani windmill project in Kahuku. Life of the Land argued that the project had failed to obtain site control within the approved timeline, that the Commission did not properly consider greenhouse gas emissions and that the cost for energy approved in 2016 was no longer reasonable or in the public interest.

On April 14, the Commission denied Life of the Land's motion arguing that it does not have jurisdiction to review previous approvals. Alternatively, the Commission ruled that the PUC approval empowered Hawaiian Electric and AES Corp to change to the terms of their approval without further PUC review or approval.

Life of the Land is seeking the high court's review for a number of procedural and substantive reasons. Most importantly, the Commission's decision is based upon the claim that the Commission can delegate the power to modify its approvals to private parties.

"The legislature has conferred broad power on the Commission to ensure that monopolies abide by the terms of their approvals. The Commission's self-limiting decision is erroneous and sets a dangerous precedent," said LOTL attorney Bianca Isaki.

"Delegating regulatory power to private developers to monitor themselves was rejected by the Hawai'i Supreme Court nearly forty years ago," said LOTL attorney Lance Collins.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Kahuku Mother Sues Board of Education over Secret, Closed-Door Meeting and Vote

This is a news release from attorney Lance Collins regarding action to remedy what appears to be a blatant refusal on the part of Hawaii's statewide Board of Education to follow the Sunshine Law.

Pending outcome of the court challenge, my comment would be that they very well understand the law. It's not as though this is an inexperienced board.

Kahuku, Oahu -- Sunny Unga, Kahuku resident and mother of public school
children, has filed suit against the Board of Education for holding a
secret, closed door meeting last February, that resulted in denying her
petition for rulemaking, violating the state Sunshine Law.

In January, Ms. Unga petitioned the Board of Education to adopt a new
rule that requires schools and libraries to hold a community meeting
before providing official comments regarding development projects
proposed within five miles of a school or library.

The petition came after it was discovered the Department of Education
raised no concerns about the close proximity of proposed windmills to
Kahuku Elementary -- other than "student will hear the windmills" -- in
its official comment for the Na Pua Makani windwill EIS.

Within weeks of receiving the official petition, the Board of Education
held a secret meeting behind closed doors where they deliberated and
voted to deny the petition. The Board did not provide notice of the
meeting to the public nor did it allow the public the opportunity to
testify before they made their decision.

After the Board held its secret meeting, they informed Ms. Unga that
they had denied her petition.

The Board admits they did not provide notice of the meeting and failed
to provide the public with notice of their decision. The Board instead
argues that it was allowed to pass an administrative rule which exempted
itself from the requirements of the Sunshine Law.

Ms. Unga is asking the First Circuit Court to void the Board's action
denying her petition, to require the Board to consider her petition at a
public meeting, and to invalidate the Board's rule attempting to exempt
itself from the Sunshine Law.

"The community asked the Board to consider transparency in Department of
Education decision-making regarding proposed developments around schools
and libraries. Sadly, the Board chose to reject it in a secret,
closed-door meeting," said Ms. Unga's attorney Bianca Isaki.

"The Sunshine Law is to ensure that the formation of public policy is
done in the open. No agency has the power to adopt a rule that exempts
itself from this mandate," said Ms. Unga's attorney Lance D. Collins.

Monday, April 06, 2020


Governor Ige's suspension of Hawaii's "Sunshine Law" during COVID-19 crisis does not allow gov't to hold secret meetings

Boards, commissions and city councils may believe the Governor's suspension of 92F allows them to hold meetings or keep records out of the public view. Not so.

Hawaii public interest attorney Lance Collins writes that although Hawaii's Gov. Ige suspended state law Chapter 92F, Haw. Rev. Statutes, "that provides a uniform procedure by which a member of the public may inspect and copy a government record as well as protect personal information," he points out that "It does not establish the right of members of the public to inspect and copy such records and it does not independently establish a duty of an agency to provide access. Those rights and duties are established by several constitutional provisions, the Charter as well as the common law."

Although Collins' letter references the Maui County Charter, he found the same basic provisions in the charters of each Hawaii county:

County of Hawai'i Charter
Section 10-3(d) Proposed Budget and Message Public Record
Section 10-4 Public Hearing on Operating and Capital Budget
Section 10-7 Budget Public Record
Section 13-20(a) County Records are Open to Public Inspection
Section 13-20(b) Council, Board and Commissions Meetings Open to Public

City and County of Honolulu Charter
Section 3-107(8) Council Meetings Open to the Public
Section 3-404(3) Ordinances Require Three Readings Including a Public
Section 7-110 Public Hearings on Fixing/Adjusting Rates/Proposed Budget
of Board of Water Supply
Section 9-104(1) Council required to hold public hearing on proposed
city budget(s)
Section 13-105 Records Open to the Public
Section 13-106 Public Hearings; Notice Requirements
Section 17-107 Public Hearing on Proposed Budget of Public Transit Authority

County of Kauai Charter
Section 3.07(E) Council and Committee Meetings Open to the Public
Section 19.07(A) Proposed Budget Subject to Council Public hearing(s)
Section 23.08(A) County Records Open to Public Inspection
Section 23.08(B) Board and Commission Meetings Open to Public
Section 30.03(F) Electric Cooperative Board Meetings Open to Public

Download Open Government Requirements During Emergency from Disappeared News


Friday, February 28, 2020


Mauna Kea donors seek Supreme Court protection from Attorney General subpoenas

Here's a press release. Yes, we're willing to post press releases. It's what you'll get in the media anyway, but warped a bit.

Mauna Kea Donors Seek Supreme Court Protection from Attorney General

February 28, 2020

HONOLULU - Donors to non-profit organizations supporting Mauna Kea
protectors have filed an original proceeding in the Hawai'i Supreme
Court seeking to protect their identities from being obtained by the
Attorney General.

    Last year, the Attorney General issued several subpoenas to the
Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Airlines and First Hawaiian Bank
for records related to activities supporting public demonstrations
opposed to further development of Mauna Kea.

     The Attorney General's subpoena to First Hawaiian Bank sought to
obtain banking records of KAHEA, one of the non-profit organizations
that has supported those demonstrating for Mauna Kea. KAHEA sought a
circuit court order to stop the subpoena which was partially granted but
partially denied. Circuit Court Judge James Ashford ordered First
Hawaiian Bank to produce some of KAHEA's banking records. The records
that are to be produced will reveal the identity of the donors.

     The donors argue enforcing the subpoena will violate their
constitutional right to privacy and freedom of association by disclosing
their identities and financial contributions to KAHEA.

     The donors' attorney Bianca Isaki said, “The attorney general has
overstepped her powers by targeting those who support the Mauna Kea
demonstrators. The donors’ assertion of their rights seeks to halt this
unprecedented overreach by government into community organizing.”

     The donors' other attorney Lance D. Collins said, "The Attorney
General is bound by the constitution to obtain a warrant when seeking
evidence in a criminal investigation. She can't get around the lack of
probable cause by issuing administrative subpoenas under bureaucratic

     The Supreme Court will first decide whether Judge Ashford or Clare
Connors should answer the petition. A hearing date would be set after
the answers are filed.

- 30 -

Lance D. Collins

Monday, January 27, 2020


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: A Multipolar Future of Regional Civilizations, U.S. May Divide in Two

Johan Galtung: A Multipolar Future of Regional Civilizations, U.S. May Divide in Two


21 Jan 2020 – Dr. Johan Galtung discusses his view of the future of the world and U.S. empire. He believes we’re moving into a peaceful multipolar world composed of regional civilizations, but not quite attaining “one world”. He sees Islam returning with a vengeance and the U.S. possibly splitting or dividing into two parts.

(Download MP3 here)

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. His book, Transcend and Transform, was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1700 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

Wednesday, October 02, 2019


Did you know you can weigh in on Caldwell’s $772 million splurge on replacing the Blaisdell Arena, a war memorial? Be quick, though

The information below is provided by @BlaisdellMemorl .

The City is planning to replace Blaisdell Arena, a building eligible for the State and National Historic Register of Historic Places, and the public can submit comment now to the State Historic Preservation Department (SHPD), but you wouldn't know that from following the news. These consultation periods are not generally considered newsworthy subjects, but it is an important way for the public to weigh in on proposed changes to any historic site in Hawaii.

The final Environmental Assessment for the $772 million Blaisdell Center redevelopment project plans to retain the arena's exterior while replacing and modernizing the interior, stating no significant impact on this historic site. Now the City plans to demolish and replace the arena's interior AND exterior. If addition of a two-story dressing room in 2013 can be determined as affecting the historic arena, surely gutting it to the rafters does.

Historic Hawaii Foundation's comments on the draft EA disagreed with the proposed finding of "no significant impact". Historic preservation practices state that historic features should be repaired instead of replaced. Destroying the historic character of Blaisdell Arena would certainly affect this historic property, which is inconsistent with the EA's findings of no significant impact. The City isn't even following their own rules.

This is where the SHPD consultation comes in. Anyone can comment on projects involving historic sites for 30 days after the project is published on SHPD's website. They published 2 projects on Blaisdell Center but didn't say what either project is about. It's rather hard to comment on a project when you don't know what it is, and as of this writing the state still has not offered a description. One likely addresses the historic architecture. The comment period for the earliest project ends on Saturday Oct 5, the latter on Oct 19.

Blaisdell Arena is a well known and recognizable building. You see it flying in and out of Honolulu. Post an image on any history of Hawaii Facebook page and you'll get hundreds of comments. Do the same 1 month later and you'll get hundreds more. Historic buildings are architectural kupuna, they have stories to tell, if you treat them right.

To often in Hawaii people don't rally to support an historic site until the demolition crew shows up. See Sherwoods. Of course, it's difficult for people to follow projects threatening their favorite historic site when most in this state are struggling just to keep a roof over their head.

Navigating the City's convoluted logic of "no significant impact" on an historic building that they plan to demolish while dealing with the state's obtuseness on what projects are actually up for consultation can be soul crushing. No wonder so many throw up their hands and walk away. It's almost easier to protest. See Sherwoods again.

But here is a chance to make a difference when it counts.

If you want to preserve Blaisdell Arena, email SHPD at the addresses below and tell them this historic site is too significant to lose. Retaining the historic character of this building's exterior is possible while still updating the interior. Do this by Oct 5. Or by Oct 19. Who knows

State Historic Preservation Division
Alan Downer, Administrator
601 Kamokila Boulevard, Rm 555
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707-2037

Tanya Gumapac-McGuire, Acting Architecture Branch Chief

Friday, June 21, 2019


Community group opposes use by Hawaii gov't of LRAD device they secretly purchased

These devices don't belong in Hawaii. They can cause permant hearing loss and injury.
From the press release:

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I - On June 21, 2019, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, through its attorney Lance D. Collins, wrote to Suzanne Case, Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) requesting her to publicly renounce the use of its recently procured Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), commonly referred to as a “sound cannon.”
    LRADs were developed by military contractors after the bombing of the USS Cole. LRADs are pain inflicting weapons used by the U.S. military to suppress close-range attacks on Navy warships. When mounted aboard a Navy ship, the “area denial” feature emits a “sound at a dangerously high level . . . to cause pain/hearing damage” as well as “repel” an attack on a warship by combatants.
    Individuals immediately lose balance, experience nausea, dizziness and lack of control over bodily movement. The use of LRAD as a deterrent or dispersant of nonviolent, noncombatant civilians has caused serious and many times permanent bodily injury in a number of cases across the United States since certain law enforcement agencies began using them on noncombatants.
    KAHEA’s attorney pointed to state, federal, and international law provisions under which use of the LRAD against nonviolent demonstrators is unlawful.  “Under federal constitution law,” KAHEA wrote, “the use of this military weapon (the 100X model specifically procured by you) in a manner capable of causing serious and permanent bodily injury to move non-violent demonstrators ‘violates the Fourteenth Amendment under clearly established law.’”
    According to DLNR documents, its LRAD contract is from June 15, 2019 to December 19, 2019 and the justification for the approximately $15,000 purchase of the device is for natural disaster warnings.  KAHEA’s letter, however, notes that an LRAD device was first observed in DLNR officers’ possession during demonstrations on Haleakalā last year and was confirmed only after multiple open records requests by KAHEA were denied.
    KAHEA’s letter requests Case to “immediately and publicly renounce the use of these military weapons against civilian noncombatants seeking to protect natural resources and historic properties anywhere within your department's jurisdiction” and promises to seek the protection of the courts if no such action is taken.


Wednesday, May 08, 2019


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: Meanwhile, Around the World

Meanwhile, Around the World

6 May 2019

#585 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

There is much diversity.  Let us praise that mega aspect of our world as multipolar, passive but peaceful, coexistence of civilizations:

Anglo-American; Latin American-Caribbean; Islamic; African pre-, post-colonial; European from Ireland to Russia Far East; West Asian Islamic; with Israel Jewish; Iran Persian; South Asian, SAARC, Hindu and Islamic with India; Southeast Asian, ASEAN, Buddhist, Christian, multi-cultural; Northeast Asian daoist-shinto with China and Japan; Asian-Pacific, multi-cultural, with Maoris, Aborigines, Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians from one rim to the other.

14 civilizations.  Others stop counting at 8, 10.  Around that.

What a wonderful, diverse, polyphonic world!  Not monophonic US or European all over, as they both have wanted and maybe still want.

To be celebrated as part of a formula for endurance and duration.  The other part is symbiosis.  Man-woman diversity is fine; the other part is man-woman symbiosis, celebrated in half of world literature?

Civilization diversity is fine, so is symbiosis.  Meaning what?

The standard answer: dialogue. “This is our position; what is yours?”  Good enough for getting to know each other across gaps of differences.  But not good enough for symbiosis, for “living together”-ness.

What more is needed, beyond “dialogue of civilizations”?

Like for man-woman: creating something new.  A real dialogue goes beyond getting to know each other to mutual learning, beyond mutual learning to mutual visions, and beyond that to mutual practice.

Thus, Christianity and Islam could join in producing a Chrislam, Hinduism and Buddhism a Hinbuism, Daoism and Shinto a Daoshin.

The civilizations we know, and often celebrate as if they were eternal, arose like that.  That wonderful process will not stop by somebody putting a lid on it: “You have us; that is all you need”.

They may try, but will not succeed.  Seeds under ice burst forth. Seeds of new civilizations under the present will also burst forth.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 High Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. His book, Transcend and Transform, was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1700 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Monday, April 01, 2019


After rail cars fail fire test, Mayor cuts his losses on Honolulu’s grossly overbudget rail line, opening the guideway as an elevated skating rink

by Larry Geller

Skating-rink7APRIL 1, 2019 (HONOLULU)—Eager crowds lined up this morning at the turnstiles all along the route of the new Honolulu Elevated Ice Skating Rink awaiting the former rail line’s reincarnated grand opening.

Honolulu Mayor Tam, elected some say on the basis of his suggestion to refrigerate the already frozen Honolulu rail line and turn it into a profitable tourist attraction, officially opened the skating rink as man-made snow sprinkled the assembled guests and press corps.
“This will not only be recognized by Guiness as the world’s longest artificial skating rink, but it will qualify Honolulu to bid on the 2022 Winter Olympics.”

Tam also announced the awarding of concessions to local businesses to rent skates, protective knee pads and helmets to tourists and to daily commuters (with a Kamaaina discount). Other vendors will offer snacks and souvenirs.

The estimate that commuting to town via ice skates would take less time than waiting for a train will be tested for the first time as skaters lined up for an inaugural race from East Kapolei to Middle Street. The winner will be awarded a lifetime supply of shave ice.

When the opening bell sounded, crowds rushed onto the slick surface. Most were first timers who found that ice skating is not as easy as it appears on the TV screen, and casualties were reported within minutes of opening. Mayor Tam indicated that he would prefer to watch rather than step out on the ice himself.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Native Hawaiian Fisherman Appeals Land Board's Decision on Slave Ships

From the press release:

March 13, 2019

Wailuku, Maui –  Native Hawaiian waterman Malama Chun has filed an
appeal in the Maui Environmental Court against the state Board of Land
and Natural Resources regarding his petition challenging DLNR's Division
of Aquatic Resources practice of issuing licenses to foreign fisherman
who have been refused permission to land in Hawai'i by U.S. authorities
and have been ordered deported.

Chun originally filed his petition in April, 2017. The BLNR first
denied the petition on the grounds that Chun lacked standing. Chun
appealed and the Maui Environmental Court reversed that decision in
December, 2017, sending it back to the BLNR to decide the merits of
Chun's petition.

The decision on the merits concluded that foreign fishermen who have
been denied entry into the United States and are confined to their ships
pending deportation are “lawfully admitted to the United States” and
therefore permitted to obtain commercial marine licenses.

State law restricts the issuance of commercial fishing licenses to
persons “lawfully admitted to the United States” Foreign fishermen
working in the longline fishing industry are refused permission to land
in the United States by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and are also
ordered deported. However, using a loophole, ICE authorizes the
fisherman's boat captain to hold the fisherman's passport and the
deportation order and allow the boat captain to determine when the
deportation is to occur. To enforce the deportation order, the piers at
which the fishing boats dock are heavily militarized and access is

Malama Chun said, “This makes no sense. It's like the land board
looked at the blue ocean and insisted to all that it's red.”

Chun's attorney, Lance D. Collins, added: “The statute is clear. The
practice is illegal. The Land Board cannot interpret the parts of a
statute it doesn't like out of existence. That's the prerogative of the

Download Mchun Appeal Cc NOA 190312 from Disappeared News

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Coup d'état in Hawaii: Queen deposed on 17 January 1893, relinquished her throne to "the superior military forces of the United States"

Today is the day in history that the lawful government of Hawaii was forcibly removed in a coup d'état by a group of businessmen and sugar planters with the direct assistance of the US military. Queen Liliuokalani was forced to abdicate.

I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom. "That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government." Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.
— Queen Liliuokalani, Jan 17, 1893

From Wikipedia:
…The Hawaiian monarchy ended in a day of bloodless revolution. Armed insurrection by a relatively small group of men, most of them American by birth or heritage, succeeded in wresting control of the Islands with the backing of American troops sent ashore from a warship in Honolulu Harbor. To this "superior force of the United States of America," Queen Lili`uokalani yielded her throne, under protest, in order to avoid bloodshed, trusting that the United States government would right the wrong that had been done to her and the Hawaiian people. [, “Spirit of Aloha,”, 5/1994]
On 14 January 1893, a group composed of Americans and Europeans formed a Committee of Safety seeking to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom, depose the Queen, and seek annexation to the United States. As the coup d'état was unfolding on 17 January the Committee of Safety expressed concern for the safety and property of American citizens. In response, United States Government Minister John L. Stevens summoned a company of U.S. Marines from the USS Boston and two companies of U.S. Navy sailors to take up positions at the U.S. Legation, Consulate, and Arion Hall. On the afternoon of 16 January 1893, 162 sailors and Marines aboard the USS Boston in Honolulu Harbor came ashore under orders of neutrality. Historian William Russ has noted that the presence of these troops, ostensibly to enforce neutrality and prevent violence, effectively made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself.

The Queen was deposed on 17 January 1893 and temporarily relinquished her throne to "the superior military forces of the United States".She had hoped the United States, like Great Britain earlier in Hawaiian history, would restore Hawaii's sovereignty to the rightful holder.

Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:

I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom. "That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government." Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.
—Queen Liliuokalani, Jan 17, 1893 [Wikipedia, Liliuokalani]

US troops from the USS Boston invade Hawaii (state archive photo). Probably the ship and the landing of troops could be seen by the Queen from the upstairs windows of the Iolani Palace, since the harbor was closer than it is today.

More photos and description at Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.

Monday, December 17, 2018


Is the Honolulu Star-Advertiser caught in a death spiral?

by Larry Geller

The cost of a subscription to Honolulu’s only daily newspaper, the Star-Advertiser, has drastically increased over the past two years. At the same time, the staff has been reduced and the number of pages has been reduced when compared to better years. Last Tuesday’s edition was just 35 pages.

We all know that retail advertising revenue is way down. Advertising sections previously included K-Mart, Toys-R-Us and others from stores that have either closed or that no longer advertise regularly. Trump’s tariff war should drive up the cost of newsprint.

Without ads, the only recourse is to increase the subscription rate to home and business subscribers. But what happens when that price becomes unaffordable?

I firmly believe in the value of local journalism and a vibrant local newspaper.

Having said that, what is the value of a print subscription in real US dollars? Many Hawaii residents live on a limited income and already make tradeoffs of food vs. rent vs. medicine. Others are seniors or those with disabilities living on a fixed income.

I was shocked to receive my renewal bill earlier this month: $488.80, an increase of 44.6 percent over last year’s rate. If the same increase should hold in the coming year, that would be a subscription cost of $706.80.

Plotly Char of increase -a

Next year could be the breaking point for me – and for many other subscribers as well. There’s a limit.

The question I now face is whether I renew this year. I really don’t know what to decide.

Here’s the data, starting from December 2014. The rightmost column is my calculation of the renewal cost if the annual percentage increase remains the same as this year.

I didn’t go beyond 2019 for two reasons: (1) my projection is purely conjectural, and (2) there may not be a newspaper in 2020.

It’s a death spiral if the increases continue.


Monday, November 12, 2018


Research paper: Peace Education: Pedagogy of the Middle Class

Liberation does not come simply from converting or slaying the oppressors. The challenge is to find a way to free ourselves, all of us, from an oppressive social situation.

Transcend has revived and posted a research paper by George Kent, Professor Emeritus with the University of Hawaii. The paper is quite long, but worth skimming and later reading. So rather than reproduce it here, please click over to the Transcend website at the link below for Prof. Kent’s paper.

Peace Education: Pedagogy of the Middle Class

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: A World without US (Empire) Killing?

A World without US (Empire) Killing?

5 Nov 2018

#559 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Obviously, we are not there yet.  And it may take some time.  There is much resilience in that construction, and in the US itself.

But some signs are unmistakable.  The US is (kind of) pulling out of the world–of East Asia, Afghanistan, and some of West Asia–“Middle East” as seen by London–setting up camp in North America. In what this column for decades has referred to as MEXUSCAN; a neutral listing from south to north of the three countries.

However, Washington calls it UMC, for US-Mexico-Canada with itself first (of course), then come Latin Mexico and Anglo Canada.  Not quite incidentally, “UMC” also stands for the US Marine Corps, and its head general was delighted.

Leaving that aside, however:  from seeing itself as being on top of the world to being on top of only North America is a rather major “pulling out”. Even if US pulls out and then into North America with its well-known maxim “nobody above, nobody even on the side” intact.  US is the uncontested America First but among 3, no longer 193 states.  Some contraction, indeed.

What is left behind here and there in the world is some training of local forces presumably willing to fight US wars, even without US troops participating. And “advisors” and “trainers”–not quite the same.  And an enormous amount of hardware, arms and platforms; ready to enter an arms/armament market more blossoming than ever.

Well, highly mobile US units will still for some time have impact as pure force power, and the threat thereof.  And, even if no longer running the world militarily and politically, only a tiny slice of it, there is no competitor to US culture as world culture.  Had the US leadership been more cultural, and less military-economic-political, they would have celebrated their cultural global reach more and deplored military-economic-political deficits less.

The 248 or so US military interventions since Thomas Jefferson in Libya in 1801 have been justified in the US as giving US business a “global reach” in access to resources and markets.  Mexico and Canada are mow experiencing what that means as NAFTA and some neo-NAFTA with much of the enormous US power now focused mainly on them.

Nevertheless, there is a good alternative open to Washington: US itself; like Canada with enormous open spaces to be settled and developed.  The sky is the limit also after pulling out of the world as a whole and into a North America where level of material living is concerned. However, many, maybe the majority of US citizens, seem to believe in a key mantra of our times: “enough is enough”.

Do not call only 1 of the continent’s 35 states “America”, and their citizens “Americans”.  Even well informed Thomas Friedman has difficulties sorting this out.  “US-ians” would be correct but ugly, hence “US citizens”.  Not of America, but in America.

In all of this there is no denial that some of the 248 (or so) US military interventions may have done something good.  But there is a denial that the US was, is, and will remain indispensable in doing so. The UN, a US brainchild to a large extent, now growing up as an adult with its own brain in a 1 state-1 vote General Assembly, could, can and will be, able to do the Chapter 6/Chapter 7 jobs better with no uninvited US competition–to which they have much too often yielded.

In short, even if there may be sick cases in the future where a quick and highly unilateral US intervention might have worked better than what the UN General Assembly can manage, reliance on 1 of 193 states is in itself sickening.  It is called mon-archy.  Dictatorship.

Moreover, what a liberation for the US to share the responsibility for “stability” as they call it with others, not shouldering it alone!  There will be errors in the future as in the present and the past, but the UN General Assembly is the place to sort that out, not Washington DC.

A world without US killing would be a major contribution to negative peace, to Glenn Paige’s “non-killing world”.  His own country with or without death penalty stopping killing all over. It is coming. What about US and positive peace? Could less US killing also contribute to that?  It is also coming, as a change in US mentality.

There are many signs in that direction recently, as an expression of Washington now seeing the limits to “politics by military means”.  There are “do this, do that” suggestions for “peace by peaceful means” from the White House nowadays; all to be welcomed.  Yet, it would be naive to assume that the military option is not still on the US table–Washington always assures the world that it is.

If this analysis is more or less correct, peace is about to get a rather major carrier: the US, with enormous resources for thinking, speaking and acting. This will affect others; will make them tune their instruments to the peace themes.  In our present multipolar passive peaceful coexistence world, USA and Israel have been the two remaining belligerent states.  With US changing so will Israel, from an expansionist and colonialist state into the lands of others “from the river in Africa to Euphrates”, to a member state in a West Asia Community, a WAC. USA in NAFTA, Israel in WAC, both for peace—.

Among the other biggies in the world, it can be argued that the EU is already on this line, and so is The Commonwealth.  And African Unity. And ELAC.  And, above all, SCO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from 2002, with India and Pakistan a good half of humanity.

However, can China switch from its present arms race back to its old Win-Win peace strategy?  Certainly, it is actually always there, but now with a very conventional over-layer of inter-states arms race.

With US becoming a peace champion, as this essay not only hopes but argues, the US remains a lighthouse for the world.

Now with green, not red light.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 High Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the only author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. Transcend and Transform was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Nov 2018.

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Saturday, October 27, 2018


Newspaper report of DOE policy change on bullying was woefully inadequate

by Larry Geller

Readers of the Star-Advertiser report published on October 6 (DOE discipline policy gets stricter on bullies, Star-Advertiser p.A1, 10/6/2018) will learn from the lead that the Department of Education is “catching up with the times”:

The state Department of Education is proposing changes to its misconduct and discipline policy to get tough on students who bully, discriminate and harass.

Catching up with the times, the DOE also is proposing to create an offense for sexual harassment and specifically acknowledges sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in its protections against discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Bullying is related to suicide rates

From Preventing Bullying And Suicide (Midweek, 4/23/13):

Bullying and cyberbullying are so pervasive and hurtful that one out of 15 students – two in each classroom – missed a day of school during the previous month because they felt unsafe at or on their way to school.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youths are bullied at shockingly higher rates – they are cyberbullied twice as often as heterosexual youths.

Young people who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, lonely, fearful, anxious and have low self-esteem. Some have nightmares and suffer from sleeplessness. Some stay home from school. Some think about suicide.

Recently, there have been numerous high-profile instances in which young people who have been bullied or cyberbullied have killed themselves.

Far from voluntarily correcting its long-standing pattern of neglecting to protect students in its charge, the DOE is responding to a US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights report and also faces a class-action lawsuit filed against it on August 30, 2018. There was no mention of the lawsuit in the newspaper article.

The lawsuit charges, in part (snip):

… the Department failed to adhere to even the basic expectations of parents and students attending public schools by neglecting its responsibility as policymaker, and by the blatant and repeated failure to protect victims of bullying and harassment. …

The continuing practice of the Defendants and their deliberate indifference towards victims of bullying and harassment harms all of Hawai`i’s students by systemically supporting the behavior, and needlessly puts the entire student population at risk of significant and irreparable damage.

A glaring omission in the report is the US Department of Education OCR finding that policies intended to protect students against harassment by third parties or staff are not available to students or their families.

Policy 305.10, Procedures Regarding Employee Harassment of Students, is analyzed in the OCR report and falls short of federal mandates.

… none of the procedures used by HDOE are sufficient to comply with the grievance procedure requirements under Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 and Title II.

HDOE submitted to OCR a Standard of Practice Document No. 0211(SP 0211),released March 8. 2008,which is the document implementing Policy 305.10.17 OCR was not able to locate SP 0211 on HDOE's website, and HDOE has provided no information indicating that it has released SP 0211 to students or their parents.

The OCR report explains this policy:

HDOE identified Policy 305.10 (formerly titled Policy 4211) to OCR in November 2011 as the policy used when an employee harasses a student. Policy 305.10 prohibits discrimination, including harassment, by any employee against a student based on various protected classes, including race, sex, or disability. It further states that “a student shall not be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of,or otherwise be subjected to harassment, bullying, or discrimination under any program, services, or activity" of HDOE. It lastly states that retaliation against anyone engaging in a protected activity is prohibited. Protected activity is defined under the policy as follows: filing a complaint of harassment, bullying, or discrimination; participating in complaint or investigative proceedings dealing with harassment, bullying, or discrimination under the policy; inquiring about one's rights under the policy; or otherwise opposing acts covered under the policy.

The Star-Advertiser story discusses only the proposed rule changes to Chapter 19 affecting student discipline.

Attorney Eric Seitz squares off against nemesis AG Russel Suzuki

It was déjà vu: one of the two lead plaintiff attorneys in the long Felix Consent Decree special education case, Eric Seitz, faced then Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki for more than a decade. Now they meet again in a new class-action suit, this one revolving around the alleged failure of the Hawaii Department of Education to protect students against rampant bullying.

Just as in Felix, Seitz is trying to end a long-standing abuse.

I have to admit that I immediately searched Suzuki’s answer to Seitz’ complaint in Civil No. 18-00332 to see if he is still claiming the “sovereign immunity” defense repeatedly asserted during Felix—that is, holding that the state cannot be sued without its consent. Sure enough, it’s in there. It never worked in Felix and I assume it won’t work this time, either.

In Felix, the overarching theme was the state’s refusal to provide any semblance of special education services, as required by federal law, to students who would qualify for them. Probably the number of students affected, including those who aged out of the system before and during the 12-year process in federal court, was in the tens of thousands.

Exerpt of US DOE office for Civil Rights Survey Data Gathered from Hawaii DOE Students

The response rate to OCR's survey state-wide was 66.07%,or 69,905 out of 105,709 possible students.3 Of the students responding, more than 27,000 students reported being either “somewhat” or “very” concerned about bullying or harassment that had occurred at their current school, representing 38.8% of all responses. Nearly one-third (more than 20,000, or 31.5%) of those responding to the survey also reported having been personally bullied or harassed at school, on the way to or from school, or at a school-sponsored off-campus function during the 2014-2015 school year. Of those students who indicated that they were bullied or harassed, 12,828 (61.7%) reported that they believed it was because of their race, sex, and/or disability.

Of those students who indicated in response to OCR's survey that they were bullied or harassed, over half (10,744, or 54.07%) indicated that they or someone else reported the harassment to a teacher or other school employee. Of the incidents that school officials were made aware of, nearly two-thirds (6,727, or 62.6%) concerned incidents where students believed that they had been bullied or harassed on the basis of their sex, race, color, national origin, or disability. In 980 of these responses (14.6% of the total), according to the survey results, the school took no action in response. Of the students who further answered the survey question regarding whether they were bullied or harassed again after school officials were made aware of their initial incident, over half (51.75%, or 5,270 students), indicated that they were.

Of the students who indicated on the survey that they were bullied or harassed but who indicated that they did not report the incident to a school official (9,128 students, or 45.93%), nearly half (4,261, or 46.6%) indicated that they did not do so because they did not believe the school would do anything in response to their report (1,104,or 12%), that it would make the bullying and harassment worse (1,989, or 22%),or both (1,168,or 13%). These 4,261 responses correspond to 6% of all the survey responses that OCR gathered from across the state. Many students also reported that they did not know how to report harassment. Of the students indicating that they were bullied or harassed and who fiirther indicated they did not report it to school officials,in addition to the responses noted above, an additional 750 (8% of these respondents) indicated that the only reason they did not make a report is that they did not know to whom to report the harassment.

Anecdotally, bullying is endemic in the Hawaii school system, and the DOE has failed to protect students. A survey reported in the US Department of Education OCR report provides solid evidence that this is correct.

OCR conducted a compliance review of the policies, procedures, and processes used by DOE for responding to complaints of harassment of students on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. Their report is dated January 19, 2018. See a short excerpt of findings in the sidebar. The full report can be downloaded from Disappeared News here (OCR copy, may contain errors).

The survey, and the entirety of the OCR report, puts us now on sound evidentiary territory—there need be less reliance on anecdotal reports.

Note that the survey provides evidence that in 14.6% of all responses from students who indicated both being harassed and having reported it to school officials, the students
indicated that school officials took no action in response.

Editorial goes easy on DOE

A companion editorial (A stronger plan to fight bullying , Star-Advertiser p. A8, 10/10/2018) falls short of chastising the DOE:

Yes, schoolyard bullies have been around forever. But that’s no reason to tolerate such behavior.

The DOE has tolerated such behavior, and would be tolerating it still if not for federal intervention and the likely outcome of the new class-action lawsuit.

As in its earlier news article, the editorial says nothing about needed action on the part of the DOE to end employee/staff bullying and harassment of students.

Will DOE’s new attention to their neglect of this serious problem prove effective? We’ll have to wait for a future investigation, though we may learn more by reviewing the record of the Seitz lawsuit as it progresses through the courts.

Friday, August 10, 2018


Civic Square, A Civics Project for Hawaii, goes live today

by Larry Geller

Hawaii is a special place. We really do have a different outlook on life, often described as the "Aloha Spirit". The meanness and cruelty documented by news coverage and tweets that assail us daily seem alien to us.

Yet Hawaii is not perfect by any measure. There is still injustice and discrimination if one looks for it, which is to say, there is still work to be done.

Of course there are already organizations working on fighting poverty, others that provide legal services, and many whose mission is to feed the hungry. Social workers assist children and adults needing protection. Churches and non-profits provide shelters for the houseless. Underlying the mission of these and so many others in Hawaii is the “Aloha Spirit.”

Altruism and caring are real human values, but in today’s political climate it is clear that they cannot be taken for granted. And so it seems appropriate that Hawaii should be the home of a new civic-minded organization, Civic Square, which Les Ihara, Jr., board chair and founder, described as

A project for the civic leader in each of us. The part of us that cares for the whole and will act on its behalf.

“Aloha Spirit” may sound nebulous to those outside Hawaii, but here it is captured in statute (see sidebar).

“Aloha Spirit” can’t be trademarked—it is set in statute in Hawaii

Recently a Chicago restaurant sent cease and desist letters to restaurants ordering pokethem to stop using “aloha poke” to describe a common fish dish found across the islands and elsewhere -- because it had been trademarked.

But “Aloha Spirit” is safe. It is actually defined in the Hawaii Revised Statutes §5-7.5 . Here is the full text of the statute:

[§5-7.5]  "Aloha Spirit".  (a)  "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person.  It brings each person to the self.  Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.  In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha", the following unuhi laula loa may be used:

     "Akahai", meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;      "Lokahi", meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;

     "Oluolu", meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;

     "Haahaa", meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;

     "Ahonui", meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

     These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people.  It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.  "Aloha" is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.  "Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.  "Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.  "Aloha" means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

     (b)  In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the "Aloha Spirit".

Like most law, it isn’t enforced by a traffic cop, but rather by the daily practice of individual citizens.

According to Tambry R. Young, president of Civic Square,

Civic Square is a learning community interested in building community practices that express civic values and norms,  global and community narratives that trend, and in-person and online practices with viral potential. Civic Square seeks to have the civic spirit and our connection to the whole become a sacred matter in public life.

According to the Civic Square Manifesto, the organization will seek collaboration via networking and in practice among organizations that share civic purposes.

Click the link above to read more, or go to

Monday, August 06, 2018


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: Meanwhile, around the World

Meanwhile, around the World

6 Aug 2018

#546 | TRANSCEND Media Service

The state of the world is right now going from bad to worse, with more violence or threats thereof; an epidemic, even pandemic, of violence. And more inequality within and between countries and money buying votes in fake elections and politicians in fake democracies turning plutocracies run by money.

And nature insulted; less diversity and less symbiosis with CFCs in the ozone layer. But not all over.  There are regions low on violence, often headed by a state or nation as a “pole”, and a multi-polar world with passive peaceful coexistence.  Disputes, not war.

Which are these regions headed by a “pole”?

Anglo-America is one, headed by USA.

Latin-America/Caribbean is one, with Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil playing leading roles, but no single leader. Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) is a coordinating forum for all 35.

How do these two regions in the Western hemisphere relate?

USA used to look down on Latin-America/Caribbean as a “backyard”; now changing slowly towards both seeing each other as its “frontyard”, opening for dialogues on equal terms in a forum not yet consolidated.

Then, let us cross the Atlantic to Africa, with 54 countries.

Africa is divided in a Muslim North–since around year 700–and a post- and pre-colonial Africa “South of Sahara”.  ELAC countries became independent from Spain and Portugal from 1810, but colonialism in African lasted till 1960, and beyond in “Portuguese Africa”.  Portugal was an early colonizer, and a late decolonizer.

Colonialism-capitalism had devastated much of Africa; millions now migrate to Europe across the Mediterranean; the “immigrants” seen as the problem–not the underlying capitalism-colonialism horrors.

Why does that matter?  One answer: the colonizer can apologize for what happened, like PM Silvio Berlusconi did in 2011 for the 1911 Italian bombing of Libyan oases with children and women.  It worked.

The list for England and France is long.  We are still waiting. Also for Islam, expanding, spreading Islam at the tip of the sword.

After the Leopold I genocide of 10 million in “Belgian Congo”– Antwerp has no memorial honoring victims– focus on the Cameroons, formerly English and French, visioning a future Cameroon Community.

And a Northeast African community with Egypt and a federal Sudan with Khartoum, where the White and Blue Niles meet not imposing Islam.

And an East African Community relating to Arabia across the sea.

And a Horn of Africa Community with Ethiopia-Eritrea at peace, and the three Somalias and demilitarized Djibouti.  China, get out.

And the South Africa border states, also a community. And more.

Africa as a community of communities gently steered from Addis Ababa toward some kind of unity.  Look at the map: enormous, surrounded by four oceans: the Antarctic, Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean oceans.

Like enormous Russia, with Putin restoring its dignity. From the division of the Roman Empire in 395 increasingly seen as an enemy; a 1600+ years cold war made hot by the Teutonic Knights, Napoleon, Hitler attacking but Russia never counter-attacking for revenge. Supersede the 395 split, as did Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.

But the West expecting that to happen matters more: I hate you because I have treated you so badly that I expect you to hit back.

More psychology: repression of huge US belligerence, 248 military interventions since Jefferson in 1801 in Libya, now two wars per year, and projection on Russia.  Reveal it, make US wars killing more than 20 million in 37 countries after WWII (Jackoby), and Russian non-belligerence, public knowledge.  Lift the taboo on talking about USA.

Enters Trump, “unleveled”, autistic, narcissistic and paranoid. If president of a lesser country he would have been revealed, of a country also autistic, narcissistic and paranoid he fits too well. But getting rid of Trump does not solve perennial US belligerence.

Russia must be seen in the context of SCO, Shanghai Cooperation Organization–so important as not to be mentioned by Western media–an alliance of Russia, China, Islam, India, Pakistan; half of humanity. There is a Eurasia taking shape, One Belt, one Road, an East-West link of a world where Western colonialism was only linking North-South.

Is this Chinese colonialism?  China was creative with “win-win” strategies making infrastructures available to everybody; but the colonizing aspect in the state system is clear, with Xi Jinping as dictator for life.  Decolonizing from China is becoming a key issue, and more traffic West-East, of persons and ideas is indispensable.

South of Russia is “Asia proper”, divided into West, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia.

West Asia: Jews, people of the Book (kitab), can live in Muslim countries and should reciprocate and avoid an Israel for Jews only. Syria, a deeply Muslim country, has that tradition of tolerance and should be understood not as part of Western colonial history but as a country with deep dialogue–Al Qaeda, Al Salafi–on what is true Islam. IS, the Islamic State, has a caliphate doing that–to Mecca-Medina.

Central Asia: undo the 1893 Durand 2,500 km Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a Central Asian Community, with Iran and the “stans”.

South Asia: giant India managing SAARC relatively well.

Southeast Asia, ASEAN: a giant peace community of ten states.

East Asia: a Northeast Asia Community of two Chinas, two Koreas, Japan and Mongolia, keeping USA out and North Korea in, for its policy of peace treaty, normalization, nuclear-free Korea.

The Pacific: basically a Polynesian peace region.

Conclusion: the key process in the world is Northwest–dominant much too long down, and East and South–Russia, China, Islam, Third World coming up.  Promote peace by linking the good in the Northwest with the good in the Rest.   Learn from the two spiritual leaders.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Hawaii’s Single Payer bill–from 2007–an example for others?

by Larry Geller

I hung on to this bill just in case it might be useful one day, at least for anyone here or elsewhere contemplating introducing state legislation leading to a single payer healthcare system.

Times are different now. In 2007 we had a different healthcare environment. Still, the language may be useful to others, and I’m reluctant to just throw this in the trash.

So if you might need it, download this and tuck it away somewhere on your hard drive.

Download HB1598 Single Payer Universal Healthcare System from Disappeared News

Friday, July 20, 2018


Video of parent protest should spur review of former Congressman/current candidate Ed Case’s record

by Larry Geller

It may be true: voters have notoriously short memories. But not all of us.

A recent Star-Advertiser story put Hawaii Congressional District 1 candidate Ed Case in the lead with 36% of likely voters expected to choose him if the election were to be held today. But do those expected voters remember how Case performed when he served in Congress years ago?

Below is a video that could help refresh voter memories, and perhaps inspire a review of the fiscally-conservative Democrat’s ability to represent voters in the district.

Case is the only candidate in this race that has a Congressional voting record. But he entered the race late—pulling papers just a day before the filing deadline. The primary is August 11, with mail-in voting taking place earlier. His late entry gives voters only a short time to review his record.

Case said his years on Capitol Hill give him the advantage.

"I think voters remember my record, mostly they remember it favorably and I think they know what my leadership has been in Congress and in the state for many years,” Case said.

[Hawaii News Now, Ed Case joins crowded race for Congress, but some see him as a front-runner, 6/5/2018]

How many voters will actually do the research? Very few. It will be up to reporters to dig if they wish and remind us (hint).

“Case Amendment” leads to nationwide protests

One specific action that put Case in the national spotlight was his introduction of the so-called "Case Amendment" to the re-authorization bill for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The amendment threatened the education of students across the country and led to widespread protests.

It was Hawaii's school superintendent Pat Hamamoto who suggested that Case put in his amendment. It was simple and nefarious in its potential to effectively deprive special education students of the services they require to benefit from public education. Hawaii was still in the throes of its then decade-long Felix Consent Decree which was costing its Department of Education dearly as it struggled to conform to court orders requiring the state to follow state and federal laws protecting special-education students.

The amendment was fiendishly clever. If it had become part of the re-authorization of the IDEA, it would have neutered not only the Felix Consent Decree and given the finger to Judge David Ezra, but would have stripped families nationwide of their ability to protect students’ rights.

The amendment provided that attorneys’ fees for successful litigants in special-ed cases be awarded not by courts as in every other civil case, but by the usual defendant, the state governor.

Special ed cases are often very complex and require attorneys with special knowledge and the willingness to take on well-financed opposing counsel. Had the Case Amendment become law it would have discouraged attorneys from taking special education cases. Parents of special ed students who do not have attorneys seldom prevail in court or at due process hearings. Regardless of the law, parents would be unable to enforce violations.

Schools, school districts and state governments saw a way to evade the costs of providing for the needs of these children and supported the amendment with their full economic force. Parents protested at the grassroots level.

It took a long time before the amendment ultimately failed.

As far as I know, this video is the only record of a protest held in Honolulu. It took place on April 23, 2003.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


Repost: History that should not—and will not—disappear: July 4, 1894, Illegal overthrow of Hawaii completed

President Cleveland further concluded that a "substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair" and called for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy.

by Larry Geller
Cannon on the steps of Iolani palace[3][6]

Cannon on the steps of the occupied Iolani Palace

On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was declared, with Sanford B. Dole as president. The illegal overthrow of the independent nation of Hawaii was complete.
Yes, although your daily paper may want you to forget this, it is history that should not be ignored. There’s even a federal law confirming the truth of the history they refuse to print.
From the Apology Resolution, United States Public Law 103-150:
Whereas, in a message to Congress on December 18, 1893, President Grover Cleveland reported fully and accurately on the illegal acts of the conspirators, described such acts as an "act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress", and acknowledged that by such acts the government of a peaceful and friendly people was overthrown... President Cleveland further concluded that a "substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair" and called for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy.
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.
A treaty of annexation was never passed by Congress, and President Grover Cleveland withdrew the treaty. Then on this day in history…
On July 4, 1894, the archipelago's new leaders responded to this rebuff by proclaiming a Republic of Hawaii, with Sanford Dole as president. Under its constitution, most legislators would be appointed rather than elected, and only men with savings and property would be eligible for public office. This all but excluded native Hawaiians from the government of their land… [From Overthrow, a book by Stephen Kinzer]
What was the motivation? Need you ask? Why is the US in Iraq?From the Washington Post review of Overthrow:
As Stephen Kinzer tells the story in Overthrow, America's century of regime changing began not in Iraq but Hawaii. Hawaii? Indeed. Kinzer explains that Hawaii's white haole minority -- in cahoots with the U.S. Navy, the White House and Washington's local representative -- conspired to remove Queen Liliuokalani from her throne in 1893 as a step toward annexing the islands. The haole plantation owners believed that by removing the queen (who planned to expand the rights of Hawaii's native majority) and making Hawaii part of the United States, they could get in on a lucrative but protected mainland sugar market. Ever wonder why free trade has such a bad name?
The road leading up to the declaration of the Republic of Hawaii was rocky, and can’t be summed up in a short blog article. Did you know, for example, that a US Senate investigation revealed that a bribe had been offered to Queen Liliuokalani to turn against her people and support the Republic? This snip is from a New York Times article on the Senate investigation, dated 1/29/1894:
The declaration of the Republic was not a single, static event. There was considerable debate in Congress on resolutions condemning the overthrow and proposed annexation. For example, this snip from the 1/25/1894 New York Times will give you an idea of the complexity that we lose in simplifying Hawaii’s history:
Each article is much longer than the snips above. It would be worthwhile to skim the New York Times for a complete account of the Congressional debate. No doubt this has already been done. If not, the articles are available on-line for the harvesting..
If you’re not familiar with Hawaiian history, beware of websites that work hard to re-write it. The true picture of the overthrow is not pretty, nor can the acts of the US government be justified or whitewashed. Google cautiously.
Let your children know that there is more to July 4 than barbeques and fireworks. It is a holiday that tears people apart here in Hawaii. See how you can work this history into your celebrations and festivities, so that it will never disappear.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Time to recognize that Hawaii has a political system unique among US states

With each election cycle, it becomes more difficult to take Hawaii Republicans
seriously as a major political party. –Volcanic Ash, 6/10/2018

by Larry Geller

One can argue that it is a good thing to have a “loyal opposition,” and that Hawaii’s state government has not had that for some time. So should the state Republican Party be revived somehow? It’s actually too late, the GOP expired here some time ago. Some still cling to its ghost as though it still were alive.

Since each of us became adults we have been used to the two party system that the Constitution requires (wait… you say that’s not in the Constitution??).

It’s always been elephants vs. donkeys with a few strange animals at the fringes.

The GOP’s irrelevance is most apparent in the Legislature, where it now holds none of 25 Senate seats for the first time and a historic-low five of 51 House seats.

[Star-Advertiser, Top-two system offers better choices than party primaries, 6/10/2018 (paywalled) ]

There have actually been no GOP members of the Senate for several years now. When there was only one, the Senator was respected but powerless as he took ideologically-based positions on each bill under consideration.

It’s time to move on. Like it or not, we have something different here.

Hawaii is uniquely positioned to demonstrate that the failed rivalry between Republicans and Democrats is not the only, and certainly not the best, model of state government.

The parties still caucus separately and hold their conventions as in any other state. Candidates still receive some national support because the two-party system is alive, if not well, nationally. Also, the two-party mindset, which has been with us for countless generations, is difficult to dislodge. It’s hard to visualize a political system without that convenient split.

So what do we have instead?

We have a political system free of polarizing ideologies. A nominally Republican House member supports renewable energy and the environment. A nominal Democrat (who used to be a Republican) opposes marriage equality. We do not condemn them for not toeing party lines. The ideologies can be held by anyone.

The closest model I can find is the ancient Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. It was a system based on accumulating power and rank, not by party divisions.

Senate as a feudal system[5]

There’s an emperor up on the fifth floor—the Governor—but the extent of his power is questionable.

The real power is wielded by the shoguns (Speaker of the House and President of the Senate) and the major daimyos (feudal lords, the chairs of the powerful Finance, Ways and Means, and certain other committees).

This is far from an ideal arrangement, but it could be at least the beginning of something better than the two-party split. It will take public pressure and rule changes to end the abuses of the current system. Perhaps a constitutional convention, if one is held soon, as is a possibility, could straighten out the kinks and tame the power of the lords and ladies.

There’s no question that there are major abuses including blatent ethical violations and constitutionally questionable procedures. Those in power, as we see so vividly on a national scale, don’t feel very much bound by ethics or even the law.

No fewer than a reported 77 fundraisers were held during the just concluded legislative session, perhaps a record number. Usually these are held not in a representative’s district but in a handful of Honolulu restaurants convenient for lobbyists and business interests to attend. The per-plate donation requests are often way above the budget of ordinary constituents.

Of course, bills are still moving through committees that these lobbyists support or oppose, hence the ethical issue.

Those in power here seem to have a disdain for political ethics (and there are other examples).

The state constitution requires that a bill have three readings but in each session many suffer a “gut and replace” procedure that replaces the wording of a successful bill with one that did not make it that far but which the leadership wishes to advance anyway.The successful bill effectively dies. So far there has been no remedy in the courts, and the judiciary is perhaps unlikely to interfere with legislative procedure. The maneuver is hidden on the state capitol webpage so as to shroud it from public view.

This session saw the Shogun [Speaker] of the House pull conference committee members at the last minute when it looked like bills he didn’t like would pass, thereby trashing the many hours of testimony submitted during session supporting those bills. It costs real money for Neighbor Island residents to fly to Honolulu to attend committee hearings—their time and investment (and perhaps willingness to participate further in the legislative process) is hijacked for who-knows-what purpose. This is not how a fully-functioning, healthy democracy is supposed to operate.

Even the constitutionally-required “three readings” are a sham.

So we could do with some work to improve our system of governance, but the raw material is there and the obstacle of the two-party division is gone.

We can build on what we have instead, improving it, perhaps with a top-two voting system as David Shapiro suggests in his column today, along with other safeguards to eventually end the feudal power structure.

The opportunity is here for us to create a truely democratic state government.

Instead of lamen


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