Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: ISIS: Negotiation, Not Bombing

The historical-cultural-political position of ISIS and its successors is strong; the West is weak, also economically. The West cannot offer withdrawal in return for anything as it has already officially withdrawn. The West, however, can offer reconciliation, both in the sense of clearing the past and opening the future.

ISIS: Negotiation, Not Bombing

13 October 2014

by Johan Galtung, 13 Oct 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

More senseless bombing of Muslims, more defeats for USA-West, more ISIS-type movements, more West-Islam polarization. Any way out?

ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq-Syria, appeals to a Longing for the Caliphate” writes Farhang Johanpour in an IPS column. For the Ottoman Caliphate with the Sultan as Caliph–the Shadow of God on Earth–after the 1516-17 victories all over till the collapse of both Empire and Caliphate in 1922, at the hands of the allies England-France-Russia.

Imagine the collapse of the Vatican, not Catholic Christianity, at the hands of somebody, Protestant or Orthodox Christians, meaning Anglo-Americans or Russians, or Muslims. A center in this world for the transition to the next, headed by a Pope, the apostolic successor to The Holy Spirit, an emanation of God in Heaven. Imagine it gone.

And imagine that they who had brought about the collapse had a tendency to bomb, invade, conquer, dominate Catholic countries, one after the other, like after 2 Bush wars in Afghanistan-Iraq, 5 Obama wars in Pakistan-Yemen-Somalia-Libya-Syria, and “special operations”. Would we not predict [1] a longing for the Vatican, and [2] an extreme hatred of the perpetrators? Fortunately, it did not happen.

But it happened in the Middle East: leaving a trauma fueled by killing hundreds of thousands. The Sykes-Picot England-France agreement of 16 May 1916 led to the collapse, with their four well-known colonies, the less known promise of Istanbul to Russia(!), and the 1917 Balfour declaration offering parts of Arab lands as “national home for the Jewish people”. Johanpour quotes Churchill: “Selling one piece of real estate, not theirs, to two peoples at the same time”.

The Middle East colonies fought the West through military coups for independence; Kemal Atatürk was a model. The second liberation is militant Islam–Muslim Brotherhood, FIS-Federation Islamique de Salvation in Algeria, etc.–against military-secular dictatorships. The West prefers the military; order against history.

The longing cannot be stopped. ISIS is only one expression, and exceedingly brutal. But, a damage and destruction by Obama and allies will be followed by a dozen ISIS from 1.6 billion Muslims in 57 countries. A little military politicking today, some “training” here, fighting there, bombing all over, are only ripples on a groundswell.

This will end with a Sunni caliphate sooner or later. And, the lost caliphate they are longing for, had not Israel been awarded a “national home”. This is behind some of the US-West despair. Any solution?

The way out is cease-fire and negotiation. Under United Nations auspices, with full UN Security Council backing. To gain time, switch to a defensive military strategy, defending Baghdad, the Kurds, the Shia and others in Syria and Iraq. Problematic for the USA, so maybe some other members of the coalition can do better, leaving Baghdad to the USA. After all, the US embassy there must be very attractive as a Caliphate See.

The historical-cultural-political position of ISIS and its successors is strong; the West is weak, also economically. The West cannot offer withdrawal in return for anything as it has already officially withdrawn. The West, however, can offer reconciliation, both in the sense of clearing the past and opening the future. Known in USA as “apologism” a difficult policy to pursue. But the onus of Sykes-Picot is for once not on the USA, but on UK-France. Russia dropped out after the 1917 revolution, but revealed the plot.

Bombing, an atrocity, will lead to more ISIS atrocities. A conciliatory West might change that. An international commission could work on Sykes-Picot and its aftermath, and open the book with compensation on it. As a principle; the West cannot pay anyhow.

Above all, future cooperation. The West, and here USA enters, could make Israel return the West Bank, except for small cantons, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital–or else!–sparing the Arabs and the Israelis horrible long-lasting warfare.

This would be decency, sanity, rationality; the question is whether the West possesses these qualities. The prognosis is dim.

There is the Anglo-American self-image as infallible, a gift to humanity, a little rough at times civilizing the diehards, but not weak. If not an apology, at least they could wish their own policies in the region since, say, 1967, undone. No sign of that.

So much for the willingness. Does the West have the ability? Do they know how to reconcile? After Portugal and England conquering the East China-East Africa sea lane around 1500, ultimately establishing themselves in Macao and Hong Kong, after the First and Second Opium wars 1839-1860 in China, ending with Anglo-French forces burning the Imperial Palace in Beijing, did England use the “hand over” of Hong Kong for reflections on the past? Not a word from Prince Charles.

China could have flattened those two colonies–but did not. As Islam has retaliation among its values, the West may be in for a lot.

Slavery, colonialism, imperialism. My country, Norway, accused by Caribbean countries of complicity in slavery, is now joining; it is the fourth war since 2001. Yet the tiny opposition has no alternative.

Le Nouvel Observateur lists “groupes terroristes islamistes” in the world: Iraq-Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Chechnya. The groups, named, grew out of similar local circumstances. Imagine they increasingly share that longing for a caliphate; the Ottoman Empire covered much more than the Middle East, way into Africa and Asia. And more groups are coming. Invincible.

Imagine that Turkey itself shares that dream, maybe hoping to play a major role (the Prime Minister, Davutoglu, was in his past a superb academic, specialist on the Empire). Could that be the reason for Turkey not really joining, as it seems, this anti-ISIS crusade?

The West should be realistic, not “realist”. Switch to rationality.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

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This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.


Monday, October 13, 2014


Two stories about Duke Aiona better than one

by Larry Geller

The two Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor addressed their constituent base at a meeting on Friday. I wasn’t there, but felt well informed by two articles covering the event. They are very different and complement each other.

All good things must come to an end. In a newspaper, that’s usually when the story hits the bottom of a printed page. So an on-line report can often have more detail than a traditional, print story.

At the same time, a print reporter must craft the article more carefully, given that the word count is limited. Here’s where experience and skill pay off.

This is a case where I am glad to have both articles.

Chad Blair , in his Civil Beat article, Chad Blair: Faith and Politics, Aiona and Ahu, at the Blaisdell (Civil Beat, 10/13/2014) carefully developed how gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona and his running mate, Elwin Ahu, were nourishing a populist campaign, particularly among religious voters.

The Star-Advertiser report on the same meeting appeared in their Sunday edition, so I had read that one first. Even as I scrolled through Blair’s account this morning, the lead paragraphs of reporter Derek DePledge’s account echoed in my skull:

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona pulled out a worn, pocket edition of Gideon's New Testament and read a verse that reminds him of his "spiritual rock."

The Republican candidate for governor, speaking at a revival-style "We Believe" rally on Friday night at the Blaisdell Center, was not talking about God. He was talking about his wife, Vivian.

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands," Aiona read from Peter, playfully apologizing to his wife. "That even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives." He read that passage again for emphasis. "When they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward -- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart."

"That's my wife," Aiona said. "Her heart."

[Star-Advertiser p.1, Aiona campaign aims to win religious voters, 10/12/2014]

The on-line Star-Advertiser article is paywalled, but if you have access to the Sunday paper, check it out.

I suppose at some time and some place, praising one’s wife for being submissive and chaste would be a plus. Today, that might fly in Saudi Arabia (among the men, anyway). In the Hawaii of 2014, should Aiona be applauded for publicly espousing these beliefs, or should he be criticized?

Even among the male and female audience members there must have been more than a few who would not sympathize with Aiona’s view of inequality of the sexes. At least, I would hope so.

In any case, DePledge nailed it right at the top of his article. It was easy to build on that, or rather, Aiona’s statement cannot help but dominate anything that followed. Perhaps that happens only if Aiona’s statement triggers one’s hot buttons. That’s what happened to me.

The two stories together raise some questions that will probably remain until election day—for example, does the evangelical segment of Hawaii’s religious community really want payback for the special session that brought marriage equality to the state? At present, since the US Supreme Court refused to consider the various state appeal vying for its attention, somewhere around 30-35 states now recognize or are on the verge of recognizing same-sex marriage, and it is recognized at the national level. There’s no going back.

The religious community itself is not at all unified in opposition to marriage equality. Last night (Sunday), the Interfaith Alliance of Hawaii held its annual award ceremony. The second of several awards was given to Equality Hawaii.

News coverage of the competing protests at the State Capitol during the course of last year’s special legislative session noted that each side behaved civilly toward the opposition. This is Hawaii, and we do that. One side had to emerge victorious. Both sides left the Capitol peaceably.

As the opponents of same-sex marriage returned to their daily lives, have they remained obsessed with their loss and are they still contemplating revenge?

Voters would be wise (don’t laugh) to make their choice for governor based on the strengths each candidate would bring to the office. Even if Aiona should be the choice, he can’t reverse marriage equality at this point.

Nor can he turn Hawaii into a “Christian state.”

Since both men and women vote, I wonder how how many accept Aiona’s concept of a good wife? The story as reported by Derrick DePledge says a lot about the man. Perhaps enough for many. We shall find out on election day.


Incivility at Civil Beat?

by Larry Geller

A snip from the middle of a column written by Peter Carlisle on today’s Civil Beat website that I found difficult to read:

… Or are Dennis Francis and his Editorial Board lost in Never Never Land?  Or, more frighteningly, have Zombies been feasting on their brains?

How is it that Francis disregarded the opinion of his paper’s expert on political matters, Abercrombie’s litany of gubernatorial inadequacies, the many times he stuck his foot in his mouth up to the kneecap and the judgment of the people expressed in the poll?

It seems to me Dennis Francis and his Editorial Board did little to understand more clearly why the voters were so frustrated with Gov. Abercrombie.

[Civil Beat, Peter Carlisle: Should the Star-Advertiser Be Endorsing Candidates?, 10/3/2014]

Zombies feasting on their brains? How does he know whether Francis and his editorial board understood or did not understand anything? Why should a poll determine an endorsement?

And the argument that Carlisle makes, that a newspaper should not endorse political candidates, seems strange to begin with. That’s what newspapers do. And they do it without opening up their methodology to public scrutiny.

Endorsements are most valuable when the editors explain their reasoning, as they did in endorsing Neil Abercrombie for re-election, and as they have done in the past. Voters obviously didn’t agree this time, but the editors made their case.

Carlisle’s column left me wondering—not only about the propriety of his attack, but whether the Civil Beat editors took the day off this Columbus Day holiday. Surely there are standards for accepting contributed material, and I wonder if they would consider this column to fit their standards.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Typhoon Vongfong to hit Fukushima Daiichi on Tuesday

Uh oh...


Typhoon winds up to 110 mph to hit Fukushima Daiichi, storm surge advisory issued


Patrick Cockburn: US plan to “degrade and destroy” ISIS in ruins

So what’s really going on over in Syria and Iraq? Are we “degrading” ISIS, or what?

Read this article by Patrick Cockburn:

War against Isis: US air strategy in tatters as militants march on
World View: American-led air attacks are failing. Jihadis are close to taking Kobani, in Syria – and in Iraq western Baghdad is now under serious threat (The Independent (UK), 10/12/2014)

America's plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group's fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad.

The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama's plan to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.

How bad is it really?

The battle for Anbar, which was at the heart of the Sunni rebellion against the US occupation after 2003, is almost over and has ended with a decisive victory for Isis. It took large parts of Anbar in January and government counter-attacks failed dismally with some 5,000 casualties in the first six months of the year. About half the province's 1.5 million population has fled and become refugees. The next Isis target may be the Sunni enclaves in western Baghdad, starting with Abu Ghraib on the outskirts but leading right to the centre of the capital.

You may have a hard time learning all this from MSNBC, CNN, Fox, or even NPR. Check out the article.

There is also an explanation of the fix that Turkey finds itself in.

Be the first on your block to understand what is really happening, in contrast to what the retired military talking heads are saying on cable TV.

Patrick Cockburn on Democracy Now:


Friday, October 10, 2014


9th Circuit declares Hawaii case challenging gay marriage ban as moot

by Larry Geller

In a strange case that split the Hawaii state government, Governor Neil Abercrombie refused to defend the state’s amendment related to gay marriage. At the same time, the Department of Health chief, Loretta Fuddy, proceeded with the case.

Courthouse News Services reported this afternoon:

On Friday, the panel declared the case moot - noting that the gay and lesbian plaintiffs had already married their partners and got "everything they hoped to achieve."
     The judges added that other lawsuits challenging Hawaii's marriage equality law already in the pipeline "do not defeat mootness" in this case.


Poor public administration is nothing new for Hawaii

“Life in Hawaii has become tremendously more difficult,”
Mazer says. “The stress of no affordable housing, out-of-control
development, increasingly bad commutes and a weak education
system all bear themselves out in homes across the Islands and affect
the kids. We're looking at a changing and declining way of life, not
just an insufficient system.”—
former DOH Child and Adult Mental Health Division director Neal Mazer, quoted in Criminal Neglect (Honolulu Weekly, 4/28/1993

All this represents a failure of public administration that continues today

by Larry Geller

Let’s see… Neal Mazer said that in 1993, or 21 years ago.

Today, there’s still a dearth of affordable housing.

Development is still out of control.

Commutes are so bad that Honolulu now ranks among the worst nationally.

Our educational system is still weak.

That the same statement can be made 21 years later is disturbing.


The pull-quote was snipped from an article describing Hawaii’s refusal to provide special education services to its school children. It was published before the Felix lawsuit, and suggested that some kind of legal action was likely, either via the Department of Justice or a local suit that would force the state to come into compliance with the law. Twenty-one years later, there is talk among parents that perhaps another “Felix” lawsuit would be timely, because in its heart, the Department of Education still resists having to provide federally-mandated services to many of the children.

Coming back to the present time, the problems cited by Mazer are not only still with us, but they have taken their toll. The streets are now home to thousands of individuals and families who could not make ends meet—and who might not be there had we begun to work on the affordable housing issue 21 years ago.

Many of the street houseless also have mental health issues. At least some of those used to have housing and were maintained with the help of Department of Health services which were then cut. Without supports, they ended up on the street, and many died. There is sworn testimony given to the Legislature in 2010 that fingers DOH cuts as likely responsible for a 36% increase in deaths among adult mental health consumers due to all causes one year over another. The video at the link describes some of the service cuts.

There is still no affordable housing, and Housing First has yet to happen. The city thinks it can erase its problem by criminalizing homelessness and sweeping people onto a hot asphalt tented camp on remote Sand Island. That hasn’t worked elsewhere and won’t work here.

While the clock can’t be set back 21 years, we can take a lesson from those dark days. Special ed services were in bad shape in large part because the Legislature refused to fund them. Similarly, our roads (state and city) fell into disrepair due to lack of funds. I hear a broken record playing: both DOE and UH buildings and facilities have a huge repair backlog because money was not spent when needed. And of course, the increasing number of homeless people on the streets is due to neglect, continuing even today, to allocate sufficient funds to resolve the problem.

Another thing that doesn’t change is that citizens are kept in the dark about the ongoing neglect until something builds to a crisis and pops out on a front page. That’s how we found out about the repair backlogs—they became huge and newsworthy.

That’s how we also learned about the yearly record number of senior traffic deaths. Sadly, though the carnage continues, it’s no longer newsworthy and so nothing is ever done about it.

Everyone knows traffic in Honolulu is bad, but it became news only when we hit the record books.

The number of homeless on the streets increased year after year, and nothing was done, but it finally broke into the news and so we have a “crisis.”

Native Hawaiians continue to die while on the waiting list for Hawaiian Homeland tracts that are rightfully theirs. This issue has persisted at least since statehood, and the state continues to contest the Kalima lawsuit, filed in 1999, that would resolve some damage claims against the state for its breach of trust. Once again, instead of doing the right thing, the state seems to be pushing the costs to fix the problem off onto future generations.

All this represents a failure of public administration that continues today. It is also a huge waste of taxpayer money to fail to provide services in a timely way or to perform repairs as needed. All of this neglect is by choice, and that’s important to understand. And as we learned from financing the costs of the Felix lawsuit that dragged Hawaii into compliance with federal law, the belated fix is far more costly than simply doing what is right in the first place.

Why don’t we change? Why not budget for repairs as a condition of funding new buildings at UH, as one example? No guaranteed repair funds, no buildings. Simple (maybe). Why not budget for enough Housing First to substantially assist houseless families, instead of a minimal amount that may not be effective?

There’s a new governor coming in before year-end. Perhaps we can get some sense of which of the candidates, if any, will work to reverse these patterns of neglect for the benefit of all of us.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


Hawaii’s campaign spending law went to the 9th Circuit one year ago today and is still there

by Larry Geller

I guess the 9th Circuit judges have much on their plate these days.

Yamada v. Snipes was heard in District Court before Judge J. Michael Seabright and was styled Yamada Et Al. v. Kuramoto Et Al, also referred to as the A-1 A-Electrician case. Of course, it derives ultimately from the Citizens United decision of the US Supreme Court.

For background on Yamada v. Snipes, see Hawaii’s campaign spending laws go before the 9th Circuit in Honolulu on Wednesday (10/7/2013).

Attending the hearings impressed me with the value of competent and experienced council in sorting out matters of any complexity. Too bad that the District Court audiences were not packed with UH law students, they would certainly have learned something.

The 9th Circuit hearings were actually held at the UH law school, but it was a different ball game though still very worth attending.

Thanks to attorney Randy Elf for keeping me informed of the progress of this case.


Are we getting the truth on ISIS? Probably not much more than usual…

“ROBERT PARRY: Well, there’s no question that [Iran-Contra] was one of the most important stories of the 1980s and really the 1990s, when you get to the end of this and the CIA confessing. But it’s also a story about the failure of the mainstream press that extends to the present, goes through the Iraq War, the failure to be skeptical there, and goes right on to the present day. So it’s not an old story; it’s very much a current story.”

by Larry Geller

We can learn what to expect from today’s news coverage of the renewed US involvement in the mid-East by reviewing how badly the press has served us when critical national issues confronted this country in the past.

What is Robert Parry talking about in the pull-quote above?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A new film out in theaters this week tells the story of one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism: Gary Webb. In 1996, Webb published an explosive series in the San Jose Mercury News titled "Dark Alliance." It began, quote, "For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency."

[Democracy Now, "Kill the Messenger" Resurrects Gary Webb, Journalist Maligned for Exposing CIA Ties to Crack Trade, 10/9/2014]

It’s impossible to condense this story into a nutshell (please click the link, or better yet, see the movie if it should play nearby). The Democracy Now segment is, of course, about a reporter who researched and broke the news of the Iran-Contra drug trade, even posting it on the Internet, which had not been done yet at that time. It’s also about how the mainstream press turned against him. Ultimately, Gary Webb committed suicide as his colleagues refused to support him.

The drug trade was not just something “out there” someplace. The trafficked drugs were part of an epidemic that devastated neighborhoods in this country. Often that part of the Reagan-era conspiracy is omitted when Iran-Contra is described in the media.

The CIA later admitted what it had done. Yet:

ROBERT PARRY: The New York Times, they do a story that is half kind of mea culpa, we should have done more with this, it was worse than we thought, and half Gary Webb’s still an idiot. The Washington Post waits several weeks and does a rather dismissive article. And the L.A. Times never reports on the CIA’s findings. So even though Webb was proven correct, he’s still considered a flake who got a story wrong.

Sadly, the national press we are supposed to rely upon deliberately chose to mislead its readers, to lie to them and instead protect the government. Yes—even when the CIA admitted what had been reported, these three newspapers chose the dark side.

If you crack open most any copy of the Star-Advertiser, you’ll note their reliance on stories syndicated by those same three newspapers. In middle of the first section of each daily paper are several pages of outsourced national and world news in addition to the bylined featured news articles. These days, that’s the norm—a local or regional newspaper is not going to have a Baghdad bureau, or even a Washington bureau nowadays. So they need to get that news from someplace.

And unfortunately, we can finger those same “leading” newspapers for cheerleading this country’s invasion of Iraq, and as Robert Parry suggests, we may not be able to trust them as the US goes into another phase of prolonged  warfare against ISIS or ISIL or the probably fictitious Korasan Group or whatever.

In fact, the earlier segments on the same program already provide information that you may see only in the alternative press. Who are we really supporting in Iraq? Is our bombing going to work? How come Kobani is falling to ISIS? Who is ISIS anyway, and why are they advancing so smoothly and rapidly? Check out today’s program the answers are there.

From the website:


I suggest that by watching today’s Democracy Now (10 pm on `Olelo tonight on Oahu, or at democracynow.org on the web) you will learn much more about the US bombing campaign against ISIS, who we are and are not assisting, and yes, whether this bombing is successful so far. Reports on Democracy Now often include interviews and statements from reporters who are or have been there, whether it’s Iraq, Egypt or other hot spots, rather than the talking head retired generals who seem to populate national TV news.

You’ll also learn a little more today about the CIA and the sad condition of the free press in this country—which may influence how you trust government statements or how you view stories on ISIS that will appear in the mainstream news going forward.

Ok, if you like, you can watch the program right here. Click the thingy at the lower right to make it larger. A full transcript is on their web page each day.

Creative Commons License The original content of the Democracy Now program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Civil Beat must read essay: We Need Police Accountability in Honolulu

In a hearing at the state capitol on Sept. 30, representatives of the local Domestic Violence Action Center revealed that 38.7 percent of murders in Hawaii between 2008 and 2012 were related to domestic violence. This is more than double the national percentage of 16.3. And in 2010, domestic violence accounted for half of all murders in Hawaii.

We analyzed media reports of shootings by HPD from June 2010 through August 2014, and we found 22 incidents in which police shot their weapons during this 50-month period. Eleven of those shootings were fatal. This is a per capita fatality rate of 2.7 persons killed per million population per year, which is almost four times higher than the national average of 0.7 “justifiable killings” by American police in 2012.

Of 512 HPD disciplinary cases between 2000 and 2012, only 33 resulted in criminal conviction (6.4 percent), and only five of those led to the dismissal of officers. Many of these cases involved serious felonies such as sexual assault and domestic violence. Would you be able to keep your job if you were convicted of a serious crime?

This Civil Beat article is a must read (thanks for pointer by Kat Brady!):

We Need Police Accountability in Honolulu (Civil Beat, 10/6/2014) by David T. Johnson Meda Chesney-Lind and Nicholas Chagnon.

It’s an article that should appear in a newspaper, but won’t, because of its length, at least. A website doesn’t have that limitation.

You need to read it.

And you know what I’m going to say next: we, the people, have to get up off our okoles and do something about the city’s failure to control the HPD..

Monday, October 06, 2014


Kat Brady’s notes from the 9/30 legislative briefing on the Officer Cachola video and domestic violence


The link below will get you a copy of Kat Brady’s notes from the September 30, 2014 legislative information briefing on police handling of domestic violence.

Anyone interested in police reaction to the the alleged domestic abuse case involving Sgt. Darren Cachola, including the disposition of the officers who did not file the required report might want to skim through these notes.

Notes from 9/30/14 Info Briefing re HPD's handling of Domestic Violence (DV)

Thanks to Kat for making her notes available.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Thank goodness for great bloggers as Hawaii’s newspaper monopoly extends its reach to the Big Island

by Larry Geller

MonopolyWhen Oahu Publications announced that it purchased the two Big Island dailies, West Hawaii Today and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, from Stephens Media, I felt a spark of appreciation for Hawaii’s alternative news bloggers (here on Oahu, Ian Lind and Henry Curtis, for example).

Even Civil Beat doesn’t go as far as these unpaid writers in digging through the obvious to reveal the essential.

Oahu Publications, best known as the owner of the Star-Advertiser, also owns The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. And now the two Big Island dailies.

That leaves only Maui (the Maui News) blocking a complete state-wide takeover of our daily news. [I emailed the Maui News but didn’t expect and didn’t receive a reply as to their status. Is Oahu Publications looking for a complete statewide monopoly? Shudder.]

Monopoly means little or no competition. It means editors don’t have to demand better of their staff. It means that readers, who have no choice, are no longer the target audience—pleasing advertisers who create the profit and politicians whose agendas the news organization wishes to further become priorities. But news? Who’s going to complain (well, besides the bloggers)?

How is a reader to know that they have been given only part of a story?


Here's a snip of the front page of the Wednesday, October 1 newspaper. Note the headline in big, black, bold letters: HPD CASE PUTS CHIEF IN HOT SEAT AT CAPITOL. You’d think it was a case of Ebola or something to merit that unusual screaming headline.

The story itself was important, but that wasn’t the story. All you might discern from the front page is that the HPD is always trying to improve.

The story that perhaps most readers and certainly concerned citizens were waiting for was whether the officer caught on video in an apparent violent confrontation with a woman was going to face charges, and what will be done with regard to the officers who showed up but failed to file the required police report. The news (revealed on the continuation page) was that no charges will be brought and we don’t know if anything has or will be done about the failure to file reports.

A monopoly can get away with that. There’s no other paper out there trying to do better.

And speaking of Ebola, this monopoly is spreading in Hawaii faster than the actual virus ever will. Which is more dangerous? We now have one confirmed case on Oahu, one on Kauai, and two on the Big Island. Where’s the antidote?

Well, there is no good alternative, but we do have some exceptional bloggers.

Check out Henry Curtis excellent coverage of the same legislative meeting, State Legislators grill Honolulu Police Department on Domestic Violence procedures , posted today (Ililani Media, 10/5/2014). It’s a fine example of reporting, and because it is a blog, has space to give the subject the attention it deserves. Plus, it contrasts in detail what we’ve see in HPD’s handling of domestic violence situations with another location that does much better. Henry’s readers know that we can do better.

If we are to bring about change, we need to know these things.

If you still have Wednesday’s paper, contrast the printed story with Henry’s.

Henry Curtis usually writes about energy and the environment. His articles reveal what we need to understand if we are to eventually drive down the obscenely high cost of electricity in this state. Yeah, it’s another monopoly situation, and again, we are the losers unless we learn and then work for change.

Meanwhile, one of the latest articles posted on Ian Lind’s blog demonstrates why his dedication to investigative reporting is so rewarding to readers. In a way, I hate to say this, I’m glad he doesn’t work for the newspaper, but of course that is a very selfish viewpoint. But would he be allowed to print, for example, Reporter snagged in ongoing city ethics probe (ilind.net, 10/3/2014)? Or, Is ‘ohana housing the way to address the crisis in affordable housing? (ilind.net, 9/30/2014)?

The snagged reporter is former citycouncilmember Nestor Garcia, who was named by Romy Cachola as one who allegedly committed the same kind of ethics violations that Cachola was accused of and settled by paying a record large fine.

As Ian notes, not only did KHON avoid mentioning the situation one of its own reporters seems to find himself in, but other media have avoided identifying the alleged miscreant as a reporter as well.

Because Ian’s second article mentioned above, removing the restrictions on ohana housing, could hurt developers, would the daily newspaper even go there?

Or what about Gathering of religious conservatives poses risk to Aiona campaign (ilind.net, 9/29/2014)? A newspaper benefits from campaign ads (though TV really rakes in the moola), so this kind of expose likely won’t be covered by the commercial media.

Ian’s net is cast widely and his catch is rich. Reading Ian’s work in comparison to what usually passes for news in this town is like eating a nourishing dinner in place of a visit to a fast-food joint.

Even Civil Beat enjoys a kind of monopoly by virtue of its size and funding, and sometimes it shows. The only example that comes to mind immediately is not a strong one, but by way of illustration—neither the newspaper nor Civil Beat reported that Board of Education head Don Horner was criticized at his confirmation hearing for shutting out students, parents and teachers by rescheduling BOE meetings for a time when none of those principal stakeholders could attend.

Under Horner’s leadership, meetings were moved to daytime working hours. Even the student representative had trouble with it, and parents can hardly be expected to give up half a day or a day’s work for a measly two minute audience before a board whose members often looked bored with the whole thing anyway.

Instead, only the objections to Horner’s religious affiliations got the news spotlight. Even his shrugging off of responsibility for schools giving discounted rates for church use of their facilities was left unexplored.

In fact, some changes were made to the BOE agenda to resolve the complaints, to Horner’s credit. It’s not perfect yet, and the current board is not going to hear the complaints that could be presented to the elected board because they will only hear matters on the agenda, and only for a severely limited time.

I don’t know that on-line competition would bring better reporting, and this is a small town, after all. Another billionaire is not likely to feel we need a Civil Beat clone. Besides, they do make a tremendous contribution in many ways, and we badly need them. Unfortunately, they are not a printed newspaper.

So again, good that we have dedicated bloggers, even if their audience is small in comparison to the big guys.

Read: ilind.net, Ililani Media, and other alternative news sources you can tune in to via your computer or phone.


Who will be next to complain about low voter turnout?

by Larry Geller

There are many things one can count on in Hawaii. Coco Puffs from Liliha Bakery. Low voter turnout. Warm ocean water even in winter. The best papayas in the world. Low voter turnout.

I can’t wait for the next newspaper article or the next advocacy campaign to either lament how few of us vote or proposing to change the dismal numbers. These campaigns don’t work. Why don’t we step back a second before either complaining or doing something ineffective, and examine the situation?

Look, there are some things we can influence, if we got together (which I’ll get back to in a moment). We could cut our cost of electricity that’s a drain on everyone’s pocketbook. We could enforce traffic laws and reduce the human sacrifice among elderly pedestrians. We could create an amazing amount of affordable rental housing.

Any of those things may be easier, and much more important to do, than to obsess about the low voter turnout.

Although there is a widespread belief that uneven voter turnout leads to biased outcomes in American democracy, existing empirical tests have found few effects.

[Amazon.com, America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics, 2009]

More from the book (citation omitted):

What do we know about voter turnout and its implications for American democracy? Despite an almost universal belief among political actors that turnout matters, analysis of existing empirical research provides little evidence to indicate that turnout is a critical factor in the American political arena. In fact, a rather extensive empirical literature strongly suggests that raising or lowering turnout would do little to change the face of American democracy. Higher or more even turnout would not produce new winners. With lower turnout, there are no big losers. As one scholar of American elections put it, “most electoral outcomes are not determined in any meaningful sense by turnout and are not likely to change through even highly implausible levels of voter mobilization. It appears that nonvoting does not as a rule make much of a difference to election outcomes”

The takeaway here is that, in the absence of empirical tests done here in Hawaii, we just don’t know what a low voter turnout means. Until we learn otherwise, I for one can accept the thesis that it doesn’t matter at all, at least with regard to election outcomes.

Unlike most urban centers on the Continent, low voter turnout may not have the effect of disenfranchising a minority. Honolulu is very different from, for example, Chicago. But again, that’s only speculation on my part.

At the risk of throwing out yet another unsupported theory, I suggest that “low participation” should be of more concern. It’s not just participation in the vote—it’s low participation in most any civic activity. It may be all one fabric.

Perhaps someone at UH will venture outside the ivory tower to do a proper study one day, either on voter turnout alone, or on civic participation in general. Yes, we also have an issue with academic participation in our community. Where are these studies when we need them?

Money doesn’t always buy votes here or elsewhere, though it certainly helps. The most recent example is the stunning defeat of our well-financed incumbent governor Neil Abercrombie. Despite our usual low election participation rate, the people spoke.

Voting is a kind of poll, after all

Call it a poll or sample rather than an election, if you like. The people were polled, Abercrombie lost. Democracy worked.

As long as the poll generally represents the thinking of the larger population, who cares? A higher participation rate may not have changed the outcome. Or it may have, but not likely. If the poll is conducted properly, it’s assumed to be valid.

Low participation is often frustrating and needs to be examined. Each election, many politicians run unopposed. How come?

It’s hard to motivate competent individuals to participate on boards or commissions. We can be grateful for those who do choose to participate, but why are they so few?

Where are Native Hawaiians at almost any meeting on any subject in Honolulu? C’mon, think about that one. Why is it ok that it is ok with us if they are absent?

[Example: I attended a meeting in a room at the State Capitol several years ago. The subject was microfinance, and how a particular flavor of it could benefit marginalized communities in Hawaii. The focus was on Native Hawaiians and how microfinance might improve their lot. I looked around. There were legislators, community leaders, and miscellaneous others in the room besides the outside visitor-presenters. But at least not apparently any Native Hawaiians. I asked, and there were none. I asked why the meeting was being held at the Capitol instead of out in the community that could benefit from hearing the presentation. Silence. I was suddenly very unpopular. But this suggested to me that what can be described as “lack of participation” may be an even larger issue of an endemic culture of mutual exclusion.] [(sigh) why are things so complicated? Where are the “easy answers?” we’d prefer to have?]

What I think we lack is a picture of ourselves—a selfie—that we could study, admire and criticize.

I take that back, though. We’ll only see what we want to see. It’s time to visit a shrink. This is not a do-it-yourself project. We could use an analysis by trained political scientists or sociologists that would give us guidance to improve. I submit that low voter turnout is only a symptom of something else that we could learn more about.

But besides Coco Puffs, another thing we can count on is the lack of participation of UH academics in our civic life. There are answers, but to find them, someone with the ability to come up with them has to ask the questions, do the study, and emerge from Manoa long enough to explain to us their findings.

Friday, October 03, 2014


“Intrusion on seclusion”–do robot drones have rights? Can they be shot down by neighbors?

by Larry Geller

Ok, so a man was arrested in New Jersey “after police say he shot down a neighbor’s remote control drone.”

It had to happen one day. Perhaps it has happened before, but here is a documented instance of a drone being shot down even though it was over a neighbor’s property.

A New Jersey man was arrested after police say he shot down a neighbor’s remote control drone.

According to investigators, officers with the Lower Township Police Department were called to a home in the 1000 block of Seashore Road on September 26th to investigate the report by a resident that his remote control helicopter (drone) was shot down.

[CBS Philly, New Jersey Man Accused Of Shooting Down Neighbor’s Remote Control Drone, 9/30/2014]

These things get complicated very quickly. There’s some discussion in this Washington Post article:

Man arrested for shooting down a neighbor’s drone (Washington Post, 10/2/2014).

A paper referenced at the end of the Washington Post article is interesting in its own right: Self-Defense Against Robots. The link is to an abstract, but the full paper can be downloaded from there. It includes an intriguing closing discussion: Robot Rights Against People (starting on page 59). Sure, as the paper notes,

At present, however, the idea of“robot rights” is in fact only a proxy for “robot‐owner’s rights.”

But the discussion extends to

Perhaps someday robots will achieve or simulate sentience to the point where society recognizes them as legitimate holders of some bundle of rights, be it those held by animals, or citizens, or something in between.

It’s all an interesting read, from the short CBS article through to a futuristic discussion of potential conflict between human and robot rights and privileges.

Note that in February, 2013 I asked: Does the 2nd Amendment give citizens the right to shoot down drones that are spying on them? (2/23/2013). Perhaps we’ll have an answer soon.

See also Disappeared News articles on drones over the years.


HPD may be given accelerated access to Fort DeRussy beach to sweep away homeless campers

by Larry Geller

Although an article in this morning’s Star-Advertiser indicated that it could be weeks before the Honolulu Police Department is given jurisdiction to enter and sweep the homeless off of the Fort DeRussy beach (currently under state control), the Board of Land and Natural Resources appears to be considering a speed-up option.

Although issuance of a revocable permit for beach management could take time, the BLNR will also consider

Authorizing the issuance of an immediate management right-of-entry to the City and County of Honolulu over the subject area…”

Related: Waikiki Homeless Migrate to Airport, Fort DeRussy Beach (Civil Beat, 10/3/2014)


BLNR vs. the homeless-next week’s agenda includes two anti-homeless items

by Larry Geller

The Board of Land and Natural Resources posted an agenda this afternoon which includes two items impacting houseless citizens of the state.

The first item is a denial of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery’s application for a contested case hearing to challenge the BLNR’s approval of the use of a Sand Island site for a tented camp for the homeless displaced by enforcement of the city’s new sit/lie ordinances, and the second begins the process of allowing the Honolulu Police Department to exercise jurisdiction over the state-controlled Fort DeRussy Beach where some people have been camping overnight. Background: see: Waikiki Homeless Migrate to Airport, Fort DeRussy Beach (Civil Beat, 10/3/2014)

1. Denial of Request for Contested Case Hearing by Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery Regarding Petition for Contested Case Hearing Regarding Issuance of Direct Lease and Immediate Right-of-Entry to the City and County of Honolulu for Temporary Mobile Access to Services and Housing (TMASH) for Housing First Transition Purposes, Sand Island, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Tax Map Key: (1) 1-5-041: Portions of 130 and 334, together with rights of access and utility easements.


4. Amend Prior Board Action of December 9, 2010, Item D-6, Cancel Governor's Executive Order (GEO) Nos. 1330, 1786, and 1795, and Reset Aside to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation for Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, Beach Control and Related Purposes, Kewalo and Kalia, Waikīkī, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Tax Map Keys: (1) 2-1-58: Various, (1) 2-3-37: Various, (1) 2-6-01, 02, 04, 05, 10: Various, and (1) 3-1-30, 31, 32: Various. And

The Amendment is Regarding the Issuance of Revocable Permit to the City and County of Honolulu for Beach Management Purposes over Fort DeRussy Beach.

The reason for the recommendation to deny the petition for a contested case hearing by PASS is given as “due to lack of right to a contested case hearing.”

If the board agrees, then the lease and right-of-entry will be issued as per the conditions at their September 12 meeting. See: Board of Land and Natural Resources approves city’s Sand Island homeless camp subject to list of conditions (9/12/2014)

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Parents: Teens suffering head injuries at risk for risky behaviors

by Larry Geller

As the stories of football player violence unfolded, we asked:

Does playing football damage brains and contribute to domestic violence? (9/16/2014)


Can a violent brain be turned on and off? (9/17/2014)

Parents ought to at least consider the potential life-long danger to their children if they allow them to participate in sports where head trauma is a real possibility.

Now this:

Head Injuries May Raise Chances of Risky Behavior by Teens (HealthDay, 09/30/2014)

Both boys and girls were more likely to smoke, use drugs, drink alcohol and get poor grades after they endured a blow to the head that knocked them out for longer than five minutes or landed them in the hospital for a day or more, the study found.

It’s important to read the whole article, but one more snip to encourage you to go there:

Boys were three and a half times more likely to have bad grades, three times more likely to need medical treatment for a physical injury and twice as likely to use pot, compared with other boys who hadn't had a brain injury.

Meanwhile, girls were nearly four times more likely to have bad grades and three times more likely to smoke, compared to girls without a brain injury.

Female teens were more likely to engage in a wider range of risky behaviors following a brain injury than males….

The article does raise the question of causation vs. correlation, which is why it is best to check out the complete article and form your own conclusions.


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: The Environment: Very Holistic, Very Dialectic

… re-search, re-think, re-act; not one factor, CO2, and one problem, warming. There is more in the world. Move forward with good, proven examples, not with a “multilateral consensus” reflecting power structures and vested interests more than a complex reality.

The Environment: Very Holistic, Very Dialectic

29 September 2014

by Johan Galtung, 29 Sep 2014 – TRANSCEND Media Service

“Trees won’t save the planet” is the title of an article in INYT (21-22 Sep 2014) by Nadine Unger, professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale University. Her thesis: The conventional wisdom–that planting trees serves carbon capture–is wrong; it is all much more complex.

Photosynthesis is only one factor. Another factor for global warming is how much of the solar energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface and how much is reflected. Trees, being dark, absorb; the net balance may be chilling in the tropics and warming elsewhere.

But there is more to it. Trees emit VOCs, “volatile organic compounds”, for their own protection. Mixing with pollution from cars and industry “an even more harmful cocktail of airborne toxic chemicals is created”, producing methane and ozone. Research at Yale seems to indicate that this affects global climate on a scale similar to surface color and carbon storage capacity.”

Trees and soil also breathe oxygen and release CO2. The Amazon forest produces oxygen during the day and reabsorbs at night; a closed system. Moreover, eventually trees die or burn and “the carbons finds its way back into the atmosphere”.

The old story. Search for one factor causing an evil–like CO2 causing global warming–and act to remove that one cause; the present mainstream dogma. But research points at many other factors involved and they may all be ambiguous. Yin-yang in other words, forces and counter-forces, and holism, expanded visions. A daoist vision.

So let us move East, to a retired professor of natural resources at Nagoya University in Japan, Kunihiko Takeda. And to professor in geophysics Shigenori Murayama at the Tokyo Institute of Technology who has very similar views (Google both of them.) Summers will be hotter, winters colder. Net balance?

Some key points from Takeda[i]:

  1. Meteorologists tend to predict global warming, geophysicists global chilling; the meteorologists may have dominated the discourse.
  2. Thermometer readings are from 1880, for a long time in advanced countries and urban areas only; this may have biased the conclusions.
  3. Urban areas absorb more heat from the sun due to concrete and waste, also from cars-industry; level of urbanization a key factor.
  4. Climate change as warming was 0.3C in the past 100 years, on the average, attributable largely to urbanization; not to CO2 alone.
  5. Warming of the land and the ocean will heat the atmosphere; warming of the atmosphere has little effect on the ocean.
  6. Urban-rural gap is increasing–Nagoya, Naha (Okinawa), Singapore up to 38, 34, 32C; Japan, surrounded by sea, on the average, not.
  7. Waste recycling-garbage sorting mostly irrelevant, only at most 2% recycled; polyester eco-shopping bags consume more resources.
  8. The 1988 hypothesis of global warming due to CO2 was disproved in 2009: South pole ice increasing, North pole not decreasing[ii].
  9. CO2 is essential for life; lack of CO2 may be the end of life, also human; reducing the emission may accelerate the ending of life.
  10. Heating good for humans who fit well with warm climates, also good for rice production and food in general.
  11. Global chilling is the problem because it becomes more difficult to survive, lower food production, humans less adaptable.
  12. The water level may go up 6 meters in 3,000 years; better focus on the concrete problems like flooding of very low islands today.
  13. Be aware of vested interests behind Club of Rome and others in shifting the discourse from domestic-global society to environment.
  14. Be aware that the West wants energy resources for business and military and tries to control the CO2 emissions of China and India.
  15. Be aware that there is much money in the mainstream approach and in the IPCC-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; also that scientists may go where the money is located.
  16. Be aware that some data may even be false, faked or at least questionable–Climategate.
  17. Be aware of the vested interests of eco-business and the eco-movements in the CO2 hypothesis and the recycling hypotheses.

This author is not in a position to take a stand for or against the CO2 hypothesis, or what is better for life, warming or chilling relative to the present level. The position taken here is in favor of more complex and particularly more dialectic views: there may be more to it, action generates re-action. For views in favor of the mainstream see http://www.realclimate.org, for skeptics see http://www.sepp.org.

Maybe Takeda underestimates the dangers of warming. But a striking point in his analysis is the role attributed to urbanization. Or concretization, covering soil with concrete, settling on top of it in huge mega-congregations with waste as lifestyle.

De-urbanization would be a consequence of Takeda’s points. Some of this may be happening in some places; people moving into smaller, more village-like communities, decentralization of administration made possible by the Internet. Leaving more to nature’s wisdom than to the human lack thereof, and particularly to the market’s lack thereof.

In 1972 when “limits to growth” became mainstreamed, I warned against the missing class perspective within and between countries[iii].   Nothing new about depletion and pollution. The West had been depleting resources of the colonies for ages, and working-class districts had always been polluted. Novelty was middle and upper classes in middle and upper countries being hit. Like wars not hitting only women, children and periphery countries, but right at the center of the Center, the West.

Conclusion: re-search, re-think, re-act; not one factor, CO2, and one problem, warming. There is more in the world. Move forward with good, proven examples, not with a “multilateral consensus” reflecting power structures and vested interests more than a complex reality.


[i]. I am indebted to Fumiko Nishimura for making this available from Japanese.

[ii]. This author has been skeptical because of the absence of confirming laboratory simulations like the simulation of the aurora borealis, the northern lights.

[iii].   “Limits to Growth” and class politics, JPR, X (1973), 1/2, pp. 101-114. Also in: Essays in Peace Research V, pp. 316-333.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Thank you.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Judge Nakasone rules that courts cannot decide question of Calvin Say’s residency

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Respondent Say and Intervenor House of Representatives' Motions to Dismiss are granted, and the Petition for Quo Warranto filed December 31, 2012, is dismissed without prejudice to the claims therein being brought in the proper forum, which is the House of Representatives of the State of Hawaii.—Judge Karen Nakasone

by Larry Geller

Judge Karen Nakasone’s decision, released today, did not decide whether former speaker Calvin Say lives in his district or not. The judge ruled that Hawaii courts do not have jurisdiction, so the matter would have to be handled by the House of Representatives.

Here is the full text—it is an OCR copy and may contain errors. Do not rely on this copy.

(Note: Quo Warranto: A legal proceeding during which an individual's right to hold an office or governmental privilege is challenged.)

Download Hussey et. al. v. Say from Disappeared News


Judge Karen Nakasone expected to issue ruling on Calvin Say residency motions today

by Larry Geller

At the close of a hearing on two motions to dismiss the latest challenge to former speaker Calvin Say’s residence held on September 18, Judge Karen Nakasone announced that she would take the matter under advisement and rule no later than September 30.

Today is September 30.

Six Palolo residents argued that Say lives with his wife in Pauao Valley, which is in a different district, and that his house in the Palolo valley is empty.

If Judge Nakasone rules favorably on either motion to dismiss, that will end the challenge to Say’s qualification to serve, at least for the moment.

Calvin Say may be home nervously sipping his tea or coffee and wondering if his political future is saved.

The question may be, which home?

Monday, September 29, 2014


Honolulu police chief likely to be grilled at legislative hearing Sept 30–you can be there

by Larry Geller

Police Chief Louis Kealoha will have to do some good talking tomorrow at a public hearing called jointly by the House and Senate public safety commissions. At this writing, the police officer caught on video in an apparent domestic violence incident has not yet been arrested, and there has been no action announced against the five officers who failed to file the required police report.

If you get there early, you can witness Police Chief Kealoha  perhaps squirming on the hot seat at the legislative hearing. But plan on getting there very early, the room will hold only so many. Often a hallway TV monitor is provided for those who could not squeeze in, but I don’t know if that is planned for tomorrow. If you can’t come, check `Olelo, maybe channel 55, at 10 a.m. The squirmiest parts will most certainly be on commercial TV tomorrow night.

Although the root cause for public outrage is different, both Ferguson and Honolulu have reason to demand both accountability and change of their police force and its leaders.

Today, Planned Parenthood of Hawaii released a public statement demanding police accountability. The text of the statement is attached below.

The hearing will be in room 309 of the State Capitol starting at 10 a.m. and is scheduled to run until noon. That’s just a wee bit too long to count on parking in the Capitol basement without running out the meter. A better bet would be Alii Tower parking, or catch a bus.

Here is the agenda:

DATE: Tuesday, September 30, 2014
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
PLACE: Conference Room 309
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street


The purpose of this informational briefing is to update the legislators in regards to domestic violence in Hawaii, Honolulu Police Department response, and ideas for improvement.

1.  Welcome and Introductions

2.  Overview of Domestic Violence laws.................................... Domestic Violence Action Center - Loretta Sheehan, esq., Nicole Edwards Masuda, esq.

3.  Annual Statistics and data.................................................... DVAC – Community Outreach & Education - Cindy Spencer, Vice President

4.  Police Response to DV calls................................................ Honolulu Police Department - Chief Louis Kealoha, Police Chief

5.  Response to DV calls if alleged abuser is HPD..................... Honolulu Police Department

6.  Status report of Officer Cachola video................................. Honolulu Police Department

7.  The role of the Police Commission....................................... Police Commission – Gregory Gilmartin, Executive Officer

8.  Best Practices of Law Enforcement...................................... Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Marci Lopes, Executive Director

9.  Experiences of victims........................................................ Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women Cathy Betts, Executive Director

10.  Independent Review Board Proposal.................................... Aaron Hunger, Instructor of Criminal Justice at Remington College & Ph.D. at UH of Manoa

11.  Adjournment

Statement released by Planned Parenthood 9/29/2014:

Planned Parenthood of Hawaii and Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network Join Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus in Demanding HPD Accountability in Domestic Violence Case

Honolulu, Hawaii – Planned Parenthood of Hawaii (“PPHI”) and Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network (“PPHIAN”) announced today their support for the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus’ call for public accountability from the Honolulu Police Department (“HPD”) following the public release of a surveillance video allegedly showing an HPD officer assaulting his girlfriend outside of a Waipahu restaurant.

PPHI and PPHIAN join the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus in demanding that HPD explain its policies and procedures for handling domestic violence allegations involving HPD officers and ensure that HPD properly enforces Hawaii’s domestic violence laws regardless of the identity of the perpetrator. This call to action coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), an opportunity to raise awareness about the devastating impact of domestic and intimate partner violence — both on women’s health care and women’s equality.

As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood of Hawaii knows first hand how domestic violence affects the health of communities and regularly sees the consequences of domestic violence in its health care centers. Routine health care includes talking to patients about healthy relationships and safe environments and encouraging patients to seek assistance from domestic violence professionals and agencies like HPD that are charged with assisting victims.

“We find it appalling that HPD has betrayed our trust and that of our patients by turning a blind eye towards domestic violence perpetrated by its own officers,” noted Andrea Anderson, PPHI President and CEO. “It is absolutely essential that Chief Kealoha and the Honolulu Police Commission restore the public’s confidence by taking a strong stand against domestic violence and ensuring that HPD’s policies and procedures, as well as the actions of its officers, reflect its obligation to protect the safety of everyone in Hawaii.”

“As the advocacy arm of PPHI, Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network seeks to ensure that women’s voices are heard in government. In this case, HPD has silenced the voices of domestic violence victims despite its essential and critical role to protect them,” stated Amy Monk, PPHIAN co-chair. “We commend the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus for shining a light on this important issue and join them in demanding that HPD follow the law and treat all victims of domestic violence fairly and equally.”

Laurie Temple Field
Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations


Sending Ember Shinn & Jun Yang to Costco for a hot asphalt camping experience

by Larry Geller


Costco Iwilei re-paved their parking lot about two weeks ago. It still has that great, fresh petroleum smell. And look at how bright the white paint is!

So I suggest that City Managing Director Ember Shinn and city housing czar Jun Yang arrange to set up a couple of tents there and experience for themselves how great it is to live outside, in the blazing hot Honolulu sun, on asphalt.

Last week was really warm, as you’ll remember. One day it was 86 degrees inside the Costco warehouse. We stopped by the food court for a snack and couldn’t help noticing the asphalt-scented breeze blowing by as we ate. I’ll have to admit to never having tasted a Very Berry Sunday with that same rich petroleum aroma.

While camping there, of course, I’d like Shinn and Yang to think of the people they would condemn to a similar existence at their planned city-run Sand Island homeless camp. Think of the kids enjoying the reflected heat, or the elders sweating out their days at the camp.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Medical Marijuana Dispensary System Task Force hearing tonight, 5 p.m., State Capitol Auditorium

by Larry Geller

Here’s a link to the announcement, with lots of information, and this is a link to a master page on the UH website.

(thanks: Kat Brady)


What these candidates are not telling us in their financial disclosure forms

by Larry Geller

Why me, I sometimes ask myself. Why do I have to post this stuff? Well, because likely no one else will.

Readers should know how often lawmakers (or lawmaker candidates) themselves break or ignore the laws. Posting errors online in financial disclosure may, who knows, result in either better compliance or better oversight by the Ethics Commission. Yeah, in my dreams. But we plod along…

Is there really a problem?

If 64 percent of candidates for elected office even disregard the filing deadline, then perhaps the law isn’t working very well. Yes, with numbers like that, there is a problem.

Or perhaps voters should note who follows the law and who doesn’t. In this case, we voters are entitled to see this information. The early filing deadline gives us time to check out the candidates.

Last year I tracked three legislators who filed incorrect forms. As I checked in during the year, it became clear that there was no correction, and probably wasn’t going to be on. So it unfolded. Or didn’t unfold, which is the issue. That is: filing forms is required, but if no one looks at them to take corrective action, what does that tell us? Hmmm??


leakAnyone can submit anonymous comments to this blog, or you can send email to leak [at] disappearednews.com.
Today we have three more that were sent to me to add to the list. But first, if you really want to know how these forms are supposed to be filled out, the instructions are here. If you’re interested in sleuthing errors in these forms, you’ll need those instructions.

Here’s the key to the Financial Amount Code:
A Less than $1,000
B At least $1,000 but less than $10,000
C At least $10,000 but less than $25,000
D At least $25,000 but less than $50,000
E At least $50,000 but less than $100,000
F At least $100,000 but less than $150,000
G At least $150,000 but less than $250,000
H At least $250,000 but less than $500,000
I At least $500,000 but less than $750,000
J At least $750,000 but less than $1,000,000
K At least $1,000,000 or more

First up: Brickwood Galuteria omits the description of services he rendered.

Galuteria 1

Ok, we can figure out the first one. But what exactly did he do for the Pacific Center for Economic Development? How do we know that there is not a potential conflict of interest there? This is why “services rendered” is a required response.

As usual, we include the signature block which acknowledges that the information is true, correct and complete:

Galuteria 2

Now, this omission is easily fixed. Will it be? If it isn’t, will the Ethics Commission apply penalties? Not for something this “minor” one might think. So, when?



Marcus Oshiro is missing the list of stocks in his investment portfolios

Oshiro 1

The list of stocks could reveal a conflict of interest, so it should be submitted.

Oshiro 2


Finally, Mark Hashem is missing the addresses under Item 2 of his ownership or business interests

Hashem 1

Hashem 2

Manini, yeah, maybe, but incorrect anyway.

Keep this exciting information coming, folks.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: May Peace Prevail on Earth! — International Peace Day 2014

The soul of cooperation, not only the give-and-take in the famous “doing to others what you want them to do to you”, somewhat beyond not doing to others what you would rather not have them do to you.

May Peace Prevail on Earth! — International Peace Day 2014

22 September 2014

by Johan Galtung, 21 Sep 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

What a good idea, this day! To reflect, take stock, to enjoy peace, to deplore non-peace.21 sep day of peace

And the first reflection is this: peace is the normal condition of humanity, just like health. There is so much plain, simple, decent behavior around, so much mutual aid, a helping hand, companionship, friendship, good neighborhood when bad luck strikes at its worst. And we sense mutuality, unquestioning reciprocity; not always but mostly.

Go to an airport, stay close to where they come out, arrival, and are met by their nearest–watch the embraces, the warmth, the eyes glittering, the smiles, laughter. There we are. Harmony, resonance–with the occasional deep, joint sadness, sorrow; something has struck.

Go to a restaurant, not too stiff, formal–more ordinary eatery. And you see it again, the pleasure, food, drinks, togetherness, the shared pleasure–the jokes, the smiles.

Most of the time–then some incident, issue arises. Like health: there is so much physical and mental wellbeing if we care to notice it, including our own–then some disease, minor or major, strikes and captures all the attention, indeed of the media. Most of the time most of us live in peace and health. The world is not belligerent, any given year for everybody, just because two countries had a stupid war; nor unhealthy for everybody because of a malaria or ebola, epidemic, however bad for the victims.

Let us keep a sense of proportion. Like in highway traffic, most driver-vehicle-meters driven are by far flawless. Then: an accident. We focus on accident-prone drivers, cars and road stretches like on belligerent states, cultures and structures, to learn (why not also from the best?). But that should not blind us to all the peace and health; even vertical companies, capitalism, often function–but when not, the damage may be devastating for so many for such a long time.

Do we reflect on peace or non-peace? On both, of course.

Peace. That little word, one or two syllables, 3 to 5-6 letters, fred-rauha-mir-peace-vrede-Friede-paix-paz-pace-pau-beke-eirene-shalom -sala’am-shanti-ho ping-heiwa, to mention a few. Short, unassuming, so compelling. Very concrete things to do–some more difficult like handling trauma and conflict, some easily done, simply exuding warmth, love; clothing warm thoughts and feelings in warm words and acts.

But that little word stands for much more and disappearing into the clouds and beyond. “Do not make drawings of me”, it says, “do concretize but that never catches more than a fraction of me. I am the spirit that gives meaning beyond biological life, beyond physical health. I am that which unites you all–“.

The soul of cooperation, not only the give-and-take in the famous “doing to others what you want them to do to you”, somewhat beyond not doing to others what you would rather not have them do to you. There is something flowing, something beyond “goods and services” and “pleasure, pain”. Some kind of medium, ether if you will, in which our relations are embedded, sown with seeds of peace, blossoming into full flowers at ever higher, more complex levels. Positive peace.

Sense that medium grow. A We-ness takes shape. The egocentric doing and not doing to others yield to shared joys and sorrows with others, to egos embedded in a We, Us, to resonance, to true harmony.

Watch that medium expand, from your nearest to a humanity thirsting for compassion; sense their ups and downs, your compassion may touch them. Build bridges in your imagination, to Ruskin-Gandhi’s Unto This Last; not only to the suffering, also to the fulfillment. Let both in. Permit yourself to be touched, to be inspired.

Watch that We-ness deepen, into some kind of fusion. Self and Other become one, if only for the fraction of a moment, a oneness. The ego becomes small; the relations, also past, future, overwhelming.

Concrete peace, or spiritual peace? Both, of course.

Nature. Goethe’s famous “Über alle Gipfeln ist Ruh, Über alle Wipfeln spürest Du, Kaum einen Hauch” is a hymn to nature peace as quiet, windless. That is one nature peace.

Another nature peace. In Spain, up there, are two clearly gendered mountains, huge–Adam and Eve. They exude peace in their eternal stillness, unmoving, yet immensely touching and inspiring. Be it windless or stormy, equally faithful. The guardians are there.

Yet another. A river with waterfall and eddies, a beach with the rhythm of waves, long, rolling in, forever. All is movement, like snowflakes in the wind on a winter day; yet there is rhythm and harmony. The water freezes, the ocean flattens, the snow covers the earth.

It is the Rule of Law, Nature’s laws–maybe one day negotiable with less distance to Nature–our freedom is insight in them (Hegel).

Arts. Here is an effort:

La oss löftes av kunsten
som kunstnerne har löftet den
oppover, utover det vanlige
utover alldagen
slik at vi kan skue langt
utover grenser og klöfter
i vårt uryddige menneskelandskap
inn i andre öyne som
også er blitt löftet
utover det vanlige
for å forenes
i fred.
Let us be lifted by the arts
like the artists have lifted them
upward, outward, beyond the ordinary
beyond the run of the mill;
making us see far
beyond borders and cleavages
in our untidy human landscape
into other eyes that
also have been lifted
beyond the ordinary
to be united
in peace.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 September 2014.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Astute reader catches financial disclosure glitch

by Larry Geller

It seems that some dedicated good government advocates are paying attention to the nitty-gritty of financial disclosures for the 2014 election. Good thing, because the number of filings, as usual, seems to defy review by the Ethics Commission. If only the Legislature would increase their budget…

An astute reader forwarded the following catch:

Kent Fonoimoana is running for Hawaii State House District 47. His financial disclosure form was filed, according to the date stamp, on July 21, 2014. The deadline to file was July 18.

Fonomoana was in good company:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui were among the 2014 candidates for office who failed to file their financial disclosure statements on time and will face a $25 fine from the state Ethics Commission, the commission said Tuesday .

The financial disclosure statements include information about a candidate's sources of income, business ownership interests, debts, real property ownership, officer and director positions in various businesses and other financial information.

A total of 130 of 203 candidates filed by last Friday's deadline, the Commission said.

[Star-Advertiser Political Radar, Missed Deadline, 7/23/2014]

I submit that a system in which 64 percent of candidates are disregarding the law isn’t working very well. Check out the complete list of candidates who missed the filing deadline at the link.

We don’t know if any fines were assessed, and heck, who cares about a $25 fine (or so it appears).

So now the forms are filed and posted on the web.

I’m glad that some people are going through this mountain of data. I know the Ethics Commission may not appreciate my criticism, but I would think that crowdsourcing the vetting of the forms is not the best thing to do.

Take Mr. Fonoimoana’s form. I checked the website, and it is still the current form listed, so it appears it has not been amended.

Here’s the problem:


Creditors are listed, but no amounts given. And in this particular case, shouldn’t potential voters know if this candidate has a tax issue?

If you’ve seen similar articles I’ve posted earlier, you’ll remember that each filer signs the bottom of the form. Here’s the signature block for this one:

Signature box

CERTIFICATION: By checking this box or signing your name on this form, you signify and affirm that you are the person whose name appears as the "Filer” above and the information contained in the form is true, correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief. You further certify that you understand that there are statutory penalties for failing to report the information required by Hawaii law.

As to statutory penalties, are they ever levied?

Remember, 64 percent of filers didn’t even bother to file by the deadline. Compliance with the law doesn’t seem like a priority. Maybe because there’s no downside to non-compliance.

Will the Ethics Commission impose the “statutory penalties?”

With the money, they could hire a part-timer to go through the forms and check them out (hint). (they’re probably not allowed to do that)

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