Monday, December 09, 2013
Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: The United States of America–Heading Where?
- “… Congress more accountable to business than to people for election; the top executive power possibly sliding from the president to the supreme court justice, with money steering politics, protected as “freedom of expression”
- Politically: post-democracy, Congress more accountable to business than to people for election; the top executive power possibly sliding from the president to the supreme court justice, with money steering politics, protected as “freedom of expression”; Snowden-type revelations coming from once a year to once a month, once a week.
- Economically: runaway inflation; accelerating inequality; deep misery affecting one third to a half of the population; depression.
- Militarily: coup by evangelical fundamentalists to “give us our country back”/”give our, empire, our world”; using war to restore the economy; a temporary strong hand “to get things going”.
- Culturally: declining faith in a covenant with a universal God as the Exceptional Chosen People; anomie, absence of compelling norms.
- Socially: atomie, lacking social tissue, leading to collective and individual depression; increase in suicide and homicide (some by veterans back from meaningless wars); increasing “accidents”–cars, trains, planes–due to sloppiness, “don’t care”; school etc. massacres from once a year to once a week by suicidals taking others with them; general social malfunctioning; Jews used as scapegoats for the ills with rampant anti-Semitism, seeing Israel increasingly as a liability.
- Politically: local authorities and states taking power in their own hands without seceding–this would wake up Washington. They would be wise to create third, fourth political parties–Europe might advise pink social democrat and green parties–marginalizing the two right-wing parties that monopolize US politics. Women-youth-the aged-the non-whites taking power in their own hands while middle-aged-white-males are busy with the short term agenda above. Non-WASP immigrants taking power in their own hands to realize the American dream betrayed by the inhabitants. An overwhelming majority against a small Tea Party.
- Economically: cannot be said often enough: lifting the bottom up, giving them hope and dignity, bringing them into the economy and above all changing the ethos of the economy from enriching the rich to empowering the poor. As a national policy this is blocked partly by bought politicians; as state and local policies not necessarily so.
- Militarily: reducing US military presence abroad as wars-bases- drones-SEALs is already underway, and must be carried out centrally. But states and locals can move from victory-orientation to solution-orientation by inviting parties held to be in irreconcilable, violent conflict with the USA to dialogues, and then do foreign policy, like recognizing Palestine. And Pashtunistan and Kurdistan as communities of autonomies in the–two, four–states where the nations are located.
- Culturally: a normalization of USA, not a country predestined to playing the leading role but to playing a normal, constructive, creative role, like most other countries in the world.
runaway inflation; accelerating inequality; deep misery affecting one third to a half of the population; depression.”
The United States of America–Heading Where?
9 December 2013
by Johan Galtung, 9 Dec 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service
In the shorter run, till around 2020, not good; in the longer run, from 2030, not bad at all. Short-run possibilities:
The former South Chicago community coordinator/social worker currently president–rhetorically gifted but devoid of vision beyond affordable health care–stands for eight wasted years: betraying those who elected him–non-whites, women, youth, working class, non-WASP (White, Anglo Saxon, Protestant)–to become bipartisan, getting the Republicans on board. The USA was punished at midterm (2010) for his political sins into massive political paralysis. Hilary Clinton, Christian Zionist, is anchored in the past and will probably not even be nominated; her time is gone.
Sounds bad, and USA has come far down this slippery slope. The Occupy Movement, a rejuvenating potential, faced FBI infiltration, arresting 8,000 of them, and no top politicians dialoguing with them.
Where would renewal, counter-forces that might get the country on another course come from? Short answer: anywhere but Washington-DC, and the forces are already budding but need time to become compelling:
This is all bound to happen: by demographic change in the USA and the emancipation underway for a long time of the US marginalized. From the outside come immigrants with a mix of cultural baggage and dreams, but without the Puritan mystique from early 17th century of being parties to Abraham’s covenant with God. They can be taught allegiance to a country (directly) “under God”, but that works better when the country is upfront, upbeat, not like today, down, and getting worse. Victory-orientation also works better with victories than a record of defeats. As Graham Fuller, Christian Science Monitor (15 Nov 2013) puts it:
“We are caught in a major global transition of power relationships we cannot control. We have abandoned two wars we could not win, at tremendous costs to ourselves in blood, treasure and opportunity costs, while killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims in foreign countries, creating hatred and ensuring–a permanent Al-Qaeda“.
But Fuller offers no alternative, and they do not come easily, having been suppressed as utopian, unrealistic, un-American. However, fresh ideas will easily blossom on the fertile soil of US hard, cooperative work; when it makes sense. Hundreds, thousands of small initiatives from below are worth more than one more tired uninspired “compromise”.
US withdrawal into isolation? Not at all, a false dichotomy. How about a North American Community, MEXUSCAN? A major Mexican paper La Jornada (19 Nov 2013): “USA declares the end of the Monroe Doctrine”. Kerry’s speech at OAS-Organization of American States urging equality in the Americas; this is the way forward, US time is not yet ripe, but it will be coming. The US has the best car drivers in the world, respectful of traffic rules and equal rights: transfer that habit to international relations, please!
As young officers, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant were in the 1846-48 war conquering 53 percent of Mexican territory. The Civil War’s 1865 “peace” reunited US North and South in such pursuits. That period is over, and the sparsely populated USA and Canada could welcome 53 percent of the Mexican population on its soil in a blossoming MEXUSCAN; Mexico being the bridge to Latin America-Caribbean; to equity in the Americas.
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 work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Tragic New York City train derailment shows that safety of rail cannot be guaranteed
by Larry Geller
Update: YouTube video taken Dec. 2 appended below (from NTSC website).
A really horrible train derailment in the Bronx today cost four lives and about 60 injured… pictures are all over the Internet showing the cars on their sides far from the tracks. Train derailments do happen occasionally around the world, and can be quite deadly.
Looking at tweeted images of scattered train cars, I was wondering what a derailment would look like should it happen in Honolulu. Would passenger-filled rail cars come tumbling down onto the houses, businesses and streets below?
When the battle for modality was still raging, early Civil Beat comments by a highly-paid pro-rail lobbyist insisted that a grade-level system was dangerous, citing accidents in Phoenix. It turned out that the problem was SUVs running red lights and smashing into the streetcars. In fact, of 52 collisions reported, all were the fault of drivers. I suspect that by now they’ve learned to pay a bit more attention.
I sent out a flock of emails and checked websites where I could, to see if the lobbyist’s warning was accurate. It wasn’t. Yes, there are collisions, but we don’t ban buses because they have collisions occasionally, do we. Most of the streetcar systems were quite safe, and Melbourne, Australia responded to me directing me to data on their website that supported that. Unlike our Oahu transit leaders who fail (for example) to do anything about King Street deathtrap crosswalks, Melbourne had a program in place to minimize incidents. Their street-level system was quite mature and well-managed.
At the same time, the Washington Metro was experiencing a shockingly high fatality rate. The NTSB had four investigations open simultaneously. See: Rail accidents and safety debate (3/5/2010). In that article I lamented that maintenance is notably lax in Honolulu pretty much wherever you look.
I’ll grant that the accident rate on rail in the sky will likely be less than street-level transit of any kind, but when it happens… as we saw in today’s news, the possibility of large-scale disaster confronts us.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: Peace in Colombia?
“And the police? Learn from the Japanese and Indian police: add mediation and empathy to the usual approach to security; reduce violence by building bridges between the parties rather than punishing; have dialogues with people to understand better the Colombia they want. Not to spy on them, but to enable all Colombians to build a better Colombia.”
Peace in Colombia?
25 November 2013
by Johan Galtung, 25 Nov 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service
Bogotá, Direcccion de Inteligencia Policial, Ministerio de Defensa
Generals, Colonels, Conference Participants,
In June 1998 your President’s Office wanted proposals for peace, and I offered peace education, peace journalism and the guiding moral-ethical light, human rights, a holon of civil-political-socio-economic-cultural rights. Colombia is short on the latter, with flagrant injustices and a deep culture of violence.
In this conference a highly counter-productive word is being used: postconflict, instead of post-violence. Do not confuse them: violence means hurting-harming; conflicts are incompatible goals. Conflict may lead to frustration-aggression-violence, but personal and social maturity lead to progress bridging goals, to conflict solution. “Postconflict” sounds like all is solved with the end of violence, oblivious to reducing flagrant inequality, to harmony through empathy, trauma reconciliation, and capacity for ongoing conflict resolution.
Prognosis: violence returns, with a vengeance. Like in Colombia.
In the 1960s major uprisings took place in many parts of the world. There was the anti-Confucian cultural revolution in China for the rights of women, the young, the uneducated, and Western China; the Naxalites uprising in India, low caste and casteless tribals against the sellout to multinationals; the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese in Phnom Penh, in opposition to the French used to colonize Cambodia, and against the capital-city exploiting landless peasants. All three against millennia of solid structural violence.
As also in Nepal with Maoists fighting huge injustices related to caste and nation; like in the Philippines, classes but also Moros vs Christians; and in Sri Lanka, not classes but nations, Tamils vs Sinhalese.
And in Latin America, classes, domestic and imperial–starting with Cuba–in Colombia as FARC-Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia and ELN-Ejército de Liberación Nacional against the poderes fácticos latifundista-military-clergy complex and the USA-Colombia military alliance.
What came out of these Zeitgeist revolts in six Asia countries?
Only one country, China, benefitted from conflict resolution; the others, under strong Western pressure, suffered postconflict treatment. The Cultural Revolution was denounced abroad and in China; yet today there are women, young and educated people all over China and West China is blossoming. There are some moves in the same direction in Cambodia.
In the other five: status quo. With foreign advisors democratic constitutions were drafted as the US enters the post-democratic stage with easily corruptible legislators accountable to banks and business, not to the people. The real focus was to restore the government’s army monopoly through the DDR formula Dissolution Disarmament Reintegration; in India and Sri Lanka through mass murder, in the Philippines on again-off-again conferences, in Nepal post-democracy with heavy corruption.
Sending mediators who could facilitate hundreds, thousands of local dialogues between the parties in mutual search for solutions would have been better than sending ceasefire monitors. Ceasefires without visions of solutions mean rest-regroup for fighters, smuggling of arms, redeployment.
Better than waiting for an end to violence would be practicing visions; better than one big agreement for the country would be many for local zones, learning and serving as models; better than verbal agreements would be facts. Menos pactos, mas hechos. But both-and is best.
And even better than best: direct talks of landless with landowners, Moros with Christians, workers with capitalists-facilitated by the government. But, caution: the government is many-headed; a team in La Habana is only ears and mouth, the brains are in Bogotá. The legislature may vote No; the executive may give the military green light for victory rather than compromise, if needed, by a coup; the judiciary may declare an agreement unconstitutional and use prisons rather than battles. Nevertheless, with the declared end to the Monroe Doctrine: US intervention is out.
The prognosis for “postconflict” Colombia is dim. However, using the six points on the Habana agenda, what a therapy for peace would look like?
 Integral Agrarian Development. Use it to reduce the inequality by lifting the bottom up, making the economy grow by their participation. Start with the poorest in the poorest communities, give them micro-credit for basic needs-oriented cooperatives with sales points employing the most miserable for dignity, not efficiency, for labor-intensive 3-dimensional agriculture with aquaculture, not small, isolated private plots. Include clothing, housing, polyclinics and schools with local material, generic drugs, medical personnel knowing enough to treat the most common diseases, referring others to specialists; by helicopter.
 Political participation is a human right, not a bargaining pawn in return for laying down arms (“Colombia Moves Closer to Peace With FARC” Washington Post, 11 Nov 2013). Better a FARC TV-channel and a political party than 50 years of mutual killing and a battlefield. Better human rights.
 Narcotraffic–also used for social justice; 40,000 attended narco king Pablo Escobar’s funeral–calls for co-operation and co-responsibility to reduce Colombian supply and US demand, with both reporting to the Organization of American States-OAS.
 An end to the conflict. DDR. But do it symmetrically, reduce the anti-guerilla elements in the army. Decriminalize, there are crimes on all sides, guerrillas, para-military, military. Colombia would benefit more from declaring a New Beginning with a general amnesty–
 The Victims. –if accompanied by reconciliation, using both the South African and German models: confession, contrition, compensation and joint writing of the dark history and pledges for a bright Colombia.
 Implementation and Verification. Yes, of course, but this agenda is not linear; start again improving # , work on all simultaneously.
And the police? Learn from the Japanese and Indian police: add mediation and empathy to the usual approach to security; reduce violence by building bridges between the parties rather than punishing; have dialogues with people to understand better the Colombia they want. Not to spy on them, but to enable all Colombians to build a better Colombia.
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 work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Mark your calendar: Mon 11/25 panel on Making Good Government Even Better (free) (optional lunch)
Kokua Council’s November program:
Monday, November 25, 2013
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.
Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.
11:30 Luncheon: Various Subway Sandwiches, Salad, Dessert by Marilyn——$5.00 Donation
11:50 Welcome: Introductions and Remarks, Larry Geller, President
12:00 Program: Making Good Government Even Better
Carmille Lim, Executive Director, Common Cause Hawaii
Janet Mason, Legislative Chair, League of Women Voters Hawaii
Over the years, Hawaii has passed some very good legislation, often leading the nation. Still, the legislative process arguably could use improvement.
The recent special session on marriage equality provided an opportunity for thousands of people to observe or even to participate in the process.
Our panel will discuss priorities from their long experience.
12:30 Questions and Answers
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Genuine hero: Travel industry publisher pledges to buy shopping carts for Honolulu homeless (and other news)
by Larry Geller
“This is way flashier than, say, investing money in mental health programs, or making sure that Hawaii has plenty of low-cost housing. Maybe next Brower will address teen pregnancy by lighting fire to a big pile of tube tops.”—from a Portland Mercury article
The second Star-Advertiser article indicating that Rep. Tom Brower has put down his hammer has perhaps stirred a new round of coverage outside of Hawaii. The pull-quote above isn’t from a “troll,” it’s the view of the author of the article. Unfair? Maybe, but on the other hand, what did Brower expect, showing off for the cameras?
The audience reading about or viewing these stories must be huge.
New stories have appeared in Portland, Dallas, on Politico, Reason.com, Business Insider, Raw Story, in the New York magazine, New York Daily News, and on various Fox-affiliated TV stations. I don’t think Colbert has noticed yet.
From New York magazine:
… one state legislator decided to do something about [homelessness] by
proposing programs to find homeless people jobs and sheltersmashing unclaimed shopping carts with a sledgehammer to prevent homeless people from using them to carry their few meager possessions.
"I was thinking as a public servant, 'What can I do that would be practical and I can literally do overnight?'" Democrat Tom Brower said recently, explaining his foolproof plan to solve homelessness, or at least make the lives of homeless people a bit more difficult.
A few more months of this and Brower will have homelessness licked for good.
[New York, Hawaii Lawmaker Grudgingly Agrees to Stop Smashing Shopping Carts With a Sledgehammer, 11/20/2013]
Jerk Politician Wants to “Smash” Away Homelessness (11/20/2013)
A thoughtful commentary on Kauai’s The Garden Island website is here.
Washington DC defends its building height limits—will Honolulu be able to do the same?
“Peter May, a National Park Service official, said the commission’s action is ’affirming that [the 1910 Height of Buildings Act] contributes to a unique and special experience’ for District residents and visitors.
Building heights in the city are ‘a matter of national interest,’ he said. ‘It is about quality, it is about human scale, it is about being a welcoming city, not an imposing city.’ ”
by Larry Geller
It looks like Washington DC is not going to let its viewplanes be destroyed by increased height limits. Honolulu should revisit the license given to the HCDA to grant exemptions to city and state ordinances and laws. Or why not abolish the HCDA entirely? Do we need to transform Honolulu into Manhattan or Hong Kong, and won’t that hurt our tourist-based economy as well as wreck infrastructure and transportation tolerances on the island?
The article below includes an interactive image demonstrating the effects of increasing height limits. It links to a gallery of other images showing how DC would look if height limits increase. You click on various heights on the images and the buildings stretch upwards accordingly.
Well done, I say. We could use the same demonstration for Honolulu.
Replace “matter of national interest” in the following snip with “economic interest” and it would apply to Honolulu, as would the concern for quality of life.
The National Capital Planning Commission voted 7 to 3 to remove language from a staff report that said the 1910 Height of Buildings Act should be amended to exempt areas of the city outside the historic core planned in the 18th century by Pierre L’Enfant. Instead, the report will say that the issue is worthy of further study and future consideration.
[Washington Post, Major D.C. building height changes are rejected by planning commission, 11/19/2013]
Building heights in the city are “a matter of national interest,” [Peter May, a National Park Service official] said. “It is about quality, it is about human scale, it is about being a welcoming city, not an imposing city.”
Occupy Madison builds first of tiny homes for homeless
by Larry Geller
Here’s what you can do with hammers and nails, instead of sledgehammers.
A group in Madison, Wisc. is taking an innovative approach to helping the homeless. Occupy Madison, an offshoot of the Occupy Movement, has built its first “tiny home” as part of their initiative called, “OM Build.” They hope the house will become part of a cooperative village of eco-friendly homes. The tiny home is less than 100 square feet, and is built largely with recycled materials.
[RT, Occupy Madison: Building homes for the homeless, 11/18/2013]
Ok, people, how can we make something positive out of this Brower thing?
by Larry Geller
We are putting precious little into mitigating the suffering of homelessness, and now the potholes in paradise are exposed, through the worldwide negative publicity Rep.Tom Brower has brought us.
Switching metaphors, how can we strike while the iron is hot, while attention is focused on Hawaii’s shameful approach to homelessness? How can we make something positive come out of this?
Neither the City nor the State are putting significant resources into combating the causes of homelessness—nothing that will make a dent in the current situation. Nor are resources there to help those living outdoors move into apartments.
Look: Massachusetts may soon have an $11 an hour minimum wage. That would help keep people in that state stay in the apartments they already have. I think the Reverend Al Sharpton said, paraphrase, of course you have to extend a hand and pull people out of the water. But you also have to go upstream and find out who is throwing them in.
Working to alleviate homelessness is not an easy task. It will always be with us in urban environments. Hawaii is now in the spotlight, and its inadequate protection against soaring rents and chronically low wages should replace the focus on one guy with a sledgehammer who lost it. Let’s replace the bad with the good.
We should switch the focus onto what matters. It’s not just one vigilante on a rampage through Waikiki. The Executive Director of the Mayorʻs Office of Housing was caught on video (7/25/2013) participating in night raids. This has got to be reversed. The raids are probably unconstitutional and should be challenged in court, if the City won’t stop them voluntarily.
We need to compensate for our inhumane approach to homelessness by replacing it. Those raids also cost taxpayers money, and it would be good to expose that and re-direct funds to assisting those forced to live on the streets.
What happened to aloha in “The Aloha State?”
Now is the time for concerned citizens and organizations to get a word in edgewise. Who will lead the reform? Who will lead the advocacy?
Let’s make something good come out of this.
World press coverage alerted to homeless situation in Hawaii, reacts with strong words for vigilante
“We should pray for the homeless men and women in Hawaii. Being without shelter is not only an indignity and hardship but compounds just about every other adversity that can befall a human being.
However, we should pray even more intently for the men and women, like Brower, who are infected by hatred for their fellow man. If there is one affliction even worse than being homeless, it’s living inside the self-made prison of hate.”—Joe Carter, Action Institute, 11/20/2013
by Larry Geller
Yesterday the news about Hawaii’s state representative Tom Brower’s vigilantism spread across the country and to London, today Google finds coverage all over the world. It’s sensationalism in a bad way, and doesn’t help Hawaii or its homeless citizens.
If any good comes of it at all, perhaps it will nudge the state into putting in real resources to benefit (rather than persecute) its homeless citizens. The city (Honolulu) may be a lost cause, as it has persistently waged a war against its homeless, including night raids resembling the military actions in Iraq more than compassionate aid.
At least one article (Gawker, see below) noted that news of Brower’s action in Hawaii broke during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Potential tourists around the world are seeing articles in their local papers. There were articles from Canada, San Francisco, New York, UK, Russia (english), UPI odd news, Fox News, CNN, Salon.com, Courthouse News Service, and much more (what a gift to Internet trolls all these articles must be) …
Here are a few that stand out for their language, if for nothing else:
The first snip below is, um, in the vernacular, so isn’t typical, but it’s a popular website, so the damage is done:
What the everloving fuck, Hawaii? You are so cool! You are HAWAII. Prezzy Bamz was born in you! You were multicultural before multiculturalism was Satan’s immigrant basket!
At least, everybody is mellow and high and gets along except this state representative — AND DEMOCRAT — Tom Brower, who has been going around smashing homeless people’s fucking meager belongings, because of how homeless people are “disgusting” and he is going to solve the problem, WHAT!
We don’t have much to add to this because of how our brains ESSPLODED all over our keyboards — except to add that for once (ONCE) you can read the comments at HawaiiNewsNow and not want to napalm yourself or the rest of the entire human race.
[Wonkett, Hero Hawaii Democrat Going Around Smashing Homeless People’s Stuff, Because They Are ‘Disgusting’ — Wait, What?, 11/19/2013]
Ratcheting down the rhetoric only a bit, but still casting Hawaii in a bad light:
Hawaii State Representative and general scumbag Tom Brower has been prowling the streets of Honolulu with a sledgehammer, searching for the carts that homeless people use to store their belongings, and smashing them, in what he calls a quest to “clean up the streets.” Clearly an advocate of the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to society’s problems, Brower has also made a habit of waking up homeless while they’re sleeping and telling them to go somewhere else.
Sadly, Brower’s approach to tackling the homeless problem is indicative of Hawaii’s as a whole. The state has a higher percentage of homeless in the country, but has opted to solve the problem not by increasing funding to mental health clinics, or encouraging low-cost housing development, but rather by offering the homeless a one-way flight out of the state.
Google detected many other websites reporting the news, some with factual coverage based on local Hawaii reporting but with headlines such as Insane Hawaii State Rep. Tom Brower Smashing Homeless Shopping Carts With Sledge Hammer. Others added opinion to the news:
In the past two weeks residents in Hawaii noticed what appeared to be a crazed individual carrying a sledgehammer through the streets of Honolulu, a state lawmaker looking to rid the city of homeless people by targeting their belongings.
[OpEdNews, Hawaii lawmaker wages campaign against the homeless and their belongings with sledgehammer, 11/19/2013]
Working our way through tamer mainstream coverage, most were simply based on HawaiiNewsNow, KITV or Thinkprogress articles:
Al Jazeera quoted Hawaii homelessness coordinator, Colin Kippen
"If the sum total of a person's worldly possessions can fit into the cart and you now grab it and say, 'I'm taking it,' it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out how that could escalate quickly,"
and executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii, Marya Grambs
"His message to the public is that it's okay to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people. It's okay for vigilante justice,"
and some tweets, including this one
Barbara Smith @nanaslugdiva
@jesseltaylor right? I don’t understand the cruelty. Any number of responses would have been more helpful
[Al Jazeera the Stream, Hawaii politician wields sledgehammer to address homeless problem, 11/19/2013]
The popular website Gawker relied on screengrabs from KITV for its article, Lawmaker Says Violence Is the Solution to Homeless Problem (11/19/2012).
Fortunately, Brower gets only the proverbial 15 minutes of fame. These articles will be forgotten in time, though Google never forgets. Anyone looking for a Hawaii vacation may run into one or more during their search.
The damage is done.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Truthout email: Tom Brower becomes poster boy for Hawaii’s “crisis of the soul”
“The Tom Browers of the world dominate our politics like a pack of rampaging Robin Hoods in reverse, robbing from the poor and the needy and the sick to profit the rich and the powerful.”
by Larry Geller
The fact that there is a lack of aloha in the “Aloha State” government leaked out to the national media today. Websites of national circulation and tweets have revealed how we treat our homeless citizens in Honolulu. For this, we can thank (?) Rep. Tom Brower. I have to say that I did not know this about Rep. Brower, who always seemed to me to be a level-headed and responsible guy.
But Rep. Brower broke into the national news today, spreading shame on Hawaii.
Much like Batkid, Hawaii has found its own superhero. Except that instead of protecting the powerless from harm, he roams the streets with a sledgehammer and looks for homeless people in order to literally smash their possessions.
Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).
[Thinkprogress.org, State Rep. Uses Sledgehammer To Destroy Homeless People’s Possessions 11/19/2013]
Perhaps not so remarkably, Honolulu police have declined to stop Brower. It is possible that he has committed crimes, but the HPD is no defender of homeless people. They are participants in the raids that seize and destroy the possessions of those forced to live at the edge of the sidewalks by the City’s restrictive policies.
Uncontent to just destroy homeless people’s items, Brower is also on a mission to wake those he finds sleeping and tell them to sleep somewhere else. “If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don’t do anything, but if they are sleeping during the day, I’ll walk up and say, ‘Get your ass moving,’” he said.
Imagine that you’re asleep and are rousted by a guy wielding a deadly weapon (a large sledgehammer)? That could be considered assault (though I’m not a lawyer, just going by what I read in the papers and see on TV). Imagine if the person he awakened was a homeless vet with unresolved PTSD. The situation could easily escalate with possibly deadly consequences. Of course, it goes without saying that if there’s an arrest, it would be of the homeless person. Such is the state of policing in Honolulu, and the privilege of power.
Later today, Truthout.org sent a blast fundraising email. I think they expressed the essence of how Brower has embarrassed the state, if not himself:
There's a guy named Tom Brower in Hawaii who goes around with a sledgehammer smashing the belongings of homeless people to bits. He is "disgusted" by the homeless, doesn't want to see them, and is so proud of his actions that he happily allows himself to be filmed while swinging the hammer at the meager possessions of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Has he been arrested for this shamelessly sociopathic behavior? Will he be arrested at some point soon? Don't hold your breath: Tom Brower is an elected official, a state representative, and a Democrat to boot.
Something is badly out of joint in America. We are mired in a crisis that is not merely financial or cultural; it is a crisis of the soul, of the very essence of our basic humanity, and we are sinking fast. The Tom Browers of the world dominate our politics like a pack of rampaging Robin Hoods in reverse, robbing from the poor and the needy and the sick to profit the rich and the powerful.
They must be stopped, thwarted, and cast down. This must end, for all our sakes, and we must be the ones to put an end to it.
Since I’ve used their quote, please consider clicking on the link above and donating to Truthout.org. They are a very hard-working, truth-telling organization. Supporting people willing to say it like it is, is a good thing.
Yes, Hawaii has been embarrassed, but only because the way we treat our homeless has been revealed. It’s part of a larger fabric—neither the state nor the city government care at all for those who are disadvantaged, whether they are those who cannot afford the sky-high rentals, or special needs students who were totally denied services in the schools, or the conditions in our State Hospital or in the prisons. It’s sad that in each of these situations (except for the homeless) it has taken the federal government, the courts or the Department of Justice, to set the state, albeit grudgingly, back on the lawful and moral path.
Perhaps Honolulu’s treatment of its homeless citizens needs to be reviewed by a court to bring relief.
Tonight’s breaking news is that Brower has given up his vigilantism. Good for that. It saves advocates the trouble of seeking a TRO.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Campaign Spending Commission violation draws $500 fine, but when will Ethics Commission act?
by Larry Geller
Today’s Star-Advertiser breaking news includes this report (snip):
State Rep. Rida Cabanilla has been fined $500 by the state Campaign Spending Commission for filing an inaccurate or false campaign-finance report.
[Star-Advertiser, Rep. Cabanilla hit with $500 fine over campaign finance reports, 11/18/2013]
The Campaign Spending Commission has acted, but what about the Ethics Commission? A 2012 financial disclosure form omitting required income figures is still posted on their website with no indication of correction.
Disappeared News first reported starting in March, 2012 on a small sample of posted financial disclosure filings that showed errors or were false. One of the three forms in error was signed and filed by Rep. Rida T.R. Cabanilla Arakawa. See: Financial disclosures the Ethics Commission should have caught (3/1/2012).
Click over to that article to see images of the form with the “Amount” column clearly blank.
Checking in monthly after that, there was no action on these reports by the Ethics Commission. At least, the posted form remained uncorrected. Checking today, it remains uncorrected. Admittedly, they could have forgotten to post a correction, but you’d think that if that were the case, the legislator would have pointed the omission out to them.
The statutes (laws) are different, and it’s not easy to determine who is fined for what by the Ethics Commission, but checking to see if the error was corrected requires only a visit to their website. Yes, that statute is ripe for revision so that the public can have transparency into Ethics Commission actions. The Legislature routinely declines to even hear ethics bills that are introduced each session.
Images of the forms are included in the article linked above.
Del Monte Fresh Produce will pay $1.2 million to be distributed to the Thai claimants under EEOC settlement
“I heard about agricultural work in America from a recruitment agency in Thailand and was told that the recruitment fee would be 650,000 baht but I would earn about 100,000 baht per month. I was excited because I would be making three times more than my current wage. I thought I would be able to pay back the 650,000 baht loan back in a few months. I would be able support my family, send my children to school, save some money, and maybe even buy myself a new pick-up truck. I mortgaged my house, sold my truck, and took out loans.
I flew to Los Angeles with other Thai workers in 2003. A couple of days later we were flown to Hawaii to work at Del Monte. Global took our passports and I only worked here for 22 days. I shared a one bedroom one bathroom apartment with 11 Thai workers.
I want to encourage others who experienced what I experienced, to not be afraid and to seek help from the EEOC.”—from Theim Chaiyajit’s press statement released by the EEOC on 11/18/2013
by Larry Geller
At last—some of the trafficked Thai workers who watched federal cases against Aloun Farms and Global Horizons dismissed in federal court in Honolulu appear to be about to receive some compensation. Del Monte Fresh Produce will pay $1.2 million to be distributed to the Thai claimants under the terms of an EEOC settlement (consent decree) announced this morning.
In his press announcement, EEOC General Counsel David Lopez also stated that:
Del Monte Fresh Produce has agreed to institute comprehensive protocols and accountability measures to ensure that all farm labor contractors that work with Del Monte Fresh Produce comply with federal laws against discrimination and retaliation. This is the first effort of its kind for a farm to ensure farm labor contractor accountability for federal anti-discrimination laws.
The consent decree includes provisions for enforcement.
The Del Monte settlement was the first to be released, but the EEOC also said that settlements have been reached with four other Hawaii farms, Mac Farms of Hawaii, Kelena Farms, Captain Cook Coffee Company and Kauai Coffee Company.
Maui Pineapple Farms and Global Horizons, also named in the suits, have not settled and their trials are expected to proceed next year (see below for brief background).
The federal criminal case against Global Horizons, a labor supplier, billed at the time as the largest human trafficking case in US history, was dropped after it was discovered that federal prosecutors had improperly instructed the grand jury that handed down the indictment. Before the case against Global was dismissed, however, Global employee defendant Shane Germann entered a guilty plea (since voided). Contemporary reporting does provide some background on alleged labor conditions at Maui Pineapple. For example, this snip is from a Hawaii Reporter article:
The indictment also alleges that the defendants held a group of Thai workers at Maui Pineapple Farm, demanding $3,750 in addition to money already paid to keep their jobs with Global Horizons. Workers who did not pay were sent to Thailand with debts unpaid, which the government says put the workers at “high risk” of losing their family homes and land.
[Hawaii Reporter, Hawaii Conspirator in Thai Laborer Trafficking Case Admits Guilt, 5/4/2011]
The situation wherein a person had pled guilty and stated certain facts prior to the case being dismissed may be unusual—defendants were likely under pressure to make a deal. With the charges dropped, there is no implication of guilt, and aside from reporting what was said at the time, I don’t know if any credence can be given to the statements made in the guilty plea.
Thai worker Theim Chaiyajit’s statement (excerpted in the pull-quote above) confirms that indeed he and other workers were returned to Thailand, debts unpaid:
I was handcuffed, arrested, and treated like a criminal. This is the only time I was ever arrested when I did nothing wrong. I was in jail for 15 days. All 53 of us were escorted to the airport and told that our visas had expired. We were deported back to Thailand.
Background on Maui Pineapple
Former AOL executive Steve Case became an investor in 1999 and joined the board in 2008. His tenure therefore included the time frame spanned by the various lawsuits. From the Wikipedia:
On December 31, 2009, MPC ceased pineapple operations after 97 years. The move briefly put Maui out of the pineapple business, and left only a small pineapple operation run by Dole Food Company on Oʻahu growing one of Hawaii's signature crops. A group of former Maui Pineapple Company executives and local investors assumed pineapple operations on January 1, 2010. The new company, Haliʻimaile Pineapple Company, Ltd. (HPC), continued to grow and market fresh pineapple under the Maui Gold Brand to the Hawaii market. HPC purchased and licensed key assets, and leased farm land, equipment, and buildings from ML&P. The Kapalua Farms organic pineapple operation was taken over by Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development, backed by investor Pierre Omidyar in early 2010.
In Hawaii’s entanglements with human trafficking (9/15/2010) I wrote:
Investors including Pierre Omidyar have been put on the defensive. Omidyar is quoted in a Star-Advertiser article
In 2007, Omidyar invested $10 million in Maui Land and Pineapple Co.
Omidyar said yesterday the alleged human trafficking occurred before he became a shareholder and he had no knowledge of the incident until "a year or two" after buying into the company.
"It was terrible circumstances that occurred certainly, but it occurred and then it stopped before we even became shareholders," Omidyar said. "We didn't even know about it until a year or two later. With the quality of the management that's there now and the issues they're focusing on, I'm happy to be a shareholder today."
Omidyar said the MLP episode demonstrates how hard it is to eradicate human trafficking, and "how easy it is to become involved in a business or to buy a product, buy a pineapple, or whatever, and sort of unknowingly kind of taint yourself with these terrible practices." [Star-Advertiser, Omidyar to invest more in Hawaii, 9/10/2010]
A longer statement by Omidyar can be found here.
As I noted in that article, investors and owners of farms which have allegedly employed indentured labor directly or through third-party contractors have already reaped the profits that low-cost labor permits.
Background on Global Horizons
After the dismissal of the Aloun Farms human trafficking case, federal prosecutors changed. Ultimately, the new crew faced the task of analyzing data on more than 70 hard drives that they had seized from Global Horizons. The problem was that anything related to attorney-client privilege would have to be sorted out as inadmissible. Ultimately, it appears that either due to the difficulty and time it was taking to sort through the data, or perhaps for other reasons, the case was abruptly dropped by the Department of Justice.
Global Horizons maintained its innocence throughout.
The best coverage of the Global Horizons case (and on human trafficking in other Hawaii situations) can be found on the Hawaii Reporter website. A Google search should reveal all, including exclusive video interviews by editor Malia Zimmerman with Global Horizons’ CEO Mordechai Orian. Here is a (text) interview with Orian after the Department of Justice decided to drop charges.
ผลิต Del Monte Fresh จะจ่าย $ 1,200,000 ที่จะ แจกจ่ายให้กับผู้เรียกร้อง ไทย ภายใต้ ข้อตกลง EEOC
" ฉันได้ยินเกี่ยวกับ งานเกษตร ในอเมริกา จาก บริษัท จัดหางานในประเทศไทยและ มีคนบอกว่า ค่าธรรมเนียม การรับสมัครจะเป็น 650,000 บาท แต่ฉัน จะได้รับ ประมาณ 100,000 บาทต่อเดือน ผมรู้สึกตื่นเต้น เพราะ ฉันจะ ทำ สามครั้ง กว่าค่าจ้าง ปัจจุบันของฉัน ฉันคิดว่าฉัน จะสามารถ จ่ายคืน650,000 บาท คืนเงินกู้ ในไม่กี่เดือน ฉันจะ สามารถ สนับสนุน ครอบครัวของฉัน ส่ง ลูก ไปโรงเรียน ประหยัดเงิน บางส่วนและ แม้กระทั่ง ตัวเอง ซื้อรถกระบะ ใหม่ ผม จดจำนอง บ้านของฉัน ขาย รถบรรทุก ของฉันและ เอาออก เงินให้สินเชื่อ
ผมบิน ไปที่ Los Angeles กับ แรงงานไทย อื่น ๆ ในปี 2003 คู่ของ วันต่อมา เรา ก็บิน ไปฮาวาย ไปทำงานที่ เดลมอนเต ทั่วโลก เอา พาสปอร์ต ของเราและ ฉันเท่านั้นที่ ทำงาน ที่นี่ สำหรับ 22 วัน ผม ใช้ร่วมกันอย่างใดอย่างหนึ่ง ห้องนอน ห้องน้ำ เป็นหนึ่งเดียวกับ แรงงานไทย 11
ฉัน ต้องการ ที่จะส่งเสริมให้ คนอื่น ๆ ที่ ได้รับการฝึกฝน ในสิ่งที่ฉัน ได้รับการฝึกฝน เพื่อที่จะ ไม่ต้องกลัว และ จะขอความช่วยเหลือ จาก EEOC. " จากการ แถลงข่าว Theim ไชย ปล่อย โดย EEOCเมื่อ 2013/11/18
โดย Larry เกลเลอร์
ที่ สุดท้าย บางส่วนของ แรงงานไทยที่ถูกค้ามนุษย์ ที่ดู กรณี ของรัฐบาลกลาง กับ ฟาร์ม Aloun และ Horizons ทั่วโลก ยอมรับ ใน ศาลรัฐบาลกลาง ในโฮโนลูลู ดูเหมือนจะเป็น เรื่องเกี่ยวกับการ ได้รับการชดเชย บางส่วน ผลิต Del Monte Fresh จะจ่าย $ 1,200,000 ที่จะ แจกจ่ายให้กับผู้เรียกร้อง ไทย ภายใต้เงื่อนไขของ การตั้งถิ่นฐานEEOC ( ยอมรับคำพิพากษา ) ประกาศ เมื่อเช้านี้
ใน งานแถลงข่าว ของเขา EEOC ที่ปรึกษาทั่วไป เดวิด โลเปซ ยังระบุด้วยว่า :
ผลิต Del Monte Fresh ได้ตกลงที่ จะจัดตั้ง โปรโตคอล ที่ครอบคลุมและ มาตรการ ความรับผิดชอบ เพื่อให้แน่ใจว่า ผู้รับเหมา แรงงาน ในฟาร์ม ที่ทำงานร่วมกับ Del Monte Fresh Produce สอดคล้องกับ กฎหมายของรัฐบาลกลาง กับ การเลือกปฏิบัติ และ การตอบโต้ นี้ เป็น ความพยายาม ครั้งแรกของชนิด สำหรับ ฟาร์มเพื่อให้แน่ใจว่า ฟาร์ม รับผิดชอบ ของผู้รับเหมา แรงงาน กฎหมายต่อต้านการ เลือกปฏิบัติ ของรัฐบาลกลาง
ยอมรับคำพิพากษารวมถึง การบังคับใช้ บทบัญญัติ
การ ตั้งถิ่นฐาน Del Monte เป็นคนแรกที่ ได้รับการปล่อยตัว แต่ EEOCยังกล่าวอีกว่า การชำระหนี้ ที่ได้รับ ถึงกับ สี่ ฟาร์ม อื่น ๆ ในฮาวาย , ฟาร์ม Mac ฮาวาย , ฟาร์ม Kelena กัปตัน บริษัท คอฟฟี่ คุก และ บริษัท คอฟฟี่ Kauai
เมา ฟาร์ม สับปะรด และ Horizons ทั่วโลก เช่นชื่อ ในชุดสูทยังไม่ได้ ตั้งถิ่นฐาน และการทดลอง ของพวกเขา ที่คาดว่าจะ ดำเนินการต่อไป ในปีหน้า (ดูด้านล่าง สำหรับพื้นหลัง สั้น ๆ )
คดี อาญา ของรัฐบาลกลาง กับ Horizons โกลบอล ซัพพลายเออร์ที่ แรงงานเรียกเก็บเงิน ในช่วงเวลาที่ เป็นกรณี การค้ามนุษย์ ที่ใหญ่ที่สุด ของมนุษย์ ใน ประวัติศาสตร์ของสหรัฐ ถูก ลดลง หลังจากที่มันถูก ค้นพบว่า อัยการสหรัฐ ได้สั่ง ไม่ถูกต้องคณะลูกขุน ที่ ส่งลงมา ในคำฟ้อง ก่อนที่ คดีกับ ทั่วโลกได้รับการยอมรับ แต่ พนักงาน จำเลย เชน ทั่วโลก Germann เข้ามาสารภาพผิด ( ตั้งแต่ เป็นโมฆะ ) รายงาน ร่วมสมัย ไม่ให้ พื้นหลัง บางอย่างเกี่ยวกับ สภาพการ ใช้แรงงาน ที่ถูกกล่าวหา ที่ สับปะรด เมา ยกตัวอย่างเช่นการ ตัดด้วยขากรรไกร นี้มาจากบทความ Reporter ฮาวาย:
คำ ฟ้องยัง อ้างว่า จำเลยจัด กลุ่มของ แรงงานไทยที่ฟาร์ม สับปะรด เมา เรียกร้อง $ 3,750 นอกเหนือไปจาก เงินที่จ่าย แล้ว เพื่อให้ งานของพวกเขา ที่มี Horizons ทั่วโลก คน งานที่ ไม่ได้จ่ายเงิน ถูกส่งไปยัง ประเทศไทยโดยมี หนี้ค้างชำระ ซึ่ง รัฐบาลพูดว่า จะนำ คนงานที่ " มีความเสี่ยงสูง " ของการสูญเสีย บ้านครอบครัว และที่ดิน ของพวกเขา
[ ฮาวาย Reporter , ฮาวาย สมรู้ร่วมคิด ใน กรณี การค้ามนุษย์ แรงงาน ไทย ยอมรับ ความผิด , 2011/05/04 ]
สถานการณ์ ในประเด็นที่ มีคน ทำความ ข้อเท็จจริง บางอย่าง ที่ระบุไว้ มีความผิดและ ก่อนที่จะมี กรณี ถูกไล่ที่ผิดปกติ อาจจะเป็น จำเลย มีแนวโน้มว่า ภายใต้ ความกดดันที่จะ ทำให้การจัดการ ด้วย ค่าใช้จ่ายที่ ลดลง มี ความหมาย ของความผิด ไม่และ นอกเหนือจาก การรายงาน สิ่งที่ถูก กล่าวว่า ในเวลานั้น ผมไม่ทราบว่า ถ้า เชื่อ ใด ๆ ที่สามารถ ให้ งบทำใน ข้อหาความผิด
งบ ไทย คนงาน Theim ไชย (ที่ ตัดตอนมา ในดึง อ้าง ข้างต้น ) ยืนยันว่า แน่นอนเขา และคนงาน อื่น ๆ ที่ถูก ส่งกลับไปยัง ประเทศไทย หนี้ค้างชำระ :
ฉันถูก ใส่กุญแจมือ ถูกจับกุม และ ได้รับการปฏิบัติ เช่นเดียวกับ ความผิดทางอาญา ครั้งนี้เป็นครั้ง เดียวที่ฉัน เคย ถูกจับ เมื่อฉัน ไม่ได้ทำอะไร ผิด ผมอยู่ใน คุก เป็นเวลา 15 วัน 53 ทั้งหมด ของ เรา ถูกพา ไปยังสนามบินและ บอกว่า วีซ่า ของเรา ได้หมดอายุแล้ว เรา ถูกเนรเทศ กลับไปยัง ประเทศไทย
พื้นหลังบน สับปะรด เมา
กรณี AOL อดีต ผู้บริหารระดับสูง สตีฟ กลายเป็น นักลงทุนในปี 1999 และ ร่วมในคณะกรรมการ ในปี 2008 วาระการดำรงตำแหน่ง ของพระองค์จึง รวม กรอบเวลาที่ ทอด คดี ต่างๆ
วันที่ 31 ธันวาคม 2009 คณะกรรมการนโยบายการเงิน หยุดดำเนินการ สับปะรด หลังจาก ปี 97 ย้าย สั้น ใส่ เมา ออกจากธุรกิจ สับปะรดและ เหลือเพียง การดำเนินงาน สับปะรดขนาดเล็ก ที่ดำเนินการโดย บริษัท อาหาร โด เกี่ยวกับโออาฮู เติบโต หนึ่งใน ฮาวาย พืช ลายเซ็น กลุ่ม ของอดีต ผู้บริหารระดับสูง ของ บริษัท เมา สับปะรด และนักลงทุน ท้องถิ่นสันนิษฐานว่า การดำเนินงาน สับปะรด เมื่อ 1 มกราคม 2010 บริษัท ใหม่ บริษัท สับปะรด Haliimaile จำกัด ( HPC ) ยังคงเติบโต และการตลาด สับปะรดสด ภายใต้ยี่ห้อ ทอง เมา ไปยังตลาด ฮาวาย HPC และมีใบอนุญาต ซื้อ สินทรัพย์ที่ สำคัญและ ให้เช่า ที่ดิน ฟาร์ม อุปกรณ์และ อาคาร จาก ML & P การ ดำเนินงาน Kapalua สับปะรด ฟาร์ม อินทรีย์ ถูกนำขึ้นโดย การพัฒนา เกษตร ยั่งยืน Ulupono รับการสนับสนุนจาก นักลงทุน Pierre Omidyar ในช่วงต้นปี 2010
ใน entanglements ฮาวาย กับ การค้ามนุษย์ ( 2010/09/15 ) I wrote :
นักลงทุน รวมทั้ง Pierre Omidyar ได้ รับการวาง ในการป้องกัน Omidyar จะยกมา ในบทความ ระดับ ผู้โฆษณา
ในปี 2007 Omidyar ลงทุน $ 10,000,000 ในดินแดน เมา และ สับปะรด จำกัด
Omidyar กล่าวเมื่อวานนี้การค้ามนุษย์ ที่ถูกกล่าวหา เกิดขึ้น ก่อนที่เขาจะ กลายเป็น ผู้ถือหุ้นและเขาก็มี ความรู้เกี่ยวกับ เหตุการณ์ที่เกิดขึ้น ไม่มี จนกระทั่ง " ปีหรือสองปี" หลังจากที่ซื้อ เป็น บริษัท
"มัน เป็น สถานการณ์ที่ เลวร้าย ที่เกิดขึ้น อย่างแน่นอน แต่มัน เกิดขึ้น แล้ว มันหยุด ก่อนที่เราจะ กลายเป็น ผู้ถือหุ้น " Omidyar กล่าวว่า "เรา ไม่ได้รู้ เกี่ยวกับ มันจนกว่า หรือสอง ปีต่อมา. กับ คุณภาพของการจัดการที่ มี ในขณะนี้ และปัญหา ที่พวกเขากำลัง มุ่งเน้นไปที่ฉันมีความสุข ที่จะเป็น ผู้ถือหุ้นในวันนี้ . "
Omidyar บอกว่าเหตุการณ์ MLPแสดงให้เห็นถึง วิธีการที่ ยาก ก็คือการ กำจัด การค้ามนุษย์ และ " วิธีที่ง่ายก็ คือการเป็น ส่วนร่วมใน ธุรกิจหรือ จะซื้อสินค้า, ซื้อ สับปะรดหรืออะไรก็ตาม และ การเรียงลำดับของ ชนิด เป็นต้นเหตุ ของ โรค เหล่านี้ กับตัวเองด้วย การปฏิบัติที่ แย่มาก . " [ -Star โฆษณา Omidyar ที่จะลงทุน มากขึ้น ในฮาวาย 2010/09/10 ]
คำสั่ง อีกต่อไป โดย Omidyar สามารถพบได้ ที่นี่
ขณะ ที่ผม ระบุไว้ ในบทความ ว่า นักลงทุน และเจ้าของ ฟาร์ม ซึ่ง ถูกกล่าวหาว่า มีการจ้างงาน แรงงาน ผูกมัด โดยตรงหรือผ่าน ผู้รับเหมา บุคคลที่สามที่ มีอยู่แล้ว เก็บเกี่ยว ผลกำไรที่ ต้นทุนต่ำ ที่อนุญาตให้ แรงงาน
พื้นหลังบน Horizons ทั่วโลก
หลังจากที่ ถูกไล่ออก จากกรณี การค้ามนุษย์ Aloun ฟาร์ม มนุษย์ อัยการสหรัฐ เปลี่ยน ในที่สุดลูกเรือ ใหม่ ต้องเผชิญกับ งานของการ วิเคราะห์ข้อมูลเมื่อ กว่า 70 ฮาร์ดไดรฟ์ ที่ พวกเขาได้ ยึด จาก Horizons ทั่วโลก ปัญหาก็คือ สิ่งที่เกี่ยวข้องกับ สิทธิ ทนายความ จะต้องมีการ แยกออกอย่าง ไม่ยอมรับ ใน ที่สุดก็ ปรากฏว่า ทั้ง เนื่องจาก ความยากลำบากและเวลา มัน คือการ จัดเรียง ข้อมูลหรือบางทีอาจจะ ด้วยเหตุผลอื่น ๆ กรณี ที่ถูกทิ้ง ทันที โดย กระทรวงยุติธรรม
Horizons ทั่วโลก รักษาความบริสุทธิ์ ของตน ตลอด
คุ้ม ครองที่ดีที่สุด ของกรณี Horizons ทั่วโลก ( และ การค้ามนุษย์ ในสถานการณ์ อื่น ๆ ในฮาวาย ) สามารถพบได้บนเว็บไซต์ของ Reporter ฮาวาย ค้น หา Google ควรเปิดเผย ทั้งหมดรวมทั้ง วิดีโอสัมภาษณ์ พิเศษโดย บรรณาธิการ Malia Zimmerman กับ โลก Horizons ' ซีอีโอของ มอร์เดชัย OrIaN ที่นี่สัมภาษณ์ (ข้อความ ) กับ OrIaN คือ หลังจากที่ กระทรวงยุติธรรมจึงตัดสินใจที่จะ ฟ้อง
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Honolulu Bill 59, now worse than ever, set to pass on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Stanley Chang's wildly unconstitutional and ill-advised Bill 59 (making it illegal to lie down on a sidewalk) was redrafted and heard on October 29, 2013, before Honolulu City Council's Committee on Public Safety and Economic Development (PSED). Actually there was another draft with the same number by Councilmember Carol Fukunaga.
Testimony was heard (including my own) but the bill was deferred for a "harmonized" redraft incorporating the "best" of both current drafts. I've already stated my vehement opposition to this bill which directly challenges King Kamehameha's Law of the Splintered Paddle. That law is incorporated into the Hawaii State Constitution as "a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety."
I had some hopes when it was deferred that the Council would save itself from embarrassment and litigation costs for the city by just forgetting about it and letting it die. That's what deferral often means and that's what Bill 59 deserves.
Instead, it was made worse and will be heard on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, at Honolulu Hale.
When the Council holds hearings, we citizens hope our appearance and testimony mean something. I know, I'm dreaming. Hearings are more and more for show and to comply with law. There is nothing compelling politicians to do anything other than make some time available for testimony.
But since the Council went through the trouble of redrafting Bill 59, one would think they might take into consideration some of what testifiers said. Here are videos of some testimony, and the result it had. I follow each video with a written cheat sheet so you don't have to actually watch the video if you don't want to.
Oppose Bill 59 in all forms. There are some things that I know, that you (the Council) knows but the public may not know:
1. The State Attorney General's office has informed the Council that some say the bill directly violates Article IX, Section 10 of the State Constitution.
2. HPD has submitted testimony that the bill, "may lead people to conclude that the City is focusing on the homeless," and if that's the case, "the City will have to deal with many suits alleging constitutionality claims…"
3. The public thinks that the Department of Facility Maintenance is supposed to fix potholes, pave roads, and fix sidewalks, but the Council okays budgetary allocations to DFM knowing that they lead the midnight raids on the homeless.
4. Bill 59 will likely be mired in legal challenges to its constitutionality as are its predecessors, Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) and Bill 7 (ordinance 13-8).
But in spite of that, I predicted that the Bill would pass without a problem because the Council, based on its history, is more concerned with the profits of its corporate sponsors than the poor and homeless
Councilmember Kymberly Pine:
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Judge Sakamoto pronounces same-sex marriage legal in Hawaii, denying injunction
by Larry Geller
It’s hardly “disappeared news” that a state court judge has declined to enjoin same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The news will be covered by most every media outlet.
The outcome is neatly summed up by Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto’s last words in the courtroom, after he concluded his legal arguments: “Same sex marriage in Hawaii is legal.”
The verdict was so simple that it didn’t even take 140 characters to explain.
The judge accepted the plaintiffs’ standing, saying basically that the plaintiffs were arguing in the public interest. By doing so, he allowed both sides to make their case. Had the judge not granted standing, and so muffled the opponent's voices, no doubt there would have been a rapid move to appeal.
Much of the plaintiffs’ argument reflected similar claims during the special session, including the claim that the majority opposed, and the people should vote. The judge listened, showing no reaction. Finally, he read his verdict from prepared notes. Clearly, those misrepresentations didn’t sway him. Nor did the repeated claim that the people were led to misunderstand the 1998 amendment before voting, by Joe Moore and on the Perry & Price program, allegedly telling voters that the proposed amendment would ban same-sex marriage.
I thought I had the first tweet announcing the verdict, but no, once again @MelikaLondon’s live tweets from the press area had both the first and last words. Well, almost the last words. Her last tweet questioned whether the judge just denied the TRO or dismissed the case. The hearing was just on the injunction. The case continues, if the plaintiffs want to continue with it. This is confirmed by the AG’s office. So I have one more tweet to do…
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
McDermott challenge to new marriage equality law to be heard 8:15 a.m. Thursday
by Larry Geller
If you’re interested in attending the hearing, it’s at 777 Punchbowl St., near Restaurant Row. The hearing is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. in Judge Sakamoto’s courtroom, which is on the 4th floor.
Allow time for getting through security, then take the elevators up to 4F.
Parking is often a problem. The best bet is the Makai Parking Lot, which strangely is located mauka of the courthouse. But it’s often full, in which case there are few alternatives. It’s possible to luck into street parking, in which case be careful not to let the meter run out, they do issue tickets often in that neighborhood.
I’ve looked through the papers filed with the court, though I may not have anything filed in the past couple of days. My guess is that the AG’s arguments are strong, but I don’t want to jinx this.
If you would like to read the documents yourself, they are here in a zip file.
What are the chances that a state court could strike down Hawaii’s shiny new marriage equality law?
I’ve learned that I can’t second-guess how a judge will rule, but still, I try to understand the legal process that unfolds in a courtroom. It seems that there will be no delay in testing the legality of Hawaii’s about-to-be-signed marriage equality law—so what are the possible outcomes of a challenge?
Today Governor Neil Abercrombie will sign SB1 into law and Hawaii will become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. The word of the Senate passage of the bill appeared in news media across the country (even in the Guardian (UK) app in my phone). Corks will pop this evening.
Tomorrow Republican Rep. Bob McDermott will ask for a TRO against the new law to prevent it from going into effect on December 2. If the judge sides with McDermott and grants an injunction, celebrations could be short-lived indeed.
Yesterday, in After Abercrombie’s signature, opponents will be left pleading with a judge to stop same-sex marriages in Hawaii (11/13/2013), I speculated about how the court case might go. Fortunately, commenter Anonymous was still out there to set me straight.
While many will not want to wade through the legal arguments, if you plan to follow the case, or if you’re concerned that McDermott might succeed, the comments are reproduced below. For me, the comments are an education.
I expect that the court hearing could be crowded, and TV cameras could be present. Instead of being passive spectators, thanks to Anonymous, we can have a better understanding of the process and how a judge might decide. Hypothetically, of course.
My uncertainties (see the article linked above) came out of ignorance about how a state court determines whether an injunction should be issued. I admitted that my only experience has been as an observer in federal court, and state courts seem to be different. Indeed they are. Read on.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
After Abercrombie’s signature, opponents will be left pleading with a judge to stop same-sex marriages in Hawaii
by Larry Geller
Can a state judge stop Hawaii from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting December 2?
Tomorrow (Wednesday) Hawaii will become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. The enactment of SB1 into law will end a struggle that began 20 years ago when Hawaii’s Supreme Court became the first in the nation to give consideration to marriage equality.
Hawaii's highest court has taken a long step toward making the state the first in the country to recognize marriages between couples of the same sex, ruling that a ban on such marriages may well violate the State Constitution's prohibition against sex discrimination.
In a 3-to-1 ruling on Wednesday in a case brought by three homosexual couples, the State Supreme Court stopped short of striking down the ban, instead sending the case back to a trial court for review.
But in the majority opinion, Justice Steven H. Levinson wrote that "marriage is a basic civil right" and that "on its face and as applied," the Hawaii law "denies same-sex couples access to the marital status and its concomitant rights and benefits."
[New York Times, In Hawaii, Step Toward Legalized Gay Marriage, 5/7/1993]
In 1993, victory was so close …. And then came the backlash, and a 1998 amendment to the state constitution giving the Legislature the right to determine that marriage is between one man and one woman. Note that the Legislature never did that.
Governor Abercrombie’s signature tomorrow will settle the issue. Or will it?
Republican Rep. Bob McDermott has already taken the new law before a judge, even though it had not yet been passed. On Thursday Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto was asked to issue a restraining order against the legislation. He refused, saying the action was premature. McDermott could not be injured at that time because the law had not yet been passed.
There is also the question of separation of powers—a judge would not interfere with the ongoing legislative process.
But McDermott will stand before the judge again, after the Governor signs the bill into law. He will ask for an injunction to prevent the implementation of the law. Regardless of the outcome of that motion, the case will likely move forward and be heard on its merits (if there are any) in due course. Due course in the Hawaii state court system is like an indefinite sentence, it could take years.
So the immediate threat is that an injunction could prevent the state from issuing marriage licenses. How likely is that?
I’m more familiar with federal court, which would apply a four-prong test that goes something like this: (1) Plaintiffs have to show that they will likely succeed on the merits, (2) that they will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, (3) that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and (4) that the public interest would not be adversely affected by an injunction (alternatively, that an injunction would be in the public interest).
That’s the federal court, I have not had a chance to research the rule in state court.
The merits of the case would certainly hinge around what voters thought they were voting for when they passed the 1998 constitutional amendment. Were they bamboozled? The Attorney General holds that the Legislature has the power to regulate marriage even without the constitutional amendment. So they could work this out in court.
Meanwhile, I can’t see that McDermott is injured no matter who gets married. With the expanded religious exemption, it would be hard to see who could claim that they are made to do something unlawfully.
I’ll have to do some homework on the rules for injunctions in state court, and while it’s foolish for a non-attorney to anticipate how a judge might rule, it’s worth an attempt. Stay tuned.