Friday, June 15, 2007


Governor's Indonesia boondoggle derided by Advertiser blog commentators

Comments on reporter Mary Vorsino's Advertiser blog, Governor in Indonesia, are running strongly negative. This is in marked contrast to the uncritical silence on the paper's editorial pages and the bland news coverage. The commentators are doing better than the journalists.

It still remains to be explained why one would first of all associate with the Indonesian military at all, and second, why pick Indonesia to learn about disaster preparedness, considering that they not only totally botched it, but opportunistically used the tragic event to further crush the Aceh resistance movement. We not only can't learn from them, but we shouldn't be assisting their military in any way.

The commentors had more meat than Vorsino's original posts, which resembled sightseeing notes (it's a blog, so actually I don't mind, and where else would we learn anything about Jakarta?). Especially informative (and critical) were comments by barney and by Roger Schenck. Schenck describes how anything good about the disaster recovery effort in Indonsia can be credited to US assistance, and that this assistance was so effective that the Indonesians sent US troops home prematurely:
The Indoneasian government's response was a disaster equal to or greater than the tsunami itself. Had it not been for the response by the US Military, the disaster would have been much worse. The Indonesian Government was not quick to move in to help the people in Java most affected by the tsunami because of their long-standing opposition of rule from Jakarta. Most rescue missions were flown by US military helicoptors, most medical aid was provided by US military personnel, and all life-saving potable water was provided by US Navy ships anchored off-shore. Despite all the assitance provided by the US military, the Indoneasian governmet feared that the US presence would somehow allienate the people against the Indoneasian government, and demanded that US military cease its humanitarian mission and withdraw from Indoneasia prematurely.
Check it out. If we provided most of the disaster assistance, Lingle needs to explain what it is that we can learn from the Indonesians and why she is there at state, rather than personal, expense.

We should not be financing Lingle's try for the Senate out of taxpayer funds

This trip cost big bucks out of the governor's and the department budgets. Even if the state is supposed to have a "surplus," I submit that the money could have and should have been used for something else. Our newspapers might do the right thing and question the costs and benefits of this major boondoggle and its relationship to the governor's personal aspirations.

I read in the paper that seniors' meals are being cut off right here in our own state. How come we can afford to give assistance to Indonesia while our own kupuna will be starving? By the way, did you know that Lingle withheld approximately $500,000 that the 2006 Legislature apportioned to Kupuna Care (which includes meal services to seniors just discharged from the hospital) until just days before election day? How come she's so quick to help the Indonesian military? I know that the governor's habit of withholding funds from necessary social services in Hawaii has nothing to do with her trip, but her sense of priorites rankles. Had she not shortchanged our seniors (and many others) I might not mind it so much if she spreads the largess elsewhere. But it's not fair to starve people at home while conducting some sort of foreign policy with state funds abroad.

Lingle, come home. And please don't withhold any more funds from Meals on Wheels.


We may all be missing the real point of the gov's trip abroad. It may actually have been timed and planned to avoid the looming controversy concerning her chief of staff. Note the two news stories that appeared on consecutive Saturdays concerning Bob Awana. By not being here when the stories broke (i.e. leaked) she did not have to comment and will be able to guage public opinion before she returns to face the media.

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